Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Run for the Roses Pie


Derby week is here y'all!  While the rest of the country is preparing for Cinco de Mayo, or at least that's what it seems like from Pinterest, here in the Bluegrass we're gearing up for the most exciting two minutes in sports.  The first Saturday in May is always one of my favorite.  

While it's exciting to watch the horses run, I cannot lie about the true reason I love the Derby.  It's the celebrities.  I know it's lame but the teenage girl in me seriously freaks about about all these people coming to my home state and actually wanting to be here.  They aren't here to perform or because they're getting paid to be here (OK.  Some of them are).  They're here because it's prestigious and they want to be seen.  For Pete's sake, the Queen of England came to the derby once.  How crazy is that?  One thing I missed while not living here was the all day derby coverage that our local NBC affiliate carries.  I will sit on my couch, stuff my face with this pie and watch television ALL day.  Yes, I'm serious.  

I've never been to the derby.  I actually don't have any desire to go. Unless I'm sitting on Millionaires Row and I'm dressed in Chanel.  I have high standards--sometimes.  Here in Lexington we have Keeneland and that suites me just fine.  It's a gorgeous track and I highly recommend going during their live racing in April and October.  

The only time of the year I make this pie is around the Derby.  I don't have an excuse for that.  It's extremely easy.  You use one bowl for all the ingredients.  Then you throw it into a pie shell.  There is no mixing of the wet ingredients and incorporating into dry anything.  

Technically, this is derby pie but due to trademark regulations and the family that owns the actual recipe, no one is allowed to call their pie by that name.  Side note:  Super glad I did some research since he apparently goes after websites and attempts to sue them.  WHAT?  

Run for the Roses Pie                                                           Printer Friendly

Makes 1 (9 inch) pie

Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 cup nuts, pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 pie shell

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Next add the eggs, vanilla and flour.  Mix until combined.  Gently fold in the nuts and the chocolate chips.  

Press the pie shell into a pie pan, crimp the edges and prick the bottom with a fork.  

Pour the filling into the pie shell.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean. 

Enjoy warm from the oven. For even more decadence, add fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Mmm mmm good!





Fish Tacos with Chipotle Tarter Sauce



It has been one of those weeks. You know. The weeks where you shouldn't have even bothered to get out of bed. I've wanted to pull the covers back over my head the minute my alarm has gone off every single morning, and I'm 99% sure I just should have. Did you all know that there is a lime shortage??? Well, there is. Before you throw stones at me, I realize this is very much a first world problem. Also, it's rained all week. And to start my week off, I discovered I left my umbrella at my desk, in my office.  It was super awesome to walk from the parking garage to my building in the pouring rain. 

On Tuesday morning, while dragging the garbage cans to the curb (in the rain), my iPhone fell out of my pocket and fell face first on the pavement where it died a slow, agonizing death for about 12 hours. That actually ended up being a bright spot in my week. I was able to get out of my uber expensive contract and find a more affordable option with unlimited data! Yay for me. 

It's Wednesday now and if my head can hit my pillow before I start sobbing uncontrollably, I'll count today as a success. Don't feel sorry for me. I'm just being a total girl. Seriously. I whine a lot, don't I? I'm blaming it on the weather.  Some people air all their dirty laundry on Facebook. I use my blog. On a positive note, I'm not complaining about a worthless husband, boyfriend or children.  You are welcome. 

The bright spot today has got to be these delicious Fish Tacos. Indulge me in some reminiscing if you will. I was living on the bay in Tampa. It was a lovely fall day. The windows were opened, a brisk breeze was blowing in and Simply Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffman was on the Food Network. THIS is where I found the fish taco to beat all fish tacos. Dare I say, the Holy Grail of Fish Tacos? I'm saying it anyway. 

In my opinion, there are two ingredients that make Ingrid's fish tacos the best.  1.  Her chipotle tarter sauce. Mayo, chipotles and the juice and zest of lime.  Mmm! I seriously just smacked my lips together.  B. Her use of zest. Not only does she use the lime in the tarter sauce, she uses orange zest as a topping on the tacos. You wouldn't think you would notice something so small but trust me, you do! Here is the link for Ingrid's Chicharrones Fish Tacos. I adore her and her recipes! 

Fish Tacos                                                                             Printer Friendly

Ingredients

1 pound cod
1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, diced
Cucumber, roughly chopped
Avocado, roughly chopped
Orange zest
Cilantro leaves
Corn tortillas
Chipotle tarter sauce (recipe below)

Place cod (I use frozen) in a baking dish. Cover with garlic and worchestershire sauce. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake cod for 13-17 minutes or until cod is flakey. 

Warm the corn tortillas in a skillet. Top the tortillas with chipotle tarter sauce and the baked cod.


