Monday, December 31, 2012

Brazilian Feijoada – Happy (and hopefully very lucky) New Year!!

We’ve posted about this before, but there’s a great, southern tradition of eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day to ensure good fortune in the coming year. 

Apparently, by eating “poor” the first day of the year, you align certain cosmic forces in your favor, which results in prosperity and good luck the rest of the year. Sounds crazy, right? I know, you’re way too sophisticated to believe in such lame supernatural shenanigans. Hey wait a minute…don’t you watch all those ghost hunter shows on cable TV? Busted! Hey, did you hear that noise?

Anyway, whether you believe in this kind of culinary clairvoyance or not, this Brazilian feijoada is one of the world’s great stews. The traditional good luck bean is the black-eyed pea, but here we’re celebrating the delicious, and very nutritious, black bean.

I tried to be clear in the video that this is just my version, and not some attempt at true feijoada authenticity, whatever that is. As long as you have black beans, and LOTS of smoked, salted, dried, and/or cured meats, you are well on your way to some kind of feijoada-like awesomeness.

In case you’re wondering, all I did for the greens was boil some kale in salted water until tender, and then sauté briefly in olive oil and garlic. It pairs perfectly with the white rice and rich stew, and while I can’t guarantee a year’s worth of wealth and good luck, I can promise you a delicious bowl of food. Happy New Year to all of you, and as always, enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 pounds dry black beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts water, plus more as needed (add more whenever stew looks too dry)
1 bay leaf
2 smoked pork chops
12 oz linguica
8 oz Italian sausage
4 oz smoked bacon
3 oz dried beef
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste
For the crumbs:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Basic steps:
- Soak beans overnight, add to pot with bay leaf, beef jerky, and any bones
- Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are cooked, but very firm
- Add onion mixture and meats, and simmer for another hour, or until beans are very soft
- Add a splash of water at any point during the cooking if stew looks too dry
- Test and add salt near the end, depending on saltiness of meat

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Can anyone give me the recipe(or a similar recipe)for the morocan couscous from the salad bar at waitrose (UK)



Serves: 6


1 cucumber
250g couscous
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp sea salt
80g flat leaf parsley, chopped


De-seed and chop the cucumber. Toss it in some salt and leave to one side for 30 minutes. Then soak in a bowl of fresh water for 5 minutes; repeat this with a further 5 changes of water until all excess salt is removed. Drain and set to one side.

Mix the couscous, 5 tbsp oil and salt. Rehydrate the couscous according to the instructions on its packet. Alternatively, you can just place it in a bowl, pour over some boiling water to cover, then let it sit under a plate until the water's absorbed, finally fluffing it up with a fork. Stir in the cucumber and parsley and add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.

Any good warm couscous salad recipes?
Q. In the fridge I have leeks, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, houmous, mozzarella, tzatziki, spring onions, mushrooms and rocket. Someone please help me decide what to do with some of this stuff for a warm couscous salady thing. I also have all the herbs and spices under the sum (well, not literally, but you know what I mean).

A. Couscous Salad (Recipe)

* 1 cup couscous
* 1 cup water
* 1 red bell pepper
* 2 green onions
* 1 lemon
* 1 can black beans
* 1 16 oz. bag of frozen corn
* 2 cloves of garlic
* salt
* 1/4 cup of olive oil

Step 1

Bring your water to a boil. Throw in the couscous and turn off the heat. Put a lid on and let sit for five minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Step 2

Transfer cooked couscous to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and stir. Juice lemon and pour into couscous.

Step 3

Pour frozen corn into bowl of warm couscous salad (it cools it off quite nicely). Let couscous cool while you chop your bell pepper and onions.

Step 4

Drain and rinse black beans. Add beans, pepper, and onions to couscous salad.

Step 5

Mince or grate garlic. Add garlic to couscous salad and then salt to taste.

Step 6

Serve couscous salad! This recipe can be served cold or room temperature for be

Anyone have a recipe for a mild Mediterranean salad with I think it was Couscous grain in it?
Q. and maybe some onion...don't remember the name or the rest.
Yes Tabbouleh, that it the one..

A. Maybe you're thinking of Taboule. Most recipe books have it listed. If you go to the site you can find it there.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Garlic & Blue Cheese Green Bean Almondine – I Just Couldn’t Do It

When I went to culinary school in the early Eighties, the chef instructors used “Green Beans Almondine” as a prime example for the kind of stodgy, clichéd, faux-fancy, vegetable side dishes that we were supposed to eradicate shortly after graduation. 

This was the dawn of a new age of American cookery, and something so old-fashioned as green beans almondine had no place along side our newfangled raspberry vinaigrettes and cajun fish.

There was only one problem with this beans and almonds tasted really good together, and made for a lovely side dish once in a while. Of course, fearing you’d be laughed out of the young, hot cooks club (hot from heat, not from hotness) you just didn’t dare make or serve such a dinosaur.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I’ve finally done a green beans almondine video, but added roasted garlic and blue cheese to it, just in case any of my old classmates are watching.  I actually did this at Thanksgiving, sans nuts, and it got rave reviews, so I had a feeling the addition of the slivered almonds would work just fine, and they did! I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4-6 portions:
1 pound green beans, blanched in boiling, salted water until almost tender
3 heads garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
1/3 cup sliced almonds browned in 1 tsp butter
2 oz Pt. Reyes blue cheese, or other blue cheese
400 degrees F. for 15 minutes

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I like turkey no matter when..Does anyone have a turkey fruit salad recipe?


A. First Place Turkey Fruit Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin orange sections
2 cups turkey, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 cup seedless grapes
8 ounces pineapple chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
In a bowl combine mayonnaise, honey, and ginger; mix well. Add mandarin orange sections (drained), cooked, chopped turkey, chopped apple, halved seedless grapes, and pineapple chunks (drained). Season with salt and pepper. Chill. Stir in toasted pecans just before serving.

Do you have a recipe for noodle salad that I can use turkey in?
Q. I was thinking of noodles, turkey, mayo, bacon, and I dont know what else to put in it. Any suggestions?

A. Unless I'm making something specific like a Greek salad or a caesar salad that uses specific ingredients, I never follow recipes for salads. To me salads are about what you have on hand, anything can be substituted. The key really is simplicity though, not overloading with a hundred different ingredients or your taste buds are overwhelmed. It's nice to have a variety of textures and shapes /sizes in a salad, not just to be pleasing to the eye, but for taste as well. Also some contrasting flavours like sweet peppers or tomatoes to contrast your vinaigrette or whatever type dressing you use. The options are endless what to use -balsamic, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, make your own vinegar, lemon juice, etc etc.
With pasta salads, it's also nice to have some vegetable in there (for nutritional value of course as well as texture/colour variety), whether that's one of the many types of lettuces out there, or spinach or some other green, or cucumbers, carrots, cucumbers...well you get the idea
other rule is always taste as you go before you serve something!

any ideas for leftover chicken or turkey? any chicken salad recipes?

A. Yeah, for salad. Don't have specific measurement amounts as I just kind of do it by feel and sight. Shred your chicken, add mayonnaise, mustard (regular or dijon), with a little more mayo than mustard. Add diced celery, chopped black olives, some chopped (very small) dill pickle, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper and a little cayenne pepper. Just kind of get a feel for it. Sample it. You might want to add a little more of the above ingredients to make it suit your tastes. I also look for the right amount of colors. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Enjoy in a sandwich or stuff a tomato with it for a light, quick meal with crackers (Wheatables, 7 grain are good).

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Photo (c) Flickr user kevindooley
Michele and I wanted to wish all of you who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas. Hopefully you’re surrounded by the people you love, and/or a ton of great food. 

We have a new video posting on Thursday, but until then I’m going to try and take a few days off from staring at the omnipresent computer. Seasonal apologies for any lags in responding to comments or emails. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Because Oyster Rockefeller Sounds Rich

There’s much debate over how many of America’s greatest recipes got their name, but that’s not an issue with Oyster Rockefeller. Thanks to the rich, money-colored butter sauce, this decadent creation’s name pretty much wrote itself.

Besides the obvious, superficial reasons, associating your new shellfish appetizer with the most affluent family of the day was a stroke of social media genius. Hey, just because Twitter wouldn’t be invented for another 107 years doesn’t mean people didn’t “retweet” things.

When Jules Alciatore invented the dish in 1899, he wasn’t trying to create a classic, new American shellfish appetizer; he was simply trying to replace snails in his diet. That’s right, what would become America’s greatest seafood appetizer (sorry, crab cakes) was just a delicious work-around for a serious shortage of French snails in New Orleans.

To say the customers of Antoine's were happy with this local substitution would be a huge understatement. They went crazy for it. The dish quickly gained national attention, with the most famous celebrities, politicians, and foreign dignitaries of the day stumbling over each to get a plate or three.

The original secret recipe really is a secret; so all versions, including mine, are just guesses. There is agreement among foodies who study such matters that spinach was not part of the formula, but the much spicier and more flavorful watercress was used.

Neither were mushrooms, bacon, ham, cheese, garlic, or any other later day add-ons. Not that those ingredient aren’t good baked on top of oysters, but that just wasn’t how Mr. Alciatore rolled. So if you are looking for a special occasion appetizer that tastes, looks, and makes you feel (and sound) rich, then I hope you give this oyster Rockefeller recipe a try. Enjoy!

Makes enough for about 3 dozen oysters Rockefeller:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) room temp
2 tbsp minced green onions, white and light green parts
2 tbsp diced celery
2 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
2 tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 cup chopped watercress leaves
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
2 tbsp Pernod liquor
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 dozen oysters on the half shell

Bonus How to Open Oyster Video!

My friend Tamar, from Starving Off the Land, does a much better job of showing how to open oysters, but that’s only because she raises them and gets a lot more practice! That, and she’s better at it. Also, a special thanks to Sky Sabin Productions for their fine work on this.

For some additional shucking info, and tons of oyster recipe links, you can also check out this article on Enjoy!

