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Friday, April 29, 2011

Chayote Stir-Fry

I was at Whole Foods earlier this week trying to hunt down some Rhubarb... Whole Foods does a fantastic job of setting up their shelves and providing the consumer with information on each of the products they are offering.
Because of this beautiful display (see below) I noticed a funny looking veggie called a Chayote. It looked like a green bum. I mean look at this thing! So funny looking I had to buy it.
I also had some vermicelli noodles that I was dying to cook as well... so why not make a little stir fry with my green Chayote. It tastes pretty neutral - the texture is similar to an asian apple-pear, fresh, watery and crisp but light. 

Chayote Stir-Fry
Serves 1 person
  • 1 Chayote chopped up
  • 1/4 cup peppers - chopped
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup broccoli
  • 3 cloves diced garlic
  • General Tsao's sauce from Trader Joes
  • Vermicelli noodles - how ever many you want to eat
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

  1. Soak the noodles for either 10 minutes in cold water, or 2 minutes in hot water
  2. Dice up and mix up your veggies and garlic, pop them into a frying pan and sautee those suckers for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in your sauce and chicken stock, I like a lot of sauce so I added about half a jar
  4. Sautee that all together for another 5 minutes
  5. Add noodles, and cook for another 5 minutes or so
  6. Plate and serve. Pretty simple yet tasty!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Strawberry Orange Tart and Pizza

My brother is an interesting character. Like myself, he loves to cook as well. Late in the date yesterday he pops me a note to say that a few of my cousins are headed into town wanted to know if I wanted to hang. Of course I do and ask my bro what they are doing... he replies with "Um, we're not sure yet..." So I offer to make everyone dinner and dessert if they come to my house.

He was game. He is also trying to master his pizza recipe as well and brought over some fixings and a pizza stone. I don't have the recipe for that yet but I'm thinking he may need to do a guest post once he finalizes it. Either way, the pizza stone is in my oven until he comes to get it again and I'm pretty happy about that. YAY!

While he was making pizza, I made a tart-thingy. I really wanted to make Strawberry Rhubarb pie but it's about a week too early for rhubarb to strawberry orange was the next best thing.

I'll warn you now - the taste is delightful but the recipe is a little soupy...

2 packages of strawberries
1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup flour
1 pad butter
1 sheet of pastry dough (or you could use pie crust)

  • Take one package of strawberries and chop them up into bit-sized chunks. Not too small otherwise they get super mushy
  • Cut off the rind and cut up the orange into bit-sized chunks. Save some of the rind so you can zest it - only about 1 tsp worth - you only are going to use about 1/2 to 3/4 of it. The orange brings out the flavor of the strawberries
  • Add about 1/8 cup of water and 1/8 cup of suger to a sauce pan and heat that up to make a little simple syrup
  • Add the cut-up strawberries, oranges and zest to the pan and cook it till it gets a little juicy - slowly - about 7 or 8 minutes
  • Add in the pad of butter and the flour to thicken the sauce and let it cook again for another 5 to 8 minutes - just before the fruit gets too mushy
  • Slice up the other package of strawberries so they are lengthwise - see the photo and lay them on top of the mushy fruit mixture - do one layer at a time then sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar then layer the next set of strawberries on top of that. 
  • In the meantime, prep your pastry dough into a pan - I used a pie pan and trim the edges. We used the trimmings to make a little design on the top
  • Pour the filling into the pan and bake the mixture for about 15 - 20 minutes till the pastry dough is cooke
  • EAT! It's messy but so tasty - we topped it with a little cookie dough ice cream. Yum.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pasta again...

You could say I'm obsessed with getting the homemade pasta recipe perfect...

I think I finally did it. Or at least - this recipe was awesome so neener neener. Ready? Think you can handle the awesome pasta action? Ok. Here we go.

  • 1 1/4 cup pasta flour - durham or 00. This really makes all the difference. 
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup potato flour - I had some on hand and i've been trying to figure out what to do with it, so why not throw it in there too!
  • 3 LARGE pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of ground pepper
  • 3 eggs

  • Dump all your flour together on the table top and make a little crater in the middle
  • Drop the eggs into the middle and start mixing in the flour slowly from the middle of the crater till  you get it thick enough to mix with your hands.
  • Mix the dough up and then let it rest for about 30 min covered with a damp cloth or paper towel. This allows the gluten to form and makes it easier to work with.
  • Cut the dough into 4 small balls and start running them through your pasta maker
  • Pop the finished pasta into a bowling pot of water - the water should have a little salt added to it
  • After the pasta is in the pot - drizzle in a little bit of olive oil. This helps the pasta not stick together
  • Cook that sucker to your taste and you're ready to enjoy!

Let me know how yours turns out.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flavoring Vodka - Rosemary Lemon

Let's talk about Vodka. defines vodka as "an unaged, colorless, distilled spirit, originally made in russia." It's also my liquor of choice. So many things you can do with Vodka. Yum. With that said - I've been doing a lot of flavoring of Vodka - mango vodka, ginger pear vodka, apple cinnamon vodka, and the most recent and VERY successful Lemon Rosemary. Here's the skinny and the key to flavoring vodka - dark, dry, even temperature location.

Rosemary and Lemon Vodka
- 6-8 lemons
- 3/4 of a handle of cheap vodka - cheaper the better because there is a
   lot in the vodka to take on the flavor
- 2 packages of rosemary from Trader Joes

I sliced and quartered the lemons - leaving the rind on but next time I think i'm gonna take it off. The two different types of cuts are so more of the vodka is touching the lemon.

Fill the bottle to the top and store in a dry dark place for 1 week. We got large jugs from TJ Maxx to fill Worked out great! Make sure you fill the bottle to the top and there is no rosemary or lemon popping out otherwise it could affect the flavor by going bad.

Make sure to test after a few days - depending on the amount of vodka it may take less or more time to get a full flavor.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guinness Cupcakes, Margarita Cake and Vegan Brownies

I've been a HUGE posting slacker recently but I have been cooking up a storm!!!! Of course as a photographer I've been taking photos of everything (cough cough)... yeah well sometimes I get lazy. I do have a few photos on my phone so here we go!

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting
These are worth the effort - although the recipe calls for a Jamison Ganache in the middle but I skipped that part. They have a very unique flavor that the beer gives the cake part. Enjoy!
Click HERE for the recipe!

Margarita Cupcakes
Same recipe but I made it as a cake... probably my favorite cake recipe to date! So moist and delicious. If you make the recipe as a cake - you can cut the frosting recipe in half - you don't need all that frosting... I mean I DID put a pretty healthy layer on here but ... oh well.
Get the recipe HERE.

(Gosh that's a terrible photo! Darn phone camera and my laziness!)

Vegan Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
HUGE hit at work here. The chocolate chips are a nice surprise as well. I also feel like these cupcakes/brownies keep longer than regular ones do.
Click HERE for the recipe.