Cold, windy days get me in the mood for classic comfort foods like spaghetti and meatballs. I chose this recipe in particular, from Ina Garten, because I liked that she sauteed the meatballs first in a skillet to give the outer layer a crust, then used the same pan to make the sauce. All the great flavors from the bottom of the pan were incorporated into the red sauce.

I made two changes to the recipe, first being that I used white wine instead of red to deglaze the pan (it was what I had in the house). Also, I added about a tablespoon of white sugar to the sauce because it was a little sour for me.

Yummy accompanied by a potato roll.

Dutch Baby

After we had stuffed ourselves this morning, the bf said, "yummy french toast pancake!" They are actually called Dutch Babies (Dutch as in Deutsche = German Pancakes) and I hadn't ever heard of them before seeing this post on ApartmentTherapy.com.

It was surprisingly easy and fast to make. This is good since I have a general phobia against all recipes involving doughs. But this recipe creates more of a batter than a dough. So I mixed all the ingredients together and threw the pan and butter in the preheating oven, jumped in the shower, then came back in 30 mins and poured the batter in the buttered dish. 15 minutes later, we had a masterpiece! I served it with powdered sugar and a drizzling of maple syrup. As it bakes, the batter spreads, puffs up over the sides and rises beautifully.


I've been making this chicken for years! You can serve it with rice or pasta, have it in a sandwich with some mayo, or cut it into strips and wrap it in a flour tortilla. It is full of strong flavors and it's super good.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently to coat evenly with sauce.
Since we're using chicken breasts here, I usually slice them right down the middle so they're half the thickness. Otherwise it always takes too long to cook through, and they become dry. You could also pound them down to about a half inch. If you like an even stronger flavor, you could double the dry spices or add more cayenne to get a more substantial sauce.

cranberry bellini....now this is just in time for Thanksgiving.


The Ingredients:

Makes one drink
  • 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of cranberry juice cocktail
  • splash of Cointreau
  • Prosecco

Place cranberry sauce into a high ball glass. Add cranberry juice cocktail and Cointreau. Slowly fill with Prosecco and stir to combine.


Doesn't this look refreshing? I wish I had found this 3 months ago, mid-summer.

  • 3 cups seedless-watermelon chunks (about 1 lb. peeled watermelon)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup sugar (or less, to taste)
  • 1 cup tequila
  • ½ cup Grand Marnier

Combine watermelon, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and blend on high until completely liquid and frothy. Combine in a pitcher with tequila and Grand Marnier. Fill pitcher with ice, stir and serve.

BTW: Ice goes in at the last minute, so it doesn't dilute.


Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root (using a Microplane fine grater)
  • 3 cloves grated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 8 ounces Udon noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until honey, peanut butter, and chicken broth melts and combines, and is heated through.
  3. Add cooked noodles and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.
I served some marinated pork chops on top of the noodles. The marinade is from allrecipes.com, and goes like this:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons hot chile paste (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, water, onion powder, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat, cool, and whisk in lemon juice and hot chile paste. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before preparing chicken as desired.
The boyfriend thought it was awesome =)




Corn & Lime Chipotle Butter

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn
1 stick butter
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed
4 tablespoons lime juice
pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:
1. Cook corn in boiling water. When corn is done, leave until cool enough to handle.
2. Using a chef's knife, cut the corn into 2 inch rounds and place in a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut open the chipotle peppers and discard the seeds.
4. Melt the stick of butter in microwave.
5. Combine peppers, butter, lime juice, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth.
6. Pour the butter mixture into the large mixing bowl and toss to combine with the corn.


5 stars for this custardy, tart, creamy frozen dessert. So deliciously delicious.
My only deviation from the recipe was using ginger snaps in place of the amaretti cookies.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 ounces purchased amaretti cookies, crushed (about 20 small cookies) plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Directions

Spray a 9 by 5 by 3-inch metal loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the ends and sides.

Combine the crushed amaretti cookies and the melted butter. Put in the lined pan and press down to firm and form a crust.

Whisk 1/2 cup of the sugar, the egg yolks, lemon juice, lime juice, limoncello, and salt in a large metal bowl to blend. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water). Whisk the egg mixture until it is thick and creamy, and a thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Set the bowl of custard into another bowl of ice water to cool completely. Stir in the zest.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in another large bowl until firm peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared crust. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the custard and freeze until frozen, at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.

