30 June 2010

Sausage is My Friend

I meant to post this a lot sooner, especially since I made this last Saturday and it is now already Wednesday. I've got to be completely honest with you though, you know, cause we're friends. Being in the first trimester sucks. I mean really sucks. I'm either battling nausea or heartburn. I'm exhausted no matter how many hours of sleep I get. I pass out on the couch at 6 and wake up again at 11 just to turn right around and crash into my bed at midnight. I have to use the bathroom every couple of hours (but it feels like evry 30 minutes), and my back is starting to hurt really badly.

So when I made this meal, I had one thing on my mind: comfort. You'd think that that would mean potatoes and cheese, lots of cheese, and normally you'd be right. But apparently, Aloysius likes sausage. In case you were wondering, that's pronounced al-oo-WISH-us, and I'm calling the baby that until we know the gender since I hate calling him/her an it. Plus, I really like that name and would never be able to get away with naming any of my children that without someone saying that I'm a horrible parent for it (it'll happen anyway I'm sure so let's not instigate it).

Anyway, I made this up as I went along and got rave reviews from the hubby and his friend. It's just italian sausage, tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, onion, and spaghetti. It's pretty quick to make too. Just some chopping to get it prepped and cooking the sausage before everything else so you can slice it up. Next time, I'll serve it with penne instead as I'm not really digging spaghtti lately. Enjoy!

Sauage and Tomato Pasta
Recipe by me

5 spicy sausage links (I use the Johnsonville spicy italian)
10 oz cherry tomatoes (this is really just based on taste, you can use more or less depending on how much of a sauce you want)
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 cup beef broth (or you can use warm water)
1 lb dried spaghetti
  1. In a large pan, brown sausage on all sides, until cooked most of the way through. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing into small pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, get some salted water started so that it will begin to boil when you start cooking the vegetables.
  3. In the same pan that you cooked the sausage, add the onion and garlic. Cook until slightly translucent. Add tomatoes and red peppers. Cook until soft. Add the sausage back into the pan and the beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes have broken down a little and begun to make a sauce (I smooshed mine with the back of my spoon).
  4. Drain the spaghetti when it's done cooking and add the sausage and vegetable mixture. Toss to completely mix and serve with some parmesan cheese on top.

22 June 2010


I promised you all my real excuse today. Are you ready for it? I'm pregnant! After trying for the past 7 months, we finally got the result we wanted on a pregnancy test. This will be our very first baby, and we couldn't be happier. So you see, I wasn't lying when I gave you all those silly excuses yesterday. I really have been sick and tired and hurting and all of those other fun things that come along with being in the first trimester.

I've been sitting on this news for a whole week now. I had to make sure that all of our family members and very close friends knew before I could announce it to the entire world. I'm about 6 weeks along now and had my very first prenantal appointment today (hubby couldn't go because he had his first test for one of his summer classes so my college roommate went with me). There was a lot of poking and prodding, a lot of uncomfortable questions and such, and some laughter and tears. We're all very excited and can't wait to find out if baby is a boy or a girl.

Now, I don't want you to get worried. This blog isn't going to turn into one of those places where all I talk about is the baby (I've been doing that in real life and driving everyone crazy so I'm trying to cut back). I'll still be bringing you yummy recipes and funny pictures. My posts will still be as witty as they've always been (what do you mean that wasn't very much?". Sure, I'll tell you all about what I'm craving and what I can't stand to be around (nothing yet on either front). I'll just try to keep the babyness to a minimum.

Anyway, I just wanted all of you to hear it straight from me. Thanks for sticking with me while trying to get the energy to even cook. Should have something yummy to post in the next couple of days.

21 June 2010

Food Revolution: Pasta

I know it's been a little while since my last post. I've actually got a really great excuse this time. Are you ready for it? Deep breath... I'm tired. And my stomach hurts. And I'm pretty sure that my mattress has gone on strike because it's left me with this horrible pain in my back. And I've lost my will to do anything because it's so hot here. What? Were my excuses not good enough for you? Ok, those aren't my real excuses. My real excuse will come tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Because I have to do something very important tomorrow afternoon, then I can share with you.

