The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, April 15, 2005

Carnival of Recipies

Welcome to the Countertop Chronicles, where we are thrilled to be hosting this weeks edition of the Carnival of the Recipies.

Sorry for getting this week's edition up so late, I work in D.C. as a government relations professional and its been, quite frankly, a hectic week. But have no fear. Spring is well underway and with that comes Cherry Blossoms and my son’s birthday, both of which occurred in all their glory last weekend. And, while today was about as hectic of a day as we have had in a long long time, it was stunningly beautiful, and I managed to grab a margarita over lunch. Plus, today was Buy A Gun Day. I ordered mine, did you get yours??

In that spirit, this weeks Carnival is a celebration of spring and a rebirth of the trees and flowers for another summer of fun, and of course, out of doors entertaining.

So, lets get the Carnival started!

First up, of course, is my contribution to the carnival. As the host, I get to go first and what more do you need on a nice spring afternoon than my diabetic friendly, no sugar added, Orange Julius, a favorite treat when the weather gets nice in our house.

Orange Julius
Add the following to a 48 oz blender

4 oz of Orange Juice concentrate (use Minute Maid or Tropicana for best taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract Shhhh, this is the secret.
¾ cup of Splenda.
2 ¼ cups of whole milk
Fill the blender with ice cubes (approx. 2 ½ cups)
You can generally vary the amount of Splenda and concentrate to suit your taste – or you can replace the Splenda with ¾ cups of sugar if you want to gain weight and support your dentist (my wife made me add that).

Blend until there is a creamy, almost smooth but still icy, consistency. It will serve about 4 (or two, if your my wife and I)

Of course, Trub is asking who doesn’t like Margarita’s? Well, I don’t know. I had a pretty good one at lunch today, but while the kids are drinking my Orange Julius, I suggest you head over there and make your self the true celebratory drink.


Nothing says summer time fun quite like a table of chips and dips. I love New Hampshire, and the Granite State Ruminate has the right spring time attitude with this Guacamole recipe.

However, before filling up on the guac, you just have to try some Mango-Habenero dip. Who thought you could only get sweat and spicy at Chinese restaurants.

Prochein Amy is hoping were having fun. Well, we are. But were also a bit stuffed. Still, there is always room for olives and for cheese puffs (especially cheese puffs). Amy takes these two great ideas one step further and combines them with a bit of heat to create Hot Olive-Cheese Puffs. Sinful.

I'm not an artichoke fan, and so I didn't really know that spring is the heart of the artichoke season. It is, and Punctilious is photoblogging his Upstate Artichokes. I've got to say, it sounds pretty good, and looks alright too.

Soups and Salads

I love penne salads in the summer, and eveything and all that's penne and spinach fits the bill.

Meanderings has a very nice (not mean) pasta salad for you to try.

Sometime, a salad it just a salad, and sometimes a salad is awesome.

The Main Course

I'm half Swedish, and sadly, as my mor-mor gets older she has lost the ability to make swedish meatballs. In my family, they are an appetizer, a main course, and a desert that we eat all year long. Here is a gorgeous photoblog of the meatball making experience (on a .Mac page taboot too).

If your going to a baseball game and planning on tailgating, why not double your pleasure and double your fun with Mostly Cajun's Smothered Cabbage and Sausage or Smothered Cabbage and Potatoes.

The only problem with Cabbage and Sausage is that little kids might not eat it. Oh well, serve their needs too with a nice helping of grease pizzalets, enjoyed by the kid in everyone.

Nothing says summer though, like a burger on the grill. Well, instead of throwing a shrimp on the barbie, the Aussie wife is grilling up someChicken Chilli Burgers.

We eat a lot of curry at the Countertop, and one of our favorite dishes is palak paneer. The Glittering Eye is offering up Sag Paneer and I've got to say, this may be the first time my wife is excited about my blogging habit.

I blog alot about guns and some military things here. Well, as after saying grace and thanking the U.S. Military for protecting the world from murderous tyrants, why not try some of General Tso's Chicken.

Did someone say Burrito? Others like Spicy Peanut Chicken, just remember the cilantro.

The Sides

Well, while enjoying the weather, few things are as precious to eat as a side dish as asparagus, and Elisson has the secrets down pat.

Of course, if your going the spicy cajun route, maybe some New Orleans Braised Onions are your thing. I know their mine.

Deserts and other treats

Cookies, good enough to Melt In Your Mouth, it doesn't get better than that. Just keep 'em out of the sun.

I once had an apple tree growing right outside my bedroom window (when I was in Vermont) and my wife and I have been looking at purchasing a pecan farm in Georgia. Rocket Jones checks in with an all time favorite, Apple Pecan Cake, and the best of both worlds. Analog Mouse has a great Apple Pie at a blog all about pies. Of course, if your a diabetic, you might want some of Caltechmom's sugar free apple pie to enjoy with your sugar free orange julius instead.

Other Treats

Finally, in some parts of the country, its still a bit chilly. I used to live in Vermont, and this time of the year is known as mud season. I liked it, but you never knew if you would get 80 degree weather or 3 feet of snow. Therefore, hearty foods are still in order.

During the colder months, one of our favorite meals is Red Beans and Rice. Its also good in the summer and has all the right colors to set you at ease. David at Third World Country has what looks like a delicious take on this classic staple. Of course, Sneakeasy's Special Combo Meal looks pretty filling and tasty too. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmmm. I eat a ton of lamb - at both the Greek Taverna in McLean as well as Aranthi in Vienna. I might have to try cooking up Romeocat's spicy lamb stew.
Frazzledad is cooking up what looks like a delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup with Goat Cheese.

Meanderings has a great wild game recipe, especially if your fat and hungry or have a whole village to feed. Of course, if we are speaking about game, let me leave you with a great recipie that I found on the internet (but don't remember the source)
Brandied Venison Tenderloin Steaks

4 loin steaks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter over medium-high heat in large fry pan and quickly sear steaks.
Reduce heat and cook for an additional 2-6 minutes on each side.
Mix 2 tablespoons brandy and Worcestershire sauce and pour over steaks.
Simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy

Thanks, its been fun and its gonna take me a couple of weeks to cook all this food up, but someone's got to try. Feel free to look around here as long as you want, lots of hidden gems (its not just gun blogging 24/7 contrary to popular belief). As always, if you have a recipe to submit, send it to recipe DOT carnival AT gmail DOT com

Next weeks carnival is hosted by Bev at

See you then.

UPDATE! The broken links have been fixed. Sorry about that, it seems blogger often times has trouble accepting code that was typed in a word processor (in this case MS Word) and then transferred over. What is strange though is the random nature of the end result, some links work and some do not. Its just another mystery of blogger.

Welcome IMAO Readers. I've been Instalanched a bunch of times before, and was expecting it with this carnival, so didn't post a welcome for them. HOwever, I've never been the recipient of Frank J's graciousness, and while this time it seems instead to come from SarahK, who am little old me to be bothered by that. So, Welcome IMAO readers - both Frank J's and SarahK's. I hope you take a minute to look around, and while I am not nearly as witty as the IMAO universe, I do have some interesting gems hidden here. While at it, I guess I should also say hi to all the instapunidt readers too. Welcome, Enjoy, Eat Well.


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