I was working on the Dinner Menu for the week and lamenting the fact that I have a difficult time finding good pita breads in my area. I decided the next time I make the Chicken Pilaf and Cool Dill Dip menu (recipes and photos here) I would try using Fry Bread as a substitute. Then I thought that would make a good topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. (I cannot lie, what really tips the scales for the recipe exchange is which pretty, yummy photo of JeffreyW’s can I highlight)
First up, JeffreyW makes Fry Bread (pictured at top) for Fry Bread Tacos, click here for recipe and great photos. He took the same recipe and sweetened it up with honey, cinnamon and sugar, as pictured below:
Not satisfied with a flat product, he decided to experiment with making it into a bowl and serving it with an awesome soup in his Bean Soup in a Fry Bread Bowl, recipe and photos here.
What’s in your bowl this weekend? Do you have any special or unique family or cultural recipes to share? Hit the comments with your ideas and recipes. I love to add new flavors to my repertoire.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I turn to friend of blog, Aji for a fry bread recipe she sent me months ago, at my request: Read the rest of this entry
Nothing beats pasta for a quick dinner. Friend of blog, LFern, often does pasta and olive oil, tossed with fresh vegetables when she needs a quick meal. I always keep a pint of frozen Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce for quick dinners. And if you need gluten-free, there many choices now in gluten-free pastas. I usually go for a nice brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta, for added flavor to any pasta dish.
I thought for tonight’s recipe exchange it would nice to explore a diversity of flavors in quick pasta meals, moving away from the more traditional tomato or cheese sauces.
Pictured above, JeffreyW does a quick and simple pasta, sauce and cheese. I have my version of that, Hot & Sweet Penne here, which spices things up a bit.
Butternut Squash Pasta (recipe here) is one of my favorite hearty dinners that blends the sweetness of butternut squash with spicy Italian sausage.
Slow-cooker Beef and Pasta Soup, (recipe here) is a nice soup to come home to on a rainy spring evening.
Family favorite, Portuguese Beef and Pasta, recipe here, so simple, with just a few ingredients, but tastes amazing.
For a real taste treat, try this week’s complete dinner menu (and shopping list) Pasta Jambalaya recipe here.
What’s on your menu this weekend? Do you have a favorite, quick and easy pasta recipe? Anyone make their own fresh pasta? Hit the comments and share.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I went with a flavorful vegetarian pasta dish. The recipe calls for green and red peppers, but you can use any variation. When they’re on sale, I usually buy one of each color for a really pretty dish.
Linguine w/Garlic & Peppers
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 oz fresh basil leaves
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes*
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 9 oz pkg. fresh linguine (there are some really good gluten-free pastas out there if needed)
saucepan and skillet
In skillet heat oil, add garlic, red pepper flakes, green & red peppers and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add fresh basil, tomatoes, salt & pepper let simmer while pasta cooks. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Toss with pepper mixture & cheese.
* you can use fresh tomatoes, about 2 large, but I couldn’t find any decent ones this time of year.
I had a great time visiting friends and family in the Los Angeles area. Pictured above, good friend Jackie and new friend Thomas.
I had some awesome beach time at Zuma, Oxnard and Santa Monica beaches. I always feel better and more centered when I can spend time near the ocean. And luckily there are plenty of opportunities. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
There was a great afternoon tea with old friends and catching up with lots of family. I have the best cousins (and my Aunt and Uncle are pretty special, too).
I started my trip in Camarillo, which is a beautiful, quieter oasis north of LA. We went out to eat some pretty amazing food – prime rib, fresh fish, fresh veggies. Then I headed down to LA for the weekend. My first night there was cooking and cooking lessons. But first we had to buy a frying pan.
Then it was a trip to Trader Joe’s for supplies for the menu of Chicken Piccata, Butter Potato Pie and Chocolate Walnut Flourless Cookies. After that we were ready to start the cooking lesson. Chicken Piccata is definitely a good choice if you want to make something simple that looks elegant and tastes amazing. It’s usually served over buttered egg noodles, but this night I let them loose on the blog to pick what they wanted me to cook. It all went together very well. (Click any photo to start slideshow)
The after dinner view was pretty amazing, too.
The next night we went out to eat again. An amazing place, Mercado La Paloma near USC and South Central LA. A place where restaurants can rent a small space in the food court to try out 5-star menus. Flavors abound. The atmosphere is casual and fun. Check out the link here.
We also saw Monuments Men, which despite lackluster reviews I recommend heartily. Good movie, excellent cast and an amazing piece of history. The book is now in my Kindle queue.
Then I wrapped up the trip in Santa Monica, probably my very favorite place in the Los Angeles area. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a great deal of time there and it’s always special. I think that wraps up my travel diary for this trip. Except..
…did I mention there was a cow? And one final picture:
Grateful for good people in my life…..
I have been so busy, I’ve barely been in my kitchen to eat, much less cook, and I’m holding onto several items to post, which hopefully I’ll get to eventually. But until then, once again Joshua D comes to the rescue with another recipe. Thanks Joshua!!!
