.

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 02/2010

227 posts categorized "17) Just Penn State Tailgate "

10/22/2016

~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~

Slider slaw. That's the nickname affectionately given to this tangy little concoction by the football-watching men in my life -- the ones who like my bacon 'n blue cheese hamburger sliders on college game day Saturdays, and, my Buffalo-style shredded chicken sliders on professional game day Sundays. While I first intended this to be a side-dish, nowadays, if you were sitting around my house watching football, you'd encounter my guys heaping it atop their sliders. Slider slaw. This is not a rocket science recipe. In fact, it took me twice as long to make it today because I had to...... View full recipe for "~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~"

10/20/2016

~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~

Wander into a bar -- any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce. They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and either blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling. You will most likely be asked to specify if you want your wings coated in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce is a classic concoction. Read on: Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~"

10/18/2016

~ My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip ~

The first recipe for Buffalo-style chicken dip I came across was published by Frank's RedHot. This makes sense as Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Their easy-to-make dip contained just five ingredients (shredded cooked chicken, softened cream cheese, Frank's Redhot, Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing, and crumbled blue cheese). Speaking frankly about Frank's recipe, it was and is very good. During the 1980's, the recipe was passed around to everyone in our tailgate group and it showed up regularly at early...... View full recipe for "~ My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip ~"

10/16/2016

~ Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas ~

My public opinion of Buffalo chicken wings is the popular and safe one: everyone loves Buffalo wings. My private opinion is: serving them needs to be better regulated. Just so there are no misunderstandings, I like wings, but, a finger food drenched in a vivid orangish-red sauce guaranteed to stain my pretty French manicure or ruin my silk blouse ticks me off. There's more: To those who serve wings in a sauce so hot it forces tears to my eyes that causes my mascara run: Extremism is a dish best saved for yourself, not served to your unsuspecting guests. "Primum...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas ~ "

10/13/2016

~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~

Real-deal oven-roasted beef, a chunk of habanero cheddar cheese, my homemade Baja-spice mix, colorful bell peppers, a sweet onion and a package of flour tortillas. The ingredients are all at my fingertips and the clock is ticking. The only question is, how fast can I slice the beef, grate the cheese, sauté the veggies and assemble them all together between some flour tortillas, grill-pan them all up, get 'em sliced, plated and placed on the TGIF cocktails-are-served table. Topped w/Sriracha-infused crema & fresh salsa too? Making the beef, vegetable & spicy-cheddar quesadilla filling: ~ Step 1. I roast an eye-of-round...... View full recipe for "~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~"

09/30/2016

~ The Chivito: Beef, Bacon, Ham, Egg and Cheese ~

I did not dream this sandwich combo up -- no one could -- not even in their wildest dreams. It's a very famous sandwich though. To be exact, it's the National Sandwich of Uruguay. It's called "chivito", which, interestingly enough, means "goat" in Spanish, but oddly enough, contains absolutely no goat meat or goat cheese. It gets more confusing, because Uruguay is world-famous for it's high-quality beef, which is almost entirely grass-fed (rather than mass produced). So what's up with "goat" as the name of a goat-less sandwich? As the story goes, in 1946, at a beachside restaurant named El...... View full recipe for "~ The Chivito: Beef, Bacon, Ham, Egg and Cheese ~"

09/27/2016

~ Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches ~

Chef Paul Prudhomme is credited for helping to put New Orleans cuisine on the map. I was lucky enough to be a young adult during what many consider to be his "heyday" -- the 1970's, 80's and 90's. I ate in K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen in 1981 (a restaurant he opened in 1979), bought Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook the moment it became available in 1984, and, never missed an episode of his PBS-TV show, Louisiana Kitchen, which aired in 1998. When he launched his line of Magic Seasoning Blends, I experimented with all seven -- Blackened Steak Magic and Blackened...... View full recipe for "~ Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches ~"

09/25/2016

~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw~

There's more than one way to cook a very-thinly-sliced steak to perfection and "a la" ("in the style of") Chinese "hot pot" or Japanese "shabu shabu" ("Asian fondue") is a method that doesn't occur to most American cooks. It wouldn't have occurred to me either if I hadn't eaten hot pot in China and shabu shabu in Japan. Joe and I enjoyed both of these encounters so much, he arranged to have a copper hot pot shipped from China to my American Happy Valley kitchen. Hot pot & shabu shabu inspired my American-Asian beef sliders. From my American foodie's vantage...... View full recipe for "~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw~"

08/23/2016

~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~

It is salad season. From the end of July through the end of September, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, all sorts of herbs (and a host of other vegetables) get picked daily, right in my own backyard. Rare is the day some sort of salad or crudités isn't on our table for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It's simply appropriate that a salad composed of the freshest, homegrown ingredients get enhanced by an equally bright and bold scratch-made dressing. A quick scroll through Category 8 (Condiments, Sauces & Gravies) here on Kitchen Encounters will reveal many of my favorite salad...... View full recipe for "~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~"

08/20/2016

~ Garden Fresh Brunch: Corn 'Cakes & BLT Salad ~

Skip all the cloyingly-sweet things iHOP offers and pay attention -- there is more than one way to eat a pancake, and it's not just a sugary treat for breakfast or dessert. Brunch is served, and this savory pancake meal is full of at-their-peak, in-season ingredients, all local, many from my own backyard. Mix a batch of bloody Mary's, sit back, and savor the moment -- this is a bold-flavored, fresh-tasting way to celebrate the fruits-of-your-labor and an end-of-Summer garden. A quick-trip back in American-pancake history & time: I didn't invent adding cooked corn kernels, savory herbs and/or spices to...... View full recipe for "~ Garden Fresh Brunch: Corn 'Cakes & BLT Salad ~"

08/17/2016

~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~

In my kitchen, when one recipe can be turned into a second dish the next day, foodie life is good. When the second recipe can be turned into a third on yet another day, foodie life is great. When dish number three tastes as good or better than the previous two and none of them make me feel like I am eating leftovers, that's when I take a bow. This scenario is especially appreciated by me, the family cook, when our fruit trees and vegetable garden is producing at peak levels. For example: I've got lots of prime-quality local sweet...... View full recipe for "~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~"

08/10/2016

~ A Big Fat Greek Lamb 'Burger. Where's the Beef? ~

A cheeseburger, eaten anywhere in the good old USA -- each one a cheeseburger in paradise. It's become the quintessential American food. There are two claims* as to who slapped that first slice of processed American cheese on the lonely hamburger, but, we can all agree it was the best marriage of food since sliced white bread married peanut butter and jelly. And, we've come a long way baby -- nowadays the cheeseburger is eaten in fast food chains, fine-dining restaurants and all points in between. Cheeseburgers are for pick-up, delivery, drive-thru, eat-in, eat-out, eat-alone or invite-some-friends from sea to...... View full recipe for "~ A Big Fat Greek Lamb 'Burger. Where's the Beef? ~"

08/07/2016

~ My Greek Gyro-Style Beef & Lamb 'Burger' Pitas ~

When it comes to street food, it's almost impossible to walk past any vendor selling gyros. My first gyro encounters were limited to the Jersey Shore in the latter 1960's and '70's and Mr. Krinos (a friend of my cousin and no relation to the famous Krinos brand of Greek products sold in stores everywhere) explained they were, Greek-style, in that they were a combo of beef and lamb wrapped in a pocketless pita with lettuce, tomato and onion, and, served with a cucumber-yogurt-based tzatziki sauce (save the fried potatoes and mustard for souvlaki pork kabobs). Gyro (YEE-roh) making. It's...... View full recipe for "~ My Greek Gyro-Style Beef & Lamb 'Burger' Pitas ~"

07/28/2016

~Grilled Chicken Wings w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~

Purists will tell you there is no substitution for deep-fried chicken wings. I used to think that too, and, if you want to stay wed to that train of thought, for the time being, it's still a free country. While wings that are oven-fried or grilled can't technically be referred to as Buffalo wings (no self-respecting Buffalo-wing-maker cooks them in the oven or on the grill), wings that are oven-fried or grilled really can be as good as deep-fried wings. I make wings all three ways, I know. Whenever I have a lot of wings to make for a indoor...... View full recipe for "~Grilled Chicken Wings w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~"

