I really need to learn how to make potato salad for 6 people, instead of 20…ha.

Anyone need some really yummy potato salad??

 

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Homemade Kettle Corn

Summer brings memories of circus, fairs, carnivals, street festivals, fleas, farmers markets and the foods that go along with them.

I’m talking Corn Dogs, Fried Dough (Fry Bread), and the sweet & salty Kettle Corn that you thought you could only have on a hot summer afternoon, while standing in line for the Tilt-A-Whirl!

Kettle Corn, made on a large-scale for the fairs & festivals, usually involves a dedicated machine, with big copper pots.  However, Kettle Corn is really easy to make at home.  The trick is to constantly shake the pot.  Constantly.  And remove the pot when the kernels are popping every 2-3 seconds, and then keep shaking.

It does take a bit of practice to get this right — the sugar can burn too easily, if the heat is too high.  Make sure you are on a medium setting, and use an old pot – one that has seen  better times.  Burned sugar happens and it is a pain to clean.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we always have :)

Homemade Kettle Corn

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover and shake the pot.

Keep shaking the pot during the entire cooking process, to help keep the sugar from burning.

When the popping slows to every 2-3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat, and continue to shake until the popping has stopped. This will really keep the sugar from burning.

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, salt to taste, and stir to break up any clumps, and allow to cool.

Once cool, store in ziplock bags…if you have any left ;)

Enjoy!

Variations:

  • Use brown sugar, for a “caramel corn” taste
  • Add in a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Add in 2 teaspoons maple flavoring, and 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • Add in two tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce.  After you’ve poured out the popcorn, sprinkle with Cayenne Pepper
Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

251k

Wowsa

251,306 visits to this blog.

Not bad at all.

I should write more ;)

 

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What the heck?!?

Food…What is it about food?  I’m either into it, and creating recipes like mad, or it’s Ritz Crackers and cheese or Shredded Wheat for dinner.   And I’m stuck in that rut of cereal for dinner, or the easiest meal I can come up with.  Lately, it’s been my local market for a pre-made salad, or a rotisserie cooked chicken.  Or Trader Joe’s for whatever freezer stuff they have on sale.

All of which means I’ve been eating like crap.  Not enough good healthy foods.  My feeble attempt at trying to start cooking again has led me down the path of “buy stuff I am not going to cook that will rot away in the refrigerator”.

Take a look over there to the right of your screen and you’ll see the archive listing.  November 2010 was my last post?!  Really?!?  What the heck have I been doing for all these months.

Oh, yeah.  Cereal.

*bangs head on desk*

The most adventurous I’ve been able to come up with is a rhubarb pie, and even that little bit of simplicity sucked.  My pie dough looked as though a first time baker had done it.  Worse, perhaps, because my first pie dough was really good!

I’m going to try and start with some simple things this coming weekend.  I’m going to a picnic/bbq/fireworks/alcohol..thing.  I’ll make a couple of items:   Some chicken cutlets.  Some potato salad.  Some fruit salad.  Nothing mind blowing, just good, wholesome dishes.

I guess we’ll see.  If you start seeing posts here, I’ve found my food grooooove again. Otherwise, I’ll be back later.  Really.

 

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The Best Chicken, Onion, Mushroom and Bacony Goodness Sandwich

A good friend of mine and I are long time users of reddit. We were discussing /r/secretsanta the other day, and talking about reddit’s favorite foodage: Bacon, which has totally inspired this recipe (as well as a secret santa gift or two ;D )

Before you continue reading this recipe, please contact your physician, to get prior approval. Or take your cholesterol medication. Either way, be warned — this is full of bacon goodness!

Both of us really like Philly Cheese Steaks, and his suggestion was to use chicken to change it up.

That got me thinking about flavor profiles, and how good a bit of bacon would be, with some onion, mushrooms and chicken. All on a fresh soft bread/roll. Oh my. Bacon goodness!!

A smoked cheese is absolutely called for — I just could not imagine using American cheese, as you would with a Philly Cheese Steak. The flavor would just be wrong. A smoked cheddar, gouda or another favorite would be highly suggested.

This recipe made enough for about 4 regular sized sandwiches (6 if you are like me, and 2 if you are like my friend..lol).

The Best Chicken, Onion, Mushroom and Bacony Goodness Sandwich

3 slices of bacon
2 large onions, sliced thinly
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons oil
1 pound chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup smoked cheese, shredded
good soft bread

Saute the bacon, until cooked, which should leave about 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease behind.  Chop the bacon and set aside.

