A Brit, a Yank and a Kitchen

Thursday, November 30

Wedding Menu: Draft 2

So I finally gave the club manager my hopeful menu to go over with the chef. I'm really hoping its do-able!

This is what I submitted-


Curried Pumkin Soup


Field Greens Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Stilton


Rack of Lamb with Chutney-Mint Glaze


Chicken Crêpes topped with Apples and Walnuts in Calvados Cream Sauce

(Both served with Potato Puree and Haricot Verts)


Artisan Cheese Plate
(assortment of 3? - Buche de Chevre, Saint Nectaire, Stilton?… will get back on this!)


Wedding Cake!!


In the end I decided against the mochi ice cream. Too much room for error... I have a feeling if left too long plating and bringing to the table, they will start to melt. I had visions of people dressed in their finest.. not really sure about the contents of the mochi.. biting in and having melted ice cream dribble down their fronts. Not good. So I decided to go with a cheese course instead of an actual cheese display. The cheese course I ordered when Dave and I went to Paris left a HUGE impression on me.. I think I'd like to share that with our wedding guests. =)

Also ditched the duck... Jeff made a good point that seared duck might be easily screwed up... no necessarily true with a roast lamb... I agree I'd rather have lamb done right than duck done horribly!

Do you guys think the crepes will be a problem?

So.. what do you all think so far??

I'm wondering what the chef will say...

Amanda.. what do you think??

Thursday, November 23

Deep Southern Fried Thanksgiving

For the second year in a row now, we've been invited to my step-dad's sister Patty's Thanksgiving party in Osteen Florida, on the banks of the St Johns River.... AKA... "BFE"... "the boonies".... if there was a place that would be labeled the definition of the "Deep South"... this is it.

The thing I like most about going out to Patty's is that there is so many entertaining things out there. Never a dull moment. Patty's husband Alan decided to give my uncle Dave a ride on his dog laden jeep (these people have about a dozen dogs.. each with their own individual bed in their massive bedroom)

Above is a shot of my uncle in the passenger seat..

we followed them down to the docks where we boarded a pontoon boat to ride around the St Johns...

Dave looking dashing...

We arrived at a little spot where Patty said they spend their evenings together watching the sun set.. and drinking wine... sounds good to me!

Wasnt much long after we got there that Alan and Dave showed up out of the swamps.. dogs and all... theyre not spoiled at all...

After all the excitement Dave and I decided to have a moment swinging on the swinging chair that hangs from a giant old oak..

My step-dad and Uncle Dave hanging out by the same tree...

One of Patty and Alan's many wonderful toys...

My sister, taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.

Dave, my sis, my uncle and my step dad hanging out by Willy's cage..


More of Patty and Alans critters..

Let us not forget the reason we were here!!!!

The deep fried TURKEY!

As you can see... this job has been claimed "man work".

My uncle, being very excited at the prospect of fried turkey... it is indeed very exciting!

The spread!

It aint the most beautiful bird.. but OMG you will never put a more wonderful piece of turkey in your mouth. If I'd been left alone with it... I guarantee there would have been no stopping me devouring the whole thing. Turkey crack I tell you!

If you ever get a chance to have deep fried turkey... take it. Nothing beats it... nothing.

And... I leave you with this moment of zen.

Tuesday, November 21

Dim Sum Madness!

Boy have I ever been slacktastic with the blog this past week!? Trust me I do have excuses! Between housewarming parties, deadlines at work, and Holiday parties with the fam... poor copperpots has been neglected! But fear not! I've been having lots of foodie fun and have more than a fair share of photos for drooling over! =)

So lets start with the dim sum extravaganza Dave and I had not long ago!

I had masses of char siu left over from a dinner I'd prepared a while back and wanted to make use of it. So that meant Congee!! And of course some char siu bao!

So first thing was first.. and that was preparing the congee, since it takes around 4 hours to get nice and thick the way I like it.

I started with the ever lovely century eggs...

I dont imagine many people would eat my congee if they saw these little buggers before they were finely diced and thrown into the pot to simmer away...

I mean they are UGLY as anything... but they really arent as scary as you'd think.. as long as you like the flavor of eggs.. because they are VERY eggy!!

Above is one sliced open... they pretty much look like black jello... with a grey/green yolk in the middle.. yea I know, not exactly the way you want to see an egg.. but trust me, I believe they are what give an authentic congee its unique flavor. Just be sure to dice them up finely or you might OD on egg flavor! ;-)

Below is a shot of the congee probably 2 hours into its cooking... eggs just added... yum. I am always fascinated with how just 1 cup of rice can turn into this much soup... I decided next time I make congee I am only going to use a half a cup... the two of us can never finish the whole lot.. and too many leftovers would just burn us out I'm sure. Never tried freezing the stuff... not really inclined to.

I decided to do something different with the char siu bao this time.. I carried on making the filling as I usually do, but used the pastry recipe from Chow Times.

Although I liked Suanne's recipe for the pastry better than the one I'd used before.. Dave said he prefered the yeast based bun. So I guess its a matter of taste. =)

The greens in there is an Asian green called yu choy sum... I just boiled this up and served with some warm oyster sauce poured over top. Choy sum gets these beautiful little yellow flowers... so pretty.

I also ended up with a little extra dough.. so I decided to make a couple of dan ta (Chinese egg tarts) to round the whole thing off.

All of this did take forever... but its what I do now that I am hoooked on dim sum (thanks to an old room mate from Hong Kong that made me an addict)... and cant make it all the way to Orlando to hit up Chans... I have to do it myself! =( But its goooood.

Wednesday, November 15

Mexifast... err... Breaxican....?

Ok so this really isnt that Mexican... with the exception of some Cholula in the eggs and a dallop of salsa. ;-)

Nothing really to this, but I thought it came out pretty so I figured I'd share!

