Monday, January 31, 2011 No Lie Low Sugar Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

If you're looking for a "not sweet" dessert this could be it.

Here goes.

One package of strawberries. Slice them up. Put a little honey on them, like a spoonful, and mix well. Cover it up and let it sit in the fridge.

Like, all day.

Make the biscuits right before you want to eat it. Ain't nothing like a piping hot biscuit with berries.

In a bowl mix

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave and then let it cool.

Add cooled melted butter to 1/2 cup buttermilk and stir. It will clump up, this makes the biscuits flaky. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until it is just incorporated. Don't over mix.

Portion dough into biscuits, don't go crazy making them perfect. Pull off chunks and make 4-6. Bake in a 475 degree oven on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 8-10 minutes.

Put the biscuit on a plate, throw some strawberries over it and top with a spoonful of whole milk ricotta cheese.


So good! Light, refreshing, hot and cold - a definite option for those who don't like sugary sweet desserts.


90 Second Meal Mosh - Rice & Beans Stuffed Squash

My diet continues, no matter how futile, so here's a vegetarian dinner for two.

My tasty secret this time, since I was out of stock, was Pomegranate Pepper Jelly. Sounds weird, I know, but one spoonful in some boiling water with some frozen peppers and I had a nice broth for my rice. And it left a nice zing in my mouth!

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, January 30, 2011 Super(bowl) Snacks

This is the most talked about cake of my cake decorating career. I made it over 10 years ago. Even watched a movie for "research."

How I suffer for my art.

I'm not a football fan. This morning/afternoon as I've been watching Food Network...well, I've made a couple of realizations, but I'd better keep them from my possible future employer and fellow food stars. But I did realize that next week the Knicks or someone are playing in the Superbowl and people are planning what they'll be eating next Sunday today.

So, as you can see, my vagina (cake) was a hit at a Superbowl party over 10 years ago. If memory serves the husbands loved it, the wives not so much. Come to think of it I don't think they liked me either. Wonder why?


Back to the food.

I've made a ton of chili, including venison chili, and it seems chili is a Superbowl staple. Deviled eggs are also a staple, according to two Food Network Stars ago, but I would never ever eat that, so I can't possibly recommend that you do.

Tell you what. I'm gonna have to think on this and get back to you. I am unprepared for the upcoming football holiday.

I am, however, prepared for Valentine's Day. Stay Tuned for the latest issue of Alternative Control!


Saturday, January 29, 2011 Neighborhood Restaurants That Just Shouldn't Be

I don't think I've given a negative review since the abomination that was the Norwalk Oyster Festival. But it seems the time has come once again to declare the truth - Cove Pizza sucks.

Let me give you a bit of the back story.

Cove Pizza used to be owned by a guy named Joe. Great guy. Always smiling, always working. He and his family owned it forever. Back when I was a kid the New York Times gave them a stellar review and the cars were lined up all the way down Cove Rd. Great pizza. The Pizza a la Vodka was our favorite.

Then Joe sold the place.

The new owners quickly ruined the joint. I don't know why that is, but they did. It was always empty, nothing tasted the same and Joe's smiling face was nowhere to be seen.

The place was sold again and the new owners put a great deal more effort into the operation. They started delivering, the food was getting better and it seemed the neighborhood pizza place was being brought back from the brink of death.


We went for dinner tonight because we had a gift certificate and let me tell you, even with the 25 bucks off, it wasn't worth it.

The waitress was embarrassed to be bringing us the food, it seemed. It was just awful. The salad was nothing and the dressing was 80% water. Not a seasoning to be found. My pizza was pretty bland, canned pineapple has no zing. The only decent flavor coming off it came from the Parmesan cheese she brought to the table.

My husband's "homemade" ravioli were anything but. They had strange texture, little flavor and the sauce was almost non existent. The cheese was burnt on the top and the ravioli's were burnt to the bottom of the pan.

And the wine he ordered was listed as Napa Valley in the menu and yet it was Sonoma County.

So there.

Don't go to Cove Pizza, unless they sell it again. And then I'll go first and let you know.


Friday, January 28, 2011 "Repurposing" My Three Compartment Lasagna Pan

I got this awesome pan way back in August when Arcane Malevolence first came to dinner. And, to be honest, I don't think I've used it since! It sure came in handy, though, in that first usage. Three kinds of lasagna - regular, pesto and zucchini! But what else could I use it for? Of course the idea of using it as a TV dinner tray crossed my mind, but I had yet to try baking mac n cheese, peas with pearl onions and a brownie all at once.

