25 Şubat 2013 Pazartesi

PW's Roasted Cauliflower

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For Christmas my daughter gave me PW's new cookbook, Food from My Frontier. I've wanted it for a long time! One of the recipes I tried first was the roasted cauliflower.

What? A veggie is the first thing I tried? Usually it would be a dessert!

Well, it just so happens that I had a some cauliflower leftover from a veggie tray. As I was reading the cookbook, I came across this recipe.

Just maybe Brent would eat it made this way,as he's not too fond of it.

AND, he did!

I added some Parmesan cheese and it was a very tasty side dish!

Roasted Cauliflower

1 cauliflower head, cut into pieces
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs  ( I added some Parmesan cheese)
4 Tbsp. butter

Spread the cauliflower on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.Roast 15-20 minutes at 400.

Melt the butter and stir in the panko. Put the cauliflower in a baking dish. Sprinkle the mixture on top and return to oven for 5 minutes until golden brown.

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How do you do? I'm fond of Fondue. How about you? Do you like fondue too? (props to Dr. Seuss!)

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Good friends, sitting around a table laughing, creating memories and enjoying the communal bond that comes with sharing a meal. It's special.

Though this was not the impetus for the creation of fondue, when introduced to America, that is indeed what happened. In the Sixties and Seventies, fondue parties were all the rage.In the Eighties and Nineties, we 'Boomers' became 'too cool' to do fondue.That was our mother's and father's generation. Beehive hairdos, polyester leisure suits, platform shoes.

Happily though, in recent years, in America, fondue is making a comeback. There is even a restaurant chain dedicated to the concept. In its country of origin, Switzerland, it remains a staple of Swiss cuisine and throughout the world there are many different forms and versions.. From traditional cheese fondue, to the chocolate decadence of dessert fondue, to the actual cooking of meats in a pot of oil or broth, fondue continues to be a fun way to share a meal with friends and family. Personally I am very fond of fondue. I have been known to make it just for myself. Come along with me as we take a look at fondue and its origins, then go out get yourself a fondue set and have a party. Just don't forget to invite me. I can never get enough!

This warm cheese dish originated in Switzerland and more specifically, in the Canton of Neuchatel. The dish consists of at least two varieties of cheeses that are melted with wine and a bit of flour and served communally out of pot called a "caquelon." Long forks are used by each guest to spear a cube of bread then the bread is dipped into the cheese and eaten.

Fondue dates back to the 18th century when both cheese and wine were important industries in Switzerland. This simple to prepare meal utilized ingredients that were found in most average homes. French gastronome Brillat-Savarin mentioned fondue in his 19th century writings. However, fondue really hit its heyday in 1952, when Chef Konrad Egli, of New York's Chalet Swiss Restaurant, introduced a fondue method of cooking meat cubes in hot oil.

Swiss communal fondue arose many centuries ago as a result of food preservation methods. The Swiss food staples bread and raclette-like cheese made in summer and fall were meant to last throughout the winter months. The bread aged, dried out and became so tough it was sometimes chopped with an axe. The stored cheese also became very hard, but when mixed with wine (You see! Everything is better with wine!) and heated, it softened into a thick sauce. During Switzerland's long, cold winters, some families and extended roups would gather about a large pot of cheese set over the fire and dip wood-hard bits of bread, which quickly became edible.

As Switzerland industrialized, wine and cheese producers encouraged the dish's popularity. By the 20th century, many Swiss cantons and even towns had their own local varieties and recipes based on locally available cheeses, wines and other ingredients. During the 1950s, a slowing cheese industry in Switzerland widely promoted fondue, since one person could easily eat half a pound of melted cheese in one sitting. In 1955 the first pre-mixed "instant" fondue was brought to market. Fondue became very popular in the United States during the mid-1960s after American tourists discovered it in Switzerland and through Chef Egli.

