31 October 2009

13 Lollapalooza Halloween Posts to Make You Grin!



From Denny: Here's a roundup of all the funny and informative Halloween posts from this week - Dennys Blog Feeds where you can view all the blogs at a glance for description and headlines to recent posts:

5 Crazy Funny Halloween Posts for Recipes, Costumes, Parties

From Denny: I've been writing intensely all day to get out all the funny Halloween related videos I've found and tasty recipes! I'm downright bug-eyed that I'm not sure which end is up - literally by the funny odd photo I found on StumbleUpon.

You will enjoy all these crazy posts as they were great fun to write:

5 Campy Halloween Posts, Costume Ideas and Recipes

Halloween Italian Comfort Food: Halloween Purses, Pumpkin Risotto, Chocolate Pudding Cake, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Nutella Apples

Video: Halloween Campy Cakes - Chocolate Spider Cakes, Ghoulish Ghost Cakes

4 Campy Halloween Drinks for Your Party, Find Out Halloween Trivia



This little kittie is staying indoors come Halloween night... smart move, Oh, Wise One...

From Denny: What is Halloween without something a bit campy and ridiculous? The first post has a recipe and some sophisticated inexpensive decorating ideas. The costume ideas for you and your soon-to-look-ridiculous dog are the funniest. I like the X-Ray Machine costume best.

The second recipe shows you how to easily assemble your own Oreo cookie black Halloween spider cookies which are sure to be a hit with the kids at the door or your friends at your posh Halloween party!

Halloween

Video and Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pound Cake, Decorating Ideas, Pumpkin Carving Tips, Amusing Costume Ideas for You and Your Pets

Recipe: Fun Halloween Oreo Spider Cookies



OK, these posts are so scary they are funny! (Lame, I know... I just love it when people over-hype their products. It's so outrageous.)

Funny

Lampooning Perfectionists is the latest Cheeky Quote Day! segment over at The Social Poets to get you laughing and thinking about how to improve your life without making it stressful.

Lampooning Perfectionists - Cheeky Quote Day 28 Oct 2009

I went cruising the web looking for more funny chocolate quotes than I already have stashed on Romancing The Chocolate blog and ran into funny Sandra Boynton's site. She has a new movie short just released a couple of days ago. B. B. King sings alongside his famous sidekick Lucille.

Let's all support her as this is her first movie debut. The little documentary that sidekicks it is interesting as to how many people it really takes, all the hoops they have to jump through, just to make a tiny film - and she made it funny too!

5 Funny Chocolate Quotes, Sandra Boyntons B. B. King Video

In case you missed any of these cute little Halloween funnies over at Dennys Funny Quotes, here's a repeat:

(Featured new today) Video: Creepy Hotels for Halloween Getaways

Repeats:

Funny Halloween Quotes, Halloween Cartoon

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets, Funny Halloween Animation

*** Handmade Unique - lists posts from several blogs around the blogosphere with Halloween posts.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, and thanks for your great support! Have a fun and safe Halloween!

*** Editorial political cartoons will be here tomorrow for Sunday's post. Come on, you know that Halloween is so campy and funny that no writer can resist the temptation of writing posts for the silly holiday we enjoy so much. It's just too much fun! You know me; I'm always up for a good grinner! :)

30 October 2009

Halloween Italian Comfort Food: Halloween Purses, Pumpkin Risotto, Chocolate Pudding Cake, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Nutella Apples

From Denny: Italian cooking goes Halloween! Featured is Pumpkin Risotto, Trick-or-Treat Halloween Bags which are phyllo dough purses with stacked layers of eggplant, prosciutto ham, mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil. More goodies from this chef family are the recipes for Baked Pumpkins filled with Pumpkin Bread Pudding topped with Pomegranate Sauce, Bittersweet chocolate pudding cake with butterscotch sauce and Caramel Nutella apples.

All of these recipes come from Chefs Marion, Anthony, Rosanna, John and Elaina of the New York City restaurant Fresco by Scotto. These chefs are exceptionally clear on fast-paced television.





Bittersweet chocolate pudding cake with butterscotch sauce

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

For chocolate pudding cake

• 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup butter
• 1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup hot water

For butterscotch sauce

• 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

DIRECTIONS

1. To make chocolate pudding cake: Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ½ cup of the cocoa powder.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup of the brown sugar at medium speed until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the batter into the dish.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ¾ cups brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and the hot water. Pour the liquid over the batter and place the baking dish into a larger pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pudding is barely set and has begun to pull away from the sides of the baking dish.

6. To make butterscotch sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Serve the pudding warm with the warm butterscotch sauce.



Trick-or-treat Halloween bags

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

• 1 box phyllo dough sheets
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 12 slices eggplant, 1/4 inch thick, brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides
• 8 Italian plum tomatoes, cut 1/4 inch thick
• 6 slices fresh mozzarella, cut 1/4 inch thick
• 18 fresh basil leaves
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 6 slices prosciutto, sliced thin, 8 inches in length
• Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Stack 1 slice of eggplant, 2 slices tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, 2 basil leaves, and top with 1 more slice of eggplant. Season with a pinch of oregano and top with ¼ teaspoon Parmesan cheese. Assemble 5 remaining stacks the same way.

2. Place 2 prosciutto slices lengthwise on work surface. Place stack in middle of prosciutto slices and fold prosciutto over the top to wrap stack.

For phyllo bags:

1. Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface. Brush a little olive oil all over sheet, especially the edges of phyllo. Place a second sheet on top in the opposite direction to make a cross. Brush oil on top of second sheet as before. Salt and pepper entire surface.

