Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Broccoli Casserole

This is a good recipe for when you've had a party and you have a ton of leftovers.   For some reason not a lot of people liked the broccoli, that and I had a ton of cubed cheese leftover.  So how better to prepare the broccoli than add some creamy cheese to it.  That's the only way it's going to get eaten in my house. 
The recipe I found called for frozen broccoli.  Since I was using raw broccoli, I thought to cook it a bit before I put it in the over.  So I put the raw broccoli I had in the casserole dish, filled it 1/2 way with water, put the lid on the dish and microwaved in 2 minute increments until it was aldente.
Ingredients:
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk (I just filled 1/2 the can)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed (see above if you use fresh broccoli)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter, melted
Directions:
Stir the soup, milk, mustard, broccoli and cheese in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the broccoli mixture.
Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Stay hungry my friend! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In preparation for the Consumer Electronic's Show, I've officially started my production company.  With that you need business cards and I've been toying with new job titles, which one do you like?

  1. Chief Executive Twitterer
  2. Facebook Fashionista
  3. Web 2.0 Wonk
  4. Manager of Deep Web Research
  5. Twitterer-in-Chief
  6. Chief Evangelist
  7. Social Media Maven
  8. Community Manager
  9. Online Audience Development Manager
  10. Online Obama Organizer
  11. Enhanced Interrogator
  12. Mommy-Blogger-in-Chief
  13. Relationship Development Coach
  14. Social Media Director
  15. Chief Mapper
  16. Central Interactions Architect
  17. Virtual Doula (a videocam enabled doula)
  18. Skype Scalper (selling tickets on Skype)
  19. Twitter Tutor
  20. Facebook Consultant
  21. LinkedIn Liason
  22. Curbing Climate Change Consultant
  23. Brand Champion
  24. Senior Brand Strategist
  25. Senior Hacker (Coder)
  26. Virtual World Bureau Chief
  27. Lead Functionality Director
  28. Dynamic Quality Sheriff
  29. Lead Micro Dude
  30. Outrageous Optimization Engineer
  31. Social Media Solutions Point Person
  32. Director of CEO’s Tweets
  33. Communication Specialist Assistant
  34. Communication Specialist 2nd Assistant
  35. HR Internal Twitterer
  36. Pastor of Communications
  37. Super Genius
My computer crashed as I was writing this post.  If you know where I got it from, please let me know so I can credit the author.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas with Gordon Ramsey

Watching the different shows that Gordon Ramsey has on t.v. is a simple as watching BBC America.  This morning after The F word was done, there was a Gordon Ramsey Christmas special on.  Who knew this tyrant of a chef (my impression of him after watching too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmare) had a softer side, which can be seen on Gordon Ramsey's Ultimate Christmas, where he make treats with his kids and dessert with his mum.

Here are a few of the recipes featured that I'd like to try.

Gordon Ramsay Roast Turkey with Lemon Parsley and Garlic
Ingredients




  • 1 free-range turkey about 5-5.5kg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 1 head of garlic halved
  • 6 bay leaves
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • 8 strips of smoked bacon
  • 375g butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • small bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

  • Directions
    Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425 F.
    Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter.
    Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley.  Mix well to combine.
    Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
    With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs - from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
    Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
    Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)
    Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon strips over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180 C / 350 F and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
    To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
    Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson's nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving.
    Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.

    Gordon Ramsay Pork Apricot and Pistachio Stuffing
    Ingredients




  • 350g pork mince
  • 100g spicy sausage (Merguez/Chorizo)
  • handful finely chopped chopped apricots
  • handful finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 grated apple
  • grated lemon zest
  • coarsely chopped parsely
  • sage leaves
  • salt and pepper

  • Directions
    Place pork mince in a bowl, season with salt and pepper.
    Add grated apple, add chopped apricots, nuts, lemon zest and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
    On a sheet of tin foil (aluminum) drizzle olive oil, line with sage leaves and season with salt and pepper.
    Place half of the pork mince meat on top of the sage and make a groove down the center with your finger.
    Place the spicy sausage inside the groove and cover with remaining pork mince meat.
    Lift the edge of your foil and roll, being sure to roll it nice and tight. lift back foil to check sage is in right place! Roll and twist the ends while pushing in to make a perfect cylinder.
    Cook at C/400 F for 40-45 minutes
    Remove from oven, slice and serve.

    Gordon Ramsay's Pancetta Chestnut Brussel Sprouts
    Ingredients




  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 5 oz pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 3 oz chestnuts
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  • Directions
    Wash, trim and cut sprouts in half
    Blanche in boiling salted boiling water for 2 minutes
    Chop pancetta (or smoked streaky bacon) and crisp in a hot pan with a tsp of olive oil. Season bacon with salt and pepper.
    Thoroughly drain the sprouts and carefully add to pan with bacon. Toss. Watch for back-splash.
    Chop chestnuts and put in the pan 3 minutes before the sprouts are done. Do not add chestnuts too early or they will turn mushy.
    10 secs before you are ready to remove the sprouts, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
    Put in a bowl and serve immediately.

