Sunday, November 30, 2008

danger, danger, daaaangggeeerrr!

Bought a box of these yesterday. Oh my goodness. Have made quite a dent already, all by myself. They are addicting - the candy cane flavor leaves a hint of mint in your mouth that lingers oh so delicately and sends the message to your brain that YES, you need another...and another....
I've read around the web that they sell out fast...I think I'll just pick me up another box, you know, to last through Christmas, of course. In fact, I'd better, because I am not sharing this box, I just decided. It's mine, mine!

Somebody help me! This obsession leads to major overuse of, commas, !

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake

My Thanksgiving contribution consisted of a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake, requested especially by Andy. Here is my first attempt. There are changes that I'll make for sure, it wasn't sweet enough or cheese-cakey enough, but it was met with satisfaction from the family so that's good! We spent our holiday with Andy's family in Medford, and had a VERY relaxing day, so much to be thankful for. I forgot to take a picture of the sliced pie too, whoops!
Another silly thing to be thankful for - I got to use my parent's kitchen which has 3x the counter space and an amazing oven. So baking was actually fun! Hope you had a great holiday!

(Used Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Gingersnaps)




BAKE! Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie (BH & G)

1 pie shell (I made a gingersnap pie crust w/crushed gingersnap, melted butter, and cinnamon)

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

15 oz (1 can) pumpkin

2/3 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 c. half and half or light cream

chopped chocolate for garnish

Bake and cool crust (unless already prepared). Heat oven to 375 degrees. In medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar and 1 egg; beat on low speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture in the cool crust. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate. In a bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spice. Stir in 4 eggs. Gradually stir in half and half. Slowly pour pumpkin mixture onto the chocolate layer. Cover pie edge with foil so it will not burn. Bake 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate within 2 hours. Top with more chopped chocolate if desired, and serve with homemade whipped cream.

Monday, November 24, 2008

breakfast for dinner and Madame Récamier

Family Traditions are something I take very seriously (hence the capital T). In fact, I can get un peu scary about it, just ask my poor family, and their unsuccessful attempts to modify or suggest new traditions. Not happening! One year - my heart rate still rises when I think about it - we went OUT for Christmas Eve dinner! It was terrible! Not because eating out on Christmas Eve is a bad thing, it's just that it is NOT our tradition.

But this isn't about Christmas...yet...this is about breakfast for dinner. Sunday nights growing up were church nights, so to placate her children (I like to think) my mom made breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, eggs, and bacon with lots of syrup and OJ to top it off. There's just something about the way each family cooks breakfast and how it has a different taste to it. Have you ever noticed that? I think I could pick out my mom and dad's fried eggs in a lineup, blindfolded.

I can hear my parents finally exhale after all these years, because I don't really have a monopoly on holiday traditions anymore. It has only taken me one year and six months to come to terms with it! I have a new last name, new family members, and a husband who doesn't freak out as easily as I do. So we have our own traditions to create - we can make completely new ones or borrow from family and improvise.

All this to say, we borrowed a family tradition from both sides - breakfast for dinner. Last night it was waffles with peanut butter (sunflower butter for me), eggs, butter-fried potatoes, orange juice, and a big juicy pomegranate. Now a Kimmelshue family tradition.

Mom, if you're reading this, don't get any ideas!

Just thought I'd add this on to brighten your day. Jacque-Louis David, 1800.
Madame Récamier, Courtesy of Le Louvre ( Magnifique! Mystérieuse!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dinner, Simplified.

Sometimes the last thing I want to do on Thursdays after a 2 hour exhausting dance class is make a complicated dinner. That's where this dinner combo comes in. It's fairly new to our reperatoire, but it has become a favorite. You'll need 4 simple ingredients:

Chicken Thighs, with skin and bone
1/2 to 1 pound fresh green beans
1/2 to 1 pound mushrooms
French bread OR rice, your choice

Preheat the oven to 450. Ground fresh black pepper all over the chicken, use a little more than you think you'll need. We use chicken thighs because of their superb flavor, and the great way the skin crisps. Cook till browned and crispy, 30-45 mins, turning once.

While the chicken is cooking, wash the green beans and remove the stems. Clean and quarter the mushrooms.

10 minutes before the chicken is done, cook the green beans. Use LOTS of butter (We use Kerrigold Cultured Irish Butter, unsalted) and add some fresh minced garlic to the pan. Cook to your preference (we like them crunchy). Cover and keep warm. Right before serving, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice, a generous grating of Parm. Regg., and add a little sprinking of Celtic Sea Salt.

On to the mushrooms. Cook, like the green beans, in butter, to your preference.

Serve the chicken, mushrooms, and green beans with rice or french bread.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Three Cheers for Pots and Pans!

Arg, my kitchen is SO white! That's why I am so happy that we got our pot rack hung today. It's like art on all it's own - the light reflecting from the stainless and the contrasts it creates against the black rack - I thoroughly enjoy it. We had to get a little creative with it because there wasn't a great place to hang it from the ceiling, and if you know me, anything that hangs, sticks out, runs along the floor, or is sharp is a possible hazard. I just knew if those pots were hanging out in the open my head would meet them sooner or later.

Plus, my p&p's and I have too good of a friendship to stick them in a dark cabinet next to the arrogant onions and the moody potatoes. They deserve to be recognized! Good job, guys. Or girls. Or both?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a sunday morning mini-photo-journal

I had the house to myself this morning while Andy opened at the coffee shop. I decided to make pumpkin pancakes with TJ's gluten-free pancake mix and my pumpkin puree. Unfortunately I threw the bag away that the mix came in when I transferred it to its special container. So I don't really know what the ratios are. This was the result - brown and almost burned on the outside, crepe-like, and completely raw on the inside. Ew! On to plan B.
But first, I consoled myself by admiring these beautiful gerbers that my husband brought me (The kids are jealous once again) The cruddy pancakes are forgotten! If only life was that easy - "I've had the worst day ever! Oh look, these flowers are so beautiful that I have completely forgotten about whatever was causing me pain! Oh joy!"

I usually trim the stems down, but the sturdy bright green was just too enjoyable.

Now I've got zero options for breakfast. I don't want cornflakes! Those are for crispy chicken. Plan B is a delicious smoothie - frozen mango chunks and mixed berries, coconut milk, a little bit of rice milk and OJ, and a splash of Aloe Vera juice. And the last 1/2 of a chocolattey soy mocha from Black Rock in one of my favorite mugs. Not microwaved, but warmed up in a pan so it doesn't taste wonky. YUM-E.
Have a restful, relaxing, rejuvenating Lord's Day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

octopus-man, pumpkins, and a Bizarre Occurence.

I have a number of interesting things to share. First of all, I've been cooking a lot but somehow always forget to take pictures until after it's all eaten up.

Andy's cousin is an art major at PSU and gets to make all sorts of fun things. She knitted this octopus for one of her classes and brought it over to show. It was insanely good and the yarn was amazing!

I bought a pumpkin at the Farmer's Market and cooked it for the first time. I was/am determined to use fresh pumpkin because although canned pumpkin is incredibly convenient and wonderful, I wanted to know what REAL pumpkin tasted like.

So, every Wednesday we have a chili party at our house with Andy's cousin and another one of our friends dropped by today. None of the canned chili junk. I made a colorful, festive pumpkin chili that was very tasty! Honestly, I just threw it together like I always do but here's kind of what I did.

1. Saute your chopped onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the ovoo. What's the surprise? PUMPKIN! Yes, I chopped up about a 1/2 cup-ish fresh pumpkin and threw it in the pot with the o, g, and rpf's. After soft and fragrant, add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and stir.

2. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes in juice, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add 2 cans of whatever beans you like. I used red kidney beans and black beans. Add some chili powder, maybe some paprika. I also throw in a few frozen cubes of homemade chicken broth, just to give it a flavor and health boost. I added some frozen sweet corn in the last 5 minutes.

3. Simmer till delicious. Season to taste. Eat with cheese, sour cream, and frito chips.

What else did I make? Gluten-free pumpkin oatmeal muffins. They were OK, nothing a little irish butter can't improve :).

The weirdest thing yet! How did these tongs get jammed onto this spatula? Neither Andy or I can get it off, no matter how we try to maneuver it or pull on it. It's on there tight! I just really don't know how to explain this phenomenon. And it's my favorite it sits on our table until we can figure out a way to pull it off without breaking something.

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