Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Veggies and fruit in one of my favorite combinations.

Classic Waldorf Salad

Created at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 by the maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky.

1 cup apples chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Sprinkle chopped apples with lemon juice.
Add all other ingredients.
Toss to coat all pieces with mayonnaise.

Serves 4 as a side.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #29

I thought I would post the rules of play in full today for those who haven't yet played.

Every Tuesday (almost!) we play Ready, Set, Cook! based on the TV show that once aired on The Food Network.

We play our own non-competitive version (at the moment!) and here are the basic rules:

1) Three ingredients are given and each player must come up with a recipe that uses all three ingredients without "losing" any of them in the dish(es). In other words, while they must not be prominent they must be noticeable.

2) Your "virtual" pantry is fully stocked with whatever you wish. This is not a REAL game, although I have some players that like to purchase the ingredients and actually come up with a recipe, I don't expect anyone to do that. Basically this is a "virtual" game only. The ingredients will not have amounts listed to allow for greater creativity on the player's part.

3) Once you have decided what you would create with the ingredients please put ONLY the idea or name of your recipe in the comments section and email the ACTUAL recipe or detailed instructions to me, with Ready, Set, Cook in the subject line to:

irishones7 (at) juno (dot) com.

PLEASE don't put the recipe in the comments section! Everyone can read it there and then there is no reason for me to post it, but PLEASE DO put the name of your recipe there so others know that the game is on. All recipes and usernames or blog addresses are posted on Thursday.

On to ingredients!

Today's 3 are:

3-4 lb whole chicken
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 16 oz. bag frozen corn

Get to thinking and have fun!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Product Review: Nestlé Chocolatier Premium Baking Chocolate

This smile brought to you by Nestlé Chocolatier via Lauren Kozak at m80. That cookie is a Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookie that was made with one of the complimentary bags of Nestlé Chocolatier that was provided by the folks at m80.

I picked up three bags of
Nestlé Chocolatier;

53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Morsels
53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chunks
62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels

Each bag was 10 oz., a little less than I am used to seeing in a bag, but not so much that it made any difference in recipes. The morsels are larger than standard chocolate chips, but I liked that. Each bag (or bar) includes a recipe on the back, and not all of the recipes are the same. I liked the variety there.

I decided on three different recipes-two of Nestlé's and one of mine, to be sure the results were true. I made the
Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Dark Chocolate Truffles that were on the back of the bags, and my own Chocolate Mousse Torte-modified slightly to match the amount of morsels in the bag. The chocolate was easy to work with, melted smoothly and tasted great right out of the bag.

All three were fabulous, decadent, rich ... SINFUL. The flavor of the chocolate was very full without being bitter or overwhelming. This is just good stuff.

Before you rush out and buy some for yourself (I know you will) take a look at the
Media Player from m80 and Nestlé. This is a really nifty little tool filled with photos, recipes and even videos!

Thanks so much, Lauren,
m80 and Nestlé for including our family in this-the kids love you for it.

A Food Desert

Do you live in a Food Desert? What is it? Wikipedia has a brand new definition for a newly coined term. Take a look at Present Tensed. I've already commented there about how I feel, but I will reiterate (since I can't help myself when it comes to a good rant).

I currently live in a something similar. Now, it's arguable that the mini-mart down the street carries food and thus can be considered a "food store". Well, sure. A food store for those with immense wealth and limited palates. The next closest supermarket is on the other side of town. We do have access to many food stores, but we are also slowly being overtaken by fast-food joints.

The problem with living in a food desert is not a problem for me (as long as I have transportation), but it IS a problem for the seniors living down the street. There are two high rises just blocks from me that are reserved for low-income senior citizens. Since the one grocery that was available to them was closed more than 10 years ago, they have had to take a bus or be otherwise transported to grocery shop. Likewise, the one drugstore that they had access to was closed several years ago. Both of those stores were within walking distance (2 blocks or less!) for them and now the closest grocery is more than a mile away. I doubt any of them living there are up for a hike that distance, especially since the load would be increased on the way home.

Yes, my city has fallen to the "big guy" like many across America. Mom-and-pop stores are but a memory in many cities and towns. The thing is, it doesn't just hurt mom and pop; it hurts anyone who needs to eat and doesn't have the means to get themselves to market.

