Thursday, July 25, 2013

Saw a recipe for a bizarro variation on the lovely and wonderful Monte Cristo sandwich yesterday. The variation sounded like a sodium overload and hence, a stroke on a plate. Bt it did make me crave the classic Monte Cristo. Ran down to the bang 'n' Dent and picked up some turkey and provolone -- had everything else. 3 sandwiches later, I think my Monte Cristo cravings may be sated for a bit.
My Monte Cristo (not that gawd-awful batter-dipped deep-fried monstrosity from Memories Grill in Rio Rancho... *shudder*). 

Raspberry Mousse

For 3 or 4 years after we came back to the NW Vaterland in 1968, my school bus driver mom took a job fo the Tsugawa strawberry farm in Woodland. Her job was to drive a ramshackle schoolbus around in the dead of night and pick up bleary-eyed teens on their way to the fields to go pick berries, make a couple of bucks, and engage in unending strawberry fights, and then cart them home again at the end of the day.

Every time I stem berries for a shortcake or jam, I distinctly remember the smell of berry juice and dirt under my fingernails and how I would still see the green leaves and cheery red berries as I drifted to sleep.

raspberriesHere in Puddletown,  the strawberry season ends just as raspberries are gearing up. Blackberries come right after that but there is no need to cultivate the Kudzu of the Northwest.

No-Bake Raspberry Mousse

 Looks like cheesecake, lots of fruit presence, but fewer calories and more appropriate for summer. This batch made about 12 servings for us.

For the crumb crust:
2 c. vanilla wafers
2 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. melted butter

Place wafers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until it looks like bread crumbs. Stir in the butter and press into the bottom and sides of a spring-form pan. Set in the fridge until time to assemble the mousse.

Raspberry Filling:
2 pints fresh raspberries
1\4 c sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
splash of rosewater (very optional, but fun)
package of plain gelatin
2 c. whipping cream

Carefully rinse and pick over berries, discarding any stems, leaves or other foreign material. Drain off as much water as possible, then place in a large pot with the sugar. Over medium heat, stir gently until mixture is hot and berries are disintegrated. Soften gelatin in cool water and when dissolved, stir into the berry mixture. Cook a few minutes more and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and rosewater, if using.

While the berry sauce cools, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cooled berry mixture and place filling in the crumb crust.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Restaurant Review Heard 'Round the World

The douchiness that is Guy Fieri
I am not a food critic nor have I ever eaten at one of Fieri's establishments. After watching him on the teevee, I don't plan to, either. Granted, the dude has some serious knife skills, but IMO it takes quite a bit more to attract and keep customers. From seeing his alliterative Big Bite program, I know that he throws 15 different [hot] spices into nearly every dish. No doubt flavorful fare should one be a 3-pack-a-day Camel smoker – which I am not.

Honestly, I don't see why he's so bent out of shape over Pete Wells' review inthe New York Times. Some platitude regarding “kitchens” and “heat” comes to mind.

Maybe his food is great, I don't know. Nor am I likely to, as I am so repulsed by his idiotic catch phrases and ludicrous posturing that I can neither stomach the idea of watching anything he is on or venturing into one of his establishments. On his even more alliterative program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I admit that I like the concept. Yes, travel around the country to showcase small Mom-and-Pop establishments that are local legends. Excellent idea, gawd-awful host. The last thing to make me yearn for a certain burger or bowl of chili is a mouthful of it wandering down the no-doubt purposefully styled goatee and bowling shirt fetish that adorn Fieri's somewhat rotund being.

Fieri adds that he doesn't “normally” respond to critics. No, no, of course not. To appear upset because someone didn't care for your product (into which apparently you and some sponsor have sunk more than a few bucks) would be unseemly and not in keeping with The Brand. Enter, then, Food Network interns charged with the thankless task of defending him and silencing his critics.

