Blog Archives

Mike’s Sunrise (Holly’s NYE Drink)


I made a delicious drink today.  I was going to post about it tomorrow, but I think everyone will be hung over and not want to hear about an alcoholic drink.  I think that’s how I’m going to feel at least.  Right now though, I feel good and I’m looking for a delicious New Year’s Eve Drink.

This drink is probably one of the prettiest drinks I’ve ever made.  Not just because it’s in a martini glass (which automatically makes everything prettier), but it’s also pink, layered, has a sugar rim, and has a cherry in it.  That’s just the perfect recipe for a pretty drink.  It’s also really simple to make.

When I was trying to think of a drink, I was trying to use up some Mike’s Hard that we had bought.  I had the idea to come up with a drink to make each flavor of Mike’s Hard more tolerable, but by the time I got around to actually doing that there were only 2 flavors out of the 4 left.  So I was left with just revamping the original flavor.  This is what I came up with.  I think that it’s very delicious and not too sweet at all.  My boyfriend liked it even and he’s a strong drink and dark beer kind of guy.

Happy New Year’s everyone!  Stay safe and have fun!

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients/Equipment:

1 cherry

1 martini glass

sugar

1 skewer or bar straw

1/2 Mike’s Hard Lemonade

1 shot tequila

splash of grenadine

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Instructions

Wet the rim of a martini glass with water using your finger.  Place the rim in a bowl of sugar to fully coat it.  Skewer the cherry with the skewer or bar straw and place across the top of the martini glass.  Pour in the tequila.  Add the Mike’s Hard and fill until the liquid is about a 1/2″ or 1 cm away from the sugar on the rim.  Add the splash of grenadine.  Enjoy and don’t forget to for second helpings (unless it’s time to take a break and drink some water)!

Advertisements

Cauliflower with Tahini


This sounds weird, I know.  I first saw this combination on a menu at Pita Jungle.  This place is awesome.  All the food is delicious and healthy.  If you have one in your area, you should check them out.  So when I first went there, I thought I’d try something new, “Caramelized Cauliflower with Tahini.”  It was amazing.  I’d go there just to get some of this.

Then I tried it at home.  The first time, I accidentally fried the tahini.  Whoops.  Don’t do that.  The second time I realized how easy it was to make on my own.  I still get it all the time at Pita Jungle because it’s still slightly better there, but I make it for myself a lot too.

This recipe only requires 4 ingredients.  One of which is tahini.  Tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s quite tasty and is a key ingredient in hummus.  You can find it at Trader Joe’s next to the hummus in the refrigerated section.  You won’t use all of the tahini you buy in this recipe so you could use some to make hummus.  This recipe is delicious as a snack and will make you love cauliflower.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

2 tbsp tahini sauce (found at Trader Joe’s)

1 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serving size: 1 snack sized portion

Cooking Instructions:

Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet.  Heat to medium heat.  Once hot (water sizzles when you drip a little on the pan), add the cauliflower.  Saute until soft.  To speed this up, you could cover the pan and stir occasionally. Add the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl.  Add the tahini sauce and mix together.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Pineapple Shrimp Southwest Salad


On black Friday, I raided all kitchen supply stores.  I also got some presents from my mom of things she rarely used (thanks, Mom!).  One of the things I got was a pineapple corer.  It’s a weird device that allows you to easily remove all the best parts of the pineapple and leave the rest behind.  The next week, I saw pineapples on sale.  It was a sign.  The new pineapple corer needed to be used.

I got home, excited to eat the pineapple when my boyfriend asked, “What are we going to eat the pineapple with?”  I really only ever ate pineapple raw and plain as a kid.  Sometimes, as a treat, we would have it with coconut and chocolate sauce, but other than that it was always plain.  I went in search of what else pineapple was used in. One person suggested eating it in a salad with shrimp.  I’ve also seen it in salsa.  I decided to combine these two ideas and make a Pineapple Shrimp Southwest Salad.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I made mine without shrimp and it was still delicious.  I let the salsa act like the dressing.  Since my recipe for salsa has tomatoes and onions in it, it also made it so I had to add fewer ingredients but still got a great variety of flavors.  I also decided to let corn chips act like the croutons.  The combination sounds odd, but it was quite delicious.

