Monday, December 26, 2005

"BBQ" Pork Roast

Our Christmas Eve dinner was my 'infamous' "BBQ" Pork Roast. I have to say "BBQ" because this roast is never on the grill, isn't smoked, isn't touched by BBQ sauce. It's a slow cooked, braised roast in a "BBQ Style" sauce. It's tasty, no Kenny's Smokehouse, but tasty!

Pulled BBQ Pork

3 lb Pork Roast, boneless
2 TB Olive Oil
1 TB Mrs. Dash
1 TB Salt
1 TB Pepper


1 TB Olive Oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 TB brown sugar
2 TB apple cider vinegar
1/2 TB each, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp each, Basil, Coriander, Cayenne
1 cup broth
1 can (12-14 oz) tomato sauce

Dry the roast with a several sheets of paper towel. Rub it lightly with olive oil, then rub in Mrs. Dash, Salt and Pepper. In a large pan, over high heat, sear each side of the roast for about 3 minutes per side (and ends). Remove from pan and place in a large slow cooker set to high heat.

Turn the heat in the large pan to medium-high. Add the remaining olive oil, when hot add the onions, stir, you'll start to bring up the bits that remain in the pan from the roast, cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine. Stir and allow the wine to reduce for about a minute. Add the brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Stir to incorporate. Stir in all the spices. Add the broth and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer. Pour over the roast in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes on high.

After 30 minutes, turn heat to low and cook for 6 and a 1/2 hours.

It make not take that long, but it's a slow cooker and can keep going!

When the roast is done, remove to a large bowl. If the roast is tied up, remove the string, then pull or shred the meat.

Pour the braising liquid in a large pan and simmer for about ten minutes. You just want to reduce it a little. Either serve on the side or pour over the pulled pork.



Please vote on this page with a comment for which recipe you like the most!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for Cookie Collection 2005.

The secret to these delicious morsels is the sitting time. The rum soaks into the wafers creating a sweet but powerful kick. Each bite feels a bit like a shot and is sure to turn the corner of your smile up in tropical bliss. Will taste great served with a little eggnog or other rum yummies!

Rum Balls

½ pound vanilla wafers
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup syrup (light corn syrup is great)
¼ cup rum (spiced is a nice treat, a high quality rum is not wasted here)
1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
1 1/2 cups pecan halves or quarters for topping

Crush wafers very fine.

Mix with sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon.

Add chopped pecans, syrup and rum.

Stir until well-blended and stiff.

Shape into one-inch balls. Any bigger and the rum punch might be a bit much.

Let stand one hour.

Roll in powdered sugar and pop a nut on each.

Store in a tight container for three days before serving.

A contribution from DC Food Blog

Merry Christmas

Hope you all are enjoying your holidays. I wish you the best!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for Cookie Collection 2005

Bacon-Fat Ginger Cookies

The New York Times's fashion critic, of all people, supplied this recipe. The key, she says, is to fry 1 1/2 pounds of cheap bacon and use the resulting milky bacon fat as shortening. Needless to say, I was fascinated. Being a modern cook, I don't save fat, but I know that my hypothetical praire ancestors did. I also know that they cooked with molasses a lot. So I agree with Cathy Horyn's conjecture that this recipe was probably the result of improvisation in a country kitchen. Ever wonder what 3/4 of a cup a bacon fat would look like? It's surprisingly appealing actually--not bacon-y at all.

The article containing this recipe was headed "Season's Drippings." That's all you need to know.


(adapted from Cathy Horyn's adaption from Nelle Branson's Trinity Episcopal Church Recipe Book)

Mix together in a large bowl:
3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1/2 pounds of cheap bacon)
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I used fleur de sel, because that's what I had around)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Chill dough for a few hours in the fridge. Make youself a BLT.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I used greased and floured cookie trays, but Horyn says to use parchment. Form the satisfyingly pliable dough into 1 Tablespoon balls, roll in sugar, and place on the cookie sheet far apart (these babies really spread out). I sprinkled a little extra sugar on the tops of mine as I flattened them with the tines of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, until dark and ginger snappy. Cool briefly, and then enjoy bacon as you've never tasted it before.

Submitted by Katherine from ToastPoint

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for Cookie Collection 2005.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1 2/3 cups cinnamon chips (1 - 10 oz bag Hershey’s brand cinnamon chips)

Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in bowl until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Combine flour and soda, add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in oats and cinnamon chips (batter will be
stiff). Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or
until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute, remove from pan to wire rack.

Original recipe also calls for 3/4 cup raisins, but I always omit them.

Contributed by Terri in WI.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wisconsin Delicacy

Most folks probably don't think of foods from Wisconsin as delicacies. We have a few:

Venison-Huntin' season is probably over by now. Venison is deer, when it's in the consumption phase. I've never had it at a restaurant in WI, because everyone makes it at home. I have seen it on menu's around the DC area, as a fine, extra special special. We mostly make it into sausage. Venison can be gamey...depends on what the deer have been eating all season. Corn from the farmers fields or bark and twigs.

