Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vichyssoise & Egg Rolls

It seems that my belief that I struck the fridge a mortal blow the last time we met in battle was presumptuous.  It has retaliated by actively breeding its contents in the dark of night and doubling its number of suicide troops. (you know those items that are stacked on top of other items and leap at you when you open the door!) It is hoarding its leftovers in order to keep the temperature cooler in there and there just so it can start freezing items and ruining them just for spite.  I am tempted, with the same spite, to just blitzkrieg its a$$ by throwing out all the contents and starting over. But I can't, there are too many pricey condiments in there to justify such a drastic action.  The only way I am going to beat this monster is to make a meal that resembles heavily patched jeans. (IE 1 leftover pizza slice, 1 burger, some random 1/2 portions of sides and some odds and ends of cheese blocks.  yummy, NOT!) I don't know if I can do that.  Everyone else in the family would be OK with that, but not I.  Maybe that is the solution! My plan was to make a soup and salad and I would eat that and the boys could have leftovers and the soup and salad if they wanted. Well that's not exactly what happened.
I started the process with a  potato.  I had one left over from something and while it was a large potato, not really the stuff of a meal.  (yes I know it would keep longer) So reflecting on my discomfort eating last night out side with the heat of the grill near by, I thought, cold and then, VICHYSSOISE!  I love vichyssoise, but have never made it.  I make a quick perusal of the recipes on the Internet and believe I got the gist.  Now to apply that to the ingredients I have on hand.  OK the things I am getting out of the fridge for the soup,  3 (plus that potato is 4!), sensing the fridge's fear, priceless!  OK now I feel that the day will be mine, I dive in again to make another dish.  I planned on a salad because I have arugula I bought for last night's burger, however the fridge still smarting from my last blow says but the shredded cabbage is older.  Well poop!  What should I do with that?  Then I spy the left over egg roll wrappers, half a red onion and some diced red pepper. I will make egg rolls sucker.  You think cabbage is going to throw me?  Now I am getting rid 4 more items and using up some of those pricey condiments that are the only thing keeping you in this battle my dear opponent:). Oh that brings the total to a glorious 8 things I am getting rid of. Smugly I think that the fridge is out of it's league. I then start thinking of the blog and making sure to note the ingredients and method of my improve refrigerator butt whipping and I feel a little silly.  French soup and Chinese appetizer. (Don't you judge me;) That is a bizarre combo but we ate them in courses and it all worked out.  While the soup chilled we fried and ate the egg rolls.  Then we had the soup. I loved the soup and the boy asked me to put it in his favorites file!


1/2 Onion, diced
2 Scallions sliced
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Potato peeled and cut into large cubes (20 was my count)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream

Melt the butter over medium heat in a pot. Add the onion and scallion and some salt and saute until they are soft.  Add the broth and the potato and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover and simmer about 25 minute. (until the potatoes are very tender.  Remove cover and take it off the heat.  Pour contents in to a blender.  Use a dish towel over the top of the blender as hot liquid will lift the lid off the blender.  Puree (careful not to burn you self;) Add the cream and put in a container to chill.  Let it become completely cold.  Serve in a bowl (set in a bowl of ice if you want to be restaurant fancy:) with the chive on top.

Egg Rolls

1 Bag of Cole Slaw (no dressing)
1/2 Red Onion diced
1/2 Red Pepper, diced
Egg roll wrappers
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

Heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and pepper and saute until soft.  Add the cabbage and cool until just barely soft. Add the two sauces and stir and let cool.  Wrap the filling in the wrappers and leave them under a damp tea towel until time to cook.  Fry at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Now turn to your refrigerator and give it a smug look (optional:)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Double-Pork, Double-Cheese Burgers

With a moniker with all the doubles, this burger was not as amazing as one would think.  Not bad mind you, but it didn't make want to, as they say in the colorful vernacular of the south, "slap your mama!"  I have to say, while I am trying to make every recipe exactly following instructions, (for learning the process and giving me a starting place to work on the recipe for my family's tastes) I am really getting tired of a recipe for four burgers calling for a pound and a half of meat!  These burgers were monsters! I would never make larger than 1/4 pound burger for myself.  Often when I make burgers of my own creation, I make the pound in to different size burgers based on the person. (think like papa bear, mama bear and baby bear) The absolute best thing about these burgers was the Camembert!  I love Camembert, but it is just amazing on a burger.  It melts in to almost a sauce.  It was also perfect in that it mellowed the Gorgonzola. 

Double-Pork, Double-Cheese Burgers

1/2 c  finely chopped bacon
1 1/2 lb ground pork
1    large garlic clove,minced
2 t  finely chopped thyme
1 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  freshly ground pepper
4  1/2-inch-thick red onion slices
Olive oil,for drizzling
4    hamburger buns or ciabatta rolls
2 T  unsalted butter,melted
6    ounces Camembert,cut into eight 1/3-inch-thick slices
2    ounces Gorgonzola cheese cut into four 1/3-inch-thick slices
 Arugula and 4 tomato slices
1. In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring until
cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to
drain and let cool. In a large bowl, mix the bacon with the ground pork,
garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Shape into four 1-inch-thick patties.
2. Light a grill. Drizzle the onion slices with olive oil and grill
over moderately high heat until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per
side. Transfer to a platter. Brush the cut sides of the buns with the
melted butter and grill, cut sides down, until toasted, about 1 minute.
Turn and grill for 30 seconds longer. Transfer the buns to the platter.
3. Grill the burgers until charred outside and cooked through, about 5
minutes per side. Arrange 2 Camembert slices and a Gorgonzola slice on
each burger and cook until the cheese is melted, 1 minute.
4. On the bottom halves of the buns, layer the arugula, tomato,
burgers and grilled onion. Close the burgers and serve.
Make Ahead The burgers can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room
temperature before grilling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spaghetti Squash, Onion, and Potato Frittata

I love having breakfast for dinner because eggs are such a quick and easy dinner fix.  Not only are frittatas fast, but they are adaptable to so many ingredients.  I particularly like this one with the spaghetti squash.  I love the earthy sweet flavor.  A frittata is also an easy way to get some veggies in kids that they may otherwise turn their nose up at.  I know a big bowl of the squash with some seasoned butter would make my day, the boy not so much, but this dish he doesn't complain at all. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light.  Of course in the adaptation I made it a little less light, but not horribly so.  and because I hate waste (and only for that reason lol) I am going to make a coconut cream pie with the 4 egg yolks I had left over after I made the frittata;).

