Saturday, October 31, 2009
I mean I KNOW I could totally eat those foods any time of year but there is just something about the fall and winter when it makes it ok. In fact I strongly believe that these flavors and foods taste even better in the fall and winter!
And considering that I love the tastes of pumpkin and sweet potato so much you would have thought that I would be chomping at the bits to cook and bake with pumpkin and sweet potato as soon as October hit. But to my own amazement I have not made a single thing! I haven’t even bought anything pumpkin flavored!
So when I saw this recipe in this month’s cookbook I absolutely knew I had to try it. I am usually not a big fan of bisques, I usually like hearty, chunky soups. But as I type this I am craving a big bowl of tomato bisque and warm, flaky garlic bread. So, maybe I just don’t know what I am talking about!
Sweet Potato and Cheese Soup
4 tablespoons butter
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I decided to go ahead and make these egg “Eye-balls” because they were so cute, so easy (and I had several eggs to use up). For the life of me I cannot find the website that I originally saw these on so I am just going to wing it with my own version.
Deviled Egg Eyeballs
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1-2 drops green food coloring
In a medium pan, place eggs and cover with about an inch of cold water. Turn heat on medium and when the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and cover for 17 - 20 minutes. Run under cold water to let the eggs cool.
Cut eggs in half longways. Remove yolks and put them in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, paprika, food coloring, salt and pepper. Stir well and pipe them back into egg whites.
Monday, October 26, 2009
And since I have been on this healthy ‘kick’ I casually mentioned how I was trying harder to exercise to Eric’s mom (Sarah) and she asked if we could start working out together a few times a week. I said sure, that, that would be awesome to have someone else to work out with to help me stay motivated. But, I had no idea about how hard core Sarah would be! We were walking one night last week and she was a couple of feet in front of me and she looked back and said “Come on slow poke!” and then the other night at the gym I had done 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and then done some weights so I was ready to go and she still wanted to work out! She has also been sharing all these healthy food tips and advice with me and all the while I am thinking about ice cream and things like these brownies! : ) But I am so glad that I have someone by my side to help me stay focused.
I got this month’s cookbook way back in August and first started ‘reading’ it back then. The first recipe I knew I HAD to try were these brownies. I have been thinking about them ever since but have not gotten around to ever making them. And now it is the last week of October and I am scrambling to make them and blog about them.
Mocha Brownies with Sour Cream Frosting
adapted from 365 Dish A Day
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I was even more thrilled when I saw their corn bread recipe was on of the featured recipes! This corn bred is sooo good and went perfect with a big ole bowl of chili I made a while back (geez that’s how far behind I am! I posted that chili recipe way back in August, I guess it is time to make it again since the weather is FINALLY starting to cool down around here).
At Z’tejas they make this cornbread in a cast iron skillet (so it is a thin cornbread when made that way). I don’t have a cast iron skillet, at least I didn’t think I did, but then a few days after making this cornbread I found one on my top shelf! So I made half of this batter into cornbread muffins and also made half in a 8x8 pan. The muffins came out better than the ones in the 8x8 pan, I think because the cake pan made them too thick. This is an extremely moist cornbread, so the key is to either defiantly cook them in a cast iron skillet or to do muffins and cook them for a long enough time, until at least golden brown on top and done thoroughly (this is key information for your muffins to turn out like the original from Z'tejas!
adapted from the original Z'Tejas recipe
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup creamed corn
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Z’tejas started out in 1989 on Austin’s famous 6th Street in a historic downtown house. Since then the restaurant has grown and now has 2 more locations in Austin and 6 more locations across the country including locations in Salt Lake City, UT, Phoenix, AZ, and Costa Mesa, CA.
All of the newer Z’tejas restaurants are very nice with bar/cocktail areas, booths, patios, etc, etc. However, the first location in that old house on 6th Street has a funky eclectic vibe. It is truly a different experience. No booths, cramped seating (tables are put in every which corner they can squeeze) linens and furniture are mismatched and it is always loud and busy. I made the mistake of taking my grandmother there one day when she was in town for lunch and because it was so load and busy she could not hear a thing. I felt so bad, here I was trying to give her an authentic Austin experience and she couldn't enjoy it! (I mean she raved about the food after we left I just should have taken her to one of the other locations were the mood is a little more mellow.)
Not only is the dining experience unique and eclectic at Z'tejas but the food is outstanding! The menu, largely influenced by the south, signifies the bold robust flavors of Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. I have eaten there many a time and never been disappointed!
