Friday, May 28, 2010

Pork ribs in the oven

These came out soooooooo good! There was next to no talking at the dinner table. Very easy too! Hope you like :)

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs
Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons brown sugar, tightly packed
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Braising Liquid:
1 cup madiera wine
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turkey Basil Fritatta

A fritatta is a glorious thing for lazy "garbage" dinner days (where you reach into the fridge and pantry and take out everything you don't know what to do with). It's a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is really easy to throw together. I made this last night with some ingredients I had on hand, but you can truly dress it up with whatever you want. Got spinach? Broccoli? Peas? Carrots? Find a combination that sounds good. Spinach is great with goat cheese, onions, parmesan. Broccoli is great with cheddar and sausage. Whatever you think sounds good, it probably is good. If you are using a hardier veggie (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper, celery or carrot) you're going to want to saute that vegetable with the onions and garlic at the beginning to soften it up a bit. Potatoes should be boiled ahead of time. Veggies like spinach, arugala, basil, scallion, etc. do not need sauteeing because just the oven time with wilt and/or cook those. So change this recipe up as much as you want, just keep the first four ingredients the same and the oven temp/cook time and you should have a winner! Cheers :)

Ingredients (serves about four depending on accompanying dishes)

-12 eggs
-1 cup cream
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-3 potatoes, peeled, boiled and chopped
-3 scallions, chopped
-1 white onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-10 basil leaves, chiffonade
-7 mini turkey sausages, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large oven-safe skillet, begin sauteeing your onions in 2 tbs butter and let them turn translucent. In a seperate bowl, combine the eggs, cream, scallions, basil, and salt and pepper. To the skillet, add the turkey sausage, garlic, and the cooked potatoes. Let that cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Spread the ingredients around the pan to distribute evenly, then pour the egg mixture on top to cover the whole pan.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 50 minutes. Cut like a pie and serve.

Tomato Feta Sandwiches

This is my sister's recipe that she came up with in collaboration with a good friend one day when they were hungry. I've never met anybody that tried one that didn't think it was amazing, and it is incredibly easy to make. I don't make them that often because it's cute when Zach gets so excited when he finds out we're having them as a treat. I think I can pretty much guarantee that you will love them.

Ingredients (serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are)

-1 loaf of french bread, sliced in half
-about 3 vine tomatoes
-1 package feta cheese
-3/4 cup mayo
-1/2 cup minced onion (I like the dried kind best but you can use fresh. Dry has much more flavor though)
-1/4 cup dry oregano

Preheat your broiler. In a bowl, mix the mayo, onion, and oregano. Spread it on the bread, place the bread on a baking sheet, and place under the broiler till the mayo is bubbly and the bread is slightly brown.

Remove the bread from the oven and generously crumble feta all over the bread. Layer the tomato slices tightly over all the feta, salt and pepper to taste, close, slice, and eat. The End.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Liv's Virginia Cheese Steak

So, anybody from Philadelphia will probably hate me for straying from the traditional cheese wizzy hoagie roll masterpiece that is the philly cheesesteak, but the idea of putting cheese wiz in my mouth truly makes me ill so I came up with a different steak "sammich." Zach and I both love a spicy cheesesteak, so I am using pickled tabasco peppers to spice it up because I love their flavor but they aren't overly hot. I am also making an Irish cheddar cheese sauce flavored with a little bit of coarse ground mustard (regular dijon is fine). These little variations are not necessary. I'm not a stickler for keeping to recipes so just replace whatever you want with whatever you like better. Use jalapenos, fresh or pickled, or even just plain bell peppers if you hate spice. Use any kind of onion you want, but just make sure it's sliced thin. Also, the best way to get a steak sliced really thin is to freeze it for about 30 minutes, then use a super-sharp knife to just shave it down little by little.

I do not know if people would consider this recipe "easy." Sauteeing and mixing up a sauce are pretty easy in my book, but if the sauce just sounds like a pain to you, just top your steak with a favorite cheese and serve it up that way. I do suggest giving the sauce a try though; it's delish. Oh! And I just made a salad with light dressing as the side dish; I've been pretty careful about the fattening ingredients but it's a very filling sandwich and I wouldn't add french fries or even chips to go with it.


