Thanksgiving 2010~

28 11 2010

Let me start out by saying my Gratitude List is long, but this is the short version! Without my Faith I wouldn’t get through…then my Family and my Friends…so very, very wonderful and precious!  Willow is my joy…Jasmine my bed-buddy…and the kitties are a constant source of entertainment!  For each and all, I am very grateful!  Now…on to the Feast!

We generally had fun… I started cooking the day before…I finally killed a saucepan.  %!@#*%!!  I was cooking cranberries down, and they were taking the longest time to boil…oops.  They boiled all right…to the point of hard gel!   Incredibly intense flavor…one ruined pan.  Oi.  Oh well…it’s making the most incredible cranberry aioli now…  You win some, you lose some, and you make something out of the leftovers…  The pan, however…will never quite be the same.  It’s pretty intensely burned.  We’ll see…replacement coming.

Here was some of our fun…  This was battle yam..

I had never noticed “asian” yams at the market before, and they were definitely marked “Asian Yam” with the darker red skin.  The color comparison made me wonder if that wasn’t what I usually bought…so I got them, even though the ones I usually buy were equally clearly marked.  As I put them into the oven, I noticed the pale flesh showing through the skin…not what I wanted.  I ran to the closest market and grabbed a couple “Garnet Yams” for dinner.  Whew!  Not wanting to waste anything, I threw them all in the oven to see what the differences might be.

Ok…fresh out of the oven with no additives of any kind, just as Mother Nature made them… The Garnet Yam on the left is a rich orange color and very moist, almost unctuous on the tongue.   However, it’s almost tasteless…only mildly sweet without a lot of flavor of any kind, but with that really great mouth-feel.  Now…the Asian Yam is almost white, and relatively dry yet this one has a really sweet flavor and lots of texture.  Hmmm!  So…we decided we wanted the texture of the Garnet yam…but…what would they be like mashed together??  Another time, perhaps.  The Asian Yam has excellent body for ravioli, excellent body for pie…and flavor!

I also had fun with bread.  While all of you are having fun with baking throughout the year, I’m paying attention and stocking up so when I can play, I CAN play!!

I think this is my first official loaf from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  What a recipe…what a keeper!  I forgot how much I love bread!  Not only making it…but working it, feeling it, feeling when it’s right, listening to it…and of course…eating it!  I mixed this up for Thanksgiving and pushed a pan of rolls out for dinner, then let this dough sit overnight and made a boulé out of it the next day.  Oh happy bread!  It’s been treated with an egg wash and dusted with amaranth seeds.

Yes, we had all the rest of the traditional stuff too…but how many pretty turkeys can you look at in a year?  We had the turkey, brined about 16-18 hours and roasted, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy that came out far too well…I basted the turkey with broth this year.  Rather than using any butter, I oiled the bird.  Alton Brown suggested not using butter because the milk solids would burn…so I took that into consideration.  I basted with the broth because it was handy on the stove and I may have seen AB do so…  It made for some absolutely fabulous pan drippings for gravy later…OH MY!!  It was like turkey demi-glace.  It was so wonderful to have later when we made gravy and soup!!  Yummm!

I apologize for the photo…the flash caught the fat on the top of the soup and turned it into stardust!  This was soup the first night past Thanksgiving…turkey noodle soup.  Kind of a tradition with us. *Ü*  I always bone the turkey before we go to bed the day it’s cooked.  This one simmered ever so low all night long, and that was fabulous.  The broth is rich and gels like Jello!  LOL!  Last night we opted for creamy turkey rice soup.  Lunch was an open faced roast turkey dinner sandwich…toasted bread spread with cranberry aioli layered with dark turkey meat, topped with hot turkey dressing, layered with turkey breast, and topped with turkey gravy…  It was pretty wonderful!  *Ü*

You know…we did have dessert…  I wish I’d thought to take a picture of it.  We had a Sunflower Seed pie…think Pecan pie, only using sunflower seeds instead of pecans.  It was tasty.  It didn’t last because it was tasty.

So…tell me about your dinner?  Did you burn anything?



Marx Iron Foodie 2010

28 11 2010

That pretty much says it all!  Indeed…there are goodies inside!  The eight mystery ingredients arrived safely, and weren’t quite spread as broadly as I’d hoped… The ingredients are all seasonings.  Nothing wrong with that!!

Starting at the far left side…we have bourbon soaked vanilla beans…up top in the upper left corner are dried aji panca chile pods, then dried porcini mushrooms, dulse seaweed flakes going down the right side, maple sugar at the bottom right corner, inside left is smoked seas salt, above that is the fennel pollen and just above that are tellicherry peppercorns.  So many interesting things…not quite enough of anything to commit you to one direction or another…  Hmmmm….what will we make out of three of these?

FFwD: Pommes Dauphinoise~

20 11 2010

This week I selected Pommes Dauphinoise, or Potatoes Au Gratin, as my French Fridays with Dorie dish.  I actually made it twice.  I made it earlier in the week to go with chicken breast I prepared according to a recipe we may get to try at some point…it sure was good!  So were the potatoes!  LOL!  Then, on Friday…when I was ready for a decent meal…and decided the only way THAT was going to happen was to do it myself…!  It was a long stretch between Sunday and Friday…!  Standing there with a package of stuffed pork chops in my hands, those potatoes called my name yet again…they seemed the perfect match to go with the chops.  So be it!  LOL!

Tasting Notes~
While the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu creates a dish with a firmer potato, this one doesn’t need as many dishes and comes out tasting good enough that it’s really not worth the extra work unless you need to put out a 4 star meal.  General French cooking for the average Bonne Femme…or Good Woman…is exactly what Dorie and Julia give us.  LCB has more exacting standards, and more exacting practices…using more pots and pans than Carter has little pills as we once said here in the States!  The only thing I could suggest that might bring any improvement would be to lightly, and I mean lightly… season each layer of potatoes as they are laid down.  Maybe even sprinkle a bit of cheese between some of the layers…which I’ll try next time around.  *Ü*  Because…after making this twice (and buying a special baker just for the two of us), I know I’ll be making it again.  Oh…  I suppose I should confess that I also sprinkle the potatoes with a dusting of nutmeg (freshly ground) before I added the cheese…  That little LCB thing…  *Ü*  A personal touch I guess!

If you’d like to join us, buy Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, there’s a link on my sidebar, and follow the link to French Fridays with Dorie to the site to register.  That’s it…  Cook the recipes that you wish and post them.  That’s not very difficult.  No requirements other than registration and buying the book…which is worth the price!  We’ve already established that!!  Christmas is coming…  Surely Santa knows you’ve been good enough….!!

Thirty Minute Thursdays: Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon~

20 11 2010

My selection for this week is Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon.  Pancetta is usually the protein of choice for this dish, but we didn’t have pancetta in the house, and we do have an abundance of eggs so there is bacon….therefore, we use what we have an abundance of in true Italian fashion.    I cooked the thinly sliced bacon  until almost crispy, drained off as much of the bacon grease as I could (into a clean jar for future use) and added the white wine to the bacon to soften it while it reduced.  I also had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge…while everything was coming together, I diced a bit of the fresh mozz to toss in with the hot bacon-wine mixture.

Tasting Notes~
One thing about Spaghetti Carbonara is that it is the suave adult equivalent to a child’s mac & cheese.  We have long, silky pasta rather than tubular pasta…rather than yellow cheese, we have yellow egg yolks and loads of sophisticated parmesano reggiano and romano instead…generous gratings of freshly cracked pepper only a dulled adult palate could stand…and herbs…mmmm!   This is serious comfort food in a bowl, and wonderful food for after being out on the town.  It’s also very comforting if you’ve just been burning the candle at both ends at bit much.  Do you know anyone who does that??  Yeah… I didn’t think so…  *giggle*   Seriously… I do love this when I’m particularly tired and it’s been a long day.  It’s kind of like breakfast and dinner in one…and I’m ready to tuck in almost immediately!  This one is a fall-back recipe I use a lot!  Thanks Giuliano…this one is wonderful!

FFwD: Roast Chicken and Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flans~

13 11 2010

I went with two recipes at virtually the same time this week…Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans were first up as they could stand the setting time far better than the roast chicken.  The Roast Chicken is for “lazy people” but I didn’t want it to set up to 45 minutes while the flans cooked.  I had a feeling that the flans would be more easily eaten if they cooled quite a bit first.

The flans go together with precious little fuss and could actually be whisked together without messing up the blender.  You just want to mix the egg in really well, like any custard.  Take care not to fill the ramekins too full…as they get done they will puff a bit.  That’s a sight cue that they’re just about done…they puff up like pumpkin pie does.

Tasting Notes on the flan~
This looks so good, and the pumpkin mixture was really yummy…but neither of us particularly cared for it once it was put together.  I served it warm, along with the roasted chicken, which it paired nicely with…but that still didn’t carry it far enough for us.  I actually liked it better cold the following day.  Oh well…you win some, you lose some.  While not a stellar winner, it was certainly different and could easily suit someone else nicely, as it was quite unique.   Now…on to the roasted chicken…

There’s been much discussion about the incredible bread from the bottom of the Dutch oven…well…here’s a picture of what we’re all drooling over.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but oh my goodness!  The flavor that lies within that crusty morsel!!  Most of the roasting liquid, as well as the wine, has been soaked up by a halved baguette laid on the bottom of the Dutch oven, the chicken placed on top of that, and roasted for 90 minutes.  The bread is crisp and crusty on what was its cut face, and where the crust had been, is soft and almost pudding-like.  Dorie recommends taking the liver which you’ve cooked inside the chicken and spreading it onto the bread…and she recommends saving that for yourself!  Not being terribly fond of liver, I presented that tasty tidbit to my beloved, and he was overjoyed.  He wouldn’t mind having THAT experience again!

I roasted my veggies separately…there simply wasn’t room in my Dutch oven for anything more.  I need a size in between the two I have.  Dear Santa…  Anyway… In order to achieve a similar flavor, I tossed the veggies with oil (rice bran rather than olive) and fresh herbs to match what we put in with the chicken.  I wish now that I’d sprinkled on a bit of white wine as well.  No big deal…it would just have been another layer of flavor.  Then I added a sprinkle of kosher salt and a twist of black pepper, and off to the oven with them.

Here’s our chicken…I needed to wrap the wing tips in foil the last 45 minutes to keep them from burning, but that was no problem.  I pulled the chicken from the oven to set before carving and left the veggies in a few minutes longer.  By the time I was ready to plate, the veggies were nicely roasted and ready.

Tasting Notes for the Roasted Chicken~
I’ve roasted a LOT of chickens in the past couple years, French, Italian, Food Network Chefs…  So far, I’m happiest with this one.  I do have to confess that I did brine it…  I mixed 3 Tbsp. kosher salt with 1 Tbsp. sugar in enough water to dissolve the sugar and salt, and poured that into a zippered gallon bag (in a bowl, always use a bowl), and added as much thyme, rosemary and oregano to the brine as I was going to use in the roasting process, along with a couple large cloves of garlic, smashed.  I left the chicken to brine for a few hour, then rinsed it before roasting the chicken, seasoning it just as the recipe required.  I could be happy making this chicken again without concern.  It was moist and flavorful, had that wonderful added bonus of the flavorful bread raft…  Seriously good stuff!  We were both thoroughly content with this meal, regardless of how we felt about the flans!   As there are only the two of us, we did have meat left over, that was easily converted to tasty Quesadillas the following day!  This, is a keeper!

Marx Iron Foodie 2010

12 11 2010

It’s official…the contestant list was published today.  My blog is there.  OMGosh.  This is going to be FUN!!  Like most of the contestants, I love the “think out of the box” cooking shows…Iron Chef, Chopped…that’s why I love the Royal Foodie Joust so much.   I  never know for sure what ingredients we’ll have to work with, but I know I’ve got a month to think about it and…mentally chew on it, if you will…   So, the curiosity is driving me c r a z y !!!

What might be in the secret box of ingredients from Marx Foods…  Let’s look at this logically…is there another way?  If the “ship” date was scheduled for Nov. 11th…yesterday was a National holiday.  Not a whole lot of shipping actually went on…so we know between that and the outside target date for food arrival of Nov. 22nd…whatever is in that box can be without refrigeration at least 11 days.  Eliminate all fresh products that require refrigeration.  Only 3 are required elements, the rest are “thank you for playing” gifts.  I would anticipate that to suggest perhaps not all items in the box are edible.   Now, let’s think like a businessman instead of a chef-in-training…  Actually, think like that chef…  What do I have that I need to move and find a good way to promote and market?  Enter one Iron Foodie contest, with 25 contestants extolling my company’s virtues, and working up 25 different recipes for some products people can’t quite get a grasp on…  Sheer genius.  Thanks guys!  Love the opportunity!

Having said all that…and knowing that the “ship by” date has passed, my best guesses for what might be hiding in the secret box are:
1)  A grain…I’m thinking Emmer flour or flakes.
2)  Beans, dried…I’m thinking Stuben Yellow Eye beans
3)  Spice…Saffron threads
4)  Dry pasta…perhaps a gluten free product?
5)  Sugar…Org. evaporated cane juice
6)  Salt…perhaps Black Sea salt?
7)  Oil…porcini oil perhaps…
8)  Dried mushrooms…how about wild black trumpet mushrooms?

I actually think there will be a package of palm leaf eco plates in place of one of my “guess” ingredients.  That’s what I think might be packed in the box.  Then…there are my fantasy ingredients…balsamic vinegar.  No question.  And it’s on my shopping list!  LOL!  I’d be so overjoyed if truffles were in the box…but I don’t know how well they ship and I don’t know…well, I admit I know nothing about truffles, but oh…how I’d like to learn!   I’m also sure that a dozen sweet little oysters won’t be part of the box, but…hey, talk about fantasy!  *grin*  I also didn’t include rice in my guesses…too heavy.  So, my fantasy box would contain some Himalayan red rice.    Chilies are another light-weight item that could be in the boxes…they wouldn’t be in my fantasy box.  They have their place…and I can access chilies without much difficulty…right now it’s a matter of going out to the garden.  Yes…I know it’s November.  Tell Mother Nature.  One plant is still blooming…the cascabel.   Another possibility is lentils…though I didn’t consider them due to their weight either.  So my fantasy box also contains black beluga lentils.

Oh…but what will the real box contain…and what will be the three mandatory ingredients?  The curiosity and suspense is delicious…  Hmmmm….  Well, that’s not what’s cookin’ in the kitchen tonight.  I’ll just have to continue with my usual routine until the mail runs again!

Happiness is….

11 11 2010

A double barreled load of foodie competition joy coming my way!! It’s official!! I’m a contestant in the Marx Foods 2010 Iron Foodie Competition!! I’m so jazzed! I’ve continually wondered what might be coming in the box from Marx… Who are the other competitors? I’m so honored, and excited!!  Thank you Marx Foods!!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: I think on my feet
I think out of the box
I am imaginative
I am competitive!
I am Iron and I am a FOODIE! -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

While that news is thoroughly exciting all by itself, the very same day, I received notification from the Foodie Joust that the photo of our Sweet Potato Capellacci was voted Best Photo at the Joust, so we won in that category!! And we’re currently in a run off, tie breaker for Best Overall Entry!! I’m truly humbled and overjoyed!! Ok…I confess… I feel a little affirmation that I’ve kind of got some of this cooking stuff down too!

I’m home for a 4 day weekend…Bless our Veterans!  The weather is lovely, and I’ve got time and momentum to get some things moving and done.  There’s a lot going on behind the scenes here…  I think I’m just going to let myself get sucked into the midst of it all and roll with the flow.  Baking, catching up on my cooking groups, doing research…cleaning…  Can’t cook without cleaning too…LOL!  I just need another cup of coffee…first.

Cooking Italy: The Frittata~

7 11 2010

This week, Cooking Italy has us choosing any frittata of our choosing.  That leaves the field wide open!  A frittata is basically an omelet with the filling cooked into the egg rather than having the egg folded around the filling.  I’ve been making them for years, using all kinds of ingredients!  I started making frittatas when I was in my 20’s as a way to feed a crowd of men when I had a LOT of eggs and only some odds and ends to put with it.  Serving up thick wedges of “think of it as an omelet in the round” frittata always worked out for me, because it always tasted great!

I selected Marcella’s Stuffed Spaghetti Frittata with tomato, mozzarella and ham…in my case bacon…frittata as a supper entree.   It doesn’t get much easier than this…  In the time it takes the pasta to cook, the tomato sauce cooks, and you have time to dice the cheese.  Prepare a bowl to toss the pasta with the sauce ingredients there…toss your pasta and let it cool…keep tossing it to cool it faster!  I used bacon instead of ham…while the tomato sauce was cooking, I was cooking diced bacon on another burner, and tossing the pasta too.  It was kind of like juggling there for a few minutes!  *giggle*  Since both the tomato sauce and the cooked bacon were both pretty hot, I mixed them together to cool.  As soon as the pasta was cool enough to add the eggs to (have to make sure the pasta doesn’t cook the egg!), I beat them together and proceeded onward!

Here’s where I jumped away from the recipe a bit…  I preheated my oven to 425° and put one shelf at the very top of the oven.  When it was time to put everything together… I heated my sauté pan (one I knew could go into the oven) over a burner as directed with the butter and added the ingredients as directed with one change…I put the tomato-bacon mixture on the first layer of spaghetti, then added the mozzarella.  After that, I added the other layer of spaghetti and popped the whole thing into the oven for 20 minutes.  Perfect.

