Thursday, December 23, 2010

Macaroons: Take 3

I paid close attention during my previous attempts at making Chico macaroons (in Recipe #48 & Macaroons Take 2). These observations have nudged me into using less egg whites this go around. And it did help immensely to thicken them up. Plus, I really beat the heck out of 'em!
Took these lil goodies to Chuck E Cheese with my hubby's younger siblings. (Mmm... pizza, pop, cookies, & games is a great combo.) The macaroons turned out much better this time, but not quite perfect. With even less egg whites and more beating, I think they'll turn out the way I'm picturing they should look. I shall give it one more college try...
~Rating of Macaroons: 7 stars (out of 10)-- That rating is improving!
~Quote of the day: "Insanity: doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein
~Music while cooking: Tyrese's 66901-2-4-1

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Recipes #77 & #78: Tis the Season!

(16 recipes to go.)
This time of year really becomes busy with all that spreading of holiday cheer, doesn't it? In the past week we celebrated the jolly season at Scrapbook Club, The Christmas Stroll, Bunco, a retirement party, an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party (furry leg warmers totally completed my look), & a White Elephant Party (pretty comical). Amidst all those festivities, I whipped up the cookbook's Strawberry Champagne Tart with Crème Anglaise on a late, late night. (Funny, while doing so, Jamie was also baking and we texted each other pictures of our progress.) Took the tart to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Extravaganza (We've got some creative friends, I tell ya!), then the next night made a cookie tray along with Travis' experimentation of lamb sausage & tomatillos for a spicy BBQ dish at the White Elephant Gift Exchange. ~~Merry Christmas, ho ho ho!!~~
~Rating of Strawberry Champagne Tart: 5.5 stars (out of 10)-- I didn't really care for it- too much of a champagne taste, -but others claimed it was pretty good.
~Rating of Crème Anglaise: 8 starts (out of 10)-- Travis helped me make this sauce & it was drizzled over the tart. So good I could have eaten it with a spoon. Oh wait, I did.
~Quote of the day: "Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent & sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward." -Terri Guillemets
~Music while cooking: The Essential Waylon Jennings, per Travis' request.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Recipe #76: crabbiness

(18 recipes to go.)
For our buddy Brad's suprise birthday party at his Burger Dive restaurant, we made an easy Chico recipe; Crab Salad. (It was supposed to be Lobster Salad, but Walmart didn't have any lobster meat.) And since we are well-known for bringing veggie trays to get-togethers, we cut up carrots, cucumbers, & pita bread for dipping into the crabby mixture. Also added some Slap Yo Mama seasoning since Brad does like SPICE! This really was easy to make, we made it while flying out the door. And funny thing, I forgot to take off my apron before leaving and accidentally wore it to the party! Ha!!
Weather Update: More freezing rain & snow. Thank you to the 5 strangers & 2 coworkers who shoveled & pushed me out of 3 separate sticky situations this week!
Football Update: Vikings have won their last two games (hooray!), and I'm in SECOND place -out of 39 people- in our Pigskin Pick'em Pool (yayy!!).
~Rating of Crab Salad: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars." -Charles Kuralt
~Music while cooking: Weezer's Pinkerton, & Cher's Greatest Hits

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just for the HALIBUT.

Excited to have house guests stay with us (Marcus, Lacey, & sweet baby Leah- 3 1/2 mos. old), Travis promptly selected a repeat recipe to make for them; the Pinenut Crusted Halibut. We made it last spring in Recipe #41, and found it to be oh so good!
For our sweet tooths, we nibbled leftover Coconut Almond Tart from Recipe #75 (Travis didn't like the coconut, but I thought it tasted like an Almond Joy candy bar), and baked another repeat recipe; the blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Recipes #44 & #40. -Except this time, I turned them into muffins so the hunters could conveniently take them along on their expedition. And I'm thrilled to say, they successfully got some ducks! That's exactly what I need for one of the remaining Chico recipes!
~Rating of Pinenut Crusted Halibut (repeat recipe): 9 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Coconut Almond Tart (repeat recipe): 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Sour Cream Coffee Cake (repeat recipe): 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistance." -Jim Watkins
~Music while cooking: Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge, & Air Supply's Definitive Collection

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recipe #75: My favorite holiday!!

