Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Casual Christmas Eve

Our Christmas dinner will not be until Saturday. Schedules and other commitments keep us from all getting together on the 25 th but none of us mind having another celebration. We will be one short, sister Doodles is coming but her hunky husband is working, so we'll do without him this year if he promises to come next.

Lil bird and her fella will pick up Doodles at the airport and bring her this afternoon. I have a small dinner planned with tamales as the featured player. This will be a prelude to our Saturday celebration. We are getting together with our dear extended family tonight for dessert and a round of presents.

Last night my husband and I were invited to a Pajama Party for Christmas Eve. It was with our dear extended family, a new boyfriend and his brother, sister-in-law, and seven-year-old son. It was fun to share all the excitement about Christmas that comes with a little person.

Dress was very casual; what you wear to bed and food was breakfast, of course. We had waffles with a variety of toppings and sausages. I made a Green Chile Quiche. I'd not made it in a while but it's one of those recipes that I drag out ever so often. This "bullet-proof" recipe, meaning it's difficult to screw up is not for anyone on a diet so all you healthy cooks, turn away.

Oddly enough the recipe calls for Mocha Mix which is something like fat free half and half but non-dairy. Why they use that I have no idea because with the cheese and cream cheese it's already a cholesterol nightmare. Cut yourself a small slice, if you can it's also quite yummy.

As for wearing pjs to a party, I highly recommend this. When you go home you just have to climb in bed, how great is that?!

Green Chili Quiche
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Mocha Mix (This is something like fat free half and half but non-dairy)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
4 oz. chopped green chilies ( I use fresh but you can use canned)
1 1/2 shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
about 1/2 teaspoon salt if you use fresh chilies
unbaked 10" pie crust

Cut cream cheese in cubes and full the bottom of the crust. On top of cream cheese add the chopped green chilies. Mix the two shredded cheeses together and add to pie pan. Beat eggs, add Mocha Mix dry mustard, and salt and pour over the cheese. I gently push the cheese under the egg mixture. Bake 400 for 15 minutes then turn oven down to 375 for 1 hour or until done in the center. Best to let it cool for at least 20 minutes so it easy to cut.

I usually put foil around the edges of the pie crust until the last 30 minutes to keep the edges from getting too brown.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And the tradition continues

Go check out this very same blog I did exactly a year ago. I just love this soup and I will continue to make this every Christmas eve cause it is so good. Sorta like the tradition of the broccoli casserole we do for Thanks giving. http://pbetouffee.blogspot.com/2006/12/christmas-eve-lite.html Wish you all a very Merry and a very Happy!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Holiday treat

I have received these little toffee cookie gems as a gift, for several years now. And this year the recipe accompanied the item. I could not believe that saltine crackers were used in this tasty treat.

Some people use saltine crackers others use graham crackers which I did. These taste something like a heath bar. I'm sure you could use the white chocolate morsels, or the butterscotch. And the nuts could vary as well. But whatever and however you make them you'll love em.

I made these last nite to tuck into a gift basket....Perfect!!!


  • 4 ounces saltine crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
  3. In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chocolate; as inspiration

Sure, some artists work in oils, or pastel, or watercolor but I thought I'd try something a bit different. Chocolate is my new medium and, as you can see, this piece is performance art. It all came about while I was melting chocolate in a glass bowl over water. Like a ninny I lifted the bowl, steam escaped and scalded my hand, and I dropped the bowl on the floor. What did I do? I called my sister Doodles to commiserate while I waited for the chocolate to cool enough to clean up. It was one of my favorite bowls I broke.

Kitchens are dangerous places and though I'm aware of the physics of boiling water producing steam, I was in a hurry. Since the holidays create more activity in the kitchen make sure you take a little extra time do things carefully.

What's been your worst kitchen disaster?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Excellent leftover meal

I am not big on leftovers but I had a very hefty piece of roast beef I was contemplating what to do with. Leftover beef soft tacos came to mind but that is pretty much a usual thing around this household.

While cruising around all my favorite food blogs I came upon KaylynsKitchen blog on her Leftover Roast Beef Italian Stew. Her photo caught my eye but the recipe kept me there.

