Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Italian Nachos and Pay it Forward

A year and a half ago when I published this chicken recipe, I received this comment:

I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I left out the onions because they are gross, and used two giant bone in chicken breasts, but the results were amazing - super tender chicken, crispy skin and melt in your mouth potatoes.

Thanks for the recipe for this great Sunday Night Supper!
They even shared this version of the recipe  on their blog. Little did I know that this was the beginning of what is called a blogger friendship. Speaking for myself, I must say that bloggers don't often get paid much, if anything at all. I blog because it is a way to relate stories to my kids and also because it is a good place to find my recipes. It is kind of my filing cabinet, don't ya know?

Don't get me wrong. It would be thrilling if I could actually make enough money to treat myself to a massage now and then, but for me, I often get paid in other ways. Yes, I do receive samples and "stuff" here and there, but one way I get paid is by the friendships that are started virtually. No, it isn't the same as being around the corner and stopping over for a stick of butter, but it is comforting to know that people I have never even met can become a friend. Biz of is one of those. There are other bloggers I have had the pleasure of meeting, and I hope there are many more, but I have yet to meet Biz. I have no doubt though, that one day it will happen.

Biz wrote a blog about my blog a few months ago and ever since then I have been trying to figure out how to pay it forward. A few things I've learned about Biz: Biz does talk about everything she's been going through. But she doesn't make a big deal of it. Her blog always talks about food and the way that it relates to her diabetes. She usually posts her calories and how many steps she did on her Fit Bit. (I really want one of those.) Biz always talks about exercise, whether doing it or not getting it done! And last, but not least, Biz often talks about her daughter and her husband, Tony. Biz handles everything that comes her way with such grace and humor and positive energy. And Tony interjects sometimes with his dry wit and love stories about Biz. And OK... Biz loves cloud pictures and snowmen! This is such a positive blog and since I am not always the most positive person, Biz's blog always makes me appreciate what I have and how I could be doing better.

Well, Tony has been having to go up to Mayo's a few times this summer for issues that sound quite serious to me. Biz appears to handle this with her positive aplomb, but if it was me, I'd be doing some serious worrying. If she is, she certainly isn't showing it. Biz is the kind of person that when Tony was in a hospital in Illinois, she organized a drive to get used videos or DVD's sent to the children's ward because they hardly had any to watch. If I recall, she ended up receiving  many donations from all over the US.

So, in the interest of paying it forward, I've got two things to request:
#1 - Just check out My Bizzy Kitchen. It's a lot of fun and always starts my day off on a positive note. And Biz writes almost every day so that's a good thing for me!

#2 - Biz and Tony have been staying in Extended Stay America when they go up to Mayo's. To make a long story, short....umm, shorter...Biz entered a cooking contest that they had, and her entry is now in the finals. The winner receives $5000 which I know would really help Biz and Tony out. After all going to Mayo's isn't cheap. So go vote for Biz's entree. Do it now. Well, maybe after you finish reading my blog.  Help her win! And Biz...Just so you know-you are amazeballs!

Now, for the recipe of the day. I came up with it because I think it is something that Biz will like. She always features her breakfast which is usually something with eggs or Chobani or cheese. She loves cheese. And she loves hot sauce. And she loves pizza. I never knew diabetics could eat all that, but she does! Biz hates onions. And Tony hates spicy food. So the below recipe tries to accommodate both tastes.

I hope these Italian nachos satisfy. I grilled them because Biz loves to grill. I left off onions because they hate onions. You can add hot sauce if you want it. I served them to Manservant for lunch and he approved them. I don't think they are awful in calories because I used fresh, low fat mozzarella and I wanted to use more, but I didn't. They were filling and hearty and good. Enjoy them, after you go vote for Biz. Click here and do it!

Italian Nachos
Yield: 2-4 servings or maybe just 1
Time: About 15 minutes Time to eat: Maybe about two!

