Wednesday, September 28, 2011

L'Shana Tova - Here's to another great year!

It's that time of year again - time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the next! Tonight brings the start of Rosh Hashana and as we move into the year 5772 there is a lot to celebrate.

While things posts might not have been appearing as frequently on the blog, it's been a busy summer and fall at Good Cook Doris. After taking a few classes and then applying, I was officially accepted into the Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy program at Boston University. This fall I'm taking my first class as an official student - Culture and Cuisine of New England. I'm excited to find out what New England cuisine is (if there is such a thing!).

This summer we also took a food-filled vacation to Vermont, Montreal and Maine for my mom's birthday (more posts to come soon).

There were trips to farmers markets, Sunday trips to the icy cold waters of the Atlantic, a trip home to St. Louis for a delicious visit, and two meat-filled summer cookouts with our new smoker.

The fall has brought even more excitement! We are in the midst of a total kitchen and bathroom renovation. We've taken everything out and are preparing to put in our new cabinets, floors, appliances and more! The progress is being documented and I will post progress reports as we go along. Here is a look at the Good Cook Doris kitchen that I've been cooking in for the past five years.

Here's a look at what is underneath!

And last, but probably most exciting about the upcoming year is another new addition coming to the Good Cook Doris kitchen.

If the picture doesn't give it away, in December the hubby and I will be welcoming a new member to the Good Cook Doris team! We are waiting for the arrival to find out if the newest addition will be a boy or girl. Either way, we expect (and hope) that the little one will share our love for food and cooking!

While we are microwaving and slow-cooking in our makeshift kitchen, stay tuned for more vacation eats, take-out tips, and some reposts of some fall favorites!

To celebrate the new year, here are a few fall posts for you to enjoy. L'Shana Tova!

Apple Kugel Muffins

Cranberry Apple Fritters (for Local in Season)

Will Drive For Food: A Fall Food Adventure

Kosher with a Kick: Pick up Kosher Wines at the Urban Grape

L'shana Tova to those of you celebrating!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marc's Take: State Fair Food Guide

This week’s guest post is the writing debut of my brother Marc. While he has made cameos on the blog over the past three years, this marks his first official article! My brother is a fantastic cook, expert meat and fish smoker, and all around great guy. He shares the family love for food adventures and this post covers one of his annual traditions. With the Big E running in Massachusetts, I asked him to share his guide to state fair eating. If you follow his guide, you'll be sure to have a great time. He currently lives in Indianapolis and shares his guide to the Indiana State Fair. I hope you enjoy!

State Fair Food Guide

The end of summer brings one of America’s great traditions, the State fairs. The Big E began this past weekend in Springfield. In Indiana our state fair takes place in August, so below are some highlights to help you guide your way through the Big E over the next few weeks.

State fairs began as a way to celebrate and promote local agriculture and products available in each state. They were a way for local farmers to showcase the crops and animals they raise. They were also way to educate each other on the best practices in farming. State Fairs continue to serve this function today, although it is more of an education for those of us that are not part of the agricultural industry on a daily basis. As you visit the fair be sure to take a walk through the animal barns and vegetable displays to see this first hand.

Yes, even Lambs have Snuggies (animal print snuggies)

Now let’s talk about what makes the state fair great, the food and in particular the deep fried foods. The Indiana fair offers a great way to enjoy the fair and try many different foods, Two Dollar Tuesday. Each Tuesday of the fair vendors offer a different item for $2, usually it is a smaller portion of their signature dish. This not only allows you to save money but also try significantly more items. I recommend checking the specials at your state fair for an opportunity like this.

For the past few years a group of friends and I have made the trip to the fair. Luckily the fair grounds are in Indianapolis just a 10 minute drive. Even if you are further away the state fair is a good day trip and is worth experiencing. Here are some highlights from our trips to the fair:

Appetizers- Always start with something sweet, that’s why you came to the fair to begin with right?

Deep Fried Butter- This is by far one of the best deep fried treats, imagine a frozen pat of butter coated in cinnamon and sugar dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried. The resulting golf ball sized treat tastes like a gooey cinnamon roll. The best way to eat it is to bite off one end take the liquid center as if it were a shot and chase it with the fried dough. 5 out of 5.

Deep Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup - Right up there with the deep fried butter. People rave about the Snickers Bar and the Twinkie. But the Reese's cup surpasses both. The full size Reese’s cup dipped is dipped in a funnel cake batter and fried until the outside is crisp. The inside of the dough is soft and the peanut butter and chocolate melt together to create an unforgettable combination. 5 out of 5.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough - This was actually found at Progressive field in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland Indians. We all love raw Chocolate Chip cookie dough and this hits the mark. A generous portion of raw cookie dough is covered in funnel cake batter, fried and served with powdered sugar. The cookie dough come out warm and tastes like a partially baked cookie. If you are at the ball park this is a must have. 5 out of 5.

Entrees- Time for something a bit heartier
Chicken Eggo Sandwich- A deep fried chicken breast coated in a Captain Crunch Batter between two eggo waffles. This was worth the hype and had a nice crunch on both the eggos and the chicken. I would recommend giving this a try if available at your fair. 4 out of 5

Donut or French Toast Cheeseburger- As it sounds a burger with maple syrup between two pieces of French toast or two krispy crème donuts (your choice). This has become more popular in recent years and really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The sweetness of the donuts overpowers the burger and doesn’t offer the right balance of sweet and savory. 2 out of 5

Burgers and donuts on the flat top.
Gotta love the ads.


Ya Ya’s Deep Fried Tomato Balls - Greek inspired combination of diced tomatoes, cheese onions and bread crumbs fried to a crisp golden brown. These come served with a tzaziki sauce that makes it extremely refreshing after all the sweet items you had before. 4 out of 5.

Corn on the Cob - I know what you are thinking. Corn on the Cob that is too healthy for the fair, why waste your time? Well remember the fair is about celebrating the harvest and the local farmers. Oh and they have crock pots full of melting butter that your corn takes a bath in before it gets to you. Throw that health concern out the window, nothing healthy about it. 5 out of 5

Hopefully this helps you navigate the state fair and narrow down some of the choices. What are your favorite fair foods?

Here are a few more fair offerings.

Deep fried brownie

Freshly fried Saratoga chips

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beth From Denver: Zucchini Crisps for Healthy Snack Wednesday

My best friend Beth from Denver is back with another delicious vegetarian friendly dish. This is a great addition to the game night snack spread, or even for a quick appetizer before a dinner party. Some of our favorite Italian restaurants in St. Louis (where we grew up) offer fried zucchini sticks as an appetizer. While they are always tasty, this version is more appropriate for Healthy Snack Wednesday. Enjoy!

From Beth:
I love snacks! Especially when they are healthy and easy to make. I knew I would want something to snack on while watching the Broncos on Monday Night Football but didn't want to spend too long in the kitchen. So I sliced some zucchini and made some crisps. Sorry for the vague ingredients list, as I was being speedy, I didn't measure anything.

Zucchini Crisps
1 zucchini, cut into about 1/4 inch slices
Shredded parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs
Olive oil
Marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the zucchini and toss with olive oil in a bowl to coat evenly. Combine the shredded parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste in a smaller bowl. Coat both sides of each zucchini slice before placing on a foil covered cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until zucchini is tender. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.


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