Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Tomatoes...

Two August pleasures: tomatoes on great white bread with salt. That's a not so guilty pleasure. I like mayo on this sandwich, but I like it even better without the mayo so the tomato juices can infuse the bread with all that flavor.

Grilled Goat Cheese with Applewood Smoked Bacon (Nueske's. I LOVE it.) and August Tomatoes.Guiltier pleasure--and what you make when you think there's nothing in the house for lunch.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Make a million dollar cookie.

Tomorrow is an "end of summer" pot-luck at the Boca Raton Magazine/Florida Table offices...For three weeks, people have asked what I'm bringing...and I felt the pressure. Here I am, the food editor. I wanted to wow people. But I was stuck. What to do, what to do, what to do...

Finally today, someone piped up and said there weren't many desserts on the list. Well, Ina's brownies for gazillions sounded like an easy plan...there are few easier recipes that turn out more goodies than that recipe (Outrageous Brownies). But then, while doing some research for recipes today, I came across mention of the million dollar Pillsbury Bakeoff winner--A peanut butter cookie with a treat inside of it--more gooey peanut butter. Thing is, the winning recipe used refrigerator peanut butter cookies.

Not likely, thank you very much. I ended up reading about the cookies by way of, where they suggested doing it one better with their own peanut butter cookie recipe and the Pillsbury approach. Okay.

So I made Culinate's peanut butter cookie. Made an inside treat of peanut butter and powdered sugar, wrapped it in the cookie dough, rolled it in sugar, peanuts and cinnamon, then baked.

I think my Dorie touch is still working--I only mixed until just blended...the cookies are delicate and delicious with the double whammy of more peanut butter...Hmm. I think maybe I could make this a $1.5 million cookie by adding a chocolate chip or two...or ten.

Link up to those recipes (I made the Outrageous Brownies, too...they are really that easy). You don't have to use Culinate's recipe, use your own favorite, but do try the Pillsbury approach.

One eaten in blog sacrifice. One goes to school with that lucky little girl, Bryn...and JES Publishing gets the remaining treats...Happy end of summer, all..

Just had to edit to add I tried them again with a chocoate chip inside. Eh. Not enough chocolate, really, but I couldn't add more without making the cookies bigger than they already are. So next time, I'm going to make the inside (the 1/2 cup powdered sugar combined with 1/2 cup peanut butter) out of Nutella instead!!! Oh YUM. Or should that be yummO?

Grilled Chicken..It's a Barefoot Blogging Day..

Funny enough, I had just finished a note to a food board ( Forum Kitchen) that my best quick chicken dish is pounded chicken marinated in fresh lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and rosemary, this week's Barefoot Blogging recipe.

The Contessa must have heard me, because her Butterflied Chicken has us making a paste of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary and salt and pepper...Except Ina rubs this past under the skin of a boneless chicken and grills it...

First the changes: I am the only one who likes dark meat. Nix the whole chicken. Buy three half breasts with ribs and skin--bone THOSE, leaving skin in tact. Rub paste under skin ...and all with sliced lemon and extra rosemary sprigs..."Grill" on my grill pan (please stay tuned for the day I actually purchase a grill. That day is coming SOON.)...

Let's just say Ina scores again. Do I gush too much? Time after time, she's got recipes my family loves. Bryn ate seconds...I had to add this photo--because I actually had bones from the chicken breasts, I put on a pot of chicken stock (back left)..Mashed potatoes on the side...And the coolest grill pan from, of all places, Ikea...that's the rectangle pan with the chicken. I bought it on a whim--being from Ikea, it sure wasn't very expensive...and I find myself using it more and more..Ikea rocks, right?

What a nice dinner. There are a few leftovers...Yum.Go Contessa...let's do more. Let's buy the books. I am so sold.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesdays with Dorie

What's that you say? What are Wednesdays with Dorie? Huh. Well, if you must know...Tuesday went by too quickly!

So I did the lazy cook's version of this...really, I didn't have a third layer of ganache in me...And I once again must give a shout out to Amy of Food, Family and Fun--while this dessert is a bit of a show-stopper? It is so easy...Yet again, I'm eased back into the TWD (or WWD) fold...Man, thanks to Dorie, too, for this spectacularly easy impressive dessert...

I happened to have some traditional ganache in my fridge...A whole lot of it I was busy hiding from my daughter so she didn't OD on the stuff. That was quickly softened for the first layer...Easy to blend the raspberries with some good vanilla (not great vanilla, though...just good..Do you know those cheats at these companies are not packing 1/2 gallons of ice cream anymore? Go look. Same price: three pints. I am going to start making my own ice cream all the time now. They cheat.)...I forgot the framboise, which was a disappointment. I try to never pass up the opportunity for more liquor in my day, but oh well...

A final topping of ganache (BTW, about traditional ganache, with cream...I used it because it is what I had...and while I will dig into raw eggs with the best of 'em--homemade mayo being high up on my list of great foods--when I'm feeding small children or strangers (this might go into the magazine offices), I'm a little bit shy about raw egg...I digress..yet again..)

