Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Spider Egg

My sister asked if I wanted eggs for breakfast on Halloween. "Sure" I said. She made me this cute spider egg with a cheese mouth and peppercorn eyes. My four year old niece had the same breakfast with cheese eyes. My sister can flips eggs by just holding onto the handle of the skillet and flipping them in the air. She's talented.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fine Living Review Article

I finally picked up a copy of the Fine Living Review. I waited an entire day before I made a special trip to Bismarck to pick up a copy. Here I am, being a big ole dork and reading the article about my blog in the Fine Living Review in the parking lot of Dan's Supermarket. Actually it's dorkier then that. I'm taking a picture of myself reading an article about my blog for my blog in the parking lot. I confused people walking past my car. If you would like to read the article, you can pick up a free copy on your way out of Dan's Supermarket or at other local businesses.
I'd like to thank Tiffany who brought my blog to the attention of the Fine Living Review and Tiffany Bailey (different Tiffany) who wrote such a nice article about my blog in the magazine.

Here are a few links mentioned in the article you might be interested in:
The hot sauce popcorn in the article is a recipe I got from my neighbor Sue. Here is a link to my post about the cooking competition she was in. The Tomato Soup from Canned Tomatoes is my most popular post.
Date-Spice Chiffon Cake
Pisole (The spelling might be wrong, I don't speak Spanish)
Bulgur and Mushroom Pilaf
Hungarian Potato Salad
Popcorn recipes
The Bacon Fun Series (unusual bacon recipes)
My hat from a sweater on my other blog, I Know Other Stuff.
The Gorgonzola Steak pictured in the article was not as rare as it looked in my picture. I'm not sure why my picture made it look so rare.

If you are interested in other North Dakota food blogs, check out:
Rhubarb and Venison (Bismarck)
Busy Nothings (Fargo)
Busy Nothings hasn't posted too many recipes since they had their adorable baby last year. You can click on Recipe index on the navigation bar to view the recipes.

I'd like to thank all my regular blog readers and welcome any new ones. I started this blog as an easy way to share my recipes with friends and family. I didn't think anyone would really read it. Now I have followers from all over the world. It's surreal.

On an entirely separate note, I've borrowed my Dad's power cord for my computer. I ordered a cord and it should be here any day. Power is good.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome Fine Living Review Readers

My blog, Lora's Recipes, was featured in the recent Fine Living Review. It's a local publication for the Bismarck, North Dakota area. It should be released Saturday and is available at Dan's Supermarket in the newsstand section and at other area businesses. I plan on writing a more complete post after I pick up a copy. If I don't post again soon, I've died of electrocution. My power cord for my computer, currently held together with electrical tape and toothpicks, is no longer charging my computer. I'll probably be offline until I get the problem fixed. Thanks for coming to check out my blog. Now, I have to use the power left in my computer to search for new power cords. Hopefully I'll update soon. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Grilled Pizza with Roquefort and Grilled Peaches

I made this a while ago, and have been slow in posting it. Sorry, I didn't write down amounts. I think you can get the idea. Peaches and bleu cheese on pizza? Where ever did I get that idea? Well, I was inspired by this post on A Good Appetite. I love the bleu cheese flavor of the Roquefort playing against the sweetness of the peaches. I wasn't sure if I wanted sage or not. I did a test section on the pizza. I think I liked it, but my sage test section wasn't large enough to really tell for sure. Follow the basic directions for pizza on the grill, then use these toppings

Grilled Pizza with Roquefort and Grilled peaches
pizza sauce

1 peach
green pepper
meat from one grilled chicken thigh

Swiss cheese
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bacon Fun part Nine

Can you believe I'm on #9? I can't. I've never done a search for bacon recipes. I just find these.
Bacon Candy. A twist on the classic baked bacon and brown sugar recipe. This one adds chili powder. This is one I should make.
If you've made brown sugar bacon, try adding some to your waffles for Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles. Do you prefer pancakes? No problem.
Bacon Pancakes. Bacon pancakes still not enough? I've got that covered too.
Remember Elvis's fools gold sandwich discussed at the tail end of Bacon fun part Seven? Well, here is is in a pancake stack version.
Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwiches. 'Cause jelly is for losers.
A Bacon Potato. Peal a potato and slice it almost through every 1/4 inch. Put a piece of bacon between every slice and bake. How can something seem so right and so wrong at the same time?
Onion, Apple and Bacon Tart. Uncredited players include Parmesan, Gruyere, and smoked paprika.
Want something sweet? How about a Buttermilk Bacon Praline?
And lastly, I know you're not supposed to be inspired by This Is Why You're Fat, but I kind of want a Bacon Onion Ring.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Orange Julius

There is nothing special about my recipe. I'm just posting it so I can find the recipe easily. Love me a Julius on a hot day.

Orange Julius
Yield 2 drinks on one giant one.

3 0z OJ concentrate
1/2 c water
1/2 c milk
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
6-7 ice cubes

Add all ingredients in the blender. Blend. Add ice cubes one at a time with the motor running. Blend until smooth.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Is Deep Fried the new Bacon?

My sister just sent me this link from the today show. O.K. I know I should be appalled, but I'm intrigued. Deep fried butter, deep fried coke, deep fried latte, deep fried cookie dough, deep fried peanut cups, deep fried peaches & cream with butter cream dip, and spiral cut sweet potatoes deep fried with butter & cinnamon sugar. There is even more listed in the link. These are all entries in the Texas State fair deep fried food competition. Now that the bacon craze is dying down, is a deep frying craze about to start?
Dang that zucchini bread in the oven is smelling good. I hope it tastes as good as it smells. The recipe says it has to cool for an hour and 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. I hope I can make it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

grocery STORe WARS

Featuring Cuke Skywalker, Tofu D2, and Darth Tater.

Check out this and other Star Wars foods at Geek Tyrant. Via Cake Wreck's Twitter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 5th was National S'mores Day!!

To celebrate national s'mores day we tried a new s'mores recipe. We added peanut butter. It's a good way to change things up a bit. If you are interested, check out my other s'mores variations. Hope your s'mores day celebration was great.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Breakfast Pizza on the Grill

Follow the instructions in my post for pizza on the grill. I only used two eggs, but I think there should be more. The original recipe formed a well in the other topping and cracked two eggs on top and cooked them until over easy. I'm scared of uncooked egg whites and I think scrambles sounds better anyway. I had a grill brunch party last year where I served breakfast pizza. I also brought my waffle iron outside and served waffles with grilled fruit. Next time I'll have a friend bring a waffle iron. Two waffle irons would have worked better.

