As crazy as it sounds, I am pretty much ready for the year to end. The past several months have been so hectic in our lives with the relocation, and more changes that I wanted, so I am ready to rejuvenate, spend time with my family and friends, and close out this year. The last two months of the year is definitely my favorite time of the year. I love counting down to Thanksgiving, then to Christmas. Most of the other holidays, we don’t get a lot of time off from work that we just end up rushing through things, including cooking and sharing meals with our loved ones. But during Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re getting a little extra time off, so I tend to savor those more. As I am getting my menu ready for the holidays, I couldn’t help but sharing one of my favorite centerpieces for the holiday.
Being able to successfully roast a large piece of meat successfully, served on a gorgeous large platter that’s only reserved for special occasions to your family and friends, should be a milestone that everyone remembers in their cooking life. I still remember the very first large turkey that I had cooked, three months after I got married over seven years ago. My biggest fear was to have the turkey not cooked thoroughly, or, worse yet, cooked too dry that everyone was left with extremely dry piece of meat on their dinner plate. Every other turkey that I have made since then didn’t seem to leave me with such a feeling of accomplishment like that one.
Now, with a pork crown roast, I’m happy to share that I cooked my very first crown roast in High School. Pretty cool right? I was enamored by the stunning picture on one of my mom’s magazines, completely dressed in cranberries in string and lots of greenery that was stuffed all around it. I convinced my mom to let me try to cook it for the holiday, and I couldn’t remember what it was, Christmas or Thanksgiving, but she agreed. I took the magazine with me to the butcher in town, and showed him what I was trying to do, since I didn’t see anything like it in their meat counter readily available. While I can’t remember exactly how it turned out, it couldn’t have been bad – since I remember everyone in my family cheering for it, as I got my beautiful pork roast on the table.This was the second time that I cooked a pork crown roast in my life, and it was also pretty well received by my family. My husband was eager and quick with the support. This time, I made sure to remember how succulent the meat was. This dish is a perfect alternative to turkey, or a companion to a turkey, if you want to feed a large crowd and want to have more than just turkey on the menu.
Hello Strangers! It’s been a while since I popped in here and said hello. Our family has just started a new chapter in our life! We just recently relocated to a new town for my husband’s new job, and I’m finally a little above the water from the work that came from relocation. From the time that we found out about the job and relocation, to the time that the kids started school, we squeezed everything in about six weeks. I am still exhausted just thinking about it – and made a vow that we would never move again. We sold our house in 3 weeks, and after stressful house-hunting trips in the new area, we decided to build a house instead. We put away about 90% of our belongings into a storage, and squeezed our two kids and St. Bernard into a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment. We sent our kids off to their first day of school from a hotel room, and we rushed back to the apartment, to meet the truck that was going to deliver our belongings that we had designated for the apartment. We both went back to work the next day (definitely not the way to go, I almost went into work in flip flops!).
One big exciting news as well that comes with this post, is that we found out that I was expecting with our third child, due in mid April of 2016! During the time that I probably needed the most energy to get our family situated, I had the worst level of energy and morning sickness. For someone who loves to eat as much as I do, it pained me that not only that I lost my appetite, I also didn’t have any energy or means to cook (not to mention that we couldn’t find the box with all of our cooking utensils). Within the past week, I was able to finally gather enough energy to start cooking again in our apartment – and this was one of the meals that I made right away. It is packed full with burst of flavors, very light and refreshing – yet, pretty hearty. I have shared a version of this recipe back several years ago, but I changed up a few things to make them work even. I used ground chicken to save some time in cooking, added more mushrooms and onions for more vegetables, and used shitake for overall added flavors. I also served it with steamed rice so we could eat them as a main meal instead of appetizers. I also noticed that in the past, I always ended up with lots of leftover of the “Special Sauce”, so I took half of it – and drizzled them into the meat as I cooked them. That way, I added even more flavors to the meat. We gobbled up this dish, and I hope you give this a try! Have a great week.
Long holiday weekends are what summer weekends should be: leisurely dinner outdoors, kids covered in sunscreen and swinging in the play-set, with the smell of freshly cut grass and charcoal grill in the background. With all of the rain that we’ve gotten, I wasn’t sure if we were going to have any sun at all this holiday weekend. But mother’s nature was kind, we were lucked out with nothing but gorgeous weather this past weekend. It was a beautiful weekend to celebrate America’s birthday, and we couldn’t be grateful to have spent it with our family. We took a day trip to see old friends on Friday: it was such a relaxed, no-fuss day: we hung out, watched our kids played, and caught up on life stories. It was the kind of perfect afternoon that you can only get by spending it with friends who have known you forever, with cold drinks in your hands, and conversations are easy. Our first-babies are supposed to be going to Kindergarten together this fall; so we often talk about how great it would be if we get to be neighbors again, and our kids get to grow up together.
On Saturday, we relaxed and bummed around all day, after all – it was a three-day weekend, one of the days is bound to be a “bumming around the house” kind of day, right? We went to get some groceries, and I knew the kids were pooped from hanging out with their little friends on Friday, so I churned a fresh batch of this “pink” ice-cream. As much as I love raspberry’s flavors, I have a love and hate relationship with their seeds. I feel like their little seeds are such a distraction from the beautiful flavors of raspberries. I made this recipe a month or so ago, but this ice-cream never lasted long enough at our house. I wish that I was patient enough to melt chocolate and drizzled that into this ice-cream, like this recipe. I believe raspberry and chocolate would make a divine pairing. Since I didn’t do the drizzly chocolate thingy, I decided sprinkles would be an acceptable back-up partner. And my kids agreed.
Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I hope you’re taking some time today to celebrate our nation’s Independence with some quiet time with family and friends. If you’re still looking for some extra to put on your dinner table today, you still have time to make these fried chickens. I’ve been singing praises of fried chickens for a while on this blog; and I am on the never ending quest for something simple that I can make at home, but also awesome result. Perfectly fried chickens are a pure indulgence meal: juicy chicken meat under crispy spiced skins… life really doesn’t get better than it, does it? I made these Baked Chicken Drumsticks, somehow hoping to replicate that beautiful crunchy goodness in the outer skin of the chickens. But I’ve somewhat learned that it is hard to replicate that perfect crispy skin of frying the chicken other than… well, frying them.
My kids love eating chicken drumsticks, even my almost five year old, who basically only probably eats two bites of meat per week; and she’s also very picky on what type of meat. My two-year old son, on the other hand, is absolutely obsessed with everything meat: chicken, pork, beef. And broccolis. He’d even pick a fried chicken drumstick, over ice-cream or dessert. He definitely has my gene of favoring everything savory instead of dessert. This recipe seems to be the perfect happy medium, of using both the frying method to perfectly crisp the outer skin, and then finishing them off in the oven, to ensure the chicken meat is cooked perfectly. The buttermilk soak with a little bit of seasoning makes sure that the meat is infused beautifully with a burst of flavors. And then that batter recipe for the skin, yes, it’s delicious. It is thin, perfectly flavored, and just crisp to perfection. If you’ve always been hesitated of making your own fried chickens at home, this recipe is yours to try! Have a great weekend!
Blueberries are definitely my favorite berries to bake with. As much as I love the other berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.), blueberries are the easiest to bake (no seeds to worry about!) and the most forgiving (meaning that they don’t go bad in the refrigerator after a few days!). And blueberries muffins? Oh – how can I say no to them? They’re my absolute favorite, breakfast, snacks, or brunch – you just name them. I have yet found a recipe though, that I like, without using a ton of butter. My favorite one so far is these Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins, because they are simple like muffins should be – with lots of blueberries, and moist and gorgeous tender crumbs. With 1/2 cups of butter, they fall under occasional treats. These ones caught my eyes several months ago, and I knew that I had to try them while the berries season is still here.
I love the combination of the blueberries and lemon, and I definitely wanted the lemon flavor to be strong, so I used all lemon juice in the icing, but if you wanted something a little subdued, you can substitute half with warm water. I also had just recently switched to using unbleached organic all purpose flour, so the new flour that I have been using actually has a significantly darker color than its all-white conventional all purpose flour, so I was a little skeptical to see how they would work in the recipe. But it absolutely had no impact on its tender, moist texture. The batter was pretty dark; it almost looked like I used all whole-wheat flour, but somehow the color lightened up after baking.
I am actually pretty impressed at how it turned out, and loved that this recipe used half oil, and half butter. I also believe that it will be versatile enough to be made into other flavors, and can be made into baked doughnuts. I may need to break out my doughnuts pan and make these into delightful little doughnuts. If you’re looking for other baking inspirations, make sure you check out Jaida’s blog for other fabulous recipes using summer fruits!