Monday, December 27, 2010

AMY & REE: Linguine with Clam Sauce

I believe that PW's sister, Betsy, makes this pasta for girls' night. PW lives on a ranch with cowboys who call this girl food and prefer much beefier business. Luckily, my man loves him all kinds of food, so he's always willing to try what I make. This was very good, but I also love clams, which I know are an acquired taste for some people, my kids included.

AMY & REE: My Favorite Meatloaf

I made PW's favorite meatloaf with her creamy rosemary potato recipe (posted above) one night for dinner. It is a big hamburger loaf made the traditional way, except it's covered with bacon and a spicy ketchup topping. We thought it was pretty good, but, like all meatloaf, much better the next day. I almost love meatloaf sandwiches better than the warm night-before dinner version. This meatloaf was fine, but my favorite version of this classic is still my mozzarella turkey one.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

AMY & REE: Flat Apple Pie

This flat apple pie recipe actually makes two pies, but I cheated a bit and used premade pie dough because, friends, I'm on a deadline here, with just a few days to so. It's pretty small, but boy is it delicious. And easy. I took PW's advice and drizzled caramel topping on the top. Add to that some homemade whipped cream and OMG, people. I took this to the BSU bowl game party and those folks couldn't stop raving about it. Highly recommended.

AMY & REE: Creamy Rosemary Potatoes

These are listed as 'Creamy Herbed Potatoes' on PW's website, but in the book they are Creamy Rosemary Potatoes. Regardless of the name change, the recipe is the same. It's a really fattening, fancy version of scalloped potatoes using fresh rosemary and parmesan cheese. They were a yummy change of pace, but not something I'd probably really make again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

AMY & REE: Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe for turkey pot pie on PW's website is exactly the same as the chicken pot pie recipe in her cookbook, just substituting chicken for turkey. I made this last night for dinner for the inlaws who just got in for the holiday. It was a perfect winter night recipe. The addition of thyme is perfect and she's right about salting it to taste. Again, I cheated with the pie crust, and used pre-made since I'm short on time. Give it a shot, it's worth it! Would be a perfect use for Christmas dinner turkey leftovers.

AMY & REE: Basic Breakfast Potatoes & Breakfast Burritos

PW's Basic Breakfast Potatoes are a super easy way to make homemade hashbrowns and are basic enough to make a huge batch of and use in other recipes, like her Breakfast Burritos which I made with them. (The potatoes are also a perfect use for a few leftover baked potatoes from another dinner, by the way.) Anyhow, they are good alone, but are great with the breakfast burritos, which are really basic - salsa, sausage, cheese, egg and potatoes. The recipe makes a big batch, enough for a Saturday morning family breakfast and leaving you with 8-10 to freeze for later. Microwave for about 3 minutes (probably less if you don't have a 20 year old microwave oven like I do) and take them on the go. I love them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

AMY & REE: Olive Cheese Bread

Okay, ladies, PW calls her Olive Cheese Bread 'cowgirl food' and I couldn't agree more. While Eric didn't love it, I did. And Alice did. While we all had a slice or two with our dinner that night, the next day she and I ate a half loaf of the stuff. It is rich and yummy and olive-y goodness. Perfect for noshing all day and is especially complimentary to wine. So, of course, there wasn't enough time to take a picture of it between shoving it's melty, salty crispiness into my mouth.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

AMY & REE: Beans and Cornbread

Sometimes we're just too busy eating to take pictures of the food. I always remember afterwards, though, and think, "I'll get pics of the leftovers tomorrow." Then Eric eats the leftovers as an almost-midnight-snack well before tomorrow comes, or we pack them into lunch sacks and I totally forget. This was one of those meals.

I grew up on beans and cornbread - it was a staple in my mom's kitchen repertoire and her childhood as well, which she imparted on us. I have fond memories of those pinto beans soaking for what seemed like days, and the salty, smoky hamhock falling to pieces once they were finally done. While my childhood cornbread usually came from a box (and, honestly, mine often still does), it was delicious with the meal and later with dark Karo syrup on top as a sweet treat.

PW's beans were great and easy and made a ton, so much that I still have a carton in my freezer. The skillet cornbread had a weird taste to me - I think it was the use of Crisco - so I didn't like it that much. My vote? Beans - yep. Cornbread - pass.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AMY & REE: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (in an iron skillet)

I had never made cake in an iron skillet nor had I ever made pineapple upside-down cake before, so this was new to me on two levels. It was easy and fun, but a bit stressful at the flipping the cake out stage, as it always is for me. But look how beautiful! And vintage! In my cake carrier! (I could've upped the kitsch quotient if I'd added maraschino cherries, but I dislike them so.) I took this to the ladies with babies at playgroup and we enjoyed it with coffee. I think pineapple upside-down cake is something you either love or hate, but think it was a good recipe.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AMY & REE: French Breakfast Puffs

So, I just sent out our Christmas e-greeting, which captures some fun accomplishments from each of our family members throughout the year, like Lucy losing three teeth, Alice eating too many eggs, Eric watching the sun set over the Tetons and my successfully completing my Pioneer Woman cookbook challenge. Only, I lied. About myself. I'm not done with the cooking, not even close. You guys, don't judge. It was more of a 'publish a dream and it will become your reality' sort of idea. You see, I'm not going to be made a fool or a liar. I will get 'er done. Because I'm obsessive and a procrastinator and my husband will help me and I plan to cheat. Just a little teeny tiny bit.

But not yet. You see, I've been baking and broiling and beating for months now, and am just finally getting around to posting about some of the recipes. So beware, the rest of my posts for 2010 are likely to be a flurry of frantic kitchen tidbits about all the cooking that's bein' done up in here.

I made these muffins that are dipped in butter and rolled in sugar and cinnamon after baking them a while back, but they didn't last long. I've said it before, but PW sure knows her sweet stuff and I think baking is really her strong suit. These things are yummy and tasted a bit like donuts so, duh, um, I LOVE THEM. And you will, too.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where I've Been = Manic Art/Work Mode

So, I've been a pretty shitty blogger lately, but I have been writing like crazy elsewhere. My new gig as a freelance arts writer for our local indy newsweekly, the Boise Weekly, has been fun and demands lots of evening interviews and late night sessions with my laptop. I've been producing 1-2 stories a month for them this fall, writing about anything from Iraqi refugees to improv comedy.

I'm also thrilled that my first pieces came out in Treasure Valley Family magazine, our local family publication, in the December issue. My regular monthly columns include "Shop & Tell" (a local gift/purchasing guide based on different themes), "Park Playtime" (highlighting different outdoor wonderlands in the area), and "Somewhere Over the Laundry Pile" (a sort of end of the day personal story about motherhood as I see it). I also occasionally write specialty pieces, like this one about local kids theatre auditions. Soon, I'm to be the featured mommyblogger on TVF's revamped website, so stay tuned.

Right after my layoff at the Boise Art Museum, the city of Boise Department of Arts & History snatched me up to consult with them on a pretty regular basis. I work on a number of projects devoted both to public art projects and history related ones, in addition to serving on two different committees for the organization. Lately, I've been tasked with working with local signmakers on getting appropriate labels and signage made for quite a few projects, like this one by Stephanie Bacon, a collaged installation making the Collister Branch of the Boise Public Library a really cool place:

Since June, I've been organizing an exhibition with 21 different local artists for the Trey McIntyre Project (TMP), a world-renowned contemporary dance troupe based here in Boise. Each year, Trey, the artistic director, asks a group of artists to create artworks inspired by each of the 9 dancers + 1 artistic director as a fundraiser. This year, I was asked to come on board as the project manager/curator of the event and exhibition. There was much to be coordinated, and the work load more than tripled as our opening date, December 2nd, quickly approached. Not to mention that Trey asked me to participate as an artist as well. Here's a peek at my artist webpage as well as the piece I created for the show:

Amy Pence-Brown, What you see is not all you get., found fabric, thread, frames, shelf, 2010. SOLD!

Moscow, Idaho, ceramic artist Marilyn Lysohir's plates and cups

Rachel Linquist made these fantastic fabric dancer dolls. Check out her Etsy shop for more cuteness. Plus, she's a helluva a gal.

E.J. Pettinger writes this quirky cartoon called Mild Abandon and did these paintings of the dancers holding a fundraising carwash. He turned the paintings into calendars, that sold like hotcakes.

Amy O'Brien + Kerry Tullis make up Unit Eleven Design. They use reclaimed wood and steel and made stools with heights based on each dancer's inseam.

Susan Valiquette is a photographer who mounted her photos of each dancer after rehearsal, sweat and all, to really cool lucite boxes.

BSU printmaking professor Jill Fitterer made tiny etchings with chine colle on wood for each dancer.
The exhibition is still up and, in fact, I'm hosting a recycled arts project for kids this Saturday in their warehouse space. Whew. So far, this holiday season has been fun, but a bit exhausting, and not with the normal stuff like shipping packages and hanging holiday lights, but with work/art madness. While it's been interesting and fulfilling, managing these four part-time gigs with full-time motherhood has been a bit challenging lately. I've missed too many dinners with my family and Lucy's totally out of clean pants as I type. I'm looking forward to more nights by the fire reading books with my girls, digging my way out of the mountains of laundry, and baking up some goodies for my neighbors. Oh yeah, and a little sleep might be nice, too.