Thursday, December 27, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons....

 Make Candied Lemon Slices! WOO-HOO!!! 






Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mac-n-Cheese=Good. Mac-n-Three Cheese=BETTER!

This batch has Tillamook Cheddar, Muenster and Parmesan. Too much is never enough! My recommendation: Use a combination of cheeses whenever you make mac-n-cheese. Beats boxed crap full of chemicals EVERY time, even if you just use one type of cheese.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Successful Dish from Leftover Holiday Turkey

Turkey Croquettes! Okay, so they were patties. They cooked faster that way. The remainder of the Thanksgiving turkey went into these. Good stuff.

On a side note, the mixture itself would have made for some great turkey salad sandwiches<<<and that is coming from someone who is NOT a fan of chicken salad sandwiches. Tuna, sure. Never have cottoned to chicken salad, though. Maybe I will now, however.

You can view the recipe here: Baked Turkey Croquettes.

Baked Turkey Croquettes..err...umm...patties...Ha!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh! Those Thanksgiving Leftovers!

It was Day 5 of leftover turkey and ham. What to do, what to do? Luckily we had a free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. What does that mean? No funky flavor after two days of storage, that's what. Sometimes after only one day. That's what happens with the conventionally raised turkeys, anyway.

Do you know that funky flavor I'm talking about? It's a chemical flavor...that's the best way I can describe it. A strange aftertaste. That's the way it always was with the ever-popular Butterballs and other major brands. We stopped buying those many years ago.

Anyway, we had reached Day 5 of leftover turkey and ham. Since the meats were still very tasty, we had a Cobb Salad with turkey, ham, bacon, two cheeses-(Tillamook Cheddar and a Parmesan/Gouda Cheese-a lovely pairing, by the way.), carrots, red cabbage, cucumber, avocado, red onion and boiled eggs...all over a lovely mix of four different greens: Iceberg, Butter Lettuce, Romaine and spinach. Add to that some black olives, a nice green olive mix and some Chia seeds.

Was it good? Boy, oh boy! It was delicious! We never would have been able to pull off eating the leftover turkey in a salad on "Leftovers-Day 5," if we had used a turkey pumped full of growth hormones and other nasty stuff.

So...here it is, along with some other dishes we have enjoyed with the leftovers: Turkey and Dumplings and Ham-n-Cheddar Quiche.

The turkey and dumplings were plain with no veggies added. We had our veggies on the side. The quiche was made with leftover ham, Tillamook cheddar, Goat Feta Cheese, red bell, green bell, onion, and of course, eggs.

It has been a great year for Thanksgiving leftovers. There's still a bit of turkey left. I'm mulling over a couple of recipes in my head. We'll see if they "pan" out. That's pan out...get it? Ha ha ha! 

Cobb Salad        







Turkey-n-Dumplings      






Ham-n-Cheddar Quiche

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Love Food and Food Loves Me...

An accidental gravy heart on Thanksgiving. Not that mashed potatoes-(made with real butter and cream)-and gravy are particularly good for your heart...but...well...at least these are free of chemicals and other nasty additives. So I conclude that they are definitely better for you than other versions. Ha!

And were they good? OH, LAWDY!! They were goooooood!! It's okay to indulge once in a while, and Thanksgiving is surely the day to do it. 

Accidental Gravy Heart

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mushroom Overkill? Not at All!

You won't find a burger like this at a fast food joint! Here are the mouth-watering ingredients:

A Portabella(o) mushroom (for the patty), Muenster Cheese, Goat Cheese (locally produced), sauteed button mushrooms, sauteed red onions, roasted red bell pepper, and avocado. You doan need no stinkin' condiments!

Make this beauty at home. You'll never regret it!!  Click ***HERE*** for the standard version.

Double Mushroom, Double Cheese, Eat right up, It's Sure to Please!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Aaaaaaah!! What the Hell is it?

It looks like something Sigmund the Sea Monster left behind after one of his strolls on the beach!! Not even close, Friends and Neighbors!

It's a lovely pile of cabbage patties. Yum, yum, YUM! Growing up around Czechs and Germans will give you intimate knowledge about cabbage. There are many ways to prepare it and for all of the recipes I've seen and tasted so far, they're all good!

This one is as simple as can be: about 3 cups of shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup of thinly sliced onion (or more, if you like), 2 eggs, a dash of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp. of baking powder. Oh and salt & pepper to your taste.

Not fancy at all. A great companion dish for Polish sausage, German sausage, ham, pork loin, pork roast and even pork chops. Well, let's be honest, it's great with chicken and beef, too. I think it's good enough for the main dish in a vegetarian meal, too, especially with an interesting sauce to top it off.

Yummy Cabbage Patties

It's Broccoli's Time to Shine!

