CongAgra foods makes Banquet PotPies. We always had some in the freezer when I grew up. Well they were tainted with salmonella not so long ago making many people sick. CongAgra tried and tried to figure out just what ingredient it was that was at risk of killing their customers but dagnabit, they just couldn’t find the culprit. That isn’t surprising considering the fact that they don’t even know who supplies most of their ingredients or if those suppliers actually check the foods for contaminants! ConAgra’s solution? To put your health into your own hands (where it ought to be) and tell you to check several spots in your potpie with a food thermometer and check the internal temperature for a reading of 165 degrees.
I have a better idea. Literally take your health into your own hands and tell ConAgra where they can put their potpies.
I would like to give a product shoutout to Amy’s Kitchen - the maker of wonderful foods including MANY frozen entrees and pizzas which are healthy, organic, sometimes vegan (but not always), and tasty. I haven’t had any Amy’s product that I wished I hadn’t bought and I am in love with their Roasted Vegetable Pizza. The products are sold at most major retailers – no need to go to an expensive health food chain and they appeared on the Food Network at one point with a look into their factories – clean, beautiful, safe, and sanitary in appearance.
While I can’t deny that owning a food thermometer is not a bad idea and I won’t suggest that no Amy’s product could ever be contaminated by some food borne pathogen, I will suggest that it is probably safer (and will make you feel good) to purchase products from a company that really seems to care and at the very least knows who supplies their ingredients!
Oh, bonus: I see that Amy’s now features diet plans on their website – a regular plan, gluten-free plan, vegan plan, and others for those of you with illness or allergies. You could most certainly lose weight eating their products which are very filling, nutritious, and not full of empty calories. I think I might just give that a go!
It you are uncertain of what that is, let me help you out. It is a screw. Yes, a plain old screw attached to something that looks like the end of a broken tool with a semi-sharp filed edge on one side.
The object is to stick the screw into the top of your vegetable or fruit, sit the vegetable upright, stick your finger in the finger hole, and begin to circle around and around your food item until you have spiral sliced through the entire thing.
I was convinced it was a joke and had ZERO intention of using this thing. Even now I wonder if it was really smart to stick this thing into something I intended to place in my mouth. It looks like something that you should find in a tool box, not in a kitchen for crying out loud!
Either way, last night for some dumb reason I decided to destroy one of my little zucchini that needed to be eaten up. At least destruction was what I expected to happen.
Yea, a beautifully spiral sliced zucchini.
Even cooked it all still stayed pretty much together and wrapped around my fork just like pasta. If I had thrown marinara on it, it would have sufficed as a carbohydrate sub.
However, I am still quite skeptical about the idea that little tool could go through a hard carrot, beet, or pineapple like the box suggests . . . but I might be inclined to find out for myself.
The 4th was really nice this year. Brian came over and we made city chicken as part of my Ultimate City Chicken Showdown. This batch was Crisco vs. margarine. The verdict? Tie!
We had our lunch and then headed out to the theatre to see Hancock. My take on the movie: it could have been a LOT better. With all of the great “super hero” movies that have recently come out (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and very shortly Batman), this one fell short. Will Smith did a great job in an unusual role for him and the first half of the movie is really good. Then it got . . . odd. Fortunately the movie ended before it went overboard. I just think they could have taken this movie in a zillion different (and better) directions. All around I say it is worth watching… on DVD.
After the movie Brian and I headed downtown for the fireworks. They were fabulous! Shot off of one of the tallest buildings in the city, there aren’t many “bad” locations to be. We happened to find a great spot, take a walk, and then head back to the car for the actual fireworks. We really enjoyed them.
When I got home at 11, I wasn’t tired. I have been cleaning and organizing for quite a while now and last night the TV show “Clean House” came on. Brian had told me earlier in the day not to be a packrat - this pissed me off into action. I decided last night I have too much stuff for my place. So I bagged/boxed up a ton of things. Some for sale, some for donation, some for the dumpster. I certainly didn’t need to get rid of it all, but its nice to have more storage space. For the most part it is impossible to tell I got rid of anything unless you know what my desk and closets looked like… nonetheless, I am impressed with myself.
Today I have to write a motion and get it finished. Tomorrow – homework. Monday – trial. *phew*
The Ultimate City Chicken Showdown has begun! July 4th I prepared a traditional version of the recipe and split the batch into two. Half browned in margarine and half browned in crisco. The verdict: no difference!!! Both my boyfriend and I tried both and could not tell the difference – a day later I tried some again and was unable to detect any difference at all.
