I am in a recipe rut. I have 8 down pat: Mexican meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, chicken curry, 16-hour pulled pork, turkey pot pie, turkey meatballs with yogurt sauce, and risotto. What is your favorite go-to dinner recipe? (Extra points if I can make it in the Crockpot, as it is still approximately 1,000 degrees outside and my oven laughs nefariously when I turn it on this time of year.)
Like it did when I made these chocolate cupcakes for our family weekend — and none were eaten. I sent a dozen home with a guest and gave a couple others to friends.
Thankfully, the patient pepper plant is still sweetly producing these mild peppers like a champ. They find their way into just about everything.
Like this chicken stock. I see risotto in our future. Mmmm… risotto.
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- Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda, Recipes
This weekend was a big one for our family; my dad turned 60 and my cousin Kate got married. My family came in from Colorado and Texas to celebrate both occasions.
Friday night we had a dinner for my dad, who of course wanted everything low key and easy. Costco pizza, salad and pie — with surprise guests. My parents’ closest friends joined us for the easy family dinner. It was what Donley dinners often are: a contest of who can tell the funniest story the loudest. We are certainly not a shy bunch.
I made my Grandma Maxine’s peach blueberry pie for dessert — my dad’s favorite:
Nelson didn’t get pie, but did make sure his grandpa got proper 60th birthday cuddles.
My dad said the pie tasted just like my gram’s, which made me teary. She is still an active character is all of our stories and family gatherings. When I shared a photo of her pie on Instagram earlier this week, I had many ask for the recipe: Peach Blueberry Pie
Also! Kate got married. And was one of the most spectacularly beautiful brides I’ve ever seen. It was such a fun wedding:
I’d never been to the Arizona Inn before, but it is gorgeous in that perfect southwestern Tucson way. They said their vows with the sun setting on the Catalina Mountains. The immaculate grounds had lots of wildflowers, cactus and succulents. (I thought twice about sneaking clippings, but the margaritas got my attention instead.) The inside looked like an ode to Frida:
Needless to say, I loved it. It was wonderful to catch up with family too, especially this stinker. My grandfather just turned 88.
His filter is gone, and he had no problem telling people to “get out of his way” when he approached on his motorized scooter. Ah, family. My grandmother would have loved the weekend. She was there with us in many ways.
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- Arizona, Celebrate!, Recipes
I mentioned the other day how much I loved the movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” There is a clementine cake mentioned in the film — one I’ve tried to reproduce.
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cardamom
Juice of one orange
Zest of ½ of one orange
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 small can of mandarin oranges, in juice
Heat oven to 350. Grease large cupcake tins, or a bundt pan. Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Slowly add in cake flour, vanilla, cardamom, and remaining ingredients. Bake for 32 minutes (cupcake tins) or 35-40 minutes (bunt pan). While baking, whisk juice from can of mandarins and powdered sugar. Once cakes have cooled, spoon glaze over top, adding a mandarin or two for garnish.
Voila! The daydreaming adventures of where you may end up eating these is up to you. I’m sitting on the beach in Fiji, getting a massage and watching dolphins play in the water. There are a stack of new novels sitting at my side. Nelson is playing in the surf and I’ve got nothing to do but eat magical cake for the rest of the afternoon…
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- Domestic Art, Recipes
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter – or ¼ cup butter, 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups mashed overripe bananas
Preheat the oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients, adding bananas last. Pour into a greased casserole or bread pan. Bake 45 minutes, or until brown. If possible, pull out of the oven just as house guests are awaking. Serve with coffee, tea or a cup of milk. This bread is especially good with almond butter.
You will be cherished, no matter how hard the mattress was, or, say, how loud the neighbor’s rooster was at 3 am.
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- Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Hostess, Recipes
6 ripe pears, cored
1 cup red wine — pinot noir, or something fruity
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Place cored pears in a baking dish. In a sauce pan, whisk sugar and wine, until dissolved. Add butter, mixing thoroughly. Pour over pears. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious!
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- Kitchen Talk, Recipes
Easy peasy recipe if you have house guests and need a quick no-frosting cake:
Take one chocolate cake mix (I like Betty Crocker triple fudge)
Add 3 eggs, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of cayenne, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of cardamom, 1/2 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of water. Mix thoroughly. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes in a well greased bundt pan. Serve with ice cream, or alone. Watch guests inhale.
This cake is slightly spicy, earthy and incredibly moist. It is absolutely delicious and a super simple answer when entertaining.
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- Domestic Art, handmade, Recipes
Stop what you are doing right now and bake these cookies. They are the best cookies I’ve ever made and were inhaled by dinner guests this week.
Not kidding. Best. Cookies. Ever.
So good I just lifted weights for an additional hour so I won’t feel guilty about making another batch. So good I’m drooling just thinking of them.
Getting the picture?
I think the only way to make them better would be to make 2 batches so you can let a few get stale. I love a crunchy gingernsap.
Good work, Country Living peeps. Good work, indeed.
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- Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk, Recipes
Stop what you are doing right now and figure out how you can make time to create a culinary masterpiece. That’s right. Throw humility out the window, hit the market and buy:
3 large carrots
3 stalks celery
1 large yellow onion
2 vegetable broth boullion cubes
1 large golden yukon potato for each person being served
As many roasted Hatch or poblano chiles as you can find (I’d go with 4-5)
1 small container of cream cheese
Now, if you’ve got all day to smell a lovely pot of magic bubbling on the stove, take this slow. (If not — it will cook in an hour or so too.) Start with a large Dutch oven. Add a dash of olive oil. Dice up your carrots, celery and onion. Let those cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Then add 64 ounces of water, along with your 2 broth cubes. Bring this mixture to a boil while washing and cutting up your potatoes and chiles. The size doesn’t really matter — you are going to blend this soup to perfection. Add the potatoes and chiles, let simmer with the lid on for 30-45 minutes. Again, let it go all day if you have the time. About 20 minutes before serving, add a dash of salt, pepper and cumin. Then throw in your cream cheese and bust out the immersion blender. Carefully as to not send potato soup all over yourself — ahem — blend that pot of gold glory into the yummiest soup you’ve ever eaten.
And oh, it’s vegetarian. And possibly vegan if you leave out the cream cheese, but why would you do that?
The Best Soup Ever is even better the next day, reheated. Get after it, people. You’ll be thankful you did.
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- June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk, Recipes
My friend Bill mentioned a couple weeks ago that he makes his baba ganoush by starting at the BBQ. With a hot grill and a bit of olive oil, the smoky flavor of charred eggplant comes through beautifully. When I ran across eggplant at the market a few days later I thought I’d give it a try. If you like baba ganoush, this recipe couldn’t be easier. Just give yourself enough time to let the plants cool before trying to open/scrape them into the food processor.
1 eggplant per person served, brushed with olive oil
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Smoky paprika for garnish
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grill eggplant until charred. Let cool. Slice, scoop out inside of eggplant into food processor — adding as much or as little of the charred exterior as desired. (I added very little and this was sufficiently smoky.) Add other ingredients and pulse. Top with paprika, enjoy with pita, vegetables or grilled meat. Easy, delicious and the presentation is fabulous for a dinner party.
While you have the food processor and the tahini out, might as well whip up some hummus too.
Both go well with chips and a summer appetizer board on the patio.
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- Heirloom Homestead, Kitchen Talk, Recipes
A great thing about moving from the blast of a hot oven (Phoenix) to the cool summer breeze of the Rockies (Golden)* is your calendar is quickly booked with loved ones high tailing it to a more pleasant climate.
I’ve had family and friends come through by the handful this summer. (I think 10 different visitors, at last count.)
Alma’s visit last week was a blur of activity. Our friendship is one of those rare gems that requires little maintenance. It also helps the girl loves to hike, shop and cook. I thought at one point our ears might fall off from the constant chatter. Or my pocketbook might shrivel up and die from all the “bargains!” I found.
Alma planned her visit during a very good week. First Red Tomato Day is something celebrated with gusto around these parts. And oh, did we celebrate.
Yeah. That basil is a little holey. So it goes with organic gardening. We like our caterpillars fat and spicy.
A few shots from one of several meals we whipped up with ingredients from the garden — including tomatoes, basil, and arugala.
Alma’s pesto recipe is worth sharing:
“It doesn’t matter if you get these amounts precise. Just go for the desired consistency.”
2 handfuls of washed basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon diced garlic
1 small container of feta — preferably Athenos feta with basil and tomatoes
dash of pepper, salt
Pulse in the food processor. Serve with toasted bread, pita chips, or barbecued salmon. Try not to lick the bowl.
*It is really only a matter of perspective. The few summer days we’ve had here over 100 degrees have been miserable. I’d take Phoenix heat with ample air conditioning over the heat waves in the Rockies where I’m trying to sleep and it is 93 indoors.
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- Colorado, Heirloom Homestead, Journal, Recipes