2 new Recipes for your Summer Time Meals!

I’m not going to lie one of my favorite foods during summertime is Potato Salad. I love a great potato salad but honestly if its always the same mayonnaise based dish it can get heavy and old. So back when I was cooking for “Sunday Night Dinners” with some friends at Southeastern I created this recipe, and it has become one of my favorite “Summertime” side-dishes. It is light and flavorful while still fulfilling that starchy need when eating a burger or grilled chicken, or is delicious just on its own as my friend J.D. who is Vegan can attest to.

Warm Dill Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

4 good sized red skinned potatoes (washed and cubed)
1 handfull Dill (minced) and by handfull I mean a good amount enough to coat each potato with a generous amount of lovely green flecks
1 1/2 Fresh Lemon (Juice)
Olive Oil to Coat
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cube up your potatoes and get them in some boiling water. Cook for about 15 mins or until Soft.

2. When your potatoes are ready mix the potatoes dill, lemon juice and olive oil in a good sized bowl. You want the potatoes to just start to break apart, creating a slightly “sticky” and thick salad.

4. Season to taste and BAM delicious super easy potato salad.

 

The second recipe I have for you is a new one for me. I have never Roasted tomatoes, never even really considered it. But As I was searching for new things to try for our menu last week, I came across a recipe for these little beauties and the recipe said “they are like sundried tomatoes only better!” I was immediately curious. Making them this week I found that not only are the super easy and make your house smell devine but they do indeed taste like Sundried tomatoes only better! Here is my adaptation of the Recipe I found this week.

8 – 10 “Super Cherry” or Small Beefsteak tomatoes (Cored and de-seeded)
4 Garlic Cloves (Skinned and Cut in Half)
4 Sage Leaves (Ribboned)
Olive Oil to Coat
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Ok First pre-heat your oven to 325

2. Core and Deseed your tomatoes. To Core the tomato, take a paring knife (or small knife) and cut around the stem at a downward and inward angle. To de-seed the tomato stick your finger in the hole (created by coring) and find the hollow “Seed Cavities” of your tomato, using a hooking motion with your finger loosen up all the gel seed goop from the side and bottom of the tomato, then flip the tomato out so the hole is facing your cutting board and give it a few good shakes (trying not to fling seeds everywhere.) you can also use a bowl to catch the seed goop so it doesn’t run all over your cutting board. Repeat this process with all 4 seed cavities. Depending on how deep you cored your tomato¬†You may have to poke your finger through the meat at the very top to find the cavities.

3. Place your cored and de-seeded tomatoes on a Shallow (1/4 inch or less) baking sheet. And drizzle olive oil on top of them.

4. place a few sage ribbons down in each tomato then sprinkle the rest on the outsides of the tomatoes.

5. Poke a half clove of garlic into each tomato

6. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the outside and down into each tomato (be careful not to over do it)

7. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until very soft and shriveled looking.

8. Eat with a delicious sandwich or Salad or pasta or pizza or pretty much ANYTHING or you can puree them up with the garlic you cooked inside them and use them as a lovely paste for sauces, soups or just plain on toast!

I used both these recipes for dinner last week our meal was Light Tuna Melts (which were DELICIOUS), Warm Dill Potato Salad and Roasted Tomatoes. ūüôā

 

Enjoy!

Wonderful Wednesdays Recipe! Pollo Mojo (Cuban Grilled Chicken) and sides

If you know me at all you know I am white…in fact I am about as white as they come. Despite the unfortunate lack of ethnic diversity in my heritage, I am OBSESSED with all things ethnic when it comes to food. One cuisine in particular strikes a chord in my heart, bringing back memories of¬†adolescence¬†spent in South Florida. That cuisine is Cuban! I am in love with cuban food, and I am convinced I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. My mother (who is also VERY white…) is an excellent Cuban Chef. She grew up in Ft Lauderdale (which is just north of Miami for you non floridians) where she learned to love cuban food, and then she learned the cuisine while living in miami (also known as N. Cuba for you non floridians) with my dad. For as long as I can remember we have had Cuban meals cooked by my mom or dad at least a few times a month. Cuban products are very common in the local grocery stores of South and Central Florida, Mojo Creojo (marinating sauce) can be found just about anywhere as well as, fresh plantains, and guava paste. So I just naturally assumed I would find in any grocery store anywhere in the country. When I moved to California, I quickly discovered I was wrong :(. When I asked a Safeway clerk one day if they had any Mojo Creojo he looked at me like I was from mars…and promptly mispronounced it as he questioned me. Well no, Safeway does not carry Mojo, neither does Sprouts, Trader Joes, Savemart, or Grocery Outlet. So I decided I would just have to make my own…One of the key ingredients to this sauce however is Sour Orange Juice, also a product not found in Northern California. So long story short This is my adaptation based on the ingredients available to me here in California. So without Further ado…Heres the recipe

