Saturday, February 28, 2009

French Onion Soup

What can I say about this soup? I didn't do a particularly good job on the presentation, but the flavors were there, and that's what's really important, right?

Either way, I think if I ever make this soup again in the future, I'm going to have to get myself some cute little ramekins and do it right way. But seeing as how I already have more than enough kitchen clutter, I don't see that happening. Oh well, at least I can say that I made it at least once and that it was rather tasty.

- 5-6 large yellow onions
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- a splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- baguette slices
- shredded cheese

- Slice all the onions.
- Heat the oil in a big oven-safe pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and a bit of salt and cook until the onions are wilted. Putting the lid on will help, but be sure to check it and stir it constantly so that it doesn't burn.
- Stir the onions until slightly carmelized.
- At this point, you can either put it in a 250 degree oven and let it carmelize to a deep brown color there, or keep it on the stove and just keep an eye on it. In the oven, I didn't really worry about it burning and only checked on it every 20 minutes or so until it got the deep color I wanted.
- Deglaze the pot with the water, then add the chicken and beef stock.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and a splash of balsamic if you'd like to brighten the soup up a bit (be very careful with it, a little goes a long way).
- Pour it into an oven-safe bowl and top with a few slices of crusty baguette and cheese (I used mozzarella because that's what I had but found it a bit bland. Gruyere is probably best).
- Place the bowls under the broiler and watch it until the cheese melted and slightly browned.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Carne Asada French Fries

This stuff is heaven on a plate! It's also heart attack on a plate and deserves to be a part of thisiswhyyourefat, but it's totally worth it!

San Diego Mexican food is (in my opinion) some of the best. I mean really, a San Diego carne asada burrito consists of a delicate, perfect tortilla, meat and guacamole. That's it. Don't mess with a good thing. There is no need for silly rice or beans or *gasp* lettuce! Leave it alone dammit!

Carne asada french fries (carne fries for short), are another example of a San Diego Mexican food perfection. Can you tell that I really like San Diego Mexican food? It's one of the things I miss the most. That, the weather, and the beaches. Oh, I suppose my friends and family count too :)

Since I can't seem to find carne fries outside of San Diego, I had to make it myself. It's so simple, yet sooo so sooooooo good. Just take a big fat heaping pile of piping hot french fries, smother it in shredded cheese. Top that with a healthy dose of good old carne asada and finish it off with a bit (LOT) of guacamole. Cover it or stick it in the oven so that the heat of the fries and the meat melt the cheese into a glob of ooey gooey goodness. This is perfect "snack" after a late night of drinking, and great for dinner, lunch, and heck, even breakfast!

And since Blazing Hot Wok is featuring Mexico for this month's Regional Recipes event, I'm submitting this. Check out the roundup which will be hosted by Wandering Chopsticks or submit your own before March 15th.

- French fries (recipe here)
- Carne asada (recipe below)
- Shredded cheese
- Guacamole

- Pile hot french fries on a plate.
- Top with a large mound of shredded cheese.
- Add chopped up carne asada.
- Dollop lots of guacamole on top.
- Cover or pop in the oven until the cheese is melted and delicious.
- Stuff your face.
- Go to the gym.

-Carne Asada-
- Beef (flank steak is typical, but any cut is fine since we're chopping it into such small pieces)
- Salt
- Pepper
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Paprika
- Cumin
- Soy sauce
- Lime juice

- Marinate the beef in all the spices, soy sauce and lime juice.
- Grill until cooked through.
- Chop into small pieces.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes

As you may know, we have a little strawberry patch in our yard that produces way too many strawberries for us to keep up with, so I harvest them, wash and hull them, and then freeze them to use throughout the year.

Since they were taking up so much space in the freezer, I decided it was finally time to do something with them. And who doesn't love a good cupcake?

I found this recipe for Sprinkle's strawberry cupcakes at Martha Stewart's website and decided to give it a go. This also makes these cupcakes perfect for Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess's event called Sugar High Fridays because this month's host, Palachinka, has decided to make the theme copy cat recipes! Check out the roundup on Friday, February 27th, or submit your own creation to this fun event.

Unfortunately, my copy cat attempt wasn't exactly a copy cat. It wasn't light and fluffy and was actually pretty dense, but tasty nonetheless. I think I probably didn't beat the butter enough? And don't even get me started on the frosting! It looked like someone threw up in my mixer, so I left my cupcakes naked. I'm still learning when it comes to this baking business. It's not easy! But I'm learning and improving and happily eating my mistakes along the way.

Here's the recipe. Hopefully you'll do better than I did.

