Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy Moving!

I'm packing right now. The movers are coming on Friday. Saturday is Christmas Eve...Sunday Christmas. I am REALLY busy and overwhelmed. I went to the grocery store last night and bought tater tots, a frozen pizza and sandwich stuff l so I won't have to cook anything or leave the house at all this week. Now, I ran out of packing tape and have to do the exact thing I tried to avoid at all costs---mingle with the Christmas shoppers for something non-Christmas! Tape, not the kind to wrap presents but the kind to close moving boxes. Ugh.

It's quite depressing. No baking cookies or Christmas tree or decorations. Lucky me, I get to look at every single thing we own and put it in a box, again, and have my hands get covered in newspaper ink. But the weekend should be nice spending time with my family and pretending that the move wasn't that big of a deal. No, really we don't need any help. We can take care of it ourselves.

I did make a batch of Swedish toffee in the microwave last night. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a few more batches tonight or tomorrow to give out over the weekend.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Cabbage & Noodles

The Atomic Librarian's recipe for cabbage & noodles.
I love Mueller's Hearty Extra Wide Egg Noodles!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holiday Eating Tips

from Just My Cup of Tea...

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.

Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Sushi Rock

Wednesday is 1/2 price sushi at the downtown Sushi Rock on W. 6th St.

My husband, a friend and I went last night. If you're thinking about going on a Wednesday, you MUST make a reservation. We didn't the first time we went, but luckily were able to squeeze ourselves in at the sushi bar. It's very busy, hip, loud and crowded. The ambiance isn't my favorite, but I managed to get through it.

Our waiter explained a few things to us:
1. You have a 2 hour time limit on your table
2. You can only order once
3. You can not order sushi to-go
4. It takes a while for the sushi to come out so be patient

Feel the pressure?

I insisted we order the calamari appetizer because I was starving and knew it would be a while before our sushi came out. It was breaded and fried, then tossed with a sweet & spicy sauce. The sauce was good but made the breading soggy. Next time I would pass on the appetizer and just be more patient. We ordered big bottles of Sapporo and they tasted great while we waited!

Our reservation was at 6pm and the slab-of-sushi came out at about 7pm. I have to say that people were not shy with their ordering. I didn't think the wait was too bad. We ordered a ton and totally stuffed ourselves. It was real good, lets see if I can remember everything we got...

nigiri - salmon, yellow tail, eel, mackerel, tamago & scallop
rolls - spicy tuna, spicy california, alaska, shrimp california

After gorging ourselves (quickly - we only had 1 hour left to eat) the waiter came with our checks. Yes, you actually get 2. My husband asked why and the waiter explained that the 1st check was the regular amount and the 2nd was the real check that included the 1/2 price specials. He said "that's so people from Parma can figure out how much to tip. Ha, ha."


This guy was pretty attentive and mildly funny throughout the night but the more I think about this situation today, the more I am annoyed. My husband said to him: "Really? I'm from Parma." Even though he's not. Waiter: "Oh really? I'm from there too!" and added something about hanging out at Parmatown when he was a kid. Way to cover yourself dude. And are 2 checks the best way to handle the specials? Couldn't you have one check that deducts the discount at the bottom?

Well, the evening was great fun and the sushi was delicious. Does it taste even better because it's 1/2 price? Probably...I'm sure I will be back again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Kielbasa 2005

Grind pork and veal together. Add spices and knead together for 25 minutes. Gradually add water to mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Stuff sausage in rinsed casings the next day.

Roast sausage, covered with foil, in a 350 degree oven for about 30 - 40 minutes, removing foil during last 10 minutes.

2005 batches:

20 lbs pork butt
4 lbs cubed veal
5 Tbs. salt
3 Tbs. pepper
6 cloves garlic
2 coffee mugs of water

10 lbs pork
1 lb. veal
2 1/5 Tbs salt
3 Tbs pepper
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbs. marjoram
2 Tbs. savory
1 tsp. allspice
4 Tbs. paprika
1 coffee mug of water

10 lbs pork
1 lb. veal
2 1/5 Tbs salt
3 Tbs pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 Tbs marjoram

1 Tbs dill
1 1/2 tsp caraway seed (crushed)
1 coffee mug of water

Monday, December 12, 2005

grinding meat

It's that time of year again...time to make the kielbasa!

Last night my husband and I went to his parents' house where he ground 4o lbs of pork and 6 lbs of veal - with a hand crank meat grinder. Then we kneaded each batch of meat for 25 minutes on the kitchen counter.

The packet of kielbasa recipes has grown a lot. We write down what we use each year, but never seem to be able to repeat a recipe. Always tweaking or changing things. Every year we go through these same questions, like a million times:

How much salt did we use last year?
Did mom's recipe really only call for 3 tsp. of pepper?
Do you think it needs more garlic?
Did you think it was too salty last year?
Do we have any more garlic?
Do you think it needs more salt?
Do you think it needs more pepper?
How much salt did I add?

We're stuffing the sausage tonight. I'll post the 2005 recipes tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

to be french

I'm embarrassed. Tonight I'm heading over to the Strongsville branch of Cuyahoga Public Library to hear Mireille Guiliano talk about her book "French Women Don't Get Fat". After hearing her a bunch of times on radio and t.v. talk shows, I broke down and bought the book. I was won over by marketing and the thought of being thin and drinking champagne every day. I am a fool! Sales must be dropping for her to be doing a public library tour. Do you think she has some books to unload?

Anyways, here's the thing....the book is a load of fad diet crap (like eating bowls and bowls and cups of leek broth for days!) and I kinda feel like I'm supporting this sort of fad diet crap by going to the author reading. I don't want to fall for fad diet crap, but I obviously did because I paid money for the book. I'm sure it won't be the last time either. My friend, who borrowed my book, actually made the broth and ate it. She is WAY worse than me!

What I am saying is that I enjoy author readings and I really want to have the French Lady sign my book. And I really do love the idea of being thin and drinking champagne every day. Ok? So, I am going to Strongsville with my friend who just might bring thermoses full of leek broth for us to "snack" on! I am so from the Midwest sometimes.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cleveland rocks

Here's a great letter from a proud Clevelander posted at CoolCleveland.com

Monday, December 05, 2005

La Tortilla Feliz

Saturday night my husband and I went to La Tortilla Feliz in Treamont for the first time. I can't really say why we haven't been there before. In the summer, everyone sitting outside at the little tables look like they're enjoying themselves. It's very inviting. I've heard good reviews from friends, but I've also heard it was really hit or miss.

For a Saturday night, the place was empty. We got there around 8:30pm and there were only 2 other tables of guests in the non-smoking side. When we left at 10pm we were the only ones left! They seated at a nice table against the front window - plants lined the window sill. There were little fake birds nestled between the leaves. A wine bottle with a drip candle was placed on each table. The whole restaurant had a nice, warm ambiance to it.

After ordering the beer special and picking up the menus we quickly realized that we were at one of those places where we have no clue what anything on the menu is. I love it when this happens! They do have nice descriptions of each dish and list all the ingredients, but still it was NEW to us!

On to the food...

