Monday, August 30, 2010

Cannellini Bean and Roasted Eggplant Hummus

If you've been keeping track (and I'm sure you all are,) I've become a cannellini bean freak. I made soup with them last week and stuffed anaheim peppers with them last month. And this recipe features them in hummus. At the moment, my only complaint about cannellini beans is that my spell check program continues to refuse to recognize cannellini as a word (or maybe it just doesn't like the bean itself, I have no idea.)

Anyway, I'll admit to you that I've never been a really big fan of hummus (another word which spell check doesn't like, by the way) but I've always thought that a true hummus recipe must include garbanzo beans (which I'm not really fond of for some reason.) However, the minute I sub in cannellini beans for garbanzo beans, I become a hummus lover of maximum degree. There's just something about their creaminess that pleases my palate.

The original recipe from Giada De Laurentiis is essentially a good recipe, but I thought it needed a little something extra to kick it up a notch, so I put on my notch kickers and got to work. The end result was a very tasty hummus that I enjoyed with sliced English cucumbers for lunch one day last week.


Cannellini Bean and Roasted Eggplant Hummus (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

1 1/2 pounds of eggplant, trimmed and diced into 2 inch cubes (I used two small white eggplants that I found at the farmer's market last weekend.)
Olive oil for drizzling the eggplant, plus 2 TBSP (Giada's recipe calls for 1/3 cup, but I thought it needed much less than that, due to the already-creamy factor of the beans.)
Kosher salt for seasoning the eggplant, plus 1/2 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning the eggplant, plus 1/2 tsp
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 TBSP roasted garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place eggplant cubes on baking sheet and drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and then season with some kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Roast eggplant in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place the cooled eggplant in your food processor along with the remainder of the ingredients and process until smooth. Garnish with paprika, if desired. Serve with sliced cucumber or your favorite fresh vegetable.

I'm submitting this recipe to this month's Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge at My Kitchen Addiction. (Hope I'm not too late Jen!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet Taters (Grandma's Brag Book)

(A shout out to Chuck and Deb, John and Mary and Dave and Deb for being such fun and entertaining weekend guests. We had a ball. Thank you so much for coming, for letting me feed you non-stop, and for listening to me go on and on about cooking and blogging. I love you guys. I'm sure the neighbors love that I kept you full, sober and sleepy which kept the outside uproar to a minimum. Please come back soon!)

I wasn't going to post tonight until my daughter-in-law sent me this photo of Gavin enjoying his sweet potatoes. Oh my, how much I miss the little guy and can't wait to see him (and them) next weekend. I'll be taking a photo of him enjoying (or spitting out) the strained green beans I made for him last week. Grandma loves you little Bean.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies (Treats for Co-Irkers)

I'm fairly certain that all food bloggers eventually get around to blogging about the world famous chocolate chip cookie recipe from the New York Times. This week seemed like a good week for me to throw in my two cents and tell you what I think about the recipe. And, since these cookies are going to work with hubby tomorrow, we'll be able to find out what the co-irkers think of them too. (They're brutally honest, I'm telling you!)

This review is slightly tainted however, because upon reading the recipe and making my shopping list for the ingredients, I failed to notice that the dough must rest in the fridge for 24 hours before baking. Well, today was going to be my shopping day this week and since I now had to make the dough yesterday in order to bake the cookies today, it was either make do with the chocolate I had on hand, or go to Wal-Mart in my pajamas yesterday morning to buy the special chocolate called for.

In hindsight, which still remains 20-20 even though the rest of my vision has gone to hell in a hand basket, I could have gone to Wal-Mart in my pajamas because if your local Wal-Mart is anything like my local Wal-Mart, you see people in their pajamas all the time. And oddly, what concerns me more than the fact that they're wearing pajamas is the fact that the pajama tops and bottoms don't match. What's this world coming to? And more importantly, why do I even notice such things?

OK, back to the tainted recipe. The original recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate. I had semi-sweet and I had unsweetened chocolate, so I met somewhere in the middle by grating the unsweetened chocolate and combining it with some chopped semi-sweet chocolate and some semi-sweet chocolate chips. That wiped me out of the total 1 1/4 pounds of chocolate I had in the house. Has necessity become the mother of intervention? I'll let you be the judge and decide if I need help.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (modified slightly from the New York Times)

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (I used kosher salt)
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Stir all chocolate into dough using a wooden spoon. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. The original recipe recommends using 3 1/2 ounces of dough per cookie and baking six cookies per baking sheet, but I thought that made for an entirely too large cookie. So I dropped the dough by tablespoonfuls on to the prepared cookie sheet, then sprinkled lightly with sea salt and baked until golden brown, but still soft, 10-12 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 3-4 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

The verdict? I think these were quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. I also think that by grating the unsweetened chocolate, it made for a more consistent chocolate flavor throughout the entire cookie. This is definitely a recipe worth repeating.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quinoa And Feta Stuffed Roma Tomatoes

Four little Romas, pretty as can be,
But not quite enough to make into puree,
Mags says, "Hey, how 'bout stuffing them instead?
Fill 'em up with quinoa and top 'em off with bread."

