Wednesday, June 30, 2010 My First Official Failure


In the interest of "keeping it real" I have to confess that this morning I had a disaster in my kitchen. Some pseudo-celebrity chef I am, huh? A little melted ice cream and I'm a sniveling snot-rag bashing garbage cans with cookie sheets and mother fucking my freezer and everything else that got in my way.

Nine hours later I can laugh about it. Somewhat. I'm now a day behind in my cooking and I'm missing out on a steam train murder mystery, but here I am to tell the tale.

As you can see in the picture the ice cream sandwiches were just darling. Perfectly sized, crunchy peanut-buttery cookieness bookending perfectly pink strawberry-banana ice cream.

Shortly after this guy was made the madness began.

As I assembled them and placed then in the freezer something awful started to happen - the top cookies were sliding off! I desperately tried to make the freezer kick in, removing all the ice cube trays to make the temperature drop so the cold air would start to blow.

It couldn't freeze them fast enough and slowly the ice cream was spilling out of the cookies. So then I tried to scrape out the ice cream to at least save the cookies but it all became a big melted mess - me and the ice cream melting down.

I was crying, pissed, I hate making mistakes, I hate to waste the food and I hate to have to do it all over again. I try very hard to pre-plan the making of every dish so as to best utilize my time and the space and the tools I have.

I've done very well...until this morning.

The good news? I lived through it.

A new set of cookies are already made. The ice cream custard will be done by this evening and tomorrow I won't make the same mistake again.

Learn something every day. Sometimes it stings a little - but you sure won't forget it!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Monday, June 28, 2010 Announcing Bento Schmento Night!

It seems Thursday nights are back on track (at least this week) with the return of my friend Marc. His college class is over, he ACED IT and now it's time to celebrate.

Adding to the celebration is Carlos's GF Linda who recently graduated from Nursing School!!! WOO HOO!!!

How does one celebrate all this accomplishment? By taking the Japanese traditional lunch box and totally reinventing it!!!

Marc sent me this link a few weeks ago - Bento on Flickr. And this crazy idea of mine was born.

My spin on bento includes a fondue pot, a s'mores maker and of course my trusty crockpot. Fun shaped foods that you can cook yourself, serve yourself - basically all I have to do is the chopping. This is what the menu is shaping up to be (pun intended)

Pretty Little Bean Dip - different colored bean dips piped into a pattern on a plate and served with pita bread.

Hawaiian Indoor Cookout - flowers of pineapple and ham served with Sterno and sticks.

Seascape Fondue - an underwater view of life as an octopus hot dog with lots of veggies and homemade veggie stock to cook it in.

Hot Chili with Hearts of Cheese - crockpot chili served with cheesy faces and fun shaped fresh-made cornbread.

and

Linda's Dream Dessert!!! - Strawberry-Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!

Mmmm....

Stay tuned!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Saturday, June 26, 2010 Getting Back in the Swing of Things


A couple people ended up coming over this past Thursday night to share in the leftovers from my husband's birthday celebration. Pulled Pork, more Slammin' Drop Biscuits - I keep finding myself craving these freakin' biscuits! Carlos laughed when I said they were slammin' - but after having one he agreed that they were.

I finally made the Peanut Butter and Fluff Crostini with Grilled Celery from the Twisted Comfort menu. It was really good! I'll make it again, with a little less PB. Maybe spice it up a bit too. But it gets a thumbs up. Grill some celery with olive oil, salt and pepper and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I also made a Strawberry Pie with all of the leftover strawberries from our trip to the farm. It was awesome!

Those of you who know me personally are aware of that dark period of my life known as "when I worked at the bakery." For those of you who don't know me I shall try to elaborate.

I loved that job. I had no problem getting up at 5 in the morning to go and make cakes for family celebrations. I loved making things, I loved all the icing that would fall into my mouth. I loved everyone I worked with, I had two super cool bosses...the only problem was those two bosses had a mother who also worked there and she hated me.

If you're familiar with Italian-American culture or understand the term "mother hen" then you can skip the next paragraph.

Nothing I did was right. If her sons complimented me on something I'd done well you could guarantee she'd never allow me to do it that way again. She went so far as to redecorate the cakes I made. She'd undermine me, deliberately instructing me to do something wrong and then correcting me when I followed her original instructions. I could go on but it's Saturday and I don't get to see my therapist until Tuesday.

