Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I CAN bake!

Over and over I have stated that I am not a baker. Cookies though are not too hard to do. When I was a kid I used to make Snickerdoodles a lot because they were yummy and the ingredients were so basic that we always had everything you need to make them on hand. I have not made them in YEARS though. I found this recipe on Slashfood It sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try. I will have to say though that unlike regular snickerdoodles, you might have to stock up on spices to have the things you need on hand. I for one had to purchase Cardamon which is NOT cheap. I will be looking for some more recipes that call for that so that I can get my moneys worth before it gets too old sitting in my pantry. These cookies are sort of spicy and have a unique unexpected flavor. I was not sure I liked them at first but they really grew on me. I will say though that they were the absolutely best texture of cookie that I have ever baked!!!! They were very crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. They kept a nice texture stored for about a week. Though they definitely were still good almost 2 weeks after baking. I did not get pictures of the cookies but I do have pictures of a nifty gift Idea for them. I placed the dry ingredients in 3 ziplock bags and put them into a Chinese take out Gift box. (You can purchase these at the craft stores)It is a tight fit but it can be done. I will be adding instructions and giving these as gifts to my friends. Kind of a variation on the Cookies in a Jar gift. I would definitely recommend giving these a try!
Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 ts vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
Preheat over to 350F. In large mixing bowl, stir together sugar and spices; set 1/2 cup of the mixture aside. Add butter to mixing bowl and cream with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa powder, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder by hand or at low speed. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in reserved sugar mixture. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on wire rack and store in an airtight container. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cocktail Time!!

Friday night was my almost annual Christmas Cocktail party. I had a fabulous turn out of about 30 people coming and going. I had a brief moment of panic right before the party, thinking that I did not have enough food. I came up with a couple of back up plans that I could whip up really fast if it looked like the food was getting low but convinced myself that I always end up with WAY more food than I need.

I went for elegant this year. I sat up an official Bar AKA my desk and Made Roasted Pear and Cranberry Bellinis for the guests as they came in and there was lots of wine and liquor also.

I kept all of my serving dishes crystal (ok, mostly glass) or silver. I opted to use clear plastic plates but real glassware. It all turned out beautifully but man was that alot of dishes to do and my dishwasher, AKA my daughter, managed to skate out before clean up time came.

I came up with a fun idea that I am going to make a tradition. I put a guest book in the bathroom with a note encouraging people to leave me a message but never said a word about it. It made it a novelty rather than a boring task. I got some great, funny comments which is what I was going for. I hope that next time more people will find it and leave me their thoughts.

Only two minor mishaps #1 setting off the smoke detector when I tried to reheat the chicken on the same broiler pan that it was cooked on and #2 my Beautiful Ice bowl melted all over the table (what was I thinking?) But neither one put a damper on the party!

One of the most popular Hors d'Oeuvres was one of the easiest. I saw the recipe on Paula Dean. I don't make a lot of her dishes because they are a little too southern for my taste and usually contain alot of butter But this one caught my attention right away and I am very glad I made it. It is a little time consuming but very easy. I think it will be one of my staple party foods from now on. Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe so here it is.

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)

1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken wrap on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Note: after 35 mins the bacon was still not crisp enough for my taste so I stuck them under the broiler for a few minutes. You know I had to change SOMETHING!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Food for thought

No fancy pictures today. If you happen to also read my Myspace blog then you can skip this one because its a repeat from there. After I read this post I realised that it belongs on here because after's about food. Two of my loves in life are cooking and writing which is why I have 2 blogs. I think I am much better at cooking than writing. I look at it as Cooking as something I do for other people to enjoy and writing for myself to enjoy. For the most part just venting of my feelings is what I am after but I love it when I feel like something I have written really captures what I am feeling.

My First Chakra
While delivering tins of goodies to the ER, my partner (for the day) asked "Why do you do this?" He went on to say I need to "stop being so nice." It was a compliment. This person knows that my ultimate goal is to start a catering business, to actually get paid to do what I love which is cook. It just so happens that a few other times he was my partner I was working on projects a wedding for a friend, making appetizers for friends events. He got the opportunity to taste test for me and keeps encouraging me to take steps to start the business.
But all that aside, it got me thinking about why DO I cook and give it away to others (a lot) ? I have come up with several reasons.
1. I just love to cook and it gives me opportunities to try out new recipes.
2. If I keep all of the stuff I cook in my house, I will be as BIG AS A HOUSE!
3. I enjoy getting compliments on my cooking.
4. Hopefully people tasting my food and knowing I am interested in cooking as a business will eventually lead to people hiring me to do it.

All of those things are true but there is something else too. A while back I read a really interesting book (hold on long title coming) " Invisble Acts of Power , Personal Choices that Create Miracles" buy Caroline Myss. It was a very spiritual and uplifting book that encompasses many religions and beliefs. It draws from and quotes Christianity, Judism ,Buddism as well as other religions.It talks about Karma and Chakra's I don't know if I really subscribe to all of that but I felt like it took the best from all beliefs and it was a book that really made me think more about things I do and what effect they have on other people. But I digress
One of the chapters in the book is titled Gifts of the Earth. Of course Food being a Gift of the Earth. I feel like 2 quotes from that chapter really hit the nail on the head when it comes to me ..and cooking and giving food. So, Bill here are my reasons.

" We can reach out to people through food because food is one gift of the heart that so easily can embrace the intention of the heart."

"A man once asked the prophet what was the best thing in Islam and the latter replied, It is to feed the hungry and to give the greeting of peace to those one knows and to those one does not know." - Hadith of Bukhari

Food for thought (Pun intended)- Hunger is not always a physical thing and the food is not always the actual gift.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chocolate Porn

Ok, again its been a long time since I have posted. I actually have been doing a ton of cooking just not had time to post. I am beginning my yearly holiday sweets overload. Even though I maintain I am not a baker I do make several kinds of cookies. My concentration though tends to be on candies. I make many many pounds of fudge! In fact I get requests for it all year but I only make it between Nov and Dec...That's what makes it special! I traditionally make some for the emergency department and each person on my shift as well as a general tray for the rest of the EMS department. I don't think I do anything out of the ordinary. I use the basic recipe on the back of the marshmallow cream jar. I do use different kinds of chips and add ins though. I still think the peanut butter is the the best and I probably get the most requests for this.
Last year I started making bon bons which though are a little time consuming but are ridiculously simple.
Bon Bons
pkg of oreos
1pkg of soften cream cheese
1 pkg of chocolate chips

Place oreos in food processor and pulse until they are completely ground. Mix oreos and cream cheese. Chill for about an hour for easier handling. Roll into walnut size balls. For easier dipping I recommend freezing. Melt chocolate chips ( I prefer dark chocolate) in microwave (I recomend doing about 1/2 cup at a time 30 second intervals, stirring in between till smooth) or over a double boiler. Let the chocolate cool down just a little before dipping in the cookie balls. Cool on a parchment paper lined tray. These freeze very well.
Variations: ENDLESS there are several different flavors of oreos and of chocolate chips! You could also add a splash of your choice of extract flavor too the cookies.

These are very rich! One or two with a cup of coffee is divine and very satisfying. But be aware addicting ...You are likely to be ready for another in an hour or so!

My son likes them undipped which makes them even more simple!

I am currently working on truffles which has had it's ups and downs. I made a pumpkin truffle which didn't come out so hot, likely due to my ..hmmm "what if I don't measure and just add whatever I want to this" attitude. I finally came up with one that although was Very tasty I just don't think had the WOW factor that makes it worth my time. I think I will stick to the fudge and Bon Bons.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Yesterday my friend Savanna and I went to Salsaritas for lunch. It was pretty good and the servings were GINORMOUS! The salsa had a pretty good little "bite" to it but it really got me craving some really good Pico de Gallo. I was going to make it last night but my neighborhood grocery store did not have any ripe avocados. So, before I came home from work tonight I stopped by the BEST store in Fayetteville where they always have GREAT produce. They of course DID have ripe avocados. They even had the black skinned ones that I like ( as opposed to the bright green ones that are harder even ripe). It is unusual for me to come home and cook after working 12 hours but I was REALLY craving this. Besides, it is not really cooking, just a lot of chopping. This recipe is totally simple and any of the ingredients can be adjusted to your particular taste. I like LOTS of cilantro in mine!
Pico de Gallo
3 ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
Cilantro (about 1/2 of a bunch)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-2 jalapenos
1 ripe avocado
juice of 2 limes
1tsp salt
Quarter tomatoes and gently squeeze to seed then dice to taste (depending on how chunky you like) dice onion and avocado, mince garlic. Finely chop jalapenos (the seeds and ribs are the hottest part of the pepper so if you want less heat scrape these out). Mix all ingredients in a bowl add salt and lime juice. Let stand for about 15 mins. I think a bowl of tortilla chips and a nice frosty Margarita would go just fabulously with this! It also is a great topping for fish. Personally I can eat the stuff by itself especially if you add some cooked shrimp to it. I almost forgot ..quite yummy over scrambled eggs! Did I mention I REALLY love Pico de

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Leap of faith

When you hear what I have made today, I will bet that your first thought is going to be "EWWW!!!" I am not sure what made me think that this really MIGHT be good. I figured it would be interesting to say the least. I suppose I took the risk just because I like ...No love, Basil. (Just in case you have not noticed this already). AND I have a lot of basil growing in my garden and I am not sure how much longer it will last. So, open your mind. Last week I made (drum roll..........) Basil Ice Cream. Ok, I will give everyone a minute to wrap their minds around this......................................................................................................................................................... Hear me out! Basil is in the MINT family! The finished product actually tastes a bit like Mint Chocolate chip but it has a fresh twist at the end. A small scoop of this at the end of a meal is a light refreshing dessert. Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be running out to the store at midnight to get my basil ice cream fix or anything. My favorite is still Ben and Jerry's Triple Brownie fudge. But, I do think I will make it for my next dinner party. If for no other reason than to have fun seeing people's reaction to it. I think it is something interesting and something people will talk about. So here is the recipe, I got it from The Food Network (of course) It was on Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. I cut the recipe in half and just made a pint for the trial run. YEA, I WAS SCARED! Plus 8 cups of basil is a lot..Even if you grow it yourself. I think I will make a quart soon though so I have some on hand for people to try out. So here it is I DARE you to try it!
Basil Ice Cream
8 loosely packed cups basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon powdered vitamin C
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup shaved, bittersweet chocolate

Blanch the basil leaves in boiling salted water for 5 seconds, then place in an ice bath. Drain and wring the basil dry in a dish towel. Chop coarsely.In a food processor, puree the basil with salt, vitamin C and just enough softened ice cream to make a puree (about 3 tablespoons). You should have about 1 cup basil puree. Add the remaining ice cream and puree. Quickly take the finished pureed ice cream and transfer it from the processor back to the freezer container. Add chocolate and mix in thoroughly. Place container in freezer. Freeze for at least 1 hour
Notes: That is the original recipe ( of course) I made some changes. I used regular kosher salt, I used Fruit Fresh instead of Vit C powder although I think if you eat it the same day this really is not necessary at all and I used a Hershey's Special dark chocolate bar and grated it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anyone out there????

I am probably going to be writing this to myself because if there was anyone reading my blog before I doubt they are now. I can't believe it has been almost 2 months since I have posted! I have cooked but I guess not anything I felt was good enough to post. I have been working on A recipe for a Chicken contest. I am sure that you would get sick of hearing about the same dish over and over again. I know I am getting sick of eating it! Besides ..If I post it here someone might STEAL IT! I KNOW that this blog is SO well read that SURELY there are spies out there looking for my perfect recipe!
Anyway, on to some dish on food (rim shot) I love to go out to eat for breakfast more than any other meal. In fact a breakfast or brunch buffet is my all time fave. I like so many breakfast foods that making a feast at home is WAY too much work. I want the biscuits and gravy and eggs and bacon and potatoes and waffles and fruit! BUT, for a good omelet..I want to make my own. That's because to me the EGG is only a background for my veggies and cheese. I love a HUGE omelet that is literally BURSTING with Peppers and onions, mushrooms and what ever other veggies I have on hand. I love it to be ooooooozing with ooey gooey cheese. This morning I decided to use feta cheese and I added some basil (of course when do I NOT add basil) and sundried tomatoes. YUMMM! What I really wanted in it was some fresh SPINACH! This ban on spinach is killing me. BRING BACK MY SPINACH!!! I was going to add some frozen but Alas, I have used it all working on my contest recipe (OOPS , forget that you read that looking over my shoulder for spies).
So, I know this is no culinary masterpiece but it was a nice hearty breakfast and something to get my blog up and running again.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Trifling Dessert

So, can anyone tell me HOW...just HOW do you transport a trifle bowl? The only way I can think of is if you have someone hold it. What if you don't HAVE someone who can hold it?I can tell you how NOT to transport a trifle bowl. You DEFINATELY should not transport a trifle bowl in floorboard of you car. EVEN if you are holding on to it with one hand while driving! Because when you let go for a NANO-Second to answer your cell phone...even with one of those high-speed MCDonalds looking ear-piece thingys it WILL, I repeat WILL ,fall over and land on the floorboard of your car. Rendering an afternoon and several $$ completely wasted! It will also put you in a VERY VERY bad mood!!!

