Archive for June, 2010

Coca-Cola Glazed Meatloaf…WOW!

June 30, 2010

Go to meatloaf recipe (on The Hungry Southerner)

I really have to hand it to The Hungry Southerner Blog.  It’s rare I find any kind of recipe that rivals my grandma’s hamloaf (recipe to come)… but this meatloaf recipe just might.  Using Coca-Cola as a glaze is simply inspired. I can’t wait to make, and I had to share this with whomever would listen.


Thank’s Hungry Southerner!

-Eat Hearty!


What the heck is Oleo?!

June 25, 2010

I recently was loaned a cookbook by a friend.  This is no ordinary cookbook. The Ladies Aide Society Cookbook from the Central Schwenkfelder Church (Pennsylvania).

Now let me tell you, these recipes are amazing.  You’ll be seeing quite a few of them on this blog from time to time.  But there has been one overarching challenge to using these recipes – one that I often have with some of my grandma’s recipesIngredients that don’t exist anymore.

One ingredient, in particular: OLEO. I have asked myself on more than one occasion lately “what the hell is oleo”… the answer – I learned – is simple.  Margarine.

Simple, right?  Here I was convinced it was some mythical “crisco-esque” substance that would make all my cakes perfect, my muffins moist, and my brownies delectable.  All that is true, but there’s no magic to it… just plain old margarine.  The reason many grandma’s refer to Oleo in recipes is interesting.

While I’ve long been a staunch butter lover (I blame my mom)… I have been told, in certain instances… margarine is better.  Granted, it’s b/c it has more oil content and makes things unbelievable moist (along with clogging the arteries)… but still, worth considering…

-Eat Hearty

Gma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

June 25, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

You know how there are those images that cause an instant involuntary reaction – puffy clouds, a bunny, a crazy woman wearing fur on 8th avenue in the middle of July – and leave a lasting impression.  Well the sight of a plain cookie sheet messily covered with several sheets of aluminum foil puts a big smile on my face and starts my mouth “awaterin’ ” (pardon the country slang… sometimes you just need a “feel good” word).

Why does a messy foil wrap job make me happy? Good question.  The answer is my Grandma Millie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Early on, Millie discovered that the best way to transport a sheet cake in your car* is to simply leave it in the pan in which you baked it and cover it with foil.  Fortunately, the cake is so good, you rarely have to leave the pan b/c it’s usually eaten in one sitting.  To this day, I see a wrapped cookie sheet and hope for chocolate cake — I seem to find myself hoping for cake a lot 🙂

*I should mention, this method of transport only works if you actually get the cake into the car (klutzy baking disasters run in the family).


For Cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick oleo
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/4 cup oleo
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon milk (guess at this)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Step Two: Sift flour and white sugar into large mixing bowl.

Step Three: In a sauce pan bring 1 stick oleo, cocoa powder, and water to a boil.

Step Four: Add hot ingredients (from step 3) to dry ingredients (from step 2) and mix in oil, buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well.

Step Five: Pour into a greased cookie sheet.

Step Six: Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Step Seven: While cake is baking make frosting.  In a saucepan bring 1/4 cup oleo, cocoa powder, vanilla and milk to a boil.  Remove from stove and combine with powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Step Eight: Spread frosting over hot cake and let cool.

-Eat Hearty!

Bourbon Filet Mignon

June 21, 2010

Bourbon Filet Mignon Recipe

I must give credit where credit is due on this one… Thanks fresh direct. I thank my favorite grocery provider b/c they supplied bourbon-marinated 5 oz fillets that made this one of the easiest meat cooking experience of my life.

I should say, my friend Ginger (maker of glass noodles) was the one who hosted and bought the steaks.  However, I ended up cooking (as usual) in her tiny kitchen and ended up spilling half a pot of pasta on me – not my first food disaster in small NYC kitchens.

By virtue of the cut, these steaks were so tender and delicious, but the fact that they had marinated in bourbon for at least 2 days didn’t hurt (nor did the butter and red wine).  I’m sure these would be wonderful on a grill… but since they’re basically illegal in Manhattan, we made due with an oven, broiler and skillet.

Ingredients (makes four steaks):

  • Four 5 oz fillets
  • 8 oz of bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons red wine (I like a Cabernet… admittedly I usually pour from the glass I’m drinking)
  • Large freezer bag
  • Aluminum foil

What you’ll have to clean up afterward:

  • Baking sheet
  • Skillet

Step One: poke 3-5 holes in steaks using a skewer.

Step Two: Place steaks and bourbon in a freezer bag and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Step Three (next day): Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Step Four: Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, place steaks on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side.

