Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kim Kardashian Cupcakes

Apparently Kim Kardashian has a cupcake mix now, sold by Famous Cupcakes in California. Yes, even you, lowly non-celebrity-for-no-reason, can bake cupcakes just like the ones that Kim Kardashian eats, for a mere $13!

Can't you just hear her Spanx screaming?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Recipe Roundup

This week, how about some recipes for yummy Dim Sum items?

Char Siu (for filling Char Siu Bao)
Salt and Pepper Shrimp
Siu Mai (open top dumplings)
Hom Sui Gok (fried glutinous rice dumplings with pork and shrimp filling)
Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves (Lo Mai Gai)
Beef Balls
Har Gow (shrimp dumplings)
Law Bok Gow (turnip cake)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dining Out Bucket List

Dara, our lovely and talented Dining Examiner, has brought to my attention the concept of a restaurant "bucket list." So which restaurants are on my list?

In no particular order:

Slanted Door - San Francisco
Alinea - Chicago
French Laundry - Yountville
Per Se - New York
Spago - Los Angeles
Le Bernardin - New York
Momofuku (any/all of them) - New York
WD-50 - New York
El Bulli - Spain (a pipe dream, I know)

What's on your list?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An Olympic Meal

What does this post have to do with the Olympics? Well, the meal I describe herein, while not medal-winning, comprises a few different nationalities.

First of all, I wanted to do something with the quart of leftover bulghur pilaf I made last weekend. We had ground lamb in the freezer; my first thought was to make kibbeh, but it seemed like more than I wanted to tackle at the time. Then I searched for and found a recipe for a lamb and bulghur meatloaf, which was more to my liking - fast and easy. I doubled the quantities of garlic, bulghur, and lamb (because I had a pound of lamb) and kept everything else the same. The result was delicious, although I could probably have added more cumin.

I didn't have any mint, which would have been a nice addition. Maybe some feta too.

As an accompaniment, I made German potato salad. Yes, I know - weird. But my friend Stacey had called earlier in the week to request a recipe for a warm potato salad and I found this one while I was on the phone with her. Plus we had both bacon and potatoes in the house.

To add to the league of nations, I threw a handful of Italian-style green beans in the microwave to cook through. And you know what? Everything meshed perfectly together. The tomato sauce and the potato salad both had a bit of vinegar, which was a nice counterpoint to the rich yet light meatloaf, and the green beans were terrific with the tomato sauce. In fact, I'll probably use the leftover sauce to make a variation of Greek-style green beans with tomatoes.

Ok, so maybe I'd give this meal at least a Bronze medal. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stoney River Legendary Steaks

By the Saturday after Snowpocalypse I and II, Mr Minx and I were completely stir crazy and ventured out of the neighborhood for dinner. His thought was that we should go to a place that would have shoveled out enough parking spaces to accommodate a possibly larger-than-average Saturday night crowd. I suggested Cheesecake Factory, since it was at the mall. And face it - any place was better than sitting home for yet another evening.

Despite setting out at an hour much too early for dinner, we encountered a Christmas-sized mob pouring into and out of every door and parking space at Towson Town Center. With all of the insanity, we found CF to be teeming with folks waiting for tables. There were at least 20 parties ahead of us, so we walked right back out the door and across the hall to Stoney River Legendary Steaks. I've mentioned before on this blog that we are not steakhouse people, but we weren't about to lose our hard-won parking space or blow our money on bogus Chinese food at P.F. Chang's.

The steakhouse was practically deserted, so we were surprised to hear the parties ahead of us in line being told that there was a 2.5 hour wait. We were told the same thing, but I noticed space in the bar and asked if we could eat there. Indeed we could.

I was prepared to shell out CF prices, not steakhouse prices, so we opted for bowls of lobster bisque followed by a burger and a steak sandwich, washed down by glasses of Ravenswood Zinfandel. While we were waiting for our soup, we were presented with a basket of "rolls" which could be more appropriately described as piping hot balls of fried dough, accompanied by a rosette of honeyed butter. Possibly addictive and definitely appetite-killing, so we limited ourselves to one each of the tasty morsels.

When the bisque arrived, we found it to be the typical pasty flour-thickened soup, a la Maryland cream of crab, rather than a true bisque, but it had actual bits of lobster in it and it tasted well enough. I would probably not order it again though.

