Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time for Chicken Soup

Well, the weather officially sucks in Northeast Ohio, so I am going to start posting some of my favorite comfort food recipes..

Problem is, I've never actually measured any of these ingredients....I just kind of throw random shit in the pot and keep tasting till I think the flavor is right.....

So, I will do the best that I can. You can find these new recipes under "Soups and Stews".


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Company for dinner? Honey are you shitting me?

So, we've all had that surprise moment when you find out you are having unexpected company for dinner. It's one of those WTF moments......Then oh shit, what the hell am I going to do. How do I make this dinner for four expand to feed 6?

Luckily for me, I like to cook and I generally don't mind company....unless I'm sick or hungover. Then stay the hell away.....

I'm the kind of person though, who likes to impress with my cooking and my hostessing. So, when I have unexpected company that I didn't plan a spectacular dinner for, I have to improvise...

Here are some of the things that I do to "fancy" up my meals when I wasn't even fucking prepared to do so in the first place.

Main course: Well, unfortunately, at the point where you find out you are having unexpected guests...you've probably already started your meal if it's not already even done..So, there isn't much you can do about this. ...This happened to me today. Luckily, I was making lasagna. And even more luckily, it was a pretty fancy lasagna with home made Bolognese sauce, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta and basil..yum.....So, I had enough lasagna to go around.

Dessert: I have to have dessert when I have company. A meal just doesn't feel complete without it. So what do you do when you don't have time to bake a cake or pie? Bread pudding with caramel sauce is what I always fall back on. Soooo freaking easy. Who doesn't have old bread in their pantry? Brown sugar? Check! Eggs? Check! Milk? Check! If I happen to have frozen or fresh blueberries, I toss those fuckers in as well....Then I make a caramel sauce...easy peazy. Sugar? Check! Water? Check! You can make a very nice bread pudding with caramel sauce to serve. I can post the recipe.

Little touches....

When I serve bread, rolls etc....it always make it fancier if I dress up my butter a little bit.
That is right. Dress up the butter. It's not enough that butter is spectacular on it's own, but I do dress it up a bit....Take a stick of butter and soften it....here are two of my favorites:

1. Add in about a tablespoon of honey and tablespoon or so of brown sugar.....mix it around and you have a to-die-for spread for your warm rolls...yummy.

2. Add in about a 1/2 tsp of lemon, 1 clove of minced garlic and some chopped fresh herbs..whatever you got..basil, oregano, parsley..whatever. Toss in a pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper....You got HERB BUTTER. Another yum.

Throw together a spectacular salad. I keep almonds and walnuts in my freezer. Chop up your lettuce. Toss in sliced red onions, strawberries or raspberries. Toss in some nuts and serve with a vinaigrette (I'm sure I spelled that wrong)....You can make your own vinaigrette or keep a store bought bottle in your fridge....

Make your own croutons! Easy as pie. Cut up some bread into 1 inch cubes. Toss in a large bowl. Drizzle in some olive oil and dried herbs. Spread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven till nice and toasty. Serve on your salad....

It's always the little touches that make it seem like you planned this shit all along.
Improvise! That is what I had to do today when I found out at the last minute that my in-laws were coming for dinner.

So, the lasagna is baking. The bread is ready and so is the honey butter....The salad is chopped and the croutons are done. The bread pudding is in the oven...Getting ready to make the caramel sauce now...

I happen to be a glutton for punishment, so I whipped up a batch of crepe batter, which is chilling in the fridge...I sliced up the rest of the raspberries and strawberries that were rotting in my fridge and they are currently marinating in a bit of sugar and amaretto...Perfect topping for the crepes......

I fucking rock.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I just ate WHAT?!!!!

So, we were invited to my Sister-in-law's house for a cookout a few weeks ago and I haven't written about it yet because it's taken me this long to get over it....so, I'll tell you the story.

