Monthly Archives: August 2006

Punched-up Corn Bread

Episode 3: Punched-up Corn Bread
It’s a great side for barbeque and chili, among others– or just as a treat by itself. Yes, I know you can make it from scratch– but the pre-mixed stuff isn’t too shabby– especially when you punch it up a couple of different ways.
Recipe 1: Peached-up Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
1 6-8 oz container Peach Yogurt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg and the yogurt. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 20-21 minutes.
Recipe 2: Jalapeno Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
1/3 sour cream
1/3 milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg, sour cream, milk, and peppers. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 19-20 minutes.


Caipirinha– “Kai-pih-reen-yah.” It’s a mouthfull– fortunately a very good mouthfull. This Brazillian beverage is a nice, simple, summer cocktail to enjoy on the remaining days of summer.
The recipe:
1/2 Lime, cut into chunks.
2-3 tsp sugar
1 oz. of Cachaca (Kah-sha-sah)– if you can’t get cachaca, use vodka.
Sparkling water.
Crush the limes (skins and all) and sugar together in a tumbler. Add the shot of cachaca. Add ice. Top with sparkling water. Give it a little stir.
And please– Drink responsibly.

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

The family recipe!
Two recipes for the price of one:
Italian Meatballs
1 to 1.5 lbs of Ground Beef (80%-85% lean)
1 Egg
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Italian-style Bread Crumbs
1 heaping tsp dried basil
1 heaping tbl dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Best way to do it– with your hands!
Roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls (or whatever size you’re after) and place on foil-lined baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes. Switch oven the “broil” for the last 5 of those 20 minutes.
Quick, Simple Tomato Sauce
Too often, people over-spice the heck out of a tomato sauce. Guilty as charged! Try this simple sauce and let the tomatoes speak mostly for themselves…
1/2 Yellow onion– chopped
1 Carrot, finely shredded.
2-3 cloves garlic
2 28oz cans of crushed tomato
1 28oz can of whole Plum Tomatoes
3 tbl dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a large pot heat 2 tbl of olive oil on medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and carrot and cook until onions are translucent.
Add garlic, cook for another minute.
Set burner to “Low.”
Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 min, stirring occasionally. When adding each plum tomato, crush it in your hand to break it apart before adding it to the sauce. This makes for a nice chunky sauce.

Hot Pesto Dippin’ Stuff

Great for dipping Italian breads. Fast to make. Garlicky, salty. Bring on the Chianti.

The recipe:
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp kosher salt
3-4 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat the olive oil in a small/medium frying pan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic. Let it simmer for a few seconds. Add the salt and basil. Stir and simmer until the garlic shows a hint of browning. This will all happen pretty quick. Take it off the heat and pour it in a plate. Let it cool a little, but serve it hot. Sop it up with bread.


Guacamole. I spent almost three years as a cook in a TexMex restaurant where I would make vats of the stuff. It was good then, but it’s better now with my own spin. I’m pretty confident in that– there’s never any left overs!

The recipe:
2 Ripe Avocados
1/2 Medium-sized Red Onion
1-2 Jalapeno Peppers
1-2 Cherry Peppers
1/2 Lime
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (keep more salt handy for adjusting)
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander Seed
1/4 cup Sour Cream (or dollop, whatever that is in your mind.)
1 oz (a shot) Tequila

Dice the onion and the peppers and set them aside.
Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon. Put the flesh in a bowl, add 1/2 tsp salt and mash with a potato masher to the desired consistency. Juice the lime into the mixture. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste.


  • The plant that grows from the coriander seed is known in U.S. supermarkets as cilantro. The taste, though, between seed and plant is completely different. Avoid the temptation to use cilantro in the guacamole. It is evil. Don’t believe me? Visit
  • Sample the guacamole with a spoon and then add salt to taste. If you are serving your dip with chips, though, you should sample the guacamole with a chip since chips, at least most of them, are salted. You could end up over-salting your dip.
  • Adding tequila can bring out alcohol soluble flavors– Mmmm. However, one thing soluble in alcohol is capsaicin– that’s the stuff that makes peppers hot. That means that the hotness of pepper lessens in alcohol– which is partially why drinking a cold beer after eating some hot wings takes a wee bit of the edge off. So, if you like it hot, you may want to add an extra pepper.
  • Which brings me to the peppers. Sometimes when I purchase jalapenos they are hot. Sometimes, they aren’t so hot. When you’re shopping, buy one or two more than you need just in case they’re on the mild side. You can always add some ground cayenne pepper to the dip if you want it really hot. Just remember that spicy doesn’t always mean good– save that for the wing-eating contest. That’s two mentions of wings now– do I need to do a show on wings?