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Friday, December 16, 2011

The 70's called, they want their Frankfurters back.

    Oh the 70's! So many great things came out of the 70' me for instance. Also, great toys such as Stretch Armstrong and Lite Brite. Great T.V. shows like The Brady Bunch and Different Strokes. Some people may disagree...but DISCO!! I L.O.V.E. Disco! Roller skating, I almost forgot roller skating!
   Then, some not-so good things came out of the 70's, like recipes. I don't know what was going on in the world that possessed people to come up with some of the outrageous recipe ideas I am about to showcase. Thankfully the 70's came to an end and with it came the end of 'creative' cooking with hotdogs and the food world is a happier place for it.
    Feel free to try some of these recipes and if you do please let me know how it goes and SEND PICS.

The Frankfurter Spectacular
This is far too fancy for a weeknight dinner, save it for those special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays!

Molded Asparagus Salad
Check your gag reflex at the door! I'm gonna bet this has some "texture" issues.

Molded Cheese Souffle
It goes against nature to 'mold' food. This is wrong on so many levels.

Chilled Celery Log
Eternally Hungry Husband would probably like this in all reality. Too bad I won't EVER make it for him.

Crown Roast of Frankfurters
The beauty, the grace, this dish should only be made if the Queen herself is coming over for dinner.

Pictures courtesy of: 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monkey Bread: Oooey, Gooey, Goodness

      I really believe Monkey Bread will make the world a better place, one house at a time. In my house, eternally hungry husband and eternally emotional teenager were literally beside themselves with excitement over this recipe. Dough, cinnamon, sugar, butter...need I say more??  Happiness is abounding around here and on my is because of the Monkey Bread.
     Monkey Bread has been around since the 1950's and was a favorite in Women's magazines. The Retro Woman would have been flipping through Women's Day over coffee (her housework already done and the roast in the oven, naturally) when she would have stumbled across this recipe. In my imagination, she daintily finishes her coffee and sashays into the kitchen in search of her bunt pan to put this recipe to the test.
    I think this is a great recipe for Christmas morning, there is nothing quite like the smell of rising dough and cinnamon to fill the air with holiday goodness. However, this also makes a great dessert and is best eaten still warm!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 cans of buttermilk biscuit dough (NOT GRAND SIZE, NOT FLAKY)
1 Cup of granulated sugar
2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)

Remove dough from cans and cut into fourths.

In a large baggie or bowl, mix white sugar with cinnamon.

Drop in dough bits and coat in sugar mixture. I separated the dough into 4 piles, adding one at a time and shaking until all dough pieces were in bag and evenly coated.

Pour sugar coated dough evenly into NON-GREASED bunt pan.

In medium saucepan melt butter and brown sugar until combined and all one color.

Pour melted butter mixture over the dough.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in pan for at least 20 minutes.

Place a plate over the top and then flip plate and pan all together, allow to sit for a few seconds and you will feel the Monkey Bread loosen and fall onto the plate.

It will still be very hot, but will be ready to eat within a few minutes. It really is best served warm and can either be sliced or pulled apart and eaten with your hands.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Popovers- Cute, Delicious, and EASY!!!!!!

       In all honesty, I had never even heard of Popovers before. I saw a couple of cooking shows where they were being made and decided to do some research. In my research I found that they are a makeover of English Yorkshire Pudding, albeit quite different at this point. I also found that they are most popular in the North East and can still commonly be found at local food places in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The recipe can also be found in cookbooks as far back as the early 1800's.
       What is really wonderful about Popovers, outside of the fact that they pop up in such a whimsical and silly fashion, is that they are made from just a few ingredients that even the "non-cook" probably has in their kitchen. They can be both sweet and savory, and topped with anything you can imagine. Some options for sweet flavors: Jam/Jelly, chocolate, syrup, honey, molasses, flavored butters, and even ice cream. If you want to try them savory: you can add cheese and spices into the batter or top with herb butters, gravy, dumplings, stew, and soups.
      I split the batter in half and made 6 plain and 6 with a little garlic salt and grated parmesan cheese. They were both good and I look forward to trying more combinations. This recipe could not be any easier and satisfying and therefore Popovers will be a new favorite in this house. Eternally emotional teenager and eternally hungry husband were both very pleased with the outcome as well!!!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1 1/2 Tablespoon of melted butter, plus extra for greasing muffin pan.
1 1/2 cup of flour
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cup of milk at room temperature 

1. Milk and eggs need to be room temp.
2. You must warm the muffin pan first
3. Whatever you do, DO NOT open the oven during cooking

What you need

Place a small dab of butter into each muffin cup

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk (don't over-mix), your batter will be runny. 

Put muffin pan into pre-heated oven for 1 minute, take out and spread melted butter around each muffin cup.

I filled 6 of the muffin cups up with plain batter, then added grated cheese and garlic to batter and filled up the remaining 6 cups.
Fill each muffin cup approx. 3/4 full.

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Turn your oven light on to watch them "pop"...but DO NOT open the oven door or they will deflate.

They will turn golden brown and pop up considerably, they will also have a little hole in the center (to fill with yumminess such as jam or honey)

These are delicious right out of the oven!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Potato Pancakes- Holiday Leftovers

         I'm entering into finals week at school, therefore comfort food is in high demand around here! How perfect that it falls at the same time as Thanksgiving with all of the wonderful leftovers from our feast. Mashed potatoes by themselves meet all of my comfort food requirements, warm, soft, and carbolicious. Potato pancakes take comfort to the next level! Potato pancakes are a traditional food from Germany, Austria, Poland, and the surrounding areas. They can be seasoned with regional flavors and work as an excellent platform for your families favorite seasonings.
         I have made a basic and simple recipe with only a few flavors, the combinations are endless so feel free to toss in whatever sounds good. I like mine plain and unaccompanied straight from the hot pan, but you could certainly top with sour cream or applesauce too.

