Saturday, October 31, 2009

Awards Season Is Still Going Strong

Rabbit, rabbit!

Once again, a fellow blogger whom I admire very much has flattered me with the Kreativ Blogger Award. If you haven't already, please pay The Colors of Indian Cooking a visit. Writer Kathy Gori serves up some delectable dishes, and I learn something new whenever I read her blog.

I'm supposed to tell you seven fun facts about myself, but I have decided not bore you with that part again. I am just an ordinary person (unlike Kathy, who has voiced Hanna-Barbara cartoons!!)

The rules also state that you must pass the award on to seven other bloggers. This, I will do. A lot of great people inhabit the blogging community, and it was difficult to pick just seven last time, so I'm glad I get another chance.

November Edition Nominees (in Alphabetical Order):

These bloggers differ greatly from one another, but each electrifies the blogosphere with passion and creativity. Congrats to them! (If this is your first time receiving the award, please tell us seven interesting facts about yourself and nominate seven other blogs that you are proud to follow.)

Next on the agenda...

Results of the Roasted Salad pictured above? Meh. The vinaigrette was a little weird. I couldn't cut the tartness of the lime without adding more olive oil, and since I had already used olive oil in the roasting process I was hesitant to make a big oily mess of the whole affair.

As always, please feel free to tweak this at home and email me/comment with your results.

Roasted Salad


Roasted Vegetables

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced large
1/2 red onion, diced large
2 stalks celery, rinsed and sliced
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Salt 'n' pepper to taste

Sweet Lime Vinaigrette

1 tsp. lime juice
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
Quick dash dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. celery seed
Pinch black pepper


Heat oven to 425.

Toss the sweet potato, onion, and celery in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper. (This seems like a small amount of olive oil, but little fat is needed for roasting.)

Spread the mixture in a baking pan or other oven-proof vessel. If possible, maintain a single layer.

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.

Go read the next chapter of your book or something.

Remove veggies from the oven. Transfer them to a heat-proof container with a lid that seals. (Do not put the lid on yet.)

While the veggies are cooling, squeeze the lime juice into a small cup or dish and add salt. Let this sit at least ten minutes, then whisk vigorously. Add the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk again.

Pour the vinaigrette over the veggies and put the lid on. Holding the lid firmly, shake to distribute the vinaigrette. Leave this on the counter and go read another chapter of your book or something.

When the mixture has cooled down enough to refrigerate without compromising your fridge's other contents, shake it one more time and chill for two to forty-eight hours. Shake or stir again before serving. Can be brought to the table chilled, at room temperature, or reheated. Serves 4.

Hope you had a happy Halloween!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chickenless Cook of the Week: Anonymous

That's right, anonymous. No pictures. No name. No identifying features whatsoever. Just a lovely stock photo of cows in a field.

Now, it's not that this person chooses to remain anonymous... on the contrary, his home page has his name and picture right on the banner. I'm the fussy freddy behind all the discretion, and with good reason. This week's chickenless cook is technically a criminal.

First, a crash course in civics:

A long, long time ago, back when people didn't understand what germs were and thought they were the work of the devil or something, they used to keep their dairy cows in unsanitary conditions and feed them items that the FDA would not deem safe for their consumption today. (Not that the condition of your average cow is so hot in the US at present, either; but for the sake of argument, let's say dairy farms are basically cleaner than they were at the turn of the century). Folks in cities frequently got sick from milk that had been transported from rural areas. Up sprung the practices of pasteurization and homogenization. Big bad creepy-crawlies like typhoid stayed out of the milk supply, farmers were still allowed to transport their milk long distances, and for a long time everyone was content with the arrangement.

But as Bob Dylan would say, "Don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin." Today, organizations like Real Milk argue vehemently that the benefits of raw dairy outweigh the risks, as long as sanitary standards are upheld.

Trouble is, they're not allowed to test this theory. Sale of raw dairy for human consumption is illegal in a number of areas throughout Europe and the United States, all the territories of Australia, and all the territories of Canada. In my home state of Florida, only criminals deal in the raw.

Enter my anonymous cook of the week.

An acupuncturist by trade, he started volunteering on farms years ago, and developed a side business selling local products such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and- you guessed it- raw dairy. Anyone who wants to partake can sign up on his website. Every two weeks he schleps around picking up from farms (all are within a three-hour radius). Customers can then pick up their pre-ordered contraband at his Altamonte Springs home.

Let's take a side trip and discuss the logistics of this business for a moment. Surely he uses less gas fetching your food from local sources than a chain grocery store uses importing your food across the globe. Thumbs up so far. However, those thumbs are attached to hands that are not "on". You still won't understand where your food comes from, any more than if you had bought it at Super Wal-Mart. You won't get to judge for yourself the living conditions of any animals involved, or whether the fertilizer they use on their plants is organic. You are entrusting your health and ethics to a third party. Thumbs down on that- no matter how trustworthy your third party happens to be, perpetuating a "get it all in one spot" mindset discourages diligent research and, by extension, responsible eating.

So far, I have thumbs pointing in each direction. Here's where your thumbs come in.

I considered expense when deciding whether or not to use this service. When you buy directly from a farmer, there's no middleman to jack up the price. Now, if you're a busy person, chances are it's either because you have a job that keeps you that way or are a single parent with a steadily-working spouse. In either case, you may find it worth paying a bit more for the convenience of attaining assuredly-local food from one source. In my case... well, I have more time than money, so my thumbs went down. This is a personal rather than a societal consideration, and I thought it would interest my readers to spread the idea around. Perhaps you would like to patronize a business like this in your neck of the woods. Perhaps you would even like to start one. In either case, I would strongly support you, even though I don't happen to be the ideal customer for your services.

I would also like to hear from your thumbs as far as the legal issue is concerned. We're moving back into the realm of societal consideration now, but the reason I saved this for last is because I'm not sure where I stand in the raw dairy debate. I am more than okay with the legal sale of booze and cigarettes, so long as their labels clearly warn of the health hazards. But I'm not crazy about the idea of selling something that could cause a typhoid outbreak. Potential benefits include increased nutritional value and assistance with immunization... both important, to be sure, but worth being legally allowed to place your children in danger of life-threatening disease?

If that were the whole story, I would say no. But I don't know the whole story.

What have you heard? I understand that mostly small farms engage in this activity, so is it possible that the risks of consuming raw dairy are being exaggerated by lobbyists working for large corporations? Or are raw dairy traffickers a health menace, as deserving of punishment for their crimes as drug dealers?

In an earlier post, I asked you to leave a kind word for my cook of the week; and I would still ask that if you can't say something nice about him personally, don't say anything at all. I chose him for a reason: because he is one chickenless SOB. No matter what can be said about the legality of his business practices, I personally admire him for helping people get the local foods they appreciate and deserve.

That being said, would you use a service like his? If not, is it due to any of the factors I've mentioned, or is there something I haven't considered? What is your opinion on raw dairy in general? On local dieting? Please feel free to leave a comment or write

Thanks for taking the time to read this in between trips to the costume shop or the party supply store. Happy Halloween and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maple Oatmeal Clafouti... Yes, I Only Got the One Good Picture of It

Introducing another fabulous guest recipe by The Chickenless Chick's mom!

Now I have to warn you- and I doubt I'm embarrassing her by saying this- my mom is no chicken in the kitchen; and this is a far cry from traditional clafouti, which I find quite bland. So if you're looking for an exemplary clafouti, then I'm sorry I wrote the word clafouti on this page so many times that the search engine picked it up... clafouti clafouti clafouti. (Meh, I'm not that sorry... I'll take hits where I can get 'em.)

Maple Oatmeal Clafouti


2 ¼ cups old fashioned oats (uncooked)

¾ cups brown sugar

¾ cup dried cherries or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp maple extract (or 1 tbs vanilla if you don’t have maple)

1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar

2 cups milk

2 eggs (whipped)

1 large tart apple, like Granny Smith, diced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or grease 13 x9 casserole dish. (Filippo Berio extra light olive oil comes in a nice little spray pump now if you don’t have your own sprayer.)

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, whip eggs. Stir in milk, vanilla, maple, and vinegar. Add to dry ingredients, and mix together. Stir in apple. (It will look watery and gloppy. Don’t panic!)

Pour into casserole dish. Spread the solids around evenly throughout the wet mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees, 50 minutes. Test with toothpick for doneness.

Cool slightly and cut into twelve squares.

Top with homemade applesauce, plain or vanilla yogurt, and drizzle with grade B maple syrup (for a more intense maple flavor).

Simple Applesauce


3-4 apples (I like to mix sweet and tart – like 2 MacIntosh and 1 Granny Smith, for instance.)

3 T. brown sugar (optional)

1 T. lightly salted butter (optional)

2 T. water


Chop apples, add to pan with water. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring often.

Add butter and sugar, turn heat down and simmer 10-15 minutes depending how chunky you like your applesauce.

Thank you, Chickenless Chick's Mom, for indulging my blog addiction and letting me share your recipe with my food nerd friends!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


No idea what a panade with no cheese is called. I would have said vegan panade, except that I will never under any circumstance call something vegan in the Chickenless Kitchen. This is out of utmost respect for my vegan friends (those who are chickenless in the most literal sense of the word) having to deal with jackasses like me who go, "Oh, yeah, it's totally vegan," and then it turns out that I was ignorant and large red kidney beans are actually an animal product somehow. Great care and effort goes into that lifestyle, and I'm not about to thwart anyone's attempt at accurate recipe research by overlooking something that I didn't consider because my cold-blooded omnivorous piehole gets stuffed full of it every day.

On that note I present to you a Non-Panade that, if not vegan, can hopefully be made so with a few simple tweaks. In any case, it can be made a number of ways with a number of results. Which is what the Chickenless Kitchen is all about.



10 asparagus spears
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin (I used a small yellow one plus two extra slices of red)
1/2 head of garlic, cloves separated and sliced
1/3 c. dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
Salt, slightly more than to taste
5-6 slices any type of day-old bread (or in my case week-old bread), vegan if preferred
1 rooty-tuber-type vegetable, peeled and grated (I used sweet potato, but I imagine a white boiling potato or Yukon Gold would also work)
3 2/3 c. veggie broth
1/3 c. wine (I used a Spanish red that was on the sweet side)
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter or additional olive oil

(Isn't grated sweet potato pretty??)


Blanch the asparagus spears, then cut them into bite-size pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low. Add the onion, garlic, and asparagus. Stir to coat in oil. Cover and cook for about 17 minutes, or until all are kinda-sorta-mostly soft.

Heat the oven to 350.

Turn the heat up to medium-high under the vegetables and remove cover. Add lentils and salt slightly more than to taste; especially if using a sweet onion, sweet potato, and sweet wine like I did. Saute about 5 minutes more or until the asparagus is soft enough to eat as is. Remove from heat.

Combine wine and broth. Place the mixture over low heat.

Divide each bread slice into 4 pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes, or until crispy but still light in color.

Arrange about half the bread pieces on the bottom of an ovenproof dish with an equally-ovenproof lid (I used a round casserole 8" in diameter, which worked perfectly for these ingredient proportions... small wonder, considering I'm the one giving you the recipe). Arrange half the onion mix on top, then follow with half the rooty-tuber-type vegetable. Repeat so that you have two layers of each.

Remember the tea kettle trick from the New Orlexeek Red Beans and Rice post? Aw yeah, here it comes again... transfer the broth to something with a spout, then pour it down the sides of the dish until you see a wine-tinged substance threatening to carry your top layer away in a tidal wave.

Oooohhh, doesn't it look so ominous, lurking down there?

Anyhoo, if you're using butter, cut it up in a bunch of little slabs and distribute it evenly over the top. If you're using olive oil, drizzle it on.

Bake at 350 with cover on for 45 minutes. Continue to bake with cover off for 30 additional minutes. Serves 3 for lunch with a salad; 4 if you're going to have it as a prelude to a big fat roast pheasant; 5 if you're going to have it as a prelude to a big fat roast pheasant with this for dessert... or this... or this. (Props to Salty Seattle, Food o' del Mundo, and Natalie's Killer Cuisine respectively!)

