Archive for May, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread. Is it Worth the Process?

May 30th, 2008 10 comments

When my friend first gave me a Baggie-o-? I thought to myself, I don’t know about this.  I must be honest, the baggie kind of grossed me out, but it was kind of interesting too.  At that time, she also gave me a slice of the Bread she just baked.  It was fantastic. 

Since I look forward to tasting it again, that will be my driving force.  I know that it’s supposed to be good, so I’m continuing the process.  It appears to be sort of a Chain Bread.  I hope mine turns out as tasty as hers. 

She gave me a “Starter” on Day 3 of its creation.  I then had to pick it up from there.  I’ll just need to do a little mashing for a few days, and let air out of the bag, when necessary.

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Almond Clusters. They Can Be Quick & Easy.

May 29th, 2008 No comments

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Melt good quality Chocolate in the microwave at 50% for 1 minute at a time, and stir in between until perfectly melted.  Stir in enough Almonds to generously coat all with the Chocolate.  Drop clusters onto a foil lined tray and pop into the fridge to chill.  They can be considered done at this point, and ready to eat in about 5 – 10 minutes.

In this instance I melted a Coconut White Chocolate bar, then drizzled it across the chilled Almond Clusters.  I usually melt the second Chocolate in a separate microwaveable bowl to keep its color pristine, but this time I needed the bowl for something else.  These taste just as good, but I think the white against the brown looks better than the lighter brown. 

Want a bite?  Just make some real fast.



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My favorite Chocolate –

Lemon Zest Potatoes, with Cilantro.

May 27th, 2008 1 comment

Lemon Zest adds so much flavor to food.  It can be magical in some dishes.  I often make Lemon Zest Potatoes as a side dish.  To vary the flavor, I’ll usually toss in whatever herb(s) I have on hand.  This time it was Cilantro, one of my favorites.  It’s a punch of flavor.

This is simply a combination of Red Potatoes, Lemon Zest, Butter, Cilantro, Salt, and freshly ground Pepper.  Toss all together lightly, so not to mash.  Sometimes I put them in a skillet to fry the outsides a bit, and other times I’ve made a soup out of it.  Both ways it’s been delicious.

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* I partially peel the Potatoes, mostly to cut off the weird parts.  If I have a perfect Red Potato, I usually don’t peel it at all — Mostly because I just don’t find it aPEELing.  Sorry.

Why Not Make One for Lunch Tomorrow Too?

May 27th, 2008 No comments

The last couple times I made a Salad for dinner, I made one for tomorrow’s lunch.  I figure WHY NOT, since I already have everything out, and I generally prepare more than I can eat.  So I put together a smaller Salad without the dressing to bring to the office the next day.  I’ve appreciated having it — I know that it’s fresh.  To make sure it stays crisp, I don’t cut all the Tomato until I’m ready to eat, plus I make sure the Lettuce is completely dry.  And I transport the dressing in a small plastic cup.

The Salads featured in this post contain variations of Romaine, Roma Tomatoes, Grated Carrots, Cilantro, and Green Onions.


Pei Wei. It’s Pay Way, Not Pea We.

May 26th, 2008 1 comment

I’m impressed with their food.  This day we shared Sweet & Sour Shrimp and Asian Chopped Chicken Salad.  Both were excellent, like all dishes I’ve had there thus far.  Be careful, the red pieces in the sweet and sour dish are Ginger, not Red Bell Pepper.  They’re good, but can be spicy.  We get this tasty Salad every visit.

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Please Don’t Ask Me What I’m Grilling.

May 26th, 2008 5 comments

My neighbor walked by when I was BBQing this.  I thought to myself… Please don’t ask me what I’m grilling. 

“Hi neighbor, it smells good, what are you grilling?” 

What would I say?  “UUmmmmm, a halved head of Romaine Lettuce.”  It just sounds so, like where’s the beef.  I didn’t even have anything else to tack on to the answer.  Thank God he didn’t ask 🙂 .  

I’ve loved the Grilled Romaine Salads I’ve had in a few restaurants and wanted to capture that same flavor, so I gave it a try.  And… I HIT IT first attempt. 

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The Buffalo Turned into a Salad.

May 24th, 2008 No comments

The leftover Buffalo Chicken was great on a Buffalo Salad.  I chopped a few pieces of the Chicken Breast and added it to a freshly prepared Salad with a bit of Ranch Dressing, and a touch of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce.  It became a tasty Buffalo Salad.

*  The photo was taken prior to the addition of extra Buffalo Sauce.

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I Thought I’d Cook The Whole Buffalo.

May 24th, 2008 No comments

On many occasions, I’ve made Buffalo Wings in the oven baked in a large oven bag.  The meat would just fall off the bone, like all meats should do.  I would remove the Chicken Wings from the bag during the last 15 minutes of baking to crisp up the skin, or I would broil them for about 5 minutes. 