(19 recipes to go.)
My contribution to this year's Thanksgiving meal was the cookbook's Coconut Almond Tart. Mmm, mmm, mmm. That sigh-worthy pie will definately be repeated someday!
~Rating of Coconut Almond Tart: 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
~Music while cooking: Hole's Celebrity Skin, & Eartha Kitt's Where is My Man

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe #74: A cold day in... Montana

(20 recipes to go.)
Surprisingly, it wasn't 'til late November when we felt the first blast of artic air this season. Last week we were raking leaves without jackets, this week we're in a frozen tundra. Winter is absolutely upon us! Below zero temps, extremely crappy roads, & I've shoveled 3 times but you can't even tell! So after tackling the icy conditions & FOOT OF SNOW for the annual food fair with my girlfriends (oh hello über goodness of prime rib, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin cake, & Dr. Pepper-- all for just 7 bucks!), hibernating indoors was a must. Travis & I were certainly in the mood for comfort food while watching football this freezing cold afternoon. --But wanted nothing too heavy since I was still full from sampling all the fudge, sausage, sauces, & rocha. Not to mention my husband returned from a hunt with Zach to fatten me up with biscuits & gravy, hambuger stew, bacon, pork sausage, hashbrowns, & eggs. (Fresh eggs from the Grewells. That family is so good to us.) SERIOUSLY, after all that substantial grub, we needed something LIGHT! We decided on nice, warm soup. And that mushroom bisque we selected simmered into quite a fantastic scent as we screamed at the TV. Those Vikes may not be winning as many games as we'd like. But between the Favre sexting scandal, Randy Moss suddenly being traded away, & Coach Childress finally getting canned this morning, our team is definately leading in headlines!
~Rating of mushroom bisque: 7 stars (out of 10) from Travis. 8 stars from me.
~Quote of the day: "Winter is nature's way of saying, 'Up Yours.'" -Robert Byrne
~Music while cooking: The Vikings losing to the Packers. (Insert sad face here.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recipe #73: The Winter Project

(21 recipes to go.)
We'd been teasing my dad for his "winter project," --because he got it finished before FALL barely began! The process was entertaining as he dilegently turned his vision into a reality. With a lot of imagination & elbow grease, he created a life-size CANNON! We're impressed with his detailed masterpiece, and are anxious to hear it go "boom!"
In celebration, I made the cookbook's New York Cheesecake and accompanied it with some raspberries. Pretty tasty.
~Rating of New York Cheesecake: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" -Dr. Seuss in Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!
~Music while cooking: Abba Gold.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recipe #72: ghost hunting

(22 recipes to go.)
Insightful excerpts throughout the Chico Cookbook is something that really grabbed my attention when buying it. We've read all about movie stars that frequent the establishment, how Chico got its name, seasonal activities, the mineral pool's "curative powers." And one particularly interesting write-up is all about the GHOST that lives there! Percie Knowles, one of the original owners of Chico, is described as a prim-looking older woman who smells like lilacs and appears in the historic hotel on late winter nights. We have yet to see her, but next time we go, we intend to do some hunting around!
So in honor of "Percie," I became a ghost during Friday's downtown historic haunting tour on Halloween Weekend. Quite an excursion with the mysterious storytelling. We were told about China Alley's cleverly disguised opium dens, rumrunners and ghostly ladies of the night, the murder of a policeman, & Billings’ one-and-only lynching. And Travis made us laugh with his ghostly encounter when he used the restroom while learning about a ghost named "Buck" at The Rex. --The toilet flushed all by itself! Haha. Then, the next day we ate at The Dude Rancher where "Annabelle The Ghost" frequents-- and she did help Travis select a burger from the menu! (That silly guy.)
The dress-up holiday continued, of course, as Saturday I was my own interpretation of Eat Pray Love for the "Hips & Crypts Bellydancing." (Complete with spaghetti sauce dribbled on my bib for EAT, rosary beads for PRAY, & lip prints on my cheeks for LOVE.) And on Halloween Sunday, we whipped up Chico's crème brulée and dressed as Viking Fans!! Travis transformed into our favorite quarterback, Brett Favre-- since we just couldn't resist a lil spoof on Grandpa Favre's age, tendonitis elbow, fractured ankle, & stitched-up chin. He's quite a trooper, that ol' gunslinger.
~Rating of Crème Brulée: 4 stars (out of 10). Mr. Favre & I didn't particularly care for it. The taste of brandy was really STRONG! If I ever make this again, I won't use as much as the recipe calls for.
~Quote of the day: "I would love to play, for no other reason but I'm in this, committed to this team." -Brett Favre

Monday, October 25, 2010

Macaroons: Take 2

Remember the macaroon fiasco in Recipe #48? (I certainly do!) Well, I gave it another shot, and they turned out MUCH better! (Note to self, use less egg whites next time to thicken them up a bit.) This batch did taste pretty marvelous (and looked a wee bit prettier than the last attempt), so we included 'em in a lil care-package to Travis' mom. (Well actually, before sending we had to do some re-baking on account of us sneaking bites of the scrumptious cookies!) Also gave some to my parents who immensely enjoyed them!
These treats were baked amidst an extreee-mely productive day of Travis & I running errands, deep-cleaning the house (Is there anything more appealing than a man scrubbing the bathroom??), & dining at Ciao Mambo. Love that restaurant. Such an urban feel with all the funky Leanne Laine artwork on display. Her theme? Woman & wine. (See photo.)
And in keeping with the "mom theme," here I am pictured with the macaroons (and other cookies too), wearing a surprise from Ma; a Halloween shirt in consolation for my recent frenzied schedules. Aren't moms amazing?? Oh yes. Yes they are.
~Rating of Macaroons: 6 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Mother Love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible." -Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul.
~Music while cooking: Rock Star's Night at the Mayan Theatre

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recipe #71: Road Trip!

(23 recipes to go.)
We've both had some pretty crazy agendas lately, so a trip outa town was a much-needed getaway! Beforehand, I made Chico's granola, and turned it into a trail mix for our 14-hour drive to & from Laramie, WY. Also brought along the cookbook's picnic basket suggestions for some extra snacking in the ol' Honda...
Its been forever since I've been to Laramie, and it was a blast for Travis to show me around his old stomping grounds. I saw his basement apartment, a couple houses he built when working construction, where he graduated at Wyotech, & the pawn shop he traded a gun 12 years ago for gas money to Billings. (We checked, but it wasn't still there.) Ate at The Library & Sushi Boat, went to a flea market where I got a brilliant apron, shopped for some UW merchandise, and cheered on the Cowboys at their tailgating party & homecoming football game. They lost. But it was still a fantastic retreat! And Travis was especially excited to be on the INSIDE of the stadium (the whole purpose of our trip), being as when he lived there (well over a decade ago-- funny how fast time zips by) he was always on the OUTSIDE flipping burgers for McDonalds' trailer. (We made sure to eat there too before leaving.)
On the way home I was able to catch some Viking scores via radio (while rockin' my Jared Allen T), as Travis caught some Zzz's. They beat Dallas, and are now back in the thick of things with their 2-3 record! Awesome.
~Rating of Granola: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us." -Oscar Wilde in "The Importance of Being Earnest"
~Music while cooking: None, just some early morning, before-work quietness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipes #69 & #70: fall fondue

(24 recipes to go.)
Amidst our SUPER BUSY work-week, we made the cookbook's Heirloom Bread & Crostini. (Delish.) Dipped them in a cheese fondue, tuned in to some football, & continued our awe of WR Randy Moss' blockbuster trade back to Minnesota.
~Rating of Heirloom Bread: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Crostini: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Straight cash, homey." -Randy Moss
~Music while cooking: football

