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Blueballs & Rum Punch

My sister is getting married in less than two weeks, and this past Saturday I threw her bachelorette party.  I bought lots of silly things for the party, like a 5 foot tall blow up man and a penis ice cube tray!  While driving home one day I had the best idea ever – to freeze blueberries into the ball part of the penises to make little blueball penis icecubes!  It worked wonderfully.  Also, I made rum punch (sugar free!) and used a bundt pan to make a super cute ice block to keep the libation cold.

Here are some photos:

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s easiest to fill the tray with ice FIRST, then place the berries. Also, I had to pick out all the smaller berries.

Such a big hit!

Delicious rum punch recipe to follow. For the ice block, place whatever fruit you want to freeze into the ice into the pan, then fill with an inch or two of water and freeze. Once the first part is frozen, fill the rest of the pan with ice and freeze into one big block.

Rum Punch Recipe

What you need:

  • 1/2 to 2/3 of a gallon (handle) of white rum, I used Bacardi
  • Two 2 liter bottles of Diet Sprite, 7-up, Sierra Mist, whatever
  • One packet of fruit punch crystal light

What to do:

  1. In a really, really big bowl (like seriously huge), mix the soda and crystal light powder together
  2. Pour in half a gallon of rum, taste, and see if you want more.  You should be able to taste it slightly.
  3. Mix very well, and serve!
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Shrimp & Corn Chowder

This is REALLY good, you guys.  And pretty easy, too.  It was also a learning experience for me, because I didn’t know what the heck Old Bay Seasoning was, I just thought it was bay – glad I checked before putting a tablespoon of bay into the chowder!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
  • 2 jalapenos, diced, save the seeds and add them as well, if you want a bit of spice.
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (so I didn’t have this, so I just did a mix of the following, but it totaled to probably 2 tablespoons: a lot of Ground bay leaves, at least a teaspoon of celery salt, two pinches of paprika, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, salt, pepper)
  • 2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears corn)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

What to do:

  1. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and jalapenos (seeds, too) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and Old Bay Seasoning and cook, stirring, until the flour is lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk, chicken stock and the rice. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the corn and shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp curl and turn opaque, about 3 minutes.
  5. Season the chowder with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and top with the scallion greens.

Baked Rolled Tacos

This is a really great way to recreate rolled tacos at home, without the mess and added fat of frying.  It is a bit time intensive, but if you have a rolling partner, and you make a whole big batch, it’s worth it.

What you need:

  • Turkey/ chicken/ whatever meat you are using
  • onion
  • taco spice
  • garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth for tortillas, 1 cup for browning meat
  • corn tortillas
  • olive or canola oil, spray
  • toothpicks

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Cook meat (if not already cooked).  For ground turkey meat, brown in a skillet w/ 1 cup chicken broth, diced onions, minced garlic and taco seasoning.  
  3. In another shallow skillet, simmer 2 cups chicken broth for 10 minutes
  4. Once the chicken broth is warm, dip tortillas in, 1-2 at a time, and let soak in broth for a few minutes.  Afterwards, the tortilla should be pliable enough to roll up without breaking.  Continue until all tortillas are done.  
  5. Spray olive or canola oil onto a baking sheet.
  6. Put 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture onto each tortilla, then roll up tortilla.  Secure with a toothpick through the rolled taco.
  7. Place the rolled tacos onto sheet, and coat with oil spray.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy.

Just out of the oven

These babies are great when paired with tomatillo salsa and refried beans!  Enjoy!

Red Pepper Aioli

There is this burger place called Stacked where you build your own burger/ salad/ pizza/ pasta via an ipad at the table.  It’s a total novelty, but also the ingredients are legit and make for a great burger.  It was at Stacked where I discovered red pepper aioli.  You guys, I don’t really like bell peppers, and aioli sometimes grosses me out, depending on the consistency, but this red pepper aioli was the bomb.com.  I had to recreate it, and last night I finally did.  Excuse the lack of photos, but its a pretty simple recipe.

