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Monday, January 30, 2006

Won't Mother Be Proud?

You Are Lemon Meringue Pie

You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet
Those who like you have well refined tastes

Good... but I actually prefer this one.

You Are a Fruitcake!

You taste like nothing else in this world.
And get ready, you're about to get tossed!

Brought to you by my own variety of dementia.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

IMBB 22 : I Used My Noodle and Made Chicken Sate with Linguine

My current reduction in the frequency of blog entries is getting on my own nerves. Since Thanksgiving, I've posted once a week at most. Around the holidays it was due to lack of time but that is no longer the case.

Is it writer's block? No... in fact, I've begun a number of posts that are waiting in the wings to be completed.

Is it a lack of interest in food? Not really. I'm trying lots of new foods with my New Year's resolution to get healthier (let's not call it a diet, the word scares me) and while not all of the foods I've tried have been anything to write about, some are noteworthy and I intend to talk about them soon.

I believe my trouble is cabin fever. Years in Wisconsin taught me that winter was to be enjoyed among the snowbanks and while I was never much of a snow-bunny myself, I couldn't help but go out in it and sometimes it was even fun. In Wisconsin, cabin fever typically sets in when it's nearing spring and things are beginning to warm up and I'd get the itch to plan a garden (or more likely window boxes) and with a clean white slate to dream on, late winter held the perfect opportunity. Now that I'm in Maryland and we don't get 15 feet of snow, I haven't had the opportunity to be outside for any length of time, even for snow shovelling. The garden is calling to me but even though temperatures are in the lovely 50's (perfect for garden clean-up!) it's still too early to poke around too much since plants need the leaf mulch to protect them from still-present biting night winds.

Thankfully, I have IMBB to help get me rolling back into blogdom. Cooking With Amy set me on a course to talk about how I like my pasta and while, in this dish the pasta is simply a vehicle for the wonderful sauce, the type of pasta, Linguine, is the perfect shape to carry all of the wonderful sauce to my eager palate.

Sate' (pronounced sah-TAY) is a spicy sauce typically made with peanut butter. It's easy to find chicken sate' in the frozen foods section of the grocery but making it yourself is so easy (the most difficult thing about it is cooking the pasta) and infinitely more tasty than those packaged foods.

My favorite version of this sauce has lots of garlic and a little kick from red pepper sauce. Some recipes call for other ingredients like fresh ginger or a citrus juice of one variety or another so this time around I marinated my chicken in a mojito sauce that contained mango, lime and orange flavors just to see how I liked it. The flavors married well but if it's simplicity you're after, then just skip it! When I'm in a really lazy mood I skip the chicken entirely.

Peanut Sate' Sauce
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1 teaspoon honey

Place the garlic and peanut butter in a small bowl. Pour the hot water over both and whisk gently until peanut butter is very smooth. Add remaining ingredients and let stand while the pasta cooks.

Linguine is the perfect shape pasta to showcase this beautiful sauce. After cooking, drain the linguine well but do not rinse so that the residual starch helps hold the sauce.

My recipe calls for 1/2 pound of linguine but I find a little of the sauce goes quite a long way and could easily dress 1 1/2 pounds of cooked lingiune. The sauce keeps well for a few days in the fridge so make the full recipe and have it available for the next sate' craving you're bound to have. Just be sure to stir the sauce well before adding to the next delicious bowl of linguine.

Recalling the frozen selections of Chicken Sate': they often contain a few vegetables which you could also add if you were in the mood. Fresh peas, peapods, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts or carrots are good choices.

I chose a green salad with Asiago cheese, toasted pine nuts, balsamic green beans and a splash of Goddess dressing as a go-with.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Movie and Wine Tasting -- Alamos Malbec with Topkapi

The kiddies are tucked safely into their beds the younger on her face with her arm wrapped around a stuffed horse her same size and the older under a mountain of blankets with just her nose peeking out. Mr.G and I finally have time to watch a movie and enjoy each other's company.

Saturday was the end of one heck of a week for both of us and we decided we needed some down-time together. The perfect opportunity for a bottle of wine and a good old movie.

I asked the guy at the wine store for a wine to "just drink with a movie and possibly some cheese and crackers".

