Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Healthified" Thai Shrimp and Quinoa Curry

Mmmmmm quinoa. Where has this healthy, little seed been all my life? The quinoa was the star of this Healthified Thai Shrimp and Quinoa Curry dish. The shrimp was good but I wanted it to be a bit spicier. In my opinion, the coconut milk made the shrimp too mellow. I'd be interested in making more Thai dishes but I don't know that I'd make these shrimps again. I will say, that the dish was very filling. I'm attributing that to the quinoa. Over all, I was neither impressed nor repelled by the dish. It was just... eh.

I tend to agree with Laura on this dish. The quinoa was delicious. I’d never made or had it before. Very very filling dish, but just lacked any flavor. More spices or a marinade on the shrimp would have definitely gone a long way. I’d make something similar again, but I wouldn’t bother with this as the recipe is written.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asian Pork Roast

Ohhh Asian Pork Roast! Where did you go wrong? Could it have been the instructions to brown the meat after I just rubbed raw garlic on you? Could it have been the use of cloves? Whatever happened, I wasn’t a fan. Most of my roast was dry - I suppose I overcooked it. The onions sweetened to the point of tasting like apples. The whole thing was just not very good. I ate the leftovers throughout the week, but omitted the onions and went light on any sauce. There have got to be better recipes for Asian pork than this. Recipe was was Taste of Home and can be found here.

Asian Pork Roast sounds delicious, right? Okay, maybe it was a little weird that it smelled like pumpkin pie while it was cooking. I’m assuming that was the ginger and cloves that made it smell that way. Fine, it tasted like someone accidentally seasoned the pork with pumpkin pie spice. There. I said it. Not my favorite dish. Also, mine didn’t cut as pretty as the picture did. My pork shredded. So, what I wound up with was shredded pumpkin pie pork over peas and rice. And those are onions on the top of the pork. They had a weird texture, too. I'm not making this again. I should have allowed the last reviewer of the recipe to be a warning. Lesson learned.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tuna Casserole

Let me tell you how this tuna casserole blog came to be...
I was cleaning out my pantry. I had some things that I'm sure I got because they were on sale and I never managed to use them. For example, cream of celery soup. I don’t even LIKE celery. Add that to the cans of tuna and the 1 1/2 bags of egg noodles that I had and I had myself a tuna casserole. 

I’ve never made tuna casserole. I had one experience eating it as a kid and I didn’t like it. It seems comforting though, like mac and cheese is. I mentioned thinking about making it and soon, Meredith was helping me find recipes that we might make.

That being said, I wound up making a hybrid of two recipes. The base of the tuna casserole, I made using this Cheesy Tuna Casserole recipe. Then for the topping, I used this Light and Hearty Tuna Casserole recipe. The only changes I made were to the base recipe: I added the aforementioned cream of celery soup and I accidentally left out the frozen peas.

Would I make it again? Sure. I’d maybe like to find a tasty but healthier recipe to use. I have a whole year to find out. I figure that's the next time I’ll be cleaning out my pantry...

I grew up eating tuna casserole maybe weekly. I love the stuff. But it wasn’t until I was in my first apartment and asked my mother how to make it, did I find out that she HATED tuna casserole. My mom recently told me that she hasn’t made tuna casserole since I left home. My poor dad.

I loosely followed this recipe from Food.People.Want. with modifications, of course. I started by sauteing crimini mushrooms with garlic, onions, the celery and green (instead of red) peppers. To that I added the cream of celery soup, milk, mayonnaise, some cheese and the tuna. Finally I folded in cooked egg noodles and poured the mixture into my casserole dish. I used the same topping Laura did: panko breadcrumbs, butter, paprika and Italian seasoning – over top of more cheese though. This was a really good bowl of food and it just got better as the week went on. Next time I’ll have my dad over and I’ll try and remember the peas!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Steak San Marco . . . Polo!

Where has Steak San Marco been all my life? Super easy and really delicious. I’m definitely making this again.  It felt comforting and rustic. I put it over rice but next time, I’d put it over pasta. (Note to Meredith: Egg noodles are not to be considered pasta.)

