Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Happy Holidays from Pickles and Cake. I'm hoarding lots of recipes and stories to post. For some reason, no free time and blogging don't seem to go very well together. Here is a treat! This holiday cookie recipe brings back some memories - I'm almost sure I made these with my mom growing up. The cookie creation memory is a bit fuzzy, but I recall exactly what the inside tastes like. The centers are melted life savers and jolly ranchers! Click here to enjoy. -chris

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Foods that Flopped

Here is a fun list of food products that didn't make the test of time including Coffee Jello and baby food for adults. A quick and tasty diversion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stump the Chef!

Do you have any random ingredients collecting dust in your pantry? I know I do. Are you intimidated by the thought of being creative in the kitchen? Matt Weaver is the guy that will help you overcome your fears. Matt's game show inspired Stump the Chef takes the "secret ingredient" cooking show concept to whole new level. How do you fee about:

kangaroo, malt liquor and coconut?

ribs, kiwi, and birdseed!

squid, chocolate and buffalo?!

its true!

what about shark, fruit cocktail and brussels sprouts?!? click below to watch this episode!

His imagination, the fast pace and wacky commentary will keep you coming back for more.

ON Networks has several other short-form "video podcast" food and drink shows including Budget Health Nut, Cocktails on the Fly and Dinner with the Band. I'm a big fan of this short-form, watch anywhere entertainment. Send it to your iPob!

My ingredients suggestion is.....

pickles, cake and bacon!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bacon Scarf

Do you love bacon like Sadie does? Here is your chance to wear it. Check out the bacon scarf from baconwrapt! It goes with everything and will keep your skinny neck warm. Proceeds benefit Otto Schutt - he is one of the organizers of the Power to the Peaceful Concerts and an all around nice guy who was diagnosed with stage 4 intestinal cancer a few months ago. Visit his blog to learn about his progress and discover other ways to help out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

All you need is some aluminum foil and a willing turkey. Gobble gobble from the Sauter family!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


We found a clever new cartoon this Saturday. Lillie and I were watching one of our cooking shows and after deciding on asparagus (or Spair-a-gara-kiss) and chicken for dinner, we started clicking around. This listing said "Chowder" and, well, I love a good chowder...

Lillie loved Chowder from the start - it was silly, colorful and fast paced. Definitely more engaging than watching some middle-aged woman on PBS roast vegetables.

Here is the description from the Cartoon Network website:

"A young child by the name of Chowder is the chef's apprentice. Chowder believes that one day, he will be a widely respected chef like the one he is working with, Mung Daal. However, Chowder has a problem. He cannot stop gorging himself on the culinary delights by which he finds himself surrounded."

Chowder is a sensor overload of color and imagery - they also occasionally abandon the animation for funky photos of actual or imagined food and they even have puppets! It was created bu C.H. Greenblatt of Spongebob fame. Check out his blog here.

The show has a similar quirkinesspants to it but the animation is much more stylized and artistic. It has a fast paced 70's Schoolhouse Rock animation style meets Alice in Wonderland feel to it. The culinary theme was the clincher for me.

"You don't know what your missing, if your not in the kitchen." -Mung Daal

Go to the website for showtimes, kid-themed recipes and more...

Here is a recipe I pulled from the site:


½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini "coins" (about 1 lb.)
2 egg whites (lightly beaten)
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine first three ingredients, stir well.
  3. Dip zucchini slices in egg whites, dredge in breadcrumb mixture
  4. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, place zucchini in a single layer on sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Turn zucchini over and bake an additional 15 minutes or until outside is crispy and browned.
*Note: Zu-coin-ies are not official legal tender.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Will She Eat It? Meal, Ready-to-Eat

Lillie is an adventurous eater but there are still foods out there that she won't go near. Here is a fun new posting series called "Will She Eat It?"

Good old George from Oak Park was kind enough to donate the first selection: an MRE. Here is the description from Wikipedia: The MRE, or "Meal, Ready-to-Eat" is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging procured by the United States military for its service-members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available.

During the 5 years I was in Air Force Intel, I was lucky to only have only eaten these shelf-stable meals about 2 dozen times. Usually it was during war gaming exercises or on a flight to a new assignment. Once we got to Turkey or Saudi Arabia, the temporary barracks we stayed in had a mess hall or dining facilities near by. All I really remember is that they were relatively flavorless and the most dreaded of all was the ham omelet. The texture was like a grainy sponge.

I'm happy to say that the latest version of the MRE has undergone some upgrades including attention to flavor a nifty chemical steamer that can heat your entree to 300 degrees in about 60 seconds with only a 1/4 cup of water.

The MRE sat on the counter for a few weeks before I got up the nerve to serve it to Lillie. She asked about it almost every day and was so intrigued by the packaging. "Can I hold it?!"

We cut open the outside bag and surveyed the contents.

Lillie was beside herself. The trail mix was the first to be sampled.

The peanuts were a little soggy but all in all, not a bad snack. I've never seen Lillie so excited about a handful of peanuts.

The applesauce pouch was the next to go.

It didn't have much flavor but both Lillie and Sadie wolfed it down. Eating out of a pouch added the novelty necessary to keep them interested.

Now it was time to heat up the entree. We were lucky to get chicken breast with shells in a marinara sauce. I set up the heating pouch and propped it up according to the directions.

The water was added and a funky-smelling steam came pouring out of the folded down top. Here is the warning section of the pouch.

I let it cool down for a few minutes and we snipped open the pouch. Note the silicon doggie pot holder.

It was a solid breaded chicken breast with pasta and sauce all around it. Hello in there!

Again, Lillie was crazy for the food.

She and Sadie ate every shell and all the chicken.

I had a taste and it wasn't half bad. The pasta had a little more texture than a spagetti-o and the chicken density was almost like a canned tuna steak. The marinara tasted a little over processed but wasn't half bad.

We wrapped it up with the M&Ms and they were identical in texture and flavor to the ones we eat here on the civilian side. All in all, not a bad meal. I'm just thankful I didn't have my chemical warfare gear on, this time around.

Verdict: She ate it!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hot Peas and Butter

We went to see Hot Peas and Butter at Sea World's Halloween Festival - lots of candy, free beer and great music. The weather was perfect. These guys have such a great rhythm section and played overlooking the lagoon in the middle of the park. The music had a great latin feel and Lillie danced and danced. What a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


What's up, Doc?!

This is the gigantic carrot Lillie picked out at the Asian market. I chopped it into a million pieces and roasted them with some herbs, garlic, onions and celery under a whole spiced chicken.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Victoria found this "squid jerky" at the "skid party" this past weekend in Ft. Lauderdale with the 3 Croatti brothers. She convinced 10 people to try it - not one of them liked it. Apparently, it tasted like rotten fish and had the texture of a fruit rollup! Yum.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Caramel Apples Indeed

Tester Caramel Apples
Originally uploaded by joeywan

I was looking for some caramel apple inspiration on flickr and came across these clever offerings. Where's my caramel?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

#1 Oriental Supermarket – the Ride!

It was time for another adventure and one place I’ve been dying to take Lillie is the #1 Oriental Supermarket. This is not your average Asian market – this place is ginormous!

Not since Super 88 in Boston have I seen a market with such an impressive selection.

We quickly pushed pasted the roasted dead animals…

Lillie: “What’s THAT Daddy?”

Me: “Um…a pig?”

Lillie: “Oink oink.”

..and make our way to the heavenly produce section. I was still nervous about taking pictures in the store after the dreaded “Whole Foods Incident” so unfortunately there is only one photo.

Lillie picked out some baby Japanese eggplant, mini pickling cukes, and the world’s largest carrot. I carefully selected a sampling of one of 8 different kinds of bok choy and big bag of bean sprouts. Sadie was surprisingly quiet during the whole experience.

After the produce comes the tea aisle where we picked up some genmaicha – yummy green tea with toasted rice. The next aisle is the candy and cookie aisle and let’s just say that Lillie suddenly became much more enthusiastic.

She picked out some Hello Kitty Strawberry Pocky (of course!)

