Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pastry Baked Brie

It's the last day of September. It's already the last day of September. The good news is that the best time of the year is quickly approaching; my three favorite holidays of the year are Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The bad news is that I keep getting older and I have two horizontal wrinkles that form across my forehead when I raise my eyebrows. Last year there was only one. Two years ago there were zero. This means that my skin is progressively getting looser. It sucks. A word to you young gals out there, start the anti-aging products early and you won't be as depressed as I am right now. Oh, and sleep on your back.

Aging also means a less snappy metabolism so I can't eat as much as I'd like anymore. But, because I'm a "grown up" I can make my own decisions and eat whatever I want. I mean, I could eat ice cream for breakfast and no one (except my mirror) would yell at me. And now that swimsuit season has passed, I feel less guilty eating all the bad-for-your-waistline comfort foods. I also feel less guilty posting them. Actually, in about two weeks, I'm heading to Turks and Caicos for a little holiday so I do have some swimsuit season left before 2014 ends. But eff it. Let's talk about this carbo-wrapped cheese monster!
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
8 oz. brie round
1 sheet puff pastry
2 tablespoons apricot jam or raspberry jam
+ apple slices
+ peach slices
+ figs
+ carrot sticks
+ water crackers
+ whatever dippers you want

Monday, September 29, 2014

Milkshakes

I'm not a fan of drama. I'm pretty introverted and low-key so I mostly enjoy keeping to myself and I prefer to limit my interaction with people. I'm v. selective about who I spend my time with because I consider my time to be quite valuable and I always want to enjoy myself and I want to be happy.

I had a little bit of drama in my life recently though. On this particular morning, I was feeling extra bummed so I wanted to reward myself with a little treat. I had just made a batch of vanilla bean ice cream so I grabbed a few scoops and made myself a decadent milkshake. I know it's getting colder these days, but who can say no to a milkshake? Not I. Although, to be fair, we've been having a bit of a warm streak these days so it's totally appropriate right now.
Ingredients [for one]:
½ pint ice cream
¼ to ½ cup milk
+ chocolate sauce
+ whipped cream
+ rainbow sprinkles
+ berries

Friday, September 26, 2014

Avocado & Arugula Pesto Spaghetti

I am a humongous fan of pasta because pasta has turned me humongous. Okay, so I'm not literally humongous, at least not by my own standards, but I can certainly blame pasta for the "bonus" weight I carry. I could eat pasta completely plain with just a knob of butter, that's how much I love it. But more often than not, I mix the pasta in with something else: red sauce, green sauce, meat sauce, cheese sauce, grilled vegetables, sausage, fresh vegetables. The list can go on for pages.

Well, I've got another preparation to add to that neverending list. It's kind of an atypical recipe, something you might not have considered but I think that's part of the charm. It's got mashed up avocados in it, which are so good for your hair and nails and skin since it's full of vitamins (B, C, E, and K) and has more potassium than bananas. And it has lots of peppery arugula, which is hydrating (also makes it good for your hair and nails and skin) and rich in iron and copper and fiber and vitamins A, C, and K and folic acid. It's just a health bomb, despite the fact that it's also a big bowl of pasta. It's a beauty-enhancing dish.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. spaghetti (one box; or you can use whatever pasta you like)
2 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 to 4 cloves garlic (depends on how much garlic flavor you like)
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice (½ of a juicy lime)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ of a juicy lemon)
1 burrata ball

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kimchi Mandu (김치만두) (2)

The other morning, I woke up with a scratchy throat. I fell asleep wearing shorts and a T and when my alarm went off and I had to hop out of bed, I was miserable because it was so freakin' cold! I guess it's just that time of the year now. You know, when you've got to break out your long johns and sport slippers all day, lest your feet freeze and fall off.

The good news? Hot food is now super appealing. Soups, stews, steaming hot yummies straight out of a deep fryer - it's all v. delicious. Today, I'm sharing kimchi mandu. I previously shared a kimchi mandu post but it wasn't v. detailed. So, when I made mandu again a few weekends ago, I thought I'd give you a more complete, step-by-step photo diary of the process. The dumplings can be fried, steamed, boiled, or added to a soup. It's perfect.
Ingredients [yields about 50 dumplings]:
1 lb. ground pork
3 scallions, chopped
½ teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup chopped glass noodles (small handful)
½ cup kimchi (squeezed of excess liquid)
½ cup crumbled tofu
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 egg
14 oz. package dumpling wrappers (about 50 wrappers)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brown Butter Candy Cookies

I've been subscribing to Netflix for about 3 years now. I was hesitant to join at first because I'm just a big ol' cheap-o. Plus, I have friends who let me use their accounts for years. But, at some point in life, you get to a point where you feel old and like you should no longer mooch. I mean, it was only $8 a month; I could totally afford it. Well, it's certainly been worthwhile. It's my best friend when it comes to food blogging. As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen and tapping away on my laptop, I need a little background noise and Netflix is an awesome source of background noise.

Lately, I've been watching Criminal Minds. I've had a few people recommend it to me, especially because I watch SVU religiously. It's a pretty intense crime drama and despite the flaws I've noticed here and there, I enjoy watching it. So, I've been leaving it on while I blog. In fact, I have it on right now. The problem though, is that it's so intense that I get a little scared watching it, especially at night. To balance out the frightening show, I decided to make a batch of sweet cookies.

I ended up making these amazing brown butter cookies. Brown butter is so fragrant and nutty, and caramel-y, and it's amazing in desserts because it takes an ordinary cookie and deepens the flavor and makes it take more sophisticated and yummy.
Ingredients [yields 2½ dozen cookies]:
2 sticks cold butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 cold eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped candy (I chose pretzel M&Ms and Twix; regular M&Ms, chocolate chips, Snickers, Reese's pieces, Reese's cups, Almond Joy, Whoppers, Milky Way, caramels)
+ sea salt

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kalguksu (2)

There's a Korean cuisine show on the Cooking Channel called Korean Food Made Simple. I'm not exactly Judy Joo's biggest fan (just being honest) but as a Korean girl who loves Korean food, watching her show always makes my mouth water. Recently, I watched an episode where Judy was hanging out in a busy food court-style corridor in Seoul where several kalguksu stalls lined either side of the hallway. She stopped at one of the most popular spots where the owner was making noodles to order. After Judy tried her hand at making some noodles herself, she stopped and sat down at one of the stools. Then, the owner served her a hot bowl of fresh kalguksu. It looked so incredibly delicious that I couldn't stop thinking about it and I decided I had to make some for dinner. I had to.

Kalguksu translates to "knife noodles" (literal translation, 'kal' is knife and 'guksu' is noodles). If you guessed that the noodles are cut with a knife, then you are a genius. They're soft and chewy and somewhat irregular and misshapen, which is part of their charm, and the soup is salty and savory. It's a great recipe for getting kids involved - I loved mushing around the dough when I was younger - and it's simple but elegant and delicious and hearty. The noodles are chucked into a simple broth and it's perfect.

I shared a kalguksu recipe a few years ago but I thought it was time for an update. This new recipe is incredibly similar (the noodles are exactly the same) but I went for a slightly lighter but still flavorful soup.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
noodles
1¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon canola oil
½ cup hot water

soup
6 to 8 cups water
1 tablespoon dried anchovies
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ onion, sliced
1 zucchini
½ teaspoon sesame oil
salt to taste

+ scallions
+ sliced hot peppers

Monday, September 22, 2014

B.O.M. Melts

Toronto was so much fun! I'll be sharing the experience over on my travel blog, if you're interested. Nothing is posted just yet because hello, I just got back yesterday evening and I haven't even downloaded the photos yet. But I pinky-promise I'll have some entries up soon.

Now that it autumn is officially here and it's getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, I'd say comfort food season is also officially here. One of the biggest components of comfort food - at least the type of comfort food that I like to enjoy - is melty cheese. So, I'm sharing a mushroom melt today. I wanted to give it a slightly more creative name so I went with "B.O.M. melt" where the 'B' stands for bacon, the 'O' stands for onion, and the 'M' stands for mushroom because those are the three main ingredients (besides the cheese). It's a cute and cheesy name, right? Har-har. Though, actually, I used salt pork so would it be a SPOM melt? BOM is cuter.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
½ Italian loaf (or whatever bread you prefer)
½ package mushrooms (baby bella, oyster, button, morel, wild, or a mixture)
½ oz. salt pork or 1 slice bacon, chopped
¼ onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon parsley, minced
½ cup grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, havarti, something good and melty)
black pepper

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grilled Nachos

I'm overwhelmingly excited for this weekend! I'm heading up to Toronto for a mini-break with my friend H. We're going to explore the city and then we're going to see Markus Schulz at the Guvernment. It's going to be exciting. So, in the spirit of feeling giddy and celebratory and excited, I'm sharing an extremely fun recipe today.

At our house, the grill gets used for so many recipes: burgers, ribs, quesadillas, peaches, kebabs, just to name a few. Seriously, the grill has contributed to so many delicious dishes. Well, add another recipe to that long list! I'm sharing grilled nachos today. You may be thinking, uhh, seriously? You're still grilling? Labor Day weekend was several weeks ago. You know what? We have until September 22nd to celebrate summer and even after that I'll still be grilling until I can no longer sport flip flops outdoors. No apologies necessary.

Anyway, let's get to the backstory of this yummyness. One lazy Saturday morning, my sister said she felt like eating nachos so after our weekly grocery shopping trip, I grabbed some ground beef, spices, onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, and made an awesome seasoned beef dish to top the nachos. They turned out amazing.
Ingredients:
chipotle nacho beef
½ lb ground beef
½ onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 cup canned black beans (about 1/2 can)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

nachos
tortilla chips
chipotle nacho beef
grated cheese
sliced jalapenos
salsa
sour cream
chopped cilantro
chopped scallions

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Arugula, Tomato, and Burrata Salad

Have you ever had burrata? It's so delicious. It's a fluffy mass of creamy, milky curds encased in fresh mozzarella. Sounds delicious, right? 100% of my experiences with burrata were in restaurants until recently. I was picking up a prescription at the grocery store (in the pharma section, duh) and afterwards, I decided to take a wander through the cheese section to see if they had Mexican crema. I couldn't find any crema but I did find out that my grocery now stocks burrata. Hurrata! I mean, hurrah!
I don't have a specific recipe to share. It's more of an assembly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개) (2)

Okay, so, I made this kimchi jjigae dead in the middle of summer but I saved the post for mid-September when it would seem more relevant.

It's pretty dumb to make a hot dish in a hot season but there are some occasions where it works. For instance, even though it was the middle of summer, there was a storm a few months ago (I think his name was Arthur) passing through which caused a cool spell. The whole family was off from work (it was the weekend) so I needed to whip together lunch and my sister suggested kimchi jjigae. Since my old kimchi jjigae post is friggin' ugly, I thought I'd document it and share a prettier version.
Ingredients:
2 cups kimchi
½ to ¾ cup water
+ canned tuna in oil
+ noodles
This recipe is just so super easy, it's kind of stupid to share but here goes! Start by putting the kimchi in a stone pot, if you have one, or a small saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the kimchi and then cook over a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until the kimchi has turned somewhat translucent and the red of the hot pepper flakes has gone from a vibrant fire hydrant color to a dull maroon-ish color.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baja Fish Tacos

I shared grilled fish tacos a while ago. I love a good grilled fish taco. I also love a delicious fried fish taco. I'm really not picky; both are delicious. I realized I haven't shared a fried fish taco yet so here I am, sharing a yummy beer battered fish taco.

I feel like there are a lot of preferential elements that go into making a good fried fish taco. For me, I need the crunch of cabbage (preferably purple), a really good spicy and creamy sauce (preferably not mayonnaise based), and a spicy pico de gallo to cut the grease (preferably homemade). My favorite fish taco restaurant is in Miami (Alma Mexicana, anyone?) so it's not the most accessible. There aren't many delicious Mexican restaurants in my neighborhood so instead of resorting to subpar fare, I like to make it at home.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
2 fish filets (cod, tilapia, halibut, mahi-mahi, snapper, any good, fresh, white fish)
½ cup flour
½ to ⅓ cup beer
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
oil for frying
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo)
¼ cup sour cream
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
+ tortillas
+ red cabbage, sliced
+ pico de gallo
+ avocado
+ hot sauce
+ lime wedges
+ guacamole

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pico de Gallo

My friend D got married yesterday! Congratulations to the happy couple. It was a lovely wedding and I participated as one of her bridesmaids. For her bachelorette just a few weekends ago, we all went to Miami. On our first day there, as soon as we hopped off the plane, we started contemplating lunch. I wanted to get Mexican so I suggested Alma Mexicana. It was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that even after I got back, I was craving Mexican food constantly.

One of the easiest recipes you can use to quash a Mexican food craving is pico de gallo. Pico de gallo, also known as salsa fresca, is a fresh medley of chopped vegetables with absolutely no cooking involved. There are several varieties but today, I'm sharing what I consider "the classic." You can spoon it over tacos, over eggs, or just go for it by dipping chips into the bowl. It's awesome.
Ingredients [yields approximately 3 cups]:
2 cups ripe tomato, diced (I like baby heirloom)
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice (the juice of 1 lime)
salt to taste

Friday, September 12, 2014

Korean-Style Short Ribs (2) | Kalbi (갈비)

When Koreans introduce non-Koreans to Korean cuisine, we usually ease them into it by feeding them kalbi. It's one of those super crowd-pleasing dishes because it contains a lot of familiar flavors. It's a lot of fun sitting down at a Korean restaurant and grilling the meat at the table and eating everything family style. The experience is interactive and fun and v. social. But, the downside is that it's pretty expensive. You might pay around $40 per person to leave with a belly full of food. So, of course, I prefer making kalbi at home.

I shared a kalbi recipe almost three years ago but I thought it was time for an update. Honestly, when I make kalbi, I never use measuring spoons and cups. I just chuck this and that into a bowl, stir it up, give it a dip with my pinky to taste, and adjust if necessary. However, I did my best to measure this time so that I could share. Oh, and sometimes I'll add grated pear or apple for added natural sweetness but we don't always have those on hand, so I just wrote out the recipe using the most basic ingredients, ingredients that most people will have in their pantry at all times.
Ingredients [serves 6 to 8]:
kalbi
2 lbs. short ribs
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 scallions, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

scallion salad
15 scallions (about 3 bunches)
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon vinegar (rice wine, apple cider, pomegranate, something light and fruity)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fishcake Side Dish (2) | Odeng (오뎅)

It's September 11 so I just want to make mention and give a minute to think about those who lost their lives in 2001. It was a tragic event, of course, but for a glass half-full perspective, it's lovely to think about the camaraderie and generosity and harmony that grows when people, from all over the world, stand together. It's touching and amazing. So try to think positive thoughts. Lose the road rage, let someone cut you in the queue at the bank, say hello to a stranger, and live life beautifully, at least for today.

Yesterday, I updated my anchovy side dish. Today, it's my fishcake side dish. Fishcake doesn't sound super appealing to most people but if you're into Asian cuisine, you're likely a fan. It's an easy way to easily incorporate a protein into the meal because you can make a huge batch, refrigerate it, and eat it with bahp (rice) for dinner when you're in a hurry. I mean, that's what my mom did for our family as kids. It was a quick go-to that was convenient to keep in the fridge.

One major component of my recipe has changed from the original recipe that I posted in 2011. I discovered these super thick fishcake sheets and we haven't gone back to the pathetic thin sheets ever since. It's definitely a preference thing but I think the thicker ones are just so much yummier and really great inside soups, in ddukbokki, and perfect for this little stir-fry side dish. I wish I could go back in time and ask my mom why she preferred the thinner ones and then convince her to convert to the thicker ones. Think of all the years I've spent with thin fishcake; what a waste!
Ingredients:
2 sheets thick fishcake (greeting card-sized is the best way I can describe them)
½ onion, sliced
3 long hot peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Anchovy Side Dish (2) | Myulchi Bokkeum (멸치볶음)

Korean people eat a lot of weird things and today's post is about one of them: dried anchovies. I know that anchovies don't have the best reputation. But I don't really understand it. Anchovies are delicious! They're what make pasta puttanesca so friggin' amazing and they flavor the stock for sujebi. They're fantastic and today, I'm talking about a dish that highlights them as a main ingredient.

Myuhl-chee is a popular Korean side dish. It's sweet and salty and sometimes it's spicy and it's such a quick and easy side dish (banchan) to whip up. My mom would make it all the time when I was a kid and I'd get excited when I'd smell it cooking. It's still one of my favorite banchans ever. And it's good for you! Anchovies, despite their small size, are packed with omega-3s and magnesium and calcium and phosphorus and vitamin B and iron. "They're good for your brain and bones," my grandma would say.

My original anchovy side dish post is two years old so I think it's time for an update. Like I've mentioned countless times before, I like to revamp my pre-fancy camera posts because the older ones are just less aesthetically pleasing.
Ingredients:
1 cup dried anchovies (they come in different sizes from tiny baby ones to humongous ones; the humongous ones are usually reserved for making stocks. I personally prefer the tiny baby ones or the smaller medium sized ones)
3 long hot peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, any neutral oil will do)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste (gochujang)
2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Salt & Pepper Porkchops

Salt n Pepa's here, and we're in effect. Want you to push it, babe, coolin' by day and by night workin' up a sweat.

How's that for a cheesy introduction? I thought it was super cool, didn't you? JOKES. I grew up in the 90s so I grew up with Salt n Pepa. And apparently, that means that I think it's cool to start a blog post like this. Anyway, I'm here to share a salt and pepper pork chop recipe today.

Salt and pepper pork chops aren't fancy. They aren't complicated. They're really simple and quick and that's probably what makes them so delicious. As much as I love Chinese takeout, I'm not a fan of ordering it because it's usually incredibly salty and too oily and just not the healthiest option out there. So, I like to whip up my own at home and this is a new staple in my faux-takeout arsenal.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
4 thinly sliced pork chops
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoon flour
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 hot peppers, sliced
oil for frying
scallions for garnish

Monday, September 8, 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice | Kimchi Bokkeumbap (김치 볶음밥)

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to mornings where my mom prepared a Korean breakfast. In Korea, they eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was born and raised in America though, so I got cereal and pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast most of the time. Frankly, I don't blame my parents one bit because cereal is certainly quicker and cheaper to throw on the table. Once in a while though, my mom would give me a bowl of rice with a stack of geem (dried seaweed a.k.a. nori a.k.a. laver) and "string" kimchi. On special days I'd get ramen. And on extra special days, I'd get kimchi fried rice.

Two things had to happen for my mom to make kimchi fried rice: we had to have leftover rice and a little leftover kalbi. She'd make the kimchi fried rice with kalbi chopped into small pieces and crumble in some geem. It was the best.

Now that I can cook meals for myself, I make kimchi bokkeum bap for breakfast all the time. All the time. On nights where we have Korean food for dinner, I'll purposely make extra rice so that I can make kimchi bokkeum bap in the morning. Even if we don't have leftover kalbi, I just make it without meat. The vegetarian version is still quite delicious so no complaints.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 cups cooked sticky rice (day old, cold rice is great here)
1 cup cabbage kimchi, chopped
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 piece nori, cut into strips
2 eggs (optional)
+ chopped scallion

Friday, September 5, 2014

What I Ate: Ramen

Fridays make me so happy. You know what else makes me happy? Korean ramen makes me so happy. I don't know what it is exactly but it's one of my favorite things ever. Maybe it's the fact that it's noodly and spicy - two things I love. Maybe it's the fact that it cooks up in 5 minutes. Or maybe it's the fact that as a kid, my mom only let us eat it as a treat, never on the regular, so it's got that "forbidden" factor to it. I'm a rebel and I like doing things that aren't allowed; what can I say?

Even though a bowl of plain ol' spicy Korean ramen is already really, really, really good, it can get so much better. I love digging through my fridge, looking for bits and bobs that I can chuck into the pot. And whether it's a sliced up grilled hot dog, shredded meat off of a half-eaten rotisserie chicken, yummy soup vegetables (like zucchini and cabbage), or even the leftover bone from last night's steak, there are a kitchen sink's worth of ingredients that would be delicious in ramen. Some people like a slice of American cheese slapped on top of their ramen too.

Don't be afraid to experiment. And here's a pro tip: undercook the noodles because they'll continue to soften in the hot pot.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cheesy Salsa Chicken

My office was closed on Monday so it's a short week. And even though today feels like Wednesday because it's my third day of work after the weekend, it's actually Thursday, which is awesome. It's a good feeling knowing that the weekend is just barely out of reach. I'm also super excited because I finally get to share this awesome cheesy salsa chicken. It's been queued up to go for a few weeks now and I'm so happy it's finally being posted because it's delicious and I want everyone to try it.

This dish was total improvisation. I was making rice and beans for dinner. I needed a protein. We had three pathetic chicken thighs in the fridge and I thought I would just grill them, slice them, and put them alongside the rice and beans. But, as I was grabbing the chicken from the meat drawer, I noticed cheddar cheese and salsa on the shelf and thought I'd perform a little experiment. I decided to cook the chicken in the salsa and then I shredded it so that it would seem like there was more meat than there actually was and then I topped the whole thing with cheese.

It ended up being really delicious (how could it not be?). So, just a few days after the initial experiment, I whipped it up again and documented it so I could share! I had a hard time deciding what to call this dish because it's totally made up and doesn't really resemble anything typical. So, I just decided to describe the three main ingredients through the title, which makes it super self-explanatory.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
2 lbs chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
2 teaspoons oil (olive, canola, vegetable)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 jar tomato salsa (16 oz.)
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
+ chopped cilantro
+ lime wedges

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DIY Vanilla Extract (2)

It's been almost two years since I made a gigantic 750mL batch of vanilla extract. I didn't gift any of it to anyone, aren't I selfish? I used all of it myself to make cakes, cookies, ice cream, pies, I mean, basically, any dessert that I made probably got a good dose of vanilla extract.

I've still got maybe ½ cup of extract left and I'm sure that will keep me going for another month or two. But, I had to hurry up and make another batch in the meantime. It takes about a month for the vanilla to really steep and flavor the alcohol so I got another bottle started.
It's a two ingredient recipe. You just need some good quality vanilla beans and a bottle of your favorite vodka (or bourbon or rum). You'll want at least two beans to every cup of alcohol. Now, if you want to be a freak like me, you'll grab six beans and 3 cups of vodka for a 2+ year stash of vanilla extract.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Ate: Pesto Pizza

Pizza dough, pesto, goat cheese, fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions, and a grill equates to one delicious end-of-summertime pizza.
If you're a thin crust guy/gal, seriously consider grilling your pizza. Grilling the dough gives it super crisp edges.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What I Ate: Spicy Chicken Sandwich

It's September already. The summer seriously flew by so fast; it's tragic. But I'm incredibly thankful for this three day weekend. It was incredibly lazy and indulgent and I watched a lot of trashy television and yet it was so productive. I blogged a lot. I documented several meals that I'll be sharing here eventually. Blogging is fun for me so it's not like I worked or anything. It was a productive sort of indulgence.

In the spirit of productive indulgence, I'm sharing faux fast food today. I get cravings for greasy burgers and fried chicken sandwiches every so often. I love that red headed chick's spicy chicken sandwich; you know who I'm talking about. I'm a fan of heat and it's kind of rare to find fast food that is spicy so this sandwich is a real favorite.

And even though it would only take a two minute cruise to grab myself one of those sandwiches, I decided to make this at home myself. Why? Because I had all of the ingredients and because I could.
I used my usual fried chicken recipe and method of buttermilk and seasoning except this time I used extra cayenne and black pepper and threw in a few serrano pepper slices to amp up the heat.
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