(crumbs, that is....white gold, Panko tea)

Do you see now why my book pamphlet sticky note of poems has never been published?

Anyway, I had some leftover Roma tomatoes but not enough to cook up into a sauce, so I decided to stuff them. Oh my, they turned out to be a surprising success to me. (otherwise you wouldn't even be hearing about them!)

Quinoa And Feta Stuffed Roma Tomatoes

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked in 1 cup of chicken broth per package instructions
4 large Roma tomatoes
1 TBSP fresh snipped chives
1 TBSP fresh basil, chopped
2 ounces feta cheese
pepper
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 435 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut tomatoes in half, lengthwise and hollow out seeds and any membranes. Place tomatoes cut side up on prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl mix together the chives, basil, and feta cheese. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season all with pepper.

In another small bowl combine Panko and Parmesan cheese.

Stuff tomatoes with quinoa mixture. Top with the bread crumbs. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the tops.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Creamy Cannellini Bean Soup

OK, I'm sensing that the majority of you didn't groove on my pureed, strained green beans post from this past weekend. My grandmotherly instincts took over and I blogged about baby food. I've sunk to a new low, haven't I?

I'm back with a grown up recipe (it even includes wine!) but.... it's still pureed. Are you going to abandon me again or accept that a pureed soup can be a wonderful thing. You see, we grown ups are allowed to add salt, and herbs and wine and all the other goodies that infants can't have, so even though this still may appear to look like baby food, it's not. And when you top it with God's greatest gift since the forbidden apple (bacon!) you end up with a very tasty soup.

Now, I do realize that I shouldn't be posting soup recipes until the weather cools off, but darn it, I miss my soups! I love making them and I love eating them. So if you bear with me for posting a soup recipe this side of Labor Day, I won't report you for wearing white on the other side of Labor Day. Deal?

Make note that I added tomato paste to this recipe as written,but when I made it I used a weak tomato puree leftover from making my tomato sauce last week. My tomatoes were particularly juicy and I hated to waste the tomato water I filtered out of my puree, so I froze it.

Yeah, I save half-used kleenex and twice-used baggies too. However, I do promise you that I stop short of saving my clothes dryer lint for stuffing pillows. One can only be so frugal before it borders on neurotic.... nuff said.

Creamy White Bean Soup

6 slices center cut bacon, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, including leaves, diced
pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
4 cups chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium potato, peeled, small cubed

In large soup pot fry bacon pieces over medium low heat until crisp. Center cut bacon has less fat to render than regular bacon, so you'll want to fry it low and slow. Remove bacon pieces from pot to drain on paper towels. Set bacon aside to use as garnish You should now have about a tablespoon of bacon drippings left in pot.

Add the onion, carrot and celery to pot. Season with pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes. I typically season these veggies with salt as well as pepper while they saute, but the bacon grease is usually salty enough. You can add salt later if needed.

Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, thyme and sage and saute for another minute or two. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken broth, potato and cannellini beans.

Bring to a boil, reduced heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are completely cooked. Check to see if soup needs additional salt. Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and puree. Return puree to soup pot and reheat.

Served topped with a generous (and I do mean generous) amount of bacon crumbles and freshly ground black pepper.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Strained Green Beans (A Labor Of Love)

Makes you want to dig right in, doesn't it? (I'm speaking to the 6-12 month-old readers of my blog, of course.)

My new grandson has fostered a desire in me to make homemade baby food. My daughter-in-law started it off by making Gavin sweet potatoes and I then followed by suggesting I try to make strained green beans. She took the easy vegetable, let me just get that out of the way. There's more to making a creamy green bean puree than just steaming green beans and pureeing them. Here's a look at my counter top when I was finished processing one pound of green beans. The yield was one cup of strained green beans and 439 dirty dishes.

After cleaning and trimming the beans, I then steamed them for about 15 minutes.

I pulverized the crap out of them in the food processor.