Following is the original recipe - my changes are in red

1/2 onion chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped (or more) I used red pepper because that is what I had on hand
1 T olive oil
8-10 oz. leftover roast beef or steak (about 1 1/2 cups diced beef cubes)
2 cups beef stock (or 1 can beef broth plus a little water) I used the low sodium
1 cup slow roasted tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes) I used the fire roasted Muir Glen
1/2 T dried oregano
1/2 T dried basil
garlic your choosing
1 cup mushrooms, cut in large chunks I had sliced mushrooms
1-3 T chopped fresh basil (or frozen chopped basil.) I used the frozen very handy

Cut onion and green pepper into 3/4inch pieces, and roast beef and mushrooms into 1 1/2 inch pieces. In heavy dutch oven type pot, saute onions in olive oil for 3 minutes, add green pepper and saute 3 minutes more. Add beef, stock, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and mushrooms, reduce heat to very low, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired. Add fresh basil when stew has cook to desired consistency and cook 5-10 minutes more. Serve hot.

I also had some warm crusty Italian bread that was perfect for soppin the juices.

And no I didn't take a photo - go look at Kaylyn's, looked just like that but different bowls. This is very tasty for a cool nite meal and so very easy.

Thanks Kaylyn ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quick Snack

Heart of the Matter is asking for entries this month for recipes that are quick and easy and, as always, Heart Healthy. I have just the thing, a quick little snack that appeals to children as well as adults. I use Lebneh cheese, a soft yogurt cheese similar to cream cheese but with less fat but you can use fat free cream cheese.

Apples with Dip
8 ounces Lebneh cheese, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1/2 cup orange juice
4 apples, cored and sliced.

This makes enough for 4-6 servings.

Drizzle orange juice over the apples to prevent browning and combine the other ingredients until smooth. Serve the apples ice cold.

Monday, December 03, 2007

December Food Bloggy Pets

There seems to be some confusion about our Food Bloggy Pets of the Month.
The reason we do this is to:
  • Get new people reading your blog
  • Get new people reading our blog
  • See some adorable pix of dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, birds, (you get the picture)
So, to make this work all you need to do is:
  • Post your photo of your pet on your blog, hopefully with a food related entry
  • Have a link to PBE on that post
  • Send us the permalink; the link that goes just to that entry
  • Send a small photo of your pet for our page
  • PBE will post all these links and photos together for all to see
  • Visitors to our site click to find a wonderful new Food Blog
  • You get to share the love of your life
  • We get to see some furry faces. Or feathered, or scaly. We are still waiting for someone to produce a reptile photo.
Here are December's Food Bloggy Pets.

This is from Christine at La Vida Dulce. We are going to forgive her for not following the plan because she's been gone from blogging for a while and we did miss her postings. Here is a post about her new kitteh. I love the pix, "I shall allow you to photo but I shall not look at your camera."

This is Penny Lane, our found/adopted Siamese kitty. When she first arrived, she had to be hand-fed, so tiny and frail. The thought of someone tossing her out like a piece of trash in the street still breaks our hearts.

Michael and his friend Ethan found her, brought her in and of course, I couldn't say no. She allows us to live in this house, and this photo shows off her feline attitude. Her nickname is Monster, named after the Charlize Theron character in the movie.

Since her arrival, all of the male pets have either met their demise or were chased off. She is a scrappy little fighter and it is a challenge to keep her inside the house. The only one safe is the iguana, but she has her eye on him. However, being a fickle female, she can be coaxed with the sound of the pop top from a little can of kitty food that gets mixed in with the dry stuff. All of a sudden she's all sweetness and purrs.

Her saving grace is that she's an excellent bug catcher, no need for Black Flag or Raid around this place. But we just love her!

Peanut Butter Étouffee section of Food Bloggy Pets

These two sweeties, Max and Multi, live with Maltese Parakeet and her main squeeze. They just happen to be Maltese Terriers. Coincidence? Lil bird's great-grand-dad did come from Malta.

Multi can look very sad when he wants to. Looks like he's trying to melt into the floor. Max, on the other hand, is looking suspiciously at the camera. He questions everything. "You are taking my photo for some reason and I'll just have to find out."

Ah, this cat has the life, right? You can be assured this guy, Buddy the Cat, is treated like royalty. He has his own 28 ft. fifth-wheel trailer. Here he is resting after traveling 18,000 miles this year.

Driver and food provider are our very own Doodles and her hunky husband. You can read all about this Buddy's adventures at Tombstone Tumbleweed.

Last, but hardly least, is Buddy the Dog. This pretty scruffy looking snap of him was taken by Doodles while we were all camping in November. He says, "You could have washed by face for the photo."

While he's an even tempered pooch he is looking a little serious here. Possibly he's thinking of Boycotting Burger King.

Remember, if you want to get in for January, send you permalink by the end of December. We need more pets!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The e-mail lines are now open

Food Blog Awards nominations are open until Wednesday, December 5 so if you have a blog you'd like to nominate click on over to Well Fed Network for all the info.

