Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cauldron Curry

Upon deciding to have a Halloween luncheon, I scoured the Internet looking for an appropriate recipe, and this one popped out at me. I found this recipe for Cauldron Curry on the Martha Stewart website, and she has never steered me wrong.

Cauldron Curry

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest (from 2 limes)
  • 2 ounces spinach (1 cup)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened regular coconut milk
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick (21/4 cups)
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil
  • Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Squeamish Squash with Rice
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Make the curry paste: Grind coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and salt with a mortar and pestle, or with the bottom of a heavy skillet. Add remaining ingredients, and grind until a paste forms. (Curry paste can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  2. Make the stew: Puree 5 tablespoons curry paste, the spinach, and 1 cup regular coconut milk in a blender until smooth. Reserve remaining curry paste for another use.
  3. Bring remaining regular coconut milk and the light coconut milk to a boil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. Reduce heat, stir in curry-spinach mixture, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add basil, and garnish with serrano chiles. Serve with rice and lime wedges.
This dish took a lot of work, but the flavor was pretty good. The curry paste smelled wonderful, and according to the comments on the website, it should be made in advance for maximum flavor. I was confused when I realized there was no actual curry in the dish, but I'm a novice at cooking, so what do I know? It definitely benefited from the lime and chiles, which I love the flavor of.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ode to Elvis Poke Cake

After finding the recipe to the Ode to Elvis Poke Cake, I've been dying for a reason to make it. Tomorrow's Halloween luncheon at Huber seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The Ode to Elvis Poke Cake

For the cake:
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (18.25 oz.) box Duncan Hines butter golden cake mix
  • 2/3 cup water
Additional ingredients for the cake:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 box (3.4 oz.) Jello banana cream instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 4-5 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
  • 12-16 oz. bacon, cooked, crumbled and drained
For the glaze:
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tbsp. milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray a 9x13-in. baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the ½ cup peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Add half of the cake mix and ⅓ cup of water. Mix until just combined. Add remaining cake mix and remaining ⅓ cup of water; mix until just combined. Pour batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove from the oven and with the handle end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake. There is not a set number of holes, but you will want plenty for the pudding to fill.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the instant pudding mix and milk. Pour the pudding mixture over the cake, trying to fill the holes the best you can. You may need to use the back of a spoon to help spread the pudding mix and fill the holes. Top with the sliced bananas. Evenly spread the Cool Whip over the cake. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the ¼ cup creamy peanut butter and 5 tbsp. milk. Microwave in 10 seconds intervals until smooth, stirring between each time. Carefully pour the mixture into a small zip-top bag and snip a small piece off one of the corners. Drizzle the peanut butter glaze over the top of the cake.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least four hours before serving.
Sadly, I made a mistake in the cake's construction. I put the Cool Whip on the cake while it was still warm, so it melted. I figured the flavor would still be there, and it was. It was definitely an interesting combination of flavors. Would I try it again? Although it wasn't bad, I think it's something I've gotten out of my system.

Monday, October 27, 2014

At the Aquarium with Ava

Tammy, Ava and Adelyn flew out this weekend for Nathan's wedding, and Tom and I spent some time with Ava today. We took her to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

I can't tell you how weird it was, acting like a grandmother when I've never had children. It made my bag of tricks for coping rather small. Our best time bonding was picking our noses! It was still good to spend time with her.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

APG Oktoberfest 2014

After work today, Tom and I went to APG to check out their Oktoberfest celebration. A few years ago, we participated in the inaugural Volksmarch, and I was excited to check out their Festhalle.

Edelweis Band

It was nice, but I wish I would have been able to enjoy it earlier. There was a band playing German sounding music, several types of beer and wine were available - most of the beers been local craft beers celebrating Oktoberfest - and there was a food tent with barbeque pork sandwiches, bratwurst, knockwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and rotkraut.

Like the Seafood Festival in Havre de Grace, I think I'd like to revisit it in a few years - to see what improvements have been made.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fried Irish Cabbage with Bacon

Jeff gave us a cabbage and some garlic, so I made a dish with the cabbage. After getting Tom's input on what he wanted, we searched for, and found, this recipe - Fried Irish Cabbage with Bacon.

Fried Irish Cabbage with Bacon

  • 1 (12 ounce) package bacon
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored and finely chopped
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cook bacon in a deep skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 1/4 cup drippings in skillet.
  2. Cook and stir cabbage in hot bacon drippings over medium heat until cabbage wilts, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Crumble bacon over cabbage. Stir and simmer until bacon is warmed, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with black pepper.
I liked the dish. It may have needed a little salt, but that's an individual taste thing. Tom said it was good, and ate a big bowlful - not bad.

Ravens vs. Falcons

The Ravens played the Atlanta Falcons today and whooped their butts! Honestly, I don't get much pleasure from those types of wins - they're kind of boring to watch. The most exciting part was the safety scored in our endzone.

Our half-time show was a Beatles medley. It featured our rhythm section, and I think we did pretty well.

In this formation, we formed the word "Shout" (I'm in the "S").

