Hannibal Lector’s Favorite Salad

Today we will discuss Classic Pasta at Home’s Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad. A favorite for Dr. Lector, he pairs it with his favorite Chianti and liverwurst that he gets at some special butcher shop. I can’t remember which one….I think it’s called Buffalo Bill’s Exotic Meats or something.

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Dr. Lector and his Chianti

Unfortunately, I ran into Dr. Lector while shopping for fava beans. His love of fava beans has no bounds. He bought them all up at the grocery store and was unwilling to share any with me. He said something about having a special dinner party and that he would invite me, but he had already “outdone” himself as it was. I don’t know what that meant, but Dr. Lector has always been a little off.

So I had to substitute with lima beans. Thankfully no other substitutes were needed.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 lbs of fava beans
  • 2 1/2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of minced green onion, stem included
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 8 – 12 soft lettuce leaves, preferably red. (Dr. Lector prefers the shade of Chianti)
  • 2 oz pecorinio cheese such as Toscanello or Manchego.

The first step in making this salad is to shell the fava or lima beans. To do this, you must either soak overnight or boil them for what seems like an eternity. Don’t be impatient with this step because it can make or break this salad. In other words, you don’t want the beans to be hard.

If you use the boil method, have a bowl of ice water ready. This creates a fast hot to cold effect that will rip off the skin of the bean. Buffalo Bill told me about this wonderful method by the way.

Drain the water once you let it cool down and then mix the beans in a large bowl with the olive oil and the green onions. Once these are mixed, you can add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice to your liking.

We are now ready to add the lettuce. Do so by tearing the lettuce into bite sized pieces and tossing gently along with rest of the salad.

The final step is to garnish with some cheese! My favorite part!

The cookbook recommends using a vegetable peeler and shaving the cheese into paper-thin slices. I grated mine, but I do think the shaved method would produce a greater taste of cheese. Being a cheese lover, I wished I had done this instead.

Can’t live in the past, though, right?

Anyway, you will want to toss the cheese as well. Once you have done so, it will be ready for consumption. Pair it with whatever you wish, unless it’s Hannibal Lector that is. I wouldn’t recommend that.

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Hummus, A Healthy Snack Made Even Healthier; The Final Chapter Resident Olive

The epic saga of hummus in the tales of Light and Healthy has now reached it’s final chapter. Will the forces of Olive defeat the evil empire of Garbanzo?  Stay tuned to find out.

Starring,

  • 1 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley or cilantro
  • A jar of pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

Previously on Hummus, A Healthy Snack Made Even Healthier we discovered Princess Hummus was trapped in the evil Kingdom of Garbanzo. How did she get there? Click the link to find out.

Meanwhile, our hero, Resident Olive along with two tablespoons of his coarsely chopped olive friends have made there way to Isle of Food Processor where they joined rebel garbanzo beans in an attempt to combine forces to save Princess Hummus from their evil emperor. Once combined, they traveled to Princess Hummus’s prison bowl. Upon arrival, Resident Olive realized they would need more allies and called on two more tablespoons of coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives. When the allies arrived, the evil emperor fired bolts of fresh parsley on them in attempt to overtake the rescue.

Princess Hummus counterattacked this spell by casting a delicious hummus summon spell which caused a human to save everyone and return the people of Hummus to their rightful home, The Kingdom of Rachel’s Stomach.

All rejoiced and lived a happy, wonderful life.

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Resident Olive and his army of olives and garbanzo beans

 

Hamburger of the Chilies

My next recipe comes from I Love Spice, which if you don’t know, I do love spice. I want to marry spice, but I also love cheese and it’s been a real struggle figuring out who I want to settle down with.

Spice can be intense sometimes, but I like the intensity and cheese is nice and comforting, but sometimes I get bored with cheese because all we do is lay around and talk about how much we like pizza.

For this recipe I did manage to get spice and cheese together. So maybe we can all work things out and move to Utah or start a commune somewhere. I have faith in our relationships.

What you’ll need

  • 1 lb 7 oz/650 grams of ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 small fresh red chilies, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • hamburger buns, of course, unless you’re gluten-free, then maybe not.

The first step is to make your burger patties by combining all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, and the hamburger buns. That would be awkward.

Mix those ingredients so that they are dispersed in the meat evenly and then season with salt and pepper.

The next step is to form burger patties and you do this by invoking your child hood self’s love of play-dough. Don’t get too carried away though.

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You can’t compete with Meatwad anyway

Instead of Abraham Lincoln, you should be making four roundish patties, like so.

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Once you’ve formed your patties, pre-heat a broiler or grill and then cook those puppies for 5-8 minutes on each side or until they have reached the level of doneness you prefer.

Once they are cooked to your liking, you can garnish with basil sprigs and serve on your hamburger bun with all the fixings you like.

You can also add cheese, which I did. I added pepperjack, because obviously it’s my two loves together and why wouldn’t I?

My final result turned out well. I feel like it’s hard to mess up a burger patty. As long as you don’t over or undercook it, it should turn out well.

