Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple Thai Food

I am a fan of Thai food - actually I am a fan of all internationally inspired food.  I just received a copy of Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu and after reviewing it believe it is a must have for someone wanting to experiment with Thai flavors. 

A few of the recipes I have marked to make - Pork Toast with Cucumber Relish (my husband is not a fan of seafood so this will be something along the lines of shrimp toast I can make and he can still enjoy); Stir-Fried Chicken with Chile Jam (the book includes a recipe for chile jam - but I have a wonderful jar from my friend Marc that I can use in this recipe); the photos for Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry look better than any cashew chicken I have ever made; Pad Thai (of course!); and one of my favorite Thai dishes - Spicy Basil Chicken and Fried Eggs on Rice.  There are many seafood, rice and dessert dishes included as well as relishes, sauces and paste recipes.

I have many more complex and detailed Thai books -- but this book is approachable while giving complex flavors and professional looking dishes.

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Thanks for stopping by.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

We just got back from ten days traveling about the West Coast and it was wonderful.  There were piles of books and mail waiting for me including The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook.

I spent last night and this morning reading through the book. I am enjoying the stories and a great deal of the recipes look comforting.  I, like my friend, Cathy, don't like garnishes of bay leaves on top of a bowl of soup - but that being said the soup chapter look delicious - Shrimp and Sweet Corn Chowder, Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Apple and more.

The desserts chapter looks promising as well recipes for Sweet Potato Pie with Rosemary Crust, Peach Icebox Pie, Sweet Autumn Cake are included along with Chess Pie and a tutorial on fried pie.

This is a great Southern cookbook with a few surprises thrown in -- Baked Brussels Sprouts Casserole, Artichoke and English Pea Au Gratin, Hoop and Havarti Macaroni, Chicken Pot Pie with Parsnips and Roasted Leeks.

Overall, I am pleased with the book - and it will be a keeper.  After I make a few recipes I will update my post.

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Do you see all those flags on this book  Those are recipes I am going to make!

Martin Morale's Ceviche -- Peruvian Kitchen is a trip to Peru from your own kitchen.  Don't let the name Ceviche fool you - this book is more than just ceviche recipes.  There is one chapter on Ceviche -- other chapters include Street Food (my favorite), Meat, Vegetarian, Desserts, Drinks and more.  There is a chapter on the Peruvian larder and a list of suppliers for ingredients that might not be in your neighborhood market.

Just a few of the recipes I have bookmarked for cooking up after vacation are:

Bolas De Yuca  -- Cassava and Cheese Croquettes (if I can't find cassava -- I'll substitute potatoes, yams or something similar).  I don't let ingredients that I may not be able to find stop me.  You can always substitute.

Tequenos De Aji De Gallina -- Chicken Spring Rolls -- these looks like no spring roll I have had before - very crispy and full of flavor from pecans, Parmesan cheese, cumin and more!

Costillas Con Sauco -- Pork Ribs with Elderberry Sauce -- easy to find ingredients -- with a recipe for Elderberry Jelly included - and they look incredibly tasty.

Picarones -- Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Doughnuts -- I love a good doughnut!

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in expanding your cooking repertoire.

We're off to points West in a week - we are very excited.  I am most excited about seeing my pal, Pam for lunch on the 4th!  Have a great holiday everyone.

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Citrus Ricotta Zeppole

On Saturday I made Jim this wonderful Chocolate Mousse Cake Pie that I saw on The Chew - the recipe is here.  I'm not a huge fan of chocolate but this was fantastic - the chewy flourless chocolate cake, the crunchy Oreo crust and the soft mousse - perfect.  I have some ideas to mix it up a little next time.

My husband really loves doughnuts.  Don't get all huffy Colorado people but your doughnuts suck (as do your bagels).  Lamar's in Highlands Ranch is okay but it's a little hike and expensive and Lara's down the road is okay but you have to get there before the rooster crows and they only make a limited amount - and then they mock you by putting up a sad frowny face sign on the door at 8:00 a.m. "sorry we are out of our delicious donuts"..well make more!!  

For dinner on Father's Day, I was making marinated skirt steak, grilled corn and homemade curly fries with my new gadget -- I really recommend this baby for potatoes - it does the job.  I see it is out of stock - probably because Nancy Fuller recommended it on her show Farmhouse Rules - but more likely because I posted about it in Cookbook Junkies - and we know how popular I am.  Ha! 

Back to doughnuts or the like - I had some fresh oil heating for the fries and had some ricotta left over from a lasagna so I mixed up some zeppole (my need for something doughnut like).  I found this recipe a long time ago - scaled it down and added either lemon or orange zest -- they are really light and airy - not heavy like the ones you sometimes get at festivals and fairs.