Just some scrambled eggs with cheese, onion, and diced bacon (sauteed the onions and bacon first) with a bit of cream and Cholula mixed in.

A good dallop of salsa... sliced avocado.. and some sour cream drizzled (diluted with water) over top.


Sunday, November 12

UBER Roast Chicken

So I found this retardedly easy recipe for a roast chicken over at epicurious.... so easy looking, it couldnt POSSIBLY come out right.. unless all stars were in alignment and I had all the Gods favor. Except.. the reviews were all raves... and... this was a recipe by Thomas Keller. With his name attached to it.. how could it not be good?? But how HOW could it possibly be so simple!?

Seriously... three ingredients, an oven and a sautee pan.. and NO basting. I'd never DREAMED of roasting a chicken in anything but a roaster, with a rack.. and lots of basting with gobs of butter. I thought to myself... this chicken must come out super dry.... or burnt... or it will explode in my oven splattering fat and make a huge smokey mess. None of the above.

I cranked my oven to 450...trussed my bird as directed... plopped it on my ungreased sautee pan (wouldnt it stick!?!?)... sprinkled some salt and pepper over top.. and stuck the thing in the oven, just like that.. stressing that I must have missed some essential step. I kept creeping over to the oven to peer in the window at it... waiting to see smoke wafting off.. or horrible uneven cooking... I resisted busting out the butter to baste. But I watched in fascination as the skin started to crinkle... and turn a beautiful gold.... could it really be as good as it was looking???

O-M-G YES. I had to resist the animal like urge to down the whole thing right there on the cutting board... I had to be a good girl and share with Dave...... but it was MINE! MY PRECIOUS.. oh wait... thats something else.... ehhemmm.... It was at least a struggle not the want to tear all the crispy skin off, it was heaven. The meat just oozed juices (as you can see from the pond of juice the other half of the bird is sitting in in this photo)

It was... by far.. simple the BEST roast chicken I've ever had. I couldnt even believe how simple it was, and that it actually worked. I am never doing chicken another way (at least whole).

Simple Roast Chicken
Thomas Keller


One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)

Unsalted butter (optional)
Dijon mustard (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken — I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes (rotating every 15 mins). Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I'm cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip — until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook's rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good.

Thursday, November 9

Spaghetti Squash with Watercress Pesto

Because pinenuts make everything better.

I love some spaghetti squash... its one of those things I was completely oblivious of its existance until fairly recently. And then had one of those moments of "where have you been all my life!?". Dave too was fascinated by it... "How did you get it to come out in all those little strands??" .. as if there were some secret technique to it other than just scraping it all out with a fork. Plus its a godsend for anyone looking for a pasta fix.. but either wants to avoid the carbs.. or just simply wants something more nutritional than pasta. And more tastey imo!

I had this bag full of watercress that I had intended to use for something else, but never did... and it was reaching the end of its bag-life... so it needed using. I decided I'd make a pesto from it.


1 spaghetti squash
1 6oz packs watercress, finely chopped (reserving a few leaves for garnish)
½ clove garlic, crushed
a generous handful of toasted pine nuts
3 TB freshly grated parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil

Slice in half and clean out the spaghetti squash. Place face down in an oiled roasting pan. Roast your spaghetti squash in an 350 degree oven for about an hour. Let cool until you can handle it.

Place the chopped watercress, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste.

Tip the spaghetti squash on its side over a plate and with a fork scrape out its yummy innards onto a plate. Place a dallop of the pesto on top and sprinkle a few toasted pine nuts over top.

We had this with balsamic chicken.


Monday, November 6

Stuffed Bell Peppers

It was the night of green stuff!

I had 2 bell peppers, and still have a stash of "meat gravy" in the freezer... so I decided that I should probably make use of some more of it.

I took my bell peppers, cut the tops off and emptied them.
Combined my meat gravy with 2 eggs, about a cup of cooked jasmine rice, breadcrumbs, and a bit of shredded mozzarella.
Stuffed all that glop into my peppers.
Sprinkled a bit more mozzarella on top.
Placed those bad boys in the oven at 375 for about an hour... and voila!

Served it up with some other greeness.. spinach. MMMm... greeeeen.

I've always sucked pretty bad at stuffing things... but these turned out pretty darn good! Maybe I'll get brave and attempt squash next... I love squash.

Of course to keep with the green theme we had going... we treated ourselves to a bit of the green from Paris. ;-) Something enchanting about this drink... maybe its just all the stories that surround it... because really it doesnt seem to have much effect other than what any regular beverage would (then again, we've never gone past 1 glass each... it does anebriate quickly!!)... But it is so much fun to watch, when the sugar mixes with the drink, it almost seems to glow.. an effect the French call the louche.

Friday, November 3

White Lasagna

So I was on a mission. A mission to make "white lasagna". A white lasagna that would have chicken, and spinach, and white cheesy sauce. But alas!!! No such recipe could this little girl find in all her books and all her websites! So, I set out to make the lasagna in my head anyways.... with our without the stinkin recipe!

I started by poaching a couple of chicken breasts til they were tender and could be shredded (slow cooker, several hours). I cooked up my lasagna noodles and set them aside. I combined a couple cups of ricotta, 4 eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and some grated Romano. Then I made a bechamel sauce... (2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 1/4 cups milk, heated).. added a VERY heaping handful of more grated Romano and stirred til melty. Let Dave lick the spoon and pan.

Then the fun part.. layering....

Noodles, spinach, chicken, bechamel, noodles, ricotta, noodles, spinach, chicken, bechamel, noodles, mozzarella.

I then baked this at 350 until the mozzarella was melty and golden in spots.

For have absolutely no recipe or guidelines whatsoever.. I thought this turned out pretty dang good! =)