Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cooking for 50 seniors.....

You can read all about my second job over here at Egullet. There are lots of pictures too.

Today I made beef stew for tomorrow while working at my first job. I'm so freaking exhausted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I wish she could eat these.....

Before I knew Robin wanted to start South Beach, I ordered her this limited edition set of potato chips from Kettle. None of these flavors have hit the market yet, Kettle looks to the consumer to pick the their next flavor of chips. I guess I ordered too late because I just received an email informing me of the winner
( Jamaican Jerk). Robin has so much willpower that she hasnt cheated even once( and she's down 11.5lbs). If she was going to cheat, it would probably be with chips because she'd rather have chips than something sweet. I say Bring me cake!!

If and when she finally breaks into them, I'll let you know how they are.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

SHF #27 Chocolate by Brand....

I havent baked anything for 2 weeks because of Robins new lifestyle plan( aka South Beach). So, when I read about this months Sugar High Friday I knew I was going to participate. SHF was developed by Jennifer from The Domestic Goddess. David Lebovitz is hosting this months Sugar High Friday, Chocolate by Brand.
. Since I was going through some serious baking withdrawals I decided to make 2 things. Both of these recipes come from FineCooking's Chocolate magazine. The first, is No Cook Chocolate pudding. The second, are Chocolate chunk scones. My first choice was actually a chocolate peanut butter tart but there was no way for me to cut that recipe down as I did with both the pudding and scones. I cut each recipe in half. I used E.Guittard 72% bittersweet couverture wafers. I love these because I didn't have to chop them. I HATE chopping chocolate. I bought 3 boxes of this when Williams Sonoma had a big sale( 50%) off. I paid 5.99lb which is a great price.

Unfortunately, I wasn't really aware how bitter 72% chocolate is. I only used 2tbls of sugar in the pudding and 3tbls in the scones. They definitely need more sugar. I think the next time I use this chocolate, I'll have to cut it with some semi-sweet.

But, all is not lost because at least I was able to bake, I'm always happy for that.

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Braised zucchini and mushrooms....

This is kinda boring, but I'm running out of things to blog about. Robin's diet is really putting a cramp in my blogging because I havent baked ANYTHING in 2 weeks. I do plan on rectifiying that today since we're somewhat snowed in( not really, but its so cold out and we live in Podunk where there is nothing to do but grocery shop). So a few weeks ago, Robin bought me this huge box of dried shiitake mushrooms. I decided to do a stir fry/braise with them using zucchini as a filler. I soaked the shrooms and drained the soaking liquid( veg stock and a bit of soy). I added 1 tsp of cornstarch. I sauteed the zucchini and then added back the mushrooms and liquid. It looked great.... Robin didnt care for this at all, I think her exact words were " This is gross". Not really, she actually said I find this way too strong. Ok, so into the trash it went. Hey Christine, do you want a box of dried shiitakes???

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fish Taco Salad......

I don't want this to turn into a South Beach Diet blog because there are already wonderful examples out there. However, since Robin is chugging along on phase 1 ( and she's already lost 6lbs), I've been cooking all the meals South Beach style. I'm pretty proud of this meal and my ability to South Beach it for Robbie. I had a craving for Fish Tacos. Fish Tacos are one of the foods I miss the most from S. Cal. I usually always have corn tortillas in the freezer( I buy them in MI) and a couple weeks ago I scored on Tilapia. Our grocery store had fresh tilapia for 2.99lb. I promptly asked the gal behind the fish counter a million questions. How fresh is it? When did it come in? Please let me smell it. She held a piece over the counter and I took a big whiff. No fishy smell which is a good thing. I asked her to wrap me up 4lbs in separate vac packaging. I pulled out a package this morning to defrost.

I dusted it with smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt and chili powder. I added a touch of flour to mine. I pan sauteed them in EVOO and finished with a bit of white wine. I made an avocado cream with sour cream, half a mashed avocado, frozen cubes of cilantro, red wine vinegar, meyer lemon juice, salt and mayo. I laid Robin's fish on a bed of romaine, coleslaw mix, radishes, and cukes. I dressed her greens lightly with taco sauce and ranch. The creama went on top of the fish. I had my fish wrapped in pan toasted corn tortillas, yummy!!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A long overdue post.....

In early October, Christine asked me if I wanted to accompany her to the Sysco foodshow in Toronto. All she had to say was "samples" and I was so there. I spent the night at her house because we had to get up at the ungodly hour of 6am. We dropped her hubby off at work and I promptly fell asleep in the car. The traffic was horrific as we made our way to TO, I think I woke up just as we arrived at the convention center. We promptly checked in and made our way around. OMG, can we say died and gone to heaven. I wish I wouldnt have eaten breakfast because I wasnt that hungry and there were so many samples to enjoy. I tasted what I could, and loaded up on the rest. By the time we left, we were too full to even go out to lunch. We came away with a huge bag of samples( some even full size). I can't wait for the next show!!