    Gordon Ramsay's Chocolate Mint Truffles
    Ingredients
    • 250ml double cream
    • 250ml single cream
    • small bunch of mint
    • 500g dark chocolate
    • 130g diced butter
    • 130g clear honey
    • cocoa powder
    • crushed chocolate flake bars
    • crushed amaretti biscuits
    • finely chopped nuts
    • any other coating you wish to toss the truffles in
    Directions
    Pour both creams into a medium saucepan. Lightly bash the mint sprigs with a wooden spoon to release their fragrance and add to the pan. Heat very gently for 5-6 minutes to infuse the cream with the mint.
    Meanwhile, break up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl with the diced butter and honey.
    Strain the hot cream through a sieve onto the chocolate, butter and honey, stirring as you do; discard the mint sprigs. Continue to stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
    Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow dish, cover and chill in the fridge for an hour or until firm.
    Scatter your chosen coating(s) on separate plates. Take the truffle mix from the fridge and, using a teaspoon, scoop out a portion and shape into a sphere by quickly rolling it in your hands. (Do this speedily to avoid the truffle melting with the warmth of your hands.) Toss the truffle in your preferred coating and arrange on a plate.
    Repeat with the remaining mixture.
    Place the truffles in a shallow plastic container, seal and refrigerate until firm and read to serve.
    Eat within 3-4 days.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Recipes are creations of Chef Gordon Ramsey.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Mini Meatloaves

    This recipe is good when you're concerned about portion control and they take less time to cook than a full loaf.  Making mini loaves, you can also experiment with different toppings and ingredients. 

    Ingredients:

    butter, for greasing pan
    1 pounds ground beef or turkey           
    1 cup onions, finely chopped
    2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    1 cup green pepper chopped
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoon ketchup
    2 1/2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon salt, sea
    pepper, black, freshly ground
    1 teaspoon thyme, dried
    1 cup of shredded cheese (optional)

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
    In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onions, green peppers, celery, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme.
    Spoon mixture into prepared pan.  Optional top each loaf with cheese or ketchup.
    Bake for 20 minutes or until meatloaves are cooked through.
    Remove meatloaves from oven and unmold meatloaves onto baking sheet.

    Stay hungry my friend

    Social media wizardry

    As the year comes to an end, so does a social media adventure that began in June.   Last night my social media maven partner in crime, Tanya Gorlow and I did our final on-camera interview for KillcamLive.  A place where we have spent the last six months helping develop.  Prior to the interview, I had no clue what we would talk about and thought it would go quickly.  But once the camera started rolling and the questions came, there was so much for us to talk about and ponder.
     
    Imagine making a film project that depended on the interaction from people online.  One starts to worry about how to get people to follow you, and then keep them.  For the first five months of the project, as we created this world for our characters, our social media team went out and created people with lives and photos to make them seem real to our soon to come followers.  But what was incredible, was once the project went live, there was no stopping us.  If you've never participated in an livestream, you should, it is an amazingly weird experience (check out Ustream or Stickam).  For the first week, I was glued to the livestream, nothing was happening, but yet I stayed and watched.  As the weeks went by fans started re-posting the kills, adding music and commentary, and super fans like ESL Kevin posted weekly wrap ups and blog posts (which are now on their own fan blog, visit to see what you missed.)
    But what do you do with all that information and how do you find it all.  That's where we're at now.  We want to be sure that we archive all the information that people put out there, it can be used for something right?  So right now I'm in the process of collecting all the Facebook information that people posted, who knows some of it may end up in the final product.  Did you know you can download your personal Facebook data?  Yup, you can!   Here's some info from Facebook:
    What's in your archive?
    • Your friends' names and some of their email addresses (Note: only email addresses for friends who've allowed this in their account settings.

    • Your profile (timeline) information (ex: your contact information, interests, groups)
    • Wall (timeline) posts and content that you and your friends have posted to your profile (timeline)
    • Photos and videos that you have uploaded to your account
    • Notes you have created
    • Events to which you have RSVP’d
    • Your sent and received messages
    What's not in your archive?
    • Your friends' photos and status updates
    • Other people's personal info
    • Comments you've made on other people's posts
    • Any comments that you and your friends have made on your Wall (timeline) posts, photos, and other profile (timeline) content
    Why do you want a copy of your information?  It's an important part of controlling what you share.
    In addition, downloading a copy of your information may come in handy if it only exists on Facebook.  For example, you may have lost your mobile phone, which contained many photos you took using that phone. If you had uploaded those photos to Facebook, then downloading your information lets you get copies of them back on to your computer.

    At the end of the day, the producers extrordinaire, April Wade and Canyon Prince, put together a terrific team and we got over 3 million views in 8 weeks, you can't ask for more success than that.  Ok, the articles in Variety ("Indie 'Killcam' exploits social media", "Jeff Kalligheri, CEO, Waterstone Entertainment")  helped as well.

    I'm sad to see it go, but I have learned a ton of stuff.   Be sure to watch for us, as we may be coming to a theater near you.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Kombucha dressing

    Sometimes when making kombucha tea (KT), things may go wrong.  If your KT is a little too sour for your liking, you can gain the benefits of this probiotic wonder, by using it as a dressing.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup raw tahini
    1/2 cup fermented kombucha vinegar (the stuff that’s too acidic to drink)
    1/4 cup flax seed oil
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    4 cloves garlic crushed
    1/2 cup water
    2 tbsp dried parsley
    3 tsp cane sugar
    2 tsp cumin

    Directions:
    Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Why do I blog?

    Lately I've been wondering what's the use of having a blog?  I started out blogging way back in 2004, I have gone through several different platforms experimenting with content, display, formatting.  In 2010 I went a little crazy and started a new blog for everything.  I think I'm up to 10 now, but lately I've become overwhelmed with the need to constantly update and find new content.  It seems nowadays everyone has a blog.  So hopefully these helpful hints will be put to good use.

    1. Do it first thing in the morning, then you'll feel accomplished and you can get on with the rest of your day.
    2. If you just can't do mornings, try late nights when you're just sitting around wasting time online. 
    3. Ok, you can't do early mornings or late nights, how about when you're carpooling to work or school?   You've seen this view a million times, take this empty time and put it to good use.

    4. What about lunch?  Surely you aren't actually eating for a whole 60 minutes?  Pack a notebook and pen with your lunch so you won't forget.

    5. Don't feel the pressure to write a novel each time you blog.  Post a picture or video. As long as you get your point across, it's all good.

