May 31, 2011

Moo Shu Wraps

Mini Chinese burritos!
For the filling:
Take some shredded cabbage & carrots,
(or simply buy ready to go coleslaw mix)
chicken or pork strips and chopped scallions
and saute it all in a pan adding a little oil and
some chicken or vegetable stock.
Add some already cooked vermicelli noodles
with a little hoisin sauce. That's it for the filling.
Then purchase some soft taco shells as your
wrapper and spread some plain hoisin sauce on
your wrap and then spoon in the filling and enjoy!

Tequila Lime Fettuccine

Tequila Lime Pasta inspired from California Pizza Kitchen.

Ingredients & Procedure:
Pick a pasta of your choice (spinach fettuccine,
garlic linguine, penne etc...
or mix 2 pastas which is always fun and cool) 
Boil the pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside.
In a  pan- melt some butter (about 2 TBS)
Cut and saute some diced onions (maybe 1/4 of onion),
1-2 garlic cloves minced up, fun colored bell peppers &
1 jalapeno pepper  Next, add in 1/2 cup chicken stock.
Once all the onions have cooked up nicely almost to the
point of browning add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves,
a splash of Tequila, 1 TBS lime juice, 2 TBS of soy sauce.
Once everything has cooked and mixed well...
pour in the already cooked pasta with a cup of cream.
(heavy, light or half & half)   Cook for a few minutes on
low heat so the cream heats up and everything is
mixed well together because you were using your
stirring/tossing skills with preferably a tong.
Serve with a lime wedge and a couple
cilantro leaves as a garnish.

May 25, 2011

Cultivate Your Mac And Cheese

Try cultivating your mac and cheese into
cauliflower and cheese.
It's pretty simple... boil some water
and cook your cauliflower that you cut into
bite size pieces.  Then add in the cheese
you normally would for mac and cheese.
Topping some bread crumbs on your cauliflower
and cheese is always good!

OO IS Great But...

OO as in Olive Oil is great to use for sauteing
but for the warmer months when you want to
look your slimmest.... try sauteing your veggies
in vegetable or chicken broth and then you can
toss a teaspoon of OO after they are cooked
if you'd like!   

May 19, 2011

Orange Wedges Like You've Never Seen

So everyone has had orange wedges, especially if you've played
a team sport as a kid and there's  always that one mom who takes
the time to bring orange wedges. But!... have you ever put jello
in orange wedges? Probably not! Cultivate your orange skins and jello.

You want oranges that are on the smaller side.
Ones that will fit in your muffin tins.
Cut your oranges in half and juice the oranges.
Another bonus- fresh squeezed orange juice!

After you've got all the juice out of the oranges-
you want to place each half in muffin tins.
And pour some gelatin/jello mix and place it in the
refrigerator like you normally would for making  jello/gelatin.
Once the gelatin has hardened- you slice it like oranges.
The tip with this is to not make the jello too watery.
You want it a little firmer than the norm.
You can also have so much fun with it by adding different
flavors/colors. It's really pretty and a great presentation.
You will have so much fun eating it-
there is a chance you might get giddy.

Home-Made Bagels

If you live in America... you can almost get a bagel
anytime of the day- but if you are living somewhere
where they only have frozen ones to serve or they don't
know what a bagel even is....  maybe try this recipe.

Or just try it for fun. You can then say... you know how to
make bagels. Probably not something that will go on your
resume but, none the less- it can be interesting.

1 cup of WARM water
1 packet of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1.5 TBS granulated sugar or substitute Splenda
about 3 cups of all purpose flour (or multi-grain)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil

Combine the water, yeast and sugar and mix together.
(if you have a mixer that can mix dough... now is the time
to use it) if not- just use the force of your arm.

Gradually add in 1/2 the flour, salt and keep mixing
everything together. Continue to add the rest of the flour
gradually as you knead the dough with your hands.
Knead it on a cutting board with the board being lightly
floured to prevent the dough from sticking.
Once the dough is not sticky- you want to get a large bowl
and add the oil. Place the dough in the oil,
turning the dough so it gets coated in the oil.
You then need to cover it with plastic wrap and
let in sit for one hour. After the dough has been in time
out for one hour it will have practically doubled.
Take the dough out, and divide it into pieces.
(this recipe should be good for about 6 bagels)

It is easier if you make the dough into a ball, flatten it and then
pull a piece out for the center in the center- rather than making
a long piece and then joining the ends.  Pull in from the middle!

