Comfort and the Joy of Food

Comfort and the Joy of Food

When it comes to comfort, at our house anyway, it's all about love and food.  Growing up with an Italian Grandmother I got both good hugs and great food.  Even though the cuisine was on a very lean budget for Grandma, it was amazing and delicious and all home grown and homemade (including the chickens and beef and pork and wine).  I feel so fortunate for this and that is my thankfulness on this coming Thanksgiving Day.

One thing about Risotto- it is a food to prepare while with friends on a cold night and in your cozy kitchen.   It takes time to prepare but while you do, you will be having great conversations and maybe a wee bit of wine with them.    Try this recipe or another delicious "Risotto with Friends" and cheers to you all.  Happy Holidays~Ann Marie.


Risotto with Truffle Oil


1 T butter

1 T olive oil

1/2 onion, minced

1 1/4 c Arborio rice

1/2 c white wine  (remember to always use a top quality dry white wine)

2 T butter

2 T  Truffle Oil (available in our store and online!)

1/3 c Parmesan cheese

1 tsp milk, or as needed

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 T chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat the chicken broth in a stockpot over medium-low heat until warmed.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan; add onion, cook and stir until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Pour wine into rice mixture; cook and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 1 ladle of hot chicken broth to pan, cook until absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue adding 1 ladle of broth at a time until rice is tender but firm to the bite, 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, and milk into risotto until fully incorporated; season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley.  Grate a bit of truffle onto the top if you are fortunate to have!

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Boxing Day Traditions

Boxing Day Traditions

When is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland.

A 'Christmas Box' in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a 'Christmas Box' from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give 'Christmas Boxes' to their families.

Activities on Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself. In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the England.

Many top football(soccer) teams also play on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. These include bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.

Fox Hunting on Boxing Day
Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.

.The New Boxing Day Sport - Shopping

Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. What was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now begin on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day in Ireland
In Ireland, Boxing Day is also known as "St. Stephen's Day" named after the Saint stoned to death for believing in Jesus.

  In Ireland on Boxing,  there was once a barbaric act carried out by the so-called "Wren Boys." These boys would dress up and go out, and stone wren birds to death then carry their catch around the town knocking on doors and asking for money, the stoning representing what had happened to St Stephen. This terrible tradition has now stopped, thank goodness, but the Wrens Boys still dress up but instead parade around town and collect money for charity.

Food and Drink on Boxing Day
With guests often popping in for a snack or tipple the food and drink on Boxing Day are more relaxed than Christmas Day.

Lunch will usually be a buffet or leftovers from Christmas lunch. Baked Ham is a popular Boxing Day meat and of course, mince pies with brandy butter or a slice of Christmas cake are almost obligatory.

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Crispy Duck Fat Potatoes with Garlic-Parmesan Butter

Crispy Duck Fat Potatoes with Garlic-Parmesan Butter




Ingredients:
  • 3 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 T unsalted butter
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 T)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 T finely minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 c)
  • 6 T Rougie Duck Fat

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are completely tender and a cake tester or paring knife inserted into potato shows little resistance, about 5 minutes after it starts boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Add parsley and grated cheese. Set aside.
  3. Drain potatoes and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, split each potato in half lengthwise. Heat 3 tablespoons duck fat in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add as many potatoes as you can fit in a single layer, cut-side down (you should be able to fit about half the potatoes). Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with garlic butter. Repeat with remaining duck fat and potatoes, transferring to same bowl. Toss potatoes to coat evenly in garlic-butter mixture, and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Serious Eats

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Fall Inspirations and Burleigh Pottery


As the temperatures dip and the days shorten, we at Ann Marie’s are preparing for the cold season ahead.  Whether as an accompaniment to hot porridge and maple syrup in the morning, catching up with old friends, or cozying up to a warm fire and a good book, autumn is the time or year we reach for our favorite teas...
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