Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Marsala

Because I always like to try new dishes and learn about new techniques, I thought it was now time for a Chicken Marsala recipe.
And here it is to be shared with you all....and HERE is where I got the inspiration from.
Unlike the original inspiration source, I used regular mushrooms, some red onion and also added some Panko bread crumbs to the flour before dredging the meat in it.
Also I chose to place everything on a bed of vermicelli pasta, which is exactly like the Angel Hair Pasta, a thinner variety of spaghetti.
Dessert was yogurt, strawberry flavor.

As a change of subject, my little sister got married to her college sweetheart Saturday, September the 25th 2010 and here are some pictures.
Enjoy !

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little Baby Cabbage or Brussels Sprouts for Dinner

The beauty of having your own blog is that you can write about pretty much everything that strikes your fancy, which in this case is my newest so called "experiment".
Brussels sprouts look very cute being that they resemble a miniature cabbage

and my hope was that they taste maybe better than the cabbage itself.
Look at the inside ! If you didn't know better, you'd almost think this IS the real size regular cabbage.

I personally do not like wilted veggies or over boiled or overcooked greens and so - I had to come up with a way to make the sprouts taste good, be cooked and still be crunchy.
And I also wanted a coating or a topping - other than bacon, which we did not have in the fridge right at the moment.
And to keep it short, I decided to quarter the very well washed

Brussels sprouts, coat with oil, season with salt & pepper

and broil them for 4 minutes on high.
Here in this 6 by 9 inch baking pan I have exactly 10 sprouts.
At $ 2.69 per pound, these baby cabbages cost me $ 1.56. Not too bad.

After that, I sprinkled some mozzarella cheese and broiled for 1 to 2 more minutes, just enough for the stringy cheese to melt.

I served them with some smoked mini sausages and some rice cooked risotto style.

I have to say that the sprouts were good, but they are not something I fell in love with, and so, while they are cute, they are not all that tasty unless you add toppings and glazes or a lot of seasonings.
For dessert we had light yogurt with 1 chopped kiwi on top. Yum !!

How do you like to prepare your sprouts?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Steak Dinner with Chimichurri Sauce

Where I come from people use to eat fish with a garlic sauce that usually has minced garlic, oil, salt, pepper and some lemon juice or vinegar and ever sour cream sometimes - which elevates the fish to a whole new level.


Some people use this sauce even for their green beans or yellow wax string beans for that matter.
Where I live now, on the other hand, people indulge in this sauce and add some parsley or cilantro to it and transform it into a very fragrant green sauce that goes on steak.
I love it and hubby does too - and if you have not tried this yet, then you will be amazed at how good this really is.

Oh, I even used frozen parsley and cilantro because I always shop and slice mine after bringing it home from the market and washing it thoroughly.So not to worry - frozen works just s well as fresh.

So let's look at all the food on the plate: steak with chimichurri sauce (the star of the dish), steamed corn, rice noodles and celery with French onion dip. Yum.

The steak is a New York Strip cut grilled  for 4 minutes on high in the George Foreman grill after being glazed with some oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper.

The chimichurri sauce is a mix of the following ingredients in the kitchen food processor:
- 1/4 of a medium size onion
- 3 medium size garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 dash chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup or so of chopped parsley
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro or just some extra parsley
- lemon zest if you have some
- the juice of about 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/4 cup oil (I used canola oil, but use olive oil if you have).

 The corn (1 cup of it, frozen in this case) is simply microwaved covered for 3 minutes, with 2 TBSP water, and then seasoned with salt and pepper at the end.

The rice noodles have a special way of being cooked, about which I have previously wrote.
You need to soak the noodles in tap water for 30 minutes (don't panic if you soak them for a longer period of time) and then boil them for about 5 minutes, or until they are cooked to your liking.
Keep an eye on them and taste a noodle often as they may be done earlier than you think.
When done, drain and return to the pan, adding 1 to 2 TBSP butter or some oil, salt and pepper and toss or gently mix to coat and season.
The celery was just the right addition to the other ingredients of this meal.

For dessert we had apple turnovers that really did taste like homemade apple pie...and at only 170 cal per piece they did not do much harm.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bean Bundles with Orzo

About one year ago I saw Iron Chef Cat Cora help a family deal with their food problem in the sense of them not knowing how to cook (at all).
Maybe for you and I this is a no-brainer, but believe it or not, there are still plenty of mothers out there that do not have the slightest clue of how to cook a meal.
What she cooked for that woman that day (delicious steak with a side of butter orzo) just stuck with me forever and also introduced me to the wonder pasta called orzo.
I know, pasta is pasta is pasta, no matter how it looks, but when it cooks up in a similar way to rice (picture it making risotto), then it just isn't your regular pasta anymore.

The beans in this dish are simply boiled for 4 to 5 minutes in salted water, then dumped in ice water to shock the produce, stop the cooking and maintaining the bright color.
After draining them an patting them dry, they are wrapped in bacon and cooked at 425 F for about 20 minutes, in a toaster oven.
For the orzo you need 1/2 cup dry pasta and roughly 200 to 400 ml (1 to 2 cups) of how water ready, plus a splash of sherry wine (about 1/4 cup or around 50 ml).
You will also need about 2 TBSP either butter or oil, plus some salt and pepper to taste.
If you feel courageous you can also add about 1/3 cup grated cheese at the end.
In a non-stick skillet warm the oil or butter, add the orzo and cook for 2 minutes on medium-high, then add the wine.

Stir often until all the liquid has been absorbed, then add more water (about 50 ml at one time or less) until the pasta is cooked thoroughly to your liking.
Some people like their pasta al-dente, but I like mine well done.
When the pasta is cooked, season it and if you choose to add cheese, this is the time to stir it in until it has melted.
If you find yourself wishing I had a more to the point recipe, then THIS is the link to the recipe that is more precise and to the point.
Plate and enjoy !

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meet the Cutest Habanero Orange Pepper

My husband was recently given a few Habanero Orange Peppers and they were so cute, that I really just could not help myself from taking several pictures of the peppers.
I am yet to cook with them...maybe some fresh super spicy salsa?
Thinking of cooking with small spicy peppers, I remember THIS incident, which you probably remember as well, if you do follow my blog regularly. 

If you are curious about some "pepper knowledge", then you will be glad to find out that this tiny and oh-so-cute Habanero is originating from Mexico, it germinates slower than the other pepper varieties, but this chile variety is worth the wait as it is 40 times hotter than a standard Jalapeno Pepper! 
At first it produces light green, thin, crinkled peppers which ripen to a wonderful orange-red coloration.  
Each chile pepper is 1½ inches long by about 1 inch across. 
Matures in about 85 days.

We returned tonight from an OKC trip and here are two pictures of myself that my loving husband took this after-noon by Lake Hefner. 

As a piece of advice, you could give pepper seeds a try and have them grow in your kitchen or garden, for the convenience of being able to pick them yourself as a fruit of your loving labor.
Very good seeds can be found HERE