Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Root Veggies

Well while tonight's recipe was really yummy, as yummy as it is a bit vague. (thanks Honey:/)  We had some veggies laying around and wanted to use them so my husband took over the sides and I did the shrimp with lemon dill sauce.  (No I didn't make it, some fancy brand that Publix put on clearance because no person who thinks food is worth spending that kind of money on would by sauce premade.  But as they were practically giving it away, my curiosity got the better of me, and I bought it and it has been sitting in the pantry for a few weeks and tonight is it's night to go. It was alright

Roasted Root Veggies

4 small rutabaga, peeled & diced
4 small beets, peeled & diced
1 medium Sweet potato, peeled & diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dried Basil
Dried Thyme
Dried Oregano

Toss and roast at 350 for 45 minutes (or until tender)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cheesesteak Mac N Cheese

We enjoyed our last recipe from Happy Valley Chow, so I decided to try another.  The pizza was one I picked out for my husband; tonight's recipe I picked out for myself!  (not that the boys are complaining;)  I did make a mistake; I forgot to buy provolone, so I used the mozzarella I had on hand.  While I do think the provolone would make a better dish, there were no complaints about the one with the mozzarella!  It was comfort on a plate.  I think the idea to use the immersion blender to make the sauce was brilliant.  Now I love my immersion blender and use it quite a bit, but using it on this sauce remind me of an article I read about a chef that thought it "one trick pony" until he was told to use it to beat eggs before scrambling them, and that reminded me that I probably do not use my immersion blender to its full extent.  I am determined to make scrambled eggs in the near future and whip them thusly!  If you are a vegetarian, still make this (omitting meat obviously) because the sauce is a great one for mac n cheese and the peppers and onions go great in it.  I think I would like sauteed mushrooms too (since I adore mushrooms) and they would be a good substitute for the beef.  (or addition carnivores;)

Cheesesteak Mac N Cheese

unsalted butter
sirloin steak
red pepper
green pepper
Kosher salt
elbow macaroni
all-purpose flour
dry mustard
sharp cheddar cheese
sour cream
panko bread crumbs
Smoked paprika

Recipe and directions here

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pdoma Chicken Tacos

I feel like I am on a roll!  Two nights in a row I have improvised a meal, cleaned up some ingredients and it was good!  I had these frozen chicken leg quarters.  I can't handle chicken: raw or on a bone and this was both.  I couldn't eat the chicken.  It just bothers me, but the boys, who love chicken and in particular dark meat, really loved it.  The really, really, loved it.  I made the beans for me, but the boys put a little on the bottom of their tacos.  I made the chicken ala my family's beloved Enchilada Chicken recipe, but with the plan not save the cooking liquid, so I was going to need to find some way to sauce it up a bit.  The solution was a taco seasoning flavored butter.  You can serve these tacos with whatever toppings suit your family's preferences, but I think what we used was pretty perfect.:)

Oh in case you are wondering what the heck Pdoma is, it was something a contractor my husband was talking to at work about where he gets his estimates.  He said usually they are Pdoma.  Pulled directly our of my... well you get the picture.  We got a good laugh about it and now it is part of the family vernacular;)

Pdoma Chicken Tacos

1.5 Tsp bacon fat
1/2 Green pepper, Diced
3 scallions, sliced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
15.5 ounce can of pinto beans drained
1/4 Cup bloody Mary mix
1/2 Cup broth (I used beef)
1/4 Tsp dried oregano
1 Tbl cumin
1.5 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp salt (not kosher)
1 Tsp chipotle powder
1 Stick unsalted butter
1/4 Tsp garlic  (At Most Use Less To suit your Taste)
4 leg quarters
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tbl oregano
2 Tsp salt

To serve:
Cheese (we used mozzarella)
Hot sauce
Sour cream
For the Chicken:
Put the chicken in a pot, cover with water and add seasonings.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium low and cook 2-3
(at this point the chicken can be refrigerated for later use.  Just heat
in the sauce)
For the beans:
Melt the fat in a sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the peppers until
almost soft (about 4 minutes)
Add the scallions and sauté until soft (about 2 more minutes)
Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds
Add the beans, bloody mary mix and broth and bring to a simmer
Reduce heat and use an immersion blender to roughly puree the mixture
Cook on low until desired consistency.  If you want them to be a little
thinner and more like a sauce about 7 minutes.  If you want them more
like refried beans as I did, I cooked mine about 15 minutes.  Either way, stir

For the Sauce:

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat
reduce heat to low and add seasonings
cook 1-2 minutes and take off heat
To serve:
Take the meat off the bone and shred
Mix (about 3/4 of) the meat in to the sauce (at this point we tasted and
added meat until the right proportion for us.  I think all would work
fine too)
Put a tortilla on a plate, add a bit of beans, add chicken, top with any
or all of the toppings you like

