Archive for October, 2006

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Happy Halloween! And time for your lobotomy, Jack!

October 31, 2006

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I love Halloween. To me, it’s the low maintenance holiday. It’s one where I don’t have to cook (though I never mind when I do), there are no concerns about keeping family happy, and it’s highly festive — even if I’m usually just handing out candy to the little ones. Clearly, we don’t yet have kids. I suspect you parents out there have great costume dilemmas and stories of children nauseous on candy, and are cursing me for even suggesting Halloween is low maintenance.

IMG_2394.JPGIMG_2384.JPGIMG_2417.JPGBecause we embrace Halloween so fully, last night, my wife and I had our annual pumpkin carving contest. Since we’ve been living together, this has been a regular festivity. It usually ends up with pumpkin guts everywhere and a heated debate over whose pumpkin is better. (Hers is the smaller one with the candle eyes. Mine is the one with the single tooth who looks like he’s having a good time.)

But the best part of carving pumpkins up is the seeds. While pumpkin flesh has many uses, actually going through the process of making pumpkin puree or roast pumpkin is too much. To keep the seeds, simply rinse off the guts, pat dry and place in a bag in the fridge. Use them relatively soon to ensure they don’t go rancid. I hope you keep yours. I’ll be using mine over the next few days for a few posts.

I know there are a number of you out there with interesting pumpkin recipes and Halloween stories, so feel free to share your pumpkin or candy treat recipes. I’ll be happy to link to them. If you have an interesting tale of trick or treat, I’d also be happy to pass those along to more people as well. I hope you enjoy the holiday and have lots of little ones at your door!

Oh, and I think you should agree that while my wife’s pumpkin has great eyes, my over all design is much more effective.

Other Blogs w/Pumpkin Seed Recipes:
101 Cookbooks
Simply Recipes
Apartment Therapy: Kitchen

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Sweet pork chop and quince? Genius!

October 30, 2006

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My husband has reached a satisfying stage as a cook. Yes, he’s been making scrumptious food this entire time. But now, on occassion, I get to take credit for it (or try to) — without having to lift a finger.

Take the meal pictured above, Maple-Dijon Glazed Rib Chops with Quince. I proposed that he barbeque something — pork, perhaps — for our guests. Genius. Upon tasting the quinces that he had bought, I proposed that he use them as a sweet side to the pork dish. Magnificent. And of course, I suggested he make some damn good mashed potatoes (not pictured) that would pair perfectly with the sweet honeyed pork and quince. Outstanding!

The whole meal was a smashing success, and it was, like, totally my idea.

Granted, I didn’t actually make any of the elements that were such a smash. (I do help, though. I made the salad and the vegetable — again, not pictured. Just take my word for it. And I clean, too. And I’m an excellent eater.)

Yes, my husband took the raw clay of my unformed, rather vague ideas and turned them into masterpieces. But do I get some credit for providing the clay, people? Should Michelangelo get all the glory? What about the guy who pointed out David to him, and said “That would make a heck of a statue?”

No matter, my small reward will be eating the fruits of my husband’s cooking. And believe me, it’s not really that small a reward. This dish — for example — is absolutely delicious, and perfect for fall. The pork is tender and sweet, with the delicious smokey aroma that comes when sugar hits the grill and caramelizes. And the quince accompaniment is the perfect dancing partner for the pork. Forked up alone or together, either subject is dazzling. I highly recommend. Read on for the recipe and his how-to!

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It was the chicken. Under a brick. With the potatoes.

October 28, 2006

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Chicken under a brick doesn’t sound glamorous, does it? In fact, it may not even sound appetizing. The idea of a bit of poultry stewing under some sandy building implement doesn’t get the saliva flowing. That is, unless you’ve actually had chicken under a brick. In which case, you’re willing to knock down old women and children to cut a path to the serving station – fork in hand and plate outstretched.

Chicken under a brick – or geek chicken, as my husband fondly calls it – is a delicious, flavorful and moist roasted bird. But that’s only the half of it. In addition to beautiful and juicy meat, housed in a herb-incrusted and crispy skin, are wondrous, aromatic and deliciously decadent roasted potatoes. That’s correct, they come right with the recipe! The potatoes cook right under that bird, soaking up the fatty goodness that drips down into the pan and melding with the tangy thyme seasoning mix the potatoes are lovingly tossed in. It’s magical, folks.

The best part is, my husband can be easily persuaded to make this recipe because it’s so darn easy. You don’t even need a brick – my husband uses a pan weighed down with 32 oz cans of whole tomatoes. Genius, I tell you. So read on for the recipe, and eat on for satisfaction!

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Top Chef Week Two: Otto “bows out,” not much food and a lot of drama about lychees

October 26, 2006

topchef_desktop_thumb1.jpgSynopsis:
The QuickFire challenged lived up to its name: It was quick alright. The contestants woke up at the crack of dawn, got some fish from the market, and made sushi for a grandfatherly-looking master sushi chef, his interpreter, and the spokesmodel hostess. Out of the 14 contestants, we viewers got to see about four dishes. Um, didn’t the other people cook anything? Cliff won for his mango-jalapeno oysters. And like that, it was over.

The elimination challenge divided the contestants into two teams – Vietnam and Korea. They had to prepare foods from those nations to serve about 1,000 guests at a fundraiser. They had $500 and an hour to shop. To sum up, the Korean team got drunk and disorganized; the Vietnamese team ran smoothly with Betty serving up drinks with a smile. Vietnam won. There was also some drama about Otto possibly stealing some lychees, but we’ll get deeper into that later. To make a long story short, shamed about taking exotic fruit without paying for it, he “bowed out” voluntarily. End scene.

