Saturday, December 23, 2006
From "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie: China- One Billion Foodies"
Friday, December 15, 2006
Cauliflower is notoriously healthy, and, in my kitchen, inherently bland. I came across this recipe for roasted cauliflower in Cook's Illustrated magazine, and it has a lot of potential - maybe season with curry powder, or sprinkle with parmesaen cheese after it comes out of the oven. Amazingly enough, the cauliflower was crisp and tender, and great dipped in kung pow sauce or ranch dressing (it's probably delicious with any sauce though!).
You will need -
1 Head of cauliflower
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt, ground black pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat over to 475 degrees. Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut stem flush with bottom. Cut head into 8 equal wedges (so florets stay attached to the stem). Place wedges cut side down on foil or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper - rub to evenly distribute seasoning. Flip cauliflower and season other side with remaining oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until bottoms of cauliflower pieces are golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven (this is very imporant...i lost a wedge to gravity and the door when trying to flip the pieces while still in the oven) and using a spatula carefully flip wedges. Return sheet to oven and continue to roast until cauliflower is golden all over, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I am annoyed with my favorite cookbook, "The New Best Recipes" from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. Their recipe for scalloped potatoes claims that 1/8 of an inch is the ideal thickness for the potato slices, but it instructs the reader to use a mandolin or a food processor to cut the slices because "you will not be able to slice them thin enough" with a knife.
"Will not"?! Not even a "will probably not" or a "may not"? How dare a cookbook tell me what I can or cannot do? How does it know how well I can handle a knife?
Outraged, I proceeded to slice 5 lbs of potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices using my trusty Global knife. I totally rocked those potatoes! Take that, cookbook!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
As taken from the Food NEtwork:
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Everyday Italian
Episode: Italian Thanskgiving
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.
Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.
6 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh-squozen lime juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup triple sec
3/4 cup tequila
More sugar and cranberry juice
Whirl everything in a blender until smooth. To serve, dip rims of margarita glasses in cranberry juice, then in sugar. Garnish with lime slices and a couple of whole cranberries.
Trader Joe's shoppers, take note: TJ's sells bottled cranberry juice, but it is unsweetened, so I do not recommend it for this recipe. Use OceanSpray or a grocery-store brand of sweetened cran juice.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
100 kilograms tomatoes
1000 kilograms potatoes
2 bags onions
100 kilograms salt
1 wheelbarrow onions (heaped)
10 liters vinegar
20 liters chutney
Hunt the elephant, warthog and guineafowl. Hang guineafowl to ripen. Cut elephant into edible chunks (will take about a month). Boil the warthog with other ingredients (except guineafowl) till nice and juicy. Now boil elephant chunks over high flames till tender (will take about 4 weeks) and add everything together. Boil for another 5 to 7 days.
Produces about 3,500 helpings.
Note: If the above isn't enough, add the guineafowl as well.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
3/4 oz fresh yeast, or 1 and a half packets active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 and a half cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil (the good stuff if you have it)
4 cloves garlic, sliced in half, then half lenghwise again
chopped fresh rosemary
drained, sliced green olives (any variety you like will work)
To prepare the yeast:
This is not as daunting as it might sound. Place the yeast in a small bowl. Add the sugar and half the lukewarm water and stir carefully until the yeast has dissolved. Set bowl aside for 10-15 minutes, a foam will form on the surface. Stir the yeast again before proceeding to make the dough.
Combine both flours in a large bowl with the salt. Make a hollow in the flour and pour in 3 tablespoons oil, the yeast, and the remaining water. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture, until the flour has almost all been absorbed. *Note* Whatever brand whole-wheat flour I am using, seems to have super-absorbtion abilities, and I needed to add extra water, a little at a time, to get most of the dry ingredients incorporated.
Cover with a dish-towel, and let rise for 1 and a half hours. The bowl I chose wasn't quite big enough, and it started to overflow.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 2-3 minutes, adding any chopped herbs you'd like.
Place the dough on an oiled baking sheet, and using your hands, spread it into whatever shape strikes your fancy. At first, this might seem futile, as the dough tends to want to pull back into a small ball, rather than stretch to my whim. Keep working - it will eventually obey you.
Garnish with anything - I scattered the sliced garlic and olives across the top, and then pressed them in. Sprinkled with some rosemary drizzled with the remaining oil, and it's ready to go into the overn, pre-heated to 400 degrees. Other topping variations include sea salt, sliced green chilies, thinly sliced Fontina cheese, chopped sage, basil etc., sliced red onions, and tomatoes. Bake for about 25 minutes, until top is slightly golden brown.