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet with a little oil.
(It makes sense to make 6 little blobs of oil where you think the
dough will sit on your pan-rather than coating the entire
pan with oil) In a big pot, boil some water (enough for the
bagels to be to be covered and then some.)
Add a TBS of sugar into the boiling water (optional)
Carefully drop your dough into the boiling
water for 30-45 SECONDS...  no more than a minute.
Then, take it out of the water and place it onto the prepared pan
that will go into the oven. Bake the first side of the dough
for about 5 minutes. Turn the bagel over and bake the 2nd side
for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool
on a wire rack. There you have it... a home-made bagel.

If you enjoy everything bagels-  you can always take some sea-salt,
toasted onion flakes, poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds and of course
garlic and put it onto the bagel right before you pop them into the oven.

May 14, 2011


Yakitori is a common street food found in Japan.
Yakitori literally translates to "grilled bird" so
 it is traditionally made of chicken. no surprise.

Chicken Yakitori can be made simply by cutting strips of chicken and
marinating it in a teriyaki sauce. You can use your favorite bottled
teriyaki sauce or make your own simply by adding the ingredients below.

about 1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup or to your liking of sweetener (Agave nectar, Splenda, Sugar)
4 gloves of garlic mashed up
minced up ginger (about a tsp or so)
splash or (1 tsp sesame oil) toasted sesame oil is best for this recipe
mix these ingredients and heat it on the stove until it starts to boil.

Combine in a little bowl/cup equal parts of warm water
and cornstarch about 1 TBS and add the combined mixture
of corn starch and water into the sauce as a thickener.

Before you brush this sauce on your raw chicken....
save some sauce for dipping in a clean separate container.
You NEVER want to use sauce that has touched raw chicken

You can throw the cut chicken into the the sauce
and then skewer the Yakitori with 2-3 inch pieces of
cut scallions in between the chicken pieces.
Don't forget to soak your skewers if you are using wooden ones.
It can be helpful to use 2 skewers per Yakitori stick for
extra support for the chicken pieces depending on the
size and to prevent spinning when you turn the chicken
over on your grill. You can also put these in the oven as well.
I recommend putting them on broil. Make sure you leave
the oven door propped (you know how your oven door
has a stop...maybe 3-5 inches or so and stays open all by itself)
It's for the purpose of the room temperature air circulating
into the oven on that high broil setting. If you have an oven
that has a "convection" setting forget everything about
leaving the oven door open.

May 13, 2011

Frying Pans vs. Saute Pans

So is there a difference between a frying pan and
a saute pan or just what you cook and how you cook it
the name of the pan? hmmm.

There actually is a difference. A saute pan is a pan that is typically
wider with straight sides that are a bit taller (typically 3 inches)
and a bottom that is completely flat.
And a frying pan looks more like this-

The reason for the saute pan having straight sides and the 
frying pan having slightly curved sides is for the purpose 
of the pan.  Frying pans  have curved/sloped sides so that s
team doesn't collect in the pan. Saute pans are used more for 
making sauces and reductions. But, there is no rule where you 
can't use one versus the other especially in your own kitchen.  
You are the boss of your kitchen!

Woven Bacon... Baskets?

Bacon is considered a vegetable to some.
Bacon is good for breakfast but also good for a burger with
a little BBQ sauce and a good slice of cheese. Pepper Jack,
Provolone, any kind of cheese is good.

You can actually take bacon and weave it almost like a basket.
Who knew!?  You can cut 2 strips in half and make a small single
weave or go as large as you want. But the small, mini weave
works great for burgers rather than the 2 longer strips.
I have always had trouble enjoying the bacon in a burger when
it is 2 long strips randomly inside a burger that is round shaped.

Did you know bacon could be cultivated into a basket making craft?

Brownie Cuts

Who doesn't love a good, yummy, chocolatey, fudgy brownie?
Sometimes when they are slightly gooey it is a little hard to cut
them- as they stick to your knife and start to break apart.
I've found out that if you use a plastic knife- the brownies don't
stick to the disposable, plastic knife and it glides perfectly.
No more lumpy weird shaped brownies!  woohoo.

What Really Is "Garam Masala"?

Garam masala (gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah)
is basically a blend of spices.
It is very aromatic and it's most commonly known
in Indian dishes consisting of curries and rice.

There are as many different blends of garam masala
as there are Indian cooks.
Most blends include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin,
coriander, cardamom, dried chilies, mace (not pepper spray)
and nutmeg.

Just Eat The Granola Topping

Home-made granola as a topping or as a healthy snack.
It's always nice to make home-made things mainly because
you can control what is going into it and also because
it is fun?!! 

