Category Archives: Appetizers

Israeli Couscous with Enoki, Parmesan and Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette

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Addicting pasta gems!

I apologize for my hiatus. A lot has happened where I am now happily single again. I will not bore you with the details so on to my favorite topic…food!

LAX has made the best change ever to their Delta terminal (T5) recently. Lemonade moved in! Lemonade serves seasonal So Cal comfort food and some of their items like the Israeli couscous, wild mushroom, parmesan, lemon-truffle vinaigrette (that’s just one item) is uh-mazing! I travel often so when I travel with Delta, I make sure to stop by and get a container full of these little pasta guys to eat on the plane.

Ingredients: Serves 6 ish as an appetizer
1-2 pack of enoki mushrooms (stems cut off and rinsed)
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for a vegetarian dish)
1/2 cup lemon-truffle vinaigrette (see below)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Dressing: Makes 1/2 cup (mix all ingredients)
Juice of 1 lemon
6 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp white truffle oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Guide:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the mushroom on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle sea salt, pepper then toss. Roast them in the oven until it turns brown and caramelized (20 min)

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On a large skillet, toast the couscous over medium heat until they are golden brown. (5 min)
Pour in the broth, cover and simmer until tender. (10-12 min)

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Once the couscous cools down, mix couscous, mushrooms, dressing and parmesan cheese in a bowl.

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Serve room temp. or cold and enjoy!

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Keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days or so. Ingredients won’t go bad but the couscous starts to harden over time.

Jamaican Style Oven-baked Chicken

JA Oven Baked Chicken
Crispy yet moist chicken – BAKED!

I missed my extended Jamaican family so I pulled out an old-school Jamaican recipe by Enid Donaldson and made my own version (really, just different ratio of ingredients) of the oven-baked chicken.

Ingredients: Serves 2-4 (depends on how much you eat)
3-4 lb chicken thighs with or without skin (also can use breast, legs, etc.)
4 cloves of garlic
2 stalks green garlic (or 1 stalk scallion – white and green part)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs vinegar
3 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp poultry spice mix (or your choice of dried herbs)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs butter or margarine – melted
½ cup ketchup
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup panko (bread crumbs)

Guide:
Finely dice garlic cloves and green garlic (or scallion). Mix garlic and green garlic along with vinegar and thyme in a container or plastic bag large enough for the chicken and the vinegar mix to marinade. Combine chicken with the vinegar mix and marinade for 10 min.

Take the marinated chicken out into a separate container large enough for the chicken. Dump the vinegar mix and discard. Flavor the marinated chicken with salt, sugar, herbs (of your choice), and black pepper.  Mix ketchup, evaporated milk and melted butter and combine with marinated chicken. Marinade in this pink sauce for at least 30 min. (I marinated overnight)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the marinated chicken out and pat  dry-you don’t want it to be too wet or else the breadcrumbs will get too moist and lose that crispy texture. Lay the skin side of the chicken (or either side if skinless) into the panko and place the chicken breaded side up on a greased pan. Sprinkle or spray the top of the chicken with a little bit of oil.(I used pam spray)

Bake for 45-1hour. Serve warm or cold.

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*Why I don’t bread both sides – When baking, the juice from the chicken oozes out and  gets absorbed by the panko and gets too gooey on the bottom.

*If you pack this for lunch, your cubicle neighbors will for sure smell the garlic!

Baked Stuffed Peppers

 

Too easy you say? Yes, extremely easy and delicious.

Thanks for the peppers Lori!

 

Ingredients: Serves 2 as a side
4 small bell peppers (green if you like crunchy, yellow if you like semi crunchy.)
½ cup meat sauce (I used my leftover turkey meat sauce)
Handful shredded mozzarella cheese

 
Guide:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut the top off of the bell peppers, remove all seeds and veins carefully not to puncture or break the peppers. Stuff them with some meat sauce; top it off with a good amount of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until cheese is slightly burnt and peppers are tender.

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If you want to keep the peppers crunchy but melt and burn the cheese, increase heat to 400 and reduce baking time. (Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t over burn)

Caramelized Roasted Beets

 

Beets beets beets. What to do with beets besides juice them in the juicer? Roast them!

Ingredients:
3 medium sized beets
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp fresh thyme – chopped

Guide:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Scrub the beets clean of any dirt (you’re not going to peel them).
Chop off ½ inch on the top and bottom to get a clean base.
Use a mandolin and slice them thin (5mm) very carefully, or slice them using a knife very carefully.
Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and thyme.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, lay the beets flat making sure they’re not overlapping each other too much to ensure even roasting. Pop them in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Once time is up, put the baking sheets on a cooling rack and let them cool for few minutes. You’re done!

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Roasted beets caramelize and come out very sweet. They go perfect in a salad that uses vinaigrette dressing (something zesty or tart).

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry – Easy!

Do you love your house smelling like a bakery in the morning? I DO! This is another great recipe from “The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day.  Mmm mmm mmm.

Ingredients for the spice blend:
(I ended up having a lot left at the end but how much you use it up to you)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Fine sea salt to taste

1 17.3 oz package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) – defrosted for 30 min in the fridge
1/2 lb thinly sliced black forest or smoked ham
1/2 lb sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 egg beaten w/ 1 Tbs water for egg wash
1 tsp fine sea salt

 
Guide:
Preheat the oven to 400F
Line a baking sheet w/ parchment paper

Spice Blend:
Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix well

Pastries:
Unfold the pasty sheets on a lightly floured surface. Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares.
Place 4 pasty squares on the baking sheet.
Arrange the sliced ham and cheese on the centers of the pasty squares and sprinkle some of the spice blend lightly over each one.
Fold two opposite corners of each square over the filling and press the edges to seal.
Brush each pastry evenly with the egg wash. (if you don’t have a brush, use your fingers)
Sprinkle the tops with more spice blend to taste. Sprinkle sat evenly over the pastries.
Bake them for 12-14 minutes until the pastries are golden brown and puffy.
(Don’t get antsy and take them out too early or they won’t have the puffed up look)
Let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and serve warm or room temp.

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You can have many variations by switching up the cheese and deli meat inside. So simple!

Simple Yet Fancy Potatoes – Pommes Chef Anne

Did I mention I LOVE foodnetwork? I make so many things off of their shows and get inspired by them ALL THE TIME.

Well, I invited my family over for dinner again and so far I only had STEAK on the menu. Sure a salad would be nice, so I asked my sister and her boyfriend to go buy some stuff to make a simple yet refreshing salad, but I was still in need of a side dish that goes well with a fatty rib-eye, that’s also fancy enough to impress the fam, and simple enough that it won’t stress me out. This is when I remembered I had 3 russet potatoes left in the basket, which is just what I needed to make Anne Burrell’s Pommes Chef Anne!

Cheesy, crispy on the outside, yet soft inside. SO GOOD.

Ingredients: 8 Servings (1 wedge each as a side dish)
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing on (you’ll use quite a bit, but will also drain a lot out)
3 russet potato – skin scrubbed clean, then thinly sliced using a mandoline little bit at a time
Parmesan cheese – grated (use however much or however less you’d like)
Kosher salt

Guide: Tried simplifying Anne Burrell’s instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Working 1 potato at a time, slice very thin on the mandoline. It is important to work quickly because the potatoes will discolor. Do not put the potatoes in water because this will wash the starch off the potatoes. Coat an 8-inch nonstick oven-proof sauté pan with olive oil, place one slice of potato in the middle of the pan, then start placing them like flower petals (make concentric circles of potatoes). The bottom will eventually be the top so it is important for the first circles of potatoes to look pretty.

Once you have your first layer of potatoes, brush the potatoes with olive oil.
Add another layer of potatoes, brush with, oil, and sprinkle liberally with grated parmesan and salt.
Repeat until all your potatoes are in the pan. (Every other layer add salt and cheese)
*After every layer of potatoes press the potatoes so they are very compact.

Place the pan of potatoes over medium heat and cook until the olive oil begins to sizzle and the potatoes begin to brown on the bottom. Put the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

(Please be careful when doing this step – HOT OIL)
Remove the pan from the oven and place a tight fitting lid on the pan. Drain the excess oil out the side of the pan. THIS STEP IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! After the excess oil has been drained, completely flip the pan so the cake is turned out onto the bottom of the lid, then slide the cake off the lid back into the pan so the brown side of the cake is now up and the top becomes the bottom. We see now why draining the excess oil is important- if you attempt this without draining the oil it will drain out on your wrist and burn you.

Return the cake to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cake is fork tender. Take it out of the pan, let it sit for a bit (at least 10 minutes) so it becomes a bit harder. Cut into wedges and serve
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It looks so fancy, but it really isn’t!

Mexican City-Style Taco

I invited my family over for dinner thinking I’m going to make this AMAZING chicken tortilla soup, only to find out I had messed up BIG TIME and blended big pieces of chipotle chili…which was meant to be served on the side. The soup was too spicy and smoky that it was no longer edible. I had to quickly figure out another dish so my family had more than just a marinated flank steak to eat. I remember seeing this recipe on “Mexican Made Easy” so I whipped it together and guess what, my family enjoyed this more than the steak (except for Dad maybe). I had to laugh.

Pretty much straight from Mexican City-Style Tacos (Mexican Made Easy – Marcela Valladolid)

 

Ingredients: 10-12 Servings
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes along w/ the juice OR 3 tomatoes –  cored
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 lb angel hair pasta – broken up into 1-inch pieces (I recommend breaking them up in a bag to avoid making a mess)
1/4 cup white onion – roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
12 corn tortillas – warmed
1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream (used sour cream)
1/2 cup queso fresco or mild feta cheese (used feta cheese)
Tapatio hot sauce to drizzle (optional)

Guide:
If using fresh tomatoes, cook tomatoes in boiling water over med-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large pan (small pan makes it too hard to cook the pasta), heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add pasta and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
Place the tomatoes, onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the skillet over pasta and cook on low heat, until tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Fill the tortillas with the fideo or pasta filling. Drizzle the tacos with cream and sprinkle with cheese and hot sauce (optional).

As she always says on her show, “AMAZING!”.

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My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish. Mmm.