Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Butternut Squash Stew w/ Chickpeas, Raisins, & Almonds over Whole Wheat Couscous {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}

I have some fantastic, seasonal decorations hanging out on my kitchen counter.  And on my kitchen table.  And wherever else they happen to land.  They're the same ones I have every autumn.  And every winter.  They're totally seasonal - and the rich colors just scream warmth and comfort.  Now, they're not the exact same ones as I had last year.  Or the year before.  Wanna know why?  Because those are probably out in the compost pile turning into black gold and scoring me a few compost pumpkins and squash.

Have I lost you?  What I was trying so unsuccessfully to convey was that it is winter squash time.  Again.  Which for me means that it's time for some lovely decorating.  Because, while I buy these sturdy, oddly-shaped squashes in shades of brown, green, and orange with the best intentions...uummmm, cooking them...I rarely do.  They just sit around and look pretty.

The one exception is butternut squash.  It's my current favorite squash - probably because it's the easiest to work with.  Cut off tip and tail.  Whack it in half.  Scoop out the seeds.  Slice or chunk.  Roast.  I mean, I don't even peel it.  I love the way the skin turns all chewy after a long stay in the oven.  But yeah, those delicatas, acorns, hubbards, kabochas, and the ever-dreaded pumpkins (hard, hard, hard to cut)?  They just wind up looking pretty.
Well I was bound and determined not to let that happen this year.  As I eyed the butternut squash and the acorn squash sitting on the counter, I made a vow - I will cook...and I will cook lots...with winter squash this year.  I will stop procrastinating and just do it, already.  And then I thought of Joanne.  Is that weird?  I thought of how she devotes 12 whole weeks a year to her winter squash.  And I knew that I had to do that, too.

So I gathered up my wits and formulated a plan.  It went something like this {summoning my inner Donkey}: shoot Jo an email to see if I could tag along this year.  Can I stay wi' chou?  Can I stay wi' chou...please?  Only I inserted the words "blog about winter squash" in place of "stay".

And she didn't even give me a hard time.  She could teach Shrek a thing or two about how to "get along".  I guess I pussed out a little bit by kicking these next 12 weeks off with a squash that I already admitted to cooking fairly regularly.  But.  I've never made it in this particular application before.  And you know, I already had one on the counter staring me down.  So.

Butternut Squash Stew w/ Chickpeas, Raisins, & Almonds over Whole Wheat Couscous

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Keywords: simmer entree vegan squash raisins legumes couscous fall winter

Ingredients (serves 6)
    for the stew
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 small onions, chopped
    • 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
    • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne
    • ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1 (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with their juices
    • ~2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & diced (~¾")
    • ¼ c. raisins, one type or a mix
    • 3 c. chicken stock or broth (or use veggie broth to make this vegan)
    • ~1 tsp. salt
    • 1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
    • handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
    for the couscous
    • 1½ c. water
    • 1½ c. whole wheat couscous
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    Instructions
    stew
    Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, ~5 minutes. Add garlic, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute longer. Turn up the heat and add tomatoes with their juices, squash, raisins, broth, salt, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for 10 minutes longer. Turn off heat and stir in the parsley.

    couscous
    Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

    Transfer couscous to a serving platter or to serving plates and top with stew. Scatter toasted almonds over the top. Enjoy!

    adapted from Food and Wine
    Powered by Recipage
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you kick off twelve weeks of cooking with winter squash!  And now you should really go over and see how my partner-in-crime, Joanne of Eats Well With Others is starting our journey. I'll give you a hint - there's gnocchi, pumpkin, and radicchio involved!

    And since there is no way we'll ever be to make enough winter squash goodness in just twelve weeks, we want to know what you're doing with winter squash in your kitchen.  Every Monday we'll be adding a little linky to our 12 Weeks of Winter Squash posts so that you can share your winter squash posts, as well.  {pssst...that's your cue}



    1. Butternut Squash w/ Chickpeas Almond Raisin Couscous

    2. Pumpkin Gnocchi w/ Butternut Squash & Radicchio

    3. Carnival Squash Stuffed w/ Cranberry Maple Quinoa

    4. Spaghetti Squash with White Bean + Mushroom Ragu

    5. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Avocado and Feta Cheese

    6. Delicata squash and hazelnut shortbread bars

    7. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup –souper yummy!