Brats-That's not brat, as in "you rotten child." It's Braught, as in a long 'a' sounds. Awwww. Another sausage. Finely seasoned and super tasty. Always grilled. Always. You can parboil them first, so they are for sure cooked through. I like to grill mine to a super crisp, then give them a nice long bath in beer, butter and onions, until cooked through. Heaven on a bun! And yes, Johnsonvilled Brats are the way to go and they are available in some markets in the DC area.

And finally:

Cheese Curds! What is a cheese curd:

"A cheese curd is an orangish cheese by-product that feels like Silly Putty but tastes a lot better. It was invented accidentally by UW cheese scientists attempting to create an object of pure cholesterol that would still squeak. Rats who are fed this remarkable food develop an unusual capacity to polka and drink beer."

While not 100% true, it's pretty close. "But seriously, folks, cheese curds are fresh, young cheddar cheese in the natural, random shape and form before being processed into blocks and aged. (Cheddar cheese is typically aged from 60 days to 4 years before being sold.) Unlike the aged variety, curds lose their desirable qualities if refrigerated or not eaten for a few days (the squeak disappears and they turn dry and salty). This means that even if you can find them in ordinary supermarkets, they are probably a few weeks old, and inedible or at least unremarkable."

You can find Wisconsin Cheese Curds at Eastern Market...if you are lucky. They might be white, they might be orange. That's just coloring added.

The squeak is a sign of super fresh yummy tasty cheese curds! It's the moist cheese rubbing on your teeth as you chew. If you have fresh cheese curds and they are not squeaking....1) they were made wrong or 2) go brush your teeth, drink a beer and try again.

I'm dwelling on the cheese curd because in the past two weeks, I've recieved about 5 pounds of them! I was given a bag that was purchased at Eastern Market...really good, but alas, not day old! Another package that was a gift from Terri in WI. Those I haven't opened yet, as they were sealed up really well. And I just got another two pounds from my mom. I opened to taste these as they were just twisty tied. Squeakin' like you wouldn't believe! Yum yum yum.

We Wisconsinites eat our cheese curds either as just straight up fresh tasty cheese morsels or we batter them (not with too much anger though) and then fry them. OMG! OMG! You East Coasters can take your Mozz sticks and shov.......well those are good as well, but nothing like a fresh Wisconsin Cheese Curd that's been beer battered and fried to golden brown and delicious!

We have some other tasty treats, from the fresh water fish variety and the kugel...the danish kugel...oy!

And that folks is all I can say about Wisconsin food today.

Check out this site for some of the stolen qoutes from above and a "recipe" for fried Cheese Curds.


I'm not really in the mood to post this morning, but wanted to get this started at least.

Lord & Lady B, DancerinDC and I went out for a loverly holiday fun night last night. Lady B asked Tom where we could go that would be fun, hip, but not full of posers and kids (i.e. college kids out to get drunk). He gave us some suggestions and we went with Sonoma Restaurant & Bar on Capital Hill.

I Loved It!

Sonoma is where il Radicchio was back in the day. You walk in through a heavy velvet drape and come into a large room with a giant wine bar as the focal point. The rest of the room is dimly lit with simple tables along both sides. I pulled up a seat at the bar and looked at the wine menu. Several pages of wines sorted by body types...light and crisp, bold and full, etc. I was in a celebratory mood so I went with a glass of prosseco, Italian sparkling wine. Yum! With the exception of the prosseco, all the wines are in this giant climate controlled case and the wine isn't poured from the bottom, but a tap!!! What fun. Wine on tap! Probably 60 wines...all very affordable! Seriously!!!

The restaurant was a bit chilly when I got there, but it did warm up just enough once the place filled with peeps.

After some wine, we ordered some nibbles. What I loved about the menu is that you can order cheese and meats as your nibbles. We ordered a three cheese board. All the cheese were cow's milk cheese. I really loved them all! They were served with these impossibly light crostini that were to die for. And some spreads, but I was too infatuated with the cheese to go with spread.

Then we ordered the half charcuterie board...three sides of meats, shaved meats...we did sopressatta, coppa(salami???) and prosciutto. All were really tasty, as were the accompaniments...the grilled foccaccia, yum! The spiced nuts...yum! Mustard...which i don't normally like...yum! And wine soaked figs....careful, they will spill their juicy on you if you don't go careful! YUM. YUM! YUM>!>!>!>!>!

We did all this at the bar. The cheese board was really a taste of cheese. The meats were a little more filling.

We then moved upstairs. The second floor is all couches and comfy and cool. The problem. You can't order anything other than the cheese board and the charcuterie. So if you want to order something more, stay downstairs. Second...the staff person up there was a total tool and frankly, had no idea what he was talking about. After some more wine upstairs...which isn't really the same stuff as downstairs...for whatever reason we don't know...we moved across the street for some quick, chips and salsa and some greasy yummy Mexican.

