Sunday, May 31, 2009

what am i doing wrong? help!!

i have been all through my template trying to figure out why folks can not follow my blog. i also can not add the "followers" gadget. what gives?? any suggestions would be welcomed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

chocolate granola

so i had a few semi-sweet chocolate chips left in a bag, now what to make? i scanned the internet for a few ideas, but settled on cooking light's chocolate crunch granola or at least my version. most folks have an image of boho health and nature when they think of granola, but in actuality granola can be very unhealthy. it is often loaded with fat and sugar. i am not calling this a low fat or low sugar granola, but it is definitely lower than most. i did make a few changes, opting out of the rice crispies, switching to sliced almonds and using trader joe's orange essence dried cranberries. the outcome was pretty tasty. big j liked the granola pretty well. he preferred it straight out the bowl, dry. i tried it with milk, good, but a tad sweet for me. it also makes the milk chocolaty, not crazy about that action. the kids, they had rather clean their rooms than even look its way. it is not the prettiest granola i have ever seen, but it does taste good. i would make again, but not too soon.

now what to make with other unopened bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips? ideas welcomed.

comment pop-up fixed

thanks for letting me know folks.

Friday, May 29, 2009

simpleton's mac and cheese

i am the simpleton.

you see, i forgot to take pictures of my mac and cheese, before, after and during. i snapped one shot and was distracted. fin, it was all over. i do want to share the recipe though. it is from my favorite local cookbook virginia hospitality and it makes for a wonderfully creamy and cheesy dish. it is not, however, my all time favorite version or vision of macaroni and cheese, my brother roger makes that, macaroni, cheese and tomatoes-heavenly. here ya go.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

7 oz elbow macaroni
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated

preheat the oven to 350. cook macaroni and drain well. combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, salt and pepper. add cheese and mix well. stir in cooked macaroni. pour into a greased 4 quart baking dish. sprinkle with paprika. bake for 45 minutes. serves 8-10

ok-now my two cents.

i simply use a small box of elbows, kosher salt, 4% milk fat large curd cottage cheese, light sour cream, grate my own cheddar and skip the paprika. i also start peeping in the oven around 35 minutes or so.

i hope you will give this mac and cheese a try. it's good stuff folks. enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

foodgawker, a love hate relationship

i love foodgawker. i hate foodgawker. i have made six submissions in the past week and all six where shot down. i hate bring rejected, dissed, vetoed and just not feeling the love. it breaks my little ole heart, not to mention my bank account because they are forcing me, i mean really twisting my arm, to buy a new camera. the pictures i submitted were either too tight of a composite or poor lighting/overexposed. i now feel that i am on a quest, i have a true mission in life as if being a wife and mother weren't enough. i need my few minutes of culinary glory dammit! food gawker or bust!

ok, i need chocolate.

i would love any camera suggestions, pretty middle of the road is all i need.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

pineapple shortcake

recipe courtesy of my kitchen snippets, a wonderful food blog full of delicious recipes and fabulous photos. i followed her recipe to the letter with one exception, i didn't have enough pineapple. i only had a small can of pineapple chunks, which i put in my food processor and pureed. it made for a skimpier topping, but nonetheless fantastic. next time i will use the right size can of the crushed pineapple and oh boy howdy, will there be a next time. these are out of this world. i mean really, come on folks, buttery shortcake, brown sugar, pineapple, walnuts, all warm and caramelized. that is some goooood stuff.

thank you to my new friend at my kitchen snippets for sharing such a wonderfully delightful treat.

