Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 10 Most Popular Posts 2015

A good year, 2015.
You know it was a good year if 4 of your top 10 recipes are about Hawaii!
Ahh... I love that place. So I'm loving that others enjoyed reading them too

Here's the most popular recipes posted to my blog in 2015.  I always take a couple editorial "liberties" as it's hard to compare something that was on your blog for 11 months and got 500 views to something posted last month and got almost two hundred! 

I'm a little embarrassed that my most viewed 2015 posting was a "dump" cake involving a cake mix, but that's the way these things work. Everybody likes easy, they do, they really do.

Here's a better summary of what was popular
- 2 desserts
- 2 boozy drinks
- 2 restaurant/travel reviews
- 2 basic egg recipes/techniques!
- 1 appetizer
- 1 salad/easy dinner  

Inspired by a trip to Mama's Fish House on Maui

Trainwreck bar and grill 
A post about a little restaurant in Burlington with the best bloody Mary.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Eggnog Mousse

I had this party, and decided to serve rum & egg nogs, hot buttered rums and wine and beer.
Guess what people drank?  
Wine and beer, and then some more wine.
Next day...
Dozens of dirty wine glasses and two full half gallons of eggnog in the fridge.
Geez. Now what?  I could have made my eggnog martinis, but you can only have so many of those.  There's also Eggnog Cheesecake Bars.



Eggnog mousse!  

Easy, fast, delicious and festive for this time of year!

Makes about 8 servings

    2 packets unflavored gelatin
    4 cups eggnog   
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 cups whipping cream
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    3 Tbsp brandy or spiced rum OR 2 teaspoons vanilla or rum flavoring

In a saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup eggnog. Heat slowly, stirring until gelatin is dissolved; remove from heat. I barely got my eggnog hot, just wanted to dissolve the gelatin. Stir in remaining eggnog and brandy or rum; Chill about 20 minutes, until it just starting to thicken.

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar into whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold in slightly thickened eggnog mixture, nutmeg.  Add to individual serving glasses and chill until ready to serve.  Cover with plastic wrap if storing more than a couple hours.  Serve with more whip cream on top and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Pour it into cute tall glasses, or wine glasses work too.

You can see it's still pretty liquid, more like a custard sauce, but it set up quickly in the glasses and had a nice fluffy texture.

 I put my glasses in a baking pan for ease of putting in, and pulling out of the fridge.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Peppermint Patty Martini, plus a bonus recipe

Ho ho ho
Christmas is almost here.
Are you ready?
Are you feeling in the spirit?
Here's my advice, if your shopping isn't done, get online and join Amazon Prime and get shopping.  Easy. Done.
Need to get in the Christmas spirit?  A little Peppermint Patty Martini should do the trick. 

Makes 1 large, or 2 small

1 jigger Peppermint schnapps, or peppermint vodka
1 jigger Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 jigger Vanilla vodka or whipped cream vodka
1 jigger Half and half
A couple of small candy canes, plus some more smashed into bits

Pulverize some candy canes until you have about 3-4 Tbsp of peppermint candy dust for the martini glass rims.  You could skip this step, but nibbling on the rim of the glass is part of the fun of enjoying this martini.

Peppermint White Russian
Very much like above but with Bailey's instead of chocolate liqueur.

Makes 2 small, or 1 large

1 jigger Peppermint schnapps
1 jigger Bailey's Irish Cream
1 jigger Vanilla vodka or whipped cream vodka
1 jigger Half and half
Pulverized candy cane dust... 

Serve strained "straight up" or over rocks.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Hot Link Joe's Special

I hope you know Joe,
You know, Joe's Special.  Just about the most perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner food.
Meat, Eggs, Spinach and Cheese.  
Throw in some other stuff, if you have it, but those are the basics.

