Cooking Up Great Things

First Day Back to School

What a surprise when the Principal at John Muir Elementary in Glendale, California announced that the slogan for the school year 2011-2012 is “Cooking Up Great Things” with little clip art picture of a woman cooking. Of course, I immediately had to tell the Principal about The Good Plate and how I was going to write an article about the slogan.

So, if you want to, please feel free to visit John Muir Elementary. It’s a wonderful school, and I’m blessed that Spane can go there!

Stuffed Barbari Bread

Stuffed Barbary BreadRecipes in this Post

I have a friend who is a cab driver. A long time ago, when taking me to work one morning, he introduced me to Babari bread. I fell in love. Barbari bread is a fluffy, flat Iranian bread with sesame seeds on top. It is wonderful with butter and honey in the morning, or a quick lunch of Barbari bread and cheese. The loaf is flat and long, and often the checker at the store will fold it in half to fit in your grocery bag – it doesn’t hurt it. Barbari bread, because it has no preservatives will dry out rather quickly. If it does, cut it up and use if for croûtons, bread crumbs or stuffing.

This morning, as I was looking for something to make for breakfast and not wanting to heat up my kitchen, I thought it was be very good stuffed. It was, Spane had four pieces!

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Hot Tin Roof Salad – Composed Grilled Steak Salad

saladoverRecipes in this Post

I loved the movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives. It just seemed the weather was so hot and humid in that movie, kind of like it was today in Glendale, California. Spane, Amber’s children and a friend all had a wonderful time playing in the neighbors pool, and as I watched them, I thought that a steak salad would be the perfect end to a perfect day. I decided to call the salad Hot Tin Roof Salad because it was so hot and steamy here, just like in the movie.

With that being said, one of the wonderful things about summer is all the great, fresh vegetables. Tomatoes are sweet and pop juice into your mouth. Lettuce is really crisp and the greenest of green. The little Persian cucumbers I get at the local Armenian store are tender and flavorful – not like their large watery English cousins with the waxed skins that always seem to come up on you later. Buttery Haas avocados are also plentiful – did you know that all Haas avocados come from one single tree that died at the age of 76 in La Habra Heights, California?

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The Maze of Mayonnaise

Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise

Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise

Recipes in This Post

Ambrose Bierce’s definition of mayo from his 1906 Devil’s Dictionary:

One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.

It is said,

“It is highly probable that wherever olive oil existed, a simple preparation of oil and egg came about – particularly in the Mediterranean region, where aioli (oil and garlic) is made.”
M. Trutter et al., Culinaria Spain p. 68 (H.F. Ullmann 2008)

Let’s put to rest the group fantasy that mayo is “salmonella pudding,” Mayo has a high acid content that prevents bacterial growth. Mayo will spoil only if you mix it in already spoiled food.

If you are afraid of tainted maise you make yourself, start with pasteurized eggs.

For a different variation, try Japanese Style Mayo: “Japanese mayonnaise is typically made with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar and a small amount of MSG, which gives it a different flavor from mayonnaise made from distilled vinegar. It is most often sold in soft plastic squeeze bottles. Its texture is thinner than most Western commercial mayonnaise. A variety containing karashi (Japanese mustard) is also common.”

As for the mayo on the wall…that’s a different story. 🙂

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Chicken a la King with Fettuccine

A Can of Swanson's Chicken a la King

A Can of Swanson’s Chicken a la King

Don’t Cook Tonight!

Boy, it was a bad day here. I didn’t get to sleep until late last night. Spane made me crazy this morning while I was trying to video something that I haven’t put up yet, and he had got grounded for the day – no TV, no bike, etc.

To make matters worse, I had to fix my printer/fax machine. With Spane’s Dandy Walker Syndrome it’s really important that I can send and receive faxes, and today was the day that I decided to fix the silly thing. I am a computer whiz, or at least my friends say that, and it still took me TWO HOURS to get the darned thing fixed.

Finally, I got it fixed, and Spane and I were hungry. There wasn’t anything in the freezer that was quick or looked appetizing. I was about to give up when I looked up in the cupboard and saw a can of Swanson’s Chicken a la King.

Heaven Forbid!

Yes, I know I’m all about having things organic and freshly made. I reconstruct packaged foods all the time. But, Swanson’s Chicken ala King is something that I grew up with, as long as I can remember, my mother bought it at the PX when we lived in Germany, 50 years ago. I loved it then, and I love it now. So there!

Homemade Chicken a la King

Homemade Chicken a la King

If you don’t want to use the canned variety, and you have some time, then may I suggest making it from scratch? It’s a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken, and especially good if you have leftover grilled chicken. Here’s my recipe for Chicken a la King – Weber Style. Either way, enjoy this classic chicken dish.

Make it More Appetizing

Okay, so yes, you can make it more appetizing. That’s what I did tonight, and Spane and I loved it.

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The Good Plate News – August 2011

noelle_cakeIn The News

Noelle’s Birthday Party

Noelle’s birthday party was wonderful. She had good games, and brought out the completed cake.

Amber made a total of five cake layers, the largest was chocolate, and the others were strawberry and vanilla. The filling was a butter cream mixed with orange marmalade. Amber made her own fondant, and hopefully, she will share the recipe with us soon. The cake was a Topsy Turvy Cake, that was covered in green fondant, then green fondant leaves were cut to go around the layers. Then Amber put on the waterfall, and covered that with blue fondant. The marzipan pixies were attached and butterflies were stuck in the cake.

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