Monday, May 31, 2010 Going to College, Again.


Today is Memorial Day. Tomorrow I sign up for college. Again.

Exactly 20 years after the first time I went to Norwalk Community College I will officially be a culinary student.

The road to this point is just as twisted as the road was 20 years ago.

I never wanted to go to college when I was in high school. I was going to be a rock star. My boyfriend at the time was going to be a forest ranger. I’m really not sure how we were going to work that out…anyway.

By the time I realized the real world was all that was waiting for me (my adoring fans being nowhere to be found) it was too late to apply to any “real” colleges – real meaning out-of-state. I applied to UCONN but it turned out I really should have taken all those college prep classes in high school, and since I hadn’t my only bet was NCC. So I went.

467 bucks. That’s how much my first semester cost. And I got a tuition waiver for that - plus money for books. Sometimes it pays to be poor.

This time it’ll set me back about $1,700 a semester. Actually it’ll set my husband back $1,700 a semester.

Now, my public school math skills ain’t what they used to be. But I’d say that dollar amount more than tripled.

It’s a good thing the minimum wage also tripled. As well as the cost of a movie, a home, a car and a gallon of gasoline.

Well, you know…everything being equal.

Actually I think the only thing that hasn’t kept up is the minimum wage.

Of course.

Anyway.

Here I am, 37, going back to school for a year to get a certificate in Culinary Arts.

Always with the arts. My BA in Theatre Arts has proven to be one of the least important documents in American History. Let’s hope this one is a little more useful.

Kitchen Cred. That’s what I want. I want to be a little more than a chick who cooks for her friends. I wanna know my shit, know what I’m doing, what I’m talking about.

I want to graduate – from Headbanging Hostess to Metal Chef.

You know it.

Do I want to work in a professional kitchen? I don’t think so. Would I have a lunch truck and work for myself and cook whatever the hell I wanted for hot construction workers? Fuck, yeah! Who knows? Right now I’ve gotta focus on the learning. Later on I’ll drop the “L.”

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Saturday, May 29, 2010 Kooky Cookie Creations!


Tomorrow I once again find myself in the role of guest.

So what do I do? I make two kinds of cookies. That’s what I do.

The first is my own creation - S’mores Cookies.

I adapted my “Fairfield County Famous” oatmeal cookie recipe to accommodate some chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs and, of course, marshmallows.

The resulting cookies, while tasty, seem to lack any recognizable bits of marshmallow. They seem to have melted away!

But WHO CARES?

This is a holiday weekend! By the time folks get to dessert they’ll be sloshed!

The Potato Stick Cookies I adapted from a potato chip cookie recipe. They’re super sweet, nice and crunchy.

While I made the potato sticks myself I bet these would be better with store bought sticks. Mine seem to have melted away! Much like the marshmallows…

So, here they are…the recipes. Play around with them if you want. Let me know how they turn out!!!!


S’mores Cookies

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup apple sauce
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup regular oats
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup mini-marshmallows
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix together sugar, butter, eggs and apple sauce. In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients (minus chips and marshmallows) and then add to wet ingredients. Fold in chips and marshmallows. Spoon onto greased cookie sheets (or use an ice cream scoop like me) and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.


Potato Stick Cookies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butterscotch morsels
¾ cup semi-sweet morsels
Approx 2 cups of Potato Sticks

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Then add dry ingredients. Fold in chips, then potato sticks. Drop small spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Memorial Day Weekend

I am a first generation American. I've often said if it wasn't for this country I wouldn't exist. Where else could a man from Hungary meet a woman from England in a continuing ed French class?

But, first generation or related to the Mayflower, I am as American as everyone else. Growing up I accepted American History as my own, despite the fact that I had no real, genetic connection to it. All of that history, all of those people fighting for freedom, fighting for country, they made it possible for my parents to come here. They made this country a place where people around the world would want to come. For a better life. For opportunity. For freedom.

They made it possible for me to exist.

That's deep.

So this weekend, when you're stuffing your face with food from the grill and drinking your brewski's, remember what the holiday is really about. To remember all of those brave men and women who fought and died for your country. For your freedom. For you.

Please be safe this holiday weekend. Have a designated driver if you know you're going to be drinking. And if you see a veteran, thank them. That's the least you can do. And it will mean the world to them.

Thanks, Joe. I love you.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Friday, May 28, 2010 Fashion Night the Video!!!

video
Old Clothes Are Fashion!!!

And the DEBUT OF MY APRONS!!!

Check it, yo!

Bang on, my peeps!!

-HH

Fabulous Fashion!!!



Three days of prep culminated in 4 hours of non-stop eating – with no trips to the vomitorium! We’re not models, binging and purging our way to fame! We’re hungry mother fuckers! We want to eat a 6 course meal and savor every bit of it as we feel the calories and fat deposits accumulating on our headbanging asses!

What’s the best way to start a meal like this? Fried Pasta!!!

Bow Tie Pasta Chips are crunchy tasty with various seasonings available to pump them up. Old Bay, Penzy’s Black and Red, Powdered Rosemary – whatever you put on it, when it meets up with the sea salt it’s just killer. They’re a great way to use up some day old pasta.

The Italian Wedge was scrumptious with layers of authentic Italian deli meats (although The Headbanging Hostess feels a bit like an idiot attempting to pronounce Sopressata. I don’t feel qualified to order it as Super-sod.) Fresh Mozzarella from Stew Leonard’s teamed up with big, juicy, red tomato slices, romaine and basil between two layers of baguette created that familiar taste with an authentic kick.

Next came the Beggar’s Purse with Mushroom Caps. I made enough filling to feed an army but when it came time to serve them there were only three of us here. I made the crepes and struggled with tying them up with the freakin’ chive! The ones I bought weren’t long enough – they almost became Beggar’s Clutches, but I got it done. The mushrooms were earthy, the crepes very familiar. Essentially they’re what I know as Hungarian Pancakes. So eating one with mushrooms instead of apricot jam was an oddball experience for my mouth. They weren’t bad – nothing to write home about. But by the end of the night I realized they gave my palate a chance to reboot as I got ready for the piece de resistance.

OLD CLOTHES!!!

Ropa Vieja. Skirt Steak cooked for 8 hours in the crock pot with tomato, peppers, onion, cumin. The meat fell into long tendrils of tastiness. I swirled it on my fork like pasta. Fried Shoestring Potatoes gave the dish a spot of texture. I can’t say enough about this. I’ve been introduced to a new cut of meat and a new kind of cuisine. Hello. Glad to meat you.

Dessert is always my favorite part of the meal. The Orange Chiffon Cake paired perfectly with the Chocolate Silk Ice Cream. As I prepared this weeks dinner I searched for the reason it was “silk” ice cream, to no avail. But tasting it I realized that somehow the lack of egg yolks (less than half of last weeks Sour Cream Ice Cream) allows the milk to shine through, giving the ice cream a silky texture as opposed to a thick, frozen custard. And it had a familiar taste! We all searched the dark recesses of our minds to find what it reminded us of. My husband came up with Choco Malt, Rob said Breyers, to me it was possibly one side of those individual Hood ice cream cups. Whatever it was it had the commercial ice cream taste, without any of the preservatives! Milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar and cocoa powder. Bang.

The biggest hit of the night was, of course, my headbanging apron!

Wait for the video! You’ll get to see all three! Stay Tuned!!!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Thursday, May 27, 2010 It's Fashion Night!!!



It’s 6:00 AM on the big day. Because it was so hot yesterday I put off baking the Orange Chiffon Cake until the evening hours. I didn’t start it until 8:00. The Ropa Vieja found its way into the Crock Pot at 3:00 in the afternoon and found it’s way out at 11:00 PM. As I went in with the tongs to take the meat out for cutting it fell apart into long tender strings of tastiness. It’ll only taste better today. That’s the thing with crock pot food. The leftover Beef Goulash from Hungarian Night was somehow yummier than the day I made it – I didn't think that was possible!

I have a ton of shit to accomplish today - Pasta Chips, Italian Wedge, Beggar’s Purses and Shoestring Potatoes. I’m headed out to Stew Leonards for some of their incredibly fresh mozzarella cheese and some other last minute things and, of course, A&S for the cold cuts.

Dave made dressing for the sandwich last night. He won’t be around during the day today so it all falls on me. In fact, I’m gonna shake a leg and head out.

Stay tuned for a complete review and THE DEBUT OF MY APRONS!!!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 It's a scorcher!



It's mad crazy hot outside! And this is May! Two weeks ago I had to wrap my garden in a blanket and now it's almost 90 degrees!

So what does The Headbanging Hostess do on a hot ass day! She won't be baking an Orange Chiffon Cake, that's fo sho! I'll wait for the evening hours. With the AC on 66 and the oven on 350 it's likely gonna be 142 degrees in here! And I can't take that shit!

My trip to the Farmers Market yielded three more herb plants and I stopped at a garden center on the way home to make sure I got some Pineapple Sage in the garden. The ice cream garden is almost complete. I have room for two more plants, officially. But I bet I'll find a way to squeeze in some more!

I'll start the Ropa Vieja when my hubby gets home from the market. That'll only take 8 hours or so in the crock pot.

Speaking of hubby...anyone ever notice woman referring to their husbands as "DH." I thought it stood for "damn husband" for the longest time!!! LOL! I felt like part of a sisterhood...if only for a moment :)

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 Hey! Wanna Experiment?


A Headbanging Hostess isn’t afraid of trying new things

Actually most of what I make is new to me. I wasn’t much of a cook until recently – much to the dismay of many an ex-boyfriend. And I’ve been extremely lucky in the kitchen considering my lack of formal training. I came very close to complete disaster with those damn bull’s eye cookies but I eeked it out in the end.

This week’s menu includes Bow Tie Pasta Chips. And given last weeks close call with the cookies I wanted to give them a practice run.

As you can see from the picture the results were pretty good! A little salt and pepper, rock on. They’re very heavy. I ate the ones you see here and I was set. For the party I think I’ll make small batches in a few flavors – crab pasta chips, anyone?

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Sneak Peek!!!


Boo Yeah!

How's that for a taste?

You ain't seen nothin' yet!

STAY TUNED!!!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Monday, May 24, 2010 Headbanging Hostess History

How exactly does one become The Headbanging Hostess? Well, let me tell you. It ain’t easy. It’s a long, painful process. Sort of.

I’ve always loved food. I eat every day! And, for some reason, the majority of my “day jobs” have been in the food business. “Day jobs” is theatre speak for the way you support yourself. Because even when you’re getting paid to perform, you’re not making a living wage unless you’re on Broadway.

I’ve worked at a frozen yogurt store, an ice cream place, a bakery, a sub shop, a restaurant – that was the worst! Being an actress everyone assumes you’re a server. And I avoided it for as long as humanly possible. But when the opportunity to make cash tips everyday came up I finally went for it. How bad can it be?

Fucking awful! That’s how bad.

I hated it!

And it wasn’t the people I worked with. I loved every single one of them - especially the ones who could barely speak English. When you can communicate with someone solely through laughter you’ve happened upon a very special relationship. Because if you don’t have laughter in your life what the fuck else is there?

Anyway. Two years I worked that friggin’ server job. I even became a trainer! And I honestly NEVER believed I was any good at it. My bosses thought I was, most of the customers thought I was, but I think they all must have been NUTS! Either that or the bar was set so friggin’ low I had to choice but to surpass it.

If you’ve never served a table consider yourself extremely lucky. If you have, you have my sympathy. Check out servernotservant.com for an eloquent blog on the subject. Patrick Maguire is fighting the good fight! YOU ROCK, PATRICK!!!

I sent Patrick a few of my “war stories” for the book he’s writing “I’m Your Server Not Your Servant.” Once it’s published I hope it becomes required reading.

