Thursday, September 30, 2010

Honey Love!

While I do love my honey, he is not the focus of this particular post. Recently my blog was accepted to the Foodie Blogroll - They like me, they really like me! One of the perks of belonging is that I get to enter for all sorts of give aways and product trials. YAY, Me likes free stuff! This month is a give away featuring Mohawk Valley Trading Company Raw Honey. MMMMM! I am going to try and win me some and if I win make an attempt at making some Greek pastries. My former brother-in-law was married to a Greek girl and her mother would make some of the most delicious pastries I have ever eaten. They had phyllo, almonds and honey and were called some Greek tongue twister that I could never pronounce correctly. I am going to have do a little research in finding the recipe. Once I see the ingredient list I'll know if I am on the right track or not. I have confidence. Wish me luck!

OK, So after a fairly exhaustive internet search for the pastries I am thinking of, I found NOTHING! Zero, Bupkis! But, I did find a recipe for a Greek donut soaked in honey syrup. They looked pretty awesome and I can't wait to try them so let's hope I win me some honey!



1 large cake yeast
2 egg yolks
8 oz. whole milk (lukewarm)
4 oz. water
2 c. cake flour
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of salt
oil for frying
16 oz. jar honey
1 c. water
chopped nuts

Melt yeast cake with a little milk; add eggs, rest of
milk, water, sugar and as much flour as it will take to form a
loose dough. Let mixture rise in a warm place about 1 hour.
Drop spoonfuls of mixture in hot oil and fry until all sides
are golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to
absorb excess oil. Dilute honey with water and warm in large
pan. Dip loukoumades in honey; remove and roll in chopped
nuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve warm. Excellent for
brunch or as a dessert served with fruit.


Monday, September 27, 2010

My Apologies

I have been somewhat remiss in my postings of late. But I have a good excuse. I have been sick as a dog the past few days. I mean "somebody shoot me an put me out of my misery" sick! It was a sinus-throat thing and I while I put up a good fight, it kicked my ass! Thank goodness for Amoxycillin! One think I have to have when I am sick is spicy food. It's the only thing I can taste! I made a fantastic batch of enchiladas. Of course I forgot to take a picture. I have to admit to feeling rather silly photographing my dinner. I promise I'll work on getting over that. I will, however, leave you with the recipe when I get a free moment.

Erika's Pork Enchiladas

1 pound leftover roast pork butt or shoulder or leftover pulled pork, trimmed
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs chili powder
1Tbs cumin
3-5 hot peppers, jalapeno, serrano, chipotle, chopped
Generous handful chopped cilantro
1 Tbs oil

Corn tortillas
oil for frying

1 can prepared enchilada sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in a large pan and saute onions, garlic and pork until onions and garlic are soft. If using roast pork, process mixture in a food processor to get a pulled pork like consistency. Be careful not to make paste. If using pulled pork there is no need to do this. Return mixture to pan and add peppers, chili powder and cumin and continue to saute. Remove from heat and add cilantro. Set aside to cool.

While the filling is cooling prepare the corn tortillas by quickly frying them in a lightly oiled pan to soften.

Pour enough of the enchilada sauce into a 9x13 roasting pan to coat bottom. Place a few Tbs of filling across the tortilla and roll them into tube. Place the filled tortillas in the baking dish. Once dish is full pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas, top with cheddar cheese and bake at 350 until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve with sliced avocados, sour cream and chopped lettuce and tomatoes.

This recipe works well with chicken and beef as well and you can also add beans. The filling combinations are endless!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Surrender!

So, after spending all that time yesterday dissing the lowly casserole, I ended up going home and making one, LOL! It was a squash casserole and OMG was it good. Better than it looked for sure, LOL! Now, my burning question is this- is a casserole truely a casserole if there is no meat in it? This came to mind as I was preparing it and the thought stemmed from an episode of Throwdown I saw on the Food Network. It was the macaroni and cheese throwdown that pitted Bobby Flay against Phildalphia's sweetheart, Miss Delilah (She really does make some awesome macaroni and cheese, BTW). On that show Delilah stated that if you put meat into your macaroni and cheese then it is no longer macaroni and cheese, it's a casserole. So, if I don't have meat in my casserole does that make it an au gratin?