44 tortilla chips (corn or flour)
4 oz cooked Italian sausage, chopped
1/2 of a chopped pepper
1/3 c mild Italian pepper rings, drained and chopped
1/2 c of your favorite spaghetti or tomato sauce (I use this)
4 oz fresh mozzarella, crumbled
1 T chopped basil
1 1/2 t dried oregano

Lay your tortilla chips on a shallow baking sheet. (I used a grill pan because I grilled these.) Top with sausage, both kinds of peppers and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with basil and oregano. Grill on low for 5-10 minutes on a preheated medium high heat grill. OR- Broil in the oven for a few minutes until cheese melts or bake at 375 for about 10 minutes until cheese melts.

Serve with your choice of hot sauce-or not!

Other great dishes:
5 Incredibly Quick Appetizers
Chicken Scarpariello
Chicken Artichoke Mushroom Casserole
Ziti Al Fresco
Chicken Artichoke Dip Baguettes
Chili Three Ways
World Peace Cookies

Monday, July 28, 2014

Honey and Cream Baked Bread and a #Whole Foods #Giveaway

There aren't too many things sweeter than honey-except perhaps your own honey! Whole Foods is promoting honey this summer and one can't promote honey without promoting bees.  This honey and cream baked bread is sure to hit the spot. Thank the honeybee for about one third of your diet. Bees pollinate more than 100 different crops in the US today and bees are disappearing at the rate of about 30% annually. Pity the poor worker bee. Besides dealing with pesticides on a daily basis, and a lack of natural landscapes, parasites are also helping decimate the poor honeybee. 

So...Let's Share some Buzzzz...Whole Foods has a great site with great facts on what one can do to help the poor honey bee. One thing I intend to do is plant more flowers. That really isn't a problem for me as I love flowers and have plenty of room to grow more. What I didn't know is that bees tend to only travel within 3-5 miles of their home. And those bees are female bees. They are the worker bees. And we all know how hard these girls work! It takes over 150 trips to a flower or tree to produce just one teaspoon of honey.

Denver has several bee farmers in our area. Take a look at:
Highland Honey Bees Artisanal hand-crafted honey made in Boulder County.
Madhava Honey Born in Boulder, CO in the 1970s, Madhava makes natural sweeteners that offer healthier alternatives to highly processed sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Clarke's Honey Farm – Located in Ft. Lupton, CO, Clark’s produces honey in various flavors including Wildflower, Clover and Orange Blossom.

Fall is usually the time I do honey recipes. It is traditional for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashona) to make honey cakes. Honey symbolizes a sweet new year which is something we all wish for. Right? I'm not ready to make honey cake yet, but I did try this recipe that has been one I've wanted to do for awhile.

It is one that can be embellished or left as is. It is perfect to showcase whatever variety of honey you may want to try. Lavender or orange honey would be great for this bread, but I used the Whole Foods 365 variety. You could also add cinnamon or vanilla or even maple to your cream and have a great flavored bread. This honey and cream baked bread is a kid pleaser and I'm sure the same concept could even be applied to leftover bread. 

Whole Foods is giving away 1 $25 gift card to help fill your basket.  All opinions expressed are mine, baby. All mine. This giveaway is easy to enter as long as you live in the US. Giveaway closes on Aug 6th, 2014. Subscribe if you don't want to miss the announcement of the winner or tune in on August 7th  to see if you won!  The winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator! So now, to enter: (dahdah, dah, dah, de DAH!) Enter once by leaving me a comment and telling me what your favorite way to use honey is. Enter twice by subscribing to This is How I Cook. Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter. 

Honey and Cream Baked Bread (Serov Hatsi Kadaif)
Yield: Serves 6-8
Adapted from: 2002 Gourmet
Active Time - 15 minutes

1 9"  Firm Bread Round about 9" diameter and about 3" high
2 T unsalted soft butter
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 c creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 350. Cut crusts off of bread round. Butter all sides of bread. Place in a shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven, turning over once, until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.

