Eating is OK

Monday, December 17, 2007

Corn and Bean Salsa

I got this recipe (along with a jar of the finished product) from my friend Laura. She was smart to give me the recipe. It's that "teach a person to fish" concept. I always think of her when I make it.

Important Note: We usually put in 5 teaspoons, not tablespoons of hot sauce. I like it with the larger amount, but most people in our family can't eat it that hot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More on Cheese Balls

As I made my cheese balls this year I paid more attention to what I really put into them. The fact is, I don't follow the recipe. Here it is with the modifications:

For two small cheese balls:

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
4 oz. 10 oz. cheddar cheese, grated I think more cheddar goes in every year
1 oz. crumbled blue cheese This year I'm trying a smoked blue
3/4 cup one 6 oz. pkg. chopped pecans or 1/3 c. cracked peppercorns to coat (you could also use parsley, etc.)

grate the cheese while it is still cold. Then let all ingredients come to room temperature. Mix thoroughly in food processor. Spread the coating materials out on two squares of plastic wrap, and divide the cheese evenly onto the coating materials. Carefully shape into a ball while rolling it around in the coatings. Since it is quite soft, it gets all over, but eventually it works. Place in a round bowl and gather the plastic wrap up and twist to seal. Let it chill, then serve with the round side up.

Here I am, set up to start.

Don't worry about chopping things too finely.

Blop the cheese mixture onto the prepared coating.

You can use the plastic wrap to push the coating onto the bottom of the cheese.

Once you've gotten a start, the coating will keep your fingers out of the cheese.

Don't worry about trying to have every bit of cheese covered.

Pull up the edges of the plastic wrap and shape into a ball.

The final product, ready for the tree decorating party on Sunday:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Muffaletta Utah

For those not familiar with the muffaletta, it's a New Orleans sandwich from the Italian tradition. Like a lot of foods developed in New Orleans, it's next to impossible to find these anywhere else. While living in New Orleans and the surrounding environs, if you want a muffaletta you just go out and buy one. If you have the odd urge to make your own, you can buy olive salad and muffaletta bread at the grocery store. It's a cold, cruel world everywhere else.

The first hurdle you encounter in the outside world is finding bread. The muffaletta is a soggy sandwich, and requires a sturdy bread. However, it shouldn't be particularly crusty, so most artisan breads are out. If I have time to make my own bread, I use the Sicilian Bread recipe from Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman. It calls for fine semolina, which makes it sturdy but not heavy. I shape it into flattish rounds maybe 8" across.

This time I didn't have time to bake, so we tried ciabatta, which Paul and Chris found at Granato's.

The loaves were a little too thick, so had to have the middles shaved out; and I thought they were a little too dry on the corners: probably because they are square rather than round; a real muffaletta loaf doesn't have corners. Other than that they worked fine, so I think you could use a ciabatta recipe and just make the breads round.

The second hurdle you encounter is finding olive salad. Olive salad is the key ingredient, the thing that turns a ham and salami sandwich into a muffaletta. Caputo's in Salt Lake now carries an authentic olive salad, which is a great relief. Oddly, Todd and Joanne say that the muffaletta they serve in their restaurant still doesn't taste authentic.

Before Caputo's began carrying it, we made our own olive salad. I would get a couple of 8 oz. bottles of pickled giardinara, that Italian pickle mix containing celery, onions, and so forth, and maybe a pound of Italian-seasoned green olives in oil. That's a deli item; I haven't found it at grocery stores. We would drain off and discard the vinegar from the giardinara, then laboriously carve the olives away from the pits, retaining the seasoned olive oil. We would mix the giardinara with the olives and their oil and let the mixture marinate overnight. We would keep a regular bottle of green olives in reserve in case our marinated mix came up short.

The meat isn't so hard. Ham, salami, and some kind of white cheese such as provolone or mozzarella is good enough. However, since we are deli-heads we usually go Italian on the ingredients. This time Chris did the shopping. This is what he came up with:

1. 1 lb. Genovese; 2. 1 lb. Capicola; 3. 2 lbs. Mortadella, but we only ended up using half of it; 4. 1 lb. Provolone--I would have bought twice as much, but people seemed satisfied with this amount; 5. 2 lbs. olive salad, but we could have used 3 lbs; 6. 1 lb. Sopresatta calabrese (you can use regular sopresatta if you don't like spicy foods)

I don't think anyone but Chris would put mortadella in a muffaletta, but it works. Chris hasn't been to New Orleans, but lived in Italy for a few years, so that probably explains it.

The other key ingredient is garlic.

I believe one mistake most restaurants make is skipping the first step of muffaletta preparation, which is to brush the breads with olive oil and then spread with fresh crushed garlic.

I figured on three people sharing one sandwich since the ciabatta loaves were so large, and crushed six cloves of garlic for each ciabatta: 2 cloves per person.

At this point some people add a layer of olive salad to the bread; it sounds like a good idea. We usually just start slapping on the meats, usually a pound of meat per sandwich since several people will share it, and cheese.






We like our muffalettas toasted so the cheese gets all melty and the garlic on the "lid" gets roasted. We then pile on the olive salad

put on the lid, and divide it up.

In retrospect, I believe the same amount of ingredients spread over three ciabatta instead of four would have been better.