I was so excited. I was going to a dinner party and I decided that this Peach Melba Trifle sounded scruptious! I envisioned ohh's and ahh's from the other guests! I imagined moans as they took the first bite! imagined, "Oh, Sindy you are SUCH A GOOD COOK!" I got none of that ...what I got as I carried in the half empty, dasterdly trifle bowl with what now looked the birthday cake of a 1 yr old AFTER he smeared it all over himself. Were pitiful looks ...pats on the back , and "I am sure it will still taste wonderful" There was a enough left in the bowl to try. But it was could be the best thing in the world ..but it just wasn't the same.

Ok, I did try it and it was good ...sigh ! Really it was ....sigh! OK, I just can't stop pouting enough to be objective. I would recomend that you try it ..the ingredients will tell you that there is no way that it wouldn't be good. But I WILL advise you that you should make it and SERVE it in the same location!
The only good thing is ...I actually had the presence of mind to take a picture of it BEFORE I left home. So ...YOU get to see it BEFORE it became a pile of mush! Pitty that my friends did NOT!
Peach Melba Trifle
6 cups Frozen sliced peaches (defrosted)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs Fresh squeezed OJ
Zest of 1 0range
1/8 gound nutmeg
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
2 TBS raspberry Liqueur
1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam
1-16oz pound cake cut into 1/2 in slices
1/4 cup water
1 large pkg instant vanilla pudding prepared as directed except replace 1/4 cup of milk with 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier .

In large bowl combine peaches , sugar, oj, orange zest, nutmeg and 2TBS of the Grand Marnier. Stir well and set aside
Combine Raspberry Liqueur and jam and set aside
Place layer of pound cake in bottom of trifle bowl. mix remaining Grand Marnier and water, brush onto pound cake.
Spread 1/3 of jam mixture onto cake, Spoon 1/3 of pudding mixture on top and a layer of peaches ( removed from juice with slotted spoon) Repeat for a total of 3 layers. Chill for 1 hour.

I made some adjustments to the original recipe which I got from "Perfect Party Food" It actually had a recipe for a vanilla custard flavored with the Grand Marnier. It also called for topping it with 2 cups of heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks. I had plans to top it with store bought whipped cream ..but did not get that far ...SIGH It was also supposed to be refrigerated for at least 8 hour but I did not have time for that. ....SIGH! Did I mention that Trifle bowls by there very nature are TOP HEAVY??????

Monday, July 24, 2006


Despite working all weekend I actually managed to do a lot of cooking. On Saturday I catered a dinner for my co-workers before I started my 12 hr shift. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I have no ACTUAL EVIDENCE of this you will have to take my word for it. We had Margarita Chicken, which is really just another recipe for chicken marinade . I just broiled it and served it with a lemongrass and ginger rice (box mix from Harris Teeter YUMM!) but you could also grill and afterwards do a wide variety of things with it like add to a salad or fajitas. I got good reviews from my co-workers. Proven by the fact that the container of left overs that I went back to get at the end of my shift had disappeared. Then again those guys will eat anything! I also made a Trifle with lime and angelfood cake ..along with the other usual suspects like whipped topping and cream cheese. I will post that recipe later as again, I have no pictures and since it was an has no catchy name as of yet.
WHAT do you ask does any of this have to do with my title or the picture ? Not a darn thing I was just showing off my SUPERCOOK abilties to work 36 hrs AND get my cook on. Are you impressed? ..NO? Awww darn ( looking forlorn and dejected). Ok, well let me get on to my actual post topic.
Sunday at Church we had a Luau and contest for the best Hawaiian dish.
So I poured over my cookbooks and searched the internet for days looking for something that looked yummy, yet different. I ended up at the food Network and Emeril was kind enough to provide a recipe for Molokai Sweet Potato Salad. Initally I was not sure that I liked it but after it had a chance to sit and the flavors mingle I liked it a lot. I guess I expected a sweeter flavor but it turned out to be more Savory. The sweet potato did not take on that usual "Thanksgiving" flavor and the pineapple was very subtle. It was a refreshing change of pace and I would have to say that I have not ever tasted anything similar. Considering my love of food and willingness to try just about anything, that is quite an accomplishment. I would recommend that you give this recipe a try if you are planning a Hawaiian type meal or any casual meal that might include pork. The flavors are not too strong so unless someone has a strong aversion to the individual ingredients it should be a dish that is pleasant to most palates that are at least moderately adventurous. Much to my dismay the contest was not carried out due to lack of voting ..I guess no one wanted to compete against me (wink wink).
Margarita Chicken Marinade ("Perfect Party Food" cookbook)
1/4cup olive oil
1/2 cup OJ
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup gold tequila
1/2tsp ground cumin
1canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Place chicken and marinade in ziplock bag and let marinate in Fridge for at least 4 hrs or overnight. Makes enough marinade for about 12 chicken breasts. Broil or grill chicken until juices run clear Garnish with fresh cilantro and slices of lemon, lime and orange.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I love creamy, decadent foods. Who doesn't? But I have noticed that in my day to day cooking I really swing the other way. Especially in the summer time. I crave things that are light and fresh tasting. This is why I love fresh herbs! My other love is citrus, lemon and lime especially. My absolute favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie. Depending on the recipe this can be creamy and decadent too, but the lime just gives that fresh, light burst of flavor that to me, is heaven! I was browsing through some recipes and came across a simple recipe for a marinade. It was specifically for pork chops but after tasting it I think it would be wonderful on chicken also. Of course, I can't ever make a recipe EXACTLY how I find it so had to tweak it up a bit by adding the lime zest and rice wine vinegar (actually it called for more lime juice than I had which was the real reason for the vinegar). The zest in citrus is where all that intense flavor lives and it's my personal opinion (for what THAT is worth) that it is simply a waste to not use it. I was in a hurry and did not marinate the pork chops as long as it called for and I broiled them. Let me just say they were delish! I think left to marinate all day or overnight and tossed on the grill would make them even better. BOTH of my children complimented them ..that is a miracle in itself!!!!!!

zest of one lime
1/4 cup fresh sqeezed lime juice
2Tbs honey
1/2 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
2 cloves of garlic,minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (milder than regular)

Place ingredients in a large ziplock bag add pork or chicken, give a shake and let marinate for at least 4 hours. Remove meat from marinade. Discard marinade ( if you want to baste meat reserve a little marinade BEFORE adding meat). Grill or broil meat until done.
I served this with a lemon-grass and ginger rice (yes, I cheated! It was from a box) and a salad of fresh spring greens. Perfect summer dinner!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Confused Salsa

I was in the mood yesterday for some fruit salsa. My recipe was inspired by the recipe from "Pampered Chef" but of course I had to make it my own. It turned out pretty tasty so I took some with me while visiting a friend and between that and grazing on it everytime I passed the fridge yesterday, It was GONE before I went to bed last night. Low and behold my daughter liked it!!! My son's comment was that it was like picking up the wrong drink. Evidently his taste buds were confused by his eyes. He was thinking regular salsa That's ok ..he is easily confused. He said it was not bad but he did not eat any more. He said not to be offended. I told him I would never be offended by his opinion of anything I cook because has has NO TASTE! He was offended.
So, I decided that I would make some more . I tweaked it up a bit more today although I am not sure that the extra work of the cherries was worth the effort.
As a tribute to my son I will call this CONFUSED SALSA. I served it with cinamon tortilla chips I made by giving tortillas a light spritz of cooking spray, sprinkled on some cinamon and sugar then baked at 425 for about 8 mins turning over half way through. I am a big yogurt eater and I prefer to get vanilla yougurt and add my own fruit. I thought this would be really good in it.It would also be a nice filling for Crepes or topping on french toast or waffles.

Confused Salsa
1 pint of strawberries
2 Granny Smith apples
2 Kiwi
1 cup cherries
1 nectarine
2 oranges
3 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS dried Mint

Dice strawberries add brown sugar and mix. Peel and dice nectarines kiwi and apples add to mixture. Pit and chop cherries (optional). Zest one orange and add the juice of both oranges to mixture. Add Mint. Stir well. Cover and chill for at least 1/2 hour. Serve with Cinamon Tortilla
chips or as a topping for ice cream, french toast or yogurt.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

No Talent, just pretty

Is that not pretty? Doesn't it just look YUMMY? I just got my shipment from William-sonoma with my Pineapple and Mango slicer and had to try them out. The Pineapple cutter I would definately recomend! You just slice off the top and screw it down into the pineapple and it is perfectly cored and sliced. If you are careful (which I was not) you will have an intact pineapple shell that you can use to serve your fruit salad or make cool frosty Drinks (Do, you like Pina Coladas...and getting caught in the rain...). The mango slicer also CAN work very well ...sliding down over that tough pit and leaving two halves that you can just turn wrongside out and slice off the peel. HOWEVER, you have to make sure you have a nice shaped mango with the stem in the center (Which I did NOT) Anyway this is just a basic tropical fruit salad. Pineapple , Mango , Papaya, Kiwi and Bananna.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Techical Difficulties

Here is the pictures from the previous post. Hopefully next time I can get them TOGETHER
Tortellini with Dip Recipe Courtesy of Indyfoodie

Stuffed Cucumbers

Savory Ham Cheescake

Monday, June 26, 2006

We interrupt this Diet for a Wedding

DISCLAIMER:I have been trying to keep my recent posts healthy and on the lighter side. But for me denial does not work. I have to give myself permission to occasionally be "bad". So please heed this disclaimer. There is NOTHING healthy or light in today's recipes. There are no LOWFAT, or LOWCAL or Fat Free ingredients. Today is about creamy, indulgent foods.

I love my job as a paramedic;but after a back injury I have come to the conclusion that I need to start exploring "back up plans" I am not looking to leave EMS in the near future but I can't physically do this job until retirement (Which at the hospital I work at would be about another 20 yrs or so) One of the "Second careers that I am exploring" is Catering. I got my first opportunity to try my hand at this yesterday. A lady in my church recruited myself and my friend Savanna to be in charge of food for her wedding. Estimated number of guests 200. I honestly had no idea how to figure how much food that was going to be. So, I concentrated on the menu and let Savanna take the lead on that stuff. We also had prep help of two other women Susan and Lila(who were also in charge of decorations). We worked great together and could not have pulled it off without the whole group along with the MANY other people who pitched in on the day of the wedding for all of the final setup. We pulled it off without a hitch and had lots more food than we needed which we felt was better than the alternative. Tons of compliments and most importantly the Bride was very happy! I learned a lot and have a starting point for my next endeavor.
The menu was heavy Hor d' Oeuvres. We had alot of the usual suspects like veggie trays meatballs and finger sandwhiches but I really wanted to do some special, elegant things that would hopefully, knock the socks off of the guests. One thing a little different ;I did I credit to a fellow Blogger Indyfoodie, was tortillini with dip. We had to modify the dip because the bride wanted to avoid anything with nuts and guess what, Pesto has nuts. So basically I used all the ingredients of pesto sans the Nuts. It was really nice but I think her original recipe would be better and hope to get to use that next time.
A recipe for Savory Ham Cheese Cake I found in "A Taste of Home" magazine. It was very elegant and was all that I had imagined it would be. I plan to keep it as one of my top signature dishes.
Savory Ham Cheesecake
3cups Oyster crackers, crushed
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup melted butter
4- 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups(8-oz) shredded swiss cheese 2 cups finely chopped cooked ham
1/2 cup snpped chives
1/4 cup fresh minced basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
Combine crackers,parmesan and butter. Reserve 1/4 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a greased springform pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low until just combined. Add remaining ingredients
and beat until just combined. Pour mixture into crust. Sprinkle top with remaining cracker crumbs.
Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 60-70 mins until filling is almost set. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven with door ajar for 30 mins. Cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Serve chilled or at room temp. with assorted crackers. About 40 servings
Visually, I think the most popular item was stuffed cucumbers, inspired by a wedding episode of"Semi- homemade" on Food Network. I did not however use Sandra's actual recipe. It is a Sindy original if I do say so myself was a great success.

Stuffed Cucumbers
12- english cucumbers
4- 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup drained and finely chopped roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 cup snipped chives
Beat all ingredients except cucumbers and place in a pastry bag with a large star tip
Run a grater or zester randomly down side of cucumbers to make a nice pattern. slice cucumbers very about 1 1/2 inches. With a small melon baller or grapfruit spoon make a small hollow inside of cucumbers. As you are cutting place cucumber slices upside down so that liquid does not pool inside. Pipe cream cheese mixture into cucumbers mounding it up well over top of cucumber. These can be made the night before. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Aprox 100 slices

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Wrap

Ok, Ok I know its been awhile since I have posted. Hopefully, I still have some readers left. I have been busy doing all that summer stuff. I recently came back from a long weekend at Myrtle Beach. I did make my weightloss goal before I left but... With dinner one night at the Melting Pot (YUM!!!) and another at Captain Georges seafood buffet and snacks and cocktails(lot's of cocktails) I am afraid to get back on the scales until I get back to my good eating habits for a little while. This wrap was inspired by the Thai tuna from Roly Poly one of my favorite "fast food" places. I have tried about half the stuff on the menu and have NEVER not liked something and I feel like I am giving my body something healthy as they use lots of fresh ingredients. I usually opt for extra spinach on my wraps to add bulk and help fill me up. Sorry about the picture quality. I took the pictures then ATE THE WRAP and THEN looked at the pictures. Let's just say it tasted better than the pictures look. Sweet and Spicy Tuna wrap
1/2 cup (total) cubed mango, pineapple and avacado
1 Tbs minced red onion
1 Tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 pouch Sweet and spicy tuna
4 Tbs shredded sharp cheddar cheese
baby spinach leaves
alfalfa sprouts
Mix together fruit, onion and chilli. Layer spinach on each tortilla. Place half of tuna on each tortilla. Spoon half of fruit mixture on each. Top each with half the cheese and a handful of sprouts. Roll tightly. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Basily Good Idea

Some of you may have already heard me say that I like to add Pesto to my Ranch dressing and I will say again it is soooo Yummy. BUT...... I am trying to cut calories and fat these days so adding pesto with all that olive oil is not helping that (although olive oil is heart healthy ..still adds the calories) . I can't stand the taste of any "white" fat free stuff (mayo, ranch, sour cream , ect....) I will eat light versions of these but there is just something "off" tasting about the fat-free stuff. Catalina, French , thousand Island are all ok fat-free. Anyway, I digress. I love ranch on my salads but also for snacking with carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes, ect... So, here is my latest experiment. I would not make more of this than you plan on using in a day or possibly two. I am not sure how well the basil will hold up in this for longer. Thinning the dressing out a little makes that 2TBS serving of dressing go a little farther without adding as many calories ( for dipping veggies you won't miss the thickness). The basil makes up for the flavor loss.

Light Creamy Basil Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup Light Ranch dressing
2 TBS skim milk
1-3 TBS Fresh basil leaves finely chopped
Mix together and let hang out for a half hour or so to give the basil time to permeate the dressing.

Here Fishy Fishy

Good News! I am happy to report that I have lost 6 lbs!!! Whoo hoo!!! I have been really sticking to my good eating habits. I have added tons of veggies to my diet (raw for the most part because they are more filling and easier for snacking) No special meals but trying to make lower fat and carb choices (but still eating normal food) and strict portion control. I am allowed a snack anytime I wish but it is fruits (usually 2 a day) or Veggies (unlimited). I am also working on getting more dairy with yogurt and an occasional 1/2 cup of low-fat ice cream (vanilla with a handful of blueberries is my favorite) This is the secret for me ...Working on adding good stuff instead of concentrating on eliminating bad stuff. If I eat all of the good stuff I am supposed to ..There is not much room in there for the bad stuff. People at work are making fun of me and my never ending lunchbox of food (mostly veggies) but HEY ...IT WORKS FOR ME!!! I also go for the "eating from the rainbow" thing, this helps with taste boredom and takes advantage of all the different vitamins and anti-oxidants from different fruits and veggies.Last night I made fish which I love but don't eat that often because my children won't eat it. This recipe was inspired by an episode of "Good Eats" with Alton Brown. He did a fish in parchment paper. I have to say this is a quick and painless way to cook fish. There is no mess and it does not smell up the house as much as other cooking methods. The other thing is it comes out SUPER MOIST. I have done this with a variety of fish (salmon, talpia, tuna and this time Mahi- Mahi) and veggies. My favorite veggies to put in it are Sugar snap peas(but I ate all of them with my hummus, thanks INDYFOODIE that was a great idea) and carrots but I was out of these so I went for what I had on hand. INGREDIENTS: Fish Fillet (Mahi- Mahi is pictured) ,1 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained, 1/4 cup jullienned carrots ,1/4 lemon, salt & pepper to taste, dab of butter ,Parchment paper Tear of about and 18 inch piece of parchment paper. Fold in half and cut into a heart (just like you did in grade school). Unfold and place spinach on 1/2 of paper near fold. Add a dab of butter.salt and pepper to taste. Place fish fillet on top of spinach. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add another dab of butter. Squeeze lemon over top. Fold paper over and starting at V of the heart make about 2 inch folds over laping each one by 1/2. When you get to pointed end twist. Place on microwave safe plate and NUKE for 4 mins. TA DAHHHH ! Perfectly cooked fish with no fishy smell in your house. I served mine with Rice. I would have preferred Brown rice ..But ...I REALLY need to go the store! Note: Alton added a splash of Vermouth to his. The last time I made this I used a splash of Bacardi limon which added a nice depth to the flavor but I totally forgot it this time.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Please, NO PICTURES!!!!!

Over the last few days there have been several instances where I have had my picture taken or viewed pictures of myself and I will tell you I have been LESS THAN PLEASED with what I have seen. So, at this time when I am grumbling and fretting over this I get an Invitation to go for a "Girl's Weekend" at Myrtle Beach. Oh yeah ...Not to mention that BIG 4-0 is lurking right around the corner ...CAN THINGS GET WORSE??? I am not someone who has that one downfall food. I don't particularly like fried food. I don't eat tons of sweets. Not a huge junk food eater. I just LOVE FOOD!!! My love of food and cooking is definitely getting the best of me. I have contemplated the plans where you get the prepackaged meals but then, not only would I be miserable because I can't EAT what I want, I would be doubly miserable because I could not COOK.
OK,OK I have done this before.I am a weight-loss EXPERT! Really, I have lost TONS of weight....It just keeps finding me and bringing friends back from where ever I lost it too. A few years ago I lost about 40lbs. I did it by eating TONS of veggies in a rainbow of colors. Fish at least a couple of times a week and practicing good portion control in everything else. I did not cut OUT a single thing and I let myself have at least a small portion of anything I wanted. OH YEAH ..And I exercised my butt off. So, my first goal is too lose 10lbs by my beach trip next month. I figure I have a little over 3 weeks(26 days to be exact). Not a cake walk (ohhh cake) but definitely doable!
So, hopefully my posts will reflect my goals and give me incentive to come up with interesting meals that are healthy. It's so easy to slip into that rut of eating salad all the time because it's easy. I know from experience that doing that is a surefire way to bore me off track and right into a dish of Stuffed shells with 4 cheeses. (Forgive me Rachel it was SOOO YUMMY).
So, I am going to eeeeease into this. For Sunday dinner today I am made a really colorful and flavorful Spinach salad. BUT.... I still made dessert(can you say PORTION CONTROL??)It is a favorite of mine called Blueberry Delight. I got this recipe from a friend in PA many years ago. I love to make it for picnics and it is my 4th of July dessert because to me it looks so so so ...I don't know, Patriotic I guess. I have made some changes to try to cut the calories a little. The taste was still great but it made it a little unstable and did not set up as well so the look when it is cut, suffers a little. The original recipe calls for an entire box of Powdered sugar which I cut to 1 cup. I substituted fat free cream cheese and light Whipped topping for the full fat versions. All in All I would call it a success! Like I have said before I am not a baker so I use store bought angel food cake. If you are feeling froggy you can bake your own, but why?
Here are the recipes. I hope you enjoy and please make comments. I need all the encouragement I can get.
Spinach Salad
2Tbs Sesame oil
1/4 cup Veg Oil
1/4 orange juice
1 Tbs dijon Mustard
2Tbs Red wine vinegar

