Saturday, January 31, 2009

Immersion blender + soup = creamy delight!

Loved you sharing the soup recipe -- I've had it and it is good! I can't recommend highly enough (great grammar from a former editor!) an immersion blender for soups. I got mine for Christmas (side note: we should all share what food-related holiday gifts we received) and I have been using it a lot and loving it. It is so much easier and safer and cleaner than transferring hot soup to a blender or food processor -- and you don't have to dirty an additional bowl to hold the pureed stuff while you work on another small batch of the chunky stuff -- just use it in the soup pot!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cold Night, Hot Soup

I know I'm on a soup kick. I can't help myself. It's an unstoppable force of nature. When it's cold and snowy outside, I want hot and hearty inside. So once again it was soup for dinner last night! And it was one of my absolute favorites. Corn Chowder...mmmm. I struggle to exhibit any self control when corn chowder is present. Oh-my-gosh I love this soup! I have a number of recipes for it, some simple and some more complex. This one is by far the best. It came from Robin Davis in the Columbus Dispatch a couple of summers ago. But it needs fresh corn. So generally during the winter months I use the simpler versions. Imagine my delight when Kroger had fresh corn-on-cob this week! A sign from the corn gods that chowder was in my future...I can hear the angels singing:-)

Corn Chowder-Columbus Dispatch/Robin Davis

Cooking the corn cobs with the broth intensifies the corn flavor of the soup. If you want to cut the richness (and calories), use milk instead of cream or just use more broth.-Makes about 8 servings.


8 ears fresh corn, shucked
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)

Cut the corn from the cobs. Set kernels aside.

Combine cobs and broth in a heavy large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Discard corn cobs.

Melt butter with oil in a heavy large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add corn and cream to soup. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender. Blend until smooth. Return to remaining soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. If using, garnish with basil or parsley.

*Bob & I, like our friend HawaiiChef, are huge pork fans! So we crisp up thick cut bacon and chop it to garnish the chowder with the bacon & parsley...excuse me now, I'm feeling faint;-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ok, So being an avid pork freak (as defined by Webster's: One who shall eat all of the pig but for the oink.)I just happened to stumble upon this interesting article from (thank you for the use of this by the way). I believe that this may be the world's truest incarnation of perfect food. It's bacon... it's sausage... it's horrible for you... but holy cow (or pig as the case may be)!!! I present to you... THE Bacon Explosion

Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes
by Jason on December 23, 2008

The other day the guys from contacted me in search for some barbecue bacon recipes. Of course I have plenty of great uses for bacon in a barbecue pit, but the longer I thought about it, the more I wanted to step it up a notch and clog a few arteries for those guys. Behold, BACON EXPLOSION!!! Here’s what you’ll need…

2 pounds thick cut bacon
2 pounds Italian sausage
1 jar of your favorite barbeque sauce
1 jar of your favorite barbeque rub

To kick off the construction of this pork medley you’ll need to create a 5×5 bacon weave. If the strips you’re using aren’t as wide as the ones pictured, then you may need to use a few extra slices to fill out the pattern. Just make sure your weave is tight and that you end up with a nice square shape to work with.

The next step is to add some barbeque seasoning on top of your bacon weave. Being the barbeque addict that I am, I whipped up a batch of Burnt Finger BBQ’s competition pork rub for this special occasion. Seeing as not everyone has the time, or the expertise, to create a tasty rub of their own, I would recommend trying Bad Byron’s Butt Rub, Rendezvous Famous Seasoning, or Steven Raichlen’s All-Purpose Rub.

Now that you’re pork is well seasoned, it’s time to add more pork. Take two pounds of Italian sausage and layer it directly on top of your bacon weave. Be sure to press the sausage to the outer edges of the bacon creating a patty that is the same thickness all the way across. Most grocery stores carry loose sausage, so just pick out one you like. I chose to go with a mild sausage, but spicy would work just the same. If you really want to get crazy, take a stab at making your own homemade sausage.

Next up is bacon layer number two. Take the remaining bacon slices and fry them up the same way you would for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or a midnight snack). If you like soft bacon, make it soft. If you like crunchy bacon, make it crunchy. If you like your bacon burnt to hell so the smoke detectors go off, then burn it to hell so the smoke detectors go off. These pieces are going to be a major part of the inner flavor of our sausage fatty, so cook them your favorite way. Personally, I like my bacon right at the point when it starts to get crispy, but hasn’t quite lost all of the softness yet. Regardless of how well done you like yours, you’ll need to crumble or chop the cooked strips into bite size pieces and place on top of the sausage layer. (Note-It’s okay, and encouraged, to snack on these pieces while your chopping/crumbling. But keep in mind that once those bacon morsels touch the raw sausage, you’ll need to resist all temptations to nibble. This can and will be difficult, but hospital trips are no fun, so stay strong.)

Since this is a barbeque recipe, we need to add another layer of barbeque flavor. Take your favorite sauce and drizzle it all over the top of the bacon pieces. Personally, I prefer to use Burnt Finger BBQ’s homemade competition sauce, but if you’re torn on what brand to use I recommend Cowtown, Blues Hog, and Fiorella’s Jack Stack. Once you’ve sauced the bacon, sprinkle on some more of the barbeque seasoning you used on the bacon weave.

Now comes the fun part. Very carefully separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave and begin rolling backwards. You want to include all layers EXCEPT the bacon weave in your roll. Try and keep the sausage as tight as possible and be sure to release any air pockets that may have formed. Once the sausage is fully rolled up, pinch together the seams and ends to seal all of the bacon goodness inside.

At this point we can start to see the final shape of our Bacon Explosion, but we’re missing one key item. To complte the constuction process, roll the sausage forward completely wrapping it in the bacon weave. Make sure it sits with the seam facing downward to help keep it all sealed up.

Sprinkle some barbeque seasoning on the outside of the bacon weave, and now this bad boy is ready for the smoker. Cook your Bacon Explosion at 225 degrees in a constant cloud of hickory smoke until your Thermapen gives an internal temperature reading of 165 degrees. Normally this will take about 1 hour for each inch of thickness, but that could vary depending on how well you maintain your fire and also how many times you open the smoker to take a peek. Mine took about 2.5 hours, which was right on target with its 2.5 inch diameter.

Now that our Bacon Explosion is fully cooked, we need to add some finishing flavors. Remember that barbecue sauce we used for inner flavor? We’ll be using that same sauce to glaze the cooked bacon weave. Using a basting brush, coat the entire surface with a thin layer of sauce. Sweet sauces are loaded with sugars, so they’ll give your fatty a nice glossy finish. Spicy and vinegar based sauces don’t contain as much, so they won’t set up as well. If you’re dead set on using those sauces, just cut them with a bit of honey and you’ll get the same effect.

Slice the Bacon Explosion into quarter to half inch rounds to serve. If your roll was good and tight, you should now see a nice bacon pinwheel pattern throughout the sausage. Obviously pork is best served by itself, but if you feel the need to make this meat monster into a sandwich, try placing a couple Bacon Explosion slices on a warm Pillsbury’s Grands Biscuit. You’ll reach pork Nirvana is no time flat!

Be sure to send us stories and photos of your Bacon Explosion experience. Who knows, you may see your ugly mug on BBQ Addicts!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Woohoo! A snow day! The tech center was closed today (but Bob still has to work from home). But it being a snow day and all, he cooked breakfast for me! How great is that? Yes ladies, sometimes he really is the perfect man. I am one lucky gal:-) Cheese omlet, thick cut bacon, delicious little potato patties (McCann's-if you haven't tried them, you must!), toast, tea, juice and clementines. Oh, he makes me swoon. This is gonna turn out to be one great day...I see a nap in my immediate future;-)

Good Old Comfort Food!

Last night my nephew Bryan & his soon-to-be wife, Tashia came over for dinner. We had a great dinner; a tossed salad with apples, grapes, clementines & toasted pecans, Texas toast garlic bread (oh you know, the frozen variety;-) and linguini with our homemade bolognese sauce. It was really good. I planned on taking a picture to post but...uh, we ate it all before I remembered. Oops!

Tonight I was so glad to see Bob walk in the door safe and sound. With him driving home from Granville in this nasty weather I get a little nervous. He was cold and tired and in need of some good comfort food. So I made pork chops with country gravy, mashed Yukon gold potatoes and buttered green beans. Oh yeah. You can just hear our arteries slamming shut, can't you? But wait! This recipe is from Cooking Light and it is totally awesome! Truly, the gravy does not taste like it is a "light" gravy. (ugh! "light" & "gravy" should never be used in the same sentence!) Let's just not talk about the butter on the green beans...okay?

So I planned on taking a picture of these gorgeous plates that looked like something that would be served at an Amish restaurant. guessed it. We ate it all before I remembered to take the picture.

I think this turning 50 crap is affecting my memory!

Here is the recipe from Cooking Light. I made it just as written. (although I did omit the sage, as neither Bob nor I care for it.) Enjoy!
p.s. Picture is from website :-p

Pork Chops with Country Gravy (Cooking Light Magazine)
yield: 4 servings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon butter
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, salt, dried marjoram, dried thyme and dried sage in a shallow dish. Dredge pork in flour mixture, turning to coat; shake off excess. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes or until done, turning pork once. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
Combine reserved flour mixture and milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended.
Add milk mixture to pan; place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Serve with chops.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 252 (34% from fat)
Fat: 9.6g (sat 4.4g,mono 3.6g,poly 0.8g)
Protein: 28.9g
Carbohydrate: 10.6g
Fiber: 0.3g

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Did you know..?

With all this crummy snow and ice I thought I would try and take our minds off of the weather with a recipe and some fun facts.. :)

When Christopher Columbus landed in what is now present day Cuba, he didn't find India, he didn't find peppercorns, he really didn't find anything he was supposed to. Instead what he did find were fiery chilies, and a strange bean like thing that some of the locals were using as currency.
Later Cortez witnessed the Aztecs drinking a heavily spiced concoction of ground caco seeds, chilies, vanilla and annato. Believed to fight fatigue, the drink would be consumed by nobility and priests and Montezuma himself.

The following is my version, a bit sweeter than the bitter drink first consumed over 1700 years ago since sugar as we know it didn't exist and... well, a story for another time. :)

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Makes 2 cups

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup GOOD coco powder
1/4cup granulated sugar*
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you don't like the spice you can use ancho chili powder, or omit it all together)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream for topping-optional

In a small heavy saucepan combine the milk, vanilla, and sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the milk has come to a very bare simmer.
Combine the coco powder and spices together in a small bowl with a whisk and when the milk/sugar/vanilla mix is scalded, ladle a small amount of the milk (around a 1/4c cup) into the coco powder mix and whisk until all the lumps have dissolved. Then add the dissolved coco mix back into the rest of the heated milk, serve and enjoy.

* You can use a sugar substitute like Splenda but do not add it to the milk mixture, add it to the coco powder mix instead.


Monday, January 26, 2009


Dinner at Bannana Bean.. Mmm.. yummy plantains with firey Ya Ya sauce and a properly done hunk of biscut blueberry bread pudding.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We ate at Cap City Diner Today. Fabulous Eggs Benedict!

My favorite holiday is approaching!!!!

YES, Superbowl Sunday!!!! Like Jean, I am an fiend. I found these two, (put my own variations on them), and they have become family favorites.

Mahogany Chicken Wings (also used very successfully with chicken legs and country ribs)
3 lbs chicken wings (i just get a bag of 4lbs, it all works out)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbs chile sauce (we use tabasco sauce)
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs sesame oil (my addition)
Place chicken in a shallow medium dish (i use ziplock bags, not looking to do any more dishes than i have to!). In a medium bowl (same zip lock bag as your chicken) mix soy sauce, honey, molasses, chile sauce (tabasco), ground ginger, garlic (and sesame oil). (After making sure the bag is sealed, I just use my hands to squish the marinade around the meat). Refrigerate at least 1 hour, turning occasionally (I'll do it overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking dish, arrange chicken in a single later. Bake in a preheated oven approximately 50 minutes, brushing with soy sauce mixture and turning once, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear (i pour the whole bag into a baking dish, meat, marinade and all -- let bake, turning once). Enjoy. If you are making legs or ribs, the baking sauce is very good over rice as well.

