Friday, November 14, 2014

Rolling Right Along



When I get bored I tend to get creative with my food.  When I was younger, and more energetic, I would bone a whole chicken.  Today I am more efficient and confined myself to a roulade, a piece of meat pounded to a malleable thickness spread with something tasty, and then rolled up into a tidy, tasty package.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chili for Chilly Weather



We’re expecting sub-freezing temperatures tonight and that calls for the essential cold weather meal, classic red chili. Now chili may have its roots in Mexico, but it was only fully realized in Texas, birth place of my father. My mother made typical WASP chili, ground beef, canned kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onion, seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wienerschnitzel is Country Fried Steak


I am always amused when someone uses a foreign language to disguise a peasant dish, usually so unsuspecting customers can be charged a haute cuisine price.   Growing up I was told that only unfortunate children in Dickens’ novels had to eat mush for dinner.  Now everyone raves about polenta as an elegant side dish.  Corn meal mush by any other name is just as tasty and filling.  

One dish from my children’s German heritage is schnitzel, praised as one of the “Few of My Favorite Things” from the film, A Sound of Music.  As elegant and satisfying as the film, schnitzel, is really just tarted up version of country fried steak. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Post Mortem



Six of the Thanksgiving dishes at the Wheeler household this year,  Clockwise:  Deviled Eggs, Dad's Cornbread Dressing, Browning Bag Turkey, Sweet Potato Anna with Prunes & Port, Pearl Onion Gratinee, and Cranberry Chutney

Most of the food press spends all of November giving you ideas for the Thanksgiving holiday dinner.  The problem with that is most of the dishes are so complicated and/or expensive most cooks won’t test drive them before the holiday and the dinner guests become lab rats for your culinary experiments.

This year we had no absolute disasters, only a couple of minor disappointments, and we had a few major triumphs. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dieting with Style

Although there was a time when I was slim, since turning 30 I have struggled with my weight, a condition aggravated by the fact that my wife and children effortlessly remain slim.  It’s not that they work at it.  My son ignores his diet altogether, while my wife and daughter feign allegiance to healthy eating while consuming copious amounts of sweets (my wife) and alcohol (my daughter).

I have found a way to diet that suits me.  I eat whatever I want in increments of 200 calories, a tactic that means miniaturizing many of my meals.  Tonight I am going to take some pedestrian items and have a lovely, cheerfully small meal.  The main attraction is a chicken sandwich with lemon dill mustard.  There is no real cooking involving, just some incredibly smart shopping.  Here are the main elements:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lazy & Decadent Lemon Tart

I am a fan of food that is easy to prepare.  However, it is a myth that it has to come in a box, frozen concentrate, or pre-washed to be convenient.  After my wife, Brenda, suggested we get a box mix for lemon bars, I decided to resurrect this Betty Crocker recipe and present it as an up town dessert, Tarte Au Citron.  It is disarmingly simple and sublimely delicious.  One word of warning, do not substitute.  You cannot get these results with anything other than real butter, fresh lemons, and real eggs.  So take a few minutes to prepare this pretty dish, serve up a small slice and toss some fresh berries on top to satisfy the healthy food police.  They will never suspect how lazy and decadent it really is.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wagnerian Cookies

Kirsten Flagstad
The Ultimate Wagnerian Soprano

It’s unclear who first paired chocolate with cherries, but I do know that the Germans came up with the ultimate expression of the combination in the Schwarzw√§lderkirschtorte, the Black Forest Cake.  The Black Forest Region in the German state of Baden-W√ľrttemberg is famous for it’s sour cherries and it’s local maids dressed in black jumpers adorned with red pom-poms worn over a white blouse.  It’s rumored that a local baker smitten by such a girl created the chocolate confection decorated with cherries.  It’s not true that it also gave birth to the alternative meaning of tart.

Whatever the origins of the Black Forest Cake, I promise you that a couple of these cookies and you will be hearing Wagnerian sopranos.   A Kirschwasser accompaniment is optional.