2. Place vegetable prosciutto filling in middle of the phyllo. Pull all the sides up toward the center to make a bag. Pinch all four corners of phyllo dough together with your forefingers and thumbs. Brush the outside of each bag with olive oil. Continue the same procedure to make a total of 6 bags.

3. Place the assembled bags on a baking tray brushed with olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until phyllo bags become a light golden brown.

4. Place a few spoonfuls of Halloween sauce on the bottom of each serving dish, add a phyllo bag and serve (see recipe below).



Halloween sauce

From: The Scotto Family

INGREDIENTS

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 2 shallots, peeled, finely minced
• 2 yellow peppers, split in half, deseeded, rough-chopped into small pieces
• 2 yellow tomatoes, cored, rough-chopped
• 1 small yellow squash, split in half lengthwise, deseeded, rough-chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium to high heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for approximately 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add peppers, tomatoes and squash all together. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to low heat for 20 minutes.

2. Allow vegetables to cool off for 10 minutes, place in blender and puree to smooth consistency.



Pumpkin risotto with toasted almonds

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Pumpkins

• 4 small pumpkins, weighing 2 pounds or less, tops removed, insides scraped and deseeded

Risotto

• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 2 cups Arborio rice
• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a bare simmer.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and wine and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the onions are translucent and the white wine is reduced. Add the rice and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until every grain is coated the liquid.

3. Place pumpkins in preheated oven.

4. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. When half the stock has been added, add pumpkin puree. Continue to add stock. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese and toasted almonds.

6. Remove pumpkins from oven, fill with risotto, top with almonds and serve immediately.



Baked pumpkins filled with pumpkin bread pudding topped with pomegranate sauce

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

Pumpkin bread pudding

• 3 medium-size pumpkins, tops removed, insides scraped and deseeded
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
• 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 10 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread or brioche (about 10 ounces)
• Powdered sugar

Pomegranate sauce

• 4 large pomegranates (about 3 pounds)
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 3/4 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS

For pumpkin bread pudding:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half-and-half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes.

For pomegranate sauce:

1. Cut the pomegranates in half. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Using a spoon or your fingers, scrape the seeds into the sieve.

2. Using a wooden spoon or a flat meat pounder, press on the seeds to extract 2 cups of juice. Discard the seeds and set the juice aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, mix the cornstarch with the sugar. Slowly stir in the pomegranate juice and mix well. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken and darkens to a deep wine color and the sauce coats the back of the spoon.

4. Remove from the heat and let cool. The sauce may be made ahead and stored in a jar in the refrigerator. It will thicken somewhat if stored. When ready to use, thin with a little warm water if necessary.



Caramel Nutella Apples

From: The Scotto Family

Makes: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

For caramel apples

• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, about 3/4 cup
• 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• Wooden candy apple sticks
• 6 apples

For Nutella apples

• Wooden candy apple sticks
• 6 apples
• 1 jar Nutella

DIRECTIONS

1. To make caramel apples: Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until soft ball stage (about 230 to 236°F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Skewer apples; dip one by one in caramel.

2. To make Nutella apples: Heat Nutella in the top of a double boiler. Skewer apples; dip one by one in Nutella.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone!

*** For more Halloween recipes and funny Halloween videos:

Video: Halloween Campy Cakes - Chocolate Spider Cakes, Ghoulish Ghost Cakes

4 Campy Halloween Drinks for Your Party, Find Out Halloween Trivia

*** Handmade Unique - lists posts from several blogs around the blogosphere with Halloween posts. Pay her a visit!

29 October 2009

7 Tasty Posts 4 Halloween AND Funny, What More Do You Want?



This little kittie is staying indoors come Halloween night... smart move, Oh, Wise One...

From Denny: What is Halloween without something a bit campy and ridiculous? The first post has a recipe and some sophisticated inexpensive decorating ideas. The costume ideas for you and your soon-to-look-ridiculous dog are the funniest. I like the X-Ray Machine costume best.

The second recipe shows you how to easily assemble your own Oreo cookie black Halloween spider cookies which are sure to be a hit with the kids at the door or your friends at your posh Halloween party!

Halloween

Video and Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pound Cake, Decorating Ideas, Pumpkin Carving Tips, Amusing Costume Ideas for You and Your Pets

Recipe: Fun Halloween Oreo Spider Cookies



OK, these posts are so scary they are funny! (Lame, I know... I just love it when people over-hype their products. It's so outrageous.)

Funny

Lampooning Perfectionists is the latest Cheeky Quote Day! segment over at The Social Poets to get you laughing and thinking about how to improve your life without making it stressful.

Lampooning Perfectionists - Cheeky Quote Day 28 Oct 2009

I went cruising the web looking for more funny chocolate quotes than I already have stashed on Romancing The Chocolate blog and ran into funny Sandra Boynton's site. She has a new movie short just released a couple of days ago. B. B. King sings alongside his famous sidekick Lucille.

Let's all support her as this is her first movie debut. The little documentary that sidekicks it is interesting as to how many people it really takes, all the hoops they have to jump through, just to make a tiny film - and she made it funny too!

5 Funny Chocolate Quotes, Sandra Boyntons B. B. King Video

In case you missed any of these cute little Halloween funnies over at Dennys Funny Quotes, here's a repeat:

Video: Creepy Hotels for Halloween Getaways

Repeats:

Funny Halloween Quotes, Halloween Cartoon

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets, Funny Halloween Animation

27 October 2009

5 Cajun, Creole Recipes: 2 Gumbos, Dirty Rice, Pickled Shrimp, Shrimp Stuffed Vegetable Pear



Chef Emeril Lagasse's Creole Dirty Rice dish

From Denny: This is a continuation of last week's post about the Association of Food Journalists annual conference held in New Orleans this month. There were so many recipes posted in our local newspaper! They were skimpy on the photos though.

