Thursday, October 13, 2011

S'mores: Not The Regular Way, My Moms Way

When I was growing up, my mother would make us treats on Friday or Saturday nights. One was French bread with Cheez Whiz and bits of ham put under the broiler, the other was s'mores, these s'mores. They both came with a cup of hot chocolate and a hockey game, movie or boxing match, which was usually Muhammad Ali and/or one of the other bigger names. She wasn't Julia Child or anything close, but it was still good and we always looked forward to it.

I went on a school field trip in grade seven with the rest of my class, and the first night we had a campfire. "Let's make some s'mores!" my teacher bellowed. I thought "How the hell are we gonna pull that off?!??!?" He brought out some Graham Crackers, some Aero Bars and some marshmallows. WTF?? All the other kids were looking at me like I had a sudden growth pop out of my face or something. I said "Those aren't s'mores..." They all looked at me and said collectively "Yes they are! What's wrong with you?" Ok, now I was so unspeakably lost, I couldn't think straight. I thought s'mores were s'mores, and you are probably saying the same thing right now. I just called my mom and asked her where she figured this out and she said her mom used to do it. So there, old family recipe. Haha...

This isn't too healthy, nor will I try to pawn it off as such. This is something we used to enjoy on cold nights where you didn't really want to be outside. Take it for what's its worth, a little treat you can't eat like a vegetable (which should be all of the time, by the way), but eat it only once in awhile, which makes them more enjoyable and your conscience won't keep you up at night.

I have made these for many non-believers and turned them into believers. So, before you write these babies off, give them a chance and try them. No one I have ever made these for has uttered any profane or foul words towards the negative side. All comments have been positive and most have made them themselves.

Ingredients

- marshmallows
- cheddar cheese
- Ritz Crackers

Directions

1) Turn the oven to broil. Place as many Ritz crackers on a baking sheet as you like.
2) Slice the cheese so you have as many pieces as crackers
3) Cut the marshmallows in half to equal the amount of crackers
4) Place the cheese on the crackers followed by the marshmallows




5) Place under the broiler and broil until desired color of the marshmallow is achieved
6) Pig out, man.
Yield: Depends on how hungry the cook is. :)


Ten minutes and you have yourself a little snack. You can't eat healthy all of the time. Besides, a little treat once in a while is a good thing. Moderation...

I tried these with organic white cheddar, and it didn't taste near as good. I've also tried other crackers and come to the same conclusion: stick with the stuff that works. It may not be the best choice for your health, but who cares if you only eat them once every five or six months. Live a little.

Little O's Menu

Our little Tomato is still stuck on her pasta kick. We have been giving her tri-colored gemelli (spinach, beet and tomato) made by Prairie Harvest. It's organic and she loves it, so I'm not going to be the one to say "Sorry, can't eat anymore more of this." We cook it, throw in a little EVOO to lubricate it so it won't stick together and feed it to her. When it cools down, we put it in the fridge until next time. It's extremely quick to prepare after that. Just throw in some fresh ground pepper, some Parmesan or the cheese of choice that day, and away we go. She will eat about five to seven ounces every time she sits down.


Quote Of The Day:

"Nothing would be tiresome then eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity"

~ Voltaire (1694-1778) Pen name for Francois-Marie Arouet, French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher

See?? Someone else agrees with me too. And he's a lot older than me.


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes With Celeriac And Sweet Potatoes

One of my favorite memories of my childhood dinners are my mothers scalloped potatoes. Actually, just about anybody's scalloped potatoes were good with me, but she did them just right every time. Nowadays, I rarely eat potatoes at all, even though I love them so much. Thanksgiving is a fun time to cook and I usually make my favorite roasted garlic mashed potatoes. It's almost like eating chocolate. Such a treat. Gotta love it!

A few weeks back, I told Bonnie I wanted to start switching sweet potatoes in for regular potatoes more often now and she agreed. While we were in the grocery store last week, she reminded me about this and how I was talking about doing something with celeriac, or you may know it as celery root. So, we picked up some celeriac along with some sweet potatoes and here is what I came up with: (By the way, I still used a couple of red skinned potatoes as I couldn't do scalloped potatoes without a couple of the old regular spuds being involved.)