Continue with the rest of the toppings: cucumber, cilantro, avocado and orange zest. Don't forget the orange zest!!! 


Chipotle Tarter Sauce                                                  Printer Friendly

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, de-seeded and finely chopped (more or less depending on how spicy you like it. 2 is pretty spicy!)
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Chill until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

This post has been link up at The Yuck Stops Here and Jam Hands.  Please stop by and pay these sites a visit! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Country Ham and Swiss Popovers


I have a slight obsession with popovers.  It's borderline dangerous, really.  I always assumed they were some difficult culinary feat that I would never be able to master without a popover pan and I am just not one of those people who will buy a bunch of "specialty" baking pans.  My kitchen is only so big and if I ran out and bought every popover, donut and cake pan that I saw, the poor cabinets would have junk spilling out of them and I do mean that literally.  I can barely shut my cabinet doors as it is.  Side note: I do kind of want a donut pan but I would prefer that someone share a way to make donut shaped donuts without me A) spending money I don't have and B) adding another pan to my collection.  Any and all suggestions will be welcome.  If you're local and your idea works, I will share my donuts with you.  Scouts honor.  

So,  last weekend I had a small gathering for my lovely mothers birthday.  When creating the menu (which I changed about 450 times) I knew that I wanted Country Ham Rolls to be involved.  My sisters yeast roll recipe would be the perfect match for that.  A little sweet with the rolls and salty with the ham.  One of my favorite flavor combinations.  Anywho, I had some country ham left over and I was contemplating several different recipes like a breakfast casserole, but I only had about a half cup.  That's when my genius self said, "POPOVERS"!  And yeah, I kind of yelled it because it's food and I get excited.  So sue me.  

Popovers are not difficult to make.  You can do this.  Through trial and error, and some great advice that I've learned from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I feel that I've kind of perfected it.  They don't get quite as high as they might from using a specialty pan but the effect is still the same. Here are a few hints: Bring all of your ingredients to room temperature and preheat your muffin tin in the oven.  Seriously.  Get it screaming hot.  Then spray the crap out of it with non stick spray. That's pretty much it.  You can handle that, right?  

 My basic popover recipe comes from Melissa d'Arabian.  It's simple and quick and from there you can just go crazy!  I've added cheddar cheese and jalapeño which were delicious.  And no, I didn't share because, well, I don't have an excuse.  I'm sharing this one now and that's what's important. 


Mmmmm…..  Look at that light, eggy, cheesy, salty goodness.  My mouth is watering.

Country Ham and Swiss Popovers                                          Printer Friendly

Ingredients

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk, warmed to room temperature
1 cup flour
1/2 cup country ham, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a regular size muffin tin in the oven to preheat.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs.  Mix in milk and melted butter.  Add the flour until well combined. Next, mix in the country ham and green onion.  

Remove the muffin tin from oven and spray 8 wells with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the batter into 8 wells and fill each well to the top.  Add 1 tablespoon of swiss cheese to each popover, poking the cheese down into the batter.  

Place in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes.  DO NOT open the oven door.  Remove from oven and the pan.  Sprinkle with more cheese for garnish.  Serve hot.

Enjoy!



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Frozen Strawberry Salad



"Is this a salad or a dessert?"  This is the most often asked question when peeps taste this delightful creation.  And trust me, it is deeeee-lightful.  Cool, creamy and refreshing.  I am in love with this stuff and I have been since I was a teeny-tiny child.  My mother used to make it all the time.  I have no idea where it originated but it makes an appearance at almost every family function and I am A-OK with that.

This is another super easy-peasy recipe that anyone can make, as long as you can operate a can opener.  (If you cannot operate a can opener, here is a handy-dandy Youtube video to help you out). Perfect for any summer potluck you may be invited to and after making this, you will be invited to many more and they will request that you bring this--as long as you remember to get it out of the freezer, which I have been known to forget to do--like, every time I make it.

Right now Dolce is making it very hard to complete this post.  We went to Petsmart today to get her food and she picked out a new toy.  She feels that she must rip it to shreds while laying on my lap.  She "plays" with her toys for about 20 minutes.  Playing means that she walks through every room in the house with said toy in her mouth while whining.  Presumably because she knows she is about to destroy her new found friend by ripping out all of the stuffing and before the end of the night the entire thing will end up in the trash.  I try not to buy her stuffed toys but I got distracted by a cute guy with a chocolate lab and before I knew it, she had slobbered all over this pink pig and well, we had to buy it.  That will teach me.

What was I even talking about?  Oh, right.  Frozen Strawberry Salad.  This is the stuff dreams are made of.  At least my dreams.  It's cool whip, sweetened condensed milk, frozen strawberries, bananas and pineapple.  Just dump, mix and pour into a freezer friendly pan.  Once again, no excuses people.



Frozen Strawberry Salad                                                     Printer Friendly

Ingredients

16 ounces frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
3 bananas, roughly chopped
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2-(8 ounce) containers of cool whip, thawed
20 ounce can crushed pineapple

Open the package of strawberries.  Empty the entire contents, including the juice, into a large bowl.  Add the bananas, sweetened condensed milk, cool whip and the entire can of pineapple (yes, that means the juice, too).  Mix well.  Transfer the mixture into an 11x13 freezer friendly pan.  Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Remove from freezer at least 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy as a salad OR a dessert!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7-Layer Salad



Another holiday has passed and I think it's safe to say that spring time has officially arrived in Kentucky.  Hold on.  Let me go find some wood to knock on just in case.  The birds are singing (and by that I mean waking me up before my alarm goes off), the horses are racing at Keeneland and the lilacs are blooming!


So pretty!  And the smell is out of this world!  Speaking of plants, my seedlings seem to be doing very well!  I'll start posting pictures soon and I'm planning on putting this stuff in the ground the week of May 12.  Let's all cross our fingers and say our prayers that there are no more frosts! I have high hopes for this vegetable garden!

When I lived in Cincinnati, the 7-Layer Salad was in my arsenal of go-to recipes. Oddly enough, I had never made one for anything in Kentucky. I have no idea why. It's the perfect summer pot luck/barbecue side dish. You don't need to heat up the kitchen if you don't want to. Plus, what's not to like about it? Mayo? Good. Green peas? Good. Cheese? Good. Bacon? Gooooooood.

So, when planning the menu for my mom's birthday luncheon, I thought it would be the perfect addition! It's also one of those flexible sides. Omit an ingredient if you don't like it or add any others that you prefer like tomatoes or red onion.  And frankly, there are no excuses with this one--if you can chop some lettuce, you can make this salad.  You can literally buy every single item in this salad prepared.  Fo rizzle.  So stop with the excuses.  I don't want to hear them!


I love putting this salad in a clear bowl and I just happened to find the perfect plastic one at the Dollar Tree.  So, when you take this to a barbecue and forget it, because you're like me and can't ever remember to leave with the stuff you came with, you won't have anything to feel very guilty about because it only cost $1!  How fabulous is that??

7-Layer Salad

Ingredients

1 head of iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
4-5 celery stalks, diced
4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-16 ounce bag of frozen peas, thawed
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups of mayo (or more to taste)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced

Place half of the lettuce in a large bowl.  Top with half of the celery and green onions and spread half of the mayo on top.  Add another layer of lettuce, celery and green onions.  Spread the rest of the mayo on top.  Finish by adding the cheese, peas, eggs and bacon.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cool, Creamy Horseradish Sauce


My mother has told me more than once that she isn't sure where I came from.  This statement normally follows a story that I've told her about a food experience that I've had.

Mom is a very traditional eater, hence a very traditional cook.  She is a firm believer that every supper should include a meat, starch and a green vegetable.  A little background here… Green vegetables growing up included the following: green beans which were often made with bacon grease and brown sugar or perhaps peas which were drenched in a cream sauce.  If you're guessing that the cream sauce contained sugar, you're a winner!  Don't take this as me complaining because I certainly ate those vegetable dishes right up as a child and still eat them whenever my mom makes them.  In fact, I still make the creamed peas and one day I'll share that recipe because they are delicious.

I tell you all of that because when I told her I was making a steak and topping it with a horseradish sauce she turned up her nose.  I told her during a phone conversation but I swear I heard her nose go straight up in the air.  

I love horseradish.  I'm not sure exactly how I ever ended up tasting this spicy, delectable creation but I am so glad that I did.  I'm thinking it involved Prime Rib and that would be my favorite way to enjoy this sauce but I may be dipping some carrots in it as I type this.  In fact, I may have used it in the mashed potatoes that I ate with my steak last night.  Oh yes.  Horseradish mash.  That is some good eating right there.  

If you're making Prime Rib for Easter dinner this would be a great accoutrement for your dinner table.  I topped a grilled ribeye with it.  It's so easy to throw together and it can be made a couple of days in advance.  


I ate the entire steak in one sitting and I am not embarrassed to admit it.  I worked in my yard all weekend.  We had some gloriously beautiful weather in the Bluegrass State and this time of year you have to soak it up while you have the chance.  True to form, we are expecting a "wintry mix" tonight.  Did I mention I have a sunburn?  There is just something so terribly wrong about this.

Cool, Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
2-3 tablespoons ground horseradish
Black pepper

In a bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, ground horseradish and some fresh cracked pepper.  Start with a small amount of the horseradish and adjust to taste.  

Enjoy!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Esquites--Mexican Street Corn


I'm waiting for paint to dry.  No, really.  I am.  I'm repainting a dresser that I'm repurposing for an entertainment center.  I spray painted it the first time in an attempt to take a short cut.  Don't take short cuts.  Lesson learned.  So, last night I sanded it all down and got it prepped to paint early this morning.  All of this in an attempt to keep myself busy until a little basketball game takes place tonight about 8:45.  That's right.  The Final Four.  I can barely contain my excitement and I knew that I would need to have plenty of projects in order to occupy my time.  I've somewhat succeeded.

Since I couldn't really move on to my next project until the paint dried, I figured it would be the perfect time to throw together some lunch.  With summer (hopefully) right around the corner, I have had a serious craving for fresh corn.  It's way too early for that but there are still ways to almost achieve that summer taste--especially if you're fancy-ing your side dish up a bit.

I've been spending way too much time on Pinterest lately and every where I turn I've seen this Mexican Street Corn.  Whether it's from Key IngredientSerious Eats, or Closet Cooking, they were all pretty much the exact same thing.  I also did a little bit of google research and now I really want to go eat some of this right off of a Mexican street.  

Basically it's charred corn, crema or mayo, lime and cotija cheese.  In some parts of Mexico you'll find it made with Epazote which is an herb you won't find readily available in Kentucky.  I decided to add sweet onion and jalapeño to mine and since cotija cheese is also not easily found around these parts I substituted parmesan.  I've read conflicting opinions on whether it's closer to a parmesan or a feta.  I've never had cotija so I have no opinion.  I just went with what I had.  


Those ingredients alone just look so beautiful!  So full of flavor!  I just like to go ahead and prep everything in advance.  Makes it easier to throw and go once the cooking process has started.  
Charring corn can sound a little scary but it's really not.  Just throw some butter into a hot pan, melt it, add the corn and just let it set.  It takes about 10 minutes.  Once it's done it will look something like the picture below.


Esquites--Mexican Street Corn

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen corn
1 jalapeño, finely diced
1 cup diced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3-4 tablespoons mayo
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt
Pinch of sugar

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat.  Spread corn evenly in pan.  Let the corn cook in pan undisturbed for at least 4 minutes in order to char. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sugar.  Stir.  Cook for 6 more minutes or until the corn has charred.  Add onion, garlic and jalapeño.  Cook for 2 more minutes.

 Remove from heat and transfer into serving or mixing bowl.  Add the mayo, lime juice and cheese.  Mix well.

Serve warm or at room temperature as a side dish.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chinese Fried Quinoa


I've gotten into a habit of making a big batch of quinoa every week and I was beginning to run out of ideas of what to do with it.  Until my friend Nicole had the girls over last week for dinner.  She made this awesome Bourbon Chicken that she found on Pinterest.  That was an A-ha moment for me.  Chinese fried quinoa.  Duh.  I'm sure someone has thought of this before but instead of searching for a recipe I just decided I would wing it and go for it.  And so I did.  And I thought it was delicious.  And thanks Nicole for the inspiration!  

I've been quite the slacker with blogging lately and I apologize.  Things have been crazy in Lexington.  All this basketball we've been playing has taken up a majority of the time that I would spend cooking and experimenting with the recipes that I should be posting.  Instead, I've been gorging myself on junk food like queso, chips and dip and lil smokey's and enjoying this big blue wave right into the Final Four.  

In addition to all this March Madness, I've started some of the seeds for my vegetable garden.  I'm super excited about sharing some of these details with you all later on--providing there are details to share.  I'm waiting on the seeds to germinate and with this being the first time I've ever started anything from seed, the stakes feel high.  I'm hoping within another day or so I'll be seeing some results.  Fingers crossed!!  I ordered my seeds from Territorial Seed company and they claim to have a pretty high germination rate.  We're about to find out.  

Back to the point of this post, Chinese Fried Quinoa.  Just like with rice, this works best with precooked quinoa.  I always cook mine in vegetable broth so this recipe is vegetarian.  I also use a wheat free soy sauce as I sometimes struggle with wheat issues.  I do use a little bit of brown sugar in it though just to sweeten up a little bit.  I've explained my family's issues with sweet stuff.  This makes a great side dish with any asian inspired meal or if you're like me it may just end up your main dish.  Nothing wrong with that!  

Chinese Fried Quinoa

Ingredients

3 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
Canola oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)

In a large skillet or wok, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add peas and carrots.  Cook for 2 more minutes.  Add egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and brown sugar.  When eggs are cooked and no longer runny, stir in quinoa and heat through.  

Serve and enjoy!!