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Did you know that lilacs are in bloom? I found out last weekend when I was in Napa. I happily cut a bucket full and brought them back to the city. They’re now spread throughout my apartment in an assortment of vases. And if you’ve been in my apartment you’ll know that 4 vases of lilacs is a lot for this tiny space! They smell amazing and I just think they’re so pretty! My current stash is already starting to wilt so I might need to re-load this weekend…

For the record, it was about 80 degrees and blue sky when I left Napa on Sunday. It was not 80 degrees when I got to the city about an hour later. The drastic weather change always amazes me. Good thing I love fog as much as I love lilacs!

No – I have not been in an accident and forgotten my entire life, but miraculously remember how to blog. I went out on a Wednesday night to hear the jazz band Gaucho at the bar Amnesia in the Mission. I KNOW! I honestly haven’t been to the Mission in probably 5 years. Gasp.

A friend of mine who recently split from her longtime BF needed a night out so who does she call? I can’t believe it either, but she called me. Luckily, the band Gaucho started playing at 7:30 so oldsters like me didn’t fall asleep. The band was great and it was fun to hang out and listen to their music.  The bar is a quirky little place with a mixed bag of people and a great philosophy: “You’re poor, you’re rich, gay, straight, old, young, we don’t care, but however you come, come with the right attitude. Like the sign on our wall says: “BE NICE OR LEAVE- THIS IS A GROWN FOLKS ESTABLISHMENT”’!

At around 9 we decided to grab a bite to eat so headed around the block to Hog & Rocks. We ordered the Herb Butter Fries, Mussels, BBQ Meatballs w/ Cheese Grits, and a Beets & Bread Salad to round out the meal. Oh wait, we also ordered a bottle of wine…maybe that rounded out the meal? Either way the food was fantastic and everyone was really friendly. I am going to try to make BBQ meatballs at home because they were amazing! (I hope I don’t need an actual BBQ)…

Sorry for another post about food, but this is the breakfast casserole I made on Easter Sunday. I found the recipe in my Mom’s priceless collection of recipes and it was easy to make and, in all honestly, I loved the name! The recipe was clipped from a magazine and originated at the Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Cody, WY. It does take a lot of chopping, but my assistant Pedro makes an excellent sous chef so it was a snap (for me).

There was a lot left over and I had it for breakfast 2 days in a row after Easter…ate it cold and it was still yummy. This isn’t a gluten-free recipe because it’s made with Bisquick, but I’m sure there’s a substitute out there somewhere.

The Recipe
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray
1 lb bulk sausage, browned & drained (i used sausuage links which Pedro chopped up)
1/2 lb bacon cooked, drained, crumbled
12 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes (cooked following package directions)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup reduced fat Bisquick
3 cups 2% reduced fat milk
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs

1. Oil 13×9 glass cooking dish or spray it with cooking spray
2. Combine sausage, hash browns, bacon, bell pepper, onions, and 1 cup of cheese in a large bowl. Mix well, and spread in baking pan.
3. Whisk together Bisquick, milk, salt and eggs until well blended. Pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight (no longer than 24-hours).
The Next Day
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dish from refridgerator.
2. Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes, until light golden-brown around the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

As promised, here’s a finished look of the Easter Rose Cakelets we had for dessert over the weekend. I used a boxed cake mix because it was super easy and greased/floured the bejeezus out of the pan. They popped out without a problem. Phewf! My sisters each had genius ideas that made these really good. #7 suggested using Mom’s recipe of Minute Fudge Frosting (misnomer as it takes about 15 minutes) and #1 recommended dipping the bottoms in the frosting which added to their yumminess. In hindsight, I would only dip the bottoms and not drizzle frosting on top too to preserve the “rose” look. A sprinkle of powdered sugar would have been prettier, but what can you do? Now I know for next time!

Here’s the recipe for Minute Fudge Frosting…it is REALLY REALLY good!
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
2 sq. unsweetened chocolate (cut up) – I used the equivalent  of unsweetened cocoa powder and it worked fine
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients in saucepan except vanilla. Stir over low heat until chocolate & shortening melt. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute and then remove from heat. Stir until lukewarm and then add vanilla. Continue stirring until smooth/spreadable consistency.

The frosting will be thin enough to dip or drizzle over baked goods. Once it firms up you can heat it up and it will become drizzly again.

I spent the past two nights in Napa and twice I woke up in the early morning hours to the whirr of the wind machines working to keep frost from damaging the vines. Dad’s house is about 1/2 mile from the nearest vineyard so it’s surprising (and a little annoying) to hear the fans, which sound like a hovering helicopter. Of course I didn’t mind too much…anything to save the wine!

I am really looking forward to this weekend. A big Easter dinner planned for Saturday with Dad, #1, #7 and their families. One of my contributions is dessert and I did a test run with a new pan last night. Mini rose cakes! They’ll be even prettier (I hope) once I add all the special “fixings”. I’ll post pictures next week!

Happy Easter!