Foodie Pen Pals: October

FPP-post

I’ve been busy with work and life and whatnot and as such, I’ve been horribly awful at updating this. So without further ado, here’s a post. Happy Halloween by the way! What are you going to be today? I’m dressing as the Morton Salt Girl, but I can’t wear costumes to work (I work in a courthouse and everyone’s all professional and stuffy heheh) but I will be wearing my yellow dress with a blazer on top. I just can’t really tote the umbrella around because it isn’t raining out.

Anyway, this month I participated in Foodie Pen Pals again and was matched up with Cleda from Illinois. Based on my snippet of information, telling her what I like, she made me a wonderful box of goodies.

If you want to participate in FPP in the future, here’s some info:

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treatsIMG_9571

I had given Cleda some ideas on what I liked, including breakfasts, pumpkin flavors, and chocolate. She pretty much hit this box out of the ballpark.IMG_9573

These granola bars are already gone. I love having bars like this in my house. My mornings are rather hectic most days, so grabbing something to eat while I’m throwing my clothes on makes my life a lot easier. I’d never heard of this brand before, but I will be seeking them out again in the future.IMG_9574
We had guests this week, so I felt it was a good idea to have some snacks available. I had cheese, crackers, and these brandy pralines. Honestly, I’m not sure if the guests ate them or if Matt and I ate all of them – but either way these babies are gone. They were delicious.

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When I said breakfast foods, Cleda followed through! She got e this Hot & Fit Cereal made with oats, quinoa, almonds, flax, and cranberries. I haven’t made myself a bowl of it yet because I keep sleeping too late to actually do breakfast and I’ve been eating the granola bars, but this weekend I’ll make myself a bowl. I’m sure it’s delicious.
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With Halloween in mind, I love anything and everything pumpkin. As such, I was given this pumpkin fruit butter! I Haven’t used it yet. Does anyone have an idea on what I should with it that would be interesting?
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A bag of coffee is up next! This pumpkin spice coffee smells wonderful. I haven’t opened it yet because I want to finish off the other coffee I’ve been drinking first, but I’m excited for this coffee for the fall!
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These Guylian chocolates look divine. I haven’t opened them yet because I know they’ll all be gone in a second, so I need to be sure I open them at the right second. I’m excited though, especially because I love love love hazelnut fillings.

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And last, but certainly not least is this chocolate bar that I have not eaten yet. Actually, I had every intention of eating it yesterday with my lunch. And then… I left my lunch at home on the counter. Instead of eating it for desert, I decided to try it today. I’ll edit later today telling you how it was!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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I ordered Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter recently and have been using it on many things – especially toast at breakfast. And it looks like now they have a Pumpkin Spice variety that I have to try. I’m a sucker for seasonal treats, so obviously I need to get myself that flavor.. On payday it looks like I’m placing an order. Anyway – the chocolate coconut peanut butter snuck its way into my ice cream!

This month Random Recipe did something a little different than usual. Rather than pick a random cookbook from our collections, Dom challenged us to search the internet to search for a recipe with the theme “something sweet.” I’ll never get over this ice cream phase it seems, so I googled “ice cream recipe” and found this gem from the Brown Eyed Baker. My ice cream turned out a little different than the original. For one, I used the flavored peanut butter (that you need in your life, I promise.) And secondly, that flavored peanut butter didn’t quite melt the same as traditional peanut butter, so I didn’t get a peanut butter swirl throughout – but rather.. these chunks of peanut butter that are delicious. I’m guessing it’s because the coconut oil doesn’t melt down the same way as the peanut oil used in the other flavors – but I don’t know. It didn’t melt very well.

But this ice cream is divine. In other news, Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream is having a free for all submission this month. So I’ll be sharing this ice cream there too.

randomIceCreamChallenge

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup your favorite peanut butter, divided
2 cups heavy cream, divided
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of heavy cream, and the salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and peanut butter has melted. Continue cooking the mixture until it comes to a slight simmer.

2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into a bowl and place a strainer on top.

3. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the eggs, making sure you stir constantly so the eggs do not cook. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the pan as you stir. Do this until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. This will take several minutes.

5. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the cold cream. Stir in the vanilla extract and place the bowl over an ice bath. Allow to cool. Then cover and place in the refrigerator until the mixture has completely cooled.

6. Freeze your ice cream per the instructions for your ice cream maker.

7. Melt the 1/2 cup of remaining peanut butter. Pour it over your newly frozen ice cream. Using a butter knife, gently whirl it into the mixture.