I can well give credence to Mr. Wells' review because based on what I've seen of Fieri's persona, television programs and various endorsements, it all just fits. Food Network long ago stopped having anything to do with good food or learning to cook. It has become a Mecca for “personalities” shilling branded merchandise (of which Food network stands to get a cut). Sorry Food network, but you have become a victim of your own misbegotten programming choices. I will not go one of Fieri's establishments, whether the mega-trough facility in Times Square, college campuses or Santa Rosa.

Kewlinary Krewlinites everywhere – that Wells review was MONEY!!

Nein, danke.

Hmm. Just found this on the New York Daily News site:
“It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker.”
Somehow I rather doubt that Mr. Wells needs to "make a name for himself by "skewering the low-hanging fruit that is Mr. Fieri. In fact, this makes me wonder whether this review was paid for to stir up a controversy, and hence, business.

Ya think?
“I thought it was ridiculous; that to me was so overboard,” Fieri said on NBC’s “Today” show of Pete Wells’ critique.
“It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker.”

Read more:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top Secret Recipes!

Okay, is it just me, or is there something a tad questionable about a guy who has made his name by publishing "Top Secret" versions of chain food putting those recipes behind a paywall?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My local MegaLoMart usually offers a meat item they call Carne Asada. What they mean is of course the thin-sliced meat people would season with chile molido and lime to make the product that would then go into tacos, burritos and so forth.

It occurred to me that this meat could be used to make Stroganoff. I had mushrooms but no sour cream. Casting about for a solution, I decided to make a bechamel in place of the sour cream and it worked like a charm. Here's how I did it:

I cut about 1 pound of the thin carne asada steaks lengthwise and then crosswise into small pieces. Seasoned with some salt and pepper and then browned it over fairly high heat. Removed from heat and set aside.

Cut an onion into fairly small dice and sweat them over pretty low heat until soft and translucent. Add a minced clove of garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so. Place 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms in the pan, adding a tablespoon or so of butter if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook over medium heat until liquid has been released and cooked away and set aside.

In the same pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until flour is somewhat browned. Whisk in 2 cups of milk and continue to stir until thickened. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon or so of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste. Return mushrooms, onion and meat to the pan until all is warmed through.

Serve over hot noodles and top with chopped Italian parsley, if desired. Serves 4.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Banana Split Mega Milkshake

½ gal ice cream, quart choc milk, ½ quart cream. Way to fight childhood obesity Rach.


BTW, JUST the ice cream should be 14 adult servings.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rachael's Hell-broth Stoup

The inspiration for this was a post by somone in an online community who has expressed an interest in starting a non-profit aimed at introducing kids to Shakespeare.


1.5 pounds eye of newt
1 pound package frozen frog toes, defrosted
4 lizard legs, skinned and de-boned
1 boneless skinless howlet's wing, cut into chunks
3 tongue of dog (ears make an acceptable substitue and are available at
1/2 cup dried adder's fork, reconstituted in hot water
powdered blind worm sting, for garnish
1 quart box organic chicken stock
couple of palmfuls of steak seasoning
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated on small hand grater
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 parsnip (carrots with attitude)
EVOO extra virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan, plus extra for liberal drizzling
1 baguette crusty French bread, for mopping
handful of rough chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
4 ounces grated Parm-Reg, plus more for passing at the table

Heat EVOO extra virgin olive oil in a cauldron on the stove until screaming hot. Stir in onion, garlic, carrots, celery and parsnips; cook until softened. Add eye of newt, frog toes,dog tongues (or ears, if using),  lizard legs, howlet's wing chunks and steak seasoning. Add organic chicken stock and heat to boiling. Allow to bubble 30-40 minutes, stirring all the while, or until eye of newt is opaque and frog toes, lizard legs and howlet's wing are fork-tender. Stir in reconstituted adder's fork.

Serve in Boil 'n' Bubbles and top with powdered blind worm sting, parsley and grated Parm-Reg.

Serves 2.