Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bucatini With Pancetta, Pecorino And Pepper

At first, I was thinking this was a bit plain because of its simplicity, but the boys loved it!  I had gone light on the pepper since the three year old can be picky.  Once I added a few grinds of pepper, it really began to grow on me. I started it out as a 3 but we ended up at a 4. It doesn't reheat too well and it's pretty rich, so I would say this makes 6 servings with a salad.  I think I still think of it as a 3.75 but considering how much the boys enjoyed it, I rounded it up to a 4.

Bucatini With Pancetta, Pecorino And Pepper

1 Lb bucatini perciatelli or thick spaghetti
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces pancetta sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1-inc
1 1/4 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano plus more for serving
1 Tsp freshly ground pepper

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.
Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the pancetta
pieces and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the meat is
lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the bucatini to the skillet and toss over moderate heat to coat
with the fat and pancetta. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water,
the 1 1/4 cups of Pecorino cheese and the pepper and season with salt.
Toss the pasta until the sauce becomes very thick and creamy, 2 to 3
minutes; add more of the cooking water if necessary. Serve immediately,
passing additional cheese at the table.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

French Onion Pasta

I don't know what to say about this dish.  Ok I do, it was way too salty to start with!  I feared it would be when I saw that there was a Lipton onion soup mix and stock reduced a bit to make the sauce. Now I adore French onion soup, so I was super excited to try it and I do like salty so I tried to not dislike it, and while I didn't love it, I liked it way better than the boys did.  I am deeming it fixable, but as is. it's a 2.5-3.  To begin with I would either use water instead of stock or add a lot more cream to tame the salt monster. I used Swiss cheese instead of mozzarella as Swiss is what goes on French onion soup.  I also didn't measure the cheese, i just put a liberal amount of cheese over the top. I think it's a cool idea that needs a tweak. (Apologies to its creator!)  I would love to try this again because I think it could be outstanding.  I hate to say anything uncomplimentary, and it was still pretty yummy despite my soaring blood pressure, but I feel honor bound to point out to anyone reading my blog things I would change.

French Onion Pasta

uncooked penne pasta
chicken stock
Lipton's Onion Soup mix
Marsala wine
light cream
mozzarella cheese  (I used Swiss)

recipe and instructions here

Monday, May 27, 2013

Raspberry Spritzer

I have a new drink I love!  This raspberry spritzer is perfect in so many ways.  It is a great substitute for those super sweet, high calorie sodas.  It tastes great and is super refreshing.  It is also a great "daytime drink"  What do I mean by that?  Well if you opt to use the Chambord rather than raspberry syrup, it feels like a cocktail, but unless you drink a dozen of them, you aren't going to get drunk.  I love a fruity cocktail by the pool or beach, but inevitably the combo of sun and rum makes me at best sleepy after a drink, at worst a little loopy.  Not something I want to feel when at the pool or beach. (Even more now that we have kids!)  This was made for our Memorial Day festivities, and it was great in the heat. refreshing and tame;).  I want to play around with other flavors.  I am afraid that the Chambord is not replaceable.  It is a pricey ingredient, and  would like to find an economical substitute, but I fear that isn't happening.  I did get a strawberry and cassis liqueur and will be trying them with strawberries and blueberries and any other frozen fruit I get my hands on.  Oh and I ran out of mint, and it was still good, but the mint is very nice in it.

Raspberry Spritzer
2 Cup seltzer
2/3 Cup frozen raspberries
2 sprigs fresh mint
3 ounces raspberry-flavored syrup or Chambord

The original instructions are: Combine seltzer, raspberries, mint and raspberry-flavored syrup (or
Chambord) in a small pitcher. Pour over ice.   I'm sure that is tasty, but I like this even better.
Put Seltzer and raspberries in a blender.  Puree until the raspberries are mostly gone then add
the mint and chambord.  Pour over ice!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sriracha Salt

I wanted a way to get sriracha on to popcorn.  I did see a way to dehydrate the sriracha in to a powder, but this salt looked much easier. It isn't quite strong enough for my taste, but my husband thinks it is "goldilocks"  (that is just right for you non science buffs)  I made it with kosher salt and then put some in the spice grinder to make it fine enough for popcorn. It was so easy, I started playing around with other salts too.  I made a lime one with some fresh lime juice and kosher salt.  I started small with the juice, but it really needed a lot to get any lime flavor on the salt. It was very wet and I stirred it often, but the end result was really good.  Margaritas anyone? ;)  I also made some with table salt and liquid smoke.  My son loves it.  I was thinking maybe mixture of sriracha and smoke for a bloody Mary?

Sriracha Salt


Recipe and instructions here.

Lime salt: Lime juice, salt and a drop of green food coloring

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pad Thai Popcorn

I saw a video on one of my food related Roku channels (this one was on allrecipes too) for this Pad Thai Popcorn and I was totally intrigued!  We really like popcorn, we have it most nights as our pre bedtime snack, and this looked amazing.  It was a bit more work than I would like to put in to a snack, and it was more sweet and not as spicy as I would have liked it, but the more I ate, the more I liked it.  It won't make an often appearance in our house, but I am keeping the recipe and want to play around with it.