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hamburger Calzone

This recipe was born out of the ever increasing clutter I find in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry.  I don't know how or why this clutter grows; I cook every night.  I realize I do grocery shop a lot, but I use almost every thing I get.  Occasionally, I will have a portion of meat that was a bit more than I needed (like tonight's ground beef) and I will seal it and freeze it for future uses, but I am constantly astounded at the overflow of ingredients.  Anyways, rant over, this is why I just went in there and started using things to get this recipe.  I am a little embarrassed to say I loved it, not because it was bad, but it tasted suspiciously like a McDonald's cheeseburger.  I have a secret love of McDonald's.  When I am eating it, I think this really is garbage, but my mom craved them when she was pregnant with me and I think it is just something written in to my genes that when I see a McDonald's commercial, I secretly want some.  Now I am proud that I was able to approximate the McDonald's flavor but, get this, using real food!  It was not identical, but it was in the ballpark flavor wise.  I didn't really have a plan going in to the kitchen other than I needed to use up the extra pizza dough I had and that I really should get some of the meat out of the freezer.  Dough make me think of calzone, the ground beef made me think of burgers and the following was what my mind spat out.  We all liked it and it cleaned up a lot of ingredients laying around.  I didn't want the ketchup or mayo inside because I was afraid that it would get soggy, so I mixed them together and called it a dipping sauce that it did really need.  You can adjust the sauce to fit you personal tastes.  I you need mustard or hate mayo you can change it up, but I recommend something.

Hamburger Calzone

1/2 onion, chopped
15 dill pickle chops, chopped
3 Sun Dried Tomatoes, patted dry and finely chopped
1/2 lb ground beef
4 oz cheddar, shredded
4 oz mozzarella,shredded
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (if needed)
1/4 c ketchup
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 lb pizza dough

Put a pizza stone on the lowest shelf in your oven and preheat to 500 degeres
Flatten your ground beef in to a 1/4" layer and season with a bit of salt
Break off "slider" size peices of meat.  (They don't need to be uniform in size but uniform thickness is best)
Cook the "burgers" over medium heat in a skillet unitl cooked trhough and browned on both sides (for me that was about 90 seconds each side)
Remove cooked "burgers" to a plate with at slotted spatuala
finish off all the patties this way
If the pan is mostly dry, add the optional butter
Saute the onion unitl soft (about 5 minutes)
Add the sundried tomato and stir
Add the pickle and stir
Cook until heated though and any the mixture is mostly dry
Take off the heat to cool while you roll out the dough
Roll out he dough to a thin large circle (mine was about 18" diameter)
Leaving a 3/4' border, crumble the beef over the bottom half of the dough
Top the meat with the onion mixture evenly
Top that with both the cheeses evenly
Fold over the dough and crimp the edges and poke some holes on top
Carefully remove the hot pizza stone from the oven.
Carefully transfer the "calzone" to the hot stone and return to the oven
Bake at 500 for 7-10 minutes or until slightly browned and heated through
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Valley Chow's McJagger

I have had a lot of fun blogging the past 18 months or so but  I enjoyed trying all these new recipe (and revisiting some oldies), but also I love that I have found a lot of cool people with cool food blogs. (although I am annoyed with my phone for making it impossible to comment on the blogs, and I rarely use the computer) I tried a recipe tonight from a blog I love, and suggest you check out: Happy Valley Chow.  I knew this recipe seemed made for my husband.  With the exception of blue cheese, every ingredient is one he loves, its PIZZA, he went to Penn State and he loves the Rolling Stones.  I am not a fan of sweet and savory (nor apples in particular) but I thought this might be something I would like too.  It was quite good.  My husband and son loved it; I liked it despite the fact it had apples on it.  I personally would have liked a tad more cheese, but I did go light on it for my darling husband.  I will admit that our first crust got burnt; we have never done pizza like this before.  We turned down the temp a bit and the second crust was perfect.  I loved the texture the dough got from this cooking method.  As always with recipes from other bloggers, I will give you a general sense of the ingredients with a link to their page with the recipe.  Enjoy!


Pizza Dough
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Granny Smith Apples

Recipe available here

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tunisian Spice-Roasted Chicken

I am not the biggest fan of chicken.  It's not that I never like it, but I do have issues with it.  The boys love chicken, so I try every now and again to serve them their beloved legs and thighs.  I got this recipe from Food and Wine.  As always, Food and Wine delivered a tasty recipe.  The chicken was really juicy.  I did take out all the pieces but the thighs after the 45 minutes and the thighs I wrapped in foil and cooked a bit longer since they were only at 145.  I make one other deviation regarding the dried chipotle in the Harous recipe.  I couldn't find them and I kept forgetting to order some online, so I used dried chipotle powder.  I went light too just in case; I used a little over a teaspoon.  We all enjoyed the dish.  The boys remarked on how much they liked the skin.  Next time I would use more of the harous (perhaps because of my chipotle switch up??) because it wasn't really spicy.  It would also be nice to use up more than 1.5 tsp of the 1.5 cups the recipe made.  All in all a winning dish:).

