Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bullet-proof mac 'n cheese

A while ago I was poking about in Soul Kitchen's archive and found a recipe for Mac and Cheese. It got tucked into my and forgotten. It was clean-out-the-refrigerator mode before our vacation and a bunch of shredded cheddar made me think of the recipe. Boy, was I glad I did. Sylvie will have to tell us where it came from, it's title is "Bertha's Macaroni and Cheese."

Easy to throw together while you're doing other things and pop in the oven. I only made half the recipe and it still came out perfect. Mine was a nice sharp cheddar and I added half and half, remember, I was cleaning the fridge. We ate it for dinner, then lunch and I had one little square left so it was wrapped in foil, marked and thrown in the freezer. I know, I can't bare to throw away good food.

Why do I call it bullet proof? One night after vacation, and the leftover had been in the freezer three weeks, I needed a supper just for me. Hmmm. Removed the foil, wrapped it in plastic and popped it in the microwave for a few minutes. When I heard it sizzle it was ready. It was still as tasty as the first night I made it.

Couldn't kill it if you tried.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hats off to Johnnies

Christine, one of our foodie friends on La Vida Dulce has a post on The Hat and even though I think it's one of the better fast food "joints" in Southern California I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Johnnies Pastrami. You see, Doodles and I, and then lil Bird, grew up eating there. They are truely a mid-century classic complete with neon and and a working juke box at your table.

Not living close I get my pastrami fix from The Hat, there's one in Simi, but just the thought of Johnnies, that greasy joint, makes my arteries quiver, hmmmmm, onion rings. Philly might have their cheese steaks but The Hat and Johnnies have the market on pastrami.

After you order, from some of the oldest waitresses I've ever seen, they bring you this wonderful bowl of cold kosher pickles. Eating three or four is a must, then a rootbeer, pastrami, and onion rings. I don't know what is better. Well maybe Tito's around the corner but that's for another post.

Johnnie's Pastrami
4047 Sepulveda Blvd (cross street: Washington Place)
Culver City, California 90230

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two weeks: too long to be without a stove

I'm back and I missed this blog because I didn't even have access to a computer to see what everyone was up to. We ate our way through Philly, New Jersey and right up down to DC so I have some stories to tell.

What was the best? Pepperoni Bread in New Jersey. Seems like it's been a staple there for years and I've got to come up with a recipe. Second was a cheese steak. Amazing when done right and since we stayed with two Philly born cousins they treated us to the authentic. Third was the Philly soft pretzel and I have to say, they were different than all others I've tasted. I think the common denominator for these treats was the bread, it must be the water.

So any Philly cooks out there, send me a recipe for Pepperoni Bread and I'll give it a try with my west coast water.

Monday, September 25, 2006

For Sale..........Oatmeal cookies

Some of you know that Mr & Mrs Doodles have our home for sale. The real estate market in our area is quite dismal. So one needs to resort to severe tactics.

"little bird" reminded me of
LauraRebecca's recommendation on selling her home, BAKE COOKIES!!! And that I did. The house didn't sell, BUT we did have some inquiries.

I posted some info on my personal site if you are wanting to know more click here

The cookie recipe is straight off the Quaker Oats box......but the vanilla was a wonderful vanilla paste that sister moon and I got on our recent trip to Surfas.

I am going to be away from the computer for a couple of days. Hopefully we will hear from sister Moon soon as she returns from her vacation.....................stay tuna'd!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday lunch.........

To prepare for a Real Estate Open House both husband and I were working around the house all day Saturday. Husband took the outside and I worked inside spiffing up the place.

I knew we were going to be busy doing our chores so I planned ahead, for once. I had been to my local Pannera Bread store and they had some tasty looking fccacia breads in the case. Picked up a couple of those as they are small nine inch size. Having just been to the farmer's food stand and got what looked to be the last of the good summer tomatoes, all I could think of was a gorgonzola, tomato foccacia bread treat.

The bread already had the basil baked in sooooo I loaded up the gorgonzola on top of the fresh tomatoes which include several turns of the pepper mill, popped it in a 475 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Lunch is served!