07/25/2016

~ Peachy Keen Barbecue Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~

Peach cobbler, peach pie, peach melba, peach shortcake, peach ice cream -- peachy keen. A perfectly-ripe peach is the apple of everyones eye. Announce that you're serving a fresh peach dessert for dinner and everyone shows up on time. When the peaches on our backyard trees ripen, things in my kitchen move fast for a few days. It's damn-the-torpedos, full-speed-ahead, all-things-peaches. They trickle in at first, pile up at the end, and, after picking, I only have, at best, 24-48 hours to get 'em in their juicy, ripe prime. It's a drippy, sticky, tricky situation. While I like fruit desserts...... View full recipe for "~ Peachy Keen Barbecue Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~"

07/20/2016

~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~

I first came across this recipe in a stack of recipe cards held together with a rubber band. They were in a plastic bag full of newspaper- and magazine-clipped recipes that my late grandmother collected. I don't recall her making the cake, but, at some point in her life she must have, as she took the time to write it down in her own hand. It's an unpretentious, yellow cake made of butter or margarine, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, home-canned peaches or pears, pecans or walnuts and buttermilk or sour cream. It sure sounded good to me, and, its name...... View full recipe for "~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~"

07/04/2016

~ Jumbo Shells Stuffed w/Shrimp Chop-Chop Salad ~

These yummy little appetizer-snacks, like my deviled egg creations, go to a lot of Summer picnics and a few early Fall tailgates too. The best way to describe them is individual and portable portions of chop-chop salad, and, most people can't keep their hands off them. They can contain anything your heart desires, as long as the ingredients play well together and are chopped into small morsels prior to judiciously drizzling (not drenching), with a cuisine-appropriate dressing or vinaigrette just prior to spooning the salad into the shells and serving. Since I cook all sorts of cuisines, sometimes my chop-chop...... View full recipe for "~ Jumbo Shells Stuffed w/Shrimp Chop-Chop Salad ~ "

07/02/2016

~ Nana's "Overnight" PA Deutsch Pepper Cabbage ~

From the land of Longhorn-colby cheese and ring bologna, I bring you pepper cabbage. If you identify with both the cheese and the bologna, you have roots in or some sort of affiliation with the Pennsylvania Deutsch community, and you don't have to be told: do not over-think this or any pepper cabbage recipe. It is simple, to the point, and, monochromatic (a big word meaning "consisting of one color or hue"): finely-chopped green cabbage and green pepper, tossed in a sweet and sour, sugar, vinegar and black-pepper-laced dressing, then macerated overnight in the refrigerator. As the name indicates, it's...... View full recipe for "~ Nana's "Overnight" PA Deutsch Pepper Cabbage ~"

06/27/2016

~State of the Union: Famous US Senate Bean Soup~

Bean soup has always been a part of my life. While you may think of it as snowstorm fare, I associate it with all sorts of outdoor fun-in-the-sun activities. When I was growing up, bean soup was served all Summer wherever people gravitated to eat, drink and be merry: church- and hose-company fund-raising street festivals in ours and neighboring towns, both-of-my-parents and half-of-my-friends-parents annual corporate clambakes, and, when it came to planning the Summer family reunion, the biggest question was "Who's making the bean soup this year?" When I was twelve, I even ate bean soup in the United States...... View full recipe for "~State of the Union: Famous US Senate Bean Soup~"

06/22/2016

~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~

The typical English pea salad, or English pea and potato salad, the one that graces picnic and potluck tables this time of year, has never been my cup of tea. While I have no ax to grind with most of the mayonnaise and/or sour cream concoctions it gets dressed with, traditionally it is loaded with chunks of cheddar cheese and bacon bits too, which I think does those pretty, little, freshly-picked green jewels a disservice. It's not easy being green -- please show some respect! For me this is a KISS (keep it simple stupid) salad. Why? The moment you...... View full recipe for "~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~"

