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Euro Fare

I've been meaning to do a post after my dining experiences; I think I started one during NYC Restaurant Week but whatever, I'm here now.

What spurned this is the spot I went to last night.

backstory, I was starving and everybody at school knows I need to eat or everyone dies. I mentioned Sushe Samba in Man but one person knocked it down saying a friday night in USQ was asking to be waiting for at least an hour. Good point.

Next thing to know:
The people I went out with are beer drinkers. Like, one girl dates an actual brewer and Lish is from Iowa where there's nothing better to do than drink beer. The other two were just your average WGs and which WG doesn't like beer?

So since Man was shot down, let's find a place in BK that serves alcohol and food. They bring up this bier garten.

I got a brat that was the size of my palm on a toasted roll and a paper cup full of spicy mustard. Everyone else was excited about their saurkraut and pretzels but I was not amused. It just confirmed for me that Euro food doesn't excite me. There is nothing about german food I'm attracted to, nothing about all the pork polish people eat that's appetizing, nothing in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague that I want to try.

I remember one weekend in Hollywood, I was watching the episode of No Reserv.ations when Ant was in Ireland. That was the only episode I watched and felt none desire to pull out my AmEx and passport. Nothing stirring about the pubs and nothing moving about the food.

As a matter of fact, watching Jacques Pepin has me a bit worried about French food. During RW, I was looking into French cuisine but the online menus did nothing for me. I want to look at a restaurant's menu and go, "Ooh! I want to try that!" Or have a serious internal battle over which dish to try and make a mental note to come back and get what I didn't decide on that night. Yeah, none of the above for the German spot or any of the french rests.

All I know is that we should've gone to get sushi.


2011, Recipe 120: Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal

Since I started running last fall, I've been on the constant search for good pre- and post-workout meals. I love oatmeal but I get tired of the tried and true methods (raisins or craisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar) and start looking for some new ones. Beth M at Budget Bites has been on a baked oatmeal kick for a while and I wanted to see my way inside the hype! This is a slight variation on her recipe. AND my first time doing step-by-step photos.

Somehow in more than 20 years of oatmeal consumption I've never had baked oatmeal. Granted, it takes a lot longer than regular instant oatmeal so it's not something I would make on a week day morning BUT it lasts a lot longer. I'm not a big fan of leftovers. No matter how good the meal is, I don't want that same leftover more than once. I probably get that from my dad. He's the same. But at least his was a part of his upbringing. He's one of 9 children so there weren't exactly a whole lot of leftovers in their house growing up! To the oatmeal!
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I bumped it up to 1 1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I bumped it up to 3/4)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (my addition)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together the molasses, brown sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Once everything is well combined, whisk in the milk.

2) Stir in the oats. Coat an 8x8 (or similar sized) baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the oat mixture in. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the oats have soaked up all of the moisture and the center of the dish is firm to the touch.

3) Serve hot or refrigerate and eat cold.

The ingredients playing in the bowl

Whisking in the milk. I love this shot!
Whisking in the oatmeal. It should be very wet at this point.
This is about the consistency of a slurry. It's quite liquid.
I tapped down a few errant oats poking up in clumps in the dish before I put it in the oven.
I liked the cracks in the top. It should have a cake bar-like (more on that in a minute) consistency on top and be almost gooey and thickly wet on the bottom (more on that, too).

Beth's recommendation to put it in a bowl like cereal with milk.
Result: Mixed. I forgot to prepare Rashan for the mixed textures. Oops. He HATED this warm. Like took one bite, barely chewed it and said no. I said, "Oh wow." Then he tried it without the milk and still didn't like it. It was like feeding a child. He's usually not picky and he likes oatmeal so this was surprising. I tried it and thought it was just okay. The molasses was more pronounced than I would have liked. I almost felt like molasses was all I could taste. That makes sense for a gingerbread-style recipe. I just wasn't mentally ready.

The next day, things changed. I tried it cold. The molasses had calmed down to a reasonable level (LOL) and there was one texture. This time I liked it! As a matter of fact, I ate it pre-run with some peanut butter and felt like it would have gone perfectly with a glass of milk. I could also see myself taking this as a small bar on a run and eating it in place of one of those nutrition supplements. It was cool! I would make this again with less molasses.


2011, Recipe 119: Catfish and Grits with Chardonnay Cream

Recipe courtesy of Darius at Everyday Cookin'

This is one of my favorite fish recipes EVER!! I can't believe it's been almost two years since I last made it. Just a crying shame! I decided to health it up just a little (sauteing instead of deep frying) to see if it would still be yummy. I put all of my changes in parentheses. Stay tuned...