Tasting Notes~
This doesn’t look like much…but the flavors…oh my!  I cut it into 6 pieces…and I’m glad we didn’t have guests for supper.  I wouldn’t serve less than 1/4 of this as a serving.  1/6 is a nice appetizer serving, but for an entreé serving, serve at least a quarter of the frittata.  One…it’s that good.  Two…it will take that much to achieve the desired fullness quotient.  That’s about 2 ounces of pasta, with eggs and goodies, and that’s about right.  The bright flavor from the tomato is just wonderful…and the bacon added a wonderful smoky touch.  We really liked it and wouldn’t hesitate to have this again.  Bruce said he loved the texture of the spaghetti and the mozzarella combined.  The silkiness of the cheese really did it for him.  Way to go, Angela!!  Thank you for introducing us to another dish that’s another keeper!

Thirty Minute Thursday: Spaghetti with Mascarpone and Prosciutto~

4 11 2010

It’s been a busy week, so far this week!  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to fix from Thirty Minute Pasta this time, but that’s one of the great things about this book…you just about always have everything you need for at least one recipe…and you can embellish!  Yes… I embellished!  LOL!  It looked so pale!  I had tapped the prosciutto for something else…and didn’t leave myself quite enough for this dish.  There’s plenty for the flavor, but not for the appearance.  I also used a different long pasta.  I used a capellini, or angel hair, instead of “spaghetti”.  I keep forgetting that makes for too much pasta surface for dishes like this.  I’ll get it…sooner or later.  I par-boiled the broccoli just until it was almost tender-crisp in the pasta water before the pasta went in.  I knew

This dish is simplicity in itself.  A few ounces of mascarpone, a bit of prosciutto, freshly grated Parmesan, an egg yolk mixed with a bit of the pasta water…tossed with the cooked pasta.  The mascarpone has a very neutral flavor, yet rich texture, which makes it an excellent base for this creamy cheese sauce. ..not as flavorful as an Alfredo sauce, but even richer and laced with prosciutto…and, in my case, dotted with little green trees…  *Ü*

Tasting Notes~
I’m reserving final judgment until I’ve had a chance to try this again with spaghetti pasta.  I want to see if there’s a difference.  The flavor was fine…  I know I’ve made this recipe before…there’s an element about the technique that’s utterly memorable.   And I believe I used the angel hair that time too.  We both like the lighter angel hair…  But…I gotta tell ya…I’m understanding why the different weights are so necessary!  Angel hair needs an oily sauce so it can’t take up more moisture and is sealed so it doesn’t lose moisture.  See?  The girl can be taught!  This tasted just fine…but I’d like to try it again with the other pasta before I make a final statement.

Marx Foods…Iron Foodie 2010~

1 11 2010
Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

Now this is something different…and it’s challenging…  Marx Foods and Foodie Blogroll are combining efforts in the first every Iron Foodie Challenge!!  Let’s see…what are we supposed to do here…Something tells me we’re going to be cooking here somewhere along the line…  To start with… Ah…to be considered as a contestant, these 5 questions must be answered…

  1. Why do you want to compete in this challenge?
  2. Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
  3. What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?
  4. Sum your childhood up in one meal.
  5. The one mainstream food you can’t stand

Okay…that’s not too bad, so far…then there’s the timeline…25 actual cooking contestants aka challengers, each with 8 ingredients…3 of which are required.  Hmmm….  Sounds rather like Jousting!!  Bring it on, Baby!  *giggle*  Wait…first there are these questions…

Why do you want to compete in this challenge? I have a competitive spirit.  Always have.  My creeping antiquity is forcing me to reduce my physical competition…just don’t heal as fast as I usta!  *giggle*   It’s true…the body doesn’t heal as fast, and it’s not quite up to some of the stunts of my youth…I work full time, so there goes another hunk of time where I could be competitive.  I love to cook, it solves a lot of dining issues for us, and we both enjoy the results, so this is one of those places where I can still be competitive and have fun doing it.  I love learning and stretching my mind out of the box…which is why I love Jousting in the Royal Foodie Arena.  I love pushing myself to the edge and then just a little farther, to see what’s out there, or what happens when…  The idea of having ANY ingredients from Marx to HAVE to cook with just absolutely enthralls me!  And the idea of putting myself up against the folks here at the Foodie Blogroll…OMGosh!!  There are some absolutely incredible home chefs here!  I can’t think of anything more exciting or fun right now!!

