Monday, May 27, 2013

Three Ways to Get Ready for Summer!

In the words of Alice Cooper....school's out for summer.

For my kids, that is.  Not for me.  I start a new term tomorrow, and most of my classes will be bakery-oriented.  I hope to learn a lot, but I expect to be outstripped by my more creative classmates.  I'm not one for elaborate cake decorating, mind.

And with relatively young children in the house, the beginning of summer always involves a look-over of the kids' summer wardrobes...and of especial interest this year, our 12-year-old daughter's.

This morning, I discarded three pairs of Peanut's shorts, because when she put them on and let her arms hang at the sides, her fingertips went past the hem.  Surprisingly, she didn't raise much fuss...probably because I let her keep two other pairs for "around the house" and "bedtime".  That puts me at +5 ranks in Parenting, useful for the next time I need to do a Teenage Diplomacy check(to all those non-D&Ders who don't get the reference, no apologies).

And now, onto food.

I spent much of my summer break playing with recipes for work.  While I'm still looking to perfect my beef skewer marinade and my spinach steak roulade, I'll share with you two "little things" that I am particularly proud of this week.

The winery is ordering Stonewall Kitchen's Spicy Parmesan Corn Sprinkle (or some other similar name), but it hasn't come yet.  After looking at the ingredient list online (cheese culture or Maltodextrin, anyone?), I thought I'd try putting my own Sweet Corn Seasoning together.

2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Two dashes of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Sprinkle liberally on grilled or steamed corn.
My family and myself REALLY enjoyed this addition to our buttered corn on the cob.  Not a reliable sample group by any means, I know, but a place to start.  My oldest son thought it "covered" the corn taste a little bit, but to me, that means sprinkle less.  I will definitely be trying it again, with corn, or on other vegetables.

This next recipe is a dry rub that I adapted from one at macheesmo.com.


Smoky Spice Rub for Beef
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. black pepper

Mix all spices together and store in air-tight, waterproof plastic container or Ziploc bag.  Sprinkle liberally and rub into beef before cooking.  Makes a scant 1/4 cup.

It's not too grand, I know, but the fact is, I did the tweaking and testing and tweaking and trying.  Finally putting some o'dat intuition to work.  I really liked the smoke of the paprika, but I would definitely recommend rubbing it into the meat before cooking it...then it would be more noticeable.

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