Thursday, October 28, 2010

Popcorn Balls at the Lion's Club Carnival: My Re-creation.

This time of year makes me crave red enchiladas.  And pomegranates.  And popcorn balls.

Yes, the popcorn balls that were sold at the pokey little Lions Club Carnival that was held in my pokey little New Mexico hometown.

My mother, being a member of the ladies club that made them, always packed the sticky corn around a big fat marshmallow, and I thought that was just divine. I considered myself gypped if I didn't get one made by my mom.  Indignant!

But today I didn't want to fool around with a double boiler, and lots of butter, and marshmallow creme.  So...

I popped the corn in this.

I have to admit that this was a recent purchase.  This is NOT the same hot air popcorn popper that I had about 25 years ago.  That one was sold in a garage sale, along with my melon baller. Could you possibly be surprised?

I sprayed a little butter flavor oil on the pan, then on the corn, then salted it.  Back then, you snuck it in, but now we've got salt crystals sitting on sweet stuff just like that was normal!

Then I mixed in some mini-marshmallows.
Yes, I know it.  This is going to end up tasting like Fruit Loops.  So do yours with white ones!
Then I put it into the oven (350°) for 5 minutes.
I took it out and pushed down on some parchment paper on the top of it really hard.  Moosh, smoosh.
And when it was cool, I cut it with a buttered, serrated, knife.

And I was happy.  Now excuse me while I  go find some dental floss.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Puppy Reward Treats (that won't eat your lunch)

My Baby Boy, Oliver, really, really likes his treats.  He's giving me the stink-eye because he's wondering why I am calling his name for no apparent reason, and if he will have to give up those chewy bones.  No worries, Ollie.  Just wanted to take your photo.
I've been training Oliver how to do the regular doggie stuff, sit, stay (working really hard on that one),  come-right-this-minute,  don't pee on the floor,  all that.  As all dog trainers know,  dogs  respond fast to edible rewards.  And faster to really tasty rewards.
However, a person could go broke buying store-bought doggie treats!  In desperation I searched online and this has worked like a charm.  I never would have thought of using hot dogs, and doing it this way saves you from having a stinky wet mess on your hands or in your pocket.

1.  Buy the cheapest weiners possible.  Fud!  Why does that make me think of Forrest Gump? Or those Hukd on Foniks jokes?  Anyway...
These were about $.79 for a package of 6.  A package of 6 will make a ton of treats if you do it this way.  Cut them in half lengthwise, turn a quarter turn, and cut again. Then cut them in slices about the width of an uncooked macaroni noodle.

 2.  Spread them out on a paper towel, and cover with another paper towel
 3.  Roll the towels up like a burrito.
 4. Put the paper towel burrito in the microwave for 4:00 on high.

 And when they are finished, take them out and let them cool, then separate any that got stuck together.  They should be almost completely dry and crispy.  They will keep almost forever in an air-tight container.  Ollie and Josephine think they are the best thing they've ever tasted, ...with the possible exception of cat poop.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mom's Recipe Box

I was going through my mother's recipe box this morning.
She had gotten very confused around  the time they moved off the farm, and complained a lot about not finding her recipe box after the move.  About not finding anything after the move, dammit!
However, when my sister and I were cleaning out the house later, I came across it in a kitchen cabinet.
I was hoping to find many of the everyday recipes that she cooked often; but of course those weren't ever written down, ...she just cooked!  Maybe I could find her recipe for chile con queso?  Nope.
What I did find were about 13  variations on chicken/broccoli casserole,  11 kinds of  "impossible" or "unbelieveable" pie,  8 kinds of apple cake (I wonder which one was her favorite?) , and lots of praline, brittle and fudge recipes.  Mom had a sweet tooth, for sure.
A good many of them were cut out of the newspaper.  That Ann Landers must have been some cook.  And Heloise had some goodies, too.  I am definitely going to make that Jamaican Barbeque sauce.
Also,  almost every single one of these recipes calls for either "oleo" or "Crisco".   It's a wonder we are still alive,  having consumed so much trans-fats in all that time.
In the end, what I found that interested me the most were recipes from her lady friends that had their names on them, in their own writing, or else written by my Mom on a scrap of paper.  Now, you know that if Mom had asked right then for the recipe, it was good.
So, first up, Esther Claire Brown's "Flemish Steak".  This just sounds wonderful.

Flemish Steak, serves 6
Melt 1/4 c. butter and pour it into a large covered casserole.  (Restaurant supply steam tray pans are fabulous)
Slice 3 onions and put them over the butter.
Pound 1/4 c. flour (and I added some steak seasoning) into 3 1/2 lb. of round steak, (trimmed, of course)  I learned the hard way that pounding flour into a piece of steak could turn into an "I Love Lucy" mess if you didn't put the steak into a plastic bag before you pounded it.
Place on top of of onions and bake at 450°, uncovered 35-40 minutes until browned.

Reduce heat to 325° and add:
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves (I used a pinch of ground clove)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary and......
2 bottles of beer. (all the recipes I found that remotely resembled this used good Ale)
(I added 1 tsp. of dijon mustard)
Cover and bake at 325° until tender.  This might be 1-2 hours.  Or more.
Arrange on a platter, top with juices and chopped parsley and chives. (or serve on a plate)

Really rich mashed potatoes are called for with this, dontcha think?  This recipe actually turned out to be  all I thought it would.  The Ale and the spices made it so flavorful!  Mom, thanks for asking for this recipe.  And  I'm so glad you kept it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SusieGee's Roasted Veggies

My friend, Susie, made this the other day for a Very Important Meeting.  The reason for the meeting was to discuss and resolve various issues in the world at large and in our local community.  While drinking various forms of alcohol.
Anyway, everyone was going nuts over Susie's veggie thing, which we ate on pita chips.
Here is how she told me to make it:
1. Peel and cut an eggplant into small chunks.   Lay it on paper towels and salt generously, then leave for 45 mins.
2. Pat it dry gently and put it in a sheet pan with olive oil and roast at 450° for 35 mins.
3. Cut up red onion, yellow, red, and orange bell pepper, and 6 cloves of garlic and put them on a sheet pan.
3.  Add (all drained) 2 jars button mushrooms, 1 jar pitted kalamata olives, a small jar of capers, a can of un-marinated artichoke hearts and a container of cherry tomatoes.  Mix it up in the pan with more olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 450 for an hour, stirring at 15-20 minute intervals. 
4. Mix this with the eggplant. Done!

We all love, love, loved this dish,  and felt like the world was a much better place after having eaten it.


Anyway, I decided to see if I could make it but be lazy and cheap.  So here is what I did.

1. Peeled and cut the eggplant, or in my case, eggplants, because they were small.
2.  Put them in a colander and salted the heck out of them.
3.  Waited 30 minutes.
4.  Rinsed them off.

5.  Tossed them into a roasting pan.
6. Then I cut up some red onion, green bell pepper, omitted the garlic, and put it all in with the eggplant.
7. Added fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped,

then the olives, the artichoke hearts, the capers, the cherry tomatoes, a lot of olive oil, granulated garlic and a little bit of Italian herb mix.
8.  Tossed it around good and put it into a 500° oven for an hour.

And it was good.  Thanks, Susie, for your contribution to peace, love and understanding throughout the world.