Monday, February 28, 2011

Crock Pot Lasagna Florentine

                  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a cheeseball, on so many levels, but probably most notably for my love of cheese.  I, seriously, have never met a cheese I didn't like.  Mild, sharp, creamy, crumbly, moldy, me, they are all manifestations of love. So, one of the hardest things to swallow when faced with the oven-less kitchen was the lack of ooey gooey cheesy baked goodness in my life.  No baked macaroni and cheese?  No stuffed shells?  No manicotti?  No lasagna?  You might as well throw the burlap sack over my head and march me to the gallows!  Surely a life without lasagna is a life not worth living, and I do believe Garfield would agree!

It became imperative that I find a way around this lasagna quandary...and fast! Initially I thought the toaster oven might be my savior, but as I mentioned before, it's teeny tiny. So, unless I wanted to make a lasagna amuse-bouche (calorically prudent, but really who eats 2 bites of lasagna?) it was practically useless.  Surveying the rest of my kitchen arsenal didn't yield a promising contender so I was left with the old stand by crock pot...not just for pot roast anymore (though stay tuned because I'll be posting my recipe for the pot roast that saved Christmas Eve soon).  

I have to say, I went into this lasagna endeavor a little gun shy and skeptical, fully expecting a lasagna soup kind of outcome.  Imagine my surprise when after a few hours, I removed the crock pot lid to reveal a perfectly cooked lasagna!  Now, if you're one of those people who live for the crispy, crunchy edges that only an oven can produce, sorry Charlie, you're outta luck.  But, if you're in it for the right reasons (the cheesy deliciousness!) this recipe will not disappoint! One note: once it's finished cooking, turn off the crock pot and allow the lasagna to sit for a good 20-30 min or so.  I made the mistake of diving in too soon; partly out of hunger and partly because I'm a gluttonous cheese-lover and it's next to impossible for me to let a lasagna "rest",  so while I still didn't end up with soup, it was definitely too hot for the pieces to hold their shape and what resulted was a slidey, gooey, fantastic mess on my plate (hence, no plated pictures). So trust me....let it sit!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Sunken Sink

One more day.  One more day until I can do dishes like a human being loading them into the dishwasher.  I've felt very "Little House on the Prairie" lately, doing dishes in the bathtub. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to seem unappreciative of the indoor plumbing that has allowed me to do dishes without a large basin, a small fire and some melted snow or minimize the trials and tribulations of pioneer life, but hunched over the bathtub for 45 minutes scrubbing and scouring is not how I like to spend my time.  I don't even like to spend my time standing in front of a sink scrubbing and scouring but let's not split hairs.  And don't even get me started on the dishpan hands - as if winter wasn't taking enough of a toll on my skin I now have the hands of a dehydrated 80 year old woman! Swell.

Needless to say, I was quite pleased when Doug's uncle came by today armed with 2x4's, some sort of metal sander, a razor sharp chisel and heavy duty epoxy.  It took a couple hours to clean, sand and prep the granite but once we slid that sink into place and the epoxy started to ooze up, spill over the edges and drip down into the basin, I swear a chorus of angels sang.  Only 24 hours of "curing" until the garbage disposal and dishwasher can be reattached and the sink can go back to serving its intended function as a queue for dirty dishes awaiting their turn on the water ride.  Life is good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

Several years ago, I spent 1 or 2 nights a week working as a bartender for an Indian gentleman at a Latin club (don't ask). While Abdul wasn't going to win any employer of the year awards, the man knew his way around a kitchen and seemed to love cooking for me, almost as much as I loved eating my way through his menu.  I spent the time before my shifts sampling Samosas, Tandoori Chicken, Lamb Saag and Chicken Vindaloo but no matter what I tasted, I couldn't shake my affinity for Chicken Tikka Masala. Maybe it's the simplicity of the spices, the perfect kiss of hot pepper or the touch of cream; maybe it's the way they all blend together and embody, to me, a cool evening in Mumbai, sitting at a street cafe watching the hustle and bustle of the city.  I wouldn't know, I've never been there, but in my mind it's as vivid as the brightest of saris.  Perhaps I'll get there someday, but until then, I'll forgo the sari and my Indian travels will remain the culinary variety.