Recipe Rifle's Christmas message

I would say it had been a joyous year, but it hasn't. I mean, not especially. I would say that it has been an eventful year, but it hasn't. I would say that it has been an annus horribilis, but it hasn't been that either.

It's just been one of those years that goes from one month to the next. I have spent it mostly wiping down an Ikea highchair, opening the door to the Ocado man and marvelling at that thing where you spend 20 minutes tidying the kitchen only for it to still look like a fucking bombsite.

And it's been a year of TV suppers, eating off our knees in our 1.5 hour telly and dinner watching slot before our eyes glaze over and we can't concentrate and we simply must, must, must go to bed before we fall down. I have slumped entirely out of the habit of cooking for more than two people. We spent months and thousands on a kitchen extension only for us to have 3 dinner parties in 7 months. But Kitty likes it.

What of Kitty? She is a child now, almost no longer a toddler - though still toddlerish to her destructive habits, lack of reason, lack of responsiveness to bribery but she is at least old enough to sit quietly on the sofa watching Peppa Pig for nine hours.

So Merry Christmas, then. See you in the New Year. I've got a bread and butter pudding to tell you about and also a chicken, pork and apricot raised pie - if it works out.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Classic Lobster Bisque – Finally!

I usually don’t have a good answer for why I’ve not gotten around to filming certain iconic dishes like risotto, beef Wellington, and puff pastry; but when it comes to lobster bisque, I do have a great excuse.

I won’t bore you with the details of how the tradition started (translation: I don’t remember), but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always made lobster bisque on Christmas Eve, to celebrate my sister-in-law Jennifer’s birthday.

And since the few days leading up to Christmas are always so busy and hectic with shopping, cooking, and travel, I’ve just never felt like I’ve had the time to set up the camera to properly film the procedure. Well, this year I decided to give it a go, and despite all the aforementioned challenges, I was very happy with how this came out.

One word of warning: this recipe requires live lobsters, brandy, and heavy cream. If you can’t get, or don’t want to use those ingredients, then you’ll have to make something else. Sorry, but this recipe is too sacred for substitutions.

Speaking of live lobsters, I know many are skeptical that these “bugs” can actually feel pain, but to play it safe, I recommend putting them in the freezer for 20 or 30 minutes to knock them out cold before their ultimate demise.

I only showed the cracking and the picking of the lobster meat very briefly, as this video was already too long for my tastes, but below I’ll link an additional tutorial that show this in more detail. Yes, this soup takes a little bit of work and expense, but I think you’ll agree with me (and Jennifer) that all the effort is well worth it. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts:
2 live lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 onion, chopped
2 rib celery, chopped
3 quarts cold water (this will reduce by about half during the entire cooking process)
3 cloves garlic
4 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tsp paprika
1/3 cup white long grain rice
2 tbsp cheap brandy (inexpensive brandy tends to be a little sweeter, and works well here)
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more if you like it creamier
salt and cayenne to taste
1 tbsp chopped tarragon to garnish

Bonus Lobster Meat Recovery Video: 
This video shows the picking of the lobster meat in much more detail than I did. Since they are boiling the lobster, you can just skip to the part where he is liberating all the meat. For more general lobster info, you can also check out this page on Allrecipes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cumberland Sauce – It Only Sounds Stuffy

I’ve always wondered why Cumberland sauce wasn’t more popular around the holidays. It’s such a delicious and versatile condiment, and just as easy and fast to make as any cranberry sauce out there.  Maybe it’s the name?

Cumberland sauce sounds more like something that the Queen would be spooning over a Quail en Croute than it does Uncle Charlie over a slice of ham. However, despite this sassy sauce’s upper-crusty sounding name, it’s actually quite rustic.

My “Black Cumberland” version uses black currants instead of the traditional red, and also includes some very browned-blackened onions, but like all similar recipes, this begs for even further adaptation depending on the meat. Maybe a little mint for lamb, or a touch of cardamom for that smoked duck breast?

Notwithstanding any flavor variations, you will still need to decide whether to serve hot or not. I definitely prefer the thick, shiny cooled-down version as shown, but happily, there’s no wrong choice. I hope you give this extra special holiday sauce a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients to make about 1 1/2 cups Cumberland Sauce:
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced onions
1 cup black or red currant jelly
zest from 2 oranges and 1 lemon
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup orange juice
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt to taste

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Granola – Only 8 Edible Gift Making Days Until Christmas!

When I was asked to take part in a special holiday YouTube playlist called, Christmas Morning Breakfast,” I started thinking about seasonal variation on things like eggs benedict, quiche, and French toast. But then I realized…you can’t wrap those things up and give them as an edible gift, so I decided to do this granola instead.

We’ve covered the edible gift topic before, and discussed the fine line between, “Wow, what a creative and thoughtful gift!” and “Wow, what a cheapskate!” Happily, when it comes to this delicious, crunchy treat, one taste and the lucky recipient will forget about any ulterior economic motivations.

Since this was a Christmas-themed recipe, I went with lots of festively colored dried fruit, but the beauty of the granola technique is that it pretty much works with anything. I love the looks of the green pumpkin seeds, but things like hazelnuts and pecans would also work wonderfully.

As I mentioned in the video, it’s really up to you to determine the cooking time. I tend to like mine just golden-brown, but many enjoy the deeper, nuttier flavor of a longer roasting. Since you are pulling and tossing every 10 minutes, this is pretty easy to monitor, but just be careful towards the end, as it can get bitter if you go too far.

Anyway, whether this is for a quick and easy holiday breakfast, with milk or over Greek yogurt; or you are going to package some up as a stocking stuffer for the foodies in your life, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 6 cups of Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut (pure coconut, not candied)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped candy covered chocolate pieces (like M&M’s)
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
1 cup mixed dried fruit (any combo of cranberries, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
*Bake at 325 degrees F. for 30-40 minutes or until browned.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Does anyone have a cute Halloween cookie recipe?

Q. I've been looking everywhere online but they all aren't that great, and this is like my first time attempting to make this kinda stuff, so does anyone have a cute little simple Halloween cookie recipe? It would be much appreciated :]

A. How about a pumpkin cookie? or a Frankenstein cookie? Websites below.

Best Halloween cookie recipe?
Q. Hi Im looking for a really cool recipe to bake for my students at school. If you have any delicious receipes for cookies please post here. best recipe wins 10 points. I'm looking for a unique and great tasting recipe. Id appreciate it very much!
I would like very original receipes of your own not taken from a website but pretty much your own recipe which you may have got from another recipe but made some changes and its tried and tested.

A. Jack-O-Lantern Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
orange and green food coloring
1 package hard lemon drops, about 5 ounces, crushed *
Preheat oven to 350°. Cover 3 cookie sheets with foil. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk if batter is too stiff. Color all but 1/8 of dough orange and color rest green. Using orange dough, shape into 1-inch balls; flatten with hand to make a pumpkin shape. Place on cookie sheets . Roll small stems with the green dough; attach one to the top of each pumpkin. Carefully cut out wide spaces for the eyes, nose and mouth with a knife. Fill holes in with crushed lemon candy. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until done but not browned.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes and carefully peel off foil.
* Crush lemon drops in food processor. If mixture becomes sticky, add a little powdered sugar while chopping.

Spidery Cookie Wreaths
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon orange paste food coloring
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Red cinnamon candies or miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate pieces (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. Add the sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour.

2. Place half of the dough in a small mixing bowl. Stir in the pecans or almonds; set aside. To the remaining dough, knead in the orange peel and food coloring. Cover and chill both portions of dough about 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

3. On a lightly floured surface, shape each dough portion into a 12-inch-long log. Cut each log into twenty-four 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch-long rope. If necessary, cover and chill ropes for 10 to 15 minutes if soft and difficult to work with. Place a white and an orange rope side by side and twist together 5 or 6 times. Shape into a circle, gently pinching together the ends. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute, then remove and cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together sifted powdered sugar and enough milk to make an icing of piping consistency. Tint with desired colors of paste or liquid food coloring.

5. Using a decorating bag and writing tip #2, pipe icing into various-size spiders randomly on cookies. If desired, use red cinnamon candies, or candy-coated chocolate pieces for the body of the spider. Use a dab of icing to hold body on cookies. Let cookies stand until icing is set. Makes 24 cookies

Puzzle Cookies
Halloween Eyeball Cookies
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Scarecrow Cookies
Owl Cookies
Ghostly Pumpkin Cookies - Pumpkin Cookie Recipe
Halloween Cobweb Cookies

I need a really good Halloween cookie recipe please...?
Q. I need a really good Halloween cookie recipe. It would be appreciative if you included the recipe for frosting and bread/cookie. Thanks sooo much!

A. Try these!!

Ghost Cookies
Yield: 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16-ounce can pre-made vanilla frosting
colored sugars, for decoration
mini-morsels, for decoration
candy sprinkles, for decoration
black or brown decorating frosting, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 375ºF

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add powdered sugar, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture; beat well. Gradually add flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda, beating well.

Cover and chill dough 1 hour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with a 4-inch ghost-shaped cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Place a craft stick under each cookie, pressing cookie lightly onto stick.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Microwave frosting in a 2-quart glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until frosting melts. Spread melted frosting over cookies in batches of 3. (Frosting hardens quickly.) Decorate rapidly with desired toppings. .
Ghost Meringues
(makes 12 ghosts)

3 large egg whites, at room temperature1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) cream of tartar3/4 cup (188 g) one-to-one sugar substitute, such as Louis Sherry One Spoon Sugar Replacement1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract24 dried currants

Preheat oven to 200°F (130°C).

Line two large, heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar substitute, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) every 30 seconds until meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla.

Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) plain tip or spoon into a gallon-size (1 l-size) heavy plastic food bag, then cut off 1 corner to make a 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) wide opening.

Pipe meringue onto prepared baking sheets into ghost shapes, about 3 inches (3.75 cm) wide and 5 inches (6.25 cm) high. Space ghosts about 2 inches (2.5 cm) apart. Press 2 currants into each ghost to form the eyes.

Bake until meringues begin to turn pale gold and are firm to the touch, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, switching baking sheet positions half way through the baking time. Turn off oven and leave meringues in closed oven for 2 hours. Cool slightly. When just barely warm, slip each ghost into a plastic sandwich bag and tie tops with pieces of orange and black ribbons
Ghosts in the Graveyard
Serves: 15 to 18

1 pkg. (16 oz.) chocolate sandwich cookies
3-1/2 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping , thawed

CRUSH cookies in zipper-style plastic bag with rolling pin or in food processor.

POUR cold milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the whipped topping and 1/2 of the crushed cookies. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining crushed cookies.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until ready to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

To Decorate Graveyard: Decorate assorted cookies with decorator icings to make "tombstones." Stand tombstones on top of dessert with candy corn and pumpkins. Drop dollops of remaining whipped topping onto dessert to make "ghosts."

Boo Cups: Layer pudding mixture and remaining crushed cookies in 12 to 16 paper or plastic cups. Decorate as desired
Graveyard Cups

24 clear 12-oz. plastic cups
2 pkgs. Oreo cookies
2 recipes of chocolate pudding
whipped cream
24 Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies
brown or black cake decorating gel
24 gummi worms

Crush all Oreos in food processor. In the bottom of each cup, place about 1 Tbsp. of Oreos. Mix remainder of Oreos in pudding mixture, holding out about 2 cups for topping. Then spoon about 2 TBSP Oreo mixture over pudding. Poke one gummi worm down in dirt, still showing on top. On each Milano cookie, write on top half "RIP" with cake decorating gel, and stick them down in the back of the cup. They resemble tombstones.

Note: Can also do in a sheet cake pan with lots of tombstones and worms for a home party.
Jack O' Lantern Cookies
Makes 18 to 20 large cookies

3/4 cup dark molasses
3/4 cup paked brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. each salt, ground allspice and cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
Orange icing (recipe follows)
2 cups seedless grapes

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Combine molasses, sugar, water and melted butter and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or longer. Roll dough out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on floured surface. Cut dough into pumpkin shapes, 4 1/2 to 5 - inches in diameter and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake for10-12 minutes or until firm to a light touch with a finger. Cool. Ice with Orange Icing and decorate with grapes to make faces.


Beat 6 cups icing sugar and about 1/3 cup orange juice until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Tint with 9 drops yellow food colour and 10 drops red food color or to desired orange color.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
12 servings

3/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
1 (8 oz pkg.) Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Sugar or Sugar Substitute = 1/2 Cup
1/2 Cup 2% Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp Orange Zest, finely chopped
2 (8 oz pkg.) Cream Cheese
1 (15 oz can) Pumpkin
1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
1/4 Cup Orange Juice

Crust: In a medium bowl, conbine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter; stir until the crumbs are moistened. Press onto the bottom of an 8-inch srpingform pan. Cover and chill.

White Filling: In a food processor, conbine the 1 package cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla extract, and the orange zest. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Pumpkin Filling: In a food processor, conbine the remaining cream cheese, pumpkin, remaining sugar substitute, remaining milk, and the pumpkin pie spice. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.

In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the orange juice and let stand for 5 minutes. Cook and stir over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved.Stir in 1 Tablespoon of the gelatin mixture into the white filling. Stir in remaining gelatin mixture into the pumpkin filling.

Pour the pumpkin filling into the prepared crust. Carefully pour the white filling onto the pumpkin filling. Using a knife to swirl the pumpkin and the white mixtures together. Cover and chill overnight.

To serve: Loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan with a thin knife, release the clasp of the springform pan and remove the sides. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes - They Take Longer, But At Least They’re More Complicated

I don’t do a lot of things in the kitchen purely for esthetic reasons, but these twice baked potatoes are one of my more beautiful exceptions to that rule. You can get almost the exact same flavors by just adding stuff to a regular baked potato, but what you won’t get in that scenario is the impressive, over-stuffed height, and gorgeous, golden-browned crust seen here.

Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. For me, once in a while, for those extra fancy dinners, the answer is a resounding yes. Taste is, and always will be, the most important aspect of cooking, but when entertaining guests on special occasions, don’t forget that you’re putting on a show with the food. And when it comes to starchy side dishes, this is a great way to express that flair for the dramatic.

Like I said in the video, this is a demonstration of technique, and not necessarily a recipe I want you to follow verbatim. I will list what I used below, since I’m required to by food blogger common law, but if there was ever a recipe that you’d want to experiment with, this is the one.

By the way, since there's a certain amount of prep involved here, you can make these ahead of time, up to the point of the second baking, and then just finish when it gets closer to service. I hope you give this show stopping side dish a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Twice Baked Potatoes:
4 large russet potatoes
3 tbsp butter
1 or 2 tbsp minced green onion
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 egg yolk
Bake at 400 degrees F. for an hour to cook potatoes, and then 20-30 to brown after stuffing.

Do you have any fun Halloween food recipes?

Q. It's that time again! When everyone is finalizing their costumes and planning the last details of their Halloween Party. We noticed our community asking for yummy treats or tasty food recipes for the scary holiday. We thought we'd help! So we're asking YOU, share with the community a few of your favorite recipes. We can't wait to taste them!

