Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great Christmas Celebration

Cameron and Cimone. And lots of gifts. We were blessed this year!

Cameron and the coolest winter hat.

Cimone was just slightly excited about the Elmo gift.

Cimone and Lindsay

Ciony, Cimone, and Cody

Tarin, Cameron, and John

Aunt Lindsay buys the best stocking stuffers!

The Best Prime Rib

I was excited to cook Christmas dinner for my family in Knoxville this year. I rarely get the chance to cook for large crowds, so when I get the chance, I jump at it. Cooking and entertaining for larger groups scares a lot of people, but not me! I think I get a rush from the excitement.

Earlier in the month, I was watching the Pioneer Woman's Christmas show on Food Network and she made a rosemary and salt crusted prime rib. It looked fantastic and I knew I wanted to make this, but knowing the very expensive cost of prime rib, I didn't say anything to mom about this recipe. When I showed up on Friday, mom opened the fridge and coincidentally, there was a 12lb prime rib! I was so excited and also very nervous because I'd never cooked prime rib and neither had anyone else in the family.

Mom and I planned a menu of prime rib, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, apple and raisin stuffing, cranberries, croissants, and a Honeybaked Ham.

I had my handy sous chef Joel (mom's fiance) cut the prime rib in thirds. I wrapped one section for them to save for another night and loaded up the other two sections with fresh chopped rosemary, sea salt and pepper. After an hour and a half - and after thinking that I overcooked a very expensive piece of meat - Joel sliced into the prime rib and it was perfect. I was so excited that I started jumping up and down.


Pre-cooked prime rib with rosemary, salt, and pepper

Tasty Prime Rib. Thanks to Joel for slicing!
I didn't follow the Pioneer Woman's recipe, but you can find her recipe here for a VERY rare prime rib.

Lindsay's Prime Rib
- 4-5 lb prime rib (we had two 4 lb roasts)
- Olive Oil
- 2-3 TBS chopped fresh rosemary per roast (if you're cooking more than one)
- A lot of sea salt
- A lot of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown all sides of meat in a skillet in a little bit of olive oil. Place meat in a roasting pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over roast. Rub rosemary all over roast. Cook roast for 1.5 hours or until it reaches 130-135 degrees. Remove from oven and place on a cutting board. Cover with foil for 10-15 minutes to allow the roast to rest. This creates a medium roast. If you prefer medium rare, only cook to about 125 degrees. If you prefer well done, don't spend you're money on a prime rib!!!

Enjoy the juices in the bottom of the pan as an au jus or make a gravy. Also serve horseradish on the side.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

I am so excited about Christmas this year. I don't care if I get presents, I'm just excited to see family. I am flying to Knoxville to celebrate the holiday with my mom, sisters, and their families. Most of all, I can't wait to see my nephew Cameron (4.5 years old) and my niece Cimone (2.5 years old). They are cousins...not brother and sister...but they were both born on a Friday the 13th. Spooky!

I am also looking forward to "finding the pickle." OKAY - get your head out of the gutters! This is my family's tradition and a German tradition that has been around for centuries (There are rumors that this isn't a German tradition, so I'm not aware of its origins, but we like to say it's a German tradition.) Mom has a pickle ornament that she hides in the tree. We all rush to the tree when everyone gets to her house to see who can find the pickle first. The winner gets to play Santa and hand out gifts.

We are blessed to have my mom's fiance Joel joining us for Christmas for the first time this year. God help him! :)  He is a great guy and we're looking forward to him being a part of our family.

I am praying for safe travels with no delays this Christmas season since my time is limited to about 3.5 days with family. Happy Holidays to you and your family!


Cameron and Lindsay - we like to cause trouble!

Cute Cimone who is still weary of Aunt Lindsay.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What A Difference A Year Makes

This is not a normal Lindsay blog post since it has nothing to do with food! I just want to comment that what a difference a year makes! As you all know, I had a dramatic change in my life this time last year. I have been thinking a lot this week about the past, but over the course of thinking (sometimes late into the night) I’ve shifted my thinking from what was, to what is. I always think about what is, but it's hard not to think about past experiences, relationships, etc.

Why do we spend so much time thinking about the past? I know I do because I want to learn from my mistakes. It was something that was stressed to me growing up; “Learn from your mistakes. There is a lesson to be taught in everything you do.” And it’s true, but while there is a lesson to learn in most of life’s everyday living, I’m slowly learning that once I learn that lesson, I don’t need to go back to that traumatic time every year. I am a date driven person, meaning that when something sad, traumatic, etc has happened, I never seem to forget the date and I harp on it every year. I’m not doing that anymore!  

I am blessed to have such a nice life with wonderful family, great friends, and hunky boyfriend who is such a huge source of smiles and laughs. I am very glad that I made the decision to stay in Green Bay after my divorce. I have such a great life here and such a strong support system of friends. (I just wish it were warmer!) So, if nothing else, please take away from this blog post that once you learn your lesson from an event in life, just remember that lesson and move on; it makes life easier and so much more fun!