    8. Baked Pumpkin-Orange Custard

    9. Raw Beet and Butternut Slaw

    10. Butternut Squash Ricotta Empanada

    11. Butternut Squash Soup

    12. Chicken, Kale, Sweet Potatoes in a silky Butternut

    13. Pumpkin Sage Risoto


    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married by Heather McElhatton {book tour}



    author: Heather McElhatton
    series: (#2) Jennifer Johnson is sick of...
    publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
    source: TLC Book Tours
    "foodie" elements: No, but there were some fun food references here and there, including wild-themed "Supper Clubs" throughout.
    soft cover: 352 pages

    random excerpt:  Thissss-ba-boom!  The massive chandelier plummets down, crashing with an explosion on the marble floor.  We stand motionless, in a rising plume of dust.  Nobody was hurt, which is too bad.  A little blood and we might've all known what to do next.  Instead the Japanese stand there staring at me in a V formation.

    Then I farted loudly.

    summary/synopsis (from TLC page):  Sometimes tying the knot just means getting strangled.

    Not too long ago, Jennifer Johnson was stuck in a cubicle, lovelorn and addicted to Cinnabon frosting. Now she’s married to her Prince Charming—the handsome, wealthy son of a Midwestern department-store magnate. But the grass on this too-manicured other side is not as green as she’d thought.

    After a honeymoon from hell at a gated Christian resort in the Virgin Islands—bought and paid for by the in-laws and complete with alcohol-free drinks, curfews, and Satan-free yoga—Jennifer is beginning to have her doubts about the whole “happily-ever-after” thing. Soon she finds herself organizing Valentine’s Day abstinence dances with her mother-in-law’s church committee and dining with the ladies of the country club, who have their own theories about how to hold on to their men.

    Is this really all there is to married life?

    my thoughts/review:  I haven't read the pre-cursor to this book, Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  At first, I wondered if I was going to like it.  It's chick-lit, which as a whole, I like - but occasionally it can get a little bit cheesy.  Jennifer makes "lists".  It was these lists that initially put up a warning flag.  I found them an eensy-weensy bit annoying.  However.  I'm happy that I didn't close my mind to the book, because as it turns out, I wound up getting a kick out of it!

    Some of the characters and situations were absolutely ridiculous, but that led to some laugh-out-loud R-rated hijinks and dialogue.  The best comparison I can make is Bridesmaids.  It was that kind of funny.  I actually guffawed out loud several times and even found myself with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard another time.

    The characters were fantastic, as well.  I adored some - Jennifer, Addi, Nick, Pho Fang (and the whole Hmong crew), Dizzy Bee, Trevor, Lenny, Christopher.  And I wanted to grab others and shake them (or worse) - namely Brad and Mother Keller.  The situations were so unreal (at least in my world) that I found myself wishing they were real.  Just because I wanted to witness them happening.  You know, like watching a good movie or t.v. show (okay, or reading a good book).

    Plus, the book had a happy ending.  And I'm a happy ending kinda girl.  Recommended for lovers of chick-lit and raucous comedy.  Must love both.  And not be easily shocked or offended.

    about the author:  Heather McElhatton produced the award-winning literary series Talking Volumes. Her commentaries have been heard on This American Life, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money, and The Savvy Traveler. She lives in Key West with her pug, Walter.

    She is the bestselling author of Pretty Little Mistakes and Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single.

    further info: website | facebook | twitter


    *I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
    tlc-tour-host


    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Shrunken Heads in Spiced Cider {#SundaySupper}

    Shrunken Heads in Cider | www.girlichef.com
    I had every intention of sitting down and telling you a little Halloween story.  Something about how trick-or-treating was so much different when I was growing up than it is now.  But, as things stand, my game just ended...fantastically, I might add...and I have to get something off of my chest.  Here goes.

    I love my husband, but sometimes he drives me crazy.  Case in point.  I am a huge football fan.  I am a ginormous college football fan, especially the Big Ten (I grew up in the Midwest, what can I say).  But more than anything, I'm a cut-me-and-I-bleed-green-and-white Michigan State Spartan fan.  And I'm a real fan.  I like them even when they're in a "transition" year.  Yes, I'm sticking with transition.  Like this year.