I didn’t change a single thing since the recipe was so easy and straight-forward.  This is the perfect way to make something delicious using items that you probably already have in your pantry.

One of my favorite dishes that my grandmother makes is Steak San Marco. One day I said to her how much I would LOVE her recipe. She was beyond excited to give it to me. So she went to her desk and hand wrote it on a little piece of stationery that I tucked it away in a binder when I got home. When I was finally ready to make the dish, I Googled “Steak San Marco” to see if it was an actual thing or just something my grandmother had given a name to. Well wouldn’t you know it – her handwritten recipe was COPIED WORD FOR WORD from!!! So much for being a family dish! Oh well, it’s super delicious and almost guiltily easy to make.

  • 2 lb. chuck meat in cubes
  • 1 env. onion soup mix
  • 1 can (1 lb.) Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Ground pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp. wine vinegar
In a large saucepan arrange meat. Cover with dry soup and mix. Add tomatoes, sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, pepper, oil and vinegar. Simmer 2 1/2 hours. Serve over rice.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

Working our way down our “bucket list” of Sunday dinners, we reach enchiladas – on precisely the same week that Laura decides she wants to cook something “more involved.” And so here we have Rick Bayless’ Enchiladas Especiales. These chicken enchiladas are covered in a cream sauce that’s a vibrant green from roasted poblanos and fresh spinach. While there were quite a few steps, none of them seemed difficult. I like spending time in the kitchen anyway. The result was one amazing dinner. The enchiladas were rich and cheesy and chickeny – As good as I could get in any Mexican restaurant.

Let me just say that this is the best dish of food I've eaten in a while!  I don't think that I'll ever be able to eat enchiladas in a restaurant after this.  They were DE-LI-CIOUS!  The poblano peppers gave the green sauce just a little bit of kick in the background.  And there's spinach!  While the enchiladas were "involved" as far as steps went, it wasn't like we had to do some weird cooking method or anything.  They were easy and straight-forward.

So, if you're looking to wow your guests with a dish that tastes like you spent all afternoon in the kitchen, make this dish.  The best part is that you can make the enchiladas ahead of time, clean up your dishes (you'll have a few), then throw them in the oven as your guests arrive.  Your kitchen will be clean and you'll be relaxing knowing that deliciousness awaits.

Stuffed Pork Chops

It was one of those weeks where we started with an idea and went off in search of our own recipes.

I tackled Emeril Lagasse’s Homemade Andouille-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Double-Cut Pork Chops with Awesome Ham Hock Gravy. Four kinds of pig on one plate? Yep- I went there! Firstly, I did NOT make my own andouille sausage. Other than that, I think I followed the recipe to a T. A couple of things: the stuffing to me was lacking in flavor. The andouille seemed wasted and superfluous; the cornbread stayed grainy; it just wasn’t very interesting. Next, the amount of bacon I was supposed to wrap these chops in? WOW. My saute pan was a pool of bacon fat and I had to pour most of it out before I went into the oven. About half the bacon would have been plenty rich. BUT the star of the show - The Ham Hock Gravy - OH MAN was that ever a winner! Absolutely delicious. I probably won’t bother with much else of this recipe again, but I’ll need to find places to put this gravy in the future.

Well, the recipe I used was supposed to be an easier version of the one Meredith used, but honestly, whoever wrote it neglected to reread it.  (Yeah, this is the part where Meredith tells me that if I read the recipe more than once, I might have noticed it.)  Moving right along . . .

The pork chops were really good.  They were actually better the second time around.  I find that happens a lot.  I always seem to enjoy food the next day so much more.  My only issue was that there was way too much bacon on the pork chops.  I'm not convinced if the bacon was used to flavor or to hide the messy stuffing job.  Look, I'm the only person on the planet that thinks that while bacon does have it's place in my life (BLTs, with eggs, maybe even on the occasional burger), I don't think it needs to be EVERYWHERE.  This might be one of those times.  I feel like everywhere I look, a baconista (just watch that word catch on) is putting bacon in cupcakes or some other similarly inappropriate place.  Wait, I was talking about pork chops, wasn't I?

The end result was very good.  I enjoyed the pork chop.  I'm glad we made them but I'm still not over the bacon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

South Beach Diet Extravaganza!!

This was an entire day of cooking. We made egg muffins to have for breakfast through the week and then  dinner and dessert for that night.

Egg Muffins My recipe goes something like this:

12 eggs, beaten

4 oz low fat cheese, grated (I used pepper jack)
4 oz turkey sausage, browned
1 red/green pepper
1/2 onion

Brown, turkey with pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and spray VERY WELL with non-stick spray. Spoon sausage and veg mixture evenly throughout muffin tins. Top each with cheese. Pour eggs over top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes-ish or until eggs are set.

Spinach Souffle Stuffed Chicken
This is one of my tried and true South Beach Diet Cookbook recipes. It awesome every time. It’s something I’d consider eating everyday. It’s best served with mashed cauliflower and the sauce that the recipe instructs. Decadent even.

Mocha Creme Somethings
This is my second attempt at a South Beach Cookbook dessert. BLEH BLEH BLEH. Nothing I’ve ever made is any good. I will stick to my fudgsicles.

Here's the recipe I used for my Egg Muffins:
Kalyn's Kitchen Egg Muffins 
(Note: I've used this website a couple of times now.  There are a lot of healthy and delicious recipes on there.  Definitely check out some of the other recipes on there, too.)  So, the muffins are great.  This obviously can be changed based on the vegetables, cheeses and meats that you have on hand.

The chicken recipe I used was the same exact one that Meredith used.  South Beach has never tasted so good!  I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but it was kind of a messy prep.  Well worth it, though.  The spinach souffle was surprisingly very flavorful.  I'd definitely make this again.  The best part was, when I brought it into work the next day, my friend commented on how delicious it looked.  She couldn't believe that it was made with a frozen food product.
 And finally for that disastrous dessert.  Obviously, something went very, very wrong because my eggs tasted scrambled instead of custard-like.  I won't make that ever again!  Lesson learned!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 4th Weekend YUM-O Food!!

We did nothing but eat the weekend Laura was here for July 4th!!

Weber’s Real Grilling Grilled Crab Cakes
1 ripe mango, about 1 lb, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 medium red onion. finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Crab Cakes
3/4 pound fresh, frozen or canned lump crab meat
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, white and light green parts, minced
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper

To make the salsa: in a medium bowl combine the salsa ingredients. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours until flavors blend.

Drain the crab meat in a sieve. In a medium bowl, flake the meat with a fork and discard any shells or cartilage that might remain. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing gently but thoroughly. Shape into 12 small cakes. Place cakes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm enough for the grill.

Grill over direct high heat until the bread crumbs are toasted, 6-8 minutes, turning once with spatula very carefully. Serve warm with salsa spooned on top.

There was also steak, bread and zucchini. But, really, who cares about that?

Also that weekend we had smoked ribs, caprese kabobs and Mexican street corn (inspired by our corn the week before in New York City) Dos Caminos. The ribs I smoked for about 5 hours with a rub and then threw them on the grill with sauce to finish them off. The kabobs Laura put together with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. She finished those off with a balsamic glaze made by simply reducing balsamic vinegar on the stove. The Mexican Street Corn was kind a a creation made by looking a various recipes online and throwing together what I had on hand. I grilled the delicious sweet white corn to start. Then spread on a mixture of sour cream, a dash of heavy cream to loosen things up, chili power, garlic, chipotle puree, salt and pepper. Finally topped the hot corn with a squeeze of lime juice and grate queso fresco. OMG it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. Best thing I ate all weekend HANDS DOWN. (notice the paper towel and beer. Both necessary).

All I can add to this is that I've never had Mexican street corn before this. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious corn can be. The crab cakes were awesome, too.  Honestly, the whole weekend of food and fireworks was perfect. Especially since I got to throw together some skewers and Meredith did all the hard stuff.  I'm sure she knew that I was too drunk to cook.  Hey, where's the rum punch recipe?

