Friday, June 30, 2006

You Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine #2

Over at Sweetnicks this month's theme for You Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine #2 is your Spice collection. Sister Doodles said I had a special place for the spices but as you can see they are not well organized. Sigh. I know, I know but I'm hoping to get some tips from some of her other participants. I do need help!

Warning!!! no spice organizational skills

Check out sweetnicks for the "I'll show you mine"....this month...spice colection!
This is a lot of fun because you know as well as I do we all love to look in each others cabinets..and thanks to cate, we can do it without leaving our computer.
This is what you get when you do not communicate with your husband when he is remodeling your kitchen. It seems we talked about everything else but "honey where are you going to put your spices"!

So let this be a lesson to y'all...plan your spot for storing your spices. Sister moon just remodeled her kitchen and I know housing her spices was very important item on their kitchen re-do.

Yes I know there are literally a bazillion things I can purchase and organize my spices......but we are fixin to move and right now it is not at the top of my list.

Trust me my next new home will have a fine home for my spices and I'll be thrilled to share it with y'all................stay tuna'd!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fresh is best

Don't you feel better when you have fresh herbs? I sure do. A little container on my counter filled with rosemary or basil or anything fresh makes me smile.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Help! when does blue cheese goes bad

Ok, I'm all ready to do Doodles cantaloupe salad but I check the blue cheese and it's been in the fridge for a while. I think a month. So how the heck to do tell if it's bad. Is there a mold in there that shouldn't be? Does it smell different? Will I kill my darling husband if he eats it? (not done with the remodel yet and can't afford to find a new guy right now)

Someone tell me--please--because I've got a cantaloupe getting riper.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Did you get enough ARF today

Try to get over to Sweetnicks ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays round-up today, she's got some tasty entries.

Don't know how this one got past me but the deadline for Show me yours, I'll show you mine #2 is coming up, June 30. Last month was refrigerators and was fun to see what everyone else holds dear in the cold box. This month is spice collection. Hey, it gives you an excuse to get rid of some of those spices you've been holding on to for way to long.

Monday, June 26, 2006

an unusual pairing...........

edited to add

Pop on over to Grab Your Fork who happens to be hosting DMBLGIT...there are a record number of entries this month. I am in awe at some of the photos.

While visiting the tasty food blog bakingsheet , nic introduced us to a wonderful summer treat. And like a lot of things it reminded me of another summer treat that I sometimes actually crave, the worlds healthiest food says so right here, Cantaloupe

We are somewhat fortunate living here in Florida that we get cantaloupe more often than most areas of the country. But these melons are the best RIGHT NOW!!!

I had this dish at a posh eatery in South Beach several years ago. I immediately went home and re-created this dish to my taste, as the original version had chopped mint thru out. I am not a big mint lover other than those green gummy mint leaves or oh yeah a

Doodles adapted version of a cantaloupe salad

1 cantaloupe ……… seen in the photo I used a melon baller

½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

¼ cup toasted pecan pieces

a sprig or 3 of parsley

squeeze of half a lime or more if you so desire

Combine all of the ingredients in a glass serving bowl because it looks so pretty. This salad can be prepared in the morning and then assembled at the last minute as I don’t think the gorgonzola would like sitting in the lime juice.

Next I am waiting patiently for the wonderful Georgia peaches to arrive………..stay tuna’d

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wrinkly and green

I don't go out of my way to cook healthy though I did at one time. Just got out of the habit. I have been trying to come up with some new ideas for green beans since good friend George's beans have come in. He supplies us with an assortment of veggies each summer. Mostly what he grows goes to his church and I always feel a bit guilty but what the heck, they are so fresh. I always look forward to a beet or three about this time.

I'd eaten roasted green beans at friend Blondie's house and wanted to try them myself but also had these darling baby carrots and a shallot hanging around so I added some minced garlic, oil and cut the carrots about the size of the beans. On a cooky sheet, salt and pepper and into a hot oven, 425 for about twenty minutes, just until they start to wrinkle and the shallots get nice and carmelized. When they came out of the oven I grated some fresh lemon over the top.

This was so good and pretty healthy. I guess low fat too, I only drizzled the veggies with olive oil. When the lemon zest hit the hot veggies it smelled great. What can smell better than carmelized onions, garlic and lemon? It might have needed a spice and I was thinking thyme but to be honest the sweetness of the carrots was really enough.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Maybe you do this, but I just wanted to share and/or remind you that most of your major markets have their own web sites with a lot of very good info, recipes etc.

My market is PUBLIX They have a wonderful site that I tend to refer quite a bit.
So maybe your local market has a site you can refer to and if not I'll be happy to share my PUBLIX site with you.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A not so new cooky

Ever since the little bird talked about my ancient cooky cookbook I've been thumbing through the darn thing looking for an different cooky. I found a cooky that replaces butter or shortening with whipping cream. Now that is different.

Do chill the dough and work in small batches as it is very soft. They suggest making small cuts on the sides of the cookies but I couldn't figure out a reason. They don't spread but do puff up.

I love this rolling pin, it's my grandmothers and I know, there are lovely French pins that are supposed to be great to roll out dough but I love this one. I think Emily Prucilla would be glad to know someone is making good use of it.

Don't over bake these or they become dry and tough. They're texture is light and cake like, very tasty. It's suprising to try something new.

Austrian Cream Cookies
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
3 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of vanilla

Beat eggs until light. Add sugar gradually; blend in cream and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, stir in. Chill at least one hour.

Roll dough out on floured surface. Cut into two inch squares. Bake 375 for 10-13 min, barely browned edge. Cool then frost.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Salad weather has hit the west coast, too

Seems everyone is getting into summer cooking so armed with some leftover couscous I put together my twist on a tabbouleh salad. Quick and easy would be the heading; it took me no time at all to prepare.

Because I tend to cook what's in my fridge this salad had cilantro and smoked paprika rather than the traditional mint and parsley. I've just discovered this Spanish spice and can't believe how great it goes with my style of cooking. I love the smoky flavor of chilpotle but don't always want the heat. This product solves that dilemma.

Recipe (it's more like a suggestion of what to do)

About a cup of cooked couscous.
Chopped onion, tomato, cilantro and cucumber (whatever looks pretty).
Lemon juice and olive oil, almost equal parts (heavier on the oil).
Pepper and smoked Spanish paprika.

I feel the lemon takes the place of the salt but add some if you wish. Toss this together and let all the flavors get to know each other in the fridge for about an hour.

I served this with a bbq'd baby back ribs, some olive oil and chopped garlic soaked bread; toasted on the grill, and a glass of Chalone Vineyard's 2004 Pinot Noir outside on the patio.

Chalone is becoming a favorite of mine in the 10-15 buck-a-bottle range. If you can get a bottle of the '03 Syrah grab a few, it is quite delicious.

Ah, summer has come to Southern California.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Easy Lunch......another salad

I was inspired to make this Orzo Chicken Salad dish because I had seen a fellow blogger’s post

I remember saying how refreshing that looked,
great meal for a hot summer day. And hot and sticky it has been here in Southwest Florida.

Husband is not the most adventurous eater but is a willing participant most of the time.

Cooked orzo early in the a.m. and allowed to cool, left over chicken chopped, finely chopped red bell pepper, sliced yellow bell pepper, julienne zucchini, carrots, chopped spring onion, roma tomatoes chopped. Right now tomatoes in our area are not great so roma’s were my best option. For the dressing I used Paul Newman’s Sesame Ginger Dressing. It has a good bite of ginger. Check out the web site they have their products and several tasty recipes I noticed.

Next time I would add chow mein noodles, slivered almonds or the like. But not having either, I took some flat bread crackers, brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled a bit of sesame seeds, salt and pepper on them and put them in a 450 degree oven for a few minutes. The crackers complimented the salad because I think something crunchy was needed.

Think I'm going to find out how husband does with lettuce wraps. I found a recipe I would like to try just need to tweak it a bit. Stay tuna’d………………….

Friday, June 16, 2006

A borrowed salad............

Well not really but I was stuck for's waaaay too hot for anything other than a salad. But not just any salad, I remembered Kalyn's appealing salad on her blog the other day. Ok I have the fixings for that however a more substantial meal was in order for the husband. I had just been to ~Laura Rebecca's Kitchen~ reading up on her upcoming Retro Food Challenge and there they were staring me right in the face Black Pepper Shrimp. Dang I got shrimp in the freezer.......thaw those little guys out and dinner is on it's way.
I used a bit more garlic than was recommend, cut back on the butter a tad and added roasted red peppers. I never can leave well enough alone.
But this shrimp with Kaylyn's Restaurant Quality Salad at Home......... very tasty.

So ladies thanks for bringing these recipes to my attention, you are so right it's all in the ingredients.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Roasted beet and onion salad

Just having roasted beets in the fridge is enough but onions too? Oh heaven. This is spinach with roasted pearl onions and beets and an orange juice reduction dressing. The recipes are from Napa Style.

Trim but don't peel the beets and pearl onions, toss in olive oil and season. Start beets in 400 degree oven for about an hour then add onions until they are all fork tender. Peel both and keep in fridge. Try not to eat the onions, they are quite yummy all by themselves.

Dressing: over medium heat reduce 2 cups orange or tangerine juice to about 3/4 cup. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Remove from heat and strain.

Return to pan and reduce until mixture has a syrup-like consistency; about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and strain again. Let cool to room temperature. Whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil. Adjust the seasonings. Refrigerate for up to 1 1/2 weeks. It's a great dressing.

Next time I'd add some orange wedges but this was served as is without any complaints.

Speaking of Italian food..........

My dear husband will eat anything with marinara sauce on it, spaghetti is his favorite. But Norm is also quite fond of stuffed shells. I have made them many times over the years but this is really my go to recipe that I adapted from a Betty Crocker cookbook. This recipe is for a crowd or a party and since there are only two of us most times for a meal, I make the whole recipe and divide into containers and freeze. I do not bake them prior to freezing.
god I need a new camera cause I'm not liking these snaps.

1 box jumbo pasta shells not sure but think there is at least 30 in the box
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced 5 cups marinara sauce I use the jar sauce whichever one happens to be your favorite
2 (15-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup shredded Asiago
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 large egg yolks
3 Tbls chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 Tbls fresh basil leaves
2 Tbls olive oil plus extra for oiling the baking sheet
freshly ground black pepper
Lightly oil the baking sheet and set aside.

Partially cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender but still quite firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. The shells will continue to cook in the oven after they have been stuffed. Using a slotted spoon, drain pasta shells and place on oiled baking sheet, spreading them out so that they don't stick together and allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.. Add the red pepper flakes. Add the garlic and sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring often.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg yolks, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell.
This is where I divide up the shells and freeze them with out the sauce. But if you are going to make the whole recipe ........Arrange the shells in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, then sprinkle with the mozzarella. parmesan cheese, and the asiago. If you wanna just use mozzarella and parmesan cheese it's okey dokey yummy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I rediscovered a little restaurant in the San Fernando Valley last night, Pomodoro. I was meeting a friend for a drink and early dinner and we walked into PF Chang's but it was way too noisy for any conversation so I suggested we try Italian. It was close and I was silently praying it was still good.

I'd like to say it was an old fashioned type of Italian restaurant with red vinyl booths and Sinatra music playing but it isn't. It's bright and open and has been there less than five years. We found a corner booth and two glasses of Sangeovese. After the waitress came back for the third time we decided to look at the menu.