This really isn't a veiled request for a nomination. We've been slackers this year when it comes to posting but we promise to step up the posts. There are some pretty sophisticated Food Blogs on the 'net these days. If you visit one regularly you should nominate them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Almost a Tuscan Sunday

Ilva at Lucllian delights made a Tuscan Kale Fritatta last week and that must of been on my mind Sunday morning. I was cooking up some chicken breakfast sausages when I remembered I had some kale in the fridge. I'd made a quick soup and kale can make a simple soup ever so hardy. I like the flavor more than spinach. My kale wasn't from Tuscany but it was tasty none the less.

I chopped the kale and sauteed it in the pan I'd cooked the sausages, then add a bit of water and turned up the fire. When the liquid had evaporated I added back the chopped sausage, small cubes of cheese, some fresh thyme, and beaten eggs. I like the cubed cheese because it leaves oozy little pockets of melted cheese in the frittata.

A little salt and pepper and a quick set of the eggs then under the broiler to brown the top and onto a warm plate. This was much better than the scrambled eggs I'd promised my beloved. He liked it better, too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reminder for pet photos!

We want to see our food blog friends whether they are furry, feathery or scaly so post a photo of your pet and don't forget a link back to us. Then send your permalink to our e-mail, pbetouffee@gmail.com.

Deadline for December's Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts is November 30th (or so).

Then everyone drop by the first week in December to see who's who at the zoo.

A big thanks to Sweetnicks for adding our event to Sticky Dates.

Monday, November 26, 2007

thanksgiving - part 2

thanksgiving dinner
Originally uploaded by lornababy
check out that steam!

as we all know, the majority of the pbetouffee family had thanksgiving a few weeks back - without me. not one to go without my turkey and fixin's on turkey day, i had mother moon and my pa over for a little meal on thursday afternoon. we also had my bunky's dad over and took in a family-less quebecois for the day, as well. of course, there was the standard turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and, our family standby, broccoli casserole. new additions this year were braised brussels sprouts with pancetta and bertha's corn pudding from miss sylvie's soul fusion kitchen. the corn pudding was great, i think we're going to put that one in regular holiday rotation. mooncrazy brought the pumpkin pie and a good time was had by all. hope everyone's thanksgiving was just as great!

here's the family broccoli casserole recipe. it is so not low fat, but who cares!

10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli
10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs
butter for top

defrost broccoli, drain well. stir together soup and cheese,
gradually add milk, mayo and egg. stir until well blended. pour over
broccoli in casserole. sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter.

bake 350 until heated and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Addendum from Moon,
In an earlier post, Doodles talked about our early Thanksgiving dinner. Although we missed lil bird and her husband not being with us, we did have a fine dinner, complete with all the trimmings. There is a dish the West Coast portion of the family would not think of leaving out of our holiday feast, Broccoli Casserole. Doodles prepared it when we were visiting them in Connecticut in the early 80s. My family loved it. Lil bird was much lil-er at the time and broccoli was her favorite so this recipe was taken home to California. Our father, who was a great cook, ate it at our house and it then appeared at each Thanksgiving dinner there after.

Jump to our recent Thanksgiving in the desert. All three of us, Mary, Doodles and myself prepared our meal and when it came to the casserole we were quite shocked when Doodles didn't recognize her recipe. What?! Although we'd spent many a Christmas holiday together, we'd not done Thanksgiving so our small tradition was unknown to the East Coast contingency of the family. We had a good laugh. I can't tell the amount of times I'd served this recipe and gave my sister credit.

This Thanksgiving, at lil bird wonderful dinner, we ate broccoli casserole as she explained the tradition to new guests at their table. The tradition continues.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brussel Sprouts

Now don't turn up your nose like I used to. I also understand that brussel sprouts are one of the healthiest foods. just try this very, very easy method.

About 1 to 1 1/2 lb brussel sprouts

3 cloves of chopped garlic
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil


clean the brussel sprouts by cutting off the ends and any icky looking leaves, then cut the brussel sprout in half. Put all the sprouts in a bowl to coat with the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Place said sprouts on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle the sliced garlic to inter mix with the sprouts. Now if y'all are not garlic lovers leave it out. Place the baking sheet with the sprouts in a hot oven 400* is good, for about 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them cause they can burn quickly depending on your oven temp, so when you peek on them shake the pan a bit. You want them browned to give you the nutty flavor but not burnt to ruin the taste.

Serve immediately. You may also add crispy bacon or pancetta when sprouts are completed. I didn't take a photo of the completed sprouts cause dinner was ready and these are not good cold.