I really want to go back and try some of the actual dinner items off their menu...or just drink more wine and have tasty nibbles. I enjoyed this place alot. GO!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Restaurant Week

DC's next Restaurant Week is scheduled!
January 9 to January 15, 2006.

If you haven't tried Restaurant Week, it's great fun. You can head out and try new restaurants. The participating restaurants offer 3 course pre-fix menu for lunch at $20.06 or a 3 course pre-fix menu for dinner at $30.06. I generally try to catch the lunch menus. I've enjoyed all the restaurants I've tried in the past.

Yum Yum, Enjoy!

One of the restaurants participating in the upcoming Restaurant Week is:

Bistro d'Oc
518 10th Street, NW
Washington, DC
(202) 393-5444

I was there last night. Not bad. Service was very casual. Lots of animal innards on the menu, perhaps to a fault. But I did have a tasty Croque Monsieur avec Pommes Frites. (Hot ham and cheese on a croissant with fries). The space is nice, I was a bit chilly from sitting next the window. The nice thing, the wine is like $6 a for this town...I had two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc that I really liked. Anywho...I'd go back, but it wouldn't be the first choice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Toss in your cookies

We have five more days to have cookie recipes turned in for Cookie Collection 2005!

As it stands now, we have three contenders...I know...I know...I've had cookies from people out there who haven't turned in a recipe yet...come on kids!!!! You know you wanna.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cookie Collection 2005

A non-contender for Cookie Collection 2005.

I made these cookies on a whim in April 2003, during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. I ate the entire batch. Ooops. I tried saving some for J-lo, but was worried they go bad before he had a chance...sorry.

Cherry Blossom Festival Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 300

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt with a whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the sugars at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not overmix.

Add the flour mixture and the white chocolate chips, blend at low speed until just mixed. Add the dried cherries, just until mixed.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 22-24 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool surface with a spatula.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai)

This is from Fine Cooking magazine's special 101 Chicken Recipes issue.

Yields 4-5 cups, serves four as a starter or two as a light meal.

This soup is a treasure; a quintessentially Thai dish that you can make at home simply, quickly and with great success. To easily get all of the ingredients, your best bet is an Asian market. However, many supermarkets now carry stalks of lemongrass (look for it in the produce section) and fish sauce, which is usually in the international foods aisle.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai)

2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 TB. fresh lime juice
2 TB. fish sauce (nam pla)
2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and sliced very thinly crosswise
6 fresh or frozen wild lime leaves, torn or cut into quarters
OR substitute the peel from one lime; use a vegetable peeler to peel wide stripes, then slightly bruise the strips
10-12 thin slices of galangal
OR 10 to 12 thin slices of fresh ginger
8 to 10 fresh hot red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and lightly pressed with the side of a knife
OR 3 or 4 serranos, thinly sliced
2 TB. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 boneless chicken breast cut into bite-size chunks or sliced across into strips
1/4 white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed and thinly sliced to yield 1 cup (NOT IN MY HOUSE)
1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can very well before opening)
1 14 oz can of low-salt chicken stock or 1 3/4 cups water

Trim away and discard the root end and the top of each stalk of lemongrass, along with any brittle leaves. Pound each stalk lightly with one of the cans of broth or coconut milk. Cut each stalk crosswise into 2 inch lengths and set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, scallions, cilantro and half the lime leaves. Set the bowl aside.

Near the stove, place your small piles of the galangal (ginger), lemongrass, remaining lime leaves, chiles, chicken and mushrooms (NOT IN MY HOUSE).

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves ou have reserved. Add the chicken and those stinky mushrooms. Return to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors and cook the chicken.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot soup over the seasonings in the serving bowl and stir well.

Serve Hot!

This is a tasty soup. It took me a while to find all the ingredients, I had to get most of them at Whole Foods. Anyone know of an Asian market? Obviously I do not do mushrooms. I also didn't have the scallions, I forgot. No loss, as far as I can tell. I used the juice of one lime, I didn't measure it. That might have been a mistake, I may have used too much, as the soup was extra sour. But really, it was incredible! Lots of powerful strong flavors!!!

Cookie Collection 2005

Not a contender for Cookie Collection 2005

Poundcake Cookies

Makes 4 to 5 dozen small cookies

Pastry chef Ann Amernick brushes these tender cookies with a sweet-tart glaze using a soft-bristled paintbrush. Just one swipe imparts the perfect amount. These are best served the day they are baked.

The cookies are based on the old-fashioned approach to poundcake that calls for a pound of each ingredient. Weighing the ingredients is encouraged but not necessary.

