30 June 2009

Recipes: Fresh Summer Tomatoes!

Selection of heirlooms, plus one hybrid, the E...Heirloom Tomatoes, click on the image to take you directly to the photo to better read the names of the varieties Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: We love tomatoes at our house! They are so versatile, and, right about now for the rest of the summer, they are also affordable. Tomatoes are a healthy food, full of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene.

Some people who find red tomatoes too strong a taste would enjoy the more mellow yellow version. Another alternative is to buy the red tomatoes before they ripen - as green tomatoes! Here in the South we have a long tradition of fried green tomatoes. All you do is slice the green unripened tomatoes into thick slices. Then dredge them in an egg wash and yellow cornmeal, seasoned with your favorite spices - we like lots of garlic powder and Cajun seasonings at our house - and saute in a bit of oil in a cast iron skillet and out comes an awesome dish! Easy!

Today I'm featuring a couple of tomato recipes: Tomato Basil Pie and Heirloom Tomato Salsa, enjoy!

Tomato Basil Pie

From:Cooking & Gardening with Dianne” by Dianne Cage (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon store, just click on the title)

Makes: one (9-inch) pie


1 prepared pie crust

3 or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced fairly thick


2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar (suggestion: use only 1/2 cup Cheddar plus 1/2 cup Parmesan)

1/2 - 1 cup mayonnaise (suggestion: if you are not a huge fan of mayonnaise or the calories try using only 1/2 cup as that is just enough to bind everything without excess)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Brush bottom of pie crust lightly with butter and bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Place tomato slices in bottom of crust and sprinkle chopped basil over tomatoes.

3. In separate bowl, blend cheeses, mayonnaise, red pepper and a sprinkle of black pepper. Pat on top of tomato-basil and with the back of a spoon, lightly spread over top.

4. Put back into preheated 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes and top is lightly browned. Tomatoes will just be heated through. Serve warm.


Heirloom Tomato Salsa

From:Fresh Every Day — More Great Recipes From Foster’s Market” by Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreno (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon book store - just click on the title)

Makes: 3 to 4 cups.

From the author: “I make this salsa in big batches because it’s good on so many things: scrambled eggs, chicken sandwiches, in wraps with leftover meat and, of course, with chips. I make it with many kinds of heirloom tomatoes because I love all the shapes and colors together. If you can’t find heirlooms, don’t worry. The point is just to have good, garden-ripe tomatoes.”


2 pounds mixed tomatoes (4 to 5 medium), cored and diced

1 small red onion, minced

2 jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded and minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño peppers, garlic, red pepper, lime zest and juice in a large bowl as you prepare them. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with the sugar, cilantro, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marry the flavors before serving the salsa. It will keep for up to 1 week; the tomatoes will release some juices, but the flavor is just delicious.

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29 June 2009

Recipe: Refreshing Easy Gazpacho!

Carpaccio and Cucumber Gazpacho 2Gazpacho Version with Cucumber Image by Marco Veringa via Flickr

From Denny: In this triple digit summer heat wave we all could use something cooling like gazpacho - and it's so healthy! Did you know that tomatoes alkalize your blood? Did you know that cucumbers and tomatoes both cool your liver that in turn cools your body in this heat?

Varieties of gazpacho are practically endless. Here's one faster convenience food version that uses that yummy Spicy Hot V-8 juice that does most of the work for you.

Summertime Gazpacho

From:Culinary Secrets” by Margo Bouanchaud Hayes and Mary Ann Monsour (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon store, just click on the title)

Makes: 6 cups


3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups Spicy Hot V-8 Juice, divided

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I've used bottled lemon juice and haven't died of embarrassment from it)

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

1 cup peeled and finely chopped cucumber

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Avocado, peeled and cubed

Sour cream (I find no-fat version just as tasty)


1. Process tomatoes and garlic in bowl of food processor.

2. Gradually add half of the V-8 juice and process until smooth.

Then add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and vinegar.

3. Pour mixture into another container, and add the bell pepper and cucumber. Stir well.

4. In batches, purée about three-fourths of the mixture until smooth. (Leave the last fourth unprocessed to have the contrasting texture).

