Sunday, October 18, 2015

Conquer: Spiked Strawberry S'mores

Father Gabriel has not adapted well to the fall of civilization, nor to the arrival at Alexandria. He shreds a bible after being given a gift of fresh strawberries. And betrays Rick's entire Group when he tells Deanna Monroe that they cannot be trusted.

Maggie and Sasha intervene at last and the three hold hands and pray together. While it cannot be called a victory; it may be a turning point in the life of the troubled and fearful priest.

The gift of fresh strawberries would truly be a gift for people who had spent weeks on the road and dying a slow death from dehydration and starvation.

While fresh cream would be impossible to locate, a special dessert could still be created using the berries.

S'mores are a favorite summertime treat but with the addition of strawberries and white chocolate, the can be taken to a whole new level. Marshmallow vodka infused with marshmallow fluff will push it right over the top.

Make these decadent treats for your group and savor the sweetness of summer and survival.

And when the dead rise; never leave your sword above the fireplace where the town drunk can get it.

Spiked Strawberry S'mores

1/2 cup Marshmallow fluff
3 Tbsp. Marshmallow vodka
1 large bar of White Chocolate
4 whole sheets of Graham Crackers
Sliced Strawberries

In a small bowl, combine vodka and marshmallow fluff. Set aside.

On a small plate, set a chunk of white chocolate on top of a 1/2 sheet of graham cracker and microwave for 10 seconds or until chocolate is slightly softened.

Top with sliced strawberries, a generous dollop of the spiked marshmallow fluff and then top with the other half of the graham cracker sheet.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Try: Carol's Condolences Tuna Casserole

Deanna and Reg Monroe have been dealt a crushing blow. During a run to gather parts to repair the community solar grid, Aiden Monroe was killed. The loss of their son devastates the couple and they sit together by candlelight as they listen to one of Aiden's mix CDs.

Rick's Group is facing yet another loss as well. Noah was also killed during the run as Glenn looked on helplessly. Tara also sustained a serious head injury during an explosion and now remains in coma.

Carol takes on the task of preparing a tuna casserole for the Monroe family to send condolences from the Group. However, Deanna is not impressed and leaves the casserole on the front porch and burns the card attached to the dish.

Unlike Deanna, your group will definitely be impressed by this simple casserole. Rather than plain milk, this sauce make use of both milk and broth to intensify the flavor. Pantry cheeses combine with solid white tuna to make a rich sauce for the shell pasta.

Make this for your group today and don't worry; it's perfect for both condolences and celebrations.

And when the dead rise; wash Carol's dishes before you bring them back.

Carol's Condolences Tuna Casserole

1 lb. Pasta Shells, cooked according to package directions and drained

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Butter Flavored Shortening
1 onion, minced (or 1/4 cup dried minced onion)
3 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups canned dairy or almond milk
1 small jar Old English Cheddar Spread
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Kosher Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1-14 oz. can Peas, drained
2 small or 1 large can Chunk White Tuna in water, drained

1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large stockpot, combine oil or shortening and onions (or dried onions). Cook over medium heat until onions are transparent. Stir in flour and mix well, toasting lightly for 1 minute.

Stir in Cayenne pepper and broth and mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Cook and stir until mixture bubbles and comes to a simmer. Simmer lightly and then stir in milk. Return to a boil over medium heat and then stir in cheeses until melted and smooth. Season to taste with Kosher Sea Salt and Black Pepper.

Stir in cooked pasta shells, drained tuna and drained peas.

Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish or baking pan.

For crumb mixture combine panko bread crumbs, cheese and olive oil until blended. Sprinkle over casserole evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and crumb mixture is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Spend: Reg's Gourmet Oatmeal-In-A-Paper-Cup

Noah calls an early morning meeting with Reg, the husband of Congresswoman Deanna Monroe. Reg was an architect before civilization fell. He was responsible for the planning and execution of the walls that encircle the Alexandria community.

Noah wants to learn architecture and find ways to reinforce the walls as well as erect new buildings. He truly believes in Alexandria. Reg is impressed with the young man. He agrees to teach Noah and gives him a notebook to take notes during what will become a long tutelage.

Noah is pleased and the two finish their breakfast. Reg had brought his special steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oats make a nutritious and hearty breakfast. While bland on its own, with the right additions, it becomes a gourmet breakfast. Dried and fresh fruit, nuts and fruit juice elevate this humble grain into something truly unique.

And when the dead rise; stay away from revolving doors.