This is a very hearty focaccia, and seems better sliced open for a sandwich, or dipped into sauce, than on it's own. It toasts beautifully, though some of my toppings were more inclined to fall off the top. Next time, I will be mixing the garlic into the dough, so it's flavor is more pronounced.
Monday, October 30, 2006
So I had to go to a potluck on Saturday. I was also house-sitting and was crunched for time. My friend suggested her recipe of TaterTot Casserole, she said she had the ingredients and said I could cook it there. Problem solved! Everyone loved it, except the veggetarians who didn't eat it.
Rebecca's TaterTot Casserole
1 lb ground beef
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 bag of frozen tatertots
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes to taste.
Preheat oven 400 degrees.
Cook the beef. Season it until you're happy. Put in the bottom of a pyrex bowl, or casserole dish. Mix in the can of cream of chicken soup and some shredded cheese. Cover with TaterTots until you're satisfied that it's successfully totted. Cover tots with cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Enjoy......... it's good.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Quick Steak Ranchero.
1 can Campbells Ranchero Soup
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 small white onion diced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
1 lb sirloin tips
Mix all above and simmer over low heat till the meat is tender. Spoon the meat into flour tortilla shells, add whatever you like, wrap, and top with sauce. I like mine with just a little more sour cream, some shredded 4 cheese blend. It goes great with refried beans. I dont know about prices nationwide, but $10 will get you everything on the list plus beans, rice, etc here. It actually makes enough sauce for 2 lbs of tips if you want to have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Or if you like really thin ranchero sauce you can add milk to the sauce to thin it out and it changes the taste a bit too.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Parmigiana di Melanzane
1 box frozen breaded eggplant
1 large can marinara sauce
1 tube cooked polenta, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 1-lb. carton marinated fresh mozzarella cheese
A handful of grated Parmesan cheese
Fry the eggplant and polenta slices in olive oil until lightly browned. In a 9"x13" pan, layer the eggplant slices, half the mozzarella cheese, half the marinara sauce, the polenta slices, the other half of mozzarella cheese, the other half of the sauce. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Pour that mixture over the eggplant assembly. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Toast two slices dark, hearty bread. Mash up leftover salmon with mayo and pepper, spread on one slice of bread. A dollop of mayo smeared on the other slice of bread, then layer roasted veggies. Add fresh herbage as you like (I went for garlic chives) and eat furtively so that no one else can ask for a bite. This is not a meal I ever want to share. :p
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Packet of Saffron Rice
can of RoTel
Can of Tomato soup (condensed)
Frozen TJ's chicken
Can of kidney beans
Here is what I did:
Put rice in rice cooker.
Dump RoTel, about 1/2 the condensed soup, chicken and spices in a pot. Boiled on medium until rice was done. Added kidney beans (rinsed) to chicken pot, then dumped the rice in, too. Mixed and served.
I think its good. SPICY AS CRAP! But good.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
One example for me: my Rice Cooker. My rice cooker is the single most used appliance in my kitchen. However, it has an annoying habit of spitting rice water ALL OVER the kitchen through the little vent hole. The solution? See for yourself.
Yes, thats the top to a cocktail shaker.
What are your genius riggings? (Lulette's Peg Leg Barbie was pretty good)
Friday, May 26, 2006
So let's say every last dish you own is dirty in the sink, and you're not in the mood. But you're dying for a warm, comforting, nutritious meal.
Put some water on to boil (tea pot works just fine), take the last bowl out of the cupboard. Rinse and rip to bite-size pieces some baby bok choy, or other leafy greens (chard, spinach, anything in the family of foliage that is good cooked). Put greens in bottom of bowl, cover in boiling water. Stir with chopsticks for a minute or two. Pour in packet of miso soup, stir, enjoy.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
1. Plenty of sexy power tools and trusty hand tools.
2. A blonde's obliviousness to obstacles.
So, what did I have?
Green leaves: check! (spinach)
Nuts: check! (chopped walnuts)
Cheese: check! (some hard italian cheese that resembles parmesean)
HA! It's ON! The Cheese was in a huge chunk, and because I'm lazy and resourceful and have sexy power tools, I just threw the whole lump into the mini-prep. I was on the phone with Laurel. She described the sounds "like you are mini-prepping your cat!" I told her I would call her back when the shrieking subsided.
So the lump finally broke down into smaller pieces, and I added garlic, spinach and EVOO. See the layers? Like an Ogre. Or Parfait.
Then I dumped on the nuts, and WHIIIIRRR!!!! UNPESTO! Pairs well with Gorgonzola Walnut Tortellini from Trader Joes. I also added some cooked chicken I had laying around.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
This month it made my day to find a recipe for Fingerling Potatoes with Oyster Mushrooms - I'd just been to Farmer's market and bought a pound of wee little potatoes, and the asian market down the street is a weekly stop for mushrooms and miso.
