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Showing posts from 2009

The 2nd Day of Christmas

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On the Second Day of Christmas, Fork and The Cork gave to me:

The second dish on my Christmas Eve menu:

Gratineed Mustard Cream Onions

So, a couple of years ago, I decided to make a side dish of sauteed pearl onions in pomegranate juice, and cabernet.  They were delicious.  Where I went wrong was buying the little onions you need to peel by hand and I chose to wait until the day of, to peel.  This year, I bought those same little onions, but am happily writing my blog instead of peeling onions, as I peeled and peeled last night!  I don't know if substituting frozen onions would work in this dish, I just am averting possible disaster by not finding out the answer to that on Christmas eve.  I've had plenty of disasters (don't worry, there will be a blog solely devoted to THAT), and my goal this year is to pull all of it off without a hitch. 

If I haven't mentioned it, we are hosting 14 tonight.  I am so proud of myself, I actually cleaned the house, prepped the food, wrappe…

The 3rd Day of Christmas

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On the Third day of Christmas, Fork and The Cork gave to me:

The Third dish on my Christmas Eve Menu:

Johnny Garlic's Cedar Plank Salmon


In the true spirit of the Northwest, salmon is an essential part of our holiday celebration. 
I am tired of the same old salmon, and thus commenced my quest for the ultimate recipe.  When looking for this recipe, I perused my cookbook collection, and browsed my favorite websites:  http://www.marthastewart.com/, http://www.epicurious.com/, http://www.foodnetwork.com/, and http://www.allrecipes.com/.  This particular gem of a recipe I found on the foodnetwork site, courtesy of the crazy, bleached out, jacked-up, surfer dude, Guy Fieri. 

Ingredients




2 tablespoons oil 2 jalapenos, cut into rings 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1/2 cup white wine 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 1 cup apricot preserves 4 (4 by 4-inch) pieces parchment paper 4 cedar plank pieces, food service quality 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned and boned 2 teaspoons sea salt 1 teaspoo…

The 4th Day of Christmas

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On the Fourth day of Christmas Fork and the Cork gave to me:

The fourth dish on my Christmas Eve menu:

Ranch Potatoes

This has to be, hands down, the easiest, tastiest, roasted potato recipe on the planet. 

Serves 6

2 Lbs baby red potatoes
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Package dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix



Directions:

Scrub potatoes, then quarter.  In a large ziploc bag, combine cut potatoes, olive oil, and ranch dressing mix.

Line a 9 X 13 baking dish with aluminum foil, then spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Put potatoes in baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and place in preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake for 40 minutes, remove foil that was covering the potatoes, and cook an additional 10 to fifteen minutes.  Potatoes are done when a fork easily can pierce the potatoes. 

Enjoy!

The 5th day of Christmas

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On the Fifth day of Christmas, Fork and the Cork gave to me:

The top 5 tips for putting together a holiday cheese tray:


MIX BASIC AND QUIRKY FLAVORS AND TEXTURES



(say, goat cheese, brie, cheddar and stilton) to please all taste buds. Give guests cheesy adjectives (e.g., stinky, earthy) and have each person bring a type that represents it.




COLD, PRECUT CUBES ARE TASTELESS


To maximize flavor: Take cheeses out of the fridge 45 minutes beforehand, leaving them wrapped until ready to serve.




DON'T LEAVE GUESTS IN THE DARK


Label each cheese by name, milk variety and country of origin. That way, guests know exactly what they’re eating (e.g., pecorino: sheep’s-milk cheese, Italy).




NO NEED TO BUST OUT FANCY UTENSILS


All that’s required is a small butter knife for each cheese. Cut a few pieces of each (wedges for rounds, slices for everything else) to get guests started.




ENCOURAGE EXPERIMENTATION


(and calm stage fright). Ask everyone to share their top cheese/snack/ wine combos. At the end of the n…

The 6th Day of Christmas

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On the Sixth day of Christmas Fork and the Cork gave to me:



Six reasons to shop at Trader Joe's for your Holidays






1. The wine. Massive selection of great wines under $8. AND a very knowledgeable staff to help you make your selection.


2. The cheese. It's got to be half the price of the grocery store, and the selection is enormous. Goat, brie, cheddar, feta, stilton, romano, they have it all.


