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, January 25, 2016

All bacon weekend

Over the weekend we had our first snowstorm of the season here in New England. James and I decided to ride it out at "Whaling House" where we would be able to have a cozy fire (actually two!) and a hot tub. We brought a package of bacon with us and planned our meals accordingly. 

Of course no snow storm would be complete without a comforting casserole, and no casserole is more comforting than good ol' mac and cheese. We picked this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onion and Bacon from I am not sure who did the math on the recipe site to determine that prep time would only be 20 minutes. Adding up the number of minutes of stirring, cooking and simmering time in each step comes out to more than that. Add to that the actual time you need to chop, cut, and wait for water to boil, and it was over an hour of prep work. This was with both of us working on it. The error made amount of prep time was offset by the fact that the top of the recipe also says there is an hour of cook time, but the final step calls for only 30 minutes in the oven. Perhaps the recipe authors are thinking differently than I do about how prep and cook time break down. In any case, this turned out quite good and we enjoyed the leftovers the following day for lunch. There is yet more in the freezer to be eaten another day.

The casserole only called for four slices of bacon, so there was still plenty more in the package for breakfast. Instead of plain old bacon and eggs though I prepared this recipe from for French Egg and Bacon Sandwiches. Much easier and quicker than the casserole.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Special Salad

Last night James and I bought some stuffed cod at Kyler's Catch Seafood Market and brought it back to our Whaling House for me to bake while he went Whaleboat rowing. I knew we didn't have many options in the way of vegetable or salad at the house and found only a small wilting carrot and a clementine on the downturn in the refrigerator. Not one to waste food I decided I was going to make a salad with them. I found some raisins and slivered almonds in the cupboard and so I shredded the carrot, and sectioned the clementine, removed the membrane, and added the pulp to the carrots. I threw in a handful each of the raisins and almonds. It seemed like it needed a dressing, so I went back to the cupboard where I found a grapefruit/raspberry vinaigrette - a free gift sent along with our last order from L.O.V.E. It turned out to be a perfect topping. This was sublime. I loved that it was sweet, crunchy and chewy. I will definitely make this again, but next time I will plan ahead and make sure we have additional carrots and oranges so that I can have a bigger serving!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Casserole Stew

I found this recipe in the New York Times database, by searching for some ingredients we already had on hand. My focus was on the ingredient list, so when I found several more on-hand ingredients, I was sold. The results were delicious, though had I read the instructions -- or even the title -- more closely I would have realized that a bit more time would be required than I had allowed for.

That said, I will definitely make Pierre Franey's Meatball and Sausage Casserole again. I just will not count on doing it in the 40 minutes he allows. Nor will I call it a casserole. It is a stew.

But it was a delicious stew. I followed the recipe almost to the letter; I think it took about twice as long as indicated, though I am not sure why. As always, when a recipe calls for wine, I serve it with that wine -- in this case an ordinary Sauvignon Blanc worked well, even though the dish was red.
I took this in-progress photo because I know most food is not photogenic, and that this would be far less attractive when smothered in tomato sauce.. I was correct.
The recipe begins with making 24 (or in my case, 20) meatballs and browning them, along with some Italian sausage (I chose hot). I found that all of this barely fit in our well-seasoned, indispensable cast-iron skillet, and turning them to brown required trial-and-error with a few different utensils. I eventually found that the heat-resistant silicon spatula worked best.

This dish -- topped with shredded basil -- was nicely accompanied by Pam's famous "Maryland Day" basil-corn muffins.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New York Maple Walnut Cheesecake

Christmas dinner with friends

We always spend Christmas with friends. This year we had our traditional lobster dinner on Christmas eve, and then traditional vegetarian lasagna on Christmas day. Our thanks to those who prepared the delicious meals! Our contribution was dessert. We prepared this delicious recipe to wrap up the Christmas eve dinner, with the leftovers to share again on Christmas day. 

The recipe calls for an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese "until fluffy". However, you do not need an electric mixer if you have a husband with Popeye-the-Sailorman-like biceps.  We otherwise followed the recipe. I've made cheesecakes before, but always found that the bake time took longer than expected. This recipe had us baking for 15 minutes at 500 degrees to start, then turning it back down to 200 for an hour. We got to watch as the cheesecake rose above the rim of the springform pan, and then sink back down as the cheesecake cooled. It turned out golden brown on top, and perfectly baked throughout. 

We simplified the topping to simply heating up some maple syrup and chopping some walnuts.

As always we ended our Christmas celebrations with a viewing of our favorite goofy performance art: a clip from a 1969 episode of Captain Kangaroo - The Banana Man. It is very important that you make this part of your holiday tradition as well.