The next showdown? I will try a marinade recipe submitted by a reader and I plan to play around with the meats at some point in the future as well. Stay tuned!!
Thanks to reader comments, I have compiled a large list of thoughts, ideas, and recipes regarding city chicken. I’ve been craving some recently and after reading a particularly unusual city chicken recipe, I got a great idea – a city chicken showdown! I’m thinking of trying out a number of different recipes in order to find both the best traditional version as well as the best, updated recipe for the 21st century.
Some people have specific cuts of meat they like to use, some people are die hard “scrap” users. Some marinade their skewers. Some people make gravy, others find the idea of gravy actually offensive! And then there is the ultimate fight – what to fry those babies in; butter, margarine, Crisco, olive oil?
Brian’s birthday was yesterday and I decided to give him a bit of a themed birthday. Nintendo themed! lol. It was a lot of fun. I made him a card and a “1 up” cake. I thought the “1 up” idea was great for a birthday – if you don’t know anything about Super Mario Brothers, when you get a “1 up” you get an extra life.
This cake took a bit of research – I’ve never made or used fondant before but it was fun learning how to work with it and I will definitely do it again. I used a marshmallow fondant recipe from this website. The cake was a yellow cake with a layer of cherry preserves in between. Chocolate buttercream frosting covered the whole cake and then the fondant. Here are pictures
A form for cutting the cakes.
The cut cake halves.
Layered and frosted.
The final product. (The eyes are Raisinets).
Brian liked his cake and it tasted pretty good too! The fondant was super sweet but I expected that. We had cake with Brian’s father and his father’s girlfriend after we all had gone out to dinner downtown. Brian and I came back to my place and watched TV for a bit… well, he napped lol. He had to work at 6am this morning. It was a nice day.
I can’t wait for the next birthday now so I can play with another cake!! haha.
Every family has holiday traditions. You might hate them or love them, but you have them nonetheless. My mother’s family gets together every year. This might not sound like a big deal. It is when you have 15 children.
Yes, my mom was #12 of 15 kids. By this time, they have to rent a hall to accommodate all of the children, their children, and now their children’s children as well + all of the significant others and random friends and buddies that pop in. I can honestly say, no, I don’t know the names of all of my first cousins and I really can’t tell you much about my second cousins but I am proud of the fact that I can pretty much look at any of them and place them as being a descendant of one of my Aunt’s and or Uncles.
My father’s family is Polish. You would think this would mean I had a lot of traditional polish foods at Christmas but I don’t recall eating any more polish food during the holidays than we did at any other time of the year. I get the feeling though that I wrongly assume some foods are American in origin when in reality they are Polish or are a Polish take on a traditional American meal.
Anyhow, I came across this little version of the 12 Days of Christmas a couple years ago and I adore it. I am sharing it with you now and I’m sure if you spend any time with me, you’ll hear me talk about some of these dishes at least once.
The 8 Polish Days of Christmas
The first Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, A boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The second Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Two steamed pierogies:
What’s a pierogy? It’s dough, wrapped around meat And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The third Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party Three simmered gwumpkies:
What’s a gwupmky? It’s cabbage, wrapped around meat. Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The fourth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Four baked paprikas:
What’s a paprika? It’s a bell pepper, stuffed with meat. Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The fifth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Five smoked kielbasas:
What’s a kielbasa? It’s pretty much just meat.Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The sixth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Six fried chruschikis:
Let me guess, something from the meat family? Actually, it a delightful pastry with a thin, flaky crust! Ooh, mmmm! Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The seventh Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Seven pitted prunes But I don’t like prunes! Trust me. With this food, you’ll need ‘em, son. Six fried chruschikis Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
The eight Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party, Eight poppy seed cakes Poppies! Poppies! Oh, I’m so sleepy! There’s no place like home!Seven pitted prunes Six fried chruschikis Five smoked kielbasas Four baked paprikas Three simmered gwumpkies Two steamed pierogies And a boiled potato topped with dill weed.
Well, the sadness has subsided a little… or maybe I am just starting to panic again about finals haha. No, I am really feeling better. Shortly after writing that blog last night, Brian offered to come back over (we had gone to dinner earlier), and instead I headed over to his place for the night. It was nice to have the distraction and it did help.
Speaking of dinner last night, it was fabulous! We went to a place downtown called Barcelona’s (spelling?). It is a tapas restaurant, a lot like Sangria’s if you are familiar with Royal Oak. Tapas are basically different types of Spanish appetizers. The entire table typically orders a bunch and they are passed around and shared amongst everyone.
We started with a variety of Spanish olives – they were fabulous - they tasted like they had just come out of the brine barrels in Eastern Market. We then had a variety of sausage and mussels in spicy marinara sauce. The next course was essentially a steak kabob which was very nicely cooked, but it was the horseradish aioli that it was plated upon that stole the show! I was seriously prepared to lift the plate and guzzle that sauce down haha. The last course was rich goat cheese and fresh marinara served with garlic bread. We decided to have dessert as well – bread pudding served with a wonderful caramel sauce. The dessert ended up being painful – not because we were too stuffed but because Brian fried his poor finger on the pan it was served in!
On top of all of that great food, we drank sangria the whole time. By the time we left, I was feeling quite flushed.
Well today is the same ole studying… I am just glad Brian was able to make me feel so much better last night an I can get back to work feeling much happier.
Or maybe not….
Here is my take, and it might be worth 2 cents since I have been actually drinking vinegar, almost daily, since I was a toddler.
White, red wine, apple cider (the gurus favorite pick for some reason), malt, champagne, rice, etc. I will tackle them all. I started with white, sipping out of shot glasses. I began dunking salt and vinegar chips into white vinegar at a very young age (and somehow turned my best friends and mother on to this). I moved on next to apple cider vinegar (otherwise known as ACV) and I have found myself stomping out the calories of the chips by adding a little salt to the vinegar and it cures the bizarre cravings I get.
So… what are the health benefits of all of this vinegar consumption?
Um… I once had to go to an emergency clinic in the middle of the night because I drank too much ACV that was about the same age as me and caused my tongue and throat to swell up so much I couldn’t breathe.
Hmm.. I guess that isn’t a benefit. That is a bizarre side effect to over-consumption – you can become allergic. In fact, for the majority of my life, after drinking vinegar my tongue would swell to bizarre sizes and actually look… well, SPLIT. It was hideous and it ached. And I have no clue why I insisted on continuing to do that to myself.
I cut back after that little episode (which occurred when I was about 17 or 18). By the time I was 20ish I was back on the horse. The subsequent lip/tongue/throat swelling isn’t an issue anymore – no clue why that went away or what “cured” the problem.
The point – I simply cannot put my stamp of approval on vinegar. I think it tastes fabulous. I love it… but I don’t look like I’m 12, I am not superwoman, my skin is NOT perfect, I get colds and the flu… sometimes if I drink too much I get a tummy ache… lol, oh and it doesn’t cure cancer or anything insane like that – I happened to have pre-cancerous cells on my cervix more than once…
OH but vinegar WAS USED to find those pre-cancer cells! (They swab white vinegar over the cervix, shine a bright light on it, and the bad cells show up opaque against the cervix _ I can’t say more about that… I didn’t see it myself).
Oh and I had an allergic reaction when they did that! Imagine that! lol… OK, DON’T imagine that.
So there you go. Drink it if you like (I certainly do), but don’t expect miracles.
I decided I should make a quick post before an early bedtime tonight. These come out of the Household Hi-speed cookbook once again. ENJOY! haha.
- 1 14 1/2 oz can evaporated milk (When the first ingredient is this contradictory to the name of the recipe, it is always a sign of a great family favorite!)
- 1 pound American Cheese, grated (moooo).
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 7pz can pimientos, drained and chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- dash cayenne (yeah, I’m sure that’ll help…)
Heat undiluted milk in upper part of double broiler over hot water. Add cheese to hot milk. Stir until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Cool, stir occasionally. Add remaining ingredients. Blend thoroughly. Store in covered refrigerator jars to be used as needed. This spread keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks (clear indicator of a dairy dish gone waaaay wrong). It is useful for pack-lunch sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, or a stuffing for celery (also great for patching concrete, killing vermin, and giving most of the non-lactose digesting population severe diarrhea).
Makes about 2 cups of filling.
Pimiento Spread not your cup of tea?
Tongue Spread instead?
- 1 cooked beef tongue, ground
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, minced (because that tongue doesn’t have near enough protein for a growing family!)
- 3 sweet pickles, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped cabbage (what goes better with tongue than gas?)
- 3/4 cup minced celery
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons salad dressing
- 1 tsp. catsup
- 1 tsp prepared mustard
Combine tongue, eggs, pickles, and vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Combine Salad Dressing, catsup, and mustard. Add vinegar to season and make filling of spreading consistency. Makes about 4 cups filling.
No serving suggestion was given for this little gem. May I suggest spreading a generous glop of tongue spread on a dry piece of toast for a protein rich and quick breakfast. Or how about using tongue spread to take a jello mold from dull and listless to grey and gay!
Back to my Household Hi-speed Cookbook and toady’s recipe comes from the vegetable casserole section.
Lima Bean Peanut
- 2 cups medium cream sauce (from another recipe in the Rolodex – essentially butter, scalded milk, and flour)
- 1 cup coarsely ground salted peanuts
- 2 cups cooked lima beans, drained
- 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese (because that is clearly what this recipe is missing so far!)
- 1/2 cup chopped pimientos (if you are unaware, green olives and pimientos were food groups back in the 40′s and 50′s)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tablespoon catsup (no commentary needed)
- Butter or margarine
- Buttered Bread crumbs
Prepare cream sauce as directed from previous recipe. Combine with remaining ingredients, except butter, or margarine and crumbs. Blend thoroughly Pour into well-oiled 2-quart casserole. Dot top with butter or margarine. Cover with crumbs. Bake in moderate oven (350F.) about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. (No shit? Wouldn’t that have just been the cat’s pajamas to serve this chilled!?) Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Yes, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to truly appreciate these recipes would be to actually make them and serve them to some poor, unassuming soul. One day, I will make this casserole… and run like hell when it is served.
To be totally honest, I am not sure if I am posting this as just a fun, spoofy, post simply to take a peek into the past and how far women have come OR if I am posting this for those of you who really could use the info.
This youtube vid might be a bit (OK, a LOT) old fashioned, but it really does contain a lot of good info about cooking terms. Men might even find it appealing if they are learning to cook… so long as the overlook the beginning bit about the newlyweds.
So it has been a busy few days but here is a quick catch-up. Mom and Ron came to visit on Thursday afternoon and left yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. Prior to their arrival on Thursday, Brian and I went to his family Thanksgiving dinner at his Aunt and Uncles. It was very nice and I was very stuffed when I got home.
Mom, Ron, and I spent the rest of the weekend busy cleaning, shopping for, organizing, and decorating my apartment. It looks very “homey” now.
Yesterday mom and I went to a nearby antique store where we found a small china cabinet which would work perfectly in my apartment to help with the limited kitchen space. We purchased it and I am so glad we did. After I get it painted up a bit I will be able to really get my kitchen just how I want it finally.
Another great item we purchased was a “Household Hi-Speed Cookbook” – essentially a big Rolodex filled with recipes from the 40′s and 50′s. Mine is turquoise but the pictures I snagged off of E-bay. That particular one went for $46.00 on Ebay after a whopping 31 bids!
I haven’t flipped through it much yet but I am thrilled to see that it is full of retro recipe disasters! Ones that came WITH the Rolodex, not added by the poor original soul who owned it.
So I share with you the first of what I am sure will be many fun and scary recipes from my new found fun item:
NIPPY MOLDIs the name terrifying or what?? Mold? Nippy? EEEK!
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (red flag no.1)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 3oz package cream cheese
- 2 cups well-drained cottage cheese (gotta have that protein element!)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoon horse-radish (the “nippy” element I suspect??)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion juice (I’m sorry, what??)
- 1/4 cup thick cream
- Tomato wedges, water cress, endive, or lettuce
Soften gelatin in cold water. Dissolve over boiling water. Mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese, salt, lemon juice, horse-radish, and onion juice. Add gelatin and cream. Blend thoroughly. Spread evenly in a 2 3/4 cup cold water rinsed or lightly oiled mold. Chill until firm. Unmold. Garnish with tomato wedges, water cress, endive, or lettuce leaves. Makes 4 -6 servings.
Please, if you are thinking about making this for whatever purpose, recall my “note” from a previous post about these vintage recipes!
If anyone had anything this scary at Thanksgiving dinner, please let me know!!