Breakfast Pizza on the Grill

1 dough ball for crust (see pizza on the grill instructions)
pizza sauce
3-4 eggs, scrambled and cooked until 3/4 done
spinach, either fresh or frozen with the water squeezed out
tomatoes, chopped
chopped Canadian bacon or fried bacon, chopped
shredded sharp cheddar cheese, grated or in slices and laid like tiles

Thursday, July 23, 2009

cilantro chutney

You know how you go to an Indian restaurant and they bring you bread (usually naan) with three dips. You eat all of them, but you mostly eat the green dip. Well, this is my sister Kristy's recipe for cilantro chutney (the green one). Since it is all pureed anyway, you can feel free to use the cilantro stems. It saves time. I also made naan on the grill. It was one part horrible, one part awesome, one part burned. If I decide to perfect the recipe for grilled naan and actually do manage to get it perfected, I'll post it.

Cilantro Chutney

1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs

1 to 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons well-stirred plain yogurt (preferably whole-milk, but 1% fat yogurt is still fine)

Purée the cilantro in a blender with jalapeño(s), water, brown sugar, lime juice, and salt. Transfer to a bowl and stir in yogurt. The chutney may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring
to room temperature before serving.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hungarian Potato Salad

About 20 years ago I made a Hungarian meal made from a library cookbook. An amazing Hungarian meal. That summer we sat on my patio and indulged in Hungarian potato salad and several stews swimming in paprika (and potatoes). It was the kind of meal where you know you are full, but everything tastes so good. Maybe just a little more of this. Maybe just a touch more of that. In Hungary I feel certain that they don't serve that many potato dishes at once and certainly not when it is humid and above 90 degrees and they don't have air conditioning. I can also vividly remember laying on the floor with my sisters in a bedroom watching the ceiling fan go around and trying to ignore the queasy feeling. We lay there for hours without moving. We discussed the amazingness of the meal and how we weren't sure that we would ever want to eat it again.

I wasn't ready to eat that Hungarian food for several years. When I was ready, it was after the great recipe loss of '92 (see my profile). I went to the library to find the cookbook, only to discover it wasn't there. I've tried a few times to make chicken paprikash or goulash. I haven't made anything I would crave yet. If anyone knows of good paprika based recipes, please point me towards them.

I searched the web about a week ago for my Hungarian Potato Salad. There was nothing like it posted anywhere. I did find a sour cream dill sauce that sounded like what was in the original the potato salad. I cobbled this recipe together from my remnants of the old one. I think it's pretty close, if not almost exactly it. In the end, it is really good, but it's probably not worthy of a 20 year quest.

I forgot the parsley, so I estimated the amount. I used 2 T butter and 2 T flour for the roux. It made a sauce that was too thick. I'm guessing 1 T flour should work. Then you should be able to decrease the butter to I tablespoon, unless you need more to fry the onions. Adding a clove or two of garlic might be good as well.



2 lbs potatoes

1-2 T butter

1/2 onion, finely chopped (or more)

1 T flour

1/2 c beef stock

1/4 c chopped fresh dill, or maybe even more if you dare

2 T chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c pickles

1/2 c sour cream


1. Cover the whole, unpeeled potatoes with 1 inch of water in a stockpot or dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking, until the potatoes are tender (a thin-bladed paring knife or metal cake tester can be slipped into and out of the center of the potatoes with no resistance), 25-30 minutes for medium potatoes, 15-20 minutes for small potatoes.

2. Drain and cool the potatoes, slightly and peel if you like. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes (or smaller) Use a serrated knife if they have skins. Cut the potatoes while still warm and rinse the knife as needed.

3. Mix the potatoes, pickles, and sauce together. This salad is meant to be served hot. I prefer it cold the next day. This salad may need extra salt.


1. Saute the onions in the butter. It is best to do this very slowly to caramelize them. However a quick saute works too. Whisk in the flour with a silicone coated whisk. Cook somewhat to make a roux. Begin slowly whisking in the beef broth. Add a little broth whisk until smooth, repeat. Do this until you've added all the broth. Whisk in the sour cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Stir in the parsley and dill. Now it is ready for the potato salad.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The not quite Ultimate Butterbeer

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you know what butterbeer is. I had this plan to have a recipe posted for the ultimate butterbeer before the new movie came out. (which was yesterday) Why? I love Harry Potter and I love butterscotch. I didn't come up with the ultimate butterbeer. It would take lots of tinkering to get this recipe just right. I honestly don't have the patience for that. Also, I'm getting a bit sick of this recipe. What have I learned so far? It takes way more butterscotch then you think it should. Once I started adding more, the recipe got better. It might be even better with even more butterscotch. Frankly, at this point I'm sick of this recipe. I bored with butterscotch. I have thus far failed to produce the butterscotch soda float of my dreams. It's good like this, but that's about all I can say for it.

1/4 c butterscotch sauce (0r possibly a bit more)
1/2 c milk (or maybe a bit less)
dash of nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
1- 2 scoops burnt sugar ice cream
Club soda

Warm up the butterscotch until it is very runny in the microwave. Measure 1/4 c butterscotch sauce into a glass. Pour an equal amount of milk into the glass with the butterscotch and stir vigorously. If the butterscotch does not dissolve, you may need to heat the milk/butterscotch mixture slightly in the microwave. Pour in enough milk to reach halfway (or less) up the side of your glass. Stir in the nutmeg and cinnamon. Add your scoops of ice cream. With a spoon that reaches to the bottom of the glass, stir vigorously while adding the club soda. Do this for the first part of the club soda. Then pour in the remaining club soda. Stirring insures that the club soda gets incorporated. If you do not do this, the top of the drinks tastes only like oddly flavored club soda.
This can also be served warm. Heat the butterscotch and milk together until warm. Then continue with the rest of the recipe the same as with cold butterbeer.

I haven't tried it, but you could add butterscotch schnapps for the adults.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

This is almost caramel ice cream, but not quite. I'm not in the mood to write an intro right now. I might com back and write one later.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

3/4 c sugar (more sugar)
2 T water
2 c milk
4 egg yolks
1 c cream
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla

or 3 yolks and 1 1/2 c cream and 1 1/2 c milk

1. In a medium sauce pan, add the sugar and water. Stir with a silicone spatula over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture becomes dark brown. The darker the better without burning it. When it is ready, off heat, SLOWLY pour in the milk drop by drop (at first). It will bubble furiously. After you've added all the milk, return to the heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until a pale yellow and slightly increased in volume. Pour some (maybe 1/2) of the burnt sugar-milk mixture into the bowl while whisking. When combined, return the egg mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon. This happens at 170 degrees on a candy thermometer. Off heat, stir in the cream and the salt. Cool in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.
3. When the mixture is cold, stir in the vanilla. Freeze as directed in your ice cream maker

Monday, July 13, 2009

Watermelon Slushy (with a little vodka)

Rain came at dinner time and my grilling plans changed to enchiladas. If you make mexican food, you "need" a fruity drink. I was inspired by this post about a blender killing frozen watermelon experiment at Rhubarb and Venison. I loved the idea of freezing watermelon. If you have a normal sized family you can make it through a whole watermelon pretty easily. This is epically true if you, like my sister, have a year old baby who is currently in love with watermelon. No watermelon eatin' baby? No problem. Just dice up your watermelon. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and stash in the freezer. Once it's frozen, move to a Ziploc bag in your freezer. Here is my first experiment with frozen watermelon. In a blender combine:

Frozen watermelon (I didn't measure)
Shot of Vodka
tablespoon-ish of lime juice
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
a fair amount of water. I added maybe as much as 1/2 c.