Some more history on how Louisiana cuisine developed over the centuries with the melting pot of immigrant cultures... Did you know there are two kinds of Italian cooking in New Orleans? One is with the Arab Slavic influence and the second is more French and Spanish seasoning.

What food stands out as an example contrasting the two cultures? Red gravy (think spaghetti sauce). The Arab Slavic seasons with a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to their version of red gravy as a way to take the edge off the sourness of the tomatoes, especially if they are not fresh but canned. (I use dark brown sugar.) The French and Spanish don't use sugar at all. They also don't use a roux base to make their gravy.

What about Creole? They employ a roux to thicken the red gravy, use tomato sauce but never tomato paste. From Chef Leah Chase who cooks Creole style, "Vegetables were cooked down or stuffed in the Creole kitchen. We stuff everything, including people.”

Typical ingredients in the Creole kitchen are garlic, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Celery was not on their radar most of the year until the holidays. And they love to use wine in their cooking too.

For the Creole table, Sunday was gumbo day, Monday was red beans and rice day. Turtle stew was served on Easter holiday. Fridays you were out of luck to get a meal with meat as they observed the old Catholic custom of sacrifice that day, substituting fish.

The following recipes are a sampling of the food loved centuries later to this day that is Creole and Cajun. Hey, if it tastes good, eat it! That's the motto in Louisiana!



Seafood Gumbo

From: Chef Poppy Tooker

Serves: about 10

Ingredients:

Gumbo crabs are small crabs mainly used for flavor.
2 lbs. shell-on shrimp
1 medium yellow onion, chopped, onion skin reserved
1 gallon plus 1 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying as needed, plus 1/2 cup
2 lbs. okra, cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 gumbo crabs
1 (1-lb.) can whole tomatoes
2 tsps. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Cooked rice

Directions:

1. Peel and devein shrimp, set shrimp aside; save shells. Combine shells and onion skins in a stock pot. Add 1 gallon plus 1 cup water; boil for 20 minutes. Strain; reserve shrimp stock.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1/2-inch oil. Add okra and fry until light browned. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

3. In a large stockpot, make a dark roux by whisking 1/2 cup oil and flour together over medium heat. Cook — stirring frequently — until the color becomes milk chocolate brown, about 30 minutes. Add onions to the roux, stirring until it darkens to a bittersweet chocolate brown color, about 5 minutes more.

4. Add celery and bell pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the gumbo crabs, tomatoes, okra, thyme, bay leaf and the shrimp stock. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 45 minutes or longer.

5. Ten minutes before serving, add shrimp and green onions. Serve hot over cooked rice.



Chicken Andouille Gumbo

From: Broussard’s Restaurant

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. chopped andouille sausage
3 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper
1/2 cup celery
1 lb. chopped okra
Water or half water/half chicken stock
1 tbl. oregano
1 tbl. thyme
2 tbls. filé
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 lb. chopped chicken (white and dark)
Salt and pepper
Cooked rice

Directions:

1. Sauté the sausage then add onions, bell peppers, celery and okra. After, add 1 gallon of water or stock or half water and half stock and all spices. Cook for 30 minutes.

2. In a separate pot, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook until dark brown.

3. Add roux to gumbo and stir to mix in. Then add chopped chicken and cook 30 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with plain white rice.

Note: Can also be made with seafood, such as shrimp and crabs.



Ashley’s Pickled Shrimp

From: Susan Spicer of Bayona

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tsps. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large red onion, cut in half then thinly sliced
3 tbls. capers
2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
2 tbls. chopped flat-leaf parsley

For shrimp:

1 lemon, quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tbl. coriander seeds
1 tbl. mustard seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbls. salt (kosher or sea salt)
2 lbs. medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cider or vinegar, mustard, sugar, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, onion, capers and bay leaves.

2. Place a large pot filled with about 1 gallon water over high heat. Squeeze the lemon quarters into the water, dropping rinds into the pot. Add bay leaves, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, pepper flakes and salt to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add shrimp and return to the boil. Cook until shrimp become opaque and the tails turn bright pink, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Drain well then transfer the still-warm shrimp to bowl of marinade. Marinate shrimp for at least 15 minutes before serving. If made ahead, remove shrimp from marinade before refrigerating; reserve marinade. Dress shrimp with marinade and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Note: One bag crab boil can be used in place of the bay leaves, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes.



Stuffed Mirliton With Shrimp and Ham

From: Chef Frank Brigtsen, Brigtsen’s Restaurant

Makes: 13-1/2 cups (12-15 portions as a side dish).

Chef’s Notes: The mirliton, also known as chayote, vegetable pear, or christophene, is a member of the squash family, but is a very unique vegetable with its smooth texture and sweet flavor. In New Orleans, the pale green, pear-shaped mirliton is a “backyard” vegetable, grown in home gardens on trellised vines and harvested in the fall, just in time for holiday tables. Found in specialty grocery stores.

