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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tell the world: I wanna be "Iron Foodie"!!!!!

Ok, all... here's the thing... There's a website out there (Foodie Blogroll), that wants to give food bloggers a chance to "Iron Chef" in a way! It's very very cool. Foodies, like Mr. Badabing here, will receive secret ingredients, and then have a few days to come up with stellar recipes, and post them to their blog, complete with artsy photos and all... AND IT'S A COMPETITION!!! THAT'S RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!!!! REALLY!

You know already, they are afraid to have me compete. I'd blow the competition outta the kitchen and back to the sinks do WASH MY DISHES!!!!

So, in addition to just WANTING to do this... I have to post answers to their in-depth Dateline-like research, in to the various foodies that want to do this... This is all in preparation for my Oprah appearance, I'm certain!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

1) Write a blog post answering these questions by November 5th, 2010:

Why do you want to compete in this challenge?

Cuz I ROCK my chef's coat!!! I'm dead sexy in it! And, I can't compete on Food Network, and I have the creativity, the spunk, the attitude, the "chops" (pun intended!!!)... I can be sooooooooooo creative...

Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?

The Swedish Chef of course! I want to find out what the heck he's been saying all these years! AND~ how cool of a kitchen is his??? Food flies around in the air, on the floor, everywhere there's food, and MAGICALLY- a gorgeous meal shows up! He doesn't try to keep his kitchen clean while cooking, like I do!!!

What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?

I'd tell you, but I'd have to kill you! I can't let that out! My family and friends read this blog!!! They'd quit ordering it!

Sum your childhood up in one meal.

Oh, God... my mom can attest to this (I'm a better cook than she is!). It's going to be overcooked sirloin steak, canned green beans, baked potato, all on a paper plate! Every time you cut in to something, you eat PAPER!!!

The one mainstream food you can’t stand?
MISO!!!! Not a big fan... not so much...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Channeling my inner Paula Dean...

So, I have spent my afternoon today channeling my inner Paula Dean, yawwwl... I made ginger cookies, and barbeekew sawwzz... and reeeeebz... Since I was making homemade bbq sauce, I figured I'd share. Now, this is a bit sweet, but it's got bite too! Go easy... (P.S.~ I had originally forgot the chipotle... so I've added it here, 10/30/10.)

Mr. Badabing's BBQ Sawssss

Makes about 4 cups, leaving some to freeze for next time!!! Whoooo hoooooo!!!

1/2          Onion, minced
1 stalk     Celery, minced
2 T          Garlic, minced (about 3 cloves, maybe 4)
4             Piquillo peppers, chopped (you can find these in the frozen food section; they're smokey, red peppers)
2 T          Canola oil

3/4 C       Ketchup
1/2 C       Brown sugar, packed
1/2 C       Molasses
2 C          Water
1/2 C       Red wine vinegar
1/8 C       Worstershire sauce
1 C          Dr. Pepper (or root beer, or Pepsi)
2 T          Montreal steak seasoning
1 t           Hickory or smoked salt
2 t           Cumin
Pinch       Thyme
Pinch       Ground sage
1 T          hot sauce (Tabasco)
Pinch       Cayenne (go easy!)
1/2          Ice Cube Chipotle
Ok, remember, I buy a can of Chipotle in adobo sauce, use what I need and freeze the rest. A little goes a long way, so it doesn't take much here. I'd suggest using HALF of an ice cube first, and seeing if after 10 minutes of simmering if you've got the smokey-ness and heat you want. You can always add heat, but you can't take it out.

One more thing here~ if you like sweet ribs and chicken, and are putting a sweet rub on your meets (sweeeeeeeet, like with brown sugar!), then you can jack up the heat on the sauce a bit, because you'll have a great balance in the end. 

One last thing, I promise!!! Maybe... Ok, this would be great over burritos... mmmmmmmmmm...

Ok, this is simple!

  1. Add oil to a hot stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it's shimmering, add the onions and celery. Stir for about a minute, and then just continue to cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Turn heat down to medium. Add garlic, stir, and cook for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add peppers, and stir. Cook a minute or two.
  4. Add brown sugar, and dissolve. Add all the liquids and spices, stir to combine.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
  6. Get out the immersion blender, and blend everything as smooth as you want it. Cook for about an hour... tasting along the way.
How easy was that???

Mole, Butternuts, and Beeeeer

What is a "butternut"??? Why do they call butternut squash, "butternut squash"??? And, why is it so tasty??? Why can we only get it in the fall? Why don't other countries grow it year round so we can enjoy it in the spring??? Is it too much to ask??? Why am I using so many question marks??? I'm outta control!!! I feel like Regis Philbin!

So, when I get stuck in a food rut around the house, my "go to" dish is Chicken en Mole. Yum... And, to be honest- I CHEAT! I buy mole paste! I don't make it from scratch. It's one of those things that takes skill, and 30 some ingredients, and a day or two of babysitting! Maybe some day I'll make it from scratch, but for now, I'll take the shortcut! And, I usually make enough that I can put leftovers in to burritos or enchiladas. Either way, the sauce always tastes better the next day.

Mole paste is available in every grocery store I've been to lately. It's in the Mexican aisle, and there's generally two brands. It's kind of similar to Better Than Bouillon beef base- it's grainy, pasty, and needs refrigeration after opened! But, it's soooo simple to use.

Now, I usually like carrot chunks in my mole, but I had butternut squash on hand. Figured it would be great in the mole- a nice earthy component to the recipe. And, if it's not overcooked, but rather kinda firm, PERFECTION!!!

Chicken and Butternut Squash en Mole

1            large onion, sliced
1 stalk    celery, chopped
1            red pepper, sliced thick
1 lb        chicken breast tenders
1-1/2 C  roasted butternut squash (not roasted to completion; should be firm; save the rest for soup!)
3/4 C     mole paste (Doria Maria brand is what I've been using)
2 T        chopped garlic
2 T        canola oil
1 C        beer (Sam Adams Octoberfest worked great! something hearty)
1/2 C     chicken stock
1/2 C     water
              roasted seeds from squash or pumpkin (sprinkle over top!)

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Scrape the seeds out. Wash the seeds, and place them aside. Place the squash on a oiled cookie sheet, cook for 25 minutes at 375 deg F. The squash won't be completely cooked yet. LEAVE IT IN THE OVEN while we get started on the other items...
  2. Heat up a Dutch oven on the stove, on medium high heat. Add 1 T oil. Once hot and shimmery, place the chicken in to the pan, whole. No need to chop it up- it will stay juicy this way. Brown on both sides, about 1 minute each side. Remove from pan to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add 1 T oil, and turn heat down to medium. Add the onions, peppers, celery and garlic. Stir around the pan for about a minute, then let cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent, and the celery bright green.
  4. Add the mole paste, and stir around the pan to dissolve it. NOTE: it has salt in it already, so don't add salt until the end!
  5. Add the beer, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, stirring and dissolving the mole paste. Reduce to a slow simmer, and allow to thicken.
  6. Place squash seeds in oven, at 325 Deg F. Set timer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take one half of the butternut squash, and peel with a vegetable peeler. Chop in to 1" to 1-1/2" chunks. Add to the pot.
  8. When timer goes off, stir the seeds. Put back in the oven, and roast for another 4-5 minutes, until crunchy. Remove from oven.
  9. Add chicken to pot on stove, and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
  10. Serve alongside cooked rice. Top with squash seeds, and some sour cream.
  11. Pour beer, pick up fork, and gorge yourself on this stuff! It's tasty!
That's all folks! Mange Bene!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bomb threat??? Can all that wait until I get some food?

So, I was in Port Angeles on Tuesday, enjoying a bit of a road trip with Cheryl. The weather wasn't great, but autumn colors and tall evergreens, and the lure of a ferry ride to the Olympic Peninsula beckoned nonetheless. One hell of a long drive, and no sign of orcas, but passing through spots like Port Gamble where the original 1790's Navy officers' houses still stand watch over the harbor get you day dreaming about tall gun ships with billowing sails drifting,.. drifting...

After taking care of Cheryl's "work stuff" at a job site, it was time for a late lunch downtown Port Angeles. I haven't been there in a good 20 years or more, so it was all new again. We circled through downtown and then decide on where to be fed. That's when we started seeing cops flying through town... FAST! Lights a-blazin'! Sirens SCREEEEEEAming... What the heck??? There goes 2... 3... 5... I counted 18 cops, sheriffs, and boarder patrol vehicles when we got to the end of "the strip" downtown. YIKES... Well, hell, let's get food!

So, we decided to stop at Rick's Place, and get a few sandwiches. Wasn't crowded since it was about 2:30... but clean, windows staring out at the sidewalk and street; separate bar all decked out for Halloween. Booooooze... mmmm.... but, I  digress.

The online menu doesn't do justice to the place. They had great names for burgers and sandwiches, like "She loves me, she loves me hot" burger with a ton of sauteed jalapeƱos. They've got typical bar food, wings etc. But, they also have homemade soups! (No substitutions, though!) And, for lunch, they have a $5 specials menu! KILLER!!! Cheryl had the French Dip (a bit light on some killer roast beef, but the au jus was extra tasty), and I couldn't pass up the "Hot Italian"... being one myself. Lemme just say, I was running outta water! I was figuring a sausage sammy with peppers and pepperoncinis and cheese, grilled and toasty. Oh, it was that, but it was loaded with FIERY HOT Italian sausage, and extra hot pepperoncinis! And, it was soooooo good! Both came with a heap of DAMN good fries- lightly breaded I think, and not a hint of grease or oil anywhere! There was enough food on the plates that neither of us left with clean plates. All that, for $5/each- highly recommend it! And, it distracted us from all the fuzz we saw earlier. (Turned out it was a bomb threat at the federal building. They have a federal building??? REALLY???)

So, if you're in the area, heading to Forks maybe for some Twilight tours... take a break and hit Rick's, AND THEN, you can go to the Twilight store a couple blocks away, and get your cardboard cutouts of your fav teenie bopper stars... of which I have no interest!!! But, hey... for you, ya' know?!

Mange Bene!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What to do with all these potatoes!!!

Hey all!

I know it's been a couple of months since my last post. For those who don't know I was ill and it lingered and kept coming back. I didn't do much cooking while I was sick! No energy, motivation nor appetite! But alas- I'm feeling better, inside and out, and am back to cooking, and it feels great! For me it's theraputic, really. Come over and hang out in my kitchen for a while- you'll see just what I mean! I get all excited just thinking about what I'm going to cook, how I might vary it from original recipes or ideas, how I might boost flavors, or add something to simplify the steps- like using peppered bacon- pepper, and bacon, smoky and salty- all sorts of flavors to impart to what your cooking, and it's just one ingredient. Which brings me to today's recipe...

Well, fall is hitting us hard in the Pacific Northwest, blowing down trees and houses falling in to the ocean! YIKES! So, we've needed something warm, comforting and hearty- I need to feel full after dinner! And potatoes have been on sale dirt cheap lately which is why I have about 15 pounds or so laying around. I was able to grab 15 # of potatoes for $1.49- ya' HAVE to buy that kind of a deal! Mind you, there's only 2 people in the house, and that's a TON of potatoes to eat! I hate seeing things go to waste, so I made potato gnocchi (which I haven't put in a pot yet, so I don't know if the recipe is good enough to share yet... oh, and when I scooped out the potato from the skins to use in my gnocchi dough, I made sure to leave the skins intact for use some other time as loaded potato skins, along with some wings maybe! Double duty!) and last night- LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP! This was killer, and I walked away unable to eat another bite! It was better than the Select Soups we buy at Safeway, most assuredly!!! And, it was a cinch! I baked the potatoes while I was watching football (what a heartbreaking Dolphins loss to the Steelers, 23-22), and then it all came together in about 30 minutes. So, it's reasonable to think you could do this on a weeknight after work provided you'd already cooked the potatoes, and have dinner on the table, and sit and rest afterwards feeling satisfied but not overwhelmed.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

6          Medium russet potatoes
3C       Stock, chicken or vegetable (I used veggie stock I made from freezing vegetable scraps for a month)
1/2       Medium onion, finely chopped
1 rib     Celery, finely chopped
3          Strips of bacon, chopped (peppered preferably; seasons your soup!)
1T        Canola/vegetable oil
3T        Flour
2-1/2C Half-n-half (could use regular milk; if using straight cream, use a mix of cream and milk)
1/2C     Sour cream
1/4C     Shredded sharp cheddar
1/3C     Shredded white cheddar
             Small handful of chopped chives
             Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preparing the potatoes: scrub 'em, and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Pull out of oven and let cool.
  2. Once the potatoes are done, and cooled, cut them in half (length-wise) and start scooping out the insides. If you leave some skin on all the better!. Chop in to chunks that are able to fit on to a spoon. Put about 2 double handfuls aside, separate.
  3. In a dutch oven or large soup pot, add the bacon and cook over medium high heat. As it is done to your liking, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate or tray for later use. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
  4. Add 1 T of oil to the pan, depending on how much fat is rendered from the bacon (left over in the pan). You want what looks like about 3 T of oil/fat/grease all together.
  5. Add the onion and celery, and stir for about 90 seconds, maybe 2 minutes. The celery should be bright, and the onions are starting to appear translucent or see-through.
  6. Add the 3 T of flour, and stir. Reduce heat to medium, and stir for about 1-1/2 minutes without burning! If it's drying out too fast, turn the heat down, and move the pan off the burner about half-way. You're making a roux, and it should be blonde in color when you're done, and all the oil should be absorbed.
  7. Put stock in the microwave for 2 minutes to get it good and hot.
  8. Add in the stock to the soup pot slowly, wisking/stirring to make sure there's not lumps. Stir for about a minute, and the heat should be at about medium.
  9. Put all the dairy (1/2-n-1/2, milk, cream, sour cream- whatever you're using) in a large bowl. Ladle out 1 ladle full of the hot stock from the soup pot, and slowly, a little at a time, wisk/stir briskly in to the dairy bowl, so you don't curdle the cream components. You're going to temper the dairy slowly bringing it up to temperature (temper's right in the word temperature even!), so it doesn't curdle when you add it to the stock pot. Adding cold dairy to hot liquids = CURDLE!
  10. Add one more ladle full of hot stock to the dairy, wisking/stirring briskly.
  11. Add the dairy to the soup pot.
  12. Add the 2 double handfuls of potatoes to the soup pot. If you have an immersion blender, now's one of those great times you get to use it! If not, get a potato masher, and mash/blend the potatoes and the soup base until thick.
  13. Bring to a boil. Any time you add flour or starch to a soup/gravy, it won't thicken until it is brought to a boil (the temperature gets the starches to break free), and then simmered for 5 to 10 minutes. If your soup is getting too thick, add some water- NOT DAIRY, unless you pop it into the microwave to warm it up a bit.
  14. Reduce to simmer, add 1/2 of the chives and cheese and 1/2 of the bacon you cooked.
  15. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with some chives and bacon on top! You're done!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A long dry season?

For those who don't know, I have been DEATHLY ill for a few months now, and am just getting back on my feet, and back in the kitchen! When you're sick like that, and on your own, ya' don't much feel like cooking. Opening a can of Chef Boy-R-Dee actually happened in my kitchen, and I have only myself to blame!

Alas, I am well again (temporarily? hopefully PERMANENTLY!), and am back in the kitchen and cooking up a storm! So, expect a few new posts soon!

Mangia Bene! (eat well!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Swwwwwwwwwing, batta' batta' batta'... (and a weeknight BBQ sauce in seconds, not minutes!)

Aaaaaaaaaaand, a MISS!!! 

OK everyone- I promised a great paella recipe. Let me just say, that while I created something that I thought was going to be "sssss-U-per"... it didn't go that way AT ALL!! I'll play with it some more, and when it's ready, it's ready! You'll be the second ones to know! (I'm first, darn it!)

Now, summer is here, it's hot, and I am grilling as often as I can. But, I'm also busy, and soon (hopefully) back to work. So I'm going to share a quick and easy BBQ sauce that will keep the weeknights fresh and different, and make leftovers stand out the next day! I'd say it's probably good on everything. Last night, it was great on country-style pork ribs, which- had they not been so good, and been gobbled up so fast, I'd have a picture for ya'!

I may have mentioned before I keep an eclectic pantry. Well, you might not know this, it's a secret, but I keep canned fruit in it. I can hear the gasps, ooh's and aah's already! Fresh fruit isn't always available and I'm not here to impress some chef from "New York City" (NEW YORK CITY???!!!) I'm practical! I keep things I want to eat! So, this recipe has canned apricots, but you could use peaches, or pineapple, but I'm not sure it works well with too many other fruits (I wouldn't try pears). Mandarin oranges would work. Hey- you experiment, and let me know, OK?! And, if you want to make a quick side, chop a bit of apricots, and throw them in to a pan with some couscous, maybe with some cilantro, and you've tied your meal together very harmoniously!!!

Chipotle- Apricot BBQ Sauce

1/2 Can (15 oz) of apricots- or about 4 fresh apricots, halved, and 1/3-1/2 C of the syrup.*
2 T canned Chipotle peppers (I buy a can, and with the leftovers I crush 'em a bit, and put 'em in an ice cube tray for using another time- same with chopped jalepenos; If you do the same, just use one big chipotle ice cube!)
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C brown sugar
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce (or add another 1 T of soy sauce)
Pinch of salt, pepper

*If you're using fresh apricots, I'd recommend about 1/3 C water, and 1/2 C brown sugar.

Put all the ingredients in a blender, and whirrrrrrr to your heart's content! Brush on meat or fish during the last 8 minutes of grilling! Or use it as a marinade, reserving some for brushing on during the final stage of grilling.

How easy was THAT????!!! And, it's just so darn tasty!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your Homework for this July 4th weekend! (or, While your at it, pick up these ingredients...)

Hey all!
Ok, this weekend is one of the best grilling and BBQ-ing weekends there is: July 4th! Monday is generally a holiday for most people, giving us a chance for hangover remediation before heading back to work on Tuesday, and Sunday will be filled with fireworks, and neighbors and families getting together around the grill and cooler to put a good char on burgers, dogs, steaks and chicken legs!

So, it's likely that Saturday, you're heading to the grocery store to stock up on beer, brats, chips, potato salad... I'm suggesting you add a few extra items to the list and throw a couple of them on the grill for a dinner surprise on Monday that can be done in one pot/pan, and lend some variety to your weekend. And you won't be eating that macaroni salad that was left out in the sun all afternoon, while Uncle Norm told stories of "these kids today..." and burned grilled the chicken to a charred outside with a pink middle!!! YUCK!

But, if you grab a few extra ingredients and throw them on the grill at the same time as the burgers and dogs, you can save time and maximize flavors when you use them Monday for a one pot and one pan dish- PAELLA!!! You can make this dish with a few pre-grilled items, and even some leftovers, dump it all into a wide cast iron skillet or big dutch oven, drink a Bloody Mary to get rid of the hangover and finish some watermelon, all the while this "fancy" Portuguese goodness is simmering away.

BUT- wait for it... waaaaaaaaaait for it... HERE'S THE CATCH!!! We're going to make this "fancy" dish with readily available ingredients at the local supermarket! I'll list a few ingredients you probably don't have on hand, but only for 4 servings. If you need more, just double it.

SO, assignment: Add to your grocery cart-

I package of Achiote seeds, or paste OR saffron threads (saffron is EXPENSIVE... so, if you can live with not being entirely authentic, but still flavorful, pick up the achiote. It's in the Mexican food aisle, and it's at least a third of the price of saffron)

ROAST ON THE GRILL (slowly, until charred; then scrape off skin): 3 Anaheim peppers, or 2 Poblano chiles, or 1 large green pepper and 1 large red pepper (Anaheim peppers and Poblano chiles have mild heat, but lots of flavor!)

COOK ON GRILL (don't puncture casing!): 1 lb of Chorizo/Chorico, or Linguicia, or Andoille sausage in the casing (if you cannot find any of those, get hot Italian sausage in the casing)

The rest should not be cooked ahead of time: 
  1. 1 lb of shrimp (if frozen or in the shell, great- we can use the shells for shrimp stock, and pack more flavor in to our dish)
  2.  1/2 lb of salmon, cod or halibut
  3.  1 head of fresh garlic
  4.  1 bunch of cilantro
  5.  1 fresh lemon
  6.  1 lb fresh clams, in the shell, optional

 You should already have on hand the following items:

Chicken stock/broth/bouillon

1 lb Chicken (thighs are best for this, and can be cooked in advance on the grill)


Onions, (as many as 2)

Bay leaves

Frozen peas (NOT CANNED!!!!)

Chili sauce, or hot sauce

Ok, so this is simple, right??? And, since a few of the items can be cooked in advance, you'll save time and effort later on. Mind you, this is not going to be restaurant quality, and perhaps Paella won't be the right name for it in the end. But, this is doable, affordable, and enjoyable! And, it's all in one dish- it's rather simple, and you can relax after all the effort from Sunday!

Mange Bene! Michael

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shrimp and Crab Chile Rellenos (not fried)- Healthy Gourmet on a Weeknight!

This past week, a friend brought by some fresh veggies, and challenged me to make something "different" with them. These weren't standard fare for my fridge- Japanese eggplant (will transform into baba ganoush for a Friday-after-work snack w/homemade flatbread from my freezer), farm-fresh baby spinach (I did a simple saute in a pan, nothing special, but for a guy who doesn't like cooked spinach, it was a home run!), avocados and poblano chiles. Immediately, I loved and got excited about the chiles- perhaps the easy way out.

Luckily, I stock my freezer and pantry shelves with ingredients that fit in to many recipes, but ensure variety. I have a several proteins in the freezer (so I don't get bored throughout the week), I usually have lots of grains and pastas (for quick sides when I'm more focused on the entree), and a mix of things to add my own flair to sauces (like chipotles in adobo, Dijon mustard). I grabbed those glossy forest-green chiles, and immediately wanted to do more than just chop them up and throw them into a sauce or omelet. So, I came up with doing stuffed peppers. Peering into the deep, cold freezer, a light seemed to focus on shrimp and crab begging to be noticed. A glaze came over my eyes (more like condensation) and suddenly I just had to step it up a notch- I would craft seafood-stuffed chiles, and it was ON.

Since I was grilling some chops that day, I threw those poblanos and eggplant on the grill as well, so they'd be ready whenever I summoned their kick to liven my plate. (I usually try to cook several things on the grill at once, so they are "at my fingertips" later on.) I had leftover couscous, and figured that would add something different to the chiles rellenos. I figured if I could increase the volume with couscous and chopped veggies, I could reduce the cheese a bit (not that I don't like cheese, but I didn't want just cheese!). And since I wasn't battering and frying these, the whole dish might even be a bit healthier, and more filling.

Guess what? The flavor was outstanding, and no greasy-glopped-on coating it usually has. Didn't miss it. The chile and seafood flavors were the stars, and the couscous became one with the gooey cheese, adding volume, but not changing the flavor. Amazingly- I myself was STUFFED from just one overstuffed chile and sides... STUFFED I TELL YOU!

So, this is a recipe for two, but could easily be built out for more people, and on the table in less than 1/2 an hour- that's gourmet on a weeknight! KILLER!

Chile Rellenos, For Two
Approximate time, 30 minutes.

2 Poblano chiles, roasted and skins scraped off, and seeds removed
3/4 C shrimp, thawed (if frozen), peeled and deveined
1/4 C cooked crab meat, if you have it (or, just add more shrimp
2/3 C Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (you could even mix in some feta or cojita cheese as well, but don't expect them to melt as well the the Jack)

2 green onions, chopped
2 T chopped cilantro
1/2 C cooked couscous or rice (leftovers, perhaps?)
1/3 C chopped mushrooms, optional
1/3 C chopped zucchini, optional
1 T chopped jalapenos, optional

1 T olive oil
1-1/2 t salt
1-1/2 t black pepper
2 t cumin
1-1/2 t onion powder
2 t garlic powder

1 small can (10 ounces or so) of enchilada sauce (simply warm up on the stove)

To roast chiles: Next time you're grilling outdoors, place 2 chiles on the grill and cook, allowing the skin to blister and peel and turn brown, turning every few minutes to ensure the whole chile is cooked, maybe 10-15 minutes. Place in a plastic bag until you're done with dinner. This will help the pepper to steam, softening the interior, and allow the outer skin to be scraped off when you have time. Store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to stuff them.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 deg F.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and add oil.
  3. Add shrimp, and cook for one minute on each side until just turning pink. Remove from heat immediately, so they don't over cook.
  4. Chop shrimp, and place in a bowl with the crab and cilantro.
  5. Place pan back over heat, and add mushrooms and green onions. If using zucchini or jalapenos, add them as well. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 2 minutes (tops!).
  6. Toss into shrimp mix, and add cheese, seasonings, and any couscous or rice.
  7. Cut chiles from stem to tip, once, just enough to open them like a pocket. Remove the seeds, and rinse out. Stuff shrimp/crab mixture in to chiles.
  8. Place in a baking dish, and in oven for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  9. Remove, and serve with enchilada sauce, hot sauce, salad, and some homemade guacamole!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Belly Full of Cabbage Rolls (Galumpkis) On A Rainy Seattle Day

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, longing for traditions and trying to keep those legacies alive. I think too many of us are losing some of our heritage, and while food is getting fancy it's losing a simplicity that makes us want to curl up with a photo album, a roaring fireplace, and tell stories of "When I was your age..."

An Easter tradition in my family was grandma Rose's cabbage rolls- glumpkis- a savory, stuffed "present" from her German-Polish upbringing. Old world flavor from only a few ingredients, wrapped up to resemble the little green, velvet  coin purse she would snap open to give me money to get Popsicles! I want to believe this was handed down from her mother, but I really have no way of knowing. I never got the recipe from my gram, so I had to improvise. One of the great things about the method I used was the house didn't smell like cabbage, and the leaves stayed bright green. Looks great beneath the blanket of crushed tomatoes.

Truth be told- this was the first time I'd attempted to make these and I don't think I'd change a thing! And, they freeze great if there are any leftover.

Cabbage Rolls (Galumpkis)

1 head of cabbage

1 T oil
1 lb ground beef, (85/15)
2 C cooked rice (dealer's choice!)
1 C vegetable broth (recipe included)

1 C minced onion
1/2 C minced mushrooms
1/2 C minced celery
2 T minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
2 T roasted garlic mashed on a cutting board (if you have it; if you don't, roast a few heads of garlic and put them in a baggie in the fridge. They'll keep for quite a while.)

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
4 T dried Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme)
Salt and pepper

Horseradish, for on the side when serving (this adds a touch of bite the rest of the seasonings just can't bring)
Let's prepare some Vegetable Broth first!

1. Next time you are cutting up and peeling carrots, celery, onion, chopping parsley and you have stems- save the scraps. When you have filled a sandwich bag, throw in to a pot of water- just enough to cover 3/4 of the vegetables. (Note- if you don't have onion scraps, rough chop a 1/2 to one whole onion, big pieces, and add to the water. You want that flavor.) Add crushed black pepper, and a bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. Your house will begin to smell like homemade soup- that's how you will know you're making progress!

3. Turn off the heat, and allow to cool. Strain the broth in to a storage container, and compost/discard the veggies. You have a sultry and golden vegetable broth to add flavor to rice, pasta, soup, stock to cook Chinese dumplings,  add to a roasting chicken, mashed potatoes- whatever you'd like. It took only a minute to put together and very little babysitting while cooking. Amazing how much flavor comes from scraps! Waste nothing!

Now to the headliner, the Cabbage Rolls!

1. Core a head of cabbage in the following way: Using a sturdy small knife, pierce the cabbage at an angle, pointing the knife towards the core, about 1-1/2" from the hard core at the bottom. Cut an angled circle around the core, and once the circle is completed, you should be able to overtake the core and remove it from the head of cabbage. Fight hard!

2. Starting where the core was removed, grab the thick part of a leaf, and peel it off of the head and set aside. Repeat for 10-15 leaves total.

3. Bring a 6 quart dutch oven or deep pot filled 3/4 of the way with water to a boil. On the counter close at hand, have a large, wide bowl filled with ice and water- enough water to allow the (about to be) blanched cabbage leaves to be covered by the ice bath and cool enough to stop the cooking process.

4. Once the water is boiling, add 1 T salt, and begin to blanch the cabbage leaves dropping 4 at a time in to the water, submerging them and letting them cook for only 3 minutes or until the thickest part of the leaf is bendable without breaking. Remove from the "cabbage hot tub" with tongs and plunge deep in to the ice bath. Repeat with the rest of the leaves until all are cooked and cooled. Set aside. NOTE- if any leaves ripped apart simply chop them up, and you can either add them to the beef and rice filling, or sprinkle over the top of the finished product.

5. Heat a large pan/pot over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1 T oil, the onions, mushrooms, celery, and 2 teaspoons (each) of salt and pepper. Stir briskly for about a minute. Allow to soften, but not burn! Once the onions and celery begin to look translucent, add roasted and minced garlic, 2 T Italian seasoning, vegetable broth and ground beef. Stir to incorporate everything in the pot, and begin mashing the ground beef mix against the side of the pan with a flat wooden spoon, or the bottom of the pan with a potato masher. We don't want chunks of beef. We want to almost turn this in to a paste.

6. Cook over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the beef is cooked, and only 1/2 C (or so) of broth is left in the pan. See picture.
7. Add cooked rice (and any chopped cabbage), stir to mix well, and turn off the heat.

8. Set up a work area where you can begin to stuff and roll your cabbage leaves.

9. Pour about 1/2 C of the crushed tomatoes in to the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish, and spread evenly to coat the dish.

10. Spoon out about 1/4-1/3 C of beef and rice mix on a cabbage leaf, as shown to the right

11. Fold the cabbage over the beef and rice filling, left, right, and then roll up snug.
 12. Place seam side down in to the baking dish. See photo above. We want to pack these in to the baking dish. Repeat with each cabbage leaf until you are out of filling.

13. Cover cabbage rolls with remaining crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil, place baking dish on to a cookie sheet, and bake in a 350 deg F oven for 1-1/2 hours, until the tomatoes are gently bubbling from the bottom of the dish. Remove from oven, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Serve 'em up, maybe with some homemade mashed potatoes on the side!

Killer, huh??? Mmmmmm...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cookbook Review: Molto Gusto

Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, by Mario Batali & Mark Ladner

Summary: "This is what Italian's cook when they only have a half hour or hour to put dinner on the table."- Mario Batali on the Charlie Rose show.

Recommendation: Buy it- Use it- Gift it! (especially at this price!)

Growing up with an Italian side of the family, in a predominantly Italian east coast city, I was fortunate enough to be able to have olives on every fingers from antipasti nearly every morning before kindergarten, and homemade noodles with garlic, butter, salt and pepper (what the cookbook refers to as "Linguine with caciopepe". All this time it had a first name, and it wasn't O-s-c-a-r!) after kindergarten, courtesy of my dad's aunt Kay who usually had a puttanesca sauce cooking on a back burner as well. This cookbook brought up those fond memories, the smells, the chewy consistencies of homemade pasta, and made me long for those days.

Having read previous Mario Batali cookbooks (with rather complex recipes with ingredients I generally don't have), and watched several interviews (Jon Stewart, Charlie Rose, etc.), I was excited to get my hands on this cookbook. Mr. Batali, a Seattle native and Food Network's seemingly retired Iron Chef, wrote this book inspired by real Italian families and the meals they put on the table when they are pressed for time. He has organized the cookbook's chapters in a progression maximizing the seasonal availability of fresh produce, available at nearly every market in America, and are generally very simple to prepare with only a few ingredients. Recipes such as spring peas and mint, penette with summer squash and ricotta, and even the gelatos and sorbettos- emphasize simple preparation, are easy to follow, and scream "gusto." There are very few recipes in this cookbook I would not prepare, or could not prepare with ingredients I have on hand today- how many cookbooks can you say that about?

Our American diet focuses too much on the "meat-starch-veggie" model, and this cookbook shows us that other cultures view meat as a flavoring or integral ingredient rather than the keystone by which we coordinate what else goes on our plate. I believe this cookbook demonstrates a healthier way of filling our gullets by encouraging us to fix several small plates (vegetables, antipasti, pasta), and not gorging on 16 ounces of meat every times we sit down. Thus, noticeably missing for many carnivores will be slow roasted beasts, or grilled chops and steaks. This is not Sunday dinner recipes, but rather delicious every day, after-work-while-kids-are-doing-homework home style eats.

This cookbook highlights recipes from Mr. Batali's latest restaurant, Otto, reportedly (by the chef) a more family focused pizzeria/restaurant. The restaurant and the cookbook even present kid-inspired pizzas.

Speaking of which- how important are pizzas to this cookbook? Not only is there an entire chapter devoted to what I think may be the most popular dish in the world, but it is the only place that a step-by-step photo spread exists showing us exactly how to make something resembling artisanal, gourmet, brick-oven manna from the gods. Having followed a previous Batali pizza dough recipe that wasn't particularly impressive (yet it's in my fridge right now), I think the procedure in this book will allow many home cooks to create the brick-oven flavor in the standard oven and is the only recipe and method you'll ever need.

The book ends with a list of sources for readers to order everything from anchovies to pizza griddles, so even we can do justice to these recipes. Very smart!

Can I say one more thing? The photography (by Quentin Bacon) is A+! I actually began to salivate and get hungry reading this cookbook- even just after dinner!

These are KILLER recipes!- Michael

Monday, June 14, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

I like a quick sandwich from time to time. To be honest, I actually love a hot, messy sandwich stacked high with cheese and meats, and- oh, I'm off course already! I appreciate having something quick on hand to stuff my face with, but I have to have variety- GOTTA HAVE IT! Peanut butter and banana is OK, but too sweet. I usually have cooked chicken leftover from something at least once a month, so I generally have chicken salad of one kind or another about that often as well.

I like to spice things up and go for maximum flavor in every bite whenever I can which is why I put this recipe together. It's got spice, sweet, creamy, crunchy, savory- each time I sink my teeth in to it. And, since summer has arrived (well, we think it's here in Seattle, but it may be fleeting!) grapes and apples and celery will all be available fresh and on sale at most supermarkets. Chicken will be on sale periodically too- especially around July 4th and Labor Day weekends. You may not want to wait that long though!

Curried Chicken Salad

2 C chicken, chopped (I prefer to use dark meat- thighs mostly. It's not as dry, and it's generally cheaper anyways)
1/2 C chopped celery
1 C chopped apple
1/2 C chopped onion
1 hard boiled egg, chopped

3/4 C mayo (light mayo works fine; we just need something creamy and binding- the majority of flavor isn't from the mayo)
1/8 C + 1 t apple cider vinegar (thins the mayo just enough, and adds a bit of twang to it all)
2 t lemon juice
1 t cumin (adds a nice smokey flavor)
3-1/2 t yellow curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Set aside your choice of any or a combination of the following:
1/2 C chopped dried cherries (less if combining with other items in this list)
1/2 C raisins (less if combining with other items in this list)
1/4 grapes*
1/4 sliced almonds (almonds and curry go great together!)
1. Quite simply, add everything in the top list to a big mixing bowl, and combine until everything has a good coating. By the way, I have come to appreciate mixing bowls that have a rubber bottom so they don't slide all over the counter!
2. *If you are going to use grapes, don't add them to the initial mix. They will make the chicken salad too watery, and potentially go bad before you can eat all of the chicken salad. Instead, when you're ready to make a sandwich or salad, or two, scoop out as much chicken salad as you need, and mix in some grapes to just that much.
3. Add your combination of the lower list (raisins, almonds, etc.).
4. Serve over greens or in a sandwich.
5. Smile and gloat as everyone else has bologna or PB and J!!!

Cherry and Red Wine Sauce for beef

So, I've experimented a bit with this sauce and last night I think I may have simplified the method, and amplified the flavor of this incredible sauce. It takes only a couple of minutes of your time- simply put it in a pan, place it on the back burner, and it will simmer while you are cooking the rest of dinner. Pour this over steaks, London Broil, roasts maybe? It would probably be fine over pan roasted chicken, and even pork chops or tenderloin.

This recipe does call for Balsamic vinegar, easily found in your supermarket. It is not entirely necessary- the recipe will be survive without it. But, if you can afford to treat yourself to an aged balsamic, thick and syrup-like, you will find lots of uses for this (homemade salad dressings come to mind) and while a bit more expensive "a little goes a long way."

Last night I served this sauce over steaks, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, seared in a pan, and then broiled to a pastel-pink medium rare. It's so simple, and yet screams sophistication! But, it's not pretentious, just good. I think we could have had this while dressed in coveralls with paint splatters all over us, or all dressed up with candlelight and mood music. It's just plain GOOD. This recipe makes enough for four servings, and if there's left over, it keeps well in the fridge.

Cherry and Red Wine Sauce

1/2 C dried cherries, or 1 C fresh, pitted and halved
1 C red wine (maybe even one seen on Wine Library TV)
1-1/2 C beef broth/bouillon/stock
2 T balsamic vinegar (preferably aged, thicker balsamic- even flavored balsamic)
1-1/2 T red wine vinegar*
1 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Pan drippings from whatever meats are cooking!

* If you have no balsamic vinegar, double the amount of red wine vinegar. The recipe will be just fine without it.

1. Very simply, put cherries, balsamic and red wine vinegars and beef broth into a small sauce pan. Add freshly cracked pepper, at least a teaspoon. Do not add the salt yet.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and place a cover onto the pan askew so that some of the steam can escape. The rate of your simmer depends on how fast you need this sauce ready. Our goal here is to reduce the liquid in the pan by 1/2 its volume. During this time, stir occasionally, and mash the cherries a bit to release their juice to the pan.

3. Right before serving, turn off the heat. Strain the sauce to remove the cherries (press them in a strainer or sieve to get the sauce out of them), and put the sauce back in the pan. The cherries have done their job, and should be discarded. You can signal "Taps" if need be.

4. Add the butter and a bit of the pan drippings (if there are any- skim off the grease first), a good pinch of salt and stir in until the butter is melted. Taste for seasoning- it may need salt, but that depends more on the meat you are pouring this over. If the meat is heavily salted or seasoned, you may want to leave the salt out and let the combination of the meat and the sauce compliment each other.

5. Sit down and enjoy, of course! It's so simple, and adds that little "something" to your meal.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Badabing Sauce!!!! The only red sauce recipe you'll ever need!

So, today is June 12th, 2010. My oldest daughter Kelsey is graduating high school It's a gorgeous sunny day, and unfortunately I am unable to attend the graduation. But that doesn't keep me from thinking of all the memories made over the years of her growing up. In fact, it made me think back to when she was newly born- so tiny, the world her oyster! That Christmas, my grandfather and my sister Kimberly came to stay with my (ex)wife, my baby and I. It was a great holiday, and I was able to spend some one-on-one time learning about my granpda Sam at the same time I was learning about my daughter and who I was to become as a father.

Now, grandpa Sam,- who's birth name was Salvatore, a good Italian name!- took a day to teach me how to make "gravy", or red sauce, or spaghetti sauce if you will! The recipe I'm about to share with you is more about the method, layering the flavors and roasting the sauce in the oven for a few hours. This sauce is so rich, you won't realize just how good it is until you have someone else's sauce, and you realize something is missing from theirs!!!

This sauce takes at least 4 hours to make, but much of that is while the sauce is roasting, and you are drinking wine and laughing with family. Don't be intimidated. There are specific steps to this recipe. Flavors are layered through the caramelization of the meat and vegetables, a little at a time, to build up the "fond" at the bottom of the pan (that's the brown stuff that we want to deglaze from the pan- lots of flavor!). Do not use a non-stick pan for this!!! Now, to do this the way grandpa Sam did it that day, you need some leftover beef and pork bones to roast in the sauce. If you can add those items, add an additional half hour (minimum) to the cooking time.

And, at the end of cooking this sauce, ladle out a small dish of sauce in to a bowl. Grab a spoon, and just sit for a minute. Let the sauce cool, and then taste for seasoning, and more importantly, SAVOR THE FLAVOR!

So, in honor of my daughter Kelsey, and in memory of my grandpa, I made red sauce today ad I share it with you here!

Trust me, this is the only recipe for spaghetti sauce you need. And, this makes plenty to freeze, or better yet, invite "the family"!

Badabing, BADABOOM!

Classic Italian Red Sauce

2-28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1-6 oz can of tomato paste
2 C finely chopped onions
1-1/2 C finely chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
3/4 C finely chopped carrots (about 1-1/2 carrots)
1/3 C minced garlic
1/4 C roasted garlic, chopped and crushed on your cutting board
1/2 C chopped kalamata olives (or other greek olives)
1/2 C olive juice (from jar)

1 lb Isernio's lean chicken Italian sausage (or another good quality lean Italian sausage)
1/3-1/2 lb homemade meatballs, chopped (recipe not included, today!)

2 C beef broth/bouillon
1 C red wine, optional (but, if you add it, make sure it is something you would drink)

3 stems fresh oregano + 1/4 C dried oregano
3/4 C freshly chopped basil + 1/3 C dried basil
2 large (or 3 small) bay leaves
3 T dried rosemary, crushed in your hand
Rinds from your Parmesan (you don't still get it in a green shaker, do you????)

Olive oil
2 T salt (you may have to add more after roasting- tomatoes crave the salt! But, you can always add more and never take it out, so go gently)
2-3 T black pepper
2-4 T crushed red pepper (once they roast in the sauce, they will mellow out. But, you can always add more at the end, and never take it out, so go gently)

  1. Heat a large (6-8 quart) Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for about 90 seconds. Add olive oil to thinly coat 1/2 of the bottom of the pan. Wait about 30-40 seconds and add the Italian sausage, breaking it up in the pan. Turn the HEAT TO MEDIUM, and walk away for a couple minutes. Allow to lightly brown (to the color of oak shelves) and stick to the bottom of the pan a bit. Once all of it is cooked and there is fond visible at the bottom of the pan, spoon out the sausage and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 deg F.
  3. Bring the HEAT back up to MEDIUM-HIGH, and add 1 T of olive oil. Wait about 45 seconds, and add a pinch of onions. If they sizzle then it is time to add the rest of the onions.. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Once they are translucent and starting to brown slightly (about 7 minutes) add the celery, carrots and garlic- in that order! This will help us to keep the garlic from burning. Stir, reduce HEAT TO MEDIUM, and allow the vegetables to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Move all the vegetables to the outer parts of the pan leaving the center empty. Add the green peppers and mushrooms to that space. Stir, just to keep from sticking, and then let every thing sit, sauteing for about 5-7 minutes, stirring about halfway through.
  5. Add 1 T salt, and the can of tomato paste, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir to incorporate and coat all the vegetables. Now, we want the paste to caramelize a bit. Stir often for about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add beef broth, wine, olives, olive juice, crushed tomatoes and meats. Stir.
  7. Add water- we need to fill one of the empty 28 oz cans of tomatoes twice with fresh water, and stir in to our sauce.
  8. Add the rest of the herbs, salt, pepper and stir. Bring the whole pot up to a temperature at which it seems hot, but it's not simmering yet. Turn off the burner, and place the whole pot (uncovered) in to the middle of the oven. Set the timer for 2-1/2 hours and stir at the 1 and 2 hour points.
  9. At 2-1/2 hours, turn off the oven and put a lid on the pot. LEAVE the pot in the oven for at least 30 minutes, an hour if you can afford the time.
  10. Remove pot from oven, and remove bay leaves and Parmesan rinds. Taste for seasoning- salt, pepper, basil- what does it need? Add salt! You know it needs it. Can you taste a bit of licorice after you swallow? That would be a nice hint of basil and oregano. If not, add some dried herbs.
  11. Break out the immersion blender and pulse just a few times- maybe 8-10. OR, break out the blender, and ladle out 1/2 a blender full of sauce, and puree. Add back to the pan. The sauce should have some small pieces and chunks to it- not perfectly smooth.
Now, tell me- is that not the best sauce you've ever had???

Changes coming...

Hey all! Great news- I'll soon be adding photos, and possibly video to the blog site! And, in addition, I'm going to work to target the weekly grocery store food ads, and design a couple meals that are gourmet, or restaurant quality, based on what's on sale at the local markets. And, being that I'm so accustomed to being a busy single dad that works, I'll show you how to be frugal with your time, your ingredients, and maximize your fun and flavor!

And, if you know anything about me you know that I love to cook for my friends. That is part of the reason for building this site- my friends and family all live too far away. So, I can't just make dinner and have them stop by anymore! In lieu of that, I can teach you how to cook the same great food I want to share with you- what I'd cook for you if you were here! It's all about the love, and I've got 5 minutes of love for everyone!!! A few more minutes for you, and you... and you over there!! (Fred, where are you??? I've got a few more minutes of love for you brother!)

This is going to be a blast! And, I will even take requests! So, please-share my link with your friends and co-workers, and let's build up a community around this, have fun, eat well, and share our food, our love with others!!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Jalapeno Coleslaw

3 C Shredded cabbage
1-1/2 C Shredded carrot (about 2 carrots)
3/4 C finely sliced sweet onions (not quite 1/2 an onion)
1/4 C finely chopped cilantro, leaves and stems are fine
2-1/2 T finely chopped sweet pickle (or relish)
1 t pickle juice
2 T finely chopped jalapenos, canned or jarred, and some of the juice (at least a tablespoon)
1-1/2 T lime juice
1-1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 t sugar
1 t salt
Pepper to taste

Combine all in a glass or non-reactive bowl, and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. This is great just the way it is, or mix in a few tablespoons of lime cilantro cream for something a bit more creamy.

Better yet, build some soft tacos (fish, or BBQ pork are great choices for these flavors!), and layer on the coleslaw, and the cream.


Cilantro, lime & garlic cream

Ok, all! This is a great topping for tacos, burritos, or, mixed in with the jalapeno coleslaw I'll post later. This has some garlic-y bite to it!! But~ the lime juice breaks down the cream after a few days. So, you really want to use this in the first 3 days probably.

3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C light mayonnaise
3/4 C finely chopped cilantro (stems and leaves are fine)
5 T lime juice
3 T minced garlic

Mix and refrigerate at least 2 hours prior to using.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Let's get started!!! LET'S COOK!

Alright everyone! I've decided it's time to share some of my favorite, original recipes, some cooking and preparation tips that I've learned over the years, and put them all in one place for all my friends and family.

Having been a single dad, planning ahead was always necessary, and became an invaluable tool for me. Why just grill a couple of burgers, when I could grill the chicken and the zuchini at the same time, and use them later in the week. And, why cook just 1/2 a pack of bacon? Cook it all, and freeze it if necessary. And, having been health conscious over the years, I found ways to maximize flavor and reduce my fats and oils- they're necessary, but I learned to used them sparingly. I think I've developed some good habits, and still fit in to pants I bought years ago, and I eat well, and often!!!

Finally, I'm very frugal- I hate to see anything go to waste. That has pushed me to be creative in my dishes, and creative in how I use my ingredients or foods. Why would I ever let orange rinds go down the drain, when I can peel, dry and store the rinds, and eat the orage, and compost the pithe? Dried orange rind is expensive in the store! Add a little orange, lemon, or lime rind to tea, cookies, sauces, or even mixed drinks and build the flavor, and the smells of what you're eating and drinking!

So, I'll to my best to keep this updated at least weekly. I'll even take requests! And, I'll even admit when something doesn't turn out right! I'm not Julia Child, but I play her on TV...

For me, there's nothing better than sharing food with my friends and family. Since so many of you live beyond a reasonable drive's distance from me, this blog site will just have to do!

Here's to eating well! Michael