Broccoli is good to eat all year long but the holiday season kicks its popularity up a notch. The holiday season + cooler weather=the perfect excuse to make Broccoli Casserole.

Click here for my "cheater" version of Broccoli Casserole.

I have a better version with ingredients that are all made from scratch. I haven't gotten around to posting it yet. For that version it's best to plan ahead a little bit so you can make cream of mushroom soup and real cheese sauce instead of the "gloopy" canned stuff. The wholesome version still adds calories but has no unnecessary chemicals and other crap. In the meantime, check out the cheater version. 


Cooked Broccoli that's ready for some casserole action!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Restaurant Review to Tempt Your Taste Buds

Bad me! I haven't posted since October! I've been really busy lately with many things, including an additional writing gig with examiner.com. The presidential election also had me spellbound and I had some articles published with Yahoo! Contributor about the local scene during the election. I have a lot of material for the blog that I need to add as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's the link to a review of a restaurant I visited in October. It was a most excellent meal! Click on "Feast" below to visit my review and then go visit the restaurant itself if you're near Houston. Add it to your itinerary if you're planning to visit Houston.You will be happy you did!


 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vatrushky Night...Fun with Food!

A Lovely Vatrushka

Vatrushky, (the plural of vatrushka, much like kolache is the plural of kolach), are Russian cheese tarts that are savory instead of sweet. These tarts are very popular in the Ukraine and often served with dishes such as borscht.

I was doodling around one night, looking in a cookbook when I ran across a recipe for vatrushky. Had to try it out, of course.

The recipe called for cottage cheese which had to be drained for a few hours. For those interested, I used the entire tub of cottage cheese (16 ounces), and ended up with 2/3 of a cup of cottage cheese swill. (Which would have been great to use in another recipe, but alas! I didn't save it.)

These tarts are rolled out by hand but if you have some of those nifty mini-tart pans, those would do, too. Heck, you could get away with using a pie pan and just making one big one. But in the interest of making them the traditional way, I rolled them out.

These tarts are gooooood. The dough is superb. I think that it would be great in place of regular pie dough to make pies. I'm telling you, this is the closest recipe I've had where the dough tasted like communion wafers. If it was rolled thin enough, it would almost be spot on.

Anyhoo, I'm sure it was the sour cream in the recipe that made the dough so heavenly. Here's a link to a good vatrushky recipe if you're interested: Ukrainian Classic Kitchen. This is not the same recipe I used when I made my vatrushky, but it's close enough for a handshake.

Please enjoy my pictorial vatrushky adventure:


Roll out the dough: 4" circles
Crimp the sides

Add the filling

Glaze the whole tart with egg wash

The finished vatrushka!!

Happy Eating, Boys & Girls! :) 



Friday, September 28, 2012

Beef Stroganov

This is a dish that I hadn't made from scratch in at least 10 years, until last night. I used to live with someone who didn't like "wet dishes," that is--any dishes that were a "one-pot" meal with meat, veggies & gravy. The only exceptions were chili, soup, stew and even "Hamburger Helper" once in a while.

Even so, I made "wet dishes" on occasion and they were eaten and enjoyed. Some of them were even accepted into the house menu. Unfortunately, Beef Stroganov (or, if you prefer, Stroganoff), wasn't one of them.

There are a lot of variations for this recipe. Most of them contain beef, onions and sour cream. That's usually where the similarity ends. Some recipes have mushrooms and tomato sauce, but not all. Some recipes call for service with egg noodles; some call for rice.

I found a recipe that was shared with a traveler and it's supposed to be authentic. The preparation is a bit unusual. The onions are placed in the pan and the meat is placed on top of them and cooked on top of the onions until it has a "gloss." Only then are the sauce ingredients added. Then everything is mixed together and served with a Russian version of fried potatoes. There are no mushrooms in the authentic recipe.

The recipe, (and the origin of Beef Stroganov), can be found here: "The Food Trotter"

I'm planning on trying the Food Trotter's recipe very soon. The recipe I used last night was a lot less labor intensive than the recipe I used over 10 years ago. It calls for beef, mushrooms, onions, wine, butter, powdered mustard, a touch of sugar and only 1/2 cup of sour cream. It's a good recipe, and we had our Stroganov served over fusilli. It's not a very colorful dish, but it's damn good.

Beef Stroganov
Fresh Green Beans
Fresh Kale with Bacon & Onions

 
I found another Russian recipe I'll be making in a few days or so. I like to make these recipes not just for eating, but because it's fun to shout out the recipe in Russian when someone asks what I'm making. Almost as fun as it is shouting in German. :)

Have a great day, great adventures in your kitchen and happy eating! :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peaches 'n' Cream Pie

I love it in the laboratory and this pie was cobbled together on the fly with leftover dough and leftover pastry cream. I guess it should have been a cobbler instead, ha ha ha!