Source: Martha Stewart and Sprinkles Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen

- 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 c milk (room temperature)
- 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 2 egg whites (room temperature)

- Puree the strawberries. You should have about 1/3 c of puree (add more or less to get 1/3)
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
- Mix the milk, vanilla and strawberry puree together and set aside.
- Cream the butter on high until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until combined.
- Turn your mixer speed to low and slowly mix the egg and egg whites in until just blended.
- Add half of the flour mixture until incorporated. Then add the milk mixture. Then add the last of the flour.
- Fill 12 lined cupcake tins and bake for 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

*If you want non-naked cupcakes, the recipe for frosting can be found here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

White Bean Dip

Joelen of Joelen's Culinary Adventures is featuring the almighty food processor this month for her Tasty Tools event. Check out her blog in March for the roundup or send in your entries before Feb 28th.

The first thing I ever made using my food processor was hummus. In fact, that's the main reason I bought the thing to begin with! I've made hummus countless times now and still love the stuff.

This was supposed to be hummus, but the can of garbanzo beans and the can of white beans look awfully similar and I grabbed the wrong one. By the time I realized my mistake, it was already opened and drained, so I decided to make a white bean dip instead. And you know what? It was pretty darn tasty!

Just like with my hummus, I replaced the oil with chicken stock to make it healthy yet tasty, and dusted the top with a bit of paprika for color. I served it with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks and plan on making this again the future (on purpose!)

- 1 can of white beans (cannellini beans)
- 1 clove of garlic
- about 1/4 cup of chicken stock
- juice of 1/2 a lemon (more or less depending on your preferences)
- salt to taste

- Drain the beans and toss them in the food processor.
- Toss all the other ingredients in the food processor too.
- Process everything until the beans are a nice, smooth consistency. You made need to stop and scrape down the sides every so often.
- Taste to decide whether or not you want more salt, lemon, etc.
- The consistency will be pretty watery, but don't fret! Cover it and stick it in the fridge for a few hours. It will set up during this time and become a nice thick, scoopable, delectable dip.
- Sprinkle some paprika or herbs for a bit of color and enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chao Nian Gao (Stir fried rice cakes)

I love the chewy texture of rice cakes (sometimes called rice ovalettes). It's almost like a tough and savory gum that you're allowed to swallow. Haha, that just sounds super appetizing doesn't it? Hmm, let's see if I can describe it better. Oh, I can also add that it's pretty much flavorless, but you typically add it into savory dishes. I know that doesn't help, but trust me, this is good stuff!

There are many ways to make rice cakes. Some of my favorite include sticking it in a soup with dumplings for Korean duk mandu gook, or stir frying them. Even within stir frying, there are 2 typical ways: Shanghai style with dark soy, veggies, and thin strips of pork or a lighter version with mustard greens and bamboo and thin strips of pork. While I love both versions, I decided to make my own version and use it to help me get rid of some leftover turkey I had in the fridge. Just like fried rice and chow mein or any other stir fry, rice cakes are great for clearing out the fridge.

Here's the recipe for the Shanghai version, plus what I used as substitute ingredients because I needed to clean out my fridge.

- Pork (sliced into thin strips) -
I used shredded leftover turkey. Any other meat such as chicken or beef could be used as well.
- Napa cabbage (sliced into thin strips) -
I also added some brocolli. You can add other veggies such as shredded carrots, regular cabbage, spinach etc if you'd like.
- Shitake mushrooms (sliced into thin strips) - I skipped this ingredient.
- Rice cakes/ovalettes

- Dark soy sauce - I used regular soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Corn starch - I skipped this since I was using already cooked turkey

- Rinse the rice ovalettes in water to separate them. Some packages also require you to soak them, so read the directions on the back.
- Marinate the pork in a little bit of soy sauce and corn starch.
- Heat up your pan or wok and a bit of oil.
- Put the pork in the meat and stir it around until mostly cooked.

- Add the napa cabbage and cook until slightly wilted.

- Add the mushrooms.
- Add the rice cakes.

- Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste.

- Stir everything until the rice cakes are soft. If it gets too dry and looks like things might burn before the rice cakes are done, add a bit of water or chicken stock.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pork flautas

Since I had overcome my fear of deep frying when I made french fries, I knew that I wanted to deep fry something for our Super Bowl party and decided on flautas.

I love flautas. It's basically the same thing as a taquito except you use flour tortillas instead of corn. I prefer flour tortillas better because it's fluffier and lighter and a bit airy. You could easily make taquitos instead by substituting the flour tortillas with corn.

You can also easily replace the meat with chicken, beef or whatever other meat you prefer. The important thing is to keep the meat moist and flavorful.

