Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pomegranate Margaritas

Pomegranate Margaritas

Earlier this week, I raved about the pomegranate-orange sorbet that I made with my POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. Since, I still had some juice and I needed a Tyler Florence recipe for this week, Tyler's Pomegranate Margaritas seemed like a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, it was also a no-drinker. This was not very good at all. My husband said that it might be because we had brown tequila instead of white tequila. I don't know, but the flavors were off. Oh, and the whole part about it being a no-drinker, that was a lie, because, apparently, I will drink all margaritas, bad or not. So, I don't know what to tell you. It sounded like it should be good, I might try it again with the proper colored tequila.

Pomegranate Margaritas
from Tyler Florence
makes 2 drinks

1/4 cup pomegranate juice (plus seeds for garnish)
1/3 cup Tequila Blanco (about 4 ounces)
1/8 cup Triple Sec (about 1 ounce)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 ounces)
12 ounces ice cubes
margarita salt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients, except the salt and pulse in a blender until frothy and combined. Rim the glasses with salt, drop some seeds in the bottom of the glass (I didn't) and pour the margarita over the top.

This will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays. I hesitated about posting it, since it wasn't a winner with me, but I thought maybe someone could let me know if the made it with white tequila and thought it was good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Frugal Finds - Day Old Bread

Jalopeno Cheddar Bread

In my latest quest to cut the old grocery bill down to a manageable amount, without sacrificing my desire for good food, I've reacquainted myself with an old friend, day old bread.

Now, I'm not talking just any day old bread. I'm talking the good kind, the artisinal kind, if you will. Like this loaf of jalapeno cheddar baked at a local bakery.

Diced and sliced

I bring it home and slice it up. I wrap each set of two slices in wax paper, tape it up and put it back in it's bag. The ends, that are too small to be sandwich slices, I cube. And into the freezer they go.

Ready to go

Then when I'm making my lunch, I pull out a package of the sliced ready to go, make my sandwich and wrap it back up in the wax paper. Easy peasy.

I use the cubes for croutons, bread pudding, or fresh breadcrumbs. These babies, I think would be wonderful in a breakfast sausage and egg casserole.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garden Tuesday - Fiddle Dee Dee

Did you know they call these fiddleheads because the resemble the curled part of a fiddle? I think mine looks more like an alien fist about to punch me in the face, but whatevs.

Do you remember from science class that ferns reproduce by spores? Just look at all of them. You'd think my garden would be filled with ferns, wouldn't you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pomegranate-Orange Sorbet

Pomegranate-Orange Sorbet

I know you've seen the recipes using POM wonderful popping up all over blogland. And again, I am always one to follow a crowd. Except, my recipe is the best. Just kidding, but I'm sure it's in the top five.

After receiving my absolutely adorable jars of pomegranate juice, I immediately began searching the web. I know...I know..I have over 100 cookbooks, and still I head for the net. Kinda funny how that works.

When I saw the recipe for Pomegranate-Tangerine Sorbet on Epicurious, I knew I had a winner. Except that I didn't have any tangerine juice, so I substituted orange juice. Close enough, right? This was so good and so refreshing. And think how good for you it is with all the lovely pomegranate juice and orange juice. I felt virtuous just eating it.

Pomegranate-Orange Sorbet
Adapted from Bon Appetit
6 servings (or less, if I am one of your guests)

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups pure pomegranate juice
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel

Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and cool completely. Whisk in the orange juice, pomegranate juice, and orange peel. Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to instructions.

Garnish with mint sprigs. (I did, isn't it cute?)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shameless Plug for Daughter's Blog

Even though my youngest and I don't share the same set of genes (see adoption story), we could not have been more alike if I had born her from my loins. Well, there is the..I'm tall, pale, with blond hair, and she is tiny with dark hair and dark eyes, and I religiously follow a recipe and do exactly as I'm told, her not so much, and I religiously follow a sewing pattern and do exactly as I'm told, her, again, not so much.

We share a love of reading, sewing, cooking, knitting and watching trashy reality tv. Seriously, the Real Housewives of Orange County, not nearly as much fun when you have to watch it alone. And guess what else we have in common...yeah, I know I gave it away in the title of this post, she has a blog.

I thought you might like to see my pride and joy, and the fact that this link happens to point to a post where she is expounding on my finer points, is purely coincidental. Really, purely coincidental.

