Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Unusual Turkey Day Dessert

This Turkey Day holiday,
our resident chef decided to make an unusual dessert
as a thank you for a hardworking coworker friend.
The results were amazing!

The dessert you ask?

If you are into delicious Mexican style desserts
and have a definite sweet tooth to boot- this is the dessert for you!

Chef's notes:
This dessert, although delicious, is extremely sweet.
If we were to do this recipe again,
we would cut the sugar down
AT LEAST by 1/4 of what it recommends.
The topping is also very delicious and is basically
homemade whip cream rather than traditional frosting.
No other additions are necessary with this decadent treat.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chipotle Meatballs

I was looking for a recipe for German Potato Salad, doing the Octoberfest thing Saturday, when I came across this recipe. I've never used chipotle chilis in adobo sauce before but I had some leftover hamburger and cooked rice that I needed to use up so I gave it a whirl.

Here's the link, and I stole the picture as well.

I used 1/4lb sauteed bacon in the sauce instead of in the meatballs. The chilis looked so innocent in the can that I went against my better judgement and placed 4 whole chilis in the sauce. I then used my immersion blender to puree the chilis along with the tomatos and onions then added the reserved bacon back in.

Dani said she could smell it from the driveway before she even got to the house. I had her taste it first in case it was too hot for me. She said it was pretty warm which usually means you can light a fire with it, but when I tasted it there was a deep smoky hot, not a burning hot like cayenne. A little sour cream cooled it a bit and it was awesome.

love and bacon,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not Another Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup

Tired of the old Warhol-esque canned soup??
Well, no more!

Make sure to crisp the bacon.
The crunchy texture is an excellent contrast to the beans.

 The dark molasses adds a unique sweetness to the mix.

And Voila! A delicious soup that pairs perfectly
with a hot grilled cheese made with homemade pita bread.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Guinness + Lamb= Guinness Lamb Stew

Pictured red sauce is tomato paste.

This lamb has been dredged in flour and browned.
This flour will later act as a thickening agent for the stew.

 Simmer for longer in order for the flavors 
to blend nicely together.

If you would like your stew to be a little bit sweeter,
substitute rutabaga in place of turnips.

Bread shown in this picture
is homemade pita and goes very well
with the stew's flavors.

Recipe calls Guinness Stout
but we used Guinness Drought
for its preferred flavor (leftovers!).
This recipe can easily be adapted for a crock pot.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Day Another Meal

I must admit I have a love/hate relationship with grills. I love the results when it all works but more often than not I find them lacking. I think I've used at least half a dozen different models and currently have 2 grills and a smoker in the stable.

My latest grill is a propane Master Forge model from Lowes, which satisfies one of my requirements. Grills burn up and you need an easy source for replacement parts as you burn them up. This grill has a sear burner which deals with my next complaint, not enough heat to cook a steak charred and rare (also called blue or pittsburgh on the east coast).

Well I tried it for the first time on Dad's day. I cooked one steak 5 minutes per side on the grill and obtained nice grill marks and a steak done medium-rare. The other steak went on the sear burner for just 2 minutes per side. Voila! charred and rare (you know actually raw in the center). This was the steak in the photo.

And now for the next test, rotisserie chicken. My last grill was a Nexus that had an infrared back burner that would selectively burn a chicken on the spit while leaving the bird otherwise uncooked. Here's the results using the new grill:

The bird came out evenly cooked with crispy skin in an hour. I started on high but turned it down to low after 15 minutes. The bird was left uncovered in the refrigerator for a couple of days to dry it out (from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc) and the skin was lifted from the body to create an air pocket (from America's Test Kitchen).

I rubbed the bird with a mixture olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, then sprinkled poultry seasoning and smoked paprika as the bird turned.

love and bacon

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad's Day Feast

It's Father's day and a chance to try out the new grill. A quick trip to the store yields New Yorks on sale, so now for the accompaniment.

I used to do rosemary crusted steaks, but on a trip to Boston some years ago, I was introduced to Chimichurri, the wonderful Argentinian parsley relish. Why not combine the two? Of course google shows its all been done before, here's my version.

Rosemary Chimichurri

1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary
3 cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 bunch Italian Parsley cull the stems
*kosher salt to taste, although I prefer to salt the meat directly

Combine first 4 ingredients in a saute pan and simmer on low for 10 minutes, then let cool. Stir in the vinegar.
In a food processor, coarse chop the parsley then drizzle the oil mixture in, while pulsing to achieve a relish like consistency.

Serve the chimichurri at room temperature with salted and peppered steaks.

love and bacon,

Friday, June 10, 2011

When Shrimp Met Avocado

May's Cooking Light magazine
featured the most mouth watering picture yet,
I instantly knew we had to try it!
The recipe was like one part home (Cali)
and one part seafood heaven.
I knew that with ingredients like these
nothing but pure delight could come out of the kitchen.

 The cooked shrimp were a spectacular palate
for both the flavors of the bacon and paprika.

 All the ingredients were easy to prepare and assemble together.
The mustard lemon vinaigrette was simple to make and very flavorful.

No matter how you set up your salad,
you will get a whole lot of flavors.

Preferring a separatist approach
(this way nothing distracts from the shrimp and avocado flavors).

