Sunday, December 25, 2011
2011 has been an educational and milestone (cookbook published) year for me. I want to thank everyone that has supported me in the cookbook and food blog this year. I hope you all enjoy and get some useful information out of them. I have really enjoyed doing them and look forward to continuing the food blog and promoting the cookbook.
2012 looks like it will be an exciting year too. I am now doing a food segment twice a month on KQ2 in St. Joseph, Missouri and will start a monthly column in the Nodaway News Leader in January under the "Cabana Boy Cooks" heading. I am also hoping to do some college lecturing this coming year.
Because of the holiday season, the blog for the week between Christmas and New Years will consist of just this blog today. Cabana Boy Cooks will be back with its regular format starting January 3rd.
Again, HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
instead of molds/rings to keep mixture cold.
for a good Mexican beer. It is just a difference in personal taste.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
to use a 2 quart baking dish if you do.
The recipe can also be made by hand with a fork, spoon or
spatula. You will just need to chop the artichoke hearts to
a size you like. This way will not be as smooth as the
motorized ways but that should not be a problem. Enjoy!
the bread slices with the tomato mixture and place on a
nice platter for service.
(serving either way) is a nice addition to the taste.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Remember to do your planning if you're hosting one of these fun times. In doing that planning, try to offer a good variety and items that make sense, both seasonally and functionally. Mix up the heavy and light type dishes, the hot, cold or room temperature recipes, the sweet and non-sweet items, finger foods and those requiring a utensil to set a great spread for your guests. You'll want both a variety of alcohol and non-alcohol beverages too.
Now don't kill yourself putting on your function. You don't have to make everything from scratch, mix and match bought items, semi-homemade and some made-from-scratch dishes. The same goes in the beverage department. A mix of sodas, beers, wines and a homemade punch (both alcoholic & non), drink making station or two gives plenty of choice.
In the food area, soups or chili make for a great comfort food this time of year. Depending on the type of party you are throwing, real dishes or disposable ones can handle the need. Mini sandwiches, either a pre-made or a make your own setup work well too. Dips of one kind or another using vegetables, chips (variety) or crackers are always popular with party goers. Cheese trays, Antipasto platters and relish dishes add easy foods to this type of party too.
And don't forget the sweets! Cookies, bars, candies and nuts (both sweetened and not) are just a few items for this category (bought or made).
But there are many other types of new and interesting foods to try and many cookbooks or websites to give you ideas. Just remember that you are only limited by Your Taste Buds and Imagination when it comes to partying. From those famous words of Wayne and Garth "Party On!"
Speaking of cookbooks, I'll list a few ideas for your parties from my own.
For soups: Barry's Chili (no beans), Chili (ground beef & beans), Dave's Green Chili, Hearty Vegetable Beef and Robinson's Hearty Hodgepodge.
For sandwiches: Bacon Dogs, Italian Sausage w/Peppers & Onions, Meatball Subs and Taverns (sloppy joes)
For party food (Odds N' Ends chapter): Hot Crab Dip, Mexican Hot Dip, Nadine's Corn & Black Bean Salsa and Spinach & Artichoke Dip. If you have the money, try the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp.
Tomorrow's blog will have a couple of recipes for food items and Friday's will have a few drinks. Enjoy the season and may your football team win if they're in a bowl game.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
For those of you that don't know, the show is done in two segments. We'll do about 3 1/2 minutes in which we explain the dish we're making and what you need to do and then the show goes to a commercial break. After the break, we're back on for about 1 1/2 minutes and Luana and William sample the dish. They tell everyone how much they like the dish. They really have liked all 4 of mine because they continue eating until they're stuffed or it's gone after we are off the air. Then the show signs off.
The show yesterday didn't quite go like that. They had tried to show a segment on something earlier in the show and it didn't work. So they were going to try it again later (my understanding). I believe they try to show it after our first part of the cooking segment and then were coming back to us for the ending. I know the segment they ended up showing was not the one they were intending to show. It must have been a little longer then the one they were expecting because we had the second half of our cooking segment cut. You know sometimes you just run out of time. Especially on live television.
I still had a good time and will be back on January 2nd. Not good planning on my part. Getting up very early the morning after a day full of football bowl games is not going to be fun. Plus it is the NEW year and everyone will be looking for something HEALTHY to eat. I guess butter and heavy cream better not be in the recipe that day.
My next book signing is on January 7th in St. Joseph, Missouri at Hazel's Gourmet Coffee Shop at 4001 Frederick Ave. from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. I'll be sampling the Cream Scones recipe from the cookbook. Mark your calendars and see you there.
The college football bowl season has already started and New Year's Eve is upon us. So we're going to talk about party snacks and drinks this week. They'll be coming on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
A Merry & Happy Holiday Season to everyone. Eat, Drink & be Merry but also remember moderation.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
dish a much creamier texture than you get from doing it like
regular mashed potatoes. I believe a ricer is less than $20
and can be used for many recipes.
Some people will do half red and half white bakers but I
to adjust the amounts of butter to flour a little to get the right
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
One of the easiest ways to reduce the holiday stress is to make a plan and then execute it. Don't try making all those cookies and other treats in one day. The same goes for shopping; divide up your list and do what is manageable in part of a day. You don't have to go from dawn to dusk trying to kill yourself trying to get it all done.
As for cookies and treats, figure out what you really need for the family and then add some for friends. It makes sense to keep it to no more than 4 different items. If you need more for some reason, it is okay to buy a few items. Convenience is there for a reason. Take advantage of it when you need. On the homemade items, I'd pick the items you're known for and maybe one new one if you really must. The last bit of advice is get others involved so you don't have to do it all yourself (unless you have the time). I remember that half the fun of Christmas cookies was helping mom and making a mess. But they sure tasted better because we were all involved.
Because families get together for special meals at Christmas time, let people bring items to the meal. If you get to be the host/hostess of the meal and are making it all, make a plan. Plan a menu that doesn't over use a particular piece of equipment, like the oven. When I plan a meal, I try and pick a good mixture of hot and cold dishes. I try to have ones that can be made ahead (a day or two), those that need an oven and/or roaster for long cooking times and stove top dishes that are last minute items.
If you are going to have others bring a dish or two, let them bring their specialties if it fits in the menu plan. Holiday meals usually have traditions when it comes to food. Our family always makes what we call "Beacom Special" which is a potato dish we brought from Ireland. The recipe will be in tomorrow's blog. I try to make traditional dishes and then add a new one for each year. That new one may become a regular or not. It all depends on how it is received by everyone. That is part of the fun of holiday meals and cooking. If you are not sure about a new dish, I suggest you try it out sometime before the eventful holiday dinner.
Depending on when you open your gifts (Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning), plan a meal that is easy and quick. Children (of all ages) don't always have the patience to wait at these times.
I have two recipes tomorrow for that special Christmas Dinner that take a little work and one is a little pricey. But both are delicious. Friday's recipes (2) are treats. Enjoy them if you try them.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Their claim is that Americans average around $700 in holiday spending on gifts per person. Now remember that is an average. However, someone has calculated that if everyone would just spend $64 of that $700 figure on products made in America, we would create 200,000 NEW jobs.
That's not a bad start for a nation that needs to lower the unemployment rate quite a bit.
I'm going to try and do my part. But it is not easy. If you want to help, please check carefully where the products are made. Most seem to be made in places other than America.
As Holidays are approaching quickly and if you are still looking for a item, let me suggest my cookbook. It does make a great gift. Guess what, it is made in America too!
We are going to talk about planning our holiday meal and snacks tomorrow. On Thursday and Friday, it will be more recipes for the holidays. Enjoy trying some of them. Also, I'm on KQ2 TV this Monday (19th) between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. Please tune in if you get that station.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Now let's get back to pasta. Your standard pasta shapes that are found in the United States are: Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Linguine, Fettuccine, Ziti, Rotini and Penne. These are great to use but can get a little boring. I have mentioned trying to find Ethnic Stores in both the cookbook and this blog. I'm just reminding everyone that my favorite one is in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is called Tenuta's. They do have an on-line store but the pasta choices are limited. They have a great selection of imported Italian pastas in the store. When we are in Kenosha, I will stock up on my favorites which include Gemelli and Orecchiette. They both hold the sauce very well and are a little heavier than American made pasta. The first one is about 2 1/2 inches long and looks like two pieces twisted together. The other one kind of reminds you of ears. Also remember that in Yesterday's blog I gave you a link to a company that make organic pasta. Please check them out too. I have a link here that has various posters of pasta shapes and their names. Check it out at Pasta Shapes.
One of the neat things about pasta is that it can go well with something as simple as melted butter tossed with the pasta and sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese to a sauce that took six hours to make. My children were sometimes picky eaters and I always know that spaghetti with butter and cheese would satisfy them. It is really a comfort food.
If you don't have great choices of pasta types and shapes, then travel a little and find some. In this modern day, I guess you could just order them on the internet. Look for easy sauce recipes too. Yesterday's link had those as well. Be adventurous and shake up your boring pasta & sauce life. Remember, you're only limited by your imagination and taste-buds.
Tomorrow is a recipe for "My Chicken Alfredo" which won't make my dietitian happy. It is full of butter, cheese and heavy cream. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The "you" part has several factors that come into play. First is your budget because fresh pasta is more expensive than dry pasta. So maybe your budget is a dry pasta one, but that doesn't mean you can't up your game for "Special" occasions and buy fresh. Second is how comfortable you are with pasta. I believe this is really silly, but some people are afraid of "fresh" pasta because it sounds more difficult than the dry. There really isn't any reason for this because they are both easy to cook and use. Now making fresh pasta is a whole different subject but that just takes a little practice and the right equipment.