Pollo Mojo and Sides

Alright so first things first you need to get the marinade started for the chicken heres what you will need

1/2 Onion Sliced thin
3 Limes
4 Cloves of garlic Smashed (I just beat them with the side of the knife a few times…but be sure to remove the skins)
1 handful of cilantro
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Alright so get the onions and garlic in a bowl or ziplock, juice the limes and then throw the pieces of juiced lime in there too.
Chop the cilantro and it to your marinade, which should be smelling AWESOME by now.

Add your chicken and then pour in your olive oil, and give everything a good mix. Make sure if your using a bowl or pan, that the chicken ends up at the bottom, resting in the juice mixture, and with the onion and garlic on top.

Now cover that and whack it in the fridge.

Next you wanna get your rice and beans going, I’m not going to go into great depths with this one because really its not possible. Just toss a can of black beans into a pot with 2 bay leaves (if your beans are slightly dry and sticky add about 1/2 – 1 cup of water to allow time for the bay leaves to flavor the sauce.) allow to just barely simmer until your ready to serve (if they get to dry at any point, just add more water. You want them to have a nice smooth syrup but not be soup.) Start your rice

Next Prep the Salsa

2 roma tomatoes Diced Small (I like roma tomatoes because to me, they taste the most like tomatoes should)
1/4 Onion diced very Small
1 handful Cilantro Minced
1/2 Lime juiced
Salt (and pepper if you like)

Mix those all up and whack it in the fridge.

On to the Tostones: Brief explanation of what those beautiful golden discs are. Tostones are a product of the Plantain in green form, they are starchy and delicious and very much like a sticky potato unless fried. When fried they become like a cross between a french fry and a corn chip. Delicious. Green Plantains can be fried in a variety of ways, thin sliced and fried to golden brown, cubed and fried like hash browns or my personal favorite (the tostones way) fried once in a very thick disk¬†flattened¬†and fried again to brown and crispy. Mmmmm….

So take your plantain which looks like this…(a giant green banana)

and cut the ends off, then Score the skin down 3 to 4 sides (I should have taken a picture to show you but I forgot…sorry) then peel the skin off working your fingers between the skin and the flesh down your cut marks and it should pop off.

Once you get the skin off cut them into about 1/2 inch thick pieces. Like this…

Using a Medium NON STICK Saute pan put enough oil (I use half olive oil and half vegetable oil) to cover about 1/4 of the plantains. Turn it onto High Heat. When the oil is hot enough put a tester in, the oil should bubble considerably around the sides of the plantain. Put the plantains in flat side down. Flip them after about a minute, and let them cook another minute. Then remove them from the pan. Lay them on the cutting board and allow them to cool for about 1 minute.

Using a small heavy saute pan or flat bottomed object, take 1 plantain disk and smoosh the heck out of it…ok ok not really just apply a light amount of pressure until you feel it flatten (don’t go crazy you still want them to be about 1/8th of an inch thick)

After you have them ALL smooshed! Set them aside and cover with plastic or aluminum foil to keep them slightly warm.

Last but DEFINITELY not least. Take your chicken out of the fridge!

Fire up that grill and cook em!

I used high heat to start and got some nice caramelization on the chicken then cooked them through on medium flipping about once every 2 -3 minutes (I don’t like charred chicken)

After your chicken is done fry up those tostones real quick using the same method you did for the first fry just try to get them golden brown.

Then EAT! I’m pretty sure the traditional cuban style is to just mix the beans and the rice together, but I usually mix everything together then put it on top of the tostones and eat them like little nachos…how very un-cuban of me lol.

So thats pretty much it, I know this one was a little more complicated than my previous recipes but don’t let that stop you! I promise its worth the extra trouble! and be sure to let me know if you try it! Oh and check back with me tomorrow for my menu update and budget friendly tips!