I saw that I had a Buffalo Wing Spice Packet on hand.  It contains the powdered “Buffalo” spices and (1) large oven bag, but no Wings.  However, I did have a Whole Chicken, so I used the spice mix and the process on it. 

I coated the Chicken with the seasoning, then baked it in the bag.  And as like the Chicken Wings, the meat fell off the bone.  I removed the Chicken from the bag, brushed it with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce to add even more kick, and then gave it a quick broil.  It was cooked perfectly.  Those oven bags are so easy and fool proof, but one should definitely crisp up the skin before serving.  It makes the meat look and taste better.

I served it with Carrots, Ranch Dressing and more of Frank’s Sauce, since I didn’t have Celery, nor Blue Cheese Dressing on hand — The traditional accompaniments, when eating Buffalo.  But what I substituted was great together.  I can’t wait to try Snipe ; )

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What Can Go Wrong While Cooking? A lot.

May 24th, 2008 No comments
Categories: The Bad, What Not To Do

Save the Cheese Campaign. Use Green Onions.

May 24th, 2008 No comments

Oven Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic & Lemon.

May 23rd, 2008 No comments

For some reason, preparing this dish makes me want to go back to Italy.  I’m not sure why — I didn’t eat this there.  Maybe because it’s rustic, simple and flavorful. 

Just cut all the florets off (1) whole Cauliflower, then toss with a fair amount of Olive Oil, several whole or cut Garlic Cloves, Lemon pieces, Salt, and freshly ground Pepper.  Place all in a glass baking dish and ROAST in the oven at 475° for 20 minutes, or longer if necessary.  Stir a couple times to evenly brown.  It tastes so great, and it’s pretty good for you too.  I even eat the Garlic and some Lemons.

Note:  Although most roasting is at 500°, I often prefer the oven be preheated, and a bit lower in temperature.  475° can be good too, or 500° if deemed necessary.  If areas of your baking dish start to burn, add a little water to loosen.  It can steam the Cauliflower a bit, and help to avoid adding more oil.

What Not To Do:  It’s not necessary to squeeze the Lemons into the mix, it can make the dish too tart.  It’s best to just stir in the pieces.  It imparts a better flavor.

A Quick Serving of Artichoke Dip.

May 21st, 2008 2 comments

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Here’s the basic recipe minus the measurements — It makes too much for a small quick serving.  It’s simply a mixture of chopped Artichoke Hearts, Jalapenos, Green Chilies, Shaved Parmesan (since that’s the type currently on hand, but grated is best), and Mayonnaise.  Just mix all ingredients to a balanced creamy consistency.  Cover with just enough mayo to coat. 

One of my friends brings a larger serving of this dip to my Annual Christmas Party.  I believe she won a Ribbon for it in 2007.  FYI: I didn’t provide the measurements below, because they appear to be off — Way too much mayo, which doesn’t seem necessary. Read more…

Milk. It Sometimes Feels So Vital.

May 21st, 2008 1 comment

There are certain things we eat that MUST be accompanied by a Glass of Milk.  For me, it’s Chocolate, most sweets, a homemade dinner or lunch, and breakfast.  Does anything satisfy or compliment certain foods better?  I know Red Wine does too, especially after a hard day, but we’re talking about Milk now.  Sometimes “Got milk?” does make a lot of sense.

I don’t know all the ins and outs about Milk — Some say aspects are good and others say differently.  I know I wouldn’t want to give it up.  I often crave a very cold glass of it.

On a side NOTE:  I once won a contest using it in a recipe.  The contest was sponsored by Milk, thus I’m sporting a Milk Mustache in a print AD.  My recipe and mug were published in Gourmet and Bon Appétit Magazines a few years back.  See the link below for the print copy and recipe. 

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More information regarding Milk itself:

Pink Party Theme Appetizers. It’s Close Enough.

May 17th, 2008 7 comments


A friend just had a party catered by a couple guys attending the Culinary Program at The Art Institute of California, Orange County.  While sitting at a bar one night with my friend talking about a networking party she was going to be hosting, our conversation was overheard.  We were discussing food for the party and what to do.  And Randall, a fellow sitting next to us happened to be attending the culinary school — He sounded knowledgeable about food and came up with some sophisticated suggestions.  We were initially impressed.  It was a bit tricky, since the party theme was PINK and my friend wanted all the food to be pink-ish in color. 

To make a long story short, she ended up hiring him and another student from the Institute to make the food.  We ultimately decided on the following MENU:

* Asian Marinated Lamb Chops
* Sweet Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Brown Sugar & Chili Powder
* Polenta Cakes with Sun Dried Tomato Mousse 
* Tomato Cups with Mozzarella, Basil and Balsamic Gastrique  
* White Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Pink Stripes

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Greek Town Grill — The Usual Please, Dolmades.