    6. If you feel overwhelmed during the week, why not try knocking out 2-3 posts at a time.  With Blogger you can schedule your posts, so you can be enjoying the weekend and get a lot done to reduce your weekday stress.

    7. Sometimes time is not your friend.  You'll just sit there waiting for greatness to blog about.  So why not try timing yourself?  Set the clock to 10 minutes and just write the first thing that pops into your head.  Don't worry about quality, just write!

    Sometimes you just need a little nudge to get things started.  Good luck.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Crab Cakes

    Another over zealous trip to Costco contributed to this recipe.  One person can only eat so much chunks of imitation crab meat and I really enjoy ordering crab cakes when I'm out to dinner, but I've always felt that if I would try to make them they would fall apart.  So what better way to see if that would happen, than to actually make them. 

    Ingredients:
    ¾ cup cracker crumbs
    ¾ cup bread crumbs or panko
    ½ pound crab meat
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp water ¼ tsp salt
    2 egg whites

    Dipping sauce:
    1 tbsp of hot sauce
    1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    ¼ cup nonfat mayonnaise
    1 tbsp minced green onions

    Directions:
    Coarsely chop the crab meat.
    Combine all the dry ingredients first and then add in the wet ones.
    Blend well and then flake in the crab meat.
    Form into 6 crab cakes, place in plate and cover with plastic wrap.
    Refrigerate for an hour, then take out and let sit for 5 minutes.
    Lightly oil a skillet and place on medium heat.
    Add crab cakes and fry for 6 minutes on each side.
    Serve with a dollop of dressing.


    These were a huge success and I would definitely make them again!
    Stay hungry my friend.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Reason why you're not doing well on Twitter

    I found this list online about why someone may not be "winning" on Twitter.  It's been culled down from 31 reasons:

    1) All you want from Twitter is to increase your number of followers #ThisAintHighSchool
    2) Your bio is incomplete
    3) Your handle is something like @BlueEyedBabyDoll or @BigDawgOnDaBlock
    4) You are neither a chef nor a food and beverage reporter, yet your tweets revolve solely around documenting what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner
    5) Your grammar and spelling parallel that of a first grader #BillyMadison
    6) The only content you post is your own
    9) You refer to yourself as a social media evangelist, guru, expert or ninja
    10) You have nothing nice to say #Scrooge
    11) You use too much profanity – profanity is like using a Porta Potty: use it only when you really need to #Tailgate
    12) You go days or weeks at a time without tweeting
    14) You don’t follow anyone #ButYoureNotFamous
    17) You post 25 times in one day, and 24 of those tweets are about your favorite sports team or TV show #FactsOfLife
    18) You retweet the same three sources every single day
    19) Your profile photo is one of the following:
    1. High school photo pre-2011
    2. Glamour shot
    3. Kissy face
    4. Wearing sunglasses
    5. Your pet — wearing sunglasses, or without
    6. Non-existent
    20) You operate multiple Twitter handles … and retweet your own content #MultiplePersonalityDisorder
    23) You post more than three times a minute
    29) You don’t read any of the articles you tweet about

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Aioli? What's that?

    For some time now, I've had craving for fish. So while at Costco we bought a HUGE fillet of salmon. Experimenting with new recipes is always difficult with fish. Because really, what can you do with fish, besides grill or top it with a ton of lemon and butter. So instead of worrying about how to cook it, I focused more on what to top it with. Aioli sounded exotic so I decided to try an make my own.

    But what the heck is Aioli?
    In my opinion - fluffy goodness!  But really?  Aioli is a classic French dressing that can be served with a variety of foods, that is usually flavoured with crushed garlic.  Classic aioli is made with just olive oil and garlic.  Variations on the recipe include using egg yolks to give the dressing a thick, mayonnaise-like texture.   It can be served at room temperature and used as a dip for fried, vegetables, or as a spread on a sandwich.

    Ingredients:
    1 head garlic
    2 large eggs (1 whole egg plus 1 yolk)
    1/2 medium lemon, juiced
    1 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    Directions:
    Prepare roasted garlic
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Cut head of garlic in half. 
    Place on foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap foil around garlic, and roast for 45 minutes and set aside.

    To make Aioli:
    Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skin and place into blender or food processor with egg, egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice.  Puree until smooth.  Slowly add the oil to the mixture until the aioli emulsifies.
    Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Kombucha recipes - alcohol

    My batch of "bootch" is still brewing, but I'm getting ready for when it's ready to drink.  Here are some recipes to try:

    Dark and Stormy
    Fill a rocks glass with ice.
    Muddle 1/2 inch slice of ginger in 1oz of simple syrup. Squish it good.
    Strain 1/2 oz into rocks glass.
    Pour 1.5 oz dark rum into a rocks glass.
    Add .5 oz sour mix to same glass.
    Fill with ginger kombucha.
    Stir & garnish with a lime.

    Blueberry KombuchaRita
    Ingredients:
    5 Blueberries
    1 ½ oz El Tesoro Tequila
    1 oz Triple sec
    1 oz Kombucha
    ½ oz Lime Juice

    Directions:
    Dump the ice into a shaker.
    Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice.
    Cover & shake vigorously.
    Pour into Low Ball glass.
    Garnish with lime or fresh blueberries.

    How to make Blueberry liqueur:
    Ingredients:
    1 lb. fresh blueberries
    3 cups vodka
    1 1/2 cup  sugar

    Directions:
    Rinse and check the blueberries and place them in a jar, add vodka, cap with a tight lid and mix.
    Stir daily during the first days, later at least once a week for 3-4 weeks.
    Filter the mixture of berries and alcohol and transfer the liquid to a bottle.
    Add sugar and shake until dissolved.
    After three months strain the liqueur thru a cloth.
    Add some more sugar if necessary.
    The liqueur should mellow for at least 3 months before drinking, preferably for 6 months.
    The color of the blueberry liqueur is dark red, and the flavor is delicious.

