Monday, June 25, 2012
Why I ever thought I could start a food blog is beyond me, but I did and I enjoyed it. I even got invited to join al.com/food. That invitation fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine for which I will be forever grateful.
My current volunteer position with the presidential campaign is all encompassing, and it will continue to be between now and November. In December, I shall rest. In January 2013, I hope to watch my candidate's inauguration (again).
I will forever appreciate your comments and support, both here and on al.com/food.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A small, but beautiful head of Green Butter Leaf Lettuce (also known as Boston Lettuce) arrived in my vegetable box last Friday from Freshfully online market so I went to "the Google" to seek a more imaginative recipe than a plain salad. Disco. I found an easy-to-prepare recipe with a bonus video, which I prepared in great haste.
Don't you love the feeling you get when a recipe tastes better than you could have imagined? The heat from the hot wing sauce balanced with the salty creaminess of the blue cheese and the slight sweetness of the lettuce, quick frankly, makes one forget their even eating vegetables. Bookmark this for football season. Fans can make their own and the calorie-watchers on your team will appreciate you even more.
Recipe and Video, Clean & Delicious with Dani Spies
Yield: 4 servings
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces (1lb)
¼ cup hot wing sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
Cayenne pepper, pinch or to taste
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
1 teaspoon olive oil (I used slightly more.)
Green butter lettuce leaves, center leaves for best cups
1 scallion, chopped (white and green)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan and add carrots and celery. Give it a pinch of salt and let it cook for four to five minutes. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper, and onion powder and, if using, the cayenne powder. Stir everything together and allow to cook for about three minutes (the chicken is small and will cook fast… do not let it over cook or else it will get tough!). Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the hot sauce and cook for another two minutes or until the sauce is hot and the chicken is cooked through. Shut the heat off, stir in the blue cheese and chopped scallions. Scoop into butter lettuce cups.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Who needs take-out when you have this easy recipe? I was literally driving to a local Chinese restaurant when I took a sharp left toward the grocery store instead. With a few vegetables, a couple of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (on sale!), and a recipe I watched on You Tube, I made my own stir fry. If I say say myself, it was really, really good.
My previous attempts at stir fry did not include a sauce. I suppose this is a personal preference, but I thought the flavor made all the difference. The sauce was closer to the take-out I have always enjoyed.
Raw vegetables, variety of your choice
I used: Red onion
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1. Chop vegetables to similar sizes, about 1". Mince garlic.
2. Mix chicken stock, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and corn starch. Put aside.
3. Heat canola oil over high heat. Add minced garlic and stir, about 1 minute.
4. Add chopped vegetables and continuously stir for about 5 minutes.
5. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with lid for 1 minute. Pour mixture over vegetables while stirring. Continue stirring as it thickens. Plate and enjoy!
In a separate pan, I skillet-fried 2 skinless, boneless small chicken thighs, sliced, and added to vegetables. You could also slice and cook the chicken with the vegetables and sauce.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
That said, the pinned food and recipes are mine, mine I say, all mine. The trick is preparing these recipes and not just admiring them on my computer screen. That is why it is called 'food porn', and that's all I have to say about that.
Maybe you'll find something you want to try, too. Here are a few of the recipes I pinned today:
Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Cajun Shrimp Bisque
Lemon Ice Box Pie
Strawberry-Amaretto Frozen Yogurt
Honeydew Caprese Salad
See my other pins here at Food Blogging
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Lately I've been busy so I've been eating out more and eating at home less. At least I've been busy in Birmingham where my choices are limitless and almost always a delightful experience. What is that I advise other people, though? Being busy is no excuse for a quick and healthy meal at home.
It was 1 p.m. before I realized I was hungry and had not eaten lunch (okay, I was on 'pinning' on Pinterest). It would have been easy to get take-out or even walk to any number of restaurants close by but I opted for this spaghetti recipe I had bookmarked. In the time it took the spaghetti to cook, I had the other ingredients sliced and ready to go.
While I am happy with plain ole spaghetti mixed with garlic-infused olive oil, this salty mixture of traditionally Greek ingredients led me to believe I was the best chef on the block. This will be even better when summer tomatoes are available. Now happy and full, I can go back to the hard work of pinning.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Feta
Recipe, Food & Wine
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used cherry tomatoes.)
1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons fresh-ground block pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.
Variations, provided by Food & Wine.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Mozzarella
Use 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, in place of the feta.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Feta and Fresh Herbs
Use 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 3 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon and chives, in place of the parsley.
Friday, March 30, 2012
When the quiche, a savory open-faced egg dish with a pastry crust, became trendy in American culture it sparked a funny backlash in the 1982 book, "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" by Bruce Feirstein. Lastly, eggs make up the frittata, a dish similar to a quiche but without the pastry crust.
The preparation of a frittata is always the same, no matter what ingredients you choose to add - meats, vegetables, potatoes, onions, cheese, tomatoes, and/or variety of vegetables. Frittatas may be served hot, warm, room temperature or cold, but they don't reheat very well.
Standard Frittata Ingredients:
2 to 10 large or extra-large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
The filling of your choice (leftovers are ideal to use here)
Pan size for a frittata:
2 eggs = 8-inch skillet
4-8 eggs = 10-inch skillet
10 eggs = 12-inch skillet
For a small frittata:
1. Beat eggs in bowl with a fork. Stir in the salt, pepper, milk, and the filling.
2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Drop a small amount of the egg mixture into the pan; if the egg sizzles then the pan is ready. Pour in the egg mixture, and gently swirl the pan around to distribute the egg mixture evenly in the pan. Lift the edges with a spatula so the liquid eggs can run underneath during the first few minutes, and cook. Once it has set, slip it out of the pan onto a plate. Note: If the top is still runnier than you prefer, you can place the pan under the broiler until it sets, but watch closely to prevent burning.
Notes for larger frittatas:
A larger frittata will need to be covered and cooked over a low heat for 5-10 minutes, depending on the number of eggs. Shake the pan gently every once in awhile. This will need to be finished under a broiler for 1-3 minutes, watching carefully. It should be slightly browned and puffed slightly. Cut into squares, wedges or smaller bite-sized diamonds.
My spin on the Greek Frittata recipe below was to wait and add the cherry tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese after the eggs, onion, and spinach were almost completely set and then put under the broiler for just under a minute. This enabled me enjoy the maximum from the Greek-inspired flavors, making this my favorite frittata dish to date.
Recipe, Meatless Monday / Domestic Divas
Yield: 4 servings
3 whole eggs and 3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Greek black olives without pits, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach (I clipped off the stems.)
2 tablespoons feta cheese, reduced-fat
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper (use salt sparingly, as the feta and olives are salty)
1. Set the oven to broil. Prepare your ingredients.
2. In a small 8-inch pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add spinach and wilt. Drop a small amount of egg mixture to the pan; if it begins to sizzle, it is ready. Pour in eggs. Gently swirl the pan for the egg mixture to begin to set. This will not take long. Top with the halved cherry tomatoes, placing them cut side up, and the olives. Sprinkle with feta and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the frittata begins to set.
3. If top remains runny, transfer the pan to the oven and cook under the broiler until the eggs are fully cooked until slightly brown, slightly puffed up, and no longer runny. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 pieces.
Safety advice: To reduce the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness, use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells. Avoid contact between the contents of the egg (yolk or white) and the shell. If in doubt, do not consume.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
What's your favorite comfort food? Mac and cheese, creamed potatoes, and chocolate, all of which I love too, are favorites I read about most often. As for me and especially after a long day, I love to curl up on the sofa with a plate of scrambled eggs. Whether I eat anything with them is inconsequential, as the eggs themselves are the stars.
It took me a long time to perfect my scrambled eggs simply because I did not take the time to prepare them as lovingly as they deserved. I have learned that time and lower heat make all the difference in yielding a moist and delectable dish. I'm certain my food science instructor told me that in class many years ago, so I will say to him now: it was not you, it was me.
Speaking of food science, here is Alton Brown's recipe for perfect scrambled eggs. I tend to follow this method personally but you may have your own preferred recipe or method. If so, feel free to share it in the comments section. Note: I usually have two to three eggs max, but the recipe below is given as written by Brown.
Recipe, Alton Brown
5 tablespoons milk
1 pat butter
Ground black pepper
Chives or parsley to garnish (optional)
In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs and milk with a fork. In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Stir a pinch of kosher salt into egg mixture then pour into pan, stirring slowly with a heat resistant rubber spatula. As soon as curds begin to form, increase heat to high and instead of stirring, use the spatula to fold the eggs over themselves while gently shaking the pain with your other hand. As soon as no more liquid is running around the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat and serve. Season with fresh black pepper and garnish with fresh chives or parsley. Remember: if they look done in the pan, they'll be over-done on the plate.
Questions or concerns about cholesterol? Learn the facts here from the American Heart Association.