Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Tale of Poo and Potatos

I realize it's not particularly appetizing to talk about food and poop at the same time. But I now have an unfortunate association with the two and it goes a little something like this...

I have never in my entire life eaten a sweet potato pie, err should I say a piece of sweet potato pie. Robins husband brought me some HUGE sweet potato's from his families farm in northern Indiana. Being that I love to bake pies I thought here was the perfect opportunity...he brought 4 potatoes and they were large enough that one potato yielded 2 cups mashed!

I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but we have a little family business (an art gallery) and it's in an old historic house. We have a kitchen in the back of the house that's not part of the gallery, but it makes for some fun afternoons when it's slow and we can cook something. OK, now that that's out of the way you see how it is that I am cooking at work. So I fix the pie, put it in the oven and then someone came in the gallery. He asked me if he could use the bathroom. CRAP (no pun intended). I HATE letting strangers use the bathroom but can't seem to say no, or tell them we don't have one. Lesson learned the hard way today. I pointed to the hall where the restroom is and he practically ran ....great, this was looking bad. I won't go into all the gorey (explosive) details, but lets just say that I no longer have a taste for sweet potato pie.
Crust (this is out of the 1950's Betty Crocker Cookbook)
3/4 stick of cold butter
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons water (adjust if needed)
I just use a pastry cutter until everything is incorporated and starts to stick. Roll in a ball and put on a floured surface. Roll out...makes a 9" pie crust.
Pie Filling
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Mix together mashed sweet potatoes, butter or margarine, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and salt. Mix in spices if desired. Add to sweet potato mixture and stir well.
Mix together buttermilk and baking soda. Add to sweet potato mixture and stir well. Mix in vanilla extract. Pour filling into pastry shell.
Bake in preheated oven for 70 minutes, until set in center.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's "Orchard" time again!

It's that time of year when we head down to the Apple Orchard for what else...apples, and wonderful preserves. Here is some tasty peach butter...perfect on warm biscuits.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nashville Indiana: Hobnob Corner Restaurant

Here in the Hoosier State every fall a large number of people trek down to Nashville Indiana. Nashville is a rustic and historic little village that sits in Brown County. There are loads of charming little shops, art galleries, and the fall foliage is absolutely stunning! One of the must do things in the village is to go to The Hobnob Corner Restaurant. The building was orginally a dry goods grocery and sundries store built in 1868 I can't say that I've ever eaten anything other than dessert there but the Ice Cream Sunday is a must! It's huge, so best to split it, or as evident from the after pic you can only eat so much of it! Or if you want to skip lunch and just eat ice cream you could maybe polish it off...but it's huge!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Twinkie-Misu Recipe!

Thanks Lyndz! Here is the recipe for Twinkie-Misu.


1 box (containing 10) Hostess Twinkies

¼ cup strongly brewed coffee or espresso, cooled

¼ cup Kahlua (may substitute additional strong coffee or espresso)

½ gallon coffee (or coffee and chocolate) ice cream, softened slightly

½ cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely grated chocolate shavings or sprinkles

Slice each Twinkie in half lengthwise. Line a 8½- by 4½-inch loaf pan lengthwise with two 18-inch-long sheets of plastic wrap, overlapping the sheets slightly in the center of the pan and letting the excess plastic wrap hang over all sides.

Place 5 Twinkie halves, cream side up, crosswise in the pan. Mix together coffee and Kahlua. Using a pastry brush, generously apply some of the coffee mixture to the cut side of each Twinkie. Spoon about a ½-inch layer of softened ice cream over the Twinkies. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of grated chocolate. Arrange another 5 Twinkie halves on top of the chocolate, cream side up, brush with coffee and top with another ½-inch layer of ice cream and another 2 tablespoons of chocolate. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a layer of ice cream. Smooth the top, pressing down firmly. Pan should be filled to just above the rim. Fold plastic wrap over top of cake. Freeze for at least 8 hours.

To serve, carefully unfold the plastic wrap from the top of the cake and use it to lift the cake out of the pan and carefully invert the Twinkie-misu onto a platter. Remove and discard the plastic wrap. Sprinkle top with chocolate shavings and serve with mocha fudge sauce.

Mocha Fudge Sauce (Makes 2 cups ) 1 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream 2 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua, or to taste Pinch of salt In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup and espresso powder to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the cream, Kahlua and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Blue Food

Did you know there really is no such thing as Blue Food? Even though Steak-in-Shake restaurant would have you believe otherwise. George Carlin once said that if you find a really true blue food you will have found the key to eternal life. Even blueberries are not really blue. Ever make a blueberry smoothie? It's purple.

Here's another thing to ponder? Why is artificially flavored raspberry "food" colored blue? Ever get a Dairy Queen rasberry Mr. Misty or eat a rasberry otterpop when you were a kid? YIKES!

Wait....what about blue cheese?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The White Trash Expo

A few weeks ago we girls from the Vin Kitch had a little clothing swap party. It was fantastic! We got a group of girls together to clean out their closets and bring over some "white trash" food. What could be more and not spending any money and eating junk food. Truth be told it was only perfect while we were doing it... one should never consume this much processed food in one sitting...ohhhh tummy ache. This was hands down my favorite, it was so tasty I would have never guessed what the "white trash" ingredient was....we give you Lyndsey's "Twinkiemisu"!
Next we had "Hostess Kabobs"

and what is a white trash fest without some spam and cheese? Two wonderfully bad casseroles from Becky and Amy. One filled with Mac & Cheese and SPAM the other a mix of frozen mixed veggies, cheese, sausage and all kinds of other "garbage".

We also had some beenie weenies, Cheetos, moon pies, Frito's and bean dip, and some sort of spray cheese. OH and I must not forget there was a can of Vienna Sausages...these were eaten strictly on dares.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Simple is Sometimes Best

It's summer and still a little on the hot side, so who really wants to kill themselves cooking. I am so lazy that when I cooked my pasta, the last few minutes I tossed the green beans in with it. They stayed on the top and I just rinsed when when they were done. All fresh foods from the farmers market...fresh green beans, fresh tomato's, fresh basil and fresh chicken cutlets right off the vine! Har har har....I keed I keed. But what could be more simple than dredging a chicken breast pounded out through seasoned flour and cooking it in a little olive oil. Salt and pepper on the platter, grate a little fresh Parmesan cheese over your pasta and there you have it, simple and delicious!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Susan Branch and Her Stove

Author and artist Susan Branch not only has the most charming little books with lovely recipes, apparently her homes ooz charm as well. I only have one of her books, the Autumn book, I found it at Half Price Books. Is that not the greatest store on earth ( next to IKEA that is) . It's pumpkins, comfort food, and fantastic little watercolors. I thought I would check out her website and I urge you to do the same, her photos are full of all things home.

My grandmother had a stove very similar to Susan's, if the world were right there would be new stoves that look just like these gems.

Did I mention she also lives in my dream house? If "The Secert" reallllly works, Susan is mailing me the keys to this house as we speak! ;)


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who Likes to Rock the Party....

I like to rock the party....well, maybe not the party, but I like to rock new recipes. I like to rock new recipes from Gourmet Magazine...sometimes I DO ROCK the some awesome Shrimp Ettouffee I found in an old issue....but this recipe didn't really was barely soft rock...ok, I would have rather eaten a rock.

I give you Thai Fried Rice with Pepper Shrimp.

What could be wrong, in the words of Joey Tribiani... onions...good...but somehow when you mixed it all up.....
does that look like I sneezed in the rice? Anyway, when I mixed it up, it was TRES BLAND. Not even the peppered shrimp could save it.

Sometimes I don't understand Asian food...the ingredients are there, but it does not work out like I think it will. Now baking...I can rock that party!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Watermelon Pickles Continued....

I have seen many recipes for watermelon pickles and to be frank...they look like something that has been rotting in the trash can. I noticed that none of these recipes include ALUM. You could leave out the alum but this would result in a soggy slime covered pickled. Ok maybe there is no slime as I've never eaten one, but it looks like slime. are some pictures of our pickle extravaganza! I will get the recipe up later today.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watermelon Pickles

So what the heck kinda fuzzy picture is that?'s not fuzzy, it's just my sealed witches brew. No not really, it's just some watermelon rind left over from the fouth of July rotting in some salt water and once it gets a nasty and stinky I'm going to wash them and make pickles.

What say you? That's gross? You're going to eat rotten watermelon? AWWWW YEAH We Are!