As a side note...
If you want to add a bit of zing to your mashed potatoes next time, add about a 1/4 cup of shaved manchego cheese adds an amazing flavor.

Hope your Thanksgiving, if celebrated, was wonderful. Now on to the Christmas holidays. Do remember to come back often, cause this family has some amazing goodies to share.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You do know that Thanksgiving can be celebrated anytime

And that we did!!!

It seems Sister Moon and her hunky husband, my Mr Doodles, stepmomma, oh and me, were all together last week. We missed niece Lil Bird and her Big Bird husband cause they are off to a conference in some far away place.

Anyway we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving last Friday. And we did it with all the trimmings. Well all the trimmings that we do as a family unit.

The bird was done on the grille, potatoes cooked for mashing, apple salad, sausage stuffing/dressing, and sister moon made some to die for turkey gravy. A little wine was served and of course dessert, compliments of Marie Callender's, which is a local pie shoppe. Our choice was a lemon cream cheese pie in a graham cracker crust with whipped cream as a topping naturally.

So HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our visiting friends.

This is Moon and I'm adding my two cents here. We didn't miss having our obligatory morning Mimosa while we did the prep for dinner. We also learned a new card game, we love games, and that kept us busy all day long in between fussing with preparing dinner.

The turkey is a tradition my father started a very long time ago. They live in Palm Desert and the temp is usually in the 80s that time of year so why cook a bird in the oven, the BBQ is much easier. It's quite easy.

There are many ways to do this but here is what my Dad always did. Prepare the bird like you do for the oven but no stuffing. Instead we do celery, sage, and rosemary but most any herbs would do. Season it, rub some oil on the dried skin and roast on a pan on the grill. We start about 400 then turn it down to about 325. Just cook it as long as you would cook an unstuffed bird in the oven. If it starts to brown too much, tent with foil. Check with a meat thermometer, I like 150/160 for the breast. Of course there is always the "wiggle the leg" test, too, then let rest for at least thirty minutes. It give you time to have one more Mimosa.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Food Bloggy Pets for November

We have one exceptional Food Bloggy Pet, that's Buddy-cat who is part of Doodles' Gypsy Caravan. Seems Buddy likes his morning grits. Who doesn't want something warm in their tummy on a chilly November morn.

Want to see your pet here? Don't forget to send us a post for December. Be creative.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Just a reminder--

We want to see our food blog friends whether they are furry, feathery or scaly so post a photo of your pet and don't forget a link back to us. Then send your permalink to our e-mail, pbetouffee@gmail.com.

Deadline for November's Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts is October 30th (or so).

Then everyone drop by around the 1st of November to see who's who at the zoo.

A big thanks to Sweetnicks for adding our event to Sticky Dates.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Something for the Candyman--challenge

I saw this Challenge advertised on Laura Rebecca's Kitchen and decided I'd try a recipe I've had around for a while. The host for this challenge is Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. The big ingredient should be sugar so what a fine time to test my Grandmother, Lavonne's Sugar Pie.

This is a pie she'd make to use up the leftover pie dough. I'm not sure of the origin but she made it when her kids were little and I suppose her mother made it for her. My uncle called it Vaseline pie because of the texture and color, it is a bit pale. This made me reluctant to eat it as a kid but once I did I was a fan for life. To me it tastes a bit like the base for pecan pie, without the pecans. I've seen variations that use brown sugar but never this exact recipe. It's sweet and make sure you don't overcook it.

Lavonne's Sugar Pie
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oleo
2 cups boiling water

Mix together then add one tablespoon of oleo (margarine or butter). Add 2 cups of boiling water, slowly while stirring. Stir until everything is dissolved. Pour into 8-9 inch unbaked pie crust. (I used a tart pan) Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Bake 350 degrees until filling is just set in center--it should jiggle a bit--about 45-50 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

I remember she kept the leftovers in the ice box but with only sugar and a bit of margarine I can't understand why. If you do, let come to room temp before serving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Soups on!

The weather has dipped into the 60s which is a sure sign of fall in Southern California. Another sign, we're getting the dreaded Santa Ana Winds. Now before the winds do hit, they usually send the temps skyrocketing, I felt in the need for some tummy-warming soup.

The cafeteria at the Getty Center is very good, for institutional food, and they really excel in the soup category. After trying one last week I came home to create a new one. I just never thought of combining the beans with potato but the taste and flavors work well together.

Garbanzo bean and potato soup with kale

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup diced potato--I used red skinned
about 1 lb of browned sausage--I used chorizo
1/2 cup diced onion, sauteed
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed--I like Crimini
1/2 cup chopped and seeded tomato
about a cup of fresh kale, chopped into bit sized pieces
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
salt and pepper

This was simmered for about an hour. The kale is 'scratchy' if you under cook it.

