Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Mexico Pork Chili- Carne Adovada



I've never been to New Mexico, but I certainly plan to. When I received my newest Issue of Cook's Country (March 2009) I saw this recipe and I was intrigued by the ingredients. I'm half Mexican, so Chipotle in Adobo sauce is a staple in my pantry. There are two other secret ingredients, which I'll let the article in Cook's Illustrated explain.

One of my personal achievements, in learning how to improve my cooking techniques, was to learn the art of searing meat. For this recipe, I used my trusty cast iron Dutch Oven. It take close to 30 minutes to sear the pork into beautiful crusty brown bits of meat. I was left with a nice fond to cook my onions and to "bloom" the spices, so there was a lot of flavor.
In the meantime, the prep for the sauce came together pretty fast. I love my immersion blender. Pureeing food in a blender is messy work, in my opinion. I was able to puree the sauce, right in my Dutch Oven in a manner of minutes. If you won't own one, I can't rave enough about what a useful cooking tool that they are. I added the seared pork back into the pureed sauce.



At the last minute, I decided to put the stew into my slow cooker, rather than braising the meat in the oven. I needed to leave the house, and I don't think it's smart to leave my oven on if I'm not home.

When I returned home, five hours later, the house smelled "smokey"-- not as in "fire" but as in flavor! I had to skim off some fat, but there wasn't a lot of it. Cook's Country showed a photo of the recipe where the sauce looked really thick. I had a beautiful rich sauce, so I decided to serve this over brown rice. Fortunately, I keep Trader Joe's frozen organic cooked brown rice! Rather than adding the fresh cilantro into the sauce, I garnished it on top of the stew.

I made a frisee salad with a light citrus sauce and some warm flour tortillas. My husband and I were very happy with the flavor of this recipe. On a scale of "ten" being Fire Engine Spicey Hot, this recipe rated about a "six" on our scale. If you can't handle too much spice, I would decrease the amount of chipotel to 1/2 Tablespoon. If you love heat, then go for it! I used 1 Tablespoon, just like the recipe called for.

The pork was so juicy and tender!


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chinese Fakeout: Cashew Chicken

Oh my goodness, this is one of my earliest blog posts. No wonder there are "zero" comments-- I removed my original photos, because they were just terrible!  

I remade this recipe, and revised it a bit, and I'm working on a new blog post.  If you stumble across this one, please trust me when I say this is super fast to make, and really good! I think kids will even like it.


Still, this recipe was unanimously given four out of five stars by everyone. Just so you know-- five stars isn't given out very easily. I cook for a tough audience, but they are worth the effort.




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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sweet & Savory Spinach Salad


Disclaimer: This is one of my earliest photos, years before I gained more practice and experience with photographer.  I will admit, that this isn't the prettiest shot. I'll re-shoot this, when I make the salad again. I'm long overdue to do so, so please don't be deterred by the lackluster appearance!

For Christmas Eve Dinner, I made Beef Tenderloin with Bearnaise Sauce, Roasted Asparagus, Scalloped Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin and Pumpkin Brulee. I wanted to serve a salad, so I decided on Organic Baby Spinach. At first, I thought of making a wilted spinach salad... then, I remember a recipe that a friend of ours (Lynne) gave to me about a year ago. It was delicious!

I'm one of those cooks who is almost fanatical (if you ask my family, they'd say I'm bordering "obnoxious) about making the whole meal come together at the same time-- this can make me look liked a crazed woman. I guess I learned this from my German mother, who ingrained into me that I should strive to serve my food hot (yes, I heat my dinner plates), efficiently and on time.

I'm telling you this, because I did not photograph most of our Christmas Eve Dinner. The spinach salad was a huge hit (thanks, Lynn) and I realized that I wanted to post a photo. So, today, I made another spinach salad for lunch. I had leftover Baby Spinach in a bag, so I cooked more eggs and bacon. I used my microwave to bring the dressing to room temperature (personally, I think it tastes best that way). It was as delicious as the night before! This time, I snapped a quick photo of the salad-- nothing spectacular, but at least I got practice my food photography skills... that is, until my husband saw me with the camera and rolled his eyes. LOL!

