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!