Stir together honey and lemon juice. (See flavoring ideas above.) Poke holes close together in top of bread round. Spread honey mixture on top of bread, then spread evenly with creme fraiche. Let sit 10 minutes. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Feel free to baste the bread, if the honey and creme slide off. This should get crusty with sweet toasted goodness on the outside and be bready on the inside.(I used to make my kids toast with butter and honey. This reminds me of that, but not as messy!)

Other Sweet Things:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Everything But the Bagel Scrambled Eggs and a Real Breakfast

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, when it is a REAL breakfast. Often times it is just oatmeal or yogurt, which is fine, but to me, it just isn't a REAL breakfast. A REAL breakfast has eggs, and toast and hopefully potatoes and bacon or sausage or biscuits or waffles or pancakes or even French toast. And fresh OJ. Well, fresh OJ doesn't happen often and often enough REAL breakfasts don't happen either.

A REAL breakfast makes teenagers get out of bed at a reasonable time on the weekends. A REAL breakfast makes everyone happy and ready to weed the garden. Or clean the garage. Or their office. Or their basement. Or do their homework. Yes, REAL breakfasts do work a certain magic on everyone. So thank goodness for Sundays and REAL breakfasts. Well, not even all Sundays, but sometimes some Saturdays, too. 

So Sunday came, my weekend edition of the WSJ was waiting to be read, the coffee was made, and I was craving bagels. But my kitchen was lacking bagels. Didn't have any. Didn't want to drive and get some. So I created these eggs. And they are pretty good. The good thing is they are quick and easy to make. So easy; I could, at least if I wanted, make them during the week when there often isn't time for a REAL breakfast. (Would have to skip my time allotment for the WSJ, though!)

Anyway...I had everything I needed for lox and bagels, but I had no bagels. So I made the eggs. And I flavored them with everything that would go on a bagel including the topping on an EVERYTHING bagel.You didn't see that coming, did you? Well maybe you did. Okay. Here they are. Let's keep this short and sweet, people. It's just breakfast, after all. But a REAL breakfast and that counts for something!

What is your favorite thing to eat for a REAL breakfast?

Everything But The Bagel Scrambled Eggs
Yield: Serves 2
2 T butter
4 large eggs, whisked well
2 green onions, finely chopped (keeping some for garnish)
1 tomato, rough chop
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 1" cubes
2 oz hot smoked salmon, flaked into pieces
2 t drained capers

Everything Seasoning Mixture: Use it all

1 t sesame seeds
1/2 t poppy seeds
1 t dried minced onions
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt

And for a future recipe thought: Next time I plan to use bagel chips and stir them in. Kind of like Jewish migas! Will let you know...


Melt butter in skillet over medium low heat. Add the eggs and let them slowly cook on bottom while folding them into the center of the pan. Do this all around outer edges of pan. When eggs are almost cooked to your liking, fold in the green onions, chopped tomato, cream cheese cubes, salmon and capers. Stir in the seasoning. Cook a few seconds until all is warm. Serve on an everything bagel. Gotcha! I didn't have any, remember?

More REAL Breakfast things:

                                                                 Colorado's Best Hash


                                                  Red Chile and A Breakfast Sandwich 


                                                               Shakshuka in Purgatory

                                                                        Tortilla Espanola   

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Halloumi and Oregano Shrimp Or Pass the Fried Cheese, Please!

It has been a long time since I visited Chicago. I miss it. Not only do I miss the wide open spaces-well, there used to be-on the drive from O'Hare to Kankakee, but I miss Chicago itself. I love the Windy City and finally I will be visiting again, but it won't be until January. Not exactly the best time of year to experience Chicago, but family obligations wait for no one! I believe we'll go back in April for another. As my brother pointed out, this is a big year for our family. 4 B'nai Mitzvahs, 1 new baby and 1 wedding. None of this directly in my nuclear space-thank goodness, as I'm still not ready for the last two!