-1 sirloin steak, sliced thin then tossed with two tbs olive oil and sprinkled with a SMALL amount of montreal steak seasoning or just S&P
-1 onion, cut in half then sliced in thin half moons
-1 clove garlic, minced
-5-8 pickled tabasco peppers, chopped
-about 1/4 cup water
-2 tbs butter
-2 tbs flour
-1/2 cup milk (1% is just fine, but don't use skim!)
-3/4 cup grated white cheddar
-1 tsp dijon mustard, coarse ground or regular
-salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions for a few minutes till they crystalize, then add the garlic and cook a few minutes longer. Remove onions/garlic from pan and add in your steak slices and peppers. Saute them till they release their juices and the juices pretty much dissolve and the pieces begin to brown, then add the 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan and steam the steak a tiny bit.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring to make a roux. Add the milk and bring to a boil to thicken. Once the beshamel is thickened, add the mustard, cheddar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the steak onto a hoagie-sized cut of french bread, top with the onions and then the cheese sauce. If you like mayo on your bun, go ahead and do that. Zach likes his with sliced pickled jalapenos, and I just like it with the onion.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Semolina and Bacon

I'm sure most of you know what I mean when I say that certain meals more than others can take you back to your mom's kitchen and that ultimate feeling of comfort and safety. I remember waking up early morning and sitting sleepy at the breakfast table while my mom peeled off the tip of a soft boiled egg, stuck it into a cute little humpty dumpty egg holder, and let me dip little strips of buttery toast in. Delicious. The recipe I'm about to share is good for winter or summer, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's so simple you can play around with it however you want; add herbs, various cheeses, even wine. It is total comfort food--a delicate fusion of traditional southern cooking with Italian elegance and simplicity. I hope you enjoy :)

Ingredients (serves 4)

-4 strips of bacon
-4 cups chicken broth (or water with chicken bouillon)
-more or less 3 cups of fine yellow corn meal
-parmesan cheese for topping
-4 eggs (optional)

Drizzle about a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a frying pan and begin frying up your strips of bacon. You want them nice and crispy but remember they will continue to cook a little bit after you remove them from the pan.

In a medium soup pot, bring your chicken broth to a boil. This is the part where you could add some special herbs like thyme and bay leaf if you want. If you want to add basil, I would wait till the corn meal has thickened so the flavor stays fresh. Sometimes my mom would also add in 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of white wine to the broth as well. Once the broth boils, slowly add the semolina in while whisking constantly. Just keep adding the corn meal until the mixture begins to thicken, then let it simmer for a few minutes till the corn meal has absorbed the broth. At this point you could add a favorite melting cheese like cheddar or havarti. Remove from the heat and cover.

After the bacon has fried, let the oil and drippings cool a little bit then add your eggs in and fry sunny-side-up. (You have to let the bacon grease cool unless you want "french lace" around your eggs; my dad loved this but I am not a fan). Spoon the semolina into shallow bowls. Gently serve an egg over each helping, then sprinkle with crushed bacon. Finally, sprinkle a generous handful of parmesan on top and serve. You could also sprinkle a little basil chiffonade on top too, which would be yummy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Key Lime Pie

Okay, I found this recipe on (here's the link: and it's so easy it's hard to believe it's so good. I thought making key lime pie would be a real pain (I had no basis for this assumption but it sounds hard), but as you can see, 4 ingredients and about 5 minutes of work and 15 of baking. You could totally make your own graham cracker crust if you have some magical recipe, but graham crackers are pretty much graham crackers to me whether you do it yourself or not, so I bought an 8 inch crust (I had seen some reviewers say that 9-inch was a little big). I made my own homemade vanilla whipped cream and then piped it in little dollops all over the pie after it cooled. Also, I couldn't find key limes to save my life so I used regular lime juice. Floridians would probably tell me I'm a sinner, but the main difference between key limes and regular limes is that keys are a little more tangy and definitely harder to juice. If you can find them, knock yourself out, but you might have to buy several to get the required 1/2 cup of juice for this pie. As it is, the regular limes provided some great flavor. Just DON'T use bottled juice of any kind!

5 egg yolks, beaten
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix well. Pour into unbaked graham cracker shell.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Top with whipped topping and garnish with lime slices if desired.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spice Blend Recipes

Speaking of spices, I hate the fact that you have to go out and buy spice blends so if you don'twhen you have perfectly good spices in your cupboard that just haven't been put together yet. I decided to do some research and post a bunch of spice blend recipes have the mix you can make some yourself.

