Friday, August 31, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I got my Front Porch Pickings basket today, and the ingredients make me think of broccoli cheese soup.  This week's basket is particularly exciting as we can now customize our baskets with extra of a particular produce or remove something we don't use.  This week's basket included: broccoli, carrots and onions;  all three of these are in this broccoli cheese soup.  I loved this soup.  Yes the half and half makes it a bit decadent, but milk breaks down if it boils and this soup tried to often:).  I think this soup would also be super tasty as a sauce on a baked potato.  The only alterations I made to the recipe were that I used beef stock instead of chicken.  (I had like 3 beef cartons in the pantry thanks to bogo sales and obviously I don't use beef as much as the chicken)  I also didn't move the soup to a blender; instead I used an immersion blender.  It was tasty and fairly easy.  It requires making a roux and a lot of stirring in the beginning, but I would say that at least 50% of the time was pretty inactive.  It was quick for me to make, but I used a mandoline to julienne the carrots.  If you were doing this by hand, it would add to your time.  (you can always buy carrots julienned but I feel that that is processing and am positive (but can't say for sure) that there is something added to the prepped veggies that add to their shelf life.  I also, because of the mandoline, was able to prep the carrots (and the broccoli just not on the mandoline) while the onions were cooking.  The broccoli had no instructions as to how to prep.  I would suggest to make your florets pretty small.  I didn't and they didn't submerge like they should have and they took a bit longer to get soft.  So other than that, great recipe and super delicious.  I plan on having it for breakfast and lunch tomorrow;).


Broccoli Cheese Soup

1    Tbs. butter,melted
1/2    medium onion,chopped
1/4 c  flour
1/4 c  melted butter
2 c  Half & Half
2 c  chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 c  carrots,julienned
1/4 t  nutmeg
Salt and pepper,to taste
8 oz grated sharp cheddar
Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using
a whisk over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Be sure to stir
frequently. Slowly add the Half & Half, continue stirring. Add the
chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the
veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper. By now the
soup should be thickened. Pour in batches into blender and puree.
Return the puree to the pot and place over low heat, add the grated
cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg. Serve.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuna Tapenade

Well as we had other plans for dinner tonight, I decided to make my lunch the post.  I am the only one in the house that appreciates tuna and olives so I wouldn't make this for dinner for everyone.  It does, however, make a great lunch for me:).  It is a tuna salad as much as it is a tapenade, but that doesn't make it bad.  I liked it a lot and it was ready in like 7 minutes.  (crostini took a little longer)  It would be a nice appetizer addition to a cocktail party.


Tuna Tapenade

1/2 c  canned pitted black olives
1/2 c  jarred pitted green olives
4 T  capers
1    lemon,zested and juiced
1    garlic clove,minced
1 T  olive oil
1    (5 to 6-ounce) can tuna,in oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crostini,recipe follows
Blend all the ingredients, except the tuna, in a food processor
until smooth but still chunky. Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Drain
the tuna but do not rinse. Flake the tuna with a fork. Add to the olive
mixture, blending gently with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, to
taste. Serve with Crostini.

Crostini:
1 baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice the baguette, on the bias, into thin slices. In a small bowl, mix
the oils and salt and pepper, to taste. Using a pastry brush, lightly
coat 1 side of bread slices with the oil. Arrange on a sheet tray and
bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grilled Tilapia With Lemon Butter, Capers And Orzo


Well the good news is I liked this as much, if not better, than the fish picatta.  The bad news is grilling fish is a total pain!  The thinnest part of the fillet fell through the grate when I flipped it; the big pieces fell apart.  I almost used the veggie/fish basket, but there was no mention of it in the recipe.  I figured Bobby Flay wouldn't lead me astray.  Oh Bobby!  You have never disappoint in recipes, and in all fairness this one didn't either, but the mess in the bottom of my grill!  You could have warned me; taught me a better way, something:(.  Its ok, I forgive you. Some of our all time favorite recipes come from you so I won't hold a grudge.  My husband, however, when he starts cleaning the grill may;).  The orzo was awesome.  The boy devoured his portion and some of dads.


Grilled Tilapia With Lemon Butter, Capers And Orzo

 1    lemon,finely zested
 2    lemons,juiced
 1/2 c  dry white wine
 1    shallot,thinly sliced
 Splash heavy cream
 1    unsalted butter,cut into cubes, at  temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4    (8-ounce) tilapia fillets
3 T  olive oil
1/2 lb orzo,cooked al dente
1/4 c  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 c  drained capers
Combine the lemon zest, juice, wine and shallot in a small saucepan
over high heat and cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and
let cool. Whisk together the cream, butter and wine mixture in a small
bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30
minutes. The lemon butter can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.
Bring to room temperature before serving.
Heat the grill to high.
Brush the fish on both sides with the oil and season with salt and
pepper. Grill the fish for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly
golden brown and slightly charred. Toss the orzo with a few tablespoons
of the lemon butter and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and season with
salt and pepper. Transfer the orzo to a platter. Remove from the grill
and immediately place the fillets on the orzo and top each fillet with
some of the lemon butter and capers. Garnish with the remaining parsley

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eggs In A Nest

 I have no idea where I got this recipe.  I'm pretty sure it came in one of my recipe of the day emails, but when I googled the recipe, none were quite like this one.  I thought the idea of whipping the whites and then nestling a yolk in them was intriguing and my whole family is a huge fan of a runny yolk! I honestly don't see how anyone can't be but I'm sure there are some out there.  The dish is pretty good and we all liked it, but it could have been a great dish with some changes.  The most important change would be a sauce.  We suggested, hollandaise, cheese, and even just a compound butter would have helped.  I also would have cooked it less than 15 minutes; the yolks were almost completely set.  The only thing that was a bit odd, and that can't be changed unless you change the whole dish, was the texture of some of the whites.  My son hated it at first, but the inside part wasn't so bad and he declared he liked it better once he got used to it.  It was easy, and fast.  It could be made for breakfast if you want to take a bit more time with your weekday morning meal.  And, I think you can't get much less expensive than this.  All in all, a recipe worth keeping, but tweaking.  Next time I want to try smoked salmon!