Now I am off to bake some oatmeal cookies for our Open House.........wish me luck and stay tuna'd!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

shrimp.......that's it...........shrimp!!!

What to cook for dinner…… many others ya just get in a slump…..kinda like my Dodgers!
But I digress.

I happened to walk by the fish market the other day and saw that they had some wonderful fresh Key West shrimp. That is such a treat because it means the waters are cooling down. Shrimp not good in warm water, sorta like me in warm weather.

I came up with this............easy and quite tasty!

Shrimp and Rice
1 can 14 oz. Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes
½ pound large shrimp shell and tail removed
2 bell peppers – one red, one green
1 small onion chopped
2 whole cloves garlic
handful of green peas frozen are OK
¼ cup shredded carrots
red pepper flakes
fresh chopped basil
white wine OR
chicken broth
splash or worstershire sauce
Rice – your choice

I like to roast the vegetables then add them to the sauce. They add a lot of flavor. So I seed and coarse chop both peppers, coarse chop onion, peel garlic and leave whole. Spread this on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, just keep an eye on them to not burn but charred is good.
While veggies are roasting put the can of tomatoes in a heavy skillet, juice and all to heat thru and reduce down some. You can also be cooking the rice of your choice. I chose a white sticky rice which is my husbands favorite rice. But this would go well with brown or a wild rice mixture as well. Once the veggies are roasted mix them in the pan with the tomatoes that have been reducing. Now is the time to check for extra liquid I used a dry white wine, but a chicken broth could also be used. The garlic that roasted along with the veggies is now soft so run a knife thru the garlic and add to the mixture. Add the shrimp, peas, carrots, worstershire sauce, a few red peppers flakes and simmer on low heat till shrimp has turned pink.

ps.......sister moon wouldn't be partaking in this dish as she is deathly allergic to seafood. Look for her upcoming posts on her trip. I can just feel them eating at some pretty special spots. Cannot wait to hear all about it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's way too early to think about.............

Holiday gift giving but a friend of mine, who is very organized, sent me this recipe a few days ago. In her note she said that she was going to make them for Christmas gifts and if I wanted more jar recipe mixes she had them.

Holy cow I couldn't get past the word Christmas.

I must tell you I have not made this recipe - but it does sound good. So I'm gonna pass this recipe treat along to y'all...........and ask the question Do you make food items for holiday gift giving?

Tangy Lemonade Bars Mix

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 T. grated lemon peel
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt

1. Layer ingredients attractively in any order into 1-quart food storage jar
with tight-fitting lid. Pack ingredients down slightly before adding another

2. Cover top of jar with fabric; attach gift tag with raffia or ribbon. Makes
one 1-quart jar.

On tag:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
1 egg
1 jar Tangy Lemonade Bars Mix
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease 13 x 9 - inch baking pan.
2. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in lemonade concentrate and
egg until blended. (Mixture may appear curdled.)
Add bar cookie mix to butter mixture; stir until well blended.
3. Press dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 2 1/2 dozen bars

Monday, September 18, 2006

mexican bloody mary

so, i'm driving home and thinking about all the stuff i need to get done tonite. hubby's working late, so i've got some time to myself. by the time i get to the front door, i've got a plan: feed myself; feed the dogs; pay some bills; ride the exercise bike; catch up on some work; hit the sack. so, i walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and see that i have both tecate beer and bloody mary mix. i've been meaning to try something with those two ingredients. so, some beer, some bloody mary mix, a couple of dashes of hot sauce, a splash of worcestershire, some horseradish and a shot of lemon juice soon found themselves being mixed in a chilled glass mug by a celery swizzle stick. it looked a little like somethin' this...

mexican bloody mary

wow, did that taste good going down. can you guess what else i got to on my list? here's a hint...the dogs are hungry.

p.s., this is why i don't have kids.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

company for brunch

I don't often make a brunch mid week but our friends werestopping by on their way back home to Ft Lauderdale. A brunch meal seemed like the perfect plan. They had been to the Panhandle of Florida to visit a new grandbaby. And yes they brought photos, as they are quite proud of the newest addition to the family.
When I spoke to friends last week I told them I would plan lunch so we could just sit and chat at home and not be rushed in a restaurant. They were only able to spend a few hours so we wanted to yak to share some gossip and of course eat.