This soup is pretty much a meal in a bowl, which I like on busy nights, and I'm lucky enough to have a husband who thinks the same. He's quite easy to please. Just add some garlic bread and he's been served dinner. Oh, and make sure there's dessert after.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Let's hear from you

The question was asked, "What if every blog published a post discussing the same issue, on the same day?

Today is Blog Action Day and since we are three women concerned with the environment I'm starting a post and hope we get a comment or two. Our question is,

"What do you do to help the environment?"

So use this post to tell the world what you do and then pass this on to anyone; everyone. Let's get talking and working before it's too late.

It's all up to us to help out where we can. Can't think of anything new? Here are fifty ways to leave your old habits behind.

Here are just a few post from PBE that support a better environment.
Here comes the sun
Easy summer supper
You gonna use that?
Kermit was wrong, it's easy being green
Rooftop garden

Saturday, October 13, 2007

yes, i'm alive

i apologize for being such a flake, but i've been quite busy with my [ahem] "career." it appears that i have, perhaps unwittingly, put some things in motion that are taking my career to the "next level," and have triggered things like meetings, conference calls, schmoozing, speaking engagements, etc...oh, and, allegedly keeping up with my clients, as well. i'm trying not to panic. obviously, i haven't been cooking a ton. in fact, for dinner last night, we ate something embarrassing and that something rhymes with shmaco shmell. i'm not proud. add that to the fact that our wireless router, which was less than a year old, took a total crap so my internet was basically out. we spent about a month or so trying to trace the problem and then about a month or so in denial about it before we finally broke down and ordered a new one. anyway, all this complaining is by way of explaining that the last couple of months have been a perfect storm for me not posting on pbe.

during the time of broken internet, i did cook a few things and save pictures, so i'll have a few things to put up soon. here's the first one: baked cod with panko crust.

panko cod

i've never tried panko bread crumbs at home. cate over at sweetnicks l-o-v-e-s them, so i finally broke down and tried them. i didn't think the cod was too bad, but i don't think my husband loved the result. the rest of the plate was pretty tasty, though: quinoa cooked in chicken broth with rosemary, garlic and olive oil; white beans with sage and balsamic brown butter; and homegrown tomatoes with balsamic, olive oil and basil. all the herbs were from my herb garden.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't give up on us

We have no excuse other than we are slugs with this food blog lately. If we were to offer something it would be our busy, odd schedules that seem to rule our lives. Doodles, taken by the Gypsies, Lil Bird, chained to her desk and me, well, I am trying to get noticed in the art world; make that art county.

Other blogs seem to run smoothly with loads of photos and recipes while ours languishes with past successes. I'd be embarrassed to show what I've been cooking lately. Throwing a chicken breast on the BBQ and opening a bag of salad with, I know, the horror--bottled dressing. We haven't even been eating out unless you count the takeout from Baja Fresh.

The approaching holidays scare the bejebus out of me. I always cook up quite a pile of Christmas goodies for friends--can't disappoint them--but can't find the time, either. I'm sure it will all come together, it always seems to.

Will we get back to it? I've confidence we will. All three of us have a love for cooking; eating, too so life will settle after a while and out of that dust should come some great recipes.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October Food Bloggy Pets

We have a new pets this month from Sarah at What Smells So Good? A dog and two cats that came by way of rescue from Petsmart. This is just one of her kittehs, named Bitt. Click on the link for pix of the rest. Good for you Sarah and welcome to Food Bloggy Pets for October.

Next is my very own Buddy-dog all done up in his Halloween costume. I know, it's a shame to do this to him but it's too cute to pass up.

Buddy only sat still for this photo session because I had treats in my hand other wise he tries to hide from me. It's a wonder he doesn't kill me in my sleep.

Last, but certainly not least, is Buddy-cat the traveling companion to our Doodles and her hunky husband. Buddy-cat is waiting patiently for the little trick-or-treaters to show up so he can jump them for their candy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Almost there, but not quite

This is from Cute Overload and will have to do until tomorrow when I post our Food Bloggy Pets for October. So if you've missed the deadline you have another day.

Who can look and this and not smile!?