This recipe was easy, simple, and I imagine it would go well with just about any slab o' animal and veggies. I rounded out this particular meal with chicken cooked in a soy sauce/balsamic vinegar/garlic/cinnamon/sugar mix (ala Joy of Cooking) and some broccoli cooked in olive oil and garlic.
Fingerling Potatoes with Oyster Mushrooms
(makes 6 servings)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds small yellow fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise (i left the smallest ones intact)
4 tablespoons minced shallots, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 pound large fresh oyster mushrooms, torn into inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon chopped italian parsley
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450F. Brush 2 large rimmed baking sheets with 1 tablespoon olive oil each. Place potatoes on 1 prepared sheet, drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over and toss to coat. Spread potatoes in single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place potatoes on top rack of oven and roast 10 minutes. Sprinkle half of the garlic and shallots over. Transfer potatoes to bottom rack of oven and continue to roast until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, toss mushrooms on second prepared baking sheet with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining garlic and shallots. Spread in single layer and roast mushrooms on top rack of oven until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms to potatoes, stir to combine. Add parsley to potato-mushroom mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
1 lb Filo (phyllo) dough. Found in the freezer section of the grocery store.
a LOT of butter. I have used anywhere between 2-4 sticks. (.5-1 lb)
Nuts. I prefer walnuts, D prefers almonds. I like the bitterness of the walnuts. So I say walnuts.
1 C sugar
1/2 C honey
If you remember ahead of time, pull the Filo out of the freezer and put it in the fridge a day or two before you make it. Filo dough will stay good for about 4 weeks in the fridge, and indefinitely in the freezer. If you DON'T remember, let it thaw for a couple hours on the counter.
Butter the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Melt a couple sticks of butter. In a chopper, blend the nuts (I use about 6-8 oz.) with cinnamon (uh...I just dump some in). Place nearby. GENTLY lift two sheets of the Filo and place it in the bottom of the pan. For the first few layers at the bottom, you may need to trim the ends off, it will be too long. Just use a sharp knife. Using a paintbrush-looking thing, butter the top of the Filo dough. Place 2 more sheets, butter and repeat.
When you are about 8 sheets deep (sheets. that mean about 4 rotations of layer and butter), dump a couple of tablespoons of the nut mixture onto the Filo. Spread it around so its evenly covering the Filo, then go back to the dough and the butter routine. I usually end up doing about 8 sheets, nuts, 8 sheets, nuts, 8 sheets, nuts and then 6-8 more sheets. Make sure you THUROUGHLY butter the top layer.
Now comes the hardest part of the whole adventure...cutting the baklava into square or diamonds. I guess the easiest way to do it is to cut about 4 sections lengthwise, and then diagonally across from there. It's a giant pain in the butt, and I have yet to find a way to do it that is any easier or faster than what I've done before. So, good luck with that.
After you have managed to cut that thing into a couple dozen pieces, put it in a 350* oven for 40-50 minutes. I find its usually done at 40. 25 minutes before the Baklava is going to come out of the oven, mix 1C sugar into 1C water on the stove. When the mix starts to boil, add the honey and a splash of vanilla. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes, until the baklava comes out the oven.
Now this is my favorite part!!! When the Baklava comes out of the oven, immediately pour the water/sugar/honey mix over the baklava. It bubble! It steams! It makes neat sounds! I love it!
Let the baklava cool a bit. If you are eating it at home, just get pieces from the pan. If you are taking it to a potluck or something, its far easier to put the pieces into those paper muffin cups. When storing baklava don't store it in an airtight container, or the fridge. The fridge makes it hard, and the airtight makes it soggy. Enjoy the baklava and the compliments!!
Friday, May 19, 2006
Grandpa failed to see the charm of Buccaneer Barbie with its squeegee pegleg, so he bought us a brand new CharBroil. Some assembly required, and then it rained. I was too lazy to go to the store for dinner, so instead of a fabulous steak barbeque, the menu tonight consisted of beans and lettuce. There's always tomorrow, Mr. CharBroil!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
1 yellow onion
5 Italian sausages - basil and garlic- from Trader Joe's
fresh whole wheat pasta (or use any kind of pasta you like)
1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella (probably like fist sized ones)
1 jar of trader joe's basil and garlic marinara sauce - or really any kind you like
1/2 cube of butter
loaf of whole wheat bread
Turn the oven on 350 to preheat. Turn your frying pan on med heat and heat up. Drop a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. When the pan is warm toss in the sausage. Cook until brown on all sides and no longer pink in the middle. Probably like 10-15 minutes. While the sausages are cooking get to prepping for the rest of the sauce.