This is my interpretation of the dish Abdul made for me countless times.  I've attempted to "healthify" it a bit by replacing butter with cooking oil spray and heavy cream with fat free half & half.  By doing so, I've slashed 67 calories and 8 fat grams per serving.  Not too shabby! Of course, if you're not feeling particularly health conscious, go ahead and saute your chicken in butter and replace the fat free half & half with 1/3 cup of heavy cream.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil spray
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/2 cup fat free half & half
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)

Cal: 220  Fat: 9g  Carb: 10g  Protein: 25g  Fiber: 2g - Original Recipe
Cal: 153  Fat: 1g  Carb: 11g  Protein: 25g  Fiber: 2g - My Version
Serves: 6

Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper.  Spray a large, heavy saute pan with cooking oil spray. Over medium high heat, saute chopped onion and garlic until translucent.  
Add your chicken cubes and cook until the chicken is no longer pink (about 8-10 minutes).  Add all of your spices (except crushed red pepper) and the lemon juice.  Stir well and cook for about a minute.  
Remove chicken cubes and transfer to a serving platter.  

Reduce heat to medium, add canned tomatoes and stir well.  In a small bowl, stir the cream into your cornstarch to make a slurry. Slowly stir the cornstarch slurry into your saute pan, then stir in the crushed red pepper.  Allow liquid to come to a boil.  Once boiling, lower heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. 
Transfer your sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Remove the cap from your blender lid to allow rising steam to escape, but cover the opening with a folded dish towel to prevent the hot liquid from splattering.  

Pour blended sauce over chicken cubes and serve with Basmati rice (rice not included in nutritional information).
A great veg accompaniment is cauliflower sauteed with a touch of fresh ginger, garam masala and turmeric. Yum!

Forgive the paper plates, we are still without a sink and I'm trying to minimize the amount of dishes I have to do in the bathtub! 
Bon Appetit!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Valentine's Day (Kitchen) Massacre

I suppose it had to happen.  Our day-early Valentine's celebration was going all too well.  Doug had a good day at work, got out on time and arrived home with flowers in hand (too cute!).  I'd cooked up a storm and the end result was well worth the effort.  The wine was tart, crisp and refreshing, dinner was positively divine, dessert was indulgent and we were altogether fat and happy.   Something had to go wrong.

After dinner, we'd retired to the bedroom to curl up with the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards and whatever we had recorded on the DVR.  But, about halfway into Muse's performance of Uprising, a cacophony of clatter rose up from the kitchen below. Something did not only go bump in the night, it was a full on crash! bang! boom! We jumped up from the bed and went downstairs to investigate. It was decided that I'd check on the dishwasher and Doug would head down to the basement to make sure the puppies hadn't gotten into any trouble (a much more likely scenario than the dishwasher imploding).  I checked, rechecked and reorganized the dishwasher ensuring it would have a smooth wash cycle and Doug emerged from downstairs reporting that all was quiet on the basement front.  Perplexed at finding nothing amiss, we returned upstairs, finished watching the Grammy's and had all but made it through Desperate Housewives on DVR when Doug had a craving for some more of my pulled pork ravioli .  We stood in the kitchen, happily munching on cold ravioli by refrigerator light and chatting about the awards show winners (Did Arcade Fire really deserve Album of the Year?  Honestly, in 10 years, who will have made a bigger impact on music and who will people remember more?  Arcade Fire?  Or Lady Gaga?  Just sayin').  Anyway, satisfied with the ravioli (and a chocolate covered strawberry or 2), we were about to head back upstairs when Doug found himself standing in a massive puddle in front of the garbage.