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Ginger? In Ice Cream? Hmm…

October 25, 2006

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I scream, you scream, we all scream… for ginger ice cream.

Pause. “Ginger?” you say.

Ginger, indeed.

If you’re skeptical, folks, it’s only because you have not yet sampled the delicious ginger ice cream (with coconut caramel sauce) that my husband has concocted. I know I said that mint ice cream was my thing. Perhaps I spoke too soon. Yes, this ginger ice cream was that good. One, it has a vegetable in it — sort of. (Ginger is a plant, right?) So it’s healthy, like mint ice cream is healthy. Two, it has a delicious and unexpected kick to it — delivered by the spicy little morsels of fresh and candied ginger lurking in its white creaminess. And three, it was covered with decadent and beautiful coconut caramel sauce. That just put it over the top.

Then again, I am a fair-weather ice cream eater. Generally, I’m partial to the ice cream I’m eating at any particular moment. But, truly, ginger ice cream has won a place in my heart. Try it, and I think you’ll agree. (And just to be absolutely sure which one is my favorite, I think I’ll have to alternate eating mint and ginger ice cream. Just to be sure of the winner, you know. Ah, what I do for food.)

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Round-up time for: Food Bloggers’ Geography #1: Southern Style

October 22, 2006

MHCCompass_2.jpgI loved doing this event. While this is not the largest event ever done, I was moved by the remarkable quality that people put into them. Without exception, each of the entries speaks to a very personal place the food comes from. People have such a sense of where they live and what they eat. I hope everyone enjoys this run down as much as we enjoyed hosting the event.

275031500_fb832d127f.jpgColumbus Foodie’s Becke sent in Spaetzle mit Speck und Eier (Noodles with Bacon and Eggs) This is a really neat recipe influenced by her own family in the South of Germany, the State of Hesse to be more precise (which I admit I looked up after reading her post). She describes this recipe as a Southern German take on spaghetti carbonara. This sort of recipe is why we did this event, to learn new regional food and to hear connections to people and food.

biscuits-and-sorghum04-400.jpgKevin of Seriously Good sent in what I think is a quintessentially regional eat—sorghum syrup and biscuits. Sweet sorghum is a grassy grain used to produce syrup. The syrup has a distinct flavor and African roots that grounded itself in the US’s South long before the Civil War. Kevin gives us an important look at its role in his life and how food is often associated with home. Kevin apologizes because he was having photo issues, but personally, I couldn’t careless. The story and the piece of history he brings us is infinitely more important and the food still looks delicious.

pork-chop-and-fried-chicken-001.jpgMickey of Kitchen Inferno sends us another piece like Kevin’s. His recipe, Smoked Pork Chops with Sauce Beautiful, speaks to a history and a different time. Mickey recounts the traditions of soul food and its expansion as the South and Southerners changed during the first part of the 20th century. I love dishes that speak of much more than what you are eating.

captaincaribbean.jpgBrilynn of Jumbo Empanadas sent in a great recipe with an even better name, Captain Brilynn’s Caribbean Catch. Like many of us who put headlines on things, she likes alliterations and suggests that she might have changed her name for a moment to get that fourth “C” in there. The recipe has beautiful South American flavors with cilantro, salsa, avocados, and that delicious but dangerous, Scotch Bonnet/ Habenero. She suggested serving it with a Juba from another entry, which I think I might want regardless.

0759hoisinchicken_broccoli600×450.jpgI do love when people take the sense of what we were doing to heart. From the southern exposure of their house in the south side of Toronto in southern Ontario, Elizabeth of blog from OUR Kitchen brings us a dish that I believe might have its roots in Southeast Asia by using cumin and hoisin. This delicious dish is Hoisin Chicken and Broccoli. She hoped she didn’t stretch the “South” too much, I’m just surprised more people didn’t. She gets kudos from us with her free wheeling interpretation.

greentomatoblt.jpgFinally and despite her morning sickness, Jennifer of Weekly Dish sent a beautiful post about this not so fun period and a gorgeous fried green tomato sandwich. My wife and I are terrifically sympathetic to this situation and hope it doesn’t last the whole term. Most pleasing to me is her writing. It had me hooked when she brought up barbeque. She, as a gal from Mississippi near Memphis, contends that barbeque is beef and ribs. I will withhold umbrage from such an affront. Citing my own North Carolina roots, I contend that barbeque is pork and pork shoulder without that thick molasses based stuff. Of course, I am kidding, but she writes well on the subject of how there is no monolithic US Southern cuisine.

Editor’s note: I want to appologize to Mickey at Kitchen Inferno and thank his cousin Kevin. Kevin pointed out that I gave Mickey a gender transformation and that was sloppy on my part. I fixed it so now HE gets the proper credit. I’m an idiot. Also, my name is Kendle and my whole life I’ve gotten mail with “Ms. Kendle”, so I try to becareful and I clearly wasn’t in this case. So I’m terribly sorry.

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A Thank You Note from Us to You

October 21, 2006

MCHBenFunCompass.jpgI am working on putting up the post for our first blogging event, but I want to say a quick thank you to everyone before it does go up.

When my wife and I started this little project, it was an effort by her to motivate me to write down my recipes for a family cookbook. Since starting it, it has been a tremendously rewarding experience and I have learned so much about cooking, technology and writing. Everyday, even when I’ve been too busy to post, I’ve checked back and seen such neat comments, pleasant emails, good conversations and glowingly positive feedback.

So, as I work on finishing this event, please know our appreciation for all of you. You’ve made cooking, more creative and enjoyable. We cannot wait to do our next version of this, which will be focused on the North and good old Yankee ingenuity. Thank you again.

Warmest regards from our kitchen to yours,

-Kendle (Husband)