Reg's Gourmet Oatmeal-In-A-Paper-Cup

4 cups Orange Juice
1 cup Steel cut Oats

Toasted Coconut
Dried Mangos
Dried Pineapple

In a medium sized saucepan, heat orange juice over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Stir in oats and reduce heat to low.

Simmer (stirring often) for 30 minutes, or until oats are cooked to the desired texture.

Serve in a paper cup with Toppings. Eat while you take notes on the future.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Forget: Aaron and Eric's Pretty Serious Spaghetti and Meatballs

In an effort to introduce the residents of Alexandria to Rick's Group, Deanna Monroe throws a welcoming party at her home. Everyone attends with the exception of Daryl, who seems unwilling to even take a shower in order to acclimate into their new home.

He does make his best attempt but ends up accepting an invitation to eat dinner with Aaron and Eric instead; after being lured by the promise of "pretty serious spaghetti."

After they eat, Aaron presents Daryl with the parts to build his own bike. And asks that Daryl join him on scouting missions to recruit new people to live in Alexandria. Daryl's ability to judge character will be an asset, according to Aaron. Eager to escape the confines of the community, Daryl agrees. He's found a new respect for both men.

The lack of fresh meat could not affect Aaron's ability to make a delicious and hearty meatballs. Properly seasoned to accompany the spaghetti, TVP (texturized vegetable protein) makes and excellent substitute for ground beef and enriches the already rich tasting homemade spaghetti sauce. Even Daryl would approve.

And when the dead rise; don't tell Carol's secrets to anyone. Or you'll end up tied to a tree.

Marinara Sauce

1-28 oz. can Whole Tomatoes
1 small can Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Sugar
1/2 cup wine
Optional: 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

In a large stockpot, combine whole tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic powder, sugar and wine. Using a potato masher, gently mash the whole tomatoes until they are well crushed and combined into the liquid. Turn on medium-low heat and allow sauce to come to a boil. Turn down heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring several times.

TVP Meatballs

1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp. Applesauce
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Ketchup
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Beef granules
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onion
2 tsp. Dried Oregano
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Fennel
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

3/4 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein)

2 Tbsp. Cornmeal
1 cup Bread Crumbs
3 Tbsp. Oatmeal

In a large bowl, combine hot water, applesauce and cornstarch. Stir well until there are no lumps of cornstarch. Add the next ten ingredients (all seasonings and flavorings) and stir until blended. Then stir in TVP and mix well. Allow to sit for a 5-10 minutes so TVP can absorb liquid.

Next, stir in cornmeal, bread crumbs and oatmeal until well blended. Preheat oven to 375°F while the mixture rests for 15 minutes.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Shape TVP mixture into meatballs that are approximately the size of walnuts. Place on baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Brush very gently with olive oil or spray with more non-stick cooking spray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until meatballs are slightly firm when pressed and appear to be dried.

Remove from oven and gently stir into hot marinara sauce, just to coat them. Do not allow meatballs to simmer in sauce. TVP is not as tough as ground beef and the meatballs can crumble apart if allowed to simmer in liquids.

Serve with the size spaghetti that your Group prefers (cooked in salted water, according to package directions) and be sure to pass the Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling. Open a bottle of wine and enjoy. Oh, and use your napkin…not your sleeve.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Remember: Wrong-But-Still-Right Bars

True to his word, Aaaron and his partner Eric, lead the entire Group to Alexandria. As they approach the gates, Carol tells Rick that although he was wrong, he was "still right" to keep up his guard. Upon entering they initially balk at handing over their weapons but they finally relent.

Each of them is carefully interviewed by Deanna Monroe, a former congresswoman from Ohio. Upon passing the interview portion, the Group is assigned two houses in which to live. The Group is given new clothes, and the hospitable people of Alexandria would have also sent them a housewarming gift of a homemade dessert.

After living on starvation rations for weeks, the homemade dessert would thrill the Group. It would be an evening long remembered. For their safety. For the abundance presented to them. And for the gratitude in their hearts.

Make these Wrong-But-Still-Right Bars for your group and take a moment to be grateful for what you have and for those you love.

And when the dead rise; keep up appearances and take a shower!

Wrong-But-Still-Right Bars

1/2 cup Butter Flavored Shortening
1 1/2 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. Orange juice

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine shortening, orange juice and crumbs. Mix well and press into 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts and cranberries over crumb mixture in baking pan.

