Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Garlic & Herb Marinated Chicken Thighs

With summer in full swing, the weather is hot, the grills are going... I read about all these fun summer food festivals around the country: Ribfest in Illinois, Pineapple Festival in Hawaii, K-Town BBQ Cook Off & Texas Music Concert in Texas, Food For Thought's Green Cuisine in Michigan, Portland International Beer Festival in Oregon, Jazz & Rib Fest in Ohio, Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Louisiana... why doesn't Louisville have anything exciting like this? Sure, we just had the SoulFood Festival & Taste of Frankfort... but seriously, I think there would be a huge market for more food-related, festival-type activity in Louisville... so let's get on that, okay? Okay.

Speaking of grilling and summer, you could easily sub the chicken thighs for chicken breasts and just cook accordingly, but I'm a fan of the lower cost and juicier outcome of chicken thighs. The marinade is surely interchangeable with other meats as well.


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice from 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients, except for chicken, in a large plastic freezer bag. Make sure they are mixed well and add in chicken thighs. Remove bag of air and seal tightly. Roll the bag up and place into a medium bowl (to prevent any leaking out onto your fridge shelf) in the fridge. Let marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat a grill to medium high. Soak a wad of paper towels with vegetable oil and carefully rub on grill rack to prevent chicken from sticking.

Grill chicken for about 5-7 minutes per side (or if using breasts, a little less than that), or until cooked through.

We served this with a quick ranch pasta salad!

I love the quick cook time of this dish. Yeah, you've got to marinate it overnight, but that's just something you have to throw in a bunch of ingredients in a bag and forget about until the next day. Easy enough, right? Right. Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chili Con Carne

So I'm not much on fast food. Sure, I'll take an occasional trip through the Taco Bell drive through after a night of drinking, but besides that, I'm a pretty anti-fast food kind of gal. As I stumbled upon a new website (to me anyway), Fancy Fast Food, I was a bit more than intrigued. The current recipe on there is a spin on KFC's new Double Down sandwich. If you haven't seen this sandwich... it's pretty ridiculous. I mean, I like chicken more than your average joe, but this is a little excessive. Practically, it's two fillets of breaded and fried chicken, sans bread, and with Monterrey Jack cheese and bacon in between. Yeah... heart attack in one bite, right? So to fancy it up, Erik from Fancy Fast Food pointed out that it's nothing but a gimmicky Cordon Bleu, and made it look palatable after turning it into an amuse bouche. Hmm... maybe fast food isn't bad after you strip it down and turn it into something else eh? I don't know, I think I may still have to stay away from it...

And I know chili really isn't on one's mind in the summer time, but this chili con carne is surprisingly light and delicious. Definitely even better for leftovers the next day after the flavors have gotten a chance to meld with eachother!

Adapted from Rocco Dispirito's "Now Eat This!" - Super-Light Mexican Chili Con Carne With Beans

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
35 oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ground turkey breast
14 oz. can seasoned black beans, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chopped jalapenos (optional)

In a large dutch oven, combine the garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes & juice, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil under medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Bring the heat back up to medium high and add in ground turkey. Break up the turkey and add in black beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through.

Ladle chili into bowls and top with shredded cheese and jalapenos.

This is definitely a quick fix meal for a busy weeknight. The chili was ready within 30 minutes and you can definitely play with the amount of spice you want to achieve. Enjoy!

P.S. - we're not OFFICIAL! members of Grasshopper Distribution CSA here in Louisville! Our first pick up is July 7th and we're (mostly me) majorly excited!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Swiss Chard Stuffed Trout w/ Sauteed Squash & Corn

I've got some great news guys! I always check out food blogs in the morning and 9 times out of 10 always hear someone talking about their CSA this or CSA that. I've never thought to actually check into it and see if Louisville offered CSA services, but it turns out they do! And the CSA season has already started (obviously), but they're still accepting application for new members, so we sent ours in yesterday! I'm really excited because, #1, it'll definitely cut down on our weekly grocery bill, #2, it'll give us the opportunity to use absolutely fresh and in-season ingredients (especially just looking forward to trying new things with some of the produce). Might even do a little blip-it section on what we end up getting every week too. I feel like it's Christmas and I've just received the best present ever. (I know, I'm a little late on the CSA excitement, but hey... better late than never!)

And this is way off the subject, but this Lobster Roll looks mouth-watering and makes me want to go pick up some lobsters to make this right now.

Anyway, keeping on the seafood track, this trout was pretty delicious and easy. And it also happened to be the day that we went all over Louisville to find a WHOLE trout... still couldn't find a whole one, with the head and all, but close enough. (Whole Foods usually is the go-to place for whole fish, but their truck just happened to have broke down in Boston that day and they didn't get a seafood shipment... BUMMER!)

Adapted from Food & Wine's June 2010 issue - 'Escarole-Stuffed Seared Trout'

1 cup chopped swiss chard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
juice from 1 lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 headless whole trout, cleaned
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3-4 yellow squash, sliced
1 cup corn

In a medium bowl, toss the chard with the shallots, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Stuff the trout cavities and close with skewers. (My skewers were a bit too large, so you could probably use some thick toothpicks to do this also). Season the outside of the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cornmeal.

In a large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of olive oil under medium high heat. Add the trout and cook until skin is crisp and fish is cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your trout. Transfer trout to a plate and wipe your skillet clean.

Melt the butter in the skillet and add the trout back in. Turn to coat well. Remove from the heat and allow trout to sit in butter for about 5 minutes or so. This adds so much flavor to the fish, it's definitely not a step to skip.

While you're waiting for the trout, you can make your squash and corn. In a medium skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat under medium high heat. Add squash and corn and saute until squash starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

Serve trout with the squash & corn mixture and with lemon wedges!

We served this at a dinner party for 4 we had a couple weeks ago, and everybody seemed to enjoy it! Our friend Mike practically just left the bones on his plate, so we knew he loved it. And my friend Kendra, who's a little weary on eating whole fish or things with bones still in it, went out of her comfort zone and said she enjoyed it as well! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Steamed Mussels

Well, if you voted for my muffins yesterday on Foodie Fights, then I greatly THANK YOU! Because I ended up coming out victorious! Booyah. And yes, I said "Booyah!" And if you think you're up for the challenge, I highly recommend signing up for a future battle! It's completely fun, and definitely lets your inner creative self come out!

On a side note, I was reading the other day that Seattle is banning Styrofoam in restaurants and grocery stores starting July 1st. This is a pretty green effort on Seattle's part. And as a response to this, apparently, some compostable meat trays have been developed made out of corn. What I found most shocking about all of this... developing these trays will prevent 6,000 tons of plastic and plastic-tainted waste from being sent to landfills. SIX THOUSAND TONS! Excuse my french, but that's a shit-ton of waste being saved there. Why have these things not been developed and mass-produced country-wide? Seriously... the mid-west and east coast need to get on this band wagon!

Anyway, my love of seafood continues with this easy and quick mussels recipe...

Adapted from Bon Appetit's May 2010 issue - 'Mussels Steamed in Beer w/ Creme Fraiche, Herbs, & Parmesan Croutons'

1 cup croutons (you can make your own or just buy the packaged stuff)
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 lbs. mussels, cleaned
1 large tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 bottle Belgian beer
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, chives, and tarragon. Whisk in sour cream and both mustards. Stir until blended.

In a large dutch oven, melt the butter under high heat. Add garlic and thyme and stir for about 1 minute. Add mussels, tomatoes, and green onions. Slowly pour in the beer and add in sour cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and steam for about 8-10 minutes, or until mussels open. (Discard any mussels that have not opened after 10 minutes, they're no good)

Serve mussels in a deep bowl and top with croutons. (As you can see, I went a little crouton crazy, but I like my croutons!) Dig on in, and just to warn you, it's going to be messy, but you'll enjoy the flavor too much to care!

This was really great. The broth was flavorful and not too heavy. The mussels were juicy and the added crunch of croutons was a nice bonus. Enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Foodie Fights - Battle Ancho Chile/Honey

I'm at it again. Looking for the Gold. Yep, you guessed it... I'm in another Foodie Fights. I was sort of getting discouraged, past 2 battles, I've only managed to squeak by with second places. And I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I'm not a second place kind of gal. I like to be the winner. THE WINNER. This girl does not like to lose. So I had to dig deep, remain creative (although I almost settled for being mediocre, but kindly talked myself out of it), and persevere.

Normally, when I think of Ancho Chiles I immediately think Mexican. So I could have easily thrown together some tacos or enchiladas or something... but that would have been the easy way out.

So then I got to thinking about honey. Usually in a dessert or sweet little something. But with chiles? Sweet? Could be ballsy... but then again, could be genius! So I settled on a savory, but still sweet dessert...