This is a very old recipe. My great-grandmother's to be exact. Our mom always made these when we were growing up and rest assured there is nothing...NOTHING even close to as tasty as a watermelon pickle. We don't really eat it rotten, after the rind and been left to stand in the brine for 1 week we will take the "pickles" out and wash off any bad stuff and or toss whatever bits look like they won't make it.

I will post as the project goes one, but for is step one.

Boil 1 Cup salt and 1 gallon water. Pour over cut up pieces of watermelon rind (outer skin peeled). Use a 2 gallon earthen jar if you have one ( I don't so I went with this Tupperware) Make sure to sterilize the container you use by running boiling water all over the interior surface and interior lid. You don't really have to do this, but better safe than sorry. Let it stand one week. There will be some gasses released so you need to make sure the lid stays on. I will pile some books on top of my lid to make sure it stays sealed.

We'll see you at the end of the week with the next step!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Curtis Stone...I think I love you.

Do I love you for your eyes? Yes. Do I love you for your crazy cool hair? Yes. Do I love you because you can cook, you have a very cute accent, and you are on one of the most wholesome television networks on the planet with a neato theme song that my 3 year old can bug out to? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Mostly, I love you for your peppered sirloin steak with caramelized sprouts. It brings a smile to my face and makes my husband believe I am not mediocre in the kitchen.....and you know what they say..........idle hands are the devil's playground. You know what else they say.......if you say things that make no sense it will make your readers confused. Any who, I have made this with both a dry red and strangely enough a red sangria.....which was FANTASTIC!

14 oz brussel sprout
1/4 oz black peppercorns
four 7oz sirloin steaks
8 T butter (that's will make your heart stop for all of the right reasons)
generous 1/3 c red wine
extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the brussel sprouts in a large saucepan of boiling salted water 2-3 min then refresh in ice cold water. Cut the sprouts in half and remove any outer leaves.
Sprinkle the crushed peppercorns over a large plate. Press each steak into the crushed peppers and then season both sides with salt.
Heat a large frying pan, add the olive oil and when hot, add the steaks and cook for 2 minutes on each side.
Place half the butter and brussel sprouts in a separate pre-heated frying pan and allow to caramelize for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the red wine and remaining butter to the steaks and remove the pan from the heat. Divide the Brussel sprouts between 4 serving plates, then place the steaks on top. Spoon the pan juices over the beef and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Onion Law

( More OPP - "Old Popular Posts"!)

While surfing the web this evening looking for something to blog I discovered some outdated onionlaws. You can check more of these out at If you are a woman weighing over 200 pounds living in Ridgland, South Carolina you are in violation of the law if you are seen wearing shorts eating onions in a restaurant or at a picnic. O.K., now let me take a moment to make a fashion public service announcement. It is my personal belief that no-one should ever wear shorts because they are one of the most unattractive pieces of clothing ever invented, so forget the onion thing and lets just outlaw shorts. I mean for Pete'ssake ladies....wear a skirt. It's way more flattering. This, of course, excludes work out attire, around the house garb, and when you get all dressed up to go to the Walmart it's all right too.
Now, try this AWESOME French onion Soup Recipe we picked up from Carike Clements & Elizabeth Wolf- Cohen's book "French- Delicious Classic Cuisine Made Easy".

4 large onions
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups beef or chicken stock ( we use chicken )
2 tbsp brandy
6-8 thick slices French Bread
1 clove garlic
12 oz Swiss cheese, grated

In a large pot heat olive oil and butter, add onions and cook till soft and just starting to brown about 10-12 minutes. Add minced garlic, sugar, thyme and cook over medium heat for 35 minutes until onions are well browned, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir until well blended. Stir in the white wine and broth and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the brandy if using.

Preheat the broiler and rub each slice of toasted French Bread with the garlic clove. Fill oven proof soup bowls on a baking sheet and fill about three-quarters full with the soup. Float a piece of toast in each bowl. Top with grated cheese. broil about 6 inches from the heat 3-5 minutes. just till cheese begins to melt and bubble.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cat Shame, Pop Tops, & Cheese

Some of you know I work in an art gallery and have even been to my place of employment. We do a little gallery hop every month and I usually whip up something for the hop. Over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree, aka 'the Pioneer Woman" made these awesome goat cheese 'logs' (what else would you call them...log sounds so..well ...YOU KNOW.) and I was dieing to give them a try. She was right as usual...they are tasty and super easy to make. I've seen other variations on these, goat cheese in fresh chives, nuts, and various other herbs and spices...there are a lot of great variations on this recipe in (hard to believe it I know) Martha Stewart's Hor's Doeuvres Handbook. If you do a lot of entertaining as I do..this is a must have! I found mine at Half price books for $9... SUCKA!

Goat cheese with fresh dill

Goat cheese with Paprika

Fresh fruit with Farmers Cheese and Brie

While I was busy taking pictures of the nibbles...I also wanted to share with you this amazing, talented artists named John Strickland who has a fantastic quirky sense of humor. As you can see in the top picture there is a painting called "Cat Shame" and in this bottom one there is one in the background of a pop top on a can of soda. Very creative I think.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This Bread will Cost You Some Dough!

More OPP - "Old Popular Posts".

Wheat (Triticum spp.) is a grass that is cultivated worldwide. Globally, it is an important human food grain ranking second in total production as a cereal crop behind maize; the third being rice. Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads; cookies, cakes, pasta, noodles and couscous; and for fermentation to make beer, alcohol, vodka or biofuel.
The current financial market of wheat has recently fluctuated. Due to the possibilities with ethanol fuel, the “smart” farmers have planted corn. Because of this, wheat has become a more sought after resource, therefore, wheat prices of gone sky high.

Why did we tell you all this you may be asking yourself…because the ladies at my vintage kitchen aren’t just “Donna Reading” around!

We graduated from 6th grade too...sheesh!

Kisses - Robin & Shelly

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp veg oil
In a large mixing bowl mix your yeast, sugar, salt and yeast in warm water. When the yeast starts to bubble you can start adding in your sifted flour. When the dough begins to ball turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed. Knead the dough with quarter turns with the heel of your hand. Repeat until dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to the board. Place in a buttered bowl and turn the dough once. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until it has doubled. Punch down the dough and turn it completely over in bowl. Let rise again until almost double in bulk…about 30 mins.

Shape the dough and place in a loaf pan. Bake about 50 mins…bread is done when you hear the “thump”. Remove from pan to cool.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Down with OPP?

While we have been slowly moving from our typepad page to blogger I thought I would transfer the old recipes but there are just tooo many and I'm tooo lazy. We will just be posting some of our favorirtes....So if your down with OPP - "Old Popular Posts". Look out here they come.


Have you ever seen that MTV show, pimp my ride, where they take a 1982 mercury linx and turn it into a stretch limo/tiki bar? Well, lets say if an orange dreamcicle were a mercury than well...enough with the metaphors. If you want to make this one you don't really have time for silly stories.
These Frozen Grand Marnier Souffles are tasty but be prepared to work fast and work out your upper arm! This recipe comes from a book written by our second favorite Bridget Jones "Appetizers, Finger Foods, Buffets & Parties" written by Bridget Jones, and apparently this Bridget CAN cook.
Serves 8
1 cup superfine sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tbsp powdered gelatin, soaked in 3 tbsp cold water
4 tbsp Grand Marnier... if you don't want to shell out the $35 for a bottle of this stuff you may sub 1 teaspoon of orange extract-though I am not promising the same side effects ; )
2 cups heavy cream
1. Wrap a double collar of baking parchment around eight dessert glasses or ramekins and tape shut. Whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar with egg yolks until the yolks are pale. This will take about 5 minutes by hand or 3 minutes with an electric hand mixer.
2. Heat the milk until almost boiling and pour it on the yolks, whisking constantly. Return to the pan and stir over a gentle heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir the soaked gelatin into the custard. Pour the custard into a bowl and leave to cool. Whisk occasionally until on the point of setting...but be careful to work fast and not let it set otherwise your souffles will be chunky!

3. Put the remaining sugar in a a pan with 3 tbsp water an dissolve it over a low heat. Bring to boil and boil rapidly until it reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from the heat, in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Pour the hot syrup on to the whites, whisking constantly. Leave the meringue to cool.

4. Add the Grand Marnier to the cold custard. Whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold into the cooled meringue, with the custard. Pour into the prepared glasses or dishes. Freeze overnight. Remove the paper collars and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
This would also work in a large souffle dish if you would rather not do individuals.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Vegetable Lo Mein...

Cooking Chinese food has always been somewhat of a challenge. For starters there's that whole "I'm not Chinese" thing and then the fact that if you grew up in the 70's we thought La Choy was Chinese's not, who knew.

