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Bruschetta

In Cooking, Uncategorized on August 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

We have been enjoying the August bounty of the Farmer’s Market. Tomatoes being at the top of the list! I love fresh grown tomatoes; especially straight from the farm, where they remain untainted by waxes.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy a good tomato is Bruschetta (pronounced “brusketta”). 

Bruschetta

  • 6 or 8 ripe Roma tomatoes (or any small sweet tomato will do!)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • zest of half lemon, optional if using lemon juice
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar crusty bread
  • melted butter, for toasting bread

Directions: Wash tomatoes; cut them in halves or quarters; remove the seeds and stems from their centers.  Cut them into smaller pieces if desired. Add the tomatoes to a bowl; stir in 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest/vinegar, chopped basil and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or in refrigerator while you prepare bread – this resting time allows the flavors to bloom.

 Cut the bread on the diagonal, about 1/2 inch slices. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Apply melted butter to both sides, with a pastry brush; add buttered slices to skillet. Cook on each side until brown and toasted. Remove and  rub both sides of the warm bread with the cut garlic; set aside on serving tray. Top warm buttered garlic toast with chilled tomato mixture. Serve with additional small basil leaves, for those like me who enjoy a lil’ extra basil. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

We enjoyed ours with some fresh fruit and good cheese. I love the touch of lemon, instead of the much more common balsamic vinegar. It adds a brightness to the taste and smell of the dish.  Also, I love rubbing the warm toast with the garlic, instead of having minced garlic in the tomato mixture.  It adds amazing flavor and is still aromatic, while allowing you to control the garlic content and focus on the beautiful tomatoes!! Simple. Lovely. Summer.

Weekly Boozer: Cuban Bul

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on August 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm

It’s no bull. It’s a BOOL. This is a beer spritzer which is popular in Cuba. It’s refreshing, cool and an easy sipper for the summer! I’m a sucker for anything with lime in it and this is a real treat. Enjoy.

CUBAN BUL

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 (12 ounce) bottle of pilsner beer, chilled
1 (12 ounce) bottle of ginger ale, chilled
4 lime slices, optional
plenty of ice!!
 
*if you like a sweeter spritzer add a Tbsp or two of Agave or simple syrup.
 

Directions: Combine the first 3 ingredients in a pitcher, we used Beck’s for the beer (*sweeten if you like); serve over ice with lime garnish. Sip your day away! This makes about 4 glasses – so feel free to double or triple the recipe!!

Emerald’s Salad

In Cooking, Uncategorized on August 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

This crazy concoction just kind of happened… It started with a pretty picture of a salad (with a link in another language!), a craving, and then a random list of things that I thought would oddly go together. The salad in the picture had cherries, and well I’ve never thought to put fresh cherries in salad. So please, bear with me. Keep an open mind and palate and give it a try – it really isn’t as weird as it sounds or looks. Oh and if you can think of a better name, well I am all ears. Cherry Munster Avocado Rocket Salad… well as you can see it’s a bit much and surely there is something better than Emerald’s Salad.

Emerald’s Salad

1 package of rocket (arugula) blend lettuce, washed
1 large avocado, sliced and lightly salt & peppered
10-25 cherries, pitted and halved
block of Munster cheese, shaved into slices*
dressing of your choice – we used an olive oil vinaigrette, 
          balsamic vinaigrette or raspberry would also be lovely.
 

Wash and dry lettuce, clean and prepare cherries, and prepare avocados once ready to assemble and serve – as they will brown.  You can prepare each serving and then dress; or toss all three ingredients with dressing and then dish up; shave slices of Munster on top to finish the dish. Enjoy.

mobile upload

I love salad! I will also admit I had my reservations when I fixed this, but the flavors all balance nicely. The lovely bitter and peppery flavor of the arugula, with the sweet juice and pieces of cherries, rounded by the buttery avocado, more texture contrast with the mild creamy cheese, and all of it drizzled with the vinaigrette lending both the flavor of olive oil, vinegar and a hint of spices – good stuff!  

