I do have to say that, mainly with my new eye opening experiences for authentic Italian cooking, few and simple ingredients make for a more interesting, organic, and beautiful dining experience. Korean food is also much more simple than what we are used to in the states, again, making for a beautifully simple way to create great food. Most of the dishes I cook will be meatless, using more fish than chicken or beef. So if your feeling like a certain recipe sounds great but wishing it had some meat, go ahead and be creative…add it! Don’t forget to tell me how it turned out
I truly hope to hone some culinary skills that express this way of thinking when it comes to cooking. And I hope to share some of that with you!
Click for my Kitchen Bloggings!
In honor of the Oscars and all its class, I thought making an elegant meal, full of flavor, and uniqueness would best suit this occasion…enter SLIDERS! Of course, this was the perfect meal suited for a perfect day, but I have to admit, not so much for the Oscars, but the perfect Spring-like day that it was. Winter is fading and Spring is gracing us with warm sun and singing birds, it would be a crime not to grill out! After a long Winter, I was ecstatic that I could step outside and not feel the chill of blowing winds. Ok, ok, onto the sliders and chips.
Michael and I stopped into a friend’s gallery for a visit, we got onto the topic of my idea for a new blog recipe for sliders. As I listened to a friend, Derek, tell us about a “juicy Lucy”, a burger he saw on the food channel, that involved some type of gooey cheese erupting from the the center. It got me thinking… hm, this could be good! After inviting him over for my spontaneous change of plans to my oh so boring idea of sliders, I ran to the store for some much needed cheese! This is my attempt at the slider or in honor of Derek and his genius idea, the “Dewy Derek”.
For juicy burgers, be sure to salt the meat just before cooking. If this is done well before cooking, the salt will draw out the moisture, leaving the meat dry. I have to tell you, I am with lack of experience in hamburger cooking, as I don’t eat them often or much at all. If and when I do, I believe the quality of meat makes all the difference. For this recipe, I chose to use organic-grass fed beef. I mixed in a bit of minced onion to the meat before forming the mini-patties. I also found it helpful to shape each patty as close to the same size as possible. This helps with even cooking and not drying out or under-cooking some of the sliders.
You will need:
1 lb. ground beef/turkey
2 Tbsp. minced onion ( this does add a bit of moisture)
1 tsp. salt & pepper
Heat grill to 400 degrees. Mix beef/turkey with minced onions. Shape patties a bit larger than the buns you’ll use. The meat will shrink when cooking. I found thinner shaped burgers worked better than round ones. Once patties are shaped, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 1 lb. of meat yields about 8 sliders. Place sliders on grill. Depending on preference of how they’re done, cooking time will vary. While cooking the burgers, start cooking the cheese sauce and caramelized onions.
8 oz. cheddar cheese (other cheeses would be great too! Pepper Jack, Swiss, Blue Cheese…)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup. milk
Melt butter in saucepan, sprinkle with flour and mix until flour in well incorporated. Be careful to not cook the flour too much, it should be a sandy consistency. Whisk in milk until mixed well and add grated cheese. Stir until cheese has melted and is well mixed. I wanted my cheese a bit gooey and not so smooth and creamy, as it would be a bit unmanageable on a slider. If you need to use more or less milk to get the consistency you like, go ahead and eyeball it!
For the caramelized onions, slice 2 onions. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in saucepan and on medium heat, cook onions until tender and golden brown.
Presenting the “Dewy Derek” slider!!
Along side the sliders are my home made chips. Click here to see how to make these crunchy snacks for yourself!
Microwave chips? Yes indeed, you’ve read it right! This is a healthier version of the store bought fried potato chips. If you have the time it’s well worth it. These chips are cooked with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I also find that having a bag of crunchy, salty chips hanging around makes it easy to indulge. This way, you can make only a small amount of chips and leave potatoes in the pantry for future chip making. I think we’re all less likely open the cupboard and munch on a potato!! To make these tasty treats….
2 Yukon Potatos ( serves 4 people)
1 Mandoline or very sharp knife.
Olive Oil spray
Salt and Pepper
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of your microwave. Slice1/3 of a potato into paper thin slices using a mandolin. If you cut the whole potato at once, the extras not cooking in the microwave will turn a pink color. Completely coat the parchment paper with olive oil spray and place the potato slices spaced in a single layer on paper. Spray the potato slices with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to use Organic Olive Oil Spray.