Spaghetti Squash, Onion, and Potato Frittata

1/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (2 tsps dried )*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg whites
3 large eggs
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Cooking spray
2 cups of Potato, shredded
1 cup onion diced
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl then stir in the squash. Put the shredded potato in a paper towel or clean dish towel and squeeze until almost all the liquid is gone. Heat an 11" nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray and add butter. When the butter is melted, spread the potatoes over the bottom of the skillet and let cook 2 minutes. Add the onion and stir and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are soft. (about 4 minutes) Add the egg mixture to skillet and give it a quick stir. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes or until the center is almost set. Uncover, and sprinkle with cheese. Preheat broiler. Wrap handle of skillet with foil, and broil frittata for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts . I then I
I like to sprinkle a little paprika on top just for visual appeal
*I used mostly chive and a little basil

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spicy Lamb Burger & Grilled Corn On The Cob With Garlic Butter, FreshLime And Cotija Cheese

In anticipation of our next neighborhood progressive dinner, in which the theme with be burgers, I decided to try another burger recipe.  It was really good.  It wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be considering how many peppers are in it, but I did make sure to remove all seeds and ribs which contain most of the capsaicin. I didn't make 6, I made 4 burgers.  I have a recipe program called accuchef that I really like that will recaculate the recipe for you, but I wanted to share it in it's original form.  (I like my accuchef but it costs, pepperplate is a free on line recipe management program that I have but I use accuchef the most) I also had some corn that I needed to use. (yes the epic struggle between a cook and her fridge is still in full swing.  I needed to use up some yogurt, hence the burger I chose to try)  I remember seeing Aaron Sanchez on The Best I Ever Ate talking about a grilled corn with cheese and lime.  I found this recipe from Bobby Flay and I think it stole the show.  It wasn't that the burger was anything less than delicious,but the corn was an unexpected combination and just awesome.  The garlic butter was a tad spicy but in a good way.  I halved the corn and garlic butter recipe, and I have a lot of butter left in my freezer just waiting for it's next application. (see section 5 of my tips post for how to make your own compound butter "stick" for  freezing.
Spicy Lamb Burgers

1/4 c  plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4    jalapeños,seeded and minced
2 c  cilantro leaves
2 T  minced peeled fresh ginger
1 T  sugar
1    small red onion,1/2 minced and 1/2 thinly sliced
Kosher salt
 2 1/2 lb ground lamb
 6    medium scallions,minced
1/2 c  minced mint leaves
1/2 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 t  finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 t  cayenne pepper
1    medium tomato,thinly sliced
1    small cucumber—peeled halved, seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 c  plain yogurt
6    hard rolls,split and lightly toasted
1. In a food processor, combine 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice
with half of the minced jalapeos, the cilantro leaves, ginger, sugar,
minced onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Process until pureed. Transfer
to a bowl and refrigerate.
2. Light a grill. In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb with the
remaining minced jalapeos, the scallions, mint, cheese, lemon zest and
2 teaspoons of the lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of
pepper and the cayenne and mix gently with your hands. Pat the meat
into 6 burgers.
3. In a medium bowl, toss the tomato, cucumber and sliced onion with
the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Season with
salt and pepper.
4. Grill the burgers over a hot fire until nicely charred on the
outside and pink within, about 4 minutes per side. Fold the yogurt into
the cilantro puree. Spread some of the yogurt sauce on the bottom half
of each roll; top each with a burger, another dollop of yogurt sauce
and some of the tomato-cucumber salad. Close the sandwiches and serve.

Grilled Corn On The Cob With Garlic Butter, Fresh Lime And Cotija Cheese
8    ears corn
4    fresh limes,quartered
Garlic butter,recipe follows
1/2 c  grated cotija cheese (I substituted Parm)
 2 T  chopped chives,for garnish
Preheat grill to medium. Peel back the husks of the corn without
removing them. Remove the silks and recover the corn with the husk.
Soak in large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Remove corn from water
and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and
grill for 15 to 20 minutes.
Unwrap corn and brush with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with the cotija
cheese and squeeze with lime. Sprinkle with chopped chives, to garnish.

Garlic Butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
8 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 habanero pepper, seeded
1/4 bunch fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine butter, garlic, habanero, and chives in a food processor and
process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until
ready to use.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fresh Corn Casserole With Red Bell Peppers And Jalapenos

Well I am going to keep this short.  We went and had a wonderful evening with dear friends and made some new ones.  They cooked some hamburgers, hot dogs, wings and kielbasa and I brought some sides.  I made a coleslaw that I just kind of threw together,  my Loaded Potato Salad, and this Fresh Corn Casserole that I had never made before.  I liked it a lot and so did quite a few others. (lots of people asked for the recipe)  We were having too much fun for me to remember to take a picture but imagine corn flecked with red and green. I got this recipe from the Food Network.  If you would like to see the original you can click here.  I did make two changes.  I used unsalted butter and I diced the jalapenos smaller than the red pepper.

Casserole With Red Bell Peppers And Jalapenos

8    ears corn (still in the husk)
2    red bell peppers,diced
2    fresh jalapenos,diced small
1 c  heavy cream
1/2 c  milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter,cut into pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the corn from the husks. In a large, deep bowl, slice off the
kernels of corn with a sharp knife. Turn the knife to the dull side and
scrape the cob all the way down to remove all the bits of kernel and
creamy milk inside. (I do this inside the bowl because it goes
everywhere if you cut it on a board.)
Add the red bell peppers, jalapenos, heavy cream, milk, salt to taste,
a generous amount of pepper and butter and mix it well. Pour into a 9
by 13-inch baking dish. Bake until thoroughly warmed through, 30 to 45

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Egg Rolls

After winning, what I would call, a key battle with my kitchen food storage devices, I decide to push while I had the advantage.  I had bought way too many salad greens, so I knew I wanted salad to be the main part of our meal, but that wouldn't satisfy the boys.  I had some carrots, scallions and egg roll wrappers to use, so I bought some napa and mushrooms to finish out the filling.  I don't recall ever making egg rolls myself; I have eaten plenty however.  I have made plenty of dumplings and crab Rangoon so I figured these would be something I could figure out.   I was more critical than my husband. (but aren't we all of our own work?)  For sure, I didn't drain the filling enough.  The inside was a bit wet and one half of the roll was not as crisp despite the busting out of the deep fryer. I thought I didn't put enough filling in each roll too.  At the end of the meal, my darling husband ate 5 1/2 so I guess his pronouncement of outstanding wasn't totally unwarranted;).  My poor boy, who loathes mushrooms, spotted a mushroom in the plastic container they were in when taking them to the recycle bin.  He suspected mushrooms were in the dinner, I managed to lie with a straight face.  Now he suspected trickery!  I wanted him to give the egg rolls  a fair chance and because I wasn't putting any meat in the rolls, I though they needed something like mushroom for that meaty flavor. He declared that he loved the egg rolls (his father told him that the brown spots were lentils).  But, while we were playing the ingredient guessing game, my husband guesses lentils.  Arrgh!  Guess that after he has eaten more!  When I said no, the boy looks at me and with accusatory horror and a wee bit of ha I figured it out and you LIED, says mushrooms!  When I say yes, the delicious egg rolls were now choked down fighting gags.  Go figure.

