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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Sweet and Sour and Hot Chicken Sandwiches

In Sandwiches on July 30, 2010 at 12:57 am

Delightful, yet shoddily photographed

Hey, I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya. I am still recovering from Monday night. I got to see Sir Paul McCartney play a 35-song-set. It was loaded with Wings and Beatles songs. I clapped my already wrecked hands blue. It was awesome. Tonight is the first I’ve felt like cooking. I have been getting take-out and now I feel a bit sickened and bloated. So tonight I am going to make one of my FAVORITE sandwiches. Inspired by a sliders recipe by Rachel Ray. Again. I know, it ain’t hip to dig RR. She’s probably a republican and she and I probably would not hang out. Still, the bitch can cook. Her version uses chicken thighs, which is quite wonderful, and I don’t enjoy dark meat. From chickens. I adapted this one by swapping out the thighs and upping the heat factor. Otherwise this is all her. The slaw part really just hits you in the right places. It is highly regarded by others as well as myself that the cucumber ties the sandwich together. I think Rachel is a genius. Try these and you’ll agree. I swear. I am so gay for Rachel Ray. Fifties gay. Not Noah’s Arc gay. I’m rambling now. Go eat!

Recipe:

4 chicken breasts cut through in half so they are thin.
4 French Rolls

Sauce:

1/2 Cup Sriracha
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar
1 TBS garlic paste
1/2 TBS ginger paste (or 1 inch fresh)
3 TBS Toasted sesame oil
1/4 Cup Rice Wine vinegar
1/4 Cup Soy sauce

Blend the ingredients in a blender or use a hand blender.

Slaw: I bust out the mandolin for this one.

Napa cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup of pickled ginger, thinly sliced
A couple or three jalapeno peppers, very thinly sliced
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
1/4 cup agave nectar

Sandwich Toppings:

Sesame seeds
Scallions
Sliced Cucumber

In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, sugar and hotsauce in on medium-high until it simmers. Pour over the shredded veggies and toss. Put this in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to gather mojo.

Heat grill to medium high. Grill chicken on one side for a few minutes or until it gets grill marks. Baste with sauce. Flip, repeat until sauce is gone and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve the chicken with sesame seeds, topped with slaw, garnished with the scallions. I put the cucumbers on the bottom part of the roll to keep it from getting soggy. I don’t usually serve them with anything. Because in all likelihood you will eat two.

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My Favorite Soup

In Soups on July 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm

My Favorite Soup

Indescribable goodness

I am an unashamed fan of Rachel Ray’s food. Her recipes are easy and oh-so-yummy. I must admit I usually just use her recipes as a jumping off point because they usually aren’t seasoned enough for my taste. (Personally I think she eases off for the general public. I don’t.) Before The View (what can I say? I LOVE Whoopi!) and after two hours of GMA I skip over to CBS to watch RR. It started off as a way to avoid Kelly Rippa and turned into a daily ritual. I often determine what’s for dinner by what Rachel is preparing on her show. She, like me, loves burgers and sandwiches.

This soup is a perfect example of how I use Rachel Ray’s recipes as a jumping off point. I saw her making Ribollita, a Tuscan soup made with stale bread, and thought to myself “wow” and “yum”. The bread part of her recipe just didn’t sound all that great to me so I didn’t do it. The following recipe is very similar to what RR does plus a bit more oomph and less bread. Although I recommend serving this with nice crusty bread.

Ingredients

1/4 cup of olive oil
4-5 slices Pancetta or thick-cut bacon chopped
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3-4 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
6-8 Fresh basil leaves, shredded
Salt and pepper
3-4 sprigs rosemary, (pull the leaves off with one fell swoop by pulling the sprigs against the leaves with your fingers)
7-8 leaves sage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 14.5 oz cans of petite-diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
2 cans cannellini beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed
A few grates of nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to put on top
Optional: Ditalini pasta or some small pasta

Process

Heat your biggest stock-pot to medium or medium-high. Brown the panchetta for a couple of minutes then add the veggies EXCEPT tomatoes, beans and kale. Cook until they begin to get translucent then add the herbs and spices. Cook the veggies and herbs for about five more minutes. At this point it will smell wonderful. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. Now add the stock, tomatoes, beans and the rind of parmesean. This is really essential. It gives the soup a wonderful nutty taste. Cook for an hour on low. Add the kale and put a tight-fitting lid and cook about three or four minutes until the kale is cooked. Kale is super hearty and won’t lose it’s shape or texture even for leftovers. I serve the soup with a metric ton of shredded parm. I shred it myself. I do not recommend the powder. Unless you are a skier or your name is Tom Sizemore. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favorites of all-time.

Enjoy and happy eating!

Red Beans and Rice

In Main Dishes on July 26, 2010 at 12:59 am

Way soupier than traditional red beans and rice

Son of a gun, we gonna have big fun on the bayou! Nope, not Jambalaya, sorry kids. This recipe has nearly everything jambalaya has except tomatoes. I just wasn’t in the mood, man. I am always in the mood for beans and some sort of cured meat boiled together with aromatics and spices. My little brother really digs on my black-eye peas and andouille sausage. It is pretty damn good. So good, in fact, I made two gallons of it back in January. Mmmm…black-eye peas. I’m off on a bean tangent. I do love them. They aren’t a musical fruit for me, THANKFULLY! If they are for you–bummer.

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

1 Lb dry red beans soaked over-night and sorted (canned use 2 cans drained)
1 onion, chopped
3 Stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 Jalapeños, chopped (omit if you don’t like the heat)
2-3 Tbs Creole seasoning
2 Bay leaves
1/2 Tsp dried thyme
Box of chicken stock
Pinch or three cayenne
4 slices of thick bacon, chopped
One package of your favorite cajun sausage in slices
Rice

Process

In a large soup-pot cook the bacon until it is almost cooked through, then add veggies. When the veggies get cooked nearly clear throw in the bay leaves and the rest of the seasonings. Cook another three minutes or so and add the sausage. Cook about three more minutes and add the stock and the drained beans. Cook for about two hours. As I type this mine are STILL cooking two hours later. You want tender beans so cook them until they feel right. If you start to run out of liquid add some water or more stock.

Serve over cooked rice!

Enjoy and happy eating!

Gyro Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

In Burgers on July 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Greek Gyro Burger that will satisfy your 'Gyro Tooth'

When I was fifteen I got my first job in the now defunct Summit Place mall in Pontiac, Michigan. Kirby’s Koney Island is one of many hot-dog chains in the Flint/Detroit area with a Greek twist. Where else can you get a coney dog, gyros (pronounced Yeer-dos) and omlettes in one location? Detroit, that’s where.

In the South finding a decent gyro is a lesson in patience and futility. You really can’t get one without loads of grease and salt. They pretty much all suck. There are a couple that I like okay. The best one is probably House of Kebab on Thompson Lane. They have an amazing shirazi salad too. It is a mix of cucumber, tomato, fresh parsley and a lemon juice and olive oil. Divine with fresh pita and feta cheese.

I was inspired by my quest for the ultimate gyro to give it a go myself. While I don’t have one of those big rotating meat spinners I do have a decent butcher that carries locally raised, grass-fed lamb. Does it make you sad to eat a sweet, innocent cute animal? Me too. Know this: a lamb is a sheep less than a year old. It doesn’t look like a baby it looks like a sheep. Does that help at all? If not feel free to use beef in place or if you’re feeling fancy go for buffalo. It won’t taste exactly the same but it will still be great.

One more thing. Get your grass-fed beef or lamb from the butcher. Whole Foods has a good one. It is the one I use. I made what should have been a kick-ass taco salad just last night and used a pre-packaged organic grass-fed package of beef. Yuck. It was tough, stringy and tasteless. This is NOT SO when you get it fresh. It is beyond delicious. I digress. Here are the recipes for both the burger and Tzatziki Sauce. You know, that creamy cucumber sauce that really makes a gyro. Enjoy!

