March 19, 2008

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

Hey there, I'm still alive.

Here's a salad that I've been enjoying lately for lunches. Tastes like Springtime!

Citrus Carrot Salad


1lb shredded carrots (you can buy pre-shredded at the store)
2 oranges
1 lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds

Dump the carrots into a medium sized bowl.
In a small bowl, squeeze the oranges and lemon to get the juice. Add the brown sugar and mix well.
Pour the juice over the carrots and toss well to coat.
Add the raisins and sunflower seeds and toss again.

This is even better if you let the flavors meld overnight.

The best part about this salad is that it's completely adaptable to whatever you happen to have on hand or like. Not a raisin fan? How about some dried cranberries. Have limes but no oranges? Increase the sugar by a bit to compensate for the extra sour. Zest that citrus for an extra kick! Add some diced chicken and/or some chopped avocado. Zing in a dash or two of hot sauce with the juice, or some soy sauce.

Play with your food. Have fun.

Posted by Ted at 07:16 PM | Comments (243) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008


I tried. I liked.

Posted by Ted at 07:20 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 13, 2008

Someone (Special) is in the Kitchen with Dinahhhhhhh!!!

I was making mashed potatoes the other night from scratch (I don't mind instant, but real ones are a treat). I went into the fridge and grabbed the carton of half&half and noted that it was almost empty, but there might've been enough.

Potatoes done, I tossed in some butter and dumped the half&half in... damn. Way too much. So I wound up adding instant mashed potatoes to the overly soupy mash to thicken it up. Kinda defeats the purpose, you know?

I've done that twice now.

Note: for those thinking, "well, that was a waste of time" I'd suggest enjoying the idea that I'm making light of myself and ignore the fact that you did, indeed, just waste your time reading about me screwing up mashed potatoes.

Note: not to mention the above note. Or this one, for that matter.

Posted by Ted at 09:34 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 25, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

This is a bit of a departure from the usual recipes I share. Sometimes you want to (or have to) fix a quick and easy meal that will impress people. There's some expense up front for the fixins, but you'll have enough for several meals.

Chicken Parmesan Dinner

Here's what you'll need:
a box of frozen chicken tender fillets
a box of frozen mozzarella sticks
a box of penne pasta (or whatever you prefer)
a jar of spaghetti sauce
a bag of shredded mozzerella
a loaf of Italian bread

plus a few odds and ends from the pantry like grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano and basil (or Italian seasoning), and butter or margerine

Remember, this is quick too. Make note of the various cooking times listed on the packages, but this is the basic order. You won't be frantic, but if you work calmly and steadily, the timing works out very nicely.

1. preheat the oven to 450 degrees
2. get two cookie sheets, spray one lightly with no-stick and arrange a couple of chicken fillets per person
3. pop that pan into the oven, it'll be in there for about 20 minutes
4. start a big pot of water on the stove to boil
5. on the second cookie sheet, put a couple of mozzarella sticks per person
6. spread slices of the bread with butter, then sprinkle with garlic powder, basil, oregano and parmesan cheese
7. put on the tray with the cheese sticks and then pop it into the oven for about ten minutes and while you've got the oven open, flip the chicken
8. pour the sauce into a pan on the stove and start heating it up, stirring occasionally
9. when the water boils, pour in a good teaspoon of salt and then the pasta (a half pound feeds three or four, depending on how hungry you are)
10. pull the chicken out, add a tablespoon of sauce or so over the top of each, then a good pinch of shredded mozzarella, put it back into the oven
11. get the bread and cheese sticks out of the oven, turn it off but leave the chicken in there to melt the cheese
12. drain the pasta, pull out the chicken
13. serve up each plate with chicken, mozzarella sticks, pasta and sauce and bread on the side

For wine, you're on your own. This dinner, from start to serve, takes about 35 minutes. Plus, you'll have plenty of leftover frozen chicken and mozzarella sticks.

Posted by Ted at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Diinaaaaah!

Tonight was an experiment, not entirely successful, but close. I was inspired/challenged by Victor who sent me a link under the heading "Feel like cooking something bizarre?"

Here's an excerpt from his email:

There's a new food competition called They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT) and the fourth edition is coming up.

Here's a great explanation:

TGRWT is all about combining ingredients people might consider out of the ordinary. But the combinations are not just randomly chosen. The theory behind this is that ingredients with similar volatile aroma compounds should go really well together. But this is just theory. We want to test this by trying them out in dishes, and you can participate!

People have a month to try their recipes with the combination, and post the results on their own sites. It's not so much a competition as it is a challenge.

TGRWT #1 was coffee, chocolate and garlic.
TGRWT #2 was banana and parsley.
TGRWT #3 was strawberry and coriander.
TGRWT #4 was mint and mustard.

This link goes to TGRWT #4, which has links to the first 3 as well. Go here for TGRWT #5, which pairs up chocolate and meat. Horrors? Au contraire! Think mole sauce, then imagine the possibilities.

So anyways, I had a science experiment idea for a recipe in mind using mint and mustard, but didn't have time last month to give it a whirl. Then my neighbor gifted me with a big bowl of garden fresh tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, and I knew that it was time to roll up the ol' sleeves and cook. I made one major change to my original idea though...

Vegetable-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Orange Cream Sauce

1/2 cup zucchini, julienned
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced

2 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/8 cup parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/8 cup orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a skillet while you chop the veggies.
Add the carrots and zucchini to the skillet and saute for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Remove the veggies to a bowl and toss with the mint.

Put the chicken breasts in a heavy freezer bag (one at a time) and pound the hell out of them with a kitchen mallet or rolling pin until the chicken is about 1/4 inch thick.
Lay the chicken out flat on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese.
Spoon half of the veggie mixture onto the chicken and then roll the breast up with the veggies inside. Secure with a toothpick if you want.
Place the breast, seam-side down, into an 8" square baking pan that's been sprayed with non-stick.
Do the second breast, then grate some fresh pepper over the top of them.
Toss the chicken into the oven for 20-30 minutes, until done.

Melt the second tablespoon of butter in the skillet, then add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the wine to the skillet and turn up the heat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any stuck bits on the bottom of the pan (deglase the pan).
Add the OJ, water and chicken stock. Mix well.
Turn the heat up and get it to simmering, stirring often. Keep cooking until it reduces by a third, and then add the heavy cream.
Bring back to a fast simmer and cook, stirring frequently until it reduces down by half and thickens.

When the chicken is done, put a breast on each plate, and ladle some sauce over each. This would go nicely with some good crusty bread and/or wild rice.

The above is the adjusted recipe from our first attempt. The original sauce was too sweet and the orange flavor was a bit too strong. Adding a quarter-teaspoon of dry mustard to the cream sauce as it cooks might draw down the sweetness too. Come to think of it, so would a bit of onion tossed in with the garlic.

Let me know if you try this. I'll probably be experimenting a bit more with the recipe.

Posted by Ted at 07:01 PM | Comments (459) | TrackBack

July 21, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Diinaaaaah!

Here's a simple dessert that will impress guests.

Caramelized Pineapple

1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter, divided
4 Tbsp dark rum, brandy or water

Preparing the pineapple: If you've never done this before, you will be amazed at how easy it is. Using a sharp knife, cut off the end with the stem. Cut off the bottom. Slice the pineapple in half from end to end, then cut the halves into quarters, then again into eighths. Now slice off the inside wedge containing the tough middle (there's a reason for pineapple rings) and slice off the outer skin. Chop the fruit into 1 inch long chunks.

Put pineapple chunks into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to coat all of the fruit well.

On high heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add the pineapple to the hot pan and cook for 10 or 15 minutes. Don't turn too often, but shake the pan frequently. You want the sugar to form a rich brown crunch coat on the pineapple. When it's ready, remove the pineapple.

Add the remaining butter to the pan juices, then the rum or other liquid. Heat and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any tasty bits that stick to the pan, until it thickens a bit. If you used water instead of spirits, a small dash of almond extract can be added too.

Serve the hot pineapple over vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of the sauce.

Posted by Ted at 07:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Dinah, in the Kitchen, with the Poison

Ok, so maybe not as bad as *poison*, but still...

Friends, I can cook. I'm a damn good cook! A few of you have been to our house for meals and I'm confident that you'll back me up on that.


My guacamole sucks. Seriously bad suck, which makes it worse because I love the stuff. I've gone the zen route with just avocado, tomato, onion and cilantro. I've tried adding all kinds of goodies and extras to it, but nothing seems to help.

If you make great guacamole, please pass me the recipe. If you only make good guacamole then I'd still love the recipe, because it's gotta be better than the crap I've been turning out for far too long.


Posted by Ted at 10:52 PM | Comments (198) | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhhhhh!!!

Lime Salsa

1 cup diced peeled jicama (or Granny Smith apple)
1 orange, peeled, sections and coarsely chopped
cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp grated lime peel
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar

Combine jicama (or apple), orange, bell pepper, onion, lime peel, lime juice, vegetable oil, sugar and a little salt to taste in medium bowl. Toss to mix. Cover and chill at least an hour to blend flavors.
Stir before serving.

This is wonderful on pork and over white rice. It would go nicely with chicken too. The recipe came from a giveaway card at a supermarket.

Posted by Ted at 10:38 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

Someone's in the kitchen with Diiinaaaahhh!

It's been colder than a witch's you-know-what in a brass bra. Highs in the upper 20's and single digit nights. Perfect soup weather.

I started a pot of Beef and Barley soup last night and let it cook all night and all day today in the crock pot. Basically, I tossed a bunch of things into it that we had on hand, and it came out good enough to fool people that I might know what I'm doing in the kitchen.

Beef & Barley Soup

1 lb stew beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can V-8 juice
4 cups beef stock
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp rubbed sage
2/3 cup barley

Brown the stew beef in a hot skillet with the olive oil. When done, toss it into the crock pot and set the heat for high.
Add the tomatoes (with juice), the V-8 and the beef stock.
Stir in the worchestershire, vinegar, paprika and sage.
Add the garlic, carrots and corn, then let it simmer for an hour or so before turning the heat down to low.

Let it cook for several hours (overnight in my case) and then add the barley (about 5am as I was getting ready for work). Either leave it on low to cook for the rest of the day, or turn the heat up to high and cook for another hour or until the barley is done.

If I had had them, I would have added onions and celery, but I don't know that those would have been an improvement. The vinegar and tomatoes give a nice tang, balanced by the brown sugar. The broth was rich and savory, and by dinner time tonight the meat was falling-apart tender.

We've got quite a stretch of cold weather in the forecast. I think I'll keep the soup pot out.

Posted by Ted at 05:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 03, 2006

Someone's in the kitchen with Diiinaaaahhh!

There he goes again... taking a perfectly normal food and throwing fruit into it. I dunno, it's just something I do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time, it definitely worked.

Apple Rice

1 cup rice
1 3/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped (I used a Gala)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine the rice, cider and soy sauce in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

While the rice is cooking, chop the onion and start to gently saute in the olive oil.

Chop the apple, sprinkle with lemon juice to keep it from browning.

When the rice is done, turn off the heat and stir in the apple and onion. Mix well and re-cover the pot to steam for a few minutes.

We had this with a smoked pork loin. Very tasty.

Posted by Ted at 07:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2006

Someone's in the kitchen with Diiinaaaahhh!

It's been a long time since I've posted anything from kitchen, but it's been quite a while since I've been able to do any serious cooking. Liz is out of town for a week visiting our oldest daughter, so I'm taking full advantage of the culinary freedom to try some new recipes.

Last night's dinner:

Sweet & Sour Country Ribs

2-3 lbs country pork ribs
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (20oz) chunk pineapple in juice
1 tsp crushed coriander
1/2 lb snow peas
2 tsp chopped candied ginger

Start the oven going to 325 degrees.
Put the ribs into a shallow casserole dish (9x13 works well).
Pour pineapple juice over ribs. Save the pineapple chunks for later.
Drizzle the soy sauce over the ribs, then sprinkle with the garlic and coriander.
Bake for an hour and a half to two hours, basting with the juices every half hour or so. The ribs should be very tender.
Put the ribs onto a heated platter and pour the juices from the pan into a large measuring cup or bowl. Let it settle for a few minutes and then skim the grease from the top.
Heat a medium frying pan on the stove.
Add the pan juices and bring to a boil. Let it cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to cook down.
Add the snow peas and stir, let them cook for a couple of minutes, until they turn bright green and are just tender crisp.
Add the pineapple chunks and stir in to heat through.
Pour it all over the ribs and sprinkle with candied ginger.

We served rice on the side, with the pan juices over the rice. Mmmmmmm. This one is going into my recipe book.

*That's what the recipe called for, but here's what I did different.
First, I forgot the garlic. Just flat out forgot it. Didn't have any coriander or candied ginger either. Instead I sprinkled about a tsp of ground ginger over the ribs before going into the oven, and at the table a dash of soy sauce on the ribs really woke up the flavor.

Posted by Ted at 05:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 15, 2006

Oh. My.

Today was my first chance to fire up the new smoker.

Like sex. With BBQ sauce.

I whipped up a batch of my homemade sauce, which is never the same twice in a row. Today's version started with a base of ketchup and balsamic vinegar, and to that I added onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, sweet paprika, black pepper, chili sauce, horseradish, crushed fresh garlic, dehydrated minced onion, and honey.

Sometimes I want it sweeter, which means I'll add some brown sugar and/or molassass. Adding some soy, fresh ginger and lime juice makes for "oriental" style.

Anyway, today's sauce was liberally slathered over a big package of country pork ribs and a pack of chicken legs. I let them bathe in the sauce for a couple of hours.

When the time was right, I fired up about 10 pounds of charcoal in the base of the smoker and let the coals get ready. In the meantime, I wrapped a big double handful of hickory in aluminum foil and poked it full of holes to let the smoke escape as the wood smouldered. Once everything was ready I filled the liquid pan with water, put the chicken on the lower level, the ribs up top and let it alone for three hours.

At the start the fire got too hot and I had to take the cover off a couple of times to let heat escape, but after the first half hour things settled down and I watched the thermostat cycle between 225 and 250 degrees. I added another small handful of wood chips halfway through.

Man oh man oh man, was that good. The ribs came out falling apart tender, and after slathering more sauce on them they were incredible. The chicken was moist and smoky, just like you want it. Is it really that simple or did I just have beginners luck? Doesn't matter, I'm doing it again, real soon.

On the side, I saute'd a couple of zucchini. Also, I took the crispy ends from several ribs and chopped them up for flavoring for my next pot of black beans.

One thing I very much like about cooking with the smoker is that you get it going and then leave it alone. I did some yardwork, worked on my big rocket project and sat in the sun, reading and enjoying the nice afternoon. No fussing with the food. I will definitely use my meat thermometer next time, because I think I could have taken the food off the grill a half hour earlier, or at least have started the veggies so everything would've been ready at the same time.

I think me and the smoker are going to become very close this summer.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 01, 2006

Heh, she said Balls

Over at Caterwauling, Dawn has assembled a spherical feast for the Carnival of the Recipes. I love these carnivals, and this edition features even more "must try"'s than the usual.

So head on over, because it's not like you're going to actually keep those resolutions, right?

