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Saturday, August 27, 2005

IMBB 18: Frying Fruit Fritters

This month's Is My Blog Burning event is hosted by Linda of At Our Table. Linda suggests we call it "Summer’s Flying, Let’s Get Frying!"

When I think of summer and frying I think of State Fairs and carnivals with crunchy and juicy corn dogs, sweet mini donuts and funnel cake, and depending on where you live your fair might have all sorts of interesting deep fried items. My state fair recently had deep fried Oreos (which weren't bad), deep fried Twinkies (horrendous!) and deep fried Snicker bars (I think I was all oiled out before that taste sensation).

I had plenty of ideas for tasty deep fried things that I could whip up at home: egg rolls, cannoli shells, mini peach pies, stuffed jalapenos, cheese curds (mmmm... I still may do some of those another day). All great ideas and all tasty as can be. I even considered fried ice cream and a variation of that: deep fried Dreyer's Dibs which might have been something really spectacular... sadly, the world may never know.

Sometimes a chef must rely on the ingredients at hand. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. School shopping has taken its toll on my bank account and I must eat what I have in the house for the next week (don't worry we're not starving just not having anything extravagant) so my entry also had to rely on what was available to me.

While I was certainly able to make mini peach pies (which sound really delicious), I was also feeling the tiniest bit lazy and didn't feel like attempting pie dough... not today. I settled on apple fritters. Very few ingredients and something I've made before. Somehow I happened to choose the most complicated recipe for fritter batter, ever. Serves me right for being lazy.

Once the batter was together, though, it was a breeze to fry everything up. I tried some variations (one of chopped apples and one with the addition of cinnamon) to the fritter as I went along but the simple apple slices in the fritter batter were the favorite. I added a refreshing lemon sauce made from things I had on hand as well and the tangy lemon really complimented the rich fritter with the tart, slightly firm apple.

Puffy Apple Fritters with Refreshing Lemon Sauce

1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Granny Smith apple (sliced as for pie)
Oil for frying

Into a medium bowl sift flour, salt and sugar. In a blender or food processor (I used a whisk and muscle... it worked fine) combine egg yolks, milk, and melted butter until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
When ready to cook fritters, heat oil to 360-375 degrees. Meanwhile, beat egg whites to soft peaks; fold into chilled batter.
Dip apple slices into batter and fry until golden (about 2 minutes each side).
Serve immediately with Lemon Sauce.

Refreshing Lemon Sauce
1/3 cup lemon jelly
1/4 cup lemon curd

Warm gently in a non-reactive pan, stirring constantly until combined.

Fritter recipe is from Cooking A to Z. The lemon sauce I whipped up with what I had available.

Now that you've seen how beautiful and yummy they look all dressed up in lemon... I feel it is my duty to show you this:

heart attack waiting to happen

Thanks to Linda for hosting this round-up. I'm going to go jogging or something to combat the Crisco.

Really Bad Chips

I'm willing to take their word for this but if you have tried any of these... let me know how they were!

From the Top 9(?) worst chips in the world.

By Jeremy Selwyn
Chief Snacks Officer

9. Tako Chips Octopus Flavored
Categories: Asian Chips - Seafood Chips - Snacks Shaped Like Things
They're not quite octo-licious. Taste bad and smell awful.

8. Vale D'Ouro Biscoitos de Polvilho
Categories: Brazilian Chips - Unusual Flavors
Not sure why anyone would like these. They're really bad.

7. Sebaround Cheese Rings
Categories: Brazilian Chips - Cheese Puffs
I like cheese. I don't like these.

6. Humpty Dumpty Sour Cream & Clam Artificially Flavored Ripple Chips
Categories: Canadian Chips - Potato Chips - Seafood Chips - Sour Cream Chips
Not sure what draws people to clam chips, but I don't think it could be the taste.

5. Calbee Seaweed Potato Chips
Categories: Asian Chips - Potato Chips - Unusual Flavors
There's something fishy about making a seaweed chip.

4. Monster Munch Pickled Onion
Categories: English Crisps - Onion Chips - Pickle Chips - Snacks Shaped Like Things
Too pickley, too oniony.

3. Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
Categories: Chicken Snacks - Meat Snacks
Putting a chicken skin in a bag might not be such a good idea.

2. Cuttlefish Flavored Snack
Categories: Asian Chips - Seafood Chips
These just don't smell right.

1. Sepasang Naga Squid Cracker
Categories: Asian Chips - Seafood Chips
These had a fishy taste that almost nobody liked. They didn't smell very good either.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

IMBB 18: Summer's Flying, Let's Get Frying!

Guess I missed the announcement and did my frying a bit early. Perhaps I'm a cooking psychic? hmmm... not likely when I can never think of dinner options that my family will actually eat.

What am I getting at? Oh yeah... Linda of At Our Table will be the host of the 18th edition of “Is My Blog Burning?

Linda says: This month’s theme is Summer’s Flying, Let’s Get Frying! (Apologies to people in parts of the world where it’s not currently Summer. Let’s call your IMBB Winter’s Flying, Let’s Get Frying!)
The goal this month is to use any style of frying to prepare a dish. Pan fry, stir fry, deep fry…you name it. It can be any type of food, from appetizer to main course to dessert. Break out your fanciest frying skills or indulge us with one of your tried and true simple family favorites.

The event will take place Sunday, August 28, 2005.

I did some frying already with my coconut long johns but I'll bet I can come up with something else I'd like to sizzle.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Eating a Memory: Coconut Long Johns

Reminiscing about the donut days made me really REALLY want a coconut long john like those I had as a kid. I knew I could get the texture and flavor of the icing correct since I had recently made Colette Peters' version of Buttercream and it seemed to be the same as I would have had in coconut long johns. The major obstacle would be the dough for the long john.

I believe I stated, "like the texture of a Krispy Kreme donut without glaze". After careful consideration (and perusing many a donut recipe) I realized it was not at all like a Krispy Kreme because KK is a raised donut (meaning, made with yeast and allowed to rise after mixing the dough and then again after rolling and cutting). It was not exactly like a cake donut but the texture of a cake donut is closer to what I wanted. I found a recipe for something called Long Island Crullers. The description of this was what hooked me, "This plain, but by no means ordinary doughnut, is richer and crustier than a regular cake doughnut." That's it!

The amount of nutmeg in this recipe really sounded like way too much and I was especially nervous about the flavor as I was rolling out the dough and saw all those flecks of nutmeg... I didn't think it looked right at all however, in reading so many donut (and doughnut) recipes, I found that over half of them had at least some nutmeg so I forged ahead.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus one extra yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable shortening for frying
Powdered sugar

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
Beat together the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar.
Add the vanilla, melted butter and milk. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up and make handling easier.
Roll dough then cut it using a doughnut cutter.
Meanwhile, heat shortening to about 365*F (185*C), not any hotter.
Fry a few doughnuts at a time for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper towels to drain. Continue until all the dough has been fried. When cooled slightly, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen doughnuts.

I followed the recipe up to placing the dough in the fridge, then I ran to the grocery store for sweetened coconut (because the bag I had in the cupboard was really old and nasty... guess that shows how often I use coconut).

I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. (This would have been perfect if I was going for the standard donut shape but I wanted a long john.) I cut long strips of dough and folded them in half. The technique here was correct, but when placed in the oil, they puffed a little more than I expected and I had to fry them extra dark in order to fully cook the dough in the middle. I did a bit of lightening to the photo and on my screen, they look to be the correct color of the original. Yes, the original coconut long john was a bit brown. Certainly not that sickly yellow color I see on most long johns I run across.

Coconut Long John

The texture I was looking for was very close to this recipe. I would guess that if my long johns were to sit for a short time in a humid kitchen they would lose a bit of the outer crunch and be even closer in texture to the original. The flavor of the nutmeg was not particularly noticable but I still think the original long john did not have nutmeg. On its own, this was an excellent donut. As a substitute for a memory? Close. Close enough that I no longer have a craving for a coconut long john.

Buttercream Filling and Icing
Colette Peters
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners' sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix at low speed until smooth. If stiffer icing is needed, or if the weather is very warm, add a little more confectioners' sugar.

I needed coffee to cut some of the sweetness of the long john. It didn't make me particularly want a cigarette.
My daughter thought these were good also, but she had chocolate icing rather than vanilla. She is now zipping around the house at light speed. How in the world did our parents ever stand us on a near-constant sugar high?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Childhood Food Meme-ories

A word of warning to all fellow bloggers: be prepared to be tagged for memes and stuff if you try to be funny and comment smart allecky stuff on other peoples' blogs... I know, it happened to me.

Tagged by Adam at The Amateur Gourmet for another food meme. This one should be fun as I get to dredge up delightful memories of my childhood. Like a few of you out there, I had a rough time as a kid. I was terribly shy and not particularly athletic. In otherwords, I had a very close bond with my breakfast cereal... so let's start there.

Sugary Breakfast Cereal

Saturday morning cartoons and as many bowls of cereal as I could eat before Mom got out of bed. When I was about 6 or 7, Mom & I lived in a 2-room apartment and her bedroom was the livingroom. She slept on one of those pull-out sofa beds (For years. They must have made them more comfortable back then) and if I got up and turned on the TV very quietly, I was allowed to watch hours of cartoons so she could sleep in. Some of my favorites were: Groovie Goolies, Looney Tunes, Grape Ape, Fat Albert, Pink Panther, Hong Kong Phooey and non-animated shows like Land of the Lost (geez I was petrified of the Sleestaks), H.R. Pufnstuf and Dr. Shrinker on the Krofft Supershow.

The last bowl of cereal in the box was always my favorite. Especially with boxes that contained 'marshmallows' (known to collectors and those in the cereal industry as marbits because, as we all know, these aren't really marshmallows). The sweet 'dust' that would filter to the bottom of the box was like eating a few spoonfuls of pure sugar and what kid wouldn't like that? I'll tell you who (whom?)... my cousins. For a time we lived down the street from my cousins (and aunt & uncle) and often we would visit at breakfast time (read ahead as I will be writing about this also) and I would ask my aunt for a bowl of cereal. I would rifle through the multiple boxes of cereal left by my cousins who refused to eat the last bowl of cereal, shaking the boxes to see which were nearly empty and eat the final bowl in those boxes. I'm sure this was also quite a pleasure for my aunt who was then able to empty her cupboard of nearly empty cereal boxes.

Saturday Morning Donuts

Over the years my Saturday morning ritual of cereal with cartoons became donuts with cousins. My aunt would visit the local bakery early Saturday mornings and upon returning home would call our house, allowing the phone to ring one time, which meant it was time for us to be dressed and on our way over to her house for donuts. I can remember her kitchen table covered with those waxy white bags torn lengthwise down the front and opened to reveal chocolate frosted cake donuts, pecan caramel rolls, cream filled eclairs, jelly Bismarks, and coconut long johns. Gee, I miss those coconut long johns. Similar to an eclair, but more like the texture of a Krispy Kreme donut without glaze. I believe it would have been dough folded over onto itself, baked, then the fold filled with super sweet white icing (I would bet it's similar to the 'buttercream' in a bucket that we sometimes use at work) then topped with a bit more of the white icing covered with sweetened coconut (untoasted). The bakery has long since closed but I had heard those same long johns could be found at the grocery store in the town I lived back then (I guess the baker was working at the grocery store bakery).

We would have all those donuts to split between seven or eight of us and my aunt would cut some of the donuts in half or more often, six pieces so we could have a taste of each. We kids would eat a bite of donut and race in to watch cartoons. The adults would leisurely enjoy their donuts with gallons of coffee, and packs and packs of cigarettes... ah, the good old days. *cough cough wheeze*

Trips to the 'Little Store'

Once a week I would get my allowance. I would always dream of saving my money to buy wonderful toys and things I saw on commercials between cartoons. We didn't live near a toy store. We lived near the Little Store. The Little Store (I think that may actually have been its name) was something like a grocery store but tiny tiny tiny. I remember they had cans of vegetables, cigarettes (which I would cleverly buy for my cousin later in life) and lots and lots of penny candy. I could get quite a lot of penny candy for my few dollars. Wax lips (I don't know why I ever bought these as you couldn't eat them),Nik-L-Nip wax bottles (with a Kool-Aid like liquid inside), candy buttons, Turkish taffy. A lot of these old-timey candies have made a comeback but they just don't seem quite as good as when you ride your purple bike with the banana seat a few blocks to get them.

Minnesota State Fair

The ultimate food event of my year as a kid came when it was time for the Minnesota State Fair. (It's breaking my heart to know it's going on right now without me.) I grew up in Wisconsin along the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers which border Minnesota. It was a 40 minute drive to another world for two weeks of the year. I loved seeing the animal barns, the textiles and crafts displays. But the food! Corn dogs, candy apples, freshly pulled salt water taffy, mini donuts with sugar and cinnamon, funnel cake. Yum Yum Yummy. Check it out... Minnesota is so proud of its fair food that you can look up your favorite foods to map your trip to the fair.