Unfold the plastic wrap. Invert the semifreddo onto a platter and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut the semifreddo into 1-inch slices and sprinkle with crushed amaretti cookies and serve.

Who knew the New York Times had a food blog? Tried this quick and simple recipe last night and it turned out to be a pretty good Asian dish. According to the blog, it was inauthentic Cambodian.
To give it a tad more flavor, I sprinkled the raw shrimp with some paprika before adding it to the skillet.
I added a little homemade sauce because I served the shrimp with vermicelli noodles and didn't think there would be enough of the sugar/lime sauce left over to coat the noodles.
At the bottom of 2 bowls (one for me, one for the boy), I mixed, per bowl, approx. 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and a splash of hot sesame oil. I added the cooked noodles directly into the skillet to get all the sauce off the pan, and then tossed the noodles in the serving bowls to incorporate my sauce into everything else. Turned out the hoisin, soy, and sesame oil was a good idea because the lime sauce alone was a little too tart.


I found this Mojito Chicken recipe a few weeks ago and have been waiting for a day that wasn't too busy to make it because it has a lot of steps and a lot of marinating time. It did have a lot of mini-recipes, but actually it wasn't as labor intensive as I thought it'd be. There are 3 main parts/steps here: the dry rub, the marinade, and the glaze.

The major change I made was that I used dark tequila in place of the rum that the recipe called for. It was really good! I prefer tequila to rum anyways. Instead of using a whole chicken, I used a few drumsticks and thighs. In the marinade, I used some Sunny D to substitute for the OJ. Also, instead of squeezing fresh limes, I added 5 tablespoons of bottled lime juice. I bet it would be even better if you added lime zest! In the Mojito Glaze, I only added about half of the water and cornstarch mixture because it was just getting a little too thick.

Searing the chicken skin side down was absolutely essential! It just created such an awesome crust and flavor. I seared it in a skillet and just threw the entire thing into the oven. I wouldn't skip any of the steps because the end result was 100% restaurant quality.

The chicken was served with this Cilantro-Lime Rice recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice

Directions

1. In a saucepan, heat butter over low heat, stirring until melted.
2. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute.
3. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker, add the salt and water. Stir to combine.
4. When rice cooker turns off, add in the cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.

A really, really satisfying Sunday night dinner.



Smiles for breakfast.















Beef, Sausage & Sam Adam's Oktoberfest Chili



















Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons bacon bits
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 bottle beer (I used seasonal Oktoberfest)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
Directions:
  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground beef and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve.
  4. To serve, (optional) top with shredded cheddar cheese, raw diced onions, chopped green onions, dollop of sour cream, sliced jalapeƱos.
Tuna Onigiri =)















Roasted Butternut Squash with Craisins & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes















Thai Chicken Meat Balls (forgot to shoot the finished product)
















Cakey, fluffy, limey cookies!
Below is the recipe I actually used, slightly modified from the original.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine the 4 teaspoons of lime juice with the milk, let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the lime zest and milk mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, blend into the creamed mixture. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the glaze, stir together the remaining lime juice and sugar. Brush onto cooled cookies.
I doubled the lime juice in the batter, increased the 2 tsp. of lime zest to "zest of 2 limes". Also, instead of using white sugar in the glaze, I decided to use powdered sugar to make it smoother. Then I increased the amount from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup (it was a tad too sour).

In step 2 when the instructions say it's supposed to get light and fluffy, it didn't for me. It only became that way after I started adding the flour to the mixture. But all else progressed as it should have. Since it told me to bake for 8-10 minutes, I left it in the oven for exactly 9, and it was PERFECT.

*These changes are already incorporated into the recipe written above. Original recipe is in the link.




Rosh Hashanah dinner at Jon's parents' last night started with a plate of apples served with honey. I am hooked!

Bruschetta




Devil's Food Cupcakes!

Eyeballing It

Last weekend I was home and my Dad made these delish noodles for dinner. It always fascinates me how my parents cook...I think I've only ever seen them look at a recipe for reference 2 or 3 times in my entire lifetime. Everything is "eyeballed"! That's what my mom said last weekend. When I cook any given cuisine, I eyeball about half the time, depending on how familiar I am with the style of cooking and the recipe itself (I try new recipes a LOT), but I cannot get the hang of doing this to cook Chinese food! I astound myself, because it's the food I grew up on, yet it's what I trust myself least with. There are only a few recipes I can make off hand...a spicy cucumber salad, fried rice...that's all I can think of!