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

What to do:

  1. Cook garlic in a saucepan on medium high with olive oil, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the red peppers directly on a stovetop gas burner over high heat and char on all sides, turning with tongs, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside, 20 minutes. Peel the skin off the peppers with your fingers; discard the stems and seeds and chop.
  4. Make the aioli: Puree the roasted red peppers in a blender with the mayonnaise, garlic and oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

I got the aioli recipe from this Food Network Magazine recipe.  I just topped grilled chicken with the aioli and served with grilled veggies on the side.  It was DELICIOUS.  Also note that it made quite a bit of aioli… I have at least 8 ounces left.

I got the inspiration for this recipe (and most of the recipe from) Food Network Magazine: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/falafel-crusted-chicken-with-hummus-slaw-recipe/index.html

So apparently, you can buy boxed falafel mix.  It’s so cool!  It SMELLS just like falafel.  I did a little research and apparently this is the best brand (they have it at Henry’s/ Sprouts):

It was even on sale!

So the basic idea is to coat the chicken in falafel mix, bake it and stuff it into a wrap with delicious hummus coleslaw.  Just FYI, I double the recipe because I had two pounds of defrosted chicken, but the recipe is the original amounts.

What you need:

  • a pound or more of chicken breast tenders (or make your own from whole breasts)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup falafel mix
  • 6 tablespoons of hummus
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa or hot chili paste.  I used spicy paprika paste from Budapest:
  • 4 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
  • Salt
  • Tortillas or wraps

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with one tablespoon of olive oil
  3. Add the falafel mix to the bowl and coat the chicken pieces with the mix
  4. Put the chicken on a baking sheet (spray with oil first)
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes
  6. While the chicken is baking, make the coleslaw.  Mix the hummus, lemon juice, parprika/ chili paste and 3 tablespoons of water together in a large bowl.
  7. Add the cabbage/ coleslaw mix to the bowl, and mix until the cabbage is evenly coated with sauce.
  8. When the chicken is done, combine with slaw in a tortilla, then roll into a wrap, and eat up.

    Delicious!

Apple and Brie Quesadilla

Here is a quick snack recipe.  It would be a great after school snack, or even lunch for kids.  Apples and cheese are always such a great combo, and it works especially well in quesadilla form.

What you need:

  • 1-2 granny smith apples
  • olive oil
  • tortillas
  • brie, sliced as thin as you can get it
  • Optional: bacon, cook and cut up to put in the quesadilla

What to do:

  1. Slice the apple into really thin pieces.
  2. Add some olive oil to a skillet, heat over medium high heat, then add the apples.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the apples get tender.
  3. Arrange the cheese, apples (and bacon?) on a tortilla and top with another tortilla (or fold if you want a small portion)

    Ready to grill

  4. Grill the quesadilla in the skillet you already used for the apples until the brie is nice and gooey.  You’re done 🙂

Agua Fresca

I love strawberry agua fresca, you guys.  I love it to much, I want to marry it.  I go to the swapmeet in East County, just to get it.  Then I got the courage to ask the cashier at the tamale stand how to make it… What she told me was TOTALLY different than the recipes on line.  She said the secret ingredient is half and half.  The recipes online are always just fruit, sugar, ice, water.  I don’t buy half and half, and always have 2% milk, so I used that instead.  The result was SO GOOD.  Almost just like at the swapmeet, but no pants required.

P.S. Please do not mix up SALT for SUGAR in this recipe.  Trust me, it is the most disgusting thing you will taste all month, if you do.  #ilearnfrommymistakes :/

What you need:

  • 4 cups chopped/ hulled strawberries (about the amount you get from a small container from the store)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • blender

What to do:

  1. Add all the stuff to the blender… and puree! 
  2. Put the agua fresca in the fridge for at least an hour, 2-3 hours is preferred.  Don’t worry if the foam settles on top.
  3. Stir it up and enjoy, preferably in a warm, sunny spot.