Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Wine Tasting Blues

We had a wine tasting today in school. Most people would enjoy a wine tasting, not me. I don't drink alcohol at all, don't like it, never really did. And I've tried to develop an appreciation of wine. When I worked at the "west coast pizza chain from hell" we had a wine tasting that paired the wine with our ingredients, and I got the different flavors, I just didn't like any of them.

The guy who was leading the tasting was filled with knowledge and passion for wine. He had a great presentation style, I thought. He kept my interest, I learned things, even chuckled once or twice. When the tasting came along the whites were not to my liking, the first sip of the Riesling was okay but the second sip confirmed I still didn't like wine. And when the reds came along, forget it! I made the ugliest face of my existence (and believe me, I've made some ugly faces) and quickly pawned off the rest on a classmate.

So that's that. And as the teacher pointed out, people in the service industry need to know wine. Good thing I don't want to work in the service industry :)


Monday, March 28, 2011 Bitchin' 'Bout Bloggers

So... This food blogger I follow on Facebook posts her status. Something along the lines of "You can substitute string cheese for mozzarella cheese." Seems harmless, right? Then, someone replies something along the lines of "Mind blowing! I never ever thought of that in my entire existence."

Um, are you fucking kidding me?

String cheese IS mozzarella cheese!

I honestly cannot believe someone wouldn't know that. And I really can't believe a food blogger would think that's news. But, whatever. I'm sure she knows her shit, she's a nice girl and all that, but it just blows my mind. And the fact that she has 5,500 fans sticks in my you-know-what.

Don't get me wrong! I am super thankful for the Facebook fans I have, for my blog readers and video watchers. And I know headbanging doesn't speak to everyone. I know not everyone will like me or even get me. I understand that. I've been that way for 38 years now.

Someone suggested I cater to the masses in order to get my numbers up. But are the masses really that dumb? Need I point out you can substitute a few small cans of tomato sauce for one large can of tomato sauce? That you may use brown eggs instead of white eggs? That you can... Actually, I can't think of another example...

Are these the people that I'm writing for? No! I'm writing for people with an IQ high enough to be able to correctly identify the foods that go into their mouths. People smart enough and passionate enough about the food they put into their bodies to know BY TASTE that a piece of cheese is the same piece of cheese no matter what shape it comes in. And they're over that cheese anyway! The people I write for eat stinky cheese, sharp cheese, gooey brie, melted raw milk raclette... My people are putting chocolate on chicken and shrimp and they are liking it.

String cheese? Forget it \m/


Sunday, March 27, 2011 Cherry Crush Soda Can Chicken

I guess I'm on a soda can chicken kick. Today's chicken found itself covered in a mixture of cocoa, paprika, chili, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. It also found itself with half a cherry soda up it's you know what. Hour and a half at 350 surrounded by Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes...

That shockingly red sauce you see is the other half can of Cherry Crush reduced on the stove with a spot of vinegar and a scored Peter Pepper. I always get questions about the Peter Peppers. They are indeed a real pepper - super spicy and shaped like a "peter." I have two bags of them in my freezer. Because they are so spicy I only put a few shallow cuts in the pepper and throw it in whole (so I can take it out whole.)

Once the sauce reduced I added a bit of cornstarch to thicken it and then I gave it a taste. Mucho fuego! I put in a spot of corn syrup to dampen the fire.

This was a super tasty incarnation of the soda can idea. The cocoa and chili totally worked. The skin was amazing, crunchy and flavorful. The sauce was out of control tasty and the chicken was super tender and moist. This dinner shall be repeated!

Bang on, my peeps!


Big Time Birthday Celebration!

Next week we'll be celebrating the 7th birthday of my baby bunny boy. I can't believe it! Seems like he's been here FOREVER! Ha ha ha. I remember going to pick up this fuzzy bundle of rabbitude, riding back from Massachusetts with him sprawled out on my lap. I was instantly in love and he was instantly in charge.

Last year we celebrated his birthday in style, with a huge party. Multi-course eating, gift giving, loot bags and even cupcakes to take home! That was before I even considered myself The Headbanging Hostess that I am. Before the blogging and vlogging, back when I'd literally cook for three or four days. I've since learned to scale back for sanity's sake. But next week will find me back in the kitchen cooking up a storm to celebrate in classic headbanging fashion.

Carnival Night, baby!

Foods inspired by the carnival of all carnivals. The state fair of all state fairs. I'm not talking crappy outdated musicals, no. I'm talking THE BIG E!!!!!

Deep Fried Salad!

Pot Roast Sundaes!

Crazy Pizza Combinations!


Cadbury Creme Eggs baked in a biscuit!!!!!

Call the hospital now and reserve your room in the cardiac wing. And stay tuned for details!!!

PLUS, as an added bonus, my bunny and I have articles in the upcoming issue of Alternative Control!

Bang on, my peeps!


Sunday, March 20, 2011 First Spring Day in the Garden!

Dirt! Glorious dirt! What is it about you?

The first official day of Spring found me out on my porch cleaning up the mess I left this winter when I simply threw blankets over the garden and forgot about it. I uncovered it a few weeks ago to find the spinach still growing, but in classic headbanging fashion I plowed it all up with my hand rake and started shifting my soil from bin to bin, as I do every year in an effort to keep my soil alive. If I had actual land I'd rotate crops, but here on the porch I just rotate soil. I've got a bunch in a black plastic bag, hoping it creates enough heat to break up all the leftover pepper plant parts from last year. I'll probably add some bunny poop, I know it sounds gross but I promise you it's not. It's perfectly safe to put in the garden and it's a good source of nitrogen, which is good for the plants.

I actually planted some lettuce and carrots in two of the containers today. I've got a few ideas for the garden this year, different colored peppers, romanesco broccoli, peanuts maybe? I have an indoor seed starting kit I plan on using to start most of my plants. And I can never resist buying some plants.

Herbs have always done well in my garden, so this year I'll continue with the herb ice cream garden. Some I didn't really use - marjoram and tarragon, what are they really for? Maybe they just don't fit on my palate, but I'll happily replace them with some other faboo herb I actually use.

I'm looking forward to a great garden this year. And with food prices and gas prices going where they're going I may be eating off the porch more than usual! Works for me!

Bang on, my peeps!


Friday, March 18, 2011 Sorta Shepard's Pie

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and although I'm not Irish and I'm not a drinker, I helped my Italian drinker husband celebrate the day with my special Shepard's Pie.

It's special in two ways - one, it's actually ground beef and not lamb because ground lamb was 15 dollars a pound! And two, I make it in a potato chip crust. Yes, you read that right, a potato chip crust. And it is friggin' AWESOME!

Check out this photo set on my Facebook page.

Ingredients for Headbanging Shepard's Pie

1 bag of regular Cape Cod Potato Chips
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup or so of peas and carrots (Corn is okay too. And frozen is fine!)
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 large potatoes mashed with butter, milk and seasoned
Stock and roux (butter and flour) for gravy
1/2 stick of melted butter
salt, pepper, powdered rosemary (available at Penzy's)

Throw about 3/4ths of the potato chips in a food processor with the melted butter and some rosemary and blend into teeny-tiny pieces. Dump most of it into a pie pan and press it in and up the sides. Save a little for the top. Bake it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350 to get some color on it.

Brown the meat in a big pan with some seasonings. Pour off the excess fat and then add the veggies, onion and garlic. It doesn't have to cook long, because it's going back in the oven.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the potato chip crust and then, using a piping bag or a ziplock with the corner cut off, pipe the mashed potatoes all over the top.

Sprinkle with the remaining chips and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. You want a little color on the top, everything is already cooked so you don't have to overdo it.

For the gravy heat up the stock on the stove. I used chicken stock because I had it in the fridge from the day before. But you can use whatever you want. I'm not gonna judge. Let it come to a simmer and then add the roux - butter and flour all mushed up on a plate. I had about half a stick of butter and an equal amount of flour for around 2 1/2 cups of stock. I'm not measuring over here, I'll admit it. It's okay! What's the worst that can happen? Not enough roux, make more! Too thick, add more liquid! As the gravy comes back to a boil it'll thicken up real nice. Use a whisk and stir out all the lumps and then give yourself a pat on the back. You just made kickin' gravy!

Let the pie sit for a moment before you cut it. Slice it up like any pie and smother each slice with gravy. Dang good!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Buffalo Wing Burger Rocks Filling Station Company!

Filling Station Company in New Canaan is celebrating their one year anniversary with this insanely good Buffalo Wing Burger! House made buffalo wing sauce, celery and blue cheese on top of one of their already tasty burgers.