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recipe #68: Farmers Market

(26 recipes to go.)
Of course, I just had to catch the very last Farmer's Market of 2010! So sad it has come to an end... Among several treats of Khantaly's Eggrolls & the Hutterites' produce, I loaded up on herbs & veggies to make Chico's Gazpacho. A cold soup? Really? This recipe would have been completely overlooked if it weren't for my quest to cook the entire book. It just didn't sound appealing to me at all. But, figured I better get this potential thirst quencher out of the way before winter sets in. After all, a COLD soup with COLD temperatures seems even more ridiculous.
As the recipe's tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, & peppers marinated that afternoon, I headed up the mountain to check out Red Lodge's fall colors; my sixth trip there this year, what a great escape. After the week's hectic schedule & the previous night's entertainment at a rowdy Skyview homecoming football game (oh the memories that sparked!), a lil out-of-town peace & quiet was exactly what the doctor ordered. Hello Autumn!! Thanks for the beautiful scenery, Mother Nature. Its like I stumbled across a paint-by-number painting. And have I mentioned the weather is simply GORGEOUS? I mean, we're talking 80 degrees in October! Must. Savor. This. Sunshine. While watching a lil football this afternoon (NFL is like a soap opera or reality show-- ya just can't miss a thing!) I finished off the remaining steps of this sweet & spicy Gazpacho. And here's the kicker; I LOVE this soup!!! Love, love, loooove it! Its, surprisingly, quite refreshing with the veggie/tomato juice combo. There's still a huge pot leftover to welcome Travis from a hunting trip with his coworker Chris. My bachelorette weekend is about to come to a close... As are these beautiful sunshiny conditions, I just know it. But how great to discover a recipe I will most definately make again!
~Rating of Gazpacho: 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "To sit in the shade on a fine day & look upon the verdant green hills is the most perfect refreshment." -Jane Austin
~Music while cooking: In the mood for a lil jazz, I cranked up Erin McDougald's Meeting Place --during the football commercials...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe #67: trailerhood party

(27 recipes to go.)
Jamie's mom called a few days ago with an amusing idea; a Surprise Trailer Trash Lawn Ornament Party in celebration of Jamie's new trailer! How we managed to keep this a secret all week is beyond me, cause we really got to laughing at our plans. Guests not only dressed the part with mullets & leopard prints, but also brought various lawn ornament gifts. Cause really, a person just can't have too many pink flamingos! Among the cheese whiz, pork rinds, jello salad, & spam hor d'oeurves, I made the cookbook's Montana Mud Pie -jazzed up with gummy worms & a tiny bathroom set topper, of course. Oh and, Travis made sure to bring some pickled pigs feet, oysters, & vienna sausages too. What a comical party this turned out to be!
~Rating of Montana Mud Pie: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "If you've ever grilled spam, you might be a redneck." -Jeff Foxworthy
~Music while cooking: Blue Collar Comedy Tour

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe #66: date night

(28 recipes to go.)
Succulent sushi at NaRa Restaurant last night. Hilarious comedians (Owen Benjamin & Lukas Seely) at Asian Nites Casino. And Chico's FLAMING ORANGES in our living room!
The cookbook describes this creative treat as whimsy & wild, and Travis would like to add DANGEROUS to this description. We lit the rum-covered oranges on fire, as instructed, and he was quite fearful the house would burn down! It didn't, obviously. But the whole reason of warming this flashy indulgence is to slightly melt the chocolate & creamsicle concoction on the inside. Its divine.
A little side note on these dang oranges... I had such a blonde moment. The recipe calls for cream of tartar, and I used TARTAR SAUCE! You know, the kind you dip fish in. Don't laugh. Okay, laugh. That's pretty classic. (Yes, I ended up redoing that part.)
And in other food-related news... Congrats to our dear friends Brad & Andi opening their restaurant, The Burger Dive, this week. Mmm, mmm. Gourmet burgers & fresh-cut fries. It is finger-lickin' good!
~Rating of Flaming Oranges: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." -Irish Proverb
~Music while cooking: Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life. (Dancing in the kitchen with Travis' mullet wig CRACKED US UP!!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recipe #65: busy beaver