Christmas Cookie Day

Christmas cut-out cookies were a huge thing in my family (and still are, but so many of us live far apart now that the tradition is becoming less distinct than when I was a kid). When a girl in our family reached 10 years old she was finally 'mature' enough to be allowed at Cookie Day. I guess it was assumed by age 10 a girl could remember NOT to lick her fingers after each cookie was decorated. Cookie Day typically fell on a Saturday two weeks before Christmas. The women and older girls would get together to roll, cut, bake and decorate literally hundreds of vanilla and molasses cookies in one day. I always enjoyed this time with my family and I was the one elected to make the 'pretty' cookies... the ones so carefully decorated that they could be placed on the special trays... the trays taken with my mother and aunt to their workplaces. It's funny that I have recently been elected to make and decorate the vanilla cut-out cookies at work. I wish I'd had the ability to single-handedly whip out a couple hundred decorated cookies in a few hours back when I was a kid. My mother has asked me if I'm now bored with decorating cookies and the answer (thus far) is no.

For my aunt's benefit (because I know she reads my blog) I will reveal the Cookie story of a year that she might rather forget... but may be able to look back on and laugh about now that it has been over 20 years since the occurance. When I was about 12, it was a very mild December. We had completed our cookie duties and while they set (the icing needs time to dry a bit before the cookies can be put away in tins and then into the freezer) we kids (my two cousins and I) went out to play with the neighbors; then my mother, stepdad, aunt & uncle decided to go out for dinner. I believe it was my cousin who had the idea that while the adults were away, we kids (my cousins, I, and all the neighborhood kids... at least 10 in all) should have a cookie. Hopped-up on cookies and back to playing somewhere in the neighborhood, the adults came home and there was a terrible screeching from inside the house when it was discovered that only a few dozen of the cookies we had labored over all day remained. My mother has brought up this story numerous times over the years, usually in a whisper so as not to upset the ghosts of Christmas past I guess, and she tells me that the adults were all a bit intoxicated when they came back from dinner. With their senses dulled, they were unable to muster enough anger to kill the entire neighborhood full of 'grubby kids' who had eaten all the cookies.

Thanks to Amateur Gourmet for urging me to go through with this trip down calorie lane. If you like this meme, go ahead and run with it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Food Oddity Linkiness

This might be the ONLY reason I would ever visit a McD0n4ld's (blech... even typing it put a bad taste in my mouth). Apparently, you can get Spam
(Spam, Spam, Spam, Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaam Spamity Spam) from the breakfast menu at the Scary Clown in Honolulu, Hawaii. Read more here.
Confidentially, I should have known this, being a member of the club.

Just so you understand that I'm not just 'one of those joiners' (whatever that means)... I'm also a member of this club.

Frightening food related home decor from Germany.
Meat rugs Thanks to the watchful eye of:Scott Hutcheson

Just as frightening: fashion(??) from the good ol' USA.
This is just wrong.

Weird Foods For you vegetarians:
Durian (from Southeat Asia): "like eating pudding in an outhouse" Makes me want to try some... yeah right. Remember what I said about Limburger cheese?
Ambuyat (from Brunai): The center of the trunk of the Sago palm tree is planed into sawdust, the sawdust is boiled in water for several hours until it has the same appearance and texture as rubber cement, and is served. Yummy.

A side-note... literally: Check out the side bar for new Halloween Links. I'll be updating often until the big day! (And no, I'm not simply thinking about Halloween because the pumpkin is trying to take over my yard. I would have been thinking about Halloween by now even without the yard-o-punkin.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Green Things

I have an extremely limited knowledge of growing things; specifically, plant life (although my growing child is always a source of head-scratching as well). I know what I know by growing various things with (but more often: without) success in my yard, the house, the cracks in the driveway. So you might imagine my surprise when, by odd chance I should find a very vigorous looking plant growing from behind the bushes next to my house.

This vigorous plant at first sight was not at all familiar to me. I'm pretty aware of the weeds that prefer to grow in my yard and this odd looking thing was not one of those weeds. Upon closer inspection I realized that the vine I saw growing there was from one of the stray pumpkin seeds left after last Halloween.

I won't kid you and say that I'm a perfect Jack-o-lantern picker-upper. I will admit to seeing many a pumpkin molder before scooping it up with a shovel and carefully placing it in a yard waste recycling bag (please don't yell at me about composting... I simply haven't the patience for such an endevor, at least not yet). However, in my own defense last year's post Halloween clean-up was quite swift for a change.

Except for one un-carved pumpkin.