Does anyone actually cook the TV dinner brownie, or do we all eat it raw like children?

I actually haven't eaten a TV dinner in decades. Literally.

So last night, as I was figuring out how to cook our dinner, I jumped on the possibility of using my relatively unused pan. Just a little forethought and I could have a perfectly timed, perfectly cooked meal.

I started by cutting up the potatoes and boiling them into submission. I steamed the broccoli only for a minute or two. The fish I seasoned with salt and pepper and then coated it with some flour. In the microwave I melted half a stick of butter and then I added some fresh squeezed lemon juice.

I cut the fish into smaller pieces and placed them in two of the pans compartments. Drizzled them with the butter and lemon and then dusted it all with some good Hungarian paprika. The potatoes found themselves in the last compartment, covered with the broccoli. I poured some olive oil over the broccoli and sprinkled it with salt, pepper and sesame seeds.

A little foil to cover the veg, 20 minutes at 350 and WOO FRIGGIN' HOO! A super tasty dinner worthy of a top-notch seafood restaurant.

The size of the pan helped me out. The fish was doused with the butter and lemon and the sauce had no where to go! So all that goodness was cooked right into the fish. Moist and flavorful, it was simply delicious.

Check out the pics on Flickr!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011 More Friggin' Snow!

We have been getting PUMMELED with snow storms since the day after Christmas. It snows at least once a week, always on Tuesday, and I've been trapped in the house for days at a time.


School started again this week, it should have started last Friday but, you guessed it, snow. Today my cooking class was cut short by an hour, snow.

Is there anything you can cook in the snow? I know you can make killer snow cones but I'm not able to come up with anything that gets cooked in snow. Is that an oxymoron? Am I?


Tomorrow is/was supposed to be BYO Breakfast Night! But we're playing it by ear whether we have dinner or not. But just in case I'm fully prepared to whip up some homemade glazed donuts for bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. And I'm putting my husband on the omelette station. Our guests will bring the ingredients that I'm missing from my fridge! So I won't even have to go out in the snow!


So stay tuned! I can't wait to see what happens either!


Saturday, January 22, 2011 BYO Dinner Party Success

Look at the colors popping out of that sammich and tell me the first BYO Dinner Party was not a can't do it! Because it looks DDelicious!

My guests came through, bringing such goodies as prosciutto, basil and fresh mozzerella to homemade sour dough bread to BACON!

Oh yeah, screw the diet, I ate me an Elvis sandwich - peanut butter, banana and BACON!

They also brought a ton of cold cuts, so we had a succession of 6 sandwich combinations. I was cooking them up on the vintage Snackmaster and George Foreman Grill simultaneously, slicing them up and supplying the guests with a steady stream of sammiches.

My cheeseburger soup came out fantastic! Here's a brief rundown of the recipe. Keep in mind I made this with my own goose stock and my own beef stock (plus some College Inn Broth I had left over in the fridge), so if you make it at home you may want to consider making some homemade stock, to add a flavor all your own.

1 1/2 pounds browned ground beef
1 big can of crushed tomatoes
3 cups of beef stock
4 cups goose stock

Shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion for garnish.

Put it all in the crockpot on high and let it come together. Adjust the seasonings if you want. My soup was pretty liquid so I added butter and flour all mashed up together as a thickener. I also dusted corn starch on the bag of shredded cheese before I stirred it into the soup. Garnish with chopped tomato, onion and lettuce.

My soup had a real chargrilled taste because I made my beef stock with a steakbone from my New Year's Eve dinner at Capital Grille. I know it sounds odd, but it's not like it's been sitting around in my purse, it was in the freezer, and it was real tasty!

And the ice cream can see here how good they were. And how fun they were to make!

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, January 21, 2011 BYO Dinner Party - Soup & Snackmaster Night!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 The Little Miss Project: Vanessa

I am beside myself with joy.

Last Thursday I happened upon Sugarland's blog post regarding The Little Miss Project. I'm telling you now, go get some Kleenex before you click on the video. A very bright young lady named Erica came up with the idea (I can't take credit, I wish I could) and she assembled and edited videos from a bunch of fans illustrating their journeys through their dark times and into the light of love and hope. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but watch the video. It will move you.

So I rushed to put on some make-up, I actually had Dave out of the house playing poker for a few hours, and I tried to make a video. I tried. And cried. It was a struggle, the inspiration had truly moved me and I was having a hard time getting words out of my mouth.