At this point, despite my earlier fruitless investigation, I was positive the dishwasher had sprung a leak and was set to stop it, mid-cycle, and resign myself to doing dishes by hand (unheard of!) when Doug found the true culprit.  It seemed the hullabaloo we'd heard earlier was not the dishwasher imploding, but the kitchen sink! The sink had somehow unglued itself from the counter and had fallen clear through the opening and into the cabinet below, taking with it all the dirty dishes that hadn't fit in the dishwasher!  A slow steady stream of water was trickling down into the cabinet, onto the cleaning supplies and out onto the floor.  We mopped up the flood, emptied the cabinet of the soggy, waterlogged cleaning supplies and after determining that the drain pipe from the dishwasher was most likely damaged by the falling sink, piled the remaining dirty dishes in (where else?) the bathtub.

You'd think the destruction would end there. If only we were so lucky.  Before going back upstairs for what we hoped would be the night, we trudged down to the basement for one final check on the puppies and found another puddle in the middle of the basement floor.  Wearied by cleaning the kitchen and already frustrated, it was all too easy to just blame Rigby for peeing on the floor yet again, but closer examination of the puddle revealed no trace of a yellow tinge, so the little one was off the hook (this time).  A glance to the ceiling and we knew the kitchen flood had made it's way down through the floorboards.  Luckily (if there's any luck to be had in this mess), Jonas' bed happened to be directly under the flood stream.  So while the poor puppy essentially had a massive sponge for a bed (don't worry, I threw it away), it was our saving grace in minimizing the mess downstairs.  A quick wipe of the floors and ceiling and we could (finally) call it a night.  Dejected and thoroughly exhausted we returned upstairs, our inner OCD finding solace in the fact that at least now we had a matching set of appliance-less holes in the kitchen.

So, now we wait.  For the granite guy and plumber to come assess the damage, for estimates and repair, for the kitchen to make it's way back to "normal".  It's times like these though, when I know I won't be getting to the dishes immediately, that I am so thankful to have my Wolfgang Puck Stainless Steel Cookware Set - 18pc.  These pans can sit unwashed for days on end (not that I ever do that, of course) and they come clean with no more than a splash of hot water and the swipe of a soapy sponge.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a tub of leftover Valentine's Day dishes to wash! *sigh*

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pulled Pork Ravioli Two Ways - Sage and Toasted Walnut Beurre Noisette or BBQ Demi Glace

To some people holidays are nothing more than a source of stress. Gift buying and get togethers don't mesh with their busy schedules. I am not one of those people. Every holiday, for me, is an opportunity to shower those I love with cards and gifts and more importantly, every holiday is cause for a feast; at least in my house. Growing up in a mostly Italian family we treated births, deaths and any holiday as an occasion to eat. And I mean eat! Come to dinner without your "eating pants" on and you won't make it to the entree course. Seriously.

Holidays take on a slightly different meaning when unemployed, however. Gifts are harder to come by when you're scraping to make ends meet. So when faced with Valentine's Day and nary a gift for Doug in sight (nor funds for said gift in wallet), I figured I'd do what I do best - feed him. Honestly, what says love more than a full belly and a sated smile?

Ok, ok, now I know what you're thinking. "Second recipe and this is what she's throwing at us? Homemade pasta and crazy French terminology? Beurre what? Demi who?" Simmer down, the former is nothing more than a brown butter and the latter a simple sauce thickened and reduced to a glaze...they just sound fancier in French, don't you think?! Admittedly, this recipe is a touch more ambitious, but having said that, I've broken it down into 2 parts for you. If you're not ready to tackle the recipe in it's entirety just yet, simply stop at pulled pork, add a ciabatta bun, some slaw or a salad and a pickle and you're set. For those of you who want to take the plunge and attempt the finished product, I promise you it's so worth it, whichever sauce you choose!

Remember when I told you about our occasional splurges? The beurre noisette is most definitely one of them. So much so, that I'm not even going to calculate the nutritional information for fear of instant cardiac arrest. The BBQ demi glace is slightly less caloric, but still counts as a splurge in my book. This decadent recipe not only makes a fair amount (I used only half of the pulled pork and yielded 30-35 raviolis), it's quite filling, so feel free to halve the entire recipe if there are only a couple of you.

