Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Food: Spicy Grilled Chicken and Roasted Corn Pico Fajitas.

At 7:00 pm the other night,  I said to Mr. A, “I have done nothing about dinner, want to go out?”

Dead silence. Followed by more silence and no comment.

Just a serious stare back in my direction that I translated to “Are you kidding me, cook me some food woman, you are in Culinary School after all.”

If you don’t know Mr. A which most of you don’t since you are my lovely internet blog friends – he is very sarcastic and the funniest person that I know. And since we know each other oh so well, I can read his mind and can tell what he is thinking at all times. At least I have convinced myself of that.

Anyway, back to this fabulous story (sarcasm). Long long story short – I glanced into our refrigerator and found some chicken breasts, 1 lonely ear of corn and a green pepper. And then glancing over to my kitchen counter I spied the mound of heirlooms tomatoes.

So this meal was born and let me just say it was fabulous, quick, easy, mostly on the grill, colorful, and most importantly the husband approved by having seconds and taking it to work the next day.

Now that I have completely bored you. Let’s talk about the food. The combinations of the textures and fresh flavors were the best. This is totally my kind of meal. The roasted corn pico added a crunch and burst of spice.

Have I told you that I always overfill my tortillas? Always. It’s a habit of mine and I’m content with it. My close friends are probably rolling their eyes or laughing because they know this much is true. I do it every single time.

Spicy Grilled Chicken and Roasted Corn Pico Fajitas

Yield = 4 dinner portions

Ingredients:

for the Chicken –

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 2 teaspoon medium chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 heaping teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt

 for the Pico –

  • 1 ear of corn, cut from cob
  • 4 medium sized heirloom tomatoes (combination of yellow or orange and red)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Extra items –
  • grated cheese, I used sharp cheddar cheese
  • tortillas
  • black beans with jalapeno’s

Method:

Preheat grill to high heat.

1. Combine all spices including the salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Coat chicken with oil then add to the spice mixture. Fully cover the chicken with the spices. Let sit in refrigerator, covered, until grill is heated and ready.

2. To make the pico, heat up small stainless steel sauce pan on medium high heat. Add corn kernels to hot pan. Stir occasionally, until slightly browned. Remove from heat.Combine heirloom tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, scallion, lemon/lime juice. Stir in cooled corn. Add salt and pepper to taste. The longer you let stand the more liquid will be extracted from the tomatoes after the salt and lemon/lime juice are added. You can either strain it or use a slotted spoon when serving.

3. Grill chicken until the middle is still moist but cooked through. Remove and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into. Cut on a bias into 1/2 inch thick strips.

4. I heated up a can of black beans with jalapeno. Add those to warmed tortillas, topped with chicken and roasted corn pico, then grated cheese. The order doesn’t matter really…and add however much you prefer!!

Mr. A asked that I take some pictures of his plate. Lots of beans…

There’s the chicken.

August 30, 2011

Life Lesson: Roll with it.

When you don’t have control over the situation – take a breath and roll with it.

-This is what I had to do over the last 3 days…oh the joys of airport delays.

August 29, 2011

Food: Heirloom Tomato and Ricotto Breakfast Sandwich.

If this doesn’t scream summer breakfast, I don’t know what does?!?! Just look at this.

The color of the tomatoes, silkiness of the ricotta, crunchy toast and mouth watery basil…and check out that Kosher salt and pepper…love the combinations!

 Do I need to tell you how much I love heirloom tomatoes? I’m in love in the color and the sweet flavors. It is that simple.

Heirloom Tomato and Ricotto Breakfast Sandwich

for 1 breakfast sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 english muffin, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped roughly
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Toast english muffin. Meanwhile combine eggs and milk and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Scramble on medium heat until done. Sprinkle 1/2 chopped basil on top of finished eggs and fold to combine.  

2. To assemble sandwich, lather ricotta cheese on both sides of english muffin. On one side of the muffin, place 2-3 slices of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on eggs, and remaining chopped basil, then top with other side of muffin.

3. Enjoy warm!

August 26, 2011

Thoughts: It is Friday!

We are off for a quick weekend to the east coast. Friends of ours are getting married and we couldn’t be happier for them and maybe even more happy to escape for a 3 day weekend.

So I thought I would share some interesting maybe funny pictures that I have taken or were taken of me at Culinary School so far. Enjoy the wordless descriptions…and feel free to comment…but only nice ones!

And this has nothing to do with cooking or food..but everything to do with packing a car. What the heck is on their roof? Is that a suitcase I see? Looks like the zipper might have broken…

 

 

August 25, 2011

Food: Spice-Rubbed Pork loin Sandwich with Mustard BBQ Sauce.

Check out this sandwich. You have to try this one. It was super quick for a mid week meal outside in the heat.

Don’t be intimated by making your own bbq sauce. It is a long list of ingredients but it takes less than 10 minutes to pull it all together. Pull everything out of your pantry then just go down the line with your tablespoons and teaspoons, dumping them into a mixing bowl.

I made caramelized onions to top my pork then smothered it with the mustard bbq sauce. The sweetness of the onions and the tangy sauce and spicy pork was a delicious combination!!

And serve it with a side of baked beans (from the can :)) and a healthy heaping of greens!

Spice-Rubbed Pork loin Sandwich with Mustard BBQ Sauce

adapted from CookingLight Magazine

Ingredients:

Sauce-

  • 2 bacon slices, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (about 1/2 of 1 onion)
  • 1/2 yellow mustard (dijon works great)
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pork-

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1-2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
  • sliced good quality bread, toasted if desired.

Method:

Preheat grill to medium high heat – at least 375 degrees.