For those who want an actual recipe, try this:

Mufaletta to serve 4

1 ciabatta loaf or large round, flat Sicilian loaf
4-6 oz. ham
4-8 oz. salami
4-6 oz. provolone cheese
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 c. olive oil
1 lb. olive salad

Slice bread in half horizontally (make a bottom and top). Spread both halves of bread with olive oil and crushed garlic. Spread half of the olive salad on the bread which will be the bottom of the sandwich. Pile on the meats, then the cheese. Toast along with the other half of the bread (oiled side up) until sandwich is hot all the way through. Pile on remaining olive salad, add lid, and cut in four pieces. Serve.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not-Core Granola

I am addicted to this stuff. Only problem--it has to have nuts and dried fruit in it, or I'm not happy. And those foods are not on WW Core. So when I have this for breakfast, it uses up most of my flex points for the day. Granola or bread? Bread or granola?


POINTS® value | 4 (the Non-Core components are 3 of them)
Servings | 30
serving size 1/3 c. (it's OK if it's a teense over)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


6 cups uncooked rolled grain cereal: I especially like rolled triticale and Bob's Red Mill 5-grain cereal
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/3 c. (150 gm) almonds
1 scant cup (120 gm) cashews
1 cup (120 gm) shelled hazelnuts

1/2 can frozen juice concentrate (I like orange peach mango or white grape peach)
1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp olive oil

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apricot halves, cut into fourths


Mix cereals, nuts and seeds in a large bowl. Mix juice, salt, oil and extract in a small bowl. Pour liquid mixture over dry mixture and toss well until thoroughly blended.

Spread out on two baking sheets with sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stir well. Bake 10 minutes, stir well. Bake 10 minutes, stir well. You can divide that last 10 minutes into two 5-minute bakes for even better results. Do not just stick in and cook for half an hour without stirring, because the outside will burn and the inside will not toast.

Let cool slightly. Mix in the dried fruits and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Foofaraw Salad

1 1-serving pack or can of little shrimp
1 stalk of celery, sliced thinly
2 green onions, sliced thinly
3 baby carrots, grated
2 T. salsa or other red sauce
optional: avocado, peeled and halved

Mix all ingredients and enjoy. Makes one good-sized serving without the avocado, or two servings if served on the avocado halves.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Large Quantities of Gulasch

10 lbs of beef.

I was planning on a total of 25 people eating the Gulasch. Some would be repeats. It turned out to be the never-ending Gulasch. It wouldn't even fit in the crockpot for serving, and the next night when I added the portion that wouldn't fit to the first night's leftovers, the crockpot was full up again. So maybe 10 lbs of meat was slight overkill. But people got to take some home, and there is some in the freezer for some time in the future when we aren't tired of it.

Of course 10 lbs of beef means 10 lbs of onions.

I tried a new tactic for dealing with the onions. I tied a wet towel around my face to keep onion molecules out.

I did all the onion cutting under running water. Of course all the slicing was in the food processor. I forgot to keep my mouth shut when I opened the food processor the first time and got a gulp of hot gas that went straight to my sinusses despite the mask. After that I remembered and did not suffer much.

Cooking that quantity of onions required a little maneuvering. I fried each processor-load of onions while cutting up the next. Shoved them aside, saw a lot of onion liquid collecint, turned it to high to dissipate this extra liquid. Some stirring. Pushed them aside again for the new lot, added another T. or two of oil. I did get a little sticking towards the end, but no problem. A little burnt onion just addes to the flavor.

I set the onions aside and browned the meat, with some salt and pepper, in several batches. I didn't need to add any oil until the last batch and then not much. Threw all the meat back in the pot then added

7 T. of Hungarian style paprika.
half a cup of tomato paste
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 T. salt

Stirred it up, threw the onions and their collected liquid back in; added a tsp. of chopped garlic as an afterthought, and maybe two cups of liquid.

Cooked three hours, stirring every half hour, while listening to Don Giovanni.

It seemed to need a little more salt the second night; maybe I just didn't notice the first night. I put in maybe 1 1/2 tsp.

Served it on Spaetzele:
4 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
4 eggs

beat to gooey batter; have your water already boiling (no salt needed); quickly press half the goo through something with quarter-inch holes. I use my pizza pan.

Cook them 3 minutes, then drain and cook the second half.

At this point I made a second batch of Spaetzele goo and tried to cook it in the same water. Not a good plan. You need fresh water after cooking the above recipe.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fantasy Fudge

4 c. sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter
1 1/3 c. cream
12 oz. Belgian bittersweet chocolate.
1 jar marshmallow creme or 7 oz. marshmallows
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter and cream. Bring to a boil, stir 5 minutes over medium heat to form a soft ball stage; then go just a noodge longer so it will be a little firmer. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips, add marshmallows or marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Breakfast Bananas Foster

4 ripe but still firm bananas
1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter (real butter)
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice or applesauce

Slice the bananas in half lengthwise, then cut those sections in quarters.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the banana sections. Fry until they begin to be golden brown, then add brown sugar a little at a time until the sauce begins to look like caramel. When the sugar is melted, add the juice or applesauce until you have a spoonable texture. You will need less liquid if you use juice than if you use applesauce. Heat through, and serve on waffles.

Cheese Balls

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
4 oz. (thereabouts) cheddar cheese, grated
1 oz. crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup chopped pecans or cracked peppercorns to coat (you could also use parsley, etc.)

grate the cheese while it is still cold. Then let all ingredients come to room temperature. Mix thoroughly in food processor. Spread the coating materials out on two squares of plastic wrap, and divide the cheese evenly onto the coating materials. Carefully shape into a ball while rolling it around in the coatings. Since it is quite soft, it gets all over, but eventually it works. Place in a round bowl and gather the plastic wrap up and twist to seal. Let it chill, then serve with the round side up.