It's the time of the year when everyone starts looking for new and interesting things to bake and make to give to their friends and bring to parties for the holidays. Since I just learned how to prepare a pomegranate I decided to try a different kind of chocolate bark. Chocolate Pomegranate Bark! I think this is a great combination. The tartness of the pomegranate pairs well with the sweetness of the chocolate and the result is an almost healthy dessert with very limited ingredients needed. Three to be exact! It is also very versatile. You could easily add almonds, granola, dried fruit, whatever you'd like.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Pomegranates are an interesting fruit. They are currently in season and because they aren't in high demand, they are also usually pretty cheap. The taste is an interesting mix of sweet and tart that pairs well in both desserts, salads, and savory main dishes. I recently had pomegranate arils in a salmon dish with brussel sprouts that was so amazing it inspired me to get a pomegranate to use in my own home cooking. To select a good pomegranate, look for one that hasn't been squished (that would damage the little seeds with juice in them) and the heavier it is, the more juice it will have.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Pork tenderloin is one of the cuts of meat that I try to have on hand. It's fairly versatile and easy to cook. Usually I use Stubb's beef marinade, but I've been holding onto this recipe from Kitchen Confidante for awhile. It's basically olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper. I'd prefer to have marinaded it for a little longer to really get the flavor, but it still turned out really well. A lot of it has to do with the preparation more so than the actual marinade. In order to have juicy pork, you first need to sear the outside. I like that I can do this entire dish in one pan, in this case my cast iron pan.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
We are officially homeowners!!! We've been living in the house for about a week and a half so far and I've made some great progress on the many boxes that followed us from Virginia. Having moved from a 4 bedroom / 2 bath in Norfolk to a 2 bedroom / 1 bathroom in San Diego, we've got some serious downsizing to do. While I have several trips to the Goodwill in my future, I've been able to get most of the house into a livable shape until we can clear out the boxes in the office/guest room/storage room and get rid of the extra furniture filling the garage. Until then (and the after pictures of our beautiful house) enjoy a quick dessert and some pictures of my new food blogging space, A.K.A. the kitchen.
|Halsey found his spot in the house already.|
|There were even more boxes stacked to the ceiling in the office.|
|My new kitchen!|
|It's so organized!|
And now for a dessert recipe! This is an easy one. Just melted chocolate and whatever you want to dip in it. In this instance, I used bananas and graham crackers. Whenever you use melted chocolate, I recommend adding a little vegetable oil before popping it in the microwave. This will help it melt smoother. After you're done dipping, put your creations in the freezer or refrigerator (depending on how quickly you want it hardened) and lick the spoon clean.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It's that time of year again. The time of year when squash of every shape, size, color, and texture begin making their appearances in grocery stores, farmer's markets, in refrigerators, and even as centerpieces on your tables. What is a pumpkin if not a giant squash that you carve scary faces into? Well, one of my favorites is spaghetti squash. I love that it's a vegetable masquerading as a carb. That's my favorite kind of carb! If you're looking for a low carb meal or just a way to sneak vegetables into your kid's (or in my case, my husband's) dinner, then enjoy spaghetti squash while it's in season.
By the way, this is a new segment of the blog that I'm going to be doing occasionally called Handy How-To. While I'm still without most of my worldly possessions it will mostly be in reference to preparing new and different foods, but in the future I'd like to do demos on how to use power tools without fear and how to start a garden. So stay tuned for those! And now for the spaghetti squash!
Start by filling a pot with enough water to cover the squash. Salt it well and get that boiling, because it will take awhile to come up to temperature. Now, you can also bake your spaghetti squash by putting a little oil over the flesh and baking it at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes, but that takes too long. The flavors and texture may differ as well.
I recommend chopping off the top and bottom of the squash. This will keep the squash standing steadily (say that 5 times fast) when you go to chop it in half. This is a good tip for any type of squash, melon, or other round thing on a flat surface.
Then you can go ahead and chop the squash in half. Each half is about one solid serving, so you can fix both of them or just wrap the extra one up in plastic wrap for later.
