Things I'm cooking while I'm not at work cooking.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have, for some odd reason, several boxes of phyllo in my freezer.  Well, it's not really odd, seeing as how I never check to see if I have it when I go to the store to get what I need for dinner.  Now I have the overwhelming desire to use it...all of it.  Besides, who doesn't love something wrapped in all that butter crumbly paper thin pastry?

This meal started by my hubby informing me that we needed to use the spinach we had, and while I love spinach, I wasn't in the mood for it to be sauteed, or creamed, or wilted.  I thought about making some sort of spinach bread, but most of the recipes I found either seemed to bready, or more like a frittata (too many eggs).  And then, OPA, I was struck with an idea, Spanakopita!  I love Greek food!  So earthy, and herby, and rich without weighing you down.  

Now all I needed was a protein.  Salmon sounded great, but we eat a lot of salmon at our house, and, you guessed it, I wasn't in the mood for it.  My hubby is pretty easy going, he will eat just about anything I put in front of him...and when I say anything, I mean everything.  So I sat for a minute and gave it some thought, and then it came to me...OPA...tuna salad!  But not just any tuna salad, the best tuna salad I have ever had, and I had it last week, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, and how yummy it was.

So I went to the store, got the rest of the ingredients I needed, came home and made dinner.  It took a surprisingly short amount of time to prepare, and an even shorter amount of time to eat.  

For the Spanakopita:
(I kind of winged it on the amounts, I only need to make dinner for 2.  Oh, and I didn't think I had enough spinach so I added some kale because it was in the drawer with spinach, how's that for thinking fast?)

4C  Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped.
1 bag  Spinach
1Tsp Olive Oil
1/2  Onion, diced small
2Tsp Oregano, I used dry
1/2C Feta, crumbled
1 stick of Butter (shhhh...don't tell my hubby)
Phyllo I used 8 sheets, which made 4 pockets.
Salt & Pepper
Heat oil in a large sauce pan and sweat onion until soft, about 5 minutes, add oregano, and sweat for another minute or so.  Add kale and some salt, and cook down, stirring often, until tender, but not mushy, maybe ten minutes, then add spinach, we all know how quickly spinach wilts, and the heat from kale will be enough to do the trick.  Turn off heat, drain any excess liquid from mixture and return to burner that is cooling down, this will help dry out the mixture a little more, and let cool, if needed, you can squeeze out remaining liquid in a towel.  Add feta to mixture and stir to combine.  Taste and salt and pepper if needed.

Now set up your Spanakopita making station.  I laid a sheet of parchment paper down on my cutting board so the phyllo wouldn't stick after I started smearing butter all over it.  Melt butter in a bowl and set next to cutting board, role out phyllo and cover with damp paper towel so it doesn't dry out.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, (or do like I did and pop them in your toaster oven when your done making them).  Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface, brush with butter all over, and then put another piece of phyllo on top of that.  Brush with butter again, and then in the lower left corner glob on about a 1/2C of kale/spinach mixture, fold top half of phyllo over mixture (like you were folding a piece of paper in half length ways) and then start folding the pocket like you would a flag, it can be tricky, but I totally had it down by the 4th one I made, it's easy I swear. When you're done doing that, put them in your oven on a parchment covered baking sheet and  bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

While your Spanakopita is baking make the awesome tuna salad.

 For the Tuna Salad:
My mouth is watering just thinking about how good this is!

1 Can of Tuna in oil, (it has to be in oil...HAS TO BE IN OIL)
1Tbsp Thyme, fresh
2Tbsp Capers, crushed slightly
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced small, (I had some jarred peppers that worked great)
3 Green Onions, chopped
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (a little heat on the backside never hurt anyone)
Mayo (Dukes is my favorite)
Salt & Pepper

Open can of tuna and put in a medium mixing bowl.  The first time I made this I drained the oil, and I felt like I was wasting flavor.  This time around I left all the oil in, and there wasn't much so it was no big deal, but if you want to drain 1/2 the oil, or all the oil, have at it.  Add remaining ingredients, eyeball the mayo, you just need enough to bind the mixture, maybe a tablespoon, maybe less, then squeeze a wedge of lemon and mix away.  

Dinner was served, and it was awesome.   