Holy Chipotle Meatloaf Batman!

A friend of mine turned me on to a place around here that makes food for you. It’s not a restaurant - it’s a take home and heat kind of joint (Cena). I was looking through their menu and came across their “most requested” entree: Chipotle Meatloaf. That sent me on an internet search for the BEST Chipotle Meatloaf. Without a doubt Luna Cafe delivered with this. This was beyond a doubt the best meatloaf I’ve ever had for starters. And if you dig a little further they suggest a Potatao, Yam, Garlic, Smoke Cheddar Gratin Mashed Potato something to accompany it. I did a mash-up of the mashed potato and the gratin. OMG DELICIOUS. It was even better the next day. I sent plates home with my parents who happened to stop by. Mom called a month later to get the recipe. It’s a keeper. It might even be a once a weeker. (Luna Cafe’s pics are WAY better!!)

I love meatloaf. It's comforting and cozy and reminds me of when we all used to sit down together at the dinner table. Meatloaf gets some sort of bad rap but it shouldn't. Next time the family rolls their eyes at the thought of meatloaf, surprise them with this recipe. They won't be disappointed. I know I wasn't. It's just as comforting as I remember meatloaf to be with the added benefit of being more modernized. I agree with Meredith that it was so much better the second day. I'm thinking I might make this again real soon and just freeze individual portions of it. Who am I kidding? It won't make it to the freezer this time, either!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Burgers MY Way

I am iffy on burgers. I rarely crave them. When I do, It’s satisfied with just a regular homemade grilled burger. This day I made Chipotle Burgers with an Avocado Cream Sauce.

1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tbs minced chipotle with adobo
1/2 diced onion
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Mix all burger components together and form into patties. Grill to desired doneness. 

Avocado Cream Sauce
1 avocado
1/2 Mexican Crema
1 tsp lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients into food processor and mix until smooth.

Pico de gallo
Grilled Vidalia Onions
Grilled ciabatta with olive oil and salt & pepper
Grill both after burgers come off

I’m so glad I sought out the quality sirloin. I think that it made all the difference in these burgers. Or else it was the chipotle kick that I’m on these days. In any case, this was a super delicious burger. 100% juicy, full of flavor and messy like a good burger should be. I had mine with some grilled sweet potato fries FTW.

In an attempt to go low carb, I made bunless Portobello Burgers. When making veggie burgers, make sure you drain all the extra liquid out of the vegetables or you'll wind up with a soggy mess! That's my tip of the day. Also, TVP is just vegetarian crumbles.  I used Morningstar Meal Starters.

The burgers cooked up crispy and I thought they had a ton of flavor.  I really enjoyed eating them.  It almost made me sad to give two away to my sister. They're a little time consuming to make, but honestly, they tasted way better than any of those frozen vegetarian patties that I've tried.

Also, you're going to want to try this Bean Salad. It was the perfect match for the burger.

Carne Asada

I went to 1,000,000 stores to find skirt steak this week. I have to say it may have been worth the searching. We made Carne Asada from Simply Recipes. Turns out it was pretty simple! It’s a very basic marinade that gives HUGE flavor to a wonderful cut of beef. I tossed my meat on a super hot grill for for about 7 minutes total time and then let it rest before cutting it across the grain about 5 minutes later. I used the grill to warm my corn tortillas – almost turning them into hard taco shells. After topping them with shredded cheese and a quick homemade pico de gallo, they were ready to eat!

Skirt steak is not cheap, so my first piece of advice would be to buy it when it's on sale THEN make the carne asada. I used my cast iron skillet for the steak. It worked really well, but I think at some point, I want to buy a grill pan.

My second piece of advice would be to let the steak marinate for as long as possible.The flavor was really great, but I didn't get to marinate for the entire four hours. I bet it would have made the flavors way more intense.

Over all, this was a really great meal. It was very tasty and filling. I'd make carne asada again, but I'd like to experiment with different recipes.