Egg Rolls

1 Head Nappa Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large scallion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, grated
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (I minced them to hide them from the boy)
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 package of egg roll wrappers
Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium high in a large skillet.  Add the mushrooms and a bit of salt and cook until the mushrooms have released their water and most of it has evaporated.  Add the carrots and scallions and cook until soft.  Add the garlic and the ginger and saute until fragrant.  Add the cabbage and cook until the leaves of the napa are wilting.  Add the soy and mirin and cover and steam until the ribs of the napa are soft. (2-3 minutes) Remove lid and add chili sauce and stir. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the veggies and stir and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
DRAIN THOROUGHLY  (I forgot this;)
Let the mixture cool.  Put the wrapper on a plate in front of you as a diamond.  Place several heaping spoonfuls across the wrapper in the center from the left point of the diamond to the right.  Dip your fingers in to some water and wet the edges of the wrapper.  Fold over the bottom point over the filling and tuck the point.  Fold in the right and left points.  Roll up from the bottom fairly tightly.  Place under a damp kitchen towel until time to fry.
Fry at 350 until golden

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Combination To Work With

The sun was not shining, it was too wet to play, my husband wouldn't be home for dinner that day.  So I sat there staring, not knowing what to do, and I thought how I wish I had some other food*!

*to work with in my fridge;)

Whenever my brain is too tired, taxed or just plain wants a vacation, I seem to regress to silliest moments of childhood.  I have a refrigerator full to bursting and a pantry that is rebelling against its lack of room by periodically tossing food at me when I open the door, so I still my urge to shop for what I want to eat tonight and say I will just make sustenance and forget how tasty it is.  I'm not even that hungry, but the kids need to eat.  What is the number one thing that I need to use and I will build a dish around it.  The refrigerator, (who I think is planning it's attacks with the pantry) says well the thing that needs to be used is the 'krab'.  OK I have to confess, I have a weakness for the fake crab.  I like making it in to salad for lunch, but as for cooking with it...  What does one do?  I decide not to let the fridge win this battle and head to the computer for ideas.  Of all the recipes that came up, the crab Alfredo looked promising.  I have never made it because when you have good crab, why cover it up with a heavy sauce but with krab...  I glance a the fridge and think, I am definitely going to win this round.  OK I open the doors again.  I say not only am I going to use that krab, I will raise you... I spy broccoli.  Broccoli is often in Alfredo. Yes I will use it too.  I also see some corn my daughter didn't finish.  Corn and crab are delicious together.  I grab it.  I see some sour cream in a piping bag that I had for the chilequiles.  Ha, I'm taking that too.  I give the fridge a smirk.  You think you can beat me with krab.  I will show you by using remnants of 4 meals past!  Of course once my back is turned I look at my assembled ingredients and have a moment of doubt.  (thankfully the fridge and pantry can't see me;)
Well to keep this long rant of a madwoman short, I don't really have a recipe as I was in full silly child mode, but the end result was tasty enough for me to want to try it again in a more serious frame of mind.  Basically I just sauteed the krab in some butter then sprinkled it with some flour to make a roux.  Cooked it a bit and added some half and half.  Tossed in the corn, broccoli that I had blanched in the pasta water, almost cooked pasta, sour cream and a good amount of the pasta water.  It wasn't bad, in fact I quite enjoyed it.  Next time if I plan on a proper sauce, I think it just might be really great.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vegetable Pakoras

I first tried this recipe when a friend brought them over to my house for a party.  I loved them.  She said she got them out of a book of Tibetan recipes.  They are not the most photogenic of foods but they are delicious.  My thoughtful friend gave me some of the Kopan Masala, but I did find the recipe online.  In a pinch I think you could use Garam Masala which is available at the supermarket. I didn't have the  Indian Tomato Red Powder and I didn't go looking for it since it said optional.  I am giving the recipe as she gave it to me, but I changed it a bit.  I didn't have red onion on hand so I used the yellow ones I did.  I also cut the semicircles in half.  In fact I believe I cut all the veggies I used in to smaller pieces than the recipe seemed to call for.  Nothing was larger than a quarter. Love that this recipe can use any and all veggies that are on hand.  I used broccoli (this made up about half of the veggies I used), red pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash.  Everything but the squashes were from my Front Porch Pickings basket. Now I know that deep frying veggies is not the most healthy way to prepare them, but I believe that getting the veggies in to the kids (and husband;) is more important than the frying is bad.  I wouldn't use any veggies in this that are really wet.  I thinking like tomatoes, but other than that, you can use all those vegges in your fridge.

Tips: Ginger often goes bad before we use it all.  I peel and freeze ginger. It will keep longer and it makes it a snap to grate.  Broccoli stems are not the horrible thing they usually are.  Just peel the outer fibrous layer and cut into coins.
Vegetable Pakoras

1 c  Flour
1/4 t  Baking Powder
2    Eggs
1/2 c  Water
1 T  Fresh Ginger,Grated
1 T  Garlic,Minced
1/4 c  Red Onion,Sliced Thin In Semi Circles
1/4 c  Cilantro,Finely  Chopped
1 t  Kopan Masala
1/4 t  Chili Powder
1/2 t  Salt
1/4 t  Black Pepper
2 t  Soy Sauce
pn Indian Tomato Red Powder Optional
2 c  Broccoli And Cauliflower Floweretts Only Sliced Thin (can Use Any Combination Of  Veggies),Shredded Or Chopped
Oil,For Frying

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, egg and water unitl smooth with
a whisk.  Add spices, seasoning, red powder and red onion. Mix well.
Add the veggies to the batter and coat well. Add heaping tablespoons of
the coated veggies one by one to the fryer.  Deep fry on medium to
medium high until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beer Can Chicken & Roasted Baby Carrots With Herbed Mustard Butter