For the catfish:
  • 2 catfish fillets
  • Sazon by Goya (2 packets)
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Olive oil, for sauteing (my change)
Liberally season fish with Sazon, salt, pepper, and paprika. Allow to sit for up to 30 minutes to marinate. Heat oil. Sauté until golden brown and flaky. When done, remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

For the grits:
  • 2 ½ cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups of stone ground grits or polenta
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (you could eliminate to make it even healthier)
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add salt and grits and stir continuously. Once grits have thickened and cooked through add in butter, cheese, and cream. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook through until thick and creamy. Remember, you can’t rush this process – you will need about 30 minutes to cook grits properly.

For the sautéed spinach:
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Combine everything in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Cook through until spinach has wilted to your desire. Be sure to mix well to ensure all seasonings have been thoroughly incorporated.

For the Chardonnay Cream Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon of flour (my add to help it thicken)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of Chardonnay (or any white wine)
  • ½ cup of 2% milk (my change)
  • ½ cup of Asiago cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium sauce pan sauté shallots and garlic cloves in the butter until soft. Start sauté on medium heat and be sure not to brown too much. Mix in flour and cook for a minute or two to get rid of the raw taste. Add Chardonnay and let reduce by half. Turn heat to low and add in cream, parsley, and cheese and stir until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon sauce over entire dish.

Result: JUST AS DELICIOUS!!!! Darius is a genius. Also last time I made the sauce with a sauvignon blanc and this one with a pinot grigio. Still awesome. The chicken broth is marvelous with the grits. Rashan though the spinach was the best thing EVER!! It was really funny. How about this spinach is the one that made me realize once and for all spinach makes my teeth feel AWFUL. Chalky and dry. :((( I love spinach. I shant stop eating it. But yes, everything about this recipe is marvelous! Do yourself a favor and try it!


2011, Recipes 116-118: Roast Chicken, Mushroom Soup and Chicken Liver Paté

 Roast Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Anthony Bourdain
  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs (1.8 kg), giblets reserved
  • Salt (preferably sea salt) and freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (do not get that dried trash anywhere near my bird!)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme (What did I just say?)
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) herb butter (see recipe at bottom of post)
  • 3 tbsp (42 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (340 ml) white wine
  • A little chopped flat parsley
The recipe is incredibly long thought not terribly complicated so just use the link shown above if you want to make this.

Results: Yummy! But a pretty basic herb-roasted chicken.

 Mushroom Soup
Recipe courtesy of Anthony Bourdain
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces button mushrooms, halved
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 2 ounces sherry
  • salt and pepper 

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons/28g of the butter over medium heat and add the onion.  
Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter.  
Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn't take on any brown color. 
Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat and simmer 
for about an hour.

After an hour, remove the parsley and discard.  Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then 

transfer to the blender and carefully blend at hight speed until smooth.  (Do this in batches).  When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again.  
Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.
Result: Delicious! I think next time I'll leave some of the soup unpureed to get the chunkiness of the mushrooms. But it was a wonderful soup.

Chicken Liver Paté
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any membranes or fat
  • 6 tablespoons Port wine
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 nice-looking sprig for garnish
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • baguette slices, toasted
  • red grapes (optional)
  1. Rinse the livers and pat them dry. Put them in a small bowl, pour the Port wine over them, cover & refridgerate for 2 hours.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet. Add the shallots, garlic, & chopped thyme and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until softened but not brown (3-4 minutes).
  3. Add the livers, reserving the Port, and cook without browning until the livers just change color (3-4 minutes). (Browning would toughen the exterior of the livers & the pate would not be smooth.)
  4. Add the reserved Port to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Put all of that in a blender and puree until smooth. Add 3 more tablespoons of butter and process again until smooth. Now pour in the cream and pulse just until incorporated. Season with salt & pepper. (Note: It looks & smells horrid, but don't be alarmed! It's much better once it's cooled!)
  6. Spoon the mixture into a 3-cup terrine or dish and smooth the surface. Refridgerate for 1 hour, or until the pate just firms up.
  7. Then, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick) and pour it over the top of the pate to cover completely (this will seal the top & keep from discoloring). Press the thyme sprig into the butter and chill overnight (or up to a week).
  8. Serve with toasted baguette slices & red grapes.
Result: Surprisingly sweet. I'm quite sure it was the the port I used. It wasn't sticky sweet but it was sweet. You don't have to eat the butter on top if you don't want to. My family thought it looked gross. Just scrape it off. I really liked this recipe! It made me feel quite fancy!

Now on day two, I put paté on toasted baguette with Dijon mustard and an egg over medium. It was AMAZING!! I could also see eating this the same way with a little frisée lettuce or arugula like some recipes say. I want this for breakfast regularly now!!


