Saturday, July 30, 2011

Red Chinese Long Bean with Peppers & Red Curry

Recently one of my neighbors visited a local farmer’s market and came home with a big bunch of Red Chinese Long Beans but when their college aged boys laid eyes on them and saw the color they said no way to eating them.  Well their loss was our gain as a big part of the beans made their way to my kitchen. 

IMG_9030eLook at the gorgeous color in these beans, how could anyone say no way??

IMG_9036eAfter a quick check of my pantry I decided to do a little Thai red curry stir fry with mini-orange peppers and basil (fresh from my garden).

IMG_9052Red Chinese Long Beans with Peppers & Red Curry

1 lb. Red Chinese Long Beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 mini orange sweet peppers, julienned
2 TBS. peanut oil (or oil of your choice)
1 TBS. Red Curry Paste 
1/2 cup water
1 packet stevia, or 1 tsp sugar
1 TBS fish sauce 
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a wok on high heat. While the oil is heating, stir together the Red Curry Paste, water, stevia and fish sauce and set aside.  Once the oil is hot add in the beans and stir a few times a minute for about 3 minutes.  Add the sweet peppers and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes stirring a few times per minute.  Add the Red Curry mix and stir to coat the beans well and cook for an additional minute or two until the beans are cooked to the degree of tenderness desired.  Add the basil leaves and stir them in so that they quickly wilt and soften.

Enjoy!

IMG_9043e

Thursday, July 28, 2011

{Recipe revisited} Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho

IMG_2006This is one of my absolute favorite summer soups and I have been waiting to make it this summer with a homegrown watermelon and veggies from our garden.  The time finally came this past Sunday night when our first, of many, many in still in the garden, watermelon was finally ripe and ready to be picked.  

IMG_9260eSunday night my neighbor Steve and I pulled a “wee” little 23.8 pound watermelon from our garden which we split in half for our families to share. 

IMG_9263eThe melon was gorgeous, ruby red, sweet and perfectly ripe.  My only complaint was that it had seeds but for what I was going to do with the melon, that wasn’t a problem.  We enjoyed some of the melon and then I cut all of the flesh and seeds from the rind, discarded the rind and put the flesh, seeds and all into a big gallon sized pitcher.  Then using my stick blender I pureed everything and strained the liquid through a Chinois to remove the bits of seeds.  That was my base for my delicious Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho.  I then poured some of the strained watermelon juice into to my blender jar, added all the other ingredients, gave it a whirl, poured it all back into the big pitcher with the strained watermelon juice, gave it a stir and I had a gorgeous batch of Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho.  All I had left to do was dice up some extra cucumber, melon & tomatoes for garnish and soup was on the table. 

Below is my original recipe with the only difference being that I used a seedless watermelon so some of the above steps weren’t needed.  This gazpacho is just a bit sweet from the watermelon and the flavors of the tomato & cucumber come through as very clean tastes without the usual acid found in typical gazpacho.  I hope that you’ll give this recipe a try, it’s a real summer treat.

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho 

6 cups small diced seedless watermelon and liquid
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
2 very ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic
2 TBS minced sweet onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
10 basil leaves
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper

Extra diced watermelon, cucumber & tomato as well as basil leaves for garnish.

Put first eight ingredients into a blender and process until very smooth.  It is not necessary but if you want the gazpacho perfectly smooth, strain the liquids through a Chinois and then season to taste with salt & pepper (if you want your gazpacho with more texture just skip the straining step).  Chill overnight or until very cold and then pour into serving bowls and garnish with the extra diced watermelon, cucumber, tomato and a fresh basil leaf.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grandma’s Teriyaki Steak

I grilled steak the other night and Maisie just couldn’t get enough of it asking for seconds and then thirds!  Amazing for a little girl who generally shuns protein in favor of carbs but she was all about eating this steak.  At one point she asked me where I got the recipe and I told her from Grandma, that my mother used to make this steak when I was a little girl.  To which Maisie replied, “Grandma sure is a good cook because this steak is delicious!”  Yep, Grandma has some good recipes and this is one of them.

IMG_9246eI of course have loved this steak for years and though I’ve changed my Mom’s recipe a bit it’s still essentially the same and always delicious.  I use this marinade on various cuts of beef so use whatever steak is your favorite.  I bought a large package of steak, split it in half putting half in my Food Saver marinating pan and the other half in a Food Saver bag.  I then divided the marinade between the two packets.  For the steak in the bag I popped it into the freeze so that the marinade could freeze before I sealed it up and now it’s ready to be pulled at a future date, all marinated and perfect for the grill.  With the steak in the marinating tray I used the machine and then allowed the steak to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  I can’t say that using the marinating tray and sucking all the air out really imparts more flavor than just letting the meat marinate in a zipper bag but since I have the machine I use it.  Either way, the marinating pan or the zipper bag, I let my meat marinate overnight and it’s just perfect.

