Adventures In Food and Wine

Join me in my kitchen while I embark on a journey of cooking and enjoying food and wine.

Monday, March 19, 2007

An Explanation

Things have been trying and difficult in my life right now. It is time that I officially announce that the blog will be on an extended hiatus. If you have me linked on your blogs please remove me.

There are many things that are more important that I need to focus on for the time being.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Work In Progress

Thank you all for the well wishes with the job situation. It will be good (fingers crossed).

This is what we did over the weekend.



Still a lot to be done. Notice the ugly brick backsplash is now gone. YEAH! But I do so love the new sink and countertop!

This is my last day off before returning to work for the long stretch. I have managed to make a dinner tonight, it is in the oven. Pot Roast, plain and simple. Actually plain and simple is what I have been striving for in my cooking lately. Not too adventurous. I think part of it is because I would rather be doing this.

Yes I have found a new love, knitting. I learned to knit when I was about 10 but I never really got into it. I liked crochet better because it was quicker and easier (so I thought at the time). Now I am ready to move on to the hipper and trendier knitting. Oh why have I forsaken you for so long my knitting side! What a remarkable stress reliever! And so challenging! This lovely work is the first of a pair of socks. Hand knitted socks! My feet cannot wait to be in these warm beauties!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where is Patti?

I know that I am not a regular poster to this blog. I also know that I have been very scarce lately.

I have a lot on my mind. The hospital I work for has privatized the dialysis services. As of Jan 31, I will no longer be working for the hospital. The new company has offered to hire all of us, but that still is a big change and can have some major issues as far as benefits and such. Please bear with me for a while. My heart is just not in to cooking and blogging at this time. I hope you understand.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

First Baking from New Cookbook!

As promised, a review of the first recipe I have tried from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.

Whenever we eat out at chain steakhouses, DH loves the dark loaves of bread they bring to the table. I have seen copycat recipes for these before and never tried them. One thing they all seem to have in common is cocoa. The cocoa gives the bread the deep dark color and just a hint of flavor. When I spied this recipe in my new cookbook, I knew I had to try it (because I trust King Arthur Flour recipes). This came together quickly in my KA stand mixer and the loaves baked up beautifully (even though a little misshapen). The addition of honey and a small amount of sugar gives these just a hint of sweetness.

I opted to form the dough into 4 mini loaves. The actual recipe recommends 10 dinner rolls. This could easily take any form that you wish to shape it in. The dough is a little soft, so the smaller rolls would probably hold their shape better. My loaves spread out a bit instead of holding the loaf shape as I would have liked. Maybe it is time to invest in some of those mini loaf pans!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Post Christmas Reviews

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday! Now it is almost 2007 as I post this and I will be in bed asleep before the New Year arrives since I have to be in to work at 6 AM! I miss being able to stay up on New Year's Eve, but it seems I always have to work New Years Day.

On Christmas Eve I decided to tackle Paula Deen's Foolproof Standing Rib Roast. I have made a rib roast this way in the past and it usually always turns out well. A couple times I have tried different recipes but we seem to like this one best. I think the secret is the leaving it in the oven with the oven off. The roast came out perfectly cooked to rare and was juicy and tasty! This method could not be easier!

We had Christmas Day dinner with my relatives and I was asked to bring a cheesecake. Now in the past, I have made some flavored cheesecakes that were very good indeed, but my family is not as adventurous as me and specifically requested a plain cheesecake. I turned to Ina Garten and modified one of her recipes for a cheesecake topped with fruit and the result was a rich, lemony and creamy cake that everyone loved. I am proud to say it was baked to perfection with NO CRACKS!!! I did use a water bath despite Ina's recommendation that it is not needed.

One of the gifts I received was a Borders gift card. I put that to use and ordered a copy of The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Cookbook! It arrived yesterday and I have some whole grain bread ready to go in the oven now! I will post on it later this week so stay tuned!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Christmas Goodies!

The Christmas goody trays went into work with all of us yesterday and this is how they turned out. I stuck with some old favorites and added a couple new ones this year. My co-workers were happy and devoured most everything by the time I left work. DH said his co-workers were "lusting" over them and were all on sugar highs. What fun!

Keeping this short as "times-a-wastin" and there is still so much to do before the big day. I hope everyone who stops in here to see what we are up to has a safe and joyous holiday!

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Once again I find that I have been working some extra shifts and have very little time to spend in the kitchen. I am taking a couple vacation days before Christmas, so maybe I can play then. I always have all these big plans for goodies to give and I never seem to find the time to do it all. Ah well, such is life I guess.

I did manage to make a batch of Almond Rocca yesterday. This is a recipe that has been on the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards for years and is the creation of Anna Ginsberg who won the Pillsbury Bake-Off this year. This is a rich and decadent toffee candy. I made it the first time last year and it was requested again for this year. An accurate candy thermometer is a must if you decide to give this a try. You cook the toffee to 240 F, stir in the almonds and continue cooking to 290 F. Add soda and spread in the pan. Top with the broken chocolate pieces and spread to coat the top once it has melted. Top with more almond slices and let cool completely. This time I used a mixture of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate as the coating and I think I liked that better. I cannot find Cadbury chocolate here so I always use Ghiradelli chocolate bars. You can find a posting about this on Anna's blog (Cookie Madness) here.
Anna's Almond Rocca

I tried a new pork roast recipe from Cooks Illustrated the other day that was exceptionally good. Herb-Crusted Pork Loin Roast is first brined for an hour to add some moisture to an otherwise lean (and thus somewhat dry) piece of meat. Stuff with an herb/garlic mixture and brown on top of the stove. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking with more herb/garlic mixture and bread crumbs on top. Rest, slice, and serve. The meat was very moist and flavorful and made a beautiful presentation as well.
Herb-Crusted Pork Loin Roast

Back to work tomorrow so I hope to get some more goodies made today. I bought some cute Christmas jars with lids at the Dollar Tree that I plan to fill with goodies as gifts. On deck to make yet is some Glass Candy, biscotti, and maybe another kind of cookie. Stay tuned.