Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pre marathon pizza

I knew Tony and Jin Dooley were coming into town for the marathon and 14.2 miler respectively, but didn't know what their plans were. Heather was out of town and the Dawgs were going to be playing so I threw some flour, etc.. into the bread machine to make pizza dough. Gustov encouraged Heather to come home and Tony called saying they would be over in the afternoon. I through together a pizza with what we had in the fridge and made some roasted garlic penne for those that wanted to "carbo load" before the race. I forgot to take a picture, but it was nothing special. The night was however. It is always good to hang with friends and family.

Chance and I worked the water table @ 8/18 this morning with some early help from Sandra Marlin. We got to cheer on many old friends and make some new ones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mom is gone spaghetti

Heather isn't a big spaghetti fan so I decided to make some in her absence. The bad thing is, I didn't check to make sure the ingredients we "always have" didn't turn into "almost always have". I had no canned tomatoes. Or fresh ones for that matter. I put something together with onion, roasted garlic, ground beef, a can each of tomato sauce and paste, a little red wine, and a few other things. I even took a beautiful picture, or thought I did.... Use your imagination. Tanner was happy, that is all that mattered tonight. He had a tough day at school.

On a brighter note, Mimi is doing excellent! Between the morphine and other wonders of modern medicine, she is almost bearable. ;-) She knows I love her. Heather is a wonderful care giver because her heart is so big. Mimi is in good hands.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Polenta and Braised Pork Lasagna

It's Heather blogging this time. I couldn't sleep last night and stayed up working on this dish. I found it on I tried not to deviate from the recipe at all. The reviews all made a comment on the limited amount of polenta and I would have to agree. If I were to make it again (and I will), I would probably make 4 times the amount of polenta. The polenta was really good, though. Next time I will make the polenta the day before and let it set. I would find the pan you plan on cooking the whole thing in and make one big layer somehow. If I perfect this, I will blog later.

As you can probably see from the picture, it was runny due to the polenta not setting up and there was not a lot of it. I had to add extra salt and some pepper. I would suggest adding more to the pork mixture. Other than those two changes, I really enjoyed this recipe and will make something similar. Bon Appetito!

Leaning tower of Krystal's

I took the boys to Krystal's for lunch on Sunday after Mimi decided they needed to eat and Heather wasn't back from caring for Charlie. This is a picture of the aftermath....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vegetable recovery night

I am still not back into the full swing of things. I drank 5 bottles of water today. I ended up having a Diet Dr. Pepper after a vicious "I haven't had caffeine all day because I couldn't stomach anything" headache. I just decided to go with an easy all veggie plate. Quick, easy, cheap, and in the end, quite delicious. I cooked Butter Peas in chicken stock and a touch of bacon grease, white corn with the same, and blackeyed peas with some picante for a bit of flavor. I whipped up a pan of cornbread and we ate in a solemn mood. Heather had just found out that while Mimi was in the hospital, they found a tumor on her kidney. They are going to take it on Wednesday. The prognosis is quite positive. So in the end, the colitis was karma paying that great woman back for all the great things she has done. If she had not had that happen, there is no telling when they would have found the tumor. We are discussing about what to do to be there for her. This is all new territory for us. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Sunday night

Crackers for me. And a touch of the Hamburger Helper Heather made. (Say that 3 times fast). It was a fitting end for that kind of weekend.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hot Wing and Onion Dip Saturday night

Jim, aka "Boppa", specifically requested Heather to make her onion dip and hot wings on this trip. I knew I was in trouble.... I ate a little, and it was good, but I paid for it later... Heather deviated slightly from her classic recipe and added a little chipotle to the sauce per Jim's recommendation. She made a mid feast adjustment and added habanero tobassco to kick up the heat a notch. Jim called it "The classic Southern dinner".

Sal and Mookie's Saturday

Saturday was better. I still didn't feel well, but after having a total of 3 crackers on Friday, I ventured out of the house. We visited Mimi in the hospital, but I didn't breathe on anyone and kept my distance. Jim suggested Sal and Mookie's for a quick lunch because they wanted hot wings for dinner. Just what I needed.....

Sal and Mookie's is one of Hollie's company establishments. I highly recommend it. It was loud, but the service was outstanding and the pizza is unparalleled. There is a huge list of available toppings and many suggested pies. We selected the Gambino for the adults and a pepperoni for the boys. We had picked up Greyton by then and he is hilarious. The Gambino - ricotta, mozzarella, Fontina, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and sautéed spinach. Excellent! See more about the pizzeria/Pie bar/ice cream shop here: or watch "Do the Right Thing". They have an excellent beer selection, but I stuck to water. Check it out if you are ever in the Fondren area.

Friday, the day from heck....

I woke up feeling terrible. That wasn't odd since Dr. Haire changed my BP meds to something new, but as soon as I stood up, I had the urge to purge. It was ugly. Afterwards, I felt reasonably OK. I hate missing work so I got ready, took the boys to school and made it to work. We had lots of things cooking and I hated to leave, but Mother Nature said, "Richard, you have 14.3 minutes to get home before I hurt you!" I made it in 14.2...... After another round of vomiting etc... Heather came home and asked if I was up to going to Jackson. I thought I would be feeling better by the end of the evening so I loaded up in the car, laid the seat back, and tried not to die on the way there. I pretty much went straight to bed and tried not to die.

Heather's Mom was in the hospital so it was a pretty mild weekend. It didn't stop Heather, Jim, Brian and Hollie, and Nat and Rand from making their Walker's reservations though. They said it was excellent. I hate I missed it. Walker's is one of my favorite restaurants. You will have to ask one of them for those details. They went to visit Mimi after they left there.

Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

Heather requested my short ribs for her birthday. Her birthday was Friday, but we were going to Jackson so I made them Thursday night. I have never made them with mashed potatoes so I tried to fufill her request with caution. It turned out quite nice. She was happy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shrimp and asparagus rissoto

Heather made a "clean the fridge out; we are going to be gone all weekend" meal. The difficult part of this dish is making sure the asparagus is done, but not mush. She did a great job. Chance ate without hesitation till I told him about some of the unique "side effects" of asparagus. Tanner of course, was a different issue.

It was surprising that our very recently purchased and quite expensive red bell pepper was already turning. She put it to good use. Don't ask her for a recipe; there wasn't one...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roast Chicken

Tonight I roasted a chicken. I blended some butter, some herbs, and few other spices into a rub and put under the skin all over the bird. I rubbed the outside with butter to get a crispy skin. I roasted at 500 for about 15 minutes, then turned the heat down until it was done. I cooked some brussel sprouts in chicken stock and boiled some fresh silver queen corn. We didn't even think about asking Tanner to try the brussel sprouts. We choose our battles.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coquille Saint-Jacques

Heather found some scallops on sale at Kroger yesterday. We already had the puff pastry in the freezer, so she decided to whip up some Coquille Saint-Jacques. So much for my low sodium mandate from Dr. Haire. Maybe I'll sweat it off tomorrow..... Check out the basic recipe here:

Orzo "Rissoto"

Heather is always thinking about different things. While we were at Kroger yesterday, she picked up some Orzo and some other, smaller pasta. She looked up a recipe for the Orzo that prepared it very similar to aborio rice. She made her standard Osso Bucco and the orzo. The recipe she used called for lemon. Wow! It was lemony. By itself, it was outstanding. However, with the veal, it was a little over powering. It is something she will make again, but with a different combination of flavors.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tri-tip roast

We have been a fan of the tri-tip since we first tried it. It is part of the sirloin. It is often labled as Santa Maria Barbeque from the Norhern California valley that has made it famous. Last night I was inspired to give it a barbeque technique instead of our normal roasting. Well, we had to adjust a little. The trusty Weber let me down. I wanted to slow roast it, but it never got even close to hot enough. I ended up brining it in and finishing it in the oven so we could eat before midnight. I made some rissoto with a little bit too much roasted garlic. I know! How could anyone say "Too much roasted garlic"! Well, I can tell you, it had a little bit too much roasted garlic. I made some butter peas with some chicken stock and bacon grease. At least those were good. Tanner ate the tri-tip on the end of his fork like a lollipop. He was happy. That always makes it easier.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bistro Stye Short Ribs

I stopped by Tony's meat market last night on the way home from a long week. I had the taste for some beef, but I didn't see my favorite short ribs in the case. Scott recognized me and told me he had some in the back and would go cut them. A few minutes later he emerged with an entire slab cut perfectly. I took them, a tri-tip steak, and a sixer of Grolsch and headed home.

I usually make them with onion, celery, tomato, bacon, and wine. I had recently seen Tyler Florence make them on his "Ultimate" show on FoodNetwork. He purees the vegetables, then browns them up before adding the liquid. I gave it a shot. You can find the basic recipe here:

I chose to serve mine with some cheese grits. I like the way the juices from the short ribs and the texture of the creamy grits blend into a delicious mush. I will be preparing them this way from now on. OK, maybe a few tweaks here and there, but this was the best so far....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gran Pearl's Sausage Casserole

Heather made her interpretation of Gran Pearl's sausage casserole. She makes it with aborio rice and hot sausage, but it is quite similar to her grandmother's. Tanner pitched a fit about eating it, but after about an hour and a half, he finished it off. She also threw together some delicious seafood appetizers. Let us know if you want the recipe.

Anniversary Dinner

Heather and I have been married for 14 years. To celebrate, I took her to The Bistro on Park, formally The Bistro on Main. They moved into the old Park Heights building on Park St. It is quite nice. The atmosphere was perfect and we were greeted by the owner/chef and she wished us a happy anniversary.

We started with salads. Heather had a spinach and strawberry salad with a sweet vinaigrette and goat cheese. I had the Bistro salad which was a mix of baby greens, bacon, Gorgonzola, grape tomatoes, and caramelized onion with a vinaigrette. We were both happy with the selection. I selected a bottle of Louis Jadot Bourgogne Blanc. It was crisp and delicious. Jonathan did an excellent job of the wine service.

For the main course, Heather selected Veal Oscar. If there is veal on a menu, odds are, that is what she will be going for. The chef made a napleon like presentation with a base of mashed potatoes, then alternating layers of crab, asparagus, and sauteed veal scallopini. It had a piquant lemon sauce over all of it. It was incredible.

With Jonathan's guidance, I choose the Halibut Champagne. I was torn between it and the lobster and grits. He told us how the chef poached the fresh, wild caught halibut in butter, then prepared the rest. It was a good decision. The large halibut fillet was crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside. It was served with asparagus and smashed potatoes with a champagne beurre blanc. Truly rich and delicious.

Heather and I both used the country bread served with the garlic infused oil to finish the plates. It was that good.

The chef helped us celebrate our anniversary by letting us choose our dessert. Out of the many selections, we decided on the Bananas Foster. It was nicely done.

Overall, The Bistro on Park was an excellent place to celebrate our marriage and our lives.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beef Stew Surprise

OK, that isn't a fair title, but it is accurate. Heather takes beef stew meat, lightly dusts it with flour, browns it, then it varies from there. Last night it was onion, bell pepper, beef stock, and cabernet. The trusty Lodge dutch oven was used again. She appeased me by making brown rice and steaming some broccoli.
Then we had some of C's Creme Brulee. More on that later....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Osso Bucco

Heather made one of her favorites. Osso Bucco with a mushroom risotto. Wow! It is so good. She has tweaked her technique over the past few months and she has it down. Saving the marrow for the last morsel sounds disturbing, but there is no other taste/texture combination that compares. The guys at Tony's meat market see me walk in and start cutting a veal shank. They know why I am there.

Why a Blog?

We have always tried to be open minded about food. Sometimes we make delicious meals, sometimes we don't, but we are always willing to try something new. We have also been trying to teach our children to be open minded in life. We will try to post some of our efforts on a regular basis.