IMG_9257eMaisie was a champion eater finishing off a jacket potato, Roasted Enoki and three servings of Teriyaki Steak! 

IMG_9275eMy happy steak eating girl.

IMG_9251eGrandma’s Teriyaki Steak

4 lbs. steak of your choice
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 TBS. Whey Low Granular, or sugar 
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. dry mustard
6-8 cloves of fresh garlic

Place the soy sauce, vegetable oil, sugar, ginger, dry mustard and garlic in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour over steak and marinate for at least four hours but preferably overnight.  Cook steak as desired, I cooked ours quickly on a roaring hot grill and then let it sit tented for 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Roasted Enoki

IMG_9236eI am very fussy with mushrooms as I’m not a lover of the ones which have a real strong earthy mushroom taste but enoki mushrooms are delicate, sweet and delicious so they’re a favorite in our house.  We love them both raw on a salad like my Thai Peanut Salad or cooked in a variety of ways.

IMG_9225eI noticed that I had three packages of enoki in my refrigerator and I wanted to do something different so I went “shopping” in my pantry.  I found a long forgotten bottle of Zinfandel vinegar that years ago a friend had given to me as a gift and I thought that I could work with that.  I then spied a still unopened bottle of dried fire roasted tomatoes which I had picked up a few weeks ago on a clearance rack thinking that they would be interesting sprinkled on a salad or added to other recipes, so I grabbed that too.  Initially I was going to do a quick stir fry but as I had potatoes roasting in the oven I figured, why dirty a wok when I can just as easily roast the enoki quickly in the oven in a foil packet and have zero clean-up. Win-Win!!

IMG_9229eThe enoki smelled heavenly when I opened the packet.  The sweetness of the Zinfandel, the freshness of the enoki and the tiny bit of tomato, a wonderful and perfect combination.  The enoki were extremely tender yet just the tiniest bit chewy and Maisie thought she was eating pasta.  We all enjoyed this recipe and as it’s so simple to make and no clean-up, I’ll be making it again and again.

  IMG_9245eRoasted Enoki

3 6-oz. packages fresh enoki 
1 TBS. butter
1 1/2 TBS. Zinfandel vinegar
1 tsp. dried fire roasted tomatoes
pink sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Lay the enoki onto the center of a large piece of heavy duty foil.  Dot with butter, drizzle on the vinegar and season with the fire roasted tomatoes, salt & pepper. Seal foil tightly into a packet and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Super Simple Summer Shrimp Salsa Salad

This is one of my favorite salads and all summer long it can be found in my refrigerator as we never seem to tire of it.

IMG_9178eI’d have to say that this salad is the first one I think to make when we start harvesting veggies from our garden.  I always make the large batch as listed below and we enjoy it for days but the recipe is easily scaled up or down to fit any ones needs.  Truthfully some days I eat this salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it’s healthy, not too high in calories or sugar and has a good amount of protein from the shrimp.  I think that the salad gets better a few days in because the avocado sort of melts and adds a nice extra richness.  What I generally do, is after a day or two when I notice that there’s no longer any avocado chunks, I’ll dice up another one and add it to the salad as the creamy avocado chunks are one of my favorite parts.  I hope that you’ll make and enjoy this salad and that it becomes a favorite in your home too.   

IMG_9177e Super Simple Summer Shrimp Salsa Salad

2 lbs small, medium or large (not the tiny salad shrimp) cooked shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tail removed
3 lbs Mango Salsa with Peach (or fruit salsa of your choice)
3 – 4 large plum tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3 avocados, diced (more to be added later if desired)
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced

Sometimes I also add:
The kernels from 4 ears of grilled corn

Place all the ingredients in to a large bowl and gently toss to mix and coat. Cover tightly and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Enjoy!!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Long Beans with Garlic

Maisie and I picked some gorgeous long beans from our garden and we couldn’t wait to enjoy them. 

IMG_9162eOne of my favorite ways to enjoy long beans is the way we make them when we’re in Aruba with my parents (very limited pantry items) and that is sautéed simply with butter and lots of garlic. Such a simple way to prepare the beans and oh-so delicious.  In this recipe I use a good amount of garlic but I cook it so that it has that mellow roasted garlic flavor so it adds a nice sweet buttery garlic taste to the beans.  For many this preparation will seem like I use too much butter and way too much garlic but that’s just how we roll with this recipe.  Also, see those slightly toasted creamy bits of garlic, well I could just spread that on everything I eat and be in heaven, it’s so delicious!

Long beans are very thin so they sauté up quickly and because we like our beans to still have a bit of bite, there’s no need to steam or cook the beans further but if you substitute regular string beans you’d have to make some adjustments so that the beans cook to your degree of tenderness.

