Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Falling For Fall Tags

I received my tags from the Falling for Fall Tag Swap a few days ago, and finally got the chance to take pictures of them all.

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They were great. Thanks to Jonelle for hosting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Herr's Christmas Lights

Tonight, a couple of ladies from the Tidewater went to the Herr's Potato Chip Factory in Hanover, Pennsylvania to see their Christmas light display.

For such a small amount of space, it was really quite nice.
Afterwards, we went to Conowingo Pizzeria for dinner. I really enjoyed my time out with the girls.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Things being what they are, I'm celebrating Thanksgiving today. I hope everyone's holiday was a happy one.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ravens vs. 49ers

Well, the Ravens rose up to the expectations of the home crowd and won the game against the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers, 6-16. It was hugely exciting to see the Ravens step up to the competition. Honestly, I was surprised to see them do so well.
The band's halftime show turned out rather well. We played a medley of Journey hits, and for only finishing learning the drill yesterday, I think we did a good job.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

After reading the reviews in the latest Food Network Magazine, I decided to make Swedish Meatballs for dinner tonight.
Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup minced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley(optional)
  • Lingonberry jam, for serving (optional)

  1. Make the meatballs: Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt and %frac14; teaspoon white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  4. Make the gravy: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lingonberry jam, if desired.
I don't think I've ever tried the Swedish Meatballs at Ikea, which this recipe is supposed to copy, but I think they were very good. Tom enjoyed them, too, stating that he wouldn't change a thing - and believe me, he usually has some kind of suggestions on how to make things better.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ravens vs Bengals

What a crazy game that was! The Ravens and Bengals appeared to be evenly matched on defense, so initially, the game was fairly boring. Then, the Bengals scored and the Ravens had to step up their game. Eventually, the Ravens won 24-31, with an amazing last stand towards the end of the game.
The band didn't do much at halftime, we just formed a huge 3 for Matt Stover's induction into the Ring of Honor.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cheddar & Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

I got tonight off, so to accompany my dinner of leftovers, I made biscuits.

Cheddar & Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (1 cup)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
¾ cup buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and baking soda. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or you fingers, cut it in until the mixture is crumbly. Add the Cheddar and chives and toss to combine. Add the buttermilk and stir just until combined (do not overmix; the dough will be stcky).
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times just to bring it together. Gently shape it into a 1-in.-thick disk.
  4. Using a 2-in. round cookie cutter, cut out 16 biscuits (flouring the cutter and reshaping the scraps of dough as necessary). Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the bottoms are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.
I liked them. At first, I thought that the chive flavor was a bit too strong, but after eating three of them, I decided it was perfect.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

On the last day of my vacation, I attempted a lunch that wasn't soup - I made my first actual batch of fried chicken.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

2 cups buttermilk
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, and thyme)
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 4%frac12; lb fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups vegetable shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Whisk first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken; cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Melt vegetable shortening in a large cast-iron skillet. Arrange a deep-fry thermometer in skillet so bulb is submerged. Heat over medium heat until shortening reaches 325°.
  • Meanwhile, mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne in a large brown paper bag. Drain chicken, leaving some herbs still clinging. Season generously with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to bag, roll top over to seal, and shake well to coat chicken. Let chicken stand in bag 1 minute; shake again.
  • Fry chicken in skillet until golden brown and cooked through, 10-15 minutes per side. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired. Repeat with second batch of chicken.
Unfortunately, this recipe was a little disappointing - it wasn't as flavorful as I was expecting. That doesn't say much, when my standard is Popeye's Spicy Fried Chicken, but I was amazed at how easy it was to prepare. I couldn't tell you what I was expecting. Now, I will tell you, and I apologize if it disgusts you, that I also fried up the onions that were in the buttermilk mixture with the chicken overnight, and they had a nice bit of zing to them. Tom didn't think I had fried the chicken long enough, and that it was underdone. I can't say I agree with that assessment, because I cooked the chicken for at least ten minutes on each side, and more judging by the overdone parts on the skin. Even though the chicken didn't taste bad (Nutmeg enjoyed it thoroughly), I don't think I'll try this recipe again - I think I'd rather try a Popeye's clone recipe.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

For lunch today, I made this soup.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/3 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)
Croutons, for topping (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes; drain.
  3. When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender. Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary. Return to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with croutons, if desired.
Well, I was actually disappointed by this recipe. It was a little bland, so maybe it needs a little salt, and the texture was a little off, a tad bit grainy. Plus, the servings are huge. The recipe says that it serves four, I think it should be more like 6-8.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beer and Cheddar Soup

I am taking a few days off from work while they paint my lab and put in a new ceiling, so for lunch today I made soup.