Anyways, here are a few pictures of my dad serving up those eyeballed noodles =)
He usually throws in any random leftovers there are, and some fresh vegetables.



Autumn, my favorite time of year! The season when the heat subsides and windows are left open for the crisp fresh air to circulate through the home. Neither air conditioning nor heat is necessary for comfort. Thanksgiving is close, but Halloween is closer! Seasonal beers start appearing on liquor store shelves. The outside begins smelling like fireplaces, and indoors it smells like cinnamon and nutmeg. Leaves become crunchy and color the ground! Pumpkin picking, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie!
















Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temp.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 (9 inch) store bought pie crust
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add the eggs in one at a time. When everything is mixed, set aside 3/4 cup of the batter.
3. Add in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice until everything is incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into a 9 inch pie crust. Drop the plain batter by spoonfuls over the top of the pie and swirl using a butter knife to create a marbled effect.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until the filling is set, then refrigerate for ~4 hours before serving.

Ingredients:
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
loaf of Italian bread

Directions:
1. Cut your italian bread into 1 inch cubes, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toast it up in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes at 350 degrees, until it's hot and crunchy.
2. Combine all the seasonings into the olive oil. Usually at this point I consider this appetizer to be ready to serve, but if you have extra special guests, you can heat the oil and seasonings in a small skillet for 3 or 4 minutes on low to really infuse the olive oil with all the different flavors.

You can pour the oil into little ramekins so each person can have their own portion (yay for double dipping!). Enjoy it!

Warm and hearty, spicy and cheesy! I usually have most of this stuff in my pantry and fridge so it's just a matter of throwing everything into a pot and letting it simmer away.

Ingredients For Soup:
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 can small white beans
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes 18.5 oz
1 small can whole corn kernels
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
4 hot Italian sausage links
1 flour tortilla, torn into small pieces
sour cream (topping)
shredded cheddar cheese (topping)

Ingredients For Taco Seasoning:
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:
1. Heat 1 tbsp. of veggie oil in a stock pot and turn the heat on to medium-high.
2. Remove casings from the sausage links and cut into chunks as big or small as you'd like.
3. Add the sausage, onions, and peppers to the pot and let the sausage brown for 4-5 minutes.
4. Stir in the beans, corn, and tomatoes.
5. Throw in all the spices for the Taco Seasoning. Alternatively, you can use a packet of store bought taco seasoning but watch how much you put in because it may be a bit salty.
6. Pour in the chicken broth and water, stir to combine.
7. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
8. Throw in the torn flour tortilla pieces, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Ladle into a bowl and top with a dallop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

A healthy home is not a home full of the latest furnishings or decorated by the current hot designer. It's a home that says "Welcome. I am taken care of, can I take care of you?" There's a place to sit, a place to put your jacket or a bag, clean towels and extra toilet paper in the bathroom, and a clean glass to offer a visitor a glass of water. A chair has a table nearby to put down a glass, laundry and cleaning are done regularly, perhaps a light is left on for the inhabitant who comes home when it's already dark. When you start to care about your home, it's a sign you're starting to care about yourself; the health of one begets the health of the other.


Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence, it got really great reviews and I've never used coconut milk to cook Indian food before, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly but it came out amazing.

  • I halved the recipe
  • used butter in place of Ghee
  • subbed the dried red peppers with 1 fresh long green pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes
It's not as big of a production as the recipe makes it out to be, the key is to do your preparation beforehand. Wash and chop all your veggies and chicken, and just keep it on your cutting board, ready to drop in the pot. It will make the cooking process a lot less frenzied.
The curry (served with white rice) was so fresh from the cilantro, lemon and mint garnishes, and so rich from the coconut milk. The second night we had leftovers which I found to be 10x better, I guess Indian food needs that time for the flavors to really marry into each other? I made a quick run to Shoprite because I know they sell Naan in their bakery. All I had to do was heat it up in a skillet, and it gets puffed up and crispy. JUST LIKE THAT! (Giada, anyone?)

From the WSJ - Mystery Molds
Q.
I’ve been told not to eat food that has a little mold on it because the mold has permeated throughout. Is this true?

A. Yes, mold that is visible on the surface of food is only the tip of the iceberg, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Molds are fungi that have three parts: the root threads, which invade deeply into the food; a stalk, which rises above the food; and spores that form at the end of the stalk.

By the time the stalks are visible, the root threads, called hyphae, are embedded, so it is best to avoid food with any sign of mold.


I am severely grossed out right now, my mind is racing back to all those times I cut a bad corner off a slice of bread or a block of cheese. Ewwwww.

Emeril's Tequila-Oyster Shooters

Kosher salt, for coating the glass rims
1 dozen oysters, freshly shucked, with their liquor
1 cup chilled fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
12 ounces tequila
Ice

Directions:
1. Moisten the rims of 12 shot glasses with water, then dip each glass in kosher salt to coat the rims. Put an oyster into each shot glass.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, red bell pepper, shallots, cilantro, parsley, and chives. Pour 1 tablespoon of the lime juice mixture into each of the 12 shot glasses over the oysters.

3. Pour the tequila into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake to chill the tequila. Add about 2 tablespoons of tequila to each of the shot glasses. Serve immediately.

How good does this look?! Well, if you like tequila & oysters, it looks reaally effin good. I've never shucked an oyster (or anything else for that matter) but at this point, I'm ready to throw myself entirely into the world of oysters.


Paula's Oyster Shooters
A recipe of Paula Deen's looked great too, a more traditional and simplistic take.

Shooter #1:
1 raw oyster
1 teaspoon cocktail sauce
1 lemon wedge

Shooter #2:
1 raw oyster
1 teaspoon cocktail sauce
1 lemon wedge
Vodka

Shooter #3:
1 raw oyster
Tomato juice
Hot sauce
Lemon wedge

1. Add oyster to shot glass, place cocktail sauce on top then squeeze lemon juice over top.

2. Place oyster in shot glass, top with desired amount of vodka, add cocktail sauce and squeeze lemon over top.

3. Place oyster in a glass, cover with tomato juice, top with hot sauce and squeeze lemon over top.

I think #2 would be my personal fav as I have an affinity towards cocktail sauce & alcohol.

Paula's Spicy Oyster Shooters

Pepper-flavored vodka, kept in freezer, optional (recommended: Absolute Pepper Vodka)
Freshly shucked oyster
Prepared spicy Bloody Mary mix
Tiny triangle lime, for garnish
Celery salt, for garnish
Cayenne pepper, for garnish

1. Pour vodka in a square shot glass or a molded ice glass just until it covers the bottom. Add 1 oyster to the glass and top off with spicy Bloody Mary mix. Garnish with lime.

You can make a spiced rim on the glass by dipping the rim into water and then dipping it into celery salt and cayenne. I've never truly experienced a bloody mary. They just never looked good enough to me to try, but put this way, I just may have to do a little experimenting!

I was watching the food network this morning, and Ingrid Hoffman was making this Cilantro-Crusted Roast Beef that looked oh-so-good, so this afternoon off to Shoprite I went in search of a rump roast. The recipe is a simple cilantro rub, but I added a few more spices to the original recipe to spice it up a bit more.

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless rump roast

Combine everything and blend in a food processor, then rub it all over the roast. Let it sit and marinate for 30 minutes (or as long as you have). Put it in a 325 degree oven for 1.5 hours for medium-rare. After you take it out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

Ingrid sliced it up and served it on Kaiser rolls with this Cilantro-Horseradish Pesto sauce, but my condiment of choice was a Peruvian Aji Sauce.
Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, rind and seeds removed
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup white bread cubes without crusts (I used an everything bagel today!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Put everything into the food processor and blend until smooth.
Thinly slice the roast beef and arrange on your bread. Top it with a spoonful of the Aji sauce.

Ingredients for ~10 servings

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp. fresh super-extra-minced ginger root
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. rice/apple cider/red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. water
Combine everything and shake shake shake!!! (or whisk whisk whisk)

This stuff is magical, and it's not as strong and pungent as it looks on paper.

Marinate Away

Marinades are so genius. An easy combination of oil, acid & spices flavors and tenderizes meat in a major way.

Chicken Marinade - 8 servings - Good on the grill or in the oven. Makes really good wings!

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
Whisk everything together and marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.

There are some recipes which use so few ingredients that meld together in such a miraculous way, it makes you realize that picking simple components that complement each other is 90% of the game!

If you like fried chicken, you'll really enjoy this healthier version. It uses olive oil instead of canola or vegi oil, and it's baked instead of fried. Swear - it's not a cheapo version that you have to convince yourself to eat because it's not as bad for your heart.