Remove the bacon, and reserve 1/2 of the bacon grease. With the remaining bacon grease in the pan, heat at medium heat, and then drop in the sliced onions. Saute these until golden in color and nicely tender and somewhat sweet. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

Put 1/2 of the remaining bacon grease in the pan, and heat at medium heat. Add the mushrooms, and saute until the edges are golden, and the mushrooms softened. Remove from the pan and set aside with the onions.

Using the remaining bacon grease, heat it, and the oil in the pan, and saute the chicken until no longer pink inside – a couple of minutes.

Once the chicken is done, add the bacon, onions and mushrooms back in, and heat for a minute or two, until everything is hot.

Cut the bread, and ready it for a sandwich by cutting the bread lengthwise in half. Sprinkle the cheese over top, and then add in the onion/mushroom/chicken mix.

Eat and enjoy. It’s incredibly yummy.

Because of the use of bacon in all levels of prep, I chose not to use any salt. Your mileage may vary, depending upon how salty your bacon is. Use at the comfort of your palate.

Some good additions could be:

  • Use a little mayo on one side of the sandwich
  • Use roasted red peppers — drain the oil, and chop. Add these in at the end, when you mix everything together.
  • An addition of bit of basil would be really good

Ahh…bacon.  My love for the man who drooled badly while we made this, my admiration for the diverse, interesting and caring people of reddit that inspired me, and the incredible smell that filled the house when I cooked the bacon made this sandwich extra-extra good.  I hope you enjoy as much as we both did.  He also took the pic — thank you :)

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Cooking Oils..

Quick Post…

The New York Times had an article on their testing of cooking oils that I thought was really interesting.  It discusses the taste changes in various oils, from the inexpensive supermarket brand to the expensive olive oils.

New York Times – Is It Time for an Oil Change in the Kitchen?

Enjoy, as alway :)

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Cheesecake

I grew up eating cheesecake.  Well.. really, what I *thought* was cheesecake.  It was Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake, which does have it’s place in the world of quick/instant desserts.  But it isn’t really cheesecake.

Living in New York, there is absolutely no possibility of getting around eating numerous types of cheesecake — New York Style, Italian Style, French — creamy, gritty, sweet, savory.  As is usual for recipes, there are so many increidbly good variations, you just have to find one that suits your fancy.

The version here is somewhat light, not overly dense and incredibly creamy.  I serve it with a light raspberry sauce over top, but choose your favorite topping.

As is with most custards, in my opinion, this will taste even better after being refrigerated overnight.  It ripens, as it were.  Hey..it’s cheese, after all.

Enjoy!

Cheesecake, just out of the oven, and looking yummy, even if it is an awful picture..lol

Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 eight ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup flour

Before you start this recipe, please bring the cheese, eggs & sour cream up to room temp. I let them sit on the counter for about 1 hour or so.

Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Using shortening or butter, grease the 9 inch springform pan.  Put a pan of hot water into the oven.  I usually just use a 2 quart sauce pan, placed in the very back of the oven, filled with hot water.

Next….Melt the butter, and then in a small bowl, mix it until it’s combined well. Dump this into the middle of your springform pan, and spread evenly. Press the mixture with the bottom of a spoon, packing the cracker mix down. If you like, press a bit of the cracker up the sides a bit.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and milk together until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg well into the mix. Add in the sour cream, and vanilla. Lastly, add in the flour. Mix well, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to get everything well incorporated.

Pour the mix into the springform pan, and allow it to sit on the counter for about 5 minutes, until all the bubbles have risen to the top.

There are three options here for baking the cake:

  • Put the cake directly into the oven to bake.
  • Put the cake pan into a waterbath, and bake. (If you are using a springform pan, wrap the exterior of the pan in a few layers of foil, to keep the water out of the cake, and the cake in the pan).
  • Put the cake directly into the oven to bake, with a pan of water on a lower rack.

I will admit that I do not always use a water bath, nor put a pan of water in the oven at all. I just put it to the oven.   However, because this “cake” is really a custard, it will have more of a tendency to crack, and the water bath (as well as the small bit of flour in the cake), will help to keep that from happening.  I have always put a pan of water on a lower rack while the cake baked. Your choice.

So.. choose how you would like to bake this… and then do so for 1 hour at 350F.

Once the hour is up, turn off the oven and let the cake cool there, with the door closed, for 5-6 hours. The better the cake cools, the more evenly it cools, the less cracking will happen.

Keep refrigerated for up to a week. Or, cut into slices, and freeze for up to a month.

Posted in Cheese, Christmas, Desserts, holiday, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment