Monthly Archives: April 2012

Guilty Pleasures…

There was this place in the mall growing up called the Corn Dog Factory.  Perhaps some of you from my neck of the woods remember it?!

Thinking back, my irrational love of corn dogs makes me question whether I am descended from carnies.   Hmmm…  Slightly disturbing thought, but moving on…
Battered, deep-fried meat on a stick,  it is so many kinds of wrong, but I loved them.

An obligatory stop to my deep fried heaven had to be made on nearly every visit to the mall.  I was even rather particular about the ketchup to mustard ratio. (3:1, BTW…same as a vinaigrette)

Standing in front of the counter, watching the hot dog get immersed in thick batter and then plunged into the hot oil… 
The sweet smell of the cornbread batter turning a deep golden brown induced a Pavlovian kind of reaction.
My mouth started to salivate the second I smelled the batter hit the hot oil.

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Cheaper than Therapy…

Songwriters often say that they do their best work when they are going through something difficult in their lives.  They channel those feelings and pour them into lyrics that move us to our very core.
I don’t write music…  I sequester myself to the confines of my kitchen.

Being in the kitchen is cathartic for me, it always has been.  Looking back, I’ve realized that it is one of the reasons I love baking. 

It brings me comfort in times of sadness, calms me when I’m stressed or anxious, reassures me when I’ve had a particularly rough day. 

Baking is my therapy and let’s face it…  it’s cheaper than $150 dollars an hour and much tastier.

I find solace in the kitchen, the familiar smells and sounds, the warmth of the oven…  being able to “shut off” my brain and do things on autopilot also brings a certain sense of comfort.

Once again, I find myself puttering about in the kitchen late at night when the rest of world is fast asleep.  

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Not just for rabbits anymore…

Now that Spring is in full swing and the Farmer’s Markets are replete with the good stuff, it’s time to start putting those veggies back into the rotation.

Some people tend to look at salads as the obligatory precursor to the main event.  Granted, if someone serves you a bowl of pre-cut lettuce and gloppy dressing, it is barely even that…  however, with a little creativity and a blender you can make something that is beautiful, delicious, good for you and even those that tend to resist eating “rabbit food” may even get on board.

Doing quick dressings in jam jars is a wonderful time saver, but this time we are breaking out the blender and making a proper emulsion.  It doesn’t take much more time than shaking a jar, but the end result is something you can not get out of a bottle.

The best part of this whole endeavor is there is really only one rule: the oil to acid ratio (3:1). 
That’s it.  Everything else is up for grabs.

Baby greens with dried Apricot, Cranberries, Pistachios & sliced Strawberries
Spring Mix Lettuce, Arugula, Grapes, Raspberries, Mango & Cashews

Loco for Coco…

I love coconut, always have.  I love the smell of it just as much as the taste.  So much so that in the middle of winter when sunny days at the beach seem unfathomable, I open my bottle of sunscreen & put just a dab on my skin so I can breathe in the smell of coconut.  Before you judge, I know for a FACT that I am not the only one that does this…

The only thing that I don’t love about coconut is trying to get it open & get to the good stuff, but luckily for me I am not a cast member on a survival show, so I needn’t worry about all that…

To demonstrate my slightly obsessive love for this tropical treat,  a moment of full disclosure:
For breakfast I had coconut coffee and a piece of this coconut bread. 
Those you of that know me, know that I’m not very “gray”…  I either really like something or I really don’t,  and I really like coconut.

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Let’s Do Brunch

Brunch.  This word can illicit sheer dread if you work in a restaurant. 
It is by far the least favorite service to work.  For the average person who has no idea of what it entails to work a brunch service, it conjures up an image of a leisurely, relaxing meal with a few bloody marys.

Meanwhile… behind the scenes, bleary-eyed line cooks are getting food out of the kitchen as fast as their exhausted bodies will let them.I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss it once in awhile,  but I’ll also tell you I don’t miss it enough to do it again.  
I would much rather be the one eating brunch instead of the one making it at this point in life.

That being said, I very much enjoy making brunch at home.  It happens so infrequently that it is almost like a treat.  Yes, I did just say making brunch is a treat…  Some of you are questioning whether or not I’ve already had a few bloody marys I’m sure.

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