Monday, August 30, 2010

Brew @ The Zoo!

This weekend was a blast. In particular, on Saturday, the Louisville Zoo held their annual Brew At The Zoo. I can't believe I've never been before, but I am so glad my friends urged me to go this year! For $45 (if tickets were purchased online), you gain access to the zoo, all the craft beer you can drink (from 4pm to 8:30pm), all the food you can eat (from 4pm to 6:30pm), and all the debauchery that ensues. Trust me, well worth it, in my opinion. So instead of a recipe today, we'll go through the day's activities... (and just some warning... there are a TON of pictures!)

My friend Matt, ready for the Brew

We got these cool mini beer mugs to drink our various craft beers in.

The New Albanian... quite possibly one of the best breweries in Southern Indiana.

Za's Pizza... always a winner.

The Whole Foods table: Hummus w/ Pita Chips, Sesame Crackers w/ Goat Cheese, & some Mixed Nuts

Ribs from Chili's (Normally I wouldn't eat at Chili's, but hey, I couldn't resist some ribs with some beer!)

Brew from Brownings

Hummus from Shiraz

Pulled Pork Sliders from Buckhead's

Mini Bruschetta from... ??? (This is probably the point where I've become a little tipsy and things become harder to remember)

Fall's City Beer, quickly becoming a new favorite!

Some Sausage & Slaw from BBC

Having a little pow-wow

This was supposed to be "famous" spread...

The Wine tent... my ass was smart and did not step foot in there... mixing beer AND wine on a hot summer day does not equal a good next morning for this girl.

I HAD to post this just because it was so funny. White Castle was there!

Short Rib & Mashed Potatoes from Maker's Mark Lounge

My manly crew

Boneless Chicken Wings from Roosters

Some Kentucky Ales

Founder's Brewing Company (& that guy on the right has the best shirt ever: Godzilla vs. Bigfoot!)

Yup, caught Selene off guard!

These brownies went quick!

Schlafly, always delicious!

This is me next to a camel... I think I was frightened AND excited at the same time... hence the stupid face.

I don't think I had any of this one, but their flag was cool.

Yeah, I wish I had this set up on my back porch.

There was definitely more food and more beer, but a girl can only function properly for so long without causing personal harm to herself or her camera. Right?

So yeah, all in all... moral of the story is... I will go to every one of these now. And if you're in the Louisville, KY area next August, I suggest you do the same! What kind of crazy festivals do you guys go to in your area?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cabbage Au Gratin

Have you ever had one of those weeks, or days, where everything seems to be too good to be true? Or things have just been going so well lately, that you know something is bound to just screw it all up? Yeah, well we've had one of those weeks. Andy's been having Jeep trouble, and so we've been having to survive on one car, and let me tell you... it's not pleasant. Especially when our schedules differ so drastically. And it's not like we can afford having an extra bill of fixing a car, right? But it hasn't killed us, so I suppose it's making us stronger. But I really wish his Jeep would get fixed faster, hehe.

Anyway, I made it through the 1st week of the semester without any problems, so I suppose that's good. Definitely going to have my head buried in a bunch of books this semester though. I think I've already done more reading in this 1st week than I have an entire semester. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I blame my current headache on this reading.

So I figured today would be a good day for a comfort recipe. You can practically "au gratin" any vegetable, and most of us associate this with potatoes. While potatoes are all well and fine, I had an abundance of red cabbage from our CSA's a while back, and decided to apply this au gratin method to them. I was not disappointed.


1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage and boil to about 2-3 minutes. Drain and quickly submerge into a bowl of cold water in order to stop the cabbage from continuing to cook. (I added ice cubes to some tap water to make sure it was really cold) Drain the cabbage again and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet, melt the butter under medium high heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir until fragrant and cook for an addition 3-5 minutes.

Add in cabbage and toss well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add in wine, and cook until almost entirely reduced. Lower heat to a simmer and slowly add cream and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Place in a medium sized ramekin and top with additional parmesan cheese, if you wish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is browned.

This definitely turned out way better than I had ever imagined. The flavor is so rich from cream, butter, and cheese that there's no way that this could go wrong. And with cabbage? This definitely will turn any anti-cabbage person into an instant cabbage lover. Enjoy and happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Bean Corn Salad

Well, school started this week. My head is going to be buried in Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, and Spanish for the next 4 months. Let's go through a breakdown on my first impression of each class:

Molecular Biology: That just sounds scary, but it's only a 200-level course. Mostly dealings with DNA and that jazz. We took a little pre-test on the first day and it was strenuous on my brain, but I feel I did pretty good on it... not that it counts for anything. And let me just vent here... I understand some student may have children and that's all well and fine with me... but to bring your newborn child to class? That's what the campus has a day care for. The baby was kind of distracting, but we'll see if it's present next class too, and if it is... expect a rant on Friday.

Developmental Biology: The development of creatures, or embryo development if you want to get all technical. Seems interesting enough and everyone I've talked to that's already had the class has the same response... it's a lot of fun, but a lot of stuff to study. Fun + Lots of stuff to study... does not sound fun at all... does it? No, I didn't think so. But so far, not too shabby.

Spanish: The dreaded foreign language requirement. I find it funny that while I was an Accounting Major, foreign language was not required. However, now that I'm a Biology Major, I have to have 2 semesters worth! I think Spanish would be more beneficial in the business world? Don't you think? Either way, I feel like a 3 year old, having to "Repita! Repita!" every little second. Not to mention we do this online homework that requires us to record how we say certain words/phrases... talk about feeling stupid and recording myself speak... good thing I do this while Andy is not home, because he would just sit and laugh at me the whole time.

Anyway, so there's my fall semester rant. It's really not as bad as I make it out to be, but I like complaining and forcing people to listen. But I guess I'll get to the recipe... that's what you're really here for anyway...


1 can seasoned black beans
3 ears of corn, steamed & kernels cut off of cob
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 small cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 jalapeno, minced
juice from 1 lemon
small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Basically, in a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, and lemon juice. Stir until well combined. Fold in cilantro.

Drizzle with olive oil, to your own preference, and season with salt and pepper.

This was one of those quick summer time dishes that's ready in no time. I put this on practically anything, from topping bratwursts or hotdogs, to serving as a filling for empanadas. You can even eat it all by itself as a side dish to any meal! And it definitely saves you from turning on an oven or stove because there's not cooking required! Just fresh summer ingredients that go well together! Enjoy!

Oh and check out our CSA goodies...

1 lb. of heirloom tomatoes
1 lb. of green beans
1 cantaloupe
2 lbs. pears
2 hot peppers
2 sweet peppers
1 loaf of french bread

Monday, August 23, 2010

Foodie Fights - Battle Corn/Tomato

Corn and tomatoes are everywhere right now. They thrive in the summer months and are plentiful in every grocery store, farmers market, roadside stand, etc. So why not make them the feature ingredients for this week's foodie fight? I love both ingredients so it's no surprise that I threw my name in the running...

Skirt Steak Sloppy Joe Sliders w/ Grilled Corn Coleslaw. Yeah, the name says it all. This dish was bomb. And I wasn't the only one that thought so. My friends and I had our yearly fantasy football draft this past Sunday and I brought these babies over to munch on while we were forming our fantasy team, a.k.a. their loser teams, and my hell of a winner team. Yeah, I'm a little competitive, if you couldn't tell.

Anyway, the only thing that I want to keep kicking myself in the face for... my final pictures. Yeah, not so good. Kind of like a 3 year old took them, right? Yeah, well, I took all my prep work photos at our house and assembled everything at my friend Nick's house, but guess who forgot to bring her Nikon with her when she got there? Yeah, this girl. So my little Palm Centro camera had to do... and obviously... the quality is no where near what my D40 can do. But please don't let that deter your vote... well, don't let it deter it too much... because seriously... these. were. delicious. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S (in case you needed a spelling lesson)... so without further ado...


Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe

8-10 dried guajillo chiles
4 garlic cloves
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
6 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. skirt steak, separated into 3 pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups red cabbage, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
2 large ears of corn
1 cup chicken broth
12 slider-sized buns (I used Hawaiian Bread Sweet Rolls)
lettuce and sliced tomatoes (optional)

In a medium microwave safe bowl, cover the chiles in water and microwave for about 5 minutes, or until chiles are softened.

Let cool momentarily and reserve 1/2 cup of the chile water before draining. Add reserved water back to chiles and add garlic and chopped tomatoes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the chilies until mostly smooth in texture. Stir in oregano and 4 tablespoons sunflower oil. Puree for a few more minutes until you get a desired texture.

Strain the pureed mix into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Reserving 1/2 of chile mixture, transfer other 1/2 to a large freezer bag and add skirt steak pieces. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight.

Heat medium saucepan under high heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in remaining chile mixture and cook for a couple minutes. Add in brown sugar and vinegar. Simmer for about 10 minutes so the flavors can develop. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Light a charcoal grill under medium high heat and grill steaks for about 8-10 minutes, flipping once for a good medium rare to medium.

Brush on the remaining chile mixture glaze in the last couple minutes of grilling. Let steaks rest for at least 5 minutes, then chop roughly.