The printable recipe is at the end of this post.







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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Golden Corral Rolls - Well, sort of...


I have a confession to make-- yesterday, I have no idea if this recipe is an accurate "Copy Cat". All I know is the photograph showed perfectly shaped and golden delicious rolls. I'm still learning how to shape bread rolls, so we shall see if mine look as perfect as hers. As I type, the rolls are baking in the oven.



Drum roll, please! These rolls are fantastic, even though I tweaked a couple of things. I had an added bonus, that I can't wait to tell my brother about. As a Christmas gift, he gave me a bottle of Savannah Bee Organic Honey (he found at Williams-Sonoma). I had to take a photo of the roll that I slathered in butter and drizzled with honey. My eyes are still rolling in the back of my head. This recipe is going into my Hall of Fame Recipe Binder. Love it!



Note: Not until my rolls were baking, did I find a great article from Fine Cooking on how to shape perfect bread rolls. I thought I'd share the link with y'all.


Here's the recipe:






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Beef Tenderloin-- Simple, elegant and what a treat!



It's Christmas morning. It's raining, a fire is crackling and I'm enjoying the aftermath of a lovely Christmas Eve dinner. All of my life, Christmas Eve has been celebrated "Bavarian Style" with all the traditional German cold cuts, sausages salads and side dishes. When my mother passed away in 2003, I wanted to start a new tradition by creating an annual Oktoberfest for our German heritage. That opened a window of opportunity for me to indulge in a new menu. Last year, it was prime rib. This year, I wanted to make beef tenderloin--with a bernaise sauce, potatoes au gratin, roasted asparagus and a spinach salad with bacon and a sweet dressing. I knew that I was putting my recent 20 pound weight loss at risk-- but it's Christmas!

The recipe that I settled on making was found in Cook's Illustrated. I paid $18.99 a pound at my local butcher shop for a beautiful cut of beef tenderloin. I did use a mixture of peppercorns and crushed them with a mortar and pestle, and kosher salt, and I'm glad that I did. I wrapped the tenderloin in plastic wrap for several hours and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. The searing of the tenderloin, gave a beautifully seasoned crust to the meat. Our family doesn't like meat to be blood rare (125F), but closer to a medium rare so I cooked it to abou 130F and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. The very end cuts were medium well (which my husband likes) and the center cut was a perfect medium rare.


It's important to let the tenderloin sit at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour before roasting.I had to improvise, as this piece of tenderloin was too large for a 12-inch skillet. So, I used a cast iron griddle, which worked out really well! I heated some oil,  until smoking and then browned the tenderloin on all sides--about 10 minutes. I transferred the tenderloin, on a roasting pan, to the oven-- then roasting the tenderloin until the center registered125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping it over halfway through the roasting time.


NOTE:  These photos were taken in my very early years of learning how to photograph food.  I've since learned that flash photography isn't idea, and I have since discovered a macro lens-- hence, these aren't my best work, but hopefully you get the idea!


My brother made the bearnaise sauce,  and he still makes the BEST hollandaise sauce on the planet. I did fine a recipe online, though.

Beef tenderloin is an expensive cut of meat, but it's so worth the price. I tallied that the quality of meal I served would have, easily, cost $75.00-$100 per person. The entire meal cost about $100.00 to make. I'll post the remainder of the recipes, later on. Right now, I'm headed to the kitchen to make oatmeal and some fresh squeezed orange juice. I'm sure that my cholesterol count when through the roof, last night. But, sometimes, you just need to indulge and enjoy. Christmas Eve with my family enjoying a fabulous meal is well worth it. The gym is open tomorrow!


 

I doubt I'll win any "food styling" awards for this photo. Asking my family to wait for me to photograph each dish wasn't possible. We were hungry and ready!


Technique (from Cook's Illustrated):

Preparing the Simple Beef Tenderloin

Removing the Silver Skin: Slip a knife under the silver skin, angle it slightly upward, and use a gentle back and forth motion to remove the silver skin. Discard the skin.

How to Tie a Roast: Wrap a piece of butcher's twine around the roast and fasten with a double knot. Snip off the excess and repeat down the length of the roast, spacing each tie about 1 1/2 inches apart. The knots should be snug but not tight.

