Saturday, August 29, 2009

I let my blog down...

I said earlier in the week that I would get all of the recipes up that I promised by Thursday...but then... I GOT A COLD...in the middle of Arizona...in 100+ degree weather, I went and got sick! Just so everyone is aware though, I totally blame the freckled one. The one that comes home saying...ugghh...I feel sick, and then puts the air conditioner down to 78 degrees, which is freezing in my opinion. But anyways, thats another story =0)

So where do I start? I guess I should start with last weekend's Piña Colada. I wanted to put a twist on my ALL TIME FAVORITE DRINK, so I decided we should do a strawberry swirl. When I first moved to Phoenix I drank Piña Coladas on a regular basis as a way to cool down, I've outgrown in mind was that I loved mixing it with Stawberry Daiquiri mix, so I figured we should try to make it fancier for the purposes of picture taking. Boy...if I knew how difficult it would be to swirl the dang thing I would have just called it a standard Strawberry Piña Colada. The process of swirling is.... that phase, but one thing I did keepnot as easy as it may seem after many attempts and lots of chugging and glass washing, we achieved this:












Here is the video of how we managed to make the delicious mix :)





video

From the very beginning we should have known it was going to be a looonnng Piña Colada making night :)

video

I will skip all the basic Piña Colada stuff, Ice, Pineapple juice, a little fresh pineapple for texture and of course sweetened coconut cream. I also like to add a dash of cinnamon to enhance the flavor of the coconut.

Here is a video of the freckled one thinking she could do a better job than me at the swirling process :)

video

Hope you decide to try and make some at home :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sooo much Blogging to do, not enough time

So...
I have definitely been slacking in the blogging department. I think my problem started when I figured out you could make fan pages on facebook, in an effort to become fully versed on the facebook edition, I have neglected the thing that started this all.
There are sooo many steps in making everything look good and presentable. It is just like having another full time job. The lighting has to be perfect, the angles right, the food has to be as appealing as possible (in my opinion) so that people will venture and try to make the dishes I am presenting to them. This is what this is truly about, trying to share my knowledge with the people I know and love, especially so they don't call me a million times trying to figure out my recipe :o)

So here is an IOU blog. I will post the recipes to:
Pescado en Escabeche, Habichuelas Guisada, Strawberry Mango Swirl Pina Colada, Stuffed Peppers, Sopa de Pollo con Fideos and Tropical Guava & Cheese Pastries no later than Thursday.

Heres to food blogging and staying on top of the ball!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ODE to..orange, yellows & reds

For the last few weeks I have been dying to get my hands on some perfectly ripened peaches, you know, the ones that you can smell as soon as you walk into the produce section...unfortunately for me all of the fruit in Phoenix seem to be lacking..until today that is! As I was browsing the weekly sale ad's I noticed that Safeway had peaches on sale for 39cents a pound!!! At 39cents who cares if they are perfectly ripened, I could always make a compote or something.
As I strolled down the aisle towards the produce section, a sweet ripe stone fruit scent hit me and I knew I would at least get a good peach or two. I started thinking of what flavors I wanted to get out of this wonderful piece of fruit. I definitely wanted to keep it fresh and and bright.

As I was walking around in circles looking for onions I stumbled upon perfectly vine ripened orange, gold and red tomatoes! My heart did a loopty loop! I've been on the look out for tomatoes that would help me replicate the heirloom tomato bruschetta from Julie and Julia, and there they were in all of their vined glory!!! Then my brain went into overdrive!!! I knew for sure I had no clue what went into the heirloom bruschetta, I also knew that my own bruschetta recipe, which uses balsamic vinegar, would over power the dish. I had the bright idea to use 3 different vinegars to compliment the three different tomatoes. I can honestly say it is one of the best choices I've made in my love affair with bruschetta.
Please enjoy my recipes below, they are not exact, none of my recipes are, you should consider them more of a guideline rather then something set in stone :)









Carmelized Peach w/ mango sorbet and lavender essence sauce
serves 2
1 ripe peach
1 tablespoon light cream cheese
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons Rachel's "calm" yogurt (plum, honey, lavender flavor)(available at Safeway)
1 teaspoon orange zest
juice from 1/4 orange
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
few dashes cinnamon
few dashes nutmeg
agave nectar
dark rum, for deglazing pan
2 scoops mango sorbet
fruit for garnish




Step 1
I added about 2-3 tablespoons of agave nectar to a pan, as it warmed up I halved the peach
removed the pit, I then added some cinnamon and nutmeg to the nectar and placed the peaches face down after about 1 min I turned the peaches over and turned the to flame to low to work on the sauce

(once I was done with the sauce I turned the heat up and added about a shot of rum and cooked it down for about a minute)





Step

Mix the yogurt, ricotta and cream cheese until smooth and creamy

add the orange and lime zest, vanilla,dash cinnamon and nutmeg, mix well

add orange juice, taste, add agave to adjust to your sweetness taste






Step 3

Place the peach on dish, fill pit well with juices from pan, add scoop of sorbet and top with sauce and fanned strawberry or garnish of your choice







Also note that the sorbet acts as a cool surprise since it is practically the same color as the peach!






Monday, August 17, 2009

As if Alton read my mind...Apple Pie

As I lay watching TV I got a sudden craving for Apple Pie...I often get these cravings out of thin air. I ran thru a quick inventory of what I knew we had for sure, and knew a) there were no apples and b) I hate making pie crusts. When the freckled one came in to ruin my thinking time, I had a bright idea to send her to to store to get 2 apples( 1 red and 1 green). After much pouting and borderline tantruming on my part, as if in tune with my cravings, Good Eats came on with an Apple Pie episode. She turned, gave me a wtf look, and I knew I had won! Cravings one Freckled one zero.



I was left with another problem...no pie crust, then it came to me...left over wonton skins!


I've only used wonton skins for rangoons, wontons and as a quick ravioli, so I wasn't sure if it was going to work, but my mind was already in overdrive thinking of how to make my pie. I knew I would have to dice my apples(i ended up with a med julienne), I knew we had sugar, cinnamon, ginger,but no lemons to prevent the discoloration...I had just seen Alton use applejack, so I figured white wine would do the trick...as I went for the wine my eye caught the dark rum so I used that instead. I tasted the mix and wasn't getting that full effect yet, so I added vanilla, a dash of nutmeg and a pinch of salt to capture it. Tasted again...I almost jumped up and down it was sooooo tasty!!






I then grabbed my wontons...unfortunately the edges were starting to dry out so I would have to use a little bit of extra water to seal them, but it worked.


I tried to fry them in a pad of butter, but it didn't work out to well. It had tons of flavor, but the wonton was too chewy. I decided I would have to fry them if I really wanted them to work.





When they were done, I placed them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil...I figured they already had enough sugar, so I sprinkled with cinnamon and enjoyed this new found treat!





If you find yourself craving an apple pie but don't want to wait hours and hours, I recommend trying this out.








The Crab Rangoon Chronicles

OK

So last nights dinner turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. The freckled one and I had our game faces on....ready to rock and roll...we chopped, diced and sliced everything we needed, but since we decided to record a lot of the stuff we were doing it ended up taking about an hour and a half more, by the time we actually ate dinner we were starving, and I can't really say if the food was as good as I thought it was, or it my taste buds were taken over by the hunger pains. I found these recipes on about.com, under Chinese food, but of course I altered them to my liking. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/crabrangoon/r/crabrangoon.htm



Mary's "Crab" Rangoon

8 oz imitation Crab (the freckled one is allergic to shellfish)
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
3 scallions finely sliced
3 Shakes Worcestershire sauce
2 Shakes Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Salt, optional
1 Pkg Wonton skins
oil for frying

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Spoon mixture into Wonton skins, fold and fry.

I originally put 2 minced garlic cloves into the mixture and realized it was too strong, so I added a touch of ricotta and some more cream cheese to balance the flavor. It wasn't exactly like the Rangoon I have had at Chinese and Thai Restaurants but it was pretty close.

I would definitely recommend making the mixture the night before. We had left overs for dinner and fried up some fresh Rangoonsand they were to diiiieeee for today!!


Mary's Sweet & Sour Sauce

1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
5-6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
3 -4 Tablespoons Ketchup
dash of soy sauce
2 teaspoons or so of corn starch, w/ 2 tablespoons of water to make slurry


Again I used the basic recipe off of about.com, but added my own tweaks
http://chinesefood.about.com/od/sauces/r/sweetandsour.htm


when I followed the recipe, brought the ingredients to a boil and added the cornstarch, my sauce turned to glue in about 2 seconds. The flavor was also a little to sour for my taste.

I mixed the vinegar, sugar, ketchup and soy and brought to a light simmer (about 1 t0 1 1/2 minutes) I added my slurry mixture (more water than original) and let simmer for about another 30 seconds. I did a quick taste and added another teaspoon or so of ketchup and mix well and set to the side to cool. This is a recipe that can easily be adapted to your taste buds so taste as you go and tweak as you like!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dreaming of a crab rangoon



SO...I've been dreaming of Crab Rangoon....literally!
I woke up with a...you guessed it...CRAVING for Crab Rangoon/Crab Puffs.....
They are sooo...you guessed again...TASTY! I love them!

Funny story time...
I had a friend in high school who always ate them, I of course was too good for something named a crab rangoon, so every time he ordered them I would cringe and look at him with disgust as he savored each and every gooey creamy bite. Some time last year the freckled one and I went to a Chinese buffet, as I scanned the items I was not thrilled at the choices but I was really hungry, I filled my plate with "fried" rice, wings and those chicken sticks that seem to be at every Chinese buffet across the US...upon my first bite of wing, I was in heaven...it tasted just like an NYC Chinese spot opened to 2am chicken wing...as I said I was in heaven, people don't understand when I say that I miss NYC just for the food, I mean just that, I MISS NYC FOOD!!!
My ADD is kicking in, so let me get to the point...the freckled one filled her plate with wings, won tons, french fries!!!!!, and crab rangoons...I saw her take a bite( I am almost positive the same look of disgust I once gave my HS friend I bestowed upon the freckled one) oblivious to my disdain she too savored every gooey bite.

I had to taste the object of their affection, so I eyed the kitchen door and as soon as the cook came out with a fresh batch I was like speed lightning (according to the freckled one this is a character I made up in my head), over and back at the table in about 15 secs flat...I picked it up, turned it round and round, smelled it, licked it and FINALLY...I bit into it...it was love at first bite...the Crab Rangoon caught me...hook, line and sinker!!


So...today's mission is to recreate a fabulous Crab Rangoon and homemade Sweet & Sour sauce, we (the freckled one/my shorter half and I) will also be making Chicken and Broccoli and Egg Fried Rice.


Stay Tuned for recipes and pics to follow!

Wish me luck!





update:

we somehow managed to make dinner just in time to catch true blood, I will post all recipes and some video links tomorrow.

How did I get here?

I've done it!!!
I've given in!

After many pushes and shoves by the freckled one, I have decided to start a blog.

Maybe it was Julie and Julia...maybe it was the constant nagging from my shorter half, something has definitely possessed me to start this blog...so here we go...

When thinking of what to write about the choice was obvious...FOOD!!
I live for and die for...well my cravings...sweet, salty, chocolaty...and most of all TASTY!!!
I do this annoying "winey" thing where I suck in a little air and click my tongue to see what it will ask for...more often than not, its something "tasty"

My employees, co-workers and shorter half are my chosen lab rats...when I have a craving everyone knows it...they see me run around, do this or that and voila...my craving, or a version of it has come to life.



Here's to many more blogging adventures...with actual recipes and not just rants and raves :)