Are you living in a food desert?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Almost Meatless Dinner

Dinner last night for us could very well be dinner tonight for anyone who observes Lent and meatless Fridays. Let me say beforehand, it was good.

Fettuccine Alfredo
Layered Salad
Steamed Broccoli
Garlic and Herb French Bread
Assorted Olives

I'm not posting exact recipes here since most of it is so easy to do. I make my Alfredo in the minimalist way; fettuccine tossed with whole butter and grated Parmesan. The fettuccine was already garlic flavored, so I left that out this time.

The layered salad was packed out with veggies; Romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, broccoli florets, red and yellow peppers, celery, halved grape tomatoes, shredded cheddar and turkey bacon topped with Ranch dressing.

The steamed broccoli stands alone quite well as do the assorted olives. The bread was my own laced with garlic and basil and the cheesecake was a standard quick version in a graham crust.

Leave out the bacon and you're set for a meatless meal!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

R,S,C #28 Recipes

Here are submissions from this week's game-they both look great!

From Krista at
Going Gluten-Free:

Goat Cheese Stuffed Rump Steak

1 lb rump steaks (approximately 1/2" thickness)
1 quart buttermilk
Flour for dusting (I use rice flour)
1 8oz package of soft goat cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 spring onions, sliced thinly
5 oz cooked spinach, drained VERY well
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
2 cloves garlic, 1 minced, one just smashed
Olive oil for cooking.
Butcher's twine

Soak steaks in buttermilk for at least 1 hour and up
to 3 hours.

While steaks are soaking, in a bowl mix the goat cheese,
Parmesan, onion, spinach, artichoke hearts and half of
the garlic very well. Allow to sit in fridge for about
an hour so that the flavors really blend well together.

Pull from buttermilk and pat dry. Cover steak with plastic
wrap and pound to about 1/4" thickness.

Spread cheese mixture onto the steaks leaving approximately
1" border around. Roll up burrito style (fold in Left and
Right sides first, THEN roll up).
Tie with butchers twine to keep together.

Roll the "rolls" in flour to coat, but don't use too much.

Heat a large skillet and place olive oil in there.
Smash the last garlic clove and place in the hot oil
and slide around for a bit....remove this before it
turns too brown.

Place steak rolls in pan. Cook 3-5 minutes a side depending
on your doneness preference. Remove and let rest for about
5 minutes, covered in foil before slicing.


From Mirz at
Lots of Kids

Baked Grecian Steak

Rump Steak
1 cup Olive Oil
1 tbsp Garlic
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Basil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
2-3 whole Potatoes (depending on size)
Spring Onions
Goat (Feta) Cheese

Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, and lemon juice. Take half of mixture and marinade steak in it. In a separate bowl, cut potatoes in to large chunks, add onions. Toss potatoes and onion in remaining oil mixture. Place potatoes/onions into casserole dish. Remove steak from marinade. Slice into strip and place over potatoes and onions. Cover with foil and cook at 350 degree 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are done. Sprinkle with goat cheese and additional oregano before serving.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Creamy Bow Tie Primavera

8 oz. bow tie pasta, uncooked
1/2 c broccoli florets
1/2 c cauliflower florets
1/2 c sliced carrots
1/4 c each diced red and yellow pepper
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese-cut into cubes
3/4 c milk
1/4 c Parmesan cheese-grated
1/4 c chopped green onions
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder

Prepare pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli and
carrots to water during last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Drain. Stir cream cheese, milk, grated topping, onions
and seasonings in large saucepan on low heat until smooth.
Add pasta and vegetables; toss lightly.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #28

If you have not played yet, please click the button above to read the rules of play.

I "stole" today's 3 from a recent game of
Ready, Steady, Cook!, the British game similar to the Ready, Set, Cook! that used to air on The Food Network.

rump steak
goats' cheese
spring onions

Takes a little thinking this week!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Book!

I could easily spend a night (or two, or three) at a bookstore. I do mean a full night; curled up in a sleeping bag with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other. Hubby and I went out last night for our anniversary. Two hours of sheer bliss staring into separate sections of Barnes & Noble.