The Swiss Tradition
Each component of a traditional Swiss fondue plays an important role. "Traditional" Swiss style fondue is a combination of two cheeses, Gruyere and Emmenthaler. These two cheeses are combined because each cheese alone would produce a mixture that was either too sharp or too bland. The cheeses are most commonly melted in a dry white wine which helps to keep the cheese from the direct heat as it melts as well as to add flavor. Anyone from Switzerland will tell you, "Making fondue without wine is not actually fondue, it's just melted cheese." The Kirsch (a clear cherry brandy) was added if the cheese itself was too young to produce the desired tartness. The garlic was for additional flavoring, while the flour or cornstarch assists in keeping the cheese from separating.

The Traditional Pot (Caquelon)
The traditional fondue pot is called a "caquelon" or "câclon" and is made of a heavy earthenware. Other variations include glazed, ceramic or enameled iron. All variations are heavy, to help promote even heat distribution and heat retention. The fondue is heated on your cook-top in the caquelon over low to medium heat then transferred to the table and placed over an alcohol burner or a hot plate.

Given fondue is a "communal" meal, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. To eat cheese fondue, spear a piece of bread using a fondue fork and dip it into the pot. Twirl the bread cube gently in the cheese to coat it. You'll want to let the bread drip a bit before you put it in your mouth. This will allow the excess to drip back in the pot and also allow time for cooling. When you put the bread in your mouth try not to touch the fork with your lips or tongue because the fork does go back in the pot. We suggest always using a dining fork to slide the bread off the fondue fork then eating it with the dining fork. To eat meat fondue, spear a piece of meat and plunge it in the hot oil. Allow it to sit until the meat is cooked to your liking. Remove the fork and place it on your plate. Use your dining fork to slide the meat off the fondue fork. Also use your dining fork to dip the meat in the sauce as desired.

A "no double-dipping" rule also has sway: After a dipped morsel has been tasted it should never be returned to the pot or dipping sauce. In longstanding Swiss tradition, if a nugget of bread is lost in the cheese by a man, he buys a bottle of wine and if such a thing happens to befall a woman, she kisses the man on her left. Lately, rather more humorous twists on this have shown up in Switzerland such as young diners diving into the snow whilst clad only in underwear. Children will sometimes fight over the cracker-like la religieuse left at the bottom of the emptied caquelon.

The Bread
A baguette works very well although any crusty French or Italian style breads will do. When you slice the bread, make sure that each piece includes a bit of the crust. This crust helps keep the bread on the fork after it is placed in the cheese.


Three-Cheese Fondue with Champagne
Yield: Makes 2 servings
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 7 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, chopped 1/3 cups grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup diced rind-less Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 ounces)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 French-bread baguette, crust left on, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and white pepper. Place over candle or canned heat burner to keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Dessert Fondue
Dessert fondues became very popular in the 1970's. Chocolate fondue was a favorite used for dipping ripe fruits such as bananas, strawberries and tangerines. Some recipes suggest dipping some cubes of angel food cake as well. Other dessert fondues include caramel, coconut and marshmallow.

White Chocolate Fondue
Serves 6

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 packages (12 ounces each) premier white morsels,

Fresh fruits - bananas, strawberries, grapes, tangerines, pears, apples, raspberries. Fresh fruit should be ripe but still firm enough to not dissolve while dipping.
Dried fruit - apricots, dates, figs
Cakes or cookies - Bite sized pieces of angel food cake, pound cake, lady fingers or crisp biscotti

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and butter. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add white morsels. Stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Transfer to a fondue pot, chafing dish, or ceramic bowl. Serve with apples, bananas, strawberries, cookies, pretzels, and pound cake.

Other Fondue Styles

Broth or Bouillon
Shabu Shabu is the Japanese version of fondue using vegetable broth or boullion. This makes a lighter, less caloric meal than the cheese or hot oil versions. Potatoes as well as other vegetables or small bits of seafood are cooked in the simmering pot of broth.


