Monday, August 31, 2009

Mrs. Alton Brown

As I was sitting here I realized how addicted to the Food Network I really am. My internal clock went off and said to turn the TV on, I know the schedule: Alton Brown Good Eats is at 8 and 11 pm. I love him and his show! I currently have (thanks to my mother birthday present to me) 3 dvds of his episodes, his Feasting on Asphalt book and his gadget book. I'm working on getting his other 2 cookbooks. His show is full of witty and fun facts and some history. Each Good Eats episode lends itself to one food or a style of food. He will do a whole show on bananas or avocados and show the most popular and most interesting recipes. The show is filled with wacky little skits and crazy looking props, but they get the lesson cross.
If it was up to me, and if he wasn't married already: I would marry him. And yes, I have told my boyfriend this. Usually I watch his 11 o'clock show (due to school and work schedule) so I end of falling asleep towards the end of the show. I will almost always send my boyfriend a txt before I head to bed ("good night"). Sometime I will include in that txt that I am falling asleep to my other boyfriend (Alton Brown).
As I love alot of other shows on Food Network, he is my absolute favorite!
You will here alot of references to him and now that I have the gadget book, I will be sharing his expertise.

Sittin' on Barnes and Noble floor

I went to Barnes and Noble today, sounds like a good idea... not so much for me. Reason: I am indecisive beyond belief. I usually gravitate toward the murder mysteries and the bargain desk, then COOKBOOKS! Now to top everything off I went with my lovely boyfriend who doesn't help in the matter of choices or restraint (especially if it's not his money).
I found some really great cookbooks and wanted to take them all home, but that would take about 5 paychecks to do so. So i settled for one: "Hello, Cupcake! Interesting playful creations anyone can make" I love making dessert, and especially cupcakes! They are just so cute and perfectly portioned little pieces of yumm-o fluffy cake. Now these are very special cupcakes. They are, as the book title told you, PLAYFUL. It shows you how to make lil' penguin cupcakes, lil' kitties and puppies, and even some bowling pins. :-) Everything on these cupcakes are edible.
I will be trying recipes soon, so look forward to seeing them and pictures to follow.

Other cook books i wanted/must have:
Sunday soup
Williams-sonoma Potato
Alton Brown I'm just here for the food &
I'm just here for more food
Asain cooking
Recipes for your slow cooker

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food Heritage

So here I am watching, you guessed it Food Network. And it got me thinking why I am just a foodie. My mom always just cooked basic chicken, pork, and hamburger for dinner, but when it comes to dessert that is her speciality. The best are her Key Lime Pie and Peacan Pie. (maybe thats why everyone gathers at my house after Chistmas with their families) My maternal great-grandmothers was they type of cook who just took a handful of flour and a dollop of butter and made biscuits. My mom is the follow the recipe and measurements precise. I'm a lovely combination of both of them, and then add in my fathers inventive skills and you have me. My paternal grandfather is also an amazing cook. He is famed and loved for his homemade apple pie. He even was on the Food Network apple pie bake off television show. It was great to see him on there doing what he loves. (Although he didn't win, its always a favorite in my book). He also made homemade jams and jellys from fruit in his backyard. By profession he is horticulturists and specializes in grafting plants. Now he has since retired but still enjoys the plants and tending to them. This gene was passed to my father and he grows all sorts of things in the garden. He started just growing hot peppers, then it grew to collard greens, and now we have great fresh "right of the vine" vegetables and fruits.
  • tomatoes
  • peanuts
  • edame beans (soy Japanese beans)
  • hot peppers of every variety
  • collard greens
  • mustard greens
  • mushrooms
  • pineapple
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • herbs of every kind: basil. mint. chives. parsley

and more that I don't even know. So when we cook we always look in the backyard for the freshest ingredients. I'm sure the county would allow it, we'd have a few chickens for eggs and cow for milk. Luckily our backyard is not that big. Heck my parents wont even let me get a dog.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Thanksgiving has come early. This is one of Josh and mine favorite recipes and its become sort of a Thanksgiving tradation. If we dont take it to his dad's house for Thankgiving we are not invited in.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp butter (melted)
1 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
24 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

1. Mix graham crackers, melted butter, and 1 Tbsp sugar in small bowl. Press firmly into spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 5 min, and set aside.
2. In large bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla with mixer until smooth. Ass the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes. The top will begin to brown and crack. 4. Remove from oven and let cool at room temp for atleast an hour.
5. Run knife around the side of the pan (sometime dipping the knife in warm water helps) and remove outter ring, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

The Field

The other night, Josh and I went to a little Irish Pub right next to his house. I have known this place existed for a long time, and went with Twinny in high school. A friend of mine (and crush at the time) worked there. All I remember from that experience was just goofing around like a bunch of high schoolers. I see this place almost 3 times a week or more, and just drive by. So the other night Josh and I were hungry and I wanted soup of some kind. Potato soup sounded good to me so we went the the Irish Pub. GREAT IDEA! It was amazing!! Not to mention the food was great! I got the Irish potato soup, with an Irish whiskey creme brulee. Josh got the Shepard's pie. Absolutely amazing and mouth watering. Now on top of the awesomely great food, they have a LIVE Irish band playing traditional Celtic music Monday-Saturday. I have already decided that the band is being booked for my wedding. It was a great atmosphere and a real homey feel.
If you live or are ever visiting South Fl that is a must place to eat. Its on Griffin Rd east of 441.
And to top it all off I think the sun-sentinel newspaper ran a recipe of their potato soup and I am gonna find it!