IMG_9153eLong Beans with Garlic

1 lb. long beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
4 TBS. butter
2 heads garlic, peeled and minced
salt and fresh ground pepper

In a wok or large frying pan gently sauté the garlic in the butter over very low heat for about 5 minutes until the garlic is very tender but NOT toasted.  Turn the heat to high and add the beans and stir to coat with the garlic butter mixture.  Stirring a couple of time each minute, cook the beans on high heat for about 4 minutes then remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wicked Good New England Lobster Roll

IMG_8960e1Though I now live in the deep south, I’m a born and raised New Englander and for me, there’s nothing more delicious and wonderful than a wicked good lobster roll…pure nirvana on a bun!  But it has to the the right kind of bun mind you, not some fancy bun, nothing with a distinct or strong flavor, nothing  super healthy with whole wheat or seeds, oh-no it has to be a fluffy white perfectly buttered and grilled New England split-top hotdog roll.  And the lobster, well that’s the star of the show and the recipe is hotly debated.  Should it be warm lobster just tossed in butter, cold with or without mayonnaise and celery, well that’s a deal breaker for many. 

IMG_8963eFor a lobster roll I think that the lobster is best served cold, dressed with a very light and just barely there creamy dressing with just a bit of celery for a tiny bit of crunch.   In my opinion this lobster roll recipe is wicked good, the most wonderful, delightful, perfect lobster roll recipe EVAH!!

Wicked Good New England Lobster Roll

1 lb. cooked lobster meat, cold 
2 TBS. Real Mayo
2 TBS. sour cream (I only use Breakstone’s
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 grinds fresh pepper
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. sugar
salt to taste

New England split-top hotdog rolls
salted butter, room temperature (the real stuff, not fake-o margarine) 

Mix the mayo, sour cream, celery, lemon juice, pepper, cayenne, sugar & salt together and taste for balance.  Gently toss the lobster meat in the dressing.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.   When ready to serve, butter the sides of the hotdog rolls and grill in a hot pan until crispy and golden.  Fill the warm rolls with the cold lobster salad. 

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Piggy-Out Cookies

I was of course reading through some of my favorite cooking blogs and on Haley’s The Girly Girl Cooks I came across a recipe for Pig-Out Cookies which are chocolate chip cookies with BACON!!!  Now bacon added to sweet foods seems to be a really hot thing to do right now but I’ve always sort of said to myself…”WHY???”  Something though with this recipe just screamed, MAKE ME!!! So I did and now I know the answer to “why” bacon is the hot new trend in sweet foods as these cookies totally rocked and everyone who tried them just couldn’t stop having just.one.more so we did pig-out on the piggy cookies. 

IMG_8738eI didn’t notice this until I uploaded my pictures but doesn’t that cookie on the right sort of look like a cute little piggy face??

When I first read through the recipe I thought that the relatively small amount of chocolate wouldn’t be enough but I used just the 1/3 of a cup listed and trust me when I say, it was the perfect amount.  I actually loved that these cookies weren’t chock full of chocolate as they were so incredibly rich and the flavor so intriguing that more chocolate would have spoiled the balance.  Speaking of balance, the cookies weren’t overly chocolaty, or peanut buttery or bacon(y), the cinnamon and chili powder were there but the cookies weren’t spicy…these were perfectly balanced and wonderful cookies and I’ll be making them again and again.  

IMG_8731eMy adorable, talented and always willing helper Maisie Miao Maio.

Piggy-Out Cookies (Adapted from here)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of chile powder
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
5 strips of cooked bacon, diced or crumbled (I used hickory smoked) ~ plus more for the cook and helper to snack on
2 tbsp reserved bacon fat drippings (see that container behind the butter, well I keep bacon dripping in my freezer and every time I make bacon I just add to my stash)
4 TBS butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chile powder and salt. With a stand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter and reserved bacon fat drippings on medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until creamy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined and then by hand stir in the chocolate chunks and crispy bacon.  Using a medium scoop portion out the cookies onto prepared baking sheets. (I got 22 cookies)  Flatten the cookie balls slightly with your fingers and then bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies were wonderful when they were still a bit warm from the oven but I preferred them even more the next day.  I stored them in a zipper bag in the fridge over night and the next day were awesome, a bit crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  I’m telling you, make these cookies then pour yourself a giant glass of milk and prepare to pig-out on these seriously sinful cookies.

Enjoy!

IMG_8741e

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wallaby Darned

IMG_8967eSo while I’ve been sipping on Melon Agua Fresca, Mango Lassi, Watermelon Frosties, Cantaloupe Agua Fresca and Mint Lassi, Eammon has had a different drink on his mind and in his hand.  A couple of weeks ago we had dinner at Outback and Eammon enjoyed a couple of drinks called Wallaby Darned and he loved them so much he asked if I could make them at home.  It didn’t take much searching as the recipe was all over the internet.  So a quick trip to the store for ingredients and Eammon had his drink in hand. 

The drink is truly delicious but I have absolutely zero alcohol tolerance so I generally taste two little teaspoons full, adore the taste and get tipsy right away.  Think I’ll stick to my sippy drinks and let Eammon enjoy his.

