Tag Archives: rosemary

Roasted Chicken and Tomatoes with Cheese Grits

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Mark Twain is believed to have said that the coldest winter he “ever saw” was the summer he spent in San Francisco.   Having been to San Francisco many, many times in my life, and a city I’d happily relocate to if given the opportunity, I’d have to agree with whomever said that.  But I’d also mention that San Diego in the Spring can be equally as chilly.

A quick trip down the hill to hit the Farmer’s Market in Pacific Beach last Saturday featured glimpses of young college men traveling in small packs and garbed in brightly colored checked Bermudas, their luggage bumping along the sidewalks behind them.  Clearly, Spring Break was getting its start.  The weather was pleasant enough, but not as spectacular as it would become a few days later.

A week has gone by and with it the sunshine.  The sky is cast in solid grey and the forecast suggests that it will continue throughout this weekend.  I always find myself feeling sorry for the Spring Break vacationers when they arrive expecting endless days of warmth and sun.  I know I’d be disappointed.

It’s perfect weather for something roasted and savory that doesn’t take lots of effort — like this recipe for Roasted Chicken and Tomatoes with Cheese Grits.  It has comfort written all over it.  And if you can find a chicken on sale, then it’s inexpensive, too.  The flavors are bright and satisfying, even if the weather isn’t.

Must be the tomatoes.  But then, there are the grits to consider.

With cheese.  Oh. My.

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Mustard Rosemary Rubbed Prime Rib with Bordelaise Sauce

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Mustard Rosemary Rubbed Prime Rib with Bordelaise Sauce

I’ve been going through the most recent of the more than 10,000 photos in my iPhoto library trying to rid my Mac of its burden.  Yes, I have an external hard drive and do believe there are actually media files backed up there, but I haven’t checked lately.  Instead, I’ve been going through old recipe shots and either deleting those less memorable, or flagging others as potentially postable sometime before the turn of the next century.

Going through them reminds me somewhat of going out for a brisk three or four mile walk and then coming home to indulge myself with some neglected baked morsel neither my husband or son was willing to eat, so therefore, the duty is relegated to me.  Minus a few hundred calories on the walk — plus about a thousand if I’m lucky stuffing that morsel in my mouth.  I shoot and upload photos faster than I can delete them.

So what is this really about you ask?

It’s about that demi-glace I made. You remember, right?  I froze all those cute little containers of it for future use.  Perhaps you have nothing more interesting in your life than to wonder, “What in hell will that woman do with all that demi-glace?”  Well, maybe not, but I am able to say that I have sampled two recipes with the demi-glace so far and have experimented with a third.

The results are interesting, and I’m still not sure if it’s because of the high brown I inadvertently achieved on the vegetables in the initial phases of the demi-glace production, or whether it’s the recipes I’ve chosen.  Regardless, I owe you a report of my progress thus far.

I began with Bordelaise Sauce to accompany a beef rib roast, and if I remember correctly, it was to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my mother who happens to have found the love of her life at age 71.  Evidently, it is never too late.

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Pumpkin Rosemary Dinner Rolls

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With all the different types of bread recipes I've tried in the last year, I can say that I not only no longer cringe at the thought of tackling dough, but can decide five minutes before I lift Bertha from her spot in my kitchen that fresh bread it will be — and tonight if I want — even if it's the traditional version.  Big Bertha, my Kitchen Aid, definitely helps since I don't have to knead the dough for 10 minutes and couldn't even if I wanted to.  One or both of my arms have been royally screwed up for the last 25 years and when I do too much grasping or clenching, lifting or pruning, I live to regret it.  I used to be able to use Chopin as an excuse, but can't remember the last time I touched my piano keys for more than dusting.  *Sorry Mom.  How much did those lessons cost when you couldn't afford much else?*

My right arm has been singing with agony for two weeks now, thanks to a couple of hours choosing travertine for our home renovations.  How much does one of those 20×20" pieces weigh?  Definitely more than my arms want to deal with.

I'm quite thankful for my Bertha who is about 10 years old.  She's not sleek, but she's more than dependable, and when my arms are healthy, she doesn't mind that I enjoy getting my hands into a lump of silky dough.

The latest dough I experimented with was anything but silky.  It was sticky and not very cooperative, but so worth it.  Let's just say I was a bit more timely in getting the little  not so carved pumpkin off my porch after Halloween to bake and puree this year to create Pumpkin Rosemary Dinner Rolls.

Talk about pillowey bread-like wonderfulness?

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Grape Foccacia: The Joy of Artisan Olive Oil Dough

I love bread.  It doesn't really matter which type of bread — I love it.  There are some kinds I enjoy more than others, but when it comes to the hypnotic smell of yeast and the contrast of a chewy crumb encased in a crunchy dark golden crust, I'm hopeless.

Nothing compares to home made bread.  Most of my adult life has been so busy, that as much as I've always made time to cook, baking was pushed aside.  The time to knead and proof a lovely loaf never fit into my plans.  To be honest, it's also because I have no patience for much of anything, and what I do have, I've learned over years of practice.  When you spend hours each day in front of energetic middle school kids who'd rather be anywhere than sitting in an English class, having a window to gaze out and the will to slowly count until your class is focused builds one's abilities in the patience department.  Trust me.  Invariably, one of my students would shush the rest in high dramatic fashion and hiss, "She's counting…"  Calm would materialize and the lesson would resume.  Ahhh….some very good memories there.

So what does all of this have to do with today?  Well, considering that the Internet was effectively saturated with Peter Rinehart's pizza dough yesterday due to the very fine Daring Bakers, I thought I'd share what I've been working with lately.

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Toasted Brioche with Lemon Cream and Raspberries


I love “last bite,” the very last page in Food & Wine each month, and often look there first, wondering what I’ll find.  Most of the time, it’s something I can’t wait to try myself, and have with great results.  Other times, I’m fascinated, and just keep the page open, wondering if I should give it a try, and whether the work will be worth it, waiting until I’m brave enough, or just forget about it.

Last month, a “Blackberries with Lemon Cream & Toasted Brioche” was featured, and not being one to jump in my car to purchase a brioche even though there’s a French Bakery right down the street that I’ve never set foot in, I decided that if I was going to find out what this particular “last bite” was really like, I’d have to make my own brioche.

Funny how I just happened to have some of my very own brioche…

If you plan this dessert carefully, most of it is ready to go ahead of time.

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