Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hitting it out of the park

After a week or more of meals that Zach hasn't been wild about (mostly featuring winter veggies he doesn't care for), I whipped up a quick and easy quesadilla the other night that he thought was amazing. I thought it was darned good myself.  When I first read through the recipe online, I was skepical about how well onions and peppers cooked in sweet vinegar were going to taste when combined with the spicy chicken and cheese. Man, was I ever surprised. It was crazy delicious, and has definitely been added to our make again list.  Not only was it super tasty, but with the help of my trusty George Foreman grill, it was done in a flash.

Adobo-Marinated Chicken Quesadillas
Adapted from Whole Living
1 can (7oz) chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 c water
4 chicken cutlets
Small red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno chiles, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1 c plain rice vinegar
1/4 c sugar
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
5 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend

Puree chiles in adobo sauce and water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken to coat and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Meanwhile, place onion in a small bowl.  Combine jalapenos, vinegar, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until jalapenos are soft and sugar has dissolved.  Pour over onion, and let stand until mixture is cool. Drain liquid.

Warm up the grill. Grill chicken about 2-3 minutes. Slice into strips. Wipe pan clean. [If you are using a grill pan instead, 2 minutes per side over high heat.]

Load up your tortilla with cheese, chicken strips and the onion mixture. Cook on the grill until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4-6

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beet it!

I've been enjoying the final summer produce from my CSA, and we've been getting an influx of beets and basil.  I have yet to try combining them, but my favorite way to enjoy each of them is below.

Pesto is a great way to enjoy the taste of summer all year round. Whip up this quick recipe and put into an ice cube tray. Freeze completely, then transfer to ziplock bags. Whenever you're in the mood for a mediterranean summer, pull out a cube and toss with pasta, spread on lasagna noodles, or mix with veggies. I promise a ray of sunshine will break through the gray clouds.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Something we should all try

Shamefully, it's been a month since I last checked in, but I came across something online today that I had to share: the 3/50 Project. Something we can all do to help ease the recession a bit.  The idea is that you pick three local stores - mom & pop type places - and spend $50 a month there. The statistics of how much of those funds remain in the local community compared to spending that same amount at a big corporate place is pretty impressive. I'm definitely doing this.  This month my three stores have been Yellow House Yarns, Renaissance Yarns, and Metropolitan Market. To be honest, I have spent way more than the suggested $50, so I'm really boosting my local economy!

I've also signed up to participate in a BzzCampaign to try out Green Mountain Coffee, which is a word-of-mouth marketing program, so I'm sure within the next month I'll have more to talk about.  And I also have to tell you about this excellent stuffed shells recipe I've made. Coming soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Think Pink

Sometimes you happen upon something quite delicious by surprise...  We joined a CSA this year since I've been so disappointed by the produce at all the grocery stores lately and have been too busy to make it to the farmer's market.  So far, we've been really happy with it. Lots of fresh veggies, and as I have previously posted, we got to try fava beans, which was the first of the unusual items we've gotten.  This past week, we got a small bunch of beets.  Now, I have always loved canned beats, and I once roasted fresh farmer's market beets with delicious results, but these beets came with the greens attached, and they were gorgeous (I really should have taken a picture!).  So I knew I had to do something special with them.  So I started googling, and look what I found! A spectacular risotto that uses both the beets and the greens at once!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Shower Inspiration

So in a month I will be hosting my first baby shower. Considering that babies are not my favorite thing, I'm a little surprised I volunteered for this. But I love entertaining, so maybe not. Plus, it serves as motivation for my husband to get cracking on the kitchen remodel so it's not scary when we have guests.

In any case, I somehow decided on the theme "Peas, Carrots & Love."  I'm not sure where I came up with that, but it kind of fit with the invitations I decided I liked.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cool Tool

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a gadget junkie. Having a small kitchen with limited storage means that every drawer and cupboard is crammed full of all the special tools and equipment that I've fallen for.  Some of it sits languishing for ages after I've bought it and never used it, while other items sit abandoned after I've used it and discovered it's not quite as wonderful as I imagined.

The tool I'm talking about today was one of the former category.  I'd heard of mezzaluna knives before, and then I was watching Nigella Lawson's show one day when she used one.  It looked super handy, so I stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond one day and picked one up.  I then put it in a drawer and forgot about it.  Well, except for the fact that the package was clogging up my tool drawer and sometime got jammed in there so I couldn't get the drawer open.  In any case, it was abandoned. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm so bad

I know I'm really not staying on top of this blog, but we have been eating delicious things this summer. Here's a quick one: Mashed Fava Beans on Toast.  I'd never had fava beans before, but I've always heard how great they are, especially since their season is so short.  They have an unusual, slightly bitter flavor that is delicious, and the texture is really creamy.  This isn't a recipe so much as sort of a technique. Use these basic ideas to create your own awesomeness.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It's been a while since I posted here. I've made a number of things that turned out great that I want to remember, but the two best recipes have both been desserts. Oh, how I love sweet things.

The first was a batch of oatmeal cranberry-orange cookies. They are far, far superior to any oatmeal raisin cookie I've ever eaten.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

They say I'm awesome

I received the best compliment a cook can get today.  I was talking to my friend Brandy about the baby shower I'll be throwing her in a couple months. She said she was already planning on eating a lot since the food is so great every time she comes over. Really, that is about the most flattering thing anyone could say to a cook. She's already feeling her stomach stretch in preparation. Then again, that could be the baby....

Regardless, it is a super nice thing to hear, since I certainly enjoy cooking and I think the food I make generally turns out pretty well.  And I admit that sometimes I have my doubts about my ability since it seems like my husband prefers Taco Bell to Cuisine d'Ali.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When squash are coming out your ears

Here's a super fast recipe for those times when your squash plants are producing more squash than you can eat. This isn't the case for me right now since we didn't plant a garden this year, but in years past I've had my squash plants try to take over the entire backyard and it seems like all the squash is ready all at once.  Super fast and really easy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The best cauliflower I have ever eaten...

I love vegetables. But sometimes I have a hard time finding a way to make them exceptional. My standard for side dishes is usually just to buy one of those steam-in-bag veggie mixes and call it good.  But sometimes, if a recipe I find elsewhere includes a side dish, I fall in love with it and forget all about the main dish.  This was the case with the recipe for Spicy Cauliflower from Martha Stewart's website.  Originally it was "Roasted Salmon with Spicy Cauliflower," but the salmon portion of the meal wasn't that exciting.  I can salt and pepper a salmon myself, but the cauliflower was inspired.  I can't remember now if it was out of one of her magazines originally (I subscribe to a few), but I have definitely bookmarked it online for future use.  But just in case I lose my bookmarks, here is the recipe for posterity.  Sadly, I snorked it all down before thinking about taking a picture.

Friday, June 17, 2011

That's me

I am not one of those cooks who have a routine. In fact, I seldom make the same thing twice. I tell people I like variety, which is true, but to be honest I also have a hard time remembering where I found the recipe for that dish-I-made-a-few-months-ago-that-we-loved-and-would-like-to-have-again. And to make matters worse, I'm not the most creative of cooks. I'm getting better, but it is a learning process. I can't just throw some random stuff from the fridge and pantry together and expect it to turn out anything remotely similar to the dish I made out of a cookbook by a James Beard awarded author. Or anyone else really. So this is where I will document the dishes we really love and would like to try again.