Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog French Toast & Me

This very random day started by feeling deeply unsettled over my torn apart kitchen and cluttered beyond recognition kitchen table. When crap fills up the coveted space we're supposed to have family meals I sort of fall apart and become obsessed with other details. Like playing on Facebook all morning.

While over there, my friend Missy asked that I fill out 30 Random Things About Me and of course I had to comply. Not doing so would have me doing productive things. Like leaving the house for the first time today. Or God forbid, dishes.

Here are my answers. If you feel up to it do this yourself and please come back and let me know so I can visit!

First though, the recipe, as it's a heck of a lot shorter than my rambling.

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog French Toast
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You can make this with regular eggnog too if you can’t find the other. The only trick to this quick breakfast is butter. You must very generously butter your pan or the bread will stick like the dickens.

Sliced Bread
Pumpkin Spice Eggnog

1. Place some eggnog in a wide shallow bowl. Set bread and bowl beside the stove.

2. Heat a good dollop of butter in a skillet over medium high heat until the foam begins to subside. Soak bread on both sides and shake off the excess nog.

3. Fry bread on one side. When golden brown, lift up the slices and add a little more butter. Flip the bread over and cook until done. Repeat until happy.

4. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and maple syrup if desired.

30 Random Things About Me

1. When my kitchen table is covered in crap I feel deeply unsettled.

2. I love my dog like he’s my child and feed him accordingly, much to the dismay of his vet.

3. I love gleaning (stealing) fruit off trees that stick out in local alleys.

4. I believe in higher ethics. Meaning that picking between lesser evils will happen more often than true ethical situations and sometimes your choices will be part naughty. (See above.)

5. I am part naughty/ ornery/ rebellious at all times by choice.

6. I am afraid of hurting myself again, but refuse to stop taking risks. About twice a year I beat the holy snot out of myself in some dumb way. This will probably be how I die.

7. After visiting my mom I always run home and purge my house of clutter. Speaking of mom’s house, big houses overwhelm me. All I can think about is how much crap you can stuff into too much space and how expensive the heating bill is.

8. I’m an inclusive person and like to involve everyone and introduce all my friends to each other.

9. I am obsessed with conversion vans and badly want one. I love the idea of staying packed up and leaving town at short notice as I travel frequently.

10. I was at one time an Army soldier.

11. White walls bore me. So do white kitchen appliances.

12. I once swore to God as a professional photographer I would never shoot food. Lesson learned: Never tell God you won't do something.

13. I love to read. Love love love to read and very frequently stay up until 4am doing so.

14. I’m sad my daughter doesn’t like to read, but I’m working on her.

15. I tell my husband every single day we need to move to Austin, Texas and he ignores me each and every time. I’ve considered leaving him over this issue. Usually in the dead of winter when it’s freezing miserable cold out.

16. I’m only serious when I’m angry, which isn’t very often.

17. I think it would be fun to be a carnie traveling around the country setting up fairs and I haven’t ruled this out as a future profession.

18. I wish my parents liked me better and wanted to spend actual time with my family and I. However, I don’t waste too much time on wishful thinking and have adopted other parental figures.

19. I love my foodie friends. If you are a foodie, you are my friend.

20. If you make me laugh I’m loyal forever.

21. If I make you laugh I’ve done my duty for the day.

22. I make fun of and mimic serious and stuffy people.

23. I love my brothers and their families! They’re the best.

24. I try to use my favorite pink skull mug every morning and am sad when it’s dirty.

25. I believe in breakfast and don’t trust people who skip this favorite meal.

26. I’m proud to be University of Idaho alumni only because I get to say I’m a “Vandal”.

27. After living in the Czech Republic a few years ago I’ve come to deeply appreciate considerate, kind American males. Our men are the nicest anywhere and this is one of few places we can have true male friends.

28. I like to ride my bicycle; I like to ride my bike. Sing it with me now! It’s true though. When it’s warm outside I enjoy riding the 24 miles to Troy, Idaho and back.