A. yes
Ghoulish Ghost Cakes

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup self rising flour
cornstarch for dusting
1 x 24 ounce package white rolled fondant icing
pink food coloring
1 tube black writing icing

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each egg. Beat well and fold in the remaining flour. Spoon into a popover pan till just over half full. Or you could use individual mini cake molds. Bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Cut the top of the cakes off to form a flat surface and then turn out onto a board or plate. Leave until completely cold. Roll out the white icing on a surface dusted with cornflour and cut out 12 X 6 inch circles (can use a saucer as a guide). Drape these over the sponge cakes to form ghost figures. From the trimmings color about one third of the icing pink and use a mini cutter to cut out some tiny white oval shapes or roll out some tiny balls of white icing into oval shapes . Dampen them with a little water and stick them onto the front of the ghost. Use a blob of black Writing Icing for the pupils of the eyes.

What are some delicious fun Halloween punch recipes?
Q. What are some delicious fun Halloween punch recipes?
I am hoping to use tonic water to make the punch possibly glow under a blacklight at the party I'm helping set up. I'm also using dry ice (I do know to be careful). Does anyone have any really good recipes for punch? Bonus points to anyone who has recipes that include tonic water:)


what are some fun and scary halloween dinner recipes?
Q. i don't want deserts.
just dinner recipes.

A. Graveyard Halloween Dinner Recipes:

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup
Anti-Vampire Spaghetti With 10 Cloves of Garlic
Autumn Stuffed Pork Roast
Baked Worms
Barbecued Bat Wings
Bat and Spook Pizza
Bat Fries
Bat Sandwiches
Bat Wing Soup
Beefy Eyeball Tarts
Black Mess Jello
Black Risotto
Bloody Turkey Medallions
Brain Cell Salad
Brain Surgery Salad
Brains on the Half Skull
Cat Litter Casserole
Cheese Jack O' Lanterns
Cheesy Witches Brooms
Chicken Pizza Masks
Chunky Cat Barf
Creamed Eyeballs
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup
Dead Man's Meatloaf
Dinner in a Pumpkin
Exploding Potatoes
Eyes and Ears
Fiesta Pumpkin Corn Muffins
Fire Ants and Fleas
Frankenstein Stew
Freddie Krueger's Casserole
Gelatin Eyeballs
Ghostbuster Delight
Ghostly Shepherd's Pie
Gnarled Witches Fingers
Goblin Fingers and Toes
Gory Gorilla Tonsils
Green Mashed Potatoes
Grilled Cheese Jack-O-Lanterns
Hag Hash
Halloween Chili
Halloween Mummy Dogs
Haunted Taco Tarts
Hobgoblin Stew
Jack-O-Lantern Casserole
Jack-o-Lantern Chili Cups
Jack-O-Lantern Pizza
Jack-O-Lantern Pizza 2
Kitty's Hairball Surprise
Maggot Stew
Mashed Potato Ghosts
Meatloaf Mice
Melted Torsos and Legs
Miniature Pumpkins Stuffed with Rice, Raisins and Almonds
Molded Blood Salad
Moldy Biscuits
Moldy Cheese and Mashed Potatoes
Moldy Cheese Soup
Moldy Maggot Casserole
Moldy Pond Slime
Moldy Turkey Burgers
Monster Claws
Monster Mashed Potatoes
Monster Meatloaf
Monster Mouth
Monster Muffins
Nightcrawlers in a Bait Bucket
Nose Blow Burritos
Parmesan Rosemary Pumpkin
Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage
Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Sage
Penne with Fresh Pumpkin Sauce
Pork Chops in Cider Cream Gravy
Potato Bugs
Pumpkin Chili
Pumpkin Chowder
Pumpkin Dumplings
Pumpkin Gnocchi
Pumpkin Goulash
Pumpkin Nutmeg Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Sloppy Joes
Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread
Roast Chicken with Vampire Proof Garlic Garland
Roasted Heart
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
Rotten Cauliflower Bake
Rotten Chicken
Satan's Fantasy Chili
Slice and Bake Pumpkin
Sloppy Goblins
Snakes in the Grass
Spaghetti and Eyeballs
Spider Nest Salad
Spiderweb Soup
Stuffed Peppers Ghouls
Stuffed Pumpkin
Sweet Pumpkin Salad
Terrifying Tamale Pie
Tombstone Tortilla Chicken Soup
Transylvania Pork Stew
Werewolf Burger Beans
Wiggly Giggly Crystal Ball
Worms Au Gratin
Worms on a Bun
Yams with Dirt Topping

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Next Up: Twice Baked Potatoes

Cheat's mayonnaise

So it happened: the very worst thing. I got norovirus. And just to make sure everyone else had a miserable time, too, I Tweeted about it step by step, reminding those on shift work at 5am that I had now been vomiting for EIGHT HOURS, reminding those getting up with their kids at 7am that I had now been going for TEN HOURS - like some terrible telathon.