We ordered the "you pick 3" appetizer plate. We picked:
1. Arepa de Reina Peplada (Venezuelan tortillas with an avocado & potato filling) I liked this filling a lot, it was really creamy and rich.
2. Chuchito de Pollo (corn flour dumplings, filled with chicken & special spices; steamed in cornhusks) OK
3. Ceviche de Tilapia (fresh tomato, onions, cilantro & tilapia in a lime juice marinade; with chips) *favorite*

My dinner:
Cochinita Costal (chunks of tender pork from the coastal Comals of Central America, bordered by a blue mound of singular cocoa milk rice with black bean accents, accompanied
by slabs of plantain) Pork was very tender and moist. They came in a fresh, chunky fresh tomato sauce. Rice sounded very exotic and was presented in an interesting cone shape on the plate, but was not very blue or cocoa-ish?. Pretty bland. The plantains were good.

His dinner:
Bife Borracho (pan seared beef in a drunken sauce of South American beer, tomatoes and onions. Served with saffron rice and broccoli.) He said that the sauce was really rich and liked it but thought I wouldn't because of all the onions. After eating the beef, my husband mixed the rest of the plate all together, coating the rice with the sauce and devoured every last grain.

A tiny chocolate cake with whipped cream on top. The waitress was a doll (and most likely bored at this point of the evening) and tried to make a smiley face on the little thing. This cake was about the size in circumference of a cupcake, but only a weee inch or so high. It was real dense and dark and moist. Not sweet, here's where my cocoa was hiding! But next time we each need to get our own cake.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Secret Cookbook Santa

Much more fun than my work gift exchange!

Sign up directions can be found at the Amateur Gormet - hosting is the famous Gourmet Survivor winner Jason Sholar. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Craft Swap & BBM4 sign-ups

Ok, seems like I haven't written in forever. Let's see...

I received my package from the purplepinkandorange November Craft Swap! My partner Kpoene' has her own clothing shop called Mignonette. She sent me the coolest t-shirt that is a very pretty pink color with flower petals sewn in (I stole the picture from her website). It reminds Kpoene' and me of cotton candy. Yummy :) Her site and clothes are cool - check them out and buy a Christmas gift for someone you love!

The sign-ups for BBM4 have already begun! This time it's hosted by the FoodNinja (that's really a kick ass name!) of our northern neighbor Canada. He's chosen to give it a musical theme. I am excited because really enjoy making people listen to what I want to hear. The jukebox has eaten many of my hard earned dollars, just so I could have a little power trip at the bar. BTW, what's up with the 2 songs for $1? Sometimes ONE depending on how popular/unpopular it is. What happened to 3/$1?

And for dinner tonight....Mashed potatos, brussel sprouts and the kielbasa we made last December. How long can you freeze sausage? Well, it is the last ring from 2004 and it will be history shortly. We make it every December- from SCRATCH! It's gross and smelly but lots of fun and a holiday tradition. I will make sure to post pictures this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

BBM3 package from Malaysia

My BBM3 package came from the lovely Twink---all the way from Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA!!! How exciting is that? International mail, shipped to me (who barely leaves Ohio)! I love, love, love it! Thanks soooo much Twink for a great package!!!!

So, I am obviously excited to tell you what all was in my box of goodies. Of course I am not including a picture because I am the ONLY person on this earth with a blog and no digital camera...so lets just move on to the treats and borrowed images.

Twink included a really nice note telling me that she was just about to celebrate Hari Raya. She wrote that since she lives in a very mulit-cultural society most people are able to enjoy all different kinds of holidays.

A bunch of newspaper clippings with recipes and tons of cool info and pictures.

Boh Tea - lychee & rose flavored - from a local tea plantation.

A bag of murukku, which she described as a snack in India, kinda like we eat pretzels. It is made out of spicy dough that's deep fried. Maybe more like a cheeto? I'm saving these to share with my friend who visited South India on a college trip.

Kinder Bueno Chocolate
The first thing I ate...

Brahim's Kuah Masak Merah - Spicy Tomato Sauce
Quick curry dinner

Mildura Layer Cake with Cashewnut
I'm taking this to Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Salmon Patties

I try to have a few cans of salmon and tuna on hand at all times. That way when we have "nothing" to eat, there could be tuna sandwiches or salmon patties in our dining future. I loosely followed a recipe from allrecipes.com This is my interpretation:

Salmon Patties

2 6oz cans of skinless & boneless salmon (I used Trader Joe's)
2 eggs, beaten
12 saltines (give or take a few)
some onion powder
squirt of Gulden's mustard (I didn't have any mustard powder)

some chopped fresh parsely
olive oil

1. Drain salmon and flake the meat into a bowl.
2. Add eggs, saltines, onion powder, mustard and parsely. Mix well to combine. Add additional crackers if too wet.
3. Form salmon mixture into 6 patties.
4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook patties until brown and then carefully flip over and brown on other side.

Serve hot with tatar sauce for dipping

Johnny & Harry

My husband HATES to go to the movies. He has various issues with it. Over the past 9 years together, I think we've seen a total of about 5 movies in a theater. So when we do go, it's a big deal. For example, he was supposed to take me to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on our 1st wedding anniversary but they were sold out!

This past Saturday we saw Walk the Line. He likes Cash and said he'd be my date. I thought it was a very good movie. Although, I agree with the Free Times review that Ray was better.

I also went with a group of friends on Sunday to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My friend Jen wore the HP scarf I knitted her. No picture because I had to run it to her house the minute it was finished, but everyone knows what it looks like anyways!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Friday night we went to Halite for dinner. I had never been there before, but visited the other 2 "cool places to eat" Lava Lounge (frequently) and Fat Cats before. The only thing I really still order from Lava is the calamari. It seems that the food hasn't been that great since they did their last menu change. We were big fans of the old rib-eye sandwich and miss it!

Anyways, Halite was awesome! The decision to go there was made last minute so we didn't have a reservation. The bar was our only seating option, there were lots of lingering diners that were not moving anytime soon. I had a glass of wine, my friend a cosmo and husband chivas on the rocks (he was trying to act grown-up). The barmaid brought us bread and olive tapenade to munch on while we waited. Everything on the menu looked good, of course we had a hard time making a decision. My friend ordered the porkchop special and my husband had the walley special. They both enjoyed the dinners and totally CLEANED their plates off. I decided on the fettucini con frutti di mare - it included little neck clams, salmon, muscles, calamari and shrimp. I have never had calamari that was sooo tender. It was almost the same texture as the fettucini! We were very pleased with Halite and we will be back, with a reservation.

Lamb Stew

I totally agree with Tina about the West Side Market being one of the greatest things about living in Cleveland. She graciously posted her recipe for West Side Market Stew (make sure to check out the picture slideshow!) and I am going to make it today!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Baltimore Misadventures - Sunday, Day 3

On our last day we had only one destination - The American Dime Museum. Of course we had to walk a bit to get there and arrived before they opened. We ended up sitting in Baltimore's Penn Station to waste some time because there was no place to get a coffe or anything. BTW, nothing in Baltimore opens before 11am, they didn't open till noon. This station is actually where you would take a train to D.C. or other destinations. The museum was funny. The owner gave us his little introduction to the museum and a history of dime shows. I think he lived upstairs. I wonder if this guy just decided to open a musuem so he could show off his weird stuff. I put my gum on the amazing growing gum lady. Gross but damn funny. The FUNNIEST thing that I heard on our entire trip was from a dad who had brought his son and daughter thru the museum while we were there. The kids were probably about 8-10 years old.

Son: Dad, what is that?

Dad: Well (some hesitation) that's supposed to be President Lincoln's doody.

After all that museum fun, we were starving. We walked back to Penn Station and saw that the train we needed to get on was leaving. We hopped on without getting our tickets and took the train to the harbor to get some lunch. Well of course we got busted for NOT having a ticket. The conductor was really mean and we couldn't wait to get off that train. We ate at a REALLY touristy place called Tir Na Nog Irish Bar and Grill . Being a little tired of doing stuff "off the beaten track" we liked the idea of sitting out on their patio and enjoying the sun, while have a beer of course! I actually got a club and colcannon (instead of fries) which was quite tasty! They were REAL mashed potatoes, creamy and just a bit lumpy. I could go for some right now!

Our last adventure was to walk to the only part of Baltimore we had not seen yet - Federal Hill. It was Sunday afternoon and there was nothing going on. We had a beer at some empty bar. Tricia wanted to have another but I said no because it was getting late. Back on the train (with tickets) to our dumpy hotel, pick up our luggage, back on the train towards the airport. Wow. We didn't leave enough time for the trip to the airport. I was very nervous. The boarding time was 5:40pm. We got to the gate at 5:45pm. But, no worries! Our plane was late!

To wrap up the trip: I had a good time hanging out with my friend. Totally wished we would have had a car and some other destinations planned. The weather was absolutely beautiful the entire weekend and we really enjoyed it! Would I go back? No. Would I suggest other people to visit? I doubt it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Baltimore Misadventures - Saturday, Day 2

Saturday - Due to problems with train transfers we took a cab to the area known as Hampden Village. One of the, well, maybe the only reason I suggested vacationing in Baltimore was to go to Atomic Books. Let's just say I have a "thing" for John Waters and he has his fan mail sent there. Lots of zines and comic books. I could have spent all day browsing. My other favorite store was Ma Petite Shop - all they sold were chocolates and shoes!!! Very yummy! Oh, I also bought myself a pair of sparrow earrings from the CUTEST store called Oh! Said Rose.

I researched for our trip extensively. I tried to find cool places to visit and good places to eat. Well, numerous resources said if you wanted to eat a crab cake, it should come from Faidley's found at the Lexington Market. This is where the "misadventures" begin. As I mentioned before, we needed a car. To be honest, the area around the market was pretty scary. I just want to say that the crab cake was absolutely the best I have ever eaten and was worth the trip but at the same time I didn't feel safe walking around. I am usually not worried about things like that but I was in an unfamiliar setting. Also in their market area they sold oysters on the half shell. These were the biggest oysters I have ever seen or eaten! I made Tricia try one and she gagged on it. Damn it, she wasted a really good oyster!

After lunch we pretty much ran back to our hotel and took a little rest, changed clothes and got ready for the evening. Our first stop was a 100th Anniversary Greek Festival. Not so much fun. We left and stopped for a drink at a local dive bar to rethink our plans. We had play tickets and needed to kill 3 hours. Things started to get boring. Conversation slowed down. We were starting to get tired and cranky. The tv was all consuming. Should we leave this area and try to find someplace better to hang out? Should we hop on a train and go to D.C.? Eating Indian food killed our 3 hours. After dinner we attended a play at the Theatre Project, checked out Brewer's Art and ended up finishing the evening off with potato skins at a gay bar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Baltimore Misadventures - Friday, Day 1

My friend Tricia and I went on a little weekend vacation to Baltimore last Friday. We got home on Sunday but I couldn't post because I was still recovering from the trip. What a trip it was. We knew there was a light rail in Baltimore so thought that we wouldn't need a car. That was probably the worst decision we made. Baltimore, like Cleveland, is not a walking city. The train only ran on one north/south track. Everything we wanted to see was east or west of the track. Most places were in walking distance but we spent A LOT of time walking and riding the train. Time that we could have used see more stuff. I wish we would have had a car. We wanted to leave a few places but were afraid that we'd spend so much time getting to another place - and that it might not be any better than where we were when we got there. Make sense? Well, here's the run down of what we did.

Friday - Safely arrived, took the train from the airport to our hotel and missed our stop. Walked to the Mount Vernon Hotel. Now, this hotel got mixed reviews online. We thought that since it was a hospitality management school's hotel, we would be supporting the school and that it could be interesting. Well, the place was a dump. There was no air conditioning. We had to have someone come and prop open the window (that had no screen) so that we could breath. There was no fan in the bathroom so the ceiling was moldy! The continental breakfast options were white toast, english muffins, brown bananas and cereal. The train stop was only a few blocks away but it was blocks of abandoned buidings. The Art Museum was only a few blocks away too, but in the opposite direction.

After putting our bags in the room we went to the harbor area and walked over to the American Visionary Art Museum. We were very hungry by then and first ate lunch at the Joy America Cafe. I had a beef fig quesadilla with a side of soggy fries and a Red Stripe - the Red Stripe was the best part. The museum had a very interesting exhibit about race, class and gender and beautiful mirror mosaics everywhere. Lots of inspiration! We bought some souveniers from the museum shop. One noticable thing was their lack of artists' merch. Although I was hoping to get a Ku Shu Lan (Chinese paper crafter) poster, I was like....duh, this woman cut up paper to decorate the mud walls in her Western China cave home. Um, maybe that's not something that should be reproduced for a tourist to hang up in her downstairs apartment in Northeast Ohio. Anyways, their sculpture buiding was kick ass and included a braball.

After the museum we took a Water Taxi to Fells Point for dinner and drinks. First we stopped at an Irish place called Kooper's Tavern. We then ate a dozen steamed crabs with mallets at Obrycki's and spent the rest of the evening at the Full Moon Saloon listening to bands, including one called Cowboy Amnesia.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quinoa Salad

I checked out The Real Food Revival from the library a long, long time ago. It's way over due but I wanted to make this recipe before I returned it. Why didn't I just write it down or make a photo copy? I have no answer for that question.

I only got one bite of the salad so I can't really give a good review. I made it yesterday afternoon so that my husband would have something to eat when he got home from work. I had to work until 10pm and there was nothing left for me when I got home...geeze, thanks a lot! He seemed perplexed by the quinoa, although it didn't stop him from eating it all. I told him it was a grain and good for him and to just be quiet. Further investigation today, led me to the fact that it IS NOT REALLY a grain but "the seed of a leafy plant that's distantly related to spinach." Huh. I'm glad I found out the truth!

I used a little less salt and olive oil and cooked the onions with the peppers.

Quinoa Salad

1 1/4 C. quinoa, washed and drained at least 4 times, until the water runs clear
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 red peppers, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 jalepeno chile, seeded and julienned
juice from 1 lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 small red onion, finely diced

Toast the quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant. Add 2 cups boiling water and the salt, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the red peppers and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Ina large bowl, whisk together the reaming Tbs. oil, the lime juice, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir int eh peppers, cilantro, onion, and quinoa. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I think people DO notice!

Your Hair Should Be Orange

Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.
You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kolachki, Kolacky, Kolachy, Kolace, Kolachi, Kolache, Kolachke

I am not sure which is the correct spelling but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about here - lovely, little Christmas cookies with tasty fillings. I used to make these with my grandma when I was little. She was a good Polish grandma...big and fun and generous and loud and kind. I do miss her a lot.

