Thursday, November 30, 2006

On the Record about Cookin' In the 'Cuse

God, do I feel sterotypical doing this: here I am, blogging about an interview on blogging.

I just got off the phone with a Syracuse journalism student (I don't want to name her, because I didn't ask if I could) doing a profile on Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the author of Cookin' in the 'Cuse. I link to Jennifer's site, and vice versa, and so I guess that made me a decent source.

I hope I did Jennifer's blog justice, but all I could keep thinking was that this student's assignment is the exact same assignment my Journalism students are working on right now (the profile piece), and I suck at giving good quotes. And I used the adjective "very" way too many times. AND I actually used the term "blogosphere" which I hate. All in all, if this reporter uses my quotes, I'm pretty sure I'll come across as someone you'll want to smack.

So Jennifer, allow me to say this: I love your blog, I love your commitment to using local and organic foods in cooking, and I hope I conveyed that in the interview.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stuffed Artichokes

Posts will be a bit spotty this week and next; it's the end-of-the-semester crunch (grading papers) plus an out of town trip (moderating panels).

Until things get back to normal, I'd like to share this recipe for stuffed artichokes. I picked it up in an Italian Cooking class and have made it countless numbers of times. It never disappoints.

It takes a bit of effort but, trust me, it's worth it.

Stuffed Artichokes

4 artichokes
4 TBS fresh basil, minced
2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup or more (probably much more) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 tsp. chopped garlic
S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Boil chokes in salted water for 15 mins. Drain and allow to cool.
Remove stems and set aside Trim the tops of the leaves and scoop out the choke. Sprinkle center of chokes with a little oil & salt.

Peel stems and chop finely. In a bowl, combine Parmesan, breadcrumbs, basil, garlic, oil and choke stems. (Add extra oil if dry.) Stuff each choke with filling, place in well-oiled baking dish, drizzle with EVOO, and cook for 30 mins. or until done. The artichokes are done when a knife slides easily into the base of the choke. Serve immediately.

Grade: A+

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Little Bit of Noterity

Natasha Li Pickowicz, Arts Editor for the Ithaca Times, included me in a round-up of local food bloggers (see below). Yay!

Now that this is out, I look forward to the media stampeding toward me, ready to shower me with continual praise.

By: Natasha Li Pickowicz
We turn to blogs for the latest new rock band, up-to-the-minute political commentary, avant-garde fashion trends, and discreet gossip monitoring - so why not look to blogs for food, recipes, and cooking advice?
In the past year, food and wine blogs have become a legitimate alternative to unwieldy cookbooks and digressive cooking television shows. What could be easier - and cheaper - than navigating your favorite bookmarked food blog as you prepare for the winter holidays?
There are plenty of upstate New York food blogs to read before Turkey day hits this week. Whether you're looking for pictorial inspiration, excruciatingly detailed step-by-step guides, or just friendly, colloquial chatter, these are the ones to read when you're planning your Thanksgiving.
Sites like Epicurious (, Chow (, Gilded Fork (, and television giant Food Network ( will always remain staples for those searching for free, accessible cooking ideas online, but there are plenty of other independent food blogs worth monitoring.
For the more adventurous (and advanced) amateur chef, Munich-based Delicious Days ( is the godfather of food blogs, with magazine-quality photographs, gorgeous, simple design, and exotic, unusual recipes (such as pasta from scratch or quince paste).
Simply Recipes ( is an easy-to-navigate, vast resource, especially for those looking for more traditional Thanksgiving ideas. Blogger Elise links to hundreds of other food blogs, and her post "Thanksgiving Planning" is immensely helpful and will spur many into Thanksgiving-cooking overdrive.
Cooking in the 'Cuse ( is a regional favorite, and is published by Rev. Jennifer Baskerville Burrows, the rector of Grace Episcopal Church and Episcopal chaplain at Syracuse University. She places a strong emphasis on sustainable and organic cooking.
For ideas for fun day-trip ideas (like the Burrville Cider Mill) and information on regional cuisine, sustainable cooking, and heirloom varieties visit Syracuse-transplant (and former Ithaca resident) blogger Couteau Bonswan ( Other local food and wine blogs include the modestly designed but useful Laura Rebecca's Kitchen (, a blogger based in the Finger Lakes region. For more of a national flavor, local food blog (and Cornell hotelie undergrad) The Hungry Hedonist ( writes equally about Ithaca spots as well as food meccas NYC and San Francisco. But be warned: There are no recipes offered here, as this site focuses entirely on restaurant reviews.
Cooking with Ideas ( is written by Bibliochef, a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While her blog is topically more digressive, she provides plenty of links to Finger Lakes-related food stops.
For an emphasis on what local wines to pair with your Thanksgiving feast, visit Finger Lakes Weekend Wino (, which is self-explanatory.
Read more on my blog, Popcorn Youth (, or shoot me an email with your favorite food blog at

