Saturday, June 30, 2007

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
  • E-mail 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.
Our e-mail, if you have any questions about how to send your files.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Guest Chef: Ingrid

Welcome to our guest chef Ingrid. Here she is busy in her kitchen attending to my four-course birthday dinner she and her family hosted for me last weekend.

It was all quite yummy. Here is one of the appetizers served.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Everything You Will Need:
1/2 pound of fresh Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
1 1/4 cups of onion (finely chopped).
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of green bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 pound of fresh mushrooms(medium-sized) (save the caps, remove the stems and chop finely)
1 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper
1 3-ounce package of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
1/4 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
fresh chopped parsley for garnish

In a large skillet, cook the sausage in the olive oil over medium heat for five to six minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage. Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, mushrooms stems, the salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for six or seven minutes or until the onion and bell pepper are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese. Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the butter and the breadcrumbs. Press the stuffed mushroom
caps firmly into the buttered breadcrumbs. Put two tablespoons of water into a nine inch by thirteen inch glass baking dish. Place the mushroom caps in the dish, breaded sides up. Pre- heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until the breadcrumbs are brown. Sprinkle on fresh chopped parsley and serve.

The finish to the meal were these beautiful cupcakes done by one of our other guest chef's Teri.

Editor's note: If you're interested in my other birthday surprises you can visit my blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

RV Birthday dinner

We pulled into Salt Lake City and noticed that we are now on mountain time. So it was a bit late to head to the city. We decided to stay home bound and I would fix Mr Doodles a birthday dinner.

I am still finding cooking in the RV a bit of a challenge for lack of space. I'll adjust, I just had hoped it would have been before now.

The above photo is of noodles, roasted pork and green peas . A similar meal was prepared by sister while we were visiting. And I had remembered how tasty that meal, so I shopped Trader Joe's when we were in Carson City, NV and I was able to find the very same tasty egg noodles that sister used. Tasty because they taste so very fresh. Pork came from Costco, already roasted, sneaky huh! And the peas came outta the freezer.

I re-heated the pork in a skillet with about a 1/4 cup of beef broth, cooked the noodles according to package directions and heated the peas. I know this is not gourmet or anything new but I was darned pleased I could prepare this meal in an RV.

By the way I hope you folks in the US have a Trader Joe's in your of the main reasons I left Florida, no Trader Joes.

To continue about the above meal, Mr Doodles enjoyed his birthday meal, but I think the trip to the Cold Stone Creamery out did my RV meal. Cold Stone refers to a visit to their stores "the ultimate ice cream experience". I will strive to have the ultimate RV meal..........stay tuna'd

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My trip is complete!

No, our trip is not over just got the exclamation mark on it however.

As y'all know food is an important part of our lives and growing up we have such fond memories of favorite foods.

Mine is fried chicken.
Well sister Moon made fried chicken and potato salad tonite for dinner. Damn she fries chicken good. It isn't what you use it's how you use it, technique is the key. Some folks got it and some don't. I don't; sister does. However we make the exact same family potato salad. Nothing fancy, but potatoes, celery, hard boiled eggs. a bit of finely diced onions and mayo. That's it...oh salt and pepper.

We have had just the best time at sister and brother-in-laws. The boys did projects, lord only knows what those were. While sister and I just did what we always do when we are together have the best time. We did play a lot of scrabble, our favorite game.

So off Mr Doodles and I go to Yosemite/Sequoia for a few days. From there, we aren't sure, BUT y'all will be the first to know when we get there.

I'll get back on track posting I promise but time with family is very precious. Stay tuna'd.......

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Please join me in wishing...

my sister Moon a very special
Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June Wing-ding

Our Family Bash was quite fun. We had friends and family and lots of food. Italian was the theme with a sub-theme of being lazy. We cooked some and also saved time with a mixture of store-bought items. All in all, it was a tasty afternoon.

This was the menu:
Artichoke and Red Pepper Bruchetta
Sausage and Bread Spiedini
Meat Ball Sandwiches with Balsamic Onion Relish
Orzo Salad
Antipasta Tray

Cheese Cake with Apricot Glaze

The photo at the left was not food on the table cloth but a clear glass plate that looked like we ate on the table cloth. Honest, we didn't.

The meat ball sandwiches were great with Balsamic Onion Relish, a recipe I found on Acme Instand Food. Thanks, Kevin it was a hit.

I know there has been discussion about using store bought but I have to voice an opinion. Sometimes I just don't have the time to fix everything from scratch. I pick the products I serve my family and friends carefully being aware of food additives; Doodles is mucho allergic to MSG so that is a no no here. Bottled dressing? Yes, when I'm feeding a crowd and there are wonderful products to choose from. I agree most things are better from scratch but only when it makes sense.

Doodles here: I must agree on the store bought versus from scratch. Here is my take on the whole thing. Why have a large gathering of friends and family and spend time in the kitchen preparing? Doesn't make sense to me. Oh yes I am wildly allergic to MSG and one just has to be a label reader cause manufacturers are beginning to use MSG more than in the past few years.

The above mentioned Wing-ding was a blast, but then when we are all together it's always fun. We combined a few birthdays to complete the celebration.

Editors Note: You might wonder, where is our lil bird? Well, she and her darling husband and two doggies did join us, she was one of the birthday celebrators, but she was whisked away on a business trip so has not had time to add to the postings.

