Friday, December 31, 2010

Bloody Mary or Ceasar

I thought this recipe would be appropriate as New Year's approaches.  I've heard that it's good to drink vitamin C when you're hungover.    I also wanted to add these recipes as an homage to the Caesar.  That's what I was used to drinking while in Canada.  I was saddened to learn upon my return to the US, that most restaurants and bars thought a Caesar was just a salad and I had to resort to making them at home. 

What's a Caesar?


Although a Bloody Mary and a Caesar may look alike, they are worlds of taste apart.  Both drinks are made with vodka, but it is the clam juice that gives the Caesar its zesty bite.  In its homeland, Canada, the Caesar is second in popularity only to the Screwdriver and not just for breakfast. 
As the story goes,  the Caesar was created in 1969 when upper management at the Calgary Westin asked their bar manager, a fellow by the name of Walter Chell, to mix up a cocktail for a contest to mark the opening of their Italian restaurant, called Marco's.  In preparation for the contest, Walter spent three months developing the Caesar recipe.

Most recipes for both the Caesar and Bloody Mary are pretty much the same.  Vodka, tomato juice or clam juice, Worcestershire and lime, and a dash of hot sauce.  And be sure not to forget the garnish, our favorites are a piece of celery and a pickle spear.

Bloody Mary

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Vodka
3 oz Tomato juice
1 dash Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
1 wedge Lime

Mixing instructions:
Shake all ingredients (except lime wedge) with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the wedge of lime and serve.

Bloody Caesar
Ingredients:
1 oz Vodka
Celery salt
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
Clamato juice
Salt and Pepper

Mixing instructions:
Rim tall glass with celery salt, fill with ice and ingredients. Garnish with a celery stick, straw, and lime.

In case you like Tequila more than Vodka, here's another geographic variation.

Bloody Maria
Ingredients:
1 oz Tequila
2 oz Tomato juice
1 dash Lemon juice
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 dash Celery salt
1 slice Lemon

Mixing instructions:
Shake all ingredients (except lemon slice) with cracked ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Add the slice of lemon and serve.

Caesar Calienté
• 6 oz. Clamato
• 1 1/4 oz. vodka
• Dash Worcestershire sauce
• Dash hot red pepper sauce
• Celery salt (on rim)
• Celery garnish

Southern Caesar
• 6 oz. Clamato
• 1 1/4 oz. bourbon
• Dash Worcestershire sauce
• Celery garnish

Bloody Mary
• 4 cups Clamato
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
• Dash hot red pepper sauce
• 7 1/2 oz. vodka
• Cooked shrimp or lemon wedges, for garnish


In a 1 1/2 quart container, combine Clamato, lemon juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, black pepper, celery salt and hot red pepper sauce; refrigerate until chilled. At serving time, fill 5 (10 oz.) glasses with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. vodka to each glass. Fill with Clamato mixture. Garnish each glass with a shrimp or lemon wedge. Makes 5 servings.


Stay thirsty my friend.

We in no way condone drinking.  Please drink responsibly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fortified Wine

When I think of port, I would think of old dockworkers standing around a barrel only lit by the light of a candle that's sticking out of an old chianti bottle.   To me port was an old man's sipping drink. 
Port is a fortified wine originating from northern Portugal.  Fortified wine is wine that has additional alcohol added to it. (regular table wine has an alcohol content from 12 -14%).  Port is made my adding grape brandy to the wine as it is fermenting.

But while looking for wine accessories in after Christmas sales, I found these interesting glasses for port.  (Click Wine Enthusiast for more info).  Considering it is something that should be sipped, this give the usual plastic straw a creative twist.
Fortified wine makes me think of winos and cheap booze.  It doesn't bring to mind port or vermouth.  Yes, vermouth.  While learning about wine, I discovered that vermouth is just fortified wine and not a liquor like I thought it was.  It's flavored with aromatic herbs and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, marjoram and chamomile.

Stay thirsty my friend!

Pockets - o - turkey

Instead of eating a ton turkey this year, I wanted options.  So this year, I tried to be frugal and continue on with our tradition of using what we had on hand. 