Be sure to turn off the rotating option on your microwave and cook for 5-7 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the cooking strength of your microwave. You may need to rotate the chips, as the chips on the outside didn’t cook as quickly as the ones in the center. Repeat until you’ve used both potatoes!
Eat and Enjoy!
Quiche Lorraine made as easy as un, deux, trois…. with an American accent just like my French. This dish is comfort. Bacon, Swiss cheese, and onions perfectly mingled together a fluffy milk and egg mixture. Traditionally, the French make this dish sans the cheese and onion and use lardon instead of bacon. However, these ingredients in my opinion were wisely added later by Americans, but by no means do I claim it’s better than it’s cousin, the French ‘original’. It sure is one of my favorites and indeed pretty darn tasty!
To start making this extremely easy quiche that can be served as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack, you’ll need the following:
1 cup milk ( to make this lighter, use skim milk-it will cook the same)
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
6 slices of bacon
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 pie crust ( to save time, feel free to use pre-made dough found in freezer section)
1 10 inch tart dish- not familiar with this, click here
salt and pepper to taste- a pinch
* I did add a bit of red pepper because I had it! Feel free to add little extras to yours too, or stick to the ingredients above for the more classic recipe.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line the pie crust dough in a lightly greased tart dish, cutting the edges clean from any overhanging dough. The edges do not need to be crimped, as the tart dish already has pretty crimping on the sides. Be sure to poke holes on the bottom of dough to prevent any bubbling. Bake dough for approx. 10-12 min. or until dough turns a very slight golden brown. It should not be completely cooked, as it will continue to cook later. (pre-cooking the dough makes for a crisp and flaky crust.)
Fry bacon on medium heat until crisp. Dab any extra grease from bacon and cut into small pieces. While bacon is cooking, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Shred cheese and finely chop onion. Line slightly cooked pie crust with bacon, onion, cheese, then cover with egg mixture.
Feel free to sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper for garnish. Bake in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until quiche slightly puffs and knife comes out clean from the center. Cut and serve along with a fresh salad and perhaps a glass of chilled Pinot Gris or hot cup of coffee, to make a light and easy meal full of flavor, anytime!
Real men eat quiche. Right dad?
Today was an opa! kind of day…
I’m told that word can be used for absolutely no reason, so there it is. OPA! Today being absolutely freezing and snowy, I decided we needed some warm baklava to munch on, while we lounged in our jammies. This was a bit of an adventurous decision, as I have never made baklava before, but I must admit, it wasn’t too hard! It calls for very few ingredients, it’s time that needs to be readily available to make this gooey goodness full of honey.
After getting the nuts roasted and chopped, the longest part of assembling this dessert was the layering of the phylo dough. So- if you’ve never heard or worked with this type of dough, it can be a wee bit tricky. However, no need to worry about making phyllo, it can be bought in the freezer section at your local supermarket. Phyllo dough or otherwise known as leaf dough, is extremely thin and fragile and should be used immediately after opening the package. It dries out pretty quick, as I found out near the end of assembling the baklava, and only later to find out that I needed to cover it with a damp towel in between uses. Oh well. Hail to Phyllo!
This is what you’ll need:
1-16 oz package of phyllo dough ( the edges will need to be trimmed to fit a 9×13 baking dish)
1 stick of melted unsalted butter
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 lb. walnuts (I with about 6 oz of sliced almonds)
1 strip of lemon rind
1 c. sugar ( I used about 1/2 c. pure cane sugar & 1/2 c. raw sugar)- the raw sugar has a bit more of a molasses flavor
1 c. water
1 c. honey
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
** a bit on the “wild” side, I did add about 1.5 tsp. of fresh grapefruit juice to the mix. I like to shake things up a bit!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the walnuts in dry skillet until you can smell them. Place in a food processor along with the cinnamon and ground clove, and pulse until nuts are finely crushed.
Grease a 9×13 pan, and place one layer of phyllo at the bottom. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter, and then add another layer of phyllo, and brush with more butter. Continue layering until you have layered about 7 sheets of phyllo.
