Saturday, June 18, 2011


I am no Emily Post. I drink heavily (especially at baby showers) and pick my nose (in private), but there are a few essential rules I would like to discuss on lady business.

My sister and I just had a gag fest while discussing the after meal mouth clean. What is the after meal mouth clean you ask? It's are having a nice meal (or a hot dog from a vendor off the street), you finish eating, then openly scrape the remaining food off of your gums with your index finger.

Let me tell you something real quick and simple. THIS IS DISGUSTING! Those of us who don't indulge in this habit are mortified at the sight, or even thought of it.

If you are a mouth scrapper, it is essential that you take this information into account. People WILL be disgusted in their minds. Your image will be permanently tainted. So take the necessary steps to break this habit. Learn how to use your tongue to do the cleaning. In the meantime, excuse yourself to the restroom.

Numero Dos:

Cleaning your ears in public with fingers and/or foreign objects.

What is it with the urge to dig into your face holes in public??? I LOVE picking my nose, but I know how to control it.

We all have our excuses. I work in a kitchen inhaling smoke and general food funk all day. I need a deep cleaning after work, but that's really no one's business. Decide when and where said behavior is appropriate... in the privacy of your own home, or on the highway at a really fast speed.

And don't get me stared on the crevice creeping/look at your finger action. If it's not bad enough, now I have to watch you pull out your finger and check out the prize?? NASTY.

People need to take their surroundings into account.

Numero Tres:

The crotch touch. This is mostly geared toward men, but it has been seen in ladies. Look we all have our moments, but privacy is the key here. Privacy.

When my sister and I were kids, there were certain neighbors that had a picture of a hand in their window. This sign signified a safe place if you were in danger. Design a "safe place" for your nasty habits. Go there when you need to indulge. Go there.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Want to make your own frozen dessert but don't have an ice cream maker? Semifreddo is not only easy to make, it requires very few ingredients. It's consistency falls in between a mousse and ice cream, with the taste of frozen custard. It can be made in pies, used for ice cream cakes, or just the old fashioned way (in a pan).

I have posted two different recipes. The chocolate recipe is meringue based, so it's a bit fluffier. The lemon recipe is custard based, making it a tad bit richer and denser.

You can take either recipe and add any flavoring of your choice. Nutella, berries, any citrus fruit, coffee, and coconut are just a few a options. Both recipes call for 1/2 cup of the flavor base, so take it to town with your creativity. Another option is to fold in nuts or berries for additional texture.

The recipe calls for a 9 x 13-inch pan, but semifreddo can be made in any mold. Whether you are having a dinner party and want individual plates, or just want to scoop it out, I have added a quick plating tutorial at the bottom of the page.

Milk Chocolate Semifreddo:

8 oz (1/2 cup) milk chocolate*
1 cup heavy cream
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar

* I bought two bars of Lindt (both weighing 4.4 oz each) and took off a few squares for garnish


Whip cream to a soft peak and refrigerate.

Chop or break up chocolate and melt over a double boiler.

Combine egg whites and sugar and whisk over a double boiler til hot to the touch (about 3-4 minutes). If you have a thermometer, the technical temp is 170°.

Beat the egg white-sugar mixture with a handheld electric mixer until stiff peaks form and the egg whites are shiny and glossy ( about 3 to 5 minutes).

Gently fold the cream into the chocolate, then fold the meringue into the chocolate/cream mixture. Fold in nuts/berries if desired.

Pour into prepared pan (chocolate garnish is optional) and freeze at least 4 hours.

Lemon Semifreddo


1/2 cup pistachios (chopped)
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups sugar
7 egg yolks
1/2 lemon juice (Meyer lemons are preferred, but not necessary)
1 TBS grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt


Same prep (without the melted chocolate)

Whip cream and refrigerate.

Heat sugar, lemon juice/peel, salt, and yolks over a double boiler to 170°. Beat custard until thick and double in size (about 4-5 minutes).

Fold cream into custard and pour into pan. Freeze.

*See plating below for use with pistachio garnish.

Different plating methods:

Cutting slices

Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with plastic wrap, leaving extended overhang. Sprinkle pistachios on the bottom of the pan and pour in the custard. Freeze.

Once frozen, lift out the semifreddo (using your plastic overhang) and place on a cutting board. Wet your knife in warm water and dry off with a clean towel. Cut.

Ramekins or molds:

Pour custard into molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Run the ramekin under warm water (especially the bottom).

Run a paring knife or small offset spatula around the edge of the mold.

Invert onto a cold plate.

Garnish with pistachios.


Do I need to explain this?

Want a layered semifreddo? Cut the recipe in half and make two batches with different flavors. Pour first custard into the pan and refrigerate the other portion. Freeze for 45 minutes and pour second flavor on top. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brining Made Simple

When I first started cooking, I was all about the marinade. Once I started working in a kitchen, I quickly learned that it is not only frowned upon by professional chefs, but it is a waste of money. Learning to make a simple brine gives great results for a fraction of the cost. There are a million brining recipes, but salt and sugar is really all you need. This is a short tutorial to show you how a little extra time and about 50 cents can give you perfect chicken every time.


Here is a quick scientific explanation of brining:

Salt and sugar cause the cell proteins to unravel, or denature. As the individual proteins unravel, they become more likely to interact with one another. This interaction results in the formation of a sticky matrix that captures and holds moisture.

In a nutshell:
Your meat takes in the salt and sugar which in turn help break down tough cell walls and fill the meat muscle with more moisture.

What you can brine:
Less fatty seafood (shrimp/oysters)

*If you are brining a turkey and using a large container, weigh the food down with a wide, heavy object such as a dinner plate or soup bowl. This helps keep the food fully immersed in the brine.


1 quart of brine per pound

1 pound of meat= 1 quart of water + 1/2 cup kosher salt + 1/2 cup of sugar

1 hour per pound, but not less than 30 minutes and more than 8 hours

Obviously this can be tweaked (if you have 1 1/2 lbs round up or down without repercussions).


1. Mix cold water, salt, and sugar in a zip lock bag and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Tonight I had 2 chicken breasts (a little over 1/2 lb). So I used 1/4 cup of each.

2. Immerse food in brine, seal, and refrigerate.

3. Set your timer.

4. Once your brining is complete, wash your protein throughly and pat dry. If you are looking for a crispy skin, the protein must be air dried in the refrigerator first. For best results, turkeys should airdry overnight.

5. Cook your simply made, delicious moist meat and wow some people.