Friday, September 28, 2007

indispensable kitchen tool

accidental hedonist has a new poll over at her site asking what is your favorite tool in your kitchen. the kitchenaid stand mixer seems to rank pretty high in the comments, but the hands down winner in the poll is the humble knife. i couldn't agree more and i'm thrilled to have an opportunity to post a picture that i took of my favorite tool in my kitchen: my ceramic chef's knife. these were a present from my bunky about seven years ago and i love them to pieces. they're ceramic, so they don't need to be honed with a steel, but they stay super sharp. you're supposed to get them sharpened once a year, but the bummer is you have to send them back to the manufacturer to do it, because they need a special sharpening wheel (diamond, i think). that being said, i've been able to get away with getting them sharpened every two years with no problem.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When in Rome......

well not really Rome, we are in Southern New Mexico. And the abundance of FRESH, I say FRESH ingredients is an absolute thrill.

So finding my way thru a local market I spotted fresh made tortilla's.
Well there is my dinner menu tostada's.

This layered meal can be vegetarian, made with seafood it's your choice, BUT try to go with the freshest products. And of course an adult beverage is a good choice such as my favorite cerveza, Corona.

A tostada is a layered Mexican one dish meal, such as the one posted on the site.

Mine consisted of the following:

a fresh flour tortilla fried crisp
spread with heated refried beans
cooked ground beef, shredded beef or chicken
shredded lettuce
grated cheese, cheddar or jack

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ghoulies and Ghosties …

… and long legged beasties

Here is your only chance to dress your pet for a good reason, Halloween! On your blog post please a wonderful pix of you furry, hair, or scaly friend and don't forget a link back to us. Oh, if you don't dress your pet, send your link anyway, we love to see all those faces.

We'll be collecting the next Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts for October so get your permalinks sent by the 29th (or so) of September. Send them to our e-mail, pbetouffee@gmail.com.

Then everyone drop by around the 1st of October to see things that go bump in the night.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You have to break some eggs

No secret, I'm a fan of America's Test Kitchen, both the website and the PBS show, so for my beloved's birthday this week I thought I'd try their Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake. I'm not putting in the recipe because it is quite long but it is so worth the trouble, especially the frosting.

I've always been insecure baking 'scratch' cakes but this one has make me feel quite accomplished. For best results you need to beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick, almost like pancake batter. This gives the cake a wonderful light texture, well that, and the fact their are four eggs and two more egg yolks. Did I tell you this isn't low fat?

There is a bit of a trick to the frosting, too. To begin with, it takes a pound of chocolate. Wow, what's not to like. It's a ganache but beaten until fluffy. You must cool the frosting down to 70 degrees over a bowl of ice water before beating. If it is too warm it won't fluff and too cold it seizes. Don't let this keep you from trying this cake; the effort will give you your reward. My frosting was a tiny bit too soft so after frosting, I refrigerated the cake to 'set' the frosting, then left it our about an hour before serving.

The "kids" across the street came by to enjoy this creation and loved it, as did the birthday boy. But I have just one question, is anyone else this messy?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greeting's from the road

I am sure our faithful readers are sick of hearing about Tito's, our favorite taco joint in Los Angeles. Well my sweet husband and I are traveling the country in our RV and have come across a restaurant that would and could compete with Tito's.

While in Oklahoma City we were told to go visit Bricktown, which is the Okie version of San Antonio's RiverWalk. Well it's not very big and is enlarging as I type. But it has great potential.

Anyway we get out of the truck right smack dab in front of this Mexican restaurant. Ahhhh omens gotta love em. Chileno's is a sit down establishment with and excellent large menu. I settled on carnitas which is a favorite and Mr Doodles ordered a combo plate of green chile buritto, cheese enchilada, two taco's, boy does have an appetite. Glad he did cause I got to taste his taco pictured below. We each said as we took a bite of that taco......"hmmmmmmmm Tito's".

As a bonus and just for sister Moon I ordered a sopapilla. This was absolutely the best one I have had so far. I am so lucky that Mr Doodles is not fond of this taste treat - he has NO idea what he is missing. Look at the honey dripping down the sides and when they come out of the hot oil cinnamon and sugar are sprinkled on - what is not to like. Had to do and extra power walk after this.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Take the survey

Not long after the pet food from China was in the news for killing a number of cat and dogs here in the states I realized I had this bottle of apple juice in my pantry. If you can't read the stamped on label it say: Concentrate from China. It still sits on my shelf; staring at me.

In the market today I noticed two bins of garlic. One filled with loose heads and the other with three heads packaged together. The packaged garlic stated it was a product of China.

Huh? I live in California and Gilroy, the Garlic Capital, is close, well closer than China. Where does that garlic go? I do understand the global economy but we can't get apple juice and garlic from the west coast? Washington is just brimming with apples, where does that juice go?

