Saturday, September 27, 2008

The glorious return of a college staple

I thought Heather and I had single handedly eaten enough Kelly's Chili with Beans to keep the company afloat. However, several years ago, it disappeared. I remember when it started getting difficult to find, we would buy all the store had left and hoard it from the non-deserving general public. We morned it's loss for quite some time. We would occasionally try a can of Campbell's or some other poser brand, but it was just never the same. What is odd, is I was Googling 2 weeks ago to see if there was a way to mail order it. All I found was lots of other lost souls with the same lament. Then, as if by divine intervention, it showed up on the shelves at our local Kroger. I cannot tell you the satisfying pleasure of that first spoonful of greasy goodness. I am going to back today to start stockpiling just in case it was an anomaly.

Strawberry Cake

Some of the ladies at work were celebrating birthdays and they asked me to make a cake. The majority vote was strawberry. I made the cake, but had to leave extra early to go to Booneville for a Check Solutions installation. I left crystal clear instructions with Hope to take a picture of the cake. She made a movie. :-( The good news is that everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The "White Meal"

The Beatles had their "White Album", so equally artistic was Heather's "White Dinner". I had picked up some tilapia fillets at Kroger on the way home. We had some white asparagus from Fresh Market. She pan fried the tilapia and topped it with a classic white sauce with capers. She roasted the asparagus and topped it with white truffle oil. The rissotto had a reduction of leeks (the white parts only) and white wine. Each of the items had a little green shining through. More importantly, Tanner loved it. Go figure....

The Burwell limoncella smiles

After dinner, we enjoyed Boppa's concotion of limoncella. He started it in March. It was worth the effort. Chance was kind enough to take this photo. Maybe we should leave that kind of work to Brian. (:{)

Halibut buerre blanc with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus

The Hull's were coming to Mimi and Boppa's for a post birthday bash meal. Boppa, Heather and I ran out to Fresh Market to find some some chow. After MUCH indecision, we selected some halibut filets. Mimi made an awesome salad of fresh mixed greens, blue cheese, red onion, candied pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was incredible. She also made the garlic mashed potatoes. When we were discussing what to make, her only comment was that those had to be included. That made a nice bed for the halibut fillets that I had lightly seasoned with salt and pepper then "basted" in a skillet of butter and wine. I cooked the top of the fish by taking the hot mixture and pouring over the top. Then I deglazed the pan with more wine and added fresh dill, cayenne, and some capers. I finished the sauce with more butter, then topped the fish. Boppa had roasted some asparagus with port vinegar and seasonings. All 6 plates were cleaned. Once we had cleaned up a little, we enjoyed Boppa's handmade limoncella. More on that later....

Jake turns 2!

Jake Hull turned 2 last week. We went down to celebrate with this beautiful young man. Hollie had a nice spread at Sal and Mookies. Mimi made this amazing cake. It was fun. State took a beating in Atlanta, but for some reason Jake didn't care. He'll learn.....


This is another one of Heather's ideas. Last Thursday night, it cooked FOREVER. This is a very rich soup that was quite earthy with large chuncks of mushrooms. She sprinkled the top with some parmesan cheese. It was really good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Veal Chops with easy gratin and butter beans

I put some seasoned veal chops in the grill pan, made a quick gratin, and opened a can of butter beans. Super simple = super good. I love veal. What a way to spend a Thursday night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ginger Mustard Chicken with Broccoli casserole

This was another one of Heather's ideas. It is a coated chicken breast in a dish covered with sliced tomatoes and baked together. It is good, but we won't be making it again. It is one of those "good, but not worth the effort" dishes. It had a bit too much ginger and was difficult to get the chicken to the correct doneness. I enjoyed the tomatoes and I don't enjoy tomatoes. She made a broccoli casserole on the side and it was spicy and delicious. You'll have to hit her up for that recipe. Maybe there is a cookbook in the works?......

Eggplant Parmesan

This was our first attempt at Eggplant Parmesan in years. Heather got the recipe here: . It was a LOT like lasagna. We would definitely change a few things about this one. That being said, it was quite good. both boys ate all they could. As you can see, it made a very large quantity. I think next time we will peel the eggplant and I wouldn't bake it quite so long. Heather suggested that we assemble it on the plate and not bake it at all. That sounds like a winner. We'll let you know the results.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marinated Grilled Tuna Steaks

Heather marinated the steaks this morning. I know the rule about marinated fish, but this really worked. It is a citrus ginger marinade. I made some lima beans and quickly put some angel hair pasta together while she grilled the steaks to perfection. I know there wasn't much continuity to the meal, but we had been on the football field with Tanner and were in a bit of a hurry. The tuna is a recipe you want. We'll have this again soon.

Chocolate Marbled cheesecake

Chance has been asking to make a cheesecake for longer than I want to admit. We had the ingredients so I capitulated and watched him make this marbled cheesecake. It is from Junior's cookbook that Mimi gave him for Christmas. It has a chocolate spongecake crust. It is very good. If you don't believe me, ask C.... he'll tell you the same.

hamburger steak

Sunday, Heather got back from the grocery and I got back from taking Tanner to football practice. We wanted something fast and simple. Sauteed onions with a beef gravy on grilled chopped steak was the answer. Zatarans rice and a can of blackeyed peas and we had a nice, easy meal.

Dinner at the Smith's

We went to the Smith's for dinner and an MSU game. The former was much better than the latter. The Antillon's made it. We hadn't seen them in quite some time. Lisa is not afraid of serving something to guests on the first attempt. She made some crab stuffed pepperoncini peppers that were a delicious bite. Then she moved on to Shrimp and Andoullie in a mustard sauce. She made some seasoned green beans and a "creamed corn" that was fantastic. She had 2 little pans of cornbread to finish it off. It was nice. She can provide the recipes if you need them. Maybe she'll leave them in a comment. She also made a peach cobbler that was tasty. We had that with some leftover peach ice cream and it was great. Carlos brought a big bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and I brought a Pinot Noir. We finished those off and watched the game. Maybe we should do that again when State has a for sure win lined up like LA Tech. Oh wait... Nevermind.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Impromptu tostados

Saturday morning brought on hunger. No one was anxious to go anywhere so I rummaged through the cabinets and decided on some tostados. We were out of bread, but had corn tortillas. I brushed them with vegetable oil and baked them till crispy. I heated up some refried beans with a few chopped jalapenos and spread on the tortillas. Add chopped onion, shredded lettuce and a dollop of sour cream and chow down. Chance ate 2 and a half and asked for more. What a kid....

Friday night Bistro style short ribs

Heather had been wanting Short Ribs. Well, that was the last thing I ate before that horrible stomach bug, so I wasn't too thrilled, but my love for her is greater than my nausea. Or so I thought.... I made it like normal and it was just like it should have been, but I had a small bowl of mashed potatoes and tried not to enjoy the aroma from the ribs. Heather ate them and enjoyed. Maybe I'll figure out how to over come that. Maybe....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chance begged till we had spaghetti spaghetti

I wanted hamburger steaks with onion and gravy with a few vegetables. C begged until I gave in and opted for spaghetti. He helped me chop the onion, peppers, and garlic. I made it in the cast iron dutch oven for the first time. It is the bee's knees. Overall I was happy with it. Plus.... LEFTOVERS!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Butter and Orzo

I took pictures again that didn't actually make it to the camera. URGH! Regardless, it was good. Like we will have that again soon good. Check out the recipe here:

Heather didn't add the capers this time, but it would have been good too. I sliced some zucchini and stir fried it with minced ginger and a little rice vinegar. It was OK for a squash, which is not my favorite. I will pay more attention to the camera next time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spicy Shrimp with Tasso Cream and Cheese Grits

This has become a staple around our house. I got it from "Crescent City Cooking" by Susan Spicer. It is a GREAT cookbook. Tasso has become one of our favorite ingredients, especially with grits. This is one everyone should try.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bittersweet chocolate pudding pie with creme fraiche topping

Heather saw this recipe while she was in J-Town helping Mimi. She was very excited to make it this weekend. All I can say is "Wow! That is rich!" She made the Creme Fraiche with buttermilk, cream, and time. The tart bite was a nice contrast to the chocolate pudding. The cookie crust was nice texture. This is not a dessert for the weak at heart. It is a full frontal assault of chocolate and cream. This one is a keeper. Check out the recipe here if you are brave enough:

Lamb chops with potato gratin and Panko crusted artichoke hearts

Heather was kind enough to purchase some New Zeland lamb chops from Tony's. She is not a big fan of lamb, but I am. I marinated the chops in a dijon/thyme/rosemary/olive oil mixture. The gratin was new potato slices with garlic salt, parmesean, mozzarella, topped with cream. Heather cleaned some artichoke hearts and coated them in an egg wash then coverd them in panko, then a quick fry. It was a nice Sunday evening meal while Heather screamed about her fantasy football progress. I am not sure why Peyton insists on throwing to Reggie Wayne (Heather's player) while Marvin Harrison (mine) is wide ass open all the time. He must be a Manning.....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Osso Bucco with Rissotto

before after
Heather made one of the best batches of Osso Bucco she has ever done. She ran to Tony's and the shanks didn't look too good, but she got 2 smaller shanks and asked them to cut them. It was really tasty.

Hot Wings on a Friday night

Heather and I went to see Dr. Engleberg in Memphis for a followup on her back. She is now only "very uncomfortable" instead of "excruciating pain". He gave her a list of exercises to work on and come back in 6 weeks. How frustrating is that?! While were were in east Memphis, we took the opportunity for a surprisingly inexpensive and fast meal at the Macaroni Grill. Heather got the insalata blu, a bowl of Chicken Tuscan soup with gnocchi, and a Sicilian pizza. I had the same salad with 1/2 chicken and cheese sandwich. The soup was the highlight of the meal. The surprising thing was. It was only $1 more than the last time we ate at Connie's Chicken. What a deal! And it only took 30 minutes total.
We got home later than I had planned and the boys were just getting home so we hung out with them for a while. Heather made her infamous hot wings with some celery. Tanner almost melted, but ate the majority of them. No human should pass through this world without getting the opportunity to enjoy her wings.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grilled Salmon w/ Jalapeno Butter and grilled corn

Heather worked on the jalapeno butter while I was at flag football practice with Tanner. She learned a valuable lesson. NEVER chop a jalapeno, breathe the vapors in, then wipe your eyes without washing your hands. Niagara Falls had nothing on her tear ducts. However, the end result was worthy of the lesson. I fired up the charcoal when I got home and shucked the corn. That is what good ole' country boys do. However, I screwed up when I couldn't get the charcoal to stay hot. I put one piece of newspaper in the chimney to keep the coals going. I thought nothing of it. I cooked the corn in the husks for about 15 minutes. I pulled them off and put on the simply seasoned salmon fillets. I smoked them for about 6 minutes. They were done. I pulled everything off and plated it. There was a very strange aroma. I put a large pat of the jalapeno butter on the fillet and took a picture. Then I took a huge dollop of the seasoned butter and spread it over my fillet. Heather had taken some white truffle oil and blended it with some clarified butter for the corn. Excellent combination. However, my screw up of adding one sheet of newspaper reared its ugly head with a strange funk. Luckily, the meal was delicious. Simple, semi-healthy, but funky. I regret messing up Heather's otherwise brilliant meal. Lesson learned. Please check out the salmon recipe here:

It is worth the effort.....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

I took 2 pictures of this. It was that good. They are not on the camera. I guess Brian needs to give me a few lessons.

I LOVE this dish. Wow it is good. Low cal, low fat, high flavor. I sooooo wish I had a pick. It is a great combination of flavors. Check out the recipe here:

If you can do half as good as Heather did, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chicken Picatta with pasta and mushrooms

We have always regularly made a picatta. Veal is the favorite, but sometimes it is hard to find (or afford). Tonight Heather took lightly floured chicken tenders and sauteed them in butter and olive oil. Then she sauteed the mushrooms and made a sauce with lemon, pinot grigio, and capers. It was finished with minced parsley. She put it on a bed of multi-grain angel hair pasta. It was a "lighter" version of a picatta than we usually have. She is trying to look after my health. It wasn't missing anything.

Orzo mac and cheese

Heather made a mac and cheese with the classic bechamel but substituted orzo for the standard elbow macaroni. The boys freaked out. It was that good. Definitely a keeper.

Ribeye with Boursin

After a very relaxing labor day, Heather finished off the day with a delicious meal. She made some mashed potatoes with roasted garlic. She blanched some fresh green beans, then tossed them with sauteed bacon and red onion. The ribeyes were simply seasoned with salt and pepper. She used the cast iron grill pan to sear them and finished them in the oven to a perfect medium rare. She got a little too zealous to put them in the oven and grabbed the 400 degree pan with her bare hand. I heard the sizzle from across the room. She is ok, but it was painful. She topped the steaks with a blend of Boursin and clarified butter. Wow! It was most excellent. You should be jealous....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Heather's chili adventure

OK, "adventure" is a bit much, but Heather has a knack of putting together different textures that compliment each other. She used a chili kit with canned tomatoes, beans, and browned ground beef to make a chili. It was good on its own. But she cooked some Acini di pepe pasta, put the chili over it and topped it with grated cheddar and chopped red onion. She finished it with a dollap of sour cream. That combination was so much better. The bite of the small pasta, the richness of the chili, the creaminess of the sour cream, and the crunch of the raw onion was quite nice. I look forward to leftovers for lunch later this week.