Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lime Basil Shrimp

If necessity is the mother of invention, then poverty is its father.  I wanted to cook scallops.  However they were $16 per pound. Shrimp were on sale.  So were limes.  So, the sale items at my grocer’s inspired this dish.  I’m glad I was short on cash.  This stuff is good! (In my humble opinion!)

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a skillet, a zester, a microwave safe plate and bowl, a mixing bowl, a slotted spoon

Time:  Prep:  10 minutes    Cooking: 10 minutes

  • 1 pound 31-35 count shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
  • Olive oil for the bottom of the pan
  • 2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup frozen edamame (soy beans)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Juice and zest from 3 limes (1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (You can buy ginger in a jar in the Asian section of your market. Not as good as fresh, but more convenient.)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves (⅛ cup)
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds

Lime Basil Shrimp

  1. Chop the onion (even the green part) and garlic.  Zest and juice the limes.  Chop the ginger.  Set aside.
  2. Place the frozen edamame in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water.  Cover them with a microwave safe plate and zap on high for 45 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  3. Mix 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, the lime juice, and chicken stock together in the mixing bowl.  Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Coat the bottom of the skillet in olive oil and add the rest of the sesame oil.  Sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir often.
  5. Using a slotted spoon to remove them from the marinade, add the shrimp to the pan.  Reserve the marinade.  Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes or until they just begin to turn pink.
  6. Mix the cornstarch into the reserved marinade.  Stir the cornstarchy marinade, the lime zest, and the pepper flakes into the shrimp.  Turn the heat up to allow the mixture to come to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer. The sauce should thicken as it cooks.  Allow the shrimp to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until they are cooked through. Stir just enough to keep from sticking.
  7. Remove the shrimp from the heat.  Tear the basil leaves and mix them and the edamame into the shrimp.
  8. S&P to taste.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
Serve over jasmine rice, egg noodles, or ramen (Yes, ramen. Just cook as directed and discard the little foil packet of salt.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Orange Chicken Chipotle

This dish has many ingredients.  Sometimes this creates a jumbled mess.  Here the flavors compliment one another to create an incredible mélange of tastes. Chipotle peppers, culantro, thyme, and masa flour are all used in authentic Mexican cooking.  Add to that the sweet acidity of orange juice and wow.  Just wow!

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 30 Minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons, a cutting board and knives, a gallon Ziploc bag, a heavy bottom skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a wooden spoon, tongs, a plate, tinfoil, a whisk

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (maybe more)
  • 1 ½ lb chicken breast sliced very thin and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup of masa harina flour*
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 medium red onion (½ cup)
  • 1 cup red, yellow, and orange baby bells
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 leaf fresh culantro
  • 1- ½ a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (These are very spicy.  So adjust depending on your taste.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • S&P to taste

  1. Wash and slice the baby bells.  Roughly chop the onions, thyme, and culantro.
  2. Place the flour, cornstarch, chili powder, and garlic salt in the Ziploc.  Shake like crazy to mix. Put the chicken in the bag and shake it.  Make sure all the chicken pieces are coated.  Set aside.
  3. Loosely tent the plate with foil.
  4. Heat the olive oil in the pan on medium high.
  5. Shake as much flour from the chicken as possible and add it to the pans a few pieces at a time.  Don’t crowd the chicken.  You may need to cook it in batches.  If you cut the chicken thin enough it should only need to cook for 2- 2 ½ minutes per side.  Turn the chicken with the tongs.  Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and keep it warm in the tinfoil tent as you add more pieces. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the pan becomes dry.  
  6. Turn the pan down to medium and add the onion, bells, thyme, culantro, cumin, and chipotle pepper.  Use the whisk to scrap the bottom of the pan.  Sauté until the onions become translucent.  This should take about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the orange juice and the stock.  Bring this to a boil.  Stir with the whisk, scraping the bottom of the pan as you do.  Add the chicken to the sauce and turn the pan down to a very low simmer.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender.  The sauce will not thicken very much.
  8. S&P to taste. 
Serve right away.  Simple black beans and rice are a perfect side dish.

*Make sure you purchase masa (corn) harina flour and not cornmeal. You will find it on the aisle with the other flours. You can use it to make many Tex-Mex dishes.  I use it quite often to make homemade tortillas.  However, it does not act like wheat flour.  For example, it will not act as a thickener.  But if you want to be adventurous, this is a cheap way to go.  Also, it is gluten free.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Caffeinated Roasted Pork Tenderloin

If you are like me (or every other person on the planet) your day doesn’t really begin until you have had your first cup of coffee.  But coffee isn’t just for drinking. I like to use it when I cook, too.  I remember my Grandma using coffee leftover from breakfast to make gravy at dinner.  Many people are familiar with using coffee to flavor desserts because it compliments chocolate so well, as both of them share bitter flavor profiles.  However, I have experimented and discovered it can add a rich complexity to other dishes, too.

Coffee adds just the perfect punch to this pork roast.  Jeff liked it so much he made a sandwich from the leftovers for lunch the next day.  I think you will like it, too.

Servings: 6-8
Time:    Prep: 10 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes; Rest: 5 Minutes

Hardware:  A bowl, measuring spoons, a fork (or small whisk), a plate, an ovenproof skillet (I prefer cast iron), tongs, meat thermometer, a cutting board, and knife

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freeze dried, granulated coffee
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy, stone ground mustard
  • A pork tenderloin (1 ½ pounds)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Mix the coffee, sugar, salt, mustard, and pepper together
  3. Heat the oil in the skillet on medium high
  4. Rub the tenderloin with the coffee mixture
  5. Sear the pork on all sides. (Always use tongs to turn meat. When you turn meat with a fork, you must pierce it.  Piercing it releases juices, making the meat dry.)
  6. Place the pork in the oven and roast until the thermometer reads 145°.  (About 20 minutes.)
  7. Allow the roast to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Buzzy & Yummy

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Greek Steak Salad

I love salad.  My husband is more of a meat eater.  This makes us both happy.  It will make you happy, too.

Servings: 4
Time:    Prep: 15 minutes; Rest time: 35 minutes; Cook: 10-15 Minutes

Hardware:  A grill, measuring spoons and cups, tongs, an old dish rag, a meat thermometer, 2 plates, foil, a cutting board and knives, a bowl, a colander (or salad spinner),  serving bowls

  • 2 steaks (1 pound of the best you can afford)
  • 4 tablespoons Greek seasoning (Konriko Greek Seasoning or your own)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup of oil for the grill
  • 6 cups mixed salad greens (I used spinach, arugula, curly endive, radicchio and iceberg)
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ red onion sliced
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup pitted black olives
  • ½ cup Creamy Feta Dressing
  • S&P to taste
Greek Steak Salad

  1. Rub both sides of each steak with olive oil and seasoning.  Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.  This allows the meat rise to room temperature and lets the rub adhere.
  2. Slice the red onion and soak it in cold water. This will make it less pungent.
  3. While the steak and onion are resting, prepare the grill.
  4. Use the old rag and tongs to coat the grill with oil.  This will ensure that the steak doesn’t stick and will give you grill marks.
  5. Steak should be cooked on a covered grill over a medium-high heat.  Check the temperature by holding the palm of your hand about 4 inches above the hot grill.  The grill is ready if your hand can be held over the heat for 3 seconds.
  6. Grill the steak for 5 to 7 minutes per side depending upon the thickness.
    • I prefer steak served rare to medium rare.  If you must, steak can be served medium. If you want steak served well, you should quit eating steak.  Dried, over cooked steak is chewy and NOT tasty.  Check the temperature with the meat thermometer.  Remove the steaks when they reach 140° for medium rare and 150°for medium. 
  7. Place the steaks on a clean plate and loosely tent with foil. The temperature will continue to rise while they rest. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before placing on the salad.
  8. In the mean time, wash and rinse the salad greens.  Pat them dry. (I use a salad spinner.)  Tear the greens into bite sized pieces.
  9. Rinse, chop, and seed the tomatoes. Peel and slice the cucumber. Rinse the olives. Drain the onions.
  10. Slice the steak.
  11. Divide the greens among the serving bowls.  Top with tomatoes, cucumbers, slices of onion, and dressing.  Place slices of steak on each salad.  Top with more dressing and olives.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  S&P to taste.

Creamy Feta Dressing

I enjoy making my own dressing.  Homemade dressing is much tastier (and healthier) than store bought dressing and can come in as many varieties as you can dream up.

Servings:  1½ cups
Time:  5 minutes
Hardware:  Cutting board and knives, a bowl, a whisk, a glass jar with an airtight lid (or a salad dressing bottle)

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sour cream 
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning (you can make your own)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
Whisk all the ingredients except the feta until everything is thoroughly mixed.  Fold in the crumbled feta.  This can be served right away or allowed to rest in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld.  This can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Serve this over Greek Steak Salad

Or for a quick lunch or dinner, stuff a warm pita pocket with chicken fingers or Greek Chicken, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers and feta.  Finish it with Creamy Feta Dressing.

Creamy Feta Dressing over Greek Chicken