Friday, July 31, 2009

Cobb Salad

Do you find yourself saying, "It's summer, it's hot and I REALLY don't want to turn on the oven or stove."? We'll, we have the dish for you! There's no salad more refreshing than a Cobb Salad on a summer evening. It combines a lot of great flavors that leave you wanting more!

So what are we waiting for? On to the recipe...

Recipe:

Iceberg/ Mixed Green Mixture (Or your favorite lettuce mix)
1 Large Tomato
1 Red Onion
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
3/4 C Mild Cheddar Cheese (we love cheese!)
1 Avocado
6 Strips of Bacon (we use microwavable)


Boil 2 eggs until fully cooked. While your eggs are boiling, rinse and chop your lettuce and place into a bowl.
Cook your bacon until crispy. We use microwaveable bacon because it's so fast to make, you don't have to turn on the stove, and it doesn't make you house smell! Chop all the ingredients up and place on top of the lettuce.

Or, if you want to get extra points for presentation, arrange each ingredient on top of salad in a uniform manner (see below). I know, I know, you could just throw it all into a bowl and wha-laa, but where's the fun in that? Plus, your salad will become the talk of the town... I mean c'mon, it looks so fancy!

The typical dressing on a Cobb Salad is some sort of ranch dressing. If you want to go that route, I recommend Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing. But if you want something with a little more zing and a little less fat, try a easy homemade vinaigrette.

Recipe:

1 Clove Garlic
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. Sugar
1/2 Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Ground Pepper

Whisk ingredients together one by one. Place in a contianer that you can shake easily to continue to mix the ingredients when eating at the table. We recommend using a jar that way it stores easily in the fridge.

Here's the final product! Another option you can add is grilled chicken to place on top with the other ingredients. We were eating this with pizza so we decided not to go that route this time around but grilled chicken truly compliments this dish. Also, I did promise a dish without the use of your stove or oven, so maybe use that option in the winter!


So there you have it, a well presented yet easy to make salad for those warm summer nights. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

California Burger

What's not to love about California? We have the sunshine, the mountains, the ocean, the wine valley, the death valley, the lucious green land to the desert... we truly have it all. So in tribute to our beautiful state we give to you the California Burger!

B and I bought "Bobby Flay's Burger, Fries, and Shakes" recipe book from Williams-Sonoma (on sale!). It has a large array of burgers beef, turkey or veggie as well as delicious fries and shakes. We took the recipe from his book and made a few changes, since B is a little picky about food :) Thank you Bobby Flay for the inspiration for this amazing recipe!!


Recipe:
1.25 lbs ground beef
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Garlic Powder
Hamburger Seasoning (optional)
6 slices crispy bacon
3 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
3 Hamburger buns, toasted if desired
Mixed greens
Sliced vine ripe tomato
Guacamole (see
Carne Asada for recipe)

Start by putting the hamburger meat in a bowl and adding the seasoning, I usually just eyeball amounts, but if you are concerned its better to be conservative then to over do it. If you don't have any hamburger seasoning you can just use the salt, pepper and garlic.


Mix the seasoning in well and then form 3 equal patties. One of Bobby's tricks is to make a dent in the center of each with your thumb, then when the hamburgers cook they will come out more flat on top. Then give both sides a quick sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Place the patties on a hot grill and cook them to desired temperature. B won't eat anything pink and I am afraid of undercooked hamburger so we like ours well done which takes about 5 minutes on each side.
After the burger are almost done place the cheese on top. Bobby's tip for getting the cheese to melt perfectly is to put a dome or metal bowl over the burgers for about 1 min. It works great and get the cheese nice and evenly melted.
Oven Fries:
2 Large potatoes
2 TBS Vegetable or Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black Pepper


Wash the potatoes really well, then cut them lengthwise into 8 equal wedges. Place them in a bowl cover them with oil, and toss them to coat evenly. Then add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and toss again. You can get creative with the spices and add any flavor you like, or just keep it simple with a little S&P.



Preheat a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 10 min. Place the potato wedges in a single layer on the hot baking sheet, and bake for 35 min. Be sure to turn them every few minutes to keep them from burning or sticking to the pan.


Now to put it all together! Place a hot patty on the bottom bun then add the bacon, lettuce, tomato and top it off with a heaping spoonful of guacamole. Throw some oven fries on the side and you have a delicious California style burger that can't be beat!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Strawberry Syrup

Anyone who knows me (B) knows that I adore/ absoultely LOVE strawberries. I heart strawberry milk, strawberry jam, strawberry yogurt, strawberry syrup (go figure), or just a plain juicy strawberry year-a-round. If you are an admirer of the strawberry (and let's be honest, who isn't?!) this recipe is for you.

Strawberry syrup is delicious yet let's face it, when you buy it from the store it is loaded with tons of sugar and high fructose syrup among other things. That's why this recipe is perfect for your household plus you can store it in the fridge!

Recipe (kudos to tasteofhome.com)

1-2 pints halved strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl. corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. butter

Wash strawberries and slice them into halves or quarters.

Place in blender, cover and puree. You want this puree to be straight liquid, so make sure you get all of the big chunks before proceeding to the next step.

Place strawberry puree into a saucepan on high heat. Immediately add sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and butter. Stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. Continue stirring to make sure the sugar doesn't burn at the bottom of the sauce pan.

