Wednesday, September 29, 2010

...the last of a warm breeze and a bottle of Door County wine

I managed to go on one vacation this summer to Door County and let me tell you, the wine is delicious!  I have never been to that part of Wisconsin (that I can remember) so when I heard that there were wineries I was determined to make it to at least one.  We decided to hide from the rain (being that we were staying at a "cottage" on Lake Michigan) at the winery on Saturday and I came glass to taste buds with some of the yummiest flavors to cross paths with my palate.  When I returned home I was delighted (after the few bottles I had purchased ran dry) to find that the local liquor store carries and/or will special order the kinds that I like.  I recommend Blackberry Merlot and Razzledazzle to start with.  Whether you are enjoying the last warm winds of early fall with friends around a patio or a crackling weekend fire there are very few occasions not perfectly suited for a glass of tasty Door County wine.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Leftover Lunch Delight

If you have left over Salmon loaf one great way to make it into a quick and easy lunch is to mix a slice into a bowl of egg noodles, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and a pinch of salt and pepper.  A quick and delicious way to get your brain boosting omega fatty acids.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NOTE: only use half the liquid!

During my walk this evening I had planned on making  the salmon loaf recipe which was the very first recipe that I ever cooked on my own.  I found the recipe in my mother's old, worn Betty Crocker cookbook.  I distinctly remember it was from this cookbook because it was my favorite one.  I was disappointed when I got home and found that it has been omitted from the version that I have.  I went through my bookmarked recipe pages and found a suitable recipe (though I was sure it had too many liquids) and gave it a try.  The recipe called for the salmon and the liquid, 1 beaten egg, plus another 1/2 c. of milk.  Against my best judgement I put it all together and substituted Panko bread crumbs over crushed saltine crackers (I don't think that would make a huge difference). Forty-five minutes later I was spooning up a slightly mooshy slice of Salmon loaf.  

My recommendations: reserve three quarters of the liquid from the salmon and omit the milk.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shanghai Bistro, Hudson Wisconsin

I recommend eating at the Shanghai Bistro if you live or commute around the Hudson area.  It has a nice ambiance for a romantic duo or just the right amount of light for an intimate group of friends.  The Shanghai Bistro does offer a diverse selection of dishes from delicious cuts of sushimi, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, and vegetarian dishes.  My boyfriend was enthusiastic about the beef dish he ordered (though he said next time he would order something different), and I was happy with the texture and flavor of my sushi plate (I have had bad luck finding good sushi in this area).
Luke and I were pleasantly surprised with the unique dining experience and the grand finale of hot rags (just like I remember in Japan) and a small bill for two; that had each ordered appetizers, a beer, and two main dishes.  We would both recommend Shanghai Bistro for your next dining experience!
It is that time of year again when the snow melts and the nights frost caves way to the sugary flow of the great maple's blood lines.  Rod pulls out his syruping equipment and drills holes in the trees where he pounds in a tap.  Luke hangs a bag on the tap to collect the sap which will be collected and boiled down into the delicious maple syrup we know and love.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LA Ice-Cream Wars

Raspberries & Cream
I made a rich and creamy vanilla based ice-cream with fresh raspberries.  It wasn't too sweet and had an undertone of bitterness from the raspberries that, I thought, was a nice compliment to the smooth creaminess.

Butterscotch Cookie Dough
Luke put a lot of work into his ice-cream (he always picks the hard flavors).  He had to make a custard on the stove (I am not a huge fan of custard) before he could add the other ingredients and put it all together.  He realized after his trip to the store that he had forgotten to pick up a bag of chocolate chips so he found a bag of butterscotch chips to use instead.  We tried the experiment right out of the mixing bowl which was a little too milky for me, but after it was frozen overnight and the flavors could settle it was pretty good.  Maybe a little on the rich side, but interesting.

