Friday, December 30, 2011

Recipes & Gadgets

After many technical difficulties,
our computer has finally rejoined the living!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday.
Ours was filled with lots of laughter, visits with family and of course food!!

I wanted to share a couple of Holiday highlights with you.
I opted this year to go a little out of the box with our Christmas Eve meal
and stay away from the more traditional turkey or roast.

I chose duck!
Duck breast to be exact.
Complete with a fig sauce, a heavenly duck fat potato gratin and asparagus.
Inspired from here, but as always tweaked a little by me.

It was incredible!
People often think of duck as fatty and heavy,
but if you render the fat off and then crisp up the skin,
what you are left with is this amazing flavor.
The figs and brandy in the sauce balanced the richness beautifully.
My kids, who at first were "you're making what!?!?"...
went back for seconds!

I wanted a hearty potato dish to stand up the rich duck 
and knew I had found it when I saw this recipe made with duck fat and demi-glace!!
Easy to make and so delicious!
The thyme added a subtle freshness to a very substantial dish.

I was very happy with the meal and love to see my kids exposed to new foods.

Now for the gadgets!!
My husband knowing how much I love to cook got me this...

The spiffy All-Clad Slow Cooker that
lets you go from stove top to slow cooker and even in to the oven!!
I love it!
I've already used a few times...
and what an upgrade from my 15 year old crockpot I was using!

And then this...

The Whip-It whip cream dispenser.
Oooohhh...I can't tell you how excited I am about this one!!
I see them used all the time on the cooking shows and now there's one in my kitchen!!
You can make flavored whipping creams, sauces, foams...endless possiblities!
I've picked out our New Years Eve dessert tomorrow based on using this gadget.
More to come on that soon...

So that's my recipe and gadget share!!
What yummy things have you eaten lately?
Any fun things under your tree?

I'd love to hear about them!

I'm glad to be back and wish each and every one of you a very
Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Unplugged Christmas

Technology is my friend...well, most of the time.
That was until last week when our Mac decided to show it's true colors...
The dreaded,
the one,
the only...
Grey Screen of Death!

Translation...not good!

No morning blog runs.
 No catching up on what's happening around the globe.
No doubt I've missed some vital Kardashian or Bieber news that would have changed my life, 
but I carry on nonetheless.

All kidding aside...
I'm still not up and running properly, thus my absence both here and at all your lovely blogs.
I hope all is well out there in blogland and that everyone is enjoying their
preparations this busy Holiday week.

So whether it's thoughts of sugar plums or potato latkes dancing in your head.
I wish you a very happy Holiday Season.

I hope that I'll be back up and running very soon.
I had all sorts of wonderful goodies and posts planned that currently lay on the back burner
until the technology gods shine favorably on me once more.

Until then I wish you the happiest of times with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Institute Of Domestic Technology

So what do Western literature and artisanal cocktails have in common?
Well, when you are at the historic residence once belonging to author Zane Grey...
a whole lot.

Newly established, 
The Institute's "mission is to reignite the passion of how we make food, 
the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate."

It's a place to come explore the fading arts of handmade cheese and jam making, 
home coffee roasting and the art of crafting liqueurs and cocktail bitters.

As we entered the cavernous kitchen, we were welcomed by the scent of fresh citrus 
and spices lingering in the air.

Individual work stations were set up with glasses, bottles and spoons.

I felt like I was standing in a vintage apothecary lab!

Our instructor for the class was a mixologist with almost 15 years experience in the industry.
He had a Sherlock Holmes vibe, which suited the evening perfectly considering
the concoctions we were set to mix.

After a brief history on cocktails and bitters we each set out to concoct our perfect cocktail.
Jars of mysterious steeping flowers and herbs wound their way around the room.

You sniffed.
You tasted.
Did it speak to you?
The ones you felt were a fit went into your jar.
Combining until just the right mixture was reached.

Then some fresh citrus peel and dried lemongrass for an extra nudge of flavor.

There were about twenty people in the class and not one person's was the same!
Each one unique and indicative of your tastes and personality.

Then we got to mix a signature cocktail using our new bitters formula.
I paired mine with gin and rosemary simple syrup.
Ice and stir, being careful not to bruise the base spirit.
The result...alluringly simple with subtle depth.
I was very pleased.

It was an evening of mixing and mingling in a setting 
that made you feel a little like you'd stepped into another era.
Where hand crafted foods and drinks were the way of life.
A simpler time.
A time that would be most agreeable to visit again.

For more information on the classes offered at the 
Institute visit them online.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Zane-y Weekend

It's almost the weekend!
I've been looking forward to this one for a while.

Well, a little hint...

My weekend is set to include Zane Grey and artisinal cocktails.
Well sort of.

Make sure you stop back in next week and I'll fill you in!!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Thank You

November is gone!
Can you believe it?
What a busy, but wonderful month it has been.
I want to take a moment to thank my wonderful November blog sponsors.

My newest sponsor the lovely Anne over at
Her shop is filled with global inspired jewelry and gorgeous scarves!
Look no further for your Holiday shopping!!

Rebecca and her fabulous shop 
full of great vintage goodies!
Check out her wonderful selection of Holiday finds!!

One of my favorite shops for all natural handcrafted soaps and lip balms.
Their products smell divine!
Thanks Julia & Wayne.

Heather over at her beautiful etsy shop
filled with the  most amazing artisan jewelry!

Amy Rice is one of my favorite mixed media artists...
make sure you pop over and see her beautiful work.
She has some wonderful gifts!

Laura over at her etsy shop
has the absolute best selection of organic & heirloom seeds.
The perfect shop for vegetable and herb gardeners!

Looking for some fine art prints with Mid-Century flair...
then Pool Pony Design is the perfect shop to browse.
Colorful, fun & affordable!

If you haven't had the chance to visit them, please do...
they truly have some wonderful & unique shops.

BIG November thank you to all of them!!

December will bring some new sponsors to browse.
So make sure you stop in and visit!

Interested in becoming a me,
I'd love to hear from you!



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