Monday, April 20, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes with Betty

At the request of The Bad Witch.

This is from a newer Betty Crocker cookbook.

Scalloped Potatoes


3 Tbsp Butter
1 small Onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 1/2 c Milk
6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter or margarine


Heat oven to 350F. Grease 2-quart casserole with shortening.

In 2-quart saucepan, melt 3 Tbps butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Spread potatoes in casserole dish. Pour sauce over potatoes. Cut 1 tablespoon butter inot small pieces and dot on potatoes.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes (sauce thickens as it stands).

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cream Puffs with Betty

I grew up on the classic Betty Crocker cookbook, "Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook":


Ours had a different cover. My mom had 2 copies for some reason, so I inherited one when I moved out on my own. It got water damage from some faulty plumbing, so I bought one with the cover above. The recipes are old classics from the 40s and 50s(?). It doesn't get used much, but occasionally I dig it out--mainly for dessert recipes from my childhood.

One of our favorite treats as children were cream puffs with custard filling. Oh...the eggy goodness! The skin on the custard....

So I've been craving some for awhile now and finally got around to making them today. They're pretty easy, but the custard takes FOREVER to make--prepare to work up some muscles stirring.

Cream Puffs:

1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and butter until boiling. Stir in flour then reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well blended and mixture is smooth. Use a scant 1/4 cup of dough and drop onto a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 400 degrees.


2 eggs or 4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Heat sugar, salt, flour and milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Temper eggs by whisking a small amount of custard into the eggs. Whisk egg mixture into custard and bring to a boil while whisking. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in vanilla.

Cut the tops off of the cream puffs and spoon in the custard.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sips and Snacks at Rioja

With all of the grandparents visiting in the last few weeks, B and I got a much needed night out on a Tuesday a couple of weeks ago. We went to Rioja for the $15 "Sips and Snacks," which consisted of 4 "sips" and accompanying "snacks." It was "Pinot Posse" night and different than the one I thought it would be in my previous post.

Here are our "sips." How fun to have a table for two swimming in wine glasses.



We started with pinot gris from Left Coast Cellars (2005) paired with a bite size piece of fish and apple mignonette (they were out of the oyster on the half shell advertised on the menu).

Then NV Segur Viudas Aria Brut Rose paired with a pork fennel sausage meatball, pesto, and goat cheese.

We then had a very light red: O'Reilly's 2007 Pinot Noir, paired with king oyster musthroom veloute, fennel-shallot salad, and dill vinaigrette. This stuff was so thick it was hard to get it out of the shot glass it was served in.

Last, we had the 2006 Emeritus Pinot Noir paired with brussels sprout pancetta compote with port wine poached chestnut puree.

Here are our lovely snacks:


Our appetites were just whetted after this (even though we'd already had dinner). These snacks were bite-size, amuse bouches really, so they just made us want more. So we ordered an appetizer to share: the gorgonzola naturale: organic farmstead gorgonzola with a house made black mission fig newton, shaved smoked prosciutto, micro arugula, and red wine reduction. I don't think I've ever had micro arugula. I think I need to try to grow some. I "paired" this with their "lemon quencher" cocktail: house made lemoncello, Bombay gin, gingerale, cava sparkling, and a lime squeeze.

Oh, OH! And I almost forgot their incredible bread: I had one with fennel and maybe lavender? OH my...

Everything was great. This was my first experience at Rioja. I'm now hoping we get to eat a real meal there soon.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Petal Pusher

Testing some functionality from GoodReads:

Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story by Laurie Lindeen

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The writing bugged me a lot at the beginning, but got better as the book went along. A good editor should have fixed that. At times, the book was slow and at others compulsively readable. If I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars.

I don't really remember Zuzu's Petals, but you can enjoy the book without being familiar with them. A good memoir of music and being in a band in the early 90s.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Evening at Duo

Friday night we got an unexpected chance to have a sitter and grabbed it. It turned out to be fortuitous because B got a big raise earlier that day. And he works for a company that "isn't giving out raises this year." With the way things are going at my work, this was extra fabulous news. So we needed to celebrate.