Once the mixture starts boiling and foaming take the saucepan off of the heat.

Skim off foam and remove seeds by using a strainer.

And there you have it- Strawberry Syrup and it only took 10-15 minutes to make!! To preserve your syrup for later use, place in a sealed jar and leave in the refrigerator.


This recipe has turned into a household favorite especially during the summer months when strawberries are in season. Don't worry maple syrup, we haven't forgotten you... maybe we'll hang out again in the fall and winter... no hard feelings! :-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Carne Asada Tacos

You wanted an entree? You got it! Let's start with a favorite dish of ours from our local Mexican restaurant. Think Carne Asada is hard to make? Think again! This is one of my brothers (K-ninja) favorite recipe that my K makes! Here's a recipe for Carne Asada made easy!!

Recipe (taken from Food Network- Tyler Florence):

2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

In a blender mince the garlic, jalapeno and cilantro into a paste. You can add more or less jalapeno depending on the amount of heat you want.

Squeeze the orange and limes into the the blender.

Add the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Blend until it is well mixed.

Cut off any extra fat, and then pound the meat with a tenderizer.

Place the meat in a baking dish, pour the marinade on top, cover with platic wrap and refrigerate 1-8 hours.
Pico de Gallo Recipe:

4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
salt


Chop tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalepeno and place into a bowl.

Add, chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Guacamole Recipe:

2 ripe avocados
1-2 TBS pico de gallo
1 lime, juiced
salt


Cut avocado and place in a blender.


Add a dash of salt and the pico de gallo.

Blend until smooth. Use the avocado seed to keep the guacamole from turning brown while it is in the refrigerator.

Here's the final product. Creamy, fresh, and delicious.

Now back to the meat! Heat your grill, spray with a little Pam to keep it from sticking, and then place the meat on the hot grill.

Once the meat is cooked and browned, remove from the grill and let it sit on a cutting board for a few minutes.
After letting the meat rest cut it into strips and then into chunks.

Heat some tortillas then put it all together and enjoy! We used La Tortilla Factory- Yellow Corn Tortillas. They have the soft and flexible texture of a flour tortilla with the delicious-richness of a corn tortilla.

These tacos are fast and easy, and a huge crowd pleaser! You can add cheese, chopped lettuce and sour cream if you would like. Buen provecho!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rainbow Cake

Since I posted pictures of this on facebook I've been getting so many requests for the recipe. First off, I'd like to give all the credit of the recipe to where I found it Omnomicon.com. It's one of my favorite sites and actually gave me the inspiration to start my own blog. Thanks Omnomicon!!

This cake is perfect for holiday celebrations, birthday.. you name it, it's perfect for the occasion!

So, are you ready to make an awesomely fun cake?

Recipe:

Two boxes of white cake mix
Two cans of sprite zero
For baking: follow the oven directions on the box

Can you believe it... that's all you need for this cake! Place the cake mix in a bowl and add the sprite. Mix it together.
Split the cake batter into as many colors you will be using for the cake. FYI- I made this cake as a Fourth of July cake so we only used three colors. Feel free to use as many colors as you would like. I also recommend using Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Coloring. It will give you the brightest colors for you cake guaranteed!

You want to put an even amount of colors in two round pans. You're going to have to do the math on this. If you are using six colors then you are going to use about 2/3 cups per color in a round baking pan.

You are going to layer these colors as shown below. Don't spread it out the cake mix, just pour one color on top of the other.

Here's what the batter should look like right before it goes into the oven. It sort of looks like a bulls-eye.
Follow the directions on the back of you cake mix box for oven temperature and baking time.

When your cake is done, have it rest on a wire cooling rack. Let's the cakes cool all of the way before frosting. If you are in a hurry to cool them, put them in the freezer. Don't leave them in there for two long... maybe just 10 minutes.

K made a buttercream frosting for the cake using a recipe from our Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 teaspoons milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter into a soft cream. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Gradually mix in the remaining milk to make the frosting spreadable.

Start with layering the cake with frosting. You're really going to need to eyeball this part. Gradually add frosting until it cover the top of the bottom layer of the cake. (That sounded confusing but you get the picture right?)

Add the top layer of cake the bottom layer.

Use the remaining amount of frosting to cover the entire cake.

Since we were celebrating Independence Day I added a star to the top of the cake. I created this by using a cookie cutter and sprinkles.

Here's the end result. Doesn't is look great?!
Here's the finaly product if you use multiple colors. Thank you again Omnomicon.com for the great recipe and delicious cake!!
Picture taken from omnomicom.com.

An upcoming blog for this particular recipe will be for rainbow cupcakes. Stay tuned!

Carnival Food- Mini Doughnuts

We went to the Giants County Fair at McCovery Cove this past weekend and had a great time on the rides but what really caught out interest was the food! Our favorite item at the fair was Harvey's Mini Donuts.
One of the things we loved about the donuts were the fact they were made hot and fresh right in front of us. They poured the dough into the contraption. This device will then make the donut rings and put them right into the hot oil below.
Here's a picture of the dough frying on one side.
The machine will then flip them onto its other side.
End product- delicious, melt in your mouth (and no I'm not exaggerating) donuts! I love fairs and carnivals, don't you?
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