Monday, April 23, 2012

Fruit Pizza-Try It!!

I always like to learn new recipes, but I also like to know what is in my food and how it is processed. I found this great article that combines both. Carrie introduced me to irradiation. Irradiation is a FDA process that increases the shelf life of food products. Carrie leaves a sweet taste in your mouth with an amazing recipe for fruit pizza. Check out this link to get her thoughts on irradiation and an unbelievable recipe for the summer!

Shots Fired in the Kitchen!

I found this cookbook everyone needs to learn about especially if you love to entertain. Jelly Shots Test Kitchen by Michelle Palm takes your party to the next level. She turns classic cocktail recipes into fantastic jello shots, by using ingredients found at the grocery and liquor stores. I love the shots because I can whip them up at a moments notice. Even my friends that do not drink often, find the shots clever and tasty. Michelle has a fun blog that has pictures and recipes to even more drinkable treats.

Here is the link to Michelle's blog

Salad is Incompatible with Life

Salad is Incompatible with Life

Yes, my waist is fifty inches -
Big for me because I'm short.
And yes, I like my cheddar cheese
When partnered with a vintage port.

Okay, okay, that double cream
Is always served with pud,
And cake and biscuits with my tea
Are just no bloody good

For my poor hardened arteries,
But see my point of view,
Please dear wifey if you please,
A Salad makes me spew!

I'd rather eat a bowl of air
Than crunch away on greens;
Drink water from the toilet bowl
Or nibble on my jeans!

But salad! Are you there?
You know it makes me snappy -
So let me fill my face with grub,
Stay fat, and die young happy!

Copyright Mark R Slaughter 2009

Dessert for Breakfast?

Dessert for Breakfast? I say why not, especially if there are bananas in your cake. Oh, and did I mention CHOCOLATE. Yes, chocolate and bananas together-who can resist? Here is a wonderful banana cake with chocolate glaze recipe. I made this Sunday night for friends and saved one last slice for this morning for breakfast. I advise you to make this for your friends so you do not devour it in one sitting.

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Yields 2 8-inch cake layers (or 9 x 13" cake)
Banana Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease 2 8-inch baking pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the bananas and vanilla extract.
Alternatively add and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter evenly between prepared baking pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from cake pans. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Glaze
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Glaze will be thick. Remove from heat and frost cake before glaze hardens

How to make Bread

Alton brown shows us how to do it all! 

Bread is one of the most common baked goods and one of the hardest to master. With lots of patience and perseverance you can break bread as quickly as you can make bread. Here's how!


  • 1 pound bread flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 10 ounces bottled or filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing the rising container
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


Combine 5 ounces of the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast, all of the honey, and all of the bottled water in a straight-sided container; cover loosely and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
Place the remaining 11 ounces of flour, remaining yeast, and all the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the pre-ferment from the refrigerator. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the mixture on low for 2 to 3 minutes just until it comes together. Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, knead the dough on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes or until you are able to gently pull the dough into a thin sheet that light will pass through. The dough will be sticky, but not so sticky that you can't handle it.
While the dough is kneading, pour half of the hot water into a shallow pan and place on the bottom rack of your oven.
Grease the inside of a large straight-sided container with the vegetable oil. Place the dough ball into the container and set on the rack above the pan of water. Allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a counter top, lightly dust your hands with flour, and press the dough out with your knuckles; then fold 1 side in towards the middle of the mass and then the other, as if you were making a tri-fold wallet. Repeat the folding a second time. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.
Flatten dough again with your knuckles and then fold the dough in onto itself, like you are shaping something that looks like a jellyfish. Turn the dough over and squeeze the bottom together so that the top surface of the dough is smooth. Place the dough back onto the counter and begin to roll gently between your hands. Do not grab the dough but allow it to move gently back and forth between your hands, moving in a circular motion. Move the dough ball to a pizza peel or the bottom of a sheet panthat has been sprinkled with the cornmeal. Cover with the kitchen towel and allow to bench proof for 1 hour, or until you poke the dough and it quickly fills back in where you poked it.
Place an unglazed terra cotta dish upside down into the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the 1/3 cup of water and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Uncover the dough and brush the surface with this mixture. Gently slash the top surface of the dough ball in several places, approximately 1/3 to 1/2-inch deep. Add more of the hot water to the shallow pan if it has evaporated. Slide the bread onto the terra cotta dish in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Once the bread has reached an internal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F, remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

An Interview with Alton Brown

I found this great interview with Alton Brown. I think I have more in common with him than a love of food.  

When did you realise you could cook?

AB : 
College. I had a pathetic social life, and I couldn’t get dates very easily -- at all -- and I found that if I offered to cook for a girl, my odds improved radically over simply asking a girl out. Through my efforts to attract the opposite sex, I found that not only did cooking work, but that it was actually fun.

I worked in restaurants all through high school and college. I had always been in a kitchen with my mom and grandma and relatives and then, yeah, I watched cooking shows, although I found them to be uniformly unsatisfying, which is why I ended up where I ended up.

What's the best way for a chef to impress his lady friend? Would it be knowledge of place, food or wine?

AB : 
No. Not at all. Um, hospitality all the way. Hospitality -- you know, showing that you love or care about the simplicity of having someone at your table and serving them from the heart. I know people that could serve me canned tuna and saltine crackers and have me feel more at home at their table than some people who can cook circles around me. The more you try to impress people, generally the less you do. 

And as far as getting to a woman’s heart through her stomach, I don’t think that there’s anything that is more important than just simply being yourself and sharing what you like. For the people that come into my house, I cook very simple food. My number one rule for cooking is just to do no harm. You know, buy simple, good ingredients and don’t mess them up. And don’t try to cover them up with your ego and your ability to use 15 different herbs and spices -- how about just cook the chicken and don’t screw it up?

You know, a lot of men want to make it look like they can conquer the food, um, and I think that’s the big mistake. You should just simply do it right.

To become a successful chef, which is more important: receiving professional schooling or learning the ropes "on the street"?

AB : 
I would say that it is like anything else: Professional schooling can get in the way as much as it can help. So I would have to say: the street. Life is always the best teacher, no matter what you’re doing.

Read more:

My Interview With Rob

Rob has been my best friend for the past 5 years and he is one of the reasons I am so obsessed with food. Rob loves cooking and eating, but most of all he introduced me to Alton Brown on the Food Network. I decided to interview Rob and find out why he loves food and Alton Brown.

Me: What was the first thing that came to your mind when I told you I had never cooked before?

Rob: At first I thought you were kidding. When I realized how serious you were I had nothing, but pity for you. 


Rob: I knew you were going to starve or never have any money if I didn't help you.

Me: When did you start cooking?

Rob: My grandmother and mom brought me into the kitchen. They would feed me as we cooked, calling me their taste tester. Everything in my family was about coming together, eating and sharing. 

Me: How did you hear about Alton Brown?

Rob: My dad and I would watch the Food Network together. His show was one of our favorites because of his sense of humor and history of each cuisine's culture. I also liked how he explained the science behind everything. 

I Scream for Cream

Everyone needs to cool off during the summer and the best way to do that is by eating a cool, crisp fruit salad with layers of whipped cream. I love all of the fruit that is in this season and the best part of fruit salad is how you can always mix and match different flavor combinations. I like to slice up peaches, bananas, strawberries and nectarines, but my favorite part is making the whipped cream. Alton Brown has a great recipe that takes no more than 20 minutes to make whipped cream from scratch.



Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.

Believe It or Not

Ever wonder what the heck a snozeberry was? Well wonder no more because this fictional fruit was never the reference of a fruit to begin with. Instead, according to Urban Dictionary, the term refers to male genitalia.

Believe it or Not

I found this dangerously delicious recipe for stuffed artichokes. Believe it or not, everything is edible and easy to make at home. My favorite part of this recipe is how the artichoke is the vessel you serve the dish in. This makes for an easy clean up afterwards.

Stuffed Artichokes

Recipe type: Appetiser, Entree
Author: Anda Pleniceanu
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 3
Green artichokes stuffed with a Mediterranean filling.
  • 3 large artichokes (they should be green, with no brown leaves)
  • 2 l water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp herbes de provence (mix of rosemary, savoury, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, lavander, tarragon and sage)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp minced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp ground fresh parmigiano reggiano
  1. Wash the artichokes well, spreading the leaves of the plant so that water can reach the base of the leaves.
  2. Cut the stems of the artichokes and the small leaves at the bottom of the plant. The artichokes should be able to stand on a flat surface.
  3. Slice the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the artichokes with a sharp knife, then cut the top of all the remaining leaves with scissors. The top of the leaves is very sharp so be careful!
  4. In a big pot, bring the water to boil, then add the vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil and the artichokes. Cook on low, covered, for 10 minutes. The vinegar keeps the artichokes from turning brown.
  5. Remove the artichokes from the water, turn them upside down so all the water is drained, then let them cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 250F/ 120C.
  7. In a bowl, toss together 2 Tbsp olive oil, herbes de provence, minced garlic, sun dried tomatoes, bread crumbs and parmigiano. Stir until they are well blended and the flavours start to fuse.
  8. When the artichokes have cooled, discard the leaves at the centre and the fuzzy part with a teaspoon. Don’t worry if you cannot remove everything, as you can discard them later, when you are in the process of eating the artichokes. I like to keep as much as possible from the artichoke because of the amazing nutritional properties of the plant. The point in removing the leaves is to make some place for the filling.
  9. Stuffing the artichokes is best done with the hands. Spread the leaves of the artichoke and drop the filling in between the leaves. Drop a larger amount of filling on the top of the artichoke. Continue until all artichokes are filled evenly.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove, let cool for a couple of minutes, then eat by pulling out the leaves and eating the filling on each of the leaves. Make sure to eat the “meaty” part at the base of each leaf. The leaves get more tender as you get closer to the base so you will be able to eat more of the leaf. When you get to the fuzzy part (if you did not remove all of it), get rid of it with a teaspoon and enjoy the heart of the artichoke. It’s really delicious!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tacos @ Home

I love finding out how different chefs interpret the same dish. Something as simple as tacos are made around the world in restaurants and in the home. Here are two great recipes that interpret how to make tacos differently and deliciously in your own kitchen!

I love this Carnitas recipe because it is well illustrated  and straight forward including alot of ingredients I already owed. 

Here is an Alton Brown recipe that is simple and easy!

I love this Alton recipe because he makes a reduced stew, which is not a traditional way of cooking the taco meat. 


  • 3/4 cup peanut oil
  • 12 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas
  • Kosher, for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon for beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 16 ounces ground sirloin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 recipe Taco Potion #19, recipe follows
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 6 ounces panela cheese, crumbled
  • 12 pickled jalapeno slices
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce, optional
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • Special equipment: heavy duty aluminum foil

Taco Potion #19:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Put all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Make a taco mold by folding a 5-foot long piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil into a block that is approximately 8 inches long, 4 inches high and 2 inches deep, forming a shape to mold the taco. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the peanut oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer, about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.
Shape 1 tortilla around the aluminum foil mold, forming a taco shape. Use tongs to hold up the sides against the mold and put the bottom of the tortilla into the hot oil and fry for 20 seconds. Lay 1 side of the tortilla down in the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds. Flip the tortilla over and fry for an additional 30 seconds. Remove the taco shell to a cooling rack set over a newspaper lined half sheet pan and cool for 30 seconds before removing the mold. Sprinkle the hot tortillas with kosher salt, to taste. Repeat frying procedure with the remaining tortillas. Keep the taco shells warm in the heated oven while preparing the filling.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil from the skillet and return to medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned around the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and garlic. Cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up the meat. Add Taco Potion and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Assemble each taco with meat mixture, panela, jalapeno slices, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Blow Your Mind Tacos

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery

I found this taco place after moving to the Upper West Side.  I heard about them  though a friend who is in the area. I didn't believe him when he said the best tacos he ever had was at the back of a bodega. This photo is of their beef taco (or bisteck taco) with hot sauce provided at the counter. Everyone there is very friendly, and your order comes quickly. They offer a variety of authentic tacos and will even indulge making taco combos you like. One bisteck taco (seen above) is $2.50  and none of their tacos are over $4. If you want to quench your thirst, they offer a plethora of Mexican sodas with real sugar cane. For the over 21, there are Mexican beers to choose from. All drinks will still keep your meal around $10 including a $1 tip for ladies that make AMAZING tacos!