But they were still slightly chunky, so I ran them through my sieve. (I thought I was done with THAT thing after I finished my last batch of tomatoes last week.)

One cup of pureed, strained green beans yields 9 ice cubes worth of baby food.

Here's where I ask for your help. I know I have some young mothers (and infants) that follow my blog. Any suggestions, tips and/or tricks would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Treats For Co-Irkers)

This marks the third week in a row that I've made treats for the co-irkers that include peanut butter in the ingredients. Am I a peanut butter freak? Well, yes I am, thank you very much for asking. However, if any of the co-irkers are not fond of peanut butter (or God forbid, allergic to it,) speak now or forever hold your peanuts. That was "hold your PEANUTS," in case you misread or have the mind of a 12 year old boy.

These peanut butter sandwich cookies will delight any peanut butter lover. The creamy filling takes them to a whole new level no doubt, but if you happen to find yourself alone at home while you're making these and promise to leave no evidence behind, I'd suggest you take one and roll it in mini chocolate chips. Go ahead. I give you permission. But only one, OK?

Peanut Butter Cream-Filled Sandwich Cookies (makes 3 dozen sandwich cookies)

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Cream together the peanut butters, shortening, butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the bowl and beaters after mixing. In a smaller bowl whisk together the baking soda, salt, and flours. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. (I used the plunger from my food processor.) Bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Filling

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups marshmallow Fluff
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup powdered sugar
In a mixing bowl beat together all ingredients except for the powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat well to combine.


To assemble the sandwiches:

Take a tablespoonful of the peanut butter cream and place on bottom of one cookie. Take another cookie and place it, bottom side down, on top of the cream-topped cookie. Flatten slightly to spread the cream evenly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homemade Pizza Sauce (And Bagel Pizzas!)

Do you guys remember last week when I was up to my bountiful behind in tomatoes and I promised you a killer pizza sauce recipe if you'd bear with me? I've never lied to you before have I? In fact, the only two places I lie are at the Driver's License Bureau ("of course I still weigh what I weighed when I was 16, so move on to the next question you idiot") and at the doctor's office when he asks me how much wine I drink ("oh well, ya know, just a glass or two on the weekends, doc,") and to be completely honest with you, I'd lie about my weight there too if they didn't make me step on those flippin' scales every time I go!

Anyway, back to my original promise of not lying to you, my friends, my readers. This really is the best pizza sauce you'll ever taste. I'll admit it's rather time consuming, but the end result is a very bold and rich pizza sauce that makes its presence known. If you're a sauce lover, you'll love this, swears.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Approximately 10 pounds of Roma tomatoes (or enough to make 8 cups of tomato puree)
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
2 TBSP dried oregano leaves
2 tsp basil
1 TBSP kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP Splenda (or sugar)
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1- 6 oz can of tomato paste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Core tomatoes and cut in half. Remove seeds. Place tomatoes on baking sheets and sprinkle with one TBSP of the olive oil, 1 tsp of the kosher salt and the pepper.

Place baking sheets in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tomatoes have softened and are just starting to break down. Remove from oven and run tomatoes through sieve or food mill to remove skins and any leftover seeds you may have missed.

You should end up with close to 8 cups of tomato puree. To the puree, add the remaining olive oil, oregano, basil, remaining salt, onion powder, garlic powder, Splenda (or sugar,) and the crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Place a 9X13 glass baking dish in the oven and pour the puree into the dish. Do not try to do this the opposite way unless you want to spill tomato puree all over your new kitchen rug.

Set oven timer for 1 hour. Stir puree. Set oven time for another hour. Stir puree. (do you see where this becomes time consuming?) This step is important however because it is the reduction that gives the sauce its richness. You're going to continue this step until your puree has reduced to about 1/3 the original volume.

Remove pan from oven and stir in the tomato paste. Stir well to combine. This recipe will yield about 3 cups of pizza sauce. I usually freeze this in 1/2 cup portions because that's how much sauce I typically use on one pizza for hubby and myself. It will also be enough sauce to make 8 bagel pizzas.

To make the bagel pizzas, cut four bagels in half. ( I used my homemade bagels, but feel free to use any bagel you like.) Lightly toast the bagels in the toaster then place on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.

Return oven heat to 400 degrees.

Top bagels with pizza sauce.

Then finish topping with your favorite pizza toppings. I used some sauteed peppers and onions, diced turkey pepperoni, olives and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zesty Cauliflower And Tomato Salad

I know that whining about the heat is like preaching to the choir for most of you, because from making my daily blog rounds I'm finding that nearly everyone is preparing food that eliminates the need to turn on the oven or stove. So I'll be different today. I won't whine about the heat. See how grown up I can be?