He picked up two copies of Forgotten Realms books that he needed and I picked up this:

and wanted this:

and this:

and this:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

R,S,C #27 Recipes

Today's first submission is from a new player,(we love those!) Casi at Finding My Inner Cook. Stop by and say hi. Her idea is:

Italian Stuffed Chicken

4 chicken breasts, flatten and cut in to make pocket
1/2 cup sweet onion; chopped (divided by 4)
1 cup diced Italian plum tomatoes (divided by 4)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (divided by 4)
8 leaves of fresh basil (divided by 4)

In a heated pan with a little butter cook onion until it is translucent, remove from pan.
Fill chicken with the ingredients. Place in oven at 400 for 30 minutes (or until done).
I like to serve it with herb and butter pasta.


My thoughts on those ingredients:

Mexican Manicotti

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup sweet onion; chopped
1 (16 ounce) can re fried beans
3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons oregano
1 (8 ounce) package manicotti shells
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup diced Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup picante sauce
16 ounces sour cream
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

In bowl, mix uncooked beef, onions, beans, chili powder, and oregano. Spoon into
uncooked manicotti shells. Place in greased 13x9 baking pan. Mix water, tomatoes and sauce, pour over manicotti. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours. Remove from
refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour.
Uncover; spoon on sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese, onions, and olives. Bake
for 8 minutes more.


...and the original recipe:

Buffalo Chicken Pizzas

olive oil
1 can (10 oz) refrigerated pizza crust
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves; cut into 1/2 in pieces
1/2 cup sweet onion; chopped
3 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
1 cup diced Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oven to 425F. Lightly coat cookie sheet with olive oil.
Unroll dough. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into
4 rectangles. Place rectangles on oiled cookie sheet;
press each to form 6x5-inch rectangle.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add chicken, onion, and hot pepper sauce;
cook 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer
pink in center, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes.

With slotted spoon, spoon mixture over dough to
within 1/4-inch of edges. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Bake at 425F for 13 to 16 minutes or until crust is
deep golden brown.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Anne's Ratatouille

I feel like I'm cheating since I have blogged this before, but it's such a wonderful and warm dish that it would be perfect on a day like today (read: now sleeting on top of several inches of snow). Even if the weather is fine where you're at, this is perfect~I think ratatouille works no matter what the weather is.

Anne's Ratatouille

1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
1 small eggplant cubed
1 medium zucchini cubed
1 medium green pepper seeded and diced
1 can (15 oz.) tomatoes, chopped and undrained
10 mushrooms (white button) sliced
1 t each basil and oregano
1 t salt
1 T parsley chopped
1/3 c parmesan

In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent.
Add remaining ingredients except cheese and stir well. Cook on low, stirring once in awhile, about 25 minutes until tender and liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #27

I am off and running today with a husband in oral surgery (general anesthesia, so I must be there to drive him home), one child home from school with a fever and a snowstorm coming so that school may be out early for the ones who went today...and I don't have a chauffeur!

So, today's 3 are yanked directly from a recipe I have on file. There's no meat, poultry or fish here, but remember, your virtual pantry is fully stocked. If you haven't played yet, click the button above for rules of play.

1/2 cup sweet onion; chopped
1 cup diced Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Dinner Breakfast

We had a lovely, warm, filling and lazy breakfast today. I'm hoping the rest of my day will stay the same.

Dutch Babies ala
Melanie with warm buttered maple syrup
Turkey Bacon
Pummelo (aka Chinese Grapefruit)

The kids thought the pummelo was great fun and they loved the flavor; no sour faces. I am enchanted with the way they look inside when cut in half. Pretty, isn't it?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

New Books

I adore getting "new" cookbooks. Today I stopped in at my favorite bookstore, The Recycle Barn. Their stock is all pre-owned and very reasonably priced. I also have "credit" there from books I had taken to them to resell, so I pay even less than most.

I found 4 wonderful books to add to my collection today:

Real French Cooking  by Brillat Savarin
The Breads of France  by Bernard Clayton Jr.
More Classic Italian Cooking  by Marcella Hazan
and The Olive Season by Carol Drinkwater (Not a cookbook, but worthy of my collection!)

Now I need to find the French books a home here:

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Recipes

As promised, here are two recipes from that group of moms that I talked about in my last post. I think they did a fab job!

