Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Then I became a mother...frozen food was a Godsend. You know the scenario; everyone else has been fed, the dishes are done, laundry folded and the foodie who got left out (that's you) needs some sustenance that is nutritional and somewhat palatable. What to do? I started trying out some frozen options when I could make a single serving of bean and cheese nachos (my new mom go-to-meal) in my sleep.
As I have experimented through the years I have discovered many wonderful optins.
In particular I am really enjoying a series of Indian dishes from Trader Joe's new frozen foods section. The masala is some of the best I have had - rich, buttery, flavorful and fresh. What more could you ask for in a single serve frozen meal?
Not to mention the basmati rice that accompanies the dish is fluffy and moist with the perfect amount of cumin seeds incorporated throughout. Give it a try if your looking for a gourmet on-the-go tasteful delight.
Friday, October 23, 2009
We had grill issues and ended up cooking the steaks on a grill pan then transferring to the cast iron skillet and baking for 15 minutes. This proved beneficial, especially in making sure the bacon was cooked through.
Next went in the tortellini I had made prior to the bacon. I aadded some beluga lentils and tossed to coat the tortellini with all the flavors. Covered and simmered on low for a half hour.
A sign you are doing something right - the dog comes to the edge of the stove and goes into a blissful trance by smelling seductive aromas coming off the pan.
Upon serving - top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh bacon bits
Finish it all off with my simple salad rules:
1. Good Lettuce - in this case Mache or Lambs ear
2. A fresh or dried frut - in this case fresh rasberries
3. A crunchy nut or seed - in this case sweet and salty dry roasted crushed peanuts
4. Cheese - in this case gorgonzola
5. Homeade Dressing - in this case Rasberry Honey Mustard Balsamic Vinnagrette
Monday, October 19, 2009
Ayurevedic food sounds kinda healthy, doesn't it? Well it is, but it tastes delicious, fantastcally fresh and flavorful. Plus there's lots of guilt free butter, otherwise called Ghee, in many of the dishes.
Ayurevda is a practice dating back over 2,000 years ago and the main idea is to make food that supports a healthy lifestyle in body, mind and Spirit.
"The ayurevedic cook derives his knowledge of herbs, spices, vegetables, legumes and so forth from the Ayurveda, which helps them maintain physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony.
Even if you are just preparing ayurvedic food to cure a hangover, or get through a nasty winter cold - it's worth taking a little bit of extra time to call upon ancient knowledge rather than running to the drugstore to pump your body full of more stuff your body has to process. It seems like less work in the long run to work with the body to help it heal itself.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Separately I steamed organic baby carrots and added them to the top halfway through baking. All the ingredients were wonderful, but I fear I slightly oversalted the dish, forgetting Velveeta and cream of mushroom soup already contain lots of salt.
I must say though, compared to the other vegetable dishes at the feast, the flavors of the veggies in my casserole tasted like they were on steroids. It was an obvious contrast that proves the astonishing quality betweem food raised with pride and food birthed into a can. Thank you Three Sisters Farm - for raising food with flavor and integrity.
I like the frozen crusts available in the canned buiscuit section at the nearest grocery store. Just prebake one in a pie dish, let it cool, add your ingredients and bake at 450 degrees until a knife comes out clean from the center. Some other combos I like are spinach, bacon and feta cheese.
Apples, blue cheese and ham.
Basil, tomatoes and goat cheese.
Artichoke hearts, Tarragon and Parmesean Cheese.
Cooking any kind of pie always makes the house smell great. Go ahead and give it a try...It's a nice filling comfort food for the fall. Also, quiches heat up very quickly in the microwave and last great in the fridge for up to a week.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Alaskan Summer Brew
Hanger 24 - all varieties
Oh, Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy
How I love thee
Your crispy exterior, your soft creamy topping
Seasoned meat encased in love is what you are
C'mon people? This is good stuff. How do you make a steak taste better? How do you make anything taste better?
Yes, you are right - most Americans will agree that frying something (ie. chocolate bars, ice cream, etc.) is the best way to improve the taste of anything.
I don't know if I agree with this concept, as my first and last experience with a fried snickers bar, left me hurting. But in the case of Chicken Fried Steak - I do agree.
Many sources attribute Chicken or Country Fried Steak's development to German and Austrian immigrants to Texas in the nineteenth century. I personally think it was a gift handed down from the Gods and as a child I would look for it on the menu everywhere we went, all over the United States.
The best Chicken Fried Steak I ever had was at a little train car diner in Jefferson Texas. The steak had been beaten thin and the breading around the meat had been fried perfectly crispy, while still maintainig the juiciness of the meat inside. At the young age of 10 I was asking the waitress what was in the gravy that made it taste so damn good! It was then that I learned about Bacon Gravy. And not long after I learned to make the sinful stuff.
Well, I am a long way off from Jefferson Texas, but I have to tell you that I am fortunate enough to have a superb version of the old Texas classic, right down the road from my home in Redlands. That place is Martha Green's Eating Room.
The steak is done just the way I like it, crispy on the outside and juicy and well seasoned on the interior - but the best part about their dish is of course, the sausage gravy smothered all over the top. You can actually see large pieces of their breakfast sausage dotted throughout. If it's good enough for a self-proclaimed Texas raised CFS expert, then it's worth giving a try yourself. If your dissapointed, well, then you don't really know what CFS is to begin with. :-)
I say, "In my head." It's from years of expiramenting with flavors, imagining what they will taste like in my mind then taking the risk and going for it.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Last week my mind was blown when I heard a guy at Cuca's order french fries instead of rice in his bean burrito. Unfortunately I had already ordered, so I had to go back the next day and give it a try.
I was dissapointed. The fries were soggy even though I ate it within minutes of it being made. I think the texture of food is as important as flavor and because the fries were soggy, they were indeterminable.
The burrito needed something crunchy that would last from creation to consumption. I couldn't solve the delimma and I almost gave up. I had resigned to just get an order of chicken taquitos instead of a burrito. Eureka!If you can put fries in a burrito, why not taquitos?
I was so proud when I ordered because my friend and long-time employee Nacho paused, looked at me and said, "No one in the history of Cuca's has ever ordered a taquito burrito."
Was it good? Did it stay crunchy? Will I order it again? Yes, yes and YES! Take a look below for the cross-section and ordering details.
"I would like an order if chicken taquitos in a burrito, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and all. Please only put two taquitos inside instead of three and just charge me for a regular order of taquitos. Oh, and by the way, Tabetha sent me in for this very special taquito burrito. She's a badass and you should pay her for advertising your restaurant all the time on her FB page and her fancy new blog."
As my hero Anthony Bourdain said, "I've long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we're talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime 'associates,' food, for me, has always been an adventure" — Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly) The sauce is started with cubed pancetta, the meatballs have cumin, parmesean, coffee, oregano and some other secret ingredients I have been encouraged not to share. They were freakin' amazing. The coffee gave the meat an earthy flavor that was utterly complimentary to the rustic tomatoes. I never could have imagined this would work out so well, but then the brilliance continued...
Best part is, that the clean up is easy and the coffee is pure and unburnt. Perfecto!
If you have never tried this ice cream, you are missing out. This stuff is amazing, especially if you have any aversions to traditional heavy cream ice creams. The intense rich flavor is fantastic alone or a perfect mix for crunchy frozen berries, or my favorite, peanut butter.