Eggs In A Nest

4    English muffins,split
8    thin slices prosciutto country ham, or smoked salmon
8    large eggs,separated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
Lightly toast the English muffins either in a toaster or in the oven on
the baking sheet.
Arrange the toasted muffin halves on the baking sheet. Place a slice of
ham or salmon on the cut side of each.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft
peaks form. Pile the whites on each muffin, covering it (and the ham or
salmon) completely. Use the back of a spoon to make a depression in the
center of each. Place a yolk in each depression.
Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the whites are
lightly browned and the yolks are just set. Sprinkle with a little sea
salt and pepper and serve immediately.



Monday, August 27, 2012

Mushroom Bahn Mi

For meatless Monday, I decided to do a mushroom version of the usually pork bahn mi.  I had made this once before for a friend who doesn't eat meat.  I like the mushroom as much as the pork one.  This one did have a small problem, the bread.  It was too crunchy on the outside and to soft on the inside.  I had taken a short cut with the bread; rather than buying it the day of, as I usually do, I bought frozen baguettes at my weekly shopping trip.  Mistake! They were still delicious, but the bread did take away a bit from the finished dish.  We took pity on the boy, and gave him a small potion.  He hates mushrooms:)

Mushroom Bahn Mi

6 oz Portabella Mushrooms, Thickly Sliced
1    Baguette,Or Two Small
4 oz Daikon Radish,Julienned
2 lg Carrot,Julienned (about 4 Ounces)
About 1/2 c  Mayonnaise
Cilantro
1.5 T  Soy Sauce
1.5 T  Mirin Wine
Jalapenos,Or Hot Sauce
2 T  Butter
1/4 c  White Vinegar
1/4 c  Sugar
1/2 c  Water
Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to a boil.  Let cool. Start to
preheat oven to 400.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots and
diakon.  (use a glass bowl)  Let the veggies sit for 20 minutes at room
temperature.  Put the butter in a pan over medium high heat.  Add the
mushrooms and brown on both sides.  Add the mirin and soy and cover and
let cook a minute or so.  Remove lid and stir,  continue to cook until
the moisture is almost all gone.  Cut the bread in half length wise.
Spread the mayo liberally over each half.  Put the baguettes in the
oven, cut side up and bake for about 5 minutes. (until the mayo is
bubbly and the edges of the bread slightly toasted.  Top the bread with
the sauteed mushrooms, pickled carrots and diakon, cilantro and
jalapenos.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Farfalle With Bacon, Peas, And Sage

I had some things I wanted to say so, if you just want the tasty recipe and my thoughts on it, skip down to the last paragraph:).
I started this blog over a year ago for several reasons. These reasons, in no particular order, were to: share recipes with friends, push myself out of my comfort zone recipes, keep myself on track with a year of different dinners, and to promote eating meals together.  That last reason, while extremely important to my family and myself, seemed to be missing from the blog posts.  I found a page on facebook called the Shared Meal Revolution, and I was glad to be reminded of this vital part of the meal: the companions.  Until the last few years, our family meals were not a priority.  My husband works odd hours sometimes and not available for dinner. (I'd say 50% of the time.)  Even when he was home, we often "ate like Americans" (which was what we called it) in front of the TV.  One day, I saw a documentary filmed in England about obesity.  A young girl (about 15) was overweight despite the fact that she was athletic and young. (she was a member of her school's track team)  The girl was from a home with a single mom and their busy lives had relegated dinner to also entertainment hour in front of the TV.  The study they performed on her showed that if she sat in front of the TV with her favorite food, pizza, she ate 13 of the 15 slices, but if she sat at a table she only ate 8 of the 15. (these pieces were cut in squares like a flat bread) Well knowing that childhood obesity was an issue in the U.S., I decided that for the kids sake, we would eat as a family every night and no TV.  It was a bit awkward at first.  When you spend so little time talking with your family, you kind of turn it in to this superficial chat that includes lots of questions, like what did you do at school, when you asked that question in the car on the way home from school.  I think life is too short to not have things be fun, so I decided to come up with ways to make the meal as fun as it was when we were watching something on television.  We are a game loving family.  We like video games, board games, logic puzzles, etc... and we all like cooking and cooking shows.  My first thing we did to make dinner fun was the ingredient guessing game.  We would take turns (not me, I cooked it:) guessing ingredients in the dish of the evening and who ever had the most points at the end of the game, won.  My 10 year old was surprisingly good at the game.  Now a year later the 2 year old loves to guess foods, even if they aren't in the dish;).  The game had other benefits besides family time; the game has forced us to think about what we are eating, improved our palates and slowed down our meal as we examine, taste, chew and think.  The other initial thing we did as a family was read Encyclopedia Brown stories.  If you aren't familiar with the series, it is about a 10 year old boy who is brilliant at solving his father's (chief of police) unsolved crimes.  The story is read, not the solution; the solution is at the back of the book.  We would take turns reading the short story and then discuss over dinner the case and make our guess.  After we finished, we would read the solution and see who, if any, were correct.  I had some books from when I was a child, but I quickly ordered every other available one from B&N so we could have one each dinner.
Well that was great but finite, and our ingredient guessing game was going quicker as we got better so I wanted to add to our repertoire of dinner fun.  We started reading long chapter books.  The first person done would start reading and we would read at least a chapter even if we were all done eating.  I loved sharing some of my favorite books with my kids.  Short stories are nice and great for the instant satisfaction, but the longer books were like looking forward to the next episode of you favorite TV show and we weren't allowed to read ahead without everyone present.  Since my husband can't always be home for dinner there were nights without reading, and that's when I noticed, it was fun and great, but no longer necessary.  We chatted much easier with each other.  I thought back to all the lunches with friends and always knew they were bonding moments where we take time out of our lives to reconnect, but never applied this to my family.  I believe that since we made the commitment to take that time together, we have improved our lives in many ways.  We are better friends with each other.  When we share a meal with friends, we bond with them more than we did before.  We are happier and have a moment that is forcibly slowed down from our normal hectic pace.  We eat less but eat more of the healthier parts of our meal.  (Ever tried to have a dinner plate and a salad plate on your lap on the couch?  Yeah, me either.)  The net result was my family was happier and healthier.
I know most of my posts focus on the recipe because I know you are not pining away for the latest score of the ingredient guessing game, but I wanted to take time to restate this part of the meal that, like salt, makes it, even if you don't think about it's presence.

As for the recipe, YUM!  It was quick and easy and decadently delicious.  For health reasons, this should feed 6-8 with a big salad, but you are going to want to eat more than 1/8 of the dish;).  It is also inexpensive.  My only advice is watch the sage.  If you are not a huge fan, reduce that precise measurement of "a small handful" to "a couple of good pinches".


Farfalle With Bacon, Peas, And Sage

14    ounces dried farfalle
2 T  olive oil
5    ounces thick-sliced lean bacon,chopped
1    large garlic clove,minced
1 1/4 c  heavy cream
1 c  green peas,thawed if frozen
2/3 c  freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for sprinkling
Small handful each of fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley,leaves only

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Tip in the farfalle and cook
according to the package directions until the pasta is al dente.
Heat the oil in large saucepan and add the bacon. Fry over high heat
until the bacon is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and fry
for a minute. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil. Let simmer until
reduced and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Tip in the peas, bring
back to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Stir the grated
Parmesan into the sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander and immediately tip
into the sauce. Add the herbs and toss the pasta until well coated with
the creamy sauce. Divide among warm plates and sprinkle with a little
more Parmesan before serving.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wasabi Almonds

I have an absolute addiction to the Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy almonds!  I could eat them until my eyes water, and then eat some more.  They are not the cheapest snack, especially when you eat them like I do.  I need to limit myself to the one ounce portion size recommended for heart health;).  So, when I saw that blue diamond had a recipe for wasabi almonds, I couldn't wait to try them out.  (my previous attempts to recreate them have never lived up to the original!)  The first thing I saw was that I had been seriously under portioning the wasabi powder.  This recipe called for 2 whole tablespoons!  I liked the fact it called for an egg white; I individually freeze egg whites whenever I need just a yolk.  I am always looking to thin out the bulging pantry and fridge/freezer.  When I reached the stir part in the baking, I noticed that the almonds were stuck in a giant chunk.  So when I "gently stirred" I actually beat the almonds apart with a wooden spoon:).  The end result was very tasty, but they aren't the sinus clearing awesomeness that the Blue Diamond ones are.  I think I will have to include soy next time I make them.


Wasabi Almonds
1    egg white
1 T  water
1 lb (3 cups) whole natural almonds
2 T  wasabi powder
2 t  coarse salt
2 t  cornstarch
Preheat oven to 275F. Line a sided baking sheet with greased foil or
parchment paper. Whisk egg white and water together until foamy. Add
almonds and toss to coat. Transfer to a sieve; toss gently and let
drain.
Stir together wasabi powder, salt and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add
almonds and toss to coat. Spread almonds on baking sheet in a single
layer, and bake 30 minutes. Gently stir, reduce temperature to 200F and
continue baking 20 more minutes. Let cool completely before serving.
Serve, or store airtight for up to a week.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"London" Dips

There was tons of of the London Broil left over from last night, so we decided to make a French dip like sandwich.  It was fast and easy and it used up all of the meat, so no waste!  (yay)  Since it was made up on the spot, I guess a proper recipe isn't happening but you should be able to repeat it if you follow my rambling:).  We thinly sliced the steak (really, really thin)  and an onion.  Heat a pat of butter in a pan and caramelize the onions, with a dash of salt,  over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  When the onions are done, throw in the steak and cook until heated through.  Add in some shredded cheddar and stir until melted.  Serve on toasted buns with au jus or rich broth.  I am ashamed to admit I had, what was most likely a 10 year old packet, of instant au jus.  I used it.  (I am hanging my head in shame, but rejoicing that I got something out of the pantry)  In place of that, I would reduce some beef broth to strengthen the flavor.  Dinner, done:).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Root-Vegetable Gratin


I picked this recipe for some gorgeous sweet potatoes I got from my Front Porch Pickings basket.  I also picked this recipe because I adore rutabaga.  It first started when, as a college student, I did some backpacking through Europe.  It was the end of a long trip, and we had arrived in London.  Upon our arrival, we found that for lodging we could choose between a dorm at the college or for just a bit more per person, we could stay in a nice hotel.  We opted for the latter.  In the restaurant at the hotel I had some roasted veggies as my side.  I loved this one, but had no idea what it was.  The waiter told me it was suede.  And until just a few years ago, I had no idea that suede was also called rutabaga. Obviously I loved this recipe.  The boy ate it all but didn't rave, but my husband liked it a lot.  If you have a mandolin, this recipe is a snap.  It requires an hour and a half of cooking time, but it is inactive cooking time.  It also looked beautiful!  I loved the yellow to orange layers.  I think next time I might like a little sage in with the seasoning, but it isn't necessary.  I needed a larger pan than they suggested.  Perhaps my veggies were larger than normal.  It would have been nice to know before I filled the first pan :/.  With it I made a London broil and a salad with blue cheese crumbles and a red wine vinaigrette.  I loved dinner!  For the vegetarians, just sub veggie broth for the chicken.


Root-Vegetable Gratin


2    large sweet potatoes,peeled
1    butternut squash neck (2 1/4 pounds) from a large butternut-squash peeled
1    medium rutabaga (2 pounds) peeled and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c  low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c  heavy cream
3/4 c  panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 1/2 T  extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes and
squash lengthwise 1/8 inch thick. Slice the rutabaga crosswise 1/8 inch
thick.
2. Spray an 8-by-12-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange
half of the potatoes in the dish, overlapping them slightly; season
with salt and pepper. Top with half of the rutabaga and the squash,
seasoning each layer. Repeat the layering. Pour the broth over and
around the vegetables.
3. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the vegetables
are almost tender when pierced. Remove the foil and pour the cream over
the gratin. Bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the liquid has
thickened.
4. Preheat the broiler. Mix the panko with the oil and season with
salt and pepper; sprinkle over the gratin. Broil 3 inches from the heat
for 2 minutes, until golden, rotating for even browning. Let the gratin
stand for 10 minutes, then serve

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eggplant Pasta

I love eggplant.  Eggplant Parmesan is a bit laborious and can easily be greasy since it is fried.  This Alton Brown recipe is a great alternative to it.  I have made this several times and the most important thing is to make sure the eggplant is evenly and thinly sliced.  If it isn't, I have had bits that seemed a bit under done.  While  I have followed the instructions precisely in the past, I had to make some adjustments just for the sake of not shopping.  I had the cute baby eggplants from my Front Porch Picking basket, and I needed to use them soon.  I wanted to make this dish, but I didn't have the tomatoes.  I worked around this by using a bit of high quality jarred tomato sauce.  My resulting dish was a bit soupier than it had been in the past, but I enjoyed it none the less.

