About This Blog

I like food. A lot. In this blog, I will divulge all my delicious recipes, giving you a full list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and notes to help you successfully make the dish. Feel free to try these at home, and let me know how it went in the comments for the dish! If you have any questions, I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you use my recipe and discuss it on your site, please link back to this blog. Happy eating!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Loaded Sweet Potato Rounds

Can I just say that I love these? Like a lot. Like, I wish I had some right now as I'm writing this. They are so refreshing. So delicious. And they were a perfect accompaniment to my butter poached lobster tails. Rich and I were fighting over these.
I urge you to make them. ASAP.
I got the inspiration for these from Sonja and Alex over at A Couple Cooks. They have some really great recipes, so I suggest you check them out.
Anyway, you'll notice that my potatoes look nothing like theirs. That's because I really hate sour cream. And I love avocados and am always looking for reasons to go buy an avocado and devour one.
Basically, I followed their recipe up until the toppings part.
That's a lie. I had one major difference.

Whilst slicing the potatoes on my mandolin slicer, I also sliced off a portion of my fingertip. Ouch! There was tons of blood everywhere (thankfully not on the potatoes), and I had to go to the emergency clinic because the bleeding wouldn't stop. At the clinic, they still couldn't stop the bleeding, and so they just cleaned it out with about 500mL or so of isopropanol and by smashing it into a tub of warm soapy water (also ouch). Then they put three cubes of surgical foam on it and taped it down and told me let it heal completely before I get it wet, either via showerbathing or dishes or what-have-you. So that means Rich is stuck doing all our dishes for the duration of my injury, which doctors estimate will be about a month or whatever.
I lost so much blood that I was dizzy by the time they got it bandaged. They had to give me a Dr. Pepper to get my blood sugar levels up enough to move again.
This is what it looks like under the gauze. I actually partially bled through the surgical foam, too. I'm not supposed to remove that tape until a scab forms and the foam is no longer attached to my body and keeping my lifeblood inside my finger.

Anyway, back to potatoes.
So I had Rich help me with the rest of the prep. Thank goodness he's so keen on helping with meals.

2 sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
4-5 marzano tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 avocados, seed removed, flesh removed into a bowl and pressed into guacamole
Fresh grated Parmesan

Preheat over to 450F
Slice potatoes into 1.4 inch rounds (not cutting yourself like me). Put rounds into a large bowl.
Add oil and seasonings and toss to coat.
Place rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for ten minutes, flip all rounds, and bake another ten minutes, until soft.
Remove from oven, grate parmesan over each round, and allow to cool slightly before adding toppings.

Butter Poached Lobster Tail with Marzano Tomatoes and Wilted Spinach and Basil

Wow, lobster is expensive. I mean, I've always known that, I guess, but I've never purchased lobster or pieces of one. And I bought two tails to make dinner for Rich and myself and holy cow, I paid $14USD for so little biomass. Crazy.
Anyway, I got the idea for this dish from Jaden over at Steamy Kitchen, here. And mine isn't photographed nearly as nicely as hers, but it was super delicious and I've never cooked lobster before, so I'm proud of my dish.
One difference I made is that I used marzano tomatoes, whereas she used a combination of yellow and a different red tomato.
Here's the thing: I hate tomatoes. I hate the juice. I hate the flavour. I hate everything about them. Except ketchup. Mmmm...
Here's the other thing: I loved these marzanos. At least, I loved them in the dish. I doubt I'm going to go popping the rest in my mouth all willy nilly. But man, did they shine in this dish.
Also, they're expensive, too.
Anyway, this dish is pretty simple as long as you can master poaching in butter, which is actually harder than it sounds, if only because it requires more patience than I normally have.
That said, digging deep for that extra patience was totally worth it.

2 lobster tails
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1 tbsp chunks
9-12 marzano tomatoes, cut into small pieces
6-7 baby spinach leaves, cut into large pieces
4 Basil leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut tail along the top and bottom and gently remove the meat. Set aside.
Heat the water in a medium pot over medium-low heat until just simmering. Add butter chunks one at a time, stirring with a whisk until completely melted.
Add the lobster tails and poach for 5-10 minutes, turning every minute or so (mine took a little longer than the five minutes Jaden recommends).
When fully cooked, remove lobster into a bowl. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes to butter in the pot.
Cook tomatoes until soft, just a few minutes. Add spinach and basil and cook until wilted, under a minute. Add tomatoes, spinach and basil to bowls and pour a small amount of butter mixture over the dish. Top with small amount fresh ground black pepper.

