Monday, October 31, 2011
You're going to need a cocktail after all those trick-or-treaters. Here's a festive one. Mix your favorite martini....although if you're like me and partial to dirty ones, you're going to want to skip the olive juice just this once to make sure that you get the full effect.
The holiday trimming is the garnish. Take a couple of pimiento-stuffed olives and spear them up. Embed a peppercorn in each to make an eye. Place in your cocktail glass and pour the martini in. Take a couple of dashes Peychaud's bitters and drop in for the full bloodshot effect.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
But don't worry...you can do it without feeling guilty. (Except for the fact that you're...um....stealing.)
As to the calories though, don't worry too much about it. A recent LSU study found that adults who ate about an ounce of candy a day on average tended to have smaller waists, a lower body mass index, and a lower risk of high blood pressure.
Would someone please pass me a Reese's?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
- Butternut squash: This one packs a lot of fiber, potassium and beta-carotene into its distinctive shape. Mash it together with potatoes. Or roast it and toss with whole wheat pasta, sage and olive oil.
- Brussels sprouts: Good ones are great steamed whole, but try shredding them and sauteeing with a little bacon.
- Pears: It's not all about apples. And pear's aren't just for eating out of hand. Poach them for an elegant dessert. Toss into a salad with blue cheese and walnuts. Or slice onto a sandwich with a spread of almond butter.
- Beets: They're red thanks to beta-cyanin...thought to fight cancer. Other good stuff in these root veggies improve blood flow to your brain to keep it sharp. Throw these guys into a fall salad...shredded with apples or roasted with carrots.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
But, wait, everyone is on a health kick these days, so what to do....
Cooking Light comes to the rescue with a New York magazine-style quadrant map "Halloween Treat Picker." The bad corner maxes out on saturated fat and sugar while the opposite (what we should aspire to) section offers "healthier" options.
Of course, my favorites are in the bad corner. Reese's. Twix. M&M's.
Only a little better...3 Musketeers. And Hershey's Miniatures.
But here are the ones you need to have your tykes set on "search"... Laffy Taffy. Smarties. Tootsie Roll. Starburst.
I agree...ignore this post.
Monday, October 24, 2011
- When you make stock, make it in large quantities and freeze it in two cup portions in plastic bags or containers. You can use it to add extra flavor to rice, sauces, and stir fries.
- If you have a stainless steel sink, use it to get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands. Rub your hands on the sink vigorously for 30 seconds and then wash them. No odor.
- Use a microplane grated to shave veggies into a vinaigrette. Kick the flavor up with grated fennel and orange zest. Or lemon zest and carrot. Or...well, you get the idea.
- Yes, you want your spices close to you as you're cooking. But, no, you don't want them over the stove....nothing will kill their flavor faster. Store in a cool dark place NOT above the hot zone of your kitchen.
- If you need to add more oil to your pan while sauteing, add it in a stream along the edges of the pan. That way, by the time it reaches whatever you're cooking, it will be heated.
- Healthy up your creamy dressing by subbing Greek-style yogurt for half of the mayonnaise.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
It's also a perfect autumn sipper...several of the ingredients make it the color of fall leaves.
Makes one cocktail.
2 ounces Bourbon
2 ounces club soda
2 ounces ginger ale
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled highball glass and stir.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
(Dang....wish my camera wasn't at work so I could have taken a picture.)
Butternut Squash Spoon Bread
From Southern Living.
Makes 8-10 servings.
2 cups buttermilk
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups thawed, frozen unseasoned, pureed butternut squash (or use frozen or fresh squash that you cook and puree yourself)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
(Next time I make it I might add a little spice as well. A teaspoon of hot pepper sauce? Generous pinch of crushed red pepper? Maybe even a diced jalapeno pepper.....)
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook buttermilk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often, 4 to 6 minutes or until bubbles appear around edges (do not boil); remove from heat. (Mixture may curdle.)
Lightly beat egg yolks in a large bowl; stir in squash and cheese. Combine cornmeal and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir cornmeal mixture into squash mixture. Pour warm buttermilk over squash mixture; whisk until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes or until lukewarm.
Brush a 2 1/2- to 3-qt. baking dish or 12-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon melted butter; stir remaining melted butter into squash mixture.
Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold into squash mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Here are a few more creative ideas...
- Kick your oatmeal up a notch...stir in a spoonful of pumkin puree and top with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).
- Blend that pumpkin pie into a shake. Combine a slice of pie, 1/2 cup milk and a cup of vanilla ice cream in the blender. Slurp up with a straw.
- Substitute pumpkin for your next batch of fries. Roast sticks of pumpkin that you've tossed with olive oil and salt (and any other herbs/spices that sound good) at 450° for 20 minutes.
- Trick (or treat) out your bagels. Blend 4 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and a pinch of cinnamon. Then spread the October love...
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Source: Real Simple magazine
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In 1969, if you were staying at the Holiday Inn in San Marcos, Texas, you might start your meal with a chiffonade salad or one of several "Appeteasers" like Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail or Split Pea Soup.
And in 1954, at the Plaza, a tequila would set you back $1.15.
How do I know these things? From a fascinating wesbite launched by the New York Public Library. At menus.nypl.org, you can peruse hundreds of menus from more than a century ago to today. You can even help them transcribe menus to make them searchable.
