Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh, Canada!

Canada does offer us some wonderful things. First, we have Prince Edward Island. Still one of my dream places to travel too (all because of Anne of Green Gables). Second, are these bars. I saw someone mention them in food blog world and I saw them when a friend and I went to lunch today. So, had to pick it up and find out what they were. I couldn't figure out what the inside part was, thinking amybe a pb mousse of some sort - but oh, it wasn't. My only problem with these is finding what to make them for - so many people do not like coconut. But, I am bound and determined to make them. I had 1/2 of the small bar I had. It was very yummy. And quite worth 2 points! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Taste of Louisville: Havana Rumba's

Among the staff in the school I work, there are a couple of popular restaurants. One of those is a little Cuban restaurant in the St. Matthews area called Havana Rumba's.
I've been there plenty of times, never having a bad thing. The only thing that changes is the service, sometimes good, sometimes a little less than good.
I've had their cuban (my first time there) with their sweet potato fries. Amazing on both accounts. Maybe not quite the Columbian in Ybor - but close. The fries are amazing though, hands down the best.
Second was the Vaca Frita - beef with peppers, rice, black beans, and plantains - the black beans and plantains are worth a trip in and of themselves. One time a bunch of profs went there (and me) I think all but one of us got this meal. It is definitely a favorite.
I then got the Ropa Vieja. That has been the thing that wasn't good enough to have again - it was too greasy.
I've had their yuka fries (great), cuban bread pudding (good, stiffer than normal bread puddings).
Yesterday I went with a family after church and wanted to get something healthy. So I had their Tropical Salad with grilled shrimp. The shrimp was great, grilled and marinated. It has oranges, mango, papaya, and spanish walnuts on it. It was good. I just didn't feel like I had been to Havana Rumba. It was a salad I could have gotten anywhere.
But, I did have a yuka fry and I stole some of Hannah's sweet potato fries. I had some leftovers of pork and black beans for dinner - so, it turned out great!
If you like Cuban food - check it out. I took my parents when they came to town!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love hummus! :) I came to love it when I was in seminary and Sarah made it for me. Then I had George's in Durham (dtown) - man, there is none better. But, I don't live in Durham anymore, so I have to experiment. Usually, though - I like to stick to plain old regular chickpea hummus. But, today - I went a little crazy!
This was amazing!

1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup water
juice of one large lemon
1 red pepper (roasted for 20 minutes with a tad bit of olive oil, salt, at 450), cooled
olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic
This has the freshness of the lemon, kick of the garlic, sweetness and color of the roasted red pepper, - oh goodness - so good.
You just have to play with the water, olive oil, and salt levels - to whatever thickness and texture that you want in your hummus!
I'll be enjoying this during the week with pitas, boiled chicken, veggies. :)

DQ, Godiva, and Vegetables

What a title! What a day!

Danny (Connections Pastor at my former church, the Summit, in Durham, NC) emailed the other day saying he had found an incredible drink - and only for $2.02 I think. It was the Starbucks Dark Chocolate Mocha. I do NOT like coffee, but I am glad he had found it. Well, I was at my neighborhood walmart today and thought I would look. I didn't find any Starbucks, but I did find a Godiva Dark Chocolate Mocha - for $1.28 (saving more than Danny). I got to my car, shook it up, popped the top (pop!) and oh goodness - it was good. I immediately called him and left a message and told him it tasted like a too good to be true Slim Fast shake - only better! There isn't much of a coffee flavor so that is great. And dark chocolate is similar to coffee - only a tad bit sweeter! So, I have a new favorite drink. Thanks Danny and Godiva!
I went hiking today and have exercised well all week - so I stopped by DQ on my way back from a park today. I love the combination of oreos (the best American store bought cookie hands down) and ice cream. You can't beat it in my opinion. So, I got the Oreo Brownie Earthquake. The oreos of course were great, the brownies were too rich, so I left one of those, and the ice cream is soft serve - so its not much compared to Cold Stone. But, it was good, cold, and I didn't gobble it down and I didn't leave it all.
Then I went to my favorite veggie stand - Garden Gate - on the corner of Bardstown and Breckenridge. I found all sorts of things: KY golden tomatoes and june Amish apples, patty pan squash, watermelon, pole beans, lemons, a tomato to have a tomato sandwich later in the week - yummy, kiwi, and some corn on the cob. Can't wait. I'm cooking the pole beans tonight!
Whoo hoo.
Well, that is my food for the day...good finds.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Food Blog World

I love Google Reader. Currently, I think I have about 130 blogs I keep up from theology, friends, food, etc. This picture is a mix. One of my dear friends, Tonya, just made this cake for her son's 1 year bday. I think she did an amazing job (she's the one who gave me the Strawberry Pie recipe). She's a fantastic cook as well!
I think you can tell a lot about food world if you see what other people are cooking since most people get at least their ideas of food from cooking shows, food magazines, etc.
So, here are some trends:
Grilled - of course its summer - grill anything and everything
Chocolate chip cookies - this has been the buzz word of the summer
Whoopie Pies - and I'm just not a fan, or maybe I'm just not a fan of moon pies - there is a difference.
Basil - and I have some cinnamon basil growing in my house right now, so I need to use that.
This is my other thought right now on food:
I am doing Weight Watchers (4th time, maybe this time I'll keep it off) - but discussing with a friend today:
Does Weight Watchers build in a "sin choice". This is what I mean. Overeating is a sin (at least in my thought process - being in light of the Bible). When I am full I need to stop eating. Bad things aren't good for me. Everything in moderation right? Well, when Weight Watchers builds in those 35 flex points - and I use them all on one day (usually after I weigh in once a week) - aren't I sinning just to keep "on program"? I eat weigh too much food - sometimes even when I'm not hungry - I just know I don't have to step on the official scale for another 7 days.
Thoughts? What are you cooking? Are you hip on any of the food trends?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Taste of Knoxville - Barleys

This weekend was spent in a gorgeous state - Tennessee - and the last leg of the trip was to Knoxville.
Our dinner was at a bar/pub called Barley's. We got in before cover so that was good since we didn't stay for the band. (But, we had to leave our cars because they were blocked in, oh, well. Add to the adventure).
By the time we figured out our pizza order - 2 girls, 4 guys - not easy to pick pizzas. We finally ordered 2 large, one Barley's All-American, 1/2 Hawaiian and 1/2 something with black olives.
These were the good things about the pizza:
1. The crust. We got the wheat crust. Very thin till you got to the back part of the crust - then it was nice and chewy - with just enough salt to make it really really yummy!
2. The Hawaiian. It has feta cheese on it (with ham and pineapple). The feta made the texture different and gave it a really good flavor. The pineapple wasn't the best, but oh well.
3. The Italian Sausage. This was on the Barley's All-America. It wasn't crumbled italian sausage - it was sliced italian sausage - and it was just a bit spicy and added great flavor.
We had a good time - despite our waiter who wasn't that great. It was a fun night!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Brownie Doctor

Ok - so when it is really hot in my non-ac-ed apartment, and it is the mid-90s and very humid outside, I don't feel like baking.
So...thankfully I had a box of brownie mix in the cupboard - I know - it was quite a shock to my system too.
But, I took my box of 8x8 pan size, Betty Crocker, dark fudge, fudge like brownie mix and doctored it up.
I added Reece's pb chips to the batter. Then when it was done, I sprinkled some on top so others could tell what was in them. Just kinda pushed them down into it with a spatula and covered the warm brownies loosely with foil - so they would melt a little.
Other things you can add:
mint chips
junior mints/york peppermint patties
mini baking chips
any kind of nuts

Be creative. Just because you use a box mix doesn't mean they have to be boring! :)

More work on Chocolate Chip cookies

Well, every blog I have been reading seems to be talking about chocolate chip cookies these days. You really start to get sick of them. But, you take little tidbits out of each one and then slowly start to work on your own recipe. I've seen recipes from the NYTimes, from Alton Brown, from Nestle, etc. They all seem to have something different about them.
Well, last night I was making some to take with me to TN this weekend for some friends, and I thought I would try my regular chewy recipe which I really love and change somethings.
So, here is the recipe as of a couple weeks ago. This time I did these things differently:
1/2 cup + 2 T of bread flour (then only 1 cup of regular flour)
1/2 cup each of mini baking m&ms, dark chips, semi-sweet chips
let the dough rest for about 3-4 hours in the fridge (this makes for even coloring, or so I've read)

These cookies kept their form, stayed puffy and chewy. Almost seemed like it had a crispy skin protecting chewy goodness. I really liked it - and the color from the mini m&ms.
These made about 25 cookies - and I baked them for 11-14 minutes on a lightly greased cooking sheet at 350.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Egg White Omelets

Simple. Protein. Cheap. Delicious. Easy. Quick. Low-fat. No cholesterol. Healthy.
All these words describe either dinner or breakfast for me - egg white omelets. I always use 3 eggs. Here are some choices:
Tonight's: 3 egg whites, 1 fire roasted red pepper, pepper, Mexican grated cheese, and hot sauce. Loved it - just thought I would put it together. Some heat. It was great. One of the best I've made.
Spinach: 3 egg whites, spinach leaves, parm cheese
Plain: 3 egg whites, salt and pepper - plain simple simplistic

Be original - it is so healthy. Try it! :) I eat it plain for breakfast - with some whole wheat toast and pb and milk, but for dinner I put something else in it. Go for it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

5 Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I think I now own almost every type of flour known to man. Of course, I'm slightly kidding, but...I've got plenty of it! I found this recipe and thought I would try it - I actually liked it more than I thought I would. It is healthy!

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 rye flour
1/2 cup oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup oat bran
½ cup golden raisins
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup honey
1 cup all natural applesauce
½ cup skim milk

Mix all dry. The first bowl of dry ingredients I had ended up on the floor - so I had to start over. Then stir in wet just until combined - do not over mix. I used 4 small loaf pans, or you can just use 1 large. Spray bottom. Cook in 375 for 30 for small, 45 for large - or until knife comes out clean. Don't overbake!

Taste of Louisville - Skyline

"Its Skyline time" - at least it was for me today.
Today was my first chance to eat at Skyline. First, let me say the good things about Skyline
1. The price - I paid 5$ for lunch - salad and a coney
2. The company - I went with my friend Brandi
3. The oyster crackers. Instead of chips and salsa - they bring you oyster crackers. They were fluffier than most I've had.
4. Fresh tomatoes on the salad!
Ok - here is the negative (sorry, it wasn't my favorite place)
1. The chili - I think the cap came off their container of cinnamon.
2. Not your normal hot dog - don't know what it was.
3. I'm glad there wasn't much chili on my coney but that was sad too - there wasnt much on there.
4. The help: never brought ketchup for Brandi's fries and I got the wrong dressing for my salad, so I ate it plain.

Anyway, I guess there is a first time (and a last time) for everything.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Asian Green Beans

I love having a well-stocked kitchen. Today it really came in handy. After meeting with a nutrionist, I found out I'm not really supposed to eat carbs at night. So, I was going to have a pork chop that I had marinated in a light asian dressing. So, I went to www.myrecipes.com to find a side dish. And I found it - I just cut down the portions. And the only thing I needed to get at the store was the green beans because they needed to be fresh. And, my Dad wouldn't have liked these. They were al dente and had ginger (sorry), but Mom, I finally used that oyster sauce - and Sarah - I bought it in Chang Mai (or somewhere over there near the airport in that grocery store we were in).

1/2 lb green beans
1 T sesame oil
1 green onion
1 inch ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 roasted red pepper
black pepper
slivered almonds

Boil green beans until desired doneness, drain, set aside. In a saute pan, heat sesame oil, add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute for about a minute. Add green beans, oyster sauce, and roasted red pepper. Saute till heated through (on medium heat b/c the oyster sauce will stick). Serve with freshly grated black pepper and some almonds.
I really felt like I had just ordered them off a menu - the way they looked! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Simple Potato Gnocchi

And I do mean simple! This would be a huge meal for one or a great meal for 2 with salad and a simple dessert. Just kinda through it together and it tastes great! Will be a light lunch tomorrow.
I love going to Whole Foods and getting their fresh pasta. They have tons of it - including this Potato Gnocchi. I love it. The first time I had it was in NYC - yum, actually probably at a restaurant on Staten Island. Anyway, I digress! If you like pasta and you like mashed potatoes - you can't go wrong with gnocchi!