    Stay thirsty my friend.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Kombucha

    In my quest to be healthier, I've been eating a lot of probiotics, mostly in kefir, but I've found Kombucha again and have added that to my daily regiment.  But now that my one bottle is finished, I've decided to try and make my own. 
    Regular tea
    SCOBY
    Ingredients:
    1 cup sugar
    4-6 bags tea -  for loose leaf, 1 bag of tea = 1 tsp
    Kombucha Starter Culture – SCOBY
    1 cup starter liquid
    purified/bottled water
    tea kettle
    brewing vessel
    cloth cover
    rubber band

    Directions
    Boil 4 cups of water.
    Add hot water & tea bags to pot or brewing vessel.
    Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
    Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
    Fill vessel most of the way with purified water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room with purified cold water.
    Add SCOBY and starter liquid.
    Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
    Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
    Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque).
    Do not disturb for 7 days.

    After 7 days, or when you are ready to taste your KT, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip.  If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time.  If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days.  Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your optimum flavor preference. Your own Kombucha Tea Recipe may vary.
    Decant & flavor (optional).
    Drink as desired! Start off with 4-8oz on an empty stomach in the morning, then with meals to help with digestion or as your body tells you it would like some more! Drink plenty of water as it is a natural detoxifyer and you want to flush the newly released toxins out.

    Here are a few recipes I've found to make, I'll let you know how it goes.

    Plain tea
    6 cups of tea
    2 cups unflavored kombucha
    ⅓ cup sugar
    ice
    Cocktail
    Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
    Kombucha
    Vodka
    Mix 1/2 and 1/2 of Kombucha with OJ.
    Add vodka to make it a cocktail.

    Ice cream float
    2 scoops of your favorite ice cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt
    12-16oz of flavored or unflavored kombucha tea
    This will get foamy, so pour slowly.

    Stay thirsty my friend!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Make your own Ketchup?

    Wha?  Yup.  So I'm on a new diet program and I can't eat sugar and in class they were talking about how much sugar ketchup has.  So I found this recipe and I hope to try it.  But I guess it doesn't matter since I can't eat anything that I usually put ketchup on, i.e. potatoes and french fries.  Oh well, here it is anyway.

    Ingredients:
    1 28-oz. can tomato puree
    1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
    1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
    1/2 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
    2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
    1/2 cup cider vinegar
    1 cup water
    Pinch cayenne
    Pinch celery salt
    Pinch dry mustard
    Pinch ground allspice
    Pinch ground cloves
    Pinch ground ginger
    Pinch ground cinnamon
    Kosher salt
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions:
    Put tomato purée, onions, garlic, jalapeño, and sugar into a blender or food processor and pulse until blended. Add vinegar and 1 cup water and purée until smooth.
    Transfer to a medium saucepan; add cayenne, celery salt, mustard, allspice, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 month.

    Recipe from Saveur

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    My latest adventure!

    Well life here has been busy and I've added something crazy to the mix.  I'm working on an infomercial. Now, I can't tell you which one right now, but it has been quite an adventure so far.   I've been given the product, supplements and I work out for at least an hour a day.  I also changed my diet according to the one we've been given.    So it's been a week of this "non-sense" and I've survived my first weigh in.  OK, yes, I feel awesome that I kicked everyone elses flabby ass by losing the most in class.  But, these people are ridiculous.  I'm sorry skinny girl who weighs 130 lbs, do you really have 8 lbs to lose?  I think your general everyday living needs everything it can get.  So don't look at me like I'm someone to beat.  I just kept to the basic principles of the diet and quit eating and living how I had been.  Common sense people!  That and you're the size of my thigh, so did you fail science in school?  Come on!  I have more to lose than you.  What does make feel like crap in class though, is the fact that I can barely touch my toes or do a sit-up.  Instead of looking like someone who used to be in shape and has suffered injury, I look like a fat ass who can barely keep up.  I want to just crawl up in a ball and bawl.  Well.  On to week 2!

    Halloween - Bacon Deviled Eggs

    One last minute Halloween appetizer. Try these spooky spiders.
    Ingredients:
    3 slices bacon (3 oz.)
    8 hard-cooked large eggs
    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
    1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    Salt and pepper
    16 large pitted black olives
    Directions:
    Cook bacon until browned on both sides and crisp.
    Drain on a paper towel until cool enough to handle.
    Cut each egg in half lengthwise; gently scoop out yolks and place in a bowl.
    Mash yolks with a fork, then stir in mayonnaise, green onions, mustard, and crumbled bacon until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Spoon or pipe about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg-white half.
    Cut each olive in half lengthwise and place on top of egg for the body.
    Then cut the other half of the olive crosswise into thin slices to form creepy spider legs.
    Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Halloween - Monster Mouths

    In case you're tired of sugary snacks, try this healthy snack of apples and peanut butter from Better Homes and Gardens.

    Stay Hungry my friend!

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Halloween - Making Bones

    This recipe requires a little more finesse than I'm up for, after all it is from Martha Stewart, but they do look fun and easy.  Maybe after a few trial runs they'll look these.
    Stay hungry my friend!

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Halloween - Cocktails

    While getting ready for your Halloween party, try making one of these cocktails.  Visit Not Martha her Halloween cocktail experiments.

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Halloween - Popcorn

    Need a sweet and salty fix?  Try this Monster Mash Popcorn from In Katrina's Kitchen.


    Stay hungry my friend.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Halloween - Wicked Witch Cupcakes

    Look at these wicked little cupcakes. Yup, these are cupcakes. I don't know if I have the patience to make them, the recipe says 1h 30 minutes. Check out how to makes these beauties from Better Homes and Gardens

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Halloween - How to preserve your pumpkin

    Every year I want to carve a pumpkin.  But it's not to make a pretty design, I just want the seeds.  This year I am going to try and be artistic and carve one out.  Check out this blog post on how to preserve your pumpkin from My Science Project.