For this recipe I won’t add exact amounts since it’s all about what you like and what you don’t like. Salad is very customizable like that.  I’ll give you the ingredient list and you can find the proportions that make this your favorite salad.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Fresh sliced pineapple

Canned black beans

Romaine lettuce

Blue corn tortilla chips

Fresh chunky salsa

Shrimp (optional)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking instructions:

Chop the romaine lettuce with a lettuce knife (not metal) or tear it using your hands and place it in a salad bowl.  Heat the beans according to instructions and add on top of the lettuce. Scoop some chunky salsa on top.  Crush up the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the salad.  Top with prepared shrimp.  Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve the same day.  Enjoy and don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!

My First Time Making Sushi


Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating?  That was me for a while.  As it turns out, it’s not scary.  Since I’ve been cooking more, I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and I’m more confident.  Last week when my boyfriend requested I make sushi, I didn’t shy away from the idea like I normally do.  Instead, I looked up everything I could possibly want to know on the internet and tried it out. If it didn’t work, no big loss.  If it did work, I’d get delicious sushi.

Sushi is really fun to make.  I want you to be able to have fun making sushi too so I’ve compiled all the resources I used and divided them up by step in the sushi making process.  Good luck.  I would love to help anyone having trouble and I can try to answer questions.  I’m no pro, but I have done it myself so I can try to help.

What You’ll Need:

Sushi rice

Bamboo mat

Rice Vinegar

Very sharp knife

Nori or seaweed wrap

Sugar

Salt

Vegetables (whatever you want.  I used carrots, cucumber, and avocado)

Fish (optional)

Other stuffing ingredients (cream cheese, sauces, spicy mayonnaise, etc.)

*All ingredients can be found at local Asian markets and are becoming increasingly common in regular chain supermarkets.

Making Sushi Rice:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/sushi-rice.html

To pick oout the sushi rice, I went to my local Asian marketplace and asked someone where to find the sushi rice.  They pointed out a bag that was clearly marked “sushi rice,” but also told me that sushi rice is just a grain of rice and there is nothing else special about it. Feel rather silly for not seeing the sushi rice, I bought it.

This is the brand I bought.  I can’t vouch for this amazon seller I linked to, but the rice worked well.  It was only about $5 in store.

After that, instead of cooking the rice in a pot, I cooked the rice in my rice cooker.  I have an old, but really high quality, rice cooker and it cooked the rice very nicely.  If you do not have a rice cooker, I would follow the instructions from the link above.  I cooked 1 cup of dry rice and got about 3 cups of cooked rice.  Once the rice was cooked, I removed it from the heat and put it in a bowl.  I then heated 1/3 cup of rice vinegar on the stove and added 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt.  I heated the combination until the sugar and salt had completely dissolved.  The above link recommends 1/2 cup rice vinegar for 3 cups of cooked rice, but I found that to be a little too vinegar-y so I reduced it to 1/3 cup for 3 cups of cooked rice.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice and mix well.  Allow to the rice to cool and the vinegar to soak in.

The Vegetables:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/carrot-cutting.html

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/cucumber-cutting.html

This is what I struggled with the most.  I did not end up with pretty even little sticks of vegetables like I wanted.  Turns out, it didn’t really matter.  I followed the above instructions as best I could, but it didn’t end up having a big bearing on the taste or the outcome of the sushi.  I think that practice makes better so I will eventually get better, but I didn’t find it to be very important.  The best advice I can give is find very even vegetables.  If you find ones that are perfect cylinders, then that would be ideal.

Fish:

I did not buy raw fish or cut fish for this sushi.  I found canned crab and used that for the sushi.  Maybe I’ll get adventerous and try to use raw fish, but I was focusing more on the roll first.

Preparing the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/foodwishes?feature=etp-gd-SUR-13#p/search/1/dC9gJsXAXGU

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/How-to-make-sushi/classic-roll.html

The first step is to wrap the sushi mat (usually bamboo with one side flat and one side round) with plastic wrap to prevent sticking.  Prepare a small bowl with water and add a little rice vinegar.  This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.  Also have a hand towel ready.  You want to handle the rice only with wet hands and you want to handle the nori or seaweed wrapper only with dry hands. Place the nori on the mat with the shiny side facing down and rough side facing up.  Wet your hands and grab a handful of rice about 3″ in diameter.  Spread the rice over the nori leaving about an inch of  room at both the top and bottom of the nori (where you will start rolling and where you will stop rolling).  Add the vegetables, fish, and whatever else you want (spicy mayo, cream cheese, etc) to the starting end of the roll on the rice.