Posted by Ted at 07:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes - 66th Edition

It’s a small world. Thanks to modern travel and communications, it’s getting smaller all the time. It’s a small, small world. It should surprise no one, then, that these Carnivals are wonderfully international. We see recipes that have grams and dashes, millies and rashers, and it just seemed to me that there was only one way to truly celebrate the international flavor of the Carnival of the Recipes, because it's a small world after all.


I can hear the collective sigh of relief, because at least some of you were thinking it was gonna be... that other one (yeah, I know it was rather too obvious. Work with me here).

So amigo, instead of getting that obnoxiously addictive song stuck in your head (too late?), what you need to do is to grab that fish out of it’s bowl (and here you thought it was just a goldfish), hold it up to your ear, and read on.

But mon ami (I can hear you asking), what if I have no fish handy? I’ve heard - but have no idea if it’s true or not and amazingly enough Snopes doesn’t say - that if you don’t have a babelfish handy, you can use a frozen fishstick instead. The obvious limitations are that it’ll only work for Scandanavian languages and you’ll look rather silly with a fishstick sticking out of your head. Or not. Who am I to judge?

Yep, I put the babble in Babelfish. And so, without further adieu (oooo, he’s a multilingual defiler of language!), I present this 66th edition of the Carnival of the Recipes, complete with snippets translated into various languages and then translated back.

Thanksgiving Goodies

It's not surprising that there were several Thanksgiving related submissions this time around.

First up is an interesting recipe for brining turkey from Sun Comprehending Glass. Let's see what the babelfish says:

My low and slow peoples are basters; they form throughout the year marvelously from Peru after the year. Low slow and lots of the result in 10 hours to terminate to a bird. With however salt, leave the cook, who the time is not shortened, because none is requested, heat aways even the furnace to run.

Now how can you argue with that?

Blog o'RAM offers up a bit of zingbird, via Salsafied Turkey and Jalepeno Cornbread.

From Ziggarat of Doom, check out Awesome Turkey which is another variation on the theme, this time using a rub with olive oil and braised in a roasting bag.

Checking in with the fish:

It is a income of ordeal and a new idea, thus they are real the final publication of this for with. The band of friction is little different, marks the lack of sage for example. Moreover, I have fallen in the bags for the turkey. The oil of olive makes precisely as the order a work that the butter for crisping ascendant the skin, and I like the aromatic substance more. Big pinchments and small pinchments they are a entire grass, usually for big make, you go there and [unintelligeble] the money in the fresh grasses.

Of course, you could follow the link above and see the original directions, but I'm a road less travelled kinda guy.

The Clog Almanac shares this side dish: Asparagus and Wild Rice Pilaf. It's on my to-try list.

Here's a repost from last year about a variety of Thanksgiving recipes, wine recommendations and more. Good stuff from The Glittering Eye.

Next up, we get a trio from Booklore: Thanksgiving Appetizers, Ambrosia Salad , and Perfect Cranberry Sauce.

Growing up in California, we just called Ambrosia fruit salad, and we were living large if Mom tossed mini-marshmallows into the mix.

Here's a quick and Easy Orange Survival Glaze for ham or turkey, from The Pragmatic Chef.

Non-Holiday Goodies and Yummies

(although there's nothing that says these wouldn't be wonderful then too)

From One Happy Dog Speaks, we get a twofer, Yeast Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls, from the same basic recipe. As an added bonus, there's a nifty hot-doggy variation in the comments. Yay Hats!

Whoa, that was totally random.

Cornbread. If you love it, there's no need to say more. If you don't, then you'll never understand. Two varieties, courtesy of the Pajama Pundits.

From Leslie's Ombibus, we're treated to Oxtail Soup. Mmmmmm, soup.

Two, two! Chicken and Sausage Gumbos! One easy-peasy, one a little more involved, thanks to Everything and Nothing.

This is the definition of comfort food.
Salisbury Steak
, and One for the Road shows us how to do it the easy way.

Babelfish chimes in with:

Simmer related to meanly excessive heat 35-45 minutes until the sausse was not thickend and the tortini were cooked through.

For the more gentle cooks, follow the original directions. You gangsta peeps can use the meanly excessive way.

Risoto with Arugula, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cheeses. Doesn't that sound great, in a completely "I'm so sick of turkey" kinda way? Thank Cooking Capers for this one.

My Favorite Mushrooms. Apparently there's a problem with Oasis of Sanity this week, because I kept getting 404 errors while trying to access this. I mention it here to tempt you and tease you and make you come back next week like Pavlov's dogs, hoping for a working link.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom presents Another Pretty Salad. She notes that this versatile salad looks great on the holiday table, so I could have included it up top with the Thanksgiving dishes. But to me, this says "summertime dinner" too, so I put it here instead.

Chicken Paprikas is comfort food with a nice little twist, and like most soups and stews, it gets better if you make it a day or two in advance. Seriously Good shares this one, and it looks seriously good.

Elisson checks in with Beef Stew with a Difference, aka Beef Rendang. This is for those who like a little curry heat with their moo. Because I'm a thoughtful guy, I won't even mention the groaner he tosses in at the end of his post (oops, guess I just did).

From Special Fried Rice, we're treated to a recipe for one, namely Low-fat Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo.

Even the fish likes it:

The part of my process to learn of new good eating habits implies to try to calculate outside in a way to eat the foods that taste without the problems has associates to they. A fat version is weak here. Taste sauce Alfredo! This perfect age, densely and that he is rich.

From down south, no, farther south... waaaay south. Not that far south. Leave the penguins alone, they'll eat your babelfish. I talking about Kiwi south, specifically KeeWee's Corner, where we get a nice recipe for Tacos in Pasta Shells. Sounds good to me, I'm a Mexican food fanatic.

S.O.S. is its very own food group, although some would dispute using the word "food" in that sentence. Fill'er Up, Hon? shows you how to do it right, and when it's done right, it's wonderful.

From my good friend Tuning Spork, we get Baked Apple Sauce. He originally called it Twice-Baked Apples, so don't let the post title fool you. With his link, he adds the following advice:

Just remind people to go easy on the spices as they prepare the sauce -- tasting it for good balance. It's easy to go overboard!

This one... Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Chicken Torte Milanese with Tomato Basil Sauce. Thank you ApparatChick.

From TechnoGypsy, we get Lamb Shanks, because you can't roast the shanks or they'll burn (I didn't know that).

Now if you need something vegetarianish, I highly recommend this Three Sisters Stew. From Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax, who always has interesting recipes to share, and the background stories to go with them.

Babelfish snippet:

The research revealed far more the auxiliary advantages of this "companion, it planted." the bacteria colonies in the roots of the bean take prisoner the nitrogen of air, something from which it in the soil are inserted, in order to feed the high needs of the nitrogen of corn.

Doesn't that sound so very German? All that research and scientifical talk and taking prisoners and stuff. Check out the original, just trust me on this one.

Courtesy of SilverBlue, we get this delicious sounding Spinach Stuffed Chicken. The best part is, by this time next week you'll all be saying, "hey, it's not turkey! Yay!"

Tuna and Caper Pasta, from FrazzledDad. It's all in the quality of the ingredients.

Blogeline's Journal offers up this heavenly-sounding Guinness Beef or Venison Stew. I'll be trying a pot of this in the near future.

Over at The Common Room, there's a sweet post full of ideas on being frugal in the kitchen and incorporates several recipes as well. Among them is Stir Fried Sweet Potatoes. Check this one out.

From Third World County, this simple classic: Black Beans and Rice.

Russian translation:

Wash and sort beans. I usually make this with the large tank and the grid. Beans in the grid, the water in the tank. Beans of water pipe surplus. You can develop mechanics.

They invented beans, you know.

Yummy prawny limey recipe (can be done with chicken). Gotta love a recipe with a name like that! Might as well break out the tequila since you already have all those limes sitting around being lazy. Thanks to Aussie Wife for this one.


Not just Rum Cake, but Yummy Rum Cake (as if there's any other kind!). Thanks to In the Headlights for this one.

Slap Your Mama Chocolate Cake
is presented by a feisty guest-poster over at Not Exactly Rocket Science (Yay Rockets!). Sinful is a descriptive word that comes to mind.

From Vermont's own A Weight Lifted, have a slice of Maple Pumpkin Pie.

Via Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea, we get this chocolate yummy: Cocoa Apple Cake. She promises pictures next week, so in the meantime, let's let babelfish paint a picture with words:

Criminy, I missed the chocolate Friday almost. Still. I was, you thus do not employ work and trying to finish with of Thanksgiving, have to me much time to think have.

Ok, so it's a crayon picture. Hang it on the fridge.

Bananas. Bars. Bananas behind bars. There's an odd kind of synergy here, that makes me want to write absolute crap like that take Hollywood by storm. In the meantime, while I wait for them to beat down my door, I'll pass the time by making Best Banana Bars Ever. Thanks to Notes in the Key of Life, because these are going to become a staple in our house. Gotta keep those bananas off the street, you know, before they go bad.

Once again from SilverBlue, he offers up Three Emergency Deserts. I'm not sure about the emergency part, these look good enough to make just because.

Blueberry-Pear Clafouti is a baked pudding, courtesy of Blonde Sagacity. This looks so good, it's also on my "try soon" list.

More excellent goodness from The Glittering Eye, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

The above were in no particular order other than being in broad categories. Any implied preferences or rankings are solely in your own imagination and they have drugs now that can help people like you. Or me, for that matter.

One last pass through the babelfish:

All preferences or the implicit places are only in their its fancy and have drugs now that he can help you the people. Or me for this material.

Deep. In more than one way too. Anyway, I hope you go visit all of these people and make their food and share the results with the rest of us. Thanks for stopping by (and y'all are welcome back any time), and thanks to everyone who sends in recipes, who hosts, who keeps things organized, and especially my agent and my family and my...

Sorry. Storming Hollywood and all that.

Next week, the Carnival will be hosted by the Lost Budgie Blog, who will almost certainly not continue this babelfish silliness. Which reminds me, go put your fish back into its bowl, or the freezer, and for pete's sake don't get them mixed up.

Yay Hats!

Posted by Ted at 11:01 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

October 30, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

It's up, over at Everything and Nothing. Plenty of good hearty fall and winter fare in this one.

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005


This weeks Carnival of the Recipes is up over at Blonde Sagacity, and it's a special edition. The focus is on pork, because those politically correct nitwits in England banned Piglet!!! What's next, Lassie?

... oh jeez, I don't wanna know when *that* edition of the Carnival comes out!

Posted by Ted at 11:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Flame-broiled Mudpies on Airbake pans

Well, not exactly. It's this week's edition of the Carnival of the Recipes, hosted by fellow Munuvian Triticale.

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

And so begins its second mouth-watering year. Thanks Beth, for the original idea!

Posted by Ted at 04:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 04, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhhhhh!!!

These are yummy cakey cookies, perfect for summertime treats and special enough for those times when you want to impress.

Iced Orange Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp grated orange zest (see note below)

½ tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1½ cups confectioners sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Cream together the sugar and shortening, add eggs and stir. Add sour cream and 1 tsp vanilla, stir and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add little by little to the creamed mixture and stir well.
  3. Add ¾ cup orange juice concentrate and the the 2 Tbsp orange zest. Mix well.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove to a rack, and while they cool, make the icing.


Mix together the grated orange zest, thawed OJ concentrate, vanilla, melted butter and confectioners sugar to a smooth spreading consistency.

After icing, let the cookies sit for several hours until the icing sets.

Note: I've found that two medium oranges provide enough zest for a light and delicate flavor. If you use extra it'll boost the taste nicely.

Posted by Ted at 04:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

Carnival of Recipes is up

Over at Munuviana's own Feisty Repartee, Christina is hosting this week's Carnival. Yum.

Posted by Ted at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

The Glittering Eye is calling you... you must obey The Glittering Eye... go visit The Glittering Eye...

In related news, this past week I got an email from a lady who owns a bookstore. She told me that they held a Harry Potter party and that she made and served the Cookies Without A Name* that I posted a while back. They were a huge hit.

Thanks for that email Carrie, it really made my day! Now if anyone is near Saranac Lake, New York, stop by the Fact & Fiction Bookshop and let 'em know that Ted sent you.

Ahhhh, the power of cheesy

*The contest to name the cookies was kind of a flop. I had a few wonderful suggestions (Saddam's Coveted Enhanced YellowCake cracked me up, but nobody would understand it in five years), but nothing really jumped out at me. So I'm sticking with - for the moment - C-Cups. Sounds naughty, and the "C" stands for cake, or chocolate, or George Washington Carver.

**New slogan. Maybe... what'cha think?

Posted by Ted at 09:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Recipe Blog

Kat, who's currently moving and on hiatus, also keeps a recipe blog full of her wit and wisdom. She's one of the funniest ladies out there:

Anyway, our cupboard was bare except for a very few staples like salt and pepper and flour. Have you ever tried salt and pepper flour balls? No? Then you haven’t lived. Or you’ve lived better than me. One of those.

I muchly recommend that you check her Kat's Kitchen out.

Posted by Ted at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

Mu Food!

Munuviana's very own One Happy Dog Speaks hosts this week's edition of the Carnival of the Recipes! Yay!

Posted by Ted at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Mini-rant of no real importance

Quite a while ago our local "community" magazine started a monthly themed recipe contest. At first I was anticipating all the new recipes to try, but now I can't even look at the page without becoming enraged.

Here's a sample First Place winner:

Creamy Chicken Chili

1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can white beans
1 tsp chili powder (optional)

Mix and heat together in saucepan with enough water to make it chili thick. Serve with shredded cheese on top.

I shit you not.

Out of all the other recipes to pick (a page full), that one was judged best. The "chef" also remarked that sometimes she uses black beans instead because that makes it more "authentic".

I'm sorry, but the only way "authentic" is related to that travesty is that they're both in the dictionary. And using black beans would make it look like bugs floating in pus. I'm just saying.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find a stamp so's I can submit my recipe for "Lightly Scorched White Bread with Butter". I figure I've got a real shot, especially if I mention that sometimes we use whole wheat instead.

Posted by Ted at 04:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhhhhh!!!

This time of year our grocer is running almost weekly sales on fresh berries. Whip up a loaf of this bread and enjoy a tasty breakfast or snack, or turn it into a quick summer dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Blueberry Lemon Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp lemon rind
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the flour mixture and milk, beating at low speed until the mixture is smooth.
Stir in the lemon rind and blueberries.
Pour into a lightly greased 9"x5" load pan (see note below) and bake 60-70 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

This recipe comes from a cookbook called "Mr. Food Makes Dessert".

As an experiment, I used one of those flexible bundt pans made out of silicone that I just got. The bread turned out wonderfully moist and it looks pretty too. I prefer things less sweet, so I decreased the sugar to between 1 cup and 1 1/4 cup. I also found that using a microplane to zest one large lemon was just about right for the rind called for in the recipe. Easy and quick.

Yummy stuff!

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

Food Glorious Food

Dana has done a wonderful job with this week's Carnival of the Recipes. Head on over to Note-It Posts and check it out.

And don't forget to enter a good suggestion for the Rocket Jones Name That Cookie Contest.

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (3)

June 20, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

Cookies Without A Name*

These cookies were brought in to my wife's work one day, and she liked them so much that she not only got the recipe, but she then stopped on the way home to get the ingredients.

You need a couple of mini-muffin pans to make these. They're worth getting if you don't already have them, and then you can make Madeleines too!

2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 (13oz) pkg miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, water, oil and vanilla until good and frothy. Stir in the cake mix and peanut butter until well blended.

