Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
chicken pot pie with cream cheese biscuits
lobster risotto with peas
cheesy chicken and corn chowder, popovers, salad
simply delicious fettuccine alfredo, broccoli
snow crab legs, corn on the cob
beef fajitas with corn salsa, black beans
hot pepper noodles

Friday, May 31, 2013

Chipotle Barbecue Chicken

Chipotle Barbecue Chicken
I am still trying to get used to cooking at 8000 feet.  Water is taking much longer to boil, which throws off my timing all around.  Especially when I am boiling corn and steaming broccoli.  But the more I practice, the more I will learn, right?  I had planned in making Cherry Barbecue Sauce, but cherries aren't available up here yet (we have already gone through a couple bags worth in Houston) so I changed up the plan.  Chicken leg quarters were on special and I knew I could use the chipotles in plenty of other recipes up here, so Chipotle Barbecue Chicken was born.  This would also be amazing on the grill.  I am trying to convince C that we need one up here.
Chipotle Barbecue Chicken

2/3 cup ketchup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
4 chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons butter, softened

In a small sauce pan combine ketchup, vinegar, water, chipotles, sugar, mustard, soy sauce, and onion. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13 glass cooking dish with butter. Arrange the chicken quarters so that they aren’t touching. Spread the butter over the chicken and spoon the half of barbecue sauce overtop of each quarter. Bake for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. Serve with the reserved barbecue sauce on the side.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pepper Pork

Pepper Pork
Miss F and I headed to Aspen to spend a week with C over Memorial Day weekend. I had him inventory the kitchen in our condo and ordered everything I thought I might need from Amazon, which wasn't as much as I expected.  Our place it outfitted quite nicely, I even made C his favorite chicken pot pie in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which is nicer than anything I own for sure.  The one thing I didn't think about was measuring cups and spoons.  One measuring cup was $12 at the grocery store and Amazon wasn't shipping anything quickly do to the holiday weekend.  Luckily I found some three ounce Solo cups which worked well for measuring the rice, which I had to cook for far longer up here at altitude.  I was originally going to make Ginger Pork with Oyster Sauce, but Miss F spied the bell peppers at the store and wanted them.  If Miss F wants any vegetable, she gets it.  I adapted the recipe to suit her request.
Pepper Pork

2 thick cut pork chops, cut into bite sized pieces

Marinade for pork:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha (to taste)

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¼ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 slices ginger, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced

Transfer pork to a mixing bowl. Add marinade ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly. Let stand for 30 minutes or longer. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch, broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl. In a wok heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat, add bell peppers and onion. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe wok with paper towels. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the wok. When hot, add ginger and garlic; after a few seconds, add pork mixture. Stir-fry for 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the sauce. Stir until thickened. Return vegetables to the wok. Serve over rice.
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Continental Divide
We are up in Aspen for the holiday weekend, I hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends.  Snowy mountain tops are a far cry from the usual pool party we attend over Memorial Day weekend.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Famous Salmon

Famous Salmon I had pinned this recipe on Pinterest awhile back. The name was interesting, "Famous Salmon", it just sounded so perfect. And it was! Now that C is in Aspen during the week, Miss F and I are free to indulge in as much seafood as we like. I have yet to convince her to try salmon, even though it is pink, she still isn't interested. She loves shrimp and crawfish, but I have yet to find a fish that she enjoys unless it is fried.  Anyone have any kid friendly fresh fish recipes?
Famous Salmon
adapted from Big Girl Life

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons capers
1 pound salmon filet

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the juice, oil, mustard, garlic, cayenne, basil, dill and capers in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Place the salmon filet in a greased baking dish. Pour the sauce overtop of the salmon. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Rosemary Olive Oil BreadI had to convert this recipe from A Hint of Honey to work with my bread machine. No matter how easy a recipe may seem, the bread machine is just so much easier for me to manage. Five minutes of kneading? No thank you!  Two of the good things about C being in Aspen during the week is that I can eat seafood for dinner every weeknight and that I can bake bread whenever I like (he hates the smell!)  I made this loaf at 10 o'clock at night.  I think it caused the most amazing night's sleep every.  I seriously dreamed of bread clouds... 
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg, whisked + 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
dried rosemary, for sprinkling

Add water, sugar, salt, rosemary, Italian seasoning, pepper and olive oil to the bread machine. Stir together. Add the flour and bread flour on top. Sprinkle the yeast over the flour. Run the machine on the dough setting.