But in the end, you know, it wasn't so bad. I mean, it was the most physically traumatising thing to happen to me apart from giving birth - but once you've had it once, you know the drill. Puke so hard it feels like you're going to turn inside out all night and then sit back for the next day sipping Ribena, graciously accepting an avalanche of sympathy. People are so nice about it that it almost makes it worth having.

And anyway you have to shrug these things off. Like you do when, say, when the Mail rings you and offers you enough money to pay for Christmas, an iPhone and a small non-extradition island in the Caribbean to write a slightly controversial piece for them, and then you get a bit carried away and then get over-excited strangers jumping on your head for days and days because they haven't worked out yet that no-one writing in the Mail actually means a word they say, (apart from Melanie Phillips). Like that. You have to shrug that off, too - while crossing your fingers that Samantha Brick pops up again to re-direct some heat.

And Christmas. I think I might shrug Christmas off this year. We haven't got a tree yet. I didn't get an advent calendar until December 4th. I haven't done any festive baking. I'm not even that excited about this year's wrapping paper colour combination (purple with lilac ribbon printed with white snowflakes). It's the last year I'll be able to shrug it off, though. I think Kitty will be aware of Christmas next year and we won't be able to get away with anything less than a 10ft tree and an actual herd of reindeer in the garden. I'm not saying I'm anti-Christmas, before you all get your flipping pitchforks out, I'm just saying that I am shrugging off the pressure.

I'm relaxing, too, about doing things like making my own pastry. I used to insist on making my own pastry before I realised that only people very devoted to the idea of from-scratch baking or who don't happen to have a packet of Jus-Roll in their freezer or who don't have children make their own. It's not that time-consuming, it's just so much easier getting it out of a packet. Go ahead! Judge me! I don't care! Not after the week I've had.

I'm also henceforth never making my own mayonnaise again, having discovered a way of tarting up Hellman's that is so satisfying that I actually feel more smug about doing it than making my own. My mother always makes her own mayonnaise, even when we were small, but she has the patience of a saint and was always able to deftly tune out the murderous squabblings of children, humming as she drizzled the oil into the yolks: dum de dum "FUCKING BI.... HATE Y" dum de dum de dum "I'M GOIN TO FUCKING KIL" tum te tum te tum "FAT C" dee dee dum "UCK OFF!!!" dee dee deeeee.

Anyway so this is my cheat's mayonnaise, which is just super. We have been buying small cooked shrimp from the fishmonger recently and we have it with that, but I recommend you deploy it as an accompaniment to all cold cuts and elaborate sandwiches this festive season.

Some Hellman's mayonnaise (or whatever you've got)
an unpeeled garlic clove
lemon juice
some olive oil
hot smoked paprika

So what you do is start with the mayo in a bowl get some olive oil, dribble a bit in, then some salt and pepper and lemon juice. Taste. Do it all again until you think it tastes nice. You might like a grassier mayonnaise than me.

Now take a clove of garlic and without bothering to peel it, stick it in a crusher and then crush until just a little scraping comes out and flick that into the mayo and stir. You just want a hint of garlic, because too much is just terrible for the digestion and extremely antisocial. If you had some garlic oil I think that would do the job of the olive oil and the garlic in one.

If you are planning to have this with seafood, a dollop of tomato ketchup - 1/2 a teaspoon I'd say, turns this into a Marie Rose sort of thing.

Finish with a rakish dash of paprika.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Potato Pancakes – Delicious, But They Go Right to My Thighs

There are few foods I enjoy eating more than a plate of crispy-edged potato pancakes. Unfortunately, I've been trying to limit my carbs lately (I just can't let go of my dream to become a famous underwear model), so seeing all these amazing Latkes recipes that pop up during Hanukkah is really hard.

Anyway, just because I'm not partaking doesn't mean you have to deny yourself this exquisite pleasure. Below you'll see my version, which has always received rave reviews. These are garnished with smoked salmon, but my favorite way is to simply enjoy them topped with applesauce and sour cream. This is an older post, so use the link below the video for more info and the ingredients. A happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating, and as always, enjoy!

Click here for the original post and ingredient amounts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Hamlets – To Eat or Not to Eat Will Not Be a Question

I had been fantasizing for weeks about doing a whole, home-cured ham for the holidays. I always get lots of requests for this kind of thing, and was fully prepared to give it a go, but then a strange thing happened, I heard the word “Hamlet.” 

It was on TV, and completely unrelated to cured pork, but for whatever reason the word made me think of cute little, individually sized hams. That’s all it took, and off I went trying to figure out how to make this thing happen. I knew I wanted a process that wouldn’t require the pink curing salts used in commercially produced hams, not because they are unhealthy, they’re not, but because it would be hard for some of you to find.

