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Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Dec 28, 2013

A Casket, a Kidnapper, and a Jamaican Christmas Memory

I'm a bit of a Christmas scrooge, I'll admit it. Shut your pie hole Julie D, I can hear you laughing right about now and saying, UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR! (It's a birth defect, I'm missing a gene.)
     But it's true...I have never liked the commercialism, rat-race, retail hell that has become Christmas, and I shun it and the responsibilities that go along with it. It's the fact that Christmas has turned into a stressful, money-sucking holiday and that celebrating our Lord and Savior's birth has been one-upped by retailers promising to save us big bucks on flat screen TV's and free shipping.
     Plus, it doesn't help that I can never get my act together until the very last minute. If you need proof here it is:  I couldn't even manage to get this Christmas post written until after Christmas. Oh the irony. I suck.

I had the big meltdown back in 1996, when one night I was wrapping presents and mentally adding up how many gifts and how much money I had spent on each kid, thinking it had to all even out, which was next to impossible because The Know-It-All always wanted something on the high end ~ like a TV or a car or a saddle or all three. Hates Everything usually asked for something simple, such as bubble wrap.  And what really chapped my ass was that in a matter of minutes and a flurry of paper, it was all over with and then came the sudden realization that I forgot to buy the 437865 batteries needed to make whatever toy/game/machine, operate anyway. The kids would go back to watching Dumb and Dumber for the 89521458 time, leaving bubbles unpopped ~ right there next to the Walkman with no batteries.

So instead of continuing with the nonsense, the following year I announced to the family that we would be taking a trip somewhere exotic and that there would be NO presents. Just some good old Forced-Family-Fun, or FFF as we refer to it.
     The Know-It-All was cool with that but Hates Everything whined that she would rather have Christmas than take some stupid trip. Probably since she always got the good gifts, like cardboard and socks. Anyway, The Know-It-All convinced her that they would still get everything they wanted throughout the year, they just wouldn't get it all in one day. That kid always was waaaaay to smart for her own good. Made it hard to like her.

It was this first Christmas trip that set us on a path that we would follow for the next dozen years or so, and one that would seal our fate with our love of the islands. 
     Following is the story of one of my all-time favorite Christmas memories and the best part is: We lived to tell about it!

I closed my eyes and put my finger on a map of the Caribbean and landed us in Jamaica! A few months later we were at the rental car place, stuffing ourselves into a car that was just slightly smaller than my suitcase. (Author's note: In Jamaica not only do you drive on the left side of the road, but the steering wheel is on the right side of the car and you have to shift with your left hand (manual transmissions, being the norm), making it doubly confusing.) You can just see a wreck coming can't you?

Van are you wearing SOCKS with those cool Nike open toe sandals?
While The Big Guy was signing our lives away and wracking up $8000 on our credit card, in case we wrecked it, I was lecturing the girls, saying things like: No matter what, do NOT holler at your dad even if he's on the wrong side of the road. Just shut up and let him drive. He's a professional; we'll be fine. So keep your mouths shut!!!!! Got it? Good! This is gonna be fun. (The Know-It-All was a teenager. Fun? Teenager, same sentence? Ya with me so far?)

So Big gets behind the wheel and instead of putting the blinker on, he hits the lever and the wipers come on because the blinker thing is on the right side of the steering wheel.  We are church mice...not a peep out of us. He puts it in gear, hands at 10 and 2, and lets out the clutch and we shoot backwards instead of forward. (transmission is backwards too, apparently) Church mice.
     We leave the rental car parking lot and as we make our first ever turn in a foreign country, to get on the highway, the Big Guy turns the wrong way and gets in the wrong lane where we suddenly find ourselves going head on into kamikaze traffic.  
     He jerks the wheel, gets in the other lane, slams on the brakes and then pulls off the side of the road and looks at all of us and says something like, EVERYONE JUST SHUT THE #&@% UP SO I CAN CONCENTRATE ON DRIVING, I KNOW I WAS GOING THE WRONG WAY BUT I CAN'T #&@%*+! DRIVE WITH YOU ALL HOLLERING AT ME, SO SHUT UP!!!!!  We are church mice once again.

An hour or so later we pull up to our hotel and as we get out of the car the four or five bell men who are standing around, start laughing and pointing at us. (We know it was us that they were laughing at because like synchronized swimmers, we all looked over our shoulders to see who/what was behind us and what was so funny. We were it.) Why were they laughing? Well I couldn't be sure but I suspected it was because they could smell the poop in our pants. 
     Then one of them points at our car and says to Big, you know what we call that?
     No, what? Big asks.
     Casket, he says and then they all bust up laughing again. We don't. We look like scared church mice.

