Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I think this recipe from Martha Stewart will be a nice addition to pickling (and way easier).

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for filling jars
  • 6 whole dried red chiles
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for jars, rinsed and dried
  • 2 cups Cerignola olives
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and 2 sprigs rosemary; heat until fragrant. Toss with olives and vinegar. Let cool. Transfer to jars. Add a few fresh sprigs rosemary. Fill jars with remaining oil. Refrigerate immediately for at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks.


Last night for the First Official Roommate Dinner I tried to combine a healthy "South Beach" version of chicken stroganoff, with beef stroganoff, which I thought McRoomie would like better.
It was kind of meh so I'm going to have to work on this.

Beef Stroganoff
1 lb or so of beef loin, thinly sliced (I freeze it for an hour or so to get it firm enough to slice easily)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups of sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup beef broth
1/4 French red wine
1 1/2 cups lowfat sour cream
salt and pepper
olive oil
whole wheat pappardelle pasta

Put the pasta water on to boil and chop your veggies and meat. Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta but don't forget about it or it will get gummy.
Put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium high. Add garlic and onions and cook for a minute or two until fragrant and soft. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, broth and wine. It should be noted that while I liked the flavors I got from the broth and the wine, my sauce was a bit thin for my liking, so I might cut back. In fact, I might just use a tsp or so of the concentrated beef broth that comes in the little one cup packets from Trader Joe's, instead of mixing it with water as the directions on the package state. That way I'll get the meaty flavor, with a bit less liquid. The mushrooms added a ton of their own, so I think this would work well.
Lay strips of beef on top of mushrooms and cook for a minute or so, flipping and stirring as necessary to cook the meat.
Stir in the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, stir to coat, serve, and ruminate over what you'll do differently next time. Consider sticking to the super yummy South Beach Swedish Meatball recipe from here on out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beef Stew

While couch potato-ing just the day before Thanksgiving, I watched Giada Di Laurentis make the most amazing looking beef stew. The bonus? It called for the fresh herbs I just happened to need for the turkey that Ina Garten inspired me to make.
A quick trip to Trader Joe's gave me a big ol' bag of ready to go, cubed stew meat; ready to go, cubed butternut squash, and I was in business.
I read other users' comments too late, but now I know for next time. And the time after that. And the time after that as well. Because this stew was AWESOME and easy and I am totally making it again. It serves 4-5 (five only if you're having a big salad or some starters first, and your company is really polite and refrains from going back for more).
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (or if you're lucky it's ready to go for you; several other users swear by using boneless ribs)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Marsala wine; red wine; or sherry - I used Dry Sack and it was awesome, and another user said she used plain old red wine and it was still amazing
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 cups beef broth - I used the little packs that TJ's sells and they're delish. Best part? No more wasting half a carton; each little pack makes one cup!
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley - I skipped this, but to each their own
Crusty bread - sourdough, obviously, for serving
optional ingredients:
roux - have it on hand since you will probably need it; I made mine with flour, but cornstarch is probably quicker
tomato paste can also be used to intesify the tomato flavor and to thicken

In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour (I shake and bake those punks in a plastic bag). Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine (or whatever you're using). Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef, I used 3 cups. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. 30-40 minutes in, add the squash. Giada says to add it in the beginning, but it will probably turn to mush if you do. If you wait until later, the cubes will maintain their cubeyness. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley if you're into that sort of thing. Serve with copious amounts of sourdough.

My stew was certainly ready within the hour, but depending on your cut of meat, it may take longer so keep an eye on things and poke around when you think it's done. I'm probably going to add mushrooms next time. Booyah!

This is easy to prepare, fast (for a stew), hearty and will make your house smell amazing. Quinn arrived well into the cooking process and said he could smell it as he came up the stairs and had his fingers crossed that it was coming from my apartment. Silly boy, there are always delicious smells coming from my apartment.

Unless it's cauliflower night. : /


Tried it again with some delicious wine Andrea brought over. I also didn't have the fresh herbs I needed so I used an Italian herb blend. I tossed the beef with whole wheat flour rather than AP flour. I waited until the last 20 minutes to add the squash and that worked out much better. I did not need any roux to thicken this batch. It was amazing, yet again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grandma's Favorites

Once upon a time, I was sitting with my grandmother watching television, and this commercial came on. You know the ones, sponsored by some big food manufacturing conglomerate that owns thirty brands and they're showing you how to use all their brands to make a "quick and easy" treat or some such hoo ha.
This particular one featured Cool Whip and Jell-O pudding so it must've been Kraft. In any case, we both kind of went, "mmm, that looks good." So for Grandma's birthday Quinn and I stopped by the assisted living facility and dropped one off. Apparently it was just about the Greatest Thing Ever because she's been talking about it ever since. Like any time anyone mentions birthdays, cakes, desserts, pineapple, Cool Whip or the weather.
And because I always have to think, "wait, what was in that again?" posting it here will save me a precious few minutes of redundant web searching.
You can make it too, I hear it's pretty tasty, especially in the opinion of diabetic grandmothers who shouldn't be eating it anyway.

I'm putting all the brand names in caps because I'm sure KRAFT would (to show their GREAT IMPORTANCE), so you can decide if you'd like to fall prey to the manipulations of the KRAFT machine, or so you can swap 'em out and get whatever brand because I'm sure it doesn't matter one bit. Don't tell KRAFT I said that though please.

Pineapple Cream Angel Food Cake
1 package JELL-O instant vanilla pudding (4 oz)
1 can DOLE crushed pineapple in juice
1 ready to go Angel Food Cake
fresh berries for garnish

Mix pudding and pineapple in medium bowl. Fold in the COOL WHIP.

Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. To make this easy and even, some genius recommended I put the cake in a baking pan/cookie sheet with sides and slice across using the sides as a guide for my knife. Brilliant!
Top bottom layer with 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Repeat layers 2 times.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with berries just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Travel with it carefully; it's slidey.

I hear she also likes this stuff, which I totally forget how to pronounce, even though my mom just told me not five minutes ago.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Casserole

I haven't even had a turkey sandwich and I'm sick of my leftovers already. I don't even know how that's possible, but it is.
I found a recipe online for a turkey casserole which calls for a lot of stuff I already have on hand, including plenty that I've been hoping to use up before they go bad. I'll post once I make it; maybe tonight if I have time. Stay tuned - I hope it doesn't suck.

** Update **
Meh, it was entirely mediocre. I won't post the recipe here because I know it can be better. Maybe next year.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record. It seems I get all my recipe from three places, All Recipes, Food Network (and their website), and Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen.
This is no exception. For Thanksgiving, I was in charge of an appetizer. I've done stuffed mushrooms before, and the version printed in Number 95 looked delish. Fine it's been a long time since I've done stuffed mushrooms, but come on, they're mushrooms, with stuffing. I learned some tough lessons though by not following directions exactly. Learn with me people. . . .

