Sunday, October 7, 2012

Canned Pizza

Because sometimes, you just need some pizza! :)

I saw a commercial the other day for Grand's biscuits and they were saying that you could make pizza out of them. So, we tried it. And it wasn't half bad! 

Make tomato sauce by crushing canned tomatoes and straining the liquid off, or simply using tomato paste is fine too, season with oregano, garlic (if you want) and salt & pepper. 

Take biscuits out of the can and roll them out with a roller or flatten with hand. Drizzle oil around edges. Now, I baked them for about 10 min by themselves, just to firm the crust. Then took them out, topped with sauce, cheese and toppings then put back in the oven until they looked brown and done. Use broiler at the end for a minute if necessary. 

Say you don't have any mozzarella cheese. No problem. A mix of shredded cheddar and parmesan works good too. Or, goat cheese. Or, colby. For those who like a more adult pizza, sprinkle on some blue! 

And there you go. Canned pizza! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our 6.5 lb. Maine Lobster

Boy-O-Boy! Saigon City grocery in Westminister, CA. had some GIGANTIC Maine Lobsters this weekend! I never bother to buy the tasteless lobsters you normally find, but Maine lobster is a whole other ball game. This 6.5 lb. lobster was one of the smallest ones they had. I estimated most were between 7-10 lbs. No joke. 

And this guy has been around for a while. How old do you think he is - 10 years old? 20? Look at his claws. Obviously one is much older than the other. And look at how worn down the old claw is - it's caveman looking! 

And the old claw was NOT easy to break. Tried the rubber hammer first, it was a no go. Broke out the metal hammer, but it still took a lot of work to break the hard shell. I could probably crack a skull before we cracked that claw! 

Thick shell!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blue Margaritas

Happy Cinco de Mayo to our Mexican friends!

If you're going to have a margarita today, might as well be a beautiful one :)



1 (10-ounce) can frozen margarita mix 
3/4 cup tequila 
1/4 cup blue curaƧao liqueur
2 tablespoons lime juice 


Combine all ingredients in a blender. Fill with ice to 5-cup level, and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Thanks to Southern Living, June 2002

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Breakfast

We sat outside today, weather was beautiful. The usual iPad games were played while waiting for the food. The fence you can see in this picture has those gardenia flower vines growing on it, and the flowers were in bloom .... smelled out of this world good!

They only do breakfast at the Golden Truffle once a month, on the last weekend of the month. And, it's gooooood! Their food is not the typical stuff, but still familiar and always gourmet. Crab or lobster Benedict, chicken livers and gravy on toast, huge English Breakfast platter, scalloped potatoes, fried chicken biscuit & gravy, tamales, chili omelette - all homemade. We just order all sorts of stuff and share. Today we ate too much though and all had to take a nap when we got home. It's nice to do that once in a while though. Just do .... nothing.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ramp Shrimp Scampi & Trout Stuffed with Ramps and Bread

It's ramp season again!

Q: What are ramps?
A: They're sort of like an onion, sort of like garlic. Taste is similar to both the onion and garlic, but then again, not really.

Q: Where can I buy ramps?
A: From Doug. :) He sometimes lists them here while in season. Or you can e-mail him at wrn453(at)

Hope that helps. :)

I get my ramps from a guy in Ohio. He picks them fresh each season, and ships them to me. This year I got my package in the mail with beautiful young and tender ramps, and the first dishes I made were Ramp Scampi, and Stuffed Trout.

For both dishes, the ramps are cleaned of course, then diced. Each dish was made for just 2 people, so adjust according to servings needed.

Do this first, then set aside:
For the trout stuffing, I simply sauteed 1/4 cup of ramps (mixed white & green parts) with 2 small stalks chopped celery in some butter & olive oil, and then added some cubed dry bread, about 2 cups, chicken broth added until right consistency for stuffing was achieved - not too dry, not too mushy - then salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning, pinch or two of dried thyme, and some parsley. Then it was put into a 350 oven for about 20 min to set up.

Then the trout, which I bought already cleaned, was simply stuffed with the stuffing. I then took 1 large egg, scrambled it, and poured it over the stuffing inside the two pieces of trout. This will help glue it together a little. Plus, egg is just good. Cooked in the oven at 450 for about 10 min.

While the trout was cooking, I made the shrimp:
I sauteed 1 lb of shrimp in butter and a little olive oil, 2 diced garlic cloves, the diced ramps (about 1/4 cup) and salt & pepper. Once cooked through, I added 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of chicken broth and continued to cook on medium until liquid was reduced by half. Adjusted salt & pepper to taste and a squeeze or two of lemon. If not garlicky enough for you at this point, you can add some more fresh chopped garlic to punch up the garlicky-ness. If you like spicy, some red pepper flakes are good in this too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Different Kind Of Cheese Sandwich: Easy & Quick Parmesan & Cracked Black Pepper Spreadable Cheese

Creamy, peppery, savory cheese - spread onto buttery crackers. Now that's MY kind of cheese sandwich!

