Thursday, June 21, 2007

Picky's "only like THIS" list

A friend of mine just stumbled on my post about what Picky WON'T eat. That reminded me that I still have to post his conditional eating list. I am sure I am going to miss some on here, but let's give it a whirl.

Tomatoes only plain or with salt, when served on the side. I make a yummy balsamic vinaigrette, but he won't eat it. Even though he will eat tomatoes in salad with dressing, or on a sandwich with mustard, and will eat balsamic vinegar and oil in other capacities.

Nothing in his eggs except cheddar cheese. No onions, juevos rancheros (of course, my favorite way to eat eggs) no tomatoes, no spinach, nothing. Oh, and only hard scrambled. No boiled, poached, fried, etc.

Pancakes, French toast or waffles only with fake corn syrup based syrup. No maple syrup. I can use maple syrup as an ingredient, but not on his breakfast cakes.

While we're on pancakes, no fruit in them. And no jelly. On anything. No fruit baked in anything. No fruit pie. No mango cheesecake. No apple stuffing. Fresh fruit only.

No mayo except on BLTs or in tuna salad.

Cereal only dry, no milk. I think this is common.

Only certain nuts. Almonds, peanuts, and that's about it. No nuts in cookies or brownies. He'll eat 'em, but he'll b*tch and moan. No peanut butter, especially not peanut butter and jelly (see above on jelly) and he is even sickened by the plate or smell. He will eat peanut butter cups, Nutter Butters, Reese's Pieces, and the like. I have found most "picky" people have a lot of their pickiness evened out by a level of processing and crap ingredients to balance out whatever the offending natural food is. (I am sorry, is that too sarcastic? I really do think it is true. I had a friend who wouldn't eat shellfish unless it was breaded, fried buffalo shrimp from frozen. WTF is that?)

There is a whole category of Picky's "ehhhhhh" foods. He will eat a couple of bites of them, but only for my benefit. If he was still single, all of these foods would be replaced by Krsipy Kreme donuts. I will post that list another day, when someone reminds me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comedy of errors dinner

I decided I wanted to make a variation on the dirty rice recipe I had been using from a copy of Cook's Country. I already fudge the recipe a little bit by leaving out the chicken livers. Even though I roast whole chickens almost every week, they don't all come with giblets anymore, and I would be the only person in the house that would appreciate the addition.

So, I had some mild Italian sausage I was planning on using. I noticed that it was chicken, not pork sausage. The original recipe uses ground pork. No big deal, I thought. I will stick to the recipe, otherwise, and I am sure it will turn out great. I had already decided to omit the seasonings in the recipe, some dried thyme and stuff, because the sausage was already delicately seasoned and we were all big fans of it.

I was browning the meat, and I started chopping up the onion. I used red onion instead of the usual yellow onion because that is what I had, and I wanted to use some of it for the salad. I went to the fridge to get the celery, and there was no celery. I also didn't have a close substitute for the bell pepper. I have used roasted red peppers and sweet mini peppers as substitutes, but I had neither. I desperately scrambled around in my fridge. Zucchini and spinach. What??

I ruled out the zucchini. I didn't know how it would affect the liquid ratio for the rice. I took the spinach and figured I could add it in and let it cook down, and it would barely make a difference. I threw it in after the onions were cooked through.

Next ingredient: chicken broth. One whiff of the carton in the fridge told me I needed a back up plan. Nope, of course there wasn't another one in the pantry. But, there was a carton of vegetable broth. Well, since I used chicken sausage in the recipe instead of pork, it would add chicken flavor to the broth. OK, vegetable broth it was.

Then time to add the rice. What?? I only had 3/4 of a cup of rice, and the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups. No. No no no no. I can't just throw in polenta and call it an even trade. I dug around and found another bag of rice. Whew! But, I was so flustered that I forgot the recipe called for removing the meat and vegetables from the pan and draining them while you cook the rice and broth in the pan with the browned bits. I dumped the rice and broth in with the meat and vegetables and then realized what I did. Oh well, too late. I covered the pan and hoped for the best.

Fifteen minutes later, I had beautiful, buttery , flavorful rice with yummy meat and soft veggies. It was delicious, and Picky and my roommate said it was better than the original recipe. Whaddya know.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Picky's Father's Day Menu

Salad with fresh tomatoes and red onions and cheddar cheese and my salad dressing (Even my no veggie eatin' brother asked for seconds on salad. Seriously)

Buffalo wings made with my roasted hot sauce (Oops, forgot to buy the wings when I went to the store. We had tons of food, anyway).