Ancho Honey Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

And this may be looked upon as sucking up a little, but Nick from Macheesmo had a Bran Muffin post a little while back, which intrigued me, so I figured I'd put a little spin on that baby and come up with a great muffin. #1, I've never made bran muffins before, and #2, I fall into that general public category of Bran Muffins? Cardboard right? But boy, was I wrong.


3 cups bran cereal
5 or so dried ancho chiles
1/2 cup apple sauce (those little individual serving cups are perfect)

2 & 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda

3/4 cup honey
2 cups milk
2 eggs

1 to 2 cups chocolate chips (depending on your sweet tooth)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place the ancho chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and steep for about 10 minutes or so. Drain the liquid and reserve 1 cup of the ancho water. Carefully mince about 2 or so of the ancho chiles and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium bowl, combine bran cereal, ancho water, and applesauce. Mix well and set aside. It should resemble a sort of mush, but trust me, there's tons of flavor there.

Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, and baking soda until well combined. Stir in the honey, milk, and eggs. Then mix in the bran/applesauce mixture. Fold in desired amount of chocolate chips and minced ancho chiles.

Grease a muffin tin and pour batter into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 of the way. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or when toothpick comes out clean when placed in center of muffin. Let cool in muffin tin for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a nice pat of butter and drizzle honey on top, if desired.

I was worried about these. I told Andy that I was going to make muffins for today's battle and he looked at me funny. He didn't quite believe it was going to work. But I figured, hey, if I can't go big, then I might as well not "fight" at all, right? Sometimes the risks in life, pay off. And in this case... after Andy took one bite, he immediately said this was great. Even my friend Nick, who happened to be over for dinner, said this was one of the best desserts he'd had in quite a while. So if you feel the need... head on over to Foodie Fights on Tuesday and rock your vote!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pan Seared Trout w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Potatoes

All I can say is TGIF! Thought for the weekend: Growing up, my parents always told me to clean my plate. And if I didn't, they'd always say "don't waste your food, there are starving kids in China, ya know" etc. And I'd always just naively shrug my shoulders and mutter under my breath, "well mail it to 'em then"... but now that I'm older, if you really think about it... How much food is actually wasted in your home? I was reading an article the other day that stated an estimated $600 per person is wasted in leftover food per year. $600!! That's 2 car payments! And that doesn't account for the food wasted in restaurants, which you can imagine is a hell of a lot more than that.

I'm not saying I'm the queen of using things up, yeah, lots of things go to waste. But I try to eat my leftover (or save them for co-workers that gladly eat them), and I try to use things up like meat bones (by giving them to my dogs or putting them in stock). If I could start a compost pile in my backyard without stinking up the neighborhood, I'd do that to, but research on my part needs to be done. What do you do to prevent food wastefulness? Do you think you fall into the average waste category of $600 annually? Do you think you're above or below?

Anyway, I've been trying to cook as much seafood as I can lately. I know the prices of things are going to skyrocket unless they can get this oil spill under wraps (which I'm highly doubting, and I just don't understand why because of all the technology we have at our fingertips). Trout is pretty cheap and it's a tasty whitefish, and pairs equally as nice with some roasted vegetables...


2 trout fillets
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
juice from 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1/4 lb. Brussels Sprouts, quartered

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, combine potatoes and brussels sprouts. Mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and starting to brown.

When vegetables are about 5-10 minutes from being finished, heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add remaining olive oil.

Combine salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, basil, paprika, parsley, and lemon juice. Pour mixture on top of each trout fillet and gently rub in, if desired.

Place trout, skin side down, in skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, or until skin is nice and golden brown. Carefully flip over and cook an additional 2 more minutes, or until fish is white throughout.

Serve on top of roasted vegetables and dig in!

This was a light and flavorful meal. The trout had tons of flavor with the added spices and the simply roasted vegetables were crisp and fresh. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crab Cakes

I'm a big seafood fan. I think if I had to pick any type of food that I would never get tired of, it would be seafood or shellfish of any sort. I'm a sucker for lobster, and crab comes seconds best. And I realized a couple weeks back that I've never made my own crab cakes, so I figured I'd wing it and ended up pretty satisfied!


1 to 1 & 1/2 lb. king crab legs (realize this is probably going to be just 1 leg, but tons of meat)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I use this Bourbon Barrel brand from here in Louisville!)
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stockpot, (Foodbuzz's Daily special today are some great stockpots & other limited items from Chef's Catalog) bring half a pot full of salted water to a boil. Add crab leg(s). Boil for about 5-7 minutes, or until leg(s) is cooked and bright red.