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach and Goat Cheese
(the filling can be made in advance and kept in the fridge; just reheat it before stuffing the mushrooms)

10 small portobello mushrooms - Remove stems and chop. Also chop up two of the 10 mushrooms, so you're left with 8 to stuff and about 3 c of chopped mushrooms.
4 tbsp olive oil
2 6 oz bags of baby spinach
bread for bread crumbs - I used some stale sourdough baguette I had around; use whatever you have (although the recipe calls for two slices of white sandwich bread, torn into quarters if you must know; you just want to end up with 1 1/2 c)
1-2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely diced (approx 2 cups)
4 medium sized cloves of garlic (squish through a garlic press)
1/2 c dry sherry (I used Dry Sack)
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4-5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 c ff half and half (recipe calls for heavy cream)
1 c walnuts, toasted (I used the Diamond walnuts that came already chopped to save myself some work)
2 tsp lemon juice
ground black pepper

And now for the million steps. . . * cracks knuckles before proceeding *
Place spinach and 2 tbsp of water in a microwave safe bowl with a cover and nuke for 3 minutes (I had to do this in two batches, and just divided the water). Spinach should be wilted and half of what it was before. Keep covered for a minute before moving spinach to a colander. Once I had nuked both batches, I let the spinach sit in the colander to drain and cool off while I did the rest. If you're impatient, use the back of a spoon or spatula to smoosh excess liquid out of the spinach. If you're patient and the spinach cools off, you can squeeze it by hand. You really want to get as much liquid out as possible. Roughly chop, smoosh or squeeze again, and set aside.
Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground.
Heat 1 tbsp oil (and 1 tbsp of butter if you'd like; I just used some butter flavored Pam to impart a buttery flavor to my oil) over medium high until warm. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
Add remaining tbsp oil back to pan and head over medium high until smoking. Add mushrooms to pan and let sit without stirring for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add 1 tbsp butter and onions to skillet (I probably could've gotten away with more Pam here, but decided to go for the real deal) along with the onions. Cook 5-6 minutes until onions are light brown. Add garlic and cook til fragrant, only 30 seconds or so. Stir in sherry and cook til almost no liquid remains, just a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in the mushrooms, spinach, thyme, goat cheese, half and half (or cream), and walnuts. Cook until cheese is melted and veggies are well coated. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

As for the mushrooms, preheat oven to 400; preheat baking sheet on center rake as well. Using a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch of shallow slits (about 1/4 inch deep) onto the top of the mushroom (not the gill side) about 1/2 inch apart.
Brush both sides of caps with remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place mushrooms, gill side up onto preheated baking sheet. Roast until mushies have released some of their juices and have begun to brown around the edges, 10 minutes or so. Flip over and roast for another 10 minutes until juices have evaporated and caps are golden brown. Mine remained soggy and messy the entire time which was unfortunate. Remove mushies and preheat the broiler.

If you made the filling in advance, now is the time to reheat it. It doesn't have to be piping hot, but it should certainly be warm. Fill caps, top with bread crumbs and broil for a few minutes. Do NOT walk away from the oven at this point! Just hang out and watch to make sure you don't burn the tops. Serve immediately.

Again, be sure to get the small ones if you're doing this as an appetizer; if you get the big ones you'll end up with a big delicious flaccid mess. Look for the ones that are 4 inches across or so. If you use the large ones, these will still work as a knife and fork vegetarian meal, but not so much as an app. They're awesome so I highly recommend you make them.

Pickled Asparagus

Back on pickling day, we made some pickled asparagus which didn't seal. We knew we'd have to get eatin' and yesterday was our first sampling. They turned out GREAT and I would absolutely do them again, this time in good canning jars and not those stupid swing top jars.
This is the recipe I used, but I totally forgot to add the chili flakes. I will next time, but it was still tasty without.

Pickled Asparagus
30 asparagus spears
1/3 cup coarse salt
2 quarts cold water
1 2/3 cups distilled white vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
1 white onion, sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh dill

Trim the cut end of the asparagus spears, and cut them into 3 inch lengths. Place them in a large bowl with 1/3 cup salt, and cover with water. Let stand for 2 hours. Drain and rinse under cool water, and pat dry.

Sterilize two pint size wide mouth jars in simmering water for 5 minutes.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, mustard seed, dill seed and onion rings. Bring to a boil, and boil for one minute.

Pack the asparagus spears, tips up, in the hot jars leaving 1/2 of space from the rim. Tuck one dill sprig into each jar, and sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pour hot pickling liquid into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, and seal with lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Cool to room temperature. Check seals when cool by pressing the center of the lid. It should not move. Label and date; store in a cool dark place. If any jars have not sealed properly, refrigerate and eat within two weeks.


Quinn and I cooked a Thanksgiving feast for TM yesterday, yes, the day after we had stuffed ourselves over at Dad and Aylene's. What can I say, I need leftovers.
The day before Thanksgiving I was watching Ina Garten make this herb roasted turkey breast. She used a whole, bone in breast, and I used two halves. Whatever. The only difference is that it cooked quicker than hers, maybe an hour and a half or so.
I also tried Alton Brown's "Best Ever Greenbean Casserole" which I had high hopes for, but I can only say was it not only NOT the best ever, it wasn't even good. I have been ruined by that gloppy canned stuff it seems, because fresh ingredients were not my bag. Or Quinn's bag. Or TM's bag. We had an entire skillet full of the stuff and none of it was saved with the other leftovers.
We had leftover stuffing from Dad and Aylene's, mashed potatoes and gravy a la Quinn, and Aylene's mashed sweet potatoes. And bread. And salad. And Texas sheet cake and ice cream.
* ugh *

Barefoot Contessa Herb Roasted Turkey
turkey breast, 6 1/2 - 7lbs (either 1 whole bone in, or two halves)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp dry mustard or 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat under the skin. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast.

If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

The Texas sheet cake turned out well, but it's not a favorite of mine so I sent the majority home with TM, since it IS her favorite!

If I weren't heading out to a party, I would be all over a turkey sandwich right now. Actually, I might anyway. Mmmmm.


We all know that melted cheese is basically heaven on earth. The only thing that makes it better is a second course of melted chocolate.
The Toshis and I got together a couple weekends ago for some drinks, some shenanigans, and way too much food eaten off of skewers.
I created my fondue mostly from memory (yes, I eat it enough to guess as to how it should be made), but with a quick trip to the old standby, All recipes. They say these things can feed 4-6, which I suppose is true, since us Toshis shared nicely, but Quinn and I ate an entire pot by ourselves for lunch. We did not go on to the dessert course however.

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue
1 clove of garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tbsp flour
dash of ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp or so)
optional 1 tbsp kirsch brandy (or more or less, to taste)

Grate the cheese, sprinkle with the flour and toss to coat. Rub the inside of your fondue pot with a cut clove of garlic, using the cut side against the pot. Add the wine and simmer. Once the wine is hot, add cheese and flour mixture, a handful or so at a time, allowing to melt between additions. Once all the cheese is melted, add the nutmeg and kirsch if desired and stir to combine.
Serve with tart green apples, cubes of sourdough, and anything else yummy (veggies, salami, breadsticks, etc.).

One of the Toshis was kind enough to leave behind her chocolate fondue recipe, which was divine, so I'm including it here too. I seriously have no idea if this is what she did, or if this was just one of several recipes they used, but I'm going to find out because it was so good. Like, really really good. I have a feeling they served the caramel on the side rather than mixed in, but whatever.

Chocolate Fondue
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
8 oz milk chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
1/2 pint whipped cream
1/2 c caramel sauce
Place all ingredients in fondue pot over low heat, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Do not allow to boil.
Serve with just about anything: Rice Krispy treats, marshmallows, pound cake, pretzels, fruit, graham crackers. . . and I highly suggest you dip the marshmallows in the chocolate and/or caramel, and sandwich between some graham crackers, a la s'mores. And you can never have too many strawberries.

Monday, November 17, 2008

updates to pickling

Those swing top jars, the ones that latch? I do NOT recommend for canning. Even those that say they're specifically for canning (and certainly not their less expensive cousins from Ikea). Both things we used them for leaked after they were sealed. If it's not liquid tight, it's certainly not air tight.
Now we just need to hurry up and eat 60 spears of pickled asparagus and a couple of pounds of pickled beets in the next week or so. Who's hungry?!

Well, we're still eating the pickled asparagus (although I admit to doing so with some trepidation) and no one is dead yet, and they're still tasty! We haven't even refrigerated them! Hallelujah for preservation techniques!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let's get pickled!

I am so sick of pickling right now that I can hardly write this blog. And I'm really only half way done. What an undertaking! I imagine subsequent pickling sessions will run a bit smoother, and I am praying to God that no one gets botulism from eating any of my pickled goods.
"Merry Christmas!! How was your stay in the hospital for the near death experience I gave you as an unpleasant side effect to my cheap gift?! I was relaxing in Vermont at the time, so I really only heard about it second hand. Anyway, nice to see you!"