Wisconsin Bratwurst
2 lbs fresh bratwurst sausages
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 cup butter (watching our cholesterol, cut to 2 tbs butter)
6 12 cans of beer (we just used enough beer to cover, why waste it??)
1 1/2 tbs ground black pepper
10 hoagie rolls

Prick bratwurst with fork to prevent them from exploding as they cook (reading, you NEVER prick bratwurst, so we did not, they did not explode). Place in a large stock pot with the onions, butter and beer. Place pot over medium heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat grill for medium high heat.

Lightly oil grate. Cook bratwurst on preheated grill for 10-14 minutes, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Serve hot off grill with the (cooked in beer) onions on hoagie rolls.

(Pass the lipitor!).

new things :-)

wow, this is all new to me. proud of myself for actually getting this far to be able to try and blog. meijer had their western style ribs $.99 lb for the family pack. and since my family eats like a pack of dogs, i thought i would check it out! i have them in the nesco small roaster (if you do not have one, i really recommend getting) on low heat. i dry-rubbed them with some of 'rob's rub':-) and a commercial chicken/rub i purchased at sam's club. the aroma is incredible. with some potato salad tonight, i hope we can kind of recapture the warmer weather we had thurs/fri. where did the snow come from?? yuck.


Hi fellow foodies,

Since it is snowing up a storm at this moment, here is a little treat for your afternoon! I love chai, but the prepared chai mixes are too high in sugar for me! Here's how I make a sugar-free version.

Steep a chai tea bag (I prefer Stash brand, decaf is fine) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, scald 2-4 T. of milk in the microwave (30 seconds or so). When tea is done steeping, remove bag, add any sweetener you want to use, stir in the scalded milk and whisk until blended and slightly foamy. This is a soothing and spicy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Last night Bob and I had a wonderful (and I do mean wonderful) soup for dinner. I originally got the recipe from, which is my go-to site for recipes on the net. Anyway, we made this and I admit we adjusted a few small things while making it. But "holy cow"! Or should I say "holy chicken"? :-) It rocks!

First of all, on a cold winter night there is nothing like a bowl of hot, steaming soup to warm you up from the inside out! And if Bob had his way we'd have soup for dinner just about every night. I have to say, if they all tasted as good as this it might be worth considering. The recipe is a bit labor intensive, but please don't let that put you off of making it. It is sooooo worth it. The soup is thick, however you can thin it with more chicken broth if you like a thinner soup. Along with some good crusty bread and a glass of white wine, you have a great meal! We think this soup is just incredible!
Chicken & Wild Rice
(our adjustments are in parentheses)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours & 10 mins
Ready in: 2 hours & 25 mins
Yields: 8 servings
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1/2 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (we used meat from one rotisserie chicken)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon curry powder (we used Garam Masala)
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 & 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons dry sherry (we used 5 Tbsp Marsala)
2 cups half-and-half (we used 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup half-and-half)
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Then add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until all has been added. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer.
2. Next, add the rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground black pepper, almonds and sherry. Allow to heat through, then pour in the half-and-half. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours. (Note: Do not boil or your roux will break.)

Chocolate Mint Cookies (with Andes mints)

I made these cookies with Andes mints for Christmas and just made them again. They are so delightful!

Container: lightly greased cookie sheet and a medium saucepan
Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serving Description: 1 cookie
Servings: 48
Enter desired servings:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
24 Andes mints

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, and water, stirring occasionally.
Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool. Add the remaining ingredients and combine to form a dough.
Chill the dough at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving ample space between the dough balls.
Bake at 350°F for 8 to 9 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and on top of each cookie, place half of an Andes mint. Allow the mint to melt and then swirl the mint over the cookie with the back of a spoon or a knife.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I had some really great Chinese food tonight. Restaurant name Wah Yuen. They have really good wor sue gai, actually the best I've ever had. It might be far for some to drive, but if your interested come to sunbury ohio. You won't regret coming. Glad I can be a part of the blog.
Brooke-AKA hotmom

Bloggers Unite!

WOW! We did it! We now have our very own blog. I am so excited about all of us contributing to this blog. It will be so much fun to see what everyone is cooking, where everyone is eating and what we are all foodthinking! (uh, is that even a word? now!) I so hope, and have no doubt, that this will turn out to be everything and more than we even imagined. So let's get started "dishing it up"! Because after all it is all about the food :-p