Remove meat from shell and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil and crab meat. Add crab meat and pulse processor a few times, but be careful not to over-process the crab meat.

Form into patties (I made 4 huge ones as a main course, but this could easily be 8-10 appetizer portions). Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and put in fridge for about 20-30 minutes so patties can "solidify".

Heat olive oil in large skillet under medium high heat. In batches of 4 (if doing smaller portions) or 2 (if doing large portions), cook each patty for about 4-7 minutes, depending on size, or until well browned. Serve with tarter sauce and enjoy!

For a first time go-around with the crab cakes, I think these were pretty successful. They were quite flavorful and the they had a nice crunchy outside, with a moist and tasty inside. Enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chorizo & Cheddar Phyllo Wraps

I've been a big proponent of phyllo dough lately. I mean, for the price you pay for the delicate pastry sheets, you might as well use them up, because they do give you a lot. So, thinking creatively, I rummaged through my brain to see what I could do with the leftover roll I had. Then I got to thinking, wouldn't it be awesome to have a chorizo and cheddar Hot Pocket. And so I decided to make a wrap of sorts, experimenting with different meat and cheese combinations... in the end, chorizo and cheddar definitely won out.


1 roll of phyllo dough, separated into several sheets
cooked ground chorizo, drained
thinly sliced salami
sliced provolone cheese
thinly sliced black forest ham
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream (optional)

As you can see... these are more like making a sandwich than a technical recipe. You add in as much as you want and even add extra things not listed if you want also.

Basically though...

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Start with 3 sheets of phyllo dough, maybe a foot long each. Place desired meat (in this case, chorizo, salami, or ham) in the center. Then top with desired cheese. Spread filling in middle section of sheets. Then, roll up into a tight wrap and fold edges underneath. Be sure to seal the wraps with a little bit of warm water also.

Alternatively, instead of rolling up the sheets. You can stack them and put the filling in between (kind of like a layered pizza - it should look like the right portion of the photo above). Make sure you have at least 2 sheets of phyllo for each layer though, this stuff is delicate.

Bake either method in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, where outside is crispy and flaky. Serve with sour cream and extra ground chorizo.

This is pretty simple. Definitely a great way to use up leftovers. You practically make it any way you want and the result is usually tasty. I was afraid this wasn't going to turn out because my first attempted phyllo concoction looked a little burnt. But after tasting it, it was just like a crispier crust and with the addition of the sour cream, perfecto. Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jumbo Baked Shrimp

Can I just vent about something here? I'm a pretty big Top Chef fan. I definitely like the normal, original Top Chef better than Top Chef Masters. I was really into Top Chef Masters this season though. I'm a big pro-Susur Lee person. I think he's funny, creative, and an amazing chef (he's not chef of the millenium for nothing!). So when the finale was on this past week, and the finalists were Susur Lee, Rick Moonen, and Marcus Samuelson... of course I was rooting for Susur. And Rick. But DEFINITELY not Marcus. Not to say that Marcus isn't a great chef, because he can pull out some nice looking dishes... but I think he's very one dimensional. He sticks with what he knows, spice and spice. Susur and Rick however, continuously went out on a limb and did DIFFERENT things all throughout the season. Hell... Susur didn't even comprehend some of the challenges most of the time and still banged out a knockout dish the majority of the time. So in my book, the judges were wrong to pick Marcus. Susur Lee... you ARE my Top Master.

Adapted from Rocco Dispirito's Now Eat This - 'Jumbo Un-Fried Shrimp'

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
12-15 large jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste
tartar sauce (optional)

Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Place flour and panko in separate shallow dishes. Place eggs in medium bowl. Dredge shrimp in flour, then eggs, then panko.

Place shrimp on greased baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until shrimp are nice and golden brown. Serve with tartar sauce!

I like this recipe because the shrimp I used were absolutely GINORMOUS! They were pleasantly crunchy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside. Just like well-cooked shrimp should be. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mammoth Meat Soup

No, I did not buy an extinct Woolly Mammoth on e-bay and make a soup out of it. But this soup DOES have a crap-ton of meat in it. Probably enough to feed an Ethiopian village for months, so I somewhat felt bad... but in the end... the soup was good, so I didn't feel AS bad as I should have. But I've been told I don't have a soul before, so, I suppose it's natural.

Speaking of natural things... today was the first day that I noticed my garden sprouting vegetables. These "baby" green beans are so cute! Aren't they?

They definitely put a smile on my face... and I definitely needed that because for some reason, I was just having a bad day. I don't know if I'm stressed, over-worked, or just tired. I don't know what I'm stressed or tired about, but it was just one of those days, you know?

My little baby basil's are growing up nicely...

My red chiles, which I think are little overcrowded... okay... a lot overcrowded (I really didn't think they would grow, I just used some leftover seeds from a recipe...)

My cherry tomatoes (which I thought were practically dead up until a few weeks ago...)

Oregano from last year's planting... (which never grew last year, but is seeming to flourish this year)

Corn... which I was sure was not going to grow at all (this is when I had my squirrel problem)... and I'm not sure if it's going to pollinate because the squirrels kind of messed up my rows

And my lettuce, which I'm mucho excited about...

And I guess now you guys want a recipe right? Alright... I'll get on with it.

Adapted from Bon Appetit's May 2010 issue - "Galician Pork & Vegetable Stew"

1 & 1/2 cups dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 small rack baby back ribs (cut into 2 or 3 rib sections)
1 lb. diced ham
1 lb. smoked ham shank
1 lb. chorizo sausage, sliced
1 lb. skirt steak, sliced thinly
8 oz. pancetta, chopped
8 cups water
8 cups chicken stock
1 leek, (white and pale green parts only), chopped
5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bunch kale, center ribs removed, and chopped

Soak the garbanzo beans in enough water to cover it by about 2 inches. Soak overnight and drain.

In a large stockpot, add ribs, ham, hamshank, chorizo, skirt steak, and pancetta. Add the water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add garbanzo beans and leeks. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour or so. Add the potatoes and kale and simmer for another 45 minutes.

Serve in large bowls and dig in!

This made A LOT of soup. You could definitely cut down on the ingredients or omit things. It was definitely hearty, very rustic. It reminded me of a gourmet version of my dad's "Hobo Stew". (Which turns out... after looking up the actual recipe for Hobo Stew, isn't technically Hobo Stew because he uses none of those actual ingredients... but, I won't tell him that).

Oh, by the way, FoodBuzz's Daily Special is a Mandolin (which I aptly have on next years Christmas list... but my birthday comes before then, so you could actually get it for me then too if you wanted =) Also... speaking of FoodBuzz... they announced they're having Project Food Blog (basically like a neat competition for food bloggers), which I am PRETTY amped up about. I don't think I have what it takes just yet to win the ENTIRE thing (or who knows, maybe I do, but there's some pretty talented folks out there), but I'd be stoked if I just went past the first round. Check it out if you're a Featured Publisher, or if you wanna know what it's all about!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Foodie Fights - Battle Dandelion Greens/Parmesan Cheese

Alright, last Foodie Fights battle I ended up with 2nd place. This time I'm going for the win. Battle Dandelion Greens and Parmesan Cheese. Yeah, everybody knows what Parmesan is... but I had no clue (and would have continues to have no clue, if the guys over at Foodie Fights hadn't posted a picture), what in the heck Dandelion Green were or how I would even use them.

So I trekked on over to Whole Foods who aptly stock the lovely greens. I brought them home, and snagged a leave off of the bunch to have a raw taste... NOT what I expected. I had Googled them beforehand and learned that they were a bitter green, but I wasn't expecting the amount of bitterness that I did. Definitely not going a salad route, I thought.

So then I started brainstorming of things to do with the Parm and maybe that would lead me to do something with the greens. and then Eureka! I make a mean alfredo sauce. It may not be your conventional Italian mother's alfredo sauce, but it's pretty darn good.

So the alfredo idea was in place, and then it only seemed fitting that I end up with...

Dandelion Green Alfredo Phyllo Pizza

1 bunch dandelion greens, stemmed and chopped
1 & 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
3 sheets Phyllo dough, thawed
2 slices bacon, chopped
4-5 small slices of Provolone cheese
salt and pepper to taste

I needed to try to take the bitterness out of greens, so I first brought the chicken stock to a boil and added the greens to that to wilt them down. Let them simmer in the stock for a few minutes, maybe 3-5 at most. Drain and squeeze out most of the liquid. Set aside.