Sprinkle 1/4 of the nut mixture evenly over the top. Repeat the process of the phyllo/butter layering again, but this time only use about 5 sheets of phyllo. Continue the layering of the 5 sheets of phyllo and 1/4 of the mixture of walnuts. Finish off with 7 layers of buttered phyllo. Be sure to butter the top layer too!
Using a very sharp knife, cut your baklava into triangles. Be sure to trim away any ragged pieces around the edges at this time. Place in the oven, and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown.
To make your syrup, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool before pouring baklava.
Being overly anxious to try it right out of the oven, I decided to partake before allowing the baklava to soak the syrup, and well…next time I’ll let it work it’s magic. Best eaten after an hour or so.
Opa! and enjoy!
After finding a very delicious vanilla bean ice cream, I had inspiration to try and make a perfect pairing with dulce de leche. And, well, mission accomplished. After researching how to make it, this controversial recipe had me a bit worried for my life. So taking to heart the warning of aluminum cans of hot molten liquid blowing up in my face, I decided to go with the “safer” route and ditch the pressure cooker, pots of boiling water and aluminum cans, and decided upon an insanely easy recipe to make this wonderfully sweet treat in a crock pot. I do wonder, why would anyone do it the other way??? I will be sure to make this over and over again ( in my crock pot, of course.)
You need the following-
1 crock pot
aluminum foil- (1 small square)
3 cans of sweetened condensed milk
Be sure to take off the labels from the cans and looks for any big dents, especially around the rim and seams of can. The cans will be under a lot of pressure, so we want to make sure they are air tight! Place foil on the bottom of the crock pot for a little cushion. Evenly spread out the cans so they have room in between them and cover to the lip of the crock pot with water. The water has to cover the cans the whole time it’s cooking. Turn the crock pot on at LOW and leave for 8 hours and that’s it!!!
I suggest that you do this during the morning/early afternoon while you are up and about. I did it a little too late in the day and had to set a dulce de leche alarm! Be sure to handle them securely, as the contents are hot and still under a lot of pressure. Do not drop!! After cooling for nearly 8 hours, this is what awaited me! Yes, I did do a finger dip….YUMMY.
This was a perfect morning sugary treat! I was tempted to drizzle this caramel gooey goodness all over my corn flakes!
This was my first time making dulce de leche, but certainly won’t be my last. It’s also good on muffins, cakes, or even just a nice big spoon full will do the trick.
It also makes for a great homemade gift!
Do you ever go to the store for something and leave with everything else but that? Happens to me all the time. This particular time it was crackers. So, instead of making my way back to the store to chance yet another unsuccessful trip, I decided to make my own crackers. Being the obsessed fan of foodgawker that I am, and updating myself everyday with the new creations of this fabulous site, I knew that this was just the place to do “shopping trip” #2.
Well, I’d say an hour later after “searching” high and low for just the right recipe, tada!!! I found a cracker that would suffice. Anything with cheese sounds great! And I’m not sad to say….this was our dinner tonight.
Ok, ok….I spiffed them up a bit with some prosciutto and a sliver of parmesan…yummy! If this won’t satisfy your tummy at dinner time, keep them in mind for a midday pick-me-up or party snack. Everyone is sure to love them!
To make these quick and easy crackers yourself-
You Will Need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half or cream
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
If you want to jazz it up a bit, sprinkle some sesame seeds, pepper, sea salt, rosemary, or minced garlic on top of crackers before baking. I used a bit of dried rosemary, salt and pepper and they are just divine.
In effort to support cooking with organic ingredients, switch if not all, just one of the ingredients to organic. Get the grocers to give us organics at a lower cost. Every bit helps!
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flour, butter, cheese, and salt until butter is throughly combined. Then add cream/half and half until it pulls together and is no longer sticky. You may need to add a bit more cream to get the dough to make a ball. Once you have a dough ball, put on lightly flours surface and roll out until it’s no longer thicker than 1/2 in. ( they do puff up a bit.) You then can roll back over rolling pin to transfer onto lightly floured or parchment paper lined baking sheet. At this time you may sprinkle with any topping you would like. Cut crackers into rectangles with a pizza slicer. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Eat and Enjoy!
These are a must must must try! After reading through the recipe, I thought, hm…this should work! As some of you know, living at high altitude can be a bummer for us who like to bake. I’ve tried several times to make bread and have it turn out as something more useful for a game of baseball. So- I’ve decided yet again to tread lightly into the world of bread making. To start this adventure off, I wisely decided upon these wonderful morsels of deliciousness.
