Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Friday, September 30, 2005

EoMEoTE#11---Seventies Song Lyrics Style!


"...she left me with nothing but the broken shells
How could could she treat me like this?
Not even the heels of some day-old bread
Oh-woah; how can I make my EoMEoTE dish?

That was Justlightly Browned, on WEGY; where we play all eggs and toast, all Seventies, all the time!

That's right, folks; another EoMEoTE is coming up! And this month, it's egg and toast dishes done up like 1970's songs.

The lovely Cooksister! has kindly relinquished hosting duties for the month of September. Jeanne trusts me, so I'll do my best to hold to her very high standards.

This month, our theme is 1970's lyrics. Oh, come on...I could have run with the threatened Beowolf suggestion!

You can re-write a song from the Seventies (perhaps "Brick House" could become "Brioche House"?), or create your own in any one of the many genres from that decade.

There's my personal favorite, the Singer-Songwriter (Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Carly Simon), So-Cal Rock (Eagles, JD Souther, Warren Zevon), Southern Rock (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet), Punk (Generation-X, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols), Top-40 Friendly (Steve Miller Band, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt), Disco (Donna Summer, KC & the Sunshine Band, Bee Gees), Rock (Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith), Funk (George Clinton, Earth, Wind and Fire, Sly & the Family Stone)...whatever you prefer.

Create your dish, write your post like a Seventies song, and either leave a link here in the comments, or email it to me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com.

Just as a refresher, here are Jeanne's very simple rules:

1. There must be eggs.

2. There must be carbohydrates (bread, crackers, potatoes, pancakes, waffles... I'm not picky!)

I will post the round-up...radio style!...7 October. Can't wait to 'hear' what you come up with!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Second Time's the Charm


I know; I've been doing quite a bit of baking the past few days. I must be nice and healthy again!

Wednesday, I tried a new recipe, Fudgey Peanut Butter Chip Muffins. Matt picked these out, no big surprise!

So, I followed the recipe, popped them in the oven, and waited. The muffins on the right are what came out. Saggy muffins!


I asked Matt to try one, and as he put it, they really lacked structural integrity. It was almost as if there wasn't enough flour.

Except there was.

So, I waited until after the special Law & Order crossover was over, and tried again.

The only difference between Take 1 and Take 2? A different brand of applesauce. I think the stuff I used in the first batch was too runny; plus, it was made with corn syrup (don't look at me, I didn't buy it!).

The second batch definitely benefited from the better, organic, applesauce. No sinking! See muffins on the left.

Another thing; the recipe claims to make a dozen muffins. The first batch, following the directions and filling the muffins cups just 3/4 full, led to over-flowing baked goods.

The second batch, I filled two additional cups, which also seemed to help.

So...applesauce, rolled oats, sugars (both kinds), butter, egg, vanilla, flour, Dutch process cocoa, and peanut butter chips.

The finished, non-saggy, product: very sweet, with a dark chocolate flavor.

Oh, and be watching for the EoMEoTE#11 announcement!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Both Sweetnicks and A Blithe Palate have tagged me for the 23/5 meme, so here we go:

I tossed the hazelnuts on the counter, so Matt could use them for pesto.

Rather innocuous, isn't it?

I was posting about making 100 Almond Chicken, and our Indian recipe try-outs. We'd originally planned to serve Indian for Thanksgiving; however, clever girl that I am, realized my close-to ninety year old grandmother-in-law probably wouldn't be to keen on that idea. Plans later changed. No Indian. But still, good food!
Also, I had way too many bags of nuts in the freezer, some fell on the floor, and I was annoyed. Typical stuff.

No tagging for me...feel free to play along.

More Baking


This time, Sugar & Spice Popovers!

Matt loves popovers. Generally, I make them, and he gobbles 'em up.

So when I found a recipe for breakfast popovers, I knew I had to try it.

Very basic, very simple. But apparently, very tasty!

Matt says they're not as crispy as a savory popover, but still quite good.

And as always, feel free to ask for the recipe!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Butterscotch 'Scones'


Some of you wanted to know how I fared with this cookbook; last week, I finally made something from it: Butterscotch Scones.

Yeah, I hear you. That doesn't look anything like a scone to me, either!

The book is old, the author...not a spring chicken, either. But I don't see how that allows for a jelly roll-type pastry to be called a scone...

Oh, well.

Oh-so simple to make, and Matt said they were perfect with his morning tea.

I'm still working through the book...most of the recipes will require more work than my formerly-ill self could manage. But, I'm 98.5% better, so I suppose it's time to start baking again!

Monday, September 26, 2005

IMBB? #19 I Can't Believe I Ate Vegan!


The fabulous Sam of Becks & Posh is hosting this month's IMBB?, choosing Vegan foods/meals for the theme.