This is an oldddd dust-off recipe from the long-forgotten files! It’s inspired by a restaurant in Spokane, Washington called Niko’s that serves great Greek food. If you’re one of those unfortunates for whom cilantro tastes like soap, just use Italian parsley. The effect won’t be the same, but I understand the why. This can also be spiced up with a chile if desired.
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Break up beans in the food processor. Add in lime juice, sesame seeds, garlic, and cilantro. Blend until well-ground. Pour in olive oil slowly through the feeding tube until it’s the consistency you want. A wonderfully different take on a Mediterranean classic!
Joshua De Mers
Saturday Night In New Orleans (October 2010)
I’m back from my most excellent week in Los Angeles and Ventura County. I have some great photos and fun food stories to share, but work has been non-stop since I returned, so I haven’t even unpacked my camera from its bag to download the photos. I will do that this weekend.
I was mulling over what to post tonight and realized Mardi Gras is coming up soon and I have a stash of recipes that would fit that theme.
My fall back recipe when I want a touch of creole is Washday Beans and Rice (recipe here)
A trip to New Orleans a few years ago gave me my first taste of authentic Beignets at Cafe Du Monde and Po’boys at Johnny’s, I liked the sandwiches so much, I hunted down some recipes, (click here).
Dinner was fancier, Trout Amandine with Creole Meuniere Sauce (recipe here).
I flew home in time to miss the rain, but managed to drive home in white out conditions. I am so over winter, how about you? What’s on the menu for the weekend? Any favorite Fat Tuesday recipes? Hit the comments.
The featured recipe (pictured above) is from JeffrewW tonight:
Shrimp and Andouille in a Creole Mustard Sauce
- 1 pound uncooked peeled deveined large shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut crosswise on diagonal into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
- 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
- 5 tablespoons Creole mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toss shrimp with Creole seasoning in medium bowl to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add sausage pieces, cut side down. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to bowl. Add shrimp to skillet; cook until browned and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, bell pepper, and thyme to skillet. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth, mustard, and vinegar. Stir until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return sausage and shrimp to skillet. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- 1/3 Cup Paprika
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Garlic
- 4 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1/3 Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 3 Tbsp White Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
- 2 Tbsp Dried Basil
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight container.
Makes about 10 oz.
That’s it for this week. Until next week…. – TaMara
Something about frigid temps makes me crave sweets. So when I was thinking about tonight’s recipes, that is what I was drawn to and lemon themed recipes rose to the top. I suppose because it brings with it a reminder of warmer climates. Which is where I am headed later in the month. Beach weather. I’ll be the pale, wind swept one by the eucalyptus tree.
One of my favorite tangy, sweet desserts is Sour Cream Lemon Poppyseeed Cake, yum, recipe here.
Since next week bring with it the ultimate date night, I thought it would be a good idea to include some special sweets: Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, recipe here and Valentine’s Chocolates, recipes here.
Which is a good time to let you know there will be no recipe exchange next Friday. Do you have Valentine’s plans? Do you go out or stay home and cook? Or do you ignore it all together? (You should probably make sure your romantic partner is on board with that, if that’s your plan. Right?) And during these cold, cold days, what do you like to cook?
And finally, tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top):
Lemon Coconut Layer Cake
I have a friend who loves coconut cream pie. I’m not a big fan, so I’ve never made one. But when I saw a photo of a coconut-lemon cake, I thought she might like it, so I gave it a whirl. The original cake was 6-layers, I just couldn’t fathom that, so I reduced it to a 4-layer cake. Layering is easier to do if you use pie pans instead of cake pans. This eliminates the need to cut each cake in half to achieve thin, even layers. This cake works best if made the night before. Refrigerate so the lemon filling stays firm. And shredded coconut covers any number of baking sins.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 13 oz coconut milk
- 3 eggs, separated
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch pie pans
Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, blending well.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the coconut milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gently fold into the cake batter. Divide evenly and pour into the pans, spreading to the edges. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen and invert onto racks to cool completely.
Lemon cream filling:
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon butter
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes. Cool thoroughly before spreading on the cake layers.
Okay, so all the recipes for lemon filling wanted a double-boiler. I started with one, but after 5 minutes of stirring and not thickening, I changed over to a saucepan and whisked it for 5 minutes while it boiled and thickened and had no issues with it burning or sticking. High altitude may have been the reason for my original troubles. Water boils at a lower temperature here, so the double boiler may not have offered enough heat to thicken the sauce.
Butter Cream Frosting:
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 cups shredded coconut
With a mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
To assemble: Place first layer on cake plate, bottom side up, spread with a third of the lemon filling, sprinkle with coconut, place next layer, bottom side up, repeat and again with the third layer. Place fourth layer, top side up. Frost and garnish with more shredded coconut.
That’s it for this week. On Monday the full dinner menu and shopping list will post and it will be a Valentine’s dinner if you need ideas. Happy Valentine’s Day! – TaMara