I always LOVE going to Karen's (name changed to protect the innocent) house for dinner because she is an awesome cook and she is very Martha Stewartish. From the fresh made lemonade with sprigs of just-picked mint floating in it, to the handmade placemats and name tags.....she really knows how to impress. I get very excited when we get invited. But, there is ONE small drawback. My brother in law is a hunter... So, you never know what might turn up on the dinner table. Usually, it will be venison.

As we were getting ready to leave I looked at my daughter Sara, and said, "God, I really hope they are NOT serving deer today. Anything but fucking Bambi, because I will be hitting McD's on the way home." Yup, for sure....we were both pretty clear on this.

So, we arrive at Karen's and sure enough...there is the fresh pitcher of homemade lemonade with fresh raspberries and mint! There is a giant bowl of pasta salad with fresh vegetables from her garden. Cucumber salad! Fresh fruit from the garden! Corn on the cob! OMG.... A turkey! A freaking turkey smoking out in the garden under a metal garbage can for chrissakes! Then, on the counter there is a crock pot of barbecued pulled "beef"........I couldn't wait to eat! I was starving.

So, I fill my plate and we head out to the deck to eat. Sara and I are enjoying our food and I just got about 1/2 way done with my bbq "beef sandwich".......Now at this point in the story..I have to back track.....

Earlier, we had gone downstairs to see my Brother-in-law's latest conquests.....Coyote on the wall, three deer heads and a goddamn fucking black bear! Of course, they are very proud of this and they should be. They are hunters! Me, not so impressed. I just want to leave the taxidermy shop, NOW! I am creeped out.... so I get out of there as soon as I can.

Which brings me back to the deck, and the dinner story....As I take about my fourth bite into the bbq "beef" sandwich, my Sister-in-law (sneak in law) looks at me and says, "So, how do you like the sandwich?". I say "Ok, enough bullshit. What the fuck am I eating?" She looks at me with a giant smile and says "yogi bear".

Ok, that's enough. I almost barf right there. I am eating BEAR. Not only am I eating BEAR, but I am eating the BEAR that is downstairs, stuffed on the fucking wall! I can't take this. Deer is bad enough, but BEAR? I don't want to eat BEAR! Given the choice, I'd have licked the toilet seat rather than eat a goddamn BEAR! I was kind of pissed because I thought, hey, if I was going to invite people over to a BEARbeque, I'd have at least told them they were having wild game and given them the choice to back the fuck out.

Needless to say, the other half of the sandwich went into the trash and I was done eating and sick to my stomach!

I went in search of the alcohol and prayed that it would make me forget what I ate or make me sick enough to throw it up later. Enough of this! After we left, we all pretty much agreed that given the choice we would not have eaten yogi fucking bear,thank you very much. So, lesson learned. Next time we're invited to Karen's, I don't eat anything that has ever eaten anything else. Ever again!

P.S. To be fair......I have to admit.. the Bearbebque sandwich was actually pretty tasty until I found out what it was.

Am I nuts or just good a wife and mother?

So, I'm going out of town tomorrow and won't be back till Sunday. Soooooo,
I decided that rather than getting ten phone calls saying "What can we eat", every five minutes.......I would make enough food to last them until I get home. Shit, you would think I'm leaving for Bangladesh or something....

I made the Cheese Tortellini with the Alla Vodka Sauce, and dammit, I gotta say..I fucking love this dish. OMG. Every time I eat it, it's kind of like a mini orgasm, only without the wet spot afterward. Then, I made a big ol pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, which I have to say, was pretty fucking good too. I'm going to actually post it. I have two soups that I do well. One is French Onion and the other is Chicken Noodle. I really need to get a handle on the potato cheddar soup, and when I do, you will know it.

So dear friends and readers of mine....it may sound gay, but I'm going to post the chicken noodle soup recipe. Who'd have thought that tossing in basil, oregano (Italian really?!), beef and chicken boullion (I'm sure I just spelled that wrong) and a bunch of other shit would turn out so damn good? But it did. Oh comfort food. you gotta love it.

So, signing off for now......going to finish this bottle of wine...oh and I have a story about wine.....but I'll get to that later!

Sue out.