7.31.2005

IMBB #17: tasteTea

I know there will be tons of folks making exotic dishes with tea, drinking rare teas, waxing poetic about tea ceremonies, but in our house, tea means sweet tea. If you are from the South, I don't need to enlighten you as to what sweet tea is. To all of the yanks out there, sweet tea is what you drink when you are south of the Mason-Dixon line: plain black tea - home brewed - with a ton of sugar in it. It gets poured over a big glass of ice and you sit in the shade and relax. If you want to be fancy, you can put some mint or lemon in, but other than that, it's pretty straight forward.

Of course, for another generation, Tea means Mr. Tea- I mean Mr. T. So stop that jibberjabbering and hand me that sweet tea.

To appease the Northern aggressors who stop by my house, I also make unsweetened tea and serve it with three simple syrups: one plain, one flavored with lemon and one flavored with mint. Simple syrups are perfect for iced tea as they do not leave piles of gritty sugar in the bottom of your glass. It also allows each person to make their tea just as sweet as they like. It has the added advantage that from a couple of feet, it looks like you are stirring teaspoons of nothing into your tea, making you appear as though you have gone senile in a short period of time. The illusion is greatly aided by talking to relatives only you can see.


Rosie's Sweet Tea for Northerners

The Tea

10 plain old pekoe tea bags

64 oz of boiling water

64 oz of cold water

Bring you water to a boil. Take the water off the burner and put the tea bags in. Let steep five minutes, then remove tea bags. Put the hot tea concentrate into a gallon pitcher and add the other 64 oz of cold water. Chill.

Flavored Simple Syrups
2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar
1 bunch of mint (whatever you have growing in your garden - doesn't everyone have mint taking over their garden?)
Zest of one lemon

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir to disolve. Remove from heat and pour into three heatproof containers. (I use three glass measureing cups for this step.) Add the mint to one container and the lemon zest to another. Leave the third one plain. Let the syrup set until cooled to room temperature, then strain out add-ins. Place into clean decorative containers with lids and chill.
If you don't think this is a enough syrup for your crowd, just multiply it up...just keep the 2:1 ratio.This will keep in the fridge for ages.

To serve: 2 teaspoons of syrup = 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar


Now get out on that porch...summer is quickly coming to a close....

7.29.2005

Cooking for Adam

It will soon be football season. That means I get to cook for our friend Adam, who is a single guy. Adam originally hails from Slovina, where they specialize in pork. A strapping young lad, he stands over 6’ tall and weighs a good 300 pounds. Also, the man could be standing stark naked in front of you and you would swear he wearing a sweater.

Our group of friends plays in a fantasy football league. Yes, even I play in the league. I never win the league, but its fun kicking ass and give the guys shit about it. Every couple weeks during the football season, the whole gang gathers at Adam’s house to watch their favorite teams on his big screen tv and eat until they go into food coma.

Since Adam never cooks for himself, I usually make more than I think the gang will eat so he can have leftovers the next couple of days. This also means that Adam gets to pick the menu.

His wish list usually looks like this:

  • Pork
  • Potatoes
  • Pork
  • Pasta
  • Pork
  • Salad
  • Pork
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Pork
  • and the occasional cheesecake

A while back Adam went on the Atkins’ Diet and the list looked like this:

  • Pork
  • Pork
  • Pork
  • Pork
  • Pork
  • Salad
  • and the occasional cheesecake made with Splenda

Unless we were out at a bar, where he would drink Michelob Extra Light beer (which is really a bottle of water that someone scribbled “Beer” onto) and eat a ton of pretzels.

Adam is off the Atkins’ diet now, so everything is back to normal.

I hope to expand our menu this year with the introduction of my mom’s “Macaroni Bake”. It’s is really Pastitsio, but since no one could pronounce it, it was renamed so all kids would stop asking what it was.

I think this recipe came from an aunt, who got it off someone in her church…yeah it’s one of those recipes with no real pedigree. This makes a huge roaster full…so only make it if you want to feed an army..or an Adam.

Macaroni Bake

Meat Mixture

4 T olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

3 pounds of ground beef

1 t cinnamon

4 t salt

1 t black pepper

1 cup white wine

20 oz of tomato puree

12 oz of tomato paste

Macaroni Mixture

2 pound elbow macaroni

4 T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Egg/cheese sauce

12 T butter

1 cup all purpose flour

3 t salt

½ t black pepper

½ t nutmeg

6 cups milk

4 eggs and 2 egg yolks

2 c grated parmesan

Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil, until onions are golden. Add meat, break up with fork and cook over low heat until meat is no longer red. Stir in salt, pepper, cinnamon and wine. Add tomato paste and puree. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 30 mins. Remove from heat and allow tocool.

Boil macaroni in salted water until al dente then toss with the oil, and parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Butter a large pan (I use a roaster). Place half the prepared macaroni in the pat, then put the meat sauce on top. Cover meat sauce with the remaining macaroni. Place aside while you make the egg/cheese topping.

In a sauce pan over low heat melt the butter. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for several minutes. Gradually stir in all of the milk except for one cup stirring until smooth. Cook over moderate low heat until thickened and boiling. Beat the eggs and yolks and add to the reserved 1 cup of milk and beat to combine. Stir into hot sauce. Over moderate heat, cook and stir constantly until well blended, about one minute. Add parmesan cheese, stir to blend.

Pour cheese/egg sauce over top of layered meat and pasta. Use a spatula to pull the macaroni away from the edges to let the mixture get all the way down around the sides.

Bake at 375 degrees until bubbly hot and the top is browned, about 30 mins. Let stand about 30 more minutes once it is out of the oven before cutting into serving pieces.

7.27.2005

Hot Damn!


We have achieved tomatoes Huston! Just pulled the first two ripe tomatoes off the vines...yum yum. I bet they get eaten over the sink with just a little salt. These are the early girls I planted..not the mutants. We are still waiting to see what hatches from those.

7.24.2005

Eaters Beware... Sometimes..it's not Good Eats!

I bet you all know this woman. She goes to your rotary/bondage club, shows up at the neighborhood association and she always brings food. It looks good, it even tastes good..but once everything is consumed she reveals her evil plot: The recipe had a secret ingredient. Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake, anyone? Pâte de château blanc? Grape Jelly Meatballs?

Our good neighbor loves to sneak in something just to see if she can do it. After the food is gone, she comes up and holds the inquisition. “What did you think? Could you taste the grape jelly? It wasn’t too viscous was it?” You mumble your replies and beat a hasty retreat, hoping you can make it home before your stomach purges itself. “The cake had tomato soup in it…could you tell?” Urp…maybe you won’t..where is that ladies’ room anyways?

There are a lot of different kinds of cooks in this world. People who cook to share with others, people who cook to make themselves look talented, people who putter in the kitchen, or people who just want something to eat. But none of these are like the aforementioned lady. She is the kid who put chalk dust in you milk at school just to watch would happen when you drank it. She is the fast food wage slave who wee’d in the pickles just to see if anyone could tell the difference. She takes a vicious delight in the look on your face when she reveals the true nature of your meal. Once bitten, twice shy, you avoid her food from then on, but do you stop others? No, you watch with voyeuristic delight as others chow down on her infamous creations. You lurk nearby to hear their stammered answers to her questions. “Could you taste the eel in the ice cream?” And finally, as they reel away pale and nauseous, you point a silent finger to the bathrooms.

Does that appeal to some sick part of you, hidden deep down? Don’t deny it..you want to make a chocolate cake with sauerkraut in it…come on…

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

¾ cup sauerkraut drained and chopped
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup butter
3 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup water
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Sift all dry ingredients together. Cream sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat eggs in one at a time.
  2. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with water.
  3. Add sauerkraut, mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour into greased pan or pans.
  5. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until cake tests done.
  6. Frost

(Warning: I have not tried this recipe. My reputation stands untarnished!)

The Mutants are Coming! Run for your lives!



It all started innocently enough...a friendly gift from a neighbor. The tag in the pot read :"Yellow Pear Tomatoes". The family danced with glee and planted their new delicious friend. But as the summer progressed, it became obvious that something evil was happening..something dark. Instead of the happy, fun loving pear shape, a dark green crenelated alien form emerged. The family shrank back in horror! Obviously, this was the work of pod people..spreading their evil spawn across the face of the Earth...(or maybe it was Scientologists. I always confuse the two. If I see John Travolta in my garden one more time...)
So far, all the scientists have to work with are immature green fruit, thereby making it impossible to say what type of creature we are dealing with. One thing they know with certainty...it sure as hell ain't no yellow pear tomato. If you or any of your family see the creature pictured and have information about it origins, please contact the International Department of Interstellar Observation and Technology (I.D.I.O.T.) or if you cannot reach them, email me!

This has been a public service annoucement. Keep an eye to the sky!




A Fun Week!!

Starting with Tuesday: Water heater went bust. Ate out. Got sick. No more Chipolte (aka McTaco) anymore…that is the second time we got sick after eating there.

Wednesday: Tried to go into work. Plan did not jell. Neither did content of digestive tract. Damn McTaco. Came home. Laid on couch and consumed tons of water and Jell-o.

Thursday: Woke up. Felt great. Went to work. Went out to dinner. Got sick again. Gave up. Back to Jell-o and water.

Friday: Woke up. Ate some Jell-o. Starting to hate Jell-o. Went to work. Ate a sandwich out of desperation. Didn’t die. Yeah!

Saturday: Got up. Went to farmer’s market. Hit a huge pothole (sinkhole) on the way. Had to replace two tires. Went home. Ate Jell-o. Went to bed.

Moral to the story: God bless Jell-o.

Interesting Jell-o facts:

  • Fruits that float in Jell-O: fresh fruit such as bananas, citrus sections, sliced peaches, apples and fruit in light syrup.
  • The people of Salt Lake City consume more Jell-O per capita than any other city in the United States. (Obviously Mormons eat at McTaco a lot too!)
  • In "The Wizard of Oz," the horse that changed colors was actually six horses sponged down with Jell-O. (Need a quick Halloween costume? You know what to do!!)

Recipe of the week:

Jell-O Mincemeat Mold and I quote: “Jell-O Mincemeat! It's a grand and glorious combination of shimmering red cherry Jell-O, spicy rich mincemeat and crunchy nuts." Yum …yum…dahRool… dahRool

7.23.2005

No I haven't forgotten!

I hope to make a couple posts this weekend...between food poisoning, a busted hot water heater and some really bad Mexican food, my non-work hours have been busy busy.

7.18.2005

Just a quick note...

Now if only my mother had been so forthcoming with her date cake recipe...check this out

Cooking with Cable

Ahhhhhhh…The Food Network… instantaneous gratification! Need to see food being cooked/eaten/served/mutilated/masturbated...just contact your local cable provider and it’s all yours, baby!

Before The Food Network, the pickings were slim.

The only cooking shows pre-cable were either locally produced or on PBS. I grew up worshipping Julia Child. I still watch Julia every chance I get. I would shell out a handsome sum of filthy luchre to have all of her shows on DVD. (There is one 3 disc set called “The French Chef with Julia Child” but it is only 18 episodes. Not nearly enough for this Julia-phile.)

You can still get cooking on PBS, but most of it is pretty dull stuff. The last time I watched something non-Julia, it was some show with a man and a woman on it…blech. I turned the channel after 5 secs. Sorry PBS.

The Fine Living network has some stuff..pretty shallow. And Discovery Home…I wasn’t that impressed.

So that leaves the Food Network in all its stinkin’ glory.

As Sturgeon’s Law states “90% of everything is crap.” (Some people will say that Sturgeon was an optimist.) Food Network is no exception to the rule.

If Rachel Ray fell off the face of the Earth this very moment, I would not morn. Damn, I dislike her. She comes across as a pretty face with nothing behind it. She is a sloppy worker on her cooking shows. I don’t give a fig about watching her eat places on $40 a day. (Example: She recently did a show on Vegas. My husband loves Vegas. He used to live there. We have friends who still do. One, you can eat a lot better than she did for a lot less. Two, if she were a real tourist she would have spent $120 in cab fare to eat that $40 in food. Three, my hubby says “I don’t like her! Being the scabby lil ho she is, she stuck to the Strip.” After my next trip to Vegas, we’ll do up Vegas right with a good eats column. Promise.)

Bobby Flay…Therein lies a tale. We have a good friend who we have known for 20+ years now. His whole family cooks. His aunt used to work for Martha. His grandmother is a cooking goddess. He is the only one of his siblings who is not in the food industry. I think it’s just to be stubborn, because he is definitely a foodie. Also, our buddy wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful…that is part of what makes this so delicious…

One day, he stopped by our house and we had the Food Network blaring away. Bobby Flay was on. (You know..the original show of his with all these beautiful people sitting around eating his food…very meterosexual.) Our friend took one look and says “Oh, that faggot show.”

I think that pretty much sums up how we feel about Bobby. There was a surmise that the girlfriend he produced during the first iron chef fiasco was really a he/she, but we have no real proof either way.

I like Emeril, but I HATE “bam!”. I had to stop watching it. That and the fact he would coat every dessert with powdered sugar while screaming it. Blegh. I know, I know. The great unwashed love catch phrases…but I bathe on a regular basis, thank you. It’s Bam that stinks.

