Thursday, April 29, 2010

Linguine with Chorizo, Broccoli, Chickpeas, Garlic and Lemon

I feel the need to explain myself with the posting of a second, fairly simple pasta dish two days in a row. (Though they look similar, they are worlds apart!) Beneath the heading, Design Wine and Dine, I note how we try to live "simply" - this is just one example of what I mean...

About a year ago, I was laid off from a decent paying position and found myself home with our two children under four. While it never feels good to be 'let go' from a job where you've invested so much time and energy, it was just that..."a job." Perhaps a blessing in disguise, before the lay-off we were paying an arm and a leg for daycare, we could just barely justify. My days...that used to be spent running to drop-offs, packing diapers amongst spread sheets, and wiping milk off my black, tweed, Ann Taylor blazer... are now happily spent home with the kids - taking walks, playing, gardening, cooking and writing this blog. One salary, one car, two children, a hard working husband ...and a life I adore.

Which brings me to this dish, Linguine with Chorizo Sausage, Broccoli, Garlic, Chickpeas & Lemon, a result of not being able to get out of the house and so using ingredients on hand. ("On hand"...there's that phrase again...I think someone needs to get to the store!) Not a huge fan of pasta drenched and swimming in sauce...this flavorful dinner's slightly spicy, RUSTIC undertones looked beautiful and tasted worthy a spot on the menu at your favorite local Italian cafe!

Linguine with Chorizo, Broccoli,
Chickpeas, Garlic and Lemon

1 lb linguine
6-8 chorizo sausage links
2-4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to drizzle on at the end)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 head of broccoli - most of the stems removed
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
Approx 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon juice
Fresh cracked pepper

Remove chorizo from castings and cook up over medium heat in a heavy pot, breaking up into small pieces - about 8-10 min. Remove Chorizo from pot and discard most, but not all, of the oil at the bottom of the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and chopped garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add chickpeas and broccoli, saute up for approx 8 minutes, add chorizo back to the pot and incorporate all ingredients. Let cool slightly and PULSE in a food processor - just a few times to your desired texture.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add the sausage mixture to the pasta, a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, squirt of lemon, olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. Toss with tongs and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Simple Pork Lo Mein

Taking simplicity to a new level, this Pork Lo Mein was the result of left-over boneless chops, a box of spaghetti, green onion, cilantro, a can of bean sprouts and Asian sauces from the fridge.

A throw back to our college days, the no-frill's noodle dish tasted more like a homemade ramen noodle than the authentic tasting lo mein we were so craving. Served along side steamed gyoza and a sesame dipping sauce, the meal left us yearning for Mountain Dew and searching for our books from ECON 101!

Proof a dinner doesn't have to be spectacular to be enjoyable, this "Pork Lo Mein" had us reminiscing over college all night long... and put an unexpected twist on an otherwise mundane 'back to the grind' Monday!

Do you have a great LO MEIN recipe you'd like to share? I'm dying to hear it!

Pork Lo Mein (Even better the next

Left over pork, cut into strips 8 oz. spaghetti
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon oil (Peanut or whatever on hand)
1 garlic clove chopped
5 green onions sliced in inch pieces (green & white parts)
1 can on Asian bean sprouts
3 T Oyster sauce
1 T Soy
1 teaspoon
Dash of chili garlic sauce (optional)
Dash of sesame oil (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Mix together in a small bowl oyster sauce, soy and sugar, set aside. Place oils in a wok or saute pan. Saute up garlic, green onion, bean sprouts over medium/high heat for approx 3-4 minutes.. Add pork, soy mixture, and dash of chili garlic sauce, cook 1-2 minutes. Add noddles and lightly fold together with tongs. Place in a bowl and top with cilantro and tiny drizzle of sesame oil.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clams & Mussels, Shellfish TWO WAYS!

When I was little girl my family used to vacation in Maine. I remember sitting outside at a picnic table surrounded by trees not too far from the coast, my parents feasting on shellfish, enjoying wine out of a carafe. My siblings and I would be eating hot dogs, drinking lemonade and daring one another to try the little sea creatures the adults delighted in slurping down with such ease!

