Wednesday, May 29, 2013

100th post: low country boil

I don't know why I don't make this more often. It's really not hard at all, and relatively inexpensive, especially when shrimp is on sale!
This starts simply- just beer, water, lemon, onion, bay and Old Bay seasoning. You can use any seafood seasoning, but being from P.A., we love the Old Bay.
You have to boil in batches, since everything cooks differently. Potatoes take the longest, so those get dropped in first.
Corn and sausage is next. I use smoked turkey sausage, but andouille is traditional. You could even use kielbasa if you wish! Cook this just until the corn is fork tender- then it's time for the seafood.
This cooks the fastest, really just a minute or 2. Just long enough for the shrimp to be pink and the mussels to open.
Transfer the boil onto a serving tray and spoon the liquid over top. You can serve this with melted butter, but I really just like to dredge the yummy bits through the broth. Sprinkle a little extra Old Bay on top and your set to dig in!
Low Country Boil
1 12 oz. beer
1 large onion, sliced
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 lemon halved
4 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lb potatoes, diced
1 lb sausage, smoked or kielbasa, sliced
4 ears corn, halved
1 lb shrimp, shell on
1 lb live mussels

In a large stock pot, bring beer, water, onion, bay leaves, lemon, salt and Old Bay to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add diced potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes and then add sausage and corn. Cook for 10 minutes, or until corn is fork tender. Add shrimp and mussels and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until mussels are open and shrimp is pink and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer boil to a serving tray and spoon broth over top. Serve with melted butter and hot sauce. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

pineapple fried rice

I love fried rice. I really, really do. Whenever Ed and I get Chinese take-out, I always get either Beef or Chicken fried rice (especially from our Chinese DRIVE THRU Takeout, Green Tea). This is a simple, vegetarian fried rice that Ed didn't even notice the meat missing from... at least not until later.
Fried rice is so changeable and change-up-able, but I always start mine with onions. I have a (un)healthy obsession with onions.
You can always buy a pre-packed or jarred stir fry sauce, but this one is pretty easy. Soy sauce, Sriracha, honey and rice wine vinegar. That's it!
I know that this looks really gross, but it's just what happens when you crack an egg into the sauce you make. It makes for a yucky looking pulp in the wok, but it's a good way to get little tiny pieces of egg through the whole stir fry.
A lot of fried rice is made with onion, peas, snap peas or broccoli- this one uses cabbage, pimentos and pineapple. I broil my pineapple in the oven to caramelize it before tossing into the fry. Throw whatever you want in there- that's the fun thing about fried rice.
Pineapple Fried Rice
This version of the classic dish is from The Pioneer Woman :)
1 can cubed pineapple, in juice
2 cups white rice, cooked
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon Sriracha, or other hot sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 small jar pimentos, drained
1 cup shredded cabbage

Heat oil in wok or large saute to medium high heat. Add in onions and cook until they just begin to soften. Add soy sauce, vinegar, honey and hot sauce and toss to coat onions. Bring sauce to a bubble and add garlic and both eggs. Scramble to break up eggs. Add pimentos, cabbage and pineapple. Toss to heat through and add rice. Toss rice to coat with sauce and vegetables and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

pumpkin frosty paws

My pups love ice cubes. We've managed to convince them that an ice cube is an amazing treat, and a special one at that. In the morning, when making my iced coffee, the pups all run to the freezer when they hear the sound of the cubes knocking together. Any time Ed makes a drink after work, the know instinctively that good things are coming. That's why I used to want to buy Frosty Paws for them, but they are so chock full of things that are TERRIBLE for dogs- like lots of soy, refined sugars and cellulose. These are so easy to make, cheaper than the 4 pack of Frosty Paws, and you know exactly what's in them. What's more, is that throughout the summer, you can switch up the flavor with minimal effort.
 I made enough of this stuff to fill 2 ice cube trays, but you can always cut the recipe in half. This version is with vanilla yogurt, honey, bananas, cinnamon and pumpkin.
It's going to be the tinsiest bit chunky, because the bananas don't puree completely with a hand mixer, but that's totally fine. Gives the cubes a little consistency.
I specifically bought these silicone ice cube trays to make the frosty paws because they are super easy to break individual cubes out. It was 5 bucks for the both of them at a Kitchen Collection store and they are perfect.
Spoon that good stuff into the tray and give them a whap or two down onto the counter to level them out and push out any air bubbles. Then run your finger along the divisions on the ice cube tray so that when it freezes, none of the cubes are attached together.
Pop them into the freezer and just a few hours later, this is what you get. Delicious little nuggets of wholesome doggies goodness. Make sure that you keep them frozen just up until the point that you want to treat your pups.
Radar approves! Make sure that you are around the first time your pets eat these, because eat dog is different. While Radar actually licks his (like you're supposed to) Link chomps his like a regular treat and Nora eats hers so fast we have to hold it in our hands for a minute or two so she actually licks it first. But each one of the LOVES these little things, and I'm sure your fur babies will too!