From Mirz mom to 8 at Lots of Kids

I'd do Hot Dog Hash. I would chop up the hot dogs. I would seed and dice the pickles finely. I'd add BBQ sauce and cook. Assuming it's a staple, I would add some honey to it to mellow out the pickle's tanginess. Again, assuming I had some sort of potato around, I'd used diced potatoes (either fresh, canned, or frozen). Heat and cook until browned, either mix in hot dog mixture or serve over the top.

If I didn't have potatoes on hand, I would serve it over mac&cheese or flavored rice.

Melanie at Dandelions and Roses

Spicy Dogs and Rice

1 pkg hot dogs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 3/4 c water
2/3 c BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c uncooked instant rice
1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c chopped dill pickles
3 Tbsp bacon bits (the soft kind or the hard kind)

In a skilled over medium heat, mix hot dogs, water, BBQ sauce, mustard, onion, and pepper.

Bring to boil; stir in rice. Sprinkle w/ cheese. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 min.

Sprinkle w/ pickles and bacon. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

R,S,C #26 Recipes

We have recipes! Dalene and I are obviously of the same school of thought here and Ian has outdone himself with such meager ingredients. Great job, guys!

I also pitched these 3 ingredients to a group of moms and, sure enough, they all came up with great and varied ideas! I'll check with them if I can share and will get back with that asap.

I'm missing a recipe from my sister-in-law (check her out at Going Gluten-Free), but after hearing that my niece went to the ER for stitches, I'm not too worried about this game!

Dalene our Compulsive Writer at
From the mixed-up files of a middle aged mind sent in this:

Tailgate Party Beans

1 pkg. BallPark Beef Franks
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 onion, chopped
4-5 large dill pickles, chopped in bits larger than the chopped onions
2 cans and kind of red beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce

Brown ground beef with chopped onion.

Grill BallPark Beef Franks (the only brand I'll eat,
and even then, only if they're cooked on the BBQ).
Chop into 1-inch pieces. Dump beef and onion mixture,
crumbled up bacon, cut-up hot dogs and all the rest of
the ingredients together in your crock pot.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve hot.

Ian from
The Gallumphing Gourmand submitted this:

Hot Dogs Supreme

6 large hot dogs
8 strips of crispy cooked bacon, plus the bacon fat
4 oz cooked shrimp, tails removed
1 large dill pickle, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
BBQ sauce

Yorkshire Pudding batter:
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, well-beaten
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook the hot dogs in boiling water until they float to the top.

Remove from water.
Place the cooked bacon, the shrimp, salt, pepper and

garlic into a food processor, and pulse a few times to
create a rough mixture. Do not puree. Shallowly slice
each hot dog lengthwise along the seam from end to end.
Use a small measuring spoon or something similar to
scoop out about half of the hot dog meat.
Place a couple slices of pickle into each hot dog,

then fill each one with the shrimp and bacon mixture.

Now make the Yorkshire pudding
Combine the egg and milk; beat until they’re frothy.

Use electric mixer on low speed to gradually beat in t
he flour and salt; when all the flour has
been added, then turn the mixer to high and beat until

smooth. Let stand 30 minutes.
While the pudding batter is resting, preheat the

oven to 450ºF. If using a glass baking dish, then
preheat to 425ºF. Pour about 2 tbsp of the bacon
fat into a 8”x8” pan. Heat the empty pan in the oven.
Make sure you keep an eye on it, as it will start to smoke.
Pour batter into hot pan; and lay in the stuffed hot dogs.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until pudding has risen, and has

browned slightly.

Serve with mashed potatoes and BBQ Sauce.

And my own, which is a variation of my Hearty Bean Casserole:

RSC Bean Casserole

5 slices bacon-diced
1 clove garlic-minced
1 small onion-chopped
1 small green pepper-diced small
1 lb hot dogs sliced in 1/2" lengths
4 c cooked beans (any type)
3/4 c barbecue sauce

Cook onion, pepper and bacon together until onions
are translucent. Add garlic and cook briefly-do not brown.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into
2 qt casserole and bake 30 minutes at 350F until bubbly.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Winter Squash Fritters
6 fritters

2 cups peeled, seeded, shredded acorn squash
6 T cornstarch
4 T chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, rosemary, chives, parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 c heavy cream

In medium bowl, toss together shredded squash,
cornstarch, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in eggs, then cream. Mix well.
Heat griddle over medium high heat until drop
of water sizzles. Brush griddle with olive oil.
Spoon squash mixture into 3-inch circles on
griddle, using 1/4 C for each.
Fry about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Serve immediately with Crème Fraîche.