Pam's Incredibly Talented Daughter's Blog.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #203

"A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes." - Indian Saying

This picture of Patchouli in front of her beloved catnip is my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Salome at Paulchen's Food Blog.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

Falling Cloudberries

You know the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover"? That definitely does not apply in this case. This book is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. Both outside and inside. I received Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes as an early review book from Andrews McMeel Publishing. They wanted me to read it and post a review on Library Thing and on Silly people, don't they know, I don't write reviews for Amazon, I blatantly plagiarize their reviews in my lame attempt at book reviews!! But this book was so wonderful, I am going to step up to the plate, and do my part.

Falling Cloudberries

First of all it's gorgeous (I really can't stop saying that). I took the dust jacket off to keep from tearing it while reading, and was delighted to see that the inside matched the dust jacket. No, plain gray or brown. The inside is every bit as beautiful from the blue flowered design on the inside of the cover, to the pictures of recipes and life. I say recipes and life, because that's what this book is, it's cookbook and a memoir all in one.

Pretty from the side

The author of the book, Tessa Kiros, opens the book with the following quote, "These are the recipe I grew up with: the recipes that have woven their way through the neighborhoods of my mind, past indifference and into love. Those that have stayed while others might have fluttered away with a gentle spring breeze." What a growing up she did, she was born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father. When she was four, they moved to South Africa, and she now lives in Italy with her husband, Giovanni. Wow. Kind of makes my - born in Illinois, grew up in Missouri, and moved to Tennessee, seem kind of lame.


So, it is with that rich background of cultures and influences that she puts together this collection of recipes and stories. And quite a collection it is. She begins with Finland - from her mother and her mother's side of the family, then to Greece and Cyprus - for her father, South Africa - from her upbringing, Italy - where she currently resides with her husband, and a section called suitcase - a lovely collection gathered along the way.


I started out listing all of the recipes that I wanted to try (but they soon became too numerous, this book is 397 pages, after all). A very shortened version of my list:

Finland - Potato Pancakes, Salmon Dill and Potato Soup, Cranberry Jam
Greece - Dolmades, Skordalia, Lemon and Oregano Chicken
Cyprus - Fried Haloumi Cheese, Green Olives with Coriander Seeds
South Africa - Lemon Vanilla Jam
Italy - Olive Oil Bread, Pasta with Sardines and Wild Fennel
Suitcase - Caramel Ice Cream, Milk Honey and Cinnamon Ice Cream

I can't begin to say enough nice things about this book. I absolutely loved it. It's big, gorgeous, filled with delicious sounding recipes, gorgeous photos, and a sweet family history.

Five out of five stars!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Ultimate Roast Chicken Provencal

Tyler's Roast Chicken

I love a challenge. Self-imposed or laid on me by someone else. I don't care. Judging from the myriad of book challenges and food events, I am not the only one who likes a few guidelines on their day to day living. My latest challenge..roast a chicken every week. I've been enamored with this idea ever since I read a Jeffrey Steingarten book where he mentions that he does this. It sounds like a great idea..perfect my skill at roasting a chicken, get lots of chicken carcasses for stock, and amass a wealth of recipes using cooked chicken. So, let the roasting begin, or at least until I grow tired of it and move onto a new a better challenge.

I began with Tyler. Kill two birds with one stone so to speak. Get my new Tyler Florence recipe in for the week, and roast a chicken.

This was excellent. The herb paste was very flavorful. I considered separating the breast skin and smooshing it under there, but I decided to follow the recipe as written. The chicken wasn't quite as crispy as I would have liked, but there were a lot of vegetables, creating lots of steam. But I'm not going to find fault with those vegetables, because they were amazing. The next day, I diced them up tossed them with some hot pasta and some Parmesan cheese for a light dinner. They had tons of flavor from the chicken juices and the herbs and lemon. That still left with me a couple of cups of shredded cooked chicken and a lovely carcass to use later!


The Ultimate Roast Chicken Provencal
from Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time

Serves 4

Herb paste

leaves from 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
leaves from 1/4 bunch of fresh thyme
leaves from 1 bunch of fresh tarragon
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 whole (3 1/2 pound) chicken
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut in half, plus 1/2 lemon sliced paper-thin
3 big tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 red onion, thinly sliced
leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400.

Throw the ingredients for the herb paste into a blender and puree into a green paste.

Rinse the chicken with cool water inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Set the chicken on a cutting board, and season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the lemon halves into the cavity. Fold the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string to give it a nice shape while it cooks (I didn't). Rub the chicken all over the herb paste so it's well coated.

Put the chicken in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack and scatter the tomatoes, zucchini, onion, lemon slices, and thyme around. Give the vegetables a big, healthy dose of olive oil - 1/4 cup should do it - and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the chicken into the oven and roast for 1 hour; then check on it with an instant-read thermometer by popping it into the thickest part of the thigh. When it reads 160 the bird is cooked.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving so the juices have a chance to settle back into the meat. Serve with the roasted vegetables.

This will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays. What's yours?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe

Yeah, I may have picked up another subscription to a magazine. But, I let 2 of my other subscriptions expire, so I'm actually ahead of the game. When I received a letter asking me if I wanted to subscribe to Cooking Light for $10 a year, how could I refuse?? That's less than a dollar a month!

My first issue was the April issue, and I headed straight to the Dinner Tonight section, where they give an easy recipe and recipes for sides to go with it. Since I have a bazillion tons of ground beef in my freezer from my side of beef, I was thrilled to see a recipe for sloppy joes.

I made the recipe as listed, except that I didn't have any tomato sauce, so I just pureed a 14 1/2 oz can of tomatoes in the blender. Close enough. It's not like sloppy joes are rocket science or anything. These were pretty darn good. They weren't cloyingly sweet and there was a nice kick from the chipotle peppers. The carmelized onions added a little extra flavor and texture. All together, a nice, very quick and easy weeknight dish.

Chipotle Sloppy Joes
Cooking Light April 09
5 servings (I had 4 generous servings)

Cooking spray
2 1/2 cups sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce (or pureed tomatoes)
5 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted (or 4, if you are pigs like us)

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

Remove 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 1 chipotle chile from can; chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in chopped chipotle chile, adobo sauce, tomato paste, and next 3 ingredients (through tomato sauce); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture over bottom half of each bun, and top evenly with onions and top half of bun.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sauteed Trout with Bacon

Sauteed Trout with Bacon

I had some trout thawing for dinner on the last Friday of lent. A couple of hours before dinner a thunderstorm came through and we lost power. So, the trout went quickly into the fridge, and we went out to dinner. The next day, I was about cook my originally scheduled dish, trout amandine, when I saw on the same page, sauteed trout with bacon! Let's weigh that out, shall we...trout with almonds, trout with bacon, trout with almonds, trout with bacon. Yeah, it was a no-brainer.

Do, I even have to tell you that it was wonderful! I mean, c'mon people, trout breaded in cornmeal and fried up in some bacon grease, what's not to love.

Sauteed Trout with Bacon
How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Marc Bittman
Serves 2

2 whole trout, gutted and split or filleted
4 slices of bacon (or more, much more)
1 cup cornmeal
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Cook the bacon in a skillet (cast iron preferred). When the bacon is crisp, remove it to a warm oven.

Rinse and dry the fish. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal and place int the pan, and raise the heat to high. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until nicely browned on both sides and the fish is cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes total. Garnish with the bacon and parsley.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #202

"A home without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a perfect home, perhaps; but how can it prove its title?" - Mark Twain

Smudge in the garden enjoying spring will be my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Mr. Tigger and the M-Cats Club at The M-Cats Club.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Samsung Washer Dryer Rant!

You know, I believe there is always a grain of truth in sayings that get tossed around regularly. Like, for instance, "they don't make 'em like they used to."

My old washer and dryer were 22 years old. They were made long before the words energy and efficiency were combined. But they worked, which is more than I can say for my brand spanking new Samsung washer and dryer.

When we found this set, it seemed like a match made in heaven. It was not the top of the line, it was the model right before it. So, Best Buy had it on clearance and not only was it on clearance, but it was red! Red..the accent color in my kitchen and laundry room. Red. Perfect, glorious, red.

Oh, I was in love, I took pictures. Artsy pictures, little peek-a-boo shots of various dials and things. One photo, I titled "self-portrait in washing machine."

Guess how many loads of laundry I did? Four! I did four loads of laundry before the dryer stopped working. The motherboard apparently went out. You know what happens when a motherboard goes out?? Nothing. Nothing happens. It doesn't turn on, it doesn't light up. It sits there. Not only did the dryer stop, but I realized that the washer never dispensed the fabric softener. So, that never worked.

We've been waiting three weeks for the parts, and I absolutely refuse to go to a laundramat when I spent all this money on these gorgeous machines. I refuse. That's the problem. I am rapidly running out of underwear. I have only 2 kinds left in my drawer, the good and the bad. You know the good kind, the ones with a smidgen of lace and some ribbon that are somewhat generously called underwear. The kind that are more for taking off, than for wearing, if you catch my drift. And the bad. The ones with no elastic left whatsoever. I wore the no elastic model today, and spent most of the day running into the restroom to pull up my underwear.

If you feel sorry for me, and would like to help. Please send, Victoria's Secret, all cotton bikini briefs, size medium.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tolan's Mom's Potato Salad - Tyler Florence

Potato Salad

Don't you love when you learn a completely new to you idea in a recipe? I do. And with my level of expertise, this happens quite a bit. I chose this recipe on ingredients alone, I didn't even read the directions until I was in the middle of making it. So, when I got to the part to peel the eggs, I was completely surprised to see that you grate the hard boiled eggs into the potato salad! What a fantastic idea. You know how the yolk usually dissolves anyway, and then you are left with little chunks of egg white? Well, this eliminates that, the egg flavor is dispersed evenly throughout the potato salad. Brilliant.

Potato Salad

This was a definite winner, it probably tied for top billing with the ham. I also made his Ultimate Baked Beans, which totally did not work for me. I'll have to research it and see what went wrong. But this, potato salad, was just right!

Tolan's Mom's Potato Salad
Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time
Serves 4-6

2 lbs small yukon gold potatoes
2 large eggs
kosher salt
1/2 bunch scallion, sliced, white and green parts
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (I used half as much)
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup pickle juice
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 lemon, juice of
fresh ground pepper

Place potatoes and eggs in saucepan of cold, salted water. Bring to a simmer.
Remove eggs with a slotted spoon after 12 minutes and let cool. Continue cooking potatoes until tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain potatoes in a colander and let them cool.

Reserve some scallions and capers for garnish.

Stir together mayonnaise, mustard, pickles with juice, onions, remaining scallions and capers, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes.

Peel the cooled eggs and grate them into the bowl.

Peel cooled potatoes with a paring knife. Cut potatoes into chunks and toss with the dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with reserved scallions and capers.

This will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays. Join us, all the cool kids do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet

Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet

When it comes to ice cream and such, I'm not much of an egg yolky, cook custard on the stove, kind of girl. So, when I'm in the mood for a frozen type dessert (which by the way is Mon-Sun 24/7), I usually pick up Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompanimentsand turn to the sorbet section. It was a toss-up between Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet and Chocolate-Tangerine Sorbet. I went with the grapefruit because I had everything I needed. Yes, I had a bottle of champagne in my fridge. It's been there since New Years Eve. What, no celebration? Oh, we celebrated. We started with margaritas though and by the time it came for the champagne, I wisely decided enough was enough.

I am firmly convinced that David Lebovitz is a genius, however when I went and googled pink-grapefruit champagne sorbet, I found them all over the place, here and here are two such versions. So, apparently the thought of pink grapefruit and champagne sorbet occurs to alot of people. Why do these things never occur to me? I could sit and ponder that for a long time, but let's just thank goodness that I have shelf after shelf of cookbooks written by people who did the thinking for me.

David and others, good job. This was wonderful. Utterly fantastic. Insanely, utterly, fantastic. (Note to self, get a thesaurus). My grapefruits were not very juicy and I had to sub in some orange juice. Didn't matter. Still sublimely, amazingly good.

Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet
Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

1 1/2 cups champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (from about 3 grapefruits)

In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, heat about 1/2 the champagne with the sugar, stirring it, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rest of the champagne and the grapefruit juice.

Chill thoroughly and then freeze in your ice cream maker per it's instructions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Garden Tuesday - Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Audra Foveo

Bleeding Hearts

Monday, April 13, 2009

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

Guess what I found? A Cooking Light recipe that contains butter, whipping cream, white wine and parmesan cheese! Have they crossed over to the full-fat side? A side that I have been firmly on ever since reading Real Food: What to Eat and Why. When you're using a rich, full fat ingredient, you don't need as much, I can change the whole texture and flavor of a dish with a little cream. I have rediscovered the joys of full fat yogurt, sour cream, and I actually have to shake my milk because a layer of cream rises to the top.

Back to this recipe. It was yummy, rich and creamy. Everything I hoped it would be. And yes, I know that pasta is not farfalle. I don't know what it is. It was some really fancy pasta that I picked up at Marshall's because I can't resist their fancy food section. It looked like little whirlwinds or something.

You can find this recipe online at Cooking Light and I also have it here for you. Though I encourage you to check out the Cooking Light website, I can get lost there for hours.

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce
from Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2006
Serves 8

1 pound uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces presliced exotic mushroom blend
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Minced fresh parsley (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 12 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta, whipping cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons parsley, tossing gently to coat. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Garnish with minced fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.


This will be my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Katie at One Little Corner of the World.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Great See's Candy Giveaway

And the winner!

Just kidding. But you know, I had a thought, as I was trying to find the random generator thingy site. I should have, oh say every 5 comments or so, left a comment thanking everyone for entering. Then, when I won, it would have been fair and square.

Oh sure, there would have been hissing and booing and gnashing of teeth in blogland. But hey, I would have had my chocolate to console me. And by the time the chocolate was finished, you would have forgiven me, and welcomed me back into the bosom of blogland.

Allright...allright...I'm just stalling. That's called anticipation, people.

And the winners are:

#32 - Joanne
#46 - Marjie

Yay!!! Just send you email address to morefromscraps (at) comcast (dot) net, and I'll forward your information on to my Best Chocolate Friend, Jon, at See's Candy. When Jon contacts you, be sure and tell him how much you enjoyed playing along, and that isn't it a shame that Pam has worked her way through her box of chocolate.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #201

Patchouli being photogenic
Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic. - Lillian Jackson Braun

Patchouli, Scraps, and Smudge would like to wish you all a Happy Easter. And don't forget to enter the big See's candy giveaway!

This will be my entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Lb and Breadchick at The Sour Dough.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fajita Steak with Grilled Vegetables and Orange-Avocado Salsa

I like steak

You could not have asked for a prettier or more colorful grilled dish than this! The notes on the recipe state that everything is left whole to make cooking much easier and the presentation a lot nicer.

Grilling vegetables

Okay, I'll buy that. It was a gorgeous presentation, but not quite the joy to eat. In order to make it into a fajita, you have to cut up your steak and cup your vegetables. I know, no big deal, but I think I prefer my vegetables and meat sliced before they're cooked. Because when it comes off the grill, smelling fantastic, I just want to throw this in a tortilla, top with salsa and call it a day.

Because one does not live on beef alone

The salsa was the standout for me. The combo of the creamy rich avocado with the tart, but sweet orange was wonderful. Unfortunately, there is no picture of this because I could not make it attractive no matter how hard I tried.

Fajita Steak with Grilled Vegetables
Cuisine at Home Weeknight Grilling

2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

4 New York strip steaks

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow bell peppers, halved, seeded
8 Roma tomatoes, halved
12 scallions
Salt and pepper
2 limes, halved

8 fajita style tortillas

Preheat the grill to medium high.

Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl or jar. Rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of the steaks.

Toss the bell peppers, tomatoes, and scallions in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill steaks on both sides until done to your liking (about 5 minutes per side for medium rare). Grill the peppers and limes turning once. Remove steaks from the grill and tent with foil and let rest. Grill the scallions and the tomatoes for about 3-4 minutes, turning, until lightly charred.

Wrap tortillas in a damp towel then wrap again in foil. Grill for about 5 minutes, flipping after about 3 minutes. Serve with the steaks, vegetables, grilled limes, and salsa.

Orange-Avocado Salsa
Makes 2 1/2 cups

2 avocados, pitted, peeled, chopped
1 cup orange segments
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine avocados, oranges, lime juice, sugar and salt in a bowl. Gently stir in cilantro and oil.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crispy Asian Chicken Salad

Crispy Asian Chicken Salad - Maybe a little too crispy

Do you wanna know what the problem with spring is? Two words...the weather.

When I was planning my menu for this week it was 74 degrees outside. The windows in the house were flung open and a soft breeze was ruffling my hair. Life was good. This Crispy Asian Chicken Salad sounded like a wonderful, light, healthy way to welcome spring.

Fast forward to today. It's 38 degrees outside and the sky is spitting snowflakes. Not enough snow to close school, oh no, just enough to make the thought of a cool refreshing salad seem ever so wrong. But you know what, I hate change. I really do. This salad is what I planned for today, and that's that.

It was wonderful. Really wonderful. I think there are all kinds of different ways you can use this. The chicken and the marinade could be used in any kind of Asian style chicken dish. And I discovered that raw zucchini is good! Much better than cooked zucchini. It's creamy and bland and totally takes the flavor of the dressing. When I googled this recipe, I found a different version than the one in the book. I think I'll try that one too!

Crispy Asian Chicken Salad
Tyler Florence: Stirring the Pot
Serves 2

1 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

extra-virgin olive oil
1 large boneless chicken breast (skin on), halved (mine was skinless)

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
6 wonton wrappers, cut into strips, deep-fried, salted (I baked mine - and forgot about them - hence the brownness)
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375. For the glaze, combine the ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir to mix. Set aside. (I set aside 1/2 and used the rest as a dressing, because there was plenty.)

