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classic french balsamic vinaigrette

French vinaigrette: 1/3 cup red wine 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1 Tablespoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 6 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon basil 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon tarragon 1 and 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil Whisk all ingredients together. Taste to adjust…

miss ainslie’s rosemary scented squash bread

“Miss Ainslie gathered a bit of rosemary, crushing it between her white fingers. ‘See,’  she said, ‘some of us are like that, it takes a blow to find the sweetness in our souls.’ ” ~ Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Reed (1874–1911) American Poet and Journalist In a big mixing bowl, combine the wet…

scenes from the last couple weeks

fresh cut herbs harvested from our back yard garden… drying in neat rows and eventually packed into jars for Christmas gifts, kitties basking in the warmth of the fireplace, the kinfolk table cookbook ~ recipes for small gatherings… a treasure trove of inspiration, beautiful Belgian chocolate shipped from one of my readers directly from Belgium!…

gypsy stew

This is one of those recipes of mine that seems to change and evolve a bit every time I make it. Do you have recipes like that? I love the versatility of soups and stews. They can almost always be tweaked to suit personal taste and are totally resilient to substitutions if you don’t happen…

halloween 2013

a chilly, windy october eve, a halloween birthday hubby, carving pumpkins, princesses, little devils, zombies, trick or treating, haunted houses, warm bowls of skyline chili, rich chocolate torte… just a few of my favorite halloween things… I hope yours was “spooktacular” too! XO, ~Melissa

english baked beans & toast

Another busy day in the kitchen and I’m just plain tired. I’ve been snapping photos all day and now I’m looking forward to just hanging out with our company tomorrow, sipping wine, hanging out by the campfire and relaxing. Jeff is outside grilling steaks. I made mashed potatoes & gravy and coleslaw to go with…

polish cinnamon babka

Okay, when you hear the word “babka,” what immediately pops into your head? Uh huh. The Seinfeld episode with the babka. For me it’s the same with marble rye and Twix candy bars. And most kinds of soup too, for that matter.  Who can eat a bowl of crab bisque or mulligatawny without thinking about…

neiman marcus chocolate chip cookies

Have you heard the urban legend about the Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe? It’s funny. It’s actually the reason I decided to try these cookies. Turns out, they’re exquisite. preheat oven to 300 degrees F. yield: 2 dozen 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1  tightly packed cup light brown sugar 3 Tablespoons sugar 1 large egg…

applewood smoked jack daniels barbecue beef

Busy, busy days in the kitchen. We’ve been cooking, grilling and taking photos. I meant to post this yesterday, but somehow the day got away from me. This is a very unique, delicious barbequed beef recipe that my hubby Jeff invented. I’ve never heard of  bbq sauce being prepared this way before, but it’s completely…