As many of you know, I LOVE wine! When a report came out that stated a glass or two a day is actually GOOD for your, I was leaping with joy!!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
As many of you know, I LOVE wine! When a report came out that stated a glass or two a day is actually GOOD for your, I was leaping with joy!!
Monday, September 27, 2010
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic)
- 2 carrots, chopped (I recommend chopping these up very small. I didn't and my soup took REALLY long to cook because of it)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken broth because Walmart didn't have vegetable stock, but I think vegetable stock would have been better)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (to make the recipe easier, you can get one can black beans and one can refried beans)
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes (to make the recipe easier, you can get crushed tomatoes instead)
- 1 small can diced green chilis
- For Fire Level orange-red: 1 tsp - 1 tblsp cayenne pepper
- For Fire Level blue: add a couple diced jalepeno as well
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I love Mexican food!!! But the problem is usually that it is pretty unhealthy. I came up with a really simple turkey fajita/taco recipe that I absolutely love and it isn’t loaded with calories and doesn’t leave me feeling as if I’m going to explode!!! It’s such an easy throw-together dinner recipe. Yummy!!
- Ground turkey meat (it depends on how much you are making tacos for but 1 lb. should be plenty for two people)
- A packet of fajita seasoning (you can get this at the grocery with all your other seasoning packets like chili, etc.)
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 sweet yellow onion
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cheese
- tortillas (I go with the “whole wheat carb plus” kind to save on calories)
- Avocado (because I LOVE them)
- Sour Cream (of course this is optional depending on how many calories you want to save and whether you like it)
STEP 1: Cook the turkey
Fry your turkey in a large skillet on the stove top over Medium heat.
STEP 2: Cook your vegetables
In a SEPARATE skillet, sautee your vegetables in a little bit of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or Pam on Medium heat.
STEP 3: Get rid of some of the fat
When the turkey is finished, strain it in a colander to drain off all the fat. You can run the ground turkey under warm water to remove even more. Then, put the turkey back into the skillet and it put it on the stove top on LOW heat.
STEP 4: Mix it up
Add your sautéed veggies to your meat and sprinkle the mixture with your fajita seasoning. Let the mixture simmer on LOW while you prep your toppings.
STEP 5: Gather your toppings.
Lay out all the fixin’s for your fajitas/tacos: salsa, chopped avocado, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, and tortillas. I suggest either heating the tortillas in the microwave for about a minute or throwing them on a frying pan, 30-seconds on each side.
STEP 6: Eat ‘em up!
Throw your favorites onto your tortilla and enjoy!
You can easily pair these with chips and salsa or queso or even some Spanish or Mexican Rice. I really like the Spanish Rice side made by Lipton. It comes in a packet.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS:
I had these for dinner last night and I of course had a lot of leftovers, so tomorrow, I’m going to have a taco salad for lunch. I’m going to throw the meat/veggies, cheese, salsa, and avocado over some mixed greens and I am all set. For some added crunch, I might even sprinkle the crumbs from the bottom of my Baked Tostitos bag onto the top. TOTALLY delicious and I am not destroying my calorie count for the day!!! Not that I count anyway… J
If you’re like me, you have one of those large bags of frozen chicken breasts hiding in the back of your freezer. I usually buy it because I think it’s good to have, but then I forget about it or buy fresh chicken breasts because they are easier to cook with. Well here is a recipe I threw together last night with some items hiding around my kitchen. I was in the mood for Asian food and thought I’d try some chicken teryaki.
Fire Level: Yellow
Chicken Teriyaki and Rice
- Brown Rice (I made enough for two servings according to the box directions)
- Shallots or pearl onions (1/2 cup chopped)
- Green onions (1/2 cup chopped)
- Carrots (1 cup chopped)
- Celery (1 cup chopped)
- 2 chicken breasts
- Teriyaki sauce (I used one that is really meant as a marinade, so I recommend a sauce and not a marinade)
- Salt and pepper to taste
STEP 1: Defrost your Chicken
I put the chicken breasts in the microwave on defrost for about five minutes and it thawed them pretty well.
STEP 2: Chop Vegetables
STEP 3: Chop Chicken
Chop your chicken up into edible chunks
STEP 4: Prep your pans
Begin boiling your water for the rice and heating some olive oil in a large skillet.