On Saturday and Sundays they serve a scrumptious brunch with migas, breakfast enchiladas, and breakfast quesadillas. Every brunch item comes with your choice of a apple bran muffin (which is extremely moist with apples, shredded carrots, and raisins in it) or a banana nut muffin (ok- but not my mom's) and a bowl of fruit.
For lunch and dinner the amazing food continues with their Chicken Avocado Sandwich, with grilled cilantro pesto chicken breast topped with melted Jack cheese and fresh
avocado slices, served on a bun with lettuce, red onion, tomato and jalapeño mayonnaise. (one of my favorites). To the Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad Baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, crispy bacon mixed with warm bacon dressing and topped with Parmesan pecan-crusted
chicken and goat cheese (another favorite). And their tortilla soup is also amazing with fresh avocados in it! Every day each Z'tejas has a daily entree special and a daily dessert special, so you will never tire with their menu.
If you happen to be in Austin then the 6th Street location is a must, if not try to check out Ztejas in at one of their other locations. I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
That is one reason why I was interested in doing this cookbook as the cookbook of the month. Not only did it have basic recipes for pork and chicken but it also had things like pumpkin soup, and these sesame crackers.
Now you might say why would I want to go to all the trouble to make my own crackers from scratch (how Martha of me) but I have never made homemade crackers from scratch so why not! They were really not that difficult, just like making cookies and they were full of flavor. Great with the hummus I posted yesterday, or with cheese or dip.
adapted from 365 Dish A Day
Sunday, October 18, 2009
So with my birthday coming up next month and then Christmas right around the corner from then, I was hoping that I would get a food processor (since I gave such great hints).
So last Friday I was having a pretty rotten day at work and when I got off Eric said he had a surprise for me; and low and be hold it was a food processor! I was so excited, I told him he could have waited for my birthday of Christmas and he said no that I had waited long enough. “Plus he added “now you can make pesto, and hummus and any other recipe your heart desires” (Awww).
Since then, we have made hummus 4 times (that’s 4 times in less than a week people). Wait, let me rephrase that, Eric and I made hummus together once and HE has made it all the other times himself. Was this secretly a gift for Eric? Or Maybe we just LOVE hummus that much! We have made a total of 3 different types. I am just posting one of the hummus recipes now and will have to do the others on a later date. (Because with less than a month until my birthday and less than two months til Christmas I have to start dropping hints to something else I want... maybe a Kitchen Aide Mixer or Bread Maker or a trip somewhere...)
Now, Eric only bought me a small food processor (the box says 3 cups) so the recipe below is to fit a food processor that size (you could always just double it if you have a bigger machine). But still, the two cups this recipe makes is way more than any package you can buy in the store only cost about a buck to make and you can’t beat that!
Red Bell Pepper Hummus
my own concoction
1 (14.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (may add more to taste)
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place whole garlic cloves and sliced red bell pepper on baking sheet and place under broiler and roast for approximately 3 minutes. Combine all ingredients, except water and olive oil, in a blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes somewhat smooth and combined, but do not over mix. Add water as necessary to facilitate blending. At the end, add olive oil and pulse, just to incorporate.
Pour mixture into a bowl and stir to ensure mixture is combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 3-4 days in the fridge. (I promise you that this hummus tastes so good it will not last that long!)
Monday, October 12, 2009
When I was a kid/adolescent (according to Eric, when I refer to being a ‘Kid” it could either mean age 5 or 15) my family was really good friends with another family that was from Jamaica. They cooked authentic Jamaican food, several times for various functions. One time they made this Jamaican Jerk Chicken that was very delicious. And maybe because I am worried that no recipe I will find will be as good as I remember their Jamaican Jerk being I have been skeptical to try any of the millions of recipes I have for jerk chicken.
Well this recipe is not exactly as I remember Jamaican Jerk Chicken being, but it was good. A very complex mix of flavors and spices. It was pretty spicy so you could leave out the adobe sauce if you need to. Eric said he did not care for this chicken because of all the different flavors (I guess your palate just has to be used to complex flavors).
