Monday, August 30, 2010
The question may seem to be an odd one at this point in my life but, it is one that I find myself asking quite a bit recently. You might ask why. I ask myself that very question...I do think that it stems from recent events that have taken place at work, the problems there seem to be cyclic. but the theme is the same. I really have recently come to the conclusion that I don't have friends there, not real ones anyway...I used to, in my old department, but it seems that we drifted apart quite early in the process and that was a long time ago. There are real regrets there. No fault.
I had friends in school, but no one really remains from early on. There is one from college, but even there, there is very little contact and we have drifted apart. I could call, but after a while one feels as though it is one sided and when the call is made, it is never a good time so...
I volunteer tirelessly for Susan G Komen for the Cure and so there are a lot of friends there also, but it is rare that we see each other that it is not related to an event. I enjoy the company of these men and women very much, and I admire each and every one of them for all of their efforts in this huge fight against breast cancer. The organization that we are associated with leaves 75% of all of the monies earned at the local level to be used in the communities in which it is raised and we are proud of that. Of the other 25%, none is used for overhead or business costs it is put toward breast cancer research and so, in our case a lot of that comes right back here as we have a few huge research institutions right here in our back yard...but I digress...
As I said, it is unusual for me to see any of those friends anywhere that is not related to a Komen event, although once in a while it does happen. I have a wicked sense of humor...sometimes I wonder if it is not always appreciated...because I do hear of others getting together...oh well...
I have a lot of cyber friends, we have a good time. I guess I am happy enough. I am really a home body kind of person. I still work full time and rotate weekends, my hours are 7am to 3:30 pm and 6am on weekends so I do get up early and so need my sleep. Maybe that's it.
Am I just being sensitive? I just don't seem to have any real girlfriends. I think I am supposed to. My daughter just graduated from HS and I wasn't involved with the school because I am so involved with Komen, so is my daughter. My daughter was involved in dance and not school related activities, so school parents were not the thing...
I read a lot which is a solitary activity...
What do you think, should I be worried? Am I lacking? Do I need to go out and find me a girlfriend to call my own?
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Spicy fried soppressata (or salami), prosciutto, fried egg, gooey mozzarella, paper-thin slices of red onion, fresh basil, and Michael Symon's Shasha Sauce are sandwiched between crispy golden sourdough bread to make one decadent sandwich. This is a sandwich that is fitting for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So many flavors in this sandwich, it is definitely a winner.
Soppressata Sandwich with Fried Egg and Shasha Sauce
Adapted from Michael Symon's Live to Cook
2 paper-thin slices red onion
4-6 thin slices soppressata or dry-cured Italian Salami
1 large egg
2 slices prosciutto
2 thin slices fresh mozzarella
2 thick slices sourdough bread, toasted or grilled
4 large fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons Shasha Sauce (recipe follows)
Soak the onion in a small bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. (Takes the raw bite out)
While the onion is soaking, in a medium nonstick saute pan over low heat, fry the soppressata over medium-high heat until lightly crisp and some fat has rendered, about 2 minutes per side. Remove it to a plate. In the same pan, fry an egg sunny-side up.
While the egg is cooking, drain the onion slices and layer the soppressata, prosciutto, mozzarella, and onion slices on a slice of bread. Top with the other slice and place the sandwich in the pan next to the egg, pressing down on the sandwich with the palm of your hand. When that side is lightly toasted, about 3-4 minutes, flip the sandwich and toast the other side.
Remove the sandwich to a cutting board, and open the sandwich. Lay down the basil leaves, place the egg in the center, and spoon on the Shasha sauce. Close the sandwich and slice it in half to serve.
Michael Symon's Shasha Sauce is a well-loved family recipe made from hot banana peppers, garlic, yellow mustard, white wine vinegar, sugar and all-purpose flour. It is tangy, sweet, and mildly hot and while I did not enjoy it on it's own, it really did compliment the Sopressata sandwich well.
Adapted from Michael Symon's Live to Cook
12 hot banana peppers
4 garlic cloves
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Slice the top of the peppers and coarsely chop them. Toss them into a food processor with the garlic, mustard, and vinegar, and puree.