Citrus Ricotta Zeppole 

8 ounces ricotta cheese

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoons baking powder

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tsp vanilla

½ to 1 teaspoon of orange zest or lemon zest

6 cups oil for frying

Cream ricotta with a stand/hand mixer (I used a whisk). Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, and combine well after adding each egg.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Combine dry ingredients to wet ingredients in thirds, mixing well each time until combined (do not over mix).  (I throw it all together and don't overmix).  I'm not a rule follower. 
Let batter stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Pour approximately 6 cups frying oil into a deep pan. Heat up frying oil in a deep pan to about 350 degrees.
When oil reaches 350, put in scoop fulls of the mixture (I use a 1 tablespoon scoop or slightly bigger)  -- we like them light and airy and if you put too much batter in they get crispy on outside and don’t finish cooking on inside.  You may flip them over while frying or turn to cook both sides. I find the smaller ones take about a minute or so on each side. 
Drain on paper towel. Shake or roll in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or eat plain.  Sometimes I like to inject them with lemon curd or strawberry jam – or any other appropriate filling.  But they are perfect plain (with powdered sugar of course).

You can double this recipe – this amount is perfect for 3 or 4 people.  Makes about 20 small zeppole.    

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and like any good Irish Catholic girl - I wanted to make something with a little spice.  Truth be told - I wanted a cold vat of margaritas and an IV but the men like to eat.

I had a chicken to roast - and picked up some chorizo at the market.  I had some fajita seasoning from my Hamptons Lane Southwestern Fiesta box so I was ready to go.

I served this chicken with a side of rice with lime zest and black beans -- seasoned with cumin...I also made a pull apart type of bread - stuffed with chorizo and cheese - it was a hit.  I sprinkled a little cilantro on the bread when it was pulled from the oven.

Roast Chicken with Chorizo

1 chicken - I take my chicken out of the fridge about 15 to 20 minutes before I put it into the oven (no one has died yet)
roughly 12 oz. of pork chorizo
1/2 stick of butter
Liberal amount of spices - I used a fajita seasoning mix (garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cumin)

Preheat oven to 400.

Fry up chorizo until brown and cooked through.  After it is cooked I added a 1/2 stick of butter into the chorizo mix. This butter and chorizo bastes the bird while it's cooking and gives you tasty juices to serve over your meat or rice.

Clean the chicken and pat it dry.  I seasoned liberally with the fajita seasoning mix - if you don't have a special blend - mix up some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin (or whatever spices you like).  I sprinkled the blend into the cavity, on the outside of the skin and under the skin as well.

I let the chorizo butter mixture cool a bit and then I loosened the skin around the breast of the chicken and packed the chorizo mix under the skin - you can use your hand on top of the skin to spread the mixture out without breaking or tearing the skin.  I stuffed chorizo mix wherever I could get it (into thigh cavity etc.)

I roasted the bird about 60 minutes total.  Every ten minutes I kept checking it and basting it with the juices that ran from the bird.  After the bird has reached temperature - let it rest 15 minutes or more before slicing.

It was incredibly flavorful and moist.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu Macaroni and Cheese

I had this idea to use up some leftover ham.  I was so proud of myself  - a new recipe!   I googled after I made it – many a blogger had beat me to it – mine is a little different and “Three Servings Andrew” gave it two thumbs up and a fist bump.

Original recipes - I don't think they exist anymore --  maybe on Chopped because no one has made anything with some of those weird combinations of ingredients.  Twenty something years ago when Bryan was a little boy - I put an Oreo into a cookie, into brownies, I topped brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough or peanut butter cookie dough -all these folks ranting and screaming about their "content" - nothing is new - we've all made it before.  I do think we should link back to recipes we find on blogs (original or not) - and NEVER edit, copy or post a recipe into a Facebook post - but we all need to get over ourselves.  Changing an ingredient - does not a new recipe make. 

That being said  -- I do have respect for some of these beautiful blogs.  The pictures are gorgeous and everything  is just perfect.  Newsflash - nothing is perfect in this house.  We eat the food that I make.  I seldom have time for a half-assed picture let alone - staging a photo - a light box....that's a lamp in our house. I do not have time to post once a day - and I don't have time to read blogs that post more than once a week - I'm lucky if I get to some of my friends once a week.  I guess there is a market out there for people looking to kill time - my time is dead already.  Dead and buried.  I love my blogger friends and I do try to get to their posts - it's all about support - but this blog is entitled Mad Rantings -and occasionally that is what I do.

So here it is - my not so original Chicken Cordon Bleu Macaroni and Cheese...or Three Servings Pasta.


1 pound box of farfalle pasta – cook and rinse – I only cooked my pasta in salted water for 7 minutes (the box said 11 – the pasta cooks in the sauce and in the oven – so trust me – 7 minutes and rinse thoroughly). Reserve one cup of the cooking liquid. 

½ pound of diced ham (or more to your liking)

homemade chicken cutlets or nuggets  – two cutlets – or about 12 good size HOMEMADE nuggets, diced about the same size as the ham  (if you want to pick up two cutlets from the deli – go ahead or two orders of chick-fil-a nuggets – I won’t tell anyone – but please please please don’t put “Mc” anything into this pasta.