Beer and Cheddar Soup

½ pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
About 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
½ pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over mederate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2¼ cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.
Let me tell you, it was pretty delicious. I was concerned that the beer flavor might be overpowering, but it wasn't. Tom tasted it and said (what's new?) that it needed salt. Well, I forgot to season it. He also commented that there might be a little too much heat, and he might suffer for it tomorrow, but he's very sensitive that way. Despite Tom's comments, he did say it was very good. I agree, and it was easy to make.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

Tonight's dinner was brought to us by Pillsbury.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

4 center-cut bone-in pork loin chops, 1 inch thick (about 2 lb) trimmed of fat
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ ground red pepper (cayenne)
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 medium baking apples, peeled, chopped (2 cups)

  • Spray 3 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; place in cooker.
  • In small bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, red pepper and cranberries. Spoon over pork in cooker; top with apples.
  • Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes.

With my first bite, I thought, "Oh my gosh, this tastes like dessert." Tom thought it was wonderful, too. He wants to same the apple chutney to serve over ice cream. I think not because of the pork influence, but it was quite a compliment coming from him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weiner Schnitzel

I had this evening off, so for dinner, I made a recipe that Wanda recommended for Weier Schnitzel. I paired it with some a family recipe for sour cucumbers.

Wiener Schnitzel
1 ½ pounds of veal cutlets
½ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup finely ground bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
6 Tablespoons butter
1 lemon

Pound each cutlet thin between two pieces of waxed paper.
Place flour in a flat dish or plate large enough to hold cutlet. Place beaten egg in another dish, bread crumbs in a third. Season each with salt and pepper.
Dredge cutlets in flour. Dip into beaten egg. Dip into bread crumbs until thinly but thoroughly coated. Place on waxed-paper-covered platter and place in refrigerator for about an hour.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in large skillet. When sizzling, brown cutlets quickly on each side until golden. Remove to platter.
Melt remaining two tablespoons butter in same pan. Squeeze lemon juice into butter, stir, and pour over cutlets.
Serves 4.
Tom and I both think it turned out well. He couldn't handle too much of the cucumbers, but I'm proud of him for trying them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chili Cook-Off

We had a chili cook-off at Huber today. I fixed two types, and was pleased with both of them. The first was Lazy Man's Chili Soup with Beans. It was great, brown some ground beef, open a few packages of this, a few cans of that, throw it in the crockpot to cook overnight, and it was ready for work in the morning.

Lazy Man’s Chili Soup with Beans

2 lbs ground beef
1 package (1.0 oz) ranch dip mix
1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 can (10 oz) tomatoes & green chilies (mild) – drained
2 cans (14.5 oz/ea) tomatoes with onions
1 can (12 oz) chili beans
1 can (11 oz) golden, whole kernel corn – drained
1 Tbsp TABASCO® Brand Pepper Sauce
1 package (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (8 oz) sour cream
1 bag (any size) corn chips – optional

Brown the ground beef in a large pot. Drain the beef and return it to the pot. Add the ranch mix, taco seasoning, drained tomatoes and chilies, tomatoes with onions, drained chili beans, drained corn and TABASCO® Brand Pepper Sauce to the pot with the beef. Cover and cook on medium heat for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and spoon into individual serving bowls. Add 1-2 oz of cheddar cheese and ½-1 Tbsp sour cream. Serve with corn chips if desired.

The second chili was Jamaican Jerk Chili, which was by far the favorite of the two I made. I got so many compliments on it.

Jamaican Jerk Chili
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 Jamaican hot pepper
¾ lb hot Italian sausage (approx 4 links)
1 lb ground beef
1 heaping Tablespoon Jamaican dry jerk seasoning
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 can fresh-cut diced tomatoes (1 lb 12 oz)
1 cup ketchup
2 cans small red kidney beans (15.5 oz each)
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
8 small round breads

Chop up onion and all the peppers. Remove the skin from the sausage and brown in a skillet, chop up as it browns, approx 5 min. Then add ground beef, while browning add jerk seasoning, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Add ¾ onion and all the peppers, then add crushed garlic, continue cooking about 5 min, or until completely brown. Add tomatoes and ketchup, cover and simmer 20 min. While the chili simmers, cut and scoop out the bread to hollow for bowl. Save inside bread to be toasted and served with chili. Add kidney beans and simmer 10 more minutes. Serve in bread bowl topped with grated cheddar cheese and remaining onion. Enjoy! Serves 8

I got both recipes from the Marlboro Chili Roundup Cookbook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I went to the Maryland Institute of Food Technologies trade show today. It was at the Marriott in Hunt Valley which was a very nice venue. The show was held in a ballroom, which was nicer than last year's show, which was held in a lobby-type area of the hotel that hosted the show. The food and drink this year were not as nice as last year, though.