Another week has come and gone and Fall is almost here. I, for one, CANNOT WAIT. Fall is, by far, my most favorite season, bar none, followed by Spring, Winter and Summer, in that order. We love to take Nicholas apple and pumpkin picking and visit the local farms to get their fresh Apple Pies, the crisp cool air, the smell of the Fall leaves, big pots of homemade soup for Neighbor Soup Night, not having to run the air conditioners all day every day, crackling fireplaces, apple cider doughnuts, taking long drives just to see the changing colors of the leaves, planning the Thanksgiving feast, watching Nicholas take a flying leap with Eli into the just-raked pile of leaves. Like I said, I CANNOT WAIT.
So anyways, this week was a good one, recipe-wise. Just counting Monday to Friday, I made a total of 8 new recipes, with 3 of them being duds. I can live with that because the ones that I thought were great successes were really, really good and more than made up for the duds. I think the standout for me were definitely the Portobello Melts. If you like mushrooms, do try them.
Had company for dinner tonight, and relied on old stand-bys. I made Crispy Chicken with Basil and Sweet Tomatoes over Rice, Chopped Salad and Dulce de Leche Brownies. The Chopped Salad was a new recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food (from the current issue with the Apple Tart on the cover). It wasn’t bad, just not a WOW for me or The Husband, so won’t be a repeater. The chicken and the brownies are both recipes I’ve made time and time again, and I think they’re great fallback recipes. Very easy to make, satisfying and they hit the mark. A nice relaxing evening.
Nicholas’ girlfriend was one of our guests for dinner, and he was so excited to see her, checking the front door every 5 minutes to see if she had arrived yet. I told him yesterday that she would be coming over and he has been talking about it non-stop ever since. This afternoon, every time the phone rang, he’d come running in to find out who was calling. “Mama, who’s on the phone?” “Mama, is it my Girlfriend?” “Mama, when’s my Girlfriend coming?” The phone actually rang 3 times in a row within about half-an-hour (rare!), so he was a nervous wreck, fearing his girlfriend might not come. As if! They sat together at the dinner table and helped each other eat. They are quite cute together, holding hands, hugging and kissing. Yup, even kissing.
Unfortunately pretty immune to his Mom’s homemade cupcakes, Nicholas’ requested mini-cupcakes from the bakery grocery store today for him and The Girlfriend to share after dinner. And share they did …
Come to find out, neither of them actually EAT the cupcake. They just lick off the frosting and move on to the next one!
Georgia, Japan, Indiana, Norway, Algeria, Austria and a bunch of other food bloggers have checked in and added themselves to Tana’s Food Blogger Map, so if you haven’t checked it out, what are you waiting for? ;)
OK, all for tonight. We have what we think is a restful weekend planned, but you all know how that goes! Tune in tomorrow to see what develops. Until then…
Crispy Chicken with Basil and Sweet Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver
4 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken quarters (legs and thighs joined)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a big bunch of fresh basil, rough chopped
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-1/2 lbs of new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped in bite-size pieces
Preheat oven to 275. Season the chicken pieces with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and put them in a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves, the halved cherry tomatoes and the potatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around, pushing the tomatoes and potatoes underneath the chicken. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Take it out, and stir it all around a bit and raise the heat to 325 and cook for another 2 hours. It’s done when you see clear juice coming from the chicken when pierced and the meat falls off the bone. Serve over buttered rice, hot mashed potatoes or linguine.
Dulce De Leche Brownies
1 can Dulce De Leche — (14 ounce) chilled 1/2-hour
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350F. For brownie Layer, line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with buttered parchment paper that you leave overlapping with a 2-inch extension. If you do not have parchment paper, use foil. In a mixing bowl, or mixer, blend the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla well. Stir in the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Spread the batter in prepared pan. Distribute the dulce de leche in dollops all over the batter. Swirl with a knife. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake 26-30 minutes until just set. Cool well. Using the parchment paper overlap to assist, lift loaf out of pan. Chill well in refrigerator (30-45 minutes) before cutting into squares or bars.
