Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tomato Salad

Tonight for dinner I went to the farmer's market and found a great looking heirloom tomato. I decided I wanted it for dinner with a cute little avacado, some lemon juice, sweet onion, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious and filling, but next time I need to figure out something different to do with the onion. I love onion, but I need to mellow it. Perhaps green onions or shallots would be better.

-- iPhone post

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Modified Sloppy Joes

1 package lean ground turkey
1 can Manwhich Sloppy Joe Sauce
2 medium onions
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 bag frozen "southwest" mix veggies (corn, peppers, black beans, ??)
1/3 bag frozen peas
2t tomato paste (optional. I use tomato paste in a tube so I can use what I want and not waste)
red pepper flakes
whole wheat buns
1 bunch asparagus

Trim the tops and bottoms off of the onions and cut in half length wise. Remove the outer skin/paper and slice into 1/4 inch or smaller pieces (half circles). Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add some olive oil. Make sure the oil doesn't smoke. Add the onions and a little salt and cook until tender and browned. While cooking the onions, smash the cloves of garlic with the side of your knife and remove the outer paper. Slice thinly and then mince. Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 30 sec to a minute. Then add the frozen mixed veggies and peas and cook until thawed and warm. This should only take a couple of minutes. Place mixture into a medium bowl.

Add a little more oil to the skillet and then break up the turkey into the skillet. Cook until brown, chopping the turkey into smaller pieces as you cook it. Add pepper and red chill flakes to the turkey as it cooks. Once cooked, add the Manwhich sauce and coat the meat. Add the mixed veggies back into the skillet and mix until warm. Turn off the heat.

Cook the asparagus however you want. First wash and trim the spears. I trim the spears by holding each end of an individual spear in each hand (the side with the top I hold below the top) with your index finger and thumb. Bend the spear until it snaps. Discard the lower/thicker part. You'll learn to adjust where you hold it and how you flex it so that you get the tender parts most of the time. Here are two cooking methods:

- Steam: Place the asparagus in a steamer basket (I use bamboo) over water set on high heat. I time it for 8 minutes from the time I turn on the burner with cold water.
- Roast: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the spears on a cookie sheet and add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Once the oven is hot, place the cookie sheet in and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Spoon a generous helping of the sloppy joe mixture onto a bun and serve with the asparagus (or a veggie of your choice, or not since there are lots of veggies in the sloppy joe).

Below are pictures from my phone as I cooked:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Roasted Asaragus

2 bunches of Asparagus
olive oil

Wash the asaparagus. Holding the top of each stem one at a time, grab the bottom of the stem with the other hand and bend until it naturally breaks. Repeat with each stem. Place tops onto a place and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place onto grill at right angle to grill bars and cook over medium/low heat until slightly charded and tender. ~8 minutes.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Roasted Potatos

1 sack (~2lbs) of small/medium potatos
olive oil
cheyanee pepper

Trader Joes had a sack of red, blue, and white potatos. Wash potatos and cut into ~3/4inch cubes with skins on. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and cheyanee pepper. Place in a ~420 degree oven for ~30minutes until tender. Add more salt if needed and serve.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mashed Sweet Potatos

2 large sweet potatos
3T butter
1/4 cup milk
cracked black pepper
brown sugar (or splenda)

Peel and cut the potatos into 1" cubes. Place into a large pot with enough salted water to cover and bring to boil for ~15 minutes until soft. Drain and place in a large bowl. In the mean time warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the lowest heat and soften (partially melt) the butter in the microwave (its ok if it fully melts). Place spices on the potatos. Lots of pepper is good, some salt (add more after tasting), a sprikle each of cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add some brown sugar (add more after tasting). Mash the potatos until fully mush. Add some butter and milk and combine. Taste and decide if you need more butter, milk, salt, and/or sugar. Some ceyanne pepper would be good too.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I cooked Easter dinner for friends this year. Over the next few days I'll post the recipes. The most complicated was the lamb:

~4lb boneless leg of lamb
1 head of garlic
olive oil
dried mint, parsley, herb de province, cumin
mini-prep food processor (large might work too)

Take the lamb out of the fridge and place in a roasting pan. Trim off excess fat and cut off small thinner pieces to cook seperately for a shorter amount of time.

