Saturday, June 28, 2008

31 Days and 31 Recipes

In case you haven't noticed, it's been almost a month since I've written a blog.

Well, that's about to change.


I just joined a Blog Group called
NaBloPoMo otherwise known as National Blog Posting Month.

July is Food Blog month. All you have to do is write a blog every day for a month, about that month's topic, and you get a Web Badge.

Big deal you say. A Web Badge. Actually, the badges are pretty cool. And very few people actually can blog every day.

So. I've challenged myself to write a Yummy! blog every day.

Some days will have recipes.

Some days will have recipes with photos.

Some days it'll be easy.

Most days, I expect, it will be a challenge.

Or a chore.

But, my friends, please keep me motivated. Write comments. Ask for recipes.

31 days. 31 recipes. Yikes! Why couldn't February be Food Blog month?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yummy~issimo! Recipe Sour Thanks To The Cicadas!

The cicadas are still here. And, they're going to be here for at least the next five freaking weeks!

There's one good thing about cicadas though ~ the birds eat so many of them, that they don't eat my sour cherries. This is the first time in about 15 years that I've had cherries. And, boy do I have cherries!

The cherry tree stands about 20 feet tall and is absolutely loaded this year. Sweet husband and I picked last night and my mouth was watering for a sour cherry pie.

So I guess the freaking, flying, red~eyed loud mouthed cicadas are good for something.

Debbie's Sour Cherry Pie
Serves 8

2c all~purpose flour
1t salt
3/4c + 1T butter flavored Crisco
1/2c ice cold water
1T sugar

3T quick~cooking tapioca
2t pure almond extract
2T cornstarch
1/4t salt
1 1/4c sugar
6c fresh sour cherries, pitted
milk, to brush crust
1T sugar to garnish crust
whole nutmeg, to garnish crust

To make dough: In large bowl, thoroughly stir together four and salt. Add the shortening and mix until mixture resembles coarse meal. Measure out 7T ice water and sprinkle over flour mixture, tossing with a fork until evenly incorporated. Gently knead until the dough holds together smoothly when pressed between your fingertips. If necessary, add 1T or more water to moisten. Dough should not be dry.

Turn dough out onto large sheet of waxed paper. Gently knead until the dough holds together and is very smooth. Divide dough into two sections. Roll out dough between layers of waxed paper until it is a 11" round. Peel off top layer of waxed paper flip into 10" pie pan. Peel off remaining layer of waxed paper. Roll out top dough between two layers of waxed paper but do not remove paper until ready to top cherries.

Preheat oven to 425. Finely grind tapioca in spice mill. Place cherries in large bowl and add ground tapioca, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Toss well and let stand 30 minutes.

Fill bottom crust with cherry mixture. Remove one layer of waxed paper and flip onto cherries. Remove second sheet of waxed paper and crimp edges together. Cut several steam holes in top crust. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and grate a little fresh nutmeg on top of crust.

Bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly in center, 35~45 minutes. Cover with foil if crust gets too brown.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It's Yummy~issimo Versus The Cicadas ~ And The Cicadas Are Winning!

I haven't posted in a while ~ you know how life sometimes gets in the way. We had a sudden, and very unexpected, death in the family. In addition to the family trauma, I was booked solid with cook days. That meant moving clients around so I could be gone for several days. Double cook days before and after.

But if that's the worst of my problems, then my life is great! And it is.

Opened yesterday's Cincinnati Enquirer and found a 2~page article about my buddy, Shayne Graham. The article talks about his condo, his cars and his sports memorabilia collection. It even talks about Yummy~issimo! ~ well, to some degree. I'm "the chef he uses occasionally" ~ if occasionally could be described as 3 or 4 times a month.

Sweet husband Tim was out yesterday running errands and buying unnecessary junk at yard sales and I was hiding in the house away from the billions of red~eyed, disgusting, loud mouthed flying roaches that have taken over Cincinnati ~ otherwise known as cicadas. Sweet husband wanted to take me out to lunch but it was hot and humid and I'm so tired of the cicadas dive bombing me when I'm outside that I decided to pass on lunch out.

Oh hell! Now I have to come up with something for lunch! Using a lot of leftovers, I made a great non~traditional chicken salad that I think several of my clients will love. I grilled out the other night and had one large chicken breast left over that had been marinated in my fat~free garlic~basil Italian dressing. When I grilled it, I reduced the dressing down to serve as a dipping sauce and then refrigerated the leftover chicken in the sauce. Here's the recipe ~ as close as I can tell. I rarely, if ever, measure anything, so you may like more or less of any ingredient.

Debbie's Yummy! Chicken Salad
Serves 4

2c diced chicken breast
1/2c remaining garlic~basil Italian dressing ~ use fat free Zesty Italian in the bottle and you'll be fine
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced ~ yeah, I know there's already garlic in the marinade but, let's face it, you can NEVER have too much garlic!
2 celery heart stalks with leaves, thinly sliced
1T sesame oil
1/4c peanut butter, heated to thin it
red pepper flakes ~ we like it hot so I probably used 1/2t but I'd start with just a pinch and add more as desired
2/3c chopped toasted pecans
1/2c dried cherries
salt and pepper
4 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1/2c Asiago cheese, grated
1 green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat broiler. Heat peanut butter in non~stick pan until it is runny. Mix all ingredients in large bowl and toss well. Add peanut butter and toss. This sandwich is served open face. Divide chicken salad into 4 equal portions and heap on sourdough bread slices. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly ~ 2~3 minutes. Garnish with green onions. Yummy!

Still hiding in the house today away from the cicadas!