But it didn't matter.

Watch the video here.

I'm truly honored that Sugarland chose my video first out of who knows how many submissions. I hope that sharing my story, through tears if not words, helps and inspires others who are dealing with Alzheimer's and depression.

It'll be alright again!


Monday, January 17, 2011 The Return Of Dinner

It's been almost a full month since the last dinner of 2010. I've been on break from school, but a vaca it has not been. I've been playing nurse to my husband who had surgery, working on some "behind the scenes" stuff and dieting! Three weeks without meat! I think my body is remembering what it used to feel like. I even went on a walk in the 30 degree weather - 2 miles of bitter cold mixed with sweat. Love it.

BUT! This weeks dinner will provide me with at least one serving of meat... Drum roll please...

It's Soup and Snackmaster Night!

You remember the Snackmaster! That triangular sandwich making machine. Holla if you remember the commercials! (HOLLA!) You could fry an egg in it, make a plethora of sandwich combinations, even apple pie! (YUCK!) I used to bring it to the theatre for "Snackmaster Saturdays" and we'd all sear our sandwiches on it and throw them out the window. Ah, children's theatre.

Although the Snackmaster didn't find it's way onto My Top Ten Kitchen Toys list it is a great toy. More of a novelty than a regular-use item, but it has it's purpose, and that is to feed and amuse.

My diet will be put on hold for the evening as I am making Cheeseburger Soup! Yet another treat I saw on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I'm winging the recipe, of course, and using up the last of the goose stock. The soup includes ground beef, cheese, crushed tomatoes and LETTUCE! It's something I wanted to try when I first saw it, so I'm looking forward to the end result.

The guests will be providing the sandwiches - the first in a hopeful series of BYO Dinner Parties! This helps alleviate some of the costs for us and might make dinner parties more doable for others! I don't think it should cost a ton to enjoy a meal with friends. If everyone shares the costs it can be affordable!

I haven't thought about dessert at all. I'm sure I'll come up with something. Ice cream sandwiches?

Stay tuned!

Bang on, my peeps!


Thursday, January 13, 2011 My Top Ten Kitchen Toys

Since taking over the cooking duties, the number of kitchen toys I’ve accumulated has quite surpassed the number of toys I have in other areas of the house. (If you catch my drift.) Some of these toys were bought at tag sales. I shudder to think of the actual retail price of things, although I’m getting better at setting aside issues of price and just buying what I need. For me “retail therapy” consists of me not thinking I’m worth the money and my therapist telling me otherwise.

But I digress.

My Top Ten Kitchen Toys

Number 10 – My Mandolin

This toy I bought retail, but I suppose you have to because the blades can dull pretty quickly. If I saw one at a tag sale I’d assume it was no longer a slicer. It’s a great way to make a low-calorie spaghetti substitute with zucchini. Cut it long ways using the small julienne blade and you’ve got yourself something tasty. You can also cut long thin slices using only the straight blade, these make great lasagna noodles, as we found out on Zucchini Night and when Arcane Malevolence first came to dinner. And the Seascape Fondue from Bento Schmento Night was made possible by my trusty mandolin.

Number 9 – My Food Processor

I have never met a blender that I liked. In fact, I bought a blender when I bought my mandolin and it was a piece of garbage that never ever worked. Meaning it never blended a thing. Maybe the stuff down around its blade was blended, but the rest of the blender contents remained unblended. Thus, it was an unblender and I gave it away. So when my husband came home with a 10 year old never been used food processor from the fine people over at Braun I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But this baby has the ability to blend and shred and puree and grate. I love it. Whether it was cheese for Pizza Night or cucumber melon soup for Mint Night, my food processor has always come through.

Number 8 – My Ice Cream Maker

I’ll admit it, I had a ton of ice cream trauma this summer. I’d forget to freeze the canister or I did freeze the canister and it still wasn’t working. As it turned out my freezer was dying so now I’m free to once again dabble in the art that is ice cream making. My ice cream garden has given way to many interesting flavors, including tomato basil and sage ice cream. I look forward to more experimental flavors. Peter Pepper ice cream, anyone?

Number 7 – Novelty Baking Pans

Bunnies, dinosaurs – I wish I had unlimited cabinet space. While these pans are made for children I think it’s a great way to add a layer of fun to your dinner parties! I’ve made cornbread no less than a dozen times in these individually portioned fun shapes. Bunny shaped ice cubes for Fruit Night, individual dinosaur meatloaves for Prehistoric Night (sorry, no link, it was before I hit the web). The Headbanging Hostess doesn’t shy away from an opportunity for some childlike fun – neither should you.

