Raspberry-Colored Glasses@collaredgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

It’s gift-giving and gift-getting time.  Lots to consider here. What was your attitude after receiving a gift lately?  How do you feel generally about the gifts others give to you?  Does it matter how you see it?

Were you only politely thankful, really happy, or exhilarated?  How was it presented – wrapped.  .  . in a bag, or just au naturel?  Do you feel any tinge of gratitude at all?  Do you forget to utter the words “Thank you”?

There are stages involved in gift-getting:  excitement, (maybe dread – hopefully not :-}) anticipation, and then – the unveiling.  Did the gift match up to the buildup? Was it everything you wanted?

I like wildly ripping the tissue paper out of gift bags, then rifling down to the prize.  But even more I like exercising extreme patience while slowly and very carefully unwrapping gift boxes.

Oh well, another day, so another present to unwrap.

 

 Huh?

 

Yes, we get to do THAT.  Every.  Single.  Morning.

 

Really.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, as in a jolly gift getter. 

You know, like how little children will do for gifts wrapped and left under a Christmas tree – one can create an air of expectation by looking over the next days’s activities or events the night before.  Go ahead, shake the box.

 

Better yet, load the box.  It goes like this:  “Let’s see, what’s on the schedule? What can I place there or move around to make it more (blank)”? – You fill in the blank.  

By creating an anticipation of something good to come, the day starts with an air of excitement or whatever else you place in the blank.

 

Everyday we could live according to our own expectations instead of by default – by design, instead of sleep walking.

 

“Be inspired” – why not?  “Joy-filled” – no problem.  How about feeling “Thankful” – gratitude is positively stimulating, any day of the year, not just in the holiday season.

It is impossible to be both Grinch and grateful at the same time.

No matter the goings on in our particular orbits, anticipating specifically set thoughts/ideas/plans, etc., can be like receiving a special gift.  

 

We could shake up the cobwebs that are holding us back from clearer, more juicy thoughts.  After all, we already are lottery winners many times over.  The day we were born we won, and every single day thereafter, we collect a present.

Lottery winners?

Of course. We hit the jackpot just being here, sharing this space of time and place right now, right here, in the togetherness of the present.

Unwrapping a new day is like receiving the gift of money, it’s always the right color and the right size, to do with it as we please.   .   .   Ka-Ching!

 

 ***

A few weeks ago I decided to do something about a situation that was presenting a touch of annoyance, almost daily.  Well, I had run out of raspberry vinegar sometime over the summer, and I’d been searching it out, to no avail ever since.  

I had gotten quite comfy with tossing it over my salad greens.  It takes a long time to empty a 17-oz. bottle of vinegar. Seemingly never-ending, I had taken its value for granted. Finally, making my own seemed a good option.

It was so, so easy to make, too.

You only need 2 ingredients, white wine vinegar, and raspberries. Mix them together (in a certain ration) in mason jars and let sit 2 weeks, then strain out the fruit, and go.  

The important thing is to make sure you plan this operation out before you get started. 

It helps to think about the bottles you will make it in .  .  .

Bottles mage

 

. . . and the ones you will store the finished product in . . .

Bottles for vinegar@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

Remember to also give a thought to the tops for the bottles – corks, screw caps, swing tops, or any other kind.  Some say corks allow for evaporation, but I think the loss would be negligible, to no real consequence, and I did extensive research on this fact – believe me, corks are a-okay.

Also, be sure to inspect your bottles well for cracks or fault lines before purchasing them, and then inspect them again before filling them.  Clean your bottles in the dishwasher or in very warm, soapy water, and allow to dry before filling.

That’s it.

Pretty bottles of flavored vinegar make a nice gift, too.  I know it’s practically winter, but raspberries were on sale when I made my vinegar a few weeks ago, and surprisingly they are still are on sale.  I bought a 6-oz. container today for $2.39 – organic, too (at Aldi’s).  

The gift is really in your choice and presentation of the bottle.

Okay, how about some recipes – for raspberry vinegar, and for something you can make with it?

 *  *  *

Required equipment:  Bottles with tight lids like mason jars, for making the vinegar. For decorative storage, you’ll need other bottles with tight lids like corks or swing tops. You will also need a large (spouted, preferably) bowl, strainer, cheesecloth, and a funnel.

Raspberry Vinegar
Makes 5 cups – decide to use either two 1-quart bottles, or one 2-quart bottle for this amount.  Adjust if changing amount made.

6 cups (48-oz.) white wine vinegar
3 or 4 cups fresh raspberries

1. Rinse and drain the fruit; inspect and discard any moldy or other undesired pieces; dry fruit gently in paper towels, and place into your jar or jars.

2. Pour the vinegar over the fruit, dividing evenly between bottles, if using two. Cover tightly with lid or lids. Store in a cool dry place, leaving undisturbed for 2 weeks.

image

3. After 2 weeks, strain the contents of the jar: Pour into a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a large bowl,

image

 

 

image

and then pour the vinegar, using a funnel, into your decorative storage bottles, if desired, capping tightly.

Raspberry Vinegar@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

Store tightly capped in a dark place, lasts indefinitely.

 

 *   *   *

 

What if like me, you can’t stand to wait two weeks?  Well I also made another batch, using the following recipe, Instant Raspberry Vinegar.  This recipe uses a favorite drink ingredient, raspberry liqueur.

 

image

 

Instant Raspberry Vinegar
Makes 1 quart – use one 1-qt. bottle for combining, and other decorative bottles with tight lids for storing.

3 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup raspberry liqueur (like Chambord)

Combine vinegar and liqueur in a 1-quart bottle. From here you can pour the vinegar into decorative bottles, and cap tightly. Store in a cool dark place. You can add fresh berries before serving, if desired.

Store tightly capped, in a dark place; lasts indefinitely

*  *  *

Salad with Warm Raspberry Vinaigrette¥collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com Salad with Warm Raspberry Vinaigrette 

 

Warm Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes about 1/4 cup, enough for 2 luncheon-sized portions

2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp. minced garlic (from one small clove)
2 T raspberry vinegar
2 tsp. raspberry fruit spread, or preserves
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm olive oil slightly, in small pan. Add the minced garlic; cook, stirring until fragrant and softened. Do not allow to brown. Now stir in raspberry vinegar, and the fruit spread, and whisk until emulsified and body develops.  Leave aside until the salad is assembled.

 

Salad with Warm Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes 2 servings

1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette
1-cup cooked chicken cubes
8 oz. lettuce leaves, your favorite type
Add-ins of choice – I used canned sliced beets, drained (with a splash of raspberry vinegar drizzled over), cubed cheese, leftover cubed baked butternut squash
fresh raspberries, to garnish

Place lettuce leaves on 2 serving dishes. Arrange garnishes around the lettuce.  Re-warm the vinaigrette in a small pot. Add the chicken to the pot and let steam covered, about a minute.

Have handy, pot holders and a slotted spoon.  When the chicken is warm, remove the pot from the stove.  Now using a slotted spoon to catch and hold the chicken in the pot, pour the dressing evenly over the leaves on each plate, and then spoon the chicken evenly over the top of each plate. Add fresh raspberries.  Serve warm.

 

imageHave you ever tried this brand of cheese, Bellavitano?  It tastes similar to a good Parmesan.  It comes in lots of different, subtly enhanced flavors, like Merlot and espresso.

 

image

*  *  *

Now, how about a little dessert?

 Quadruple Raspberry Bite@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Quadruple Raspberry Bite

This makes one serving; it’s a quickie that really satisfies, like eating a shortcake, but is much easier on work, carbs, and calories. Multiply as desired to make more “bites”.

1 slice of thick-cut bread – wheat or gluten-free
butter, softened
raspberry spread or preserves
2 T Greek yogurt
1/2 T sour cream
about 1 tsp. raspberry vinegar
Few drops raspberry liqueur
about 6 fresh raspberries, more for garnish

Using a 1-1/2″ diameter glass, cut 3 rounds from one slice of bread. Butter one round; set aside. Spread the other 2 rounds with raspberry spread.

Place a small skillet over medium heat, and when warm, add the buttered round, butter side down, and cook until lightly browned. Set aside.

Mix yogurt with sour cream in a small bowl. Add raspberry spread and a splash of the vinegar. Stir and taste. Add a few drops of raspberry liqueur for sweetness, to taste.

To assemble the first layer:
       – place one bread round, fruit spread side up, on a serving plate;
– add a few raspberries on top.
       – spoon about half of the yogurt mixture over the raspberries.

For the second layer: 
–  place remaining bread round with fruit spread on it, on top of the raspberries, and this time add yogurt mixture next, and end with a few raspberries.
– place the third, browned and buttered round, against the side of the stack and enjoy, garnished with additional fresh raspberries.

image

It’s tasty enjoyed with a glass of Chambord-spiked white wine.

Advertisements

image

In all things, give thanks.

Not for all things – as this biblical idea is widely thought of or is quoted.

It would certainly feel unreal and impossible even to give thanks for the blunders, and bad luck of life that happens, which is the making of all things.  

But forever we can find the meaning and truth behind events, in all of life’s things, and connect them to the beauty and grace of life itself.  Which is a proving ground, a blessed growing space.

Tradition, comfort, and surprise is a good way to sum it all up.  Look for the answers and you’ll certainly find them.  

 

image

 

Now that the Thanksgiving cooking marathon is over, I have a few thoughts.

Yesterday, with serving time drawing nearer, thoughts surfaced during the frantic pace, like how might I have made better use of the available time.  I volleyed these thoughts to hubby.  

I could honestly see no way around it, short of having had more hands on deck.  He had a perfectly logical solution (for him), which was, “Cook fewer items”.

Really?  It’s as simple as that?  

Heck, why not serve a puny baked chicken with a side of potatoes, or better yet, just re-warm frozen pre-fab industrial food, or how about taking a stroll around an all-you-can-eat buffet establishment?  Those are solutions, too, right?

 

Well Christmas dinner – just a month away – is almost a chance for a “do over”.  

In that regard, I would consider:  

1) setting the table a whole week in advance, (cover it all up beneath a bed sheet?) and,

2) doing even more prep work, sooner – especially setting the menu in stone, gathering all recipes, if needed, along with making out a work breakdown schedule and,

3) purchasing all non-perishables, like next week and,

4) really, I must invest in a set of those warming/serving crock pots or pans.  I don’t like how they might look on the table; but getting so much food on the table at once, while all is warm is a chore I could do without

5) count entrees correctly for the sake of prep time, for example – dressing really counts as 4 items because of the cornbread, stock, and gravy preparations that go along with it.

 

This year’s final menu: 

 

Thanksgiving 2014

 Roast Turkey and Traditional Dressing

with Giblet Gravy

Orange and Basil Marinated Salmon

 Yes, Baked Beans – by Special Request

Corn Pudding

Mustard-Thyme Green Bean Sauté

Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Bake

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Pineapple Upside Cake

Apple Cake

Banana-Caramel Cheesecake 

 

With just three children and three adults at the table this year, the children were the stars of the show, a sweet departure from our usual Thanksgiving routine with adults and children mostly at separate tables.

So cute, how they tolerated us for about two hours – recounting recent and past school adventures, sharing interests, and hobbies and even connecting their expert social media knowledge to parts of the conversation.  

Eventually the children clumsily staged a get-away from the table to the more comfy basement which left us all laughing.

 

Here is a peek at the serving table:

 

Thanksgiving dinner@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

image

 

image

 

 

Thanksgiving Desserts@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Just Desserts

“Someone” mistakenly bought pineapple chunks, instead of rings, and what an unhappy surprise for hubby to see – a disturbing change to the appearance of our traditional cake, which tasted just the same though  –  All’s well that ends well.

 

 

 

 

 

You’re invited to my Thanksgiving Dinner preparation madness.

 

Thanksgiving dinner menu @collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

I haven’t prepared Thanksgiving dinner in two years, after about a 15-year straight run.  I’m feeling a little like a novice.

 

So, here you may witness, if you like, the making of my dinner, from thought to finish.  I will post updates all day.

 

Right now, I have just placed 5 pounds of sweet potatoes into the oven for roasting (I soaked them overnight for easier cleaning).

image

Will check back with some progress, in a bit. See you back here soon.

 

***                            ***                       ***

 

Okay, it’s a few hours later, and though I have made progress, it doesn’t feel like I’m as far ahead as I would like to be, but isn’t that just how it goes.

So, 4 phone conversations later, (it’s one of my brother’s birthday today, and we just had to catch up a bit with each other) here’s what I’ve done so far:
The sweet potatoes are done,

image

and have been mashed, and mixed with 4 eggs, 1/4 cup  maple syrup, 2 T vanilla 1T fresh lemon juice, and 2 t. salt, then covered in a mixture of 1 c brown sugar, 1/2 stick cold  butter chunks and1/2 cup pecans.  

Here it is done:

 

Sweet Potato Bake@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

It will re-warm just right tomorrow, covered, in a slow oven.  

 

For the dressing, I’ve chopped up the celery and onions, and they are sitting in the refrigerator now (about 5 cups),

image

 

and I’ve mixed up the corn bread, (3 cup corn meal, 1 cup flour, 1T baking powder, 1/4 c melted butter, 4 eggs and 1 cup buttermilk, and 1cup reg. milk mixed to moderately thick batter),

Which looks like this:

image

 

And like this when done:

Golden cornbread for dressing@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

Notice there is no salt or sugar in this, because remember, it is for the dressing.  It tastes good, though it is not for eating out-of-hand.

 

I have yet to boil turkey meat for the broth that will go into the dressing.  That’s  up next on the schedule.  Along with cooking the green beans, and separately making up the mustard-butter mixture the beans will be tossed in tomorrow.

Oh, I’ve also decided on the tablecloth, and napkins (and washed them) and other table decorations, and bought the flowers, and cleaned the dining room well – curtains washed and floor mopped.  I will set the table tonight before bed.

That’s it for now.   See you a little later.

 

* * *

 

Hello again.  Here’s the latest —

 

I have prepared the turkey stock:

image

 

The green beans are done.  There are about three pounds, cooked in salted boiling water, for about 5 minutes.  They’ll be sautéed tomorrow in a Dijon-mustard and fresh thyme seasoning blend. 

When cooking green beans in advance, I like to wrap them in paper towels, then place in paper bags and refrigerate:

 

image

 

The cheesecake is done, and cooling a bit before I can refrigerate it.  Can you say caramel topping?

image

 

(Check December 2013 for Apple-Carmel Cheesecake recipe; today, I subbed in 5 bananas – 3 sliced, and two mashed – for the apples, and folded them into the cheesecake batter.)

 

Next up is seasoning of the most unfortunate un-pardoned Mr. Tom Turkey:

image

 

Will there be a pineapple upside cake done tonight, not to mention an apple cake, too? Stay tuned.

—————      —————       ————

Is there anyone else still in the kitchen?  Thought not.  But anyway,

 

the apple cake is done:

Apple Cake@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

And Mr. Tom is well seasoned:

image

He has 1-1/2 T poultry seasoning, 1/2 T dried sage, and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme mixed, plus salt & pepper.  The amount given above goes first inside him, and again on top, and a bit over the bottom.

He also has an orange, cut celery pieces, and an onion inside.  Search here for Gobble-Gobble Boom – November 2012 – for extensive Turkey Talk.

 

Well, it has been a long day and night.  See you in the light time of Thanksgiving with a wrap-up.

I’m thankful among other good thoughts to now go to bed!

 

 

Collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Leftover Halloween Treats

 

Halloween has really grown.  Not too long ago it meant maybe a little something going on at school, and then the big night for just the children.


Individually, my past Halloween days were nothing exceptional.

But collectively, I remember mostly, the things I least liked receiving in my bag – apples (which Mom promptly threw out anyway), or coins, or pencils. Also on the low side of my list is when I had to go to parties – which I thought were only given by people afraid of the dark.

What I loved most was us – the kids – ruling the neighborhood, running about free as birds in our own little flocks; bringing home mountains of candy, then categorizing it by favorites, while trading away less desirables, and then being allowed to eat as much of it as we wanted that night – after “the inspection”, of course.

Then lastly, I remember taking the remaining candy to school as part of our lunches, and sneak-eating a piece or two in classes, until it was all gone.

 

My liveliest memory, however was Halloween dinner.  Being so excited to go out, my siblings and I had to be coaxed into eating, being told if we didn’t eat, then we couldn’t go trick-or-treating.

Mom sure was smart, she learned early on to serve one of our favorite meals, which became a family tradition – pot pie for every Halloween dinner.

She bought frozen pies, by Banquet, which we loved because we could each have our very own favorite, chicken or beef.

I remember little girl me removing the top crust all in one piece, with such patience and reverence, then setting it on a saucer, to eat last, separately.  It was almost like having dessert, and I’d do the same thing every Halloween.

 

Zip forward many years later, and keeping up the tradition, I serve pot pie every Halloween in my home now.  Luckily, it’s one of my son’s favorite meals, too.  It’s the easiest, and most appreciated of all meals, next to pizza.

 

I sometimes make home-made pot pie, but never on Halloween.  Halloween is all about fun, ease, and play.

 

 

But this last Halloween, inspiration crept up, and I changed things a bit.

 

It started at the grocery store while I stood, thoroughly charmed, looking at a display of mini pie pumpkins – aren’t they cute?

Mini Pumpkins@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

                                Pumpkin Mini’s –  Less than 4″ tall

 

I just knew the pumpkins, after being roasted, would stand-in nicely for crust, a la chicken pot pie.

(Did one of them actually wink at me?)

 

Well, my hunch paid off:

Tricked Out Roasted Pumpkins@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Roasted Pumpkins All Tricked Out 

 

When roasted, the pumpkin flesh is all meltingly tender.  It’s like a delicious, velvety “crust” when eaten together with the stew-like filling, as you spoon it away from the shell’s interior.  Rich, flavorful, and satisfying, this diversion in tradition is very hard to resist.  

Are you with me?

 

Roasted Pumpkin "Pot Pie"@collardgreensPrincess.wordpress.com

Roasted Pumpkin “Pot Pie”

 

(Wow, I’ve come a long way, huh – from pumpkin sneering to pumpkin cheering, yay!)

 

– Notes To Make Roasted Pumpkin “Pot Pies” –

Use 4 pie pumpkins, about 16″ in diameter; pumpkins smaller than this may have a less “meaty” flesh, and are less flavorful and tender.

Cut the tops off of the pumpkins, at least 1-1/2″ below the stem, then scrape away the stringy parts.  Core out the stringy matter, along with the seeds from inside each pumpkin as well.

Season the insides of the pumpkins, and the tops with salt and pepper and any spices used in the filling.  Brush the exterior skin, and the tops with melted butter or olive oil.

Roast the pumpkins with the tops on, about 45 minutes, at 350 degrees.  Remove from the oven, and pour out the accumulated liquid before adding the pot pie filling.

Use your favorite chicken, beef, or veggie pot pie filling recipe which makes about 4 cups.  To plan ahead, double your recipe, then you’ll be able to use the remaining filling for a traditional pot pie, too.  (If you’d like my chicken pot pie filling recipe, please leave a note in comments.  This will force me to test out and record my current “thrown-together”, yet tasty, recipe.)

 

image slice of chicken pot pie

 

After adding the filling, continue roasting the partially roasted pumpkins an additional 45 minutes, until done.

If you make the stuffed pumpkins earlier in the day, warm them quickly in a fairly hot oven (425 degrees or more for about 10 minutes).  They will brown a bit more, but look even more gorgeous.

 

Roasted Mini Pumpkin, plated@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

****

 

image

Good to eat to the last drop

 

Autumn Leaves @collardgreensprincess.wordpress.comAutumn Leaves

 

Okay, late as ever, but I have finally accepted autumn.  How late am I?

You may recall its start date of September 23.

Previously to about the middle of last week, I walked around here sneering at the pumpkins, hating the sight of all things orange, the corn stalks and hay stack cubes on porches; even baby gourds, sweetly painted or not, could not escape my inner wrath.

Well, it isn’t autumn’s fault – all gorgeously gussied up, and offering at least a change of pace – no, it is summer’s departure that is hard for me to swallow. This happens every single year.

I’m not the only one, for sure.

During a neighborhood walk recently, a retired gentleman burst out of his garage to greet me, exclaiming about the beautiful day we were having.  Sure, it was uncharacteristically 70-degrees, bright and sunny, feeling more like ahhhhh summer, than blahhhhh, autumn.

We shared complaints about last year’s extremely long and bitter cold, and bonded over winter-hate in general.

 

It’s just the weather, why don’t we shut up and just move?

Well, the gentleman explained how he was from Mexico, having lived here for 47 years, but now retired from his great job a few years ago, his house has just been sold and everything in it, and he and his wife are headed for sunny California any day now.

No wonder his energy level was all wild and out.

 

How nice for them. (How nice for all the warm weather dwellers.)

They’re having a perfectly beautiful ending.

 

So I decided right then and there that the time had come for me to get on board with enjoying my regional seasonal reality.

There’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, after all, to get all worked up over as consolation prizes for poor weather.


Then today as I look out of my window onto a gray and dreary day, I try really hard to say, “Yippee”!

I’ve got to stop the irrational brooding, and make like the branches playing in the wind, and find a way to “shake it off” but completely; just like the leaves so simply are doing now, showing us all the perfect way,

                     

                Falling – yet beautifully so.

 

Perhaps every one of those gorgeous fallen beauties sends a message about the miracle of life’s gifts, purpose and dreams.  Perhaps all things are in their proper order and time.  What a blessing following this interpretation is.

 

Leaves

 

Endings can be beautiful.  They are not the end of the world, just a part of it.

Choosing instead to embrace all of life’s stuff in full miraculous circular terms, has the benefit of no part ever having to stand away, roped off in dread or deficit.


Certainly this perspective helps.  All endings begin with falling, but with a willing perspective, it can be a falling beautifully back into life’s fullness.

 

Now come along with me, time for a little stroll among the – ahhhhh – autumn leaves . . .

 

Orange tree@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

Yellow Tree@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

image

 

 

Brown Tree@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Red Bush@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Twin Trees@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Scarlet Bush@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Bushes and Trees@collardgreensprincess.com

 

 

Golden Leaves@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Flower Bush@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Golden Tree Stretch@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Autumn Scene@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timer image What Time Is It?

 

 

20:23

20:14

 

Those were the “wine times” – CST zone on Scandal, during the show’s last two airings.

 

Wine times?  You know, when the wine is first poured.

 

Come now, am I the only one who notices just when the wine makes its appearance?

 

Humm . . . it’s flowing sooner and sooner these days.  I’m always poised with my Merlot, red Zin, Shiraz, etc., awaiting the cue to lift my glass, too.

 

It’s just one of my little watching rituals.

 

Well it is no secret that wine certainly is “in” right now. Excessively so I might add.  Especially with the ladies.

 

Notice how grocery store wine sections have grown at least 5-fold in aisle space (or so it seems) in the last few years.

Then there are mail order wine clubs; restaurant wine memberships, home wine parties; wine stores referred to now as wineries; there are more available wine flights in restaurants lately; and more wine accessories for sell at more places than ever.

 

Have you seen the huge selection of these?

 

There are: (My favorite) – fancy wine glasses, studded with crystals and rhinestones, colored or clear; intricately designed bottle tags; decorated stoppers made of cork and otherwise; all types of decanters; cute shoe bottle holders; wine journals, wine-themed greeting cards; caddies, wine purses (I want one of these), T-shirts, aprons, chillers, aerators, racks.