China seems to be on the end of some serious recalls from pet food to children's toys. It makes me uneasy to think of food being prepared in countries with safety standards not up to ours. Give me good ole American fresh spinach any time. Oh wait, China doesn't seem to have the market cornered on food contamination. How soon we forget.

So I'm back to my original question, would you drink this? Please take the little survey on the left. I'm really interested in what you have to say.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A juicy drink

This is easier than opening a carton from the market, well, almost as easy. I love limes and we have just an abundance in the markets this summer. The ginger gives it a bit of a punch and it is very thirst-quenching. I put cut up limes in my water when it's real hot, too.

Gingery Limeade
Cooking Light

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger (don't substitute!)
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 cold water

Combine first four ingredients in a small pan, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Give it a bit of heat, if needed. Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher. Add juice and 2 1/2 cups cold water through the sieve, discard the ginger and lime zest. Chill completely.

A few pretty slices of lime couldn't hurt and I suppose a bit o' rum would be nice, too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I cooked............

I know, I know this is a food blog. But being in an RV traveling around the country and cooking is just not what I had in mind.

I love to cook but I had a bit of adjustment to my NEW kitchen. The stove is tiny as is the oven. I have ordered a new microwave/convection oven. But my most treasured purchase would be my electric skillet. Yep!!! Amazing because I had never used an electric skillet 'til now.

Who knows what made me think of getting one. My mom used one for years maybe it was remembering that skillet sitting on her counter.

Anyway, we arrived mid afternoon at our destination of Little Rock. I decided I had items in the fridge to cover dinner.
I started by cooking some sweet Italian sausage in some beef broth, adding a chopped red pepper and one cube of garlic*. I had some frozen meatballs which are a Mr Doodles favorite. Put all of the above in the skillet along with Trader Joe's starter tomato sauce and simmered to meld the flavors for a good half hour. Meantime I cooked up a bit of penne pasta. Toasted some cheese bread with a garlic parmesan cheese paste and Voila a meal that I could be proud of cooking.

I'll get better at this I hope so stay tuna'd.........

*cube garlic is an itty bitty piece of compressed garlic that comes frozen in a package of a dozen I think. I got this package in Canada but sister moon says that Trader Joe's also carries this product.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Food to keep you from rusting

Because she's concerned with her family's health, lil bird sent a list of ten items that would instantly upgrade your health. Her father has had a time with his cholesterol and this had some good ideas. He's also been watching his calorie intake so the Cabbage reference jumped out at me. Not that cabbage will reduce your cholesterol, no it's more of an antioxidant, but it can be combined with other helpful ingredients that will.

This article also had a great explanation of the term antioxidants. "Just as the name suggests antioxidants keep your cells from oxidation. Think of oxidation as rust."

I served this last night for some friends and it got rave reviews and hopefully none of my guest are rusting this morning.

Asian-style slaw
4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sriacha, an Asian chili sauce (I used BBQ sauce)
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup toasted peanuts
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

I made the dressing and added some Tabasco chipotle hot sauce, about a teaspoon. Then marinated a can of rinsed garbanzo beans for about an hour in the dressing. I mixed this all together and chilled for 30 minutes before serving. I'd never tasted "sriacha" so I'm not sure how spicy it is but I tasted the dressing along the way to get the right "bite."

Monday, September 03, 2007

September Pets

We've just a few pets this month but I think we can blame that on the busy Summer time. If you have a pet don't forget to send us a link to their photo on your blog.

We'll be collecting the next Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts for October so get your permalinks sent by the 29th (or so) of September. Send them to our e-mail.

We know we can't get enough of Ziggy at Soul Fusion Kitchen and looks like he can't get enough, either. Summertime is tough on our little friends and Ziggy's short 'do is just the ticket for these blistering Southern California days.

Check Sylvie's blog for some great recipes, too. Ziggy is just a bonus.


Here's one of our own, lil bird's Multi. He owns anything he can get into or on top of.

"I'm in your office, watchin' you work."

Next is Buddy Cat who is the traveling companion to our own Doodles and Mr Doodles. As you know, they are on a long adventure traveling the Americas in a RV. They are heading to Memphis, Tennessee an area known for BBQ.

Check out her post and find out why the cat's in the tub.

Ok, you might be asking, where is Buddy dog. Well he's over on my other blog, French Benefits. He had a run in with a pet care product. So if you are a dog owner and use flea prevention products you might want to check out what happened to our pooch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Calling all pets

Just a reminder--

On your blog post please a wonderful pix of you furry, hair, or scaly friend and don't forget a link back to us. We'll be collecting the next Food Bloggy Pets of the Month posts for September so get your permalinks sent by the 29th (or so) of August. Send them to our e-mail, pbetouffee@gmail.com.