We went to Duo Restaurant in the Highland neighborhood of Denver. I'd heard and read mixed reviews of this place, but our experience was completely fabulous.


I started with an "April Showers" cocktail, a Beefeater’s gin martini with Calvados and a candied rose petal. The petal was surprisingly tasty. They start you out with cracker-y flat bread and mixed olives (2 kinds). One of the olives was a very bright green and really light tasting. I don't know why I didn't think to ask what kind it was. I'd love to get some. I'm lucky that B doesn't like olives, because I got them all. The olives were in olive oil with fennel seed for flat bread dipping. Again, B doesn't like fennel seed, so I got it all, haha.

ETA: I found a picture of those bright green olives on Culinary Colorado's blog here. Now if I can only find out where to get them.

For an appetizer, we shared the Duck Confit with a potato pancake and apricot mustard. The duck was a little dry and the pancake a little greasy, but it still tasted very good. We both really liked the apricot mustard.

B got the Parmesan Chicken: free-range chicken served with a caper lemon sauce and a potato, bacon and watercress salad. It was very good. The bacon was a delicious addition and it was the good, thick-cut stuff.


I had the Mahi,baked in a thin pastry with a garlic herb pistou and served over a saute of leeks, baby carrots and potatoes. Oh. my. gah. It was so good. I'm still dreaming of it. I think it had cabbage too. Or maybe it was the leeks, who knows. But when I like the vegetable even more than the fish (which was amazing), that vegetable is goooooood.


I had a glass of Inama Soave Classico from Garganega, Italy with the mahi. An organic wine, according to the menu. The smell was so sweet, but the taste was very light.


For dessert, we shared the Warm Pineapple Coconut Tart with pink peppercorn ice cream. I had to taste this ice cream! I really enjoyed it, but B wasn't too sure about it. My only complaint is the peppercorn flavor I burped up the rest of the evening--odd, indeed! I had a glass of muscato with the tart. Mmmmmm...

After, we checked out Billy's Inn. For some reason, I thought it was more of a bar, but it's really more of a restaurant. We just had one drink at the bar. It was busy and an older, "yuppie-ish" crowd (are there yuppies anymore?). Also, too well-lit. I was kind of hoping it would be more dive-y, but it was still fun.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Top Chef Masters featuring One of Boulder's Finest

Oooohhhh...I can't wait for this show! Bravo is going to have a "Top Chef Masters" starting in June. It sounds like it will be just like "Top Chef," but featuring some of the great known chefs out there. One of the 24 chefs will be Lachlan McKinnon Patterson of Boulder's Frasca. We had one of our great meals of this last year there--my birthday celebration actually.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yummy Nummy Haagen-Dazs five gave me the opportunity to host a Häagen-Dazs five™ ice cream "House Party." They sent me a "pint," i.e. 14 oz. container (isn't it funny how ice cream pints aren't really pints anymore?) of each flavor, dishes, spoons, napkins, a scoop, a totebag, coupons, and recipes. The in-laws were in town, so we invited all the CO family over to enjoy the ice cream (along with pizza).

The flavors we tried are vanilla bean, passion fruit, ginger, coffee, brown sugar, milk chocolate, and mint.

Okay, ice cream tastings are totally fun! And it doesn't hurt when the stuff is really yummy. Everybody absolutely loved it. There were a lot of different favorites, but my top two seemed to be the most popular: passion fruit and ginger, with passion fruit just barely beating ginger. I could eat a gallon of either.

Oh, and the cool thing? They each only have 5 ingredients (get them name, now?) and two of those are skim milk and cream. The skim milk makes them less fattening, but I didn't miss the fat. Still super creamy and what you would expect from the ol' H-D.

So, ice cream tasting verdict? Definitely a success and a fun idea for a party.