“What do you like?” I hear you asking.

Well, I used to be a huge Good Eats fan. Alton rocked pretty hard his first 3 or 4 seasons, when he was in his old kitchen. It looked like my kitchen (or the one I would have if I didn’t live in a crappy apartment). The skits were funny, the food was good, it was hip without straining itself. My hubby had a thing for his food anthropologist. He still talks about the episode where she is stretched out on a bag of onions.

That’s why Good Eats really lit my fire when it first appeared; it was all about learning to cook from the ground up. Every dish taught you something about food. It was edu-tainment at its best.

Then, he got well known. New kitchen, more appeal to the great unwashed. Gas grill!!??? Gasp! His food is still good. I guess I just liked it more when it seemed like he was one of us.

Food Network seems more about selling The Food Network than it does celebrating food, or educating the public. . It is food as entertainment, and a lot of their recipes are aimed at people who cook as entertainment. Nothing wrong with fancy food, let’s just learn to cook the basics first…

Me..I’ll stick to cookbooks I guess. I want substance, not personality or gimmicks. A good solid recipe speaks volumes.

7.15.2005

Mom! I am going to the Library!

One thing that I really love is the public library. I think it is the one of the most visible positive uses of our tax dollars. Need to know how to roast a chicken? Need to learn to bake cookies? Looking for recipes to recreate a Colonial banquet? Just head to the 641 section and you have rows and rows of cookbooks at your fingertip. I hear people brag about their personal collections, but let’s face it, these public collections are just awe inspiring. Best thing of all, it’s free.

I recently checked out a copy of The Dinner Doctor by Anne Byrn. I was browsing the aisles when I noticed there were five copies of this book on the shelf and, I must admit, I wanted to know why this book was so popular. I get the book home, start reading recipes and I follow one to the next page… and it’s missing the end of the recipe. I check the page numbers. There is a page missing. Nope, not a problem with the publisher…a problem with a pilferer! Someone had ripped the page right out of the book. And not just one page, but about a dozen. That made me hot. There are photocopiers everywhere! Would it have hurt this vandal to walk twenty steps down the aisle and plunk a dollar’s worth of dimes into the machine and take home copies of her/his favorite recipes?

Come on people…let’s have a little respect for our fellow patrons. Just because these books belong to everyone does not mean you get to abuse them. When you check out a book, you are its guardian until it goes back home. Even more important, in this time of cutbacks to educational and public services, every book that needs replaced means a new one that never gets purchased. True, the library most likely won’t replace this particular book; they have four more duplicates on the shelves, but what if it was something that couldn’t be replaced? Thanks a lot, you inconsiderate boob!

To sum it up, let’s play nice boys and girls. It takes so little effort to think of others and yet we do it so rarely. The least we can do is respect our communal property such as library books and leave them for others to learn from.

7.12.2005

I got crabs..I mean crayfish

I lied. I decided to tell you more about the fat man in my life later.

I was wandering around Meijer’s the other day. (I frequently end up wandering aimlessly in large stores; it’s the explorer in me I guess.) Even if I don’t need something specific from the meat department, I always poke around to see what they have. Last time it was tongue…this time it was pre-cooked crayfish. A huge 5 pound bag for $5.00. Call it crayfish clearance. It was already seasoned with red pepper which is why I think it ended up on the reject shelf. But at $.99 per pound, I could not resist and tossed it in the cart.

When I arrived home, my hubby looked at the bag and said “Ettoufee!” Tony partied frequently in New Orleans during his mis-spent youth, so whenever possible, he has me whip up things like po’ boys and muffalatta. I had never made Ettoufee before, so I pulled out my cooking bible, The Joy of Cooking and got jiggy with it.

Since he called it..he got to clean it. Those damn things are creeping looking bugs, but he ripped the tails off expertly and was finished in no time.

That left us with two problems:

Problem one– all the red pepper. It was overwhelming. The ettoufee recipe called for stock made from the shells of the crayfish, so I rinsed them several times in cold water until I got most of it off. Still, the broth had quite a kick to it. To compensate, I left all the spicy peppers out of the rest of the recipe.

Problem two – five pounds of crawfish means about ¾ of a pound of tail meat. Since I had wanted to make a huge batch, I pulled some frozen shrimp out of the freezer and threw them into the mix as well.

After that it went smoothly: the roux came out dark and rich, the crayfish and shrimp went in at the last moment and didn’t toughen up at all. The gravy was hot enough to make a preacher kick a hole in a stained glass, but once it went over rice it was great! The only thing missing was a big, cold glass of Jax beer.