The rest of the week involved a whole bunch of other insane, funny, unbelievable shenanigans; like getting lost in the middle of nowhere, while trying to find the Dunns River Falls, and then pulling over and letting a Rasta man who came out of the bushes, get into our "casket" with us and then drive us all over the countryside before driving us straight to a bank so we could withdrawal a bunch of money and pay him for not killing us. 

We are in there somewhere...
On the up side the nice Rasta man did get some not-so-good family photos of us at some water falls, which turned out to NOT be the Dunns River Falls (click here to see where we weren't) that we thought we were at. First clue....we were the ONLY tourists at Jamaica's biggest tourist trap. We figured that one out later when some real tourist dad at the bar mentioned to our dad at the bar, just how crowded the falls had been. And we thought we had just caught it on an off day. At any rate, we decided we were not going back looking for the falls because we didn't want to be willingly kidnapped and robbed again. Do we look like stupid American tourists? Wait. Don't answer that.

Me, being the foodie that I am, had done my homework and had a list of restaurants that I wanted to fine-dine at. We pulled into the parking lot of one in Ocho Rios and had an armed guy ~ we'll call him a guard-valet, who kinda-sorta valet parked us and then escorted us into the restaurant because it wasn't safe to walk across the parking lot. Yes, I did pick the restaurant after much research and after reading The Lonely Planet review (which by the way, did not mention the armed guard, only the hookers and the drug dealers).

And then there was the Jungle Lobster House (click here) where we were the only ones (besides a sleeping dog) in the dirty, authentically Jamaican joint. We had a pretty great dinner; lobster and breadfruit grilled over an open fire on a barrel by a charming chef(?) who had a joint hanging out of his mouth and who couldn't have been any more attractive, even if he hadn't been wearing that sexy fishnet shirt.  Reggae blared, pot lingered, and fires flared out of 55 gallon barrels as the locals partied right next door, oblivious to us wide-eyed tourists.
At the Jungle Lobster House. We ain't scared...
...well, maybe Hates Everything is....

After dinner the *ahem* chef, crammed himself into our casket with us and made us drive back to our hotel so we could pay him in American dollars. We had money on us ~ to pay for dinner but he didn't want our J-dollars nor our travelers checks and who in their right minds would argue under a bridge with a stoned Rastafarian holding a knife? Not us world travelers. Do we look stupid?  

We made it from Ocho Rios to Negril, a scary distance that involved us being briefly under a truck tire in a Montego Bay traffic circle. Believe me when I tell you that nothing good can come out of negotiating a traffic circle on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car, going the wrong direction. If that truck hadn't chewed us up and spit us out of the circle we may still be there going around and around, trying to get in the right (or left?) lane, so we could get out of it.  
     Things looked up by the end of the week when The Big Guy had finally mastered the left handed gear shift and the right handed blinkers and had just enough road rage built up to make him look like an asshole who knew what he was doing. (You can read about his legendary island road rage here. It's funny stuff.)
     Us church mice just subliminally chanted, "the left side is the right side and the right side is suicide," while we prayed that we would get out of the country without needing the jaws of life. The fact that Jamaica has the second highest driving fatality rate in the world was not lost on me but it was a piece of guide book info that I withheld from my soon to be dead children.
     Instead, I decided there would be a much less chance of them suffering a near-fatal injury if they were allowed to do low-risk activities, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and getting high on second-hand smoke and then swinging on a rope and jumping off the cliffs at the Pickled Parrot. 

The Know-It-All, high over Negril
Or drinking mushroom tea and hanging out on the beach with the fun local boys, like this guy.

On Christmas day we were in Negril at Ricks Cafe, eating giant lobster and watching cliff divers as the sun set over the Caribbean. As a family, we made more memories in that one week than we had made in the entire year leading up to it.
     And now here it is...over fifteen years later and we still talk about the Jungle Lobster House and sometimes, when we are all on our meds, we even laugh about the nice Rasta man who drove us around and didn't murder us or steal our casket.  What a great trip!
     As soon as we got home and after The Big Guy got out of jail (but that's another story) we began making our plans for the following Christmas.
    Cancun here we come!!!! Federales? What are federales? Should we be worried? we look like stupid American tourists?