2011, Recipes 114 & 115: Streusel Pear Tart and Three-Way Ginger Snaps

 Streusel Pear Tart
Recipe courtesy of Wendy Kalen and Lori Longbotham at Every Day with Rachael Ray
  • 1/2 recipe Perfect Pie Crust or 1/2 pkg. (14.1-oz.) refrigerated piecrust (1 crust)
  • 6 firm-ripe anjou or bartlett pears (about 3 lbs.)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
  1. Unroll the piecrust into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crust against the bottom and sides of the pan, trimming the top as needed so it is even with the rim. Refrigerate.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°. Peel, core and cut the pears into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. flour, the apple pie spice and salt. Toss the brown sugar mixture with the pears to coat, then spoon into the prepared piecrust.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel over the pears.
  4. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the top is browned and the pears are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

    Results: Meh. The pears were a little firm for my taste. I've also found I don't like loose streusel very much. It's just a bunch of sugar on top. The crust also tasted a bit salty for some reason. I like Martha Stewart's pate brisee better. Other people liked it. I thought it was just okay. I did like the impressive look of the tart, though so I will definitely be making a tart again!

Three-Way Ginger Snaps
Recipe courtesy of Nick Maligeri in "The Modern Baker"

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies before baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 or 3 cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil
1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. If you only have one oven rack like me, set it in the middle of your oven.
2. Mix the flour with the ground ginger, baking soda, and salt.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until lightened, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and continue beating until smooth.
4. Decrease the mixer speed to low and beat in half the flour mixture. Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
5. Beat in the grated ginger, crystallized ginger and the honey. After they are incorporated, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the dough.
6. Roll 1/2 tablespoon of the dough between the palms of your hands to make a little sphere, then roll it in a shallow bowl of raw sugar. Place it on one of the prepared pans. Continue with the remaining dough, keeping the subsequent cookies about 2 inches apart on all sides. Make sure these are small and spaced. They spread a lot.
7. Bake the gingersnaps until they spread and become deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, place the pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa, turning the pans from back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives off strong bottom heat, stack the pan on the lower rack on top of a second one for insulation. If you're working with only one rack, just turn your pan from back to front after the first 10 minutes.
8. Slide the papers off the pans to cool the cookies. If you have only one more pan of gingersnaps to bake, readjust one of the racks to the middle level for baking.
Results: Y'all. These are some of the best ginger snaps I've ever had in my whole life!!! They're so gingery and delicious! I LOVE the crystallized ginger. Everybody went nuts over them. If you store them in the freezer, you can eat them straight out of the freezer and they stay fresher longer.


2011, Recipe 113: Sausage Brioche Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Claire Robinson
  • 1 brioche loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage (no casings)
  • 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippings and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Results:  I made this for Thanksgiving and it was AMAZING!! Use brioche!! It's egg-y and fattening and delicious!!! Simple but amazing!! Did I say it was amazing?? It was amazing!! The next morning, it inspired me to create my new favorite post-holiday breakfast: dressing with a fried egg. I'm drooling right now!!


2011, Recipes 110-112: Casseroles and Such: Cabbage Casserole, Stuffed Shells and Stuffed Mexican Peppers

 Cabbage Casserole
*Combination of several recipes
  • 1 small head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced  
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes
Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water until crisp-tender. DO NOT OVERCOOK. It will continue to cook in the oven and you want your cabbage to be a little firm. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add ground beef and spices and brown. Drain. Drain cabbage and place half in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Top with half of the ground beef, add half of the tomatoes. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. 

Results: Quite yummy! Rashan is alternately scared of cabbage because of bad experiences as a kid but he liked this, too.

Stuffed Shells
Recipe courtesy of
  • 1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 4 cups large curd cottage cheese
  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
  2. Blend cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, mushrooms and garlic powder in a food processer. Rub the dried herbs in the palms of your hands to pulverize them, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells using a ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
  3. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 15 x 10 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 
Results: I made this recipe because Rashan requested it and hated every minute. I found it overly time consuming for the result. Some of my shells broke so I ended up just mixing it all together like a casserole. I think this also needed another flavor. Maybe spinach or meat. 

Stuffed Mexican Shells
Recipe courtesy of Jasgirl at with a few modifications
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, divided
  •  4 large poblano peppers
  •  2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Brown ground beef over medium heat with spices, breaking it apart into crumbles as it cooks, about 8 minutes. Drain excess fat. Stir in the cooked rice and 1/2 of the tomatoes; mix until thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. Mix in half of the cheese.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the poblanos in half lengthwise. Remove stems, membranes, cores, and seeds. Place a steamer insert into a large saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place the peppers into the steamer insert, cover the pan, and steam until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Place the steamed peppers into the prepared baking dish, and fill lightly with the meat filling. Spoon the remaining tomatoes over the peppers and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot, 25 to 30 minutes. 
Result: Delicious! I might make a casserole-type version of this one again tonight!


2011, Recipe 107-109: Vegan Black & White Bean Soup, Black Salt Asparagus, Chipotle-Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Since I'm quite behind, I'll do a bunch of sides in one post. You could use these for a weeknight meal or holiday meals. I think you'll like them!

Vegan Black and White Bean Soup
Recipe courtesy of
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can white beans, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook the onion, celery, garlic, and thyme together in the hot oil until the celery is soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the black beans, 4 cups vegetable broth, and the cumin to the pot; mix to combine. Stir the white beans, the remaining vegetable broth, and the sage into the mixture; bring to a gentle boil and simmer 30 minutes. 

Results: Very yummy! I would suggest adding a teaspoon of celery salt. Here's a secret... my version wasn't vegan... ore even vegetarian. I don't like vegetable broth (barely glorified water) so I used chicken broth.
 Black Salt Asparagus
Recipe courtesy of
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon black sea salt, or to taste
Preheat the oven broiler. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler.
Place the asparagus spears on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with black sea salt.
Broil the asparagus until tender and starting to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. 
Results: I got some black lava salt for our wedding. Loooooooved this recipe! So yummy! Rashan said the black salt tastes exactly like regular salt. I think it's saltier so there!

Chipotle-Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 whole canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add butter to potatoes and mash with potato masher. Add peppers, sauce, and salt and continue mashing to combine. Serve immediately. 

Results: I now know if I didn't like this recipe, there's no hope for me and sweet potatoes as a side dish. Rashan loved it. I did not. Blech. But that's no fault of the recipe.


2011, Recipe 106: Sausage and Potato Casserole

Recipe courtesy of

1 lb. pork sausage meat
3 c. cubed raw potatoes
3 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
Fry sausage in a large skillet, use a large spoon or fork to break up and stir the meat while it cooks.

As soon as all pink color is gone, push meat to one side and brown potato cubes slightly in the sausage drippings. Stir potatoes and sausage together, sprinkle flour over mixture. Stir until flour is absorbed by the fat. Add milk to cook and stir until thickened slightly.

Pour mixture into a 2 quart casserole. Sprinkle cheese and paprika over the top, cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.

Results: I drained the sausage and reserved a little of the fat to fry the potatoes in. I wanted something simple but I thought this was just okay. I've become more accustomed to more complex flavors. This fell quite flat. Typical of recipes from this site.


Thanksgiving Menu 2011

It's that time again!  As a confident cook, this is one of my favorite times of year!  I get to try at least 5 of the recipes I've been hoarding for the rest of the year!  Who am I kidding?  At least 7.  Last year (that list didn't include the shrimp bisque I ended up making) I made one of the best turkeys I've EVER had.  And I don't even like turkey!  This year we'll be at my mother-in-law's house so I won't need to do the meat.  They have some favorites and I have free reign to make whatever I want.

Rashan & I had fried oysters our first Thanksgiving together at his mom's house & now we require them at all holiday gatherings!!!
Turkey, ham, fried oysters

Soup & Appetizers
My family didn't eat soup for holiday meals traditionally but with in subscribing to food magazines for years, I now consider them a staple!  For meals at my mother-in-law's, Tyler's ultimate french onion soup is required! 

French onion soup, chicken liver paté (me/Tyler Florence), marinated chickpeas (me/Tyler Florence), olives with rosemary & orange (me/Tyler Florence)

The most important thing about Thanksgiving?? Maybe... Meat is required, but Thanksgiving would be worthless without a plethora of sides.  I knew I wanted to try a dressing even though they use stuffing.  My sister-in-law makes a fabulous mac & cheese so she'll be doing that.  And grandma's mac & cheese is a staple at their holiday suppers.  Without it, there would be mass revolt!
Stuffing, sausage brioche dressing (me), french-style green beans, squash casserole (sis-in-law), cranberry sauce, goose fat smashed potatoes (me/Rachael Ray), mac & cheese (grandma), sweet potatoes (mom-in-law)


I'm not a bread person unless it's in dressing or laden with butter (brioche or croissants)... I doubt I'll even touch these.  No one requested cornbread.
Crescent rolls

I'm making a tart mostly because I've had a tart pan for almost a year and never used it!  I'm also considering a pumpkin custard and a chocolate mousse since they love all things chocolate!
Triple the Ginger snaps (me), streusel pear tart (me), sweet potato pie (sister-in-law)