Two Tits Up! \m/

The flavors were spot on! I've had blue cheese on a burger before and was pretty put off by it, but that absolutely wasn't the case with this burger. The perfect smattering of blue cheese chunks, thinly sliced celery and finger-lickin' slathered sauce combined with the Filling Station Company signature bun/burger ratio. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Between bites of burger and sips of diet soda I managed to shove a few fries in malt vinegar before shoving them in my mouth. The flavor screamed Royal Guard Fish & Chips (and if you're from Stamford you know what I'm talking about) and it was just enough to cleanse my palate before I dove back into every bite of buffalo burger.


Hurry up because this burger is only on the menu until the end of March. So you have 15 days to enjoy it! And if you're brave they have a Guinness shake to go along with it!

Bang on, my peeps!


Spring Break = Diet Vacation

I've been pretty good on my diet...until now. Eating meat only once a week has been put on hold while I celebrate spring break in a way no self-respecting MTV programmer would ever choose to broadcast. I'm eating...lots.

Sunday's dinner consisted of an experimental chicken preparation. You've heard of beer can chicken? Well this was orange soda can chicken. Oh yeah! Cover the chicken with salt, pepper, chili, cinnamon, allspice, paprika, pour out half a soda, place the chicken on the can, vertically, in the most pornographic way possible and bake! About a half-an-hour in I added the carrots and potatoes, they were small. No way they'd need the full hour and fifteen to cook.

The other half of the soda I reduced on the stove and then I threw in the last of the spicy sauce from the Samoas Shrimp. The chicken really did take on a nice orange flavor, and the sauce spooned over the top brought it all together - the spice, the sweet, the cinnamon! OMG! Mad crazy tasty.

And the best part? Leftovers!

Yesterday I pulled the rest of the meat off the chicken and baked it into a casserole. If anything is going to prevent me from losing anymore weight it is my ability to make cheese sauce. Bechamel, raclette, gouda, pepper jack - all of these ingredients seek to destroy what's left of my figure by smothering my veggies and high fiber pasta in ridiculous fatty goodness. And the chicken...with just a hint of cinnamon flavor.

My mother never made casserole, I've said this before, so I know I'm way behind the times with this. But I just love making them so I will continue to create casseroles with headbanging qualities.

Using up leftovers is quickly becoming a headbanging quality.

Speaking of which, the last of that bird is on the stove now, in a big pot with all sorts of veggie scraps making (you guessed it) chicken stock. With a hint of cinnamon. My house smells bangin'.

On top of all this my husband brought home a huge chunk of meat the other day and said, "Can you make beef jerky out of this?" So I have enough jerky in the house to feed a small army. And I've been gnawing away at it for days.

This will have to end eventually, my neighbor dropped off a bunch of hand-me-down clothing and it's all a little small. I'd rather starve than shop for clothes. And the weather is starting to cooperate with my need to walk outside. So I'll be burning more calories before you know it! C'mon, Spring! Let's see if we can get this 38 year old ass back in my bikini!

Bang on, my peeps!


Saturday, March 12, 2011 The Little Miss Project

Some of you may be familiar with The Little Miss Project, I've mentioned it before. Well, they have taken the next step and now they have The Little Miss Project website and if you scroll down to the bottom you can see me. But, please, watch a few of the submissions, read some of the stories, even if you've never heard Sugarland in your life take a moment to witness the power music has to comfort, communicate and heal. We all have our problems, some people have cancer, some feel they just don't fit in, but no matter where they are on the scale of human suffering "Little Miss" speaks to them. That's powerful music.

I'm sure a lot of you wonder what this headbanger is doing listening to Sugarland. But my musical tastes have been all over the map my whole life - Yes, Live, Styx, Anthrax, Slayer, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Zappa and Brad Paisley just to name a few. When I first heard Jennifer singing "Down In Mississippi (Up To No Good)" I knew right away she was the greatest singer of my generation and I was a Sugarland fan for life.

Being a part of The Little Miss Project has been an absolute thrill for me. My video has gotten over 5,000 hits and The Headbanging Hostess has even picked up a few Facebook fans. I encourage you to check out The Little Miss Project and Sugarland. I guarantee at least one of their songs will speak to you. And that's what it's all about.

Bang on, my peeps! \m/


Friday, March 11, 2011 Samoas Shrimp Recipe

Last night I went to a crafting party! Buncha chicks sitting around making St. Patty's Day crafts...or at least green crafts. Ton of fun. I went through a years long crafting phase a while back. Me and my hot glue gun were inseparable! But I recently threw it all out in the street with a "free" sign and said goodbye to a ton of pom-poms, pipe cleaners and glitter. So when I was invited to craft night I jumped at the chance to make shit and bring some food with me!

Coincidentally I saw my friend Dayna from high school yesterday so I could buy some girl scout cookies and we could catch up on the last 20 FRIGGIN' YEARS!!! Where does the time go? I'm not really sure, but we had a great time talking (we probably annoyed the Dunkin' Donuts staff to no end, but they sell shitty donuts so it's okay) and I left with a great box of cookies. Samoas. My favorite.

Now, I'd been struggling to come up with a good idea of what to bring to craft night for WEEKS! Finger food was the request and for some reason I couldn't think of a thing. Thinking back on all my dinner nights I couldn't think of one thing that was hand held, would transport well and would appeal to everyone. I loved the PB & Fluff crostini from the ever doomed Twisted Comfort night but I didn't think it would go over well because, frankly, Dave and I were the only ones who liked it.And he probably only liked it because he was being supportive. And I could have made Lettuce Wraps of any kind but I didn't think they'd travel well, even if it was only down the street. And I tried to do something Irish but, to be honest, none of the food looked that good to me. And I know I'm gonna hear it. Irish food is great, yes I know, but I couldn't figure out a hand held stew or Shepard's pie and I thought maybe corned beef potato skins, but I wasn't sure. And then came the Samoas...

Samoas Shrimp with Spicy Sauce

1 lb bag of large shrimp (I had about 20 shrimp in my 15 count bag. Love you, Trader Joe's)

Corn Flour (Regular flour is okay, too)

Egg whites

Corn meal

Seasoned bread crumbs

About 8 Samoas pulverized as much as possible in the blender

Pepper, salt, cayenne, cinnamon

Season the shrimp with the salt and pepper (use what you like, I used Mediterranean salt which includes some herbs)

Set up three bowls for dipping the shrimp. Corn flour in the first bowl, beaten egg whites in the second and the corn meal, bread crumbs and samoas in the third.

Spice up the cookie mixture to your liking and then get your fingers in there and break up the chunks of caramel as much as you can. You can eat some, too :)

I had the oil on medium-high heat, about 7 on my electric stove. The shrimp cooked real fast but the outside didn't burn too much. There's sugar in there, it's gonna burn, so be careful not to have the oil too hot or it'll burn faster than the shrimp can cook. Making sense?

One at a time take the seasoned shrimp and dip it in the flour then the egg whites then the cookie mixture. I did them 5 at a time, because my pan was small. Dip all 5 before you put them in the oil so they all have consistent cook time. If you're bold you can dip the next 2 or three while the shrimp cook on one side, flip them over and dip the rest. Multi-tasking like that will get you in a cook-time rhythm.

To transport them I put'em in a tin loaf pan, with a heating pad underneath and wrapped them and the sauce in kitchen towels. OMG! I almost forgot about the sauce!

Who knew the juice of one orange, a good dollop of coconut nectar, the heat of a peter pepper and a bit of corn starch would make such tastiness?

I combined the orange juice with the coconut nectar in a small pan. I used a good amount of nectar so I added a drop of water to thin it out a bit. I lightly chopped a peter pepper from the freezer (I have two bags left from the summer! We will be having a Peter pepper night!) and I threw it in to simmer. Once enough heat escaped the pepper I removed it and then thickened the sauce with cornstarch. I took out some of the stock, dissolved and stirred in a spoon of cornstarch and returned it to the heat. Once it started to boil it thickened up nicely, almost like a duck sauce. It was the perfect accompaniment to the shrimp.

These are definitely worth a try, go find a girl scout and buy her cookies!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011 Exercises in Ridiculousness

I applied for graduation the other day and I had to bring a copy of my records to the records office.


Actually it was more ridiculous than that. I had to print my own records (off their website using their computer and paper) then I had to go to the department head so he could look at my records with me and declare that I've taken all 8 classes needed to graduate with a fancy-schmancy certificate. This information was already on the paper I had, but he printed up another sheet with the same information and sent me back to the records office. There, a lovely woman with the customer service skills of a chupacabra, pointed at the wall and sent me back to the computer to guessed it...another two sheets of paper with the same friggin' information.

Are you kidding me?