On the to do list:
dilly beans (a request by my roommate McD)
pickled asparagus
Giardiniera mix
Onion jam

Done so far:
dilly beans
Giardiniera mix

Quinn has his own recipes in the works, check out his blog for snazzy photos (notice he didn't take any of my superior jars - jealousy makes some people so petty), and his recipes.

Aside from the fear that I will kill my loved ones, or at least make them violently ill, I also worry that my flavor will be off. I mean I can't tweak this. I have to WAIT and taste it to find out if it's any good. I hate that. The dilly bean recipe I found calls for "dill heads" which I thought just meant a bunch of dill. It doesn't. So, in my, uh, "experiment" I just chucked in a whole bunch of dill fronds or whatever the heck they're called, in my jars. Wish McD and I luck. They look flaccid as hell and I'm pretty sure I overcooked them on top of improperly spicing them. I am SO not cut out for things that require following instructions.

Dilly Beans
(based on this recipe from Allrecipes)
4 pint jars for canning
3 c water
1/2 c pickling salt (aside from every grain being identical, I have no idea how this is different from any other salt)
- here is where I'd suggest 4 dill heads, but not having the foggiest what a dill head was or where to find one until AFTER, I used around 2 bunches of dill, around 1/3 of a bunch in each jar
1/4 c pickling spice
1/4 c mustard seed
4-8 dried piquin (or some other variety) peppers
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 1/2 lbs fresh green and yellow wax beans

Sterilize the jars. Seriously, don't mess around with this part. I was super careful and I'm still nervous.
Combine the water, salt and vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and keep at a simmer while prepping the sterilized jars.
Pack each jar with the following: a good amount of dill (again, I used around 1/3 of a bunch in each jar), 1 tbsp of pickling spice, 1 tbsp mustard seed, 1-2 piquin peppers depending on spice preference, and 3 cloves of garlic. Pack the beans in vertically. If I were to do this again, I'd put the beans in first, leaving a little space in the middle to jam in the spices.
Pour the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Put the hot (also sterilized) lids on and screw closed. Process in a hot water bath for 6 minutes or maybe less unless you want shrively flaccid little beans too. I'll play with this next time too. Just make sure the lid doesn't have any give or flex to it; if it does, the jar probably was not sealed properly.
Store for at least 2 weeks before eating.

I could eat an entire jar of this stuff in one sitting. I found the stuff served in restaurants in Italy to be a bit spicier sometimes than the stuff we have in jars here in the states, but I still can't get enough of it.
I found a super easy recipe at that I followed fairly exactly, except for possibly cutting up WAY too many veggies - looks like we're having slightly vinegary roast veggies with dinner tonight.
I would suggest that you definitely plan on boiling some extra vinegar, as it seems to boil off pretty quickly, and better to have too much than not enough. The flavor seemed good, but I'll let you know once I eat it from the jar in a few weeks.
Odd that this recipe didn't call for heat treating the jars once they were filled, but we'll go with it for now. If you don't hear from me ever again, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME and blame, not me.

Stay tuned for part deux.

I tried the giardiniera mix last night. It's okay. It's not as good as the stuff that I was trying to recreate, or rather, it's DIFFERENT than the stuff I was trying to recreate. A bit sweeter. I'll still give them as gifts, but I think I'll look for a different recipe for "next time."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween - Best. Holiday. Ever.

Everyone thinks so.

Pumpkins - check.
Costumes - check.
Cupcakes - check.
Party Invitations - check. (seriously? Coolest thing ever)
Decorations - check.
More decorations - check.
Treats - check.
Tricks - check.

Now that I have a pad conducive to entertaining, which I also don't plan on leaving any time in the foreseeable future, expect fantastical Halloween parties. OMFG I love Halloween.

Caramel Pecan Cakes

So these look pretty freaking delicious. I wonder if I'm making dessert for Thanksgiving this year. . . .

Caramel Pecan Cakes Gourmet | October 2008

by Pastry Chef Monica Segovia-Welsh
Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC

These individual cakes, from Lantern pastry chef Monica Segovia-Welsh, are moist, tender, and not remotely fussy.

Yield: Makes 8 individual cakes
Active Time: 35 min
Total Time: 2 1/2 hr
For caramel:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water, divided

For cake:
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

8 (6-ounces) ramekins

Make caramel:

Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals on side of skillet with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling skillet occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Remove from heat and carefully stir in remaining cup water (mixture will steam vigorously and may stiffen). Return to a boil and stir until caramel has completely dissolved. If necessary, simmer until just syrupy, 1 to 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Toast pecans for cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Toast pecans in a 4-sided sheet pan in oven until fragrant

and a shade darker, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop.
Make cake:

Put 2/3 cup cooled caramel syrup in a bowl (save remainder to use as sauce) and add butter, egg, and cream, whisking well after each addition.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars into a large

bowl. Make a well in center, then add caramel mixture and gradually whisk in dry ingredients until smooth. Fold in pecans. Chill, covered, until cold (or 12 to 24 hours for best results).

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.

Butter and lightly flour ramekins, then cut out and fit a round of parchment paper in bottom of each. Arrange in a 4-sided sheet pan.

Divide batter among ramekins (about 1/4 cup each; batter will be stiff). Bake until cakes just spring back when lightly pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cakes to warm. Reheat remaining caramel.

Invert cakes onto plates, then peel off parchment and spoon some of caramel on top.
Cooks’ note:
Cakes can be made 4 hours ahead. Rewarm, individually wrapped in foil, in a 300°F oven.

Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals on side of skillet with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling skillet occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Remove from heat and carefully stir in remaining cup water (mixture will steam vigorously and may stiffen). Return to a boil and stir until caramel has completely dissolved. If necessary, simmer until just syrupy, 1 to 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Toast pecans for cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Toast pecans in a 4-sided sheet pan in oven until fragrant

and a shade darker, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop.
Make cake:

Put 2/3 cup cooled caramel syrup in a bowl (save remainder to use as sauce) and add butter, egg, and cream, whisking well after each addition.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars into a large

bowl. Make a well in center, then add caramel mixture and gradually whisk in dry ingredients until smooth. Fold in pecans. Chill, covered, until cold (or 12 to 24 hours for best results).

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.

Butter and lightly flour ramekins, then cut out and fit a round of parchment paper in bottom of each. Arrange in a 4-sided sheet pan.

Divide batter among ramekins (about 1/4 cup each; batter will be stiff). Bake until cakes just spring back when lightly pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cakes to warm. Reheat remaining caramel.

Invert cakes onto plates, then peel off parchment and spoon some of caramel on top.
Cooks’ note:
Cakes can be made 4 hours ahead. Rewarm, individually wrapped in foil, in a 300°F oven.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Speaking of cauliflower. . .

I love it. So do the bacteria that live in my intestines however, which makes for a deadly combination.
Moving on to more appetizing thoughts, cauliflower is damn delicious. As a child, some brilliant woman (my grandmother) convinced me cauliflower was some sort of indulgent treat and I used to sneak into the kitchen and break chunks off when no one was looking. I didn't catch on for several years and then didn't eat cauliflower until oh, 10 years ago or so. Man, what I was missing. Here are a couple of my favorite cauliflower recipes.

Pan Roasted Cauliflower
Easiest. Recipe. Ever.
1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken/cut up into florets
Garli Garni (or if you must, garlic powder, DON'T USE GARLIC SALT!)
olive oil
Heat oven to 500.

Spread the cauli out on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and top with copious amounts of Garni. Seriously, like a lot a lot. More than that. Keep going. A tiny bit more. Okay, good.

Pop in the oven until fork tender and brown on the edges. If it gets tender but not very brown, I put it under the broiler for a few. The crispy, garlicky bits are like the yummiest garlic bread. I can eat an entire head of cauliflower this way, much to Eel's dismay. Sorry baby.