Wallaby Darned (A copycat recipe of Outback Steak House’s Wallaby Darned)

8 oz frozen peach slices
1/2 cup Bacardi Fuzzy Navel Mix (found in the freezer section near the frozen juice concentrates)
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup champagne
1/8 cup peach schnapps
1/8 cup vodka
1 TBS. sugar

Put all the ingredients in the blender and process until very smooth.  If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with a sprig of mint.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Last summer I posted my Melon Agua Fresca using passport melons fresh from our garden but those melons are just starting to come in so I’ve been buying some gorgeous local cantaloupes and making my drinks. 

IMG_9056eIsn’t the color just gorgeous!!! 

I make a full pitcher so that I can enjoy my drinks for a few days.  With the hot temperatures we’ve had this summer often hovering right at 100F, I just can’t get enough of all my summer drinks, Watermelon Frosty, Mango Lassi, Mint Lassi and this Cantaloupe Agua Fresca.  I hope that you’re enjoying summer and sipping on something cool and delicious!

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

1 perfectly ripe cantaloupe, skin & seeds removed and cut in chunks
6 packets (or to taste) stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 cups water

fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Place half of all the ingredients (except the garnish mint sprigs) in a blender and process until very smooth. Pour into a pitcher and then repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Chill until very cold. Before serving give it a stir and then pour over ice, garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.

Enjoy!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Holy Guacamole and The Secret Recipe Club

Last month I participated in The Secret Recipe Club over on Amanda's blog and I had so much fun, I couldn’t wait to do it again.  How it works is, each month you are assigned a different participating food blogger and without telling them, you choose and make one of their recipes.  Then on a specified date and time everyone who is participating that month posts their recreation or version of the recipe they made.  Last month I loved reading though my assigned blog and I chose a Home Style Chicken Curry recipe which I made, dined on and posted about and well, I enjoyed every part of the process and I couldn’t wait for my next assignment. 

I swear that my heart skipped a beat with excitement when I saw the email from Amanda with my next assignment and I quickly scrolled though all the important information included in her email looking for the words “Your assigned blog URL” and clicked on the link.  What I was led to was Heather’s It’s Yummy to my Tummy and I was all about reading her blog and checking out her recipes.  What I found was a Mom who’s a lot like me in that she loves to cook and bake and finds doing it a way to de-stress and make herself and everyone happy.  I also love that she cooks a lot with her daughter Alicia who’s only about seven months younger than my Maisie.  I found it adorable that in one post Alicia was wearing Little Einstein p.j’s, the same ones that my daughter Maisie fell in love with and still wears so how cute is that?  Heather’s blog was fun to read but now let’s get on to cooking.

Once again this month I was torn on which of the many delicious looking recipes I should make.  There was a recipe for Caramel Mix which I remember from my childhood as a friend’s Mom used to make it and I absolutely adored it but I was afraid that if I made it I’d eat the entire batch so I chose to opt for something else.  Then there was some delicious looking S’mores Fudge and I even had every ingredient needed to make this recipe already in the house.  But same problem, I’d eat way more than I should so better not to make it and have that sugar and chocolate temptation in the house.  If you can’t already tell that I’m craving but trying to avoid sugar, the other recipe that caught my eye was the Chocolate Eclair Dessert as I’ve seen this recipe a few times and I’ve just been itching to try it.  I need to have some company over so that I’ll have a reason to make all these wonderful sweet treats and not be tempted to eat them all myself.

I finally narrowed down my selection to two “less added sugar” recipes, Chicken BLT Salad with Avocado Dressing and Bacon & Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole.  Both recipes were very similar in their ingredients and they both looked delicious and well… honestly I just couldn’t decided… so I made both this past month and while we loved, enjoyed and feasted on both I decided to post about the Guacamole for The Secret Recipe Club.

IMG_8678eThis recipe was simple to prepare and with the little changes that I made, only six ingredients.  Heather’s recipe called for sun-dried tomatoes and jarred fire-roasted red peppers but when I went looking for my sun-dried tomatoes I just couldn’t find them.  So I replaced the sun-dried tomatoes as well as the fire-roasted red peppers with something I could find in my pantry, Fire Roasted Tex Mex Style Diced Tomatoes as it contains fire-roasted tomatoes, Anaheim peppers as well as jalapeno peppers so I figured it would be a good substitution.

IMG_8668eI followed Heather’s directions and even pulled out my old potato masher to break up the avocado in my Corning Ware French white casserole dish, just like she did.

IMG_8673eAfter I mashed the avocado I added all the ingredients, gave it stir, seasoned with salt and pepper and then had to resist the temptation to keep “tasting” it so that it had time to chill and to also allow the flavors to come together a bit.  I will tell you though, once that bowl of guac hit the table it didn’t stand a chance against Eammon and I and thankfully we weren’t sharing it with guests otherwise there may have been fights to get at the bowl.  Needless to say, we adored this recipe and this is now my go-to guac recipe.  Thanks Heather for sharing such a tasty dish.