Guy Fieri’s Coyote Quesadillas

This was a joint cooking attempt/venture since we were in the same place at the same time. I (Meredith) came to visit Laura in May at some point and we made THESE Coyote Quesadillas!

Holy crap they were good! After almost burning down Laura’s apartment, we turned out some pretty good food. I learned that #1 DON’T BLACKEN THINGS unless you're prepared for it. Man that’s a lot of smoke! and #2 Quit being so bossy. I’m kind of a terror in the kitchen – even if it’s not mine.

Since it’s been 2 months since we made these I can only *kind* of remember all the flavors. I know that I loved it and had seconds. I also know that it was a LOT of food. Have friends over. They will love you.

I think Meredith's always known she was bossy (in the kitchen). I also think that had she not had so much Sangria, she might not have smoked out my apartment. That's really not here or there . . .

These quesadillas were delicious! I was really happy to have extra black bean salsa. The chicken was flavored really well, too.  I'd definitely make these again.  Or, make them the first time, depending on your side of the story.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mmmmm Nachos

Nachos are the perfect food. I love them. The nachos I made are hard to blog because I didn't have a recipe. I don't even know how much of anything I used.

I bought a rotisserie chicken. I shredded it and threw it in a pan along with corn, jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers, black beans, red kidney beans, diced tomatoes and some spices. I tackled the nachos like they were a lasagna. The chips were a mixture of blue corn chips and red bean and rice chips. I layered them in a casserole dish, added the chicken mixture and topped it with habanero cheese. I had 3 layers that reminded me a little of our Mexican casserole dish. They sat under the broiler until the cheese melted.

These were really yummy. And hot! I plated them topped with hot salsa, sour cream and avocado slices.

Lucky’s Nachos are the perfect food. I was merely trying to replicate them here for Cinco de Mayo. I decided at some point I was GRILLING the nachos. I took my cast iron skillet and started with a layer of blue and white tortilla chips, topped that with a mixture or pepper jack and sharp cheddar. Next: the chicken. (I, too, used a rotisserie chicken, shredded it and added stewed tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, onion, garlic and some cumin, chile powder, etc. I’m not even sure). A black bean and corn salsa I threw together went on next and then onto the grill. They went about ten minutes until the cheese was all melty. I topped the platter with sour cream and green onions. OLÉ!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Split Pea Soup follows our ham blog.   It’s a great way to use up leftover ham and the ham bone.  The soup was good.  It was a little thick but still good.  I gave most of it away.  Honestly, it just kept reminding me of that awful ham.  Further proof is the fact that there's no picture on my camera for the soup.  Here’s hoping Meredith took one.

Oh wow- you poor ham.... Laura really hated you, didn’t she? Aaaaanyway- split pea soup. It was good! Super quick and easy- I threw it in the crockpot and went to bed. I made drop biscuits when I got home from work and reheated the soup for a 10 minute dinner. I loved the homey-ness of something so simple and tasty. I did snap a pic before I chowed.

CRAP! I forgot to mention my super cute Pier 1 Easter/Spring dishes. I had the ham in them and then the soup!

Hamming It Up

First of all, here’s a helpful hint. When someone from the south tells you to buy an uncooked ham, ask them if they mean fresh or smoked. I thought Meredith meant fresh.  I was wrong.

I used Paula Deen's Fresh Ham recipe.  I hated it. I’ve had fresh ham before. I liked it. Paula’s an accomplished chef.  This leads me to believe that the problem lies with me. Maybe it’s because I’m not southern. Whatever the reason, I won’t make it again. It cooked for a little over two hours and it probably could have used more time. It was boring, bland and uneventful.

This was my Easter ham! Typically, I go to my aunt’s house or to my mother’s for Easter and never manage to score any leftovers. I decided to switch it up a bit and try something different. This recipe for Glazed Smoked Ham from the Food Network kitchens is a keeper. I don’t usually like ham glazed with some sweet, sticky stuff, but the apricot preserves with the mustard and vinegar and then the clove and allspice... whatever the magic that happened in that oven was – wow. This was maybe the best ham I’ve ever had*. The gravy/sauce with the ham was a little different for me - tasted great but I’ve never actually put anything *on* my ham. I completed my Southern Easter dinner with my grandma’s potato salad  and Paula Deen’s collard greens!