We all have these kinds of people in our past. Hopefully they're not in our present.

The reason I bring her up is the Strawberry Pie.

She made some once, and was so secretive about the recipe that she MADE THE FILLING AT HOME! And oh how she crowed about that pie. She boasted about getting the recipe from a southern diner. She was the ONLY ONE who'd ever been able to get the recipe from this lady and she would never share it!

I never tried it. It sure was pretty though, the bright red jelly shined like candy.

Life went on. I forgot about the pie. Not the mother hen.

So when I had all these beautiful ripe red strawberries all sliced up and ready to go that friggin' pie came right back into my head. One quick Google search and BANG! A ton of strawberry pie recipes. I read quite a few before I chose one as my guide. I'd never use strawberry jello when I had the real thing, and adding a ton of sugar was out of the question.

I nervously made the pie, as if she'd be judging my final product. I melted chocolate on the bottom just to piss her off. It was an ongoing battle we had whether or not to put chocolate on the bottom of the fruit tarts to keep the shells from breaking. I only won when she was on vacation.

The final product, when accompanied with real freshly made whipped cream, was refreshing, slightly sweet, truly strawberry pie. Outstanding. The chocolate layer only enhanced the flavor of the berries.

Would I bet mine was better than hers?

You bet your naturally sweetened ass I would!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Click on the Flickr Photo Stream for pictures.

Friday, June 25, 2010 B-Day BBQ :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010 90 Second Meal Mosh - Patty Pan Squash stuffed with Mac and Cheese

Another "Off" Week


The Twisted Comfort menu is cursed. No doubt about it. Two weeks in a row I was gonna make it and two weeks in a row no one could make it to dinner. So forget it. It's going on the shelf where it can collect dust.

However. That doesn't mean I didn't cook anything this week. I still had all those strawberries, and then more produce from the Farmers Market. And let's not forget MY HUSBANDS BIRTHDAY!!!

I made Pulled Pork in the crockpot. Even made the BBQ sauce from scratch -- semi-scratch. I used ketchup...didn't make my own. But I mixed up the cider vinegar, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, spices. It was really good. Not like any sauce I've had before.

The pork fell apart after 7 hours in the crockpot. Very tender, tasty. My husband ate an entire bowl of it.

On the side we had Fried Pickle Chips. We had them at Hooters a little while ago and they were awesome. We may have cut ours a little thick - there's room for improvement. But it's still a new experience for my mouth, with the fried and the pickle tastes and the crunch. I'll have fun perfecting this one.

The best part of the meal for me was the biscuts I made. Drop biscuts with melted butter poured on top after baking...unfuckingbelieveable. I had three of them.

Dessert was...well, look at the picture. DELICIOUS. My husband said it was his favorite of my desserts. "Even better than the Sour Cream Ice Cream with Potato Pancakes and Hot Apple Topping?" I asked.

"Yes."

So that's that!

So if anyone does show up tonight, we have TONS of leftovers. And we'll be more than happy to eat them again.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Baby Carrot Exposed!


Yeah. Those bags of baby carrots in the supermarket...not really babies.

This one is a yellow carrot. Rainbow carrot to be exact.

The rabbit ate this one. Which is funny because I may have the only rabbit who doesn't like carrots. He likes them like this...smaller even. Like carrot abortions. He loves the leaves, he'll eat those at any stage of growth. But the root? Not so much.

Let this be a gentle reminder to know exactly what it is that you're eating.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Monday, June 21, 2010 I Must Be Out Of My Strawberry Pickin' Mind!


I threw out half a package of organic strawberries this morning, but that didn't stop me from wanting to go pick my own at Jones Family Farms.

I've never been there for strawberry picking. We've been a couple times to pick a pumpkin. Which is really just picking UP a pumpkin, they've already been cut from the vine and staged for maximum saleability. But it's always worth the trip, even if it's just to take in the view - Christmas trees as far as the eye can see.

Well here I go again with another one of my "I wish I'd done this sooner" stories.

I wish I'd done this sooner!!!

We had a ton of fun. Not like amusement park fun. Like out in the sun tourist/farmer having pleasant exchanges with other human beings kinda fun. We took a hay-less hay ride to the field where we were assigned a row and we picked to our hearts content. The bright red strawberries shined like rubies sparkling in the sunlight. And I was bent over in my skirt picking them as gingerly and swiftly as I could. I didn't want a sunburn - I just wanted a butt load of strawberries for $2.69 a pound.