Drinking in good company

So not only am I the food junkie. I also make some mean drinks (and not the kid-friendly kind). Usually I try to follow recipes I have, but other times its just "lets throw this, this and that looks good" into a cup. Sometime a good idea, sometimes....not so much.

I have an amazing recipe for Sangria...yes I know what your thinking: "sangria=Spanish, and she's the 'Irish chef' ". Well here's a little background for you. Yes I am Irish (through daddy's side), I am also 1/4 Peruvian (Grandpa on mom's side) and there is a hint of Cherokee Indian tossed in for fun.
Now both sets of grandparents split up. Grandpa from mom remarried a Cuban woman, hence the sangria. (And a bunch of other yumm-o recipes; which are to come)


A quick side track: Now let me just clear something up real quick. Yes I am a food network junkie, but Rachel Ray is "ok", "sub standard" her little phrase Yumm-o" was stolen. Clarification: "Yumm-o" is from ICE AGE, and quote Sid, the sloth, "Oh yumm-o a dandelion!"



4 peaches
2 pears
1 lg apple
1 gal red wine
1/2 L orange soda
1/2 L lemon lime soda
1/4 L coca-cola
1/3 cup sugar
dash of cinnamon

Dice the fruit and put in large punch bowl. Add 1/2 the wine (or to just cover the fruit) to marinate, leave for 1/2 - 1 hour. Pour the rest of the liquids, sugar and cinnamon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Background to "Sittin' on My Kitchen Floor"

Yes I know this is my 3rd post of the day, and yes I am worried I will run out of steam, but who the hell cares.

This whole sittin' on MY kitchen floor thing started Junior year of high school, when I learned that one of my new friends from school lives just down the street.
At one point the kitchen in my house was one of those you'd find at your grandmothers; old, outdated, and a few decades behind the time. We (not so) fortunately had a leak/flood in our kitchen, so low-and-behold we had to re-do/update the kitchen.
Now lucky this was during my "interior design" phase so I helped steer my parents away from tragic decisions. Long story short, it turned out great! As part of the reno we put the wood laminate floors down. Not only do they look pretty, they are apparently comfy.
Back to high school and Twinny...Steff came to my house, and we gravitated towards the kitchen, figured "hey! Let's make cookies (or chocolate covered pretzels)". In the midst of making whatever it was Steff plopped down in the middle of my kitchen floor. When everything was done we chowed down on the guess it, on the kitchen floor. It has somewhat been a tradition, kind of like Christmas eve breakfast at IHop, and always gathering at my house for dessert and drinks Christmas night. 5 years after the first kitchen floor sit-in it is still going strong. We have a few more people to our ring of friends on that kitchen floor, and every time Steff and I take a seat we get the same look around and dumbfounded look. Now my boyfriend (Josh) and her husband (Gordon) have gotten use to the tradition and joined in. As for everyone else it take some getting use to. And take my word for it. We have PLENTY of chairs and sofas to sit on that are very comfortable.
We have joked through the years, that what ever house I end up living in I will have to get the same flooring that is in my childhood house, just for Stephanie. And you know what? I don't have a problem with that one bit.

A lot of first have happened on that kitchen floor and a lot of memories have be stuck inbetween the grooves. Some of the best times we have had has taken place on those floors. Its amazing to look back through the last 5 years that have been spents there.

I forgot to add one tid bit of info on this one and my mom just reminded me. We also slept on the kitchen floor one time. Yes I know crazy. It is better for sitting on than sleeping thats for sure.

Mandarin Orange Salad

I promised Twinny some recipes, and this is one of my favorites.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 pinch ground black pepper

1. In a jar with a tight lid, combine all ingredents. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until use

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
1 head red leaf lettuce or 1 bag of baby spinach
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 (11 oz) cans madarin orange segments, drained

2. In a meduim saucepan over meduim heat, cook and stir the sugar until it is melted, then add the almonds and coat. Remove from heat, cool, and break into pieces.
3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, celery, oranges, almonds and dressing until evenly coated.

P.S. I forgot to mention that this recipe came from my wonderful boyfriend's step-mom, Eve.
Thanks very much to her!

New and Learning

My best friend in the world (and Twinny). Started a blog or 2 or 5. It looked like fun and we'd been talking so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Now to me this seems like the kind of thing that will be great and amazing and I'll be all gung-ho about it for about a week. Well I am going to make a real effort to keep up with postings and such. I am the most indecisive person in the world, so it only took me 3 hours to pick out a background and header (expect it to change often).

Now the Twinny I talked about has her awesome blog and an even more awesome title, which was a ode toward me, my house, and kitchen. I did think about stealing, but through her help we came up with "The Irish Chef". Which is relevant in a few ways: I am a food network foodie fanatic. I am also Irish and very proud of it, and lastly since I am a foodnetwork junkie the title is a ode to the "Iron Chef".

ps... I tend to ramble.

Before starting a blog I contemplated how it would be of use to me. I can up with a few reason: 1. keep in touch with my twinny. 2. Add get recipes to the blog to share. And 3. Twinny and I want to do book club thing and this would be great for discussions and whatnot.

So here goes nothing and diving head first into the deep end of the world of blogging.