Instead I'll just promise you that this salad is going to be refreshing and light-tasting and delight all you warm weather whiners.

Let's start with the dressing, shall we?

Italian Dressing Mix (adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP Splenda (or sugar)
2 TBSP dried oregano leaves
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 TBSP dried parsley
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 TBSP kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl. Place in an airtight container and store for future batches of dressing. You're only going to need 1 TBSP for this recipe.

2 TBSP white vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP of the above spice mix

Place ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine. Store in refrigerator until ready to make salad. (It actually tastes better if you can make the dressing a day ahead, but you can also add it immediately to the vegetables as long as you refrigerate the entire salad for several hours to marry the flavors.)

Assembling the salad:

1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup of diced sweet onion
3 medium tomatoes, cored and seeded, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I also shaved a few slices for the top to make it pretty!)

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the vegetables and stir well to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Makin' Bacon

Before you label me as lame, lazy or lacking in posting material, and even though I'll admit to all three of those labels, please remember that there may be a few people out there who have not yet heard about the easiest way on earth to cook bacon.

And really, is there anything more beautiful than a plate full of bacon?

I always use center-cut bacon which is similar in fat and calories to turkey bacon. (You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that little tidbit of information.) I preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. A 12-ounce package of bacon is then placed in a single layer of bacon strips and baked for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.

Then make yourself a big fat BLT. Because it's the right thing to do this time of year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Better-Than-Crack Brownies (Treats For Co-Irkers)

Sometimes you come across a recipe that demands your immediate attention. Maybe you're sitting in rehab somewhere trying to find a substitute for crack. Maybe you're a suburban housewife who just needs a jolt of chocolate and peanut butter. I'm going to leave it up to you to decide which of the aforementioned I am, but in any event, I guarantee you that you're going to adore these treats. I'm hoping that the co-irkers adore them too.

I'm not even going to post the recipe here because I flagrantly and unabashedly stole it from Jessica at How Sweet It Is. I changed nothing in the recipe and the only additional thing you need to know is that you can pass any drug test after eating these.

You may be able to practice some self restraint but I knew IMMEDIATELY that my will power was non existent, so I'll be shuffling these goodies off to work with hubby tomorrow. They can decide if they belong in a crack house or not.

Thanks Jessica for sharing such a great recipe!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This is what I came home to on Sunday when returning from vacation, and since then I've picked that many more tomatoes. You can imagine what I've been busy doing instead of blogging. I promise to have a killer pizza sauce recipe for you as soon as I get the tomato skins and seeds out of my hair and off the kitchen curtains, cabinets and the dog.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crock Pot Pinto Beans (Faux Frijoles Refritos)

I've posted about my crock pot refried beans before but it's been a long while and I'm still recovering from vacation so you're watching summer reruns today folks.

I adore refried beans. I can eat them cold right out of the can. And I can eat an entire can in one sitting. Am I bragging? Hardly. It's just a fair warning to you that you don't want to be anywhere around me the next day, if you catch my drift.

What I love about this recipe is that once you have soaked your pinto beans, the crock pot does the rest of the work. Some veggies and spices are thrown in to enhance the flavor and you'll notice that the only fat included is a little bit of olive oil that the veggies are sauteed in prior to hitting the crock pot.

This recipe is written for a one pound bag of pinto beans but when I make a batch, I usually double the recipe and freeze the leftovers.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 TBSP olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 Anaheim chili peppers, seeded and diced (you could also use banana or jalapeno peppers or a combination, depending on the level of heat you like)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
kosher salt and pepper

Drain and rinse soaked beans and place in crock pot. Add water to cover an inch or so above the level of the beans. Set crock pot on high, cover and cook for 4 hours.

Saute onions, peppers, garlic, oregano and cumin in olive oil until vegetables are softened. Add to crock pot. Season beans generously with salt and pepper and add the bouillon. Reduce setting to low, cover and cook beans for another 6-8 hours, checking occasionally to make sure water level is sufficient. Add more water if needed. When beans have completely softened and started breaking apart, mash with a potato masher or process in food processor.

Serve topped with sour cream, tomato, avocado and chopped green onions, if desired.