The tomatoes should be cut to sizes large enough to be considered "bite size." Don't cut them too small!
This can be done with a whole lobster, too, if you're willing to go through the process of killing/cooking one and getting all the meat out. Jaden has some excellent notes for that process.

Cauliflower "Couscous" with Spiced Veggies and Wilted Spinach, Topped with Spiced Shrimp

Wow. What a title.
So, I made this a little while back, and it is the result of having an amount of cauliflower that is too much for a side and too little to build something like tacos or the penne dish with.
I had become intrigued with this idea of turning cauliflower into couscous for a while now. I saw it mentioned on a blog somewhere some time ago, and I thought it was so neat.
This recipe is so fast, it's done in maybe ten or fifteen minutes, depending on your prep speed.

1 small head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets.
2 small to medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 small butternut squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
small handful baby spinach leaves, cut into small squares
garlic powder
ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
olive oil

In a food processor, blitz cauliflower for a few pulses until the pieces are small and resemble couscous.
In a small pot, boil diced carrots and butternut squash in a small amount of water for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Drain, stir in a small amount of olive oil, nutmeg, coriander, and cinnamon, enough to coat.
In a large skillet or wok, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about twenty seconds. Add cauliflower and spread out evenly over cooking surface. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and stir.
Stir couscous occasionally until warmed through. Add carrots and squash and stir in, allowing them to reheat. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, less than a minute.

Super simple, right? This can be served as is, or with shrimp or other protein. In this case, I chose the shrimp because I had a hankering for seafood. I just fried those up in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Finish with a small knob of butter when they're cooked through.

I have a super small processor, so I actually had to blitz the cauliflower in batches. Make sure not to overstuff your processor, or you'll end up with tiny bits on the bottom and unblitzed cauliflower on the top.
Cauliflower couscous is as versatile as the regular kind! Add pine nuts, broccoli, onions -- whatever you can think of!
I like to heat my "couscous" in the wok because I like the warmth of the cauliflower with the rest of this dish. I've read some blogs that keep it raw, and some that boil it for a minute or two to soften it up. Prepare it in whatever way suits your taste!

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Lime Crema

So, I did this waaay back in May for Cinco de Mayo. What's that? Cinco de Mayo was just last month? Oh. Well, so many things have been going on that I'm losing track of time!
So, anyway, Cinco de Mayo. As some of my readers know, I'm half Guatemalan, courtesy of my father, and although I am aware the holiday is a Mexican one, it gives me a super lame excuse to make pseudo-Spanish-esque food. Wow, that's a lot of clauses. Anyway, you may remember that last year, I made taco bowls with beef and chicken as the protein. This year, I wanted to try something totally different. Enter the cauliflower taco.
I'm really digging cauliflower lately. You may recall that I never used to like it. Now I love it. We keep it in the house at all times now. And I'm super happy about that.
I found the recipe here, at Two Peas and Their Pod, and I was blown away by how good it looked. I decided that this would be our Cinco de Mayo dinner. And man, am I glad that this is what I chose to make. The flavours work so well together, and the meal itself isn't too heavy so that you feel like regret when you're done.
As a note, I didn't include chickpeas when I made this, mostly because I don't like them at all and hate their texture, too. But everything else is pretty much the same.

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
tortillas (I used flour tortillas)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 jalepeño, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, seed removed and sliced thin

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine spices, oil, and water in a bowl. Toss cauliflower in seasoning until well coated.
Place cauliflower on a greased baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes until tender. Allow cauliflower to cool slightly before transferring to a bowl (for serving).

To Make Lime Crema:
Combine 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/8 cup fresh lime juice and 1/4 chopped fresh cilantro in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

One main thing I want to note is that the crema is AWESOME. Like crazy awesome. Like, I don't like Greek yogurt and I loved this crema so much. It's so delicious, so bold. It would go great on a lot of things. Most notably salads. I suggest you make it, even if you don't make these tacos.
I also made blackberry margaritas with this dish, using half the recommended amount of liquor for them, because I'm a pansy and I don't like to drink a lot.

I was pretty excited about these. After I finished making them and tried them, I exclaimed to the apartment, "Tequila is my lady!" (bonus points if you know that reference without looking it up)
Guess what?
Tequila is not my lady.
After drinking the margarita and barely being tippy and having two glasses of water before bed, I woke up as if I hadn't slept in weeks, nauseous, and achy all over my body.
At least the drink was good.