Eggplant Pasta

2    medium-large eggplants
Kosher salt,for purging
4 T  olive oil
1 t  garlic,minced
1/2 t  chile flakes
4    small tomatoes,seeded and chopped
1/2 c  cream
4 T  basil chiffonade
1/4 c  freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
Peel each eggplant leaving 1-inch of skin at the top and bottom
unpeeled.  Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise, about 1/4-inch thick.
Evenly coat each slice with the salt and purge on a sheet pan fitted
with a rack for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and roll in paper
towels to dry. Slice the pieces into thin strips to resemble pasta.
In a large saute pan heat the oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes and
toast. Add the eggplant "pasta" and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes and
cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and increase heat to thicken sauce.
Finally add the basil and Parmesan and toss to combine. Season with
pepper, no salt needed as the eggplant will have residual salt from the
purge. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Anchovy Sauce

I have a pasta sauce cookbook I got from my MIL.  It has lots of really great recipes.  It is called Sauces for Pasta.  It is a small, simple, cookbook that only has sauce recipes.  Many of our favorite pasta sauces have come from here. Tonight, I wanted to try another one, and the anchovy sauce has intrigued me from the beginning.  I think anchovy paste makes some dishes amazing, but the little bone filled fillets have filled me with something close to terror:).  This recipe only called for two, which, almost, seemed like too little, but in the end it wasn't.  My major issue with the book, and the sauce, is that there is no guidance on the amount of pasta you should serve the sauce with.  I have always made the assumption that it was either 3/4-1 pound of pasta.  I used 3/4 of a pound, but it seemed like much too little sauce.  I added another tablespoon of butter at the end just to make sure every noodle was coated.  I also felt it needed a bit of salt.  The two fillets were very small, so that might have been part of the problem.  All my "issues" aside, we all cleaned our plates and some went back for more.  As always we had a simple salad to go with it. It was a pretty speedy meal; since it called for thin pasta, I used angel hair.  Angel hair cooks really quick and helped keep the cook time short.

 Anchovy Sauce

1/3 c  Olive Oil
1/4 c  Butter,Unsalted
4 ea Garlic,Minced
2    Anchovy Fillets,Minced
1/3 c  White Wine,Dry
1/4 c  Parsley,Chopped
1 t  Black Pepper
Heat the oil and the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add
the garlic and saute until pale gold, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the
anchovies and wine and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until
the anchovies have dissolved completely into the sauce.  About 10
minutes. Stir in the parsley and black pepper.  Serve immediately over
thin pasta.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eggs Baked In Roasted Tomato Sauce

For meatless Monday, I decided to try to eggs baked in tomato sauce.  I have been wanting to try a roasted tomato sauce anyways, and I do like baked eggs.  The tomato sauce was very easy, and super tasty.  I think it would be a great pasta sauce too.  If you make the sauce ahead  of time, it would be a tasty breakfast.  While it takes 15 minutes to bake, you can be getting ready while it cooks.  I loved this dish!  I accidentally over cooked the eggs.  I have this new microwave that beeps once when the timer goes off and them waits like a minute before it beeps again.  Needless to say, I didn't hear the first (maybe first couple) beep.  Even with the mostly cooked yolks, I loved it.  We had it with some toast, but I think I would like crusty bread better.  You need the bread to sop up that sauce!
Eggs Baked In Roasted Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes,halved lengthwise
2    garlic cloves,smashed
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 t  chopped oregano
8    large eggs
2 T  freshly grated -Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400. In a roasting pan, toss the tomatoes and
garlic with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the
tomatoes cut side up and roast for 15 minutes; turn and roast until
soft,    20 minutes. Let cool, then scrape the mixture into a blender
and puree.  Add the oregano.
2. Set 4 shallow ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Strain the pureed
sauce into the bowls, pressing on the solids. Crack 2 eggs into each
bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs
and bake the eggs for about 15 minutes, until the whites are just set.
Serve hot.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Arroz Con Pollo

I have been wanting to make Arroz con Pollo for a while.  It takes me back to my childhood in Miami.  I had a couple of recipes for it.  When it comes to a popular, iconic, dish, I like to try several recipes to see what I like and what works.  This one is from Food & Wine.  I was sure it would be tasty, as F & W rarely disappoints, but it in no way resembles the dish of my childhood.  The rice isn't yellow. (I was tempted to add food coloring;)  It also didn't have peas!   I think arroz con pollo needs peas.  However, I choose this recipe tonight since I had most of the ingredients.  The recipe from 3 guys from Miami had more that I needed to buy, but I think it will be a better version.  This recipe wasn't particularly hard to make, so that was nice.  As to the taste, I thought it was all right.  My husband liked it more and more as he ate it.  I don't like meat on a bone, so I might be letting my issues get in the way of enjoying the taste.  Not that I disliked it, it just wasn't a wow for me.
Arroz Con Pollo

1 T  olive oil
4    chicken thighs
4    chicken drumsticks
2 t  salt
1/2 t  fresh-ground black pepper
2    ounces smoked ham,cut into 1/4-inch dice
1    small onion,chopped
2 ea garlic,minced
1    red bell pepper,chopped
1    green bell pepper,chopped
1 3/4 c  canned tomatoes,drained and chopped
1 T  tomato paste
2 c  canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 c  rice,preferably long-grain
2 T  chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat.
Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cook
the chicken, turning, until well browned, about 8 minutes in all.
Remove.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
2. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the ham, onion, and garlic to
the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to
soften, about 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring
occasionally, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes longer.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, and the remaining 1 3/4
teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the rice and add the chicken in an even layer. Simmer,
partially covered, over moderately low heat until the chicken and rice
are just done, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.



One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so much to Laurie at Laurie's Cravings for the 'Lovely' award!  It is always an honor to receive an award, but even more so from someone with a blog you respect and admire!  You should check out her blog.  It is full of delicious recipes and great information.


The rules for the award are:
     1. Have a link back to who nominated you. (that would be Laurie;)
     2. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
     3. Nominate 11 other bloggers.

11 Random Facts About Me:
     1.  I love plants, but if I put them inside, I kill them (outside they live:)
     2.  I love sci fi/ fanstasy.  (Yes I am a nerd and proud of it:)
     3.  I love video games too. ( I refer you to the previous nerd statement:)
     4.  I have been attacked by animals in 4 cities, 3 countries and 2 continents. (ducks in Miami, 
          pelicans in Layton (Long Key), pigeons in Venice, Italy and squirrels in Madrid, Spain.
          I was attempting to feed them each time.
     5.  I love white water rafting.
     6.  I am an avid reader.
     7.  I think I am part fish because I love the water. (my kids do too)
     8.  I have a crush on Dr. Who and Neil DeGrasse Tyson
     9.  But I think Ewan McGregor is hot;)
   10.  I loathe Yellow Mustard
   11.  I belly danced at my baby shower at 8 1/2 months pregnant with my instructor and 2 friends.

My Nominees are:


And while I would have included her on the list, but she is the one who nominated me, Laurie's Cravings.:)











Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kale And Cheese Tamales


I got this recipe from Mexican Made Easy.  I love kale, but have only a limited number of recipes for it.  I got some beautiful kale in my Front Porch Pickings basket, (oh and zucchini too) and a search of my to try file found this recipe.  I thought 4 leaves of kale seemed like too little, and my leaves weren't all huge, so I did add a bit more, however, that made for a bit extra of the filling when all the dough was filled.  The ratio seemed pretty spot on.  Making the tamales took a couple of tries to get them to work well.  I would recommend that you put your tablespoons (I used 3) about 2/3 of the way up from the pointy end, spread them with a spatula first the width of the husk and then down the length.  My first two needed some rearranging since they weren't wide enough to wrap around the filling.  I had a little kale leftover, so I cooked it in a little olive oil and vegetable broth until it was nice and soft and used it as a kind of a "garnish" for the tamales.  While the assembly of the tamales did require a bit of active prep time, it wasn't too taxing and even a little zen:).  Most important was the results!  The sauteed kale and zucchini had an almost meaty taste.  I topped the tamales with some of the sauteed kale and leftover filling and sprinkled a few drops of the Mesa Hot Sauce I made and the results were delicious!  Oh one other helpful hint, we tilted the steamer basket to it's side to make it easy to fill, and to take up the extra space in the basket, we put a coffee mug and a couple of extra corn husks to keep the tamales all in place and upright.

Kale And Cheese Tamales

Filling
3 T  butter
1/2    large white onion,chopped
1    large clove garlic,minced
1    zucchini,diced
4    leaves kale,stems removed and chopped
1/3 c  vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c  shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella cheese
Masa
2 c  masa harina
1 t  baking powder
1/4 c  vegetable shortening
2 c  vegetable broth,warm
3/4 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper
To assemble:
24 corn husks, soaked until soft and patted dry, plus more for lining
steamer
Directions
For the filling: Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-
high heat. Add the onion, garlic and zucchini and saute until the onion
is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the kale and saute 1 minute. Add the
vegetable broth, cover and cook until the kale is wilted, about 6
minutes. Uncover and simmer until almost all of the liquid evaporates,
about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool slightly. Season with some
salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese until melted.
For the masa: Mix the masa and baking powder in large bowl. Add the
vegetable shortening and mix using an electric mixer until it is the
consistency of coarse meal. Pour in the vegetable broth and mix until
the dough comes together (the dough should be moist). Mix in the salt
and pepper by hand.
To assemble the tamales: Place a corn husk, ridged-side down, flat on a
work surface and spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of masa onto the corn husk.
Then place a spoonful of the kale filling atop the masa. Fold the
bigger sides in, and then the pointy tip up over the tamale. Repeat
with the remaining corn husks, filling and masa.
To steam, place a coin in the bottom of a pot and fill with 1 to 2
inches of water. Make sure that the steamer basket is not immersed in
the water. Line the bottom of a steamer basket with some additional
husks and stack the tamales in the steamer, with the exposed end facing
upward. Top with more husks and cover with a moist towel. Bring the
water to a boil and cook until the masa no longer sticks to the husks,
30 to 40 minutes.
Cook's Note: The coin will rattle during cooking. If it stops rattling,
all the water has evaporated and you need to add more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Camping Cuisine

The last two days we have been camping at Wekiva Springs KOA.  So while we were camping in a tent, we had a site with water and electricity and were conveniently located near the bathrooms and tiki bar. I know some of you (including some members of my family) will not consider that really camping.  For me, that's about as rugged as I get.  I will sleep in a tent, in the summer, if I have a fan.  I will camp, if there is a  proper lavatory somewhere nearby.  If I have those things and coffee in the morning and decent food to eat, I can handle it:).  It is even fun!  Well this trip had all that.  For the meal I was in charge of, I made 3 variations on the 'Grilled Loaf' to throw on the fire.  The main difference I made for the camping version, is in it's construction.  After I hollowed out the bread, I lined the entire 'bowl' with cheese, sides included. That way, I hoped to prevent any sogginess in the bread because I was making these before we left.   I then filled it with whatever fillings I needed for that particular sandwich and wrapped the whole thing in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.  I then put the foil wrapped loaf back into it's plastic bag I got it in from the bakery and wrote on the label with permanent marker the kid of sandwich it was.  They then went into the cooler for cooking that evening.  The plastic bag was great at preventing the melting ice from wetting the bread.  That night, we put the foil packets on a grate over the fire.  The sandwiches were ready in about 15 minutes.  The only thing is you must turn them frequently and move them around a bit.  The fire is uneven heat and more intense than an oven or grill. One of the sandwiches got a bit singed on one part, but we just trimmed off the burnt bread, and all was good. The fillings are listed below, in the order I put them in the bread but not in recipe format.  It's pretty self explanatory.

Turkey Pesto
Provolone
Turkey
Basil Pesto
Salami
Then repeat once more and end with Provolone on top

Roast Beef and Cheddar
Cheddar
Roast Beef
Horseradish Mayo
(Repeat, end with cheese)  I did use the last teaspoon of aioli I had too;)

Cuban
Swiss
Honey Ham
Pickles
Roasted Pork
Dijon Mustard
(repeat as above, ending with cheese)

Sorry about no pictures,  presentation is out when camping.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chipotle-Bacon Turkey Burger

I gave my son a list of possible dinner options for tonight, and he chose (of course) the one burger on the list.  I was ok with the idea, but I was sure my husband would be a little annoyed. (he has had to try too many burgers, too recently)  I know burgers are inherently good, and this one was no exception.  We all totally dug it.  I was really pleased that, as far as burgers go, it was a bit, and only a bit, lighter.  Why?  It had turkey instead of beef, no mayo (ok in the coleslaw there was mayo) and no cheese.  I did use ground turkey instead of ground turkey breast; it was cheaper and my boys like dark meat better.  The only really "bad" ingredient was the bacon. The biggest problem was it was a Dagwood like sandwich.  It was huge and unwieldy to eat.  I think less meat next time; I even used slightly less meat than called for. The ketchup  was nice.  It had just enough heat but not overwhelmingly so.  And, the coleslaw gave it a nice crunch.  I am finding too many burgers I really like.  I guess I can't blame my son for loving burgers and wanting them all the time; I craved them when I was pregnant with him.

Chipotle-Bacon Turkey Burger

For the chipotle ketchup
1/4 c  ketchup
1 T  sauce from canned chipotles in adobo
For the burger
1    medium red onion
1 T  olive oil
1 t  red wine vinegar
1 1/2 lb ground turkey breast
2 t  soy sauce
1 t  anchovy paste or 1 minced anchovy fillet
1    large egg
1 1/2 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
Vegetable oil,for oiling the grill
To assemble,:
4    kaiser rolls,sliced in half horizontally and toasted
8 sl cooked bacon
1 c  coleslaw
For the chipotle ketchup:
Place the ketchup and chipotle sauce in a small bowl and stir to
combine;   set aside.
For the burgers:
Slice the onion into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Keeping the slices intact
in their concentric rings, place three-quarters of the rounds in a
shallow baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar. Season
with salt and pepper and turn to coat in the oil and vinegar; set aside.
Finely chop the remaining rounds and place in a medium bowl (you
should have about 1/2 cup). Add the turkey, soy sauce, anchovy paste,
egg, and measured salt and pepper to the bowl and mix with your hands
until just evenly combined. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions.
Shape each portion into an even 3/4-inch-thick patty, wetting your
hands with water as needed if the mixture is sticky. Transfer the
patties to a plate and refrigerate while you prepare the grill. Heat a
grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375F to 425F). When
the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers of
paper towels dipped in vegetable oil.
Using tongs, place the marinated onion rounds on the grill, close the
grill, and cook until seared and softened, flipping halfway through the
cooking time, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Using a flat spatula, transfer the reserved turkey patties to the grill,
close the grill, and cook undisturbed (do not press down on the
patties) until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Using a clean spatula, flip the burgers, close the grill, and cook
until the patties are cooked through and an instant-read thermometer
registers 165F, about 6 minutes more. Remove to a clean plate and let
rest in a warm place or tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes.
To assemble:
Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the chipotle ketchup on each top and
bottom roll (about 3 teaspoons per burger you will probably have some
ketchup leftover). Place 2 bacon slices on each bottom roll and top
with a turkey patty. Top each patty with a fourth of the grilled onions
and coleslaw and close with the roll tops. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aioli

I am continuing to battle the bulge of the pantry and refrigerator!  Too much stuff bought: on sale, on whim, or because of temporary insanity.  Because of that, I was looking for a sauce to put on some of the seafood in the freezer.  A quick perusal of my 'to try' file on the computer turned up this Aioli recipe. I have always been a bit intimidated by the whole mayonnaise type sauce and have never tried one before.  This blog convinced me to try it at some point, hence it being in my 'to try' file.  It was not as hard as I feared.  It was a bowl of yummy garlicky goodness.  A little goes a long way too, so while uber fattening, you can get away with just a tad.  I highly recommend this recipe.  It was a nice addition to our shrimp (or any seafood as far as I can tell), I think we will have sandwiches for lunch tomorrow using this instead of mayo, and I am milling around in my mind how to use it in a salad dressing. 
Aioli

garlic, sliced
coarse salt such as kosher or sea salt
egg yolk
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe, directions and great information here.
Grilled Shrimp with the Aioli dotted on top
with barley and mixed veggies and a salad.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Welsh Rarebit

Well it is Meatless Monday.  I decided to try a recipe from Food.com.  The person who added this recipe is the same one who added the chicken balti that we LOVE. If you want to see all about her and her recipes click here.  I wanted to make Welsh Rarebit because I loved it when I ate it in England.  It was really good.  My husband didn't say it, but I could tell he thought it seemed a bit plain and not at all the kind of food he is used to getting from me, but he ate 3 of the 6 slices;) so he must have liked it.  The whole process was pretty quick.  One of the biggest chunks of my time was grating the cheese, but I hear that you can buy it already grated;).  (I doubled the recipe but tripled the slices and there was plenty of sauce)

Welsh Rarebit
1    ounce butter
1/2    ounce flour,white flour or  1/2 ounce whole wheat flour
1/4 pt milk,whole milk or 1/4 pint skim milk
4    ounces cheddar cheese (low fat is acceptable)
1    egg yolk
4 T  beer
salt
cayenne pepper,to taste
Worcestershire sauce,to taste
English mustard,to taste
1/2    ounce butter
2 sl toast

1) Melt the 1 oz butter in a pan,add the flour and mix well.
2) Cook on a gentle heat for a few mins without colouring.
3) Gradually add the cold milk and mix to a smooth sauce.
4) Allow to simmer for a few mins,then add the grated or finely sliced
cheese,allow to melt until a smooth mixture is obtained.
5) Add the yolk to the hot mixture, stir in and immediately remove from
the heat.
6) In a separate pan, boil the beer and allow it to reduce to 1/2
tablespoons Add to the mixture with the other seasonings (salt, cayenne,
Worcestershire and mustard).
7) Allow the mixture to cool.
8) Spread on rectangles of buttered toast, place on a baking sheet and
brown under a grill.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aero Garden