Anyway! I quit that job in November. Thank goodness. I couldn’t have served one more table without experiencing one of those conniptions that Bill Cosby used to talk about.

What does this have to do with becoming The Headbanging Hostess?

Almost everything.

At home I’m in charge. I decide what to make, when to serve it, what to serve it with.

And my guests never complain. And that is golden.

My friends eat better here than they could at any restaurant. Why is that? Not because I’m a trained chef – because I’m not. It’s the love that tastes so good.

And you can’t buy that shit at a restaurant. Because it’s not for sale.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Drumroll, Please...

It's Fashion Week! Overnight my condo has been turned into a scaled replica of Bryant Park - complete with a gelato stand on the corner. NOT!

I spent last night googling recipes and fabrics. Thankfully, I spent yesterday afternoon with some friends at Linda's graduation celebration. Their fresh minds came up with a few great ideas. A Headbanging Hostess will always listen to suggestions. "Artists create, geniuses steal" - says my brilliant friend Ron Destro.

So...without further ado...


The Fashion Night Menu!


Bow Tie Chips

Italian Wedge

Beggar’s Purse with Mushroom Caps

Ropa Vieja with Shoestring Potatoes

Orange Chiffon Cake

Chocolate Silk Ice Cream


Accessories and fabrics dominate the menu. But what is this "Ropa Vieja?" OLD CLOTHES, baby! My kinda fashion! A Caribbean dish - as the story goes a man was having his family for dinner but he didn't have enough meat. So he got some of his old clothes and imbued them with his love. When he cooked the clothes his love for his family turned them into some kick-ass beef stew.

Reminds me of the modern day crock pot joke - you can cook a shoe in it and it'll taste good! That's actually not a joke. That's true. Try it!

So I have a busy week ahead of me. Today I'll start out slow. Off I go to get some candy necklaces and ring pops!

And STAY TUNED for the debut of my hot-ass aprons!!!

You won't be disappointed!!!!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Sunday, May 23, 2010 Idea. Crystalizing.

It's Sunday. I've got Hungarian leftovers for a Magyar army in my fridge. Half a container of Sour Cream Ice Cream that won't make it to Monday. And three beautiful pieces of inspiration to my left. More on that later.

I was out of my element yesterday. I was a guest. At a party celebrating the 70th Birthday of my husband's ex's Mom. "What?" you ask...

I know it's not normal. But fuck normal. If normal is hating the person you used to love then normal is stupid, and sad. Sadly stupid.

I took it as a good sign when I met my husband that he and his ex were still friends. We love them. They love us. We're one big happy family.

But sitting there as a guest! That was the weird part. I tell ya, she served up some good food. Apples wrapped in prosciutto is pretty fucking good. And the double-decker vanilla cake with strawberry-buttercream filling and chocolate icing was kick-ass.

As she and her sister cooked up the apps her husband tried to help me figure out shit with my computer. When they fired up the grill we all took turns working the grill. I'm tellin ya, one big happy family.

I made the guest of honor two dozen of my finest cookies. Apple Pie Cookies and Sweet Potato Cookies with Cherry Craisins and Walnuts. Before I was The Headbanging Hostess I was a cookie baker. In December I made my first batch of cookies out of boredom and by January I was ready to go into business. Obviously that didn't work out, because here I am, hostessing and banging my head :)

So, while this party is going on around me, my mind is preoccupied with the upcoming Thursday and what I'm going to make. What's the theme?

I have a list of themes, but none of them stood out. I thought, "Red, White and Blue" for Memorial Day, but I've already done blueberries twice this month. All day I struggled with it in my mind.

As the party went on the subject of our Thursday night dinners came up and I rushed to get my phone to show off my custom made aprons. Oh, yes. You read that right. I had my brilliant, talented and handsome friend and adopted brother Jimmy Johansmeyer custom design and make me some aprons. Of course, he didn't need to take my measurements, and no I won't tell you why :)

Well, let me tell you, these three beautiful aprons to my left (refer to first paragraph ;) have inspired me to declare next Thursday FASHION NIGHT!!!!

The menu is coming together in my head. Stay tuned.

And stay tuned for the DEBUT of my hot-ass aprons! You will not be disappointed! If you are you can go fuck yourself.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Saturday, May 22, 2010 Hungarian Night!!! The Video!!!

video
Once again, big thanks to PsychoMagnet for letting me use their song "Rich Bitch."

If you would like to hear your bands music in an episode of The Headbanging Hostess send tunes to headbanginghostess@gmail.com

Feel free to e-mail questions, comments and suggestions as well! You could win a spot at the dinner table!!!!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Friday, May 21, 2010 Rockin' Recipes from Hungarian Night!


When one is searching for Hungarian recipes one is reminded of a dark, dark time in human history. When folks had to resort to eating liver, hare and calf's lung. As I searched my Hungarian cookbook my mind quickly began switching out ingredients for more appetizing ones. The Headbanging Hostess rarely follows a recipe as written. Now, more than ever, this was necessity more than whimsy. I'm not about to eat a pigs foot.

I ate pigs ears as a child. But I'll save that for another post.

The cookbook I have is 38 years old. One year older than me. My Dad went through it and turned down the corner of some pages, those must be the tasty ones! The ones that reminded him of home.

My Dad died when I was 16. I had little interest in the food from his home country back in those days. I was 16, I had little interest in anything my Dad had to say. So now, when I'm leafing through the cookbook and stumble upon one of his handwritten notes concerning a recipe, there's a wave of frustration with my teenage self that comes over me. The only cure? Paprika.

So here's a recipe I tweaked the hell out of. The original called for pigs feet, smoked pork ribs and smoked pork sausage. I went with ham hocks and kielbasa.


Ham Hock and Bean Soup

6 Smoked Ham Hocks
Water
5-6 stalks of Celery
2 cans of White Beans
1 Onion
Bacon Grease
Tablespoon of Fresh Parsley
Tablespoon of Flour
Hot and Sweet Paprika (to taste, about a Tablespoon of each)
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Kielbasa
Salt
Serve with Sour Cream

-Cover the ham hocks in water in a large pot and cook for 3 hours, until meat is falling off the bone. Take hocks out of the water and remove the meat.
-Rinse beans and add to stock.
-Chop celery and add to stock.
-Cook onion in bacon grease until translucent. Add parsley, paprika, garlic and flour to make a roux. Add one cup of water, whisk and add to stock.
-Chop kielbasa into bite size pieces and add to stock along with the meat from the hocks.

This was on the stove all day, 10 hours easy. Low and slow is the key to most Hungarian cooking.

Serve it with homemade noodles. I have a spaetzle maker, which makes it easy. I bet you could pour the batter into a ziplock, cut off a corner and have similar results.

Homemade Noodles

2 cups Flour
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Sweet Paprika
1 3/4 cups water (plus)

Combine ingredients until a batter is made. A few lumps are okay, but it should be more liquid than the average pancake batter. Using a spaetzle maker or bag pour into boiling water, stir. Noodles are ready when they rise to the top.

Put some noodles at the bottom of a bowl and spoon the soup over them. Dude. I'm not lying. This is freakin' delicious!

Dessert was the biggest hit of the night. Potato Pancakes with Sour Cream Ice Cream and Hot Apple Topping. OMG. Outstanding. And all from my pretty little head! But I'm not giving you that recipe. You'll have to wait for the cookbook! Anticipation :)

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Thursday, May 20, 2010 Nobody Leaves Hungary!


Emergency rooms all over Fairfield County are gearing up to admit my friends, all of them suffering from a food induced coma. The fact that I am able to sit at the computer is testament to my inner Magyar. My Hungarian half is fighting to stay awake, to let you know just how fucking good dinner was.

First thing this morning I was boiling smoked ham hocks in water. Three hours later I was not convinced this was going to taste good. Well, let me tell you! Add some onions, garlic, parsley and paprika and holy shit that tasted good!

I've made Beef Goulash (pictured) before, many times. But this batch turned out exceptionally well. The meat fell apart under your fork. Peppers, onions, tomato, paprika and bacon simmered for 8 hours before meeting my homemade noodles and living happily ever after (until I ate it.)

The cucumber salad was nice to go back to between dishes. Razor thin slices of cucumber with thinner slices of onion in a white vinegar dressing. You can have it with or without sour cream. I go without.

Dessert was the best part of the meal. Another one of my own inventions, it was "off the hook" according to one guest. I just thought it was fucking delicious. Delicately spiced potato pancakes topped with Sour Cream Ice Cream, which is just the richest vanilla you'll ever have, and hot apple topping. Kick ass, mother fucker!

Tomorrow I shall pass on a recipe or two. Tonight! I shall sleep!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH


Now I know why my Dad never made Sweet Bull's Eye Cookies. They're a pain in the fuckin' ass!

I'm pretty sure the guy who wrote the cookbook never made a cookie in his life. Following his directions I ended up with two sheets of dough stuck inside parchment paper. I could take one sheet off, but then the cookie cutters weren't able to dislodge their cutsey shapes from the rest of the dough. So I rolled up in a log and chilled it for slicing.

I sliced it, I had to roll out the slices. I probably went through a cup of sugar just dusting them over and over to keep them from sticking to the counter. I burnt half the first batch. I hate my oven. So I had to make a second batch.

13 Bull's Eye Cookies in 10 hours. Let me tell you. They were worth every minute.




-HH

Plant Shopping At The Farmers Market!



I went to the Farmers Market today totally without a plan. I'm so deep in Hungarian Week I really hadn't thought of how to spend the big bucks my husband gave me.

Whole Foods opened today, I knew every idiot for miles around would be headed in that direction, so I avoided that whole side of town. I took the back roads and pulled into the Municipal Lot, the farmers tents showing themselves above the hoods of the SUV imports. All the farmers and vendors in the same spots as always, the organic chick, the bakery, the soap lady. Cool Chick with the apples isn't there yet, too early in the season.

I wandered around, saying my hellos, realizing I could buy plants or bread. I went with plants. My ass don't need no bread.

I'm planting a lot this year. More than I should, I bet. My porch is small, all my gardening takes place in containers. Most of them are old icing buckets from my ice cream cake decorating days. I have 8 of them lined up against the railing, waiting for my Peter Pepper seedlings and my Ice Cream Garden.

Yes. You read that right. Ice Cream Garden.

I'm on an herbal ice cream kick. I've made Basil, Honey-Thyme, Pineapple Sage and Rosemary. The latter was awful, but the first three were fantastic!!!

So the focus of this years herb garden is Ice Cream. How will it taste bathed in cream and sugar?

We should ask that about everything in life.

I came home with seven plants, two mints, sage, rosemary, thyme, purple basil and some lemon thing I never heard of. And I'm not done :)

It's gonna be a tasty summer!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 Tuesday, Tuesday.

Today is officially the first day of the week for The Headbanging Hostess. The last few remnants of Blueberry Night have found their way out of the fridge. All that remains is the end of the Blueberry Sorbet, and that won’t see 2:00 PM.

Now, without further ado…. (drum roll)

It’s Hungarian Week!!!!!!

The Headbanging Hostess is half-heathen Hungarian. So I busted out my Hungarian cookbook, leafed through the pages and assembled a Magyar feast that would make my dead Poppy proud.

Mind you, this is not an easy task. The cookbook is riddled with recipes for calf’s lung, pig’s feet and hare! WHAT? Nobunny’s eating my bunny! Fucking Hungarians!

So the shopping starts today. The food prep starts today. The filming starts today.

That’s my cue to hop in the shower, doll myself up and head out to the store!

Stay tuned for some seriously good food.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Sunday, May 16, 2010 Dio, Apples and Cortland,NY.

Ronnie James Dio is dead at 67. For those of you who don’t know, 67 is too young.

Sometimes in life, it takes too long for us to realize something. And once we learn what exactly it is that we didn’t know we’re upset with ourselves for not knowing for so long. And sometimes we realize we knew it, we just weren’t paying attention. And that’s somehow worse.

I’ve been going to the Farmers Market for almost 10 years. It took a summer or two for me to figure out the one I was walking to in downtown Stamford wasn’t really a farmers market, not a one of them was a farmer. They sold vegetables, for sure. But I got suspicious when I saw a pile of boxes with DOLE on the side. I quickly jumped ship and started shopping at the Darien Farmers Market.

I am a groupie. A Farmers Market groupie.

I rarely miss one, from May to December, from new potatoes to pumpkins. Rain, shine, hot, cold – I remember one farmer had a fire in the back of his truck. He was making soup. And he was staying warm.

I was a good number of years into this groupie life when I finally heard the term “seasonal eating.” And I guess, in a way, that’s what I had been doing, I just didn’t realize it. It opened a door in my brain and I really started paying attention.

About halfway through the season the cool chick who sells fruit will have a variety of apples on display. Shiny pyramids of crispy juiciness rising out of square baskets lined in white plastic bags. Cool chick moves so fast, ripping out the bag, taking your money, giving you change, whipping out another bag, relining the basket and filling it with another set of shiny apples.

Cortland apples, brings me back to Ronnie James Dio, from Cortland, NY.

Circular. Like an apple.

I’ve been to Cortland. Twice. Both times to see a musical! For some reason, even though I have a degree in Theatre, I hate to go. I honestly only go once a year, in the summer, to see whatever it is that my friend Bert Bernardi directed. I know it’ll be great, I’m not wasting my time, I’m not disappointed, I get out of Stamford for a while - what more can a Headbanging Hostess ask for?

Anyway. The first time I went it was opening night. It also happened to be the day of the farmers market! So I took off driving the county roads, armed with my mapquest directions, searching for a real-life farm stand.

I found one. It had 5 tomatoes on it, a few potatoes and an “Honesty Box.”

Come again?

They used the honor system. They trusted the honor system…to a degree. The signs that alerted me to the fact that “God is watching” made me think they’d been burned once or twice. Maybe that’s why they only put out 5 tomatoes.

The second time I went, while eating breakfast at a diner, I experienced what I can only call a “taste discovery.” Not being able to eat eggs makes breakfast out a sucky meal. Sometimes you can get oatmeal or cereal or a bagel. This time I got bacon and hash browns. Hot sauce on the hash browns, maple syrup on the bacon, BANG! They touched each other on the plate, I ate it and the rest is history. Sweet and spicy – words to live by.

And it was only AFTER these two visits that I learned Mr. Ronnie James Dio was from Cortland and that there was a street named for him. Dio Way.

Life is short. Don’t regret not knowing. Pay attention.

We Rock!

-HH

Saturday, May 15, 2010 A Headbanging Hostess Tip

A Headbanging Hostess is always a hostess. Even when you are out and about in the world, one should be as welcoming as possible when people enter your space. This is assuming, of course, that they are equally welcoming. If they should happen to be rude then fuck'm. Unfortunately, that is overwhelmingly the case in this thing we call civilization out of tradition more than definition.

We've all been there. You know, that trip to the supermarket when apparently nobody got the memo. The memo that there are other people in the world. They block the aisle with their carts or their asses, barring access to the one thing you went to the store to get. Or they're just moving so fucking slow and completely centered in the middle of the aisle so you can't get past them at all and you know they can see you out of the corner of their eye but they don't care!

I hate people like that.

But I digress.

The Headbanging Hostess has spent what seems like a lifetime serving customers. Anyone who's done it knows that a single 8 hour shift can last a lifetime. So when The Headbanging Hostess finally reaches the check-out she not only has her own bag that she knit out of cotton and has been using for at least 3 years, she has her freakin' manners! They're free, people. "Hello!" "Please" "Thank You" - don't cost a cent. I actually stole that advice from a very young, hot, angry waiter.

I digress again.