1 cup of old fashioned oats (make it multi-grain to make it really healthy)
3/4 - 1 cup of slivered almonds
small handful of craisins & sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of wheat germ (it can be found near the oatmeal)
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup or several drizzles around the mix of agave nectar
S & P to taste- don't over do the S & P
I like to drizzle a little honey also (honey optional)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all your ingredients together and spoon your mix on
some parchment paper on your flat oven pan.
Bake your granola topping for about 10-12 minutes.

That's it!
These will not be granola bars...
They are more of a topping or large crumbs you can snack on.
Cultivate it, make it your own and add different colored raisins,
other nuts and or add cereal even!

Sausage Sub With The Works

Cut some onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms and saute them up
with a little S & P and garlic powder.
(If you are using salt... don't add garlic salt- add garlic powder.)
Once the veggies are just about done and to your liking...
add a little tomato sauce and mix in the pan.

Once they are cooked... take them out and set them aside in a bowl
or plate.... and then take your favorite sausage link and cut it in half length wise
and grill it on your grill or fry it in the pan until it browns up nicely.
Place the sausage in a hot dog bun or cut some Italian  bread up
and top your sub with the fried vegetables.
Add some hot peppers if you like it spicy.

You can get a really good sausage sub at "Midway" if you dare to go
to Seaside Heights.  If you speak the NY slang if you know what I mean.

Why do bagels have holes?

When you eat a bagel...
Have you ever wondered why there is a hole in the middle?
Why is there a hole?

It's just for the purpose of cooking them evenly.
They were made without the hole waaay back in the day and
found that the center wouldn't cook all the way and
would be doughy... so they made them with holes.
It also became easier for the bakers to transport them to trays
for cooking and delivering them as well.

Buttermilk Has No Butter...

When people hear buttermilk...
They might think ah, milk with lots of creamy butter...
probably tastes good because of the butter but probably
very fattening. This couldn't be further from the truth.

There actually isn't any butter in buttermilk, per se.
Buttermilk is the liquid  that is left after the butter has 
been separated from the milk, often used for making breads. 
Sometimes buttermilk  is also made from cultured milk 
by adding a bacteria to sweet milk. Different but a 
little similar to yogurt.

Buttermilk has less fat than whole milk because the 
fat has been removed. Due to buttermilk having more 
lactic acid than even skim milk- it's often recommended for 
people with digestive problems to drink 
buttermilk rather than regular milk.

A Good Germ

Is there such a thing as a good germ?
Yes, there is. Wheat Germ.  It comes from a very small part
of the wheat kernel. It is one of the most nutritional
food items out there. Wheat germ has 23 nutrients and
is the most nutritious per ounce for any grain or vegetable.

The germ is also the part that germinates and forms into
wheat grass. a.k.a. cat grass. If you go to a smoothie bar-
many times they have power drinks/smoothies
that have the green grass.... that's wheat grass.

So what can you do with it? You can incorporate it into
baking cookies, making granola, adding it to your smoothies
and scooping a little into your cereal or even sprinkling a little
on top of your salads instead of croutons.

May 11, 2011

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is good plain or as a sandwich as we all know.
Cultivate your chicken salad by adding some grapes, craisins and or almonds.

This recipe is good for about 2 sandwiches.
1/2 cup or about 1 chicken breast cooked and diced or cubed
about 1 or 2 celery stalks diced up
1/4 cup or desired amount of mayonnaise
small handful of seedless grapes green or red cut in half
a few slivers of almonds
splash of lemon juice
S & P to taste

let's face it... your going to eat it... so make it your own.
if you enjoy a little more of this or that or like something less....
modify it to your liking.

May 10, 2011

The Hobo Pack

Grilled Veggies are great especially this time of year.
Turn your grill on, swipe a lemon across the grates and grill away.
Strips of zucchini are yummy along with long strips of carrots.
Mix some grilled bell peppers in there along with a little corn and
you have a great vegetable medley.
Just toss a little olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and garlic powder/salt.
Great with burgers, dogs, chicken...

May 4, 2011

Sauted Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms

6 TBS (3/4 stick) butter
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, (can substitute freeze dried ones)
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds slender green beans, trimmed
2/3 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

Heat your pan to medium high heat.
Toss is 3 TBS of butter and add shiitake mushrooms
and saute until it is tender. (about 5 minutes)
Add the green beans and garlic and shallots. (you can substitute onions)
After 2 or 3 minutes- pour the chicken broth in and simmer
until liquid evaporates.
Add S & P to taste.