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups of chopped dark turkey meat
Leftover gravy
Oil

Directions:
Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a cookie sheets with cooking spray.
In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix and boiling water until dough forms.
Place dough on surface sprinkled with Bisquick mix; roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Knead 20 times.
Divide dough into 6 balls. Return balls to bowl; cover with plastic wrap.
Pat or roll 1 ball of dough into 7-inch round.
Place oil in a pan and cook carrots and celery until soft, stir in chopped turkey
Spoon some turkey mixture onto half of the Bisquick round, top with 2 tablespoons of gravy; moisten edge of round with water. Fold other half of dough round over filling; press edge with fork to seal.  Cut a few slits in top of each for steam to escape.
Place on cookie sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Brush tops of foldovers with oil mixture
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Stay hungry my friend!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spinach and Chicken

The only bad thing about buying in bulk, is that, when you only have 2 people to cook for you have to get really creative, especially when you have 3 pounds of spinach too use and there is only so much steamed spinach you can eat.

I also live with a giant mouse, who insists on buying a new cheese everytime we go to Costco.  Sometimes our finds are good, sometimes, you have to find out what to do with 2 pounds of salty cheese.

This recipe will be an attempt to blend the two.

Spinach stuffed chicken

Ingredients & Directions
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
3 cups torn fresh spinach
1 small red onion chopped
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons salt-free option (Like Mrs. Dash)
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ cup of lemon juice (enough to cover the bottom of pan)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, cook spinach in 1/2 in. of water over medium heat just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain and set spinach aside. In the same skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender; add spinach and set aside. (I cooked the garlic with the spinach).

Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness.  Place chicken breasts in bowl with cayenne, salt-free herbs, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Lay chicken breasts out on counter and spread spinach mixture down the center of each chicken breast, top with 2 scoops of shredded cheese. Fold one side over filling and roll up tightly; secure with a toothpick.

Place seam side down in shallow baking dish and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 400°F  or until chicken is fully cooked. Keep warm in oven while sauce is being made.

Sauce
2 cups of spinach
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana
1 cup hard cheese grated (I used pecorino, since we had a huge block of that left over)
2 cups chicken stock

Place spinach in blender or food processor with Dijon and flour (I added a few fresh sprigs of garlic chives, just because I had a pot full of them). Puree. Bring stock to low simmer and stir in flour mixture, cook for 3 minutes. Add Crema Mexicana and cook for 3 more minutes then remove from heat. Stir in grated cheese until just melted, season to taste and serve over chicken breasts immediately.

Stay hungry my friend

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Brine a turkey

Every year around the holidays there is always talk about brining a turkey, but it seems I've never gotten around to it.  This year, with a few days planning and a whole lotta talk about brine, I decided to do it!  It is a time consuming matter and requires four hands, two of which I didn't have and while placing the turkey in the bag, I almost lost the turkey.

What does brining do?  Well, it tenderizes the meat while adding flavor.  The typical brine recipe usually involves salt, sugar, water and spices.  While reviewing the plethora of information there is out there, I found these similarities, then I just worked with what I had on hand.

My brine:
1 cup of kosher salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used brown sugar instead of molasses so it wouldn't be as sweet)
8 cups of water
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
Lime

Dissolve the sugar and salt in boiling water.  Let the water cool.
I used the oven bags that you use to cook the turkey, to hold the brine (double bag the oven bags)
Remove the goodies from the turkey cavity and replace with a bunch of thyme and rosemary as a quartered lime.  Place the turkey in the bags.
Pour the cooled liquid into the bag.
Remove as much air from the bag as possible and tie tight.
Place in fridge or your cooling unit.  Just be sure to keep the brine under 40 degrees.
I had a 16 lbs turkey, so I marinated for 24 hours, rotating the turkey before I went to bed.

Once you're done brining, remove the meat from the brine, pat it dry and cook it the same way you would otherwise.  I like wrapping my turkey in bacon, the skin comes out nice and crispy when done!