Pete & Lindsay in the Smoky Mountains in August 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf Burgers

Last night Pete and I (well, Pete isn't feeling great, so I let him relax) made turkey meatloaf burgers, mashed potatoes and green beans. I love meatloaf and burgers, but I prefer my burgers without a bun, unless I'm at a picnic. So, I generally just make little meatloaf burgers at home. I wanted something with a lot of taste, without having to go to the grocery store after work. I found this recipe on www.allrecipes.com. Below is my altered recipe based on what I had in my fridge.

- 1lb. ground turkey
- 1 slice bread, broken up OR 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 shallot, diced or 1 small onion, grated
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive Oil for skillet

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Mix the turkey, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, chili powder, paprika, and kosher salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, then shape into patties.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the patties in the skillet and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes until the juices run clear.

If you don't have an oven proof skilled, after cooking on the stove top, place the browned patties on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer the patties to a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Love a Fun Night Out

I was invited to my good friend Erica's birthday party this past weekend. It was such a fun night out in Green Bay and I was able to meet more new people. As you know, I love to network and meet new people, especially new friends!

Erica, her roommate Brooke, and I enjoyed a great dinner at Angelina's to kick off the night. We enjoyed drinks at (and shut down) Republic Chophouse, and then made our way to Brubakers for the rest of the evening where we then shut down that bar. Fun was had by all, especially me! Thanks Erica for the fun night - and cute hat!

Our new friend Kim, Erica and Me at Republic Chophouse

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Summer Herb Bread

As it is getting cold in Green Bay, I am already thinking about warm weather - hence the Summer Herb Bread recipe.

Courtesy The Provence Cookbook
- 1 cup bleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 Tbs mustard (I used poupon)
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425. Grease bread pan. In food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, yogurt and mustard. Blend. Add cheese and herbs and blend. Pour into bread pan and bake about 40-45 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Potato Leek Soup

Several years ago, I received a French cookbook from a family member and I have finally started to make some recipes. Tonight I made a potato, leek, truffle soup and homemade bread.

I love truffles and truffle oil, but my checking account can't cover the cost of truffles. If you don't know about truffles, they can cost as much as $2,000 per pound. I have made this soup in the past and added a drop of truffle oil to each bowl and that is fantastic. If you use oil, only add a small drop! Today I just left that ingredient out and it is still fantastic. This recipe is also easy to cut in half.

Courtesy The Provence Cookbook

- 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts
- 3 tbs salted butter
- 1 lb. potatoes (about 3 medium) peeled and cubed
- 2 quarts whole milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated truffle or truffle oil optional

Trim the leeks, rinse under water and place in water for about 5 minutes for all grit to fall out. Dry and coarsely chop. In Stockport, heat butter and cook leeks for a few minutes. Add potatoes and milk and cover. Simmer 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft. Process with immersion blender or in food processer. Season with salt and pepper and top with trifle or oil of using.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Long Hello

Pete and I traveled to Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. My cousin Angie and her hubby Mike host a great Thanksgiving celebration each year. Along with the celebration comes a new cocktail each year as well.

This year, we kicked off Thanksgiving with champagne and The Long Hello. The Long Hello cocktail is an awesome punch that has quite the kick if you don't pay attention to how much you're drinking. I assumed this cocktail was from Bon Appetit, but after googling it, I noticed that it exists in many magazines and on many websites!

Angie created the cutest ice cube molds. She cut slices of pear and apples and put them in mini-bundt molds with ice and froze the molds overnight. Enjoy! :)

- 1 3/4 cups Calvados or other apple brandy
- 1 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur) - If you live in Green Bay, Superior will order this for you if you can't find it.
- 10 dashes bitters, preferably Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters or Angostura
- 1 750-ml bottle Champagne, chilled
- Freshly grated nutmeg

Make and freeze ring mold with pears and apples according to Holiday On Ice.

Stir Calvados, St-Germain, bitters, and 1 cup water in a punch bowl. Add ice ring, then Champagne. Ladle punch into glasses and grate nutmeg over.

Bourbon Glaze for the Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

The Barber family loves kicking off any celebration with champagne!

My Thanksgiving morning quiche!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dinner Club Loves Hibachi

I had dinner with my dinner club (the Culture Voyagers) this week at Nakashima...a fantastic Hibachi restaurant in Green Bay. We had such a great time and like last month, there were flames flying! A couple of the ladies shared a volcano drink, made with several different alcohols and then it was lit on fire. (I unfortunately missed this). The hibachi was fantastic and I shared filet, chicken and shrimp with a couple of other ladies. Hibachi is such a fun thing to do with a big group because you can talk (sometimes you need to yell over the noise) and it is interactive with your food being cooked at your table. We had eight ladies and fit around the table perfectly. I highly recommend it. Note: you will leave smelling like a restaurant!

On another note, if you love green beans like I do, and you're looking for another idea besides the typical Thanksgiving green bean casserole, The Washington Post Food Section posted several great recipes this week.


A lot of fantastic food cooking on that grill! Our cook was very humorous.

This month's Culture Voyager Group

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gourmet Cooking Class

It has been awhile since I've posted anything because I don't always know what to write about (even though that is what I do for a living). My good friend Lorrie said, "Just write about life, your thoughts, etc." So, I guess that's what I'll start doing.

But, before I start writing about life, thoughts, and other boring Lindsay topics, you get another FOOD POST. Man, I love food :)

Lorrie, Lisa and I are taking a gourmet cooking class through a local college here in Green Bay. This is the second or third time we've taken a class and for some reason, everything is funny. I'm not sure what the issue was last night, but we couldn't stop laughing; everything was funny. Ladies - you know what I'm talking about. You have those times where you just laugh so hard with each other that you're crying. Well, that was last night.

Anyway, the three of us were in charge of black bean empanadas and a frittata last night. The empanadas were fantastic and amazing. They were easy to make, but a little time consuming. There are some recipes that we receive in class that I know I'll never make, but the empanadas will be on my list, especially when I entertain.

The frittata was another story - holy cow did we mess that dish up, mainly because we couldn't stop talking, which meant we weren't reading the recipe. The recipe only called for 8 or 10oz of spinach and we just put in the entire bag (not paying attention). Yuck! If you REALLY like spinach, you could have enjoyed it, but it just tasted like grass to me. Blah.

One interesting thing about cooking classes is that you get to see a different side of your friends and sometimes these group cooking situations make you look at your self! For example, Lorrie is so organized and on top of things like I am...we're kindred spirits that way. But man, she just doesn't want to cook; and her comments are hilarious. I hope that Lisa and I have been able to help give her a bit of confidence through some classes. I've discovered that even when I don't want to be in control, well, I want to be in control! Not the best trait for working in groups, but I guess that is who I am! :) I've also realized that after three hours in a kitchen, I AM DONE! I get antsy and impatient waiting for all the other kitchens to finish their dishes. Again, it's who I am, so I embrace it :)


The three "L's" - Lisa, Lorrie, Lindsay

MMMMM, Empanada filling!

Crappy, awful, yucky frittata!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Culture Voyagers October Dinner - Greek Night

My monthly dinner club met last night for an amazing Greek meal. There were only four of us and we drove down to Appleton to enjoy dinner at Apollon. It was one of the best meals that I've had in Wisconsin. We enjoyed an appetizer of Saganaki, also known as yummy flaming cheese. I have fond memories of eating Saganaki at a restaurant in the West Dundee, IL area with my family in high school.

We also enjoyed stuffed shrimp, sea bass, Gyros, and a rack of lamb. You receive soup and salad with your meal and amazing homemade bread and roasted red pepper hummus. You get your money's worth at Apollon and the four of us highly recommend this restaurant.

Photos courtesy of Lorrie Blaylock.

Lorrie, Me, Jeanne and Sara enjoying our Greek Night
Saganaki - Flaming Cheese
Flaming Rack of Lamb

Monday, October 24, 2011

GO PACK GO

GO PACK GO! It's awesome that we currently have an undefeated season. AND it reminded me that I forgot to post some photos of the Packers vs. Rams game on October 16th. Enjoy!

That was a LOUD flyover!

My friend Sara and I, once again, almost all the way at the top!


My favorite part of football - the team entering the field!

Kickoff


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Olive Oil

You're probably thinking to yourself, "why on earth does Lindsay have olive oil as the header of this post?" Because it is one of the best products on the face of the earth! I LOVE olive oil and I LOVE good olive oil, which (unfortunately) usually comes at a hefty price. I'm lucky enough to have a dad who buys me a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for Christmas. (hint, hint dad!).

Another thing in the food world that I love is the Washington Post's Food section, which is published every Wednesday. I was giddy when I logged on this morning and found an article, recipes, and a chat about olive oil. I know most of the hints and tips that are written about olive oil, but I thought I'd pass these links along so that you can learn something new that you may not already know.

Sadly, a lot of olive oil sold in the grocery store is old, rancid, and generally not great. Since that is what a lot of us use or grew up with, we don't know any better. Buy yourself a nice bottle today and experience the difference!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beautiful Eagle River

It has been a very busy few weeks with several work events and projects on my plate. In the middle of the chaos, I found a weekend to sneak away with my friend Sara to her brother's cabin just north of Eagle River. We had a great time attending the annual Cranberry Festival in Eagle River. We couldn't have asked for better weather. We were also blessed with beautiful fall colors.