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
8 ounces (scant 1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
8 ounces eggs (about 4 large eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
8 ounces (scant 1 1/4 cups) flour
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (between 1 and 2 large lemons)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a wire rack over newspapers, a brown paper bag, paper towels or wax paper to catch any drips.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter and sugar for about 4 minutes. The mixture should be light in color and texture but not fluffy.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition just until combined. Add the vanilla or lemon zest and mix for about 2 minutes.

Add the flour in 3 additions, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure the ingredients are completely incorporated the dense dough. Drop teaspoons of the dough onto the baking sheet or fit a pastry bag with a No. 6 or 7 Ateco tip and pipe the dough onto the baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then rotate the sheet front to back.

Bake for about 5 more minutes, until cookies are lightly golden and just firm to the touch. The cookies will spread out; they should be a little soft, not crisp.

In a bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. The mixture should be smooth and somewhat runny.

These are tasty treats. Made them tonight, after staring at the recipe for sometime. If you like poundcake that isn't wet and greasy or oily, these will totally satisfy. They really are small bite sized poundcakes. The glaze is tasty, but I think what might be fun, is making a 'raspberry' glaze out of jam, as a way to spruce these up with a little different flavor. I went with lemon zest instead of vanilla extract.

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for Cookie Collection 2005.

I hope my heart-tugging story of cookies healing a homesick heart will win out of the more imaginative and superior recipes.

So this comes completely off the top of my head because it's burned into my brain. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is the first evidence of my foodie status. I was studying abroad in Lancaster, England and I was feeling mighty homesick. It's hard for a perky SoCal boy to break into the more reserved (until they have a few pints in them) British social circles. Everyone in my building were these totally fratty rugby players. That day I went on a trip to Edinburgh with the other American Junior Year Abroad students. It was there I met what would become my two oldest and closest friends in the world - Lord and Lady Lancaster. They were a couple from UT Austin and we actually had a friend in common (a high school friend of Lady Lancaster). We all ended up having a bout of homesickness and felt the deep seated need for a burrito. We spent hours roaming the streets of Edinburgh searching for a burrito. We were all despondent over not having found a single burrito in the whole city of Edinburgh. On the bus ride home, I suggested that we could make chocolate chip cookies to address our homesickness. this was the days before the internet where you could just look up a chocolate chip cookie recipe. We decided to test our memory and just make up the recipe based on what we could remember. Through the course of the cookie making I met everyone on the Lancasters' floor and they became my close circle of friends. Wayne spent the rest of the year saying, "COOKIES" whever he'd see me. I am still friends with them to this day and Lancasters live a 15 minute walk from me and J on capitol Hill. As it turns out J knows mutual friends of theirs. Small world.

Anyway, this is what we came up with. As it turns out we were right on the money and it is exactly what's on the back of a bag of Nestle Toll House chocolate chips.

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 chocolate bars chopped finely (chocolate chips didn't exist in England when I was there) In one version we made in England, there was a run on regular choclate bars and we used chopped up frozen Mars bars.

Cream butter and sugar together. In England we did this by hand, taking turns until it was done. Unless you are wanting and intense forearm workout, use a mixer. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Drop by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Contributed by one of the boys at DC Food Blog.

"Votes" will be accepted from 1159pm, December 26, 2005 until 1159pm, December 31, 2005.

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for Cookie Collection 2005

"A Holiday Cookie Recipe With Spirit!"

Oatmeal White Chocolate-Chunk Cookies with Spicy Spiked Cranberries

1 cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons Scotch whiskey
1 teaspoon habanero chile powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, slighty softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups white chocolate chunks
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Place the cranberries, whiskey and chile powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes or until the cranberries have absorbed most of the liquid. Set cranberries aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare several baking sheets with cooking spray or butter. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Use a mixer to beat the butter, shortening and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the egg and corn syrup and beat until fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture a little bit at a time. Stir in the oats, cranberries and chocolate.

Refrigerate the batter for at least 10 minutes. Drop the dough in tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheets, spaced about 3 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at time, for about 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Contributed by Chilefire

"Votes" will be accepted from 1159pm, December 26, 2005 until 1159pm, December 31, 2005.

Cookie Collection 2005

A contender for the Cookie Collection 2005

Butterscotch Haystacks

1 container of fried Chinese noodles
1-6oz package of butterscotch chips
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 cup of peanuts

Melt butterscotch chips in a double boiler, add peanut butter, noodles and peanuts. Mix well and drop small haystacks on wax paper to cool and harden. Enjoy!

Contributed by Lady Brandenburg

"Votes" will be accepted from 1159pm, December 26, 2005 until 1159pm, December 31, 2005.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

A contributed recipe from Terri in WI.

Ginger Carrot Soup (serves 8)

2 Tbls sweet cream butter
2 onions, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 Tbls fresh grated ginger
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper
sour cream
parsley sprigs for garnish

In a 6 quart pan, over medium heat, add butter and onions, cook until limp. Add
broth, carrots and ginger. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer
until carrots are tender.