 

Weekly Boozer: Sapporo Light

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on August 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm

This weekend was simple, busy, and filled with no fuss food and drink. Sometimes that is nice; other times it’s necessary! We picked this up last week at the corner beer store. I have no idea if it is new or just new to us. I love Sapporo (regular), a Japanese beer, and often buy it when I want a light brew. It is crisp and refreshing, easy-drinking beer.  Since we have been cutting calories lately this seemed like a natural choice. Of course light is never the real thing. Let’s face it Diet Dr. Pepper tastes nothing like Dr. Pepper and Corona Light well who knows what happened there. This too is its own beverage.

Beer pours a pale golden straw with about a finger of white head. It is very light-bodied, smooth and has a slight tanginess to it with just a touch of sweetness; however, the flavor is not very strong and thus it would essentially go with anything without overpowering the flavor. This is a salad beer. Yes, salad beer – you can drink this with a salad. Hey, it happens. But, I guess overall the best word I can think of to describe it is meek. It doesn’t have an after-taste and has a pleasant carbonation; but regular Sapporo is mucho mucho better!

We will drink this beer, not pour it down the drain – I don’t know what that means really lol. I will probably never buy it again though. So I guess it is drinkable, but not noteworthy. Just a cold, slightly frothy beer that passed an evening on the porch one Saturday. Hope your weekend was grand! EO

Fried Green Chile Chicken Tacos

In Cooking, Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm

These are really like quesadillas, overstuffed and fried, unlike you would normally eat a flour tortilla taco (“soft taco”). It’s cheesy, buttery, roasted goodness and you should try it. Of course this could be made like traditional quesadillas and you could skip the frying part, but you would be missing out! Another thing I really love about this recipe – it is all done in the same cast iron skillet. Less dishes make me a happy cook!

Fried Green Chile Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 Large Bell Peppers, Cut Into Strips
  • 1 Medium Onion, Cut Into Strips
  • 8 Flour Tortillas (small Size)
  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Pieces
  • 2 -3 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (or one packet)
  • Salt & Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
  • 1-1/2 cup Finely Grated Cheese (Colby Jack)
  • Butter, for frying tacos/quesadillas
  • Sour Cream, for serving
  • Limes, for serving

Directions: Prepare your chicken and vegetables (cut into small chunks, instead of strips if you are doing quesadillas). Heat skillet over high heat and add canola oil. Cook peppers and onions over high heat until they start to get brown/black. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Season diced chicken with taco mix and salt or pepper if needed.  Add additional oil to the skillet if needed. Add the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring while browning. Dump in the canned green chilies. Stir and cook until chicken is totally done inside.  Add to the pepper and onion mixture.

Here is shot from my phone – showing how I set the tacos to fry.

Wipe out skillet, heat butter. Fill a tortilla with chicken-pepper mixture, then layer on cheese.  Cook on both sides, adding butter before flipping to the other side so the tortilla isn’t overly dry. (You may have to hold one side down while frying.) Remove from skillet and serve with sour cream, fresh lime for squeezing… everyday salsa ;). Enjoy the crunchy, cheesy goodness – EO

Everyday Salsa

In Cooking, Cupboard Keepers, Uncategorized on August 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Right now I am having a hard time thinking about salsa. We made the Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce from the Pioneer Woman‘s website click here. Sigh. It was a treat. It’s really all I can think about at this moment.

But, alas I will share my thoughts on salsa. Love it. Eat tons of it. Picky about it. Seriously, my Aunt Teresa ruined us on the salsa topic at a very young age. She always makes it for any family meal we eat. She makes extra and sends it home with you. Store bought just can’t compete! Trust me I have literally tried hundreds of bottled salsas – it does nothing for me. So in my early years of cooking, years ago – wow, I called, and emailed, and called, asked again, and again making her walk me through her recipe dozen of times. Now I make my own, just as you should adapt the recipe to your own tastes and standards, but believe me it’s easy and worth the short effort!!