2 posts in one day…amazing…

I have a funny story to share…and I just had to pop on here to tell someone…

Tonight I was planning on making Balsamic chicken with Roasted Green Beans and tomatoes, but alas my plans were changed when I realized i didn’t have enough green beans to¬†adequately¬†make up a side dish (and because i’m lazy and didn’t want to defrost 2 chicken breasts…but shhh don’t tell beth…) Instead I began¬†rummaging¬†around in my fridge for other options, and behold! what did I find? about 8 green beans, a tomato, some bacon (yes I know bacon…i just can’t get away…), a small very dry hunk of parmesan, a quarter of a red onion, an ear of corn? (don’t ask me why just one), and some black olives. All of which needed to be used tonight or risk going bad in the bottom of my fridge. So I decided to stick with the plan of balsamic, and make a pasta salad with Balsamic¬†Vinaigrette. mmm tasty…

I cooked up the corn, and green beans…then while the pasta was cooking and the bacon was sizzling deliciously (mind you I only used 1 slice for 2 people)¬†I diced the tomatoes, made the¬†vinaigrette (which consisted of balsamic, olive oil, salt pepper, and some onion powder for those of you wondering out there), and cut the corn off the cob. Just when I was about to mix everything together, I realized I had forgotten the red onion (which in my opinion is the most important part of pasta salad). so being handy in my kitchen, I grabbed my “Slap chop” thingy and whacked the onion to oblivion, then I mixed it all together, added some parmesan and salt and called it dinner.

It was super tasty, minus the tiny plastic pieces I didn’t know were plastic until we had finished dinner and beth pointed it out. Apparently my handy dandy slap chop thingy broke while chopping the onions, and sent tiny plastic shards all throughout the onion then got mixed all throughout the food. so we might die, I don’t know, only time will tell.

Needless to say, its always important to check your equipment before whacking things to oblivion. This applies to multipul situations. anyway that is my free piece of advice and my funny story. I’ll post the recipe for the pasta salad plus pictures but minus plastic tomorrow…

New blog, new challenge…

Ok so here I am…you should probably know a little more about me before we begin our journey…

I am 25 years old.
I live in California (land of health nuts and all things vegan…)
I am a professionally trained Chef
I do not work in a professional kitchen
I am a Nanny/Personal Chef for 2 girls
I love food, Photography, and Friends (usually all 3 together is the best!)
I love to write, blog and otherwise outwardly express my innermost feelings (usually comes out sounding like frustration…I apologize in advance for that)
I have only a few things I simply do not like to eat…but am always willing to try them done new ways

So thats just the basics I guess…Heres the low down…I am overweight…not terribly…but just enough to make me concerned about type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol…so My partner and I decided it was time for a habit and lifestyle change.

I believe the best way to do any habit transformation is slowly…taking on a bit at a time. so to start for the next 30 days my partner and I will cut out In-and-Out (Sad day I know…lol this is why I am overweight…) and other connivence food…as well as limiting starch intake and upping our daily veggie intake…

basically I’m gonna stop eating crap…and start eating veggies.

Since I am the cook of the house…it is now my job to find delicious and healthy veggie recipes that do not consist of the following…Simmer in water add salt….cuz that gets old real fast…so if anyone has some delicious vegetable recipes I would love to hear them….until then…I’ll share a recipe for a delicious salad I had on 4th of july with some wonderful friends

Snap Peas with Pancetta and Pecorino

Ok ok i know what your thinking…not exactly super healthy with the addition of bacon but you gotta start somewhere right…and I am telling you this salad will knock your socks off it is so good. Funny thing is…I HATED snap peas until I tried this salad…all my life i have eaten them whole no trimming no nothin (thanks mom) and hated the bitter aftertaste…and when I tried this salad I could not believe it was sugar snap peas…come to find out…I have been eating snap peas wrong my ENTIRE life…when they are trimmed they are sweet, tender and absolutely delicious…go figure…now I am a major fan of snap peas! woooo!

1 tablespoon salt
1 pound sugar peas, trimmed
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced red onion
5 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

My note…for those of you who…like me did not know sugar snap peas need to be trimmed…let me just give you the basics…basically just cut off the stringy part towards the edges of the seed pod…and cut off the pointy ends…you’ll be good…trust me it makes a world of difference.

Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1 tablespoon salt. Fill a large bowl with ice water and have a colander ready in the sink. Put the snap peas into the boiling water for about 15 seconds, drain in the colander in the sink, and immediately put them in the bowl with the ice water. Cool completely and drain. Cut each snap pea in half lengthwise and place in bowl.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta and 1 tablespoon of water in a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the pancetta is browned evenly and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Pour vinaigrette over the snap peas, add the red onion, pancetta, and Pecorino. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

sorry no pictures this time…i didn’t have my camera at the 4th party…and i haven’t had a chance to replicate the salad yet.