I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cheesy To The Core

Chrissy’s grandmother found this wonderful recipe for apple butter using wine and apple brandy. It sounds too good to spread on anything and probably should just be eaten by the spoonful. We just got our first batch of the apple butter; it is currently sitting in our fridge just waiting to be tried.
The apple brandy reminded me of this wonderful cheesecake I had at my cousin Ronnie’s house several years ago, the perfect cheesecake for fall…..who am I kidding, it’s cheesecake which means it’s perfect at anytime!
I will share the apple butter recipe soon in a future post.

Apple Brandy Cheesecake

3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
All-purpose flour
1/4 c. Sugar
3 egg yolks
5 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1/4 c. apple-flavored brandy
1/4 c. milk
Apple slices for garnish

1. In small bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg yolk until mixed. Shape dough into ball and wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press 1/3 of dough onto bottom of 10 x 2 1/2 inch spring form pan. Bake 8 minutes; cool.
3. Turn oven control to 475 degrees. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat cream cheese just until smooth; slowly beat in 1 1/2 cups sugar. With mixer at low speed, beat in eggs, apple brandy, milk, 3 tablespoons flour and remaining 2 egg yolks. At medium speed, beat 5 minutes, scraping bowl often.
4. Press remaining dough around side of pan to within 1/2 inch of top; do not bake. Pour cream cheese mixture into pan; bake 12 minutes. Turn oven control to 300 degrees; bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake remain in oven until cooled, about 2 hours. Refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours.
5. To serve, remove side of spring form pan. Arrange apple slices on top of cheesecake.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cooking With Triscuits

The perfect snack food especially some of the new flavors such as roasted garlic and rosemary olive oil. It is a little hard to put them down once you get started that is why it is better to open the box when you have plenty of people to share them with. One day while sitting around with family and friends munching on some triscuits we started talking about all the delicious recipes there are using the crunchy little crackers. I could not believe all the creative uses, have some fun and give these a try.

Triscuit Wraps

Sprinkle a little brown sugar on a Triscuit, wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around. Secure with a toothpick and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Triscuit Chicken Bake

1 pkg. Triscuits, crushed and crumbled
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
2 cans asparagus (may be frozen) in pieces
2 lb. cooked chicken, cut up
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 c. mushrooms, cut in pieces

Mix soup, water chestnuts, asparagus, cooked chicken, mayonnaise and mushrooms. Place half of package of Triscuits in bottom of greased 9x13 inch pan. Add above mixture and sprinkle the rest of the Triscuits over the top. Cover and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove aluminum cover the last 10-15 minutes to brown.

Triscuit Burgers

1 1/2 c. crushed Triscuits
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef

Soak Triscuits in milk in large bowl until soft. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Shape into patties. Sauté in skillet until your desired degree of doneness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Out Of My Gourd

We have two enormous pumpkins sitting out on our deck that we have left as is without carving. We have no intention of letting any of that pumpkin flesh go to waste nor the seeds for that matter. I am sure we will roast some and make a few pies but there will still be a tremendous amount of flesh left, so instead of the standard apple butter let’s make it with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Butter

4 cups cooked pumpkin, mashed
1 (2 oz.) pkg. powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Place pumpkin in Dutch oven or heavy kettle. Stir in pectin. Place over high heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar, spice and butter. Continue stirring and bring to full rolling boil. Boil hard exactly four minutes. Remove from heat. Stir five minutes. Ladle into half-pint, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps to manufacturer's directions. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath after cooking and check seals.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

Contact: Allison Costello

Doug Collister


San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.
“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”
Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.
“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.
The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Foodbuzz.com Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.
Global Blogging Event
Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:
· Mid-Autumn Festival Banquest (New York, NY)
· The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu (San Francisco, CA)
· Aussie BBQ Bonanza – Celebrating Diversity (Sydney, Australia)
· The Four Corners of Carolina BBQ Road Trip (Charleston, SC)
· Criminal Tastes – An Illegal Supper (Crested Butte, CO)
· From Matambre to Empanadas: An Argentine Dinner (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
· A Sweet Trompe l’oeil (Seattle, WA)

“24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”
About Foodbuzz, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site, foodbuzz.com, in 2007. In less than a year, Fooduzz.com and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A "Souper" Fall Bounty

The crisp air of fall brings with it a bounty of apples and squash so versatile to use in so many different ways. Even though I enjoy soup throughout the year, I seem to crave it more during these cool fall months. So I especially like this recipe because it takes the creamy richness of the squash and the tart sweet crispness of the apples and turns it into a really rich and flavorful soup.

Acorn and Apple Soup

2 med. acorn squash, seeded & halved
3 c. degreased chicken stock or canned
2 tart green apples (2 c. cored, seeded & chopped)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. unsweetened apple juice
2 tsp. fresh ginger root, peeled & grated
1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using canned stock)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Yogurt or sour cream & chives (garnish)

Cook squash, remove pulp. Combine 1/2 cup stock, apples and onion in heavy medium saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add squash pulp, remaining stock, apple juice, ginger and salt. Cover and simmer until ingredients are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender or processor. Strain through sieve into clean saucepan, pressing puree with back of spoon. Reheat soup gently and season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with yogurt or sour cream and some chives.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Grandmother Left Chuck at the Supermarket

This recipe is for my grandmother who accidently picked up a London broil rather than a chuck roast at the supermarket and hadn’t a clue on how to prepare it... My grandmother usually makes her chuck roast by baking it for several hours in either onion soup or cream of mushroom soup. This is always served with either rice or mashed potatoes and a nice salad on the side. It is one of our favorite comfort meals that we always look forward to again and again.

Easy London Broil

1 (2 lb.) piece of London broil or Flank steak
1 tbsp. salad oil
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. pepper

Remove fat from meat and wipe with a damp cloth. Combine all ingredients. Brush 1/2 of the mixture over the meat. Let it stand 45 minutes.
Place steak, oil side up on lightly greased broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes, turn steak and brush with remaining mixture. Broil steak for another 4 to 5 minutes; let rest 5 minutes before slicing to retain most of its juices.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Twenty-one Years Later.....

My Mother and I

My mother never thought that she would live past the age of 49 which was the age her mother was when she passed away. My grandmother Lena had non smoking related emphysema; she was born with very weak lungs. My mother was only 11 years old when she watched her mother struggle for her last breath, a tragic experience for anyone much less an eleven year old child.
My mother started smoking at the age of 16 and by the age of 30 she smoked between 2 and 3 packs a day. During these years the fear of dying at 49 had subsided somewhat, at least until the time she started to feel poorly and was diagnosed with emphysema, she was 45 at the time. It was at that moment her past fear returned and she was certain that fate had stepped in and that she was down to 4 remaining years. Her fear was so great that it infected me with the same feeling of impending doom. The next few years her health remained stable, her birthdays came and went without incident as we nervously awaited the infamous birthday number 49…..it was almost as if birthday number 48 was a cliffhanger like the ones on TV. You’re nervously waiting to see what will happen next but you have to wait until the next season to find out. It was a very long year and each day in September seemed never ending. September 29th came, birthday number 49 we celebrated in our usual family way. My mother went to bed that evening and awoke to a sunny day on the 30th exhaling the fear that had shadowed her life for so long.
It is now 21 years later and we just celebrated her 70th birthday. In those 21 years she has battled emphysema, breast cancer, lung cancer, an enlarged heart, spinal arthritis and a few other ailments here and there. Through all that her mind is relatively sharp, her spirits good and her ability to laugh and enjoy life very much in tact.
We had a picnic lunch for her in the cafeteria of the nursing home; we had grilled white and red hot dogs, bratwurst, celery fritters, assorted salads and a chocolate cake. It truly was a day to celebrate, my mother had such a good time……..Happy Birthday Mom.

Celery Fritters

8 celery stalks
1 cup of flour
2 beaten eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. of oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of oil

Wash and chop celery into 2 inch pieces. Mix flour, eggs, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, water and cheese and mix well. It will have the consistency of pancake batter.
Heat oil in skillet or deep fryer (use more oil). When hot, dip celery in batter and carefully drop into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.