Monday, December 2, 2013

I Have Moved!

This blog is inactive. I have moved to The Saucy Southerner. Please join me there. P~


Monday, September 27, 2010

White Chili...because every "chilly" queen needs a white chili "night" to the rescue!

Once upon a time, in a place far far away, there was a swishy caterer/food shop to the elite. Said caterer treasured their recipe for the new and cutting edge "white" chili more than any sapphire, emerald or ruby (or even pesto torte). Alas, they fell foul of a disgruntled employee...who, to extract vengeance upon the evil overlord employer, disclosed the secret of the "blanco"...the heroin of the tale. Through an accomplice, who shall remain unnamed, I share this white gem with you...a glistening diamond of a soup.

The deal with this chili...well, besides the intrigue surrounding the acquisition of the that it's perfect for either chicken or turkey or pork. It is even perfect without meat, should you so desire.

White Chili:

1 pound white beans (or 5 cans, drained and rinsed)
6 cups chicken stock

Either simmer the beans in the stock until soft, adding stock as needed, or if using canned beans, proceed as follows.

1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped
4 4 ounce cans green chilis

Saute the garlic, onion and chilis in the oil until tender. Add the following:

4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp oregano leaves
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

4 cups cooked chicken, turkey or pork

Add to beans and spices and simmer one hour.

I used a pork roast for this version.

Covering the roast with water in a large stock pot, I added a whole onion, pepper corns, jalapenos, a head of garlic, bay leaves and some cayenne pepper:

The roast cooked until the meat fell from the bone. Remove the meat from the liquid, and "pull" into pieces (I take this opportunity to remove all fat): the cheats. Buy a couple of rotisserie chickens and pull the meat. Or, use your left over holiday turkey. Both are perfect.

Saute the onion, garlic and chilis and add spices:

Toss that mixture in with the beans and stock, add the meat and simmer one hour:

I fried up some corn tortilla strips and garnished the soup with some cheddar cheese, the chips, a dollop of salsa and some chopped green onions.

That's all there is to it! On a night when you'd like a white knight on a stead to rescue you from the gloom...inSTEAD, pull out this white chili; it'll warm your heart.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wonderful World Wide (www.) Cooking (.com) = Taina's Stuffed Eggplant, FTW!

The internets are a strange and glorious place. I've met many friends through my adventures at various sites; among them (and one of my favorites) is a lovely lady, Taina, who hails from Finland. We became acquainted through our shared love of Harry Potter, on a site that was for adults to discuss the ins and outs of that series. While there, we chatted frequently; often our conversations turned to food. This dish is my attempt to replicate a recipe that Taina posted about on Facebook when I talked about making pesto.

She described an eggplant dish that she makes...and it sounded so good, I thought I'd try to wing it and recreate it from her description. I've now made it twice...and altered it the second time based on her further comments. For lack of a recipe "name" I think I'll call it Taina's Stuffed Eggplant. I realize that this is taking major liberties, since I've neither seen nor tasted her version, but for her efforts in trying to school me (appropriate since she's a college professor) this post is dedicated to her. And as she told me in a message about the recipe, "Buon appetito!"

A photo of my second attempt:

The ingredients in the stuffing are basically the same each time, but I did alter the mixture assembly somewhat. I must admit to taking some liberties with her original description; I'll asterisk the items I added. Here's the recipe as I made it the second time around:

Stuffed Eggplant:
1 large eggplant, halved length-wise
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine*
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced*
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 Tbs basil pesto

Added after further comments from Taina:
1/2 loaf French bread, hollowed
1 tin of anchovies, packed in oil
5 Tbs parmesan cheese
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs butter, melted

Score the eggplant around the edges, being careful to not cut through the skin. Then, score length-wise and cross-wise:

Scoop out the "meat" of the eggplant, being careful to not rupture the skin. I did this with a spoon.