Ingredients

- 4 small sweet potatoes, skinned and cut into 1/8" slices


- 1 celery root, skinned (meaning so it's white and none of the brown left), cut in half and sliced into 1/8" slices. Then put it all in a bowl and fill with water as it tends to turn brown from oxidization.
- 5 red potatoes, cleaned, cut in half and sliced into 1/8" slices. I leave the skin on but you don't have to.
- 1/2 a red onion, sliced into 1/8" slices
- 1 small log of goat cheese
- 2 cups shredded white organic old cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded orange old cheddar cheese. I just wanted that orange color. You don't need this if you want to avoid it.
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- EVOO
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 375F. Pour a little EVOO into a casserole dish (mine was 22.5 cm X 33cm) and grease it up all over the inside so the vegetables won't stick.
2) Arrange your layers as follows:
- 1st layer - sweet potatoes, onions, 1/4 of the white cheddar, salt and pepper.


- 2nd layer - celeriac, onion, goat cheese, 1/4 of the white cheddar, salt and pepper.
- 3rd layer - red potatoes, salt and pepper.


3) Pour the stock around the edge of the pan so it will sit on the bottom and not go over top of the potatoes. You could also pour it in the pan before you start layering. This will help steam all of the vegetables.
4) Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
5) After the 45 minutes is up, pull the dish out of the oven and remove the foil. Spread the rest of the white cheddar and the yellow cheddar over top and put it back in for another 15 minutes to brown. Take out of the oven and let sit for 4 or 5 minutes to set before serving.
Yield: Serves 6 big portions


This dish is far better for you than regular old scalloped potatoes. Using less potatoes will help you keep your belt size down among a few other little benefits. The sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which is helped absorbed into your body by adding a little fat to the dish you eat them with. They are also great sources of vitamins A, C and dietary fiber as well. You can't go wrong eating these guys, and you should make a habit of it. The celeriac also has some serious health benefits to it as well. It's high in fiber, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B6. Not only does it have a nice, sweet flavor, it can also help decrease the glycemic load of the potatoes. Celeriac is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to help lower blood pressure. It isn't the best looking vegetable, but it's definitely one of the healthier ones to eat.

If you use vegetable stock (to help steam the vegetables while in the oven) in this dish, you could serve this as a Meatless Monday, Wheatless Wednesday, or even as a Thanksgiving side dish. There's a lot of flavor in here and you won't feel guilty after eating it. For an extra hit of flavor, spread a little maple syrup around the plate before placing the potatoes over top. It adds another flavor element and sweet potatoes goes very well with it. You can't go wrong.

Little O's Menu

The appetite on this kid is going through the roof. She's still a picky eater, but there are ways we can get her to eat the things she has turned her nose up at previously. For example, she thought a piece of sweet potato was a piece of cheddar cheese, like she gets at daycare. She didn't like them the first time she ate them, but this time I served the scalloped potatoes (from the above recipe) with a little bit of maple syrup underneath, and there you go. She loves the syrup and ended up eating 5 or 6 good sized pieces, which made us very happy. If she can start eating these again (like she did when she first started eating regular food all mashed up), it would make us ecstatic. She eats a lot of berries, bananas and apples, which is great, but if she can start eating the brightly colored vegetables again, her diet will help her mind grow as much as her little body. It would also give me more to write about here. Yay!


Quote Of The Day:


"Meat is an inefficient way to eat. An acre of land can yield 20,000 pounds of potatoes, but that same acre would only graze enough cows to get 165 pounds of meat."

~ Alexandra Paul - American actress

Do you think she's a vegetarian, or does she just make a good point?? If she said sweet potatoes, then I would be more inclined to agree. :-)

And another one...

"The important thing is to see how we do - the end result."


Al Davis (July 4, 1929 – October 8, 2011)

Al Davis, owner of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, died yesterday. He definitely wasn't the worlds easiest guy to get along with and he had some serious quirks, but he is one of the main reasons the NFL is as successful a league as it is today and he knew a lot about the game of football in America. He was probably one of the youngest head coaches in any league anywhere in the world when football was an old boys club. He led quite the life and did it for a long time.... 82 years to be exact. Thanks for helping make the NFL what it is today Al.


Until the next time, good eating everyone.

Mark