I’ve read things in the past about using celery’s naturally occurring nitrates to accomplish the same thing, so that’s what I used, and as you’ll hear me say several times in the video, I was thrilled with the results! While not exactly like a classic city ham, this was very close. The firm, moist texture was great, the salt level was spot on, and since we used loin instead of leg, there’s even a little less fat.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to help much with questions about how to do this with bigger or different cuts, as this was my first foray into home-cured ham, so if you are going to attempt this, please go to a good butcher to get the exact same size “chops” that I used. If you do, and follow these simple steps, I think you will have a holiday meal “to die for.” Sorry, but you didn’t expect me to do this entire post without one forced reference to the play, did you? Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Hamlets:
4 thick-cut (10-12 oz) center cut, boneless pork loin “chops”
For the brine:
1/2 cup *kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon
(*if using fine table salt, you’d only need barely 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 tsp allspice
1/2 ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups boiling water to dissolve salt and sugar
3 celery stalks (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cups cold water to puree vegetables in blender, plus add enough cold water to make 2 quarts total volume of brine
Brine for 48 hours before roasting

For the glaze:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne
whole cloves as needed

Roast at 325 degrees F. until an internal temp of 145 degrees F. is reached.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We Won! Food Wishes Takes Down Two Taste Awards

Thanks to you, we're happy to announce that Food Wishes has won two Taste Awards! We were a finalist in two categories, “Best Food Program: Web,” and “Best Home Chef in a Series,” and took home both prizes.

A sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. I’ve said it before, but no food blogger anywhere enjoys such overwhelming support from their audience. You're the best!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rosemary Honey “Pull Apart” Dinner Rolls - Because You Love Them...Right?

Entertaining during the holidays usually means plenty of costly, complicated, and time-consuming recipes, so absolutely no one would blame you if you simply tossed a tube of store-bought dinner rolls into the oven to save a little time and effort.

Of course the problem with that, at least for loyal followers of this blog, is that some or all of your family members will have seen this video by then, and you may get a few looks. Not that they would never question your undying love and devotion to their happiness, but hey, why take a chance?

Assuming that you have an electric mixer, besides a few minutes of cutting and balling the dough, these really aren’t that much work to make. If you don’t, and would have to knead this by hand, then let your conscience be your guide. I think I speak for your entire family when I say, we know you’ll do the right thing.

Anyway, as far as holiday dinner rolls go, these are pretty lean. You can certainly up the melted butter amount, and toss in a egg or two, but since these are generally going to be eaten with fairly rich food, I prefer a lighter approach.

Please feel free to embellish with anything else you’d like to toss in. I’ll toss out garlic, herbs, cheese, seeds, and nuts just to start the brainstorming session. I hope you come up with something amazing, and give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 32-36 small dinner rolls:
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F.)
1 cup milk
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 or 2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
about 3 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour, plus more if needed (NOTE: add about 2 1/2 cups of flour at the beginning of the mixing, and then add more in smaller increments until the dough just starts to pull away from the bowl. Remember, you can always add more, but can’t remove too much! Better a little too sticky than too stiff and dry.)
2 tbsp olive oil (to oil the dough)
egg wash (one egg beaten with a teaspoon of milk)
coarse sea salt

Next Up: Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Apparently Size Doesn’t Matter for Prime Rib "Method X"

This is what our 6-pounder looked like. Would a
20 pounder work as well? Spoiler Alert: Yes.
The most common question after we posted our now famous “Method X” for making perfect prime rib was “will this work with much bigger, full-size roasts?” Since I'd only used the method on smaller specimens, I was hesitant to green-light much larger pieces of beef without having tested it myself.

Well, thanks to Bill in Salt Lake City, we now have visual proof that this great technique does work on the big boys. Here’s what the fearless cook had to say:

“Your recipe does indeed work on larger bone-in prime rib roasts. I followed the recipe to the tee, on three 18 to 21 lb. roasts using three different ovens in three separate ski condo ovens, all with different thermostats. All came out perfectly. I had 29 very pleased snowmobilers!”

As everyone knows, there are few groups harder to please than a bunch of starving, probably drunk snowmobilers, so this must have really been amazing. Below you’ll see pictures of Bill’s fine work, along with the video showing this easy method. By the way, after seeing the size of Bill’s slices, if you ever get invited to one of his prime rib dinners, you should definitely go. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Prime rib is very expensive, so no matter what method you use (traditional or Method X), you should always have a probe-style thermometer inserted so that the internal temp can be monitored, to avoid any chance of over-cooking. Set the probe alarm (125 F. for medium-rare) just in case, and pull the roast from oven even if there's still time left on the timer.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Any recipes for the first stage of the Anti-Candida diet?

Q. I'm just starting the Anti-candida diet and i was wondering if anyone knew any recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks

A. If you want to lose weight quickly, you need to know what to do and you can't go back to your old habits. So how do you lose the maximum amount of weight in the minimum amount of time? Unfortunately, there are no magic solutions, and the key is to make consistent changes in the way you eat and exercise on a daily basis. There are, however, certain specific tactics that can make losing weight fast a little easier, and you can take a looking at some of these here.

Where can I find recipes for Anti-Candida Diet?


What are some good recipes if I'm on the Candida diet?
Q. The recipes can't have any
-sugar or anything with sugar in it for that matter
(this would include milk because it has sugar in it. same goes for other foods. if it has sugar in it, don't include it)
Thanks for your help everyone!!!

A. You can make most recipes with Xylitol or stevia substituted inplace of sugar. Look for recipes containing those products. You can find them at health food stores.

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