Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Breakfast burrito or mu shu pork wrapped in a mandarin pancake? Easy; its the mu shu pork wrapped in a mandarin pancake. Okay, so not so easy to tell. But yes, that is more of a mandarin pancake, and less of a Mexican tortilla. It may come across a little hard to believe, but that in fact, is what I like to call a Chinese tortilla. Why not, right? I mean it is made of flour, looks like a tortilla, almost taste like one, and is used to wrap up all the goodness in order to eat with one's hands. So am I the first to say that not all Chinese food requires those tricky and impossible little sticks that are magically somehow supposed to scoop up not even half a bite size? Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against those who value meal time and don't mind finishing a meal in about four hours. But for me, when I use chopsticks, by my next attempt at getting even that second bite my food has gone terribly cold. Maybe that is why I loved this Chinese dish so much. I was able to eat it at a moderately and average time which allowed my mu shu pork to stay warm the whole way through dinner. (This made me happy.)
3/4 cup boiling water
about 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Okay I am probably thinking the same thing as many of those who are reading this post. What the HECK IS THAT?! or is it more of a.. UMMM, is that meat fully cooked?! Well to answer the first question; this masterpiece that Blake and I and his mom put together is known as Mu Shu Pork. Mu Shu is probably some Chinese name considering this recipe came out of a Chinese cookbook. But for me, as an American, when I hear the words mu shu, this picture is exactly what I picture in my creative little brain. And it is simply that; a bunch of mush, mu, and shu. And as the second question goes, YES the meat is fully cooked. As I do agree the light colors in the meat tend to make it look a bit on the raw side, I am one hundred percent certain that the pork is fully cooked and completely safe to eat.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
.5 cup unsalted butter
.5 cup olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large clove garlic, minced
sea salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds extra-large shrimp (uncooked and headless)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion, rosemary, and oregano and cook until the onion is translucent but not browned, about eight minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is softened, about two minutes longer. Remover from the heat and season well with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Rise the shrimp and arrange them in a shallow baking dish. Pour the warm sauce evenly over the top. Bake uncovered, stirring every ten minute, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the flavors have melded, about thirty minutes. Serve and enjoy! (Serves great with garlic buttered french bread, and this served for me, Blake, my parents, and my second sister Kylie!... so should serve from 4 to 6 people)
I believe that tomatoes are an excuse for friends and family to come together and form assembly lines in order to slice, fold, and sprinkle while still chatting and having a good time. This may sound a little odd, but that is exactly how these tomatoes were made. I was off cooking the main dish with Blake, while helping my mother and Kylie prepare these decadent tomatoes. My mom became quite the professional slicer, while Kylie tore through her job of evenly tearing the cheese hoping to go for an authentic tomato look. Lots of fun was spent in the kitchen that night while we all hovered around the island pitching in when necessary in order to create that perfectly interesting dinner menu; Cajun barbecued shrimp with house salad, garlic buttered french bread and baked tomatoes. So yes, I would say we got the whole effect of "around the world cuisine" from France to New Orleans to anywhere that eats a simple house salad and baked tomatoes.
If there was anyone who loves these tomatoes the most, it would have to go to my sister, LB. They are a must when she is in town and her love for these tomatoes have made me come to love them as well. There is just something about a tomato being baked that makes my mouth water, and when I see the juices squirting out and over the bubbling, warm Swiss cheese, the taste become rich and creamy. Seconds and even thirds often appear for these baked tomatoes. They are bold in taste, smooth in texture, and overall beautiful to look at.
3 medium sized tomatoes
tablespoon dried basil
thinly sliced Swiss cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Slice the tomatoes to about half inch thick and align them on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Fold and tear cheese to fit the size of the tomatoes and place on top. Sprinkle basil on top and cook for about 6 min (until cheese melted and bubbly on tomatoes) in oven at 365 degrees fahrenheit. It is so simple, yet so good! Serve, and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
What is the fun in baking when it is not much of a challenge? Even more of a broader question, what is the fun in life when there are no challenges put forth? These are questions I often ponder upon, because two arguments can easily be faced: routine and easy simpleness brings pleasure with out needing to use much of a brain, or the brain is shriveling up trying to find a challenge in life that is mere like a puzzle; something a bit more difficult yet intriguing enough that one is eager to find the answer for. The second argument is exactly how I felt about these somewhat challenging hamburger buns. It was set that Blake and I would be grilling hamburgers for some friends one Saturday night, but I wanted more of a challenge. Something that could be done, yet something I had to work a little harder at and really use my skills and technique with.
