January 30, 2012
January 28, 2012
Everyday life is boring and dull sometimes. Here is the typical Friday of the average worker bee:
Wake restlessly after pressing the snooze button at least two times.
Roll out of bed. Shower.
Coffee. Skip breakfast.
Traffic. Annoying morning radio DJ talk.
Arrive at work.
Dick around on the computer for at least an hour.
Work tirelessly until lunch.
Lunch. Sigh of relief.
Back to the grind. Semi-snoozing the afternoon away at your desk.
Maybe nobody will notice if you sneak out early.
Boss catches you last minute and asks for some dumb project within the last hour of work.
As you curse your life, you think, “God, I need a vacation!”
Run as if you are being chased by a serial killer to your car. Drive home. Slowed down by traffic.
Get home….Sigh. Take off your work clothes immediately.
Eat dinner and forget the troubles of the day.
Seriously. This is it for most of us. That is why I love food. On those days where you think you need a break or need a vacation, food has the ability to comfort you or take you miles away to a tropical island of serenity and crystal clear waters.
When I am going through one of those days, I let my thoughts meander back to my honeymoon with my husband, inCabo San Lucas,Mexico.
It was my heaven. The food. The weather. I loved it all.
My favorite memory was sitting at an umbrella covered table sipping margaritas all day at this ocean-front restaurant called The Office.
I remember the freshness of the seafood, the cold crisp taste of lime in the margarita, I remember the feel of my feet in the sand, and I remember looking around at all the people with huge smiles on their faces. Not a care in the world. Maybe that’s why everything tasted so good, who knows.
The most beautiful thing they served at the Office was the ceviche. Say it with me: SUH-VEE-CHAY. Good! Basically, when you make ceviche, you are “cooking” fish in the acidity of the fruit or vinegar. The acidity breaks down and denatures the fish, mimicking what happens during the normal cooking process. (There is your Bill Nye the Science Guy lesson for the day).
Back to Mexico…The ceviche was a combination of octopus, tilapia, and crab in lime juice with a little cilantro on top. It came out in a huge margarita glass. It was so simple and still so beautiful and complex.
On days where I want to go back to Mexico, but I can’t, I bring Mexico to my house. Ceviche is so easy to make. Take your favorite fresh fish, add your favorite citrus, a dash of salt and pepper, let it sit for at least an hour, and POOF! A vacation in your mouth!
2 Tilapia Filets
Juice of 2 Limes
1 Kiwi, peeled
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Cilantro
1 Shallot, finely minced
1 Serrano Pepper, seeded and finely minced
Cut the tilapia into small ½ inch cubes.
Peel the kiwi. Slice off the flesh surrounding the seeds. If you get a few kiwi seeds in the slice, it’s ok.
Add the kiwi, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro to a food processor. Blend until completely liquefied.
Add the tilapia to a small bowl, pour the marinade on top of the tilapia, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Mix the finely minced serrano pepper, the finely minced shallot, together in a small bowl with a little bit of chopped cilatro and salt and pepper.
Top the ceviche with a little of the pepper and shallot mixture to cut the sweetness.
Serve with endive, butter lettuce, romaine lettuce, or even a nice fresh ‘slaw. You can eat this solo or in a taco if that scares you too much.
Well, if you need me…I won’t be here, because I am in Mexico.
I hope you will join me!
January 27, 2012
When talking over the upcoming recipes and food ideas to be featured on the blog with my husband, I brought up this recipe. Here is how the conversation went down:
“So, Wednesday is Polish Pork Chops. I don’t know why they are called Polish. Do you?” I asked. “Am I missing something?”
Silence – Husband
“Then Thursday…I don’t know what to call these. They are like boneless buffalo chi…” I started to say.
“Stop! You had me at buffalo.” He said.
Here is how the conversation went down in my husband’s head:
“Woahmp wahmp wahmp. Mwahh waah blah blah?”
(Internal monologue: I wonder how my fantasy basketball team is doing tonight? Did I put deodorant on today?”
“Hmmm… Blah blah buffalo blah.”
(Internal monologue: I wonder if she is going to make me eat a salad again. Wait! Did she just say buffalo?)
My husband seriously wants to eat like everyday is a super bowl party. He could live off buffalo anything, pizza, wings, chips, salsa, and dips. For real.
The sad thing (but awesome for him) is he gains no weight!
I’m just waiting until the day his metabolism slows down. Then these vegetables and salads won’t look so bad!
Ingredients for Chicken Bites
2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
1 Tablespoon of Taco Seasoning
¼ Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Cup Low-fat Cultured Buttermilk
1 Egg, beaten
2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
Vegetable Oil, for frying
Ingredients for Honey Chipotle Lime Sauce
1/3 Cup of Lime Juice
¼ Cup of Honey
1 Tablespoon of Chipotle in Adobo*
½ Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
*Place the entire can of chipotle peppers in a food processor. Process until the chipotle peppers have become a paste.
Ingredients for Parmesan Garlic Sauce
½ Cup of Buttermilk
½ Cup of Grated Parmesan
1 Teaspoon of Grated Garlic
¼ Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
½ Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
Before you say, “There are only two sauces above Stefanie! What the heck!” The third sauce is just whatever buffalo sauce you like plus a ½ tablespoon of unsalted butter. I used Frank’s Buffalo sauce. It is my favorite.
I also kept in mind some of our gluten-free friends, and grilled some chicken breast bites instead of breading and frying them.
FYI This is a great Super Bowl party recipe and also a great recipe for fried chicken breading. It is so good that you can eat the bites without any sauce on them. But, where is the fun in that?!?!
Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Place them in a large dish so they are in one single layer.
Combine the taco seasoning, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; whisk to mix. Season the chicken breast pieces, cover dish with plastic wrap, and then place them in the fridge and store overnight.
Let the seasoned chicken sit out at room temperature for at least an hour before you start frying it.
In a large bowl whisk the egg and buttermilk together. In another large bowl, combine the flour and corn starch using a whisk.
Working with one piece at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk/egg mixture then, let some of the excess drip off before placing it in the flour/corn starch mixture. Coat the chicken in flour, then place it on a pan to slightly dry off before you fry it.
Fill a large non-stick skillet or a cast iron pan about ¾ of the way up with vegetable oil. Heat the oil until it is approximately 320 degrees.
When the oil has come up to temperature, start dropping in five pieces of chicken at a time, and fry them for ten minutes total. Turn them once at the five minute mark.
When about 1/3 of the chicken is fried, toss them with about ½ cup of buffalo sauce. It is best to do this when they are hot, and then place them on a wire rack to drain and cool.
After the next third is done, toss them with the honey chipotle lime sauce and then place them on the wire rack to drain and cool.
If you are grilling some of the bites, grill them for about four minutes per side. Then toss them in whatever sauce you like (I tossed them in the garlic parm) then place them on a wire rack to cool and drain.
Serve up the bites with all the traditional fixins: celery, carrots, blue cheese dressing, and ranch dressing.
Also, if you are feeding somebody like my husband, even though these can be eaten with a fork, I’m sure you will still need lots of napkins.
January 25, 2012
My mom has made these Polish pork chops for as long as I can remember, and to this day I still have no clue why they are inherently Polish.
It’s just pork chops, crushed tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms. What is so Polish about that?
Oh gosh, what if this is some Polish joke I am just too Polish to get?
Maybe it is called Polish because it is just so effortlessly amazing! (Like most of us are).
Ingredients (Serves two)
2, 4oz Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Chops
A Dash of Salt and Pepper (to season the chops)
2 Shallots, sliced
½ Pint of Sliced Button Mushrooms
1 Cup of Crushed Tomatoes
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. Heat a medium skillet over high heat for a minute or two. Add the pork chops to the hot skillet. Sear for a minute to two minutes on each side.
Remove the pork chops from the pan and place on the side. Reduce the heat to medium/low and add in the sliced shallots.
Cook the shallots until they are just starting to turn translucent.
Add in the button mushrooms. Cook the shallots and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes, until both start to carmelize.
Add the pork chops back to the pan.
Cover the pork chops with the crushed tomatoes. Add in the salt and pepper. Place a lid on the chops and cook for fifteen minutes over medium heat.
They aren’t the prettiest, but what they lack in appearance they make up for in taste.
The Polish pork chops are a meal in itself, but also go great with boiled potatoes, rice, or even some buttery egg noodles.
NOTE: If there is some kind of joke I am not getting please don’t tell me, I would like to remain blissfully clueless and proud of my Polish-ness. Thanks.
January 24, 2012