Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

13Mar/170

sweet chili burning

Ok, the burning only occurs when one adds Sriracha, aka Hipster Ketchup. Otherwise it's just sweet and garlicky and yum.

I found this recipe via pinterest and have been eyeballing it for a couple of weeks. I finally decided that it was time to make it and Kroger had just the amount of precleaned shrimp that I needed. Kismet! Sparks and I both went back for seconds! Then, a couple of days later, I repeated the recipe with chicken.

I made some changes, adding vegetation. Here's my final recipe:

  • 1 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter (stovetop version only)
  • julienned sweet bell pepper
  • sliced green onion (4)
  • snow peas, trimmed
  • Asian Sweet Chili Marinade

  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce (like Mae Ploy)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Glaze:

  • Reserved marinade (in directions)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Garnish

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • sriracha to taste
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the Asian Sweet Chili Marinade Ingredients. Measure out 1/4 cup and add this to a large freezer bag along with shrimp (the remaining Marinade will become your Glaze). Marinate 30-60 minutes.
  2. STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: Stir-fry veggies until tender in a tablespoon of butter. Remove to a plate.
  3. Melt butter in a large wok over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook just until opaque, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate.
  4. Whisk 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons cornstarch to the reserved Marinade/Glaze. Add to wok and simmer until thickened. Add shrimp and veggies and toss to combine.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sriracha for more heat if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro (optional).
5Jul/160

Motif #1

A few years back, Sparks and I took a vacation in Rockport, MA. I don't remember exactly why I chose Rockport. I think I wanted to hit the area because I'd never been anywhere in the Northeastern US. Rockport was nice though, we stayed in a lovely little B&B which was just a short walk from the beach. It was August, but the water was frigid. Mostly, we wanted to eat our weight in seafood.

The first night there, we arrived a bit late and were hungry. The innkeeper recommended a place down the street and we walked down. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but it sat right on the docks and outside was a little red building referred to as Motif #1. We were informed that it was the most painted/photographed scene in all of the Northeast. I can't tell you much about the restaurant other than the fact that it had the best lobster roll ever (and the first one I ever had!) and this really tasty mixed drink named after the scene outside the window.

We returned from that trip with some serious food inspiration. This was the same trip where I discovered Spiced Tomato Jam and recreated it as soon as I got home. We also worked to recreate the drink that we liked so much while on our trip.

Sadly, I couldn't find the recipe, though I did still remember the ingredients. Lucky for me, which visiting friends this weekend, it turned out that my friend had it written down in her recipe book! I'd better notate it here so that I don't lose it again.

Motif#1

1.5 oz spiced rum
1.5 oz coconut rum
3 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz pomegranate juice

If you really want a kick, float a little 151 on the top. But even without that this is a sneaky drink. It's a smooth fruity thing going down, but packs a wallop.

Filed under: drinks No Comments
7Dec/142

Stuffed Bread

Back in the mid to late 80s, there was an Italian restaurant in town called Enza's. I never set foot in the place, but every so often my Pop would bring home a loaf of their stuffed bread for dinner. Enza's has existed in Lexington at various times over the years, most recently they were in Eastland Shopping Center, but they're gone from there now too. Internet research tells me the owner was Enza Morris. The stuffed bread is a loaf of white bread containing 3 meats (at least when my Dad picked them up) and some cheese. You eat it with their marinara sauce.

For the last week or two, stuffed bread has been on my mind. I used to make it back in the mid nineties, and I think I did a fairly good job. I don't think I've made it for the last 20ish years though. I probably burned myself out on it at some point, and then it just disappeared from my brain. I got to the point on friday that I was totally obsessing about it, so I knew for sure that I'd have to make it this weekend. Turns out, I had to make it twice.

The biggest problem with stuffed bread is that you have to know several hours ahead that you want it. It's not hard to make, just time intensive.

It's more method than recipe. So, I'm going to give you the step by step. Some of my pics are sideways, and some of them out of focus, but you're getting them anyway. I'm sure you'll get the drift.

13Oct/140

Salt crusted potatoes

Recently, on some cooking show or other, (I watch a lot of them) we saw salt crusted potatoes. On friday, we attempted them. Super easy and very yummy.

Start with some small potatoes. I think that the recipe I found called for fingerlings. I used some sort of small golden potato that Kroger had. Put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover and a handful of kosher salt. Boil until done, then pour off most of the water and return to heat. Continue cooking (but watch so they don't burn) until the water has all evaporated and the salt is sticking to the potatoes. Scrumptious!

The recipe I found called for brushing off most of the salt. We didn't do that. We also didn't make up any sort of weird sauce to go with. We just ate them with a little butter.

I will definitely have to remember this one, it was so easy.