Friend had a Mista salad; many greens and salad things with gorgonzola and balsamic dressing and Ravioli di Magro; ricotta and spinach ravioli with gorgonzola sauce. I settled with Tortellini alla Panna; braised beef and pork tortellini with prosciutto, sage and cream. I passed on the salad.

Both of our dinners were delicious. Mine was just "touched" with a cream sauce with a subtle sage flavor and lightly crisped prosciutto. Friend's plate was cleaned. We passed on dessert and waddled out.

Pomodoro has 45 stores California and a few in Arizona and though I'm death on chain's I like this one. The service was great and if you've read any of my "bad service" reviews you'll remember I'm fussy about that. Now, if they can only get some Sinatra music.

21600 Victory Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA., 818-340-2400

Monday, June 12, 2006

csa update

all's well on the western front. we've been enjoying the spoils of our first bi-weekly installment of our half share in the tierra miguel csa. long suffering husband and i have been snacking on the avocadoes with impunity. they're usually such a rare treat, but they're in my fruit bowl and i have six (well, had six), so they must be eaten! our favorite thing is to halve an avocado, take the pit out, squeeze some lemon juice on (also from our farm box) and eat with a spoon. breakfast of champions! good and good for you (good hdl cholesterol)!

we had some people over on sudnay night and i had the opportunity to use a few more of the ingredients...and belabor the guests about the concept of the csa. costco had fresh, wild, copper river salmon filets, so i put those in the convection oven (always makes for a nice crispy top). that's not eating local, i know, but i love me some copper river salmon and a glass of pinot noir! never fear, we used our csa veggies for the sides: roasted carrots (a little olive oil and salt and then in the 425 degree oven on convection) and couscous with grilled zucchini. the carrots were actually quite good. [that thunk you just heard is mooncrazy is falling over as she reads this, as she knows how i feel about cooked carrots.] speaking of the lunachick, for dessert, i made the not quite rhubarb pie that she found on nic's bakingsheet. it was dead simple and the general consensus was yum! especially when served warm with some vanilla ice cream. who knew rhubarb tasted so good? it wasn't even around long enough to get a picture!

anyway, so far so good on the csa experiment. i can't recommend it enough. in closing, i'd like to add that everyone should please go see the inconvenient truth movie and make a pledge to yourself to make a change in your life, just a little something, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help stop global warming. i'm sick to death of these hurricanes terrorizing my aunt doodles in florida. [but feel free to keep polluting, because, apparently the global dimming caused by air pollution is actually keeping the global warming from going completely out of control. oy.] thanks!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Chop chop, time's a wastin'

The end of May was hilarious here at Chez Moon. So busy I had to hire a sous-chef.

Our step-
mother Mary came to visit just in time to help with Little Bird's birthday party. I have no shame, I put everyone to work in my kitchen. She was a quick learner and as she put it, "... chopped more onions than she has in her whole life."

Not only was she a big help in the kitchen she cleaned the bathrooms before the guests arrived. I don't think too many sous-chefs do that, too.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dinner alone..........

I don't often have dinner alone, but knowing that husband was going to be otherwise involved.
I could have went for take out but that's kinda ordinary.

I thought why not prepare something that I knew wouldn't be husbands first choice. Nothing fancy for me but tasty. I put together a grilled cheese sandwich of fresh ciabatta bread, fresh mozarella cheese, fresh basil and a thinly sliced tomato. They were so yummy I had two........ and while watching a movie I even had dessert of lemon sorbet with fresh blueberries.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oh boy, weekend dog blog time

Here's my addition to Sweetnick's weekend dog blog. Our darling Buddy in his favorite car, a convertible 65 Mustang. He loves sitting in the back seat.

He's on his way to his favorite bbq joint, "It's in the Sauce" in Ventura, California. Yup, that's the name of the place and they make the best smoked meat sandwiches. I favor the chicken while Buddy and darling husband gobble up the tri-tip. I've never had anything else because I can't get past the chicken! Someday, I'll try the ribs, maybe.

Don't expect anything fancy, they only have four tables outside and if it's raining, eat in the car. They are at 2050 E. Main St, Ventura, Ca., 805-652-1215

Oh Betty, do not forsake us in our time of need

Since I'm the original owner of the book my daughter Little Bird referred to in her Retro Recipes Challenge post I thought it necessary to show the book as she described.

I didn't receive this as a wedding present but as a bonus for sending in box tops from cake mixes and bisquick and the like. Married in 1970 I was eager to become a woman in her own right when I redeemed the coupons for this book and a book on entertaining. The latter has gone missing and a good thing, it would have pushed our feathery little feminist over the edge. We have come a long way and thanks to some of the women in our lives for breaking ground. Maybe not loud but definitely proud quietly making inroads in stereotypes.

Cookbooks in our house become a repository for all things. As I paged through this one I found recipes, now yellowed, torn from magazines or newspapers. One doesn't have a date but the reverse has broccoli for 49 cents a pound. Some recipes I remember but some I can't think why I saved. A few from the pages of Bon Appetit in the late seventies complete very dated photos. Did we really dress that way? A recite for a long gone appliance, a photo of a friend, and my favorite, a recipe written on the back cover in my mother's hand for some "hot" cookies made with pepper cheese and dry mustard.

What is necessary, ever so often, is to look back to that mother, aunt, or cookbook that might have influenced your life and celebrate just how far we've come, then roll up your sleeves and push the envelope just a little farther. Someone in the future is depending on you.

Lorna Eley's Hot Cookies
2 cups hot pepper cheese shredded, room temperature
1/2 Oleo (butter)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix with hands, thoroughly
Make into a log and refridgerate until firm
Cut as thin as possible and bake until very lightly brown 350 oven. 10-12 min.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

a new adventure

so, i, little bird, am apparently becoming quite the bo-bo (that's bohemian bourgeoisie for those of you not keeping track). we got a civic gx (natural gas car) last year, i started taking the bus to work at least once a week, and i just joined a csa. what's a csa? well, i'm glad you asked!

csa stands for community supported agriculture. basically, you buy a share (or, in my case, a half share) in a local farm and, in return, you get a regular delivery of food from the farm. it's all good. you're supporting farmers, eating local, getting fresh fruit and vegetables and eating seasonally and usually the farms are organic and sustainable. you can find a csa near you by checking out the local harvest site.

i joined the tierra miguel csa and i just got my first delivery today:

nature's bounty

yum. as you can see, i got lemons, oranges, avacados, lettuce, baby spinach, leeks, a giant onion, some garlic, red potatoes, carrots, radishes, zuchinni and rhubarb!

so, as doodles would say, stay tuna'd, and join me on this csa adventure. first up, what to do with rhubarb!

retro recipes challenge

laura rebecca's kitchen is hosting the retro recipe challenge and i just couldn't resist, because i knew exactly what cookbook i was going to draw my recipe from.

growing up, my mom (you know, mooncrazy) had this cookbook called "betty crocker's cooky book." i think she got it as a wedding present in 1970 and i know she still has it. this cookbook was so cool. it had a red hard-bound cover with a picture of all different kinds of colorful cookies laid out on it. it really stood out on the cookbook shelf, especially to a kid. the leaves of the book were bound by wire rings (kind of like a spiral notebook) which gives it the advantage of laying flat while you are trying to cook from the recipe. genius, i tell you. i loved the hell out of that cookbook and i definitely credit it as one of the primary influences for my love of cooking. this book was much loved and well worn. i think the cover's come off and many of the pages have grease stains and flecks of dried on cookie dough as indicators that they were our favorite recipes, used time and time again. the mark of a good cookbook, indeed. i so totally wanted to spirit this thing out of the house when i left the nest, but i just couldn't. don't get me wrong, i liberated all sorts of other things (dad, still missing the white album?), but this was somehow sacred plus mom would know it was missing immediately, so it stayed on the shelf.

