Chris H Olsen

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Chris H. Olsen is a nationally known home and garden guru, designer, author, TV personality and public speaker. In his book, Chris shares his landscape and gardening knowledge along with his unique flair for home decor and design. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
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Meal

Braised Shallots and Fall Vegetables with Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
20 large shallots, peeled and separated (about 2 pounds)
6 carrots, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces (about 3/4 pound)
2 1/2 cups quartered mushrooms (about 1/3 pound)
4 large parsnips, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
Red Wine Sauce, divided:

Ingredients

4 cups boiling water
1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced carrot
1 1/2 cups quartered button mushrooms
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 (2-inch) rosemary sprig
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups Merlot or other dry red wine
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
Preparation

Combine boiling water and porcini, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; add the carrot and next 8 ingredients (carrot through rosemary). Cook 30 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomato paste, flour, salt, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in porcini mixture and wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Strain through a colander into a large bowl. Drain well, pressing the vegetable mixture with the back of a spoon to remove as much sauce as possible. Return sauce to pan, discarding the solids. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to 2 1/2 cups (about 5 minutes). Stir in soy sauce and butter.

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Preparation

Heat butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and carrots; sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and parsnips; sauté 10 minutes. Add 1 cup Red Wine Sauce, rosemary, and next 4 ingredients (rosemary through thyme); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Drizzle vegetables with the remaining Red Wine Sauce. Combine parsley and garlic in a small bowl; sprinkle over each serving.

 

Appetizer

Lemon Goat-Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup(s) mayonnaise
1 (10 1/2-ounce) goat-cheese log, crumbled
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon(s) (about 1/2 lemon) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon(s) (about 1/2 lemon) lemon zest
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Pita chips, for serving

Directions:

In a food processor, combine first 6 ingredients, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Serve with pita chips.

Craft

YOU can do this! It's easy - take a close look - that's right! It's simply stacked Terra Cotta clay pots that are painted. Simple and fun!

Drink

December Recipe
Author of the English dictionary, Samuel Johnson, is quoted as saying, "Claret is the drink for boys, port for men, but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy." By that definition, Scandinavian glögg will make us saintly.
Glögg is perfect to enjoy with friends and family around a warm toasty fire. Don't worry however, if you don't have a fireplace, this winter drink will do a great job of warming you right up! Delicious on its own, it's also a great pairing with the traditional holiday dessert, Riskrem, or rice pudding.
Gløgg – Scandinavian Traditional Drink at Christmas (or on any cold occasion)
Makes 6 – 8 servings
1 - 750 ml bottle of full bodied red wine - Grayson Cellars California Cabernet recommended.
1 – 1 1/2 cup ruby port wine – Fonseca Bin 27 recommended
2 cinnamon sticks
4-5 whole cloves
4-5 allspice berries
3-4 star anise pods
3-4 black or green cardamom pods
2 strips orange peel (no pith)
1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Optional
Vodka Tito's Hand Made Vodka recommended
Handful of blanched almonds and raisins
Combine all ingredients except vodka in a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer.  Once simmering turn heat off and let the spices steep in the wine mixture several hours to overnight.   When ready to serve strain and reheat the liquid.  Pour an ounce of vodka (optional) into warmed cups and add a few almonds and raisins. Top off the cups with the hot mulled wine.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Visit the Colonial Tasting Bar at this link

Plants

Poinsettias!

 

The latest Chris H. Olsen news!

November 30th, 2014 - What is Christmas Decor without a Christmas tree? Some Hints

November 24th, 2014 - You can have a very Simplistic Look this Christmas! Video

November 17th, 2014 - Decorate your Mantle with a twist this year! Video

October 23rd, 2014 - Spooky Halloween Decor and Citrus Pumpkins!

October 15th, 2014 - Decorate for the Children at Halloween! - Video

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