Mom's Diner

July 5, 2012

Old-Fashioned Sparkling Sugar Cookies

Filed under: cookies, desserts, homemade — Tags: , , — momsdiner61 @ 8:30 pm

Sometimes, the tried and true is the best, and this is certainly true of these sugar cookies! Made from the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook that I got as a child in the early seventies and now a favorite cookbook with my own children, these cookies are all that a sugar cookie should be. The cookie is light and soft, yet substantial, with the sweet crunch of the colored sugar sprinkles and the wonderful burst of lemony sweetness from the lemon zest that a true sugar cookie should have. It is very hard not too eat too many of these as they come out hot from the oven!

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June 27, 2012

Garden Dinner Extraordinaire!

My grandfather was a farmer, and my great grandfather was a farmer, but I am definitely not a farmer, as the large collection of dead and dying plants on my deck attest. Fortunately for us, we are not dependent on our garden for sustenance (if we were, I am sure we would starve). But, my children wanted a garden, so a garden we have in our backyard, filled with spring onions, baby carrots, tomatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, pole beans, Lima beans, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, and green peppers. And, we have a lovely blueberry bush that produces lots and lots of big, juicy blueberries despite our gardening ineptitudes. So, tonight, we had our garden dinner extraordinaire – fresh pasta tossed with spring onions and tiny cherry tomatoes and baby carrots in a creamy Parmesan and a vinaigrette dressing served with boiled Yukon potatoes on the side. For dessert, there was a homemade blueberry cobbler, juicy berries intermingled with perfectly textured cake. Somehow, these home grown fruits and vegetables had so much flavor that it was truly a joy to eat them, savoring the flavors that came out of our labors and our own backyard! Never mind that every day for the last two months we have been tending this garden and supporting it with everything it needs – the seeds, the tomato cages, the stakes for the pole beans, the Miracle Grow applications, and more. And, despite our best preparations, it always seems to need something else – the deer ate the heads off the pole beans, so off we went to get stakes and netting, the soil was low in nitrogen, so we added fertilizer, the tomatoes were showing signs of calcium deficiency so we spread lime. Not to mention the lights and the motion sensor sprinklers to keep animals out of our tiny Eden. This is definitely not a money-saving endeavor, but the flavors rival anything that I have ever eaten, so I am going to do my best to enjoy this bit of gardening luck that has come my way, one meal at a time for as long as it lasts!

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December 29, 2011

Duner’s, Ivy VA

Duner’s is a bustling restaurant with food that can rival the finest dining establishments, except with large portions and a casual atmosphere despite the white tablecloths. Start with one of their many appetizers – the pork tacos with pico de gallo and sour cream served on miniature corn tortillas was delicious! The pico de gallo was so fresh and flavorful, the pork so tender! For dinner, try the fresh crab cakes with mashed potatoes and homemade tartar sauce. The cakes were filled with large lumps of crab while a crispy, almost carmelized crust kept it all together, hot, and moist. Or, try the chicken with bacon stuffed under the skin and filled with cheese, lemon-herb spatzle. The end result is a most wonderful and tender combination of exquisite flavors. Finish off your meal with dessert – the German chocolate cake with coconut and pecan butter cream was perfection, served with a raspberry and vanilla sauce and fresh whipped cream. A perfect ending to a fantastic meal!

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October 17, 2011

Omni Parker House, Boston MA

The Parker House in Boston is famous for many things- John Wilkes Booth stayed here in the months before Lincoln’s assassination and Charles Dickens lived here for a time (you can see his room key in a display case in the lobby)-but it is most famous for two culinary achievements, the Parker House roll and the Boston Cream pie, both of which are still served here. The rolls are light, hot, and deliciously yeasty, clearly made to be the perfect companion to real butter! If you want to take some with you next time you are in Boston, just walk through the elegant lobby with it’s carved wood and gold accents to the host of the Parker House restaurant and he will sell you a box (or two) of hot Parker House rolls. I am sure that when you feel the warmth of those golden rolls exuding their yeasty goodness, you will stop just outside and sample this tasty bit of history for yourself!

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September 29, 2011

Foods of all Nations, Charlottesville VA

If you are in Charlottesville, say for a football game or a concert at nearby John Paul Jones Arena, then Foods of all Nations is a must-see-and-taste gourmet grocery. Try the Ivy Three Way, a delicious sandwich with Boursin Cheese. Or, grab a dessert – the cream cheese filled carrot cake topped with caramel and nuts is delicious! Or, maybe you are looking for that one special ingredient to finish off a recipe, like imported mustard or Vanilla bean paste or Paella rice or Surrey County Virginia pork products. You will find it all here, along with excellent produce and friendly service. Rumor has it that this is the Chips Grocery made famous by John Grisham’s book, “Skipping Christmas” and portrayed in the movie “Christmas With the Kranks.” This is a special place and worth visiting again and again.

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September 24, 2011

The Trellis, Williamsburg VA

Filed under: Chocolate, desserts, Fine Dining, food, williamsburg VA — Tags: , , , , — momsdiner61 @ 11:24 am

The Trellis has been a Williamsburg tradition for over 30 years. Located on historic Duke of Gloucester Street with its well dressed windows filled with beautifully set tables, this has long been the place to go for special occasions. It is the place to go for innovative meals featuring local ingredients, like the New England Clam Chowder made with Littleneck Clams, or the stuffed trout or the red pepper soup. It is also the place to go for chocolate. The piece de resistance is Death By Chocolate, featuring seven layers of wonderfully decadent chocolate, from the slightly crispy chocolate meringue to the chocolate mousse to the rich, dark ganache that surrounds it all, this is the chocolate dessert that you will savor and remember and come back to again and again whenever you are in Williamsburg.

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