Pour the puree into a nonreactive saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Mix the flour and 1/2 cup water to a smooth paste. Whisk it into the simmering liquid and return the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly until very thick. Let the sauce cool, pour it into a nonreactive container, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
I guess I'm celebrating my love for Italian cured meats this week because I also made this Pizza Pasta Casserole which I found over on Tina's site, Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor. This is such a fun recipe and can be customized with whatever toppings you enjoy on your pizza.
Browned Italian sausage, pepperoni, cooked pasta, onion, green peppers, mushrooms, pizza sauce and both cheddar and mozzarella are layered into a slower cooker and cooked on low for 3 hours. You can definitely make this recipe your own by tossing in extra veggies or meats. The next time I make it I'd love to try black olives, artichoke hearts, maybe spinach. The sky's the limit! Head on over to Tina's site by clicking HERE for the recipe. Thanks Tina for a great recipe! This was a definite family pleaser.
I am submitting the Pizza Pasta Casserole to I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's Lunch Box theme.
I am submitting Michael Symon's Sopressata Sandwich to my friend Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup.
Both the Sopressata Sandwich and Shasha Sauce were for this round of Symon Sundays hosted by Ashlee of Veggie By Season.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Lilredrocketbuttons is having a fabulous give away if you would like to win this
head on over here to find out how.
Also If you are looking for some other scrappy bargains head on over to handmadebysuzanne to see the new arrivals she has in stock, and there is also 30% off many major brands including Kaisercraft, American Craft, October Afternoon, fancy pants, Bo Bunny, Basic Grey, Crate Paper and more. See them on sale here.
And there is still time to enter into the sketch challenge to win a fabulous voucher from the store, check out the gallery here for the sketch!
Till next time...
Friendship ~ I like this one - None of that Sissy Stuff..
1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you're NOT.
5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6.. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.
7.. When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well again.. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll help you up.
9. This is my oath .... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask ~ because you are my friend.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment in to the Harvard University President's outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge 'We'd like to see the president,' the man said softly. 'He'll be busy all day,' the secretary snapped 'We'll wait,' the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go a way. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted. 'Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave,' she said to him! He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted to ward the couple. The lady told him, 'We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.' The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. 'Madam,' he said, gruffly, 'we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.' 'Oh, no,' the lady explained quickly. 'We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.' The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, 'A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.' For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, 'Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?' Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto , California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. Stanford University Campus. You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.
.......A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes
'People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel'.
Steve Raichlen's newest book Planet Barbecue! is a huge book dedicated to barbecue recipes from all over the world. The book itself is a fun read detailing the origin of the recipe, the background and the method. I will warn you though. Once I opened this book I was compelled to look through every page, all 600 and some odd pages....in one setting. Looking through this book is like taking a relaxing trip around the world, right in the peace and quiet of your own home.
These pork chops are seasoned with a Spanish-Caribbean rub and basted with annatto (achiote) oil while grilling. They are served with a Sparkling Barbecue Sauce made from lemon-lime soda, ketchup, sweet red barbecue sauce, liquid smoke and black pepper. The lemon-lime soda gives the barbecue sauce both a sweet and sour flavor and, according to Steve, is a popular way to make barbecue sauce in Spanish-speaking countries.
Steve says "Here's a version of the Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder made with pork chops and quick enough to be prepared on a weeknight."
Puerto Rican Grilled Pork Chops
Adapted from Planet Barbecue!
4 pork chops (each 8-10 ounces and 1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive or veg oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons annatto seeds
One recipe Sparkling BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
Arrange the pork chops in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Lightly brush the chops on both side with the olive oil.
Combine the salt, oregano, granulated garlic, pepper, and sage in a bowl and stir with your fingers to mix. Sprinkle the rub over the pork chops on both sides, patting the spices onto the meat with your fingers. Let the chops cure in the refrigerator, covered for 15-30 minutes.
Make the annatto oil by heating the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Add the annatto seeds and cook until fragrant and brown and the oil turns a bright orange, 2-4 minutes. Immediately, strain the oil into a heatproof bowl. Discard the annatto seeds.
Set the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chops on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the chops until browned on the outside and cooked through, 4-6 minutes per side. Give each chop a quarter turn on each side after 2 minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Start basting the chops with the annatto oil after 1 minute, basting them several times on both sides.
Transfer the chops to a platter or plate. Serve at once, which the Sparkling Barbecue Sauce, if desired, although the chops are so flavorful, you don't really need a sauce.
Sparkling Barbecue Sauce
1 cup lemon-lime soda, such as 7up
1 cup ketchup
1 cup of your favorite sweet red bbq sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place everything in a saucepan and whisk to mix. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and let simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 15 minutes.
Notes/Results: My family tore through these pork chops in record time and everyone loved the vibrant orange color from the annatto oil. The seasoning on the pork chops was so fragrant and flavorful that you really don't need the sparkling barbecue sauce, but it is a nice accompaniment to the pork. I was in love with the idea of sparkling barbecue sauce and it was so much fun to make. The lemon-lime soda (Sprite or 7up) fizzes and bubbles away on the stove top making snap, crackle and pop noises while it cooks. I feel like the soda gives the barbecue sauce a lighter and fresher flavor. Overall it was an excellent dish and one that I would make again.
This is my submission to this month's Regional Recipes, currently celebrating Puerto Rico and hosted by my lovely friend Joanne of Eats Well With Others.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Heres my layout I created for the challenge...we had to use music paper or something with music on it. I used the yummy paper from jillibean soup, some AC glitter thickers, lace and paper flowers all available from Handmadebysuzanne who is sponsoring the challenge this month. I would love to see you play along with me too...
I have based this layout on a sketch over at creativescrappers
Till next time...
The secret ingredient to these tacos is Italian dressing! Sounds crazy, right? Herbie's Tacos is a recipe I found in Katie Lee's second book, The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions. Crispy fried white corn tortillas are stuffed with a spicy and extremely flavorful ground turkey filling and then topped with lettuce, scallions, cilantro, tomatoes and avocado that have been dressed in Italian dressing. According to Katie, "If they're not dripping down your hands, you didn't do something right."
Adapted from Katie Lee's The Comfort Table:Recipes for Everyday Occasions
6-8 servings (24 tacos)
For the taco meat:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
one 7-ounce can chopped green chiles (medium heat)
2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons garlic salt (2 tbsp. is a bit salty, 1 tbsp. is probably enough)
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup hot taco sauce, plus more for serving
1/4 cup green taco sauce, plus more for serving
For the Salad:
1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 cup minced cilantro
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup Italian-Style Vinaigrette Dressing
For the Shells:
1 cup canola oil
24 white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
For the Taco Meat: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil, cilantro, and scallions. Add the chiles and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the turkey, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. As the meat is browning, stir in the garlic salt and chili powder. When turkey has cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, stir in the hot sauce and green sauce. Lower the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally.
For the Salad: As the meat simmers, in a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients with the dressing. Refrigerate until needed.
For the Shells:
Line a baking sheet or large plate with paper towels. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, use tongs to place a tortilla gently in the oil one at a time. After only 5 seconds, in one motion, turn the tortilla over and fold it in half. Cook 20 seconds, flip and cook an additional 20 seconds. Lift out of the oil and drain on the paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, one at a time. (The shells should not be too crisp when they come out of the oil. If they become too crisp tacos will be difficult to stuff).
Assemble the tacos by spooning the meat into shells and topping with cheese, salad and sour cream.
Notes/Results: This recipe really exceeded my expectations. The taco filling had BIG FLAVOR, more so than any I've tasted before. Looking at the filling you could see all the green flecks of cilantro and scallions and there was hints of garlic with a little bit of heat from the chiles and the taco sauce. The salad with the Italian dressing was a fun touch and added extra flavor that married well with the taco filling. I didn't make my own taco shells as stated in the recipe and confess to using boxed taco shells but these were still some fabulous tacos. Loaded down with big flavor these tacos are a fabulously messy flavor explosion that will indeed drip down your hands and onto your arms as you eat. I will be making these again and also topping my tacos with Italian dressing in the future.
Note: I am a complete saltaholic and found the seasoning in this recipe to be right on. For anyone who does not like very salty food, I would suggest reducing the garlic salt to 1 tablespoon.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I've really been enjoying Marcela Valladolid's new show Mexican Made Easy. I love the way Marcela uses Mexican flavors and turns them into fresh, light and gorgeous dishes. On a recent episode entitled "Mexican Family Style", Marcela made a Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and it made me wonder why I hadn't ever thought of something like that before. I watched her as she made a jalapeno paste out of oregano, butter, garlic, shallot, jalapeno, olive oil and salt and pepper. She rubbed it under the chicken skin and then she rubbed it all over the chicken. I got out my grocery list and started making notes!
I knew that Marcela's Jalapeno Roasted Chicken was going on the menu right away, but then she carried on making a delicious looking rice with fresh corn and poblano peppers. I watched her pour Mexican crema over the rice and top it with Monterey Jack cheese and set it under the broiler to melt and brown.
As soon as she pulled her Chile and Cheese Rice out of the oven I knew I had to make that too! Do you know what she had the nerve to do next?
She whipped up a batch of Vanilla-Pineapple Agua Fresca right before my eyes! I watched as she cut up a fresh pineapple and placed it in a blender with vanilla, water and a bit of sugar. She poured that golden pineapple juice into a glass pitcher and it looked so creamy and frothy. I was captivated. I was excited. I knew I had to make the entire meal and fast!
Notes/Results: This was such a wonderful Sunday supper! I loved every component. The chicken skin turned a perfect golden brown and was crispy crunchy. The breast meat was incredibly moist with just the right hint of heat from the jalapeno. (The kids ate the legs and thighs which weren't as spicy because the jalapeno paste is only rubbed under the skin of the breast meat). I had some potatoes to use up so I placed them under the chicken as it roasted and they turned out so tender, buttery, and flavorful. The rice was so aromatic with a wonderful toasty flavor. The poblano pepper added a nice mellow heat to the rice and I loved the pop from the corn kernels. The Monterey Jack on top of the rice adds such a lovely quality and doesn't over take the taste of the rice at all. The Vanilla-Pineapple Agua Fresca is the perfect sipper for this meal. It's gorgeous, sweet, frothy and refreshing! I loved everything about this meal and found it exciting and new. I'll definitely be making it again and highly recommend it.
You can find the links to all three recipes HERE on the Food Network website.
Just a quick little post to send you over to another pink blogger. She is running a little contest and you might be interested...It is a giveaway really of a fabulous bag!! I am posting the link here for you pleasure!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Today was supposed to be a day for me to get some things done. Some things that need doing. Some things that, you might say I have been putting off. So I actually wrote on my electronic calender that today would be the day that I would do them.
I awoke at 0730 and to my dismay could not seem to fall back to sleep. So, I thought maybe to get an early start on my Saturday. I walked out to the living room and was immediately taken by the site of my lily sprawled (as only an Eskie can sprawl) on the couch among my nap quilt and squishy pillow. Even with my BB battery dangerously low, I knew I had to have that picture! Snap! OK, on to the kitchen to pour the obligatory cup of coffee...The pot is hot and waiting...DH is already up...Into the living room to persuade Lily to give me at least part of the couch...Grudgingly, she allows me to obtain a corner...Next, I try to upload the a fore mentioned photo. No go, not gonna happen, the wireless has turned itself off due to the fact that the battery is beyond dangerously low now! Sheesh! OK, I plug the battery in and snap another picture of Lily, this time I force her to look at me. She is disgusted at this cruel interruption of her free time...She is usually so busy, you see..The resultant pictures are above...
Sooo...while that is charging, I think I will just grab the ole laptop then and fire her up...Now I must say here in my defense, that most of what I have slated to do today, must be done using said laptop...It must also be said that I have gathered the necessities around me, such as, the kindle, the Zune and the cable for same (need to put that album on that I downloaded the other day), the cable for the BB (need to put same album on there)...I need the laptop for all of those things also...
So, the pink girl whirls and does her thing as I grab the cup and sip...Hmmm, I think, I haven't blogged in a while...a lot going on too...hmm, well first things first...I open zune and get Craig Chaquico going through the Bose speaker I have hooked up to the computer, now we are getting somewhere!
