Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Citrus Scallops and Quinoa

Looking for a healthy and delicious dinner? Be sure to try out this healthy scallop dish! It was inspired by a recipe in the Food Network Magazine. While my love likes to follow directions when it comes to food...we've made a few baby tweaks along the way.

Citrus Scallops with Quinoa (Serves 3-4)
Time: 40min Prep and Cook

- 1c of Quinoa (Rinsed)
Quinoa can be found in many grocery and health stores, you can substitute couscous or bulgar if necessary. Quinoa is high in protein and very versatile to cook with!
- 2C Water or Chicken Broth
- 2 Oranges Juiced
- 2-3 Tangerines Juiced
- 1-2tbsp Sugar
- 1tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1tsp Crushed Coriander Seeds
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- Sea Scallops with tough foot muscles removed (3-4/person depending on size)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat pan
- Chives Chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. I like to use 2c water to 1c quinoa. Add quinoa, water, and salt to saucepan and boil over high heat. Reduce and simmer until water is absorbed, about 13mins.
  2. Grate 1tsp orange zest and juice your citrus into a bowl.  Add sugar to a medium heat pan until amber, about 5 mins. Remove from heat and add your juices, vinegar, zest, and coriander. Return to heat and boil until you get a thicker consistency, about 8 mins. Remove from heat, add butter and set aside.
  3. Season scallops on one side with salt and pepper.  Add oil and heat pan to medium, add scallops and cook for 4-5mins and sear. Flip and cook other side until golden for another 2-3mins.
  4. Plate quinoa and scallops. Add your citrus juice to the scallops and top with a good sprinkle of chives!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The one where Dolly gets her back scratched

We recently applied tick and flea repellent on Dolly's back...meaning she will rub her back on anything she can get to! When my love started scratching her back the other day, she had a purely blissful look on her face. You know it's awesome when her foot starts tapping like thumper! I was so amused by her face I couldn't resist but ruin her moment and snap some photos!

That's the spot!

I'm so happy!

Mom, really? 

Filled Crescent Rolls

In "celebration" of Hurricane Irene I made another batch of Crescent Rolls filled with all kinds of sweet goodness! Hope everyone is staying dry and safe this weekend.

Nutella Filled Crescent Rolls
Time: 7mins Prep and 12mins Cook

- Crescent Rolls
- Peanut Butter
- Nutella
- Chocolate/Peanut Butter Chips
- Banana

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Place the crescent rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Get creative and put your favorite fillings on and roll them up! My favorite was the nutella and bananas, my love preferred the peanut butter and chocolate chips. 
  4. Place the rolled crescents into the oven for about 12 minutes and enjoy! You can let them cool, but I like to eat them while they are still hot and gooey!
P.S. If anyone can think of a "cooler" name for my man, please give some suggestions. I once called him "Prince Charming" and he asked why he couldn't have a cool name like Marlboro Man, PW's husband.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Devils Food Cake Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

This is one of my favorite combinations in the whole world rolled up into a super easy cookie! I first had this cookie in college when an old friend received these from her mom in a care package.  Since then these cookies have become "deployment cookies" which isn't a very fun name. In order to change it around, I've been trying to make them a little more often, you know because they are so "good" for you.

Devils Food Cake Cookies
Time: 10mins Prep and 10-11mins Cook

- 2 Eggs
- 1/2c Oil
- 1/2c Chocolate Chips and 1/2c of Peanut Butter Chips
- 1tbsp Water or Coffee
- 1 Devils Food Cake Mix 

  1. Add the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water/coffee to a bowl and mix.
  2. Add the chips into the batter and mix in.
  3. Place the batter into the fridge for about 10-15 mins (Optional).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 and roll the mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 10-11 mins and cool the cookies. 

Be careful not to over bake these cookies! Your cookies will not have the white spots that mine do, this was the first time that I used the Duncan Hines batter and it has little powdered sugar balls that I couldn't completely break. Enjoy these bad boys!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chorizo with Eggs and Potatoes

Growing up in the southwest, my LOVE  for Mexican food was inevitable. Lucky for me my parents own a grocery store that has been making homemade chorizo for decades! It has a great flavor and a nice spicy kick! I recently put together a yummy plate of chorizo heaven and it was delicious! Have a great weekend friends!