Funny thing did happen while doing this though. Friends had told me that I would need a ton of ice and a large plastic container to hold the turkey and it's brine overnight. So I went out and bought (5) seven pounds of ice, thinking that my refrigerator would not hold it. But it did, so I then had 35 pounds of ice. No worries though, the ice was not wasted, it was a weekend of margaritas.


Stay hungry my friend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leftover Cheese?

First off, there is really no such thing as left over cheese.  It all has a use, but after hosting a wine and cheese party you may feel as though you bought way too much and people didn't eat enough.  This recently happened to me after hosting my first tasting.  Buying cheese is the funnest part, trying different flavours, smelling the interesting characters of each milky concoction, but a fridge full of bits and pieces of a melange of cheeses, you can only eat so much cheese and crackers.
This time around I wanted to try and make something out of my leftovers.  Since I don't have a panini grill on hand, I settled for my trusty sandwich maker and a buttery grilled cheese.  there are recipes out there to make actual sandwiches with meat, but I chose to stay true, and just slapped together some bread and cheese. 
For me a perfect grilled cheese is plain ol' store brand whole wheat bread and processed cheese.  You know the kind, where you have to unwrap each slice, and that it's not really cheese, but oil and some yellow/orange bits that are pressed together in a mold (sorry Velveeta, I love you all the same). 

For this experiment, I chose "boule" shaped sourdough. Usually in my sandwich maker, I don't butter the bread because I like it crispy, but something told me to butter the bread this time.  And I was right, after buttering the outsides of the bread, I layered the brie on the toast, for utter perfection!  Here are some other recipes that I found, hope you like them.

Stay thirsty hungry my friend!

P.S.  It is a must the sandwich is cut diagonally!  Just like grandma used to!

Pie! (say in Cartman-like voice)

This was my first attempt and making pies and I am now in LOVE!!!!  Be careful though, these are a little sweet.

Ingredients
2 store-bought frozen pie crusts
2 graham cracker crusts
1 cup sugar
2 bags of frozen blueberries (thawed)
2 bags of frozen blackberries (thawed)
5 tablespoons flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unfold pie crusts and cut into 1" strips.
Place blueberries and blackberries in strainer and rinse. Drain berries and add to large bowl
Add flour and toss to coat
Add sugar
Pour 1/2 of berries into each pie shell. Place strips on top of crust in criss-cross pattern to form a lattice. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until bubbly. Serve.

Stay hungry my friend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cucumber Medallions

In an attempt to not eat junk food this holiday season, I made healthy snacks.  Here's one to try, instead of the crunchiness of chips, try sliced cucumbers with a nice dip/cheese.
Ingredients
1 cup of kefir *
1/2 cup green peppers chopped
1/2 lime juiced 
1 tbs minced garlic 
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 English cucumber, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
Directions
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a plastic sandwich bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Lay out the cucumber circles and squeeze a bit of the mixture onto each cucumber.  Arrange them on a serving platter and serve.
*What is Kefir?
Traditionally made by draining whey from slightly salted yogurt, kefir is a thick & creamy yogurt cheese and a healthier alternative to regular cream cheese. It is also rich enough to be used as a substitute for sour cream.

Stay hungry my friend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sue's Yam and Apples

Piggy2 is not a big fan of yams, but this recipe made him change his mind.   When I got this recipe, there were no measurement, so adjust accordingly to taste.  What I thought was interesting was the use of mace.  When you look it up, there are a dozen different uses for the word mace, I had totally forgotten about the self defense spray, all I could think of what the huge club like weapon.  But in this recipe, it's a spice.

Ingredients:
4 yams
4 apples (Fuji work great)
1 tbsp. mace
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 stick of butter

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by peeling the yams and cooking until they are tender.  You can either boil them or bake them, just make sure they are soft.  Not too soft though, as you have to slice them thinly once cooled.    Next, peel and core the apples, and slice them into thin pieces. 
Take deep pan and slather with butter.
Start with placing a layer of yams on the bottom of your cooking dish.  Layer apples over the yams.
Take a spoonful of butter and slather on top of apples, then sprinkle with mace, cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans. 
Repeat the layering.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes, just until apples and yams are slightly tender.

Stay hungry my friend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chicken tomatillo enchiladas

With little in the freezer except two whole chickens, a pile of corn tortillas, and a jar of nuclear tomatillo sauce (I made the tomatillo sauce and used jalapenos instead of green chiles, BIG mistake! At least not use a whole 7 oz. can.  To cool it off, I bought a can of tomatillo sauce) I thought the only thing to make was enchiladas.

Ingredients:
Use roast chicken (see lime chicken recipe)
Use tomatillo recipe (see tomatillo recipe)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp. of chopped garlic
2 cups of shredded chicken 
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey jack and or Cheddar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Stir in black beans and 1/2 cup of tomatillo sauce, simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens.  Add chicken and saute 5 minutes.   

Stack the tortillas, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave until soft, 30 seconds at a time, keep covered.

Arrange tortillas on a flat surface. Spoon a portion of the chicken mixture down the middle of each tortilla, top with cheese and roll.  Place the enchiladas side by side in a lightly oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish and brush with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Broil until crisp and golden, 3 minutes.

Pour the tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stay hungry my friend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

connecting via linked in

http://blog.blisspr.com/2010/12/06/connecting-with-humans-on-linkedin-a-weekly-routine/

LinkedIn contacts are professionals like you and me.  They are not by nature ‘contacts’ or ‘prospects’ – while that well may be true, they are actually – well – humans.  Your network is comprised of real people who respond to thoughtfulness, intelligent contribution, mutual professional support, and of course, regular contact.
Following is an approach designed to make LinkedIn networking as meaningful as possible to the humans on the other end of the link.  Also recognizing that we are all human – the suggestions here are also designed to be implemented in 15 minutes per day.
A Week in the Life of a Human-centric LinkedIn Networker
DAILY LINKED-IN ROUTINE – PART ONE
First, take each day and do something on that day, each week.  This should take 6-10 minutes.
  • Monday:  Recommend someone.  Nothing puts a smile on someone’s face better than a heartfelt recommendation.  When you sit down to do this, keep in mind: 
    • Don’t JUST be a salesperson; be a person first, sales second.  Don’t just recommend people you want to do business with; recommend people in a way, and with timing, that can be meaningful to them. 
    • Be sincere. Nothing will backfire here – or anywhere in social media – quite as badly as lack of sincerity. 
    • Be original. Don’t say the same thing over and over, because depending on how it’s viewed online, that could become obvious and embarrassing for you.  Don’t use form letter language.  Take the time to do it right – or don’t do it at all. 
    • When shouldn’t you recommend?  When you have pending new business, or when you have nothing good to say. 
  • Tuesday:  Meaningfully contribute to your favorite group.  Start a discussion, or post something thought-provoking.  Whatever it is, be a part of creating the meaningful forum that you enjoy so much.  
  • Wednesday:  Review your contacts.  Who’s missing?  There will always be someone who you haven’t yet connected with, despite all your best efforts and spotless organization.  Take 5-10  minutes to track down a few email addresses, and start to find the people you wish were in your network again.  
  • Thursday:  Support other people, and they’ll support you.  Make note of who in your network is trying to get something off the ground, and do what you can to support it, so long as it’s relevant to your business. Join a group, comment on their new blog – whatever it is, do it – then post it as your linked-in status.  It’s good karma.  But…
    • Don’t join and then never comment.  You don’t have to comment every day, or every week.  But if a month goes by, maybe you should put your efforts elsewhere.
    • When you do comment, do not promote your company or your services.  It’s OK to put in a link to your website or profile, but don’t crowd the conversation with sales messaging.  Take five minutes and say something that shows off your expertise.
  • Friday:  Do something to support your corporate brand.  Do something that strengthens your business’ brand, and you’ll in turn strengthen your own professional network.  Ask yourself: Am I lifting the firm as a whole, or just myself?
 DAILY LINKED-IN ROUTINE – PART TWO
Every day, use the second half of your 15 minutes to perform the following LinkedIn activities – try to do each of these a little bit every business day.
Post one status update every day.  If you spent time reading something, others might find it useful, too.  And the next time you write something, you’ll find you have more people listening when you share your own work.  If there’s a trackable link, use it.  Again with the karma factor: help others to track their results, and you set a good example for social media users everywhere.
  • So you’ve changed your status… now what?  Can you share that information in other social media forums, as well?  Is there something to share with more contextual detail with any of your groups?  Likely this will only take a second, and it will greatly expand the reach of your effort.
Connect, Support, Help Out.  Linked In is a connection between two humans, with a lot of other connections that surround it.  Rotate thinking about each of your contacts – dig deep into one person per day and think: what can I do to help them with their business?  Maybe other people will do the same for you.
Respond, respond, respond.  When people invite/ask for help/etc…. they mean you. They may be speaking to a large group of contacts, but every group is made up of individuals.
Show your smarts. 
  • Be a Thought Leader.  Put your best foot forward by putting your best thinking forward. 
  • Send Only Your Best.  Don’t crowd other people’s inboxes with anything less than your best thinking, and information that is genuinely useful and relevant.  Be real: what do people value from you?  Give it to them, and give them the best you’ve got.
Establishing a LinkedIn routine is just like any other new habit – it will take a while to kick in, and some weeks will be better than others.  If you fall out of the routine, don’t worry too much – just jump back in.  Remember… you’re only human.