I hope your Christmas was filled with special memories of time spent with family and friends and that you will cherish those memories for a lifetime. And no matter what your family traditions are, I hope you take at least just a second to reflect on the REAL reason for the season.

Merry CHRISTmas!

 Wishing you all a happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

Dec 10, 2013

Cooking 109 ~ It's Bacon Baby!

Bacon was the star ingredient in my November cooking class so you can imagine how my house smelled during the few weeks leading up to the class, as I tested and created new recipes. Heaven....pure pig heaven! Someone should bottle that fragrance and then you could bathe your kids in it. Make em more loveable!

In planning the menu I decided to do dishes that traditionally go with bacon ~ but in an nontraditional way.
     What immediately came to mind was bacon and eggs, bacon and blue cheese, bacon and pecans, bacon and peanut butter, BLT, bacon and maple, bacon and chocolate, pretty much bacon and everything. With those ideas in mind I went a little bacon crazy.

Here was the menu:
Poached Quail’s Egg and Applewood Smoked Bacon
With Potato-Chive Bruniose

Brunoise is just a fancy word for a precision cut where the food is first julienned (cut into thin match sticks), then turned a quarter turn and diced again, producing tiny cubes with equal sides (about 1/8”). 
     I "brunoised" the potato, making it the perfect size to be served in a small spoon with the bacon, egg and chives.

This cut is mostly used as a garnish for Amuse Bouche, soups, or for fine salsas. Ingredients of various colors are most commonly used in a brunoise mix to create a striking effect. This cut can be used on any vegetable but it is significantly easier (and neater) when using firm ingredients such as onion, tomato, carrot, celery, parsnips, turnips and peppers. Go ahead and try it, you know you want to!

Just look at these perfectly poached quail's eggs
with smoky bacon, crispy potato bruniose
and garnished with chives!

I ripped this idea off of the great chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, which by the way is on my To-Do-Before-I-Die List. Mr. Keller does a turnip, carrot, and leek bruniose and serves it with bacon and a quail's egg. 
     Bacon and eggs made me think breakfast, so I went with a crispy potato-chive bruniose. It was delish and we had a blast cooking with the quail eggs and we loved how easy they were to handle, once poached. A tasty Amuse Bouche this dish does make! A little dab of Sriracha on top kicked it up a notch. 

Cracking a quail's egg is an art and Chef Linda was pretty much a natural.
Chef Lori....well let's just say she needs a little more practice!

  Blue Cheese and Bacon-Pecan Lollipops
For an appetizer I combined two of bacon's big cheese and pecans. Who wouldn't love a bacon sucker?  The picture below was when I was rolling them but I used actual sucker sticks for the class; I forgot to get a picture, but you get the idea. Better than dum-dums!

 Deconstructed BLT

The deconstructed BLT was basically a BLT turned salad, with a Dijon vinaigrette, served with a toasted slice of sourdough smeared with creamy goat's cheese and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper.

Peanut Butter and Bacon Jam Sliders + Chipotle Mayo

Let's talk bacon jam. Bacon, bourbon and maple jam to be exact. This jam is pig gold and is great on a burger, a turkey sandwich, a piece of toast with a fried egg, or a turd. Anything, to be exact! If you haven't tried peanut butter on your burger yet, what are you waiting for?  It's better than ketchup ~ seriously! Add the bacon jam and some chipotle mayo and you will never eat a plain cheese burger again. 

Bacon-Maple-Bourbon Jam
 The Big Guy and Chef Maureen preparing to chow down on the slider and the BLT.

 Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca
Served on Champagne Spiked Spinach with Bacon Shards
A bacon class wouldn't be complete without a prosciutto dish so we did prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts, stuffed with sage and served with a lemony pan sauce. If you don't have prosciutto you could wrap the chicken with a couple of pieces of thin sliced bacon, so don't not try this dish because of the prosciutto. It's easy and tasty and looks impressive and the hubs will think you've been slaving away all day.
     We served ours on some wilted spinach that we spiked with champagne vinegar. Chef Scott fell down on the job and forgot the bacon shards and it wasn't until we were about finished eating that I noticed. We let it slide because he promised us all bacon martinis.  

(Note:  You don't have to use toothpicks to secure them...I usually don't but wanted to show how to secure them with the picks. If you do use picks, pull them out when the chicken is cooked on two sides, so you can brown them all the way around.)