(29 recipes to go.)
I tried to balance my productivity & relaxation this weekend... A lil GIRL TIME, some ME TIME, oh and a whole lotta WORK. I know, I know. Work isn't the best way to spend my days off. But nearly finishing a huge project does bring some peace of mind. To help motivate my brain, I baked a lil somethin'-somethin' to nibble on at my desk; Fennel Breadsticks! Chico is well-known for these goodies. We had them when dining at Chico's Restaurant last winter. And they went well with today's creation simmering on the stove; Ripley Soup. It was supposed to be a rainy day, so soup was intended as the perfect accompanyment to a cozy afternoon of cheering for those beloved Vikes.
They lost.
And the sun shined all day long. Doesn't anything ever go as planned? :)
Travis was out elk hunting with his dad, and even though they were unsuccessful, this comforting dish cheerfully welcomed him home with a savory scent & taste. The beautiful carnations he surprised me with a few days ago also added to the kitchen aroma. (They're pictured here, nestled between my lucky bamboo plant & the gorgeous fall arrangement from Cristin.) Our house has a delicious smell of fresh-cut flowers & a thick hearty broth lingering in the air! The soup is really appetizing, our cooks at work make it often. I highly recommend this on an upcoming chilly day. Alas, crisp Autumn weather is right around the corner...
Ripley Soup
In a big pot on the stove, stir in cut-up onion, celery, carrots, two 32 oz chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper, ground meat (don't brown before, just sprinkle it in while boiling), dumplings (1 c flour, 2 eggs, salt- just crumble it in like the meat), and broken-up spaghetti.
Rating of Fennel Breadsticks: 6 stars (out of 10) from Travis. 7.5 stars from me.
Quote of the day: "The discipline to do what you don't want to do but know you should do, leads to creating greatness within." -Author Unknown
Music while cooking: Erykah Badu's Live.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Recipe #64: Football season has begun!

(30 recipes to go.)
Well, my Fantasy Football isn't off to a great start... But a day of hanging out on the couch, after a quick hike, was well received! We've had such an active social calendar lately, so today was an appreciative day of unwinding. Yesterday's agenda held the second party I hosted this week, as Paige, Laura, & I very excitedly threw Cristin's nautical-themed baby shower! From the swedish fish dangling on mini fishing poles to the ocean-like punch to the HUGE display of food & ADORABLE cake, each swashbuckling detail came together very well. Aye Aye Captain! The festivities were a joyful success!!
This afternoon, amidst chilling in the livingroom & snuggling with my kitties, I made the cookbook's Lemon Pudding Cake With Dried Cherry Compote. Really, really super sweet. But good in small portions. I'm snacking on some right now and about to catch MTV's Video Music Awards, which is bound to be entertaining. Glad I'm getting a little R & R before starting the work-week... Its gonna be a hectic one!
~Rating of Lemon Pudding Cake With Dried Cherry Compote: 6 stars (out of 10).
~Quote of the day: "Friends are like bras: Close to your heart and there for support." -Author Unknown.
~Music while cooking: Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Denver Broncos.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recipe #63: Bunco

(31 recipes to go.)
My casa hosted this month's BUNCO. And as requested, below are the recipes I whipped up for the dozen dice-tossing, fun-loving ladies. In addition, I made Chico's Raspberry Chocolate Decadence Truffle Torte for dessert. Yeah, its as rich as it sounds. Definately a sliver of a piece is all ya need, cause its almost like eating a hunk of fudge. Took the leftovers to my parents' house the next day (for the NFL season kickoff, where my beloved Vikes lost to the Saints in an excrutiating rematch of last season's championship game- that devastation is remembered in Recipe #1). And my mom certainly agreed, this torte is incredibly RICH!
Taco Soup (Delicious recipe from the cooks at work.)
Brown 2 lb ground beef, drain fat. Stir in 1 can (15 oz) corn, 1 can (15 oz) black beans, 1 can (15 oz) undrained ranch-style beans, 1 can (10 oz) undrained tomatoes & green chilies, 1/2 c uncooked rice, 2 pkg taco seasoning, 1 tbsp cilantro, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, & 4 c water (or tomato juice). Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer for atleast 15 min. Top each serving with tortilla chips, fritos, cheese, and/or sour cream in a bowl. Or, spoon over lettuce for a great taco salad.
Mexican Chicken Bites
Thaw puff pastry sheets at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 24 (2 1/2") muffin-pan cups. Combine 2 c cooked shredded chicken, 2 c shreeded monterey jack cheese, 1/4 c canned green chilies, 2 tsp chili powder, & 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 9”x12” rectangle. Cut into 12 (3”) squares. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet. Spoon 1 tbsp chicken mixture into center of each square. Brush edges of square with egg. Fold edges to center on top of filling and twist tightly to seal. Fan out corners. Place in muffin-pan cups. Brush with egg. BAKE for 20 min. or until golden. Makes 24.
Dijon Caesar Chicken
Stir 2 1/2 c cubed cooked chicken, 1 c grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half, 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, & 1/3 c Caesar dressing. Place on a bed of lettuce.
Pudding Strawberries (Recipe from friend Laura.)
Hallow out strawberries. Fill with a mixture of vanilla pudding, whipped cream, vanilla extract, & cream cheese.
Cream Puffs
Thaw from box purchased in frozen food section of Walmart. -Ha!
~Rating of Raspberry Chocolate Decdence Truffle Torte: 0 stars (out of 10) from Travis. He thought it tasted like burnt x-lax. 6 stars from me.
~Quote of the day: "Girls just wanna have fun." -Cindi Lauper.
~Music while cooking: Abba Gold, & Charlie's Angels Soundtrack.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recipe # 62: flower power & elbow grease