STEP 5: Boil and Sizzle
Cook your rice and begin sautéing your vegetables in the skillet. Once the vegetables begin to soften a bit, add in your raw chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover skillet to let chicken and vegetables to simmer.
STEP 6: Finish Rice
Finish cooking your rice according to package directions. Add in some teriyaki sauce to let it soak in.
STEP 7: Combine it all Together
When the chicken is no longer pink, add the rice/teriyaki mixture into the skillet with the chicken and vegetable mixture.
STEP 8: Taste
Taste it and see what you think. Add salt, pepper, and teriyaki according to how sweet you like it.
I added too much teriyaki sauce and it was way too sweet. Make sure you be careful about how much you add. J
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monte Cristo Kahlua Pork Egg Rolls
How the Monte Cristo sandwich was derived from Dumas’ book, I may never know. What I do know, is someone needs to shake the inventor’s hand and say thank you for making a comfort food that so perfectly combines breakfast and lunch. The chef and owner of the North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach took this scrumptious sandwich even further by adding an Asian flare and stuffing it into a crispy egg roll. Oh… My… God it is so GOOD!!! Zerek and I first heard about the delectable dish while watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives one day before I had a work trip to Los Angeles. What luck! He visited me while I was out there and making the trip down to Manhattan Beach was the first item on our To Do list. It was an A-MAZING experience. We loved these egg rolls so much I knew I just had to try to make them, whatever it took. So, I watched the show several times, taking copious notes, and I scoured the Internet for the transcript and any other bits and pieces I could pick up. I made them the weekend before last for the TCU tailgate at Cowboys Stadium. Although they weren’t hot and crispy by the time we were out there, they were still a hit!
I will warn you, this is going to look like a difficult recipe, but in fact, it’s not at all. It was so EASY! The hardest parts are 1.) having patience while the Kahlua Pork is cooking and 2.) finding some of the ingredients. Follow my easy directions below and you will be the envy of any tailgate, dinner party, or gathering you have. So, after all that rambling, here we go…
Fire Level: yellow-red (Only one ingredient can change the spice level, so I think this is definitely a yellow unless you get carried away with the sriracha)
STEP 1 (try to do this a day or two before): Gather your ingredients. Of course this is important in all recipes, but especially important here because it might be difficult to find some of the items. You will likely have to find an Asian Market in your hometown. If you are in Dallas I suggest the Asian World Market in Plano. I have put the items that you will likely need to purchase at the Asian Market in bold.
KAHLUA PORK INGREDIENTS
- 1 Large Pork Butt
- Smoked Sea Salt (Difficult to find and can be pricey. Zerek found it at Central market for $10 but you can use it again and often. It smells wonderful!)
- 1 Package Banana Leafs (If frozen, let thaw before cooking)
WASABI MOJO INGREDIENTS
- 3 Cups Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Teryaki (I suggest getting a high quality, thicker Teriyaki sauce, not the thin kind you would use for marinade). Make sure to buy a whole bottle because you will need the rest.
- 1 Tablespoon Wasabi Powder (Feel free to add a bit more if you are a huge fan of Wasabi)
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1.5 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger (I just used ginger powder from the spice aisle)
EGG ROLL INGREDIENTS
- 1-2 Packages of Swiss Cheese (If you just want a hint of swiss cheese in the egg rolls you can get by with one package, but I suggest getting two so that the egg rolls are more cheesy)
- 1 lb. Black Forest Ham
- 1 bunch Scallions
- 2-3 Eggs
- 1 Package of 25 Egg Roll Wraps (If frozen, let thaw)
- Sriracha (A.K.A. Rooster Sauce)
- Peanut Oil (I suggest a medium to large bottle)
- Sesame Seeds
STEP 2: Cook your pork butt!
Coat the pork butt all the way around in the smoked sea salt. Take a deep roasting pan (I used one of the disposable tin ones) and line the bottom of the ban with banana leaves. Place the pork butt on the banana leaves and wrap the top of it in more banana leaves. Add about a cup of water to the bottom of the pan (under the banana leaves) so that nothing burns. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven at 220 degrees for 10-12 hours – yes I said HOURS. I told you this required patience. If you have a pork butt that takes up the entire pan, you will need more like 12 hours. Mine was a bit smaller so I checked it at 10 hours and it was just slightly pink so I went ahead and took it out. Slightly pink is good. That means it still has a lot of the moisture and flavor and hasn’t dried out.