Here I am, six sheets of paper in, in what's supposed to be a paper-free society by now. It's 2011! I'm printing the information off the schools computer, off the schools website, they have it all in digital format. Why am I wasting all this paper to tell you what you already know!!!!!


And that's not even it. For the certificate program I needed to do a Co-op. You know, work experience. I think you have to do 400 hours or something. Now, I worked in food my whole life practically. When I wasn't on stage I was slinging frozen yogurt, making cakes, serving assholes. From the age of 19 until just after I turned 37. Since then, as you may be aware, I've been The Headbanging Hostess. So, I'm pretty sure somewhere in those 18 years, I worked 400 hours. But simply printing my resume on a piece of paper, supplying them with a letter for my former boss at TCBY and writing an essay wasn't enough to prove that I deserve credit for life experience. No. I had to put together this ridiculous portfolio with web shots and pictures and blog posts and a DVD. All this so a bunch of academics can sit around and congratulate themselves for recognizing (through my lovely portfolio) my achievements in the food service industry.


An industry I have zero interest in being a part of, by the way.

Here I am, two months away from graduation, still without a crystal plan for what I'm doing here. I've received only slightly more than zero guidance at school and I'm afraid it'll all be over before I've figured out anything meaningful.

There lies the rub.


Sunday, March 6, 2011 Vegan Night Wrap-Up and More

Vegan Night was a success. If you haven't watched the video check it out here.

I want to give a more complete recipe for the BBQ sauce and lasagna. Keep in mind this is all to taste, my sauce was pretty spicy. I was actually glad I had the Waldorf"ish" salad on my plate to calm my mouth between bites. But you know what your mouth and your families mouths like, so feel free to switch it all up. The most important flavor here is the love.

For the sauce -

Tomato puree
Apple Cider Vinegar
Mustard (I used Spicy Brown)
salt and pepper
Chili powder (Ancho and Chipotle for me)
Paprika (Hungarian Half-Sharp and Smoked Spanish)
pinches of Anise and Allspice
Coconut nectar
half cap each of Hickory and Mesquite liquid smoke
one roasted onion
4-5 cloves of roasted garlic

Cook in a saucepan, puree with stick blender, enjoy.

As for the lasagna, let your imagination do the work. You don't have to make your own noodles. Layer par-cooked store noodles with whatever says BBQ to you. I used beans, roasted peppers and corn. But you could add collard greens if that's your thing, that certainly says BBQ. Black-eyed peas, scalloped potatoes, even mushrooms would add a great meaty texture. Layer it up, sauce, pasta, filling, pasta, sauce, pasta, filling, pasta and so on. Use vegan cheese if you like, or real cheese if you're not vegan. Hell, if you're not vegan put some pulled pork in there. You get my meaning. Make what you want! The final product will never fail to impress if you follow your heart.

I was super pleased with my vegan meal. Mission accomplished.

On another note, please take a moment to fill out a ballot for the Fairfield County Weekly's annual "Best Of" issue. Vote for Best Local Blog and check out my list of "Two Tits Up" Restaurants to finish padding the ballot. You need to vote in 20 categories in order for your votes to be counted. You can also vote for Bridgeport Theatre Company for Best Local Theatre Company, they did a reading of one of my plays a few months back so they are HBH approved :)

Thank you so much and please pass it on. Accolades ROCK \m/


Saturday, March 5, 2011 Vegan Night! Featuring music by Pink Missile!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 One Down One To Go

Today was our big breakfast for the state legislature. We had to be at school at 5:55AM for a 7:30 start. Most of the work was already done, but we had final touches, heating, plating and so on to do. The funny thing about all of the functions at school is that they're all pretty...I'm looking for a word...something like anticlimactic but it starts with non...I dunno, I've been up since 5. What I'm trying to say is that you prep for days and days and then when the day comes it seems like there's not much to do. But they came, they ate, they paid lip service to the value of education and they left.

They barely ate a thing, so maybe I'm glad we didn't make my Connecticut muffin idea. Because if a basket of them went untouched I'd be pretty pissed. I'm emotional like that.

Tomorrow is my big day in the kitchen. I'm making pretty much everything for Vegan Night - fresh pasta, assembling the lasagna, making salad, cookies, sorbet. Then I've got to pack it all up and bring it to our super special location in Fairfield. One of my regulars is house sitting so we're going on the road!

I'm looking forward to it! Tasty vegan food is a challenge, I think, and I'm ready to conquer!

Stay tuned for the video!!!