Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Nothing Says "Happy Anniversary" Like A Baked Potato

Today my husband and I celebrate 8 years of wedded bliss. Those of you who are married may laugh at the hilarity of that statement. Those of you who aren't married may laugh at those of us who are.

So today, while wandering aimlessly around the farmer's market and the supermarket, the only dinner I could come up with was a baked potato. "The Comanator" my husband called it. A HUGE baked potato with butter, cheese, fried corn and bacon. Nice and light. Ha.

Tomorrow we're expecting our cast of regulars for a night of Homemade Bread (God of Gluten willing), Red and Yellow Cherry Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil, Filet Mignon wrapped with Bacon and served with an Apricot Sauce and Concord Grape Cheesecake for dessert.

The Filet with Bacon and Apricot is inspired by my wedding meal. The only thing I was able to eat the whole day was an apricot wrapped in bacon. It was delicious - not $1,600 delicious, but I guess I've gotten my money's worth over the last 8 years :)

Bang on, my peeps!


Monday, September 27, 2010 Sometimes It's Okay To Cheat A Little

After a weekend of Homemade Chicken Pot Pie concoctions, and cooking at school all day, all I had muster for was a quick pizza sauce and pre-shredded cheese on a ready made crust.

You gotta give me points for using the chicken stock in my sauce. Oh yes, you read that right. One thing I've learned so far in cooking school is everything has a little of something else in it.

I added some fresh herbs from the garden, a little salt and pepper, ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom. I made kick ass pizza, with the aid of a ready made organic wheat crust that my neighbor gave me. Love that girl.

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, September 26, 2010 60 Second Meal Mosh - Chicken Pot Pumpkin Pie

Friday, September 24, 2010 The Big E(at)

Step right up! Step right up! Step right up and throw the food right in my freakin' mouth!

This year's trip to The Big E did not disappoint! Not that it ever has. We brought a newbie with us and, while showing him around, I found myself reminiscing about my first time at The Big E.

My parents were both immigrants, so I never even heard of The Big E until I was in college. And the first time I went was back in the day - the days when I didn't really eat food, or have the passion for it as I do now.

The first time I went I couldn't find anything to eat. Which is pretty much impossible - unless you're allergic to everything. I ended up getting Deep Fried Veggies and eating two of them. Everyone around me looked huge. Gigantic. Ginormous.No lie. No wonder I couldn't find anything to eat. I was a buck o'five and I wanted to stay that way.

Now, having increased that by just over 15%, I eagerly showed our friend through the state buildings while loading up on lollipops, free rulers and BACON S'MORES!!! Which came from the same booth in the Connecticut building that introduced me to Chocolate Covered Bacon!!!

Sorry for the exclamation points. I get very excited about chocolate and bacon.

The Salmon on a Stick was the best thing there for all three of us. The Warm Lobster Roll is awesome - the only one in the fair made correctly in our book. Cold Lobster and mayo? Grody-to-the-max.

The Deep Fried Jelly Beans were tasty, but you could only eat one. If that, I ended up picking out the jelly beans. It was 3 for 5 dollars. They should have offered them at 2 dollars each and we would have tried the Deep Fried Butter as well. We watched a young man bite into his. Hot melted butter gushed out of it - "It's bread and butter. What's not to like!"

The Chicharones were very good, could have been a little more done but we ate them all. The last chunk I swallowed whole. The Deep Fried Pickles we had were hot as all hell. They were missing the extra zing of my Pretzel Fried Pickles, but we ate them.

There's always plenty to see at The Big E. My favorite is always the giant pumpkins. They amaze me. And the goats, pigs, horses and chickens ain't bad either.

Make it a point to go! It is worth the trip. Go on a weekday if you can, the weekends are nightmarishly crowded!

Bang on, my peeps!


Thursday, September 23, 2010 Oh, The Peter Peppers They Are A Changing

After a week trapped in a paper bag with an apple and it's gasses a few of my beloved Peter Peppers are starting to change color. They're also starting to soften. I tossed the red ones in the freezer whole. All of the stuff I read about making my own chili powder gave warnings, saying you could burn you skin and/or eyes if not protected. Even dehydrating them whole could cause respiratory issues - they said to do it outside! For 36 hours or something ridiculous. So I threw them in the freezer whole. Take that, instructions!

The green ones get another week in the bag with the apple and then they all go in the freezer. I don't care what color they are.

Bang on, my peeps!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010 Today is Connecticut Day

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall. It is also the day I hit The Big E with my mouth wide open.

Last year's Chocolate Covered Bacon and Bacon Cheeseburger on a Donut both had an effect on me. The former is now part of my repertoire and the latter was made for my last birthday party.

This year I'm looking forward to Deep Fried Butter and Deep Fried Jelly Beans. And the Chicharones. Of course. That goes without saying. I shouldn't have even said it.