    We went into this game 4-4.  Wisconsin is a pretty big rivalry, plus it's a Big Ten rivalry.  And I had faith that we'd pull out a win.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, back to the husband-thing.  The husband is also a huge football fan.  And he likes Michigan State, but not the way I like love them.  Who knows if they'd even be on his radar if he hadn't married me.  So.  Often times when a State game is on at the same time as other college games (always), he takes the tv downstairs and I take the tv upstairs.  Because he likes to flip.  And I do NOT allow flipping during my game.  But he still catches most of the game - enough to yell up the stairs to me about an awesome play.  Or a ridiculously, unbelievably horrible one.


    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Empanadas: Apple w/ Almond Paste and Pumpkin w/ Piloncillo & Cinnamon {she made, ella hace}

    We're baaaaaaack.  Did you even realize that we were missing?  It's true.  Leslie and I haven't joined forces for She Made, Ella Hace since August (24th - that's over 2 months!) when we baked up a couple of our favorite Pan Dulces.  It's the first time we've skipped a month since we started, but September was a big old ball of life-changing moments for the both of us.  Life, ya know?  Fortunately we're back together this month...and we're making EMPANADAS!
    When Leslie suggested we make empanadas this month, I knew I was going to go sweet.  And I pretty much knew that I was probably going to use pumpkin as the filling.  Or maybe apples.  I mean, it's that time of year.  Pumpkins and apple trees dancing in my head.  And when it came right down to it, I couldn't decide.  I wanted both.  So both it was.

    The pumpkin filling is spiced with a hint of Mexican cinnamon and sweetened with those beautiful dark, raw sugar cones called Piloncillo.  It's like a decadent little pumpkin pie.  And the apples?  Well, they're caramelized until all golden and sexy.  And then they're combined with almond paste.  I'm a weirdo who eats almond paste from the block.  So I couldn't wait to see how it would combine with the apples.  That heady, creamy flavor of the almond paste is so perfectly mellow against the sweet, tart apple.  I can't pick a favorite.  So don't ask me to.
    Since great minds think alike, Leslie had pumpkin on the brain, too.  She made a beautiful batch of Mini Pumpkin Empanada Bites that I know you'll want to dive into.  So pull up a silla (chair) and I'll pour the coffee (or milk.  or booze.  your choice) while you grab an assortment of empanadas!

    Empanadas: Pumpkin w/ Piloncillo & Cinnamon and Apple w/ Almond Paste

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 30-45 minutes + 1 hour (unattended)
    Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
    Keywords: bake breakfast dessert snack vegetarian apples almonds pumpkin cinnamon Halloween Thanksgiving Christmas Mexican fall

    Ingredients (~2½ dozen)
      for the empanada dough
      • 1 lb. (~3¼ c.) all-purpose flour
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • 2 tsp. sugar
      • 6 oz. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold
      • ½ c. shortening
      • ⅓-⅔ c. ice water
      for Pumpkin w/ Piloncillo & Cinnamon filling
      • 1 c. pumpkin puree
      • ⅓ c. chopped Piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar)
      • ½ tsp. ground Mexican cinnamon
      • ¼ tsp. salt
      for Apple w/ Almond Paste filling
      • 2 Tbs. butter
      • 3 (~1¼ lbs.) apples, peeled & diced into ¼"-½" cubes
      • 3 Tbs. sugar
      • 4 oz. almond paste
      • 2-3 Tbs. water
      • pinch of sea salt
      egg wash
      • 1 egg
      • 1 Tbs. heavy cream
      Instructions
      Begin by making the empanada dough and the fillings. You want time to chill the dough (1 hour) and also to cool the fillings down to room temperature before working with them.

      make the dough:
      Place flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and scatter over the dry mixture. Pulse about 8 times to combine, the fats should be pea-sized (some slightly larger, some slightly smaller). Sprinkle ⅓ cup of the ice water over and pulse a few times. The mixture should start to clump and come together, if it doesn't dribble in a bit more ice water at a time and pulse again. Dump the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and gather into a ball. Wrap in the plastic and form into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

      make the fillings:
      To make the pumpkin filling, stir everything together in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Once mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat and simmer gently (stir often) until very thick, ~15 minutes. Basically what you're doing here is letting the water in the pumpkin evaporate while the filling concentrates and dries out a bit. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

      To make the apple and almond paste filling, melt the butter in a wide skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to brown, add the apples and sprinkle the sugar over them. Stir often and allow apples to becomes tender and caramelized. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the almond paste into a mini-food processor with the water and salt and whiz until you have a smooth, spreadable consistency. Set aside.
      make the empanadas:
      Remove dough from fridge and cut in half. Re-wrap and return half to fridge. Roll dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a thin rectangle that measures ~12"x16". Cut out twelve 3½"-4" circles. Brush the edges of the circles lightly with water.