Now comes "your market" part. It depends on where you live (small town, big city, etc.) and what the stores in your area offer for product. Many small markets may not have the volume to stock fresh pasta. Then there may be someone/vendor that makes fresh pasta in your area. If so, take advantage of them.
You can order pasta from various websites too. I know of one that makes, sells and ships "Organic Pasta" in many different flavors. Their website also offers a wide variety of pasta sauce recipes to use with the organic pasta. Check them out at their website here Artisan Italian by Dakota Earth. I have met Dan, but Elizabeth is really the person behind the pasta making. I suggest you give them a chance. For those of you in the Sioux City and Sioux Falls area, they do the "Farmer's Market" in those towns from July to October on Saturdays.
There are now whole wheat and other healthy styles of dry pasta. Be sure to look into them when shopping.
Alright, you have picked your pasta. Now a few helpful hints on cooking and using it in your meal.
You should have at least a 6 to 8 quart pot for cooking pasta as it takes a lot of water. You want to use 4 quarts or more of water when cooking up to a pound of pasta. You want to get the water to a hard boil before adding a tablespoon of salt and then the pasta. Stir it once it has been added and start timing from when the water returns to a boil. Remember to occasionally stir the pasta (carefully) and cook without a lid. Cook according to the package directions for time. It differs on time between fresh and dry pasta. Below are some average cooking times for both.
Dry Pasta: 8 to 12 minutes (long thin is quicker than long fat pasta)
The whole wheat and healthier pasta takes a little longer to cook.
Fresh Pasta: 1 to 3 minutes ( same here for thin and fat)
With both types of pasta, you need to taste it to check for doneness. The pasta, when tasted, should feel tender with a little resistance. However, stuffed pasta (ravioli, tortellini, etc.) will usually float when they are done.
Depending on how it is going to be served or used, you want to cook the pasta al dente. Over cooking pasta gives it a mushy texture. If you are going to add it to a pan of sauce and continue cooking, you want it a little under al dente because it will continue to cook in the pan. If you are going to serve it separate from the sauce, just drain and serve. If it will be a few minutes before service, add a little olive oil or butter to the pasta and toss in the pot. Be sure to cover with a lid to help keep it warm.
Remember not to rinse the pasta when it is drain unless you are making it for a cold dish. Then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well. You may need a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together before refrigerating it.
This is not everything you need to know about pasta but I hope it helps you get more adventurous with using it.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I had to drive back home on Sunday to get ready for the "Hometown This Morning" show on KQ2 early Monday morning. That means getting up at 4:30 a.m. and driving 90 miles round trip in the dark now that winter is here.
Did I mention that I had to do my first snow shoveling on Saturday at my mother's house? Thank God there is NO snow in Maryville. I can wait for Christmas Eve to see just a little of the white stuff. Back to the show.
I made the Garlic Bread recipe from this blog on the show. It most have been a big hit because it didn't last very long. They are supposed to put the clip on the recipe at KQ2's website. It is not there the last I looked but I'll make sure to put the link on the blog when it comes up.
For anyone in the North Kansas City area, I'm doing a book signing this Saturday (10th) at the Hy-Vee just off of Barry Rd. from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. The store is just a few blocks east of I-29 and Barry Rd. interchange and is on the south side of the street.
I also have a good and/or bad problem in regards to the cookbook. Barnes & Noble and the Family Christian Bookstore are both out of my cookbook at the moment. This is their websites for ordering that are out and it is because their supplier ran out. They have more on the way but I don't know how long it will be before they have them back in stock. Amazon still has some but are down to 5 copies according to their site on Monday. Remember you can always order them through the blog here. Just click on the link up above this blog.
I hope everyone saw the new piece above on the right about remembering this cookbook for gifts. It really does make a great Christmas, Wedding, Graduation and Birthday gift. Several of the books signed in Sioux City were going for those very reasons. In fact, one friend told me she is going to use the cookbook as her go-to gift for all the weddings she goes to each year.
I don't know if any of you have been watching ABC Nightly News, but they have been doing some stories on "Buy American" recently. They say if everyone would spend just $64 on American made products for the holidays, it would create 200,000 new jobs. I'm doing my part in two ways. First, I'm looking for and buying American goods. Second, I'm an American author with an American publisher printing my cookbook in America. So people who buy my cookbook are helping create more jobs in America. Thank you!
This week, we are going to talk about pasta, sauces and then on Friday I will have my recipe for Alfredo Sauce. Please have a good week and get in the kitchen and cook something (a favorite or something new). Enjoy!
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Be sure to check portions on these items as they range from 1 piece up to a quart for a portion.
Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp - 1 pts.
Basic White Sauce - 10 pts.
Candee's Canned Salsa - 2 pts.
Dry Rub for BBQ - 7 pts.
Hot Crab Dip - 4 pts.
Italian Meatballs - 3 pts.
Mexican Hot Dip - 3 pts.
Nadine's Corn & Black Bean Salsa - 2 pts.
Spaghetti Sauce (Marinara) 14 pts.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip - 3 pts.