Remove the dough and punch; form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven with a pizza stone inside to 400 degrees. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary. Transfer the dough to the preheated stone and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Stone Crab

Stone CrabC and I took an amazing trip to Miami for a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary and to catch a Miami Heat playoff game. Ten years ago Miami would have been about clubbing and drinking...now I am all about the beach and eating. We were lucky enough to dine at Barton G and Ola for dinner, but our lunch at Joe's Take-a-way before the Heat game was equally memorable. I got the recipe for their famous stone crab sauce from Saveur and I was ready to recreate the experience at home.  My mom and I headed to the Kemah fish markets, where I knew I had seen stone crab on prior visits, but this time we visited five shops before we finally found some, I was about to give up.  Whenever I had gotten stone crab from the grocer, it has always been precooked.  And everything I ready on the internet seemed to suggest that is the only way it was sold, unless it was fresh off the boat.  Well...we got gfresh off the boat claws and I didn't realize it.   After a bit of a panic, we figured it out and dined on amazing crab claws, without the Miami prices.
Stone Crab

3 to 4 pounds stone crab claws, fresh or cooked

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons half-and-half
4 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon A.1. Steak Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground 

black pepper, to taste

Is using fresh crab claws, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the stone crab claws to the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. While the crab is boiling, prepare a large bowl of ice water, large enough to hold all the crab. After the crab has cooked, submerge each claw in the ice water bath and let sit for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the crab claws from the ice water and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If using pre-cooked claws, serve chilled with the sauce.

Whisk mayonnaise, half-and-half, mustard, Worcestershire, and A.1. sauce in a bowl until smooth; season with salt and pepper and chill. Serve as a dipping sauce for the chilled stone crab.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Steak Fajitas

Steak FajitasI love fajitas. C much prefers enchiladas, tamales and anything else served in a TexMex combo plate to fajitas. Recreating a combo plate is a bit beyond my cooking skills, so when we eat at home, fajitas are what I serve. I adapted this recipe from I Was Born To Cook. For whatever reason, flank steak is pricy around here. I can get NY strip, sirloin or beef tenderloin for cheaper than a flank steak. So even though flank steak is what traditional fajitas are made with, I decided to make them with steak. And it was amazing! The beef is delicious and tender. Miss F devoured hers, though she added black beans in her tortilla. C ate the meat without a tortilla because he is never a fan of store bought tortillas. One of these days I will get around to making my own, but for now, store bought works fine for me.
Steak Fajitas

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ fresh Jalapeno pepper, seeded, rib removed, diced

1 NY Strip
½ onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and jalapeno. Pour the marinade over the steak, turning to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Wipe most of marinade off before cooking. Sprinkle with salt.

Heat a large grill pan for a minute. Add steak, frying each side for about 3-4 minutes for medium rare. Remove from pan, tent with foil and let rest.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan, mix with tongs until slightly tender.

Slice meat against the grain into thin pieces. Serve with shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and warm flour tortillas.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BLT Carbonara

BLT CarbonaraI love a BLT. I love Carbonara. When Tide and Thyme adapted my recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon and Tomatoes to become BLT Carbonara, it was a stroke of genius. I changed the recipe to keep the tomatoes closer to their fresh state, more akin to what they are like in a real BLT. This pasta was a huge success. Miss F was a huge fan and I had the leftovers all week for lunch. Delicious! My next Carbonara quest is to recreate the Crab Carbonara at Reef. I think I would be completely fine with eating Carbonara every week, mainly for the fantastic lunch leftovers.
BLT Carbonara

3 egg yolks
¼ cup heavy creamy
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Fresh diced parsley or dried flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ pound bacon, cut into lardons
½ small onion, chopped
¼ cup white wine
12 ounces spaghetti
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves

Whisk together the eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and the red pepper together in a bowl. In a large non stick pan, fry the bacon until crisp and set aside. Drain all but on tablespoon of the bacon grease; sauté the onion for 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Prepare the spaghetti per package instructions. Drain the pasta and while still warm, add to the onions. Pour cream mixture into the spaghetti, and stir over low heat for one minute. Stir in the tomatoes and spinach and stir for one minute more over low heat. Top with bacon and serve with additional Parmesan.
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Pink Zebra Cake