Sam suggested we try to 'surprise' someone with our vegan dishes; you know, 'really? You liked it? That's great...it has a tofu base' kind of thing.

It's a great idea, but unfortunately, I don't have anyone I can really spring vegan food upon; Matt knows what I eat, my in-laws know I'm a vegetarian (and vegan's just a step up from that)...and we have no friends. Sigh.

So, it's just us.

Not surprising either of us, I found some lovely vegan recipes in the October issue of Vegetarian Times.

First, Vegetable-Lentil Curry...a curry of lentils, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.

I thought it was 'ok'; Matt didn't care much for it because...well...he doesn't like sweet potatoes. It's the 'sweet' that turns him off.

(shh...don't tell, but we gave the rest to the dogs!)

To go with, a Spicy Red Dal.

Wow. This dish was hot! Just a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but it pretty much ignited the second it came into contact with my mouth. Really spicy, which Matt loves. Me...I need a huge mouthful of rice as a dampener!

Pretty tasty, and very simple to make.

And because (theoretically) you can't end a meal without serving dessert: Crunchy Chocolate Truffle Pie.

Firm tofu, processed with pure maple syrup. To this, add creamy peanut butter, then melted chocolate. Pour into a graham cracker crust and chill to ready to serve. Top with (recipe wanted chocolate-covered pretzels, but we couldn't find any) dark chocolate-covered almonds.

Wow...really rich, really dense. Great texture. You'd never guess it was made with tofu!

Tagged with: +

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blog Party #2---Tiki Party! The Round-Up


Aloha! Here; allow me to welcome you the traditional way...And welcome to my Tiki Party!

Come on in, don't mind the pets (I swear, at worst, Wicklow and Donegal will lick you to death), and let's get things started.

I've put a couple discs in the player...perfect music for a tropical evening. Hope you enjoy South Pacific Islands

and Vintage Hawaiian Music: Steel Guitar Masters.

Good stuff...I'm feeling more relaxed every minute!

And check out the decorations! All kinds of great island-themed cups, decorations, table settings...you name it...at Oriental Trading Company (and they're a Upromise company...buy stuff here, and get money for your kid's college education!). For even funkier stuff, the fabulous Archie McPhee has all kinds of things like this Tiki Time Shaker Set.

Ok...time to introduce the guests, and check out the food!

First to show up is Niki of Esurientes, who's wise enough to know that there's nothing wrong with starting a party off with dessert! Niki brought us a gorgeous Coconut & Lime Macadamia Cake...fantastic! Who wants the first slice?

Next, it's Cath...who I'm meeting for the first time, as well...from A Blithe Palate, who with a little help from her 'eh, what's the use fighting these crazy foodies any longer' hubby, showed up with some Toasted Coconut, a fabulous-sounding Campari Limeade, and another dessert (an aside: I think we're all going to dust off our copies of Sweatin' to the Oldies tomorrow!): Roasted Pineapple with Star Anise Syrup. Excellent job, Cath, and I'm so happy you could make it!

Oh, look! It's Nupur from One Hot Stove.
Nupur may have saved us (temporarily...I hope no one's counting points or carbs tonight!): she's brought along some gorgeous Fruit Kebabs, of red and green grapes, and pear, as well as Watermelon Lemonade. Absolutely refreshing, and not too hard on the diet, either! Thanks for coming, Nupur!

Alice is here! Bringing one of the more interesting named goodies so far, from My Adventures in the Breadbox, it's Galloping Horses.

How neat! Spicy pork and peanuts atop pineapple wedges...very attractive. And let's not forget about those Pineapple Margaritas! Just wonderful. Thank you, Alice!

Now it's Lisa, with one of my favorite blog names; Restaurant Widow!
Lisa starts us out with a Bali Cosmo...using citrus vodka and papaya juice; just gorgeous. Not to let that papaya go to waste, Lisa also made Curried Coconut Rice Spring Rolls with Shrimp & Papaya...crunchy, and perfect!

From Mahanandi, it's Indira! Oooh...what's this? Little, fried, potato-pea parcels? Yum! And watermelon juice...what could be better?! I'm so glad you could join us, Indira!

Hey, everyone! It's Becky from
Two Foot Kitchen
. How very clever she was, too...Black Beans and Sauteed Bananas, in Phyllo Cups! I love the artistic touch, as well. And a warning: don't drink too many of those Lifesavers! Thanks for stopping by.

And here's Kai of Bucaio is here, with another fairly healthy dish; Salad on a Stick...tomatoes, pineapple and basil on skewers or toothpicks, with just a bit of oil and S&P. Yum!
Kai was busy, as she also brings Dalandan Slush. What's that? A lime-like citrus fruit blended with ice and simple syrup...just my kind of drink.
And more still! Dulong Pate...you'll have to let Kai explain that one to you.
I'm so very happy you're here!