And a mixed approach for the flavor adventurer.

Avocados are difficult to pick but
an excellent way to do it is to make sure
the avocado is not too soft,
a firmer avocado is preferable.
Once you get home,
place the avocado in a paper bag
on top of the fridge.
Check on it in the next couple of days.
You will know when it's ready,
when the skin has a slight give.

Monday, June 6, 2011

And No, It Wasn't Just a Sliver

We broke down and made a REAL (non low cal) dessert.
It was (of course) SO delicious!

Alton Brown's Lemon Meringue Pie!

(Along with sugar- not pictured above)

An electric mixing utility is super useful
when making the meringue component.

Be careful when cooking the lemon filling,
as soon as it starts boiling the entire mixture
will begin to seize up.

Fresh out of the oven.

Zesty tastiness!

And again,
Alton Brown's Lemon Meringue Pie

For further browned goodness,
make sure to add peaks in the meringue topping.
This can be done by poking it with the fork,
the meringue will
spike up as you pull away.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Peppermint Power!

 If you are interested in cutting down on even more calories,
substitute the milk with soy milk.
Also, for a thicker custard add extra egg yolks.

 Try breaking the peppermint down into small pieces
or else they will sink to the bottom of your mix.

 For quick churning, we always keep
our kitchen aid ice cream attachments in the freezer.

Since peppermint candies are hard candies
  and can be somewhat abrasive on the teeth,
I recommend breaking the peppermint down into very small pieces;
especially if you have sensitive teeth,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pi-zza Not Pi-sa

 We used a variety of ingredients
in order to give our pizzas a depth of flavor.

Want a different spin on your pizza dough?
Try different kinds of flours and seasonings in your pizza dough.

 We made three different kinds of doughs:
white, wheat and a mix of both.

We used generic pizza sauce on these pizzas
but if you want to make your own try
Alton Brown's Pantry Friendly Tomato Sauce Recipe

 Voila: Cheesy meaty pizza!

If you like a less salty pizza crust make sure to cut some of the salt.
For extra flavor add some Italian seasoning or garlic.
The cold proofing really works to develop the flavors.
Lastly, using a pizza stone (or the bottom of the terracota pot)
browns the dough, giving it an excellent texture and flavor.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Herb the Chicken

If you have thick pieces of of chicken,
cut them in half to ensure that they cook all the way through.
For extra flavor add Italian Seasonings
instead of parsley. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Orange-me Pork

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange
and Red Onion Salsa from Cooking Light

The key to this dish was
definitely picking out perfect, sweet oranges.
The oranges added a flavorful, fresh tanginess to the overall dish
which really kicked our taste buds to a happy place.
As for a side, we decided to pair this entrée with a side of couscous
but it could also go well with rice or a mixed green salad.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Drinco!

Of course every Cinco de Mayo involves a couple of these.
Inspired by The Coastal Margarita from Coastal Living
(Throw some fresh strawberries in the mix for
sweet, fresh strawberry margaritas).

No Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without tacos!
Carne Asada Taco with Avocado Pico de Gallo

A little breakdown:
The meat calls for a 3 hour marination period-
but if you are short for time
adding some lime zest to the marinade really adds flavor
and cuts down at least an hour.
(Or add it if you just love lime).

This pico de gallo is super flavorful and a must for avocado lovers.
Make sure to buy avocados a day or two before.
If they are still firm, throw them in a paper bag
and put them on top of the fridge.
This will really help get them to where they need to be.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


 This dish is a delicious mixture of flavors and
will be sure to be a favorite of squash lovers.

 This tagine goes great with a side of couscous with green onion.

The butternut squash is best when it is cooked to a softer consistency. 

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash from Cooking Light

Be careful with the Cinnamon, a little goes a really long way.
Skirt and flank steak work really well in this dish.
The most difficult component to cook in this meal
is the butternut squash;
which depending on cook time, can either end up hard or overcooked.
Timing is essential!

Monday, April 11, 2011

O My, Sui Mei!

Make sure to wrap the sui mei extra tightly.

Try not to over stuff the sui mei,
so that they will not fall apart while steaming.

 We learned that it is important to place each sui mei an inch apart
or else they will stick together.

Although the recipe says to add an inch of water when steaming,
we found that if you add more than a 1/4 inch of water that
the bottom level sui mei will become soggy while being steamed.

Make sure to wear protective gear when removing the lid!

These  tasty dumplings go great with soy sauce
and Sambal Oelek, Ground Fresh Chili Paste.

If you are having a hard time finding Gyoza skins,
pot sticker wrappers can be used instead.
Baby Bella mushrooms can also replace the Crimini mushrooms.
Also, make sure to line the steamers with enough
Napa (Chinese Cabbage) or else the sui mei will stick to the wood.
Overall, if you are craving some quick dim sum
this is definitely the way to go!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mumbo a Gumbo!

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe from Coastal Living

Steeping the shrimp shells in the chicken broth infuses
wonderful flavors in the overall stew.
This dish seemed to be less spicy and more flavorful the second day.
Depending on the sausage and hot sauce used
this dish can be very spicy;
Sriracha Hot Sauce gave this dish a great flavor twist and spiciness.