Paula Deen’s Special Collector’s Issue “Quick & Easy Meals”

March 16, 2007 in baking, beef, breakfast, cheese, chicken, cookbook, cooking, dessert, drink, Paper Palate, pork, recipe, review, seafood, Well Fed Network

[This post appeared on the Paper Palate blog, a member of the Well Fed Network]

Deen Special Collectors

(Source: [tag]Hoffman Media[/tag], click image to go to magazine order page)

I watch only a few shows on the [tag]Food Network[/tag], two of those being [tag]Alton Brown[/tag]’s “Good Eats” and [tag]Paula Deen[/tag]’s “[tag]Home Cooking[/tag]”. I do not watch the “[tag]Paula’s Party[/tag]” show though, something about that show makes me feel uneasy. I am positively inclined toward Ms. Deen but am not what you would call a fan. I am only a fan of the Japanese [tag]Iron Chef[/tag], other than that, I watch without much fan-like adoration.

I am also not the sort to buy [tag]cooking magazine[/tag]s because I am not in the habit of buying in the “women’s magazine” [tag]genre[/tag]. When I was a kid, I did have a subscription to [tag]Bon Appetit[/tag] (I know, wierd, I was an odd one to say the least) but not to any of the pop culture teen mags. Thus, I am not jaded by other “women’s” genre food magazines. I get [tag]Food & Wine[/tag] and [tag]Saveur[/tag] but I did not compare them to this magazine, different concept.

When I opened this [tag]magazine[/tag], I wasnt really paying attention to the fact that it was a [tag]special edition[/tag]. I was astounded that a food magazine would have zero interstitial ads. The only ads you will find are on the back and front cover. What you get instead is bombarded by page after page of simply delicious [tag]recipe[/tag]s, [tag]appetizing[/tag] and dynamic [tag]food photography[/tag], and a huge dose of Paula’s personality.

This issue boasts 85 recipes, 20 complete [tag]menu[/tag]s (and they ARE, I got full just reading them, honest) and photographic suggestions of inviting table settings and decorations. In the back, you can find all sorts of high quality kitchenalia and dining room related objects carefully chosen from artists in [tag]Savanna[/tag] and other people and places relevant to Paula’s universe.

Each of the seven recipe [tag]chapter[/tag]s starts with a nifty little box outlining the menu and then provides recipes. With no ads, they really pack quite a few recipes in on each page.

  • Wake Up Sunshine – Ham and Cheese [tag]Quiche[/tag] with Potato Crust
  • Lunch Bunch – Molto [tag]Muffeletta[/tag] (Paula’s vegetarian version of the resplendent New Orleans sandwich, too much bread and too little Italian cold cuts in my mind)
  • Special Suppers – None of the protein dishes attracted me but the [tag]Lime[/tag] [tag]Blueberry[/tag] [tag]Tiramasu[/tag] calls my name like a siren.
  • Dinner from the Grill – Bourbon Beef [tag]Tenderloin[/tag] with Sweet [tag]Bourbon[/tag] Sauce and Sweet Potato [tag]Cheesecake[/tag] with [tag]Streusel[/tag] Topping (Pinch me, I think this sounds fantastic! When my grill thaws out, I will be trying this for certain)
  • Casual Evenings – New York [tag]Strip Steak[/tag]s with Terragon Melting sauce, Herbed Monkey Bread and pornographic Easy [tag]Chocolate[/tag]-[tag]Cherry[/tag] [tag]Cake[/tag]
  • Game Time Tonight – Mini [tag]Bratwurst[/tag] [tag]Sandwiche[/tag]s (cute things. Little = eat more!) and Queen of Hearts [tag]Brownie[/tag]s (dainty decadence)
  • After Dinner Delights – Hot [tag]Carmel[/tag] Apple Cider

In the last chapter, “Quick and Classy [tag]Tabletops[/tag]”, the table setups are so colorful and very textural.

All that said, I do not see how these could be considered quick! The time I would have to spend in [tag]Pier One[/tag] just buying all the stuff would be hours. Note – I will use any excuse to spend hours there, my toddler cries when she sees the Pier One sign though.

The tabletops are classy, certainly, but super complex. I think I would need a Masters in Design to accomplish this on my own. I am sure there are many readers here who have the desire and talent to do this (it is just beautiful) but I dont see my doing it any time soon. Its likely that one of my kids would either pull the tablecloth off with little flair or light a bonfire with candles and fancy linens.

I have only three beefs with this magazine:

  1. I gained 3 pounds just reading the thing
  2. I honestly felt lonely after putting it down because Paula looks like she has SO MUCH FUN
  3. Paula’s photos can be a bit disconcerting at times because some of the shots make her look like she has a 1000 yard stare and her blue eyes are a bit too retouched to look natural. Note to Paula’s photographer, keep her giggling, catch her happy smiles and forget the Hello Kitty vapid look, it is a disservice to Miss Paula.

I can not recommend this Special Collector’s Issue ENOUGH.

If you see it on the news stand, grab it.

It will be out until May and sells for

  • $7.99 US
  • $8.99 CAN

Grasshoppers Reloaded

March 15, 2007 in bread, cooking, drink, holiday, latino, recipe, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

[This post appeared on the [tag]Spirit World[/tag] blog, a member of the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag]]

For this month’s [tag]designated driver drink[/tag], I had to stretch beyond the trite [tag]Saint Patrick’s day[/tag] “stock drinks”. I also didnt want to explore virgin [tag]irish coffee[/tag]s, whats the point?!

Today’s [tag]nonalcoholic[/tag] drink is a fusion between [tag]Colombia[/tag] (my childhood influence) and a drink popular in the 1970s here in the US, the [tag]Grasshopper[/tag]. I put this together because its green but also filled with [tag]tropical[/tag] goodness.

Guanabana (Guanabanus muricatus) is the fruit base. It is called “[tag]soursop[/tag]” by the [tag]British[/tag] (not at all sure why, sour doesnt really describe the unique flavor of this fruit). It is related to the [tag]Paw-Paw[/tag] and [tag]Cherimoya[/tag]. If you live anywhere near an urban center, you may find [tag]latino[/tag] food stores and in those stores, in the freezer section, you will likely find the [tag]guanabana[/tag] [tag]pulp[/tag] frozen into packages. Of course, the [tag]fresh[/tag] fruit will never be replicated by frozen or concentrate, but these frozen pulps are a great stand in.

Regarding the taste. In the case of this fruit, texture is coupled to the flavor. I can not articulate it completely, but there is a textural heaviness or “grit” that coats the mouth while the flavor has a slight tingle/prickly ever-so-slightly sour bite that travels across the roof of the mouth and a bit on the back of the tongue.

If you have had guanabana and like to describe it differently, please comment because I would love to see how others experience this fruit.

I remember my parents making grasshoppers and [tag]pink panthers[/tag] at home. My mom says it was a 70s thing. It marked my childhood, just like [tag]Elvis[/tag], [tag]skateboard[/tag]s, and [tag]Sha Na Na[/tag] did.

The typical grasshopper contains Green [tag]Crème De Menthe[/tag], light cream, and [tag]Crème De Cacao[/tag]. Yikes, talk about heavy. My parents would make non-alcoholic versions of it with [tag]ice cream[/tag].

This grasshopper that I have put together for you today is a more [tag]globalized[/tag] version. It contains a lot more [tag]vitamin C[/tag] and a lot less proccessed “[tag]Creme[/tag]”, whatever THAT is.

[tag]Gobstopping[/tag] Grasshoppers



  • 1 frozen package of Guanabana pulp
  • 1 C cold skim milk (I used skim because thats what we had on hand, you use what you like)
  • 1/2 C white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced [tag]ginger[/tag]
  • 1 tablespoon [tag]Key Lime Juice[/tag]
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large tablespoon dollops non-dairy [tag]whipped cream[/tag] (Cool Whip)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh [tag]mint[/tag] (In this case, my fresh mint was “displaced” by a family member, I had to use a scant drop of mint extract)


Blend all these ingredients into a frothy cold shake and serve in frozen mugs or goblets.


Peeps, Peeps, and more Peeps, eh.

March 14, 2007 in dessert, holiday, product, review, Well Fed Network

You know what peeps lead to? Yeah, more [tag]peeps[/tag], eh.

Do you remember that [tag]Second City[/tag] show “[tag]Strange Brew[/tag]” from the early 80s? It was about beer drinking [tag]Bob & Doug McKenzie[/tag], played by the actors [tag]Dave Thomas[/tag] and [tag]Rick Moranis[/tag] (of “[tag]GhostBusters[/tag]” and “Honey I shrank my..” mind fame as well as lots of other movies).

Do you also remember their theme song? “[tag]Take Off, to the Great White North[/tag]”

Bob and Doug were all about [tag]Beer[/tag] and Beer, and more Beer. Their motto was something like “What does a beer lead to, eh? Yeah, more beer.”

Well, when I was doing a shoot on this new Peeps “decorate your own [tag]marshmallow[/tag] [tag]egg[/tag]s” product for the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag], we were awash in peeps. They are still everywhere. Its actually disturbing how many I ended up buying, didnt look like that many when I bought the packages.

I will be posting a more extensive exposé on the peep [tag]extravaganza[/tag] but I will give you a peek at the [tag]peep action[/tag] today.

When you take a [tag]bite[/tag] into one, what happens?

You reawaken some time later with peeps stuck to your body and strewn about the house.

And what do you look like when you regain consciousness after the peep-induced coma?

Thats a look that says, I did the peeps and I THINK its time for MORE peeps because “One peep leads to another.”

If you are not getting enough peeps in your life, consider purchasing a Peepster, a yellow VW bug tricked out as a peep. Think of the envy of your neighbors and co-workers.


Care for more peeps? I have a few left over. I cant really explain the ones I found in the dryer or the ones stuck on Leo the cat.

One of those great mysteries of life things.

How to organize your Food Life

March 6, 2007 in Paper Palate, product, recipe, review, Well Fed Network

russel+hazel recipe binder

[This article was published on the [tag]Paper Palate[/tag] blog in the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag]]

When the Well Fed Network was given an opportunity to [tag]review[/tag] the [tag]russel+hazel[/tag] [tag]Recipe Binder Set[/tag], I had to try it out. The best way to describe this [tag]concept[/tag] is that it is like [tag]Levenger[/tag] for your [tag]kitchen[/tag]. Instead of messy [tag]food[/tag] splattered [tag]index cards[/tag] that get lost or not used because they are in an un[tag]organize[/tag]d and intimidating pile, this [tag]system[/tag] has a home for each and every [tag]card[/tag].

In this set, you get five different types of items.

Two spiffy and sturdy [tag]binder[/tag]s with this interesting rubber band looped around the front cover. I think that this rubber band is meant to hold the current [tag]recipe card[/tag] in place on the outside. You can then prop up the folder and the [tag]recipe[/tag] card stays safely out of the [tag]cooking[/tag] [tag]chaos[/tag]. These binders hold all of your recipes and related materials that you have tamed with their system.

You get section tabs that separate your recipes into 14 categories:

  • [tag]appetizer[/tag]s+[tag]beverage[/tag]s
  • [tag]bread[/tag]+pastries
  • [tag]salad[/tag]s+dressings
  • [tag]soup[/tag]s+[tag]sandwich[/tag]es
  • [tag]vegetable[/tag]s+side dishes
  • [tag]pasta[/tag]+[tag]rice[/tag]+grains
  • [tag]fish[/tag]+[tag]seafood[/tag]
  • [tag]meat[/tag]+[tag]poultry[/tag]
  • [tag]cake[/tag]s+[tag]cookie[/tag]s
  • vegetarian
  • [tag]cassarole[/tag]s+one-dish meals
  • [tag]outdoor cooking[/tag]+[tag]grilling[/tag]
  • family+favorites
  • [tag]entertaining[/tag]+parties
  • bonus empty tab
  • one [tag]measuring[/tag] equivalents 1/2 sheet

Your recipes, which you have lovingly changed and perfected to your own personal tastes and needs, can be recorded on the supplied 7 1/8 inch by 4 3/8 inch cards. Each card has space for the recipe, the date recorded, notes, preparation time and how many it serves. These are good reminders for [tag]record[/tag]ing a recipe. You need to have a sense for how many you can feed and how long it will take so that you can plan effectively.

Two recipe cards can be slipped into a full page size binder sheet that you then put into the correct section of your binder.

Finally, for those of you who are really organized and like to plan your [tag]meal[/tag]s for the week, there are week-at-a-time menu planning sheets. Each day of the week has a line for [tag]breakfast[/tag], [tag]lunch[/tag], and [tag]dinner[/tag] and there is a column to the right side of the page where you can build your [tag]shopping list[/tag]. There are several headings on this list, including: fresh produce, dairy, butcher, pantry, and bakery. This shopping or market list is removable by [tag]micro-perforation[/tag], handy for when you run out the door to go shopping.

Why would you want to be this organized?

Its simple – you can save a lot of time and money by planning your meals and stocking your [tag]pantry[/tag] when long term storage dry goods go on sale.

I know that how you organize your kitchen and recipes is a very personal thing. Some of us inherit this from our mothers or grandmothers, some of us muddle through developing our own way, and some of us never really get around to it.

Its my sense that this sort of activity, writing down and saving recipes, is done by people who really value and treasure these momentos. Some of you are lucky enough to have recipe books and cards handed down from grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Those are precious things. With a system like this, you can lavish your own recipes with the same love and then hand it down to your children and grandchildren.

Needless to say, this would make an excellent [tag]gift[/tag] to those people you know who cherish and collect recipes.

It is hard for me to evaluate whether the price-point on this system is sufficiently accessible to all our readers. I think I will leave that up to you.

To review, this set includes:

  • 2 slim binders (in white/charcoal or blue/red) with dry erase interior and recipe card holding rubber band
  • set of 15 section tabs & 1 measuring equivalents sheet
  • Recipe Pages, 40 pages
  • Recipe cards, 50 cards
  • Menu Planning Sheets, 60 pages

Price $110

Where to buy: