6.11.2012

world's best chili- seriously




Here it goes...

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound chicken  Italian sausage- mild
2(15 ounce) cans chili beans, 1 drained
1 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Anaheim  peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves  minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Tapatio
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

1. In your Dutch over, brown the ground beef, drain, and set aside.  Keep the olive oil near by in case either meat needs help to avoid sticking to the pan. 
2. Brown the sausage in the same pan, drain if needed, and set aside.  It's important to do these separately because if the pan is overcrowded the meat will steam instead of brown.  You won't get any tasty brown bits.
3. In the same pan, add onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers, Anaheims and let cook on medium for about 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  
4. Add all remaining ingredients (including the cooked meat), saving the water and cornstarch for last.  Add the water first and stir to combine, then sprinkle the cornstarch in an even layer over the top and stir to combine again.
5. Drop the heat to low and put your lid on it.  I hope you didn't use a pan that you don't have a lid for. Let it go for as long as you can, at least 2 hours.

I'd like to mention a few things here:

First, this seems like a huge ingredient list but I had most of this already on hand and you'd be surprised what you can find in your spice cabinet.

Second, I considered doing this in a crock pot but it hasn't been tested and I'm not sure how much effort it would save you.  You really need to do everything up to and including step 3 on the stove top and that's the majority of the work.  I wouldn't recommend doing your crock pot transfer until between steps 3 and 4. 

4.17.2012

shrimp tacos with poblano pesto

One of my favorite breakfast spots is The Ridgeback Cafe. They make delicious savory breakfast crepes and are topped in poblano sauce. Since that first taste, I've been on the lookout for a poblano sauce recipe to rival theirs. This is a pretty good substitute. It's a poblano pesto recipe adapted from this one at Foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
Put all of the ingredients in the food processor and mix until it reaches your desired consistency. All you need to do next is decide how to use it.

I poured the entire batch of pesto in a nonstick frying pan with 1 pound of fresh shrimp and let it all cook together for about 4 minutes on medium high until the shrimp was done. I put the shrimp on warm tortillas with some coleslaw mix (the dry kind in the bagged salad section.) Then I just spooned some extra pesto out of the pan on top.

4.16.2012

these are the best cookies ever

I was in the mood to bake today and I'm pretty sure I created the best cookie of all time.  It started with an adaptation of this All Recipes sugar cookie recipe: The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon

Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl until combined.  Then add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt, lemon, and two cups of the flours.  Mix until combined, slowly adding the remaining flour.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  It's up to you whether you want to roll them out for cutting or make drop cookies.  They cook in a 400F oven for 5-6 minutes.

They're topped with a citrus glaze which can be used on all kind of other deserts besides these cookies. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
Mix until combined and brush onto completely cooked cookies with a silicone brush. The frosting should be fairly thin however it should not run down the sides of the cookies when applied.  Keep extra water and powdered sugar on hand so you can adjust it thicker or thinner to your liking. Let the frosting harden before storing the cookies.  

The cookies as shown are about 2 inches in diameter and this recipe made about 50 of them.  This is definitely a party sized recipe but you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few weeks in a tightly sealed container and have fresh cookies on hand whenever you want them.

4.09.2012

mango salsa

On my days off I like to try to make something new.  Today I tried a mango salsa adapted from an Emeril recipe here


1 mango
1 poblano pepper
half of 1 red bell pepper
1/4 of a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cilantro
salt to taste



Cutting the mango was a trick I learned at work this week. You can see it step by step here.




Chop up everything and combine it with the vinegar and salt.  I let it marinate in the fridge for 4 hours but according to the original recipe you can let it go up to 24 hours. 


 I used the salsa to top store bought Thai coconut crab cakes.


The salsa definitely got better the longer it was in the fridge so I'd recommend making it ahead.  It seems like you can get mango on sale everywhere right now so take advantage of them while they're cheap. 

4.08.2012

The sun: it has risen

Today was a beautiful sunny day in the upper 60's. We took a walk around the farmers market and got some daffodils for the house. I felt compelled to instagram them which I think looks fairly ridiculous. I'm admittedly an instagram noob and still don't understand why it looks like a Polaroid that was left to bake in the sun. This is probably worse for hipsters than when they let the Android users in.

In other news, tonight I finally mastered a brown butter and sage sauce. I had been undercooking the butter for fear of burning it but tonight it was just right. It went on homemade (from the farmer's market) wild boar stuffed pasta with knot rolls from Tall Grass. The rolls came right out of the oven when we bought them. It was a pretty spectacular Easter dinner.

I hope everyone had a nice Easter!

4.02.2012

achievement unlocked: 27

I can't remember the last time I worked a normal workweek. Couple that with spending a large portion of the last 3 months sick and there isnt enough time or energy to go around. I've definitely been neglecting the blog along with most other things.

I almost forgot about my own birthday. Nate got me an iPad (which I'm now attempting to blog on) and cleaned the house for me. I can't decide which is the better gift. We went out to my favorite restaurant and had funfetti cupcakes for dessert.

I will definitely try to keep up here more. I have a better schedule at work so hopefully I can find more time to keep up with hobbies.

1.02.2012

falafel mix


Today I learned falafel mix makes an excellent breading for chicken! Just toss the chicken in a bowl with just enough olive oil to coat it.  Add enough falafel mix to coat your chicken and toss everything together.  I made bite-sized pieces which was 425F for 8 minutes with the convection fan on. 

To go with it I made a slaw with hummus instead of mayo dressing.  I took a bag of slaw mix (shredded cabbage) and sliced some radish into it.  Then I thinned out some hummus with some lemon juice to dress the slaw.  After I mixed the slaw and the dressing I added freshly chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.    

I warmed up whole wheat tortillas to put everything in.  The recipe I adapted this from is here.  The pita bread they show in the picture is the driest substance known to man.  Get yourself some good whole wheat tortillas like I did (8 inches should be plenty.)  TWSS.  Or to treat yourself, get some soft and fluffy naan.  Either way, stay far away from the pita pockets shown.