Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've been tagged!

No food updates for a while but I have been tagged by Leslie! Here ya go girl-sorry it took so long :)
5 Joys
1. cooking
2. laughing till it hurts
3. my dog barking in her sleep
4. spending time with my husband
5. skinny days

5 Fears
1. Dying
2. Heights
3. clowns
4. losing someone close to me
5. crashing airplanes.

5 Obsessions
1. checking email
2. clipping and using coupons - it's a sport
3. RB
4. mad men
5. diet dr pepper

5 Surprising Facts
1. My first job was at (gulp) McDonalds
2. I have never eaten crab legs or lobster
3. I do not have pierced ears
4. I eat most everything with a fork-sandwiches, sushi, ribs. I just dont like eating with my hands I guess

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hello Heaven

I have been toying with making crab cakes for some time but was somewhat intimidated by the little critters. I have heard horror stories of people spending a lot of money on fresh lump crab only to have thier little cakes fall apart and quickly turn to hash! This recipe from Paula Deen came highly rated on the food network site and it turned out very good. The key was the making them ahead of time and then giving them some time to chill and get firm before pan frying. I did not have any trouble at all wtih them falling apart. They appear light but in reality they are pretty rich. We sampled some today after the Chiefs game (win!) and we had a hard time finishing one each!
The sauce is really good too. Its garlicy, lemony and the perfect freshness to go with the dense crab cake. I will definately making these again and I think they would be great in mini form for appetizers!

Lemon Dill Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Crab Cakes:
3 tablespoons butter
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
Cayenne pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound white or claw crabmeat, picked free of any bits of shell
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. The sauce will thicken as it chills.

To prepare the crab cakes, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the pepper is limp, approximately 3 minutes. Add the cream, mustard, 1 egg, parsley, cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup bread crumbs, to taste, and mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat.

Form the mixture into 8 patties, about 1/2-inch thick. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs with the Parmesan. Pat this topping onto both sides of the patties. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Using a skillet, combine the oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the crab cakes in the hot oil-butter mixture for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. These crab cakes can also be baked for 7 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree F oven.

To serve, spoon a dollop of the lemon dill sauce along side each crab cake.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pasta Carbonara...and a plug

In an effort to try and take some pressure off of me this week, I focused on making easy meals this week. I am doing a romantic dinner for two for a client and its takes a lot of planning and list making to ensure I have everything covered and make it a great experience. I even set up my table today to play with the layout, so no we don't always eat with a formal table :) I am trying to plan our household menus better lately and make less trips to the store. I almost always have what I need to make carbonara so tonight was a perfect excuse! I guess I should technically call this rotini carbonara because thats the only type of pasta I had on had today but it worked out beautifully! I mixed a few recipes together to balance. The cooking light recipe was just a tad too..well, light. Tyler Florence had a wonderful recipe on but it was too...wonderful. This one tasted great and we didn't miss any of the indulgency that is carbonara.

Rotini Carbonara

8oz rotini pasta
4 slices of bacon
clove of garlic chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup of parmasan cheese plus more for serving
Fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, trim back with kitchen shears into large sauce pan and cook until crisp. Remove from heat and add garlic.
In a small bowl whisk eggs and cheese together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. When pasta is al dente, drain and put into pan with bacon and garlic. Mix to coat pasta. While pasta is still hot, pour egg and cheese mixture into pasta and stir for a minute to cook the egg. Serve immediately and garnish with extra cheese and parsley!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Breakfast Break

Nothing fancy today, just a reminder that biscuits and gravy are the best thing ever and you should treat your family to this treat at least once a year! Its a great way to dirty every dish in your kitchen, eat then lay around in your pj's the rest of the day! You can always have me do it! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lighten Up!

