recipes for a happy marriage #10

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Hi everyone! Vané from Brooklyn Bride is here today to share a recipe near and dear to her family at the holidays. Thanks so much for stopping by Vané!

This recipe is from my mom and it’s something she makes every year around the holidays, so I thought it was pretty appropriate timing. Literally translated, Anoushabour means “sweet soup,” but it’s definitely more like a pudding in consistency.  Sounds weird, but it tastes amazing, and brings so many memories from past holidays.  It’s fun to dress it up with almonds or walnuts spelling out the new year, perhaps 2011, and it’s ESPECIALLY good for breakfast the next day after a late night wrapping gifts or kicking off the new year.

recipes for a happy marriage #9

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving will be here in less than two weeks. Less than two weeks! I thought I’d share a recipe that is always the star of the show at our Thanksgiving table. It is the yummiest little casserole I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. No marshmallows here, just a crumbly top layer of goodness made by a heavenly combination of brown sugar, butter, flour & pecans.

My mother made this every year at Thanksgiving, and now I do the same. It originally appeared in one of Curtis Grace’s cookbooks (who is a culinary legend in my hometown).


"sweet potato casserole"

recipes for a happy marriage #8

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Hi everyone! My friend Susan is here with an apple sauce recipe and lots of wit thrown in for good measure.

My mom is one of those cooks who makes everything from scratch not because she is particularly interested in food politics, but because it never really occurred to her not to do so. As a result, I am an insufferable applesauce snob. Yes, applesauce! It’s one of her favorite things to make, probably because you can cut up something, put it in a pot, and forget about it for an hour so you can focus on your four small kids and allow your house to smell more and more awesome. I don’t have kids, but I do have a husband who is not above pouting when I don’t save enough applesauce for him.

I can’t help it, my hand just keeps automatically shoveling it into my mouth.

Real applesauce is never golden. You’ve seen baked apples before, they’re brown, so why would applesauce end up being yellow?

Real applesauce is made with the skins on. It’s more flavorful and more nutritious (plus easier).

Real applesauce doesn’t contain added sugar. Well, that’s not true. Lots of recipes call for it, but to my taste, it masks the autumny taste of whatever kind of apple you choose to use. I mix and match, usually, and of course, if you can get them from an orchard or a farmer’s market, the flavors will pop that much more. (Here’s a chart to guide you through the seemingly endless apple varieties).

My dad loves my mom’s applesauce, my dude loves mine, and everyone will love yours, I promise.

12 tart or sweet apples, unpeeled (scrubbed if waxed), cored, chopped
1 cup water
pinch salt

Couple of anise stars
Cinnamon stick
A little lemon juice

Put everything in a heavy pot, set over medium-high heat, cover.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the apples break down, whacking them around the pot with a wooden spoon once in awhile.

Invite someone over for a made-up reason, just so they can exclaim at how wonderful your house smells.

Blush modestly.

Remove any cloves, cinnamon sticks, or anise stars that you used.

Turn cooked apples into sauce. You can do this in a variety of ways, the easiest being to push them through a food mill. If you don’t have one, roughly blend with an immersion blender, pulse in a food processor, mash with a potato masher, or whatever else you’d like to use. The advantage of a food mill is that it’ll get out all of the now-orphaned skins, in a blender or food processor, they get incorporated. No big deal. Just be careful not to really puree it all into a liquid.

Refrigerate or eat warm.

Recipes for a happy marriage #7

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I’m so happy to welcome my friend Katie Kelly today, who is contributing a special family recipe to our Friday series. Katie and I went to graduate school together, and she is the epitome of southern charm and graciousness. I just think the world of her! Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Katie for the story behind her recipe.

When my sister Meggie and I were little, one of our favorite recipes stemmed from our Mother’s side of the family, the Herdegens. Our Grandmother and Grandfather had come to the United States from Southeastern Germany (Bavaria) in order to escape the War. In many ways, I’ve always felt like Mom continued making this recipe as a way to honor the best part of her heritage. While at the College of Charleston, I even studied the German language for four semesters, hoping to one day spend some time there.

Taken from the German concept of the Schnitzel, the homemade chicken cutlet is one of the best comfort foods in the world. Whether she made it the night before a big basketball game or as a homecoming from college, Mom always served this with mashed potatoes and peas. To this day, I prefer mine pounded thin and finished in the oven for an extra crunch.

recipes for a happy marriage #6

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Today we have a recipe from one of my very favorite ladies, Jenny West of Sweetest Thing Bakery. She says, “This was my grandmother’s favorite tart crust recipe, then my mother’s and now mine (updated a little, shhhhhh)! Super easy and delicious.”

And in case you need a few kitchen tools to make Jenny’s apple tart, a shopping guide:

{apron from Anthro; tart pan from Williams-Sonoma; measuring spoons from Anthro; mixing bowls from Wisteria; dish towels from Williams-Sonoma; apple cutting board from Macy’s}

Recipes for a happy marriage #5

Friday, October 15th, 2010

I’m so happy to have Amy from ABCD Design on the merriment blog today. If you read Amy’s blog, you know she is a woman of many talents, but she’s also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. My husband and I were in New York several months ago, when our flight was canceled. In no time at all, through the magic of twitter, Amy had invited us to a cocktail party – she’s so gracious. : )

Amy often blogs yummy dishes she’s making, many of them from a cookbook her mother prepared for her. I’ll let Amy tell you the story…When I turned 25, my mom gave me one of the best presents I could have ever asked for. She had hand-written out all of the recipes that she was known for and placed them into a binder for me. It’s just about the only recipe book that I ever pull from.