Clare of eat stuff is here! Making sure Casey couldn't eat her ingredients again (tsk, tsk), Clare showed up with a Omni Sparkling Red...I think I hear some empty glasses back there...Thank you, Clare!

Can it be? The lovely AugustusGloop of Grab Your Fork came to the party! What an honor!
And what's this? Pineapple Coconut Muffins!? Yummy! More dessert...my abs are going to pay for this tomorrow...sigh.
Thank you for joining in!

Randi of Culinary Adventures got a nudge from Sweetnicks, and here she is!
Randi's brought Mango Chutney Chicken Curry...yum. She's not convinced it's a perfect recipe, but I know you'll enjoy it. And I just happen to have some butter lettuce leaves for serving it! Thanks for coming, Randi!

The fabulous chefdoc, of A Perfect Pear, took time out of his busy schedule, and just returned from a fantastic-sounding vacation, to come to our little shindig. It's dessert time again...chefdoc whipped up Pineapple Skillet Tarlets with Coconut Ice Cream...wow. Talk about fancy! Thanks for fitting Tiki Party into your busy life, chefdoc!

I am so thrilled ladygoat of Foodgoat was able to make it tonight!
I saw werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's, and his hair was purr-fect...ladygoat turned to the venerable Trader Vic for her (in contention for best name) Bongo Bongo soup. She describes it as 'a pureed spinach and oyster bisque'...I'll get the shot glasses! Thanks for coming by, ladygoat.

Yay! Cathy of My Little Kitchen did a rush job just so she come to our party...aw, thanks! Cathy prepared Tiki Tenders with Pineapple Salsa, as well as Asti Tropical Punch...sounds perfect! Thank you for trying so hard to be here, Cathy.

I hope you're all having a good time. Music too loud? Just let me know.

Oh, wait! I made food, too. Silly hostess.

(All recipes from Retro Luau and Trader Vic's Tiki Party!, or by request)

First up, Killer Island Kebabs.
Chunks of chicken, Portuguese sausage, and sirloin beef, marinated in soy sauce, ginger, pineapple juice, and garlic; broiled (or grilled, in our case) with pineapple chunks. Matt generally doesn't like soy sauce marinades, but really enjoyed this one...especially the chicken.

Next, Yellowtail Tuna Poke (pronounced 'po-kay'); finely chopped (high grade) tuna, tossed with sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onion. Served in spoons, and gobbled right up. The original recipe called for Ahi tuna, but our fishmonger (don't you love that word?) was out.

Pineapple Chicken Salad in Wonton Cups.
This recipe was mainly for me...I used Veat bites. Bits of fake (or real) chicken, chopped pineapple, celery, nuts (called for almonds, but I used macadamia), sour cream and mayo. Mix and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
I baked some wonton skins in mini muffin cups, and filled them up...very tasty!

Tropical Island Punch Orange and grapefruit juices, mixed with peach nectar and gingerale, then topped with pineapple sherbet.

One last dessert; Macadamia Nut Brittle.

A simple brittle recipe, but with macadamias. Matt really likes it, and I hope you will, too!

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm stuffed. It's been a great party, and I thank you all for coming. I think we're all walking away with some fantastic recipes (without the calories), and some good party ideas.

Mark your calendars for the Blog Party#3; I'll announce the theme next Saturday, with the entry deadline the third Thursday of October. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

WCB#16...Macroom Strikes a Pose


This is my good side.

No, this is my good side. (and please don't look at my dirty floor!)

I said no camera equipment backstage!

Go visit Clare for all the other kitty cats.

WDB#2...Donegal, Wicklow, and Jelly Bellies




Two very dirty dogs, in desparate need of a bath, watching that Jelly Belly jelly bean I was holding while Matt snapped their pictures.

They're actually much better-looking than this...but they never pose well!

Check out all the pups over at Sweetnicks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Like the girl said; Great minds think alike.


I haven't done much cooking lately, what with the being sick forever, and all.

I'm feeling much better, but I'm still not in the mood to stand in front of the stove for long.

So tonight, Matt made dinner. Yay!

For me, Sweet & Sour (fake) Chicken...Veat bites, red bell peppers, peas, water chestnuts, and cashews, with a sauce modified from Julia's post on sweet & sour fish.

Yummy, and I didn't have to prepare it!

I want to remind everyone that Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is coming up this Thursday. I've been picking out my recipes...I'm having a hard time narrowing them down to just a few! I love how many options are out there for this event; if the foods and drinks would be at home on a tropical beach, you're good to go.

Remember to get your entries in no later than Thursday night (22 September), and I'll get the round-up posted Saturday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cute Filler, Plus a Blog Party Reminder


Till the new camera arrives (please hurry!), I'm unloading some photos hanging 'round.

Taken a month or so ago: whenever I'm taking a photo of a dish, Alex wants his picture taken, as well.

This time, he was finishing breakfast...we drag his chair into the kitchen when we're both busy at the stove. You know what they say...when they're in another room and you don't hear anything??? Run fast!

Anyway; cute kid photo to tide you over.

I want to remind everyone that Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is coming up this Thursday. I've been picking out my recipes...I'm having a hard time narrowing them down to just a few! I love how many options are out there for this event; if the foods and drinks would be at home on a tropical beach, you're good to go.

Remember to get your entries in no later than Thursday night (22 September), and I'll get the round-up posted Saturday!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Almost Praline Brownie Pie


Cookbooks keep showing up on my doorstep; the latest, The Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2005.

I've already marked thirty or more recipes to try, but I just had to give the Praline Brownie Pie first priority!

It's not to complicated, but I at the same time, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the recipe.

It's all done in stages: first, make the pastry dough, which chills an hour. Meanwhile, make a praline topping, then a caramel layer, and finally a chocolate filling.

When the dough's been properly chilled, roll it out and line a tart pan. Spread the chocolate filling onto the crust, then spread the caramel, followed by the praline and some extra chocolate chips.

Ok...the dough? Fine. The filling? Also fine. I took issue first with the praline topping.

I've made praline before; quite a few times, actually. But this method? Well, before the time was up, the praline had burned.

I thought I must have done something wrong, so I asked Matt to give it a go. His also charcoal-ed prematurely. Not so good.

Also, the caramel...while it was gorgeous...well, the recipe simply said to set it aside, until ready to use. When it was time to top the pie with it...well, it had hardened.
The recipe didn't exactly cover that...and I was supposed to 'spread' it over the chocolate filling. Then 'swirl' it.

Not gonna happen.

So...I warmed up the caramel a bit, and sort of 'plopped' it strategically around the pie.

As for the praline topping; I just sprinkled chopped pecans over the top, and sprinkled some brown sugar on that.

Haven't cut into it yet, but it sure looks good!

And as always; recipes available upon request.

(Just a note...my camera is almost officially dead. We've ordered a new one, but it may not arrive for close to a week!!! So, posts may be sparse, and most likely, without photos. Please be patient...)

And don't forget---Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is just a few days away! Be sure to get your info in by next Thursday, 22 September. You can leave a link in the comments, or email me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com...and I'm looking forward to seeing what you 'bring'!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Thoughtful Hubby


Last night, Matt and Alex ran out to do the grocery store (I stayed at home, nursing a rather nasty headache brought on by the chemical fumes from my visit to the salon), and even though it wasn't on the list, and I hadn't asked for it...Matt came home with a special collector's Wheaties box...featuring Roberto Clemente!

Pittsburgh favorite, and hero...does my guy know me or what?

Very, very sweet.

And don't forget---Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is just a few days away! Be sure to get your info in by next Thursday, 22 September. You can leave a link in the comments, or email me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com...I can't wait to see what you've come up with!

Friday, September 16, 2005

SHF #12-Cooking Up Custard: Dulce de Leche Ice Cream


(I'm melting...melting!)

This month's Sugar High Friday, hosted by Elise of Simply Recipes, is all about custard.

Still recovering from a rather nasty flu/cold, I toyed with the idea of skipping SHF this month.
But, no matter how crappy I might feel, I couldn't miss it.

Decision made, I decided not to get too adventurous, and stick with a form of custard I was already familiar with: ice cream.

A recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appetit called for dulce de leche ice cream, but expected you to run to the store for it.

Which, of course, just got me wanting to make my own!

From Emerils.com: here is Homemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.

Very rich, and really tastes like dulce de leche.

Also makes a rather soft ice cream...look at it melt!

And Elise has already started with the round-up! Please check it out.

And don't forget---Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is less than one week away! Be sure to get your info in by next Thursday, 22 September. You can leave a link in the comments, or email me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com

Sausage and Black Bean Burritos


Recipe from Food & Wine...

Italian sausages (Boca sausages for me), cooked with smooshed black beans, adding shredded cheese, tomato, onion and lime juice.

Spread over a tortilla, top with cheese. Roll up and place in a baking dish; bake about fifteen minutes.

Tasty...the bean/sausage/cheese mixture is good, the tortillas were crispy, and the lime juice gave it just a bit of a 'bite'.

And pretty easy to make, too!

And don't forget---Blog Party #2, Tiki Party, is less than one week away! Be sure to get your info in by next Thursday, 22 September. You can leave a link in the comments, or email me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com

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