Pink Zebra CakeWhen I saw this technique on Pinterest from My Cake School, I knew I wanted to try it.  I didn't want to fuss with two cake flavors, so I decided to make only the vanilla cake and dye half of the batter hot pink.  Much much easier than fussing with two cake mixes...I mean, if I am using a box cake mix, I want things to be easy.  Make sure to check out My Cake School's step by step pictures.  I was lucky this cake turned out at all considering all my issues that day, no way could I handle step by step photography on top of baking!
Pink Zebra Cake

1 box vanilla cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 to 3 drops hot pink food coloring
1 recipe chocolate cream cheese frosting, recipe follows

Prepare the cake mix per package instructions.  Divide the batter into two equal portions.  Use the food coloring to color half of the batter.  Grease and flour two 8" cake pans.  Drop 1/4 cup of batter, alternating colors, in each pan until there are 8 to 10 concentric circles of alternating colors.  Bake per package instructions.  Cool and frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and cocoa powder until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time making sure to incorporate it fully before you add the next ½ cup.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Recipe Swap: Shrimp and Grits (Polenta)

Shrimp and PolentaI was so excited to participate in this week's swap: seafood. I submitted one of my favorite dishes, Jambalaya Marylaya, for the swap. When I received Shrimp and Grits fom Cookaholic Wife, my excitement waned. Grits are nasty. I just cannot handle grits, but the rest of the recipe looked amazing to me. I did check to see if my parents had any grits at their house, so I could have just made it and served it to my grits loving dad, but they did not. So I decided to change it up and replace the grits with polenta. Which turned out to be the perfect substitution. This dish was rich, creamy and satisfying.  I served Miss F's shrimp with mac n' cheese since I know she hasn't been a huge polenta fan in the past.  She just loves shrimp (thank goodness!)
Shrimp and Polenta

2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

2 pieces bacon, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon flour
¾ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced parsley

In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring milk, water, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook 20 minutes, until creamy, lifting the lid and stirring every 3 or 4 minutes to prevent sticking. Remove pot from stove, stir in pepper and butter. Gradually stir in cheese. Cover again and set aside, keeping warm.

In a large skillet, cooked the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Combine the half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet, along with the chicken broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Spread polenta on plate and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with minced parsley and reserved bacon.


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Basil Parmesan Aioli

Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Basil Parmesan AioliThis recipe was on a recent episode of the Barefoot Contessa. I knew I wanted to make it, but first things first, I needed to change the name from Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise to Basil Parmesan Aioli. I can handle Aioli, I cannot stand Mayonnaise. I know it is all semantics, but it helps me mentally.  This recipe works perfectly for a dinner party because you can roast the beef while the guests arrive, then while it rests you can prepare the sides.  I cannot stand mayonnaise from a jar, but if you make the mayonnaise, ahem, aioli, from scratch, it is amazing.  And not hard to do at all!  The basil parmesan aioli would be amazing on pretty much anything.  I dipped my asparagus in it as well at the beef, perfection. 
Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Basil Parmesan Aioli

1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 ½ pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10 branches fresh Mexican oregano (or tarragon)
Basil Parmesan Aioli, for serving, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Use an oven thermometer to be sure your oven temperature is accurate.

Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper. Place the Mexican oregano branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

Roast the filet of beef for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise.

Basil Parmesan Aioli:
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
½ cup good olive oil, at room temperature

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasonings -- the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.
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Monday, May 6, 2013

Bite Sized Crabcakes

Bite Sized CrabcakesI have shared two crabcake recipes (one and two) on this blog and neither of them is my favorite. I have no clue how that happened. I have been making this recipe since I was a kid. Crabcakes are one of my most favorite foods. I made the crabcakes bite sized and served them with crabcake sauce for my dinner party. The best part of these crabcakes was that I was able to make them with crab that we had picked from fresh Texas blue crab. That made them particularly sweet and tasty. I had a couple leftovers and I ate them on Kings Hawaiian rolls topped with crabcake sauce, sort of like a crabcake slider. They were amazing!  I need to come up with a better name for "crabcake sauce" but it is so simple, I have no clue what would work better.
Crabcakes

2 eggs
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Old Bay to taste (I use about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup crushed saltines
1 pound crabmeat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix first six ingredients together. Add crab and crackers and stir gently to combine.