Number 6 – My Kitchen-Aid Professional Mixer

Good old, hand held mixer. Much less expensive than the stand up. Sure it might not do as many tricks, but it mixes just fine and I’ve gotten a ton of use out of it. And it’s red. I like that. I’m interested to see how long it lasts. I bought it last year to replace what had been my PARENTS hand-mixer, it was easily over 40 years old. Good old school American craftsmanship.

Number 5 – My George Foreman Grill

Who doesn’t have one of these? It’s the only way I cook chicken breasts. I’ve used it to grill wraps, skirt steak, zucchini, celery – you can even make cookies on it! Clean up is easy. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. This is a great piece of equipment.

Number 4 - My Salad Spinner

I just bought a new one because I discovered mold in the lid of my old one. Ick, I know. Hopefully it was a faulty design and it won’t happen with the new one. It’s mostly clear, so I’ll be able to see what’s going on in there. ANYWAY. Salad spinners make salad making doable. You have to wash the lettuce, but if you put the dressing on wet lettuce it won’t stick. So it has to be dried. And, while putting the lettuce on a towel in front of a fan or the A/C works, it’s much easier to whirl the water off in what will become your salad bowl (after you dry it out so the dressing doesn’t get diluted.) Water and salad don’t mix.

Number 3 – My Rubber Spatula

Pretty low-tech, I know, but incredibly useful. Mine is a ridiculous shade of lime green but I manage to use it multiple times a day. I’d like to have one in every size, so I could scrape out every bit of a cans content. It’s also heat resistant so it’ll go from can to pan without a problem.

Number 2 – My Crockpot

Quite frankly I’m surprised this isn’t number one, but that’s a ridiculous thing to say because I can’t possibly be surprised, I’m the one writing this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you could cook a shoe in a crockpot and it would taste good. Chili, salsa, goulash, ropa vieja, skirt steak – I get a ton of mileage out of the crockpot. And it’s so easy! That’s the crazy part. Throw it in, turn it on and go. Eight hours later you’ll have an incredible meal. And it doubles as a warmer, serving dish and hot apple cider provider.


My Excalibur Food Dehydrator

This was the number one tag sale buy of all time. Forty bucks for a dehydrator with temperature control, nine trays and tray liners that make fruit leather! OMG FRUIT LEATHER! I have made beef jerky a number of times, and let me tell you, there is no comparing homemade jerky with that commercial processed crap. It’s incredibly tasty warm. I’ve also dehydrated herbs. It’s doubled as a lettuce dryer when I was briefly without a salad spinner. I used it as a warmer for my Thanksgiving Feast and I use it to proof my homemade bread. So I get a lot of use out of that one machine - so random yet so useful.

If you have a small kitchen like me you need to be picky about what toys you give space to. Try to avoid single purpose items that you may not use that often and opt for multi-purpose kitchen electrics that will earn their space and prove their value time and time again.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011 50 Year Old Spice Cake

The recipe is 50 years old. 1961, you can see it up in the corner of the aged paper (say it like Shakespeare, "age-ed paper" sounds cool). It belonged to my husband's grandmother. This is the first time I've made grandma's spice cake and it won't be the last.

It's delicious! I ate 4 cupcakes already!

I had to tweak it a bit, I didn't have molasses and I wanted to use butter (I still have some from Best of/Baked Potato Night!

So here's the recipe in it's Headbanging Hostess incakenation

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 tablespoons malt vinegar
3/4 cup milk
2 boxes of raisins (about 3 ounces)

Mix dry ingredients.

Add vinegar to milk.

In a large bowl cream the butter, mix in the sugar then add egg and mix until incorporated, add maple syrup and brown sugar and mix in.

Add some of the dry ingredients, mix a bit and then add milk mixture and mix a bit. Repeat, alternating between the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, until it's a uniform mixture. Fold in the raisins.

Scoop into cupcake papers, or a 9x9 pan, or whatever and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - approximately 20-25 minutes

Eat and repeat.

Diet tomorrow.


Friday, January 7, 2011 Cutting Out Meat And Losing Weight

Already I've lost weight in 2011!

I cut meat out of my diet after the first of the month and lo and behold I've already lost weight. Just a couple pounds, but I'm reminded of something I'd forgotten. Eating meat makes me fat. And I'd willingly forgotten the information, meat happens to taste good, especially when I cook it, but I took that bit of knowledge and threw it right-the-fuck-out-my-head.

And I'm not starving myself at all, I'm eating just as much as just as often, but I'm making better choices as to what I shove in my face. I'm munching on popcorn and cereal and Fiber One bars. I baked Sweet Potato Corn Bread yesterday and then gave it all away. And last nights Celery Apple and Brie Pizza was so good I'm making another tonight.

I'm not missing meat at all.

Not even bacon.

There must be something wrong with me ;)


Thursday, January 6, 2011 Celery Apple And Brie Pizza!

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm on a pizza kick!

I'm experimenting with white whole wheat flour in the dough, if I add some fiber I feel better about myself. But this baby is topped with double cream brie, so I'm not sure what the point was, other than making tasty pizza.

I topped my crust with some celery tossed with salt and pepper, honeycrisp apple pieces and five of the thinnest possible squishy slices of brie.

About 15 minutes on the pizza stone and wow! I love apples and brie, the celery really complimented the familiar flavor and the crust was like icing on the cake.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011 Building A Headbanging Empire

While on winter break I've been plugging away at the keyboard, trying to squeeze every bit of potential out of the interwebs. Yesterday it took me over two hours to upload all my videos to TubeMogul, which distributes them to the websites I choose.

Get ready to bookmark!

Dailymotion, and metacafe are all now blessed with the full HBH video library. Already people are taking note - "Stock Night!" has 110 views and a 3.19 star rating as of this very moment!

My new video camera has already kicked up the quality notches, I'm thinking about changing up the format of the dinners for a bit. How does BYO dinner parties sound? To tell you the truth, the expense has gotten a little taxing, and attempts at asking for donations have been spotty at best. My take has been 50 bucks and it's been 2. If I were forced to spend only that 2 bucks on the next dinner we'd be eating salt and pepper cardboard.

So I'd like to find a way to get the guests to supply more of the food, while I still am the one to cook it. Sure I could just tell everyone to bring something, but where's the fun in that? And what if they can't cook? And what if what they cook is everything I'm allergic to in a casserole?


I'd also like to do some videos on sanitation for the home in the near future. After the holidays I read one too many Facebook status updates regarding food poisoning. And, since I passed my ServeSafe exam with flying colors (92%) I feel I am qualified to offer the advice.

Speaking of exams, I got a 95% on my Food Production and Purchasing exam. Yes, all my grade school math teachers are rolling around in their graves right now. I was NEVER a good math student, but for some reason this year it clicked. So I think I'll use my mathematical powers to do some real dinner party costing. Dinner parties for every budget! Except 2 bucks...

Next month I have an awesome foodicle (food + article) in Alternative Control featuring a romantic dinner for two! I'm once again thrilled to have the opportunity.

Stay tuned!

Bang on, my peeps!


Saturday, January 1, 2011 Headbanging Resolve in 2011

2010 was a fantastic year for The Headbanging Hostess. I discovered a new talent, combined it with my existing ones and an entertaining food empire was born!

What to do in 2011?

First off I have to shed some of the TWENTY POUNDS I've put on! In a year of good cooking that translates to less than an ounce a day. And in some ways I don't really care but in some ways I do. I know it'd be healthy to lose some weight, start exercising again and once again see my hip bones. Well, maybe not the hip bone part. And I'm only a size 6...not that bad for most of the population. But having spent the majority of my life as a struggling, starving actress, being 125 instead of 105 has a bit of a negative effect on my self-image. Let's face it, we still live in a country where weight matters.

BTW - Has anyone seen Sheryl Crow lately? Girlfriend needs to eat something. Balance, people. It's something we need to find.

So I'll be finding some balance for my ass, I'll also be finishing school this year. I hope to continue my straight "A" status through the next semester. Hopefully the nutrition class I'll be taking will give me some guidance.

As The Headbanging Hostess I look forward to introducing some new bands, including Jacobi Wichita and new music from Burn The Bodies. I also hope to share some super tasty, healthy dinner party ideas, create lots of tasty new recipes and continue to deliver entertaining content in blog and video form.

I also aim to continue my restaurant reviews, which have been a popular feature of the blog. I hope to build upon the success of that and reach out to more potential fans through the power of food. I shall also finally harness the power of the internet, with the help of friends, to make sure my blog and vids get seen and go viral!

Here's to a faboo 2011 for all of you! Words cannot express how much your interest and support have meant to me. I have been transformed.

Bang on, my peeps!