Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Northwood: Take 2

I've blogged this drink before, but it's so good, and now I actually have coupe glasses, AND it's fall again, AND I have a better camera, so I thought I'd share it one more time.

This is the Northwood. It's a drink I found in Imbibe magazine years ago. This is distilled fall in a glass. It uses apple cider, maple syrup, brandy, gold rum, and a little bit of lemon juice. It's sweet, so a little goes a long way.

If I were a professional, I would have taken the price sticker off the apple cider.
Once you have assembled your ingredients, put 3 Tbs. gold rum, 2 Tbs. brandy, 1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider, and 1 tsp. of maple syrup in a shaker. If you are exceptionally observant, you'll notice in this picture I have a shot glass, which was totally unnecessary. I forgot this used measuring spoon amounts until I checked my notes. We'll call it a prop.

I really should use hand lotion more often.

Flip the lid upside down over the shaker to use as a strainer. This calls for 3/4 tsp. of lemon juice, but I just used half a lemon. That's going to be more like a tablespoon, but I need just a little less sweet, personally. You can adjust to your own preference.

Add ice and shake. Strain into a coupe (or martini) glass.

Hold onto the lid. Right after this photo was taken, mine came off and it was a godawful mess. I saved my drink, though!

You can garnish with an apple slice if you're all fancy. I'm not all fancy. I'm pretty plain jane. And lazy. There's also that.

If you'd like to shake up some fall and put it in a cocktail glass, here's the .pdf.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Origin of Pootie: An explanation

There seems to be some weird misnomer out there about my husband's nickname. When we were first married, we both loved Calvin and Hobbes. THIS is the origin of Pootie:

Granted, I spelled it wrong, but I've been calling him Pootie for over 20 years now. It just stuck. And since he hates his real name anyway (Phillip), he adopted it and refers to himself as Pootie most of the time.

And that's the whole story behind "Pootie". Who also has green eyes and a nice laugh.

But who most assuredly does NOT call me "Bitsy" anything.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall is coming! Pork Chops with Mustard and Bread Crumbs

We got lucky and had a few days of unseasonably cool weather here last week. My extensive sources (friends on Facebook who live up North) tell me that real fall has arrived for good elsewhere. But not here. We're already warming back up. Real fall won't hit us until November and doesn't really get going until December, which is why I've campaigned for years to move Christmas to January. That, and I could always use another month to get ready. At any rate, when the night temperatures drop into the 50s, it's cause to celebrate and break out the warm food fare and the fire pit. And trade in my flip-flops for my Chucks.

I enjoyed a glass of wine by the fire, then headed to the kitchen to work on dinner. Pork chops with a mustard and bread-crumb crust, sauteed cabbage, and roasted sweet and white potatoes with nutmeg.

For the potatoes, I cut peeled sweet potatoes and unpeeled russet potatoes into large chunks, tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and nutmeg, and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven at 400F.

Then I went outside to check on Pootie and Dinky and how things were going outside.

Fine, obviously.
After the potatoes had cooked about 25 minutes, I started the pork chops. I used boneless loin chops, but you can use any cut you like - just adjust the cooking time according to the size and thickness. You can brine them if you're into that, because I didn't decide we were even having them until about an hour and a half before we ate.

Heat a medium oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chops, then dredge in flour and shake off the excess. Add 1 Tbs. of butter and 1 Tbs. of olive oil to the pan. When the butter is foamy, add the chops.

Brown the chops on each side, then place about a Tablespoon of Dijon mustard on top of each pork chop.

Make a mixture of bread crumbs - I used whole wheat and added about a teaspoon of caraway seeds. You could use rye bread, or you could mix together any whole grain or whole wheat with sage or whatever floats your boat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the pork chops and then dot the breadcrumbs with just a little butter. Put the whole shebang, pan and all, in the oven at 400 and bake until the breadcrumbs are brown and the chops are done in the center. (About 145 degrees F. Get an instant-read thermometer. Seriously. It's not a superfluous kitchen gadget, I promise. I use mine all the time.)

I served mine with some braised red cabbage and the roasted potatoes. Outside is best. Unless you're way up North and it's already snowed or something.

If you would like to smear some dijon and bake some bread crumbs on a pork chop, here's the .pdf.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Letting Others Cook for Me: Chocolate Mint Thins from Stephanie

The kitchen is slowly cranking again here at 305. I have to say, recovering from surgery took a hell of a lot longer than I thought it was going to. Or wanted it to. Thankfully, we had some friends and family feeding us for the first week I was home. After that, I've been able to get in the kitchen and cook, but none of it has been particularly blog-worthy. Best I can say for it is that it was sustenance.

We've known Stephanie for close to ten years now - before the boys were even a thought. She was a good neighbor and a great friend. And now she has two adorable boys and her hands full. But she still managed to cook and care for us when we needed it.

The boys are older now. Steph isn't. That's how it works, people.
While I was in the hospital, the boys made me a sign and Steph posted it on Facebook for me. Isn't it awesome?

Then once I was home, they brought an excellent dinner of stuffed peppers and some wonderful mashed potatoes. Those kids know their way around a kitchen, now! But the cookies sent me into orbit. I LOVED them. I took one bite and marched straight into the office and shot Stephanie an email and begged for the recipe.

Luckily for all of us, she agreed to share. This one is going straight into my annual holiday baking spree. They are delicious minty chocolate wafers. I love them. Here's the .pdf of the recipe so you can give it a whirl.

Having friends and family give the gift of lovingly made food is such a wonderful boost to body and spirit.  I highly recommend doing it for others, but also allowing others the joy of doing it for you.  Thanks for dinner Steph, and thanks very much for the cookies!