Friday, August 31, 2012

Embarrassingly Simple: Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas Rolled in Walnuts

What are you doing for Labor Day Weekend? On the go? Weddings? Potluck with the neighbs? If you're hosting, this fun frozen treat is a real winner for kids and adults. It takes no time at all, has great texture, and is perfect to wave goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall with (one hand waiving, one hand holding your frozen treat).  I love dessert on a stick!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Badass Brownies"

I'm not usually one to use the term "badass," but if I do incoorporate any profanity into my writing you know it's deserving. These brownies were named by a chef and baker from Portland, OR, who is indeed herself pretty badass: Ker Jensen. This is the video I watched when scouring the internet for something to bake for our wine-get together a month back. I was looking for something decadant, over the top, comforting and bad (the good kind of bad).

Urban dictionary's definition reads: an uncommon man of supreme style. I like that. Now, while the brownie is common, this badass brownie is will redefine your definition of brownie. Seriously if you didn't watch the video yet... you must watch before reading on. She's intense so put your big girl/boy pants on for this one.

Monday, August 20, 2012

We'll take a table for THREE please!!!

I'm happy to announce that we'll be adding another chair to our Joyful Table. :-)

Shorting after telling our visiting friends Ruben and Kat from Portland. 
Chris and I are elated, shocked, giddy and totally foreign to all of these feelings. A baby! What are we getting into?! A new adventure, that's for sure. So much for taking on canning, new seafood and other culinary challenges... pretty sure parenting may top it all!

Chris has been a champ in catering to my sickness and lack of cooking... serving me snacks in bed and agreeing to go out for Mexican several days a week (it's just so rough for the guys... right?!)

I apologize ahead of time for gaps of time in posting. To say I'm in love with food right now would be a bold faced lie. These are rather new feelings I've been having while in the kitchen... lacking motivation to cook, unsure of what I am hungry for, and not wanting anything but... crackers?  But knowing this is all for BABY Ritter, makes it worth it.

Lucky for you, I have some FANTASTIC recipes and photos that are lined up... I just have to get a hold of my health before I get consistent again. Stay tuned and thank you ahead of time for the support.

If you are interested in a video of how we told my parents at Sterling Vineyards in Napa... check out this clip.

-The Joyful Table... of Three

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wello-Berry Jam (Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Preserves)

I had declared 2012 my year of canning. So far I'm 1 for 1. Not a bad batting average, but I admit I was rather intimidated about the whole thing. Luckily, my sweet friend Liz from Portland gave me a book on canning in the southern tradition as a going away gift before we moved. She wasn't going to let me forget my declaration.

Canning is a funny thing. Oregon completely opened my eyes to do-it-yourself ideas. Making jam only scratched the surface.

I attended a chapstick making party (my favorite flavor was a orange-sage), made friends who made their own shampoo/conditioner/hair product, and was given home-made laundry detergent as a Christmas gift! I don't care what you all think... I learned so much from these women! Some of it was for fun, some of it was for controlling the chemical ingredients and some of it was for cost efficiency.

But we are all about food around here... so back to my canning!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carnitas! Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Citrus and Spice

I was told "good things come to those who wait." Not sure if it's an old proverb, lyric or something my mother would just repeat to her impatient children who wanted a snack before dinner. Those are the most painful dishes... the ones that you smell all afternoon while the flavors fall reluctantly in love with one another.

My mom loves playing Cupid. And to her credit, it's worked out a few times. I love playing cupid with a few ingredients- pairing them up. And with the right environment and enough time, magic happens.

It's kind of like that kid "Mike" you met at summer camp that you thought God brought to you... but really it was just a combo of July heat and a week of concentrated hormones that made you think he was the one. (haha... whatever happened to that kid?)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Colorful Heirloom Pico de Gallo

What pulls at your heart? For some people it's puppies. For others, it's babies. Still for others, red high heels. Me? Pretty tomatoes. I go weak in the knees for the confused fruit-vegetable, especially the gorgeous heirloom varietals.

And while fresh salsa could be red, why be red when you could be rainbow?!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Embarrassingly Simple: White Chocolate Dipped Cherries with Vanilla Bean

I have a secret love affair with vanilla beans.

They are so worth it every time. It's not just about the cute speckles... but the richness of aroma. I'm so inclined to this lovely bean, that when wine tasting you may commonly hear me say "mmmmm... I'm getting a little vanilla on the nose." Chris likes to say I'm always getting vanilla on the nose.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cabin Worthy Baked Oatmeal with Peaches and Walnuts

There is a cabin outside of Donnor Lake that holds a near and dear place to my heart. It's where many a New Years Eve are rung in and many Fourth of Julys are celebrated. The motto is... what happens at the cabin stays at the cabin. Well, I'm breaching the rule (with permission from the cabin queen bee of course) because Trudi's Baked Oatmeal is just too good not to share with the world. Depending what time of the year we are there, different fruit find it's way into the dish. My favorite is with peaches.