My husband got a new grill for this 40th birthday and we have been enjoying it.  As almost a joke I got my husband one of those stands for beer can chicken.  I have never enjoyed the taste of beer and the whole idea of cooking chicken this way makes me think of it as the culinary equivalent of the mullet hair haircut.  However, I believe in trying everything so we gave it a go. He rubbed the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder.  We stuck a can of Yuengling in it and put it over the indirect heat for a long time.  (I think it was close to 45 minutes)  I have to admit it was some of the moistest chicken I have ever had.  I did get a hint of beer but not enough to make me dislike it.  With it we had a salad and Roasted Baby Carrots with Herbed Mustard Butter.  I have to say that the carrots were my favorite.  We had a lovely bunch from my Front Porch Pickings basket.  They were a tad large for "baby" but I just cooked them a bit longer.  I also used Dijon rather than brown mustard, and I used chives as the herb.
I loved it. 
Roasted Baby Carrots With Herbed Mustard Butter
1 lb baby carrots (about 2 bunches),peeled (optional), green stems removed
2 t  olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T  unsalted butter
2 t  coarse-grained mustard
1 T  coarsely chopped fresh herbs,such as dill, Italian parsley, chives
If the baby carrots are small enough in diameter,
you can leave them whole
Heat the oven to 450F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Place the carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until a knife easily pierces the carrots, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Smaller carrots will cook in less time.) Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the herbed mustard-butter.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Add the roasted carrots and herbs and toss to coat the carrots in the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chilaquiles With Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I got a "green basket" from Front Porch Pickings.  They deliver produce to my area and the Tampa area,  and they specialize in local and organic produce.  I got many beautiful things in this basket and I wanted to use as much as possible in my first dish.  I decided to adapt the recipe for chilaquiles with roasted tomatillo salsa from Marcela Valladolid to the ingredients I got in my basket.  (Mainly because I got some lovely tomatillos and I love chilaquiles)  So while it is similar, I did make some substitutions to fit my ingredients, as you will see if you compare the two recipes.  It was an amazing dish.  Everyone loved it and the boy was disappointed that there wasn't enough for seconds.  (I am trying to avoid leftovers as they plague me;)  It was perfect.  I have had them in restaurants and this is just as good.  I even got rid of some leftover chicken.  I sliced it up and warmed it in a bit of the salsa and broth (separately because I didn't want meat) and threw it on top of everyone else's dish.  It is easily adaptable to tomatoes instead of tomatillos and any chile would work as long as you are aware of how much heat you are adding to your dish. You could also use any protein or none in the dish. (beans included)  We had it with a salad and I included in with the greens some of the miniature cucumbers I got in my basket.  They were the best cukes I have ever had!  I am so looking forward to using the rest my fresh local produce!

Chilaquiles With Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
1 lb fresh tomatillos
2 Large  fresh Anaheim chiles
3  garlic cloves,unpeeled
1  large onion,coarsely chopped
Olive oil,as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c  fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c  chicken broth or more as needed
1/3 c  vegetable oil
10    corn tortillas,"(cut into eighths, preferably stale)
3 c  roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c  Crumbled queso fresco or a mild feta (I used feta because my local Publix didn't have the queso fresco.)
 2    thin slices onion,separated into rings
1/2 c  Mexican crema,creme fraiche or sour cream (again sour cream because crema was not available)
1/4 c  chopped fresh cilantro leaves,for garnish
Special equipment: 4 individual casserole dishes

To make the salsa:Preheat the broiler or oven to 550 degrees F.
Remove husks from the tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove
the stickiness. Put the chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos on a
baking sheet. Season with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper, to
taste. Put on a rack about 1 or 2 inches from the heat, and cook,
turning the vegetables once, until softened and slightly charred, about
5 to 7 minutes. (I cooked them at 550 for 5 minutes and then broiled for 2 minutes)  When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and pull off the tops of the chiles. Add all the broiled ingredients to a blender along with the fresh cilantro and puree. Pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth and blend to combine. Add more broth, if needed, for desired consistency.
To make the chilaquiles:
Pour about 1/3 cup vegetable oil into a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tortillas, working in 2 or 3 batches, and cook until lightly browned and nearly crisp. Drain the tortillas on paper towels and discard the remaining oil. Wipe the pan with a paper towel. (most chilaquiles recipes have you use tortilla chips for this and it is a bit of a time saver but we cooked our own.) In the same pan, add the tomatillo salsa and bring to simmer over low
heat. Add the tortillas and cook until soft but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide the mixture among 4 individual casserole dishes. Top with the cheese crumbles and onion rings. Drizzle with Mexican crema.  Put the casserole dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes.  Remove the dishes (careful they will be HOT!  Duh;) sprinkle with some chopped
fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Progressive Dinner #3

Our third progressive dinner in the neighborhood happened tonight.  It was as always  full of amazing friends, family and food.  Just to reiterate, a progressive dinner is where each course takes place at another location.  In this case a different house on the cul de sac.  It is really fun to do because everyone can be the host of the party and the movement keeps the party fresh.  You sit with different people, new scenery, and conversation is sparked my many things.  There was a loose theme of favorite 'celeberty' chef, and  I believe the first dish we started out with was either a famous grandma or her grandson who made this dish:)  It was a wonderful dish.  The ingredients were chicken, mushrooms, broccoli and pasta tossed lightly in a honey mustard sauce.  So good that I ate way to much knowing that there was much to follow. And I was not alone in this;).

Next we had a  Green Chile Cheeseburger from Bobby Flay.  It sort of reminded me of the nacho burger of his we tried, but this one was SO much better.  I loved the peppers and the vinegary tang they gave to the sandwich.  The queso for the burger was also used a dip with the chips.  The slider was served with potato wedges. Everyone commented on how original and delicious the burger was and was among every one's favorite.

The next course was mine.  I made Martha Stewart's Lettuce Bundles.  I made it because my family all really like it and  it was suggested by a friend as a good one to make.  It is a butter lettuce leaf with a piece of soy marinated and grilled chicken with cucumbers, scallions, raman noodles tossed in a spicy peanut sauce and chopped peanuts with some more peanut sauce drizzled on top.  We had sriracha for those who liked a little more heat.

So loosening our belts because all of us are secretly Italian Grandmothers that over feed guests, we went on to our next course, a light summer pasta with green beans, corn, tomatoes and feta cheese.  It was delicious. I had no room for it when I started the dish, but somehow I managed. 

Now we are beyond Thanksgiving full, but we have our desert queen as our last course.  She made Emeril's Key Lime Pie.  Now we had a Conch in our group. (Conch for those of you who don't know are people from Key West)  This was not your usual key lime pie, and it still got our resident conch's seal of approval!  It had a sour cream frosting. I have eaten a lot of key lime pie in the keys and have never heard of such a thing and was intrigued.  It had an unusual and contrasting tartness that went with the key lime really well.