For now, I bring you another Jamie recipe. This one comes from his 20 Minute Meals app for the iPhone (yes, again). Orecchiette with Broccoli, Chile, and Pecorino was easy to make and super tasty (although I had to use shells because I couldn't find orecchiette and next time I'll use parmesan because I didn't like the pecorino). I added chicken to the mix because I like meat and could really use the protein.

Honestly, I don't know what else there is to say about this meal. You lready know that it cooks quickly (hello, 20 minute meal). You know that it's got some great ingredients in it that are super good for you (broccoli anyone). You know that if hubby had two helpings and was ready for a third that it was worth it (ok, he does that with most meals, but I like to think that it's because I'm a good cook and not because he just loves to eat). What I'm trying to say is try it, you'll like it. Would I ever lie to you???

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Chile, and Pecorino
Recipe by Jamie Oliver, adapted by me

1 lb dried orecciette (or shells like I used)
2 heads of broccoli
3 garlic cloves
1 dried red chile (next time, I'm using 2)
4 oz pecorino cheese, freshly shredded (parmesan for us next time too)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Fill a deep pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and place on high heat to bring to a boil. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat. Chop the florets off your broccoli stalks, trying to keep them an even size. Trimt he base off of the stalks and discard, then finely chop the remaining stalks.
  2. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Add the chopped broccoli stalks to the hot saucepan along with the garlic and a splash of olive oil. Crumble in your dried chile. Cover with a lid and cook slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occassionally (this is the step where I cook my chicken; I just added it to all of these fun ingredients and cooked them all together).
  3. Add the pasta and broccoli florets to your pot of boiling water and cook until the pasta is done the broccoli is tender (they should cook in about the same amount of time).
  4. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, scoop out a cupful of water and reserve, then drain the rest in a colander. Add the pasta and broccoli to your pan, toss everything together and remove from heat.
  5. Season the pasta to taste with the salt and pepper, add most of the grated pecorino and mix well. If the sauce is a bit thick, add a splash or two of the reserved cooking water to think out.

15 June 2010

MMMM, Ice Cream

I know, I know. It's been almost a week since my last post. I've got a really good excuse though. Ok, I don't really. It was just a crazy week, and this one is gearing up to be another crazy one too. I wasn't able to participate in the Daring Cooks or You Want Pies with That for June because it's just been so busy around here. All the birthdays and whatnot going on...

Anyway. Today I want to share this fun little recipe for ice cream that I found over at Delicious Delicious Delicious (and yes, all three of those deliciouses were necessary after you've had his ice cream). This one is super simple and is perfect for those with limited space since you don't use an ice cream maker to make it. There's also no cooking of a custard base so you won't be heating up your small kitchen in your tiny apartment in the middle of a nasty, humid heatwave. Oh sorry, got caught up there for a second.

As I was saying, this Mascarpone Ice Cream in simple. It only calls for 4 ingredients, but you can change the taste of it just by changing the liquor or extract you use. The original calls for Bailey's, which was really good, but I've made a tiramisu flavor with half coffee liquor and half chocolate liquor (there is even a ladyfinger cookie at the bottom and some dark chocolate chips mixed into mine). You could use vanilla or almond extract, even a mint extract would be lovely. Perhaps a spiced rum with a little vanilla as well. The possibilities are truly only limited by what you have on hand.

Tiramisu Mascarpone Ice Cream
Recipe by Delicious Delicious Delicious, adapted by me

250g mascarpone (I just use the small carton made by BelGioso, but I cheated this time and used their tiramisu flavor)
2 egg yolks
80g icing sugar (that's about 1/3 cup)
3 tbsp Bailey's (or amaretto, or use 1 tsp vanilla) (I used half chocolate and half coffee liquer)
Dark chocolate chips
  1. Mix everything together in a bowl using a wooden spoon. This takes about two minutes.
  2. Spoon into serving dishes, cupcake liners or lolly moulds, and freeze.
  3. Let ripen in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

08 June 2010

Tropical Pork

We've been eating a lot of rice. Between the risottos and steamed rices, you would think the hubby and I would be riced out by now. You'd be wrong though. Ok, that's not really true. I'm starting to get a bit sick of all the rice, but the hubby could eat it at literally every meal and never be bored. Come to think of it, he feels that way about a lot of foods. Sandwiches, potato chips, jerk chicken. Yeah, I can't think of anything he'd actually ever get sick of.