Pull off about 15 basil leaves from stems and wash them, and set aside.
slice your remainder tomatoes for the caprese salad. I turn my tomatoes on the side and slice them width-wise or whatever you call it - into pretty good size slices. Put them on a plate.
slice the mozzarella balls into thick circles as well and place on top of the tomato slices
place 1-2 basil leaves on each tomato-mozzarella stack. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper lightly
Place in fridge to chill
slice the bread - or if its already sliced, put it on a cookie sheet and set aside.
get a small sauce pan and put the 1/2 cube of butter in it on low low heat. We will add garlic to this and cook for a while and eventually put on the bread for it's garlic sauce
Okay dice three cloves of garlic (half for the garlic bread and half for the sauce)
dice half of one yellow onion -
dice one tomato for the sauce
Dice a handful of washed basil
set aside. If you want you can put the garlic and onion in one bowl and the tomato, zucchini and basil in another
When the sausage is almost done put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Obviously depending on what kind of pasta you used depends on how long it will take to cook. Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes.
Check your melty butter. If its melted - add the remainder of your set aside garlic and let that cook on low for a while. The house should start smelling good. Open up a bottle of wine and pour yourself a cup. Enjoy.
When the sausage is finished remove it from the pan but leave the drippings Take the sausage and Chunk it. I mean, slice it into thick chunks--, add the garlic and onions to the sausage drippings and brown - return the sausage to the pan, add zucchini, tomato and sauce and then simmer
Check your melted garlic butter sauce. If the garlic smells good and has had a chance to cook for a while, spoon it over your bread and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes.
When the sauce has simmered and the zucchini has cooked so its tender, and your pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Turn your oven on broil for about a minute to get that garlic bread crispy- but watch that it doesn't burn.
Serve pasta, take out that caprese salad, give everyone some garlic bread and pour yourself another glass of wine.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Take chicken breast or strips, slice into small strips about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. Pour just enough olive oil into a skillet to coat the bottom and put the chicken in to simmer in the olive oil on med heat. Turn over the chicken and right before it's done pull the peices out of the skillet and dip into some bread crumbs with your favorite italian spices to bread it and put it back in to get the breading crispy (if you're like me don't worry if you can't get the breading to stick, it'll taste good anyway). After the breading is done, remove the chicken pour off any remaining olive oil. Put the chicken back in the skillet and pour in just enough red sauce to cover the chicken about 1/2 way and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add in some shredded mozzerrela cheese, feta too if you have any. While the chicken/sauce is simmering prepare some noodles, I usually use alfredo noodles or else thin spaghetti (wheat is good), drain it and put it into a 10x10 casarole dish, add a layer of shredded cheese, a layer of red sauce, another layer of cheese, then the chicken and red sauce. Sprinkle more of the breading mixture over the chicken, add a little more cheese on top and pop in the oven somewhere between 350-375 for 15 minutes or so. Goes great with breadsticks and a bottle of Riuninit Lambrusco
If you're picking up everything to make it for 2, the wine and everything should be less than $25 and you'll have enough chicken, redsauce, cheese, etc to make another meal of something else later. Labrusco is one of my favorite cheap dark wines, I keep a bottle just to sip on as it's sweet and dark oh yeah, and cheap :P
Speaking of wines, check out the hated walmart super center. They're carrying 2 brands of wine from NC, Biltmore Estates and a brand called Hattaras Vineyards or something like that. Both a nice wines, try a bottle you'll like them.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
1. Torta Chilena-this is layers of the flaky pastry stuff with caramel between the layers.
2. Lucrecia-a crouissant filled with jalapeño, toasted cheese, ground beef, and onions.
3. Enchilada-also a crouissant filled with potatos, something spicy, and ground beef.
4. Pudding-not real pudding, but it's got the texture of pudding and is really good.
5. Tres Leches-the best thing in the history of the world. It is a normal cakes soaked in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and regular milk. Hence the name, Tres Leches.
That's it. There are tons more but these are the ones to look for.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
I remember this soup from childhood, and my mother used to make it with rice instead of orzo. Quick, easy, simple comfort food.
7 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup orzo pasta
juice of one large lemon
salt and ground black pepper
Pour the stock into a large pan and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes.
