Archive | November, 2011

sirloin and bean chili with corn bread and smoked cheddar

28 Nov
Upon returning to a normally drought and heat stricken central Texas I was hit in the face by 50 degree wind gusts. CHILI TIME!!!  
even though everyone knows that i’m always ecstatic about what i call “chili weather”, i’ve never actually made chili before. and recipe schmecipe. so this evening was a great american staple adventure.
staple like quintessential dish, not like i went on an adventure for office supplies. (although, i do love supplies so if you know of any nifty useless supply websites, get at me)
There was a lot that went into this chili, not in the actual cooking but in terms of getting to the chili action. the grocery store trip was exhausting. I stood in front of the $12 sea salts for 10 minutes until I realized I do not have $12 to spend on salt (for the record: i went with slice and bake cookies, instead of a posh sea salt confection) Then, because I wanted to use really good cheese to garnish my chili, I stood in front of the “british isles/cheddar” section smelling every single cheese at least three times over.
there is a lot that I wanted for this chili. A lot that couldn’t happen, sadly. I wanted to use dried rather than canned beans, but since I didn’t know I would be making chili until an hour before dinner, I couldn’t use dried beans. Also, I originally intended to make a turkey white bean chili, but there was no ground turkey at the store and so I took that as a friendly nudge in the direction of big meat, ground sirloin, to be precise. 
once the glorious grocery store madness ended, it was chili improv time:
1/2 T butter, 1/2 T olive oil
1-3 lbs ground sirloin 
1 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 12 oz can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1-3 cups chicken stock
1 can black beans, no salt added; drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, no salt added; drained and rinsed
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, diced
approx 1 T cumin (or to taste)
approx 1/2 T chile powder (or to taste)
approx 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 T dried oregano
approx 2 T salt (or to taste)
avocado slices for garnish
sharp yellow cheddar and/or smoked cheddar for garnish (and for melty cheesey gooodness)
a slice of cornbread or a pepperjack corn muffin if you are me and you are lucky enough to come across that in the store!!!!!! ( i wanted to make my own cornbread, i really did, but as i mentioned earlier, grocery stores are distracting and exciting for me and i don’t always meet all my goals)
How It Alllll Goessss Down:
1. melt the olive oil and butter together in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute until translucent but not brown.
2. Add the spices and stir to combine. and to make great aromas happen
3. Add the sirloin and cook over medium heat until fully brown.

4. Pour in both cans of tomatoes, crushing and mixing with a wooden spoon. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the meat and loosen up the chili, but not enough to make it brothy. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for at least 20 minutes (45 minutes or an hour will only make it taste better).

 5. After simmering for as long as your impatient taste buds can handle, add the beans, stir and taste. Adjust the seasonings and spices as necessary!

Put a slice of cornbread or a corn bread muffin into a bowl. Ladle the chili on top, garnish with both shredded (or oddly minced if you don’t have a grater like me) smoked cheddar and sharp aged yellow cheddar, avocado slices and sliced scallions. 

This is what it looked like after I mushed around all the garnishes and the corn muffin 🙂 it was a deliciously sweet, corny, meaty, spicy, smokey, cheesy bucket of YUM. except it was a bowl, i WISH it had been a bucket.

it’s officially been 2 days since i’ve made this chili and i wanted to add that i’ve eaten it for breakfast yesterday and today. it’s delicious, plentiful and only gets better as it sits 🙂 

my thanksgiving

28 Nov
The Bird:

The Sides:

Plate Shots and Clean Plate Shots:

my dad’s awesome shirt:
My ADORABLE Puppy…he ate tooo much turkey! 
Chocolate Pecan Pie:

spiced coconut shrimp soup shooters with chipotle kiwi salsa

22 Nov
This happened by accident at school today. I don’t have step by step pictures because it was during an assignment at school but none the less, I invented this as a product of having to create an hors d’oeurve from the ingredients my teacher put on the table. Voila, coconut shrimp soup shootaaas.
I made 36 of these but just adjust this to however many people you are serving. Also, you could serve this in a bowl to 2 people rather than in shooters to 36 people 🙂
What You Need:
36 shrimp, cleaned, and deshelled-reserve the shells in a bowl.
3 cans of coconut milk.
1/2 T cayenne pepper
1/2 T cumin
1 T ginger
1 T coriander
        these spice measurements are approximations..i wasn’t keeping track of how much I put in so definitely taste it as you add to make sure it’s ok. You can always add more coconut milk if it is over seasoned. 
a teaspoon of tumeric 
4 garlic cloves minced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
for the salsa:
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 kiwis
a dash of sugar
1 red bell pepper
How To get that Boom Boom Pow:
saute the shrimp shells, garlic and green bell pepper in some butter or olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Add in all of the spices and some salt. saute another 3 minutes.
pour in the coconut milk, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
saute the shrimp in a pan with some olive oil and salt about 3 minutes on each side.
make the salsa, put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until desired consistency is reached. The smoother the puree, the easier it will be for the salsa to sit on top of the soup. If you want to keep it chunky just be sure to serve your soup directly after you put the salsa on it so that the salsa doesn’t sink to the bottom.
Once the soup has been simmering for 20-30 minutes, taste it. Adjust the spices as necessary to your liking. strain the soup, discarding the shells and returning the soup to a pitcher with a spout for pouring. Pour the soup into shot glasses, add about 1 teaspoon or 1/2 T of salsa (it’s SPICY! be careful!) and garnish with a sauteed shrimp!!!
HOW EASY WAS THAT!! and you look like a fancy shmancy gourmet 🙂

my ridiculously healthy dinner

21 Nov


brie apple panini with apricot preserves and balsamic reduction

and red velvet cake balls with white chocolate shmear

oy vay i need a nap. bye.