Orzo Salad and Antipasta Tray

The Orzo salad was a Doodles creation and it was abundant with fresh items. We went to the Farmer's Market for some but finished at my local market for what was lacking. It had lots of good textures and flavors. This pix doesn't do justice to the bright colors. Here are the ingredients:

  • orzo
  • fresh asparagus, blanched
  • roasted red pepper
  • green onion
  • garbanzo beans, marinated overnight in the dressing, Newman's Own Low-fat Sesame Ginger
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • chopped cilantro

The antipasta was pretty easy, just assemble and serve. It did have my very favorite Mortadella with Pistachios and Garlic. It also included some beautiful Culver City Farmer's Market tomatoes and red peppers.

Sausage, sourdough and red pepper spiedini

These we used as appetizers with a bruchetta of french bread slices toasted with garlic, salt and pepper and spread with Trader Joe's Artichoke and Red Pepper Tapenade mixed with grated Parmesan cheese and broiled until bubbly. Doesn't the color of the red onion just set this off?

  • 6 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup olive oil
This makes more than you need for the spiedini but is good on tossed greens, too.

Whisk first four ingredients in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Skewer pre-cooked sausage and sourdough bread alternately with roasted red peppers and red onion slices; brush liberally with dressing. Grill turning often until sausage is nicely browned.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Irish crystal; Cuban libation

Mojitos have been a favorite of mine for a few years but I rarely found bartenders willing to make them until just recently. They would complain they just didn't have any fresh mint. Last week I found a bottle of pre-made mix from the lovely people who bring you Rose's Lime Juice. It save the trouble of muddling the mint with the sugar and juicing the limes and they are almost as good. I rubbed a few fresh mint leaves between my hands and tossed into the finished product.

This has been an evening ritual for sister Doodles and myself but we have been good and limit it to one refreshing drink before dinner. Of course, they taste all that much better in Waterford Crystal–but doesn't everything?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Latent Heat of Vaporization

What? This happens when liquid changes state to a vapor without any observable change in sensible temperature.

What is it, steam.

This is a filler to let you all know we are still in business, just busy. With Doodles and husband here we've been having way too much fun, some cooking, lots of eating, actually exercising , and nightly Mojitos. We should have some cooking posts, soon.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Creative at 2 below

New challenge, the Deep Freeze Summer Challenge gave me an opportunity to take stock of my freezer. This is what I found, chopped spinach, puff pastry, walnuts, chopped onions and cooked chicken. I also had some frozen sliced cheese and did not know what it was but looked white, maybe Jack.

I did cheat a bit and used some basil but it was from my herb garden, I didn't go to the store.

So, this is what I cooked up from the freezer. Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Toasted Walnut and Basil Pesto.

I sauteed the onion in olive oil then chopped the chicken quite fine and added that to the skillet. Mean while I toasted some walnuts and made a pesto without the cheese and this I added to the chicken. I then added a few handfuls of the spinach and cooked it all for a few minutes. In goes the cheese, oh look, it's Swiss, didn't matter now. Salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

The puff pastry was defrosted so I floured my board and just rolled them out a bit. Filled half of the square and folded into a triangle. On to a cookie sheet and brushed with olive oil and into a hot 400 oven for about ten minutes. Puffed, and lightly browned. The squares were large so I cut the empanadas in half. Quite tasty was my beloved's assessment and I have to admit it was fun to experiment especially when it turned out so good.

Here is a bonus.
I had two left over pastry squares so I rolled them out into a rectangle, brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled some parmesan cheese. I then cut each into about four long pieces and gave each one a few twists then onto a cookie sheet and into the same hot oven.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Three PBE women in one kitchen, finally

Doodles and Company made it to California and specifically my house. Here we are getting busy with the lunch. Photo courtesy of Mr. Doodles.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Vegetarians: please avert your eyes

Our crazy Californio Butchers have a different way of carving up the old beefy animal. Maybe they carve the same but they give them other names. One popular cut of meat here is the tri-tip cut. It is a lovely cut and is the best on the BBQ. I think there is a California statue preventing you from roasting it in the oven.

There is a California tradition; the Santa Maria BBQ. In this sleepy little central California town they take their outdoor BBQ seriously. On Saturdays BBQs are set up on street corners all over the town, most are used as fund-raisers, but it seems like everyone has a grill going. Some of the best are the little "mom & pop" stands. There is something so basically yummy about cooking over a wood fire.

The tri-tops are sliced thin and usually served on French rolls and no BBQ sauce, just fresh salsa. They also make this yummy little bean called the pinquito, a small pinto slow cooked and so flavorful. I drool at the thought. The entire town smells of smoke but in that fun way, not that California-brush-fire, oh my god, the-hills- are-ablaze, way.

The Gypsy Caravan will be here this weekend and I've loaded the freezer with tri-tip, an all time fav of Doodles and Mr Doodles, and we will BBQ to their hearts content. My prep is easy. A good rub either purchased or make your own. Mine has:
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Spanish smoked paprika
  • Ground Cumin
  • Just a bit of brown sugar
  • Ground Fennel
  • Salt and Pepper
Rub down the tri tip liberally and cover and refrigerate 24 hours. I cook mine on the grill slowly in between two burners. There is a bit of fat and I don't want it to burn just slowly baste the roast. As with all meats, let it rest before slicing, Slice across the grain. Now slop on some salsa and dig in.

If you get to the Central Coast of California, Santa Maria is about an hour north of Santa Barbara, make sure it's on a weekend because there is nothing like classic Santa Maria Style BBQ.