Beat the eggs until frothy, then add the lemon juice and a tablespoon of cold water. Slowly stir in a ladleful of the hot chicken stock, then add one or two more. Return this mixture to the pan, off the heat, and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. (Do not let the soup boil once the eggs have been added or it will curdle. Leftovers, if you have any, will keep for a few days). Slice of toast, or maybe garnish some fresh chopped herbs - this soup is as good in summer as it is in winter.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
02:00 AM Mar, 01, 2006 EST
Last week, we took a look at the wonderful ways in which technology has improved our food without making it healthier or better tasting. This week, we're doing more of the same, starting with a product that will delight people who wish their toaster waffles more closely resembled plastic toys.
It's an obvious idea in retrospect. Not a great idea, but an obvious one: Combine Eggo waffles with Lego-brand-building toys that will cause people to send you annoying mail if you call them Legos. Each waffle is scored into six pieces, each of which is shaped vaguely like a Lego brick. The box suggests you "toast, break and build!" But each waffle is a highly processed rectangle of pure disappointment. The top of each "brick" has eight studs that look, honestly, like meerkat nipples. The bottom has three holes. Just three. You can't build. You can just kind of stack. Heap, really. It's so depressing. I'm going back to bed.
Downside: Will make you sad for the rest of your life.
Hidden Key Lucky Charms
The "hidden key" here refers to certain specially endowed marshmallows. Before you pour milk on them, these marshmallows have vaguely key-shaped dents in them. After you pour milk on them, they have vaguely key-shaped holes in them. Astonishing! Technically speaking, though, it's not really a hidden key, it's a hidden inverse key. Presumably you use the marshmallow as a mold. Pour some molten steel in there, let it cool, and you have an actual tiny key. Which you then use to, I dunno, go through Lucky the Leprechaun's porn drawer or something.
Downside: Clearly, magic like this can only be the result of a pact with Satan.
Scooby-Doo Tattoos Fruit Roll-Rups
The "Rups" is because it's Scooby-Doo, and, you know, Scooby-Doo puts "r" at the beginning of his words. And they let him design the box. Or something. Anyhow, I have at this moment a vaguely rectangular blob of blue on my tongue. It was supposed to be a picture of a bone saying "Rooby Rocks," but it turns out that bumpy, slimy surfaces are not the best place to transfer sharp, intricate images. Maybe I did it wrong, but this blue crap doesn't come off easy and I only have so much tongue. I'd be disappointed, but you know, I didn't really want a cartoon dog bone slogan in my mouth today.
Downside: Pretty much all downside. Hard to find an upside, really.
Easy Writer Food Decorators
Everyone likes cupcakes and cakes with interesting decorations in the frosting! If you don't, then everyone but you likes them. The problem with traditional frosting decoration is that it requires you to clench a little tube, which everyone hates. OK, everyone but you. Well, clench no more! These are like little brush-pens full of food coloring. With a little patience, you can draw the design of your choice on the cupcake of your choice, provided said cupcake has white frosting. They actually work pretty nicely. They don't make the food taste bad, or different for that matter. Finally, a food product that doesn't disappoint. Good going, Ms. Crocker!
Downside: Do you really want to draw carefully on two dozen cupcakes?
Why is it that people don't eat more prunes? Is it that they taste kind of musty-sweet gross? Is it that they have the texture of a buttered slug? No, no, no. No! It's because you don't have to work hard enough to eat them. When you're able to reach into a sack of prunes and just pull one out, you don't appreciate the treasure lying flaccid in your palm. That's why these prunes are individually wrapped. Once you've experienced the labor involved in unwrapping every single prune you eat, you'll treasure every syrupy, mucilaginous bite.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
For the Chapatis you'll need...
2 cups chapati flour or ground whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of water
Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and gradually stir in the water, mixing well with your fingers. Form a supple dough and knead for 7-10 minutes. Ideally, coverwith clear film and leave on one side for 15-20 minutes to rest.
Divide the dough into 8-10 equal parts. Roll out each portion in circle on a well-floured surface.
Place a heavy frying pan over high heat. When steam rises from it, lower the heat to medium and add the first chapati to the pan.
When the chapati begins to bubble turn it over. Press down with a clean dish towel or a flat spoon (I used a spatula) and turn once again. You might need to experiment a bit to get your bubbles to the desired golden brown.
Remove the cooked chapati from the pan and keep warm (piled up between two plates works, or foil and parchment paper) while you finish the rest.
For the hummus, you'll need...
3/4 cup dried chickpeas or two 14 ounce cans, well drained
juice of two lemons
2 (or more, to taste) garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
2/3 cup tahini paste
salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
extra olive oil and cayenne pepper for garnish
I've also included rosemary in my batch, though most fresh herbs would work. Parsley is a common seasoning and garnish as well.
If using dried chickpeas, put in a bowl with plenty of cold water and soak overnight. Drain and cover with fresh water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour until soft. Drain.