A Headbanging Hostess always greets the cashier with a "Hello, how are you?" and a big smile. The poor fuck's been standing on their feet ringing up all the idiots you've been dodging in the aisles for who knows how long. For nothing. Minimum wage, minus taxes and probably union dues. And minus dignity, because people aren't nice to cashiers - at least round these here parts. If you live in Nicepeopleland let me know where it is.

If you are lucky enough to have a bagger give them a smile and a hello. If you are lucky enough that they recognise that big pile of cotton yarn at the end of the belt as your hand knit grocery bag give them a big "Thank You!" with an exaggerated lilt, as if you're speaking to a four-year old or a dog. They probably don't speak English, so you're communicating with your tone more than anything. Tone is universal. When you see porn in a foreign language you still know they're enjoying it, even though you don't know what the fuck they're saying.

Digressing.

Always end with a "Thank you! Have a good one!" I substitute "good one" for day/evening/holiday so I never really have to be sure what time of day it is. Or what day it is. Covers all my bases.

Does this make the world a better place? No. But it makes my world a better place for a few moments - exchanging pleasantries with another person as if we really were "civilized."

After that it's back to dodging idiots on my way out through the parking lot. Idiots driving cars are dangerous, very dangerous.

Now, back to my movie...

Bang on, my peeps! ;)

-HH

Friday, May 14, 2010 Blueberry Night! The Video!

video

Special thanks to PsychoMagnet for letting me use their song Rich Bitch.

If you have a band, and would like to see your music set to my cooking, please send mp3's to Headbanginghostess@gmail.com

I'll give you a plug...I may even make dinner for you and your band!

ROCK ON!!!

-HH

Blueberry Night Declared a Success!!!



What began as a slow night, with me staring out the porch door looking for signs of peeps, turned into one of the most scrumptious Thursday evenings ever!

Chilled Blueberry Soup with a swirl of Greek Yogurt started off the night. Made with White Zinfandel it had an aroma way more complex than a melted ice pop, dark in color it was bursting with drunken-blueberry flavor. The yogurt swirl was just enough to add a creamy surprise to every little spoon.

Chilled Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad was a familiar comfort food, with an occasional burst of sweet and tangy fresh blueberry goodness. The only problem was I kept putting it back in the fridge! Living chickens should be free-range, but once they're cooked it's either HOT or COLD - nothin' in between.

The main course was a yin-yang of sweet and salty with a side of spicy. Juicy ham, bathed in cherry juice and root beer, was dressed in a Maple-Blueberry Sauce. Knives were not needed as the ham quickly melted away under the slightest pressure from a fork. Kind of like Kettle Corn in it's perfectly-blendedness I could have eaten it until it was gone. But, alas, the Cooked Corn Salsa with Blueberries was calling out to me from the other side of the plate. "Hey, Lady! You thought me up! Now eat me!" Corn, peppers and onion, spiced up with jalapenos and tempered with bursts of blueberry - going back and forth between the two I had about three platefuls.

While I'm on the number three - the Blueberry Dessert Trio! OMG! Blueberry Rice Krispy Treats? To die for! Blueberry Muffins out of cake mix? Brilliant! And the Blueberry Sorbet? Ask Marc. He had three scoops :)

All this from a tiny little blue berry.

Delicious!

I'm so filled up with anti-oxidants I only needed 5 hours sleep!

-HH

Onto the video!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 Fuckin' A! I'm Blogging!

Would you look at this shit!?! Four months ago I start making dinner for my friends on Thursdays and now I've got the galls and the balls to blog about it. Two weeks ago I started making videos. And holy shit, people liked them! They were funny! And I looked fuckin' HOT!

Now, if any of that offended you you've happened upon the wrong blog.

If not, read on.

Here I am, The Headbanging Hostess. Inviting you to join me in what I enjoy most in life - food, friends and fun.

Every week I'll plan and prepare a themed menu. It could be centered around an ingredient or an idea, a type of cuisine or my favorite Heavy Metal band. I'll also show you exactly what it takes to be a headbanging hostess! You too can be bitchin' in the kitchen, thrashin' with passion and so fuckin' cool it really ain't right. Oh, and your friends will love you for keeping them so well fed.

-HH