Everyday Salsa

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes, drained (can use whole, petite, etc.)
  • 1 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (Hot, or Regular, or Mild)
  • 1 clove Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 whole Jalapeno, roughly chopped (or Serrano)
  • 1/4 cup to whole jar pickled Jalapeno, drained (hot, or regular…)
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped onion)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin, optional
  • handful of  Cilantro (more to taste)
  • juice of half a lime

*Note: I make this in my large food processor, but it can be processed in a smaller unit (4-cup, blender, etc.) in batches and combined in a larger vessel.

Directions: Combine fresh and pickled jalapeno, garlic, roughly chopped onion (if using fresh), and cilantro. Process until ingredients are finely chopped, if you like chunkier salsa – you can dice ingredients and skip this step.  Now add drained can of diced tomatoes, onion powder (if not using fresh onion – I don’t),  salt, pepper, cumin, and lime juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency.  I like mine to be a fairly even texture. Taste and add more salt or other ingredients until you love it. Remember this stuff gets better with time.

Transfer to your storage container (I use a large pickle jar I washed out 😉 ) and refrigerate salsa for at least one hour, but it is best if made a day ahead. (The flavor will bloom as the mixture rests.)

I keep this salsa on hand in my fridge for everyday eats. Sometimes I make it mild and other times I add more fresh chiles and get it really hot.  My Aunt’s is very similar – though she doesn’t use Rotel. If you use spicy peppers the heat will also bloom as you let the salsa rest . Another way we love to eat it is with fire-roasted tomatoes, extra garlic, sometimes we use shallots or don’t use lime.  My favorite thing about this is that I have most of these things on hand everyday and it taste so much better than the vinegary mess that is pumped full of preservatives.  Chips and salsa is one of the best things on Earth. Hope you enjoy it, adapt it, and share it! – EO

Weekly Boozer: Cherry Rosé Sangria

In Uncategorized, Weekly Boozer on August 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Oh baby it’s hot outside… seriously. It’s hot. Dang hot. Which means really we have mostly been drinking water. Hey, I’m keeping it real! lol. But, sometimes on a summer afternoon nothing is better than a glass of chilled Rosé wine or a crisp and refreshing glass of Sangria. So I figured, why not have both?

Cherry Rosé Sangria

1 bottle of Rosé wine
1 can lemon-lime soda, diet if you like
1/4 cup sugar, more if you like it sweeter
1/2 cup Elderflower Liquor
1/2 cup Triple-Sec Liquor 
1 large orange
1 cup strawberries
2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
(any other fruit you like… peaches, raspberries, etc.)
 

Directions: Wash all the fruit well; slice orange, strawberries and prepare cherries. Place all the fruits in a large pitcher or bowl with sugar; lightly mull. Add Elderflower and Triple-Sec to fruit and let soak for at least one hour, stirring occasionally, or soak for longer if you desire… it only gets better with time!

Once fruit is ready, add bottle of Rosé wine and lemon-lime soda (ginger ale would also be nice!) to the mix and stir. Chill for another 1 to 3 hours (we kept some overnight – twice as nice the second day!!  Mix well before serving. I like to run the sangria through a filter and put the remaining fruit in a separate dish – so people can dish their drink up to their own desire; with or without ice. Plus it makes the sangria crystal clear. Garnish with fresh fruit if desired. Die of cold Rosé refreshment. The End. EO

  

Snaps: July Edition

In Crafts, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized on August 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm

To say that my “break” went longer than expected is an under statement. We had a lot going on this last month and well it was nice to focus on our various visitors and other obligations. In the mix of what was going on I was still taking pictures – well sometimes :/ . Here are some of my favorite shots:

I repainted and antiqued our nightstand – smitten.

It is so stinking hot. Miserably hot…

and everything is dying early, but sprouting in the dead flowers and leaves is a new tree 🙂 

A quick shot during a short rain.

The dog’s wet mug, after playing in the short rain.