STEP 3: Prepare the Wasabi Mojo
At some point while the pork butt is cooking (and you will have quite a while to do this), put together your Wasabi Mojo. Combine all the ingredients above, from the Mayonnaise to the Ginger and whisk together in a bowl. Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your taste. If you can’t taste the wasabi, add a bit more.
STEP 4: The Pork is Done
Once your Kahlua pork is done, feel free to try a bite. Go on, you know you want to do it!! Break apart the pork into a large bowl. It should fall right apart. You won’t even need a knife. Add a little bit of the juice from the bottom of the pan to add some additional flavor. Stir it into the pork. If you are going to immediately go to finishing your egg rolls, great! If not, feel free to place the pork into the refrigerator until you are ready to make the egg rolls.
STEP 5: Heat the Oil
I don’t have a deep fryer at home and I doubt many of you do. Therefore to cook the egg rolls, I put a big pot on the stove top and filled it halfway full with peanut oil. You need to make sure you can put several egg rolls into it and have them be completely submerged in oil. Cook the oil on Medium High until you can sprinkle a few drops of water into the oil and hear it crackle.
STEP 6: Make your egg wash
Crack a couple eggs into a small bowl and whip them up so that you have some egg wash to hold the egg rolls together.
STEP 7: It’s Wrapping Time!
It’s now time to put it all together. Take one of your wrap pieces and place it onto the counter top in a diamond shape, so that one of the points is at your belly. Layer the egg roll ingredients onto the center: half a slice of Black Forest Ham, half a slice of Swiss cheese, some pork, a few one-inch pieces of scallion, drizzle a bit of teryaki on top, and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Use a basting brush (or your fingers if you don’t have a brush) to spread some egg wash around the edges of the wrap. Fold the bottom point up to the top point and press the edges of the triangle together. Fold the left and right corners into the center and roll the egg roll until closed. Make sure to wrap very tightly so that none of the ingredients fall out when cooking.
STEP 8: Cook ‘em up!
Drop the egg rolls into the oil and cook until golden brown. Don’t be surprised if parts of the outside turn black. This is likely due to the teriyaki showing through the wrap and not because you burned the egg roll. When finished, place the cooked egg rolls unto a paper towel to soak up some of the access oil.
STEP 9: Prepare the sauce (YUMMY!!)
In my opinion, the sauce is one of the best parts of this dish. This is also the part of the dish where you can make this spicy! Take a small saucer or tiny sauce bowl and put the three sauces into it: The wasabi mojo you made earlier, some teriyaki, and some sriracha. Only use a bit of sriracha if you don’t like spice, but feel free to use a lot if you want the sauce really spicy. If you haven’t had it before, sriracha has a GREAT flavor so at least include some of it. Refer to the picture to get an idea of the amount of each of the sauces to include. You want mostly wasabi mojo. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve!!
STEP 10: ENJOY!!
Because I love the sauce so much, I like to use the leftover sauce for other Asian dishes too. For a quick dinner idea, pick up some egg rolls or wontons from the frozen section of your local supermarket and serve with this sauce. Add in some chicken fried rice and you have a delicious dinner.
Another dinner idea if you don’t like Asian food very much – just make the pork!! It is so tender and delicious; it would be great for sandwiches. Add your favorite barbeque sauce or just use the pork by itself and you have a wonderful pulled pork sandwich.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
- Approximately 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1.5 pounds of meat (**see below for explanation on how to vary this for spice and nutrition)
- 1 large yellow, sweet onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1, 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- 1, 12 oz. can Tomato Paste
- 1, 12 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Oregano
- 1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper (if you want to go for a yellow level of spice, omit this ingredient)
- 2 bayleaves, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (if you want to go for a yellow level of spice, omit this ingredient)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Before we get started...