We spent $12.55 - a little less than 5 pounds.

I have enough strawberries to sink a battleship. I set some aside for tonight's dessert - Jellied Blueberry Wine with Fresh Fruit. And I have a HUGE bowl all sliced up ready to be part of some Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream my husband has ordered up for his birthday.

I suppose I'll freeze the rest...or make daiquiris...or shortcake...or pancakes...or just eat them with a shovel.

Bang on, my peeps!!

-HH

Sunday, June 20, 2010 Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father’s Day.

Dad’s notoriously get the shit end of the stick when it comes to parental holidays. Everyone takes Mom out to dinner and Dad gets a tie. I can testify as a former cake decorator that Mom’s consume far more ice cream cake than Dad’s…at least more cakes are ordered for them. I’m not sure who got to eat them. But Mom cakes are adorned with flowers and Dad, once again, gets a tie. And who doesn’t love a cake decorated to look like a shirt and tie.

Enjoy your day, Dad! Then get your ass back to work!

My Dad died when I was sixteen, so my Father’s Day celebrations are few in number. I can’t say I have any special Father’s Day memories. But I can say without a doubt that my Dad is still an influence on me. And he’s certainly an influence on what I eat!

Take a look at the Hungarian Night video!

Right now I have about a quart of Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup in the fridge. Dad never made it for me, but it’s Hungarian! That’s good enough for me!

Growing up I HATED having foreigners for parents. I felt like we never ate like “normal” people did. (What that meant I’m not sure. Now that I’m an adult I know there is no “normal”)

I used to eat liver, raw smoked bacon, pigs ears. We went mushroom hunting on the weekends. Dad smoked his own fish.

I’d KILL for that right now. The Hickory Smoker out back, filling the neighborhood up with the scent of smoked fish, like a cartoon smoke-finger under your nose beckoning you towards the David house.

Dad also made something disgusting as all hell called “head cheese” – little bits of lung and shit in gelatin. Like I said – disgusting. Mom hated it to. And I can still see him slurping up little gelatinized bits of it…grody-to-the-max.

Anyway! The point is – Celebrate your Dad today!!!!!! Dead or alive, make one of his favorites and enjoy the moment.

Remember, food is love!

Bang on, my peeps!!!

-HH

Saturday, June 19, 2010 Are you a Facebook Fan Yet?

As of this moment The Headbanging Hostess has 196 fans on Facebook!

WOO HOO!!!

Let's keep this momentum up! Tell your friends, family, neighbors and absolute strangers how funny I am! Let's make the world a better place!

And don't forget to participate! Post your photos and feedback on the HH FB wall! Subscribe on YouTube! And send me some of YOUR home video - it could appear in a future episode!!! Send it in MOV format to headbanginghostess@gmail.com

Bang on, my peeps!!!

-HH

Friday, June 18, 2010 Outtakes, B-roll and Bloopers #1

Thursday, June 17, 2010 Dinner for Two


Somehow this week I ended up with no guests. Which is fine with me. Better I realized it Tuesday than waiting until Thursday night at 7PM when no one has yet to show up. That almost happened Blueberry Night, and I would have gotten a little steamed if I'd made all that food and no one came.

So the Twisted Comfort menu is on hold until next week.

I took advantage of the extra time to make a batch of homemade granola. It's super good, way better than any store bought granola bar. I see lots of these in my future, with lots of flavor combinations!

Tonight we plan on a BBQ-4-2 at the beach.

But, I must confess, on a daily basis, I find myself standing in the aisles of the supermarket staring dumbfounded, unable to think of a fucking thing for dinner.

Crazy, isn't it?

I can plan a six course dinner for six people but I can't figure out how to feed two people a simple meal.

My mind gets stuck on old standbys, I'm unable to think out of the box and I end up with the brilliant idea of pizza delivery.

I need to work on this.

What do you do? Do you have a set meal schedule? A list of go to dishes? Or do you cook off-the-cuff?

-HH

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Sour Cherry Soup


My trip to the Farmers Market today was literally fruitful. Sour Cherries - which I have never bought before. Way back when it was Hungarian Night I made mental note of a recipe for Sour Cherry Soup. I picked up a pint and went happily on my way.
I also picked up some Sheep's Milk Yogurt, which kind of frightens me, and some cucumbers and zucchini.

Tomorrow nights dinner has been postponed to next week, so I fried up the potato sticks that were meant for the cookies and gave them a good home in our tummies.

The soup came out pretty tasty, I think. It's like melted ice cream, what's not to like? Except maybe the color. Pepto, anyone?

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 Sneak Peak (or Trial Without Error)


Since Thursday's menu mainly consists of things I've never made before tonight we had a trial-run of the entree - Meatloaf Cupcakes.

They came out pretty cute, coulda spent a tad more time under the broiler, but I was pretty pleased with the results.

Dave ate two-and-a-half.

The sauce is actually canned pork gravy (OMG!) with 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, some sage, blueberry honey and two cubes of vegetable stock. Has a nice color, no real blueberry taste, but a nice sweetness to it.

I experimented with a "sausage cup" - pushing sausage meat into the pan first and up the sides of the cupcake form and then filling the rest with the pork meatloaf. I wasn't too keen on that part of it, my first bite contained something a little to hard and crunchy for my taste. I'm very weary of sausage that way, since hearing tales of missing persons and sausage makers that took place in my town. I never buy that brand - ever.

Piping the mashed potatoes on top proved to be the hardest part. My usual Ziplock trick didn't work because the bag bottom was designed differently - an accordion type fold designed to make the bag stand up has made it useless in other ways. So I was forced to make a pastry bag out of parchment - recalling the skills I learned at the bakery and will soon be using again as a culinary student.

I also made a Raspberry Dipping Sauce for the ice cream sandwiches and I cut the potato sticks for the cookies.

More cooking tomorrow! And the Farmers Market!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Monday, June 14, 2010 Sage Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs


My neighbor likes to leave things at my door for me. Second hand clothing, food, cleaned empty bowls that once contained the dinner I left for her - we go both ways like that. Not like THAT.

The Cacao Nibs she left for me found their way into the sweet section of my cabinetry and was quickly forgotten, until today.

The Sage Ice Cream I made came up a little short in the flavor department for me. I didn't add enough herbs. It was creamy and sweet, no doubt, but for me it lacked a distinct flavor. So I turned to the bag of nibs for a solution. I crunched one and it bit back with a coffee like coco kick. I added a palm full to the ice cream and voila.

The Cacao accents what little herb taste is there, working in harmony to balance the sweet cream with the bitter crunch. Not a bad try. I'll finish it for sure, and next time add a few more herbs.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Sunday, June 13, 2010 Twisted Comfort


The Ice Cream Garden has two new additions today – Chocolate Mint and Orange Mint. Technically I don’t have room for them but I’ll shove them in with something else.

And now without further ado...

This weeks theme – comfort foods with a twist.


Peanut Butter and Fluff Crostini with Grilled Celery

Pancakes and Prosciutto with Orange-Mint Syrup

Meatloaf Cupcake with a yet-to-be-decided sauce containing Blueberries

Cheesecake Ice Cream Sandwiches with Potato Stick Cookies



The kicker? Most of it will have to be made that night. So I’ll have to try out each recipe during the week to be sure it doesn’t totally suck.

The ice cream and cookies I’m not worried about.

What’s your favorite comfort food? How might you twist it up?

-HH

Saturday, June 12, 2010 Road Trip!


Today The Headbanging Hostess finds herself in Scranton, PA.

Actually, I didn't find myself here, we drove. To see a concert. Yup, you heard me (or read me) right. A concert. But not just any concert - a Sugarland concert.

Yes. The Headbanging Hostess is also a country music girl on occasion. And I love me some Sugarland. Jennifer Nettles can sing the shit out of anything. Her music moves me like no other. Her lyrics can reduce me to tears in a fraction of a second. The fact that she is able to sing them without bursting into tears is what's most impressive to me. I've never gotten through "Happy Ending" without my voice cracking with emotion - and I'm just singing in the shower!

And for all the dreamers who have come and gone
Who have reached for the stars who have overcome
You're the hope, you're the wish, you're the truth
Baby here's the proof
Baby's born in the ghetto
Baby's born with a silver spoon
One tells his mama, "I'll have a dream."
One tells his mama, "I'll walk the moon."


-Excerpt from"Happy Ending" by Sugarland


But this isn't about music, it's about food.

One Facebook Status update and the majority vote sent us to Chick's Diner for some kick-ass Scranton cooking.

Now, I'm not really a diner gal. Part of the problem is my allergies. No eggs for me! No chicken, no turkey. Pretty much cuts the menu in half. And most of the food is heavy, greasy...I always have problems ordering food at a diner. But a quick scan of the menu at Chick's and I was ready to have Strawberry Shortcake for lunch.

My husband ordered the Patti Melt Burger with Swiss Cheese and Grilled Onions. Even tough it came with fries we ordered Fries with Gravy - which I incorrectly assumed would have beef gravy. You think I'd know by now to ask these questions. But I don't. I'll have to talk to my therapist about that.

The burger was delicious. Well, the first bite was. After that it quickly became heavy and greasy - a fact that didn't bother my husband at all because he was able to finish it. I snacked on some gravy-free fries as I waited for my shortcake.

Big mistake. Because when it came I couldn't finish it.

This was my second Strawberry Shortcake in a week. Now I know what Linda meant when she said the biscuit wasn't that great in the Strawberry Festival shortcake. This biscuit was denser, drier. I might guess it had cornmeal in it but my guess might also be wrong. I liked it. But I wouldn't say it's better than last week's, just different. And I happen to be a fan of different.

I will say they had a little too much sugar in the strawberries. The only "sweetener" in this weeks fruit salad was one spoon of strawberry jam - other than a little fresh squeezed OJ and lemon. Fruit doesn't need a lot of sugar people. It's already sweet, it's fruit!

As I rest up for the concert my mind continues to refine next weeks menu. Prepare yourselves for some "Twisted Comfort."

Stay Tuned!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Friday, June 11, 2010 The Day After


I just returned from a trip to my local supermarket for tortilla chips. Know why? Leftovers, baby! Salsa, guacamole, cheese – can you say nachos?

Last nights dinner was another success. The Bacon Lettuce Wraps with Blue Cheese proved to be a hit with the boys. I stuffed my face with three or four drizzled with Warm Peanut Butter. What’s not to like? Two good friends of mine once confessed to me their dirty pleasure in the car before work in the morning was Romaine and Peanut Butter Sandwiches. I told them they were nuts. I apologize. I was wrong. They were just missing the bacon.

The Mexican Steak Salad was insane. I tell ya, it really makes a difference when you make the stuff from scratch. And none of it is hard, it’s just chopping. You can mix it in a bag! I don’t need no mortar and pestle for my guac, oh no! Put that shit in a bag and beat the crap out of it. Done.

My husband left me to cook the meat - one of those oddities that’s come along with my Headbanging Hostessness. George Foreman didn’t let me down. The meat was expertly seasoned with Ancho Chili Powder, Mexican Oregano, Adobo, White Pepper and Cumin.

It all came together, with the Queso Fresco and the greens. The taste of the meat and the guacamole together in my mouth was reminiscent of visits to Chi-Chi’s when I was a kid. But it was much better than that. I’ve said it before and right now I’m gonna say it again. You really can taste the love.

Twenty minutes in the ice cream maker and my Pineapple-Herb Ice Cream was ready to get laid on a bed of kick ass fruit salad. Connecticut grown strawberries mixed together with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Dressed with a mixture of lemon juice, orange juice and strawberry jam, topped with apple-mint and left to marinate in the fridge overnight. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

I had two servings. As did my neighbor.

Check out the video below!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Salad Night! The Video!!!

video
Here it is! As always send comments, ideas and music to headbanginghostess@gmail.com

-HH

Thursday, June 10, 2010 Faux Farm Stands



The other day, while searching for strawberries, we stopped at a local farm stand. I won’t say the name, I don’t want to give anyone bad press, but let’s just say I was tres unimpressed.

They had 4 quarts of strawberries and they didn’t look good. Strawberries that ain’t shiny are only good for the compost pile. And when you touched them a million fruit flies flew forth. Ick. Didn’t buy them.

Not wanting to leave without giving the farmer some of my husbands hard earned money I quickly looked around for something else I might want. I found it in the freezer, of course. Gelato. Panna Cotta gelato to be exact.

I love gelato. I love Panna Cotta gelato. I was lucky enough to have it once at Gelatissimo in New Canaan. Indescribably delicious. Not vanilla, just cream. Sweet frozen cream. What’s not to like.

Now, I’ve been making ice cream from scratch for a little while now. I think it was two Christmases ago when I got the ice cream maker, and I haven’t really been using it consistently until recently. But I happen to know that gelato basically consists of milk, cream, sugar and eggs.