I just love my neighbors and am daily thankful to have them in my life. Thank you again for a wonderful meal and excellent company.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Baked Rigatoni With Spinach, Ricotta, And Fontina

Well tonight's dinner was easy, and not too pricey but those were the only things it truly excelled at.  The dish it's self wasn't terrible, but it lacked some moisture.  Either some of the pasta cooking water, cream or tomato sauce would have helped save the dish.  It was dry and chunky.  I liked the flavor but it was very one dimensional.  If I were to make this again, I think I would play around with the ricotta and try to make it more of a sauce.  Not a complete fail, but not a resounding success either.  I think the main issue my boys had with it were the fact that it was not as high fat a dish as they would have likes.  And in the case of the boy, I think that he objected to the nutmeg a bit.  I think I would keep this in the fixable file.  It is more for me than the boys.  It was a super quick and filling dinner and sometimes that's just what you need.

Baked Rigatoni With Spinach, Ricotta, And Fontina

1 lb rigatoni
3 T  olive oil
1    10-ounce package frozen spinach,thawed
2 c  (about 1 pound) ricotta
5 T  grated Parmesan
1/2 t  grated nutmeg
3/4 t  salt
1/4 t  fresh-ground black pepper
6    ounces fontina,grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

1. Heat the oven to 450. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rigatoni until
almost done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Put the pasta in the prepared
baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
3. Meanwhile, squeeze as much of the water as possible from the
spinach.   Put the spinach in a food processor and puree with the
ricotta, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Stir in half the fontina.
4. Stir the spinach mixture into the pasta. Top with the remaining
fontina and Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the
top. Bake the pasta until the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Notes Variation You can substitute another chunky pasta, such as penne rigate, penne, ziti, or fusilli. Boil all of these one or two minutes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Paninis

So I saw a snippet of a recipe for  chicken cordon bleu sandwich.  Intrigued, I decided to create my own,  I believe the original sandwich was more like the original dish with a chicken breast fried and then the ham, cheese and dijon added to the sandwich.  I wanted to do more of a panini than a fried chicken sandwich.  Other than hamburgers, I prefer a thinner sandwich and thinly sliced meats.  You could just make it like a grilled cheese, but I like the panini pan for the appearance and crispiness it gives the sandwich.  It was a super fast, and delicious dinner.  In fact my son declared it was this third favorite dish of all time!  I was totally loving it but I don't know if I would go that far.  The measurements for the sandwich depend on the size of your bread and on your personal preferences.
Start with the bread.  Give it a thin coating of dijon mustard evenly over the entire length of both pieces. Next the cheese.  Place a single layer of cheese over both pieces of bread. (I ripped up the cheese to try and cover as much surface area as possible)  Next the meat.  I think to try and keep the original proportions of the dish the ham should be 1/3 as much as the chicken.  I used honey cured ham and loved it but I think any ham could work. Carefully fold the sandwich together.  Then I melted some butter in the panini pan.  I took the top piece of bread and dredged the non mustard side and coated it with the melted butter and replaced it on the sandwich.  I needed a little more butter in the pan so I added some.  When it melted, I put the sandwich in to the pan with the non buttered side down and put the weight on top of the sandwich.  I cooked it over medium for about 3-4 minutes. (until golden brown) Flip and repeat.:)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clean Out the Fridge Soup 2

Upon opening the refrigerator yesterday, I saw I had 4 (count them 4) open cartons of stock. They needed to be used, and I had some odds and ends I needed to use up too, so it is another clean out the fridge soup. What did I find that I needed to use?

½ bunch of Italian parsley
½ jar of pimentos
2 parsnips
½ onion
½ can of tomato paste
4 stalks of celery
4 scallions
1/3 to ½ of a carton each of vegetable, chicken (x2) and chicken with wine and herbs stock
1 frozen chicken breast (for tomorrow’s dinner)
2 rinds from parmesan cheese
½ cup of cream

They didn’t need to be used but I threw in a couple of cloves of garlic as well and a bit of olive oil to sauté the veggies

So I put the oil in a stock pot. Added the parsnips (peeled and diced), celery (diced), onion (diced) and scallions (sliced) with a pinch of salt and cooked over medium heat until the celery and onion became soft. I threw in the pimentos and cooked another minute. I added the tomato paste, parsley, the garlic I forgot to add until the last minute and the stock and cooked about 10-15 minutes until the parsnips were very soft. Using an immersion blender, I pureed the soup until smooth. I threw in the chicken and the parmesan rinds and reduced to low and let it simmer until the chicken was cooked. I removed the chicken and saved it for tomorrow’s dinner and threw out the parmesan rind and added the cream. Taste for seasoning. It didn’t need any salt but I threw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. Then I cooked it a minute more just to make sure the cream didn’t cool it down too much.


We topped it with some parmesan. We all loved it. It was tasty and helped me clean upJ

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chicken Piccata

When I first started doing this blog, I wanted to have a way to share recipes with my friends and keep personal notes on the recipes we try because I planned on having an entire year of not repeating a dish.  I wanted to do this for two reasons. I wanted to expand my and my family's palette beyond the dishes that we already loved, and I also wanted to push myself culinarily by trying  to make some things that I may not necessarily tried before because they were out of my comfort zone.  Now that I'm getting close to have completed a year of new recipes (Every day trying a new recipe it isn't very practical, and to never miss a day because of eating out or a special occasion is virtually impossible)  I am looking to what I want to do with the next year of my culinary training and food experiences. Its always been a dream of mine it to eat as seasonal and local as possible and so I would like to start transitioning into educating myself and my family on what produce can be not only acquired in season but as local as possible rather than just new recipes. (the grocery isn't much help in that regard)  Seasonal produce is  tastier  and if you can acquire it locally, you get a riper product and you're also doing a lot to reduce the carbon footprint in addition to getting the food at it's peak.  Also if you can find local purveyors of produce, you can often get organic for a much better deal.  I try to incorporate organic in as much as possible.  Well that is where I want to evolve to, but for tonight I am still on to the new recipes.

Tonight I made chicken piccata with orzo and a green salad made of local organic greens.  I am a big fan of capers and I thought this would be a good recipe to incorporate in to my repertoire.  I have avoided chicken dishes in the past.  The raw poultry meat gives me the willies and I wouldn't eat chicken until I was pregnant with my two year old.  For some reason I craved all kinds of meat and fruit.  The two things I didn't regularly eat.  I have always been a carb and veggie girl.   (coincidentally meat and fruit are all my daughter eats.  She won't have carbs except on rare occasions) But I digress...

The Picatta was really good.  My husband loved it.  I don't know that I can ever adore a chicken dish, but this one came pretty close.  I also thought it was pretty easy.  The most labor intensive part was the butterflying of the chicken.  I also thought it needed a bit of pounding.  That "labor" could easily be remedied by having your butcher do it or buying the thin cutlets at the grocery.

