Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake

Cracker Jack Ice Cream CakeTake Me Out To The Ball Game
I recently came across a photo of a Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake when I was looking through a magazine about great American cakes. And, it blew my mind. It combines a number of things that I love all in one: cake, ice cream, and baseball.

If you have been reading this blog with any regularity you will know of my love for baseball—and nothing says baseball more than Cracker Jacks…well, maybe hot dogs and beer. But, you get the idea.

Full disclosure, I am a fan of peanuts in my ice cream as well as caramel but I have never even considered putting cracker jacks on my ice cream. Mind blown.

This Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake is fairly easy to make, especially if you use a springform pan, But, it does require freeze time. So, be sure to plan ahead if you are making this for a special occasion…but who really needs a special occasion?

Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake
Yields 8-10 servings Read more…

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry ClafoutisCherries Jubilee
Over the Memorial Day weekend, we found ourselves driving through Brentwood on the way to a tournament in Stockton. And, it was all I could do not to blow off baseball and spend time in the cherry orchards. The signs were everywhere announcing that the orchards were open for picking. It was killing me not to stop.

The good news is that the boys played well. The bad news is we came home too late to do some pickin’. Some of our friends from other teams got to stop…and I am so jealous. And, they now are the proud owners of buckets of cherries that they can use to make tasty treats like this Cherry Clafoutis that is relatively simple to make.

Alas, our schedule is booked yet again for this coming weekend. Otherwise, I’d be heading out there, bucket in hand. So, if you find yourselves with nothing to do this weekend, consider enjoying some fantastic weather and a little taste of heaven from the trees.

And, you can get directions and other information here to help you find your perfect Brentwood cherry picking spot…

Cherry Clafoutis
Adapted from Julia Child
Yields: 6 to 8 servings for dessert, or 4 for breakfast.
We like to make our Cherry Clafoutis in a blender—it is incredibly easy!

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Berry Trifle Recipe and Memorial Day Menu Ideas

Berry TrifleRemembering
Memorial Day weekend is coming. We can slow down and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. It is a time to celebrate those brave men and women—but it is also a time to celebrate the freedom that their sacrifices ensured.

Chances are your Memorial Day celebration will include a BBQ, either at your place or with friends and family. It’s just how we do it in the good ‘ole U. S. of A. Of course, what constitutes a BBQ is different for everyone. For some, it’s burgers and dogs. For others is slow-cooked ribs or juicy chicken. Perhaps it’s your favorite sausage. And don’t forget the rib-eyes…

To help you choose your BBQ, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite BBQ recipes for you to look over while preparing for the big day. Remember there are no hard and fast rules as to what should and should not be at your Memorial Day BBQ. You want to throw some shrimp on the barbie? More power to you!

I have just one request. Don’t forget Dessert.

Dessert for a crowd can be difficult. I have always been a fan of the Berry Trifle at outdoor gatherings. It’s pretty. It’s tasty and you make it as big or little as you want. I like Tyler Florence’s recipe a lot. Feel free to substitute some good vanilla pudding for the lemon curd or, heck, use both!

Here’s our list of recipes
Mains
Cherry Cola Ribs
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade
Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peaches, Mint & Almonds

Sides
Tri-Colored Orzo Salad
New Potato Salad
Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
Green Chili Rice Casserole
Jumbo Pico Salad
Amy’s Spicy Slaw

Desserts
Peach Cobbler
Lemon Meringue Pie
Texas Sheet Cake
Overstuffed Nutters

Berry Trifle
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 4 servings
You can adjust it up or down depending on how many you are feeding. It is also lovely when assembled in individual serving glasses. Read more…

Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread

Gam's Sunday Dinner SpoonbreadThe Kitchen Table
Years ago when we remodeled our house, I remember having conversations with the architect about features in my kitchen that I wanted to have a certain way. And, I remember him saying things like If you do that your kids will always leave their backpacks there. or You need to make sure there is space here because this is where everyone will be hanging out.

He was right of course. Everyone is always in the kitchen. Whether it is Thursday night or we’re having a dinner party—everyone always ends up in the kitchen.

It makes sense really. Many of the important events (and even the not so important things) that have happened in my life have happened or have been discussed while we were seated, usually but not always, having a meal around the kitchen table.

Growing up, we had dinner together every night around the kitchen table. We would talk about what happened during our day. If we were exceptionally lucky and the conversation was lively, some of us were covertly able to slip the dog whatever offensive veggie happened to be on the plate that night. No matter what, the kitchen table was where we met after a day of going our separate ways.

Later in life, it was where engagements and babies were announced or lost lives were celebrated. But, always the kitchen table was where we came together.

It’s no different in my home. We eat together at the table in the kitchen every night (that we don’t have a sporting event). My kitchen table is where our friends come to hang out and eat and play the occasional NSFW card game. It is where the homework gets done and the epic Monopoly beat-downs occur.

Without out a doubt, it is the center of our home.

When we decided to change the name of our weekly recipe blog, The Kitchen Table was pretty much the first idea to pop into my head. And nothing else we came up with seemed to make as much sense. For the most part, I try to make this blog not just about a bunch of recipes and food, but also about good stories and interesting experiences. I would love to think that most people can relate to them, or at the very least be entertained. (I do have my quirks…)

So, without further ado, I am happy to announce that going forward What’s For Dinner Wednesday shall now be known as The Kitchen Table. And, I hope that you get as much enjoyment and food for the soul out of this Kitchen Table as I have had from mine.

When thinking about family gatherings around the table my tastes gravitate towards the comforts of Southern style cooking. So, with that in mind, Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread is a favorite southern-inspired family recipe that has been enjoyed many times around our kitchen table.

Gam’s Sunday Dinner Spoonbread
This is one of those down-home recipes that always reminds me of our dinners at my grandmother’s house. So good served warm with melted butter, and a perfect accompaniment to any BBQ.
Yields 6 servings
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Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous

Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date CouscousOn The Lamb
Growing up, we always had lamb for Easter. There may have been the occasional ham but I always associate lamb (and my grandmother’s purple water goblets) with Easter.

I have a very clear picture in my mind of my grandmother carving the leg of lamb with an electric knife (!) and with each slice she may or may not have encountered a whole garlic clove that she had stuffed into the meat. I also remember the tiny metal containers for the mint jelly. The leg of lamb was always tasty, the mint jelly not so much. Back then, traditional roasted leg of lamb or the occasional broiled lamb chop with rosemary was pretty much the limit of my exposure to lamb. Nowadays though, when I think of eating or cooking lamb my tastes run to the Middle East.

No matter the occasion, if I am cooking with lamb chances are the flavors are going to be North African or Middle Eastern in nature. Easter dinner is no different. Harissa has thankfully replaced the mint jelly on the table and potatoes have made way for the couscous. So, depending on how formal we want to be, dinner can be lamb kebabs with pita and hummus or a roast shoulder with couscous and date stuffing. And there is always this family favorite, Moroccan Lamb Tangine.

I think this year because I feel the need to make an effort, I’m doing the Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous. It’s been a while since I have made Moroccan food and this is the perfect time to dust off a favorite recipe!

Roast Lamb Shoulder with Date Couscous
Adapted from Arabesque by Claudia Roden
Serves 4 to 5

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