“And the stars look very different today…”


Back on track

Hi there and Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday and that you got to spend time with family, food, and friends.  I had a great time with my family and friends, but think I spent the most time with food!  We went to Houston and I visited quite a few entries on my top 100 list.  Just counted and I think I hit 19 of them!  Yikes!

Safe to say, a little detox is in order!  I want a some whole, unprocessed meals in my life.  When we got home, I wanted to cook and I wanted veggies!!

Moroccan Couscous

I made this couscous as a side to some broiled fish that D made, and it was delicious and just what the doctor ordered!  I halved the recipe, but eyeballed the veggies, so I think my veg to couscous ratio was high (fine with me!) and I went light on the salt and pepper.  The whole thing is delicious and the saffron adds a great flavor!


Moroccan Couscous

Yield:  Serves six to eight

2 cups (3/4-inch) diced butternut squash

2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 onions)

1 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) diced carrots (about 4 carrots)

1 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) diced zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)

2 Tbsp. good olive oil

Kosher salt, divided

Freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or canned broth

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. saffron threads

1 1/2 cups couscous (10 oz.)

2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Place the squash, onion, carrots, and zucchini on prepared baking sheet.   Add the olive oil, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper and toss to coat.

3.  Roast veggies in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.  Turn once after 15 minutes.

4.  While the veggies are roasting, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan.

5.  Turn off the heat and add the butter, 1 tsp. salt (to taste deepening on saltiness of the stock), 1/2 tsp. black pepper, cumin, and saffron.   Allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.

6.  Once veggies are cooked tender, place in a large bowl with couscous.

6.  Bring the stock just back to a boil.

7.  Pour the hot chicken stock into the bowl with veggies and couscous.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

8.  Uncover, add the scallions to the bowl, and toss the couscous and vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris, p. 158



Happy New Year Y’all!

Compound Herb Butter

So this is the last of my Thanksgiving posts and one of the best!

True confession time – I am not a fan of butter on bread.  There I said it.  Give me a warm roll or breadstick any day and I am a happy camper.  I do not have the compulsion to slather butter on it.  Judge me if you must, but I also don’t need to dip it into olive oil on a plate.

OK, now that the unpleasantness is over, let me tell you how smitten I am with this herb butter.


Compound Butter


Just be warned – once you try this, plain butter will never seem as good again… You were warned.

Herb Compound Butter

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

1 tbsp. fresh basil, finely minced

1 tsp. fresh dill, finely minced

1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely minced

1/2 -3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

2.  With a spoon, mix well until thoroughly combined.

3.  To serve, you can pipe butter into small serving dishes with a pastry tip or you can just scoop into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4.  Before serving, allow to come to room temperature so that the butter is spreadable.

Source:  Annie’s Eats

Card Game – November

One more update to be all caught up…

So November passed with one little post on the blog.  Bad me.  The days have been flying by way too fast for me…

I did a lot of cooking this month, so that’s a plus and I hope to write about some of the recipes I tried soon, so bear with me…  Here’s what November looked like in the TPH kitchen:

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake

Trying to get into the Fall spirit, I started out with Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake.  I gotta admit, not too enthused by it.  Ate some of it, but wasn’t blown away.  Might make again because it got some good reviews, might not.

Cafe Tu Tu Tango Black Bean Salsa

Went for healthy snacking with Cafe Tu Tu Tango Black Bean Salsa.  Cafe Tu Tu Tango was a restaurant in Coconut Grove for years that I went to quite a bit when I was in graduate school. Don’t think I ever had this salsa, but maybe…  Really good, fresh and good for you!

Oh my gosh, this Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding is amazingly good and worth every, single, numerous fat gram.

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Clearly I need to work on my pancake shaping skills… Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes – Made these pancakes for the Misses, who really liked!  Sadly, Miss E wouldn’t allow me to put raisins in the batter – I think they would have been so much more cookie-like with them.  Next time.

Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese

Wanted to make a fat-free cream cheese spread for bagels so I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese using fat-free cream cheese in place of regular.  The dill was a little overpowering, but not bad with smoked salmon on top!

I made another variation of s’mores with these S’mores Cookies.  Lest you all think I am obsessed with s’mores, I was given this giant bar of good milk chocolate by my staff for Boss’ Day:

Peterbrooke Chocolate

I am not one to sit down with a bar of chocolate, so I decided to chop it up (after tasting, of course) and use it as the chocolate chips in these cookies.  Good call!  Misses really liked!

Chickpeas in Chunky Tomato Sauce Over Couscous (from a 1993 Bon Appetit!) – healthy, filling, and really easy vegan dinner.  We ate this for a few dinners (D) and lunches (me).  Yum.

Another vegan meal followed with Southwestern Tofu Burritos (from a 1992 Bon Appetit!  I was digging deep into my collection!!).  Really, really liked this recipe.  Healthy, protein-filled and delicious.  Will definitely make again!

Starting to get ready for Thanksgiving, I made Ultimate Ginger Cookies and the title doesn’t lie.  The texture is perfect, but I will dial back the ginger and cloves with the next go round.  Too much bite…

Cranberry Apricot Sauce2

In advance I was able to prep my most favorite Compound Herb Butter – a hit every year and Cranberry Apricot Sauce.

I also made Tangy Cranberry Sauce from an old Dallas Morning News, but it was just too savory for Thanksgiving.

At the Thanksgiving bar (is this just my family that has a bar set-up for Thanksgiving?), we had an assortment of olives, cheese, giant fava beans from Norman Brothers (amazing Miami grocery store and a recipe I need to learn stat!), Spinach-Artichoke Bites (ok, not great) and two kinds of nuts for snacking – Rosemary Cashews and Spiced Candied Walnuts.

New to the Thanksgiving table were Green Beans with Bistro Mustard Vinaigrette – so easy to make ahead and really delicious.  Loved these and will make again when they are the only side dish, not one of eight!

New for dessert this year, I made Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies and Cranberry Bread Pudding (again from a 1992 Bon Appetit) that were both FABULOUS.

I also started some Cranberry Orange Vodka that is still “brewing” in a dark closet :)

Not so bad!!  Was a busy girl in the kitchen!  Adding 19 cards to file away for a grand total of 156 this year!


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