Step Five: Broil steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side (this will yield a medium rare… for rare, broil 1 minute each side)

Step Six: In a skillet combine butter, red wine and the pan juices from the steaks over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer.

Step Seven: Cook steaks in skillet about 30 seconds on each side right before serving.  If your sides aren’t quite done at the same time… let them sit in warm oven until ready and then sear right before serving.

-Eat Hearty!

Arugula Crescent Roll Pinwheels

June 17, 2010

Skip to Pinwheel Recipe

Everybody needs that go to “crap-somebody’s-coming-over-with-friends-and-I-need-appetizers-STAT” recipe.

I have several of these – mostly b/c I somehow always end up entertaining — and they all revolve around canned crescent rolls and biscuits.  No one said I was a nutritionist.

I’ve cranked out these specific appetizers multiple times for friends and family.  The best thing about this pinwheel recipe is it’s versatility — you can literally put ANYTHING in these as a filling and they’ll taste (and look) amazing. The below is one of my favorites, but you should experiment and make your own mix… just be sure to include the cream cheese :-).


  • One can of crescent rolls
  • 2-3 oz plain (or low fat) cream cheese at room temp
  • 3/4 cup arugula (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Swiss cheese (grated)
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • Baking sheet
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Step One: Preheat the over to the temp specified on the can of crescent rolls (usually around 450 degrees)

Step Two: On a clean surface, roll out the crescent roll dough in on piece.  You should be able to just unroll the dough, if the perforations are separating, squeeze them together.

Step Three: Evenly spread the cream cheese over the entire surface of the dough rectangle.

Step Four: Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top of the cream cheese.

Step Five: Beginning at one of the shorter ends of the rectangle, roll the dough into one log (should be about the same length as the dough was when originally after removed from packaging).

Step Six: Cut 1/2 inch medallions and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Step Seven: Bake for the minimum time on the roll packaging (usually 10-12 minutes) and check — pinwheels are golden when done.  Cool on wire rack for 3-5 minutes.

-Eat Hearty!

Coral Reef Cooler

June 9, 2010

Coral Reef Cooler Recipe

Let me just say, I came up with the name before thinking about the current oil spill crisis… so let’s just say this drink is in homage… (too soon?).

This all came about because of some delightful Absolut Mango Vodka I brought back from St. Thomas (for $9… I can’t say enough good things about shopping in the Virgin Islands) and the fresh Passion Fruit Juice Keith and I became obsessed with at Gladys’ Cafe in Charlotte Amalie.

I was tinkering around in the kitchen this weekend trying to find a suitable cocktail to assuage my rage at the billion degree heat… and I stumbled upon this gem.  I was lucky to be able to find passion fruit juice at the Amish Market, but realize it might not be so easily accessible for all.  I’m fairly confident pineapple juice would be an acceptable substitute.

WARNING: I make strong drinks that taste like nothing… be prepared for a “kick” after you’ve knocked one (or three) back.

Ingredients (makes one drink):

  • 2 oz Absolut Mango Vodka
  • 2 oz Passion Fruit Juice
  • 1 oz Ginger Ale
  • 2 lemon wedges (squeezed)
  • 1 lemon twist for garnish

What you’ll have to clean up afterward:

  • Martini Shaker (optional)

Step One: Combine vodka, passion fruit juice, and lemon juice in martini shaker and top off with ice.  Shake well. You could also just combine the same ingredients in a rocks glass and stir.

Step Two: Pour contents of shaker into martini glass (or rocks glass with ice) and top with ginger ale (you may use a little more than 1 oz).

Step Three: Garnish with lemon twist and serve.

-Eat Hearty!

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

June 9, 2010

Frosting Recipe

When life gives you leftover lemon twists… make lemon cupcakes?

Keith and I decided to make Coral Reef Coolers this weekend and the recipe calls for lemon twists as a garnish.  Now those of you who have tended bar (in what would have to be a ridiculously pretentious “mixology” throwback lounge), or just love classic drinks, know what a pain in the butt it is to cut a lemon twist — which is essentially a curlicue of lemon peel.

At any rate, I ended up with close to 30 lemon twists, and CLEARLY Keith and I weren’t going to have 30 Tropic Coolers and live to tell about it.  So I did the sensible thing with my leftover garnish… made lemon cupcakes to go with them.

After 3-4 drinks (which are deceptively delicious btw), I wish I could say I was in the mood to make cupcakes from scratch… but I’m just not that good.  I used a Williams & Sonoma lemon cake mix someone gave me as a gift *GASP*… which was actually pretty good.  I like to think I wasn’t totally bad — I did mess a bit with the instructions, adding zest, lemon extract, almond extract, some extra butter and a little sour cream — but I won’t claim the cake recipe.