OK- If you have ever been to Red Lobster and walked out thinking “how on earth do they make those wonderful biscuits!!!” This is your dream come true. When I found a recipe for them on a blog I use often, foodgawker, I too thought my dreams had come true, but was hoping they were every bit as good as the ones at Red Lobster. Since, I’ve made them twice, following the recipe the first time, I decided maybe adding some pepper jack cheese and jalapenos would be a nice change! Let me tell you , they both were absolutely wonderful. I know these will become a quick and easy go-to recipe everyone will love. Try them for yourself tonight!
2 cups buttermilk biscuit mix (bisquick is what I used)
2/3 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese ( be creative and use a different kind of hard cheese for a different flavor)
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. butter
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place biscuit mix, milk, garlic powder and cheese into mixing bowl. Combine until all has been mixed well. Note that the dough will be very sticky. There is no need to knead this dough or wait for it to rise. Once it has been thoroughly mixed, take a spoon and drop biscuit dough onto greased cookie sheet ( I used and organic olive oil cooking spray) Cook for 10-13 minutes or until the tips of dough turn a slight golden brown color. A couple of seconds before biscuits are done, melt butter, oregano, and garlic salt together. When the biscuits are done, immediately drizzle tops with the butter mixture. This recipe will make about 10-12 biscuits (this depends on how generous you are with your spoonfuls.)
Eat and Enjoy!
So in effort to cook more home cooked meals together and use simple but delicious ingredients, Michael and I decided to make prosciutto wrapped salmon with pappardelle and zucchini ribbons. Made with very few ingredients, I didn’t expect such a great fresh flavor. With practically no prep work, it was very easy to assemble. We found that when making the zucchini ribbons, a simple vegetable peeler worked the best! If you have a mandolin slicer that would work great as well, but if not, be relieved knowing there is always a way around lack of kitchen gadgets. Speaking of gadgets, I love my zester. I know it’s not much to get excited about, but there is value in not spending a great deal of time zesting a lemon. AKA Parmesan cheese grater, this gadget comes in handy for all kinds of things and makes zesting a breeze!
If you’re not familiar with the noodle called “papardelle”, let me tell you about it. Made from an egg based dough, this noodle is very rich and fluffy. When cooking these noodles, you want to make sure to preserve the noodles flavor by not overcooking it and, well, making it a limp noodle! The Italians use the word “al dente”, meaning to cook it through but keep it a little firm. Papardelle is most commonly topped with hearty meat sauce, so I decided to switch it up a bit and make it with a light and fresh meatless sauce. My decision was beautiful! Sometimes taking a simple ingredient and trying it in a new way makes cooking fun!
I had never thought of pairing cheese and prosciutto with salmon but, when reading this recipe, I thought it sounded absolutely delicious! This dish called for “fontina” cheese, a soft creamy and nutty flavored Italian cheese that melts well. It is somewhat pungent, so I initially worried a bit about it overpowering the salmon. My worry was quickly gone when I took my first bite. It was a fabulous pair! The saltiness of the proscuitto and creaminess of the cheese with salmon was amazing!
When all said and done, it was an absolutely wonderful dish. We felt like we were at a fancy restaurant, but instead we were relaxed at home with a few extra bucks in our pockets, eating a wonderful dinner just the two of us. There are just a few things I would suggest changing if making this for yourself. The recipe calls for a bit too much lemon zest in my opinion, I would cut what it calls for in half, making the lemon a little more subtle. To cut the flavors and make it a little more complex, I added garlic salt to the pasta-zucchini mix before putting in the vinaigrette. After plating it, I added a few more chives to top it all off.
Being inspired to entertain more, I picked up the cook book with this recipe from Anthropologie ( an amazing store I could spend all day in) called ” food for friends” by Fran Warde. It’s wonderful to use for tasty, easy planned meals, and ideas for parties. I especially like it because it gives you a whole menu to use for dinner parties with serving amounts. What else could you ask for? How about telling you when to prepare certain things the day before and day of your party…wow. It takes a certain weight of your shoulder and this is perfection. I love this cook book. I will definitely be using it for a lot of my ideas. If you would like to pick it up and be inspired to create on your own click HERE.