Ingredients:

6 large mirlitons
2 tbls. unsalted butter
2 cups diced ham (1/2-inch pieces)
2 cups finely diced green bell peppers (1/4-inch pieces)
4 cups finely diced celery (1/4-inch pieces)
6 cups finely diced yellow onions (1/4-inch pieces)
2 bay leaves
4 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. whole-leaf dried thyme
1 tsp. whole-leaf dried oregano
2 tsps. whole-leaf dried sweet basil
1 tbl. minced fresh garlic
2 cups peeled medium-size Louisiana shrimp
1 cup shrimp stock
4 tbls. unsalted butter
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups finely ground plain French bread crumbs
2 eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare the mirlitons: Place the mirlitons in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the mirlitons are tender, 40-45 minutes. Drain the mirlitons and cover with ice until fully chilled. Peel the mirlitons with a vegetable peeler. Slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Slice the peeled mirliton halves in half again, lengthwise, and slice into wedge-pieces about 1/4-inch thick. (This should yield about 8 cups of mirliton meat.) Set aside.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy pot over high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring constantly, until brown.

4. Add 1-1/2 cups of bell peppers, 3 cups of celery, 4 cups of onion and the bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn dark brown (caramelized).

5. Add the remaining bell peppers, celery and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the second stage of onions turn soft and clear.

6. Reduce heat to low. Add the salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, thyme, oregano, basil and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.

7. Add the shrimp and cook until pink on the outside. Add the shrimp stock and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the mirliton and heat until warm. Remove from heat.

8. Mix in remaining 4 tablespoons butter.

9. Fold in the cheese and bread crumbs.

10. Temper the eggs: In a small bowl, add the eggs. Add 3 spoonfuls of the mirliton dressing, one spoon at a time, until the eggs are heated through. Fold the egg mixture back into the dressing and blend well.

11. Transfer the mirliton dressing to a shallow pan (sheet pan) and bake at 350 degrees until brown and crusty on top, 35-40 minutes.



Creole Dirty Rice

From: Chef Emeril Lagasse

Makes: about 3 cups, serves 4. It is served at Emeril’s Delmonico restaurant with pork cheeks.

Ingredients:

1 tbl. vegetable oil
1 tbl. butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 lb. chicken livers, puréed
2 bay leaves
1 tbl. finely chopped jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed, if desired
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 cups cooked long-grain, white rice
1/4 cup beef stock or canned, low-sodium beef broth
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Dash of Tabasco or other Louisiana hot sauce, to taste

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the butter, onion, and bell pepper; sauté vegetables until tender and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Add the pork and cook, using the spoon to break the pork into small pieces of meat, until well-browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the liver purée, bay leaves, jalapeño, salt, coriander, cumin and cayenne. Cook until spices are fragrant and liver is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the rice and beef stock; continue to cook, stirring, until well-combined and rice is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add kosher salt and pepper, if necessary. Finish with hot sauce, to taste.

*** For part one of the food conference - 3 Oyster Recipes: Awesome Louisiana Food From National Food Conference

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, come back often and eat well!

25 October 2009

Editorial Cartoons over at The Social Poets 24 Oct 2009



From Denny: Help me celebrate The Social Poets one year blog anniversary by laughing at today's editorial cartoons of the week collected into one post. There is certainly plenty going on in American culture that the cartoonists are not short of issues to lampoon.

Editorial Cartoons This Week 24 Oct 2009 at The Social Poets, go here.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, and for all your great support! Certainly never expected so many by the hundreds to show up so quickly; glad you are enjoying what I find and post, thanks again!

24 October 2009

22 Interesting Varied Blog Posts, 23 Oct 2009



Photo from Stripes Photography group on StumbleUpon - wonderful photo - if anyone knows the photographer, please pass it along so they can receive attribution...

From Denny: In case you missed a goodie, here are some of the best from all the blogs this past week, enjoy! Thanks for all your support, everyone, and have a great weekend too! XXOO, Denny

Video: Americas Republicans Losing Support Even in Bad Economy

Video: Restaurant Foods Compost Great Wines

Busy Day at The Social Poets, Posts on Dan Browns Book The Lost Symbol and Obama

Video: 2,700 Year Old Mystery Mummy Surfaces at Miami Museum

Video: Meet the Human Calculator

Video: Noetic Science Examines Consciousness

Video: Pregnant Mother Dies of Swine Flu Misdiagnosis

Cool Video: Prez Obama Honored for Nobel in Sand Sculpture

10 Funny Quotes, Late Night Show Funnies, Spiritual Thought of the Day, Why Obama Deserves Nobel Peace Prize

4 Funny Posts and 4 Yummy Recipes

Chocolate, Pecan and Coconut Cookies

Recipe: Velvet Chocolate Cheesecake

Recipe: Fun Halloween Oreo Spider Cookies

2 Easy Basic Brownie Recipes

2 Easy Cake Recipes: Louisiana Praline Toffee Bundt Cake, Southern Livings Popular Praline Cake

Recipes: Make Your Own Cajun Blackened Seasoning for Fish or Chicken!

3 Recipes: 3-Step Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs, Sweet Tangy Slaw, Sweet Potato Roasted Garlic Turnovers

Do You Remember Your Dreams and Know Why It Is Important?

Haiku Style Imagination Quote and Photo

How Do You Know Your Creativity is Art?

How is the Dream Helpful on Our Life Journey?

Why is Joy Important to Cultivate in Your Life?

23 October 2009

3 Oyster Recipes: Awesome Louisiana Food From National Food Conference



The famous Chef Poppy Tooker from New Orleans

From Denny: Food writers from America's newspapers, magazines and web sites descended upon New Orleans this past week to experience the best of the city's culture and cuisine at the Association of Food Journalists annual conference, held at the New Orleans’ International House Hotel.

Lucky you and me that the people hosting it were from my own Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, as well as the New Orleans Times-Picayune so, of course, they decided to share some of the recipe goodies! (Too bad they didn't provide more photos.)

True to Louisiana they named their food themes for panel discussions in an amusing fashion: The New Orleans You Don’t Know, Beyond French, Spanish and African-American Hands in the Pot, The Sicilian Connection or Why Do All the Neighborhood Restaurants Serve Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Creoles Are Not a Fairy Folk: An Updated Definition, With Food.