4 cups of cauli florets
1 oz I can't believe it's not butter
1 oz ff half and half
salt & pepper

Steam cauli til soft. Puree in a food processor adding butter and half and half to taste. Season with s&p. No, you won't really think it's potatoes, but it's a good stand in.

Cauliflower Soup
2 heads of cauli, separated into florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 c chook broth
1 c water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups heavy cream (OR TJ's ff half and half of course)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl (or in your roasting pan) toss cauli, oil, garlic and shallots. Roast til tender; 30 minutes or so.
When done, transfer to a large soup pot and pour in chook broth and water. Season with thyme and bay and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Puree using an immersion blender (so much easier than doing batches in the blender) and return to pot. Stir in cream, s&p and taste. Heat through for serving but do not allow to boil. Serve with yummy crusty bread and/or those delicious little parmesan crisps.

Speaking of gratin. . .

I remembered that I bookmarked this one long ago and have yet to try it out, even though I drool every time I go anywhere near it. Why? Goat cheese, that's why. Did you even question it?

Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin

Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 6 servings
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
2 cups grated Parmesan
6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Layer the cauliflower, heavy cream, and the 3 cheeses in a medium casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note: Recipe can be doubled and made in a roasting pan.

Blogger's Note: * wonder if it can be quadrupled. . . *

Thanks Bobby Flay!

Fall = Squash

Butternut squash, pumpkin squash, acorn squash, squash sammiches. . . . the list goes on.
Wiki taught me some cool squash history in fact:
Squash was one of the "Three Sisters" planted by Native Americans. The Three Sisters were the three main indigenous plants used for agriculture: maize (corn), beans, and squash. These were usually planted together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided ground cover to limit weeds. The beans provided nitrogen fixing for all three crops.

How clever! Ah, a return to our small farm roots; it's a bummer I no longer have a backyard to tempt me to try to plant these three and tend to them for a month before I forget they're there and they die.

If you're in a squashy mood, these two nummerific Aylene recipes are sure to please, especially the gratin. * melts *

Roasted Butternut Squash Dip

Terrific with toasted baguette slices or pita chips, this creamy, sweet-savory dip can be prepared up to three days in advance. Refrigerate in a microwave-safe container, then reheat in a microwave on high for one to two minutes or just until warmed.

1 (2-pound) butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, trimmed and quartered
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or whole sour cream
¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Brush cut sides of squash halves, cut sides of onion quarter, and garlic cloves with oil. Arrange squash halves, cut sides down, on a jelly-roll pan, or baking sheet with sides; arrange onion quarters and garlic cloves on pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until just starting to caramelize. Cool slightly. Peel squash. Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp.

Place squash, onion, and garlic pulp in a food processor; process until smooth. Add crème fraîche and remaining ingredients; process to combine. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 Cups (serving size: ¼ cup)

CALORIES 35 (28% from fat); FAT 1.1g; PROTEIN 0.6g; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CARBS 6.3g

This can also be turned into butternut squash soup. Just add fat free half and half or chicken broth to the finished or leftover recipe until you reach the desired consistency and reheat.

Butternut Squash Gratin

Serves 4-6

1 medium-size butternut squash (2-2 ½ lbs.)
(Trader Joes sells already peeled and cubed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Gruyere (hard type of Swiss-no holes)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cup freshly toasted breadcrumbs-sourdough is great (not
finely ground from the store)
2 tablespoons butter, diced
1 tablespoon fresh minced basil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Instructions: Preheat oven to 425°

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

➢ Using a knife or a sturdy vegetable peeler, remove the rind from the squash. Depending on the size of your squash, cutting the neck from the base may make it easier to do this. Scoop out the seeds. Dice the squash into ¾-inch pieces, and transfer to the sheet pan.

➢ Drizzle the olive oil over the squash and season with the black pepper and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Toss to coat, then roast for 15 minutes, or until the squash is just tender, but not quite cooked through. Set aside.

➢ Lower oven temperature to 350°

➢ Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, gently heat the cream. Gently whisk in the cheeses, ½ teaspoon of salt, white pepper and nutmeg, stirring until the cheese is melted and the spices incorporated. Set aside and keep warm.

➢ Transfer the cooked squash to an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour the cream and cheese mixture evenly over the squash.

➢ Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the mixture, then scatter the butter on top. Season with salt and pepper.

➢ Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cream sauce is bubbling.

➢ Meanwhile, toss the herbs (basil, thyme, parsley) together in a small bowl. Remove the gratin from the oven, and garnish with the herb mixture.

Recipe Exchange

I got one of those chain emails, one of the only ones I ever bother to forward on; the recipe exchange email. You know, put your name in the number 2 position and put my name in the number one position and send it out and everyone sends a recipe to the person in the number one position and so on and so forth. Absolutely baffling to some of my less tech savvy relatives, but still a fun way to get some new recipes, or at least get you thinking of variations that you might actually eat.
I think it's hilarious the varied responses I got (from mojitos to random dumpings of things in casserole dishes to actual recipes), and so I've decided to post them here (typos in tact, I don't have time to edit for everyone you know). If you end up making any of them, please let me know! A couple of them frighten me a little, I'll admit. . .


1- can of 46oz. Tomato jucie*
1- can Tomato paste*
1- quart heavy cream*
1/2 bottle cocktail sauce*
3 tablespoons worcester sauce*
3 tablespoons hot sauce* to your taste
1 tablespoon seasalt or table salt* to your taste
1 tablespoon onion/flakes * (optiional)
* bring all above ingredients to boil then simmer.

2 lbs. chop and/or whole shrimp meat
1 lb. imitation crab
1 cilantro bunch chopped
1/2 cup Vin Rose Wine*
Add above ingredients simmer for another 5-10 minutes

Let's call these: Stuffin' Meat Muffins, because, well, funny, and they had no name when they were sent to me

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef (Turkey)
1 pkg. (6oz) Stove Top Stuffing
1 C. Water
3/4 C. Shredded Cheese

Mix meat and stuffing mix and water. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 30 min. Top with a bit for cheese and bake another 5 mins.

Yummy! You can add same salsa before cooking too. Or BBQ sauce.

Mango Mojitos

1 serving (serving size: 1/2 cup)


  • 2 lime wedges
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup club soda
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon mango nectar
  • Crushed ice


Squeeze the lime wedges into a small glass; add wedges and mint to glass. Crush with the back of a spoon for 30 seconds. Add soda, rum, Simple Syrup, and nectar; stir gently. Serve over ice.

Curried Chicken
This is so delicious, not spicey, sauce is great over rice!!! Oh, and easy...
1/2 cup chutney
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 TBS curry powder
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup golden raisins
2 1/2 cups orange juice
5 pounds chicken, cut up
Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour.
Serves 10

Brisket 3-5 lbs
1 bottle chili sauce, by catsup, Heinz is a common brand
I envelope onion soup mix
2 onions-thinly sliced
2 ribs celery-thinly sliced
Put brisket in bottom of crock pot. Pour over the chili sauce, then fill up the sauce bottle half way, shake and then add this half bottle of water to the pot. Put in the onions and the celery, sprinkle with the onion soup. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8. Serve over egg noodles.

I package angel food cake mix....
1 med. can crushed pineapple
dump cake mix into bowl
dump pineapple into bowl with dry mix and mix by hand
cook in angel food pan as directed on box...
delicious, refreshing, low calorie and easy....
yummy yummy

More to come as I receive them because, well, why not.

Breakfast Fritata (great for company/easy to make)

6-8 eggs
one can evaporated milk (low fat)
1 package (30oz) shredded hash browns (frozen)
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
1 can diced green chiles
1/2 medium onion diced
1 green or red bell pepper diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Beat egg and evaporated milk, stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 13x9x2 pan. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until set.

