My Guest Post for Choc Chip Uru on Go Bake Yourself

Twinkle, Twinkle...

Seasons Greetings!  (And surprise, surprise!)

One of the perks of blogging is the ability to be instantly transported around the globe at the click of a button — not just to a place, but into someone’s home.  More specifically… their kitchen!

During the past year or so, we’ve all had the pleasure of getting to know Choc Chip Uru at Go Bake Yourself.  Uru has thrilled us with her baking creativity, restaurant reviews (love your CCU Undercover Series!), wit, and humor, but she’s also invited us into her life — and an interesting and delightful one, at that.

This busy young lady was due for a much needed break and asked if I’d be willing to write a guest post.  Needless to say, I was on it like a rolling pin on cookie dough!  Glad to help while you’re away, Uru! xo

Today, I invite you to travel with me far, far south of my usual neck of the woods to my guest post in the land “down under.”

Happy, Shiny, Shimmery Holidays everyone!

Enjoying global friendships,

~Kim

Great Expectations

Sometimes my “food enthusiasm” gets the best of me…

Recently, I posted photos from my oven fest (with nary a recipe) and now I’m faced with the prospect of cramming “how I made it” into one doozy of a post, or stringing you along for another week.  (Thank you so much for putting up with me.)

Here we go…

Nothing says homemade like oatmeal cookies bursting with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  When I first saw them on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts (thank you, Erin), they immediately went on my “must make” list.  (FYI, I pressed mine down with a fork dipped in Turbinado sugar before baking — I love Turbinado-topped cookies.)

Recipes are linked to the photos where applicable — it’s the least I could do for making you read the same thing twice…

As for the pie…

I’ve been cranking out pie crust for 35 years.  Some folks even call me “The Pie Lady,” which requires an explanation.  (And a post of it’s own.)  At the risk of teasing you further, stay tuned…

Then there are these eggs…

My culinary repertoire is due in part to family and friends.  (They know I love to cook and they keep me supplied with recipes — a vicarious by-product of “food enthusiasm.”)  This particular dish was SO tasty — and easy — I made it twice in one weekend!

Click on the large photo for Chef Jenn Louis’ recipe or the small one to link to her restaurant — the slideshow is worth the watch!

*Castelvetrano olives weren’t available, so I used Lindsay Green Ripe Olives and was immensely pleased with the results…

Twice.

Jumping ahead to the corn bread…

Sorry, no secret Southern recipe to divulge hereI used a mix.  (For shame!)  But the antique “corn stick” pan is an original. :)

Last, but not least…

I was determined to make an oven-worthy meal after the outside (and inside) temp dropped forty degrees.  My mind settled on pork chops… thick, juicy pork chops… with stuffing.

After perusing Food Network’s website for an hour, I finally selected a chef with ties to my (now) home State.

Oklahoma is famous for a number of things, including Will Rogers, rodeos, football, and Guy Fieri.  Guy Fieri?!

(Ardent “Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives” fans may recall when Guy and his Triple D crew descended on Clanton’s Cafe to experience the wonders of Chicken Fried Steak — among other things…)  I’ve dined there — his picture was on the wall!

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for a plate-sized portion of pork, try Guy’s Stuffed Double-Cut Pork Loin Chops.  Prepare yourself.

ASIDE:  I do my best to make a recipe as is the first time out because chefs spend untold hours tweaking tastes and textures.  (I respect that greatly.)  But when push comes to shove, I punt.

Dinner hour was waning so I “hurried up” the brine.  (i.e. I drank the water, coated the chops with Dijon, sprinkled them with the recommended seasonings, and proceeded…)  You know how it is.

Also, since cremini mushrooms are scarce in our neck of the woods (as are Fontina and shallots, unless you add a 3-hour drive to prep time), I made an “alternate” stuffing:  toasted bread cubes tossed with crumbled bacon and onions (sauteed in olive oil/butter/bacon fat), some minced garlic, 1/2 cup of Ricotta, a liberal sprinkle of dried sage, salt and pepper to taste, and enough pork stock to “glue it together.”  Have at it!

Finally (per the recipe), adding the remaining cremini stuffing to the sauce would have been marvelous, but my bread-y revision would’ve yielded “goo.”  (I baked the excess stuffing in a bowl alongside the chops.)  Next time, I’ll plan ahead.  This truly was an extraordinary recipe and it deserved the “as is” treatment!

Gratuitous Slideshow:

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Any “punts” you’d like to share?

Enjoying the thrill of atonement (and a few deviations),

~ Kim

A Labor Of Love

It finally cooled down over Labor Day weekend and I took advantage of it to fire up the oven.  Call it a labor of love.

(Kind of a monochromatic labor of love, lol.)

Details — and color — coming soon to a blog near you!

Enjoying life’s subtleties,

~ Kim

Comfort Food

“Chocolate Chip Cookies With Brown Butter & Bacon”

What is it about comfort food?  Everyone has one — except me.  I’d be hard pressed to name one particular “go to” dish that evokes feelings of security, happy memories and world peace.  “Why is that?” I wondered to myself.

In searching through the “food memorabilia” section in the back of my mind, I caught fleeting glimpses of Mom’s macaroni & cheese, Grandma S’s oatmeal with brown sugar and half & half, Grandma M’s kolaches, my sister’s lemon bars, my son’s scalloped potatoes and my daughter’s Pina Colada pork chops.  I also thought of every good meal I’ve ever eaten.

“Aha!” I thought to myself again.  It’s not a matter of lacking a particular comfort food — it’s a matter of narrowing down the buffet!  My brain is a recipe box, it seems…

The collection has expanded in recent months, thanks to the friends on my blogroll.  Their marvelous recipes, enticing food photography and whimsical, touching stories take me into the heart of their homes — their kitchens — and in turn, I’ve been blessed to prepare some very comforting food for my own family.

There are no sweeter words than those of someone you love declaring:  “That was really good, honey.”  Okay, there are probably a few sweeter words about a lot of things, but for someone who admittedly has a four-word limit on conversational banter, my beloved’s compliments are manna from heaven.  (I added the “honey” — wishful thinking…) :)

In these photos of my results, I hope to enhance your life with a “visual” and inspire you to do what I did:  Pick one and have FUN!  Food blogs are meant for more than just reading; good ideas –and good times — are just a click away.  May you never again ask, “What shall I make for dinner?”

Whether you feel like sinking your teeth into a savory main dish, or a chopping vegetables for a make-you-pay-attention-stir-fry, or consoling yourself with a good ol’ fashioned casserole, or poking holes into a focaccia that’s as fun to make as it is to eat, or investing time in a labor-intensive batch of chocolate chip cookies chock full o’ bacon (yes, bacon!), you might surprise yourself and discover a new comfort food.

Let me know which culinary delight rocks your world.  What’s your favorite comfort food?  Sharing the love one plate at a time,~ Kim