I loved the kick of the spices and it was juicy and delicious. So, if you love spice or want to try something new for your Labor Day Cookout, go ahead and give this guy a try. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Cheesy and Nutty Cherry Pie without the Crust

Today’s recipe got me thinking. Remember the song Cherry Pie from 1990?

The other day I was talking to a co-worker and he was telling me about some hangout that 80’s glam rockers would go to in LA to get pie. Actual pie.

Me, being my immature self, cocked an eyebrow and said, “Yeah, I bet they went there to get “pie”. I bet they got a lot of “pie” there.”

The combination of that conversation and this cherry pie like dessert made me wonder if the band Warrant was inspired by this pie eatery.

Wikipedia informed me this wasn’t the case and I learned some other sad and interesting facts about the band Warrant, the cherry pie girl, and the lead singer who sadly passed away a few years ago to alcohol poisoning.

One fact, I found quite inspiring.  The cherry pie girl in the video used coke to slim down for most of her modeling shoots. Now this girl is not rail thin. She has the body that I’d like to have and lately I’ve been feeling bloated, fat, and envious of girls on social media who post photos of their skinny and fashionable selves.

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Look at that coke body!

It’s comforting to know that all I have to do is develop a coke habit and my fat will just slide off.

That’s sarcasm folks. My real feelings are a mix of concern for the model and an admitted smug satisfaction of, “Ha! I bet some of those skinny girls I envy are coke heads!”

I’m not always a wonderful human being.

In conclusion, I discovered that this song is not about cherry pie at all. Not that I’m surprised. This recipe, however is loosely based on cherry pie and comes from Cooking Light.

What you’ll need

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 15 ounce carton part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon creme de cassis (black currant-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds, toasted

The first step is to combine the rind and ricotta. Set this aside when finished.

Then combine the juice, liqueur, and pepper. You can use a small bowl for this. Now get out a 12 inch skillet that won’t melt in the oven. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly on the skillet. Heat this on medium-high heat for about two minutes or when the sugar starts to melt.

Add the cherries to the pan once the sugar starts to melt and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour the liqueur mixture over the cherries and cook again for two minutes or until the mixture thickens.

The cherries are almost ready to be put in the oven, but we’ve got a few steps left so at this moment you should pre-heat your broiler.

The last steps area as follows. Get a double boiler. If you don’t have one, I don’t, you can make your own by getting a small pan, adding a bit of water in the pan and then placing a bowl of some sort that won’t sink into the pan. Meaning, it’s not so small that it would fit entirely in the pan, but not so big that you can’t have it rest on top.

Whether you have one or not, place the remaining sugar, salt, and egg whites in the bowl or the top of the boiler. Cook this for about two minutes once the water in the pan has simmered.

While it cooks, stir continuously with a whisk. Once cooked, remove and then beat until it stiffens. If you have a mixer this process will be easier. Otherwise you’re just going to have to beat away with a fork for what feels like an eternity.

Add one-fourth of this egg mixture into the ricotta mixture until it has blended well. Keep doing this until all the of the egg whites have been used up.

Finally, evenly spoon in the remaining mixture over the cherries and broil in the oven for three minutes. If in those three minutes, it should be ready for consumption. After you sprinkle it with the almonds that is!

I enjoyed this desert. It’s just enough of a stray from a classic cherry pie to keep things interesting but not in disappointment. The ricotta was a bit much for me, at times. If I made it again, I’d probably add less of it. Then again, a beater, most likely would have given me a different result concerning the egg whites which could have altered the taste of the ricotta.

All in all, I recommend  trying this recipe out. Especially if you enjoy 80’s glam rock and cherry pie at diners.

Warm Oysters or How My Theory that I Prefer Hot Food was Validated

Warm Oysters with Balsamic Vinegar or as the French say, Les Huitres Tiedes au Vinaigre Balsamique is my final oyster recipe in French Farmhouse Cookbook.

Susan, the author, took a tour on the Breton shore and wined and dined with many an oyster farmer. One in particular suggested Susan try this method which has warmed me up to oysters and I think will be enjoyed by others as well.

There’s something about warm butter and seafood that is extremely comforting for me. The addition of balsamic adds to the warmth in taste without overshadowing the oysters.

I’m actually excited about eating oysters more and look forward to trying out different methods. I admittedly probably won’t make my own anymore. Making your own tends to require some forethought and a special shucking knife that I do not own.

This is a recipe that relies on your own good judgement as far as portions go. I have a feeling some of you might panic when you read that, but rest assured that even I didn’t screw it up.

The cookbook does have the following measurements for those who can’t handle that. I only got 6 oysters and eyed the rest myself.

  • 2 dozen small to medium oysters, scrubbed in the shell
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup best-quality balsamic vinegar

The first step is to pre-heat your oven. Yes you read that right. These oyster pups are gonna get baked.

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Don’t get excited, it’s not the kind of baked

Susan suggests that the best way to get the oysters baked is to arranged them on a baking sheet with the cup side down. Spreading salt on the sheet will help stabilize them if you have trouble keeping them balanced.