(32 recipes to go.)
Triple dog dare ya to find a speck of dust after my total fall cleaning mode this sunny-then rainy- then chilly 3-day weekend. I washed curtains, shampooed carpets, raked leaves, scrubbed everything, mowed the lawns, even finished up some painting projects. Such a maniac! Also had a delicious & funny lunch with Ma & Pa while playing live keno at Alpine Casino, as Travis is gone archery hunting with friends & family. And I thoroughly enjoyed Venture Theater's FANTASTIC hippie production of the Hair Musical with Jamie & Paige! Total peace, love, & grooviness!!
Still humming The Age of Aquarius, my Chico recipe this week was the tasty & simple Capri Sandwiches. Brenda & some bunco gals tasted the herb focaccia bread it was made of, and seemed to enjoy the hint of Italian Seasoning in it. The sandwiches went with me on a lil hike at Phipp's Park as well. I've nearly forgotten how steep of a climb that is! Glad I packed a little backpack with me, cause it was great to gulp some water & nibble the sammies while taking in the view. Now I'm off to work more on the never-ending yard & house projects. I'm on such a roll with my productivity, and haven't even had any caffeine!! I saved Travis a sandwich to sample, and sure hope he brings home an antelope; I need one for a Chico recipe!
~Rating of Capri Sandwiches: 7 stars (out of 10). Scrumptious with the roma tomatoes & mazarella cheese.
~Quote of the day: "If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means, paint, & that voice will be silenced." -Vincent Van Gogh
~Music while cooking & cleaning: Cyndi Thomson's My World, Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits, & Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe #61: Eat Pray Love

(33 recipes to go.)
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'll be honest, I didn't care for this book when I read it. In fact, I sent it away in a book-trade chain letter thing. I did, however, love the whole premise; self-discovery, a journey around the world, searching for inspiration, realizing dreams, & finding oneself. But... I found the author's writing style to just draaaag on & on! Which is why, when I heard the movie was coming out, I was excited. I just knew it had to be better than the novel! And it definately was!! True pleasure of EATing in Italy, the power of PRAYer in India, and unexpectedly finding the inner peace and balance of true LOVE in Indonesia. Perfect girls' night; Brenda & I munched on popcorn & M&Ms while viewing it. Of course afterwards I was completely craving spaghetti after all those indulgent Italy scenes. But since the cookbook doesn't offer pasta dishes, I went with the India portion of the story for my Eat Pray Love meal. Using recipes I got while living in southern India during college, accompanied by Chico's Artichoke With Curry Aioli, dinner was intended to convince my husband that spices can be good! (In addition, I joined my parents for Crow Fair on the Crow Indian Reservation a few days ago, so I've been completely immersed in spiritual cultures this week. Love it!)
Here's the delicious, authentic Indian recipes. It was fun to make these while dressed in my Indian sari! (During our last Indian meal- recipe #13-, I wore my salwar kameez.) And FYI, since silverware was seldom used while I lived in Cochin, Kerala, the dough mixture (pudi) was used to scoop up the potato dish (aloo subji). Give it a try. Travis did, and actually enjoyed the meal & experience (minus the curry)!
Aloo Subji
Boil 4 medium-sized potatoes. Peel them after boiled, cut into sections. For the curry, heat oil. Fry cut onions & mustard seeds. Add potatoes, salt, tumeric powder, & some water. Stir & simmer.
Use 3-4 cups flour (wheat or white) to make dough with water, milk & little (very little) oil. Set dough aside for 1-2 hours. Make into small balls (about size of 50 cent pieces). Use flour if sticky, and roll into flat circles with rolling pin. Heat oil in pan and fry dough in oil.
Ginger Chicken
Heat oil in wok-like pan. Fry 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, & 2 cut-up onions. Add tomatoes, fry a little more. Add whole cut-up chicken, 1 tsp tumeric, & a pinch of salt. Fry for 5 more min. Add 2 c water & 1 tbsp pepper powder. Simmer 'til most water evaporates.
~Rating of Artichokes With Curry Aioli: 4 stars (out of 10). Travis just really doesn't like curry.
~Quotes of the day: "Once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it." -Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love.
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Gandhi.
"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones- the ones at home." -Mother Teresa.
"After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual 'food' out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps." -Miss Piggy.
~Music while cooking: India Solitudes; Inner Peace Through Music & Nature Sounds.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Recipe #60: Boulder River

