Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beef Liver Paté

Do you want to be 119% healthier than everyone else you know? I have the secret to being that healthy. Do you want it? Are you sure? OK, you're sure. Eat liver. Liver that has been caramelized, seasoned, creamed and whirred and spread on a cracker is the kind of liver even the squirmiest of squirmers can eat. Because guess what? My husband is a squirmer and he. ate. the. liver. Did he like the liver? Well, no. But he tried it! Doesn't that count? In my book it does.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

On My Bookshelf Now

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was such an inspiring read - I think I cried a couple times! It was an extremely fast read I completed in one day. The message inspires you to find your life's true meaning - like, right now - don't delay! The book is about a young shepard boy on a voyage across the globe, trying to find the meaning of his life or his Personal Legend. We all are searching for the real, true meaning of lives, aren't we? And this book has you burning to write and command your own Personal Ledgend today! Pick it up for an inspirational beach read.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rutabaga Turmeric Mash

I'm in love with turmeric. Not only is it the trendiest spice because of its outstanding health benefits, it's also a darling because of the bright yellow color it gives to food. Now do you want to be trendy and darling? Then dust turmeric over all of your yellow and orange tinged foods. You are so trendy. You are so darling. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pozole Rojo {Pork & Hominy Stew}

This Pozole Rojo or Pork & Hominy Stew comes together so, so fast. Erm, maybe I should premise that statement with you just need to do a little prep before a so, so fast meal is reality. All you need to do is plan a puttering afternoon in the kitchen, making this Smokey Chili Sauce then you can have about 4 or 5 cups of the sauce to use in soups, Mexican dishes, chiles, stews - like this one - and so much more. If you don't want to putter, a jarred mole sauce would work, too. I didn't have time to snap many pictures of the process making Pozole Rojo, but you hopefully won't mind my lack of instructional photos because basically after making the chili sauce all you do is dump stuff into a soup pot, simmer, make rice in a different pot, plate it up and eat. OK, tiny fib. I actually didn't have any patience time to snap photos because I was trying to prepare and photograph two meals at once, while simultaneously entertaining two children, haphazardly preparing for a girlfriend to come over by attempting to pretend I'm super organized with a tidy, clean home that has uncluttered counter tops (read: hiding it in the laundry room), get supper bubbling on the stove, and involve my children in brain building crafts while they snack on raw broccoli. Which is all so laughable because I usually feel like I'm barely just succeeding at the usual housekeeping, craft supplication, play date planning, accurately calculating and measuring the vegetable to carb ratio of my children's diet - you know those things parents stress out upon. I wasn't going to stress and even attempt to serve Pozole Rojo to children, if I even let them whiff it there would have been utter chaos. A complete revolt. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't enjoy spicy foods. So I decided to indulge my children's carb cravings and try out a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen's cookbook for a child-friendly alternative to spicy stew. A French Toast Strata, which didn't turn out excellently, but I'll keep trying to tweak and make it my own. As I usually do. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cauliflower Cakes

Do you have any issues getting your family to eat and embrace and utterly love vegetables? Apparently, according to other parents (OK, one other mom at MOPS) in the same life stage as I my kids are pretty darn good at eating vegetables. Without much pleading they eat peas, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, potatoes, and, and, and that's about it. As high as my hopes were for kiddos eating cauliflower in a cake they were dashed upon serving. Bummer. But I tried and I will. never. stop. Alas! There is good news for this cake. The recipe was a win with hubby. He was head over heels with these cauliflower cakes. Or maybe he was just starving because when he came into the kitchen upon the cauliflower cakes cooling on the baking racks he proceeded to eat 3 cakes. Inhalation. Then he decided to sit down with some leftover tartar sauce and have a fourth. He was in love. With me, that is. Because of cauliflower...among other things, I suppose. Anyway, you should totally make these because someone will love you. Guaranteed. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Smokey Chile Sauce

Let the record state to all who are leery about a homemade chile sauce that the barely tedious effort is worth the end product a million times over. The flavor of this sauce is luxiourously smokey, just a baby-bit spicy. A glorious multi-function, all-purpose Mexican inspired cooking sauce. Consider this a lazy afternoon in the kitchen recipe which will provide you with 3 or 4 fast and flavorful meals in the future. So many uses for this sauce! It would be a great base for enchiladas, chili and soup, you could marinate chicken and steak for fajitas, the options are endless! I'll be sure to post soon about the Pozole Rojo I made with this sauce. It was out of this world delicious! I'm so glad I finally sprung for the dirt cheap bags of dried chiles that were hanging on the wall at the local Mexican grocery. It's one of those pantry items you know you might use in the future, not sure how you'll come around to finally use it, but know you'd love to experiment with an ingredient so unusual to your regular cooking repertoire. I wish I could tell you a little bit more about the history and typical uses of the types of chiles I used, maybe go on and on about traditional methods and sound super smart, but I can't. I did a quick web search on the spelling of chile vs. chili. Texas has some strong feelings on it and so does California. After quickly realizing that researching chile vs. chili was a lost cause I went straight to Rick Bayless because in my mind he is the final word in modern Mexican cooking. Rick didn't fail me. A straight forward and simple recipe that uses ingredients you're going to have in your pantry at any moment's notice. Bring on the CHILE! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pan-Fried Pork Chops

Do you ever get stuck in a really unhealthy nonstop eating binge? Moments when you make, shall we say, unsavory eating choices and just can't stop making bad choice after bad choice or more importantly, just can't stop eating no matter what you're eating, because you just need to crunch or gnaw on something? Yeah, that's me for the last hour. Make that eight hours. Six saltine crackers with butter, coconut popsicle, bread with butter, more crackers, chocolate covered potato chips....and the list goes on....cheeseburger for lunch, leftover Pozole Rojo for second lunch (more to come on that post soon - one of the BEST recipes I've made in a while), but I started with such healthy intentions today eating oatmeal and a hard boiled egg for breakfast, I even threw out the yolk!  Here I am attempting to stop eating by talking about food. I'm thinking this is a smart strategy. Talking about Pan-Fried Pork Chops is going to help me out of this rut because these pork chops were so yummy! The kids loved um, the husband loved um, and the leftovers made the best pork stew you're ever going to have (again, the Pozole Rojo that I swear I'm going to get up reeeeeal soon)! Pahh-romise! But you gotta make these chops first!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Compost Cookies {Momofuku Milk Bar Copy Cat}

How does it work for you after you see a recipe, think you might like to recreate that recipe, finally collect all the ingredients for that recipe then actually cook that recipe? For me it's a lonnnng, lonnnnng, did I say long? process. No joke, years can go by before I actually get to coordinating  and cooking recipes. For example, the bean sprouts for this Egg Foo Young recipe literally sat in my pantry for 3 years (did I just confess to that?) before the sprouts became Young. Or take that time I was served Herb Marinated Shrimp Wrapped in Basil at Travis' mom's house, had the cookbook with the recipe at home, wanted to make it, but yet, 2 years passed before I finally made it my own. You get the point. I have a knack for drawing out my timeline to test new recipes. However! None! And I mean NONE! of that happened with Momofuku Compost Cookies. My definition of cookies will never be the same. Imagine, me: zombie-like browsing blog upon blog, staring at cookies, pancakes, brownies and other carbs when I just happened upon this blog, saw the word Momofuku - which I knew was some fancy and exciting restaurant in NYC - but being mostly contained to the Midwest I had no idea what Momofuku really meant. My life has changed. I needed to know more.  I needed to smell these. I needed to eat these. I needed to know everything Momofuku. So, of course, I immediately checked my local library out of all cookbooks that I could find when it came to Momofuku. I was urgent! I then commenced upon scouring the interwebs for all versions of Momofuku Compost Cookies. All in the matter of 2 hours, mind you. After a little bit of research on the ingredients and method, I settled on this version. These cookies were so intriguing that I baked them within 24 hours of seeing the initial inspiration. Jump to 3 days post-cookie baking madness and they are all eaten. People - you need to make this cookie - it's so fun because the method is madness - it's a garbage cookie. Consider it perfect timing because you can rid your pantry of all that Valentine's Day candy your sweet kiddos haul home and get yourself ready for Easter candy (what is it with candy holidays?). I now fear no Candy Holiday because I have this ammmmmmmazzzzzzzzinggggggg cookie recipe to make all pantry junk into addictive, buttery, crispity, chocolatey, salty, eat me every day, 3 times a day cookie love. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rye French Bread {Gluten Free Option}

I had the privilege of having two really cool Grandma's - one who is still on this earth and another who is with our Maker. Both bestowed upon me and my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins different characteristics that I value and exhibit in different ways. During the short time in college that I lived with Grandma Terry I may have inherited some of her WWII super saver mentality that she most certainly acquired because of 11 other beings in her home and it's stuck with me. Ziplocs are reused until my husband begins to guffaw at me. Bread bags are not thrown away after the bread is eaten, but they function as Ziplocs that are doomed for guffawing. The plastic bags used for grocery store produce are my bathroom's garbage vessel. The other Grandma bestowed upon our family, among other things, the gift of cookery. She had 13 mouths to feed - this woman cooked. She taught me how to level baking powder, which apparently is not an innate quality according to the way I remember her reprimanding my younger cousin at the annual holiday cookie baking party. How to make a pie crust out of lard. The way to dip a Ritz cracker peanut butter sandwich into melted chocolate. And the love of fresh made bread. But, after all, it's not hard to love fresh bread. However, I have the impression a majority of home cooks are intimidated by baking yeast breads. My mother never did and I considered her the utmost domestic goddess! But that was in the era of those frozen loaves that became trendy, so I give her respite for not being a yeast bread baker. My personal width and breadth of yeast bread is limited - I try, but I am not an Artisan Bread Baker by any means. So, that means you can do it, too! This Rye French Bread is a dense, crusty, moist and chewy loaf that tastes even better with a huge pat of butter. I dare you to try, too!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Broiled Chicken Skewers

I'm listening to the whir of my Kitchen-Aid running for the last 10 minutes on high speed. What a work horse. It's stirring these Momofuku Compost Cookies that I'll be sure to post about later because if the cookies are as good as the dough was - well - let's just say I'll be needing to donate some cookies to someone real fast. What did our Grandmother's do without stand mixers? As I sit and think about that, I can remember what it means to not have an electric mixer. When I was about 10 years old I was using the hand mixer to beat whipping cream into the topping for Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Pie when it frizzed out. Just up and died. No more beating beaters. So, what did that 10 year old girl do? I got out the whisk and whisked away for what seemed like an eternity to a 10 year old girl, but I made whipped cream! Good memories - and I'm positive I tell that story every year at the Thanksgiving table. Today has nothing to do with whipped cream or cookies, though. Sorry. Today is chicken!