Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garlic Press Blues

I must be coming down with something.  I went into Cook's Corner and walked out empty handed earlier this week.  Oh, believe me, I saw all kinds of things I liked, but I somehow left the store without buying any of them. But I think there was this nagging voice of "where are you going to stash that" in the back of my head.  It's okay, I made up for it by ordering a Garlic Twist off Amazon.  Actually that's why I went into Cook's Corner in the first place, and they had pretty much everything else under the sun.  I just hope that bugger works when it arrives.  I had never heard of such a critter until a couple of months ago when they were in an issue of Food Network magazine.  They liked it, the reviews on Amazon are pretty positive, so it got in my head I must possess one.  That, and I'm seriously tired of picking skins out of my traditional garlic press.  I'm a klutz with terrible knife skills, so don't start that with me; it ain't pretty.

Yeah, I've been slow on posting still.  Been a busy week.  On the positive, I managed to hit up the one day sale on the Good Cook book club last Friday, and my order got here Thursday.  I went celebrity chef crazy and picked up Emeril's 20-40-60 and Spike Mendelsohn's The Good Stuff Cookbook, and to tip my total over the benchmark for cheap shipping I got Laura McCabe's Embellished Beadweaving.  It's not food related, but I wanted it for my other hobby of beading.  (That's the thing I love about that book club - no monthly shipments, and plenty of books I like - cooking and a decent crafting section.)

Well, my friends, my dearest is firing up the grill, reckon that means its about dinner time.  I'll check in with you again soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cheese on a Cob

  I'm stuffed.  Tonight we had a lovely dinner, mainly made on the grill.  Baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon honey butter, grilled NY strips, and cheese on the cob.  Cheese on the Cob - yes, this would be a Paula Deen recipe, although it's roots are Mexican street food.  Don't turn your nose up when you look at the ingredients - the mayo is just glue.  This is one of my hubby's favorite ways to eat corn.  This is not a recipe of exacts, and one of the few you'll see with me not giving quantities; I'm a geek and I like my measurements where they are necessary.

Cheese on the Cob
Yields 4-5 ears of corn

4-5 ears of fresh corn, husked and silks removed
grated Parmesan cheese*, about 1 cup (see note towards the end of the post)
chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Special equipment: aluminum foil, cooking spray, grill

Start off by preheating your grill and ripping off enough aluminum foil to wrap your ears of corn.  Dump the grated Parmesan on a plate.

Brush the corn with a thin layer of mayo.  Roll the cobs in the Parmesan cheese until you get a nice, thick layer of cheese.  Sprinkle all sides of the corn with chili powder, salt and pepper.

Spray one side of the aluminum foil pieces.  Lay the corn on the sprayed side and wrap up the cobs.  I put my corn in the center of the foil, pull up the sides and roll them down like you do an open chip bag, and then roll in each side so the corn is fully closed, but you aren't going to mess up your cheese coat.

Put the corn on the grill for about 10 minutes, turning them every few minutes, or until the kernels start to show a little brown.

* Now, back to the Parmesan - use the green can.  Y'all know what I'm talking about- the can of pre-grated cheese that sits next to the pasta on the store shelf.  This is one of the occasions that it really is the best for the job.  I tried this once with nice, freshly grated Parm, and promptly went back to the green can.  Fresh Parmesan just didn't melt the same and the taste just didn't meld as well with the chili powder.  

**  Come in close - you can totally do this when corn is out of season or you don't have a grill.  Frozen corn - no problem.  Just cook the corn slightly under package directions, and pick up from the beginning once the corn is cool to the touch.  No grill?  Preheat your oven to 400°F and put the foiled corn in for 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Checking In

Evening folks - I know, I've been quiet this week.  School ended on Friday, but I turned around and immediately started a teaching mathematics methods course (or maths if you're of the persuasion).  I'm at the halfway point, and will be attending the last session on Friday.  It's been very enlightening, but I'm secretly looking forward to the end so that it really, really feels like I'm out for the summer.  That, and I'm soooo jealous DH is going to be home for E3, and I'm going to be sitting in class this week.  (For the non-geeks out there, E3 is a huge conference where the newest tech and video games are announced and previewed for us geeks to drool and fall all over ourselves until we get in our hot little hands.) 

Right now, my kitchen smells of basil.  I whirled up a batch of spinach-basil pesto and awaiting the pasta water to boil.  I've not tried this recipe before, so hopefully it'll come out well.  Boy howdy, I tell ya, if you've not made it and you have a food processor, do yourself a favor; arm yourself with a good pesto recipe and make it at home.  It totally blows the stuff you buy at the grocery out of the water. 

Well, that beep means my timer is done and food needs to be finished prepping as to be consumed.  Omnomnom...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Frozen Lemonade Pie

  Summer and citrus go hand in hand.  And cold desserts make the heat livable.  This recipe I'm sharing with you folks is simple and no heat required, which is awesome when you feel like stepping into the kitchen will make you melt.  It's an older Southern Living recipe - mid '90s if I recollect correctly.

Frozen Lemonade Pie
Serves 12-16 servings (6-8 slices per pie) 

6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate (1/2 of a 12 oz can)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip® whipped topping
2 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crusts

  In a blender, combine the frozen lemonade, cream cheese and condensed milk.  Blend until smooth.

  Pour the lemonade mix into a large mixing bowl.  Fold the whipped topping in gently.  If you beat too hard, you will lose a lot volume, which you need to fill both crusts.

  Divide the mixture between the two pie crusts.  Cover and pop in the freezer for at least 6 hours - overnight is great.  Set it out on the counter about 10 minutes before serving.

Note - This recipe is fabulous using limeade concentrate instead of lemonade, too! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Bread

Mmmmm.  I love strawberries, yes indeedy.  This loverly recipe comes from Cooking With the Noonday Chef 3 by Walter Lambert.  Now those of you unfamiliar with Chef Lambert, he demonstrates recipes on a local TV station on the 12 o'clock news.  I was tickled to death when I ran across this cookbook at McKay, a local haunt for bibliophiles, college students, and interesting people in general.  But, I digress - this is one of my favorite recipes I've tried out of that book so far.  If you're looking to try it, too, keep in mind, you'll need to prep the strawberries the night before you bake.

Fresh Strawberry Bread 
Yields 1 loaf

1 cup strawberry slices
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten

  Firstly, we're going to prep the strawberries.  Put the strawberry slices in a bowl and sprinkle with the 2 TBS of sugar.  Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight (or 8 hours).  This will create a nice syrup with the berries.

  After the strawberries have given up their sweet syrup, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  Blend together the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil, vanilla, eggs, strawberry slices and its syrup. Dump the strawberry mixture into the flour mixture, and mix just until blended.

  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan (9 inches x 5 inches) and bake for approximately 50 minutes.

Notes:  Chef Walter suggests variations of adding 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans or a bit of cinnamon to the batter, if you like.  This bread is decadent served with a schmear of cream cheese.