Whose kitchen would I like to spend a day in and why? That one is a little tougher…  I’d love to know what kind of magic lurks in the head of Thomas Keller….who wouldn’t?  Which of us wouldn’t love to be on the set of one of Julia Child’s PBS show?  But who would I really like to spend a day in the kitchen with?  Alton Brown.  I have a scientific mind that wants to know the whys of things and what will I get if I add this to this??   I hear music in multiple parts in my head, and I taste the separate components of food in my mind the same way.  I don’t know why, I’m just wired that way.  I’d love to spend a whole day combining technique and science with taste and texture and…oh what a glorious day that would be!!  I think by understanding the essences and components of our ingredients at their most basic levels, we know better what they will combine with successfully both in harmony and as a foil.  Spending the day in the kitchen with Alton Brown would be like having a computer hardwired into your head while you’re cooking!  Barring that, I’d like to spend the day with John Besh in Louisiana, learning about true “Louisiana-Cajun” cooking, because this is only hypothetical…and cuz my system won’t take that spicy food! Whoo!

What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?  LOL!  A dill pickle chip!  And it doesn’t matter if he’s looking, because the only one I’d snitch from is my husband and he doesn’t ever touch his pickle chips!  A dill spear, on the other hand, I will leave, as he does eat those on occasion.  Other than that, I keep my hands on my own plate.  Always.  I nibble long before plates come out!  Well…Someone has to do quality control!  It’s a tough job, I know…but someone has to do it!  *snicker*

If I were to sum up my childhood in one meal it would be…Fried chicken…more chicken fricaseé than really fried though, with mashed potatoes, country gravy and green beans with Bisquick biscuits.  As a child of the late…oh, before most of you were born…growing up in the 60’s & 70’s, chicken was on the table at least 3 times a month.  My mom didn’t have my curious nature, nor my break out of the box adventurous side when it comes to food.  She knew how to fry chicken, or fricaseé it (as my dad preferred), and that’s what she did with it.  End of report.  Mashed potatoes were the real thing…peeled by yours truly, then simmered and mashed with milk and margarine or oleo as some called it, salt and pepper.  Gravy was made from the pan drippings, flour and milk.  I remember the first time I asked my mother what the white stuff was called, and asked to taste it.  I didn’t think I’d like much that the “flour” was in…it didn’t taste so good by itself!  Remember…the white stuff went into the gravy…the biscuits were made with something else that came out of a box!  LOL!  My job was to cut out the biscuits and put them in The Biscuit Pan.  I still have that pan.  And I use it with fond memories.  It’s carried many a biscuit in its many, many years!  Green beans…we had to have green beans.  We only had canned vegetables.  We only bought certain vegetables in cans.  Green beans.  Corn.  Occasionally peas or spinach, but not very often.  We didn’t even buy the ubiquitous Veg-All.  There may have been other vegetables in the pantry, but I don’t remember them.  And we certainly didn’t have them with fried chicken and mashed potatoes…because you just simply do NOT have corn and potatoes in the same meal…2 starches…big no-no!  Even I knew that!  *giggle*  Now…don’t forget the honey.  We almost always had an abundance of honey.  We had 7 1/2 acres, and let the farmers leave their hives in our back pasture for several years.  We had fabulous blackberries during those years, and the farmers left us big jars of honey when they harvested their combs.  That was my childhood…typical of the time in history, dependable, unchanging, very routine, without a lot of variance…then the moon moved into the 2nd house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars…while peace guided the planets, Love filled the stars, and the Age of Aquarius dawned…

The one mainstream food you can’t stand…  I had just about convinced myself that there wasn’t any mainstream food I really can’t stand…that it more had to do with preparation than the actual item…until I remembered uni.   I truly, honestly have a problem getting uni down.  I tried.  I tried very hard.  For the most part, I adore sushi…but uni I do have to take a pass on, while I really do like most other roes.  It was a textural thing.  Raw scallops hit me the same way, but I’m fine if they’re in ceviche or if they’ve even been lightly grilled.  Fully raw…not so easy.  However…I’ve learned to love raw oysters, and foie gras…so go figure.  I’m pretty brave too, so it’s not really easy to push me over the edge!

I would seriously love to participate in this challenge!  Marx Foods has thrown the gauntlet down…and I’m polishing my armour…er…sharpening my knives!  My trusty steed awaits…  Whoa, Cuisinart… Steady there, Kitchen Aid…  Whoa….there!  We have to wait…  Patience.  Patience…  Time will tell if we are worthy…