Rolling the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 1:37)

Use the video above.  It was very helpful after 1:37.  The beginning part is just her spreading rice out and is very boring.  Start by using the mat to roll the nori over the stuffing (veggies and fish).  Use your fingers to keep the stuffing from spreading out.  Squeeze the mat tightly after this first roll.  Roll the sushi again squeezing tightly after each complete roll until you reach the end.

Cutting the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 2:13)

All I can say is use a sharp knife.  What I did was first sort of wiggle the knife in a sawing motion to get through the top layer of nori.  Then I cut straight through and I sawed again at the end.  The helped keep the nori on the sushi and prevented it from exploding everywhere.  I cut my sushi into 6 pieces, but you can decide where you want to cut it.

As I said at the beginning, good luck and I’d love to try to help anyone having trouble.  I had a really fun time making sushi and I want you all to have fun too.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Chunky Salsa (and how I met my boyfriend)


Salsa is part of the reason why my boyfriend and I are together. The story of this salsa goes back even further than that though.  My sister got this recipe from a chef in Mexico that prepared the food at the hotel where she was staying during a trip.  She loved the salsa so much that she went and asked him for the recipe.  When she got back to the US, she made it for our family, and I became obsessed.  It was the best salsa I ever had.

Fast forward to college, freshman year.  One of my friends got tomatoes from his professor’s garden (that’s the kind of school I went to) so we decided to make salsa.  As we were walking around campus to go buy the rest of the ingredients, I saw two huge bushes.  My name is Holly and I was wondering if there were holly bushes.  A friendly fellow who happened to be walking by replied that they were, in fact, holly bushes.  He introduced himself to me and ignored my friends.  After talking a little bit, we discovered that we were planning on making salsa in the building where he lived.  We promised to get him when the salsa was finished.   Me and my friends parted ways with the friendly person and continued with our plan to make salsa.  When the salsa was complete my friends urged me to go get the guy that was talking to us by the holly bush, insisting that he thought I was cute.  I did, and we’ve been dating ever since. ♥

This is the recipe for that salsa.  From a hotel in Mexico to bringing a couple together in Washington state, this recipe has gotten around.  Aside from the obvious sentimental value, it still is the best salsa I’ve ever had.  If you have a Chipotle in your area, it’s similar to the chunky mild salsa that they make.  So if you like chunky tomato-y salsa, this one’s for you.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

5 roma tomatoes

½ white onion

3 jalapeños

Juice from 2 lemons

½ cup cilantro

1 tsp garlic powder

Dash of salt

Dash of black pepper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Servings: Makes about 4 cups (nutrition facts for 1 cup)

Cooking Instructions:

Remove the seeds and core from the jalapenos. Finely chop the cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños and place in a large bowl.  Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Mix all the ingredients together.  Add a little bit of water if the tomatoes were not juicy enough to blend the flavors together.  Serve immediately with tortilla chips.  The salsa will save a few days, but the tomatoes may get a little wrinkly after some time.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!


Spicy Orange Rum Sauce


Remember the stray kitty I found? He’s doing well.  He’s got the sniffles, but it looks like my sister will be able to take him so he will have a good home.

In food related news, I made a yummy orange sauce that is perfect for dipping meats or as a sauce on vegetables!  I bought a pack of fried shrimp for the boyfriend a while back.  He ate half of it but used all the sauce that came with it so I tried to recreate the sauce when he ate the other half.  It came out really well, so I made it again to share with you all.

It’s spicy, but that can be changed by altering the amount of red pepper flakes and chili powder in it to make it a sweeter orange sauce.  A little bit of this sauce adds a lot of flavor so you don’t need to pile it on to taste it.  This is good because it keeps the calories lower and makes veggies taste better!  Isn’t that what everyone’s looking for?  Something yummy and healthy?

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 tbsp apricot jam

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tsp sugar

1/4 cup spiced rum

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1/2 tsp  chili flakes

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Splash of tequila

Splash coconut rum

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: Makes 1/2 a cup of sauce (2 servings)

Cooking Instructions:

Combine the jam, orange juice, sugar, rum, mustard, and spices in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  While stirring, heat until the sauce begins to simmer.  Reduce heat to medium low and continue to stir until sauce thickens.  When the sauce is the desired thickness, add the tequila and coconut rum.  Continue to stir until the sauce reaches the desired thickness again.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Whiskey Drink


I just graduated from college this spring.  Being a recent college grad, I have a lot of drink recipes that I made up using only the supplies on hand.  My boyfriend really likes whiskey so I have tried to make a couple of drinks using this alcohol instead of my usual favorites of vodka, tequila, and rum.  This recipe I just created last week and is my favorite by a landslide.  So if you are a whiskey drinker or have a boyfriend that is, and all you really want is a vodka cranberry then this drink is for you.  I’ve been calling it the Sour Whiskerberry Ale, but that might not catch on.

There are a few options you can do to make this drink lower in calories.  I used Slim Bob and Skinny Chick brand sweet and sour mix.  I think that it’s tastes better than other mixes and it has fewer calories.  I also used light cranberry juice.  I didn’t have it on hand, but diet ginger ale would also be a good substitute.  These three things combined should bring the calorie count down significantly.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

1 part whiskey

1/2 part sweet and sour (optional, but I like it better with it)

2 parts cranberry juice

ice

ginger ale

Time: 5 minutes

Instructions:

Use a rocks glass.  Add the whiskey, sweet and sour, and cranberry juice.   Stir together.  Add the ice.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with ginger ale.  Enjoy!

 

These nutrition facts assume that 1 part = 1 fl oz and that nothing used is diet or light.

Pita (or Pitta)


This post is part 2 in a series leading up to the greatest stuffed pita of all time.  The first recipe was piquillo pepper hummus and the last is stuffed pita.  This hummus is amazingly and so simple.  If you have time to make these pitas, you have time to make the hummus.  You really need to try it.  You’ll thank me.  The second recipe is for pita.

Pita bread is common in the Mediterranean area and is used as a pseudo spoon to scoop dips or sauces.  It’s puffed up and has  a pocket in the middle that makes them perfect for  stuffing with sandwich like ingredients.  The possibilities are endless when you have a pita.  Whatever your favorite sandwich is, you can turn it into a stuffed pita and make it even better.  Although making any kind of bread takes time, the out come is amazing and I would recommend this recipe.

Recipe for the Pita (Pitta):

Printable version

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour, plus some for sprinkling

1-1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp yeast

Active Time: 30 minutes

Inactive Time: 1 hours 45 minutes

Makes: 15- 4″ pitas

Cooking Instructions:

Using a bread machine place all the ingredients into the bread pan in the order specified by your manufacturer.  If you aren’t sure, it’s common to place them from wet to dry (the order that I have them listed).  Set to dough.  Add water if the dough appears too dry (I added about a teaspoon of water and my dough was perfect after that).  If you do not have a bread machine, mix the ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand and knead for at least 10 minutes.  Let rest in a warm area for 1 hour.

When the dough cycle (or resting time) has finished, divide the dough into 15 equal parts.  For larger pitas, divide the dough into fewer parts.  Shape each part into a ball. Cover the balls with a damp paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  If you have a baking stone place it in the oven to preheat as well.  Roll each ball into a circle or an oval about 1/4″ thick (very thin).  Cover again with a damp paper towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Move the pitas to the stone or place on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes or until they are puffy and lightly browned.  I had to bake mine in parts so make sure that you give your oven time to reheat from opening and closing the door.  Transfer the finished pitas to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with hummus, stuffed, or plain.  And don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Piquillo Pepper Hummus


Hello, all!  I have decided to do a three part series.  I made 3 delcious things yesterday, but I think that this is just too good to put in one post.  Today I’ll be posting about piquillo (or pequillo) pepper hummus (the happiest mistake I’ve ever made).  Next, I’ll post about the pita bread I made to go with the hummus.  Lastly, I’ll post about the stuffed pita I made when I realized my planned dinner had gone bad in the fridge (the second happiest mistake I’ve made).  These recipes are all very delicious and can be made with minimal effort and, except in the case of pita bread, minimal time. So without further ado, I give you the story of why piquillo pepper are in hummus.

I have been trying to clean out my pantry in attempts to make more space.  In the back of one of the shelves I found a jar from Trader Joe’s of Piquillo Peppers.  “Odd,” I thought to myself, “What did I want to make that involved piquillo peppers?”  I put them in front to remind myself to figure out something to do with them and continued with my cleaning and baking.  As I was making the pita bread, I reached for my sugar behind the peppers and… *CRASH*  The pequillo peppers fell out and the bottom of the jar broke off.   Luckily the glass did not shatter.  “Ok…. I guess I’ll use these today.”  So I decided to try to make some hummus to go with my pita and add the piquillo peppers.  Maybe like roasted red pepper hummus?  Turns out, it’s a million times better than roasted red pepper hummus.  Why have we been using red peppers when we could be using these superior peppers?  If you like roasted red pepper hummus, you’ll like this even more.  I will never be buying store bought hummus again and I most definitely will be using piquillo peppers whenever I can.  Give this recipe a try, you’ll be happily surprised.

Recipe for Piquillo Pepper Hummus 

Printable version

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans

3/8 cups tahini sauce

1-1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp paprika

2 roasted piquillo peppers (available in a jar at Trader Joe’s), drained and rinsed

1 tbsp olive oil

sprinkle of ground chipotle pepper powder (optional, I found this at Target)

Total time: 10 minutes

Makes: About 2 cups, 1 serving is 2 tbsp

Cooking Instructions:

Combine all ingredients except the last two (olive oil and chipotle pepper) in a blender or food processor.  Scrape sides occasionally to ensure that all the garbanzo beans are blended. Pour into a bowl. Create a little well in the middle  Cautiously sprinkle the chipotle powder, if using, over all the hummus.  Too much can make your hummus REALLY have a kick.  Pour the olive oil into the well.  Serve with fresh pita (recipe below) or pita chips.  Hummus will last a few days in the fridge covered.

Note: To make regular hummus, simply do not add the piquillo peppers or paprika (but you’ll be missing out).

This hummus is delicious and nutritious so don’t forget to go for second (or third, or fourth….) helpings!

Immune Boosting Ginger Carrot Soup


I wasn’t really sure what to call this soup.  It’s mostly carrots, but just carrot soup sounds boring.  I thought about calling it Spicy-Ginger-Onion-Garlic-Carrot-Soup, but I thought that was too long.

Anyway, I made soup!  The boyfriend is sick and since I’m  vegetarian, I went hunting for a chicken soup alternative.  I’ve heard (but I have no idea if it’s true) that ginger, garlic, and onions are all supposed to be good for you if you’re sick.  Add a big helping of Vitamin C from the carrots, and I think this soup qualifies as an immune-booster soup.  The bonus is that it tastes about 50 million times better than cherry cough syrup.  This soup is delicious and will feel great on a sore throat.  Also, I just realized this recipe is vegan.  It’s so yummy that I didn’t even realize it.

Another bonus is that I got to whip out my immersion blender that I got from my mom this weekend.  One of the best parts of moving out is that you get so much stuff when you go to visit.  I returned with a Gamecube (Super Smash Bros., anyone?), a pasta roller (I’ll let you guess what my next recipe will be), an immersion blender, and a bunch of other random hand-me-downs.  Thanks, Mom!

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can still make this recipe.  Just pour the soup into a regular blender and puree it until it’s smooth.  You’ll get the same results except you’ll lose whatever you spill.  I know I’d probably spill about half of it.  I hope you all are more coordinated than I am.

Recipe:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

about 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 tbsp chives

1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tbsp thyme

1/4 tsp paprika

1 lbs carrots, pealed and chopped into 1″ pieces

4 cups (2 cans) vegetable stock

 

Active time: 10 minutes

Inactive time: 20 minutes

Total: 30 minutes

 

Serving Size: 4 portions

 

Cooking Instructions:

Soup is pretty easy to make.  Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger, chives, crushed red pepper, thyme, and paprika (what a list!).   Saute until the onions turn a light brown color (about 5 to 10 minutes).

Add the vegetable stock and carrots and bring to a bowl.  Cover and reduce to a simmer.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft and easily pierced with a fork.

If you have an immersion blender, use it now to blend the soup.  I left some chunks just because I like a little texture in my soup.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until it’s your desired chunkiness.

Garnish with crackers and/or extra chives.  Serve after it’s cooled so you don’t burn your tongue like I did.  As always, don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!

 

%d bloggers like this: