Category Archives: Ramblings

Some good meals that I am too lazy to post recipes for

1. Leftover (delicious) pot roast becomes a divine sandwich….pot roast, garden tomatoes, arugula, whole wheat bun and a smokey pickled ocra on the side.

2.  Roasted chicken, avocado and ricotta salata omelet, fresh corn, green chile and mushroom hash, and garden greens with garden serranos and lime juice

3.  Roasted salmon with tomato and basil relish, carrot mac and cheese, cucumber salad and garlic green beans

4.  Spicy Indian curry with chickpeas, garden peppers and tomatoes with garden cucumber raita

5. Tandoori chicken, garden tomatoes with sea salt and lime, and arugula, avocado and mango salad with spicy mango chutney dressing (ok, I’ll probably include that dressing because it was so scrumptious)

Good lunch!

This lunch reminds me so much of the time I really started cooking. It’s one of those “oh dear God, what is in my fridge” sort of meals. Basically, I took a look in my fridge and saw the following:

  • Too-salty, pre-marinated grilled lemon herb chicken breast
  • Greek yogurt
  • Mint
  • Watermelon
  • Arugula
  • Feta
  • Whole-wheat pita
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Cucumber
  • Etc.

I wanted to use the chicken, but it really is too dang salty. I figured if I chopped it up and mixed it with some Greek yogurt, that would balance out the flavors. To zest it up and add some veggies, I grated a cucumber and crushed a garlic clove into the yogurt. Now I had a yummy Greek chicken salad to fill my pita with…and it wasn’t too salty! Add a sliced tomato from my squirrel-infested garden, and we are good to go!

I made a quick watermelon salad with the arugula, feta, watermelon and a quick red wine vinaigrette. Yum!

All you can eat shrimp!

A few weeks ago, I decided I better scoop up some good Gulf shrimp while the gettin’s good. My market generally has both fresh and frozen gulf shrimp. It’s great to buy the frozen shrimp before they thaw it, so you can just put it straight in the freezer (they are able to flash freeze those suckers on the boat, so they stay really yummy for at least a month or two). So, I knew I would freeze a pound, but wanted 1) a intensely shrimp-y dish to cook up right away, 2) something intensely shrimp-y that I could make and put in the freezer. The problem with frozen shrimp dishes is that the texture of the shrimp ends up wonky- sort of mushy and nasty. A dilemma, no?

After pouring through a few cookbooks and websites, I decided I would try shrimp potstickers. They freeze beautifully and I loved the idea of just being able to pull out a few at a time. You know what? They are awesome! They are perfumed with shrimp flavor- light, fresh, delicate and insanely delicious. AND nowhere near as much trouble as I thought they’d be. Honestly. The filling is made in a food processor and then I rolled them the next day (while watching Dirty Harry, thank you very much). Check it out:

Before sealing:

All sealed up (and creepy looking):

Ready to eat:

As for my ready-to-eat, intensely shrimp-y dinner, I opted for New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp. Lordy. It was my first time making the dish and Michael’s first time eating it. It was soooooo good. The basic idea is to cook unpeeled shrimp in a skillet with a shrimp stock, Worcestershire sauce, butter and creole seasoning. Serve it in the skillet with French Bread.

I made some tasso maque choux and kale on the side. And, yes, that is Coors Light you see.It’s leftover from a party, so lay off.

In summary, BP can suck it.

A tale of two Macs

What fool doesn’t like Mac & Cheese? I get that you might not indulge regularly, but everyone loves it, right? To that point, I have two recipes I rely on.

1) a perfect, traditional guilty-pleasure mac & cheese (seen here with filet and roasted asparagus)

and

2) a ridiculously delicious and much healthier carrot mac & cheese that relies on carrots, orange juice and very little cheese to deliver a serious punch

My crazy husband actually prefers the carrot version. I agree that the healthier version scratches my mac & cheese itch, but prefer? I don’t know. I certainly make it 5x as much, so that counts for something.

Big, bad, beautiful brunch

My MIL just moved to Austin and we decided to host a brunch to welcome her to the land of the weird. I was traveling aaaalllll week, so I wanted something super easy. Well, easy and delicious…I have a rep to maintain, yo. I decided early on that a bagel bar was the ticket. Easy, filling and yummy. That would allow me to only make a few small items to fill in the holes. Here’s where we landed:

  • Plain and pumpernickel bagels with chive cream cheese, lox, red onions, tomatoes and capers
  • Sesame bagels with candied ginger cream cheese and shaved Granny Smith apples
  • Cinnamon raisin and cranberry bagels with plain cream cheese
  • Curry dip with veggies
  • Delicious yellow honey dew melon
  • The creamiest, dreamiest cheese grits with andouille and shrimp, served with a green tabasco cream sauce
  • Individual pavlovas (courtesy of my increasingly skilled sister-in-law) with mixed berries and almond Greek yogurt
  • Mimosas
  • The BEST Bloody Marys ever. (period)
  • Topo Chico sparkling water

I think it was a big success. The flavored cream cheeses are badass. Just let some cream cheese soften, chop up some herbs or whatever, fold in and serve in a cute container. The candied ginger cream cheese was TO DIE FOR.

Breakfast of champions

I know it’s not rocket science, but we had the loveliest breakfast with my father-in-law on Saturday. Little banana and pecan muffins (from the freezer!), greek yogurt, and the prettiest plate of fruit with a squeeze of lime. I need to get the banana nut recipe from my moms, because they were fantastic straight out of the freezer. I want them in my life on a far more regular basis. Sigh.

Holy deliciousness

We had quite the super supper at the Feferdome on Saturday. M’s dad was in town, so we had his sis, her honey and some cousins over. 7 people- not so bad. Except Saturday was crazy packed and this meal was supposed to be a less of sorts for M’s sis. I wouldn’t normally pick such a large meal for a cooking lesson, but she doesn’t need much instruction anymore and I was happy for the help.

Anyway,  R requested that tabouli, pavlova and some salmon preparation be included. Those are easy, healthy, and can mostly be made in advance. Boom. I just needed to round it out with more of the same. So, here’s where we landed:

  • Appetizers: Dolmas, Castelvetrano olives, frozen spanakopita, and Linguica sausage (Portugese lamb and pork) with romesco sauce
  • Roasted king salmon with dill buerre blanc
  • Roasted beet and goat cheese towers with Mediterranean micro greens and vinaigrette
  • Tabouli
  • This delicious grilled eggplant dish that M’s cousin brought- yum
  • Individual pavlovas with almond Greek yogurt and mixed berries

It was really special.  Dang, I wish someone would upload all these recipes for me now.

Veggie fried rice…for breakfast

I was so pleased with the ginger and leek fried rice I made earlier this year, that I thought I’d try a variation for breakfast. I’m always trying to find ways to bring veggies into breakfast, but I get sick of omelets. I had some leftover white rice and tons of different veggies, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This is a very loose recipe, so just play with it.

1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 Cup carrots, diced

1 Cup spinach, cut into strips or chopped

1 small onion, diced

2 toes garlic, pressed through

1 inch ginger, grated

1 T soy

1 T hoisin sauce

2 t chili sauce

1 t sesame oil

4 eggs

2 Cups leftover white rice

1 T roasted peanut oil (or whatever…that stuff just tastes GOOD)

  1. Heat 1/2 T peanut oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onions, carrots and peppers, and saute until fork tender (soft, but not 100% done).
  2. Make a small well in the center of the pan and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant (~30 seconds) and then stir into veggie mixture. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Allow the spinach to wilt a bit (1-2 min) and then set aside mixture in a small bowl. No need to wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add remaining peanut oil to empty pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add rice and distribute in an even layer. Cook without turning for ~1-2 minutes. This will allow some of the rice to crisp up a bit. YUM. Pour in the soy, hoisin, chili and sauces, as well as the sesame oil. Stir to distribute and allow to heat through (1-2 min more).
  4. Add the veggie mixture and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, maybe a bit more soy or some rice wine vinegar for tartness). Serve into 4 bowls.
  5. With the heat still on medium high, crack 4 eggs into the skillet. If your pan isn’t big enough, you may need to work in batches of two. Once the outside is set, cover with a lid to allow the yolk to set some without flipping. Cook eggs sunny side up. When cooked, place an egg on the rice, dot with Schriracha sauce (if you like delicious hotness) and serve.

More than the sum of its parts

I made a really yummy dinner on Tuesday night. Not an A+, but a solid A. The thing is, I wouldn’t really give any of the individual dishes a great grade, but it just all worked together. Funny how that works. I tried a few new recipes and would only make a few of them again…or rather, I would only make that exact version of those recipes again. A  few tweaks might save the day. Anyway, here’s how it looked:

The dressing on the butternut squash salad was really good, but more importantly was really thick. It gave me a good idea how to thicken up Liza’s tahini dressing.

The French carrot salad is never the most delicious thing in the whole world, but it is easy, fast, healthy, really good and gorgeous on a plate.

I almost got the artichoke right…FINALLY. I think if I just trim the top a little less this time, we’re there. The dipping sauce was sick delicious. It would be great on fish. This sauce is officially in my recipe book now.

I’m trying to broaden the array of veggies and fruits that live in my fridge/on my counter/eventually in my belly. This roasted rhubarb was pretty darn good and I’ve loved having it with yogurt for breakfast. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I dug it. Next time, I’m cutting the pieces a bit smaller and roasting it uncovered. Maybe that will keep it from turning into a stringy goop.

Raiding the pantry…

I’ve been raiding the pantry a lot lately. I had to cook a thousand pounds of sweets (turtle brownies, meringues, etc) for my lovely niece’s wedding. It’s been pretty cool how many delicious meals have come out of my refusal to go to the grocery store. Here are some of the stars:

That’s about it. Going to the grocery tonight, so back to “normal” dinner.