Ingredients:

  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbsp. chopped garlic (I LOVE garlic, you can tone it down to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6-8 pieces of whatever chicken you have on hand (thighs, breasts, drumsticks, etc. I prefer to leave the skin on)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly season the chicken with salt & pepper.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the garlic and olive oil to blend the flavors. In a separate dish, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Dip the chicken in the olive oil and garlic mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture. Coat well! Place in a shallow baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
These ingredients are just a starting point; you can add different herbs to the bread crumbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, etc), or pre-season the chicken with a little garlic powder or onion powder, or add more or less of whatever you want!
Just a tip: I always find that the less I "check in" on the chicken when it's in the oven, the more juicy and evenly cooked it becomes.

Oh, this is amazing alongside some rosemary infused mashed potatoes. Can you taste it? mMmMmmm...

This is a classic noodle dish that my parents always make in the summer months. I haven't had it in a really long time since I don't live with them anymore, so they finally taught me how it's done! It can be served warm or cold, but having it cold is so relieving and refreshing on a hot summer day. Try it, it's so easy. You'll love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweet bean paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic-chili sauce (or hot sauce, whatevers on hand)
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Half a pound of ground pork
  • 1/2 cup water
  • About 1/2 box of vermicelli, spaghetti, or any long noodle
  • Cucumber, slice into thin rounds, then slice into strips
Directions:
  1. Marinate the ground pork in the light soy sauce, garlic-chili sauce, and sesame oil. (Don't mix the ground pork too much or it will become tough
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the noodles until al dente. Strain the noodles, and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool them.
  3. Pre-heat a large pan or wok on medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions and let cook for 5 minutes, to let the flavors infuse into the oil. Be careful to not let anything burn in this step.
  4. Add the marinated ground pork and stir-fry over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Make sure you break up the meat well right now, so there aren't any large clumps.
  5. When the pork is nicely browned, add the can of sweet bean paste & water, and mix well.
  6. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes to allow the pork to cook completely. If the sauce is too watery for your liking, let it cook for a few minutes with the lid off to evaporate some of the liquid.
  7. Add noodles to your bowls, cover with the sauce (let it cool for 1 hour if serving cold), and top with the sliced cucumber.
Enjoy!


Cioppino

This is really a dish best suited for the cold winter months, but it's so good that I just couldn't resist when the craving hit. The original recipe is from Allrecipes.com, and it is delicious and near perfect! This is good for about 6 servings, and I've made a couple changes here and there to my liking.


Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops
  • 8 small clams
  • 8 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2/3 cup crabmeat
  • 1/2 pound cod fillets, cubed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large stockpot, add onions, garlic and dried parsley. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
  2. Add tomatoes to the pot. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, clam juice and wine. Mix well. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste, but don't add too much at this point because the seafood will add their natural salts to the soup.
  3. Stir in the clams, mussels, crab, shrimp, scallops, and lastly, the fish. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams open. Add the fresh parsley. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with warm, crusty bread!

If you like your soup to be more chunky, substitute the crushed tomatoes for diced.
Obviously, this can end up being a very pricey dish. Save some money by picking up bags of seafood medley in the frozen section (I buy mine at the Asian Food Center). It's great because the medley includes oysters, mussels, squid, and shrimp. I usually use any fresh firm white fish, frozen shrimp and frozen crab legs. Just remember to allow ample time for defrosting!

In the oven, toast up some fresh Italian bread drizzled with olive oil, and use it to sop up all the delicious juices. 5 Stars!!!


































This salsa is one of my all time favorite things to make. It's so quick to prepare, and exact measurements aren't important, just go with the flow!

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed whole tomatoes
1/4 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 handful of cilantro, rough chopped
1/2 jalapeƱo, rind and seeds removed
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Just combine everything in a food processor and blend to desired consistency. Have you ever had salsa from On the Border? It should look like that, more or less. Not chunky like the canned Tostido's salsa.

The best thing about this is that it transforms beautifully into any kind of fruit salsa. Just add 1/2 to a full cup of your fav fruit, rough chopped. Oh, and add a few less tomatoes.
Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 1/2 cup peaches & 2 apricots
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 cup peaches & 1 tbsp fresh ginger
Yum yum. Try this with some lime tortilla chips, an omlette, or a cheese quesedilla!

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