Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zucchini "Pizza"

Well I had seen an idea for Zucchini "Pizza" on Pinterest but decided to do it my own way instead of following another person's preferred method.  I also had a very LARGE zucchini from the garden that I needed to use up.  You can still use them large though you have to scoop out the more mature middle with seeds.

While the oven was preheating to 400 I simply scooping out the middle, and coated the halves with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Then added my fave pizza sauce, Mezzetta, and then added 56g which is 2 servings of shredded mozzarella cheese to each half, then I cut some pepperoni into quarters and only used 3 and a half slices total for each half.  Then I stuck them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cooked for about 15 min. till the fork could pierce them and then I transferred them to the broiler on low for 2 min.

I tell you the broiler does magical things!  LOL  The result was nice browned cheese, crispy pepperoni, and a nice tender-crisp zucchini flesh!  The favor was amazing, everything you love about pizza but meanwhile transforming zucchini in a new way!  The zucchini flavor was hidden by all the flavors and you just got really yummy pizza to eat!  I would do the same thing for normal size zucchini, simply adjusting the amounts of things, but it's nice that the larger one resembles French Bread Pizza!  And the middle was nice and oooy-gooy cheesy!

I will make this again and again!

Steak, Cauliflower Rice, and Heirloom Tomatoes

I've really been loving Heirloom Tomatoes lately, I mean look at how pretty these are!!!  I simply dressed them with red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.

We cooked the steak in a pan so that we would get the tasty fond, the brown bits, and extra juices left behind to flavor the cauliflower "rice" with.  See I learned that trick from Blue Apron!!!  Fond is your Friend!  LOL

For the cauliflower rice, it was a trying-something-new experience for me!  I used a recipe I found on Pinterest for Roasted Cauliflower Rice from A Spicy Perspective Blog.  After adding a teaspoon of oil and some onion to the pan with fond, and that being ready, I added the "rice" to it so that it would collect up all the flavor there!  It turned out really well!  Now I would NOT say that it is the same as rice because it's not in so many ways...I think it fails as rice.  However, I loved the cauliflower rice itself and would make it for it's own yummy uniqueness but I would not use it the same as I would use rice.  It would simply be a side dish instead.

Last Weeks Blue Apron Meals

This weeks meals were not our favorites so far but there were a few things we did like in a couple.  First we had made the Roadside Noodles with Bell Pepper, Tomato & Broccoli Rabe.  I'm not sure what happened but it did not turn out like the photo on the recipe.  We thought we followed the directions correctly but you never know if we messed something up unknowingly.  But even if we would have done it perfectly neither of us liked the flavors of this one.  We ended up making something else for dinner instead.  You win some and you lose some, not every meal is going to be a perfect love it experience but from what we've been experiencing the ones that are amazing make it all worth it in the end!

The next recipe we tried was the Summer Vegetable Stew with Cranberry Beans & Crispy Mushroom Salad.  We liked this one okay, we ate it willingly but decided we wouldn't make it again.  What we liked about this one was the Crispy Mushroom Salad that had fresh corn cut from the cob and used oyster mushrooms!  I think if it hadn't had that salad topping it we wouldn't have enjoyed it at all so it really saved the day!  We also liked the okra in this dish.  I've always like okra and love the nutty flavor of it!
The last meal we made was the one I was really looking forward to making the most!  It's was the Zucchini Fritters with Endive, Nectarine & Parmesan Salad.  I think what we didn't like about it was simply the mistakes that we made making it.  I think we didn't salt it enough, the directions said to salt to taste but didn't give a good starting measurement to go by so we tended to under season it.  The batter didn't turn out right and I think it was the lack of salt causing the zucchini to not sweat into the batter and liquifying it to the desired consistency.  I would try this again to see if we could perfect making it and have it turn out better the next time.  Because the fritter batter ended up being to dry after all it was more like a hash than a fritter!!! LOL  Oh well, I see it as a good learning experience!  We did eat it all though!  And I really really loved the Endive, Nectarine & Parmesan Salad!  I didn't really know what endive tasted like but it has a very normal lettuce type flavor and I was surprised how the parmesan went so well with the nectarine!

Even those these 3 weren't the most amazing we've had, we learned tons along the way and look forward to what is still to come!  Oh and we've also been making the Spice-Rubbed Pork Medallions with Peach Salsa & Cilantro-Green Bean Rice here and there, and have actually made it a total of 3 times now!  That one is such a hands down winner!  My friend, and also my sister have both made it with success and love it too!  OH and for the spice rub we substituted dried tarragon instead of the ground fennel since we couldn't find it and the flavors are similar and it worked well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Angel Hair with Garlic and Oil

I made a simple version of Angel Hair with Garlic and Oil aka Aglio Et Olio. It has a yummy nutty/buttery/garlic taste kinda like garlic bread is.

The following makes 2 Servings.
Cook 2 Servings (4oz.) Angel Hair Pasta according to the directions and drain when finished.
Heat up 1 Tbs. Olive Oil, 1 Tbs. Butter, add 2 cloves of Garlic (minced), when the garlic is fragrant and a bit golden add 2 Servings of Cooked Angel Hair Pasta.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Get it all coated and heated then split and serve.

The neat thing about this recipe is that it can be the base for other added ingredients like mushrooms, tomatoes, capers, olives, artichoke, asparagus, basil, parmesan and other things in any combo you'd like.  It's fun to experiment and see what you can come up with!

Juilienned Cucumber-Radish-Carrot Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing

Cucumber-Radish-Carrot Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing! I made This Recipe from Diethood Blog but with a few changes!  I juilienned everything instead of slicing.  Julienning made it better to me, I can taste the radish better cut this way whereas when it was sliced they seemed to lose their flavor weirdly enough!  I added carrot into it for fun, and I used a regular cucumber and scooped out the seeds with a spoon.  It's the same dressing in the recipe though.  I could also see spiralizing all the ingredients and it working well too in noodle form!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Garlic, Butter, and Olive Oil Angel Hair Pasta with Maitake Mushrooms

Today my order of Maitake Mushrooms arrived today so I was inspired to whip up some Angel Hair Pasta using them!  This is about 100g Maitake Mushrooms browned in a teaspoon of Olive Oil and 1/2 Tablespoon Butter.  I added a cloved of garlic minced up to that when they were near done.  I added the cooked Angel Hair Pasta, I only used 1oz. pasta which is a half serving since it was only lunchtime, added salt and pepper to taste and when it sizzled I plated it!
I was too hungry to take a really good photo but I did snap this one for Instagram/Facebook and then after eating it and being like "OMG this tastes so awesome!" I had to grab the photo and blog it here too.  I can't wait to make this for dinner but I would do a full serving of pasta next time instead of the half serving of 1oz.  I just made less for lunch.
I tell ya, I am in love with Maitake Mushrooms!  The taste is different from the normal mushroom taste.  More nutty!  It went well with the butter and garlic flavors!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peach Salsa Spicy Chicken Baby Arugula Salad

Ever since making the Peach Salsa for our Blue Apron Meal last week, which I really loved, I was inspired to use the Peach Salsa in other ways like as a layer in a salad!  My idea worked beautifully and it has the Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Trifecta that works so amazingly for your taste-buds!

I used a bed of Baby Arugula dressed in a serving of Panera's Balsamic Vinaigrette that you can find in the cold section of the produce near the bagged salads of your grocery store.  I've found that with baby arugula it works best if you toss the leaves and get them thoroughly coated with the dressing before adding the rest of the layers of your salad first.  Then I added half of  Blue Apron's Peach Salsa which I made pretty much the same as how I learned from Blue Apron which is a Diced Large Peach or 2 smaller peaches (around 280g) and I add a couple Tablespoons of Small Diced Red Onion, about a Tbs. of Lime Zest, and the juice of the Lime, some Basil Chopped (I probably added a bit less Basil and chopped it a bit more than roughly) with salt added to taste and a small drizzle of Olive Oil.  On top of that I added some Sliced Spicy Chicken that was cooked up using seasonings to make it nice and spicy.

This makes 1 Serving and I assemble the salad on large dinner plates and just multiply it by how many people as needed.  The Peach Salsa makes 2 Servings.

Waldorf Inspired Salad with Rosemary Honey Lime Dressing

This weekend I made a Waldorf Inspired Salad.  The first time I had a salad like this was in one of those ready packaged ones you get at the grocery for a fast on the go meal.  That one had chicken, raisins, sunflower seeds, green apple and used a poppy seed dressing.  I had never came across a classic Waldorf Salad before so I had no idea what they were really like.  So mine is inspired from that one.  It seems that most Waldorf Salad variations have only grapes and walnuts in common!!! LOL

Mine is made using baby lettuce, and topped with 100g of red and green grapes.  You could get away with half that amount though, I will probably do 50g next time, and could use either red or green or do a mix as well.  I simply cut the small grapes in half and cut larger grapes into quarters.  I also topped it with 50g of Diced Green Apple, 14g of Chopped Walnuts and 7g of Sunflower Seeds.  I added sliced chicken too.
This makes one serving and I assemble the salad on large dinner plates and just multiply it by how many people as needed.

For the dressing I used about 2 tsp. of Lime Zest and then about 2 Tbs. of Lime Juice, I then added about a teaspoon sized pinch of Fresh Rosemary Minced and Bruised, 2 tsps. Honey, 2 tsps. Light Olive Oil, and added Salt to Taste.  This made 2 servings of Dressing that I split between 2 assembled salads!

I really love the play of sweet and tart mixed with the earthy nuttiness of the walnuts and sunflower seeds!  This is a salad I will make many times!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Miso Ginger Spiralized Carrot Lettuce Cups

After blogging about my Toasted Sesame Miso Ginger Spiralized Carrot and mentioning how I could see it used in a lettuce cup I just had to go and try it out!  I had some leftover chicken that had spicy seasoning on it which made it even more perfect!  So for this wrap I used some Iceburg Lettuce leaves but I'm thinking it would be awesome using some Cabbage leaves as well.  A Large Spiralized Carrot througouhly coated with a serving of Bolthouse Miso Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing, 7g Toasted Sesame Seeds, 1/2 oz./14g Chopped Cashews, and 2 oz. of Chicken.  It was really great!  Having everything I loved about the Toasted Sesame Miso Ginger Spiralized Carrot plus some!  I look forward to making it again.

Food Adventure with Blue Apron's Fresh Gnocchi & Maitake Mushrooms with Sweet Corn & Thyme Brown Butter

   Last night we made the third meal that was shipped to us this week by Blue Apron!  It's the Fresh Gnocchi & Maitake Mushrooms with Sweet Corn & Thyme Brown Butter!  WOW was it great!  I'm already a fan of Gnocchi since as I said before I lived in Italy as a kid because my Dad was stationed there.  I remember the first time I ate Gnocchi I was being picky at a restaurant where my Dad had taken me with him to go to lunch with someone.  I was a difficult one, being picky, I knew what I liked and didn't like, but he convinced me somehow to trust him and try the Gnocchi.  So I received a shallow bowl of little white oblong things with a bright red tomato sauce over it!  Now I LOVED tomato sauce so I figured I would like it...maybe that's how he convinced me to try it in the first place!  LOL  I tentatively took a bite and YUM!!!  Soft and pillowy!  And the tomato sauce was so fresh and simple, I still try and recreate that simple beautiful tomato sauce it's hard to come by!  One day I will hit upon how to make that sauce, or find one that will be a great day!  So over the years I've tried various store bought Gnocchi and they are never as good as what I remember in Italy, hardly anything is...LOL!  I've also made my own a couple of times and it's kind of tricky but I have made some that came pretty close.  This one being the closest!  I think with practice I could make them perfect, the only trouble is they are very time consuming!
    That leads me back to this delicious little bite!!!  I really loved the buttery, nutty flavors, with a light sweetness!  I tell you the bright thyme flavor played so well with the sweet creamy flavors too, I really enjoyed this dish and I want to make it again!  If there was a downside I would say it was the actual Gnocchi they sent.  While it WAS impressively fresh, they were a bit gummy to me, still better than most store bought kinds so I enjoyed them still.  Just not how I remember the perfect Italian Gnocchi tasting like.  I believe it was the use of egg in them, an authentic Gnocchi doesn't use egg at all.  I think if I made my own and then used them in this recipe it would be even more out of this world than it already was!  And what you see that looks a lot like Roast Beef is Maitake Mushrooms!  This is my first time having them and cooking them and I REALLY loved them!  I am wanting to see if my local grocer can stock them because I think these, if I can get my hands on them, will become a regular part of my diet!!!
   Another first for me was taking corn on the cob and cutting the kernels off.  I would normally just buy frozen corn to add in the recipe instead but I figured why not give it a try and see what difference it makes.  Not sure it makes that much of a difference, especially if you use a very good frozen kind that tastes the same as fresh, but it's more convenient than cutting the corn off the cob yourself.  I enjoy eating the corn ON the cob the best when I get it in cob form!
   Lastly, but definitely not least!  The wine paring!  We chose a nice toasty Dark Earth Chardonnay, that has a wonderful buttery note that plays so well with all things buttery!  (We found it at our Local Stater Bros.) When we first tasted this wine we loved the creamy toasty flavors and then Hubby stated "You know what, I think this would go well with?  CORN!" and at once I replied "YES, it totally would!" so we did what any sane wine pairing connoisseurs would do and whipped out a fresh Corn On The Cob we had in the fridge, cooked it up, split it between us and slathered it with butter and a sprinkle of salt and WOW does that pairing work spectacularly!!!  The buttery corn just sang with the creamy-toasty-buttery chardonnay!  It was food and wine synergy at it's best!  It's worth hunting down this chardonnay just to try it out with with buttered corn on the cob!
   Now that you've heard the background story, you can see why we chose this wine to pair with this meal, and it certainly worked really nicely with the browned butter and sweet corn as well as the mushrooms and potato gnocchi!  I also think that the Toasted Head Chardonnay would also pair well since it's also very toasty and creamy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

English Muffin Melt

The other day for lunch I got the idea to create a sandwich using our Artisan Bread In 5 Master Dough turned into English Muffins!  I really love how versitle the Master Dough is and that it's so EASY to make and just have on hand for any given moment you want to make something with it and how many different things you can make using the same dough!!!  One of which is these tasty English Muffins!!! 

I simply pull out 3oz. of dough, shape it into ball and then into a disk and let it rest for about 15-20 min covered with a bit of plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.  Then you just heat up a skillet to about medium and I used a butter spray to save on calories but still get the flavor.  You put the disks into the pan and let it cook on that side for about 3 min or so, then you flip it and let it go another 3 min or so.  Sometimes it can be around 4 min per side, you don't want it to be doughy in the middle.  Anyway once they are done I like to let it cool for a bit to let the steam out and so the inside is nice and done.  I split them using 2 forks one stabbing it the other pulling away to separate it gently.

After I got the English Muffins done I grabbed a serving of deli style chicken meat, a slice of provolone cheese and a slice of tomato.  I split the cheese into quarters and put half on the bottom and half on the top to act as "glue" for the sandwich.  I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then returned it to the pan for just a tad bit to keep the crust crispier and make sure the cheese is all melted.

It was so good! The flavors took me back to Italy!  The way the deli sliced meat was in it really reminded me of all the Paninis I've had as a kid when my family lived in Italy when my Dad was in the Army stationed there.

I would totally make this again in a heartbeat!  And there are so many different variations that could be created too!

Food Adventure with Blue Apron's Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Roasted Baby Zebra Eggplants & Fennel Salad

Here's the results of last night's food adventure which for us was meal 2 of the 3 we received from Blue Apron this week!  It's the Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Roasted Baby Zebra Eggplants & Fennel Salad.

We enjoyed it, the chicken skin was nice and crispy, we only had a couple spots that were a little soft still but it was still a good learning experience for how to crisp chicken with the skin on.  Me and Hubby tag-team our cooking, he handles the meats and I do the other things and we both prep and do what's needed!  It's fun to cook together.  We both agreed that it was good, we ate the whole thing and we would eat it again, but it wasn't our favorite meal either.  As with any food adventure you are taking a risk and so sometimes you will find something out of this world, and other times it will be a great learning experience!  The flavors weren't really our thing with the strong fennel in the salad portion.  I'm not the biggest fan of fennel flavors but there are always exceptions so I'm willing to try it in different ways.  The roasted eggplant and mash was really great.  The mash from the eggplant was I think my favorite thing in this meal!  It had a bit of tart from the sherry vinegar and it worked really well with the earthiness of the eggplant.  Definitely making it again!   As a whole we would not make this meal again, but did enjoy some of the different components of it that are repeatable.

I'm totally in love with Blue Apron right now, they have so much information on their site and even have a YouTube Channel with lots of videos that teach you different things and I've already learned so much!  I love how they are helping home cooks have exciting food at home that we cook ourselves!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Food Adventure with Blue Apron's Spice-Rubbed Pork Medallions with Peach Salsa and Cilantro-Green Bean Rice

Me and Hubby signed up for Blue Apron and got our first box in the mail tonight!  We tried our first recipe tonight and OH WOW was it amazing!  It was the Spice-Rubbed Pork Medallions with Peach Salsa and Cilantro-Green Bean Rice!  Everything we needed arrived already proportioned out so all we had to do was follow the instructions.  It was really fun and I simply trusted the recipe and made it all as is.  I was worried about the basil being a bit too much but when it was all put together it was all perfect!  In fact we loved it all so much that we are planning on buying the ingredients on our own to make it again!!!  It was just really fun to make something I would have never done on my own and have it be such a success!!!  There was a lot of firsts, I never zested a lime before and we've never cooked pork at home and had it be edible before either!!! LOL  The Peach Salsa went perfect with every bite of Pork it was just amazing!  The spice rub played really well with the sweet peach and tart lime and basil flavors!  The rice...oh the had flavortown all up in there since it used the aftermath of cooking the pork to flavor it!  I really enjoyed that the green beans were in it too and they didn't overpower the awesome flavor going on in the rice!

For a wine paring we had a hard time deciding but ended up picking a 2013 New Zealand Marloborough Sauvignon Blanc by Nobilo's Regional Collection.  The flavors paired so well with the peach salsa with it's basil and lime because of it's tropical and citrus fruit notes as well as it's subtle herbal notes!  It really brought out the sweetness in the peach!  We found this wine at our local Von's!

By the way, you can make this recipe as well since Blue Apron freely shares the recipes and instructions online!  How cool is that!  I must say I probably would never have made any of this on my own, but I am so glad that it all came to my doorstep so I could try it out after-all!  So even if it's something you might not make, maybe you should!?!

UPDATE (8/28/14): We have been making this recipe again here and there, and have actually made it a total of 3 times now!  It is such a hands down winner!  My friend, and also my sister have both made it with success and love it too!  OH and for the spice rub we substituted dried tarragon instead of the ground fennel since we couldn't find it and the flavors are similar and it worked well.  We simply used 1 Tbs. Brown Sugar, 1 Tsp. Paprika, 2 Tsp Dried Tarragon, 1/2 Tsp Hot Curry Powder and found it a decent match, it's not exactly the same as what they sent us but it is very similar and the flavors that we loved are there!

Garam Marsala Kale Chips

This was the first time I made Kale Chips!  WOW they are so good!!!  I was so surprised and understand why everyone raves about them!  They are so light and crispy, very delicate!   I love how you get a bit of a crunch and then they just melt in your mouth!  I was scared to make them for a long time, worried that they wouldn't turn out right, but I'm glad I took the risk because these are simply amazing!!!

I went by this recipe's instructions from Jessica In The Kitchen: Three Ways To Make Kale Chips – Salty, Spicy and Cheesy

At first I just used salt and pepper and then I tasted one to see if they were done and it was so good but I thought hmm I bet Garam Marsala spice would be awesome on these so I went ahead and added some Garam Marsala to them. Then let them finish crisping (they aren't as good if not completely crisp so you gotta check them) and WOW I love that flavor with them too!!!  Success!!!

Toasted Sesame Miso Ginger Spiralized Carrot

1 Spiralized Carrot with 5-7 grams Toasted Sesame Seeds and 1 Tablespoon of Bolthouse Miso Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing!  It's amazing tasting!!!   The dressing was nice and silky and it reminded me of eating chow mein!  Also the toasted sesame seeds added a wonderful nutty flavor almost like peanut butter.  It's a good snack or it would be a good side, I could also see using it in other things like adding it to a wrap or lettuce cup with chicken.  I will also add a half ounce of chopped cashews the next time I make this!

Bruleed Banana

I have been making Bruleed Banana for a snacks but also as a little dessert here and there too!  It is just so good!  I loved the crunchy caramelized top, which tastes a lot like the golden brown part on a roasted marshmallow, and the banana tasted so sweet a lot like a banana chip or a banana muffin.  I just love the crunch mixed with the creamy banana!  Sometimes I really think I enjoy a Bruleed Banana more than actual Creme Brulee!

Simply cut a banana in half and add a teaspoon of sugar to each half and torch it with a brulee torch till golden! (You can google search bruleed banana using the oven if you don't have a torch.) I don't torch it with the skin still on like some instructions recommend, in fact I find that if a bit of the edges get a tiny bit blackened that adds to the roasted marshmallow flavor!