I didn't have quite enough dough to make a fancy, fluted crust for the edges so I studded the crust with some ground pecans. It didn't need a long baking time so the pecans were perfectly safe without one of those crust protectors.

The peaches were organic frozen peaches poached in organic peach preserves + their own juices. No other sugar was needed. Trust me on this! This particlar jar of peach preserves is very lovely but the preserves are so sweet they knock you right on your butt! We've been searching for alternative uses for these insanely sweet preserves besides using them for glazing fruit. I even added some to the leftover pastry cream (mixing well).

So I guess this is a "Frankenstein" pie...but we'll call it a "Frazier-stein" pie. Because...well, why not? Making things fun in the kitchen always brings great results! I know that there are people who are nervous in the kitchen and afraid of messing up but you just have to relax and have fun. Get in "THE ZONE." That's when you'll kick some serious butt! :)

Peaches-n-Cream Pie

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken Picatta--I Love It a Lotta!!

Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh at my lame title, ha ha! ;)

My cousin never had the pleasure of eating Chicken Picatta. (Is it picatta or piccata? There seems to be no universal agreement about this. Not even all Italians agree on the spelling.)

I decided to make some Chicken Picatta for supper and my cousin--(who can be like "Mikey" on occasion...remember that commercial?)--was dining with us. I have learned to emphasize certain items for certain people, if I'm asked to list ingredients in a recipe, and to downplay other ingredients. It's not to be mean or cruel. Sometimes ingredients just can't be substituted. Oh, they can be substituted and the dish will still be edible but it won't have the same classic taste.

Well, I didn't have capers for the dish last night so I threw in some fresh mushrooms. It was good and still had a ghostly flavor of "traditional" picatta. It didn't have the delightful explosion of flavor that the capers provide, though.

My cousin liked it, though, and she enjoyed the orzo as well. (She'd never had that, either.) She went back for seconds and all we had left to put away in the fridge later was a little smidge of chicken and a few mushrooms. A big WIN! WOO-HOO! :)

My next goal is to make sure I get some capers so I can see how well she likes the classic recipe.

Side View: 
 
 
Chicken Picatta w/Mushrooms, Orzo & Fresh Green Beans


Top View:
 


Chicken Picatta with Mushrooms, Orzo & Fresh Green Beans

 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bitter Cucumbers--Does Cutting & Rubbing Remove Bitterness?

Old Wives' Tale?

We had a very large discussion about bitter cucumbers last night. This was a big practice in our family, at least on the Czech side. Mom doesn't remember Great-Grandma Hintz (the German side) doing this, and neither do I. (I remember Great-Grandma Hintz's "cottage of tomatoes," though...that's definitely a story all its own and I'll have to remember to cover it in another post).

E.J. remembers her mom doing this (her mom was my great-aunt, Albina). My Czech grandma, Nan and Aunt Albina swore that this helped remove the bitterness in cucumbers. Their parents told them so, and so they continued the practice unfailingly.

The consensus as of last night is this: E.J. still faithfully executes the practice of rubbing. Mom does it only once in a while. I don't do it at all any more because I stopped being a believer some years ago.

This doesn't mean I am shaming my ancestors or being unloyal to them, as the tone in E.J.'s voice suggested when I told her that I don't do it anymore.

I don't do it anymore because I don't believe it works. There. I said it. I don't believe it works because some years back when we had a bountiful explosion of cucumbers in the garden, I did some experimenting on my own.

I noticed that the bitterness was at the stem end most of the time. Sometimes it did travel farther or was even in other areas but for the most part--the stem end was the problem. So I just started cutting off the stem end (and farther up if necessary).

I noticed that when there was bitterness in the cuke, there was usually an area that looked drier and spongey. I thought it might be related. (I also noticed that if I forgot to water the garden and the cucumber vines got too dry, the cukes were almost always bitter).

We didn't have the internet back then and I didn't go tearing off to the library to get into the reference books. I had plenty of cucumbers to study.

Cucumber Pickin' on the World Wide Web

After our large discussion last night, I decided to do a little research and see if I could find some definitive answers about rubbing the cut end of the cucumber to the other end in order to remove bitterness.

It was an interesting search. I found that the practice is not limited to the South. It's all over the U.S. It's not limited to Czechoslovakians, either. There are Germans who engage in this practice. Some Canadians do it. I found some British practitioners, too. I found practitioners in India as well, but in that instance, I found that the family rubbed the cut end on the cuke to get rid of "latex." (Is the word latex in India exchangeable for the English word for bitter? I don't think so but I didn't look into that little tidbit in depth).

There were variations in the way to do it, and different explanations as to why it worked. Some Canadian practitioners said you must cut both ends off and make notches on the ends before rubbing. An American variation stated that you must sprinkle salt on the end before rubbing.

All of the practitioners that I discovered while I was searching were doing this because it had been passed down the family line. I couldn't find any hard scientific data about this practice. (Yes, I even checked "Snopes," but the only discussion about it was limited to the message boards.)

Am I lookin' for cukes in all the wrong places?

I did find some information at Washington State University about removing bitterness from cucumbers. Cut off the stem end and/or peel the cucumber. You can also slice it, salt it and let it sit for a while, then rinse and prepare as normal. No mention of rubbing.

So Does it Work or Not?

I noticed that many people who engage in this practice either claim that the bitterness is the foaming that is produced by the rubbing or that the bitterness is removed by the "capillary effect." The "capillary effect" subscribers claim that the bitterness always runs underneath the skin of the cuke.

Everyone has explanations about why this practice supposedly works and variations of the practice.

Well, I vote no. It doesn't work. I apologize to any ancestors or anyone else that I may be offending or if it seems like I am blaspheming to make this admission, (I guess E.J. thinks I am nothing but a Benedict Arnold), but I just don't believe in this anymore. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in magic, especially "Kitchen Magic," but this? No.

Show me some definite, hard facts and I will change my mind. Find me a white-haired scientist with bushy eyebrows that conducted actual physical experiments on cucumbers and then measured the results with delicate instruments.

Oh, and I have to add: the bitter cukes are most common if you raise them yourself or buy them at farmer's markets and such. The variety used for pickling seem to be the most susceptible. Another "official" site claimed that commercially grown cukes are bred so that the amount of bitter compounds are reduced. (I can't find the site now but I'm sure that this is probably true since we live in a world of "Frankenfood.")

I would love to know the origin of this practice. Does your family do it? Please leave me some feedback. It really is one of those great mysteries. We'll call it: "The Cucumber X-Files." I think this mystery would leave Mulder and Scully in a pickle. Ha ha ha! ;)

Have a great day! :)


                                                   Hot Dog! He's a Pickle Pickin' Puppy!   
 
                                               (Photo courtesy of Electron at Wikimedia Commons).            
 
                                          
                                         
                                         


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pamper Yourself.....with a Jalapeno Omelette

I was dining alone one night and I really wanted an omelette. Not just because I wanted to eat one. I really wanted to make one because they are fun to make. (We had a good portion of leftover chicken chili in the fridge, so I wasn't sure if I should. I should just eat the chili, really.) Then I thought: Why not? I can make a version of "huevos rancheros"--omelette style.

The result was very pleasing aesthetically and the flavor was fabulous. So I started thinking about a lot of things. I enjoy pampering others with wonderful food from the kitchen. Why not pamper myself sometimes? We all should. Instead of getting dinner together in a slapdash fashion when dining alone--make it fancy once in a while. Pretend you are "The Chef" and you are preparing a meal for royalty. Actually, pretend you are making it for someone special, because you are! (I must add: I consider all recipients of my kitchen creations as royalty. Special and royalty.)

I just have to add: Hey, this lovely meal was made using leftovers!! Isn't this far better than going through the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant? Honey, does a chicken poop in the coop? HELL YEAH!

So here it is, a lovely jalapeno omelette. Fresh jalapeno (small dice) was added to the beaten eggs before cooking. You can see the Monterrey Jack cheese that's inside the omelette peeking out, like a movie teaser clip.

The omelette is topped with leftover homemade chicken chili. The chicken was freshly ground thighs from Whole Foods. There was no "eau de dishrag" odor when the chicken was cooking. (That happens with ground poultry sometimes, but not when the ground poultry is fresh and organically grown.)

Topping the chili: a little grated Tillamook Cheddar and some more diced, fresh jalapeno. Serve with your choice of tortillas--in this case, two white corn tortillas.

It was a very good supper. I recommend that you try this at home. Less than 10 minutes and you gots a great meal, Y'all!!! WOO!! :)

Jalapeno Omelette


Let Them Eat Cake....(and Torte)....Ha ha ha!

I have been away too long. It started with computer issues and then just grew into a need to be unplugged for a while...a vacation from technology. At least for the most part. So now I have a lot of catching up to do.

I had the privilege of making a cake for a party for my cousin and a friend. Originally there was going to be one cake but since there were some bananas that were about to commit suicide, I ended up making 2 cakes. Well, one was a torte, actually.

The chocolate torte was nothing that fancy--the fillings were simple:  chocolate pastry cream and seedless raspberry preserves. The frosting was a simple combination of whipped cream folded into the remainder of the pastry cream. I needed something for the top and simply grated some chocolate over it. Believe me, I would have used chocolate sprinkles if there were any in the cabinet.

Go ahead and laugh. Yeah, chocolate sprinkles. Sprinkles are fun, especially the rainbow-colored ones. I don't think anyone is ever too old for sprinkles.