I figured fat would help cut down on the bitterness too, and it would end up adding a good flavor overall. In a small saucepan, brown the bacon pieces until most of the fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp up. Stir in garlic and saute for about 1-2 minutes. Add in dandelion greens and saute for another minute or two. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Slowly add in shredded Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly and not adding more until cheese is melted within sauce. Let simmer for about 8-10 minutes to develop the flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and roll out Phyllo dough sheets, stacking the 3 sheets on top of eachother. You can use more sheets if you'd like, but I found 3 to be a perfect amount for a nice thin crisp crust.

Spoon about a ladle-full of the alfredo on Phyllo dough and make sure you get a good ratio of greens to sauce. Top with a few thin slices of Provolone cheese, if desired.

Bake in oven for about 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Cut the pizza into squares and serve!

The result is a crisp, flaky, faux-pizza that has no bitterness from the greens at all. The alfredo is rich and delicious and this is perfect for a summer appetizer! Enjoy... and don't forget to vote on Tuesday at Foodie Fights!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers & Mocha Dog's First Blog Appearance!

I have 2 dogs. Mocha and Zappa. Mocha was first. She's a sweet girl... a little high maintenance, but what can you expect... I'm her mother. Then came Zappa (whom we also believe to be Mocha's blood brother, but haven't had solid proof), more chilled out... has a bit of a little man syndrome and is kind of a jerk sometimes, but cool nonetheless.

This is the Mocha girl. She definitely wanted some of this chicken!

Growing up, I was never a dog person. I actually feared dogs. Like, they literally had me shaking in my shoes and I would almost wet myself every time I saw one. So how did I ever get to the point of being comfortable enough to have 2 dogs? I don't know. I don't know how I became so passionate about cooking either. I don't know why my hair is one of the most important things I own. I just don't know. You can't explain some of life's mysteries... you just have to go with it, right? Right.

Random story aside... these tandoori chicken skewers were pretty darn delicious! I used to always be under the misconception that tandoori chicken HAD to be cooked in a tandoor oven to truly be tandoori chicken. Turns out, the tandoori part of tandoori chicken is actually the marinade that you let the chicken set it. Am I just dumb for not knowing that? Regardless... this chicken is worth trying out!


1/2 cup plain yogurt
juice from 1 lemon
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 boneless & skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips

I love this because it's super easy too. Definitely want to let the chicken marinate over night also!

In a large plastic Ziploc bag, combine all ingredients, except the chicken. When you get a nice orange-pinkish color, you know it's mixed well. I like to close the bag and just mush everything together. Not the most conventional way, but it works and it's rustic.

Add the chicken, release all air from bag, seal up, and roll tight. Rolling the bag up in the end is good because it allows the marinade to penetrate the chicken easier because of less surface area. Set in fridge overnight.

If using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them for at least 1 hour in warm water so they don't burn easily on the grill.

Heat a charcoal grill under medium high heat.

Skewer the chicken pieces onto the skewers and grill for about 4-5 minutes per side. Remember you're using chicken thighs here, so they'll be pretty tender and juicy.

I grilled up some zucchini and corn also! This was a perfect spring/summer meal! Definitely great for cookouts! Enjoy guys!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Well, back to normal programming. I feel like it's been a while since I've had just a plain old recipe post, with all that's been going on. And after much debate with myself and talking it over with good ol' Andrew... after I'm done with my Biology degree... I'm going to culinary school. I keep trying to convince myself of reasons not to, and honestly... none of them stick. I think I would be quite successful, and I would enjoy myself more. Right? I'm hoping so anyway.

There's nothing better than a great pulled pork sandwich. It's great because it's easy (you just leave the pork shoulder in a crockpot for the day and come back after work or school and BAM! nice, tender pork). And this is a different riff on your normal pork barbecue because it's not really barbecue at all, but something different... something good.


4 lb. pork shoulder
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup brown sugar
1 bottle of hot taco sauce
1 can of Coke or plain cola
salt and pepper to taste
Sliced tomatoes, optional

Place crockpot under high setting and add pork shoulder, garlic, onion, jalapeno, and enough chicken stock to come up half way on the pork. Let sit in crockpot at high for about 1 hour.

Place crockpot at low setting and let cook for about 6-8 hours. (Perfect for a workday).

Drain the chicken stock and add pork back into crockpot. Shred pork and add cumin, brown sugar, taco sauce, and cola. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Serve on toasted buns with a slice of tomato.

The one thing I wish I would have added to this sandwich was sour cream. It would have been a perfect trifecta of flavors! This was more on the sweet side, but not too sweet. The cola adds a depth of flavor to the pork like no other and it was just a darn good sandwich! Enjoy!


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