I've made this Tropical Pork dish twice in one week. When I asked if my hubby was ok with having it for dinner last night he said, "Ooo yeah! I really liked that one." It's nice to know that I'll always have him as a fan of my cooking. The first time I made this was last weekend when his younger sister spent the weekend with us. She'll be 16 in just a couple of days so check back here soon for her birthday cupcakes that I'll be making for her. Lucky for us, she's not picky. There are very few things that she won't eat which means I get to be a little more daring than if their 13 year old sister was over.

Of course when I set out to make this for dinner, I didn't realize that I was short a few items. No onions on hand, almost out of ketchup, no garlic or onion salt to be found. That's ok though. My improvisations actually worked out really well. I was able to substitute half of the ketchup with worchestershire sauce and we were good to go (I realize tht it could have gone horribly wrong by using 1/6 cup of good old Lea & Perrins, but it actually tasted so good that I did it that way last night even though I had more than enough ketchup). I used the dried minced onions and a bit of sea salt to make up for the lack of onion and then added an extra clove of garlic.

I'm going on a rice strike for the next week or so. If I should happen to say or do anything strange in the next couple of days, just know that I'm detoxing from the rice and should be normal again soon.

Tropical Pork with Steamed Rice
Recipe from All Recipes

1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
dash cayenne pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits
Hot cooked rice
  1. In a saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients. Cover and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Add pork cubes, onion, and garlic to the pan with the sauce until meat is browned. Add water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink, adding more water if needed. Stir in pineapple and heat through. Serve over rice.

05 June 2010

Sweet Blog Award


Just a quick post to thank Krystal Leigh of Missy Sassy Pants for awarding me this Sweet Blog award. I'm not sure what i did to deserve it, but I'll take it. Definitely check out Krystal's blog for some great makeup tips and tricks as well as color pallets of different eyeshadows that are just to die for. I was told to award 10 other bloggers so here are my choices
The rules according to Krystal:

" The Rules: Give this award to 10 sweet bloggers. Make a post about the award including the picture and mention the person who gave it to you. Put the award on your blog. Let your nominated 10 know you've awarded them by leaving a comment."

03 June 2010

Oniony Goodness

It's the weirdest thing. Every time that I make something with onions, I always think of my little sister. She hates onions! Why in the world would making something that so heavily features onions make me think of her? There are so many layers of onion flavor that even if she spent all evening picking out every single tiny piece of onion out of it, it would still taste like onions.

Maybe it's because she was living with me when I first came across this recipe. Or maybe it's because I can still remember watching her pick the onions from a Lipton Onion Soup mix from my mom's meatloaf when she was little (that is a task in itself since we all know how tiny those onions are). Maybe it's because I still like to give her a hard time for that very memory. Or maybe it's because I keep hoping that one day I'll make something oniony that she'll actually like. Dream big, right?

Like I said, I came across this recipe about a year ago on Brownie Points. Poppy Seed Sweet Onion Risotto features bacon and a whole lot of butter. It's comfort food at its finest and was perfect for me missing my baby sister, even if she wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I added chicken to it and used a few more slices of bacon and absolutely no butter (I wanted it to be heartier and go further without completely killing any attempts at losing weight). One final note, neither the hubby nor I liked it as much the next day after reheating it in the microwave. the poppy seed flavor was just too overpowering, so be sure to only make as much as you'll need for one sitting (unless of course you love that taste).