You'll need lots of water to get the blender moving. You can use tequila or rum or no alcohol if you prefer. Beth at R & V also recommends freezing any fruit you have that is about to go bad. You can turn it into a smoothie later. I need to start doing this. I can be a grown up and admit my fruit will go bad next day and that I'm actually not going to get it eaten in that time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crunch Salad (Carrot, Radish, Lime and Cilantro)

When I found this recipe from Kristen at the Kitchen Sink, I knew I'd have to try it. It sounded so wonderfully crunchy. In fact, I've dubbed it Crunch Salad. I made a few changes from the original. I replaced the scallions with less thinly sliced onion. I had onions in the house and not scallions. I also increased the proportion of radishes. Much to my surprise, the first time I made this (pictured) I wanted more radishes. Note: My cilantro is overgrown, that is why it looks like dill.
Crunch Salad
2 1/2 c carrots, sliced thin
1 1/2 c radish, sliced thin
1/2 c scallions, or less thinly sliced onions
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime
1 T olive oil

Combine carrots, radish, onion, cilantro, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, salt, and olive oil. Toss with the rest of the ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty

Here's my short review:
Coffee- Great coffee flavor.
Toffee -Great, probably a heath bar.
Frosty-O.K. Here's where it gets complicated. If you like basic soft serve flavor, you'll think it's awesome. I don't like soft serve flavor anymore. I haven't had soft serve for a while, because it makes me sick. However, the frosty style soft serve does not make me sick for some reason. Maybe my taste has changed, or it might just be my brains association with upset stomach. I don't know. Regular soft serve and cold stone creamery give my stomach the "icks". I wonder what the magic "ick" ingredient is? But I digress...
It only comes with a spoon, so it's bad for driving. It only comes in one size, which should serve two nicely. I'm only one and don't need a challenge. It has a name that's really fun to say and great commercials. To sum up, I wanted to like this. It seemed like something fun to get on hot afternoons. But in the end, it's just not for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My new blog

I started a new blog. Why? Cause I want one. And really, who does it hurt. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with my blog yet. It's gunna just be whatever I feel like. I'll probably have reviews for make-up, hair styling tips, stuff I made (mostly from other stuff), and my general musings. I just don't know yet. Ask me in a few months, I'll know more. By the way, I'm not an expert on hair and make-up (not even close). I figure there are people in the world stupider then me. I had to learn things from somewhere. My first post is the story of the Sit and Spin I got for my birthday.
Check me out at I Know Other Stuff.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CampingPacking List

This post has been moved to my new blog.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

French Potato Salad

If you are like my sister and hate potato (and pasta) salads with mayo, this could be the potato salad for you. It still may not be for you because tarragon has a strong flavor that's not for everyone. After a several year absence, I am growing tarragon again. In about a month, when it gets a little bigger, I'm looking forward to the "Why are you letting that weed grow?" question. Tarragon isn't a pretty plant. This recipe also calls for chervil. Chervil grows easily from seed. In the past, I never knew what to do with it, so I stopped growing it. If you grow chervil, go ahead and use the first herb mix. If you don't grow it, it's hard to find in supermarkets. Then use the second herb mixture. I never have shallots on hand. Shallots would be a better choice in this salad, but I used finely chopped yellow onion instead. I added the onion to the vinaigrette, thinking the hot potato water would soften its bite. It worked just fine. I sliced my potatoes with my mandolin (v-slicer). So for me, this is a pretty quick recipe. This is yet another recipe from Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe.

French Potato Salad

2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T salt
1 med garlic clove, peeled and threaded on a skewer
1 1/2 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (I actually used cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 T or onion. See intro)

1 T chervil
1 T parsley
1 T chives
1 T tarragon


1 1/2 T parsley
1 T chives
1 1/2 T tarragon

1. place the potatoes, 6 cups cold water, and the 2 T salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Lower the skewered garlic into the simmering water and partially blanch, about 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold tap water to stop the cooking; remove the garlic from the skewer and set aside. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm (a thin-bladed paring knife can be slipped into and out of the center of a potato slice with no resistance), about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 c cooking water. Arrange the hot potatoes close together in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Press the garlic through a garlic press or mince by hand. Whisk the garlic, reserved potato cooking water, vinegar, mustard, oil, and pepper together in a small bowl until combined. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the warm potato slices; let stand 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss the shallot and herbs gently together in a small bowl. transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the shallot-herb mixture and mix lightly with a rubber spatula to combine. Serve immediately if serving hot or chilled for a few hours and brought to room temperature.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grilled Citrus and Cilantro Spiced Chicken

It seems like I only cook recipes from America's Test Kitchen. I tend to get obsessed with cookbooks (and SciFi) and stick with it for a while.

Early 80's Betty Crocker Cook Book for Kids and Star Wars
Late 80' Frugal Gourmet (I own three of his cookbooks) and Star Trek the Next Generation (I was way too interested in Klingon Politics).
Early 90's Gourmet and Food and Wine Magazines and Twin Peaks (Not SciFi exactly)
Late 90's Laurel's Kitchen and the Moosewood Cookbook and the X Files
Early Millennium Food Network Website, especially Alton Brown and Harry Potter (Technically Fantasy) and Firefly.
Recently Food Blogs and America's Test Kitchen and Lost, Battlestar Galactia, and Heroes

Anyway, here's yet another recipe from America's Test Kitchen. This one comes from The New Best Recipe. Brining chicken or pork keeps it moist (especially important with pork) and flavorful. All about brining. If you have the time, you should brine chicken (and pork) for every recipe (use a salt free rub so it's not too salty). If you don't have the time to brine the chicken for this recipe, simply salt your chicken before you add the spice paste.

Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 T table salt
1 quart water
1 recipe spice paste

1. Trim any overhanging fat and skin from chicken thighs. Dissolve the salt in 1 quart of cold water in a gallon zip to bag. Add the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours.
2. Turn all your grill burners to high and close lid to heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, clean grill with grill brush and rub grates with oil using tongs and a paper towel. Leave one burner on high and turn the others to medium-low. Meanwhile, rinse chicken and dry with paper towels. Rub with spice paste. Rub the paste under the skin, especially if you plan to discard the skin after cooking. Cook the chicken over burner on high until seared, 1-2 minutes on each side. Then cook chicken, skin side up on cooler part of the grill for 16-20 minutes until temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Makes enough 1/2 c, enough for 8 thighs or 4 breasts
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
2 T orange juice
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 T fresh cilantro, minced

Combine all ingredients. You can also skip the pressing and mincing and puree ingredients in a food processor. Rub paste over brined and dried chicken pieces before grilling. If you skip the brine, salt chicken before adding the paste.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rhubarb Compote with Yogurt, Oatmeal, or Lemon Curd.

Looking for something a little different to do with your rhubarb? Well I cooked a pot full. You can call it stewed rhubarb or rhubarb compote depending on how fancy you prefer your food names. I added some to my homemade yogurt. If I had some homemade granola around (without the dried fruit), I would have added some.
I also made overnight steel cut oatmeal (without the dried fruit). I added some of the rhubarb compote and had the perfect spring breakfast for the recent rainy weather. And finally, I love the combination of lemon and rhubarb. So I made some lemon tart filling and topped it with some stewed rhubarb. A crumbled gram cracker in between the layers would have completed the dish perfectly. But sadly, there is not a gram cracker crumb in my house.
See also, my Grandma's Rhubarb Pie recipe.

Stewed Rhubarb (Rhubarb Compote)

1 lb 5 oz chopped rhubarb (the amount my Aunt gave me from her garden)
3/8 c sugar
3/8 c water
pinch salt

Bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I've seen recipes that add vanilla or cinnamon. Feel free to add either if you like.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Coke Challange, Fargo Food, and Links

I went to Fargo this weekend to visit my friend and my sister. If you were on I94 this Sunday you probably noticed the Umpa-Lumpa's rolling me down the road on my way home. My brother-in-law got a new grill recently. He's been busy breaking it in. First he made me a fabulous chicken roulade on Friday. Chicken breast rolled with pancetta, provolone, and basil and then grilled. We both thought it was the basil that made it. Yum. Plus there was asparagus and garlic bread. The next day he asked if I wanted a burger for lunch. Sure. But, I wasn't expecting one quite that size. The burger was really good, but it was huge. My sister jokingly asked if I got a T-shirt if I finished it. I couldn't quite do it. Not T-shirt for me. I Shouldn't have eaten for a few days. But, I had already agreed to go to my friends house for supper. First my friends brought out these fabulous stuffed mushrooms. Stuffed with Swiss cheese, Parmesan, bacon, and bread crumbs, these were amazing. We all secretly wanted to dive into the platter face first and inhale them like the hose of a vacuum. We some how managed to be grown ups and share. They also made a great lavash pizza(top right). They had the cracker like Armenian lavash bread as the base, no sauce, and mozzarella and veggies. (There was also a meat version, but no picture). I'm gradually deflating.
While I was there, my brother-in-law decided we should do a coke challenge. A blind taste test between Mexican coke and American coke. They sell Mexican coke in the grocery store in Fargo. Mexican Coke is made with sugar, American Coke with corn syrup. He lined up the unmarked glasses. There was a clear difference. It was obvious which was which. I was delighted. Mexican Coke is the Coke of my childhood. Much less sweet. It's the coke that I keep expecting when I occasionally buy one, and am then disappointed. We found it to have less bite and less carbonation the the American version. I did miss the extra carbonation. My sister found the Mexican coke to taste a bit watered down, like fountain pop with ice melted into it. She really likes the bite and extra sweetness of the American version. My brother-in-law, my friend, and I all prefer the nostalgic taste of the Mexican Coke. My sister preferred the American version. It was 3-1, but I think Julie's opinion would be the prevailing one the the general population. If you always wish your coke was less sweet, try the Mexican version.

Two Links.
One mom's funny story about a cake baking contest.
Why you hate bitter foods. This lists almost all of the short list of foods I don't like.

Friday, May 29, 2009

BEK Country Cook Off in Wilton

The big day arrived and my crew and I headed down to the site. First we ate the grilled food at the charity feed. The food was a hot dog or brat, chips and pop. The charity was the Wilton fire department. Let me say a few words about the Wilton fire department. The Wilton fire department consists entirely of volunteer fire fighters. These brave people volunteer to risk their life and health and donate their time to keep me and the surrounding rural area safe and we all appreciate it. I appreciate it so much more after the scary wildfire on the plains a few years ago. There was a combination of high winds and dry grass land after a summer with high temperatures and little rain. A wood fire that had been extinguished one full month earlier reignited due to the strong winds. The fire covered an area one mile by six miles. While the Wilton fire department was fighting the fire, the winds suddenly changed and the fire was now headed right for the fire fighters. Three were injured, one quite severely. Knowing this, people still volunteer for the job. I want to thank them.
It was now time for the big event. "Ooooh! This is so exciting." Said my Mom's friend Karen. I was thinking the same thing. I glanced over at my Aunt Gayle. She's originally from Wilton, but has lived most of her life in California. I could see that exciting wasn't necessarily the adjective she would choose, but she was still into the spirit of things. The people at BEK told us to watch the camera man to know when to clap during comical breaks, and to clap loud. The people at my table clapped our hearts out for all the commercial breaks. We also too turns Wooooo!-ing. I woooo-ed more in that hour then I have for years. When I came home and rewatched the event on T.V. I was dismayed to find that not one of our Wooo!s was audible. I could have saved my energy and just clapped. Oh well.
I was there to root on my neighbor Sue Lofthus who was competing with a recipe that was inspired by my grilled pork loin recipe. She added and changed so many things from my recipe that her pork loin makes mine pale in comparison. They began interviewing people about what they were cooking. My initial over confidence in Sue's recipe faded. The competition was clearly strong. Chicken with mango salsa, steak and cedar plank fish, steak Oscar with walleye replacing the crab, and Sue's stuffed pork loin. It would be a tough competition. All the contestants did a great job throughout the evening speaking on camera. That's not easy for an amateur cook to grill with a time limit and give entertaining interviews. Sue, who is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, looked radiant on camera. She was also gracious enough to mention me by name on camera. Thanks Sue. Cameron, who was a year behind me in High School, described his former job as sue chef at The Old Broadway in Fargo. He said it was jungle cooking for 400 people per night. Michelle was cooking with her step son even though the both like to be in charge on the grill. And Tom kept the ingredients of his secret marinade a secret.
The host went into the audience to interview people. As he approached Don W. I thought "watch out". Don's entertaining, but he's trouble. Then they interviewed the judges. One was Deb Strand, who's kids I
used to babysit. All the judges talked about how nice it was to see so
many colorful fruits and vegetables. Now it's time for a commercial break. Here's a commercial that ran during the show that cracks me up.

