lasagna

a brunchin' we will go

a beautiful day at the Dallas Arboretum

a beautiful day at the Dallas Arboretum

Spring has been an absolute whirlwind. Maybe because I have been sleep deprived beginning with Daylight Savings or perhaps it's due to trying to schedule FaceTime sessions with a son on the other side of the world. Whatever the reason, I feel constantly behind, always running to catch up. 

Long weekends spent with family are usually a great way to slow things down. In that spirit, our Easter week began on Palm Sunday with church services alongside our son and his pregnant wife. Oh wait. Haven't I told you? Our family is being blessed in 2018 with new babies. My eldest daughter (residing in Arkansas) is expecting her fourth child, due in May and our eldest son (lives here!) is expecting his first....TWINS! SO. EXCITING. I. MAY. JUST. WRITE. LIKE. THIS. UNTIL. SUMMER. Jk. But we are indeed overjoyed by all of these tiny blessings headed our way. 

Back to Palm Sunday. After mass, the four of us came home for brunch because a leisurely meal accompanied by mimosas is a surefire way to slow time. The menu was Eggs Benedict as requested by my DH. It's a timeless breakfast entree, isn't it? Crisp english muffins topped with canadian bacon, a pillowy poached egg and rich, decadent hollandaise sauce. In the Butterfield house, we like to change things up and sometimes replace the muffin with hash brown potatoes, or even stack the potatoes on top of the toasted bread. Also, we seldom serve the traditional skinny slices of canadian bacon and opt for slabs of smoked ham. Or, maybe a crab cake for ultimate, sinful gluttony. Whatever version, the crowning glory remains the same--bright, lemony hollandaise, and I'm sharing my recipe at the end of this post. 

Dinner that evening was also a feast. Expertly grilled New York Strip steaks, baked potatoes, sautéed spinach, roasted eggplant, a lovely crisp green salad with balsamic dressing. And there was chocolate cake for dessert. That was just for 4 of us! But our celebratory week was off to a good start.

Happily on Thursday, my in-laws arrived from Albuquerque without incident. They have not been in Dallas since 2015, the year of two weddings, a graduation, and a family reunion. We scheduled a number of outings for their visit and tried not to wear out their 80+year-old bodies too much. They were able to see our son's new home and hear the glad news that the twins are GIRLS! (see how I keep sneaking those announcements in..?!) On Friday, our youngest daughter, husband and canine child, Frank, were here with us from Round Rock. We enjoyed a margarita lunch, strolling around the Arboretum and a fabulous meal at 20-Feet Seafood Joint in Lakewood. 

Side Review: If you haven't heard of this little hole-in-the-wall seafood restaurant, I am here to endorse the establishment and send you as soon as your little feet can carry you that direction for the following reasons:

  1. It's BYOB. We brought 3 bottles of wine with us: rosé, sauvignon blanc, and a red blend. Also a premixed shaker of Manhattans (the in-laws go-to cocktail.) (we did NOT consume it all!) And they will uncork your bottles as well as provide stemware in which to enjoy your beverage of choice!
  2. The Lobster Roll. It's amazing. Also, the Green Room Mussels, Fried Oyster Po Boy, Fish & Chips, and any special they're offering that day.
  3. Service is better than any I've encountered in a casual setting. You place your order at the counter, but the servers are patient, pleasant and helpful. The table bussers are young and sweet, also helpful. There's just nothing to complain about. Tables are first come, first served, but they'll help put tables together and find an area, outside or inside for you. 

The weather was ideal Thursday-Saturday so we sat out on the patio and enjoyed our mussels, french fries, Lobster Rolls (3), Fish & Chips (2) and Shrimp Po boy (1). Afterwards we indulged in a little custard from Wild About Harry's and came home to play cards.

Saturday breakfast was 2 casseroles I pulled from the fridge making my life so easy. The kids returned to Round Rock and we prepared for the next round of guests--my brother-in-law, wife and canine arrived from Houston. We supped on homemade lasagna and caesar salad and dined al fresco while watching the NCAA Final Four.