To contact Margy Sweeney:
Phone:  312-252-7314
Email: margy@blisspr.com
Twitter: @margysweeney
LinkedIn: Margy Sweeney

Apples and Cheese

I really like pairing apples and cheese, usually just cheddar and fuji apples.  I'm not quite adventurous enough for ricotta and gorgonzola.  But these fun little amuse-bouche are from a friends party I attended over the weekend.  My fabulous epicurean friend is always finding the most intriguing recipes.  I loved helping, since I had a helper who was doing all the chopping and toasting, all I had to do was put all the ingredients together.  I felt like a chef!

Instructions
1 15-oz. carton whole milk ricotta cheese
6 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary or 1/8 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 Tbsp. honey
36 toasted baguette slices
Sliced apples, fresh thyme, and/or toasted walnuts
Honey

Directions
Place ricotta in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Stir in Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon rosemary until combined.
Fold in 1 tablespoon honey until just combined. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl.
Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. Makes 36 appetizer servings.
When you're ready for the party, spread the cheese mixture on spread on baguette slices and top with apple slices.  To help the walnuts stick, drizzle honey on the apples and top with walnuts.

Stay hungry my friend!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easy Turkey Pie

This year instead of just making turkey sandwiches, my goal was to make a different meal with the leftovers we had from our 16 pound Thanksgiving turkey.   This recipe was perfect since I thought of it at the last minute and took only 15 minutes to prep, then 20-25 minutes to cook.

 Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cut-up cooked turkey
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled 
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® or Bisquick Heart Smart® mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
Line pie plate with bacon, like forming a crust. 
Make a layer of cheese and top with turkey.

In a bowl, stir in Bisquick, milk and eggs until blended.
Pour over pie and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Stay Hungry my friend.

recipe modified from Betty Crocker

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crock pot pork chops

When I found this recipe I thought it a little intimidating.  Who puts mushroom soup (a creamy earthy base) with the spiciness of Dijon mustard and red onion.  "What had I done?" I thought as I coated the potatoes.  Then I placed all the ingredients in the pot and started to let it simmer.  After about two hours, I couldn't resist but peeking in the pot for a tasting.  The juices from the cooking pork chops were oozing into the soup base and I took a deep inhale of the peppery mixture.  I dipped my spoon in and was pleasantly surprised.  I think I've outdone myself this time.

Ingredients:
6 -8 boneless pork chops (I only used 4, they were really thick at least 1")
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (10 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup country Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1 1/2 tables spoons of pre-chopped garlic)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 potatoes, sliced (I used 7, they were small and I thinly sliced them)
1 onion (I used a red onion, my fave)

Directions:
In skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in hot oil. Drain fat. 
In your crock pot, mix soup, chicken broth, mustard, thyme, garlic, and pepper. 
Add potatoes and onion, stirring to coat.
Place browned pork chops on tops of potato mixture.
Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High 4 to 5 hours.
Plate and serve.

