Category Archives: Food Thoughts

Dressed up Grilled Cheese

I mentioned a while back about how I dress up my Mac and Cheese.  Well, I also do the same thing to my grilled cheese sandwiches.  It’s partly from my food hero Alton Brown and partly from one of my sister-in-laws.  Alton Brown puts mustard on his grilled cheese.  My sister-in-law sprinkles kosher salt on the outside.  Put those two together and you have a more mature grilled cheese sandwich.

Do you do anything to fancy up grilled cheese?  As I asked when doing that Mac and Cheese post, what other foods do you fancy up?  Come up with anything new since then?

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The Bacon Law

I have this Theory, a theory about Bacon.

That’s right, Bacon.

Bacon has magical powers.  It can turn anything it touches into an Über food.  Any the only people I know who can resist it’s power are people who eat kosher.  Even vegetarians have a vegetarian bacon, they couldn’t resist the power of Bacon, they had to try to create a substitute.

Have you ever noticed that if something on a menu contains bacon they ALWAYS mention it?  It’s because the restaurants understand the magical powers of Bacon and are trying to harness it.  One top of is fine, diced in is good, but the way I think that Bacon’s full power is unleashed is when you wrap food in Bacon.  Many people don’t like asparagus, so they wrapped Bacon around it, vola, you can get anyone to eat it.

A friend of mine recently posted a recipe that I really have to try which uses Bacon wrapped hot dogs!

Even comedians know about the power of Bacon.

The down side of it’s tasty goodness…Bacon contains nitrates.  (As do a lot of other foods) So when I’m pregnant I try to avoid things with nitrates, which includes Bacon.  But soon, I will eat Bacon again.

So, I have an assignment for you.  Be ready with your tasty Bacony recipes so I can try them all when I call for them after the baby is born.

Any my second assignment, go eat some Bacon for me.

Dressed Up Mac & Cheese

If you are a mom like me, then you will probably consume Mac and Cheese at least forty times a year.  I’m not big on making different meals for the kids and myself so I usually eat what they eat.  We have Mac and Cheese about once a week,  it’s quick, cheap, and the kids will eat it!  What’s not to love?

Mac and Cheese, as I’m sure you will agree, is not a sophisticated food.  And when you eat what your kids eat, most of your food is that way.  So I decided to find ways to make that unsophisticated food a bit more interesting.  That way I can feel more like a grown up even when eating “kid food”.

Here’s what I do to Mac and Cheese.

I take a regular box of Mac and Cheese and cook it like normal.  Then in my helping I add a pinch of kosher salt, some cracked black pepper and a couple of shakes of Tabasco sauce.  I also always make garlic toast to go with it.  I often make a Mac and Cheese sandwich with the garlic toast.

You can’t feel like your eating kid food when it’s got Tabasco in it.  You should give it a try the next time you make Mac and Cheese.

Sometime I’ll tell you what I do to grilled cheese sandwiches.

So, how do you spice up your boring foods?

Peanut the Baker

Peanut likes to cook.  The apron, the mixing, the making a big mess, she loves it.  A while back we had an Enrichment activity where we made bread.  Husband was in class so the girls came with me.  Peanut had a great time mixing and kneeding the bread but I think we gave the poor older sister next to us a heartattack by all the mess she made.  I cherrily told her.  At least I’m one of the people who will be cleaning up anyway!  Since then Peanuts love of baking has continued unabated.  She’s been helping me with all the Christmas treats.  This year we decided to make a list of treats we were going to make and every week I let Peanut pick the one we are going to make.  It’s been a fun tradition.  I think we will have to do it again next year.

Christmas Baking

I had the terrible fortune of never tasting pumpkin roll until I was twenty.  I discovered that despite the fact that I hate pumpkin pie, I LOVE pumpkin roll.  I had the even worse fortune to never try making it myself until I was a good deal older then that.  I discovered it’s not as hard as one might think.  I just used the recipe of the can of Libby’s pumpkin and it was great!  So give those holiday recipes that look a tad hard a try.  You might be surprised.

What is your favorite holiday treat?

Sticky Buns of DOOM!

This weekend I was watching “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” and an episode where he completed against sticky bun champion Joanne Chang came on.  At the end of the episode where Bobby lost, yet again, I thought to myself, “Self, those sticky buns look really good.  I bet you can make them!”.  So I hopped on the interwebs and found the recipie for the winning sticky buns.  I looked it over and said to myself, “Wow, they want an ounce of yeast…that seems like a lot! Five eggs and five cups of flower and 11 oz of butter…hum…this must make a LOT of sticky buns…”  I glanced at the top of the recipe where it says it make six. 

Then here is where the trouble began.  I said to myself “Self, you are not a professional chef, these guys are, I’m sure it’s right.  Just follow the recipe and everything will be fine.”

Lesson number 1: If the recipe looks weird, it probably is weird.

So I carefully measure out all the ingredients for the first part and put them in my wonderful kitchen aid mixerand read where it says in the recipe to let it run on low for ten minutes.  I said to myself “Self, that seems like a really long time.  Won’t that make a lot of gluten, there by making the dough hard and unpalatable?”  Here is where the trouble continued. “Self, they really must know what they are doing, after all, this Joanne lady did win awards for these sticky buns.”  I turned on my kitchen aid, checked the time and walked away. 

Lesson number 2: Don’t walk away from your kitchen aid on an untested recipe.

A few minutes later Husband calls to me from the other room “Is your mixer supposed to be making that noise?”  I call back “The recipe said to let it run for ten minutes.” “You had better check it” he says.

Lesson number 3: Husband knows what mechanical things in pain sounds like, even when he’s in the other room doing something else.

I walk back into the kitchen with about five minuets left on the ten the recipe called for.  The magic smoke is coming out of my kitchen aid while is screams in pain as it tries to mix and beat the substance, that I can’t really call dough, that has formed in the bowl.  I hurriedly turn it off and remove my poor appliance from the scene of it’s torture.

I survey the dough and wonder what I can do with the harden blob.  I still have 11 oz of butter that are supposed to be added and then it is supposed to proof over night.  The recipe said to beat the butter in for twenty minutes in my already tortured kitchen aid.  Here is where I finally went right.  I trusted myself.  “Self, we’ve already come this far, probably at the expense of our kitchen aid so we might as well sacrifice the butter and see what happens.”  So I (with the help of my mother) hand kneaded the butter in.  And I didn’t do it for twenty minutes.

Lesson number 4: If you ever DO try this recipe then I would melt the butter and add it in at the beginning with all the other ingredients and watch your mixer like a hawk.

The rest of the recipe seemed reasonable and worked out fine when I finished them up the next morning.  They also tasted pretty good, too sweet maybe, but good.  Although, I don’t think they were worth the cost of my kitchen aid, award winning or no.

More on Food Holidays

Here is what the New York Times said about Food Holidays.

And here’s the book that may be the orginator of the list.