1 9 0z package of fresh potato gnocchi
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar (to cut tartness of the tomatoes)
1/2 cup peas
fresh grated parm cheese

Boil water (with kosher salt) for gnocchi. While that is heating up, heat up sauce in small saucepan. Once water starts to boil, add in peas and gnocchi. The gnocchi will float when done (about 3 minutes, wow, how quick)! Drain off some of the juice from the tomatoes till desired liquid amount. Toss together with some parm cheese. It was very yummy and simple. Just a slight change from regular pasta
Get out there - try new food! Maybe I'll try making it one of these days!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Curried Rice Salad

I'm really starting to like the taste of curry and apricots - and a new fave, basmati rice! Who would ever eat regular rice again after just smelling the aroma of a new package of basmati rice - there is no going back. I found a recipe that I wanted to try - but thought I would change it up a bit and make my own curried rice salad! This is a great vegetarian meal (if use you veggie stock instead of chicken stock) or put some pork/tofu/chicken in it and it can be a main dish.

1 cup basmati rice
1 small onion
turn of pan of olive oil
2+ cups of homemade chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh peas
1/3 cup slice plain almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
10 dried apricots, chopped
1 golden delicious apple, chopped (with skin)
3/4 scant cup of plain ff yogurt
1 T curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam marsala
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oil over medium heat, saute onion. Saute rice for 2-4 minutes once onions are translucent. Add stock and bring to boil. Cover and simmer till done. Meanwhile, mix yogurt and spices. When rice is done, run cold water over it until cool. Add peas and rest of fruit. Add in yogurt mixture. Chill and serve cold (or you can serve it warm).
I liked this. It wasn't a strong curry taste so you can add more if you like. I really like the crunch of the apples in there. Basmati rice as I stated before is awesome. Get out there - try new stuff - you never know what you might like!

Monday, July 07, 2008

My Favorite Chicken

I love this! Give me one of these and I am happy for a good bit. Not to mention I have the broth to use for later soups and stews - but I love the taste of boiled chicken - it is probably my favorite way to have it.
So - I have one that has just finished boiling. I am going to freeze the broth. And then for the next 11 days before I leave for TN I'm going to have chicken stuff. I'm going to make: lemon basil chicken salad, chicken salads (with greens), and I'll probably make another dish with it as well.
The best key to boiling chicken is to keep the flavoring simple. Today I just put some Lowry's season salt in mine. That way the chicken goes with anything.
Simple, cheap, multiple uses! :) Go for it!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

White Bean Dip (hummus wanna-be)

Well, as most of you know who read this, I love hummus. What I love about hummus is everything. But, I don't love the fat - even if they are good fats. So, I tried something similar to hummus.

19 oz white beans, drained and rinsed (I actually cooked raw beans like my friend Rach)
1 T tahini
1 T olive oil
2 green onions (only the white and light green parts)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
(should be some garlic but I forgot it and it still tastes fine)
1 large lemon - juice - should be at 3 T

Mix in a food processor and eat with pita or veggies. Notice there is definitely not as much tahini or olive oil making it healthier and still has tons of protein. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Vanilla Cupcakes for the 4th!

Well - these vanilla cupcakes are good. But to be honest - Publix is so far better. Publix cupcakes are airy and so fresh and yummy - and the frosting - no comparison! But, since I leave 3 hours from the closest Publix - these will have to do.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 T good vanilla extract

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix dry and add alternating with buttermilk and flour mixture. Add in vanilla at end. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and cook for about 25 minutes at 350. Take out when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. I was going to make a buttercream frosting - but opted for a container of Betty Crocker Buttercream instead. It was just easier for tonight. Then I'll decorate them for the 4th! God Bless America!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Soft Jumbo Peanut Butter Cookies

My boss loves pb cookies - and his bday is tomorrow. So, I made some tonight. Some people like crispy ones, some people like ones with chocolate in them...for as many people there are in the city of the ville - there are probably pb cookie recipes. So, here is mine...

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 heaping cup of creamy peanut butter (I used Peter Pan only b/c it was on sale)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pb chips (I used Reeses because I love them)

Heat over to 350. Ungreased cookie sheets. Cream butter, then add sugar. Add pb till light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in dry ingredients. Fold in chips. I used about 1/4 cup cookie drops - I got 10 cookies out of the batch. Bake for about 17 minutes, but check after 14. Let cool before trying to remove from cookie sheet.
Do you have a favorite pb cookie recipe?