Check it out...and post links to your favorites in the comments section.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In the meantime, I'm taking every opportunity to wander around the neighborhood and local parks to take a look. Did you know there are more than 750 tree species native to North America? If you can't figure out what you're looking at, snap a photo of a leaf with your iPhone and use the Leafsnap app to identify it. You'll know your Shumards from your water oaks in no time at all.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Not sure exactly how I'll use it, but it strikes me as an excellent candidate for roast pork, taco garnish, or cracker and cream cheese topper.
Makes about 5 pints.
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups chopped chiles (chop by hand for a chunky salsa or in the processor as I did for a saucy salsa)
1 medium red onion, minced
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
8 cups pears, coarsely chopped (again...I cheated and used the Cuisinart)
Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Ladle hot salsa into clean canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a hot water canner for 15 minutes.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Here's a list of varieties for you to investigate:
- Anjou: This one can be either red or green and is ubiquitous and available year-round. It's also quite adaptable, good both raw and cooked.
- Bartlett: This one also comes in red and green varieties. It is slightly more floral, and is also good both raw and cooked.
- Bosc: This is the most autumnal-looking pear with its rusty brown skin. It has a firm texture so it's good for preserves or poaching.
- Comice: Creamy, juicy and sweet, these are the ones to eat out-of-hand.
- Concorde: This variety is firm and resists browning, making it perfect for a cheese plate. It aso cooks well.
- Seckel: These cuties are great as garnish or for snacking.
- Starcrimson: Bright red skin contrasts with creamy white flesh...perfect for a fruit salad.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
But here are a few more ideas I recently ran across. For all, simply freeze in the trays and use as needed.
- Chopped onions. (I'd add other veggies like peppers as well. Perfect to add to an omelet of scrambled eggs.)
- Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. (Great idea! Who ever needs a whole can? And who likes to throw the wasted stuff away when you're cleaning out the fridge?)
- Tea. Now you're iced tea won't get diluted as the "ice" cubes melt. Apply the same idea to lemonade, sangria, and the like.
- Tomato paste. A great way to add a burst of flavor to veggie sautes or pan sauces without having to use the whole can.
- Chopped herbs. This is the perfect way to preserve all those great summer flavors.
- Wine. Don't throw those last splashes of wine away. Freeze and add to sauces.
- Tomato juice. Yeah, you could add to stews or chili, but wouldn't they be perfect in a Bloody Mary?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Make some apple slaw by shredding carrots and cored apples in a food processor. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a dash of cumin.
Spike up your iced tea as it brews with some diced apples and then sweeten with honey.
Swap melon for apple and wrap thin wedges of Golden Delicious with prosciutto for a different kind of nibble.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
And I'm about to make it worse.
Thanks to Cooking Light, here are four heirloom varieties to look for...they're definitely on MY list.
- Hidden Rose (pictured above): Cooking Light says this one has a nice floral scent and tastes of cranberry and wine.
- Ashmead's Kernel (Great name!): Tart and crisp with notes of citrus and Champagne.
- Winesap (probably the least exotic of this bunch): It has a sweet-tart flavor with hints of wine and spice. This one is good for juicing and baking. Apple pie, anyone?
- Tompkins King: This one is a biggie with a nice balance of sweetness and tartness.
Friday, October 07, 2011
Thursday, October 06, 2011
You take a stick of softened butter, combine with the additions and use parchment paper to make into a roll. Then you can refrigerate for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Each recipe makes 1/2 cup. To use, unwrap the roll and slice as needed.
Here are a couple of interesting combos that are on the list to try that I ran across in the October Bon Appetit.
- A basic riff: 1/4 cup chopped herbs (parsley, tarragon, chives) and a teaspoon of grated lemon zest. Season with salt.
- An Indian twist to use in rice: 2 teaspoons turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon toasted brown mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon toasted yellow mustard seeds
- How about this Asian one on fish...or popcorn? 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons toasted black sesame seeds, 1/2 sheet toasted nori, finely chopped, and kosher salt to taste.
- This is going on my next ribeye. 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms and 1 tablespoon red wine. (Oh, and kosher salt to taste.)
- Need some richness on your chicken fajitas? 1 finely chopped canned chipotle in adobo and a teaspoon of freshly grated lime zest.
- I have no idea what to do with this one, but I am mkaing it just in case. One slice bacon chopped and cooked, 1 tablespoon bourbon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup (NOT the cheap stuff in a plastic bottle from the grocery. Mrs. Butter-who???) and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. I might just eat this one by itself.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Basil Lime Daiquiri
Makes one cocktail.
Simmer 1/2 cup water with 1 1/2 cups basil leaves until reduced to 2 1/2 tablespoons. Strain, then stir in 2 teaspoons light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice. In an ice-filled shaker, combine the basil-lime syrup with 2 ounces light rum and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with basil and lime.
Tasty, huh? So good that I made extra syrup for a second (and third) round.
Monday, October 03, 2011
- Make apple chips by very thinly (think mandoline) slicing three apples. Bake the slices on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a 200° oven for an hour. Sprinkle with salt.
Make a savory apple napoleon of sorts. Slice an apple horizontally and layer the slices with goat cheese, bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Butter a whole-wheat pita and top with apple slices and cinnamon. Toast for 10 minutes at 350. Drizzle with honey before digging in.
Toss a couple of diced apples into your spinach salad, spiked with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, blue cheese and walnuts.
More to come soon...
Sunday, October 02, 2011
Love this. But it means that either we need to head out to a restaurant...or four of you need to come over NOW.