Holy Guacamole (adapted from original recipe here)

5 slices hickory smoked bacon, crumbled
2 ripe Haas avocados
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1/2 can Fire Roasted Tex Mex Style Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (mine was “fresh” from the freezer as I had picked, washed, dried and frozen large quantities of cilantro that I pulled from our garden. When used in recipes like this or in soups it works and tastes great but it’s darker in color but because it’s been frozen it doesn’t work well as a garnish.)
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Salt & pepper to taste

Prepare bacon by cooking to desired crispiness. Drain the bacon on paper towels and when when cool, crumble.  Cut open and prepare avocados by scooping out the flesh and place in a bowl. Use a potato masher or forks to break up the avocados.  Add the onion, the drained Fire Roasted Tex Mex Style Diced Tomatoes, cilantro and the lime juice.  Fold to mix everything together well.  Season with salt & pepper. Cover guacamole with plastic wrap pressed directly against the guacamole so that it does not turn brown as fast. Chill well before serving.  Garnish with bacon and/or extra cilantro when ready to serve. 

IMG_8689e1I have a complaint with this recipe in that there was one major, huge flaw and that was, it didn’t make enough.  It was so delicious that Eammon and I polished off the entire bowl in short order so if you make this recipe, double, triple or quadruple the ingredients and don’t put it out at a party and turn your back thinking that you’ll get some later because you won’t as it’ll be gone in a flash.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thai Peanut Salad

So I made and we enjoyed Red Curry Chicken and Red Curry Chicken leftovers but what to do with the leftover-leftover chicken??  I of course opted for a good old standby, throw it on a salad.  But the chicken was so good and distinctly flavored that I couldn’t just use any old dressing so I continued the Thai theme and made a lovely peanut dressing.  Both Eammon and I really loved this dressing as it had just the right balance of sweet, salty, sour, savory and heat, this will definitely be a make again dressing and salad in our home.

 IMG_8818e

Thai Peanut Salad

leftover Red Curry Chicken, shredded

Salad:
1 (12 oz) package of mixed baby salad greens
red, orange & yellow peppers, julienned
Vidalia onion chopped
Tomatoes, large dice
cucumber, sliced and quartered
fresh enoki mushrooms
avocado slices

Dressing:
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 TBS. Whey Low Gold (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup water
1 TBS. soy sauce
1 TBS. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lime, juiced

Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Assemble the salad, top with chicken and avocado slices then drizzle on the dressing, easy peasy!

Enjoy!

IMG_8824e

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baked Egg Cups two ways

A little ways back I received a comment from Amanda at The Sweet Details that my Stir-Fried Asparagus with Water Chestnuts, Ginger & Cashews was featured on Savory Sunday so I popped over to check it out.  While there I found another featured recipe which looked quite interesting, Savory Bacon & Egg Cups and I knew that Eammon would love them and with an easy little change, so would Maisie.  Thus I ended up with Baked Egg Cups two ways.

IMG_8186e

Both versions of the Baked Egg Cups were simple and fast to make and because there’s honestly nothing complicated and there are just a few ingredients, even someone who claims that they can’t even boil water could totally impress making these recipes.  I served these Baked Egg Cups for dinner one night when I needed to make something quick after spending a long afternoon at the pool.  Both versions were loved so I’ll be keeping this recipe as it’s a wonderful dish for breakfast, brunch, dinner or even a late night breakfast meal.

IMG_8192eFirst are the Bacon & Egg Cups which I made for Eammon.  Refrigerated biscuit dough, pre-cooked bacon, eggs, salt & pepper, cooking spray and a muffin tin, easy peasy.

IMG_8196e Maisie’s not a real bacon lover nor does she like seeing the white and yolk of an egg in an unblended form so Maisie enjoyed Baked Scrambled Egg & Cheese Cups. She enjoyed it sliced open with a little bit of butter spread on the biscuit. 

Baked Egg Cups two ways (Adapted from here)

1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 egg for each biscuit you’re going to make
1 slice of pre-cooked bacon for each biscuit
Shredded cheese, I used Fiesta blend cheese because that’s what I had on hand.
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and then lay one biscuit into each cup.  Press the biscuit dough so that it comes up the sides of the cups.

Then add one of the fillings:

For the Baked Egg Cups with Bacon:  Cut the bacon slice in half and using one slice per cup, criss cross the half slices pressing into the biscuit dough.  Crack one egg on top of the bacon and add salt & pepper to taste.

For the Baked Scrambled Egg & Cheese Cups:  Scramble one egg and pour over the biscuit dough and then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake the egg cups for 25-30 minutes until the whites are set.  Run a small knife around the edge of each cup to loosen.  Serve immediately.

We did have leftovers which I stored just in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator over night and the next morning I reheated everything in the microwave and the egg cups held up beautifully.  They really were as good as they had been the night before so great to make ahead!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

I have been craving all things avocado and even though they’re wicked expensive this year (what’s the deal with the price this year?) they’ve still been finding their way into a lot of our salads and meals.  The other night I was perusing some cooking blogs and saw a recipe on Jehan Can Cook for a wonderful salad which contained not only avocado but also grilled corn, another favorite in our home, so I just had to make it.  WOW did we adore this salad, so many of our favorite summer time flavors with nice contrasting textures, a bit of sweetness and just a bit of heat…wonderful!!  The best thing, it took mere minutes to make this salad and we enjoyed it as a “dip” eating it on nacho chips as we sipped summer drinks, Watermelon Frosty for me and a more “adult” beverage for Eammon. 

IMG_8865e Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing  (adapted from here)

2 ears fresh corn, husk & silk removed
Juice of 1 lime
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in halves
1 ripe Hass avocado, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Grill corn over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes turning as necessary.  The corn should have some brown spots and be tender but not mushy.  Cut the corn off the cob and scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices.  Set aside and let cool. 

In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, oil, honey, salt, pepper, garlic & cayenne.  Add the grilled corn, tomatoes and cilantro and mix well so that everything is coated with the dressing,  Carefully mix in the avocado being careful not to mash it as you mix.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lamb Curry

I have a couple of recipes that I refer to as “spice dump recipes” because I literally take all the ingredients and dump them into a large oven roaster or my slow cooker, give them a stir and let them cook into wonderfully flavorful meals.  This lamb curry is one of those spice dump recipes and though it comes out exactly the same whether cooked in the slow cooker or the oven, I tend to make it in the oven as I generally double the recipe so that I can freeze the curry in both family size portions and lunch size portions for Eammon.  It freezes beautifully and when I need a quick dinner I thaw the curry at half power in the microwave then heat it at full power, make some rice and dinner is on the table  This curry is not spicy or spicy hot and the yogurt gives a nice creamy smoothness to the dish.  We enjoy the curry with Jasmine rice and garnished with avocado and cilantro…but today it was sans cilantro because it’s raining cats & dogs outside and I’m too lazy and can’t be bothered to grab the umbrella and put on shoes to go out to the garden and pick the cilantro so just picture a pretty little sprinkling of cilantro on top of the avocado.

IMG_8644e Lamb Curry

3 lbs boneless lamb stew meat or chunks of leg meat
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 beef bullion cubes
4 cups water
1 lb mushrooms, sliced or quartered
5 TBS curry powder
2 TBS fresh rosemary, minced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil
3 TBS Garam Masala
3 TBS minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried fennel
2 TBS dried oregano
4 large baking potatoes, cubed
2 small cans tomato paste
2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use fat-free)

Cilantro and/or avocado for garnish

Oven method: Pre-heat oven to 325F; Add all the ingredients with the exception of the yogurt to an oven safe roaster and stir to mix well. Cook covered 4-6 hours until the meat and potatoes are nice and tender. Once ready, remove from the oven and stir in the yogurt.

Slow cooker method:  Add everything with the exception of the yogurt to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 3-5 hours. Once the meat and potatoes are nice and tender, turn off the cooker and stir the yogurt into the curry.

I serve the curry over Jasmine or Basmati rice and garnish with avocado slices and cilantro.

Enjoy!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Red Curry Chicken

We love red curry and my Red Curry Soup is a favorite in our home so when I saw a recipe for red curry chicken wings on Peggy’s My Fiancé! Loves it, So it MUST Be Good, I knew that I had to make it, especially as I had all the necessary ingredients in the house.  Peggy used chicken wings but I decided to use a whole cut up fryer because, well that’s what I had in my freezer.  The marinade was simple to mix together and I did it early one morning planning to bake and serve the chicken that night but Eammon got tied up at work and then the next night he had dinner plans so my pieces of chicken ended up marinating for 2 1/2 days!  I don’t know if marinating the chicken that long added to the flavor or not but the chicken came out flavorful and perfect so nice to know that when I make this again (and I will) I can prepare it well in advance of when I’ll need to use it so I’m thinking, perfect for a party!  Eammon especially enjoyed this preparation and I’m going to give it a try on some wings one of these days, I know that too will be a big hit.

IMG_8719eRed Curry Chicken with Long Beans with Walnuts and Aloo Gobi.

Red Curry Chicken (adapted from here)

1 can coconut milk (I used lite)
3 TBS fish sauce 
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 TBS red curry paste
1 TBS peanut oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 whole fryer chicken, cut in pieces, skin left on

In a medium bowl combine coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, red curry paste & oil.  Mix until sugar is dissolved and curry paste is mixed through.  Stir in the cilantro.  In a very large zipper bag add the cut up chicken pieces and the marinade.  Seal the bag and massage to coat all the chicken pieces well.  Place the bag in a large bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for 6 hours to three days turning once or twice to redistribute the marinade.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Remove chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess.  Place chicken skin side up on baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes until juices run clear and skin is crispy. 

Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mint Lassi

Thursday night I attended a Indian cooking class and though everything made and served was delicious (and those recipes will be coming) one real standout for the evening was the mint lassi which was served at the beginning of the class.  In the past I’ve only made and tried mango lassi which is sweet and creamy like drinking a fruit smoothie so nothing oh-too adventurous, unless you consider the addition of cardamom adventurous.  So last night when I was handed a glass of mint lassi I honestly was a bit hesitant as I didn’t quite know what to expect.  Then I thought about it, mint ~ love it and drink mint tea all.the.time, yogurt ~ eat it almost everyday, cardamom ~ nothing new there and some sugar ~ well I do have a sweet tooth.  So I knew that I liked all the individual ingredients and honestly I’ll try almost anything once, so I gave it a try and am I glad that I did because mint lassi rocks!!  I enjoyed the drink so much Thursday night that first thing the next morning I went out to the weed patch garden and picked fresh mint so that I could enjoy my new found treat again.  We weren’t given a recipe or amounts but were told that the drink can be made as minty, sweet or creamy as one desires.  But I’m thinking that no matter how it’s made, this mint lassi is refreshing and light and a perfect drink for a hot summer afternoon.

IMG_8955e

Mint Lassi

2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup plain yogurt (I used fat-free)
2 cups ice cubes
seeds from 4 green cardamom pods, pods discarded
4 TBS. Whey Low Gold (brown sugar, agave or sweetener of your choice)

mint leaves for garnish

Put everything but the garnish mint leaves in a bender and process to a slushy consistency.  Pour in glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves.  Serves 4.

Enjoy

Friday, July 8, 2011

Aloo Gobi

Cauliflower was on a great sale recently so I picked up two heads thinking that I’d use one for cauli-rice under a curry and the other I’d do my usual and we’d just enjoy the florets roasted with a bit of garlic, salt & pepper.  But I’ve been craving Indian spice flavors so I thought why not change things up and do something a bit different.  After a quick check in the pantry and knowing that I had potatoes and onions I decided on Aloo Gobi (aloo = potato & gobi = cauliflower).  I was too lazy to actually go and look up a recipe so I prepared this based on partial memory of making it previously and the flavors that I thought should be there.  So this recipe is probably not very authentic but very delicious none the less.   IMG_8716e

Aloo Gobi

1 head cauliflower
4 medium potatoes, peeled (I used Russet)
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh minced ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 TBS ground cumin
1 1/2 TBS ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 450F.  Cut the cauliflower into florets and the potatoes into bite-size pieces.  In a large bowl toss the cauliflower and potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil then place in single layer on a large foil lined baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.  While the cauliflower & potatoes are baking heat 1 TBS of oil and the butter in a large frying pan.  Add the onions and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the the cumin, turmeric and salt and stirring continuously, cook one minute.  Add the water to the frying pan and stir to combine with the onion-spice mixture.  Remove the baked cauliflower & potatoes from the oven and add them to the skillet.  Toss with the onion-spice mixture until well coated.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Math Book No Bake Cookies

Maisie found a no bake cookie recipe in her math book and begged to make the cookies saying that it would help her learn math.  Yeah I fell for her line and we made cookies.  They’re super simple and actually tasty, a bit like candy.  So she learned some math and we got some tasty cookies, not a bad deal.

IMG_8942e Math Book No Bake Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. cocoa
3 TBS. milk
3 TBS. butter
2 packets plain instant oatmeal (or 1 cup quick cooking oats)
1 TBS peanut butter (we used smooth)

In a medium microwave safe bowl add the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Microwave on high one minute then stir to mix all the ingredients. Heat again on high for one minute allowing the ingredients to "boil" together. Remove from microwave and stir to mix then add the oats and peanut butter and stir to mix completely. Using a small Tablespoon scoop or Tablespoons, drop by Tablespoon full onto waxed paper. Refrigerate to set.  About 18 cookies.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Laksa

There are dozens of different varieties of laksa and I’ve enjoyed many of them but recently I just had a flavor profile in my mind and no recipe so I got creative and the outcome, totally delicious!  Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off, this is really simple to make and what’s nice is that when you serve it, everyone can pick out their favorite toppings to add to the bowl. It would be fun to serve at a party, instead of a taco bar or chili bar, it could be a laksa bar.   We really enjoyed the contrast between the spicy hot laksa and the crisp cold veggies.

IMG_7037[2] A

 Laksa

Soup:
2 TBS shrimp paste (belacan)
15  large shallots, peeled and quartered
2 large red peppers, stem & seeds removed, quartered 
10 small Thai green chili peppers, stems removed
2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
24 oz. coconut cream
28 oz. coconut milk
6 cups cheaters chicken soup
1 scotch bonnet pepper, stem & seeds removed but left whole
8 oz. yellow soybean sauce
8 oz. tamarind paste
2 TBS. fish sauce
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled with tail left on, cleaned & deveined
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
dried rice noodle vermicelli (mie hoen)

Toppings: (below are what we used but any fresh veggie works)
garlic chives, tops left long and stems chopped
mung bean sprouts
cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, julienned
mushrooms, sliced
orange and yellow sweet peppers, julienned
scallions, sliced
cilantro

IMG_70152 B (Some of the less common ingredients so if you go shopping you’ll know what to look for.)

