Saturday, December 29, 2007

The BEAST has been TAMED!!!!!!!!!! At least for now.

We sparred for a bit.........finally I won. 520 searing degrees......oooh I love the glowing seasoned pizza stone (aint she a beaute).....finely stretched dough, fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, romano and thinly sliced pepperoni. Four 9 inch beauties were created last night. They were amazing. Cooked to perfection in 4 minutes. Ever so crisp outside w/slightly chewy tenderness inside and not too thin, not too thick. Just what wet dreams are made least mine hahaha. I am soooooooo relieved I am back in control of this monster. He was making me look bad and I don't like to look bad. We are having friends over tomorrow night for PIZZA on the BGE. I will post more later. My Hubby and I are off to the Tran-Siberian Orchestra this evening. Yes, my life is rough, I know.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm

I recently have been using FAT FREE Half & Half in my coffee. Now I always thought the purpose of half & half was that it was half cream and half milk so it wasn't as bad as heavy cream. So if it is Fat Free......what is in 1/2 or the other 1/2 of this half & half??????

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tonight...............WE TANGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or Grill Pizza on the BGDE

So for Christmas a friend gave me the CPK (california pizza kitchen) cookbook. I spent today making pizza dough. It is currently resting in the fridge. I made a double batch so if this Guapo pulls a Garcha on my arse and sends me packing back to me Barrio I can give him the Dedo and come back packing with another pie. I will not be defeated!!!!!! I am taking the lead in this dance. Aaaaacarrrrrrummmmmbaaaaaa!!! (yes I am wearing a puffy sleeved shirt, kind of like the one on that Seinfeld episode).

Translation in Tango terminology: I made a double batch so if this Guapo (handsome green egg) pulls a Garcha (to screw one over) on my arse (ass) and sends me packing back to me Barrio (neighborhood), I can give him the Dedo (finger) and come back packing with another pie.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just Chew Me Up and Spit Me Out You EGG BEAST

The BGE is cruel, cruel, cruel. It has chewed me up and spit me out. I feel like I have gone 7 rounds with a welter weight champion and been knocked out. After much encouragement from my husband (and the Jennings heheheh) I will trudge forth and conquer this beast. It might outweigh me but it will not outegg me (I guess we will find out). I can see it peering at me now as I write this......mocking me through my french doors out to the deck. Trying to psych me out. Sitting in its egg nest all green and shiney w/its black racing stripes. My ever so cool thinking husband tried to explain to me last night that there would be a learning curve just like anything else and I would eventually get the hang of it. Learning curve??? I hate learning curves. I just want a huge flying egg to come in the night.....drop its big suction probe from the sky........attach it to my head and electronically transfer the eggknowledge to my head so I can wake up and be a master griller....... kind of like a UFO abduction where they find you laying naked 47 miles out of town on a dirt road curled up in the fetal position and you swear you were abducted by aliens and probed anally for hours. Minus the probed anally part preferrably. Oh and minus the naked on a dirt road for hours part is a bit chilly here.

I did manage some boneless chicken breasts last night that turned out on the BGDE. This is the best marinade for chicken. I swear by it. It really imparts the chicken itself w/flavor. Just not the outside of the chicken. At least a 4 hour marinade or 8 is better but 4 works really well. I put it all in a ziploc bag and stick it in the fridge. 1/3 c. of extra virgin olive oil, 3 T lemon juice, 1 1/2 t. fennel seed toasted on stove top and then crush it inside a plastic bag, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t pepper. You also don't need to toast the fennel that is just my anal cooking thing. This chicken is great just alone or used in BBQ chicken quesadillas (email me for the recipe if you want it). I serve it alone with risotto alot. Last night we made the chicken into sandwhiches. I loaf Ciabatta bread, spread one side w/sun dried tomato pesto, other side with light caesar dressing, sprinkle on good paremesan, arrang sliced chicken on bread, load up on shredded romaine lettuce and top w/other side of bread, serve w/sweet potato fries. YUM!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Big Green Dud or Operator Error