Our sandwiches, on the other hand, made us very happy. My 10oz Prime Burger came with Gruyere cheese and sautéed onions and was cooked to a perfect medium-rare. The meat was well-seasoned, with a nice crust and lots of drippy juices. My only complaint was that it came on a Kaiser-type roll, and I find those are more likely to fall apart than other types of rolls.

Mr Minx's steak sandwich was full of so much sliced tenderloin, again perfectly medium rare, it fell out of the sides of the roll. It was topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms. Again my complaint with this sandwich was the roll - it was a rather clunky, baguette-shaped roll with a too-soft texture. Something with a little crunch would have been nicer.

Accompanying both sandwiches was a cup of thick-cut fries dusted with Parmesan cheese and drizzled with truffle oil. I'm not a big fan of the thick fry, but these had so much flavor I could forgive the somewhat cottony texture.

I'm glad we ate at the bar. The bartenders were all very nice and friendly, the music was of a volume that one could choose to either sing along or ignore it, and the overall ambiance was much higher than one would normally find in a shopping mall. I'd go back, definitely for the burger. And if that was so good, perhaps I'd attempt a splurge on a steak. The fried lobster tail enjoyed by the young man seated next to me looked pretty good, too.

Stoney River Legendary Steaks
Towson Town Center
825 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Suite 1157
Towson, MD 21204
Phone: (410) 583-5250

Stoney River on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cheesy Video

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cooking Channel

Our friends at Scripps, owner of the Food Network, are bringing us a new 24-hour food-related network called The Cooking Channel. Actually, it's Fine Living Network with a new name and new shows. And even though the word "cooking" is in the name, be prepared to see a whole lot of the bigmouth-personality-eating-other-people's-food-type programming. Read more about it here.

Wonder if those of us who will only fork out $ for basic cable will get this channel? We can't see FLN, so probably not. But those who do - get ready for more Rachael Ray!

Product of the Week - Mid's Pasta Sauce

To me, the ideal pasta sauce is smooth and thick and doesn't separate into tomato chunks and water when it hits hot pasta. To achieve this with homemade sauce, it needs to simmer for hours. And, it needs to be made with a lot of tomato paste, rather than just canned tomatoes.

Sometimes we're pressed for time (or are just plain lazy) so choose to use a jarred pasta sauce rather than making one from scratch. All jarred sauces are not alike, so I've tried several brands in a quest to find the one that best suits my particular tastes. Many jarred sauces tend to do that separation thing. In addition, they are usually full of high-fructose corn syrup, which adds both sweetness and body to a sauce. Mid's on the other hand, is made from tomato paste for body and uses sugar as a sweetener. The end result tastes a lot like what I would want to produce, if I had the time - assertively tomato-y, but neither too acidy nor too sweet. And thick enough to coat every strand of pasta without forming a layer of water on the bottom of the bowl. In my not-so-humble opinion, it tastes great and is the perfect consistency. It's not expensive like the premium restaurant sauces (Rao's, Patsy's) and it tastes better. At least we think so.Your mileage may vary, but if you can find it, I recommend giving Mid's a try.

According to the Mid's Web site, they have no retailers in Maryland, but since Wegman's is a New York firm, we've been able to purchase it there. Wal-Mart may also stock it locally.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photoshop Cook

As an avid cook who uses Photoshop a whole helluva lot, I thought this video was very cute. Please to enjoy.

Meatballs

On our one trip to the supermarket during the brief break between Snowpocalypse I and Snowpocalypse II, Mr Minx and I picked up a package of ground sirloin (the only meat available) in order to make spaghetti and meatballs at some point during our forced sequestration from society. I thought we might try something different and make the meatballs we saw on a recent episode of Cook's Country (the new, even more-folksy version of America's Test Kitchen, shown eleventy times a day on WETA Create). The recipe involves making a panade of bread and milk to bind the meat and to create a more tender texture - we usually just use dry bread crumbs.

We did not follow the recipe completely - there was no Italian sausage in the house so we simply omitted it. Also, we did not use the onion mixture that was part of the entire meatballs with marinara recipe because when I consulted the recipe, I only jotted down the list of ingredients which makes no mention of onions (see below) and did not check the method which does mention onions (also below). You'd think since I had seen the episode the week before I might have remembered that essential ingredient, but nooooo.