Filed under: books, food, nostalgia, recipes, recommendations, retro recipes, vintage
So this evening I went to the 1/2 price book store – great place and I found a couple Christmas gifts and I also picked up a little something for myself:
This book has me doubled over and I am not even completely done looking through it.
So far, my favorite recipe is the cucumber ice salad; the ingredients list includes:
1/4 pound of marshmallows (based on the name of the salad, this should raise an immediate retro red flag!)
1/3 C lemon juice
2 medium-size cucumbers, grated (enough to yield two cups of pulp)
1 tsp. onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
3 drops of green food coloring
few grains of cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1 tbsp. sugar
8 medium sized tomatoes
But wait, it gets BETTER!!!
The details of how to prepare this are pretty intense but here is the basic run down
You melt the marshmallows and lemon juice and freeze that until “mushy”. Most of the other ingredients are mixed together and then you make a meringue out of the sugar and egg whites and fold that into the rest of the ingredients (including the now half-frozen marshmallow mush).
Bounce that all back into the freezer until solid…
Gut a bunch of tomatoes and put the frozen cucumber puke…er… salad into the tomatoes – serve cold.
Keep barf baggies handy.
Eat your heart out Ted Allen, this is the food that I wanna eat!!!
On a more realistic note, there really IS a recipe I do want to eat and SOON. Salted caramel cheesecake
Picture is from Cream Puffs In Venice and although I normally don’t like using the pictures from other bloggers, I couldn’t help myself this time since this picture caused a bit of chaos in my Constitutional law class today as the people surrounding me all suddenly caught sight of it at the same time and all exclaimed “What is THAT!?”
My mouth waters every time I see that picture…
Last night Brian and I went to the Capital Grille in Indianapolis. The Capital Grille is well known for it’s fine dining and luxurious menu items and last night the restaurant lived up to its reputation.
The first excitement of the evening came in the form of an amuse bouche of a smoked salmon mouse on top of thin cracker, topped with fresh herbs. Although I knew what an amuse bouche was and what it was supposed to represent, I didn’t know how to spell it and today looking it up I learned that it literally is translated to “mouth amuser”. Well this certainly amused my mouth. It was everything an amuse bouche should be – an artful showcase of what is to come.
For an appetizer we were served steak tartare. Brian and I were both wanting to try it but both apprehensive at the idea of the raw egg; fortunately for us there was no raw egg. The tartare consisted of a strong layer of capers, hardboiled egg, and the main layer of filet. We were both stunned at how much we were served for the price. Some of the appetizers can be as costly as an entre but ours was reasonably priced and absolutely wonderful.
For dinner I had a porcini rubbed delmonico steak with an 8 year aged balsamic vinegar. What more is there to say!? Today I couldn’t bear to nuke the left-overs – I ate the rest cold and I would have just as happily have eaten it raw!
Brian had a filet with cippolini mushrooms and onions. It was fantastic as well. We both ordered our steaks medium well and they were done to perfection.
I don’t mean to go on and on about food…. but it truly is an art form to get some of these things just right and whoever was in the back of the house last night was an artist!!
We ended our night with chocolate espresso cake and left very happy. Yes, it was a pricey meal but I think we both agreed it was well worth it. Hopefully I picked something up while I was there because I will probably be cooking some meals while Brian recoups from the bill lol.
Filed under: food
Click the pic to read more about the worlds hottest chili pepper @ MSNBC.com
Brian mentioned this to me the other day and I had heard quick mention of it at some point in the last week or so – the worlds hottest chili pepper has been recently recorded by Guinness and it certainly sounds like a doozey!
I’m a huge fan of jalapenos personally. I do enjoy the heat, but my favorite part of them is their tremendous flavor. I do enjoy them pickled (of course, I enjoy anything pickled!) but I also like them raw and fresh off the stem topping just about any sandwich or traditional Mexican dish. Cubanelles are also a favorite of mine. I think they are a great substitute for traditional green bell pepper recipes, offering a great punch of flavor that will satisfy those who want heat while not offending those with more sensitive taste buds. (Try cubanelles instead of bell peppers the next time you make stuffed peppers!)
However, this new Ghost Chili sounds way too hot for me! Sometimes the heat of these kinds of peppers (and the sauces they make) is so overpowering that the flavors are lost in the mix. I do understand that people living in super hot climates use these kinds of foods more for the purpose of cooling off (ironically) but I think even on these 100 degree days, I am gonna pass.