Monday, August 9, 2010

She Who Does Shots.. and Giveaway Results

Here's a short story about a little girl who didn't do shots very well as a child in grade school but who grew up to master the art of shots as an adult. It's meant to be a feel good story, for all you parents who are suffering through your children crying as they received their immunizations. Shots are good.... if you can endure them as an infant. Because when you're all grown up, shots take on an entirely different meaning and can either grab yourself a life partner, make an embarrassment of yourself on your Facebook page, or merely put together a scrapbook album for your grandkids to tsk, tsk over. Here is my tsk, tsk photo from my vacation at Put-in-Bay, 2010.

For the record, this particular "shot" of shots was called a shot-ski because the shots were placed in a ski before drinking them.

I'm back from vacation and thanks to all you who entered my giveaway! The winner from random.org is Nanan, and I'm thrilled to have a frequent follower win this giveaway!

Nanan said...

Now that you mention it - I have a futon in the shape of a golf bag that was attacked by a hedge trimmer in my back pocket!!!! Oh wait, there's a hole in there - it must have fallen out! Darn it to heck! I guess I must eat some Dill Dip so I can feel better!

Congrats Nanan....and thank you for following my blog hon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Elephant Stew

Today's guest post is brought to you by Pachy Derm, the executive chef at Chez Tusk, a fabulous eatery here in Indiana. Welcome Chef Derm, and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to post one of your fabulous recipes for my readers while I'm gone.

Greetings everyone! I am most happy to be of assistance to Mags during her vacation and hope and pray that you find this very unique and delicious recipe to your liking. It is a favorite amongst my customers and my family members as well. Especially suited for special occasions, it is well worth the time, effort and love when you witness the reactions of those to whom you serve it. Enjoy it in good health! And don't forget there's still time to enter into Mag's Amazon.com gift card giveaway. You have until Sunday at midnight to enter!


Elephant Stew (yield: approx. 3800 servings)

1 small elephant, scrubbed well (especially behind the ears)
water
salt and pepper to taste
2 hares (optional)

Cut elephant into small, bite-size pieces. This should take about 2 months. Place elephant pieces in extra large kettle. Add enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper and cook over kerosene fire for about four weeks at 465 degrees F. This will serve 3800 people. If more are expected, two rabbits may be added, but do this only if necessary as most people do not want to find hare in their stew.

*disclaimer* For any of you who fail to see that this recipe is a joke and therefore puts no elephants nor hares in danger, please have your funny bone checked immediately by your physician.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Basil Pesto With Grilled Tuna

Hi everyone! I'm Magda D. Lauerentis, host of Everyday Cleavage on the Boob Network and I'm thrilled to be guest posting this week while Mags is vacationing on some tropical island in Lake Erie. This simple pesto recipe is full of flavor and makes use of all that lovely basil that is currently overflowing your summer herb garden. If I'm making my pesto to freeze, I skip the parmesan cheese and freeze the pesto in ice cube trays, or in the case here, my refrigerator egg trays because my ice cube trays have somehow misplaced themselves, most likely ripped off by Rachael Ray (that little tart!) I then stir in the parmesan cheese after the pesto has thawed and I'm ready to use it in a recipe.

Easy Basil Pesto (recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Into the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. With the blender still running, slowly pour 1/2 cup of olive oil. Check for a thick, yet smooth consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.

I served this particular batch of pesto on some grilled tuna steaks (recipe also included on the same Food Network webpage)

And don't forget to enter Mag's Amazon gift card giveaway. You have until Sunday night to enter!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's Make A Dill (Dip)...and a GIVEAWAY!

This is Monte Howl coming to you from Let's Make A Dill (Dip.) Welcome to the show!

(APPLAUSE sign lights up)

First off, I need to know who has a hedge trimmer, golf bag, or a futon in their purse or pocket. Because if you do, you automatically win this week's prize, complements of Mags, that gal over 50. If not, you're going to need to leave a comment to enter into this giveaway. And that means ANY comment whatsoever for all you shy folks out there who hesitate to comment. Ms. Mags, that fun-loving babe who is off somewhere drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas and most likely practicing unprotected text, has generously handed her blog over to me and asked me to offer this $50.00 Amazon.com gift card to one lucky recipient. The winner will be randomly chosen at midnight on Sunday, August 8th and will be announced on Monday, August 9th's post. Good luck and don't forget to leave a way for Mags to contact you if you win! Due to Amazon.com's restrictions, this giveaway is only available to US residents. (Deepest apologies to all of you who follow Mags from outside the US.)

Let's Make A Dill (Dip)

1 cup reduced-fat mayo
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 TBSP dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp Season Salt
1 TBSP dried dill weed
1 TBSP dried parsley

Combine all of the above ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Serve with an assortment of fresh cut vegetables.