Pad Thai Popcorn

1 Tsp vegetable oil
1/3 Cup unpopped popcorn
1 Cup chopped dry-roasted salted peanuts
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup corn syrup
2 Tsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbl fish sauce
1 Tbl sambal oelek (Thai chile paste) or -plain hot sauce
1 Tbl grated lime zest
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Cup chopped cilantro
1.Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Line baking sheet with
foil brushed with oil or a silicone baking mat.
2.Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add popcorn; cover
and cook, shaking often, until fully popped, about 5 minutes. Transfer
popcorn to a large bowl with a strainer or your hands, leaving unpopped
kernels in the bowl. Stir in chopped peanuts.
3.Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and corn syrup in a large
saucepan over medium heat. Add lime juice and fish sauce. Bring to a
boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in sambal oelek, lime zest, and baking
soda. Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat. Transfer popcorn to the
prepared baking sheet.
4.Bake in the preheated oven, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes, until
browned and sticky, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and become crispy.
Toss with cilantro before serving.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Savory Bacon And Crab Bread Pudding Eggs Benedict

I saw this on the allrecipes Roku channel.  I thought it looked like my kind of recipe and the chef on the video said that it was one of the best things he had, had in a long time.  Now, I have always thought of allrecipes as for your average cook.  I thought of it as a collection of recipes that either instructed one on how to make a basic dish or how to make that known dish a little different.  (like with this Benedict over a bread pudding.)  Since I love crab, hollandaise and eggs, I figured this would be a slam dunk.  That was not exactly the case.  While the finished product wasn't terrible, it wasn't a "jump up and down meal," and that was from my husband, the person who liked the dish best.  I thought it ok, but was really annoyed with the way the recipe was written.  I know how to make Hollandaise and poach eggs, but "Hollandaise" and "poached eggs" as ingredients is kind of BS.  I can only assume they thought I would buy one of those horrid packets and make instant hollandaise.  (ewww)  Now, I did have time to make a hollandaise and poach eggs while they were baking, and I was having a frustrating time with the kids and the timing of their activities, but I still think my criticism is valid.  The site is supposed to be informative.  Ok rant over;).  It was not the steaming pile of poo I am treating it like.  I would rather not spend all the calories on something that didn't make me jump up and down.  The boy said 2, my husband said 3 and I was thinking 2.5 stars.  It funny how often I am thinking the average of their scores.  So, 2.5 stars it is.

Savory Bacon And Crab Bread Pudding Eggs Benedict

1 Tbl butter
3 Cup dry bread cubes
1 Tsp vegetable oil
1 strip bacon chopped
1/4 Cup minced onion
1/4 Cup minced red bell pepper
1/3 Cup chicken broth or more as needed
1/3 Cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1/2 Iemon juiced
1 Tbl chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tsp fresh lemon zest
4 ounces fresh lump crabmeat
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 Pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 Tbl distilled white vinegar
2 eggs
1/4 Cup hollandaise sauce
1 Pinch cayenne pepper for garnish
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Butter the insides of 2 (10-ounce) ramekins and place on a baking
3.Place bread cubes into a large bowl, set aside.
4.Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir
bacon in hot oil until browned and almost crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove
excess oil from skillet and discard.
5.Stir in onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in red pepper and
cook for an additional minute.
6.Stir in chicken broth and heavy cream; cook until mixture begins to
simmer, about 1 to 2 minutes.
7.Pour cream mixture over bread cubes and mix thoroughly until all
liquid is absorbed.
8.Stir in 1 egg, lemon juice, tarragon, and lemon zest
9.Mix in crabmeat, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
10.Spoon Mixture into perpared ramekins and bake in a preheated oven
until topsare golden brown, about 20 minutes.
11.Remove ramekins from oven and top each bread pudding with a poached
egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce over each egg. Garnish with cayenne pepper.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Coconut Cookies

I am organizing and cleaning out my cuppards and discovered why everything is so crowded. I have multiple containers of lots of things. It is paticurally funny as most are things for baking and I don't bake much. (Like 3 boxes if cocoa powder with maybe 1/6 of each used!)  So I decide to do the only sensible thing and bake cookies:).  I had all that I needed  for  my family's favorite cookie, coconut. These are super tasty, a little different than your typical chocolate chip cookie and if I can bake them, they can't be too taxing;).

