Saturday, November 16, 2013

Menu: Santa Claus Parade Week

As the holiday season gears up and the weather winds down, it seems like a good time to revisit some favorite recipes. Tried and true, but not yet quite comfort food. This week's menu seems to be a balance between the newcomers on this list, the recipes I've found to be 100% guaranteed nomable. All of these recipes strike me as set and forget, chop and heat, prep and cook and not much in-between. I'd rather grin about the upcoming "Best of the Worst" Date Night plans with the husband than stress out over challenging recipes.


  • Smitten Kitchen's French Onion Tarts
    • Divine recipe. Relatively inexpensive and other than needing about 40 minutes to caramelize my onions, it's simple and quick; not a lot of hands on. Make dough, cook onions, shred cheese, blend custard, assemble, bake. The sweetness of the onions and the nuttiness from the Gruyere is wonderfully comforting. While I love full-blown quiche, this recipe makes a creamy, filling punch using only a single egg. I couldn't believe it the first time I tried, but it works perfectly. Personally, because I have such a great pan, I make individual tarts instead of a giant pie. Cooking is reduced by about 5 minutes. 
    • Food Wish's Buttercrust Dough: This recipe is so easy, I just use it for all savory tarts and pies right now. One batch is enough for two 8" pies, one double crust pie, or 6 mini tarts.
  • Chicken Pot Pie
    • What.. no link? At the moment, I'm undecided. Oxmoor House's Golden Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust sounds like a perfect fall treat, but David Hammond's Chicken Pot Pie, as published in Canadian Living sounds like true comfort food (though in need of mushrooms and rosemary.) Which one should I try first?
  • Easy Sausage Casserole
    • New! I recently found a nice deal on honey garlic sausages. I usually stick to hot Italian and make sausage and peppers or Spinach Lasagna Variation, but I'm itching to try something new that's not just a cooked pepper. I think the topping might compliment these sausages. I like the idea of baking the sausages too, since I normally saute them.
    • Final verdict: Keeper! Delicious and easy.
  • Brown Eyed Baker's All-American Chili
    • New! I already know I'll be making a few changes to this recipe, but not with any intent to wreck it. There was a good deal on green peppers this week, I'll be soaking my own beans instead of using canned (yes, it really does help with ~intestinal issues~). Oddly enough, tomato paste is kind of hard to find up here, so I may make my own.

Sweet Tooth

  • Smitten Kitchen's Intensely Chocolate Sables
    • New! I have not tried this recipe yet, but the husband and I are dark chocolate nommers. An intense chocolate crunch sounds very satisfying right now. 
    • Final verdict: Difficult dough, but nice chocolate flavor. Recommend adding extra butter and shaping into balls. Don't bother with refrigerating the dough. As soon as you smell chocolate, take them out. Mine only needed 7 minutes.
  • Family Spice's Lemon Blueberry Clafouti
    • I love clafoutis. They are so mindlessly simple to make and they are not overly sweet. This particular recipe does justice to the lemon. the kitchen smells absolutely heavenly while this is baking. As we don't keep powdered sugar in the home, I put a tiny sprinkle of plain sugar on the top after it finishes baking. Creamy, fruity, sweet but without inducing the heavy guilt you might get from a cake or pie. The last time I made this, I threw in frozen blueberries we had bought way back in August. It was delicious.


  • Breakfast at Figs before the Santa Clause Parade. Excellent Eggs Benny and friendly service. The addition of genuinely interesting fruit salads on the side, figs, pomegranate seeds, strawberry, apple, and orange, makes you feel like you're dining at a foodie's dream diner.
  • Gourmet Platter collected from Cheese Boutique. We had no clue this place existed. Lost on our way to a smaller shop east of St. Joseph's Health center, we snuck down a side street and found a rather gigantic cheese shop. Compelled to stop in, we were constantly offered samples of cheese, freshly brewed tea served in glass glasses with two sugar lumps on the side, exquisite olive oils and so much more. Mustards, sweets, beautiful chilled meat and veg shop, lovely pantry items, impressive charcuterie selection, and of course cheese. Not just cheeses from elsewhere, but an entire cheese locker with massive cheese wheels and columns of cheese. Dinner will be Mediterranean beef sausage with black olives, red pepper, and Asiago; Guillaume Tell cheese and Ambrosia apples; and Green Peppercorn Mustard spread on homemade French baguettes.

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