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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pasta With Peas and Toasted Almonds

So, this is the second time I've made this dish, but the first time, it didn't photograph well, so I waited until I could make it again. Quite frankly, I blame the peas. The first run through with this recipe, the peas were kind of dull looking and not fabulous. This time? Fabulous.
So, this dish was inspired by Sommer at A Spicy Perspective, and hers definitely looks more fabulous, but my dish is only slightly different from hers: I did not use smoked almonds, I toasted some sliced almonds in a dry pan. I also reduced the amount of lemon added to the vinaigrette, as the first time I made this, I found it to be way too lemony and not enough of the other flavours.
This dish is super versatile -- It can be served as an entree, with a side salad or maybe a light crusty bread, or as a side dish to a lean protein entree, or even cold, as a re-vamped pasta salad that isn't oozing mayo. Either way, Rich and I found this to be light, refreshing, and all around delicious. And this recipe makes a lot, so we had some to pair with sandwiches for lunch for a few days afterward! Sometimes, it's better to have to feed only two, am I right leftovers fans?
Also, can I just say that I'm writing this whilst a big ol' batch of sweet potato chips bakes in my oven, and I'm so excited for those chips? But more importantly, I used the mandolin to slice them, and I was super nervous about it, and I feel like I need a whole chocolate pie or something to deal with that stress.

16 oz small pasta, like ditalini or macaroni
10 oz frozen peas
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1 green onion, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.
To toast almonds, add them to a dry skillet over medium low heat, stir every few minutes, until some begin to brown and they are fragrant.
About two minutes before pasta is done, add peas. Drain.
To make vinaigrette, add lemon juice and zest, oil, mustard, salt, pepper to a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Add to pasta and peas.
Stir in almonds and dill.

Sommer uses a whole lemon for her recipe, but as I noted before, we thought it was far too strong. If you're unsure of what to do with the other half of lemon, pour 1 cup of water into a small pot, add juice from the lemon half, 2 tbsp honey, and bring to a boil. Steep 1 black tea bag in it for about 3-5 minutes and BOOM. Honey lemon tea.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pretzel Crusted Apple and Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese

Welcome to the new world of grilled cheese.
Let me just say that I *love* grilled cheese. I grew up on it. On wanna-be Kraft slices melted between two slices of buttery wheat. Mmm...
Just recently, I started going through some old cooking magazines my mom had given me (we're talking two to four year old magazines here), and I found a photograph of a pretzel crusted jalapeƱo melt, and I thought that was pretty neat. Rich is not too fond of jalapeƱos, so I decided to used the pretzel idea with something new.
Enter this sandwich. Cheesy, salt, sweet, soft, crunchy, everything. This sandwich is everything. And more. I wanted to eat like a thousand of them. I want to eat some right now.
This sandwich is the perfect opportunity to up your soup-and-sandwich-night game.

Italian bread, or some crusty whole grain bread
Pepper jack cheese, two slices per sandwich
1 Granny smith apple, cut into rounds, core and seeds removed from the rounds
1/3 cup pretzels, crushed
1 egg
2-3 tbsp milk

Heat skillet or griddle to medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter for sandwiches.
Lightly beat together egg and milk. Dip one side of slice of bread into mixture, then coat with pretzels. Place on skillet or griddle.
Repeat for all slices of bread. Add one slice of cheese to each piece of bread, and two or three slices of apple to half of the bread.
Heat sandwich halves through, until cheese is starting to melt. Be careful not to burn the pretzel side!
Combine sandwich halves: 1 cheese only half with 1 cheese and apple half. Let sandwich sit on skillet or griddle for another minute or until cheese is completely melted.
Serve with homemade chicken noodle soup or a salad and chips.

This recipe, as written, made three sandwiches for us, but we used Italian bread, and the pieces were fairly small.
This would probably work with any cheese you prefer, but I really like the combination of low heat from the pepper jack with the sweetness of the apple -- a perfect harmony of deliciousness.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spanish-Inspired Vegetable Stew

We've talked about my half-Guatemalan heritage, right? Okay, good. 
Every once in a while, I get the craving for some food that tastes like it came out of a Spanish-speaking country. Most often, that means tacos. But not this time.
I had some vegetable stock left over from when I made roasted cauliflower and saffron soup for Rich during his four days of madness at work, during which time he was working night shifts. Anyway, it's hard to find something to do with just two cups of stock, so I spent some time trying to figure it out. I settled on this stew, which I just sort of made up on the fly. It is super simple, really fast, and really delicious. Rich loved it, I loved it; everyone wins.
We also served it with some homemade garlic bread. And by served it with, I mean we piled spoonfuls of stew onto the bread and ate it like some mutant bruschetta, and it was fabulous.
If you like Spanish-y flavours, I encourage you to give this a shot.

2 or 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped small
12 baby carrots, cut small
1 ear corn, kernels shaved off, or 1/2 cup frozen corn
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika (I used Hungarian paprika)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 cup small pasta (optional) [I used small-cut tomato basil pasta pieces for mine, purchased from my local farmers market]

In a large pot, add garlic with a small knob of butter (or 1 tbsp of your favourite oil) and warm over medium heat until garlic is fragrant.
Reduce heat slightly, and add corn, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
Add carrots, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil.
Add spices, adjust to taste.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Serve with crusty bread or tortilla chips.

This ends up pretty spicy, so if you want it more mild, add less of the chili and cayenne and then adjust to your preferred heat level.

Chicken and Tortellini Soup

Not one of the best photos I've ever taken. But give me a break, the lighting in my house is not fabulous.
Anyway, I got the idea for this some time ago, and I've actually been making it since like, May or something, but I thought I'd share it. It's just one of those meals that sort of got lost in my phone's photo album.
This is a nice all-around, all-weather sort of soup, except maybe the hottest summer days. It's actually pretty light when portioned in the appropriate servings, and the spice content can be adjusted to the season. Cold or rainy? Add a little white pepper or chili powder to make give it some heat to warm you up. Warm and pleasant? Use fresh herbs and feel like you're sitting outside, enjoying a gentle breeze.
The recipe itself is not at all complicated, but it's definitely a nice go-to when you're not sure what you want for dinner, or only have thirty minutes to cook.

Boneless chicken breast or tenders, cut into bite-size strips
2 or 3 whole carrots, peeled and chopped small
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
Low sodium chicken broth
Cheese tortellini, about 5 to 7 pieces per person
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped parsley
Additional herbs and spices, according to preference

In a large pot, add olive oil and garlic and warm over medium heat until garlic is fragrant.
Add chicken and cook through.
Add carrots and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender.
Add spices and herbs, bring to boil.
Add tortellini and cook until pasta is done.
Portion out tortellini into bowls, top with other components of soup.

I like to make a full batch of this soup (minus tortellini) and then save whatever Rich and I don't use that night for another meal. Sometimes that means heating it back up, throwing more tortellini in and enjoying it all over again. Other times, that means throwing in some sort of small pasta, like alphabets, and giving it a quick heat before bringing it in for lunch.
I've made this soup in a few ways, spice-wise. It definitely has a lot of range and possibilities. I encourage you to play with the flavours.