Today, Amy is sharing a recipe for Bow Tie Pasta with Sausage in a Tomato Cream Sauce.

"bowtie pasta with sausage"

From Amy: This recipe is thrown together really quickly and tastes like you spent hours slaving over the stove! The best part is that the sauce can be made the day before and be reheated when you are boiling the pasta. Prepping it the day before means it is a wonderful (and super easy) dish to serve to company.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings remove and crumbled (I most often make it with pre-cooked sweet italian chicken sausage, sliced thin. It tastes fabulous!)
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 c. diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
12 oz. bow tie pasta (With the 1.5 cups of whipping cream, it is hardly heart healthy – but I like to use whole wheat pasta whenever I can.)
3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and pepper flakes. Cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion is tender and sausage is light brown. Add tomatoes, cream and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Serve sauce over pasta, garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Recipes for a happy marriage #4

Friday, October 8th, 2010
I’m so excited to have one of my very favorite ladies, Jen from Miss Pickles Press,  here today to share a recipe from her family cookbook. This one is definitely making its way to our dinner table stat.
When it starts getting chilly outside, nothing beats warm, savory southern comfort food. (OK, let’s be honest, southern comfort food is divine year-round, right?) Fortunately, both my mom and my aunt (identical twins!) are both wonderful cooks and each of them have some pretty special recipes that always please. When my Rhode-Island-turned-Southerner-by-marriage husband tasted my Aunt Bec’s homemade macaroni and cheese, it was like he’d finally tasted this classic dish for the very first time, the way it should be made! I won’t lie, there’s a lot of cheese. Gobs of butter. And heaps of gooey goodness. But it’s worth every single calorie and your guests will be back for a second helping. Delish!
- Jen Mageau, Miss Pickles Press

"macaroni and cheese"

recipes for a happy marriage #3

Friday, October 1st, 2010

"berry pudding"

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to work with Virginia Living and some very talented people — food stylist J.Frank, photographer Kip Dawkins and the talented staff at the magazine. I did the prop styling for this story, “Berry Unlikely.” Although we just said goodbye to summer, this berry pudding is divine. Definitely a recipe to pull out next year!

"merriment events"

recipes for a happy marriage #2

Friday, September 24th, 2010

I’m so excited to welcome Jennifer Davick to the merriment blog today for the second part of our new series, recipes for a happy marriage. Jennifer lives in Birmingham, Alabama and works at Southern Living. Her work has appeared in Coastal Living, Cooking Light, on Design*Sponge and Decor8. She also writes The Dish on Photography. Today she’s sharing her recipe for okra crudite. Thanks so much for stopping by Jennifer!

It’s wrapping up okra harvest here in Alabama. This year I discovered a new way of enjoying what might be my favorite vegetable (sorry avocado.) Now down south, okra is traditionally fried, boiled, or tossed into a pot of gumbo. I am a constant entertainer and love finding new ways to mix up my party food. So I was thinking, why not okra as a crudite?!?!. If you’re familiar with okra, you may be thinking, what a slimy mess! But it works, the trick is to just trim the end of the stem, don’t cut the whole end off, exposing the seeds. Once trimmed, blanch them for only 1 to 2 minutes in salted water, shock in ice water until cold, and then pat dry with paper towel. No slim here!  Move over boring carrot sticks and celery and say hello to beautiful crisp tender okra, just the thing for a creamy dip or hummus on your next vegetable tray.

1 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 clove garlic
1 cup of assorted mild herds (such as parsley, basil, oregano, and dill)

Whirl it all up in a food processor and season to taste with salt and
pepper. Red pepper flakes or ground cayenne can be added if you want
to spice it up a bit.

recipes for a happy marriage #1

Friday, September 17th, 2010

"chocolate birthday cake"

Last night while I was cooking dinner, I came up with the idea for a new series of posts, called “recipes for a happy marriage.” I’m from the south, where recipes are passed generation to generation and where the dishes you prepare are about way more than the food….they’re about the memories & the story. And, I believe it’s true that a home cooked meal can fix just about anything and makes you feel 100% better than you did before you sat down at the table. : )

There’s nothing I treasure more than my recipe binder. Silly, but true. It’s full of recipes I’ve collected. Many of them in the handwriting of the person who gave me the recipe, which makes them all that much more special. (*recipe collections are one of the best wedding gifts I can think of too!)

Since my 31st birthday is next week, I thought I’d share Janice’s chocolate birthday cake recipe.  Janice is from my hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. She makes theverybestcakes on the face of the planet. No lie. And every year, my mom would order this cake for my birthday. One year, my mom drove through a hurricane and was ushered to my front door by a state trooper (because she couldn’t drive down my street for all of the fallen trees), carrying this cake and a bottle of wine. Best birthday gift ever!

Unfortunately, Janice didn’t include the icing for the cake, but a fudge icing is what she normally uses.

I hope this will become a weekly series with some guest posts. Katie Stoops and I have some tricks up our sleeves for holiday posts. Should be a good time! Hope you enjoy!