The whole thing went into the freezer overnight, and in the interest of blogging, I had a slice for my, my 10.30 a.m. break (like I needed one!)...And it was good.

Just for fun...the Omnivore's 100

Over on Very Good Taste, check out "Omnivore's 100"--things Jill and Andrew think we should try. Granted it's their list, but the blog is getting people involved by asking them to copy the list to their own blogs and list what they've eaten...

Here's the list, with things I've tried bolded--on my first count I get 73, although I include rabbit when he asks "hare." I think I've had tom yum, but must confirm first...ah, yes--Thai soup...add that to the list. I think I'm up to 74. And there are some things I will probably never try...Horse, for one..Fugu, for, and most certainly not roadkill...There are things I've never heard of: phaal (A super hot curry, hotter than vindaloo, it says.. I love Indian food, but steer clear of super spicy...not likely to have been looking, ever, for this), Kaolin (am I right? Is this clay? Why would that be on a 100 things to eat list???), Baiju (Chinese grain alcohol)...Pocky...oh, Ha. Number 75. Chocolate covered cookie sticks from Japan...sold locally at our World Market. I didn't know those were pocky...

Of the things I haven't tried but most definitely will: Criollo chocolate, a tasting meal at a Michelin three-star restaurant, and poutine, which I can get during the winter here in S. Florida when the French Canadians head south.

Feel free to comment and post the list with your own tastes so far..and check out the original over at Very Good Taste.
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Contessa Does Pizza

Ah, it's time for Barefoot Blogging--This week we are doing a grilled California pizza...a quick dough, plenty of toppings..and because I don't own a grill (must fix that), I decided to kind of par-bake them on a griddle and finish them in the oven. And yes, I get it that I could have done them entirely in the oven, but that just didn't seem quite in the spirit of things...

So--I picked fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil..goat cheese, chaume cheese (couldn't find Italian fontina) and, my fave, I cooked red onions down for my topping.

Once again, I was abandoned by my family (see clams post)...Bryn and I were here, though. Bryn enjoyed a straight up Margherita (with, I forgot, sundried tomatoes), and I did fresh mozz, tomatoes, goat cheese, red onions, and I finished with with fresh basil.

The dough rises quickly--you just have to give it 30 minutes. I rolled it out on parchment and flipped it onto the griddle--because I am beset by shrinkage. I roll dough out and it shrinks back the minute I move it...but here, leaving it to cook with the parchment backing, it held its shape better..I let it brown, then peeled back the paper, flipped it...cooled slightly, topped and baked.

With Gary at the hangar (don't ask), Ian gone, Sam...well, he's been gone a while..I had 8 pizzas and no one to serve 'em to...

So I baked off all the shells, didn't top them...and Bryn's getting homemade pizza for lunch tomorrow. Bet she's the only kid in school with that...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

As promised: Granola Grabbers...

Who is Michelle of Bad Girl Baking? Doesn't matter. I love her. She chose Granola Grabbers from Baking from My Home to Yours for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD). It just so happened that I pretty much had every. single. ingredient. For the week I decide to plunge back into TWD. So here's a shout out to Michelle for that. I know she didn't have me in mind, but...

And to top it off? I felt like supermom making home-baked cookies the day before the first day of school. I AM supermom.

On to the matter at hand and the diversions: my granola had cranberries in it. I had bulgur wheat but not wheat germ...And not quite enough of the Udi's granola, so I finished it with a Kirkland (a.k.a. Costco) cereal...They are baking even as I type, so let's see how all THAT goes.

The cookies went together quickly (thanks again, Bad Girl)--I needed this slide back into the routine, and this made it easy...I rotated the trays just like Dorie thing I've learned from this baking is to NOT OVERMIX. In most of the recipes, Dorie warns against it, and following her advice, most of my "experiments" have turned out so delicate...I digress.

Here the cookies are just out of the oven...
and here they are all ready to be enjoyed...

What's not to love about homemade cookies? Go be a supermom. Make these Granola Grabbers...


It's been a hectic summer. We hosted a German niece-in-law (Hi, Charly!), had a family trip to Colorado (the photo above is me at the Continental Divide. I loved it...), my mom was diagnosed with the big B cancer (she's doing great), which took me to the Pittsburgh area not once, but twice, work picked up...well, you know the drill.

I hope you're still stopping by now and then. I'll be getting back to both Tuesdays with Dorie (if they'll still have me) and to Barefoot Blogging. After all, the troops still need to be fed, right?

I hope you'll also stop by my blog at, where I've been named "Dining Expert." I'm trying to introduce visitors to great dining experiences in Florida, but I don't think I'm getting enough traffic--so please stop by and ask a question--no one has asked ANY questions yet, and I'm getting a complex...

In the meantime, check out the blog about Key Largo there, which is how I recently spent a Sunday...snorkeling and THEN you see, I haven't given up eating...just cooking, apparently.

But school is back in session tomorrow (should have been Monday, but Tropical Storm Fay paid a visit) and hopefully routines will fall back into place...routines that include plenty of cooking. And blogging.

Welcome back.