The BLT Salad

This salad is one of our favorites and for people we've made it for as well!  It's very easy to make simply a base layer of Sweet Butter Lettuce, Diced Tomato, Bolthouse Classic Ranch Dressing, 2oz. Chicken, and 1-2 Crumbled Pieces of Bacon.  This makes one serving and I assemble the salad on large dinner plates and just multiply it by how many people as needed.  It's also nice with Avocado too!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cottage Cheese and Red Grapes

The other day I experimented and tried a grape with a bite of cottage cheese and it was amazing together like how pineapple is amazing with it! That was fun and I really enjoyed it!  It's simply a 1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese with 100g Red Grapes!

Simply Taco Salad

I had wanted to make a Taco Salad that was decent in the calorie department!  So I chopped up Iceberg Lettuce, added Diced Tomato, Kidney Beans, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Bolthouse Salsa Ranch Dressing, Crumbled Tortilla Chips, and Taco Seasoned Ground Beef! So simple, but it satisfied my taco salad craving!
This makes one serving and I assemble the salad on large dinner plates and just multiply it by how many people as needed.

Greek Yogurt Strawberry Mango Smoothie

One of my fave afternoon treats is this Greek Yogurt Strawberry Mango Smoothie. I make it with a 1/2 Cup Whole Milk and 1 Cup of Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Greek Yogurt to up the protein, and 70g or 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries and 70g or 1/2 cup frozen mango. It tastes more like a milk shake!

Another variation I love is 70g or 1/2 cup frozen pineapple instead of mango. You can make it the calories you desire by which milk and yogurt you use. Sometimes I like it with a bit of sweetener too. Smoothies are so flexible!

Lettuce Wraps and Cups

I've been making and enjoying different types of Lettuce Wraps and Cups for awhile now.  They are so good, a nice light crisp bite!  I never knew that using lettuce instead of tortillas or bread could be so amazingly delicious!  I was so skeptical of it for years, but now that I've tried it I really love it and even enjoy it more than the other way because of the light crispness you get with lettuce that is so fresh tasting!  The bonus is all the extra calories you save using lettuce instead but you don't miss out on any flavor!

They are simply Leaves of Lettuce (pretty much any variety you want), Sliced Tomato, Deli Style Chicken or other meat, a slice of cheese like provolone or any other kind you love, and then either a tablespoon of dressing or a serving of cream cheese especially a flavored cream cheese like spicy jalapeno.  The variations and options are endless!

For Wraps I lay some plastic wrap on a plate, lay out some romaine pieces (this works well with those small inner leaves that you can't really use for taco style lettuce cups) add the ingredients and roll it up all tight and twist the ends and peal back the plastic and enjoy!

You can also make them in Lettuce Cup form which skips the plastic and makes them more like a taco style by just adding the ingredients to the center of a nice big leaf.  There's also been times that I've used two pieces of lettuce on the top and bottom to make it like a sandwich as well.  Basically whatever works and is easier with the type and size of lettuce you have!

They make great picnic food!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Asian Inspired Salad

One of my favorite new salad creations is this Asian Inspired Salad. It's so yummy! It tastes like a restaurant quality salad! My hubby loves it too! I added half an ounce of chopped cashews and 5-7 grams of toasted sesame seeds on top of 3 cups American Blend Lettuce (chose it for the firm crunchy lettuce and that it had radish/cabbage/carrot in it), half cup Spiralized Carrot, quarter cup Shredded Cabbage, 2oz. Ginger-Curry Spiced Chicken, and a serving of the Bolthouse Miso Ginger Dressing!  It's also really amazing with drops of Sriracha Sauce, I like about 20 drops, sprinkled throughout it too! It adds a nice spicy heat! Also about 5g of green onion adds a nice flair as well.

This makes one serving and I assemble the salad on large dinner plates and just multiply it by how many people as needed.

The flavors were exciting with the bold miso ginger taste and nuttiness from the toasted sesame and the cashews. The different textures played well together too varying from light and crunchy from the lettuce and nuts to the softer spiralized carrot with the silky dressing. (You can always use shredded carrot or julienned if you don't have a spiralizer.)  It was very filling and satisfying! Eating it reminded me of my favorite Thai salad at Panera Bread or like something we had for dinner at a Thai Restaurant.

It pairs well with a fruity Chardonnay too.  My favorite Chardonnay is Tobin James 2012 James Gang Reserve Chardonnay.  Another pairing that we really enjoyed was the Fancy Pants Sauvignon Blanc that we found at Target.  It was a very light crisp fruity wine!

Lettuce Cup Tacos

We made Lettuce Cup Tacos the other day and I got some good photos! They are simply leaves of Romaine, Taco Seasoned Lean Ground Beef, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and Sliced Tomato! Really you could do any variation of Taco that you love! So yummy! The lettuce instead of the tortilla is just so light and crisp and we really love it and don't miss the tortilla at all. In fact if I would have known how much I'd love it this way I would have done it a long time ago!!!

I'm not a big fan of low carb, however I am a fan of If-You-Don't-Miss-It-Skip-It!  LOL  The nice thing about swapping the tortilla for lettuce is it reduces the calories and gives you room for other things like extra cheese!  Most of the time you don't really taste the tortilla anyway and it's simply a vehicle for the stuffing, and so using the lettuce instead is a perfect alternative!  You just get all the wonderful flavors you love about a taco!

I liked the idea of keeping all the components separate and build each one as you eat it. I think it was easier than building them all at once.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tarragon

The other day I was watching the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network and she visited a guy who grew heirloom tomatoes and she had him share a recipe for an Heirloom Tomato Salad that I just thought looked awesome! SO when I saw some heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store, and having just seen that and hoped to find some, I snatched a few varieties right up! As soon as we got home I made the salad for me and my hubby. The recipe calls for tarragon but I couldn't find any in my store so I had to settle for dried tarragon.

Slice up each variety slightly different. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle with red wine vinegar, and sprinkle with tarragon! Mix it all up and adjust as needed. Then you let it sit and do it's thing. They said no oil because the vinegar does something special with the juices of the tomato making it really sweet. AND IT DOES! It was so good! And each kind of heirloom tomato had a slightly different taste to it too. And I've not really had tarragon before so it's an unusual flavor to me, kinda like a minty taste and a tea type taste to me. Hubby said he thought it tasted a bit like caraway. And it looks like he was right since looking it up right now both have an anise flavor to them! Ina says she usually pairs basil with tomatoes so I think that would probably work well with this idea too. I hope I find some more heirloom tomatoes!

Looking at the recipe just now I see that I didn't add any pepper to mine, I think that would have been nice too. I'll have to do that next time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Food Adventure...the results are in on the Garden Greens Chopped Eggs and Whole Herbs Recipe!

I saw some really cool looking salads in the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and decided to take a risk and try one. So I picked this Garden Greens Chopped Eggs and Whole Herbs Recipe first. We couldn't find any fresh tarragon so I just skipped it. Also after putting together the dressing and I tasted was awful!!! So we tossed it and just used the Bolthouse Mango Chipotle dressing instead which ended up tasting great with it. I'm pretty sure it was the anchovies that ruined it, but not sure why, they are supposed to taste like a nice salty umami flavor that you can't tell what it is...but these ones tasted like citric acid which is like a vitamin C tablet! EW! So not sure if it was the brand or what the deal was, but seriously I don't think it was what it was supposed to be like!

Other than that I blanched for the first time! I liked how the green beans (called haricots verts in the recipe) and the snap peas came out that way. I also salted the water tons so that it tasted like sea water. I've seen that tip tons on Food Network from Iron Chef Zakarian to Anne Burrell!!! So I made sure it was strong! I really liked the results and I think I will do it again. I especially liked the Snap Peas done that way and would try it again for another recipe idea in the future! The green beans were okay in the salad but not my favorite part of it either.

I also found that I really enjoyed the egg in the salad too and I have an idea to try and create something that has the flavors of a deviled egg but in salad form. Not sure how it will work up yet but I have it percolating in the back of my mind!

Another thing I found out from this foodie adventure is that I really, really, really, really, really dislike the flavor of parsley!!! I have never really liked it but I thought just give it a chance but it was SO strong in this recipe. I tried eating it anyway but it was so bitter and unpleasant that I ended up picking out what was left half way through my salad and it was so much better without it! So if you really love parsley you might really love this recipe, but if you don't either skip it or skip the parsley! LOL

So I'm 50/50 on this adventure, I liked some things but hated others. The nice thing is that it's a learning experience! Now I'll be able to try other things and maybe have a better idea going in of what I will like or not.

If I was to make it again, I would completely change it!!! LOL I would do a bed of baby arugula instead of the baby spinach, I just prefer the peppery flavor of the baby arugula better.  What I would do again would be the blanched snap peas, the chopped egg, and the Bolthouse Mango Chipotle Dressing with some salt and pepper on top. Everything else I would skip.