Monday, October 25, 2010

Its That Time again

Yup, you know it.  That time when I start wanting to fire up my oven again.  That time when I start creating events to cook for.  And that time when the fire marshall ramps up readiness in my area and my friends start lining up their excuses.

In this years line up, first we have Halloween.  Which is usually not a big cooking event, but I'm planning a party for a bunch of little kids, so there will definitely be some halloween treats needed.  And then there is Thanksgiving.  Since everyone is going to be gone on Thanksgiving, I'm doing it a week early.  The guest list has a potential of 22 adults and almost a dozen kids.  We'll see how many decide to come.  THe percentage of people who come having already been to one of my dinners versus the Emily Jordan Dinner-virgins will be interesting.

So what do you think of this for the kids menu:
Worms in Dirt (sliced hot dogs in refried beans)
Pumpkin Cheese crackers (no pumpkin, just cheese and puff pastry in pumpkin shape)
Caramel Popcorn Balls
Graveyard Cake (chocolate cake with cookie gravestones)

And for the adults:
Eyeball Cheese balls (spiced cheese around pimento stuffed olives)
Spider Web eggs
Shriveled Potatoes with Aioli
Cured Epidermis

I'll keep working on it and see what I come up with.  For now, its time for some blue cheese spread and wine jelly.  Yes, that's my dinner.  And yes it is homemade.  I think I've put both recipes on here before, but if I haven't, I'll try to remember to post them.  As long as I don't have too many glasses of red wine before I post this......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Please Excuse My Voracious Appetite

How do you go about ensuring that everyone on a work trip is comfortable, welcome, and able to enjoy themselves especially during the after-hours times?  Well, pre-planning is key.  Choosing interesting and unique restaurants (but not too interesting as to be unapproachable).  And finally, make sure that you are always ahead of the crowd leading by example.

During this most recent trip to Charleston I made sure to employ the above lessons learned in many ways.  The most noticeable of which was my willingness and ability to out-eat everyone at the table.  For example, during the sushi dinner most people ordered 1 roll and a couple nigiri.  I made sure everyone felt good about what they ordered by ordering and then eating almost 4 rolls and a half dozen nigiri.  Rinse and repeat for the fried seafood dinner the next night.

And of course there was the multiple helpings of biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  I say helpings, not servings.  I think the FDA would probably have something to say not only about the size of a serving of lard-based biscuits and gravy but also the placement of said breakfast item on the food pyramid.  Upon seeing my breakfast choice, a certain Minnesota-based sponsor asked what was in it.  He seemed slightly appalled with the non-chalance my answer "biscuits have lard and flour, and the gravy has lard, flour, and sausage."  Of course after hearing that and watching me consume a couple more helpings I did notice he kept watching me for signs of the inevitable heart attack.

I did warn everyone that I would eat an appalling amount of seafood, fried food, and biscuits while I was there.  It was all in the name of making everyone feel comfortable.  I swear.  It was just a leading by example.  And I'm sure you can all extrapolate that into the beer.....  But I don't have a recipe for beer, so you'll have to leave the details to conjecture and photographic evidence.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Anything Can be Fried

I'm endeavoring to cook and server Charlotte healthy, balanced meals.  And since she isn't a multi-course kind of girl yet, I'm trying to get veggies, proteins, grains, and calcium into 1 dish foods.  I can now see why casseroles are a favorite with midwest-raised mothers.  You can put it all in 1 dish, bake it, and serve it out of the same dish.  While that is a great concept, I still have nightmares about going to potluck dinners in Minnesota and seeing nothing but casseroles smothered in Cream of Mushroom soup.  White, unidentifiable mounds.......kind of like the house-high snow drifts outside.  I still shudder at the memory.

Tuna noodle casserole is a pretty good combo of protein, calcium, grains, and veggies if you do it right.  In my continued refusal to make casseroles, I made a version on the stove.  Ramen noodles (minus the flavor pack), tuna, cream sauce, cheddar cheese, and diced up green beans.  It turned out pretty good, and Charlotte even ate some of it that first night.

Looks like she takes after me in the leftover department.  I hate leftovers.  Not sure why.  Maybe it goes back to casseroles being served over and over again.  Regardless, I have a hard time enjoying something reheated.  And just like me, Charlotte refused to eat the tuna noodle stuff the second night.  But with so much of it left I didn't want to throw it away.

Like any good American, I figured out how to fry it.  By throwing in a little more cheese, rolling sections into balls, breading them, and then frying in oil I got deep fried tuna noodle casserole.  It wasn't too bad. And Charlotte ate it, which was the point.  Not a recipe worth repeating or posting.  But good concept I suppose.  Assuming you aren't concerned about colesterol, weight gain, or general health....