Mashed Potato Gratin with Browned Butter, Manchego, and Horseradish

Mashed potato gratin with browned butter, manchego, and horseradish

So as it turns out, Fine Cooking publishes its Thanksgiving edition early.  How early? The issue is technically October, but it was delivered to our mailbox in September.  That’s pretty early to be thinking about Thanksgiving…

….Unless it’s your very first year hosting Thanksgiving festivities.  In which case, you’re like THANK GOD Fine Cooking is coming to my rescue.

That might be me.

I’ve spent Thanksgiving in many different locations over the year.  I was actually trying to count the other day, and I think I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in at least nine different cities, from Oregon to Ireland.  That’s pretty cool, right?  But it also means my first time hosting is just a wee bit intimidating.  Especially because Ross’s Thanksgiving experience has been a little different than mine.  He has spent 27 out of 29 Thanksgivings in Colorado with his extended family.  This year, for the first time ever, his parents will travel to our house in Houston, along with my sister and brother-in-law, an aunt and uncle, and any other family or friends who may want to join.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of hosting.  It’s going to be aaaaamazing not to travel over the holiday, and entertaining our favorite people is, well, one of our favorite things.

But I want to get it right.  And while Ross and I are lucky to agree on a number of traditional dishes (including three absolutely necessary pies), there is some wiggle room for experimentation, as long as it’s delicious.

Enter Fine Cooking.  Mashed potato gratin with browned butter, manchego, and horseradish you say?  Don’t mind if we do.

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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

You know those days when you sit around and idly wonder about the anatomy of a cow?

…so that’s just me?

I would love to take a class on butchering.  It sounds both macabre and delightful.  (I also enjoy saying the word “carcass” when I make chicken stock, because it’s basically the only time you can say “carcass” in a casual, socially acceptable manner.)

Things just got dark.

But the reason I started thinking about bovine bodies was sheer curiosity over the many kinds of “ribs” you hear about associated with cows.  Rib roast, ribeye, back ribs, short ribs.  It makes me wonder how one bone can be associated with so many different cuts of meat.  Are they from different ribs?  Identical ribs cut into different segments?  I’m sure many people know the answer to these questions, but I am not one of them.

So short ribs carry some mystery with them.  And not only because of their unknown anatomical origins, but also because they’re a cut I haven’t made very often in the past.  My first couple attempts at short ribs ended up in a rather greasy mess.  Grilling them, although highly recommended by a reputable cooking magazine, was not successful either.  In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I learned…the secret of the short ribs.

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Apples on Horseback

Apples on Horseback from readytoyumble.com

To continue the epic saga of our efforts to utilize our rosemary plants (normally I hate the word “utilize,” but I needed something overly stylistic after saying “epic saga”), we decided to try this “apples on horseback” appetizer.  I really can’t recommend it enough.

I mean, maybe I could, but only if I went around starting all conversations with, “You guys should REALLY try this appetizer.”  That would probably be excessive.

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Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour from readytoyumble.comWe have a few herbs growing in our backyard. It’s a small yard, and we’re far from green-thumbed, but there’s enough space to give a few plants a shot. This year, we attempted basil, thyme, mint, and rosemary. Everything but the thyme thrived. (Thyme, it seems, is not on our side.) (I went there.) The basil, we used in lemon basil gimlets and a hefty dose of pesto. The mint, muddled into a delicious Kentucky Mule drink. The rosemary? We had to think a minute.

A minute took a month or two. In the meantime it continued to spread it’s wings/branches. It was time to chop. And you know what sounded good? A rosemary maple bourbon cocktail.

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Welcome! Join our Fall Feast.

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

Welcome to Ready to Yumble!

We would like to share our love of cooking (or maybe more accurately, eating) with you, so we plan to use this blog to present you with recipes that pass our rigorous testing standards. You know, is it tasty, I mean REALLY tasty, and stuff… (Does anything else really matter?)

So pull up a chair.  Grab a relaxing adult beverage.  To kick things off, this week we offer you a full fall feast, composed of some of our favorite seasonal recipes:

After that, we hope to roll out a recipe or two every week to keep you entertained and well fed.  Happy eating!  Now… LET’S GET READY TO YUMBLLLLLLLLLE!