Drop by teaspoonfuls into paper-lined mini-muffin cups, you want each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just lightly browned. While they're baking, start unwrapping the peanut butter candy. Remove the foil and the paper cups they come in.

When you take the cookies out of the oven, immediately press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. Let them cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing them to finish cooling. After removing from the pans, you can also put the cookies into the fridge for 15 minutes to help the chocolate to re-set.

Makes 5-6 dozen.

*The recipe my wife brought home calls these the uninspired and misleading "Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups". So it's time to exercise your creativity by giving these cookies a worthy name. I'm soliciting suggested names in the comments, and then I'll put a poll up on the sidebar so that everyone can vote on their favorite.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (5)

May 20, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

The latest is up over at Curmudgeonry, and fellow Munuvian Jordana has done a fine job of whetting my appetite before lunch. Enjoy!

Posted by Ted at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Is up at TechnoGypsy, served up with plenty of Pascha basket related commentary. Good food and good reading.

Posted by Ted at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinnaaaahhh!!!

Everybody knows that a lot of chocolate isn't good for you. Peanut butter is better for you than chocolate. And oatmeal is even better for you than peanut butter. Except that oatmeal is that kind of anemic tan color and peanut butter is the same color as baby poo. Ick. So the best way to make something look appetizing if it has peanut butter and oatmeal in it is to add a little chocolate, right? And it's still health food, you just have to hide that fact from the kids.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Super-Duper Healthy No-Guilt Peanut Oat (and chocolate) No-bake Cookies
(does it get any easier and healthier than this?)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky, doesn't matter)
1 3/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

In a medium saucepan stir together the sugar and cocoa.
Add the milk and butter. Turn heat to medium and bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and oats. Stir well to combine.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined sheet pan.
Let stand until firm and cool.
Store in an airtight container.

That's it!

Note to visitors from the Carnival of the Recipes: While you're here, take a gander at the Rocket Jones Banner Contest and vote on your favorite.

Posted by Ted at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up

Hosted by fellow Munuvian CalTechGirl at Not Exactly Rocket Science (gotta love the name), is this week's linkfest to lots of ideas for good eats.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Diiinaaaahhh!

This is an old favorite with our family that came about after being inspired by a happy combination of leftovers and the ol' "what's for dinner" blahs.

Italian Omelets

eggs (2 per serving)
butter, oil or non-stick spray
half-and-half or milk
garlic powder

fillings: pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, mozzerella or other cheeses, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, herbs - whatever you like on a pizza.

spaghetti sauce, warmed

My favorite omelet pan is one of those tiny frying pans with the gently rounded sides. Set it on medium heat, and put a small bit of butter in to melt.

Crack a couple of eggs into a high-sided bowl. Add a splash of milk (half-and-half is even better) and a dash of garlic powder. Mix it all up with a fork or whisk. The idea is to get lots of air into the egg mixture, so whip vigorously and really get it stirred up.

Tilt the pan around to distribute the butter, then pour the eggs into the pan. Leave it be until the edges begin to set, then gently left the edges and tilt the pan to let the uncooked egg on top run around and underneath.

When the top is soft-set, the bottom should be done. Use the spatula (it's a wide one, right?) to carefully flip the entire omelet over.

Add the cheese, veggies, meats or whatever else you're stuffing your omelet with. Gently fold half the omelet over to make a fluffy half-moon shape stuffed with yummy things.

Top with a tablespoon or two of heated sauce and a little more cheese if you'd like, and serve with toast.

Posted by Ted at 06:43 AM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Up at Be's place. She's a gal after my own heart, leading off with desserts.

Mmmmmm, dessert.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 PM | Comments (3)

April 18, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinnnaaaahhhh!!!

This dish comes from a set of recipe cards called "My Great Recipes" that we got in the early 80's. Somewhere along the line, they were packed up and sent to the attic. Last year I found the cards and went through them, throwing away the ones I knew I'd never make. This one was a survivor. I made it this weekend as a side for roast chicken and it's really tasty and different for a rice dish. As given, this makes quite a bit, but the recipe is easily halved or even quartered.

Toasted Herb Rice

2 cups long grain rice
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
20 oz chicken or beef broth, boiling
1 1/2 cups water, boiling
6-8 green onions, chopped
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried tarragon or basil leaves

Put rice into an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid and place into a 325 degree oven. Roast for 20 minutes or until the rice is toasted and golden. Remove from the oven.
Add butter to the rice and stir until melted. Pour boiling broth and water over rice and stir.
Cover and return to the oven. Bake 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is done.
Stir in the chopped green onions, soy sauce and herbs.

Serves 8.

If you're baking a chicken or roast at 350 degrees, this can still be done at the same time, just reduce the baking time and keep an eye on it.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Over at the Countertop Chronicles. Bon Apetit!

Posted by Ted at 09:51 AM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhh!!!!

This one is quick to make, and it's Mookie-approved!

Apple-Pecan Cake

1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped tart baking apple (I peeled and cored a largish Granny Smith)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg until light and airy.
Add the flour, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Mix well.
Fold in the apples and pecans.
Pour mixture into a greased 8" pie plate.
Bake for 25 minutes (it should be well browned).

Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Serves 4 - 6.

Posted by Ted at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

This week's collection of recipes is being hosted by Aussie Wife. Check it out!

Posted by Ted at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

Over at Munuviana's own TexasBestGrok, JohnL has assembled a Heinlein quote-filled buffet for this week's Carnival.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhh!!!!

According to historical accounts, tamales evolved to become a self-contained ration of food for the soldiers of the Indian empires that occupied what is now Mexico, Central and South America. Variations also appear throughout the Caribbean. There are two basic kinds, both made with corn dough wrapped in corn husks and then steamed. One has a filling and sauce wrapped inside the dough, and the other type has the extra goodies mixed into the dough. These are usually sweet tamales.

Tamales are the ultimate anti-fast food. They’re simple enough to make (although it takes a little practice) but they aren’t something you just slap together in a hurry. Tamales are cooking-for-the-love-of-cooking food.

You can also turn tamale making into a family event. There are plenty of things to do, even for the little ones. Making these in one day would make for a long but relaxed day in the kitchen.

I’ll list an overview of the process, and then put down detailed steps for each part. Please remember though, that I’ve done this a grand total of once so far. All I can say for sure is that the number of steps might seem intimidating, but they break down into easily manageable chunks and my results were spectacularly delicious the very first time.

I found this book: Tamales 101 (available from Amazon) to be a great help. I’ll be using this book as a reference and for recipes for a long long time.

(the rest is in the extended entry)

Since I was making these by myself, I spread the tasks over a few days. This also helps because you want everything cool when you put the tamales together.

Day 1: made sauces (took about an hour).
Day 2: made fillings (took about an hour).
Day 3: cleaned husks, made masa, assembled and steamed tamales (two batches took about 3 hours).

Essential kitchen tools and doo-dads you’ll need:

  • A mixer. A stand mixer is even better.

  • Big bowls. You’ll need a couple at least, and several smaller ones.

  • Steamer. Our big spaghetti pot came with a steamer basket that turned out to be just about right. Those stacking bamboo steamers would work too.

  • Tongs. You’re going to be dealing with steaming hot bits and pieces here. Avoid steam burns by using long tongs.

Other items you probably don't already have in your pantry:

  • Masa for Tamales. I found this in the Hispanic foods section of my local grocery store. Masa Harina is corn flour, and I’m not sure what the difference is, but I can tell there is one between regular masa and this stuff. You definitely want the masa for tamales.

  • Corn husks. Again, found at my local grocery store in the hispanic section. A package with about twice as many as I needed was around $3.00.

This first time, I made two kinds of tamales.

Chorizo Apricot Tamales

This is a Rocket Jones original. I’m sure someone somewhere has made these, but I’ve never heard of it, so I’m claiming them as my own.

1 lb chorizo (Mexican sausage)
½ cup onion, diced
12 dried apricots
Red sauce (recipe below)
Masa dough (recipe below)

Soak the apricots with enough water to cover for an hour or two. Drain and chop. I cut each apricot in half the long way, then into thirds crossways, giving 6 pieces each.
Brown the chorizo in a skillet, when almost done drain and add the onion. Finish cooking.
Mix in the apricots. Let cool.

When assembling the tamales, put a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the middle of the masa, then add two healthy tablespoons of red sauce over the top. Fold the tamale and put in the steamer rack.

Steam for about an hour, until done.

Poblano Jack Tamales

This is a more traditional tamale recipe. My Salsa Verde turned out pretty mild, so I used Pepper Jack cheese for extra oomph.

2 large fresh Poblano chilies
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese (you can use Pepper Jack or even Cheddar or Colby)
Salsa Verde (recipe below)
Masa dough (recipe below)

Roast and peel the chilies. Turn the flame on your gas stove to medium high. Put the chilies on the burner rack in the flame and let char, rotating them with tongs so that they blacken evenly.

When completely charred, lay one in your palm on a paper towel (careful, they are hot!) and use another paper towel to wipe away the charred skin. Do all of the chilies, putting them into a small bowl with a lid to steam themselves for about 20 minutes.

Slice the chilies lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, then slice into ½” wide strips about 3” long.
Slice the cheese into about ¼”x ¼” wide strips, also about 3” long.

When assembling the tamales, put two chili strips and a cheese strip into the middle of the masa, then add a good heaping tablespoon full of salsa verde over the top. Fold the tamale and put in the steamer rack.

Steam for about an hour, until done.


Red Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp minced onion
½ tsp dried oregano
2½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ cup salsa
1 small can tomato paste
1 single-serving can V8 vegetable juice
1½ cup water

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
Add everything but the water and mix well.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Ted's Revved-Up Salsa Verde

My family preferes mild to wild, so there's always room to spice up my recipes to taste.

1lb Tomatillos
1 Jalepeno chilie, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Poblano chilies, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Green chilies (the kind used for chilies relleno), roasted, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash. Slice the tomatillos into wedges. In saucepan combine everything, including the chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool.

I like my salsa chunky, so I use a pastry cutter to break it up a little bit in the pan instead of putting it into a blender.

This recipe makes for heat about like medium salsa. You'll probably have leftover sauce, and it's great reheated and spooned over eggs.

Preparing the corn husks

Open the package of husks and run them under water. As they soften, separate each one and rinse off any dirt or silk you find. I discarded any that were especially yucky looking, but I assume that they were sorta cleaned before being packaged. Like I said, I threw away the yucky looking ones.

Important: Notice that there is a smooth side and a rough side to the corn husks. When you assemble the tamales, you want to have the rough side out.

Once you have a stack of washed husks, fill a big bowl with hot water, lay the husks in there and weight them down with a heavy pot or bowl. Leave them to soak for an hour or so.

Tamale dough (masa)

4 cups chicken broth
4 cups masa harina for tamales
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups combined total of lard, butter or margarine. I used a 1 cup stick of Crisco and 1/3 cup butter.

To make the dough, heat 4 cups of chicken broth or stock until lukewarm. I make broth using chicken base, so I just mixed it with hot water and it worked great.

Combine the masa, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then add broth a bit at a time, mixing with a spatula to make a moist dough.

In another large bowl, whip the lard, butter and/or margarine together until light and fluffy. Longer is better, so don’t skimp on the whipping, it makes for a lighter, less dense tamale dough. Start adding the masa mixture to the lard a bit at a time, mixing well between additions. Keep mixing and adding until fully incorporated. When ready, cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until ready to use.

Assembling the tamales

Start the water in the steamer to heating. It’ll take time to reach a boil.

Take a corn husk and lay it flat on your palm (rough side down). Using an ice cream scoop, put a dollop of masa in the center of the husk (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dough). Using a butter knife or small spatula, spread the masa in an even layer across the width of the husk, not quite reaching the top edge of the husk. Oh heck, here’s a crude diagram:

folding a tamale.JPG

Put your filling in the middle of that layer of dough - spoonful of meat or strips of pepper and cheese, and then a spoonful of sauce. Don’t worry about being neat with the sauce. Now fold the right side of the husk over the middle, followed by the left. Finally, fold the bottom of the husk up, making a package with an open top. After the first couple you’ll get the hang of it. Stand the tamale upright in the steamer. He looks lonely there, so make lots more and pack them in.

This is only one way to fold tamales. It’s easy and doesn’t require a lot of extra steps, so that’s what I used. It worked well too.

Steaming the tamales

Because the method I used to fold the tamales left one end open, I stood them upright in the steamer basket. When the basket is full, crank the heat up to return the water to a boil and then cover the top of the steamer with a dishtowel.

Add water to the steamer as needed as it boils, and after an hour remove a tamale from the steamer with tongs. Partially unwrap the tamale from the husk and if it comes away cleanly then they’re done.

Stack ‘em on a platter and serve with extra sauce on the side. Rice or beans and a simple tomato and cucumber salad are traditional side dishes.


This makes about 3 dozen tamales. You can store leftovers in a tightly covered container in the fridge, and they freeze well. To reheat, put into a microwavable container with a lid along with a tablespoon of water, then nuke 'em at 50% power for 3 minutes per tamale. Even better is to resteam them on the stove for 10 minutes.

Posted by Ted at 08:19 AM | Comments (3)

March 25, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Hosted this week by Pajama Pundit. Get cooking!

Posted by Ted at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

A heapin' helpin' of kitchen alchemy is offered each and every week somewhere on the 'net. This week, it's at the Flying Space Monkey Chronicles, so head on over and make sure you're wearing your drool bib.

The archives for all the past Recipe Carnivals can be found at the lovely Beth's place, and I've made that link a permanent button on my sidebar (psst... on the right column of the main page).

Do yourself a favor and check it out. You'll never eat cold pizza for breakfast again.

(That's not true, because I just did. Really.)

Posted by Ted at 06:36 AM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

Pamibe is hosting this week and even redecorated for the occasion. Looks great! I've already made mental note of several of these recipes that're going on my 'to try' list.

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinnnaaaahhhh!!!

This one is simple and simply wonderful. If you've ever eaten at Chipotle, they add some rice flavored with lime and cilantro into every burrito. It also makes a great side dish.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

2 cups uncooked rice
3 1/4 cups water or chicken stock

1 small lime
1 bunch fresh cilantro

Cook the rice in the water or stock however you normally do. For this recipe I like the rice a little drier, so the amount of liquid is less than what you're probably used to using.

When the rice is almost done, zest the lime (see notes below), and then cut and juice it too. You want a couple good tablespoons of juice.

Pull the leaves off of the cilantro stems and then mince the leaves until you have three or four tablespoons worth.

Put the rice into a bowl and fluff it, then sprinkle the lime juice, lime zest and cilantro. Toss until it's well combined.


I use a microplane like this one to zest citrus, and let me tell you, it makes the task easy. I heartily recommend this kitchen tool.

Before slicing the lime for juicing, roll it around on the counter firmly between the surface and your hand. Try to smash it flat (but don't). This crushes the little juicy pulpy bits inside before you cut it open and you'll get more juice easier that way. I've also heard that microwaving the fruit for 10 seconds first helps, but I've never done that.

Posted by Ted at 09:24 AM | Comments (9)

March 04, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #29

There I was, sitting at my desk. The only light in the room came from the blinking neon sign outside and the occasional flash of lightning. That was fine by me, because it fit my mood, as did the glass of smoky single malt in front of me.