This meal of Steamed Clams in Butter, Shallot, Garlic and White Wine served next to Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels in a San Marzano Red Sauce with tons of basil, parsley and chopped garlic, was inspired by those special days... decades ago. Back then I couldn't wait to grow I know why.

Always looking for new ways to prepare shellfish, any tried & true recipes out there???

The following serves as a guide to construct your sauces - lots of butter, garlic and shallots are the trick!

CLAMS:2 lbs clams (scrubbed and cleaned) melt stick of butter in large heavy stock pot until bubbling Add an entire large, sliced shallot Add 3+ large cloves of chopped garlic Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme Saute until tender (approx 4 minutes) Add 1/2 cup white wine on hand Add clams and fold together Add more butter and liquid (clam juice, stock or wine) if necessary Cover and steam approx. 6 minutes, until all clams open (discard those that do not open) Remove thyme sticks Top with tons of freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley!

MUSSELS1 lb Farm raised mussels - Melt stick 0f butter (and/or olive oil) in large heavy pot. Add an entire large, sliced shallot, Add 3+ large cloves of chopped garlic- Saute until tender (approx 4 minutes) Add 1 can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, More butter/oil here wouldn't hurt. S&P to taste. Pinch of red pepper flakes (Optional) - Add mussels and cover, shaking pot occasionally, cook until mussels pop open about 8 minutes (discard those that do not open) - Top with tons of freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley and basil!

SERVE ALONG SIDE GRILLED or CRUSTY BREAD - Garlic Bread if you like!


Thick Cut Boneless Pork Chops in Brown Sugar, Garlic and Soy

Pork tenderloin, pork chops, pork roast - no matter what cut of swine you have on hand a simple brown sugar, garlic and soy marinade will ensure a flavorful dish! The sweetness and depth of the brown sugar, pungent chopped garlic and salty essence of a flavorful soy...blend together perfectly for an excellent marinade base!

Customize your cuisine by adding a few defining ingredients...cilantro & cumin for a Southwestern onion and ginger for an Asian inspired dish... or a kicked-up Bar-B-Que sauce for a good old fashion cook-out!

Depending on the thickness and cut of your pork will determine its marinating time, but generally the night before or morning of lends enough for the flavors to soak thoroughly into the meat. Such an easy, versatile and affordable meal...the
left-over options are limitless!

Thick Cut Boneless Pork Chops in Brown Sugar, Garlic and Soy
1 lb boneless pork chops
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup
olive oil
3-4 large cloves chopped garlic
3/4 cup brown sugar

Whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, garlic and brown sugar. Pour into a large Ziploc bag, place pork in bag and marinade for at least 4 hours (the thinner the meat the shorter the time - longer is better for roasts and thick cuts - preferably the morning of or night before.) Here we cooked chops over a charcoal grill approx 8 minutes on each side (or until meat thermometer reads 150, the meat's temp will continue to rise off the heat for the first few minutes.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise

+This Beef Tenderloin Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms, fresh Arugula and Spicy Horseradish Mayonnaise has been an absolute favorite since we first served it at a tailgate party years ago. The tenderness of the meat, sweetness of mushrooms & onions, spicy kick of horseradish and peppery, crisp, fresh arugula greens.... all stuffed into a rich, toasted, buttery croissant... ensures each decadent bite more pleasurable than the last!

Serve this meal along side a Sam Adams Pale Ale, glass of red, or a ice cold lemon tea and you'll swear you were sitting down in your favorite neighborhood bistro!

Side shown here: Alexia Waffel Fries

Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized
Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise

Bon Appétit March 2004

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 1-inch-thick beef tenderloin steaks
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1 cup beef broth
4 large croissants, halved horizontally, lightly toasted
2 cups arugula

Mix mayonnaise and horseradish in small bowl to blend. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tenderloin steaks with salt and pepper. Add steaks to
skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using tongs, transfer steaks to work surface. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until dark brown, about 25 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth; boil until juices are reduced to glaze, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Season onion mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 1 croissant bottom, cut side up, on each of 4 plates. Spread each with horseradish mayonnaise and top with 1/2 cup arugula. Thinly slice steaks and divide among croissants. Top with onion mixture. Spread remaining mayonnaise on cut side of croissant tops. Place tops on sandwiches.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grilled Halibut w/Tomato Olive Bruschetta, Arugula and Grilled Italian Bread

Fresh, rich, delicate fish...bold, crisp flavors...this Grilled Halibut Fillet, with Tomato & Olive Bruschetta and fresh Arugula, piled high atop a lightly grilled crusty Italian Bread, was one of the most beautiful & best tasting dinners we've had in a long, long time!

We used our bruschetta recipe with the addition of a few chopped kalamata olives (a crucial ingredient in this meal as the olives lend an important texture and saltiness to the dish - contrasting the richness of the fish.)

We took 1lb of fresh Halibut fillet, lightly brushed with olive oil, salted and white peppered the top and grilled, flesh side down first, then flipped once and continued cooking skin side down, covered for approximately 12 minutes.

Lightly oiled the bread on both sides and grilled 30 second to a minute on each side.

Place bread on plate, top with some bruschetta, place fish on top, more bruschetta, pile fresh arugula on top and then finally another large scoop of bruschetta.

Drizzle with olive oil and ENJOY!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crab Cakes ~ A Motley Crew

I've always been fascinated with the crab. They've appeared in so many dishes throughout my life in various forms, I can't help but be in awe of the curious crustacean. Here's one of my early memories as a little girl.

During the summer months we'd spend questionable beach days crabbing off the dock by our house. After an hour or so of finding and messing with the rusty traps, untangling the seaweed stained ropes and gathering all necessary supplies one needs to be a successful "crabber"... we were off! Bucket, net and bunker bait in hand, we would walk the block or so down the alley to the public dock. "Tie um' up and let um' drop!"

As with most eight year olds, my impatience quotient was high. I could only bear to wait approximately two minutes before lifting my trap to check, "Nope, nothing yet..." This behavior continued every two minutes thereafter until finally hunger set in and my sisters, brother and I opted to head back for lunch. Always apprehensive to leave the traps unattended, we'd pen a note to ward off intruders, "Be Right Back, Please Don't Lift!" We all agreed, it was pleasant yet strong and to the point.

The discussion during the three minute walk home revolved around, "possibilities." The possibility it wasn't a good crab season, the possibility our traps might be pirated and ransacked, the possibility we'd return to a bounty of blue claws so plentiful people far and wide would want to pay us for our secret!

We scarfed down hot dogs, drank some apple juice, fought over whose turn it was to do dishes and in all of this, inevitably became side tracked with Frogger, Pack Man, Mad Libs and the Rubik's Cube. Time passed...seconds turned to minutes...minutes became hours. It wasn't until my parents discussion as to what to have for dinner and the duty of husking corn was bestowed upon us, that we quickly recalled the business at hand. In the interest of a common goal, we begrudgingly husked the crap out of that corn and headed back to the bay.

There they were... seemingly undisturbed, lying in wait for a whole 3 hours. The possibility they could be full of crabs for that evening's dinner was more than we could handle. But wait, the scene had changed? There was a boat a few yards away near the marsh, ropes over the edge disappearing into the murky salt water, people laughing, their eyes peering into buckets. We noticed other children a few docks down cheering, slapping five and calling for their parents to "come look and see...!"

What on earth did all this mean?! Bewildered our eyes darted...mine to June's, June's to Olive's, Olive's to Jo Jo's and then all eyes down. There were little bubbles popping upon the waters surface. Now we were young - but well schooled in the "art" of dock crabbing - and this could only mean one thing...THE MOTHER LOAD! CRABS! TONS OF CRABS! Big ones..."KEEPERS!"

We jumped up and down, threw our arms in the air. Pure elation, the boat people waved to us, the dock kids smiled...there was an unspoken acceptance of each others presence. We laughed as some got away, scurrying along the wooden boards falling back into the sea. It was merely a matter of time... he'd soon be ours again we chuckled! We poured them into buckets and ran them home in shifts, "Get out the Old Bay mom because here we come!"

It turned out that summer was one of the best blue claw seasons ever! Like a motley crew returning from the Baring Sea, we still gather down the shore house, throw back brewskies (Corona's with lime) and reminisce about "The Infamous Catch" some 25 years ago, and how sadly it seems to still be affecting the crab population this very day.

