Oeufs en Cocotte

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Be sure to read all the way through to the bottom.  We're doing another $50 gift card giveaway and the details are after the recipes...   Val and I were discussing food I know, what's new, right? over the phone the other day.  We were talking about some of the requests we had during our last gift certificate giveaway.  Most folks wanted recipes for quick, budget-friendly, family-friendly, gourmet items.  Well, shucks.  Can you say softball?  That's our raison d'etre in the kitchen.  With the economy in a bit of unrest, who doesn't want budget-friendly besides Warren Buffet or the Hiltons?  Inexpensive doesn't need to mean hard to swallow, though.  With a bit of planning you can turn out fabulous meals for a very low price tag.  We did rock, scissors, paper over the phone and I ended up with the first opportunity to share a favorite recipe that fits all of our criteria.    My first thought was Oeufs en Cocotte...   B.C., before children that is, and way back in the day, I was an exchange student in La Belle France for my senior year of high school.  And may God smile gently on those poor folks who generously shared their home with the rebellious punk twit that I was in those years.  They gave me a bed.  They ferried me all over the countryside, proudly showing me many sites of France, Switzerland and Germany.  They made sure I got to and from school daily.  But above all else, they sat me at their table and fed me the most amazing food.  Did I mention that … {Read on...}

Harry Potter Butter Beer

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In today's Record-Eagle column I ran the following recipe for Vanilla Simple Syrup.   Vanilla Simple Syrup   Once you make this you'll find all sorts of reasons to keep it handy. We put about 1 1/2 ounces in the bottom of a tall glass and top it off with cold plain seltzer for a homemade cream soda that beats the pants off of anything you can buy in the store. If you're so inclined, you can pour a wee bit in a glass with some brandy. And for you Harry Potter fans out there ... Tune in to www.foodiewithfamily.com for an amazing and delicious Butter Beer recipe in both grown up and house elf styles.   If you don't have access to a vanilla bean, just add an additional tablespoon of vanilla extract at the end of the recipe.   1 c. fresh water 2 c. granulated sugar 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise but not scraped 2 T. pure vanilla extract Add the sugar to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the vanilla bean and pour the water over the top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.   Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour syrup, along with the vanilla bean, into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Cool completely before use.         ...After submitting the column to the editor, I promptly forgot to post my butter beer recipe here.  Sigh.  You might almost think I was really busy or something.   'Tis the season to be reading and I'm willing to bet … {Read on...}

Mandazi

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When I read Beccy's post yesterday, it immediately triggered a memory from my college years--well, my second round of college years. I had originally gone to college right after high school, but in my sophomore year, it was required that we declare a major, and I had NO idea what I wanted to focus on as my major. So, rather settle for 'whatever,' I left school, and didn't return until I returned to that same college town with my two young children, to work and to finish my degree. That small college town was home to many international students, and over the course of our time there, several of these students came into our home, some to share the living space for a while, some just to visit and share some home cooked meals. Some of them also introduced us to some of their favorite foods from back home, and one of the favorites that we have carried with us is Mandazi, an East African fried dough.  I remember standing with Patrick, a student from Kenya, in my small apartment kitchen as he walked me through the recipe from beginning to end. He and his wife and children, along with me, my children and a few others, happily munched through the evening on this fast and frugal treat from his home. I've made these several times over the years since then, and one of the wonderful things about them is their flexibility--they can be a breakfast bread, a snack, and even as a dinner bread made with less sugar and without the confectioners sugar topping. Since I had not made them … {Read on...}

Dabo Kolo

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The boys and I are members of a homeschooling co-operative group in the area.  I peel the baby off of my leg, then teach a baking class to the teens, and assist in an "American Political System" class.  The boys take World Geography, Physical Education, Hands-on Science, International Cooking and Exploring the World through Art.   They're always excited to tell me what they've learned in their classes when we meet up again at the end of the day.  They've been especially proud of sharing their recipes with me from the international cooking class.  The teacher in there told me that Ty actually ate coconut, grapes and strawberries.  Oh heck yes!  I don't care who gets my son to eat fruit.  I'll take it.  Thank you Ms. Kathy!   This week, the boys brought me the recipe for what they made with Ms. Kathy along with a sample.  Dabo Kolo.  Have the rest of you tried this before?  Am I the only one who hadn't eaten this Ethiopian specialty before today?  They're crispy little fried bread snacks that have just enough spice to make them seriously addictive.  I glanced over the recipe and realized that not only was it delicious, but it was also incredibly easy.  We ran home to make a bigger batch.  Let's be honest.  I'm good at sharing, but I wanted to eat a pile of Dabo Kolo by myself, so, comme d'habitude, we doubled the recipe.    The boys set right to work showing me their impressive kitchen skills.  They scooped and levelled the flour, levelled the spoons of … {Read on...}

Time for a Cuppa?

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We have had a couple of cold, sleety, rainy, dreary days here recently, and I know Rebecca's working hard at getting the site in order and could probably use a little warm comfort herself, so I thought I'd throw in a good word for one of our favorite go-to's at times like these--hot brewed black tea, with some sugar and cream, please! I also thought I would take this occasion to mention a couple of my favorite places--a place where I have purchased a good amount of tea and all the fun things that go with it, as well as a small pottery, both places in Pennsylvania where we lived before moving to Michigan.   First, the tea--I've spent many happy hours at a small coffee and tea shop in Camp Hill PA, by the name of "One Good Woman." Owned and operated by Holly O'Connor, this is a small business that started out very small, literally from the back of her Jeep, and has grown into a lovely shop that sells coffees, teas, gourmet food items, tea and coffee wares of various kinds, and now offers mail order service, which means I can still get my favorite teas even though we are 900 miles apart! Some favorites: I remember a plum tea I especially enjoyed, and a green tea with mango, tea with coconut, an herbal tea by the name of Once Upon a Tea--a wonderful combination of tea, chocolate, mint, orange and spice--to die for! English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and always, ALWAYS, my Earl Grey.   Just walking into Holly's shop was a joy--the smell of the coffees and teas mixing … {Read on...}