Happy Halloween!

Littlest is trick or treating this year which is mind boggling. I’m sure she’ll score her weight in candy which begs the question what do you do with all your halloween candy? I have friends who freeze it and make Christmas cookies and others who have delicious left-over candy pie recipes.  Me? I cherry pick the good stuff and let the Littles graze for a couple of days then send it off with Husband to the office.

Tell me what you do with your candy, I’d love to know.

Be sure to check back tomorrow.  I’ll be announcing the winner of the Recipe Contest!  I’ve been cooking, and cooking, and cooking.  You all have given me a treasure trove of recipes.  And I enjoyed making every single one of them.  Thank you!

Cornbread for Thanksgiving Dressing

I thought I’d get a jump start on making cornbread for Thanksgiving.  I intended to freeze a few batches of this delicious treat, but the thing about cornbread is it smells so darned good.  And then people know you’ve made a big batch of it.  And then those people, even if they are little, eat it.  Which means I’ll be making cornbread for Thanksgiving again soon.

I have lots of variations for cornbread, but for Thanksgiving dressing I use the same one my mother-in-law and grandfather used.  It’s very simple, but requires a cast iron skillet.  If you do not have one of these add it to your Wish List.

Poppy & Laverne’s Cornbread (recipe for Thanksgiving Dressing)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup oil (or melted shortening)

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Oil your iron skillet and let heat in oven until very, very hot.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter into hot skillet.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. These are the instructions my mother-in-law wrote for me when she gave me her recipe.

Do you use cornbread for your Thanksgiving dressing?  Do you make dressing or stuffing?  I need to know.

Soy Vay

I used a life line today.  Called on an old friend for the answer.  No I wasn’t playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.  But I did find myself flat out of time to make dinner today.  I pulled out one of my fast food suppers and somehow managed to get dinner on the table before I was handed a pink slip.  Some days are just like that.

I owe my speedy supper to a long time favorite marinade by Soy Vay called Veri, Veri Teriyaki.  It’s readily available at all THREE of my grocery stores so I keep it on hand at all times for days like today.  It’s delicious on salmon, chicken and vegetables.  I also keep ice glazed, frozen chicken tenderloins stocked in the freezer.  They are quick to defrost and easy to add to any recipe.  At some point around noon, I pulled the tenderloins from the freezer, tossed them in a baggie with a generous portion of Soy Vay and allowed the meat to defrost and marinate for the rest of the day in the fridge.  At dinner time I made brown rice and stir fried a mix of broccolini, broccoli and onions with the chicken tenderloins then topped it all off with a handful of cashews.

What speedy suppers do you fall back on when life deals you one of those days?

Manolo Blahnik? Not.

Carrie Bradshaw laugh your soles off!  These are my cooking shoes.  I realized I was really in to this whole cooking thing when I began to think of shoes as kitchen accessories.  Help?

I love my Dansko clogs.  I first started wearing them at the insistence of my podiatrist.  A few years back I ran a marathon.  Er, walked a marathon?  It was ugly.  As were my poor feet after the training.  I ended up with a random big toe injury and my podiatrist said Dansko’s would cure all my ills.  How right he was.  Only it was not love at first sight with my clogs.  I definitely had to court them a while.  But now true love reigns. I also have them in a kitchy plaid.  Somewhere.

Standing on hard surfaces for prolonged amounts of time is hard on your legs.  I choose to do this as my passion for being in the kitchen out weighs any minor physical discomfort.  And these shoes truly do  make a difference.  On the rare occasion that I stay in my sneakers or heaven forbid my Manolo’s, I pay for it later.

So, if you see me out and about in my Dansko’s chances are I’m not far from my kitchen. But if I forget and wear them to the Opera no need to remind me I’d rather be home cooking.

Please tell me you have have cooking shoes….

Curried Chicken Salad

Since I broke in my new ovens and cooktop on such haute cuisine, I thought it was time to kick it up a notch and try some healthier fare at the Schell Cafe.

What do you eat for lunch?  Seriously, I’d love to know.  It could be an overlooked meal for me as my default mode is to skip it entirely.  However, skipping lunch is not smart and always catches up to me by late afternoon just in time to hunt and gather all the children.  In an effort to avoid being crankier than my super cranky children, I’ve learned that it is in everyone’s best interest at the cafe for me to eat lunch.  But, what? And how to make it simple? I clearly don’t need another meal to plan, right?  Lucky for me, I tend to have super yummy left overs which is definitely a bonus.  But there are certainly days when I need a nutritious lunch and on the double.

After the move weekend, we were all carbed out from an overload of pizza and grilled cheese.  So, I started the week off making a double batch of curried chicken salad.  I found this recipe in Oxygen Magazine last winter and I make it all the time.  It’s packed with protein, very low carb and is quite tasty.  I am giving you the recipe as I found it in Oxygen, with minor adjustments.  For the record, please note that I used smoked paprika in place of curry this week.  Half way through making this recipe, I realized my curry did not survive the expired spice purge of last week.  The smoked paprika was a decent alternative, but this salad is best in its original curried state.

Curried Chicken Salad

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp curry powder

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (jarred or better if you use these)

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup raisins

First, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, curry and garlic.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly as you continue to whisk.  The dressing will begin to emulsify.

In another bowl combine chicken, celery, red peppers, cashews and raisins. Mix in dressing.

Try it and let me know what you think.  And if you have any healthy lunch favs let me know!  I’m sure we could all use more ideas to keep us well fueled for the day.

The Barefoot Contessa

It’s no secret that I adore Ina Garten.  Sit a spell at the cafe and you’ll find I have made many of her recipes over the years and even road tripped to Dallas to meet The Contessa in person.

You can imagine my excitement over the fact that in 7 short days THIS comes out!!!  I’m thrilled Ina has gone Back to the Basics as her cookbook is titled.  It reflects my culinary mood of late.  If I can wait, this cookbook will be on my list of Christmas wishes this year.  Along with David Tanis’ much anticipated Platter of Figs.

My friend and cooking buddy Smell The Roses gave me this autographed photo of Ina last week.  What a gift!  I’ve shared my vision and hopes for The Schell Cafe with Smell the Roses and she asked Ina to send a little luck my way.  No pressure with Ina looking over your shoulder.  Even if it is only a photograph.

Now for some housekeeping…I am proud to share with you the first thing I cooked on my new FiveStar cooktop was a grilled cheese.  WOW!  I followed that up with a double box of Mac & Cheese.  Impressive, huh?  I will be glad to share the recipes with you!

You’ll be happy to know that the new kitchen is being well broken in with all the recipes you submitted for the Recipe Contest.  I’ve been cooking up a storm and despite the fact that the house is still completely hidden in boxes, our dinners have been delicious thanks to your amazing recipes.  How I ever got along without them all is a wonder to me?  As is how Husband & I will ever pick a winner?!?!?  Stay tuned.

Home Sweet Home

Four movers, three days, 2 million boxes and a couple bottles of red wine later and we are home.  Never mind that we still don’t know up from down, we are home.  And it feels so good.

Anybody wanna guess the first thing I made on my new cooktop?