Cream of Celery Root and Fennel Soup

Soup’s On! Cream of Celery Root and Fennel Soup Appetizer: After a whirlwind 2019 trip to Montreal and Quebec City (Tom is finally back at the computer after knee replacement surgery and will resume the trip report this week), where a chilly autumn had arrived early (33°F in the mornings in Quebec, brrrr!), we were in the mood for soup. Besides enjoying the brilliant red leaves of the Sugar Maple trees and the crisp (who am I kidding, it was COLD) weather, we ate lots of delicious soups.  From a sublime cream of celery and fennel soup to a deconstructed French onion soup (called Cappuccino onion soup as it is topped with an emulsified foam instead of cheese), these soups … Read more…

Green Beans Three Ways: Green Bean Bundles with Bacon & Brown Sugar; Green Beans with Pancetta, Shallots & Pecans; and Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Panko Crumbs

Going Green … Beans Green Beans Three Ways: Green Bean Bundles with Bacon & Brown Sugar; Green Beans with Pancetta, Shallots & Pecans; and Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Panko Crumbs I love green beans!  They always make an appearance at our house, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  These recipes get extra bonus points for being able to be made ahead of time freeing up space in your kitchen and for excelling as left-overs. Here are a couple of other make-ahead recipes that are traditional Thanksgiving recipes at our house:  Tom’s Mom’s Sour Cream and Creamed Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry  Pineapple Jell-O Mousse and don’t forget the Pumpkin Pie Spice Vanilla Vodka Martini to get you through … Read more…

Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel Ragù

Remembering bella Bologna Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel Ragù Autumn, my favorite time of the year, my favorite time to travel and perhaps my favorite time to eat pasta!  
 Benventuto Autunno! Last year, while traveling in Bologna, Italy (trip report here), we had the most delicious Pappardelle with Bolognese Ragù that was made with fennel sausage.  Mamma Mia! Bologna is nestled in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, which is also home to Parma and Modena.  All the food in Bologna is fantastico (and photogenic)!                                  The freshest pasta, incredible produce and seafood, big chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto and mortadella (my new favorite), fresh picked … Read more…

Pan Roasted Chicken with Pancetta, Mushroom & Leek Sauce on a Bed of Hash Browns

Comfort Food! Pan Roasted Chicken with Pancetta, Mushroom & Leek Sauce on a Bed of Hash Browns Main Dish Tom once again returned from an event at Melissa’s Produce with a treasure trove of goodies (he works for food).  Among them were a bag of Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes; Cleaned and Sliced Leeks and Fresh Peeled Garlic.                    Tom often seems to think our kitchen is a Chopped episode and loves to bring home things for me to make into something for dinner, however, this was an easy one.  I immediately thought of the “Wow” dish we had in Tetbury on our trip to England in 2013 [which was a Roasted Breast … Read more…

Hatch Chile Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and Hatch Chile Candied Walnuts

Carrot Top Hatch Chile Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and Hatch Chile Candied Walnuts Dessert We are nearly at the end of Hatch chile season here at the Casa de Mai Tai Tom and Tracy, and we recently picked up a bunch of Melissa’s Produce Extra Hot Hatch chiles.  Tom has been hankering for my carrot cake lately, so I decided to try a Hatch Chile Carrot Cake. My Nana had a great carrot cake recipe that I used for this recipe, swapping out the hatch chiles for the pineapple.  Since I was taking the pineapple out of the cake, I added it back in to the cream cheese frosting and topped the cake with candied walnuts made … Read more…

Apple, Carrot and Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Corgi Delicious Apple, Carrot and Peanut Butter Dog Treats Dog Treats As the dog days of summer turn toward autumn, Remi caught a few rays in the backyard while I baked them a belated birthday treat. (Ok, I confess, I had to use that intro just so I could use this photo. It is SO WRONG that my swimsuit from high school now fits my dog and I can barely pull it over a thigh!!!) For Christmas last year my mom gave me the cutest corgi shaped cookie cutters, which I had been saving for Frankie and Remi’s birthday in June. Since I was late with a birthday post, I saved it for National Dog Day on August 26. Frankie … Read more…

Skillet Hatch Chile Cornbread with Hatch Chile Honey Butter

Taking Cornbread To The Next Level Skillet Hatch Chile Cornbread with Hatch Chile Honey Butter Category: Side Dish Just in time for Hatch Chile Season! From MaiTai Tracy’s Kitchen archives…. Here is an oldie but goodie, really goodie, updated recipe for skillet corn bread adapted from the delicious and decadent Iron-Skillet cornbread they serve at Bandera’s or Houston’s Restaurants (part of the Hillstone group of restaurants).  If you love cornbread, you are really going to LOOOOVE this recipe. Made with creamed corn, butter, sugar, two types of cheese and Hatch chiles… yum!  It’s baked in a pre-heated cast iron skillet which sears the bottom and side for a crispy, crunchy cornbread crust (say that fast four times!).  Add some Hatch … Read more…

Jamie Purviance’s Red Wine Cipollini Onions

Shed No Tears With These Onions Jamie Purviance’s Red Wine Cipollini Onions Side Dish Tom was fortunate to attend an event at Melissa’s Produce featuring grilling expert Jamie Purviance, author of WEBER’S ULTIMATE GRILLING: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius!  Tom is the grill master in our family, so I have to admit I haven’t ever really thumbed through a “barbecue” cookbook, but this one was great!  Makes me want to take up grilling! This book is perfect for beginners and grill masters alike.  Jamie Purviance has been a grill master for Weber for more than 20 years and has written numerous cookbooks.  He starts the book with a section on what he calls the “4 Ts” which are “Temperature, … Read more…

Watermelon, Arugula, Mint & Feta Summer Salad

Scrumptious Summer Salad Watermelon, Arugula, Mint & Feta Summer Salad Watermelon, Arugula, Mint & Feta Salad is one of my favorite go-to salads for summer.  Recently, we fired up the BBQ and invited some friends over for grilled corn on the cob and Mr. C’s Flank Steak.  To round out the meal, I made this refreshing salad with my absolute favorite salad dressing. I discovered this dressing when I first started dating Tom … so easy and versatile (the dressing, not Tom). It’s made with a package of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing (yes, in a box) dressed up with good quality olive oil and balsamic.  Occasionally, depending on what I am serving, I use flavored balsamic and olive oil.  … Read more…

Mr. C’s Grilled Flank Steak with Chile, Cinnamon and Cumin Marinade

Marvelous Meat Marinade! Mr. C’s Grilled Flank Steak with Chile, Cinnamon and Cumin Marinade Main Just in time for grilling season … Summer weather in Southern California came late this year (yay, for May Gray!), so we only recently fired up our gas barbecue.  Speaking of fire, there was one small problem … when Tom turned on the barbecue there was an explosion, and flames shot out from underneath the grill where the propane tank is located!  We ran away (well, I ran, while Tom inexplicably stayed close to the barbecue), and I dialed 9-1-1 fearing it was going to explode. The firemen arrived, quickly extinguished the fire and inspected our barbecue for the cause (pan drippings fell onto the … Read more…