06/20/2016

~ City Chicken: Literally, "The Other White Meat." ~

City chicken. It could be said, "it's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key" -- A wartime Winston Churchill quote. In The Joy of Cooking, if you go the index intentionally looking for "city chicken", and look under "chicken", you'll not find it. That said, if you're looking for a pork or veal recipe in the same cookbook, and look under "pork or veal", you will stumble upon "mock chicken drumsticks or city chicken" on page 469. That's because: Even though it looks like a chicken leg & tastes like chicken... ......... View full recipe for "~ City Chicken: Literally, "The Other White Meat." ~"

06/05/2016

~ Bayou Pork Burgers w/Ragin'-Cajun Remoulade ~

"I will never be blue, my dreams come true, on Blue Bayou." Hold that beautiful thought because Roy Orbison singing Blue Bayou is as close as I'll get to the Louisiana bayou -- or any bayou. Plenty full of pretty pelicans, herons and spoonbills, it's the alligators, snakes, and leeches that will keep me out. That said, many Cajuns, and a few Creoles too, feel right at home in these mysterious reaches of Southern Louisiana -- bayou life has its own pace and culture. A bayou is a body of water found in flat, low-lying areas. It can refer to...... View full recipe for "~ Bayou Pork Burgers w/Ragin'-Cajun Remoulade ~"

06/02/2016

~ Remoulade Sauce: A Staple in the NOLA Kitchen ~

It is 99.9% impossible to visit New Orleans and not experience their remoulade sauces. Lots of people go to NOLA for Mardi Gras. Back in 1982, Joe and I decided to spend seven days there, which included New Years Eve and New Years Day -- if you like to travel, I highly recommend doing this. I tell everyone, "we did nothing but eat our way through the city's superb restaurants, bars, grilles and countryside dives". For our very first meal, we chose to dine at the elegant Galatoire's, where I encountered their signature appetizer: Creole shrimp remoulade. Remoulade sauce is...... View full recipe for "~ Remoulade Sauce: A Staple in the NOLA Kitchen ~"

05/31/2016

~ Herbed Pork Skewers w/Apricot-Mustard Sauce ~

Store-bought seasoning blends and bottled sauces. Every home cook has their favorite brands and there is no shame in that. I am no exception. When pressed for time, some days I reach for a container of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic and other days a bottle K.C. Masterpiece will do just fine. When correctly paired together, a high-quality store-bought spice blend and bottled sauce can be a busy cook's best time saver. That said, all serious cooks make the time to prepare their favorite homemade concoctions too. I am no exception, and, at any given time, if you peek into...... View full recipe for "~ Herbed Pork Skewers w/Apricot-Mustard Sauce ~"

05/28/2016

~ Tropical Fruit, Nut & Chocolate-Chip Congo Bars ~

In most circles, Congo squares or Congo bar-cookies are made by spreading a batch of Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie batter into a square or rectangular pan, then cutting the big cookie into smaller, cookie-sized squares or bars after baking. They shouldn't be confused with layered or 'magic' cookie bars -- the kind with a graham cracker crust and held together with condensed milk. The Congo square is a WWII era pan-cookie marketed like this back in 1942: The Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip "Congo Square" Pan-Cookie is like a brownie with all the rich flavors of a...... View full recipe for "~ Tropical Fruit, Nut & Chocolate-Chip Congo Bars ~"

05/20/2016

~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~

Get out the turmeric and attire yourself in something you don't mind discarding because we're making satay today. If your manicure is French, put on a pair of latex gloves too. Why? Because, in case you don't know, turmeric (TER-muh-rihk), that earthy-colored, pleasantly-fragrant powdered-spice (that rarely gets used in American cooking) will permanently paint your world a vivid yellow-orange. Made from grinding the rhizome root of the curcumin plant and a close relative of ginger, it's a prime ingredient in curry and mustard powders, and, it's used to give many of the rice dishes, soups and sauces of Indonesia, Malaysia,...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~"

04/22/2016

~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~

Everyone loves to eat food on a stick. Hot, cold, raw or cooked, it's pre-portioned, super-easy to serve, and, it's portable too. Just take a walk around the world. Food-on-a-stick is street food, and, everyone eating it has a happy look on their face. When it comes to grilled food on a stick, I think people get a spring in their step. Be it thin pieces of meat threaded onto a skewer or bite-sized chunks of meat, vegetables and/or fruit all in a row, folks will stand in line for a kabob. It's been going on for centuries. "Kabbaba" is...... View full recipe for "~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~"

04/10/2016

~ My Ultimate Chicken-Fried Steak-Fillet Sandwich ~

The French have a pretty-sounding phrase, "comme-ci comma-ça" (kohm-see kohm-sah), which I use a lot. It's a to-the-point way of saying something is "so-so", "neither good or bad" -- it's tolerable. That pretty much sums up my general feelings about chicken fried steak: its taste and texture are passable. To use another one of my favorite expressions, "it is what it is": a thin, tough, budget-friendly, pounded or cubed or forked, beefsteak. I don't sit down at the table with high expectations for CFS nor do I leave the table disappointed. Comme-ci comma-ça. A bit about chicken-fried steak: The tenderized...... View full recipe for "~ My Ultimate Chicken-Fried Steak-Fillet Sandwich ~"

03/06/2016

~ Easy Cottage Pie (Beef) & Shepherd's Pie (Lamb) ~

Sunday. When I was growing up, as a family we got up, went to church, and, when we got home the house smelled ethereal. Mom's eye-of-round roast beef had cooked itself in our absence. We changed out of our "Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes", then mom boiled a few potatoes (and peas -- there were always peas -- my dad loves peas) and made a quick pan gravy. While she did that, my brother and I set the table (mostly I set the table while he goofed off), we four sat down and we ate. By 1:00PM we were all "doing our own...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Cottage Pie (Beef) & Shepherd's Pie (Lamb) ~"

01/27/2016

~ The NYC Pushcart Onions & Sauerkraut Hot Dog ~

Hot dogs -- one of my favorite subjects. I relish eating them, never tire of discussing them, and, whenever we travel, if our destination is known for a style of hot dog, it's one of the things I make a point of eating while I'm there. The New York-style hot dog is one I've not chatted with you about yet. That said, had I not had advance, concise, clarification of what "dirty-water-dog" means (the affectionate but unappealing nickname New Yorkers have given their dogs), cuing up in line at the closest pushcart would not have happened and I wouldn't be...... View full recipe for "~ The NYC Pushcart Onions & Sauerkraut Hot Dog ~"

01/04/2016

~ Steak, Habanero Cheddar & Chimichurri Sliders ~

Slider sandwiches and deviled eggs sort of have a lot in common: They're all-occasion, crowd-pleasing feel-good, portable food. Depending on what combination of ingredients you use to make them, and your presentation, you can serve them on a paper plate with a beer at tailgate or on a linen napkin with a cocktail at a back-tie event. Put a slider on a plate next to a stuffed egg and you've turned two unrelated snacks into a small, well-balanced meal. Stuffed eggs have been around since the days of the Roman Empire. The American word slider, which has no known originator,...... View full recipe for "~ Steak, Habanero Cheddar & Chimichurri Sliders ~"

12/20/2015

~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~

Yes Virginia, there is more than one way to make an omelette, especially if you are cooking breakfast or brunch for a crowd. The Denver omelette in particular, which is a festive-looking Southwestern omelette that is loaded with lots of smoky diced ham, bell peppers, onions and grated cheddar cheese, once the ingredients are diced, which takes about 10 minutes, transitions from making omelettes one-at-a-time to one crowd-pleasing casserole so easily, if you're like me, it's going to end up at or near the top of your go-to AM casserole recipes list. Here's my photo of ~ My Kinda Cowboy...... View full recipe for "~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~"

10/28/2015

~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~

Garlic knots always remind me of the movie Saturday Night Fever (even though not a single knot got eaten in the movie). That said, in the opening scene, when Tony Manero grabbed "a couple of slices" and did his famous disco-stroll down 86th street, every lover-of-disco who had occasion to travel to Brooklyn wanted to make a pilgrimage to Lenny's Pizza -- including me. I almost made it too. An October ice storm caused us to cancel our plans, and, soon afterward, the couple we were traveling with moved to Connecticut. Eileen and I had worked together in a Happy...... View full recipe for "~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~"