4 tablespoons of butter

4 tablespoons of flour

Salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of Dijon, a sprinkling of fresh grated nutmeg

Two gloves of diced garlic

½ pound of grated Italian fontina

1 quart of whole milk

Topping:  ½ cup of panko, olive oil and parsley for the topping

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook farfalle or pasta of your choice as directed above (RESERVE one cup of cooking liquid).

Melt butter and sauté garlic until fragrant, add flour – cook a few minutes – add milk, dijon, nutmeg, salt, ground pepper – to your tastes.  I used about a tsp of salt, ground pepper and about a ¼ of a tsp of nutmeg).  Note: Diced onion would be wonderful in this as well -- since I don't want to watch my husband dissect a dish which would bring about my inner need to strangle...I don't put diced onion into anything -- I do put onion into the food processor and hide it that way but I didn't yesterday.

I let this cook about five to ten minutes – add the cheese.   Let the cheese melt into sauce.

Add the pasta, chicken and ham into sauce and then add ½ to ¾ cups of reserved pasta cooking liquid – it loosens up the sauce without making it too rich and globby.  Globby is a word.  My word. 

Top with a little shredded fontina and bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven – up oven temp to broil.

In a small bowl – add panko, olive oil and parsley and then sprinkle on top of pasta – and  place under broiler for a minute or two – KEEP AN EYE ON IT.  If the smoke alarm goes off -- it's over done.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Clan Wars

I wake up in the morning terrified. My heart races and I feel nauseated.

Will he be in a good mood?  How long will it take me to get him to urinate and wash his hands?  The fastest it has been is five minutes, the most it has taken is forty five minutes.  Will I stay calm?  Will I get some breakfast into him before he has to take his medicine?  Will the eggs be hot enough?  Will the waffle be crispy enough?  Will something set him off? Will we make it on time to school today - four days a week we don't.  Will I be a good and patient mom.  Trust me, some mornings I'm not.

The last few nights he hasn't been sleeping well and neither have I.  I'm going through a flare up right now  - and I'm in incredible pain.  I don't complain about it....I just try to deal with it.  Pain has been my life for thirty years now - that isn't a "pity me" statement - it is a fact.  I have a high tolerance for it - but this week it has been bad.

Earlier this week a crown broke - not one of the ones I wear during dress up - but one of those that live in my mouth.  Waiting for a dentist to call back is annoying.  Teeth have always been a worry for me.  I want to keep my teeth in my mouth.  My mother kept her's in a glass in the cupboard.  My father did too.  I want empty glasses in my cupboard.

Last night was a particularly bad night - he is so anxious about this game he is playing.  We cut games completely and now they have eased back into his life.  When there are no friends around -- and I've exhausted all avenues - I have to let the child have something.   It's Clash of Clans or something like that.  He wants to join a "cool clan"  - don't we all?  He wants to partake in clan wars.  He wants people to join his clan.  We put him to bed at 8:15 and I went up at 9:30 and he was still awake.  He was whimpering.  "Help me with my problem, mommy."

I asked him what his problem was.  He wants to join a cool clan and they are all full.  We talked for thirty minutes.  He was still up at 10:15.

Before 5 a.m. he came into our bed and I hurry and got him back to his bed and stayed with him.  At 7 a.m. I got up and Andrew went back to our bed.  Jim was showering.  From 7:30 until 8:05 -- I tried to wake him up.  He wouldn't budge.  The anxiety he lives with over the most inane things wipes him out.  I got him out of bed at 8:10 - and it took feats of strength to do that.

I made eggs and sourdough toast - and played Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah and that calmed him.  While I went to get his clothes and get dressed to take him to school - he had made his way upstairs to check out his game.

He was hysterical -- "They started the clan wars - they started the clan wars - in the middle of the night -they started them."  I told him that this was enough of that game - that it wasn't for him.  He screamed "I fucking hate you" and tried to hit me.  I started to cry.  I'm tired.  I'm weak.  I live clan wars every day.

It took another fifteen minutes after I pulled myself together - to pull him together.  I got him from red to yellow.  I got him dressed - we left.  We signed into school - late again.

He has been doing great things at school.  He is in the 99th percentile in the nation for math.  He is in fourth grade and at an eight grade level.  He is above superior in his IQ -- the psychologist told us yesterday that it would have been a higher rating if his autism didn't get in his way - his flapping, pacing and attention- if it is something he is not interested in - or if he just wants to get it over with - he guesses - or skips the question.  They are doing great things for him - speech groups and counseling groups.  

Every morning - I wonder how I can make it through another the time I pick him up at lunch his meds are in and he's in a good place.  When we go to sleep -- I worry about the morning.  I know I will get through the war - if the daily battles don't kill me.