I made these last night for my BBM3 partner! I filled some with the Raspberry Jam I made in September and some with apricot or nut filling from the store! I cheated not having the time or energy to make all the fillings from scratch. Grandma never did either!

I had a few problems with my cookies "opening up" in the oven. They unfolded themselves. I believe the problem was that they were too small. One recipe I found used egg whites to glue the flaps together. I don't think this is necessary, but an option if you need it. Also, don't forget that the cookies are IN THE OVEN! While innocently checking my email, I did just that. One batch in the trash.

My grandma's original recipe used margerine!!! I followed these instructions:

Kolachki (about 2-3 dozen)

1/2 C. butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 C. flour
jam or preserves for filling

1. Preheat oven to 350. Allow cream cheese and butter to soften to room temperature Mix till well until fluffy.
2. Add Flour a little at a time and mix in till well blended.
3. Make dough into a ball, you can chill it in the fridge for easier rolling.
4. Roll dough out into a square shape 1/8 inch thick on board sprinkled with flour or confectioners sugar or a combination.
5. Cut the dough into 2 inch squares and place about ½ tsp of filling in the middle; draw up sides of dough around filling & pinch FIRMLY to seal.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
7. Cool for a couple of minutes then place on wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cabbage and Potato Gratin with Mustard Bread Crumbs

I love the idea of using an entire head of cabbage in a dish. Something that's more creative than boiled/steamed cabbage and something other than Cha Cha Chicken Salad. I think I'm going to start a cabbage trend this winter - Holly brings a new cabbage dish to every family event! They're going to love me...heh, heh.

Luisa kindly posted about Cabbage and Potato Gratin with Mustard Bread Crumbs on The Wednesday Chef. This is the recipe I used for for Halloween dinner! Turned out real well too!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sex and the City

Yesterday my husband was off doing work things while I sat in bed for the entire afternoon. I watched 6-8 episodes (honestly, i lost count) of Sex and the City - Season Six, Part 1, ate ice cream and knitted. Now, all I can think of is that I wish I could do that again today.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I usually go out to lunch at least 2 - 3 times during the week. I am too lazy to pack a lunch at night for the next day, I get up too late to do it in the morning and I get antsy at work and like leaving (for ANY reason). There was a ton of leftover lunchmeat in the fridge from our party last weekend and I forced myself to eat sandwiches all week - I didn't want to waste it. I hate eating the same thing every day and couldn't take in anymore by Friday.

So, I treated myself to some yummy sushi from Kimo's Sushi Shop in Ohio City - this was my first visit. The presentation in my to go box was beautiful, even after being tossed around in my car. I had a piece of tuna nigiri, salmon nigiri, a california roll and a dynamite roll -to go. The nigiri pieces were huge, it was absolutely necessary to eat them with 2 bites. The outside of the california roll was covered with a substantial amount of orange roe, which is one of my favorite things about sushi. Those little eggs are like a party in my mouth! The dynamite roll was rolled in black sesame seeds and also really good. They were cooking some Udon noodle soup that smelled delish. Must try some next time!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tales from Pittsburgh

How happy I was last night when I checked my mail box!!! There was a package from the super cool girl - Linda - author of the super cool bloc - Toast. She also happens to be from one of my favorite cities to visit...Pittsburgh!

Things I drive to Pittsburgh for: Mattress Factory, Carnegie Museums, Andy Warhol, Raphael Vinoly, bridges, & of course IKEA.

Well, back to my BOOKS! Not only did Linda send me 2 books, she also included a great postcard telling me a little about how she grew up on old fashioned English children's books. She loved the magic and the realistically imperfect children of E. Nesbit's Five Children and It.

She told me that she found The Princess & the Goblin truly scary! The copy she sent me is from a vintage edition from the Looking Glass Library (not the one pictured below) - it's in perfect condition!

I really love the fact that these two volumes have the original illustrations in them. I'm a huge fan already! Thank you so much Linda for the wonderful editions to my library!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pasta with Winter Squash and Pine Nuts

Wow. This dish was really amazing. I looked through the October Cooking Light and then read Alice's great post about this recipe---she's totally right about this being "unbelievably good". If you have butternut squash , you MUST make the pasta! If you don't have that issue of Cooking Light, go on over to My Adventures in the Bread Box and get the recipe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Party review

My Pumpkin Carving Party went pretty well, considering it rained all day. I was surprised how many people didn't take thier pumpkins home with them. They're overflowing on my front steps! I think this could be an annual event at our house. Next year I need to remember to start the party later. 6pm was too early, I think 8 would have been better.

We had waaaaay too much food and beer, but it's always better to have too much rather than not enough. The cider (I tripled this recipe, threw in a hand full of cinnamon sticks and served it out of a big coffee server to keep it hot) and raspberry bars (Sept & Oct 2005 issue of Cook's Illustrated) were a crowd pleaser. I will be sure to make them again.

Hot Spiked Cider

1 quart water
3 orange tea bags
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 c. apple cider
1 1/2 c. Captain Morgan's

Pour water into saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and toss in the orange spice tea bags. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar, apple cider and rum. Heat just to steaming - do not boil.

Halloween Swap Package!

I want to thank Moki for sending me a really great Halloween Swap package! She inlcuded Abuelita Hot Chocolate tablets, a bat cookie cutter, black sprinkles, a spider bookmark, little pack of halloween tissues, pencils, suckers, a pumkin pin and a freaky eyeball necklace! Thank You!

And Magpie posted that she received her package from me. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tower City Parking

Interesting topic and discussion about a parking ticket from the Midwestgrrl.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Today I made 2 batches of beef & bacon chili for our Pumkin Carving Party on Saturday. The rest of my party menu (to be made Friday and/or Saturday a.m.)...artichoke dip, vegetarian chili, raspberry bars & hot spiked cider. We're also going to grill some brats. I swear we can't have a party without eating bratwurst or kielbasa.

I finally started to knit a Harry Potter scarf last night for my friend. I promised her I'd have it finished by the time Goblet of Fire movie comes out -Nov. 18th! Since it took me an entire night to figure out how to use circular needles, I really better get crackin'. I'm following the pattern from atypically.knit. Directions are to knit rows of 70 stitches. I've finished one stripe and have already added 2 stitches. I am not starting over again.

FYI - I am not a wierd Harry Potter fan. I read the first 3 books and liked them quite a lot, but decided I will not be devoting my time to read all 7. I should read Goblet of Fire again though. You know, during all my free time when I'm not working on the scarf.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

smoking chicken!

Last night I tried to roast a chicken. The Amateur Gourmet posted about his fowl the other day and it looked like a good October dinner!

How is it that I try a seemingly simple recipe and fail?

I followed Adam's post on the Barefoot Contessa's version. Pretty simple...put a lemon, head of garlic and some thyme inside the bird. Brush it with butter and roast. How can you screw it up?

Well, the entire house filled with smoke. I'm pretty sure it was the butter and drippings burning in the bottom of the roasting pan. Wow, I'm a freakin' genius. Can someone tell me how to roast a bird and not make my husband think I'm burning the house down? What am I doing wrong? I added water to the pan and that seemed to help a little. Not much. Then, to add insult to injury, I took it out before it was done. I just wanted to stop the smoke! We nibbled on the wings while the bird went back in. I just wrapped it in foil and threw it back in the oven. Ugh.

I should have bought a rotisserie.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

fun filled friday!