Simple & Perfect Beef Tenderloin (Cook's Illustrated)

I made this dinner for Christmas Eve. Cook's Illustrated ...

See Simple & Perfect Beef Tenderloin (Cook's Illustrated) on Key Ingredient.





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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Comfort Food: Shrimp Fried Rice

NOTE: This is an awful picture, I admit it. This is the beginning of my food blogging journey. My photos have come a long way.  Don't let the underexposed photo deter you from trying this recipe. It really is a good one! Someday, I will re-shoot the photo. I really need to.

For some reason, I've been on an Asian kick. It's a phase, that should turn into a craving for Italian or Mexican food. But, for now, I'm focusing on Thai and other Asian food. I made rice just two days ago. I wanted to think of a way to use leftover rice. I love rice pudding, but that's one of the few things my husband doesn't like-- so that wasn't an option.

Today, I'm home trying to get better. I have bronchitis, and I can't talk beyond a very hoarse (and sometimes squeaky) whisper. I wanted something quick for dinner-- fried rice! The only time I've made this was with the assistance of a packet mix. There once was a time when I relied on packaged mixes, but that has changed. I'm always on a quest to learn how to make things from scratch. So, I googled "how to make fried rice". Since I was home, sick (and bored), I watched a few videos. There are a lot of variations and techniques, so I decided to try my own version based on what sounded good. One thing I know, for certain, is to NOT use freshly cooked rice. There's too much moisture in it, and you'll end up with mush. Trust me. I also read that it's best to cook a lot of the ingredients, separately, to distinguish the flavors. One recipe used garlic and ginger, which I usually keep on hand. So, I went to my pantry and got started. Dinner was ready in less than 15 minutes.

I bought a wok years ago-- a non-stick version by Circulon. So far, it's worked great. Maybe, someday, I'll buy an authentic steel wok, but I didn't measure, so I'm going to give "approximate measures". It was a fast and delicious meal. It's all gone, too.

Ingredients:
Sesame Oil (I used toasted sesame oil from Trader Joe's)
Vegetable oil (for the wok)
4 cups of cooked rice (I used Jasmine rice, 2 days old)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp fresh minced garlic (optional)
1 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp. Fish sauce
Dash low-sodium soy sauce (optional)
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp (you can use anything-- pork, chicken, beef, tofu)
2-3 Scallions, diced on the bias
Frozen peas, thawed (about 1/2- 1 cup)
Shredded carrots (about 1/2 cup)
2 eggs, beaten

You want to heat the wok at hot as you can get it and have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. You also want to break up any clumps in the rice with your hands.
Using about 2 tsp of sesame oil, cook the meat for 1-2 minutes. Empty onto a plate and set aside. Add some vegetable oil (I don't want to overdo the sesame oil) and add vegetables, garlicr. Stir and cook for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove and set aside and wipe the wok.
Add a little more oil (about 1 tsp) and cook the eggs until just cooked but not dry.
Add the rice and stir for about a minute.
Add the oyster sauce*, fish sauce** and soy (if desired)
Return shrimp and vegetables to the rice.
Add the thawed peas.
Stir and serve. Yields about 4 servings.

Oyster Sauce and fish sauce horrify a lot of people (as it did me, in the beginning). I can assure you that these ingredients give so much authentic and good flavor in Asian cooking. Please, try it! If you can't handle the thought of either ingredient (and you'll miss out) then use soy sauce all by itself.



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Monday, December 15, 2008

Pumpkin Brulee


 DISCLAIMER: (October 2010)  This recipe and post is one of my very first. I need to retake photos for this dessert. I have improved in my photographer. First and foremost, I've learned that flash photography does not do a food photo justice. I've also learned the art of using my macro feature.  Trust me, though. This is a great recipe and I will make it again and repost.


I had some leftover pumpkin puree and so I searched for a recipe for "Pumpkin Brulee". I found a food and video blog, "Food Wishes" on how to make it. I watched it, and I was surprised at how simple it is to make a brulee. There was a restaurant in Pacific Grove, "The Old Bath House" that closed in 2006. How is miss that place-- with it's beautiful view of Lover's Point! I remember how much I enjoyed their creme brulee, but I had never ventured to make it myself. What took me so long to make my first brulee? In five minutes, I had mixed the heavy creme, puree, spices, brown sugar and egg yolks. It's that easy!