Stay hungry, my friend!
 
Modified from Food.com (Manuel's Crock Pot Pork Chops and Potatoes in Mustard Sauce)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dumplings

I love, love, love, dumplings, these are like fluffy little clouds of goodness! 
Check out Wikipedia for a little geographic lesson on dumplings!

Ingredients

half a dozen chicken legs
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup carrots, sliced into medallions
1 small onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups Original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
Enough water to cover all ingredients

Directions

In a large pot, place chicken legs, celery, carrot, onion salt/pepper and water
Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat
Simmer about 2 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone
Remove chicken and vegetables from pot
Skim fat from broth
return broth to boil
mix Bisquick and milk, form small balls of dough
drop dough by spoonfuls into broth
Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes
(don't put too many in the broth or they'll stick together)

Keep stirring so dumplings don't stick together
when done with dumplings, add chicken and vegetables; reduce heat to low.
Heat about 20 minutes or until hot.

Stay hungry my friend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

Don't get me wrong, I love me some canned cranberry sauce, but if you have time making it from scratch makes all the difference and it makes your house smell delicious!  I bought a big bag of cranberries (3lbs) from Costco and didn't want a ton of one kind of sauce, so below are the different types I made.  Because I knew I'd have leftover sauce, I made a trip to the 99cent store and bought some canning jars.  I then made some cute labels so I could give homemade cranberry sauce instead of a bottle of wine when visiting friends at the holidays.

Cranberry Sauce Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients (I doubled the recipe)
2 cups cranberries (4 cups)
Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup Port (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed (3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus cinnamon sticks)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (enough to thicken)

Directions
In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Ingredients (I doubled this recipe too)
2 (8-ounce) packages cranberries, fresh or frozen  (4 cups fresh cranberries)
1 orange, zest cut into strips and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Directions
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.


Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Fuji Apple

Ingredients
1 bag(s) (12-ounce) fresh cranberries
1 large Fuji apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) water

Directions
Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the apple, sugar, and water.
Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is very thick, about 15 minutes.
Scrape the cranberry sauce into the prepared muffin pan and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. Invert the jelly onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs. Slice with a serrated knife before serving.
This recipe is nice to use so each guest can have their own lump of cranberry sauce.  You can also line a bread pan to make a loaf of cranberry sauce.

Stay hungry my friend!


All recipes are modified from the FoodNetwork.com & Delish.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey and Cake?

I am all about keeping my food together, but sometimes I organize my food and try and save the best for last.  But with this recipe, everything is lumped together in a nice neat package.


Doesn't that look yummy?  I wonder if it could trick your brain into thinking that it's eating dessert?  Hmmm, I may be on to something, this could be a new diet craze.  Make all your meals LOOK like dessert, but really they're good food instead of sugary goodness.

Here's the recipe in case you want to give it a go.

Ingredients
For the turkey layers:
Unsalted butter, for coating the pans
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated on the small holes of a box grater
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, minced

For the sweet potato layer:
1 pound sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
Pinch ground mace or nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
About 5 cups or 1 recipe Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, warm
1/2 cup cranberry sauce, such as our Cranberry and Citrus Sauce, chilled, excess liquid drained
2 1/2 cups Sausage Stuffing, warm
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
Gravy, for serving (optional)

Check out the Chow site for pictures on how to put this together, as welll as visit their site for all kinds of turkey recipes traditional to trippy!

Stay hungry my friend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Potato-Cheese logs

I've always been a breakfast person, from a plain bowl of cereal at home to a morning out at a restaurant where you order chicken fried stake and eggs, anything goes.  An essential to a big breakfast day (or if you're recovering from a rough night out) are potatoes.  To me, they're a comfort food that helps start the day out with a smile. 

This recipe was made as a side for filet mignon.  But I thought it might work as a quick on the run breakfast when piggy2 was running late and could easily carry something as he's running out the door.  After cooking it, I realized that they get smooshy if you cook too long and it would make it hard to carry out and eat on the run.  Since they should be eaten while still hot and crusty!