Friday, October 17, 2014


Today's blog post is inspired by my sister. She really loves taking pictures of mushrooms in the wild, and Tom found some wild mushrooms in our neighbor's yard, right along our driveway. So, I stopped and clicked a few photos. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I have been super obsessed with gyros lately, so I decided to try my hand at making my own. In all of my research, I decided to use a recipe from Alton Brown.

Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Tzatziki Sauce, recipe follows
Tzatziki Sauce:
  • 16 ounces plain yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced
  1. Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.
  2. Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.
To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.
To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:
  1. Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.
  2. Preheat the grill to high.
  3. Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Tzatziki Sauce:
  1. Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
I thought it turned out pretty good. The only problem I had was the texture of the meat. I bought the desired weight of a leg of lamb, and using my never-before-used KitchenAid meat grinder, I ground it myself. I think the texture problems come from not processing it in the food processor for long enough. Part of that is because I have a really small food processor, and had over five batches to mix up. The flavor was good, though. I'll have to wait a while before trying it out again, I think I'm all gyro-ed out for the time being.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pep Band Payback

Okay, my post title sounds a little intimidating, but it isn't. We had a Pep Band gig today that was payback to Owings Mills High School for allowing the band to practice there during Raven's training camp (the Raven's practice facility, where we usually practice, was being used by the team). We played a little before the game, then performed the Star Spangled Banner, and watched the game until halftime, where we performed after their cheerleaders did a routine. They were really appreciative, but I think I'm spoiled - games at the Ravens' stadium are so normal for me now, it made the relative quiet of the high school game really awkward. Rooting for the home team was odd, too, since there wasn't a stadium full of energy to back it up.
There's talk about next year bringing the entire band and doing a halftime show.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MDIFT 2014

Tonight, I attended the Supplier's Night for the Maryland section of the Institute of Food Technologies.

I've been trying to attend every year, just for the exposure to things going on in the industry that I'm not aware of, and I actually learned about the newest dietary "fad," non-genetically modified food products. I'm not sure if that excludes items that may have been cross-pollinated naturally, or if it's just scientifically modified, but I'm glad I'm aware of it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pake - Epic Fail

After hearing about the Cherpumple, and the fabulous sounding Sir Plumple, JoAnne and I agreed that we just had to try the Pake - a pie baked in a cake. I decided to make a Black Forest Pake (cherry pie baked in a chocolate cake), but Tom thought that a better idea would be an apple pie baked in a spice cake. My experiments did not turn out as expected.

Black Forest Pake

Apple Spice Pake

Here's where my plan fell apart. The website I went to for advice said to follow the directions on the box for bake time. So, after putting the pie in the springform pan and pouring all of my cake batter over it, I baked my pakes for 30 minutes. I didn't check the center of the cake for doneness, because I was afraid I'd go too far with the pick, and mistake the pie filling for un-doneness, so I checked the side. The side was fine, but the center wasn't. In the end, if you don't mind licking the batter off of the spoon, my pakes weren't bad. Translation - the center of the cake part was not fully cooked. Lesson learned - I used enough cake batter for two cakes, so the bake time for one cake was not enough. Advice - bake cake for twice the amount of time (45-60 minutes). The pakes were still tasty, though.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

German Potato Salad and Schnitzel

Tonight, I made a dinner inspired by some boards on Pinterest. It started with a Classic Schnitzel, and I decided to make a Hot German Potato Salad as a side.

Classic Schnitzel

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 6 4-ounces pork sirloin cutlets (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • 1 recipe Sour Cream-Dill Sauce (see recipe below) (optional)
  1. In a shallow dish, stir together flour, garlic salt, celery salt, seasoned salt, paprika, and pepper. In another shallow dish, stir together egg and milk.
  2. In a large skillet, heat cooking oil. Coat each cutlet with flour mixture, then dip in egg mixture and again in flour mixture. Cook in hot oil over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until browned and meat is thoroughly cooked, turning once. (Remove meat from skillet and keep warm while preparing Sour Cream-Dill Sauce, if using.) Serve with lemon wedges or sauce, if you like. Makes 6 servings.
Sour-Cream Dill Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
  1. Pour chicken broth into skillet used for cooking cutlets. Over medium heat, scrape up brown bits in skillet. Bring mixture to boiling. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, flour, and dillweed. Stir into hot broth in skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Makes about 2 cups.
Hot German Potato Salad

  • 4 medium round red or white potatoes (1 1/3 lb)
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • Dash pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white or cider vinegar
  1. Place potatoes in 3-quart saucepan; add enough water just to cover potatoes. Cover; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook covered 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  3. Cook onion in bacon fat in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat.
  4. Stir water and vinegar into onion mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat.
  5. Stir in potatoes and bacon. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently to coat potato slices, until hot and bubbly. Serve warm.
I enjoyed the dinner, and Tom was very complimentary, as well. He liked the flavor of the potato salad, but would like to see a little less vinegar. He also recommended that the pork be thinner, and the breading "bigger." I agree about the thickness of the pork, it's what I bought, but I'm not sure what to do about a "bigger" crust. So, if we make this dinner again, and I believe I just might, I'll make twice as many potatoes, with half as much vinegar, and pound the pork cutlets a while.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Innocence Undone

I finished reading "Innocence Undone," by Kat Martin.

There was a pretty decent storyline, and there was even a side story! The book wasn't as risqué as I like my romance novels to be, but it was good enough.