Winner of this round: IT'S A TIE!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Delicious Dessert
I made a coconut macaroon recipe the other day using the recipe on the coconut bag.  Interesting to know, being I am always experimenting with ways to use alternative ingredients, is that if you are trying to form firm glossy peaks in egg whites, honey will defeat the egg.
The idea of using honey in place of sugar turned into a sloppy  (the honey and egg separated) mess.
Regardless of the consistency of the mixture, which was runny, I topped them with almonds and baked the concoction.  After a few minutes of cooling I coated them in dark chocolate and refrigerated them overnight.  The next day I was rewarded with a finger licking, bite-sized treat. MMM! MMM!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Luke baked a whole chicken propped over a can of beer for dinner tonight.  He used a sweet onion to block the hole by the head and rubbed a mixture of robust and savory spices on the skin (which I try to avoid).  The chicken turned out so moist that the breast tore off like fresh mozzarella. This is only my second time trying chicken this way (my dad used the chicken wrack with a coke on the grill), but it seems to leave the meat undercooked around the bone.  Maybe baking it for a full two hours is key (we are going to try root beer next time).  Good job Luke!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Catching up

Wow it has been awhile since I have written on here.  I have been so busy with everything else that I have put my love for cooking on the back burner so to speak, and have been resorting to manually adding favorite toppings to frozen pizzas.
 I did, however have the pleasure of eating some amazing cream of mushroom soup this weekend.  I was up north in Hayward, WI and stopped in for a beer at a quaint little place called the "Angry Minnow."  I asked for a cup of soup and a tap beer and was surprisingly delighted by the smooth robust flavors of the dark brew and the buttery richness of the brothy cream soup paired with dime sized chunks of portobello mushrooms.  I would recommend stopping in if you find yourself in Northern Wisconsin.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines Day should be tasty this year!  We purchased two meaty cuts of t-bone for the grill and some arm length king crab legs; pair this with some baked potatoes, and a bottle of  pinot grigio.  I think we have a winner dinner!

Monday, February 8, 2010

So my little hot dog idea (which is awesome for most people) acquainted  me with a long forgotten memory.  I HATE hot dogs.  I forced myself to eat beyond my comfort level as I began to pine over all the ingredients I had just purchased, (beef hot dogs literally make me gag...woops), shopping up each isle (hmmmm do I already have some Gray Poupon)? Hoofing them home (last time I nearly broke my hip when the seams of my brown bag ripped open pouring my eggs from the gaping hole, causing me slip across the ice like a new born giraffe), cooking time (fresh dressings, bacon fried crisp, sloppy Joe for your bacon fried frank?).  The first three bites into my sculpture of  frankfurter food were heavenly...until...ahgg..I began to shove the over-sized  hoagie stuffed with floor meat and fat, mayo flavored with pickles and garlic, ketchup, and mustard against my bull headed teeth, fighting to save the tongue and belly from the irritation it would later cause (I am having hot sweats from the flashbacks).   Finally three bites from the end my brain, mouth, and belly aligned.  I set the dog down and walked away.  I HATE hot dogs!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How about that hot dog?  What better to serve on  Super bowl Sunday than one of football fans most beloved staples, the good old frank?  After watching yet another delicious episode of Man vs Food I think the best approach is to bring everything up to the table..including the kitchen sink.  The more weird the assortment of ingredients, the more your hungry house full of  foot ball watching friends can be creative.  I think I am going to walk up and down each isle and just pick a random ingredient to see what works of frankfurter art pile up.  Here is my delicious five bite salute to the game.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicken-IN-the-biscuit.  I had some left over chicken from making chicken mushroom and brown rice soup as well as buttermilk so I  made some buttermilk biscuits with (this is really decadent) buttermilk gravy.  I used chicken broth to make my gravy and then added the cold buttermilk in the end.  It incorporated surprisingly well and complimented the buttermilk chicken biscuits.  I will try this recipe again.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I haven't been to a lot of places outside of the United States, but can the people that have traveled extensively abroad compile a hearty list of places they have seen, in their own country?  Can they say they have overlooked the splitting Earth at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or stayed up all night while camping in the mountains, paranoid about mountain lions; have these people tasted the salt of California's cold sea, or the burning spice of a shrimp creole in the back alley somewhere in Louisiana?  Regardless of who has been where, for now I can just live vicariously.  I was sad to see, what I considered, a flagship amongst a shining sea of food magazines, "Gourmet" go out of business.  I used to resource the recipes printed across their pages when I was looking for an "exotic" fix.
Yes, sure, it is nearly impossible to locate a plate of sushi (especially were I live) that compares to the fresh cuts one can find in Japan....the freshness...the price, but it is here.  Being from America has some enormous perks.  We are all different!  Different cultures, religions, ideas, and my home cooking.   Food show hosts, such as Andrew Zimmerman, Anthony Bourdain, and Adam Richman, just to name a few, are happy to point out....good food can be found, we just have to look around.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

