April 30, 2013

Meat Free Week Recipe #2

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Melty Deliciousness
With Toasted Panko for Crunch
With Chopped Cilantro


Recipe:
Yields 4 large or 6 small servings

Ingredients:
4 Medium/Large Poblano Peppers or 6 Small, roasted and peeled
16 ounces of canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears of sweet corn, grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper and cut from the stalk
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups of monterey jack cheese
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
8 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of butter

Sour Cream, Hot Sauce and Extra Cilantro for serving

Steps:
1. Roast and peel poblano peppers. Slit up one side and remove seeds and ribs of peppers. Rinse and pat dry. Set aside.
2. Mix black beans, corn, green onions, monterey jack cheese and 1/2 cup of cilantro.
3. Spread equal amounts of cream cheese inside each pepper
4. Stuff each pepper with the black bean/corn/cheese mixture
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes
6. In a pan, melt butter and toast panko until golden
7. Remove from the oven and top with toasted panko. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and sour cream (or creme fraiche).


This dish was good, but it felt like it was missing something. I served it with quinoa on the side, but I think I may add it to the stuffing mixture in the future. 
Also, instead of serving it with hot sauce, I think I will try to make a spicy red pepper/tomato based sauce and/or a queso fresco...
So many options! 
Try it out and let me know what you think.

Eat Up! 
Cha Cha Cha!

April 29, 2013

Artichoke, Poblano and Asiago Cakes

  We recently went to dinner and they served artichoke cakes with a Cajun remoulade as an appetizer. 
I liked it, but I couldn't help but redesign the recipe just a little in my head as I ate. 
I'm a jerk that way.
I went home and immediately sketched out a plan.
Yes to the concept, no to the cajun sauce. 
Sub panko for traditional breadcrumbs for better texture? Yes.
Poblanos for heat!? Yes.  
More cheese. Yes. 
What kind? Asiago or Pecorino. 
Definitely. More. Cheese. 
What about a cheese sauce on the side too!?! Oooooo...Okay, Yes.
Lemon for brightness!? Yes. 

So since I didn't have a recipe, I created these puppies as I would a crab cake, just subbing in the artichokes for the crab, and adjusting the other ingredients to suite. 
I added roasted Poblano peppers for heat, lemon juice for extra acidity and both Pecorino and Asiago cheese for richness. Plus, I made a cheese sauce on the side for good measure.

They turned out super delicious, and much more affordable than their crabby cousin.
So easy and adaptable. 
I will be making these again.
Give them a go and let me know what you think!

Artichoke Cakes with Asiago Cream Sauce
Sock Monkey Dipping Sauce for the Distinguished House Guest

Recipe:
Yields approximately 6 large cakes or 12 small cakes

Ingredients:
1 16 oz. Can of Artichokes Hearts in Brine, drained, rinsed and chopped
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup shredded Asiago
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded, and chopped
1/4 of red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, cleaned and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
juice from half of one lemon + lemon slices for serving
vegetable oil for frying (not a lot...you don't want to drown them)

Cream Sauce (below)
Sriracha Sauce

Steps:
1. Rinse, drain and chop artichokes. Allow to sit in a colander to drain further.
2. Saute red bell pepper, green onions, and garlic in one tablespoon of oil. Salt and Pepper. Saute until bright and slightly tender
3. Mix together the artichoke hearts, panko, mayonnaise, cheeses, poblano pepper, parsley or cilantro, mixture from step two, juice of lemon, and s/p. Add more mayonnaise if the mixture is too dry. Add more panko if it is too wet. 
Stir well to distribute ingredients equally.
4. Form mixture into patties (about a palm full of mixture per patty for 6 cakes)
5. Set on a tray lined with parchment. Sprinkle additional panko on top of each cake.
6. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour to set
7. Preheat oven to 350
8. Pour approximately 4 tablespoons of oil into a pan. Heat oil in pan until shimmery. Drop cakes into oil and fry until golden on each side. Work in batches if necessary
9. Drain on a paper towel lined plate if you used too much oil
10. Transfer back to the parchment lined pan and place in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. 
11. Serve warm with lemon slices, cream sauce and/or lemon pepper remoulade (recipes below), and/or drops of Sriracha sauce for even more heat (optional)



Asiago-Pecorino Cream Sauce:
Ingredients: 
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
freshly ground pepper
(kosher salt)
2 cups of Asiago Cheese, shredded
1 cup of Pecorino cheese
**1 cup of chopped, roasted poblanos would be good here too

Steps:
1. Melt butter
2. Add flour and stir until a foamy paste forms
3. Add pepper 
4. Add milk and stir until the milk is hot but not boiling
5. Slowly add cheeses, stirring all the while until thick. If the sauce is too runny, add more cheese.
6. Taste and adjust. Add a little bit of salt if necessary.

Lemon Pepper Remoulade:
Ingredients:
2 cups of mayonnaise
juice of one lemon
1/2 tablespoon crushed black pepper

Steps:
Stir all of the ingredients together well.



This entire recipe would pair really well with a crisp salad as a main course, or really well as an appetizer if made into smaller cakes.

Enjoy!
And as always, let me know what you think! 

Free of Meat II

Now that Spring is here, I feel that it is time to put the meat on the proverbial back-burner, and seriously up our vegetable intake. 
Our garden is barely at the sprout stage, but it is never too soon to start exploring our vegetarian options. 
So, this week we will be going meat free again. 

Here is the tentative menu: 

Spicy Escarole + Beans in Garlic Broth 
with Crusty Bread

Tortelloni with Sage Butter

Artichoke + Asiago Cakes with a Lemon Pepper Creme Sauce

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers 

"Green Goddess" Frittata

Homemade Arugula Salad Pizza with Balsamic and Blue Cheese

Karra's Kick-Ass Truffled Macaroni and Cheese with Sweet Peas

Stay Tuned for images, updates, and recipes as we explore another week of all things vegetable!
Also, if you have any feedback or suggestions, I would love to hear from you.
What would you make!?

HAPPY MONDAY!

(Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change this menu at any time. It is Springtime you know...a time to be easy-breezy...;)

April 26, 2013

HaPpY FrIDaY!


Is that white wine season I smell knocking at my door!?

I believe it is!

I hope you all have a great weekend filled with all things Spring!
Cheerio!

April 24, 2013

Two Hot Chicks

If This Isn't A Fun Fetch, I Don't Know What Is... 


Thank you Starbucks for Making Our Experience That Much More Fun!

(And a sincere apology to a girl named 'Kitty' for accidentally sip-tasting your drink. 
I honestly thought it was mine....)

April 23, 2013

Something Fishy

So, last year I made a resolution that I would learn how to fillet a fish. 
I didn't....kind of on purpose...  
So I remade the resolution this year.
I figure if I'm ever going to be any kind of cook, I need to learn such things. 

Typically you would skin a catfish, but with a little help from my husband and friends, I gave filleting a go...

I was enthusiastic, but a surprising sissy throughout the entire process. It was disgusting, and unbeknownst to me, catfish are tough as shit. 

Here is a little photo spread of the experience.

Stage One: Reluctance/Dread
(Check Out the Size of That Thing!)
Stage Two: Learning
Stage Two, Part II: Still Learning
Stage Three: Crying
Stage Four: Re-Learning
Stage Five: Crying Again
Stage Six: Re-learning. Again.
Stage Seven: Being Mocked
Stage Eight: Still Being Mocked...
Stage Nine: Stone Cold Fish Killer!

So I didn't do such a stellar job. 
In fact, I made quite a mess of that beast, but I did it nonetheless. 
I filleted my first fish. 
We fried it and it was delicious. 

Thank you!

April 22, 2013

Weekend Chow-Down

Few things make me happier than good friends and good food. 
Lots of food. 
It was a little chilly out, but a ton of calories and laughter kept us warm.
Here are a few of the items that filled our bellies.

Candied Bacon with Pecans

Parmesan + Thyme Crisps
Jalapeno + Cheddar Shortbread

Crab + Avocado Cocktails with Chili Garlic Sauce
Grilled Grapes and Sausages

All of the recipes were taken from Ina Garten's, the 'Barefoot Contessa's' new cookbook "Foolproof," except for the crab cocktail recipe which is one that I have adapted over the years. I believe the original recipe came from either Bon Appetit or Gourmet magazine, but I have changed it so much that it is probably just a hint of the original. 
Here are both the links for Ina's new 'Foolproof' cookbook, as well as my crab cocktail recipe. 
Enjoy!

                                                




Crab and Avocado Cocktails with Chili Garlic Sauce

Ingredients:
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Cleaned and Picked Over for Shells
2 Avocados, Cubed
3 Scallions, cleaned and sliced
1 cup of Cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups of Clamato Juice
1 1/2 cups of Ketchup
2 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce
The juice from 1 lime

Steps:
Combine Clamato Juice, Ketchup, Chili Garlic Sauce, Lime Juice, Cilantro and Scallions. Stir to mix well.
Pour an equal amount of this mixture into individual cups (5-8 cups depending on the amount you want to serve). Reserve one cup to drizzle over the top of the cocktails.
Top Sauce with avocados and crab meat; drizzle with the remaining sauce. Serve with extra lime slices and/or chopped cilantro
Keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Serve chilled.

Enjoy, thank you Ina, and let me know what you all think!
Nom, nom, nom....



