recipes and talk about:
natural foods
whole grains
local foods
the heirloom garden

February 2, 2011 in main course, vegetarian1 comment

Step 1: Open a Bag of Fritos

In honor of Snowpocalypse 2011, try this quick to assemble Mexican-style dish made from ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. Makes a yummy Super Bowl treat too!

frito pie, i reckon. mm hmm.

Do you ever read something, get entirely the wrong impression, and walk around carrying that impression, like a treasured memento or a nursed wound, for ages before realizing you were mistaken? continue reading…

January 23, 2011 in notfood1 comment

Ziploc Pancakes?

Mmm, Ziploc pancakes

What happens when you squeeze fit all the leftover pancakes into one Ziploc container? You get branded pancakes, that’s what, in two senses of the word. Other than the branding, they’re pretty neat orange cloud pancakes from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook, aka The One I Yap About All The Time. I’d write it up, but, you know, I accidentally made them without the butter. I wouldn’t want to deprive you of a description of the butter-ful version of the pancakes, you know.

Why are things so slow here lately on Shiny Cooking? Well, server and server-moving problems keep annoying me and making me want to stay away. I know, I should just fix them, right? Also, taking pictures in winter is a pain. And on top of all that, I’m working on more immediate payoffs so I can pay for the tooth I’m getting in March.

You heard me. To pay for my new tooth. Yes. I am officially now a hillbilly. Sigh. Anyone got a banjo for me?

10 min chilaquiles

On the bright side, my favorite new recipe basically begins with, “First, open a bag of Fritos,” and ends up being pretty healthy in the end. It’s win-win!

January 5, 2011 in cookies5 comments

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies: Not Just for Christmas Anymore

Choco yum yum

I think I just ate the last of these. And boy, do I miss them already.

Some cookies are destined to the holiday ghetto: unique and lovely, yet irretrivably intertwined with Christmas. Cookies like Mexican wedding cakes, or rum balls, or nut cups only make an appearance in December.

These chocolate sandwich cookies with peppermint filling are different. Grandma D. made them every year for Christmas, but their warm chocolate and fresh mint flavors work anytime. They’re made from an easy-to-work-with rich chocolate dough, rolled out and cut out and baked, and then paired to sandwich a peppermint-flavored buttercream frosting filling. continue reading…

November 30, 2010 in shameless plug4 comments

Top 10 Kitchen Gadgets Under $10

O hai. Tis the season when I get the idea to make gift list posts, and then I go drooling at Amazon, and my Amazon wish list grows three sizes that day.

We’re going to begin small, because times are rough and we can all use some cheap kitchen gadgets — let’s try under $10, shall we? — to cheer us up. Oh wait, this is a gift-giving guide. You’re under orders to wrap up any presents you buy for yourself. Understood?

Now. Let’s get this show on the road, shall we, with my 10 favorite kitchen gadgets under $10 this year. Most of them I own. A few I want. All of them are awesome.

Chef’n Switchit Silicone Spatula

This spatula looks like it’s changed slightly in design in the few years since I bought one, but it’s basically the same. This narrow 2-ended spatula just comes in handy everywhere your big spatula doesn’t want to go, like in smaller jars. It’s totally smooth so cleaning it is just wiping; nothing sticks and there are no crevices. YAY.

Plus, pretty colors. Comes in apricot, wasabit, cherry, pacific, and arugula.

Or for, you know, normal people, orange, yellow, fuschia, blue, and green. (Mine’s the fuschia.) continue reading…

October 5, 2010 in 24x249 comments

Foodbuzz 24×24: To the Land of Giant Pumpkins

laser carved pumpkin

Every month, Foodbuzz features 24 posts by 24 bloggers showcasing that month’s theme or simply a really cool meal. October’s 24×24 theme is the Kids Table. For my Kids Table meal, I took my sister, 8-year old niece, and 10-year old nephew to Johnson’s Giant Pumpkins, a farm that features lots of neat autumn-themed displays and activities. My post is in the form of a photo essay, so be prepared for a longish load time.


Lots of things to see and do at the pumpkin farm. This native American teepee was a lot bigger on the inside than it looked from the outside! continue reading…

October 4, 2010 in project food blog, shameless plug2 comments

Voting Open for Project Food Blog Challenge #3

Note: My web host was down from 6:30 p.m. October 4th until…well, technically it still is, because my main content folder is still missing. I was able to access the site through the back end and cobble my last two posts back together, but you’ll notice the site is missing a few features and images. My apologies to everyone who tried to view my PFB post on the 4th and 5th and thank you for coming back!

Thanks to all of you who voted for Shiny Cooking in round 2 of Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog challenge. I’ve made it to round 3, whose theme is a “luxury dinner party.” Voting is open until October 7. If you believe my literary dinner party featuring dishes from George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy series merits a vote, please vote for Shiny Cooking!

The link places your vote and goes to a page where you can easily browse through all the entries in the competition. Everyone gets 100 votes to spend, so I encourage you to keep clicking and check out some of the other amazing dinner party entries and vote for them as well. continue reading…

October 3, 2010 in project food blog32 comments

Project Food Blog Challenge #3: Winter is Coming — A Literary Dinner Party

Thanks to all of you who voted for Shiny Cooking in round 2 of Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog challenge. I made it to round 3, whose theme was a “luxury dinner party.” Project Food Blog is now over, but still: wrap something warm about you while you continue reading, because winter is coming.

currant sorbet, served in tiny flutes as a palate cleanser

When the third challenge came up — and they all come up suddenly, by the way, the way everything we know about for ages does — to host a luxury dinner party, I was still undecided as to a theme. As I researched fancy-schmancy vegetarian main courses suitable for autumn that might use vegetables still growing in my garden, I came across a showstopper from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine: Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew.

Wow. This I could work with. The stew fit perfectly with my itch to host a party consisting entirely of foods described in George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF). Here’s how the party all worked out, along with some totally serious and not snarky tips for throwing a successful dinner party. Yeah. Enjoy the snark-free ride while you can. continue reading…

September 29, 2010 in main course, soup / chili, vegan, vegetarian3 comments

gazpacho sevillano

gazpacho sevillano

Breakfast in Spain is unsubstantial, to my taste: a toasted and buttered bolillo (a large roll) and café con leche, Spain’s rich and tasty version of the latte. (I don’t like coffee or even lattes particularly, but I’ll take a café con leche any day.) Supper, as well, is fairly insubstantial: fried finger foods or a light platter of leftovers, served at 11 p.m., midnight, or even later, depending on the night-owlishness of your household. continue reading…

September 27, 2010 in project food blog, shameless plug3 comments

You all rock. And voting for round 2 of Project Food Blog is open

Thanks to all of you and your help, I was lucky enough to pass the first challenge in Project Food Blog and move on to round two. And the competition is wonderful and fierce: the posts I’ve seen so far for “The Classics,” in which we re-create an unfamiliar cuisine’s signature dish, have been fracking stellar.

Please vote now for me to move ahead once more here. The link goes to my post “Off to Iraq! Falafel Sandwich with Tahini Sauce,” in which chickpeas are soaked and September tomatoes from the garden make it into a street food wrap.

Off to Iraq! Falafel Sandwich with Tahini Sauce

falafel sandwich

Helen: Hmm, Pita. Well, I don’t know about food from the Middle East. Isn’t that whole area a little iffy?
Hostess: [laughs] Hey, I’m no geographer. You and I — why don’t we call it pocket bread, huh?
Maude: [reading the ingredients list] Umm, what’s tahini?
Hostess: Flavor sauce.
Edna: And falafel?
Hostess: Crunch patties. continue reading…