MMMM....this weekend has been delicious!! Our neighbor apparently bought too much at the farmers market, they must be trying to get rid of things, so he brought us a box of vegetables and two boxes of pie crusts. THANK YOU JEFF!   Luke was in middle of making his new favorite recipe-buffalo chicken, ranch sandwiches (which were super delish) and I made fresh raspberry ice-cream (which will be better than whatever Luke has planned next).  I used the pie crust to make a French Silk pie...ANYONE WANT TO COME OVER....ANYONE?? The pie is so good, rich and creamy like silky mouse with a hint of coffee and fresh whipping cream. MMMM!!  We better take Jabba for an extra long walk today!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Start your day off with a kick!

Packed with antioxidants, rich in vitamins, this light and tasty omelet is sure to power up your day.


Filling: taste.........
baby bella mushrooms
red onion
potatoes (cut into Julienne strips and sauteed in olive oil)
pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper

all rolled into:
four egg whites 1 yolk mixture

topped with:
cottage cheese (pureed until smooth)
plain yogurt
pinch cayenne pepper

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I am so lucky, my man can cook! Comfort food is his specialty, and there is nothing better on a cold Midwestern day than some comfort food.  I was greeted at the door by a rich alluring smell of what I would consider a gourmet version of mac & cheese.  He must know that I have a soft spot ( grandma calls it my toosh) for mac & cheese!  He cooked multi-colored pasta (spinach, whole grain, and tomato) and two chicken breasts.  Tossed the diced chicken breast with diced red onion, sliced garlic, a little flour, cream of mushroom soup, LOTS of sharp cheddar cheese, a couple pours of milk, a pinch of butter, and topped it with French's onions. Then baked the concoction for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.   It was so good I had to paddle lock the refrigerator door.

 P.S Need a little green, add broccoli florets.

Monday, January 25, 2010

 Jabba has us well trained.  He wakes up Luke every morning when he is ready for breakfast by climbing onto his belly like a mountain goat and peering into his face.  I always yell, but Luke will quickly explain that he was about to get up anyway.  Luke and I sleep like dead bodies crammed into coffins on either side of our bed as Jabba sprawls out in the middle sucking the heat off of our bodies.  Jabba gets fed 1/3 cup of food three times a day, I am convinced he knows how to tell time.  If I am late on one of his feedings he will circle around his dish until his bowl is filled.  For any fellow Pug owner, one would know that a Pug is born with the knowledge of what kind of power their eyes have over their "owners."  They use this tool to manipulate, guilt, and trick at all times.  I can not eat a snack without first having dark beady eyes staring up at me, little round wishing wells drowning me deep under their spell.  Even though I am strict on what I feed my dog, he still is the boss.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

To resurrect mac & cheese (from the box) the next day, add a little butter and milk before it is heated in the microwave.  Tastes almost like it was freshly made.
The meat turned out amazing!  I would omit the second clove of garlic next time. The garlic over powered the flavor of the juices which I later used to make an ajus sauce to dip Yorkshire pudding in.  The meat was almost well done so check it at the forty minute mark for a more rare chunk of meat.  It was so good that the house hold tore at it like hungry vulchers before it even left the cutting board.  TWO THUMBS UP!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Amanda's Cook Book