      Spoon a scant tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture in the center of each circle. Fold dough over the filling and press edges together to seal. Seal tightly by pressing the edges together with the tines of a fork or by twisting into a "rope". Prick once or twice with the fork. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
      Gather up the extra dough and set it in the fridge while you work with the other half.

      Repeat process with second half of dough, adding 1 teaspoon of the almond paste topped with 2 teaspoons of the apples.

      If you like, gather up all of the remaining dough from both times and re-roll it. I am able to make about 33 total empanadas, using all of the dough and filling (but the ones only rolled out once are always more tender and flakey). Place the trays of formed empanadas into the fridge or freezer for one hour.
      Preheat oven to 425° F. Beat the egg with the cream.

      Slide a tray into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes (20 if they were in the freezer) or until they start to get a little color. Remove from oven and brush with egg wash. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so until golden. Repeat with remaining tray. Best while still warm (but still good later).

      notes:
      The fillings and the dough can be made a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge, covered.

      The filled and formed empanadas can be frozen on parchment-lined baking sheets until solid. Transfer them to a freezer bag. Bake from frozen (20 minutes, then brush with egg wash, 5 more minutes).

      adapted from Fiesta at Rick's
      Powered by Recipage

      What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

      Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

      Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
      She Made, Ella Hace Banner- girlichef.com and lacocinadeleslie.com

      I am sharing this post with:
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      Thursday, October 25, 2012

      Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts w/ Vanilla Icing

      Remember when I said that I was for sure going to be getting my butt in gear and making-slash-sharing a holiday treat every week from now until the end of December?  Well, I didn't outright say it, but I implied it.  It's a good thing that I didn't pinky-swear, because I sailed right through the following week without doing so.  Typical.  I don't know about you, but my weeks go by way too fast.  And I refuse to acknowledge that the season of stress and commercialism is upon me.  So that said, my personality full of contradictions is shining through.  Brightly.

      Speaking of contradictions, our weather forecast is full of them.  It was 77° yesterday.  And it's shaping up to be the same today.  In two days, it's supposed to snow during the nighttime hours.  That is absolutely unacceptable to me and I'd like to know who I can take it up with.  It looks like we're in for another backwards season.  I mean, who said it was okay to wear flip-flops, shorts, and a tank top while crunching through the red and brown leaves that line the sidewalk?  Although that part I'm actually okay with.  It's the matter of having to wear my padded coat, fuzzy mittens, sherpa hat, and boots 3 mornings later that gets my engine all revved up.
      I think the situation calls for doughnuts.  Warm, cozy homemade doughnuts.  I mean, 'tis the season and all.  And the thing about doughnuts is, you can enjoy them all warm and sticky with a hot coffee on a cold day...or you can enjoy them at room temperature with a cold orange juice on a hot day.  Whatevs.  Equal opportunity fattening breakfast.

      Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 15 minutes + up to overnight (unattended)
      Cook Time: 10-15 minutes total
      Keywords: fry breakfast dessert nut-free soy-free vegetarian sour cream Christmas Easter doughnut American

      Ingredients (9-12 doughnuts + 15 holes)
        glaze
        • 350 g (~3½ c.) confectioners sugar, sifted
        • 1½ tsp. light corn syrup
        • ¼ tsp. fine salt
        • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
        • ~75 ml (⅓ c.) + 1 Tbs. hot water
        doughnuts
        • 255 g (~2 1/4 c.) cake flour + more for work surface
        • 1½ tsp. baking powder
        • 1 tsp. fine salt
        • ~¾ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
        • 100 g (~½ c.) sugar
        • 2 Tbs. shortening
        • 2 large egg yolks
        • 165 ml (⅔ c.) sour cream
        • oil, for frying
        Instructions
        starting the doughnuts:
        Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

        Mix sugar and shortening on low speed until "sandy". Add egg yolks and mix for another minute on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until mixture is thick and light in color.