The thing about it is that it never tastes as good as take out...until now. Give this a try... if you like lo-mein you will like this! You could easily add some shrimp, chicken, pork, cat, whatever. It will taste like the restaurant!


Vegetable Lo Mein serves 2 or 4 as a side

Boil 1/4 box linguine in salted water

In a bowl

¼ low sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp fresh grated ginger
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Thin sliced green scallions

In a pan with a TBLS Olive oil add

4 large mushrooms sliced
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic grated
1 cup bean sprouts (fresh...NOT that crap out of a can...don't say I didn't warn you)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)

Cook until onions and mushrooms caramelize
Add and toss

1 cup thin sliced green cabbage
1 grated carrot

Add linguine and pour prepared sauce over everything, mix well.

Serve with more scallion sprinkled over the top.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eggs and Cake

My last post was a vegan chocolate cake...I mentioned that I really didn't know why one need to put eggs in a cake. The vegan cake had no eggs and it held together perfectly. So, I thought I would give it another go with this butter pecan cake. As you can see it didn't really work out so well. No sooner than I frosted it a large chunk just fell right off. But, I will say was the lightest cake I've ever made.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Yeah that's right...I posted bacon and now I'm posting vegan!

Vegan recipes are great....they are perfect for me as I'm not so good about keeping eggs on hand, or milk for that matter. Alright truth be told milk and I don't get along, we don't have a very em "nice" relationship. I'm waiting for cheese to betray me as well, but so far we're still "OK".

This is really easy, the cake sticks together wonderfully, and in all honesty I think it taste just like those box cakes...and lets face it as much as we wish our homemade cakes were as light and tasty as box cakes, they just aren't. Except this one.

Note: Frosting....out of a can
Kumquat...just for looks (I'm shallow that way)


Also, I'm starting to think that using eggs in baked goods is sort of an old wives tale. I always thought it was the eggs that held it all together, but apparently not. I'm not sure why this cake works so well.

I'm not Alton Brown you know!


Saturday, April 05, 2008


One of my favorite things about reading other peoples blogs is when I get the chance to snoop. Sure it's great to see what people are cooking, but I'm always curious what their home looks like. Is it polished and perfect, are there shoes and newspapers everywhere, are there 6,000 animals running around. Do they have a couch that dates back to 1972, is their space as sophisticated and sheek as the seemingly sophisticated and sheek meals they prepare? So, I thought maybe since blogging is a way of letting the world in on what your doing and sharing a piece of yourself with whomever comes along (reader/stalker) I would let you snoop around my living room/dining room in my "attic" apartment. I live in a historic house on the third floor in a little downtown district. As you can see I have an ancient TV that has been around since I was in High School and have a penchant for bouquets of pink flowers. This weeks happen to be carnations. And just as a side note and little tip, when buying bouquets of flowers ( which one should do regularly) try and buy ones that are all the same color...I find they look much better than bouquets with a mix of crazy yellow, purples, greens and reds. Just my opinion...but I'm right ;)


Friday, April 04, 2008

Mountain Medley vs Cheese and Bacon

Sometimes it sucks trying to watch what you eat. I was not blessed with one of those super fast motabolizisaazzms. I try to only eat this sort of greasy breakfast food goodness on Sundays. The rest of the week it's Mountain Medley Kashi with rice milk...or maybe if I'm really feeling crazy a piece of toast. I use to be one of those breakfast skippers and then I read that fat people usually skip breakfast...well that settled it...if skinny people eat breakfast I'm doin it! No need to twist my arm! Plus my sister, Mizz Robin, has often harped on the goodness of breakfast and no matter what it's better than nothing.

So in honor of what I really wanted this morning instead of the granola I ate, here is a recipe for simple baking powder biscuits. Now in full disclose I would recommend making these for something such as sausage gravy as I find the biscuits a bit heavy this little sandwich you see above....I ended up tossing half the biscuit and hitting it with a fork. SO...if you happen to know of a lighter biscuit please send the recipe my way at and I will post it and give it a go!


2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Crisco

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in crisco with pastry cutter or fork. Add enough milk to make dough, do not mix too much. Place dough on flour surface and pat out to about 1/2 inch thick, try not to work it too much the less handled the more tender the biscuit. Cut biscuits with a floured cutter or glass. Place on cookie sheet

Top each biscuit with just a little bit of butter
Bake for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown on the edges.