www.whyville.net Jul 13, 2007 Weekly Issue

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I have learned one thing for sure in my 16 years of existence: I will never be a chef. For starters, I am kind of a walking disaster, and I can't handle any kind of meat or seafood without gagging. I can't even touch it. I always mess things up in the kitchen, which shows that the "Big Man" up there has a sense of humor, because, somehow, I get assigned to cook all the time.

The strange part of it is that I love to work in the kitchen with food. Maybe not the whole "dig-my-fingers-into-the-thick-raw-chicken" part, but using my mind and creating new dishes, that excites me.

In fact, I made dinner for my freakishly huge family last night. The relatives were over; oh the joy. That's another rule broken: if you know for a fact that you have no cooking talent whatsoever, don't cook when bunches of little cousins are over. By the end of the meal, you will be told 15 times exactly how bad it was.

I was doing fine until the cooking part of the "cooking dinner" task. I had all my cute little utensils and dishes set up on the counter, and some snazzy music playing in the background. Heck, I even put on my mother's old apron. When it was time to actually do something, it started to fall apart.

I won't bless you with my wonderful tale any longer, however. The things I try to make are actually quite good when I don't make them. So I thought, "Why not share a few of my favorite recipes with Whyville?" Now, guess what I'm going to do? Share a few of my favorite recipes with Whyville.

Portabella and Shitake Pasta

Mhmmm. I really love this dish. It's pretty simple to make. Here are the ingredients:

2-4 Portabella mushroom heads
6-10 Shitake mushroom heads
1 box of penne
White cooking wine
Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
1 tomato
Olive oil

Instructions: Bring 4 cups of water to boil for the pasta on medium. When the water has boiled put in 1 box of penne, along with a dash of olive oil. Look on the back of the box for how long to cook the pasta, because it varies on the amount and the brand. Usually it's between 11-19 minutes.

After the pasta is fully cooked, drain it, and put it in a large bowl. Now it's time for the mushrooms.

Thinly slice the shitake and portabella mushroom heads and leave to soak the shitake only in chicken stock for about 15-30 minutes. You can do this in vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish. I recommend it, it taste better to me. You can also start soaking your shitake mushrooms before you cook the pasta, if you wish to save time.

After this, turn a saucepan on medium-low, and drizzle some olive oil on it. After a few minutes, add all the mushrooms into the pan, but leave the stock in the bowl. Keep the mushrooms moving around the pan. Next, add a capful or more of balsamic vinegar, and then the same with some white cooking wine for flavor. Also optional: You can grate some garlic over the mushrooms while they are in the pan. After all your flavorings are added, pour the stock into the pan with the mushrooms, and stir every once in awhile. You know the mushrooms are done when all or most of the stock has evaporated. Don't worry if it looks like your mushrooms are getting really dark, that's the way mushrooms cook.

Now, it's time for presentation. Pour the mushrooms and whatever is left of the stock from the pan into the bowl with the pasta. Mix it around. Then add some chopped up parsley and tomato over the top for color. I usually grate some Parmesan cheese over it, but again, that's optional.

Once you get into it, the dish is fairly easy, and very delicious. Unless, you are, of course, someone like me who manages to make even the most delightful tasting recipes, well, bad.

Summer Fruit Salad

Now, we all know anyone can make a salad, even the limited talents of ourselves, but I thought I'd add a sweet little dressing to this one.


Fruits: mandarin oranges, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blue berries, any that you pick
Salt and Pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of olive oil (or more, it should balance out how thick your honey is)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Directions: Put the torn lettuce in a big bowl, and then get another slightly smaller bowl to mix your dressing. Put the instructed amounts of honey, olive oil, cinnamon in and mix till smooth. Then dice whatever fresh fruits you've picked and put them in with the lettuce. After, put a small amount of the dressing in the salad, and then toss. Do this repeatedly so the dressing is spread around. Then, just sprinkle some salt and pepper on top, and you'???re done! It's a very sweet salad, more like candy then actual salad. Enjoy.


I'm sure this dish probably has a name, but since I have no idea what it is, and my family has been making it for years, the name has faded away. You can rename it something fabulous if you wish, or just call it "dessert." I say that's the easiest bet.


Brownie mix
1 bag of heath toffee chunks
Whipped cream
Chocolate pudding

Directions: Set up all your ingredients on the counter, and get out a very large bowl. Next, bake your brownies in the oven until crisp on the outside, and moist inside. I can't tell you exactly hot to bake them, because every recipe is different. You can also, instead of brownies, make a chocolate cake in a square pan as a substitute for different texture. Then cut your brownies in chunks, and leave to cool.

Next, mix your pudding in a small bowl. You are now almost done, (amazing, huh?) all you have to do is put it together, which can be the tricky part. This dessert is a layered dessert. To layer, first put a few chunks of brownie or chocolate cake in the bottom of the bowl. After that, pour a little of the chocolate pudding on top, and smooth out. Then put some whip cream on top of the pudding, and smooth that out. Then sprinkle heath over the whipped creamer. Repeat this pattern over and over until your bowl is full or you run out of a certain ingredient. When ready to eat, there is no proper way to cut it. Just dive in!

So, there are a few recipes for you to try. When you are cooking, always remember to watch out for things you are allergic to. I hope you enjoy these dishes. If you have any further questions on them or something didn't turn out right, y-mail me. Remember: Some of the ingredients can be substituted if you don't have them. Try to stick to the original recipe, but if you want to experiment, go ahead.

So, there was a bit of my cooking knowledge for you, though it wasn't much. Like I said, cooking is one of the lost arts in my body.

Until the next article,


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