*My deepest apologies to Laura on the purchase of her ham. Had her phone not died while she was in the grocery store, I’d have surely told her to buy a smoked ham! I have no idea how to cook a fresh ham. Why would you?! Smithfield puts the smoke in there for a reason!!

Sloppy Joe.. Slopp-a Sloppy Joe

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri: Sloppy Joes with Maui Onion Straws

So *this* is what sloppy joes should taste like! I get that Manwich is about convenience and this recipe has a million ingredients (really most of them are pantry staples anyway) but wow- these were really, really good. I didn’t do the “Maui Onion Straws” – it seemed too much effort for the end result – but I’d be curious so see what they add to the sandwich. Toasted bread is a must and I might try melting a piece of plain old American cheese on the leftovers next time. And there will definitely be a next time.

I love Sloppy Joes.  I never had them as a kid, but I learned to like them as an adult.  Guy’s recipe was so much better than the average recipe.  The recipe made so much mixture, that when I got tired of eating it on a sandwich, I used it as chili and ate it with some tortilla chips.

Make this!  It’s flavorful and comforting.  Make some potato salad on the side.   Oh, and my suggestion if you had to have cheese would be cheddar.

For fun:

Excuse the onslaught!

We’ve been slack. You can blame it on me (Meredith) and my job. I’ve just finished my busy season and finally have the will to look at a computer in my down time again. So... in that crazy time, Laura and I still cooked together - we just didn’t get around to blogging it. So what follows is several weeks of backlogged dishes. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Okay, fine!  I’ll share my chicken cacciatore recipe (it’s Emeril’s recipe).  It’s also a slow cooker recipe which makes it great to serve to guests when you don’t want to be distracted in the kitchen. Serve it over some pasta with a side of garlic bread and you’re done!

Meredith made her Caesar salad dressing that I love so much.  There’s so much garlic in it, that despite those books about vampires, I knew I had nothing to fear.  Really though, is there ever such a thing as too much garlic?  I'll let her tell you about the croutons she made.

We finished the meal off with chocolate wine and the world's easiest tiramisu recipe.  Delish!

I made croutons! Honestly- I don’t know why I’d ever buy croutons again. Wow- easy and SO good. I melted a garlic clove in some extra virgin olive oil with salt and red pepper flakes. Then tossed the freshly-cubed NEW YORK bread around in the pan until it was toasty and properly coated! OH- and the cacciatore was really yummy. I’d definitely keep in my recipe file as an easy go-to dish. But get the good cheese if you can. I’ve got a list of "must bring backs” for my next Long Island visit. It will probably require a large cooler.

Slainté! St. Patty’s Day Shepherd's Pie

Is there a single person on the planet that doesn’t love Alton Brown?  We didn’t think so.  Picking his shepherd’s pie recipe as the one we made really wasn’t that difficult.

I will start by saying that Shepherd’s Pie tastes 10,000x better than it looks. This dish was absolutely delicious. I used one pound of lamb and a half a pound of lean ground beef and took liberties/heavy hand with the amounts of spices, etc but I was pretty on point with the recipe as written. I did add a splash of Guinness to the pan just before I added the chicken broth. It seemed the dish begged for it and it was on hand anyway. Whatever I did, it was right. As soon as I finished my first helping, I went for seconds. I ate it for a week. THAT is the sign of a truly great tasting meal!

Wait, now I'm cooking lamb??? It was very delicious.  I didn't even think I liked lamb.  Maybe I just didn't like the idea of lamb.  Well, whatever my misconceptions were, I'm over them.  I'd make this again.  When I do, please remind me to make a double batch so I can freeze some.  I really wish that I had some right now!

Wasabi Pea-Crusted Chicken

The Wasabi Pea Crusted Chicken* recipe

I originally ate wasabi pea crusted chicken at Second Street BistroI loved it so much that when we went back there a year later, I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t available.  So, I asked if we could make it for our blog.  It was delicious.  So worth it!  If I’m being honest, using panko bread crumbs was what sealed the deal.  So Second Street, if you're reading this, don’t worry about bringing back that chicken.  I'll just order some other delicious dish when I get there.

Wow I made a mess of my kitchen! I should spare you the graphic images, but I won’t.
I was highly ambitious on the side dishes (fried rice and roasted brussells sprouts) - otherwise this would have been a relatively easy meal. The chicken itself was really yummy. I enjoyed the sauce, the crunchiness of the chicken and the surprising mildness of the wasabi itself. I have some plans for next time, though. I definitely will just oven “fry” the chicken. I don’t think it needed or benefited from the extra grease from pan-frying. It was fun shopping in my Asian market and playing with wasabi powder though!

*On inspection of the recipe Laura posted above, I have realized that I actually used a recipe from Bon Appetit on

Smothered Pork Chops

The show Big Daddy’s House on The Food Network gets kudos for introducing Meredith and me to Smothered Pork Chops.

I got to use my cast iron skillet! That, I think, was my favorite part of this recipe. Not that the food wasn’t tasty. It was. And I’d been craving a pan fried pork chop for some time. The sauce turned out to be a sauce and I think I wanted a real gravy. I added mushrooms to the onion saute, but everything else was by recipe. I served mine with baby spinach sauteed with garlic, mashed Yukon Golds and this bread that Giada had made earlier that day on her show.

Truthfully, this might be my favorite thing we’ve cooked so far. I got a chance to use my cast iron skillet and made something that I don’t make very often. The pork chops were juicy and tender. The sauce was not the gravy that I was afraid it would be. (I’m going to strain the rest and use it as stock.) My sides of choice were red roasted potatoes with onion soup mix and a mushroom and zucchini saute.  All in all, a very yummy plateful of food.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Risotto alla Primavera
Risotto . . . not something I’m planning on making again. The whole meal threw me off. I know we didn't cook the scallops correctly. Anyway, seeing as how this is about the risotto, I’ll just say that I love risotto, but I just hated making it. After cooking it for what seems like forever, it was still too undercooked. I would NOT make it for guests. We promised to blog about the good, the bad and the ugly . . . and this was definitely bad!

Ok- the risotto was NOT as bad as Laura is making it out to be. Granted, it took forever and was still underdone, but the flavor was still there. In fact, the leftovers were much better (this recipe makes an ENORMOUS amount of risotto). I guess the nuking cooks the rice some more. For the broth, we used Culinary Creations vegetable and wine broth that was absolutely delicious. I will be using that again for sure. And you know what? I’m not giving up on risotto that easily. I’ll make it again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Molasses Sleigh Cookies

Thanks, Sandra Lee, for the molasses sleigh cookies recipe!

I don’t know that I can even begin to explain the frustration I had making these cookies.  I don't bake. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. The dough was crumbly at first. Crumbly like I was attempting to make coffee cake topping instead of cookies. Meredith told me to add a little bit of milk. I’m sure it was my heavy hand that added the milk and turned it runny. So then, I added more flour. I had no idea how they turned out this way, but they were delicious.  I took them to a Super Bowl party and had two people ask me for the recipe plus lots of compliments on them. I couldn’t dare tell these people that the dough was ruined twice before the cookies got baked. The bottom line: Make these cookies! Just make sure you have extra milk and flour on hand!


I’m so sorry Laura had such a fit with these cookies. Ahem- READ your recipes! Mine came together as a dough just as they should have. My only beef with the recipe as written is that it says to roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. There’s no WAY you can get 30-40 cookies out of balls that big. I think I eeked out 17. 

In any case, I thought they were absolutely delicious. At first I thought they weren't anything particularly different or spectacular - kind of like any spice cookie you might have around the holidays. But there was something in them that kept me grabbing one every time I went into the kitchen during a Super Bowl commercial break. They were both salty and sweet and a really good kind of chewy. I think the combination was just what I’d been craving. I’d definitely make them again.