    Stay Hungry my friend! 

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Halloween - Pumpkin Rice Pudding

    With it 100 degrees here in October, it doesn't really feel like fall.  I'm hoping by finding some comfort food recipes that I'll be in a more Halloweeny / Fall spirit. 
    Check out this Pumpkin Rice Pudding recipe from Real Simple.

    Stay Hungry my friend!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Halloween - Candy Apples

    If only I had this much patience to make these.  Yup, under all that goodness is an apple.  So go out and try to make this.  Check out the Distracted Homemaker.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Halloween Cooking - Meat Hand

    With the year going by so quickly, I'm missing my favourite holiday.  Halloween!  So I'll be sharing some recipes I've found for the occasion.  I haven't made them, but they look so delicious, I may have to make some time.   If you do end up making them, I'd love to see how they turned out for you.

    This one comes from the talented Not Martha.  It's a meat hand!  Check out the detail of the nails and the cross section of where the "hand" was severed.  Be sure to go to Not Martha for more pics of the details and how to make it.  Break out the ketchup!



    Stay Hungry my friend!

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Sweet and Sour Pork

    I love me some sweet and sour chicken.  That nuclear orange goodness that covers those fluffy deep fried chicken balls and makes plain rice edible, is heaven sent.  I knew this recipe couldn't be that gooey sweet, but I decided to try it anyway. 
    Aside from the lack of neon colour, what did make me skeptical was the ketchup (ketchup it only for frenchfries and hashbrowns), it certainly added something to the mix. 

    After the sauce came together, I decided that next time, the recipe would need a bit of heat, so if you're adventurous, add some chili flakes to balance things out.

    Once the kitchen was clean, the dishes done and the leftovers put away overnight,   I was pleasantly surprised in the morning that this tasted almost like leftover chinese takeout, best served cold.  Try it!

    Ingredients:
    2 boneless pork chops, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Kosher salt
    2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    3 tablespoons ketchup
    3 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tablespoons of prepared garlic)
    1 red onion sliced
    2 green peppers
    Sesame Seeds

    Directions:
    Place pork chops between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound until half it's original size.
    Toss pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
    Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
    Heat oil in a large pan over high heat.
    Add the pork and cook about 2 minutes, until the meat is almost opaque.
    Remove from pan and set aside.
    Heat remaining oil in skillet, then add garlic, onion and green peppers.  Stir-fry until still firm.
    Add a touch of water if the garlic starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
    Add pork and soy sauce mixture, stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
    Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot.
    Stay hungry my friend.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Wine lingo

    Acidity:  Describes a tart or sour taste in the mouth when total acidity of the wine is high.
    A component of wine generally consisting of tartaric acid.  Very important in wine, this gives the wine that crisp taste.

    Appellation:  The place in which the dominant grapes used in the wines were grown.  This place can be an American Viticulture Area (AVA), a defined grape-growing region, which means 85 percent of the more of the wine was produced from grapes grown in the named area.

    Aftertaste:   The taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted. May be "harsh", "hot", "soft", "lingering", "short", "smooth", or nonexistent. See also "Finish".

    Aroma:   Refers to the particular smell of the grape variety, i.e. "appley", "raisiny", "fresh" or "floral".

    Balance:   The relationship linking the four basic components in a wine: sweetness, acidity, tannins and alcohol. Fruit softens a wine’s balance, while acidity, alcohol and tannins firm up at the wine.

    Body:   The weight or viscosity of wine in your mouth, commonly expressed as full-bodied, medium-bodied or light-bodied.

    Bouquet:   A tasting term used to describe the smell of the wine as it matures in the bottle.

    Complexity:   These are the different flavors and textures that you taste in a wine. In most cases, the more complex, the better the quality.

    Finish:   The taste that remains in the mouth after swallowing. A long finish indicates a wine of good quality.

    Legs:  The viscous droplets that form and ease down the sides of the glass when the wine is swirled. This is an indication of the alcohol present in the wine.

    Length:   The amount of time the sensations of taste and aroma persist after swallowing.

    Mouth feel:   The texture of the wine, how it feels in the mouth and against the tongue.

    Nose:   See "Aroma"

    Palate:   The feel and taste of wine in the mouth.

    Terms about a wine's character

    Acrid:  Describes a wine with overly pronounced acidity. This is often apparent in cheap red wines.

    Assertive:  Upfront, forward.

    Attractive:  A lighter style. Fresh, easy to drink wine.

    Balanced:  Indicates that the fruit, acid, and wood flavors are in the right proportion. A wine is well balanced when none of those characteristics dominates. Wine not in balance may be "acidic", "cloying", "flat", or "harsh".

    Big:  A wine that is full-bodied, rich and slightly alcoholic tasting.

    Character:  A wine with top-notch distinguishing qualities.

    Crisp:   Denotes a fresh, young wine with good acidity.

    Closed:   Describes wines that are concentrated and have character, but are shy in aroma or flavor.

    Complete:   A full-bodied wine rich in extracts with a pronounced finish.

    Complex: Describes a wine that combines all flavor and taste components in harmony.

    Delicate: Used to describe light-to-medium weight wines with good flavors.

    Dense: Describes a wine that has concentrated aromas on the nose and palate, desirable in young wines.

    Depth: Describes the complexity and concentration of flavors in a wine. Generally refers to a quality wine with subtle layers of flavor that go "deep". Opposite of "Shallow".

    Developed: Refers to the maturity of a wine.

    Elegant: Describes a wine of grace, balance and beauty.

    Empty: Flavorless and uninteresting.

    Fading: Describes a wine that is losing color, fruit, or flavor, usually as a result of age.