I prepared a "go to frittata "that I have made several times in the past and so very easy. I had some leftover spinach from the previous nites dinner as well as some carmelized onions. Hoping for a red pepper in the refrigerator and there ya have the makings for an easy fritata. To accompany the mini frittatas I cooked up some hash browns, toasted some bagels, and sliced up what is probably the last cantaloupe of the season. Oh yes the adult iced cappucinno......recipe to follow.

Food and friends - what more could you ask for.

Adult Cappuccino

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
a little crushed ice - but not enough to dillute coffee
2 cups freshly brewed espresso, chilled
6 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Cool the sugar syrup completely.

I made this the nite before and added the amaretto and a dollop of whipped cream just prior to serving. Crumble a piece of amaretto cookie on top of the whipped cream.

Mini Frittata's

8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sauted spinach fresh or frozen chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper sauted
1/4 carmelized onions
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Litely oil your muffin tins (I use the 3" tin)
Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the spinach,peppers, onions, cheese, and parsley. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the tins. I timed it to be about 18-20 minutes using this size of muffin tin. Use smaller tins and the cooking time would shorten. They will puff over the edge a bit.
Ham and asparagus is another good combo for this fritatta.

Let me know what combination of flavors and ingredients you use. It's that kind of a dish.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Mediterranean visit with a treat

When planning my trip to visit sister moon, I made a couple of requests, we have already posted a couple of them. But one of the biggies was a trip to the newly re-opened after major re-do of the Getty Villa, located on a Malibu California cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean. You must make a reservation to go to the Villa, so if you find this museum in your plans, check out the web site and plan ahead. Believe me it is worth the trip.Now I know this is a food blog and yep the Villa has a lovely Café. Wonderful food with indoor or outdoor seating. Sit outdoors if you can because you may think you are sitting on a terrace in the Mediterranean. Sister moon and I were quite good about eating; we shared a small pizza, thin crust which was of the cheese variety. And I should explain why we did this – they have some drop dead divine gorgeous desserts. Ah yes a method to our madness so to speak. We decided, after much back and forth jabbering, on the Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. Good God Almighty!!! look at it.......... what is not to drool over.

So when we came home sister was on the computer and found a panna cotta recipe that she thought was good. But sister moon just left to go on vacation with husband. Maybe it is on her delicious. I shall go look. BUT if anyone has a meyer lemon panna cotta recipe that has been tried please let me know. So stay tuna'd I'm on the hunt!

Also in the above photo adorning the plate is a rasberry coulis.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Orzo, the building block of lunch

This lunch salad was built as a group project, Doodles and Mooncrazy. I, sister moon, stood at the refrigerator and tossed things out to Doodles to chop and slice. Amazing what you can create. I, Doodles, love this salad because it is just easy and refreshing and so very versatile. Don't turn your nose up at this bottled dressing cause it is low in calorie but loaded with flavor. That Paul Newman is just a special kinda guy.
The chicken was Costco's cooked roaster and the apples, Grannie Smith. The farmer's market asparagus was blanched and it stayed nice and crisp even as a leftover. Chopped pecans, cilantro, sliced green onion, and canned garbonzo beans rounded out this orzo salad. Topped with Newman's Own Sesame Ginger dressing it was a full meal.

We dressed the salads individually as two helpings were heading to the Hollywood bowl the next night that kept everything fresh and crunchy. And it travels well too!

Try this dressing for marinating chicken or pork … and while your at it check out Mr. Newman's web site for some recipe ideas.

Friday, September 08, 2006

tag I'm it ..........???

My dear sweet sister Moon has edited this post because I am having COMPUTER PROBLEMS!!! pray for me cause I'm gonna kill somebody!!!!!!!!!

Five Foods You Should Eat Before You Die!

I Doodles was recently tagged by annie from to participate in the Foodbloggers Guide to the Globe started by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox

Because I love to travel – let’s do this on a virtual travel odyssey

1. Now I know that everyone cannot eat seafood, sister moon happens to be one that I know of, but I love most every kind of seafood out there. So let’s go to San Francisco and find some CIOPPINO. One of my favorite meals because it is nothing fancy, Cioppino is a fish stew that has some very tasty ingredients and usually accompanied by some sourdough bread great for soaking up some of that sauce. Think I’ll go to Scoma’s, a restaurant that I first ate cioppino. At that very moment I fell in love with the dish and the city.

2.Let’s toddle on over to Italy cause it’s where I would love to be. I’ll pick anywhere preferably the countryside, but Milan and Rome hold a special place in my heart. May I should drag Michael Chiarello and/or Giada De Larentis along for the trip. What tour guides they would be! And fun too! I also am going to choose a WHITE PIZZA. I am quite fond of the rustic style that is cooked on a grill. Not that perfectly round American version, not that it is bad mind you, but this is a pizza you should really try. Like I said I like the white version but hey it’s your pizza put on it what ever you dare. Thanks sister moon for making me this delightful dish and sending me home with the recipe. How bout a crispy pinot gris to go with the pizza and some poached pears drizzled with lavender honey. Oh my god I am there can you tell!!!

3. So Munich is not all that far from Italy - let's go have a beer or three. I am a beer snob and am not that fond of American beers.....but some of the European beers are very much to my liking as are some Mexican beers but we may tackle that later. Back to Munich for the moment. I know the Beer Gardens are mostly for the tourists but they are fun - the music is loud - the waitstaff are amazing and the beer is damn tasty. Have a German sausage slathered in German mustard while you enjoy the beer and the fun music.

4. Canada , Toronto to be precise, has some of the very best Chinese food this side of China. The very tastiest potstickers I have ever had the pleasure of eating. I have not been to China and probably never will but I have been to Toronto a lot and it seems we gravitate toward the Chinese sections of town everytime.

5. Now I am very torn between Mexico and Maine. This is very difficult because I love lobster and eating lobster in Maine would be my choice. At one of those beat up losbter shacks on a pier when the lobsters just come in the the wife of one of the fisherman boils up a bunch while you wait..don't forget the melted butter. But Mexican food of any kind eaten in a little spot called Topolabumpo, perched on the side of the road on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Now that is where I wanna be.

Hope you enjoyed my trip.............I did fer sure.............thanks for joining me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A little bit of heaven in LA

Another of Doodles "must-haves" was a trip to Cielito Lindo, a taquito joint in Olivera Street which is about as downtown as you can get in LA. If you ever get to LA it should be a must. Click the link for an earlier post.

So we're there and had to browse the touristy shops a bit and found a few trinkets for Little Bird, how we wished she could have joined us, and had to buy some Jamoncillo, one of my favorite Mexican candy. I'm looking for a recipe if anyone has it. It's a milk fudge and it should be simple. That only left eating lunch at Cielito Lindo's.

Lunch is pretty simple, three taquitos, guacamole and beans. Their guacamole is different, more of a green chile tomantillo sauce with some kick. It's thin and powerful. For years I tried to copy the recipe then gave up. Why would I want to ruin the experience? We've been going there for the taquitos con guacamole since 1957, and I think they'll be here for another fifty years. It is reassuring that it hasn't changed a bit, nothing. Well, about twenty years ago they did get radical and offer tamales, they are good as well but way too filling. I'd rather eat the taquitos.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Rack 'em up: cue balls on the grill

Here's another Doodles/Mooncrazy dinner. We found these lovely "orby" zucchini at the Farmer's Market and since we love all things grilled that's where they ended up. They seem to be a bit meatier than the long variety and maybe sweeter, can't decide. I do know they are easier to prep. I cut them in four slices which are nice shape for the grill, easy to turn and cook evenly.

The other zucchini is a "white" squash and couldn't tell the difference with that one. They are a little "squattier" than regular. The Cue balls come in green and yellow and are quite attractive on the plate.

The others in the cast?

A nice pork loin, brined for about five hours and grilled. We also had grilled onions and roasted green beans. A nice crisp Luna Pinot Griggio.

Check out some other "fresh" ideas at Festa al fresco.