In any case, the meatballs were slightly bland, but otherwise were pretty good. The panade went a long way to improve the texture of the 87% fat-free sirloin, and baking them (I did remember that part) kept the house from smelling like fried meat.

Because we had no canned tomatoes in the house, I just opened up a jar of my favorite commercial sauce, Mid's, in the "meatless" flavor. (More on Mid's later in the week.)

While it didn't come close to my Aunt Stasia's from-scratch spaghetti and meatballs - my holy grail - it did simulate a very good restaurant version.

Meatballs (via Cook's Country)
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4 cup milk
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Mash bread and milk in bowl with reserved onion mixture until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except ground beef, to bowl and mash to combine. Add beef and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 1/2-inch meatballs (you should have about 16 meatballs), place on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.
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Note: Our meatballs took about 35 minutes to brown, and I turned them twice during the baking process.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Successful Oatmeal Cookies

I finally found a recipe that made oatmeal cookies the way I like them - somewhat puffy and crunchy, not flat and overly-crisp. But I'm loath to admit where I found the recipe....

They're Guy Fieri's "Craisy Oatmeal Cookies."

I'm no fan of Mr Ferry and his attention-hog persona. He reminds me of the much-despised spouse of a friend of mine; while there's no physical resemblance, they have the same "look at me!" quality that I find obnoxious. Anyhoo...one good thing I can say about Ferry is that his recipes tend to involve real ingredients, not Big Macs or boxed macaroni and cheese like some other Food Network "talent."

I was actually looking for recipes to ridicule when I found this one on the Food Network site. And seeing that it called for 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of oatmeal to only 1 1/4 cups of sugar, I thought it could be a winner. It also has a few unusual ingredients - dried cranberries, coconut, and rosemary. That's right - rosemary.

I made one batch plain, one with rosemary and cranberries, and one with all of the mix-ins. And damn - they're pretty good! The rosemary is very subtle, and Mr Minx thought the combination of herb and dried fruit was a bit like stuffing. But sweet. And good. And definitely worth making again.

Ok - berate me now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

How about a big bowl of homemade gumbo to celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Product of the Week - Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Salsa

For commercial, cooked, salsas, I think Trader Joe's are pretty good. They used to have a version that had a nice roasty flavor, with bits of charred tomato or pepper skin floating in it. I can't seem to find that one anymore, unfortunately, but they still make my favorite - corn and chile. It's tomato-free, I suppose for people who can't have a lot of acid or are allergic to tomatoes. Instead, it's chock-full of corn, with bits of chile. It's not particularly hot, but it has a fantastic pronounced coriander seed (not cilantro) flavor. I like it on tacos and nachos, but sometimes I find myself eating it out of the jar with a spoon.

It's on the sweet side, too, probably more like a corn "relish" than a "salsa." But no, I haven't yet tried it on a hot dog...maybe tonight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brownies

I was going to bake cookies during Snowpocalypse I, but when I realized we only had about a cup of flour in the pantry, I switched to brownies. Using my favorite recipe, of course.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baltimore Dining Examiner Snowpocalypse Cooking Help Line

For all of you out there who couldn't make it to the grocery store and have nothing in the house but a sundry selection of dry goods...OR...did make it to the store only to find there was nothing left on the shelves except Belgian endive and canned beans, Dara, Baltimore's Dining Examiner, has opened a Snowpocalypse Cooking Help Line to solve your cooking quandary.

Super Bowl Nachos

Every year, Mr Minx and I have our own private little Super Bowl party at home. Last year I made sausage rolls, but Mr Minx wanted something simpler this time: nachos.

Not that anything can be simple when I'm cooking.

I cooked a pork shoulder on Friday just to have some meat for the nachos. I shredded it and bathed it in a mixture of molé sauce and tomato paste. I also fried up some mushrooms and onions with garlic.

Along with the meat and veg, I used both cotija cheese and some shredded Mexican blend. And the chips were actually chipotle-flavored tostadas.

Additional do-it-yourself toppings include sour cream, guacamole, fire roasted tomato or corn salsa (from Trader Joe's), chopped raw jalapeno, cilantro, and green onions.

