Monthly Archives: October 2010

This is Halloween…Halloween…Halloween


I love Halloween! I have very fond childhood memories or decorating the house, carving pumpkins, creating haunted houses, and trick or treating. I also associate fall carnivals/pumpkin festivals with Halloween. It’s also the kick-off of the holiday season and the only thing I love more than Halloween in Christmas (just wait, you’ll hear all about it). Anyway, I spent today in “Disney Recovery” which mostly involves napping and drinking tons of water. I also baked pumpkin whoopie pies (more on that later this week) and helped Mom and Dad hand out candy to some of the cutest trick or treaters ever. All in all a successful day.

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup


I’m going to Rpcot tomorrow! =). BFFMandy, BFFMandy’s mom, PZ, and I are going to the Epcot International Food and Wine festival. It is total awesomeness and I am very excited for this year’s new editions: Belgium and South Korea. In honor of our upcoming adventure, I figured it’s an appropriate time to post one of my recent kitchen adventures (this will also make me one post away from being caught up in the recipe posts category).
One of my most favorite things at the Food and Wine Festival is the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from well…Canada. They have this all the time at Le Cellier, the steakhouse in the Canada pavilion, but’s just better during food and wine.

This soup does not photograph well, but it taste’s amazing.

Le Cellier Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
¼ pound of Smoked Bacon (finely chopped, if you freeze the bacon for 10-15 minutes you can chop it fairly easily)
1 Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
½ cup Celery (finely chopped)
½ cup Carrot (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 cups of Whole Milk (room temperature-ish, just not refrigerator cold)
2 cups of Chicken Stock (room temperature-ish, just not refrigerator cold)
12 ounces of Grated or Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
3 dashes of Hot Sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup Beer (Supposedly Disney uses MooseHead Lager, I used Yuengling)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute’ the bacon in large, heavy-bottom, non-reactive soup pot over medium heat until lightly browned (the original directions say not to brown it at this point, but it you don’t it will never get brown and it will be mushy, chewy gross-ness in your soup).
2. Add Onion, Celery, and Carrots and cook until onions are translucent. (SideNote: Chop you veggie pretty small, not like minced, but still pretty small otherwise they don’t cook through and again, it’s not good.)
3. Sprinkle in Flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in Milk and Stock, a little at a time, blending well to ensure that there are no lumps (do this slowly with a little liquid at a time to start.) Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the Cheese, Hot Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and Beer. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
5. Serve and enjoy you yumminess.

That’s all. More from Food & Wine Festival tomorrow.

Recipe Redux: Butternut Squash Calzones


Ok so do y’all remember the EPIC FAIL butternut squash with orzo, chicken, and bacon? Since I can tell you don’t remember let’s recap a little bit ago I was feeling especially fall-ish and what should happen to pop-up in my google reader, but a fantastic sounding recipe for orzo with butternut squash sauce, bacon, chicken, and parmesan. It sounded awesome; I was stoked. So I followed the recipe and it was terrible. The whole thing was cold and mushy and tasted overwhelmingly like mushy bacon. Blech!
However, the squash sauce itself was pretty darn good and I figured I could find a way to make it into soup later in the week. Then a better idea. On Tastespotting, a recipe for Winter Squash Calzones. I had to alter the recipe a little to use what I already had, but it was totally awesome.

Butternut Squash Calzones
Original Recipe Here
Dough (I used Publix Pizza dough made fresh in the bakery, it’s awesomeness)
1/2 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
 1 cup shredded mozzarella or ricotta
¾ cup chevre, or parmesan, or crumbled feta or another pungent cheese
about ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
tomato sauce for serving, if desired

I had previously roasted and pureed my squash onion and garlic (see previous epic fail recipe explanation). But if you’re starting from scratch,
– Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 
– Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the the seeds and rub squash with a little olive oil. Cut Onion in half and rub with olive oil. Roast squash, onions and garlic on a cookie sheet cut sides down. Bake until vegetables are soft and easily pierced through. Squash will generally take about an our onion and garlic will likely be done sooner.
– When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into a larger bowl. (At this point I pureed all the veggies in the food processor). Chop onions and garlic and mix thoroughly with squash to combine. Mix in cheese, (I used mozzarella and goat cheese.)
– Divide dough into four pieces. Press or roll each pieve of dough to desired size (about a quarter inch think). place half to three-quarters cup in on one half of the dough. Fold dough over and press to seal (I used a fork). – Use a fork (the one you used to close the dough will do) to poke the surface of the calzones.
– Place calzones on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
– Remove from oven and allow to cool momentarily. Then Enjoy your awesome creation.


Ruined Plans


Remember the squash from a couple weeks ago? The squash that was an epic fail. Well I found a way to make it awesome. AND I planned to tell ya’ll about it tonight (cause I made it forever ago and I’m way behind), but alas this is not to be. My eye still really hurts and I can’t look at the computer screen long enough to type the post up. *fist shake at the eye health gods*. Hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow cause I also have Canadian Cheddar and Beer Soup to post about in honor of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Until tomorrow.

New Recipe: Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja


I love my crockpot (technically it’s BFFMandy’s crockpot, but whatevs). Back to the point, I love the crockpot. I often leave for work very early and don’t get back until well after 5PM, the crockpot allows for hot home cooked meals with minimal effort after a long day. My latest Crockpot creation was the cuban classic ropa vieja. I got the recipe here.

1    (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
½   cup water
3    bay leaves
1    tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2    teaspoons bottled minced garlic
½   teaspoon ground cumin
¼   teaspoon salt or to taste
¼   teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1    large onion (for about 1 cup slices)
2    pounds skirt or flank steak
1    red bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)   
1    green bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)   
1    (14 ½ -ounce) can diced tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and olive oil

– Put the tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper into the slow-cooker. Stir to combine.
– Peel the onion, and cut it into quarters. Thinly slice the onion quarters, and add them to the cooker.
– Place the beef over the onions, and spoon some of the liquid over the meat. (If you are using skirt steak or flank steak, there will be several thin pieces, and they will overlap in the pot.)
– Rinse the bell peppers, and discard the seeds and membranes. Cut the peppers into quarters, then thinly slice them and add the pieces to the pot.
– Pour the diced tomatoes with their juice evenly on top.
– Cover the pot and cook on low until the meat is so tender that it practically falls apart, about 8-10 hour.

SideNote: I added additional salt, cumin, and garlic powder when I got home. Probably about a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and cumin and salt to taste. BFFMandy and I had this for dinner with brown rice (cause we didn’t have white rice). It was very tasty.


S-S-S-Saturday night


My Mom, who is the person I call when I’m on the verge of kitchen disaster, makes the best red sauce on the face of the flipping planet (I don’t have a recipe for it, I’m just waxing poetic tonight). Those of you who don’t know me, or many other Italians, are probably like red what? I very rarely refer to tomato sauce as spaghetti sauce (although I do occasional just say tomato sauce). Red Sauce in my family is a traditional Italian tomato sauce. I call it red sauce because it’s usage it not restricted to spaghetti it pretty much goes on everything; into lasagna, on meatball subs, over ravioli, into baked ziti, over chicken, sausage, or braciole, y’all are getting the picture. It’s been a tough week around here and a little comfort food was on the menu. Mom made her superfab, most awesome, red sauce, and yes, we did have spaghetti.