In a large saute pan heat a 2-count of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) over medium heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the breasts, skin sides, down, in the pan and sear for 3 to 5 minutes,until golden. Turn the breasts over and, using a pastry brush, liberally brush the glaze on top of the skin. Place the whole pan in the preheated oven and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, until chicken juices run clear (180f). Baste with glaze throughout cooking so the breast remains moist and tender. Let chicken stand until ready to serve the salad, then slice chicken.

Arrange zucchini strips on the bottom of a plate and top with sliced chicken breast. Scatter crispy wonton strips on top and drizzle with pan juices. Garnish with cilantro.

This will be my entry for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays. Be there or be square.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Feta Cheese Burger

Feta Cheese Burger

When the newest installment of Regional Recipes was announced, it was American. I immediately thought of burgers or chili dogs. I know blatantly obvious and totally lacking in creativity, but hey, that's how I roll.

So, a burger it was. But not just any burger, a cheese burger, and not just any cheese burger, but a feta cheese burger. So there. And by the way, when you read the recipe, you may notice that each burger is 1/2 pound of beef! Yes, a 1/2 pound. That's also how I roll.

I think the picture sums it up. It was yummy. Oh so yummy. I may have thrown out my jaw trying to open my mouth that wide, but it was worth it.

Feta Cheese Burgers
Cuisine at Home Weeknight Grilling

Feta Sauce
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup peperoncini peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds ground chuck
salt, pepper, and dried oregano
4 slices red onion (1/4" thick)

Serve on and with
4 hoagie rolls, toasted
red leaf lettuce
tomato slices
thinly sliced cucumbers

Preheat grill to medium high.

In the food processor, process feta cheese, cream cheese and yogurt until smooth. Add the peperoncini, scallions, zest, and the seasonings. Pulse until it's coarsely chopped.

Shape the ground chuck into 8 (4 oz) portions on wax paper. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Top 4 patties with a slice of the onion. Cover with the remaining 4 patties, seal edges with a fork. Season again. Grill burgers for about 4 minutes, flip and cook for 2 minutes. Top each burger with about 1/4 cup of the feta cheese sauce and grill for about 2 more minutes. Serve on rolls with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.

Regional Recipes

This will be my entry for this month's Regional Recipes hosted by JS and TS at (EatingClub) Vancouver.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Garden Tuesday - Candytuft


You can't beat candytuft (Iberis) for bringing you more bang for your gardening buck.


It is an evergreen perennial that chugs along in the garden all year, but really shines in the spring. Just look at it!


It is low growing, perfect for the front of beds, or you could even use it as a ground cover, since it spreads so easily. When it is not blooming, it stays low and mounded with deep green, needle like leaves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do You See What I See? A Giveaway!!!

See's Candy

I'm sure some of you have noticed that See's Candy is popping up in food blogger land. I'm always one to follow a crowd, especially when it involves chocolate.

See's Candy

When they first contacted me, I had high hopes for all my wonderful chocolate experiments. Visions of candy, chopped and layered in baked brownies. Candy, crumbled and stirred into some homemade frozen yogurt.

All for me!

And then they arrived. And, well, they looked like a delicious, chocolate Easter present to me. The next day, when I came home from school, I fed the cats, and then sat down on the couch, chose a chocolate, and savored and soothed away my day. And the next day the same thing happened. After a few days of this, I actually counted the wrappers in the box. There are 23. Note to See's marketing people, have you ever thought about a box of 31 pieces? A month of chocolate. I'm just sayin.

GOOD NEWS, my peeps, you too can share my new habit. The wonderful people at See's (especially my new best chocolate candy friend, Jon), has allowed me to offer a two $25 giftcards for See's Candy! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post! I will use that random generator thingy to select 2 winners next Sunday!!!

See's Candy
Photo copied from their website, because, oh-my-gosh, just look at it!

While, you are checking out the See's Website, and believe me you need to go check it out, be sure and look at the candy fundraiser opportunity. As a teacher and a parent, I am no stranger to fundraisers. Imagine if instead of overpriced wrapping paper, you could chose something chocolate!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #200

Patchouli and Scraps

To some blind souls all cats are much alike. To a cat lover every cat from the beginning of time has been utterly and amazingly unique."- Jenny de Vries

Patchouli and Scraps

Patchouli and Scraps

Scrappycat and Patchouli are pleased to enter this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Amar and Luna at Catsynth.