We grabbed a few more snacks in the cracker and nut aisle including a “trail” mix packed with dried whole fish! I'm going to use that for a new segment called "Will She Eat It?" Lillie is going to love that one!

We grabbed some mushroom soy sauce in sauce aisle number three. So many sauces...

By now the seafood department was filling our olfactory senses so we just made a beeline to the fishtanks.

They sell live tilapia and black sea bass along with live shrimp, crabs, lobster, etc.

I swear this one bin of cockles gives the entire store its funky aroma.

Lillie was fascinated by all the activity.

Lillie: “I love snakes!”

Me: “Those aren’t snakes. They’re live eels.”

Lillie: “No. They’re snakes.”

Maybe next time we will be brave enough to buy some fish…

like the exotic moonfish...

or the ever charming grunt fish...

or even some jelly fish heads!

We wrapped up our experience in the noodle aisle with some green tea flavored lo main. I totally forgot to pick up a bento box! Now we have to go home and cook up some grub!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gummy T-bone Steak's what's for desert

I found this while searching online for some gummy vegetable bites that the #1 Oriental Supermarket no longer carries. The veggie bites were delicious and had about 12 different vegetables listed in the ingredients including spinach and beets. They tasted mostly like carrot and orange. The fact that high-fructose corn syrup was the main ingredient no longer concerned me once I saw it was followed by a long list of nutritious veggies.

The good news is that this slab of beef tastes like strawberries. The styrofoam and shrink wrap are a nice touch.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boston Lettuce Wraps

Healthy and decadent? Is there such a thing?

Meet the lettuce wrap.

Intense flavor, low fat, minimal carbs.

high quality ingredients make the difference

2 heads Boston Bibb lettuce

1 lb lean ground chicken

1 cup ½ inch cubed zucchini

1 cup ½ inch cubed carrots

1 cup ½ inch cubed crimini (baby bella) mushrooms

1 small (8 oz.) can cubed waterchestnuts

2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1/4 cup Harryaki sauce (recipe below)

Remove lettuce leaves, rinse, pat dry and stack. Make sure to remove any broken or "wholey" leaves.

Rinse sprouts and place in serving bowl.

Heat wok or large sauté pan to medium. Brown ground chicken, making sure to press and stir well in order to bring to relatively fine consistency. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

Heat wok to medium high. Add a splash of sesame oil and sauté the vegetables. Add the cubed carrots first - they are the most dense and will take longer to cook than the others. Move around every 30 seconds to insure even browning. After the carrots begin to caramelize on a few sides (about 3 minutes), add the cubed zucchini. Use the same technique and then add the mushrooms. The veggies should cook for about 10 minutes. Make sure the pan is hot enough that most of the moisture is cooking off the veggies. You want them to be firm - not mushy. Throw in the drained waterchestnuts right at the end so they stay nice and crunchy.

Reduce wok to medium. Return ground chicken to the pan and mix well with veggies. Stir in Harryaki sauce and sauté a few more minutes making sure to cook garlic and ginger thoroughly. Stir well to combine all the flavors. Transfer to large bowl.

Serve with Boston Bibb lettuce leaves, sprouts, and Percy Wants a Peanut sauce. Enjoy!

Harryaki Sauce

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp roasted peanut oil

1 tsp honey

Whisk together ingredients until thoroughly blended. I usually make a gallon batch of this stuff and have it on hand at all times. That recipe is on the way.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Percy Wants a Peanut Sauce

swedish chef loves percy's p-nut sauce. bork bork!

This versatile sauce works its way into many of our favorite fun dishes. Toss with chilled buckwheat noodles and add to a ginger salad with some grilled Harryaki chicken. Use as a dipping sauce for Boston lettuce wraps, Vietnamese summer rolls, or baked Harryaki wings. Recipes forthcoming...

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter

1/4 cup of hot water

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Juice from 1/2 a lime

1 tbsp honey

1/2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp ketchup (trust me)

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp onion powder

Blend hot water and peanut butter. Whisk in remaining ingredients until creamy and smooth.

Saturday, October 6, 2007