Foodie Blog Roll 2

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lemon Orzo Primavera with Toasted Almonds

I wasn't exactly sure what "pasta primavera" was until I looked it up. It is a dish that contains pasta and vegetables. Orzo may look like rice, but it is actually a rice shaped past. This is great for a few reasons. Because it is pasta and not rice, this dish cooks up in a flash! 

Lemon Orzo Primavera with Toasted Almonds

I was thinking about using peas in this dish but then remembered a certain time that Hunter Hann picked out every single green pea from his fried rice. But that's another story for another time.He likes asparagus though, so I went with that instead. 

The flavors in this dish are so fresh! The lemon really brightens it up and while the Parmesan gives it that salty quality. Also, my last minute decision to add the toasted, sliced almonds was genius, if I do say so myself. It added a nice crunch factor to this already wonderful dish. Do yourself a favor; add the almonds.

Lemon Orzo Primavera with Toasted Almonds
     serves 6
1 lb orzo
Chicken stock {or salted water}*
1 lb asparagus, cleaned and stems snapped off
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 C toasted, slivered almonds

*I read a few orzo recipes online and the majority of the reviews that I read were that the dish was good but that it didn't have much flavor. I realize that most pasta is cooked with water and not stock, and that unlike rice, you drain the excess liquid off. However, I wanted to do an experiment, so I used chicken stock instead. Feel free to use water and salt it a little, but know that you may have to add some more salt at the end. 

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the orzo to the pot and give it a quick stir. Cook to al dente. This will only take a few minutes because the pasta is small. Drain and pour into serving dish. Add the olive oil and stir. Add the zest and juice of the lemon(s), and stir in the Parmesan cheese to melt.

Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat and cut the asparagus into inch long pieces. Cook the asparagus until almost done, then add the chopped garlic to the pan. Finish cooking and remove from heat. Add asparagus and almonds to the orzo mixture and combine. Serve and top with additional Parmesan and almonds.

I just served this up with grilled chicken for dinner and it was a great, light meal. I love when your pasta dish also contains your vegetables! It's like you're not even eating them! 

Don't get me wrong; it's not that I don't like vegetables, it's just that I LOVE pasta!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bang Bang Shrimp

Mmmm, bang bang shrimp. I'm not sure there was ever a more delicious dish. This savory, spicy dish is the ever so popular appetizer at Bonefish Grill. And today, my friends, you can make it yourselves and have it at home!

Bang Bang Shrimp

The key is the sauce. Um, delicious. Now I know how they make the "spicy aioli" in sushi. And now I know why I love it so much! I think I could eat just about anything with Sriracha on it. It's a thick, chili garlic sauce and it's fabulous! This sauce mixes light mayonnaise in it to dial down the heat, and a little rice vinegar gives it just the tang it needs.

Bang Bang Shrimp
      serves 4
      adapted from my fridge food
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined and cleaned
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 C light mayonnaise
4-5 tsp Sriracha (chili garlic sauce)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
Egg mixture:
1 egg
1/2 to 1 C skim milk
3/4 C panko bread crumbs
3/4 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
Scallions, chopped

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Cover and set aside. Beat the egg and milk together in a shallow dish and set aside. Mix together the ingredients for the breading in a shallow dish and set aside. Cover a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper.
To bread shrimp, dip shrimp in breading, dip in egg mixture, then back in breading. Place breaded shrimp on covered baking sheet. Once all shrimp is breaded, place baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Meanhwile, heat the oil in fryer to 350 degrees. Don't worry if you don't have a fryer; you can also fry these in a shallow skillet over medium high heat. Fry shrimp in batches for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Once all the shrimp is fried, place them in a large bowl and add in about 1/2 of the sauce. Gently stir shrimp and sauce together to coat shrimp. Add more sauce as needed. Top with chopped scallions and serve.

If you haven't tried this dish at Bonefish Grill, you really need to. OR, you can have it homemade! This copy cat recipe is pretty dang close to exactly what the restaurant version tasts like.

The only tip I'll give is to make sure your shrimp is fresh so there isn' a fishy taste. This DIY dish is a new favorite at the Hann house for sure and one more thing crossed off the bucket list!! Just try it; you know you want to!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!!! This is her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing special about this recipe. Except for the fact that it's in almost every one of my Sunday memories gowning up.

And just so y'all know, this was my very first time to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I know. I'm growing up so fast.The funny thing is that for some reason, I was a little nervous that I was going to mess them up. Don't worry; I didn't.

Every Sunday, I would sit Indian style on the kitchen counter while my older sister, Jenny, would make these cookies. She would always double the recipe because there are 7 people in my immediate family, and most of the time, we would also have friends over after church. We would still end up with almost the same amount of cookies as a regular batch though, because we would eat spoonfuls and spoonfuls of the dough at a time. Spoonfuls, I tell you! Some were made with nuts and some with out, "So as not to poison my little sister," my mom would say. Some were baked the full amount of time and some were left a little gooey, the way Dad likes them. Jenny would pile up a big plate of the gooey ones and race upstairs and give them to Dad. I always tagged along, as if I helped or something. Then he would instruct us to "hide the rest so he didn't eat them all," even though I'm pretty sure he knew where they were hidden. Yes, Mom's cookie recipe brings back lots of great memories. And after eating several of this batch, it made me so happy inside and so grateful to have such a wonderful family!