Once you place the oysters in the oven, you will bake for about 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and then pry them open as carefully as possible. Once you’ve pried them open, you can remove the outer shell.

The proper consumption method is as follows, drizzle a touch of butter. (When I say touch, I truly mean a miniscule amount. It won’t take much.) The final step is to add 2 to 3 drops of vinegar. You are now prepared for slurping! Enjoy!

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The butter can’t compete with the oyster’s sexiness

 

 

 

Rice and Peas or as Italians say, Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi makes me think of AC/DC. I think I’ll add Risi/Bisi to my list of band names that will most likely never come into actual fruition. You kind of need musical ability to be in a band after all. I have some. I played the saxophone in school and all, but my guitar skills are abysmal. I could be a lead singer maybe. That might be my ticket to my band name dream into reality.

I’ll keep this band name dream alive and never do anything to actually reach it so my dreams won’t be crushed brutally like Bernie Sanders. This is the world we live in.

One dream you can reach is this dish, which is from Cecilia Antonini and Little Italy Festival Town Cookbook.

Cecilia is another woman from my town that I have no information on sadly. I did find it interesting that she uses leeks for this recipe. I had assumed leeks were a French thing. I ended up talking to my mother about it and she said, “Oh yeah, Italians like leeks too. It just fell to the wayside as a known Italian ingredient in America.”

Then she went on a rant about Trump and basically how he’s going to make things not so great again. My mother’s father was first generation American and that part of the family  went through a lot of discrimination because they were Italian.

When you grow up hearing about discrimination of your family in the past, it tends to make you sensitive to those who face it in the present.

Sadly, a lot of people forget that most immigrants were scrutinized and hated even if they came from Europe and were white.

I don’t want to get into politics, though. It hardly ever leads to a healthy discussion. Everyone wants their side to be right and the other to be dumb and wrong.

I declare peas for peace, starting now.

What you’ll need

  • 1/2 cup of minced leek or onion
  • 1/4 cup of minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 qt. boiling water
  • 1 qt. buttered peas, cooked and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

The first step is to prepare your qt of boiling water. Next, saute the leeks or onion. I used a leek. Saute them with the parsley until it is golden brown. Add the rice after that and stir until it also browns, evenly. Now you add the boiling water, one cup at a time. Stir this mixture until the water is absorbed and the rice is at an al dente state.

The final steps are to add the buttered peas along with the salt and pepper. Stir this with the rice and serve with grated cheese and melted butter.

This dish was interesting, but I didn’t like it that much. It wasn’t bad, just so-so. From what I remember of eating it, the leeks and peas were the strongest in taste. I didn’t really put butter on it, which I think might have turned this dish from ok to good.

Despite my blasé feelings, I would like to try this again, because I think it would make an excellent side dish for a fish or chicken dish. I could see it being an interesting base for risotto as well.

Till next time I suppose.

 

Some Church’s Favorite Fruit Punch

…that I spiked later with devil’s juice from Sweden, because I have a drinking problem.

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We will briefly go to serious talk and I’ll denote to my dear readers that this recipe comes from the First Presbyterian Church in what I’m guessing is Bloomington, Indiana since this also comes from Tastes of Monroe County.

I have to admit I was never crazy about fruit punch or lemonade as a kid and whenever there was a fish fry, barbecue, or spaghetti dinner in my town they were always serving punch or lemonade, much to my younger self’s dismay.

I was always like, “What?! No rootbeer? No Sprite? I have to drink water??? Ugh! I guess I’ll have lemonade. I refuse to drink something like water that would nourish and replenish my body!”

As an adult, I get sad if there’s no alcohol, but at least water and I are cool with each other.

Anyway, this punch is actually called Favorite Fruit Punch. I wasn’t being a total sassy pants with the title. That’s what is written on the page folks.

I can’t help but wonder if the good parishioners of First Presbyterian voted on this or if they have some kind of punch committee or if it is one person’s favorite and they were like ok we’ll add that to the community cookbook? I mean how did they come to this conclusion? I truly want to know.

What you’ll need.

  • 1 6oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 10oz package frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 2 liter bottle of ginger ale

The first step is to blend all the fruits together in a blender until it is well blended. Then you are supposed to freeze it into a mold.

I don’t understand why the freezing step is necessary and would love to hear from a punch expert about why. My best guess is so that it remains cold for a long period of time because otherwise I don’t understand the point.

I froze it and once it was frozen I poured ginger ale on top and waited almost an hour for it to thaw out so I could drink it.

It ended up being worth the wait. My favorite taste was the tartness that came from the lemonade concentrate. It paired well with the strawberries and the pineapple helped subdue it so it wasn’t overpowering. I couldn’t detect the ginger ale which surprised me. I’m sure it helped water down the fruit flavors in general so they weren’t overpowering.

As I said earlier, I ended up spiking it with Svedka vodka, but I did try it without as well. Both were tasty, but if you got something you can put alcohol in and it’s after 5 you might as well do so.

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Your friendly neighborhood fruit punch