- pork butt
- onion
- garlic
- cumin
- chili powder
- paprika
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- salt
- pepper
- salsa (optional)
- tortillas
- oil for frying

- Cut the pork butt into chunks if you want to. It'll make it easier to work with and fit in the pot. I like 1.5x1.5" chunks.
- Generously sprinkle the salt and herbs and seasonings on the meat and put it into a pressure cooker if you have one, or a heavy pot if you don't.
- Fill the pot with water until the meat is barely covered. Toss in an onion (quartered) and a few cloves of garlic. These are just used for flavoring and will be discarded, so they don't need to be chopped nicely.
- Either cook it at high pressure for about 30 minutes or simmer/braise in the oven until the meat is fall apart tender and moist and flavorful.
- Take the meat out and shred it with two forks or your hands.
- If the meat is a little dry, or if you want a little more flavor, toss it with a few spoonfuls of salsa. Don't use too much though, you want the meat to be juicy, but not "wet".
- If you want, cut your tortillas in half (I did this as I found it wasn't necessary to use a whole tortillas). Put a line of meat in tortilla and roll it up. Help keep them rolled up with 3 toothpicks. I only used one in the middle the first time and this is what happened.
- Heat up a pot of vegetable oil until it reaches 325 degrees.
- Slowly slide the flautas into the oil and fry until the tortillas get brown and crispy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Super Bowl posts for this special event.

Today is our 11 year anniversary. 11 freakin' years! Can you believe it? And on this special day, my wonderful husband surprised me with this...

Breakfast in bed! I'm a lucky gal :)

Monday, February 9, 2009


As a kid, I called these little guys Japanese footballs, so I figured they'd be nice to serve during our Super Bowl party. Plus they make great finger food. Don't they look like little footballs to you?

Anyway, Inari is a great "sushi" for beginners. It's very simple, there is nothing raw, and the flavor is mild and sweet. It's just fried tofu pockets and rice - very non-threatening.

They're also super easy. Just buy the already seasoned tofu skins in a can like above and stuff them with rice. Ideally you should stuff it with seasoned sushi rice, but the skins already have so much flavor that if you don't season your rice, you'll still be fine.

- Seasoned tofu skins (aburage - pictured above)
- White rice
- Rice vinegar to taste (optional)
- Sugar to taste (optional)

- Cook the rice and season it (the seasoning part is optional).
-To season the rice, you can either be lazy like me and dump vinegar and sugar to taste, into the water while the rice is cooking, or do it the right way - cook the rice and then spread it out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the vinegar and sugar on the rice and mix until combined.
- Open the can of tofu skins and take them out. If you'd like, you can also use the liquid in the can to season the rice.
- Carefully open the pocket of each tofu skin, they are very delicate.
- Stuff some rice in. You can put as much or as little as you like. You can also sprinkle some sesame seed or furikake on top if you'd like, but traditionally, they're served plain.
- Pop them in your mouth and rub your tummy with delight!

This is about 2 cans worth of inari, minus a few that I accidentally ripped while opening and had to eat them myself :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Potato Slabs

I saw these at Amber's Delectable Delights and knew that just I had to make them for our Super Bowl party. How she got them to be so evenly sliced, I have no idea. But regardless of how they look, they taste great!

Both the hubs and I like them better than traditional potato skins. Potato skins, although crispier, are often too oily. If we could just get these crispy like potato skins, they'd be perfect. Maybe deep fry them instead of baking them next time?

Source - Amber's Delectable Delights
- Potatoes (I used russett)
- Bacon
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream, chives, etc (optional)

- Cut the potatoes into ~1/4 inch slabs.
- Lay them out in a single layer on a buttered baking sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven until soft (about 30 minutes).
- Crisp up the bacon and crumble into small pieces.
- Sprinkle the cheese and bacon bits on the potatoes and put them back in the oven until melted.
- Top with sour cream and chives if desired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Super Bowl Drink Specials

Alright, it's time for me to post all of our Super Bowl party goodies. There weren't nearly as many as Thanksgiving, so hopefully it won't take me nearly as long :)

Let's start with my hubby's creation. He had a great idea of having drink combos for the two teams playing this year...

(these pictures have been poached from Am I Wrong? (to Hunger) since I didn't have the forethought to take pictures myself. Well, no, that's not true. I thought about it, but was lazy and saw that Ameer was already taking pictures, so I decided that I'd steal his instead, thanks Ameer!)

What a great idea! Don't you think?

cranberry juice
ice cubes
.25oz of godiva liqueur
.75oz of vodka
served chilled

fresh squeezed lemon juice
ice cubes
chilled shot of jager