Carmelized Bacon!

Bacon. Sugar. Pecans. Maple Syrup. Add a few spices, bake at 375 degrees for thirty minutes. Cool. Eat.  Watch ass expand.

Christmas is coming; this goose is getting fat.

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My appetizer for tonight’s Bunko Christmas gift exchange. Note to self:  Wear elastic waist pants.

Easter in Florida

We got REALLY lucky when we moved to our little patch of Florida.  We stumbled  into a house across the street from Lynda and Rusty Kelly. Their family, for reasons explicable only to them, have decided we are family too.   We get invited for every birthday, holiday,  and family occasion up to and including both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Lynda’s mom, Erika, is a little German lady.   One day while outlet shopping,  Erika leaned into my ear and whispered some gossip. My old deaf ears can’t compute her accent very well, so I didn’t understand a word of it.  Following her shared secret she put her hand on my arm and said,  loudly,  “I vouldn’t tell you zat, but you are family.”   How great is that?

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This is Lynda’s two-year old nephew, Rowan.  I got him those  glasses at the Dollar Tree.  Only the best for my friends!

This year there were twelve for dinner.  My contribution was Ina Garten’s Potato Fennel Gratin.  I put it together in my big Le Crueset four hundred pound casserole dish.  The lid alone weighs more than our chocolate-brown lab mix,  Bronson.   There will come a day when I have to stop  using Le Creuset as I’ll be too weak to haul it out of the oven.  Daughter, Mo, will happily inherit my growing collection.   Le Crueset is expensive, but so worth it and guaranteed for life.  I managed to destroy a dutch oven by putting it on the grill.   We sent it back and got a brand new beauty in no time!

Ina’s potatoes were so well received I have decided to double the recipe next year.  We will need to borrow a dolly to lug them across the street.

I finally learned to cook, thank you very much Ina Garten!

I love the Barefoot Contessa.  If you don’t use her recipes, start! They are all marvelous.

I used to be considered a terrible cook. My go to dinner party recipe was mom’s “Party Chicken”. Party chicken consisted of rolled up boneless chicken breasts wrapped in bacon,  then smothered with a mixture of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and sour cream.  I sprinkled on a dash of paprika to make it beautiful.  The recipe was very 70’s and evidently not very good.
There came a time when one regular guest announced he wasn’t coming to dinner ever again if I served “f’n” party chicken.  (Richie, you know I’m talking about you.)

Then I found Ina! Last night we had dinner guests. I served all Ina recipes. Oven roasted chicken with lemon and onions (See sidebar) .  As sides I served green beans gremolata and  herbed basmati rice (both also Ina’s recipes).   The chicken recipe came from her latest book,  Cooking for Jeffrey.

Yum Yum and triple yum. One guest gushed about how much he loves my cooking. Clearly he never had my party chicken.

I did go off the reservation and make key lime pie with Joe and Nellies key lime juice. Easy Peezy and always delicious. Made real whipped cream to top it and even zested a lime for garnish. Yes, I’m awesome. You will be too once you start making Ina’s recipes.

I love Ina.  Maybe I’ll write her a letter today.  Better yet, maybe she will stumble across this blog just as you have!

I know you are out there. It’s just a matter of time before you find me.

Now, on to finish my book club book–The Girls of Atomic City.  After you read Ina’s recipe, go read that book.  Very good read.

Barefoot Contessa

joe and nellies key lime juice

The Girls of Atomic City