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Rhubarb Chutney

by TT June 6th, 2011| Recipes, Spreads & Sauces
I love the arrival of warm weather.  Not only does it mean that the cold sensation in my fingers and toes should disappear, but it also means that there will be more local produce available.  These local options provide us with inspiration for many meals and snacks.

Yesterday we stopped by a farmstand to purchase some greens and asparagus for our dinner and were delighted to find that rhubarb was still available.  Although I hadn't cooked with rhubarb until last year, I have developed an affinity for this vegetable.  Yes, it is technically a vegetable, even though it is treated as
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Benedictine Dip

by TT May 16th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes
My husband loves watching the Kentucky Derby.  In fact, I think it is one of his favorite sporting events of the year.  Horse racing is a newer to me sport, but enjoyable nonetheless.  We have celebrated this event at home and at the racetrack.  This year, we had a high school track meet to attend that would take a good portion of the day, so we decided to watch the races at home.  A benefit of staying home is the ability to utilize our culinary creativity.

Not having attended the derby itself, I did some research into what typically is served
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Mini Mushroom Tarts

by TT May 4th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
For this week's Tapas Monday I knew that I would be braising short ribs.  Although I could have made a gourmet dinner of short ribs and sides, I wanted to stick with the regular tapas format.  Some roasted broccoli was the second dish to come to mind, so I needed one more dish to round out the menu.  After a weekend of splurging:  carrot cake, espinaca, and a hearty Sunday breakfast, I didn't want anything heavy.

With one meat dish and one veggie dish, it would have been easy to turn to a bread for the third.  However, that would have
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Apple Amaretto Chutney

by TT April 25th, 2011| Appetizers, Recipes, Spreads & Sauces, Tapas Monday
Monday nights are a favorite for my husband and me, as we have a tapas meal to end the day.  However, his business travel schedule has been such that many Mondays in the past month weren't of the tapas nature.  So, when he was home last Monday, both of us were excited for an evening of food, Prosecco, and conversation.

As it had been a couple weeks since our last Tapas Monday, I decided to defer to one of our favorites, baked brie.  Served with some homemade focaccia and homemade flatbread chips, it is a delight for the senses.  While the
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Roquefort and Honey

by TT April 11th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions
When I have greens available, my favorite lunch is a salad and a piece of flatbread.  While this may not sound like an exciting lunch, it really can be quite fun (and not calorie laden) with some creativity.  Salad toppings are easy to keep healthy, if you stick with wholesome ingredients, such as veggies, fruit (dried or fresh), chicken breast, or a small amount of pecans or walnuts.  Of course, keep the dressing on the side.

If you want to splurge and make the flatbread a little more exciting, toppings are a great option.  A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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Caramelized Squash Bites

by TT December 22nd, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes, Side Dishes
I think I have become obsessed with caramelizing foods.  As I started to write this post, I did a quick search of caramelized items in previous recipes.  I found recipes for the following caramelized items: onions, apples, puréed squash, and bananas.  While it may be a bit of an obsession, what is there not to like about foods with a sweet finish?

On a recent weekend, my husband and I spent our Sunday afternoon watching Christmas movies and cooking.  So, instead of planning a big Sunday dinner, we opted for an afternoon of appetizers.  One of the
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Kale and Onion Polenta Crostini

by TT November 24th, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
Before this past Tapas Monday, I had never cooked kale before.  I remember one of my childhood friends complaining about its constant presence at the dinner table thanks to her parents' garden, but it was a veggie I had not been served or had cooked.  Seeing that it's a leafy vegetable, I decided I'd cook it like other greens.  As I learned that evening, kale is a hardier vegetable than spinach or chard.

We purchased purple kale when we were on a regular trip to the farmstand.  Knowing it would not be popular with the kids, my husband suggested we make
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Figs and Roquefort

by TT October 26th, 2010| Recipes, Simple Solutions
Last week my husband and I had the pleasure of vacationing in Paris.  Although the news reports from France focused on the strikes and protests, I am happy to report that we saw none of that.  What we experienced were five days of utter joy:  fabulous architecture, amazing pieces of artwork, delicious foods, and incredible wines.

Although we were on vacation and intended to enjoy many of our evenings trying the cuisine of numerous French restaurants, we opted to change that plan a little.  With great local shops located within steps of our hotel, we were persuaded to spend two of
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Sweet & Sour Meatballs

by TT October 6th, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes
sweet and sour meatballFor me, meatballs are an obvious choice when entertaining.  First, most people tend to enjoy meatballs (at least in my circle of family and friends).  Second, they can be prepared in advance and kept warm in a crockpot.  Third, they need no garnish or accompaniments, just a fork and a plate, and this munchy is ready to go.

Of course, serving regular meatballs in marinara can become boring, so we have tried many different meatballs.  We have made Hawaii-inspired meatballs, chicken cordon bleu meatballs, and mozzarella stuffed meatballs, among others.  When we planned a family get together the
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Eggplant Parmesan Dip

by TT August 2nd, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
About this time of year, many gardens are overflowing with produce.  That isn't a problem we figured we would have this year, as we planted a modest garden of some container plants and a small plot of pepper plants.  However, a couple weeks ago our one patio eggplant ivory plant had about a dozen eggplants ready for picking.

With this much eggplant ready at one time, it became a question of how to serve these yummy vegetables.  As eggplant isn't a vegetable that our four kids are excited to eat and both my husband and I adore it, I decided to
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Parmesan Squash Cakes

by TT July 2nd, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes, Side Dishes, Tapas Monday
Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, as I find it to be quite versatile.  From breakfast dishes, such as zucchini bread, to side dishes, such as zucchini stuffed with spinach and cheese, to entrées, such as stirfry, it is a wonderful ingredient.  Last year, I made Zucchini Cakes as part of a Tapas Night dinner.  Recently, I decided to try a different version of those cakes.

To make these new cakes different, I switched some ingredients.  Instead of using only zucchini, I also included a summer squash.  As I was serving these cakes without a sauce, I wanted to
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Lamb Meatballs

by TT June 4th, 2010| Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday
It is almost the end of the workday on Friday, and yet as I type, I am thinking wistfully about Monday evening.

Thinking about a Monday happily on a Friday?! It might seem odd, as Friday is the start of the weekend, and Monday is the start of the workweek.  So, why would I, being of sound mind, think about the joy of Monday night?  Well, if you're a regular reader, you already know the answer.  Mondays, in our house, are better known as Tapas Monday.

My wistful thinking refers to a recent Tapas Monday when I chose a Greek theme for
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