Then everyone drop by around the 1st of September to see who we've corralled.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

baby shower food

first off, my apologies for being m.i.a. on this blog for so long. june 12 - july 31 was a black hole in my life due to some crazy s&*% going on at work - thank you department of homeland security. then i took a week off to hibernate. then i tried my hand at a little party planning and small-time catering, which kept me busy cooking, but with no time to post.

anyway, the reason for the party planning is that my good friend sarah is having her first baby, so i was happy to co-host a baby shower with another friend. sarah's expecting a little boy and, as she and her husband are true bruins, the colors planned for the new addition to the family is blue and yellow. i went with a rubber ducky theme for the party...

rubber ducky centerpiece
rubber ducky centerpiece

more rubber duckies
more rubber duckies

the buffet
the buffet

for the food, i planned a pan-asian theme, which was a good reason to make cool salads and hors d'oeuvres that would also complement the family specialty egg rolls and fried rice that sarah's sister planned to make. here's what the final menu looked like:

tofu satay with peanut dipping sauce
tofu satay with peanut dipping sauce

ellie's sweet & spicy soy chicken wings
kitchen wench's sweet & spicy soy chicken wings

chinese chicken salad
chinese chicken salad

asian beef noodle salad
asian beef noodle salad

the chicken salad didn't follow any particular recipe, just shredded iceberg lettuce and napa cabage, topped with shredded chicken (costco rotisserie chickens rule!), sliced almonds, toasted sesame seeds, scallions and fried wontons and served with feast from the east salad dressing - a westside favorite. the asian beef noodle salad was a combination of a few different recipes for the dressing for the bean thread noodles and the sliced beef and served on a bed of spinach and garnished with basil, mint, cilantro, carrots and scallions.

for dessert, we had cupcakes...

cupcake tower

ducky cupcakes
duckies up close

the cupcakes were yellow cake with buttercream frosting piped on with a pastry bag and topped with rubber duckies molded out of wilton's candy. mooncrazy found me a cool cupcake stand to make out of styrofoam disks, ribbon and wrapping paper. to be honest, i cheated with the buttercream and used frostin' pride, which comes in a milk carton in the frozen section at smart and final. you thaw it out and then whip it up with your mixer. it's very easy and the frosting is lite and not overly sweet.

anyway, a good time was had by all and there were tons of leftovers to eat all week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What a tasty leftover

While we were visiting our friends in Canada, they had a get together with friends out at our campsite. We ended up with 30 + friends and a fantastic BBQ. Nothing special but burgers and hot dogs on the grill, salads, my well known hoosier style potato salad, that sister I believe posted here on PBE. But the best part was the fresh corn on the cob. Wow!!! Dear friend Beverly J brought the corn, way too much I might add, and enjoyed by all.

There lies the reason for this post. What does one do with left over cooked corn on the cob. Well, the next day my husbands family came to visit. I took all the corn off the ears, combined that cooked corn with chopped fresh tomatoes, a bit of cilantro and made a cold salad. What a hit that was. I suppose you could add a salad dressing of your choice such as an oil and vinegar type. But certainly not needed with fresh corn. I'll see if I have a photo but I'm sure you get the picture. And when you have some left over corn try this if you haven't already cause it's a tasty leftover.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An all-American condiment

These are so easy. If you've never made pickles try this one. I found the recipe in the back of Cooking Light.

I used the small pickling cukes because I like their flavor. Sometimes the bigger ones can have a bitter flavor. If you do use the standard cucumber make sure the skins have not been waxed.

*I was out of mustard seeds so I used a half teaspoon of Creole Mustard from a jar.

6 cups thinly slice pickling cucumbers (about 2 lbs.)
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds*
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced.

Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl, top with 1 cup onion. Repeat with remaining cukes and onions.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook one minute. Pour over cucumber and onions; let cool. Cover and chill at least four days in fridge. I removed mine from the bowl and put in a tall glass quart canning jar. It took up less room in the refrigerator.

Next time I make these I think I'll add some small peppers because I love the hot and sweet flavors together.

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fish & Chips Canada style

One thing I do look forward to when visiting our friends is dining on good fish and chips. And dang they sure are good here.

Now I must also say that some folks up here eat gravy on their fries, ahemmmmmm!!!

But I being the true pseudo Canadian that I am, eh!!! I enjoy good malt vinegar on my fries.

Now I hate posting these photos of the fish cause my sweet sister moon is horribly allergic to fish of any kind.