Pulled Pork Ravioli Two Ways
Pulled Pork

1 2lb boneless pork tenderloin

We love pulled pork.  The only complaint I have about it is that it can be really fatty and that just ruins the whole smoky, barbecuey, tender love-filled experience for me.  So, when making my pulled pork, I like to use a leaner cut.  I find that if you cook it "low and slow" in a crock pot it falls apart and shreds nicely.  Best part is, no hunks of fat to contend with!

drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
cooking oil spray
3/4 cup barbecue sauce

Cut the pork tenderloin into 1 1/2 - 2 inch cubes and place in a bowl.  In a separate bowl combine cayenne, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and brown sugar.  Drizzle the pork cubes with olive oil, add the spice rub mixture and toss well to coat.  Really get in there and massage the pork so that all your little cubes get some spice loving.

Spray the inside of your crock pot evenly with cooking oil spray and transfer the seasoned pork cubes to the crock pot.  Set the pork for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  While it's cooking, your house will take on the smell of a Memphis barbecue pit; the savory garlic, warm cayenne and paprika and sweet sticky molasses aromas dancing through the air. It's amazing!

Once your pork is done cooking, transfer the cubes to a cutting board using a slotted spoon and shred them using 2 forks.  I find it easier and less messy to transfer the cubes in small batches rather than all at once and add my shredded pork to a separate bowl until I've finished shredding it all.  After you've shredded all the pork, return it to the sauce in the crock pot and give it a good stir.

At this point, you've got the makings of a fantastic meal.  A good bun, some salad or slaw and a pickle (or 4) is all it takes to make me deliriously happy.  If you're zealous enough to try the rest of the recipe, then read on. If not this time, (trust me, you'll be back), bon appetit!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spicy Asian Glazed Chicken

This dish is one of our absolute favorites! Doug and I could eat it every night and never tire. It is (in my opinion) ridiculously easy to make, handles substitutions very well and is mostly things you'll have on hand in your fridge and pantry. And, the 1 or 2 ingredients you may not have readily available might become staples after just one taste!

When I make this for us, I use a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (usually 3 that I halve) and boneless, skinless chicken thighs (usually 3, halved as well). I'm typically not a dark meat kinda gal, but I find this recipe lends itself very nicely to the darker meats. Doug prefers white meat though, so a breast or 3 always find their way into my pan. Feel free to experiment with other cuts of chicken (skinless legs work really well) and the spicy asian glaze adds a nice flair to boneless pork chops (you'll need to adjust your cooking time based on the thickness of the chops if you go the pork route). I haven't tried this with chicken wings yet, but it's definitely on the menu next time we have a finger food kind of get together!

Spicy Asian Glazed Chicken
Adapted from

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (halved)
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (halved)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
4 tsp honey (Agave nectar or sugar can be substituted)
1 tbsp Sriracha
Sriracha is a Thai chili sauce that is readily available at most supermarkets. If you can't find it locally, you can easily find it online. It has an intense flavor and a real kick of heat, so feel free to adjust the amount to taste. You can also substitute another hot sauce but, personally, I like the flavor of the Sriracha best.

1/2-1 tbsp butter (optional)
2 medium scallions, chopped (for garnish)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Calories: 286 Fat: 10g Carbohydrate: 13g Protein: 36g Fiber: 0.5g Serves: 6

In a 4 cup capacity measuring cup or medium bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and honey. Stir well to combine all ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Add sesame oil to a large, heavy skillet or saute pan and set over medium high heat (if you've never worked with sesame oil before, it has a deliciously nutty flavor and aroma and a little bit goes a long way). Make sure your pan is nice and hot before adding your meat. A hot pan will assist in getting a nice brown on the chicken as well as help to prevent sticking. Never use a cold pan! Cook the chicken, turning once, until it begins to brown (about 3-4 minutes per side).

Give your liquid mixture a quick stir, pour onto the chicken and cook over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set on a serving platter (if you're using chicken breasts you will want to remove them from the pan at about the 15 minute mark to prevent overcooking).

