grilled oysters with jalapeno-herb mignonette

Benjamin likes to celebrate so for Father's Day weekend he asked if he could get some oysters at Wegmans and what was I supposed to say?  The man loves a little something special which has me already concerned about how I'm supposed to throw him a birthday celebration this August.

It's no surprise that he opted to make a jalapeno-herb mignonette to go with the oysters he grilled.  He loved them and if you're an oyster lover as well, this recipe is for you. 

After mentioning this recipe Benjamin decided he should make them again for our staycation so he's at the store getting some oysters.  Our shucker is at home so we'll see how his idea of using a screw driver works out.

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and finely diced (or some seeds left in if you're Benjamin)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • up to 20 oysters, scrubbed
1.  Heat your grill to high for direct-heat grilling.

2.  Stir together the vinegar, lime juice, honey, onions, jalapeño, chopped herbs, and some and pepper to taste in a big bowl.  Let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to come together.

3.  Remove the tops of the oysters over a bowl, reserving the oyster liquor.  Add that liquid back to the bottom shell with the oyster.  Put on the grill until the liquid begins to simmer but the oysters are still raw in the center, about 4 minutes.  Carefully remove the oysters to a platter and top each with a teaspoon of the mignonette.  Enjoy right away!

Full Disclosure

In the past several months there were things I wanted to blog about but couldn't because the pregnancy was so new. Now that we're halfway there it's time to have a little post so I don't forget these things about pregnancy number two.  Here are a few of them.

Some thoughts on Food:  When we were in Hawaii I knew there was a slight chance I could be pregnant or that my days til pregnancy again were numbered and so I enjoyed rare Ahi and margaritas by the pool. Here I am in fact having the best ahi of my life. I wish I could eat it again now. I was in fact pregnant but not at all worried about it considering the baby was probably the size of a poppy seed then or maybe not yet attached to me.  We got a great poke recipe written down from our waiter one night at dinner and I hoped to make it when we got back.  No luck.  I'll have to try for next summer when I'm not pregnant or nursing as much.

Nursing: We weaned Anderson right around 18 months knowing we wanted to get pregnant again soon and I was not too thrilled about the idea of my body making a baby and nursing too. We cut out his nap first, then morning, and one day he just drank a lot of milk at night, didn't ask to nurse, and that was it.  Definitely not what I was expecting but with another one on the way it was a good way to go.  Sometimes I think he said goodbye to the best thing he had going without knowing it.  Now when we mention nursing he says "baby."  I tell him baby will have nummies and he says "I do too.."  I tell him "yup, you liked it too- you can tell baby all about how to do it."  If you'll remember Anderson didn't nurse on his own for months so I'm definitely hoping for an easier time with that for this little guy.

Our Home: House hunting inevitably involved the key factor that we had another one on the way. When I looked at another apartment in our neighborhood I knew I was slightly crazy to want to go through the process of moving only to think of having to move again in a year with a six month old. We wanted a space where we wouldn't feel like we grew out of it right away. 

There you have it. I've shared all my secrets. Of course I haven't but those are some of the highlights that you keep hidden for a bit.  

braised brisket with bourbon peach glaze

For Father's Day this year I wanted to make something special of course and make a recipe that screamed Benjamin's name.  Braised Brisket with Bourbon Peach Glaze was that recipe.  How could I not make this for my bourbon-loving husband?

The process was a long one so be warned this is an all day cooking adventure you'd be embarking on.  This was my first time making brisket so why not use a recipe that would take most of the day?

The recipe hails from Country Living and is best served to a big crowd of hungry and thankful eaters.  The sauce that's reduced down is great poured atop the shredded beef and shouldn't go to waste.

Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Country Living

Ingredient's You'll Need:

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole flat brisket (ours was about 4-5 pounds but you could get us to 7-8 pounds for this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic clothes, smashed
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bottles of Stout
  • 1 1/2 cups Bourbon plus 1 tablespoon (we used Old Grand-dad)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 handful thyme sprigs
  • 1 jar (10-ounce) peach jam or preserves

1. In a bowl mix salt through cinnamon and set aside.

2.  Cut the brisket in half and rub the dry rub all over it then set it in the fridge on a baking sheet for 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 and then set up your Dutch oven (we used 2!) over high heat.  Heat some oil in the bottom of the pot then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes and transfer that mixture to a plate.

4.  Add another little bit of oil to the pots until it's hot then add the brisket, fat sides down and let cook without touching it for 5-6 minutes.  Flip the brisket and return the onion mixture to the pot.  Now top with the celery, carrots, tomatoes, stout, 1 1/2 cups bourbon, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, stock, and thyme leaves.  Bring to a simmer over high heat.  Step back and look at how glorious it is.

5.  Cover the pots with a double layer of foil and transfer them to the oven where they will cook for about 4 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat to a platter and tent it with foil.

6.  Strain the braising liquid and discard the solids.  Transfer 1/2 cup of the liquid to a small bowl and set it aside, returning the rest of the pot to cook down over high heat for 15 minutes to reduce it.

7.  Meanwhile set the oven to broil and in a blender combine the peach jam, 1 tablespoon bourbon, and reserved 1/2 cup braising liquid.  Puree until smooth, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

8.  At this point use a sharp knife to score the fat on the brisket then return the brisket to the pot and top with 3-4 tablespoons of the peach glaze.  

9.  Broil for about 4-5 minutes until the glaze is brown but not burned.  

You're all done!

Serve with the reduced sauce and enjoy!


Last year we went to the beach.  This year we're having a staycation.  Next year I hope we can go back to the beach.  Anderson will be older, more on his own and the baby will hopefully just be happy in a baby pool splashing around then in my arms taking naps while I watch Anderson run.  Sounds good to me.

The boys are loving time together.  Owen arrived when Anderson woke up from his nap and although I missed it due to the sonogram appointment he apparently popped up and yelled "OWIE!" with a big smile on his face.

The weather hasn't been cooperating so well but today should be better.  We got to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum yesterday where they were able to see lots of "airplanes airplanes high high" in the sky and have enjoyed dinners out.  I especially enjoyed this muddled strawberries and basil in lemonade last night.  Tip to all pregnant ladies- check the cocktails list for yummy concoctions then just ask for it to be made without the alcohol.  You won't be missing out.

Here's to another day of staycation- currently typing in bed while the boys are downstairs playing.  I'll soak up this "vacation" as much as I can.

Boy or Girl? The Big Reveal

This week has been a busy one with my mind consumed with our sonogram today. Boy or girl?

Given my nausea in the first trimester I was certain it was a girl. Then I started to feel better and wasn't so sure. I saw some middle school girls scantily clothed on Fourth of July and really hoped we were having a boy. I saw two wild boys at the pool earlier this week and was back to hoping for a little girl. Lets not get started on cute little girl clothes. I may have some stashed away for a girl someday. 

Any mother of a son knows though that little boys are the sweetest. Good thing because we're having another one!

I'm thrilled. I think Anderson is going to love being a big brother to a little boy. Already he has been excited about the baby. This week some baby toys entered the nursery in a big clear bin and Anderson looked at my belly and said "baby! Toys! Play!"  Showing the baby it's toys already.  

Although he doesn't have much concept of a brother I know he'll continue to be excited and hopefully they'll be best buddies.  

our fourth

Our fourth was spent at Great Meadow, an event we may need to make tradition.  There was plenty for Anderson to see and we enjoyed it as well.

Lesson learned for next year is to find a spot with more shade early on.  Thankful for all the water we brought, even the frozen bottles.

Anderson was glad we brought his wagon and even decided when it was bedtime.  He got in there and put his head down, I put a blanket on him, and really thought he may go to sleep only to be woken up by a loud bang.  He got up and was excited to see the fireworks until they happened.  A look of terror crossed his face, he cried, then held on to me so tight.  I had my hand over for ear and the other ear was buried into my chest.  Since it was so late he actually fell asleep during the rest of the show.

This morning when Anderson was asked if he liked the fireworks he said "No.  Noise.  Mommy."  Translation being that no, they were noisy, Mommy held me.

Hope you had a great day celebrating this nation we live in too!

happy fourth!

May it be filled with lots of sweet corn.  We really love sweet corn in the summer.  It's what I grew up with in Ohio and Benjamin can attest, my family really loves sweet corn.  Luckily Anderson loves it too and is known to need his own two ears.

I've gotten into the habit of taking the corn home to shuck.  It's a memory of mine sitting on the back porch with my grandpa shucking corn and I want Anderson to remember shucking it too.  During the process he asks for a bite and finally about three times in he stopped taking some bites and now knows we cook it then put butter and salt on top.  Delicious.

dad's wedge salad with homemade blue cheese dressing

Today is my Dad's Birthday.  Happy Happy.  He's a great father and embodies all that you'd hope would go along with a great dad.  I know every girl says she has the best but really, I do.

For Father's Day I wanted to include something on the menu that my dad would appreciate, wedge salad.  He tends to order this when it's on the menu and it sounds tasty to me these days as well.  Bacon, fresh tomatoes, and homemade blue cheese dressing over fancy lettuce (no iceberg here) made this salad a real winner.  I'd like to make it again very soon.

Recipe thanks to and adapted from Sunset Magazine.

Ingredients You'll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, at room temperature, crumbled and divided
  • 2 heads little gem or other small headed lettuce you can cut in half.  romaine leaves work too.
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped.
1. Mix the sour cream, mayo, buttermilk, salt, garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl.  Stir in half the cheese and mash it a bit as you mix then chill for 30 minutes.  

2.  Set a lettuce half on each plate and drizzle with dressing them top with crumbled bacon, tomato, and remaining blue cheese.

The dressing can be made 3 hours ahead of time before serving.

fourth of july is upon us: some menu suggestions

We'll hopefully be in the middle of a field watching the fireworks this year, covered in a lot of bug spray.  I'm not quite sure what we'll be eating but since it will have been packed and picnic style it may be things like salsa, egg salad (a random craving I have during pregnancy), pimento cheese dip (another craving) and potentially brownies.

Looking back at summer celebrations past I have some recommendations for your menu of course.  Let this help your search for the perfect menu.

Grilled Okra with Paprika Shallot Dip: A surprisingly fun and tasty appetizer that won't last long.

Proscuitto and Blue Cheese Grilled Peaches.  Enough Said.

Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream Sauce  Pictured Above.  Delicious.

Cool Creamy Cole Slaw.  A standby I make often during the summer.  The dressing is far superior to anything you can find in a jar.

Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing.  I remember this dressing so well and think I need to make this for our picnic.

Salted Caramel Brownies.   I've only made these once and they blew my mind.  Time to make them again.

Hope that helps!

life in the country

Life in the country is going well.  We don't miss the city, or its traffic, too much at all.  Too much or not at all really.  We've been able to go strawberry picking, explore different wineries, and have friends stay over in our guest room.  It's an amazing feeling.

Country life does come with some downsides, like ticks.  I found one on Anderson about two weeks ago and when he had a high fever this morning I wasn't too sure it was just a virus.  Turns out it's strep so how they treat that is the same way they'd treat him for Lymes.  Two birds.  One stone.  

Our patio has given us relaxing meals and a nice place for Anderson to freely spill and drool all he wants.  I love having plants out there too and my little watering helper.  

He continues to love the pond nearby to feed the fish and has turned to eating half of the bread himself.  

I've also enjoyed cooking again, because I'm hungry and because our kitchen inspires me too.  I love having the space to cook a big meal, have pots and pans everywhere, and feel like the clean up process isn't incredibly suffocating.  With that, I have many recipes to share with you in the coming weeks- hope you're hungry!