At their discussions came some history of the Louisiana cuisine. German immigrants of the peasant farmer class began settling in Louisiana as early as the 1720's, just north of New Orleans. They soon intermarried with the French, eventually assimilating seamlessly into the Cajun and old Creole families.

Because of the negative overtones of the conflicts with Germany during World Wars One and Two, recognition of the culture and their cuisine faded. Only recently has there been renewed interest. Weird fact about New Orleans: There is not one German restaurant in the entire city!

The more recent Vietnamese immigrants have yet to influence Louisiana cooking in any noticable way. What we do see is the Vietnamese have lovingly embraced Cajun and Creole products like our fish and seafood: shrimp, crawfish, oysters, redfish and gar. Instead of incorporating Vietnamese products into Louisiana cooking, most Louisiana people prefer to dine on Vietamese food on its own terms in its pure state: noodle bowls, steamed vegetables, fish patties and stuffed bread rolls called banh mi.

Since Hurricane Katrina when neighborhood ethnic grocery stores were devastated, New Orleans Vietnamese families now have the goal of self-sufficiency. They operate neighborhood-based communal gardens and markets so they will no longer have to wait months for a store to reopen in order to feed their families.

Another immigrant group that came to Louisiana were the Italians. While most of America thinks of the Deep South associated with African-American slavery, there were white slaves as well. Even after slavery had officially been abolished in America it still existed in another form for immigrants as the indentured servant. Italian indentured servants came in the 1890's to work on the sugar plantations for two years as payment for their passage to America. Even after all that hardship they have managed to pass down through the generations their culture and recipes to the next generation.

Tuesday's post will pick up with more from this conference. Right now, let's get down to the yummy oyster recipes they gifted us!



Photo of another version of charbroiled oyster, the nacho style from cgkinia @ flickr

Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters

From: Tommy Cvitanovich of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant

Makes: 18

This is the perfect dish for those who want to enjoy oysters in their unadorned form, but can’t or won’t eat them raw. Once you start eating these charbroiled ones, you won’t be able to stop. Don’t attempt this without freshly shucked oysters and an outdoor grill.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 tbls. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch dried oregano
1-1/2 dozen large, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell
1/4 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, mixed
2 tsps. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Mix butter with the garlic, pepper, and oregano.

2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill and put oysters on the half shell right over the hottest part. Spoon the seasoned butter over the oysters enough so that some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up a bit. The oysters are ready when they puff up and get curly on the sides, about 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan and Romano and the parsley on top. Serve on the shells immediately with hot French bread.



Photo of another version of baked oysters by boo_licious @ flickr

Baked Oysters Rio Mar With Chorizo and Spinach

From: Adolfo Garcia of Rio Mar and La Boca restaurants

Serves: 12 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

4 links Spanish chorizo (dried, not the uncooked Mexican chorizo), about 24 ozs., peeled and chopped
Olive oil as needed
1/2 medium chopped onion
3 tbls. chopped garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
2 cups cooked, well-drained spinach, about 1 lb. fresh
Salt and pepper, to taste
24 shucked oysters
Butter, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Process chorizo chunks in a food processor until finely ground, about 4 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, brown chorizo with onions and garlic in a little olive oil, about 10 minutes. Cool mixture.

2. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Chop cooked spinach, and
add all but 3 tablespoons of the cheese-bread crumb mixture.

3. Combine cooled chorizo mixture with the spinach mixture; season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Place 12 (8-ounce) ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Portion half of the chorizo-spinach mixture among the ramekins. Place two oysters in each then cover equally with remaining mixture. Garnish with reserved cheese-bread crumb mixture then dot with butter. Bake until brown, about 8 minutes.



Uncle Frank’s Oyster Dressing

From: Chef Chiqui Collier from the New Orleans Cooking Experience

Serves: 12-15

Chef Chiqui Collier says that this recipe, her family’s version, is probably the school’s most requested. Oyster dressing is a New Orleans tradition. This recipe freezes well and improves in flavor when made a couple of days ahead.

Ingredients:

3 tbls. olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion/scallion, sliced
3 tbls. minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 dozen large freshly shucked oysters and reserved liquor
2 to 3 sprigs thyme or pinch of dried thyme
Pinch salt
Pinch lemon-pepper
1/4 loaf stale po-boy French bread, cubed (about 2-1/2 cups)
Couple drops of Kitchen Bouquet

Directions:

1. Fill a medium frying pan over medium heat with about 1/4-inch of olive oil. Add white onions; cook until softened and transparent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and green onions; cook 5 minutes more. Stir in parsley and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set onion mixture aside.

2. Place oysters and the liquor in a saucepan. Cook until the edges curl, about 5 minutes. Remove oysters with a slotted spoon, and coarsely chop; reserve cooking liquid. Add thyme, salt and lemon-pepper to the liquid; add bread to soak up the liquid.

3. Place the cooked onions, soaked bread and cooked, chopped oysters together in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. In the same skillet that the onions were sautéed in, add more olive oil. Over high heat, fry the dressing in two batches for about 5 minutes. Add a drop of Kitchen Bouquet to each batch.

4. Spread the cooked dressing in a large baking pan. The recipe can be made ahead to this point. Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through, about 40 minutes or longer if cold from the refrigerator. If desired, spoon some of the turkey drippings over the dressing before serving.



Baked Tomatoes are very tasty to serve as a side with an oyster dish.

Baked Tomatoes

From: New Orleans Times-Picayune food editor Judy Walker

Makes: 4 to 6 servings as a main dish

This recipe is adapted from the Christian Women’s Exchange “Creole Cookery,” published in 1885 and republished as a facsimile in 2005. The dish was served at the Hermann-Grima House.

Ingredients:

12 large tomatoes (2 to 2-1/2 lbs.)
1/2 loaf French bread, thinly sliced
2 tbls. unsalted, softened butter, plus more as needed
1 tbl. salt, or to taste
1 tbl. black pepper, or to taste
2/3 cup fine bread crumbs

Directions:

1. Heat a saucepan of water to boiling. Plunge tomatoes into it to loosen peels. Remove peels.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take 6 to 8 of the most solid tomatoes and place them in a medium-size buttered baking dish. Butter the bread, using it to fill spaces in the dish.

3. Purée the remaining tomatoes in a food processor, adding the 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper. Pour the purée into the baking dish over the tomatoes. Cover evenly with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

*** For part two of the food conference - 5 Cajun, Creole Recipes: 2 Gumbos, Dirty Rice, Pickled Shrimp, Shrimp Stuffed Vegetable Pear

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, have a great day!

22 October 2009

Busy Day at The Social Poets, Posts on Dan Browns Book The Lost Symbol and Obama



From Denny: There's so much going on with the news coverage about Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol. He sure has tapped into the popularity of conspiracy theories and fast-paced mystery thrillers.

The Today Show both interviewed him and did some short news stories as clues for unraveling the mysteries in the book, great fun! Take a look.

Video: Interviewing Novelist Dan Brown on The Lost Symbol, Life as an Author, Masons

Video: Good Stories and Clues 1 to 4 for The Lost Symbol

Video: Dan Browns New Book The Lost Symbol

Video: The Lost Symbol - Secrets of the National Cathedral, Masons on Dollar Bill, Todays Masonic World Power

Video: Obama Talks About Womens Issues

Photo by lepiaf.geo @ flickr

21 October 2009

Cheeky Quote Day! over at The Social Poets



*** Comedians like Jay Leno keep us laughing with a ready quip!

From Denny: In the mood for some hilarious Jay Leno quotes? Hike on over to The Social Poets for this week's Cheeky Quote Day! segment. If ever there is a cheeky guy Jay Leno is rated at the top.

For 35 Jay Leno Quotes, Cheeky Quote Day 21 October 2009, go here.

Here's a trio sampling:

* A Minneapolis company has come out with a credit card size shotgun that fits in your wallet. The inventor says he invented it to give people a sense of security. Oh yeah, what makes you feel more secure than sitting on a shotgun? Now how does this work? What's the first thing a thief steals? Your wallet, oh, now he's got your gun too!

* In California, 50 women protested the impending war with Iraq by lying on the ground naked and spelling out the word 'peace.' Right idea, wrong president. (George Bush was in office, not Bill Clinton.)

* Wait till these Enron guys find out that in prison, the term "Insider trading" has a whole new meaning.

*** Thanks for visiting!

For 35 Jay Leno Quotes, Cheeky Quote Day 21 October 2009, go here.

20 October 2009

2 Easy Cake Recipes: Louisiana Praline Toffee Bundt Cake, Southern Livings Popular Praline Cake



Photo by Arthur D. Lauck

From Denny: I love this time of year when I can bake something heavenly with fresh pecans! They are wonderful in cakes, cookies and even as a coating for pan-frying your favorite fish. This last weekend I went downtown to the local farmers' market and purchased some awesome locally grown roasted pecans.

Don't live in Louisiana but want to buy some local pecans? Not to worry: to purchase these Louisiana pecans from a friendly farmer by the name of Buddy Miller I always enjoy visiting, go to his site called Plantation Pecan Company, go here.

This is a recipe I found in my files from a newspaper food section from a few years ago, coming from a regional church cookbook. The only other praline cake recipe I found online was from Southern Living. That one is good and quite popular and I'm always a player for cream cheese in a cake; this one is even better because of the Heath toffee bits! Your choice; you decide which one you prefer - or both. :)

This cookbook can be purchased, go here.

Praline Bundt Cake

From: St. Isidore Catholic Church cookbook, by Paula Gebhart

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 package Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix (or other brand)
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil (canola oil is good as its flavor is neutral)
3 eggs, large
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds.

Beat on medium 2 minutes, scraping bowl. Fold in pecans and toffee bits.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool 30 minutes in the pan and then remove from the pan. Cool completely.

Glaze:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Heath toffee bits

Directions:

In quart-size pan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and milk. Heat to roiling boil, stirring frequently; remove from heat.

Immediately beat in powdered sugar and vanilla with wire whisk until smooth.

Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with Heath toffee bits.

Here's the Southern Living recipe too:



Photo by Jennifer Davick


Praline Bundt Cake

From: Southern Living, December 2007

Prep: 30 min.
Bake: 1 hr., 22 min.
Cool: 1 hr.
Yield: Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz.) package dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Praline Icing, recipe follows
Sugared Pecans, recipe follows

Directions:

1. Arrange 1 cup pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

3. Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in toasted pecans and vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.

4. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

5. Prepare Praline Icing, and spoon immediately over cake. Sprinkle top of cake with Sugared Pecans.

***

Praline Icing

Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Use immediately.

***

Sugared Pecans

Prep: 10 min.
Bake: 20 min.
Cool: 30 min.
Yield: Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients:

1 egg white
4 cups pecan halves (about 1 lb.)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Directions:

1. Whisk egg white until foamy; add pecans, and stir until evenly coated.

2. Stir together sugars; sprinkle over pecans. Stir gently until pecans are evenly coated. Spread pecans in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.

3. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until pecans are toasted and dry, stirring once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Note: Store pecans in a zip-top plastic freezer bag at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 weeks.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, and have a great day!

18 October 2009

Cool Video: Prez Obama Honored for Nobel in Sand Sculpture

From Denny: This is an Oddball segment from Keith Olbermann's Countdown show. Since it's October we get to watch folks in Lincoln County, Maine smash huge pumpkins. They put the several hundred pound pumpkins on a crane high in the air and then drop them onto decommissioned old police cars. Sort of gives you some satisfaction for that speeding or parking ticket you felt you never deserved from whatever decade... :)

What's really cool is the incredible sand sculpture a world renowned sand artist in India did on a local beach in Puri, India recently. The artist is Sudarshan Patanaik and his sculpture is four feet high, depicting President Obama's head embedded in a Nobel Peace Prize medal with an accompanying dove and a message pro Peace. This man is quite the artist! So glad a film crew went out there and recorded it; maybe he will do a painting or print photo to sell as posters? Beautifully done as well as a political statement art.

16 October 2009

3 Recipes: 3-Step Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs, Sweet Tangy Slaw, Sweet Potato Roasted Garlic Turnovers



From Denny: These recipes are all crowd pleasers for that tailgating, family gathering or any time and are easy for the busy parent now that school is back in session.

All recipes are easy. Ribs can be intimidating and turn out tough if you don't know how. Well, this recipe is a simple one that delivers the taste and tenderness because of the long time spent in the slow cooker! Step one? Cut the ribs in half to fit the slow cooker. Step two? Make a dry rub and sprinkle on to the ribs. Step three? Now pour 18 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce over the ribs and let them cook for the next four to five hours. Simple to let the slow cooker do all the hard work!

As far as barbecue sauce is concerned do try to avoid those made with high fructose corn syrup (literally passes go and goes straight to producing fat, no kidding!), MSG (brings on migraine headaches in those allergic to it) and excessively high levels of sodium.

You will enjoy the fun of making the Sweet Potato Garlic Turnovers. All you do is mash together cooked sweet potatoes and garlic, then stuff them as a filling into little pastry rounds from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. These were a bit hit even with children!

The slaw has an Asian accent and is so easy to gather together that you can enlist the kids to be kitchen helpers. Try using a reduced fat version of mayonnaise in this recipe.

Enjoy making these simple pleasures sure to please everyone!

3-Step Baby Back Ribs in the Slow Cooker

From: Tracey Koch, food writer at 2theadvocate (they archive all recipes after a week and then charge to view)

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

2 sides baby back pork ribs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 (18-oz.) bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

Directions:

1. Turn the slow cooker on High and rinse the baby back ribs. Pat them dry and cut them in half to fit into your slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and sprinkle it over the ribs.

3. Place the seasoned ribs into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over them. Cover and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours or until ribs are tender.

Kitchen helpers: Kids love to eat ribs and these take no time to make. Have your kids mix up the dry ingredients and help season the ribs and put them in the slow cooker.

***

Savory Sweet Potato and Roasted Garlic Turnovers

From: Tracey Koch

Makes: about 30 to 32 turnovers when using a 3-1/2-inch round cutter.

Ingredients:

1 head garlic
2 tbls. olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
2 tsps. melted butter
2 tsps. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup milk
2 pkgs. pie dough (in the refrigerator section)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the garlic into a piece of foil and drizzle it with the olive oil. Cover up the garlic pod and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the garlic is tender. Allow to cool.

2. While the garlic is cooling, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.

3. Add the cut-up sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Drain sweet potatoes well and return them to the pot.

5. Squeeze the bulb of roasted garlic out into the drained sweet potatoes and begin mashing them together.

6. Add remaining ingredients and keep mashing until everything is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

7. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the pie dough and, using a 3-1/2-inch round pastry cutter, cut out circles.

8. Place a couple of teaspoonfulsl of the sweet potato filling on one side of the circle, making sure to leave a little room on the edge to crimp. Fold the unfilled side over to form a crescent shape and crimp the edge with a fork to seal.

9. Put turnovers on a baking sheet and freeze in a single layer until frozen. Once the turnovers are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag until you are ready to bake them.

10. To bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake as many turnovers as you need at a time. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Kitchen helpers: This is a great do-ahead recipe that your kids will have fun making. From mashing the sweet potatoes to squeezing out the roasted garlic and cutting out the dough, there are plenty of steps to keep little hands busy.

***

Sweet and Tangy Slaw

From: Tracey Koch

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise or spread
1 clove minced garlic
1-1/2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
2 tbls. water
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag shredded cabbage
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup Craisins
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chow mein noodles

Directions:

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, water and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a salad bowl, combine cabbage, green onions and Craisins. Toss with dressing; cover and chill for 30 minutes or so. Just before serving, toss in seeds and chow mein noodles.

Kitchen helpers: This is a fun way to get kids to eat cabbage. They’ll love the Craisins, chow mein noodles and sunflower seeds. Have them mix up the dressing and toss the salad together.

Thanks for visiting, everyone, and have a great weekend!

14 October 2009

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets, Funny Halloween Animation



Halloween: the only time of the year we can get away with acting "socially inappropriate," i. e., obnoxious! :)

From Denny: Make sure you get your silly Halloween seasonal laughs today reading Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets!

Thanks for visiting, everyone, really appreciate all the many visits every day and your support! Have a great day!

13 October 2009

Easy Key West Ribs From the Slow Cooker



From Denny: Many a person from Louisiana holidays in sunny Florida and we often share recipes since both areas are Southern and boast lots of wonderful seafood. While Texas is known for their awesome barbecued ribs so are a lot of other places in the South, and Florida has their version.