Quite frankly the BGE (acronym for Big Green Egg) is pissing me off. I wanted to desperately bake bread in my egg. This is what I have been waiting for. I have been hinting for a year. I love artisinal breads and brick oven pizzas. The BGE was to make all my culinary dreams come true. Now it is just pissing me off. I started at 10:00 pm last night......I had to make a "sponge" for my ciabatta bread that had to proof for 12 hours. At 10:00 am I started the rest of the bread and started the 60 minute rise and then another 90 minute rise. Then I whisk the loaves outside in the 39 degree pouring down rain and get 2 on..........they don't turn out. I think I know my problem. I whisk the other 2 out.........they burn on the bottom. )&^%_+^%#@#?":>{}!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am all out of dough:(
I know it is "operator error" but for now I am going to blame it on the BGDE (big green dumb egg). I will spend the night regaining my composure and I will conquer this 200 lb. beast. It will not defeat me!!! Plus it is too heavy for my husband to return hehehehehehehe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Candy is Dandy, Wine is Fine, Liquor is Quicker but a Sherry Enema=Death

So last night I decide to run an errand to the liquor store. I needed to buy Godiva White Chocolate liquor, Vanilla Vodka, and some White Wine. Now mind you, my bar area at my home looks like a professional quarters player lives here (I think they still play that game, it is a classic). Funny thing is, none of it is really for drinking. All the alcohol on my bar is for cooking. Most of you know alcohol is not cheap. Usually when you move the van lines will not take open bottles of alcohol. Much to my delight, this move they told me if there was a lid on it they would pack it. I was soooo relieved. I probably have several hundred $$$ in bottles of booze that I have only used a couple tablespoons out of for different dishes. I tried to explain to the Van Line Rep that it was for cooking and he just looked at me and winked and said "sure it is". Our friends call me the "Liquor Lady" because they know if they need a tablespoon of Bourbon or some Rum for a recipe I am just the sucker to give it to them for free so they don't have to go out and buy a whole bottle.

Side Note: I am standing at the liquor counter checking out (of course waiting to be carded because when you are kissing 40 you look forward to being carded, it is a compliment). An older woman, mid 70's, comes gimping in store with a cane huffing and puffing. She looks totally panic stricken. She comes over to my side of counter and looks up at the gentleman checking me out and shouts "YOU MOVED, OH MY GOSH, DON'T SCARE ME LIKE THAT", she was shaking and out of breath. The guy behind the counter says "I will go and get your usual". He leaves the counter and comes back with a 5th of whiskey. LOL, apparently they had recently moved their store just a couple of doors down and this lady is a regular and went to the old store and panicked when she could not get "her usual". Make note to self: Drink whiskey when I turn 70. Just like I want to be like old guy as an honorary VP in my 80's, I will also add that I want to be a regular at the liquor store and everyone will know "my usual" when I am in my 70's. My list of what I want to be when I grow up is ever growing.

Sad side note: I did not get carded this time. Not even a shifty eye glance like they were mulling it over. DAMN!

Disbursement of alcohol as follows. Vanilla Vodka=Chocolate Peppermintini's, Godiva White Chocolate Liquor=White Chocolate Egg Nog Trifle, Calvaldo's (Apple Brandy)=nut topping used in Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie, Grand Marnier=Chocolate Grand Marnier Ice Cream w/almonds.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Jumping Jehosaphat, I think I have got it!!!!!!!
The old expression was "Jumping Jehosephat." Just a polite expression of surprise. Like "Holy crap!" might be today.Historically: Jehosaphat was a wealthy king of Jerusalem. One day an army from the east march on Jerusalem to take his gold. Jehosaphat told the people not to worry that the battle would be his and Judas's on the following day. The people let out a joyous cry "Great Jumping Jehosaphat." That's the "story" anyhow. I wasn't there. :)

I love it when a light bulb goes off.......especially a food revelation. Like it was in front of your eyes all the time but you kept missing it. Thinking and thinking, going over ingredients in your pretty little empty head. Wondering how you can make it different or better or spectacular so your dinner guests are envious and feel quite inferior to your culinary capabilities (that's not nice, I know! But you would if you could too heheheheh).