Crumble the shrimp paste onto a foil lined pan and roast in the oven @ 350F for 8-10 minutes until it is dry and crumbly.  Add the roasted shrimp paste, shallots, red peppers, Thai chili peppers and garlic to a food processor and process to a fine paste then set aside. 

In a large pot melt the coconut cream being careful not to allow it to burn but do allow it to toast ever so slightly.  Once the coconut cream is melted and you can smell toasted coconut add the mixture from the food processor and stirring constantly cook for two minutes.  Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and scotch bonnet pepper and simmer on low, stirring often for 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile in a food processor add the soybean sauce, tamarind paste and fish sauce and process until smooth.  After the coconut mixture has simmered for 30 minutes add the soybean, tamarind mixture and stir to combine.  Simmer for five minutes and taste.  The soup should be gravy consistency thick, a little “gritty” in texture from the ground up vegetables and shrimp paste, spicy hot, a little sour, a bit sweet and slightly salty.  Add the shrimp to the simmering soup, stir, cover and immediately turn off the heat allowing the shrimp to poach.  After ten minutes remove the pot lid and check to see that the shrimp are cooked through.  Remove and discard the scotch bonnet pepper.  Add the chopped cilantro and stir to mix.

To make the noodles bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles, cover and remove from the heat.  After 3-4 minutes stir the noodles to separate them then drain and rinse and set aside covered.

To serve, put some noodles into a large bowl and ladle in some of the soup.  Top with your favorite nice chilled fresh veggies.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rolo Brownie Bites with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Today Maisie and I decided to bake a special treat for a chocolate and caramel loving friend.  After a bit of thought we settled on making mini brownie bites stuffed with a Rolo candy and topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting.  A perfect two bite treat, surprisingly not over-the-top sweet, adorable and YUM!!

IMG_8919eThe brownie bites were very easy to make and Maisie and I had fun cooking together.

IMG_8897eBut I think that Maisie’s favorite part was licking the spoon, she really got into her work.

Rolo Brownie Bites with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix plus necessary eggs, oil & water per package instructions (or your favorite homemade recipe)
  • 24 Rolo candies plus extras for the cook's snack
  • 4 TBS. butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 TBS. caramel sauce
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

Remove all the wrappers and refrigerate the Rolo candies.  Pre-heat oven to 325F.  Prepare brownies according to package directions.  Grease a 24 cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and immediately press a Rolo, smaller side down, into the center of each brownie bite until the top of the Rolo is even with the top of the brownie bite.  Cool for a couple of minutes then carefully remove the brownie bites from the pan to a cooking rack.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, whip the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add the caramel sauce and blend.  Add the confectioners sugar and whip until creamy and smooth.  Using a pastry or plastic bag with a piping tip, pipe the frosting onto the top of each brownie bite.  Chill in the refrigerator to set the frosting a bit before serving.

Enjoy!!

IMG_8912e

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rhubarb Crisp

From the time I was a little girl I have always loved rhubarb yet I never make it because I’m the only one in the house who will eat adores it.  The other reason I never make dishes with rhubarb is because anything with rhubarb requires the use of a LOT of sugar and I’ve been trying to really cut sugar from my diet.  About a year ago I found some sugar substitutes that I’ve been using in my baking and they are fabulous as I can’t tell that I’m using something other than sugar.  So recently when I saw an interesting and easy recipe for rhubarb crisp on Keeping Up With the Times I realized that it would be a great opportunity for me to make the sugar substitutions and indulge.  What I love most about this recipe is that it is rhubarb, no strawberries, no apples, no fancy spices, just rhubarb and a simple crisp topping. 
I have to say that I absolutely adored this recipe and there was only one thing wrong with it and that was how delicious it was and how much of it I wanted to eat!   Overall it’s not that unhealthy and since I can make it with no added sugar, I’ll be making this whenever I can get my hands on nice fresh rhubarb. 

IMG_8232e Rhubarb Crisp (adapted from here)

5 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
Syrup
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Whey Low granules or sugar
2 TBS warm water
Crumb
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup Whey Low Gold or brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the rhubarb in a 6-8 cup casserole dish.  Combine the lemon juice, Whey Low granules (sugar) and water and stir to dissolve.  (If using real sugar you can heat the water and sugar together in the microwave to help melt the sugar then add the lemon juice.)  Pour the syrup over the cut rhubarb and stir to combine and coat evenly.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, Whey Low Gold (brown sugar) and rolled oats.  Add the melted butter and using your fingers, mix to combine into a crumbly mix.  Sprinkle over the rhubarb.

Bake 40 minutes until the rhubarb is bubbly around the edges and the crisp has started to brown.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Enjoy!!

IMG_8227e

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