Chicken Pozole
Serves about 6

1-whole or 1/2 chicken
4-5 cans of chicken broth or make your own
1-can of white hominy-can be purchased at Safeway or small hispanic owned grocery stores in SSF
3-Ancho dried chiles-can be purchased at Safeway or small hispanic owned grocery stores in SSF
1-small cabbage
2 tomatoes
1-lemon or lime
1- onion
1/2 bell pepper

1. Make chicken soup:
a. whole cut up chicken, water and or chicken broth, salt and garlic (to taste)
chop 1 tomato , 1/2 onion and 1/2 bell pepper (this is how I make my basic chicken soup)
cook until done.

Add all ingredients below after the chicken soup is done.

2. Ancho chile sauce:
a. In a separate sauce pot place 3 ancho chiles and 1 whole large tomato and let simmer adding water as needed until chiles (they're purchased dry) are soft.
b. Place tomato and chiles in a blender or in a magic bullet puree
c. Pour into stock

3.White Hominy 1 can, 1lb:
a. Open can drain and pour hominy into soup

Bring to a boil chicken soup ancho chile sauce and white hominy.

4. Serve with thin slices of cabbage, finely chop 1/2 onion, lemon and oregano (to taste).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vanilla Extract

A few weeks ago, I started on my vanilla extract. Because I'm me, I certainly did not remember to shake my bottle vigorously every day for the first week, but it still seems to be coming along nicely.

It smells amazing in any case. I can't wait to try it out, but I'm nervous about being able to tell when it's ready. I guess I can do a taste test with the standard bottle of stuff I have from TJ's. I'm all ready for mine to blow it right out of the water. Don't let me down extract!!!

* update *
It doesn't smell amazing. It smells weird. The little vanilla scraps at the rim smelled amazing, but the extract itself smells a bit. . . plastic.
The Eel was brave enough to take a sip last night. He concurs; it's weird. Was it my beans? I sterilized my bottle and lid first (breaking one in the process). . . I used Skyy vodka. . . I don't understand!

** update to update **
I went crying to the guy that wrote the instructable I followed. He preached patience and said I'd probably be fine given time. Phew!!!

** update 11.30.08 **
Thank goodness I looked at the instructables again and saw that I'm supposed to let this sit for 6 months! I was just about to strain out the beans! It smells amazing now, yay. I'm tempted to portion it out into the smaller bottles, WITH the beans and caviar, so it's ready to give as Christmas gifts, but I can try to be patient for at least another few weeks. . . . I want to use those beans to make vanilla sugar and make little creme brulee gift sets or something else vanilla-y delicious.

Thanksgiving Salad

Those jerks over at America's Test Kitchen have done it again. Come up with some ridiculously easy "recipe" that can't even really be a recipe that I'm jealous I didn't come up with first because, well, DUH.
With one of my favorite meals of the year fast approaching, here's a healthier spin on a lot of similar flavors. Great for fall and I totally want it right now (but I have yummy steak and sweet potato leftovers, so I'll refrain).

Harvest Supper Salad with Smoked Turkey and Apples
Serves 4

2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 small heads red leaf lettuce or green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 apple , cored and cut into 2-inch strips
4 thick slices smoked deli turkey , cut into 2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds , toasted (or lets be reasonable - a bag of the ready to go almonds from Diamond or whatever)

1. Whisk honey and vinegar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Add cherries, cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic, and microwave on high until cherries are plump, about 1 minute. Whisk in oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cool dressing to room temperature.

2. Toss lettuce, cabbage, and apple with dressing in large bowl. Divide salad among individual plates and top each with portion of turkey, cheese, and nuts. Serve.

Banana rum cupcakes with chocolate frosting

While these little puppies seemed to be a hit, I think they have a way to go before I'm happy with the recipe.
I found a box of banana cake mix in my hunt for spice cake mix, and couldn't pass it up. I thought the Eel liked banana, but couldn't quite remember and just decided to go for it, just in case. Luckily my memory was correct.
I followed the recipe on the box almost exactly, although I did substitute a tbsp or so of water for a tbsp of spiced rum. :o)
The batter came out WAY too loose and watery for my liking, and I was concerned about cooking time. I knew if I had to cook them for a million years until they set, that they ran the risk of getting all chewy and weird. They did. Maybe it was just disappointing to my sophisticated palate, but they definitely need work.
Maybe next time I'll just go with my banana bread recipe and tweak it from there? I feel like I definitely need to work on the frosting; the can of chocolate I used (low Sugar Splenda stuff, shhhh, don't tell) overpowered the banana flavor a bit. Perhaps a ganache next time, or maybe I'll just go for muffins with chocolate chips sprinkled on top before they bake, or smooshed in while they're still warm. Oh yum, now I'm hungry.

Peppadew Peppers

You can see the full roast beef sandwich story over at Mock Eel, but this here post is more about the peppers themselves than their use in a 30th birthday "breakfast."

I opened the Eel's eyes to the Peppadews when we were in Seattle, and I think it may have been love at first bite. It was a nice reminder for me since I haven't had them since I was in Barcelona, and now I've had them three or four times in the last month or so.

Stay tuned for a future blog on our pickling exploits, but in the meantime, check out these scrummy sounding recipes featuring the little darlings.

Did you know Peppadew is their brand name?! I didn't.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes a la Aylene

These sweet potatoes will make you forget about white potatoes all together. Okay, maybe not french fries or crispy hashbrowns, but at least baked and mashed. Why bother when these are so yummy and so much better for you, especially if you're South Beaching?
I'll leave it up to you to cook the sweet potatoes however you do, Aylene pokes holes in them and chucks 'em in the microwave til they're soft, but the magic happens in the chipotle crema.
It's equal amounts of mayo (yuk!) and sour cream, about 1/2 cup of each. I can't help but wonder if Greek yogurt or something would be good. . .but even with my mayo aversion, this is one of those instances where it so does not matter.
A squeeze of lime juice, salt and one chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce (canned), and mix in a food processor. If your mouth has a death wish I suppose you could use more than one, but I don't recommend it. You want to be able to taste the other stuff and not just feel the fire.
Mash up your taters, and mix in some of the crema.
Take it a little further and use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and mix that through, stir in some extra sharp cheddar and bake with more cheddar and green onions on top and you've got yourself twice baked sweet potatoes with the delicious crema kick.

South Beach Steak

So, I hear the Steak Diane recipe is awesome, but I've yet to try it. Why bother, when there's one that already blows my socks off? It was the first dish I remember making when I first moved into my own apartment. I had my dad and stepmother over, and while they're the big champions of the Steak Diane, they wanted the recipe for this one too.
For a certain sweetie's birthday dinner tonight, I'm dusting it off once again. He knew he wanted something steaky, my stepmom's awesome sweet potatoes, and something green; the rest he left to me. I guess that means he must like my cooking!

Pan Roasted Steak and Onions
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (use good stuff, trust me)
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2(ish) cloves of garlic
1 lb flank steak
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper if you can swing it
1/2 tsp salt
1 c chook broth (I was the ff low sodium stuff)
1 medium onion, cut into rings, about 1/4 inch thick

In a large non reactive baking dish
(no aluminum! I use Pyrex), combine the oil, vinegar, Worsh, mustard and garlic. Add the steak, turn to coat; cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour, turning once. You can make this the day before and refrigerate overnight too.
Coat a nonstick skillet with ff cooking spray and put over medium-high. Sprinkle the steak with s&p. Brown for 2 minutes per side. Add 1/2 c of the broth and cook, turning once for 5-6 minutes per side for medium rare (and why would you want it any other way?). Remove from skillet and cover loosely to keep warm. Reduce the heat to medium, add onion and cook til golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Add the remaining broth as needed to prevent them from sticking.
Thinly slice the steak across the grain and serve smothered in the yummy onions.

Fantastic and not even unhealthy! You and your hips can thank me later. Your cholesterol might have to speak to my lawyers though.

