Month: October 2013

A Box of Lobster

Prior to last week, if anyone had asked me if there was a marked difference between a fresh shipped lobster and those sad little creatures living in an aquarium at your local fish monger, I’d have said probably not… ‘Cause shipped lobsters are a little on the pricey side and 99.999% of the people out there over-cook them – and if you’re just going to stew the giblets out of ’em… why bother. To be fair, I really don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with them (aside from that one night at Holiday Inn University where I ate 12.. yeah 12…) I usually buy them frozen because I’m going to make a salad with them or stuff  it in a ravioli. So, last Friday I get this message From Lobsteranywhere.com asking if I would like to try a couple of lobsters. Now… the ever-present cynic in me thought, “hmm… maybe they’re burn off from a large order”… “or a cancellation”… “or any number of _______ reasons”.  And, ever since the fiasco with that disgusting …

Baleful Bounty ~ Melanzane al Funghetto

With the garden production winding down, there’s been very little in my little hay-bale heaven to harvest. Except for eggplants. Typically, I get 2 to 3 decent sized aubergines out of my one plant… and that makes me happy. This year, I decided to plant 4 plants: 2 Gretel White Pencil Eggplants – similar to Asian style aubergines, only less sweet and a firmer bite 1 Black Beauty – the green grocer standard you find in the market 1 Juliette – a striped, amethyst  jewel-toned, egg shaped aubergine The Juliette fell early victim to the overly wet spring and cut worms devastated the remaining 3 plants off and on throughout the summer, so I really wasn’t expecting much of a harvest at all. However come August, I was awash in eggplant. I ate Eggplant Parmesan until my ears bled. I  made casseroles and terrines. I named them and drew Sharpie faces on them… I gave them away by the dozen… and still my plants produced. Even now (in late October) there are another 2 Black …

Demons 2.0 and some Pilaf

Why do you do that? Why can’t you just appear… Huh? I like watching you jump… and you scream like a girl. Besides, I’m a demon… not a genie …do you see me dragging around a lamp? no. Tail… horns… evil disposition …  …  …  demon. It’s damned irritating. What do you want… So…   need any help?  Did you notice I did write a thing for you the other day. I saw it.. you scribbled all over the photos, got something’s blood on the recipes, and made fun of  me But you didn’t publish it… No, it was mean-spirited and hateful… Helpful is contributing something significant to ease the writer’s block You didn’t… so go screw yourself. Talk about hateful…. So, what are we writing about tonight? I’ve been looking at a pumpkin pilaf recipe that looks good You don’t like pumpkin…. you think it tastes like a**…. LANG-uage! Do you kiss your mother  with that mouth? But yeah, hate the taste… I’ve got a buttercup squash from this year’s garden I wanna use. …

Russian Tea Cake

or ~ Spiced Orange Upside-Down Cake or ~ Slap me with that spice, Vladimir Russian Tea – just the name brings back overly sweet family get-togethers, the smell of libraries at holidays, and that particular teacher in the past that, come Fall, would drink nothing else….. she reeked of mothballs,  cloves… and Tang©. Granted, you don’t see it being served very often at parties anymore – and it’s been years since anyone has gifted me with a gingham topped mason jar of the mix… But you know if you ever were in a need for a tangy, sinus clearing, sugar fix… that was the stuff. And I have to say… I really liked it. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The enzymes in the fruit turn the cake and batter into something just completely indigestible to my sensitive gag reflex…. but I love the idea of it…. and I had these decorative oranges… and something needed to be done with them. Russian Tea Cake Makes 1 – 9″ Cake Ingredients …

Shank’d Again – Braised Lamb Shanks

I’d love everyone to think I buy from only the best local suppliers, the most humane breeders, the zero-hormone purveyors. But that’s just not the way life is for most people that budget for their groceries. Buying an $18 natural feed, pasture-raised roasting hen is out right stupid when you have anywhere from 8 to 14 meals to prepare every week, 5 to 15 school bagged lunches to shove out the door, paper products, toothpaste, soap, new socks, Q-Tips… and the plethora of other unexciting additions that make it to the shopping list every week. I make no apologies for it – I bargain shop for meat. The twice-marked down chuck roast? … toss it in the cart Chicken coop accident and you have to cull down a 100 smothered chickens? … put me down for 12 You thought Dahlonega was hip & happening, and would lap up the 80 lbs of bison you brought in?  … sure, I’ll take it off your hands for 10 cents on the dolla’. you get the picture…  In …

Marx Foods – Sweet to Savory

So… I was contacted by the fine folks at Marx Foods to see if I had any interest in playing in their latest contest – Sweet to Savory. They would send me four (count’em… 4) sweet things, and I was to utilize at least two of them in a savory dish. I figure it’s a no-brainer. I use  sweet ingredients in a lot of my recipes and I should be able to pull a recipe out of my .. um..hat. Unfortunately, when the box arrived, my mind went blank In the box were: A bag of Coconut Sugar A bag of Sugared Fennel Flowers A bag of Granulated Honey 2 Vanilla Pods. and looking in the box, the only thing I could hear was the demon saying Sweet Italian Sausage…. So, that’s what I made. It’s paired with a Red and Green Marcona Pepper Sauce, sweetened slightly with coconut sugar and finished with diced tomatoes and Tofu Sour Cream. I chose these two ingredients because of the anise-y flavor of the flowers, and that coconut …

Bread Whore ~ Everybody Tang – Zhong tonight!

Well, hello… So, it’s a new look. I’m all refreshed and re-energized.. and I’ve got some amazing, life-affirming crapola to sling your way… eventually… in a couple of days. But for now… It’s Bread Whore Time I wont lie, I’m a horrible baker. That doesn’t stop me from buying every freakin’ stinkin’ book that comes out in print on the subject. And invariably, the end result is the same… crappy bread… crappy crappy mood for making crappy bread… crappy crappy crappy loads of useless bread crumbs in the freezer from making crappy bread. What’s that quote? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? That would be me and the bread business. That is… until this August. Back in Early August, a friend on Facebook (shush), who happens to be Pastry Chef Online, started talking about the Tangzhong Method for baking bread. And, that the end result was soft, moist, ethereal yeasty bread carried on the wings of angels. well, not really angels – but in my head I swear I …