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mashed Turnips & Carrots

God, I'd forgotten how much I love these. Somehow, they're bitter and sweet, creamy but not thick. I will be attacking these tomorrow.

Mashed Turnips & Carrots
2 turnips, peeled and cubed
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 - 4 Tbsp butter
Salt to taste
A splash of milk

Place turnips and carrots in a large pot and fill with water until it just covers the vegatables. Add a bit of salt (maybe a tablespoon) and heat over high heat. After the pot has come to a boil, cook veggies until fork tender (about 20 minutes).
Drain pot and transfer veggies to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and milk, and mash to desired consistancy.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Don't Miss The Frozen Pumpkin Dessert Squares!

Eliza's Frozen Pumpkin Dessert Squares: pretty as a picture!

In the RRC#4 Round-up, I neglected to include Eliza's submission for Frozen Pumpkin Dessert Squares. They look like a great twist on a Thanksgiving classic, so please check out the dessert section of the RRC#4 for her creation!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Company's Coming Mashed Potatoes

There's a little bit of a story behind this: a few years ago, I was eating lunch at a church pot-luck. Pot-lucks are not know for culinary excellence. But there was one gem among the casseroles: a bowl of mashed potatoes.

I fwaped some on my paper plate, and settled in among everyone else to tuck in. Everything was fine, but the potatoes -- they were something special. Creamy, flavorful, delicious; they were the best I'd ever tasted.

So I hunted down the woman who made them and she -- generously -- gave me the recipe. I've made them a number of times in the past couple of years since then, and I've never had anyone not RAVE about them. They really are that good. I will never forget the first Thanksgiving I spent with Shane's family; I made these potatoes and people almost licked their plates. (Not a bad bit of in-law insurance.)

These potatoes can be made 4 to 5 days ahead, just be sure to leave plenty of time (around 45 minutes) for re-heating in the oven. Having said that, you can reheat them in the microwave, too.

Right out of the oven!

Company's Coming Mashed Potatoes

8-10 med. potatoes
16 oz. sour cream
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBS butter

Peel potatoes, then boil until tender. With electric mixer, mash potatoes, sour cream, and cream cheese until it reaches your desired consistency. (If making ahead, cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Fold chives into the potatoes and add salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika, covering with foil. Bake 35 minutes.

Serves 8 to 10.

Grade: A+

Planning Our Thanksgiving Menu

I'm happily curled up on my couch, home after teaching an 8 am course. Snow is falling outside, dusting everything with a glaze of white. The only sound is the ticking of pendulumed clock -- it's the perfect back-drop to tinker with our Thanksgiving menu.

~Thanksgiving 2006 Menu~
Dinner for 7 (5 adults, 2 children)


Golden Corn & Black Bean Salsa served with tortilla chips
Crudite Platter with Spinach Dip

-The Main Course-

Each place setting with be adorned with a
three-dimensional, foil wrapped chocolate turkey

Company's Coming Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Candied Yams - Mom
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic - Dad
Cranberry Sauce - Nancy


As I start to cook, I'll update the above with hyperlinks to my results. In the meantime, many of the above are linked to source recipes (some of them are my own, however). I'm surprised by the number of essential Thanksgiving favorites that are "commercial" recipes: the Spinach Dip is by Knorr, the Green Bean Casserole has both Campbell's and French's products, the pumpkin pie is by Libby.

Still, I guess those are safe, comfortable brands resulting in safe, comfortable food. And that is a hallmark of Thanksgiving: the familiar and the homey.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bombay Sapphire Martini by Guest Blogger Shane

This post is abbreviated from the original, found here.

The Reverend Horton Heat once said, "I live my life on a layer of ice" and indeed, in my estimation, this is the key to a good martini of any sort, but most especially the Bombay Sapphire.

The key ingredient is unsurprisingly Bombay Sapphire Gin (or to the politically correct, Mumbai Sapphire Gin, hehe). Also, it is well worth noting that a fine martini glass is required for maximum enjoyment. A very thin rim is preferred.

First off, fill your cocktail shaker with crushed ice.

Second, place two jiggers of Bombay Sapphire Gin into the shaker.

Third, shake vigorously, until frost forms on the shaker. This breaks up the ice creating a somewhat slushy mixture which is your first key, and also fully releases the botanicals, which is your second key.

Fourth, put a pony of Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth into the gin glass. Gently swirl the martini glass to coat the entire inside of the glass with vermouth (much like you would with wine to see its "legs").

Fifth, give the gin a few more good shakes, then using the filter, pour it into the martini glass, it should come to about 1-2 mm below the rim. A pleasant release of botanicals, smelling somewhat like fresh pine needles, should fill your senses. After a few seconds a layer of ice should form on the surface of the martini.

Sixth, if so inclined, drop a couple of Spanish Queen Olives into the martini. For Christmas time, dropping two or three Peppermint Starlight Mints is a very enjoyable holiday alternative to the olives.

Voila! Enjoy!
Grade: A

Friday, November 17, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge #4: Fall Favorites Round-Up

"Welcome, everyone, to the Junior League's 'Cats in Trees Benefit Dinner.' As you probably know, cats getting stuck in trees has reached epidemic levels in our community, diverting our firemen from their primary task. Just last week, a church, a hospital, and a convent all burned down while the Fire Department was busy getting Queenie out of a maple tree. But before we get to our keynote speaker, please enjoy the lavish spread provided by our wonderful members."

~Soups, Starters & Sides~

Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas is ladeling out Borscht .

Ulrike aka ostwestwind at K├╝chenlatein serves up Swede Mash, with a side of sausage.

For your salad, Gillian at Food History has salad cream .

(Artist's interpretation.)

Hometown girl Laura Rebecca has Poppin Fresh Barbecups .

(Artist's interpretation.)

~Entrees ~

Em from Kitchem cooked up Beef Bourguignonne .

Anh from Ahn's Food Blog created a lovely Beef Stroganoff .

Cathy from Not Eating Out in New York offers the exotic Moussaka.

Emily at Appetitive Behavior melts comfort food fans hearts with Susan's Macaroni, Tomato and Cheese.

If you can't decide what to order, sit back and let Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness serve you Irish Stew, Brown Bread, and Dark Gingerbread.


Becke of Columbus Foodie is dishing out Autumn Apple Squares .

La Vida Dulce at La Vida Dulce offers up that perenial favorite, Cranberry Wine Mold.
(An interpretation.)

Rachel at Food Maven cooked up Betty Crocker's recipe for Chocolate Fudge

(Yet another artist's interpretation)

Breadchick at The Sour Dough baked up some Maple Shortbread Bars.

Shandon at How's Annie whipped up some Maple Sponge. (She's less than thrilled about it, but I bet it's delicious.)

Last, but certainly not least, the loverly Alicat at Something So Clever has brought Baked Doughnut Puffs.

"And that's the spread, ladies! I want to extend my gratitude to all the wonderful chefs who helped make this luncheon possible! If there are any dishes I've left out, please let me know so I can put them out and everyone will be able to sample them. Please enjoy your meals!

"And don't forget about next month's holiday celebration! I hope you can join us!"

Retro Recipe Challenge #5: Boozy Holiday

I look forward to the holidays each year -- baking, listening to Christmas carols, sending out holiday cards -- but I also find them stressful. The over-crowded malls, the bleeding of money, the desire to get everything just right; sometimes it's just too much.

And that's when a visit with Johnny Walker comes in handy. He and his friends Captain Morgan, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and the rest really help take the edge off a stressful holiday season.

You may say I'm a boozer, but I'm not the only one.

As such, the theme for Retro Recipe Challenge #5 is Boozy Holiday. Here's the nitty gritty:

Cook up a holiday-appropriate dish featuring alcohol OR mix up a festive holiday drink using a recipe first published between 1900 and 1980. For help in searching for a recipes, visit “helpful links” on the sidebar of Retro Recipe Challenge Blog.

If your religion or lifestyle prevents you from consuming alcohol, then you may submit a mocktail recipe.