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Monday, January 08, 2007


I have no food for you today. I baked some chicken breasts for dinner and mashed some cauliflower so Robin would be fooled into thinking she was eating mashed potatoes. I also served Green Giant simply steam french cut green beans w/ almonds. For a frozen veg, its not too bad. Of course, Robin has to pick the dead of winter to start South Beach when fresh veg/salad stuff is very expensive. I picked up some frozen veggie blends when I went to MI the other day. The variety in the states is just so much better than here. I'm not following South Beach because I find it too restrictive. Instead, I'm counting points on Weight Watchers and using Sparkpeople to log my food.

I leave you with a picture of my two angels. Robin took this picture today( this morning). They have their own ikea bed in our room, but after Robin gets up( at 6:30am), the boys go out for a poop and potty and come in the bed with their momma.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Top Secret Recipes......

Yesterday, I received a couple of cookbooks in the mail courtesy of the "free cookbook" thread over on egullet. Top Secret Recipes and Top Secret Recipes light intrigued me because once a week, I get a free top secret recipe by email. I've yet to make anything,but thats beside the point. : )

I whipped up a batch of 100% white whole wheat bread using the bread machine and coicindentally, Robin asked for french toast this morning. I used the top secret recipe for IHOP's French Toast. The secret is adding 3tbls of flour to the egg mixture to make a little thicker coating. It actually worked. Robin proclaimed this very good. Of course, my bread was good, so thats probably half of it right there.

Speaking of Robin, she is starting South Beach tomorrow so the meals around here will be rather boring for her first two weeks of Induction. I'm going to bake something for the next Sugar High Friday and look back thru my archives for something to post.

Oh, I start another job on Thursday. I'll be cooking for 50 seniors, twice a month. Check out that thread for more info.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Lobster redux.....

So yeah, those lobster rolls were not what I was aiming for. I really think I got rock or spiney lobster tails and what I wanted was Maine Lobster. So, on New Year's Eve( while I was slaving away at work), I sent Robin up to the store for two 1lb lobsters( on sale for 8.99lbs). The store already cooked them so I asked Robin to pick out all the meat. We ended up with a smallish tupperware container full of lobster. I came home at 7:30pm and there was NO way I was cooking. I ended up making Lobster Mac N Cheese on Jan 2nd. I was so exhausted on NY day( I worked from 7:30-4:30) that I couldnt lift a finger in the kitchen. I made a basic Mac and cheese and used some dreamfields Penne. I threw in the cooked lobster and topped with Panko. I was good, but not great. I think I need a trip to New England this summer to satisfy my Lobster cravings.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Brunch......

Working is really cramping my blogging style. The LAST thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook a meal. Last week I worked Friday-Monday( NY DAY) preparing for the big New Year's day brunch we serve at work. On Friday we also prepared food for a dinner party and on New Year's Day we made even more food for another clients's own private brunch. I was soley responsible for numerous items on this brunch. I prepared all of the Jewish food using my mom's recipe for cheese blintzes and her recipe for chopped liver( gag). I also made rugelach and potato latkas. Additionally I prepared black magic cupcakes and we planned on yeasted waffles, but we ran out of milk on New Year's eve and no stores were open so those waffles became plain waffles.

I really didnt think the Jewish food would go over as well as it did, but people were raving about it. I won't touch the chopped liver with a ten foot pole, but my boss said it was fabulous. We even bought Matzah to serve with it. I only wish my mom was here to taste everything. Those blintzes were so labor intensive. I now know why I request those from my mom when I go back to Florida. I had some trouble with the crepe part until I read another recipe for Blintzes from The Joy of Cooking and saw that the batter needed to rest. My mom left that part out.

I made a really wonderful mixed berry sauce to serve with them. My boss was surprised when I informed her that the blintzes needed to be pan sauteed in butter since that is what my mom always did. She assumed once they were made, that was it. I also made homeade apple sauce to go with the latkas. My boss uses a recipe for chinese latkas( using cornstarch) and she said she thought mine were better. I also made 5 huge batches of wild mushroom risotto. I pre-cooked it the day before and finished it off the morning of the brunch. We had a lot leftover which will make wonderful arrancini( risotto balls).

Some of the other items on the brunch that I did not make were; Macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, seafood casserole, parmesean chicken, prime rib, roasted vegetables, spinach salad, lemon raspberry trifle, caramel pot de creme, rice pudding and black olive tapenade.

I was so exhausted on Monday that I slept for almost 12 hours. In fact, I'm still tired!! Thankfully, I don't have to work for the caterer again until the end of January. However, I start a new job on Jan 11th cooking for 50 seniors twice a month. That will be an experience for sure.

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