Ah the infamous alfredo sauce..packed to the gills with the heart stopping stuff we all love. Most alfredo sauces have at least one stick of butter and two cups of cream. Tack on all the cheese and you are definately not talking about a figure friendly dish! Because of its high fat and calorie content, its not a regular at our house. I would be stricken with guilt for weeks over the event and my arteries would punish me as well. BUT when you get that craving for something it just will not go away until the need is met and I had that this morning. I considered making the original roman fat laden sauce for my dinner tonight-then I looked at my gutter and thought again. I made a low fat alfredo a few years ago-in fact it was my second blog entry in my old blog. The picture was fuzzy, the lighting was bad and the pasta was meh too. Here it is!

I knew it could be better so I whipped this up. The original recipe is from cooking light and I have to say they did a damn fine job of reinventing the alfredo sauce. Its thick and creamy and cheesy just like you expect it to be, but minus most of the guilt. I don't think that anyone would notice the difference between the real deal and this version. It has only ONE Tablespoon of butter and uses low fat milk. The key to the sauce is the cheese you use.
Maybe its the guilt I was craving because after dinner I still wanted a fried ice cream blast from Sonic :)

Fettuccine Alfredo w/Chicken!
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz package of sliced bella mushrooms-sauteed (optional)
2 T Cream cheese
9 oz of fresh pasta (or the dried-we like the fresh)
1 1/3 cups of 1% milk
1 T of butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of parmasan cheese-grated
fresh cracked pepper
1 T all purpose flour
chopped parsley for garnish

For the chicken: preheat oven to 375. Lay breasts on a baking sheet. Drizzle each with olive oil and then salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for about 35 minutes.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese, and salt, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. Garnish with black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
***I also reserved a cup or so of the pasta water to use after I mixed the pasta in to make the sauce silky. Start slow-I think I used 1/4 cup all together

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice

I don't have a lot of experience with asian cuisine. To me, when I get a craving for this fare its just a hell of a lot easier to cruise down to Bo Lings and let them do the dirty work! I try to make something new every week or so and this recipe struck me as interesting. I am not a fan of RR, but her recipes are usually point on and very tasty! I loved using some different ingredients and spices that I don't normally get to use. This was really good and we had lots of leftovers :)

Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice
Courtesy of RR
3 3/4 cups water
2 oranges, zested
2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken breast tenders, 2 packages, sliced on an angle into bite-size pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow skinned onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and sliced
1 cup shredded carrots, store bought, or 2 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
6 scallions, cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces
1 cup snow peas, a couple of handfuls
Satay sauce:
4 rounded tablespoonfuls chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons dark soy, Tamari
3 tablespoons honey
1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 orange, juiced

2 ounces (1/4 cup) chopped peanuts or nut topping, available on the baking aisle
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Heat water with orange zest to boiling. Add rice, return to boil, stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook rice until tender, 18 minutes. Fluff with fork.
For stir-fry, heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and onion, stir-fry 3 minutes. Add remaining veggies and stir-fry 5 minutes more. Heat all ingredients for sauce together in a small pot over low heat, stirring the sauce until all ingredients are combined. Transfer stir-fry to a large platter and pour sauce evenly over the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle the platter with chopped nuts, cilantro, and basil. Serve jasmine rice in a separate dish with an ice cream scoop to serve the rice with -- it makes perfect, pretty, round portions of rice on the dinner plates.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jalepeno Cheddar Cornbread

I will be honest. I was not looking forward to this recipe for BB this week. The thought of hot corn bread in the middle of the summer just did not appeal to me at. all. Cornbread goes with soup and chili and things that conjur up images of cold, wintery weather. Its hot and muggy here-how can I possibly incorporate cornbread into that equation?
Turns out the cornbread was awesome and I quickly got over my judgements after tasting these little babies. Then again, I think anything that has 2 sticks of melted butter and 2 cups of heavy cream and cheddar cheese in the batter is going to be a winner one way or the other! These were light and super flakey. The jalepeno gives them a great little kick without being too overbearing. Imagine the biscuits at Red ratchet that up about 10 notches. I decided to make these in muffin tins instead of a sheet pan so that 1)I would not eat the whole pan and 2)They could be easily transported and dispersed to those lucky people who might be to taste these!

