Friday, May 31, 2013

Pickle Chips?!

A potato chip review. Because I obviously don't give two hoots about my wedding dress. Lies. When I don't post anything all week it's because we're eating vegetable soup in an attempt to be healthy. I'm sure I will regret this on Monday. We're headed up to NY this weekend which means we get a special road meal! I don't want to dirty up the kitchen right before our journey so hoagies it was. I love chips with my sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. The crispy crunch is to die for. Unfortunately, getting chips with things is a sacrifice that I have made for the next 5 months but today I couldn't resist. I have spied these super cute bags of chips with intriguing flavors that last few times I was at the store. Today they were on sale so why not? I mean, everyone loves a good kettle style potato chip!
Spicy Cajun - pretty good but it didn't blow my mind. It was a sweet-hot flavor and will please any bbq chip lover.
Cajun Dill - what just happened?! Oh, my mind was blown. A tangy spice up front followed by straight up dill pickle (but not overpowering). What? Normally I eat a few chips with special meal, I never eat them straight from the bag with no reason but what did I end up doing after I finished my hoagie? Straight from the bag. There are only three chips left for Mr. Lawyer to have with his hoagie (and a bunch of Spicy Cajun. God I'm not a complete fatty). I know Cajun Dill will not be for everyone but if you are adventurous and like pickles give this one a go!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fancy Pants Manhattan

What the heck Philadelphia. It's not suppose to be 92 and humid as heck in MAY. This does not bode well for the summer. Plus I'm out of tonic. Sighs. In order to beat the heat Mr. Lawyer mixed us up some these beauties. The vermouth takes the edge off but it still has a nice burn. Top it off with the fancy Luxurado cherries Mr. Lawyer got for Christmas and BAM! Delicious.
Classic Manhattan
(from the Ultimate Bar Book)
2 ounces rye
3/4 ounces sweet vermouth
2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 to 2 maraschino cherry
1. Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with the cherries.

Creole Hot Pretzels

Two things I'm currently obsessed with: hot pretzels (okay not currently on that one, always obsessed) and creole seasoning. I made up a batch of homemade pretzels because I'm addicted to carbs and did half of them garlic and the other half with creole seasoning. It was good but not as good as the creole seasoned garlic bread. I think it's because the seasoning is actually toasted in the oven for the bread but with the pretzels you sprinkle it on after it comes out of the oven. And yes, that is some delicious jalapeno cheese sauce in the background. Dinner of champions maybe, but not the dinner of fitting into your wedding dress. Damn.
My motto of the month: put creole seasoning on everything!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I asked for a molcajete (a mexican mortar and pestle) on our wedding registry. I love Mexican food and enjoy messing around in the kitchen so why not? It was among several splurge additions to the list that included the creme brulee torch, fondue pot, and kitchenaid ice cream mixer. They're all kind of random but I know I'll enjoy them. The molcajete was loving purchased by a friend and delivered last friday. Upon opening it and reading the seasoning instructions I realized that it was LITERALLY THE WORST DECISION IN ALL OF MY KITCHEN DEBAUCHERY.

Seriously. I can't think of a worst kitchen decision I've made in my ENTIRE kitchen life....well, other than feeding my parents a "butter and chocolate chip sandwich" for their hard work in the garden. I served it to them and then watched them chuck it into the woods from the kitchen window. Such is life. I mean, this ranks up there with The Great Cookie Massacre of 2011.

Okay so I'm mostly joking. After this tedious seasoning process the molcajete will be a rockstar in the kitchen but man, getting one of these things is not for the weak of heart....or upper arm. Bonus wedding gift: helping to tone up these spaghetti arms!
It has taken me a week to season the molcajete and it's not done yet. The instructions that came with it told me grind small portions of uncooked rice in it until the ground rice is not gray, followed by grinding rock salt until the surface is smooth, followed by letting a paste of 6 garlic cloves and one teaspoon of each of the following: salt, pepper, and cumin, to sit for 24 hours. The purpose of this is to wear down the volcanic rock so you don't get any grit in any of the guacamole/salsa/sauces you make. A more authentic way of seasoning is doing the following: 3 turns of uncooked corn, 3 turns of uncooked beans, 3 turns of uncooked rice, followed by the garlic and spices. I followed the instructions that accompanied my molcajete and went through one whole bag (about one pound) of rice to season it. I started in the kitchen but let me tell you, grinding up rice is messy business and I soon moved out to the balcony. As it stands I'm sure I'll be finding pieces of rice around the apartment for the next six months.
So I've been grinding and grinding and grinding uncooked rice and salt for a week. On Sunday I messed around with grinding rice for three hours and could not move my wrist on Monday. I have finally reached the last step in seasoning my molcajete: seeping it a mixture of crushed garlic, peppercorns, salt, and cumin for 24 hours. Hopefully after this I will be able to make guacamole with no grit. If not I'm ready to chuck the hunk of volcanic rock off my balcony. However it has been a good pre-wedding work out for my upper arms.
 Cleaning out rice powder.
 Rice powder. Super exciting.
Getting ready for the garlic/cumin/salt/peppercorn paste!
 Some sites recommend cover the molcajete with plastic wrap if the garlic smell bothers you. I am here to tell you that the only thing the garlic-cumin smell will do to you is make you crave Mexican food with a passion.
Unseasoned vs. seasoned volcanic rock.
Can you see the difference? You can certainly feel it.
The only thing left to do now is name it. I name any major kitchen appliance that I used often. If you spend an inordinate amount of massaging oil into it, hand washing it like a baby, or whispering sweet nothings to a kitchen item it needs a name! Although at this point I think the molcajete has heard more cursing than sweet nothings. Thoughts? I'm thinking about Mortimer or Osito (means little bear, a reference to an old series we watched in Spanish class in high school). It will join the ranks of Reggie the Kitchenaid Mixer, Wicket the Wok, Excalibur and The General. RIP Weggie the basil plant.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hold on to your pants!

Meatball Grilled Cheese. Did I just blow your mind? Move over meatball sub, you just got one upped. This was top of the charts. Everyone knows that meatballs make better leftovers but combine that with a grilled cheese? I was in heaven. The meatballs with the toasted potato bread and the gooey cheese. I even sprinkled a little bit of parm on the outside for some added zing.
Meatball Grilled Cheese
(from My Kitchen!)
Leftover meatballs in sauce
Mozzarella cheese
1. Butter the outside of you bread and place in a warm pan.
2. Layer the cheese, then saucy meatballs, and a little bit more cheese. Top with bread.
3. Cook till golden and flip carefully to brown the other side. If you want to be super fancy (I was) you can sprinkle some parmesan on the outside of your bread, it tastes amazing.

My Boys!

On Monday my darling little brother, aka "the dork", popped in on his journey north. I love it when both of my favorite boys are together because nerdy things like this happen. NERDS.
 While the boys did nerdy video game related things I did what any good future wife/big sister does and whipped up a manly meal for the manly men: spaghetti and meatballs with a side of garlic bread.
Man food and drink. So manly. 
I'll let you in on my new obsession.
Cajun spiced garlic bread!
It's even better than the chili oil garlic bread.
Judging from the lack of leftovers the boys seemed to like it.
Creole Spiced Garlic Bread
(from My Kitchen!)
Bread or rolls
Butter, softened
Garlic powder
Creole Seasoning (I love Tony Chachere's Seasoning)
1. Butter up your bread
2. Sprinkle on the desired amount of garlic powder and creole seasoning
3. Broil until brown

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creamy Peas!