well, anyway, one day last year i was browsing the cookbook section at barnes & noble (like ya do), and i saw "the cookbook" on the shelf! i couldn't believe it, was there one leftover from 1963? not exactly. as it turns out, they issued a "facsimile edition" in 2002. it is exactly the same. i had to own it. it was like 25 bucks, which i'm sure is 10 times what it cost in 1963, but it had to go home with me. i took it home and read it like a novel.

this cookbook is so intiguing to me, not only because of my fond memories of my nascent culinary sensibilities, but also on a sociological level. re-reading it in my 30's, i take a much different view of this cookbook than i did when i was a kid. today, i see it as a snapshot of the our country viewed itself in 1963. the styling is straight early 60's white middle america, totally camelot, totally leave it to beaver. the narrative and subtext scream out, "stay-at-home, white donna reed-june cleaver-laura petrie mom, making snacks for the kids when they get home from school and elegant dessert bites for swank in-home entertaining of the husband's boss." it also has a nostalgic americana section, dedicated to the best cookies, sorted by decade from 1880 to 1930 and by half-decade from 1930 to 1963. there is a "heritage cookies" section that features "[r]ecipes we know and use today [that] came from 'round the world to the thirteen isolated colonies of america." apparently "around the world" in 1963 meant "northern europe." reading the cookbook today, i see it as an advertisment for a certain cultural norm or aspiration that was trying to be sold to the people of this country in the 50's and 60's. it smacks of an instrument of social control through the communication and challenge to conform to preferred social values: white, upper-class, exclusionary values. when people reminisce about how great the 50's were, i often add, "yeah, if you were a white man." this time capsule cookbook has become a measuring stick of sorts for me and when i drag it out, it reminds me of how far our society has come in terms of inclusion and equality and how much farther we have to go. that being said, it has some damn fine cookie recipes.

so, i enter this retro cooking challenge with eyes wide open. there are some things that were just plain cool in the 50's and 60's, with good reason to celebrate them. but there were a lot more things that were definitely not cool so let's not get totally caught up in the nostalgia without giving a thought for the changes that sorely needed (and still need) to be made in our country. i therefore intend this cookie recipe as a political act: an independent, educated, professional woman in the new millenium appropriating a recipe from a book that was used as a tool of opression against the women who came before her.

[sorry for the diatribe, i was a communications study major in college and now i'm a lawyer. i can't help it.]

so, anyway, i thought i'd try the french lace cookie. it was listed in the best recipe for the 1960 - 1963 period and i thought it looked totally jackie kennedy. our country was so in love with her and her "sophisticated french ways" at that time, and i think this recipe reflects that. the french lace cookies is kind of like a tuile, it uses a really thin batter and spreads out really thin on the baking sheet, but this one bubbles up and the leftover holes make it look lacy and crenellated. it's actually quite a pretty little cookie. here's the recipe:

1 c. flour
1 c. finely chpped nuts
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. shortening
2/3 c. brown sugar (packed)

preheat oven to 375. blend flour and nuts. bring corn syrup, shortening, and sugar to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. remove from heat; gradually stir in flour and nuts. drop batter by level teaspoonfuls about 3" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. bake 5 - 6 minutes; remove from oven and allow to stand 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet. makes about 4 dozen cookies. for the "lace roll ups" variety, roll into a cylindrical shape while they are still warm. for "peek-a-bows," tie with a "gaily colored ribbon." [their words, not mine.]

oh so retro

Monday, June 05, 2006

Something different........and yummy!!!

Giada DeLaurentis, who happens to be one of my very favorite chefs on the Food newtwork……..anyway, the theme was a wine tasting I believe and one of the items she made was
Tortilla strips with and Italian twist.. I thought well that’s kinda different.