It was very exciting… because it’s so stinking hot!!!

Here is the blackboard I painted for the kitchen.

It is an up-cycle from an old painting we weren’t going to keep.

Taken with iPhone.  I just loved processing.

Grandpa Gib – him and his lovely wife came and stayed with us 🙂

This is our dog, hoarding all the mini tennis balls.

We often use one ball to get the one she is holding from her…

she gets fed up and collects them all and then protects them.  😀

Cherry Rose Sangria – recipe coming soon!!

Randomness on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I hope this finds everyone surviving the summer heat. We haven’t been cooking much, but I am ready to get rolling again and get reconnected! EO

 

 

Fourth of July: Tested Recipes

In Baking, Cooking, Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Our neighbors invited us over to a BBQ, it was very last minute. Not that it wasn’t appreciated – I mean we have neighbors who say hi, invite you to church and cook you dinner. It’s like a dream or a movie, only this one isn’t in black and white (name that movie). Anyways, I wanted to take something along. It’s just who I am. I like to contribute and so these are the two recipes we tried:

Thomas Keller’s Creamed Summer Corn

Photo courtesy of trissalicious.com
  • 6 ears supersweet corn, shucked
  • 1 large lime
  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  1. With a sharp knife, cut vertically down each ear of corn to slice off the kernels.  Put the kernels in a large bowl, then hold each cop over the bowl and use a spoon or the back of a knife to scrape any remaining corn and the milk from the cob.
  2. Grate the zest of the lime, preferably with a microplane grater; set aside.  Cut the lime in half.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the corn, squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, or to taste, over the corn, and season with salt.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, concentrating the flavour, and the corn is beginning to sizzle, 15 to 17 minutes.
  5. Stir in ¾ cup cream, the cayenne, and lime zest.  Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cream is absorbed by the corn.  Add up to ¼ cup more cream if desired for a creamier texture.  Add salt to taste and stir in the chives.
This is a show stealing side dish. The lime had everyone asking what is in here??? It is honestly one of the best cream corn recipes I have tried and it was super easy to make. Leave it to Keller to make another dynamite dish with so few ingredients! This will definitely make future appearances at our table.

 

Banana Caramel Whoopie Pies (Annie Eat’s)

 For the recipe CLICK HERE.  Some friends turned us onto this website and this particular recipe. I would have just re-posted, but it is long and you really should go see how Annie eats…

Anyways, I followed the piping directions for the whoopie pies and they turned out picture perfect (that is just as this picture shown from Annie’s website – Thanks!) My favorite, favorite part (yes so good it must be said twice) is the caramel frosting. It is divine. You do end up with excess frosting and we used it for a fruit tray and I would honestly make the frosting again just for this purpose. So good!! The banana “cake” is also very flavorful and the perfect texture. So if you love whoopie pies or have always wanted to try them – this is your recipe.

 

 

Quinoa Grits

In Cooking, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

This is my first time to try quinoa. So far I am a big fan. It was just like cooking rice, although it smelled like I was cooking rice in peanut butter and chicken stock. Maybe that is just me, but it smelt weird so I was needless to say leery.  So I decided to make them cheesy and serve like grits with poached eggs for a meatless, but high protein dinner. So technically these aren’t grits, but this was the closest description I could come up with for the dish.

Quinoa Grits

Serves 2

1 cup cooked quinoa
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cottage cheese
3-4 baby carrot, finely grated
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
1 small yellow onions, finely diced
1 /2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of  garlic powder
Olive oil to saute onions
 
2 poached eggs to serve with Quinoa Grits. 

 

Directions: Prepare quinoa according to directions and set aside to cool. In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.

Heat a frying pan with olive oil and saute onions; then add mixture and cook through until warm and all the cheese is melted. Place in your serving dish and top with a freshly poached egg. Voila.

I made extra quinoa in the rice cooker to try other recipes. This recipe would lend itself to any variety of flavors and spices so if cumin isn’t your thing feel free to experiment!