Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chocolate milk for Halloween?

Did you know that chocolate milk is the official beverage of Halloween?  How can that be, you might ask...how can any milk product be passed out to trick-or-treaters without risk?  Well, I recently learned about the Milk Unleashed campaign, which is introducing what's called Shelf Safe Milk to folks who haven't heard of it before.

What is Shelf Safe Milk?  It's simply milk that has been briefly subjected to higher than usual temperature in the pasteurization process.  You get the same nutrition and great taste, but it doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened.  This means that small "juice box" style cartons can be passed out for Halloween, as well as tucked into lunches, picnic baskets, etc.  And just in case you are wondering, these small boxes are recyclable too!

I was sent several different varieties to try, and being the chocolate milk fiend that I am, I can tell you that there is no difference in taste.  So check out your local grocery store and see if they are carrying shelf safe milk...hint, hint...it won't be in the dairy case!   

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I may possibly be offline for a few days.  Even if a few more posts show up, I may or may not be able to approve your comments or answer your questions.  See you soon, I hope!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Have you tried malangas?

Common in Cuba and Puerto Rico, malangas just recently made it into my local grocery store.  They're pretty unattractive root vegetables, with a shaggy skin and uncertain shape.  Some are bulbous, some are long and curvy.  All are pretty ugly. 

But oh, the taste!  If you simply peel them (easier to do than it looks like), boil them up and mash or whip them like regular potatoes, they are just delicious.  Malangas have a nutty flavor, and they whip up creamy smooth and silky without any additions of cream or milk.  I added some chopped scallions and that was all...not even butter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chocolate-orange cookies

Do you like the chocolate oranges that are all over the place at Christmas time and then disappear the next week?  I wasn't crazy about them until they started showing up in a dark chocolate version, and then...well, let's just say that I wish it was Christmas all year.

Chocolate-Orange Cookies are a way to enjoy that flavor all year round.  I changed the recipe only slightly, adding a tiny bit of orange extract and making them a bit smaller.  By using rounded tablespoons, I ended up with 5 dozen cookies, which I baked 12 per sheet, rotating and switching the sheets half way through baking.  They took about 12 minutes at 350 to be perfect.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stuffed mini-bell peppers

This is a terrific appetizer that is pretty fast and easy to make, especially if you've got some cooked rice left over.   If you can't get ground lamb, or you just don't like it, another ground meat can be substituted.

Greek Stuffed Mini-Bell Peppers

2 small bags of mini-bell peppers
1 lb ground lamb
1 c cooked rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 T fresh mint, chopped
2 t dried oregano

Preheat oven to 400.  Slice each mini-bell lengthwise, without removing the stem.  Clean out the insides.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand.  Using a small spoon, fill each bell and place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.  Place on the high-middle rack of the oven and cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and cook a few more minutes until the meat is sizzling and cooked through. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chicken and sweet potatoes with pesto

Poultry and sweet potatoes are such a natural pairing that I'm always interested in figuring out more ways to put them together, especially if it's fast and easy.  If you've got homemade pesto on hand, use that, but if not, a standard basil pesto from the market works pretty well. 

Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Pesto

Olive oil
Fresh rosemary
Sweet potatoes, sliced into spears
Chicken breasts, sliced, or chicken tenders
Cayenne pepper
Basil pesto

In a Dutch oven, cook the sweet potatoes over medium low heat in olive oil.  Add rosemary for the last few minutes.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.  Cook the chicken in olive oil with a bit of cayenne pepper.  When cooked through, return the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir in some pesto to taste.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rice with pigeon peas

I found the recipe for Rice and Pigeon Peas in Hannaford's Fresh magazine, and although I used bacon instead of salt pork, and a mix of long grain white and wild rice, I do think that I followed the spirit of the dish ;-)  We had it with Jerk Chicken, and it was pretty amazing.  The reason that the rice looks more like dirty rice is that I mixed the chicken into the rice just before serving, so you're seeing some of the jerk sauce mixed in there too. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't forget about apple pie...

How could you possibly forget about apples?  There are so many wonderful apple dessert recipes, and here is one of my favorites for a special occasion.  Like any Monday, any day with football, any day that has a "y" in it...

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Here are some more great apple desserts:

"Regular" apple pie

Apple cake

Apple dumplings

Apple tarts

Applesauce and apple butter

Crumb topping for fruit pies

Amish apple cream pie

Friday, October 12, 2012

And in the morning, I'm makin' waffles!

Cornmeal waffles, that is!  Delicious and slightly crispy.  These are sweet enough that you really don't need syrup (even though they don't have any added sugar), but they're also wonderful with real maple syrup, so don't let me influence you!  

Cornmeal Waffles

1/2 c melted butter, slightly cooled
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
3/4 c cornmeal
1 c  flour
1/2 t baking soda
3 t baking powder
1 t salt

Melt the butter in a large glass measuring cup.  Let it cool slightly and stir in the buttermilk.  Add the eggs.  Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Add the wet mixture and stir together.  Add more buttermilk if the batter is too thick.  Cook on a waffle iron. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chips that pack a punch

Any kind of chips will do, as long as they don't have a strong flavor baked in already!

Simply heat up your chips on a baking sheet covered with parchment.  When they're hot, sprinkle them with grated asiago cheese, paprika, and either some chili powder or ground cayenne pepper.  Hot and spicy goodness!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Enoki mushrooms

They grow on tree trunks or stumps in Japan, they are long and delicate looking, and they have a delicious but delicate flavor.  That's about all I know!  Enoki mushrooms just recently made it into my local market, so of course I had to try them. 

I'm a bit afraid to cook them, because they are soooo delicate.  So far, they've only made it into my salads, but I'm betting that they'd be a nice last second addition to stir fries too.  Anyway, I sliced them up a bit before digging in, but I wanted you to see what they look like before slicing.  All I've done for this photo is slice them apart near the bottom...they grow in a close cluster. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Update on my new Cuisinart food processor

Yes, I am very very happy with it.  I especially like that Cuisinart finally (when, I don't know) made a top that you could use without the cumbersome feed tube attachment.  Yay!

So, I can't tell you to buy a Cuisinart over another brand, but if you decide that's the company for you, there are two helpful pages on Amazon that will help you figure out which model.  Because there are a LOT of them...

Food Processor Buying Guide

All the available models

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Snickerdoodles...everyone's childhood favorite!

Well, they may not be everyone's absolute favorite, because there are certainly enough chocolate chip cookies, oreos, shortbreads, etc in my past to give them a run for their money.  But these are probably the first cookies I learned how to make.  I've adjusted the recipe only slightly, even keeping the baking soda and cream of tartar rather than switching to baking powder.  I like how the soda gives the cookies a slightly higher loft.  But you can do as you choose :-)


1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
1/4 t vanilla
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c sugar
2 t ground cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.  Mix 1 1/2 c sugar, the butter, shortening, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix 1/4 c sugar and the cinnamon together on a small plate.

Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture.  Refrigerate for 15 or 20 minutes. 

Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls.  Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet covered in parchment.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set, rotating the pan half way through. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic-lovers delicious salad dressing

Not just for salads, though!  We used this dressing on cooked (and still hot) broccoli rabe, as shown above, and it was robust enough to take the heat and not break down.  I really recommend using the Greek style of yogurt, since that is the yogurt best able to stand up to non-perfect conditions.  Add more or less garlic as you desire  ;-)

Creamy Garlic-Lovers Salad Dressing

2/3 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 or more garlic cloves, chopped
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Salt to taste

Puree the yogurt through the garlic together well.  Stir in the cheese and salt.  Add more olive oil if needed to reach desired consistency.