Bang on, my peeps!


Monday, September 20, 2010 Things I Learned In School Today

Great title. I know.

Actually, I may only write about one thing I learned in school today, because I can't get it out of my head.

Food and Beverage is the third largest industry.

Now, silly me, I'm left wondering why there isn't some kind of correlation between the third largest industry part and the getting respect from customers part. Oh, yeah. 10 months after leaving my serving job I'm still scarred for life. Actually, I can't blame it all on that. People treat you like crap when you're serving them ice cream and making them cakes, too.

So why is that?

And why the hell am I in Culinary School if I can't stand people so much?

Things that make you go, hmmm....

I've been saying that a lot lately. Hmmm.

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, September 19, 2010 Newsflash! Green People Are Nice!!!

Last weeks "Two Tits Down" review of The Norwalk Oyster Festival was my most popular blog post ever. I guess people love it when you hate something. But today I must report that we had the exact opposite experience at Live Green CT at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.

Right from the start, the volunteers guided us around the parking field with big smiles on their faces. Everyone was nice, friendly. It was like we weren't in Fairfield County at all. I met the friendliest shark, although he pointed out my husband's Titans shirt with his fin, indicating he was not a fan.

The vendors were all super nice and eager to talk about their products. Not pushy, which I hate - you could just tell they were psyched about what they were there for. Peace Tree Desserts had a selection of incredible, local, sustainable, tasty cupcakes. I forgot the name of mine, but it had caramel apples inside a moist dark cupcake topped with the smoothest icing ever - it might been just butter and honey, it was so smooth. Not like any cupcake I've ever experienced. This is a game changer.

There were also a bunch of electric, solar, water powered cars there. You could get run over by one pretty easy - they're way quiet. The Tesla is just a beautiful car. I don't care what it runs on.

This was a great event, I wish them the best of luck in the years to come. Great for homeowners, families and hungry people like me.

Bang on, my peeps!


Saturday, September 18, 2010 Baking Ain't Easy

Today a lesson in deductive reasoning.

If the dough you see in the photo had come out of the oven as beautiful bread you can bet your sweet ass the photo would be of that! So, you can deduce, that the bread didn't come out so good.

Oh, I ate it. My husband ate it. He ripped off the top crust of every slice and dipped it in tomato sauce like a good Italian. I tried to ignore the yeasty smell my teacher says shouldn't be present in good bread by wrapping the bottom crusts around chunks of meatball and shoving it in my mouth.

It wasn't awful, it just wasn't great.

I'll try again.

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, September 17, 2010 Hee Haw, I Made Beef Jerky!

I finally put my dehydrator to good use and made me some beef jerky. I'm sure some of you would have a coronary when you found out I made it with London Broil. I busted out my school knife and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices and marinated them overnight in a mixture of Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic and Jalapeno Sauce. I dried them for 7 hours, maybe a bit too long - at six hours they seemed a little underdone to me. I'm pleased with the results. I'm very encouraged and can't wait to start experimenting with jerky. Mmm.


Thursday, September 16, 2010 60 Second Meal Mosh - Italian Stuffed Winter Squash

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 Is That A Delicata Squash In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Today, after my five-hour cooking class ran an hour over, I went to the Farmers Market in a total food fog. I haven't thought a bit about what I'm cooking this week. I'm so consumed with school and homework and reading and it's only 15 days in!



I wandered into the market with no idea, no plan and no energy. Walking around I picked up a pepper, some string beans, Wild Flower Honey, Celeriac and a Delicata Squash.

Back in the day (which day I'm not sure) folks ate them babies whole, stuffed, skin and all. Winter Squash are some of my favorite things. Their varied shapes, sizes and colors turn me on and into the setting in of Fall. Goodbye, Summer Fruits. I shall miss you.

Tomorrow I'm gonna stuff these babies up with some meatballs, string beans, roasted pepper sauce and cheese. Why not?

What's your favorite way to eat Winter Squash?

Bang on, my peeps!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010 And The Nominees Are...

Wow, folks! It's like Election Day over here! While you're all busy voting for Arcane Malevolence in the Verbicide Magazine Unsigned Band Contest please take a moment and go to the The Printed Blog and nominate The Headbanging Hostess for their TV pilot!!!

Thanks, my peeps!!!!


Ask Not What Arcane Malevolence Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Arcane Malevolence!

Click and vote!!!


Sunday, September 12, 2010 Harvesting Basil

All this basil blended in the food processor with a little olive oil got me 9 cubes of flavor.

I tried not to over harvest like I did last year. I think I cut too much off, not enough grew back before the first frost. Maybe I'll be able to get a lot more with this method. Only time will tell.

I did well with the basil, as always - made a few pestos. I should consider starting a basil farm on my porch.