    Flabby: Lacking acidity on the palate.

    Flat: Having low acidity; the next stage after flabby; or refers to a sparkling wine that has lost its
    bubbles.

    Full-Bodied: Fills the mouth. Opposite of "thin-bodied".

    Graceful: Describes a wine that is subtly harmonious and pleasing.

    Neutral: Describes a wine without outstanding characteristics, good or bad.

    Potent: Describes a strong, intense, powerful wine.

    Robust: Describes a full-bodied, intense and vigorous wine.

    Round: Describes a well-balanced wine in fruit, tannins and body.

    Seductive: A wine that is appealing.

    Short: Describes a wine that does not remain on the palate after swallowing. Common in inexpensive wines, but not necessarily a fault.

    Simple: Describes a wine with few characteristics that follow the initial impression. Not necessarily unfavorable; often describes an inexpensive, young wine.

    Soft: Describes a wine with low acid/tannin, or alcohol content with little impact on the palate.
    Supple: Describes a wine with well-balanced tannins and fruit characteristics.

    Thin: Lacking body and depth.

    Terms about the wine's taste

    Barn-yardy: Smell of earth, truffle, and wet leaves.

    Bite: A marked degree of acidity or tannin. An acid grip in the finish should be more like a zestful tang and is tolerable only in a rich, full-bodied wine.

    Bitter: Considered a fault if the bitterness dominates the flavor or aftertaste. A trace in sweet wines may complement the flavors. A fine, mature wine should not be bitter on the palate.

    Buttery: It refers to both flavor and texture or mouth feel. Common among chardonnay, especially new world.

    Chewy: Describes rich, heavy, tannic wines that are full-bodied.

    Corked: The wine smells of cork, it is unpleasant to smell and taste, slightly musty. The flavor of the wine will typically be flat and dull.

    Dirty: Covers any and all foul, rank, off-putting smells that can occur in a wine, including those caused by bad barrels or corks. A sign of poor winemaking.

    Earthy: Describes a wine that tastes of soil, most common in red wines. Can be used both positively (pleasant, clean quality adding complexity to aroma and flavor) and negatively (barnyardy character bordering on dirtiness).

    Flinty: Describe the aroma or taste of some white wines; like the odor of flint striking steel. Often used to describe Riesling.

    Fruity: Describes any quality referring to the body and richness of a wine, i.e. "appley," "berrylike," or "herbaceous." Usually implies a little extra sweetness.

    Grapey: Describes simple flavors and aromas associated with fresh table grapes.

    Green: Tasting of un-ripe fruit. Not necessarily a bad thing, especially in a Riesling.

    Heady: Used to describe the smell of a wine high in alcohol.

    Herbaceous: The taste and smell of herbs.

    Murky: Lacking brightness; turbid or swampy.

    Musty: Having a moldy smell.

    Oaky: Describes the aroma and taste of oak.

    Peppery: Describes the taste of pepper in a wine; sharper than 'Spicy.' Good zinfandel often has a black pepper aroma, while Rhone Valley Syrah can have white pepper aromas.

    Perfumed: Refers to a delicate bouquet.

    Smoky: Describes a subtle wood-smoke aroma. Attributable to barrel fermenting or aging.

    Spicy: Describes the presence of spice flavors such as anise, cinnamon, cloves, mint and pepper,
    often present in complex wines.

    Sweet: One of the four basic tastes. Describes the presence of residual sugar and/or glycerin.

    Tannin: Describes a dry sensation, with flavors of leather and tea.

    Tart: Sharp-tasting because of acidity. See also 'Acidic.'

    Toasty: Describes a hint of the wooden barrel. Usually associated with dry white wines.

    Velvety: Having rich flavor and a silky texture.

    Zesty: A wine that's invigorating.

    Red varietals from full to light-bodied

    Cabernet Sauvignon:
    Is the noble red wine grape that has made the wines of Bordeaux renowned and is on the world’s most recognized and loved varieties?  Today this stately grape is grown is nearly every major wine-producing region from California to France.

    Syrah
    Is a dark-skinned variety of grape?  Syrah is grown in many countries through the world and is used to create powerful red wines or blended into other wines, where it can be either the major or minor component.

    Merlot:
    Is known in its native France as merlot noir, for the dark, blue-black color of its berries.  Now planted widely in California, the grape yields a soft supple wine and is also used for blending with other wines.

    Zinfandel
    Red wine grape whose origin is believed to come from an obscure Croatian grape. Winemakers agree that the American variety has unique qualities and makes better wine than does its European ancestors. This grape gives complex, well-balanced wine that age as well as the best French clarets.

    Sangiovese
    Is the main red grape of Italy’s Chianti district and of much of central Italy, it can be made into light-bodied to medium-bodied wines, as well as into long-lived complex reds. Sangiovese is creating a new reputation of excellence in the wine growning regions of California.

    Pinot Noir
    Is an ancient French grape that under perfect conditions makes some of the best red wine in the world? Recent wines made from new plantings in the cooler growing regions of California are making Pinot Noir a favorite through the world.

    Colcetto
    Is a black wine grape variety primarily grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, but brought to California by expatriate Italians. The name means “little sweet one” and produces wines of equal delight.

    Whites from full to light-bodies

    Chardonnay
    Is a green-skinned grape variety used to make America’s number one selling wine? Originating as the noble French grape variety used to create white Burgundies and Chablis, its vines adapt well to a variety of climates worldwide.

    Viognier
    Seemed literally an endangered varietal only a few years ago, but is being rediscovered worldwide. Its homeland is the northern Rhone region of France, but is newest realm is California.

    Sauvignon Blanc
    The wild grape of the Bordeaux region of France is now planted in many wine regions of the world and does particularly well in California vineyards.