I think I may have mentioned my Hot Link purchasing Costco personal shopper?
Yes, that guy.  
Always so willing to take our Costco list and do the shopping... I love that about him.  However, sometimes I wonder if it might cost us more.
He buys everything on the list, plus picks up every little thing that calls his name as he strolls the aisles.  It's hard to stay mad at him, it's like the more frivolous part of me going on a shopping spree.  I always like what I get.
But, Hot Links.  I love them, but really, how much can you do with them?
I actually have a whole category on my blog because of that 20 pc Hot Link purchaser.

So, the other day, here's what inspired me for a late breakfast together.
Here's another recipe for a Joe's Special from my blog about 4 years ago.

Serves 2 
  2 hot links, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
1/4 onion, sliced thin
4 eggs, beat 
3-4 cups fresh spinach
1 cup mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the hot links, in half and then in thin slices.
Slice the onions thinly.
In a bowl, beat up the eggs
Grate the cheese.
Over medium high heat in a non-stick of cast iron pan, fry up the hot links for a couple minutes until starting to brown a bit. Add the onion(and mushrooms, if using) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.  If there is a lot of excess juice from the cooked spinach (and mushrooms), go ahead and drain off some, if desired.
Add eggs and continue to cook until the eggs are beginning to set.  Add about half the grated cheese, and serve.  Use the rest of the cheese to top the eggs, and then serve at once. 


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Smoked Trout Spread

Someone at my house came home from a guy's weekend with 20 trout not that long ago.
Yep, 20.
He caught 3-4 himself, but many of the other guys caught them but didn't want them.
So, that guy knew what to do.  Bring them home to me.
I love trout, but it IS hard to eat 20 of them.
So, we lightly smoked a bunch of them after a very short brining, and then threw them on the smoker.  We happily ate one each while it was hot and fresh and chilled the rest.
I knew that they were perfect for smoked fish to serve cold, chowder or a trout spread.  

We served this on Thanksgiving and the kids nummied this right up and said how much they wished there was more.

My advice?  When you, or your significant other goes fishing, bring the trout home.  Brine it. Smoke it. Make some Trout spread, some smoked trout chowder and enjoy it!

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 boneless smoked trout, (about 8 ounces), reserve about 1/3 cup in chunks
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
Tbsp minced green onions
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp capers
1/2 lemon, juiced

Serve with toasts, crackers, or celery.
Reserve a little of the fish and green onions for a garnish (as pictured).

Discard the head, and skin and flake the trout fillets, picking out any bones if you see any. Puree the cream cheese, sour cream, onion, mustard, capers, lemon juice and horseradish in a mini food processor. Add the fish and pulse to a make a semi- smooth dip. Transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate about 1 hour. It will not be totally firm, but nice and spreadable.

Note: 8 oz of smoked trout took about 3 small trout.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Apple Parsnip Soup

I can't say this was my favorite soup. 
And you know I love soup. Love.

Everywhere I have been looking lately, I see soups with root veggies and apples.  
However, I am not sure I am a huge fan.

It's not often that I cannot salvage something and make it something yummy.  
I mean, there's always something you do to save it.  
More stock, a bit of acid (like lemon or vinegar) more salt & pepper.
But this one, this one was just too sweet for me.  My hubby refused to eat it.  
Parsnips, apples and apple cider are all sweet- combined in soup it is just too much.
Though, I did eat it, and kept thinking how I might change it if I was going to make it again.
I've made some notes below.

A couple of things I can say about this soup is that I do think that kids would really love it.  
Warm, sweet with a hint of spice.  I think they would like it.
It could also be a good with a salty, grilled ham and cheese sandwich. 

Serves about 8

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated  
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped  (Suggest reducing to one cup instead...)
4 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
3 cups parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 cup apple cider (suggest omit this and replacing with more stock)

Saute onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes over medium heat in a dutch oven or 6 qt soup pot.  
Stir in the curry powder and fresh (or dried) ginger.
Add stock and the chopped apples and parsnips.
Cook covered, 30 minutes
Blend until smooth with a stick blender, or in batches in your regular blender.

Serve with sour cream or cream fraiche, and a sprinkling of chives or green onions.