The original recipe does call for 2 red chillies, however, since my grocery store was out when I went shopping I substituted 2 adobe chillies and added a tablespoon of it’s sauce.
adapted from 365 Dish A Day
2 chpotile chilies (from the can), finely chopped + 1 tablespoon adobe sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoons scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
2-4 chicken breasts (I used 2 but the recipe called for 4, use more or less depending on how much sauce/marinade you want on each)
Mix all ingredients together. Brush chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour marinade mixture over chicken and let marinate for at least 8 hours (marinate more or less depending on how strong you want the flavors to be.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook fr 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Another fellow blogger also wanted to use her crock pot more so she challenged herself to use it every day for an entire year. On the blog A Year Of Slow Cooking, Stephanie O'dea, chronicles her adventures in the kitchen using her crock pot for an ENTIRE year (that’s 365 recipes)! She has everything on her blog from dinners, to side dishes, to desserts. If you have not checked it out yet you should (I strongly recommend it)!
So far I have tried two recipes from her blog and both have turned out wonderfully. This recipe for Asian Pork was delish! The pork was so tender it just fell apart. I served this pork over white the next day everyone in my office was talking about how good it smelled! This is defiantly a keeper.
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
Use a 4-6 quart crock pot. Put onion slices into the bottom of your crock pot. Put the pork on top. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, and peanut butter. No need to stir--the peanut butter needs to melt before you can do so. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6. The pork will be more tender the longer you cook it. 1 hour before serving, flip the meat over in the crock pot to allow the other side to soak up the peanut buttery goodness. Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional).
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I actually made this recipe from this month’s cookbook of the month over a month ago…. right when I started to get on this pork kick. This recipe is very similar to one I made last month from August’s cookbook of the month. There are a few slight differences and the recipe I made last month uses a pork loin instead of a pork chop. I really liked this recipe (I did make some changes and my version is below) but do have to say that I like the recipe for the pork loin better. Not that this is not any good I think it is that I just prefer pork loin over pork chop for my cut of meat. So, I think I will have to go back and remake this recipe using a loin.
(I know this picture is just plain awful... but please forgive it)Pork Chops With Orange Sauce
adapted from 365 Dish A Day
4 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
grated rind of 1 lime
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
4 pork chops
salt and pepper
Mix together juices, garlic, and rinds in a small bowl. Drizzle pork chops with olive oil; then season with salt and pepper. Place pork chops in glass pan. Pour juice mixture over pork chops and place under a pre-heated broiler. Cook for 5 minutes on each side.
Remove pork chops from heat and pan. Pour sauce (juice) mixture into saute pan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over pork chops and serve immediately.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
(A few hours later) Ok I am back and I have decided to take a break from the Food Network stars and do a cookbook that isn’t so famous (I guess I will use a certain famous food Network stars' book next month… can you guess who it is?)
So, any who, the book I decided to go with this month is 365 Dish A Day by Kay Halsey. This cookbook was a pleasant surprise one day when I was at the book store. It literally has 365 recipes AND (this is the most exciting part) pictures for almost ALL of the recipes! The actual book is very nice with it being hardback and a little bigger in size compared to other cookbooks; and did I mention that 95% of the recipes have color photos to go along with them! : )
I also liked this book for the array of recipes it has. From breakfast, to lunch to dinner to dessert, and everything in between. The only negative thing I would say about it is that the recipes are in no particular order. The book just starts with January 1st and goes from there. January 1st might be a dessert and January 2nd might be a salad or main entrée. This is where the recipe index comes in rather handy.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I also liked this book because of the variety of recipes from drinks, to appetizers and side dishes to main entrees and desserts. All are great recipes for just about anytime of the year. They are great for families or large get togethers.
Like I said before the only (and it really is minor) beef I have with this book is that every recipe he can, Emeril trys to plug or use his specialty food products; like his seasonings and BBQ sauces. But quite frankly any of your favorite sauces or seasonings will do (and I never used any of his products and everything still came out very tasty). And in case you were wondering on the pictures for this book… there are quite a few (not as many as I would like) but still a good amount (enough to make me happy)!
This corn was one of those crazy concoctions. Sour cream, milk, lime juice, cheese, and chili powder… who know all that mixed together and slathered on top of some roasted (or grilled) corn would be so good.
This pork loin was one of my favorites from all the recipes I tried from this book. I first cooked it on both sides on the grill to seal in the juices and then finished it off in the oven. It was so tender and juicy and the glaze complemented it so well but did not take way from the natural flavors of the pork.
These spicy burgers are a definite make. They are very simple yet add that extra kick your average burger has been looking for.
These BBQ baked beans had great flavor… but I did have some issues cooking them. (If you want to know about that ordeal click here).