Anyway, lately I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out a dessert item for an appetizer get together I am having on Sunday evening. Last year a friend gave me an Eggnog Pound Cake Mix from Williams Sonoma. On most occassions if someone gives me a food item I like to prepare it when I have them over so they can share in what they bought me. The mix was good until 2008 so I decided to save it for this Christmas. Of course, being the culinary superior being I think I am (keyword is THINK), I can't just bake off an eggnog pound cake and serve it. I have to make it into something no one has ever dreamed of. As I was exercising today it came to me like a pizza delivery guy during a football game (doesn't everyone think of food while exercising?). I am going to make a White Chocolate Tiramisu w/eggnog pound cake. Instead of Lady Fingers I am going to slice up my eggnog poundcake and use Godiva White Chocolate liquor to soak my slices and then make a white chocolate filling with marscapone, white chocolate, eggs and cream. Then I will use white chocolate shavings and perhaps put a side of balsamic strawberries for topping. Plus it will look like a Giant White Christmas Snowball sitting in my clear trifle bowl.....added bonus. Sometimes I amaze myself!!! I think I need a nap.

Date night update: Last night was date night with the hubby.
Goat Cheese Baguettes:
Buttered Sour Dough Baguettes topped with imported Goat Cheese and served on Baby Arugula with homemade Tomato Jam
Herb Crusted Tilapia:
A sweet Tilapia filet encrusted with a Melange of fresh herbs. Finish with your favorite sauce of a Wild Mushroom Ragout or Lemon Meuniere. Served with Cranberry and Apricot Wild Rice
White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Little Piggy Went To The Market.....I Mean Williams Sonoma

This little piggy went to market;This little piggy stayed home;This little piggy had roast beef;And this little piggy had none;And this little piggy cried, "Wee, wee, wee!"All the way home.

Okay, so sometimes I go a bit overboard. I like to cook but I also love to go out to eat and I also love to order food items in the mail. Whoever invented dry ice is a GENIUS. Okay I stand corrected see following information:

As a natural substance, Dry Ice is not an invention, Dry Ice was discovered, however, the name was trademarked. The Dry Ice Corporation of America first trademarked the name Dry Ice in 1925.

Who knew?? Anyway....I love Kansas City Steaks.....especially the bacon cheese steakburgers preferrably the 4 oz'ers. I always have them in my freezer. I love the chicken breasts from Schwans and also always have those on hand. Caribou Coffee Fireside Blend, which I now have to order because there is NO Caribou in LR. Baker's Cinnamon Filling from King Arthur Four in Vermont (makes the BEST cinnamon rolls hands down).
Williams Sonoma has had some of the yummiest treats in their catalog for the Holidays and so my list goes: Cheddar & Bacon Gougere's (Dr. Oz would not be happy), Arancini--creamy risotto balls breaded and fried to a golden brown (this is why I eat 2 Tblsp of flax meal seed a day), assorted empanadas (a shout out to all my Latin American friends cause everyone knows I have so many), and least but not last assorted Tamales (ooooooooh Santa, I have been a baaaaaad girrrrrrrrl). Of course I am going to bake a wheel of Brie over the Holidays, eat my homemade ice cream and do some other appetizers of my choosing, but I can't help but take some help from my friends at Williams Sonoma. So I think it is very important this Holiday Season to bow your head in a moment of silence and be thankful we have Fed Ex Next Day, UPS Overnight, and of course DRY ICE. Without these wonderful modern day inventions This Little Piggy Might Actually Have To Go To The Market!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saddle up the Oven we are Baking Ham Loaf

My grandmother is hysterical. She never fails to make me laugh. She is 82 and doesn't look a day over 72. She lives in NW PA. Grandma-ma calls me on the phone yesterday laughing her keester off. Says she had a dream the night before that our oldest son took a girl out on a date. Well apparently this girls mother showed up at our house stating she wanted to talk to us. This woman would not leave. I then apparently called my grandmother on the phone saying "oh my gosh, what do I do, this swamp-ass won't leave (I apparently was calling this woman swamp ass)". Grandma then tells me to go and load the rifle up and put a new part in swamp ass's hair and that should do the trick. GO GRANDMA!!! Apparently grandma-ma dreams in the technicolor dreamcoat.