Then she walked in. Her hair shone like spun cotton candy. She had cherry lips and plump breasts. Half turning to close the door, I admired her prime rump and appreciated her succulent thighs wrapped in a tight skirt. Definitely not chicken legs.

Before she could speak, I said, "let's go sister, I'm hungry."

Before long we were sitting in a booth at Clancy's. I could tell she had something to say, but she kept quiet, waiting for the right moment. I like that in a dame. Finally, Clancy himself brought two drinks to the table. He knew what I liked. He brought her the same.

Her first words, "I thought you were hungry?"

Ok, so no chorus of Angel's from on high, just an ordinary voice. Still, I'd better take control of the situation. She'd come to me after all.

"I'll ask the questions, sweetheart."

She sipped her drink and looked at me over the rim of her glass with lidded eyes.

"First question," I began, "do you like Tzatziki?"

That took her by surprise. But it broke the ice, and before the end of the second drink, I knew her story. I also knew that I could help her.

St. Paddy's Day Toast - Bobo Blogger

Tzatziki - from Cathouse Chat

Quite Early One Morning, Greek Eggs.

Yogurt Cheese, from A Mentsh Trakht

Helen's Salsa - a nifty slideshow presentation.

Suddenly the door burst open and a guy ran in, yelling and waving his arms. There was something odd about him, and I finally figured out what it was: his words didn't match the movements of his mouth. With another wild yell, he rushed back outside just in time for a giant reptillian claw to come down and stomp him flat. I grabbed her arm and we hustled out onto the sidewalk, where I saw the monster topple a skyscraper. Damn, I liked the restaurant there too. When the lizard turned back our way, we joined the throng of people stampeding for safety as behind us, the giant monster destroyed the city.

Crab Cakes from Eat Your History.

Sante Fe Salmon from Boudicca's Voice

Inside Allan's Mind, Crab Imperial.

Lowering his binoculars, the General looked grim. "Poor bastards never stood a chance."

Nodding to his second-in-command, all eyes turned towards the skies as a flight of jet fighters peeled off into attack formation. The lead pilot squinted into his sights as he mentally calculated his escape route to avoid the monster's swishing tail. He was in a hurry to get home, because it was sushi Mexican night at the chow hall.

Daily Pundit's Tacos al Pastor.

Enchilada Pie, from AZ Perspective and Junk

Rocket Jones's California Chili

"There they go, Sarge," sighed the Corporal wistfully. "That's the life for me. Lounge around until they need you, fly where they tell you to go. Drop a couple of bombs and head for home."

The gruff Sergeant looked over his platoon. He was rough on them, but he knew that it was the best way to keep them alive, to always be there watching over them.

Behind a pile of rubble, three soldiers were discussing mom's home cooking. The sarge listened for a moment as each described in loving detail his favorite homemade meal.

It was time. "Let's go, ladies," boomed the Sergeant as he stood up.

Bailey, the new Private, looked up in terror. "Sarge, I'm scared."

With a grim half-smile, the Sarge said "So am I, kid. Now, fix bayonets!" And he began his walk into battle, knowing that his platoon would be right behind him.

The Glittering Eye - Open Faced Moussaka

Shephard's Pie, from Aussie Wife.

Daly Thoughts - Brunswick Stew

Publius & Co. - Beer Can Chicken

As long as I stay moving and don't think too much, the Ninjas cannot harm me. Staying focused yet relaxed, my body continued to move in measured forms. Always just enough to make the throwing stars and flashing blades miss. Around me, the ground is littered with the remains of my enemies, and more than a few friends. I would mourn for them later, when there was time. Only then would honor allow for needs of the flesh.

Prochein Amy's Stuffed French Rolls

Leniwe Pierogi (lazy pierogi) - from

Egg Salad, from Booklore.

They fought hard even as they fell back, and we, sensing victory, pressed all the more. Eventually, only a small knot of warriors remained, exhausted but still defiant. Formed into a defensive circle around the Princess, the wizard pulled aside a slab of stone, grabbed her around the waist and jumped into the hole thus exposed. We quickly slaughtered the rest of the warriors before they could join him. No one was keen to follow the mage into those stygian depths, where the very bones of Mother Earth were visible. But the Princess depended on us.

Golabki Casserole and Spinach Artichoke Casserole, from Shoes, Ships & Sealing Wax.

Helen's Christmas Roast - a slideshow presentation.

Blog d'Elisson - Lil Pachter’s Braised Brisket.

"What's that, boy? Timmy fell down a well?"

Triticale - Crockpot Breakfasts.

Let's Play Restaurant! with Single Boy's Breakfast.

Easy Egg Pie, from Punctilious.

Fine. You take the remote.

A quick note about my blog name. Jones isn't my last name, but one of my hobbies and passions is rockets. I am, literally, jonesing for rockets. The kids and I build and fly model and high power rockets, hence the name. Check out the sidebar for links to online resources and rocketry vendors, and my rocket-related category archives are here and here.

And for those not into rockets (although I can't possibly imagine why not), have a look through the Rocket Jones Cult Flicks archives and be prepared for all kinds of cheesy cinema wonderfulness.

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (18)

February 27, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen With Dinaaahhh!!!

I lifted this recipe from the Blog d'Elisson a while back, and tried it yesterday.


I'm going to reprint the original here (since I sometimes use this category as my virtual cookbook), and then add my notes at the end about what I did differently. I don't know if this was entered in a previous Carnival, but it doesn't matter. All credit to Elisson for this wonderfulness.

Braised Brisket

5-7 lb beef brisket, trimmed of some of its fat
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, even better)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
3½ cups chicken stock or broth
1 28 oz can diced or chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano in a small bowl and sprinkle generously over the meat, rubbing it in well.

In a large, heavy pan with a close-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat, about 10 minutes on each side. [I used our big turkey roasting pan - RJ] Remove the meat and place on a platter to hold. Pour the excess grease out of the pan and add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and bay leaves, stirring and scraping to deglaze the pan. Put the meat back in the pan and smother with the chopped garlic and sliced onions. (If you're using fresh oregano, which I recommend, it doesn’t hurt to throw another small handful in at this point.) Cover the pan and put it in the oven to braise for 1 hour.

After an hour, remove the cover from the pan and continue to braise another hour.

Push the onions and garlic into the braising liquid and cover the pan. Braise for 1 or 2 more hours - however long it takes to make the meat nice and tender. After one hour, check the meat for doneness by sticking it with a fork - when it’s done, take it out.

You can serve the meat right away, but for best flavor, let cool, refrigerate, and let it sit 1-2 days. This also makes it easy to scrape off any excess grease. Reheat thoroughly in a 350° oven. Remove the meat from the braising liquid, slice against the grain, and arrange on a platter. The braising liquid should, at this point, have cooked down to a nice sauce-like consistency. If it’s too thin, put the pan on the stove on medium-high heat and reduce the liquid to the desired thickness. Remove the bay leaves and spoon the sauce liberally over the meat.

Notes: When I went into the pantry, I discovered that my big can of diced tomatoes was a big can of pureed tomatoes instead. I did have a smaller can of diced on hand, so to compensate I added two small cans of V8 vegetable juice to the liquid. Also, the family aren't onion fanatics like me, so I only used one onion, sliced fairly thin. Finally, since they hate bay leaf (geez, I live with some picky damn eaters), I went for a sweet and spice undertone by adding about 3/4" of peeled and sliced fresh ginger root to the sauce, and balancing the acid of the tomatoes by adding 4 diced prunes.

Oh man, was that good eating. At that link above, Elisson provides a nice idea for leftover brisket too. Not that there was much of it left.

On the side we made roasted parsley potatoes and some corn. I think next time I'll pull out the bread machine and have a fresh loaf of warm sourdough ready instead of the spuds, and maybe a crunch salad.

Oh yeah, I'll be making this again soon.

Posted by Ted at 01:12 AM | Comments (7)

February 25, 2005

Welcome to the 28th Carnival of the Recipes

Thanks to everyone who's stopped by, and special thanks to all who contributed recipes for this Carnival. I went from zero to overwhelmed in seconds. If you've never visited Rocket Jones before, feel free to look around and I hope you come back to visit on a regular basis. Now, strap yourselves in and hang on...

(in the extended entry)

"Space Food Hideous - But It Costs A Lot." -- 1960's newspaper headline

Space: the final frontier. Space food: a scientifically designed hybrid of hospital food and the wonders of modern chemistry.

Each and every one of the following recipes is guaranteed never to have been eaten in orbit by some poor astro/cosmo/taiko-naut, who probably just wished he could have a Space Food Stick instead.

(All links open in super-scientifical and technologically-advanced new windows.)


Since this first recipe contains Vegemite, it might very well have been bad enough to be included in the menu on some space mission. I hearby rescind my original guarantee, and present Simon's Grilled Cheese and Vegemite Sandwich without further comment.

Nothing says "Good morning" with such international flair than a toasted bagel with cream cheese and really fresh, homemade, Jewish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Gravlox.

So says Michael, who then proceeds to give excellent directions (including pictures) on how to make Gravlox. If bagels and fixin's are your thing, this sounds like... uh, like you'd like this. But wait, he's not done yet, because he also offers up this next recipe.

44 Proof Pop, which is actually a fortified wine that's ready to go in eight days. Once again there are complete directions and pictures to show you how step by step. Thanks for submitting two very unique recipes this week!

And since the bar is open, Dawn offers up one of my favorite flavors in an alcohol/slurpee fusion kinda way:

Apricot Slush

2 cups Apricot Brandy
2 cups boiling H2O
4 teabags
6 cups H2O
12 ounces frozen O.J.
6 ounces frozen lemonade
1 3/4 cups sugar
Ginger ale

Steep teabags in the two cups of boiling water for two minutes. Drain and discard bags. Combine with brandy, the six cups of water, O.J., lemonade and sugar. Cover and freeze overnight. Serve in cups with equal parts ginger ale. Some people choose to put the ginger ale into the punchbowl, but I prefer to keep it on the side so that the mixture stays slushy longer.

Variation: Amaretto Slush

Substitute 2 cups Amaretto for Apricot Brandy
Reduce amount of frozen O.J. to 6 ounces
Add 6 ounces of frozen limeade

Keep the amaretto, or better yet, let *me* keep the apricot brandy.

Drink in one hand, you need a nibble in the other, right? That's what they tell me anyway, because I'm not much of a drinker (translation: cheap date). Jeff suggests these Cracker Crack Crackers, which sound really strange but oddly compelling. I'm gonna have to give these a try.

Mini-Pizzas. Temptation in the round. Punctilious waves these around under our collective noses with a hearty "neener-neener, go make your own!" Then he helpfully tells us how.


From the Druid Labs, BHD accidently blurted out the secret recipe for Spinach Balls with Mustard Sauce. That was a pleasant surprise, because we were just asking directions to the little astronaut's room.

Dr. Alice saves the appetizer category with her recipe for aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and lots and lots of suggestions on how to use it. The word "platter" keeps coming up, which sounds to me like party dish perfect.

Two recipes make a category. I was afraid that everyone would shun the poor lonely spinach balls, and was googling for pictures of Kermit in a space suit (don't ask, just thank Dr. Alice).

soups and salad

mmmmMinestrone. From Victor's recipe, but it was posted by Nic, along with variations on the theme.

And speaking of Victor (who will apparently eat pretty much anything), he posted a review, not an actual recipe, of something called Green Protein. There's even a picture of the bottle, so you can avoid it when you see it in the store.

I'm with Nic on this one, I think they just forgot to print "Soylent" on the label.

Now Dave is an impressive guy. He's got this blog, AZ Perspective and Junk, and he sent in his recipe email chock full of html goodies and links all laid out and ready to be cut and pasted into the Carnival.

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Sorry, just channelling my inner Hal there for a moment.

Anyways, he's serving up Canton Beef and Vegetable Soup, and it sounds like a winner. The link is a little funky but the recipe is there, just scroll down a little on the page. Third time's the charm?

This next one should probably go under main dishes, but I hold soup in high esteem, so Tanker's Dried Shrimp, Sausage and Fish Gumbo goes right here. He even offers up serving suggestions:

To serve, put a scoop of rice in each bowl, and ladle the gumbo over it, making sure that you share shrimp, sausage and fish with each diner lest they call you bad names.

That's hospitality, Cajun style.

Chicken Soup. Simple perfection, brought to you by Jordana. Very Zen.

When Allan Thinks, he thinks of Wagon Wheel Beef Soup. Another soup hearty enough for a chilly winter's day.

All hail Punctilious for this one (sorry, his moniker makes me think of ancient Romans). Have some clever wordplay and a nice little recipe for Vietnamese noodle soup: Not Even Faux Pho Soup.

As an aside, Punctilious also posted an intriguing "cooks question" bit here. G'wan, you know you wanna.

Vinegar-Slithered Cabbage, courtesy of Julie. Stir fry... I wonder what a zero-g wok would look like?

South Beachin' it? Tired of it? If so, check out BJ's variation called "It's Not Exactly South Beach, Caesar". There are also some nice tips on herbs and dressings and how to use them.

Bitterman offers up a twosome this week, this one called Bitterman's Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, and one down in the Main Dish section. This one calls for commanding from on high like Charlton Heston and purportedly will get you laid.

There is just so much I don't know about cooking.

main dishes

Now this one sounds out of this world (oh stop it, you knew I would use that line at least once!). Techno Gypsy offers up his Venison and Sour Cherries.

Like I always say: "Google is your friend", so for those wondering what a Larding Needle is, follow the link for a picture and instructions on how it's used. Very reasonably priced and it's the secret to cooking very lean meats, according to TG.

Courtesy of Hold the Mayo, Stephen shows what down home comfort food is all about with his Macklin's Magic Meatloaf. Add a side of mashed potatoes (leave a few lumps so folks know they're real) and some steamed carrots and I'm there!

Mary Beth doubles up on the down home goodness, with a recipe for Dutch Meatloaf (a Delft Blue Plate Special?).

Any Heinlein fans out there? Which of his characters in which of his books made a reference to meatloaf and its value as a way to judge cooking skills?

And our final entrant in the meatloaf category comes from Songstress, with her Mmmmmmmmeatloaf! You know I like the "mmmmm" part. Great minds and all that.

Mmmmmmeanwhile, over at Daily Pundit, David writes:

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for marinara sauce, and promised a recipe that used it.

Good things come to those who wait, and his Beef & Ricotta Cannelloni is going to the top of my "to try" list, because my wife loves Italian food, and a happy wife makes for a happy life.

Drew, of Cooking for Conservatives fame, lends a little class to this week's Carnival with his Chicken with Orange. This is something to impress someone special with, just don't let on how simple it actually is.

File this one under Deja Vu. Laughing Wolf sends in his similarly named Orange Chicken. It's not the same thing, and the process is a bit more involved than Drew's version, but it sounds just as heavenly.

Kathleen dredged up a painful memory for me when she linked her recipe to South Park's Eric Cartman. You see, a friend of mine once drew me as a South Park character, and it wasn't pretty. Moving beyond my pain, I demand that you all make Kathleen's Chicken Mushroom PAH! You. Must. Respect. My. Authoritah!

And in yet another flash of Deja Vu (is that redundant?), Michele gives us Chicken Pie. I love the way winter is bringing out all the home-style foods. I also love the space pictures at Michele's place.

Your pal Bitterman chimes in again with Chocolate Enchiladas (scroll down at the link). You just gotta love a simple Mole sauce.

Feeling a little herbivorius? (herbivorous?) BHD chimes in a second time with this wonderful Vegetarian Stew (insert your own joke about how hard it is to tenderize a vegetarian).

This next one comes with a disclaimer from GEBIV:

...this is not a proper recipe. This is sort of what a bachelor would consider a recipe. At least one not afraid of experimenting a little bit…

What follows is French Onion Chicken, and it sounds better than 99% of the crap I ate as a bachelor. Good job, guy.

From Deb of Accidental Verbosity, this very intentional variation of a classic: The Jedi's Spicy Baked Mac and Cheese.

Shawn Lea serves up an easy-to-do bit of oinky goodness called, simply enough, My Crockpot Pork Roast.

More chicken, more ethnicity - sorta - this time by the vaugely named B, who gives us Vaugely Mediterranean Chicken. I don't know if I could make this one, because kalamata olives have an extremely short lifespan in my presence.

How about a Siciliana Pasta Sauce? Amanda shares this with us, and assures us that the anchovies are optional.

At Fishtown Chatter, David notes:

There are more chickens than people in the world.

And after talking about chickens on a blog from Fishtown, it's only natural that David submits a recipe called:

Spicy Bar-B-Que Pork Chops

6 Pork Chops-about 1/2 inches thick

1 16 oz.bottle of cheap generic Bar-B-Que Sauce
1 16 oz. bottle of ketchup-any brand
1 16 bottle of generic grape jelly
1 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
Mix above ingredients in food processer until blended and pour into a container large enough to dip a chop into. Place the sauce container near grill.

Cook pork chops on grill until done-for the last 30 seconds turn up flame to high and get chops sizzling. Take a sizzling chop and dip into sauce and put on platter. Do the same with the remaining chops. When finished, pour the remainder of the sauce over the chops. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, count on it.

Dr. Alice provided a second recipe, this time for Stewed Chicken with Lentils. Sounds yummy.

Another David and another chicken dish, and I feel we're approaching some sort of karmic symmetry here. I have the honor to present his Green Chicken Casserole.

It's not as bad as you'd think from the title.

He's right about that, and I'm disappointed because I have this mental list of people I would feed green chicken. Oh well.

Peeps, this is getting scary. David. Chicken. This time it's Jerk Chicken and you get a little story along with it. Also, he gives great advice about treating hot peppers with respect.

Let's see, we've got game and Italian and Dutch and Mexican and much much more, so in the name of international diversity I'll toss in my Chinese recipe for Chicken Mo Fo. Yes, the name is a joke, but it's good eats.

And no, I'm not changing my name to Dave.


Techno Gypsy gets a second mention here for his Simple Pilaf. It's below his Venison and Sour Cherries recipe, so just scroll down a little to find it. Well worth it.

Oddybobo chips in with Israeli Couscous. Big yum, plus it's fun to say. C'mon: couscous, couscous, couscous... What can I say, I'm easily entertained.

It's BHD time again, she of the Druid Labs. This time it's a not-your-everyday pot luck dish: Peas and orzo with olives, tarragon, and pecans.


Here's a classic, Lemon Meringue Pie, from VW of One Happy Dog Speaks (love that name by the way). Personally, I'm not a big lemon flavor fan, but this would last all of about three minutes in our house, because the rest of the family is.

If'n y'all wanted to say "thank you" in a tangible way, I could think of worse ways than to gift someone special with one of these Chocolate Kahlua Trifle's (hint hint).

This week, Gullyborg provides something a little different, a Strawberry Balsamic Dessert Topping that sounds wonderful. Plus, there's a little bonus recipe at the end for the leftovers.

Bev sent along the following with her recipe link:

The cookies that launched seven volumes of page-long sentences. I'm sorry to say that, though they are this delicious, the esteem expressed by my last baking went largely unrequited.

Now that's sad enough to bring a tear to this ol' space cadet's eye. Which is really a pain when your face shield is down, although it's not as bad as an itchy nose.

So please, visit Bev and make her Madeleines, and write her and tell her how wonderful they are (because they are). Oh, and Bev? I'd suggest leaving a copy of "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies for Dummies" on your boss's desk.

Monkeys like bananas, and monkeys went into space, and... and... I mean, the parallels here are just breathtaking! I'm talking about Triticale's Banana Cake. Another baked goody from the guy named after uppity grass.

So there ya go, an amazing collection of non-NASA approved food. You folks have done yourselves proud. I hope you've enjoyed this, because I had a great time putting it together and exchanging emails.

Oops, almost forgot about next week's Carnival. Send your recipes to the same address, because it'll be hosted here at Rocket Jones again. I have several ideas for possible themes. Be afraid. :D

Posted by Ted at 05:33 AM | Comments (16)

February 22, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaahhhh!!!!

This recipe has a bit of a history. It started out as something called "spicy chicken" and using that as a starting point it evolved into this. The result is kind of a cross between General Tso's and Sweet & Sour, and it's tasty.

Then it needed a name, for although there may be a thousand dishes out there that are very similar, this one is mine. Being a blogger, what else to do but put it up for a vote? In a poll on the sidebar, Rocket Jones visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite. The choices were:

  • General Ted's Chicken

  • Chicken Mo Fo

  • Pineapple Firecluck

  • Cho Kyo Chicken (as suggested by Tuning Spork)

And the winner was:

Chicken Mo Fo

2 tsp vegetable oil
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp green onion, chopped
3/4 cup pineapple juice
3 Tbsp chili sauce
2 Tbsp white vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp water
1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 cup vegetable oil
2 boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup cornstarch

1 cup diced pineapple
1 small can sliced water chestnuts

Start with the sauce. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Saute the garlic and onion in the oil for a few moments (don't let them burn), then quickly add the pineapple juice. Stir it up, then add the chili sauce, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce. Stir until well combined.

Disolve the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 2 Tablespoons of water and add it to the sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thick and syrupy. When done, add the pineapple chunks and water chestnuts.

Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a wok or a medium saucepan over medium heat.

While the oil heats, chop the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken pieces with cornstarch until well-dusted.

Sauté the coated chicken in the hot oil, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Remove the chicken to a rack or paper towels to drain for a moment. Pour chicken into a medium bowl, add the sauce and toss well to coat chicken. Serve immediately with rice on the side.

Serves 2.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Numero twenty-seven-o is being hosted this week at Inside Allan's Mind (the "at" almost seems redundant, doesn't it?). Good stuff going on over there.

Rocket Jones will be bringing you the Carnival in the very near future.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2005

Someone's in the Kitchen With Dinaaaahhh!!!

This one is about as simple and plain-jane as can be. Down-home country cooking at its best.

Ham and Beans

Right off, I need to mention that in our family, this has always been called "Ham and Beans", no matter what kind of meat is used. You can use cubed ham, or better yet a ham bone with some meat left on it. Sometimes I use a nice chunk of salt pork or fatback, and even thick-sliced bacon will do nicely.

Now, for the beans, you can use whatever kind you like best. For me, I prefer navy beans, though great northern beans are almost as good and in a pinch I'll use pinto beans. It's all good.

Pour the dry beans into a big bowl and cover them with lots of fresh water. You can put 'em in a strainer and run cold water over them if you want before you soak them. So, big bowl, plenty of water covering beans. Leave it alone overnight.

Next morning, drain the beans and then take a few minutes to pick through them and make sure there's no little pebbles or pieces of bean stems mixed in. It doens't happen often, but nothing sucks worse than chomping down on a rock. Flash back to your college days and pretend you're cleaning your stash.

Toss the beans into a big pot and cover with cold water again. Don't put the heat on yet, because you want all the various flavors to blend in, and that works best when everything heats together.

Chop a half onion into small pieces and throw it into the pot. Like onion? Use more or less to suit. If you want, a stalk or two of celery and/or a carrot can be chopped and tossed in with the beans. Add the meat. If it's a ham bone the meat will shred off as it cooks, anything else you can cut into bite-size pieces.

Once it's all in there, turn on the heat.

I like to add a bay leaf and a fresh sprig of thyme (be sure to fish 'em out before eating). I also add a generous amount of fresh-ground black pepper, it's hard to use too much pepper for this. Might as well throw in a pinch of salt and a couple shakes of red pepper for heat if you want. A small splash of liquid smoke has been known to make it into the pot once in a while.

Bring it to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for hours, stirring occasionally. The longer the better. After four to six hours the beans are done enough to eat, but I like to let it go at least eight. You can remove the cover for a while or use a little cornstarch disolved in water to thicken it up if you want.

Believe me, this is one of those simple pleasures I talk about.

A good side for this is cornbread. Before baking, I like to mix a chopped green chilie (or a small can of) into the batter for a little zip.

I automatically put aside a big bowlfull for the freezer. It keeps well and makes for a nice treat on a rainy day or the perfect lunch if you're attending the opera that evening.

Posted by Ted at 09:03 PM | Comments (5)

February 02, 2005

The Secret Method of Billy Joe Jim Bob's Beer Brewing Method

Alrighty, here's the deal. There's nothing that warms an ol' rebel's heart more than an afternoon in front of the TV watching NASCAR (God Bless Dale Earnhardt) and pouring down a few cold ones with your buddies.

'Cept, you know, them beers get a might expensive buyin' 'em all in one batch, and it's downright embarrassing when your girlfriend's rugrats bitch about how all their friends get milk on their cereal and not tap water. But a man has got to keep his priorities straight. 'Sides, you like the little ankle-biters ok, but it ain't like they's yours, right?

So a while back, while engaged in some comfortable spectatin' with my neighbors Lee and Bobby, I got to ponderin' the situation. Spurred on by the fact that Lee can suck down the suds quicker than a dee-hydrated camel at the waterhole, I think I've come up with a solution that's so simple it's a wonder someone hasn't already made a million dollars from it.

I tried, believe me I tried. After figuring out all the angles, I wanted to get some legal advice 'cuz I was thinking that I could sell the process on TV like one of those late-nite hucksters (fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I'll learn. Fool me four times, well, eventually).

Not knowing a real lawyer, I talked to my girlfriend's cousin's brother-in-law. He ain't exactly a lawyer, but he's got all kinds of legal knowlege on account of going to the police acadamy almost all the way through twice before getting blind drunk one weekend and getting busted for throwing a brick through the window at the local Stop'n'Shop 'cuz he was dying for pork rinds at 4am. It's a good thing the silent alarm went off, 'cuz when the cops showed up he was sitting on the floor inside, stuffing his face, and there's this puddle of blood spreading around him from almost turning hisself into a gelding trying to get through that busted window.

Anyways, he says that in his opinion, my process ain't sellable on TV. That's good for you, because instead of having to pay one of my standing-by operators $29.95, you gets it right here for free. I'll jes' have to settle for the happiness of knowin' that I helped others (and if that makes you feel bad, there's a tip jar over on the right).

So what the hell am I talking about? My process (don't "process" sound more scientific than "plan"?) is garunteed, uh, gaurentee-... my process will make sure that you have plenty of quality beer on hand all the time. Enough to keep Bobby and Lee in kick-ass suds through a weekend of NASCAR (God Bless Dale Earnhardt), and on top of all that, you'll get free beer to boot!

First up, don't tell anyone what you're doing. Wait, that ain't exactly right. What I mean is don't tell anyone what you're *really* doing. What you do want to tell your friends is that you got one of those home brewed beer setups as a gift, so you're going to try it out.

Here's where a little seed money is needed. Don't worry, it'll pay for itself in spades. Buy a couple of cases of good beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon is good enough. You also need a fifth of cheap bourbon, Ten High is cheap enough. Next, go onto eBay and get you a beer brewing kit. You don't care if the fixin's are there, what you're looking for is the biggest brewing container you can find. Around your friends, always refer to it as the "brewing vessel", it'll impress and confuse them. Also mention that you're tapping it before the next race, and they're welcome to help you sample your arts. Tell them this around Wednesday or so, on bowling night.

On Saturday, call 'em all up and let them know that you sampled the beer and wound up going to the doctor. The beer is fine, but you're allergic to the special hops that came with the kit, so you can't drink it.

Here's where you're gonna have to sell it a little bit. Your friends are gonna figure that since you can't drink it, it's just more for them, right? And if they don't drink it, you'd just throw it out, right? (that's alcohol abuse right there) What you need to make clear is that they have to bring a case of regular ol' beer with them for you to drink while they partake of your homebrew. Don't forget to mention that according to the test that came in the kit, this is some high-octane alcohol content beer too. If they express reluctance at bringing beer for you, pretend that you're sick and that you're probably going to cancel plans to watch NASCAR (God Bless Dale Earnhardt) this weekend with them. Also let them know that you let the mailman sample a glass and he offered to pay you for a gallon jug of it before he staggered off to finish his route.

The point is, lay it on thick, but don't get too elaborate. You want them to feel like a case of good beer (like Pabst) is a small price to pay for your homebrew.

Oh yeah, let 'em know that you've decided to call your beer "Saint Dale's Backstretch Brew". That alone oughta set the hook.

So everyone has agreed to bring beer for you, and now it's time for you to whip up a batch of "Saint Dale's". Take two cases of good beer (like Pabst) and pour it into the vessel. Then add about 4 drops of red food coloring, and 3 of blue. This'll darken it up some so your buds won't recognize the PBR by the color. Next add half of that bourbon to the mix and stir the whole thing up right. It'll help if you keep the vessel in a really dark room. Makes it harder to see that it's not really hooked up to anything, plus you can tell your friends that light is bad for brewing beer. Trust me, they'll nod knowingly at that.

So while watching NASCAR (God Bless Dale Earnhardt) with good friends, you can enjoy your usual fine beer while your friends get buzzed on your homebrew. They'll be happy to bring more Pabst for you each weekend as barter for your beer, payment for making more, and you can use the leftovers from the weekend to whip up another batch of "Saint Dale's Backstretch Brew". Cut back on the bourbon after the first week or two, 'cuz by then they'll be convinced that it's good stuff and you don't need to boost it as much.


Sleazy? I don't see how. I prefer to think of it as winning all around. You're getting what you want, and your friends are getting what they want. Now excuse me while I work on my secret recipe for a new product: "Dick Trickle's Hard Lemonade". Maybe, just maybe, this one will be good enough to be on TV.

Or maybe one of these on a commemorative plate. Would you buy one? Let me know, 'cuz I probably should tell Eric at Classical Values that I done stoled his picture.

Posted by Ted at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

Keeping it straight

I think I've got it right...

Bul Go Gi - Korean marinated beef.

Pa Go Gi - Korean marinated pork.

Ka Go Gi - Korean marinated dog.

I'm torn as to whether I want you to correct me or not. Some knowlege is just better left fuzzy.

Posted by Ted at 04:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

Two recipes at the top of my "to try" list

I'll probably make each of these within the next couple of weeks. Reportage to come.

First up, from Denita of Who Tends the Fires, this Cranberries with Orange and Ginger thingie sounds yummy. The kids and I have a serious jones for cranberry sauce. We eat it all year round.

Secondly, this combination of peanut butter and oatmeal cookies baked into a pie, courtesy of Triticale. Mmmmmm, pie.

Posted by Ted at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2004

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaaaaahhh!!!

