Monday, June 19, 2017

Favorite Summer Cocktails - Blackberry and Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics and Mojito


I love growing a few herbs out on the back deck.  Mint is one of my favorites as it's a base of two of our favorite summer cocktails.

Blackberry and Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics - I came across this cocktail recipe on the food blog, Spoon Fork Bacon .  Check it out, it's an amazing blog!  The photography of their food makes me drool!  I don't care for a basic Gin and Tonic but this cocktail is so much more, it's so refreshing!  
Serves 1
Ingredients:
3 blackberries
5 fresh mint leaves
1/2 Meyer lemons (Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons)
1 Tablespoon simple syrup (equal parts sugar/water)
1 - 1 1/2 ounces good quality gin (we like Hendrick's)
tonic water
ice
Directions:
1. Set out four high ball glasses.
2. Place 3 blackberries, 5 mint leaves, juice of ½ Meyer lemon, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup in each glass and muddle together.
3. Fill each glass with ice, followed by gin. Top off each drink with tonic water, stir and serve.

Mojito - This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com.  I love a good basic mojito but when I have fresh fruit (strawberries, pineapple, blackberries or raspberries) in the house I like to muddle a few in with the lime and mint.  It taste like summertime in a glass.
  • Ingredients:

  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste (you can also use simple syrup)

  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
  • 1/2 cup club soda

Directions:

Place mint leaves and lime wedges into a tall sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add the sugar and muddle again to dissolve the sugar.  Fill the glass almost to the top with ice, add the rum and fill the glass with club soda and stir.



Strawberry Mojito - If adding fruit, muddle a few pieces with the lime and mint.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Butter Chicken

My husband and I love to go to a local Indian restaurant.  One of our favorite dishes is butter chicken. It's a dish of chicken in a mild creamy spiced curry sauce.  I never dreamed I could make it as good at home but when I came across this recipe from the blog Recipe Tin EatsI had to try.  It's delicious!  The chicken has to marinate at least 8 hours but then it comes together super quick.  You have to serve it with naan (naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread) to sop up all the creamy spicy sauce.  
Ingredients:
Marinade
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala (blend of savory Indian Spices) 
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder  
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thigh or boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces (I used chicken thighs but will try chicken breast next time)
Curry
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup tomato puree (tomato puree can be found next to the canned tomatoes.  It's different than tomato paste and sauce, so just make sure you get puree)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
To serve
  • Rice
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Naan
Instructions:
  1. In a bowl whisk together the Marinade ingredients.  Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, up to 24 hours.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large fry pan.  
  3. Place chicken mixture in the fry pan and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it won't brown because of the Marinade).
  4. Add the tomato puree, sugar and salt.  Stir well. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the cream and stir until well combined and heated through.
  6. Garnish with cilantro leaves if using. Serve with rice.

This butter chicken recipe was slightly adapted from Recipe Tin Eats



Someday I might try and make naan but until then I love this brand.  So easy, just lightly toast in the toaster.

You can find turmeric and garam masala at the grocery store but I really like Penzeys Spices.  I've been slowly replacing all my spices with Penzeys.  I think they make everything taste a little better.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Fresh Orange Margarita

I love a good margarita and making it with fresh squeezed juice is the way to go.  I make this batch for Kevin and I but if making for more I'll double or triple.  It's nice to make these ahead and squeeze all the juice that way the mess is out of the way.  Sometimes, instead of using regular oranges, I'll juice blood oranges, clementines, **red grapefruit and even use can **pineapple juice in place of the orange juice.  It's just a great basic, fresh tasting margarita.


Makes 4 small glasses 

INGREDIENTS:
Kosher salt, for the glass rim
8 oz (1 cup) freshly squeeze orange juice
4 oz (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz (1/4 cup) Triple sec
4 oz (1/2 cup) Silver, Anejo or Reposado tequila (*use a good quality)
2 tablespoons sugar (use more to taste)

Ice cubes


METHOD:

1.  Rim the glasses with salt.
2.  In a pitcher combine the orange juice, lime juice, triple sec, tequila and sugar.  Stir well until the sugar dissolves.  Can make ahead and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
3.  Fill the glass with ice and pour the margarita over.  Enjoy!   

*I really like Patron tequila but lately for the price we've been buying the Costco Kirkland brand and like it a lot.  

**If using pineapple juice use less sugar and if using grapefruit juice you may need to use more sugar.






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ranch Dressing

For lunch, I make a salad for my husband and I at least 4 days a week.  Eating salad each day, for us, is more about getting our nutrients and fiber from raw veggies than about being a diet food.  Our salads differs each day depending what's in the fridge.  At the beginning of the week I'll prep a variety of veggies so that I can easily pull together a salad each day.  I also like to add boiled eggs, cooked chicken, avocado or even left over steak for some protein.  When it comes to salad dressing, I like homemade.  My go to dressing is ranch and this easy recipe is my favorite.  I always have these ingredients on hand because I make it about once a week.  Ranch dressing may not be the healthiest salad dressing but it's so good and I believe, everything in moderation.  
Ingredients:  (not pictured) half & half, lemon juice, dill weed, parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder.

So creamy!

Today our salad was packed with so many veggies you can hardly see the lettuce!

I love my OXO salad spinner.  After I wash and spin dry my lettuce, what ever is left I just store in the fridge in the basket/bowl with the lid on for the next day.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup half and half *see below
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix together half & half and lemon juice.  Let sit 3 minutes.  The half and half will become slightly thickened and curdled like buttermilk.
  2. Add the other ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
  3. If too thick, add a splash of half & half or milk.
  4. Use right away or refrigerate for about two weeks.  

*You can use milk in place of half & half but it won't be as creamy and thick.  You can also use buttermilk, just omit lemon juice.  I like using half & half because it's always in my fridge because it's what I use in my coffee. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Cravings-Recipes for all the Food you Want to Eat

Photo taken from Chrissy Teigen's Craving's Cookbook

I just recently bought a new cookbook, Cravings, Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat.  The book was written by food-lover and model Chrissy Teigen. I took this cookbook on vacation recently and read it like a good novel, I couldn't put it down.  Her recipes all look and sound delicious.  It's all the recipes I want to make and eat.  Chrissy description for each recipe had me laughing out loud, she's hilarious! When I got home the first thing I made from Chrissy's book was her Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  We loved these lettuce wraps!  So flavorful, delicious and healthy.  I can't wait to make more of her recipes and share them with you but in the mean time check out her book.  It's a good read and is packed with great recipes and photos of Chrissy, her family and of course the food.  I even saw my husband checking out the book but I'm not sure he was looking at the recipes!!  

I did change the recipe, but only a little.  I used only one tablespoon of Sriracha instead of two.   I also used ground turkey instead of ground chicken only because I like the brand of ground turkey from Jennie-O.


Here are a couple of other brands I used in this recipe.
I always have a  bottle of this Mae Ploy Thai sweet chili sauce in the fridge as it a good dip for pot stickers. 

I'm always looking for ways to cut down on salt so I always use low sodium soy sauce. 
Just looking at these pictures makes me want to make them again soon!


For The sauce:
3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 tablespoons Sriracha (I used 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon 100% pure sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger  (I finely grated the ginger using a microplane grater)
For The filling:
1 pound ground chicken (I used ground turkey)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens kept separate
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I finely grated the ginger using a microplane grater)
1/2 pound white mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced canned water chestnuts
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
Directions
MAKE THE SAUCE: In a bowl, combine the chili sauce, hoisin, soy sauce, Sriracha, vegetable oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
MAKE THE FILLING: In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the ground chicken.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering-hot, add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet, then add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their liquid, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then add the water chestnuts, bell pepper, and the rest of the sauce and cook, stirring, until cooked through and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set out with the lettuce leaves.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chocolate Dipped Clementines

It's that time of year when clementines are in season.  I love these little cuties just as they are but they make a perfect snack or a quick dessert.  I use a container of Baker's Dipping *Dark Chocolate.  This container works great with left over chocolate, just pop on the plastic lid and refrigerate until you make these again.  The chocolate won't stay in the fridge long because you'll make these often!
Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper or a Silpat (non stick baking mat). Peel and segment clementines, set aside.  Be careful not to break the skin as the juice will seize the chocolate.  Gently melt chocolate in  the microwave.  Dip segments in chocolate and transfer to parchment-lined sheet. Once all pieces have been dipped, set the sheet aside until chocolate hardens (takes about an hour). To quickly harden chocolate, transfer baking sheet to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

*You can use milk chocolate if you prefer.