The Friday Chef

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Monday, April 26, 2004
Spotlight On...

Blurry, beloved Hamstertime bachelor.   Blurry loves Orange Julius, peanut butter, and not much else. 
Name: Kool Moe Joel
Location:  20 minutes west of Chocolate Town, USA
Where were you born?  In Wilkes-Barre, PA.  My birth certificate was an apology letter from the abortion clinic.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  A successful, hard-working doctor beloved by the community like my grandfather.  Instead, I'm a programmer at IBM.  Talk about night and day...
You sometimes mention your "co-irkers".  Do they have a nickname for you?  I wouldn't know.  I don't speak to them, they don't speak to me.

What were mealtimes like for you as a child?  My dad would bring the steer around, we'd hack off what we wanted, we cooked it up, and ate it.
No problems with mad cow disease?  Nope.  I've found that drinking plenty of orange juice instead of that sinful alcohol flushes all the bad stuff out of your system.

Did you ever like any of your school photos?  No, I hated them so much I scribbled over them with permanent marker.
What was your first date like?  What's a date?
You're asking the wrong person.

What is in your vegetable bin?  Vegetables have no place in my home.
But, what about ketchup?  Ketchup contains tomatoes, which are fruits.  No, wait...  that's not right.   What I meant to say was, tomatoes prefer the company of other tomatoes.

What color is your car?  The tag says gold, but it looks beige to me.

Are you having a good hair day?  I haven't had a good hair day since I started going grey. 
Don't you think that make you look distinguished?  No, it makes me look like a creaky old man.  Or a skunk.

What is your favorite cologne?  I don't wear cologne.  I choose not to hide my natural odors.
Are you French?  No, the French exist for me to mock.  I might travel to France next summer, just to shoot a bunch of bottle rockets in the air and watch everyone run in terror.

What is your middle name?  I have 2.   Michael and Edward. 

What type of books do you like to read?  Books with pictures.
Like the Karma Sutra?  Sounds delightful.  Is it a story about a person who wrongs another, then gets the favor returned to him years later?
What is your favorite type of cookie?  Those lying bastard fortune cookies that promise "good luck lies ahead" and "a big fat raise".
Blurry, you will be a tough act to follow, but who would you like to see featured next?  How about...  Highwaygirl?!?
Thank you Blurry!  You rock!

Posted at 05:09 am by ChefGrace
(3) Shout Outs  

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Spring a Link

Ah Spring.

By this time of year at my house things are a bit chaotic.  Today starts the week of the zone 5 planting season.  I have flats and containers and seedlings everywhere. It is finally time to plant them outside.  It is also time to direct-seed many of the annuals that I love to grow, most notably, morning glories.  Lots and lots of morning glories.  Many of these come from packets, simply nick the seed, soak in water, then plant.  Other morning glory seeds have been collected from friends and family.  These seeds need to be husked, sorted, nicked, soaked and planted.  Some of the seeds still need to be husked.  They are in ramekins on the kitchen counter. 

Today, as I was preparing everything for a bit of gardening, I set out a small snack for myself~ A little dish of wasabi peas.  Grabbing a beverage from the refridgerator and heading outside, I grabbed a handful of the peas and popped them in my mouth.  It took me exactly two bites to realize that I had not grabbed some peas, but some morning glory seeds.  I ran for the sink and spit the seeds down the drain, laughing and washing it down with a swig of Diet Coke.

I laughed harder a little later when I learned that morning glory seeds are hallucinogenic.

I assure you they taste nothing like wasabi peas, but they're ... really............groovy, man.

Hehehe.  Just kidding.  Just say no.

Posted at 03:33 pm by ChefGrace
(3) Shout Outs  

Friday, April 23, 2004
Books for Soldiers

Everyone has their own opinion about the war, but we should all come together to support the men and women who are fighting for freedom.  Many of these soldiers are away from home for the first time.  Many of them will still be overseas for long time.  And, many of them never receive any mail. 

The Books for Soldiers campaign is trying to help.  If you are interested in sending a care package or even a postcard to someone overseas, please visit their site to see how you can help.

God Bless America and our brothers and sisters who are willing to lay down their lives for their country in the name of freedom. 

Posted at 09:00 pm by ChefGrace
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Microwave Chicken Parmesan

Once again, the folks from Taste of Home's Quick Cooking magazine have given me some great recipes.  I love this magazine, and use it more often than most of my other cookbooks or magazines.  My favorite feature is Microwave Magic.  Most professional chefs don't use the microwave for creating entrees, but those of us who have busy lives and families to feed rely on this time, (and energy), saving device.

1 can, (8 oz.) tomato sauce (you can use prepared spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce and spices, if desired)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning, (or use a combo of oregano and basil)
1/4 tsp garlic power
1/3 C. cornflake crumbs
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
6 boneless chicken breast halves
1 egg, beaten
2/3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and galic powder.  Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir.  Cook at 50% power for 3-5 minutes or until mixture simmers, stirring once; set aside.  In a bowl, combine crumbs, Parmesan and parsley.  Dip chicken in egg, then roll in crumb mixture.  Place in a lightly greased shallow 3-quart microwave-safe dish.  cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, rotating a half turn after 5 minutes, (unless you have a carousel), Pour tomatoe mixture over chicken; sprinkle with mozzarella.  Cook, uncovered at 50% power for 3-5 minutes or until meat juices run clear. 

I recommend serving this with cooked pasta and additional sauce, along with some garlic bread and a tossed salad, or try the following recipe:

Parmesan Zucchini Strips

1/3 C. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 C. parmesan cheese
4 small zucchini, quartered lenthwise
2 eggs, beaten

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese.  Dip zucchini in egg, then roll in crumbs.  Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 450 F. for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
Makes 4 servings.

Posted at 01:44 pm by ChefGrace
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Chocolate Banana Bread

This is technically a "quick bread" recipe, although it takes an hour to bake, it only takes moments to mix together.  This makes one loaf, so I suggest doubling the recipe.  Give the extra loaf as a gift, or wrap tightly and store in the freezer.  This is another Taste of Home's Quick Cooking magazine recipe. 

1/2  C. butter or margarine, softened
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 C. mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C. chopped nuts, (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, bananas, milk, and vanilla.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt;  add to the banana mixture and mix just until combined.  Fold in nuts if desired.  Transter to a greased 9X5" loaf pan.  Bake at 350 F. for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.

Tip~  Whenever I have bananas that get too ripe, I place them in a freezer bag, (peel and all), and put them in the freezer until I need ripe bananas for a recipe.  Simply remove from freezer, thaw, then squeeze the pulp out of the peel. 

Posted at 12:37 pm by ChefGrace
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