10/23/2015

~ Baked Ziti Casserole w/Sausage & Four Cheeses ~

Do you have a favorite casserole recipe? You know "the one". The one your family loves, the one you take to potluck, the one you donate to a good cause, the one you give to a sick friend -- the one you've made so many times you've got the recipe committed to memory. Every really good cook or chef, of any level, will be the first to admit they have at least two or three "go to" casserole recipes in their repertoire. I'm no exception and this one is at the top of my short list. When it comes to...... View full recipe for "~ Baked Ziti Casserole w/Sausage & Four Cheeses ~"

10/18/2015

~Beer & Brown-Sugar Braised Kielbasa Sandwiches~

I don't crave kielbasa. I just don't. That said, if it's put in front of me, I won't turn my nose up at it. It was a bigger part of my life as a kid. If you are born into an Eastern European family, standing around watching your dad or one of your uncles make kielbasa is a form of entertainment. Each has their own special blend but all turn out a really tasty end product -- some are coarse-textured and on the dryer side, others are fine-textured and moister, but none are like the mass-manufactured, vacuum-packed bologna-textured products found...... View full recipe for "~Beer & Brown-Sugar Braised Kielbasa Sandwiches~"

10/01/2015

~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~

When it comes to cooking, if the end justifies the means, I am all for breaking the rules -- as long as no one gets hurt and the end result is not compromised. Carnitas is the Mexican version of American pulled pork. I love one as much as I do the other, and, while neither are hard to make, the process to do either authentically is cumbersome -- handling huge hunks of porky porcine is not my idea of hog heaven. I also have no desire to build a Southern barbecue pit to smoke a pig, or invest in a...... View full recipe for "~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~"

09/29/2015

~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~

My mother made me grilled cheese -- I would eat one anytime she made me one. I made my kids quesadillas -- they would eat them anytime I made them. There was a span of time, 6-7 years, when my refrigerator was never without flour tortillas, Monterey Jack and salsa. Comparatively speaking, there's little difference between a classic grilled cheese sandwich and a cheese quesadilla -- except you use butter to grill the bread and oil to grill the tortilla. In terms of a quick-to-make & satisfying lunch or snack... ... my quesadillas are kid tested & mother approved! Quesadilla...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/24/2015

~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~

Excuse me, I'm just going to go ahead and eat this fish taco while you all argue over what constitutes a perfect fish taco and its toppings -- deep-fried vs. pan-fried (sometimes grilled), corn tortilla vs. flour tortilla, green slaw vs. red slaw, pico de gallo vs. salsa, and, crema vs. sour cream. My favorite fish taco, as long as it is well-balanced in both flavor and texture, is the one that is in front of me, and, the first one I ever ate was so good I've declined to debate this issue with anyone -- if you bring it...... View full recipe for "~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

09/20/2015

~ Breakfast Bacon, Potato, Onion & Pepper Hash ~

Topped with two fried sunny-side-up eggs and any type of toasted bread to the side, this is a tasty way to start the day -- heck you can even make a sandwich out it. At early morning at-the-stadium tailgates, we used to call it "cowboy breakfast", but, I think that had more to do with the fact that we were cooking it in cast-iron skillets on camp stoves in the great outdoors than it being some sort of official name. With one gal manning her own station, one of us would make hash, one would fry bacon and eggs, one...... View full recipe for "~ Breakfast Bacon, Potato, Onion & Pepper Hash ~"

09/17/2015

~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~

I think I was a hot dog in a past life -- that's how much I love hot dogs. If that is true, I was a Jerzey Girl in a past life, because, New Jersey is hot dog heaven. If a hot dog can make it there, it can make it anywhere. There are more hot dog stands, carts and trucks there than anywhere on this planet -- and I mean anywhere. I've heard NJ referred to as "the cradle of hot dog civilization", which pretty much sums up the hot dog universe as I know it. That said, I...... View full recipe for "~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~"

09/15/2015

~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~

This rolled sandwich, containing a savory combination of antipasto staples, is in the top five of my family's any-time-of-day snacks -- it's a perfect lunch too. My kids always called it pizza bread, because before it's sliced it looks like a loaf of bread. Once sliced, it reveals a cross between everything they love about a pizza and everything they love about a baked sub (hoagie) -- sans the shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. I'd been making it for years before I heard Mary Ann Esposito refer to it as "Rotolo di Pizza" on her Ciao Italia TV show. From...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~"