Tunisian Spice-Roasted Chicken
1 1/2 Lb red potatoes cut into 2-inch pieces
One 4-pound chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tsp ground coriander
1 Tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Harous (recipe below)
Large pinch of saffron threads crushed into 2 tablespoons water
1 Lb green bell peppers cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 Lb plum tomatoes quartered lengthwise
1 lemon thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the
potatoes until barely tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
In a bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the olive oil, ground spices,
Harous, saffron water and a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and toss.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast until the chicken is cooked through
and the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a
platter and keep warm.
Mix the green peppers, tomatoes and lemon slices into the potatoes.
Roast, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, about 20
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the chicken pieces on the vegetables, skin
side up, and broil 4 inches from the heat until the skin is browned and
crisp, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to the
platter, drizzle with the pan juices and serve.

1 medium onion very thinly sliced
Pinch of turmeric
2 Tbl kosher salt
4 ancho chiles stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles stemmed and seeded
1/2 Tsp ground coriander
1/2 Tsp ground caraway seeds
1/2 Tsp freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
In a shallow bowl, toss the onion slices with the turmeric and salt.
Cover the onion with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room
Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet until hot to the touch. Add the
anchos and chipotles and toast over moderate heat, pressing lightly with
a spatula until the chiles are very pliable and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Transfer the chiles to a work surface and let cool completely, then
tear them into 1-inch pieces. In a spice grinder, coarsely grind the
Drain the onion slices in a strainer, pressing hard to extract as much
liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a food processor and pulse
until pureed. Add the ground chiles, coriander, caraway, pepper and
cinnamon and process to a paste. With the machine on, gradually add the
olive oil and puree until fairly smooth.~

Make Ahead
The harous can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.
Serve With Tunisian Spice-Roasted Chicken

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

French Onion Soup

Well, it is freezing here in Florida tonight, and by freezing, I mean "Florida Freezing" and that is mid forties.  Since there is a chill in the air, I thought of soup, and I decided to try my hand at french onion soup.  I like that this recipe called for toasting the crouton instead of broiling the entire bowl of soup with the cheese over it.  Now I love a bubbling cauldron of cheese, but I simply don't have the crocks.  It wasn't a fast dinner, (25 minutes for caramelizing onions alone!) but it was a tasty dinner.  Next time I would make homemade broth; I felt that the cartons I used took a bit a way from the end result.  However, we all enjoyed it.  Even the three year old ate heartily. 

French Onion Soup
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
4 onions sliced
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup red wine about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Qt beef broth
1 baguette sliced
1/2 Lb grated Gruyere
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions,
 garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the
onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine,
bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has
evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay
leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a
stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and
cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef
broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season,
to taste, with salt and pepper.~
When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette
slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the
Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.~
Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of
bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the
bread and melt the cheese.~

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hoisin Cocktail Meatballs

This recipe was a bit of a disappointment.  The meatballs were very plain.  I admit, I forgot to add the scallions and parsley, but I don't think that would have saved them.  The sauce was quite good,  but since it was thin, not a lot of it stuck to the meatball.  I did add scallions to the sauce to make up for my oops, but other than that, I followed the recipe.  I thought the Korean Style Meatballs I made had a better sauce and unbelievably, the frozen meatballs were even better than these.  So, I deleted the recipe but kept the sauce that my husband and son loved, and I really liked.  To go with it, I quickly sauteed some carrots, bok choy and broccoli that I had blanched.  It was my favorite part:)

Hoisin Cocktail Meatballs

2 Tbl hoisin sauce
1 Tbl reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tsp sesame oil
1/4 Cup dry bread crumbs
3 Tbl chopped green onions
3 Tbl minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Tsp minced fresh gingerroot
1 -1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1/4 Cup rice vinegar
1/4 Cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbl water
2 Tbl sesame oil
2 Tbl reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbl honey
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Tsp minced fresh gingerroot

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over
mixture and mix well.
 Shape into 32 meatballs. Place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated
with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until
meat is no longer pink.
 Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients; heat
through. Serve with meatballs. Yield: 32 appetizers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fettuccine With Asparagus, Lemon, Pine Nuts & Mascarpone

I had some Mascarpone I had bought and didn't use it for what it was purchased for, so I found this recipe in the ever growing to try file. I love asparagus and I love Mascarpone so I was pretty sure I would like it; the boys were an entirely different matter. It was a fairly easy process to make and it came together in a reasonable amount of time. Also, I'm pretty sure it could be prepared ahead of time up until the baking and then baked when you want to eat. You would need to increase the cook time. I would cover it with foil and bake 15-20 minutes, remove the foil and bake like the instructions say. The boy, did not care for it. Asparagus is not something he enjoys. My husband, also not a huge fan of asparagus, loved it. He went back for thirds! The lemon was nice and that was the only thing I worried might be off with the fish. The only thing we thought less then great was the consistency of the sauce. It was not like a sauce; it was more like a thin coating stuck on the pasta. It kinda felt like you were eating pasta with no sauce. Thankfully it didn't taste like it. I followed the instructions exactly and even with my husband digging into it 3 times, it's only half gone! It serves at least 6! I would also like a bit more asparagus. I used one bunch but didn't weigh it. In retrospect, I bet it was a one pound bunch. Double would have been perfect. It's not pretty looking, but it was tasty and that is what counts in the end:).   I couldn't find the  Grana Padano cheese called for, but the Internet said you could substitute parm so I did

