Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back in the USA with Chicken and Mushrooms

England was wonderful as always, but it's nice to be back.  I've learned a new skill which I'm having tremendous fun with.  I'm chopping up my own chickens.  Well, not really my own as in running around the garden, I mean the ones wrapped up in plastic in the supermarket.  I decided it was time I learned how to carve it up into 10 perfect (well almost) pieces.  I found a you tube video and hey presto I've already cut up two this morning.  It's such fun. It's strange that as a former vegan I'm seriously contemplating a career in butchery. Anyway, the question is, what do I do with all these perfectly them and adding a lip smacking mushroom gravy.  Turns out, it was a great place to start.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Treats and a Trip to England

"Witches Cauldron Stew"

"Spooky Spider Salad"

"Ghoul's Graveyard Mud Pudding"

For once in my life I'm actually ahead of the game. Here's Halloween - three weeks early!! I'm off to England shortly and when I return the festitives will be in full swing. 

In our house Halloween is undoubtedly the number one candy day of the year.  Pillow case after pillow case is hauled home, bursting with Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, gummy worms and every available fun-sized bar.  It’s a kid’s culinary paradise.

While not wanting to rain on the candy parade, I do make a sporting attempt to provide some semblance of healthy macronutrients to balance out the sugar frenzy.

I present these offerings in the manner of the occasion, beef and barley stew served in a witch’s cauldron, a salad bursting with health and vitality closely watched by some sinister spiders (fashioned from olives).  For dessert a chocolate mud pudding graveyard, complete with dirt (crumbled Oreo’s) and topped with a cookie tombstone, is sure to please.  I’ve provided a sinfully delicious recipe for the mud pudding but if you want to hold out for a healthier version (or a quicker one), simply use a low fat pudding or soy pudding from the supermarket.  It won’t be quite as delicious as the homemade but I don’t think you’ll get any complaints.

If you’re worried you’re going to spend Halloween in the kitchen and miss all the fun, don’t.  These recipes can be made ahead of time, indeed they benefit from a little time to develop their fullest flavors.  You won’t miss a minute of trick or treating.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last Night on Chef Hangout, Pasta Dishes that your Family will Love!

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Lemons, Pine Nuts and Black Olives


Fusilli with Sausage and Tomatoes

I'm just loving my cooking classes with Chef Hangout.  It's such a great idea, cooking classes via your computer in the comfort of your own kitchen.  No long commute required, it's very economical and most importantly, fun.  The fun part, I believe is because you're with people who share a love of cooking and interest in food.  I've cooked eggs with a lovely chef in Australia, soups with ladies in California and pasta with some groovy girls from Pennsylvania. Last  night I taught the two pasta dishes above and I'm happy to say I've enough pasta in the fridge to last the girls all week. 

If you're interested, check out the site there are some incredible chefs and a world of culinary interest.  Wouldn't it be fun to cook together!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mushroom Bruschetta

One of the things I love about bruschetta is that it starts out as a nibble and ends up as a meal.  Here's a Fall take on a summer favorite.  I made these the other day, to nibble on, then had a glass of red, then another bruschetta and all of a sudden we were having a scrumptious dinner. I tried two different approaches, to begin with I just rubbed the toasts with garlic. That was lovely but it needed a little extra interest, so I mixed some ricotta cheese with black pepper, a little Parmesan and a dash of balsamic vinegar, spread the ricotta mixture on the toasts then piled up the mushrooms and other goodies on top.  It added an extra dimension I would encourage you to try. Sadly I don't think I managed to get a picture of the ones with ricotta, they barely made it to the plate. I find a multi grain baguette stands up well to the strong flavors but the choice is yours.