2Apr/140

Pig Pickin’

My favorite cake is a wonderful thing. I adore it so. My auntie who is such a great cook came up with the recipe one million years ago when dinosaurs walked the earth and I was maybe a teen. She's not a restaurant style cook, she is one of those fabulous church ladies who show their love through food. I've been told that she makes the best chicken n' dumplings on the planet, but I don't much care for chicken and dumpllngs, so I don't have much frame of reference.

Anyway, she brought this cake to some family function or other and ever since then it has been my favorite cake, I sometimes make it for my birthday. I thought I'd share with you. I'm guessing the recipe probably originally came from Kraft foods, due to how many of their products are included.

Pig Pickin' Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup oil (I use vegetable)
4 eggs
1 can mandarin oranges
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecans

Mix all of these ingredients together (including juice from mandarin oranges!) and spread between 3 cake pans. Bake @ 350F for 30-35 minutes. Let layers cool. Then frost with:

1 large container of cool whip
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
1 can crushed pineapple

Throw all of these ingredients into a bowl and mix (including pineapple juice) then spread on cooled cake. Refrigerate cake.

I managed to give most of my cake away, so I didn't have to eat it until I was sick of it. Since Sparks doesn't like it, that leaves a lot for me to eat.

Filed under: Food No Comments
27Oct/131

40 garlic chicken

I've got a chicken in the crockpot, it's been going for a couple of hours, still needs a couple. For the first time I am trying it without adding a lot of liquid to it. My friend Mari is the one who told me that I could do a whole chicken in the crockpot. We just didn't use one when I was a kid. But a few years ago, just after she'd told me about cooking a whole chicken in one I was at Meijer and they had this crockpot on sale for $10 and whole chickens were on sale that week too! Kismet!

Anyhow, whenever I make chicken in the crockpot, I will throw in a few cloves of sliced garlic. We love garlic around here! Today, I was reminded of the first time I made "garlic chicken".

I was either 18 or 19. Mom and Dad hadn't been split up for too long, so I hadn't been the chief cook for very long. I was still feeling my way through things and learning. Heck, I'm STILL learning, I always will be. I like learning new stuff, especially about food.

It was Christmas day and it had snowed something like 12 inches overnight. The roads were a nightmare. So, instead of making the traditional trip to my Gran's house (90 minutes each way over very curvy mountain roads) I decided to stay home. This was an unheard of luxury for me. It might have been the very first time I'd ever missed Christmas with the whole famn-damily.

I looked through the cookbook for something that I could do with a couple of chicken breasts for dinner since I had a bag full in the freezer. I found a recipe for something along the lines of "40 garlic chicken". In those days I had not yet discovered fresh garlic. The only garlic I'd ever used was the dried/powdered kind. You see where this is going, don't you?

I read on the bottle that blah blah teaspoons equals a clove of garlic. I used enough of the dried crap to be 40 cloves worth and covered the chicken with it and put in the oven. I have to say, that was pretty gross. We didn't eat very much of it, that's for sure. *laughs*

I've come pretty far since then. Now I'm almost never without a bulb or three of fresh garlic in the house and I only use powdered garlic when I'm making a seasoned flour for coating something. I don't even keep the pre-chopped stuff in the fridge anymore. (it has a slightly pickled flavor that I don't care for)

My chicken smells great, I am looking forward to it being done.

21Aug/131

comfort food

Often, when I have an awful, no good, terribly bad day I want comfort food. For me that means snooty cheeses. Sometimes with a little fruit on the side, sometimes not. If I'd remembered that I had grapes in the fridge last night I totally would have eaten those, but I forgot.

Our Kroger is in the midst of expanding into a Super-Mega-Kroger that can be seen from space. They've finished the first section of the renovations and have added a Murray's cheese shop. Last night, I finally gave them a proper perusal instead of just glancing as I walked past.

The first thing I found that caught my eye was a Fromager d'Affinois. While I was reading the sign, the fromagiere (ok, I might have made that word up, like a sommelier but for cheese) offered to give me a sample. It was a Prima Donna gouda with a tiny bit of strawberry basil jelly. I was immediately in love!

Prima Donna gouda is drier and sharper than a regular gouda. It's reminiscent of a parmesan, only not quite that sharp. I got a wedge of that and a wedge of the fromager d'Affinois and a jar of that strawberry basil jelly and headed home.

I think that a good cheese plate will always have three cheeses. Any more and you start getting confused, any less and you don't have enough variety. Each cheese should be of a different type, too. One needs to be creamy, one stinky, and one somewhere in the middle. So, I dug in the bottom of the fridge and found a chunk of stilton that had been there for at least a year. No worries, it was still vacuum packed, so it hadn't even molded. Well, it had no more mold than stilton usually does. I added these rosemary crackers from Kroger that I've been grooving on for quite a while.

Lo' back in the stone ages, when I was but a girl, I loved a TV show called Twin Peaks. If you haven't seen it, check it out. In one of the very first episodes, Jerry (who has been overseas) introduces his brother Ben to a butter and brie sandwich on a baguette. It sounded so good at the time, that I just had to try it. I'd never even had brie at that point. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever put in my plebeian mouth. I still love that combination and it's another of my comfort foods.

