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for the love of all things delicious

recipes. photos of yummy things. booze recommendations. general knowledge about food & drink

food bites… mediterranean baked feta

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after going to zoe’s kitchen for the first time a few weeks ago, i began to crave their baked feta dish.  so, i decided to make my own version.  i’ll tweak the recipe the next time i make it and get it up on the blog.  a nice chuck of feta baked with roasted red peppers, oven roasted tomatoes, pepper dew peppers, fresh garlic & olives make this an amazing snack or appetizer.

food bites… sesame crusted seared tuna

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after consuming cheesy burgers and all things delicious while visiting family in the south, i needed to get something fresh in my life.  so, a big tuna steak it was.  sesame seed crusted and quickly seared with soy glaze, gochujang mayo & chive from the garden.  lunchtime perfection.

food bites… summer corn gazpacho

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it’s summer and that means corn season.  i am obsessed with fresh corn in any form.  made with shucked corn, yellow tomatoes, yellow peppers, white onion, garlic, rice vinegar and olive oil.  i topped it with avocado puree, bacon and chives.  i can’t lie, it is a pain in the butt to make.  after blending you have to be super patient while pressing the soup through a strainer. still worth it, it’s what corn season is about.

food bites… meatless Monday lunch

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it’s summertime and it is too damn hot for ramen.  so, i took one of my favorite elements of ramen, the marinated egg and built a vegetation lunch around it.  soy, sake & mirin marinated deviled egg, crispy sesame tofu, garlicy kale salad and fried vermicelli noodles for the win.

recipe quickie… crack kale salad


i know, kale.  i have to say kale won me over long ago, so i am not a bandwagon fan.  the reason it won me over is that it can sit around in the fridge for a few days and still taste great.  after all, who likes a soggy salad green?  all you really need for this salad is kale & the dressing, the rest is up to you.  my go to is shredded carrots, sliced or chopped red onion & smoked almonds.  so, here is the life changing salad dressing.  note that kale is perfect for kale, it’s thick and can quickly weigh down other greens.

1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
braggs liquid amino acid to taste

* you can partially or completely replace olive oil for lemon juice, i simply like it without.

my new obsession, cold smoking… part one

we all know how delicious smoked food is.  aside from smelling like firewood, it’s easy & has great results.  i come from a home from everything could be smoked, from thanksgiving turkeys to ribs.  this however is a game changer, cold smoking is where it is at!  thanks to a christmas wish fulfilled by my brother, i finally got around to giving it a go.

this is super easy, little mess & cheap!  what the hell is cold smoking?  it is a way to flavor food without cooking it like in a traditional smoking.  Iall you need is a smoker or grill, a pellet tube smoker, smoker wood pellets & a utility lighter.  oh, and lots of random food to smoke!  i used my grill, a 12 inch A-maze-n tube smoker, smoke pellets from amazon & disposable metal trays.  the instructions that come with the tube smoker are simple to follow and worked like a charm.  so, get to ordering your supplies so you can join the fun!  just a note, where i live this is the perfect time of the year to cold smoke due to the 35 to 50 degree weather.  if you live in a warmer climate, i would do some research before you dive in.

what food should you cold smoke? While you can cold smoke bacon & salmon, i am starting with food items that don’t need to be cooked.  aside from smoked salmon or cheese, there aren’t a lot of searchable resources on cold smoking.  i just tried to think about what food items i would want to have a smoky flavor.  i’ve had smoked salt & smoked tomato sauce, so that is where i started.  i decided on salt, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cauliflower, ricotta, cheese blocks & onions.  i’m looking forward to smoking other things like hardboiled eggs, fruits & nuts.  this will be a two part post considering the amount of stuff i smoked.

smoked salt

2/3 cup course salt
8X8 tray

. smoke for 1 hour

i just used kosher salt.  if you want to make more salt, no big deal.  it will just take a little longer & you will need to stir half way through to make sure all of the salt gets even exposure to the smoke.

what to use it for? season anything that you would use regular salt for.  popcorn, roasted veggies or fish for starters.

plum tomatoes

4 plum tomatoes, quartered & deseeded
8X8 tray with 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke for 3 hours

what to use these for? since they aren’t cooked, i put them in the food processor & will add them to a tomato sauce.  if you wanted to peel your tomatoes before you smoke them, you can make tomato jam, salsa… the list goes on

smoked ricotta


1 16 ounce container whole milk ricotta
8X8 tray
salt & pepper

. smoke for 1.5 hours to 2 hours stirring half way through

. this cheese is super delicate, so watch out for over smoking.  taste test to smoke level then season with salt & pepper.

what to use this for? as you would use any ricotta.  i used it as pictured on a crostini, but i am looking forward to using it in lasagna & pizza.

smoked ricotta & honey crostini

this combination is straight perfection! smoky, sweet, spicy & savory. OH. SO. GOOD.

1 small baguette, thinly sliced
smoked ricotta
honey
red pepper flakes
fresh thyme
salt & pepper
olive oil

. preheat oven to 375 degrees
. place bread slices onto baking sheet in a single layer
. lightly drizzle with olive oil
. bake until both sides are lightly browned, flipping over halfway
. let bread cool enough to be handled
. spread ricotta on bread & place onto serving dish
. LIGHTLY drizzle with honey
. season with red pepper flakes, cracked pepper & salt
. sprinkle with fresh thyme

chickpeas


2 cans chickpeas, drained
8X8 tray with plenty 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke for 2 hours

oven roasted chickpeas

we have all had the yummy guilt free snack.  this is just the best of the best in flavor town (yes, sadly i just quoted guy fieri).

. preheat oven to 425 degrees
. cover large baking sheet with foil
. place chickpeas on baking sheet & drizzle with olive oil just to coat the chickpeas
. season with salt, pepper & garlic powder
. toss until everything is coated
. bake 20 minute, shaking baking sheet every 5 minutes
. make sure they are crispy before you take them out of the oven, sometimes the golden color makes you think they are done before they are

cauliflower


1 lb small cauliflower florets, do not cut too big for even smoking
2 8X8 trays (or one larger sized tray) with plenty of 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke 3.5 hours

what can this be used for? replacing protein in things like pasta.  since it isn’t cooked, you can cook to make cauliflower mash (just don’t boil) or even just eat with dip.

cauliflower salad with bacon & sunflower seeds

this is like replacing potatoes or pasta, even chicken or tuna for a healthy salad.  just break down cauliflower into bite sized pieces, you can even finely chop the stalks leftover to add to the salad.

1/2 cup mayo
1 teaspoon apple cider or rice vinegar (i used roasted garlic rice vinegar)
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
5 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt & pepper

. mix cauliflower, mayo, red onion & celery together
. season with salt & pepper & toss to make sure everything is coated
. when ready to serve top with bacon, sunflower seeds & scallions

asian kale & quinoa salad

oh kale, the leafy green that everyone loves to hate.  it’s diverse, healthy & doesn’t taste too bad.  after all, it is just a vehicle for dressing or even butter.  So, hop on board the kale salad train.  i top this salad with chicken, fried tofu, even pineapple chicken meatballs.  the recipe for the dressing makes a lot.  trust me, you will want to put it on everything.  i used veggies from the salad bar, so this can be made pretty quickly.  as long as you have the right measurement for the veggiees (excluding the kale), you can use whatever veggies you want.

makes 4 main dish sized salad

for dressing

2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup roasted garlic rice vinegar
4 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons honey or agave
1 tablespoon gochujang
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

for salad

4-6 cups PACKED kale, cleaned and in bite sized pieces
1-2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bell pepper, cut into bite size strips
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
4 scallions, white & green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
black sesame seeds

to assemble

. in large bowl combine first 6 ingredients of salad with dressing.  the quinoa & kale vary for your adjustment for a more leafy or more quinoa packed meal.
. add dressing 2 large turns of the bowl at a time to dress to taste
. after dividing salad into portions top with scallions, sunflower seeds & black sesame seeds

small snacks for a few or a crowd


super bowl snacks made easy

easy to shop.  easy to prep.  easy to eat.

as fancy as i love to get for the big game or any game, the fact is i don’t want to send the whole game in the kitchen.  i chose 3 vehicles that give you room to get creative if you don’t want to stick to the recipes.  you will also see gluten free options as well.  so, check these ideas & recipes out then get in the kitchen before the game!

mini sandwiches


long live cocktail bread!  i remember this stuff from back in the day when my grandmother would make me open faced deviled ham sandwiches with this stuff.  it DID take 2 grocery stores to find it, but totally worth it.  you can really do anything with this stuff. it comes in everything from sourdough to rye, so pick your favorite.  i happened to have pastrami, so a pastrami sandwich was a given.  then of course, who can deny a BLT? no one.  i picked the classic up a bit & it turned out great!

makes 12 sandwiches each

grilled pastrami

i am a pastrami addict.  i put it on eggs, on pizzas, in lettuce cups… anything.

i kept the coleslaw simple to let the rest of the ingredients shine.  i get my pastrami at trader joe’s and it is great find.  when getting it from the deli, just ask for it thinly sliced.   if you are gluten free, there are many alternatives. use gluten free bread, cut into four square pieces.  even the gluten free baguettes, thinly sliced work well.   these should be done in batches, i did 6 at a time.  just preheat your oven to 200 to keep them warm on a cookie sheet.

24 slices of your choice cocktail bread (i used sourdough)
1 pound pastrami
6 slices of provolone cheese
coleslaw (recipe follows)
homemade secret sauce (recipe follows)
butter, at room temperature

secret sauce coleslaw

2 cups coleslaw mix of your choice
1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoon cider or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons finely chopped bread & butter pickles
3 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 small clove of garlic, grated
salt & pepper

. combine all ingredients & season with salt & pepper

*can be made a day ahead of time

to assemble sandwiches

. heat large skillet to medium high
. spread butter on 6 slices of bread
. build sandwich on UNBUTTERED bread in this order: pastrami, coleslaw, cheese, sauce & top with buttered bread (butter side up)
. in skillet melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter
. place built sandwiches into skillet & let the bottom gets golden brown
. flip them over for the same golden brown results then serve immediately or throw in the oven to keep warm

toasted BLT 

keep this one simple or throw some upgrades in there like i did by using peppered bacon & garlic mayo.

24 slices of bread
3 roma tomatoes
16 slices of bacon, cooked and broken in half halves
3-4 roma or plum tomatoes, sliced & placed on paper towels to get out extra moisture
butter lettuce
garlic mayo (recipe follows)
salt & pepper

garlic mayo 

2/3 cup mayo (i only use duke’s)
1-2 small cloves of garlic, grated (use garlic to taste)
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
salt & pepper

. combine mayo, garlic, & lemon zest
. season with salt & pepper

to assemble sandwiches

. toast all bread in a toaster & set aside
. spread all bread with garlic mayo
. build sandwich in this order: bread (mayo side in), lettuce, tomato, bacon (3 pieces per sandwich), salt & pepper & bread (mayo side in)

mini tacos


you can do these with all kinds of shells.  larger flour or corn tortillas into 4 inch rounds, you can fry them or bake them… then world is yours.  which if you are gluten free, means you have just as many options as the next person.  even butter lettuce would work as a vehicle.  i decided to use these mini taco boats because of size & ease to fill then eat.  kept the meat old school & topped with for traditional ingredients.  again, let your mind get creative & fill with anything you want.

makes 12 tacos

1 package (12 shells) mini taco boats
1 1/2 pounds 15/85 beef
3/4 of taco mix packet or make your own (i use equal parts cumin, chili powder & garlic then season to taste with salt)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 cup seeded chopped tomatoes of your choice
2/3 cup of crumbled quest fresco (about 1/3 of wheel)
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
crema for drizzling

for prep & assembly

. bake taco boats as directed (i throw a little butter on the baking sheet for extra crispiness)
. cooking beef over medium high heat until brown
. add spices & mix until well combined
. build your taco boat. top it with the above or anything you want really.  chorizo & potato.  chipotle chicken.  marinaded skirt steak.

chicken & waffles


this trusty duo can do no wrong. it’s just how to make it easy to consume.  ideally, i would like to use the beauty of chick-fila nuggets, but there isn’t one near me.  so, i just go for the best frozen variety that i can find. eggs minis are perfection.  if you are gluten free, just cut 3 inch rounds out of gluten free waffles, do open faced so that it saves your waffles & money.  gluten free nuggets are everywhere as well. top as you please,  i went with a super simple prep using a combo of sweet & salty.

makes 24 bites

24 eggo mini waffles, cooked as directed
24 chicken nuggets, baked as directed
maple herb butter (recipe follows)

for maple herb butter

1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, whole leaves, i used thyme & rosemary
2 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped
salt & pepper

. place butter & herbs into microwave safe bowl
. microwave on power level 3 for 3 minutes, do not quicken this because it allows the butter to become infused
. remove herbs & add maple syrup

to assemble

. break up eggos to make single waffles
. drizzle a bit of butter on waffles
. top with chicken nugget & drizzle again with honey
. Salt & pepper to taste & top with fresh top herb

food bites… another baller brunch

i am always a fan of finding shit in the fridge on a sunday afternoon. brunch is always an easy way to combine things for a delightful plate that will break any healthy food habits.  the base is cheese whiz, yes cheese whiz.  the next layer is a combination of potatoes, onions, garlic & smoked chicken sausage. add soft scrambled eggs then topped with chives & garlic hot sauce.  should have topped it with more cheese whiz, notes for next time.  

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