Tag Archives: What’s For Dinner

Thanksgiving, Texas Girl Style

20 Nov

When we lived in Texas and our kids were little, Thanksgiving was a time of making extra pies for neighbors and visiting Mom-Mom’s house with a few key items we had been asked to bring. Years went by with the kids and grandparents getting older and more of the cooking, along with the ‘when and where’ of Thanksgiving dinner, became my responsibility. It was a gradual change, which I didn’t mind at all, because I love cooking and sharing a meal with our loved ones and friends we consider family.

When Thanksgiving Day finally came, our friends always made it easier with combined dinners where all the cooking didn’t fall on one person; and fried turkeys gave the men something to do while holding a cold beer and trying not to set the house on fire with the hot oil (some good memories were made around that turkey fryer). Add a few state moves over the last five years for us, and our Thanksgiving celebrations have become a quiet day of football with our little family while enjoying a very casual menu. We do miss our big gathering of family and friends, but we usually see everyone around Christmas when they make the trek from Texas to visit us and play in the snow.

For this Texas girl, my Thanksgiving menu is casual and easy. It is about having a collection of food available that will allows us to nibble all day while watching football and without the burden of anyone spending too much time in the kitchen. At the beginning of the week, homemade pies in canning jars will be mailed back home so we can share a little homemade goodness with those we love. And for my little family now located up north and our new friends who will be joining us on Thanksgiving Day, my menu combines a Texas flavor with a little bit of traditional Thanksgiving. Each recipe will be showcased here, and I will also be available Wednesday from noon to 5pm MST, Thursday from 8am to 2pm MST, via TwitterFacebook or Skype for last minute ideas, tips and tricks!

Food is Love…WH

Thanksgiving, Southern Belle Style

20 Nov

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  For me, it is all about being with close friends and family, enjoying the people you love and feeding them well.  I grew up in the kitchens of some amazing cooks, and these women shaped me.  I learned that women can be beautiful and smart and capable all while whippin up the best Sweet Potato Pie you’ll ever eat, in heels, with their finest Sunday dress on, all while laughing and telling stories.

I also attribute my love for football and strong men on Thanksgiving.  In all my years, I have seen the most spirited debates over football, politics and racing on this holiday.  We got to callin it The Great Debate – the time these men spend in the living room, drinking their scotch or beer, eating all the yummy snacks sent out of the kitchen, timed perfectly of course.

For this Southern Belle, my Thanksgiving menu is about memories, legacy and a little adventure.  Here’s what I am cookin up this week.  Each recipe will be showcased here, and I will be available Wednesday from noon to 5pm MST, Thursday from 8am to 2pm MST, via Twitter, Facebook or Skype for last minute ideas, tips and tricks!

Food is Love!  JB

Cook with your Kids!

16 Nov

We are bubbling up with excitement about our new initiative, Cook with your Kids!  We know that you are busy.  Between full-time careers, soccer games, ballet recitals, parent teacher conferences, church, neighborhood watch meetings… and that fella you married… how DO you find the time to cook?  We also understand that sometimes it’s scary.  All those ingredients, the tools, the timing… how does one do it? 😉

We’re kind of kidding… because we DO know it gets busy, and we also understand that it is SO much more convenient to pop something in microwave or order takeout; however, when you consider what you are putting in those sweet little bodies, we know there are better options.  We want to empower you to get in the kitchen with your kids!  My kids love cooking and baking with me.  It’s such a great opportunity to talk with your kids, learn about their day and learn something together.  Children also explore more food options when they own what they’ve made.  All of a sudden ingredients like basil and pine nuts are fun and delicious.  Yes, really…Wendy and I both have seen this with our own kids.  My girls were watching me bake bread last night while my seven-year-old read to my youngest… sisters bonding in the kitchen. It doesn’t get any better.

So here’s the plan…  We are going to post a new recipe tagged Cook with your Kids!, along with a ‘how to’ video every few days.  From homemade mac and cheese to chocolate cake from scratch… we’ve got you covered.  We would love to see a photo of you, with your kids, in the kitchen, with your final product!  Each week we will choose one family from the entries and we’ll ship off a gift basket of our new JW Food & Design Signature Foods and Gifts.  You can email your photo(s) to cookwithyourkids@jwfoodanddesign.com.  The logo above is printable as a color sheet for the kids to personalize – include it in your photo!  Wendy and I can’t wait to see what y’all discover in the kitchen!  Have fun, and remember that every measurement and ingredient is a chance to share something new with the little ones you love so much.

Food is love! ~ JB

Panna Cotta and Compote, where have you been all my life?

21 Oct

This week I was watching the Nate Berkus Show’s cooking segment. They were in the middle of cooking something I had never heard of before…Panna Cotta. The show’s version was Coconut Panna Cotta with a Mixed Berry Compote (recipe below), and it looked so very yummy. What intrigued me was how easy it looked and Nate’s reaction upon eating it. I decided I would take the challenge to make a dessert that would elicit a reaction akin to Nate’s, so I dove into this challenge last night. The ingredients were easy enough to find, and it did not seem as if I would really have any issues with putting everything together. The hardest part had to be slicing through the vanilla pod and scraping out the beans. Luckily, I still have all my fingers. The next issue occurred when I dropped the lime I was zesting into the hot water and sugar. It was not really an issue until I continued zesting and the lime shot across stove and the counter. I did not think it was going to be that slippery. Well zesting and juicing done and vanilla beans scraped, and it was time to put everything together. I made a few slight changes by adding a little extra sugar to the berry compote and adding a little of the aforementioned compote to the hot coconut milk mixture. The result was that the berries sunk to the bottom before everything had the chance to chill. This beautiful dessert chilled for a few hours and then I added the chilled compote to the top (see photo). For aesthetic reasons, I added a little piece of kale to take a photograph, but it was promptly removed. The result was heaven. The coconut flavoring was not very prominent, but it was a much lighter dessert than I expected.  And, yes, Nate was so correct…you can’t stop eating it. Though the family did not give a reaction similar to Nate’s tv reaction, they did like it and asked if I could make a chocolate version. I told them I would do some research, and today, on Twitter, my wonderful friend Joanna found a recipe for  Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta topped with Pomegranate Arils that we will share soon!  She is so awesome!

The ‘low-down’ is that this is a great ‘make-ahead’ recipe and one that is so light, you could serve after a huge bowl of pasta. Just be careful of slippery limes being shot across the kitchen.

Until next time…Keep Cooking…Keep Laughing…Keep Loving…Give Yourself a Break and Someone a Hug

Big Hug…W

Panna Cotta Ingredients
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
3 teaspoons of powder gelatin
1 can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of condensed milk

Mixed Berry Compote Ingredients
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup water
1 vanilla pod
1 lime
2 cups mixed berries (1/2 cup each of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries& blueberries)

1. Set aside ¼ cup heavy cream in small bowl and add powder gelatin to set.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream.
3. Mix soaking gelatin into warm coconut milk/cream/condensed milk mixture until dissolved.
4. Strain mixture into shallow parfait glasses, let set/refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Compote Procedure
1. In a small saucepan combine sugar with water and heat to make simple syrup.
2. Cut and scrape vanilla beans from pod into saucepan.
3. Zest and juice lime into saucepan.
4. Add mixed berries and stir until it forms the compote.
5. Pour berry compote over the panna cotta and serve.