Television for the tastebuds

Lovin’ From the oven

Lovin’ From the oven

Now that fall has finally arrived, so returns the changing color of leaves, football fanatics, chilly evenings and early sunsets.

But most importantly, it means the long-awaited return of some of television’s best shows ever. Of course I’m talking about the greats (or at least some of my faves): The Office,” “30 Rock” and “My Name is Earl.”

So as your favorite shows return to the tube, here’s some grub options that go way beyond a bowl of popcorn.

Check your listings and have one of these tasty TV-themed appetizers. Just try not to spew crumbs everywhere during outbursts of boisterous laughter.

“My Name

is Earl:”

Texas caviar

So if you’ve never seen “My Name is Earl,” then karma might come find you and make you watch it. With Jason Lee in the title role, Earl is a man trying to right his past wrongs, seeking to build a better life in an overly comedic white-trash setting.

So what better way to enjoy a thinking-man’s comedy in dumbed-down (hilarious) settings than with a southern spin-off of what’s considered a high-class food?

Texas caviar makes for a great party dip without the pretentiousness of the real thing.

In a large bowl, mix two cans (or the prepared equivalent) of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed, with two chopped tomatoes, a chopped sweet onion, a half-cup of chopped jalapenos, about eight ounces of Italian dressing and cayenne pepper to taste (for me that means a lot!). Next, mix in some chopped avocados and grab a bag of tortilla chips; it’s time to kick your feet up on the coffee table and enjoy the karmatic adventures of Earl and Co.

“30 Rock:”

curry chicken tea sandwiches

A hilarious faux behind-the-scenes look at a “Saturday Night Live”-type skit comedy, “30 Rock” delivers witty punchline after witty punchline, poking fun at the industry that allowed stars like Tina Fey and Tracey Morgan to get their starts. Throw in the shear comedic genius of Alec Baldwin’s calculated blow-hardedness, and you’ve got a comedy recipe for success. While the show is smart, it too doesn’t come off as being too cool for school.

So as you get ready to host for the fun, try this sandwich recipe that will leave friends fulfilled without looking like you’re trying too hard.

First, cook enough chicken to cube up about two cups. Chop and peel a medium apple and combine it with the chicken in a bowl. Next, add 3/4-cup dried cranberries, about a 1/2 cup of thinly sliced celery, a quarter-cup of chopped pecans and some sliced green onions. On the side, mix together 3.4-cup mayo, two teaspoons of lime juice and a teaspoon of curry powder (or more for your tastes). Once this mixture is complete, stir it into the chicken mixture until everything is coated. You’ll need about a dozen slices of your favorite bread for this tea sandwiches, which you can cut into triangles and served open-faced on a picturesque leaf of lettuce. This recipe should make about six servings.

“The Office:” sweet fruit bruschetta

If you haven’t seen “The Office,” then you truly are missing out. I’m not one of those people that will tell you, “The British version is so much better,” in an effort to sound smart and cultured. Now don’t get me wrong, the British version is great. But it’s no Steve Carell.

In a nutshell, “The Office” in many ways is every office. In many ways, it’s no one’s office. And it’s probably just about everything in between. So for this amazingly fresh, refreshing comedy that seems to layer its characters more with each passing episode, try this sweet fruit bruschetta for an equally eclectic snack.

First, cut a baguette into 24 quarter-inch slices, layering them on a baking sheet. Next, stir together a quarter-cup of softened butter, four tablespoons brown sugar and half a teaspoon of cinnamon (I like cinnamon, so scale accordingly from here). Spread this on one side of each slice of baguette. Broil these for just a minute or two until it’s bubbly and the bread browns. Stir together two more tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of fresh lime juice, a half-cup of chopped peaches and another half cup of chopped plums in a small bowl. Spoon this mixture evenly over the bread and sprinkle with walnuts.

From here, you can either saddle up for another off-the-wall “The Office” or you can heat it up on warm in the oven for a twist on this twisted recipe.

Note from the Oven: This is the final edition of Lovin’ From the Oven, as I’m embarking on a new journey. So thanks for the feedback over the years and accompanying me on this culinary journey. Hopefully the recipes were as good to you as they have been to me. I’m sure there were a few misses in there with the hits, but hopefully they were few and far between. Thanks again, and enjoy!

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