Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Fries the Limit

Could I get any cornier than that? Yes. Indeed I could. But I'll spare you, again, because I like you; the collective 'you' that read this blog, that is.
As common law around our household, weekends are made for munching. Finger foods, appetizers, a little this, and maybe even a little bit of that. This initiative usually takes place in the warmer months of the year. The time of year when it's too hot outside to eat a post food-comatic meal that involves hours of belly up positioning and one-handed belt loosening maneuvers.
Ahh, yes. The weather is starting to feel comfortable again. Warm and happy. My comfy coat is finally itching to come off.
Now, in order to abide by our household mandates, I opted to make fries this weekend. Not the French kind (though, in fact, french fries are far from French). I chose one of its neighbors. The Italian fries. And you are absolutely NOT allowed to dip these in mayonnaise. I forbid it.

Baked Italian Fries
Oven Italian Fries
-kindly snagged from Sweetnicks

4 large potatoes, washed and thinly cut
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp basil
3/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 c parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

1. In large bowl, toss potatoes with all ingredients except parmesan.
2. Spread on a cookie sheet in a flat layer.
3. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Pull out and toss in same large bowl with parmesan (this helps the cheese to slightly melt and stick to the fries).
5. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, turning twice with a spatula to brown evenly.

Serve with a good helping of not-mayo (aka ranch dressing or ketchup), or eat alone. They are scrumptious.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mexican Money in Mayo

The story of Cinco de Mayo distilled down to its very essence....money. That's right. The almighty Peso was the cause for all the fuss.
Story has it the Mexicans were up to their eyeballs in debt from loans given by England, Spain, and France. All of the 'creditors' occupied Mexico, looking for their cash. France was the only country that would not budge without some form of remuneration. The Mexicans defeated the French at the "Batalla de Puebla" on May 5th, but eventually the French won the war altogether. I guess any reason to celebrate, is reason enough. There's more on the history of Cinco de Mayo here, if interested.
I don't know about you, but I think there's a lesson to be learned here. Don't loan your money to the French or they'll come after you in Mexico and remunerate your head right off. Or something like that. With words of wisdom like that, I should stick to cooking.
Speaking of which, try what's below because it is absolutely yummy. And it's Cinco de Mayo, so why not?

Black Bean Salsa
Black Bean Salsa

1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
1/2 c bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, chopped
3 green onions, diced
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 lime, juice of
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and mix well.
2. Serve with chips, as a fajita or taco condiment, and viva la mexico!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Noni: A Stink of Beauty

Noni Sign
How could something so foul to the olfactories and questionable to the tangibles (they look like edible grenades), be such a good idea to stick into your mouth? My mother never permitted me to play with skunks or drink cess pool water when I was a child. Reason stands that most malodorous things are not considered safe or consumable. Such is not the case with noni.
Noni stinks. It really does. Not the stink of cheese or the fermented stink of a beer brewery that we have all come to accept and still enjoy. A noni stink is more of a repulsive and 'vomitus' odor, as it has once been glamorously described.
The way I see it? It's as if God created the fruit, forgot about it, and then placed it on the Earth in hopes we would never notice it had 'gone bad'.
Well, like most other things, I won't question God's judgment on such matters. He apparently knew what he was doing. This stuff is like the miracle drug of fruits.
In praise of noni's benefits, one article mentioned it had "significantly prolong[ed] the life of mice with implanted Lewis lung carcinoma" Wow! It inhibits the growth of tumors and cancerous cells by boosting the immune system. Tell me that isn't impressive.
It's rich in antioxidants that help support the circulatory system,
tissues, and cell regeneration. It increases energy levels, is a mood rejuvenator, and helps maintain proper digestion. It aids in nutrient absorption, while assisting thyroid and brain functions. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Just pick a body part, and this stuff will make friends with it. Enough of this stuff could turn you into Superman. Well, that's not medically proven; but I insist on its potential.

Noni Plant
Grenade of Funk and Health. These are pictures I took while visiting Kona.

Noni Hand

Noni comes in so many different forms. There's juice, pills (which I prefer), and even tea. As a matter of fact, the tea comes from the leaves of the noni tree, and have no offensive smell whatsoever.
Tahitian Noni Tea
Sterling Cafe serves up a lovely Tahitian Noni Leaf Tea that I strongly recommend.

I figured the knowledge must be shared.
I would hate to be the only SuperMonkey, you know.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Belly Sedatives

Soups and sauces are not my fortè. The elusive balancing act between acidity and sweetness stumps me every time. Getting some flavors to 'punch out' while others remain in the backdrop, like a hero and his side kick, make me wonder why they're even fighting crime to begin with.
Case in point: I recently made Jambalaya. The flavor was a sallow and sickly version of the real deal. It felt like a negative meal - know what I mean? Almost like ingesting it only accentuated how hungry you really were; rather than satiating that same hunger.
Soups and stews should be lollygag enducing and sedate you into a post-meal comatose. Not plummet you into post-meal hunger pangs. My jumbalaya made me sad.
So I will NOT be posting it here on my blog. I'll spare you, because I like you.
The Garbanzo Pesto Sauce, on the other hand, was quite a success. I'm posting my recipe as physical proof for any future and possible interrogations. I have evidence that I was able to succeed at the all-elusive Sauces and Soups. My alibi (the hubby), and witnesses (you there) can attest to its existence. You'll just have to cook it, to attest to its taste. So here you go...

Garbanzo Pesto Pasta
Garbanzo Pesto Pasta

4 links pesto sausage (I used Aidells), skin removed
1/2 white onion
1 orange bell pepper (red is good too)
1 tomato
1 bunch of fresh basil
Handful of button mushrooms

1 Tbs olive oil

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 can of diced tomatoes + half can of water
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar (white or brown)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp thyme

Parmesan Cheese

1. Roughly chop the first 6 ingredients.
2. Saute those first 6 ingredients in olive oil, until tender.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Serve with your favorite pasta and sprinkle with parm.

Monkey Notes:
#1 This can be made either as a soup or sauce. To soup-it-up, just add 3 cups of broth and simmer for 20 minutes longer.
#2 Trader Joes carries gluten free pastas that are made from rice. They're incredibly tasty. Give it a try, if wheat isn't your friend.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A New Addition!

I've added a Recipe Index on my blog! On the right hand side bar there is a book that says Recipe Index. Click on it if you'd like to search through my various recipes. Or click on it if index's are your thing - or clicking on things is really your thing. Either way, it's a fun addition!