So this is what I had come up with, why not make the buns to the hamburger them selves!. (A post was previously posted on the hamburgers.) I must admit, about half way through I was extremely skeptical to the point I was going to head to the store and buy the fake and prepackaged buns. Thanks to Blake's optimism, I stuck with the dough and kneaded through the hard times. Glad that I did, these buns turned out beyond my expectations for they were not only GIANT! but light and fluffy on the inside while still a bit hard with a crunch on the outside. From coming strait out of the oven, they were warm and fresher than buying any loaf of bread from a market place. I, as well as my friends, were delighted and awed by the whole experience of getting the opportunity to try home-made, fresh hamburger buns.
Ingredients: (makes about 12 big buns)
1 cup instant mashed potatoes
2.5 cups boiling water
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons oil
4.5 teaspoons instant yeast
2 eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bran *found with whole and organic foods*
8 cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs beaten
Place instant mashed potatoes into a large bowl and add boiling water and stir with wooden spoon till smooth and allow to cool. Once cooled, add in cottage cheese, beaten egg, sugar, oil and salt. Mix together till the mixture is smooth. Not, add in the bran, instant yeast and two cups of flour. Mix with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Allow to rest for ten minute uncovered. Place some of the flour onto a flat surface and our out the "dough" (I say this because it will appear rather chunky and liquidy) Sprinkle some more flour on top and begin to knead in the flour. Continue to knead for a very LONG TIME and slowly the "mush" will somehow, gradually become a type of dough. Then knead it for about ten minutes slowly and adding in more flour. The dough will be a little sticky but shouldn't any longer stick to your hands. It will become smooth and elastic. Add a tablespoon of oil to a clean bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl. Turn over a few times to lightly coat all of dough with oil. Cover with a damply wet towel and allow to rise until double in bulk (about one hour) pour out the dough and knead a few times to release the gas from the dough. Roll the dough out to form a long log and cut evenly about 10 to 16 slices. Roll each slice into a firm and round ball. Then place the ball on the table and under your palm, and press your palm down until the dough flattens out to about half and inch thick and is much wider. with two different sized cookie cutters, place both circled shaped cut out on top of the dough to leave a neat indention for the top of the bun. Brush the tops of the buns with the mixture of milk and eggs and then sprinkle seeds on top. Bake in oven on 350 degree fahrenheit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
two small or regular sized potatoes
sea salt and pepper to taste (plus a little more)
extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup or more or less.. depending on size of potatoes)
pinch of cayenne red pepper
Okay, this should make about four to five servings or so. slice potatoes up to resemble thick french fries (do not peel of skin) Place them all into a BIG zip lock baggie and pour in oil to coat all fries, enough salt and pepper to assure each fry will have some and just a pinch of the cayenne red pepper. Close bag and shake untill everything is covered and dispersed evenly among fries. Let bag sit in refrigerator until ready to bake fries for about 30 to 40 min at about 350 degree fahrenheit. serve and enjoy!
Monday, January 11, 2010
3 lbs ground beef
jar of hot, sliced jalapenos
4 slices jalapeno pepper jack cheese
separate the ground beef so it will make a total of 8 burgers. take one of the burger patties and separate it into two. Pat them down and round them to desired consistency of a patty. Layer jalapenos on top of one Pattie and then sprinkle with burger seasoning. place the other Pattie on top. "smush" edges together to make one complete hamburger patty. Pour worcestshire sauce over all over the patty and allow it to soak into burger by refrigerating for a little while until ready to grill. Before grilling, coat the top of burger with seasoning again and then grill to desired perfection! (If adding cheese, put on top near end of grilling time to allow cheese to melt on top of patty.) Add condiments and enjoy!
Friday, January 8, 2010
So as many Americanos are aware that yesterday, January 8, 2010 was the night of the big football game between the infamously famous University of The Broken Horns and the even more famous school, University of Crimson Tide. Parties and gatherings were held for this was one ordeal to not be passed up. One could possibly say it is as famous as V-Day or even Halloween. My sister, LB, had gone to a friend's house to watch the big game, but it would not be classy to show up empty handed. Therefore it was decided that classic home-made brownies would go with her. Unfortunately due to the ever so suffering of school, I was too busy to make brownies for my sister so she was forced to make them out of a box. It was then decided I would make them today for an additional party that she would be attending.
These splendid and ever so delish brownies must be credited to my sister as much as they are to me. LB was right along side me stirring the faces on the chocolate until they swirled with the thick and luscious butter until smooth and glossy which then would make one indulge into these little devils only to beg for more.
This brownie can not even be compared to that of a box, because they are simply different. Yes, I do have to admit that boxed brownies can be quite good, but I do also have to admit that home-made brownies are somehow different and just flat out better. Maybe it is because love went into each ingredient? Or was it the fact that I was able to bond with my big sister before she went off to Bama for another semester? Whatever the reason, these classic brownies are to die for and the unsweetened chocolate makes for a great balance creating brownies that are rich and chocolatey, yet not to sweet for one's tooth.Ingredients:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and line an 8 inch square glass baking pan with foil. In top of a double boiler set over barley simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir together until melted and smooth. Pour into a bigger bowl. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir in eggs one at a time and then the flour. Stir until very smooth and the mixture pulls away from sides of the bowl. Add the chopped nuts and pour batter in pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until ready. While brownies are cooking, fill sink with one inch of water and lots of ice (making an "ice bath"). when brownies come out of oven put pan into ice bath avoiding water on any part of the brownies. Allow to cool completely. Cut and serve. (Best when warm). And enjoy! (Also brownies are always great with icecream!)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies® (from Kellog's cereal)
6 blocks of almond bark
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
peanut butter to your tasting (as much as one desires!)
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Allow to cool. Melt almond bark and stir until smooth. Stir in cooking oil and as much peanut butter as desired for your tasting (optional). Pour over rice krispies and let cool.(again) Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day, and enjoy!!
*Special thanks again to Kylie Astle*
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
As it has been stated I am a girl from Texas. In other words I am a girl that lives hand in hand with heat, Mr. Sun, heat, Mrs. Humidity, and oh did I mention heat? And sadly in my lifetime I can easily remember the exact days, where I exactly was, and what I was exactly doing on the three days that it has snowed in Houston, Texas in the past seventeen years. Yes, in 6,205 days it has snowed a whopping 3 days here in Houston, Texas. (And that is even stretching it considering the snow only falls for a few hours out of those days. And that is even if you would like to consider calling it snow considering as soon as it hits the heated sidewalks, the precipitation instantly changes into water.) So to no surprise I was expecting a not-so-white Christmas this year. But, thanks to some lovely friends I was able to experience a white New Years (and I'm talking at least a foot of white and not the "fake" almost half an inch white.)
On December 29, 2009 I was forced to put away my computer and say good bye to my blog for an entire week. However, in exchange I experienced the ultimate trip of my entire life. Now yes, this trip was amazing because I got to experience snow as well as snowboarding and skiing, but no trip is ever fun alone. And this was definitely the ultimate trip of my life because I not only got to spend it with Mr. Handsome, but his wonderful and amazing family and friends as well. From the hot tubbing in the snow to cooking warm Spaghetti Carbonara in the cozy log cabin, and from the long but short days of skiing to the endless hours of game nights; Winter Park, Colorado was packed down with not just a white blanket, but lot and lots of happy hearts and warm laughters. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and truly did make this the ultimate winter vacation.
(And I am sorry Blake, but I just could not resist adding the picture of us in our matching Winter Park jackets :)