Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The view from my back door....

I took this picture from my backdoor on one of the extremely early mornings my son woke me up.  It was very foggy and the sun was casting a strange glow.  Now obviously I messed with this photo after the fact with adobe but I think it has a creepy "Halloweeny" feel.  I probably should have posted it back in October but of course nothing happens in a timely fashion around here these days....I think I may frame it just because it's interesting...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homemade Take-Out...Beef & Broccoli

This was my very first time ever attempting an Asian recipe.  There are a few reasons:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of Asian food (besides the horribly bad for you fried a hundred times kind.)
  2. The ingredients are never "cut and dry."
  3. I never really know what the heck the ingredients are or what they are supposed to do/taste like.

I found this recipe on website, which I love and you should check out.  She, in turn, got the recipe from "The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook" by Jaden Hair.  I have yet to purchase the cookbook because I wanted to try the recipe first but I did flip through it at Borders and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that she lists substitutes for the strange ingredients that typically you would have to go to 3 grocery stores to hunt for, just to find out you can only get it at a specialty Asian store.  I don't know about you, but those stores scare the sh*% out of me! They have some straaaannnnggge stuff in there, like dried shrimp in a bag that is hanging next to the licorice, intended to be popped in your mouth like a potato chip....Cacca!

Jaden’s Chinese Beef Broccoli 
(from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook)


1 lb top sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced into 1/8-in strips (I used sirloin)
11/2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1 T high-heat cooking oil (I used canola)
1 T minced garlic


1 1/2 t soy sauce
1 t cornstarch
1/2 t cooking oil (I used canola)
Freshly ground black pepper to season the beef

Stir-fry Sauce:

3 T oyster sauce
2 t Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry) (I used dry sherry)
2 t Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)(I used Balsamic)

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Place meat in ziploc pour in marinade, massage, let sit 10 minutes.

Prep your meat,broccoli and garlic.


In another small bowl, mix together the stir fry sauce.

In a wok or large sauté pan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cover to steam for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green, crisp tender and you should be able to pierce the stem with a fork. Drain. Dry the pan.
*sorry steam was causing issues with my auto focus*

Set the pan over high heat and when hot, add the high-heat cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and fry for 15 to 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the steak strips, keeping them in one layer and fry 30 seconds. Flip the strips and fry the other side. I, as did the pioneerwoman, had to do this in 2 batches because of the size of my pan.

Pour in the Stir-fry Sauce and stir to combine. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 30 seconds.

 Add cooked broccoli back to pan and your ready to eat....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Per "Buttdorf's" request....

Here ya go Drinker....a pic of "J & the Boy"

**Sorry for the crappy pic...I had to mess with the white balance (in jpg) and it made the pic grainy**

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Welcome to the world of healthy chili. This chili is wonderful for every season.  The cilantro makes it taste light and refreshing and the addition of Northern beans gives a lovely creaminess without adding to the love handles!  I would strongly suggest doubling or even tripling this recipe because it freezes fabulously.  Enjoy!

I got a lil' picture happy with this one, so I made some of the pic's smaller so it doesn't take your whole day to scroll through!!!

White Chicken Chili

2 T Canola Oil
1 Rotisserie Chicken, meat picked off bones*
1 c chopped onion
3 c chicken stock
2 cans chopped green chiles
3 cans Northern beans*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried cilantro
1 T dried oregano
1 t crushed red pepper
1/4 c fresh cilantro chopped

*You can buy a ~3lb raw chicken and cook in water to make your own chicken stock and pulled chicken, which I have done, but does not taste much different. You can use almost any white bean but be aware some break down more than others so if your going for the "stew-look" you may want to stick with Northern.

Chop onion and garlic. Drain and rinse beans.

In a large dutch oven or heavy stockpot, warm 2 T oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened/translucent but not browned.

Add garlic and stir until garlic is warmed and fragrant.  Be careful not to brown garlic.  Stir in cumin, dried cilantro, oregano, crushed red pepper and green chiles. Warm spices through.

Add rinsed beans to pot.  Add chicken broth and allow to come to a simmer.  Add chicken.  Again, allow mixture to come to a simmer and bubble.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes but I usually let it go for an hour to make sure the flavors blend and get yummilicious!

At this point, you can either leave the chili "stew-like" or you can do as I do and take 1/4-1/3 of the mixture and whiz it in the blender.

Add fresh cilantro and your done.

I serve with additional cilantro on the top and, if I have it, a dollop of sour cream or shredded Monterey Jack cheese!!!!

WARNING:  This chili, as with most, get's really thick as it sits.  I simply add some chicken stock to the individual bowl I am warming up to get to the consistancy I want.  Water would work too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tilapia with Lemon and Caper Sauce

This recipe is basically a "piccata" for fish.  My dad and I would order a dish similar to this one at a restaurant we loved in Scottsdale, AZ.  He called me the other day wanting detailed...I mean, DETAILED information on how to prepare so here we go daddy-o....Now, warning...because this is a truly "shoot from the hip" recipe, the measurements are approximate.  This is another taste the sauce as you go scenario, but again, very difficult to screw up!

Tilapia with Lemon and Caper Sauce

4 tilapia fillets* (amount of sauce can be increased to account for amount of fish)
1-2 cups flour
Salt and Pepper
1 juicy lemon, if it doesnt feel juicy use 2, and 1 T of grated lemon rind.
2 garlic cloves, smashed but not chopped, so you can take it out of the sauce before serving
2-4 T capers-drained, just eyeball will be able to tell if you need more
1/2-3/4 c chicken stock, to taste
2-4 T of butter
1 T chopped fresh parsley for color*
I missed a bunch of ingredients in this pic...sorry--baby was fussing! haha

Grate lemon rind, smoosh garlic and drain capers....


In a large nonstick saute pan, over medium-high heat, warm up approx. 2 T EVOO (couple twirls of the pan.)*

While the pan and oil warm,  pour flour into a shallow dish.  Salt and pepper the flour and stir to distribute.  Dredge fish in flour and shake off excess. --Missed this step in my photos, sorry--

Place 2 fish fillets into pan and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through (fish will flake easily when done.) Continue until all fish is done. Set aside.

At this point, you should add a bit more evoo to the pan, maybe one more swirl of the pan.  Add smooshed (hahaha) garlic and spin around in the oil a bit.  DO NOT LET THE GARLIC BROWN, it will make your oil taste funky!  You only want to flavor the oil with the garlic so basically warm the garlic for maybe 30 seconds or until you smell the garlic, it should be very fragrant, then discard garlic.

That is garlic, sorry, damn light in the kitchen made it white as can be.

Add lemon juice to the pan, it will bubble aggressively, which is what you want. All that bubbling will release the brown bits the fish left over and that, my friends, is FLAVOR!!!!  Let the lemon juice reduce a bit, maybe a minute or two, then add chicken stock.  Let the sauce warm up again, your chicken stock will cool it a bit.  Once warm again, drop in your capers.

Let the sauce reduce again for 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Put pats of butter in and swirl pan until butter melts and adds a silky texture to the sauce.  Add a lil chopped parsley for some color and your done.  Pour sauce over fish and tell me you love me! hahahaha

*NOTES:  This can be made with any fish, I have made it will grilled halibut and it is amazing.  The parsley doesn't really add much to flavor so if you do not have it, do not run out and get it, you will be fine.  The initial amount of EVOO will really depend on the size of your pan...Also, for those of you who love butter,  you can add butter to the "sauteing oil" in the beginning, but your fish will get a darker "tinge" to it and in the past I didn't care for the presentation as much.  It does add a bit more richness though, so if you want to butter her up---feel free, it tastes just as yummy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What is a mother to do???

Someone needs a play room....