(34 recipes to go.)
An end-of-the-summer family trip to the Boulder River required an easy, but tasty, tag-along dish. Quiche? Well, not necessarily a common camping meal. But accompanying the smorgasborg of food we munched on all weekend, it worked out pretty well! Dining among these tranquil surroundings made it taste even better I'm sure... I LOVE this area!! Its where my childhood cockerspaniel pup Buffy quickly learned to swim after becoming green in a cowpie. Where I so persistently attempted to ride the rancher's horse that had wandered into camp when I was a wee lil lass. And there was the unexpected time my mom & I were chased from the nest of a very protective Mama Robin! My family's been coming to this private ranch on the river since before I was born. The solitude, sounds of the Boulder; its so relaxing. Aaahhhh. Love it, love it, love it. We took Travis' mom here last year and she enjoyed sitting around the campfire, under the stars. And about 3 years ago my father taught me to fly fish here. A true testament to how patient he really is! I had spent HOURS casting & casting & casting that day. Until finally, a teeny tiny fish grabbed my fly. Travis loves this area too. He, along with my dad & Uncle Don, walk looooooong treks down the river to find the best fishing holes. Meanwhile, my mother & I are usually successful right along the river at camp! And by the way, during this particular trip, Travis had the brilliant idea of arriving in our full Mountain Man attire. Haha! Ma & Pa really got a kick out of that!
I also tried out a scrumptious macaroni salad my college roommate Katherine suggested. It is so good, I must share the recipe (click here to see it).
~Rating of Four-Cheese Quiche: 6 stars (out of 10). Ma thought the quiche was kind of bland. I agree.
~Quote of the day: "I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love." -John Steinbeck.
~Music while cooking: Buckcherry's 15, Fergie's The Dutchess, & Chris LeDoux's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Recipe #59: summer lovin'

(35 recipes to go.)
Is there such a thing as too much chocolate? Not in my world! In celebrating our favorite team (Vikings) announcing the return of our favorite quarterback (Brett Favre), we dug out our chocolate fountain for a tasty mid-week treat. I had quite a sweet craving going on, especially after sampling some incredible strawberry kabobs we shared with friends at the fair (oh yes, love that greasy fair food!). We put our Viking jerseys on & excitedly talked about the upcoming action-packed football season over a bottle of Choco Vine (dutch chocolate mixed with red wine). And dipped some strawberries, bananas, pretzels, & the cookbook's Lemon Pound Cake With Lemon Verbena in a rich chocolate sauce with sprinkles. Pure G-O-O-D-N-E-S-S.
And in other news, we tried to sample a Chico recommendation on our way to last week's fab John Mellencamp & Bob Dylan concert (first ever concert at the new Dehler Ballpark- great location). But after several failed attempts, we were finally told the Headstrong Pale Ale is no longer distributed in Billings. So we've crossed that microbrew suggestion off our list. I checked the book's copyright date. Apparently 2003 is already a bit dated? (Funny, that's the year Travis & I met!)
~Rating of Lemon Pound Cake With Lemon Verbena: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "The people you want most are right in front of you. The people you need the most are beside you. And the people you love the most are holding your hand" -Unknown.
~Music while cooking: The Very Best of Deee-Lite, & Buckcherry's 15.