 Good gosh, this is an awful photo. I'm re-doing it! soon!

I had never worked with a torch, before. I've debated buying one, but I couldn't quite follow through. My husband has a blow torch that he uses for his handyman projects. With a little trepidation, I had him start up the torch... (our dinner guests were baffled at what we were up to). I started to caramelize the fine sugar. I was like a kid! It was so easy! The recipe is worthy for any occasion. It's easy and our dinner guests were very impressed. My husband, graciously, took photos of my Pumpkin Brulee dessert...then he finished every last bite.

 Look closely, and you can see how beautifully the sugar caramelized. His blow torch is a little "overkill", but it got the job done!

Here's a printable recipe card:



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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pioneer Woman and Onion Strings


NOTE:  Almost three years later, I can see how far my food photography has come.  No wonder I have zero comments! This shot was done with a flash, and it's not my best work.  I now shoot in natural light with a macro lens. I really need to re-shoot this recipe, as it's good.

Pioneer Woman Cooks = One of my favorite food blogs because of her photos and recipes. She's a woman after my heart-- she cooks with butter, has a great sense of humor and she's a fantastic photographer. I aspire to photograph (and learn Photoshop) to her level. I warn you, her food blog is addicting. Her recipes aren't "fancy schmancy", but they are the kind of dishes I'd like to serve to my wonderful husband. I really appreciate how she takes step-by-step photos. Even the most timid of cooks can follow her directions.

Craig loves onion rings, so this is what I'm making-- for a "manly dinner". It's "Date Night" at home (I cook, he cleans and we watch a DVD). I'm making NY Strip Steak, onion rings and grilled zucchini. I'll have to scrounge around for inspiration on an herb butter to go on that steak...yeah, that's it! I wish that I could say that I took the photos, but it's all but I didn't. It's from her blog.

My review of this recipe:
Grab your lipitor and hide your bathroom scale. This recipe puts Outback Steakhouse "Bloomin' Onion" to shame. My husband loved them (and so did I). I can already hear my BFF howling with laughter... I decided to post a photo me, wearing my "kitchen gadget" that I use when I work with onion. #1 - I love my mandolin. It's how I sliced these onions in seconds, to be really thin. "What's with the swim goggles?" you ask (between snorts of laughter). Go ahead...laugh all you want. At least I don't cry when I work with onion! It works like a charm.

Craig's Date night dinner included a NY Strip Steak with herb butter, grilled zucchini, Onion Straws and garlic bread. For the rest of the week, it'll be much lighter fare. Or, I'll have to buy new spandex jeans to wear! He's worth it.



To view her version of the recipe, with instructions, click here: (Go to The Pioneer Woman Cooks)


PW’s Onion Straws

1 large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 scant tablespoon salt
Lots of black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Canola Oil
Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk for at least one hour.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tab to shake off excess, and PLUNGE into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown.
Repeat until onions are gone.
Eat before your family sees them.
Repeat with another onion, because they’ll be really mad they didn’t get any.

* Beside a delicious rib-eye steak
* Next to thick, juicy hamburgers
* On top of creamy mashed potatoes
* With a spicy southwest dipping sauce
Lotsa Love,
Pioneer Woman



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Salted NY Strip Steak and Herb butter

 
 This is very early photography work-- before I learned about lighting. Please forgive the lack of quality of this phot0, which doesn't do justice to how delicious these steaks were!

I have heard of "salting" steaks as a way to make them juicy and flavorful. Today, I stumbled across a food blog "Steamy Kitchen". She has some pretty cool slide shows where she explains how/why salt makes steak as tender as cutting into butter. It's controversial, I will warn you. If you are on blood pressure meds, and need to be on a restricted low-sodium diet, then don't try this.

There are two very important points, if you decide to try this (which I did):

#1, do NOT use table salt! Use only kosher salt.
#2, Rinse the salt off before grilling. If you fail at both of these, you will feel like you're eating a salt block and you'll hate me for sharing this recipe (actually, it's more of a technique).

I have taken the liberty of copying Jaden's material (below) from her website:

Grilled Steak Recipe with Garlic-Herb Butter

Steak Recipe Step 1: Buy a hunk of steak. I like mine 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick. Any cut of meat: Filet, Sirloin, Rib Eye, Porterhouse, T-Bone and NY Strip – they all work. You can do this with steaks less than 1″, just really watch your timing. If your steak is already superbly marbled – cut back on your timing! The fattier (more marbled) the meat is, the faster the salt works its way through the meat.
Steak Recipe Step 2: About 1/2 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher/sea salt per side. Let it sit at room temperature during salting. You’ll begin to see water on the surface of the meat and on your plate. Don’t use anything other than kosher or sea salt, ok?
Here are guidelines….start with this and adjust salt + timing as you experiment.
MEAT SALT/SIDE TIME
Less than 1″ 1/2 tsp each side 15 min
1″ thick cut – smallish girly-girl steak, about 4″ across 1/2 tsp each side 30 min
1.25″ -1.5″ (NY Strip, Ribeye) standard thicker steaks can sit longer to let the salt do its work throughout meat 3/4 – 1 tsp each side 45 min
1.25″ – 1.5″ manly-man T-Bone, Porterhouse – more surface area means you use more salt 1-2 tsp each side 45 min
>1.5″ Massive ginormous “Barney Rubble” porterhouse – our fav. I get the strip side, husband gets the filet side 1-2 tsp each side 1 hr or more
Step 3: Rinse all salt off, pat very dry <- that part is important. Season with fresh ground pepper (no more salt is needed). Grill to your liking. Hint: get yourself a grilling thermometer. Top with Garlic-Herb Butter immediately to let it oooooze and aaaahhze all over the steak.

Back to my own material: I liked the way the steak turned out. Yes, you can definitely taste the salt...but I found it to be good.

I also made herb butter to serve on top of the steak. The rest of the butter is wrapped in wax paper and it's in a ziploc bag in my freezer. To complete the meal, I made Onion Straws, grilled zucchini and some garlic bread.

To make the herb butter I used:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
Minced fresh chives, fresh tarragon, fresh parsley
3 cloves of fresh garlic

Herb butter can easily be frozen. Cut a piece and toss into fresh steamed vegetables, or any kind of grilled meat. Delicious!

I'm sure glad that my husband gets "clean up" duty when I make an "all out" date night dinner! Indoor grilling and deep frying... mercy!


I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the grill marks. My only regret is that my husband didn't turn the plate so that you could see how perfectly the steak was cooked- medium rare.




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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Apples and Sage Cream Pan Sauce


NOTE: Five years of food blogging, later, my photography has come a long way! This photo isn't very pretty, but I can promise you that the recipe is delicious. I hope you try it.

Pork tenderloin is a staple in my fridge. I love it, because it's a lean cut of meat. Like chicken, it's so versatile and quick to work with. On busy week nights, I season it with herbs, salt and pepper and sear it till it has a beautiful golden crust. I put the entire skillet into my oven to roast it and I make a simple pan sauce. I love pan sauces, because they're so simple yet impressive to make.
For my birthday, this year, I took a class at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa-Sonoma area. Like a kid in a toy shop, I meandered through their cooking store. Talk about a fantastic birthday! Me, the gadget addict, found a silicone coated meat pounder. I figured it would be something I would use for just the type of recipe like this one. I love this gadget! I laid plastic wrap on top of each "chuck" of pork tenderloin. Whack! It was pounded beautifully thin. This was so much easier than using a heavy pan!

I discovered this quick dinner recipe on Cooks Illustrated. I've shared this recipe with a few friends, who say that they've made it more than once. As "fancy" as this dish looks, I can have it on the table in 30 minutes. Tonight, I served this with my "Cracked Fingerling Potatoes" and peas (yes, that's a few carbs but I was craving them and I like the pretty color on the plate).

Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Apples and Sage Cream Pan Sauce
Serves 3 .
To promote even cooking, cut your slices to a uniform thickness. If it helps, lay a ruler in front of the loin and slice at the one-inch marks. If you’ve got one, cover the pan with a splatter screen to prevent splattering.


Instructions

Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices.

Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil.

Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate.









Melt butter in pan in which pork was cooked over medium-high heat, swirling to distribute. Add apple and onion; sauté until apple starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add cider and applejack or brandy; boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spatula to loosen browned bits, until liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 1/2 minutes.

Increase heat to high; add stock or broth, sage, and any accumulated pork juices; boil until liquid reaches consistency of maple syrup, about 3 minutes. Add cream; boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.






Reduce heat to medium; return pork to pan, turning meat to coat. Simmer to heat pork thoroughly and blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pork to serving plate and spoon sauce over meat. Serve immediately.







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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thai Chicken Soup


This blog posting has been updated, and revamped. To view it, with step-by-step photos and a printable recipe, please click here:



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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thai Peanut Chicken Recipe




I've been craving Thai food, lately. I found this recipe for "Thai Peanut Chicken" on the food blog "Blog Chef". Being highly visual, the photo jumped out at me and screamed "make me"! (This photo was taken from "Blog Chef's" blog. Pretty, isn't it?

I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I got busy chopping and prepping. As a kid, I grew up with German food. My mother never made Asian recipes (except for some sort of chop suey recipe, as I recall not liking). What I've learned about Asian recipes, is that most of the time in the kitchen is prep work. The actual cooking of the food happens really fast! With this recipe, I'd say that total cooking time was 7-8 minutes. It was delicious! The next time that I make this, I'll add more red pepper flakes (I used that instead of cayenne pepper). I used 1/4 tsp, but I could have definitely handle twice that. I also think that I'd season the chicken with some salt...just a little. I'm a huge fan of water chestnuts. I know that's not authentic "Thai", but I just love them and I think it'll add a nice crunch to this recipe. Last, I love cilantro, so I'd definitely add that as a garnish.

The peanut sauce is easy and very good. Yep, this recipe is definitely worthy of an encore.

Thai Peanut Chicken Recipe

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
3 Tbs fresh garlic (minced)
1 1/2 Tbs fresh ginger (minced)
oil (for cooking)
3/4 cup green onions (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (sliced)
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
Sauce-
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs creamy peanut butter
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper** (or more to your taste)
1/4 cup water
Garnish (optional):
Cilantro

1 Step 1: to make the peanut sauce – In a bowl mix soy sauce, peanut butter. Add white wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Mix well and set aside.

2 Step 2: in large skillet heat oil. Add garlic, ginger and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside (about 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.

3 Step 3: Add a tiny bit more oil to the pan and stir fry red bell peppers and green onions for about 2 minutes or until they have reached desired tenderness. Remove from pan and set aside.
4 Step 4: Over medium heat add the peanut sauce mixture to the pan. Heat while stirring constantly. When sauce mixture starts to bubble add ¼ cup of water and mix well to thin it out a bit.

5 Step 5: In a large serving dish add chicken, green onions, red bell pepper, and roasted peanuts. Add sauce and mix well. Serve with white rice.

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes

(Click here for printable recipe)

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe



I got lost for a very long time on "The Blog Chef". This is a great website-- gorgeous photos, and lots of recipes that I have on my "must try" list. I bake cookies for the high school kids at my church ministry. They requested peanut butter cookies, so this is the recipe that I'll made for them. I did not know that my husband loves peanut butter cookies-- that's because I'm not a fan of them. He eagerly awaited to try them, and he was not disappointed.

These cookies are "the bomb", as my son explained. I baked them for 9 minutes and they are chewy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. My suggestion is to dip the fork in sugar, rather than flour (per his instructions). For a moment, I hesitated using Crisco butter-flavored shortening. But, let's get real-- cookies aren't health food! I ate four of them, so I'll have to work out a little extra tonight. The rest were portioned out to my son, my husband and to bring to my "kids" at church.

