Allow me to introduce you to this recipe. We go way back. I first stumbled upon it when browsing The Spice House’s website (which is owned by Bill Penzey’s sister. They’re just a whole family chock full of spice tycoons, I tell ya). At the time, St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner. I’m not a huge fan of corned beef, unless it’s in hash form. The recipe called for Guinness to be used, so I though it would be a festive alternative to the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I was right, it was a huge hit. I went out with some girlfriends that evening, and when I returned…it had all been consumed by the husband.  And make no mistakes folks, it was a large roast.

Needless to say, it since became my standard pot roast recipe. So much more flavor that your  standard Crock-Pot variety pot roast. Not only that, but I feel like it’s been improved upon by trying out different beers. I had heard wonderful things about coffee-braised pot roasts. So, I thought it would be very interesting to combine the two. Again, boy was I right!

We have  2 oh-so-wonderful local breweries in my area (hey – we don’t have much, but we’ve got good beer by God!). Both happen to make wonderful, rich dark stouts that use coffee in the brewing process. The first is Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout. If you haven’t heard about DogFish, and like beer, do yourself a favor and try something out. You can find them nationwide, if you look hard enough. The second is Evolution Brewing Company’s Rise Up Stout.  “Evo” started  up about a year or so ago, right here on the Eastern Shore, and have been putting out wonderful craft beers. Chances are if you don’t live in the Chesapeake area, you won’t find them. But, by all means, get out there and explore the beer coolers at your local stores. Lots of great microbreweries are springing up all over the place. I’m sure you could find something near you that is equally as wonderful!

I don’t list potatoes in the recipe, but feel free to add them in with the rest of the other veggies. I usually use red potatoes that I’ve halved.  However, it’s wonderful with mashed potatoes too. You want as much of the gravy as you can get, folks. Enjoy this recipe, I promise you that you won’t miss that corned beef a bit!

pineappleupside

Who doesn’t remember this cake from their childhood? I remember my “Aunt Sissy” making a notorious Upside-Down Cake. She’s been gone for quite a few years now. Unfortunately I wasn’t into cooking and/or baking at that time. So, sadly I never got the recipe. However, this recipe was close, and certainly brought back memories.

The cake itself is ultra moist and dense. The lovely caramelized sugar and pineapple rings on top are loaded with flavor, and make for a beautiful presentation as well.  It would be an excellent choice to make for an upcoming Holiday get together, as “that time of year” will be here before we know it. I know I can’t speak for anybody else – but I myself cannot wait! I’m counting down the days my friends. Enjoy!

cashewchicken

I’ve always been a fan of stir-fries. Crisp veggies, tender strips of various proteins, savory sauces, rice – the perfect one dish meal. I came across this recipe when browsing old issues of Cook’s Country Magazine. I love their recipes because they are usually very easy. Wonderful on those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking!

I’ve always got a cache of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and we adore snow peas in this house…so I knew this one would be a winner.

On another note – can anyone believe it’s November already? This year has just flown by. I’ve signed up for a cooking class at the local community college. I have to wear a chefs jacket and hat – it’s so much fun! It is an International Cuisine course. This semester is mainly focusing on Asian and Caribbean cuisine. I have another 3 weeks of class, and I’m looking forward to signing up for another in the spring. Hoping to make a few “foodie” friends in the area. Not many of my friends really enjoy cooking, so I’d certainly like to find some who do!

Anywho, enjoy the cashew chicken. Really was a great dinner!

minestrone

We’ve had a slight chill in the air this week. As you might be able to tell from my last post, I’m thinking about fall. I’ve really been trying to go through my collection of cookbooks, as I have collected such a wonderful assortment over the years. This one is no exception. It’s written by Henry Hill, the notorious mobster that the film “Goodfellas” is based off of. Now, let me just say what a great “food movie” Goodfellas is. The razor thin garlic? The cannoli incident? So many good scenes. But, I digress. You get me talking about any classic mafia movie, and I could go on for days!

There are so many great recipes in this book, I diddn’t even know where to begin. After much deliberation, I decided on this wonderful minestrone. It was delicious, and a relatively easy. It wasn’t super quick as far as cooking time goes – at 2 hours. But, for me, as a general rule of thumb – a good soup can’t come together quickly. Just the way it is folks!

I like to pre-cook my pasta first. I find that it doesn’t get quite as overcooked in the leftovers that way. I used elbow macaroni in this batch – but feel free to use whatever you like or have handy. This is really a “clean your fridge” out kind of meal. Lots of room for additions and substitutions. I kind of felt like maybe it would benefit for corn? Or some canelli beans perhaps? I was out of Parmesan cheese (I know! I know!), but I’d definitely top the soup with some before serving. Or, if you happen to have a rind laying around in the refrigerator or freezer, feel free to toss that into the mix as well. Just make sure you remove it before dishing it up!

Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty bread. Perfect for the cool fall evenings we have ahead of us!