Remove from heat and transfer to blender. Blend in batches, using a towel over
the blender cover because it'll leak and make a mess (always does when I'm making
it!), pulse first, then puree until smooth. Return to pan, add whipping cream.
Stir over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with dollops of sour cream and parlsey for garnish.

**Terri's comments**
I use baby carrots. Less fuss, you don't have to peel or even cut them up,
and they're sweeter. I just
think they make the soup taste better.

I've grated the ginger, pushed it through a garlic press, and chopped it.
It ends up that chopping it
works best... it seems you won't tend to get
the fine hair-like strands of ginger in the soup if you chop.

I've used chicken broth, boullion (sp?), vegetable broth and part canned
broth/part water and it all
seems to work fine. The vegetable broth seems
to smell different when you're cooking it, I was a little
worried the first
time I tried it, but it ended up tasting just the same in the end.

DO NOT skimp on the whipping cream! I usually cut the recipe in half, but
end up still using close to a cup
of cream. It really makes the recipe.
Don't think about the calories, just enjoy!!

Finally... another DO NOT skimp... the sour cream. Full fat, lite, fat
free... whatever you like! It's
always better with the sour cream.

Pumpkin Pudding

A contributed recipe from The Kara:

According to Dr. Andrew Weill, carotenoids in pumpkin are a group of antioxident pigments that give carrots, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupes, peaches, mangos and other yellow/orange fruits and veggies their color. Carotenoids are strongly cancer protective and including all the colors of the rainbow in your meals can really help!


One 12 oz. can of fat free evaporated skimmed milk
One sugar free/fat free packet of vanilla pudding (Jell-O)
One 15 oz. can of 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (best if you use actual vanilla extract)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Cool whip or whip cream to top

Stir evaporated skim milk and vanilla pudding together. After combined, add in can of pumpkin and mix well (there will probably be a few lumps, but that's alright). Stir in vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (I like it cold). Serve with cool whip or whip cream on top.

Thanks for the contribution Kara!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cookie Collection

Hello all,

In the spirit of the season....ok, whatever, humbug,....I would like to try something!!!

Cookie Collection 2005

Thanksgiving has it's turkey, Easter has it's ham. Christmas has cookies.

And if you know me, you know I like me some cookies, OK!

I have a prize and someone, anyone, everyone is eligible to win it! But I'm not telling you what it's foodie related...that's all I'm sharing!

How do you win?

Send me a cookie recipe that you've made, it doesn't have to be your own, just one that you've made. I will post all the recipes I receive on the blog. I will accept recipes up until December 25. At which point I'll open up the democratic voting process.

The recipe that earns the most "Mmmm, that looks soo good" comments will recieve the prize and bragging rights for the next year!

You ready to Bring It?

Fine Print:
  • *From the time of this post until 1159pm, December 25, 2005, cookie recipes will be accepted.
  • *Anyone is eligible, just send recipes to me at scotteichinger 'at' msn 'dot' com and say you're submitting a recipe for Cookie Collection 2005. Forward this post to friends & family, the more the merrier.
  • *In the instance of a tie, the competing cookie recipes will be placed in the "Cookie Jar of Death" for a 'to the finish' battle, the cookie recieving the most votes at that point will be declared the winner.
  • *"Votes" will be accepted from 1159pm, December 26, 2005 until 1159pm, December 31, 2005.
  • *To prevent fraudulent voting, I'm contracting Diebold to come up with a foolproof voting system.
  • *The recipe doesn't need to be your own creation, just one that you have made (with or without help of a mom or grandmother), provide tips & suggestions if you have them.
  • *There are only two people not eligible to win the prize, but they are eligible & encouraged to submit recipes. (That's me & DancerinDC)
  • *You can submit as many recipes as you like, the more the merrier!
  • *To recieve the prize, you will need to submit, privately to me, your address.
  • *Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks?

To get you started on ideas!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Warm Bowl of Love

As winter has arrived, it's time for soup. Last night I made my Chicken Dumpling Soup. I know it was my grandmother's recipe and one of the few things that my mother made well. Whenever my grandmother made it, the soup was a full days affair.

Although the soup can be a full days affair, I do take a few liberties to quicken the recipe up. Last night I made it faster than ever only took about an hour, maybe an hour and a half...and the funny thing is, I didn't even use some of the 'shortcuts' I've done in the past.

A while back, Giant had chicken thighs on sale, so I bought and extra pack and thought I'd save them for the "Tagine Chicken." No, I used those last night. When they thawed out, I put them in a large kettle and covered with water, allowing about and extra inch of water, to accommodate the veg.

I used 1/2 a head of celery, including the leaves, roughly chopped. About 1/2 lb of baby carrots, roughly chopped. And 1 onion, cut into eight pieces. Threw in 2 bay leaves and a few peppercorns. A tsp of salt. And because I thought why not, a shake or two of 'poultry' seasoning.

I allowed the pot to simmer for about 1/2 hour. This cooks the chicken and extracts all the flavors from the veg.

I removed from the heat and scooped out the chicken. I strained the stock and discarded the veg.

While the chicken cooled, I prepared the final veg. The carrots, onion, celery. When cool to touch, I removed the chicken meat from the bones, taking care not to get any extra fat, skin and other unpleasant by products of meat-gristly stuff. I added the chicken meat back to the pot.

Again, simmer until the veg are tender.

Dumpling. Last night was the easiest time I've had with the dumplings...don't know why. I used two eggs, and about 2 cups of flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash and some more poultry seasoning. Drop bite size pieces of the dough into the soup. They float almost immediately, but based on size can take sometime too cook. I usually allow at least ten minutes before serving.

The soup was great. Using the chicken thighs brought a whole extra layer of flavor via the perfect flavor vehicle...FAT! I did have to skim off about two-thirds of the fat, otherwise it would have been too much....but chicken fat provides this amazing mouth feel and flavor that a homemade soup needs!

I hope you have an opportunity to try this soup....I'm sure my grandmother would love to know more people are enjoying her soup.

As I think the original recipe post says, use boneless/skinless breasts for a healthy version of the soup. When I do that, I do add some boullion cubes for extra 'chicken' flavor. If you want an inbetween version, use chicken pieces and just remove the skin. You'll get some of the flavor, but less of the fat.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Shout Out!

Hola Bitches!
You know I love ya.

I have to give a shout out here. A few short weeks ago a regular visitor/commenter on this blog, started her own food blog...but not just your run of the mill food blog...but a really really well written, well researched, fun reading, full of lore and history, food blog.

I highly recommend you get Lost in Somewhereistan.

So far we've had great stories on risotto, pomegranates, history of Gouda and yesterday's post: Comfort Food and Georgia, the country, not the state.

And remember, if you click on the sidebar on the right, My Favorite can see where I spend most of my time!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Yesterday DC FOOD BLOG posted on Meyer Lemons and that they were making Limoncello.

Yum Yum.

Today, Washington Post food section has an article on Limoncello and a recipe! Check it out.

I might have to buy me some Vodka and Lemons!!!

We wish you a Merry Christmas Pasta?

I first made this Rachel Ray recipe when she was probably in her first season on her show, when she was still taking her Ritalin! BTW: Food network seems to be showing these first season shows from 630-7pm nightly. It's almost relaxing to watch her. A crazy juxtaposition with the first 1/2 hour being 'todays' shows and the second being the 'old' shows. She was sooo calm and sweet, compared to her "boingy boingy boingy" approach to her current ya Ray Ray!

This is a tasty recipe and very easy, super filling! I think the title of the recipe is soley based on when it was made in her family. It's a hearty meat sauce.

Christmas Pasta
4 large servings

2 TB olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/4 lb pancetta, chopped into small bits
1/2 lb bulk hot Italian sausage
1 lb 'meatloaf' mix (pork, beef, veal)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 cans (32 oz total) diced, peeled tomatoes
Handful of chopped parsley
1/4 tsp allspice or cinnamon
2 lbs Penne--to use all the sauce, can use less pasta and freeze sauce for later!

Parmigiano as an accompaniment

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat.

Add oil, garlic, bay and pancetta bits and brown for 1 minute.

Add meats and brown and crumble them for 5 minutes.

Chop carrot, celery and onions, add to the pot as you work.

Cook vegetables with meat for 5 minutes, add wine.

Cook for 1 minute, add stock and tomatoes.

Stir in parsley, allspiceor cinnamon, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10-15 minutes minimum before serving.

Reheated sauce only improves!!!

The sauce will cover up to 2 pounds of pasta!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Who needs the Irish?

The following recipe is basically an inverted New World Sheperd's Pie. Wha???

Tonight we have Tamale Pie, a casserole with a corn meal/grit bottom and meat blend top, where a Sheperd's Pie is a meat blend bottom, topped with mashed taters.

This is a pretty easy recipe to follow with plenty of variations, and maybe a healthy variation, I'll give my notes at the end, but here's what I did:

Tamale Pie
serves about 8

For Filling/Topping
2 lb ground beef
Salt/Pepper/Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 large onion, diced
1 large jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB, cumin, plus a little extra
1 can crushed tomatoes (14 oz)
1 "can" frozen corn
1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
8oz Colby cheese

For Corny/Grits Base
1 1/2 cup corn meal
4 cups water
Salt/Pepper to taste-be liberal, it needs it!
4 TB Butter

In a large skillet, brown 1/2 the beef, stirring occasionally. When cooked, transfer to a large bowl. I put mine in a strainer first, to drain out the grease. Repeat with the second 1/2. Reserve 2 TB of fat for next step.

Reduce heat to medium and add 2 TB of reserved fat.. Cook onions, jalapeno, garlic and cumin, stirring ocassionally for about five minutes, until onions are soft.