Attention Hunters! Are you tired of stores where every gun is locked
away and you have to wait for a clerk to find a key? Stop in and
check out our great selection of rifles, scopes, shot guns, hand guns,
binoculars, and hunting knives. Located one block east of the court

As the time clicked down, I got very nervous. "Hurry up Sue and get the food on the plate. You're not gunna make it." She knew what she was was doing and got the food plated in time. The pictures below are after the jugdes were done with them.

Michelle Pich's Entry
Steak. Grilled cedar plank walleye with watermelon and black bean
salsa. Grilled vegetable kebabs. Grilled garlic bread with roasted
garlic. Grilled corn. And Grilled cream cheese stuffed jalapeno

Sue Lofthus's Entry
Grilled stuffed pork loin. Grilled fresh pineapple with lime zest and
honey. A home made bread stick that was then grilled. And grilled mixed
vegetables consisting of three colors of peppers, asparagus,mushrooms,
potatoes, and onions.

Cameron Boechler's Entry
Steak Oscar (steak with Bearnaise sauce) with local walleye replacing the traditional crab. Candied pineapple. And grilled peppers, onions, and asparagus.

Tom Gigante's Entry
Chicken marinated in a secret balsamic marinade with mango salsa
(mango, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, and garden garlic chives) and
asparagus bundles.

And the judging...Cameron's Steak Oscar wins. My friend Sue tied for second place.
This next comment means no disrespect to Cameron. He is clearly and excellent cook and achieved a well deserved win. The judges are just like the rest of us. They spoke repeatedly about he health and nutrition of the fruits and veggies on the grill. But when push came to shove, they (like us) pick the red meat topped with a butter and egg yolk sauce. It's truly a hard to beat combination.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BEK community cook off

If you subscribe to BEK cable, tune in to BEK channel 8 today (Thursday) at 7 p.m. They are having a live grilling competition from Wilton. You will be rooting for my neighbor Sue. She's the one grilling pork loin. She used my grilled pork loin recipe as a jumping off point. I don't know what anyone else is grilling, but I think she's gunna win. She described her recipe to me and it sounds yummy. If she doesn't win, I'd love to see the recipe that actually beats hers. If your in Wilton, BEK invites you to come early for a free will donaton charity brat and then to watch the live competition. You might also be interested in Sue's tobasco popcorn recipe.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shockingly Quick Macaroons

Without the chocolate, these are shockingly quick and easy (20ish minutes including prep). They are still easy with the chocolate, but just not as quick. You have to wait for the chocolate to set. I would NEVER make these without the chocolate however. They are nowhere near as good without the chocolate. The original recipe called for semi sweet chocolate. I highly recommend very dark chocolate. It is the prefect pairing with the sweet chewy cookie. The cookie is like a mounds bar, but the coconut is toasted (bonus). The recipe also called for a half dipped cookie. I hate wasting leftover dipping chocolate. (It wouldn't actually got to waste. I'd sit down and eat it all with a spoon) So, in order to use chocolate more efficiently, I only dipped the bottoms. When I was nearly out of chocolate, I spread the remaining melted chocolate on the final cookies with a knife. This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated The Quick Recipe.

Shockingly Quick Macaroons

yield 10 cookies
Can be doubled

1 large egg white
1/3 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 c coconut
2 T cornstarch
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips or most of a Hershey's 60% dark chocolate bar.

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with a nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the egg white, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Toss the coconut with the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Be sure to coat the coconut thoroughly. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until evenly moistened.
3. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake until light golden brown, 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through the cooking time. Cool the macaroons on the baking sheet 2 minutes. Us a spatula to transfer the macaroons onto a cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes. You can stop here if you wish.
5. The original recipe says to melt 3/4 semi sweet chocolate in a microwave on half power. Start at 1 1/2 minutes, stir, and add 30 seconds at a time as needed. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Dip the macaroons halfway into the chocolate mixture. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.
I melted the dark chocolate in the microwave in a ramekin barely bigger then the cookies. I dipped and twisted only the bottoms of the cookies. Then I placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put them in the fridge.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies (scones)

Well, I wouldn't call these cookies exactly. They are more like a cornmeal scone or something of that nature. America's Test Kitchen suggests, and I agree, that these should be served with a cup of chamomile tea or coffee. These are the kind of thing I would serve at high tea if I had any idea what high tea was or ever actually had a high tea. I do really like these, but I don't think they are the something I will crave. They are not exactly my thing, but they would definitely be someones. This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated The Quick Recipe. The only change I made is the original recipe called for light brown sugar. I only use dark brown sugar. I like the flavor better. Hey, bonus: you don't need a mixer.

Cranberry Cornmeal Cookies
Yield 12 cookies
1 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c sugar, plus 1/3 c for rolling
1/4 c dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
3/4 c dried cranberries
2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, 1/2 c sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the orange zest and whisk to combine. Add the cranberries and using a rubber spatula, toss to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until evenly moistened.
3. Fill a small bowl with cold water and place 1/3 c sugar in a 8 or 9 inch cake pan. Dip your hands into the water and roll about 2 T of cookie dough into a rough ball. Drop the ball into the cake pan with the sugar and toss to coat. Place the formed, sugar-coated cookie on the prepared pan, leaving 1 1/2 inches between balls. If your hands become sticky, dip them into the water and shake away the excess. I didn't find the water necessary. This should give you 12 cookies.
4. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until slightly set, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Taco Shells from Corn Tortillas

Happy Cinco de Mayo. I'm actually timely. I totally planned that and it is not a weird coincidence. I've found a few ways to make taco shells. The first way is to deep fry a corn tortilla in oil. (not pictured) Make sure to fold it into shape while it's still frying. Delicious? Yes. Likely to make me fit into shorts? Not so much.
The second way to to make tacos it to heat a nonstick pan (I'm guessing other pans would work) over medium high heat. Add a small amount of oil (I'd guess 1-1 1/2 tsp). Add the corn tortilla to the pan. Spin the tortilla in the pan to distribute the oil on the tortilla. Immediately flip and then spin the tortilla again to get the oil on the other side. Fry on one side. Flip and fry on the other side. Fold immediately when you take the tortilla out of the pan to make taco shell. If it cools at all it won't fold, it will just break. By the way, that's yogurt in the picture and not sour cream. That would be a lot of sour cream for just one taco.
The last way of making taco shells is to toast a corn tortilla directly on a gas burner. Be sure to keep the gas flame smaller then the circumference of the tortilla. When it begins to get some color, flip and toast the other side. (I actually flip the tortilla a few times.) When you are done toasting and flipping, take the tortilla off the heat and fold.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bacon Fun Part Eight

