Bundt Pan Rotisserie Chicken

Bundt Pan Rotisserie ChickenTechnological Wonders
I had a plan to talk about Irish food this week—for obvious reasons—everyone is Irish this Friday.

That plan was blown out of the water by one of those ubiquitous cooking videos that pop up daily on my Facebook feed (sometimes hourly). Most of the time I kinda just glance at the video and move on to other things. Every so often, though, I spot that one video, and I drop everything to watch it. Because my mind is blown. (Or there is a lot of chocolate.) Today was one of those days. Total lightbulb moment…I’m still recovering.

If you’ve ever heard of Beer Can Chicken you will get why I was compelled to watch the video, and then immediately make the recipe. I mean it’s genius. Of course, this would be great, it’s Rotisserie Chicken in your home oven. Brilliant! And it looks weird which is always an excellent reason to make anything—if only to keep people guessing about your mad scientist cooking skills…

Adding this recipe to my weekly rotation was easy since we have roast chicken at least once a week. My only complaint is that you can only make one chicken at a time (unless you have two bundt pans). I like to use the second chicken as the base for some other meal later in the week. I know, first world problems!

Feel free to get wacky with the ingredients and the rub for the chicken. I left the carrots and onion out and went with all potatoes and then mixed a spicy dry rub with the olive oil and rubbed all over the chicken. That made for some tasty taters…

Have fun with this one!

Bundt Pan Rotisserie Chicken
Adapted from Delish

3 cloves garlic
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, quartered
1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
2 large bunches of fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 lb chicken (gizzards removed)
1 lemon, sliced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper Read more…

Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers

Amy's Juicy Lucy BurgersBaseball Habit
When our kids first started to play little league, my husband and I swore we would not become those parents. You know who I am talking about. The almost obsessive, uber-involved people who live for game day, and volunteer for everything. We were convinced that would never be us. We were too laid back and easy going. No way would that happen to the two of us. Besides, we didn’t really even like baseball…

I’m not sure where it all went wrong. At first, it was just a little bit of tee ball a couple of nights a week. Just one or two innings here and there. No big deal. As the years went on, we found ourselves at the fields more and more often watching more and more innings. We just couldn’t get enough. It got so bad we even (gasp) starting watching baseball on TV! (Go Giants!)

Baseball was just the beginning, though. Softball came along and we were caught up in its tangled web of fast pitches. Now it’s to the point where our weekends are devoted to tournaments and our vacations are scheduled around potential plate appearances. I’ve even joined the league Board. We’re out of control. Can no one save us?

All kidding aside, this past weekend it was my pleasure to watch the sunrise at our fields as our league set up for our Annual Opening Day Parade and Ceremonies. Every year on Opening Day, the 1800 or so kids in our league and their parents gather to watch the teams parade through our city and end up at the fields where we are treated to a day of sunshine  (not always) and some great playing. It’s the one day of the year that you can bet that you will see literally everyone you know in the bleachers and it is a day that most of us look forward to with great anticipation.

It takes a lot to put something like that together, so dinners last week were not complicated. Friday night we had burgers ‘cause they are awesome. For me, I am all about the cheeseburger—the cheesier the better. This is why I am a big fan of Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers. (Juicy Lucy Burgers are a thing in Minnesota. You can Google it.)

If you have never tried your burgers this way, I highly recommend that you do. You may never go back to the ordinary cheese on top. This is one of the only times I will say that American Cheese is a must. But, mild or medium cheddar is an acceptable substitute.

Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers
Serves 4

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Panini Sandwiches

Panini SandwichesDun Lost My Mind

It’s the first week of school—which is awesome. But it’s also the first week of school—which is this crazy haze of work, meetings, practices, driving here and driving there, signing this form and signing that form, and Oh by the way we need a check….

It’s a miracle I made it to work today, and can hold a meaningful conversation. The fact that my shoes actually match is a bonus. Adding fuel to the dumpster fire that is this week, my other half is in Asia on business. And I am unable to clone myself.

The other night, when one of my boys asked me what was for dinner, I laughed hysterically at him (okay…it may have been a witch-like cackle), as he backed away slowly, his eyes as big as saucers.

This week, they are on their own. The good news? The kids are actually pretty capable in the kitchen (my daughter especially). They won’t starve, though I am pretty sure my other son will be face down in a mixing bowl full of cereal. You go, boy…

If I have to guess what they will be making themselves for dinner, it would probably be panini sandwiches. My panini press is one of the hardest working appliances in my kitchen. Everyone is a big fan, and the kids love to make their own combinations. You can be sure they will always be overloaded with cheese.

The nice thing is you can make panini sandwiches with or without a press. You only need something to weigh it down. On a personal note, I like to use the Herb Slab bread we get from Semmifreddis for my panini sandwiches. It comes out so crispy. Yum!

This is a recipe blog, so you expect a recipe? (cackling) You will have to look for one yourself! However, here is a great resource from The Food Network, a list of 50 panini recipes with every variation you could dream of. Or check out my Summer Panini post from last year.  Read more…

Backyard Tomato Salad

Tomato SaladGetting Squirrelly

The other day, one of my Facebook memories from a few years ago popped up…a photo of a monumental pile of ripe tomatoes, squash, peppers and cucumbers. It made me nostalgic and sad.

I can’t explain to you the joy I feel when picking fresh tomatoes, fruits and vegetables from my own garden. (I’m kinda weird that way.) Then, of course, there is how they taste, plus the endless possibilities of what to make with them. There was no joy in Mudville this year.

I usually plant during Spring Break, but since we actually went on vacation this year, my tomatoes went in late. Ditto for the squash and the melons—the odds were stacked against them from the beginning.

The biggest obstacle was the attack from above. Our property is a veritable Squirrel Disneyland. They fly from tree to tree without a care in the world and apparently, when they need a snack, they scamper on over to the veggie buffet that is my garden.

Now, I can’t tell you how many times I went out to check the progress of my plants, excited that there was fruit ripening on the vine, only to find the vermin had gone on a binge. I heard them laughing.

So, no tomatoes this year. However, there is good news. My brother-in-law has more than he can handle, so I am being nice and helping him out by making stuff like this…

Backyard Tomato Salad
The flavor in this tomato salad is accentuated by salting the tomatoes, so don’t be shy of this step. I promise it will be delicious, and not too too salty. So, whether you are gathering tomatoes from you own backyard, or stopping by the store to pick up a variety of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes, this is a fantastic summer tomato salad!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Figs And Blue Cheese

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs And Blue CheeseHeadin’ For the Hills 
Every year, for the last thirty years, my family and some of our dearest and closest friends gather at Tahoe for the first two weeks in August. The amazing thing about it, besides the amount of space we take up on the deck at Garwoods, is that the third generation of these families is now carrying on the tradition. We may not see much of each other during the rest of the year, but we all make sure we’re there in August.

During those two weeks we raft down the river, hike, jet ski, go out to dinner, and hang out on the beach catching up and gossiping. As the years go by the little kids become big kids, and the big kids get married, and add more kids ensuring the tradition continues.

One of the best parts is our End of the Summer Beach Barbeque, which happens on the last Saturday. We stay on the beach all day, play red rover, and watch the sun go down over the lake while munching on the grilled sausages and various other tidbits that everyone brings. One of my family’s favorite’s is below. Try them. They’re so good. See you in a week. I’m headin’ to the lake… Read more…

Confetti Corn

Confetti CornConfetti Corn

I’m kinda obsessed with corn at the moment…I think I have had corn with dinner three times this past week. It’s so good right now.

By far my favorite is corn on the cob, but sometimes you gotta branch out and do something different. I have posted my Corn Pie before, and I highly recommend you try that now, when the local corn is like sugar.

There are many good corn salads, but I love this corn side dish from the Barefoot Contessa that my sister made the other night. (I think I had four servings.) I definitely want to try it using a poblano pepper instead of a bell pepper, or maybe even a jalapeño—I would swap some green onion or cilantro for the basil in that case.

Whatever you do, serve Confetti Corn alongside a juicy rib eye for a satisfying summer meal.

Confetti Corn
Adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network.
Serves 6 Read more…

Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad

Gams Bacon Potato SaladWhen it comes to the Fourth of July, there are certain rules that must be followed. Well, at least in my world.

There must be ribs and hot dogs. There must be fresh corn. Pies are a deal breaker…no pies, no party…and of course, there must be potato salad.

My favorite is the New Potato Salad adapted from The Barefoot Contessa. There must always be dill In my potato salad and hard boiled eggs. This my line in the sand.

Problem is, I am the only one who digs the dill, so there are compromises. When that happens, I make my grandmother’s version. The only thing better that potato salad with dill is potato salad with bacon…

For a crowd, I have been known to make both, because I am childish that way.

Hope every one has a Happy and Satisfying Fourth of July!!!

Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
(She called it German Potato Salad, but I think she was wrong) Read more…

Peach Hand Pies

Peach Hand PieEasy As Pie

This Sunday I will be hosting a half dozen nine and ten-year-olds for a baking workshop that I donated to our school fundraising auction, and I am actually looking forward to it.

One of my missions in life is to get kids cooking, and being creative in the kitchen. The good news is that these kids want to learn to make their own treats, so I am hoping for minimal batter on the ceiling. That being said, I’m hedging my bets…which means we’re going to make it easy this time around. There will be nothing involving hot sugar or hot oil. Just the thought turns my hair white!

The kids will make use of the gorgeous, seasonal fruit—we will make some mini fruit tarts and a lemon cake, as well as peach hand pies (‘cause nothing is better than pie that travels). Of course, no baking class would be complete without chocolate, so we will be doing something with chocolate, though I haven’t found the perfect option yet…decisions, decisions. All of this in only four hours? No problem.

Although the fresh peaches that are available are just starting to get good, I am going to use frozen for the hand pies to make life easier. Peeling and slicing peaches will take too long. The good thing is we just got some beautiful frozen peaches in from Oregon that will do the trick nicely.

Peach Hand Pies
Makes 6 6-inch circular pies Read more…

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet CakeYou Say It’s Your Birthday…

Once again, it’s birthday week. My boys, my daughter and I all have birthdays. Of course we also have standards testing, baseball, choir, and student council campaigns. At some point I will have to scale the side of Mount Laundry, too. On top of all that, I am still required to come to work…if I expect a paycheck. I know. Crazy, right? So any birthday celebrations are most likely going to be quick and to the point.

My kids are pretty easy to please. As long as there is a donut cake in the morning, they’re good. Just in case you are wondering, a donut cake is a dozen (or so) donuts artfully arranged on a plate with candles sticking out of them. It’s a tradition. We have a donut sugar bomb breakfast while the kids open their gifts. Breakfast of champions.

I am a little more fickle. I don’t really have a favorite celebratory birthday dessert. I like birthday cake, but I also like birthday pie, and birthday pudding. Birthday crisp is pretty good…and don’t forget birthday waffles or pancakes!

This year, I want one of these beauties for a few reasons. First, they are easy. Second, I have been harboring an insane craving. Third? Pecans, baby…

Now seems like as good a time as any to make one, though it’s pretty easy to come up with an excuse. You just need to make sure you have others to help you eat it, because they feed a crowd.

Texas Sheet Cake
Yields on 18“ x 13” cake
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Sutter’s Fort Gingersnaps

Sutter's Fort GingersnapsHoldin’ Down The Fort

Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it until you don’t. Yesterday my daughter and I participated in a program that 4th graders at her school get a chance to do every year. We were part of the Suttter’s Fort ELP program, which basically means we become the museum.

For almost 3 months, the kids have been studying the history of the fort and its occupants. Each child is given their own identity, and is required to research that person’s history at the fort. The kids wear costumes the whole time, and participate in activities that would have normally happened at the fort: like weaving, candle making and cooking.

In order for the kids to do all this great stuff, a parent has to volunteer to help out and/or run one of the activities—and be in period costume as well. I chose to run the bakery. (I figured I’d stick with my strengths.) Baking bread in a beehive oven is no easy task. It’s an all-day affair, and I have have a new appreciation for my oven, and my dishwasher, and lets not forget the washing machine…

I can’t even imagine the amount of back-breaking work required just to survive as a settler at that time. If just baking the bread took all day, how long would it take to do everything else? And don’t get me started on laundry. I get why bathing and clothes washing only happened monthly. Yes. Monthly.

Our pioneers did know how to enjoy life, and all of the hard work made for some great get-togethers with music and neighbors. They danced, they laughed and they ate tasty treats like these gingersnap cookies we made in the oven yesterday after the bread was done.

Sutter’s Fort Gingersnaps
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