TGIF indeed! When I lived in New Jersey, I used to love the fall season as well, especially driving over along the NJ/PA state line area :)
I also love Fall–for me it means football season! Ok, and an end to the scorching N. Texas heat!
I’m impressed w/ how many new recipes you try. Maybe someday I can say the same!
I miss the fall season, because TN just doesn’t get the cooler weather and gorgeous leaf changes the way PA does. One year, I remember wearing a tank top the day of Thanksgiving…it was still that hot down here!
I have my first sign of fall in Paris, the chestnut trees that line the Grand Boulevards are starting to turn brown.
I too love fall, I always think of it as a fresh start, new projects, ect!
Now….that Brownie Recipe looks rather delish! That goes in the ‘save’ file!
As always, I love checking in with you!
Wow.. thanks for putting me on your side bar thingy I feel very honored..
I wish we had a more fall type season here – I do miss that time of the year!
Sweetnicks…the Blog Party round-up has been posted!
Jenn in CT says
Hi there `
Dedicated lurker here.
I seem to remember you mentioning and maybe posting here or at CLBB Michael Chiarello recipe for a tomato pie or tart. I also remember seeing him make it on the show but for life of me cannot find the recipe. Can you point me in the right direction or email me? Have TONS of tomatoes from the garden that I need to use up!
Thanks, Jenn in CT
oops. Here’s my email…
I have found, with much experience, that most of the recipes that look really good in Everyday Food Magazine, are really bland or unexciting once you taste them. I don’t really know why. They also make things that I knew about for ages, or a tip that I’ve been doing for years and thought I created, sound really amazing.
I guess I’m a real foodie and find food interesting and fun. I love buying new ingredients and trying new recipes all the time. I think I make at least 5 or 6 new recipes each week. I scan all my latest cookbooks (I collect them) and find the recipes that sound the best and make them during the week and each week I do this.
Anyway, I am sure that you did nothing wrong when you made the Chopped Salad, it just seemed more interesting than it actually was. I have found this to be true with quite a few recipes from this magazine since it began.
I don’t really know why. I still buy it but rarely cook from it. I like reading it but I find most of the recipes pretty boring, most of the time. I just guess I am ahead of my time and what they find new and exciting, I find boring and been there-done that!
So I am glad that you try so many new recipes. That is terrific. Keep experimenting and posting. I love reading it.
Jeff – a fellow Jerseyan, eh? The NJ/PA/DE state line is definitely gorgeous, especially in the Fall. Can’t wait!
jjsooner, I can’t believe football season is here already! The Husband was already watching some game today. Where did the year go?
Stephanie, wow, tank top on Thanksgiving? I remember a blizzard on Easter — does that count?
Melissa – Paris in the Fall certainly is gorgeous. I always think of school supplies too in the Fall – fresh notebooks! Nothing like the first blank page of a brand new notebook. So much promise. The brownie recipe is definitely worth trying.
No problem, Templar!
Joe – for all NJ’s problems, the change of seasons is definitely a big bonus.
Jenn in CT – that’s not ringing any bells, but I’ll do some digging and see what I can come up with.
Anonymous – I agree on the Everyfood magazine. This is definitely not the first time I have been less than wowed on a recipe from there. I think, for me, the magazine serves as a reminder of the basic recipes that we sometimes overlook in favor of the ones with more exotic and unusual ingredients, you know? Like you, I’m a serious cookbook collector, and love hunting down the perfect recipe for a menu. Nice to have so many options!
I lived in Flemington, worked in Edison for a few years :) I have lots of great memories of the area.
I remember snow for Easter, as well…when I was small, I was sure I’d seen the Easter Bunny’s foot prints in the snow. I only realized, years later, that the prints must have belonged to the paper boy!