Mr Minx thought the snowman paper plates would be an appropriate addition to the table. Funny, because of the mountains of snow currently surrounding our house, but also sad. For the same reason.

Yum! Everything came together nicely. The chips and the pork were spicy and savory, and all of the toppings added myriad textures. Along with the nachos we drank a cheap Aussie screwtop Pinot Noir from Silverwing. A bit like alcoholic grape juice, neither acidy nor tannic, it went well with the spicy food. And it kept us warm while watching the game.

Milo enjoyed a little bit of cheese, although he would happily have jumped head-first into the entire tray of nachos. But there were chocolate and onions present, both of which are toxic to canines. Plus, he's already gained a pound in the three weeks we've had him! Vet thought it was good though, fine, but we don't want to have a chubby puppy in the house. Not like our neighbor with the already-grossly-overweight 10-month-old yellow lab. I swear that dog weighs 80 lbs already.

The best part of watching the Super Bowl this year was seeing Peyton Manning and the Colts lose to the New Orleans Saints. It was the Saints first visit to the Big Game, despite playing in the "Superdome" for so many years. Congrats to Drew Brees and the rest of the team! And to the Colts - ha ha ha. :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Faux-roccan Lamb

On Saturday, during the Snowpocalypse, I made a hearty lamb dish with Moroccan flavors, based on the Lamb with Prunes recipe in Claudia Roden's book, The Book of Jewish Food. I call it "Faux-roccan" because neither a Jew nor a Muslim would do what I did - add pork stock.

::::ducking::::

I didn't want to add plain water, and I had two quarts of lovely gelatinous pork stock left over from the pork shoulder I cooked on Friday. In addition to prunes, I added mushrooms, a can of diced tomatoes, and half a preserved lemon from a jar I picked up at Marshall's (you can find the most interesting gourmet items at Marshall's, et. al.) before the holidays.

I let it cook for several hours until the meat was fall-apart tender.

Then the carbon monoxide detector went off. While the stew was cooking, I baked a loaf of bread and a batch of brownies. Immediately I turned off the stove and opened several windows. Mr Minx checked the chimney, but it didn't seem blocked. The last time the CO detector went off was several Christmasses ago, when I had been baking cookies and prepping both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners all at the same time.

With a new puppy in the house, needless to say I didn't want to risk anything by cooking still more stuff, so plans for a bulghur pilaf were scrapped. Instead, I took Milo outside for a romp in the snow, or more accurately, he raced up and down the narrow path Mr Minx had carved out in our back yard while I scraped up the last 1/2" or so of packed-down snow so it wouldn't ice over.

And a beautiful thing happened - the sun came out, revealing patches of blue sky. Snowpocalypse was over!

We went inside and celebrated with a bowl of lamby goodness, served with slices of beer bread. Would have liked that pilaf, but still - it was good.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Product Review of Sorts

During Snowpocalypse, I baked a loaf of Tastefully Simple beer bread. We don't usually have this type of instant box-o-stuff hanging around, but a friend of my brother was selling these products and I, being a nice person, bought a few. Honestly, it took a long time for me to find anything on the site that sounded remotely interesting, especially for the ridiculous prices. Chocolate Mousse Mix for $7.49? Sesame Teriyake Stir-Fry Sauce for $8.99? Un-freaking-believable. One can buy similar stuff at the supermarket for half those prices.

Anyhoo - I thought I'd try the bread, which seemed relatively inexpensive by comparison ($5.99).

It was easy enough - mix one 12 oz carbonated beverage of choice (mine was beer) with contents of package, place in greased pan, and bake 50-55 minutes at 375°. The mix smelled a little stale, and granted I bought it a few months ago, but there was no expiration date on the box.

As you can see, the bread *looked* terrific, and it had a nice texture - close crumb and a crisp crust. However, the taste was not only slightly stale, but also a bit on the bitter side. I used the mildest beer we had - Corona - so I'm pretty sure that wasn't the cause.

At any rate, it sufficed as a carbohydrate for our dinner, and was ok toasted the next day. But I won't be buying it again, nor am I likely to waste good $ on Tastefully Simple products in the future (so don't invite me to your parties). The next $6 loaf of bread I'll buy will be coming from Atwaters.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl Commercials

I case you missed the Coke commercials during the Super Bowl, here they are. I loved the Simpsons one.