Jalepeno Cheddar Cornbread (Muffins)
Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eggs Benny

I have been craving this breakfast dish for several weeks now but sometimes we all don't get up over here during your standard breakfast hours (cough cough). This weekend I decided I could wait no more and we dined like kings and queens! This was actually my first attempt at poaching eggs and I have to say they turned out perfectly. There is something about this dish that makes it the ultimate breakfast of champions. Buttery english muffin, some deli ham or canadian bacon, the egg but the BEST part is the silky hollandaise sauce over the top that puts it over the edge. This will definately be made around here a lot more often now that I have conquered the poached egg. I want to play around with this in the future though.
I can see smoked salmon instead of the ham or a florentine version with spinach. YUM.
Ooh! This is definately something you could do for a brunch or entertaining. The eggs can be poached ahead of time and then put back in simmering water before service.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Ok, I have a confession to make. I think I am one of the only red blooded 20-45 year old person in the civilized world that has NOT seen Lost. My husband has consistently watched it since day 1 and I resisted. I think the fact that the first episode involved a very graphic plane crash is probably what did it. :) Now that I have had some time to come to terms with the fact that you simply CAN't get away from Lost-I have decided to embrace the Lost. We rented the first season on dvd from Netflix and I have been pretty well hooked since.
I was thinking about my friends on the island today while trying to figure out what to have for dinner. I love the fact that they still show some of the day to day operation of surviving on a freaking island! Scaveging, hunting, making shit up as they go along. I went by their example today and decided I was going to make dinner with stuff we already had here.
NOrmally I would venture off to the store and spend another 15 dollars but I stopped myself. There is no reason for that I say! Well, another reason is that my hair was a mess and Dr Phil was just too good but back to the story!
People, what I made tonight was good and tasty and conserving and all that crap-BUT it was not pretty. I do not have a name for it but I will list the items and let your imagination run wild.

Can of chicken
Cream of chix soup
Cream of mushroom soup
Smoked Sausage
Box of squiggly pasta
garlic seasoning
sour cream

Chris said..."Its like the suicide drinks we used to make at Skateland". That pretty much sums it up.

Barefoot Blogger-Parm Chicken

Another Barefood Blogging event for your enjoyment! I actually made this a few weeks ago and saved it for the deadline today. It was very good, although I wish I had made the chicken a little thinner or used chicken cutlets-which I have had little luck finding locally. This is a great week night meal that is fast and fuss-less. I liked the double dipping of the chicken in the egg to create that nice crust on the outside. It was great with salad! Thank you to Megan for a great recipe!
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Parmesan Chicken
Ina Garten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dawg Days

Its been pretty warm here the last couple days. Standing at the hot ass grill is not something that gets me excited-not to mention I started a small fire in the grill the other day with some rib eye steaks! My husband had the nerve of asking me if I used something FLAMMABLE in the marinade! Huh!? Yes dear, I commonly use flammable liquids to marinate our food in-isn't that what you guys do? Let me know.
Anyway, it was super hot today and we were all laying around watching Lost marathons on dvd and getting ready for the big PBS Auction where yours truly has an item up for bid! I bought some gnocchi last week at costco and decided to whip that up. I made a simple brown butter and balsamic sauce for it. This was our first taste of gnocchi and I think we gave it a B this time around. The texture is divine-little soft pillows of potato that are very soul soothing. If I make this again I might make a white sauce and add some peas or some prociutto. It needed cheese? It was very filling. I made one cup of the gnocchi for both of us and we had a hard time finishing it. I gave a peice to the dog and this was her reaction shortly after...

Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce

6 T unsalted butter
parm cheese
toasted walnuts
2 T balsamic vinegar

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. When foam subsides, cook butter until it turns a light brown. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add balsamic, salt and pepper.
In the meantime, cook gnocchi in boiling salted water. When gnocchi float to the top they are done-about 3 minutes. Drain and pour some of the sauce over individual servings of gnocchi and garnish with parm cheese and toasted walnuts.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ting Town BBQ! and my issues with buns :)

I have this hang up with hamburger buns. I am tired of buying a package, using two or three for burgers etc and then having to throw them out. My husband gives me strange looks when I hand him his work lunch and his turkey and cheese is on a wonder bread bun. This may be weird, but when I buy buns now I find myself making a conscious decision to plan my weekly menu around them! We had some on Sunday when we grilled, lunches for the hubs, pork burgers and now this little gem! Yes, I know I can freeze them-but I am on a mission! Next week-no recipes with buns-I promise! On to the recipe!
After what seemed like a solid week of planning, making and executing meals for other people-I was looking for something easy. I had been saving this recipe from Cast Sugar for a while and tonight was perfect. This was really yummy and tender. I bought a 2 ish pound rump roast so I halved this. I used a home made bbq sauce that my step dad makes along with the other ingredients. This was no beef on bun from my middle school days-this was fantastic!
To make it a little more bbq-esk, I whipped up a quick cole slaw. I loved the hot/cold combo. thanks Nemmie!

3 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. ketchup
1 c. barbeque sauce
1 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 c. beer
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
4 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
16 hamburger buns, split

To make the sauce, combine the celery, onion, garlic, ketchup, barbeque sauce, mustard, beer, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl; stir until well blended.

Place the chuck roast in a slow cooker. Pour the sauce evenly over the meat. Cover and cook the roast on HIGH for 3 hours. Reduce heat to LOW, and continue cooking until very tender, about 4 hours more.

About 1/2 hour before serving, remove the chuck roast from the slow cooker and shred the meat with a large fork. Return the meat to the slow cooker, and cook uncovered so the sauce thickens, on LOW for 20 minutes.

First breakfast catering event!

I am a member of a great group of peeps called BNI. Its a business networking group that I meet with every week and we exchange leads with each other! Its like having 16+ salespeople working for you all the time. This group gives me a huge boost on Tuesdays and I always leave there motivated and excited to see my business take off. If you have one of these groups in your area and you sell a product or service I would highly recommend looking into it.

mmmmm pastries...
Another member of my BNI group was kind enough to hook me up with his boss to cater some special treats for a group of Farmers Insurance agents. After talking to Tom, we decided a continental breakfast would be perfect. They could graze the buffet before, during and after the meeting and the price point was where he wanted to be. Here are a few pics...we had orange juice, apple juice, a selection of pastries and sweet breads, bagels (toasted if they wanted) and cream cheese and a gorgeous fruit tray. I think they were very happy with it and they gave me some props at the meeting and passed out some cards-which I LOVE. If you are in the area and need some food for your office catered-give me a shout!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Neat Appetizer

This weekend I had the pleasure of cooking at my friend Mark's house. Mark is a real estate investor who lives in a gorgeous house and is nice to boot! Mark decided to have a nice wine tasting and dinner party for 30 of his closest buds and asked me to provide the food. We had..

Northern Italian Stuffed Shells
Rosemary Parmesean Breadsticks
Tossed salad with some exotic tomatoes (fda approved thank you!) and
Antipasti Kabobs

The kabobs were a combined effort from two recipes. On each skewer I had a green stuffed olive, a piece of pepperoni, a small marinated fresh mozz ball, a fresh peice of basil, a slice of hard salami folded into quarters and then a black olive. I made these things until I thought I was going to go blind but it paid off! They were a HUGE success. No plates or utensils required and they could still eat one and chug the 9 different wines that Jan from Gomers was there with.

Needless to say, by the time all 9 tastings were done-these people were starving! They devoured the shells and polished off the last of the kabobs that I was thinking would be leftovers. Thanks again Mark!