Anyway......for years when I was growing up our tradition at Christmas was to go to grandma-ma's house on Christmas Eve for Ham Loaf and snacks and presents. Hmmmm Ham Loaf you say. Yes, I know, the next question is What is Ham Loaf???? Well I am not really sure. I assume it is ham ground up like hamburger. There is a small grocery store in Hydetown, PA called Hawk's Grocery and they always had ham loaf there. I have never encountered it anywhere else I have ever lived. I have never heard anyone else talk of it. She would form it into a loaf and heat it with a sweet glaze on the outside and then slice it like a meatloaf. It was actually pretty tasty......salty but tasty. It was great in a sandwhich with mustard and rye bread. It was also really good cold the next day. I looked forward to ham loaf. So if anyone finds themselves in Hydetown, PA stop by Hawk's grocery and saddle up for some Ham Loaf. You won't be disappointed. I had to dedicate a post to "Ham Loaf".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Frittata Hater=FRITTATER

Okay, so I have a gazillion egg whites leftover from all the egg yolks I had use up during my ice cream-athon. What better way to use up eggs than to make a frittata. I love Frittatas. I thought everyone loved Frittatas. What is not to love??? Eggs, some cheese, veggies or meats of your choice a touch of cream...cooked on the stove top until almost set and then whisked away to the oven to broil for a few minutes until set, golden and fluffy delicious. The great thing about Frittata is that it can be eaten hot, cold and it is wonderful at room temp. A Frittata is an Italian Omelette.

So my husband holds a staff meeting every Thursday of the month for all of his peeps. He says.....can you whip us up something. Sure I say.......I will whip up a versatile, so yummy. I make a Frittata with potato, prosciutto (italian ham), and parm regianno and a little roasted red pepper. TO DIE FOR.........even more yummy on a toasted onion roll drizzled with Olive Oil. Remember..........delicious cold, hot or even ROOM TEMP......hence the reason I made it. You don't have to worry about when you eat it. Everyone gobbled their sandwhich down except one little ungrateful man. This man even comes up to my husband and says the dessert was great but the sandwhich not so much. He wanted to know what it was and where I came from??? Like it was monkey brain stew and I was from picky wicky island off the coast of ishu bishu. Being the brilliant MBA holding business man my husband is that runs a 500+ person facility he says "uh, she is from the land of the food network"............HUH??? You just cant win. Like I am some freak from outerspace. Whatever DUDE!!! Hence the becoming of the "FRITTATER". This man is now known as the Frittater. He no longer has an identity.........he is the Frittater. His whole life existence is for nill now. He is only known as Fritater. I don't care if he cures cancer or helps old ladies or feeds the poor or takes in hurt stray animals. He is forever known as the FRITTATER.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Scream, You Scream, Y'ALL Scream for ICE CREAM

I did "y'all" in honor of the south.

Churning out ice cream today like a Blue Bell Bunny......or perhaps more like a Ben & Jerry's non-growth hormone holstein.

I have spent part of yesterday and part of today making the mixes I need to churn. I have gone through 4 cartons of eggs, 2 pints of heavy cream, a quart of whole milk and 4 quarts of half&half, 5 bars of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, 4 bars of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate, some Grand Marnier and a handful of almonds. I had to make 4 batches of peppermint ice cream (2 for moi and 2 for a present), 2 batches of the dulce de leche w/bittersweet chocolate shards (both for a present) and least but not last one batch of chocolate Grand Marnier with almonds (for my self to go along with eggnog poundcake). I probably could have given a small family a heart attack with all this cream.....I kept the paddles close by while cooking all the custards off just in case someone needed to shock me off the fumes.

