Sunday, April 29, 2012

Toasted Garlic and Sweet Pea Pasta

I love pasta, but I don't always feel like a classic tomato sauce or a cheese sauce, so this is a great alternate way to enjoy some pasta. This recipe is another from a Rachael Ray cookbook.
Get some water on to boil and lets gather some ingredients. You need some peas, pasta, red pepper, parsley, thyme, cheese, wine, garlic, shallot or onion, chicken stock and salt and pepper.
shallots and garlic
Chop your onion and slice your garlic thin. This is the only chopping you need to do, now it is on to measuring.
ready to go in the pan
Measure your broth, wine and get your measuring cup so you can reserve some pasta water.
high tech pasta cooking
I know I said to get some water boiling, but I am using my awesome microwave pasta cooker.
oil slick
Get some oil in a pan over medium heat.
Get the garlic in and keep an eye on it! You want to cook it until it just starts to get brown.
toasty garlic
This is about ready to come out.
garlic out. hard to refrain from just eating this.
Ok, outta there!
shallots, red pepper, thyme, salt and pepper
Now you can add in your shallots, red pepper, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook this for about five minutes, stirring every once in a while.
wine in
Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes.
chicken stock in
Add in the stock and cook for another 2 minutes.
actually remembered to reserve some pasta water
Your pasta should be done, so drain it, but reserve some of the pasta water.
a sea of green
Add in the peas and some of the reserved pasta water, bring it back to a boil.
glorious garlic
Mash up some of the peas with the back of a spoon and get the parsley and garlic in the pan.
pasta in
Get the pasta in the pan and give it a stir.
oh cheese how I love you
Add in the cheese and you are ready to eat!
Toasted Garlic and Sweet Pea Pasta
This is a delicious alternative to classic pasta sauces. You can easily make this vegetarian with vegetable broth and you could make it vegan by omitting the cheese.

What is your favorite non-traditional pasta sauce?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Things # 18 - My Sistema Steamer

We have grocery stores here called Fresh and Easy that are owned by the big British store chain, Tesco. I really like the small market feel of them and a lot of the products are cheaper than the regular stores. I was there recently and saw they added kitchen items as well. I saw this cute little microwave steamer and thought it would be perfect for single serving meals. 111/365
I gave it a try and LOVED it. The way it is built the little lips on the corners stay cool so you can remove it from the microwave without burning your fingers. It also has a cool little opening in the top to let the steam out so you don't burn yourself when you remove the lid.

If you don't have a Fresh and Easy nearby you can pick one up on Amazon. They have small, medium and large. I love that this is reusable unlike the ziploc steam bags, and it is BPA free.

Do you steam food often? If so, what is your favorite food to steam?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Tacos

Last summer my husband and I went to Carpinteria, California for a wedding with his parents and his brother and our sister in law. We walked to the main street to get some lunch after arriving and we were all starving. We went in to an Italian sit down place and waited forever just to get drinks, so we paid for our drinks and left. I went on Yelp to check out some other local places and discovered we walked right past a little taco shop that got great reviews. We headed right back the way we came! The place was called Taco Don Roge and it was a no frills taco shop. You ordered by protein type and you receive a street taco style taco on a corn tortilla. The proteins included tongue and cheek as well as your normal chicken, pork, beef, etc. They have an awesome salsa bar with fresh salsa and other veggies you can put on to your own liking. I ordered a chicken and a beef cheek taco. The chicken was good but the beef cheek taco is the best taco I ever had. I ordered another after the first because it was that good. If you have not had beef cheek before I encourage you to try it. It is the most tender and moist cut of meat I have ever tried. From ca trip
If you are ever in Santa Barbara or Carpinteria I highly suggest you visit Taco Don Roge.
What is the best taco you have ever had?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This has to be a first, two posts in a row where Tom actually ate with me. Don't worry, I won't have to change my blog name any time soon, he is still not going to try 90% of what I make, I just happened to get lucky picking two beef dishes. BUT I actually used bison for this meal, and he liked it. If you have not cooked with bison I highly recommend it. It has all the flavor of beef with less fat and calories. The recipe came from a Rachael Ray cookbook. recipe recipe
You will need: ingredients Some mushrooms, ground meat, arugula, blue cheese, garlic, onion, tomato, worcestershire sauce, broth, and some bread. garlic chopped
Chop up your garlic. onions and shallot chopped
Chop up your onion. I am using onion and shallot, because that is what I had! tomato sliced
Slice up your tomato. meat in the pyrex
Get your meat, onion and worcestershire together in a bowl, or a cute Pyrex dish. patties made
Combine and make into patties. These are huge, but they shrink down when you cook them. Season them with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. blue cheese crumbled
Crumble your blue cheese if it is not already in crumble form. ready for action
Now we can cook! Get two pans on the stove, one with a little butter and olive oil. Bison patties in the pan
Get your burgers down in one, cook for five minutes on each side. mushrooms in
While those cook get your mushrooms in the pan. Don't touch them for a few minutes then give them a stir. onions and garlic in
Add in the onions and garlic and a little salt and pepper. Check those burgers! bubbling
Add in the broth or stock, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. bread toasted
Right about now you want to start toasting the bread. Stir in the cheese
Stir in the blue cheese and you are ready to get this thing on a plate! tomato and arugula down
Get some arugula and tomato down on the bread and then top with the burger and the mushroom and cheese mixture. Open Face Blue Moon Burgers with 'Shrooms
This was so fabulous. I can't even blame the dog for this blurry picture. I think I was just so hungry and wanting to eat this that I couldn't get a good photo. Trust me, it was delicious and you want to try this!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Favorite Things #17 - Baseball

While I tried to convert my husband into a foodie when I first met him, his goal was to convert me into a baseball fan. His mission was far more successful than mine. He has always loved baseball, and in AZ we have access to live baseball almost year round. We host the AZ Fall League for top MLB prospects, Cactus League Spring Training and of course my beloved D-Backs. Tom is a fan of several teams, but has been a Yankees fan since he was a little kid. There was no MLB team in AZ until 1998, so he chose the Yankees as his favorite because he loved Don Mattingly. I grew up in Western PA so I still have a soft spot for the Pirates, but I have really turned into a pretty big D-Backs fan.

Here I am with my favorite player, Ryan Roberts.

Ryan and Rhonda
I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of seasons ago at a fan event.

We also went to all of the All Star activities last year, including the game and the home run derby, it was so incredibly cool.

Us at Fan Fest
I am sporting my awesome Kent Tekulve Pirates T-shirt, but I am also wearing my D-Backs necklace. I told you I really like baseball!

Do you have a favorite sport or team?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Soup

I like that show on the Food Network where chefs talk about the best thing they ever ate. I thought I would post something like that at random just because I love talking about food and I love reading your comments about it.

So this week I am concentrating on soup...the best soup I ever ate was...

Paprika Soup at Koepel Cafe
Paprika Soup at the Koepel Cafe in Amsterdam. Tom and I went here for our honeymoon and it was such a wonderful trip. This was definitely my food highlight. Something so simple using my favorite ingredient, Paprika!

What is the best soup you ever ate?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quick Kofte

When I first came across this recipe in my Cooking Light Quick Cooking cookbook I didn't even know what a Kofte was. So I checked out wikipedia and learned the following:

"Kofte is a Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf.
In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. The vegetarian varieties, like lauki kofta and shahi aloo kofta, are popular in India."

Sounds simple and delicious to me. Guess who else thought the same, my husband! Yes, this meal was shared with him and he had seconds!



You will need some pita bread, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper, tomato paste, a tomato, (oops missed the photo shoot) garlic, bread crumbs, ground meat of your choice, onion, yogurt and an egg.

OR you can use flax seed meal mixed with water instead of an egg. I have just discovered this little trick and it works great! Eggs are on the husbands NO WAY NEVER list so he was excited to see that I found an alternative. You can see him lurking in the picture above, but he is not inspecting the ingredients, he is actually on the phone with my nephew helping him study for his spelling test. Because he is totally awesome like that :)

OK lets get cooking. Preheat your broiler and lets go!

flax meal as egg substitute
I first mixed my flax and water as it needs a couple of minutes to combine.

Chopping the onion is really the only prep!

time to get your hands dirty
Combine everything but the pita, yogurt and tomato.

Form them into patties on a pan sprayed with cooking spray and get them in the broiler. Flip them after about 4 minutes and then cook another 4. While these cook slice up your tomato. I missed getting photos of this because I was busy opening windows to get the smoke out of my kitchen.

I have never broiled meat this way, but it was a smoky endeavor! And I should have used a more substantial pan instead of my cheap $5 cookie sheet.

looks a little crazy here, but I promise it is delicious
But they turned out delicious, and the best thing about the $5 pan is I can just throw it out and start over. But I was able to clean this up pretty easily.

Quick Kofte
Line the inside of the pita with the yogurt, stuff a patty in there and top with tomato. Seriously this was so delicious. The spices in the meat are not over powering at all, it is just enough to make you stop and wonder what that yummy flavor is. As I said earlier, my husband, Tom, had two of these and had the leftovers the next day. I apologize the photo is not so great, the table kept shaking...

Earthquake, you ask??

dinner stalker
Nope, hungry Boston Terrier wants to give this a try :)

I hope you all have a great weekend!