BBQ Pork Burgers

I am pretty proud of myself. I have successfully planned the last several meals for our house a week in advance and actually followed through! I don't mind going to the store, but I find that I spend a lot less money if I just go once. It doesn't hurt that this week we are still enjoying the leftover goodies of Fathers Day (such as DQ ice cream cake and deviled eggs!)so that is helping ease the dinner budget as well. It's been pretty busy this week and last. I had a catering event for 30 peeps at my friend Mark's house. Mark lives in a gorgeous house in Lee's Summit and was kind enough to ask me to cater the event. More on this later...
A few weeks ago Elly blogged about some asian pork burgers and they looked really good. I did some research and found a recipe for some BBQ Pork Burgers and these looked like they might be more our speed.
We were very pleased with how these turned out! They were very moist and had great flavor. They were lighter than a beef burger but not as bland as your average turkey burg. I was careful to make sure the patties were not terribly thick so that they would cook well and through. I fear uncooked pork :)
Yes, those are waffle fries and paper plates in my picture! Wanna judge me?
Add these to your next planned menu-you won't be let down!

BBQ Po'k Burgers

1 pound of lean ground pork (This made about three good sized patties)
1/3 cup bbq sauce. I used some home made sauce. I would recommend something with a kick to it
Cheese of course-I bought some meunster today and that was gooood.
2 or 3 T of dried bread crumbs

Preheat grill or grillpan to medium high. Mix meat and bbq sauce together, add in breadcrumbs. Shape into patties and grill until thouroghly cooked-about 6 or 7 minutes on each side.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggin!

This weeks BB recipe turned out great! Its pretty versatile and tasted really good. Hubs and I had some grilled italian sausage with it. I did leave a few things out and I took a shortcut on the pesto. I was a little concerned I wouldnt like it and I didnt want to spend a bunch of jack to make the pesto only to toss it later. I just used rotini pasta and let all that yummay sauce get down into the grooves of the pasta. I took the advice of many of the reviewers and cut the mayo to more than half of what she called for. It was still great. The lemon gives the salad a great little zip and goes great with the parm . I think if I made it again I might add some red onion and some chix and make a meal out of it! Thanks to Elizabeth at Ugg Smells Food for this great recipe! Stay tuned in two weeks for Parmesean Chicken....

Pasta Pesto and Peas
Ina Garten
3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (left this out)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I used a 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts) (I left these out)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

Yield: 4 cups

Monday, June 9, 2008

Going with the flow

Upon starting my business, I thought I was going to start things out nice and easy and gradually ease into more complicated events. I have come to realize that these things are not for me to determine. As much as I would love to have a handful of regular weekly clients, most of the biz I have gotten so far has been catering events and private parties. Because not everyone likes tater tot casserole and spaghetti pie like we do ;) I wanted to try and branch out a bit and try some new dishes. These potatoes are sort of fancy looking without being too fancy. I liked them with the exception of the name. I can't stop thinking about that idiot from The View everytime I see the name! Got any ideas? Ah well. For now-here are the Hasselback Potatoes from the Food Network. Next time I will probably season a little heavier or maybe put some parmesean cheese on top for extra flava!

Hasselback Potatoes with Herb Sour Cream

16 ounces red new potatoes
3 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Herbed Sour Cream, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a wooden spoon as a cradle, place each potato in the spoon and make several parallel slits into each potato top making sure not to slice completely through. Place 3 garlic slices between slits at the crown of each potato. Toss in a medium bowl with butter and olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake until tops are crispy and potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and top with Herbed Sour Cream.

Herbed Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Season, to taste, and refrigerate until use.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grilled Chops with Mango Salsa=Perfection

Another dinner on the grill! These chops are definately going on regular rotation at our house. The marinade is great and it keeps the chops nice and moist while they are cooking. The mango salsa is a great addition as well! The mix of the sweet mango, honey and lemon juice mixes with the pepper and cilantro to dazzle the taste buds. I could seriously eat this twice a week (and by the way we did) and I am definately adding this to my menu for my personal chef clients.

Teriyaki Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Salsa
Courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

For marinade:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
6 (1-inch) thick rib pork chops, bones Frenched by butcher, if desired

Marinade: In a saucepan combine marinade ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cool marinade completely. Put chops in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over them. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and set in a shallow dish. Marinate meat, chilled, turning bag once or twice, overnight. Pour marinade into a saucepan and boil 5 minutes. Grill chops on an oiled rack set about 4 inches over glowing coals 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through, basting with marinade during last 5 minutes of cooking.

Mango Salsa
Courtesy of my mom :)

One mango peeled and diced
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
one lime juice
1 T honey
Half of red bell pepper diced small

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate or serve immediately

Grillin Season

Last summer was not a great summer for the hubs and I. He took a spill and ended up in a leg brace for most of the summer/fall. Not only did my social life suffer because of this but our grill was neglected as well. When I wasn't eating out of the hospital vending machines, we were making casseroles and the basics to get by. This year, however, I made a promise to the grill that I would get her back up to speed and allow her to burn my food just like the old days. :) There have been some set backs-one of the burners quit working and the ignitor doesn't work anymore but we're not giving up on her! I think most of our meals so far this summer have been on the grill and this one is no exception. I love this meal because its super easy and I normally have most of this stuff on hand. I usually cook the steak on my grill pan but of course its so much better outside. If you haven't had this-you must make it as soon as possible..

Steak Sandwich (Knife and fork required)
Rachel Ray-plus my modifications

Bag of baby greens
Balsamic vinegar
Large sirloin steak (I used rib eye)
Blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Sheet of puff pastry-thawed

Preheat oven to 400. Cut puff pastry into four squares and bake for 12-15 minutes. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Grill steak to desired doneness (i usually do 5 minutes per side) and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Take one square for puff pastry, top with greens, balsamic vinegar, then some slices of steak. Add blue cheese or whatever topping you like and then finish with another puff pastry square!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers

We have all heard about Tuesdays with Dorie-the master bakers of the internets get together to feature thier skillz with flour and yeast and icing and special little pans. What? I sound bitter? Well, maybe I am a little bit. The thing is I have been stricken with a curse from the baking gods which prohibits me from producing any decent baked good-hence, eliminating me from participating in THE food blogging events of the world. So, I feel a bit left out you see.
UNTIL-I stumbled across a post about the Barefoot Bloggers. A blogging event which incorporates many of my obsessions-cooking (not a lot of baking) and the sometimes stalking tendencies I have towards many Food Network stars. Now I can cook with Ina every other week. We talk, we chat, I spend all my future summers in the Hamptons with her and the elusive Jeffrey. What does he do anyway?
First up on BB, was Herb Baked Eggs-a french inspired dish. Eggs cooked in cream and butter under a crust of herbs and parmesean cheese. This was a nice little breakfast for me to enjoy on a holiday weekend. I sat on our veranda, listening to romantic music, my hair blowing in the breeze under my beret. Ok, I elaborated a bit. I sat on the deck and listened to my neighbors mow thier lawn :(
This dish was really good. I love soft boiled eggs and this was very similar. The outside was nice and firm and the inside was gooey and runny and perfectly set up for dipping with buttered toast. I will definately make it again, maybe playing with different herbs and cheeses.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Exciting new blog!

After a break from blogging, I have started a new one to tie my personal and professional life together and I am pretty darn excited about it! My blog will not just be about recipes, but rants/raves about food, cooking, restaurants and other culinary topics.
My website, EliteEntrees, is currently going through major reconstructive surgery right now and I am anxiously awaiting its completion! I am hoping the new site will bring some much needed conumers my way!
As soon as my photos arrive from Josh, then we should be off and running. Until then, please enjoy some recipes, some pictures and a peek inside my life and business. To start off this culinary adventure, the hubs and I are taking a trip out to the very best in cuisine that this city has to offer-Chili's! Yes folks, even the most adventuresome cooks need a little corporate food now and again. More tomorrows!