One of my favorite experiences in Chicago is dining at the Greek Islands. As a teenager,we often stopped there to eat. Because it is on the South Side of Chicago, it was convenient from Kankakee. Not only was the food delicious; eating at a big Greek restaurant is fun. The OPASthe saganki, the family style HUGE meals and the great waiters, make the place very lively. Everything is superb. I also loved their skordalia-the Greek garlic dip. OMG. Just slather that on my body when I die, and I'm sure I'd be preserved forever. 

One of my favorite things to eat at Greek Islands was the saganaki. Fried cheese. Two words that shouldn't be allowed to be close together. Having saganaki is one item on my "Last meal to eat before I die" list. We all have those don't we? Well, it probably should be one requirement on the list, "How to be a Foodie". In any case, I love the stuff. And it is pretty pathetic that I can't remember the last time I had it. I believe someplace in Denver has it, but I'm sure it isn't as good as the Greek Islands. I, however, would be happy to be a guinea pig and give my honest opinion!

Well, onward. Trader Joe's opened close by, so I discovered they sold halloumi cheese at about half the price of my favorite grocer. Same brand and everything. Yes, it totally now makes preparing halloumi, so much more enjoyable. I hated spending $10 just to make fried cheese. Thank you Trader Joe's. But eating fried cheese just seems so decadent... So bad for you, even if it is topped with heart healthy olive oil. So... I decided to make it as a main course in order to count those calories in a better space.  So.. I made it with shrimp, the cholesterol free kind. Don't I wish? And I served it with white rice-the whole grain kind. Don't I wish?

What can I say? Manservant loved this recipe. I did too. Tomorrow we are eating greens and whole grains the entire day. I promise...

Halloumi and Oregano Shrimp

Yield: 1 Manservant, 1 Wife (Preferably 4 servings)
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c white wine
1 t oregano
Pinch of Italian chili flakes
16 - #21-25 large  raw shrimp peeled
4 oz halloumi - cut into about 1" cubes
1 lemon, cut into quarters

1 c dry rice - prepared in your favorite way

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until softened, and not golden. Add white wine, oregano, and chili flakes and bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and when they are just starting to turn pink, add halloumi. Let simmer a couple minutes, but don't overcook the shrimp, and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Spoon rice or pasta into pan and mix it all up. Serve and yell OPA!

More Good Things to Try: 
Mussels in White Wine
Chicken Scarpariello
Carne Asada
Blueberry Chicken Pesto Salad
Blackbottom Chocolate Cake

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's For Dinner or Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

It's 4:30 and I have no clue what I am making for dinner. This happens most nights, I do admit. Last week before leaving for Phoenix, I made this grilled pizza on na'an bread. The week before I made this same pizza for an appetizer for happy hour. Maybe tonight I will make this pizza again, but I am out of mushrooms. Shoot! It is a good pizza.

Now I'm not one to post a lot of pizza recipes. I figure that pizza is kind of an essential in life and that most of you already know how to make it or bake it, but most especially, eat it. When the kids were home we tended to eat Bobolis probably once a week. Probably on a Sunday night. Probably because they were easy and deliciously good. Just like these na'an breads which when placed on the grill to bake, keeps the kitchen from getting hot. I mean, we don't have ac, just a swamp cooler, which works pretty good except when it is sweltering hot.

Speaking of sweltering hot...Phoenix was hot. Yeah, you know-a dry heat. Well baby, I don't care what kind of heat it is, anything at 109 degrees is hot. And put yourself in a garage packing boxes and it is even hotter. Luckily, my folks have a pool so my sister in law and I took a break and jumped in. It felt good, but even it could have been cooler. We worked our butts off, (even though mine is still there) and hardly made a dent. This is a huge process and we are just starting to get organized. I told my mom to figure on taking only one out of three items, but I'm not sure she is buying into this concept, which will probably mean sorting out on the other end, too!