Chicken Piccata

2    skinless and boneless chicken breasts,butterflied and then cut
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour,for dredging
6 T  unsalted butter
5 T  extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c  fresh lemon juice
1/2 c  chicken stock
1/4 c  brined capers,rinsed
1/3 c  fresh parsley,chopped
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and
shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter
with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add
2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned,
flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil.
When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken
and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add
chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and
bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor.
Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5
minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter
to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with

Mother's Day

Well, since it is mother's day, I get taken out to dinner.  Normally I would just skip tonight's post, but I gotta give a local business some serious props!  Originally we were to try a new place as my husband knows it is a bit of an obsession to try every place in town that could even remotely be good.  We had been to this place before so.... if it weren't for a faulty hot water heater, we would have had the time to travel to New Smyrna and would have missed out on what could be on the top ten meals I have ever eaten EVER.  (keeping future meal in mind too!)  So just a heads up to anyone ever in the Daytona beach/ Ormond beach area you must try Toscana 621 S Yonge St in Ormond. (386) 615-0350. If you are interested you can read the reviews (including mine) at

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chicken Balti & Spinach Raita

The horror! The raita;)
Well I was having a friend over and she loves Indian food.  I wanted her to try a recipe I made on February 2nd ( because it was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten.  But, as I want a new recipe every day, I went looking for a side dish to try.  I had plenty of Greek yogurt to use, so I decided on the spinach raita.  That was a mistake.  No one liked it at all.  I couldn't believe how much it disappointed considering that it was chuck full of spinach and garlic.  The only deviation I made was with the dried red chilli; I used red pepper flakes.  In addition we had some samosas and chickpea fritters and rice.  Anyone out there know why the raita was such a epic fail?  Got a better recipe?  Please let me know:).

Palak Ka Raita - Spinach Raita - Spinach In Yogurt
2 T  vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
1 bn spinach,washed and chopped fine (approximately 1
2    " piece of ginger grated
2    green chillies chopped very fine (optional)
1 c  fresh Unsweetened Yogurt whisked till Smooth
Salt to taste
2 T  vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
1 t  cumin seeds
5 ea garlic chopped very fine
1    dry red chilli broken into small pieces
[Note. Serve it with your favorite daal and plain boiled or fragrant rice for a lovely vegetarian
Heat the cooking oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the spinach, ginger
and green chillies to it and cook till the spinach is soft. Remove from
fire and allow to cool.
Put the spinach mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the yogurt and salt to
taste. Stir to blend all ingredients well. Keep aside for now.
Heat the remaining cooking oil in a small pan and when hot, add the
cumin seeds, chopped garlic and dry red chilli pieces. Fry till
spluttering stops and the spices are slightly darker.
When this happens, remove from heat and pour evenly over the yogurt
spinach mixture. Sir to blend and serve.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Daddy’s Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

Yesterday was the boy's birthday, today is my husband's, so I decided to make him a meal of all things he loves and I don't.  I'm not the biggest fan of chicken,or BBQ. (eewww)  I was looking in my file folder of my husband's favorite recipes (which sadly haven't been made in forever) and I saw this BBQ sauce recipe I had only made once before but I remember him raving about.  Things I hate, BBQ check.  Oh no it gets worse yellow mustard. (I detest yellow mustard)  It is also got 'daddy' in the title!  Eureka!  And I have chicken in the fridge!  The only thing I needed to buy was yellow mustard. (and since the chicken was there because it was BOGO I can say that the meal cost $1.40 lol  oh and plus sides (coleslaw and cheddar/scallion biscuits) but they weren't much) I tossed the chicken in the sauce, they were then grilled while basting them with the sauce when they were turned.  Just to finish them off, they were cooked over the cooler indirect heat for a bit.  My boy declared that he would eat a bowl of the sauce by it self; my husband said while he wouldn't say that, he did insure that every bite was covered with the sauce we reserved and didn't taint with the raw chicken. I fear this will be asked for again and often.  I could eat it but didn't want to.;)  I just can't get past the yellow mustard taste that I just loathe.

Big Daddy’s Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce
1 c  prepared yellow mustard
1/2 c  sugar
1/4 c  light brown sugar
3/4 c  cider vinegar
1/4 c  water
2 T  chili powder
1 t  black pepper
1 t  white pepper
1/4 t  cayenne
1/2 t  soy sauce
2 T  butter
1 T  liquid smoke (hickory flavoring)
Mix all except soy, butter and smoke. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir in
remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Boy's Birthday Dinner

Not bad for not being bakers:)
Today my boy turns 11!  I can't believe it!  Despite the fact I am trying to do an entire year of new dishes, logistically it can't happen every day. (vacations, special occasions, etc...) So, for tonight's dinner I asked my darling boy what he wanted for dinner and he said fish tacos.  Now our fish tacos are not really that traditional, but they are among those dishes of ours that everyone raves about.  They are also a dish we made up ourselves.  Just in the off chance we ever get a restaurant, we don't share the taco recipe;).  However I get around the whole having a new recipe by making a dessert we have never made before.  My son's favorite cake is red velvet.  So who do I turn to for a recipe?  Well the queen of southern cooking of course.  Red velvet is a southern thing right?  We did cheat a little; we bought the cream cheese frosting.  There is a very good reason though.  It is a super busy time of year, my 2 year old daughter was throwing up all day an only wanted to be laying on me, so my husband (who is a great cook) was doing a lot of the work to help, and we were running low on time.  The cake came out fantastic.  We all want to try it with the homemade icing next time.  I included the icing in the recipe even though we took a shortcut.

Grandmother Paula's Red Velvet Cake

2 c  sugar
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter,at room temperature
2    eggs
2 T  cocoa powder
2    ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 c  cake flour
1 t  salt
1 c  buttermilk
1 t  vanilla extract
1/2 t  baking soda
1 T  vinegar
1    (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1    butter,softened
1 c  melted marshmallows
1    (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 c  shredded coconut
1 c  chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and
fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix
well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed
mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl,
combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3
(8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or
until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from
heat and cool completely before frosting

Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl. Add
marshmallows and sugar and blend. Fold in coconut and nuts. Spread
between layers and on top and sides of cooled cake.