I knew from past experience that an un-carved pumpkin would stay fresh much longer than one whose insides are exposed to the air so, I left it on the front step after Halloween. Were you aware that grey squirrels will eat pumpkin? I am now! First one nibble. Then two. Then the major part of the pumpkin was skinless. Then they started eating the fleshier parts of the pumpkin and then... it snowed... a LOT.

Rather than attempting to dig the remaining fragments of pumpkin out of the snow, they were shovelled with the snow next to the front step behind the bushes.

Spring arrives and your dear homeowner has long since forgotten about said pumpkin fragments until the first odd green thing appears from behind the bushes. Dear Homeowner was curious about this tiny pumpkin vine growing from behind the bushes, in a very nice spot, actually. Next to the sidewalk near a bare area where we had recently removed a large evergreen tree.

My husband was quite concerned and felt that I should research growing pumpkins before I allowed this thing to 'possibly ruin the soil'. Okay, good point. I did my research and found that it would not be detrimental to the soil but it could... could I said... did you hear that? It could reach a length of 30 feet. 30 feet is a lot but I have a big bare area here... I'll simply wind it around a bit... it should be a perfect fit. Besides, I'll bet 30 feet is for expert gardeners... not ones who let a single errant seed grow from behind the bushes in less than perfect conditions.

See? Isn't it sweet? And look at all the room it will have to the right!!

That was the end of June.

This is now.

If this is how much the thing has grown in just a month and a half... HOW BIG is it going to be by the end of October???

All my husband can say is... "I told you so."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Peachy Keen

When I was a young girl we had a neighbor who showed me how to blanch peaches. I was quite shocked as I had never seen anything like this before. A minute in boiling water, then into a bowl of ice water and she could peel a peach with her thumb nail??

"WOW" I thought then, "I bet my mom has never seen anything like that... she makes me eat the fuzzy part!" I was a kid and didn't know that the peach 'fuzzy part' was good for digestion, full of vitamins... blah blah blah... you could eat a peach without skin! Nor did I realize that since she grew up on a farm and since my grandmother was no slouch at preserving, Mother was quite aware of (albeit uninterested in) the ease of blanching peaches.

Peach Turnover

These are super easy if you do not bother yourself with the tedium of folding, turning and rolling to create your own puff pastry. It is so simple to go to the freezer case and buy delicious and simple P3pperidge Farm puff pastry sheets. They come as two sheets in a package and each sheet makes 4 perfectly portioned turnovers. And it won't take you hours in mixing and rolling the dough.

Carefully unfold one thawed sheet onto a floured board, cut with a sharp knife or pizza wheel into 4 equal squares. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of peach pie filling (recipe below) near one point of the square. Brush edges with water. Fold over corner opposite filling to make a triangle. Press edges with a fork to seal. Using a knife or kitchen scissors, cut a hole over the filling to keep it from exploding during baking (this doesn't completely ensure zero explosions, as you can tell from my photo, but it helps). Brush the tops with egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) then sprinkle on Course or Turbinado sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

If you have made your own filling, no one (who loves you) is going to care whether you made your own puff pastry, honest.

Fresh Peach Pie Filling
adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Professional Baking

1lb. 4oz. peaches, blanched, peeled and cut from the pit (I find this is easier than attempting to halve the peaches and get the pit out when they are peeled and very slippery) weighed after slicing
4 ounces sugar
1 ounce cornstarch
2 ounces cold water
1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Saute the peaches until slightly soft (you will want some largeish chunks in the final product so don't cook the peaches too long at this point) if peaches are very ripe, simply heat them slightly.
Mix cornstarch with water.
Add vanilla and spices to peaches in pan and bring to a boil. Slowly drizzle cornstarch+water into boiling liquid, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. After cornstarch has been added, boil one minute more. Remove from heat and add to unbaked 9-inch pie crust or place in half pint jars for preserving.
If preserving, be sure jars have been properly sterilized and are hot when adding the hot pie filling. Close jar tops tightly and return to hot sterilization water (jars must stand upright and water should cover jar top completely). Boil filled jars for 7 minutes then remove from water and allow tops to 'suck down'. Preserved pie filling may be stored at room temp. for 6 months but if you're anything like me, you'll be dipping in at every opportunity. Once opened and seal broken, filling should be kept in the fridge for just a couple of days. It is possible to freeze an opened jar, but the filling tends to get a bit runny.

Peaches and Cream Crepes

I know I'll get hate mail for this one, so go ahead and send it, if you must.
Again, I went the easy route here because I do not own a crepe pan and do not ever have intention of buying one, as it would just take up more space in my basement. I bought crepes... "what??" you say... yes, I did! I happened to see them at Whole Foods Market and decided to give them a try. They weren't terrible... obviously not fresh, but I can say I tried something new, and that's what's important... no wait... the important part was... um... yes, that I tried something new. I filled the crepe with peach filling and a bit of sweet yogurt cheese (recipe below). I like this sweet yogurt cheese quite a lot, especially in blueberry turnovers but in the crepes the sweetness of everything just got a bit muddled and ended up too sweet. So, try the yogurt cheese some time if you're going to make some tangy blueberry or lemon turnovers.

Sweet Yogurt Cheese

1 package cheesecloth
4 ounces vanilla yogurt

Open package of cheesecloth (it should be one large sheet). Fold in half 3 or 4 times until you have a folded piece that is about 8x10. Place folded cloth into a medium sized mesh strainer. Without stirring, pour yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth and gather up all ends to make a tight package. Secure with rubberbands or twist ties. Place a few bags of dry beans on top of the tied package and place the whole works in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you will see that much of the liquid has been pressed out of the yogurt and you have a lovely, sweetened cream cheese type product.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Carny Crier (Sans Bad Teeth)

Come one, come all! See the amazing, the stupendous, the utterly ridiculous freak show we call The Grommie Burger. Described in the CookNextDoorMeme.

Once I started thinking about this baby, I couldn't get it out of my head and I had to have one.

1/4 pound hamburger patty on a toasted onion roll with jalapeno cheddar cheese sauce and topped with awesomely crunchy kettle chips. Smush it all together, turn it upside down and... YUMMMMM!!

I shamefully admit there is not much in the way of nutritional value to this burger.

That's why I added this awesomely nutritious salad to go along side it.

Crunchy broccoli, chewy raisins, salty bacon and a tiny bit of sweet mayo dressing. You can't get any better than that.

I have seen this broccoli salad at various times in different deli cases and tried it a couple of times but the broccoli is often too big, the bacon burned and it's always smothered in the mayo dressing, which turns my stomach. This salad is gorgeous if you follow the recipe and it contains just the right amount of dressing.

It's also nutritionally complete with protein and vegetables with a little fruit to boot. The recipe says it serves 12, but I'm a glutton and I usually eat it for 2 meals a day for 3 days (because no one else in my house will eat it, the prunes).

After mixing everything, it needs to sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to let the flavors meld a bit and is oh so much better after a day... just keep it covered and stir it before each service.

Broccoli Bacon Salad
originally from St. Paul Pioneer Press?

2 large broccoli crowns, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 pound thickly sliced bacon, frozen
1 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds (roasted pumpkin seeds are great, too)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup mayo or Miracle Whip (regular or light)
1/2 cup sugar
2 TB white vinegar

Remove bacon from freezer and allow it to thaw on the counter while you prepare the veggies.
Cut the broccoli into small pieces. You want to be able to have all of the components of the salad fit in one forkful. I usually use thin slices of the stalk because they are tender, quite tasty, they stretch the budget and they look like tiny tree cross-sections.

Chop onion.
Slice slightly defrosted bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and fry until crisp, but do not burn. Drain on paper towels. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
For the dressing, combine ingredients with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add to salad and toss well. Cover and let steep in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

This salad makes me want to tap dance like Ruby Keeler.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Being a Blogger is Gooooooood.

Just when you think the mail carrier is not your friend because all he ever brings are bills and catalogs from animalloveDOTcom... oh wait, that's my neighbor's mail again he... (I say he because my regular mail carrier is a he... not because I'm being sexist) he brings presents!

Preparing for the July IMBB round up, tasteTea from a la cuisine, we bloggers were sent an offer by Adagio Teas. Adagio would send a sample of 4 of their teas to any blogger who asked for them with a promise that, if we tried the tea and liked it, that we would blog about it.
Let's see... Free stuff and all I have to do is type a little? Sign me up!

It has been a while since I had loose tea but I know simply by sniffing the contents of this package, that it won't be long before I'm enjoying it immensely.

The lovely teas I received (along with a handwritten note!) are: berry blues (with dried bits of apple, cranberries and blueberries) , white a cappella (a large leaf white tea), cream (a small leaf black tea that smells exactly like fresh cream), and organic rooibos (a small leaf red tea) .

Now all I need is one of these fancy teapots to brew my gorgeous teas in. On second thought, I might just have to get myself one of those. Adagio knows how to reel a girl in, don't they?