Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Banana S'mores!

I always hit a wall in July because summer camp is exhausting. This never ending heat is not helping one bit. It was twenty degrees cooler back home on the lake and it's making me incredibly jealous/homesick. As a result my kitchen gets a bit of a break and we resort to salads, tuna melts, pasta and other simple meals. I just don't have the energy or motivation to try out a new recipe!
You can kind of make out our banana in this picture.
We went camping this past weekend and tried out a new pinterest find: Banana S'mores! Or Campfire Banana Splits. It's pretty simple: you peel a banana, slice it down the center, place it in foil and top it off with some yummies. You could go the s'more route and add chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and sprinkle the top with graham crackers. You could also go with a chocolate and peanut butter route. Then you wrap it all up and throw it in the fire! Well, by the fire. The banana gets all hot and soft and all the toppings melt together. Delicious!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gin, Gin, Gin

Today was hot, hot, hot.
Obviously this means it's a good time to try out my latest gin purchase: 
Citadelle Gin from France.
I bought it because it has a cool bottle and was on sale. It has been on my list of gins to try but really, those were the defining reasons. It's a delicate gin. The juniper is on the back end and not overpowering. It smells very botanical but I'm not sure which of the 19 ingredients I'd say stands out the most. It's made in copper stills over a naked flame which is pretty impressive. All in all it's very drinkable but not my Hendericks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Super Sauce

Tonight Miss Amanda came over and we had a super fancy meal of spaghetti and yummy sourdough! We pumped up our on sale jar of sauce with some sauteed turkey, onions, green peppers and a heaping of cayenne pepper. It's a quick and semi-healthy way to bulk up some sauce. One day I'll make some fancy homemade sauce....one day...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Veggie Pasta

This was on my list for cheap and healthy recipes. It delivered. Under ten bucks for the whole meal it fed the two of us and there are enough leftovers for tomorrow. Obviously there isn't any crazy in your face flavors like bacon or a cream sauce but it was still really good. The dish had nice, simple veggie flavors. It was a nice way to get a healthy does of veggies and you could you use whole grain pasta for an extra healthy punch. And quick! It was so quick and easy.
Farfalle with Mushrooms and Spinach
(from Better Homes and Gardens)
6 ounces dried farfalle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sliced portobello or other fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups thinly sliced fresh spinach
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
1/ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Cook farfalle according to package directions. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are nearly tender. Stir in spinach, thyme, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until heated through and spinach is slightly wilted. Stir in cooked pasta; toss gently to mix. Sprinkle with cheese.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grandslam Breakfast!

I love, love, love breakfast food which means I loooove breakfast for dinner. This was a semi-clean out the fridge meal and it came out beautifully. I had half a red onion and a getting soft tomato that I was going to add to the scrambled eggs. When I did a little research I found that it was a popular Venezuelan breakfast dish called Perico! This sounds much more sophisticated and worldly than "Onion and Tomato Scramble!" It was a delicious change up from plain scrambled eggs.

The other leftover that made itself useful was the bacon and brown sugar seasoning from the Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Poppers. Essentially I made my Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon with the spicy sugar-creole mixture (I had about 1/4 cup leftover from the popper recipe). Man oh man was that a hit. The bacon started off nice and sweet and then the spicy smokey flavor finished it off. 

To round out our breakfast for dinner we had some buttermilk waffles (from some fancy mix we were gifted) topped with my precious Vermont maple syrup. We topped the eggs off with some Cabot Cheddar so it was a very Vermont themed meal! 
Venezuelan Perico
(Scrambled Eggs with Onion and Tomatoes)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium tomato, chopped fine
1 green pepper, chopped fine (optional)
4-6 eggs
3 tablespoons cream or milk
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk eggs together with cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Melt butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet.
3. Sautéed chopped onions over medium heat until translucent.
4. Add tomatoes and peppers and cook over medium heat until soft, 8-10 minutes.
5. Pour eggs into skillet and cook gently, stirring them lightly and flipping them as they cook.
6. Cook to desired doneness, serve and top with cheese.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweet & Spicy!

This is hands down the best appetizer I've had in a long time. Mrs. T whipped up a batch of these this past weekend at the shore and they were to die for. I loved them so much that Monday after work I ran to the store to pick up the ingredients and we had jalapeno poppers for dinner! The sweet and spicy play off each other so well....plus it can't be bad if it's wrapped in bacon! The original recipe used chili seasoning but we subbed Tony's Creole Seasoning which was amazing.

My six jalapenos were very large so I doubled the cheese filling and it worked out perfectly. My bacon didn't cook evenly, especially on the bottom, so next time I will try baking them on a wire rack or pre-cooking the bacon a bit. The only other issue was the bacon shrinking and semi-falling off on some pieces.
Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Poppers
(adapted from Taste of Home)
6 jalapeno peppers
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (double if needed)
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese (double if needed)
6 bacon strips, halved widthwise
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon creole/cajun seasoning
1. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cheeses until blended. Spoon into pepper halves. Wrap a half-strip of bacon around each pepper half.
2. Combine brown sugar and chili seasoning; coat peppers with sugar mixture.
3. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until bacon is firm.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!

