Coq au Vin

6 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 chicken breast halves, skinless
3 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
3 chicken drumsticks
3 tablespoons caramelized garlic olive oil
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb button mushrooms, white or portobello, brushed clean & quartered
10 oz. frozen baby or pearl onions, thawed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot.

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Miriam’s Mashed Potatoes Waiting

A fabulous complement to Coq au Vin, meatloaf or any dinner celebration.

6 large Yukon gold potatoes, 8-10 medium
2 tbls butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 tbls shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
paprika

Peel potatoes and cook until done. Drain and mash, adding the butter, milk and cream. Beat until fluffy.

Spoon into a greased casserole dish, beat the whipping cream until stiff and spread over the potatoes. Scatter the shredded cheese on top and dash paprika over the cream.

Bake at 350° until topping is golden brown.

*Recipe adapted from Best of Friends, Too!

Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


Happy Birthday Babe!

My husband is an identical twin born in 1969. If I’m counting right, that means he is 50 years old now. While I have no problem whatsoever with his age, the passage of time does have me thinking about the fact I’m not too far behind him and that does bother me. I know that 50 is the new 40, or is it 40 is the new 50? Well, whatever the phrase is supposed to be, I am pretty sure someone is trying to convince us it is not really a whole half a century OLD. Since I don’t ‘feel’ nearly 50, I am not even sure how we got this old. Regardless of how we feel, look and behave, it sounded like a good reason to host a party and even though he would have been content with a quick trip to the brick oven pizzeria, I had to have a little fun.

Theme is always my first step to planning a party. He’s a guy, a 50 year old guy at that and what is his greatest vice? BEER. I don’t remember beer being such a significant staple in our home until we lived in Europe for 7 years. All of a sudden, he was a self proclaimed expert on craft beer, Belgian beer, US beef, pale ales, stouts, lager, pils, you name it, there was beer involved. So, the theme was pretty darn easy.

Cheers & Beers, Here’s to Brett’s 50 Years….

Theme in hand, I could also quickly decide on decorations. Since beer cans stack pretty easily, I scoured Google and Pinterest for quick ideas for creating a beer can tower. Easy, peasy, 50 cans of three different beers (one per level), I was on a roll.

I thought about how I have cooked with beer sufficiently before, so what if I build a menu around beer as the ingredient? Now, if you know me, you know I don’t drink beer. Not a drop! I never have and I seriously doubt I ever will. So, some will think this was quite a stretch for a non-drinker, but it’s really not much different than cooking with wine. I can’t taste it, and the best part is you definitely cannot smell it, and that is usually what sends me to the hills. Keep in mind, my father has grown malt barley for Budweiser for over 30 years and my husband and son drink probably more beer than water but I don’t even like the smell of it. Just like you, the internet and my collection of cookbooks served me well as I set out to select my menu. I can’t take credit for any of the creative genius, merely the pairing and delivery.

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A Skillet Breakfast

A trip to the grocery store is definitely in order, but it is time for Sunday morning breakfast and I feel inspired to be a bit more creative today. I could have settled for some quick eggs and called it good, but I do have some additional ingredients that can be put to use, so I decide on something a bit more stylish.

First of all, I dig out a skillet. I chose one of my newer cast iron skillets thinking that for what I have in mind, it is skillet worthy. I’m going to make a potato bottom egg frittata, or something like that, packed with proteins, a bit of carbs, and some extra flavors to make it pop.

 

Hash Brown & Egg Skillet Breakfast
serves 4

olive oil, EVOO or your favorite infused blend
1/4 onion, diced
1/3 package of bulk sausage, browned and drained
1/3 package of frozen, diced hash browns
4 eggs, whisked with 1/8 cup of milk
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sprinkles of fresh herbs (choose from thyme, rosemary, basil, and/or parsley)

Heat the skillet over medium heat with a a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  (I used caramelized garlic olive oil)  Saute the onion in the oil until tender and slightly browned, while in a separate skillet, browning the sausage. Drain the sausage on a paper towel until ready for use. Read More


Ladies Day In

When we moved into our new house in December, a few of our good friends were unable to join us. Thankfully, I have an incredibly thoughtful friend for whom that scenario “just wouldn’t do!” So, we scheduled a ladies only brunch so they could see the new house and we could have a relaxing day indoors.

Well, today was the day! A snowy, very cold February Monday brought me three dear friends, a salmon fritatta, fresh fruit, blueberry bran muffins and plenty of chocolate!  I provided the venue, mimosas (and of course, tea & coffee) and a warm fire and they brought brunch.  I set the table with square Lenox Butler’s Pantry plates I purchased about 15 years ago at the factory in Italy over chocolate brown woven chargers topped with my grandmother’s ivory cloth napkins. I love, love these plates and I simply do not use them enough! I specifically bought them for ladies luncheons and so, they had to be featured on this special day. Please do keep in mind, I am not a stuffy ladies luncheon kind of person — but I was a military spouse for 25 years and sometimes you have the privilege (or responsibility) of hosting a whole lot of wives for a social or luncheon and I wanted to be prepared. Read More


Cookies, cookies…

If you are looking for a cookie recipe that is sure to please, you are in the right place! No matter the season (or day) I make either treat, they never stick around for long.I’ll start with a family recipe from my grandmother, Shirley. She made these every Christmas and they are my dad’s favorite, hands down. As a result, I have received the torch and have committed to continue the tradition. I have no idea where she got the original recipe, so she gets the credit this time around. 

Vanilla Icebox Cookies
Serves: 4-5 dozen cookies1 1/2 c. butter, softened
3 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c. chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, Shirls always used walnuts)
4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. vanilla

Mix thoroughly all ingredients, starting with the butter, sugar & eggs. Roll into 8-10 inch long, 2″ diameter logs after dough is chilled. Store logs in the fridge in wax paper, twisting the ends of the paper to seal. Refrigerate overnight before cutting in thin slices. Bake at 400º for 4-5 minutes, depending on how thick you cut the slices. I typically bake one log at a time, so the dough can last in my fridge for up to a week. After all, fresh out of the oven is always best for any cookie! 

Salted Caramel Cookies
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies Read More