Ingredients

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 green onions, finely sliced (I used red onions, because I love the sweetness they bring)
1 clove garlic, minced (I used 1scoop of jarred organic garlic)
1/2 cup grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese (I used freshly grated Percorino)
3 eggs, beaten (2 eggs)
1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs (I only had plain bread crumbs, so I mixed in some "no-salt" herb)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Olive oil, for pan frying

Directions
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain.
Saute the green onions and garlic in extra-virgin olive oil until the onions are translucent and garlic is golden (be careful if using garlic from a jar, if you cook too long it becomes hard)
In a big bowl, combine the onion and garlic mixture with the boiled potatoes.
Add Parmesan cheese, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and mash together. (I used Pecorino cheese, which is salty already, so no additional salt was used)
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cook
Pour enough olive oil to come 1/4-inch up the side of a heavy fry pan and heat to 375 degrees F.
Roll the chilled potato mixture into finger shapes.
Dip the fingers in the beaten egg, then coat them in Italian-seasoned bread crumbs.
Fry the croquettes in the hot oil for 30 seconds, until all sides are equally crispy and golden.
Serve while hot. 

Shopping and Savings:
5 lbs of potatoes - $2 = 0.10 per potato
2 lbs of red onions - $2 = 0.20 per onion
Huge jar of garlic - $5 = cheap
1/2 lb of pecorino - $10 = $1
20 eggs - $2.5 = 0.13 per egg
Bread crumbs - $1 = cheap
No Salt -$2.5 = cheap

Total cost approx. $2 for 24 little logs

Stay Hungry my friend!

Adpated from Bitchin Kitchen

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tea cups


To make your life a little easier, if you don't want to dirty a spoon to stir your tea, maybe you could use Anna Gram's novel tea cup.  The cup has a ceramic ball in the bottom of the mug that moves around a circular ring enclosure to help mix your sugar or milk.  I think I'll try it to mix a drink instead.

Stay hungry my friend!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Production Update

Things have been busy lately, between working on a video everyday for Geraldine, keeping up with all the social networks I've been trying to help with as well as learn from, blogging on the different blogs I belong to keeps a person quite busy. When in the world was I supposed to fit in time to help with a short film production. What was I thinking? I needed something else to do!?

It's difficult to help on a project(s) when things are always changing and it is assumed you have knowledge of it.  In this age of technology when information is supposedly at your fingertips, it's easy to just click send and walk away in the hopes that your message will be received.  Using technology has allowed us to become non-confrontational as well as complacent and allow the world to happen around us.  It's easy to hide from an email or a voicemail and not open it in fears of what it will say, because then you'll have to take action for it. 

To be able to help effectively, you need to know what is going on so you can do research, find the product or just increase the social awareness about it.  It's also difficult to carry on when you don't think you're being effective and communications.

I think today I've reached maximum overload.  I'm tweetered, facebooked, blogged, wordpressed, googled and youtubed out.   But can I just become unplugged?  What would I do and who would I tell about it?


Friday, November 12, 2010

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup

At first looking at the ingredients for this recipe, you might be afraid.  I know I was!  What, cinnamon? seriously? Now I love garlic, but 6-8 cloves of garlic seemed like a bit much as well and I don't think I've used that much spice in one dish.   But once you start cooking and the smell of this soup fills your house, you will be thrilled.  I used a bit less chickpeas than the recipe, but it worked out just right!
Taking the lid of the pot, it looked like there was rice in pot, but nope, it was just garlic. 
Once the spinach is added and the chickpeas mashed, it gives the soup a bit of thickness.

Save this soup for a chilly day because it will warm your belly!

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, medium diced (I used a red onion)
6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed (4 scoops of pre-chopped garlic)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (I used (1) 29 oz can
1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth (I only had 24 oz)
1 teaspoon sugar (I used a packet of splenda)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach (I used 3 big handfuls of spinach)

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur.
Add spices and saute a minute or so.
Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar.
Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well.
Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.

Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.

Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.

Stay hungry my friend!

From the Cooking Channel