Month: October 2012

Every Day I’m Fenneling… Sausage Polenta Bake

God, I do love the internet thing when it comes to cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I treat my stack ‘o cookbooks like they’re Fort Knox. And for research ~ menu development ~ experimentation ~ food porn, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But days like today, when I’ve got no real interest in prowling through pages, I can type a list of five ingredients I want to use in The Google ( because lord knows, I love The Google) and voila! I’ve got 15 or so recipes I can mix and match to come up with something tasty for dinner. It’s like playing Garanimals with celebrity chefs… a little Martha, Giada’s teeth, Alton’s receding hairline, and a couple of Chuck’s Tatts…. My Polenta Bake is based largely on Martha Stewart’s recipe Baked Polenta with Sausage… but I still have a load of fennel to do something with… and I didn’t like the idea of (and I wasn’t going to go out and just buy..) packaged polenta… and Giada had an Italian sausage pasta recipe …

Curb Market Crawl – Meatier, Meat Sauce

Fennel Dee, Dee… ” I adore thinly shaved fennel tossed with a light olive oil vinaigrette, scattered on a fresh  roasted garlic and white truffle pizza.” … said by – absolutely no one at the Dahlonega Walmart… ever… And I know that because I found  Six – marked down, re-labeled, name changed and marked down again, and a Manager’s Special sticker attached – fennel bulbs at  my local meg-lo-maniacal mart for a whopping 2 bucks… total! Call me crazy – but that’s like finding out your cat makes diamond encrusted, solid gold um.. surprises in the litter box. During my last foray down towards points more cosmopolitan, in places with produce enhancing lighting and pressed green aprons, they were well over $3.00 per bulb! So.. yeah… I was stoked! and I bought 12. Granted – Wally’s isn’t exactly what you’d call a curb market, not by a long shot. But it was just off the main road…. and I did have to drive there…. … and did I mention it was 12? Needless to say – there’s going to be some “fenneling” to …

99 cans of chickpeas on the wall…

For the most part – they’ve been there a year. Back last October when I was preparing for the “Party with a Pretty Dress”, in the middle of packing the truck for the 5 hour drive, I rationally  ran to the market and picked up 15 cans of discount chickpeas. Thinking, that on top of all the other things I was making for the wedding, I’d whip up a gallon of fresh hummus as well… since I obviously didn’t have enough to do. I tend to over-plan. I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I tend to take the short bus to Crazytown at times. When I get like that people really ought to handcuff me to a steam table and spoon feed me ritalin until I succumb into a coma. Somewhere in the wee hours the day before the event, I came to my senses and bought readi-made hummus. But that left me with a boatload of chickpeas, and since it’s almost their birthday…. Chickpea Stew –  Riding the trolley several years ago …

Spanish Style Brown Rice – It’s Heazy!

Um.. Heazy.. … not to be confused with dubious rapper speak referring to a particular sector of personal space. “That car was all up in my heazy… fo’ sheazy.” Several months ago… okay – like 8, I got a box of Integrale Brown Risotto Rice from Marx Foods to play around with. And as things happen sometimes – timing just didn’t work out for me to do something with it. I ignored it. And, if I’m going to be completely honest – I’d rather choke down an entire pot of overcooked oatmeal than eat risotto. I’m just not a fan. It’s just way too much freakin‘ effort to end up with something that looks and tastes like bad rice. It ended up languishing in the pantry; bullying the gluten-free pasta and poking holes in the bag of orzo. But… Since we’re trying to eat healthier, I decided to pull the package out and figure out something to do with it. Here’s the thing with Integrale Rice – it IS better for you than just eating …

Paprika Roasted Pork & Figgy BBQ Sauce

The thing is – I didn’t start out looking to cook a hunk of pork. I wanted chicken… I wanted chicken of my childhood. I wanted chicken of my childhood that came from the Winn Dixie just down the street from where I grew up. It was “barbecued chicken”, and I put that in those little ” “ because it really wasn’t even barbecue. Long before (and I mean really long… I’m 53 after all) every mass market grocer and discount bulk package foodery started carrying those horrendous rotisserie chickens, just about every neighborhood market carried a whole, fresh-cooked barbecued chicken. It was smoky. It had a funny pasty spicy sauce rubbed into every little skin tuck, arm pit, crack and giblet then baked until it was fall-off-the-bone tender… then stuffed in an aluminium foil bag where all those aromas – juices – steam – permeated every inch of that bird. The wing tips and drumstick joints were always a little extra crispy.  It was disgustingly sticky.  It was instantly recognizable. It is still one of …

Copper River Salmon – Salmon Pot Pie

Granted, it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you say Pot Pie…. maybe not even the second… yet. First things first – A huge thank you to Copper River Wild Salmon and the Folks of Cordova, Alaska for all the hard work in managing the season, responsibly sustaining and catching all the beautiful salmon, and allowing me to represent your hard work in my posts this year. It’s been a hoot and a half –  and a blast. It’s been an honor, and I hope I have done you justice. This marks the end of the Copper River Salmon posts. The season, for intents and purposes, is over. And the salmon are making their way deep into the freshwater rivers and streams to get busy and do the nasty. I really should have done more before now with the shipment of Coho* they sent me, but I just couldn’t think of anything new.. and different.. and that you hadn’t seen 100 other times in 1,000 different incarnations. So I vacuum packed …