        Add reserved dry ingredients to the bowl in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, until just combined. Dough should be sticky, sort of like cookie dough.

        Transfer to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (but at least 1 hour).

        prepare the glaze:
        Place confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and hot water in a bowl and whisk until you have a glaze that is not too thick. If needed, thin out with a bit more hot water (add a teaspoon at a time).

        finishing the doughnuts:
        Pour oil (vegetable, canola, coconut) oil to a depth of at least 2-inches into a heavy pot or deep fryer. Clip a thermometer onto the pan and bring oil to 325° F.

        Roll out the chilled dough on a generously floured work surface to ½" thickness. Dip a 2¾" doughnut cutter (or round cutter w/ a smaller cutter for hole) into flour and cut out as many doughnuts and holes as possible, gently re-rolling dough, as needed.
        Shake off any excess flour and gently lower a few doughnuts at a time (don't crowd them) into the hot oil. Once the doughnuts float, fry for 15 seconds, and then carefully flip them over and fry for another 75-90 seconds, until golden and cracked. Flip back to the first side and fry for another 60-75 seconds, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack.
        Let sit a few seconds and dip one (or both) sides into the glaze while the doughnuts are still hot. Set back onto wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

        slightly adapted from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts
        Powered by Recipage
        Yeeccckkkk. Speaking of engines revving...going out in snow to warm up the car at 5:20 am?  Not looking forward to it.  I will need hot doughnuts and coffee.

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        Wednesday, October 24, 2012

        Bloomin' Mushroom & Swiss Sourdough Loaf

        So.  I made this loaf of ridiculously cheesy, ridiculously addictive bread the weekend before last.  It was for World Bread Day.  World Bread Day was the 16th.  Ummmmm...the 16th was 8 days ago.  Sigh.  That would be year numero dos that I've "missed" World Bread Day.  What can I say?  I was there in spirit.

        Have you seen this bread "around"?  Because I have.  I've been eyeing it from afar for quite some time now. Or some variation of it.  The first time I caught a glimpse of it was at Cathy's place.  Her loaves were inspired by these loaves.  After wiping the drool from my chin I swore I'd be making some.  Like immediately.  I didn't.  And then I noticed this bad boy.  And this one.  Finally I decided I'd had enough of the eating with my eyes.  It was time to eat it with my mouth.
        And wouldn't you know, Lea Ann made a loaf recently and posted it the other day.  At the same time I was looking at my "lost" World Bread Day post just hangin' around in draft.  So, while I have no idea why I waited so long to make this the first time around, I know that I will not be waiting long to make it again.  I'm definitely going to be trying a Bacon, Cheddar, and Ranch version.  Can't get the thought of it out of my head.  And maybe a Pizza Bread version with Pepperoni, Mozzarella, and Basil with a little red sauce.  And let's not leave out the sweeter side - a Cinnamon Bun-inspired version will ensue.

        Until then, I think you need a loaf of this to munch on during the next football game.  Just sayin'.

        Bloomin' Mushroom & Swiss Sourdough Loaf

        by Heather Schmitt-González
        Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
        Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
        Keywords: bake bread snack appetizer bread cheese mushrooms Labor Day Super Bowl tailgating American

        Ingredients (serves 4-6)
        • 8 - 12 oz. mushrooms (½ crimini / ½ white button), sliced
        • 1 Tbs. (½ oz.) butter
        • few sprigs fresh thyme
        • salt
        • freshly ground black pepper
        • 1 (16 oz.) loaf sourdough bread (preferabley a boule)
        • 8 oz. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
        • 4 oz. (1 stick / 8 Tbs. / ½ c.) butter, melted
        • 4 large green onions (~½ c.), thinly sliced
        • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
        Instructions
        Preheat oven to 350° F. Set two long sheets of foil on a baking sheet, crossed (one side-to-side, one up-and-down).

        Add one tablespoon butter to a medium skillet set over medium heat. Once butter melts, add sliced mushrooms. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until they start to release water and get soft. Run your knife through the thyme leaves a few times and throw them into the pan with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté another minute or two, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Set aside.

        Add the 4 ounces of butter to a small pan along with green onions and poppy seeds over low heat until melted. Swirl everything around to coat and turn off heat. Set aside.

        Next, it's time to slice the loaf of sourdough. Carefully cut through bread in ~1-inch intervals both ways (so that you have a checkerboard pattern), stopping about a ½-inch or so before cutting all the way through. You want your loaf to "bloom". When cutting through in the second direction, grab the outsides of the loaf and sort of hold it together with your other hand- this makes it much easier to cut nicely.

        Slide the slices of cheese down between the cuts. Divide your mushroom mixture over the cheese, being sure to tuck it in. Drizzle the melted butter mixture over the whole shebang. Bring the foil up and around your loaf and seal.

        Slide into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Unwrap the foil from the loaf (just let it sit underneath it, on the baking tray). Put it back into the oven to bake for another 10-20 minutes or until cheese is melty and the crust gets golden brown on the tips and edges.

        Enjoy. Immensely.

        adapted from Beantown Baker
        Powered by Recipage
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        Tuesday, October 23, 2012

        Spicy Crystal Head Bloody Mary inspired by Attack of the Killer Tomatoes {food 'n flix}

         For Immediate Release from the office of the President of the United States: 
        TOMATOES GONE ROGUE!

        A team of specialists had been put together to stop this threat.  This team will be headed by Mason Dixon, and includes a disguise expert, a Navy diver, an Olympic swimmer, and a soldier (with parachute).

        Proceed with extreme caution, tomatoes have already killed several people.  Most attack outright, but a few isolated incidents include tomatoes juicing themselves and disguising as a popular beverage.  One glass will cause immediate death.

        These fruits (yes, they are fruits) have been known to cower upon hearing the song Puberty Love.  If possible, stay armed with a copy of this tune at all times.  If you encounter a tomato, play song loudly and stomp on tomato to eliminate the threat.
        DISPOSING OF THESE KILLER TOMATOES:

        Once you have eliminated the threat via smashing, combine with some form of alcohol to eliminate all harmful toxins.  May I recommend one particularly good option...some even believe it has magical properties - Crystal Head Vodka.  Although the bottle looks like a skull and some may associate that with death, it is only the death of that nasty "killer tomato virus" that will occur, as the Crystal Skull is actually a symbol of life, spiritual power, and enlightenment.
        So, once you've helped rid the world of killer tomatoes, why not kick off your celebration in style with one (or two) of these Spicy Crystal Head Bloody Mary's...

        Spicy Crystal Head Bloody Mary

        by Heather Schmitt-González
        Prep Time: 5 minutes
        Cook Time: n/a
        Keywords: beverage tomatoes alcohol vodka Halloween

        Ingredients (serves 1)
          for the rim:
          • 1 Tbs. sea salt
          • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
          • ½ tsp. celery salt
          • lemon wedge
          to garnish:
          • 1 tender, leafy celery stick
          • 1 pimento-stuffed green olive
          • 1 slice salami
          • 1 small pickled jalapeño
          • 1 lemon wedge
          for cocktail:
          • ice cubes
          • ¾ c. Spicy Vegetable or Tomato Juice (preferably low-sodium)
          • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
          • couple dashes Worcestershire Sauce
          • pinch celery salt
          • 2 oz. Crystal Head Vodka
          Instructions
          Combine ingredients for rim on a small plate. Run a lemon wedge around the rim of your glass and invert it onto the salt mixture; coat rim well.

          Prepare a skewer of all the garnish ingredients, except the celery.

          Put a few ice cubes into the prepared glass and then add all the ingredients for the cocktail, in order listed. Stir with the celery stick, then set the garnish on top and serve. Enjoy!

          note:
          I like to have a little bowl full of extra garnish ingredients to munch on while sipping this Bloody Mary. Because really, a Bloody Mary is like a meal to me.
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          Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook is hosting this round of Food 'n Flix. You still have time to cook up something inspired by Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - submissions aren't due until October 28th!
          Food‘nFlix
          *I received one little sample-size bottle of Crystal Head Vodka for free. I bought the other one all on my own. And I would have bought a "regular" size bottle were it not the price of a small country.  Kidding...sort of.