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup small diced red or green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper
1 pound lump crab meat, drained and picked to remove shells
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (or crushed saltine crackers or a mix)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 scant cup olive oil or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Place 1-2 tablespoons butter, onion, bell pepper, parsley, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 8-10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, add the lump crab meat (careful not to break up lumps too much) and fold with bread crumbs (or saltines), mayonnaise, mustard, and egg. Add the cooked mixture and gently fold. Carefully shape into desired sized portions keeping integrity of the jumbo lump.

Heat the butter and olive oil in frying pan over medium heat in a large saute pan. Carefully add crab cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (for smaller cakes like the ones shown here 2-3 min each side),until browned. Drain on paper towels or brown bags. Place them on a pan in the oven for approx. 7-10 mins and then, turn off oven and keep them in the warm oven to keep hot until ready to serve. Serve with classic homemade cocktail or tarter sauce and wedge of lemon.

Cream of Potato Soup

Cream of Potato Soup is one of the easiest, most comforting foods you can make, especially if using the BASIC, NO FRILLS recipe shown here! The soup was the result of craving clam chowder on a cool and blustery Sunday night...but no clams on hand and a 5lb sack of fresh potatoes in the seemed close enough. I kept the soup simple on purpose and served it with homemade croutons and fresh chives from the garden. ...a great cure for the Sunday Blues!

6 large Russet potatoes, cut into quarters and boiled until almost tender (I left the skin on)
2-4 T butter
2-3 shallots diced
4 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
approx 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
tiny pinch celery seed
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot, over medium heat and saute shallot until sweating, approx. 4 minutes. Add cooked potatoes to the pot and stir 2 minutes. Add celery seed and cayenne pepper and stir 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook until potatoes are completely tender, approx 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in cream. Blend entire soup in a blender or use hand emulsion blender to desired consistency (add more cream or milk if too thick). S&P to taste. Dress with chives and homemade croutons.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Roasted Quartered Potatoes

I've learned many things from my mother, but arguably the most wise is to, "always have a potato on hand." She'll tell you stories about how the baked potato got her through post gallbladder surgery, is the perfect quick and easy source of energy when in need of 'no fuss' nourishment and how when mashed with a will cure the common cold. Heeding my mother's advice, I can't tell you how many times I've turned to the humble tuber as a side dish, only to have it steal the show!

Like a date you can take to the rodeo, who also fits in at a debutant ball...the potato can be as dressed down and nitty-gritty as a curly fry, or as pompous and fluffed-up as a truffle-laced, French gratin. We often eat potatoes as you see pictured here, quartered, skin left on, olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, pinch of cayenne, salt & pepper... roasted in the oven at 400 degrees until tender to a fork, crisp and golden brown. Simple and virtually unadulterated, it's the kind of potato... you'd be proud to bring home to mom!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quesadillas ~ Pear, Rosemary, Goat Cheese & Pepper, Onion & Cheddar

I love how past memories of meals we've shared and places we've dined, inspire our cooking today. My husband and I used to frequent a Mexican restaurant in downtown Manhattan that served the best, authentic quesadillas that to this day (despite our happily searching), no one's been able to beat! Perfectly crisp on the outside, warm and cheesy in the middle, the restaurant had countless combinations on their menu!

The other day, having neglected a planned trip to the store, I was facing an unusual shortage of food in the fridge. A hungry husband outside painting and two children on the brink of starvation, a perfect storm was bearing down on my kitchen and I needed a plan fast! Resisting the urge to pick up the phone and order our favorite Neapolitan Pie...I took a deep breath, intake of ingredients we had on hand and half-an-hour later proudly presented the two quesadillas shown here.

Inspired from years past, the first quesadilla was a simple caramelized onion, roasted red pepper and freshly grated monterey jack cheese. The second, (and more interesting) was a sauteed bosc pear, fresh chopped rosemary, touch of goat cheese and Wisconsin white cheddar. A nice flavor contrast to one another, both quesadillas were served along side a crisp and fresh, peppery arugula salad.

The outcome of a botched market trip, my family had no idea their meatless dinner was one thought up in a pinch! In fact, the quesadilla's unexpected combinations and way they presented themselves atop their bright white plates, would have led one to believe they were the beautiful result... of a far greater plan!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homemade Bruschetta

We had plans to hit the nurseries this past weekend to stock-up on all the necessary vegetables and herbs for the garden. In preparation (and anticipation) of the long awaited event, Friday evening we made this beautiful bruschetta with grilled bread as a side to Balsamic Glazed Chicken and orange laced Hoegaarden. Somewhat thrown together, it was such a memorable meal full of vibrant colors, textures and flavors, it was important to document here!

Tomato Bruschetta
Take approximately:

6 ripe tomatoes diced (seed or not, depending on your taste, here I did not)
2-3 cloves fresh garlic minced (+/-)
1/2 large onion diced (here I used a red onion but any color will do, +/- to taste)
Lots of fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (+/- to taste)
Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Fold together and serve with good crusty bread on the side.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hoegaarden's not wine, but it might as well be..and smitten with its floating citrus, I simply had to take its picture! Hoegaarden is a white Belgium beer with hints of lemon, pepper and clove, that when paired with fresh orange slice... makes for a delicious, refreshing, easy drinking beer!

This past Friday, we enjoyed Hoegaarden along side
Balsamic Glazed Chicken and grilled bread with homemade bruschetta. The beer's mild sweetness, was the perfect beverage to round out the meal's wonderfully fresh, tart & zesty flavors.

The photo above a prelude... to our beautiful weekend ahead!

(Note: If you like a Blue Moon now and then...give Hoegaarden a might just like it better!)

Bogle Petite Sirah, 2007

Bogle Petite Sirah, 2007 - at $10.99 we're thrilled the tiny market close by picked it up! We enjoyed a bottle last week served along side our Croissant Steak Sandwiches . Its hints of plumb, spicy, bold, yet smooth taste, held up perfectly to the intensity of the dish! The California red would make a nice house Petite Sirah to have on hand for all you serious griller's out there with festivities on the horizon! We just might buy a case!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

So simple, so fresh and so delicious! It's Saturday morning here and I'm posting these photo's of last night's dinner, just in case there's anyone out there in the blogosphere, that happens to stumble upon this page in search of divine, meal inspiration!

We took chicken drumsticks, breasts and thighs, salt and peppered them and then marinated the crew for a few hours in just a bit of extra virgin olive oil and wonderfully rich, beautifully thick, balsamic vinegar we had on hand.

Cooked lovingly atop my husbands favorite Weber charcoal grill...the slight char and caramelization on the outside, made for tender, juicy, mildly-sweet, meat in the center. If it's beautiful where you are today and you're busy improving your house, take a break and make this tonight!

Just some food for thought...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Skirt Steak Soft Tacos w/Homemade Guacamole

Freshly prepared, homemade guacamole makes me LIE, CHEAT and STEAL. I 'lie' to my husband over the amount the avocado yielded. I 'cheat' my toddler by offering a shiny, red pre-dinner lollipop to keep her occupied and I 'steal' from my baby claiming his dislike for 'the Mexican fruit' only after I present it to him along side (his all time favorite) Gerber Crunchies. “So weird, he won’t even touch the stuff!?" All of these despicable acts are to ensure I get more than my fair share of what I consider ‘the green gold.’ Sure...I love it on chips or atop of a salad, but nothing gets me more excited than a soft warm tortilla, loaded up with chunky homemade guacamole, topped with a grilled, marinated meat or fish, rainbow medley of lightly charred veggies and finished off with a fresh and tangy salsa verde lovingly prepared from scratch!

On the other hand, the fake taste and preservatives added to prepackaged guacamole depresses me and nothing disappoints more than when I anxiously cut into an avocado expecting it to be ripe and delicious... to find it devoid of flavor. Forget about the days I visit the store with a 'Mexican Fiesta' theme in mind only to be visually insulted by a huge display of neon green, rock solid, smooth avocados. I've actually been known to abandon cart and store, in search of the perfect "hass." Considering leaving behind a cart of hand picked perishables is rude and socially irresponsible, I'm often left standing there angry and if the produce stocker's were out to wrong me that day. These are the outings I return home with a tub of Greek yogurt, chorizo sausage, hunk of brie cheese and strange, organic peanut my husband helps unload the bags, confusion morphs to concern and before he even has time to speak, I’m on the phone ordering a large tomato pie.

The other day our grocery store was well equipped with all we needed to make the skirt steak tacos with homemade guacamole you see pictured here. On this particular evening, I promised myself to show some composure and (like I preach to my children) work on the art of sharing. Plenty of avocado to go around, it surprisingly felt wonderful to watch my family indulge. Never proud of my behavior in the that it's here in writing (and I'm making great strides) consider this my confession.

Meant to be inspiration more than an exact guide, if some form of this multiple layered soft taco is not already part of your weekly repertoire (coming from an adult woman just learning to share)’s never too late!
For the Skirt Steak:
Place skirt steak in a large food, zip lock bag and add: scant 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and just a bit of cumin. Massage it all into the meat and place in the fridge until ready to cook. (Do this the night before or right before you cook. (We find while if it sits a while with this rub it does infuse the meat with flavor, but it's also very good done right before grilling.)

When ready to cook, remove skirt steak from the bag and grill a few minutes on each side (depending on heat of grill and thickness of steak) until slightly blackened on top and medium rare in the center. Remove from grill and let sit. When ready to slice into strips, do so against the grain.

For the Veggies:
We use peppers and onions. Cut them up into strips and placed them in a tinfoil or veggie basket outfitted for the grill. Dress with olive oil, some salt and pepper and place on the grill mixing around now and then until you start to see a light charring. Remove from heat when charred and soft.

For the Salsa Verde:
(MORE OR LESS TO TASTE) Take 5 medium tomatillos (husks removed, cut in half perpendicular), 1 medium onion (quartered, skin still on), 1 jalapeno pepper (whole), 2 medium red tomato's (cut in half perpendicular), 4-6 cloves of garlic (whole, skin still on) and dry roast on an ungreased cast iron skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally so not to burn (10-15 minutes). Remove from pan. At this point, remove skin from onions and garlic and depending on desired heat, carefully remove seeds and pulp from none...half... or all of the jalapeno. Last, add all ingredient to a blender and blend to a pulp (or your desired consistency). If too thick and/or spicy add water and blend again. S&P to taste. YUM, FRESH & SO HEALTHY...NO PRESERVATIVES!

For the Guacamole:
Find Haas avocado's that are greenish brown and just soft to the touch. If they're really hard and green they're not ready and you better come up with plan B (or abandon cart and move on the the next store). If they feel extremely soft, they're over ripe and no good as when you cut into them they'll be laced with dark brown/black spots that are not appealing.

Depending on the or (in our case now) two is good. Carefully slice them around length wise until you have separated the two sides. Stick the heel of your knife into the large seed and gently pull the seed away. Now dig the avocado out with a spoon into a bowl. Mash ever so slightly with a fork (depending on your desired consistency...we like ours a bit chunky.) To our guacamole we add (and like I said no exact measurements here): a little bit of finely chopped onion, fresh diced and seeded tomato, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. (Add very finely diced and seeded jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes for heat.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Soy Vay Marinades

A huge fan of homemade marinades (especially due to cost and ingredient control), I was first introduced to the SOY VAY line of products when a close friend (a personal chef) slipped a bottle in my mailbox. Such a wonderful find amongst the sea of junk mail and bills...I ran to the store for skirt steak and was barely out of the parking lot before placing it in a Ziploc bag and dousing the SOY VAY on top! A few hours later we were dining on a perfectly seasoned, juicy, medium-rare sliced steak, along side a bowl of lightly fried ginger-scallion rice!

Perfect for when there's no time to make your own...any of the all natural, kosher, SOY VAY marinades sitting in your pantry or fridge, will be a welcome time saver you'll come to depend on time and time again! Until's been my best kept secret!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

San Marzano Canned Tomatoes

An accessory to even the drabbest of kitchen pantries, San Marzano canned tomatoes simply had to appear within the favorite products tab! Imported from the Naples region of Italy and highly tauted by chefs as the most beautifully fresh and lusciously rich tasting of all canned tomato products...a true Neapolitan Pizza is simply not one without them! To the delight of consumers today, San Marzano tomatoes are increasingly appearing on local supermarket shelves across the US and abroad!