Fromager d'Affinois is like butter and brie already mixed together. It's creamy and mild and buttery and scrumptious. It is absolutely wonderful. This will definitely become one of my favorite cheeses, and I do lurves me some cheese.

After partaking of my cheese plate and a couple of cans of the "house wine" (otherwise known as Pepsi for me or Mountain Dew for Sparks) I felt a lot less frazzled. I went to bed and read for the next few hours until it was time for sleep. A very relaxing evening indeed!

Filed under: Food, Product Review 1 Comment
17Aug/130

constant craving

I find myself craving Mexican food very often. Sometimes though, I really just want margaritas, the food is secondary. Yesterday was one of those cases. I had talked to the boyfriend about going out for tacos and when he asked me why I wanted to go I had to admit that I really just wanted a margarita. So, we decided to cook at home.

I love pinterest, especially since I have it on my phone. I can pin two or three recipes and pull them up on my phone much more quickly than if I'd had to bookmark or remember all the sites. I decided that I wanted to make steak tacos with Mexican street corn and grilled pineapple.

I started with a flat iron steak. I knew I was going to make chimichurri sauce to go with, so I wanted something that would complement that. I marinated the steak in lime juice, garlic, onion, salt, olive oil, cilantro stems (they have as much flavor and save the leaves for the chimichurri) and a little vinegar. I sort of based my marinade on the carne asada recipe on this page. I let that marinate for an hour before the boyfriend threw it on the grill. I made a chimichurri sauce based on this recipe and set that to the side.

If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would ever eat mayonnaise on corn, I would have told them that they were crazy. I credit my best friend for introducing this wonderful thing to me. I found a recipe for street corn on the same page as the carne asada. I was also eyeballing the crema de chipotle recipe on that page but decided that I didn't need two sauces for my beef. Instead, I took that idea and mixed it with the street corn idea. I mixed chipotles in adobo with lime juice and mayo. It was very tasty and had a sneaky afterburn. This we not only smeared on the grilled corn, but also a little on the steak tacos.

Finally, I sliced some fresh pineapple and the boyfriend grilled that, too.

So, we had carne asada tacos with chimichurri, grilled pineapple and Mexican street corn. Also a large pitcher of margaritas. I made the margaritas from scratch, I juiced so many limes that I got a cramp in my elbow! I think I'll stick to the margarita mix in the future - we like it more.

Tonight, we're having an almost repeat of last night. This time will be chicken though. I had leftover tortillas, pineapple, chimichurri, chipotles in adobo, and corn. I'm looking forward to it after last night's raging success.

20Jun/130

A week of good eating!

I've cooked three times since Saturday and everything has turned out great! There's been a lot of happy belly rubbing in our house. On Saturday, I made chicken fajitas with Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo and guacamole. On Tuesday, I tried a pasta dish I found linked on Facebook and on Wednesday I made the Mexican Jambalaya my bff texted to me. I thought I'd share those recipes.

7Jun/100

another post already? are you ok?

We went to a bbq this weekend with lots of Sparks' old (and my not so old) friends. We took a bean salad as a side dish – it got rave reviews from the darling Robin. This is just something I made up once upon a time and it's always a work in progress or as Sparks calls it “a moving target” but I've got the basics down.

It all started because I needed a side dish for a Cinco de Mayo bbq. Plus I was looking for something with no mayo so it would be safe to sit outdoors all day if need be. I like pasta salads, but the pasta seems to get too mushy after sitting in the dressing for a while. I was all - “hey, I have these canned beans, wonder what I can do with them....”

I'm throwing this recipe together off the top of my head and all amounts are of course to be changed for number of people and your personal taste. This recipe makes a good sized bowl, enough for a group. Or change up the kinds of beans to fit your tastes. Someone said that garbonzo beans have a weird texture – leave them out if you don't like them, or add more if you love them. I like the contrast of texture

3 cans of black beans, rinsed
1 can garbonzo beans, rinsed
2 large jalapenos, minced
1 small red onion, minced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped

That's it for the salad. Then you dress it. Sometimes I just throw on some lime juice and salt. This last time I made a honey lime vinagrette to try to counter some of the heat since the jalapenos were setting my lips on fire.

2 tbls honey
juice of 2 limes
olive oil (I dunno, enough. I put enough in to just about double the volume in the jar I was using to mix in)
salt, a couple of healthy pinches – you rinsed all the salt off the beans

shake to combine and pour some over the salad. Stir and taste, keep adding the dressing until it's enough. I used almost all of it.

A big plus to this – other than the olive oil you really don't have any fat. Or not much, there's not much in canned beans. And olive oil is supposed to be a healthy fat. So yay! It's got to be a healthy alternative to the sugar/bacon laden baked beans of my youth. (I'm not knocking those, I like those too, I just like these better.)