Not this “gelato” I got at the “farm stand.” Both in quotes because both distinctions are very much in question.

Milk, Sugar, Cream, Vegetable Oil, Dextrose, Glucose Syrup, Mono and Diglycerides, Stabilizers, Locust Bean Gum, Carboxy Methyl Cellulose, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors.

To compound this, upon further inspection, the label actually read Panna Cotta (Crème Brulee). Cooked cream or burnt cream, it apparently didn’t make a difference to this company. But when I opened the pint to reveal a faux burnt sugar swirl I was severely disappointed.

Anyway…why the hell is this at a farm stand? I usually assume things at farm stands have SOMETHING to do with a farm. This stuff wasn’t locally made, handmade, naturally made, made old style, nothin’. The label says it was made in Wallingford. Whoop-de-do.

The moral? Know what you’re buying. Stick with the farmers markets. Or lower your standards so you’re never disappointed.

Ultimately, what’s most important, is that we all become more educated about our food.

And I’m educated enough to make my own Panna Cotta Gelato, thank you. So I will.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 Farmers Market Day!


Since it's salad week I really don't have a lot of cooking to do. Yesterday, when I went to Stew Leonard's to replace my dying flowers, I picked up some berries for the fruit salad. Since it's only the start of June the only berry I can be sure to see at the Farmers Market is a strawberry. So the plan is to get strawberries at the market, watermelon at the supermarket and mix them all together with some apple mint, orange juice, lemon juice and a dollop of the strawberry jam I got over the weekend.

Today I also plan on making the custard mix for the Pineapple-Herb Ice Cream. I won't freeze it until tomorrow so it'll be more like soft-serve. Lately the ice cream I've been making freezes so hard I have to take it out when dinner is served so I can scoop it for dessert. So my guests will have to deal with the noisy ice cream maker for a bit, but they'll get over it once they taste their dessert.

Tomorrow will be the busy day. Preparing the Bacon Lettuce Wraps, the Mexican Steak Salad - my husband will do the steak part and I'll do the salad spinning part. I'll make the guacamole, the corn bread. I'll even make a salad for my rabbit.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Monday, June 7, 2010 Carnival Food Season Is Here!!!


Summer is when I consume an orchard of candy apples, my weight in kettle corn and indulge in some of those once a year culinary opportunities known as Carnivals.

Yesterday I had my souvlaki. I'm good until next year.

I've been going to my local Greek Festival since I was a kid. Which was a while ago. And every year I get the pork souvlaki with just tomatoes and I have never ever been let down. Better than most restaurants, these freakin' Greeks make their souvlaki spot-on, year after year. Perfectly seasoned pita bread wrapped around tender, charred pieces of pork and smothered with chopped tomatoes. Delicious.

I don't do raw onion. I know. I'll have to get over it in culinary school, but right now I'm eatin' for me. And I don't do raw onion.

And I may never change the way I order it. Something about the nostalgia. Biting into it takes me back to every other Greek Festival I've been to, in that very same spot. The tent's in the same spot, the car they raffle off, the old ladies selling homemade baklava - which was delicious this year! (Not so much last year. Making the consistently good souvlaki an even more impressive achievement.)

I've tried it at other fairs. Not good. Not even in a diner. That is the pork souvlaki my mouth knows and loves and I will never cheat.

Thankfully I have pizza fritta, steamers and The Big E to look forward to!

Bang on, my peeps!!!

-HH

Sunday, June 6, 2010 Inspiration From The Garden



One look at my garden and I knew it was time to start reaping the benefits of having started seeds indoors in April.

This Thursday will be Salad Night!

The menu isn't set in stone, but plan on seeing some beautiful red leaf lettuce, some cilantro in salsa, some mint in fruit salad and some pineapple-herb ice cream on top.

The Headbanging Hostess takes great joy in her garden. Six or seven summers of container gardening on the west side of the building have taught me what works and what won't. Veggies are hard to get right. Cucumbers and squash end up with powdery mildew, corn doesn't get enough sun, potatoes...forget about the potatoes. I don't know why I couldn't get them to grow.

Herbs seem to thrive in my garden, in the nitrogen rich bunny poo that makes up the majority of my soil. And this years focus, the ice cream garden, is already in full swing. And it's only June! I think I could get 5 months of herbal frozen happiness out of this thing!