If you're using canned chickpeas, skip all that. Drain and process the chickpeas in a food processor to a smooth puree. Add the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cayenne pepper and tahini and blend until creamy, scraping the mixture down from the sides of the bowl.
Season the puree with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with olive oil and cayenne pepper. Grab pile of warm chapatis and devour!
Friday, February 10, 2006
"Thanks to 'The Gourmet Cookbook,' my mother herself was in the kitchen, whipping up Chinese eggrolls from scratch...The recipe doesn't begin to convey how stressful and time-consuming an endeavor it is to make eggrolls, nor does it begin to suggest how much tension a person can create in a household by serving eggrolls that take hours to make and are not nearly as good as Chinese takeout."
There are a few other good articles in this issue, too, on subjects other than food and cooking. I highly recommend it. Get some of that good Chinese takeout and read a magazine tonight instead of cooking dinner!
That is exactly what I should have done tonight. Instead, I got ambitious and decided to try something new: Let's have grilled swordfish! I wanted to celebrate the sunny, 75-degree dead of winter here in California. The swordfish was awful. I don't know if it had gone bad, or if it was just bad-tasting fish, but the minute I tasted it I lost my appetite and didn't eat anything for dinner. Best to stick with the tried and true: grilled salmon, or better yet, raw hamburger.
If the swordfish wasn't bad enough, I made a dessert that flopped, too. It was cherry cobbler from a mix. You'd think it would be hard to blow it with a mix, but I did a good job of it. It looked fine coming out of the oven, nice and brown on top, but the biscuit topping was runny underneath. I remembered that's why I never make cobbler because that always happens. Stick with the tried and true: ice cream.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
1. whole wheat pitas. They are good for everything. I use them for sandwhiches, I eat them with hummus, I make them into mini pizzas. They form the basis of my breakfast wrap. They taste good with melted cheese. They are great.
2. Pastry wrapped Brie. This is what I eat when I want to have a hurting stomach the next day. Note - I am lactose intolerant but trying to convince myself that I am not. I love brie. I love baked brie wrapped in pastry dough. It's in the cheese section. It's heaven.
3. Frozen - precooked brown rice. It's in a box, in the frozen section, it comes with three packages of rice each serving 2 people. It takes three minutes to cook in the microwave. PERFECT rice every time. Note my rice problems in past posts.
4. Pirate's Booty. Reminds me of the cheese puff I used to eat as a kid, but healthier and franky, anything with the word Pirate and Booty in the title is good for me.
5. Just Chicken and Just Salmon. It's amazing, it's cheap, it's pre-cooked and ready to eat. I use the chicken and put it in a toasted pita in the morning with some melted chedder. The chicken is also good in sandwhiches or salads. I need quick protein fixes in a big way so it helps out. I haven't tried the salmon yet but i bought it and am looking forward to it.
It's been a while and I forgot about this post. I tried the Salmon, it scared me, but I wasn't sure how long it was good for.
I love everything at TJs
I didn't have a lot to go with the chicken so I tossed in about 6 ice cubes that were made of lemon juice (they were in the freezer). I then COVERED the chicken breasts with lemon pepper and some salt. I let cook. Eventually the lemon ice cubes melted, and then I added some water. I cooked the chicken covered. I looked in the freezer again and saw some frozen pineapple pieces. I tossed those in. Everything cooked down. Chicken was finished. I put the frozen TJs rice in the microwave for three minutes and ate it.
My eyes watered and my mouth burned. I totally over lemoned and over peppered that damn chicken. It was a classic case of SPICE OVERLOAD. What a shame.
What should I have done differently? (obviously used LESS.....)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
It's been one of those weeks. By Tuesday night, therapy is needed. Brownies (from a box) and a couple glasses of 2002 Shiraz. Yes, I bought it for the label, which gives no information about the product in the bottle but insists that emus are, indeed, insane. Not great (bargain buy at the supermarket), but it'll do the trick, and I still won't do the dishes.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
2 Cans Whole Kernal Corn (2 cups if you're using frozen corn)
1 large red bell pepper, cut, de-seeded and diced into small cubes
1 large can evaporated milk
3 tblspoons butter or margarine
2-3 medium sized potatos
Lots of fresh milk (just add till it gets as thin as you like your chowder)
Salt & Pepper to taste. If you have a spice rack a tiny bit of crushed oregeno seems to go well with it, but like always when using oregeno I think it only gives food something green sprinked in. :P
Serves ??? Who knows, it makes an easy 6 large bowls of chowder, should freeze well too. If you're serving more just add in an extra can of corn and another potato, tblspoon of butter, and more milk for every 3 people.
Now for the easy to make..
Take a large pot, fill 1/2 way with water set on stove and bring to boil. While the water is boiling, peel, wash and cut the potatos into small cubes, as well as the pepper. Add potato to boiling water and boil 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat, pour off most of the water slowly trying to save as much of the starchy water as possible. Return pot to stove, add corn (drain water from can 1st), diced pepper, evaporated milk and 2 cups of fresh milk and return the mixture to a slow simmering boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes adding more milk to thin to whatever consistancy you like (less milk = thicker chowder, more milk = thinner soup, as well as salt & pepper. I go easy on the salt and use enough black pepper to give it a somewhat hotter taste.
If you're living alone, or a couple.. you can scale this down using a 1/2 can of evaporated milk, 1 can or cup of corn, 1 large potato, about a 1/3 of a bell pepper diced, 1 tblspoon butter and start off with 1 can of fresh milk. Prepare as above. That should make 2-3 large bowls of soup.
Serve with a toasted sandwhich.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
This recipe comes from Mark Bittman of the New York Times. He says that nudi is the Italian name for pasta stuffing that is served outside of the pasta because the cook got lazy when it came time to stuff.
1/2 pound each veal and pork, or other ground meats
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced onion
Salt and pepper
1 pound fresh or dried pasta
4 Tb butter
20 sage leaves (if you have only 19, forget it)
In a bowl, combine meat with egg, cheese, parsley, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into balls 1/2-inch in diameter. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Cook meatballs in water for 5 minutes; remove with slotted spoon and keep warm. Cook pasta in the same water until tender.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot cook butter and sage together until butter is light brown, about 5 minutes.
Before draining pasta, reserve a bit of its cooking water. Drain pasta, toss with butter-sage mixture and enough reserved water to make it saucy. Top with meatballs and serve with Parmesan.
1-2 pound live lobster
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup mayo
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
2 high-quality hot dog buns (straight sided)
chopped fresh chives
Plunge lobster into large pot of boiling water; cover and cook for 9 minutes. I had two smaller lobsters, both fit just fine in the pot after being inspected by the very concerned cats. Using tongs, transfer lobster to large bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Twist tail and claws from lobster body; discard body. Crack claws, remove meat, pull apart and remove cartilage. Using kitchen shears, cut tail in half lengthwise, remove meat. Cut claw and tail meat into 3/4 inch pieces, transfer to medium bowl.
Add chopped celery (neither B. or I like celery, so I substituted green onions), mayonnaise, and lemon juice to lobster and mix until blended. Now, I got the measurement for lemon juice and butter mixed up. After draining off a bit of the excess once I realized my mistake, I added a touch extra mayo to compensate. Surprisingly (or not) the more lemony flavor was just fine, especially with the green onions. (this part can be prepared 4 hours ahead. cover and refrigerate)
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add buns and cook until golden brown on all sides, turning often, about 5 minutes. (this is KEY...it made the meal truly decadent). Cut lengthwise slit in top center of each bun, pry open. Divide lobster mixture between buns, sprinkle with chives and serve.
(devour, no pause for pictures...sorry...too good!)
Thank you Allison, for the suggestion.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Lo and behold, pesto something-or-other salmon. The biggest thing in its favor--ease of preparation. I washed and dried my salmon (ok, why?). I brushed it with a little EVOO, salt and pepper, and broiled it for about 7 minutes 4 inches from the heat source (4-6 min per half inch fillet [julia child pronounces it Fill-Ett]), or until it flaked easily with a fork.
While its doing that, mix together some pesto and mayonnaise in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs and parmesean cheese.
Pull the salmon out of the oven, dump the pesto on top, and the bread crumbs on top of that. Broil for another 1-2 minutes, and eat it. If you feel like it, make a side dish. I dumped spring greens and Soy Vay Cha-Cha Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing together on the side.
Good, easy, fast.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Each course was better than the next. The first course: macaroni noodles with parmeseano reggano, aged cheddar, truffle oil and shaved truffle. It was creamy and delicious and had a nice bite to it. I inhaled it.
The second course: Sashimi grade tuna, cooked rare, with green beans, asparagus and sweet potato. Ohhhh....so good.....It melted in my mouth. Phenomenal. Gone in minutes.
Dessert: A small apple pie on phyllo dough, with a dallop of amazing, clo-like vanilla ice cream. The pastery was flakey and delicious, the apples were done perfectly, and it was excellent ice cream. I chowed down.