Summer Squash Casserole

2 lbs. (about 6 C.) yellow squash or zucchini
1 C. chopped onion
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 C. sour cream
½ C. butter or margarine (melted)
1 package herb seasoned stuffing (or 4 C. dry stuffing)

In a saute pan cook sliced squash and onions. Combine soup and sour cream. Fold in squash and onions. Combine stuffing mix and butter or margarine. Spread half of this mixture in a 12 x 7 ½ x 2 baking dish. Layer with vegetable mixture and top with remaining stuffing mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until well heated.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feeling Uninspired

I think it has something with all the cooking I did last weekend between the chili cook off and the cookout at our house the following day. After 3 batches of rice krispie treats, corn chowder, tortellini salad, and a batch of stuffed shells, quite frankly, I don't feel much like cooking lately. The last two days were pizza and chinese take out. I have been on kitchen strike! Although I must admit that I can feel my cooking mojo starting to return. Lately, I have been thinking about casseroles. I have a love/hate thing with casseroles. They are delicious and I love the simplicity of their preparation and clean up but at the same time find them lazy and visually unpleasing. Let's be honest here, most of them look like vomit. That's why you always have to sprinkle a topping on them. But they are quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to make and I can certainly appreciate that. Maybe it's just my inner food snob coming out.
I also have a pork loin in the freezer that has been beckoning me. Since we are having company next week I will be scouring the tomes for the perfect recipe. I think I would like to stuff it with vegetables and cheese. Maybe brie? I have had brie on the brain lately, too. Or perhaps some smoked gouda? Fontina? GAWD, too many choices! One thing is for sure and that's scalloped potatoes to go with it. whatever "it" ends up being. I'll try to remember to take pictures too since I have nothing to show for all of my cooking efforts last weekend. But I will leave you with my corn chowder recipe. It is a relatively thin chowder but you could certainly thicken it with a roux if you wanted to. It was delicious and perfect for a damp and chilly day.

Erika's Corn Chowder

1/2 pound sliced bacon
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 carrot, shredded
2 large stalks celery chopped fine
6 ears corn, roasted in the husk
2-3 potatoes peeled and diced
1 large box chicken broth
1-2 Tbs chicken base (the paste stuff)
1 C cream

Fry bacon until crisp. Reserve fat. Chop bacon and put aside.
Saute onion, carrot and celery in reserved fat until soft.
While vegetables are sauteing cut kernels from corn cobs.
In a large stock pot bring chikcen broth to a boil. Add corn cobs to broth and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, scraping any remaining kernel bits from cobs. After about 10 minutes remove and discard cobs.
Add sauted vegetables to stock pot along with corn kernels and diced potatoes and continue simmering.
Add chicken base. Salt to taste.
When potatoes are cooked turn off heat and add cream and chopped bacon to stock pot. Stir.
Taste again for salt and add if necessary.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What the Hell am I going to Make?

I have a serious dilemma here, folks. This weekend is the third anniversary of our non-profit organization ( An occasion that we always celebrate with a huge party featuring a chili cook-off. Now, before you all jump up and scream, "Make Chili, Dumbass", you need to know that I plan on riding my motorcycle to the event. That's a 1 hour ride each way. So, no crockpot will be coming with me. I suppose I could quadruple saran wrap some tupperware containers and try to reheat over a bonfire but I just know that shit would just spill all over my saddlebags and be a stinking mess by the time I got there. Besides, there will already be about 10 pots of chili without mine so, really, is anybody going to miss it? I think not. I am thinkng I should bring a dessert. Something that would travel well on the back of a motorcycle. Obviously cakes and pies are OUT. I know everybody there will be wanting me to bring my peanut-butter filled chocolate cupcakes but, again, I am afraid they will be reduced to nothing but a gloppy mess during the ride. Cupcakes + one hour of vibration = mess. Wouldn't you agree? So now I am thinking rice krispie treats or some variation thereof. I have a bag of toasted coconut marshmallows that may work well for something like that. I am thinking if I use them with choloate chips and golden grahams cereal I may end up with something akin to a Samoa cookie or at least a tropical s'more. I mean, it couldn't possibly be BAD, could it? I guess I'll have to give it the old college try and let you know how it turns out.

UPDATE! The toasted coconut marshmallows, when combined with golden grahams cereal and Hershey's mini kisses, made for one heck of a tasty treat. It survived the saddle bags with flying colors, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dinner was AWESOME!