Coconut Cookies
from the All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book

2 3/4 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of butter, softened (and unsalted)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325°F
In a medium bowl combine flour baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then beat in egg milk and vanilla reduce speed.  Beat in flour mixture just until blended. With a wodden spoon, mix in the coconut.  The dough will be crumbly; with your hands press the dough together.  Drop rounded teaspoons, 2 inches,  apart onto two ungreased cookie sheets. With a fork,  make crosshatch patterns on each cookie, flattening to one quarter inch thickness.  Bake until lightly browned around edges, 15 to 17 minutes,  rotating the cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking time.  With a spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Finish up with remaining dough

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Garlicky Roasted Chicken With Garlic Jus On Garlic Toast

I was going out to get my geek on and see the new Star Trek movie.  And while I thought it was visually amazing and Benedict did a great job as Kahn, the story was totally predictable.  As, I was out, I asked my husband to pick a meal and if it was quick, I would make it when I got home about 7 or he could cook if he wanted to.  He choose this recipe and to cook, and I am so glad I didn't have to cook this!  It was a lot of steps, and according to him, in terrible order.  Touch raw chicken, touch veggies, touch more raw chicken (this was accompanied by a very cute little "dance" I called culinary jazz hands)  was the thing that annoyed him.  (he is a restaurant manager and notices these things :)  I came home to a wonderful smell, but didn't have to deal with all the annoyances he did.  We all liked the dish too, but it didn't deliver on what it promised.  For example the garlic paste, great idea, but the method of cooking didn't really get the skin crispy.  (I guess we could have broiled it a bit)  Flabby skin wasn't eaten and most of the garlic paste wasn't as a result.  If you want something like this, make Alton Brown's 40 Cloves and A Chicken.  It taste so much better and is infinitely easier!  On thing that made the process a bit easier is this awesome way to get a lot of garlic peeled that I used when I made Garlic Soup.  You are welcome to try this recipe, but I say do yourself a favor and make the 40 Cloves and a Chicken;).

Garlicky Roasted Chicken With Garlic Jus On Garlic Toast
For the garlic paste:
1 head garlic (about 20 cloves) peeled and coarsely chopped
1 Tbl fresh thyme leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 Tsp kosher salt
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken and garlic jus:
1 (3-1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken
2 heads garlic one whole, the other separated into cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for tossing with the garlic and oiling
10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 lemon cut into 4 wedges
1 celery stalk cut into 3-inch pieces
2 1/4 Cup low-sodium chicken broth divided
1/4 Cup dry white wine
For the garlic croutons:
1/2 loaf day-old pain au levain or other crusty white bread, halved and cut -into 1-inch-thick slices
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves
peeled and halved
For the garlic paste:
Mash together the chopped head of garlic, thyme, salt, and olive oil.
Season with pepper and set aside.
For the chicken and garlic jus:
Heat the oven to 450F and arrange a rack in the middle. Remove the bag
of giblets from inside the chicken and discard everything but the neck.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season
well with salt. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until
ready to stuff.
When ready to stuff, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place

Yep, the recipe keeps going on and on , here is a picture break:)
on a cutting board. Remove the first two sections of the wings, leaving
the third bone attached. Reserve the wings with the neck. Carefully
slide your fingers underneath the skin on each breast, thigh, and at the
neck to loosen the skin.
Evenly distribute the garlic paste under the skin and inside the chicken
cavity. Slice off the top of the whole head of garlic, season with salt
and pepper, and rub with a little olive oil. Place the garlic inside the
cavity with 5 sprigs of the thyme. Tie the drumsticks together with
kitchen twine. Rub the skin with olive oil and season well with salt and
Toss the unpeeled garlic cloves, lemon wedges, celery pieces, remaining
thyme sprigs, and reserved wings and neck with about 1 tablespoon olive
oil. Season with salt and pepper and mound this mixture in the center of
a roasting pan. Place the chicken on top of the mound, breast side down.
Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then remove the
pan from the oven and turn the bird breast side up.
Return the pan to the oven and reduce the heat to 375F. Continue
roasting for 25 minutes more. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the
chicken broth with the wine and pour this over the chicken. Continue
roasting until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the
thigh registers 165F, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven
(but leave the oven on for toasting the croutons).
Place the chicken on a clean cutting board and allow to rest while you
finish the jus. Remove the lemon wedges from the roasting pan and
discard. Pour the contents of the roasting pan into a medium saucepan
and add the remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth. Cut the string off the
drumsticks, remove the garlic head from the chickens cavity, and place
it in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and
simmer for 5 minutes, skimming away the fat as it rises to the surface.
Strain this mixture, reserving several of the whole garlic cloves to
serve with each portion of chicken. Keep the jus warm.
For the garlic croutons:
Brush the bread slices with the olive oil on both sides. While you carve
the chicken, toast the bread in the oven until crisp.
When the croutons are toasted, rub the surface of each with the cut end
of a raw garlic clove.
To serve, place a crouton in a shallow bowl and top with a piece of
chicken. Pour some jus over top and garnish with several of the reserved
cooked garlic cloves. Serve extra garlic toasts on the side.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sweet And Spicy Sesame Chicken Kebabs

While it wasn't bad as made, I would make some changes next time,  I knew the sauce wasn't going to stick, so I put about 1/4 cup aside just in case.  That was a good thing!  Next time, I will brush the sauce on several times along the cooking process.  (maybe use just a little to mix on the chunks)  There was way more sauce than needed anyways.  Not fabulous but not bad, and it was pretty quick.