Last night, we had an unwitting test subject a very special guest over for dinner. Dawn braved I95 traffic and two protective dogs to enjoy mexican food with our family (we not only put the fun in disfunctional, we put the dis in there too. Love means never having to say anything nice about each other). One of the dishes served up was yet another experimental version of my vegetarian enchiladas. If I do say so myself, these are pretty darn good!

I need a name for these, since I already have "Vegetarian Enchiladas" and "Garden Veggie Enchiladas" in my recipe book. Suggestions welcomed. There are some notes on the recipe at the end of this post, including a revved-up version of my Salsa Verde. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

2 sweet potatos
3 medium zucchini
1 jicama
sliced black olives
4 cups shredded cheese (colby, jack, cheddar, whatever)
24 corn tortillas
3 cups salsa verde

Peel the sweet potato, quarter and steam until tender (15-20 minutes). Chop into bite-size pieces and then set aside.
Slice the zucchini in half the long way, then again to make quarters. Cut into 1/2" long pieces. Steam until tender (about 10 minutes). Set aside when done.
Peel and dice the jicama. You want about a cup and a half to two cups of diced jicama. Steam it for about 15 minutes (it stays crunchy when cooked).

Toss the veggies together in a bowl. You can leave them plain, or sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.

Wrap a stack of corn tortillas in a slightly damp paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power. When those are warmed, microwave the salsa verde until it's warm as well. Pour some into a wide shallow bowl.

Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with no-stick, open the cheese and your enchilada assembly line is ready to go.

(The nice thing about enchiladas is that if they fall apart while you're putting them together, you can just layer the ingredients in the pan and call it enchilada casserole.)

Dip a tortilla into the bowl of salsa, both sides (the warmed tortilla and salsa help keep it from tearing or breaking apart). Spread about 1/4 cup of filling down the middle of the tortilla, then a good pinch of cheese. Roll both ends over the top, then transfer to the baking dish, folded side down.

Keep making them until you run out of tortillas or filling or pans. Evenly pour the rest of the salsa verde over the enchiladas, then spread the rest of the cheese, and then garnish with sliced black olives.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then remove the foil and keep baking until cheese is melted and bubbly.

If you can't find jicama (HEE-cah-mah) in the produce section, you can substitute diced or sliced water chestnuts. Or try a hispanic market. Leftover jicama can be eaten raw, and it adds a great crunch to salads, or serve it in sticks on a veggie tray with dip.

This recipe makes a lot (two 9x13's worth)! You can cut it in half, or juggle the proportions of veggies. The sweet potato balances the natural 'sour' of the tomatillo based salsa verde and white cheeses.

As presented, the dish gets all of it's heat from the salsa verde. Seed and chop a hot pepper or two into the veggie mix if you want.

Ted's Revved-Up Salsa Verde

My family preferes mild to wild, so there's always room to spice up my recipes to taste.

1lb Tomatillos
1 Jalepeno chilie, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Poblano chilies, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Green chilies (the kind used for chilies relleno), roasted, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano

Turn the flame on your gas stove to medium high. Put the chilies on the burner rack in the flame and let char, rotating them with tongs so that they blacken evenly.

When completely charred, lay one in your palm on a paper towel (careful, they are hot!) and use another paper towel to wipe away the charred skin. Do all of the chilies, putting them into a small bowl with a lid to steam themselves for about 20 minutes.

Slice the chilies lengthwise, then remove the stem and seeds. Chop the remainder and set aside.

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash. Slice the tomatillos into wedges. In saucepan combine everything, including the chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

I like my salsa chunky, so I use a pastry cutter to break it up a little bit in the pan instead of putting it into a blender.

This recipe makes for heat about like medium salsa.

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2004

Dinah needs your help!

Last night I made a chinese chicken recipe for the first time, and broke my own rule about doctoring it right off the bat. Not only that, but I've got additional things I'm going to change the very next time I make it. I'll post the recipe next time, but for now I need a catchy name for the dish.

It's chicken, vaguely similar to General Tso's except that the sauce is pineapple based. The recipe is flexible enough to go from mild to tongue-searing. The way I made it, there was a subtle but definite heat. My son likes food much hotter than I do, and he said it wasn't hot enough.

So folks, I need you to vote in the comments. I've got a few names listed, and write-ins are welcomed. Help me name this new culinary masterpiece!

Should it be called:

  • General Ted's Chicken*

  • Chicken Mo Fo

  • Pineapple FireCluck
  • *that's "Phipps" with 3 "P"s and 4 stars, and don't you forget it!

    Posted by Ted at 05:17 AM | Comments (8)

    November 14, 2004

    Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinahhhhh!!!

    I am definitely a winter cook. I love soups and stews and baking, and with the weather turning chilly you can expect more Rocket Jones kitchen alchemy to show up.

    If you scroll through my recipe archives, you'll find this recipe for Biscochitos, a Mexican dunking cookie flavored with anise. Yum! This time around, I've got the more familiar Italian Biscotti. These are killer-good with a cup of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Don't let the preparation steps scare you either, it's a lot less work than it sounds like.

    Almond Biscotti

    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    3 Tbsp brandy
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp almond extract
    1 cup unsalted almonds, chopped, sliced or slivered
    3 eggs
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 Tbsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Mix together well the sugar, brandy, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, eggs and nuts.
    Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder.
    The dough will be sticky. I use a spatula to trowel it onto a cookie sheet and form it into two long flat loaves (about 3" wide by 1" high by however long).
    Bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm and cake-like.
    Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them.
    Using a serrated bread knife, slice each loaf into 3/4" thick slices on the diagonal.
    Put the slices back on the cookie sheet, cut side down and return to the oven.
    Bake for another 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through, until both sides are lightly toasted brown.
    Let cool and store in an airtight container.

    Posted by Ted at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Kitchen Tips - Repost

    I originally posted this a year ago.

    * With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, it's time to buy new spices. Get rid of the old stuff in your spice rack or cabinet, and buy fresh. Do this every year around this time, and you'll notice the difference.

    * Get a pepper grinder. You don't have to spend a fortune for one of those riot-baton sized monsters, small ones are available at Wal-Mart or kitchen specialty stores. Fresh ground pepper is a whole 'nother matter compared to the usual stuff folks buy.

    * Along the same lines, try kosher salt for cooking. It's not iodized, so it doesn't have that metallic taste we've grown used to.

    * Buy good knives. Unfortunately, quality costs. Even if you can only afford one a year (a present for yourself), it's worth the money. And regardless of the knife, keep it sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use.

    * You should have at least two cutting boards. A wooden board for veggies and general use, and a glass or non-porous plastic one for poultry. Believe it or not, wood is naturally anti-bacterial. That doesn't mean you don't have to clean them, just that the board itself is helping.

    * Ever see Rachel Ray on the Food Network? Love her or hate her, one excellent idea she taught me was to keep a big 'garbage bowl' close at hand. That way you're not running back and forth to the garbage can all the time.

    * The first time you make a recipe, follow the directions and measure carefully. That way, if you want to adjust things to your taste the next time, you have a known baseline to work from.

    * Something I've found that really works is to do like cooking shows and pre-measure spices and such into little bowls ahead of time. Yes, it causes a few extra dishes, but makes it much easier during the actual assembly and you're not running around snagging items from the pantry and fridge when things get cooking.

    * Keep up with the dishes if you can. It just makes things easier if your workspace isn't cluttered with bowls and pots and pans. Plus, if you do one or two when time allows during cooking, then you won't be discouraged by the memory of the mountain of dirty dishes created next time you feel like cooking.

    These are just common sense and little things, but it's stuff that I've learned or been taught over the years. They work for me.

    Posted by Ted at 12:11 PM | Comments (2)

    November 02, 2004

    Since it seems to be a holding-your-nose kinda day

    What better subject than Lutefisk?

    Now, even in America, frozen lutefisk is readily available at selected fish markets and at Scandinavian delicatessens.

    Lutefisk (dried cod treated with lye) must surely be the strangest culinary effort credited to the Norwegians, but what a treat when prepared properly. Everyone of course is not a devotee of lutefisk, but those who are defend it vehemently. Others go to the opposite extreme and claim it's a national disgrace.
    Lutefisk must be served hot on piping hot plates. Accompaniments vary from bacon or pork drippings, white sauce, mustard sauce, or melted butter which seems to remain a favorite. Boiled and steamed potatoes, stewed whole, dry green peas are a must as a vegetable accompaniment. The only other necessary additions are freshly ground pepper, lefse, or flatbread. In some parts of Northern Norway, lutefisk is served with melted goat cheese.
    So there you have it. Take codfish, dry it with lye until it's shoeleather. Boil it for 10 minutes, then serve with boiled potatoes and bacon grease.

    You can have mine. Better yet, I'll trade you straight up for your kimchee.

    Ufda, I forgot the recipe!

    feeds 10 people
    time needed: about 2 weeks

    1 kg dried fish
    100 g caustic soda
    30 liters of water

    Saw the fish in suitably sized pieces or leave it whole. Put in water. Leave in water in a cool place for 5-6 days if cut in pieces, 8 days if the fish is whole. Change the water every day.

    For the luting use a plastic or stainless steel or enamelled tub (the enamel must be unchipped). Wooden vessels, china or stoneware may also be used.

    Place the fish in the tub with the skin side up. Dissolve caustic soda in the water, pour over the fish until covered complete by lut water. Leave the fish in a cold place for 3-4 days.

    When the fish is completely luted, it will be well swollen and you should be able to put a finger through it. Rinse the fish and leave in cold water 4-6 days. Change water every day.

    If the fish stays in water for too long after the luting, it may be soft and difficult to boil. Test boil a piece, if you are uncertain.

    Do not make lutefisk in the warm season.

    Posted by Ted at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)

    October 03, 2004

    Simple Indulgences

    On Sunday mornings I like to make myself a nice breakfast. Here's one of my favorites.

    Make oatmeal (use the real stuff, not that nasty instant). When it's done, stir in a dollop of vanilla extract, then a half-handfull of raisins and crushed walnuts. Once it's in the bowl, drizzle a little brown sugar or maple syrup over the top.

    While the oatmeal is cooking, quarter and core a pear. Melt some butter in a small skillet, add the pears and saute for a few minutes. When done, sprinkle with cinnamon or ginger.

    If you're watching your fat intake, use cooking spray instead of the butter to saute the pears.

    Quick, easy and yummy.

    Posted by Ted at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

    September 25, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaahhhhh!!!

    Almost a year ago I posted recipes for two kinds of vegetarian enchiladas. I'd had to use salsa verde from a jar and speculated that it would be much tastier with homemade sauce.

    Recently I found fresh tomatillos at the grocery store and picked up a pound. What follows is the recipe I used and believe me when I say it's a world of difference from that jar stuff.

    Salsa Verde

    1lb Tomatillos
    6-8 Anaheim chilies
    1/2 cup onion - chopped
    2 cloves garlic - minced
    1 1/2 cups beef broth
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp oregano

    Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash. Slice the tomatillos into wedges. In saucepan combine everything and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour it into a blender and pulse to desired consistency.

    This is a 'flavor' sauce and not a 'heat' sauce, so it's pretty mild as is. Replace the chilies one-for-one with jalepeno's for extra zing. I used Anahiems, which seem to be available everywhere, instead of the roasted and peeled New Mexico chilies called for in the original recipe. I also cut back on the broth so as to make a chunkier, thicker sauce.

    If you're making this strictly vegetarian, replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

    About Tomatillos - the most common description of their flavor I find is 'lemony', but they remind me of a lighter and less acidic version of regular tomatoes. When you buy them, they'll be wrapped in a loose papery shell which you peel off. Wash them well, because the inside skin is sticky and has a bitter taste before washing. With the husk off, they look like small unripe tomatoes on the outside, while the inside reminds me of a kiwi with white seeds. A little odd, but tasty.

    Posted by Ted at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

    September 21, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaahhhhh!!!!

    Last night I experimented with a Thai-inspired vegetable dish. Yuck!!!!

    You should thank me for not posting the recipe.

    Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (1)

    September 01, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhhh!!!

    There are all kinds of recipes out there for "Crunch Salad", and this is one of them.

    Crunch Salad

    1 Cucumber, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2" pieces
    2-3 stalks celery, cut into 1" lengths
    1 Green pepper, coarsely chopped
    1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
    handful of chow mein noodles
    handful of shredded cheese

    Wash, peel if you want (I don't), chop and toss together in a bowl. Top with your dressing of choice.

    This is one of those dishes where there's really no set way to make it. Got radishes? Toss 'em in. Want mushrooms, go for it. If you don't have chow mein noodles, crumble some Ritz or saltines into the salad instead. Instead of cheese, add some toasted sesame seeds, shelled sunflower seeds and mandarin orange slices and top with a light vinegarette. Whatever you like is the best way.

    I like this salad as a quick and easy light dinner on hot summer days.

    Posted by Ted at 07:36 AM | Comments (1)

    August 13, 2004

    Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaaahhh!!!

    A few weeks ago I mentioned a successful experiment involving a grilled pear. Since pears are my favorite fruit (or maybe second after apricots, depends on the day), I decided to experiment again last night, and came up with this side dish that goes perfectly with pork.

    Sweet and Savory on the Side

    3 pears (not too ripe, you want them firm)
    1 small onion
    2 Tbsp butter or light olive oil
    1-2 tsp of fresh ground ginger
    fresh ground black pepper

    You can peel the pears if you want, I didn't. Quarter and core them, then cut the quarters into slices the long way about 1/4" thick.

    Slice the onion into 1/4" slices, then cut in half.

    Melt 1 Tbsp butter (or a little olive oil) in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onion and saute until the onions are translucent - 4 or 5 minutes. When done, remove the onions from the pan and set them aside.

    Melt the rest of the butter in the pan (or add a little more olive oil) and saute the pears just until soft, turning occasionally. You don't want the pears mushy, so don't overcook.

    Add the onions back to the pan and stir together to combine with the pears. Grate the fresh ginger over the top and cook for another minute or two, turning two or three times to mix the flavors.

    When done, top with a generous amount of black pepper. Serves 4.

    Posted by Ted at 07:40 AM | Comments (3)

    July 18, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhh!!!

    I'll give you the super-simple method first, which is tasty. At the end will be some tips to make it even better (and easier too).

    Easy Beef Enchiladas

    1 lb ground beef
    1 half cup onion, coarsely chopped
    1 can enchilada sauce, divided
    1 4oz can chopped green chilies
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    corn tortillas
    sliced black olives (optional)

    Brown the ground beef, drain and chop fine.
    Add the onion, green chilies, 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce and the spices. Simmer until the onions are translucent.

    Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with no-stick. Spread about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom.

    Set up an assembly line to make the enchiladas. Pour the rest of the sauce into a wide shallow bowl.
    Dip a tortilla into the sauce, do both sides.
    Spread a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture down the middle of the tortilla.
    Add shredded cheese.
    Fold the two ends of the tortilla over the middle (like an omelet), then use both hands to transfer the enchilada into the baking pan, folded side down.
    Once all the enchiladas are made, pour the rest of the sauce over them in the pan, sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top, then add the black olives if you want.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

    If you have a crockpot, you can brown the meat that way, even frozen. A couple of hours on medium low will thaw it out and cook it. After you drain it, add the onion and spices and let it cook another hour.

    A pastry cutter works great to chop the meat super fine.

    This makes a pretty mild enchilada, add more chili powder and/or a chopped jalepeno or two to zing it up.

    Canned enchilada sauce is ok, but if you make your own (recipe here), it really does make a difference.

    Posted by Ted at 12:29 AM | Comments (2)

    July 16, 2004


    Dinner tonight was a beautiful steak, accompanied by a thick slab of onion (drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and pepper), and a fresh pear, quartered and cored. All grilled to perfection.

    Try it sometime.

    Posted by Ted at 05:54 PM | Comments (5)

    June 26, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!!!

    I made a pot of Venomous Kate's Slow Spice Stew today. Yum!!!!!!

    Posted by Ted at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

    June 14, 2004

    Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinaaahhh!

    When I went home for my mom's funeral, one of the neighbors brought over this cake. It was one of my mom's favorites, and so wonderful that I asked for the recipe.

    Better-Than-Sex (Almost) Cake

    1 stick margarine
    ½ cup shortening
    2 cups sugar
    1 small can ‘angel flake’ coconut
    5 egg yolks
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup nuts (your choice)
    5 egg whites, stiffly beaten

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Cream together the margarine and shortening.
    3. Add sugar, beat until smooth. Add egg yolks, blend well.
    4. Combine the flour and baking soda, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
    5. Stir in vanilla, add the coconut and nuts. Fold in the egg whites (see notes below).
    6. Pour into 3 greased & floured 8” cake pans.
    7. Bake for 25 minutes.

    * There are a couple of gotchas in the preparation, but they're not difficult. Failure to get it right doesn't ruin the cake, it only turns out excellent rather than orgasmic.

    First, about those egg whites: use an electric beater to whip them stiff or you'll wear yourself out trying to do it by hand.

    Secondly, once you've got those egg whites light and airy, gently fold them into the batter. Follow that link for the correct technique, it makes a difference.

    Lastly, if you use a pair of 10" rounds or a sheet cake pan you'll have to increase the baking time, and there's more chance that the cake will fall. Test doneness by sticking a knife into the cake near the center, it should come out clean.

    Once the cakes are cooling, it's time to make the frosting.

    Better-Than-Sex (Almost) Frosting

    1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    1 box 10x Powdered Sugar
    ½ stick margarine, softened
    1 tsp vanilla
    chopped nuts

    1. Beat cream cheese and margarine until smooth.
    2. Add sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
    3. Spread on the cake, then sprinkle chopped nuts on top.

    Posted by Ted at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

    April 12, 2004

    Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhh!!!

    Wow, it's been a while since I've shared a recipe, mostly because we've been sticking to our standard fare, and I haven't had much chance to experiment. Tonight was an exception, since Liz had to work late and Mookie was at school for rehersals and a date later, so I was on my own for dinner.

    I found a recipe a while back at that was used as the starting point.

    Bow Tie Pasta with Sausage in Tomato and Cream Sauce

    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
    1/8 tsp ground red pepper (more to taste)
    1/2 diced onion
    5 cloves minced garlic
    1 14oz. can diced tomatoes (I used the roasted garlic flavor)
    1 1/2 cup whipping cream
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup chopped broccoli
    Bow Tie pasta
    Minced fresh parsley
    Grated Parmesan cheese

    Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the sausage and red pepper and cook until the sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until the onion is tender and sausage is browned. Add the tomatoes, cream and salt. Simmer until the sauce thickens a little bit. Add the broccoli for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.

    While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in rapidly boiling salted water. When done, drain well and top with sauce, parsley and parmesan cheese.

    I made some garlic bread and a green salad. What I've been doing with my salads is instead of dressing I crumble a few savory crackers into it. There's a new Cheese Nip cracker called Twisters, and they have a wonderful Buffalo & Bleu Cheese cracker that's perfect for this. Nice zing.

    I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauces, so I only used about half the amount of tomatoes that the recipe called for, and next time I'll use more garlic and broccoli. It's a nice change of pace, and makes enough to feed four to six people.

    Posted by Ted at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

    February 14, 2004

    Plans for the day

    Wife Liz and daughter Rachael are at work today, leaving me alone, which is always a dangerous thing.

    I've been thinking about a special dinner for tonight, and slowly gathering ingredients. Being a complete idiot the intrepid culinary adventurer that I am, I'm going to guess-and-by-golly conjure up a complete inedible nightmare masterpiece from scratch. No practice, no rehearsal, no test versions first no common sense.

    I was wavering between Mexican and Italian, because the dishes I have in mind could actually be prepared either way. I finally decided on Italian because Liz prefers that.

    If this works, recipes will be posted sometime soon. If it doesn't, I'll never mention it again, and today may become one of those memories that women love to bring up when sharing stories about the dumbass men in their lives.

    Posted by Ted at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)

    February 06, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaahhhh!!! - Guest/Celebrity edition

    Mix a pinch of genius with a dash of twisted, and you get The Amateur Gourmet's recipe for Janet Jackson's Breast Cupcakes.


    Posted by Ted at 10:40 PM | Comments (2)

    February 05, 2004

    Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaahhhhh!!!

    I love pork, but when it's plain it's a little bland. I experimented with some ingredients we had in the fridge and came up with this one.

    Pork Chops with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

    4 chops, whatever thickness you like
    salt and pepper to taste
    1-2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/2 cup half & half
    1 stalk celery, sliced into thin crescents
    1/4 cup mayonaise
    1/8 cup minced horseradish*
    1/8 tsp ground black pepper

    *instead of mayonaise and horseradish, you can substitute prepared horseradish spread for sandwiches. Adjust the amount of horseradish to your taste.

    Preheat (medium) frying pan with oil
    Salt and pepper the chops, put into pan and cook until done, turning once halfway through
    Remove chops to serving plate

    Turn heat to medium low and add half & half
    Deglace the pan (scrape up all the tasty oinky bits stuck to the bottom) with a spatula
    Add the celery and pepper, mix well and cook for a minute
    Add the mayonaise and horseradish, mix well and cook for a minute
    Spoon sauce over chops

    Maybe not to everyone's taste, but for me (horseradish lover), Yum!

    Posted by Ted at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

    January 28, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaahhhh!!!

    I mentioned bread dipping oil in this post, and the excellent samples that SilverBlue and I tried. I first heard about it on the radio when a local restaraunt advertisement talked about it.

    Here's what I did to make my own version. It's pretty good.

    Bread Dipping Oil

    1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    2 Tbsp dried basil
    1 Tbsp dried thyme
    2 cloved finely minced garlic
    pinch salt
    2-3 grinds black pepper

    Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Let flavors combine for several hours at least. Store in refrigerator, use within 3-4 days.

    Pour into a shallow dish and dip pieces of crusty Italian or French bread into it.

    You could also start with a flavored olive oil, and use rosemary, oregano and/or parmesan cheese. This one begs for personal variations.

    Posted by Ted at 07:45 AM | Comments (2)

    January 19, 2004

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhhhh!!!

    This recipe is kinda special to me, because it's one that my mom used to make when I was growing up. I didn't get the recipe from her, because she was a 'dump and taste' type of cook and never wrote anything down. Mom called it chili, and I suppose it's what an Iowa farm girl would think of as chili.

    Five years ago mom passed away and my wife and I went home for the funeral. As they do, friends brought over casseroles and easy dinners, and I was delighted when one of the neighbors brought over a big pot of this chili I remembered so well. She had gotten my mom to show her how to make it, and gave me the recipe. I call it California Chili, because that's what mom called it

    California Chili

    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 green pepper, diced
    1 lb. ground beef
    1 large can peeled and diced tomatoes
    1 can tomato soup
    2 cans red kidney beans
    1 can chili without beans
    chili powder to taste (~2 Tbsp)
    salt & pepper to taste

    1. Saute the onion and green pepper in olive oil until tender, add the garlic in the last minute of cooking.
    2. In a soup pot, brown the ground beef. Drain. Add the saute'd mixture and all of the remaining ingredients. Rinse each can with 1/2 cup of water and add to the pot.
    3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Posted by Ted at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

    January 09, 2004

    Bread Pudding

    Denita posted her bread pudding recipe, and since I've been looking for a great recipe for this for a long time, I immediately had to try it.

    Some bread pudding is delicately flavored, with a consistancy like a steamed dumpling and just a hint of cinnamon. Not this one. Her recipe makes a bold, savory pudding that I have fallen in love with.

    I learned a couple of important things from my first crack at it. In her recipe she calls for 1/2 to 2/3 of a loaf of bread. This first time I used probably even more than that - about 3/4 loaf of sourdough - and it was too much bread. Listen to Denita, for she is wise.

    I also had to improvise a bit. I didn't have the 'pumpkin pie spice' called for, so I used 2 tsp Allspice and 1 tsp Ginger instead. Close enough. The recipe also calls for dried apples. I pared and diced half of a fresh Granny Smith apple and it worked well. She also mentioned almond extract but didn't list an amount (she's one of those 'that looks about right' cooks that I envy so much), so I used 1 1/2 tsp.

    I didn't make her caramel syrup either, because I was pressed for time. *hangs head in shame* I had some ice cream topping in the fridge, so I used that instead. Bad zoot, naughty zoot! Denita, let the ritual spankings begin. :) As partial penance, I'll list a couple of bread pudding toppings I've come across, they're at the end of this.

    Variations, variations. Cooking is when it's ok to play with your food. Right off the bat, I think I'll add more apple and nuts to the basic recipe. Personal taste, and I'll do that the third time (second time, I'll just cut back on the bread, because that might make things just right). Rachael and I also talked about using pineapple instead, probably with vanilla extract instead of the almond, and reversing the Allspice/Ginger amounts. Or use ground cloves instead of Allspice because it might go better with the pineapple. One variation I've seen but not tried is to make chocolate bread pudding by adding two squares of melted baking chocolate to the custard mixture.

    Denita herself talks about pre-soaking the raisins in rum or kahlua. Yum!

    Bottom line, if you look up 'comfort food' in the encyclopedia, there will be a picture of bread pudding there. For breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea, or as dessert after a bowl of chicken noodle soup, this is a wonderful version of a classic.

    All right, those toppings I promised...

    Whiskey Sauce

    1/2 stick butter
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup bourbon

    Cream the butter and sugar together, then slowly beat in the bourbon. Drizzle over warm bread pudding.

    Brown Sugar Sauce

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 stick butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Melt together over low heat. Do not boil.

    Posted by Ted at 08:12 PM | Comments (2)

    December 16, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhh!

    If you set out home-baked goodies for the holidays, or give them as gifts, these cookies are a great variation of the old classic.

    Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

    ½ cup butter, softened
    ½ cup butter flavored shortening
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    ½ cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp (scant) ground cloves
    ½ tsp salt

    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup raisins

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
    3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, stir into the sugar mixture.
    4. Stir in the oats and raisins.
    5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    6. Bake 10-12 minutes until light and golden. They will be soft and chewy if you don't overbake them. Let cool for a minute before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely.

    Makes 3 dozen.

    Posted by Ted at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

    December 04, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhh!

    Last night, I made a pot of this soup that is similar to the Pasta e Fagioli served at Olive Garden. We had it as the beginning course, followed up with a lasagna and crescent rolls (brushed with butter and garlic powder - we didn't have breadsticks), but it's hearty enough to have as the main meal with some crusty bread. Yum!

    Pasta e Fagioli

    1 lb ground beef
    1 cup onion, diced
    1 cup carrot, julienned
    1 cup celery, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes
    1 16 oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)
    1 16 oz can great northern beans (with liquid)
    2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
    2 12 oz cans V-8 juice (less for thicker soup)
    1 Tbsp vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp basil
    3/4 tsp thyme
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 lb Ditalini pasta (I found it in my regular grocery store, it looks like button macaroni)

    1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
    2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
    3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
    4. About 50 minutes into the simmer time, cook the pasta in 1½ to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook pasta for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
    5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more and then serve.

    Posted by Ted at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

    November 28, 2003

    Cheesecake review

    A while back I made a quick and easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake using Jennifer's recipe. I also said that I wanted to try a variation using pineapple, so I made one for Thanksgiving.

    The 'old-fashioned' recipe called for only 1 package of cream cheese, and the addition of 1 tsp of lemon juice. This resulted in a frothier and lighter cheesecake. Not better, just different. I used crushed pineapple (well drained) and coconut instead of apple, with 1/2 cup reserved for topping after baking. I also sprinkled more toasted coconut on the top.

    Result? It's good. Mookie prefers the apple version, but she likes apple better anyways. I like 'em both, and they're easy enough to do two at the same time. In fact, maybe three, because I'm thinking about cherries with slivered almonds and maybe a splash of brandy, drizzled with dark chocolate...

    Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (2)

    November 19, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhh!

    If you like biscotti with your coffee, tea or hot chocolate, you might like these traditional mexican dunking cookies.


    6 cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ tsp salt
    3 tsp baking powder
    2 cups shortening
    1½ cups white sugar
    2 tsp anise seed
    2 eggs
    ¼ cup brandy

    ¼ cup white sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    1. Mix the ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Set aside.
    2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
    3. Cream shortening with sugar and anise seeds until fluffy.
    4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
    5. Mix in flour and brandy until well blended.
    6. Turn dough out on a floured board and pat or roll to ¼” or ½” thickness. Cut into shapes (the fleur-de-lis is traditional but I use a biscuit cutter and cut them in half).
    7. Dust with the sugar cinnamon mixture.
    8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

    makes 3 dozen

    Posted by Ted at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

    November 14, 2003

    Kitchen Tips

    * With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, it's time to buy new spices. Get rid of the old stuff in your spice rack or cabinet, and buy fresh. Do this every year around this time, and you'll notice the difference.

    * Get a pepper grinder. You don't have to spend a fortune for one of those riot-baton sized monsters, small ones are available at Wal-Mart or kitchen specialty stores. Fresh ground pepper is a whole 'nother matter compared to the usual stuff folks buy.

    * Along the same lines, try kosher salt for cooking. It's not iodized, so it doesn't have that metallic taste we've grown used to.

    * Buy good knives. Unfortunately, quality costs. Even if you can only afford one a year (a present for yourself), it's worth the money. And regardless of the knife, keep it sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use.

    * You should have at least two cutting boards. A wooden board for veggies and general use, and a glass or non-porous plastic one for poultry. Believe it or not,
    wood is naturally anti-bacterial. That doesn't mean you don't have to clean them, just that the board itself is helping.

    * Ever see Rachel Ray on the Food Network? Love her or hate her, one excellent idea she taught me was to keep a big 'garbage bowl' close at hand. That way you're not running back and forth to the garbage can all the time.

    * The first time you make a recipe, follow the directions and measure carefully. That way, if you want to adjust things to your taste the next time, you have a known baseline to work from.

    * Something I've found that really works is to do like cooking shows and pre-measure spices and such into little bowls ahead of time. Yes, it causes a few extra dishes, but makes it much easier during the actual assembly and you're not running around snagging items from the pantry and fridge when things get cooking.

    * Keep up with the dishes if you can. It just makes things easier if your workspace isn't cluttered with bowls and pots and pans. Plus, if you do one or two when time allows during cooking, then you won't be discouraged by the memory of the mountain of dirty dishes created next time you feel like cooking.

    These are just common sense and little things, but it's stuff that I've learned or been taught over the years. They work for me.

    Posted by Ted at 06:33 AM | Comments (2)

    November 10, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!

    It's cold outside - soup weather - here's another of our favorites.