I did not take this photo, however. I want to give "Bobby" full credit for the recipe and photo:

Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

Posted By Bobby On June 24, 2008
Ingredients:
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup M&M’s (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Beat butter, shortening, and peanut butter until smooth. Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth.
Step 2: Add the eggs on at a time and then add vanilla extract until blended. Use your hands or a spoon and add the flour mixture to complete cookie dough.
Step 3: One at time scoop dough with a teaspoon (can use a tablespoon for larger cookies) and drop dough in 1” balls onto a cookie sheet. Place 2 inches apart. With a fork dipped in flour flatten cookies. Then flatten in the opposite direction (so they cross).
Step 4: Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11-12 for crispy.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Curried Pumpkin Soup




I have recently learned to appreciate Thai food. Sure, I've had chicken satay. Only in recent years, have I ventured into buying fish sauce and red curry paste. As a kid, I had an aversion to curry. Yesterday, I made a beautiful turkey stock, from our leftover Diestel Turkey. My stock yielded 12 cups. I froze a few and I remembered a recipe I had saved from "A Taste of Thai".

This soup was so easy to make! I think it took about 10 minutes to put together, including cleanup. My son, who swears that he hates coconut, ate two bowls of it. I added an extra wedge of fresh lime and some fresh cilantro. So good! If you're a little whimpy on spice, I'd reduce the red curry paste by about 1/2.

This one's a keeper!

Curried Pumpkin Soup
Yield
5 1/2 cups

Time
20 minutes

Thai cooks use pumpkin in many sweet and savory dishes. We used the convenience of canned pumpkin to make this deliciously spicy soup in 20 minutes. It's full of goodness and easily doubled!

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon Red Curry Paste
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-14 1/2 oz can chicken* broth
1-13 1/2 oz can Coconut Milk
1-15 oz can packed pumpkin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Optional: Chopped cilantro or roasted, shelled pumpkin seeds

*Chicken broth can be substituted with turkey broth.
DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir-fry 2-3 minutes.
2. Add Curry Paste and Fish Sauce to onions. Stirring, cook until curry is dissolved. Add brown sugar and cook until onions are slightly caramelized. Pour 1/2 can of broth into pot and mix well.
3. Add remaining broth, Coconut Milk and pumpkin. Stirring, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in lime juice and serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or pumpkin seeds if desired.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

About Me


Hi!
My name is Debby, and I  live on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula of California.  I am married, and have a grown son.  I often refer to them as "my boys" or "my men".  They are my honest food critics, and very often my inspiration when I cook or bake. Like so many other bloggers, mine was originally started as a way to organize and share recipes with friends.

Over the last couple of years, my blog has evolved into a format of sharing step-by-step photos on how I made a recipe.  I'm so highly visual, that I hope my instructions will inspire someone to try one of my recipes-- and that it will give them the confidence to do it. Most of my German recipes were taught to me, by my "Mutti".  If I use a recipe from another cookbook, blogger or Food Network, I will always reference that. 

My cooking influences:
My mother's family owned restaurants, in Bavaria, for generations and she was an excellent cook herself. As a little girl, I always wanted to own an Easy Bake Oven, but, my "Mutti" insisted that I learn how to use a real oven.  That's where my love of baking got started.  I had to help my mom to cook for our family when I was as young as eight years old. At the time, I wasn't happy about it. Little did I know that, as I matured, I would grow to love being in the kitchen whipping up savory and sweet creations.

 Here I am, age 16 years old, in my mother's Bavarian Delicatessen & Gift Shop

My father was Latino, and I can recall childhood trips to my "Nana's" small ranch, where I'd watch her make homemade tortillas and refried beans.   Hence, I love both Mexican and German food. I adore Italian cooking, and am  learning how to make my own pasta. I'm at the infant stage of learning to make more Asian and Indian food, but I just keep trying new things.

My current style of cooking:
Over the last 10 years, I have eliminated buying most processed foods, high fructose corn syrup and mixes.  I admit, though, that sugar is something that has a home here. I love to make desserts, but I give a lot of it away-- after just a taste, that is. I've become more aware of where my food is grown, and how my animal proteins were raised. I am fortunate that I live in one of the richest agricultural areas on the planet-- the Salinas Valley of California.

To sum up my cooking--  most of my recipes are simple, unpretentious comfort home cooking. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can figure out how to make ingredients, that I once bought at the grocery store-- things like homemade jams, BBQ sauces, pasta and bread-- and much more.  Once in a while, I like to challenge myself by trying to recreate a restaurant-quality meal that looks and tastes gourmet.

A fun opportunity to meet and briefly chat with Food Network's Celebrity Chef, Tyler Florence, at the Harvest Festival in Carmel Valley, 2009

Just jump in and do it:
I started this blog, in 2008, because I wanted to document how to make the German recipes that my mother taught me to make.  I learned them the same way her mother taught her-- by watching, and never measuring.  I have family members and friends, who would ask me for the recipes and I didn't have any written ones to share!  I've spent time "eyeballing" and then measuring the ingredients, so that I can share with my readers how to make some of our favorite dishes like "Austrian Goulash", or my mother's famous German Potato Salad.  I used to post recipes daily, then every other day.  Lately, I can only post on weekends, because my job keeps me busy and I don't have the energy to blog on work nights.

Photography:
I aspire to achieve the level of photography that I see with some of the "Divas" of food blogger world.  I finally upgraded to a Canon Rebel T1I, in November of 2010.  It's a lot different than a point-and-shoot, and I have a lot more of the bells and whistles to learn.   I can't give any dazzling advice on photography, except that I've learned to never use flash when photographing food. I try to shoot with natural light, whenever possible. In the winter months, I have a professional light/stand that my husband has given to me on "permanent loan".  My food photos haven't been "styled"-- heck, no!  Usually, my family is hungry and I have to plate, shoot and serve as quickly as I can!

My food aversions:  I become frustrated with picky eaters.  Yet, I find that are a few things I simply don't like. Believe me, I've tried to overcome my aversions, and I won't give up. Still no luck in liking:
  • Goat cheese, though I keep trying different versions. No luck, still.  (my taste buds are turned off by the strong flavor)
  • Butternut or acorn squash (I've drenched this in honey and all kinds of herbs, but to no avail.) My palate still says "ew"  I will eat it, though, if I'm a dinner guest.
  • Liver. 'Nuff said (though I occasionally enjoy pate or liverwurst)
  • Watermelon (very un-American, I know).  My tastes buds say "why"? 
  • Garbanzo beans  (my taste buds say "boring" and funky texture)
  • Falafel (see above bullet)
  • Stuffing (very odd. I make great stuffing, but it does nothing for me. It must be  texture thing)
My food (and sometimes "guilty" pleasures - Things that I crave, indulge in or struggle to resist:


OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION: 


I owned 5 horses over a period of 35 years--A Quarterhorse, and then Arabians. I used to compete at horse shows, and later I became an avid trail rider.   As my horses became old, and finally went to the pasture in the sky, I didn't replace them. Finally, my last horse-- Savannah Sue-- became too old to ride.  She spent the last two years of her life living on a ranch and enjoying the retirement that she deserved. I lost her in June of 2010.  I miss her terribly, but my saddle and reins are put away for good.

My husband and I travel as often as we can. I was once a travel agent, for 15 years, and I've visited some exotic places from South America to Iceland.  I've visited very few parts of the United States, so that is where most of our travels tend to lead us.



PLEASE DON'T COPY
Unfortunately, I am finding that my photos are being copied and used on other blogs. This makes my otherwise very cheerful personality, very unhappy. If you like my photo, and want to "steal it", so that you can use it on your own website, why not email me and ask if you can use it? I will usually say "yes", as long as you link the photo back to the blog post where you found it-- and please, do not remove my watermarks! This makes me very upset, and I will have no option but to report the photos and take legal action.
I share recipes so that others can enjoy them. I'm honored if you want to share a recipe that I posted, as long as you link back to me. Is that so hard? Some of my recipes are originals, others are from other sources-- and I always list the recipe source because this is common courtesy. But it you break the rules, this is also copyright infringement. Please don't make me "go there" if you steal my work.
Ask me, by emailing me at foodiewife@gmail.com
Thank you!



CONTACT ME:
If I can answer any questions for you, my email contact is  foodiewife@gmail.com. 

Thanks for stopping by this page, and for reading!

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