How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Company Egg Dish

Last week we wound up with 2 1/2 dozen eggs in our house. Luckily I remembered that I had saved a link some time ago claiming to have The Only 40 Egg Recipes You Will Ever Need. There I found this recipe for Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Pepper Jack Cheese. In addition to a recent house guest who will be with us through the spring, we had invited a friend to join us for dinner as well. Since this called for a dozen eggs it seemed like it would make plenty of food, and use up some of our plethora of cackleberries. The recipe itself was simple enough to follow, although it did take longer to prepare than I anticipated, so I am glad I started the prep work early. It is cooked and baked all in the same cast-iron pan, so fortunately clean up is pretty easy. This was a big hit with everyone, and made for dandy leftovers as well.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Yummy Valentine Fudge

For Valentine's Day, Pam found a recipe by searching in one of our several romantic cookbooks for recipes that would use ingredients we already had on hand. As the book sat open on the counter for a day or two, we each realized that it was a recipe we had enjoyed before -- Grape Snausages. It ended up being a little different this time,in a good way: I had purchased hot Italian chicken sausage without any particular plan, and it made for a nice hot-sweet main course.

For dessert, Pam (the brains of this operation, as careful readers will have noticed by now) suggested a recipe source that has served mainly as a decoration since we received it some while ago. Java Jolt is a cute little box of cards, each with a recipe or two involving coffee.

I looked through the entire box, and found just one that looked feasible for a holiday that was to fall on the busiest day of my week.
The card entitled Avalon Gold Rush begins with a story about real, old-school fudge like we still find here in New England. It then offers quite a simple recipe for a short-cut fudge.
I varied this only slightly. First, I knew that in my hands, the foil-lining method would just be a way to get shreds of foil into the fudge. So I used a silicon pie-pan liner that my mother had recently given us (and that Pam had remembered). Although we actually had Amaretto on hand, I decided to use cherry Schnapps (this was Valentine's Day, after all). We of course do not have instant coffee on hand, so I added about a half cup of coffee left over from the morning. (We usually do not have leftover coffee, but I had reserved some on purpose.)

The result was yummy, soft fudge that is so rich that we have enjoyed the tiniest of servings over the course of the rest of the week. My Valentine pronounced it extremely delicious.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quesadilla Pie

James and I do love Mexican food, so when I noticed this recipe for Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla Pie on my Facebook feed, and realized that we also had a few chicken breasts just waiting to become part of a nueva receta we starting making our plans.

This simple dish uses one large tortilla shell as the pie crust. It is placed in the bottom of a spring form pan and then toppings and batter are added. Once everything is in the pan it is baked for about 20 minutes. We forgot to get the green chiles the recipe called for when we went shopping, so I substituted a dollop of hot pepper jelly in the toppings, which turned out to be a good idea. This was simple and delicious.We will definitely be having this one again.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Orange-Cinnamon Pancakes

Image:from a Shortbread Recipe on Saturday Evening Post.
Two things readers of this blog might know about me: I am passionate about pancakes, and even more passionate about Nicaragua. And for the past few years my annual visit to coffee lands has included CEN, a cloud-forest research station that is fascinating for its ecology projects, its beauty, and its breakfast! When we are lucky, the research in charge, thespian, physicist, ethnopharmacologist, and all-around genius Dr. Alan Bolt makes us pancakes.

I cannot possibly replicate his pancakes at home. First of all, I am not Alan. Second, I have no cinnamon trees nearby. But this morning I had success with a CEN-inspired adaptation of my usual pancake recipe. In place of a small amount of nutmeg, I used a lot of ground cinnamon -- probably two tablespoons. Instead of a mix of milk and yogurt totalling 1-1/2 cups, I used 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of orange juice. I increase the leaving agents (baking powder and baking soda) just a tad. I completely forgot sugar, and I used olive oil instead of melted butter.

The results: light, delicious pancakes. CEN's reputation for pancake mastery is still intact, but this was a fine way to start our snow day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Shrimp in Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe comes from the W.I.N.O.S (Women in Need of Sanity) Cook with Wine cookbook. It didn't take long to make, and was quite tasty. Next time I make this, however, I will be sure to prep all the ingredients before beginning to cook. I did some chopping, cutting, and grating in advance, but once the cooking starts on this things move so fast it is best to have everything ready. I did realize that the shrimp (which goes into the sauce at the end) and the angel hair pasta have similar short cook times (about 3 minutes) so I did put the shrimp in at the same time I started cooking the pasta. I think this would also be very good as a vegetarian sauce if one wanted to leave the shrimp out.

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Well, we're finally back in the game for 2017. We had a rough start to the new year and mostly were trying to keep our heads above water in January, so scouring recipe books/sites fell to the back burner (so to speak). This weekend we finally had some breathing room and took the time to get back to cooking and blogging. The recipe for Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins showed up on my Facebook feed on Saturday morning. As luck would have it, James had recently bought some blueberries and they were just waiting to be used. I've made blueberry muffins many times before, so I checked the recipe to see what was special about these. The magic comes from crushing some of the berries and adding the juice to the batter, which gives them a moister texture. They really are good. Also, importantly, I discovered the New York Times Cooking app for my iPad. It is superior to using my browser and going to the New York Times cooking page online because it does not constantly close while I am cooking. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Boxing Day Shrimp

According to the New York Times cooking page "buttery potted dishes are...popular throughout Britain". We had never heard of this sort of dish, but were certainly game to try it. It was my first attempt at clarifying butter, which I don't think was entirely successful. I don't have any kind of a strainer in the lesser-equipped beach house kitchen, so I had to make do with just spoon. We also don't have any ramekins (at either house), so instead of individual pots we made one big pot, and simply scooped out the shrimp from it and divided it onto our individual plates. As far as the ingredients go, we mostly followed what was written, but skipped the anchovies and celery seed, and just substituted some other spices for flavoring. This was relatively simple, and the leftovers are even easier. Since this is a chilled dish we only had to take the pot out of the refrigerator and make some toast when we wanted to enjoy this again the next day.