Fettuccine With Asparagus, Lemon, Pine Nuts & Mascarpone
2 Tbs. olive oil more for the pan
2 Lb medium-thick asparagus ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces on an
8 scallions (whites and tender greens) cut in thin rounds
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 1 lemon (about 4 Tbs.)
A few sprigs fresh thyme or savory leaves chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Cup whole milk
1 Cup mascarpone
1 Cup grated Grana Padano cheese (or Parmesan)
Small pinch cayenne
Generous pinch ground allspice
3/4 Cup homemade breadcrumbs
1 Lb Fettuccine (oops I used linguine)
1/2 Cup pine nuts lightly toasted

Heat the oven to 450F. Lightly coat a large, shallow baking dish with
olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the
asparagus and blanch until tender but with a slight bite left to it,
about 2 minutes. Scoop it from the water with a large slotted spoon, set
it in a colander, and run it under cold water to preserve its green
color. Drain well. Keep the water boiling for the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the
scallions; saute 1 minute to soften. Add the asparagus and saut briefly,
about 1 minute. Take the skillet off the heat and add half the zest, the
lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper; mix well and reserve.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and flour over medium heat,
whisking until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly, to cook
away the raw taste of the flour. Add the milk and cook, whisking all the
while, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and cook until
smooth and lightly thickened (about the consistency of heavy cream), 3
or 4 minutes. A thin sauce is what you're after. Cook it until it has the consistency
of heavy cream.

Turn off the heat and add the mascarpone, the remaining lemon zest, and
1/2 cup of the Grana Padano, whisking until the mixture is fairly smooth
(there will be a slight grainy texture from the cheese). Season with the
cayenne, allspice, and more salt and pepper.~
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining Grana Padano.
Season with salt and pepper and add a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well.~
Return the cooking water to a full boil and cook the fettuccine, leaving
it slightly underdone. Drain well. Return the fettuccine to the cooking
pot. Add the mascarpone sauce, the pine nuts, and the asparagus with all
its juices. Toss and taste for seasoning. Pour into the baking dish and
sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake uncovered
until bubbling and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve right away.~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

White Pizza with Capicollo

Ok, tonight's pizza was an improv and not resounding success I had hoped.  It tasted good, but while the picture at the top of the post is showing the pizza in its best possible light, the entire pizza was a bit of a monstrosity. (the pizza in all it's grotesque glory can be seen at the end of the post)  Why?  Well, let me start at the beginning.  My son has a friend over tonight as we have an early date with a ropes & zip line course.  I always try to not suffer the little children to eat what is not friendly to most kids palates, and this particular friend likes things plain to boot, so I was making the boys a plain cheese pizza.  For the second, adult, pie, I decided to try and clean up some of the stuff I had floating around the fridge.  I decided to use up the rest of the ricotta from a lasagna I made recently.  Also because it was the grown up version, I decided to try making it flat bread thin.  That began my journey down the path of many errors.  It was way bigger than the pizza stone, and continuing down my chosen path, I think I will fold the ends over and make something like a "stuffed Crust" pizza.  Well, hindsight is letting me know that the ricotta should be warmed to make it easier to spread, and therefore would have taken less time to spread and then that would have prevented the crust from cooking and firming up in the exact opposite shape I wanted! I continued with my error filled plan and it really looked like something a 1st grader made.  The one saving grace was that it was pretty yummy.  Now I considered never mentioning all the mistakes, vanity and all, but I fell honor bound to be honest in my blog and I see it as was way to learn and share together.

White Pizza with Capocollo

1 lb Pizza Dough
1 cup Ricotta
1/4 Tsp Garlic
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1.5 Cups Mozzarella
3 Ounces Sweet Capocollo, thinly sliced

Put a pizza stone in to a cold oven and heat to 500 degrees
Meanwhile, roll out the dough in to a 16" round
Mix the ricotta and garlic and salt.
Take heated stone out of the oven and place the dough on to the hot stone. (BE CAREFUL:)
Spread evenly over the dough
Top with the mozzarella
Place the capocollo evenly over the pizza
Return stone to rack in bottom position in oven and bake 6-7 minutes

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Korean Beef Tacos With Cucumber Slaw

I was very excited for this recipe despite two prejudices I have.  1) I think crockpots are, well, a crock.  I think they are a one trick pony but since my old girl still works, I haven't tossed her.  2) Yes, short ribs are amazing, but their fatty, connective tissue laden selves give me the willies, but despite my issues, I was looking forward to the dish.  Why?  Korean, taco, sriracha, homemade pickle, hello?  I don't know what the recipe for ambrosia is, but I bet it reads similar.  I halved the meat amount you see below, as we are only 4, but I kept the rest of the amounts the same.  I now have a container of beef fat (separated from the liquid) and the cooking liquid in the freezer to take up space until I think of a use for it or I go to war with my kitchen again.  These tacos lived up to their promise.  I did to the "optional'  liquid reduction the author did.  I think it is necessary! (oh and I halved the amount for the reduction too)  My mind failed me; I bought alfalfa sprouts instead of bean sprouts.  I think they would have been really good on this.  I did use the short ribs as they were less per pound that the chuck.  My husband loved them and he ate them reheated since he was home late.  I highly recommend this dish!

Korean Beef Tacos With Cucumber Slaw

For the Korean beef:
5 Lb beef short ribs (can also use chuck roast or back ribs)
1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
1 Cup packed brown sugar
6 Clove garlic minced
4 Tbl ginger grated
6 Tbl rice vinegar
2 Tbl dark sesame oil
2 Tbl vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbl sriracha
1 Cup water (optional)
For the Cucumber Slaw:
1 cucumber (seedless recommended)
Thinly sliced red onion rounds
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Tbl rice vinegar
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
For the tacos:
16 small wheat tortillas (I used flour)
bean sprouts
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

The recipe can be found here

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Turkey Cobb Burger

Another recipe from my free Bobby Flay iBook, Bobby Flay's Bold Flavors.  As a cobb salad fan, I loved this burger.  My boys, not lovers of blue cheese or avocado, liked it (which is a win unto it's self) but didn't love it.  The dressing for the lettuce is worth keeping alone, much less the magical blue, avocado and bacon blend:).   My daughter, who never eats much, or eats many carbs, ate almost an entire burger.  We did change hers up a bit.  She is three and we figured the pungency of blue cheese wouldn't work for her, and she won't eat anything green, so she had a plain turkey burger with some plain ole American Cheese.  However, let me reiterate, she ate almost an ENTIRE burger! Something to be said for the inherent yumminess of a turkey burger that I find many turn their nose up at.  Now I love a beef burger, but turkey is no slough in the burger department, as long as you use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast.  I know that this blog has many a burger recipe, but keep in mind, they are amazingly delicious and fast and easy. (not diet, but then they would be magic;)  And while the boys both though we had had better burgers, this one is a must for Cobb salad fans.  Oh and one last note, if you don't do pork, I think turkey or veggie bacon would be just fine on the sandwich.

Turkey Cobb Burger

1 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Lb 90 percent lean ground turkey
1 1/2 Tbl canola oil
2 ounce(s) crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus more for garnish (optional)
4 burger buns split
1 1/4 Cup finely shredded romaine lettuce
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato cut into 8 slices
1 ripe avocado halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced
8 Slice bacon cooked until crisp

1.To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard,
 Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and
pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.
2.Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (6 ounces each). Form each
portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression
in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with
salt and pepper.
3.Cook the burgers using the canola, topping each one with some of the
cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking
4.Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bun. Toss the romaine
with the dressing and arrange over the burgers. Top each with 2 slices
of bacon, 2 slices of tomato, sliced of avocado, and additional blue
cheese, if desired. Cover each burger with a bun top and serve

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail/Shot

Ok, confession time.  I have an embarrassing secret.  I have hijacked my son's brand new PS3 and play Skyrim all day.  I am not even exaggerating about all day.  I will start when the boy goes to school, and find that he is home the next minute.  Not being a totally irresponsible parent, I make sure everyone eats, they get to and from school and all their activities,  that there are clean clothes and dishes, but only the bare minimum.  It started the week I was really sick and there wasn't much else I could do, but having returned to health, I have no excuse.  Needless to say, I have neglected not only the blog but the new recipe thing.  I am going to do better, as soon as I rid Skyrim of all evil and tyranny! :)  While I may have cobbled together leftovers for dinner, I do have a new discovery to share with you, a totally yummy cocktail or shot depending on you proclivities.  I used diet lemonade, and I hate diet drinks, and I still thought it was good.  It tasted remarkably like a lemon meringue pie.  It is best when made with fresh lemon juice or homemade lemonade made from fresh lemon juice, but in a pinch any lemon juice will do. I have also made a creamcicle drink from the whipped cream vodka and orange soda, and I hear that with root beer it tastes like a float.

Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail/Shot

For the shot:

2 ounces Whipped Cream Vodka
1.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
0.5 ounces simple syrup
Whipped Cream to top

For the Cocktail:

2 ounces Whipped Cream Vodka
5 ounces Lemonade/diet lemonade
whipped cream to top

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spicy Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower & Tomatoes

I was so excited to get Romanesco Cauliflower in my Front Porch Pickings basket!  I have seen pictures before and always wanted to try it, but could never find it.  Chalk up yet another reason to get a local produce delivery company or join a CSA.  The vegetable is striking!  I would find my self staring at it whenever I opened the fridge.  I found several recipes I wanted to try, but ended up deciding on this one for two reasons.  One, I wanted to make sure we didn't cover up the cauliflower's natural flavor since it was the first time we were trying it, and two it would be a crime to make anything that called for us to cut the head up into anything smaller than florets!  Now I could have just plain roasted it (or steamed it for that matter) and would have been happy, but my less that cauliflower loving boys wouldn't have taken so kindly to that.  In fact, cauliflower is one of the two veto ingredients I allow my boy.  He usually gags if cauliflower passes his lips, but I made him try two small florets. (who knows when we may see this again?)  It was amazing, NO GAG!  Did he like it? Not really, but he ate the pieces I told him to and declared it better than the plain ole white variety.  So the boy thought it was better and that the texture was better.  My husband loved the texture and thought it a vast improvement over the regular type.  I agree with them on the texture but I also thought it tasted a bit different and loved the flavor, but I can't quite put my finger (or tongue) on how it tasted different but I liked it, a lot.  So, if you are ever lucky enough to find Romanesco cauliflower, I think you will be happy no matter how you prepare it, just please, use a recipe that calls for florets and don't destroy its striking beauty.