Tzatziki Sauce (Make this as early as possible. It’s better when it mellows out)

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Cucumber deseeded and grated
2 TBS Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic smashed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the shredded cucumber in a strainer and sprinkle the kosher salt over it. Let it rest for about 45 minutes suspended over a bowl. This will get much of the water out of the cucumber so it doesn’t make the sauce watery. After it drains rinse the cucumber and squeeze out the excess water. Mix the cucumber with the rest of the ingredients and put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Gyro Burgers

Serves 4 Adults

1 1/2 Lbs ground lamb
2 Tbs Greek Seasoning (I use Cavender’s)
Feta Cheese
Boston Bibb or Red Leaf lettuce
Tomato, sliced
Red onion sliced thin. You should be able to see through it!
Fresh Mint leaves
Buns or mini pita bread

Process

Place the meat in a big bowl and season the hell out of it. I said two tablespoons but to be honest I just dump it in until it looks good. Crack some pepper in it and pull up your sleeves. Mix the seasoning into the meat until mixed but don’t over-do it because it will be unappetizing and chew like a hockey-puck. Once the meat is mixed with the seasoning make like Rachel Ray and pre-divide the meat into four with the side of your hand. This works! Then you have four even-sized burgers.

Heat a grill or grill-pan to medium-high and cook the burgers about four minutes each side until they are done to your preference.

Serve on the toasted bread and top with the Tzatziki Sauce, feta, mint, lettuce and tomato. I also made tabouli. It was great. Maybe you want the recipe for that too…I used this one except I used whole wheat cous cous because I couldn’t find the cracked wheat at Publix.

Happy eating!

Grilled Cheese

In Sandwiches on July 25, 2010 at 3:52 am

Saturday night I made a grand attempt at taco salad and it fizzled. Around ten that night I decided I was going to make grilled cheese. You know you are a foody when you are “out of cheese” when you only have two varieties. I used four cheeses in this particular sandwich. Three on the inside and one to crusty-crust it.

Artisan G4 cheese panini

So good. At ten p.m.

You will need:
artisan italian bread. Go to Publix bakery as it is excellent
4 different cheese I used:
Pepper Jack
Meunster
Provolone
Pecorino shreaded
2 TBS 0f Soft but holding it’s shape butter

Heat your small skillet to medium high

blend the Pecorino and butter; spread on the bread. If you butter both sides flip all sides before cheese is added.

Once all the bread and the cheese butter are nearing crisp-done add the cheeses, in any order.
Close the bread together to form the sandwich. Turn on low and heat until melty or bubbly.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

In Dessert on July 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Deliciousness

Last Sunday my good friend Val brought me a huge amount of fresh blueberries. I had just returned from a road trip and really wasn’t feeling up to doing more than chilling with my dogs on the couch with a nice bowl. Of ice-cream.

All week I added handfulls of blueberries to my yogurt, pancakes and waffles for breakfast. It never put a dent in the supply. So Friday I tossed back a couple of Percs (for the hands) and got to work.

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 pkg cream cheese room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I make my own)
1 box of instant pudding lemon or vanilla flavor
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Cups of fresh blueberries

Mix dry ingredients in your mixer bowl; make a well in the center and add the eggs, oil, cream cheese and lemon juice.
Beat for four minutes then add the blueberries. Mix well.

Heat oven at 350*
Plop the batter into a greased bundt pan OR make muffins. Either would be amazing! Bake the CAKE for about an hour…just watch it. A toothpick test works well…just make sure the CAKE doesn’t stick. I didn’t make muffins but those take about 12-15 minutes. The blueberries will stick, always, until they are jerky so keep an eye on it. Dry cake sucks.

Pan-Seared Swordfish with Browned Butter Balsamic Glaze

In Fish on July 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I need to learn to shoot food...

I made this dish in March 2010 when the boyfriend was working a suck-shift *1 pm-9pm* and I was eating alone. Something I hate. I went to Whole Foods in search of something I have never prepared. I found wild caught swordfish. I quite like swordfish because it almost has the texture of beef steak and tastes like, well, fish. It goes well with a strong glaze or seasoning.

Another new-to-me item was broccolini. Often used in Asian stir-fry broccolini is like a combination of asparagus and, uh, you guessed it: broccoli. I soon discovered I l-o-v-e it! It is very simple to prepare and I will include it in the recipe portion of this post. I didn’t add it to the title because it wouldn’t fit! I served acorn squash (to myself) to square up the meal.

Recipes:

Serves 4 Adults well

Ingredients:

4 Swordfish Steaks
1/2 Stick of butter
2 TBS Honey
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
3 TBS Balsamic Vinegar (get the good stuff, SO worth it)
Salt
Olive oil for brushing the steaks
Pepper

2 Bunches Broccolini
Olive oil for sautéing

2 Acorn Squash

Heat oven to 375*
Cut squash, scrape out seeds and gunk and add a pat of butter to the centers. Salt and pepper the cut sides and add a bit of brown sugar if that sounds good to you. Bake about an hour or until squash is soft.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a small sauce pan melt the butter on medium to medium-high and bring to a boil. WATCH it CAREFULLY and boil until butter begins to turn brown and add the balsamic, mustard and honey. Whisk sauce together and turn heat to low.

By now your grill should be hot. Add the oiled, seasoned steaks and cook about 4 minutes each side or until cooked to your preference.

For the broccolini: Sautée in olive oil and a bit of butter for about five minutes or until cooked crisp. Season with salt and pepper. Yummy.

To serve I add about a 1/4 cup of sauce to the plate and put the steak on top. This benefits the broccolini as well because, trust me, this sauce is mind blowing. So simple and so tasty.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I made it for my dad’s birthday and he really enjoyed it as well.

Happy cooking!

~DMS

Orange Chicken

In Asian Cuisine on July 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Orange chicken cooking up before it goes to the party

I wanted Asian food in a bad way the other day. I didn’t really feel up to wasting $30 on grease and questionable meat in an MSG laden sauce. I have never attempted such a specific Asian dish. When I make stir-fry I usually head to Whole (paycheck) Foods and look around at the veggies and go from there. 

I searched the internet and my library of cookbooks for some inspiration. I knew I wanted three things: chicken, orange and heat. I read about ten recipes and not ONE included a vegetable save garlic and green onions. I did notice a pattern in the ingredients and that was dry sherry and orange juice. The fennel, I believe, enhanced those flavors. I threw in broccoli because I frankly needed something green that wouldn’t send me to the county jail.

The whole thing is quite messy although not as time consuming as most Asian recipes. Here is what you need:

Serves Four Adults Well

12 chicken cutlets cut into bite sized-cubes
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice divided (you don’t HAVE to use fresh)
Bunch of scallions sliced
1-4 Dried chili peppers
Bulb of fennel (cored and thinly sliced)
2 Jalepeno peppers
1 TBS Dried orange peel (TrueOrange is EXCELLENT near the Sweet N Low at the grocery)
1/4 C Dry Sherry Wine
2 TBS Grand Marnier
1/2 Cup Cornstarch (for dusting)
2 TBS Sesame oil
1/4 Cup Dark Soy Sauce
1-2 Cloves garlic grated
1 Inch of fresh ginger root grated
1 Head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
3 TBS Sarachi Sauce (Rooster Sauce)
Sesame seeds I like a lot so feel free to go nuts here
Oil for frying
Wok

Process:

Marinate the chicken in orange juice, sherry and garlic for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating cut up the veggies and mix up your sauce. Heat the oil in the wok. Start stir-frying the aromatics; ginger, garlic, fennel and scallions for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to get tender. Add the broccoli and stir-fry until bright green. Put the veggies in a big bowl and cover with plastic. This will continue to cook the broccoli while you cook the chicken.

Start in batches by taking 1/3 of the chicken and dusting it in cornstarch. Shake it off as much as possible or you will get little burned bits in your wok. You can move the chicken up the side when it gets cooked and continue to add the rest of the chicken until it is all cooked.

Add the veggies back to the wok with the chicken. Pour the sauce over and stir. Allow to simmer in the sauce for about four minutes until thick. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve over rice!

Hello Foodies!

In Dessert on July 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Easy and delicious

Fresh blueberries and lemons with a fresh lemon glaze

In a grand attempt at making a mark in the Universe I am starting a blog about food. I enjoy many different styles and types of food. I rarely bake as I am disabled (yes) and my hands just won’t allow much in the way of kneading and rolling. One may notice I like spice, rather, HEAT in my food. I don’t doubt the omission of this element will make much difference in the flavor. So all of you “Super Tasters” out there feel free to leave it out. I am not excited about the actual “log” part of this blog so bear with me. Grammar Nazis please go easy. College was a long time ago. I will do what I do best and that’s throwing down on the stove.