Saturday, February 06, 2010

More Recipes from The Food Network

The link under that image on the Food Network Web site takes one to this recipe. Note the list of ingredients:

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough (fresh, not frozen)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Kosher salt
2 cups shredded coleslaw mix
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
6 ounces deli-sliced roast beef
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Bet you didn't know that traditional Chinese sandwiches use pizza dough, coleslaw mix, and deli-sliced roast beef, did you?

If you want a better/more authentic/from scratch version of this recipe, Food Network has that too, courtesy of Ming Tsai. Ahhh...remember when FN had shows hosted by real chefs, like Ming?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Product of the Week - Chilli Paste with Sweet Basil

Have you ever gotten hooked on a particular product and used it in everything? Chilli Paste with Sweet Basil is one of my personal obsessions. I like the Por Kwan brand and have purchased both the sweet basil and holy basil versions at our local H-Mart.

Mr Minx and I were still in the dating stages of our relationship when I discovered this stuff, and he got pretty accustomed to finding it's spicy flavor in many of the dinners I cooked at his house. Not only did I use it to flavor Thai-style sauces for poultry (like the basil duck that I've mentioned here several times), but also I've tossed a spoonful of it into anything that needed a bit of heat. Or a bit of something. You know, when a dish just doesn't taste perfect yet and it needs a dash of __?___. Everything was fair game - pasta sauce, soup, mac and cheese, hamburgers. Ice cream. (Ok, kidding about that last one.)

I don't obsess over it quite as much these days, but there is an open jar in the fridge and a back-up in the pantry. My current favorite use for this spicy sauce is as a flavoring for egg salad - fan-freakin'-tastic. It adds just the right amount of heat and interest to an otherwise bland preparation. Of course it would be perfect in a variation of deviled eggs, too.

Fans of Thai flavors and a bit of heat should try this for themselves. And if you do pick up a jar (or two), please let me know how you've used it!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Shear Genius!

For fans of my Top Chef recaps...I'm currently recapping Shear Genius on my fashion blog. Read episode 1 here.

A Real Dish

Some years ago, on a trip to H-Mart, I discovered Mexican chorizo. These fat pork links are more like a finely ground paste of fresh (uncured) meat that's been stuffed into plastic than an actual sausage. Remove the plastic and the meat falls into fine crumbles.

My favorite application for Mexican chorizo is a pasta dish, oddly enough. I made it up as I went along, and every time I make it I change it up just a little bit. It's also great as a bruschetta topping.


theminx's Chorizo Topping

1 medium onion, chopped
2 Mexican chorizo, preferably Supremo brand
oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1 Tablespoon honey, or to taste
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed or finely minced
salt and pepper

Optional ingredients

handful of chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped leftover chicken
3 or 4 chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
Raw shrimp or scallops
chopped walnuts
frozen peas or edamame

Place onion and mushrooms (if using) in a sauté pan with a tiny splash of oil (the sausage is fairly fatty and will add more oil to the party) and a pinch of salt to bring out the moisture. Cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat until the onion begins to soften.

Remove chorizo from plastic casings and add to pan. Break sausages apart with wooden spoon and stir into the onion mixture. The onions will take on a reddish hue from the sausage. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are limp and meat appears dry. Add honey and vinegar and stir well. The the flavor should be slightly sharp and a bit sweet, with an interesting piquancy coming from the sausage spices. Stir in garlic.

The "sauce" will be very dry - if you want it to be more liquidy, add the optional tablespoon of tomato paste and about 1/2 cup of water. At this point, you can add any or all of the optional items. (When I made this dish the other night, I used leftover chicken from the night before, plus a dozen or so medium shrimp, peeled.) Cook until additions are warmed through, or in the case of seafood, cooked until opaque. Season with salt and pepper, if needed/desired.

To serve

Cooked pasta (about 1 lb)
Chopped green onion
Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

I like to put the sauce on the pasta, because it looks prettier, but you can toss the sauce and pasta together in the pan, adding a bit of the pasta cooking water if you want more liquid. Garnish with scallions and cheese.

The flavors are dark and spicy, with a little agrodolce (sweet and sour); the addition of scallion brings some nice bright greenness, the cheese some creaminess. There are also lots of textures going on in this dish - crumbly chorizo, soft meat, crunchy walnuts, etc. It's really quite fantastic and very easy.