3. The frozen aisle. Whether you need a peppermint cheesecake, breakfast croissants, truffle flatbread, or onion and goat cheese tartlets, you can get it.


4. The pantry aisle. Olives, tapenades, simmering sauces, grapeseed oil, cooked brown rice (I hate cooking brown rice it takes forever!!), are just a few of the treasures....


5. The flowers. It's a pretty good bet to say that your local farmer's market is done for the season. If you need fresh, beautiful bouqets at rock bottom prices, go to TJ's.


6. The cookies. Caramel lace cookies, triple gingersnaps, cranberry pistachio biscotti,…

The 7th Day of Christmas

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On the 7th day of Christmas, Fork and the Cork gave to me,


A YUMMY dish of Manicotti

Ok, so I'm pretty much the furthest thing from Italian, but I must have been in a previous life. Seriously. Pasta, tomatoes, wine, garlic, basil, oregano, romano, parmesan, mozzarella, pizza, etc. etc., they have got it figured out. Italians even put cheese in dessert! That's my kind of people.


Whenever I am trying to decide on a Sunday dinner, or a one pot/dish dinner to serve to company, I almost always go in the direction of italian. One of my favorite's is Manicotti. It's easy to make ahead, and is kid-friendly.

Here is my favorite recipe:


Beef and Cheese Manicotti


Ingredients



4 teaspoons olive oil 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 1 pound ground beef Salt and freshly ground black pepper 14 (8-ounce package) manicotti 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta 3 cups shredded mozzarella 1 cup grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 cups …

The 8th Day of Christmas

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On the 8th day of Christmas Fork and the Cork gave to me:



A Gr8 centerpeice idea: Make your own Gingerbread House (well,kind of)


It's a kit from Costco, is less than $10 (hurry, they won't be getting any more in), and it's a nifty little project for everyone. The kit comes with more gummies and candy than you would know what to do with, and not nearly enough coconut (snow), for ground cover. White and green icing are both included, but I stuck with the white due to this little issue: The not-so-commercial-strength pastry bag busted mid-frost due to my excellent grip strength. We went from"oh this is going to be so perfect everyone will think I am just amazing, like Martha", to "I think I will blame this little masterpiece on my four year old niece, Brooke".



So the last time I made a gingerbread house was in high school, in creative cooking class, Christmas 1992. I baked it all from scratch, and of course the sides didn't really match up, and it requir…

The 9th Day of Christmas

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On the Ninth day of Christmas, Fork and the Cork gave to me:


The Top 9 reasons to make Janet Parker's (Grandma's) shortbread cookies:


9. You've never had shortbread this good before.
8. You want to go from domestic goodness to domestic goddess.
7. Only three ingredients people.
6. You get to be a bitch if you make good cookies.
5. The Kitchenaid stand mixer you got as a wedding present that takes up a ridiculous amount of counter space will finally serve it's purpose. I can't help you with the juicer.
4. You get to feel all June Cleaver-y around the holidays.
3. If you give them as gifts, you just spent like 23 cents per person.
2. Unless you are Paula Deen, you're probably not eating enough butter as it is.
1. Because my Grandma said to do it. And when Janet tells you to do it, you do it.


Enjoy!


Scotch Shortbread Cookies



2 cups sifted flour1 cup butter½ cup powdered sugar


Directions:Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add flour gradually mixing in quickly and lightly. Chi…

The 10th Day of Christmas

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"Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered." ~ Phyllis Diller

The holidays bring out a little bit of everything, which is why so many people lovingly embrace them, and why so many people would choose to be lying on a beach drinking a margarita and thinking of the suckers back home. Of course, either pure guilt, or a good case of alligator arms (I...just...can't...reach...my...wallet), will prevent us from the latter, so it's time to face the holidays like a bad habit: head on. Of course, don't actually face the bad habit, as it may prove useful as a coping mechanism in the upcoming days. Save it for the new year's resolution!

The holidays also bring out tradition, often times carried on through recipes. Some regrettable (grandma's fruitcake, anyone?), and others scrumptious (grandma's shortbread, anyone?).

If you are not so satisfied with your family recipe portfolio, it's time to establish some new trad…

The 11th Day of Christmas

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On the 11th day of Christmas Fork and the Cork gave to me:


11 Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (well, more like 18......)


Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:



1/3 C Peanut Butter1/2 C Sugar1/2 C Brown Sugar1/2 C Butter1 Egg1 teaspoon Vanilla1/2 teaspoon Salt1 teaspoon Baking Soda1 3/4 C Flour18 Chocolate Kisses

Directions:


Cream first 4 ingredients.
Combine Flour, Salt, and Baking soda in separate bowl.
Add Vanilla, and Egg to first four ingredients, and blend well.
Add Flour mixture.


Spoon onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and press each with a fork in a criss cross pattern.
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.




Recipe courtesy of Nazra Knutsen, thanks Naz!!


"Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in m…

The 12 Days of Fork and The Cork

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"Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out in the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?"

- Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation


Ah, the Holidays. There is a bit of Clark W. Griswold in all of us: we mean well, we have faith in ourselves and our loved ones, and we sometimes set standards no family event could live up to.

The key to surviving this time of year, besides a fair amount of alcohol, is to be prepared! Starting today, the 12th day of Christmas, Fork and the Cork will be bringing you a new recipe each day leading up to the 1st day of Christmas.

You'll find recipes for your holiday event/dinner, recipes for gifting, and quick and easy dinner recipes to feed the brood after a long day of shopping, tree decorating, or bar hopping.

I am not so naive to think 12 recipes will prevent a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency, but it will give the relatives one less thing to complain about...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Fork and The…

Surviving Thanksgiving

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Something that I love about being a foodie/home cook/kitchen warrior, is talking food and entertaining with others equally as obsessed. There is no better holiday to go totally overboard with this as Thanksgiving, a day devoted solely to the meal we look forward to all year long.
The Martha Stewart Sirius channel has, for the three days leading up to thanksgiving day, a Thanksgiving hotline. Famous chefs join each show, and answer all kinds of questions from all kinds of home cooks.  Example: Rhonda from Virginia : "How long do I microwave my stuffing for?"Really, come on people. The guest chef very kindly advised her, that "Chef Mike" (aka the microwave) may not be the best vehicle for "cooking" stuffing.
This got me thinking about my own experiences, and what advice Martha might have for me. Here is how it could play out:


Me: I can't find the little bag of giblets inside the Turkey.  I've been looking for a half hour.Martha: If you can't find…

The Dough Boy and The Insinkerator

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Here's the deal, If you are intersted in making a "crescent roll" for Thanksgiving that is predictably good, quick, and expected, I suggest that you find the dough boy in the refridgerated section.

If you are more interested in making your sister jealous, getting your mother-in-law's approval (well, that's never a given, but this could certainly help), and creating a bit of a "frenzy" (if they are focused on your spectacular rolls, they may not be so focused on your wine consumption), then here is the answer:
Potato Crescent Rolls, from scratch.

It's not as easy as it sounds, and I have no problem admitting this.


Here is my thought process on why I tried this particular recipe:

"I think I'll make something very Thanksgiving relevant, and try a new technique!"
I've made my fair share of cinnamon rolls, but this was my first real attempt at non-bread machine yeast bread. And, bonus!, I get to use the kneading function on my new food pr…

Time for the Cork

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"Wine is mentioned in the bible more than 400 times, Lemonade, not once."
 -- refridgerator magnet



So we've covered quite a bit of ground with the "fork", I think it's time we focus on the "cork".
Now, some of you may be wondering: what could a girl with the delusion of being a modern day flannel wearing June Cleaver, and a self proclaimed food nutjob/kitchen goddess with an obsession of 80's television sitcoms possibly know about wine?Surprisingly, quite a bit.
Besides my own affinity for, and self education of wine (aka Wine For Dummies), I have poured wine in a boutique tasting room (I even shared some with the guests), and learned quite a bit about the winemaking process, different varietals, and food and wine pairings.


Johnny Carson once said:
"Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often."


This is where wine comes …