Last night we attended Operation Light Sabre, I mean Life Saver dinner. I kept wanting to say Light Sabre all idea why. There were no trekkies there, no darth vader, no princess leigh (although I loved her hair back in the 5th grade). Operation Life Saver is all over the country. It is a commulation (sp) of all of the railroads coming together to teach and bring awareness that you shouldn't walk in front of a train...........DUH!!! They really do a lot of good going into the schools and teaching small children to stay off of tracks. Although I am thinking they need to work on adults also because just this past week some dingo was texting on his cell phone and walked right onto the tracks and played flat stanley. I don't get it........maybe I am just not that in love with my cell phone. Mounds of fried food at Cock of the Walk, chicken, catfish, hushpuppies, fries, onion rings, pickled onions, fried pickles, coleslaw and collard greens and peach and blackberry cobbler. Just what my thighs had been asking for for Christmas. Nothing like unwrapping your gift early.

Thursday night is dinner at 1620 Restaurant. I will report back. I am sooooooo excited as there is a goat cheese tart on the appetizer list and I LOVE GOAT CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May the force be with you Luke, nanoo nanoo.

Monday, December 10, 2007

There is a Sssssnake in my Boots and a Hogs Head in my Freezer

You know, I have always envied families that have all these strong traditions during the Holidays. Some chop down their tree and decorate on xmass eve, all the women of the family get together and bake and make candy, some have certain family recipes passed down from generation to generation and they make them every holiday. Some adult children go home for xmass to the same house they grew up in and their bedroom is untouched from when they grew up (really that is kind of creepy hahahahah).

I have had 8 different transfers to 8 states in the last 17 years. The longest I have been anywhere has been 2 1/2 years. I have spent xmass in snow and in boiling heat. If I remember correctly I have only been home for xmass once in 17 years. My husband and I decided that when we moved away that "our home" was wherever we are living at the moment. My home is no longer from NW PA. I am from NW PA but my home is where I am at. Although I do miss relatives and parents during the Holidays (and year round) I thought it was and is important to raise strong and emotionally healthy children that can function wherever they find themselves on holidays or anytime of the year. Children that didn't feel they HAVE to be home. I think I have succeeded with the 19 year old now I have 2 more to train hahahaha.

I guess our Tradition has been steeped in food for some time. I always try and make something based on the heritage of our location. I will never forget in 1996 when we were living in San Antonio and the grocery stores carried HOGS HEADS during the Holidays for the Tamales all our mexican friends would make for xmass eve. In honor of being in the south this year we will have a Red Velvet cake for dessert on Christmas Eve along with my own homemade peppermint ice cream. I have ordered this moist bundle of cocoa joy from Perfect Endings Bakery through Williams Sonoma.....yes I could make my own but I am making the ice cream. One thing I have learned through the years is not to kill yourself. You can't do it all. You do some and let someone else do some. I like to enjoy myself. Although I will miss the beady little eyes of Mr. Hog staring back at me in HEB this Christmas, I am looking forward to trying this Great Southern Treat.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Burnt Boxcar Brownie Sundae------UGH

Recap of Friday Night:

Mikes Place restaurant, Conway, AR......retirement dinner. After about a 30 minute drive in heavy traffic with said driver driving like a friggin maniac because he does not want to be late, well guess what??? I don't want to be dead. I am used to being late. I don't take issue with it. If others have a problem so be it. It is rude, yes but better than being DEAD.

Tea was quite nice
Crab bisque.........mucho delicioso but bordering on less than lukewarm
Salmon with citrus dijon sauce was out of this world, baked potato (loaded of course) and soggy vegetable medley
Grand Finale (drum roll puhleaze)....brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum BURNT BOXCAR BROWNIE CAKE SUNDAE. Sad thing was they tried to cover up the burntness with LOADS of fudge sauce. Such a disappointment. So sad. Come home and eat a cinnamon roll. Boo Hoo.

Hopefully the "Heavy Whores of Yours" will surpass my wildest tastebud imagination tonight and make up for last night.

Funny side note: Blessing starts over the food..........agnostic friend says "What is this?? What is going on here???" Me being the not so practicing Catholic I am "Shhh it is the blessing, shut up and fold your hands, bow your head and close your eyes----sheesh we can't take you anywhere".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Heavy Hors d'œuvres, Awards and Merriment

It is no secret how much I love food. This past week and weekend were supposed to be some of the yummiest food soires of the holidays.

