I have been spending a lot of time in Northern Georgia this spring and summer and one of the greatest benefits comes from the local farms. I have been able to buy a wide array of food from vegetables to eggs to chicken to beef to pork directly from various farms. In several cases, I get to see the farming in action and learn about how they farm and what is important to them. I prefer to buy produce that is not treated with pesticides and eggs and meat from animals not treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. The local farms around here have provided me with that option and I love supporting these hardworking families in their efforts to provide people with healthy and tasty food.
I continue to LOVE my pressure cooker. While I do not use it everyday, I am amazed at what is can do when I do use it. My most recent culinary success came after reading this recipe on Tasting Table. I had been eager to try a dish typically cooked low and slow in my pressure cooker, and this seemed like a great place to start. I did not have much experience with brisket prior to this, but when I have cooked it in the past, it takes HOURS in the oven, and if you smoked it, it would take even longer. This recipe cooks in ONE hour. While that may not be as quick as many weeknight recipes, it is certainly a huge improvement from cooking it all day. I guess that you could put this in a crockpot, however, my cheap crockpot manages to overcook everything I put in there, and I loved that this brisket held its shape yet was still tender and moist.
I know it is pretty far away, but I have been thinking about holiday dinners. Over Christmas this year, I will be cooking for 16 people one night. I want to make something delicious but I don’t want to spend all day cooking. We will be at a rental house at the beach and I would prefer to spend that time outside or with the family and not in front of the stove. I made my traditional lasagna for this group a few years ago and it was a hit, but I was not too excited about repeating the same meal. And then I got a email with the recipe that I had been looking for.
When it comes to weeknight cooking, I look for recipes with a high T:E ratio (Tastiness to Effort). I seek out dishes that minimal effort yet taste really delicious. Makes sense, right? Well, I found one that I have now made several times and each time it has plotted off the charts in the “T:E” department.
I am not sure how I managed to survive without a pressure cooker for most of my life. It is definitely one of the most amazing kitchen gadgets I own and it continues to amaze me with its ability to cook what should be a slow cooked meal in MINUTES. I wanted to make a cassoulet (a french bean and meat stew that some people make over the course of three days) and make it for dinner on a weeknight. Oh, and the real recipe calls for more fat than I need to eat in a month so I trimmed it down a bit.
Many of the “new” holidays you hear about these days are silly. I am not looking for more reasons to have to buy cards and presents for people. There are some new holidays, however, that are simply fabulous because they encourage people to have fun and enjoy life. International Grenache Day is one of those holidays. This past Friday 9/21 was the my first celebration of this fine excuse to drink a nice wine and I recommend this holiday to everyone!
One of the benefits of being in a wine club are the exclusive events you can attend. We are “citizens” of Frogtown Cellars, a winery north of Atlanta, and this past weekend I attended an all day event centered around the harvest. This was not just a party, we worked for our dinner. In the morning, we picked grapes for hours. While it was a great experience, it was hard work. And the weather could not have been more perfect.
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Since the start of our camping and backpacking craze this summer, I have spent a LOT of time making beef jerky. And I have eaten more beef jerky in the past two months than in my entire life. Why the sudden interest? Well, I had never eaten homemade jerky before and find there to be a remarkable difference compared to the store bought stuff. Doesn’t eating the same thing on every camping trip get boring? Well, no, because there are many recipes for jerky and you can use it as an ingredient in other dishes! Here is what I have learned about beef jerky so far this summer….
I was in NYC recently on business and had dinner with a dear friend at The Red Cat in Chelsea. I had been eager to dine there for ages because my cousin works at the restaurant and told me on several occasions that the food is great. After much delay, I got my opportunity and it was well worth the wait.
I am a big fan of savory pies. Chicken pot pie has been a favorite of mine since I was a young child and I have spent years perfecting my own version. A second type of meat pie came into my life when I was 12 years old and lived in England for a year. The Shepherd’s Pie.