5. Mix in the remaining V-8 juice, combining with the puréed batches and the unpuréed. Season to taste.

6. Serve well chilled, garnished with avocado and sour cream.

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28 June 2009

Recipe: Southern Louisiana Molasses Cake & Cookies From Scratch

Steen's 100% pure cane syrupLouisiana Brand Of Molasses STEEN'S Image by scottpartee via Flickr

Southern Louisiana Molasses Cake & Cookies From Scratch:

An excerpt from the article:

"Cakes from scratch - Back to basics

Not that long ago, molasses was a common kitchen staple in the well-stocked pantry. Today, many people would not know what it is.

Molasses-Spice cookiesMolasses Spice Cookies Image by ilmungo via Flickr

Additionally, even if someone has heard of molasses -- it isn't the first ingredient most of us today would think about, if we were going to make a cake.

Therefore, if you've never heard of molasses, it is a thick syrup by-product obtained by making sugarcane or sugar beet into sugar.

Basically, there are three main types of molasses: Unsulphured, sculptured, and black strap molasses:
Unsulphured molasses is considered molasses of top quality. It has only the smallest amount of sugar has been removed. It is made from the juices of sun-ripened sugar cane that has been refined and concentrated."

By Jerilee Wei @ HubPages

From Denny: Jerilee lives in Califonia now but was born and steeped in the Louisiana culture. This thorough well-written article has several recipes, a bit of culture and three videos. Just click on the title link to take you there, enjoy!

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27 June 2009

Recipe: Simple Eggplant Parmigiana

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, baked aubergines wi...Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: How about a simple recipe of Eggplant Parmigiana? Light foods like this are great in this summer heat, easy and faster to digest than heavy meats.

Did you know that tomatoes are cooling for your liver? Why is that important? Cool your liver; cool your body! A win-win in this summer heat!

Same goes for foods like cucumbers and vinegars. A little (like about 1/2 teaspoon per large glass of water) white or red wine vinegar in your glass of water helps your liver handle the hot weather.

Eggplant Parmigiana

From: “Savannah Collection” by Martha Giddens Nesbit

Serves: 8


2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch circles


2 cups cottage cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, squeezed through a press (if using commercial spaghetti sauce)

1/2 cup olive oil, approximately

2 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows) OR commercial meatless spaghetti sauce

10 ozs. grated mozzarella cheese


1. Salt sliced eggplant and allow it to drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

2. In small bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley. I used commercial spaghetti sauce so I squeezed 1 clove of garlic through a garlic press into the cheese mixture for added flavor. Set aside.

3. In large, nonstick skillet, heat oil and fry eggplant until lightly browned on both sides. At first the eggplant will soak up the oil, but as it cooks, the oil will release. When browned, drain on paper towels.

4. Use a 9x13-inch shallow baking dish for making a one- layer casserole or an 8x8-inch dish for two layers. Begin by spreading the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the dish, all of it for single layer casserole or half the remaining ingredients if you’re making two layers.

Layer cooked eggplant slices over sauce then spoon cottage cheese mixture over eggplant, spreading it out as evenly as you can. Top with grated mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, beginning with tomato sauce if making a double layer and ending with mozzarella.

5. Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tomato Sauce

From: Recipe is from “Savannah Collection”

Makes: about 4 cups of sauce


1/2 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced (I love a lot more!)

2 (16-oz.) cans Italian plum tomatoes

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup cleaned and chopped parsley


1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add other ingredients.

2. Cover and cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes. Use in eggplant dish, or freeze for later.

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George Carlin: Outrageous comedian

George Carlin: Outrageous comedian

"'Life's journey is not to
arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting
'...holy sh*t ....what a ride!'"

By alekhouse @ HubPages

From Denny: Here's an interesting article from a new writer over at HubPages you will enjoy!

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26 June 2009

Recipe: Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches with Arugula and Balsamic Aïoli

Cover of "Weber's Way to Grill: The Step-...Cover via Amazon

From Denny: Featured recently in our local newspaper was this recipe from the Weber's Grill cookbook. The heat is in triple digits across America and we could use some "brain food" as our brains feel cooked! And I sure love Portobello mushrooms - the texture is almost like a steak with a lot less calories! :) Enjoy!

And make sure you are drinking lots of water in this summer heat - even when you don't feel thirsty - if you wait until then you may suffer serious heat stroke.

From:Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling”

Serves: 6


1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tbls. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. minced garlic


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tbls. finely minced shallot

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

6 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems and black gills removed

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 Kaiser rolls, cut in half

2 ozs. arugula, trimmed, rinsed and dried


1. In a small bowl, combine the aïoli ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients. Place the mushroom caps, gill sides down, in a large baking pan. Brush the mushroom caps generously with the marinade and turn the caps over. Spoon the rest of the marinade over the gill side. Allow the mushrooms to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

4. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and reserve the marinade. Lightly season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the mushrooms, gill sides down, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they begin to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.

Brush the cap sides of the mushrooms with some of the remaining marinade from the pan. Turn the mushrooms over and then grill them until they are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes.

5. Grill the rolls, cut sides down, over direct medium heat until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.

6. Spread aïoli on the toasted buns and top each one with some arugula and a mushroom. Serve warm.

Way to grill portobello mushrooms: Cut away the stems and any curled edges around the rims. With a spoon, gently scrape away the dark gills that might be holding dirt. Use a vinaigrette to marinate and baste the mushrooms. Finish grilling the mushrooms with the stem sides facing up so that the juices are held inside the caps.

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New Software: Find Out Who Follows Your Tweets on Twitter

Image of Twitter from TwitterImage of Twitter

Photo by PinkMoose @ flickr

From Denny: If you are a blogger and are over at Twitter, try this new fun gadget to help you learn who is following your tweets. Connect with your Peeps! :)

Just plug in your user name @ Twitter:

Twitter Analyzer

Hello to my followers in the following countries and thank you for following, much appreciated!

Here are the countries in order of most followers first - what a surprise to find out Ecuador was right up there with the UK:

Great Britain


New Zealand

South Africa

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25 June 2009

Happy Birthday to One Talented Trumpeter!

Jeanne "Gabriel" Pocius, left, with Haiti's Minister of Culture, Director of Music Programs, Florence Elie in June 2009

From Denny: Happy Birthday to a dear friend in Boston, Massachusetts by the name of Jeanne Pocius! She’s a classical musician, teaches and tutors trumpet to adults and children alike. Like a lot of public school music teachers she recently experienced the budget slashing of her music program - and their teachers. Goodbye job. To her credit and good character, she still went out there and performed for several charity benefits that raised money for her local school system because she believes that much in a quality public school education.

It's a shame to put our best teachers out on the street. Through music kids develop a personal discipline that will stay with them for a lifetime. A love of music will also help with the adult years ahead when they are feeling stressed during tough times.

The musician’s life can be a tough one and hers is no exception. They go from gig to gig to pay the bills, never able to put down roots any where. Again, to her credit - since she adores teaching children - she connected up with some missionaries in Haiti who were participating in the country’s culture program of teaching music to their children. Jeanne now goes to Haiti several times a year to teach: for free.

Haiti is one of the poorest nations on the planet and yet they have a Minister of Culture who has created a free program to teach music to children. “Do ya think?” that maybe America could take a page out of their playbook?

A few years ago my very talented friend wrote a wonderful book called “Trumpeting by Nature: An Efficient Guide to Optimal Trumpet Performance" [UNABRIDGED] (Paperback or Kindle edition) that is most useful for both beginning children and adults, full of lots of photos to help demonstrate technique.

I’m featuring this book in The Social Poets Amazon book store under Books on Music (just look above the posts area for the store banner in orange) as it is informative and practical teaching for both the amateur and professional alike. You may have a budding musician in the house or a relative who plays on the weekends and feels stuck on a plateau of playing ability and wants to advance, then this book is a great gift, easy to read.

Cover of "Trumpeting by Nature: An Effici...Cover via Amazon

Reviews at Amazon

"Everything You Wanted To Know About How The Heck To Get a Note Out

P. Olguin (Whittier, CA) All I can say is WOW. This is a complete reference, with illustrations and thorough explanations of how to achieve the optimum set-up for yourself. As a working professional musician, I am always looking for tips on how to make my playing more efficient, more musical, more powerful. It doesn't matter what level you're on, you will learn a great deal here. The best part is, although this book is quite thorough, it is not some dogmatic, rigid, my-way-or-the-highway approach to playing. Jeanne's approach is a flexible (like one's playing should be) cafeteria-style menu of information, technique, philosophy and encouragement. This is destined to be a classic, and rightfully so.

Calling all trumpeters

Martin J. Rooney (Boston MA) This is a great book for any level trumpet player. This book will absolutely help any trumpet player improve their playing. Clear, concise, and best of all, IT WORKS! Text is excellent and the photos, which are top quality, illustrate her points very well.