Monday, May 25, 2009

oven roasted chicken breasts

while most folks are grilling today, i was roasting. i really didn't feel like standing over my smokey, hot grill today. yes, i am the grill master or mistress (dominatrix sounds even better) of this house. i don't trust the grilling to anyone, but me. i like my food prepared my way. contrary to popular belief, i don't like burnt hot dogs. anyway, i wasn't in the mood for grilled anything, so i roasted three big ole chicken breasts instead. oven roasting chicken is so easy and so dang tasty. it is my method of choice. first, i preheated the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. i then washed(old habit that i can't break) and patted dry the chicken breasts. i placed the breasts on a foil covered(for easier cleanup) cookie sheet and drizzled with a good olive oil rubbing each one to make sure it was evenly coated. next, i sprinkled a healthy dose of kosher salt and cracked pepper all over. i popped them in the oven for about 40 minutes and tah-dah-dinner is served. does it get any easier?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

phyllo pizza? mamma mia

so i bought a box of phyllo or filo dough the other day for the first time. now, what do i make? i did a quick internet search and had a gazillion recipe hits for baklava and spanakopita or at least so it seemed. i was hoping for something different. i wanted something quick, easy, and tasty. I had read a few places of folks using the phyllo for pizza crust. why not? i'll give it a try, the family will love it, right? wrong. i made one the other night for the brood, half and half, one end was plain cheese and the other was onions, black olives and grape tomatoes for the grown-ups and i use that term loosely. no one liked it, but me, oh, and the dog. the kids bolted and begged for mc donald's. big j ate it, but confessed later he didn't think it was that great, the culinary kiss of death. the dog had it for breakfast the next day, no complaints from her.

i adapted the recipe from here. when i make again, i will add a few more sheets of dough for a thicker crust. the dog needs something to nosh on. ciao.

Friday, May 22, 2009

quick treat for the girl

my daughter asked for some chocolate covered strawberries. i searched the internet for the "best" recipe, but thought most seemed like ingredient overkill. i just simply melted semi-sweet chips in a microwave safe bowl and viola! the girl was happy, for about a minute. i'll take that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

nothing special slaw

now, my coleslaw is simple. there is nothing special or fancy about it. there are no carrots, onions or any extra "stuff" in it. i make it like my mama and my grandmother made theirs. it is so easy. you simply grate(i use my processor) a head of cabbage, core removed, into a big mixing bowl. okay, maybe i lied just a little at this point, if there is going to be a hard part to this it's now. to the grated cabbage i add the following ingredients, but i don't measure, sorry. what i do is i start off with a big spoonful of good mayonnaise (i like duke's), a good dousing of apple cider vinegar, a healthy sprinkling of white sugar and a pinch of kosher salt. I stir to mix and give it a taste. i add what i think the slaw needs, too dry, more mayo, too sour, more sugar, too sweet, more vinegar and so on. go slow, take your time, because you can always add in, but you can't take out. also, when i get it where i want it, then out comes the big guns-my secret ingredient, shhhhhh-sour cream. i add a heaping spoonful to the mixture. it gives it a nice creamy twang. now it's best to make your coleslaw hours if not a day before you are going to eat it. it gets so much better as it sits and the flavors mingle.

that's it folks, nothing to it. nothing else like it. nothing special.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

lazy man's bbq

i picked up this boneless pork sirloin from the local market and thus was the first step in making my lazy man's bbq. the reason i dubbed it lazy man's or if you want to get technical, lazy woman's bbq is because it is so dang easy to make. i think this is good stuff, but great stuff takes time and effort, lots of smoking, basting, turning, more smoking, chopping, i ain't got time for all that. i simple threw the boneless pork sirloin in my ancient, i mean vintage slow cooker with one large sliced vidalia onion and nothing else, no salt, no pepper, no water, nothing. i cranked it to high and let it roll till it was quit literally falling apart. i would guess a good six hours. once it was done i moved it onto a plate along with the onions to cool slightly. the sirloin produced quit a bit of juice that i did not use, too much grease. i let it cool just enough to handle and then i pulled it apart into workable chunks for my processor, which i had fitted with the steel blade. i pulsed it, a few chunks at a time, to the consistency i like, finely chopped, but not mushy. i threw the onions in too. after chopping, i put it all in a stovetop dutch oven on low heat and proceeded to drown it with my favorite brand of bbq sauce-sweet baby ray's. i love their sweet vidalia onion sauce. it's good stuff folks, give it a try. you know what? lo and behold, i didn't have enough. one bottle barely wet the pork, so i did some doctoring. i added ketchup, cider vinegar and brown sugar. i just eyeballed the amounts and keep tasting till the meat till i was happy as a pig in mud or sweet vidalia onion bbq sauce anyway. i just left the pot on low, stirring occasionally, till time to eat. i piled it high on a potato roll, mounded on the slaw and smothered it with hot sauce. holey moley was it good.