It was an amazing meal, and coupled with a good bottle of one, and for one flat price it couldn't be beat. I look forward to future restuarant weeks in downtown.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I love German food. This is because I lived there, and I grew accoustom to it. None the less whilst shopping at Cost Plus World Market for napkin rings, I stumbled upon a box of Spaetzle. I love Spaetzle. I cooked it and then once the noodles were cooked I fried them in butter and added them to sauteed veggies (zuchinni, carrots onions and green beans) and some ground turkey. This is what I ate for dinner last night. HMmm good. Tonight -- I had left overs so I decided to toast a whole wheat pita. I smothered the inside with hummus, added some cheddar cheese and heated up the mixture from last night. I ate two half pita sandwhiches. IT WAS GOOD.
I need to look up my own spaetzle recipe though because in the end - it wasn't.... I mean. It was OK - but it wasn't that great. I'll have to make it from scratch though.
Preheat oven to 400.
Put 2 TBS butter into a cast iron skillet, or other oven going pan (OGP). Put the pan in the oven. While the butter is melting (3-5 minutes) whisk together 3 eggs. Add 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 cup flour and some salt. Beat together. Immediately pour into OGP, and stick back in the oven for 20-25 minutes until well done.
While the Dutch baby is cooking, prepare some sort of fruit. I had a bunch of pears, so I sliced those up, drizzled a little honey on them and mixed them with a little bit of raspberry preserves. I heated the whole thing up in a skillet, and just as the dutch baby came out of the oven, I dumped the fruit on top. Serve with something cold and white. The recipe recommends whipped cream, all I had was vanilla yogurt.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Sadly, due to a wee forgetfulness on my part (i.e. totally forgetting they were in the oven when I turned on the broiler), they are no longer.
I make the onions small, like so: and in a pan, I made zem brown with zee butter and zee olive oil (dirty italians). After zey have been made brown, I add garleek and thyme and sugar. Well. Zee recipe calls for sugar, I had le honey.
So, ok, le onions are le browning, and zee recipe calls for beef stock. I do not have le beef stock. Zen I remember! Sacreblue! I have zee leftover gobblestock from zee...what do you call... le Thanksgiving. Frozen. In le freezer. Le Crap.
So I dump le frozen block of gobblejuice into le big pot, and turn on le burner in hopes that it returns to its liquid state before le onions burn. Zen I remember I need to add some fleur to le onions. Can't find le fleur. Add le Semolina. Same thing. Heehee.
Eventually I get all le pieces together and WALA! LE FRENCH ONION SOUP! (except instead of le french bread, I use le sourdough. And zee only fromage that I have is le parmesean.)
MWA! Bon Apetit!
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
1. Everyone on the list of posters has been eating out every meal since January 4th (I know I have - just ask me what I had for lunch today)
2. Everyone is dead.
I know 2 isn't true.............
So I will entertain you with Stupid Recipes that I have located on the Internets:
take a piece of butter and stick it in the oven at 50 degrees celcius and enjoy,
3 tea bags with strings
In light of today's diet awareness, we present this handy recipe, which,
though not earthshaking, provides a refreshing thing to reach for when
checking to see if the refrigerator light still operates.
Take a glass half-gallon bottle, like what apple juice comes in at the market.
Fill the bottle with hot tap water. (Don't get fussy and boil it or anything.)
Take three tea bags of anything, twist the strings together, push the bags into
the bottle, and screw the lid on so the strings stick out. (Don't let the tea bag
companies give you that bugle juice about ten tea bags per gallon. You
yourself may one day have children to put through college as they apparently
do.) Place the jar on the counter for about fifteen minutes, then take the tea
bags out. When the jar is cool enough so it doesn't melt the plastic shelf in
your refrigerator, put the jar in the frig.
You can make this tea with cold water and just put it in the frig, and this
works, but with hot water you can watch the tea leach out of the bags, form
little tea tendrils, drift down and form a gradient at the bottom of the bottle.
(If you often spend time observing such things, you should probably either get
a hobby or become a government worker.)
And this is not actually a recipe - but hysterical -
"The moral of the story is don’t get married when you’re 15 and strippers named Bobbi don’t know a damned thing about making fried chicken." as taken from a blog called Kat's Kitchen
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
If you have a mixer, put 1.5 cups semolina flour into the mixer. On top, add 2 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp olive oil. If you are doing this by hand, make a mountain out of the flour, and put the mixture in the middle, like a volcano, and beat in the flour a bit at a time with a fork.
Once you have an elastic ball that doesn't stick to anything but itself, let it rest in a plastic bag for about 20 minutes.
Now, if you don't have a super sexy pasta machine, just roll out the dough to desired thickness and cut with a knife into whatever shapes.
If you DO have a super sexy pasta machine, roll the pasta, SUCKAS!!
And if you don't have a pasta drying rack, use what's on hand!