Saturday, September 11, 2010 When Homework Becomes Home Cookin'

I just spent a few agonizing hours reading and studying over 100 pages of saucy, soupy textbook.

But it propelled me to make some vegetable broth. Technically it's not stock - I'll have to get used to calling thingies by their proper names.


Breakfast Night! Featuring "Wicked Turn of the Vine" by Arcane Malevolence

The Norwalk Oyster Festival Was A Waste Of Time

I think I've established my love of food for you all. Here's a picture from The Norwalk Oyster Festival. Not food.

What a crappy, crappy event! No other way to put it.

A couple decades ago The Oyster Festival managed to infect a few hundred people with Salmonella. And, I suppose, it's been struggling to recover for a long time. But this year was such a major disappointment I just had to come out and issue my first (okay, maybe second) real negative review. TWO TITS DOWN!!!!

The website said it started at 5:00, but after we arrived and paid $10 to park and tried to cross the street WITHOUT the assistance of the officers sitting around we walked up to the gate to find it started at 6:00. Volunteers were sitting around talking and no one had a clue what was going on. Word spread among the frustrated fair goers and we all (since we'd paid 10 friggin' dollars to park) were forced to walk around beautiful South Norwalk while we waited for the Seaport Association to get it's act together.

After a walk around we went back to find lines forming. Lines filled with slightly annoying high school kids, screaming babies and more annoying mismatched couples who just happened to be in line right behind us.

It is times like this I wish I really was a superhero of manners.

The teenagers I can deal with - they make me laugh and remind me of a time when, I too, knew everything. The screaming baby had to go! Come on people. Half an hour I stood in that line listening to that screaming poop machine. You have got to be kidding me! That is why I don't have children. Make that scream your ringtone and you'll never fuck bareback again.

The couple behind me was atrocious. They clearly couldn't stand each other's company. The guy commented to her that he's "a size ten-and-a-half E. Always have been, always will be." Snide, smug, belittling, condescending - all the things you want in a man. NOT! I heard him accuse his server of giving him the wrong change (because you always go out to dinner before you go to a FOOD FEST) then he found the money (he'd forgotten where he'd put it) and then he gave her her 8 dollars back. Are you kidding me? If you're THAT annoyed by each other you must have been dating for a long time. You're telling me you keep a ledger for eight freaking dollars!

Sometimes, I really hate people.

Back to the festival.

They opened - LATE! After squeezing up the lines so we wouldn't get run over by the buses (that'll change your shoe size, asshole) we finally began the slow, torturous walk towards the gate. We watched as it took three people to ring up a credit card sale (another asshole. Dude! Who brings plastic to a fair? It's 5 bucks to get in, you don't have a fin?). Finally we paid our money, watched as two tickets were pulled (but never given to us) had our hands stamped (which we were rudely informed was invisible) and off we went to find the beer tent.

We found the ticket booth to buy tickets for the beer and THEY DIDN'T HAVE TICKETS!!! (Yes, I mean tickets exactly like the ones they tore and didn't give us at the door) Now, this is a good 15 minutes after they were opened. The volunteers seemed just as frustrated as we were. So we wandered off to get some food.


People, I can't make this shit up. We walked up to the BBQ tent and the guy was just starting to put ribs on the grill. Um, you didn't see the line of 300 people waiting to get in? You are here to serve food, right? You didn't think people would want ribs?


We had to settle for Pizza Fritta, which wasn't bad but it wasn't BBQ.

Wandering around it just got worse. The set up was different, we couldn't find anything. When we did find something the vendors couldn't be bothered to help you! I'm not kidding. We stood in front of a few places and walked away because they were "too busy" to acknowledge us. Stop putting labels on the candy, lady, I want to buy something! One after the other - it seemed like nobody gave a shit.

Oh yeah, I'm in Fairfield County.

I bought a caramel apple from the carnies, some maple kettle corn and some candy from someone who actually wanted to make a sale and we got the hell out of there.

What a disappointment.

Don't bother with this one, folks. The Big E starts next week - save your money for the pros.

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, September 10, 2010 Breakfast Night Was Worth Staying Up For!

As I write this I should be doing homework for my class that starts in less than two hours. But I just wanted to drop a pic and show you how tasty our dinner was last night.

It had been my intention to kick everyone out at 10 but the last guest left at 11:45PM. I'll have to brush up my bouncer skills.

I'll start work on the video after class. You can let your mouth water over the Candied Bacon and Eggs Ice Cream until then.

Bang on, my peeps!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 Tomorrow Night!!! Breakfast!!!

Tomorrow night we shall revel in the return of Breakfast Night! Way back when, before I was The Headbanging Hostess, regular Vanessa had everyone over one night for breakfast. Everyone was to bring a box of kids cereal - that was both the appetizer and the dessert as I mixed them all together in a huge marshmallow cereal treat.

