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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Spicy Saltines

I was introduced to these little flavor packed gems at Ciderville a few weeks back when there was a birthday party for one of the younger regulars.  A party-goer brought a version of these.  I was pushed, against my assumed better judgement, to try one and - I was hooked.  I could not get the recipe that night, but does that ever stop me?

Let's say.....  "NO"

It's GOOGLE time in Tennessee!  I found option after option and started playing with them. 

My little H.O.T. beauties have a pretty red tint
Think impromptu popcorn alternative for a DVD couch date, a snack to pass at a party, or easy to transport treat for remote gatherings such as picnics or camping.

Hot version:
1 1/4c canola oil or light flavored olive oil
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix (not dip mix)
1-3 tablespoons crushed red pepper (looks pretty and adds FLAVOR)
1 tablespoon GROUND red pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 box (16 oz) saltine crackers of your choice.

Mild version:
1 1/4c canola oil or light flavored olive oil
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix (not dip mix)
1-3 tablespoons crushed red pepper (looks pretty and adds FLAVOR)
1 tablespoon GROUND red pepper OMIT
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 box (16 oz) saltine crackers of your choice.

Choose your version, or make up your own. 

Mix the oil and all dry ingredients except for the crackers.

Place the crackers in a large ziplock container or a large gallon *ziplock bag.

Pour the mixture all over crackers and seal the container/bag. Turn the container/bag in all directions. Aggitate, etc.  Do this for 15 minutes or until it looks like the liquid is fairly 'gone'.

The crackers are great pretty much there. However, if you are afforded the luxury of a few hours to a day or 2, they get better so make ahead of time!

Also, as a crisping option, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Spread the crackers over a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 - turning them over about half through the 'crisping' time.

*If you use the baggie option, consider using 2 so they are not bunched up and can be aggitated to assist in evenly coating them.  Put half the crackers in each bag and pour half the mixture in each baggie.

If you wish to half the recipe - do the math.  I personally make half  batch at a time.  I paperclip the ranch dressing packet for later use.

Obviously, as with most of my offerings, in this cyber pantry, you can play with the spices. Change the amounts to suit you.  You can omit all the actual spices here and go with a combination that sits well with your palate.  Think Ranch dressing mix, dill and garlic powder.

Sweet Endive, Nuts, Feta, & Honey

Well, there is the recipe for this appetizer - right in the title. 


OK, not really done.

This recipe is as I remember it.  The photo is from a recent serving of it.

It was a surprise find several years ago when my then husband and I went to a dinner party (yes, imagine it!  We did dinner parties).  The hostess served these little treasures up as a time filling appetizer while the main course finished.  I remember nearly turning my snooty nose up at these babeees, but at the nudging of my socially advanced then husband, I took a bite. 

Hooked.  In love.  Have found no one trying them and then not liking them. 

Rich in folate, fiber, & Vitamins A & K

This appetizer has no fancy name that I know of. It just is what it is. Belgian Endive, Walnuts, Feta, and Honey.

  • Endive, believe it or not, is part of the 'Daisy' family! It is eaten raw or cooked. 
    • Find it in the fresh vegetable section at most local grocery stores.
      • $1.99 for ONE (1)
  • The walnuts can be plain or toasted. 
    • I am curious what candied nuts would do for everyone!
  • Choose cheeses such as Feta (milder), Blue Cheese, or Gorgonzola (Italian Blue Cheese).
    • I have found that I prefer a strong cheese over the Feta - to counteract the sweetness of the honey.
  • The honey can be whatever honey you have in your cupboard. 
    • Just as an FYI, honey does come in 'varieties'. It all depends on where those little busy bees buzzed. It depends on the variety of flower predominant in the batch of honey. In my limited experience, honey ranges from lighter/milder tasting forms all the way to dark, can't see light through it, strong molasses tasting honey.
Witloof Chicory (Cichorium Intybus L)
I am not going to give amounts here.  I think a photo does the trick in that respect.

Slice off about one 1/2" of root end of each clean endive head and separate the leaves. Arrange them on a platter/plate of your choosing.  Whatever makes the presentation pleasing to you.

Sprinkle your choice of cheese crumbles inside of each leaf.

Sprinkle chopped nuts over the cheese.

Drizzle, as artistically as you see fit, the honey of your choosing.

  • Leave off the honey and finish each treasure with fresh ground black pepper instead.
  • Serve with apple slices as an accompaniment.
    • I prefer Braeburn or Pink Lady
I do not know how far ahead of time you can make these, but they take so little time, I would not worry with that.

Vegemite Sandwich?

How many of you 80's kids remember the group "Men at Work" singing "Down Under"?
It was released in October 1982 I believe...

I do not remember all of the lyrics, but i can tell you one part that has stuck with me for - how many years?

You do the math....

"I said, "Do you speak-a my language?" He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich..."

I never knew what "Vegemite" was...  I had never even seen it...

Well, on a trip to the "World Market", I found it quite by accident.  Here is a photo...

Now, was I brave enough to buy it and try it? No.  Will I try it in the future?  Probably not.
But, with the lovely Internet age, I was able to look it up!  GOOGLE Babee (I still ain't no BINGer).

Vegemite is a dark brown paste made from used brewers' yeast extract which is a by-product of beer making! It is said to taste salty and slightly bitter - not unlike beef bouillon. In Australia they spread it on sandwiches, crackers, toast and etc.

MMMMM, sound enticing?

Nope - didn't tweak my interest either...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Inventory

"A careful inventory of all your past experiences may disclose the startling fact that everything has happened for the best."  ~ Unknown
My bag of food tricks
I was in the kitchen at work when I realized I had left my 'travel-cooler-bag-of-tricks' on the counter - forever......  Time to take it home. 

This bag was a mainstay for me and had traveled with me over a few years on trips to quite a few places. Camping, Virginia, Washington DC, golfing, more camping, Athens (Tennessee, not Greece), the Lost Sea (admit it, you know where I am talking about), etc.  I typically carried it with food (cheeses, crackers, fruits, juices, chocolates, etc.) so that we always had something to munch on and always supplies to prepare and munch with. 

When I noticed that the front pocket zipper-pull was missing and as I started to zip it shut, I caught a glimpse inside.  I realized I had no idea what was in the pocket, or the bag for that matter, because I had not been anywhere with it in so long.  The bag has been shoved in a closet for the past year.

I started digging through it and found: 1 vegetable pealer, 1 bottle opener, 2 cork screws, 2 old corks, 2 bottle stoppers, a wine tasting book, 1 container of sea salt, 1 pepper mill, a cheese board, a very sharp knife, 1 wire cheese slicer, 3 cloth napkins, 2 small paper plates, a half dozen place settings of plastic flatware, 3 coffee condiment sets from a hotel and a tea bag, 4 tickets for the International Spy Museum in Wash. DC, 1 Metro card, and a list of electronic panel notes that are not in my handwriting.

Why am I writing about this?  I have no idea...  I guess I just wonder how I let it happen. I mean, obviously with 2 cork screws and the rest of the items I found in there, I/we were having fun and always satisfied, right?

How did allow myself to get to a place in my life where I get away so seldom and when I do I don't even remember to carry my bag of food tricks....

Tomorrow I will turn that corner and get back on "my" path in life by preparing for a short personal holiday.  This holiday will include "I have no idea what". I might take Cleo-the-dawg with me.  I probably won't see a soul that I know.  I will just drive, putz, and see what comes up.  I am going to make (and break) my own rules and go by no one's schedule.  OK, except maybe Cleo's schedule if I really take her with me.

BTW, I replaced the zipper pull with a jumbo striped paper-clip!

"Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”
~Dorothy Parker

Did Anyone Hear that Gunshot?

And here we have it!

Gunshot Sauce! Original Recipe or Hot & Spicy!!!

So I found this at the Oak Ridge Kroger's.  I did not buy it, but wish that I had.  I will buy it later this week during my grocery time.

I did a little looking and found a website for the company.


Looks like it is a vinegar-based sauce and I am all about vinegar!

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