Sweet And Spicy Sesame Chicken Kebabs

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 Cup hoisin sauce
1/4 Cup medium sherry
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. oyster sauce
2 large cloves garlic minced
3/4 Tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1/8 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 -1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken (they said thighs, but I used breast)
1/4 Cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 Cup thinly sliced scallions
Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on
high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the
foil with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the hoisin, sherry, soy sauce, oyster sauce,
garlic, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes.
Trim and cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add the chicken to the
sauce and toss to coat. Thread the chicken onto 6-inch skewers, using 3
to 4 pieces for each skewer and leaving some space between the pieces.
Arrange the kebabs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and
broil until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip and continue broiling
until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes more. If the
chicken begins to burn, move the rack down one level.
Transfer the kebabs to a serving platter or dinner plates, sprinkle with
the sesame seeds and scallions, and serve.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chili-Cheddar Grits With Grilled Corn And Tomatoes

Where to start?  I guess I will start with it was amazing!  We all loved it.  It didn't hurt that we had some stellar corn from Front Porch Pickings, but the whole combination was delicious.  My husband made a piggy of himself again, so he gives it his seal of approval.  That is saying something, since he likes his meat.  This was one of the best meatless Monday recipes we have ever had.  If you look at labels, you will see I have added two.  The first one, "Dad's Favorites", was added after my husband was looking at his bowl and declared, "that was good, too bad I won't ever have it again."  I pointed out that it has been a more than a year and I was willing to repeat every now and then.  He said he would never remember what he loved since there were so many dishes he has tried.  Now, he can click on his label and have a menu to choose from.  I also decided to label them with their average rating.  This one was 4.5 average, but I rounded up at my husband's insistence;).  The dish came together pretty quick.  It is already meatless, but if you are a vegan, I believe I have seen vegan cheese, and that may work.  Honestly, it was so tasty, I bet it would still be pretty good without the cheese.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the only salt comes from what you put on the tomatoes and the cheese. Give them a good big pinch!

Chili-Cheddar Grits With Grilled Corn And Tomatoes
3 medium ears fresh corn shucked
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Lb medium plum tomatoes halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup quick-cooking (not instant) grits
4 Tsp chili powder
1/2 Cup thinly sliced scallions
4 Oz extra-sharp Cheddar grated (about 1 cup)
Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire.
Lightly rub the corn with 1 tsp. of the oil. In a medium bowl, toss the
tomatoes with the remaining 2 tsp. oil and a generous sprinkling of salt
and pepper.
Put the corn and tomatoes, cut side up, on the grill and cover. Grill,
turning the corn occasionally (don't turn the tomatoes), until the corn
is browned in places and the tomato skins have darkened and the flesh
has softened, 8 to 12 minutes.
Set aside 4 tomato halves for garnish and put the remaining tomatoes in
a food processor; pulse until smooth. When the corn is cool enough to
handle, cut the kernels from the cobs.
In a heavy-duty 4-quart saucepan, bring 3-1/2 cups of water and 2 tsp.
salt to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the grits, chili powder, and the
tomato pure. Bring to a boil and stir in two-thirds of the corn kernels
and the scallions.
Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, partially covered and stirring
frequently, until the grits are tender and thick, about 5 minutes. Add
the cheese and a few grinds of pepper; stir until the cheese melts.
Divide the grits among 4 soup bowls and top each with a tomato half and
some of the remaining corn. Serve immediately.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Raspberry Chambord Jam

First of all, Oh Myyyyy!  It was amazing/  I halved this recipe, as raspberries weren't cheap! (next time I try frozen)  I don't know where I found this recipe, but it was great consistency and yummy.  Our first use of it was on vanilla ice cream. It was awesome! Super easy too.

Raspberry Chambord Jam

2 Cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Cup sugar
2 Tbl Chambord or Black Raspberry Liquer
Cook raspberries until they release their juices and boil for 3 minutes.
Add in sugar and boil for another 2 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and
stir in Chambord.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Linguine With Shrimp And Creamy Roasted Tomatoes

I kind if have mixed reviews for this one. It was very tasty, but the tough tomato skins were an unpleasant texture. On the plus side, it was fast and easy except for peeling the shrimp and cutting them in half.  My son said 4 and 1/2 stars and tore through it. My 3 year old happily ate a bowlful too.  My dad liked it and, despite my issue with the skins, I liked it a lot.  I am not saying don't make it, its good, but I think I have hit that point where it hard for me to be excited about any dish that wasn't a wow.  Another good thing about this recipe, is that it illustrates why I want to cook a new recipe every day.  (besides my obsessive nature:)  I have roasted tomatoes before,  (The thing that comes to mind is a pizza topping) but not for a pasta sauce.  (although that isn't unheard of)  I have made made seafood with cream sauce, but always sauteed the seafood first.  This recipe has the shrimp cook quickly in the cream and they came out great.  I now have more information/experience next time I cook off the cuff and clean out the fridge.

Linguine With Shrimp And Creamy Roasted Tomatoes
1 1/2 Cup grape tomatoes
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tsp thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 Lb linguine
1 Cup heavy cream
3/4 Lb large shrimp—shelled deveined and halved lengthwise
2 Tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbl coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a large ovenproof skillet, toss the
tomatoes with the olive oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes for about 25 minutes, until starting to brown and
their skins split.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the linguine
until al dente; drain.
3. Add the cream to the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook over
moderate heat, gently crushing the tomatoes, until the cream thickens
slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer over moderate heat
until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add
the linguine to the skillet along with the lemon juice and toss over low
heat until the pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and
parsley and toss. Transfer the pasta to warm bowls and serve at once.
Make Ahead The roasted tomatoes can be refrigerated overnight.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Roasted Salmon With Mustard And Tarragon

Salmon is quickly becoming a favorite in this house.  I find that funny, because originally, I barely tolerated it.  I attribute my change of heart regarding salmon to two things.  First of all, we switched to wild salmon.  Not only is it better for you, but it tastes so much better.  Oh, I am running off on a tangent here, but I am big in to the responsible eating and perhaps one  of the most important things you can do is to ensure that you eat sustainable seafood.  I have a free app called seafood watch.  I think it is easy to use and lets you know not only what particular seafood is ok to eat, but what fishing practices used to catch them are preferable.  I strongly suggest you find yourself this app or one similar to help you make informed seafood choices.  Ok, tangent over!  The second reason I think I like salmon so much better now, is that I cook it way less.  The original recipe (which I changed a good bit) had the salmon roast at 400 for 10-14 minutes.  I knew that would be way too much for my thin fillets.  One tip the original recipe gave was this: "To test for doneness, poke a paring knife all the way through the thickest part  of one fillet and hold it there for 5 seconds. Then touch the flat side
of the knife gently to your lower lip. If the knife feels warm, the fish  is cooked through."  I thought that sounded like good advice so I shared:)  Anyways, back to the dish.  We all liked it very much.  Solid fours all way round, and the ease of which it was prepared made for a quick weeknight dish.  I almost forgot!  I tossed some green beans in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them right along side the fish for a starch/veg and we had a salad.  Quick, quick, quick!

Roasted Salmon With Mustard And Tarragon
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
2 Tsp fresh lime juice
2 Tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
4 wild salmon fillets (4-6 oz each about 3/4" thick)
Kosher salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450F.
line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, and
tarragon. Arrange the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet and
sprinkle lightly with salt. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over
each fillet (there may be a little left over).
Roast the salmon 2-3 minutes. Then Turn on the broiler to high and prop
open the door with a wooden utensil.  Broil 2-3 minutes, until the mayo/mustard
mixture is bubbly and brown in spots.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ultimate Sriracha Burger

I have a problem, I adore sriracha!  I want to put it on everything.  I know I am not alone in this, but it is still something I feel a bit guilty over:).  So, when I saw there was a Sriracha cookbook, I wanted it!  I haven't gotten it yet, but his recipe was available as a preview on amazon.  When I saw this burger, I knew I would have to make it and soon.  Problem.  My husband does not share this love.  He is more of a Crystal man.  Not being a fan of Sriracha, he was less than excited to try this burger.  (oh he doesn't like blue cheese either!)  I, however, kind of forced the issue and chose to make this tonight.  I halved the recipe, but at 5 tbsp, I was worried that it would be a little too spicy for even me.  Was it?  No!  My husband, who wasn't expecting to like this much, ate more than 2 burgers!  He felt ill afterward, but said it was worth it.  I really enjoyed it too.  Not as enthusiastically as my husband, but I had much higher expectations, and as a woman, would never eat 2 burgers;).  He said it was now the best burger we have ever made!  I, being cowardly, just threw it in to the top ten.

Ultimate Sriracha Burger
3 Lb ground beef (preferably chuck 80/20)
1/4 Cup soy sauce
10 Tbl Sriracha
4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Slice thick-cut bacon
2 large sweet onions
3/4 Cup blue cheese dressing
8 sesame seed buns
8 thick slices Swiss cheese
1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
Arugula or romaine lettuce
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, soy sauce, 5
tablespoons of the Sriracha, and the pepper. Do not overmix. Form the
mixture into 8 patties, and set aside, on a parchment-lined baking sheet,
covered, in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat.
3. In a medium frying pan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon, turning
as necessary. While the bacon is cooking, peel and quarter the onions.
Cut each section into 1/4-inch slices. Once the bacon is cooked through
and slightly crispy, remove the slices from the pan, cut each in half
crosswise, and drain onto paper towels, reserving the remaining bacon
fat in the pan. Cook the sliced onions in the bacon fat over medium-low
heat until they caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Grill the burgers, turning once, 4 to 4 1/2 minutes on each side or
until a meat thermometer registers 130 to 135F for medium-rare. While
the burgers are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the blue cheese
dressing with the remaining 5 tablespoons Sriracha. Lightly toast the
buns on the grill during the last minute of cooking time.
5. To assemble, spread the blue cheese mixture on both halves of each
hamburger bun. Stack a burger patty, Swiss cheese slice, bacon,
caramelized onions, tomato slice, and a small handful of arugula between
each hamburger bun.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Korean Seafood Pancakes