    Baked Potato Soup

    2 medium potatoes (about 2 cups chopped)
    3 Tbsp butter
    1 cup diced onion
    2 Tbsp flour
    4 cups chicken stock
    2 cups water
    1/4 cup cornstarch (dissolved into a little warm water)
    1 1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes
    1 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp basil
    1/8 tsp thyme
    1 cup half & half

    Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled crisp bacon, chopped green onions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake potatoes until done (an hour or so). When cooked, remove from oven to cool*.
    2. As potatoes cool, prepare soup by melting butter in a large saucepan, and saute onion until light brown. Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux.
    3. Add the chicken stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
    4. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the contents with a large spoon. Discard potato skin. Chop the baked potato with a large knife to make chunks about 1/2 inch in size.
    5. Add chopped baked potato and half-and-half to the saucepan. Bring soup back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup for another 15 minutes or until it is thick.

    Garnish and enjoy.

    * If I know I'm going to make this soup, I'll go ahead and throw a couple of potatoes in the oven a day or two ahead of time if we're already using the oven. They'll keep in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

    Posted by Ted at 09:09 AM | Comments (2)

    November 01, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhh!

    Not one of mine, but Jennifer's Caramel Apple Cheesecake is in the oven right now. I'll post the taste test results later, but what's not to like?

    Here's the recipe.

    Update: Yum! Thanks Jennifer!!!! One tip: I think I used too much apple in the caramel sauce. Go with her suggested one spoonful of apple and let the caramel flavor rule. Also, take the time to use her presentation tips as it makes for a pretty dish.

    Something else I want to try, just to see the difference, is a recipe for 'old fashioned' cheesecake that came with the pie crust. It's identical except it calls for 1 tsp of lemon juice and only 1 pkg of cream cheese.

    Another variation that occured to me was to use pineapple chunks instead of the apple. For the topping mix some toasted coconut with crushed pineapple and sprinkle with crushed macadamia nuts.

    Posted by Ted at 12:33 PM | Comments (6)

    October 28, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!

    Last night I was making my wife some chicken fried rice for dinner, which she really likes. I don't like fried rice at all, so I decided to experiment a little. This is the result.

    Simple Chicken Stew

    1 large boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    2 carrots, sliced
    2 stalks celery, sliced
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1 large potato, chopped
    1 cup frozen peas
    4 cups chicken broth (1 box of Swansons stock)
    1 chicken boullion cube
    2 cups water
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    1/2 tsp parsley
    1/2 tsp basil
    dash cayenne pepper (optional)
    1/4 cup cornstarch disolved into 1 cup cold water

    Put the chicken broth, 2 cups water and boullion into a large pot. Chop the veggies - except the peas - and add to the stock before you turn on the heat (medium). Add the rosemary, parsley, basil and pepper, and stir occasionally as it heats.

    Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook until it turns white, about 3 minutes. It doesn't have to be completely cooked through. Add it to the stock and veggies.

    Once the stock reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered about an hour or until potatoes are tender. Add the peas for about the last 10 minutes. Fish out the rosemary stems.

    Turn the heat back up. Whisk the cornstarch in the cold water until well blended, then slowly pour it into the stock while stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often as it thickens.

    Go light on the ceyanne pepper, because it will sneak up on you. You won't need to add salt, the boullion cube does that for you.

    Rachael really liked this. It's easy to make, basically just chopping and heating, and full of good-for-you stuff. You could probably add some white wine to the stock as it simmers for flavor, or even a jar of chicken gravy for added body. I'll be making this again.

    Posted by Ted at 02:24 AM | Comments (1)

    October 22, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaaah!

    These might be the favorite cookies in our house. They certainly don't last long when I bake them. If you like your cookies soft and chewy, then you'll love these.


    ½ cup butter, softened
    ½ cup shortening
    1½ cups white sugar
    2 eggs
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    2¾ cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp cream of tarter
    1 tsp baking soda
    ¼ tsp salt

    2 Tbsp white sugar
    2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. In large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, 1½ cups sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
    3. Mix the 2 Tbsp white sugar and ground cinnamon together in a small dish.
    4. Shape the dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls. Roll balls of dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets to cool completely.

    Makes 4 dozen.

    Posted by Ted at 08:29 AM | Comments (3)

    October 21, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaaaaah!

    Pixy's classic Ranchovie post, and subsequent comments by LeeAnn and Susie, have inspired me to share this recipe.

    Mock Octopus Chowder

    1 can mushroom soup
    1 cup pencil erasers

    Combine. Heat and serve.

    Posted by Ted at 12:49 PM | Comments (5)

    October 12, 2003

    Someones in the kitchen with Dinaaaaah!

    Last weekend I experimented with a couple of recipes for vegetarian enchiladas. I’m definitely a carnivore, but oldest daughters’ vegetarian best friend stays at our house for extended visits, so this is my attempt to feed her something other than salsa and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    My oldest daughter used to be my taste tester on these recipes, especially the Mexican ones. Wife and Mookie, being extremely picky eaters, want nothing to do with most of the food I like, and oldest daughter is away at college, so I recruited a neighbor and her daughters to help. I didn’t tell them anything beyond ‘enchilada’ when I took a tray full over to them. I’ll give you their (and my) reactions about these after the recipes.

    Note: The first recipe calls for a simple Tomatillo sauce. My store didn’t have any tomatillos, so I settled for a bottled Chile Verde (green chile sauce). If at all possible make the homemade stuff because it puts the bottled sauce to shame.

    Tater Enchiladas

    2 cups diced cooked potatoes
    2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
    2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
    2 Tbsp lime juice
    3 green onions, chopped
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    ½ tsp salt
    ¾ cup sour cream
    8 corn tortillas
    3 cups Tomatillo sauce (recipe below) or chile verde
    ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1 small can of sliced black olives

    Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
    Soften the tortillas in heated tomatillo sauce.
    Spoon equal amounts of potato mixture onto tortillas and roll up.
    Place enchiladas seam-side down in a shallow baking dish.
    Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Garnish with olives.
    Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

    Tomatillo Sauce

    1 pound tomatillos
    8 fresh New Mexico green chilies, roasted and peeled *
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups vegetable broth
    ½ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp cumin
    ¼ tsp oregano

    Husk and wash tomatillos. Slice into wedges. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pour into a blender and pulse to desired consistency. (Makes about 4 cups sauce).

    * Try to get New Mexico chilies instead of the ubiquitous Anaheim variety. Different chile, different flavor.

    Zucchini Enchiladas

    4 Tbsp butter
    4 Tbsp flour
    2 tsp chili powder
    2 cups milk
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
    2 cups zucchini, diced
    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 cup onion, chopped
    2 green chilies, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    16 corn tortillas
    2 cups tomatoes, diced

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and set aside.

    In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and chili powder to make a roux (thick paste). Gradually add the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add both cheeses and heat gently until melted.

    Steam the zucchini until just tender (about 10 minutes).
    Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and cook onion, green chilies and garlic until limp – about 3-5 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn, add it at the very end or stir constantly.
    Add zucchini and 2/3 of the sauce. Toss gently to coat.
    Spoon filling into each tortilla and roll, placing seam side down in baking pan.
    Spoon remaining sauce over all and sprinkle with tomatoes.
    Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

    I made a third type of enchilada with the leftover ingredients of these two, using my homemade enchilada sauce.

    My taste testers said they really liked these, even after I told them to be honest (it is a test recipe after all). Their favorite was the potato kind. Myself, I didn’t care for the potato enchiladas at all, but I have some ideas about that and I’ll try it again. First, I’ll have to make the homemade sauce instead of that lousy jar stuff. Second, dice the potatoes into smaller chunks and don’t use as much lime juice, it really overpowered the mixture instead of adding that ‘hint of lime’ you expect. Now I loved the zucchini enchiladas and will definitely be making them again. One of my taste testers hates zucchini but loved these.

    I don't see why you couldn't add yellow squash to the mix for a nice change, and probably grill it with the onion and garlic instead of steaming.

    These were fun to make and tasty. Making enchiladas isn’t particularly difficult, and it’s pretty impressive to set out dishes of several varieties of these at a party. Chicken, cheese, beef, and now two kinds of veggie, I loooooove Mexican food!

    Posted by Ted at 09:28 AM | Comments (2)

    October 05, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

    October. Autumn. Crisp air, chilly mornings, frost on the front yard. Breath billowing. Halloween.

    How many parents (or aunts and uncles) have made the little ones green eggs and ham? A couple of drops of blue food coloring in the scrambled eggs and you're good to go. Doesn't matter what they say though, they taste different! You'll probably go "ick". Unless you were in the military way back when, in which case you'll say "hey, where did you get c-rats?"

    So in honor of the season, here's a french toast recipe I made up a long time ago. Little kids love it, older kids roll their eyes at how hokey it is while asking for seconds.

    Mutilated Monster Fingers

    White bread (slightly stale is better)
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    cinnamon to taste

    red food coloring
    blue food coloring
    powdered hot chocolate mix

    strawberry pancake syrup


    1. Heat a frying pan.
    2. Cut the bread into fingers (4 'sticks' per slice of bread).
    3. Beat two eggs with a good splash of milk, add vanilla and cinnamon. Whip until well mixed. Add blue food coloring - a single drop at a time - until you get a really putrid green color.
    4. Drop the bread fingers into the egg mixture. Let it soak a few seconds. Flip them over to get both sides.
    5. Put the fingers in the hot frying pan. Splatter some red food coloring over them to make drops of blood. Spinkle the hot chocolate mix over them for graveyard mold (you want the mold to be clumpy, so don't be neat about it).
    6. When done on one side, flip 'em over to finish cooking.
    7. Serve on a plate laying in a pool of strawberry syrup.

    You can make more egg mixture as you go along. Don't call it french freedom toast, it's Mutilated Monster Fingers! Yum.

    Posted by Ted at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)

    September 28, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

    I posted this recipe back when I first started on blog*spot, and it never migrated to the new digs. Oldest daughter called yesterday and mentioned that she misses it, so I'm reposting it for her. Now that we're moving towards cooler weather, my thoughts turn to homemade soup. This is one of our favorites.

    Chicken Enchilada Soup

    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 lb chicken breast fillets (about 3)
    1 clove garlic, pressed
    ½ cup diced onion
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 cup Masa Harina (corn flour)
    1 cup enchilada sauce
    16 oz Velveeta
    1 tsp chili powder
    ½ tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt
    3 cups water

    1. Add oil to large pot on medium heat. Add chicken breasts and brown 4-5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.
    2. Add onions and saute until theystart to become translucent (~2 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute. Add chicken broth.
    3. Combine Masa Harina with 2 cups water and whisk. Add to pot.
    4. Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices. Bring to a boil.
    5. Shred chicken to bite sized pieces and add to pot. Reduce heat, simmer 30-40 minutes until thick.

    Top with shredded cheese, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, scallions, and/or pico de gallo.

    I don't shred the chicken, I cut it up into bite-sized pieces before cooking it.
    You'll find Masa Harina in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store.
    A box of Swansons Chicken Stock = 4 cups.
    You can use canned enchilada sauce, but it's noticably better if you make your own. Easy to do too.

    Enchilada Sauce

    1 Tbsp olive oil
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1 tsp minced onion
    ½ tsp dried oregano
    2½ tsp chili powder
    ½ tsp dried basil
    1/8 tsp ground black pepper
    1/8 tsp salt
    ¼ tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp dried parsley
    ¼ cup salsa
    1 8oz can tomato sauce
    1½ cup water

    Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
    Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
    Add everything but the water and mix well.
    Add the water, bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.

    You can use the leftover sauce as a marinade. Add the juice of one lime or a splash of vinegar for tang.

    Posted by Ted at 05:02 PM | Comments (2)

    September 23, 2003

    Zuppa Toscana

    The Olive Garden restaraunt chain serves this wonderful sausage and potato soup. I don't know if this recipe is identical, but it's very very close.

    1 cups sweet sausage links (12 links)
    3-4 slices bacon, cut up into small pieces
    cup diced onion
    1 tsp minced garlic
    2 medium potatoes
    4 cups chicken stock (1 box of Swanson stock = 4 cups)
    2 chicken bouillon cubes
    red pepper flakes to taste for heat
    2 cups Kale leaves, sliced into thin strips
    1/3 cup heavy cream

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place sausages onto a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done. Cut into half lengthwise and slice at an angle into " slices.

    Cook bacon and onion together until onions are almost clear. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.

    Cut potatoes in half lengthwise then cut into " thick slices.

    Add Chicken stock, bouillon, pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

    Add sausage, kale and cream. Return to boil, then simmer 5 minutes.

    Posted by Ted at 08:35 AM | Comments (1)

    September 08, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhhhh...

    Wonderful cheesecake recipes are popping up like mushrooms after a good rain. I can't compete with them (my wife won't let me post her super-secret killer cheesecake recipe), so I'll post something a little bit different. This is a great desert for chilly fall evenings, or as a treat after a day outside raking leaves.

    Baked Apple Dumplings

    Choose a crisp baking apple, such as pippin or Granny Smith.

    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    4 tablespoons shortening
    1 cup milk

    6 medium baking apples, pared and cored

    a little granulated sugar to sprinkle


    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
    2. Mix together sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter, or blend rapidly with fingertips until dough resembles oatmeal.
    4. Stir in milk. Mix to a smooth dough.
    5. Turn dough onto floured board. Divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion until large enough to wrap around one apple. Make sure it’s not too thick. Dust lightly with plain sugar.
    6. Place each apple in center of individual dough, but do not wrap. Sprinkle reserved sugar mixture into the core of each apple.
    7. Bring dough over each apple. Wet edges of dough to seal.
    8. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in 350° F. oven until apples are tender and the dough is crispy, about 1/2 hour.

    Serve plain, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. You can also drizzle caramel syrup over it all or with crushed peppermint candy over the ice cream.

    Serves: 4 to 6

    Posted by Ted at 10:50 AM | Comments (5)

    August 31, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhhhh...

    This recipe for authentic German Potato Salad has been passed down for generations on my wife's side of the family. And with names like Kneppel and Thoerwachter and Karlson on the branches of the family tree, well, how much more authentically German can you get?

    German Potato Salad

    5 lbs medium potatoes
    12 slices bacon, cut into fourths
    4 Tbsp bacon drippings
    1 cup onion, chopped fine
    2 Tbsp flour
    6 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    2/3 cup vinegar
    1 1/3 cup water

    *you can peel the potatoes if you want, before or after cooking

    1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and slice 1/4" thick.
    2. Cook the bacon. Drain, reserving 4 Tbsp drippings. Add bacon to potatoes.
    3. Cook onions in reserved drippings until tender.
    4. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and sugar to the onions.
    5. Add vinegar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
    6. Pour over potatoes and mix gently until well coated.

    Serve warm.
    Makes 8 servings.

    Posted by Ted at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

    August 15, 2003

    Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaaaaaahhhhhh...

    Here's a recipe that's quick, easy and tasty.

    Southwestern White Chili

    1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    1/4 cup onion, chopped
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 cup green chilies, chopped
    1 19oz can white kidney beans

    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    ½ tsp oregano
    ½ tsp cilantro
    1/8 tsp ground red pepper

    Sliced green onions
    Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

    1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken and onions, cook 4-5 minutes.
    2. Stir in broth, green chilies, and spices. Simmer 15 minutes.
    3. Stir in beans, simmer 5 minutes.

    Top with green onions and cheese.

    Serves 4.

    Posted by Ted at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
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