Spicy Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower & Tomatoes
1 head of romanesco cauliflower core removed and cauliflower broken up in to florets
3 organic heirloom tomatoes (sliced)
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 Tsp chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. On a baking sheet, toss the
cauliflower florets, oil, salt and chili powder together. Add several
grinds of black pepper. Line up the tomatoes and paint both sides with
oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper and chili powder.
Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is
softened and is brown in places.
Remove from oven and squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower. Serve

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard

Tonight's recipe was a hit in every way but one, and that one miss only really bothered the particular aesthetics of my husband.  His complaint was that the beet greens imparted an unnatural color to the goat cheese and that the resulting tint of sauce and pasta was a color not to be achieved in nature.  And while it is true that it looked unnatural, as a good wife, I refrained from pointing out that nature did achieve this color. (well refrained until he reads the post ;)  It was pretty easy too.  The steps were a bit many: two roastings in the oven at two temps, boiling pasta and sauteing the veggies and the prep work, but it still wasn't every time consuming.  If you plan it right, it comes together very quickly.  It takes some knowledge of you equipment.  For example, the pot I was using to boil the pasta in seems to take forever to come to a boil.  It is the only one but it was also the only appropriately sized vessel that was clean so it had to be used.  To keep it efficient I started the water first, so if you know the quarks of your kitchen, you should be able to whip this up in a snap.  It is also vegetarian and can be gluten free if you substitute quinoa pasta.  I also love that this is a recipe to use up the beet tops that often come with beets, but sadly get ignored.  I think they might be my favorite green. (them or kale:)  I used tri color pasta, but that wasn't called for in the recipe, and I don't know if that helped or hurt its over all look, but oddness aside, we loved it.

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard
1/2 Cup walnut halves
1 Pint cherry tomatoes
2 Tbl plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Lb fusilli pasta
3 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 Lb beet greens rinsed and coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 Lb soft goat cheese thickly sliced
1/4 Cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano  cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts
for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop
and transfer to a bowl
 2. Raise the oven temperature to 450. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss
the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of he olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon
each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until
browned in spots.
 3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile,
   heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add
the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until
golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red
pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are
just wilted, 3 minutes.
 4. Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the
pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the
skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season
with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the
chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rabbit Pasta

My darling husband is cooking again tonight even though I am on the mend.  He is anxious to return to the kitchen and cook like he used to.  I kind of think of his kitchen technique as a cross between jazz improv and mad scientist.  He just like to go in there and chop and toss and add until every dish is dirty and kitchen is thoroughly trashed and then he pronounces dinner done.  (I am waiting for the day I hear maniacal laughter coming form the kitchen and hear him say "SHE IS DONE" (ala Frankenstein's "he's alive")  I stayed out of the kitchen. (I believe that is one of the reasons we are still happily married because if I saw what all he does in there I might have a heart attack) As I wasn't watching, I cannot verify the perfection of his "measurements" but the idea is sound.;)  The most notable thing about the the dish is the way it came by it's name.  Our 3 year old daughter was running to the kitchen and asking for carrots as dad chopped them, and was pretending to be a rabbit.  Then when we were eating dinner, since our 11 year old was out of town on a school competition, dinner was all about the girl and her silliness, and we found ourselves calling the pasta "rabbit pasta" to get her to try and eat something besides the carrots.  She ate 2 large bowls!  It was very good, so I hope he got the proportions correct, so I can try and make it again.

Rabbit Pasta
4 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Small Onion Chopped Fine
1/2 Cups Grape Tomatoes Halved
1/2 Pounds Spaghetti
2 Clove Garlic
1 Cups Carrot Match sticks
1 Cups Zucchini Match sticks
1 Scallion Thinly Sliced
4 Ounce Spinach Chiffonade
1/2 Stick Butter, Unsalted
2 Tablespoon Flour
Dash Hot Sauce
1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Parmesan. Grated for topping
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Put on water to cook the pasta
Heat olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat and cook onion and
tomatoes, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes.  Smash the tomatoes
when they soften.
Lower the heat to low and add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
Add the pasta to the now boiling (salted) water
Turn skillet back up to medium and add carrots, zucchini, scallions,
salt and pepper to taste
Cook 3 minutes or until barely softened and reduce to medium low
Add butter and flour, hot sauce and lemon.
Cook two minutes and add cream and broth (thin with pasta water if
Put the spinach in a large bowl and toss with the hot, cooked pasta to
just barely wilt spinach
Mix with the sauce and top with parm.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spinach-And-Shrimp Salad With Chile Dressing

I have been miserable, unable to move with an extremely painful headache.  I thought perhaps I was finally finding out how terrible a migraine was.  It had gotten steadily worse over a week; it was to the point all I could do was lay down with a cold cloth over my head and no pain medicine made a dent in the pressure and pain.  I tell you this to explain my absence from blogging and to warn you that even if you have only a headache, it could be a sinus infection!  I went to the doctor today and was given an antibiotic.  It has totally made an incredible difference in the first 24 hours!  I also tell you so you can again appreciate my wonderful husband who not only took care of me and the kids, but cooked a new recipe so there would be an entry for tonight.  Needless to say, I wasn't very hungry, but the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen were awakening the beginnings of an appetite.  The only change we made was we used a jalapeno pepper because we had one we needed to use up.  We were worried the fact that the seeds weren't ground would make for an unpleasant crunch, but we worried for naught.  The whole thing was a really pleasant salad.  My only complaint was I would have liked more heat, but the recipe called for a pepper with more Scoville units, so that would have been fixed if we didn't use up an ingredient we had on hand.  It is nice meal because it is slightly warm and filling because of the shrimp, but still light enough that you feel good after eating it.

Spinach-And-Shrimp Salad With Chile Dressing

8 c  baby spinach (8 ounces)
1 c  frozen baby peas,thawed and drained
1/2 c  grape tomatoes,halved
1/4 c  plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1    onion,finely chopped
1    Holland or serrano chile minced
1 t  finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 t  cumin seeds
1/4 t  turmeric
2 1/2 T  fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb cooked large shrimp
In a large bowl, toss the spinach, peas and tomatoes. In a medium
skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat
until lightly golden, 4 minutes. Add the chile, ginger, cumin and
turmeric and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season the
dressing with salt and pepper.
Add the shrimp to the salad. Pour the warm chile dressing over the
salad,  toss well and serve at once.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oven-Toasted Ham, Brie And Apple Sandwiches

I liked this sandwich, but I did think that the apples were a bit superfluous.  There were bites I never noticed them, there were bites where they were overwhelming, and there were bites were perfect.  I know that is pretty useless critique, but it is the truth.  I would make it again, and I would probably include the apples.  I tried it with out the apples and only the mustard and it wasn't as good.  It was a nice and different sandwich, and because it is warm and filling, it makes a great fast dinner.

Oven-Toasted Ham, Brie And Apple Sandwiches

1    large baguette (about 1 lb.),cut into 4 pieces
7 oz brie,most of the rind trimmed off and thinly
2    Tbs. unsalted butter
1    -1/2 medium Granny Smith apples,cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick
3/4 lb ham steak,thinly sliced on the diagonal
2    Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1    Tbs. honey
1 t  chopped fresh thyme

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
Split the baguette pieces lengthwise, open them up like a book, and top
one side with the brie. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment
paper or aluminum foil, and bake until the cheese melts and the bread
lightly browns, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) heavy-duty skillet over
medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, tossing every minute or so,
until they start to soften and brown in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the
ham and cook, gently tossing, until it warms. Remove from the heat and
gently toss with the mustard, honey, and thyme until the ham and apples
are evenly coated. Using tongs, distribute the ham mixture into the
warm pieces of baguette, secure with 2 toothpicks, cut in half, and

Friday, January 4, 2013


It is cold out, so I opt for a soup tonight.  Other than the chopping (which was minimal), this dish was a breeze! I know I have said it before in the blog, but when a recipe calls for a small bit of tomato paste, I use a 1 tablespoon scoop to portion out the rest of the can on to a plate and freeze.  Then I pop those frozen portions off and put them in a plastic bag.  Easy and give you a simple way to store all that extra paste.  I wasn't expecting the dish to be anything less than good, but I was also not expecting an OMG moment.  It was an OMG dish!  I used a baguette instead of chibatta because I didn't read the recipe well before my trip to the store, (blush) but I it is a mistake I will make again.  The  whole dish was wonderful, but I think that bread was what took it from good to great.  If you make this, I would suggest you do what I did, use 4 cups of stock.  I think that if I hadn't used that last cup in the carton (just to clean up) the dish wouldn't have had enough liquid.  As it was, I think it could have used a tad more. 


1/4 c  extra-virgin olive oil,plus some for drizzling on bread
1    onion,chopped
1    carrot,chopped
4    ounces pancetta,chopped
2 ea garlic,1 minced and 1 whole
1 t  salt
1 t  freshly ground black pepper
1 T  tomato paste
1    (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 lb frozen spinach,thawed and squeezed dry
1    (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans,drained
1 T  herbs de Provence
3 c  chicken stock
1    bay leaf
1    (3-inch) piece Parmesan rind
4    to 6 ciabatta rolls,halved lengthwise or 1 loaf, sliced
Grated Parmesan,for serving

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion,
carrot, pancetta, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion
is golden brown and the pancetta is crisp, about 7 minutes. Add tomato
paste and stir until dissolved. Add tomatoes and stir, scraping the
bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits.
Add the spinach, beans, herbs, stock, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Drizzle the ciabatta halves with olive oil. Toast until golden brown,
about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the top of the toasts
with the whole garlic clove. Place the toasts in the serving bowls and
ladle the soup over the toasts. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spiced Lentils With Mushrooms And Greens

