December, 2010


27
Dec 10

Appetizing Appetizers: Baked Clam Dip

As mentioned in my last post this is my favorite appetizer to make for any occasion.  My mom received this recipe from her friend years ago and she was always the one who made the clam dip.  Now that I make it, I’m the one in charge of it (plus, I think I make it better than she does). Try this recipe out and your guests will not be disappointed.

clam and crackers

Ingredients

32 Ritz Crackers (1 row)
2 cans of clams ( 1 chopped and 1 minched)
3 tablespoons of melted margarine
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 crushed garlic cloves

Directions: Super Easy so Get Excited

1. Crush Crackers and Mix all ingredients in a bowl
2. Pour Mixture into Pyrex pie bowl
3. Cook in Oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Serve with water crackers!

Tips:

If the mixture is too runny, just add a few more crackers

clam dip ingredients

Clam Mix

clam dip mixed

I realize I am using the same picture from the last post but just in case you forgot, here is what the final dish should be:

clam dip

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26
Dec 10

Breaking the tradition – Christmas for Jews

A typical Christmas for Jews is Chinese food and the movies. Not by choice but because they are the only places that are open on Christmas.  This year my sister had her husband’s family in town and decided to have a get together. It was quite a smorgasbord of food. I was just happy not to be eating Chinese food.

Appetizers

Clam Dip – made specially by me.  (Recipe to follow)
Candied Salami
Platter of cheeses
Warm Onion Cheese Dip

Dinner

Salad
Baked Ziti
Baked Chicken Wings
Potatoes
Steak
Greek Shish Kabobs

Now that I have started this blog, I’m obsessed with taking pictures of food. I took about 250 pictures yesterday and I think 150 were just of food alone. I had to take the perfect picture to post. Continue reading →

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24
Dec 10

Banana Pancakes

Now that I’m on a roll with food blogging, every morning I wake up and say what am I going to make today.

Today is Banana Pancakes! Breakfast of Champions!

I’ve never actually made pancakes from scratch before, I’m the just add water kinda girl. Not this time!

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Optional but Highly Recommended

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

Directions

Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

—–

I added the optional ingredients to add a little more flavor. They compliment the banana flavor very well. I would avoid serving it with syrup, I feel that takes away from the banana. Try using whip cream.

What I’m starting to learn is that you don’t always need to follow a recipe exactly. Take risks and go with it and hope it turns out well. If not, try again. It’s all about trial and error.

Banana Pancakes

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23
Dec 10

Meringue Cookies Round 2

After my last attempt of making Meringue Cookies, I was determined to get it right this time.  Since most recipes called for cream of tartar, I went out and purchased a jar of it.  (YAY!) I learned that cream of tartar is used as a thickening agent for making meringue.  (YAY! for learning something new)

Chocolate Meringue Cookies
(found this off of allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Beat until the whites form soft peaks. Slowly add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, and mixture becomes glossy. Fold in cocoa and chocolate chips.
  3. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I’m definitely closer to nailing Meringue Cookies as you can see from the picture below.  They puffed up while cooking but when I took them out they flattened.  I probably should of used more cream of tartar once I noticed it was not thick enough.  It also could be because I blended it by hand.  I don’t actually have a mixer yet… a girl can dream.

meringue cookie

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22
Dec 10

Recipe Exchange #1:Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce

I previously mentioned in an earlier post about the Recipe Exchange, I sadly only received 1 recipe. I was in shock. People are no fun these days. I’m tempted to reply to everyone and yell at them over email for not participating.  I digress.

Anyways, even though I only received 1 recipe, I  said I was going to make whatever recipes came my way and here it is:

Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts or other parts

1 Can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Cup Brown Rice

3-4 Stalks of Celery

1 Large Onion

¾ Cup of Water or Chicken Broth

¼ Cup White Wine

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provonce

1-2 Tablespoons Butter

Salt and Pepper to Taste

In pan on stove cook the chopped celery and onion in butter until beginning to soften.  Add wine to deglaze pan and mix in soup.  Then add vegetable mixture to the baking dish with the broth and brown rice.  Arrange the raw chicken on top of the rice bake in a 375 oven with a cover for 30 min to an hour, remove cover for last 10-15 minutes of cooking.  Cook until chicken cook and rice tender.  If rice is dry add more broth or water during cooking.

Notes: Herbs de Provonce was not easy to find, they do not sell it at the regular grocery store, I had to go to Fresh Market to pick up a jar

This was the first time making the dish for me and I did not have a picture to go by.  I realized as I was making the dish, it did not specify what to do with the Herbs de Provonce. I mixed the tablespoon of spice in the soup mixture.  As I was cooking it, I was hoping that the chicken would absorb the flavor from the rice mixture. No such luck, the chicken looked very bland.  Around 30 minutes in, I decided to add Herbs de Provonce on top of the chicken.

Judgement Time: I was not fan of this dish, at least not the chicken. The Herbs de Provonce is very potent, you can taste the lavender which I think you need an acquired taste for.  I would season the chicken with salt and pepper  prior to baking it next time.  However, I will say that the rice mixture was delicious. :)

veggies

chicken dish


chicken rice

Update: See Michelle’s comment as she is the one who provided the recipe and she explained what she did differently.

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21
Dec 10

Restaurant Grub: YardHouse

On a gorgeous day in Florida, pretty much most days except when its raining and 100 Degrees, you have to eat outside. beer It’s a must.

Right down the street from me, they opened up this huge shopping plaza, Villiage at Gulfstream Park, which has a race track, casino (thank you Indians), bars, restaurants, and stores. I actually spent every weekend here when I first moved into the area searching for the right kitchen table, it only took me 6 months later to find the chairs. I will have to upload a picture of my table and chairs at another time. It only cost me a fortune and I must show it to the world.

Anyways, getting back on track,   We headed to Yardhouse, if you love beer, this is the place for you. It has well over 100 beers on tap. Don’t fret if you don’t live in Hallandale, there are many locations across the US.

I particular wanted to go there since they allow dogs and have doggie bowls on site. My Shih Tzu Brady loves coming out with us, although he looks very confused in the picture.

The Food:

Classic Sliders – four mini burgers made from natural angus beef served with cheddar cheese, our house special sauce, fries and pickle

Sliders

Turkey Burger – house made, roasted roma tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic aïoli, onion poppy seed bun

I saved the best for last, Chicken Tortilla -creamy white cheddar, roasted pasilla, tortilla strips, pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro.

This is made fresh to order and a must have while dining at the Yardhouse.

If not for the beer, come for the food!

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20
Dec 10

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

I love smoothies… well actually I just love Strawberry Banana Smoothies. I’ve tried other flavors of smoothies, butStrawberry Banana Smoothie nothing does it for meal like the refreshing Strawberry Banana Smoothie.

I crave them on a hot day, in the morning for breakfast, after a workout (ha when I actually workout), for an in-between meal. Pretty much whenever I can get my hands on one.

Now my “Smoothie” comes out more like a juice as its very light and I don’t put ice or dairy products in it. I do, however put in frozen strawberries instead of fresh to get that smoothie frothy texture

Ingredients

Serves 2

16 oz of Orange Juice (8oz / glass)
1 banana (use half banana if for one glass)
8-10 strawberries

Blend it!

Side Notes:
I actually blend the OJ and strawberries first as to not overblend. Then I add banana to thicken the smoothie. After everything is blended, I taste with a spoon to try the mixture. If it tastes too much like Orange Juice and I add 1 or 2 more strawberries and then blend. If it tastes too much like strawberry, I add slightly a little more banana.

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18
Dec 10

Meringue Cookies – Easy or Hard?

It rained in Florida today and I really wanted to make something without leaving the apartment. I keep typical cooking staples in the apartment, sugar, flour, eggs and a few spices for baking. So after searching, I couldn’t find anything that required minimal ingredients. I remembered how few ingredients meringue cookies require, so I went for that. I found a bunch of recipes but they all called for cream of tartar… what the hell is cream of tartar? My goal now was to find a substitute for cream of tartar… after checking a few sites, a bunch mentioned substituting the cream of tartar with white vinegar. Alright, sweet I have that and my mission to conquer Meringue Cookies continued on…

Long story short…

I started to realize as I was mixing, that the mixture was not hardening. I ended up just pouring the mixture into a pyrex bowl and let it cook and see what happened. Well, I think it would of turned out ok but I took it out too early. I would upload a picture but it would just be a picture of the trash, because that is where the meringue concoction went.

Whoever said Meringue Cookies was easy to make was lying! Any tips on perfecting Meringue Cookies is much appreciated.

Baking Fail

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17
Dec 10

Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo

So a couple of months ago, I went to Publix Apron’s Cooking School with my friend Kim.  This was actually my first experience going to a cooking class and was excited to find out that it was hands on, to only later find out that it was demonstration.  We made the most of the demonstration class, it was only $45 dollars plus we get to eat everything they make and enjoy wine while we have chefs cook for us.

They demonstrated the following:

Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo
Pinchos Mixtos with Saffron Alioli
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Medallions (Solomillo De Cerda)
Vanilla Flan
Sangria

Now while I was at this cooking class, I did not have a blog or a camera on me.  This won’t happen again.  However, I did try to make one of the dishes at home.

The Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 ounces of dry sherry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon for juice
1 Baguette

Method

In a saute pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about one minute or until they begin to brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Raise the heat to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, sherry or cognac and paprika. Stir well, then saute, stirring briskly until the shrimp turn pink curl – about 3 minutes

Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate or serve right from the pan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with Parsley. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

——

Now these pictures below are actually my 3rd attempt at making them.  I was so excited from the class that I actually tried to make this meal with items that I had in the house the next day.  Let’s just say that did not go over well.  The 3rd attempt I actually follow the recipe exactly, it came out a bit too spicy.  It had to be the red pepper flakes.  Either there was too much or the level of how spicy these flakes were … were over-powering. However, it was actually “edible” and and could handle the spiciness.

Please note these pictures were taken with my blackberry, I plan on starting to use my Nikon D60 moving forward, except when I’m at restaurants.

ingredients

Spice in Pan

Frozen Shrimp In Pan

Shrimp in broth

Final Dish

Next Stop – Lenore Nolan Ryan’s Cooking School
I was able to buy a session through living social for half off. $22 not a bad deal! I’ll be sure to report about my class when I go.

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16
Dec 10

Late on the food bandwagon

Damn… since I have started this blog, I have been on the Food Blog hunt day and night.  It reminds me of a secret society that I, of course, knew nothing about. I should of done this years ago, what I was thinking procrastinating all these years. There is so much to know to get ramped up and I am so behind. So far from all the food blogs I have visited, I learned I need to do the following:

  • Start Posting on FoodBuzz.com
  • Start Posting on FoodGawker.com
  • Get on Foodblogs.com
  • Start a Facebook devoted to my blog
  • Get on Foodieblogroll.com – Check
  • Need to hire a graphic designer to design a real website for me
  • Start baking, cooking, and eating!
  • Come up with a direction I want to take this blog.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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