Keep checking Amanda's Cook Book from Dec. 29th.  I have just added some tasty new recipes!
I am excited about what is going to happen to this boneless beef chuck roast!  I pulled it from the freezer last night and let it thaw.  Last night before bed I put it in a sealable tupperware with a whole clove of sliced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and onion powder.  This morning I flipped the sucker and re seasoned the other side. mmm mmm.  I want it to be somewhat natural with a kick.  Luke likes to use Lawry's, but I choose to create my own spice mix.  I am going to roast this later at about 350 degrees.  This should be good, I will let you know!!

A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER:  It is a little after 4 pm.  I finally pulled my roast from the fridge and just added half of a minced sweet white onion, and one more clove of sliced garlic.  I really like the flavor that seems to permeate through foods when the garlic has been sliced diagnostically across each piece.  I am putting it in the oven at about 350 degrees, and will check it again in about an hour.

NOTE: I have been cooking with fresh whole garlic cloves lately rather than dreadfully cheating with the preminced style.  The flavor benefits have been fully paying off.  It has become a painless procedure once I got the hang of it.  I smash the clove as hard as I can under the side of my knife blade with the palm of my hand, and pull the skin off from the base of the clove.  The skin practically falls off if you hit it hard enough.  Try it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LA Ice-cream Wars

First of all THANKS TOM& SUE!!! I had asked for an ice-cream maker for Christmas and that is what I got, Yummy!!  So I started things off with a low fat/low sugar frozen yogurt.  I call it French Vanilla Chocolate Chunk.  The texture was more like hard frozen ice-milk rather than the soft serve frozen yogurt that I am used to.  I used Truvia over sugar and yes whole milk (in my defense over heavy whipping cream) and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I will use dark chocolate next time and a food processor versus a blender.  The flavor was good, but the bowl had to set out for 20 minutes before we could scoop it and then it flaked or chipped into crystals rather than oozed (if you know what I mean).

Luke brought a mean game to the ice-cream maker with rich hot melted chocolate, decadent crunchy peanut butter, sugar, and old fashioned whipping cream.  His ice-cream texture was smooth and creamy, and curved into perfect balls against the scoop.  It melted across the tongue like dreamy chocolate mouse with a kick of peanut butter and had a wonderful nutty crunch that left the sweet and salty tones of the tongue satisfied.

The winner of this round: LUKE

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pranks and Vegetables

Who would ever guess that pulling a mean prank could open the door to my favorite vegetable?

