Saturday, November 27, 2010

Random Pop Corn Variation

This is great. I accidentally purchased olive oil infused with hot chilies. This was a pleasant surprise when I drizzled it per usual on my pop corn. Just a few days ago I did something crazy.
I put my spicy olive oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt lemon pepper all on my freshly popped corn... Holy cow. It was so delicious. After posting this I am up the stairs to make some more, no joke. You can try anything on your pop corn. And any variation of this you want. I like getting the really good quality olive oil to drizzle on things I am not going to cook or have already cooked. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do!

Marinated Mushroom Pastry

I am really trying to enjoy mushrooms. I try very hard, yet have not required the taste for them. However, my family loves them and I enjoy cooking with them. For this fast and easy dinner, I cubed four large Portobellos and marinated them. I was not at all sure how they were going to turn out, and I certainly was not going to taste test (I know, that is beyond sad)! BUT! My family loved it and cannot wait until I make it again and/or post the directions! So, here they are kids!

You will need:
~Four large Portobello mushrooms, cubed into 1x1" pieces
~Three TBL Balsamic Vinegar
~1.5 TBL Olive Oil
~Three Cloves Garlic, crushed
~2 tsp coarse, sea salt

~Two puff pastries, thawed
~Asiago Cheese, shredded (opt)

Take each mushroom and wipe clean with a dry paper towel or a dry cloth of any kind. Just make sure you get all the dirt off, but do not rinse! Mushrooms get really slimy and start to absorb everything under heavy moisture. We want them to do that, but with the vinegar, not muddy water! I use the whole mushroom, including the stem. It smells the same, so I assume it tastes at least similar, with maybe a texture difference.
Place in a bowl and pour over the vinegar and olive oil and then add the garlic and salt. Mix thoroughly. Let this sit for an hour or two, in the fridge if you have room and stir a couple of times every now and then to mix it up. This is the time to set out your pastry if you are like me and use frozen ones. If you haven't looked into making your own puff pastry, you should! Then head to your local market and buy some frozen, pre-made p.p.
After letting the mushroom marinate, put half of them on one side of the pastry leaving about 1 inch to 1.5 inches for you to grab onto and roll it up. The pastry is actually very durable and can take you pulling it over the mushrooms and stretching it to the other side. Leave the seam at the bottom, against the cookie sheet. Any little buys trying to escape from the end, squish back in and pinch the ends together. Brush the top with olive oil and make a few slices in the top and then sprinkle with your cheese, asiago is the one my family liked, and if it were me eating I would have used a vegan mozzarella! Bake at 350d until golden brown... I think it was about 30 to 35 minutes... Keep both eyes on it after 20 minutes or so.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Enchiladas, Another Spin!

Too bad for all you lookers, I ate these buggers before I made it to my camera! Imagine then, if you will, the best looking enchiladas you can and add some love on top and you have it!

I cannot tell you the depth of my pepperoncini addiction. I eat these every day. And when it came to putting the entire contents of my fridge into these enchiladas, I did not spare them my peppers. You will like.

Grab from the Kitchen:
~ Tortillas, flour and flexible
~Cheese, mozzarella and cheddar, vegan or not
~Black Beans
~Green Peppers
~White Onion
~Kalamata Olives
~Favorite Enchilada Sauce, I like to make mine
~..... I think that was it...

So. Pile everything in the middle of your tortillas, place your mozzarella on top of the pile, drizzle a little sauce in there, roll it up and place it in your baking dish. Drizzle the rest of the sauce on top, put the cheddar on and bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes at 350d. I always like to get the cheese just browning before I pull it out. I guarantee you will love the combination here and the veggies, being fresh but hot add a great flavor to the enchiladas that is usually missed when the veggies are sauteed first. Oh baby. Yum.

Farfalle Salad

I love Farfalle. I know I am a child for saying that, but for farfalle, I will do anything. These great flavors came to me because of their colors and the idea that I can put anything into a pasta salad. Sorry for the poor photo, the light in my house is not that great after dark and I didn't have time to set up lighting. I guess to get the full affect, you will have to make it yourselves!

You will need:

~Farfalle, cooked, rinsed in cold water and set aside
~Asparagus, steamed, chopped, set aside
~Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in halves
~Red Bell Peppers, chopped
~Small White Onion, finely chopped

~Balsamic vinegar, get a good one!
~Extra Virgin Olive Oil, again, a good one!
~Sea Salt
~Fresh Basil and Italian Parsley

There is no trick to how you do this, honestly. I like to keep the farfalle warm as well as the asparagus and then put the oil, herbs and onion in. This will allow for the flavors to marry each other while the dish cools. As they are getting hitched, prepare your other veggies and toss them in. Add the Balsamic and then salt and toss one last time. Cover and cool. It is extra tasty if you let it settle into the married life for a few hours in the fridge before eating!

This is somewhat of an uninspiring post with a very uninspiring picture, but I urge you to try this recipe! It is so yummy!

Stuffed Dates~ Oh yeah....

My mom made these when I was a kid and I am sad to say that I didn't partake in them too often because I thought dates were weird and looked like... ummm, gross. In these last several years, I have found myself craving all these dishes that we had prepared for us as kids, even those I did not like. It is weird how that happens.

My mother's birthday was near the beginning of the month and as a surprise, I made a Mediterranean style dinner for her and the dates were included. Making them with my grandmother, her mother, was a real treat. She told me that the recipe came from a roomie from her college days and that her mother would always send these in a shoe box for them to enjoy. It is so neat how all of these recipes travel through different people and changing times. I am now making that faster by putting this great recipe on the internet for all to see. I hope it will start a chain reaction that will bring people closer and generate feelings of family, tradition and home.

You will need:

~Dates, pit them yourself for the tastiest ones!
~Peanut butter
~Powdered sugar or superfine sugar of any kind

Simplest recipe ever. Put your dates, fill in the cavity with peanut butter and roll the whole thing around in a bow of the sugar. Eat.

I like mixing in cinnamon or cloves or other spices with the peanut butter. Pick and choose your favorite spice combo and stick with it. These are a great treat to gift because they do not spoil easily nor lose their shape or what not. They look rustic and homemade while keeping an elegant feeling coming from their origin. A plus is that they are pretty healthy too! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let's Play Catch Up!

Hello everyone!
It has been a while but I have been doing a lot of cooking during my internet absence!
I have some great new recipes to add and some others that I am perfecting and a whole lot of photography to go through! During this season there are several great reasons I call it my favorite.

Firstly, all of the summer veggies are going on sale at the farmer's market and I have eaten all of the fresh recipes I can handle so it is time to do some canning! Pickling, preserving, baking to freeze, stock making, etc.

Secondly, this season makes me want to do nothing but build a ridiculous and unnecessarily large fire and bake.

Thirdly, I love oranges and here they come!

I am going to touch pretty heavily on all of these and have some, if I dare say so, spectacular recipes to go with.

I have missed you guys! So here we go with what I have been doing!

PS The flowers here are called Nasturtiums. They are not only hearty, beautiful and easily grown, they are also really delicious! They have a nice peppery flavor and are slightly spicy too!