Archive for the ‘dressing/ sauce’ Category

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.


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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.


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So I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Pati’s Mexican Table blog, but you should definitely check it out.  I used her recipe for the enchiladas and the tomatillo salsa in this post.  The enchiladas are kind of a PITA, but they were delicioussssss.  The salsa, on the other hand was easy and I am in love with it.  I want to make it every week, now.  Also, I love going to the mexican market, Pancho Villa to get cheaper, fresher ingredients for stuff like this.  Check out this huge hunk of queso fresco I got for less than $4!

Anyway, I will separate the two recipes so you can make one or the other easier, if you wish.

Tomatillo Salsa

What you need

  • Two pounds green tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2-5 garlic cloves, to your taste
  • 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles (I accidentally bought anaheim, wah)
  • 1-2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola oil

What to do:

  1. Put the tomatillos and garlic into a large stockpot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil. 
  2. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatillos change color to pale green.
  3. Put the tomatillos, garlic and 1/2 cup of the cooking water into a blender.  Puree and then add the onions, cilantro, salt and chiles.  Puree until the salsa is mixed throughout. 
  4. In the same stockpot, heat a tablespoon of oil, and add the salsa back into the pot.
  5. Simmer the salsa for another 10 minutes or so, until it thickens up a bit.  Add more salt to taste.
  6. Enjoy!

Enchiladas Verdes

What you need:

  • 2 pounds of chicken breast
  • a few cups of chicken stock
  • oil
  • 12-14 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup mexican style crema Brand doesn't matter, but this one is great
  • queso fresco
  • a generous amount of tomatillo salsa, at least 4 cups

What to do:

  1. Add the uncooked chicken and the chicken stock to a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  3. In a saute pan or cast iron skillet, add enough oil to cover a tortilla lying flat in the pan.  Preheat the pan on low for 5 mins for a normal pan or 10-15 for cast iron.
  4. Let 2-3 tortillas soak in the oil for a minute or two, then take them out, let the oil drain, and repeat until with the remaining tortillas.  You will be able to tell when they are ready because they will become WAY more pliable, and won’t break when rolled up.  The first time around, I didn’t soak them long enough and ended up with a bunch of broken enchiladas… Don’t repeat my mistake!
  5. Fill each tortilla with a 3 tablespoons of chicken and some queso fresco
  6. Roll up the tortilla around the chicken and queso, seam facing down, and place into oven safe dish
  7. Cover generously with tomatillo salsa
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes
  9. Serve with queso fresco and crema on top on the enchiladas.  Enjoy them while they are hot!

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If you didn’t already realize I love garlic, then you may not be a very good reader.  So here is my newest obsession to use up the huge bag of garlic I always buy at Costco.  The uses are probably endless, so let me know if you come up with any gems!

What you need:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of garlic
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

What to do:

  1. Put everything in a bowl and mix it together.  That’s it.  I used my kitchenaid stand mixer, which worked beautifully.  

What you can do with the garlic butter:

  • Make garlic bread: spread butter on top of french bread and bake for 10 minutes

    Before baking

  • Add some acid and use as a marinade
  • Spread on top of fish before baking (deliiiiiicious)
  • Put a few dollops on top of veggies before sauteing, roasting or steaming
  • Add some to rice before cooking
  • Eat it with a spoon, hah, kidding!

Here is the finished product of garlic butter tilapia and garlic butter roasted veggies

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This was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s spaghetti with lemon and olive oil.  I basically just stole her delicious sauce, and cooked shrimp in it, then served over some gnocchi that my mom bought me at her local Italian market.   This is a pretty simple dish, with a lot of flavor.  And like a lot of things I try to do, you should already have almost everything at home, so it can be a great impromptu meal.  Also this is a great recipe to improvise with (as with almost any pasta + sauce dish!).

What you will need:

  • Gnocchi (or pasta)
  • 3 or 4 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • at least 1/2 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
  • anywhere from 1/2 to one pound of shrimp
  • salt & pepper

Get your pot of water a-boiling, and cook your gnocchi/ pasta to your liking. While the pasta is cooking, you should zest the lemons until you get a tablespoon of zest, then juice all of them.  Also get out all your other ingredients and measure them out.  Clean and peel shrimp if you haven’t already.

After you drain the pasta, set it aside (and save 1 cup of the pasta water in case you want to thin out the sauce later).  You can now use the already dirty pot to make the sauce.  Add the cream, pasta water, lemon zest, shrimp and olive oil to the pot and boil for 5 or 6 minutes (basically until the shrimp is cooked).  Make sure you are stirring constantly so you don’t get a burned layer going on the bottom of the pot.

makin' some sauce!

Once the shrimp looks good ‘n pink, add the pasta back to the pot, along with the lemon juice and parmesan cheese.  I kept the stove on low for this step, to help the cheese turn into melty gooey awesomeness.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then plate and EAT!  Cheesy parsley garnish optional (I had to justify the parsley plant outside with a reason other than the fact that it’s the only herb I can keep alive for longer than 3 weeks).

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This is adapted from Lottie + Doof.  I was inspired not only by that lovely blog, but also by the sweet, delicious and CHEAP corn that is available right now.  Ahh, summer.  Please do check out the photos on L+D because they are at least a thousand times better than mine.  Also, way cuter bowls.  So anyway, this is basically just pasta with a pesto sauce made from corn instead of basil.

What you need:

  • Bacon.  I used two pieces of very thick cut bacon.  I cut them up into about 1 inch pieces, but next time I will cut the pieces much smaller
  • Fresh corn kernels.  I used about 3 cups (4 ears).  TIP: shave off the kernels in a large bowl because they totally fly everywhere
  • Garlic, minced.  I used about two tablespoons, but I am a garlic fiend.
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 package of spaghetti, or whatever pasta you have
  • Basil, fresh
  • Deep skillet, preferably cast iron
  • food processor or blender

First things first, BACON.  Fry the bacon in a deep skillet or cast iron pan.  After you have the bacon going, start boiling water to cook your pasta, then cook your pasta, heh.  Let it cook until it is your preferred amount of crispy, then remove from the pan.  Add in the corn and spices to the bacon fat (if you use more than a few pieces, you may have to spoon some out, you want only a few tablespoons).  Saute and stir until the corn is good and cooked, it should take about 7 minutes.

Corn ready to be pesto-fied!

Save about 1 cup of the corn mixture and set aside.  Put the rest of the corn and most of the parmesan cheese into a food processor and press the magic button.  Slowly add the olive oil through the top hole or feed tube.  Process until it looks like a pesto (only yellow!).  Remove from the processor and toss with the (now hopefully cooked and drained) pasta, reserved corn and bacon, then serve.  Ideally you would have some delicious fresh herb to add into the mix, too.  Mine got wilty and gross before I got to use it 😦

This photo would be so much more appealing if there was some fresh, green basil… But trust me, this is REALLY YUMMY.  Totally unexpectedly good!  I fully intend on making a bunch to freeze for the sad wintertime when fresh sweet corn isn’t 20 cents an ear.

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OHHI.  I know it’s been a few weeks, and I have really been trying to post once a week or so.  But I haven’t been cooking any new/ cool recipes lately because we got a gas grill for our tiny balcony, so I have just been a marinade queen.  I thought I should at least share my lazy marinade ideas with the world.

For a marinade, you just need something that tastes yummy, and then something that is acidic.  It is way cheaper (and usually healthier) to make your own, rather than buy the pre-made ones.  A lot of the items needed for a good marinade should already be in your kitchen right now, anyway!

Here are some easy ideas… They are all starting points which can be added to, changed around, etc.

  • Lemon or Lime juice (or even OJ!) + garlic + italian seasoning/ basil/ thyme
  • balsamic vinegar + olive oil + black pepper
  • toasted sesame oil + soy sauce or teriyaki + ginger + garlic
  • BBQ sauce (obvi).  My new fav is the Stone Levitation BBQ sauce from Carlsbad Gourmet
  • Italian dressing (whenever I get low on a bottle I just use it as a marinade to free up fridge space) + garlic paste (easiest to steal from your local middle eastern eatery)
  • tequila + lime + a teeeeeny bit of cayenne + salt + pepper
  • buttermilk + lots of garlic + paprika + salt + pepper

I don’t eat beef, so these are all for chicken and seafood, but would probably work well for a lean cut of pork.  TIP: prepare marinade before you throw your protein in the freezer (if you buy in bulk or buy a bunch when it’s on sale like I do!) and marinade the protein while it’s freezing/ defrosting.  Just make sure you label what the marinade is 🙂

Also one of my fav easy grillin’ sides is a delicious veggie (such as zucchini, asparagus, carrot, squash, brussel sprouts) marinaded in olive oil + salt + pepper.  I usually just use a shallow bowl or pyrex dish and let it soak for up to an hour before grilling.

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