In junior high, sometime in the early 90’s, the majority of the girl’s in my class signed up for the volleyball team.  I wasn’t necessarily an attractive girl at that age, nor popular with many of the other girls who had signed up; so one day I decided to go after the under dog in a means to up my par a little.
There were many strange rituals during that time; like rolling or pinning pant legs, obnoxiously huge bangs with too much hairspray, and pulling each other’s pants down. Yes I know how barbaric that sounds in this day and age, but back then every bullies edge was the kid not wearing a belt.
After quickly choosing my victim I looked around for the right time, when the coach was no where in sight and yanked as hard as I could.  Her shorts were around her ankles and there she stood in her light pink granny panties as vulnerable and wide open as a deer in a grass less field.
However, instead of the bouts of laughter and fingers erect, which I assumed would be to follow,  were looks of pity and curses of reprimand.  To make the situation even more sticky, the school superintendent was right behind me and had seen the whole thing!
Now I don’t recommend pulling pranks, nor am I endorsing the possibilities when you do, but on the long dreadful walk home that day, I made a new best friend.  That same girl, who’s shorts I had yanked down, walked me home cracking jokes about how she wished she was wearing underwear with a big smiley face and such.  A couple of nights later she invited me over to her house for dinner.
In my home we never ate anything that was the color green unless lime jello counts.  At my house we ate a strict diet of bland; potatoes, corn (cream style or kernel) and beef.  So while she stuck her nose up at the sight of her mom’s dish I smiled. A delicate green ball, with a bitter pungent kick, a texture between firm and soft, shimmering with olive oil, lightly sprinkled with sea salt.  I asked on the way out the door, “What are these things called again?” “Brussel sprouts.”
I didn’t eat one again until after I graduated high school.  Now I try to eat green with every meal, especially brussel sprouts!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Immunity Booster Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken
1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
2 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
1 whole onion sliced
chicken seasoning
dash of sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in roasting pan breast side up.  Add cup of broth, sliced onion and garlic.  Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning. Use as kitchen baster to occasionally moisten meat with juices.  Roast for 1 hour then flip chicken so that breast side is down.  Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning. Use as kitchen baster to occasionally moisten meat with juices.  Roast for 2 1/2 hours or until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear when meat is pricked with a fork.
1-3lb. can of swanson msg free chicken broth
plus one can of water
juices from roasting pan
2 cloves garlic minced
1 sweet onion chopped
3 medium stalks bok choy chopped
2 parsnips peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
1 medium leek thinly sliced
1-1/2 box of whole wheat noodles (egg, spiral, fettuccine)
meat from 1 whole chicken
sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot bring 1 large 3lb can of swanson msg free chicken broth, 1 can of water and broth from roasting pan to a low boil over medium heat.  Add carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic, and bok choy and a pinch of sea salt.  Boil for 20 minutes then add leeks and roasted chicken meat.  Add a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste.  After all the chicken meat has been added to pot add noodles.  Cook noodles as directed on box.  Enjoy!
I went to bed last night realizing that today I was going to feel like Hell had sent me an invitation to their party. I immediately dug out my emergency immunization booster daily diet and blew the dust from the top page.  It has been awhile since I have last been sick, in fact, I managed to squeeze past all the sick people that seemed to be gaining number around me.  Everyone knows that mass populations horded into a small area spread illness quicker than dry prairie grass in a  lightning storm.  I blame Luke for my sudden outbreak of sniffles, head and body aches.  The most unusual part of this sickness was waking up and NOT being hungry.  I woke up at my usual late after noon hour (which I despise about myself) and started seasoning the whole chicken I pulled from the freezer last night (like I mentioned earlier, I knew I was going to need this).  Chicken soup is supposed to be one of the best ways to suppress inflammation and cold related symptoms.   I will post the recipe that I made seperatly, but let me tell you that I find it quite amazing!
Question:  Is it weird that I can push the snooze button for three hours, in five minute intervals, and incorporate that into my dream?
Happy Birthday Jabba!!  Jabba is three years old today!  He doesn't get table scraps, however for his birthday he gets his favorite two meats chicken and ham with a cupcake (a cupcake dog biscuit). For his birthday he got a new dog bed and some of his favorite balls though he is not the greatest at playing catch with them.  We were going to have a birthday party for Jabba with a few of the neighborhood dogs, but I am suffering the pains of a Midwestern Death cold.  Sorry Jabbs.


