Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar


Alton’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

This morning my back hurt and I stayed home. Luckily, some aleve kicked that pain's ass by late this afternoon. I had some cinnamon rolls to bake and they couldn't wait, they were put together last night.

Soooooooooooo, tasty. They're a bit of a pain since they have to be put together the day before and have to rise and be rolled out and all of that, but completely worth it.

I thought they might last until morning, when I could take one to Sparks, but that's questionable at this point...

Hey! Come back with those!

To come later, pics of the Nutella cake that's baking in the oven right now.


Here fishy fishy

In the past, I have always turned my nose up at fish.  Except for the wiley stick fish, very rare in the wild.  Yup, I'm an uncultured cretin when it comes to fish.  Sometime in the last year or so, I've been trying to change that.  I was always afraid to cook fish before, but not so much anymore.  I am overcoming my fear and expanding my dinner possibilities.  No longer does my fish come from Mrs. Paul (except for when I'm feeling really lazy and craving them), now I buy it either flash frozen or already defrosted for me from the seafood counter.  I know that stuff was previously frozen, this state is way too far from the sea for it to be anything else.

Tonight's adventure into the unknown was tilapia.  Never had it, had no clue what to expect, but it looked enough flounder-like to be ok in my book.  I know that I like mild white fillets.  So, I broiled those fillets with a little olive oil and old bay seasoning.  Served it with some *gasp* instant mashed potatoes and gingered spaghetti squash.

The spaghetti squash was another new one on me.  I'd tasted it once before at a restaurant, but never cooked it.  While I was out this afternoon, I assigned dad the task of finding me a recipe for it.  He went straight to the food network website.  The recipe left a lot to be desired as far as methodology, and we wound up not following it exactly after researching some other sites.  The recipe told me to split the squash, put it in a pan with 2 T of butter, 1 T of honey and 1.5 T of grated ginger, salt and pepper to taste and bake it for an hour at 375.  What I did not expect was how rock hard the durned thing would be.  After a little research we opted to add some water to the pan and to cover it.  The original sauce had cooked in a bit and very lightly flavored the squash.  It needed salt, but once it got it tasted delicious.  That recipe was definitely a keeper.

Also in the works currently are a batch of Alton's overnight cinnamon rolls and a nutella cake.  I'd been looking for any excuse to make the nutella cake from the first time that I saw its gorgeous self on some food blog or other.  Tuesday night I am going to a birthday dinner for some friends and that sounds like the best excuse ever.  Dad even volunteered to shell my hazelnuts while I was making dinner.  Sometimes he's right handy.


fun with leftovers

Tonight's food experiment: tiramisu! I can't wait to try it, it is currently setting up.

On saturday, I made a pound cake to eat with my yummy fresh blackberries. As of last night, the berries were gone but half the cake remained, and it was quickly getting a bit dry. So, I started thinking about making a trifle. I've never made one, but the idea seemed straightforward enough - cake, custard, and some kind of fruit. So, I started looking through the "How To Cook Everything" (my favorite) for custard recipes. Lo and behold, just past the custards, a recipe for tiramisu calling for leftover sponge cake.

Sponge cake, pound cake, whatever! Tiramisu! So, this evening I assembled it, and dad is prancing back and forth impatiently awaiting it's hour of chill time to pass.

I hope it's tasty.



Beef Blahrek

Tonight was the night that I finally attempted beef burek, after talking about it for the past week or so. None of the recipes really looked like the thing that I saw on $40 a day that looked so tasty, so I improvised. I fried up a pound of lean hamburger with a diced onion and a little sliced shiitake mushroom (leftover, needed to use them up). I added salt and paprika but it still tasted very flat, so I threw in a splash of marsala and let it cook off. I layered this with phyllo dough, buttering each sheet lightly, and ricotta (dad doesn't like feta). I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes, until the crust was golden brown. I served it with a little salad and some leftover green beans.

It wasn't bad with the beans and salad, as the beans were rather too salty in the first place, but alone it was very blah. We experimented slightly with a horseradish sauce (dad's idea) and a dilled yogurt sauce (my idea) but neither gave it the ooomph it needed. It wasn't bad with ranch dressing on it, but everything is better with ranch.

It served its purpose, I'm not hungry anymore, but that definitely wasn't a keeper recipe. Next time I'll just grill out burgers, much tastier.

Tomorrow night's dinner will be a tried and true favorite which I can assign dad to cook before I get home - cinci style chili. I've got all of the stuff that I like to dress it up with and it'll be a simple dinner for a couple of nights, since this is looking like it might be another week filled with long days.


My tongue is on fire!

Obviously, I am the last human on earth to discover this, but last night I learned that if you roast a jalapeno it actually becomes HOTTER! I'm quite sure that there's some science involved here, which I will look into at a later date.

Last night I threw together a quick bean salad for my picnic date with my pal Kelly tonight. Which, by the way she has canceled out on. She's letting a little rain scare her away. The wonderful boyfriend and I will still have a picnic though. Manicdad will also be happy as this means that some of the bean salad will be coming home for him tonight.

Ysha's Black Bean Salad

1 Finely diced small onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 roasted jalapeno
Red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed

Dice the onion first and allow it to "bloom" in a little red wine vinegar. This is the term I heard used for it on the Food Network, otherwise known as "let it sit for a minute" in Yshaspeak. Toss in the other ingredients and mix, adjust seasonings to taste. This salad is good if it has time for the flavors to "mingle".


Burps That Will Fell a Small City

Once again, this summer, I have fallen in love with the almighty Garlic Salad. In order to make an Yshastyle garlic salad, one starts with a bowl of leafy greens. (I use bagged salad, because I'm lazy like that.) Rough chop some mushrooms and toss on the top along with some diced onion. Red onion is especially good, but lately I've been using Vidalia because I have a huge bag of those. Mince a clove or two of garlic (per salad! awwww yeah!) and put that in the bowl. If you are Manicdad, then at this point you add a whole chopped tomato to your bowl, juice and all. Sprinkle with some seasoned salt, a little olive oil, and a healthy bit of lemon juice. "Waller it up" and enjoy. Don't forget to drink the juice in the bottom of the bowl, it'll make you shudder but it's great!

Ah, the burps that ensue after this. Raw garlic! RUN AWAY! I have found that it is superduper gross if you follow up your salad with a dessert of something chocolatey.

I will soon have to pare back my forays into the garlic salad, after too many of them, one starts to smell like a salami. Nice if you work in a deli, not so nice when you have an interview coming up. I've been doing my best to only have them once or twice a week though.

Garlic's healthy, right? Keeps away the cancerous vampire or something.


The Stuffed Peppers That Weren’t

I've been experimenting lately with Indian spices. Earlier in the week, I made tandoori marinated grilled chicken breasts that were great! Today I decided to play around a bit more with the spices that I bought at the Indian market.

I am trying to find more ways to enjoy chicken. It's much healthier than beef and I'm feeling the need to eat more healthy foods. At the suggestion of one of my livejournal buddies, I went looking for ground chicken. The idea in my head was some sort of Indian spiced stuffed peppers, as I had 3 lovely red bell peppers in my fridge. I went by Wal-Mart (yes, I know that it's the devil, but they have cereal much much cheaper than Kroger) and they did not have ground chicken. I didn't feel like making two stops, so I went with ground turkey.

I dug through the fridge and found most of an onion and a few mushrooms. Sadly, the salad I'd planned on having with dinner had already gone brownish, and I won't touch lettuce that is at all brown. I am picky, I admit it.

First, I dug in the cabinet for the last of the wild/brown rice and added a bit of basmati to round it off to a cup. This I put into a pan to cook with a can of beef broth and a wee bit of water.

I rough diced the onion, the mushrooms, one of the bell peppers, and 3 cloves of garlic. I preheated my largest everyday pan (gotta love that Calphalon!) with a little olive oil and tossed in the turkey and all of the veggies. To this I added 1 tablespoon of garam masala and a teaspoon of paprika, and sauted/fried/whatever until the meat was done. Turkey never seems to brown, but the spices gave it a browner color and most likely my dad would have never known that it wasn't hamburger if I hadn't told him.

While all of this cooked, I mixed up a tahini garlic sauce. I used 3 tablespoons of tahini, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and a bit of water. It tasted rather bitter, so I tried adding a bit more yogurt and some paprika. It was still a bit on the bitter side, but I decided to let it be.

When the rice and meat were pretty much done, I dumped the rice in with the meat and veggies. To this I added an eight ounce can of tomato sauce and a bit of white wine. And plenty of salt.

Then I started the creamed corn. I cheated and started with a frozen log, but it's some really tasty corn. I added some rosemary and turmeric to the corn while it heated.

Meanwhile, back in the other pan, there's no way that all of this mixture is fitting into two lonely little peppers. So, I sliced them up into strips and arranged them on top of the filling mixture. Then I covered the pan and let the peppers steam while the corn warmed through.

When it was all done, it tasted wonderful. I spooned the meat and rice mixture onto a plate with some of the steamed pepper strips and drizzled it with a little of the tahini sauce. Beside that I put a spoonful of the creamed corn. It was so yummy that I could have eaten myself silly. No pictures, because it turned out looking like one of those pre-chewed dishes. Seems that most brownish colored dishes with rice included turn out like that.


cake or death?

Since the weather had decided to cool off and the calendar finally said October, I spent yesterday baking. I made a turkey with all the fixin's, all fine but unremarkable. What was remarkable, however, was dessert. I tried out a recipe that I got from the local paper a couple of weeks ago for Oatmeal Cake.

This cake may be the death of me. It is spendid and I can not stop eating it. I have already declared that I must make another one later this week to take to Mimi's for our knitting evening. (She's going to teach me what I'm doing wrong, and we're going to start Harry Potter scarves for ourselves.)

I thought I'd share this one since it is so very tasty, but I will not post a picture, because I burned it. Learn from my mistake and watch it carefully while it's under the broiler. This is not a good time to wander off for a soda.

Oatmeal Cake

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Frosting (recipe follows)

Add boiling water to oats and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add Eggs, flour, cinnamon and soda. When all is blended, add to oatmeal mixture. The cake mix will be runny. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.


6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over warm oatmeal cake. Put Cake under broiler until frosting is bubbly and lightly toasted.



It's funny how a food item can be wonderful one day and crap the next.

Tuesday night I made myself a salad: iceberg lettuce, cheese, mandarin oranges, lemon pepper tuna, homemade croutons, and russian dressing. Nirvana in a bowl.

On thursday, I made practically the same salad. And wound up throwing most of it away because it tasted awful to me. *shrug* I'll never understand the subtle quirks of my own palate.


a little of this, a little of that

Last night I drove home craving salad. I'd asked my pop to pick up a head of lettuce at the store and I had a jar of homemade russian dressing on the counter. I'm still craving that salad, pop can't remember more than one thing at a time without a list. Of course, it's not like I have room to talk, I've needed a new shower curtain for months and keep forgetting it. I'm also the same person who forgot pretzels from one end of WalMart to the other.

So, I get home and there's no lettuce. Yesterday was every single bit a Monday, so I didn't feel like going back out into the world once I'd finally escaped. So, I started throwing things together from the cabinet.

I started off boiling some whole wheat noodles. While those were cooking I looked in the fridge and found the asparagus I'd already forgotten about buying 2 days ago. I grilled the aspargus and chopped it into small pieces. Added a package of garlic & herb tuna, a can of black olives, a roasted red pepper, and some chopped green olives. Topped the whole thing with a little red wine vinegar and olive oil and tossed.

Verdict? Not bad. Not great, but not bad. It fulfilled all of the requirements of a monday night dinner - it wasn't terribly difficult, it was something different, it filled me up, and it didn't make the tummy hurt.

Partly, it was too many different flavors. Maybe next time I will leave out the green olives.


We have GOT to clean out the chest freezer. It's got such big gobs of ice near the top that I can't move the hanging baskets around to really look beneath them. So, this weekend, I am planning to cook that turkey breast that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe I can master Nana's dressing.