View of the lake from Tom and Darcy's cabin on North Twin Lake

I couldn't wait to see the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake, but
it was already cut up by the time we got there.

Beautiful colors on a 60+ degree day in October

Power of the Purse

Part of my job at the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation is working with the Women's Fund of Greater Green Bay. Before I started my job at the Community Foundation, I volunteered with the Women's Fund and quickly fell in love with the mission of raising and granting money to support programs for leadership and self-esteem initiatives for women and girls in the greater Green Bay area. On September 28th, we had the 7th annual Power of the Purse luncheon and raised over $114,000! This money is placed in an endowment fund and will grow for years. Each year, five percent of that endowment is granted out to programs.

Thanks to co-chairs Lorrie Blaylock and Marcia O'Leary for being such great co-chairs and leaders of a committee of 40+ women to make this a successful event. View some photos on the Women's Fund Facebook page.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Love Pot Roast

I've had a craving for pot roast since the weather has started to get cooler. I love this time of year when the leaves change color, you can drink warm apple cider (even though I'm not a big apple fan), and you can enjoy a day buying pumpkins, mums, and wandering through a good corn maze. As much as I love warm weather, I am a sucker for the changing seasons.

Yesterday was a long day at work and I knew I wouldn't want to cook when I got home, so I invited my beau Pete over for a pot roast dinner. It was AMAZING! I love a good pot roast and I love it even more when I barely do any work! I made a nice green salad and mashed potatoes on the side. I know a lot of people put potatoes in their pot roast, but I love mashed potatoes.

Lindsay's Pot Roast
- Olive Oil (~2 TBS)
- 1 onion sliced or chopped in chunks
- 4 carrots peeled and chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 2-3 lb. chuck roast
- Salt & Pepper
- 1.5 cups of beef broth

Before I went to work, I put about 1 TBS of olive oil in a skilled and browned the veggies. After browning veggies, put them in the crockpot. Salt and pepper the roast. Put another TBS of olive oil in pan and brown meat on both sides. Once brown, place in crockpot on veggies. Pour in broth. I set my crockpot to cook on low for 10 hours.

When I came home, I broke apart the meat with two forks and let it sit and soak up the juices while I made the mashed potatoes and salad. Great meal!

Paula Deen's Brownie Cake - YUM

I made some amazing brownies last night, courtesy of Paula Deen. I cooked them about 32-35 minutes and they were still gooey.

Brownie Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2.5 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a double boiler, or a microwave set on low power, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Whisk in the granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour and salt until just blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the brownies are slightly overdone (they should be gooey inside), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beef Stew

I love to cook. When I am stressed, cooking relaxes me and as it starts to turn cold, I love to be in the kitchen every weekend. By the way, I promise this blog won't always be about food, but that's what I have to write about at the moment :)

I wanted beef stew on Sunday and I didn't have a lot in the kitchen. It was pouring rain all day, so I had no desire to go out to the grocery store. I had beef cubes, carrots, a red onion and every seasoning you can think of in the pantry.

On the side, I just cut up a beautiful, ripe tomato, topped it with feta cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Lindsay's Beef Stew
- 1 tbs of olive oil
- 1 tbs butter
- 1/2 lb beef cubes, coated in flour
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 onion sliced
- Handful of baby carrots or two regular carrots, cut into chunks
- 1.5 cups of beef broth (I just used bouillon cubes that I had on hand)
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper

Put olive oil and butter in skillet over medium high heat. After coating beef in flour, put beef cubes in pan with garlic and onions; cook until beef is browned. Add beef broth, carrots, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Tasty!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Culture Voyagers (aka Culture Vultures)

I have the pleasure of being a member of a dinner group in Green Bay, organized by good friend Barbara Vo Koldos. The dinner club, known as Culture Voyagers, is ten fun ladies who dine out once a month for a new food experience, fun and frienship. We enjoyed our second dinner last night at Caffe Mario, a fantastic little Italian joint on the east side of the Fox River.

Pesto

I love making pesto! It's quick, easy, and wins the heart of any man!

What is pesto? I'd a wonderful tasty sauce of basil, cheese, nuts and olive oil! According to Wikipedia (because you should believe everything they say! Note my sarcasm) pesto originated in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy.

Pesto
  • 32 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pinenuts (you can also use walnuts)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • A couple of fresh sprigs of parsley (if you have on hand, don't buy just for this)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients. I recommend starting with 1/2 cup of EVOO. I generally find that 3/4 cup is perfect. Serve on top of pasta, chicken, fish, sandwiches, etc.

Leftovers? Pesto can easily be frozen and thawed for a future use. You can make single servings of pesto in an ice cube tray. Freeze pesto in each tray and when frozen, place single servings in ziplock bags in the freezer.  One pesto ice cube is the perfect amount for one person.