Adobo Seasoning

3-6 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano

Cajun Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Caribbean/Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Creole Seasoning

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons salt

Garam Masala (common Indian cuisine)

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Greek Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

Herbes de Provence (usually tied in a mesh cloth. If using fresh herbs, use one sprig each)

1 tsp crumbled bay leaf
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme

Indian Curry (Basic)

5 Tablespoons ground coriander
7 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Turmeric
1 Tablespoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Italian Seasoning

3 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons dried parsley (I am disdainful of parsely as I think it has no flavor. If you don't have this I doubt it will make much difference)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon crushed coriander
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

"Wet" Spice Blends

Cajun Trinity (the prominent base in most cajun/creole dishes, such as jambalayas, gumbos, etouffees, sauces, chilis and stews). Onion, bell peppers, and celery are the only essential ingredients--the rest is fluff. Another example of a "Trinity" of essential ingredients in a cuisine would be tomato, garlic, and basil in Italian cooking.

1 large sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
6-8 stalks celery
5 gloves garlic
2 handfuls of fresh parsley tops

Harissa (Northern Africa, common in Moroccan dishes)

1/4 cup dried chilies
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons dried mint leaves or 2 tablespoons of fresh
1/3 cup olive oil


2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
10 ajies dulces peppers, tops removed (can be subsituted with another red bell pepper)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 onions, cut into large chunks
3 medium heads garlic, peeled
25 cilantro leaves with stems
25 leaves recao, or culantro (aka "long coriander," can subsitute with more cilantro)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

Tapenade (usually used as dip)

1/2 pound pitted mixed olives
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons capers
2 to 3 fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Super Excited for Spices

So the other day, to make a Tagine recipe, I had to go out and buy 4 spices that I didn't already have in my pantry. I am a spice nazi. I hoard them as much as possible because I hate going out to buy news ones. After this particular spice-buying trip, I discovered I had spent about 25 dollars on 4 little jars of spice! I was pretty annoyed, and vowed I would find some other source for spice buying than the supermarket.

I googled wholesale spices and found The Atlantic Spice Company (

This place is so cool!! Did any of you know about this place and if so, why didn't you tell me!? You can buy a whole pound of certain spices for as little as $3.50. After going over in my head about how much certain spices cost, even the "cheap spices" (garlic powder/salt, onion powder/salt, celery salt, etc) are cheaper on this website. They also sell essential oils (although I can't claim to know the regular prices of those, but some of you oil people may). They sell various types of rice (a pound of Arborio for $3.50, for example), and different couscous, lentils and quinoa. They also sell bulk and bagged tea in some delicious flavors, and baking goods like tapioca pearls, arrowroot, and they even sell a 1 lb bag of bee pollen (I have no idea what you do with this, but it sounds neat).

I'm also excited because they sell smoked Spanish paprika, which I could not find anywhere and you can even buy spice blends like Herbs de Provence and Adobo seasoning (although Adobo is cheap no matter where you go, I'm just saying).

Check it out and maybe save a little money! Orders over $40 are free, and you ought to be able to get a large amount of different spices for that price :) I doubt you would want to do it if you rarely use any spices at all. I am a big spice fan so even bulk spices wouldn't last so long that they'd go bad. I looked it up and you can apparently freeze spices safely for up to 1 year by placing them individually in small freezer bags and then placing those, in turn, in a large freezer bag. They don't recommend doing this for a long period of time, as certain spices, such as black pepper, cloves, and garlic will become too strong and bitter. Garlic salt/powder and onion both powder and minced do not stay in my house long enough to go bad, no matter how much I have on hand.

Another fun little detail: they give you recipes for potpourri! They have bath potpourri recipes, and sleepytime bed pillow recipes. I imagine either of these would be fun to put together and give as gifts at Christmastime or other major holidays.

Please come back here and let me know what you think!

Simple Mushroom Risotto

At Becca's request, I'm posting this recipe. There are probably a lot of different things you could do with it, like deglazing the pan with white wine, sherry, and adding herbs such as rosemary, sage, or other mushroom-friendly plants. Play around with it as much as you want, but it tastes just fine like this and isn't very difficult. Use whatever your favorite mushrooms are, from portobellas, criminis, oysters, porcinis, plain white, shitakes. I usually use two different kinds to give it depth of flavor but nothing too complex. You do not have to purchase expensive Arborio rice to make risotto, even though Arborio makes the best creamy risotto. Just make sure you get short grain white rice and you will be fine.


-2 cups short grain white rice
-about 8 cups chicken broth, or water with chicken bouillon mixed in
-4 tbs unsalted butter
-2 tbs olive oil
-2 large shallots, diced
-2 cups mushrooms, your choice, chopped fine (make sure the two cups is AFTER they are chopped fine, not before)
-about 1/2 cup large mushroom pieces, halves or quarters, for texture
-salt and pepper, to taste

In a pot as large as necessary, bring to boil all the chicken broth. This is actually quite important.

In a medium to large soup pot, melt your butter in the olive oil and add the shallots, allowing them to turn translucent and brown slightly. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper everything to layer the flavor.

Once the mushrooms have begun softening, throw in your rice and stir it around for about 1-2 minutes to coat the grains and get them started. This done, add about two ladel-fulls of the boiling chicken broth. (Because the broth was already boiling, it will not reduce the heat of the rice concoction, so the cooking of the rice is never interrupted). Stir the rice frequently until the broth is absorbed. Keep repeating this step until the rice is soft and creamy. If you run out of broth before this happens, just use a little water to finish the job.

Plate a serve with plenty of parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Easy Peasy Beer Bread

This is a recipe I found written by a gentleman over at Recipezaar. Here's the link: The reason I'm putting it here is 1) to share it with you because it's so easy and a beautiful bread to whip up for dinner and 2)I keep losing/forgetting the recipe and have to keep finding it again online. It really is awesome! I don't bother melting butter to pour over the batter, though. Why dirty up another pan/bowl? I just dot the top with little slices of butter and it's turned out beautifully every time. Hope you like!

3 cups flour (sifted)
3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients and beer.
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Pour melted butter over mixture.
Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.

Pasta Alla Caprese

No, I'm not making this today, or tomorrow, or this week, or the next week. I just want to share it with you because it's so fresh and delicious that keeping it to myself would just be naughty and selfish. Oddly enough, I don't like the sad attempt at authentic mozzarella for this recipe (the kind you find in tubs of water at the store: soft and squishy balls of counterfeit). For this recipe, I like the even MORE pathetic excuse for mozzarella (the solid block kind you find next to monterey jack; Polly-O is my favorite and has the best flavor of these little fakers). The reason is, the fake block version melts better against the hot pasta, while the squishy ball kind just sits there and has a flavor too mild to compete against all the other elements of the dish. Hence, I'm using Polly-O. Use what you want, but don't come complaining to me when you can hardly taste it in here.


-1 lbs pasta, either penne or spaghetti
-4 fresh, juicy tomatoes, ideally homegrown but if you must buy the vine type from the store. You can also use a large can of diced tomatoes and even reserve some of the juice in the can.
-a generous handful of fresh basil (about 20 leaves), chiffonade
-10 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
-2 large cloves garlic, put through the crusher
-1/2 block of Polly-O mozzarella
-3 tbs of the olive juice (I like this better, but you can use lemon juice if you want)
-about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (use extra virgin for fresh sauces as it has so much more flavor) and a bit more to coat the pasta

While you're boiling your pasta, in a bowl, place your minced garlic and olive juice in the bottom, then whisk in the olive oil, carefully emulsifying the liquids. Add the tomatoes, olives, basil and toss. If you used canned tomato, let some of the juice from the can get in with everything. Chopped your mozzarella into half-inch cubes. Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and give it a good douse of olive oil to coat it well and toss in your mozzarella (I like to put the cheese in before the cold ingredients so it starts to melt a bit). Finally, mix your tomato mixture into the pasta, salt and pepper it to taste, and serve it up presto.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Raspberry Limoncello Preserves

I am a raspberry-holic. When you combine raspberry with a citrus element, I do believe you've achieved the rapture. I'm not even going to mention adding chocolate to that, it'd be the end of the world. This little recipe for raspberry limoncello preserves is wonderful, but if you do not have limoncello on hand, you could use Grand Marnier, or even just plain lemon (in which case I'd add a couple extra tablespoons of sugar) or orange juice. But the cooked-off alcohol element is quite delicious. Thought I haven't tried it, I imagine that even Amaretto would be incredible. Enjoy!


-1 cup fresh raspberries, washed
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-2 1/2 tablespoons of limoncello (or other citrus juice)

Place all ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Mush the raspberries as they heat. There should be a decent amount of liquid. Bring everything to a boil and let it reduce a bit till the mixture gets foamy then stir it well. When the mixture is sirrupy, remove it from the heat and let it cool before pouring it into a storage container. It should last about a week in the fridge.

New England Clam Chowder

I don't know about you, but I hate fishy tasting food, even something called Clam Chowder. The reason I enjoy this soup is because the only hint of seafood that you get is when you bite into one of the little clams--just enough for comfort :) Hope you enjoy this.


-2 tbs olive oil
-2 tbs unsalted butter, and another 4 tbs later on
-1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
-1 1/2 cups diced celery
-1 1/2 cups diced carrot
-2 cups diced yukon gold potato, peeled
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tbs fresh thyme
-1 bayleaf
-3 regular size cans chopped clams in clam juice (reserve the juice)
-1 1/2 cups water with chicken bouillon, or 1 1/2 cups prepared chicken broth
-1/4 cup flour
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1 cup milk (nothing under 1%)
-1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)

In a soup pot, melt butter with the olive oil and add the diced onion, stirring well until they begin to sweat and turn translucent, but do not brown. Add the celery, carrot, potatoes, salt and pepper. Add the bayleaf and thyme. Open your cans of clams and, keeping back the clams, pour in the juice from each can. Add your bouillon water or chicken broth and bring the whole thing to a boil. Meanwhile, put your flour in a bowl and, beneath the faucet, slowly whisk in cold water, smoothing out lumps as you go. Pour the flour mixture into the boiling pot and stir well. It will thicken up after you do so. Add in your reserved butter, chopped clams, the heavy cream, milk and the Old Bay. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, till the potatoes are soft.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Projected Meals This Week

Trying to eat cheap this week. Got to make meals with just a few simple ingredients!

Monday: Laab Gai with White Rice
Tuesday: Roast chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli Salad
Wednesday: Beef Tagine with Cous Cous, Naan, and Indian Lentils
Thursday: Dijon Roasted Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes, and Buttered Peas
Friday: Ziti all'arrabiata (the usual Friday meal)

Can I just say that I love the Perdue Ready Roasters? If you've got a smaller sized family like me, between 1-3 kids, they are just wonderful. A regular, undressed chicken is about 7-8 dollars. A Ready Roaster that's been seasoned and had the neck/giblets taken out is 10. It cooks perfectly and you don't have to touch that disgusting raw chicken. I highly recommend given them a try!

Laab Gai

This dish is, quite frankly, amazing if you are a Thai food fan. And, well, if you are a Thai food fan, you should already know how amazing it is! It is usually served as a side salad to the main meal. I love to spoon some into a butter lettuce leaf and eat it like a little spring roll (PF Chiang style). My husband loves it so much I often just double the portion and serve it as the main course with some sticky rice. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like. While I like to taste my food, my husband likes flames to shoot out of every opening in his head, so it's all up to you. Traditional recipes use fresh chili peppers chopped up, but I discovered that I really love how the flavor of chopped, pickle tabasco peppers taste in my Thai food. You can find jars of pickled tabasco in the hispanic section; I know that Goya bottles some that you really have to be careful with! If you already know what tabasco peppers taste like and don't like them, however, just use your favorite fresh spicy pepper. Buon appetito!


1 lb ground chicken (you can also use turkey)
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
about 10 chopped pickled tabasco peppers (or a couple fresh chilis depending on taste)
4 scallions, chopped
1 tbs red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 head butter lettuce
1 tbs toasted rice powder (this is optional, but I will tell you how to make this)

In a wok or a heavy skillet heat the vegetable oil and add the ground chicken. Break up the chicken so there are no large lumps (you want the chicken consistency to be fine, not lumpy). Stir fry the chicken until it has released all its water and the water has evaporated and the pan is pretty much dry around the chicken.

Meanwhile, get your lime juice, fish sauce, tabasco (chili) peppers and red pepper flakes mixed together in a bowl to marry the flavors. Once the chicken is prepared, add it to the lime juice mixture and coat it well. Add your rice powder and lastly add your cilantro and spring onion (you don't want to add them too soon because the cilantro will wilt and you want the onions to be crisp). Serve nestled in butter lettuce leaves or on a plate with leaves on the side.

To make toasted rice powder: Get a dry skillet good and hot and add a couple tablespoons of jasmine rice. Shake the pan every now and then; you will see the grains of rice start to get brown. Do not let them burn. Once they are toasted on all sides, pour them into a mortal and crush them into a fine powder. Voila! Rice powder. It adds a nutty flavor to many Thai salads.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If You Like Broccoli and Garlic...

From Ina Garten on the Food Network website, I just tried this last night and it's AWESOME! If you like broccoli and garlic, give it a try.


1 head garlic, peeled (about 16 cloves)
1 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 stalks broccoli, cut into florets (8 cups of florets)


Put the garlic cloves and oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the garlic is browned and tender. Turn off the heat and add the red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Immediately pour into a heat-proof container to stop the cooking. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the salad, blanch the broccoli florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain well and immerse immediately into a large bowl of ice water until the broccoli is cooled. This process stops the cooking and sets the bright green color. Drain well.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup of the oil used to cook the garlic, and 8 or more cloves of cooked garlic. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.
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