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...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Scallops with Cream and Basil

This simple yet divine dish from the New York Times Cooking page is sure to be added to our regular line up. I actually made this well over a week ago, but just haven't gotten around to writing the blog post about it.

Living near the ocean we made a decision some years ago that any time we wanted seafood we would get it fresh (the exception to this rule is that we always keep canned tuna on hand for quick, simple salads). The scallops came from our favorite fishmonger Kyler's Catch Seafood Market.  I followed the recipe as written with one exception which was skipping the part that says to cool the pan and wipe it out after browning the scallops and before cooking the rest of the ingredients in the same pan, it seemed unnecessary since the scallops were going to go back into the pan at the end anyway. Clearly this was the right choice since this was delicious.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Simple and Dish for Valentine's Day - Creamy Carrot Soup

We had the privilege of witnessing a true Valentine's Day Wedding this year when two members of church married after many years of dating. The wedding was simple - a 15 minute ceremony after our regular church service followed by a small reception in the parish hall with food brought in by other members of the church. We've been to weddings of all sizes and budgets, all of them are lovely and joyous. While the reception was small the food was good and there was plenty of it, so we decided not to our usual Valentine's Day date of preparing a fancy meal together, and instead had a light supper. It was a bitterly cold day in southeastern Massachusetts with temperatures well below zero and a wind chill factor of -30 so soup seemed in order. We found this easy recipe from the Extending the Table cookbook. We had all of the ingredients already in our kitchen and were glad not to have to go back out in the cold to buy anything.

I started by melting 2 T of butter in a skillet and added 2 chopped carrots. Here the recipe calls for adding some sugar to glaze the carrots, but I used up the last bit of our maple syrup instead. A bit of flour, some ground ginger (in lieu of curry powder) and 2 cups of chicken broth were added and everything was heated until the carrots were soft. This went into the blender along with a dollop of plain yogurt and 2 T. of white wine. Everything was pureed together until well mixed and creamy. We paired this with the same wine we put into the soup and also enjoyed some homemade biscuits with it. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken broth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Coq au Riesling

A funny thing happened on our most recent visit to Plymouth, Massachusetts (America's hometown). We passed a rather large winery - Plymouth Bay Winery. Neither one of us remembered ever having seen it before, so we figured it must be new. It looked like perhaps it has moved into a former restaurant space. We're not ones to pass up a tasting so we went in. Some friendly folks greeted us and we asked how long they had been there. "Eighteen years". This is roughly the same amount of time we have lived in the area, and we visit Plymouth at least half a dozen times a year. You'd think we would have noticed something like that, especially since we're usually on the lookout for local wines! Go figure.

Anyway, we enjoyed a tasting of ten different wines including blackberry, apricot, and cranberry. We purchased several different bottles after the tasting, including two of the Widow's Walk - "a tribute to classic German Rieslings and Gewürztraminers" since I had just read this recipe for the a twist on the coq-au-vin I took it as a sign. The recipe was pretty simple to follow. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs because that's what I had in the freezer. I think I allowed too much of the liquid to boil away because mine didn't look as "stew like" as the photograph did. It was tender and tasty, however.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Vegetarian Meal fit for a Groundhog

As yesterday was Groundhog Day (or, if you prefer, Woodchuck Day, or Whistle Pig Day) we got out our trusty Wicca Cookbook to find something appropriate to prepare for Candelmas (or Imbolc). We selected two recipes for this cross-quarter day: Candelmas Pâté, and Divinely Spiced Wine. The pâté was nut based and similar to a favorite recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook - Walnut Feta Pâté. Candlemas Pâté, however, used hazelnuts and cream cheese. A half cup of hazelnuts were toasted for a few minutes in the oven at 350 along with 1/8 c. of sesame seeds. Once toasted these were ground together using a few spurts of the blender. They were added to a mix of 4 oz. of cream cheese, 1 minced garlic clove, a dash of sage, a tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of milk and salt and pepper. I let it chill while I mulled the wine. I used 2 cups of Malbec, a cup of grape juice, a cinnamon stick a few whole cloves and some allspice, a bit of cardamom, and 1/4 c. brown sugar. The recipe called for higher proportions of sugar and juice, and even suggested adding a bit more sugar to suit taste, but I think most things are too sweet anyway, so adjusted downward. It was good, and not too sweet. We served it with our pâté, which we spread on bagels. At first I thought it would be an odd pairing, but it actually worked out well.