Sweet mini pepper "poppers" with roasted hot sauce and cheese

Corn (Red and white sweet corn. It was delish)

Smoked BBQ baby ribs with a dry rub, homemade BBQ sauce on the side (Killer)

Mac n cheese (I used Paula Dean's recipe. Ehhhhh, too eggy)

Brownies a la mode with hot fudge and mini M n Ms (No one wanted the M n M's. I made the brownies with new Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. They were the best I have EVER had, I am serious).

Oh, yeah.

Pictures now posted!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fluffy mackerel pudding!

A friend sent me this hilarious collection of 1970's recipe cards, complete with snotty commentary and disgusting pictures. The Melon Mousse looks like something you would serve at a Return of the Living Dead picnic. "I can smell your brains...oh, yeah, they're right here on this cake stand."

If that was what I was serving myself to eat, I think I would actually lose weight. Hmmm, they may be onto something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pizza meatloaf

S is back home after being gone for a week. I asked him to pick any dinner for me to make for him, and he picked pizza meatloaf. Appropriate, since I came up with the recipe when he was three and his own version of picky.

(Sorry about the awful picture. I can't decide whether to leave it up or take it down. As my dad would say "Well, it tastes good, but I sure wouldn't want to step in it!")

I have made this with all kinds of ground meat. Beef, pork, turkey, buffalo, and mixes of them all. Tonight I have equal parts ground chuck and pork. I have also used all sorts of vegetables. I put onions in everything, so I always have onions in my pizza meatloaf. I have used broccoli, cabbage, shredded broccoli slaw, mushrooms, various squashes, celery, whatever I have lying around.

Chopped produce, of the pizza compatible variety, about 2 cups (this time I used zucchini, yellow squash, onions, celery, and mushrooms)
3 lbs of ground meat
2 eggs
2 tablespoons diced garlic
Oregano (I use 6 drops of oregano oil, but that is an obscure ingredient. Use at least 2 T of fresh or 2 t of dried oregano)
2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (C'mon, you KNOW you have stale bread. Don't be lazy!)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 bag of shredded mozzarella or 1 good sized ball of the fresh
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large casserole dish (I use an oval shaped pyrex dish) arrange produce.

In a large bowl, add meat, eggs, oregano, tomato paste, salt and pepper and bread crumbs. Mix just until combined. (I use my hands. If you're not into that, use a utensil of your choice, but I can't think of one that would work as well. You can be like Alton Brown and wear latex gloves....kinky!)

Heap the meat in an oval shaped loaf above produce in casserole dish, not tapering too much at the ends. Pour the jar of tomato sauce over it. Put in oven.

After 1 hour, take out and dump cheese on top. Cook until cheese is melted and instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the center, about another 45 minutes. Enjoy!

It's great over spaghetti the next day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back with a vengeance!

I got a new camera for Picky for an early Father's Day present. Picky has taken to cooking up batches of my cookie recipe every other day or so recently. There is NO way I am getting into shape for med school this summer.

I went all out for dinner tonight. I was happy S was home from his dad's house. I made French onion soup, green beans with persimmons, and a T-bone with wild mushrooms. It was S's first experience with French onion soup (one of Picky's favorites) and he loved it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Fast food ads versus reality photos

This post comparing advertisement photos of fast food and real items ordered at the same restaurants is a hysterical post. We used it for a hearty laugh and one of those unscripted educational experiences in which I don't even need to lecture one word.

This bowl of "dog food from the planet Krypton" (thanks, Slashfood) can be found at your local KFC.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Quest veggie muffins

A friend just reminded me about these muffins. Funny, because I was thinking about making them. I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe here!

I had a fantastic savory muffin in a health food co-op, Sevanandah,(sp?) in Atlanta's Little Five Points area. This was a good 12 years ago at least. It was so good, I remember it. It was moist, salty, and full of tons of shredded veggies. I finally came up with something that fills my savory muffin void. It is not the same - the original had squash and zucchini, and may have had cornmeal in it. But, I call these my quest muffins, since I finally made a good shredded veggie filled muffin after ten years of not being able to find one for sale anywhere near where I live.

Ingredient explanation: broccoli slaw is commonly available in the produce section of my regular grocery store. It is bagged, raw, and shredded broccoli, carrot and cabbage.

Quest veggie muffins
Makes 24 muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 T baking powder
2 t salt
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t black pepper
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 bag (12 oz) broccoli slaw (or 1 ½ cups shredded veggies of your choice)
2 ½ cups milk
6 T unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick spray

2. Blanch broccoli slaw. One method: Boil water in a medium saucepan. Submerge veggies into boiling water for one minute. Strain and submerge in an ice bath or run under cold running water. Set aside in a colander to dry out.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne and pepper together in a large bowl. Mix in cheese and veggies, breaking up any chunks, until cheese and veggies are coated with flour. Whisk milk, butter, egg, and sour cream together in medium bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (batter will be heavy and thick). Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle Parmesan over batter in each cup.

4. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before eating.