To tell the truth, I came home exhausted. I'm sure some of it is because it is hard to go back to having parents again. You know what I mean, don't you? I must watch what I say, because my parents actually read my blog! So I will let you read between the lines or below or on top, but I just want my parents to know that I am always available even if I am a plane ride away. The phone is even closer!

The highlight of the trip wasn't deciding what furniture went where or to who. The highlight came on the last morning I was there. Man, Diane, you are going to be bummed that you missed this. Look what was at my parent's front entry? Look again. Yes, a bobcat for those who don't know. And before I scared it running to get my camera, it was nursing three kittens. Before that, one was laying in the tree, just like at the zoo and the other was sleeping on the ground, while Mama Bobcat was on the other side of the wall. We didn't know there were three, until we saw them nursing. 

But back to pizza, because I don't know what's for dinner tonight. I expect it will be something that begins with the letter "P", because that is usually what I cook when there is nothing in the house. And Manservant did not maintain the refrigerator - or the floors- for that matter; but the dog is still alive. I am eternally grateful. And actually he did start decluttering his office and I am quite proud of him. Keep up the good work, honey. No reason to stop now!

So before I get to something pasta, I'll give you something pizza. This is a perfect dish to use that truffle oil on that you have lurking in your cabinet or fridge. (It should be in the fridge!) You know the oil you bought because everyone says it is so good and then you couldn't figure out what to do with it? Well, this is what you do with it! I also use it on popcorn with parmesan cheese, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and roasted chicken. It is that something extra that no one can quite put their finger on.

Buy a good brand. I am lucky enough to find mine at a Middle Eastern market and it is not so expensive. It reeks of truffle and so many don't. Many are processed and only put the essence of truffle in. You want truffle in this oil. I believe the one I use is a combination of both. I also use truffle salt that I buy at Savory Spice. This is great stuff, too. If you don't have either, this is still good pizza. Just use a good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt on top at the end. The important thing is just to grill this pizza and enjoy. After all, that's what pizza's for, right?

Grilled Wild Mushroom Pizza

Yield: 2-4 servings


1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 c chopped onion-white or red (You may saute these with the mushrooms or sprinkle some raw onion on top after they are grilled.
8 oz baby bella mushrooms - cleaned and sliced
3.5 oz fresh shitakes - cleaned and sliced (Feel free to use some dried reconstituted ones along with some porcinis, if you have them)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan
4 oz goat cheese
4 T truffle oil
Truffle salt
Fresh chopped parsley and chopped green onions for garnish

2 na'an flat breads


Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet. Add chopped onions and saute until softened. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms have released their juice and the pan is dry- about 5-10 minutes.  

While mushrooms are sauteing, start preheating your grill. Heat it to medium and oil the grate. Brush each na'an with 1 T truffle or olive oil. Sprinkle each with about  1 1/2 T of Parmesan. Top each with 1/2 of the mushrooms. Top each with 2 oz of goat cheese. Turn preheated grill down to low. Place na'an pizzas on oiled grill grate. Grill covered for about 10 minutes or until sufficiently browned. Watch carefully for hot spots on the grill, so that your pizza doesn't burn. You don't want them to cook too fast so adjust your grill accordingly. They should be golden on the bottom of the bread. Bread burns easily, so watch diligently!

Remove from grill and drizzle each with about 1 T of truffle oil. Sprinkle each with another 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.  Sprinkle lightly with truffle salt, if using. Garnish with parsley and onions. I use kitchen shears to cut these each into 4 slices.

Other good things to try:

Avocado Corn Soup
Spinach Salad with Za'atar, Dates and Almonds
Hearts of Palm, Avocado and Orange Salad
Magic Cookie Bars
Quick Chocolate Cake
Donburi Bowl
Za'atar Chicken Flat Breads

Friday, July 11, 2014

Red Onion, Blueberry and Pesto Tart and All's Well

So here it is, the middle of July and I am heading to Phoenix for a few hot days. And I mean hot. I hate leaving Colorado in the summer, but it has been hot, even here. My parents are downsizing and moving into a house less than half the size of what they are now in. They are moving to a senior living community and honestly, I think there should be a better name for these places. You might say I have very bittersweet emotions about this, but it is their decision and nothing can stop them now!