Next you'll want to scrape out all the seeds. Don't worry about getting the insides perfectly clean, just get the seeds out.
Now you can get all your frustration out. Take a fork and stab the inside (without stabbing your hand).
Then carefully drop the squash into the boiling water. Make sure that the water covers the squash. I like to cover the pot with a lid and turn it down a bit to let the steam cook it too, but I don't think that's required as long as the inside is submerged. Let this cook for about 20 minutes.
After the 20 minutes is up, pull the squash out of the water and scrape the flesh with a fork. It will shred into spaghetti like strands (hence the name...). You should be able to easily scrape out the entirety of the squash, leaving just the empty skin. I like that you don't even need a colander for this kind of pasta. Less dishes to do! You could even serve your pasta in the skin of the squash if you wanted to. No dishes to do!
You'll want to throw together a quick pasta sauce, whether it's butter and garlic, opening a can of tomato sauce and microwaving it, or throwing some salami in leftover pesto with some oil. Whatever your choice, heat it up and then toss your "spaghetti" in it to evenly distribute the sauce. Add a little parmesan on top and enjoy your pasta guilt free!
Thursday, October 24, 2013
This is a dish I made a few weeks back, and it was kind of thrown together. I happened to have a package of polish kielbasa in the fridge (as I've been known to do), so I decided to try a recipe I've seen on Pinterest several times. It's available on the blog Kevin and Amanda. The recipe is supposed to be Southwest inspired, but it's very similar to my vodka sauce recipe. In fact, I wonder what this would taste like with a shot of tequila thrown in at the end. And since I was making this dish at about 8pm, of course I didn't have everything I needed and I wasn't about to run to the store... So as usual, I improvised.
As with all my recipes using kielbasa, I chopped the sausage into medallions and grilled them up with a little olive oil. Once they were slightly browned, I added some minced garlic (and if I had any some onion too).
Next, the recipe calls for a can of Rotel tomatoes. I didn't have that. So since this meal is already supposed to be a Southwestern pasta dish, I decided to substitute salsa. With the exception of the thickness, it's pretty much the same, right? And as you can see, we had a lot of it. I also added a little chicken stock since the recipe called for it (and I actually had some).
Once the salsa has reduced down enough, I added in the heavy cream. I love recipes that use heavy cream because I always end up with extra after making vodka sauce and you can only make whipped cream so many times without feeling like a pig.
Once everything has reduced down and mixed together, I threw a few handfuls of cheese in and let it all melt. Then you just toss it with the pasta you've cooked and enjoy! Next time I try this, I think I'm going to follow more closely to my vodka sauce recipe and add a shot of tequila to get a little of that flavor. If you're feeling adventurous, give it a try and tell me how it went!
Southwest Salsa Pasta (alternative title: Tequila Sauce)
Original recipe: Spicy Sausage PastaIngredients
- 1 package polish kielbasa
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup salsa of your choice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 box pasta of your choice
- 1 shot tequila (optional)
- Grill sausage. Add garlic and onion and saute until golden brown.
- Boil pasta until al dente.
- Add salsa and chicken stock (and a shot of tequila if you're feeling adventurous). Allow to reduce on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in heavy cream.
- Stir in cheese until melted. Toss with pasta and serve.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
In the Polish culture, mushroom soup is a Christmas Eve tradition. But even though it's not Christmas yet (no matter what every store in America says) we did have our first fall rain here in San Diego, which made it the perfect day for soup. Luckily I walked to the store before it got too bad. Anyway, this recipe can be made with just about any mushrooms, dried or fresh, so don't be intimidated by finding exactly the right 'shrooms. All the flavors will meld together and the result will be a subtle, yet rich flavor. What I love best about this recipe is that it can be made completely vegetarian or vegan without sacrificing the meaty quality. Using vegetable stock and olive oil instead of beef stock and butter is an easy substitution and the mushrooms have such a meaty quality all on their own that you hardly realize there's no meat in it.