Tuesday night: Chamber of Commerce Event for Little Rock with light Hors d'œuvres and Broadway show "Hello Dolly". Mucho excitemento for me-o . I obsessively listened to the Hello Dolly Soundtrack or should I say "record" when I was a young tot. My grandmother had the record and I spent every Saturday dressing up in her nightgown, high heals and sipping ginger ale out of a wine glass deep in a Hello Dolly coma. Unfortunately, Tuesday=Sick Wussy Husband with flu so we had to cancel.

Thursday night: Bonding night out with Husband for late supper at Bruno's of Little Italy. House salad and Ravioli Ricotto ending with pistachio cannoli and zabaglione w/crunchy lady fingers.

Friday night (tonight): Retirement dinner for Shop Director at the ramp at Mike's Place in Conway. Looks like quite a yummy place and they have salmon with a citrus dijon sauce so you know what I am getting.

Saturday night: Union Pacific Christmas party at the Alletell Arena. Invitation stated "Heavy Hors d'oevres, Awards and Merriment". Those Hors d'oevres better be damn heavy because I planned on loading up my gullet and stuffing my purse. Nothing worse than leaving a party hungry. I better experience plenty of Merriment also or I will be complaining to said party planner.

Side note: Instead of Hors d'oeveres my husband and I through the years always call them "whores of yours" and then do a Beavis and Butthead laugh like 13 year old boys. It is impossible to resist. Ya gotta keep laughing or it is all over!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Superficial Perhaps, Upsetting Nonetheless

For all of you out there that find it completely acceptable to burn candles that have the sweet smell of the sustinance we take in on a daily basis to survive, you are sooooooo wrong. Candles that fill the air with delectable smells of baked products are a cruel cruel cruel trick. I don't get them, I don't understand them, I don't want to. Why? Why? Why? Why? Who wants a jar of wax that smells like a sugar cookie???? or perhaps a brownie??? or an apple pie??? Who wants to walk in the house after a long day at work and smell fresh baked apple pie only to find out there is a jar of soy wax aflame on the kitchen counter and no frickin apple pie anywhere to be seen. What child wants to run home from school in the wintry outside, frost on his face and snow on his boots, to be greeted at the front door with the sweet smell of sugar cookies fresh out of the oven only to find out his wack job mom is burning a candle in the kitchen. A true foodie would never commit such a heinous crime as to purchase one of these candles.....they spit in the face of everything we stand for. A true food addict would regift this present as soon as it is humanly possible, not only because it is just wrong, but because it may be mistaken for a late night snack on a 1:00 am binge in the dark pantry. Sure in the grand scheme of life this is probably one of the most superficial topics that anyone could have an argument for but it in my world of food it is most upsetting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You say Tomatoe.....I say Tomato, You say Potatoe...... I say Potato, You say Grilled Cheeze........ I say Toasted Cheeze

It is really rather amusing how in different parts of our country, let alone the word, food or drink can be the same item yet called something totally different. Some people say To-may-toe and some say To-ma-toe or the Po-tay-toe vs. Po-ta-toe. Is it pop or is it soda??? Some people go as far as to call it all coke (yah, you know who you are California). Needless to say I have found myself in quite of a quandry here in the south. Like any normal children.....mine LOVE the cheese sandwhiches, not just any cheese sandwhiches, "TOASTED CHEEZE SANDWHICHES". Yes, I said, "TOASTED CHEEZE" if you please. I grew up on Toasted Cheeze. So of course when our family eats out at least one child orders a Toasted Cheeze. Or so we have tried. Doesn't everyone say Toasted Cheeze.

FLASHBACK: Loco Luna restaurant, Little Rock, AR 11/18/2007, night before my 19th wedding anniversary, Dana, myself, Ben, Max and Griffin proceed to sit down. I go to order from the menu and I order a "toasted cheeze"........waiter looks at me like I just had asked him for a kidney and with wide hollow eyes says "You want a what???", I say "Child's toasted cheeze". He starts fumbling through the menu and says "what is a toasted cheeze?", I then start to doubt myself (knowing we have order this item off the menu before) and start fumbling through the menu again pointing at said picture of a child's toasted cheeze. Waiter looks at me with disgust and says "Oh you mean a Grilled Cheese sandwhich".................DUH, isn't that what I said???? A toasted cheeze.