This time we're looking at French Toast made from my Homemade Apple Sauce Bread with some sausage and bacon on the side. Hungarian Breakfast Wraps as of this moment exist solely in my imagination - a Hungarian Pancake wrapped around fried potatoes with red and green peppers, onion and a smear of apricot jam. That's the crazy part, the jam. I think if I make the potatoes a little spicy it could work.

I'm also planning a Bacon and Eggs Ice Cream. I'm going RIGHT NOW to freeze the canister :)


Monday, September 6, 2010 Pretzel Night!

Friday, September 3, 2010 Coach Was Right...

My elementary school gym teacher Coach Sagnelli always said "follow through." Of course he was demonstrating ball throwing at the time, but it really applies to everything.

Follow through.

So when I was told I was writing for a paper, and wrote an article, I really should have checked with someone that it was indeed going to be published before telling the world to be expecting an article from me to be published in the paper.

It was not.

I guess not hearing that something isn't going to be published is no substitute for confirming it is.

My bad.

I honestly don't know what happened. I suppose I'll find out. Or I won't. But, in the meantime, I have this article I wrote on food and music wasting away on my hard drive. Might as well use it and save myself the trouble of a new, original blog post. So, here goes...

Food, Music and Tribal Socialization
By The Headbanging Hostess

“If music be the food of love play on!” – Shakespeare

“And if food be the food of love keep cookin’!” – The Headbanging Hostess

Food and music – two things that have brought people together for the purposes of enjoyment throughout the ages. What was that first meal shared by a wandering tribe of yet-to-be-modernized men and women? Something the men killed with something the women gathered on the side, I’m guessing. Maybe someone whittled a pot out of a tree trunk while one of the ladies made a mirepoix and someone butchered the animal while everyone else ran around trying to make fire.

Once they figured that out I’m sure life was grand. Wandering around from continent to continent, eating locally, fresh, sustainable. If the food ran out you just walked somewhere else. And conveniently the local greens, berries and wild herbs always complimented whatever protein was walking around waiting to be bowed and arrowed.

And then there’s the music. Surely the butcher of the tribe doubled as a drummer. He’d stretch that animal skin over the whittled soup pot and bang on it with a couple femurs until the ladies willingly knocked themselves over the head – fully aware they’d be drug about by their hair and ravaged by the drum banging butcher rock star.

Gatherers became groupies, hunters became heroes and life as we know it was born.

I might have missed a step of two but I’m The Headbanging Hostess, not a historian. My focus is less on historical accuracy and more on the importance of food and music as they relate to our culture, the dinner table and my stomach.

We live in a time, and in an area, where good food is in abundance. If you have the money you can go to the finest restaurants, if you have less money you can dine at a chain and if all you have is time and a few bucks you can stay at home and make your own magic in the kitchen. Thanks to Food Network, food bloggers, food writers and food eaters more people are becoming more aware of just how important what we put in our mouth is. Where it comes from, how it’s produced, the quality of ingredients, the heritage behind the recipe, the love that a cook puts into the food that we eat – all of these things serve to nourish us, to bring us together at the table for an enjoyment and appreciation of the earth and its bounty.

Togetherness. Human interaction. Joining together like the tribes we once were to share stories and food and laughter and love. That’s what it’s all about.

And as far as music goes, well I think we can all agree that we will all never agree on that. I like metal and he likes country and she likes rap and he likes jazz. Musical taste is far more personalized and intricate than the seemingly simple likes and dislikes of food, but once in a while one may get a taste of something outside of their comfort zone, whether musical or gastronomical, and they might just find they like it.

Welcome to the tribe.


Thursday, September 2, 2010 Preparing for Pretzel Night!

This Saturday is the Arcane Malevolence CD Release Party at Seaside Tavern for their new album "Wicked Turn of the Vine."

Through a very complicated series of bookings, non-bookings, confusion and cancellations it turns out I'm making dinner for three bands, a girlfriend or two, a fraternity brother and the world's coolest Dad.

All of the bands on the bill will be in attendance. I REALLY don't know where everyone will sit. But the girlfriends can sit on laps and, thankfully, it'll be a nice balmy 73 degrees. My house won't feel so much like an oven and the porch will be inhabitable, so we should all have elbow room enough to eat our Pretzel Bread sandwiches.

Oh, yes. You read that right. I saw Pretzel Bread at Stew Leonards and it set off a culinary chain reaction in my head. So the menu is...

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil and Prosciutto Pretzel Bread Wedge

Cheesesteaks on Pretzel Bread

and for Dessert...

Cakeballs on Pretzel Sticks finished with Black and Red Pepper!


Is it Saturday yet?

Tonight I'm doing a test run of the Cheesesteaks. I'm gonna try to do it in the Crockpot! I'll let you know the results!

Bang on, my peeps!!!