Needless to say they have a lot of decisions to make, and a lot of things to find homes for. Or donate. Or keep. Who knows? Which also might mean some new things for me and some things for the kids. Which also might mean that I have a lot of cleaning and disposing to do, too. Not that that's a bad thing. Shoot-my house is still smaller than what they are moving into!I have a feeling that this will be the first trip of several, that I will have to make.

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes to Alex and also to me, on how to survive. Well, this blog is one way I survive, so thanks to everyone who reads my trivial pursuit! Alex arrived safely in Shanghai and is now brushing up his skills in a language class. What's next, I couldn't tell you. He hopes to find something in the wine industry and has some connections, so we will see.

Before I leave I wanted to pass this recipe your way. It is a great puff pastry tart that is perfect for a light dinner, accompanied by a salad or perhaps some gazpacho. It is also perfect for a nice appetizer when company comes. I made it for the 4th of July and brought it to my friend's home, where it was quickly devoured. I thought it might come out red, white and blue, but because I used pesto in the filling, it didn't remain white. I did use red onions though, and blueberries, so it was patriotic at heart. 

Feel free to use whatever kind of pesto you have on hand. I used my lemon oregano pesto, which tasted great. Adjusting the toppings for your own taste is also easily done. I served this at room temperature but it smells so good when it comes out of the oven that it is hard not to dive right in. The blueberries were an after thought, but the tartness of the berries combined with the sweetness of the roasted onions, was a luscious duo. So sit back, make yourself a cocktail and have a bite or two of summer!

Red Onion, Goat Cheese and Pesto Tart
Serves: 6-8
2 medium sized red onions, unpeeled, and cut into 12 wedges (You want the root end on the slices so that the onions look like fans when they are finished roasting.)
3/4 t dried oregano (optional)
3 T olive oil
1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed (half of a 17 oz package) 
1 egg, beaten to blend
8 oz soft goat cheese
1/4 c pesto - your favorite kind
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a large baking pan, or use parchment or a silpat pad. Toss onion wedges with oil in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled the onions with 3/4 t of dried oregano, because I used oregano pesto. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and bake until bottoms of onions are golden and onions are soft, about 25 minutes. Cool.

Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to a 14x11 inch rectangle. Trim edges nice and straight. Cut 1/2 inch strip from each side of pastry forming a 13x10 rectangle; reserve strips for sides. Transfer rectangle to a large baking sheet. Brush edges with some beaten egg and reserve remaining egg. Place strips on edges of tart, creating a border. Trim strips and press gently to adhere. Pierce bottom of pastry all over with a fork. Bake until edges puff, and pastry is golden, about 15 minutes. Place on rack to cool. Using a metal spatula, loosen pastry from baking sheet. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 350.

Stir cheese,  pesto, and cream in medium bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in remaining egg. Spread cheese mixture evenly over bottom of cooled crust. Remove peel and stem end from roasted onions. Fan wedges, golden brown side up on top of cheese. Dot with blueberries.

Bake tart until crust is brown and cheese appears set, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on rack to room temperature. Garnish with herb of your choice. Cut into squares and serve.

Other Great Summer Appetizers
Caesar Salad Crostini and 4 Others
Saigon Crunch Chex Mix
Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
3 Assorted Mezze
White Beans and Red Peppers

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oh My My and My Mom's Secret Cole Slaw Recipe

Oh my my. 

 My head is in a tizzy and my mom's secret recipe is no longer a secret. But then if you read the last post her ice cream habits are not either! What isn't a secret is that Alex is finally off to China. After two years of working hard, he has finally flown away. For a brief 15 minutes we worried that he wouldn't make his flight leaving from Denver, as Southwest had cancelled flights last night due to heavy storms. At 5AM this morning the lines were incredible, but due to Manservant's savvy in negotiating lines at airports, Alex managed to check his bags and make his flight. Currently, he is over the ocean on his way to Hong Kong with his final stop in Shanghai. I think he knows his way.

