Monday, December 10, 2012

Sittin' on My Duff

It's the third night of Hannukah, and I'm sitting around doing nothing but eating rugalach and chocolate (yeah, I'm still on Weight Watchers, snort) . My heathen is making sauce to go on our latkes for tonight, and wrote the following post:

"Heathen honey’s sauce:

Heathen’s cooking philosophy: Fat +sweet = yum

Start with two apples cored and sliced thin
Place over low heat and dump in wine (riesling in this case) 
While heating dump in ¼-1/2 cup crushed pecans, then 1/3-1/2 cup sultana raisins.  I generally try to put a little more raisins than nuts when I made it without cooking it down, and it seemed to work here.
Pour in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.  I may have used a little more. 
Include the honey.  The greater your sweet tooth the greater the honey.  I used three to four tablespoons (or 1/3 cup to ½ cup my eyeballing measurements sucks) on this batch because it emptied the jar.  I would have normally wanted to use more, was too lazy to open a new jar.  It turned out my laziness paid off.
Stir and taste the mixture.  At this point add more honey cinnamon, wine or raisins. DO not add more nuts for crunch yet.  The apples should still be pretty crisp. 
Increase the heat and cook until the apples start to lose some of the crispness.  You should be mostly there.  If it tastes good, stop messing with it.  If you need to add more nuts for the texture you want, then do so.  I figured it was time to check when the bottom of the pot looked like a sauce rather than white wine mixed with honey.  I am a real technical non-cook.
Here is the key to the whole recipe – Keep your wife out of the kitchen.  She will be unhappy to see your careless use of honey, wine, and raisins.  She will be much happier not knowing what you put into it.  If she sees the above recipe, that is fine so long as she does not see how much you actually use to adjust the taste, and I always taste it and add more that I don't write down.  It tastes better when those who care about calories do not know how many are in it!"

Tomorrow I may give ya my method for latkes.......maybe.......

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Not yo’ Momma’s

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a lazy cook. I cut corners whenever possible. I’ve no issue with frozen puff pastry, canned chicken broth, rotisserie chickens, or good jarred spaghetti sauce. When I cook dinner, I’m counting on the dish to feed my little family at least twice, if not more. For example, I bought a rotisserie chicken at my local grocery (which is the best local grocery a girl could ever ask for). At the checkout, I mentioned to the cashier that I make one chicken feed my little family at least 4 times. She looked at me in disbelief, which made me explain further. The first night I have a rotisserie, my family enjoys the roasted chicken breasts, either plain or with some sort of sauce lingering in the fridge (my favorite is a hot peach chutney I found at Earth Fare) or Jezebel sauce. The next meal is the thighs (or sometimes whole legs, if we’re reeeeaally hungry), third meal (and sometimes fourth) is the stripped chicken carcass (wings, back, butt) mixed into a salad, soup, burrito, or tacos. The last meal or two or three, is made from the stock (my stock is a lot like Tyler Florence’s).

I make meatloaf that feeds us for almost a week. Meatloaf the first night, meatloaf sandwiches the next, meatloaf tacos the third, meatloaf chili the last. This basic recipe is based on my Dad’s meatloaf—the meatloaf I grew up on (and the one I can make in my sleep). Bear with me on measurements, this is a very season-to-taste type dish.
In a big bowl, dump:
1 pound ground turkey (I grew up on ground chuck, but this is just as good and less fatty)
1 medium to large onion, diced
1-2 chopped celery stalks
1-2 grated carrots


5-7 crushed matzo crackers (my Dad always used a sleeve of saltine crackers)
1-2 TBS mustard (I usually use Dijon, but yellow is fine. I’ve even used Chinese spicy mustard)
2-3 TBS ketchup (any type, even natural or homemade)
1 tsp House Seasoning (mine’s based off of this, but with a 1:1:1 ratio)
1tsp dried thyme
1-2 large eggs

Optional, any or all of the following:

½ tsp ground dried sage, tarragon, and/or rosemary
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Finely diced sundried tomatoes
1 diced bell pepper (any type)
Oats instead of matzo
Rice instead of matzo
Ritz (or other butter crackers) instead of matzo
Frozen spinach (thawed and drained)

Lightly blend everything with your clean hands (it’s squishy, and a good stress reliever; it’s also a good task for kids) Dump the mess onto a greased or sprayed cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) and shape. I’ve shaped this many ways, form the traditional baton with a ketchup trough karate chopped in the middle, to a good fake out of a stomach (fun for Halloween).

Of course you need to cover it with a ketchup glaze first 

Bake 375 for 40-50 minutes. Meatloaf should be completely cooked through, with no crunch to the veg, but not dried out. Serve as is, or as one of the above suggestions.

Naughty bonus feature

Bonus recipe:
My Slutty Chili
In a skillet, brown

1lb. ground turkey (or ground beef, if you want a fattier mouth feel)
¼- 1/3 crumbled leftover meatloaf
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 bell peppers (any color) diced
3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, castrated (seeds and all membranes removed)

Drain. Season with house seasoning to taste (I use about 1 tsp). Dump into a deep pot (I use a dutch oven, or a stock pot if I double this recipe). Add:

1 12 ounce bottle of beer (doesn’t really matter what type, but I prefer a dark Mexican beer like Modelo Negro)
3-4 TBS of my Mexican spice mix (recipe here)—or—
to taste:
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Paprika (smoked is best)
Oregano (especially if it’s Mexican)
Salsa (about 1/3-1/2 jar)
And Dona Maria original mole sauce (can’t get it at the grocery? Find it here)

Stir, and then dump in:

1       15 ounce can black, kidney, or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1       15 ounce can chili style tomatoes and its juice
1       15 ounce can corn
      15 ounce can tomato sauce

Heat thorough. Serve with any of the following (even better the next day):

Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese
Jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
Chopped Onion
Sour cream
Plain Yogurt
Chopped Avocado
Cooked spaghetti or elbow noodles
Chopped cilantro

Feta, Queso Blanco, or Chihuahua cheese
Saltine crackers
Oyster crackers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Greatest Hits

It's been a long and busy summer in my heathen house, though you'd never know it if you read my blog. My heathen and I have been working on our adoption classes and homestudy since May. Our lives have been obsessed with the hurry up and wait game; paperwork and proof that we're decent enough humans to raise a child. Don't think we haven't had beautiful food in the meantime! I've even taken pictures---I've just not gotten around to writing or posting anything. Now that our homestudy has been approved, our base classes are completed, and our nursery is in the works of being decorated (I'm painting a mural! YAY!), I figure it's high time to get off my (seemingly lazy) rump and put up a few teasers....So my dearest readers, I will post a few pictures of some of my creations. Please feel feel to comment or email me as to which you'd like a full post about. My head is reeling from the possibilities.

Baked Gingery Asian wings
Baked turkey dim sum
Homemade Gravlax
My matzo brei

Homemade turkey breakfast sausage
21 clove salute wings

Sorta Bouillabase   
Forbidden  Greek lamb chops

Kentucky Jam cake with Caramel frosting
Healthy homemade pimento cheese sandwich
Pane di Pasta Dura

Baked Gefilte croquettes

Red Velvet cake with Neufchatel cheese frosting
Homestudy chicken
Cheater Paella

Pane di Latte e Zuccaro dragon

Challah horseshoe

Boar's bread

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The Weight Watchers diet has gone well. It’s really the perfect solution for a foodie that needs to drop the pounds (and I'm down 20 so far). I can literally eat anything I please. And lately I’ve been in love with smørrebrød, beautiful open faced sandwiches that are the epitome of Danish cuisine.

Y’see, I ADORE bread, and frankly, am very unpleasant if I can’t eat it. I can easily do without the foods most people crave—sweets, salty snacks, etc.—because I tend to crave bread and fish. And Weight Watchers is a little harsh with points for bread. I also have learned that the more beautiful you make your food, the more you want to eat it, and the less you feel deprived. Hence pretty food= lose weight. Sooo, smørrebrød has become a good friend of mine.

Smørrebrød, literally means buttered bread. During the 1840s, Danish labourers and other employees had a lunch packed with different types of flat Smørrebrød” which in their simplest form included slices of dense, dark rye bread smeared with butter or animal fat (was a moisture barrier), and topped with cold meats, smoked fish or leftovers from dinner the night before--just like an open-faced sandwich. Later, during the 1880s smørrebrød turned in to be a more sophisticated type of luncheon specialty. And the really high-falutin’ smørrebrød with delicious brown rye bread was served in restaurants with a variety of fresh, beautiful toppings. 
Yeah, I get a lot of info from these old things.
Smørrebrød were made beautifully and became an institution. In addition to having a regimented method of decorating the breads with toppings, smørrebrød also has a method of eating such delicacies. But I ignore some of that, since I’m at home and not in Denmark.


I happened to have avocado in the fridge and the other day I bought my first can of smoked trout at Trader Joe’s (man, I love that place). So this recipe, , seemed like a natural jumping off point.

Alton's Smørrebrød

 Grab from the fridge

1 medium avocado (preferably Haas)
1 medium tomato
Your favorite mixed baby greens

Dispatch your avocado (, and deposit all the flesh into a clean mixing bowl. Cheer that your heathen did dishes.

Dig in the fridge to find the old old old lemon languishing away in the fruit drawer (what DID you buy that for anyway?). Locate your microplane (or hand/cheese grater, it hits your knuckles every time you use it), and zest half of the lemon

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of  lemon zest

on top of the avocado. You can’t zest the dern thing after juicing it (trust me). Carve it’s now naked carcass and juice it to obtain

½ -1 tablespoon lemon juice

Fish around in the pantry (fish, get it? Hehehe. I haven’t had my tea yet this morning) and get out

1 can of oil packed smoked trout (or brisling sardines if ya want)

Open the can. Or attempt to. Realize that your lack of fingernails is hindering you and get a spoon to open the pull-top. Pray you don’t cut your knuckles (like you did that one time). Before the can is fully open, drain off the excess oil. I swear this tastes milder than that smelled. Flake and dump the trout into the bowl, 

and search through the drawer to find you kitchen shears. Get out a cup of water to heat for tea, you have to take a trip outside (Mind the lightning dogs at your feet! They’ll run you over!) and trim off about a handful of
Italian Parsley (cilantro is good too, if you’d rather)

Call the dogs in, have the dark one ignore you, and promise cookies. They like cookies. Watch your feet again as they race inside and to the kitchen. Give them each a cookie, and finely chop the parsley. Dump it in the bowl and squish everything together. Yeah, it looks gross, but it's yummy (and filling). Grab the pepper grinder. Salt and pepper the entire concoction to taste, and slice the tomato. Place the lettuce leaves, a scoop of trout mess, (this makes 2 hearty open faced sandwiches) and a couple of slices of tomato on a single slice of sourdough (I like a rustic country or a miche style loaf myself). Grab your tea, and smile.