Friday, May 29, 2009

Grilling flank steak with a spice rub

When you use a rub like this on your steak, it’s best if you apply it in the morning and let it sit all day in the fridge. This recipe makes enough rub to do 1 to 2 pounds of flank steak. The easiest way to do the prep is to work the rub into the meat and place your steak into a ziploc bag and stick it in the fridge for the day. This works well with marinades too, and you can just throw out the bag when you’re finished.

Usually most people grill a flank steak from 5 to 10 minutes per side, depending upon how done they like it and how thick it is. Use a meat thermometer the first time you grill one and time it. After that, you’ll be all set and can make your adjustments based upon thickness. I don’t like my flank steak too overdone, because it can be a tough stringy cut. Another way to avoid toughness is in how you cut it: slice the steak at a 45 degree angle, across the grain, making thin slices.

Spice Rub

2 cloves of garlic
1 T fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t coriander
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t cumin

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grilling chicken fast!

Grilled chicken is truly one of life’s best summertime pleasures. If only it didn’t take so long! Well, I’ve got a couple of barbecuing tips for you to make sure your chicken grilling fits into your busy family style. The key is preparation…now there’s a big surprise! Seriously though, if you do the prep, you can easily have a thirty minute meal here.

You probably already know two of the rules about chicken prep for grilling, but I’ll repeat them here just in case:

* Marinate in oils, lemon juice, vinegar, etc ahead of time
* Only add sauces containing sugar, like barbecue sauce, molasses, honey, etc for the last few minutes

Some people like to parboil or microwave the chicken for a few minutes to make it cook faster. Yes, this is an alternative, but I really don’t like the texture of the meat when it’s done this way. I like the way the grill seals in the juices. I have used my microwave to shorten the time, but it’s not my ideal solution.

So, here’s a trick to make that marinade soak in better, the chicken cook faster, and the barbecue sauce have more surface to cling to. Take a boneless, skinless chicken breast, and stand it up on its long end. Cut downward through the whole length of it, stopping just 1/2 inch short of the bottom. Now you can open the piece out to lie flat. This is called “butterflying” the chicken breast. Place it between sheets of waxed paper and beat it even flatter…and thinner.

Now when you marinade the chicken (in a ziploc bag for easy clean-up!), more of the surface is available to soak. When you place it on the grill, 5 to 10 minutes per side will be plenty, depending upon how thin you made it. Now you’ll have to be careful not to overcook it and dry it out rather than undercook it and make everyone sick! When you add your sauce at the end, there’s now a much bigger area for it to stick to! Win-win-win…all around :-)

Here’s a great marinade that we really like. We don’t end up adding any sauce, just making sure that all the fresh herbs make their way onto the chicken pieces.

Herb & Lemon Marinade

1/4 - 1/2 c olive oil
Lemon, grated peel and juiced
Salt and pepper
4-8 fresh basil leaves
2 fresh tarragon leaves (or 1 T dried)
1 T dried sage leaves (fresh are hard to come by in my area)

Butterfly your chicken early in the day, or even the night before. Mix all the marinade ingredients and place them in a ziploc bag with the chicken pieces. When it’s time to grill, make sure your grill is good and hot. Sear the chicken on both sides and then lower the flames slightly and finish cooking. Discard all remaining marinade…do not serve it as a dressing! Raw chicken…ick!

We like to have this butterflied chicken on a bed of salad greens along with fresh tomato and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add rolls, and you’re all set!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salmon with green sauce

Just another easy and tasty thirty minute meal for your family! We usually use salmon, but you can really use any fish for this meal. While the fish was cooking, I made the sauce, and then I stir-fried some veggies to go with the meal (carrots and fennel for us last night!). In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, I popped a couple of sweet potatoes that had been pre-cooked during my once a week food preparation time into the oven to reheat.

Salmon with Green Sauce

Olive oil
Lemon juice

1/2 c yogurt
2 T onion, chopped
Green pepper, quartered
1/2 c parsley or dark greens
1 T lemon juice
3 scallions

Wrap the fish in foil with the olive oil and lemon juice. Cook at 450 for about 30 minutes. Mix together the yogurt through the scallions, and process them until chunky in a food processor. Set aside until fish is done.

Prepare the stir fry or other accompaniments while the fish cooks.

Image: Kave Wall Stock

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Carrots with dill

Here’s another special veggie recipe we had last week, along with the Brussels sprouts: beautiful carrots with dill. These are prepared in a very similar manner to the Brussels sprouts too. Wash, but don’t peel them, and slice them on the diagonal so that you have fairly thin ovals.