 Happy Fourth of July! This is the first year that I can remember not spending with family so I've been a bit mopey today. The past couple of years we've been at the shore and before that I was on the lake with the Nelsons. I miss family and cookouts! So I tried to make a spicy firecracker of a burger to celebrate. However, it wasn't that spicy! I don't think my jalapeno was up to par. It still tasted delicious but it was definitely more of a savory flavor. I halved the recipe and added half a cup of panko bread crumbs.
Spicy Turkey Burgers
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
2 pounds lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 fresh green chile peppers, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1. Preheat the grill for high heat.
2. In a bowl, mix the ground turkey, garlic, ginger, chile peppers, red onion, cilantro, salt, soy sauce, black pepper, paprika, mustard, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 8 burger patties.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place turkey burgers on the grill, and cook 5 to 10 minutes per side, until well done.

June Round Up!

Behold my random orphan pictures from June!
It's always important to keep an eye on the freshness of your herbs and spices! The last time I made a spicy dish with cayenne pepper it wasn't that spicy and we were sad. So I picked up a new bottle for the ribs and man oh man could you taste (and see!!) the difference. The old bottle was something I had inherited from a former roommate so I'm sure it was ancient.
Sandwich Bar complete with Grandma's Pickles! The sad part is that's not even all the mustard in my fridge. I do love a good mustard.
The yummy Balsamic-Eggplant Crostini things that Jackie brought to our fancy drink party. Delicious.
There was a running bet for most of the school year about successfully graduating and getting one of my famous roast chickens. I'm proud to say I lost!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Slamming Schnitzel

Mr. Lawyer has been wanting to cook more but we're never home! Today we were finally home alone for the whole entire day. That means someone made a mess in my kitchen! But it was delicious. The pork was tender inside and crispy outside. The mushroom sauce was heavenly. Definitely a keeper. It was good without the sauce so you could omit that to be a bit healthier, maybe top it with some kind of apple slaw/chutney thing. 
Butter Schnitzel
(from allrecipes.com)
6 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
olive oil as needed
1. Pound the pork chops with a spiked meat mallet until 1/4 inch thick; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper. Press the pork into the crumbs to bread thoroughly; set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and sliced mushrooms. Allow to simmer and cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir together the cornstarch and water, then add to the mushroom sauce. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork cutlets a few at a time until golden brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with reserved mushroom sauce.

Naked Potato!

This recipe looked interesting but wasn't really any better or worse than a regular baked potato although I did enjoy the crisp-chewy crust it created. Evidently par-boiling the potatoes, as opposed to just throwing them into the oven, helps make them nice and fluffy on the inside. If I were to do it again I would cut the potato into smaller pieces so I had more of the flavorful crust part.
Naked Baked Potatoes
(Pintrest find!)
Russet Potatoes
Olive Oil
1. Peel potatoes and boil in salted water for 5 minutes. While boiling potatoes preheat the oven to 375 and heat the baking pan (supposedly this helps reduce sticking).
2. Drain water and let potatoes cool for 5 minutes.
3. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 60 minutes, turning them a couple of times during baking.

Pretty Beverage Party!

I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos but it was a party and we were....distracted. You're lucky I got pictures at all! The first time I had these daiquiris was last summer down at the shore. Mr. Lawyer's mom made them and they were to die for. In an shopping adventure I would like to title: when grocery stores get *too* healthy, I couldn't find any sweetened strawberries so I just add 4 tablespoons of sugar to the mix. I also had to thaw the strawberries out a bit because my poor little blender couldn't handle them. These are the perfect treat to beat the heat!
Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris
(from The Taste of Home Test kitchen)
3/4 cup rum
1/2 cup limeade or lemonade concentrate
1 package (10 0unces) frozen, sweetened sliced strawberries
1 to 1-1/2 cups ice cubes
fresh strawberries to decorate optional
1. In a blender, combine the rum, limeade or lemonade concentrate, strawberries and ice. Cover and process until smooth and thickened (use more ice for thicker daiquiris). Pour into cocktail glasses.
2. Garnish with fresh strawberries if desired. Enjoy!

Next up was some Whipped Cream Soda. Delicious. The combination of whipped cream vodka and ginger ale tastes like cream soda. We added some whipped cream for decoration but it was totally unnecessary (and looked gross once it started to dissolve). Meanwhile the boys made manly drinks like Manhattans and played with bourbon. Gross.
Whipped Cream Soda
(a friend had it in a NYC bar and I loved it)
Whipped Cream Vodka
Ginger Ale
1. Mix 1 part vodka with 2 parts ginger ale.
2. Enjoy!