I once bought a cheese spread that I absolutely loved, and today I was craving it, so I made some (this is my homemade version of it). It's so easy, really fast, and definitely different from the classic cheese ball or spinach dip. As an appetizer, this cheese would go great on fresh crostini too!


~ 8 ounces cream cheese. Your choice of regular, reduced fat or fat free - they all work (regular tastes best though, of course).
~ 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese. You can use expensive cheese if you want, or the less expensive commercial stuff works just fine too in something like this.
~ 1 Tbsp. coarse ground black pepper
~ 1/2 tsp. salt

Method: Mix all together. :)

After mixing, taste it. You might feel it needs more salt, or more pepper.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later use.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Velvety Kabocha Squash Soup

Kabocha squash is that large, dark green squash that looks like a small pumpkin, only it's dark green. :) Look at this though - it's very orange on the inside! It's really velvety and quite sweet. I've tried roasting and eating the seeds too, but I don't care for them. The only two ways I've had this, is as tempura (Japanese) and this soup. I like smooth soups, but I also heard just today from someone else who said her grandmother just cubes it and drops it into a pork soup, which sounds good too! I'll have to try that next time. Also, since it's on the sweeter side, you could totally play that up and use it something like a pie, or roast it with some butter, cinnamon & sugar ... or whatever.

This is what it looks like on the outside.

You can peel it, then steam it or boil it, but it's a really hard squash, so be careful - don't cut yourself. I just cut it up like this, and then boil it (with a bit of salt) with rind on and wait to scoop it out once it's cooked and soft.

Boil until soft (about 20 min or so). Scoop out the orange flesh, and discard the rind.

Finishing the soup:

In a blender, combine the cooked Kabocha with vegetable or chicken broth (you can make the soup as thick or as thin as you like - I used about 3 cups for one medium sized squash and it was about milkshake consistency). I also added about 2 TBSP of butter, and then salt & pepper to taste, a squeeze or two of fresh lemon to taste, and then a pinch of dried thyme. Blend until completely smooth and then return to a pan to reheat. You can finish it by adding a splash of cream or half & half, if you want.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Classic BLT

Sometimes the simple things are the best.

I have been thinking about a BLT for a couple weeks now. Today I made one. I could have eaten four, but I stopped at one. :)

And for me, it has to be old fashioned, soft, white bread. Toasted. And real, full fat mayonnaise. No extras like avocado or onion or whatever the heck else people like to put on their BLT's (which would then technically no longer be a BLT but a different sandwich altogether). And summer is really the only time it will be at it's best, because of the fresh tomatoes. And my tomatoes out in the garden are superb right now - as you can see. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dinner Inspiration - Irish Shepard's Pie

I was pretty surprised when they delivered this beautiful looking plate at my local Irish Pub. It's Shepard's Pie, which is supposed to be a casual, rustic dish. Or, at least that's how I always thought of it. But after seeing how it's plated up here, with the fresh peas, baby carrots and then that little sprig of rosemary sticking out from the center of the beautifully browned mashed potatoes, I have changed my opinion about it, and now it's on my list of really impressive dinners I could serve.

And it's not just pretty, it's SO good! Great for kids too.

I'm not going to post a recipe, but I'll give you a basic rundown of how you'd make it, should you decide to give it a whirl. This is basically a ground beef stew, topped with potatoes and baked. You could make 1 big family-style dish, or smaller individual portions, as seen above. This could also work well as a chicken & dumpling flavor, just make a thick stew and add the same potatoes on top.

A quick rundown of how I make it is below. For those who are like me and just want a quick view of what's in it so they can make their own version, see below. If you need a real recipe, I'm sure FoodBuzz has tons - click on the FoodBuzz badge on the right side of the page. :)

Brown your ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb, or a mix) then add some chopped onions & carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots start to get soft. Salt & pepper to taste, some garlic, pinch rosemary and pinch thyme. Add peas. Mix in some brown gravy - enough to make a thick stew (like a sloppy joe). Transfer to the baking dish(es) and then add mashed potatoes on top. Cook in the oven to brown the potatoes. If the stew is fully cooked, you can just brown it under the broiler.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Favorite "Quick Fix" for making Brussels Sprouts Sassy?

Mix in a spoonful or two of Mascarpone. It works wonderful on brussels sprouts, but also spinach, green beans, zucchini, all greens, broccoli, etc., etc. It's as good, if not better, than butter - it's rich and creamy, and has a wonderful flavor. Bacon used to be my favorite, but adding Mascarpone is just so much easier and faster than cooking up bacon.