29. If I’m told “no” I find a way around it even if I have to pay the consequences. Sometimes it involves things like painting the kitchen behind my color phobic spouse's back while he's at work. Or sneaking alcohol into my cooking for Jesse's alcohol adverse family.

30. My favorite thing in the world is to feed and play with my family, friends, neighbors, strangers and dog. Nothing makes me happier.

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Knot Rolls

One of my favorite things about my friend Julie is her fearlessness. This applies to her cooking and baking too, and I’m always learning something new from her. Like how to make these knot style squash rolls.

Julie substituted squash from her garden for this recipe, which gave them a beautiful orange hue. You can also make them with roasted and mashed sweet potatoes if you prefer. Or canned pumpkin works too I suppose, as the recipe instructs us to do!

Pumpkin Knot Rolls
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This pretty recipe comes from the Taste of Home website.

2 packages (1.4 ounces each) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold water

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, pumpkin, 2 eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.

Shape each portion into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 10-in. rope; tie into a knot and tuck ends under on each side.

Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30
minutes. In a small bowl, beat water and remaining egg. Brush over rolls.

Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

24 Servings Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.

Recipe from Taste of Home 2010 submitted by Dianna Shimizu Issaquah, Washington. Rolls made by Julie Hopper. Picture by Laura Flowers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Corn and Cheese Pudding with Green Chiles

This comforting side dish is a nice change from plain old corn on Thanksgiving, but also can be a tasty meal itself with a healthy salad on busy weeknights. The original recipe comes from Dishboy Scott via his mom and an early 1970s Vegetarian Epicure cookbook.

Corn and Cheese Pudding with Green Chiles
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When I think of the 1970s I wonder why anyone ever wanted to be vegetarian. Though sometimes, surprisingly tasty recipes like this one are a bright spot in a strange era of food.

2 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 scant cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups frozen super sweet corn
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounce can mild diced green chiles, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish.

2. Beat eggs and flour to make a smooth paste. Beat in sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir in corn, melted butter, cheese and chiles.

3. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 50 to 55 minutes until slightly puffy and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe slightly adapted from a 1970s Vegetarian Epicure cookbook. Picture by Laura Flowers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Deep Fry That Turkey!

I love to deep fry things. I think this goes back to my first real job. Real meaning when I wasn’t paid in peanuts for picking strawberries, or placing flyers on car windshields before the “working age” of sixteen. Slaving away at McDonald's and being paid minimum wage for the first time in my life, I was stepping up in the world!

I worshipped McDonald's back then and could eat their food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for at least a week straight. My favorite job was working the fryolator. I loved watching the hot oil come alive into a monster of noise and bubbles when I dropped in fries, chicken nuggets, and Filet-O-Fishes.

Since that time I’ve been obsessed really. I fry everything I can, and have gone through multiple fryolators in my adulthood. Nothing though, captures my attention more than the giant turkey frying pot that my brother and sister-in-law bought me for Christmas one year. I love LOVE that thing.

Although now, after many years of singeing off my eyebrows and arm hair while lighting stoves and grills, I have a nice healthy phobia of propane and fire together. Jesse and Dishboy Scott had to help me by taking orders, lighting and un-lighting as I directed. For some reason I have no fear of skin melting hot oil, and ecstatically enjoyed, manically really, frying this turkey.

What I learned deep frying turkeys.

1. Make sure you have enough oil to cover the bird. You might need to go a bit above the fill line on your pot as I did, but never put in a bigger turkey than your frying instruction manual says it can handle.

2. Peanut oil is expensive and impossible to find in my 150 mile shopping radius. I used Kirkland Signature Creamy Liquid Shortening from Costco instead. It worked great and only cost about $20 for a vat I could nearly swim in. Well, if one would want to swim in creamy liquid shortening.

3. Heat the deep fryer 25 degrees above where you want to fry. I heated the oil to 350 so my final temperature was 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Wear full battle rattle: Pants, closed toed shoes (no flip flops you college students!), long sleeve shirt, asbestos gloves, hat, protective eyewear, kevlar helmet, and flak vest. Oops those Army days are over. Skip the kevlar and flak vest. However, if you’re a female with long hair like I am, or Fabio, tie it back! There’s nothing like the smell of crispy fried human hair.

5. Make sure your bird is completely thawed and dry, inside and out. Very extremely incredibly exceptionally completely thawed and dry.

6. Turn off the fire before lowering in the bird. This will enable you to spend Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day far away from the intensive care burn unit.

7. Lower the bird very extraordinarily painfully slowly into the oil, over about 1 ½ minutes. If the oil boils too furiously, pull the bird up a bit and try again slowly.

8. Then turn the gas back on. Monitor the temperature.

9. Cook birds for about 3 to 3 ½ minutes per pound until crispy and golden.

10. Turn off the fire before removing the bird. Again, holidays in the burn unit are no fun. Have a foil covered rimmed baking sheet very close, and lift the bird onto it.

11. Frying a turkey is fun, thrilling, and yummy, and now I want to do it every week. So please, take what I’ve learned and go forth terrified, but determined and excited.

Since I’m a turkey frying novice here's a bunch of links I used from expert turkey frying geniuses:

1. Chow’s “How to Fry a Turkey, 10 Steps to Satisfaction”.

2. Alton Brown’s Fried Turkey episode on YouTube.

3. Gumbo Pages has lots of excellent information. They also bring up bird injections. I just fried the darn thing plain though, but I love their article.

4. What a cool site lol! Of course they show us how to incinerate these birdies. Plus they tell us how to gauge the amount of oil to use.

5. Wikihow has a step by step guide.

6. also has step by step instructions.

7. Are you tired of these yet? Yes? Convinced? No? Let’s carry on then soldier.

8. For fun, how about How NOT to Fry a Turkey on YouTube?

I could go on and on and on as Google is a god-like resource. I think you get the picture though. Deep fry, deep fry, deep fry and deep fry that Thanksgiving turkey to golden perfection. Just take those few precautions while doing so and you’ll have a beautiful golden turkey that’s crispy on the outside and juicy and perfectly cooked on the inside.

Save that carcass for broth! Those deep fried bones are a goldmine of flavor.

And as my friend Robin from Texas says, "Don't fry your turkey on your front porch like they do in Texas!" Evidently there are a number of house fires fueled by too many Bud Lights and porch turkey frying on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks Robin, I never thought of that one!

I have got to visit Texas.

Pictures and insanity provided by Laura Flowers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sweet and Salty Stovetop Popcorn

At very long last (at least in my mind), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows opens tonight! I’ve been waiting forever for this day and it’s finally here.

Distracted all week with anticipation, I filled the big black void by avoiding work, making my own popcorn and watching the last couple Harry Potter’s on DVD. My single consolation? The popcorn is a whole lot tastier at home.

It’s 4 a.m. Can I get in the ticket line now? No? How about now? Do you think I'll get arrested if I break into the theater and play my own movie?

This is agonizing. How am I going to get through the day like this? Breakfast popcorn anyone?

Sweet and Salty Stovetop Popcorn
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Kettle st
yle popcorn pops right on your stove.

3 tablespoons extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons vanilla flavoring syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Warm oil over medium high heat in a heavy 4 quart pot with a handle for one minute. Stir in popcorn kernels and give the pan a shake to spread them out. Loosely cover the pot with a lid so some of the heat can escape.

When the first pops begin secure the lid and move the pot back and forth gently until the popping slows. Turn off the heat and move the popcorn to a bowl.

Place the vanilla syrup, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for two minutes stirring constantly. Drizzle mixture over popcorn and toss to combine.

Total time 10 minutes.

Recipe & photographs by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scare Your Family with Carrot Raisin Bran Muffins

My family will not eat these muffins. They don’t do bran, carrots, walnuts or raisins in their baked goods. They don’t like that these muffins aren’t covered in chocolate. They in fact, even loathe the healthy sound of the word “bran”.

Therefore, these toasty wonderful carroty bran muffins are mine. All mine! I stuck them in my freezer and have been enjoying one or two at a time. All the while, telling my family how awful they are the entire time I’m eating and that I sacrifice myself for their happiness.

Somehow, I don’t think they believe me. Perhaps I’d be more convincing if I stopped saying, “Yum!” after every bite.

Carrot Raisin Bran Muffins
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You too can scare your family into thinking bran muffins taste terrible. Then you can feel good about having these healthy beauties all to yourself.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 cup unprocessed bran
2 cups bran flakes, crushed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs
3/4 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
3/4 buttermilk or applesauce
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
Coarse sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

2. In the microwave, toast walnuts on a plate on high power in 30 second increments. Toss and repeat 1 or 2 more times until toasted.

3. Combine in a large bowl; all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bran, crushed bran flakes, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add carrots, walnuts and raisins and toss to coat.

4. To another large bowl add eggs, oil, buttermilk or applesauce, brown sugar and molasses. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until it just comes together.

5. Fill tins 3/4 full and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center muffins comes out clean.

Makes about 22 muffins

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Shrimp & Bacon Salad

I better just open this up with my internal dialog: “Ooo why buy just one can of shrimp when I can get four at Costco? Have I ever purchased canned shrimp before? No. Well ok why would I buy it now? Because dummy, you get four cans!” Makes sense right?

Please don’t insert logic here. You’ll crush my heart.

Ok, so I get strange tiny shrimp home. Now what? Um, hmm. I could donate it to the food bank. Or I could make salad with micro mini sized shrimp.

So salad it was. Tasty, salty, bacony, creamy salad. We had it on greens the first day and as a sandwich the next.

Creamy Shrimp & Bacon Salad
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This salad makes a nice change from typical brown bag lunch fair. When served as a sandwich, you might find yourself looking forward to lunch at your desk.

1 cup mayo
1 tablespoon horseradish
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 (4 ounce) cans East Point Tiny Shrimp (Found at Costco, but deli shrimp work too.)
3 boiled eggs, diced
5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 a red onion, minced
2 stalks celery, diced small
Salt as needed

1. In a bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator while prepping salad ingredients.

2. Toss the salad ingredients and sauce ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste for salt and add to taste if needed. Serve on bread as a sandwich or on top of mixed greens.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup & Giveaway

I’ve been shooting food from dawn until dusk today. Never mind that dawn began about 7am and dusk hit at 3pm. When the heck did I move to Alaska? Please tell me this isn’t part of global warming.

Hello Texas people! Anyone willing to adopt me? I cook. I’m typically a happy fun person. I just can’t stand another dark cold winter. Sigh…

Soup helps. Steaming, spicy, colorful tortilla soup somehow makes life bearable when the weather is black and gloomy. It makes the day a little less dreary with steamy flavorful bites. It’s my comfort, at least until my Texas dream family adopts me.

Speaking of soup, last week was split pea soup week and my local lentil people sent me a giveaway box with a tasty secret split pea soup recipe. To sweeten the deal, I’ve added a jar of tangy beautiful Knapweed honey from the pristine Northern Idaho forest. Just tell me what your favorite winter comfort food is and these goodies might be yours.

Friday the random number generator thingy will spit out a winner. If you don’t have a blog contact, leave me an email address so I can contact you.

Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

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Holy yum Batman! This is my new go to tortilla soup recipe.

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons light colored oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans RoTel Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro 

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (32 ounce) containers Swanson Organic Vegetable Broth

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1/2 a lime

1. In a small bowl mix together cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, salt and black pepper. Set aside.

2. In a large pot heat the oil over medium high. Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic; cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the green chile peppers, RoTel, corn and vegetable broth. Cook until warmed through. Add the black beans and cook for 2 minutes before serving. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

Garnish Ideas

Tortilla chips

Shredded Cheddar, Mexican blend or Cotija cheese
Diced Avocado

Chopped cilantro

Sour Cream

Hot Sauce

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Linguini in Tex-Mex Pepper Cream Sauce

Sweet bell peppers, green chiles, garlic and sour cream blend together for this speedy Tex-Mex inspired dinner.

Was that me who said they never wanted to eat again after last weekend? No, it couldn’t be. It must’ve been some other silly woman who gorged herself and complained about it.

Linguini in Tex-Mex Pepper Cream Sauce

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Pureeing the ingredients together in a food processor makes this a very quick weeknight meal.

1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitos), found in the bulk isle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
4-ounce can mild diced green chiles
2/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 pound linguini pasta

1. Place the pumpkin seeds on a plate and microwave in 30 second increments 3 to 4 times until toasted. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and salt and cook until tender stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions

3. Place the veggie mixture into a food processor with sour cream, cilantro, green chiles, cheese, cayenne and black pepper. Puree until smooth scraping the sides as needed.

4. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Plate and garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Foodbuzz Scavenger Hunt

What do three hundred and fifty food bloggers do at dinner together? Simultaneously with each course they all pull out their cameras and start taking pictures, making me look like a serious amateur. It was surreal!

I told you I'd talk about that strange dream yesterday. So, Ryan Stern from Foodbuzz corners me against the wall of a ballroom. Then scarlet and gold liquids slosh from wine goblets as they float through the air and crash against my head. “Eat!” Ryan commands. I beg, “Please, no if I eat anymore I’ll literally explode.” “Dorian”, Ryan says, “The Sword of Truth. Test her.” Dorian Asch, Foodbuzz’s community manager pulls out a long gleaming white sword and walks toward me. I duck and try to slide against the wall to the freedom of the open glass doors around the corner.

Suddenly, I wake in a cold sweat. I start to chuckle, vowing to go on a semi-fast for the next week. Foodbuzz and their sponsors did an incredible job spoiling us this weekend, maybe a little to good. Or perhaps I shouldn’t read melodramatic wizard books after over-indulging all weekend.

When the exquisite lamb and scallop dinner ended Saturday, we were sent off on a scavenger hunt with our ridiculously full bellies. Sandy, the newest Foodbuzz staff member joined our group and “Tony (left) and The Gold Dust Gals” headed out into the evening to play in beautiful San Francisco.

As we were leaving, I collected 10 business cards as directed, but was naughty and kept them. Well, truth be told I forgot to turn mine in. Sorry! But now I can visit all those blogs I took cards from.

Bone weary and feet aching I ran outside with my team. We spot waiters running around and Julie grabs one for a dance. With number six out of the way we say a grateful goodbye and head into the brightly lit city night.

We tackle jumping jacks next, heck those are easy right? Getting a cable car to stop long enough to get a picture was a whole different matter. “Hey! There’s one, lets run over.” I swear those drivers knew we were up to no good. As soon as they spotted us they’d speed away. We got a picture on the third try. The driver was five seconds too late, but boy he was moving to get away! That's Julie, Diana, Tony, and Sandy with motion blur there.

Then the hippest guy in San Francisco (number four) strolls out of Chase bank. Isn’t he adorable? I’d wear a bow tie and cardigan too if I were 6 ½ feet tall. Sweetest guy ever. Although, I think everyone in San Francisco is nice. He was however, the hippest in my book.

Groan, we looked down at the list. We still had to toast drinks at a bar. Seriously? How the heck are we going to fit it in our gullets? Ugh ok, it’s for the team. We head over with Tony to Gold Dust, a chest-to-chest packed antique bar that screams old time San Fran. The waitress took our picture, it’s blurry but hell it’s a shot. Oh speaking of shots, I got one of Goldschlager Ugh. Why do I do this to myself in the name of fun? This has to be why I had that nightmare.

OK, what next. Snacks? Late night snacks? I swear we collectively groaned. “No. More. Food. No. I rebel. Ugh!” OK, Sarah thinks of hostess so we run across town to Walgreens. The poor guy who took our picture thought we were mental. He took our photograph only out of fear for his life and quickly dropped the camera and backed away into the shadows.

So that’s it. The whole boisterously fun scavenger hunt. Now all I want are vegetables, a nap, fewer blisters and a fully staffed kitchen. “Waitress, would you bring me a grilled vegetable sandwich please? One with a fancy little toothpick?” Oh wait, I’m the waitress, cook and photographer. I suppose it’s back to reality for this food blogger. See you next year Foodbuzz Festival! Hopefully I’ll be recovered by then.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lemon Kissed Snickerdoodles

Well, I’m home. Or most of me is home. I think my mind is still at the Foodbuzz Festival. Last night I had a nightmare Foodbuzz’s Ryan Stern was threatening me to eat more with her weapon fork while wine glasses knocked against my head until I consumed them. It was a rather funny dream that left me chuckling, and I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.

How was the festival? Imagine having food and alcohol forced upon you for two plus days by friendly waiters with never ending trays of tidbits while hanging out with three hundred and fifty interesting, fun, super cool food blogger friends. Pretty darn fantastic is how I’d rate it. I tried to introduce myself to everyone, still missed about half.

As for the photography sessions, they zoomed by way too fast. I wish we had more time to share, but that's ok. Hopefully we were of some help. Marc was great to work with by the way. He and I were pretty relaxed and happy, making it easy to get through the chaos of having to move rooms between sessions.

Oh hey Dawn, you won the Spyder from last week as your number was picked. I imagine you’ll put it to good use. In return I expect to borrow that pretty red camper of yours.

I’m off to avoid food some more and edit several super silly pictures of bloggers on a scavenger hunt for tomorrow. I hope they’ll make you laugh when you see them.

Lemon Kissed Snickerdoodles
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Heads up, the dough will need to chill for about an hour in the refrigerator.

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest of two lemons
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1. Cream the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice together. Beat in the whipping cream and egg. Beat in the baking powder and then mix in the flour until just combined. Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until cool, but not hard.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. Mix together the cinnamon sugar ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop the dough with a mini or standard size cookie scoop and roll together with your hands into balls. Roll the balls in sugar mixture. Place two inches apart on cookie sheets.

4. Bake cookies for 10 to 11 minutes for standard size cookies, and 7 to 8 minutes for minis. Cool for 3 minutes on cookie sheets and then move to a cooling rack.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Copycat KFC Coleslaw

This is my first and last post of the week as I’m leaving tomorrow to journey to San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Festival. Since I’ll be missing a whole week of posting recipes I hope I can make it up to you with a giveaway.

I’m giving away one slightly used Spyder calibration tool for a monitor. A calibration tool is what professionals photographers use to color correct their screens to a standard. Though it worked great with my PC, it couldn’t calibrate my Mactop. If you’re not a Mac user I think you’ll appreciate having this very cool tool.

Just leave a comment telling me why you could use the Spyder and I’ll do the random number thingy when I get back Monday.

See you when I get home! Or hopefully, see you at the festival.

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Copycat KFC Coleslaw

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It isn’t a misprint; you’ll need two bottles of BBQ sauce for this recipe. One for tenderizing pork in the Crockpot and the other for flavoring it in the oven.

First step: Crockpot
1 (12 ounce) beer
18 ounce bottle BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder country style ribs

Combine the ingredients together in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Move pork to a cutting board and discard liquid. Shred with two forks and discard fat. Meanwhile, make the coleslaw and refrigerate, recipe below.

Second step: 9x13 inch pan
Shredded pork
1 (18 ounce) bottle BBQ sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place the pork in the pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and spoon over pork. Toss to combine. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until heated through.

8 sandwich buns
BBQ Pork

Warm the buns in microwave and top with pork and slaw. Serve immediately.

KFC Copycat Coleslaw
This is a variation of a copycat that’s been floating around for years. I’ve hunted for its origins, but wasn’t successful.

1 head cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
2 to 3 tablespoons minced onions
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Shred cabbage and carrots and place in a very large bowl. A food processor works well for this. Mix in onions.

Stir together the rest of the ingredients until smooth and toss with the cabbage mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Recipes & photograph by Laura Flowers.

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