FLASHBACK: Dixie Cafe restaurant, Memphis, TN 11/27/07 5:30 pm, evening out with girls at the Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma outlet (ooooooooh yes, I said outlet). Waitress comes over and again I proceed with a "child's toasted cheeze".......cocky woman with long southern drawl (kind of like Flo on Alice that says "kiss my grits") says we don't have toasted cheeze.........uh yes you do as I point to picture on child's menu. Waitress (with tip dwindling as we speak) says "oh you mean a grilled cheese"...........DUH ISN'T THAT WHAT I SAID??????

My so called "friends" at the table then proceed to laugh and look at me. I am quite irritated and say "WTF is the difference, grilled cheese or toasted cheeze" it is the same. The table says " oh yeah, we thought it was really odd when we first met you that you said toasted cheeze, but we have heard you say it for 5 years now so we now you mean grilled cheeze". Mind you they are from CA originally and have lived in the South for almost 20 years heheheheheh.

So is it really a "Grilled Cheese"??? Is Toasted Cheeze a northern saying or have my parents utterly failed me??? I don't grill my cheese........that would require me walking outside and placing my sandwhich on the bbq grill, which I know is a whole other topic as you eat bbq in the south but you grill on a bbq in the north......hence the reason "YOU TOAST YOUR CHEEZE" and not grill it. And just for the record..........SODA IS REALLY POP!

Monday, December 3, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

I know that most people are "Dreaming of a White Christmas" or so the song goes. I on the other hand, am dreaming of a Green Christmas......A Big Green Egg Christmas. My newest cooking vehicle obsession is The Big Green Egg. Talk to the hand panini maker--you have been replaced. I know other women want diamonds or furs or perfume for Christmas, but I am not your normal high maintenance lass. So as I pathetically continue to drop hints in my husbands direction (which I am sure are falling on deaf ears). A medium egg will do me just fine.......I am not greedy, I don't need the large or extra large. Perhaps the planets will align and the gods will look kindly upon me and I will have a Green Christmas. I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

If Only I Could Have My Cake and Eat It Too

Isn't that how the saying goes "If I could only have my cake and eat it too" or "You always want what you can't have" perhaps "The grass is always greener on the other side". These sayings very much apply to my world of food.

I have lived in 8 different locations over the last 16 years. There are many culinary items only indigenous or readily available in those particular areas. Yes, of course with the age of the internet and federal express and dry ice you can get most any item (for a cost) shipped to your home. Missing a local restaurant is a total other ball can't just have a ravioli dinner shipped to you, it is not the same.

I grew up in NW PA. I will never forget my first move to CA in 1992 and my first snack food shock. Back in PA about 45 minutes from where I grew up was a potato chip factory.....Troyer Farms. I grew up on Troyer Farm's chips. I thought everyone in the world ate Troyer Farms Chips, being the naive 21 year old I was. I enter the local Safeway in Monterey, CA ready to load up on a salty bag of potato bliss and there are NO Troyer Farms Chips. How could this be???? And so on and so forth the story begins:

I miss: Troyer Farms chips from NW PA, Valerios Restaurant in Erie, Pa (pepperoni balls and wedding soup), I mix Ox Roast from Greenburgs, I miss Rachels restaurant in Grove City (deep fried soft pretzels and bean soup), I miss Wegmans roast beef subs, I miss Carpino's restaurant in Apple Valley, CA (kudos to the rosemary focaccia, ravioli w/meat sauce, antipasto salad w/mortadela and the princess cake and cannolis), I miss the tamales at Marias in CA, I miss my CA Pizza kitchen (although it is a chain restaurant I have NEVER had a bad meal there), I miss my salmon sandwhich on focaccia bread w/bacon, onion and roasted red pepper at Upstream in Omaha. I could go on and on. I know most people refer back to their travels or prior places of residence with things they have seen and people they have met ,but this food obsessed blogger tracks her travels by all the wonderful foods I encounter and all the yummy places I have the priviledge of dining. I love that I have seen our wonderful country from one coast to the other and most places in between, I will remember a good meal before I will remember your name if our paths cross in the night.