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Toaster Oven Salmon


Balsamic Caramelized Onions


Wilted Spinach

So...the hubby and I have finally decided to get on the healthy eating band wagon, well, at least he has (I refuse to cut out butter and heavy cream, and I totally pan fried some home style potatoes in bacon fat this morning for breakfast). At least we had a healthy dinner (one meal a day is a good start for me).

I put the salmon (approximately 1 lb) seasoned only with salt and white pepper on a piece of aluminum foil in the toaster oven at 350 for 18 minutes. While that was cooking away I sliced and caramelized 3 small yellow onions. When the onions were taking on that fantastic caramelized brown color, I drizzled reduced balsamic vinegar (about 2 teaspoons) in the pan and stirred in well for another minute or so.

When the onions were finished I tossed them in a bowl with raw baby spinach. The heat from the caramelized onions wilted the spinach ever so slightly...and then I plated everything and we was delicious. The tomatoes were and after thought.

Chow for now!

Grilled Proscuitto and Sage Wrapped

Chicken Kabobs

Oh these were delicious. I served them with tatziki sauce and greek potato salad.

For the tatziki I found some greek yogurt in the supermarket and microplaned about half a zuchinni and some lemon zest with it, then added fresh squeezed lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. The Greek potato salad was just a easy. I cut and boild up some smallish sized red potatoes, let them cool completely, then mixid in some Duke's mayo (, with some sliced kalamata olives, a sprig of finely chopped rosemary and some feta cheese.

The kabobs are what they are, chicken, proscuitto, and sage, grill and serve...even though they are a bit time consuming to prepare, I love to cook so the time spent was worth it.


Monday, January 17, 2011

I love salsa!
I currently have 3 different kinds of salsa in my fridge.
I have a bag of tortilla chips still in the seal a meal from the other night on my counter. I bought avocados at Publix the other day, even though they were rock hard, because they were on sale...4 for 5 bucks (that's a deal).
So, what am I going to make for dinner?
As I start to peruse my Mexican/Spanish cookbook section, I quickly decide tonight I am going to wing it.
Stuffed Poblanos with Saffron Rice and

For the rice:

white rice

zest of one lime and one orange

diced red and green bell peppers

chopped cilantro

pinch of saffron

salt and pepper

Put all ingredients together add water and cook.

For the stuffed peppers:

poblanos charred peeled and seeded

shredded chicken (I poached a couple of breasts in garlic oil with chicken stock, lime and orange zest, and salt and pepper, in the oven on 350 for about 45 minutes)

black beans


queso fresco

tooth picks

Mix a handful of chicken, beans, corn, and queso fresco in a bowl, and stuff into poblano. My poblanos split all the open, so I used toothpicks to hold them together. Right before serving, put on sheet tray and warm in 350 oven for about 8 minutes.

For the salsa:

I used a portion of my homemade salsa, and some of the super hot salsa a friend sent me from Texas for Christmas, and I put them in my Vita Mix and pureed the heck out of it. A suitable alternative would be your favorite store bought salsa, mine is Arrabiata, you can get it at Publix, it is by far the best store bought salsa that I have ever had, and more often then not I will spent 5 bucks on the jar, rather than make my own. And as a side note...I use the empty jars as drinking glasses, and for spice storage!

Plate it all up, slice up and avocado, top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Baked Potato Soup

courtesy of

Cuisine At Home

A magazine I picked up about 2 years ago.

For the soup:

4 russet potatoes rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper (about 3lbs)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup flour

3 cups whole milk

2 cups chicken broth

1 steak

a couple tomatoes

some green onions

blue cheese crumbles

Bake potatoes in oven until tender, cool slightly, scoop out and mash lightly with a fork, set aside.

Saute onions in butter in large pot about 5 minutes whisk in flour and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, add milk and broth and simmer until thick. Stir in potatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

While soup is continuing to simmer heat cast iron skillet, rub steak with salt and pepper and a little olive oil then through it in the hot pan and cook to your liking. Be sure to get a good sear.

Dice tomates, slice green onions, and mix in a bowl with some blue cheese crumbles and a little salt and pepper.

Ladle soup in bowl, thinly slice steak and pile in the center of the soup and garnish with tomato relish...and enjoy!!!!!!

Super easy, super fast, and so good!