Chorizo with Eggs and Potatoes (Serves 8-10)
Time: 7mins Prep and 15mins Cook

- 4-6 Eggs Whisked
- 6 Red Potatoes Chopped
- 2lbs of your favorite Chorizo Sausage, casing removed
- Shredded Cheese
- Salsa and Sour Cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Favorite tortillas ( I purchased tortillas from a local burrito restaurant)
  1. Heat up a pan to medium and lightly cover in olive oil, put your evenly chopped potatoes (with or without skins) and cook for about 8-10mins. Covering the pan will help it cook faster.
  2. Once the potatoes are tender, add the chorizo and break up with a masher or spatula.
  3. Before they are fully done cooking, add your whisked eggs and mix it in to the chorizo (8-10mins).
  4. Plate and top with your shredded cheese!
This is how I'm used to eating breakfast chorizo out west and I love it, hope you do too! Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find chorizo that is not prepared in a casing. If this is the case, just remove the chorizo from the casing. Keep an eye out, maybe one day I'll post a recipe on how to make your own chorizo sausage!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Puffs

I made these French Breakfast Puffs as a part of a recent brunch with friends. The recipe is from the fun and spunky kitchen of Pioneer Woman.

I must add that I accidentally added a little too much baking powder, but they still turned out pretty good. Now I'm excited for how much better they will be the next time I make them...without extra baking powder!

The Usual Suspects

Dipping the puffs in butter and rolling them in cinnamon and sugar...mmmm

The recipe makes 12 delightful puffs...

Try making these for your next gathering, how could butter and cinnamon sugar ever disappoint?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Casual Gourmet

This past week myself and a few girlfriends attended a Pasta 101 class through The Culinary Institute of Virginia. They offer a variety of Casual Gourmet classes for the passionate home cook. Not only did we get to keep the aprons, but it was another great evening spent with a few amazing ladies.

The class started off with our instructor, Chef Dave Miller walking us through the basics of making homemade pasta and showing us our menu for the evening. After the introduction we all returned to our stations and worked in groups of 2-3 to create our 5 dishes. A few students from the institute were also available to us for questions and assistance.

- Fresh Spaghetti with Aglio e Olio
- Fresh Fetuccini Bolognese
- Fresh Ravioli with Blue Crab Filling, Artichoke Hearts, Brie and Basil *
- Bucatini Carbonara with Peas and Cream *
- Orecchiette Salad
* Recipe noted at the bottom, If you want any of the other menu items just let me know!

I worked with a girlfriend to create the Fresh Raviolis. We began by using the manual pasta machine to  work our dough to the correct thickness. Once that was achieved, we then placed our crab and brie filling on the pasta and proceeded to make our delicious raviolis!

While she boiled our raviolis, I sauteed the olive oil, garlic and artichokes for our light sauce. I personally love these kind of sauces as they really showcase the delicious simplicity of the pasta. The final product was served with fresh torn basil and a generous hand full of parmigiano. 

While making our pasta, I thought to myself what a fun evening it would be spent with a bottle or two of vino and some good friends. We're definitely going to head back for a private class for our group! If you love cooking and want to learn some new tips and recipes, I would highly recommend attending a similar class. If you're not in the Hampton Roads area I'm sure you can look into your local culinary schools!

Egg Pasta
- 4oz Bread Flour
- 4oz Semolina
- 2 Eggs
- 1tbsp Water
- 1tsp EVOO
- 1/4tsp Salt

1. Mix Flour with salt and make a well in the center.
2. Mix eggs with water and olive oil and pour into well.
3. Sitr from center until it comes together, cut into four pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour. 

Fresh Ravioli with Blue Crab and Brie
- 2 packages of fresh pasta
- 6tbsp Salt
- 10 oz Crab Meat
- 1/2lb Brie Cheese, Softened
- Pepper to Taste
- 2tbsp fresh chopped Garlic
- 6oz Artichoke hearts chopped
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2tsp Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan Cheese, grated
- Salt and Pepper 

1. Make raviolis into desired shape and cook in simmering salted water, no more than 7 minutes.
2. Mix together your brie and crabmeat for filling.
3. In a pan saute artichokes and garlic in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the raviolis.
4. Top ravioli with lemon juice and torn basil leaves. Finish with a generous garnish of parmesan cheese.

Bucatini Carbonara
- Package of Bucatini Noodles
- 2tbsp Olive Oil
- Pancetta Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 1/2c cream
- 1/2c fresh green peas
- 1/4c Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2c Egg Yolks

1. Heat oil and cook pancetta, lightly saute garlic and add cream. Simmer 2-3min.
2. Add cheese and peas. Cook 2 more minutes at slow simmer.
3. Slowly add some of the sauce into your mixed yolk and stir. You don't want to "cook" your eggs. Once you have tempered the yolks add it into the sauce. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and toss with pasta. 
Add extra pancetta, cream, etc. to your liking if necessary!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Yes I said it...Bacon wrapped Jalapeno Poppers! I made these for the first time last Christmas and everyone loved them! They are easy to put together for a party or you can just make a few for yourself. YUM!!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers (Makes 30)
Time: 20min Prep and 25min Cook
- 30 Toothpicks (Soaked in Water)
- 15 Jalapenos
- 15 Slices of Bacon
- 12z Cream Cheese
- 1c Cheese Shredded
Optional: Fresh herbs, maybe some cilantro?

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Mix your cream cheese and shredded cheese and put aside. 
  3. Slice your jalapenos in half length-wise and remove seeds. I like to use plastic gloves when I do this step, because I would probably rub my eye on accident afterwards...
  4. Slice your bacon in half.
  5. Put your cheese mixture into the jalapeno and wrap it with a half slice of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure the poppers.
  6. Place these babies in the oven and wait patiently...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home of the Brave

Praying for the troops who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Please send your thoughts and prayers to their families.

"This land will only remain the land of the free so long as it is the home of the brave" - Elmer Davis

"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong." - James Bryce

Strawberry Zabaglione at Aldo's

After watching Zabaglione/Sabayon being made on numerous cooking shows I was excited to see it on the dessert menu at Aldo's last night. In case you haven't heard about this dessert, Zabaglione is a simple and delicious Italian custard made of egg yolks, sugar, and marsala wine.

The zabaglione was served inside a candied pecan shell with fresh strawberries and topped with a chocolate drizzle.  It was a nice light finish to dinner and great to share!

 As you can see...we hated it. Really, it was just terrible! I can't wait to try to make this at home!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tennis Ball

Dolly is finally playing with her tennis ball! Have a fantastic weekend friends, look out for bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers.

There she goes!

Making her daddy proud!

All ears!

 And she's done!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Korean Fried Rice

Korean Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokum Bap)...just the way mama makes it!  I made this recipe for my love this weekend and thankfully it was another success for recreating my parents Korean food!

Korean Fried Rice (Serves 6-7)
Time: 15mins Prep and 30mins Cook
- 4c of cooked Rice
- 2-3tbsp Butter
- 6-8 slices of chopped Bacon 
- 1c Carrots, Minced
- 2c Potatoes, Minced
- 1/2 Onion, Diced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2-3tbsp Soy Sauce (Optional)
- 1-2c diced Kimchi
- Salt and Pepper

 If you have never tried kimchi, this could be your opportunity! While the description of "spicy fermented vegetables" may not intrigue you, it is delicious and healthy. The cooked kimchi adds a nice flavor to the fried rice, it also tastes different than kimchi on its own.  Click here for a mini article about kimchi from If you can find these,try these brands: Bing Gre, Cosmos, and Chin Jung.

  1. Cook your chopped bacon for 4-5mins, make sure they don't get crispy. 
  2. Drain your bacon on a few sheets of paper towels and wipe the pan of bacon grease.
  3. Add your butter and cook your carrots and potatoes for 4-5mins on medium/medium low covered.
  4. Add your onion and kimchi and toss together for another 4-5mins with the other vegetables to marry the flavors. 
  5. Put your rice and bacon into the pan and mix well!  Add salt and pepper to taste, you can enjoy as is or take it another step further!

Omurice (Optional)
You can add in scrambled eggs or make a thin omelet like my mama does! The recipe below is adjusted for two thin omelets.

- 2-3 whisked Eggs
- Olive Oil 
  1. Add enough olive oil to your pan to coat
  2. Pour some of your egg mixture onto the pan and turn your pan to coat it with the eggs.
  3. You will create a very thin "omelet," let it sit for a few minutes until you can flip it.
  4. Once it is cooked, put in on top of your fried rice and enjoy! 
I like to add a little ketchup and/or Sriracha hot sauce! 

Note: When reheating fried rice in microwave, cover the rice with a wet paper towel. It will give some moisture back to the rice.