 Chef Vicki knows that all of my recipes start out with, "1 cup of wine ~ for the cook."
Here she is, following instructions while cooking the Chicken Saltimbocca. 

We pulled out all the bacon stops for dessert. I made a chocolate mousse and added some chopped, crispy bacon and then topped it with a Crown Royal Maple Whiskey Whipped Cream. Since it's the holiday season and I was feeling generous, I shared some of my pig candy stash with the gang and garnished each mousse with a small piece.  
     Chef Scott made a bacon infused vodka and we finished the night with bacon martinis and a mega dose of Lipitor and then everyone made plans for an immediate angioplasty procedure. Next class:  TOFU. NOT!!!!! 

Bacon-Chocolate Mousse
with Maple Whiskey Crème and Pig Candy

For the Blue Cheese and Bacon-Pecan Lollipops, click right here or go the "Appetizers" page. For the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca, click right here or go to the "Beef-Pork-Chicken" page. If you want any of the other recipes from this class let me know and I will post them. Now go make some bacon!

Nov 25, 2013

Fish Heads, Asian Farts and Pad Thai

I recently went to an Asian market in Denver (Little Saigon) and stepping through the door was like stepping into another country ~ a dirty Asian country, complete with flies and food that I couldn't identify. The place smelled like ass. (Did everyone in here just simultaneously fart? I wondered.
     And there were fish heads. Yes...a big bucket of fish heads and people were buying them. Why? I have no idea. I'm sure there are recipes out there but not one that I am willing to make. Pass the sushi please, but no fish heads. Ewwwww!

Near the fish heads was the meat counter and all it took was one glance and a whiff to get me to do an about face.  I couldn't even look at what was hanging there. I was afraid I'd be grossed out and never eat dog again. Just kidding!!! You know I love dogs. They taste like chicken. I'M KIDDING!!!  I love my dogs more than I even like most people and I'm saving a kidney for Elvis, just in case. Honestly I would chew my own arm off before I'd eat a dog. I'll just shut up now..........

Side note:  I should mention that I was in the store because I was on a quail egg mission. I needed them for my next cooking class, in which bacon is the feature ingredient. (Bacon. Bacon and eggs, bacon and quail eggs!) As we speak I have about eighty, yes 8-0 (crazy I know!) of them in my refrigerator. More about that later, but I will tell you that I have been loving up on quail eggs lately. 

But this is about Pad while The Big Guy and I were browsing the aisles and aisles of food that we couldn't identity, I said something like, hey I should make Pad Thai.
     The Big Guy is a Pad Thai connoisseur and confession to make: I had never made it for him. I once sent him and Mikey on a Pad Thai grocery shopping mission here in Hickville, but since they couldn't even score the rice noodles let alone the tamarind paste or bean sprouts, my Pad Thai ambitions died a quick death.Think fish heads.

But here I was in Asian heaven, which by the way smells like hell, and I got the ingredients I needed plus a bottle of Pad Thai sauce just in case I screwed it up while trying to make a homemade version.
     Funny thing; I picked up a bottle of what I thought may be Pad Thai sauce but I couldn't read the label because it was written in Pad...or Thai...or something...but not English.  I asked the mean looking checker if the bottle in my hand was Pad Thai sauce. She spoke about enough English to tell ME to read the label.  Huh? We stood there, having a stare-down contest. A Mexican standoff with an Asian. Can that happen? Ruuuuuude!

Back in the kitchen at the Know-It-All's house I prepared to make this dish. I know that Pad Thai is typically garnished with chopped peanuts and most recipes don't call for peanut butter in the sauce but The Know-It-All and I made the executive decision to add peanut butter to our sauce, mostly because she adds PB to about everything.  It was a good call. 
     Don't worry if the peanut butter doesn't incorporate very well when you whisk it in because once it's heated up it will all come together.

The first night my sauce was a little too thick and didn't have quite enough bite. Probably because at the last minute I wimped out and added some of the store bought stuff to my concoction. 

A quitter I am not. The next night I tackled it again, this time adding some garlic chile sauce (sambal oelek for heat and flavor) and after some tweaking I think I came up with a pretty good version. My official taste-testers (Mike, Karen, and Big) were transported right to Thailand, minus the flies, fish heads and pigs blood.

I'm a sucker for the produce section so I also picked up some funky Thai and Japanese eggplant and some baby bok choy. I roasted it and served it on the side.

