the best intentions. omg! what the hell is that?

You know, whenever I go grocery shopping it’s always with the best intentions.  I’m going to change my diet, eat more kale because it’s green and more densely packed with goodness than any other food on our planet!!!  Which, explains why you have to cook it in soup or saute it in olive oil and like a TON of garlic to make it taste like anything other than kale.  I’ll eat more blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, and red grapes and be anti-oxidated!  I’ll eat oatmeal and lower my cholesterol!!!  Recently, I’ve decided I will eat more bananas because they have something to do with potassium, they taste good in cereal, Weight Watchers says they’re 0 points instead of 2 and, not to alarm you all, but the banana we know and love is basically going extinct.  Seriously, google it!

is it me? or is this image somewhat disturbing?

So, I go out, I buy some bananas and bring them home.  Evidently, it is now virtually impossible, in this world, to buy a yellow banana.  So, I put them in a paper bag for 2 days to ripen and turn yellow.  It’s like, why does finding, buying, peeling the chiquita sticker off a banana, sticking the sticker on my forehead, dancing around the kitchen singing the chiquita banana song wrapped in a tropical print beach towel with a bowl of plastic fruit on my head and listening to the Hi-Fi while peeling and eating said banana have to take so long and be SO arduous?  These are NOT, the bananas of my childhood!  I basically get to eat one and maybe, maybe if I’m lucky- I get to eat two …and then, in the morning, I’ll come downstairs to my kitchen and on the counter, next to the microwave there’s something really gross sitting there on a dish! I know what you’re all thinking, yes I do!  You’re thinking – “OH MY GOD!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS IT???”   Well my darlings IT, is going to be banana bread!

A lovely recipe for banana bread-

Have all your ingredients at room temp.

preheat your 0ven to 350

Using unsalted butter, butter a 9x5x3 inch pan (or any pan you have close to that size) and please, I am begging you!  Do not use pam or any butter flavored spray to grease your pans- it’s gross! It’s full of nasty things and a little butter WILL NOT kill you, but that spray on butter crap will. Trust me.  Look, get yourself a little pastry brush and mark it butter/oil- when a recipe calls for a buttered pan- melt a tablespoon of butter and butter your pan with your lovely little brush- Seriously, you won’t even use the full tblspoon!

In a bowl mix together the following dry ingredients, and set aside:

1 cup white all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

In a standing electric mixer or using your hand held mixer or go all manual and use a wooden spoon-

cream: 3 tablespoons of butter and gradually add 1 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar

add 2 large eggs, one at a time and 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (3 or 4 bananas should do it)

then add 1/2 cup buttermilk (I use low fat) and 1/4 cup of fat free Greek yogurt.  If you can’t find Greek yogurt, just strain a little plain yogurt)

and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

and just make sure everything is nicely combined – don’t worry if it curdles a bit, it’ll be fine-

Now, get your bowl of dry ingredients and slowly combine it with the wet ingredients.

When everything is nicely combined pour it into your prepared pan and pop it in the oven for about one hour- check it after 45 mins and make sure the top isn’t getting too brown.  If it is, just cover the top very loosely with tinfoil.  Bake until a long wood or metal skewer comes out clean.  cool 10 mins in pan, tip over to release.

I would have added a 1/2 cup of walnuts to this, but I ate them all last week.  I really love to toast this bread after it’s been around for a couple of days- but it never is.  When my son was little he loved for me to spread a slice of it with peanut butter for a snack.  Sometimes, I’d throw a dish of sliced apple on the side and call it lunch!

it's all goodness...

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ruby red grapefruit! i love you so!

The last time I went shopping at Lambert’s I bought a whole bunch of grapefruit because they were 5lbs for .79 cents, or something ridiculous like that- Got home, threw them in the produce bin in the fridge… Well, the other night I was putting together a spinach salad and I LOVE grapefruit segments in spinach salad, so I pulled some grapefruit out of the fridge.  The first one, blah- white grapefruit, the second one, pink, nice- and then, I cut open the third one….

ruby red grapefruit

The photo does not do that lovely grapefruit justice- I mean when I cut the thing open I was like, oh!  And then, I ate it all up!

Anyway, spinach salad.  I love spinach salad and I make it all kinds of ways, but in the winter I like it with some grapefruit tossed in because I hate winter and grapefruit tastes so not wintry.  So here’s a little recipe for spinach salad with grapefruit and other things-

The amount of each ingredient is up to you!

Baby spinach- washed and dried

Slice some red onion AS THIN as you can- throw it in a medium size bowl.

Now, if you know how to peel and segment a grapefruit, do it over the bowl of sliced onions.  Add as many segments as you’d like to the onions and make sure you squeeze what’s left of the membranes over the onions. Please, please if you don’t know how to segment or you just don’t have the time, buy a glass jar of unsweetened grapefruit segments or pick some up at the grocery store salad bar!  Let the onions sit in the juice for 5/10 minutes or more. While the onions “marinate” I usually wash the greens/spinach, set the table, see whatever else I can find in the fridge and/or pantry for the salad…

So, turn your spinach out into a salad bowl and dress it with a good balsamic vinegar.  I use Ariston Balsamic in a refillable bottle- the stuff is like crack.  I know that’s wrong, but it’s true.  Now, I’ll just say something right here, if  you use a good vinegar to dress a salad, adding oil is nonsense.

Now, use your hands or a big spoon and scoop up the onions and grapefruit and toss them on top of the spinach- you don’t want a ton of the juice on the spinach as it’s already dressed.  I like to add a little something salty to this kind of a salad.  The other night I found some feta and a jar of green martini olives in the fridge.  Yes, I know, you’re all shocked, SHOCKED that I have a jar of martini olives in my fridge!  I grabbed some of those olives along with the feta and threw them on top of the salad, fantastic!  Then, I made myself an extra-dry vodka martini with TWO olives and, I drank it alllllllllll up!  Cheers!

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Marie Germaine Heffron Sheridan

So, let’s start with one of my grammy Sheridan’s recipes.  Me and this food stuff- it’s her fault.

Mexican Crinkles (in her words)

preheat oven to 350

Beat 3/4 cup soft shortening creamed with 1 cup sugar and 2 eggs

Stir in 1/4 cup light corn syrup and 2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate

Sift 1&3/4 cups flour, 2tsps. baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into creamed mixture to make a stiff dough – chill

Shape into balls the size of walnuts and roll in sugar.

bake- 15 mins.

makes- 4 dozen

My words: don’t grease the cookie sheets, throw some parchment or a silpat on them and call it a day.  Chill the dough for like 1/2 hour/45 minutes.  When you take the cookies out of the oven, let them cool on the sheets for like 5 minutes before shooing them on to a cooling rack.  Store the cookies in a tin with a crust of old bread (the heel is best).  Yeah, it’s weird, but trust me.  If you’d like, throw an orange peel in with them and the cookies get this really nice orangey/chocolatey thing going on.  These cookies and a glass of milk are like crack.  Seriously.

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little black dress

Everyone has a little black dress, right?  I have like 29 little black dresses, but who’s counting?  The little black dress, the one you love, the stalwart, the I look freaking great and you never let me down dress.  Oddly enough, I feel the same way about my cast iron spiders.  Not arachnids silly gooses!  Skillets!  Cast iron skillets!  I have 5!  They never let me down and, no matter how much weight I lose or gain, they always make me look good in the kitchen.  One of my  spiders belonged to my great-grandmother Sheridan and another to my grammy Sheridan.  How lovely is that?   The thing about a cast iron skillet is- you can bake a cake in one, roast a chicken, fry an egg, flip a pancake, braise an endive, stir a soup, mash potatoes, simmer a sauce, boil water, make a cheese-grilled samitch (more on that later), sear a steak on an open fire, stir-fry those little baby corns and steam broccoli!  Oh my gosh!  You can make macs and cheese and tuney feesh casserole in a cast iron skillet. You can make donuts in a cast iron skillet!!!  DOH!  Cast iron skillet!  What  CAN’T you do?  What be your little black dress in the kitchen?

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free range panko, dover sole, a tangent or 2 and a recipe.

free range panko

I was beside myself in the Whole Foods the other day!  Did you know you can buy free range panko crumbs, in bulk, dirt cheap at the WF!!!   No more expensive cooped-up boxed panko for me!  And, if that wasn’t enough, San Marzano canned tomatoes were on sale! 2 for $4!  Hello!!! I bought like 12 cans, promptly dropping one on my big toe.  I knew my toe was in bad shape right off because I was wearing my sheepy booties and as soon as the can hit my toe my first thought was FUCK that hurt.  However, the WF is no Stop & Shop people!  There is no swearing in the WF!!  Instead, there is chocolate brownie gelato covered in free range m&ms at the gelato bar.  My favorite girl, M. was working the gelato bar, she felt my pain and to ease it, gave me a little extra gelato.  Moving on. I love to eat a gelato and walk around my WF!  I never know what I might find… Dover Sole was on sale!  Who doesn’t love Dover Sole?  It’s so lovely and tender and takes minutes to cook. yums, dinner.  Getting back to the San Marzano canned tomatoes… Oh how I love my San Marzano tomatoes!  Do you know they taste so good because they are grown in soil that contains high levels of volcanic ash. Volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius! If you are going to make a true Napoletana Pizza you must use San Marzano tomatoes.  I will show you all how to make a wood fired grilled Napoletana Pizza in the spring!  It’s right around the corner you know!!  I’m digressing all over the place!  Anyhoo, here’s a nice recipe for Dover Sole:

Dover Sole

1&1/2 pounds of Dover Sole will give you enough to serve 4 people dinner or 2 people dinner with enough left over for a lovely sandwich the next day.

Turn your oven on to the lowest setting.

Beat an egg with a bit of water or milk to loosen it up and make it frothy in a bowl big enough to run the bits of sole through.

In a pie plate put 2 cups or so of panko and spread it out.

Have platter out to put the breaded sole pieces on.

Have another platter ready to put the cooked pieces of sole on.

Run the bits of sole thru the egg mixture- put the pieces in the panko and press down to coat on both sides- place the breaded pieces on platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Get out your cast iron or non-stick skillet, heat it up – put a little olive oil in it, just to coat and a tiny bit of unsalted butter- once its melted- add the fish (don’t crowd it!) seasoned side down (now season the top of the fish with salt and pepper).  Let it cook for 2 minutes, flip – cook 2 mins. more- remove from heat, place on the reserved platter, place platter in the middle of your warm oven- continue until all of the fish is cooked.  If your pan gets “dry” as you go along just add a little more olive oil to coat the pan-

I like steamed green beans with a white fish or a nice spinach salad.  Lettuce, is a waste of time.

The next day, if you should have left over sole, warm it up a bit, get a piece of lavash and put some of the left over spinach salad on it- top with the fish and roll it up. Yums!  Or make a fish, spinach and salsa roll up- or, toss it with a bit of mayo, chopped onions and pickles and have yourself a lovely soley feesh samitch.

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