May 16th, 2008 No comments

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The usual is their Dolmades.  For a while there I was eating them every day.  They’re filled with tender ground Sirloin, Rice and Herbs, then topped with a Lemony Hollandaise Sauce.  An order of Dolmades, 1/2 a Greek Salad, and an occasional Gyro from Greek Town Grill is an amazing meal.  Today’s photos don’t do the food justice, but I’m still craving it all.  GTG is a nice, casual place with great food.

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Learn by My Cooking Mishaps.

May 16th, 2008 No comments

Fortunately I have no witness, nor pictures of the following cooking blunders which happened some time ago.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but you can hopefully learn by my mistakes, if you don’t know already.

* After making a nice Hollandaise Sauce from scratch, NEVER put it in the microwave to warm it up.  It basically turns into an egg.

* After making a nice Alfredo Sauce from scratch, NEVER bake it in the oven with pasta.  It basically turns into oil.  The sauce separates.

These things seem obvious to me now, but I didn’t know when I once tried them.  It’s funny now.

Catalina Fish Kitchen’s Spicy Vegetable Gumbo.

May 16th, 2008 1 comment

The Spicy Vegetable Gumbo at Catalina Fish Kitchen (CFK) in Costa Mesa is excellent.  Tip:  If ordering anything take out, be sure to call ahead so not to have to wait too long.

Related Links re CFK, not CPK, which is another favorite 😉,0,386438.venue–A-Food-Writer-in-the-Making/124/

Lunch with Amigos at Wahoo’s Fish Taco.

May 14th, 2008 No comments

Fried Rice from Yesterday’s Saffron Rice.

May 14th, 2008 No comments

Fried Rice is so easy to make, especially if you already have left over rice.  For a simple and flavorful Fried Rice, just dice half an Onion, then carmelize in Oil/Butter.  Once cooked well, add a clove of minced Garlic, cook for a minute, and then add the prepared Rice, thawed Peas, Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil. 

Mix all together and heat through.  Then push the Rice to one side of skillet and scramble a couple Eggs on the other side.  Once cooked, fold the Eggs into the Rice.  Taste.  Stir in more Soy sauce, if necessary.  You’re done.

Note:  Sometimes it’s easier to scramble the Eggs in a separate pan to avoid having them prematurely mix with the Rice.

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Chicken Kick.

May 13th, 2008 1 comment

Six Chicken Thighs marinated in ‘Feast from the East Sesame Dressing’, plus two others marinated in the Pasta Connection’s Chimichurri Sauce.  It’s been previously mentioned that Chicken marinated in this sesame dressing is supurb, but wanted to test something different.  This Cimmichuri Sauce has been great on bread, and an awesome marinade for a Pork Loin, so thought I’d try it on Chicken this time.  For the record, I think it toughened the meat a bit, which wasn’t good.  The two weren’t as juicy as the other six.  All were BBQ’d on a propane grill.

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My Families BBQ’d Chicken. It’s Different and Enjoyed at Many Holidays.

May 11th, 2008 No comments


families-bbq-chicken-008.JPGToday’s Mother’s Day.  Time to enjoy our family meal.  It’s different than what’s typically considered BBQ’d Chicken, BBQ Sauce wise.  The baste and dipping sauce is made of Nucoa Margarine, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic Salt and Paprika.  Dad bastes the chicken breasts over mesquite chips.  Mom says Butter won’t do, nor any other Margarine.  They say Nucoa doesn’t flare as much on the BBQ when basting.  The combination definitely makes a great dipping sauce too.  I still love it after all these years. 





With the Chicken we have Mom’s Restuffed Potato, which is a baked Russet Potato hollowed out, then beat with Sour Cream, Butter, Green Onions, Salt & Pepper, and then placed back into the potato, topped with Paprika and rebaked. 
Both are terrific each holiday with an ever-changing Salad and Vegetable. Happy Mother’s Day Mom.  Thanks for all the years of great meals!

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Similar to Yesterday’s Post but Different.

May 10th, 2008 No comments

Since I usually buy the large pack of thighs and marinate groups of them in various things to enjoy throughout the week.  Here it’s with an old favorite, Italian Dressing.  My preference is the original Good Seasons I mix up myself.  These days I usually make it with Red Wine Vinegar, but I’m always experimenting.

Here’s a couple marinating for the rest of the week.  All taking in more flavor.  I double bag them, because they sometimes leak which is aweful.  Avoid that potential.


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Chicken Thighs, an Underappreciated Part.

May 9th, 2008 No comments

I like to marinate skinless chicken thighs in something different each time I cook them.  This time it was simply Olive Oil, Garlic, Lemon, Salt and Pepper, then roasted in the oven.

Another favorite marinade is Feast Kitchen’s Sesame Dressing.  Chicken Thighs marinated in it a day or two are truly amazing.  They’re sweet and juicy.  I usually barbeque them.  You must try it.  Here’s the link to the dressing I use as a marinade.  It’s the best dressing for a Chinese Chicken Salad too.  I get it from Costco.