Fish Tacos:)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shrimp on the "Barbie" Experiment

My daughter has a new found love affair with shrimp.  Yes the two year old who turned her nose up at even tasting shrimp for a year now, can't get enough.  Well as I had some in the freezer and I really need to thin out my overflowing pantry/freezer/fridge, so I thought I would play around with the shrimp and the grill.  I also found one small lonely piece of cod in the freezer so I thought I would cook it up too.  I remember my friend once made a very tasty shrimp on the grill and I seem to recall that he said that they were brushed with honey mustard.  Eureka, I have left over "outback" honey mustard from the 30th.  (and I am calling this in my head shrimp on the barbie and giggling.  Could this be fate?)  I brushed half of the skewers with the honey mustard and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  I spooned the dressing that had run off the shrimp and reapplied it half way through.  The rest, I either left plain or brushed with a sweet Asian chili sauce. I then brushed the cod with hoisin sauce.  While they were "marinating" I made some cous cous with a herb and wine infused broth I got at the grocery BOGO with my carton of low sodium organic chicken broth and never found a use for and a pat of butter.  To round out the meal, we had a salad with a  balsamic vinaigrette. The result of my "experiment"?  1) I think grilling is the best way to make shrimp. 2) The honey mustard is the best glaze for them.  3) Hoisin sauce makes an amazing glaze on the grill. 4) And last but not least, thoroughly patting the shrimp dry is a MUST.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicken Breasts With Artichoke-Olive Sauce

I decided to make this one tonight because I had leftover feta from the gyros.  My family weren't the happiest since I am the only one who like artichokes and olives, but they managed.  On the plus side, the chicken was really juicy.  On the down side, the sauce was odd.  I would have liked the sauce to be less chunky.  It was like eating a artichoke salad on your chicken. I would also have liked more olives. The flavors were nice, but I think a finer texture would be better. I'm not sure how a puree would work, but minced should.  It makes for a lot more work, but I wouldn't make this again unless I did some "fixing," so I put it in the fixable file.  The whole dinner cost about $12.  Not too bad.
Chicken Breasts With Artichoke-Olive Sauce

1/4 c  plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 T  fresh lemon juice
2 t  finely grated lemon zest
3    garlic cloves,minced
1 T  chopped oregano
1    Ten-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts,thawed and patted dry
8    pitted kalamata olives halved
1/2 c  coarsely crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4    Six-ounce Chicken Breasts boneless, Skinless halves
2 T  chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400. In a bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the oil, lemon
juice, zest, garlic and oregano. Fold in the artichokes, olives and
feta;   season the sauce with salt and pepper.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof skillet,
heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken, skinned side
down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 3 minutes; turn
and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes,
until white throughout. Transfer the chicken to plates and spoon the
sauce on top. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Eggs Benedict

Now I really adore Alton Brown and I totally want to try this recipe with the homemade "English muffins," but I just didn't have the time today but I was having a craving so I only put the eggs and hollandaise recipes as the main body of the post.  However, if you are like me and just crazy enough to try, I have included the "muffin" recipe at the bottom.  Now on to the meal we did eat.  As I was making the hollandaise, I was getting worried.  It was very thin and very lemony.  Oops, I had only cut up one stick of butter; ok feeling better because that would solve above problems.  Once the second and final stick of butter was incorporated, I still felt that an entire tablespoon of lemon juice would be too much so I only put in a 1/2 tablespoon.  Now while this hollandaise tasted really great with the eggs, bread and ham, it was not the kind you just want to eat by the spoonful.  (ok thinking on that it may be a GREAT thing because who needs to eat butter;) I think I am used to the mass produced hollandaise that is made in a blender and is much thicker. I like the thicker kind.  I think I will try making it in a blender next time to compare.  A little laborious but worth it. Oh and you could totally make this vegetarian by putting a grilled tomato slice or some roasted asparagus on the muffin in place of the ham.
Eggs Benedict
Poached Eggs
4 qt water
1/4 c  white vinegar
1 t  kosher salt
8    large eggs
Hollandaise Sauce
3    large egg yolks
1 T  water
1/4 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  ground cayenne,divided
3    to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice strained divided
8    ounces cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1/4 t  sugar
To Complete8    Canadian Bacon Or Ham,Sliced

For the eggs
Put 4 (6-ounce) custard cups in a 6-quart deep, straight-sided saute
pan or rondeau. Add 4 quarts of water or enough to cover the cups by at
least 1/4-inch. Add the vinegar and salt to the water and put the pan
over high heat. Heat just until the water begins to boil and the cups
clatter against the bottom of the pan, 20 to 25 minutes.
Adjust the heat to maintain a water temperature of 205 degrees F
outside the cups. Break the eggs, 1 at a time, into another custard cup
or ladle.   Pour the eggs slowly into each of the cups, timing them
about 10 seconds apart. Cook for 5 minutes each.
Serve immediately or remove eggs from cups and transfer to an ice bath
to stop cooking. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours in the ice bath.
To reheat, bring water to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the eggs.
Wait 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

For the Hollandaise
Whisk together the egg yolks, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the
cayenne in a 2 quart saucier for 1 minute.
Put the saucier over low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on
and off the heat every 10 to 15 seconds, bringing the mixture to 140 to
145 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 3 minutes.
Add 1 piece of butter at a time, every 30 seconds, while continually
whisking and moving the saucier on and off the heat. Maintain
temperature around 120 to 130 degrees F throughout the remainder of the
cooking process. Once half of the butter, or 8 pieces, have been added,
add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the remaining 8 pieces of butter,
1 at a time, every 30 seconds, while continuing to move the saucier on
and off the heat and maintaining 120 to 130 degrees F. After the last
piece of butter has been added, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon
juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and the sugar and whisk for
1 to 2 minutes.
Taste and add more lemon juice, as desired. Move immediately to a short,
wide-mouthed thermos to hold for up to 2 hours. Reheat over low heat
for 45 seconds.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes
To build Eggs Benedict:
Put the julienned Canadian bacon in 10-inch saute pan set over medium
heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through and beginning to
turn lightly brown around the edges, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Turn
off the heat, but leave the bacon in the pan to keep warm until serving.

For each serving, put 2 small dollops of hollandaise on a plate and set
1/2 an English muffin on top of each dollop. Put a small amount of
Canadian bacon on top of each half and top with 1 warm poached egg and
drizzle with hollandaise. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve
Yield: 4 servings

"Yeast Based Eggs Benedict Foundation Platform"12    ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2    ounces nonfat dry milk
1 T  sugar
1    envelope active dry yeast
1 t  kosher salt
10    ounces water
1 T  shortening
Nonstick spray
8 t  rolled quick oats
Special Equipment,8 (3 3/4-inch diameter by 2-inch tall) cans with tops and bottoms removed or 8 English muffin rings

For the "muffins"
Combine the flour, nonfat dry milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl
of a stand mixer. Mix on low for 10 seconds using the paddle attachment.

