14 March 2011

Standbys and novelties [birthday weekend edition]

I love a good celebration. It was my sweetheart's birthday on Friday, and if anything calls for celebration, that would be it. As is usual with us, food played a key role in the festivities. We had, in fact, two birthday dinners: on the day itself, Brant came over and we had man food . . . meaning meat cooked over a fire. (Though honestly, I like steak as much as they do.) Then on Sunday night, I fixed a rather more romantic meal, just for the two of us. Both were wonderful and both combined old and new.


First Friday. We ate grilled venison steak, creamed corn, banana chocolate chip muffins, and chocolate-dipped macaroons. Oh, and salad. My token greenery.

Out O' This World Creamed Corn
(adapted from Lisa's Kitchen)

2 tablespoons butter
6 cups frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
2 1/4 cups half-and-half, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons raw or white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
lots of black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1) Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add corn, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, sugar, salt, parsley, marjoram, and pepper. Stir well and bring to boil.
2) Whisk flour into remaining 3/4 cup half-and-half. When corn mixture comes to boil, stir in flour mixture. Lower heat to simmer and keep stirring until thickened. Let cook on low, covered, for 15 minutes.
3) Stir in grated Parmesan until melted. Serve hot.

Coconut Macaroons
(taken and tweaked from here)

2 2/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Stir together coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Add egg whites and vanilla; stir to combine.
3) Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden on top and firm to the touch. Let cool on wire rack. Dip in chocolate if you want (but they are wonderful plain).


Then Sunday. There were stuffed mushrooms, delicious spiced nuts, ravioli with marinara, creamed spinach, and lemon coconut bars.

Maple Spiced Pecans
(original from Seven Spoons)

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (grade B has the best flavor)
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 scant teaspoon dried thyme
1 scant teaspoon dried rosemary
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pound pecan halves (walnuts would be good too)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
2) In small saucepan melt together butter, syrup, and sugar. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients except pecans. Place pecans in medium bowl; pour syrup mixture over top, and stir to coat thoroughly.
3) Spread pecans out evenly on parchment-lined pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until glazed and shiny with a bit of snap. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, before storing in airtight container.

No comments:

Post a Comment