8. Place in the freezer and freeze overnight.

* makes 1 quart
* this recipe is also shared with Mix It Up Monday

Vegetable Fideua (but not really)

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Where did this recipe go wrong?

- I should have used thinner noodles.
– I misunderstood what it meant to break the noodles – I didn’t interpret that as smaller pieces than how I broke it up. But afterwards, when I looked at other recipes for this dish, it’s obvious the noodles are supposed to be substantially smaller than I had them here.

The dish wasn’t bad, but I’m sure it’s nothing like what fideua is supposed to be like. For what it was though, it wasn’t bad. Nothing like a standard noodle dish.

And truly, that was the point. Rachel of Rachel Cotterill is hosting this month’s Pasta Please, a monthly blog round up of pasta dishes based around a certain theme. Rachel set the theme this month as fusion. She challenged us to make a vegetarian pasta dish that steps away from the Italian influences.

So what did I do? I googled “Spanish noodles” and I got this dish. I followed this recipe loosely in making the dish that wasn’t very Spanish nor like fideua, but still tasty.

So here’s my tips for you, future fideua makers: break your noodles A LOT smaller than mine are. And maybe use angel hair pasta instead or something thinner than a spaghetti noodle.

pasta please

Vegetable Fideua

Ingredients
8 oz thin noodles
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 oz frozen green peas
3 tomatoes, diced
1 1/3 cup vegetable broth
salt, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Lay the noodles on a baking dish. Bake the noodles for 5 minutes, or until they start to brown. (mine got too brown)

2. In a large oven safe pan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green bell pepper and cook until it softens. Add the green peas and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for several more minutes.

3. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Crush the noodles and sprinkle them over the vegetables. Stir the noodles into the dish. Simmer until the noodles are tender.

4. Place the pan in the oven set at 400 for a few minutes, so the remaining liquid can be cooked off.

* serves 4

Cookbook Review: The Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook New Edition compiled by The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association

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PROS: The recipes are compiled from locals in the Gilroy area which is sweet and a good shout out to Gilroy, home of garlic.

CONS: I didn’t find any of the recipes I made particularly garlicky. Some of the recipes were boring, nothing was cohesive, and frankly, I don’t believe using one clove in a recipe makes a recipe belong in a garlic lovers’ cookbook. I love garlic and wanted that tang.

Continue reading

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

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I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Ingredients
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

Foodie Pen Pals: September

FPP-post

I haven’t participated in Foodie Pen Pals in SO LONG! The last time was last May. But due to major changes in my life (such as getting a job and having spending money,) I’ve been able to afford to participate again. This month my FPP buddy was Libby from Louisiana who runs Libby’s Library. The box Libby made me is full of Louisiana goodies – things that hail from the state of Louisiana. I’m excited to try everything, but there’s so much to try! And then I got strep throat… So, I will be making more things out of the box, but haven’t gotten around to it yet for the most part.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

It’s your turn to sign up!

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This box is full of Louisiana goodies for me to make dinners with – from roux to spices to packaged mixes, I got it all! I even got mardi gras beads without having to do anything for them!

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Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Red Beans & Rice. I don’t know if my mama wants me slapping her ;) But I do bet that her and my dad would love this with a meal. What makes that even better is they’re coming to visit at the end of October! I’ll have to make a protein with this rice for them.

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I used this Queen Bee seasoning on a piece of chicken I threw on the grill and made a chicken sandwich with. I have some other Cajun seasoning, but this beats it by 100%. It’s so much more flavorful and left a bang in my mouth!

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I also received this roux. Anyone have ideas what I can do with it!? I’ve looked online and got some recipes that I can include this in – but I’m sure it’s super flavorful.

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Next… Cafe Du Monde’s beignet mix. I made a batch of these the first weekend I got them. They were easy to make, but I didn’t have powdered sugar so I used Nutella instead. I have a sweet tooth. To note, I also sent Libby Nutella in her package. Maybe she should try beignets with Nutella ;)

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The last photo is three items – etoufee mix, gumbo mix, and jambalaya mix. There’s recipes on the packets to make cooking these three dishes even easier. I’m excited! Maybe I can have some authentic Louisiana in here (if I stop doing things like putting Nutella on the beignets!)

Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

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Have you noticed my banner has changed in the last few months? While I will always technically be a student of the law, I decided to make it a bit more accurate. I’ve had a busy few weeks, that aren’t over yet. It’s been trial after trial and this week I got my first not guilty. Being a criminal defense attorney, generally the verdicts come back guilty, so this is a huge victory. And as my tiredness from trial wears off this week, the next one starts Monday.

But in between court and trials and suits and high heels that hurt my feet, I’ve still found time to cook.

Anyway – this month at Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes we were instructed to randomly pick a book off our shelf, open it to a random page, and cook that recipe. My random number generator landed me on one of my favorite cookbooks, Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I got this book years ago, before Borders closed down, off the sale table for $9.99. I never realized it would provide me so many delicious foods.

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I’ve cooked out of it a lot. In fact, it’s been the book chosen by Random Recipes before too.

Anywho, this shrimp dish was in the Soups and Appetizers section and it was suggested in the book to serve it with naan. I didn’t end up doing that. I served the shrimp as the main dish and I served it over basmati rice. It was a light meal, but it was all I really needed today. I made a few alterations with the spices because I didn’t have cardamom pods or black mustard seeds.

Now, I think I’ll stop blabbering on. I could go on forever right now.

random

Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

Ingredients
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 inch ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Combine the ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, mustard, and cardamom in a bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside temporarily.

2. Heat a wok until hot. Add butter and swirl until melted.

3. Add the shrimp and spices and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until they begin to turn pink,

4. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

* serves 4
* besides Random Recipes, this is also shared with Foodie Friday

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers

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Pasta Please is one of the challenges I try to participate in every month, though sometimes the month passes before I get to it.. This was not one of those months! I’m trying to participate in all the fun round-ups that I normally do. This month’s Pasta Please was hosted by Allotment2Kitchen who also hosts a new round up I’m going to start participating in called Eat Your Greens. The idea of Eat Your Greens is to share your vegetarian dishes made with green veggies. This month’s Eat Your Greens was paired together with Pasta Please.

I decided to use cabbage in my recipe for the challenge. My quick google search tells me cabbage may have cancer fighting qualities, as it contains a good amount of sinigrin, which has been in the attention of cancer researchers in developing a cure. However, the way to get the most benefit from the cabbage is to steam it which is not how I cooked it.

For a quick cabbage story, I love cabbage but I hate the smell of it. When I was in college one of my roommates decided she was going to go on a cabbage soup diet or something. She made this huge batch of cabbage soup which just made the house reek. In the end, she couldn’t stomach the soup because of the strong cabbage scent – so that diet was incredibly short lived, but the smell has definitely made an impact on me forever.

But, I haven’t let that get in the way of eating cabbage. It still tastes good to me at least.

This cheesy pasta recipe was delicious. The fried capers were a big hit. I’d never prepared capers like that before, but I definitely will again!

pasta please

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers
(source)

Ingredients
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425. Once preheated, remove the sheet from the oven. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil over the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet halfway through.

2. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and thyme sprigs. Saute for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the white wine to deglaze. Set aside.

3. In a small skillet add the 1/3 cup remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the capers. Fry for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

4. Cook pasta per the directions on the box. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water the pasta cooked in.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, pour the noodles into the skillet with the cabbage. Put over medium heat. Add the cheese. Add the saved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until you have a sauce develop. Add the thyme.

6. Serve and top with capers.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please and Eat Your Greens, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

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I love burgers. They’re actually a huge downfall for me when we go out to eat. I just want a burger. With bacon. And cheese. And lots of mayo.

For a little silly story about me, I grew up hating hamburgers. I would temper tantrum, I would cry, and I would end up getting chicken nuggets or a hot dog whenever hamburgers were served. They repulsed me. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that weird piece of pressed together meat that I had no idea what was mixed in (yet, I’d eat a hot dog haha.) My first hamburger that I ate willingly without a temper tantrum was after my senior year in high school, when In ‘n Out Burger moved into town. It changed my life. And I began to experiment with burgers from other places and burgers with other meats.

Today, burgers are one of my favorite foods.

Though ground beef is my favorite meat in a burger, this turkey burger was divine. The flavors were great, it was juicy, and I wish I had room to eat a second!

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

Ingredients
1 oz dried mushrooms
4 mushrooms, diced
1 lb ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 tsp steak sauce
4 hamburger buns

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix together the diced mushrooms, turkey, green onions, salt, parsley, mustard, and steak sauce with your hands. Form the meat into four even sized patties.

2. Press the dried mushrooms onto both sides of all four patties.

3. Heat up a cast iron skillet. Spray with cooking spray. Add the patties and cook for 7 minutes per side.

4. Serve you burgers on buns and add any condiments you desire. I had mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

* serves 4
* I’m sharing this with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.

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Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)

 

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I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

Ingredients
4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking