June 2009

4th of July Pasta Salad

Looking for something tasty to cook up for the 4th of July without having to really cook?  Maybe you are going to a party and need to bring a dish, going to the beach and taking a picnic with you or simply want to keep it easy.  You can make this meal a day ahead of time and put it in the fridge for your party or lunch or dinner. This recipe makes about 4 servings, so you may want to double it if you are taking it to a party or having friends or family over.  I love having pasta salad for a summer meal (i.e., 4th of July), because it is refreshing and delicious.   

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

Once in a while, I get a craving for KFC's Original Recipe. Once in very great while, I give in, and indulge myself.

I've been wanting it for a couple of months, and last week, I gave in. It's been over a year since the last time I sinned indulged, so it's not too horribly unhealthy. There's just something about the whole idea of just cooked KFC chicken; it's not just the fried chicken, which is reliably tender and tasty, but the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the slaw (or the other sides; most of which are not bad). There's the convenience of it being already cooked, and ready to eat, without any need to wash dishes even.

A Feva for the Flava

When my friend Sarah once told me that fried chicken and okra was soul food after I professed loving them, I stood before her, perplexed. I finally admitted, “Sarah… I hear about ‘soul food’ all of the time but I don’t really know what it means!”

She laughed so hard, slapped her hand on her hip, and said something I’ll never forget: “Girl, you don’t know what soul food is? It’s when you get your feet in there, and your arms in there, and everybody’s in that food!” I remember being delighted with her answer. The only food that I knew of like that was spaghetti, and that’s just because it was so messy it always got all over you.

Appetizing Pizza Sticks

This is one of my favorite all time things to eat when I am craving pizza.  Since I like to eat small amounts of food at a time, and I like to have my individual smaller portions, I love that this recipe makes individual pizza sticks.  This recipe serves between 6-10 people (depending on how much you eat), so you can always cut it down to a smaller portion for yourself or you can serve it as an appetizer for a party.

What you will need:

Nachos Con Carne

Hungry for a delicious pile of nachos con carne?  Look no further!  This recipe feeds 2-4 people and is a great snack with a group of friends or an appetizer for game night.  

What you will need:

1/2 lb Ground beef (you can also use ground turkey)

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp Salt

Masala of India and Mirch Masala in Seattle

Some of my fondest childhood memories take place in true hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the now defunct Greek Town neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. These were the eateries where dinner was a four hour event with multiple courses and kibbutzing with the owners. The food was fantastic, the service was no less than loving and the atmosphere was more akin to a good friend's dining room than business. Hungry Seattleites looking for a similar experience, albeit with a different ethnic spice, should head straight for one of Sanjay Sharma's two Indian restaurants in the greater Seattle area.

BBQ Chicken Salad - Summertime Favorite

One of my favorite things to eat in the summer time is salad, because it is so refreshing.  Here is one of my favorite salads – the BBQ Chicken Salad. This salad is super easy to make, the hardest thing is grilling the chicken (and even that only takes about 5 minutes). I recommend eating this out on a picnic table in your back yard.  Enjoy!

What you will need (This makes 1 entrée serving or 2 side salads):

2 Cups chopped romaine lettuce

Frozen Fruit Snacks for Summer

Frozen fresh fruit for snacking is so easy, so healthy, and so perfect for

summer that it's frequently overlooked. When you want something sweet and cool and refreshing frozen fresh fruit is quick, simple, and extraordinary lovely. It's disgustingly healthy, too, and requires no real skill. All you need is a freezer, zip-closing 1 quart freezer bags, and fresh fruit. Get the freshest ripe and ready to eat fruit you can; bananas, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are absolutely perfect for this. Strawberries don't really work well frozen whole for eating "as is."

Thai River Restaurant in Seattle

The city of Seattle has no shortage of Asian cuisine. Practically every corner has a quick teriyaki shop and there are countless pho restaurants scattered around the city. There are also a number of Thai spots in town, from small local chains to mom-and-pop outfits. As easy as it is to find Thai in Seattle, it's important to find a favorite. There's nothing quite like the comfort of coming to an old standby with consistently good food and a comfortable atmosphere. For me and for plenty of other Seattleites, Thai River is that place.

Located in Seattle's north side neighborhood of Greenwood, Thai River is a small, humble restaurant with a menu of classic dishes done right. Their entrees can be served individually or family-style and their portions are generous, but not overwhelming.

Charles Shaw "Two Buck Chuck"

After reading about Charles Shaw in terms of writing about "Working Class Wine," I decided to actually try some. As a hungry blogger who likes to drink wine, but has a limited budget, it's my duty to check out "budget wines." If you're not familiar with Charles Shaw wines, they're sold exclusively through Trader Joe's, and were dubbed "Two Buck Chuck" because in California they sell for $1.99 a bottle. Responding to a less than fulsome May 18 article by New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, Charles Shaw founder Fred Franzia complains that "She doesn't understand that somebody can enjoy a $2 bottle of wine," he said.

Easy Summer Fruit Freezer Jam

I love the fresh fruit of summer. This summer's locally grown fruit is just starting to appear at local farmers' markets. Right now, it's mostly locally Washington grown cherries and strawberries, but soon, peaches, and then the many sorts of berries Washington grows in abundance. I'll put lot of the berries and freezer bags and freeze them, but I'm also a fan of freezer jam. Unlike conventional heat-processed jam, freezer jam is cooked just enough to melt the sugar and activate the powdered pectin, which "jells" the fruit and juice, but then you put it in containers and keep it in the freezer until you're ready to eat it. It keeps about a year in the freezer, and about three weeks in the fridge, if you can wait that long to eat it.

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Just about everywhere in the U. S. right now, you can find fresh locally grown strawberries. It's almost impossible, for me at least, to look at a pint of fresh strawberries and not at least think about strawberry shortcake. Now, I have strong personal opinions about shortcake, and how to make it, and those opinions include an intense aversion to the pre-made packaged sponge-cakes designed for strawberry shortcake. One of my fellow sufferers when I lived in a dorm used to make "Faux Strawberry Shortcake" with, I kid you not, Twinkies and Cool Whip garnished with fresh berries. I'm here to tell you that there's a much better way to easily, quickly make your own Strawberry Shortcake. The secret? Frozen Pound Cake, from your grocer's frozen dessert case.

Five-Minute Emergency Ice Cream

It's unseasonably hot here. Instead of the normal 70 or 75 F. maximum, with sporadic rain showers we expect in a Pacific Northwest June, it's been over 80 F. for the last three days. I'm tied to my laptop, figuratively at least, and it's adding more heat, enough that I have a cushion between my laptop and me to avoid burning. This calls for emergency rations; therefore, I offer for your delectation: