Tuesday, August 31, 2010 100th Post

How appropriate is it that my 100th post occurs on the eve of my entrance to Culinary School? I try not to read into that stuff - but I know those who do. All I know is 100 is one of those landmark numbers and I never in a hundred, thousand or a million years woulda guessed I'd be going to school to study cooking.

And I'm nervous, I've got the jitters. But I'll get over it.

What's the picture, you ask? Apple sauce on the stove. One of the first things I learned how to make. (Thanks, Jane!)

As you can see, I've come a long way.

I made it today because I bought WAY TOO MANY apples at the Farmers Market last week. And tomorrow, after school, I'm going to the Farmers Market...to buy more apples

Monday, August 30, 2010 Winter Mojitos

Believe it or not Fall is in the air. That means my gardening season is coming to an end and it's time to start thinking about putting stuff away for the winter.

I had a bunch of limes left over from Mint Night! so I made these Mojito cubes! Now, in the dead of winter, when someone comes over and wants a Frozen Mojito, I can deliver.

I melted some of the Demerara brown sugar in water on the stove and then let it cool. Squeezed in the lime juice, poured into an ice tray, added the mint and - BANG!

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, August 29, 2010 How to Make Cake Balls on Pretzel Sticks

The "Have Your Cake and Stick It, Too's" were a hit at the clambake. One guy was nice enough to try all of the desserts (making sure they were good for the rest of us) and he loudly warned everyone that my dessert was "no good" as he inhaled the Cake Ball in record time, quickly leaving himself with stubby remnants of pretzel rod.

That, my friends, is success.

This, my friends, is how I made them.

I made a box of Devil's Food in cupcake form and set aside 4 cupcakes for "later."
Let them cool and then break them all up into crumbs in a large bowl. Then add a container of icing. I used white icing (and saved the sprinkles that came with it for "later") Mix icing and crumbs together with a spatula until well combined. Because it's summer and still quite warm I chilled the "dough" while I prepared my cookie sheets. Clear some space in the fridge and/or freezer and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. After a good chilling take out the "dough" and, using an ice cream scoop, scoop out a portion of "dough" and place it in your left hand (unless you're a lefty, then switch). Then, carefully, with your right hand, place the end of the pretzel rod on the highest and thickest point of the scoop (where the nipple would be if it was a boob) and press the pretzel into the "dough" while closing your left hand around the dough. The "dough" should be completely wrapped around the top of the pretzel. If there is a "crack" where the dough was pushed together smooth it with your finger. Place on the cookie sheet "seam side up" - you can fit about 6 or 7 on each sheet. Chill again.

Here's the "tricky part" - I'll leave out the part where I wasted an entire bag of white chocolate chips because they didn't want to melt and I sent my husband out to the store to buy more and he came home with both white and chocolate chips and I tried again with the white ones and they still wouldn't melt and I swore and swore and swore and then finally decided it wasn't worth it and used the milk chocolate chips.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (if you have one) or in small batches in the microwave like I did. Carefully, holding the pretzel as close to the cake ball as possible to prevent breakage, spoon melted chocolate over the cake ball and then smooth out with a spatula taking off as much excess chocolate off "the bottom" as possible. This will prevent pooling and chocolate "feet." Place them back on the cookie sheet

The fun part is the "finish." I finished some with the sprinkles, some with green sugar, some with Heath bits, some with mint cookie crumbs, some with sea salt and some with black and red pepper! That was my favorite!!!

Chill each tray as you finish them. When they were done I put them cake ball down, in a gallon ziplock, five in each bag. I made 20. The bags stood up in a small box which I kept on ice. Not the easiest dessert to transport. But they make a great impression so they're worth the work.

Any questions? Ask away!!!


Saturday, August 28, 2010 Have Your Cake and Stick It, Too!!!

The Headbanging Hostess has taken the Cake Ball and pimped it up with a pretzel rod.

I believe the term is BOO-YEAH!!!!


Recipe Ideas From Mint Night!

The Headbanging Hostess never follows a recipe exactly. No one should - unless you have no taste buds.

When an idea hits me I quickly shove-off to Googleland searching for recipes I'm not sure exist. Most of the time I find what it is I'm looking for. Sometimes all I get is something close. With Mint Night I was forced to do a lot more creative cooking in the dark. I took a little from this recipe, a little from that and lo and behold I made a kick-ass dinner.

I'll start with the Cucumber Melon Soup with Apple Mint. My least favorite dish of the night. The flavor wasn't bad, I think my food processor failed me. But I'm not completely sold on the whole cold soup thing. The soup I made for Blueberry Night was delicious! I think the secret there was the wine. This one? No wine. Here's the recipe I used as a guide - I pretty much left out the radish and mixed it all together.

The Pineapple Mint Pulled Pork was out of this universe delicious. I used two recipes as a jumping off point for the pork and found something I could work with for the sauce. The big thing was substituting Pineapple Mint for the Cilantro.

The key with both the pork and the chicken was, of course, the crockpot. If I had to throw out all my cooking toys and only keep one, it would be my crockpot.

The Orange Mint Chicken was again a little from this recipe a little from that one. I followed the latter a little more closely - but the results were STUNNING! Really tender, tasty, homey! I would definitely make it again.

Both meat dishes were keepers.

I hope this helps those of you who were stumped when it came to mint recipes. I think the key is using the fruit mints. Next year plan on having a few in your garden!

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, August 27, 2010 Mint Night!!! The Video!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 Mint Night!!

This Thursday's dinner will contain five mints from my container garden. Pineapple Mint, Apple Mint, Orange Mint, Spearmint and Peppermint.

Without further ado...

Cucumber Melon Soup with Apple Mint

Pineapple Mint Pulled Pork

Orange Mint Chicken

Peppermint Ice Cream with Mint Chocolate Chips


Frozen Mojitos (with Spearmint)

Mint is a great addition to any garden - provided you contain it! Mint is invasive. It'll sent out shoots underground and end up all over the place if you don't keep it in check. And it'll last through the winter! My peppermint has lasted through two winters.

This year I stocked my garden with mints and other herbs for ice cream. I'm sorry to say the Chocolate Mint I bought didn't make it. But neither did the lemon balm, thyme, dill or lemon thyme. I'm pretty sure I over planted in my zeal for a full garden. In the future it'd be best to keep your plants one to a container, unless your containers are huge!

But the joy of being able to walk out on my porch and pick the herbs I need far surpasses the upset caused by a few dead plants.

Stay tuned!! Much more mint makings to come!!!

Bang on, my peeps!


Saturday, August 21, 2010 How Much Would You Pay?

The other night - after stuffing myself silly with apples, grapes and brie - I had a vision of Grape Ice Cream followed quickly by a vision of Grape Ice Cream Sandwiches with Peanut Butter Cookies.

I can almost imagine why Grape Ice Cream isn't commercially made. Even after a good cooking and mashing the grape liquid was never as thick as other fruit juices have gotten. I can also imagine that growing grapes for ice cream wouldn't be as lucrative as growing grapes for wine, let's say. I mean, how much are people willing to pay for real good ice cream with quality seasonal ingredients. A quart of ice cream can easily cost me ten dollars or more to make. Depending on the milk, cream, cream cheese, sour cream, fruit, candy, cookie - whatever it is. Good ingredients cost money. For my friends at home? Sure, it's totally worth it. But if I were to take my ice cream public would people pay 3 bucks for a two ounce scoop? Or five for four. I don't think so. And if they did it would not be without a scowl on their face that I'd be so tempted to knock-off.

Look at them. Two Homemade Natural Peanut Butter Cookies sandwiching a scoop of Purple Champagne Grape Ice Cream dipped in frozen grapes.

How much would you pay?


Thursday, August 19, 2010 90 Second Meal Mosh - "Not sure what I'm gonna call it"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 Color Your World at the Farmers Market!

The Farmers Market is in full swing. Every color of the rainbow (or the Gay Pride Flag) is represented.

It's a good year for tomatoes, which is a great thing. The last few years provided slim pickings on the heirloom tomato front. Although I was glad to have a break from people asking "Is this tomato ripe?" when they picked up a green heirloom. (Imagine how sick the farmers must be of that question!). This year boxes and boxes of tomatoes in every shade and stripe are in abundance.