Pumpkin Frosty Paws
2 bananas
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons honey
4 Tablespoons pumpkin
24 ounces fat free vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Puree with a hand mixer until the banana is in fine chunks. Spoon the puree into ice cube trays until just full. Tap trays on the counter to remove any air bubbles and to smooth out the surface. Put trays into the ice box and freeze for several hours or until completely set. Keep frozen until time to enjoy!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

bang bang shrimp

This is the one thing we like going to Bonefish Grill for. Bang Bang Shrimp. Lots of restaurants have lots of different versions, but this is my favorite. This is a time intensive, but worth it meal. Ed was impressed. And very happy.
I always think the hardest part of shrimp meals is peeling them. Not my favorite part of cooking. You'll need about 1 pound of shrimp for this. Or double it- you may want to do that as well.
This is a combo of panko and regular flour with spices. This is a dry-wet-dry dredge. Into the panko mix, then into the egg wash, and again in the panko.
Let the coated shrimp chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. This ensures that the breading will stick to the shrimp when it fries.
While the shrimp is chillin', then mix together the magic. The magic is the sauce. It may not seem like much, but it packs a lot of flavor, and a lot of kick. You don't need a ton of it to make a difference.
Toss those babies up. And eat as fast as you can- they won't last long.
Bang Bang Shrimp
I found this amazing recipe at Ziplist Sous Chef!
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
8 cups oil, for frying

Preheat oil over medium heat. Combine together beaten eggs and milk for an egg wash. For the breading, combine together panko, flour, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and dried basil. Toss shrimp into breading, then into egg wash, and again into the panko mixture. Place coated shrimp onto a cookie pan and place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While the shrimp is chilling, combine together mayonnaise, Sriracha, sugar and rice vinegar. Fry shrimp in oil for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and then toss shrimp into the sauce. Serve with shredded cabbage or lettuce and enjoy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

hawaiian turkey burgers

Burgers may be the easiest thing to change up. Chicken, pork, beef or turkey, different kinds of rolls, sauces, topping, etc. Grilling is what summer is all about, and this whole burger is grilled up- from the patties and buns to the pineapple.
One of the only times that I condone the use of breadcrumbs in a burger is when using ground turkey- the meat is so liquid-y and soft that the breadcrumbs firm it up enough that the patties are more substantial.
This is how I portion out my patties- in the bottom of the bowl, four equal parts. It makes is even and neat this way.
See how easy that is? Much better than trying to eyeball it.
I always toast my buns- just spray them with a little cooking oil and dust with garlic salt before grilling to season them up. The pineapple cooks quickly- you just have to make sure the sugar doesn't burn them. Layer your burgers with the patty, swiss cheese, pineapple, barbecue sauce and shredded lettuce or cabbage.
Just a quick side note- it's really easy to make frozen french fries a little fancier. All you do is spray them with some cooking oil and season with whatever you would like. In this case, I just used salt and pepper. Then prepare the fries according to the package.
Hawaiian Turkey Burgers
1 lb ground turkey
4 sesame seed buns, toasted
8 slices of pineapple, grilled
4 slices swiss cheese
1 cup shredded cabbage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for on top of burger
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a  bowl, combine together turkey, garlic, breadcrumbs, onion, 1/4 barbecue sauce and salt and pepper. Form into 4 equal sized patties and grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each size, or until no longer pink inside. While burgers are cooking, grill buns and pineapple. Turn off grill and top each burger with swiss cheese. Let the residual heat from the grill melt the cheese. Layer burgers with grilled pineapple, barbecue sauce and cabbage. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

skillet tacos

We post a lot of tacos on this blog. Buffalo sauce and tacos are our main obsessions right now, and these tacos are super simple. All the flavor is in the sauce and they don't need a lot of doctoring up.
I don't think any taco is complete with out a little onion- raw or cooked. So these just need to be caramelized.
This is a very non-traditional skillet sauce. Main components include tomato sauce, apple juice, distilled white vinegar and roasted tomato salsa- all pulsed together in a food processor.
MEAT! I chose skirt steak again because it's easy, but choose what you will.
Add your sauce and let that hang out together for a little while. Layer your tacos with whatever you choose- we decided on fresh squeezed lime, cilantro and shredded cabbage.
Skillet Tacos
10 flour or corn tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup cabbage
1 Tablespoon cilantro
3-4 lime wedges
1 lb skirt steak, cut into strips
1 large onion, 1/2 sliced 1/2 minced
1/2 cup roasted tomato salsa
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a saute pan, cook onions until translucent and slightly caramelized. Meanwhile, combine together minced onion, salsa, tomato sauce, vinegar, apple juice and garlic in a food processor and pulse until only slightly chunky. Add sliced meat to onions and saute until cooked through. Add sauce and cook for an addition 5-7 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Layer tortillas with meat, cabbage, cilantro and garnish with lime wedges for squeezing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

homemade ham and cheese hot pockets

In my quest for the ever easier packed lunch, I cam across this little diddy on Magically Delicious. Easiest meal ever. 5 ingredients, and cheaper than a box of hot pockets.
I doctored these up a little bit more than the ones on the original website by adding mustard and butter to the top (instead of egg wash).
I used ham and cheddar cheese, but next time around I plan on using turkey and swiss, but you could do any combination of meats and cheeses, or even peanut butter and jelly, shredded chicken and salsa- whatever you like.
Crimp the edges either with a fork or your fingers to seal 'em up, then brush with butter, or egg wash, and pop into the oven.
These are really yummy, especially hot. Ed says that they are not too good cold (this is before I told him that they were supposed to be heated for lunch. He now demands instructions for his meals, silly boy). Pop in the microwave for 1 minute to heat from thawed, or 2 minutes from frozen.
Homemade Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
Original recipe found at Magically Delicious!
1 can refrigerated biscuits, any variety
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb sliced deli ham
2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stretch 1/2 of the biscuits into 5 inch rounds and place on greased oven pan. Top with mustard, deli ham and shredded cheese. Cover each round with another stretched biscuit and seal edges with a fork. Brush with melted butter and bake in oven for 13- 15 minutes. Serve hot or allow to cool and place in a ziplock bag to freeze for later. Enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

refrigerator pickles

Ah... pickles. How I love thee. So salty, so tart, so delicious. I've always wanted to make pickles, and this year I planned on growing gerkins in the garden and then going to town. But, I got impatient. My cukes aren't quite large enough, and these puppies were on sale at the grocery store, so I went for it.
Let me start by saying that I HATE bread and butter pickles. I'm a dill kind of girl, and I completely plan on frying a few of these later on. They are the perfect amount of garlic and salt just to be oh so delicious.
I mean, it really couldn't be easier. I somehow thought the entire process would be more consuming, but all you really have to do is slice the pickles (spears or chips), mix together the brine and pop them in an air tight container overnight. That's it!
They'll stay fresh and delish in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, too! So, you don't have to eat them all at once. Although, you can if you want. The below picture is from the next morning!
Refrigerator Pickles
2 lbs gerkins, or kirby cucumbers
2 cups hot water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

In a small bowl, combine together vinegar, salt, sugar, dill seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and garlic. Add hot water and stir to completely dissolve salt and sugar. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, slice gerkins into chips or spears and place into an airtight container. Pour cooled mixture over cucumbers, coating them completely. If the cucumbers float, place a bowl on top that will keep them submerged. Refrigerate overnight, stirring in the morning. Pickles can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 weeks in the airtight container. Enjoy!