In a small saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk and orange juice. Stir over medium heat until blended. Then pour very slowly over ingredients in baking ban.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Distance: Alexandria Applesauce Pancakes

The arrival of Aaron and the discovery of his surveillance mission has rattled the Group. They learn he is a scout and he reveals the existence of a nearby Safe Zone complete with giant steel walls.

Aaron also discloses the location of his RV; and the Group is able to bring back a generous stash of canned goods. In a further effort to prove the existence of the Safe Zone, Aaron produces a jar or fresh, homemade applesauce. Rick is unconvinced so he forces Aaron to eat a spoonful before allowing Judith to partake.

While the Group seems eager to find the Safe Zone, Rick is immediately suspicious. Michonne finally talks Rick into seeking out the shelter for Judith and Carl's sake. Rick relents at last, and the relief of the Group is evident. Using the newly acquired pantry staples, the Group could finally have a feast for breakfast.

Applesauce Pancakes would make good use of Aaron's treasure and provide a real treat for Judith. Although Rick critiqued Lori's disastrous, homemade pancakes, any baking mix would work beautifully with the applesauce.

Make these hearty pancakes for your Group and revel in the knowledge that you make better pancakes than Lori Grimes.

And when the dead rise; take applesauce from strangers.

Applesauce Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick or other brand baking mix
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 cup applesauce (applesauce will replace eggs)

Optional: 1 Tbsp. Butter Buds and 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Maple Syrup or extra applesauce for serving

In a medium bowl, combine baking mix, water, applesauce and optional ingredients just until blended. Heat skillet (nonstick is best but cast iron will work) over medium-high heat or medium-hot campfire coals until hot. Pour batter (with a 1/4 cup measure) into skillet and cook until bubbles form on surface.

Using a spatula, flip pancakes over and cook until underside is golden. Serve with extra applesauce and maple syrup.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Update from the Field: Szechwan Zucchini

Several independent reports have surfaced about an upscale and self-sufficient community in Alexandria, Virginia. Survivors, claiming to be ex-residents, insist that the community has solar grids,  cisterns, orchards and a steel wall surrounding the entire area.

After careful interviews of all survivors' statements, investigators determined that all were exiled or banished from the community. Although all the survivors strongly denied the investigator's assertions, none could provide a plausible explanation as to why they left a safe, and well-managed town.

According to reliable sources, no Federal refugee camps exist in Virginia, but all the evidence supports the existence of the community in Alexandria. Caution should be exercised when attempting to contact refugee camps not officially sanctioned by the United States Government.

This week we present Szechwan Zucchini. Your Survivor Gardens are likely bursting with Zucchini. You'll swoon over the spicy sweet sauce. Serve this for your group and look to the future.

Szechwan Zucchini

2 medium Zucchini, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp. Peanut Oil

2 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Sambal Oelek
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Honey
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
Optional: 1 tsp. Corn Starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. Water

Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Zucchini and stir fry for 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over zucchini and serve immediately.

For optional thick sauce, add the cornstarch and water to sauce mixture and heat gently in a small saucepan until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Stir and drizzle over Zucchini.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What Happened and What's Going On: Tortellini Salad

In a final effort to honor the fallen Beth Greene, Rick has led the Group on a death march in order to return Noah to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The community was walled and safe according to Noah. After a grueling journey, they arrive only to find it has been overrun and no survivors are found.

Noah is understandably devastated when he enters his family home. His mother and brother are found dead. While investigating the abandoned home, Tyreese is bitten by Noah's younger brother. Noah puts his brother down and races to find Rick and Michonne.

Despite their best efforts, Tyreese does not survive. They hold yet another funeral service for their lost friend. But the plan to continue to DC gets set in motion and the Group has an attainable goal at last. That night with Noah to guide them, the Group would raid all the pantries of the overrun homes.

For the time being, food would be plentiful. Tortellini Salad tastes fresh, despite only containing pantry ingredients. Quick to prepare and with only a few ingredients, Tortellini Salad also travels well.

And when the dead rise; don't wander into rooms and stand staring blankly at old photos.

Tortellini Salad

1 bag Dried Tortellini

1 cup chopped Pepperoncinis
1 cup sliced Black Olives
1 small jar roasted Red Peppers, drained and sliced
1 small jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained and sliced
1/2 cup Sweet Salad Peppers, drained and sliced

3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Dijon or English Mustard
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder (not Garlic Salt)
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare tortellini according to package directions. In a large bowl, combine the next five ingredients and set aside.

In a smaller bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork or whisk until blended well.

Pour over salad mixture. Toss gently again to combine and then stir in Parmesan Cheese. Stir just until blended and serve immediately.