pumpkin ravioli with pecans and sage brown butter

19 Nov
My heart beats for this type of dish. 
I want to make a list about this dish. Here it is:
  1. I used pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash ravioli but I should have left out the butternut squash, it wasn’t nearly as delicious and plump and flavorful as the pumpkin. 
  2. I know that it doesn’t look so beautiful because the two different raviolis don’t match etc. The taste makes up for what the aesthetics lack. 
  3. Pumpkin ravioli is widely available this time of year at your normal grocery store, if not, you can definitely find it at a specialty store like whole foods, balducci’s etc. Or just buy a pasta roller and make it yourself if you’re feeling motivated. 

The Shtuff:

pumpkin ravioli (approx 5 per person if you’re normal, 9 if you’re me)
2 T room temp butter
1 handful of pecan halves
a little less than 1/4 cup chiffonade-ed sage leaves, loosely packed (loosely packed means you’re not packing it into the measuring cup)
VAMANOSSSSSSS! : (i’m going to do this in list-ish form because list’s are a good thing)
  1. boil a large pot of water, LARGE, the ravioli request that you please don’t crowd them in the jacquzzi. 
  2. kind of chiffonade up some sage, just chop it relatively thinly and so it’s not totally busted looking. Always remember to respect your food. Respect the sage, bro.

     3. Once the water is boiling, SALT it. See my Mountain Salty McSalterstein as an example:

            4. Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add the ravioli to the water-it takes about 4 minutes    cook depending on the size. Once your pan is HOT HOT HOT Add the butter to the saute pan, it should kind of sizzle and immediately start to brown. Add the sage in and let it fry up for a minute. Drain the pasta.
    Notice the butter is brown-ish looking, this is the key. Don’t burn it! just get the pan hot enough so it immediately turns the butter a caramel color, not a mucky brown. You’ll know by the smell 🙂 
         5. add the pecans to the sage butter, toast 2 minutes. 
           6.  Toss the pasta in the saute pan, add a small pinch of salt, garnish with a few sage ribbons. 
     and it’s party rocker time!
    Now for a quick photo montage of my pasta..

    Enjoy with a nice mug of spiced whiskey cider 🙂  
    (my mug is half full  because I sipped as I cooked)

    college peanut noodles w/ veggies

    18 Nov

    I call this a college dinner because its quick, easy, and inexpensive. College is also code for lazy.

    sorry for the lack of pictures, last night was a lazy one.
    What You Need for this Low Cost, Low Maintenance Meal:
    (disclaimer: if you are someone who never has pantry items, ie: pasta, peanut butter and soy sauce, this will not be low cost for you as you will need to buy all of those things. however, try and make it work with what you have at home in the form of whole grain starch and vegetable.)
    1 serving, 4 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta (or more if you’re feeding more people) 
    (you can use regular bleached pasta but since this is a low budget meal I like to use the whole wheat  pasta as my protein component to avoid spending money on meat or beans)
    A vegetable, or more.  (i told you this was college)
    I used snap peas and orange bell pepper but use ANY frozen or fresh veggie you have in the house or that is on sale at the store. 
    some soy sauce (min 1 T, max 1/8 cup)
    some creamy peanut butter  (min 2 T max 1/8 cup) 
    some rice wine vinegar or if you don’t have that, use white wine vineger, or just use some citrus juice. a few tablespoons.
    its approx 1.5 parts peanut butter, 1 part soy sauce, 1/4 part acid (vinegar or citrus). Just mix the stuff up and see how it tastes, if you don’t like it or if its too thick or too thin just add different proportions of the ingredients until it’s just right for you! 
    Cook the pasta according to the box directions. DON’T FORGET TO SALT THE WATER!
    while the water boils, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, and vinegar. If you have sesame oil and siracha hot sauce that’s a bonus! if not, don’t fret, we’re on a budget here. 
    julienne, or very thinly slice up your veggies. 
    In the last minute of cooking drop the veggies into the water with the pasta so that they blanch.
    Strain pasta and veggies, combine with sauce!
    I added some chopped garlic chives and some fresh basil to mine because I had it in the house and needed to use it up, if you don’t have that, no worries amigo. 
    I told you it was easy. and I promise it is delicious! And decently healthy so long as you don’t abuse your peanut butter privileges 🙂

    middle eastern roasted cauliflower

    16 Nov

    This. Is. Awesome. I don’t know what beautiful kitchen gods were on my side when this happened but I am eternally grateful. 
    What You Need for 4 servings:
    1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniformly sized florets
    1 cup of pistachios and pine nuts
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/3 cup of chopped dates or dried apricots
    1 T butter
    1  T olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    optional: orange/lemon zest and/or juice

    How To Make a Yucky Vegetable DELICIOUS:
    preheat the oven to 350
    toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, pepper. place on a sheet pan and roast about 30 minutes, flipping once, until the cauliflower is golden brown. 
    While the cauliflower roasts, Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the nuts and toast about 3 minutes. 
    Add the garlic and dried fruit. Cook until you can smell the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

    Once the cauliflower is finished, heat the mixture back up and toss the cauliflower in the skilled with the fruit and nut mixture. Add any additional oil or butter for moisture if you’d like. 
    Optionally: Add some orange zest or even juice from an orange or lemon if you want to brighten it up a bit.