It was so good even husband said I should have taken a picture! Of course, this revelation came about halfway through it, so by then it was too late. We had already happily scarfed down most of my delicious creation. What was this delightful dish you ask? Stuffed London broil! You see, last night was date night for us and I promised to make something special for dinner. I made the stuffing, rolled it, and tied it, and marked it with a "B", and baked it in the oven for hubby and me. 50 minutes at 350. I then wrapped it in foil and let it rest a good 20 minutes before cutting into it. I served it with rice pilaf and steamed broccoli. Husband was practically singing with delight as he ate. That made me so very happy! Hope he saves me some of the leftovers!

Stuffed London Broil

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks
6 chopped, sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
8 ounces Italian Fontina, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 London broil (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat, butterflied and tenderized

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, scallions, parsley, salami, tomatoes, Fontina, Parmigiano, and bread crumbs and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and mix well with your hands or a spoon. Set aside.

Cut ten 15 inch-long pieces of kitchen twine. Open up the butterflied steak, arranged so the grain of the meat is parallel to you. Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the beef, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the side furthest from you; press and gently pack the stuffing mixture onto the beef to keep it in place. Starting from the side nearest to you, roll up the meat like a jelly roll, pressing any stuffing that falls out of the ends back into the roll. Tie the beef tightly with twine, spacing the ties evenly about every 1 1/2 inches. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes in a foil lined roasting pan. Once cooked, wrap the roast in foil and let it rest for a good 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. Cut into rounds to serve

Friday, September 3, 2010

The urge to Bake and eat Burgers

Lately I have been thinking about baking. I don't know why. I am a sucky baker. I hate to measure stuff, I hate getting flour all over everything and I don't even know how to set my oven timer. Yet, I find myself with an almost overwhelming urge to bake something, anything. Perhaps it's because a lot of the other food blogs I have been reading are featuring delicious looking baked goods? Perhaps it's because summer is winding down, the heat has finally broken and it's fathomable to actually turn the oven on. Perhaps it's because I love the smell of baking bread. I don't know. I also find myself CRAVING burgers in a fierce way. The thing is I want a non-traditional burger like a greeen chili burger or a turkey burger with avocados on it and hot sauce. Something along those lines. Maybe I should look into baking some hamburger buns or portuguese rolls to put burgers on. Hmmmm. I just might be onto something here!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Solution to my Chinese Food Dilemma

So, I have already come clean about my Chinese food addiction and how my body revolts every time I eat it. But my name is Erika and I'm a Chinese foodaholic so I keep eating it anyway. Last night I decided to try my own hand at making it figuring that it would give me more control over what is in it and thus I would not wake up bloated and dehydrated. I have always been intimidated by the prospect of cooking Chinese food. The concept seems so simple - high heat - yet I just never could master it. So, for this I opted for a fairly simpified and Americanized take on Chinese food and it was pretty darn good. I actually adapted the recipe from an Asian style pasta salad recipe and I think it worked out rather nice. I subbed rice noodles for the regular lo mein noodles (i.e. spaghetti) because it was too hot in the kitchen to have water boiling for that long. What I ended up with was a meal that not only made for a delicious hot dinner but would also work well as a cold salad. And, Today I do not feel bloated and cranky! Guess what's for dinner tonight! LOL!

Spicy Asian Style Noodle Dinner

1/2 C. soy sauce
2 t. olive oil
1 t. sesame oil
1 t. crushed red pepper, or to taste (you may want to start with less)
1 t. minced garlic (I used more like a tablespoon. Me likes garlic)
1 t. Sriracha hot sauce (Thai hot chile sauce marked Tuong Ot Sriracha on the label)

salt, to taste
1 (16 oz.) package spaghetti or fettuccine or rice noodles
2 C. shredded napa cabbage
1 C. shredded carrots
1/2 C. diced red pepper
1 C. broccoli florets - blanched
1 C. snow or sugar snap peas
1/2 C. chopped cilantro leaves
2 C. cooked chicken, shrimp or beef (optional)- I cooked the meat, in this case chicken, in some of the vinagrette

For Vinaigrette:
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, garlic and Sriracha hot sauce. Set aside.

For Noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling bowl, add salt to taste, then add noodles and stir. While noodles are cooking, prepare the cabbage, carrots, red pepper, cilantro and chicken, shrimp or beef. When noodles are done, drain and immediately pour into a large bowl.

Add vinaigrette, vegetables and meat or fish; stir to combine thoroughly. Serve.