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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ivy, 1907-2009

We received word on Friday that the Husband's Grandmother passed way, so Tuesday and Wednesday were spent on a trip to Fergus Falls for the funeral. This was by no means a tragic event - she was 101 years and 4 months old. For the last several years she resided in the Battle Lake Nursing Home. She was formerly of Underwood, MN and Amor, MN. All small rural farming communities around the Fergus Falls area.

Ivy was the last surviving sibling of 7 children: Maurice, Murray, Charles, Frone, Flora and Ann. She was born on Oct 31, 1907 in Maine Township of Otter Tail County, MN, to James and Hattie (York) Burns. Her family owned and operated Burn's store, and old time general store where Ivy was employed as a clerk. She enjoyed going to local barn dances and swimming in the area's numerous lakes.



On Dec 31, 1927 she married Leonard F. They continued to reside in the Maine Twp until 1941 when they moved to Amor Twp and took over the ownership and operation of the Amor Store. Ivy was not only in charge of the store when Leonard was working but also proceeded to raise their 12 children.



Ivy was a hard worker who enjoyed her family and friends. Her hobbies included gardening, crocheting afghans and playing cards and scrabble. She is also remembered as the Amor school cook by many of the local "kids". I found it poignant that one of the funeral home directors remembered her for her special cheese bread - a combination of bread, cheese and spices that only Ivy knew how to make.

She left behind 9 children, 30 grand children, 35 great grand children and 7 great-great grandchildren.

It is unfortunate that three sons preceded her in death: Bob, 1995; Jim, 2007; and Ronnie (Vietnam). Also preceding her were her parents and her 6 siblings.



I feel honored that I was able to meet this remarkable woman and I am even more amazed at all the historic events she lived through.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recipe Review from 1/19/09

We've had to keep things super simple this past week - there has just been too much going on. Friday found us in Isanti, MN, for a work meeting for me; then we made our way to Marshall, MN, for a drill day for Duane; and it was our intent to head to Fergus Falls, MN to visit family, but as we received word we would have to go back in a day for a funeral, we headed back to Duluth.

We found this lovely restaurant after arriving late in Marshall Friday night: Landmark Bistro. While we were seated immediately (nearly in the entryway) and service was prompt, I found it interesting for a restaurant that was touting itself as "upscale" that they weren't getting their tables cleaned off. An 8-top was left neglected even before we arrived and during our stay, and I counted 3 other tables that were not cleaned off as patrons left between the time we were seated and the time we left. Now in their defence, they might have been short staffed, but the staff I did see (and we could see them milling about being there in that entryway) just didn't seem to want to do it.

But it was a small thing - our drinks arrived quickly, we had a salad bar to graze at, and interesting modern artwork to admire as we tried to unwind from a 3.5 hour drive in sub-zero temperatures.

I ordered a chimichanga as I wanted something on the lighter side and Duane ordered the thick-cut pork chops. My god! These were HUGE! I kid you not, the waitress set these down in front of Duane and I blurted out "Holey Shit!" right in front of her! These were cooked to perfection, but unless you are a defensive end or point guard or something, there is NO WAY an average person can eat that much. Our waitress was very kind and vacuumed sealed the one chop for us to take with (gotta love MN in the winter!). Both dishes were very good and our bill was significantly less than a recent trip to Outback Steakhouse.

And to the main topic of today's post - one little recipe from last week.

Buttermilk Oven-fried Chicken (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 09, pg 121) 3.0
I was underwhelmed by this recipe. Preparation was simple enough, soak chicken in buttermilk, pulverize saltine crackers, coat chicken with cracker mixture and bake. Now, maybe this would have worked a tich better if I had remembered to buy bone-in chicken, but I think that was a relatively moot thing. I just don't feel this had much in the way of flavor and I know I've made better. My other objection was it seemed like a waste of buttermilk - 1 cup over 4 breasts, then throw it out. I think there could have been a better method. We served the baked chicken with warmed ciabiatta rolls and a broccoli salad.