Chicken breast (1 small per person) chopped into bite size pieces
Fresh Spinach washed and dried (use the bag its easy)
Mandrin oranges, drained
Fresh strawberries, quartered
Hard boiled Egg
Red Onion Finely chopped
slivered almonds
poppy seeds

Whisk first 5 ingredients together until emulsified. Place Chicken Breasts and about 1/4 cup of dressing into a ziplock bag and let marinate for about an hour. Drain Chicken. Place chicken in a skillet with a drizzle of oil(or non-stick spray) and cook through.
Arrange spinach, fruit,onion and eggs on plate and top with chicken. Drizzle with desired amount of remaining dressing. Sprinkle on Almonds and Poppy seeds.
For a quick version I also love the store bought Raspberry Vinegrette Dressing (fat free of course) and the store bought roasted chicken.

Blueberry Delight (slimmed down version)
1 pkg fat free Cream Cheese,room temp
16oz container Light whipped topping thawed
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (Bar type) Angelfood Cakes
1 10z can Blueberry Pie filling

For ease of cutting place the angel food cake in the freezer for a couple of hours (not required but you will thank me). With electric mixer mix Cream Cheese and powdered Sugar. Fold in Whipped topping and mix just until incorporated (don't over beat). Slice cake into 1inch slices and place half in a 9x13 inch pan. Spread 1/2 of the mixture over cake, place another layer of cake on top. Spread remaining mixture on top. Spoon on thepie filling evenly then carefully spread trying not to disturb cream cheese mixture below. Chill for 1 hr.

Note: This would make a beautiful trifle bowl. I would add a layer of pie filling in the middle, if you wanted red white and blue you could even use strawberry for one layer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Life has been a little hectic in my house lately so I have not posted anything new in awhile. In fact except for Lasanga for My friend SueEllen I have not really cooked anything of substance in a while either. My children have been living on left overs (the lasangna was good for a couple of meals), take out and frozen food. Between my job my, my son's job and my daughter's social life there really has not been one day this week that we have all been home. I feel like SUCH a bad Mother!
One of the things that has had me busy this week is National EMS week. Yesterday we had Nice Picnic of sorts. My co-workers Jessica and Jesus did the planning for this I just helped out with ordering the cake and setting up. In past years we always have the same thing, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with the ususual suspects for side dishes. This year though we were lucky enough for a REAL treat. "Kinlaws" was kind enough to donate the food for us. Classic southern fare. BBQ, fried chicken, hushpuppies, green beans, corn on the cob. They also provided all of the paper products to go with it along with sending it in food service insulated box thingys(I am sure they have a name but I have no idea what it is). We were all quite impressed and greatly appreciate their contribution it was WAY more than expected! One of our co-workers, Vertel made a TON of Ribs! They were to die for! I am definitely going to ask her for her recipe and if she gives it to me I will post on them more later. The cake, I ordered from My friend Vince at "Parties To Go" he gave us a nice discount on an awesome cake. We opted for half Choc/chocolate pudding filling and half White/Strawberry filling. Though we had a lot of people, I have never been to an event where ALL of the cake is eaten. Especially where there is so much other food present. I saw no one taking the usual dainty slices (although dainty certainately would not describe this crowd anyway) and MANY people coming back for seconds and thirds. I will have to say that the cake was a definite success and a confirmation that Vince has something out of the ordinary going on. Just ask Rental provided us with the Bungee Run which was quite comical and had me flat on my back (literally) laughing hysterically. Its a HUGE blow up thing with 2 lanes. Each person is attached to the end by a bungeed harness. You then race as far as you can down the lane and try to place a block on a velcro pad. The object is to try to get your block farther than the other person. One you let the block go the Bungee cord WHIPS you back, hence the lying on your back an laughing hysterically. Once this happens ..Who won is irrelevant!They also provided the Toss and burst. This is an improved version of a dunk tank. On person sits under a basket which holds a balloon filled with water (although you could fill it with all sorts of disgusting stuff a la Double Dare) and you toss a ball at a target and if it hits then a spike breaks the balloon over the persons head. One of our supervisors, Calvin was a great sport and let us underlings take out our aggression on him. It took a couple of rounds to get the hang of it so someone had to "TEST" the target to make sure it was working properly(wink wink) After that he endured several more rounds of soaking. A slide show was another source of entertainment,it included candid shots of members of our service on an off duty. We are an odd lot and tend to stick together, often vacationing and celebrating life events , several are even married to other emergency service people and medical personnel. Geeze, you would think that we would want to get away from each other once in awhile. EMS tends to be a way of life for many of us and we are one big family with all the usual idiosyncrasies. We were also Lucky enough to get a visit from John from Oldies 96.5 who provided us with some great music. I think that a good time was had by all who attended, those who were off duty and came and stayed and those who dropped by in between calls to grab a quick bite before heading back out to provide the citizens of Fayettenam with Emergency Medical Care. Unfortunately, there were some who were just too busy "saving lives" to make it but that is the nature of the beast and missing out on life events (and meals) are something that we are used to because it does not matter if it's Christmas or an anniversary or EMS week, 911 doesn't close!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Ok, so my name is not Mary and I really don't consider myself contrary(of course I am sure there are people who would argue this point.) But my garden is growing very well. I am a fairly new gardener and every time I plant something I cross my fingers and hope it will grow. This is my first year planting herbs and I really wanted to make sure that when I used them that I would still have plants so I planted a lot in each pot. Well ...They are already bursting out of their pots! This is a good thing BUT...Now I have to repot. Again this is a cross my fingers thing and hope I don't kill them. So this morning I repotted almost all of them. Basil and Cilantro are my two favorites so I planted them the thickest. I was able to make 2 good sized pots out of each of them. The rosemary is a beautiful plant and I put it in a bigger Pot. If my new deck ever gets built I am going to plant rosemary as bushes I have a friend who says you can't kill them (good choice for me) and they do well as bushes. The savory, which I planted just because it sounded good is growing very tall and lanky and I noticed its starting to get little purple flowers on it. I am not sure what to do with this particular herb that I seem to have an abundance of so if anyone has any ideas or recipes that use it please share them with me . The only thing that does not seem to be thriving is the sage. Its healthy looking but not getting much bigger. If I use more than a leaf or two of it I will not have much of a plant left. I am hoping all of my babies do well and I am not back to buy my herbs at the grocery store in a few weeks.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Key Lime Pie!!!!!!

