Month: September 2011

Some days…

… it’s about the food. Some days, it’s all about the technique and process. Some days… well, it’s just about me… and what makes me feel good. Today is one of those days. Cheese makes me happy… lots of cheese. Thank the lord that lactose intolerant gene thingy passed me by All dressed up Spreading a little mayo on the outside of the bread before grilling keeps the grilled cheese from burning and makes for some sexy browned goodness about 3 min per side over medium heat should do it Tomato Soup makes me happy, too… That’s one can of tomato soup, one can of milk and a half a can of tomato juice. The “new and improved” Campbell’s Soup is markedly too sweet. Like lambs to the slaughter A suitably large bowl is a necessity Guaranteed to put the stops to any bad day Or, if that doesn’t do it… chunk the sammich up and douse it with soup.

Say ‘ello to my Leetle Friend

He goes by many names – Japanese Hardy Orange, Chinese Bitter Orange, Poncirus Trifoliata, Trifolate Orange, Gou Ju.. But I just call him Flying Dragon. Poncirus Trifolate, oddly, isn’t actually a citrus plant even though it produces a type of citrus fruit. It is closer related to a Limeberry or Sapote tree. Being extremely cold hardy, citrus growers will often graft onto the root stock to increase the hardiness of their intended crop. The actual fruit of the flying dragon… well, it’s a labor of love. Characterized by deciduous leaves, severely contorted branches, and wicked, wicked, evil 1.5″ to 2″ spikes emerging alternately with the branches. The flying dragon gained wide popularity in the early part of the 20th century when it was introduced from Japan as a specimen tree. It has since made it’s way onto several noxious plant listings and considered a hazzard in pastured areas due mainly to the profusion of seeds in a single fruit and the danger the ridiculously sharp thorns are to livestock. And then… there’s the whole  edible / not edible thing…. …

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

As you may know, I’m a custard mac and cheese guy. My great grandmother and my mom made it that way – so, that’s the way it is. Problem being, as with so many older family recipes, a key ingredient is fat… KEY ingredient. Clara’s Mac & Cheese tips the scales at just under 950 calories per serving. That’s overkill (in anybody’s book) when it comes to a side dish…. or by my current calorie allotment, an entire meal… and a snack. The other day, my sis sent me an email with the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese attached and only one word on the page… “Yum!” Okay, … interesting – maybe, … a novelty twist on a standard – sure, … but “yum”? I had to check it out. Granted, the linked recipe (I’ll give you the link at the end of the story) tipped the scale at 390 calories per serving (425 by my count), so it really wasn’t all that dietary. And other than being an artful way to “hide” vegetables from …

Trottoloni with Chicken, Cioppino Onions & Mushrooms

Normally, if I’m making anything with pasta, it’s going to be something big and floppy, with lots of ridges and nooks to grab onto as much sauce as possible… like Lanterne … with their deep ridged curls that just beg to take on as much sauce as possible. Unfortunately, the pasta shop I used to get these from went out of business – so lately I’ve resorted to Campanelle Which are ok… just not terribly big. Last week, while I was waist deep digging around in the Williams-Sonoma Outlet’s discontinued pasta bin, I came across the Holy Grail of Big Floppy Pasta. Trottoloni – or “Big Spinning Tops” I hit the mother-lode. These are an imported Puguliese pasta manufactured by Pastificio Marella in Italy. Although W-S wont be carrying them anymore, I did find them on Amazon… so, if you want some, you can get them HERE. Let’s look at it again…just a thing of beauty Since I found myself with an over-abundance of chicken thighs, I decided to whip of a quick and easy pasta for lunch. Trottoloni …

The Guilty Pleasure

Okay, there’s no beating around the bush when you say guilty pleasure. Everyone wants to know what tawdry, cheap little thing knocks your boots. Thankfully… It isn’t: Desperate Housewives Jersey Shore Any of the Real Women of Trailer-Parks Sardines in a can… (but it’s close.) It’s… Yeah… I do love me some date nut bread in a can. I don’t know what it is about it either. Is it the saturated walnuts with that ever-so-light give when you crunch into them? Is it that slight mechanical taste? Is it just that it plops out of the can in that giggle inducing cylinder? Or maybe, just maybe it’s because it is the perfect vehicle for a two-handed shmear of cream cheese. I’m going to go with the cream cheese… When I looked at the calendar this morning and saw that today was National Date Nut Bread Day (who knew), I knew exactly what today’s post was going to be. Unfortunately, No dates… No walnuts, and oddly, no baking soda. But a quick run, and an hour later, to the market fixed that… Did you …

The Nora Mill Granary

Just outside our own quirky version of Bavaria in Helen, Ga (the only place in the world where you can get Authentic wursts and kraut served with a southern accent)  is the Nora Mill Granary. This 123 year old grist mill has continuously operated and furnished North Georgia with stone ground cornmeal, grits, and granary cereals for over a century. It is definitely worth a day trip from Atlanta or the surrounding areas. As for the goods, don’t expect the meals to taste like opening a bag of White Lily Cornmeal. The Nora Mill uses fresh dried corn and stone grinds it – giving the meal a fresher true corn flavor and a wetter texture – So be prepared to adjust your own family recipes when using their meal. Cheesy Corn Sticks With Poblano and Fresh Corn Makes 12 Corn Sticks or 12 Corn Muffins Ingredients 1 Large Egg 1/3 Cup Oil 2/3 Cup Buttermilk 1 Cup Nora Mills Self Rising Cornmeal 1 Cup Nora Mills Plain Yellow Cornmeal 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder 1/2 Teaspoon Salt 1/2 Cup …

Dances with Olive Oil

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received three bottles of Crisco Olive oil – Light Tasting, Extra Virgin and Pure Full Bodied . While I don’t consider myself an olive oil snob or connoisseur by any means, I do like to cook with it, smear it on some crusty bread, make a jaunty dressing or marinade, and pretty much just splash it about and slide around the floor in it. I even got a massage with it …once – it was..um, slippery. So, I’m going to be doing a few things with it. But first, the health stuff…. Olive oil is a natural pressed oil that can be full of flavor and aroma.The extra virgin varieties are know to contain high levels of vitamins A – D – K and E.  Most pure olive oils can have anti-oxidant effects on the human body cells, and can promote bone growth and calcium absorption. If your diet contains a reasonable amount of olive oil (remember…it is still fat, so use any oil in moderation) it can aid …