Bacon Lube. What the world was missing? I hope this isn't real.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brownie Cake

My sister (not the cake making one) made this cake for her daughter's first birthday. It is quite impressive for a person that doesn't decorate cakes or even bake much. It's not really a cake. It's actually brownies. My sister is not a huge fan of cake, but LOVES brownies. I agree. She found this recipe for a brownie cake from Taste Of Home. The cake is three layers of brownies with a chocolate ganache frosting. To decorate the cake, she colored and rolled out fondant. Then she cut the fondant with flower shaped cookie cutters and placed it on the cake. It's a good way to decorate a cake if you're a novice too.
The pros: It's a brownie cake with chocolate ganache frosting.
The cons: It's rich, so you want to cut small pieces and it's difficult to cut small pieces since it's a hard brownie with squishy chocolate ganache.
It's already on my sister's menu for next year.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


O.K. This is way off the subject of food. There is no way I can ignore this however. Cities and town all over my state are flooding. Let me start at the beginning. The above picture is of me standing on the roof of my house this January. In the area where I was standing there was over 3 feet of snow on the roof. Most of the roof had about 18" of snow. Here is the problem. I don't live on or near a mountain. North Dakota is flat plains.
The picture on the top right is of ice that came off of my roof. This piece was by far the biggest. 6 inches thick, 3 feet wide, and 3 1/2 feet tall. The ice is sitting on what was then a 3 foot snow bank of very compacted snow. In the background you see a pile of snow as high as the roof. That too was very compacted. I stopped using the ladder on the left side of the picture and just jumped directly from the snowbank to the roof. Snow in the area of my yard by the ice is currently at 5 feet deep after the Tuesday blizzard.
The picture on the bottom right shows my house from street level. If you look to the right of the electrical pole you can see me sitting on my bum on my roof shoveling snow. Battling snow has taken up much of my time this winter. I've done way less cooking then I would like. The snow battle still continues.
Last week the thing North Dakotans usually wait all winter for happened. It warmed up. This year we were dreading it, because we knew what it meant. Floods. Near record snowfall (we're not done yet) caused record and near record flooding. Early this week North Dakota towns Hazen, Beulah, Mott, and Linton flooded. Linton was just returning from winning the Boys Class B Basketball Tournament the day before.

Bismarck :
The Missouri River does not routinely flood. When it does flood it floods houses near the river. On Sunday, huge pieces of Ice flowed into the Missouri from the Heart River and Knife river (tributaries). By huge, I mean three feet thick. Some pieces were described as the size of a Volkswagen. This ice, along with ice from the Missouri itself, formed an ice dam. The ice dam is causing water from the river to back up into the city of Bismarck. All residents south of Main street have been told to evacuate. You don't have to be familiar with a particular city to know that's allot of houses in danger. Major thoroughfares are flooded. The ice jams to the south extend 100 miles to the South Dakota Border. The Army Corp of Engineers is using explosives in an attempt to get the ice moving. They are also using Blackhawk Helicopters to dump salt on the ice to melt it. Buckets usually carrying water to put out forest fires are now filled with salt instead. The Corps efforts that began at 4pm Wednesday appear to be going well. The river level has been dropping since Tuesday night. Bismarck cannot be sure the worst is over. Ice dams are extremely unpredictable. They are not sure what will happen with the ice jams to the south of Bismarck. Also, just to the north of Bismarck is another ice dam that is currently keeping water out of Bismarck. However if that ice dam should let loose, the water would flow into Bismarck.

Fargo has two unusual problems for flooding. One is that the city is flat, flat, flat, flat. I can't find the information online, but I'd estimate that the elevation of the city only varies by 10 feet. So that means if the dike goes, the city goes. In 1997 in a similar flood scenario, the entire city of Grand Forks (north of Fargo) was under water. (Then it caught on fire, but I digress) The second problem is that the Red River flows south to north. This means that upstream snow, that is further south, has melted before the snow at Fargo (further north) has melted. The snow has to melt before you can begin sandbagging. You can't sandbag on top of a snowbank. Fargo had one week to prepare for the flood this year and they had three weeks in the 1997 flood (they just made it in that flood). This flood should crest at 41 feet. (flood stage is 18 feet) Fargo has less then 48 hours (the river will crest Saturday) to build the dikes one more foot higher. Dikes are as wide on the bottom as they are high. This means that the current dike surrounding the whole city must be built up one foot wider and one foot taller. They are filling sandbags around the clock. Schools and businesses are shut down to help with the effort. The Red River is rising 2 inches per hour.
The '97 flood and the '09 flood should be floods at levels that only occur every 100 years. But, we've had two in 12 years.
If you are interested in the flooding in North Dakota, you can follow my twitter. I add links to pictures, news stories, and have general flood updates several times a day. This helps to keep out of state relatives up to date on flood developments. My twitter is also on the left hand side of my blog.
I have to apologize if anything in this post does not make sense. I'm not sleeping much lately because I have the flu. I promise to get back to cooking and posting about food some day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So I'm on Twitter. Why?

I find myself more interesting then I am.
I think I'm funny. (Despite evidence to the contrary.)
I find lots of interesting links.

My sister suggested that I could put the links I find on twitter rather then e-mailing them to people I know who might be interested. She gets the lions share of my e-mails and I think she might just want me to stop cluttering up her in box. I plan on having mostly links. (Crafts, food, refashioned clothes, etc.) I'm sure I'll also have my share of (attempted) witty and snarky comments. I can't help myself. Anyway, if you are interested, feel free to follow me on twitter.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go Trojans!

If Turtle Lake wins one more game they will be going to the North Dakota Boys Class B Boys Basketball Tournament. Go Trojans! They play tomorrow. (Thursday)
Also, North Dakota State University will be in the March madness college basketball tournament. Go Bison!
Update: Turtle Lake won 61 to 57. Good Luck at state.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Taco Town

This clip from Saturday Night Live is hilarious (1:29). I give you Taco Town. For real life versions of stuff stuffed in stuff and deep fried, check out

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do my ingredients match?