April 19, 2013

'Nevermore'

Bill always amazed us. 
Like the fact that he knew Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" by heart. 
He never talked about it, or flaunted the fact that he had the entire poem memorized, but at the most unusual times he would just recite the poem from beginning to end. 
It was both amazing and hysterical.
In retrospect, haunting.
One year to the day after his passing there is nothing I would rather hear than his voice.
This painting was done in his memory. 


 'Nevermore'
'Nevermore'
2012
Collage and Oil on Canvas
Text from Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven'
Detail  Shot


Edgar Allan Poe's
 "The Raven"
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door - Only this, and nothing more.' Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore - For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore - Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating `'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door - Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; - This it is, and nothing more,' Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, `Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; - Darkness there, and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!' This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!' Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. `Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore - Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; - 'Tis the wind and nothing more!' Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door - Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door - Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door - Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as `Nevermore.' But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only, That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered - Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before - On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.' Then the bird said, `Nevermore.' Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, `Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore - Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore Of "Never-nevermore."' But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore - What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking `Nevermore.' This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er, She shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. `Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' `Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! - Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted - On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore - Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' `Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore - Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore - Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' `Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting - `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted - nevermore!

April 17, 2013

Strawberry Cupcake Cop-Out

I don't think Betty Crocker's strawberry cake mix counts as a new recipe, does it?!

Well, it is true...this is the first time I've ever made this flavor...

(Work with me, I'm desperate this week)


C'mon....Do you really need the recipe?!

April 16, 2013

Documentation Station

I am an equal opportunity notebook lover; sketchbook, three-ring, moleskin, legal, standard, hardcover, softcover, tracing, graphing...
I could spend an hour in the notebook isle of any CVS alone. Get me in a stationary store and you will lose me for days.
My house is peppered with notebooks of all kinds. Some of them are overflowing, some of them are completely empty. 
They are all meant for something they just don't know it yet. 
Maybe my obsession stems from the fact that I kept a journal from around fifth grade all the way into my 20's, or maybe it is the art teacher inside me who cannot stress the importance of sketchbooks and journaling for reflection, development and self-therapy. 

I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg?!

Nonetheless, I have recently re-discovered the notebook isle at, of course, Target, and much to my delight they have the cutest notebooks of all sorts.

Check out these puppies!

Three-Ring Binders To Store All Life's Stuff
Quickly and Easily:
(Labels Purchased from Michael's Art and Craft Store)


A New 3-Ringer for Your Favorite Recipes:



Two Preppies for Your Car or Purse:



A One-Line-A-Day Book for The Busy Journalist
(I would Call This a Mother's Dream Diary):


A Great Night Stand Diary or a Unique Spin on a Guest Book

Happy Journaling Everyone!
Now Go Get Your Write On!

Is Nothing Sacred?!

Welcome Home Kitty Cat, 
But Enough is Enough

April 15, 2013

Safety First!

Spring in here and I've hit the ground running...well kind of...
Getting back into shape is daunting. 
It is amazing how just a few months of minor elliptical training can pull you so far away from that five mile mark.
So, in likely event that I have a heart attack, trip and fall into a ravine, or somebody plows me down with their minivan, I am now covered.
Since I live in an area where only a few people know me by name, I feel much safer running with my trusty 'Road ID.' 
Especially after Boston. You can never be too safe.


Let's Get Running!!!
Get your ID!

(I love the idea of getting one for kids too...just in case they run off in that busy supermarket...)

**Also, browse quickly through any 'Runner's' magazine or search on-line for promotional codes. They are always out there!**

April 12, 2013

April 10, 2013

Everson Panel III

Here is one section of a four panel piece I made back when I was finishing up my Master's degree. 
It was one of the first major pieces I exhibited at a venue fancier than a cafeteria or school gallery, and the first piece I sold for more than beer money.
I was elated when this sold, but in retrospect I truly wonder if my stepfather paid off that lovely couple.
I adored this piece but it went to a good home, and this is the only image I had saved on external drive. For some reason the other three panels got lost in space.
Lesson learned. 
Always back up your work.

"Everson Panel III: Organic Abstraction"
2002
Mixed Media (Watercolor, Acrylic, Gouache, Pastel and Oil Pastel on Canvas)

April 9, 2013

Ratatouille

I feel like I have made a million versions of ratatouille, a million different times in my life, but I had never dubbed it 'ratatouille,' or actually followed a recipe.
Last night, however, after a week of constant nagging from my son, I made an official 'ratatouille.' 
Thank you Pixar.
It was so easy, and so delicious. 
I loosely followed Emeril's recipe, and made adjustments according to my vegetable bin, and the images of how Remy the Rat assembled the dish running through my mind.
I can't wait for our garden to bloom so I can make this with our very own vegetables.
Yum.
(Start with a layer of olive oil, chopped onions and red peppers, salt, pepper and herbs)

(Assemble by stacking vegetables in a radial fashion)

(Scatter a layer of chopped onions, peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs...repeat, then bake. See details below)

Bake at 375 until the vegetables are tender and juicy! 


Recipe:
1 Medium Eggplant, sliced thin
1 Medium Zucchini, sliced thin
1 Medium Yellow Squash, sliced thin
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Red Pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. chopped herbs (I used thyme and rosemary) 

To assemble:
1. Drizzle bottom of a round baking dish with olive oil. Make a layer of red onion and red pepper. Salt and Pepper.
2. Working radially, stack Eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash around the perimeter of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt, pepper and herb.
3. Scatter another layer of red onion and red pepper.
4. Repeat step #2
5. End by topping with a scattering of onion, pepper, herbs, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
6. Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Even the French Peasants Cook Better Than Rich Americans!
Bon Appetite!

April 8, 2013

Sniff This

 I am not a big perfumer. 
Maybe it is the fact that I almost blinded myself in college by accidentally spraying 'Cool Water' directly in my eyes one drunken night....or maybe it is the fear of smelling like a prostitute, or worse, an old hag...
Or the fact that most perfumes give me a splitting headache...
And, no, although I share most of my hippy friends' humanitarian beliefs, I do not share their love of patchouli.
Barf.
So, for those of you who share my sensitive sniffing disposition, here are a few scents I have fetched that are unoffensive, gentle and nice.
Perfect for Spring.

A few of my faves:
Caudalies' 'Fleur de Vigne',
 No. 4711 
and any Lollia scents

Sniffy Sniffy!

April 7, 2013

SunDaY SHoUtOUt!

I haven't done a shout-out in forever, but these two  HWS ladies deserve some recognition. 
Their blogs are hysterical, smart and spot on. 
I love hearing their voices through their posts, and I am convinced that all women from William Smith should have a blog to bring us closer.
 If you are in the mood to spend some internet time this afternoon you will not be disappointed.



Thank you Anna and Cara! 
Good stuff!

April 6, 2013

BODEN BABY!!


I am so so sad that I won't be able to make this sale, but for all of you Boden lovers out there, this is for you!
Fetch some cute stuff for me!

Have fun and happy shopping!!!

April 5, 2013

HaPPy FrIDaY!!!!

Springtime, is that you?!
Aaaaa, I think it is!
Let's celebrate outside this afternoon with the world's best Bloody Mary! 
The secret ingredient? 
Clamato Juice. 
Trust me. I wouldn't steer you in the wrong direction. This is seriously delicious. 
And yes, for those of you on a Spring diet, this does count as part of a strict juicing regiment.
Recipe:

3 cups of Clamato juice
1 cup of v8 juice
VODKA!.....to your liking.... 
3 tablespoons of hot horseradish
juice from 1/2 a lemon, + lemon for garnish
2 tsp. of worchester sauce
1 tsp. of hot garlic sauce or tabasco (+- to taste)
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
pinch of kosher salt
splash of olive juice (optional)

Garnish Options:
-A mile of olives (think fun olives too...maybe olives stuffed with jalapenos or garlic?!)
-lemon and/or lime
-celery stalks or leaves
-steamed shrimp
-jalapenos or cherry peppers

Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients and stir well. Chill by placing in the refrigerator or shake with ice. Adjust taste to your liking and spice level. Garnish and served up in a chilled glass or on the rocks.

This is a fun drink, so adjust the flavors to your liking, but trust me on the Clamato juice. I almost vomited the first time somebody suggested this, but now I wouldn't use anything else. 
A+ Yum. 

Enjoy and Have a Great Weekend Everyone!
Did Somebody Say Croquet?! 


April 4, 2013

Ready to Run

I must be a glutton for punishment.
I officially signed up for my 3rd, half-marathon. 
After last year I promised myself that I would never, ever do something that stupid again, but I just did. I hit the 'register' button. 
It is like an addiction. 
A crazy addiction.
What is that all about!? 
Maybe it is the feeling of camaraderie or the feeling of accomplishment or purpose...maybe it is the fact that I get to eat whatever I want after the race...
Hmmm...what should I eat after that race?!

Oh well, I guess there is no turning back now, right!?
I must say though, the best part (besides the post race chow down), is right now...Five miles is my long run and I get to shop for new kicks.
Unfortunately, here are my choices....could they make them any uglier?! 
As if running isn't difficult enough, I've got to wear ugly shoes to boot....
What do you think?!
I'm taking a vote. Which pair should be 2013's victory shoe?


Wish me luck, and stay tuned for training updates!