I wasn't sure what I would think of the end product.  I like all the ingredients that went in to the dish, but I thought something was missing and was leery of what I would end up with.  Turns out, it wasn't missing anything.  The greens and mushrooms we perfect with the lentils, and the spices, while hinting at Indian, were very light and let you enjoy the flavors of the greens and mushrooms without drowning them in seasoning.  It isn't quite a soup, but it isn't a side either.  I did make one small change.  There was only one package of fresh shiitakes at Publix, so I got that one and a second package of "baby bellas".  I would have liked it so much better if I could have used all shiitakes since they are my favorite.  The mushrooms, greens and lentils make for a very meaty flavor despite the lack of any meat in it.  All in all a win for me:)

Spiced Lentils With Mushrooms And Greens

1/2 c  brown or green lentils
3 T  extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms,stems discarded and caps sliced 1/4 inch
1    garlic clove,minced
1/4 t  ground cumin
1/4 t  ground coriander
1/4 t  freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t  turmeric
1/2 lb Swiss chard or other tender greens,larger tough stems discarded and leaves roughly chopped
1 T  chopped parsley
1. In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water
and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are
tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive
oil.   Add the shiitake and season with salt. Cover and cook over
moderate heat, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and starting to
brown, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along
with the garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper and turmeric and cook,
stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the greens and cook, stirring,
until wilted, 2 minutes.
3. Add the lentils and their cooking liquid to the mushrooms and
simmer for 3 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup of water if the lentils are too
dry. Season with salt. Ladle the lentils into bowls, garnish with the
parsley and serve.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Salmon, Bacon And Potato Hash

I really liked the glaze for the salmon, and a runny egg on hash.... heaven.  My only issues with the dish, not enough of the bacon and apple to potato, and the salmon was a bit over done and annoying to cook on the grill.  I did use wild salmon, and those filets are much thinner, and the fillets didn't have skin on them wich also made grilling even more annoying.  We all liked the dish well enough and will make it again but with some small changes.  I think next time we will reduce the amount of potato.  That way, we have more of the tasty bits with the potato.  I really got out of the blogging groove, and now that there is a new year, I need to get back in to the groove.  Alas, tonight is not that time, so anothere short and sweet post:)

Salmon, Bacon And Potato Hash

2 lb baking potatoes
4    thick slices of bacon,cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c  vegetable oil
1    onion,cut into 1-inch dice
1    small Granny Smith apple cut into 1/2-inch dice
Grilled Glazed Salmon broken into chunks (recipe follows)
Freshly ground pepper
6    fried eggs and chopped parsley,for serving

1. Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a large
pinch of salt and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook for
15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender; drain. Peel the
potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat,
turning once, until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon,
transfer the bacon to a paper towellined plate. Pour off the fat.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to each of 2 large nonstick
skillets. Add the potatoes and cook over moderate heat until they are
browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes, cover and
cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender, 10 minutes.
4. Stir the onion and apple into the potatoes. Cover the skillets and
cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the apple is
tender, about 7 minutes. Add the salmon, cover and cook until heated
through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining horseradish glaze and
the bacon pieces and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the hash to
plates, top with the fried eggs and parsley and serve.

Grilled Glazed Salmon

1/4 c  plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 c  prepared horseradish,drained
2 T  honey
Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Vegetable oil,for rubbing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Light a grill. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and
honey. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill
the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned,
about 3 minutes. Turn and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon
is almost cooked through. Turn the salmon again and spread each fillet
with 1 tablespoon of the horseradish glaze. Turn and grill until glazed,
about 30 seconds. Serve the remaining glaze on the side.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

I happen to be one of those people who love Brussels sprouts, my husband didn't think he did until I made a shredded version for him.  I was excited to try this, and I loved it, but the most pleasure I got out of the dish is that my 11 year old has changed his veto ingredients.  They were cauliflower and mushrooms (two of my favorites) but he decided that Brussels sprouts will replace mushrooms.  Callo-callay, oh frabjous day!!! MUSHROOMS ARE BACK ON THE MENU!!!!  So chalk up another reason to endear this recipe to my heart!  He had to eat them tonight.  No veto change occurs on the night its requested;  that prevents miss use;).  If you are a cabbage hater, you may not love this recipe for texture reasons alone, but the caramelizing does temper the bitter and what doesn't taste better with bacon (or pancetta).  If you are leery of these sprouts, and are willing to give them a shot, maybe build to them in their whole form. (like in this recipe)   Shred the sprouts and saute in some bacon fat and some tomatoes and it will be a baby step on your way to Brussels sprout love.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

3 lb brussels sprouts
6 T  extra-virgin olive oil
6    shallots,thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2    ounces thickly sliced pancetta,cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
1/4 c  oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes,drained and chopped

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts
until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the
brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.
2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the
shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly
browned, 10 minutes; scrape into a bowl.
3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels
sprouts, cut side down, and the pancetta. Season with salt and cook
over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned
and tender, 10 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and
cook, stirring, until warm, 5 minutes. Season with salt, transfer to a
bowl and serve.