Bang on, my peeps!!!

-HH

Saturday, June 5, 2010 The Headbanging Hostess Has Arrived!


Today I received a Headbanging Hostess welcome at the Orange Strawberry Festival.

As we entered the park we tried, unsuccessfully, to avoid the people campaigning for public office.

“Are you a registered Republican?”

“No.” I answered with a smile, as we walked straight towards the food tent.

My friend Linda sings for the band “Where’s Jimmy?” – she sings great, by the way. Thank goodness. I’d hate to have to lie and say she was good when she wasn’t. But she rocked. She gets the “HH” stamp of approval.

Anyway. That’s how I got the introduction.

“The Headbanging Hostess has arrived! If you don’t know who she is check her out on YouTube.”

My husband and I were hysterical laughing.

No one else knew who I was.

But I happen to know my YouTube channel hasn’t had any views this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what (if anything) happens.

And, thanks to an old friend from high school, I have 120 fans on Facebook!

Crazy, right?

So, tonight I plan on finishing the left over cream cheese icing along with a quart of strawberries that I had to go the Whole Foods to buy. Can you believe they didn’t sell strawberries at a Strawberry Festival? I was forced to settle for Strawberry Shortcake! The nerve!

Actually the shortcake was really good. The elementary school cafeteria tasting cheeseburger was not.

Let’s hope this jam is good. It’s not everyday I hand money over to a person wearing a shirt that says “God is still talking,”

He can talk all he wants as long as the jam is good.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Friday, June 4, 2010 Zucchini Night!! The Video!!!!

video
Here it is! Enjoy! As always send your thoughts, ideas and music to - headbanginghostess@gmail.com

-HH

Silence = Zucchini Night



Every time I cook a meal, at some point, there is total silence. That’s a good sign. It means people are enjoying their food.

Last night there was a lot of quiet.

The meal started off with a Zucchini, Apple and Blue Cheese Salad. Crunchy and sweet chunks of apple tempered the tang of the cheese. The colorful salad could be topped with walnuts, I had them out in a dish. But I forgot them on both of my servings. It was a delicious salad. A great way to start the meal, simple to make – I see many in my future. Maybe with bacon? Mmmm.

The Pasta-Free Lasagna with Zucchini and Chicken took longer than expected to come out of the oven, but as one of my guests said, it was worth the wait. Long thin slices of the summer squash layered with pounded chicken breast. It’s actually something my husband used to make when he was on the Atkins Diet, without the zucchini. The sauce I made was full of flavor, cooking the sliced squash to al dente perfection. Another great way to make a low-carb “pasta” that tastes good and is reminiscent of home.

The Zucchini Dessert Trio was excellent. The Lemon Zucchini Sorbet with Poppy Seeds was bursting with quadruple lemon flavor. Lemon juice, Lemon Verbana, Lemon Thyme and Lemon Balm blended together with the green zucchini to make the most gorgeous shade of citrus sorbet. When making it the texture seemed odd, so I added the poppy seeds as a distraction. But once frozen the dessert came together nicely, the poppy seeds adding a pop - as they should, according to their name.

The Zesty Zucchini Cookies with Quinoa were almost too healthy to accompany the other desserts. The steel cut oatmeal cookies made with homemade apple sauce, orange zest and yellow squash were par-baked during the day so I could serve them hot out of the oven with a cold glass of milk. Everyone got a bag to bring home!

The Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting were out of this world. Spiced up with ground cloves, moist with the zucchini and topped with a little dab of sweet heaven. We almost annihilated the cupcake tree. The best part? I have an extra bag of icing in the fridge. Strawberries, anyone?

Another successful dinner - and “only” three courses, unless you count the three desserts separately. And you count the two bread courses - which I loved. Two courses of bread with butter, what’s not to love? Other than the fact that it’s summer and I don’t fit into any of my shorts.

Stay tuned for the video!

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

PS - I've tried to include links for some of the recipes. Please note that I rarely follow a recipe exactly as written. Neither should you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010 Cupcakes on the Coffee Table


I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Forever Stamp from the US Postal Service. You pay current price and it’s always good no matter how much the price of a stamp goes up.

My house is the same size.

As the stamp.

So when one is planning and prepping and cooking one must also carefully consider where things are going to go. Counter space is very limited, the fridge is unable to accommodate anything more than your average fast food value meal. As the title of this piece suggests, I was forced to perch racks of cupcakes on the coffee table to cool. They later found themselves in the bedroom, the coldest room in the house, so their icing wouldn’t melt.

It’s a choreographed nightmare.

At times.

Soon my guests will be arriving and I’ll forget all about the dance.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Headbanging for Human Decency

Yesterday, while signing up for college classes, my path crossed the path of one cross young woman.

I hesitate to call her a young lady, which is why I didn’t. She was rude, attitudinal, belligerent, crass, crude, unrefined, classless and guilty of conduct unbecoming a Headbanging Hostess.

As I stood at the Records Office counter I listened, cringing, as she barked her demands to the poor woman on the other side of the counter. The woman was more than twice her age. Apparently no one teaches respect for your elders anymore. This girl apparently was raised to believe we are all here to serve her and meet her demands exactly as she sees fit.

There’s a word for her. But I won’t use it. I won’t even say the first letter.

But she was.

And I can’t be blamed for pointing it out. I didn’t make her that way. She was very comfortable in the role – making everyone else within earshot uncomfortable.

Good for you, Girlfriend. I hope it all works out for you.

NOT!

How’s about signing up for Manners 101?

This was one of those times when I wanted to say something. To do something - stand up for human decency. But I didn’t.

The chick wasn’t rational. If I had said something I might be waking up with a black-eye. Or in jail. Or in a hospital.

So I kept my mouth shut.

Is this the best course of action for The Headbanging Hostess in a situation such as this? Do I need to take some Karate classes along with my Culinary Training?

What do you think?

-HH

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 Sauce Making is Rule Breaking


Last night, after the sun went down, I found myself perched over the stove roasting peppers and making sauce.

In my house this is heresy.

You see, my husband is Italian. That means he makes the sauce. He makes great sauce, legendary sauce. My neighbor has been known to drink it from a wine glass. She’s also Italian.

I’m half English and half Hungarian. That does not qualify me to make sauce.

But I did it anyway.

Like I said. Heresy.

Never before have I roasted a pepper, but there I was - peeling off the blackened skins, pureeing them in the food processor with canned organic tomatoes. Sweating down onions and garlic with oregano from last year’s garden.

You know it, baby! The Headbanging Hostess freezes the goods from her garden. Throw it in a blender with some olive oil, put that shit in an ice cube tray – BANG! Done. I’m set for the winter. I’ve even started making my own vegetable stock. Those are the green ice cubes you see in the videos. Freeze the vegetable odds and ends instead of throwing them out – carrots, onions, ZUCCHINI! Throw them in a pot with some celery, potato, herbs and boil that shit until the cows come home. Strain it, ice cube tray it, freeze it, put cubes in freezer bag, put cubes in cooking! You know it!

Back to my sauce.

I thought it was great. My husband has yet to try it.

I’ll win him over. It came out good. With a long, pronounced g”uuuuuuuuuuh”d.

Today I spent my allowance on zucchini at the Farmers Market. This afternoon I made sorbet. This evening I assemble the Pasta-Free Lasagna. Tomorrow? I do everything else.

Until then.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 The Menu for the Week!

Last week at the Farmers Market I saw the first of the summer veggies – radishes, greens, baby turnips and zucchini!

It’s Zucchini Week!!!

Zucchini is one of those summer staples. Once it shows up at the farmers market it’s there to stay. The price gets ridiculously low as the summer goes on. Those who’ve grown it themselves can testify to its prolific production.

Until last year, I only had a few recipes for the summer squash. And even now, I only have a few more. Cutting it on the mandoline to make zucchini-spaghetti (or zucchinetti) has proven to be one of my favorite uses for the veggie.

But this week I’m thinking outside the box. I’m making four things I’ve never made before and one of my Mother Lovin’ Cookies.

Here’s the menu.

-Zucchini, Apple and Blue Cheese Salad

-Pasta-Free Lasagna with Zucchini and Chicken

and a Zucchini Dessert Trio

-Lemon Zucchini Sorbet
-Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
-Zesty Zucchini Quinoa Cookies

This will be a relatively healthy meal – as long as the desserts are consumed in moderation.

Good luck with that.

The prep starts tonight with homemade sauce for the lasagna. Tomorrow I’ll buy the zucchini at the Farmers Market and start cookin’.

Bang on, my peeps!

-HH