Peel all cloves from the head of garlic and place in food processor. Add plenty of mint, some parsley, a little herb de province, and a tiny bit of cumin. Blend till garlic is chopped. Add olive oil till it comes together into a paste (on the liquid side). Smear all pieces of lamb with the mixture and let it rest. Don't let it sit out of the fridge too long, but it should start to approach room temp (~1hr). Preheat grill.

Place all pieces on grill. The main large piece short take ~12 minutes a side. I use the poke test to determine doneness. Mine was very rare in the center, but a good medium rare on all sides and the smaller pieces which I pulled off early were both done.

Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and cut. Serve as is, or if you like it (I don't), with mint jelly.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pork Chops with Orange Sauce .. or .. How I Got Burns On Both Hands

This is a tale of a yummy meal, and the pain I'm still suffering because of it. The local Ralph's had a sale on a mega-pack (8) of thick cut (~ 1.5 inch) boneless pork chops, and they looked really good so I bought them. They sat in my fridge for several days while I thought of what to do to them (and I got sick, still am, so they sat a little longer), but they were still good. I took half of them and placed two each into freezer bags. Once sequestered in the freezer, half of my problem was solved. Now this first step could be skipped. I marinated them for ~30 minutes in a mixture of soy sauce, honey, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, pepper, and toasted sesame oil (any oil would do, olive is recommended). I don't think the marinade contributed much to them, but a longer soak might have.

While they were soaking I made the sauce/glaze. In a small sauce pan I combined the juice of two oranges, the zest of one, 2 teaspoons of sugar, a splash of apple cider vinegar (rice wine would do too), and a splash of soy sauce (salt and water would do too). I brought this to a boil and reduced to a simmer till it thickened up.. 15 minutes later I think. It really came together quickly at the end, so check on it. It will definitely get thick.. coat the back of the spoon or thicker. If it gets too cool it may become too thick. If so, add a little water and reheat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly till it loosens up and the water combines with the orange glue.

Preheat your oven to 425ish. Place a large skillet on the stove. Add some oil and a pat of butter. Heat till it starts smoking. Pat the pork chops dry (even if you didn't marinate) and salt and pepper them. Place in the skillet for 2-3 minutes, flip, and let them sear for another 1-2 minutes. Place into the oven for ~12 minutes until done (I use the poke test). Remove from the skillet onto a plate and cover with foil for ~5 minutes. Place on a place and cover with sauce/glaze. Eat. Yum.

How I burned both hands: Skillets in the oven are hot. When I removed the skillet from the oven, three of the pork chops were done, but one still felt a little under done. I removed the three, and in the process of trying to decide if I wanted to cook the fourth more, I went to steady the skillet by grabbing the handle with my right hand. Ouch.. the side of my index finger has a nice blister now. So after running it under cold water for a bit. After tending to it I went to put the skillet back in the oven. Being left handed I went to grab it with my left hand. I now have a burn mark on my left palm, although it hasn't blistered. I placed the skillet back in the oven for 2 minutes, and all is good.. except for the pain.

The good news from all this is the pork chops were excellent, as was the sauce. Also, when putting the skillet in the oven, always use protection when dealing with the skillet (a lesson I should have learned the last time I burned myself).

Pork Chops with Orange Sauce

Marinade (optional):
1 cup soy sauce
2T honey
lots of ground pepper
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t chili flakes
2T oil (toasted sesame or olive)

4 1 1/2 inch boneless pork chops
1T olive oil
1T butter

Orange Sauce:
2 oranges, juiced
1 orange zested (use one of the juices oranges for zest)
2t sugar
splash of apple cider vinegar
splash of soy sauce

If marinading, combine ingredients in a gallon sized zip top bag and shake to combine. Add the pork and marinate for 30 minutes to 8 hours, the longer the better.

In a small sauce pan, combine all the orange sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer/barely boil (I went back and forth) till thickened.

Preheat oven to 425

Remove meat from marinade of packaging and pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides. Place large oven-safe skillet on stove and heat over medium heat. Place oil and butter in pan and heat till they begin to barely smoke. Add the pork chops and sear for 3 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 1 minute. Place skillet in oven for ~12 minutes until done. Remove pork chops from skillet and let rest for ~5 minutes. Cover with sauce and serve.