Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cheesy Polenta and Egg


I absolutely love fried eggs.  They have to be cooked just so, with the yolk still runny but no runny egg white.  That just grosses me out for some reason. It must be a nurse thing–won’t go any further.  I had some polenta (see previous post) and was looking for an easy dinner a few nights ago.  I had gotten home late and the thought of another meal was just too much.  I am still in overload from the holidays.  It was also the day before grocery shopping so my options were somewhat limited.  I saw the polenta and the eggs and just like I was a participant on chopped, it came to me.

What I did was form the polenta into rounds and brown them with a little [this is a must].  I cooked these until they were browned and a little crispy.  I cooked my eggs until just set, with egg yolk runny.  That was it and they were so good.

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Recipes


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Straccoto (Pot Roast with Mushrooms)


Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a food network and recipe blog junkie.  I think they call it being a “foodie”. Whatever the term is, I could read recipe blogs and recipe books for hours and my TV is tuned to the food network channel 90% of the time.  Nothing excites me more than a new recipe that is not so out there that my family will eat it, but enough out there to make it exciting.

Right before Christmas I watched Giada’s Christmas episode and she was making Straccoto which is a fancy name for pot roast and mushrooms.  It was served over a cheesy polenta.  I have always wanted to try polenta and I knew Dave would love the meat, so I gave it a whirl.  I had to start using that freezer full of beef Dave bought for us.

I loved the flavor of the roast and the mushroom gravy was awesome.  The recipe asks that you puree the gravy prior to serving, but I wanted the chunks of mushrooms intact, so I skipped that step.  It was amazing.  This was the first time that I had ever made polenta and it is so fast and easy.  This recipe calls for a lot of butter and cheese and I thought it was a little rich, but Dave really liked it.  I think I would have preferred plain polenta as the gravy is so rich and good.

Sorry my pictures were really bad but hopefully you can get the idea.

Giada’s  Straccoto

  • 1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth, plus extra, as needed
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil and the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and mushrooms. Return the beef to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the beef over halfway through and adding more beef broth, as needed.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Using an immersion blender, blend the pan juices and vegetables until smooth. Add the rosemary and thyme. Bring to sauce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Giada’s Cheesy Polenta

  • 9 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot. Add the salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, and parsley. Stir until the butter and cheese have melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Recipes


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Not So Ugly Sweater Contest

It started innocently enough.  I was at Walmart and saw these awesome dog sweaters for Christmas and because I am a sucker for Christmas and for my dogs, I purchased one for Charlie, Layne, Stella and Quinn.  When I got home and tried them on, I realized that they were a little too small for them.  Layne looked like the fat old man that tries to fit in clothes that are too small and don’t quite fit across his oversize belly and Charlie would not move as if he was in some sort of straight jacket. After seeing how tightly they fit Layne and Charlie, I figured that Stella and Quinn’s would  be too small too. This would have been a good time to take them back but oh no.  I searched every WalMart to find matching ones with no luck.  I guess there really are other idiots out there doing this same thing.  So I went online and found some and after paying the extra money to get them by Christmas, I now had matching sweaters for Layne, Charlie, Stella, Quinn, Dodger and Ginger(Heidi’s two wiener dogs).  I also had visions that we would take a cute Christmas photo of all six of them posing quietly by the tree, post it on twitter, or instagram or whatever, it would go viral, and we would be invited to be on the Ellen show.  Well I did get a few pictures , but they were definitely not what I envisioned.




dog4 dog5



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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in My Favorite Things



Lemon Curd Tart

lemon tart

I was doing some ironing the other day and caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she was making a lemon curd tart. I am not usually drawn to lemon desserts but this looked so good. It is Sunday afternoon and I was looking for a quick dessert to make (not that we need to have another dessert for Heaven’s sake)  It seems that I have gotten somewhat into a cooking, eating, and shopping frenzy and am having a difficult time stopping the routine.  I am not sure what it is about post Christmas that makes me so sad.  I don’t want to get back to real life and start the New Year diets and budgets.  I especially don’t want to go back to a full week of work.  It has been so nice to take some days off the last few weeks.  So in one last desperate act of defiance and denial, I felt the need to bake again.  U an rambling.

I had some lemons that needed using up, so I thought it was a good excuse to try out Ina’s recipe (don’t you love how we are on first name basis) It was really quite good and was a nice change from my usual Chocolate obsession.  It was fairly easy and fast to fix and was so pretty.  I loved the simplicity of the tart, but it would also be great with meringue or cream.  I think it would be very pretty with meringue piped in stars on top and torched. Next time!!!!

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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Recipes


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