Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

day 43 = tomato and basil

i wanted something fresh and light to have with dinner. this was just perfect!

- 1 roma tomato, sliced and sprinkled with salt
- bunch of basil leaves
- drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- sprinkle with pepper

that's it!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

day 42 = lazy day pasta

we have been busy lately so ended up having a lazy day. at trader joe's last week we picked up some cans of tomatoes and mini-ravioli. i thought it was just ok, by charley liked it. here's what i did:

combine in a large soup pot & simmer for 3 hrs:
- 2 14oz cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1/2 jar fire roasted yellow and red peppers
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 7 cloves garlic, diced
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
- 2 chicken sausages, cases removed and crumbled
- 3 tbsp dried basil
- 3 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika

when sauce is ready, boil water and add mini-raviolis. cook for 16 mins.

plate pasta with sauce and sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh basil.

it had wonderful balance of tastes and i felt it had a good flavor.  a little spicy with good texture.  since pasta can be prepared in so many different ways it always comes down to personal preference.  for me this was a good meal!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

day 41 = gotta have guacamole

i hate to admit, but after 3 years of knowing each other, charley and i had our first sit down dinner together at our dining room table. we always eat in front of the tv and hopefully this marks a new chapter in our lives.

anyway, i cooked a chicken we picked up at trader joe's and made a side of guacamole. charley has recently started eating guacamole which is terrific for me. i thought i picked up a lime and jalapeno peppers, but apparently did not so i had to improvise. here's what i did:

mix/smash together in a bowl
- 1/4 medium onion, diced
- 1 roma tomato, diced (sprinkle with salt before dicing)
- 3 medium sized avocados
- a few sprigs basil, cut into small strips
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 large pinches ghost pepper sea salt
- additional salt, as needed

best if refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before eating!

awesome, awesome, awesome. best i ever had and i am not a guacamole fan.

(sorry, this picture is terrible because it was taken on my blackberry. we haven't unpacked the camera battery charger).


Sunday, October 9, 2011

day 40 = mom's brisket recommendation

my mom made this brisket for the holidays and highly recommended it. i had bought a kosher brisket at costco and needed to cook it before it went bad. luckily this is a really easy recipe, but the problem is it calls for a 4lb brisket and mine was only 1.2lbs. i didn't realize you needed to adjust the time as much as you did so i overcooked it a little. overall though, it was very tasty!

1. preheat oven to 350
2. mix together in a bowl:
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp salt (if using a kosher brisket, reduce this amount)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
3. in a roasting pan:
  • put a 4lb brisket
  • rub all over with spice rub
  • add hot peppers, optional
  • roast for 1 hour, uncovered
4. reduce oven heat to 275:
  • add 1 1/2 cups beef stock and water until there is 1/2 in the pan
  • cover tightly with foil
  • cook for 3 hours, until fork tender

*for my 1.2lb brisket i cut down the rub ingredients to 1/3 and you only need about 1hr cooking time per each lb (this is where i went wrong). i would cover with foil after about 1/2 hour and check about 30-45 mins later. make sure to cook at 300 instead of 350 for the first 1/2 hour.
the other key here is not to look under the foil once you cover it. make sure it's tight so the heat does not escape.

well i am sure sarah mentioned that the meat was a little over cooked which made it a bit chewy, but it was full of flavor.  i have said it before and i will say it again, i like things with a little heat and this worked out wonderfully.  i could have eaten the whole thing, but sarah kept me from doing so!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

day 39 = hotter than hot fresh salmon

my apologies! we haven't posted in a while and that's really because i have spent the last 3 weeks as a juror and it was a very trying experience. instead of cooking, we just ate out to make life simpler. we're back though!

lately, charley has been doing most of the fish cooking (see day 3 and day 25 for how we typically make salmon). this is soooo easy and we discovered how to make it after realizing it's a go-to favorite of ours at costco. here's how i made it today:

- preheat oven to 450 degrees
- line a baking sheet with foil
- lay salmon in center of baking sheet
- surround salmon with mini-peppers* and red jalapeno peppers
- sprinkle salmon with spices:
      - alaea salt (i bought it at Hepps Salt Barrel)
      - chipotle pepper (i bought it at Penzeys)
      - smoked paprika
      - turmeric
      - oriental mustard powder
      - parsley flakes
- drizzle hot pepper olive oil over top*
- throw a few mini-hot peppers on top of fish*
- bake for 14 mins

*while at this trial, i visited a farmers market during lunch and picked up a branch of mini-hot peppers (i've never seen anything like it). the farmer that sold it to me said he smashes them, chops them up, and mixes with cilantro and tomatoes. he then uses the paste to marinate chicken with or as a spread on meats. charley took them off the vines and put them in a drinking glass with olive oil. this way they release more heat and we have hot pepper olive oil! i highly recommend. here's what it looked like:

i have to say i enjoy spicy things, but these peppers hit you with a lot of heat! The salmon was very good and actually complimented the hit of the peppers because it cooled this off.  i typically can handle the heat of peppers, but these i could only finish a few.  I am looking forward to these over the next few days!