I open Zune all the way and go ahead and load the album and then do the same for the phone. I go ahead and back up and then load and then send the Lily pictures to FB
I then open firefox, my preferred browser. I see all of the tabs I had open last night reappear. OK, hotmail first...I go through all of the emails, then on to the facebook, this takes quite a while, then on to VN, then back to FB, then to work email, where hotmail is forwarded for while I am at work and then back to VN and then FB and round and round we go...I check on a few other blogs, make a donation, request a couple VN friends to be FB friends, start chatting, etc, etc...Oh and there may have been a tad bit of shopping in there...
During this time I am thinking, OK, well, I do have all weekend to get these things accomplished...I can work on these things tonight during the baseball games or even tomorrow. I deserve a day of rest. Now I have to tell you that none of the tasks that I have laid out for myself will take any time at all to do really once I sit down and actually do them. It is just that I have been busy getting Caitlin off and with the work thing, and the grant review deadline. Now, though, it is time.
The tasks are things that I need to take care of as the chair of the Survivor committee. I just have a few things that I need to get done before our next meeting that I really want to get off of my plate. I will do them this weekend and I will do them well. It is now 3:10 in the afternoon. I have made 2 new friends on face book, chatted with my daughter via blackberry messenger, she is at the beach with friends today...what a life. Her father wants to know if the text books went with her...Puhlease!!! I have made a donation to help save a friends puppy. Please see the links I have posted previously if you are reading this at my blog post. I have done a lot of things...just not what I wrote down that I had to do...see, maybe I shouldn't have written it down...
I have, finally typed up a blog. I even drove myself a little crazy this morning...What? I failed to mention this? Oh, well, I am a fan of the author Clive Cussler. He posted a link on FB to his new page...I visited...sometime later, while listening to CC on the computer and typing etc. I kept hearing what I finally realized was not part of the album...no matter what I did the sound of the sea and a buoy dinging kept coming through. Neither I nor my husband could figure out where this was coming from. Having listened to this album many times, I knew it was not a part of the music. I even went so far as to restart the computer! For a few minutes all was well. Then DH says there it is again...Finally I realized that I still had Clives web page up as a tab and that he has the background noise of the sea and a buoy to get you in the mood...Yikes!! I guess when I brought the page up it blended in with the music and so I never associated it with his web page...It's enough to make you drink...Thanks Clive...
So anyway, there you have it! The art of procrastination, I have it down to a science! Am I good or what!! I think I feel a nap coming on...yawn...
Stay pink! and forgive me my rambling!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Am off now to play with Taryn, Shell, Leanne, Renee and Gilly Oh and hopefully get some scrapping done too!
Till next time...
I discovered this shake exactly ten days ago. I've made it every day since then...yes, ten days in a row. Yes, I have a problem! I'm hoarding bananas in my freezer, I've gone through a whole bottle of vanilla, and I'm shoving this shake in everyone's face insisting that they'll love it(don't worry...I'm not pushy at all). I've washed my blender so many times that I have dishpan hands and yet I still have to have it. Do you all do that? Do you get addicted to something so bad that you have to keep putting it in your mouth until you get your fix? I do. I'm obsessive-compulsive that way. I'll love something so much that I'll have to keep indulging in it until I'm over it. Thankfully this Banana-Vanilla Shake is actually pretty healthy and I'm so happy that Pam over at Sidewalk Shoes pointed it out. Thanks Pam!
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything
1 ripe banana, frozen or room temp **I prefer frozen
1 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
sugar or simple syrup to sweeten **I use about 2 tablespoons sugar
Add everything to your blender and blitz it up to desired consistency. Enjoy!
Notes/Results: Cold, creamy, thick, icy and just the right sweetness! This recipe just speaks to me. I'm sure we all have our favorite smoothie recipes and this one is now my go-to. I enjoy it best with frozen bananas and about 2 tablespoons of sugar. I'm not sure why this is called a shake and not a smoothie, but either way I'm crazy about it! I enjoy the smoothie/shake just as the recipe is written, however my husband enjoys it best with a little Hershey's chocolate syrup mixed in. My daughter likes hers with some frozen strawberries mixed in. And last but not least, my little guy likes his best frozen....................
just like this!
P.S. Even though I divorced my Zoku Quick Pop Maker, I'm also stubborn and I have to keep messing with it. I had some leftover shake and decided to pour it into the molds and it was a great success. The pops slipped right out of the molds! You shoulda seen my face when I pulled those pops out "Ha-Ha you tricky little Zoku machine...I win...you lose!"
This is my submission to I Heart Cooking Clubs for the Can I Have A Sip? theme.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
If there was ever a reason to buy Mario's newest book, this is it!! Mario's pizza dough is definitely the star of Molto Gusto.I would go so far to say that pizza is probably the central focus of Molto Gusto, taking a full 30 pages of the book (pictures and recipes combined). If you're wondering whether Mario's pizza is swoon-worthy, have no doubts. It is superb!
Mario calls for "00" flour which I have a very hard time finding in these parts. I ordered both the Perfect Pizza Flour and also the Pizza Dough Flavor from the King Arthur website. There was definitely a difference in the pizza flour. It was ground very fine and was very soft, making for a very smooth and malleable dough. It was a joy to work with.
The coolest thing about Mario's pizza dough is that one batch of dough makes 8 little (personal-sized) pizzas which are first parcooked stovetop using a hot griddle. After the pizzas are parcooked on the griddle they are topped with the toppings of your choice and placed under the broiler for around 7-8 minutes each, or until desired doneness. The exciting part about this is that the parcooked pizzas keep very well in the refrigerator making it very easy for you to make homemade pizzas in less than 10 minutes. Genius!!
First up and extremely delicious is Mario's Pizza Bianca. The Pizza Bianca is a wonderful way to really appreciate the pizza dough itself. The pizza dough is parcooked on the griddle and then placed under the broiler for 1 -2 minutes, until lightly toasted. It is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
Pizza Bianca is absolutely delicious on it's own. I love the way the dough bubbles up creating air pockets-yum! We loved this version so much that we enjoyed 3 out of 8 pizzas this way. It's the perfect example of simple and delicious.
The next pizza was Mario's Margherita D.O.P topped with Pomi strained tomatoes, 1 small ball of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. You can't beat those classic Italian flavors. This version was my pick for my personal pizza and I loved it!
Lastly, we have Mario's Pepperoni Pizza topped with some huge slices of pepperoni I found at a deli in Lexington. It was everything we wanted it to be and then some. We made a total of four pepperoni pizzas!
Notes/Results: This is an awesome recipe for pizza dough and I highly recommend buying the book. (I would love to share the recipe, but it is a full 3 pages long and would make for quite a long post). Mario has a wide range of pizza toppings in the book, from fun to adventurous. Molto Gusto is probably one of my top three favorite cookbooks this year. It is a very approachable book with gorgeous pictures and very tasty recipes. This pizza dough rocks and will be my new go-to pizza recipe. I simply can't get over the fact that you can parcook the pizzas and store them in the refrigerator. They are perfect to have on hand for after school snacks, perfect for family or game night, perfect for entertaining. I will be making another batch soon.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This corn salad was featured in the most recent copy of Rachel Ray's Everyday Magazine. It caught my attention right away because it looked like a fun and unique way to enjoy all that fresh and wonderful corn that is available right now. This salad is a combination of corn, which has been cooked and sliced off the cob, shredded monterey jack cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped bell peppers, chopped jalapenos, sliced red onion, and chopped cilantro. Everything gets tossed with a bit of mayo and then topped with crushed Fritos. This salad makes for a gorgeous presentation and we really enjoyed it.
Cheesy-Spicy Corn and Corn Chip Salad
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Everyday Mag September 2010 issue
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (I used romaine)
8 ears corn, cooked, kernels sliced off the cob
2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
2 chopped jalapeno chiles
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
salt and pepper
3 cups corn chips, such as Fritos, crushed
In a large bowl, mix the cheese, lettuce, corn, bell peppers, jalapenos, onion, mayo and cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, top the salad with the corn chips.
Notes/Results: We loved it! I halved the recipe and it was easily enough to serve four as a side dish. The salad was super colorful with lots of wonderful flavors and textures. The sweetness of the corn was brought out by all the other ingredients. We loved it and think it would make a great contribution to a summer party or potluck. I will be making this one again!
This Cheesy-Spicy Corn and Corn Chip Salad is my contribution to this week's Souper Sundays hosted by my friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.
We stopped at the Lassen Gift Shop for ice cream. It was a tradition we had with the older kids. Patrick had his first banana split there because Grandma told the kids they weren't allowed to eat them until they turned eight. And since she's a grandma, they believed her. After pink ice cream, we grabbed a few groceries and headed for the lake.
Soon after we arrived, we all headed to the recreation area.
The first thing Ella wanted to do was hit the playground. I was a little worried when she got off the swing and threw up. She was fine after that though. Probably a combination of the winding roads on the way there and the ice cream.
This is walking into the rec area. It's beautiful. Everything is kept up really nice. I took a walk there in the mornings. When we had Ella, we took the golf cart. There are tennis courts and an amphitheatre to the right.
This is the beach. We spent a lot of time here. The boat ramp and docks are down at the end.
We played in the water and sand.
I relaxed and read. (I don't care how much I'm out in the sun, I will never have tan legs! Guess that's a good thing really.)
Can't get enough of those curls.
Ella made friends quickly, of course.
I thought this was the cutest car. I loved the color. And then it headed straight for the water!
How fun is that?
Ella talked for weeks before our trip about riding in a boat.
Grandpa's boat needed some work, so his friends Phil and Gracie Bush, took us out on their awesome boat. It was a blast! It was great getting to know them too. They are so fun and kind and have a wonderful family.
While I was on my morning walk, I watched a golf cart drive by loaded with two guys and some kids. One of the guys was holding a big pie with a Fourth of July decoration sticking out. It looked so good and I remember thinking, "I wish they were going to our house." When I got back, I opened the fridge and there was the pie! Lynn told me Phil and his son-in-law and granddaughters came by. The pie was amazing by the way. I can't remember where they ordered it, but it was a small cafe near the lake. We'll be getting one of those every time.
This handsome dude is Grandpa Murph, a.k.a my dad.
Ella's new life vest Grandpa bought her in Utah while he was visiting. I think it was just an excuse to shop at Cabela's again. :)
That's Mount Lassen in the background.
This flag usually sits on an island, but the lake was so full, it was completely covered.
On the other side of the lake was this nest with three eagles in it. It was amazing to see.
Mount Lassen again. The lake looks so different sitting in the middle of it.
Helping Daddy drive the boat.
Honking the horn--over and over.
Ella gives me this super cheesy smile when she's really, really happy. She loved when the Bush's played Little Mermaid on the boat speakers while we were going really fast. I'll admit, I loved it too. Ella told me later that she was a little bit nervous, but that she had so much fun.
That night we went to a concert at the amphitheatre. Ella and I danced like crazy. She loved all the people and the music. Everyone was laughing at how cute she was. She has quite the moves.
The next day we headed into Chester for the Fourth of July parade.
The whole gang. Grandpa had a fit when I told him he had to wear red, white and blue to the parade. Aren't you glad you did, Dad?
Those little cuties with Ella are Phil and Gracie's granddaughters, Elaura and Emaya.
I thought it was so cute that the girls were waving at everyone, until I realized they were actually yelling, "Over here, over here!" whenever a float with candy went by.
Looks like it worked.
Grandpa yelled for the guys with the huge squirt guns to get the girls.
Later that day, we took Ella to the Bush's home to play with the other kids. They had a great time on the slip n' slide and throwing water balloons at each other.
This little little momma deer and her baby jumped the fence into the backyard.
It was pretty exciting to have them so close.
And then eating right out of the kid's hands! Apparently deer enjoy tortilla chips and pancakes.
We ended up staying for a yummy bar-b-que. Thanks, guys for a wonderful time!
We can't wait to go back next year. Ella still talks about our trip just about every day. The journey home went really well. I'm so grateful Ella is such a good little traveler. We stopped at an Outlet Mall in Nevada somewhere on our way to the hotel. It was a nice break. We have great memories of our trip, but it's always nice to come home.