Tomorrow is the 23rd annual Springfest at my church. This is a fundraiser we do each year. All of the proceeds benefit children in the local community. One of the things this money is used for is to buy glasses for children who would not otherwise be able to afford them. Last year we raised $16,000. This year our goal is $20,000. There is a GIGANTIC indoor yard sale , an auction, a plant sale, and bakesale. This year there is a silent art auction and we will be raffling off a beautiful handmade quilt and a computer. The yardsale is from 7-10am. The Raffle drawings and Auction are at 930am. Please join us at Westminster Presbyterian Church @ 2505 Village Dr. Fayetteville NC. Located at the corner of Villiage and Purdue Dr. So, this will be my contribution to the bake sale. This is a recipe that I orginally got from Southern Living 2004 As usual I have tweaked it a bit by adding grated lime zest. This seems like a little thing but it really takes the flavor up a notch. The oils in the zest are a much more intense flavor than the juice alone. It is totally simple and can be whipped up in about 15 mins. The longest part is waiting for it to cool. As I have said before, I am not a baker but this one is simple enough even for me. Ingredients: 3 large Egg yolks, 1/2 cup lime juice, Pinch of salt 1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 tsp of vanilla, 10 individual or 1 whole graham cracker crust.
Place egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and wisk well. Grate zest of 1 lime into eggs. Roll limes around on counter then place in microwave for about 20 seconds. This will help them to release more juice. Squeeze lime juice into measuring cup. Squeeze 3-4 limes until you get 1/2 cup of lime juice. Wisk lime juice into eggs. Add Sweetened condensed milk,vanilla and salt and wisk well Pour mixture into crusts Bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees. Let pies cool to room temperature and the refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Right before serving Place a dollop of whipped cream on Pie and garnish with lime slice. * Notes: When you cut limes in half after microwaving, CLOSE YOUR EYES!! Lime juice REALLY HURTS when it squirts in your eyes. It also makes the kitchen floor very sticky. Have I mentioned that I am a very messy cook????

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thai'd to Cook

Yesterday afternoon I woke up (no not being lazy, worked night shift) hungry! I was in the mood to cook something yummy but not too time consuming. I went to my favorite web site "Food Network". Checked out Rachels latest...ehh nothing piqued my tastebuds there. Then I remembered I saw an episode of Food 911 that they did some Asian dishes. Suddenly I am thinking ...Peanuts, sesame....yum! So I quick printed off his recipe for Cold sesame noodles and took off to the store. Now I live about 1 min from a local chain grocery store (oh yeah the ONLY chain grocery stores in town). I won't mention the name but it sounds like "mood cryin". I am thinkin ok this should just take minute. But MOOD CRYIN didn't have chili paste OR soba noodles. Those were the ONLY 2 things I NEEDED!!! So, I leave there and think ...Well darn (that's not really what I thought but I don't want to offend anyone) So, there is a small Chinese restaurant next to Mood Cryin. I walk in and look at the menu. The closest thing I can find is Lo mien...not really what I am in the mood for. So I turn and walk out disgusted "YOU NO ORDER ???" I hear as I walk out the door. No, sorry ..not today. As I walk to the car I say to my self "Self,why didn't you just drive the extra 15 mins to your favorite store" (I won't mention the name but it sounds like Paris Neater).
"Because its farther away and a little more expensive self"
"But everytime you do that you end up spending more time because you end up going to Paris Neater ANYWAY!"
"SHUT UP self!"
So I head toward Paris Neater. I make it to Hope Mills Rd and self says "hmmm, Asian Express is just a mile down this road ..Its still several miles to Paris Neater and then you have to drive back home and cook it. Mmm that Pang Gai...Is some yummy stuff ..You haven't had that in awhile."
"Yeah, but the Kids won't eat Panang Gai"
"They have Chinese too ..They have Sesame Chicken ..Kristen loves Sesame Chicken and remember they have the most Awesomest spring rolls in town"
"self , there is no such word as awesomest"
" I know you are but what am I??"
"I am not talking to you anymore self"
Alas, I had talked myself into it ..Or my Self had talked me into it ...Or something, anyway. So, it was Panang Gai for me. I opted for the Orange Chicken for the kids, get them to expand their horizons a little. I was hoping for some seaweed salad like I had tried at the sushi bar last week but they didn't have anything like that and no sesame noodles. Ok believe it or not I have never tried Pad Thai. I know, I know that's like the first Thai dish most people try. It just did not look that good to me. BUT ...It had the peanuts I was craving so I ordered it. No spice so maybe the kids would try it (darn kids). 30 mins later I am on my way home ...Dinner cooked, no dishes to do.
Perfectly crispy spring rolls, Panang Gai creamy just the right amount of heat, yummy as usual. Orange chicken was tasty ..Not a big difference from the sesame chicken (go figure) and the Pad Thai? (The kids being the picky eaters they are refused ..Ugh I could have had it spicy!!) I can't believe I waited so long to try it!! Finally Peanuts MMM MMM Good!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sindy's Eggs Benedict

Most things I cook are at least inspired by a recipe that I have seen somewhere else. I don't hesitate however, to change anything I don't care for or add something that I think will enhance the dish. I also change ingredients in a dish depending what I have on hand or what is fresh and available. My other thing is I almost NEVER measure anything(which is why I am a terrible baker). I think that these things are what makes cooking fun and interesting. The problem is that it makes it hard for me to duplicate the dish. Though a remake of a dish is usually good, it is rarely the same as the last time I made it. It also makes it hard to share a recipe. That is my goal today so if you try this let me know how I did.
I try to give credit to the person I originally got the recipe from when I share, but this one is really kind of my own creation from all of the different Eggs Benedict recipes that I looked at. I had this dish on a cruise a few years ago but just recently decided to try my hand at making it. Most of the recipes that I looked at had a complicated hollandaise sauce that had tons of butter. The other option here would be to use a sauce mix (the little packets) I have never tried that though so I can't tell you how good this would be. I have eaten "runny" eggs since I was a baby and my Grandma fried them up in bacon grease (YUM!) Just make sure the eggs are fresh.For people who are skittish about undercooked eggs(or have a compromised immune system), you might want to skip this one. This recipe is for one but you can multiply it easily .
Ingredients: 1 whole egg,1 egg yolk, half of a small lemon,4Tbs milk. Nutmeg, fresh basil leaves , 2 Tbs butter, 1Tbs vinegar, Salt, 1 slice of Bread, Bacon.

Fill a med size skillet about 3/4 full of water and bring to a simmer.
Wisk together Egg Yolk, milk nutmeg,salt, Grate just a little lemon zest into mixture then squeeze juice from lemon in and wisk again. Place in a small pan on VERY LOW heat add about 1/2 to 1Tbs of melted butter and a dash of salt. Just let this hang out while finishing the rest of the dish wisking it frequently and making sure the eggs don't set too much. If it gets to thick wisk in a little more milk.

Toast bread and lightly butter. The bread is one of the things that can make the dish great. You can use plain white bread and it will be just fine but I like to use what ever good bakery bread I have on hand. Today I used sourdough.

Add vinegar to your simmering water and swirl it around. Very carefully slide egg into water from small bowl. You don't want the egg to move around much before it sets or it will fall apart.
Let water continue to simmer for 4mins for a soft (runny) egg yolk. Frequently spoon the water over the egg to cook the top of it.

Place toasted bread on plate. Remove egg carefully with slotted spoon or spatula letting water drain off. Place on top of toast. I love basil so sometimes I will add a whole basil leaf under the egg. Spoon sauce over egg top with crumbled bacon (you can use whole bacon strips or Pancetta and layer it under the egg). Sprinkle ribbons of fresh basil over top and garnish with basil leaves.

This really is a simple dish that makes and elegant presentation for a special breakfast.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday Dinner

Opps, forgot to take a pic of the food!! Here is my daughter Kristen and her friends Kylee and Katie

So while preparing my Sunday school lesson this morning (because that's when I prepare on Sunday morning right before Church) I was online and saw a recipe for "Fake it don't Make Coq au Vin",18957,7119060327,00.html#histNum=1 So, I invited my Friend Karen and her Daughter Katie over for lunch/dinner after Church. We almost always lunch together on Sunday's but we usually go out.
It called for cooked chicken which I did not have but I did have boneless breasts which I figured I could whip up pretty quick. The only other ingredients I did not have on hand were frozen pearl onions and Garlic and herb salad dressing mix. I thought a quick trip to Harris Teeter for those and some kind of dessert and I would have dinner on the table 1:45....Ha!
Turns out they did NOT have "frozen" pearl onions (I could have sworn I had seen them before) so I figured that it would not be THAT much trouble to use fresh ones. Long story short by the time I left the store It was almost 1:00. Hmm a 15 min drive home , Maybe by 2:00 I could have dinner on the table.
I decided to have oven roasted potatoes(potatoes, olive oil, garlic, rosemary), French onion soup(onions, oil,dab of butter, red wine and beef broth/ topped with bread and swiss cheese) and salad along with my Chicken. All was going well until I got to the part in the recipe that called for the dressing mix...ummm where IS the dressing mix. I know I picked it up and put it in my cart. Karen was busy chopping up the onions for the soup. So she suggested Italian dressing(which I DID have) and we grabbed a some savory (that sounds French doesn't it) and some thyme out of the garden, threw in some chopped up Garlic and called it perfect.
So by 230 ISH ....ok was more like 3:oo,Dinner was on the table. Now , neither of us has ever had Coq au Vin before so I am not sure what it is supposed to taste like. But we proclaimed it tasty!! Katie who is actually quite a picky eater liked it. My Daughter Kristen liked the chicken part but picked around the mushrooms and onions. We decided that though it was very good. It had a different flavor than what we had expected. After a little discussion about this it hit me that when I was making the Soup I had used beef broth.... And hmmm never got out the CHICKEN broth. SOOOO. The question is next time ...Do I use Chicken or Beef broth???? I would definitely recommend trying out this dish. You make the call on the broth.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I shoulda listened!

One of my favorite breakfasts when I have the time is a simple version of eggs benedict that sort of made up myself. But this morning I thought I would try a new recipe for "slow cooked eggs" that I found on "Eat, Drink and be Miriam" Now, Miriam said that she did not think that these were worth the time; but, I had to be stubborn and try for myself(plus that house-work is still waiting,anything to procrastinate). I threw in some chives from my herb garden (just because I can). Guess what? They are not worth the time (30mins of cooking and stirring). The uncomfortable texture of the eggs was so distracting that I can't really say if I even liked them. I guess the flavor was ok. Had I ordered them out somewhere and not spent the time, I might have liked them a little. I will have to say that I really enjoyed my toast with home made Fig preserves (courtesy of my friend Savanna) the most. Next time I will stick with the eggs benedict!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Make Me Feel Popular

So, today was an All about me day! It started out unpleasant so I decided to make up for it the rest of the day. I had an appointment for a test this morning. I won't bore you with the details but it started with a MAM and ended in a Gram. I was supposed to Meet a friend for lunch downtown but she was not able to make it. I was almost ready to head back home and clean house when I remembered "The Chocolate Lady" shop. I was downtown last 4th Friday and checked it out but I had given up Chocolate for Lent. Needless to say..This sounded much better than laundry and dusting. I did stop in on my friend Vince at "Parties to Go" to order a cake for a Baby Shower I am throwing in a few weeks. He is just getting his business started and he makes great tasting AND looking cakes. You WON'T find anything like them at Wally World. So after that it was off to the Chocolate shop. I opted for the mini-chocolates so that I could try them all! It seems as though Liquor was the item of the day. I had to try the raspberry chambre/dark chocolate right there and took home Kalua, congnac, and Grand mariner. YUMMY! After leaving there I contemplated going home again. But the weather was gorgeous so I started wandering in and out of the shops. I made it down to the other end of Hay St. To the Blue Moon Cafe. This is where I was supposed to have lunch with my friend and I had been dying to try it. I usually don't care to eat in a restaurant alone but decided I would grab a copy of the Weekender and sit at a sidewalk table and enjoy the breeze. I ordered the "Californian" Pannini. (Sun Dried tomatoes, cream cheese, provolone cheese, zucchini, onion, sprouts and cucumbers grilled up on sourdough bread). It was very tasty!! I can't wait to go back and try the Pacific Salmon along with just about all the other dishes So after lunch I decided I needed a little coffee to go with my chocolate. I headed across the street to Rude awakening to get a cup of coffee and head home to that cleaning BUT............ Someone came in from the back and asked someone to come out to the courtyard behind the shop. I had totally forgotten about that. So, I grabbed a magazine and headed out to the cozy little space with chairs and plants and wrought iron art. I pretended to read the magazine while I eaves dropped on the 3 guys who were already sitting out there. Before I knew it I was in conversation with them. (But I DIDN'T share my chocolate) It was a very relaxing afternoon! I don't normally do things like that by myself. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I need to do that more often! As for the housework?? Ummmm... It will still be there tomorrow.