I truly have seen everything :-}

Wilmer Wise (Brooklyn, NY) My copy of Jeanne G. Pocius "Trumpeting by Nature" came today. WOW! In clear English Jeanne has addressed every question a trumpet player may have. The fonts are great for the older comeback player. It's a sight for sore eyes.

I Wish I Had This 25 Years Ago!

Ralph Longo (Beverly, MA) For those of us who learned to play the trumpet incorrectly or inefficiently, this book is a revelation... What is in this book will help you learn to play at your highest level for a lifetime."

Jeanne is one of those child prodigies that can play over 10 instruments, though concentrates on the trumpet. Nothing is more fun than getting a phone call on your birthday and on the other end is this trumpet playing Happy Birthday like it’s a live concert! Now that’s unique! She is always serenading those close to her, blessing us with the sweet melody of her music. She is a fun and friendly person which is why children respond so well to her; she makes music fun!

Jeanne is available to play weddings for those of you in the Boston area. When other musicians run late (read that as they don’t show up on time when the wedding has started) she pitch-hits the other instruments to make sure the wedding is perfect; talk about a work ethic!

Jeanne also tutors both children and adults. She has tutored people from all over the world who visit regularly to brush up on their technique (and moral support). She can be contacted through Skype: (617) 326-7824 SKYPE ID: jeanne.gabriel.pocius. And Jeanne’s Email: jgpocius@yahoo.com.

Spread the word, folks, and let’s support the arts by supporting talented musicians and teachers!

Happy Birthday, Jeanne!

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24 June 2009

Totally Ridiculous Comedy: Jacks Nightclub

Totally Ridiculous Comedy: Jacks Nightclub

By Denny Lyon @ HubPages

From Denny: "I like nonsense - it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope... and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities." - Dr. Seuss

Wrote this recently as a raucous fast-paced ridiculous short story. It's really a bit long to post here and when that happens I park those writes over at HubPages. Take a look and you will be amused! Thanks for visiting!

Here's an excerpt from my world of the ridiculous:

"Jack jumped over the electric blue fox - who was hunting down the orange cat - who was preying upon the stupid cockroach that was having an identity crisis - and believed he was a popular dragonfly down at the local Irish pub - because he sang Irish songs everyone loved and wrote some damn good poetry.

The orange cat circled back to chase the identity crisis cockroach - who just knew he was really Irish in a former life - while the blue fox preened and bathed in the fast-paced lights of the nightclub – this fox enthusiastically embraced blue as the new fashion neutral - it was Jack who was looking for the weird alien orange cat that kept eluding him - who was stalking the brave Irish-singing cockroach determined to make it to Broadway.

The powerful-singing cockroach drowned out the elegant Irish pub-singing dragonfly - and soon the people customers complained about the strange odd noises blaring from the rising platform – it was two ants standing on a leaf singing opera - and more ants joined them from the audience singing 49 Bottles of Guinness Beer on the Wall and Get Down Tonight! – and soon the nightclub was jumping and bumping - and the people were dancing and squishing and splatting the friendly ants - who got the place hopping on a Saturday night in the first place."

For the rest of the story just click on the title link!

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23 June 2009

Recipe: Emeril Lagasse’s Beer Battered Fried Trout Tacos With Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

Emeril Lagasse, American celebrity chef, resta...Chef Emeril Lagasse at a book signing Image via Wikipedia

Emeril Lagasse’s Beer Battered Fried Trout Tacos With Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

From Denny: Louisiana in the summer is all about quick and easy, usually seafood. Chef Emeril Lagasse came down from New England, was embraced by the New Orleans food establishment when he was a young man and taught how to really cook.

Down South folks are willing to mentor to help someone develop. Nor do they get angry when the student is ready to mentor his own, starting up his own restaurants. Emeril has previous shows and recipes stashed at Food Network and now teaches on the green network. He's one busy guy! Below is one of his recipes he developed where he really captures the essence of Louisiana food.

To make the recipe you require two other recipes first: the Cajun seasoning and the coleslaw recipe so I'll put these up first.

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning

From: “New Orleans Cooking” by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

Makes: 2/3 cup


2-1/2 tbls. paprika

2 tbls. salt

2 tbls. garlic powder

1 tbl. black pepper

1 tbl. onion powder

1 tbl. cayenne pepper

1 tbl. dried oregano

1 tbl. dried thyme

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Emeril sells this product in your grocery store too if you don't want to mix up your own.

Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

From: Chef Emeril Lagasse
Serves: 6

2-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage

2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

2 tbls. finely sliced green onions

1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber

2 jalapeños, stem and seeds removed, minced

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tbls. plus 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tbls. sour cream

3 tbls. freshly grated horseradish or 1-1/2 tbls. prepared horseradish

1-1/2 tsps. Creole or coarse-grain mustard


1. Combine cabbages, carrots and green onions in large mixing bowl. In a small bowl toss the cucumbers and jalapeños with the lemon juice and add to the cabbage mixture.

2. In small mixing bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

3. In small bowl, blend mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish and mustard. Add mayonnaise mixture to coleslaw and toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Emeril Lagasse’s Beer Battered Fried Trout Tacos With Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

Serves: 6


Oil for frying

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 tsp. baking powder

1-1/2 tsps. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbl. vegetable oil

1 cup beer

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

4 trout fillets, about 6 ozs. each

2 tbls. Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning

6 large, soft flour tortillas

Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

Hot sauce, if desired when serving


1. Heat oil in deep fryer or in a large saucepan to 375 degrees.
2. Sift 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper together into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil, beer and hot sauce. Stir until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Set aside.

3. Season each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the Essence. Cut each fillet into diagonal 1-1/2-inch strips. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup flour with the remaining 2 teaspoons of Essence. Dredge the fish strips in the seasoned flour then shake to release any excess flour. Transfer to a plate.

4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wrap the flour tortillas in aluminum foil and place in the oven to warm or warm according to manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Dredge each piece of fish in the beer batter, making sure the fish is completely coated. Allow any excess batter to drip into the bowl, and then slowly lower the fish into the hot oil. Repeat with remaining fish, working in batches if necessary.

6. Fry until fish is puffed, golden brown and crispy (4 to 5 minutes). Remove the fish with slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper-lined plate. Place in warm oven while cooking remaining fish or until you’re ready to assemble tacos.

7. To serve: Divide the fish among the warmed flour tortillas and top with some of the Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw. Drizzle with hot sauce if desired.

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21 June 2009

Recipe: Savory Meat Roll

Meat Roll.Similar idea of a meat roll, our meat roll has a biscuit crust rather than a meat crust, no photo for our recipe up on Food Network - Image by Gio JL via Flickr

From Denny: I just got through watching this Food Network show called Guy's Big Bite and he is quite the entertainer. He also loves calorie monster food! He loves comfort food of all kinds. Though I'm not the heavy meat eater and high calorie consumer he is, I liked this recipe for a few reasons.

One, it's something simple you can easily cook up for a family or a large crowd. Two, you can break down the steps and do them over a few days if you like. It's that kind of recipe that can be interrupted and resumed and still tastes just fine. Three, this recipe is one of those you can change the ingredients from meat savory to vegetarian friendly if you desire.

In the summer heat we don't eat a lot of meat. Why? Meat is harder to digest which means your body heats up hotter and for a longer period of time than if you are eating plant proteins and cheeses. Today I'm going to work on developing a Mexican refried bean version, using the same principles in this recipe, and will get back to you as to how it went! (Sorry, no photo up on their site yet and no video up. Will check back and embed if they do put it up.) Enjoy this killer recipe!

Savory Meat Roll

From: Sarah Simington, Blue Moon Cafe, Baltimore, Maryland

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 7 to 8 rolls plus ends


For the pesto:

1 small bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups packed)

1/2 cup cashews

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup grated Asiago

Fresh lemon juice, to taste


1/2 cup olive oil

For the filling:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 pounds country sausage

2 cups shredded mozzarella

2 cups grated Asiago

For the topping:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

6 Roma tomatoes, diced

10 button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated Asiago

For the biscuit:

5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and kneading

3 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter, cubed

2 cups milk

To slather on the biscuit dough when assembling the roll:

1 stick butter, softened


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the pesto: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture turns into a smooth paste. Set aside.

To make the filling: In a saute pan over medium heat, add oil and then the sausage. Saute the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it cooks through and it turns golden brown. Cool slightly and drain the fat. Set sausage aside in a bowl. Keep mozzarella and Asiago cheese on standby.

To make the topping: Heat a large saute pan with oil, add the peppers, onion, granulated garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Don't overcook the tomatoes. They should retain their shape. Set aside.

To make the biscuit dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips or with a pastry blender blend together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in milk, using a fork, until the dough comes together. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface, remove the dough from the bowl and knead several times on the floured surface. Add small amounts of flour, as needed, so that dough will be easy to roll out. Roll the dough out to roughly 15-inches in diameter.

To assemble: (Good thing I proof read these recipes as they forgot to include the obvious for you! Make sure you slather the biscuit dough with the softened butter stick before assembly! The butter will act as a barrier to keep the biscuit dough coating from becoming gooey and help hold the filling properly.)

Sprinkle the top of the dough evenly with the sausage and top with the mozzarella and Asiago. Roll the dough into a log. Cut the ends off to create even edges then cut the log into 7 or 8 pieces, depending on the length of the roll. Place slices (on their side so the spiral design shows facing up) on a baking sheet and press the tops down. Put the ends on the baking sheet and press those tops down. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until biscuits turn golden. Transfer the rolls to a serving platter. Serve topped with the sauteed vegetables and sprinkled with remaining cheese.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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20 June 2009

Thank you for your support!

Had a platter of beignets just this morning over at Coffee Call with some cafe au lait chickory coffee!

From Denny: Just wanted to take the time to thank everyone for subscribing to the feed on this blog and all the others - and following on Blogger and other sites. You are much appreciated!

Blogging is so much more fun when you have company and such good company you all are, thanks! Thank you for your support and hope you are enjoying your time here learning right along with me as I find amazing things for all these blogs!

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19 June 2009

Recipe: Mambo Italian Hummus

A dish of hummus with pine nuts at the Maxim r...Another version of Hummus with pine nuts Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Folks from Lebanon moved to Louisiana a good 150 years ago, with some additions in the past few decades. Locals here love their Lebanese food as much as the Cajun cuisine and there are plenty of small family restuarants to prove it true!

Heidi Chustz, a local nutritionist recently featured in our local newspaper had this to say about the health benefits of cooking with fresh herbs:

• Mint — Soothes digestive tract and reduces the severity and length of stomach aches. The antifungal properties of mint are thought to play a role in the treatment of asthma and other allergy conditions. It may prevent some cancers such as colon, skin and lung cancer.

• Lemon grass — Studies have shown that lemon grass has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Mixed with pepper, it’s a home therapy for menstrual troubles and nausea. When drinking it as a tea, it can be an effective diuretic.

• Oregano — Known to have strong antibacterial properties.

• Parsley — Excellent source of some nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and iron, that are important in preventing many diseases.

• Basil — Oil in basil has been shown to inhibit growth of several types of bacteria, many of which have become resistant to antibiotics. It is a good source of vitamin A and magnesium.

She does caution the following for those with compromised immune systems and old age:

"Anyone who is taking cardiac medications, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure medications, psychotherapeutic medications, diabetes medications and certain over-the-counter medications to talk to their doctors, pharmacists and dietitians regarding possible drug-herb interactions."

Aside from that herbs are fabulous for your health and a tasty joy to add to your every day cooking!

Mambo Italiano Hummus

From: Rebecca Mason

Serves: 8


2 cans cannellini beans

Juice of 1 large lemon

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tbls. chopped fresh oregano

1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomato

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sprig of fresh oregano


1. Purée beans in food processor until smooth; add lemon juice while processing beans.

2. Remove from processor and put in bowl and set aside.

3. Purée herbs and sun-dried tomato in processor. Slowly add oil until it makes a loose paste.

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18 June 2009

New Additions to Photo Blog Roll!

From Denny: "Can I tell ya?" Spent hours and hours this past weekend pouring over some awesome photo blogs, amateur and professional alike, sifting through them to place the BEST on my blog roll for you! There are about 70 choices now - around there, I lost count... :)

If you enjoy looking at photos and want to see what is going on in the photo blogosphere then this is a good place to start. My blog roll list is located at my photo blog, Visual Insights.

Talk about a wonderful way to while away a few hours with beautiful and thought-provoking photos! Take a look and enjoy! Go here.

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17 June 2009

Awwww Sniffle Sniffle Sigh Awesome Photos

From Denny: This is one of those endearing profound emails you receive every now and then. Thought I'd share with you these awesome pictures. Try making your own version of this idea of matching photos with meaningful words that strike a chord in your heart! Feel free to share this post with others to enjoy.


The Real Meaning of Words















"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

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