Put the water and shortening in microwavable container and heat to 120
to 130 degrees F, approximately 2 minutes. Stir until the shortening is
thoroughly melted. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and mix
on medium speed until well combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl
halfway through mixing, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic
wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, uncover and mix on medium speed,
using the paddle attachment, for 3 minutes.
Position the 8 cans on a half sheet pan and generously spray the rings
and pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of oats in the
bottom of each ring. Scoop the dough, with a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or
disher, into the rings, dividing the dough evenly between the rings.
Sprinkle each top with 1/2 teaspoon of oats. Cover with parchment and
let sit in a warm place for 60 minutes.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Leave the parchment in place and set a second sheet pan on top. Bake
for 20 minutes then remove the top half sheet pan. Continue to bake
until the muffins reach an internal temperature of 210 degrees F on an
instant-  read thermometer, and are lightly browned, about 5 to 10
Remove the pan with the muffins still in the rings, to a cooling rack
for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the perimeter of the ring to
loosen.   Cool completely before splitting with a fork. To serve, toast
under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shortbread Lemon Bars

Well it was one of those days that finds my refrigerator too full of tasty leftovers to justify making a whole new meal.  In lieu of a new dinner recipe, I tried these Shortbread lemon bars.  The were very good, and a lot easier than I would have thought them to be.  If anything, I think I would add a tad more lemon juice as I am a fan of really sour deserts. Then again, its baking and I am no where near to proficient in it to start messing around with recipes.  My husband loved them as is.
Shortbread Lemon Bars

2 c  plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 c  powdered sugar
1/2 t  fine salt
2    8 ounces cold unsalted butter,cut into small pieces, plus more  dish
1 3/4 c  granulated sugar
6    large eggs
3/4 c  freshly squeezed lemon juice from 5 medium lemons
2 t  finely grated lemon zest from 1 medium lemon
1.  Heat the oven to 350F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a
13-by-  9-inch baking dish with
butter; set aside.
2.  Place 2 cups of the flour, the powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of
the salt in the bowl of a food
processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse briefly to combine.
Scatter the butter pieces
over the flour mixture and pulse until the dough just begins to come
together, about 20 (1-second)
3.  Crumble the dough into the prepared baking dish and, using the base
of a measuring cup or a glass
dipped in flour, press evenly into the pan. Bake until the crust is
fully set and just starting to
brown on the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool
while you make the filling,
at least 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
4.  To make the filling, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, the
remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt,
the granulated sugar, and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until the
sugar has dissolved and the
mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest and
whisk until well combined.
5.  Pour the filling over the baked crust, return to the oven, and bake
until set, about 25 to 35
minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cut into
squares and serve.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gyro Meat With Tzatziki Sauce

Everyone made their own with the
toppings they liked
Well I knew this gyro would never come close to my beloved gyro at Santorini in Deland, but happily it was still pretty good.  I didn't think that the recipe could be easily halved because I was cooking it like meatloaf (maybe it would be ok on the rotisserie?), so I invited friends to be Guinea pigs along with my family to try out my first stab at a gyro.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their food.  It was a lovely night and we ate outside which was fun too:).  I only made one deviation from the recipe and that was in the Tzatziki sauce.  The yogurt I bought was plain Greek yogurt at 10% milkfat and almost as thick as peanut butter so I didn't think it needed to drain like regular ole plain would need to in order to thicken up. (Which was a nice time saver too) The meat was perfect.  It looked like the gyro meat you get from a restaurant.  (Its an Alton Brown recipe so no surprise there) I bet for busy nights, you could have all the parts of the meal prepped (make the sauce, chop veggies, have meat ready to cook etc...) and just put the meat in the oven say on your way out to soccer.  I cooked mine for 80 minutes.  That is plenty of time for me to go to soccer and come back.  Not a economy meal but not a bank breaker.  I think the meal, for 8 mind you cost about $25.  The lamb was the pricey part at $8.99 a pound.  I have heard people use all beef  or a mixture of beef and lamb.  If you are wanting to bring the cost down.  Me I like all lamb.
No tomatoes for the husband:)
Gyro Meat With Tzatziki Sauce
1    medium onion,finely chopped or shredded
2 lb ground lamb
1 T  finely minced garlic
1 T  dried marjoram
1 T  dried ground rosemary
2 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce,recipe follows

Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out
into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and
squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.
Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic,
marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine
paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape
down sides of bowl.
To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides
of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75
minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from
the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack
and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of
the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal
temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with
tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.
To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:
Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2
overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long.
Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any
air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the
ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store
in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow
the mixture to firm up.
Preheat the grill to high.
Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece
of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch
any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium
and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal
temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and
allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the
internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread
with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Tzatziki Sauce:
16 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
Pinch kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced

Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a
bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the
liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained
yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as
a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container
for up to a week.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nacho Burger

This burger is from Bobby Flay.  I have never gotten a bad recipe of his, but this one wasn't perfect.  I thought the cheese sauce, while tasty, was odd because it wasn't smooth.  The burger seemed just ok at first, but the longer we ate it, the more we liked it.  I guess it was the unexpected juxtaposition of burger and nacho flavors and textures that we had to become accustom to before we could properly enjoy it.  It was also our first meal on our new grill:).  We had been without one for a while.  We had always had charcoal, but I am happy we now have a propane one.  While I do agree that charcoal has its benefits, it is totally outweighed by the ease of use for the propane.  Oh and I figure that the meal came in at $4.00 per person

Nacho Burger

3 T  red wine vinegar
1 T  vegetable oil
1    chipotle chile in adobo seeded and minced
3    plum tomatoes,finely diced
2 T  red onion,finely diced
3 T  chopped cilantro
Cheese Sauce
1 T  unsalted butter
1 T  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c  milk
1/2 lb Monterey Jack cheese shredded
2 T  freshly grated pecorino cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 lb ground beef chuck
Vegetable oil,for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4    hamburger buns,split and toasted
Sliced pickled jalapeños and blue corn tortilla chips,for topping
[Note: Our Pairing Suggestion  Bold, berry-rich Zinfandel.  ]
1. MAKE THE SALSA In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season
with salt.
2. MAKE THE CHEESE SAUCE In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in
the flour and cook over moderate heat for 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk
and cook, whisking, until smooth and thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the
Jack cheese until melted, then stir in the pecorino; season with salt
and pepper. Let the sauce cool until it is very thick and spreadable.
3. MAKE THE BURGERS Light a grill. Form the beef into 4 patties and
brush with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high
heat until browned outside and medium within, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Place the burgers on the buns. Top with the cheese sauce, salsa,
pickled jalapeos and chips. Close the burgers and serve.