Easter Sunday dawned cool and cloudy and the mass was just beautiful, uplifting and joyful. And then we headed to another brunch, this time at The Mercury, where although our server is the best (Medy?) the food was honestly, just ok. Not that they didn't have variety: prime rib, fried chicken, sushi, salads galore and waffles. But it's really hard to do Eggs Benedict for a crowd because it's always cold and a little congealed, don't you think? So that brunch was a bit disappointing. 

I know right now you're thinking, all those Butterfields do is EAT! And sometimes, it feels that way to us too. I have omitted the boring details of walking pups, gardening, and any exercise that made it's way on to the schedule.

Sunday dinner was a bit of a masterpiece, if I'm allowed to say so. Beef Tenderloin roast, perfectly seared on the grill by my hubby and accompanied by au gratin potatoes, maple-bacon roasted brussels sprouts, spring salad with asparagus, fruit and citrus vinaigrette (on the menu this week!) and finally a luscious Chocolate-Espresso Cream Pie for dessert was shared with my dear friend, Rosemarie and her three girls, making our number 10 for dinner. What a fun evening! After our meal we watched the live production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and digested slowly.

Monday was so nice and quiet, with just the four of us. The weather turned cold, giving us an excuse to read the paper by the fire and only venture out for a little chinese bistro lunch. They departed on Tuesday morning and it was back to work for my husband and me. Thanks to their visit, we were able to extend those five days and truly experience five days rather than the rapid, whirlwind, collapsed time that I've been feeling is my life. In three weeks we head to Europe to meet my son--can you believe the semester is at a close?

Ruth's No-Cook Hollandaise Sauce

 

So very thankful for turkey, pie and family

Serious pic

Serious pic

The past two weeks are a blur. I do remember baking a lot of pies. And sides. And buttered rolls. And we entertained a crowd…not unmanageable, but still a crowd.

It was a lovely Thanksgiving at our house, with three of the Butterfield boys and their families gathered to talk food, sports and life. I had a fantastic crew in the kitchen—my daughter, daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law were all huge helps and I could not have managed the meal alone. It was an ambitious menu with so many sides…

2 Roasted Turkeys with Hard Cider Gravy

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with brown sugar crumble

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potato Casserole

Maple Glazed Carrots

Skillet Green Bean Casserole

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons

Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Gratin

Traditional Bread Dressing

Mushroom & Parmesan Savory Bread Pudding

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds

Cranberry Citrus Relish

Buttered + buttered rolls

Thankfully, the clean-up team did not disappoint either. There were cousins running every which way to clear the table, wash and dry dishes and take out the mounds of recycling. (so many bottles!)

What a blessing to be surrounded by people you love at any time of the year! It was so nice and I hope that each of you had your own version of Thanksgiving joy around the table.

Because Thanksgiving came early this year, I have one last weekly menu before the holiday crush. Once December arrives, my team and I will be madly baking, boxing and mailing gifts across the country for orders. We would love to fulfill your gifting needs as well so be sure to get your orders in as soon as possible. Gifts are online now!

This Saturday, we will have a booth at the Jesuit Christmas Bazaar from 9am – 5pm. Please stop by and say hi! We are working hard to have lots of product to sell on the spot. We’ve come up with some not-to-be-missed specials just for the Bazaar and it’s all live on the ordering site and effective through Saturday only, so check it out here.

Silly pic

Silly pic

There's really no sacrifice in Meatless Monday so why not make it a week instead of just a day?

Last year I kept hearing reference to going meatless one day per week and although I could seldom make it happen on Monday, I tried to introduce the concept into our family’s weekly meal pattern. Honestly I absolutely love meat but I know that we do not have enough greens, vegetables and grains in our diet so that’s the real reason I tried to change things up.
This week’s menu is virtually meatless! With the exception of the pot pie, every featured dish offers an opportunity to slot a vegetable-laden, meat-free meal into your weekly routine. I don’t think you will miss traditional proteins, especially in the Minestrone Soup, Yellow Squash Quiche or Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. These meals can fill hungry bellies and carry the added health benefit of getting you closer to the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.  Check out the options under the Menu of the Week tab above and let me know what I can help you put on your table.

The real superwoman - Jeanette Weisenberger Butterfield

thxgiving 04
Last Sunday I took you down memory lane to my mother’s story and this week it’s only fair that I tell you about my lovely mother-in-law, Jeanette. She is responsible for my wonderful husband’s appearance in the world and as we celebrated his birthday this past weekend, of course she comes to mind. Incidentally, he is the middle child in a line of seven. (I am the middle of 3 — don’t middles always end up together?!)

My first impression of Jeanette was through her son’s eyes. He talked a lot about what an amazing cook his mother was/is and how she served delicious meals to their table every single night for his crowd of a family. And dessert. Every night. Baked. Homemade. Desserts are a big thing with Michiganians, I’ve decided. So I couldn’t wait to meet her and she was everything he’d described her to be: sweet, quiet, welcoming and a Fantastic cook.  Her menus became the model for what I served our young family over the years. If I were to put her dinner philosophy to paper, I believe the list below summarizes it well.

1. The table must be dressed with a freshly pressed tablecloth.

2. Grace will be said before the meal commences, always by Pop, and ending with his signature “We pray for the gifts of wisdom, love, courage and perseverance.”

3. Every meal must have a tossed green salad. With no regard for extra dishes to wash, Jeanette happily adds salad bowls or plates to every table.

4. The main course will be hearty, delicious and hot. And plentiful. When you are feeding a crowd of 9, be sure to have enough for everyone to eat and be satiated.

5. There must be at least one side dish, either a vegetable or a starch but preferably both.  See crowd comment above.

6. Milk is the beverage of choice to accompany dinner, especially during the week. Wine is a close second.

7. THERE WILL BE DESSERT. Sometimes, if everyone is too full from the delicious dinner, dessert is moved to the time slot after dishes are done. The sweet treats range from homemade Angel Food Cake topped with macerated strawberries and freshly whipped, sweetened cream to tart Rhubarb Pie (btw, I had never tasted home-whipped cream before her’s and it changed my life) Of course, there are always a few of her famous cookies on a plate and plenty of ice cream. On the weekends when we dined with them several evenings in a row, she would bake something fresh each day, even if the previous evening’s dessert had not been completely consumed. Another rule: Jeanette takes the first bite. Pop is the enforcer of this rule. Do not break it.

I think it is safe to say that Jeanette manifested love for her family with her work in the kitchen. Oh, and through her ironing…she is a master in the laundry room but I’ll save that for another blog.;)  Check out the Menu for the next few days and give your mother-in-law a big hug; since mine is arriving midweek, I will do the same! -R

2015 - A year of Changes and Blessings!

The time has come for my son to marry his sweetheart…they’ve been engaged since December 25, 2014, and the year has flown by! I am so excited for him and happy to have the event finally here after all of the planning. We have several big events this year so I am trying to set the tone for all of the excitement by taking a couple of weeks off. I’ll be cooking this week but out for the weeks preceding and following the wedding. Hope you will manage to stay warm until February…2015 Menu for Jan 5

Fall fun and every day blessings

It was an interesting week! I was so excited about the promise of change in the weather…and the opportunity for rain.  Well, it came alright!  Dallas was hit with a deluge of wild thunderstorms for a very short period of time and it left the city with downed massive trees and loss of power to 250k residences and businesses!  Our power went out at 4:45 pm on Thursday and stayed out until 3:45 pm on SATURDAY!  It was very frustrating for me and for my husband who works out of the home.  Friday we found ourselves playing wifi vagrants…going from cafe to cafe for internet access and trying not to wear out our welcome.  The loss of power also meant that I had to find storage for my four freezers’ contents!  I was able to store much of the perishables at the Cafe Gourmet shop and surprisingly, two of the freezers retained their frozen state.
Because I was so frustrated by the lack of power, I felt so grateful when we regained electricity, which I take for granted every other day of the year.  So that was a positive that came out of the storm.  And it also brought the promised cool weather for Saturday morning when my son had a cross country meet.  Sadly, the event that our school was to host was cancelled due to the storm damage but we were able to move the meet to another location so our team could still race.

And the power was back on in time for us to catch some fun NCAA football matches on the telly.  I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down this season to watch any games and this turned out to be a great weekend.  Go Frogs! :)  I hope you all had good weeks too and I would love to hear how your neighborhoods fared from the storm.  Here’s what I’m cooking this week. Menu for Oct 6