Day one: Set up
Tonight, we celebrated a huge accomplishment of a dear friend.  He got his PhD!  The amount of work alone makes it an amazing accomplishment, but he did it while working and making time for family!  Unbelievable!  Well since we were celebrating all day with them, I didn't cook, but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a product I got for my birthday and that I am pretty impressed with: my AeroGarden.  I got it as a birthday present from my MIL.  I have been wanting it for salad greens.  I can't believe how much lettuce we waste.  It is inevitably the fancier greens.  I can only find them already packaged and washed, and never as heads, bunches, whatever from they come in.  I thought that this would be an excellent way to harvest only what was needed.  It was easy to put together.  They sprouted with in a week and are grew fast.  However the thing that impressed me the most was their customer service.  One of my pods didn't sprout.  I figured I was out of luck, but I shouldn't have been.  These things weren't cheap.  So, I sent an email out.  With in an hour, I had a response.  The very nice representative asked for detailed information and shipping info so she could replace the pod.  Long story short, by the end of the second hour, I had 2 Arugula pods on the way to my house.  I don't think the one that didn't sprout was arugula, but I said I would like it if possible.  Not  only was that pod replaced, but I got a second one! And she set up my account with their online store, so if I wanted to order anything, it would be easy and I could keep track of my replacement pod order.  We did a small harvest (think one salad size) and mixed it into some lettuce we had.  They were lovely:).

Control panel
Salad greens seed pod

After a week


After 2 weeks and 1 harvest!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dinner With Friends

Wow!  I had an amazing dinner!  It really took me back to my childhood in Miami too.  I haven't had proper Cuban food, (except those croquettas) in a very long time.  They made enough food to feed an army, instead of the 7 guests they had;).  Everyone nearly exploded.  No recipes here just food porn:)  Thank you again my dear friends; it was wonderful!  However, expect some hate mail from my waistline;)

Bocaditos and Pastilitos
Mojitos
Tostones with Garlic Sauce
Pernil (a Pork Dish)
MMM now it's shredded
With Black Beans = Happiness On a Plate
AND Rum Cake!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fish Piccata

I was not feeling like cooking tonight.  I usually do but I was in a bit of a funk.  I have said it before and I will say it again, I have the best husband ever.  He took over dinner and cooked everything.  The fish recipe is from $10 Dinners on the food network.  I have only tried a few of her recipes, but they have ranged from good to great.  This one was adored by my son.  I liked it too, but I have to say it was a tad too lemony for me.  I would have added a bit more butter at the end or a bit less lemon.  Not that I am complaining. If you ate it with the Bulgar, it cut it's tartness.  It was really good but if I were tyring to nit pick it for fixes, that would be it.  To  go with it, my husband made Bulgar cooked in mushroom broth with some sauteed onion and celery and a lovely salad.  We ate every bit of dinner.  Usually there is a portion of leftovers, not tonight.  I don't know what sides she put with the fish on her show, but with the Bulgar and salad, the meal was easily less than $10. My awesome husband also made 2 batches of evil solidified, Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark.  We are taking it to a party tomorrow night and he just wanted to be great! 

Fish Piccata

2 T  olive oil
4    small white fish fillets (such as tilapia or sole)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c  flour
1/4 c  white wine
2    lemons,juiced
2 T  capers
2 T  butter
2 T  chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While
the pan is heating, blot the fish dry with paper towels and season with
salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Saute the
fish in the oil until just cooked through, about 4 minutes, flipping
halfway through. Remove the fish to a platter. Deglaze the pan with the
white wine, whisking for about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and capers
and stir. Add the butter and stir or whisk to incorporate to bring the
sauce together. Pour onto the fish and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Salad
All the Fish

Evil, I mean Pretzel Bark;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dried Apricot Liqueur

I have found so many recipes that I want to try, and a good percentage of them have come from my fellow food bloggers.  This recipe comes from one of  my favorite food blogs called We Are Not Foodies.  Not only do they have a lot of good looking recipes, but I like the writing style of the group.  I "made" this over a month ago. but tried it tonight for the first time.  I will say I was afraid of ruining a perfectly good bottle of vodka in my first attempt at a liqueur, so I guesstimated a smaller batch.  I was happily surprised with the taste and that I didn't mess it up.  The end result was really good and unique.  I think I want to order the book they talked about and perfect my liqueur making knowledge and skills.  Not only so I can reap the benefits, but it would make awesome Christmas presents! If you didn't see my previous post from a blogger, you may not know why I only listed the ingredients and not an actual recipe.  1) These aren't the big sites that you can find easily on you own, and I want to make sure that they get proper credit for the recipe.  I always put a link when I know it but a recipe from a fellow blogger is different than one from Food and Wine.  2) I wanted to give you the ingredient list, because that lets you know what is in it and that often lets me know if it is something that I want to make.  Whew done:) 

Dried Apricot Liqueur

Water
Sugar
Dried Apricots (Chopped)
100 Proof Vodka
Brandy
Orange Zest
Fruit Protector
Yellow Food Coloring
Red Food Coloring


For the recipe click here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chipotle Chicken and Gouda Salad

I was in Publix the other day and they were sampling Boar's Head's new products.  They had this chicken salad that I tasted and loved.  I decided to make it for two reasons: first, it was super fast and easy and secondly I wanted to see if I liked it as much at home as I did when I was breaking the cardinal rule of grocery shopping, shopping famished.  I asked the lady what was in it.  Other than the 1/2 pound of meat, I got no real proportions, but this is pretty close.  The salad requires no seasoning, as the meat and cheese are really seasoned.  It would make a great lunch, but we had it for dinner just because it was a busy night with lots of stuff to do and no real time.  The boys had sandwiches, but I would like to have it be the "dressing" on a salad or filled in lettuce cups next time.(I had mine on black pepper triscuts.)    It is a stellar meal? No.  Is it tasty and fast and worth it? Yes.  The biggest issue I have, is that the gouda makes for a slightly more mushy texture than I expect from chicken salad.

