Showing posts from December, 2011

Christmas dinner 2011

Christmas dinner was an awesome potluck experience.  We had our good friend's, the Millers, over to celebrate.  I have tried a few other times to cook for them with disastrous results.  Needless to say, that fact was heavy on my mind as I planned the meal. We wanted to do a ham this year which is a change from the usual turkey  or rib roast that we tend to do. Suzy also provided some of the side dishes. My task was to cook the ham and the mac and cheese. 

I found a recipe online and changed it a bit.  I packed the ham with brown sugar, stuck in some whole cloves and let it cook and melt a bit, then after 30 minutes I poured a coke over it to create a basting sauce in the bottom of the pan.  I also created a second baste of pineapple juice and sweet concord grape wine.

The mac and cheese began as a pioneer woman recipe with some modifications.  Cheddar, fontina, and jack cheese were combined with bacon with bread crumbs on top created a decadent, creamy and delicious rustic mac & chee…

Herb harvest for drying

I harvested some herbs for drying this season.   Pictured is (l to r) Rosemary, Mint, Lavender, Thyme and Oregano.
Everything except the lavender were washed, dried and placed in a paper bag, tightly rolled to complete the drying process.  Lavender was dried on a cookie sheet.  I know that some may say this is not the way to do it and you risk mold.   I say, HA!  I've done this several times, and have yet to have moldy herbs.  I washed them and then tightly rolled them in a towel to squeeze the water out of them, so I hope I will be safe again this time.  

I usually keep a small lunch sack on my kitchen counter and whenever I use fresh herbs, I put the leftovers and stems (that always seem to have a few leaves left on them) into this bag.  After several months all of these have dried and I clean and grind them through a colander to produce what I refer to as Herbs De Reid.

As I had all this homegrown awesomeness in front of me...I couldn't JUST dry them for future use. I made a thym…

Salmon Steaks (mock filets), polenta squares, wilted spinach and yellow tomatoes

Dutchie has finished her work for her Master in Business, so I wanted to cook something special tonight.

I've seen this mock filet technique on the food network (I forget who did it, maybe Alton Brown). I've been waiting to do this, but haven't found any good looking salmon steaks. Until now.  They opened up a Kroger Marketplace (in Little Elm) near our house. That place is massive and a bit overwhelming, but they have a great selection of everything.

So armed with the knowledge that I was going to do these salmon filets, I headed up there to see what else jumped out out me for the meal.
I saw yellow tomatoes so I knew that would be added to the plate simply, then I saw some bunch spinach and some bulb onions.  I knew the wilted spinach with bulb onions and garlic would go perfectly with the salmon, so that was the main veg. Another thing I've been anxious to try is grilled polenta squares.  It took a LONG time to find the polenta, and the 3 people I asked didn't even kno…