Poppy Seed Sweet Onion Risotto
Recipe by Brownie Points, adapted by me

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tbl poppy seeds
1/2 cup white wine, plus 1 Tbl
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbl butter
2 shallots, cut in thin rings
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat your broth to just under a simmer. Keep this nice and warm, not boiling, on a back burner.
  2. In a small dish measure out 2 Tbs of poppy seeds and pour in enough white wine to cover. Allow the poppy seeds to soak for the duration of your risotto making.
  3. In your designated risotto pan, slowly render the chopped up bacon over low heat until the bits are nice and crisped. Scoop out the bacon bits and drain on a paper bag or paper towel.
  4. Add to the bacon drippings one Tbs of butter and the shallots and fry until the rings are crispy golden. Remove rings setting aside to drain.
  5. Add to risotto pan and sweat the diced onion and salt. When your onion is translucent, add to the risotto pan the rice bringing heat up to med, stirring your rice almost constantly, for approximately 1-2minutes, not allowing the rice to color.
  6. Now, proceed to make your risotto in the traditional style: add to your sautéed rice a good splash of white wine, and scrape up the nice cooked on bits from the bacon and shallot frying, add one ladle of your warm, backburnered broth, at a time, stirring almost constantly. When the broth has been absorbed by the rice mixture, add another ladle of broth continue ladling and stirring until the rice is just cooked all the way through, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir into your risotto the wine soaked poppy seeds and their bathwater, the grate parmesan cheese, and the crispy bacon bits. Top each dished portion with the crispy shallot rings and enjoy.

01 June 2010

Chile Rellenos: A Tutorial

A few weekends ago, I was at my cousin's house. She has begged me to make her chile rellenos like she grew up eating in Colorado. Smothered in green sauce and stuffed with queso blanco (white cheese, I used Monterey Jack because I couldn't find authentic Mexican cheese at the particular store I went to; they can also be stuffed with meat), chile rellenos are actually pretty simple to make. The problem is that they can be time consuming.

Look at that sweet little thing, helping her auntie Nina

You have to roast the peppers and then let them sweat til they're cool enough to handle to get the skin off. Then you have to remove the seeds without completely tearing the chiles apart. Stuff them with cheese, dredge them in flour, and then coat them with a puffy batter. Fry 'em up and keep them warm while making a sauce for them. I'd rather just go to a Mexican restaurant and little the abuelita make them for me. Anything I make isn't going to be nearly as good as an actual Mexican grandma's rellenos.

Boy was I wrong! These things were fantastic! And well worth the trouble. My only complaint was that I had to use about 100 toothpicks to keep them together before battering and frying them. It was my own fault for not being extremely gentle with the roasted peppers though. Next time, I might not even remove the seeds since that's what gives them the heat. Unfortunately, I forgot to make sauce to put over the top so it wasn't exactly what my poor cousin had wanted, but she still loved it. We ate them so fast, I wasn't able to get a picture of the finished meal on a plate. We had the chiles with refried beans and flour tortillas, but next time I'll do some cilantro-lime rice, black beans, and corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Chile Rellenos

6 poblano chiles (figure about 2 for each person)
A block of white, melting cheese, cut into 1-inch rectangles (Oaxaca or Chihuahua are preferred, but Monterey Jack or even just plain queso blanco work well too; no hard cheeses)
3 eggs, separated (you want one egg for every 2 peppers)
Vegetable oil
  1. Preheat broiler. Wash and dry your chiles. Place on a baking sheet and put on the top rack of your oven. Allow to broil until the skin is blackened on one side, about 8 minutes. Turn chiles over and cook until the other side is blackened. Remove from oven and place the chiles in a ziplock bag. Allow to sweat for approximately 30 minutes or until cool enough to handle (alternatively, you can use the flame on your gas stove or you BBQ grill; it's quicker and won't cook the peppers all the way through).
  2. Cut a slit near the top of each pepper and remove the seeds and the white pith (it's easiest to cut all the way through one side, but then you'll have to use toothpicks to close it back up). Stuff the pepper with two or three pieces of cheese (you want enough cheese to make it full, but not so much that the pepper won't stay in tact). Dredge the chiles through the flour making sure all sides have been evenly coated. Shake off any excess and set aside.
  3. To prepare the batter: whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Whisk the yolks with a pinch or two of salt ad then slowly mix in with the egg whites (you should have a very fluffy, light yellow batter; use it quickly as it will begin to breakdown and become runny pretty quickly).
  4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil until very hot. Coat on chile at a time int he batter and place in the hot oil (my pan was able to hold two peppers at a time so I cooked one side of the first one, and when it was time to turn it over, I added the second one; this made the process go by pretty quickly). Allow to cook until the first side is golden brown. Turn and cook the next side. Remove to plate with paper towels to drain (feel free to stick them in a lightly wamred oven to keep them warm depending on how many chiles you're cooking). Serve with your favorite chile sauce.