I did, however, draw the line at canned frosting and made my own lemon buttercream that turned out deliciously, if I do say so myself.


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened to room temp (6-10 seconds in microwave works nicely
  • 1 1/4 lb of powdered sugar (1 1/4 boxes – the conversions of this are tricky, it’s going to be around 3 1/2 cups if you pour the sugar into the measuring cup and don’t pack)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (I like mine very lemony… so I use 2)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

What you’ll need to clean up afterward

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 wooden spoon (if you’re going hard core… if not, a hand mixer)
  • Measuring cup, tablespoon and teaspoon

Step One: Cream the butter with a whisk

Step Two: Combine the butter and powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk in the mixing bowl.  You can continuously stir with a spoon, use a mixer, or use your hands to mash sugar and butter together into one large lump (the quickest method).

Step Three: Start stirring (or mixing on medium speed) and adding the remaining milk and lemon juice  one tablespoon at a time.  If, after adding the remaining 3 tablespoons of liquids, the frosting is too thick, add additional milk or lemon juice (depending on how tart you like your frosting) one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Step Four: Stir in lemon zest for that final lemon “kick.”

Step Five: Apply frosting to your cake, cupcake… or eat with a spoon 🙂

-Eat Hearty!

Keep it simple…SALMON

June 8, 2010

Skip to Simple Salmon Recipe

I’m intimidated by fish. There, I’ve said it.

I blame a tragic Long John Silver’s episode of my early childhood (don’t ask) for my fear of undercooked, “fishy” fish.  For those who are curious I DO like sushi rolls… but sashimi creeps me the heck out.

Despite my, admittedly, irrational fear of preparing fish (the mercury poison scare didn’t help either) I do LOVE eating it… and so I have committed to myself and to Keith (who would eat seafood every night if he could) that I will do my best to make a fish entree once per week.

In the past, I have approached salmon with an arsenal of spices, rubs, marinades, and gallons of lemon juice out of a fear of my fish being “too fishy.”  I think part of this is from growing up in a thoroughly land-locked state where reasonably priced fish is anything but fresh.  However, at the trusty Amish Market on the corner I can find very fresh Salmon fillets for $12.99 per lb (I know the price is ridiculous, but let’s just ignore it).

As a result of the “fresh factor” I felt comfortable following my good friend Laurie’s recommendation to “keep it simple [stupid]” when it comes to preparing Salmon.  I have to say, this recipe was FAST totally STRESS-FREE and HEALTHY (if you can believe it).

FUN FACT:  Salmon is one of the “moistest fishes”… meaning you don’t need much liquid in a pan to get some steam going over low heat.


  • 2 1/2 lb Salmon Fillets
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • 1 sautee pan and lid
  • fish spatula

Step One: Pour one tablespoon lemon juice and olive oil into pan and put over medium-low heat, swirl liquids evenly across the pan.

Step Two: Place salmon fillets into pan.  Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle half the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice over the two fillets.

Step Three: Cover the pan with lid and let cook on medium low heat for eight minutes.

Step Four: Remove lid, flip fillets and repeat the seasoning from step two.

Step Five: Re-cover the pan with lid and let cook for 6-7 more minutes, or until cooked to desired texture (should be flaky and not “wet” in the middle”).

-Eat Hearty

Lianne’s PERFECT Sweet Grilled Corn

June 3, 2010

Skip to Grilled Corn Recipe

I’ll be the first to say the grill is where my culinary skills come to a SCREECHING halt.  And I don’t really know why, my Dad (father of Corn Dip), is actually an amazing Grill Chef… go figure.

HOWEVER, I have decided that summer 2010 will be my grill apprenticeship.  In that spirit, I went over to my friend Lianne’s on Memorial Day for my first class.  We kept it simple… no meat this time (she said I wasn’t ready), but I did learn a remarkably simple way to prep corn for the grill.  The end product is ridiculously delicious.

I’m tempted to say you don’t really even need to grill the corn, but as this is my grill apprenticeship I’ll shut up and stick to the recipe.


  • 4 ears of corn (chopped in halves)
  • 3-4 cups of milk (enough for the corn to float in)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Aluminum Foil (not really an ingredient but you need it)

What you’ll need to clean up after:

  • 1 medium sized pot

(Grill should already be prepped to cook meat)

Step One: Pour milk into medium-sized pot (milk should fill pot half way) and mix in sugar

Step Two: Add corn to pot and bring to a low simmer.

Step Three: Simmer for 10-15 minutes (corn should be tender enough to eat)

Step Four: Pat corn dry then rub with butter (I like to butter down a napkin and apply the napkin to the corn) and salt and pepper to taste.

Step Five: Wrap corn in aluminum foil and put on the grill for ten minutes.

-Eat Hearty!