Archives for February 2011

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Microplane Gourmet Coarse Grater Revisited

by TT February 28th, 2011| Equipment Reviews
Two months ago, I published a review of the Microplane Gourmet Coarse Grater.  At that point I had mixed emotions about this kitchen tool.  Yes, it did a fine job of grating, but I found it to be a nuisance when cleaning, as the handle collected water.  Sadly, residual water in the handle was not the biggest problem I would have with this tool.

The other night we were enjoying a dinner of chili and cornbread and using the coarse grater to top our bowls of chili with cheddar cheese.  Being a semi-firm cheese, it does require a little
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Pat’s Brownies

by TT February 24th, 2011| Desserts, Recipes
You know how in the idyllic neighborhood a new homeowner is greeted by freshly baked goods?  I actually lived in a neighborhood that did that.  While it was just a typical neighborhood, it had several of the nicest neighbors a person could want.  One of these neighbors was a woman about my mom's age whose name was Pat.  Within a day or two of moving into the home, Pat arrived with a freshly baked cake, made completely from scratch.

During my years living in that neighborhood Pat became a great resource.  When I decided to try my first large-scale attempt at
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Blueberry Sauce

by TT February 21st, 2011| Simple Solutions
As you may know, we have been using only locally sourced produce, meats, and dairy items as of January 1st.  Thankfully, we froze several quarts of blueberries last summer, which have given us a taste of summer in the midst of a cold and blustery February.  Of course, this summer we will need to freeze many more than several quarts, as those blueberries will be the only that we use once the berry picking season is over.

Some of those blueberries were quite useful yesterday, as we enjoyed cheesecake to celebrate our younger daughter's 13th birthday.  The birthday girl's requested
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Blueberry Chutney

by TT February 17th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
Monday was Valentine's Day, which according to card stores, florists, and chocolate shops is the most romantic day of the  year.  That sort of thinking is fine; I have no problem with a day that is set aside to recognize love.  However, as Valentine's Day fell on Monday this year, it made me realize that in my marriage, we celebrate almost every Monday.

As regular readers know, Monday nights are Tapas Mondays at our house.  An evening, which started out of necessity due to a weekly meeting in my husband's schedule, has become a wonderful way for the two of us
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To Die For Dips

by TT February 16th, 2011| Food News
I love attending the Boston Wine Expo.  The obvious reason may seem to be that there are thousands of varieties of wine to sample.  While sampling a few wines is nice, the reason I love attending is the people and companies I discover there.  From innovative chefs to interesting foods, there is much to learn.  One of the great discoveries I made this year was To Die For Dips.  This dip is delicious and has an amazing story behind it.

I met with Margaret Hammill, founder and owner of To Die For Dips on a recent winter morning at
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Banana Cream Pie

by TT February 14th, 2011| Desserts
Although I am not a regular dessert eater, I do enjoy an occasional indulgence in the land of sweets.  That being said, pie is not one of my favorite desserts.  I'd far rather have cheesecake, a slice of non-chocolate cake, or ice cream.  However, when my husband and I took our mini-honeymoon to New Orleans we dined at Emeril's.  We ended our multi-course meal with his famed banana cream pie.  That pie changed my opinion.

Since then, I've worked on creating my own banana cream pie.  Sure, I could find his recipe online, but what sort of culinary challenge would that
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

by TT February 9th, 2011| Desserts
The 5th Annual Peku Super Bowl party was a success.  An assortment of salty and savory snacks provided an evening of eating enjoyment.  We covered quite a range of preferences with our dishes.  From classic Buffalo wings to healthier (but still yummy) roasted green beans, our appetizers were enjoyed by all.  Plus, a plateful of brat turnovers  brought by our friends were found to be the perfect Wisconsin dish for the evening.

With all of these dishes, plus espinaca and chips, there was more than enough to fill our stomachs.  However, after an evening of eating foods that were salty, it
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Little Duck Organics

by TT February 7th, 2011| Food News
As a mom, I completely understand the desire to put only the best ingredients into your child's diet.  When my oldest was ready for solid foods, I remember reading the labels on baby food items, seeking products that didn't have fillers, preservatives, and other unnatural ingredients.  In the end, I found some store-bought items that worked and made the rest myself.

Zac Normandin and his wife had the same experience.  During their search for healthy snacks, they discovered that even organic foods had sugar and corn filler added to them.  Organic
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Quick Help for the Super Bowl

by TT February 4th, 2011| Appetizers
I am not one who loves spending her Sundays watching football.  In fact, about one game per Sunday is good for me.  Of course, if there is cooking involved, I can keep my interest for a couple games, as I will spend a decent amount of the time in the kitchen, and that isn't a complaint.  I thoroughly enjoy cooking for myself and others.

However, the Super Bowl is a different sort of event.  As a kid, I think my family watched it every year.  There always were snacks, subs, or some sort of fun dinner to accompany the game. 
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Mashed Potato Pancakes

by TT February 2nd, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions
If your children are like mine, then they adore mashed potatoes.  I don't make them often, maybe once every few months.  However, when I do make them, I prefer to make a larger batch.  My purpose is two-fold.  One, there are leftovers for the kids.  Two, I can make pancakes out of them as a breakfast treat for the kids or as a side dish in a second meal.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of mashed potatoes.  With me not enjoying mashed potatoes, I don't like the pancakes either.  Sure, you can cook them
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