Peppers are also available in more colors than you think. I saw black ones last week! Red, green, yellow, purple, rainbow, hot, sweet - a plethora of peppers for purchase.

I finally made that Ground Cherry Chocolate ice cream for the guy at the Riverbank Farm Stand. I think I put too much chocolate in it, you couldn't taste the ground cherries so much. But the question was moot (As Jessie Jackson would say) because the guy wasn't there. I gave it to the guys who were there and encouraged them to eat it and tell him how good it was :)

My ice cream adventures so far have been pretty successful. The Corn Ice Cream was really the best. And I have to get back to making herbal ice cream from my garden! I have enough mint to sink a battleship - I'd better put it to good use. I think a Mint Night is in the near future!

Bang on, my peeps!


Monday, August 16, 2010 Sharing the Garden

Seems I've been wrong about that damn squirrel.

Last years squirrel may have been eating my tomatoes but this years little guy has been burying nuts in my garden. Gotta give the furry bastard some credit! He sure found a place the other squirrels won't be looking! At least I hope... If I end up with a load of squirrels living on my porch this winter I suppose I'll only have myself to blame.

I watched him twice yesterday bury a nut in one of my pots. The first one in a newly seeded, freshly sprouting lettuce and spinach pot! But I didn't care! I even went out after he was gone and dug it up again to see what he'd buried!

I know, I'm nuts. Literally.

And no, I don't need any squirrel recipes.


Sunday, August 15, 2010 Why Local Music?

Last night The Headbanging Hostess found herself at a charming dive in Danbury, CT called Cousin Larry's. It was a benefit for the Chowda House - and to be honest I still have no idea what that's about because I didn't see any chowda.


The reason we were there, of course, was to see Arcane Malevolence. We had spent the afternoon with them, out boating with friends. It wasn't as elitist as it sounds, my dear. And then we all enjoyed a feast prepared by our hosts. We ate ourselves into comas and then the band had to go get ready to play. Ha ha :)


They were fucking awesome. Love the music, fantastic stage presence, they really put on a great show. I really didn't believe I'd just eaten dinner with them! And one of the other bands, No Remission, was also fucking incredible. They gave everything to their performance and the audience loved it - they forced an encore! The best part? They're good friends of Arcane Malevolence and I've already extended an invitation to dinner.

So why is this so important to me, getting local bands? What does that have to do with food?

Well, with so much attention being paid to eating locally and organically, why not apply the same logic to music?

I bet you can think of 20 modern day "recording artists" whose sound is the antithesis of organic. Even accomplished singers find it necessary to use auto-tune in order to appeal to the masses. (I'm talking to you Jennifer Nettles, I still love ya though!)

Local music is organic - it hasn't been fucked with by producers and labels and fouled by the pursuit of iTune downloads. It is pure, unadulterated, unhomogenized, raw and Bovine Growth Hormone free.

And just as it is important to support local farmers and restaurants it is important to support local bands and the venues that give them a place to play. A place for us all to get together and celebrate the joy of music. And I'm sorry if that sounds corny but fuck you. Coming together for a meal, coming together for a show, the important part is that we're coming together because so much in this world is constantly tearing us apart.

No man is an island. Not even Trent Reznor.

So The Headbanging Hostess pledges to support local music as much as she supports local farmers. Will you?

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, August 13, 2010 Home Made Real-Fruit Gelatin Pie

I can't really call it Jello because this is America and they have a trademark. But that's okay because it's real easy to make your own with much less sugar and way more goodness.

Twice now I have made real-fruit gelatin, raspberry and blueberry. Both batches were made from some slightly bruised past-their-due-date-but-not-yet-bad berries that my neighbor left for me. Throw them in a saucepan with a little water, lemon and sugar (a little sugar) and let it cook for a bit, until it covers the back of a spoon is a good barometer of doneness. Take it off the heat and strain it through a sieve, put it in a freezer bag and freeze! It'll be there when you need it!

Now when you wanna make this pie you can buy a crust or you can make one. Once I did the crushed up Corn Flake crust with melted butter. It was pretty good. This time I crushed up Golden Oreos in the food processor and just pushed it into the pan.

Take the frozen fruity goodness out of the freezer and thaw. Use two cups of juice and one packet of Knox gelatin. Heat up the juice on the stove, sprinkle in the gelatin while whisking the crap out of it until it's dissolved.

Next it needs to go in an ice bath which you will have expertly prepared. I used a glass bowl filled with ice and water and a Pyrex saucepan. Pour the gelatin into the chilled vessel and allow to chill and begin to set. The more it sets the less it will "leak" into the crust and create mush.

I put about a pint of golden raspberries at the bottom of this pie and then topped it off with the thickening gelatin. Put it in the fridge for about two hours and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

It's super light, refreshing and not overly sweet. It actually tastes like the real fruit!

Bang on, my peeps!


Summer Fruit Night!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 Steven Slater Is My Hero!

Anyone who has worked a shift in the service industry knows exactly what set Steven Slater off.


I only wish I'd had the flair of Mr. Slater when I quit each one of my service industry jobs. Silly me always tried to do the "right thing" and give two weeks notice. Quitting a job is always torturous for me. Even if I am being horribly mistreated.

Being mistreated by a boss is one thing. Obviously I don't like it. I don't think there's any reason for it - other than mental imbalance. I am happy to say I've escaped such mistreatment and lived to tell about it.

But being mistreated by customers is something different. When people think they are better than you and treat you like crap and you have to be nice and accommodating and helpful IT CAN DRIVE YOU FUCKING MAD!!!!

I would love to know the name of the dumb bitch who set Mr. Slater off. What the fuck is her problem? Lady! The fucking rules are there for a reason. They apply to all of us. You are not that special. Who the fuck do you think you are?

A cunt with entitlement issues, that's for sure!

Please, people. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. It's not rocket science. It's not even long division! We're all in this life together. And when you step out into the world you better be prepared to play nice with your fellow man. And when you enter a store or a restaurant or a plane treat it as if you're in someones home - because it is. They are welcoming you in - don't be an asshole and treat them like shit.

We can ALL be nicer - even me. And I go out of my way to be nice. Set a good example and don't be afraid to correct someones improper behavior. If we all demand a higher standard of human interaction you can be damn sure we're gonna get it.

On another note entirely - I was at the Farmers Market today. I saw the same woman with her boys. This time they were begging her to buy berries in every color. She did, and I was beaming a big smile until she told them after they paid for the berries they could eat their donuts.

Some people are real slow on the pick-up.

Bang on, my peeps!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010 A Dinner Party for Summer Fruits

I know what you’re thinking. The Headbanging Hostess has lots of friends who are fruits, but they’re fruits all year long! This week we celebrate the fruits of summer!

Balsamic Watermelon and Strawberry Salad

Soft Chicken Tacos
With Cooked Corn and Blueberry Salsa
And Fresh Peach Salsa

Blueberry Raspberry Pie with Golden Oreo Crust

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

It looks like a great menu to me! It has the sweet, the sour, the spicy and the cheesy! What else do you need in life? Sangria, maybe? I’m sure I can come up with a little of that!

Stay tuned for the video later in the week! In the meantime check out one of The Headbanging Hostess classics on YouTube!

Bang on, my peeps!


Monday, August 9, 2010 Fresh Corn and Exploding Heads

I spent the majority of my morning trying to figure out how to nicely tell people that canned corn isn't fresh.

Yeah. I know.

I stumbled across the "Taste" section of last Thursday's paper this morning. There was a section called "Recipe Box" in which people were to share their fresh corn recipes and fresh blueberry recipes. Imagine my surprise when half of the corn recipes called for canned corn! One called for creamed corn - which I am proud to say I have never eaten. But if I was going to ingest it you can be damn sure I wouldn't be eating it out of a can.

My head almost exploded.

As I read on I was shocked to see that Ms. Canned Creamed Corn had also submitted a blueberry recipe that called for COOL WHIP! And CANNED BLUEBERRY PIE FILLING!!!!

Wha wha what???

Now, you people know me, so I'm not going to mince words.


It took a few drafts and the help of numerous Facebook friends but I was able to craft a sensible letter stating my case. Simply put, if you claim the recipes are “fresh” and “good for you” the ingredients better be fresh and good for you.

In less than a half-hour I received a reply. I was invited to send in my own recipes, told how difficult it was for them to get submissions in the first place and then reminded that every recipe won’t appeal to everyone.