It took me awhile to admit that I loved the show "My Name is Earl." I was a closet watcher for the first few weeks as I peered over at Luke's eyes to see if he was awake to witness my secret love of redneck comedy.  The worst part was that I could not explain my love for the show.  Recently though when I had a tough rumble with Karma I realized what it was that Earl and I had in common,  we are both believers in the power of Karma.
When I was younger I used to be a habitual liar of everything.  I would lie to cover up a lie and so caught deeply into the intertwining of my own delusional web.  It was a tough life, having to remember what lie I had told to whom, and eventually it caught up with me.  I lost friends, hurt loved ones, lost jobs, and missed out on the good fortunes life could of offered if only I would of told the truth.  Oh by the way, as my luck would have it, whenever I told a lie, I would suffer the truth of this lie.  I have recently reminded myself of this fate.
After reality finally stepped in and slapped me across the face, I began to realize the comfort that telling the truth offered.  I vowed then to always tell the truth or suffer immediate consequences.  That is why I love "My Name is Earl," because it is a parallel comedic version of my own life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I finally broke down and bought a new laptop and THANK GOD!!  As hard as the old SONY was to replace it was limping on it's last leg.  I have had it since 2003 ( I should be ashamed...or should I) we have had a good run together.  This new computer is AMAZING maneuverable.  As a web manager and writer it was excruciating to work on a computer that froze every other moment.
 AWW PIE!!! (watching MAN VS FOOD).
Happy typing (for me anyway). After I transfer all the files from my old computer it will be handed down to my little sister.  I just pray it does not produce the same horror that I suffered as I passed on my Barbie collection to her.  I gave them to her (YES...I was one of those young girls that coveted their Barbie dolls) in perfect condition, perfect silky hair combed flawlessly, clothes pressed and ironed (okay that is just for dramatic purposes) and the next time I saw them their hair was in snarls, they were NAKED and I think one was missing a leg....OHHH the HORROR of it all.  I was traumatized!!  Just Kidding Brit Brit love you!

My art

I found a new love...Elizabeth Gilbert.  Currently I am reading her book "Eat Pray Love" and I feel as if her voice is one from my own heart.  That may sound cheezy (and I am sorry to put that on you), but she has a familiar voice that I have known for years.  Her sense of humor towards the erruption of  life's problems is align with mine.  I can not say that I have struggled with the depths of depression as she describes, but I have been harrassed a time or two by D & L.  I completely relate to her questioning of what our thoughts and feelings stem from, she has written the words that I recently was speaking of to a friend.  We share similar views on the over use of antidepressent being described to people (a band-aid for the real problem.) 
The thing, however,  that I think I can relate to the most...the one thing that really struck a familiar neural cord with me was the deep divide within myself.  Marriage/kids/tradition vs living wild and free amongst the Earth,  screaming to the Earth from the mountain side, diving head first into serging waves from  jagged rocks, being swallowed by the sky as I exit the door of a plane, tasting the spice of a hidden weed, the homemade broth of a mother's foreign land...
I want both.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The gift that Papa Larry made with his chain saw was awesome!! I love it when people give gifts created from their own talent!

What I am reading

January 12, 2010
I have been excited to start on this book that I got for a Christmas present.  Thanks MOM!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I am going to make Luke's brother-in-law, Tony's Sauerkraut and cheese & potato pierogis, should be delicious, but with a healthier spin. Thanks for the idea Tony!!  I am puzzled on how to get around the bacon fat (turkey hmmm. I like the idea of cooking them WITH bacon (instead of in bacon fat), so maybe I will cook them in olive oil with thinly sliced bacon pieces.  Tony put a dallop of sour cream on his pierogis, I will substitute low fat plain yogart. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The days are just slipping by as if they are greased with butter. I cooked up a pot of deliciously simple shrimp soup the other night.  I will share the recipe once I get the photo uploaded.  It is somewhat like a Manhattan style chowder only with shrimp. 

Tonight my father is taking my sister and I to the old casino for a belated Christmas dinner.  I will post a review tomorrow. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reflections from yesturday

We are well on our way into the new year, yet it feels strange to me that so much is now in the past.  I have long learned the truth of my Grandparent's words "time flies" as I reflect on the holidays.  I remember Christmas used to last forever; an abundant buffet of Christmas cookies and little trays filled with black olives and baby dill pickles, last crinkled packages left under the tree for stragglers to open, drunken nights of brandy 7's, and spiked egg nog, laughing with my dad around my Grandma's oval table about horror stories from childhood.  Now it all seems like a flash of memory a shard from the past.  Strange time and memory is...strange.