Take a picture of your creation(if possible)
Post the recipe, the picture and your results on your blog. Please include:
--The year the recipe was published
--Where the recipe came from
--How it tasted
--A tag for --A link to this post

Send an email to RetroRecipeChallengeATgmailDOTcom by Friday, December 15 at 11:59pm EST. Please include:
--RRC#5 in the subject line
--your first name or blogging nickname
--your blog's name and your blog's URL
--the recipe name and the post's URL

I hope today you'll join us, and the world will drink as one.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge #4 Fall Favorites: DEADLINE TODAY

This is it folks; we're down to the wire! Get your Retro Fall Favorites into the RRC#4: Fall Favorites by today at 11:59pm.

I'm aiming to post the round-up on Thursday, but I think that's a bit ambitious -- definately by Friday, though.

I'll also be announcing the RRC#5 ... are you dying with anticipation?!?!?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Spirited Brown Sugar Pecan Pie

Anytime I've ever made pecan pie, I've just used the recipe on the back of the Karo Corn Syrup bottle. It's simple, it's fast, and it's delicious.

Shane was sick this weekend and requested a pecan pie (chicken soup too, but the pie took higher importance). I wanted to branch out, and found this recipe on It came out of the oven looking lovely, despite the fact that I'd misread the recipe and added too much butter.

That was Sunday night, and we didn't have a chance to taste it. On Monday morning, Shane was feeling better. Me, not so much.

I caught his damn cold. Sore throat, stuffy head, aches and -- most telling of all -- no appetite for sweets. Maybe at one point, a fever, but we always lose thermometers so I'm really not sure.

So, I haven't actually eaten this pie yet. But Shane did last night, and said something really emphatic and nice about it, but I was too busy hallucinating about yarn (I swear to God) and didn't catch exactly what he said. The jist was that the pie is delicious.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, I did have a slice. It's delicious, with a richer, more complex flavor than the pie the Karo recipe produces.

My pie is soupier than it should be, but I'm chalking that up to excessive butter. Follow the recipe, and you'll have a very nice pecan pie.

Spirited Brown Sugar Pecan Pie
1 pie crust
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon Scotch whisky
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line 9-inch glass pie dish with dough. Crimp edge decoratively. Whisk sugar, eggs, butter, Scotch, vanilla, and cinnamon in large bowl to blend. Mix in nuts. Pour filling into dough-lined dish.
Bake pie until filling is slightly puffed and set in center, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 40 minutes. Cool pie completely at room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Grade: A

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (aka, Blondies)

Tasty little buggers.

Essentially, these were a vehicle to try out a bag of Nestle Chocolatier 62-percent Cacao bittersweet chocolate morsels. Shane and I tasted them along with Ghirardelli's 60-precent Cacao bittersweet chips. Alone on the tongue, I preferred the Nestle (!!!) but in baking, the Ghirardelli still has my heart (and palate). (Shane liked the Nestle alone, too, but I forgot to ask him if he preferred it to Ghirardelli in a baked good.)

In any event, these cookie bars have a lot of virtues: easy to whip up, comforting, chocolately. They're not my favorite, and they won't make anyone swoon with pleasure, but that doesn't mean you won't be sneaking samples from the cookie jar, either.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (source)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 4 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts - LR)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Butter and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Mix flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in medium bowl. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Remove saucepan from heat. Add sugar and whisk to blend. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour mixture (batter will be thick). Fold in chocolate and nuts.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake blondies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool blondies in pan on rack. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.) Cut into squares and serve.

Makes about 24.

Grade: B to B+ range

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Retro Recipe Challenge #4 Fall Favorites: Only TWO DAYS Left!

I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic: Thanksgiving is next week! What will I make? ACK!

Help me out, guys! Get your Retro Fall Favorites into the RRC#4: Fall Favorites by this Wednesday, November 15, at 11:59pm and give me and everybody hosting T-Day some ideas.

'Cause Turkey ala King ain't gonna cut it.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Twinkie Chan: Cooking Up Delicious Wearables

The promo from Twinkie Chan's MySpace site for her latest auction.

I'm a bit obsessed with Twinkie Chan 's work (here too) right now after seeing some of her cupcake pins on eBay. Last time I checked, the bidding pushed the price to $40+; her scarves were in the $200-$300 range (I think).