As I read food blogs, I've come across recipes that perplex me. They are like the questions Zen Buddhists use to meditate (I learned all about Zen Buddhism from Lisa on "The Simpsons") What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Why did someone decide to put these ingredients together? What would that recipe taste like? It makes my brain spin in tight concentric circles.
I don't want the ingredients in most of these recipes even touching each other on a plate, let alone in the same recipe. But, someone made these recipes and liked them enough to write them down and share them with others. These recipes may be fantastic. Sometimes ingredients that sound mismatched aren't. The Ruben sandwich and a peanut butter and pickle sandwich (my Dad's recipe) have ingredients that sound like they don't belong together, but are perfectly suited. I am a regular reader of some of these blogs and know their authors to have many fabulous recipes.

Do my ingredients match?

Sweet corn ice cream at technicolor kitchen made with canned corn and sweetened condensed milk (and others).
Sweet Corn Ice Cream is also at Closet Cooking. I guess I came across this recipe twice.
Dave Lieberman's Vanilla Bean and Cannellini Bean Ice Cream. The full list of ingredients is cannellini beans, vanilla bean, sugar, and nutmeg.
Sage Ice Cream at :Pastry Studio.

Eggs on Sunday has Beet Bubbly. A drink made from beets, maple syrup, cayenne, and champagne (and more). Eggs on Sunday also had a Spiced Parsnip Pecan Cupcake. It's like carrot cake with parsnips instead of carrots. It's not that unusual, but it still keeps my brain swimming.

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake at Kitchen M.
Baked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes with Tomato Cream Cheese Frosting at Cupcake Project. Black Bean Fudge Brownies at Cookthink.
Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake at Novel Eats made with tofu and black eyed peas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Drinking and Cancer in Women

*%#@%&*!!!! In case you hadn't heard, a new study shows that drinking in women , even moderate drinking, causes cancer. The highlights of the study are as follows. It was a big study (1.3 million women over 7 years), so the results are probably accurate. One drawback to the study is that it didn't distinguish between women who drank one drink a day for seven day, and women who drank seven drinks in a row once a week. Researchers estimate that 5% of all cancers diagnosed in women is due to low to moderate alcohol consumption. Drinking accounts for 11% of the breast cancer. Two drinks per day increases your risk for breast cancer by 32%. Three of more drinks per day increases your risk by 51%. Also, if you drink and smoke, your risk of oral,throat, and esophageal cancer is increased more then in wome who just smoke.
Michael S. Lauer, MD and Paul Sorlie, PhD who conducted an accompanying study state:

"Even if there are modest beneficial cardiovascular effects, we still don't have a clear picture of the overall risks and benefits of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption," he says. And because heart disease kills mostly elderly women, and because more middle-aged women die from cancer, the findings seem to suggest that the risks of drinking outweigh the benefits in this age group, he says.

"It might be reasonable to suspect that many women in the lay public who are asking physicians about any possible safe effects of alcohol are middle-aged: for this large group, the only reasonable recommendation we can make is that there is no clear evidence that alcohol has medical benefits," Lauer and Sorlie wrote.

Found in previous studies, women have less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. This means drink for drink, women suffer more liver damage and get drunk faster.

On the flip side, the 120,000 strong nurses study (the theory is that nurses report accurately in health studies) showed that women who drink one drink a day live longer. One drink a day (no, you can't save them up for the weekend) is thought to protect you from heart disease, which kills more women (although usually older women) then cancer. Alcohol probably raises HDL (good cholesterol) levels, and reduces inflammation and blood clots. The nurses study showed that moderate drinking cuts your risk of heart disease in half.
It also protects against strokes and osteoporosis.

See the article on Web Md, US News and SF Gate.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler. Back in the 80's, when Cajun food was all the rage, my mom clipped some of Chef Paul Prudhomme's recipes from a magazine. This recipe is adapted from that one. It was made originally from white rice. I always use brown rice. There are better jambalayas in the world, but this is mine.



2 Tbsp butter

1/2 LB smoked ham, diced

3/4 LB boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

3 1/2 tsp Paul Prudohmme's Cajun poultry magic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp sage
pinch of cayenne pepper

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 cup long-grained white or brown rice

2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup tomatoes (I use one drained can)

1/2 cup tomato sauce (one small can)

If using brown rice, preheat the oven to 350. Melt butter (I add some of the butter and continue to add the rest as needed) in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add ham and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and 3 tsp seasoning mix; brown 5 minutes, stirring. Stir in onions, celery, pepper, and garlic; cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in rice, then chicken broth, tomatoes and sauce and remaining 1/2 tsp seasoning mix. Bring to boil.

For white rice: reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For brown rice: after bringing the mixture to a boil, place the covered dutch oven in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until the rice is done.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Iron Chef

I was watching the Chairman on Iron Chef today. I was thinking to myself, I wonder how many takes it takes to film the scenes with the Chairman. If I were a chef on the show (which would require a horrible casting snafu followed by massive firings), I would not be able to keep a strait face. Turns out, neither can the chairman. Check out this video on youtube. (16 seconds)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sodium Suprise

Healthy adults should get no more then 2300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 tsp). You probably know to avoid soy sauce (1160 mg per T), chicken bullion (1,100 mg per cube), frozen dinners (Stoffers Lasagna with meat sauce has 930 mg, some have more), and cured meats.

You might know that these foods are high in salt, but might not know how high.
Ramen Noodle Soup Chicken flavor 770 mg 1/2 package or 1540 mg for the whole package
1 cup Clamato Juice 880 mg
Pickles 1 Vlasic kosher pickle spear (1/4 pickle) 280 mg sodium
4 green olives 330 mg
Schlotzky's Large Original sandwich 4,590mg (about 2 days worth)

But I bet the sodium in these foods would surprise you:
Prego Heart Smart Traditional Italian Sauce has 430 mg per 1/2 c serving.
Aunt Jemima Original Pancake and Waffle Mix has 200mg per pancake.
Chocolate Jello Instant Pudding has 420mg per serving.
Progresso 50% less sodium Chicken Noodle Soup is 470 mg per serving, but more then 1000 mg if you eat the whole can.
1/2 c 1% Cottage Cheese 360 mg
1 c Heart Healthy V8 juice 448 mg
1 Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain White Bagel 440 mg
Tall Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino 220mg
McDonald's Premium Ceasar Salad with grilled chicken has 890 mg of sodium without dressing.
McDonald's Premium Ceasar Salad with grilled chicken has 890 mg of sodium without dressing. (in case you missed it)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Popcorn, Lesson, and a Tips

First, I've decided to list my popcorn recipes separately. The single post was getting too long. The Honey butter post is new. The rest are old and just reposted.
I learned a cooking lesson yesterday. If you take a pan out of a really hot oven, make sure you have a good pot holder. I thought I did, but it only looked heavy duty. When you're cooking over 400 degrees, it's a good idea to uses a oven mitt designed for a barbecue. I was making these pork chops with red onion jam stuffing with port and dried cherries and dates and smothered with bleu cheese. They sound amazing don't they. They look pretty amazing too. Too bad they were a ton of work and just pretty good. I won't be making them again.
Here's my tip. When you do inevitably burn yourself while cooking, ice the heck out of your injury. I prefer to use frozen juice cans to ice my cooking burn. The plastic on the outside protects you a bit from the ice being too cold. Also, you can refreeze the juice cans. I keep switching them out as they warm up. Keep icing your finger for hours until it doesn't hurt when you remove the ice. I wrapped a blue ice block in a t-shirt and took it to bed with me. The several hours of icing payed off. My finger is almost back to normal today. No blister at all and just a little tender.