Buttermilk Oven-fried Chicken with Coleslaw

Cracker meal gives the coating more crunch; look for it on the baking aisle of your supermarket. If you can't find cracker meal, make your own by pulsing 10 saltine crackers in a food processor until they're finely ground. Or place them in a zip-top plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 3/4 cup slaw)

Ingredients
Coleslaw:
4 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Chicken:
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
4 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cracker meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Preparation

1. To prepare coleslaw, combine first 6 ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill.

2. Preheat oven to 425°.

3. To prepare chicken, combine buttermilk and chicken in a shallow dish, turning to coat.

4. Combine flour and cracker meal in a shallow dish. Transfer chicken from buttermilk to a work surface. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Working with one chicken breast half at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and flour mixture.

5. Melt butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, meat side down; cook 4 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken over, and bake at 425° for 32 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Axis by Robert Charles Wilson



I noticed this book received very mixed reviews, most of them not very complimentary. I’ve read most of Robert Charles Wilson’s books, and enjoyed them to one degree or another, so it was with a bit of trepidation that I started this one.
I found I enjoyed this one as much as I liked the others. To quote the blurb at the back of the book, the premise of the story is in the post-Spin world, the planet “next door” was engineered by the mysterious Hypotheticals to support human life, and connected to Earth by way of the Arch that towers hundreds of miles over the Indian Ocean. Humans are colonizing this new world--and, predictably, fiercely exploiting its resources, chiefly large deposits of oil in the western deserts of the continent Equatoria.

Lise Adams is a young woman attempting to uncover the mystery of her father's disappearance ten years earlier. Turk Findley is an ex-sailor and sometimes-drifter. They come together when an infall of cometary dust seeds the planet with tiny remnant Hypothetical machines.

Now Lise, Turk, a Martian woman, and a boy who has been engineered to communicate with the Hypotheticals, are drawn to a place in the desert where this seemingly hospitable world has become suddenly very alien indeed - and the nature of time is being once again twisted by entities unknown.

I don’t know why I like Wilson’s books, I just do. They often deal with “the Big Unknown” - not necessarily the Big Black Object in Space and frequently there isn’t a resolution or answer per-se. Maybe that’s why, not everything CAN be answered. So I conclude by saying, I liked this and I look forward to his next book.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe Review from 1/12/09

Between the Husband's school schedule (Monday evening classes) and my evening yoga classes (Monday's and Thursday's) I'm not getting a lot of new recipes in. I've been focusing on recipes that will provide us with a couple day's worth of leftovers - which is nice because I'm not in the kitchen so long after work, but it means less new recipes are being made.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (Culinary in the Country c/o Eating Well) 5.0
Joe has been making pizza every Friday night now for a while and he always uses this dough. I wanted to make the pizza below with Joe’s crust, so I had the Husband start the process before I got home from work so everything would have a chance to rise.

I am a convert! There is no reason why not to make this crust (well, time issues might be a big one...). This rose nicely if not a bit slow in our cool house and baked up absolutely beautifully! A lovely golden brown crust that was a cross between a soft thin crust and a thicker crust. I am already thinking of making this Neopolitan Pizza in the coming weeks.


Double Mushroom Pizza (Ckng Lght, Jan/Feb 09, pg 119) 4.0
Take two types of mushrooms - in this case Crimini and portobella - slice and coarsely chop respectively. Sear on the stove to remove the water and set aside. Saute the garlic, and add milk mixed with flour and cook till nice and thick. This is the sauce. Spread sauce over crust, top with mushrooms and thinly sliced tomatoes, add cheese, and bake.

This was good, but we both felt it needed a bit extra in the seasoning department - we were both adding a splash of seasoned salt to make the flavors pop more. I would make this again, mostly because I liked the technique of searing the mushrooms to release the moisture. No soggy pizza! I did sub a Italian blend of preshredded cheese for the mozarella.

(picture from cookinglight.com)


The recipe as published with a couple of notes to adapt baking times for homemade crust:

Choosing a premade whole wheat pizza crust not only saves time, but it also introduces whole-grain benefits to the meal.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 2 wedges)

Ingredients
1 (10-ounce) whole wheat Italian thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 (8-ounce) package presliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) package presliced portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large plum tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°. (450* if using homemade crust)

2. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° (450* with homemade) for 5 minutes. Remove crust from oven (do not turn oven off); set crust aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray; add 1 teaspoon oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Stir in thyme; spoon mushroom mixture into a bowl.

4. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil to pan, and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic to pan; cook 45 seconds. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add Asiago and pepper, stirring until cheese melts.