I think she missed the point.

If the heading said “Recipes for Corn” and the recipes used canned corn I WOULN’T BE WRITING THIS! It said FRESH CORN!!! CANNED CORN ISN’T FRESH!!!!!!

I’m going to the emergency room, I’m having a conniption.

When I get back I think I’ll make it a point to send these people some real, fresh, good for you recipes.

Until then… Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, August 6, 2010 Headbanging Hostess Approved

Thursday, August 5, 2010 Send Letters and Music!

The Headbanging Hostess is always looking for new recipes and new music! Jane e-mailed me her Mexican Wrap recipe and I turned it into a video! And Arcane Malevolence was awesome enough to let me cook for them and use their song in a video!

You can be as cool as them!

Send your letters with recipes, show ideas, questions and cash to headbanginghostess@gmail.com

And local bands SEND ME YOUR MUSIC! I don't care if you're a local Connecticut band or a local Alaska band. If your music fucking rocks I wanna hear it! I'll plug you, put a link on my blog and tell the world just how fucking cool I think you are!

Bang on, my peeps!


90 Second Meal Mosh - Jane's Mexican Wrap

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 Adventures in Ice Cream

I went to the farmers market fully intending to buy corn for ice cream. Yes, corn for ice cream. I've been on this ice cream kick for a while now. My last real experiment was the Tomato Basil Ice Cream and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It was good, but when are you in the mood for a cup of Tomato Basil Ice Cream? How's about never.

I bought two ears of corn, one white one yellow. I was also putting together some ingredients for a Mexican Wrap recipe I'm making for dinner tonight. Stay tuned, the video will follow. Of course.

When I went into the last booth, where I planned on buying a yellow watermelon (that's why it was last), I saw a container of what looked like small white Chinese Lanters. When I went up to pay for one onion and a five-pound watermelon the guy was talking to someone while pointing to another container of small white Chinese Lanters.

"What are those?" I asked.

"Ground Cherries. Would you like to try one?"

After he instructed me to peel the husk off I popped it in my mouth and bit down on what looked like a small yellow cherry tomato. Sweet-tart, sour - I kinda like it. It burst in my mouth and woke it the fuck up. Suddenly, my mind went to ice cream.

"I taste ice cream in this!", I declared.

So I brought them home and cooked them in some water, lemon juice and sugar. Now they're in a freezer bag awaiting my final decision. When researching Ground Cherry recipies I saw you can dip them in chocolate. So I'm thinking Ground Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream.

But it will have to wait. For tonight I shall make Corn Ice Cream!

Bang on, my peeps!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010 It Came To Me In A Vision

I spend a good portion of each day thinking about what I'm going to eat. More specifically I think about what I'm going to make. Some days all I want to make is a phone call to Outpost Pizza. Other days I feel like making a four-course meal. Today I wanted to make a baked potato.

But what shall I make of this baked potato. Melted butter, cheddar cheese - I've travelled down that tasty road many, many times. I want something different!

My mind quickly went to one of my favorite "simple" dinners - Granny Smith Apples and Melted Brie. And thusly my dinner was born.

Bake a potato with olive oil, salt and pepper on the outside. Split it open, season with salt and pepper and mush in some butter. Stuff with a few slices of Brie, put it back in the oven to melt the cheese. Top with sliced apples and BANG!

Really tasty. Different yet familiar.

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, August 1, 2010 Arcane Malevolence Comes to Dinner

Who Are These People?

When I go on my daily walk to the beach, no matter what time of day, there always seems to be someone camped out on the sidewalk.

Do they not understand the meaning of the word sidewalk?

And I'm not talking about people standing around talking. I'm talking about "put out my beach chair so I can read a book or sun myself" jerks. And I'm talking about people who actually pull a picnic table off the grass and onto the sidewalk. What for? Who the fuck knows. Why they want to be farther away from their daughters softball game is anyone's guess. But are they that oblivious to the existence of others that they completely disregard the actual purpose of the sidewalk and not notice walkers such as myself being forced to walk around them, muttering under our breath and shaking our heads in disgust?

Either they don't see it or they don't care.

Who are these people? Who raises them? And why can't we give them the death penalty?