Bring the liquid back up to a boil and cook until it reduces by about half and starts to thicken (a good point of reference is when the liquid coats the back of a spoon).

While you're reducing your glaze, keep a close eye on it. As the liquid evaporates and the sugars caramelize it can burn easily. Once your glaze is done reducing, add the butter and stir well until it is melted and fully incorporated. The sauce should take on a nice shiny and velvety texture once the butter melts. If you're worried about fat and calories, feel free to omit the butter, but if you want that extra little splurge that will take the sauce from yum to YUM! (for about 100 calories and 11 grams of fat for the entire recipe), go for it! Pour the sauce over your chicken, top with scallions and toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

I usually serve this dish with a homemade "fried" rice (recipe to follow another me if you'd like it before I get it posted) and a steamed veg (broccoli is a fav). Tonight, I opted for plain white rice; brown rice also works well and if you're carb conscious, just add a veggie of choice and you've got a complete meal.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Challenge accepted!

Throughout the years, as I previously stated, I was hard pressed to find a culinary challenge that I wasn't excited to tackle. That said, not all of my endeavors were successful at first blush, but they were nothing a few practice rounds couldn't polish. Fast forward to the summer of 2009 when I was faced with a challenge I wasn't sure I could overcome.

Doug and I had been together for just over a year and I'd been helping him house hunt when I found a house online that I knew we just had to see. I emailed him the details and he arranged for a showing. I was unable to accompany him to the showing but he called me immediately afterwards to tell me about the house. A 4 bedroom, 3 bath that had recently been gutted and renovated; it sounded amazing. With lots of room, a full finished basement for his man cave, a gorgeous kitchen with granite counter tops, tons of cabinet space, an island with a cooktop and a breakfast bar; it was practically perfect!!! Except for the oven...or lack thereof. You see, the cooktop was built into the island and where the oven should have been (beneath the stove) there was a hole. No oven, just an empty hole.  See?

We were assured by the contractor that installing an oven would be an easy job; just purchase a wall oven and slide it right into the hole. So Doug made an offer, it was accepted, the house passed inspection (sans oven) and he was on his way to being a homeowner! Needless to say we were excited; he to be a first time homeowner and me to get my hands on that kitchen!

Months passed in the new house and I was tiring of stove top cooking. I longed to roast, broil and bake, so we began looking for an oven. What we were promised would be easy as pie (Oh how I longed to bake a pie!) became a wild goose chase (Mmmm...braised wild goose with oven roasted root veggies! You can see how oven cooking became a bit of an obsession). Here was our predicament. A standard oven measures roughly: 30w x 24d x 29h. The measurements of our "oven hole": 30w x 24d x 17h. 17 inches in height??? Design fail! Turns out, those measurements would perfectly fit a convection microwave which is so not an oven. After consulting Doug's handyman uncle, carpenter brother and much collaboration with the family, we decided the only option we had was to cut out the 2 small cabinets that were directly under the hole thus giving us 15 more inches of height to play with. New "oven hole" dimensions: 30w x 24d x 29h. Much better...until we realized that we didn't really have 24 inches in depth! The gas line that ran from the cooktop jutted out into the hole for the oven, consuming roughly 2 inches in depth. After a consultation with the local gas and electric company and yet more collaboration with family, our prospects were looking dim. For every corner we thought we turned, a big fat stop sign awaited. Maybe we could just remove the gas line and install an electric cooktop and oven? Nope...the electric line that was run to the island was short on voltage and to increase it would be a BIG (read: expensive) project. Well, what if we cut out the cabinets next to the dishwasher and put the oven there? Certainly there has to be the right kind of electric line if the dishwasher works. Guess again! Apparently dishwashers run off of 110v lines and an oven needs 220v. So we resigned ourselves to being stuck with gas (not a bad resignation in my humble opinion). Replacing everything with electric was out of the question, but with the gas line positioned as it is (honestly, who designed this mess?), we simply could not fit an oven into the hole. We found ourselves faced with replacing the (perfectly good) cooktop as well. What began as removing just 2 small cabinets became cutting out the entire cooktop as well as parts of the granite counter top in the hopes that an integrated "drop-in" range would be the answer. This was fast becoming somewhat of a renovation nightmare...and costly to boot!

Our research and discovery in attempting to find an oven spanned well over a year's time.  Despite my frustration with the lack of an oven, I'm not one to lose my sense of humor when things get tough, so I bought Doug an Easy-Bake oven for Christmas and wrapped it in the oven hole. He came home from work to find his surprise gift and for a split second thought I solved our oven debacle.  A little mean?  Yes. But very funny nonetheless and we enjoyed sharing a Lilliputian chocolate frosted cake one night. 

But seriously, no real oven?  I'd been making the best of cooking on the stove when I decided to put my creativity (and some other kitchen appliances) to good use. This was war!  The electric grill, deep fryer, griddle, crock pot, microwave and teeny tiny toaster oven would become my arsenal. I armed myself and prepared for battle! Emerging victorious, I learned that there are infinite possibilities in the kitchen, even without an oven! A dinner party for friends went off without a hitch, complete with a "baked" pudding cake. Christmas Eve dinner for 8 was a wild success thanks to dueling crock pots!

We've managed to eat well (and for the occasional splurge) for the nearly 2 years we've been in the oven-less house. I hold out hope that one day (soon) we'll have an oven and to be honest, the thought of tackling a Thanksgiving dinner without one is still a little daunting (I know, I know, you can always deep fry a turkey, but nothing recalls childhood memories quite like an oven roasted turkey on Thanksgiving Day).  But until then, I'll continue to sear, braise, grill, saute, poach, stew and stir fry my way to deliciousness!

So whatever your reason for cooking without an oven, I hope you can find some recipes, tricks, tips and techniques here to make your culinary adventure a success...and more importantly, fun!

The Making of a Foodie

I love food.  No, I mean it, I really LOVE food!  From the time I was an infant, tasting new and exciting foods was an adventure I welcomed with open arms (and mouth)! My father will gladly tell baby stories of feeding times when I was so excited I'd practically hyperventilate anticipating that first bite, spewing my food everywhere in the process then giggling and hungrily awaiting more.  I mean, just look at that face.  Clearly nothing made me happier than eating! 

As a child, I spent a lot of my time in the kitchens of my Italian mother and grandmother; watching, learning, measuring, mixing and of course, licking any and all available spoons! My late teenage years afforded me the opportunity to take my first trip abroad, to France, where I filled my days with warm, crusty breads, velvety, creamy cheeses and tart, vinegary pickles.   I also had my first encounter with blood sausages (delicious, who knew!) and a garlicky snail or two!  My European travels and subsequent food journey continued years later with a veritable smorgasbord of sausages and brats in Germany, fresh smoked eel in Holland and of course, lots of smoky delicious Gouda.

When I signed the lease for my first apartment, I was most excited not to finally be living on my own, but to have my very own kitchen.  You see, I'd been collecting culinary tools and stashing them in boxes in my parents' attic for years in preparation for the momentous occasion so it was only natural that my obsession with eating would translate into an obsession with creating!  Over the years, parties and get togethers were replete with hors d'oeuvres and dessert trays and dinners out with girlfriends turned into missions to recreate whatever fabulous culinary creations we had consumed.  I thrived on opportunities to cook for family and friends...and no challenge was too great.  Three course dinner for my grandmother with a finicky palette? No problem! Homemade pizzas to impress a new beau? I could do it in my sleep!  Vegan chocolate cake for a dear friend's birthday? So easy!

These days, my gut reaction to good food is to do what has been affectionately dubbed my "happy food dance". I can't help it and half the time I don't even know I'm doing it but there I am, happily chewing away and bopping to the succulent soundtrack in my head.  So, maybe I've got the hyperventilating under control, but my love affair with food hasn't waned in the least.