Pumpkin Spice cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Okay, I'm only feeling confident to post this because I know no one reads this blog so there will be no mass stealing of secrets. The adoration of my cupcake fans is very important to me, so I want to be sure to hog all accolades for these delicious treats.
Who knows if I ever make them the same way twice, since I've only made them twice, but they've been tasty both times. I see someone else had the same idea, and given the struggle I had finding a box of spice cake mix this time around, I may have to pilfer this recipe in its entirety in the future.
I however, Sandra Lee'd the hell out of this so my version requires even less work. I was raised baking things out of boxes, so it's really the only way I know how, and the only stuff I really appreciate. Sad, right? NO, delicious.
1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 c veg oil
1 can of cream cheese frosting
ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and prep whichever pan you're using.
Dump the cake mix into a bowl, and mix in the eggs and oil, then add the can of pumpkin until mixed through.
Pour into the greased (or papered) vehicle of your choosing and pop in the oven. For cupcakes, I typically put them in for 8 minutes, and then start peeking and poking at them every few minutes after that until they're done. I wish I could tell you cooking times for other sizes, but it would only be a guess, so you're sort of on your own.
Let them cool in the pan for a bit, then put on a rack and let sit til completely cool.
In the meantime, put the frosting in a bowl and add cinnamon to taste. I must use at least 2 tbsp, tasting along the way until it's delectable.
Frost the cupcakes, then dust with a little more cinnamon. Bask in your accolades momentarily and then be sure to give me all the credit.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More pasta sauce!

I think it's clear that there is some strong Italian blood in these Mexican Irish veins if my propensity for tomato sauces is any indication. My grandmother (the Irish part) made the yummiest bolognese around though, so maybe we're just creative geniuses with tomatoes.
Rather than purchase a jar of sauce last night, I figured I'd use up some of my many cans of tomatoes and make my own to go with the whole wheat three cheese tortellini I had.
2 cloves of garlic - smashed
1 medium onion - cut in half and very thinly sliced
2 cans tomatoes - I used one can of plum tomatoes with oregano and basil, and one can of diced tomatoes
3/4 can tomato paste
1-2 tbsp dried basil (to taste)
pinch of oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
glug of olive oil

I went twice around my pot with the oil, let it heat over medium high, then added the garlic and onion and cooked until fragrant and just soft. Then I added the two cans of tomatoes and let cook for a few minutes.
Next, I added the tomato paste and the herbs, mixed everything well, turned it down to low and put a lid on it to simmer.
Stirring occasionally, once it looked thick enough I was done. I didn't even need to add salt and pepper it was so perfectly yummy and ready to go. I put half of it in the freezer, and mixed in 1/4 cup or so of fat free half and half into what was still in the pot to make a pink sauce. At that point I felt like I could've gone with another clove of garlic, but darn it was tasty.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pulled Pork

Okay y'all - it's time to talk pork. Forgive the twang but I'm in Savannah soaking up the south and you can't help but start saying y'all almost immediately.
One day, the Mistress of Butter herself came on tv and started making pulled pork. I'm a bit of a fan, so I hit record on my TiFaux (stolen from TWOP, sorry guys) and that was it. Some days or weeks later, I saw "Paula Deen" sitting in there and thought, "What the? I don't like Paula Deen. How good could that pork have been anyway, and furthermore, I'm sure I can just get the recipe online." And deleted it. If you wonder why I'm not a huge Deen fan, it's her copious usage of butter, mayonnaise and crushed up "putaytuh chiyips" as main ingredients in her dishes; oh, and things like this. I'm not from the South, I just don't get it.
Fast forward to yesterday. I'm in Savannah, my hotel is three blocks from Deensneyland. I went to my bank just around the corner, it was lunch time and it had started to rain. Major road construction + filthy street sweepers flinging mud and rocks + rain + white pants and a silk blouse do not = good things. I ducked into The Lady and Sons hoping the genius over at Mock Eel would still speak to me once he found out.
It's been 24 hours, and I'm wondering if the same people are working today, because I think I'd really like to go back and have another pulled pork sandwich without being given the pig eye. I even ate the slaw y'all. And you should know I don't do mayonnaise, unlike Ms. Deen. This has renewed my passion for her pulled pork recipe, which is featured on Food Network.
Here is that recipe; now I just have to find the time and dedication to try preparing it myself. You'll probably want to come over that day. Oh, if you do, could you please bring a dutch oven? Thanks. (so help me, if you're giggling that you're going to give me a fart wrapped in a blanket you're totally uninvited)

BBQ Pork Sandwich Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Dry rub:
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
4 pound shoulder pork roast

2 cup apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

6 soft hamburger buns with seeds
Bbq sauce
Cole slaw

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the dry rub ingredients in small bowl. Sprinkle dry rub all over the pork roast, pressing into the pork. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Combine liquid ingredients and the garlic powder in a medium bowl and pour into a large Dutch oven. Place pork in the oven and tightly cover with aluminum foil then lid. Roast for 4 hours or until fork tender and shreds easily. Brush the roast with cooking liquid every hour.

Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred the pork with a fork or tongs into bite size pieces.

Serve on hamburger buns topped with BBQ sauce and cole slaw.

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Yield: 6 servings

As for the slaw, I imagine this is it here:
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 large carrot, chopped
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cabbage head
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (recommended: Jane's Krazy Mixed-up salt) - you know it's truly crazy when they spell it with a k I guess
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Using a food processor, gently process the bell pepper, onion, carrot, and parsley, being careful not to over process. Cut 1/2 of the cabbage into chunks and place in the food processor and process lightly, making sure the cabbage doesn't become mushy. Slice the remaining cabbage thinly. Mix the cabbage together with the processed vegetables. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together and allow to stand for a few minutes. Combine the mayonnaise mixture with the vegetables and toss. Chill for 1 hour.
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings

My conclusions thus far clearly show that Southern cooking takes a damn long time. Perhaps this is why so many women here have remained thin. There is just no time to prepare this stuff, nor do you want to be anywhere near a stove when it's so hot out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall flavors to celebrate Summer in SF

A few weeks ago I had dinner plans with my mom. Not in the mood to go out, and having withdrawals from a lack of kitchen time lately, I invited her up for dinner. I may have had to bribe her with one of her favorite dishes since I know she gets nervous driving through city streets and hunting for parking. My bait? "Impossible Chicken n Broccoli Pie" from an old Bisquick recipe book I was given when I first started cooking.
The impossible stands for impossibly easy in this case. Fantastic in the fall (or brisk SF summers) because it's warm and comforting, and the veggies you use are frozen. I highly recommend it.

1 10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli - you can just toss it into a colander in the sink and let it thaw as you cook the chicken and get everything ready. If it's not thawing fast enough, or I waited too long to pull it out, I just run some water over it and break it up with my hands. Caution - if you choose to do this you should know that your hands will turn bright red and lose all feeling.
2 c shredded cheddar cheese - jack would be good too, but I like the tang from the cheddar
1 c cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces - if I'm lucky, I'll pick up a roaster chicken and it's done for me; if I'm not, I just boil some skinless boneless breasts (or better yet the little tenders since they cook faster and I'm impatient). I know, what am I, Irish?! Boiling chicken. Honestly. But don't worry, you still get plenty of flavor.
1/2 cup of chopped onion (I hate recipes that say "medium" or "small" onions - what size is that any more?!), but I think I typically just use the entire onion if it's close, so I may end up with 3/4 cup
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup of milk (yes, I use nonfat)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper - I use more s&p than this. I find it just a bit bland with this ratio, and depending on your onion, maybe a touch too sweet. And really, anyone who still thinks I'm actually measuring these things out at this point is delusional.

Preheat your oven to 400 F and grease a glass pie plate - I use olive oil spray, the Pam kind, but it really tends to stick, especially if you stir later, so be generous or use butter or Crisco or something awful like that.
To avoid the stirring quandary, you can toss the chicken, broccoli, onion and 1 1/2 cups of cheese in advance, and then add them to the plate. It's much easier to do it this way anyhow.
Whisk the eggs, milk, Bisquick, s&p to get most of the big lumps out - some lumps are okay. Pour over the top of everything in the pie plate and shake gently to distribute.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from the center. Now sprinkle it with the rest of the cheese and pop it back in until the cheese melts (and gets a bit brown if you're like me).
Now the hard part. Letting it cool. See, at this point your entire house smells delicious and if it's one of those dreary days you are really looking forward to eating the hell out of this (and please, don't be alarmed if you can eat half of the entire pie dish yourself - this appears to be completely normal; in fact, you may want to make two at the same time just so you can have some leftovers), but you MUST LET IT COOL. Cutting into it too soon does nothing but make you regret it. If you just can't wait, forget all about cutting nice slices or wedges out, and just get a big old spoon and glop it onto the plate. Don't burn the roof of your mouth.

If this has you in the mood for more yummy fall flavors, check out this awesome dinner over at Mock Eel!

Speaking of Vanilla

I can't stop thinking about making my own vanilla extract since I saw it in a magazine. Then I can use the old pods for making vanilla scented sugar and then. . . . creme brulee. * drool *
I've only fallen for creme brulee in the last year or so, and man, I would eat it every day if I didn't know what was in it. In fact, I loved that I didn't like it since I'm such a dessertie - that was one thing I could always skip. Now I'm looking for seconds. Damn you palate!!
Check out this instructable for making your own extract.
Check out this recipe for creme brulee from Alton Brown.
Now make them and invite me over. I promise to make you some lavender/vanilla lemonade, I just have to work the recipe out a little. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Vanilla may mean boring, but nothing beats a really good scoop of vanilla ice cream sometimes. Especially if it's on top of a warm brownie, covered in hot fudge and caramel. Take whatever innuendo you'd like there.
Those geeks over at America's Test Kitchen have just turned my little vanilla world upside down with another one of their tastings. The brand that I've always sort of treated as my go to - it's got natural ingredients! There are vanilla specks! It must be the best! - was eliminated in the preliminaries! Sorry Breyer's.
Seems that I'm going to have to hunt down some Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean or Edy's Dreamery ice cream. These brands have never been on my radar before, so hopefully I can actually find them (and remember what they're called the two times a year I actually pick up ice cream).
And now I TOTALLY want one of those apple cinnamon caramel crisps where the ice cream melts and then there is this delicious soupy stuff with bits of chewy apple and crunchy granola topping. . . . mmmm.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Real (?) Rice a Roni

A certain PHBF got me started listening to NPR during my commute (I know, right?). Honestly it's been the best thing ever - not only am I no longer annoyed by boring, commercial filled morning shows, which lead to me arriving at work all tense and irritated, but some days I actually learn something! Crazy.
One of the segments this morning seriously made me get all teary eyed. It was the story of where our dear San Francisco Treat (ding! ding!) came from. I had heard that it was based on an Armenian pilaf once upon a time, but this story was the deeper, real deal version of that.
It tells the story of the birth of Rice a Roni, but more importantly to me, the sweet old Armenian grandmother that gave birth to a first iteration of that recipe.
The Rice a Roni portion of the story goes kind of like this: the DeDemenico's -a young couple, she Canadian, he Italian-American - lived in a rented room in Pailadzo Captanian's home in the 40s. The new, young wife (only 18) was anything but a whiz in the kitchen, and spent much of her home time while hubby was working, in the kitchen with Ms. Captanian, who eventually taught her how to make an Armenian pilaf. Years later, Mrs. DeDemenico was still making this pilaf. Her husband, who worked at Golden-Grain with his brother, were chowing down one night when the brother said, "You know, this would be great in a box." Totally revolutionary since there were hardly any boxed side dishes on the market, and add to that the fact that almost no Americans were eating rice as part of their meals. Rice a Roni was born and now we all proudly sing the jingle, even if we hardly ever eat it.
The part of the story that touched me most was Ms. Captanian's memoirs - fleeing from the (unacknowledged) Armenian genocide in Turkey. She had to leave her two small boys behind (cue the water works), and flee on foot, pregnant with her third child. You're really better off just reading the story yourself really, so I'll stop. The point is - the idea of frying up some OG Armenian pilaf sounded like fun and they mentioned that they had a version of the recipe posted on their website. Grandma Cap passed it down to her daughter in law, who passed it on to her daughter in law, who gives it to us here. I can't wait to try it out and start making my own tweaks to it:

Grandma Cap's Pilaf

Rice Mixture:

  • 7/8 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/8 cup fideo capellini crushed into small pieces
  • ½ cube butter
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • ½ 4.5 oz jar sliced "Green Giant" mushrooms packed in water and drained. (mushrooms can be substituted with any other canned mushrooms.)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts


  • 2 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 ½ chicken bouillon cubes
  • ½ tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • (The broth should taste somewhat salty before it is added to rice mixture)


Melt the butter over medium high flame in a medium sauce pan and add rice and fideo cappellini and stir constantly, cooking until it starts to turn golden.

Add chopped onion and cook until almost clear.

Add mushrooms and pine nuts.

Stir constantly over medium high flame, until the mixture is golden brown with dark flecks of fideo capellini.

Meanwhile, make broth by heating water to boiling and adding bouillon cubes, parsley flakes, salt and pepper (you can heat this in the microwave or on the stove)

Stir to dissolve the bouillon.

Add boiling broth to browned rice mixture, (note: broth /rice mixture should taste slightly salty), return to a bowl, stir once, and cover, then turn down the hat to a low simmer. Do not lift the cover for 35 minutes.

Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork; let rest until ready to serve.

P.S. Cover pan with a cloth to keep warm (If I am traveling with the rice over a period of several hours, I wrap the pan in several beach towels and it will stay nice and warm).

P.P.S To double the recipe: Use 7/8 cube butter; 4 7/8 cups water and 5 chicken bouillon cubes and cook rice for 37 minutes. (You can double all the other ingredients).

If you follow these directions exactly, you should have a perfect pilaf every time. But avoid the urge to peek at the cooking rice. Lifting the cover during cooking will affect the texture and fluffiness of the dish.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Strawberry & Avocado Salad

Once upon a time, I won Iron Chef: Battle Avocado. You're correct in assuming it was not the HGTV or even actual Japanese version. Birds of a feather flock together, and several of my friends are also foodies that like to cook and kick ass (or eat). Enter the best of both worlds - Iron Chef competitions. Anyhoo, out of three, I've only won once (ONCE!), but it was the first one, so I wear my chef's hat proudly.
One of the dishes I made was this fab strawberry and avocado salad. I believe I was inspired by this recipe from All Recipes, but I cannot remember what I did to tweak it or put my own spin on things. I've looked over the recipe again, and quite honestly, it looks awesome as is. The only thing I may have done was to eyeball all of my measurements instead of following along and maybe throw in some cheese. Shocker, I know.

Strawberry and Avocado Salad
  • bag of spring mix salad
  • an avocado - peeled, pitted and chopped or sliced
  • 2 c or so of sliced strawberries (washed, hulled, etc.)
  • roasted or candied pecans - I'd caution against the candied version if you're making the dressing on the All Recipes site. Way too sweet. In fact I'd suggest you start with 1 tsp of sugar and add more to taste. I tend to stick with honey for sweetening my dressings.
  • blue cheese or goat cheese
  • dressing

It's really as easy as that. The amounts on everything are to your personal preference. If you like a lot of nuts, go for it, if you like more strawberries, be my guest. I went with about equal parts avo and berry and maybe 1/4 cup of nuts.
I really like Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette dressing for salads like this (there is even a strawberry on the label!). That one would be great, but you could also pick up a prepared balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.
* an aside - the Brianna's website says the Blush Wine Vin. would go well with wild game and man oh man, my tastebuds are thinkin' they're right. I'll have to try it.
If I was making my own I'd probably go with a nice sweet & tangy one, mixing honey mustard, aged balsamic (or a gourmet flavored version), olive oil, s & p and a little bit of honey.
Keep in mind that the more sweet things you add, the lighter the dressing should be. If you're using avos, strawberries, blue cheese and candied pecans, you wouldn't want a really thick powerful or overly sweet dressing. If you want to go with that kind of dressing, try to make the salad a bit more savory by using roasted nuts, and maybe feta instead of blue. And we all know goat cheese can go on anything.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So I was hanging out with Jamie Oliver this weekend - in my bed if you can believe it! (Yes, fine, he was on tv, I was in my bed, whatever spoilsport.)
The point is, Jamie was making carbonara, which is a pasta dish I've never made. As a kid, I didn't like peas believe it or not, so it never really called out to me. As an adult, I don't really like to be fat, so I avoided it still. But Jamie, as he does, made it look so damn easy and delicious, and fresh, and somehow healthy, that I had to give it a shot. My recipe, thrown together as most of my recipes are: one part actual recipe, one part, "I think this is what I remembered him doing. . . approximately," turned out really really well if someone's three helpings are any indication (don't look at me, I only had one).
Penne ala Carbonara - serves "2"

  • whole wheat penne pasta - enough for 2 people; feel free to ignore petulant comments about it being "so little" - it'll be plenty, even for three helpings it seems
  • 1 small yellow squash - Jamie said to, "Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne," so I did
  • 7-8 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 stalks of broccolini
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 2 oz chopped pancetta
  • 2 egg yolks
  • parmesan cheese - a handful
  • olive oil
  • TJ's ff 1/2 & 1/2
  • red pepper flakes
  • s&p

Again, this is a TJ's meal. The prechopped pancetta is a godsend, and they almost always have my beloved broccolini, and well, everything else.

Get the pasta water going, salt it, cook it, etc. You know the drill - but it'd be perfect if the pasta was done right around the same time as the sauce. Be sure to reserve a bit of the cooking water in case your sauce needs thinning.
I tossed a small glug of olive oil into a pan and let it heat up, then added the pancetta. Once it was maybe half way "done" I threw in the garlic and kept chopping all the rest of my veggies, then threw them in as well. This I let cook until it was all just tender and took it off the heat.
If I was smart, I would've started the sauce as soon as I put the veggies in, but I forgot.
So if you try, you'll need to multitask - keeping an eye on the pasta, the veggies, and creating the sauce.
Get your yolks into a medium sized bowl and add a handful or so of the parmesan cheese and whisk. Get it all stuck in the whisk and realize you also need to add the 1/2 and 1/2. Do so, and whisk some more - you can also add olive oil if you like. I only seasoned with pepper since (Jamie and) I think there is plenty of salt in the pancetta and cheese, but that's up to you. I'd wait until the very end on that however. Get the sauce into the still hot (but off the heat) pan of veggies and stir constantly so the egg can cook. Because I waited, I put the heat back on low and stirred for a while to be sure the sauce was cooked through, and tossed in a little pinch of red pepper flakes, you know, all BAM! like.
If you have not taste tested at this point, and there is no royal taster to do so for you, grab a nibble and decide on seasoning and doneness. Drain the pasta, adding a bit of the cooking water to the sauce to thin if needed. Add the cooked pasta into the pan with the sauce and veggies and stir to coat.
If you're planning on leftovers, you may want to put them away first, before serving any hungry people. If you just did it for two, you're good to pig out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Spinach Salad

I yam what I yam, and while I do like yams, I don't really like spinach. Popeye I (y)am not. Wait, that's so untrue sometimes that I'm really reluctant to even say that. I don't LOVE spinach. How's that? I don't like the gritty feeling it leaves on my teeth sometimes, so I tend to avoid rather than deal.
However! I think I have found the secret to making spinach salads that I will knock you down and take your fork away for. Get ready to be shocked. . . .
the secret ingredient. . . .
goat cheese.

Okay, I know, I'll put goat cheese on anything that will hold still long enough for me to do so but it really does make life better. And when I say goat cheese mind you, I'm talking that soft, crumbly chevre (like the texture of this Purple Haze perhaps), and not the thousands of other variations of cheese that can be made from goat's milk. Silly right?
In any case, I've made two spinach salads that I have fallen in love with, and the other ingredients they've had in common are onions/shallots and red wine vinegar vinaigrette. And I like them kind of warm.
So here, two options; both make enough to serve 2, maybe 3 if you're feeling generous, which I rarely am.

Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
  • Diced pancetta - you know, about that amount that looks right. 2 oz? (TJ's is kind enough to make a little package of finely diced pancetta for my cooking needs, but you can get some from your butcher - 1/4" thick cuts, then dice them up yourself.)
  • 1 good sized shallot, finely diced
  • cherry tomatoes (I really like those little Sweet 100s for this) - a cup or so
  • 1 bag of ready to go baby spinach leaves
  • goat cheese - 2 oz? 4 oz? a pound? you decide
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • s&p

Dump your bag o'greens into a bowl and cover in goat cheese. No really, add more. Slice your wee tomatoes in half and dump them in too.
Heat up a skillet over medium, and add the pancetta. Once it's given up some of its fat, you're safe to add the shallot. Once the pancetta looks yummy, and onion is all soft and delish, you're good to go. I add the oil and vinegar directly to the pan and whisk to make my dressing. I don't think you need salt, but that's up to you - season to taste.
Pour this warm dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Battle to the death for last serving rights.

Sauteed Mushroom & Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
  • 1 good sized shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used cremini, but anything would work I bet)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bag of ready to go baby spinach leaves
  • goat cheese - 2 oz? 4 oz? a pound? you decide
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • s&p

Put a dash of olive oil into a pan heating on medium. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee until the shallots start to look translucent. Add the mushrooms and sautee until cooked. Add s & p to taste.
Dump your bag o'greens into a bowl and cover in goat cheese. No really, add more.
Pour your mushrooms over the salad and use the warm, still covered in bits pan to make the dressing. There's still some oil in there, so you only need to add a little, then whisk in your vinegar.
Pour this over the salad and toss to coat. Battle to the death for last serving rights.

Blueberry Pancakes

Few things make me jump around excitedly in the morning. Blueberry pancakes (or Burberry pancakes if you're lucky enough) are one of those things. I was thrilled that the beanheads over at America's Test Kitchen put a link to a video for perfect blueberry pancakes in today's email. (Beanheads because if they send me ONE MORE of those damn cook books I might burn their offices down).
So, with full credit to them for coming up with the recipe, and full credit to me for scribbling it down and typing it into my blog. . . and you know me - this recipe will not even closely resemble the original when I'm done making it. Between whole wheat flour, skim milk, Splenda and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, I have no idea what these will be like once they're South Beached up. But as soon as I can try it, I'll be sure to let you know. Perhaps we'll do a side by side test comparison to see if they're tolerable in "diet" format. Those beanheads seem to be rubbing off on me.

Blueberry Pancakes
  • Frozen blueberries - Seems they prefer Wyman's frozen blueberries based on their rigorous testing procedures, so I'll trust them, but whichever frozen blues you have are fine I'm sure.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 2 c unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp + of oil

Thaw, rinse and drain the berries on papertowels. Set aside.
Whisk the lemon juice into the milk and let sit to thicken.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Whisk egg and melted butter into the milk mixture.
Pour the liquid into the dry and whisk - be sure not to overmix! Leaving some clumps of unmixed flour is not only okay, it's preferable to ensure that your cakes don't get rubbery.

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of oil and try a small sacrificial pancake (1 heaping tbsp or so) to make sure the pan is ready.
Create cakes using heaping 1/4 c scoops of batter - the size of your pan will dictate how many you can fit, but you don't want them to touch. Once you see bubbles forming and it looks like the cake is firming up, sprinkle 1 tbsp of blueberries onto the cake. Flip when ready (approx 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, but it's more important to look for color and doneness than to rely on time alone, so keep an eye on them).

Serve with REAL Vermont maple syrup if you don't want to hear about it, or eat alone - given the butter and sugar in the batter, they don't actually need anything additional. Or so they say. Syrup I say!

Oh, and crispy bacon. Crispy bacon would be nice too. Or maybe turkey sausage - the patty kind because it's better. Yum!