Weekend Cooking




This is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

So far this weekend, we been celebrating some of the autumn flavors, apple, root vegetables, and cider.

For Friday night, I made  BBC Goodfood’s Slow-braised pork shoulder with parsnips and cider and smashed red-skinned potatoes.  The recipe can be found here.  I use the BBC Goodfood‘s site for many recipes and usually find success. I also occasionally pick up the magazine.

This was a perfect autumn dish, the slow braise infused the meat and veg with the apple cider flavor.  I used Angry Orchard traditional dry cider in the recipe.  I gave up doing my own food photography, this image is from BBC Goodfood’s website.

Today, I picked up some root veg: swede (rutabaga), carrots, and parsnips.  I also had half of a head of red cabbage in the fridge that needed using up.   I love all the autumn flavors.   The meal I put together from all this was:

  • Chicken roasted in the oven
  • Tossed the root veg in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven
  • Chopped the red cabbage, thinly sliced a red onion, peeled and sliced a couple apples I found in the fridge and then added 2 tablespoons of whole berry cranberry sauce.  Sweated the onion and apple and then added everything else to the pan, popped the lid on, and let it cook slowly.

Lovely dinner with a bottle of red, probably should have been white, but I prefer red:)



Weekend Cooking

19389-wkendcookingThis is a meme hosted by BethFishReads to be found here.   I don’t regularly participate but often look at the posts that do.

This weekend is my oldest daughter’s last weekend at home before going back to college and so we are having some of her favorites.

– Ham glazed in ginger jam with some Coleman’s mustard powder mixed in and then  cooked on the grill in ginger ale.

– Mashed potatoes with country gravy

– Saveur cookbooks Green Bean casserole – I know, I know – green bean casserole.  However Saveur’s is made with all fresh ingredients (no cream of mystery ingredient soup surprise) and it is actually very good.  Both of my kids love it.   The recipe can be found on Saveur’s site here.

– Buttermilk biscuits  for mopping up gravy

– Couple bottles Jersey White wine to wash it all down

So, what is everyone else having for dinner?


Weekend Cooking – Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya


Weekend Cooking is a meme from Beth Fish Reads to be found HERE.




Today has been a good foodie day – started with lunch after a hard morning shopping.  Sat in the back yard with:

  • a delish pate (from Wegman’s not homemade this time)
  • fresh bread
  • soft, creamy brie
  • olives
  • Jersey Peach wine (actually a very nice tasting white, has a peach scent but doesn’t taste of peaches)

Basically ignored the chores calling to me and sat with a book and my mom and read.

Dragged myself in from the lounger in the sun and started to make dinner.  My daughter had been bugging me for Jambalaya and so I used my Epicurious App and it spat out this recipe from the March 2011 Bon Appetit magazine credited to Anna Beth and Vince Chao.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya


  • 12 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds smoked fully cooked sausage (such as linguiça), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles
  • 1 pound andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound tasso or smoked ham (such as Black Forest), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped (4 to 5 cups)
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 8- to 10-ounce red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 8- to 10-ounce green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice
  • 8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and tasso. Sauté until meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.
  • Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.

My family really liked it, but it made tons of food and there are only four of us.   The flavors all melded well together and the consistency was near to perfect.  I gave it an extra 10 minutes to get the rice the right consistency, but that may have only been my oven.  It can be  a little tempermental.  I don’t think it will freeze well with the rice in it, so I guess it is lunch for tomorrow as well.

Knock off by Rhonda Pollero

I read this today sitting out on the back patio, drinking Middle Sister Rebel Red wine.

Anyway, I started out by being  turned off by the protagonist.  Finley is a paralegal and spends the first 30 or 4o pages explaining how she is irresponsible with money a credit abuser, a compulsive shopper of name brand items, and a nightmare co-worker.  She basically brags about coming in late and taking long lunches, lying to her employer about going to the courthouse and meeting her friends for long lunches instead.  I almost put the book down but I was too comfy in my lounge chair and didn’t want to get up to get another book so I continued.

I’m glad that I did.  The mystery turned out to be quite good and Finley redeemed herself somewhat by working hard once she got involved in solving the mystery.  I liked all the twists and turns and connections to other victims.  I also enjoyed the legal theme and the investigative techniques.  The writing is well done.  I still will not say that the protagonist is one of my favorites but there is enough else good in the book to redeem it.  Perhaps the problem is me, I tend to need to like characters or at least relate to them, in order to like a book… or maybe I’m a little too old for the target demographic.

Walking and Wine….


Tonight’s wine for relaxing after my walk, Middle Sister’s Forever Cool.  My daughter didn’t care for it so I guess I’ll have to finish it off myself.  The walk was great tonight, cool with a little breeze.  I am going to try to start running again tomorrow.  I made an attempt about a week ago and survived so I think my heels have recovered enough from the plantar fascitis to hit the track.  Decided on a plan of attack for reading this week.  Finish off all my other library books so I can return them and dive into Stephen Kings doorstop – Under the Dome.

Jacklyn Brady: Cake on a Hot Tin Roof

This is the second outing in the A Piece of Cake mystery series. It was a quick read.  I spent a couple hours in the backyard on a lawn chair with some wine (Jersey Red again, I’m hooked)  and this book and finished it.  Great lead character and I love the theme of a high end bakery.  The setting is still New Orleans, which I would love to visit, and this time it is at Mardi Gras time.  I have never been to Mardi Gras but would like to go and the book  gave a glimpse into the festivities.   There appears to be a love triangle heating up so I want to see how that is  handled as the series develops.

I am really enjoying how the series is unfolding and I will read more as they are written.  The only issue I have with it is a couple of the supporting characters are annoying, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole.

“Winter is Coming”

“Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”
― Robert Byrne

or as my grandmother used to say, “It’s cold as a witch’s tit.”  What is up with this?   Helloooo,  Mother Nature,  it is May,  May 25th, you know barbecue, open the pool, all that good stuff?  Definitely not – huddle in my recliner with a comforter and a bottle of wine, (today it is Jersey Red for those of you are interested) time.

Good points though:

  •  Mowed the lawn without breaking a sweat, wearing a sweatshirt at that.
  • Went to Booktrader of Hamilton and found several of my TBR books.
  • Three day weekend.
  • There is wine.

So, with that in mind, guess I’ll be reading and drinking this evening.

Keep warm everyone, just remember “Winter   Summer is Coming.”


Elly Griffiths: A Dying Fall ****

After a day of yard work I sat on the porch in the sun, drinking a glass…hmmm some glasses of Jersey Blush, the last in the group of three wines that I bought Jersey Red, Jersey White and Jersey Blush and finished my latest book from Elly Griffiths, A Dying Fall.

I was little concerned because Ruth leaves the familiar setting of Norfolk, where the other books were set. Ms. Griffiths developed such a sense of place in the first books that the setting was almost another character in the series. My fears were unfounded. The setting is not as moody and does not evoke the sense of isolation of the earlier books, nonetheless this book was another good episode in Ruth Galloway and crew’s story. The complicated relationship between Ruth, Cathbad and Nelson is expanded upon in a realistic manner leaving you not knowing what to hope for between them all.

The best part about it though, for me, was that the story line involved King Arthur and that has always been a favorite of mine. I read The Once and Future King and I think I have seen just about every TV serial/movie/History Channel discussion about Arthur, Camelot and the attending legends and history. Elly Griffiths’ exploration blends legend, fact, and an original twist for a satisfying take on King Arthur.

The mystery is well crafted and I didn’t figure out the culprit until revealed. There are red herrings and twists and turns in the plot that keep you guessing the whole way. If you enjoy mysteries of the “soft boiled” variety, I highly recommend this series. The tally is four stars for the book and the wine was good, too.

Jersey White and sunshine

Today’s wine was Jersey White and it paired perfectly with today:).   The sunshine was beautiful this afternoon. I sat out in the yard with my Mom, carefully ignoring the fact that the yard needed mowing. We read and drank a bottle of Jersey White. Lovely afternoon. This is what weekends should be about.

The Weekend

“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Although I cannot justify it..after just spending last weekend engaged in the Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon, I have a burning desire to ignore the lawn, the laundry, the grocery shopping and the myriad of other intrusions of real life on my weekend and just …read. Sigh, isn’t it terrible when practicalities overrule desires?

The good news is that the library has a stack of books waiting for me that I will pick up tomorrow. My library system, Mercer County, rocks! It is so great that I often say that would be the thing I would miss most if I move from the area.

So, the plan…Get up early, rush through the must-dos, get to Wegman’s for more Jersey Red wine and then to the library for “supplies”, return home and start my real weekend.

Speaking of weekend supplies,a quick, funny story (at least to me) from my childhood: My mother was ill from a migraine. I was in about 5th grade. She told me go in her purse and take out $10 and go out to get what I needed because she couldn’t get out of bed. She meant groceries, but she didn’t say that. I came home with a stack of Nancy Drew novels from the book store. I think she thought I was nuts:)