Seems the Pillsbury folks were equally intrigued and created a recipe to show us just how easy it is to make ribs in a slow cooker version. Can cooking good tasting recipes get any easier? :)

Seriously though, as the weather gets colder it sure is wonderful to know you can have a recipe for ribs that does not require use of the oven for hours or the outside grill. A slow cooker version of ribs is just the ticket! This would also be a great recipe to make during football season when you want to tailgate like we do at LSU Tiger games around here. A lot of people go just to enjoy the tailgating atmosphere! This recipe is a real time-saver as you could put it on the night before the game and then drive out in the morning with a ready-made meal to go for your guests.

***

Key West Ribs

From: Pillsbury Doughboy Slow Cooker Recipes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2-1/2 lbs. country-style pork loin ribs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite or homemade)
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. grated lime peel
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbls. lime juice

(Note from Denny: I'd also add 2 Tablespoons each of fresh minced garlic and fresh parsley.)

Directions:

1. Place pork ribs in 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour over ribs.

2. Cover; cook on Low setting for 7 to 9 hours. Spoon sauce over ribs.

*** Then I would sqeeze fresh lime juice all over these ribs right before serving to instensify the BBQ flavors. - Denny

Funny Halloween Quotes, Halloween Cartoon



This is cute: instead of being known as the black sheep of the family this guy is known as the black sheet - it is Halloween! :)

From Denny: Tomorrow is Cheeky Quote Day! over at The Social Poets. I started researching funny Halloween quotes. Can I tell you there were very few of them? Quite surprising! I did find some great little jokes and funny ghost stories to share. Here's a sampling:

Quotes

* I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween. – Charles Swartz

* Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain. - J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

* This Halloween the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him. - Conan O'Brien

Thanks for visiting!

09 October 2009

Awesome Layered Venison with Bacon, Foie Gras, Apple Fries in Cognac Cream, Balsamic Pomegranate Reduction



From Denny: Louisiana is known as the Sportsman's Paradise. No wonder the food here is so good! Both hunters and fishermen are known as wonderful cooks here; just the average guy cooks well.

This week was a cause for food celebration and those who love to dine well. There was a cooking competition at the American Culinary Federation of Greater Baton Rouge’s 25th annual Culinary Classic and these folks pulled out all the stops on the fancy tasty food.

Today's recipe took the Best in Show top honors for the happy cash prize of $3,000. Scott McCue was the winner; he is the executive sous chef at Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, Louisiana. He is a native of Arizona and has been working at the casino for thirteen years now. McCue says he "researches trends, tries different sauces and thinks about ingredient combinations in creating new dishes year-round. Competition focuses the effort, and it’s fun as well as challenging.”

Whether you have a hunter in your family or just want to try your hand at cooking low-fat high mineral dense venison this fall this is a gorgeous recipe to try. All of these layer recipes are simple and quick to make. This would make a beautiful Sunday dinner for guests or family.

You could also try this with a good cut of pork chop too. And, if you and your family is like mine and don't care for liver dishes, skip the liver (foie gras) as it would be awesome without it too, reducing the expense of the meal. After all, this was created for a showy competition. Enjoy!

***

Bacon Larded Venison Tenderloin Layered With:

* Seared Foie Gras
* Granny Smith Apple Fries in a Cognac Cream Sauce
* Balsamic Pomegranate Reduction


From: Scott McCue, Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton

Serves: 10

Venison

Ingredients:


10 (6-oz.) venison filets
5 each strips of bacon, frozen and cut into ø–inch strips, 2 inches long
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

1. Use a thin wire to make incisions into the venison large enough to push the frozen bacon strips through, push 6 to 8 pieces of bacon into each filet.

2. Season thee filets with the salt and pepper. Heat oil and sear venison on all sides. Cook in a 350-degree oven until desired doneness.

Foie Gras

Ingredients:


10 (1-1/2–oz.) slices cleaned foie gras
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Directions:

Heat a skillet over high heat; season both sides of the foie gras with salt and pepper and flash sear on both sides.

Granny Smith Apple Fries

Ingredients:


2 whole eggs
2 tbls. cold water
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
Fine-ground Japanese bread crumbs

Directions:

Blend eggs and water, set aside. Coat apples with flour then toss in egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. Fry in 350-degree fryer until golden.

Balsamic Pomegranate Reduction

Ingredients:


1/2 cup pomegranate syrup
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced by half

Directions:

Simply combine both ingredients and mix well.

Cognac Cream Sauce

Ingredients:


1-1/2 cups cognac
3 cups demi-glace
3 cups heavy cream
2 tbls. cracked peppercorns
Salt, to taste

Directions:

Heat the cognac in a medium saucepot and burn off the alcohol, add the demi-glace and heavy cream, let reduce by half, add the peppercorns and season with salt. Reserve warm.

07 October 2009

Cheeky Quote Day Over at The Social Poets 7 Oct 2009



From Denny: Every Wednesday is Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets blog where I put up whatever crazy funny quotes I find for the week. This week the challenge was to find funny quotes about poetry. Let me tell you, that really turned out to be a challenge! Not too many poets have a great sense of humor! Fortunately, we can always count on funny guys like Oscar Wilde, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman among others.

Here's a sampling of 5 quotes for you to enjoy:

* I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat. - A. E. Housman

* If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition might have let him alone. - Thomas Hardy

* Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. - T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919

* Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. - G.K. Chesterton

* There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army. - John Ashbery


To visit Cheeky Quote Day, go here.
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