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Coca-Cola and the Boys & Girls Clubs

I'm a Pepsi gal, but I thought this was a really good cause. And that some of my readers prefer Coke. ;)

Through a special partnership with Facebook, Coca-Cola is giving people a simple, fun way to contribute to the Boys & Girls Clubs and a chance to view a sneak peek of one of their Super Bowl ads. Visitors to the Live Positively tab on the Coca-Cola Facebook fan page can share a special “virtual gift” with friends and family that will trigger the following:
  • Coca-Cola makes a one-dollar donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America

  • Gift recipients receive a special Coca-Cola bottle image, which is displayed on their Facebook page and newsfeed, reminding them and others they can also share virtual gifts

  • Gift-givers receive a 20-second sneak preview of one of two new Coca-Cola ads that will debut during the Super Bowl broadcast on February 7, 2010 (once game day arrives, gifters receive both ads in their entirety before their TV debut later that evening
Also, Coca-Cola will match every dollar contributed to the Boys & Girls Clubs (up to a total contribution by Coca-Cola of $150,000) and donate two My Coke Rewards points for every one point donated between now and February 15th: http://www.livepositively.com/#/bgca

The Boys and Girls Clubs have helped bring about so many success stories during its existence, and here is one from Academy Award winner Denzel Washington:

Symphony of Blah

Once upon a time, I worked in a bookstore. Gordon's Booksellers at the Rotunda, to be exact. (Anyone remember that store?) I made something like $3.35 an hour and almost all of it went towards buying books. One book I purchased was Southwest Tastes, from the PBS TV series "Great Chefs of the West," pretty much solely for the recipe "Wild Rice Pancakes Garnished in Two Ways." I have owned this book for 20 years and only just now have gotten around to making the recipe, although I had contemplated it from time to time. But there was leftover wild rice in the fridge that was begging to be used in some interesting way. A shame that didn't happen.

One of the two toppings was chicken in a sherry vinegar sauce. I opted to use leftover roast chicken instead of the raw chicken in the recipe, plus onion and - you guessed it - mushrooms.

Is that ugly, or what? And despite the three fat cloves of garlic, 4 scallions, and about 1/4 cup of impossibly strong sherry vinegar, the dish didn't taste like all that much. And the pancakes were rather bizarre - the rice just floated in it, like chocolate chips in a cookie. Try for yourself - see if it works better for you.

Wild Rice Pancakes (adapted from Southwest Tastes)

2 cups cooked wild rice
2 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup AP flour
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Mix rice, eggs, scallions, and garlic in a bowl. Add flour, milk, and salt and pepper. The original recipe calls for melting butter in a skillet, but I used PAM on a pancake griddle. Spoon on batter to make approximately 3"-4" pancakes. Cook until the top starts to look dry and the bottoms are golden. Flip and cook a few more minutes until that side browns as well. Keep warm until ready to use.
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Oh well. The cookbook is otherwise pretty.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Things I Learned While Baking Cookies

1. Cookies that have a high butter-to-flour ratio (1:1 is high) MUST be baked on a Silpat. Otherwise, they are hard to remove from a standard non-stick baking sheet.

2. If the cookies are allowed to cool for even 30 seconds, they will be impossible to remove from the un-Silpat-ed cookie sheet whole and will become cookie brittle.

3. Cookie brittle makes a great topping for ice cream, particularly if the cookies contain walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, and toffee bits.

4. Any whole cookies you are fortunate to get out of this mess will be lacy and break easily. But they will still taste good.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Cookbook Indexing

Now doesn't this sound useful?
If you love cookbooks and get frustrated that you can’t search for recipes in your own cookbooks as easily as you can search for recipes on the internet – then you’ve come to the right place.

With Eat Your Books you can:

-Find a recipe in your cookbooks that use the ingredients you have in your fridge/pantry.
- Find a recipe that you cooked a while back but you’ve no idea what cookbook it was in.
- Select recipes for the week’s meals, or when entertaining, and create a shopping list of all the main ingredients you’ll need.
- Find your next cookbook from our database of 16,000 cookbooks.
- Join a community of cookbook lovers and find out what their favorite recipes and cookbooks are.

I'm tempted to try the free trial.
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