Season with S/P.

Add tomatoes and corn. Instead of measuring two cups of corn, I poured it into the empty tomato can. Stir to incorporate. If the tomatoes are a little watery, let cook for a bit longer to cook of extra liquid. Add the cilantro.

Return beef to pan. Stir to incorporate. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a medium/large saucepan bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, with salt and pepper...this is where you want to be liberal with the salt, I used about 1 1/2 TB....the cornmeal can be plain, use your best judgement.

In a medium bowl, mix the corn meal and the remaining 1 1/2 cup of water together. When the water in the saucepan is boiling, add the cornmeal/water mixture to the boiling water. Stir constantly and quickly, up to five minutes, or until thick and "creamy." Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Pour cornmeal into a 13x9 baking dish. Smooth into the pan, allow to set for about a minute.

Pour the meat mixture over the top, put cheese over the top.

Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any bubbly mess), until cheese is bubbly and gooey.

Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

Yum Me!

The original recipe called for using ground turkey and olive oil. That is tasty, but pretty mild, more healthy for you though.

Original recipe called for two jalapenos, I used one instead of two. More mild instead of hot!!

I added a TB of oregano.

Garlic is an addition I thought appropriate.

I've made this at least twice, maybe three times...this was by far the best time. I would recommend it...great easy week night meal or dish for a potluck! Do people still do potlucks?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Some Wisdom

A bowl of homemade soup and some good bread with fresh butter makes one of the best lunches going.

-Ethan Becker

Cooking is not brain surgery--all you need is good ingredients, some simple equipment, and the desire to cook for those you love.

-Ethan Becker

Soup is a good place to start when learning to cook--soups are very forgiving.

-Ethan Becker

Ethan Becker is one of the authors of The Joy of Cooking.

And here are some soups.

Two Celebrity Magazines

Everyday With Rachel Ray

Cooking With Paula Deen

I was excited when I heard, or read, that Rachel and Paula were both getting their own cooking magazines. In interest of full disclosure, I have already subscribed to Rachel's magazine, but I plan to cancel the subscription and not pay...shhhh, don't tell anyone.

Read On:

Everyday With Rachel Ray

I picked up Rachel's magazine at Borders, I was excited to finally see it. The magazine is a large glossy with Rachel's mug on the cover, she's wearing a shirt with one of her signature sayings "Yum-O." OK, kinda cute.

"74 Fool proof recipes"
"68 Cool gift ideas"
"Fast and Easy 30 Minute Meals"
"121 tips and tricks"

Those are some of the notes on the cover. A recent comment I made about Entertainment Weekly can be applied here. EW has recently started throwing on the cover "68 new reviews", 50 top this and 60 top that. I don't care. You won't get my attention by blowing a horn. You'll get my attention with appropriate content.

*Full color glossy pages
*Easy to follow content pages with sub-headings: "Yum" "Ready, Set" "Cook" "Get Together" "Go Away"
*First recipe is for risotto
*Recipe Index
*Fairly enticing photos
*Recipes are easy to understand
*Seven days, Seven recipes pull-out card, with shopping list
*Take Out-In, story and recipes
*Do the math, expanding recipes for more guests
*Beer tasting
*Top spots in NYC

*First recipe is for risotto for her dog. I'm all for loving your pets, but making Boo-sotto for your dog...? Come on.
*What's in Whoopi's Fridge? Celebrities have immaculate fridges because they have people do stuff for cleaning, shopping, chewing...I don't care, she's not like me, nor are you Rachel. I have to shop on a budget, save scraps, etc. Come take a picture of my fridge!
*Take Out-In, has a guide for setting the buying themed clothes. NO.
*Travel stories. These make me sad because I can't afford to go, so I don't want to read about place like that. This was the #1 reason I didn't renew Gourmet a few years back...they fine living stuff made me feel broke all the time.
*Faves & Raves, don't care, most of it was worthless in my eyes.

Mostly the magazine is in line with Oprah and what was Rosie. Really a personality magazine. At times it was like watching Rachel's show, all ove rthe place. But then there are parts I liked. I'll watch for it on the newstands, but not compelled to subscribe. PS: many of the recipes in the magazine, that are Rachel's recipes, are already in her books or online.

Cooking with Paula Deen

We know I love me some Paul and make plenty of her recipes, but can't deal with her obsession with Mayo.

This magazine, once I spent some time with it, really should just be titled like it's founder: Southern Ladies Cooking. It's also a glossy, like Rachel's, but a little smaller.

*a Q&A page, but it will need to be geared more towards food and less towards her and the restaurant and the web. Maybe some more about her hottie sons?
*Photo/story on her kitchen....drool worthy....even with it's country kitsch feel.
*800 million recipes for cookies.
*Theme recipe sections
*Recipe index
*Recipes are easy and have short ancedotes on most of them.