After steaks are done on the grill, you can grill your corn. I did about 10 minutes for a nice juicy, but still somewhat browned corn. Let corn cool for a moment and then clear it off of the cob. Set kernels aside.

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Add cabbage and carrots to a food processor and pulse just a few times. You just want to make sure everything is nice and shredded.

Add shredded cabbage, carrots, and corn kernels to mayo mixture and mix well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine remaining chile glaze with the chicken stock. Simmer on medium high for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half. Stir in the chopped steak and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Let simmer for a few minutes, or until everything is heated through. If you have a lot of liquid, you can transfer the steak with a slotted spoon to a bowl after you're done simmering.

To assemble, place lettuce and slice of tomato on the bottom bun. Add a heaping pile of chopped steak (this is sloppy joe right?), and top with a big mound of corn coleslaw before closing sandwich with top bun. Open mouth and eat.

Like I said, these were a major hit at our fantasy football draft party and didn't last more than 30 minutes. They're messy. They're different. They're delicious. What more could you ask for?

If you agree with me and have forgiven me for taking pictures with my cell phone, please vote on Tuesday at Foodie Fights!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shrimp Pad Thai

Andy and I have a favorite Thai place here in Louisville, Simply Thai. It's one of those places that's small (only like 8 tables in the whole place), kind of tucked away (you'd have to know it was there to know it was there), and extremely authentic. It's one of our go-to places when we're in a pickle and don't know what to eat. They never disappoint. They have an amazing curry selection, but I always end up getting the pineapple curry with chicken. I love the sweetness the pineapple brings to the hot heat of the curry. Definitely a good balance. And their pad thai... awesome! I know pad thai is one of those staple dishes that if you ask anybody if they've had Thai food, they say, "oh yeah, I've had pad thai!" Or if they've never had Thai food before, I think pad thai is always a good introductory course to get them to fall in love with Thai food!


1-2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 oz. thick rice noodles (most say Pad Thai noodles on the box)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
small handful honey roasted peanuts, chopped
small handful cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, and tamarind concentrate. Stir until sugar is dissolved and set aside.

Soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for about 20 minutes, or until they start to soften but not fully tender. Drain and set aside.

Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside. (There's lots of things to set aside, aren't there? Makes it easier in the end because the cooking of this dish is fairly quick)

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil under high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp start to turn pink with browned edges. Remove shrimp and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add garlic, shallot, and jalapeno. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute. Add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add the egg noodles and toss with tongs to combine. Pour the tamarind/fish sauce mixture over the noodles and increase the heat to high, continuing to toss the ingredients with the sauce.

Add 1/2 of the chopped peanuts and cooked shrimp. Toss noodles for about 2 more minutes.

Dish out onto hot plates and top with remaining peanuts and garnish with cilantro.

This was definitely a fire in my mouth, but in a good way. Usually pad thai's are fairly mild in spice, but I liked this one for it's heat. If you've never tried Thai food before, this is definitely a great dish to start with! Enjoy and happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lemon Thyme Potatoes

Well, it's that time of the summer... when it's almost over. This is my last week of summer freedom before the fall semester starts. I'm glad and I'm depressed at the same time. No more full days off to do little things like clean the house (I'm not that upset about this, hehe) and randomly shop for things I don't need. Instead, I'll be studying, studying, studying, and cooking (always have to make time for the cooking).

I'm pretty excited because I actually managed to get all my books for a little under $500. Yeah, it's a sad world when I'm excited that I paid that much. It's better than $600 or $700, right? Right.

Anyway, to give summer the 'almost goodbye' it deserves, this lemon thyme potato recipe is perfect. With hints of lemon throughout the potatoes, and thyme permeating your nostrils... what's not to love? And it's bloody simple. You can't beat simple, in my book.


5 medium new potatoes, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
salt and pepper to taste
juice from 1 lemon (I like the potatoes lemony, you can definitely do less if you want)
zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons dried thyme
small handful fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Spread potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown.

Whisk together lemon thyme mixture by adding remaining olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, and parsley in a medium bowl. Toss potatoes and let sit for about 10 minutes so that the potatoes can soak up the lemon-thyme mixture. Serve as a side dish to practically any main course!

The great thing about these potatoes is that you can practically have them with anything... fish, meat, seafood, other vegetables... you name it. It's even great on it's own! Enjoy!

Check out our CSA goodies this week:
(P.S. I really like this picture, might blow it up and hang it up in the kitchen!)

4 sweet peppers
1 lb. japanese pears
2 hot peppers
2 spaghetti squash
brussels sprouts
1 loaf Blue Dog Bakery bread


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