Saturday, January 31, 2009

Do you know what this does? Answer #1

Answer: "Presto Burger Maker" , It is an electric skillet made specifically to fry one hamburger, if you look closely it has small holes in the pan for draining the grease. It is set up much like a waffle iron, where you close the lid on top and lock the hinge while it cooks. The Original one use George Foreman? Here are a few other angles of this fine specimen of useless kitchen gadgets. Hopefully up next my recipe for hummus...just need to right down actual measurements....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do you know what this does? #1

Ok, so this idea for a series in my blog sprang forth about six months ago when I had all the time in the world and still went resale shopping for good kitchen gadgets and the such. Of course when shopping at second hand shops you are truly transported back in time to the kitchens of the past 4 or five decades. On these trips I have always found the most unique and usually usless kitchen gadgets over created, but I have only ever bought one (sadly it is at my parents house and it will have to wait to be shared) Instead of purchasing some useless junk to fill up my already clutered kitchen, I took photos and thought I would share. For the first post of each I will post a photo of a gadget and then let people guess and then a few days later I will post the answer. Here is the first photo found in Rogers City, MI. It is open and does have a handle to clarify.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wedding Food Part 3

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This is a great summertime salad perfect for a side with grilled chicken or pork.

  • Baby Spinach, washed
  • 2 Tbl sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • .5 cup canola oil
  • .5 cup sugar
  • .25 cup white vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp grated sweet onion
  • .25 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbl. poppy seeds
  • .5 tsp paprika
Mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, onion, poppy seeds, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce together in a jar. Shake well and refrigerate for at least an hour. Toss the dressing, spinach, strawberries, and sesame seeds together and serve.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wedding Food Part 2

Island Coconut & Sweet Potato Stew w/Rice

This stew is great served by itself or over rice. We have eaten it with pita or naan bread, it is great as a main dish or side. It is very easy to make and the ingredients are found in most major grocery stores. It might closely resemble Jamaican flavorings though it incorporates Siracha, an Asian hot sauce, and Thai curry paste for heat and flavor.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 gloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbl ginger, smashed
  • 1-3 Tbl Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 16oz can lite coconut milk
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 8oz red lentils
  • 15oz pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbl Siracha, plus more for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish
Make a thick paste by mashing ginger and garlic together using a pestle and mortar or a small bowl and the heel of a wooden spoon or puree in food processor. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large saucepan, add the onion and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic ginger paste and sauté another 2 minutes until fragrant; lower heat and stir constantly to avoid burning the paste. Add the cumin and coriander and sauté for a minute more. Add curry paste and sauté for another minute. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer over medium - low heat for about an hour or until sweet potato is soft and almost melting into the stew. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Garnish with cilantro and more siracha depending on level of desired heat.

Wedding Food Part 1

Spanish Gazpacho

This gazpacho recipe is one that I wrote for the wedding. I have modified it so that it is vegan by using vegan Worcestershire sauce, but you can easily substitute the real sauce that contains anchovies as well if you are not serving to vegetarians.
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 3 stalks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 3.5 oz sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • .25 cup Vinagre de Jerez (Spanish sherry wine vinegar)
  • .25 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 whole yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1.5 tsp chopped garlic
  • .5 cup loose parsley
  • 1 48oz can of salt-free tomato juice
Puree all but the tomato juice in a food processor for at least a minute, until smooth. Pour vegetable mixture and tomato juice into a pitcher and stir. Chill well. Serve in martini glasses garnished with an olive.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring's First Cheeses from Prarie Fruits Farm

Saturday morning we arose to a dreary gray drizzle. We quickly got ready and I, dressed for summer in shorts and flip flops, threw on a sweatshirt and ran out into the rain to pick up Laura and get to the farm early enough to secure our long awaited prize, Angel Food from Prairie Fruits Farms. We arrived at the farm expecting to see the same activity we drove into the week before, with goats playing in the pen and families gathered around pointing out the animals to their children, while soaking in the warm spring sunshine, but alas it was a dark, dismal day and when we arrived, no one was to be found. We walked around a little and looked at the goats, walked into the sales room, saw the cheese, wild ramps and Organic spinach from Blue Moon Farms, and heard some voices coming from the cheese production rooms, yet couldn't find anyone to sell us our long awaited cheese. We eventually secured our prize, a petite 5.6oz wheel of Angel Food. As we drove back to my house to enjoy we realized we needed bread, so we quickly swung by IGA and picked up one of those Take-and-Bake baguettes. With that we grabbed some strawberries and tomatoes at Laura's and headed to my house to enjoy our spoils and not share with anyone. The cheese was just as creamy and salty and gooey as we had remembered and we ended up eating the whole wheel over a 2.5 hour sitting. Now we just can't wait until they have their Prairie Blazing Star, an aged goat cheese wrapped in Sycamore leaves and soaked in a local Illinois red wine.

On the previous night Laura and I went out to KO Fusion, an Asian-American fusion restaurant downtown Champaign that also features sushi. We had an amazing meal, although it was quite pricey. We ordered three sushi roles for dinner and stuffed ourselves with dessert. We first ordered the Solomon, the Lava and the Crunch. The Lava roll was by far our least favorite, although still quite good, just lacked in flare. They describe it as "Crabmeat, black mushrooms wrapped in smoked salmon topped w/baked sea scallops and caviar" And that is what it was, quite fishy and rather boring, like the standard Orange roll, a maki roll, rolled in small orange fish roe. The Solomon, by only a slight advantage or more complex flavors was our favorite(not to mention the most expensive). It was a "shrimp tempura roll topped with unagi , salmon, avocado, masago caviar and crunch" They also failed to mention the wonderful spicy-sweet sauces that topped the roll that truly brought it together. For those of you who are wondering unagi is smoked eel and masago is the orange fish roe that I previously mentioned. The last roll, the Crunch, was the cheapest roll and came with a mix of spicy tomato-chili sauce and a mustard based sauce. It was a roll of spicy tuna topped with masago and crushed cashews. For dessert we had a cheesecake filling that was wrapped in wonton, fried, and drizzled with a coconut-lime sauce and a sauce that had cinnamon in it. Overall the experience at KO Fusion was great and we enjoyed the meal, including the White Dragon cocktail of lychee, rum, and pineapple juice, but we might opt to try out SushiKame down the street, which we hear from friends is cheaper and just as good.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Return

Wow, I have been out of the blogosphere for almost a whole month. I blame classes, serving in Memphis over spring break, and the fact that I have done the most uninteresting and little amount of cooking over the past month due to my hectic schedule. But not to fear I am catering a wedding for my friends in June and I will be recreating some of those dishes for them to sample this weekend and then there should be some good posts. I also have plans for trying out a super-superfood dish that incorporates all of the superfoods mentioned over at balance. Until then, have a good day.