I was going to start my blog off with the incredible Monte Cristo Kahlua Pork Egg Rolls Zerek and I made last weekend, but as I was writing out the recipe it became so long that I was afraid I’d scare you all away with a complicated first recipe. Therefore, I decided I would start off with a much simpler recipe. Also, one that you can take to your favorite tailgate this weekend! I also want to get you accustomed to the layout I will use for my entries.
- I will start off with an introduction – telling you perhaps where and when I use it, how I came about it, etc.
- I am the fiery foodie and that doesn’t just pertain to my personality (although I am an Aries so you can usually expect a lot of emotion in my writing and in my life). But, it also means that sometimes I like to make things a little spicy! At the beginning of each recipe I’ll give a spiciness rating if it pertains to the dish: Yellow (no spice), Orange (a little bit), Red (pretty spicy), and Blue (so spicy that I can’t stand it but then again, I can be a wimp). Sometimes I will give a range of spiciness and throughout the recipe I’ll make suggestions on how to tone up or down the heat.
- Then I’ll follow with the typical ingredient list and step-by-step instructions. I will finish with some pairing suggestions or ideas of what to do with the leftovers. So, let’s get to it!
TEXAS CAVIAR (no snails are used in the making of this recipe)
I can’t remember the first time I had this delicious dip, but I’ve been making it for years. I often bring it to parties and tailgates and I always bring it to the annual Jimmy Buffet tailgate in Dallas. The recipe makes a large batch so there will be plenty to go around.
FIRE LEVEL: Yellow - Red
- 1 green bell pepper (stemmed, deseeded, and chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper (stemmed, deseeded, and chopped)
- 1 orange bell pepper (stemmed, deseeded, and chopped)
- 7 Roma tomatoes chopped (it is necessary to use Roma tomatoes in any sort of dip like this – more skin, less juice)
- 1 red onion chopped or 1 bunch of green onion chopped (use the red onion if you really like the taste of raw onions. I don’t so I usually use green onion)
- 1 can black eyed peas drained
- 1 can whole kernel corn drained
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1-2 Jalapeños (stemmed, deseeded, chopped) **optional (use no jalapenos for yellow, one for orange, two-three for red)
- 1 bottle zesty Italian dressing
STEP 1: Chop all of your fresh ingredients into dip-sized pieces. If it can’t fit onto a chip without a few of the other ingredients, the pieces are too big.
STEP 2: Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.
STEP 3: Add the Italian dressing, stirring into the ingredients until everything is well coated.
STEP 4: Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
PAIRINGS: Pair the dip with tortilla chips. I suggest Tostitos Scoops (you can get the baked kind if you’re going low-calorie).
OTHER IDEAS: What to do with the leftovers? There are so many options! Use it as a fresh salsa to fajitas or tacos. Grill a chicken breast, melt some cheese onto it, and top with the Texas Caviar. Bake a tilapia filet and top with the Texas Caviar. For a side, you can cook up some rice and mix in some of the Texas Caviar for a zesty take on a sometimes-bland side dish.
Enjoy tailgating this weekend everyone, and be safe!! GO TIGERS!!!!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Welcome friends, family, and culinary experimenters such as myself! If you’re here, you are likely interested in trying new recipes, wine, and restaurants. As many of you know, I LOVE cooking! A lot of you have had my sweet and spicy marinara sauce, my enchiladas, or even a random appetizer I made for a party and you’ve likely asked me to send along the recipe. I usually forget to send it and more often I made up the recipe on the fly and would probably struggle to remember what I did in the first place. I have a stack of recipes two feet high in my bedroom that I have torn out of magazines, printed off the Internet, and made notes on to tweak the final product when and if I try them. They are in no order and it is completely chaotic. This blog is my attempt to put organization into my cooking. As I experiment with new recipes, try new wines, dine at new and fun places – I am going to share those experiences with you so that you can recreate them if you’d like. I hope you enjoy and feel free to ask questions, make comments, and link to other recipes/blogs you’ve tried and loved. My goal is to make this a community of food lovers that doesn’t believe in “secret recipes” or proprietary information. Food should be as social as the parties we organize to serve it at. Enjoy and bon appétit!!
Stay tuned later in the week when I post about the Monte Cristo Egg Rolls I made for the first tailgate of the season. DELICIOUS!!