Alamos Malbec was his suggestion. I'm usually pretty leery of wine costing less than $25 and my skeptisism must have shown on my face because he assured me that the wine was better than the $10 price indicated.

The wine guy described it as: full fruit beginning, a rich body and nice oaky finish. Wine Advocate describes it as aromatically displaying lively red as well as black fruits, the medium-bodied 2004 Malbec exhibits lovely breadth in its cherry-packed personality. Expressive, fresh and satin-textured, it reveals a structured tannin-filled finish. This excellent value should be drunk over the next 2 - 3 years. Score: 87. (87 out of 100) I'm not fluent in wine taster-ese but this was a pretty good wine in my opinion.

The movie this time around was Topkapi from 1964. Mr.G enjoys introducing me to lots of classic movies and movies he feels are important to have seen at least once. Amazon describes: A small-time con-man with passport problems gets mixed up with a gang of world-class jewelry thieves plotting to rob the Topkapi museum in Istanbul. Turkish intelligence, suspecting arms smuggling, gets involved, and under pressure the con-man rises to heights he'd never dreamed of. The con-man is played by Peter Ustinov and the role won him an Academy Award.

This was quite a fun movie despite Elizabeth Lipp giving me the creeps from her first moment on screen.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Candy Candy Candy

With the holidays over, it's time for me to start eating healthier. I prefer to avoid the term dieting since dieting makes me think of starving models. I'd rather make small changes like eating fewer sweets. If you're like me and you'd like to start with a small change, maybe a stroll through another country's candy aisle will give us encouragment on our journey.

From Germany

Katjes Salty Licorice Herring

Chocolate cat tongues

Sour Gummi French Fries

Hot & Spicy Gummi Taco

From Mexico

Hot and salted tamarind pulp bars

Gummi bears coated with chili powder

If these don't steer me to the produce aisle, nothing will.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

IMBB 22 : Use Your Noodle

Brought to us by Amy of Cooking with Amy. She tells us, In addition to being defined as "ribbon-like pasta", noodle also means brain and to improvise. So go ahead, use your noodle, noodle around and then post about it. Come join in the second anniversary of the first online food blogging event, created by Albert of Il Forno, Is My Blog Burning, IMBB 22. This time around it's noodles, pure and simple. Or fancy and complicated. It's up to you. You can make them from scratch or use dried ones. Egg noodles, wheat free, gluten free, spinach noodles, you name it--it's all good. Just remember this is about noodles, not dumplings. You might have heard that Marco Polo introduced noodles to the Italians. While the accuracy of that story is up for debate, late last year some 4,000 year old noodles were discovered in China. And in Italy, while the actual noodles weren't found, decorations in an Etruscan tomb show what appears to be pasta being made. Meanwhile 10th century Arab cookbooks mention noodles and some speculate that it was the Arabs that brought pasta to Italy in the 9th century. We may never know where they originated, let alone when. What we do know is that noodles are popular all over the world for good reason--they're delicious! If you plan on participating, post to your blog on January 28th or 29th.

Check out Amy's blog for complete details.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ask A Pastry Chef: How to Clean that Strainer

An interesting question from Randi:
How do you clean a finemesh strainer? I have an OXO one and when I strain custards or soups, they get so gross!!

continue reading at Ask A Pastry Chef

Monday, January 02, 2006

Flavored Lip Balm

Remember Bonne Bell lip balms? All your favorite flavors could be held in a little tube and you could have a taste without actually getting Mom's evil stare for having candy or soda.

The idea has resurfaced in a big way. Made by Lotta Luv but don't expect to be able to order from the Lotta Luv website. The newest of these flavors can be purchased at various online shopping sites, eBay or eBay Canada in flavors like Cinnabon,Kellogg's Froot Loops Hostess Twinkies, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. Slightly more frightening flavors like original Potato Chip, BBQ Potato Chip or Sour Cream & Onion Chip.

None of those can top

Cheetos lip balm scalped from Foodgoat
Is it neon orange like real Cheetos? Will it turn your lips that lovely shade? I'm a big fan of Cheetos snacks and I'm pretty sure that if I applied Cheetos flavored lip balm I would feel compelled to actually eat Cheetos. In light of my New Year's resolve to eat healthier perhaps I should skip this calorie-free taste sensation.