In a large skillet, sauté the eggplant, onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil. Until just softened:

Add the tomatoes and the pesto to the skillet mixture:

Stir until incorporated and stuff the skillet mixture back into the hollowed skins of the eggplant:

In a food processor, add the bread, anchovies and their packing oil, parmesan and parsley. Process until crumbly:

Coat the top of the eggplant with this mixture and drizzle with melted butter:

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the mixture is bubbling and the topping is golden brown:

This is the first version I did, and while it was delicious, it is not nearly as appealing. Differences: There was no bread crumb top. The tomatoes were sliced and placed on top of the eggplant mixture and the pesto spread on that and baked. Micro-planed parmesan was added after it was baked:

I love cooking. I love sharing cooking ideas. I love the challenge of a new dish. This is the first time I've done a dish "blind", so to speak. I hope I've done it justice. If the remnants on Byron's plate are anything to go by, it was a hit!



Monday, September 13, 2010

In for a Penny...In for a Pound. Cake, that is.

The title is my attempt to be clever; I'm on the redemption train for my absence from blogging for a while. "Chew, chew!!" :)

I suppose that whatever the slippery slope, I'm stuck here doing this, since food is a part of my soul, my very existence. I need to cook; I need to share it. So, here I am, as the mood strikes.

I've been thinking about recipes that are classics; pound cake is one. Many people don't know that the name comes from the actual weight of the ingredients in the original. A pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour, combined in that order to produce this amazingly adaptable and delicious, dense cake.

I had a bit of a major melt-down over doing this post, not because I was nervous about posting again after so long but because...I couldn't find my kitchen scales! I literally tore my house apart looking for them. It ended up my husband had taken them to our shop and hadn't returned them. The only good thing that came from the incident was I finally got around to cleaning out the catch-all-pit that is euphemistically called our guest room closet. :) So, moving on...scales found.

The reason I said this recipe is adaptable is...well, it IS! You can create any flavor you wish, simply by adding it to the basic recipe. In this version, I threw in the zest from one large lemon. Since I was planning on serving the cake with macerated blackberries, I wanted a hint of tart.

Pound Cake:

1 Pound Butter (Four sticks)
1 Pound Sugar (About 2 1/5 cups)
1 Pound Eggs (8-9 Large Eggs)
1 Pound Flour (4 cups)

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time; beating thoroughly between additions. Once the eggs are fully incorporated, gradually add the flour.

At this point, you may add any flavorings you choose.

Place the batter in greased and floured pan(s). Either two large loaf pans or a bundt/tube pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool fully. the pictoral:

The Infamous Scales:

A pound of butter:

A pound of sugar:

Cream the two ingredients in a heavy mixer:

A pound of eggs (in this case it was 9 large eggs):

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each one:

A pound of flour (added gradually):

The optional this case, the zest of one large lemon:

Grease and flour your pan:

Pour the batter into the readied pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour:

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes in the pan:

Remove from the pan and continue cooling on wire rack until fully cooled:

I macerated some blackberries for the cake. Maceration is simply to soften something in liquid. In this case, I coated the blackberries with sugar, which helps to draw out the natural juices. Cover the fruit with some sugar, stir it up and let it sit for about an hour:

I whipped some heavy cream with a titch of powdered sugar and a smidgen of vanilla, et voilĂ !

Yes. I ate some. Yes. It was stupendous. Don't read it and weep...bake it and eat!



Friday, November 6, 2009

The Slippery Slope

Food blogging can be a slippery slope. It's very easy to get over-invested in the blog and forget to have fun in the kitchen. I took a break from blogging for a while now; I've done this twice. I took breaks when it was evident that I was more concerned about a pretty picture than how a meal tasted...or when I freaked out if I didn't cook what I considered bloggable food.

These seem to be common feelings amongst food bloggers. I've read time and time again these same sentiments being expressed by others in the blogosphere. People quit and come back...and quit again, just as I have.

I've decided that blogging is something I really have to do...I'm drawn to it. I feel compelled to share food with people...even if nobody reads the blog, or comments. When I post, I've put it out there and it feels good to do just that part.

It's funny, but as I sat in the movie theater and watched Julie & Julia, I saw so much of myself in both of those women. The Julie in me is the one who is excited when anyone takes the time to make a comment on my food; the Julia in me is the older person who seeks more knowledge through culinary school (this is a bucket list item for me), simply for the love of excellent food.

I'm planning on live-streaming from my kitchen on November 25 and 26th as I prepare my Thanksgiving meal.

So, Hi there blogosphere! Nice to see you again!



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chorizo and Rice...It's Very Nice!