*Wreath & Garland decorating-gawdy
*Gingerbread house story-tedious
*Not really geared towards me, more for our mothers and grandmothers.

The magazine is lovely, but I didn't feel that Paula's silly personality came through. Another I'll watch for on the newstand, but won't subscribe.

Both magazines come out every other month
Rachel: $3.99/issue (132 pages)
Paula: $4.99/issue (98 pages)

For my money, I'll stick with my favorite, and IMHO-the best food magazine, Fine Cooking.


Sounds like a place I should check out:


Anyone been?

Oh No!

Remember my post about cookies:


There was mention of a cookie I made, white chocolate & dried cherry cookies.

Paula Deen has betrayed me! She's making them right now!!!!!! I told her that was a secret recipe, not to be shared on TV! PAULA!!!!!

Well, the secrets out...might as well get you to the recipe.

I won't be talking to her for....about ten minutes.

Yummy Gift

Last night while preparing dinner, there was a knock on a door. We weren't sure it was ours, so we waited a second, yup, it was...strange, when we're not expecting guests, we've had about two people knock on our door...who was it.

Hello Mr. UPS !

The parents of one of our Thanksgiving Guests sent us a lovely gift box from:

Concord Teacakes

We opened the box and it had 12 handcut scones, 4 plain, 4 pumpkin, 4 cinnamon and one jar of Devon Cream.

These are really good scones!!! We've had some of the pumpkin and cinnamon so far! We warmed them slightly in the microwave for 15 seconds. I had mine with butter, as the cream makes me worried about my belly. J did have it and said it was really good.

I would recommend them! And looking on their website, they have Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam....drool!

This was a wonderful gift...THANK YOU!!!! Now, we just have eat up the rest of them in two days, per the recommendations from the company!

Tip for apples

So you know that when you cut an apple, it begins to brown because of the air...I don't know the right term, but you know what it is.

Well, for years, forever really, the tip has been to use lemon juice to help prevent the browning, or at least to delay it.

When I was in college, I went to about 100 pampered chef parties, I only bought a few things, but I got free food out of it!!! One of the pampered chefs gave a tip.

Use Lemon-Lime soda! You get the acidity of the lemon, but you don't get the uber-tart flavor of the lemon on the sweet apples. I tried it a few times and it really does work!!!

Maybe you'll want to try this the next time you're slicing apples for something.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Let Them Eat Cake With Me

I think we're going to make Paula Deen cry with JOY!

This recipe was given to me by a little fairy. If she wants to let anyone know, she can give us a comment.

Milky Way Cake

1 chocolate cake mix (+ingredients indicated on box)
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 small jar (120z) caramel topping
12 oz whipped topping
4 Heath (or Skor) bars, chopped (or buy a bag that is pre-crushed)

Prepare cake according to box, bake in 9x13 pan.

While hot, use the stem end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over top of cake. Pour condensed milk evenly over top, then pour caramel evenly over that. Sprinkle half of crushed Heath bars over top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Spread whipped toping over cake, then sprinkle remaining Heath pieces over whipped topping.


I poured the carmel and condensed milk in a small sauce pan, warmed it and stirred it together...then poured the whole mess on top of the cake...a little easier, and they are fully incorporated.

I know this is going to be killer in terms of sugar and fat, so I made it a little more user friendly and used no fat condensed milk and lite whipped topping.

a quickie dinner

all we knew...we wanted I went to Safeway on my way home...BTW: I'm about to officially hate Safeway if they continue to suck at stocking common items in their store!

I decide a quickie sausage, peppers and pasta dinner would be good.

Safeway didn't have regular italian sausage. For Real.

So I went with Turkey Italian Sausage. They were alright, but we both would prefer the old school pork Italian Sausages.

I got one green pepper, one yellow.

I had everything else at home.

Sausage & Peppers
a swirl or two of olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage (pork or turkey-the more low fat version for healthy peeps)
1 Green pepper, sliced into strips
1 Yellow pepper, ditto
1 medium yellow onion, ditto
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 TB Basil, dried
1 TB Oregano, dried
1 tsp Thyme, dried
Salt/pepper to taste

Pasta, I did tubes this time. Something shapely.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large sauce pan, over medium high heat, bring oil to temperature and add the sausages. Cook for a few minutes on each side, let them get crispy/brown/delicious.

Remove from heat, rest for a minute, slice into bite size pieces, about 3/4 inch, or 1/2 inch.

When the water boils, add the pasta. The rest of the meal will take the same amount of time.

Add another swirl of olive oil if their isn't any left. Add the onions and saute for four minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the peppers and saute for two minutes. Add the spices and salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate. Add the can of tomatoes, including their juice. Rinse can with water, 1/2 way. Pour into the pan. Stir. Add the sausage and simmer until pasta is done.

Drain pasta. Put serving of pasta in a bowl, scoop over sausage, peppers and onions. Get a little extra sauce. Sprinkle a little parm if you like.