What you Need:
Leftover mashed potatoes 
1 egg per 2 cups of potatoes
small onion
shredded cheese
salt and pepper
oil for frying

Start by heating oil in non-stick skillet on medium high.
Very finely chop your onion.

Place potatoes in mixing bowl and break up with spoon.
Add your onion and beaten egg to potatoes.
Add salt and pepper then mix with your hands. Don't be scared to touch your food, the best way to get comfortable with food and cooking is to jump right in and push your discomfort aside.

Place your breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.

Form a pancake out of potato mixture (if you find that your mixture is too loose, add flour by the tablespoon until desired consistency). 
Gently place pancake in breadcrumbs and lightly dredge.

Fry breaded pancakes in hot oil and flip when golden brown, they are very delicate so be careful!

When they are brown and crisp on both sides, gently remove to drain on paper towel lined plate.

Munch, munch, munch, munch, munch...You're going to LOVE them!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

70's Slumber Party Food: Sausage Balls and Frito Pie

          I love to suddenly remember a food I had completely forgotten about but enjoyed as a kid. I remember sausage balls and Frito pie at sleepovers as well as at game day parties. I was excited to remember about both of these recipes in the same day when eternally emotional teenage son was having a friend over for the night. I have to say that eternally hungry husband was also very pleased with both of these dishes so in the end I had 3 happy boys in the house. Do you have hungry guys to appease? If so, I encourage you to try these two recipes...not to mention, they are quick and relatively easy to make and sausage balls freeze wonderfully!

Sausage Balls

1 lb. of sausage
2 cups of Bisquick
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all three ingredients together. It will seem very dry and impossible to incorporate all of the Bisquick, but keep at it and it will all come together nicely.

Form into balls and place on un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, take off of cookie sheet when still hot and allow to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

Frito Pie

3 Cups of Fritos
1 onion
1 lb. of hamburger
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of chili (or 2 cups of your own)
Chili powder to personal taste
Sour cream and Chives for topping (optional)

Chop onion

Cook onion and hamburger in skillet until hamburger is cooked through. Add chili powder to your preferred taste at this time.

Using an 8x8 inch baking dish, line with Fritos

Layer cooked hamburger and onions on top of Fritos.

Layer chili on top of hamburger

Finish with layer of cheese (uh, yes I did use more than the recipe called's cheese!!!!)

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Melty, cheesy goodness, scoop it out and eat it up with sour cream and chives.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baklava! Don't be scared away.

        If you're like me, everything you know about baklava comes from the one time you got to eat in around the holidays. There is always one specific person who makes it, and everyone is excited as it makes its appearance on the table. Unfortunately, there was never anyone in my family who made baklava so I was always left hoping it would show up at a holiday party or get together. Alas, that was few and far between....why? Well, I think it is due to a little bit of urban legend. No, not the urban legend that makes up the stuff of bad dreams, rather 'cooking urban legend'. Oh yes, there is such a thing...harken back to my first post on this blog...the dreaded 'souffle'. A recipe that comes with such heavy consequences as to send the frazzled retro women running and screaming out of the kitchen is an image we can all conjure up. In part, this is why people today often limit themselves in the kitchen and don't venture into unknown territory.
       Let me assure you, baklava is not to be feared, in fact it is pretty fool proof. Somewhat time consuming maybe, but not complicated in the least. As every retro women would already know, there is nothing like sashaying into the party with the most coveted dish there and letting everyone assume it took hours of labor, yet you look fresh and lovely and rested. Ahhh yes, I believe this is the very secret bakers of baklava have attempted to protect with stories of work and strife in the making of it. I encourage you to channel your inner retro women and show up to the holiday party with baklava this year, let the party ooohhh and ahhh and just sit back and graciously accept their praise.

There are several versions of baklava, the two most popular are the Greek and Middle Eastern. Greek baklava is made using honey and Middle Eastern is made using rose water. The recipe below is the Middle Eastern version, don't be scared to try rose water, it adds a delicate and subtle flavor that will leave people guessing. It is inexpensive and can be found in any health food store and often in a regular grocery store in the organic food department.

What you Need:

For the Pastry

1 lb. of finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds) You can use any combination, I use whatever I have left over in my freezer from previous recipes.
1 lb. of phyllo dough (this will need to thaw first, allow 2 hours)
1 cup of melted butter
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp. of ground cloves

For the syrup:

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
2 Tbs. of rose water (or 1/2 cup of honey)
2 Tbs. of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 13x9 inch baking dish.

Finely chop your nuts, I used a blend of left-over nuts I had on hand.

Open your phyllo dough and lay it out (super easy to work with, tears and imperfections won't show up)

Lay out your baking dish next to your cup of melted butter.

Place one layer of phyllo dough in the dish and lightly brush with butter, continue this until you have 8 sheets of buttered phyllo.

Mix chopped nuts with  1/3 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and cloves 
and spread thin layer of nut mixture onto buttered dough.

Continue layering and buttering until you have 3 layers of phyllo and spread with thin layer of nuts, continue with this until your nut mixture is gone. Finish the top of the baklava with a minimum of 8 sheets of buttered phyllo (just like you did on the bottom)

Cut into diagonal squares before baking

Cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until brown with crisp edges.
While it is baking, start the syrup mixture.

In saucepan mix water and sugar, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add rose water and lemon juice.

Take baklava from oven and poor hot syrup mixture evenly over hot pastry.

Allow to cool for at least 4 hours before serving. Store very loosely covered at room temperature. I like to serve each piece placed in a cupcake holder.