Honey Butter Popcorn

This recipe is based on this post on slash food. The original recipe uses more butter and honey and the stove. I cut down the butter and use the microwave to make things easier and cut a few calories.

Honey Butter Popcorn
1 Batch of Popcorn (I like white popcorn)
1 T butter
1-1 1/2 tsp honey (I eyeballed about 1/3 to 1/2 the volume of the butter)

Heat butter and honey in the microwave until bubbling. This took less then 30 seconds in my slow microwave. Pour over the popcorn and salt.

Chocolate Almond Popcorn

I make this popcorn in a whirly pop brand popcorn popper. It’s a popcorn popper that you put directly on the stove and turn a manual crank that stirs the popcorn in the popper This recipe is adaped from one in the book that came with the whirly pop.


1 c sliced almonds
1 c chocolate (white, dark, or milk)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c popcorn (I like white popcorn)
1/4 c oil
1/4 c sugar

I add 1 cup total of additions. I'm still experimenting, but I'm thinking of things like nuts, raisins, dried cranberries and pretzils)

Place chocolate chips in the food processor. Pulse a few times until the chips are chopped into smaller pieces. (you can skip this step if you use mini chips. Add chocolate and almonds (and dried fruit or pretzels if using) to a large bowl. Add salt, sugar, oil, and popcorn to the Whirly Pop and pop as directed. Pour immediately into the bowl with the chocolate and nuts. Immediately stir to coat. Once the popcorn is coated, let it sit to cool. (If you can) After the popcorn has cooled it will more easily break into pieces. It tastes much better after it cools and is less messy. Don't forget to lick the bowl. :)

Tobasco Popcorn


I stole this recipe from my neighbor Sue. Just make your regular popcorn with butter and salt. But, before you add the melted butter, mix an equal amount of Tabasco with it. Then add the Tabasco/butter mixture to the popcorn and salt. For the calorie conscious, you can skip the butter altogether and just add drops of Tabasco to the popcorn.

Red/Green Popcorn (or any other color)

You can make this popcorn in red and green for Christmas. The popcorn in the second picture is red, "white", and blue for the fourth of July. You can also make it in a mix of pastels for Easter or in your favorite team colors. I make this popcorn in a whirly pop brand popcorn popper. It’s a popcorn popper that you put directly on the stove and turn a manual crank that stirs the popcorn in the popper.
For Christmas gifts see also my red hot popcorn recipe and my cinnamon crunch popcorn recipe. This recipe came from the cookbook that came with the whirly pop popper.

Red Green Popcorn

1/3 c unpopped popcorn
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c oil
1/4 tsp salt, optional

a few drops of food coloring, optional (use more for blue or purple)

Put all ingredients in popcorn popper (whirly pop). Pop until the popping almost stops and pour into a bowl. Pop only one color at a time and wash the popper before you make another color.

Cinnamon Crunch Popcorn

I make this popcorn in a whirly pop brand popcorn popper. It’s a popcorn popper that you put directly on the stove and turn a manual crank that stirs the popcorn in the popper. This popcorn recipe is my personal favorite. This recipe came from the book that cake with the whirly pop.
Cinnamon Crunch Popcorn

2 tsp cinnamon
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c popcorn (I like white popcorn)
1/4 c oil
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Mix the cinnamon, sugar, and salt and set aside. Put oil and sugar and popcorn in the popcorn popper (whirly-pop). Pop the popcorn until the popping almost stops. Pour into a large bowl and immediately coat with cinnamon sugar mixture. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Red Hot Popcorn

I make this popcorn in a whirly pop brand popcorn popper. It’s a popcorn popper that you put directly on the stove and turn a manual crank that stirs the popcorn in the popper. Red hot coated popcorn. What more could you want. One tip. The spiciness of red hots permeates the air and can get into your eyes. Turn on the fan above to stove as you pop the popcorn. As soon as you are done, run hot water in your whirly pop popper. This recipe came from the book that came with the whirly pop.

Red Hot Popcorn

1/3 c popcorn (I like whites)
1/3 c red hot candies
2 T oil

Place all the ingredients in a whirley-pop popcorn popper. Pop as directed. The red hots will melt and coat the popcorn as it pops.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ginger Ale

A few days ago I saw the Good Eats show on Ginger. I was totally fascinated. Ginger Ale and candied ginger. I made the ginger ale. It's pretty good, but not great. An easier way to make your own ginger ale would be to add the ginger syrup to club soda. I think making ginger ale is fun however and will make it again. When I make it again I will
1) Be sure to follow the directions and cover the syrup while it steeps. Woops. I think that's why my ginger ale doesn't have enough ginger flavor.
2) I will open the ginger ale with extreme caution. I sprayed about one cup around my kitchen in a huge fountain. It looked like someone dropped an Altoids into a bottle of pop.
In the spring, I'm going to try replacing the ginger with rhubarb and to make rhubarb ale.

Ginger Ale

1 1/2 oz finely grated ginger (I used a micro-plane zester)
6 oz sugar
7 1/2 c filtered water (I used tap water)
1/8 tsp yeast
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used bottled)

Place ginger, sugar and 1/2 c water in a 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for one hour.
Pour the ginger syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down to get all the juice out of the ginger. Chill quickly but putting the bowl in another bowl with ice in it or by setting it uncovered in the refrigerator until it reaches room temperature.
Using a funnel, pour syrup into a clean 2 litter pop bottle. Add the yeast, lemon juice and 7 cups of water. Cover and shake gently. Leave at room temperature for 48 hours. After 48 hours open the bottle with EXTREME CAUTION to check for carbonation. If it is as carbonated as you would like, place it in the refrigerator. If you would like more carbonation, let it sit at room temperature later. Store for up to two weeks. Open the bottle at least once a day (very cautiously) to let out excess carbonation.