Let it be known that I am not a huge frozen pea fan. I like snow peas and snap peas but regular old green peas? Not as much. However this recipe is divine and I would happily eat more peas. The onion-lemon-cream combination is amazing. I really didn't pick up on the mint too much. It did help that the peas were drenched in butter and cream but hey, if it makes me eat my veggies then I'm game.
This is the second recipe I've tried from my new Fast, Fresh & Green cookbook that I purchased with an engagement party gift card. So far I'm 2 for 2 (Mr. Lawyer is 1 for 2 as he didn't care for the Crunchy Salad). I'm loving this new cookbook! 
Peas with Lemon, Mint, and Scallion
(from Fast, Fresh & Green)
Kosher salt
8 ounces shelled green peas (about 2 cups) or frozen peas (about 1.5 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
1. If using fresh peas: Fill a large saucepan half full with water and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Drop the peas into the boiling water and cook until just tender (taste one or two), 2 minutes for smaller peas, 3 minutes for larger, older peas. Begin timing immediately, don't wait for the water to return to a boil. Use a mesh strainer to transfer the peas to a dish towel or a few layers of paper towels to drain. Discard teh water the peas were boiled in, but reserve the pot.
If using frozen peas: Put the peas in a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes until they're mostly thawed. Spread them out on a few layers of dish towel to drain.
2. Melt the butter in the reserved saucepan over low heat. Add the scallions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream, half of the mint, then lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens slightly and a wooden spoon lives a wide path when scraped across the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Add the peas and stir until they're heated through and well coated with the sauce, 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat, taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately, garnished with the remaining mint.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crunchy Salad

So we have ourselves a hit and a miss. I loved this salad but I enjoy asian inspired dressings and nuts on my salad. Mr. Lawyer dislikes asian inspired dressing and nuts on his salad. That being said I loved the crunch of the snow peas, apples, and nuts. The dressing is tart and intense. It all felt very summery.
Spinach and Snow Pea Salad with Cashews
(from Fast, Fresh, and Green)
Spinach and napa cabbage
Sliced snow peas and apples
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1. Mix the dressing ingredients together and whisk well.
2. Toss the spinach, napa cabbage, apple slices, snow peas, and cashews with the dressing and enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Breakfast Burrito!

I can't keep this one on the shelf! These puppies have been flying out of the freezer quicker than I can make them. The good news? They are inexpensive and easy to can also clean out your fridge which is what I did! I found this recipe for our camping trip but they've been such a big hit I'm going to start scheduling breakfast burrito making parties. This dish has been keeping Mr. Lawyer full till lunchtime. The burritos stay moist and don't get weird like my semi-successful attempt at frozen english muffin sandwiches which developed hard spots when heated and the cheese always melted off.
We're going to have so much fun playing with different flavor combinations: different breakfast meats, cheese, pepper, onions, mushrooms, a variety of spices! I can't wait to make some more.
Breakfast Burritos!
(Pinterest find)
6 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
8 oz shredded cheese
2 large sausages
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red onion
10 tortillas
1. Cook sausage in a large skillet. Set aside.
2. Saute peppers and onions until cooked. Set aside with sausage.
3. Crack your eggs in a bowl and mix in the sour cream. Then scramble the eggs in a large skillet.
4. Add the sausage, peppers, and onion to the scramble eggs. Mix well. Add cheese and mix some more.
5. Time to stuff your tortillas! Place the desired amount of scrambled eggs onto the center tortilla. I had medium sized tortillas so I went with about 1/2 cup. Wrap it up like a burrito: fold in the sides and then roll from top/bottom. Place all the burritos on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until semi-frozen. This helps get rid of the moisture so it doesn't get soggy.
6. Once the burritos have been cooled in the freezer wrap them in tinfoil for camping or plastic wrap/tupperware for home consumption. Store in the freezer until you want them.
7. Heat them up! For camping heat them up in the coals. For the microwave cover the burrito in a damp towel and microwave for 1 minute, flip the burrito and microwave it for another minute. Let cool and enjoy!
Heating them up on our morning campfire.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kitchen Crushes

Cute kitchen towels!
Mushrooms & Pans
 Cookbooks and Cooking Magazines!
 I know you can find everything online but I really like having a real cookbook or magazine in my hands. 

Hoisin Stir Fry

I do love a good stir fry. This dish hit the spot and it had the added appeal of having a simple and easy sauce (no messing around with cornstarch to thicken it up). The hoisin sauce adds and interesting flavor and the red pepper flakes add some zip. I was a tad lazy and picked up a pre-made stir fry package from the produce section of WF. They have an amazing variety of combinations and the price wasn't awful.

Hoisin Beef and Veggie Stir Fry
(adapted from Real Simple)
Rice, desired amount
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound flank or boneless sirloin steak, sliced into thin strips
Salt & pepper
Desire Veggies (I used mushrooms/snap peas/asparagus/shallots)
Oil for stir frying
1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, ½ cup water, soy sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes.
2. Bring hoisin mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 1½ minutes. Pour into a bowl. Set aside.
3. Season steak with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
5. Wipe out pan and add more oil. Stir fry the veggies until done.
6. Return steak to wok with veggies and add the hoisin mixture. Stir-fry until warmed through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately over rice.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Salad

Yum yum! This salad was a nice fresh taste of summer. You get a nice burst of sweetness from the red pepper and corn. A bit of spice from the onion, cumin, and hot sauce plus the earthiness of the black beans to even it all out. I do believe that this dish will be making a return during the summer season.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
(from Rachel Ray)
1 can, 14 ounces, black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used sriracha)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss and serve.

Waste of Wine

This recipe did not wow me. It was not overly flavorful. I think I would rather have had the glass of wine rather than using it to marinate the steak! Or use the wine for a reduction. It did turn the steak an interesting purple color that made it difficult to tell how well cooked it was.
Red Wine Marinated Steak
(from the Food Network by Bobby Flay)
4 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds flank steak, butterfiled
Salt and pepper
1. Whisk together shallots, wine and olive oil in a large baking dish. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Heat grill to high.
3. Remove the steak from the marinade and blot with paper towels. Lay on a flat surface, cut side up, and season with salt and pepper. Brush the outside of the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the steak over high heat until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Plymouth Gin

The bottle is empty. That's my review.
This was a very good gin. So much so that Mr. Lawyer kept sneaking it and it didn't last that long at all. It has a very smooth and traditional taste. Added plus: the bottle is pretty cool.

Spicy Garlic Bread

Just a quick little change up to your everyday garlic bread: add a little bit of chili oil to the butter for some zip! It was a nice spicy change. Plus a good way to use up my asian chili oil.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Make Your Own!

It's been a serve yourself-make your own-toppings bar type of week.
Monday and Tuesday were build your own grilled cheese nights served up with my tomato-orzo soup.
 Mr. Lawyer is the best grilled cheese maker I've ever met!
 Tonight was make your own BLT night.
Yum yum!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Original!

My dad sent me this picture (and a hundred other epic photos from the amazing and awkward 1990s) with the coleman cooler that inspired my recent purchase!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Early Cinco De Mayo!
I decided to start my mexican feast early was we will be engaged all weekend and I will not be able to make a proper celebratory meal.
Here is my before picture. Look at all that deliciousness! 
 The aftermath. 
It was delicious.

Taco Taco!

You really can't go wrong with a taco or quesadilla. This recipe did not disappoint. Mr. Lawyer inhaled three of them in rapid succession. Sadly, I only had one because I had eaten half of the guacamole before he got home. It's an addiction. I made it and put it in the fridge so the flavors could mingle. I kept going back, peeling off the plastic wrap, and scooooooooop. I can't get enough of it.
The potatoes were an interesting addition that I wouldn't have thought of. They were good! And nothing beats a onion/pepper/mushroom mixture. The only part I skipped was adding the crema/sour cream to the mixture at the end. I served it as a traditional topping along with the homemade guacamole, salsa, and shredded cheddar.
 Naked Taco!
Fully Loaded Taco!
Poblano, Mushroom, and Potato Taco
(From the Food Network Magazine)
4 medium poblano chile peppers
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
12 ounces cremini and/or white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche or sour cream
Juice of 2 limes
Freshly ground pepper
Corn tortillas, warmed, and assorted toppings, for serving
Directions:1. Roast the poblanos directly over the flame of a gas burner or under the broiler, turning with tongs, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate and let steam until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Scrape off the charred skin with a paring knife; remove the stems and seeds. Cut the poblanos into strips and set aside.
2.Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large nonstick skillet and cover with cold water; season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Wipe the skillet dry.
3. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. While still hot, sprinkle with half of the herbs, and salt to taste. Discard the excess oil and wipe out the skillet.
4. Heat the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining herbs and the garlic; cook 1 minute. Add the roasted poblanos, crema, lime juice and a few spoonfuls of water; stir until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the potatoes and mushroom mixture in tortillas with assorted toppings.