I gave my husband a list of possible dinners and he picked this one. Boy was it good!  The boy and I thought 4+ but the hubby gave it a solid 5!  We have made a Korean pancake before (Korean Scallion Pancakes) and they were yummy, but my friend, who is Korean, suggested I add some seafood to the pancake next time I made it. I found this recipe from Food & Wine. It has kimchi too. Yay!  I made jasmine rice with this, and Korean Quick Pickled Cucumbers.  The original recipe called for squid, but we opted for scallops. (I love them;).  This was pretty quick & easy too. The hardest part was the frying, and I left that up to the fry daddy (my husband;)  They did require the sauce, which while I liked, I would have liked some more heat in them.  In the notes for the original recipe, they suggested thinly sliced chilies to the sauce, if you wanted more heat.  I think I would have liked some sriracha or Korean Pepper paste)  We did make one deviation, and that was to cook more, smaller pancakes.  It was logistically easier as we doubled the recipe.

Korean Seafood Pancakes

3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup rice flour
1 large egg beaten
3/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons seltzer or sparkling water
1/2 Tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 Cup kimchi—drained, pressed dry and chopped
4 ounces medium shrimp—shelled deveined and split horizontally
4 ounces bay scallops, larger ones cut in half
4 large scallions thinly sliced
Vegetable oil for frying
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1/4 Cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1. In a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour and the rice
flour with the egg, seltzer, toasted sesame oil and 3/4 teaspoon of salt.
 Add the kimchi, shrimp, scallops and scallions to the batter.
2. In 2 medium nonstick skillets, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Spoon
2 mounds of the batter into each skillet and gently spread them into 4-
to 5-inch rounds; be sure to evenly distribute the seafood in the
pancakes. Cook over moderately high heat until the pancakes are golden
and crisp on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook over
moderate heat until the pancakes are golden and crisp and the batter is
cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Using a slotted spatula,
transfer the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
3. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and rice vinegar. (I would have liked some more heat, so next time I will add some Korean pepper paste)  Cut the
seafood pancakes into wedges and serve them with the dipping sauce.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vegetable Pakoras

So, I have made this dish before and have a post on them.  Why am I making another post about them?  Well to highlight not only how yummy they are, but how versatile they are at cleaning up random produce!  If you follow the link above you will see the original recipe (calling for broccoli and cauliflower), and what produce I put in that batch I made. (red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash among others).  This time I made the recipe below.  I doubled it, and added a bit more veggies.  (of the 4 cups I would have needed, I used 5)  So yummy!  Now I know that deep frying your veggies does kind of defeat the purpose of them, but I got several servings of veggies for this meatless Monday recipe.  (and I am ignoring the several servings of fried food I got;)  We had been on vacation for several days, and I needed to make a dent in all the wonderful veggies I had in my fridge, but hadn't cooked yet.  I had some Kopan Masala (Tibetan Garam Masala) a friend gave me, but it is out now.  You can find a recipe for it online or substitute Garam Masala.

Vegetable Pakoras1 c Flour
1/4 t Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 c Water
1 T Fresh Ginger,Grated
1 T Garlic,Minced
1/4 c Red Onion,Sliced Thin In Semi Circles
1/4 c Cilantro,Finely Chopped
1 t Kopan Masala
1/4 t Chili Powder
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Black Pepper
2 t Soy Sauce
small squirt of ketchup
2 c  of  Purple Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots, Scallions & Broccoli Shredded Or Chopped
Oil,For Frying

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spicy Grilled Tilapia With Creamy Grits And Mushroom Scallion Sauce

I happened to really like this, the boys were like, meh a 3.  I'm not saying I wouldn't like to tweak it to my liking a bit, but  spicy fish and creamy grits,  yum!  I like it way better than shrimp and grits.  I also adore mushroom cream sauces.  (the boys don't care much for mushrooms)  It wasn't a pretty dish, but it was fairly easy, and I liked it a lot.

Spicy Grilled Tilapia With Creamy Grits And Mushroom Scallion Sauce

Mushroom Scallion Sauce:
1 Tbl butter
2 Cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms (cremini)
1/2 Cup sliced scallions
1/4 Cup white wine
1/2 Pint heavy cream
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper
5 Cup milk
1 Cup quick-cooking grits
2 Tbl butter
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
Grilled Broccoli and Carrots:
1 large bunch broccoli sliced lengthwise (with stalks and flore
1 Bunch whole carrots tops removed, sliced lengthwise
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 Tbl garlic powder
Salt and pepper
6 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/3 Cup Jamaican jerk seasoning marinade (I used a dry spice blend)

Mushroom Scallion Sauce: Melt butter in a large saute pan. Saute
mushrooms and scallions for about 3 minutes. (I started the mushrooms earlier than the scallions, and cooked them longer)  Stir in wine and heavy  cream. Season with garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir until sauce thickens slightly. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Grits: Bring milk to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits, butter, salt, and
pepper. Stir constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes until grits thicken to
desired consistency. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Grilled Broccoli and Carrots: Heat grill to medium. Toss broccoli and
carrots in olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Grill vegetables for about 6 minutes or until tender, turning them once
halfway through. If room allows, grill tilapia at same time.

Tilapia: Heat grill to medium. Rinse and dry fillets and then rub with
jerk seasoning. Grill tilapia for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove
from heat.

Plate entree by spooning grits on center of plate. Lay tilapia on top of
grits. Lay the carrot slices on top of fish in a criss-cross manner and
place broccoli stalk on the side of fish. Top with mushroom scallion
sauce and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cilantro-Lime Kohl Slaw

This recipe is from the wonderful book Field To Feast.   It was given to me by the lovely folks down at Front Porch Pickings.  It is a book that features local (Florida) farmers and chefs and what they like to do with some of Florida's wonderful produce.   This particular recipe comes to us from Superganic Farm of Pensacola.  The owner calls the farm superganic because of his biodynamic method of treating the soil like a living organism.  That kind of information is what I love about this book. I am not sure we got these particular kohlrabi from this farm, but I know that FPP does use some of these farms, but it makes me so happy to see farmers who are committed to being responsible stewards of the land they work.  Not to mention that local food always taste better and has more nutrients as it has minimal processing and transport time.  The environmental benefits exceed just reducing chemical use, and include lessening the use of the fossil fuels that are used to ship that produce over great distances.

I have never cooked not eaten kohlrabi before. I had several recipes I wanted to try, but  I decided to dive in to they new cookbook. We all are now excited to try more kohlrabi applications!  We all enjoyed the slaw. The biggest issue we had with the slaw was that it was, well slaw!  We are not fans of coleslaw on general. We like it on BBQ sandwiches or in fish tacos but by itself it isn't our thing. Despite that, we were all pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it quite a bit!  We served up some grilled shrimp and rice with the slaw. It was all really yummy.

Cilantro-Lime Kohl Slaw

Dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce

Slaw ingredients:
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Kohlrabi heads, peeled and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 green pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
1 jalapeno pepper, cut into thin rounds (optional)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.  When well mixed, stir in the cilantro and set aside.  Combine remaining slaw ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bubble Pizza

Well today's dinner will not be made again. (Sorry fellow blogger but we just didn't dig it). That being said, it wasn't as horrible as I expected. I had this recipe 'liked' on Pinterest for purely morbidly curious reasons. I wasn't planning on this for dinner, but I realized I left several things off my grocery list and couldn't make the dinner I planned and just didn't want to go back to the store. I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand. And that seemed like fate, since we don't like biscuits and if we did eat some, they would be made from scratch. I had some I got for a quick breakfast when family (who loves biscuits) was in town, and now they were junking up the fridge. Pros: super fast, super easy! Cons: not very tasty. In fairness to the original recipe, I did not use any toppings, I used more sauce and lots more cheese, but I still don't think I would have liked it made following instructions to a T.

 Bubble Pizza

Tube of Biscut Dough
Pizza Sauce
Mozzerella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Recipe and instructions here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We usually have a huge party in the cul de sac, but either we are getting old, or it is just a busy year for all of us.  I am saying the latter;).  I have way too much clutter in the fridge to even considering making something special, but I do want to at least give a nod to the "holiday".  I did make this red chili sauce as my new recipe, and it wasn't too bad.  I didn't like it by itself, but on the "nachos" it was great.  Now the reason I put nachos in quotations marks, is that it was kind of me dumping stuff from Tupperware in the fridge on it so I could use them up and clean out the fridge.  I thought they were better than any nacho I had with the fake cheese, but I am determined to make them again with proper ingredients.  I am a little ashamed to admit what I put on them, but I guess I have to:D.  I spread tortilla chips over a baking sheet, sprinkled the leftover baked beans I had (blush), the rest of the shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar I had, some sliced scallions and some shredded pork roast. (that didn't have any BBQ sauce on it.) I only put the pork on half since I didn't want meat.  Then I drizzled some of the red chile sauce I made and baked it at 375 until the cheese was melted and bubbly. (I think 10 minutes)  Then I had salsa, sour cream and pickled jalapenos for us to add as we liked.  Ok I guess the only really bizarre ingredient was the baked beans, and they weren't as horrible as one might think.

Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe
3 dried Ancho chiles
1 large clove garlic
2 whole cloves crushed
2 black peppercorns crushed
1/2 Tsp of salt more to taste
Olive oil
Working on one chile at a time, use a paring knife to cut a slit all the
way down one side of a chile. Open up the chile and remove the stem and
seeds. Remove as much of the veins as you can. Reserve a few of the
seeds or veins for adding later if you want added heat. Note when
working with chilies, either wear protective gloves or wash your hands
very thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling the chilies. Do
not touch or rub your eyes if you have been handling chili peppers.
 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Flatten out the dried chilies as
well as you can and place on the skillet to heat. Press down on the
opened chilies and leave for a few seconds. Turn the chilies over and
heat a few seconds more. You do not want to toast or burn the chilies,
just heat them enough to draw out more of the flavor.
3 Add the chilies to a small saucepan and add enough water so that they
are just covered. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 10
minutes, until the chilies have softened and plumped up. (OR pour place
the chilies in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over them to
cover. Let sit for 15 minutes, until softened.)
4 Reserving the soaking water, remove the chilies from the pan and place
in a blender. Add the garlic, salt, ground pepper, ground cloves, and 1
1/2 cups of the soaking liquid (taste the soaking water first, if it
seems bitter, use water instead). Pure for 2 minutes, until the sauce is
completely smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If you want
more heat, add in a few of the seeds or veins and pure some more. Add
more salt if needed.
5 Pour the sauce through a sieve into a skillet. Add a tablespoon of
olive oil to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain
the simmer, cook for 10 minutes. Skim off the foam. Remove from heat.
Use immediately or pour into a glass jar (plastic will get stained) and
Makes a little more than 1 cup.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crumble

We love rhubarb is this house!  Our favorite recipe for it is the Rhubarb Crumb Bars, but this one was no slouch either.  I used frozen rhubarb that I thawed for 2 days in the refrigerator because the frozen was half the price.  I don't know if was why it was a bit wetter than I expected, but we still loved it. It doesn't look very pretty.  Some of us had it with ice cream some of us didn't.  The choice is yours:)

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Crumble
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter At Room Temp
For the topping:
4 -1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1 Cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 Cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp kosher salt
4 Oz (8 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
For the filling:
7 Cup 1/3-inch-thick sliced rhubarb (about 2 lb.)
1 Cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon, using a rasp-style grater)
1/4 Tsp kosher salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350F.
Grease an 8x8-inch Pyrex baking dish with the softened butter.
Make the topping: In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar,
oats, cinnamon, and salt and pulse several times to combine. Add the
cold butter and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal
and clumps together when squeezed lightly, about 1 minute.~
Make the filling: Combine the rhubarb, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon
juice, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a spatula
until evenly mixed. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to the baking pan, and
sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit; the pan will be very full,
but the crumble will settle as it bakes.
Bake until the topping is lightly browned, the rhubarb is tender (probe
in the center with a skewer to check), and the juices are bubbling
thickly around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool
to warm or room temperature and to allow the juices to thicken, at least
1 hour.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pulled Pork with Mustard BBQ Sauce

I am not a huge fan of crock pots.  Not because they don't do what they do well, but that they only do that one thing well and too many try to adapt recipes, that have no business in a crock pot, to a crock pot and come out with a big pot of meh.  I also don't care for barbecue and I loathe yellow mustard.  Needless to say, I did not like this recipe, however the boys, who don't share in my dislike of BBQ & mustard, loved it.  It is totally easy to make.  I made coleslaw, baked beans and garlic toast with it.  If you are feeling lazy, those items could be picked up at the deli section of the grocery store.  (oh and bakery for the bread)  It wasn't too terribly hard to make them yourself, so consider it. 

Pulled Pork with Mustard BBQ Sauce

3-4 pound Pork Roast
1 Large Onion, thickly sliced
1/4 cup broth (I used chicken)
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
Big Daddy's Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

Put a layer of onion on the bottom of the crock pot. 
Put the roast on top of it and fill in gaps with remaining onion and the garlic
Add the broth, cover and turn to low.
Cook on low for 10 hours (I have made this after dinner and left it on for almost 24 but 10 hours is best)
Remove roast, (carefully) and pour liquid through a strainer.  (I freeze this in a ziploc bag for beans, soups etc..)
(Turn off the crockpot while waiting for the meat to cool)
You can return the onions and stuff you strained out to the meat if you want.  I usually don't
When cool enough to handle, shred the pork with your fingers and return to the crockpot.  Add the sauce and let warm through.  You can use any sauce you like, but the this is the boys favorite.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicken In Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce

I need to make a bit of a disclaimer here, I have issues with raw poultry that make me queasy enough to be unable to enjoy the meat once cooked.  If I don't see it raw, I can live in denial;).  I also am not a huge fan of tarragon.  So, I had issues with the dish, but still found the sauce to be very tasty,  (the one bite of chicken was too, but my issues made it hard to enjoy)  The boy loved the pasta and sauce as well, and liked the chicken.  My husband loved it!  It was easy and pretty fast to make.  The most work was the knife work.  If you are a fan of dark meat, you will love this.  It didn't photograph to well, but my husband said don't worry about that, taste is what counts.

Chicken In Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce

3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-in chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 Lb white mushrooms thinly sliced
1 large shallot minced
3/4 Cup dry white wine
1 1/4 Cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 Cup heavy cream
2 Tbl grainy mustard
2 Tbl chopped tarragon
Buttered noodles for serving
1. In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the
chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet in a single layer.
  Cook over high heat, turning once, until browned but not cooked
through,  4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to
a plate. Pour off any fat in the skillet.~
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the
mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned,
4 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add
the wine and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Add
the stock, cream and mustard and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce
has reduced by half, about 6 minutes.~
3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and
simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3
minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tarragon. Serve with
buttered noodles.~