He is not taking the "Odesmobile".

He is not taking a boat.

Oh my my. I can still boogie if I try.

How long he will be gone is anybody's guess but he is hoping it will be for an "extended period". I am not good with the word, "extended period". I like dates and times and conclusions. But Alex's life just has chapters and that suits him fine. It actually is OK with me, but I am not good with open books especially when I don't have a date that I will see him next. And therein is the quandry with the word "extended period". I am sure I will see him several times during the "extended period", but not knowing when is my dilemma. Oh my my.

Before Odie San left Vail he threw himself a party. An oyster party. I have never seen a 23 year old throw himself an oyster party, but this was the photo he posted on Facebook. 

I wish I would have gotten some photo tips from him. Yes, my boy likes to go out with style. He certainly did not learn how to eat oysters from me, as I am not an oyster eater. He did leave some for Manservant in his Odie ice chest, that I hope are still alive and that I can throw on the grill tonight.  That means I must open the ice chest to check to see if they are still alive, and I am a bit leery of what I might find! Oh my my.

My intention was to give you this fabulous cole slaw recipe before said boy arrived home with his other home in his car. That home is now spread through out THE HOME, and to say I have been distracted since 4th of July is not an understatement; which is why this secret cole slaw recipe has been secret since then. Well, really since way before then, but you wouldn't know that would you? Oh my my.

And so it is. Off he goes, as the world still spins. Babies are born. Missiles land. Parents move. Daughters get interviews.  And life goes on. Chapter by chapter. Oh my my. Please pass the cole slaw.

Note: My mom made this cole slaw - a lot! She always used purple cabbage for as long as I can remember. She sometime used too much celery seed, but that is up to you to determine. People loved her cole slaw. My mother in law requested this recipe some 32 years ago. Here it is, Maw. Enjoy.

This keeps its crunch for at least a few days in the fridge.It seems like a lot of sugar and it is, but in my opinion is not too sweet. It is great on a hot dog. It is great next to fried chicken. Or next to corn on the cob. It is great in a boat or on a plane. In a car or on a bus. Oh my my. You can boogie if you try!

Mom's Secret Cole Slaw
Serves 10-12
Time: About 15 minutes
1 large head shredded, purple or green cabbage (Buy in a bag or grate your own. Mom  used to chop it in the food processor.)
1 large chopped onion
1 c sugar

Dressing Ingredients:
1 c apple cider vinegar
3/4 c salad oil (I used canola)
2 T sugar
1 t celery seed or to taste
2 t dry mustard
1 t salt

Pour sugar over cabbage and onion and mix well. Let stand while you make the dressing. Bring dressing ingredients to a boil and boil for one minute. Pour over cabbage mixture and stir well. Let marinate for several hours before serving - or not. This tasted great even within an hour! Oh my my!

Other Salads to try:
Kale Salad with Cherries, Almonds and Feta
Farro Summer Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Kohlrabi, Fennel, Cabbage Salad with Lemon Maple Dressing
Spinach Salad with Za'atar, Dates and Almonds
Macho Salad

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Maple Salted Macadamia Ice Cream and Ice Cream Memories

Anyone that has looked at the calendar today, knows it is July 1st. Besides being very close to my official halfway point of summer, it is also the beginning of national ice cream month. Now that's a fact you need to know, right? I used to think ice cream season started around daylight savings time. That was when my parents used to take us to the Dairy Queen, which was a big deal. It was always after dinner because the sun stayed out  late. I remember the long lines, and seeing everyone you know doing the same thing. Would it be a cone, a sundae or a shake? For me it was a DQ sundae with hot fudge. And no, I'm not sure if I liked the ice cream more than the hot fudge.