For the banana cake, which I dubbed, "Banana Pudding Cake," I just added plain pastry cream on the bottom layer and added some banana slices before topping with the second layer. I iced it with fresh whipped cream and crushed some vanilla wafers for a little extra decoration.

I admit that I could have been neater but I was tired after cooking all day and I don't have one of those nifty turntables that make cake decorating so easy. Maybe I can use the old stereo turntable for that purpose...hey, it's electric too. Wooooo! Fancy!! Ha ha!

But then, I am my own worst critic. I guess I'll just have to borrow a saying that a chef I know likes to use: They are rustic. Ha ha!! Yes, they are!

The flavor of each dessert made everyone happy, including the birthday boy and girl. Both the torte and the cake had a very light flavor....they weren't overbearingly sweet. That's always a good thing.

Well, I have gabbed enough for one evening. Here are the pictures of the birthday goodies....oh wait, just one more thing--I regret that I didn't get shots of individual slices but it was a long day of cooking for me. I did the whole menu on this day.

Okay, here they are.

As always......Happy Eating!! 


 
Chocolate Torte

 

 
Banana Puddin' Cake
 



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fried Rice...One Bowl is Never Enough!

I made some beautiful fried rice for supper the other night. With rice this good, do you really need anything else? No, but if you want to add a nice side salad to go with it, that's okay, too. Gee, I wish I had some right now but I ate all of it in less than a day (for breakfast, lunch & supper). I guess another batch is in order. Sounds like a great idea to me! :)

Fried Rice with Napa Cabbage & Baby Bok Choy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Coleman Organic Chicken

Look at the gorgeous bird below...it's a Coleman Organic Chicken! Recently I published a product review about this beautiful chicken, which can be seen here:



Coleman Organic Chicken--Ready for Service

A Few Words about Chicken Nuggets....




Last week my cousin offered me a sample of some chicken nuggets that she'd purchased at a local fast food restaurant. I'm not going to mention any names here but one of the main colors used by this establishment is orange. The other is white. 

I bit into a chicken nugget. At first chew, it tasted okay and I was pleased to see that appeared to be made with real pieces of chicken, rather than the "mechanically separated" and "glued back together" version. 

I hadn't finished chewing completely before the horror struck my taste buds. Whatever they use in the batter for these nuggets tastes extremely bad--they're too salty, for one, but the chemical aftertaste was far worse.  Whoever had this "bright idea" for a recipe should have to go to a chicken farm and clean out the chicken coops for a week! Terrible! Awful! Yuck! 

I am disappointed in this establishment. These were some of the worst chicken nuggets I've ever tasted, and that includes the ones that don't use whole chicken pieces. I think they should remove them from the menu post-haste.

I might not have noticed if I had dipped them in any sauces first, but I doubt it. It could be that my taste buds just won't tolerate this kind of junk anymore...I eat fast food on VERY rare occasions, so my palate is not subjected to a lot of processed food. 

I used to eat burgers from this establishment occasionally, but I haven't in many years. The last time I did, they were still making burgers to order. They were okay. Nothing to dance in the street about, but okay. I think they should stick to burgers, really. 

Maybe I'm not being fair and I should give these nuggets another chance. I ate a total of four...all that my cousin had left in her box that she didn't want to eat. I guess I should have asked her the real reason she didn't finish them. I only ate them because I didn't want to seem rude by refusing her offer. Mistake! But I do hate to waste food and I certainly wouldn't have fed those things to any animals....so I went ahead and took a bullet. (Four of them, to be exact). 

Should I give them another chance? Not on my wallet!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And Now...Dessert...Thanks to the Screaming Strawberries...

You can view this super fast, easy recipe here:


Another recipe was born in Dr. Frazier-stein's lab yesterday. This recipe was conceived because of the strawberries.

Mom: "Please do something about those strawberries. Please stop them from screaming!"

Me: "Okay."

I cleaned them up and threw them in a pot with some sugar on low heat. I remembered that there were some strawberries that were in the freezer...I had placed them there last month (or maybe the month before), so I decided to throw those in, too.

While rummaging around...I saw some cranberries that Mom bought at a farmer's market in Oregon when she was visiting my sister last year. The cranberries were still beautiful, and amazingly enough--free from frostbite. I threw them in with the strawberries.

At first I thought I was going to make a pie or a cobbler with this mixture. Then I thought about manicotti. I could stuff them with some cream cheese and we could eat them with the compote and some whipped cream.

The store was out of manicotti shells so I grabbed some jumbo pasta shells instead.

They worked fine, and those who made ugly faces at the thought of sweet pasta (maybe they were thinking about "Elf"), enjoyed the quick dessert. I'll post the recipe here after I write it down. I'm going to tweak it around next time, maybe. I'm happy that the first try turned out so well.

I didn't have any pastry tips handy or I would have made it look a little fancier: 

Stuffed Jumbo Shells & Fruit Compote







Sunday, July 15, 2012

Patti Jean Rock Cornish Game Hens Review

Please visit: 


For a brief history about the origin of Rock Cornish Game Hens and my review on Patti Jean hens.


The Newest Creature from Dr. Fraziersteins lab: Zucchini Boats

Dr. Frazierstein has been in the laboratory again. It's alive!! Alive!! Here is a vegetarian recipe that's very tasty and super easy to prepare: 

Zucchini Boats
Maybe they should have been called "Zucchini Canoes," but "boats" is what stuck, so there you are. 

View the recipe with lots of great pictures here: 

Introducing: The Lancon Burger!

A meal on a whim produced a burger legacy that has spanned decades: 

The Lancon Burger

Catch the full store along with the recipe here: 



Happy Eating!

Friday, July 13, 2012

We Doan Need No Stinkin' Condiments!

Here is a burger to delight vegetarians and carnivores alike. This is not my recipe, let me be clear on that. This is my interpretation of a recipe from the Art Institute. It is (or was) served in the restaurant there. The restaurant is open to the public at a certain time of day. I don't know the current schedule but I'll find out and post it here. There are a lot of good menu items served there, and it helps the students when the public dines there.

I did not sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding recipes, so I'm hoping they won't mind if I post this on my blog. If they do mind, I guess I'll be hearing from the legal department, lol.

This burger is made using Portabello Mushrooms. Portabello, Portobello, Portabella...however you wanna spella', it's a damn good burger.

Portabello Burger

This one is very simple. You need: sauteed red onion, roasted red bell peppers, avocado, mozzarella cheese (muenster is good, too) and portabello mushrooms. That is it. That is all. Fin.

  1. Clean the mushrooms (snap the step out of each if there is a stem to be snapped). Brush the mushrooms with olive oil, or spray them with your handy-dandy cooking oil spray. Grill them, broil them, or simply toss them in a skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2.  Put them on paper towels, gill side down and let them drain while you prepare the other goodies.
  3.  Roast a red pepper in the oven on broil.  (You can also buy these pre-roasted and stored in olive oil--Marzetti's is a good brand.) Let cool and peel off skin. Slice lengthwise into 1/4" pieces. 
  4. Slice onion into 1/4" half slices. Saute in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter or olive oil until soft. It's cool if you get some browning on the onions, just don't overdo it.  
  5. Lightly toast your buns, if you like toasted buns. If not, then don't do it. Cover and set aside. 
  6. Flip mushrooms onto a pan, gill side up. Season with salt and pepper. Cover each mushroom with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Place in oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. 
  7. While the cheese is melting, peel and slice your avocado. 
  8. Build your burger: Mushroom with cheese on the bottom of bun, add a generous helping of sauteed red onion, then your roasted red bell pepper. Top with slices of avocado. 
  9. Now chow down! You doan need no stinkin' condiments on this burger! 
You can find the complete ingredient list & recipe here: 

Here's what it looks like before you close it up.





If you don't want "purdy" avocado slices, or if the avocado isn't cooperating with you; just scoop it out and mash it, then use it that way instead.

Damn Good Burger! I'll take 2, please?


 Look at it, so quiet and unassuming. It's just waiting to surprise you with the flavorful ingredients hiding inside.

Oh, one final note: I don't peel my mushrooms. Whatever for? You can if you want to. It's a personal preference. Also, this burger is good when made using whole wheat buns, but we couldn't find any in town.

Whole wheat or white, I absolutely recommend using buns with NO high-fructose corn syrup! Luckily, these particular buns don't carry HFCS disease. WOO-HOO!!

I think I covered all you need to know in order to make this burger. If anything isn't clear, feel free to write me for clarification. 

Happy Eating!! :)



Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Was a Lovely Supper Indeed.....

.....with a version of Cobb Salad....or you can simply call it a Chef's Salad. Whatever you call it...make sure you call me when it's ready!! :)


This yummy salad was made with: Iceberg & Leaf Lettuce, baby Bok Choy, seedless cucumbers, red cabbage, baby tomatoes, and carrots for the base. Then it was topped with: pepper bacon, boiled eggs, real cheddar cheese and Black Forest Ham. Also added after the picture was taken: red onion, avocado, black olives and green olives--(the green olives were stuffed with jalapenos and garlic).

I made a quick dressing with: 2 garlic cloves, mayo, apple cider vinegar, milk, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, 2 cucumbers, salt, pepper, sugar, dill weed and a bit of green bell pepper. All whirled in the blender until well combined.