Chipotle Chicken and Gouda Salad

1/2 pound of Boars Head Chipotle Chicken, thickly sliced
1/4 pound of Boars Head Chipotle Gouda, thickly sliced
1 small Green Pepper
1/4 Mayonnaise

Chop up the chicken and put in a bowl.  Chop up the gouda and add to the bowl with the chicken.  Seed and finely dice the green pepper and add it to the bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and mix

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled White Pizza

Ok attempt two at grilling pizza!  It was so much more successful this time.  We went to the opposite end of the spectrum as far as toppings.  These were minimal in the extreme, and this recipe didn't call for the flipping of the dough.  There were still some issues.  There were parts that were "extra" charred.  When that started to happen, we turned down the heat and closed the lid to make sure that the top part of the dough cooked and the cheese melted. I enjoyed the pizza, and my husband liked it much better than last nights.  I absolutely hate burnt anything, but the blackened spots were pretty good.  (they were spread out)  Only advice I can give is be extra attentive to how much salt you put on, its easy to over do it, and be mindful of how well you spread out the red pepper flakes.  I thought, that with a nice salad, this was a really great meal.

 Grilled White Pizza

 1    (8-ounce) ball prepared pizza dough (bought fresh from pizzeria or frozen from market)
 2 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for drizzling
 Salt and freshly ground pepper
 1 c  grated Parmesan
 1/4 t  red pepper flakes,or more to taste
 1 T  finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
 Fresh basil leaves,for garnish
Heat grill to high. Roll the dough into 2 (10-inch circles). Brush
with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer dough to grill.
When bottom side is mostly cooked through, brush with 2 tablespoons
olive oil and sprinkle evenly with grated cheese, red pepper flakes,
oregano, and salt and pepper. Let cook until dough is cooked through
and slightly charred. Remove from grill, garnish with fresh basil, and
cut into pieces.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomato, Caramelized Onion, And Stilton Pizza

It's Monday and we are trying to do Meatless Mondays.  While we have had at least one day a week in the past that has meatless dinners, we are making an effort to have the entire day be meatless. (for the kids when possible)  I decided I wanted to do something I have always wanted to try, grilling pizza.  My husband scoffed at the idea of grilling pizza. (He scoffed at the idea of grilled romaine too, but he loved it)  My husband was not as enamored with this pizza as he was with the grilled romaine.  I can attribute this to two reasons.  1) He has an aversion to the texture of raw tomatoes, and these were lightly cooked.  2) He did the actual grilling.  Its Florida and it's summer; it is hot sweaty work, which is why I happily took him up on his offer to do the grilling.  I prepped everything he needed and gave it to him as needed:)  There were some logistical issues with the grilling that really needed some familiarity with the process to prevent frustration.  I can see how all this detracted from his enjoyment of the meal.  His issues aside, I had some issues too.  The tomatoes made for a watery mess as they cooked.  Next time, I would either dehydrate them in the oven for about 20 minutes or at the very least, press them between paper towels and remove the seeds.  And that my friends is another thing I like about blogging my meals.  Not only can I easily share recipes, but I can make the novice mistakes for you;).  And speaking of sharing, I was asked the other day why I share the recipes we didn't like.  I replied that not everyone has the same tastes and surely there were people out there who would quite like that load of crap we just made(just kidding about the crap ;), and for those like minded people out there, I can help them avert disaster! lol.  I did really like the smokey flavors that the grilling of the pizza imparted. Oh and another great thing, no hot oven in the house and we get pizza! I would like to try it again, and soon.  If my obsessive side wins out when deciding tomorrows diner, it will be then.  When I  feel the need to explore and an idea, I really like to do it to death. (ahem, does anyone remember the 20 burgers in a few months?:) And I don't like feeling like I haven't mastered something. (except dough making. I am happily inept)  So I guess I have decided, family, we are grilling pizza again:) 
Tomato, Caramelized Onion, And Stilton Pizza

3 T  butter
1    large yellow cooking onion diced
1/4 c  cornmeal,or flour
1    (4-inch) ball prepared dough,let rise to room temperature
2 T  olive oil
3    medium tomatoes,thinly sliced
4    ounces Stilton,crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Caramelize onion by melting 3 tablespoons butter in a saute pan over
medium heat. Add onion. Cook for 15to 20 minutes, or until onion is a
deep brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and reserve.
Sprinkle your rolling surface with a handful of cornmeal or flour.
Place dough in the middle of the surface. Roll dough out gently 1/4-
inch thick,   into either a 12-inch rectangle or circle. Brush both
sides with olive oil and set aside until ready to grill.
If you are grilling on a charcoal grill, set coals on one side of the
grill.
Place dough directly on the cooking grate over medium heat for 1 to 3
minutes, until the crust is well marked and browned. Flip dough and
spread tomato slices evenly over crust. Sprinkle onion over top, then
sprinkle cheese over the top. Move to indirect heat (for charcoal: the
side of charcoal grill that has no coals. For gas: turn off burner
directly under pizza). Cover grill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or
until bottom is well browned, and cheese is fully melted.
Remove from grill, season with salt and pepper and slice. Serve
immediately

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lola Burgers

Close your eyes and imagine all the delicious awesomeness of a burger.  Ok, now imagine all the deliciousness of a breakfast of a runny yolk and bacon.  Make those two awesome meals have a baby!  Now you have an idea of what this burger tastes like!  It was really good.  I think that the pickled onions are brilliant.  The best testament I can give this burger is that my boy didn't ask for any mayonnaise for it.  You may not know it by looking at his long, lean pre-teen self, but that kid had one hell of a mayo love monkey on his back.  I told him he had to try one bite without the mayo, but, after that, he could add it after he tried it as is.  He never asked!  I can't even begin to process that fact:).  I was forced into one deviation, I couldn't find smoked cheddar, so I got smoked Gruyere.  Oh it was just wonderful. I don't think the picture does justice to it's awesomeness;).  Fairly easy to make.  Most taxing part is to have egg, burger and toasting finish at the same time.

Lola Burgers

8    thick-cut slices of smoky bacon (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 lb mixed ground sirloin and chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sl of smoked cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
4    large eggs
4    English muffins,toasted
1/4 c  pickled cocktail onions thinly sliced
Ketchup and mustard,for serving
1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat
until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1
tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet.
2. Preheat a grill pan. Shape the meat into four 5-inch patties and
season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat
until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip the burgers and top with
the smoked cheddar. Cook for about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare
meat.
3. Meanwhile, in the reserved bacon fat in the skillet, fry the eggs
over-easy over moderate heat, about 3 minutes. Set the burgers on the
bottoms of the English muffins and top with the pickled onions, bacon
and fried eggs. Serve with ketchup and mustard.