Be sure to bring the serving dish to the table, because if you divvy it up in the kitchen, it just looks like you decided your guests would enjoy a big glob of soggy bread for dinner:

This is a Patented Chickenless Kitchen Rip-Off, based on any number of traditional soups that came before it. Panade is a terrific skeleton to work with, particularly if you are just delving into the world of creating your own recipes. Please feel free to throw your hat into the ring and let me know how your version comes out.

Yesterday I mentioned my plans to do some SOLE-searching (har, har, har). All I can tell you so far is that this Friday's Chickenless Cook of the Week will interest folks who want to eat responsibly despite a hectic schedule. Please stop by and leave a kind word for him if you feel so inclined.

Tomorrow... the oatmeal clafouti recipe goes up! Better late than never (though by now I've built the suspense so much that you're going to make it and think it sucks). My Foodbuzz friends know what I'm talkin' about. For those who don't, here's an instant replay:


Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aw Yeah, Here Are the Results of the Wheat Germ Challenge...

I'm ready!! I'm ready!!

...Wait, I'm not ready.

Can anyone tell me what this is?

Well, then, damn it, I'm not ready.

Why hasn't anyone made the application for Google yet where you can just upload a picture of something and then ask what it is? That would be useful right now. Because I got this is in my Vietnamese takeout container a couple days ago, and now it is an integral part of my wheat germ challenge recipe.

Anyhoo, other than the fact that I used a mystery herb (hoping some of my Foodbuzz friends will be able to lend a hand here??), this went swimmingly. I hope to make Baffling Ingredient a common recurrence, if not a rigid feature, on the Chickenless Kitchen. Face it, people, I do have to work sometimes... sometimes. Once in a blue moon.

Without further ado, I made Back to School Granola Bars by Sunshine Mom:

I made them to the very best of my ability.

I made them without letting my ADD take over.

Except for the part where I excluded the chocolate chips, subbed extra wheat germ for Smart Balance, and crumpled one up to sprinkle over asparagus.

Right. Hopeless.

Granola Asparagus


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 lb. asparagus spears
2/3 c. vegetable or other light broth
2 Tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. mystery herb (I'm pretty sure Thai basil could sub in a pinch)
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 of Sunshine Mom's incredible Back to School Granola Bars


Blanch the asparagus spears. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic slices and swish them around for a few minutes. Just before they start to brown, discard them.

Raise heat to medium-high. Add the asparagus spears to the garlic-infused oil in the pan and saute until cooked through, about seven minutes. Remove the asparagus and plate it, reserving as much oil in the pan as possible. Cover the asparagus to keep it warm.

Turn the heat back down to medium-low. Be patient. I know, it's hard for me too.

Add the remaining ingredients, minus the granola bar, to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to bubble.

Separate the asparagus onto two separate serving plates. Pour the sauce over. Divide the granola bar in half. Crumple each half over a serving. Serves 2.

Thanks very much to Sunshine Mom once again for her delicious recipe! Before you go accusing me of bastardizing it, let me just say in my defense that I bastardized it with a Vitamix.

Have you seen this sucker in action? Here are my peanuts:

Here are my peanuts ten seconds later:


You're going to think I work for Vitamix at this point, but I don't. The fact is, I've just never seen anything like it. Thirty more seconds, and I would have had peanut butter.

Is it a new toy, you ask? Oh no, it is not a new toy. I've had it over two years, and I've never had to sharpen the blades. It's just that good. Highly recommend it to anyone who believes in the necessity of owning both a blender and a food processor... this puppy has two different processing bowls, one for dry ingredients (like if you want to make peanut butter out of whole roasted peanuts) and one for wet (like if you want to make smoothies, soup, etc.), and they both work their magic like nothing I've ever seen in a kitchen.

For those of you who didn't see my earlier post, I've been inspired by Michelle Gienow's article about eating responsibly on a food stamp budget. I plan to spend all day tomorrow looking up local sources for protein. Because even being poor, I can't stand buying from irresponsible sources for one more week. I have to do the best I can; despite being here in Orlando, which in my opinion is a desert for responsibly-raised food products. Don't get me wrong- I love being here, and if I didn't, I would leave in a heartbeat. I just want to do some research and see if it's possible to have my cake and eat it too.

Will have some results for you tomorrow night. Til then, thanks to all who participated in the wheat germ project, and hope to see your entry in the next Baffling Ingredient challenge!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.