Form into six round cakes for entree sized crabcakes or 16 bite sized crabcakes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Fry the crabcakes, about a minute or two per side until golden brown. Serve.
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring Dinner Party

Spring Dinner 01
Spring Dinner 02
056x
Spring Dinner 03
Spring Dinner 04
This past weekend was quite the crazy weekend! We bought a new 4x4 SUV for C to take to Aspen, where he is starting a new job and then he began his 19 hour drive on Saturday afternoon. I dropped Miss F off at my parents for the evening and distracted myself in the best way I know how: a girly dinner party. I busied myself with preparing the meal, all the while there was a crazy thunderstorm brewing outside. The weather was madness, parts of Houston flooded, many areas got hail and it was just a big old mess. Luckily for me, my friends are all troopers. And every one made it to the party!

I ordered the my go to cheap napkins from Amazon, gathered up my dollar store fishbowls and headed to the flower markets for some hydrangeas. The first market didn't have any, so he offered to go across the street. I decided it was easier to just go there myself and when I got there, all they had was white and they wanted $7 a stem. I had looked at hydrangeas at the grocer the day prior and I knew I could get three stems for $6, so the choice was obvious. I headed over to HEB and they had a gorgeous selection. I choose pink, blue and white to coordinate with the menus that I had made.

We started the evening with brie with baguette and strawberries and bite sized crabcakes with crabcake sauce (I really need to think of a better name for this.) We all sipped on champagne and discussed the crazy weather. While we ate I warmed the artichoke soup that I had made the day prior. I always serve a soup with dinner, it has become a thing ever since I got the soup bowls for my china pattern. When the soup was served, I removed the slow roasted beef tenderloin from the oven to rest. In went the truffled potatoes and roasted asparagus to cook while the tenderloin was resting. This meal was really easy to get together and I made it work with my single oven.

After our meal, we had pink zebra cake for dessert. The cake was a riot. I had made it the night before and it was one big old mess. Each layer came out in two pieces. I decided to toss my cake pans because I have had issues with the last five cakes I have baked in them. The new pans arrive from Amazon today. I knew I could make the cake work, but I worried that the zebra effect would be ruined. Then it was time to make the chocolate cream cheese frosting. And I was a half a cup short of the confectioner’s sugar. We have a Walgreens and a Family Dollar store a couple blocks from my house. I went to both. Neither had confectioner’s sugar. I debated buying a big bag of powdered sugar doughnuts and shaking it off, but I knew that would be silly. At this point I should have just driven to the grocery store, but I turned to Google instead. I learned that you could make confectioner’s sugar by processing sugar in a food processor. I figured it was only half a cup… I whirred and whirred and whirred. The sugar looked pretty powdery, so I added it to the frosting. And the frosting tasted pretty grainy to me. It hadn’t processed nearly enough to get the smooth texture that confectioner’s sugar provides. The next day I bought three bags of confectioner’s sugar when I bought the hydrangeas. I am not running out of it ever again!

Much thanks to all my lovely friends who showed up in the nasty weather to attend my dinner party. It was a sad day for me, but spending the evening with such wonderful girlfriends really did make everything feel a little bit better.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Corn and Red Pepper Bisque

Corn and Red Pepper Bisque
As soon as I saw this recipe on Cookaholic Wife, I knew I had to try it. It reminded me of one of my favorite soups, Corn Chowder with Avocado and Lime.  In fact, when I served Miss F her bowl, she asked "Is this corn chowder?"  She ate a ton, but said it wasn't going to stay warm enough to pack in her lunch.  Noted!  We were interrupted half way through dinner.  The guy who bought his motorcycle was about 30 minutes early...but when they are paying full asking price, you drop your dinner plans.  Miss F and I feasted on biscuits and soup, while C's got a little cold.  The guy who bought the motorcycle said the house sure smelled good, imagine that, someone who likes the smell of garlic and onion.
Corn and Red Pepper Bisque

1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
16 ounce package frozen corn kernels
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon cornmeal
juice of one lime
salt and pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste

Add butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, corn and bell pepper. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more or until fragrant. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cream. Whisk in the cornmeal and bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly until it thickens. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Serve.
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