Wow, my husband and I both had yesterday off. We spent so much "quality" time together it was sick!

  • got some cool heirloom pumpkins from Rosby's to put out on the front porch
  • had breakfast at Nate's, stopped at the Market for some cinnamon almonds
  • took a drive out to Blue Jay Orchard in Hiram and bought some apples
  • ate lunch in Garrettsville (not so yummy)
  • went to Tremont for the Art Walk. Thanks to Tremonter for posting about the Mutt Hutt's Doggie Disco - in was fun!
  • watched Pulp Fiction - it's been so long since I saw that movie, it was like I had never seen it before!

I am just about to get off work now. This afternoon is not going to be near as much fun as yesterday. We have plans to do lawn work and clean the garage, in preparation for our Pumpkin Carving Party next Saturday. That I am looking forward to.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fun Picture Meme

Found this at Alice's and thought I would participate...hope you do too!

Here's what you have to do:
Do a Google image search of the following and post the first (or favorite) result for each:
* The name of the town where you were born
* The name of the town where you live now
* Your name
* Your grandmother's name (just pick one)
* Your favorite food
* Your favorite drink
* Your favorite song
* Your favorite smell

I was born in Cleveland...

I live in Clevand! It will soon look like this...

My name...

Grandma (Victoria Falls)...

Ok, this is disgusting!

Drink it, don't smoke it...well, snort it.

I can't stop listening to the White Stripes, Blue Orchid

Can you smell them?

veggie burgers & baked fries

Last night I made veggie burgers and baked fries for dinner. Does anyone know a better way to make Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers? The first time I baked them in the oven and they were mushy and fell apart when I tried to get them off the cookie sheet. Yesterday I cooked them in a frying pan on the stove...still mushy. I really like the consistency and taste of these veggie burgers - you can see pieces of carrot and whole lima beans in there! - but I want more of a crispy crust.

Oven Fries:

Oven 400 degrees

6 small potatoes
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. old bay

I used my gradma's old french fry cutter to slice the potatoes into traditionally shaped french fries, but you could also do wedges. It will just take longer to cook. Add oil and seasonings to potatoes and toss to coat. Lightly spray cookie sheets (2) with cooking spray and arrange fries in a single layer. Flip fries after 10 minutes. Cook an additional 10 - 20 minutes depending on size of potatoes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

honey hut



I live 1 block away and it's very dangerous. I somehow feel it's ok to eat ice cream if I walk there. I got a single, in a cup, in a sugar cone, chocolate pecan and strawberry. That's right! A single with 2 flavors! I didn't even know that was possible until I heard another customer do it this past summer. The truth is that you really get 2 scoops in a single, so why not get 2 flavors? Genius. Although, I kinda feel a little guilty ordering it. The workers have to scoop from 2 different freezer containers for one cone. And I usually end up wishing I had gotten all chocolate pecan, because it is the best flavor anyways.

I heard tonight that they're last day open is going to be November 22 (pumpkin pecan!). You better go soon, or you'll have to wait for St. Patrick's Day (pistachio!).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Here's another great place to sign up for swaps...SWAPMEET. There is still time to sign up for the November Craft Swap! I just can't seem to get enough!

Monday, October 10, 2005

book swap

I just signed up for the 2nd BJF Book Swap....you should too! The theme is YOUR Favorite Children's Book!

How fun is that?

slow roasted tomatoes

Yesterday I attempted Stephencook's master recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes. I only had about a dozen tomatoes, so I halved the recipe. The house smelled great all day long while they were roasting. The only thing that I didn't like about my batch, is that the garlic dried up into little garlic "chips". I ended up picking most of them off and discarding before I slid the skins off the tomatoes and put them in the oven.

So, today I found this recipe at Epicurious to use up my tomatoes: Bulgur Pilaf with Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, and Garbanzo Beans. I just roasted the onions first and then added the tomatoes from yesterday, garlic and chickpeas and roasted them all together for about 10 minutes in the oven. I didn't bother adding the dill or lemon juice (didn't have either) and it still had lots of flavor. Probably from the herbs added to the initial batch of slow roasted tomatoes.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Art of Cooking

Today I got my hands on 3 new cook books. Well, not "new" but new to me. The Art of Irish Cooking (1965), The Art of German Cooking (1967) and The Art of Italian Cooking (1948) - all are out of print now but seem to early volumes of Hippocrene International Cooking Classics. I've leafed through them and found it amazing what ingredients cross cultures ...for example calf brains and eel. The Italian book has great chapters on Italian herbs, festival menus, antipasto and the correct order of serving wine. It actually outlines what type of wine to serve with each course and the desired serving temperature. Awesome! Now I know that I should be drinking chilled Chianti with my spaghetti or ravioli!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

City Artist at Work

Check this out on Friday or Saturday...my friend will be selling her purses!

Blogging By Mail 3 - Sign up!

Cathy over at My Little Kitchen is hosting the third installment of Blogging By Mail. She has assigned this round a theme: "Home for the Holidays". Plus a list of items that every participant should include in their packages this time - like a picture of your kitchen . I think this is a great idea! Can't wait to get my partner!

Go sign up now...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Last CSA :(

My last CSA delivery just arrived. And do you know how great of a customer I am? I forgot to leave my check to pay! I want to give a big thanks to Basket of Life Farm. I'm looking forward to next year!

2 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 spaghetti squash
1 watermellon
3 red apples
3 yellow apples
15 tomatoes
1 head of cabbage
4 bell peppers
1 bear of HONEY!
1 jar of homemade pepper jelly!

Also, today I'm sending out my postcards for the Swap Bot postcard swap. Lots of flamingos will be going through the mail! Do flamingos fly?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cleveland's Best???

I'm reading the Cleveland Scene's Best Of Cleveland '05 issue. Why do I even bother? I just get annoyed when I read "best of" reports by local papers and magazines. Most of the places are the same as last year---except for the "Best NEW fill-in-the-blank". Who makes up ridiculous categories like Best Downtown Grocery or Best Barbecued Spaghetti? Sometimes publications list the the Top 3 fill-in-the-blanks. But, I'm seeing categories where there aren't even 3 contenders in existence! I mean really...how many downtown grocery stores are there? Was this even a category when Dave's was the ONLY one? Also, if anyone knows who else serves bbq spaghetti beside the winner, please let me know.

I am way off base here?

I hope that these publications are trying to promote local business. Maybe I'm supposed to say to myself "Best Frisbee Golf"---that sounds like fun!" and that's great. But when they list Border's as the Reader's Poll Winner for "Best Bookstore", like I said before---it kinda annoys me. I know that a lot of people buy books at Borders.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Package Received

A couple days ago I was going down my driveway and saw a box on my front porch. I just knew it must be my BBM2 package!!! Yay! I jumped out of my car, got the box and did not resist the temptation to rip it open at a red light on my way to work. Ha!

My gal Rebecca from New York sent me a really great box of goodies...delicious chocolate chip banana mini-muffins (which I ate most of in my car), her "secret" sugar cookies (covered with blue sprinkles), a bottle of onion chutney from London, spicy mixed nuts, a little shaker of extra spicy spice plus a bunch of weird candy! Including a cute little box of Dutch chocolate sprinkles--DeRuyter. I'm waiting for a really special morning to eat those on my toast!

Thanks so much Rebecca for sending me all the great treats and to Samantha for hosting BBM2!!! And I had a wonderful time putting my package together and sending it off to Heather ---hope she likes it and looking forward to BBM3!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hot Pepper Jam

This recipe was stapled to a bag of Santa fe Grande Peppers in my CSA delivery from Basket of Life Farms...

Makes 5 half pint jars

3/4 lb peppers
2 cups cider vinegar (divided)
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
orange food coloring (optional)

Prepare and process canning jars and lids according to pectin directions.

Wash peppers and drain. Remove stems and seeds - remember to wear gloves! Puree peppers and 1 cup of vinegar in a food processor or blender. Combine puree, remaining vinegar and sugar in a large sauce pot. Bring to boil, boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops of food coloring if desired. Ladle hot jelly into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe rims of jars and fit with 2 piece lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blogging by Mail 2

I put my Blogging by Mail 2 package together tonight and will be sending it off to my partner Heather in the a.m. Thanks Samantha for hosting. I can't wait to see what I get!!!

last batches?

Ok, I may be going a little jam crazy but I can't seem to control myself.

Unfortunately, the figs I purchased to make preserves were starting to get moldy! I had to throw them all away. I only had them in the fridge for 3 days. I guess it was too long. Now I have 3 vanilla beans with no plans for use. Maybe I'll buy more figs. How long do they last?

I made hot pepper jam this afternoon instead. The recipe only made 5 half pint jars, but how much of this stuff can you use? It's supposed to be good with cream cheese on crackers or with chicken. At least I used the peppers for something and didn't let them go to waste.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

hope you like jamin'

Made a batch of strawberry jam today! With the precious frozen berries I picked in June. It made me sad to use them. I didn't want to do it---but I know I couldn't save them forever.

I still have one bag left in there...for a winter strawberry shortcake.

Signed up for a Amy's Halloween Swap!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

raspberry jam

Last night I thought I had to work. When I got there, someone else was already working. This really irked me off but I decided to make use of surprise night off.

I went to the local berry farm and picked 4 quarts of raspberries! Yay! I brought along my ipod for company and listened to George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl. It was a nice to plug up my ears and ignore everyone else, besides a few bugs and crying kids in the field.

Anyways, at the end of the night I was left with 18 jars of seedy, ruby red, raspberry jam. I have some strawberries I picked last June in the freezer which may be turned into jam as well this week.

Last week I went to Aladdin's Baking Company for lunch and they had cases of fresh figs in! Oh, were they gorgeous, but what the heck would I do with a CASE of figs? Then, (I think it was a sign) I came across Fig Preserves with Vanilla from the hungry tiger. It sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

Signed up for Swap-bot's postcard swap!

csa delivery

1 tiny watermelon! (not very sweet or flavorful, but it made me smile)
2 eggplants
2 acorn squash
1 spaghetti squash
hot peppers
roma tomatoes
small bag of green beans - i wish there were more of these!
1 little bell pepper

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Body Worlds

Went last night to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center with my friend T. It was a very educational experience, but not for the weak of heart. Honestly, the bodies with their skin and hair still attached made me a little nasaus. And the mother with baby still inside was terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

I bet that Gunther von Hagens is a really interesting fellow. I better find a biography and read up on him.

Friday, September 16, 2005

White Stripes

Last Wednesday we went to the White Stripes concert. It was at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square, which I found to be a very interesting venue for a concert. It was funny to see all the elderly Playhouse voulunteers, showing people to their seats, with those little flash lights. If you like a few cigs and drinks with your music, this is not really the place to go. We had a few beers before the show, but that was all. It's too much work to get in and out of the seats and the theater. A few people did get thrown out for smoking--I mean it was very obvious when they lit up.

We had really crappy seats in the 3rd last row! I waited too long to get tickets and paid for it in the end. Other than that, we had a great time. I love that Jack White!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Do you feel like you do things in waves?

Just this past weekend the last thing I wanted to do was cook. In the past 3 days I've made zucchini bread, gazpacho, quacamole, cha-cha chicken salad and broccoli quiche.

What's up with that?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cha Cha Chicken

Instead of take out, we actually just went to Siam last Saturday for dinner. That was a big stress reliever. Not even any dishes to clean! Yay! And we had a really fun time.

Last night I did an enormous amount of slicing and chopping. The CSA delivery brought me a head of cabbage last week that I need to use. Cabbage and Nooodles sounded lovely, but aren't necessarily the healthiest thing to make for h. so I decided to do a Vietnamese chicken cabbage salad.

Yesterday afternoon I ran over to Trader Joe's to pick up a few items (salmon and not corn dogs). They just happened to be passing out samples of chicken salad. I was sold right then and there! I thought it must be a sign and put a bottle in my cart. It was tasty and much easier than making the dressing myself. Long list of ingredients to purchase.

I sliced my head of cabbage and a red pepper real thin like, poached and shredded some chicken, added some shredded carrots and topped it off with a sprinkling of peanuts. I made a little assembly line with the dressing at the end. I didn't mix it all together because I thought it would get soggy. We used up all the cabbage and have a bit of chicken left over. Perfect for making some "regular" chicken salad today.

Friday, September 09, 2005

take out

I am really in a bummer mood today. It's my job and I argued with h. (husband) last night. I'm waiting to sign my contract. Until then, I'm only working around 4 hours a day and I feel like I'm wasting away at home. It's quite stressful and depressing. I think I have soooo much time on my hands, but when you have to start work at 1pm it's really easy to surf all day or watch bad t.v. or just putz around and do absolutely nothing. I have no desire to do any more laundry, dirty any more dishes or clean the floors. I'd rather sit around and throw myself a pity party and eat an entire frozen pizza. Oh, and then be disgusted with myself because I am lazy and fat. Good thoughts, huh?

When you start to hide food boxes and fast food wrappers from your h. I think it's getting pretty bad. There is definetly something wrong with me.

So, why is this post titled "take out"? Because I need to be taken out of my house! And my friend and her new husband are coming over for dinner tomorrow. We were planning on grilling out in the backyard, but as I write this I had the fantastic idea of just getting Siam Cafe take out. You see, I work all day every Saturday this semester. That's right! It's my ONLY full day right now. And I don't feel like spending my Friday night grocery shopping and then rushing home on Saturday to work. This is so unlike me. I pine to be be the hostess with the mostess.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

michigan tomotoes

Last weekend h. and I went up to Detroit for our friend's birthday party. Good food, but not nearly enough of it.

Our friend has a little garden in her backyard and gave us 4 huge tomatoes. They were enourmous! Well, I decided to make a recipe adapted from Toast's Farm Box series. A very valuable series of posts when you have so much produce on hand! Not only did I procrastinate for an entire week, letting those plump tomatoes get redder and redder and start to bruise from sitting on the counter for so long, then after finally processing the tomatoes I left the bowl in the fridge for two days! Today, I finally made the tomato sauce. Have I used it yet? No. I bought chicken and angel hair pasta but alas, I had to come to work. And I doubt I will start making dinner at 10:30 tonight.

Blast! That reminds me....I left my container of yogurt in my PURSE! I forgot to put it in the fridge :(

p.s. That's right....the majority of the time I'm "working" I read and write blogs! That's what I'm doing to pass the time right now. Oh, you do it too! Well, I doubt mine but someone's!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

this week's csa delivery

  • heirloom plum tomatoes
  • green beans
  • red and green peppers
  • various chili peppers
  • 2 habenero peppers! hot! hot!
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 squash

Sunday, September 04, 2005

peach pie & iNGENUiTY

Well, I made my third test recipe. Peach pie. Late, but I did eventually do it (I cheated and bought a pre-made crust!). Anyways, now I can't find the place to submit the darn recipe and comments. The link is taking me right to the publisher's website. Maybe they changed it or something. This annoys me.

A few friends and I went to the Ingenuity Festival last Friday night. I'm so happy that there are people in Cleveland who have the courage and determination to try and do something here. I'm planning on going back sometime today. Here's to many, many more festivals in the years to come!!! Cheers!

edit: I did submit my 3rd recipe! The website worked the next day! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

green rice

Testing Recipe #2 green rice.
This recipe came out surprisingly well. I haven't had much luck cooking rice dishes before, and the rice still was a little underdone, but I would make it again. I might try using vegetable broth instead of chicken. One comment, the author of this recipe refers to this as Mexican when my h. immediately tasted the cumin and said it tasted Indian. We ate it with bean burritios.

Green Rice
Serves 4 to 6
Arroz verde, or green rice, is not as well known as Spanish rice, but it is an equally good choice to accompany Mexican food. Cilantro and parsley lendthe rice the green color and fresh herbal flavor.
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain white rice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-highheat. Add the onions and jalapeño and sauté, until softened, about 3minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, cilantro and parsley, and cook,stirring, for 30 seconds.
2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender with 1/2 cup of thebroth. Blend until smooth.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan over medium heat. Addthe rice and cook, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the herbpuree and cook, stirring, to evaporate most of the liquid, about 2 minutes.Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups broth, stir, cover, and lower the heat tomedium-low. Simmer without stirring, until the rice is tender and the liquidis absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, without stirring for 10 to 15minutes.
5. Fluff with a fork and serve, garnished with additional cilantro.

Monday, August 29, 2005

tired and broke

I am failing miserably at being a recipe tester. I kinda forgot about it until last Friday. I spent like $50 on my veal marsala! I ran out of time, energy and money over the weekend to complete the other two recipes. My in-laws gave us a bunch of peaches, so I'm closer to making the peach pie. And green rice shouldn't cost much. Last night I ate a can of butter beans for dinner. Yes, that's how tired I was. Pathetic!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

veal marsala-test recipe

I made my first Good Home Cookbook test recipe last night. Veal Marsala. I also made a batch of Chicken Marsala because I had prepped enough ingredients for 2 batches. The recipe called for 1/2 c. of chicken broth in the list of ingredients but didn't mention it in the directions....no wonder they have people testing these recipes! Don't they have editors?

Anyhoo, the marsala came out pretty good. The sauce was rich, but you needed more to coat your noodles or rice. I wish they included some side dish suggestions.

Is there a better marsala wine than what they sell in the vinegar isle at g. eagle. When I have NO options, I feel like the ingredient can not be superior.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

lunches & dinners

I love #1 Pho. I love P1.
That's what I had for lunch yesterday. It was a great day for soup...rainy and a little chilly. I love that weather. The last days before fall.

I made stuffed CSA peppers last night. Cous cous with 3 ears of left over corn on the cobb (i cut it off the cobb) plus a can of chopped tomatoes with the green chilies in them. Wah-la!

Today's lunch was a sandwich from Aladdin's Baking Company. I wanted a chicken gyro and they looked at me like I asked them for pierogi. How hard is it to substitute the chicken for the lamb? The giant rotating slabs of meat are right next to each other. The guy talked me into a #1 chicken sandwich, minus the garlic, plus the cucumber sauce. wtf? In addition, I wanted NO ONIONS. I don't like onions. When I was little I didn't like tomatoes either but I decided that was childish thing to dislike and have gotten over it. Not onions. I hate cooked, raw, red, yellow, white, green & chives. Maybe I will get over it too. Guess what was on my sandwich. It depressed me, but didn't stop me from eating it.

And last of all I just came back from Ginza where I stuffed myself with a girl from work. We have not had the greatest week and needed a beer and some raw fish to make us feel better. I'm not sure I know what good sushi is. I had one bad, very bad, sushi experience in Bloomfield Hills, MI. What's funny is that h. and I liked this particular place a lot and my illness did not stop us from returning many more times. The staff was real sweet.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day at work. I am already dreading it. But the weekend will soon be here. hooray!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


My husband (h.) and I went to New Jersey to visit his mother and step-father. The weekend went really well, h. only had 2 mother meltdowns.

Drove in on Friday. Took the NJ Transit into the city and met them for dinner at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School. That was fun. Food was all vegan and delicious. Note: They only serve dinner on Fridays at 6:30 so you need to make a reservation and it's BYOB.

We visited MOMA on Saturday afternoon. I wouldn't recommend this. It was REALLY busy. The new building was impressive and of course the art was fabulous. Just pick another day and/or time to go. We had coffee and pastries at the Cafe on the 2nd floor (there are 2 cafes and a restaurant). Portions were small and very pricey. I noticed that everyone eating cleaned their plates off.

Saturday night we ate at a Italian place in Brooklyn. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but the pasta, vodka sauce and caprice salad was great.

Sunday we went for a drive to the Delaware Water Gap and walked around some little touristy downtown areas. Mostly antique shops and crafty galleries. We had $4 smoothies all around, and big pretzel braids. I could have skipped the smoothie.

Sunday night we had Indian buffet in NJ, near the parents' house. I don't know that I've ever had Indian food that wasn't buffet. Besides a samosa from the place in the Arcade food court downtown. What would I order off a menu???

On the ride home h. and I discussed visiting India with his parents. Btw, his step-father is from India. They visit just about every other year. H. doesn't think he could mentally handle that trip. I say he has to suck it up and deal. We have to go.

Friday, August 12, 2005

the good and the bad

Over the past few days I've been working on using up my csa produce. I made a cherry tomato and pasta dish from The Amateur Gourmet that was quite good.

Yesterday afternoon I tried making hot pepper jelly. I had jalapeno, santa fe grande and hungarian black peppers. I googled and found a recipe from Kraftfoods.com---it called for the biggest amount of hot peppers (3/4 cup). Well, the recipe is called Certo Hot Pepper Jelly. I figured Certo was the brand of pectin and that 1 box of Certo would equal one box of ball or sure jell pectin. Well, I didn't figure right. Maybe because it's Canadian? I don't know what happened but none of my jelly set up and now I have 8 jars of hot pepper liquid. ugh! I even bought new cute ball jars for this project :( Now I have to empty them all and am not going to have platinum lids to replace the used ones. Why???

Last night I thought I was going to have some company for dinner but ended up eating alone. I made some Trade Joe wild salmon and patty pans on the grill. Then my friend and I went downtown to Mall B to see E.T. under the stars---the movies are put on by Parkworks. Nice family fun! I ate too many tortilla chips and candy bars, yes bars!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

yesterday's csa delivery

  • lots of heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • zucchini (I grated and froze 8 cups for future zucchini bread)
  • lots of hot peppers
  • banana peppers
  • green peppers
  • some indistinguishable squash? eggplants? I don't know what they are but they're very pretty--purple and yellow striped. I'm going to email the farmer and see what the heck they are.

test recipes

I signed up (like a million other people) to be a recipe tester for The Good Home Cookbook. If you would like to be a recipe tester too, sign up here. Yesterday I was assigned 3 recipes --- Veal Marsala, Green Rice & Glazed Peach Pie.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

tv fix

We don't have cable, we have 2 sets of rabbit ears. There are a few shows we have been known to watch during the week----Desperate Housewives, Miami CSI (when do the new epsisodes start anyways?) & Hell's Kitchen---but we don't watch that much. If we had cable I think I'd watch much more. So, we don't. We have cable internet only.

My in-law's are visiting my aunt-in-law (is that a real relation?) in Florida and we were asked to dog sit. Thank goodness they know a lot of people and we only have to do the night shift. Feed, water and entertain 3 border collies each night. What fun. I like the dogs but they are a pain in the butt. The neighbors complained and called the POLICE because they were barking at night and kept them up!!! The parents are coming home tomorrow so it's almost over.

The good thing about dog sitting is that they have CABLE. Last night my husband worked till about midnight (this is not unusual) and I had complete control of the remote. Ha! I sat on the couch and "entertained" the dogs for a good 2 hours. I watched some TLC, Food TV and was so happy to catch Anthony Bourdain's new show No Reservations on the Travel Channel. I was a HUGE fan of his show on the Food Channel and this was very similar. Not sure why this is on the Travel Channel but whatever, I enjoyed it. The episode last night was all about New Jersey. They showcased some cheese, made from only grass fed cow's milk, that I must try!

Monday, August 08, 2005

wedding weekend

Whew! My friend's wedding was last Saturday...the third of 3 weddings we attended this summer. I have a huge sense of relief that they are over. Now this means summer is almost over too, but that isn't even phasing me yet. The end of summer does not mean the same thing when you're grown up and work every summer not to mention every fall, winter & spring!

I haven't really cooked anything lately (is this becoming a habit?) due to a) being busy b) being lazy and c) there being no food in the house. So, my husband and I went grocery shopping last night after we ate dinner at Tommy's. The idea of shopping and then coming home and cooking and doing dishes exhausts me. We haven't been to Tommy's in a while and it was a real treat.

This morning I did make us oatmeal for breakfast and veggie wraps for lunch. I hope he is not putting too much faith in oatmeal. Just eating a bowl a day will not lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. He doesn't even like oatmeal. It's a chore for him to eat it.

Today I'm going to check out the American Heart Association's No Fad Diet, I got from the library. I know that there are tons of recipes I should be trying out. Hopefully, I'll be inspired today to make something fabulous!

This getting "healthy" is tough. Exercise is going to be a must soon. I loathe exercising. Should I start Jazzercising again? It's lame, but it worked for me before.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

very busy...

Havn't cooked much lately due to working late and dealing with life in general. I just finished catching up with dirty dishes last night and didn't have the heart to make any new ones. Ended up going to the bar for a few beers and chicken tenders, and then feeling guilty for eating those chicken tenders. I have GOT to stop eating fried food. Sometimes I feel like I'm really getting out of control. The more I know I shouldn't eat junk food, the more i crave it.

Still working on the lifestyle changes.

On a happier note, I sign up the other day for "Blogging by Mail 2" over at The Samantha Files. I think it will be great fun and am starting to think of what I'll put in my package that says : CLEVELAND!

Monday, August 01, 2005

grillin' at the pool

I went over my friend Jen's parents' house this past weekend---they were out of town and it felt a little high school-ish, but FUN. They have a huge pool and hot tub that we enjoyed all afternoon into the evening. Her husband cooked this gigantic pork tenderlion that he had to cut in half so he could fit it on the grill! It was delicous! Then her brother made us all b-a-n-a-n-a splits. He made a slit in all the bananas and grilled them in their skins, drizzled with honey, sugar & cinnamon. Added a scoop of ice cream. Delicious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

health issues

This week my husband found out he has high blood pressure and cholesterol. The doctors told him he is too young for medication and needs to make some life changes---lose weight, exercise, eat better, stop smoking, etc. I really didn't think we ate THAT bad. They said no more junk food---we don't even eat junk food. They said stop salting food---he never salts food. The whole thing is quite scary. He suspected all of these things but to have someone actually take the tests and tell you the numbers, that's a reality check.

Monday, July 25, 2005

weekend treats

The stuffed squash were a little disappointing. I substituted some marjoram, oregano and rosemary for the Herbs de Provence and added extra Parmesan cheese (we love cheese) but the stuffing ended up still being quite bland. Plus, the squash were a bit underdone. There are still two little pattypans in the fridge. You know the recipe wasn't a success if there are un-eaten leftovers 3 days later.

Sunday, I had to cram in 2 social events and needed make 2 *quick* desserts in the morning. I decided on a recipe I had been wanting to try in Everyday Food for a Rustic Apple Tart. Never having worked with frozen puff pastry before I didn't realize that you have to THAW the dough before you can work with it. duh. So, I thawed it in the microwave and surprisingly it worked! I made 2 tarts---one peach and one apple. Both were well received by the crowds. Definitely a keeper.

I started thinking that I could try making the puff pastry myself and forget the frozen stuff...but doesn't that defeat the purpose of a *quick* recipe? Would it really taste any better if I made it from scratch?

Oh, here's an idea for the grill from my in-laws. They stuffed banana peppers with italian sausage and threw them on the grill, served with a little marinara on the side. Nice way to use those peppers.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Holly Golightly

Didn't get to my squash last night. I ended up going to my niece's t-ball game and then to the Beachland Ballroom to see The Woggles and Holly Golightly. It was a great time but a late night out for a Thursday. I am getting old.

Must cook squash before it goes bad...I will feel terribly sad if I waste my CSA produce.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

squash, tons of it

I joined a local csa (community supported agriculture) farm this year. I decided to join at the every-other week drop off level, rather than the every week. Just trying it out this year.

So far i've paid $90 and gotten 2 soft coolers to store/hold the food that gets dropped off at my house and one shipment of food delivered. I just wished we would have gotten a few more tomatoes---they were incredibly sweet. The CSA people did promise not to overload us with squash too often---two people can only eat so much squash! The shipment contained:

  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 2 pickles (my husband was very happy about these!)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 hot pepper
  • 2 big zucchini
  • 2 zephyr squash
  • 2 papaya pear squash
  • a bunch of patty pan squash
  • 6 eggs
  • a baggie of cherry tomatoes

Everything we've eaten has been delicous and really fresh tasting. We've grilled lots of sqash and made many salads. I used the eggs to make Oeuf Cocotte and am going to try stuffing the patty pans tonight with another recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini called Courgettes Rondes Farcies.

The questions I have about the CSA are----how many more deliveries will there be? and, would it be cheaper and/or easier for me to pick out the produce I want at one of the farmer's markets? But, I'm in love with the delivery aspect...it's fun to come home to a cooler full of scrumption surprises!!!

Who's cooking? Who's eating?

i've been using a good portion of my days recently reading blogs. i think i've become addicted. there are so many out there and each one links to a hundred more. how will i ever get to read them all? well, i've figured out not all of them are worth reading but that you don't find that out right away.

what i can't find much about is food or restaraunts or cooking in cleveland. there's the cleveland.com food forum...which is interesting, but not very busy. i havn't come across anyone cooking and posting either. maybe i just haven't found them yet. i will keep looking and i guess i'll start spending some of my time posting rather than just reading. why not?