Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Tree :30

It's that time of year again.  Time for the good ol' Christmas tree to go up. 

We always wait for the day after Thanksgiving because well, we think Thanksgiving deserves it's dues too!  We ended up putting our tree up on Sunday night and we both agree, it looks pretty awesome.

We don't have a fancy tree, just a tree I actually got on sale 2 years ago (Hey, $10 for a pre-lit 6 foot tree is a pretty darn good deal!).  It's not as "fluffy" as we would like, but we definitely make it our own.  We have to prevent ourselves from randomly going out to buy decorations for it, when we sure as heck know that it's got a sufficient amount of decorations on there and we could spend that money elsewhere!

He's excited to decorate!

Can't forget the star!

Or the garland!
I really like my scottish nutcracker =)
We've agreed to keep our Christmas presents budget-friendly and able to all fit in these boxes... I have a feeling we're both going to be finding ways to get around this "agreement"

Also, Cate from Cate Can Cook, So Can You! (her blog is awesome, check it out!) tagged me in a little blogger game and had a few questions to go along with the "tag".  And because I've grown to liking sharing random facts about myself, here you go!

What would be your most defining culinary achievement?

The day that Andy actually said he loved what I cooked for dinner, and that he could see himself ordering it at a restaurant... and he was serious.  It seems ridiculous, but I don't even remember what the dish was, but I remember his comment and just being floored.  It was the first time I actually seriously considered Culinary School.

If you could change your profession to something using your culinary skills what would you do?

I would be a professional caterer, and I actually hope to be that one day, possibly with my own business (what can I say, I like being the one in charge).

What is the worst thing you have cooked - and why?

Ha, this actually came up in conversation the other day.  Andy and I were talking about how I've come a long way from the mexican casserole I first cooked for him.  It was the first meal I had ever cooked for him, and it was by far the WORST.  I was new to cooking, so I wasn't familiar with "gourmet" recipes or "flavor profiles," and this just definitely missed the mark.  It was quite awful, and being a Paula Deen recipe, I vowed to never cook anything from her again... so embarking my hatred for all things Paula Deen (sorry all you Paula Deen lovers out there!).  And the fact that Andy has still stuck with me, even after my awful first impression of cooking... really shows that he loves me (or that's what I tell myself), hehe!

Finish this sentence "In my next life I want to come back as......."

Myself.  It took me a long time to learn how to love myself and say that I'm awesome (can we say somewhat bad self-esteem as a child???), and there is no one else I would rather be.

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

The Philippines.  I haven't been there since I was born there.  I would love to go back, especially with my mother (who hasn't been back since I was born either), to learn more about my culture and to learn about how and where my mother grew up.

What is your favourite dessert?

Mocha creme brulee.  There is absolutely nothing like it, and John Varanese does it best!

Are you a summer or a winter person?  And is it because of food?

Definitely NOT a winter person.  I hate all things cold-weather related (although for some odd reason, I love running in cold weather... weird, I know).  I like summer better, but it's not my favorite.  I'm more of a spring girl because it's a happy medium.  And I actually like foods of both seasons, nothing like comfort foods in the winter and grilling out in the summer!

Hope you guys enjoyed that little tidbit of Q&A and hope you guys think my tree is just as purrrrtttty as I think it looks!  Have you guys finished decorating for Christmas?  Or if you don't celebrate Christmas, any other holiday you celebrate?  See you guys tomorrow!

Monday, November 29, 2010

BBQ Shrimp Tacos

Hello Monday!  How was everyone's weekend? 

Not too much went on over here.  Saturday I had to work for a few hours, but it wasn't too busy, so it wasn't too bad.  Sunday I woke up with sort of a sore throat (crossing my fingers I'm not getting sick!), so it was a lazy day.  Eagles didn't win (boo!), but the Colts didn't either (and their butt-whoopin' was a little more severe so that makes me happy! hehe). 

We put up our Christmas tree too, and I'll definitely share that with you guys tomorrow! 

Oh, and yeah, my cell phone decided to bite the dust on my Friday morning too.  So a whole entire weekend without a cell.  I felt like I was dying.  Not really, but definitely felt unconnected to the real world.  Funny how loss of technology does that to you, right?  Do you guys ever get that way?  Anyway, new phone arrived today... woohoo!  And now I just have to fool with it on how to work the dang thing and then I'll be set!

Most productive thing I did all weekend was make these awesome shrimp tacos.  Andy even said this is one of my best creations yet.  Well, I can't take all the credit... Food & Wine had a little something to do with it too!  But nonetheless... here we go!

Adapted from Food & Wine's recipe

Pickled Red Onion Slaw

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
salt, to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
juice from 1 lime
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin sticks
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
small handful of cilantro, chopped

Shrimp Tacos

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
about 10 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into thirds
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Pepperjack cheese, shredded
flour tortillas, warmed
roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 thinly sliced seeded jalapeno (optional)

To prepare the pickled onion slaw, start by making your pickling liquid.  In a small saucepan, combine white wine vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.  Stir mixture to dissolve sugar completely, then take off heat. 

Place red onion in a medium heat proof bowl and pour pickling liquid over top.  Quickly mix everything together so mixture coats the onions well.  Let cool for a few minutes then put into the fridge for at least 2 hours.  I left mine in for about 5 and they came out perfect.  The longer you let them sit, the better they come out.

In another saucepan, combine orange juice, white onion, maple syrup, malt vinegar, and cumin.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until mixture looks somewhat reduced.  Transfer mixture to a tall container and add vegetable oil and lime juice.  Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until it is smooth and then season with salt, to taste.

Drain red onion and transfer to a medium clean bowl.  Add mango, cabbage, cilantro, and half of the orange juice mixture.  Season with salt, to taste.  Set aside.

To make the tacos, heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add vegetable oil.  Add onions and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add shrimp pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the shrimp is white throughout, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the barbecue sauce and coat shrimp well.  Simmer for about a minute or turn off the heat.  Stir in Pepperjack cheese until melted.

So assemble tacos, pile a good portion of the shrimp mixture onto a warm tortilla and top with red onion slaw.  Roll the taco up and top with roasted pumpkin seeds, jalapeno, and additional red onion slaw, if desired. 

You're definitely going to have to eat this one with a fork, but they are oh-so-good!  I almost wish I had doubled the recipe to churn out more tacos!  This made about 4, so if you're looking to feed a family, you could easily double the recipe for the tacos, but the slaw should remain the same (we had tons left over!).  The sweetness and tang of the slaw definitely complimented the savory barbecue and shrimp perfectly!  Hope you guys try this one out!  Enjoy guys!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dijon & Smoked Sea Salt-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Hope everyone that celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday had a great day!  We definitely did!  It was filled with family, laughs, and of course, some amazing food! 

One of Andy's friends works for a food-service distributor and will often stop by Andy's music shop to drop off some goodies.  One of the recent "goodies" that he's dropped off is a sample pack of Char-Crust Dry Rubs.  I've never used them before, and decided to give them a go and was definitely happy with my results!  The rub provided a crispy crust on the outside of my chosen protein, and really did seal in the juices because for once, I didn't overcook a pork tenderloin!  It was the juiciest, tastiest piece of meat I've cooked in a while.  I'd definitely recommend checking out their site!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and if you went out for Black Friday today, hope you got some awesome deals!  Me, I'll just stick with the online shopping for right now, hehe.

1 lb. pork tenderloin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 packet Char Crust - Smoked Sea Salt

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, dijon, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic.  Rub mixture over pork tenderloin and let sit in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Pat pork tenderloin dry with a paper towel and spread Char Crust packet onto large plate.

Gently roll tenderloin onto char crust salt to coat evenly.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Add pork tenderloin and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until all sides are a nice golden brown.  Transfer tenderloin to the oven, either in the skillet or place on a baking sheet to finish cooking, about 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Let pork rest for about 5-10 minutes.  Slice into medallions and serve with sweet potato cakes or other desired side!

This was definitely delicious.  The tenderloin was juicy and quite flavorful, with hind notes of the dijon underneath the smoky and salty layer.  I'd definitely recommend this for anyone that's a fan of a juicy pork tenderloin!

Enjoy the weekend guys and see ya back here on Monday! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

We just got back from an eating extravaganza at my parent's house!  We had a ton of food, and my parents even set us up with a couple boxes of leftovers! 

Here's just a quick run down of this year's events:

My mom's really cute centerpiece.

The free-range bird in all it's 25 lb. glory.  It was a pretty huge bird... you can see it hardly even fits into the roasting pan!

 The spread of side dishes consisted of mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, roasted artichokes, fresh made rolls, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (yes from the can!), and gravy!  We also had a crap load of dessert dishes that included a peppermint meringue chocolate cake (made by moi!), pumpkin pie, apple pie, a variety of cheesecakes, a variety of chocolates, and brownies.  So needless to say, no one went hungry!

We like the dark meat in our family!  My sister was definitely in touch with her carnal side and opted for a leg piece!

 Just a couple candid shots of my sisters... you can tell my sister Frances (on the left edge) is really classy, hehe.

Now she looks more civilized
Thanksgiving was a huge success.  This was also Andy's parent's 3rd visit to our Thanksgiving and we definitely love having them over!  It's great that both of our families can share in this holiday together!

The end of the night consisted of my mom bombarding us with deodorant (you have to know my mom because every time we come over it seems like she gives us TOTALLY random gifts), a big canister of popcorn, and a purse.  Talk about random things, but hey, at least she was concerned about our body odor!

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, how did it go?  Hope you have full bellies and if you're going out in the madness for Black Friday (I am NOT), be careful and be safe!

And I definitely want to make sure you guys know that you are one of the many things I am thankful for today... and every day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pizza Extravaganza

Today was one of those days.  Work was so hectic and nuts, I found myself wanting to shoot myself numerous times.  Word to the wise... do not procrastinate and rush to get your prescriptions filled on the day before Thanksgiving, on your way out of town, and expect them to be done within 5 minutes.  It's just NOT going to happen.  Especially when everyone else in town was having the same genius idea at the same time.  But... I'm no longer at work, and that... I am thankful for. 

I just HAD to go to the gym after work because trust me, that treadmill was calling my name.  And I think after 30 minutes on that thing, my stress level has definitely decreased dramatically.  Or maybe it's the cold beer I opened when I got home?  Or maybe the lovely pork tenderloin I have roasting in the oven for dinner?  Either way, I'm in a better mood than what I was just a few hours ago.

I know you guys wanted me to post that Buckeye Cake... and I promise you!  I will!  Just not today... I'll make you wait just a tad bit longer.  I promise, today's recipe is just as good!

I've made homemade pizza a few times, but I think this version is definitely a keeper for me.  Mainly because I was upset that I ran out of dough (I was short 2 cups of all-purpose flour!) So I subbed a little over a cup of corn flour (it was all I had!).  Knowing that corn flour doesn't have any gluten, was kind of disheartening, but I figured with little use of it, it would still be okay.  It was definitely a sticky dough, but after thumbing through actual recipes that used corn flour in the dough... I come to find out it actually provides for a crispier crust!  And a crispy crust is definitely my main goal when it comes to pizza crust!  So definitely mishap turned into awesome score!


Adapted from Project Foodie's Recipe
Pizza Dough:

About 2 ¾ cups warm water
1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all purpose  flour
1 cup corn flour, plus extra for dusting

Pizza Sauce:

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
14 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used the garlic and basil variety)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings:

Sliced Soppressata
Chopped Cooked Bacon
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella
Sweet Potato Puree
Marshmallow-Cinnamon Cream
Extra Marshmallows

For the dough, add warm water into a large bowl and stir in yeast and sugar.  Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until mixture is foaming.  If it doesn't foam, your yeast is pretty much dead and you'll want to start over.  If you're yeast is still alive and kicking, then add your salt and add flour in batches, until dough starts to form.  The dough will be a little moist or "wet" but it will still be able to form a solid ball.  Dust a work surface with flour, and knead the dough with your hands for a few minutes, or until you get a proper consistency.  Definitely do not overwork the dough.  Dust a large bowl with flour and form dough into a ball.  Place dough ball into bowl and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To make a quick tomato sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until you reach your desired consistency.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 500 F.  Divide dough into 3 pieces, 2 equal in size and 1 a bit larger.  Place 1 rimmed baking sheet, upside down in the oven while it preheats.  If you want to do a deep dish you can use a glass baking dish, or do what I did and use a spring form pan.  Or alternatively, you can use a pizza stone and life will be a tad bit easier.

Use a rolling pin to flatten and stretch the dough out.  You want the dough to be a little less than the size of the baking sheet you're using.   For a deep dish pizza, roll out the dough so that the edges can be pressed up against the spring form pan (carefully now!  remember it's been preheating in the oven so it's pretty hot!)

Divide the tomato sauce amongst the rolled out dough and top with desired pizza toppings and place pizza on either baking sheet, pizza stone, or springform pan.

We had one pizza that was mozzarella, soppressata, corn, and peas.  That was our thin crust. 

Our deep dish was a mozzarella, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

And we also had a dessert pizza (somewhat inspired by the appetizer we had at dinner on Saturday night and somewhat inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!) which consisted of a sweet potato puree as the sauce, and a marshmallow-cinnamon cream (basically melted marshmallow cream mixed with maple syrup and cinnamon) and topped with marshmallows.  It was pretty righteous if I do say so myself!

The picture seriously does NOT do it justice!

Depending on the type of pizza you make, the time varies:

Thin crust: about 10-15 minutes or until edges get golden brown
Deep dish: 20-25 minutes or until edges become golden brown
Dessert: about 10-15 minutes, or until marshmallows become toasted and delicious!

This was definitely a good night of pizza and glad my flour mishap turned into a success because this definitely turned out to be one of the best crusts I have ever achieved on homemade pizza!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Palermo Viejo: 1st Restaurant Review!

Andy and I eat out once a week.  Fridays, usually.  It's just our way of having a "date night," but at the same time, allowing us to not do the cooking, for once.  We need a break sometimes, right?

And we don't just eat out anywhere.  We like to test our palettes with something delicious, preferably supporting the local restaurants!  Olive Garden and O'Charley's just don't do it for this girl (it's just my inner food snob, I guess!, but I look at it as, I can make most of those dishes at chain restaurants, and I can make them better... so why waste the money?)

On my birthday, Mallory, one of the pharmacists I work with, made the kind gesture of getting me a gift card to a restaurant Andy and I had been wanting to go to for quite some time - the Argentinian restaurant, Palermo Viejo.  We were not disappointed.  And you'll definitely have to excuse the poor photos - I wasn't about to bring my bulky Nikon with me, and so the cell phone would have to do!  I really need to invest in a pocket digital!  Maybe Christmas??

We had made reservations and our table was not quite ready when we got there, so we sat at the bar for a drink.  The atmosphere was definitely great, the interior design was beautiful - I would have never guessed it would have been that nice inside from the outside of the restaurant!

The bartender quickly attended to our orders - I ordered a Sweaty Betty. (quite possibly my new favorite beer!)  It's a blonde ale from the Denver Brewing Company and it was delicious.  Now, only if I can find it in town somewhere!  And Andy had his drink of choice - whiskey with a splash of ginger ale.


The wooden menus were a nice touch!
Our table was ready within a few minutes and we happily made our way to a table in front of the open kitchen.  I absolutely love open kitchens in restaurants.  It gives the diner a chance to see what goes on and with an open fire grill... it was quite entertaining!

The pre-birthday boy!
Love open kitchens!
 We ordered an appetizer of quesos which was a cheese plate that included Reggianito, Sharp Cheddar, Port Salut, Havarti, Gorgonzola, Grapes, and Olives.  It was definitely different from our normal appetizer choices, but the cheeses were definitely delicious!  We also had some delicious fresh bread, and the butter served along with it, was fresh, soft, and delicious!

Gotta love a cheese plate

While perusing the menu, we couldn't decide what we wanted, so we decided to get the La Completa - a shared dinner which included 2 pieces, each, of Housemade Chorizo, Short Ribs, Flank Steak, Sweet Breads, Chicken Breasts, Pork Tenderloin, and Fries.  They were out of Short Ribs, so we received an extra two pieces of flank steak as a replacement.  With the exception of the chorizo being a little bit on the dry side, for my taste anyway, everything was delicious.  The meat was juicy, I LOVED the sweetbreads (if you look past what they actually are, you'll love them too!), and the authentic chimichurri served alongside the meal was fantastic!

That was a TON of meat!  Love how they presented it on a mini grill too!
A TON of fries
Even got a simply delicious salad!
So after using our $40 gift card from Mal (thanks pal!), our total came to about $36.  So around $75-80 for 2 drinks, an appetizer, and a large entree (we had tons of leftovers!), that's not too bad in my book!  If you're in the Louisville area or know anyone that is... I highly suggest Palermo!

Rating: 4.5/5

Palermo Viejo on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pseudo Texas-Style Chili/Stew

Happy Monday!  How was everyone's weekend??? 

Ours was pretty fantastic!  Andy's birthday was Saturday and I tried to make it as awesome as possible!  I made him a Buckeye Cake (Everybody knows what a buckeye is right?  Peanut Butter.  Chocolate.  Need I say more?  It was definitely a rich cake (too rich for my taste, but right up Andy's alley!) and he even said it was one of the best cakes he's ever eaten!  Score! 

We also went to dinner at the Village Anchor which was pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself!  And it was funny, too, because when we first walked in John Schnatter (Papa John's Pizza Owner) was just sitting casually at the bar.  I don't get star struck by any means, but famous people just amuse me.  Hehe.

Anyway, then Andy wanted so desperately to go see the new Harry Potter and so I took him!  We're not Harry Potter fans at all, he was just amazed by the cinematography, and I guess I do have to admit, it was a pretty good movie, and they slyly split it up into two movies so we just have to go see the next part.

Enough about my weekend, shall we get to a recipe?

I can't claim that this is a true Texas-Style Chili because I made a TON of adaptions to this, and well... I've never been to Texas and eaten chili there, so I have no basis for comparison.  But either way, whatever you want to call this, chili, stew, what-have-you, it was delicious.

Adapted from Food & Wine's recipe

3 New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 Guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 cups boiling water
2 canned chipotles in adobo

1 cup brewed coffee
One 12-ounce bottle pale ale
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 & 1/2 lbs. sirloin, cut into cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
6 cups beef stock

1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 can seasoned black beans
1/2 lb. spaghetti noodles (optional, I think this is a Midwest thing)
Shredded cheddar cheese, jalapenos and warm corn tortillas, for serving

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add chiles.  Toast under just charred on all sides, about 4-6 minutes.  Place chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let chiles soften in liquid, about 20 minutes.

Drain the chiles and transfer to a tall bowl or container.  Add chipotle peppers and coffee.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  Slowly add in beer and blend again for a minute or two.  Set aside.

Bring out the crockpot (1st crockpot recipe of the fall season guys!) and turn the heat on to high.

Heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add olive oil.  Season the sirloin with salt and pepper and add half of it to skillet.  Cook until browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from skillet with slotted spoon and cook other half sirloin in the same manner.  Return all meat to skillet and cook until heated through, about 1-3 minutes.

Add onion and garlic to skillet with meat and cook until onion starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves.  Transfer mixture to preheated crockpot. 

Pour in chile-beer mixture into crockpot with meat.  Also pour in beef stock and black beans.  Let heat in crockpot for about 2-3 hours.

Ladle out 2 cups of the sauce and whisk in corn flour.  Return sauce back to chili and heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened. 

Add in spaghetti noodles and cook until they have softened.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed and add a little bit of Sriracha for some spice.

Ladle chili into bowls and top with cheddar cheese and jalapenos!  We also served this with corn bread and some warm tortillas. 

This definitely wasn't as thick of a "chili" as I wanted, so Andy dubbed it more of a stew than anything.  It definitely had flavor and for those of you used to tomato-based chili's, just chili-based chili is pretty rockin' so I'd definitely give it a try sometime!  Enjoy guys!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meatball Subs

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm definitely ready for the weekend.  This weekend, especially, because it's Andy's Birthday!  He'll be 32 years old!  He definitely doesn't look his age, and sure as hell doesn't act it either!  But I love him either way and have some special things planned for him!  I'll definitely update you guys on Monday!

Oh, and as a side note, I won a contest!  "FoodieBlogRoll's Comment to Win a Mello's Chourico Sausage Sample Pack" contest, to be exact!  So soon, I'll be enjoying a sample pack of Mello's hot chourico, chourico franks, and buffalo chicken chourico!  I'm pretty stoked and can't wait to see what crazy recipes I come up with using them!  Definitely check out their site if you're a sausage fan... they've got some good stuff!  And I wasn't paid to say that, just stating my honest opinion!

The Foodie Blog Roll Contests: Winner!

As a kid, my favorite sub at Subway was the Meatball Sub.  I loved the melty cheese, soft bread, and what I thought to be delicious meatballs (I definitely have a different take on what delicious meatballs are made out of these days, but oh well!).  So I figured I'd bring back an old favorite and do my little take on a childhood fave.

Adapted from A Food Lover's Journey's recipe


1/2 lb. ground beef (I used the last of my homemade ground beef)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Tomato Sauce:

3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red wine

1 french baguette

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, garlic, green onions, water chestnuts, egg, sugar, salt, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.  Mix well.  Form small meatballs and place on a baking sheet.

Bake in oven for about 15 minutes, or until meatballs have started to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Don't worry if they're cooked through, because they will finish cooking in the tomato sauce.

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil under medium high heat.  Add garlic cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.  Add tomatoes and cook until juices are starting to bubble, about 2-3 minutes.  Add tomato paste, chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, red wine, salt, and pepper.  Let simmer for 2-3 more minutes and then add meatballs, along with any juices.

Simmer meatballs in the tomato sauce, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until they are fully cooked.  The sauce should be reduced and somewhat thick.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and remove from heat.

Cut the baguette into sandwich-sized portions and slice open lengthwise.  Spoon a few meatballs onto baguette and top with sauce.  You could definitely add some mozzarella cheese in there too, but I chose just to have it plain and enjoy it's simplicity!  Serve with chips along side, or feel free to have a different side!

This was definitely delicious!  Different from Subway's version, that's for sure!

What were your favorite childhood eats?

Enjoy the weekend guys!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Louisville Uncorked!

Just got back from an awesome charity event that was hosted in Louisville tonight.  I wish I had brought my camera, but unfortunately I didn't know if I would be able to or whatnot, so you'll just have to settle on these default pictures instead.  I do know that we took pictures at the door with their event photographer and they should be up on the website later on this week, so I'll post an update later on!

Flame Run Art Gallery on Market St. in Louisville, KY where the event was hosted
The event was called Louisville Uncorked!  It's a charity event that focuses on wine tasting and getting the 25-40 year old crowd together in the city's art museums or other big space places (for lack of a better wording to put there, hehe).

The concept is actually pretty cool.  Entry is a minimum $20 charitable donation and each event has a wine theme (tonight's theme was Australian Reds).  You form teams of 3 or less and each team brings 3 bottles of the same wine to the event in the theme category.  2 out of 3 of the bottles are wrapped up (concealing it's identity) and the 3rd is set on a main table.  Everyone has score cards to rate the wines (there were OVER 200 bottles there!) and go from table to table, tasting and rating each wine on the scorecard.  Of course, it's impossible to go to each one, but we made a decent effort. 

The concept is being taken nationwide too, this is from a Baton Rouge Uncorked!
So at the end of the night, votes are tallied up and the Top 3 get to split the reserved bottles of wine.  So it's a win-win event.  Proceeds go directly to a charity, and the people who bring the best wines get to take home a crap-load of wine!

Unfortunately... we did not end up in the Top 3, but we still had fun.  We were fed, we drank, and we people watched (quite possibly my favorite part!)  We tried to guess which wine was ours, but don't think we were very successful!  They had a list that was being passed around after the winners were announced of what and whose bottles of wine were which, but we didn't stick around long enough to find out if we actually had that numbered bottle.  Oh well... I figure we're better off not knowing, because who knows, it could have been the one we voted the worst!

What about you guys?  Do you have anything like that where you live?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Braised Chicken Breasts

First of all, thanks for the Foodbuzz Top 9 Votes today!  Glad you guys liked my Chocolate Hazelnut Cake!  Guess I should keep baking things after all!

Today was our last CSA pick-up for the season.  Such a sad day because now I have to wait until May!  This was our first year doing a CSA and we did it through Grasshopper Distribution, right here in Louisville.  If you live in the area, or know anyone who does, I'd definitely highly recommend them!

We also ordered our Thanksgiving turkey through them as well and we get to pick up our lovely free-range bird on Monday!  Of course, my dad is cooking it (Thanksgiving is definitely his holiday), but it's great that we get to contribute something a little different and hopefully tastier than our previous frozen turkeys!  Maybe from now on, I'll have convinced my family to get free-range birds!  Who knows!

Anyway, I've got a pretty awesome braised chicken recipe today!  This comes from Greg from Sippity Sup's recipe!  I left out a few things and used chicken breasts instead of thighs.  I would normally use thighs anyway, but for some reason we just had breasts in the fridge and I didn't want to make a trip to the grocery, so braised breasts it was!


Adapted from Sippity Sup's recipe

4 chicken breasts
1 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dried parsley
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups orzo pasta
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

Gently rinse each chicken breast under cold water and pat dry.  In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, and shake off any excess.

In a large dutch oven under medium high heat, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Adding more oil if needed, and in batches of 2, add the chicken breasts.  Brown each side, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Set breasts on a plate and tent with foil.

Deglaze pot with wine, and scrape up any browned bits (these guys are packed with flavor!).  Cook until wine is reduced by half, about 4-6 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil over high heat.

Add in reserved onions and raisins into pot.  Bring to a simmer and add all of the chicken breasts in, making an even layer.  Cover pot with lid and slowly simmer for about 1 hour.

While the chicken is cooking, mix lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley in a small bowl.  Heat a small skillet under medium heat.  Add garlic, and stir continuously until garlic just starts to turn golden.  Remove the garlic and mix in with lemon/parsley mixture.  Stir well to combine. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the garlic mixture.  Let mixture sit at room temperature until chicken is ready.

About 20 minutes before chicken is done, you can start preparing your orzo.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add orzo.  Cook according to package directions for al dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil and dried coriander to orzo.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir in lemon/parsley mixture.

Lay orzo down on a large platter.  Top with chicken thighs and any sauce from pot over top.

This was pretty delicious!  I thought maybe braising the chicken breasts would result on something somewhat dry, but this was actually surprisingly juicy!  I've never cooked with orzo before (Andy even thought he was eating rice the whole time!) but it's definitely one of my favorite pastas now!  It paired very well with the chicken and the sauce was quite flavorful!  Enjoy guys!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just a Random Post

Today has been raining cats and dogs!  And on top of it... it's been freezing!  Well... 47 degrees is freezing to me, anyway.

I don't know why I always randomly bring up the weather and complain about it... maybe it's my niche.  Ha... or not.

I thought I'd just post some random funny pictures I had on my camera because I didn't really have a post in mind for today.  And I figured I'd bring the mood up a little from this dreary weathered day!

Hi, my name is Andy.  And I'm a psycho.

 So yeah, that is Andy, and this is what he does when he's angry.  Ha... not really.  I just caught him off-guard while he was washing the dishes and he decided to threaten me.  Little does he know, I hold the higher hand here.

My name is Mocha... I eat random things on the ground.
 This is our dog Mocha.  I always seem to catch her looking dumb-founded in photos.  I think right here she's thinking "mom, please stop being crazy and taking oodles of pictures of me.  I just want to eat some leaves."  Yeah... I'm pretty sure that's what's circling around in her mind right here.

First time ever that Andy has worn a tie!

Now this isn't goofy, but I wanted to include it because this is the first time I've ever seen Andy wear a tie!  So handsome, eh?  And I'm pretty sure I'm framing this one and giving it to Andy's parents as one of their Christmas gifts because I know Andy's mom has been wanting a picture of the two of us!

Well, I know it was kind of a random post, but sometimes you need to get the random things out!  And I've been at the gym for the past 2 hours so I was exhausted and this was easy to put together!  Hehe... well... see you guys tomorrow for a recipe!