It was damn good...I don't know what you'd call it, maybe it was a bastardized version of Green Goddess-- (but I think G.G. has sour cream in it? Can't remember)--but whatever. It was good. Isn't that all that matters? If I can remember the measurements of everything I threw in there, I will surely share that, too. I might have to make it again and measure a little more carefully first, though, lol. :)

I would pay a good chunk of change for this salad in a restaurant, if I knew that this is the salad I'd be paying for. Hell yeah!

Happy Eating!!! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Shrimp Gumbo, Baby! OWOOOOOO!!!!!!

We enjoy making many different versions of gumbo in the kitchen and this is one of them:

Shrimp Gumbo #568!!

This wasn't my project but I can testify that it is a recipe that's fast and easy to prepare. We even had fresh okra for this version. Yum, yum and YUM!!

Salad Doesn't Have to be Borrrrriiiiiinnnng......

I have an opinion about bagged salads. Don't buy them. If you have any, throw them out--(but throw them in the compost pile, not the garbage).

Why?

Because they are overpriced and their nutritional content is questionable. Vegetables that have been cut lose their nutritional content much faster than whole vegetables.

Consider how long that bag you're thinking about buying has been banging around at the processing facility before it's even shipped. Then add shipping time and the time it takes to get it out on display after it reaches the grocery store.

Most of the time, the lettuce in the bagged salads has already started to rust before you even get it home and tear it open.

Yeah, don't waste your money. If you want "pre-made" salads so you can save time in the kitchen, you're better off preparing them yourself. Make enough for a whole week. Yes, you will lose nutritional content but not near as much as those crappy bagged salads. Plus--it's far more economical and you can create your own great vegetable combinations.

Check this one out:

This salad has: Iceberg & Leaf Lettuce, baby Bok Choy, red cabbage, carrots, seedless cucumbers, baby tomatoes, red onion and avocado (not pictured). 

Mmm, mmm, mmmmm!! So nice and fresh! Just ready to be dressed with your favorite dressing.

You can get away with lettuce, cabbage and carrots prepared ahead of time--then add the rest of the goodies when you're ready to serve it. 

Just please...do yourself and your family a favor and stay away from those nasty bagged things. 

The only time I ever make an exception with those is when I want to buy baby greens. Unless I want to drive 45 minutes to an hour, bagged baby greens or Mesclun salad are all that are available where I live.  If the bagged version is available at all. 

No separate radicchio or dandelion leaves can be found here in Tiny Town. (Well, okay--dandelion leaves can be found outside at certain times of the year, lol.)

More on salads later. Until then...Happy Eating!!! :)



Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Dream of Chicken with the Light Brown Skin

Beautiful Golden Bird...supper was great on Saturday night...

Fresh from the Oven

The recipe for this incredibly moist chicken can be found at the link below:

 Use this recipe and your chicken will always turn out moist and beautiful. It's a good idea to truss your bird. This one had a wing which escaped from its moorings but it still turned out perfect. 

Ready for the Oven


Organic Chicken from Costco 

I feel a product review coming on! This bird was from Costco. These chickens have the neck and giblets enclosed. I remember a time when all chickens had that, but you don't see it much anymore. Mostly you just get the bird and they save the other stuff to sell separately in order to make more $$$.

I hope you have a Costco near you so you can try this chicken. Or maybe you can find it at another store. I've only seen them at Costco in our area.

At Costco, these chickens come in a 2-pack. I fabricated the other bird and put it in storage. Hmmm....we haven't had fried chicken since last month. So, the other bird may end up fried, though I did hear mutterings of Chicken Gumbo. Heh heh heh....we'll see!


Happy Eating! :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

There's a New Kid in Town

I made a great discovery while I was in Walgreen's yesterday. Hidden in the back on the painkiller aisle lies a young man's dream. He dreamed of producing a candy with all natural ingredients instead of crap. You know, all the stuff you can't even pronounce, much less guess at what the heck it might be. It's called: "Unreal Candy."

This candy should be at the front of the store. While I can appreciate the idea of candy as a painkiller, Walgreen's, this candy company deserves a more prominent place in your stores.

Unreal Candy, Candy "Unjunked"

 Unreal Candy #8

Unreal Candy #77


Just look at it. Doesn't it look great? Don't you want some right now? Sure you do! Go find it! Let's support this company that's offering such a quality product. We all know that candy isn't good for us but we all deserve a treat now and then. Why not make it a treat with all natural ingredients? 

You can read my review of this product here: "Unreal Candy."





Friday, July 6, 2012

Because...Bacon Cheddar Fries, That's Why!

I was cooking supper for one last night. I wasn't sure what to cook at first, but there was pepper bacon in the fridge. Hmm....what to do with that pepper bacon? I almost made bacon and eggs. Then I decided to make Bacon Cheddar Fries, even though I really didn't feel like it. I knew if I didn't, I would be plagued by the thought of them until I did. Any junkety-junk-junk from a fast food restaurant wasn't going to cut it, either. So I got busy cutting bacon and potatoes....and it didn't take long at all to do the rest.




 Click below for the yummy recipe: 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Swift Stuffed Mushrooms

I decided to share the recipe here for the "Patriotic Mushrooms" I made yesterday. I've never used mayonnaise in a stuffed mushroom recipe but I needed a little extra moisture for the stuffing, so I used mayo as a quick binder. Everyone loved them! Click on the link under the picture to see the recipe. Enjoy! :)


July 4th Food and Fun!

Ah yes, the 4th of July...Independence Day. We celebrated with a small party of 5. The menu included Pheasant Under Glass, Duchesse Potatoes, Baby Asparagus with White Truffle Sauce, and.....

Wait a minute! Are you kidding me? We had Patriotic Food!!

Grilled hot dogs, Homemade Chili, Multi-Colored Cole Slaw and Stuffed Mushrooms. Are stuffed mushrooms patriotic? Well...they are now!



Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! Good ol' hot dogs on "white-trash" buns! Grilled some white-trash wieners, too. Why white-trash? Well, I've been accused of being white trash once or twice, so why not have a little fun with it?



Here are the stars of our show: Some Johnsonville sausages with cheddar cheese, turkey franks, white-trash wieners and really skinny pork sausages. I think the skinny sausages were made in Bellville but I can't swear to it. I didn't see the package. Four kinds of dogs to decorate our buns. Now that's "eatin' nasty!" WOO!




Here's the Johnsonville package. I wanted to post it because it has a personal pet peeve. "Beddar with Cheddar."

This is part of a big problem in America. Companies enjoy using misspelled words to sell products because they feel it is cute or catchy. Well, it contributes to the "dumbing-down" of America. That is my opinion. It may have been cute in the beginning (and that is debatable), but so many companies have resorted to this tactic that it really isn't cute anymore.

That was my only gripe of the day. I don't want to go on and on about it here, but I had to mention it. I just don't want to see America end up like the America in "Idiocracy." Ever see that movie? Sheesh!! It's more accurate than it should be!!

Have a fabulous day and as always....Happy Eating!! :)



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Cousin Suffers from "FIAS"-Food Ingredient Avoidance Syndrome

My cousin cracks me up sometimes. When it comes to food, she can be like a little kid. Remember "Mikey?" Yeah, she's like that. She hates everything. I don't dare tell her what ingredients I'm going to use. On Tuesday, everyone wanted spaghetti and meatballs for supper. My cousin asked me about the meatballs:

E.J.: "Do they have onions in them?"

Me: "Yes."

E.J.: "Ughhhh!"

Me: "...and garlic and parmesan cheese, too."

E.J.: "Ughhhhh!"

I flipped through the recipe rolodex in my mind, searching for something she may have eaten that had parmesan cheese.

Me: "Have you ever eaten Fettuccine Alfredo?"

E.J.: "Is that the stuff with the white sauce?"

Me: "Yes. It has parmesan in it. Did you like it?"

E.J.: "I guess."

Me: ".......*sigh*........well, if you cook savory food you have to use those ingredients. Otherwise, what's the point?"

E.J.: "Yeah, true."

Me: "Okay, I will leave some meatballs plain. How's that?"

E.J.: "Okay."

So I lied. I didn't leave any of them plain. And you know what? She loved them! She ate all of her meal right down to the plate bone. I asked her how many points I got. She said, "10."

I could tell she wasn't fibbing because she really ate as if she was enjoying the food, rather than forcing it down. Plus, when she doesn't like something, she'll pick it out of her food. None of that occurred. All I can say is: Yay!!


Homemade meatballs and homemade sauce. The spaghetti wasn't homemade, but it was imported from Italy. That's the next best thing to having homemade pasta. Italy knows pasta. (Yeah, I know, "DUH!")

Seriously, American pasta just can't hold a candle. Sure, you can boil the hell out of any pasta and ruin it, but Italian pasta holds together a lot better and it can take some abuse before it gives up the goat.

American pasta is processed differently and if you overcook it for even a few extra seconds, you're screwed. You have pasta earthworms. Just as well throw it out to the chickens. Always use Italian pasta. It's the "Terminator" of pastas. (If you don't know what that means, then go rent "The Terminator," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, rent them all.)



Of course, we had to have garlic bread. I made some "Cheater Garlic Bread." This is the recipe I use when I want to make garlic bread faster. It's a good recipe, which uses garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. Since my back told me I was about done in the kitchen after I made the meatballs and sauce, Cheater Garlic Bread was definitely the way to go on Tuesday night.

Wednesday is the 4th of July, so have a wonderful holiday!