Crème Fraîche

1 c heavy cream (room temp.)
2 T buttermilk (room temp.)

Combine cream and buttermilk in warm glass jar. Mix well.
Cover; let stand at room temperature for 8 hours until mixture thickens.

Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Victoria Magazine September 1990

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #26

I decided to ask my family for ingredients for our game this week. Once in awhile I need some inspiration, and my family never fails to drop the ball. Ha ha...
My husband gave me today's ingredients and at first I thought they looked really unhealthy. Well, something can be made from these three; it may stretch your imagnation a bit, but that's my job, eh? Have fun!
hot dogs
bbq sauce

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cold Weather Cooking

It's downright COLD here today. The local schools started late today because it's colder than usual for us. So, to combat that chill I made our favorite Breakfast Crumb Cake this morning, for both the flavor and the extra heat coming from the oven.

I'm not sure what dinner will be this evening, but I have several bags of beans, some bacon ends and a few plum tomatoes that I can see going into a nice warm bowl of soup, which is what I normally make
when the wind chill gets below zero, like it is today.

The question of the day would be: What do you make to chase away the chill?

Friday, February 02, 2007

You Go Phil!

Groundhog Day



If you tried to get to the chat on Monday that was to feature Sara Moulton and Best Buy you would have noticed that they had some technical difficulties. Best Buy sends apologies and wants everyone to know that the chat has been rescheduled for TODAY, February 2 between 2 and 3 pm EST! Click on and get great tips for hosting a terrific Super Bowl party!


Click HERE NOW to nominate your favorite blogs at the Best of Blogs site!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

R,S,C #25 Recipes

Veal isn't so popular anymore. I admit, I don't cook it myself and haven't had it for years. My mother in law did have breaded veal cutlets made into Veal Parmesan with green beans the other night. I told her the walnuts were missing. She got a kick out of having made something so close to this week's game ingredients.

I did get this from Ian at The Gallumphing Gourmand, though and it sounds delicious!

Gallumphing Veal Rolls

2 veal cutlets (about 200g/6 oz each), pounded to ¼ inch thickness, then cut
into 2-inch strips
1 tbsp + 2 tsp butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large white mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 C potato, peeled, boiled & mashed
2 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
green beans (2 for each roll), steamed
2 eggs
1/4 C walnuts, finely chopped or blitzed in the food processor
1/4 C panko crumbs
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 C white wine or chicken stock

In large skillet heat 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat until
bubbly and hot; add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for a
couple of minutes until the mushrooms have softened,
but before the garlic burns.
Transfer mushroom mixture to bowl; add mashed potato,
rosemary and the cheese and stir to combine.
Spoon a little of the potato mixture onto each cutlet,
place two green beans on each one, and roll up the cutlet,
securing with a toothpick.

Place the crushed walnuts and panko crumbs into a
Ziploc baggie. Being careful of the toothpicks, dredge
each roll in flour, then in egg wash.
Place each roll one by one into the baggie,
and shake to coat with the walnut mixture.

In same skillet heat the rest of the butter over medium heat;
add the veal rolls and cook, turning occasionally,
until browned on all sides. Move the veal rolls to a
warm plate, saving any pan juices; remove and discard
toothpicks and keep veal warm.

Deglaze the pan with the wine or stock, scraping up
all the tasty bits from the bottom. Let the sauce
reduce by about half, and remove the pan from the heat.

Pour the sauce over the veal rolls.

Serve with a green salad.


If you tried to get to the chat on Monday that was to feature Sara Moulton and Best Buy you would have noticed that they had some technical difficulties. Best Buy sends apologies and wants everyone to know that the chat has been rescheduled for tomorrow, February 2 between 2 and 3 pm EST! Click on
and get great tips for hosting a terrific Super Bowl party!


The Categories for The Best of Blogs are UP! CLICK HERE and check them out, the nominations begin FRIDAY! I'm too excited, can you tell?