09/11/2015

~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~

Horseradish. It's powerful stuff and most folks aren't on the fence about this ingredient. They either love it or they hate it. If you are a lover of the stuff, you know you've got to carefully pick and choose what you pair it with and how you do it too. For my taste, freshly-grated horseradish, prepared horseradish and horseradish cream, mustard or mayonnaise go best with beef and ham. Some folks like it with lamb, but, for me, that's pushing the envelope a tad to far. My favorite way to enjoy horseradish is served with or on a good roast...... View full recipe for "~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~"

09/10/2015

~ Buffalo-Style Beef-on-a-Weck (Kummelweck Roll) ~

What the heck is "beef on a weck"? It's Buffalo's "other" famous food. When it comes to this German-rooted sandwich, the slow-roasted, melt-in-your-mouth, thin-sliced top sirloin, combined with the coarse-salt and caraway-seed crusted roll is a match made in heaven. Served with a bowl of jus for dipping, grated horseradish for topping, usually a side of German-style potato salad and always a pickle, the weck is one heck of a fine roast beef sandwich. Thanks to two founding members of our PSU tailgate group who hail from Buffalo, NY, I heard tales of "beef on a weck" for over thirty...... View full recipe for "~ Buffalo-Style Beef-on-a-Weck (Kummelweck Roll) ~"

09/08/2015

~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~

Nothing is more important to a well-constructed sandwich than the bread or roll it gets served on -- the shape, texture and taste all play a role in the production, and, all affect the end result. While it's not against the law to make substitutions, name one kid that wants their PB&J served in a pita pocket. The thought alone brings tears to my eyes. When it comes to run-of-the-mill family-friendly sandwiches like the patty melt, club, sub or sloppy Joe, we all know exactly what bread product to buy, and, we have zero trouble finding it at our local...... View full recipe for "~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~"

09/02/2015

~ Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft-Pretzel Knots ~

I love biting into a steaming-hot, crispy and salty on the the outside, chewy and tender on the inside, soft pretzel. More than eating it as is, I adore pulling bite-sized pieces from it and dipping each one into some Gulden's brown mustard. I save the knot for last -- it's the brass ring of the soft-pretzel world. Yes indeed-y, for me, the soft pretzel is on my short list, with a hot dog or a slice of pizza, in terms of "walk around the county fair or carnival" and eat yourself happy foods. You can find soft pretzels nationwide...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft-Pretzel Knots ~"

08/31/2015

~Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie~

I haven't decided if this post is going to be a rant or not. I'll just keep writing and see where I end up. As a well-seasoned woman who spent quite a bit of her young-adult life in Philadelphia, from my perspective, the iconic Philly cheesesteak neither needs nor deserves a "new twist" on it. That said, conceptually, I clearly see how it could be morphed into a pizza IF one plays by some long-standing, well-defined Philly cheesesteak rules (which apparently, many misguided pizza lovers are too lazy to research). Ok, I suppose I'm headed in the direction of a...... View full recipe for "~Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie~"

08/25/2015

~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~

"I could have had a V-8." If you've ever leisurely sipped on a chilled glass of traditional gazpacho you wouldn't say that, even in jest. It is the ultimate vegetable smoothie. Here in my Happy Valley kitchen, me making gazpacho is a sure sign that Fall is around the corner. Our vegetable garden is producing almost more stuff than I can use efficiently. Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing, cool way for me to put a bounty of produce to a delicious use. Gazpacho is quite easy to make, but if you're under the impression it's as simple as throwing some...... View full recipe for "~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~"

07/27/2015

~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~

Everything tastes better with bacon, and, cheddar makes everything better too -- even broccoli. Everyone loves a steamy, creamy, buttered baked potato, and, twice baked potatoes are, well -- they're the Rolls Royce of the baked-potato world. Men love them, kids adore them, and, from a mom's perspective, they'll get you as many accolades as a hot fudge sundae. Every once in a while, I get so hungry for a twice-baked spud that I just gotta make 'em. Today is such a day. Making twice-baked potatoes is a method, not an exact recipe. A twice baked potato is exactly what...... View full recipe for "~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~"