    Semillon
    Relatively easy to cultivate, although it is best suited to areas with sunny days and cool nights such as California.

    Gewurztraminer
     A german-Alstian grape variety that makes excellent aromatic, almost spice, white wine.  Today the grapes are found through California and the wines are particularly enjoyed with Asian cuisine.

    Pinot Grigio
    Is the classic white gape of Alsace, Italy and Germany.  Its skins can yield full-bodies, full-flavored and complex white, or pinkish, wine in cool growing regions through California.

    ***not my descriptions

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Crunchy Pork Chops

    If you're new to reading my blog, you'll find that I'm very fond of boneless pork chops (when they're boneless you can pound then down and make the thin enough so they cook up quickly and beating around the bone is too much work) 

    Always in search of a new way to cook pork chops, this one is similar to others I've tried, with the exception of the Dijon mustard.
    Ingredients:
    From Original Recipe @FoodNetwork.com
    2 pork chops approximately 8 ounces each
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (or similar no-salt product)
    1 cup bread crumbs
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

    Directions:

    Trim the thick white fat off the pork chops.
    Lay the chops between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and using a mallet beat them until the meaty part of the chop is half as thick.
    Beat the egg in a shallow wide bowl with the mustard and no-salt.
    On a large plate or platter, combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan.
    Coat the chops into the egg mixture, being sure to coat both sides.
    Then dip the eggy chops into the bread crumbs, covering them evenly.
    Place each chop on a cooling rack to dry slightly, while the oil heats.
    Cook the chops until they are a deep golden color, about 5 to 7 minutes a side (depending on how thin you've managed to get them and how cold they were before going in the oil).

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Easy Rice Bake Casserole

    After making too much rice and having a bunch of spinach that needed to be used was the inspiration for this recipe. All I had to do was top it off with cheese and it was an instant hit.

    Ingredients:
    2 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
    2 cups fresh spinach
    2 eggs
    4 cups cooked rice
    1 cups of parmesan cheese
    1 cup of feta cheese
    1 teaspoon salt free spice
    1 cup of milk
    1 tsp of parsley
    1 tsp of thyme
    1 tsp of basil
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large casserole dish.
    In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute spinach with 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs
    Add the cheese, rice, parsley, thyme, basil and spinach and combine well.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with extra shredded cheese.
    Bake for 30 minutes and serve piping hot.



    Stay hungry my friend.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Fig-stravaganza - 2 recipes


    Sure I've had fig newtons, but I never stopped to think about the "fig" part of the newton.  A fig is a fruit that is part of the mulberry family. Fresh figs are available June through October and can be found dried throughout the year. Figs are full of potassium, fiber, calcium and manganese. 
    So while walking around the farmers market on Sunday, I came across a vendor's table full of baskets of figs.  In an adventurous mood, I walked over to the table and the vendor offered a sample.  I was going to buy a basket without trying them anyway, but the sample confirmed my new love.  Figs.  I still have to figure out how to pick them out and decide if they're ripe or not (they should be firm to the touch) but a little go a long way.  Not having a clue how to prepare them, I started an online search.  Now you can make jams and use them in a salad or stuff them with cheese (one recipe called to stuff an apricot with cheese then stuff it in the fig, I'm not sure that what would've worked?).  
    Ingredients:
    8 small fresh figs
    4 oz. goat cheese
    4 oz. blue cheese
    5 slices of prosciutto, halved
    Sourdough Baguette

    Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Cheese Crostini recipe:
    Slice baguette
    Cut 4 figs in half
    Top one slice of bread with goat cheese
    Top another slice of bread with blue cheese, then top with fig.
    Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is soft.
    Serve hot
    *Note you don't have to bake them, try them just like that.
    ** Variation:  Cut the figs in half and place a piece of blue cheese on each fig half. Wrap the prosciutto around each fig half, covering the cheese.

    Prosciutto wrapped, cheese stuffed fig recipe:
    Make a tiny slit (an X shape, careful not to slice all the way through) on the top of each fig
    Next, stuff a scoop of goat cheese in the opening
    Snugly wrap a piece of prosciutto around each fig to form a cocoon
    Stand the figs on a sheet pan.
    Bake for 10 -12 minutes so the prosciutto melts slightly and forms a skin around the figs.
    Best served hot out of the oven.

    Stay hungry my friend.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    More grilling - Asparagus

    Just because you're camping doesn't mean you have to just eat hot dogs (although I love them).  You can add a touch of nutrition to your outdoor adventure.  You can also do this at home on the BBQ grill.

    Ingredients
    1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Pat of butter
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Aluminum foil

    Directions
    Preheat grill for high heat.
    Place asparagus on shiny side of foil.
    Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil.  Top with butter.
    Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Fold edges over, making a loose envelope.
    Grill over high heat for 10 to 12 minutes (my spears were thick, if you have thin spears-NOTE use less time), or to desired tenderness.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    What's an underblog?

    While trolling around the web today, and getting caught up in "how to blog" posts, I found this one about Underblogs by LivingRoom.org.au.  What a brilliant idea! What's an Underblog you ask?  Well, it's a blog that has some great content, but it's not getting the traffic it deserves. 
    So let's carry on this campaign to find some crafty "underblogs", here's what you can do:
    • Leave up to 5 blogs that you wish more people knew about, as well as a link to the sites.
    • Leave a short reason why you like the blog (you can even leave a link to your own blog if it fits)
    I'll gather up all the links and blogs that you leave.

    Click here to visit where I got this idea.

    Fresh Salsa or Pico de Gallo

    My latest food kick is eating raw food.  I tried this once before and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Thinking that  summer is the best time to go raw, fresh fruit and veggies abound, at a reasonable price.  I wait for the pile of sale on Tuesday from local grocery stores to scour the deals then I head out.  Usually from the big three, Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs, but I do also frequent local ethnic stores, like Golden Farms and Vallarta.  I even hit up the 99 Cent Only Store's produce section.
    Fresh Salsa is not only for chips, I've found it a nice topper for salad instead of dressing.  I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy raw food.