I was looking for inspiration a few days ago. When I posted that on my facebook status and asked if anyone had seen it, someone jokingly suggested that, "It might be in the cupboard behind the rice". That was all I needed! Rice! Of course!

But what to do with rice? So, I kept that thought in the back of my brain. Then, I was at The Market at Washington and High and saw that the butcher had some wonderful looking Mexican chorizo. That settled it! Chorizo and Rice!

What follows is my own recipe...that I came up with "on the fly" after having searched for recipes I liked and found them all wanting.

Actually, you could leave out the meat altogether and this would be a nice spicy rice dish. It's a one dish wonder!

Chorizo and Rice:

1 pound Mexican chorizo, remove casing, slice and brown
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 lime, juiced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and rough diced
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 box frozen corn, thawed
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups long grain rice

Garnish: Fresh cilantro


In a large pan that has a lid that fits tightly (I used my paella pan), brown the chorizo. I chose to have medallions of chorizo, rather than crumbled. Remove to a platter covered in paper towel and cover with foil.

While the chorizo browns, chop the onion, tomato, jalapeno and garlic. Juice the lime.

In the fat remaining in the pan, saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno for about 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and scrape up the bits. If you're making this a vegetarian dish, use about 1 tablespoons of olive oil to substitute for the pork fat.

Add the tomatoes and the beans and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the corn, tomato paste, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) and chicken stock and stir until the tomato paste dissolves. Then, add the rice and cover tightly. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until moisture is absorbed.

Now, I cheated...and opened the lid for a picture. Don't do this. :)

Once the rice is tender and the moisture absorbed, toss the chorizo back in and stir. Serve with fresh cilantro.

We had this warmed up for lunch today and it was yummy.

Like my marbles, I've lost inspiration again. Perhaps it's hiding in my pantry. *goes off to search*



Saturday, June 20, 2009

There's hell and then there's....Salad?

Yeah, so...what a post title, no? There's hell and then there's salad?

Allow me to explain, because this lovely salad was far from hell. In fact, it was heavenly.

Somehow, whenever it's hotter than Hades outside...that saying (with a twist) comes to mind. I knew someone once whose great-grandfather was incarcerated in a southern state during prohibition for running booze. This southern state in which he served his time was, shall we say, less than pleasant during the summer months. Upon his release, his only comment to his family about that time was, "Well, there's hell....and then there's...."

And, I've been thinking about culinary hell lately too. Stay's all ahead.

Bistro Salad...the perfect cure for hell on earth...or a hot day where you don't want to heat up your kitchen. This recipe is originally from Cooking Light and I found it here, where it is printable.

Bistro Dinner Salad:


3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
4 large eggs
Cooking spray
2 bacon slices (uncooked)
8 cups gourmet salad greens
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese
1 Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon*****
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Place nuts in a small skillet; cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

Break 1 egg into each of 4 (6-ounce) custard cups coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave at high for 40 seconds or until set; let stand 1 minute. Remove eggs from cups; drain on paper towels.

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; cool slightly. Remove bacon from the pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings. Crumble bacon. Combine walnuts, bacon, greens, blue cheese, and pear in a large bowl.

Combine 1 teaspoon reserved drippings, vinegar, oil, tarragon*****, and mustard in small bowl; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over greens mixture; toss gently. Arrange 2 cups salad mixture on each of 4 serving plates; top each serving with 1 egg.

My eggs turned out more done than I would have liked, but, it was hot and my microwave hates me...and I was out of more eggs...and I didn't want to go out and get really, just imagine them a tad softer. How hard is that?

So, here's where my very own hell comes in to play. Because I am sure I'm going to culinary hell...I have a confession to make. And since this is the internets, it's out there... I suppose I'm goin' down as hard as my eggs. Someone, please read me my know that one? The right to remain silent?

*****I loathe tarragon. There, I said it. I DO! I loathe it! Lock me up! Send me to hell! It won't matter... that stuff tastes like perfume to me! So, I substituted thyme in the dressing...which is all perfect with eggs, and which I love. I thyme...

Since I'm goin' down over this confession...I'll gladly serve my thyme in hell, just give me a few minutes to pack some of this salad in my hand basket. ;)