30 October 2010

Scary House

We visited this scary house awhile back. Trees chopped, windows removed, this yard was creepy. But I like that.

Last weekend we hit an old graveyard. I'll get to posting those this week, during our 10 day Halloween staycation.

Happy Holiday and Happy Haunting.

29 October 2010

Halloween Staycation

Good Morning and Happy Almost Halloween. Last night I cleaned the house, and today is our last day of work, before we both start our 10 day Halloween staycation.

Life is good.

Here's a photo of our backyard. I took this a couple days ago. This is my view each morning when I begin writing.

Have a very scary day.

26 October 2010

Oh So Delicious

Want a yummy way to reheat pizza, without the oven or microwave? It’s easy. Just heat a cast iron skillet on low, add the cold pizza and don’t crowd the pan. Remember to keep an eye on the bottoms, and adjust the flame so the pizza warms but doesn’t burn.

Right before I’m ready to pull the slices, I flip the pizza, cheese-face down on the skillet for about 5 to 10 seconds. Since my flame is low, the cheese doesn’t burn. A little of it might melt in the pan, but it’s never much.

If you haven’t reheated cold pizza in a skillet, it may take a few times to get it right, but once you do … it’s oh so delicious.

23 October 2010

Photos of the Week

Hi Guys - Here's some of my favorite photos that never made it into my blog. Hope you all had a yummy week and ate lots of good things.

Happy Saturday and Happy Eating.

I shot this one the other day. Really love it. Wanted to share it with you all.

Earlier in the week I thought about doing a short blog about the 4 books on my nightstand. I didn't, but here's the image anyway.

Shot this one last weekend. I like it because it makes me smile. Those radishes look yummy and I want to eat them.

How'd this get in here?

This shot never made it into my apple crisp blog but I rather fancy it, so I'm sharing it with you now. I'd be happy to share some apple crisp, but Tim ate them all.

20 October 2010

Happy Birthday Mamam

Within the space of not having the money to afford all the groceries needed to feed her family, I watched my Hungarian grandma create wonderful meals and treats.

Palascintas were one of these meals, because so many Hungarian crepes were made from a single batch.

While whisking the batter by hand, Mamam told me, “Ven vee have no money for milk, vee use water. Ven vee have money for milk, vee use milk.”

Mamam always did her best to stretch every meal. Her frig was stocked with cob-o-stash-tasda (green cabbage and homemade noodles), and croom-pea-tasda (potatoes, homemade noodles and Hungarian paprika). She made giant pots of both, and we ate them until they were gone.

I’ve carried her ways with me. And even now, as an adult in my own kitchen, I still love talking to her about food.

“Vutt you making for supper?”

“Chicken paprikash.”

“Good. You husband like?”

“Oh yeah, he loves it.”

“Good. You just remembering, you make enough to last all veek, that vay you no cooking every night.”

Another good memory for me, is watching Mamam make toast in a skillet. She’d split open a roll and spread butter on both sides.

“Fresh or stale, it no matter,” she’d tell me. “You just no burning it.” She’d say while cooking both sides. She also toasted sliced Italian bread and French baguettes this way.

Then we’d remove the golden crusted, wonderful smelling bread from the skillet. Sometimes, we'd add cream cheese, along with whatever lekvar we liked.

Stale bread never tasted so good.

To this day, I always think of Mamam when I toast bread. And I still remember the first time I watched her toast bread in a skillet. “No toaster?” I asked.

“Nem,” she said. “Dis is how my mother do.”

So now, ‘dis’ is how I do, as well.

Happy Birthday, Mamam.

16 October 2010

Hungarian Lekvár

When I tell people it's sort of a prune jam, they scrunch their face, as if I've told them I was making boiled head broth. But I grew up eating apricot, walnut and prune lekvárs. So for me, it's normal.

I love prune lekvár on a roll with butter. Just split a roll and butter both sides of each piece, then put it in a hot skillet. Oh, what a great way to heat bread. Then spread the lekvár on and enjoy. It's also used for rolling into palacsintas (Hungarian crepes). And it's even good when used as a filling for dough, the same way cheese goes in ravioli or potatoes into perogies.

Whether used in baked treats or as part of the main meal, Hungarian prune lekvár really is delicious, I swear.

Just chop a bag of pitted prunes, add water and sugar and cook it down, adding water and sugar as needed. The water rehydrates the fruit and the sugar adds a bit of sweetness.

I don't have the exact measurements to give you, because Mamam (Hungarian Grandma) never gave me measurements. "You just cooking it," she would say in her thick accent. "And you no burning it," she'd add.

I thought of Mamam when I spied a new (or new to me), brand of prunes listed as preservative free. I had a buck fifty off with coupons, so I thought I'd give them a try. Can't wait to see how they work in my homemade lekvár.

Until next time, Happy Whisking :-)

13 October 2010

Thai Chili Wings

I'm off from work one more day, and since Tim won't be home for lunch, I ordered Thai chili wings. 12 bucks for 2 pounds of yummy goodness.

I'm not into ranch or blue cheese cooling sauces. Being raised on Hungarian hor paprika, I like the heat. Ah ... yummy and so messy. Check out the photo.

Now ... if you'll excuse me, my wings are waiting. And, I don't have to go anywhere for the rest of the day.

Life is good.

12 October 2010

Spaghetti for Breakfast

The 12th of October is my grandfather’s birthday. In many ways, he helped shape the cook I am today. When he was alive he always said, “try it once, if you don’t like it you never have to eat it again.”

To my kid-logic, this was a reasonable agreement.

He’d also say, “taste buds change. I used to hate spinach, now I love it.”

He’s right about that. For years, I didn’t eat red meat or poultry and now I’m learning an entire new line of foods, like roasted chicken, Coleman uncured bacon (so good), and hamburgers (both fast food and homemade).

Another thing I remember is Gramps always made anything to eat at any time.

At his house, hamburger, cold chicken, crab salad, egg sandwiches and fried spaghetti often made it to the breakfast table.

Not everyone ate the way Gramps did. “Aaaaa,” he’d grumble, “they don’t know what they’re missing,” he’d tell me as I ate a warm bowl of fried spaghetti, and he ate his hamburger on a bun.

That’s a good memory for me.

Crabbing was another pastime for Gramps. He’d bring huge piles of crab home and once cooked, I’d sort the shells from the good meat. More crab ended up in my belly, than in the bowl.

He was also the first person to teach me how to chop an onion. Cut it along one way, turn it around, cut it the other, turn again and mince. As a kid, I thought that was magical. As an adult, I can’t mince and onion without thinking about him.

Happy Birthday Gramps. Thanks for spending time with me.

11 October 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

So here I am. Home from my day job. Taking photos of pumpkins and apples, when I should be knee deep in rewrites for my book.  Instead, I'm distracted by fall flavours and yummy cooking.

Happy Thanksgiving :-)