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Becky Munson's recipe {with her notes}
     makes 44
1 C dark brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 C butter flavored Crisco
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips {or mint chocolate, milk chocolate, white, dark or butterscotch}
1 C chopped nuts {In Oregon, she used walnuts. In Oklahoma, she used pecans. I used pecans}

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well mixed.  Add the vanilla and stir, then add the eggs, blending after each.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda, then gradually add to the sugar mixture, stirring after each addition.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and cool on counter top.  Makes about 5 dozen small cookies or 3 dozen large ones."
*Just a quick note, I have a convection, gas oven and wanted to try putting them all in at one time. The oven was on convection at 325 degrees and I baked them for 11 minutes. They came out perfect!

Now, every food blogger has their own favorite verion of this recipe, kind of like a man and his "big fish story." So if you were waiting on me to deliver this line, here you go: 
"These are the best chocolate chip cookies in the world!"


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Steak Soft Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Cilantro Marinade

These steak soft tacos are one of the freshest and easiest dinners I have made in a while. It's as simple as pulling out your food processor, giving your ingredients a whirl, sitting back while the meat soaks up all that flavor, then enjoying a fresh, healthy meal, all while wondering why you ever go out to eat.

Steak Soft Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Cilantro Marinade

The wonderfully raw and fresh taste of the marinade is bursting with flavor and excitement. It doubles as a marinade and a sauce and would also go great on chicken or shrimp.

It's spicy, smokey flavor is balanced by the cooling cilantro and the punch of citrus.

Chipotle-Lime Cilantro Marinade
Zest and juice from two whole limes
1 bunch of cilantro
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 small jalepano, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Put everything in the food processor except for the oil, and pulse a few times. Stream in the oil until everything starts to move together. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed. You will notice that I did not put measurements for the salt, pepper or oil. I don't think it needs much salt because of all the other flavors it has going on. As for the oil, the amount will differ depending on how much juice you get out of your limes. It should look something like this when it is blended together.

Reserve about 1/4th of the marinade for extra sauce for the tacos. Cover and place in the fridge for later.

Chipotle-Lime Cilantro Steak Soft Tacos
2 lbs flank steak or chuck tender steak*
Chipotle-Lime Cilantro marinade
Small tortillas
Fresh lime juice

*I was going to use flank steak but my store was out of it so I used small chuck steaks. Marinade the steak for at about two hours, turning or moving the bag around every 30 minutes or so.
Grill steak to desired doneness, either on a grill pan or on an outdoor grill.

Once the steak is done, remove from grill and cover for a few minutes so the juices can re-distribute in the meat. Then, cut it into slices like fajita meat, or cut it into bite size cubes.

For the tacos, I kept it simple. I didn't add a lot of toppings because frankly, they didn't need them. I just used a little of the reserved marinade as a sauce and top the tacos with extra lime juice and a little fresh cilantro. Perfect!

And just so you know, Hunter Hann doesn't like cliantro, but he kept raving about how much he loved the sauce and how fresh it was. Stick with me kid; I know what I'm talkin' about! :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fig Crostini with a Honey and Walnut Goat Cheese Spread

I may or may not have had all of these for dinner last night. You see, husband was out of town for the weekend and well, he does not care for goat cheese. Poor husband. He doesn't know what he's missing! Oh well, more for me.

Fig Crostini with a Honey and Walnut Goat Cheese Spread

Have you ever had figs before? If you haven't then you don't know what you're missing. The people at Whole Foods looked at me like I was a little crazy when I requested figs out of season {I always do that to them!}but they were super nice and helped me out anyway.

Sometimes I just crave the combination of figs and goat cheese. Mmmmm. Bless you, Whole Foods.

So, raise your hand if you've ever made a big enough appetizer to feed a small party and them eaten them all by yourself. Oh good, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Fig Crostini with a Honey and Walnut Goat Cheese Spread
      makes 8 pieces
French baguette*
Olive oil
4-6 oz pasteurized goat cheese
1/2 C chopped walnuts
2 T honey
4 black mission figs, halved
Balsamic vinegar

Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices and brush both sides with olive oil. Place in the oven under low broil for a few minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix together the goat cheese, walnuts and honey in a small bowl. When the bread is golden brown, take out of the oven and top with goat cheese spread.

Place back in the oven for an additional minute, just until the goat cheese spread has softened. Top with sliced figs and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

*I bought a French baguette for this recipe, but I have seen whole wheat baguettes at Panera Bread before. 

Need other fig recipes? Oh good, cause I've got lots:

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