5. Spread sauce over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top evenly with mushroom mixture, tomato slices, and mozzarella. Bake at 375° (450*) for 10 (15-20) minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Cut pizza into 8 wedges.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dragons Nine Son's by Chris Robeson


This is February's book group selection and may contain spoliers...

In this alternate history, China and the Aztec Nation have become the predominant countries. They have been fighting on Earth for a long time and now they have taken this war to the Fire Star (aka, Mars). Here in space around the semi populated planet, where nine Chinese military criminals destined for death are brought together for a suicide mission to a secret hidden Aztec asteroid base.

The two main characters are Yao and Zhaun, a bannerman soldier and a captain of the naval fleet. Each betrayed direct orders which have landed them in this current predicament. The other seven are a motley crew of murders and petty thieves - the "red shirts" if one is to reference Star Trek. The mission is simple: to destroy the asteroid by sneaking in a very large bomb on a stolen Aztec ship while pretending to be Aztecs.

I unfortunately found this book lacking. The premise of the alternate reality was promising but it fell short from the beginning. It was little things that kept jarring me out of the story; here we have two terraforming, space adapted nationalities, but yet in a briefing the agent used a telescoping pointer. The Aztecs are still a blood-thirsty race that use human sacrifices to start their space ships - they had alters on the bridge with hemoglobin sensors and would slash their victims. Both races still used cudgels, truncheons and swords in combat, along with your standard projectile weapons.

The plot also trudged along; once the mission was spaceborne, each of the nine slowly (and I do mean slowly) revealed why they were on this suicide mission. Two disobeyed direct orders. Three were in for murder. One in for petty theft. One was a dope smuggler and I forget what the last two were incarcerated for - it wasn't interesting. I found Robeson's foreshadowing glaringly obvious and that also detracted from the overall story.

I was looking forward to reading this one as it's come to the bookgroup table more than once but never made it through our convoluted voting process. The last time it came to the table we begged and pleaded with Tess to not boot it out. She kindly agreed and it was a disappointment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's a might bit chilly today...

The weather this morning at my house; this is what we call "very brisk" or for some people "darn cold".

Observed at Duluth, Duluth International Airport, MN
Updated 6:55 AM CST THU JAN 15 2009

Partly Cloudy
-24°F
-31°C

Humidity: 82%
Wind: NW at 15 MPH
Barometer: 30.42 in.
Dewpoint: -27°F
Wind Chill: -48°F
Visibility: 10SM

Today
Mostly Sunny
Hi: -6°
Mostly sunny. Highs 3 below to 8 below zero. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Wind chill readings 40 below to 50 below zero in the morning.



So what's it like in your corner of the world today?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recipe Review from 1/5/09

Arrgh! I haven't printed out my recipe tracking sheets yet so I'm kinda doing this from memory. It was an okay week recipe wise. I made some homemade chicken noodle soup (emphasis on the noodles) that turned out decent. I was able to use some of my duck stock in it so that was a plus. The Husband was gone for Guard weekend for 4 days so I didn't need to have much on hand, plus I ended up eating out a bit more than I had expected. Not that I'm complaining! It is always a delight to eat out with fun company.

We also had several standbys:
Sweet Potato Samosas, Eating Well magazine
Fish Packets, Irish Pub Ckbk


Muesli with Cranberries and Flaxseed (CL Jan/Feb 09, pg 97) 3.5
This intrigued me: an overnight soak of oats, flax, wheat germ, dried cranberries with maple syrup for flavor. The in the morning add yogurt and toasted nuts. It looked like oatmeal when I pulled it out. I dolloped a bit of yogurt on top and sprinkled with nuts. It was good, but I think it would have been outstanding warmed up. Easily done if you have a microwave - which I don't. I will be making this again this week and trying variations on it.

Muesli, the German word for "mixture," typically refers to a breakfast cereal of grains, dried fruit, and nuts. A hearty breakfast like this—full of heart-healthy fats, whole grains, calcium- and protein-rich yogurt, and dried fruits—will help you stay full all morning.

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
2 cups regular oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
3 cups plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preparation

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; pour milk over mixture, stirring to combine. Cover and chill 3 hours or overnight.

2. Combine nuts and pumpkinseed kernels in a small bowl. Spoon 3/4 cup oat mixture into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 cup yogurt; sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons nut mixture, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon maple syrup.


Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans (Eating Well, Feb 09, pg 26)
This recipe was getting good reviews over on the Ckng Lght BB as being tasty and quick. Plus I love the ingredients in it - gnocchi, chard and white beans!




In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens, diced tomatoes and white beans with gnocchi and top it all with gooey mozzarella. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.

Makes 6 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi (see Tip)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
6 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Amnity River Snowshoe Hike 2009

A friend and I met up on Sunday for a snowshoe hike up the Amnity River in Duluth. This picturesque little river is just lovely any time of the year - in the spring it is a rushing torrent of rust colored water, in the summer it can dwindle down to a little trickle, and in the winter, it freezes over and folks can snowshoe or hike along it.



We did this a couple years ago and it was an absolute blast. The dogs get to run and run and burn off lots of stored up energy. At that time, we had to make our own trail as we wound our way up. This year, people had been out earlier and a trail was packed down. And the dogs still ran and ran (well, except for Cody, she's getting on her years and she wobbles). My Ben kept insisting there was more exciting things to be checked out UP the banks and I had to keep calling him back.

The river winds it way through high banks and lower wooded areas. It follows what is known locally as the Seven Bridges Road. These are some refurbished stone bridges that cross the creek, well, in seven different places. It is so neat to walk under each different one.



It was a beautiful day - slightly overcast in the morning and sunny by the time we made our way back to the car. The temperature hung right around 14* - though I think it was dropping as the afternoon went on. We spent about 2 1/2 hours on the river then drove up the shore of Lake Superior for lunch at Lakeview Castle. While we were eating, we watched a 1000' laker go by, pushing ice in front as it went. Always a cool sight in my book.

A splendid way to spend a morning!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kniting Project # 24: The Socks are FINISHED!


Not the picture I wanted, but it will do.

I started this pair for Socktober Fest over on Ravelry, and sock #1 WAS finished by the end of October, but poor sock #2 languished in my project bag while I worked on all those dishcloths for Christmas. So I was on a mission to have them finished by the end of the year.

I really liked how the pattern came out. It wasn't a difficult pattern by any means: K2 P2 for 3 rows, on the 4th row K2tog, P2. I did have some general difficulties in the experience dept - sock #1 ended up being a bit snug and a bit long. I must have been knitting tighter than I usually do. Sock #2 was going really well until it came time to start the toe decreases. I then discovered I had somehow managed to increase my sts count by about 5 or 8 sts, which screwed up my decrease significantly. And as usual, I had trouble with the kitchner stitch and had to rip out the toe and re-do it. So one sock is a bit long and one sock is a bit wide and were going to just go with it.

Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks, Baby Cable Rib
Yarn: Wisdom Yarns "Boston:
Needle: #2 dps

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Valentini's Italian Restaurant, Duluth, MN

My folks took the Husband and I out for a combination New Year's Eve dinner and an early birthday dinner for me. We selected Valentini's because we could get an early reservation at the last minute and because we have not tried them out yet.

I made the reservation the day before New Years Eve, and then I had to call back and change the reservation to an earlier time. The hostess was very accommodating and they had space available at 5:00p.

We arrived on time and were immediately seated. The interior is a very lovely open floor plan with lots of windows over looking the Lake and the Lakewalk Surgery Center. For those of you familiar with Duluth, this was an existing building adjacent to the Rose Garden parking lot that has been extensively renovated. It was a combination of booths along the wall and tables over the rest of the floor. A large fireplace adorns one end of the room, and a somewhat open kitchen is on the other. We were seated in a booth in a corner which gave us a nice view of the whole room - our only complaint was the chill coming off the window.

For our "starters" (not appetizers) we were served warmed rustic bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I selected a bottle of Est! Est! Est! white wine (I am totally blanking the name) that was very good for the four of us to share. Three of us had salads - I didn't think there was anything special about it but the Mother liked the "house" dressing (I think it was a bottled variety). The Husband ordered a Tomato Bisque Soup that was quite good.

They offered a specialty menu for New Year's Eve: I selected Prawns in a Spinach Garlic sauce over a rice pilaf; the parents both had Shrimp Linguine; the Husband had a steak with mashed potatoes.

The dishes all tasted very good, and in the case of mine and the Husband's dish, were served with a side of steamed baby carrots (should have been quartered) and green beans. I felt my prawns were on the small side for what we paid for the dish - in other words, I have bought larger ones at my local meat market. The Mother felt the 5 shrimp on her pasta was a paltry amount and something set her tummy off for several hours after dinner. The Husband's steak was done to satisfaction and the Father enjoyed his dish.

I would like to try Valentini's again under normal circumstances. For the most part I enjoyed my dining experience, but I would like to sample something from their regular menu.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Recipe Review for week of 1/1/09

Well, I'm not exactly off to a roaring start for 2009's new recipes. My New Years weekend ended up being rather busy with errands (which included grocery shopping) and Yoga North's open house. We had the parents out for dinner and cards on Friday night - it was a bit of an impromptu invite - so they were fed what I was planning on for just the Husband and I.

These were actually pretty simple to make, especially since they do need to be assembled ahead of time. I had a couple of significant modifications: I used navy beans (from the garden!) instead of garbanzo; I used Yukon golds for baby reds because that is what I had in my pantry; and I omitted the breadcrumbs and olive oil toward the end in part because I forgot and in part because it didn't seem necessary. I assembled the patties, placed on a cookie sheet and then let chill for several hours. I skipped the whole pita fold bit and served them on spinach with some homemade green tomato chutney over the top.

Yes, we had some tomato chutney on hand! The Husband canned a batch two years ago to use up a slew of green tomatoes and we've been wondering ever since what to serve it with. It was fantastic with these patties!

I've included the recipe as originally given.

(Photo from cookinglight.com)

Vegetable Burgers (Ckng Light, Jan 08) 4.5
These tender vegetable patties are meant to be soft. Prepare through step two the day before since the mixture is easier to work with once its has been refrigerated overnight and the flavors have had time to marry. Amchur (or amchoor) powder is a tart green mango-based seasoning. Omit if you can't find it. Serve with Fiery Tomato Chutney.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita half)

Ingredients
1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon amchur powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 jalapeño, seeded and quartered
2 pounds peeled red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 2/3 cups spinach
4 (6-inch) whole-grain pitas, cut in half
8 red onion slices
Preparation

1. Combine first 9 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped.

2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 13 minutes. Add onion, and cook for 2 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain; cool 10 minutes. Place potato mixture in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir in chickpea mixture and breadcrumbs; cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

3. Divide potato mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty (about 2/3 cup mixture). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned and heated through. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 4 patties. Place 1/3 cup spinach and 1 patty in each pita half. Top each serving with 1 onion slice.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Recipe Review and Year End Summary

First, I'll wrap up the last new recipes I made for 2008:

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops (Ckng Lght, Dec 08, pg 181) 4.5
This was surprisingly simple and incredibly tasty. Using thin boneless porkchops, they are floured, dipped in egg, and dipped in a mixture of breadcrumbs. Then they were lightly fried. I simplified the whole "dip in this and dip in that" and did a homemade "shake-n-bake". These cooked up very tnder and juicy. I served them with the rice that follows.

Wild Rice with Crimini Mushrooms (Ckng Lght Annual 09, pg 77) 4.5
The Husband made this while I did the pork chops. Wild rice was simmered in a broth/water mixture while shallots and mushrooms were briefly sauted in some butter and olive oil. Once the rice is done and drained, it's tossed with a splash of sherry (or two splashes if the Husband is in charge). Then everything is tossed together to allow all the wonderful flavors to combine. The only change I made was I used regular sliced mushrooms for crimini because that is what I had on hand. This was just as good the next day.

Three Bean Chili (Ckng Lght Annual 09, pg 49) 3.5
A very quick chili that was just...okay. Onions are sauteed and then combined with diced tomatoes, black beans, garbanzo beans, and navy beans (from the garden!), tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Simmer briefly and serve. We let it sit over night at is was for lunches during the week. I found the chili on the bland side, without much depth and in need of salt. I probably won't make this again.


And those recipes wrapped up 2008. My goal was 134 so I was 5 short. I ran out of steam at the end of the year. So it goes. Here's the year end summary:

2008 - 129

As a comparison:

2007 - 120
2006 - 103
2005 - 137
2004 - 143
2003 -154
2002 - 129