To put it politely, it’s a keeper. And the leftovers were even better the next day.

Here is my take on crayfish and shrimp ettoufee. Not bad for a Yankee, I guess.

Rosie’s Ettoufee

2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp, crawfish or a combination of both (Reserve shells of the critters)

Broth

The Shells of the Crawfish and Shrimp

8 cups of water (or enough to cover shells)

1 onion, quartered

bay leaf

some thyme

a lil bit of cayenne (if the shellfish were not already seasoned blistering hot)

Ettoufee

Roux

6 T vegetable oil

6 T flour

Holy Trinity

2 medium onions, medium dice

2 green peppers, medium dice (you can use red as well. I used one of each.)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cups of shrimp and crayfish stock

salt and pepper

cayenne pepper if needed

1 T lemon juice

1 bunch chopped green onions

Throw the stuff for the broth in a nice heavy kettle. Cook at a low boil until it has reduced to 4 cups of broth. Strain, set aside.

Add oil and flour to your pot and cook stirring constantly until the paste turns to a nice brown color. I made mine fairly dark, it took about 20-25 mins.

Once the roux is finished, throw in the trinity and sauté until the vegetables are soft. Slowly add the broth, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Once all the liquid is added, stir occasionally until the broth thickens about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Add lemon juice and green onions. Serve over plain white rice.

It’s damn good!

7.06.2005

The Offspring

I have a teenage daughter, who is 14. She is a food freak. She hates peanut butter, but will eat tripe and sushi all day long. She was extremely upset when her favorite Chinese restaurant closed it doors, as she was no longer able to eat chicken feet for dim sum.

Having a teenager is like owning a garbage disposal. The food goes in, there is a loud grinding noise, and then there is room for more. Occasionally something gets stuck and you have to use a large stick to pound it down into the gullet, but other than that it is pretty maintenance-free.

Annie had Home-Ec (or whatever they call it now) this year, and they taught cooking. Or in her words “They taught attempted cooking.” In this class she discovered she hates over-cooked zucchini, over-cooked eggs and “something that looked like puke on a plate that was supposed to be a low fat stir fry”. Being from a full fat household, she was grossed out by skim milk as well. I know her teacher thought she was a food snob. And her teacher would be right.

My hubby and I are both good cooks. We cook high quality vitals at our house and are proud of it. Annie has resisted our most recent attempts to teach her cooking, as we insist on an apprenticeship of dish washing and potato peeling. All good cooks start out as scullery maids. I know I did. Next she can progress to potato masher and gravy stirrer. She feigns disinterest in actual baking, but I have caught her eyeing my Kitchenaid mixer from time to time. Whether those looks mean she wants to make something in it, or see what she can destroy using its 500 watts of power, I am not sure.

She can cook one thing flawlessly though: scrambled eggs. They are the most perfect eggs, light and moist. They are better than mine and I dare say they rival her father’s, who is the resident egg specialist. She is on strike though. She got tired of our endless clamoring for more eggs on weekend mornings, and now she will not cook them at all. It is enough to cause despair.

Next time: More on the house egg specialist and sandwich god - Tony

7.05.2005

What was I gonna call it?

I figured it would be important to link it to sex somehow…but somehow I didn’t think sex would work well with knives.

Rosie’s Food Vagina – so good it makes you come.

Naked in the Kitchen with Rosie - but I realized that would require pictures and the world isn’t ready for that!

Rosie’s got a Bun in the Oven…the inevitable result of some of the other titles

Despite all this twitchiness something had to give, which is why I went with…

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen with Rosie


Why start my own blog? To bitch, oh course. And to share my thoughts about food, who’s diet I ruined this week, books, television..but mostly to bitch. I like bitching. Let’s be honest, everyone likes to bitch. They say they don’t, but for people who don’t like to bitch, they do an awful lot of it.


People bitch about lil things. Andy Roonie has made a living off of bitchin’ about minutia. I really dislike Andy. He reminds me of fingernails on the chalkboard. So I guess that make it a circular bit of work.

People bitch about big stuff. That’s why we have government, such as it is.

Me…I bitch about the middling stuff. Idiots on the road, idiots at work, idiots who write blogs…oops. Over all though, my all time favorite thing to bitch about is food. Is there enough of it? Is it too hot? Is it too cold? Did you taste that? Who does he think he is? Telling me how to burn water!

So here we go...hang on to your hats folks...it might be a bit bumpy...