In Law Valentines Weekend

A week spent fighting with a cold has left me with some catch-up to do here.

Kelley’s parents came to visit on Valentine’s weekend. We headed to lunch at the Iron Horse hotel, where we all had Bloody Marys — which came with pickle, celery, brussels sprout, olive, pepper and of course, slim jim. No beer chaser though, since the Iron Horse doesn’t have draft beer.

Following lunch, we headed to the Harley museum, which was surprisingly fascinating.

Then, it was back to our place for dinner. It was a slow cooker meal from good ol’ Christopher Kimball: Slow-Cooker Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream

On the side, we had Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Figs from the New York Times.

Of course, I sorta failed in not having some fresh bread to go with this meal.

Non-Bread Weekend Baking

Greetings. It’s Kelley. I feel as though I had some ample time in front of recipes this weekend, and wanted to share some of my non-bread baking with you (I’ll leave the yeasty stuff up to Paul). First, I will say that I’m becoming smitten with America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Great recipes that are tested and tested and tested! Makes me feel like they are fail-proof. These next two recipes are taken from there.

Bake-Sale [German Chocolate] Brownies, p. 518-519

Saturday’s baking was for a simple brownie recipe to bring along to a dinner party at some friends house that night (tasty fajitas were the main course). Amazingly, we had all the ingredients for the brownies in our cupboard, which meant no special trips to the grocery store were necessary. To add to the amazement, we also had butterscotch chips and coconut flakes on hand, so those plain brownies quickly turned into German chocolate brownies (melted the butterscotch on top of the baked brownies and added toasted coconut flakes). The bars were a hit, and only two came home with me. Don’t they look pretty in my Polish pottery dish? Yes, they do!

Almond Biscotti, p. 516-517
As you can see, the biscotti recipe was just the flip of a page away from the brownie recipe – coincidence?

On Sunday after a hearty breakfast of turkey bacon, eggs and homemade bread with Keweenaw Kitchen thimbleberry jam, I flipped open the biscotti recipe. Again, all ingredients were readily available in the cupboard. My cupboard’s stock boy is amazing!

The first step was to toast the almonds. I had a mixture of sliced and whole, so I put them in a small skillet together and they toasted nicely in about 8 minutes. The recipe called for finely chopped almonds, and I found that our herb bowl and mezzaluna worked nicely in keeping the nuts contained without getting all over the counter or floor. Once the dough was mixed, the directions said to split the it in half and form two 13″x2″ logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment. The dough was sticky, and regardless of how floured my hands were it was important to act quickly while forming said logs. (By the way, as a beliver in the Silpat, our parchment paper once again stayed in the drawer for this project.  If we end up getting a dog this Spring, the name Mr. Silpat has a nice ring to it.) The first round in the oven was about 35 minutes, which then came out to rest for 10. The logs were then cut into 1/2″ slices and put back in for another 15 minutes. The outcome was just what was expected – a little crunch to enjoy with tea or coffee. I forgot to mention that I added some orange peel to the dough, which gave it a very subtle flavor. I did indulge in some this morning with my coffee. Isn’t that a Polish pottery mug? Why, yes, it is!

I’m off to find a recipe for dinner. Pork chops are thawing, so probably will hunt down a sauce or marinade idea. Broccoli is in the crisper. Now, if I could just find a way to use that Silpat one more time…