Kankakee had two Dairy Queens, which made it quite a metropolis for ice cream. We also had a Howard Johnson's, but we only went there on very special occasions. It wasn't until Baskin Robbins opened up, that we realized there were other kinds of ice cream. Things like Jamocha Almond Fudge and Butter Pecan were my mom's favorite flavors. I usually liked the Double Fudge Brownie or something like that. My father never got anything. Party pooper.

I was often told by my grandfather that he could have been Mr. Baskin or Mr. Robbins. It seems that when he left Lithuania behind in 1938, he also left a thriving shoe repair business and an ice cream business. He used to claim that he had 32 flavors; not 31. I never thought to ask what they were. Shame on me. Oh, but he loved telling us those two things, and always with his blue eyes sparkling.

Now my kids were raised with ice cream surrounding them. We did the Dairy Queen thing, which my son called Fairy Queen. He really thought that was their name until he learned how to spell. We thought it was cute, so never corrected him. We had Baskin Robbins and Bonnie Brae, TCBY and  Coldstone. Then when the kids were in high school and could drive, there became a slew of frozen yogurt stores that opened, that they drove themselves to.

Which reminds me of when I first got my drivers license. That was  long before cell phones, but in our house we had a children's line. I can remember my mother, who totally loves ice cream, calling me in the basement or party room, on the children's line, and asking me in a very soft voice, if I would mind running to Baskin Robbins and getting her some Jamocha Almond Fudge. Then she would tell me not to yell upstairs when I got home; she would know when the ice cream had arrived by the sound of the backdoor opening and slamming.  I'm always one to keep a good secret, so I'm not sure that my father ever found out why she snuck downstairs in her nightie. Whoops. But I never let on about the giant Hershey bars found in the back of the freezer or sometimes in her lingerie drawer. Double Whoops.

My favorite flavor is always something to do with chocolate, but I love Chunky Monkey. Manservant loves most all fruit flavors but he also loves Phish Food. And Zoe, well Zoe loves it all. She leans toward fruit, but when she was young she loved bubblegum or mint chocolate chip, or any of those neon colored flavors that TCBY had. And Alex is simple. Give him chocolate. A good man, that Alex.

So what is your favorite flavor? Make sure to get it soon. Ice cream month is upon us!

A few notes: Maple syrup is expensive, as are macadamias. You can get maple syrup at Costco or Trader Joe's. Macadamias can also be found at Trader Joe's or your regular grocery. This is a decadent ice cream!

Maple Salted Macadamia Ice Cream
Time: About 30 minute for nuts and ice cream
Yield: About 1 1/2 quarts

1 c salted macadamias, roughly chopped
1/3 c maple syrup - grade B - if possible

2 large eggs
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c maple syrup - grade B - if possible
2 c heavy cream
1 c half and half or milk

Nut Praline Directions:
First make the nut praline. Heat 1/3 c maple syrup over medium high heat. When syrup begins to boil, reduce heat to medium. Allow syrup to boil and thicken for 10 minutes, swirling pan to keep it from burning. Remove from heat and add nuts. Stir well with a metal spoon and then pour onto a pie tin and place in the freezer to harden and cool.

Ice Cream Directions:
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light, lemony and fluffy; about two minutes. Whisk in sugar and maple syrup, until completely blended. Pour in cream and milk and whisk some more. Make sure all is happy and well mixed.

Place ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker. Turn on machine and let spin until it starts to slow down. This took about 15 minutes for me. At this point, break up your frozen nuts and add them to the ice cream maker. When all are swirled in, stop machine. Scrape or spoon ice cream into a 2 quart container and place in freezer for about 4 hours. 

Things to eat with ice cream:
Strawberry Crepes
Belgian Liege Waffles
Not My Mama's Cherry Pie
Strawberry Spiral Biscuit Pie
Chocolate Crumbs
White Chocolate Milk Crumbs
Oatmeal Crunch
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake