Brussels Sprout Risotto with Amish Blue

Bob sadly, likes his Brussels sprouts plain, either boiled or steamed.  What he doesn't realize is that there would be no challenge, or fun at all for the chef in complying.  That said, some of these sprouts were indeed simmered, albeit shredded, with the Arborio rice, and some quartered and fried to garnish the top.  So theoretically, we're both going to be happy here??  Right? 


Perfect Pizza Makes Me Sing, That's Amore!

Our latest selection from Cook the Books Club has been Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, by Kathleen Flinn.  You have to love that title, which was actually an axiom direct from the author's grandmother; given to let the kids know they should not let a bit of burn stop them from eating their toast.  She was definitely a frugal woman.

The memoir was touching, often sad, occasionally humorous, a poignant remembrance of Flinn's childhood and some of her parents' and grandparents', with historical background, mostly taking place in Michigan, though with brief sojourns in California and Florida.  Totally making me happy to be in Hawaii.   Sorry, but to be impoverished would be bad enough without freezing weather to top it all off.

Too funny though, her account of deer hunting in Michigan (applicable to neighboring states as well, I'm sure):
"No one discussed the ethics, or debated gun ownership.  Sitting in the woods quietly freezing with a rifle in your hand was simply a rite of passage.....Even as a young child, I felt fortunate to be a girl."

 Angelo Pellegrini, our previous CTBC author, would be thrilled with all the canning, baking, gardening, hunting and foraging going on in this remembrance.  Most of which stopped however, when they moved from farm life to a city, and with full-time jobs.


Smoked Salmon Omelet with Feta and Beet Relish

This scrumptious little number is a brunch, breakfast, or in my case actually, a dinner recipe, for Sunny Side Up! our IHCC week's theme, taken from Curtis Stone's cookbook,  Good Food, Good Life.  And it is.  Good  food that is.  Bob is usually only around for breakfast on Sundays, a bit late for this posting, so rather than do it all up just for myself, it was a lovely dinner for two.


Salad of Figs, with Basil, Amish Blue and Pomegranate Vinaigrette


Well, as nearly always happens, the recipe will sound terrific, but there is a distinct lack of certain items.  In this case, a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, current featured chef at IHCC (I Heart Cooking Clubs), calling for  fresh figs and goat cheese.  Okaaaay, we had dried ones, and for feta, we had a lovely, creamy Amish Blue, which I had spontaneously bought and wanted to try.


Absolute Best Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Muffins, Ever

I may as well admit right here to an addiction for real fluff, as far as some (not all :)) of my reading goes.  What the hey, it's also called light entertainment.  Or the written version of daytime soaps I suppose.  Along those lines are some that feature food.  Such as Christine Wenger's Comfort Food Mysteries, of which my latest read was Diners, Drive-ins and Death.

Our plucky heroine owns, runs and cooks the graveyard shift at the Silver Bullet Diner, as well as renting out 11 vacation cottages by the lake, and investigating various murders in her spare time.  She's also in denial about her love for the local sheriff in his white Stetson and cowboy boots.  Trixie serves up Diner style, basic comfort food, and the books include some recipes at the end.

Mostly not my sort of recipes, but substitutions can always be made.  For instance the Potato-Cheese Soup sounded pretty good, in which I'm sure Velveeta cheese is not absolutely necessary.   Indeed,  I almost subbed out the creamed corn in these comfort food muffins.  But the can's ingredient list seemed okay, and I went with the flow.

And just saying, these muffins cannot be beat, or raved on enough.  Tender, moist and so flavorful, even comforting, though they weren't mentioned in the book. We get a twice monthly little coupon book with recipes included, from a local supermarket, and I was snagged by their Jalapeño White Cheddar Cornbread in the latest edition.  They looked like they might be good, though should have been called muffins, being that they're baked in a muffin tin.


Mango-Lime Margarita - Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

This was meant to be a Curtis Stone Pineapple-Lime Margarita, for the IHCC Wet your Whistle theme, but all our pineapples are half-size at the moment and totally unripe.  However, and that's a ginormous however, I had one perfectly ripe and delicious mango.

Actually, had to stop myself from eating the entire thing whilst slicing it into the blender.  First of the season and sooooo good.  I love mangoes.  Plus which, with the lime and natural acidity of a pineapple, just my personal opinion, mango is much better in this drink. A really delicious concoction, garnished with kaffir lime leaves and nasturtium flower.  Only one other slight change to the recipe - no straining.  The little bits of fruit were a plus here.  Really.  It's not pure laziness, as this was not a fibrous fruit.

I enjoyed mine while trying to find a Mexican recipe that would use ingredients we have on hand.  Not always an easy thing.  Do visit I Heart Cooking Clubs and see all the lovely drinks being served up this week from Curtis Stone, our current chef in residence.