what about the slaw you ask? well, ya can't have bbq, good or bad, without coleslaw, so i had made a batch earlier that morning. you see coleslaw makes good bbq even better and bad bbq, it just helps you choke it down. i'll tell ya about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the contessa's lemon cake

done peasant style. i had been hankering for a good lemon pound cake. ina garten's, the barefoot contessa, lemon cake has been circulating the internet for some time, but i had yet to make it, until now. the recipe makes two loaf cakes, but i opted to use my tube pan. i can see now why this is such a popular recipe. it is brilliant!. the batter bakes up dense, buttery and not over lemony. i was expecting a big lemon kick with all that grated lemon zest, but that comes from the glaze and icing combo. those two will make ya pucker and squeal. this is good stuff folks. i will do again for sure.

recently, big j and myself have fancied a cuppa in the evenings and this cake pairs perfectly. pinkies up and enjoy!

p.s.- i wanted to add that i begun checking my cake around the 45 minute mark, then covered it will foil(i don't like it too brown), and kept checking every ten minutes till it was "toothpick clean" done.

Monday, May 18, 2009

this little piggie

i wanted to share with you another favorite thing of mine, my salt pig. a salt pig is simply a variation of a salt cellar, a container to store salt. why call it a pig? usually, it has a large wide opening that looks like the snout of a pig. my salt pig, a gift, has a large oval shaped opening resembling a big ole mouth. i have often wondered if there was a underlying message there.

if you are a food network fan, you often see alton brown reaching for this salt server , but I think this one is way cuter. soooo-iee!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

a redneck cuban?

is there such a thing? sure there is. what's a redneck cuban you ask? let's tackle that question in two parts, first the redneck. i think if you are at all familiar with the southern u.s., you already know, but for those folks who don't live in these here parts, it is a slang term referring to an individual with a lower socio-economic and educational status. originally, farmers were dubbed a redneck because they walked behind their horse drawn plows in the fields and would get a sunburned neck.

next up, the cuban, and i don't mean mr. castro, but the sandwich. it is a wonderful pork sandwich brought to the u.s. by cuban immigrant workers. now, let's put the two together. here is my redneck cuban. i had some leftover roasted pork tenderloin that i combined with deli virginia ham, swiss cheese, dill pickles and yellow mustard on french bread. i put is in my fancy panini press, oh wait a minute, i ain't got no fancy panini press. i had to improvise, hence the redneck in my cuban. i simply melted some butter in a non-stick skillet and placed the bready goodness in and grilled 3-4 minutes on each side. i used another smaller skillet piled high with whatever cans that were in the cupboard. initially i was planning on using a brick paver, but this hillbilly version worked pretty dang good once i got the cans strategically balanced. the end result was a crispy, cheesey, slightly salty FLAT sandwich that would even make fidel happy.

apetito del bon!

i would so do this again, and i will.

Friday, May 15, 2009

torta de chocolate mexicana

simple y delicioso.

so i made a chocolate mexican cake yesterday. the cake was mucho easy to throw together and just as mucho easy to pawn off on folks today. i didn't hear anyone complaining as i personally delivered the calorie laden wedges of amor. the cake, a box of diablo food cake mix spiced with cinnamon and then topped with a yummy marshmallow fluff infused cocoa frosting. i think it is bueno, but the resident luchadores thought it was "too chocolatey", so that means, who needs a delivery? "Arriba! Arriba! Ándale! Ándale!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

sticky buns so easy even jeffrey could make

my buns certainly did not need these buns, but i made them anyway for mother's day. the recipe is from ina garten's back to basics cookbook, i love this cookbook, but don't have the extra $35 to spend, so i just keep checking it out of the library. these little babies were down right easy and tasty. i would make these again and again. well actually, i am going to make them again, but i am planning on making a few changes, sorry contessa. i am switching up the raisins for dried cranberries, and the pecans for walnuts. i also plan on using less of the fruit as well as the "topping" butter. my kids are picky, so i will make a few naked buns, too. don't be scared of the puff pastry, that is the easy part. what great stuff puff pastry is, simply thaw overnight in your fridge, unroll, spread on your filling, re-roll, slice and bake. viola! i will tell you that you do need to keep a close eye on these as they bake. the oven temp is pretty high and they can easily burn. when done, i let mine sit only for a few minutes in the pan before flipping them all at once. i lost a few nuts in the process(insert sarcastic remark here), but no biggie. i had no problem with those lovelies sticking, except to my hips. give'em try.

what's that carol ann?

they're here.

well, they've been here. here is my mother's day gift to myself, a new set of knives. since i have been off the air, so to speak, i have not been able to share them with you until now. let me preface this blurb by alerting you to the fact that i am a tightwad, penny pincher, cheapskate, etc... i don't like to spend anymore money than necessary on anything. This is the reason i have been using steak knives as my kitchen weapon of choice for years. recently, i found this cutlery set on the jc penney's website. it had originally been $80, ain't happening, marked down to $20 and i had a $10 off code, so in the end ten bucks for two knives. now, we're in business. they aren't fancy, but they do feel good in my hand. maybe i didn't do too bad after all. the strange thing is although the bigger of the two blades does have a pretty decent cutting edge, the paring knife is dull. weird, huh? i mean, these are brand new knives. what is the problem with this picture? lucky for me, i have a butcher brother who can take care of sharpening that little sucker. that baby will be good as new, or in this case, better than new.

i guess i could have always gone with the ginsu knife collection instead.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

bumpkin sandwich of love

a grilled pimento cheese. does it getter any better? i get hankerings for this stuff, so i whipped up a batch. it is insanely easy and just as delicious.

in your processor fitted with the grating blade, shred an 8 ounce block of good sharp cheese. don't go house brand on this, kraft is okay, cabot is good, tillamook is da bomb. pop the cheese into a bowl while you switch over to your steel blade. toss cheese back in and then add a small(4oz) jar of diced pimentos, juice and all. throw in a healthy dollop of good mayonnaise, duke's or hellman's are good choices. then hit it with a 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper and a pinch of sugar. pulse a few times to get the consistency you want. you might need to add more mayo. keep tasting and adjusting your seasonings as well. don't taste while you pulse, it's not a good idea. i like mine somewhat smooth, but still able to identify the pimentos. don't pulverize the mixture. transfer to a bowl, cover and keep cold. this neon orange love is great stuffed into celery, piled high on saltines, or grilled on buttered white bread till nice and melty. enjoy.

i am up and running

my computer is fixed and oh how i missed thee. i plan to post some new recipes this evening, lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

i'll be back

my computer died on me. we are off to shop for a new one today. please don't leave me. i will have lots to post upon my return.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

camp cupcake's swedish meatballs

i made swedish meatballs tonight for dinner, as requested by big j. he had seen the recipe in an old issue of martha stewart's everyday food that i was using as a coaster. let me first say that i usually have no luck with ms's recipes. they just never seem to turn out quite right. the ikea wannabes were not so pretty to look at and a tad bland, but they were simple to make and somewhat tasty. i would make them again. i served them with egg noodles and green peas. big j was "gut bomb" happy, especially as he mounded the green peas on top and gave it all a good stir. ugh.

c & t took one look and whined. they moved out.

swedish meatballs, it's a good thing. well, sorta.

(big j added the tomater for color)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

coconut cake fail

update-5/6/09-the cake still sucks!

so i made a coconut cake or i thought i was making a coconut cake. i made a cocoyuk cake instead. it was a flop, a big ole stinkin' hairy flop. the icing was the icing on this cake, so to speak. it is dreadful and i won't even bother to share the recipe with you. it was suppose to be a white chocolate whipped cream frosting. this frosting tastes awfully sweet as well as just plain ole awful. it wouldn't stay put. it just fell off the top, innards and sides in great big clumps of sugary curdled puddles. it made me cringe. i was very tempted to chuck the whole thing into the garbage can
( it wouldn't be the first time), but i went ahead and slopped the frosting on the best i could. i then covered it in plastic wrap and threw it into the fridge. i was hoping that getting it nice and cold would help, some how bring life to that narly icing. so........

i just now cut the first slice for the hubster and guess what? he liked it, he really liked it.

guess what? i didn't like it, i really didn't like it. well, not so much, but

i have to admit, the cake part is actually very good. once you scrape all the gunk off, it is down right tasty. i would recommend it. it has a great texture, like a pound cake. it would be fantastic as little cupcakes split and piled high with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. hmmmmmm....i will keep you posted on that one. you can find the the recipe here. oh, i halved it and used vanilla only.

favorite thangs

do you have a favorite thang or thangs? i am sure you do. i have a few that make me happy, so i thought i would share with you folks. now, don't get too excited, the first is pretty simple, but it gets the job done. i have used it a great deal lately, just a few minutes ago in fact, which inspired this post. i have seen its fancy electric cousin on tv, but i like my hand powered one just fine. the barefoot contessa uses her fancy new fangled version all the time(actually, jeffrey's wife is a favorite thang of mine, too). also, my old buddy was used by one of the greatest cooks i ever knew, my grandma viola. that woman could use bacon grease in more ways than you could ever imagine. plus, she was the only person i know who would open the carton and slice her icecream. you would have to punch the center of the slice of "all three kinds" with your spoon to make it fit in the bowl or just let it straddle the rim and go for it. anyway, say hello to my little friend........... my glass fruit juicer. i heart you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

happy mother's day to me

i broke down and ordered myself a gift. i will show you when it gets here. wanna hint? let's see.....the first letter is silent and i need one really, really bad.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

black magic cake with raspberry jam

so it was my nephew's 15th birthday ya''ll, so i baked a cake. it was a hershey's black magic cake filled with raspberry jam covered in dark chocolate ganache. it wasn't too shabby. it was very rich and decadent. i kept it cold in the icebox. i thought it tasted better cold. the cake, dense and moist. i would do again. the jam straight from the jar, seedless and thinned with a little water. i would do again. the icing, a thick and potent shell of chocolate. i don't know if i would do again. i had never made a ganache before, although super simple, whoa doggies, was it ever strong. i just used plain ole straight-from-the-yeller-bag semi-sweet chips, but next time it needs to be a better quality of chocolate. you can see in the pic that it didn't come out too smooth or shiney like i had hoped. now, refrigerating it might have played a part in that as well. i think it would be better if the ganache was whipped, making it light and fluffy. it was chocolate overkill. now, mind you, it didn't stop it from being devoured. my family worked its own magic and made it disappear.

oh, those little white flakes, cross contamination from the attending coconut cake.

twenty-six years ago in june

i graduated high school. last night was a bit of reunion with some of my old (i mean that is the nicest of ways) friends. york high school had an alum mixer down at the rivah with alcohol, snacks, dancing and did i mention alcohol? what a hoot. the sad part, it took me twenty- six years to realized how much i missed these people. i want more. i want to see more of them and i want more of them to see.

oh, and my damn sandal broke, obvious sign of too much dancing. i used enough duct tape to make bob villa proud.