Her stuff is so much fun. And inspiring: knowing that it's possible to make a pancake breakfast scarf (check out her pics on MySpace) makes me want to learn how to crochet.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mashed Butternut Squash

UPDATED! See below!

I love butternut squash, but don't think I've ever mashed it before. Aside from being exceedingly simple, it has a lovely flavor -- particularly if you enhance it with salt, pepper, and butter.

It's also very good for you: 1 cup of squash cubes has only 60 calories and no fat (of course, adding butter changes all of that...) plus it provides 50-percent of the daily allotment of Vitamin C and 220-percent of the daily allotment for vitamin A.

Plus, the color is gorgeous; it livens up any entree you serve it with.

Mashed Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
butter to taste
salt and pepper

In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook squash for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pot. Mash with butter, salt and pepper. Serves 4.

UPDATE: Jenny's mom (whom I don't want to name because I don't think she wanted her name published) recommends roasting the squash instead of boiling it. Just slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and "place squash in ungreased baking dish,131/2x9x2 inches. Season cut sides with salt and pepper;dot with butter or margarine. Pour water into dish to 1/4-inch depth; cover with aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven 30 minutes or until tender."

From there you can scoop out the now-soft flesh, mash and add butter, salt and pepper.

Thanks Jenny's Mom!!!

Grade: A

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Medallions

Mmm, porky.

Homer: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa honey, are you saying you're *never* going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Ham?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Pork chops?

Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!

Homer: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.


This is very good, very easy, and very Homer Simpson.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Medallions
1 pork tenderlion (1 to 1.25 lbs.)
8 slices of bacon
salt and pepper
toothpicks or shish kebob skwers

Cut tenderloin into 8 slices (medallions) about 1 to 1.25 inches wide, and season generously with salt and pepper. Wrap the outside of each medallion in bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining pork and bacon, and place on a greased roasting rack over a baking sheet.

Preheat broiler to 500-degrees F. Broil medallions about 4-inches from heat source for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches about 160-degrees F. Remove wooden pick before serving.

Grade: A-

Monday, November 06, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge #4: Poppin' Fresh Barbecups

How to put this delicately ... sometimes in a woman's life -- or should I say month -- she craves some high-fat, low-in-pretention food. With no one to answer to except a pet, a kick-ass cable package, and a long historical tell-all, she's free to make what she wants.

Cap'n Crunch is an option, but runs the risk of palate abrasion. Mountains of leftover holiday candy would fit if she hadn't already OD'ed on it. But bread, beef and cheese could work nicely.

It's doubtful that Peter Russell, 1968 Pillsbury Bake-off contest winner, could identify with the above sentiments, but his recipe -- the kitschily titled "Poppin' Fresh Barbecups" -- certainly speaks to it. Peter took some BBQ sauce, onion, and brown sugar, mixed it with ground beef and stuffed it into cup-shaped biscuits, and topped it all off with cheese.

If that doesn't appear to be a recipe for hormonal happiness, I'm not sure what does. (Other than chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, drizzled with chocolate sauce.)

Sadly, 2006 sensibilities found Peter's recipe a bit bland. More onion, BBQ sauce and some spices (cayenne, cumin) would kick up things up.

Still, all the fat does sate one's hormonally-addled appetite.

Poppin' Fresh Barbecups

1 lb. lean ground beef (responsibly raised)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (12-oz.) can Pillsbury® Golden Layers® Refrigerated Buttermilk or Flaky Biscuits
2 oz. (1/2 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400-degrees F. Grease 10 medium muffin cups. In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in barbecue sauce, onion and brown sugar. Cook 1 minute to blend flavors, stirring constantly.

Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each greased muffin cup. Firmly press in bottom and up sides, forming 1/4-inch rim over edge of cup. (Mine didn't get quite that far -- LR) Spoon about 1/4 cup beef mixture into each biscuit-lined cup. Sprinkle each with cheese.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from muffin cups.

Grade: B-

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Retro Cookbook Article

A big THANK YOU to Emily, who not only got her RRC#4 entry in early (as did Kirsten -- thank you ladies!) but tipped me off to a NYT article featuring retro cookbooks. Take a look and check for log in details.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge #4 Fall Favorites: Two Weeks Left!

There are two weeks left before the RRC#4: Fall Favorites deadline on Wednesday, November 15 at 11:59pm. Get your entries in! Full details on RRC#4 can be found here.