Sunday, October 11, 2009

This Week's Menu

I've realized that by coming up with a menu for the week ahead before going grocery shopping is a huge time saver. It makes it a lot easier to come home after work and know exactly what to make rather than stand in front of the pantry or fridge trying to come up with something. The dishes I pick for each week are all over the place - from Latin American to European flavor - it makes it more interesting :). The only drawback could I possibly lose weight if I keep cooking all these dishes? Not sure - definitely a dilemma. So here is the menu...

Sunday - Stuffed Jalapenos, Entomatadas - my version: (shredded chicken wrapped in a corn tortilla baked and serve with tomato-chipotle sauce and cheese), Chile Relleno, Refried Beans and Rice.

Monday: Breakfast - Toast with peanut butter. Dinner - French Onion Soup and Chicken & Cream Crepes.

Tuesday: Breakfast - Crepes stuffed with plain yogurt with a touch of honey, sliced bananas and raspberries. Dinner - Turkey Meatballs and spaghetti.

Wednesday: Breakfast - Burritos (whole wheat tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs with salsa, cheese & turkey sausage). Dinner - Black Beans Soup and Quezadillas

Thursday: Breakfast - Turkey wrap with jalapeno cream cheese. Dinner - Sheppard's pie at my friend's house and I am bringing spinach salad.

Friday: Taking the day off!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mastering the Art of Cooking

My passion for cooking is not a mystery for anyone. I might not be an expert but I surely enjoy trying out new recipes. I wish I had all the time in the world to just cook but I have to share my passion for cooking with my regular 8 - 5 job. Although this has not stopped me from still preparing all kind of dishes for my husband and I. This week's menu so far included 2 French dishes and 1 Italian. Truly enjoying the French cooking - I got the Julia Child's book as a gift for my birthday from my friend Captain Beauty. I couldn't have been happier and I have enjoyed reading it every night and while doing it my mind goes wondering to another world called cookingland - haha. I decided to try 2 of the recipes from the book this week: Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons with Pommes de Terre Sautêes. I also made Daube de Agneau with riz. Of course this dishes sound absolutely exotic in that romantic language but in plain English is simply Chicken Breast with mushrooms and cream with Potatoes sautee in butter. The Daube de Agneau is just lamb stew and I served it with rice. I have to say that I was impressed with my first attempt. The flavors were just amazing - specially the chicken. It was heartwarming to have the aroma of the different ingredients throughout my house. It was a wonderful way to just sit back and relax with a glass of chilled rosê.

For my Italian experience I made infornato frutti di mare spaghetti - Baked seafood spaghetti. This turned out really good as well and it was really easy to make. I used scallops, shrimp and clams - all frozen of course - unfortunately living in this part of the country has a few consequences but this didn't stop the dish from being delicious.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the finished products - mostly because I don't want to plate them perfectly or because my husband is on my back trying to reach for his plate because he is hungry - haha.

I managed to quickly snatch a few pictures:

Stay tuned and feel free to contact me if you would like to have any of the recipes.

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Creating New Dishes!

One of the things that I enjoy sometimes is a good brainstorming session with myself. Because of the struggle you all know I have about following recipes - I tend to simply look through cookbooks and stare at the pictures studying the idea of what's in the dish. Then I pace back and forth from my pantry to the refrigerator to see what I have on hand. Wasting food drives me insane so during the week I will make up a dish with whatever I have and I refuse to go buy more stuff at the store!

Since I know some of my friends and family will read my blog, maybe I should apologize to them for serving them dishes I create :) - and the future ones I will serve them. I can't promise I won't do it again - All I think is food and what to make next from the hundreds of recipes I've read. Here are a few pics of some of my made up dishes - Proceed with caution, I am not promising some of these dishes won't look scary to eat - but I do promise they are tasty :)

Shrimp and Veggie Stew with avocado and garlic/olive oil toast-trying to use ingredients I had on hand

Grilled Sea Scallops on a bed of Gnocchi with spinach, roasted sweet potatoes and a garlic creamy sauce - It was my attempt to recreate a dish from Bravos Italian Restaurant I tried a while back

Roasted Potatoes, sauteed spinach and chipotle cilantro roasted chicken

Tomato Basil soup, salmon cakes and a salad tossed with a light vinagrette dressing

A staple in our house - Oven fried Tilapia with fresh salsa and brown rice - YUM!

Delicious Blueberry Lime Bread

Recipe a courtesy of my dear friend Captain Beauty

1 - 1/2 c. sugar (divided)
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
Grated peel of 1 lemon
2 1/4 c. flour (divided)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
3 T lemon juice

Preheat oven 350 deg. Grease 5x9" loaf pan. Cream 1 cup of sugar with butter in large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and lemon peel. Beat well. Set aside 2 T of flour. Sift remaining flour with baking powder and salt. Add four to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating smooth after each addition. Toss reserved flour with blueberries then gently fold berries into batter. Turn into pan.

Bake 1 hour and 15 min. or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 mins then pierce gently with a fork. Combine lemon juice with remaining 1/2 c. sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Spoon over bread. Let topping set before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

Just a note - I used lime instead of lemon since it was what I had on hand and it turned out really good.

Bon Apetit!

What an inspiration!

For a while - the idea of cooking for a living has been bugging me. I have mentioned it to some friends and my husband and they all think I should do it. All I can think about is food. Sometimes I get insecure thinking - do I really know how to cook? Do I really do it well? But then I think - I truly truly love the art of cooking and that's all that matters. Of course it helps that some people do think I do it well - my guinea pig and dear hubby included.

On the other hand, I could use learning a few things. For instance, I have a problem following directions - I seem to have a VERY difficult time measuring things when I cook. I just like throwing ingredients together and creating something delicious. Measuring to me seems like a waste of time and dirtying more dishes - hahaha
So going back to the title of this post - I am inspired! Yesterday I went to see one of the best movies I've seen this year (except for the hangover but that's another post). I went to see Julie & Julia - what an inspiration that was. I then decided to take my blog more seriously - I created it a while back and don't post things often enough. But after the movie, I decided that I will post and share with all of you my measureless recipes and pics of my creations. Creations that are modified recipes that I read and the ingredients stay in my head until the moment I decide to go into the kitchen - see what I have available and make a meal. That to me is the most relaxing, most wonderful thing to do.

Which brings me to last night - I was so inspired that I decided to make tomato basil bruschetta. I also made a chunky tomato sauce with portabello mushrooms and spinach served over pasta and baked a delicious blueberry lemon bread. This bread was so beautiful that I should take a picture of one slice (if it's not already gone by then). I will for sure post the recipe - it is a recipe I got from one of my good friends who I will call Captain Beauty.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Came Into My Kitchen

Spring is finally here!!! It's funny how many months we spend complaining of how cold it is during the Winter - today, it actually felt a little too warm (at least to me). It was in the 80s and the hot weather inspired me to make a very "springy" meal. What better way than to cook with lots of veggies, fish and fruit to celebrate such a beautiful season? My kitchen and I shared the secrets of a complete made up meal (except the cake which I had to force myself to follow instructions...I have to admit I cheated a bit and didn't pay too much attention to measurements - oops). But after all it was truly delightful and the cake is decadent with the strawberry filling I came up with - a combination of sweetness (maybe a tad too sweet) and creaminess that is to die for!

- Baked Citric Salmon on a bed of warm orzo and vegetables salad

Can't beat the color of this dish - it brings a smile to my face!

- Strawberry Torte

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It Has Been A Year

Can you believe a year has passed since the day of our wedding? It almost seems like it was yesterday when I was singing on the way to the church: Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married...Spring is here, Sky is blue! It was simply a magical day. I can't complaint though - the first year has been equally magical - of course a few ups and downs along the way but overall it was perfect.

For our first year anniversary, my wonderful husband planned an amazing trip to Las Vegas for 4 days. It was perfect and we had the time of our lives. I will post some pictures so that you can have an idea of our crazy celebration weekend!

It's A Boy!

Our family of two grew and we have now a new member. His name is Maximus Bennett and he is our boxer. He arrived to our lives in September of 08 and has been a great addition. Funny how priorities change when you have a dog - we have had ups and downs but he makes us so happy. He is growing more and more everyday. Hard to believe he was 5 1/2 lbs when we got him and today he is 50 1/2 lbs - still 10 to 20 lbs more to go - yikes!

Our Sunday Family Gathering

Growing up is not easy - life can get really hectic at times. Sometimes it makes it hard to see our loves ones because everyone if running around. But because of this, I got the idea to schedule some time with them. I talked to my sis about it and it was decided to have a family gathering the second Sunday of every month - alternating places. This past Sunday, it was my turn and I decided to make an extra special meal since you all know how much I love cooking. I spent all day preparing for our gathering because I went grocery shopping that same day (another thing I love to do but that's a different post) and even though my feet hurt afterwards - I was a happy camper at the end of the day.

The menu consisted of:

- Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce

- Broccoli Casserole

- Garlicky Red Potatoes

- Stuffed Mushrooms

- Lettuce leaves stuffed with mandarin oranges, honey roasted walnuts, goat cheese drizzle with a balsamic vinegar reduction

- Raspberry Tiramisu

- Strawberry and Blueberry Bellinis

Don't get too excited, these are all very simple dishes with real serious names. You know me...I simplify everything so no fuzz about any of these dishes - I promise!