Don't be put off by the slightly long list of ingredients in this recipe....most are staples and it comes together rather quickly. I knocked this dish out after driving 400 miles, unloading a car full of groceries (and shoes), thawing out chicken and shrimp, and we ate dinner by 8:00 PM.  What did you just call me? Superwoman?  Into the microphone please!  

Ultimate Pad Thai (a combo of beef, pork chicken and shrimp) from Rhumb Lines, our favorite St. John restaurant is Big's most loved Pad Thai and it is the bar by which all Pad Thai that we eat, is measured. Here is a shot of their dish. Whatcha think?  Mine's prettier is what I think. Just sayin'.

The main thing to remember when making Pad Thai is that you want to taste sweet, spicy, salty and that order. The sweet being the sugar, the spicy comes from the chile sauce, the salty from the fish sauce and finally the sour is from the tamarind.  Adjust your measurements as needed to get to that order of  taste.

So if you live anywhere near a good or even a bad Asian market pick up some rice noodles, tamarind paste, palm sugar, then whip up some margaritas and try this dish at home. Click here, on the "Pasta" tab . It was pretty bueno! Olé!

Nov 21, 2013

Cooking 108 ~ Winter Squash

My sous chef and I tested many recipes before finally settling on the menu for the October cooking class.  

The Sous Chef...taste testing.
Here is what made the cut:

Butternut Squash Tart with Chile-Honey Drizzle

 Southwestern Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Cumin Crème

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Acorn Squash with Sundried Tomato Polenta

Pumpkin Gnocchi Alfredo with Toasted Hazelnuts + Sage

Pumpkin Mousse with Amaretti Crunch

We started the night with a Pumpkin Patch Ale and ended it with Scott's Pumpkin Martinis, plus we ate all that food and finished up with a last minute Pumpkin Roll that I added to the menu.

Chef Scott, AKA the Gnocchi King knocked the pumpkin gnocchi out of the park. He quickly figured out the gnocchi board and he and Chef Lisa double teamed it. 

Here is a shot of the Acorn Squash with Sundried Tomato Polenta. That recipe is posted here, on the "Side Dishes" page.  Scroll down.....

Chef Vicki is prepping the Lasagne Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.  Ricotta and Italian Sausage in Marina sauce is about to go into those babies.  You can find that recipe here, under the "Pasta" tab...

Some of us working hard....  

Lisa and I had to watch these two guys like a hawk. Haney Buffet (Jimmy's brother) about screwed up the Pumpkin Alfredo sauce because Rich forgot to mention that there was cream in the recipe. Alfredo....Cream....who'd of thunk?

We had a great time and ate a lot of really good food. The Bacon class is next week. Details to follow!

The Gnocchi King

Nov 6, 2013

Cooking 107 ~ Gourmet Sandwiches

Last week we had October's SdJ Cooking Class and now I realize I never put up pictures or details of September's class....Jeez....Loser! So here it is.

Gourmet Sandwiches were the feature item for the 
September Cooking Class. 

Wait a minute....Disclosure  here:  I either have the shittiest camera ever OR I am the shittiest photog ever, (or both) but these pictures suck!  The food was good, ok it was pretty great and we hardly had any wine *coughbullshitcough* so I really can't understand why these pictures are so, well....shitty. 

Here was the menu:

Grilled Jalapeno Cornbread with Caramelized Chipotle Onions, Smashed Black Beans, and Cheddar 

Classic Croque Monsieur

Portobello Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic-Basil Aioli

Balsamic Roasted Cherries, Godiva Chocolate,
and Brie Grilled Cheese 

The Brie, Cherry and Chocolate Grilled Cheese. To. Die. For.

Here's Chef Vicki putting the finishing touches on the 
Jalapeno Cornbread Sandwiches.

Uh oh...we dug into the Portobello Sammie 
before someone remembered to take a picture.

That same someone forgot the take a pix of the Croque Monsieur, but it was really great. It's basically a gooey grilled ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich, topped with bechamel sauce and then popped back under the broiler until the sauce is bubbly and lightly browned. It's delish, so I'll post the recipe. You can check it out here or under the "Sandwiches" tab.
Some of the amazing chefs, taking a break after all that cooking.
Gawd they don't even look dirty and sweaty...they must not have really been in kitchen!

The Jalapeno Cornbread Sandwich with Chipotle Caramelized Onions can also be found under the "Sandwiches" tab.

Chef Lori doing her thang.

Oct 27, 2013

The Pumpkin Trials

I've been doing time. Hard time. In the kitchen with a bunch of stone-faced pumpkins and one adorable sous chef. You see, I decided to make "Winter Squash" (mainly the pumpkin) the feature ingredient in this months cooking class. That being said, my sous chef and I have been testing recipes and we've made pumpkin gnocchi no less than 54682 times in the past few weeks.

Here is my sous chef demonstrating how to make gnocchi. 
(and some random TV dude photo bombing us)
 I was beginning to think that gnocchi should only be reserved for the potato, but then the sous chef suggested that we roast a whole pumpkin and use it instead of the pumpkin in the can, which we had been using. She's a genius...that's why I pay her the big beaters...errr...I mean the big bucks. The texture from the real deal is a little thicker, meaning less flour, meaning more pumpkin flavor and fluffier dumplings.

The Sous Chef, taking her checks to the bank.

Moving on to pumpkin hummus ~ A roasted garlic and rosemary version was just so-so. One with cinnamon and all the typical pumpkin-y spices was predictable, and a cilantro-lime version was just OK.  I'm of the opinion that pumpkin shouldn't go in hummus unless you are out of garbanzo beans and about a million other ingredients, so pass on the hummus and go directly to pumpkin soup.

Here's a shot of my Southwestern Pumpkin Soup 
with Toasted Cumin Creme, White Cheddar,
and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.
We will be making this at Tuesdays class.

Next I got on a pumpkin Alfredo kick. I tried it first on fettuccine but liked it best on the gnocchi with some toasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of hazelnut oil. We recruited Hates Everything as a taste tester and she liked it so it's definitely going on the cooking class menu. No sneak peek here. It's in our bellies!
      Since I was already on the Creamy-Cheesy train to Fat-town I decided to try pumpkin mac and cheese. It wasn't bad but if it's not broke don't screw with it, and since there is nothing wrong with the version that mothers have been making for their kids for generations, this was screwing with it. Under oath I would deny liking any fake cheese like VELVEETA, but let's be honest, you just can't beat that stuff for its creamy, melty goodness so after two attempts, pumpkin mac and cheese won't make the cut...even though I did add bacon and toasted bread crumbs. *sigh*

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese...with bacon and toasted bread crumbs. 
It's just not good enough without Velveeta. There, I said it...into the microphone.
My sous chef and I also made a pumpkin roll 
and a pumpkin mousse, which didn't suck...
and a pumpkin beer bread that did suck.

The Pumpkin Roll.  

Pumpkin Mousse with Amaretti's on the menu!

I found the beer bread recipe on a blog called gimmesomeoven. I followed Ali's advice and wasted a good pumpkin ale on it, and not only did it not get done (cooked, baked, whatev) in the middle, it was as tough as an old shoe. I went back to the blog to see what comments the "other" bakers had made about the beer bread and it was filled with a bunch of gushing idiots saying things like, oh this sounds so good, I love beer bread, you're so creative, can't wait to make it, blah, blah, blah comments. Obviously not one of the twenty-four people who commented had ever made it, so I left Ali, from gimmesomeoven, a nice comment that said something like, (condensed version;) love your blog, made the beer bread, it stayed doughy and was tough as an old shoe, what did I do wrong? In other words I took full responsibility for the failure. And guess what Ali did? She frickin' deleted my comment!  Seriously Ali, you could have just said, I hear you suck as a baker, and I would have said, yeah, so what's your point? Or you could have said, I'm sorry your bread was shitty, mine was perfect, can I buy you a beer? But no. She deleted me!  I say, Ali if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. Have you ever heard that one before? Huh?
     I know that some people can't boil water and maybe I'm one of them. But if you put it out there, own that shit! Damn straight I will. But enough about Ali. Sous chef and I tend to gravitate towards people with an actual backbone.   

Anyhow, we got sick of pumpkins and then switched to squash. A butternut squash tart with fried sage leaves made the cut, butternut pasta did not. Lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash is in. Spaghetti squash in a bacon-tomato-fennel sauce...not so much.

Here's our beautiful tart!

So a few hundred pumpkins, squash, and dirty dishes later I finally have a menu put together for my next cooking class. It does involve a lot of cream and nutmeg and Pumpkin Patch Ale. Beer bread be damned!

Click on this link for the Butternut Squash Tart or this one for the Southwest Pumpkin Soup. If you want any of the other recipes let me know and I'll send them your way or put them up on this blog.

The sous chef...on payday!