Fonduta is an Italian dish similar to Fondue made with Fontina cheese and egg yolks.

Fondue Bourguignonne
Also referred to as Beef Fondue. A mixture of half butter and half cooking oil is combined and heated in a cast iron or enamel fondue pot. Small pieces of lean meat and vegetables are speared and cooked in the hot oil. It is particularly important to use a stable fondue pot for this type of fondue.

Bagna Cauda
This is a wonderful dish from the Piedmonte region of Italy. The name comes from bagno caldo which means "hot bath". It is made by combining butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies. The mixture is heated and guests use wooden skewers or fondue forks to spear a variety of fresh vegetables, meats and seafood which are dipped and warmed.

KaasDoopThis is a Dutch dish (cheese dip) similar to the Italian style fonduta.

I've only one more suggestion: If you decide to have your own Fondue party....make sure I get an invite!!! Thanks for taking the dip into Fondue with me...

Bon Appetit,

Farmer Lee Jones of the Chef's Garden: International man of Mystery, Intrigue, Bow-ties & Squash Blossoms...

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Farmer Lee Jones
This story, for me, has been a long time coming. Six years to be exact. It was roughly 2006 when I was first made aware of the special little place out in Ohio producing these special ingredients. A chef's Garden of Eden, if you will. For one reason or another I just could not get out to see this place for myself. I had spoken to Farmer Lee, his team, yet the trip had never materialized until this year. This past July, I was able to finally accept their gracious offer of hospitality and visit during their Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration, as they celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Sometimes things happen for a reason, as Lee will agree, sometimes relationships and opportunities come when they are supposed to. I have learned that sometimes, when things fall into place naturally it's because they were always meant to; not as we would have them happen, but in their own season, picked fresh at their own most opportune time. Sound like a garden metaphor? Well it is...and that, my friends, was my experience this year at  The Chef’s Garden in Ohio. 

From the moment I stepped on the property, I felt different. The welcome I received was genuine and by the end of my weekend I had come to believe, somehow, that these folks had known me and I them, all of our lives. They treated me like family. While I was busy thinking very highly of myself, feeling special indeed, I witnessed them offer this same level of hospitality and pureness of human interaction to everyone, famous or not, chef or student, writer or blogger, or guest. This is just who these folks are and I realized how lucky we all were, in this place at this particular moment, to be invited and sharing this with Lee and his Chef's Garden family.

The specialness of this place goes beyond tilling the ground and working it with love to produce some of the most incredible produce you can imagine. This place seems to also till the souls of those that come in contact with it. It nourishes you, fertilizes your mind and spirit, inspiring you always be at your freshest, most flavorful peak. That is the real secret of this place. Lee explained this to me as we talked in the study, surrounded by his history, sitting in high back chairs high above the kitchens below, chefs bustling about readying their entrees for the competition. "The land is special," he began, "due to the glaciers. This had been a lake bed and it's nutrient rich. That's what makes this place special." In Huron, Ohio, the lake winds bring sweet, moist air; the soil, which was formerly lake bottom, is sandy and fertile. This combination offers the perfect micro-climate for "growing vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature."

I completely agree that the produce is special and even the land. I disagree, however, with what makes it so. Lake bed aside, someone had to love this land enough to fight for it and lovingly work it to help it produce its bounty. I have come to believe it is the people here at Chef's Garden who make this particular land special. With love, caring and devotion to each other first, with the land in common. And, they do it with people too. I think if you picked up this team and moved them anywhere, they would have the same result. It was my pleasure to sit and discuss with Lee, on this occasion of the celebration's 10 year anniversary, how it, this farm and this unique family came to be what it is today. He brought me back in time.

The Jones Boys: Bob Sr., Lee & Bob Jr.
"When this story began. some 40 years ago, not far from the shores of Lake Erie, my dad was working with our old John Deere tractor, designing modifications that would increase the efficiency of field production on the farm. Every week, Dad, Bobby and I harvested and packed produce, then took it to the Cleveland farmers' markets. We also had a daily stand in the front yard of the house." In 1980, a hailstorm devastated the family farm leaving them but 6 acres and the life Lee and his family family had worked incredibly hard for their whole lives, his mother's car, their acres of well-toiled land and their cozy family home, was gone in a day.

"My parents were nondrinkers, nonsmokers, and didn't miss a day of church in 25 years," Farmer explains proudly, "When they made money, they reinvested back in the farm. When interest rates hit 23 percent and the storm devastated our crops, we started over from almost nothing. I saw my dad very broken spirited," Lee remembers, "I left college, worked 10 years with no paycheck and helped put my brother and sister through college. I can't imagine doing anything else. Working with my dad is amazing."

Bob Jones, Sr.
In the farming business for more than 50 years, Bob Jones, Sr. has led The Chef's Garden to innovate how vegetables are grown, harvested, packaged and delivered to the kitchen door of top chefs around the world. It was Mr. Bob, as he's fondly referred to on the farm, who recognized the value in meeting the needs of chefs who were driving a return to sustainable agriculture, a reconnection with food producers and a focus on quality and flavor. Lee explains further, "Well the real story on how we came to be a chef's garden is a bit different than most think. All our literature says it was a family decision," winking he added, "but let me tell ya how it really happened. When that hail storm hit, we lost everything except for 6 acres. Out of 600. We were devastated," he recalled. "I had a met a French chef who had asked me about growing some vegetables, particularly, squash blossoms. The chef was looking for the same quality product available in France, so we took care of this chef and others as well. At this time we had a big decision to make, being down in acreage. Do we stick with the farmers markets or do we specialize in chefs and their needs? My dad put it to a vote. 5 hands around the table, including mine, all voted for the farmers markets. My dad looked around the table, slammed his hand on the table and shouted. "Then it's final...we're doing chefs!" That is the real story of how the 'family' decided to cater to chefs," he laughed.

To many chefs, Farmer Lee embodies The Chef's Garden. Perpetually clad in his trademark overalls and a red bow-tie, it is not uncommon to see Farmer Jones at the culinary industry's top shows and events. We spoke about his choice of attire just hours before the festival. "I've been everywhere in my overalls, Iron chef to The James Beard Awards, where everyone was in a tux and I had on my overalls," he paused, "a new pair of course but, they were still overalls." Lee has been featured in numerous national publications, including Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine and The Washington Post. The farm has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, Food Network's Roker on the Road, CNN Business Unusual, and ABC World News. He was also the first farmer ever
Lee, Michelle Obama, Robert Irvine
to judge the popular Food Network TV program Iron Chef America. "It has become a trademark," he says with a gleam in his eye, "and I'm very protective of the image and how it affects the farm. I love it though and am happy to be the face of The Chef's Garden."

The Famous Red Bow-Ties
On this topic I could not help but to inquire about a rumor I had heard throughout our years knowing each other. I asked Lee if it were true that in his closet, he had nothing but white shirts, overalls and that he had all his ties lined up. He laughed and replied, "Yes that is actually true," and immediately invited me up to the house, a large spacious log cabin that serves as his and Mary's home and is located in the the back corner of the property that houses
It's True! Just overalls & white shirts.
the Culinary Vegetable Institute. Indeed, as you can see from these exclusive pictures, seen here first, Lee indeed has a closet full of overalls, white shirt and clearly his ties are all neatly lined up.

It is here, basically in Farmer Lee's front yard that the tents and trappings of the festival take place. It seems fitting, almost like it's just a big ol' barbecue with a few hundred of your closest friends and some world famous chefs and culinary personalities thrown in. This year's headliners were Restaurant Impossible's, Robert Irvine, Top Chef Just Desserts', Johnny Iuzzini, BBC America's Clair Robinson, Madison Cowen from No Kitchen Required and Amanda Freitag from Chopped to lend it some sizzle.

Johnny Iuzzini, me, Lee, Clair Robinson
From celebrities to chefs, to volunteers, to sous chefs and students, whomever you are, here, the hospitality of this team of people is palpable. I was fortunate on this their 10th Anniversary to be invited into their home and really get a behind the scenes look at the back bone that supports this farm: The Jones Family. On that topic, I must digress and tell a story which summed up my day with this family and team.

We have all heard the phrases, 'out of the mouths of babes' and 'everything has its start at the head and trickles down." Well, as I prepared for the day, Lee offered his home as my base of operations covering the festival, and as it was a hot day, with my physical limitations, a place to rest and take a break from the festivities. As I got myself situated, behind the island in the kitchen was a cherub faced little girl, about 8 yrs old, with red curly hair, wearing a chef's coat that said "Chef's Garden.' She introduced herself as Mary Grace, Lee's granddaughter. I introduced myself as well and she asked if I would care for something to drink. I replied, "That would be nice, yes please." She then turned her back to me, took something out of her pocket and stood hunched for a few seconds. Then she whirled around and handed me a hand written list, on a small message sized paper on which she had written five or six items to choose from, such as Water, Juice, Coke, etc. I placed my order, which she wrote down on a separate piece of paper and then she proceeded to get my drink and serve it to me, asking, "Would you like anything else?" I said no, thanked her and handed her a dollar, eliciting a big grin, and polite thank you. I later heard that she was telling everyone who would listen about the experience. I guess it was a special to her as it was to me. This, my friends, embodies the spirit of every person I met over the course of this celebration. Warm, engaging, real and well, downright hospitable.

The Chef' Garden

Chef's Garden Herbs
As the direct connection to the chef, Lee leads the passionate team members at The Chef's Garden to continually excel beyond their own high standards in quality and service, in order to deliver the finest quality vegetables direct from Earth to Table® to the world's greatest culinarians. The Chef's Garden grows and innovates as a partnership between chefs and farmers. They grow what chefs want, often what is otherwise impossible to find. And they host hundreds of chefs at their farm each year, where those chefs‚ "can do R & D or get R & R," Jones explained, " at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, a retreat with culinary library, private kitchen, and Jacuzzi." He continued, "This is a really special place. I have seen and been part of many special moments here at CVI. My dad envisioned it as a place where chefs and culinarians could come and reconnect with the land, the
Clair Robinson, Johnny Iuzzini, Madison Cowen
ingredients, with their passion for cooking and food again. So we built these kitchens and a chefs suite along with a suite downstairs for the chef's sous chefs and team and it's become almost like a retreat house for chefs. One experience I remember in particular," he smiled before continuing,"because it was so special to my Dad, was when we first opened. We were seeking help getting the word out, Charlie Trotter, who is a dear friend and has supported us from the beginning by telling other chefs about us, arranged a dinner with all of us here and Ferran Adria. My dad was just thrilled. We have had a lot of well known chefs come through here. For instance Grant Achatz came and spent quite a few days here, working on new menus and dishes with his team."

The Culinary Vegetable Institute
Sitting on approximately 100 acres, the Institute includes a 1,500 square foot state-of-the-art two story Kitchen designed by Mark Stech-Novak with full audio-visual capabilities for demonstrations; a 1426 square foot Dining Room with 22 foot ceilings (capable of seating 90); an Executive Chef Suite with luxury amenities; accommodations for visiting chefs’ teams; a Culinary Library; Root Cellar, Wine Cellar and it also includes an experimental vegetable, forest and herb gardens.

Chefs’ Haven:
Visiting chefs can utilize the CVI’s facilities and gardens for educational, team building and retreat purposes. With the farm nearby, chefs can experience The Chef’s Garden planting and harvesting methods, pick vegetables themselves and return to the CVI for relaxation or to experiment in the kitchen. Today, the CVI continues its commitment to its chefs, but they have also opened their doors to the community by sharing their facility with corporations, organizations and people who seek a unique venue for the finest in agri-culinary experiences. For more information, visit CVI's website here.

Veggie U
The sharp increase in childhood obesity and diabetes in our nation is nothing short of alarming. It's clear the majority of children today have little or no connection to the food they eat, where it comes from and how it impacts their health. This reality prompted Bob Jones and his wife Barb – along with chefs, nutritionists, doctors, educators and volunteers -- to create and launch the Veggie U program. Since 2003, Veggie U has been committed to changing these trends by reaching out to teachers and children across the country. Located in Milan, Ohio, Veggie U is a national not-for-profit organization that offers an Earth to Table™ science curriculum to fourth grade and special needs classrooms. Their goal is to place this exciting hands-on curriculum in all 93,000 fourth grade classrooms nationwide in an effort to decrease childhood disease and increase youth awareness of healthy food options and the importance of sustainable agriculture. Healthy kids also learn better and become more active contributing members to their families and communities.

Veggie U's Earth to Table™ curriculum recognizes that children would greatly benefit from understanding the connection between what they consume and how that food is grown. Educating children in an engaging, experiential way helps them to learn. Veggie U's science-based program offers a hands-on seed-to-planting-to-harvest experience. A complete grow kit is provided along with a comprehensive teacher's manual written to cover state and national 4th grade science standards. The benchmarks for these standards are included at the beginning of each lesson so that teachers can integrate them into existing curriculum.

Robert Irvine cooks with Veggie U kids
In addition to a hands-on, scientific approach to learning about plants and their components, the Veggie U curriculum incorporates extensive journal activities, mathematics, language arts and fine arts, providing an interactive and enjoyable way for students to study these core concepts. The classroom lessons include studies of soil, composting, planting, nutrition and plant anatomy. The students also care for a worm farm, raise a mini "crop", and celebrate the end of the program with a vegetable Feast Day. Veggie U has delivered more than 1800 classroom kits across 26 states. To learn more about Veggie U, visit the Veggie U website.

As we got ready for the start of the day's festivities, heading out of our cozy space high atop the CVI kitchens into the throngs waiting to greet Lee, he turned to me with an after thought, "Ya know," he smiled putting his arm around my shoulders as we walked, "it's a great place. We have a wonderful team that's dedicated and who keep me going. I can't let them and all the kids down. And, based upon the outpouring from chefs and the culinary establishment, we're blessed to have so many folks who understand our vision. The Farm and these Veggie U Celebrations, as well as our little piece of the earth out here has become world reknown. Pretty cool." I would have to agree, Lee, pretty cool indeed. This place and these people have a new fan and new member of the family and I am blessed and glad to be a part of it. I hope you enjoyed a look at this enigmatic man and his Chef's Garden family. It was my pleasure and I look forward to next year's event and bringing you more of the adventures of Farmer Lee Jones...international man of mystery, intrigue, bow-ties...and squash blossoms.

As always, bon appetit,
Sources;  The Chef’s Garden, Farmer Lee Jones, The Jones Family, ulterior epicure

For Mushroom Lover's: Mushroom Pâté

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Mushroom Pâté
New Creative Cuisine Copyright 1993

4 tbsp butter
3/4 pound brown mushrooms, sliced I used baby bellas
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of dried thyme
5 tbsp butter, diced
5 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet sherry
ground black pepper
pinch of sugar

Melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme. When brown and soft, reduce heat to low and add diced butter and remaining ingredients except sugar. Stir until melted, them remove from heat, Add sugar, cool slightly, then purée, leaving mixture somewhat chunky. Pot, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours.

It's hard to make brown food (besides chocolate) look appetizing but to be fair I think my photograph is just as good, maybe even better, than the one in the cookbook. This recipe isn't about looks, it's about taste. If you love mushrooms, I think you will love this rich spread. It's a great make-ahead recipe too.

I'm not sure how often mushroom pâté is still being made but it's been around for a while. I've seen recipes for it in several (mostly older) cookbooks. I know I've had one that I copied from a library book in my Ugly Binder since the 1990s. Oh, that poor recipe has been waiting for so many years to be made and it got trumped by this one since  it was the first mushroom recipe I saw after I bought baby bella mushrooms in Costco on whim.

I know this had a lot of butter but I'm sure some of you have been known to put something on top of a block of cream cheese and serve it. Is this much different? The butter is really the only 'bad' ingredient. The rest is pretty low in carbs but of course it's best served on some sort of carb.

I'm pleased to be starting the year with a recipe I loved.

This blog is not dead. It's just in a coma.

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I missed my seven year blogiversary last month. Seven years of trying new recipes and I still can't cook! I knew I was not a 'natural' when it comes to cooking but I thought that with a lot of practice that I would see more successes than failures. And I was, when I was cooking regularly, but it seems that it didn't take long for me to lose whatever skills I had picked up these past seven years. Lately I feel like I'm a worse cook than when I started!

I have left ingredients behind, I have made the wrong call and added the 'wrong' ingredient (a few white chocolate chips were all it took to turn my son's nose away from one batch of chocolate chip brownies), I've overcooked and undercooked things. Even recipes I've made several times before are not turning out right (Dan's disaster of a birthday cake!) I can't even make a salad for myself that hits the mark. I can't make anything that doesn't come out of a box or package that my kids will eat, and sometimes I can't even get the packaged stuff right.

So it's been hard to revive my desire to blog. Blogging certainly hasn't been replaced with anything - I still have the time to do it (I have more time than ever to do it). I was still buying cookbooks until recently when I decided that madness has to stop, at least until I start using them again. Will that happen? I honestly don't know.

24 Şubat 2013 Pazar

Mexican Sloppy Joes

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I bookmarked this recipe a long time ago and just completely forgot about it. Then I found it again as I was cleaning up my computer favorites. 
I've been finding that I need to update my browser as I can't view or open up some things lately. So I made the switch to Google Chrome and it's really made a difference. I should have done it years ago, but I get stuck and stay with what I know. Pretty soon I'll need a new laptop and I suppose that will really throw me off!
Anyway, this recipe was awesome! I love cilantro and when I buy a bunch, I like to put it on everything. When I read about putting it on a Sloppy Joe, I knew it was for me. We couldn't get enough of this sandwich....it was slightly sweet, slightly spicy....a great combo of flavors!

Mexican Sloppy Joe's
behind the bites

1 lb. hamburger1/2 c. red onion1 clove garlic, minced1/4 c. jalapeno peppers, chopped (I used less)1 tsp. cumin 2 tsp. chili powder3/4 c. chili sauce2 Tbsp. brown sugar1 c. cilantro, chopped6 slices pepper jack cheese6 buns
Brown burger, onion, and garlic. Drain well. Add the cumin, chili powder, peppers,chili sauce, and brown sugar.Heat. Spread some meat on a bun, add a slice of cheese and some cilantro.

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Paula's Stew

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My crock pot has been working overtime lately. The weather has been so freezing cold for weeks, (-14 today plus wind chill)  that a hot meal waiting for you when you walk in the door is oh- so- welcoming!
A really simple and tasty meal is Paula Deen's stew. Honestly, you just want to lick the bowl clean. I get lazy and often skip the step of browning the meat before putting it in the crock pot,and it still is delicious.
When Brent walks in the door and smells this stew, he's one happy camper!

  • Paula's Stew

  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 c.water...I use beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • ( I add 2 or 3 potatoes,too)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Brown the stew meat in the oil. Transfer to crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cornstarch. Cook on low 6-7 hours. Add the corn starch and stir, let simmer 15 minutes until thickened.