Olive oil
Lemon juice or white wine
Dill weed or crushed dill seed

Place the carrots in a microwaveable dish and drizzle with the oil and lemon juice. Place a couple of thin pats of butter on top and sprinkle with dill. Cover with plastic wrap, and wave on high for 2 minutes, stopping after 1 minute to stir.

Just like the sprouts, you can eat them just like this, or you can throw them into the stir-fry, which is what I’m going to do right now :-)

Image: Stock.xchng

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cream of carrot soup

Cream of carrot soup is a wonderful comfort food! Never thought of carrots that way before? You will now :-) If you’ve got time during your once a week food prep to pre-cook the carrots, the meal will go even faster, but if not, it still clocks in under thirty minutes. The last time I made this, I had some leftover cooked buttercup squash that I added to the mix. It was delicious! Throw in a handful of prepared cheese tortellini for the last few minutes of simmering, serve with rolls, and you’ve got a complete and filling meal.

Cream of Carrot Soup

1 lb organic carrots (spring carrots are particularly good)
Enough water to cover them

3 T butter
3 T flour
1 c milk

Dill weed (optional)

Cheese tortellini (optional)

Boil the carrots in a heavy saucepan, in just enough water to cover them and let them move. When soft, pour the contents into a food processor and puree the carrots. In the saucepan, prepare a heavy white sauce with the butter, flour, and milk. Slowly add the pureed carrots to the white sauce, stirring constantly
. Add water (or more milk if you prefer) to thin the soup to the consistency your family prefers.

Add dill weed if desired, and add tortellini to soften if you want it to be a more hearty meal. Another option is to sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese. Yum.

We also like it with cumin and lime

Image: Stock.xchng

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Foodie blogging round-up!

11 Yummy Grilled Fruit Dessert Ideas
For your summer backyard barbecues.

Get Your Free Nutritional Assessment and Plan at RealAge
Is your diet about as healthy as it can be? Don't answer too quickly. First take the free Nutritional Assessment at and prepare to be surprised. Jean got some great simple suggestions for improving her diet and is re-stocking her kitchen to "Live Life to the Youngest".

A Chocoholic Torte
Don't look if you're hungry...

Ridiculously Easy Pineapple Sorbet
You won't even believe how easy this is!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grilled shrimp and lemon

In this wonderful summer recipe, the lemon wedges are grilled too! Use shelled jumbo shrimp, or if you get them in the shell, cut the shell open and de-vein before cooking.

Grilled Shrimp and Lemon

3 lbs of jumbo shrimp

4 cloves of garlic, mashed
Salt and pepper
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
3 lemons, halved and each half cut into 3 wedges

Clean, cut, and de-vein the shrimp if needed. Mash the garlic with the salt and pepper, and mix with lemon juice. In a food processor or with a hand blender running, add the oil slowly and blend until thoroughly smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chopped oregano.

Reserve about 1/3 to 1/2 the mixture to use as a dressing. Marinate the shrimp for 10 to 15 minutes only in the rest. Brush the lemon wedges with marinade as well. Grill over medium heat on an oiled grill rack or vented grill pan. If the shrimp are raw, they should take no more than 7 minutes or so. The lemon wedges will be hot through in about 5 minutes.

Serve with remaining dressing. This is good over rice so that you can sop up the rest of the dressing!

Image: Stock.xchng

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grilled asparagus…several variations

Asparagus Drenched in Curry Butter

Asparagus is the perfect spring food! It can be done on foil in the oven at 400 or on the grill. It only takes about 10 to 12 minutes till it’s tender crisp, so it’s pretty easy to time it with the rest of your meal. Here are several variations that you can try. Personally, I rarely get tired of just having it plain:

Plain Asparagus

Wash and snap the stalks.
Place the bunch on foil and put it (open) into a 400 oven or onto hot grill.
Take it out 10 -12 minutes later.
Gobble it down.

Dressed up with Soy and Vinegar

1 lb asparagus
Salt and pepper
1 T butter
1 t soy sauce
1 t balsamic vinegar
Lemon rind (opt)

Wash and snap the stalks.
Place the bunch on foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put it (open) into a 400 oven or hot grill.
Take it out 10 -12 minutes later.

Heat butter in a small skillet until it is lightly browned. Remove pan from heat and stir in soy and vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus. Add more pepper if desired and a sprinkling of lemon rind (opt).

Sesame Asparagus

1 lb aspargus
1 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
Garlic clove, minced
2 t sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

Wash and snap the stalks. Combine soy sauce, oil, and garlic, and brush over the asparagus. Place the bunch on foil and put it (open) into a 400 oven or onto hot grill. 10 -12 minutes later, remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

Drenched in Curry Butter

1 lb asparagus
Salt and pepper
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 t curry paste or mixed curry spices
1 t lemon juice
Shallot, chopped finely

Wash and snap the stalks.
Place the bunch on foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put it (open) into a 400 oven or hot grill.
Take it out 10 -12 minutes later.

Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet. Add the lemon juice and curry spices and blend well. Saute the shallots until tender. Drizzle over asparagus and serve.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Master Mix for baking

Mix up some Master Mix for baking during your once a week food prep time or during OAMC sessions. You’ll never reach for Bisquick again :-)

Regular Master Mix for Baking (13 cups)

9 c unbleached white flour
1/3 c baking powder
1 T salt
1 t cream of tartar
1/4 c sugar
2 c canola oil

Healthier Master Mix (15 cups)

6 c unbleached white flour
3 c whole wheat flour
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 c oat bran
1-1/2 c nonfat dry milk powder
3 T salt
1 c canola oil

For either recipe, mix the dry ingredients in a food processor (in batches if necessary), and pour the oil in slowly as the blades are running. Store in covered containers in the freezer.

Use the Master Mix instead of Bisquick, or in any recipe that has a similar proportion of flour, salt, baking powder, and shortening.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grilled Brussels sprouts

A really tasty way to fix brussels sprouts has several variations depending upon what you’re doing for the rest of the meal. They can be ready to serve about 5 minutes, or you can finish them off on the grill or in a stir-fry for added kick! If you cut off the woody bottoms and remove a few leaves during your once a week food preparation, you can actually serve them in about 3 minutes! Amazing :-)

We’re having these tonight, along with dilled carrots, saffron rice, stir-fried leeks and baby bella mushrooms. One of our vegetarian meals for the week.

Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Lemon juice or white wine

Place the brussels sprouts in a microwaveable dish. Drizzle them with olive oil and lemon juice, and stick a couple pats of butter on top. Cover with plastic wrap, and wave on high for 2 minutes, stopping after 1 minute to stir. That’s it.

But if you want to make them really good, let them sit and marinate in the juices for awhile. Then either stick them on skewers for the grill, or stir-fry them to sear the outsides.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies from Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart has provided the recipe for these delectable chocolate gingerbread cookies on her website. I made them last weekend for a birthday party, and they were truly amazing. However…Martha’s recipe is much too fiddly for my taste. I’m sure the cookies would have been even better, and maybe would have looked a bit nicer if I’d followed all her directions to the letter. But I thought they came out just fine, and there were none left. Case closed!

This recipe comes from Martha’s new book, Martha Stewart’s Cookies.

Here’s my slightly easier version, or you can click over to Martha’s site and use her directions.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Makes 2 dozen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4 inch chunks
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Extra sugar for sprinkling on top
In a large bowl, beat the butter and fresh ginger together until light, 4-5 minutes with a mixer. Beat in sugar. Beat in molasses. Sprinkle the baking soda over the surface and mix in really well. Do the same with all the spices and cocoa powder. Switch to wooden spoon, and mix in the chocolate chunks by hand, and then add the flour by hand. Refrigerate the dough for a bit until cool enough to roll by hand (it took about 20 minutes for me).

Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper. (Yes, I really do use it. Once you do, you’ll never go back!) Heat the oven to 325. Roll dough into 24 balls, about 1-1/2 inches each. Place 2 inches apart on sheets and press down lightly. Bake until surface begins to crack, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle each with sugar, let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to rack.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Foodie blogging round-up!

10 Spring Salad Ideas
Recipes to help you use those delicious spring greens.

Are You on Board with the Mediterranean Diet Yet?
Jean has long been a proponent of the Mediterranean (and its U.S. derivative Sonoma) diet and lifestyle. If you need it, here's yet another reason to get on board with this healthy eating style.

Superfast Seafood
Twenty recipes from Cooking Light that take 20 minutes or less to prepare!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Leek and potato soup (OAMC)

Serve immediately or freeze for later…or make a larger batch and do both! Since the potatoes are fully cooked and pureed smooth, you don’t have to worry about them breaking down in the freezer. I’m sorry that you have to peel the potatoes for this recipe, but if you don’t mind your soup being lumpy, you could leave them on and chop the potatoes into really fine pieces.

Leek and Potato Soup

2 slices of bacon
3 leeks, white and light green part only, halved and sliced thin
4-5 c chicken or turkey stock
2 large or 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (sorry!) and cubed
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (a bit less if dried)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over until crisp; drain off the excess grease and crumble the bacon. Turn heat down to low, and cook the leeks for a few minutes with the bacon. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the parsley and boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until potato is soft. Spoon out the potatoes into a blender or food processor with just a little bit of stock, and process a batch at a time until smooth. Combine with the liquid and stir in the parsley.

To serve after freezing, remove container from freezer and allow to thaw overnight in the fridge, or place immediately into a crock pot or saucepan and heat gently.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring greens with pesto vinaigrette

This side salad is tangy and delicious, and would be a good base for a whole-meal salad in the summer time. We had it last night as an accompaniment to my favorite trout with mushrooms. The flavors worked great together!

Spring Greens with Pesto Vinaigrette

Spring mix or herb mix greens
Tomato, chopped
Artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Equal amounts of basil pesto and either balsamic or red wine vinegar
Extra pine nuts to garnish, if desired

Other additions can be made to the basic salad; these are just the ones that we used last night. I think snow peas, in season, would be a terrific addition too. Whisk the pesto and vinegar together and toss with the salad ingredients. There!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cranberry blue cheese salad

This is a an easy salad that is amazingly good. Make sure you get the pear vinaigrette dressing to serve with it…it makes the salad!

Cranberry Blue Cheese Salad

Herb and spring greens mix
Dried cranberries
Pecan halves
Blue cheese crumbles
Pear vinaigrette dressing

Combine, toss, dress, and eat. That’s it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dilled baked shrimp and feta

Pre-cook some rice to serve this on, or boil up some orzo or couscous while you’re preparing the shrimp, and you’ll have an extremely tasty thirty minute meal. If you use raw shrimp, the cooking time will be a bit longer than listed here, but you’ll still be ready to eat in half an hour!

Dilled Baked Shrimp and Feta

Olive oil
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
28 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 T fresh dill, minced
Salt and pepper
1 to 1-1/2 lb large shrimp, preferably pre-cooked, but at least cleaned!
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Use a large skillet, and cook the garlic and onions in olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the tomato and its juice and boil, letting it simmer for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the seasonings and the shrimp, heating them up. If they are raw, you will have to simmer them for a few extra minutes just until they turn pink. Crumble the feta over the top and let it melt slightly just before serving. Serve over rice, orzo, or couscous.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fish: Wild caught or farm raised?

Well, it turns out that it’s not a totally simple choice. Apparently wild caught is more nutritious. Think about it: you are what you eat, and you are what what you eat eats. Got that untangled? Put another way, think about what fish in commercial fisheries are fed. How could they possibly be as nutritious as wild caught?

But on the other hand, many types of fish and shell fish are being threatened by over-fishing. There may simply not be enough in the wild populations to sustain everyone in the world who wants to eat healthy. And some of the wild populations have contaminated habitats. What a dilemma.

What to chose?

I choose wild caught whenever possible, and hope for the best that the regulatory agencies and the fishing industry itself will do the right thing. Just call me Pollyanna!

Image: FreeFoto

Friday, May 8, 2009

Foodie blogging round-up!

You Too Can Enjoy The Sonoma Lifestyle
More and more research says dieting is out and a long term healthy eating style is in. The Mediterranean and Sonoma lifestyles continue to get high marks for both health and weight control. Jean shares some delicious and nutritious Mediterranean-style recipes.

Consumer Reports tests out food processors
See which ones made the cut!

Pig Heaven
892 recipes with bacon.

Dutch processed cocoa powder
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between this and natural cocoa powder?

Baked trout with mushrooms

OK, honestly, this comes in at a 35 minute meal, but it is so stinking good that I have to share it with you anyway. It is so worth the extra 5 minutes! You can substitute salmon or other oily fish if you’d like, but we had this one last night with trout and it was amazing. I served it with focaccia bread and a very simple green salad (mixed greens and plum tomatoes only). You don’t want anything too fancy that will take away from the wonderful medley of flavors in the main event!

Baked Trout with Mushrooms

Olive oil
3/4 to 1 lb Trout
Salt and pepper
10 oz mushrooms (I used baby bella), sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 T parsley, minced
1/4 c bread crumbs or crushed croutons

2 T butter, melted
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice

Oil a shallow baking dish and make a bed from the sliced mushrooms. Salt and pepper your fish and place it on top of the mushroom bed. Top fish with the garlic through the bread crumbs. Whisk together the butter, oil, and lemon juice and pour it over top the fish and mushrooms. Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 375 until the fish is flaky.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coconut cream pie

This pie makes my knees go weak, and it's so easy to make! No processed pudding mix's fast and simple to make your own. The recipe came from Baking Bites, but I passed on the whipped topping. Next time, though, I'm going to pull out all the stops!

Coconut Cream Pie

1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c half & half
1 1/2 c coconut milk
1 1/4 c sweetened flaked coconut
1 t vanilla
1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust

Mix flour through salt in a large saucepan. Whisk in eggs through coconut milk until very smooth. Heat gently, stirring often, until the filling boils and becomes thick, allowing to continue boiling for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut if desired. Baking Bite's directions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spinach loaf

This fabulous concoction can be a main dish for a meatless meal (just add some toast), or it can be a side dish for a time when you want something pretty to serve. It takes 35 to 40 minutes to cook, not counting prep time, so plan to have it when you've got enough time for a 60 minute meal. It's worth it!

Spinach Loaf

Enough fresh spinach to fill a 2 quart pot or 2 c frozen chopped spinach

2 T butter
3 T flour
1 c milk

2 eggs
1 c cheddar cheese, grated

Lightly steam the spinach or microwave it if it's fresh, just long enough to wilt. Make a white sauce with the butter, flour, and milk. Let cool slightly and beat in 2 eggs and some salt. Place the spinach in an uncovered greased casserole dish and sprinkle on the grated cheese. Pour the white sauce overtop. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 375 until knife comes out clean.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Five-spice chicken stir fry

Five-spice powder is fabulous: it contains a combination of cloves, fennel, cinnamon, anise, and peppercorns. If you don't have access to any five-spice mix, just blend up your own!

Five-Spice Chicken Stir Fry

White rice

6 T soy sauce
3 T sherry
1 c chicken broth
1 T cornstarch
1 1/2 t sugar
3/4 t Chinese five spice powder
Pinch of crushed red pepper

1 1/2 lb chicken, chopped
Canola oil
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
Red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c fresh snow peas
1/2 c cashews, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thinly

Prepare rice according to directions. Mix the soy sauce through the red pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Stir fry the chicken in oil until browned on all sides. Remove from wok and set aside. Stir fry the onion, garlic, and ginger for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the bell pepper and the snow peas, cooking for 2 to 3 more minutes.

Add the soy sauce mixture to the wok and simmer for a couple of minutes. Return the chicken to the wok and reheat. Stir in the cashews. Serve over rice with scallions for garnish.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Apricot couscous

This is a delightful mix to serve with fish or chicken. We had it over fresh baby spinach, and it can easily be the basis of a vegetarian meal as well.

Apricot Couscous

Olive oil
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 t cumin seeds, ground
1/2 c dried apricots, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T lemon juice
1 1/4 c water
1 c couscous
Salt and pepper
1/4 c chopped toasted cashews
More olive oil

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add scallions through ginger, stirring until softened. Add lemon juice and water and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous; remove from heat, cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve with the couscous, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and cashews.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tips for the best pasta salads

Unlike cooking pasta for hot dishes, everything you do to prepare pasta for you salads needs to be just a bit "more so"!

* Salt the water just a bit more heavily
* Cook the pasta just a bit past al dente
* Rinse it after cooking so it won’t be sticky
* Don’t add your dressings until just before serving, especially if they are acidic

These tips were culled from Everyday Pasta, a cookbook by Giada De Laurentiis. This book is fabulous if you don’t have a lot of experience with Italian cooking. It may be a bit too predictable for those who are masters of the craft. Since I’m not Italian and didn’t have an Italian mother sharing all her secrets with me, I find Giada’s book really helpful!

Image: Stock.xchng

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mint juleps for tomorrow…

The mint julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938, so go ahead…indulge.

For each drink:
Sprig of mint leaves
1 t sugar (superfine preferred)
Splash of water
1-3 oz of Kentucky bourbon, or more
Lots of crushed ice

Chill a tall glass like a collins glass in your freezer.
Strip off a few of the leaves of mint and smush them around in the bottom of your glass with the sugar and splash of water. Add a bit of ice and stir it up well. Add half the bourbon and stir again.
Fill the glass with ice and pour the rest of the bourbon over, agitating gently.
Garnish with mint.

Did those little old ladies know their stuff or what?

Image: Stock.xchng

Foodie blogging round-up!

Artistry in the Kitchen: Working with Phyllo
If you would love to bake with phyllo leaves but have been afraid to try, fear no more. Eileen shares her phyllo secrets.

How To Make a Guitar Hero Cake
If you have a music fan, rock star, or guitar hero in the family here's a cake for them.

Petite Watermelons
For your tea-party loving daughters!

Cake Wrecks
When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong!