Cannot Spell Broccoli (aka Recipe Sunday!)

I have a thing for cooking shows.  I can spend all day watching Food Network.  Any show involving Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentiis, Bobby Flay (call me!), or Molton Brown, you name it, I’m there.  My friend Stacy has a thing for that annoying blond dude Guy Fieri.  I don’t have a point to make about that, I just wanted to out my friend for her weird taste.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share with you some fabulous recipes from my favorite gal, Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa.  ‘Sup, Ina?!  I have all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and enjoy thumbing through them regularly.  To date, there are a few of her recipes that rank super high on the BACKFLIP METER.  They are Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Easy Sticky Buns. Ooh, and I just realized that I should share with you her A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I share this recipe a lot cuz I really lurv it.  However, as a result, I have discovered the fact that, for the life of me, I CANNOT SPELL THE DAMN WORD BROCOLLI, or BROCCOLI, or whatever it is!  SO, thank you spell-check.  Thank you.

Two notes about this awesome recipe:  1) It’s so delicious that you’ll want to make enough.  If this is a main course, definitely use about 1 bunch of broccoli per person. If this is for a side dish, then just follow the recipe’s quantity of 4-5 lbs.  broccoli.  2) If done properly, the broccoli will get nice and crisp and browned on the edges (i.e., roasted), so don’t be alarmed.  This makes it extra tasty!

Easy Sticky Buns

This is an incredible recipe.  My dad practically begs my mom to make these on the weekends, and they do not disappoint.  Ever.  If you don’t have experience working with puff pastry, get ready – cuz you will now.  Don’t worry – it’s super easy and makes you feel fancy, and who doesn’t love feeling fancy?!

My dear friend Amy might punch me in the face over this, because she’s completely in LOVE with The Pioneer Woman Cooks’ Cinnamon Rolls. This recipe makes like 7,000 rolls, so be forewarned.  You might need to build a bigger kitchen first.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

Hooray for puff pastry!!  Yes, this crowd-pleasing and “ooh and ahhhh” inducing recipe requires puff pastry, so you might as well stock up on puff pastry from the market.

My mom served these for our first course at Thanksgiving last year.  It was so damn impressive – having a first course and all.  Maybe this is done elsewhere, but I got a kick out of it.  I’m totally stealing this idea for when I host Thanksgiving (gulp), but I should probably get a dining table first.  We’re a table-less home.

Special note:  If you’re not a goat cheese lover, you can substitute with feta cheese. If you want to be extra slutty, try using the marinated feta in a jar.  Uber slutty.  Just don’t bother with mozzarella – not enough flavor.  Trust me.

Okay, that’s all for today.  Enjoy getting fat!!

Buckets of Corn

Allow me to plan your life for you.  Okay fine, so maybe I won’t plan your entire life for you, but I will gladly plan your social calendar for you…. at least for the next 2 months.   And you should know that I am only re-posting material from a recent post for your benefit.   This is all about you.  Trust me.  I’m a professional.  (Quick – name the movie!)

Besides sunscreen, cold beer, and mosquito bites, summer offers us so many delightful things.  And one of those things is happening this weekend.  Yes folks, it’s the one and only…

Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival!!!

So stock up on dental floss, grab your bib and Wet Wipes, and head on over to the great town of Sun Prairie this weekend.   It’s just TOO GOOD to miss – if only for the sheer funny of it all.  Something about tons of people sitting around eating a shit-ton of corn is really, really funny.  Not enticed yet?!?  First of all, that’s bologna.   Second of all, just read below for all the reasons why you should go.

Buckets of Corn & a Salt Shaker Tree = Enough Said

After a long day of cow poop throwing, there’s nothing I love more than a nice bucket of sweet corn to take the edge off.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A bucket of corn.  Like this!

Enjoying a large bucket of corn from the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival - 2009
Bucket of Corn!

Last year, Danimal and I went to the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, and it was pretty much the coolest thing EVER!  I know what you’re thinking.  “How on Earth could a corn festival be the coolest thing ever?!  Like, seriously… how?!”  Excellent question.   THIS is how…

Infamous Salt Shaker Tree at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival

Salt Shaker Apparatus

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the world’s most incredible invention.  It’s a salt shaker apparatus.  You could also call it a salt shaker tree if you like.  No matter what you call it, it’s a laundry rack holding 50 salt shakers dangling from strings.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  This was the first thing I noticed as I stepped into the fair grounds and quickly realized…”Oh man, this is going to rock!”

After we got our large bucket of corn, we had to shuck it ourselves.  This was the least fun part.  But then, you enter the BUTTER LINE.  There’s a whole row of people dedicated to this one simple, yet very important, task – buttering.

Our butter kid was especially nice.  Apparently, he was enjoying a promotion of sorts, as he had climbed the corn-fest- worker ladder, moving from garbage hauler to corn butterer in a matter of two years.  We were impressed.  But I digress.  This is the cool part – Butter Boy took our bucket of corn, and one by one, rolled our delectable ears into a large pan of butter.  Don’t believe me?   See for yourself…

Buttering our corn at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival

Butter Boy butters our corn!

Yeah, it was pretty much awesome.   And for the finale, we moved on to the now infamous salt shaker apparatus.  Very strategically we salted our 9 ears of corn, lifting and rolling to ensure sufficient salt coverage.  A success!  Then, we joined the masses of people strewn about the grounds, awkwardly eating corn in silence, with no chance in hell of either looking attractive or having a conversation, because every single soul in the place had teeth full of corn.  Lovely.

And stay tuned for the next social calendar recommendation for September.  I’ll give you a clue.  It has something to do with CHEESE CURDSCRAWLING, and BEER.   Save the date:   September 25, 2010.

Going Org

Unlike our little darling, Sarah Palin, I am not Going Rogue. Rather, I’m going org… as in organic. I’ve been mostly organic for a couple of years – simply doing the best I can with food and personal/ household products. But now, as baby-making (whoa) looms in the not-so-far-off future, and the fact that I love someone so much that I want him to live forever (like I intend to)…I want to make an even stronger commitment to going organic. I want the best for us.

Even if the experts have yet to prove that organic food and products are better for us in the long run, that’s okay! I’m happy knowing that I’m as chemical-free as I can be. Yes, I still imbibe on wines and beers that aren’t organic and eat plenty of foods and use some products that are not organic – especially when I’m not at home. No worries! In the end, I just want to lessen the blow and do my part to keep potentially toxic chemicals and nasty pesticides out of me and away from the land and water we all share. I do the best I can. Fortunately, I am in the position to do so. Not everyone is.

What really burns my biscuits is that in our country, finding and being able to afford fresh, organic food is not always easy. My local Copps grocery store has a very limited supply of organic food and products. This seems to be the trend. Most mainstream grocery stores only offer a small amount, if any, organic products. Don’t even get me started on the shamefully limited fresh produce or even GROCERY STORES in many urban centers in the U.S. How can we be healthy if we can’t even buy healthy food?

When I started eating mostly vegetarian and dramatically reducing my dairy intake my body just changed. I dropped 10-15 lbs. without even trying and my reflux and migraines faded. It’s great! It’s also a lot of work, too. It costs a lot to buy all of that organic (and not organic) produce AND you have to be creative in the kitchen. Sometimes just grilling a chicken breast is a hell of a lot more appealing and speedy.

So, for our household, here are some ways we’ve made the “commitment” to going green and organic:

1. Switched to organic household cleaners & detergent and stopped using fabric softener sheets. Instead, we use these!

2. …Organic / recycled household paper products (not fully, but we’re working on it)

3. …Organic toiletry products (as much as I can manage) — Today I took to work a large box of stuff to work I didn’t want to use anymore. I put a sign on it that said “Help Yourself”. (The box was empty by the end of the day!)

4. …Organic soil and grass fertilizer

5. I cook mostly vegetarian/vegan ~ I cook only vegetarian meals for us at home, but will occasionally enjoy some meat at restaurants, etc.

6. IF I buy meat to cook and I can control the selection, I go organic/grass-fed beef. This is definitely an indulgence and we appreciate the treat. Overall, we’re trying to reduce our meat consumption for our health and for the environment.

Organic To Do List

1. Join my local organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program for heaps of fresh organic produce EVERY week! I’m very excited about this!

2. Switch to organic/cruelty-free cosmetics. This will be difficult for two reasons: 1) I’m vain. 2) I love make-up!

3. Next year I will attempt to grow my own organic vegetables, like my friends at DesignFarm do.

4. A million other things?!?!

Have you gone organic at all? What made you decide to do so? What has been your experience.


Cilantro is the Devil

Most people who know me know I like to eat. I love food. A lot. I love to cook it, smell it, look at it, talk about it, and have people prepare it for me. If you are going to be my friend, however, you must know two very important things about me and food.

1) I HATE cilantro. Cilantro is the Devil. In fact, to say I hate it is a gross understatement. I abhor, detest, LOATHE cilantro. The taste of cilantro makes me want to punch someone in the face. If even a fleck of it crosses my tastebuds, LOOKOUT! I know I’m not alone – there’s a whole world of cilantro haters out there. There’s even an explanation as to why we hate the stuff.

Sadly, I really want to love cilantro. I hate not being able to eat a dish because of it. Stupid cilantro – you’re such a jerk! My poor husband loves the stuff. On our second date, in order to woo him, I brought him a bunch of cilantro wrapped with a ribbon. I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t be around the evil stuff (I can’t. A part of me dies every second I’m near it). He is certain he will be able to change my fate and make me a cilantro lover one day. Uh huh. That’ll happen.

2) I get the most RANDOM and frequently changing food cravings. Not like “Ooh, I’d love something salty right about now”. Or “Wowee, a piece of chocolate would be delightful.” Nope. We’re talking seriously detailed and precise cravings. For example, last night I craved the truffle french fries from our favorite Breckenridge, Colorado restaurant, Modis. I’m in love with these fries. They’re the best fries on the planet (on my planet, anyway). Problem is – they’re 1,151 miles away. My only way out of this pickle was drive to the store to buy a bag of my favorite potato chips. I ate most of the bag while standing in my kitchen, my purse still on my shoulder, and the craving slowly disappeared. But they couldn’t hold a match to those beautiful french fried lovelies (call me!).

This adorable little quirk of mine is a total drag. You see, these cravings are impressively persistent. They don’t go away until they are satisfied, or, until I have moved on to the next craving, which is probably more likely. Remember when I mentioned “frequent”? Yeah – they don’t stop. NON-STOP! It’s a miracle I don’t weigh 250 pounds.

You’re probably wondering…”Why are you telling us this, Lindsay?” I feel you should know these two very important food-related details about me because if we become friends, you will 100%, without a doubt, be subjected to one or both of these shenangigans from time to time.

But other than that, there’s absolutely nothing else wrong with me, so we should be all squared away now.

Are there any foods that make you want to punch someone in the face?