Feastful Weekend

November 25th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! All the feasting and none of the other stresses of the Christmas holidays. We had two awesome Thanksgiving dinners – if I do say so myself. On Thanksgiving day we had a pretty traditional dinner – made easy with the make-ahead gravy recipe that I love from allrecipes. This time I used turkey thighs instead of wings and it made enough for two separate dinners plus leftovers.

Our second dinner was made more special from a surprise visit from my son, who drove all the way home from North Carolina to make our family gathering complete. I put together particularly good blend of flavors! We served smoked turkey breast from our favorite Strongsville restaurant, The Brew Kettle (is it true I have not yet written a dining out review of it?). The meat tasted awesome and was perfectly complimented by the dressing recipe I got from the New York Times Sunday magazine a few weeks back – Three Pepper Sausauge and Cornbread
Dressing. The recipe included chorizo and both red and yellow bell peppers, plus poblano and Portugese hot peppers so it was colorful and tasty.

The wine to compliment the meal was from our east coast vacation. We had gone to Truro Vineyard on Cape Cod (see post). They have a cranberry wine in a lighthouse shaped bottle that is pretty special.

The evening was topped off with a family game of Michigan rummy – an old family tradition from my father’s family.

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

October 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

My daughter was home for her first long weekend from college and she was on a quest for “real” food. I’m not sure what the expensive meal plan we had to opt for is treating her to on campus, but her first request was for spaghetti and meatballs. To my pleasant surprise, not only did she want to eat it, but she was genuinely interested in helping to cook with me. My favorite recipe is from Ina Garten and is simply called Real Meatballs and Spaghetti – doesn’t get any more real. The recipe calls for a mixture of beef, pork and veal. Over the holidays when I make this, I usually double the veal.

I also usually stash left over garlic bread in a ziplock bag in the freezer to use as bread crumbs in this recipe. We rolled the balls, browned them and followed the sauce recipe to a T.

Even the dog thought the house smelled wonderful!

The empty plate says it all. Today my girl returned to campus with containers of spaghetti and meatballs and a recipe she could describe in detail – although she is not sure she is going to mention the veal. Hope her dorm friends aren’t reading this!

Pears Poached in Raspberry Framboise

September 30th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In | My Dining Life - (0 Comments)

The pears at Quarry Hill Orchard have been amazing lately, and when we were on vacation recently we were served poached pears for breakfast at a bed and breakfast. I got to thinking of a way to poach pears in the delicious Raspberry Framboise that Quarry Hill Winery makes and sells.

So a basket of pears and a bottle of framboise made a splendid and special dessert. I emptied the bottle of framboise into a small pan on the stove over medium heat and added two cinnamon sticks, two tablespoons of brown sugar and a dash of nutmeg. Once it started to reduce and turn syrupy I poured 2/3 of the liquid over pealed and halved pears in a glass baking dish.

I covered the pears with foil and baked them for about a half hour at 350 degrees while the rest of the sauce continued to reduce on the stove. It turned thick and rich and tasted great over vanilla ice cream on the warm pears.

Blackened Pork with Peaches

August 20th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

This morning’s New York Times Sunday magazine supplied our recipe for dinner in an article title “How to Burn Dinner“.

We started with a nice piece of pork butt that the butcher up at the corner butterflied for us.  The recipe called for a paste of olive oil, fresh rosemary (which is growing nicely on the deck) and garlic.  I added in some Black Dog Belly Rub from local spice maker Mom’s Gourmet .

The recipe called for cooking the pork in a cast iron skillet on the grill.  Since we only use a charcoal grill here, that meant David got the coals going while I worked on our side dish – ratatouille!  This past week would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday!  I wanted to cook something from Mastering the Art of French Cooking in honor, but I went with a recipe I found on the Saveur website.  I had a basket of peppers, eggplant and zucchini we got at the Quarry Hill Market last weekend, so I got things cooking stove top in the Dutch oven, which was put into the oven to bake while the pork cooked.

The final step was to add the fresh Quarry Hill peaches for the last 5 minutes.

A little fresh basil and goat cheese atop the ratatouille and dinner is served!

Any other year, this would have been the last official dinner of summer – but not this year.

Naked Tomato Sauce and Eggplant Stacks

August 11th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

I love the end of summer when local farm stands are full of fresh produce.  But I have had a tough time finding roma tomatoes recently, so when I found some it was time for the best tomato sauce recipe I have ever tried.  About last year this time I discovered the awesome food blog The Smitten Kitchen.  The photos and simple preparation for her Naked Tomato Sauce inspired me.  It is easy and so delicious made with fresh local tomatoes.  So dining in tonight we had lovely spaghetti with eggplant stacks with an additional sprinkling of chopped tomatoes and basil on top of fresh mozzarella.

See here for the tomato sauce recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

The Peaches of August

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by Lackey in Dining In - (0 Comments)

One of the few reasons I have always welcomed the arrival of August is the abundance of ripe juicy local peaches.  We have a favorite orchard that we frequent and many of my memories of summertime include going to Quarry Hill Orchards and bringing home peck baskets of unripe peaches to lay out on trays to ripen at the cottage.  Quarry Hill is a thriving summer destination, especially now that they have added a winery to the property.  (More on that later!)



This summer I have been trying every good looking peach recipe I find and have had great success with two so far.

This is the Peach Dutch Baby Pancake from the August 2012 Bon Appetit Magazine.  It came out of the oven all hot and puffy in a cast iron skillet and was extra delicious with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from a local creamery.

Then last night I made this Peach-Almond Upside-Down Cake from the July/August Food Network Magazine because I am a sucker for all things almond.  It is made with sugar and butter browned in a skillet and then put in the bottom of a cake pan which is then layered with sliced peaches and topped with a light fluffy batter which had ground almonds and almond extract in it.  It was hard to wait the half-hour after the cake came out of the oven to taste it.

Both recipes were easy to follow and helped me to postpone baking that peach pie my husband keeps hoping for!