    Ingredients
    5 medium sized fresh Roma tomatoes, stems removed, finely diced
    1/2 red onion, finely diced (I used white because I needed to used them)
    1 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
    Juice of one lime
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions
    Use caution when preparing chilies.
    Save a few seeds, if the salsa isn't hot enough, you can add a few for heat.
    Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
    If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato.

    If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add some ground cumin.
    Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

    At a loss for what to do with the boneless pork chops, I decided that it was time to do a rub.  When looking at examples of rubs, they just seemed so simple and I wanted more adventure for my food.  But when you eat the same meat almost every day, things get redundant.  This recipe was a big surprise to me.  I will never think of rubs as simple again.

    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon oil
    2 loin pork chops
    1/2 teaspoon Salt and Pepper
    1/4 cup chili seasoning
    1 tablespoon Garlic powder

    Directions:
    Take 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and place the pork chop in between. 
    Pound the pork chop until it is at lease 1/4" thick.
    Rinse chops with cold water and pat dry.
    Pour spices on a plate and blend.
    Take pork chop and cover with spices.
    Heat oil in a large pan.
    Place pork chop in pan and cook until crispy.
    Serve hot.

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    I was a little sceptical when I came upon this recipe because I couldn't fathom mixing my beloved grilled cheese with those spicy appetizers.  I only wish I'd bought more peppers.  I was also worried about the heat from the peppers, but when the cheese and kefir melt, it cools the heat of the jalapeno.

    Ingredients
    1 jalapeno peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
    2 slices sour dough bread
    1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
    2 tablespoon kefir, room temperature
    2 slices of Jarlsberg cheese
    Panini grill or sandwich maker

    Directions
    Use caution when roasting the peppers.  I roasted the pepper over the open flame of my gas stove until the skin became black.  Remove the skin from the peppers.  Cut the top and bottom of the pepper, then one slit lengthwise.  Remove ribs and seeds and flatten.  You should have a rectangle shaped pepper.
    On one slice of bread spread the kefir, top with pepper, then cheese.
    Grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted.

    If you'd like to see where I got the idea, please visit Closet Cooking.  He's got some great things to try!
    Stay hungry my friend!


    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Spinach and chickpea soup

    Sometimes I get a bit overzealous and buy too many vegetables and to make things worst, I then over plan week and will have no time to cook.  So with 3-lbs of spinach quickly wilting away, I needed to do something fast.  Using this recipe, I made it a bit moare hearty and added more spinach, I used up a substantial amount of spinach, so stay tuned for what I do with the rest of the green stuff.  It give a nice weight to the soup and the chickpeas offer a starchy taste, which is good when I'm craving carbs!  I'm also a fan of hot and spicy, so I added a bit too much sriracha (hot sauce), so my small recipe ended up double because I had to water the heat down.   Because I love to make my own stock, I have a variety of frozen stock in the freezer.  For this recipe I used some turkey stock (that I made from Thanksgiving bones) and some homemade onion soup from earlier, which cut the heat of the hot sauce nicely, because the onion soup had a sweetness of too many onions.

    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 garlic clove, crushed
    28 oz. can pureed tomatoes
    28 oz. can chickpea
    2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    3 cups spinach leaves
    6 cups soup stock (vegetable or chicken)
    1/2 teaspoon of sriracha
    Salt and Pepper

    Directions:
    Heat oil in a large saucepan.
    Add garlic until soft, about 1 minute.
    Add the pureed tomatoes and soup stock and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat  and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Add the chickpeas and vinegar.
    Add a sriracha to taste.  Be careful, a little goes a long way.
    Stir in spinach and season to taste.
    Cook just until the spinach begins to wilt.
    Serve hot!

    Stay hungry my friend!

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    The Aroma Wheel

    The Aroma Wheel is a common tool to assist in distinguishing and describing the various aromas and flavors of the wine. The Aroma Wheel was developed at the University of California, Davis in 1984 as a standard tool used to describe wine in uniform, non-judgmental terms.

    The inner-circular sections describe the broader aroma categories while the outer edges describe individual, more precise aromas, grouped by category. These aromas can be detected by smell or taste but are not always present in both forms. To use the wheel, begin in the center when smelling the wine, working your way out as you try to identify individual aromas.
    Stay thirsty my friends!

    Festaux Chicken Pasta

    Ok, let's just get it over, you're wondering "what the heck is FESTAUX"?  Well, like most of the things I make in the kitchen, it's usually out of necessity of things that have to be used before they go bad.  Well this week it is a 3 pound bag of spinach.  At first buying a huge bag of spinach seemed like a good idea.  But it is now mid week and I still have 2.5 pounds of spinach to use.   One can only eat so much steamed spinach.  So help bring some green into not only my life, but Piggy2 as well, I thought I could make him some meat (he's such a carnivore) and still satisfy my non-meat eating self.

    Oh, back to FESTAUX.  It's FAUX Pesto.  Get it? FestAUX! One thing to remember while making this recipe, is that there is such thing as TOO much garlic. I know this, because when you wake up in the morning and you can still taste garlic, it was a good night.

    Festaux
    Ingredients: 4 cups fresh baby spinach 1/2 cup almonds 5 cloves garlic 1 cup Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Directions:
    Mix the spinach, almonds, garlic, Parmesan cheese, in the bowl of a food processor; stream the olive oil into the mixture as it blends. Season with salt and pepper.   To complete the meal, I steamed some spinach, made some pasta and grilled some chicken.  Once the pasta was cooked, place in a bowl and scoop the pesto on to it.  Blend well.

     
    Stay hungry my friend!