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Pinecone Cheeseball

April 30, 2017
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Hello!   Long time,  no talk.  We’ve been busy with work and stuff.  But I just hosted a woodland-themed baby shower for a friend, and I was pretty happy with this relatively easy, crowd-pleasing pinecone cheeseball.

I saw this idea all over the place when I googled woodland baby shower.  I thought about making a cheeseball from scratch, but all my favorites have non-pasteurized cheese in them.  And that’s a no-no for the pregnant ladies.  So instead I used two packages of Boursin, which to my delight is made with pasteurized cheese.  I took them out of their packages and molded them into one big egg-like shape (with a flat bottom).  And then I put plain almonds all around that, starting with the bottom of the “cone” and pressing the rounded end of each almond into the cheese at a slight angle.  I tried to alternate the position of the almonds so that each almond sort of went in between the almonds from the prior row.

Then, I decorated the plate with fresh rosemary from my herb garden that I barely ever use anymore (tears).

I recommend staring this at least an hour before your party.  That way, you’re not rushed, and you can put the cheese back in the fridge for a while to firm up again in case it softened while you were working on it.

Serve with water crackers, although our beloved Deb abhors water crackers, so feel free to use something more interesting.

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White Russian / Kahlua Cheesecake Brownies

March 21, 2014

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This is perhaps not a Lent-appropriate recipe, but oh well.  Save it for Easter?

This was a birthday gift a long time ago for someone who loves Kahlua but can’t drink it anymore for health reasons.  I thought why not put Kahlua in some brownies and solve that problem right there?  

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Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies (. . . for dogs)

March 2, 2014

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Last month, we adopted a wonderful Australian cattle dog named Sydney.  She has adopted us very quickly, and has become very protective.  We’re working on training her to be more obedient so she won’t bark for hours at anyone who comes to visit.  Training requires treats, so I thought I’d try out a recipe for homemade doggie treats.  Sydney seems to approve heartily, based on the way she licked my hand to get up all the crumbs (don’t worry, I only gave her a taste test after she sat and followed the “Look at me” command).

Since I’d never made dog treats, I turned to a reliable source of all sorts of recipes – King Arthur Flour.  These came together easily and made the house smell great.  

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Black-Pepper Panna Cotta and Red Wine Strawberries

November 1, 2013

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Did you think that just because there’s been radio silence, we haven’t been cooking?  Okay, that’s kind of true, we’ve both been cooking a lot less, because we’ve both been incredibly busy over the last several months.  However, in September, Em came to stay with us for a weekend, and we had an awesome SK cooking day(s).

Em suggested trying out panna cotta, and although our previous experiences with gelatin left me a bit wary (man that stuff smells bad), I agreed.  And I’m so glad I did.  I told Em and still believe that this is one of the best things we have ever made.  So simple and yet so satisfying.  I took a bite when it was done and said, “it tastes like cream.”  Em looked at me and said, “Wait, is that a good thing?  I couldn’t tell if that means it’s tasty or you’re annoyed that you put in that much effort and it still tastes just like cream.”  Definitely meant it was tasty.  

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Cherry Bounce, PawPaw Style

July 23, 2013
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Cherry Bounce

The world lost (and heaven gained) a great man last week–my wonderful PawPaw.  He was a wonderful grandfather, and I miss him so much already.  One of the ways we bonded over the years was talking about cooking, baking, etc.  This recipe falls into the “etc.” camp.

Cherry bounce is a delicious (adult) drink.  Other than the taste, one of the best parts of cherry bounce is being able to serve it to people and say, “Oh this?  This is just some booze I made.”

Cherry bounce has quite a long history, not just in my family but across America.  As my grandfather was fond of telling people, “Martha Washington had her own recipe for cherry bounce.”  He found the recipe in a newspaper article and sent it to me once–of course, hers was at a different scale than our recipe–designed to sate the thirst of all of Mount Vernon.

It takes six months to get from step one to drinking the cherry bounce, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s completely worth it.  It tastes delicious on its own and is also quite tasty over ice cream or in sauces.  My Uncle John recommends that at the end of the process, you reserve the cherries and use them to stuff a duck.

You can use pretty much any liquor you’d like to make this.  My favorite version to drink straight is the brandy version.  My favorite version to mix with things is the bourbon version.   I’ve never made the vodka version, because I’m not much of a vodka person–at least not since about age 23.

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Beetfredo (Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Beet Sauce)

November 30, 2012

I bought some beets intending to make beet chips, which Emily – God love her – brought into my life.  Then I didn’t feel like going through all that effort, and I needed a fun dinner idea, so I settled on this pasta with a sauce of roasted beets and Greek yogurt.  I’ll make beet chips another time.  Or ply Em with flowers and chocolates and beg her to make me some next time I see her.

This is an . . . interesting dish.  The flavor is very, very beet-y, which I love.  However, I harbored hope that this would be a good way to “hide the vegetables” and get pickier eaters to eat more veggies.  Alas, if you don’t like the flavor of beets, this dish will not fool you, and you will not like it.

The original recipe called for 2 TBSP of lemon zest, which I thought was a bit excessive.  I might try it next time, though, because I tasted the lemon I did use but thought more would be fine.

You could also use any type of pasta you want, but I felt like making the dish extra healthy by using the whole wheat pasta I had on hand – I really wanted to take my post-Thanksgiving detox seriously.  Next time, I might try being really adventurous and using some spinach pasta.

I wanted to use the beet greens, in the spirit of our mantra, “Waste not, want not.”  I planned to cut the leaves off the stems and throw them in with the pasta for the last few minutes of the pasta cooking.  When I pulled the beets out of the fridge, the greens looked a little wilted, so I didn’t use them this time.  I’ll try that next time and report back!

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Blueberry Applesauce

November 10, 2012

For most purposes, I think of myself as a Texan even though we moved to Ohio right before I started third grade.   All of my family is from there, many of them still live there, and I just love Texas.  So now that I’ve spent seven and a half years out of Ohio (college, law school, now being an adult, allegedly), it always surprises me when I crave things that are Ohio-y.  For example, this year, I just really, really wanted to go apple picking.

Admittedly, when it comes to fall, Ohio beats Texas any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Mainly because Ohio actually has fall.

But once you get all nostalgic for autumn in Ohio and go apple picking, what do you do with a bushel of apples?  Well, I did lots and lots of things, but one of the reasons I got far more apples than you’d need for some apple pies is that the beloved carnivore loves applesauce.

During the course of our having-lots-of-apples, I made several batches of applesauce.  I made three different types: regular applesauce (for me), super-sweet applesauce (for him), and this blueberry applesauce.

This was one of those random things I sometimes come up with in the kitchen.  We had some blueberry wine, and I thought, “I wonder how it would taste to use blueberry wine instead of water to make applesauce?”  Then I did it, and both the beloved carnivore and I thought, “yum.”

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