Parmesan Tortilla Crisps

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Ingredients1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Whisk the oil, oregano, and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until warm. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow ingredients to infuse the oil.. Brush the oil mixture over both sides of the tortillas. Stack the tortillas and cut them into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide strips. Arrange the strips in a single layer over the baking sheets. Sprinkle the cheese and salt over the strips. Bake until the strips are golden brown and crisp, about 12~14 minutes.

Good idea – very tasty!! But you know me I must put a Mexican spin on it – they are corn tortillas for heavens sake.
So I followed the recipe as above BUT instead of oregano I used Chipotle pepper flakes, left out the ground pepper and in the oil I added some fresh crushed garlic. Warm that as stated above and let it set to infuse the flavors. Brushed the tortillas as instructed but I bumped the temp up to 400 degrees for 12 minutes. And just a couple a minutes before removing them from the oven sprinkle a bit of shredded jack cheese and pop em back in the oven for a couple a minutes. I salted these when I removed them from the oven and cooled them on some paper towels. I would imagine you could used flour tortillas as well but I have yet to try that.
If you try it let me know what y’all think.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Grill of My Dreams--Challenge #1 final posts

Here are our post for the PBE's Grill of My Dreams Challenge (first set of participants). This was fun and though we had only four participants I feel we had the cream of the BBQ crop this Memorial Day. We might even make this an annual affair. So as Doodles would say, stay tuna'd!

Grill of My Dreams from Mooncrazy

For Little Bird's birthday we had about 12 so easiest for me to bbq was baby backs. I tried Alton Brown's recipe a few years ago and it has become the only way I do ribs for a crowd. So tender. First you rub two whole slabs of baby back with your favorite dry rub. I'd certainly try one of La Vida Dulce's.

Wrap each in heavy foil leaving one end open. Refrigerate for one hour. Microwave the braising liquid and pour half the liquid in each foil packet close tightly and braise in 250 oven on baking sheets for 2 1/2 hours. At this point I removed the ribs, cooled and refrigerated them. I also reduced the braising liquid to use as a sauce to glaze the ribs the next day.

About an 30 minutes or so before serving I heated the ribs on the grill to get them heated and a bit smoky then lathered on the reduction of the braising liquid or any bbq sauce you like and served. I also served addition sauce with the ribs. They were quite well received.

Dry Rub:
8 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Braising liquid:
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons steak sauce, I like HP Sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Note: I found the reduction sauce way too salty but the ribs were fine so I mixed the reduced braising liquid with a bottle of salt-free ketchup and it was great. When you are reducing the liquid make sure it's in a large skillet, it give more surface area and reduces quicker. This tip I got from the little parakeet.

Grill of My Dreams from Maltese Parakeet

Well, i didn't have to bbq on memorial day weekend because it was my birthday party and mooncrazy did the cooking for me. It was quite a meal, everything was really tasty ... the bbq ribs were outstanding. Nice birthday present, huh?

The most bbq'ing i did all weekend, was to heat up those leftover ribs on memorial day! But, i felt bad about not having something for our inaugural post so, i tried something on my grill pan in the oven on monday (the chicken crematoriam, as we call our bbq, not being ready for the season yet).

I stole an idea from sweetnicks and roasted some asparagus on the grill pan in my oven. First, because there was not enough pork on my plate, i wrapped the spears in prosciutto. You could easily do this on a bbq and the smoky taste would be really good with the prosciutto. Basically, wrap the trimmed asparagus in prosciutto, drizzle in olive oil & sprinkle with kosher salt and then pop in a 400 degree oven for about 20 - 25 minutes. I preheated the cast iron grill pan in the oven first, of course. While that was cooking, i boiled down a little balsamic vinegar for a drizzle after the roasted spears came out of the oven. Husband wolfed them down and pronounced them good.

Grill of My Dreams from Doodles

Since I already posted about my sizzling start to summer which included my broken fridge, my sinus infection, and canceled our company, I'm gonna fill you in on what I did cook on Memorial Day.

Certainly was not the gourmet meal of the century but I did want to tell y'all about the brisket.
And no I do not have beauty shots of the food, I was lucky enough to get the meal put together.

As mentioned in a previous post, I heard somewhere about grinding up a brisket and making that in to patties for your burgers. Ask the meat monger to grind it twice, and this was done at a local market not a meat market. I must remember to ask my friend Lyn about this because I think it was in Dallas I remember reading about this. Funny how things stick in your brain.

Anyhoooo it was yummy..............with a good beefy taste . But may I say your good tasty burger is only as good as the bun you put it on. None of those yeasty buns would do for this beefy burger. I did notice that my market had some interesting looking rolls that would serve nicely for a burger bun. They were of the stone ground wheat seeded variety. So mission accomplished in the bun department.

My menu consisted of brisket burgers mexican style, with guacamole, carmelized onions, roasted pablano peppers, lettuce, tomato, etc. I made an old family favorite from childhood which was a macaroni green pea salad. It's just like a potato salad but with macaroni and canned green peas. And since we were going to have company I had made a sherbert dessert that was a bit different. But I stored it in the broken freezer and the melted dessert was what greeted me that morning..........waaaaaaaaaa!!!

Hope y'all had a great Memorial Day cookout............

Saturday, June 03, 2006

weekend dog blogging

it's that time of the week again over at sweetnicks'. lately, it seems like i've been posting more about dogs recently than food. anyway, here are my hounds, multy and max, on a recent road trip. they were being unbearably cute.

are we there yet?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Moon shows all ... that's in the fridge

Whew, hope I got this posted in time for Sweetnicks show what's in your fridge. I've had three rounds of visitors for the last three weeks and the last left this morning. Loved each one of them but now back to work.

So what's in my fridge today? This is after all the guest have gone home so not a "filled" as it was last week. I had to put a big green arrow on the bottle of Veuve Clicquot. I don't usually have that in the fridge but one of our thankful guests gave that to us. Can't wait to open it. We just got too busy at little bird's birthday party. I know, shame on me. You'll see there is only one bottle of the brown dog, Newcastle left so must make a grocery run for my ever-lovin'.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

show me yours...

ever since seeing "door knock dinners" on food tv once about 10 years ago, i have always been completely paranoid about what's in my fridge. it was the episode where they brought the iron chefs in to some poor sod's house and the iron chefs were totally snide about the lack of fresh food that americans have in their refrigerators. i'm not paranoid enough to actually keep my fridge nicely stocked, mind you. but, sometimes, when i get back from shopping, i usually think to myself, "oh, i wouldn't be embarassed if the iron chefs showed up today." so, when i read that sweetnicks is hosting her innaugural "i'll show you mine, if you show me yours" event, i couldn't resist. so, here it is, the snap of my fridge:


The three things always in there are dog food, leftovers and beer. one thing that would never be in there: beets.

Grill of My Dreams--Challenge #1 posts

Thanks to all the participants in PBE's first ever food challenge, Grill of My Dreams. Here are a few of the posts we received so far. More to come in second installment.

Gabriella at My Life As A Reluctant Housewife grilled up some Steak Kebabs
with a great photo and we love her note: Remember it is BBQ Season and it is a perfect time to have a party!

Copperpots gave us a Tandoori Grilled Chicken along with a recipe for an onion chutney. Sounds like a complete Indian BBQ. Lea, is that a Newcastle you're drinking with the chicken? Nice touch! Also, thanks for the link to PBE.

Soul Fusion Kitchen asked, "Can there be too much BBQ?" We say no but she did have a huge feast. Check out Sylvie's posts, she is one busy bbq-er. Pork Shoulder, update to the pork shoulder , and the entire menu complete with pictures to drool over. Did Ziggy get any scraps?

Two post from La Vida Dulce one for the dry rubs, both with and without sugar and one for mops and sauces. Thanks for the Cola BBQ sauce, have not seen it in years.

Ok, you're plate should be full for the time being but we'll have more for you soon.