 

Then there are wine trips, tastings, tasting rooms, and competitions.

 

Don’t forget the wine cook-books, games, and trivia cards.

 

Now if I were a gambling woman, as well as (an occasional) wine drinking one, I might start up a friendly little wager.  At my next home viewing party, let’s see who can guess, closest to the actual time, when the wine on Scandal is first served.

 

Special wine accessories to go to the winner, of course.  What would you choose?

 

It’s all in fun.  Scandalous fun.

 

So if you indulge, please do so responsibly.  Must be 21 and over.  Do not drink and drive.  Have a problem?  Then seek help continuously.

 

Or at least pair that wine up with some substantial food offering, to help soak it up, right?

 

 

***                        ***                       *** 

At my home, lamb is always welcomed.  Here’s our favorite way to have it during the busy week days:

 

 

Plated lamb chops @collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

French-Style Lamb Chops

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard

2 T olive oil

2 T chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional for some, required for me)

6 to 8 loin lamb chops, 1-1/2″ thick

 

1.  Preheat broiler and prepare oven rack:  Place rack about 4″ below heat source.  Line broiling pan with foil, if desired, set aside.

2.  Combine mustard, oil, rosemary, and pepper in a small bowl.  Add the minced garlic, if desired, stirring in well.  

Mustard mixture for lamb image

Clean and dry the lamb chops.  Brush mustard mixture on both sides of chops.  Place on broiling pan, and add a bit of water to the pan to prevent smoking.

Lamb chops image

 

mustard mixture on lamb image

3.  Broil meat for 15 – 20 minutes, turning once for medium doneness.  Let meat rest a minute before serving.  Serves 3 – 4.

Lamb broiling image

 

 

 

Broiledlambchops@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

 

 

Rosy lamb cop@collaredgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Keeping it rosy on the inside

 

image

Red, red wine

 

Thursday.    

    

 

Red wine.    

     

 

8:00 p.m.  (Almost).

 

 

Scandal on the Telly.  (Standing firm date)

 

 

 

 

Well, we need something to go along with the wine, right?

 

 

Here’s a suggestion:

Spiced Seared Beef over Salad Greens@collardgreensprincess.wordpress.com

Seared Spiced Beef* over Salad Greens

*Purchase beef according to your budget, a tenderloin roast is scandalously expensive; but a flank steak or a sirloin tip, or London broil are all good less expensive choices.  The key is to ask for a tender-cooking piece for pan broiling.

 

Ingredients

1-1-1/2 lb piece of beef

1 teaspoon each of the following spices:  garlic powder, onion powder, cumin seeds, crushed; coriander seeds, crushed

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. each Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnishes:  torn cilantro leaves, slivered mint leaves, green onion slices, optional

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T olive oil

Salad Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper  

Salad

1-5-to-7-oz. bag each:  mixed greens, and arugula  

1.  For the beef:  Be sure to remove beef from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.  In a small bowl, stir together the spices listed above, then add the chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.  

Brush the beef all over with the mustard.  Then sprinkle the spice mixture all over the beef, coating it evenly and pressing it lightly so that spice mix sticks nicely to the surface.  

2.  Preheat a skillet over high heat, and add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the beef and sear, about 5 minutes on each side.  Now let meat cook another 5 minutes on each side, adjusting the heat so the spices do not burn.  Now add a heavy lid or plate on top of the meat, and push hard on the meat to finish cooking at its center.  Remove to a warmed dish, and let rest 3-4 minutes before carving, and for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

3.  While meat is resting, in a small jar, mix 1/4 cup of olive oil with 2 T of lemon juice and shake well until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and shake again.  Make any taste adjustments adding more lemon juice if you prefer.   Pour salad greens, mixing in as much arugula as you want, in a bowl, and pour over the dressing, and toss to combine everything well.  Place a serving of salad on individual plates.

Slice beef as thinly as possible and place, dividing the slices evenly among the individual salad plates, fanning them around.  Finish each plate with a drizzle of reduction of balsamic vinegar.  Serve with garnishes, if desired.  Serves 2-4.