Friday, July 10, 2009

Hell YES! Corn Bread.

I HATE dry cornbread, but I love the grittiness and sweetness of it.
So, I decided to mess around with a cobbler recipe I have and see if I could just switch it up to make it more savory. This is what I came up with.

It is so good you'll have to fight the urge to just eat the whole thing with a spoon by yourself- just a warning for those of you dieting!

So, here is the recipe:

1/2 C. yellow cornmeal
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. room temp water
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 oz. canned green chilies
1 Tbsp. cold butter chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. fresh minced cilantro

Of course, if you aren't into the spicy thing, you can drop the cumin, cilantro and red pepper. But at least TRY the green chilies. They add something special and they taste amazing. They also give a little bit of excitement to the texture.

Grease a deep dish with something like Pam and sift some cornmeal on the dish.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl except for the butter.
Stir until the batter is nice and well mixed

Drop in the butter chunks. They will show up nicely in the finished product as bursts of flavor.

Put the batter in the dish, put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour.
I didn't watch the time closely, so you'll have to babysit it after 45 minutes. Sorry.

Don't forget to butter the top as soon as it comes out of the oven. It adds calories, but just makes the dish heavenly!

It comes out moist and springs back at the touch and is just amazing.

If you want to spice it up even more, you can put a little white pepper in the corn meal that you sprinkle on the dish prior to pouring in the batter.

Let me know if any of you try it, I would love to hear your feelings about this "bread".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Asian inspired Chicken and Couscous Dinner

The chicken in this dinner was marinated in a soy/orange juice mixture and then seared on each side on the grill. I then left it to finish cooking at a low temp to keep the moisture in.

The side dish of honey, sesame oil and sesame seed glazed baby carrots, with a hint of red pepper for heat, really highlighted the saltiness of the soy in the chicken.

For the grain, I made couscous with some dried cranberries, pine nuts and red onion folded in and then accented it with a hint of orange zest to compliment the citrus in the chicken.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Feta-Spinach Stuffed Turkey Burgers

This weekend my nephews came to visit and told me about this "gross" gourmet food they had, stuffed turkey burgers. Of course, I thought that sounded delicious.

So.... here we go!

I mixed ground turkey, fresh basil, panko bread crumbs, ground pepper and kosher salt. Then I made some thin patties.

Next, I cut up some fresh spinach placed it with some basil/tomato feta into the middle of two thin patties and sealed the edges. Then I coated them with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I brushed them lightly with some extra virgin olive oil on each side.

Then I pan seared them (with some olive oil in the pan to prevent sticking) on both sides on medium high on the stove top.

Then I placed the patties in the oven to finish cooking. I placed the temp. at 350 degrees and cooked them for about 30 minutes until the turkey was obviously cooked through.

While they were cooking/baking, I made a yummy topping with some miracle whip and fresh herbs from my garden: spicy globe basil, lemon basil and sweet basil.

I placed the ingredients in the food processor with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I only had to hit pulse a couple of times and it was done!


I placed the patties on a nice roll, with some fresh leaf lettuce from my mom's garden and the flavored mayo. I wish I had had some tomato, but I was fresh out!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I asked my husband what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he told me two different cakes, or so I thought at first.
Then I figured it out how to incorporate them into one very AMAZING cake!!!
So, here is what my mother and I concocted. A german chocolate caramel ice cream cake!


First what we did was make two layers of devils food cake.

Then we softened and mixed up some vanilla/caramel ice cream.

We took the softened ice cream and pressed it into the same size cake pan as the two layers of cake.

I used plastic wrap to line the pan and then pressed crushed oreos into the top of the ice cream.

After power freezing it in my freezer and letting the cakes cool we put them together into this hamburger of cake and ice cream.

Then my mother did the huge task of icing the cake. It took two sessions of icing with some serious cooling in between to keep the ice cream from melting.

This isn't the best pic, but it shows the layers. NUM YUMMY!

Happy Birthday James!

He's not really 15, but 30 candles would have been overkill!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quick and Fresh Pasta

Whenever I am pressed for time and want something somewhat fresh and easy, I resort to this old standby. Here are the ingredients that I tend to use most of the time.

Some kind of fresh pasta from the supermarket (tortellini, ravioli or agnolotti by Buitoni work)
Pine Nuts
Butter or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Tomato
Sweet Basil and/or Lemon Thyme
Pancetta or Proscuitto
and some Pesto Sauce if you like

Slice up the tomato to whatever size you want it to be in the end.

Boil your pasta. You can add some olive oil to the water if you like.

Put about a tablespoon of butter or olive oil the pan with the meat, the herbs and the nuts. Saute on medium heat (careful not to burn the nuts) until the meat starts to curl from being cooked. For this dish I used butter and pancetta. I also added a little bit of kosher salt and pepper here.

Here are a couple of sprigs of lemon thyme from my garden. I haven't really had an easy time finding it anywhere. You can use regular thyme or just not use any at all! Also, you can remove it later so you don't have stick-like herbs in your food. Or, do what I did after this shot was taken, take it out and pull off the leaves to put them back in the pan! It made for a nice photo to have the full stems in the pan, but not for nice texture.

After I drain my pasta, I sometimes add a little olive oil to keep it from sticking to itself (if I hadn't already added it to the water before I added the pasta) and give it a little pepper and kosher salt, because it makes me feel cool to use my fingers to add salt. Foodnetwork does that to you.
Also, to add a little different flavor you can use white pepper. It doesn't add as much to the color of the dish, but it has it's own unique flavor. I used both freshly ground white and black pepper for this particular dinner.

The next step is simple enough. Add your nuts, herbs and meat to the pasta.

Add your fresh tomatoes and your cheese. I am a big fan of fresh parmesan. I like to add fresh tomatoes to the pasta to lighten it up a bit b/c of the oiliness of the nuts, butter/oil and meat.
Add some more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, if you like. Here is where you would add the pesto sauce if you wish, I would only use two tablespoons or so.

And here you go!

This meal takes me literally about 15 minutes to make, and we all love it.
I especially love the way it looks garnished with some sweet basil from my very own garden!