1. To prepare sauce, cook bacon in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until almost crisp – stirring the pan occasionally. Add chopped onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mustard and next 5 ingredients to pan, and bring to a boil or rapid simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

2. To prepare pork, combine brown sugar and next 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well; rub mixture evenly over pork.

3. Place pork on grill rack. Grill for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers at 155 degrees. Let pork rest for at least 10 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2 inch-thich slices.

4. Assemble sandwiches. Place sliced pork on top of toasted bread and layer with mustard sauce and caramelized onions and, top with remaining bread. Dig in!!

 

August 24, 2011

Thoughts: The Greatest Truths.

The greatest truths in life are uncovered with simple, steady awareness.

August 23, 2011

Food: Jalapeno Cheddar and Asaigo Cornbread.

Cornbread is something that I can eat anytime of the day and with any kind of food. One thing for sure though – I have to have butter with it.

In an effort to change things up a bit – jalapeno’s cheddar and asagio cheese is added.

Sometimes cornbread can be dry and tasteless – not this one. It is moist and has a kick. Just want you need on a warm summers evening.

 

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, At Home.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
  • 2 cups extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons asagio cheese, grated

Method:

1. Combine flour,  cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and the butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved – don’t overmix (Ina Garten said so!). Mix in the 2 cups of Cheddar cheese, scallions and jalapenos. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat over to 350 degrees and grease 9x13x2-inch glass baking pan.

4. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with asagio cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes – or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes for slicing into. Serve warm with butter and sprinkled scallions on top!

 

 

August 22, 2011

Food: Double Chocolate Butterscotch Swirl Ice Cream.

Nothing like a Monday morning post with this healthy treat as the star…

There isn’t much to say about this. I mean ice cream in general really doesn’t need an explanation or even an introduction.

I used the same chocolate that was in the Rich Chocolate Ice Cream with peanuts and coffee. Dagoba Organic Chocolate has little bits of chocolate within the cocoa powder already – so making this double chocolate was an easy step.

No more words to be said about this recipe. It’s a must in the finally days of summer.

Double Chocolate Butterscotch Swirl Ice Cream

1 Quart

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Whole Milk
  • 12 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 6 oz. Semi- sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup melted butterscotch chips

Method:

1. In a saucepan combine the milk, 1 cup of the cream and half of the sugar. Scald.

2. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, cocoa, rest of the sugar and salt to a bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

3. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture and back to the saucepan.

4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until it is nappe (it should coat the back of the spoon without running off). Should take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t let it boil.

5. Pour the custard over the chopped chocolate and let it melt the chocolate before stirring the chocolate custard smooth.

6. Add the vanilla and remaining cream and stir to combine. Strain and chill thoroughly in an ice bath.

7. Add to ice cream machine and process. When it is finished churning, drizzle in melted butterscotch while machine is moving. Once it is combined turn machine off. Freeze ice cream for at least 4 hours or over night!

 

Taking pictures of ice cream is hard. My mouth doesn’t stop watering and I quickly forget that I need to take more pictures while the spoon keeps entering my mouth with large bites of this goodness…ah.

August 19, 2011

Thoughts: Culinary School. Weeks 12 & 13.

Here is a recap with the highlights from the past two weeks of S.O.C. (System of Creation) Days at school! And they just happen to be my favorite day each week.

Mushroom risotto cake with kale puree

Asian turnip chips with slaw

Ginger coconut ice cream sandwiched with a spice cookie

Curry pork meatballs with a curry chutney

Avocado salad with sautéed mushrooms and zuchinni blossom

Espresso cream filled tart with crumbled biscotti topping

Passion fruit sorbet

 

August 18, 2011

Thoughts: Whats new on my side bar?

Have you heard of it? You must.

Instagram is pretty cool. It is a photo sharing tool that I have on my Iphone. I can take pictures and use filters to transform the look and the feel of them. The bonus is that you can view all of them.

See what I mean…here is a tub o’ buttercream.

If you haven’t noticed already, the ‘View my gallery on Instagram’ button is on my right side bar. Scroll down and click to view my gallery.

I don’t have many posted but watch out I’m slowly becoming addicted…

August 17, 2011

Food: Gorgonzola Steak Salad.

This packs a big punch. A big punch of flavor. I absolutely love salads for dinner – they are so filling, especially with some nicely grilled steak on top.

The steak may be the highlight of this salad but I can’t forget the gorgonzola. It is so creamy and rich in flavor. What a great thing to go along with simply grilled steak.

It melts a little too…which is never a bad thing.

And what is not to love on a hot summer’s evening?

I was a little hesitant that Mr. A wouldn’t have enough to eat or even worse wouldn’t even put a fork in it. Get it?

Anyway, he ate the entire thing. Clean plate club. I was happy and so was he. Cheesy, I know.

Gorgonzola Steak Salad

please note that I usually don’t measure ingredients for salads, since each one is personally made – so the list below is more of a guide.

Ingredients:

  • Flat Iron Steak, room temperature, sprinkled with a generous amount of Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Mixed Greens
  • Almonds
  • dried Cranberries
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Garlic Balsamic Salad Dressing

Method:

1. Heat grill to 375 – 400 degrees. Meanwhile, gather up your ingredients.

2. Grill steak to desired temperature. Remember ‘carry over cooking’ happens after the meat is removed from the grill – it continues to cook. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into. While you are waiting for the steak, assemble salad. Mixed greens, almonds, cranberries and gorgonzola cheese.

3. Place a few slices of steak on top and drizzle with salad dressing.

 

August 16, 2011

Life Lesson: Why fret?

If it’s out of your control, why fret about it?

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