It is a sad day when that craving strikes my taste buds (like a pregnant woman that can't get her ice cream and pickles) and I can't run down to CPK and get my favorite brick oven pizza. I am excited to start trying all the new local joints in Little Rock and finding a favorite to miss once we are transferred again. Loco Luna your cheese dip is amazing and Bruno's of Little Italy......OH MY GOSH YUM and I can't forget the Whole Hog ---they made me fall in love with BBQ all over. And I can't forget McAllisters Iced Tea.....our friends call it "crack", you definately can't go a day without it and who wants a wife w/the shakes, sweats and bitches???

I am grateful for this life I live and lead and for the wonderful family that I have. Food is truly a blessing and no one should go hungry at the end of the day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ghetto Palate vs. Food Snob

Last night was ghetto supper (as we call it in our house of food snobs). The dreaded leftovers!!!! I don't know, I am not much of a leftover person. I guess because we had leftovers alot while growing up. There are not too many things that I want or am willing to eat 2 days in a row. Soup is one of those few things that tends to age well.......kind of like a fine wine or balsamic vinegar. I think another reason that I don't like leftovers is that I need an artistic outlet. Now that I am a stay at home mom, cooking has become my artistic outlet. So on most nights I look forward to cooking. I look forward to trying new recipes, new ingredients. I know there are many nights that my family wishes we were having sloppy joes and french fries instead of Italian sausage risotto. And sometimes you need fish stick night, we all do. As much as I crave the newest restaurants and brick oven pizza at the neighborhood bistro there are those days when only a McDonalds cheeseburger will do.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Dream of Genie.....okay, I really dream of COOKIES

From 2005-until the spring of 2007 my husband was travelling stateside extensively. Being the trooper he is, this allowed him to go on wild goose chases for savory morsels in other states that I saw on Food TV or read about in magazines or saw on get the gist. Thanks Honey, I love you! Lately I have been craving Oatmeal Cookies from Fox and Obel in Chicago. These are hands down some of the best cookies around.....even with raisins and dried fruit in them. Great thing is---these cookies fall into my "Is it a fruit or is it a dessert rule". In my obsessive food world if it has fruit in it then it can't be a dessert so you are eating healthy. Cherry Pie is a fruit, lemon pound cake is a fruit, oatmeal cookies with raisins-- of course a fruit you silly, pumpkin banana mousse tart...........DUH, that has a fruit and a vegetable. Yes, my eyes get a bit misty while reminiscing about those delectible cookies, and they will always hold a special place in my heart. Perhaps one day our paths will cross again.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Does the 5 second rule count for the garbage???

I don't know why I would start a blog. I am a foodie. I guess that is the yuppy name for it. I think the Betty Ford term would be "food addict". I don't have time for this. I will misspell words, I will use incorrect punctuation (I just plain don't give a damn), I will probably even offend some people........I would love to give political correctness a good swift kick in the ass. Ooooh way off the subject.

Anywho, whilst making my cinnamon bread today.......I started out making cinnamon rolls and time restraints turned it into bread (okay, yes you are right, I was too damn lazy to roll and cut when I could just roll). Anyway.......sweet bread dough, vietnamese cinnamon......smells like I have my own vietnamese child grating away at the cinnamon bark in my own kitchen......(*make note to self, vietnamese cinnamon sweat shop). As I concoct my elastic sweet dough, prepare my filling, my 1 year old is digging cookies out of the garbage and eating them. With being elbow deep in pastry flour and parchment paper I almost blurt out the words stop but he looked so cute with all those crumbs on his face and I figure the 5 second rule has to count for the garbage also........I mean it was laying on top and all.

I have Sweet Italian Sausage and Bean soup bubbling away as we speak with Fagiolata beans from Williams Sonoma and a lovely Parmesan Rind from Fresh Market. Sorry guys, I am already married.