Friday, July 09, 2010

So I have been trying to figure out how to motivate my self to blog more. I cook fairly often. I have a blog. Therefore I should blog about my cooking more often. Makes sense right? Right.

So here goes...

I have been throwing around a couple ideas (in my head, and to my hubby) as to how I should go about blogging more. One idea I keep returning to is similar to the movie Julie & Julia. I recently purchased the movie and watched it again with my husband. I want to challenge myself, I want to continue educating myself, I want to cook more, I want to blog more, and I want people who read this blog to wish they were having dinner at my house. Which shouldn't be a problem because there are only like 5 of you.

I have decided that I am not going to try and tackle Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Umm, hello, it's been done, and there was a movie made about it. I thought maybe I would try and do something about spices. A sort of A to Z thing. Origin, history, original cooking uses, other uses, new uses, that kind of stuff. Hmm, I like that idea still. But if I did that I would have to rethink this post and start over.

So for now I will go with my second idea. I have over 100 cookbooks. So I thought it would be fun to follow a recipe from beginning to end from each of the cookbooks I have and share with you what I liked about it, what I didn't like about it, if my hubby liked it, and maybe what I would do different. But I still might go back to that spice idea after this post.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and even though I was wishing for a La Cornue Stove...(I just went here ...that's the one I wanted)...I digress. I got a beautiful tennis bracelet, a cute purse, and a couple cookbooks. I got Mastering the Art of French Cooking, from my man, and from my chef and his family I got Boulevard. I restaurant cookbook written and edited by women, . Nancy Oaks, Pamela Mazzola, and Lisa Weiss know their shit. I don't know when I will be making my way to San Francisco, but you can be sure that I will definitely be dining at their restaurant (of the same name) when I do!

It's a great book. I love it. And this is what I cooked from it...


Fresh corn...Georgia sweet white and yellow variety. Yum for corn cut right off the cob and thrown into a saute pan with butter. The recipe also called for fresh chanterelle mushrooms. I used dry and rehydrated them . But, I do not recommend this. Find fresh, or use something else like procini, morel, or my personal favorite...shitake.

Funny side note... I just read, in my mushroom encyclopedia (yes I really do have one of those, thanks to my mom) that chanterelle mushrooms are kind of chewy, which is why I didn't love the side dish (don't get me wrong...I liked it alot).

Prep time for this dish is super fast. Cut, chop, heat, done. It can be done last or par cooked and then heated later.

Here are my roma tomatoes, peeled and ready to go in the oven to roast with some fresh herbs and olive oil. I never met a tomato I didn't love, even the ugly ones...ha ha ugly tomato joke. Anyway, I found some canned fire roasted tomatoes in the grocery store a couple nights later to stretch out the sauce that I made for this recipe, and I think they worked just fine. Of course, roasting the tomatoes yourself makes your house smell delish, the canned ones cut your cook time in decide.

Here they are all chopped up and ready to be added to my gastrique of red wine, shallots, and garlic. I have to interject here...I got a little ahead of myself in the recipe and added the tomatoes after I reduced the wine. Oops, I was suppose to saute the garlic and shallots, and then add the tomatoes and caramelize them just a hair, and then add the red wine and reduce...I wish I had done that. Oh well next time. Then I added the half of the beef stock called for and the water I used to reconstitute the mushrooms (learning mistake there...I will explain later).

Oh so brown and rich and beautiful. I love to make sauces. One of the first sauces I ever made, long before culinary school, was an orange tequila lime sauce. I drizzled it over chicken. I should try to make that now, knowing what I know now about sauces...holy crap it would be outstanding...hmmm...maybe for dinner on Friday.

Here are the ridiculously delicious blue cheese fritters, that took like a second to make...step 1: heat oil in pan (note to self, need fry daddy), step 2: make beer batter, step 3: dip chunks of cheese in beer batter and fry for like 3 second (well longer than that...but only by like 10 second). These fritters also taste good with goat cheese. Who am I kidding...I never met a fried cheese I didn't like!

Hey, the stock market was up, and in my house, that means we celebrate, that's why I spent the extra 3 bucks a pound to get the good filets...I still made it out of the meat market under 20 bucks, and just shy of a pound of meat. Look at those puppies gettin all crusty on the outside. Of course the hood above my stove doesn't work for shit, but I don't mind if my house smells like fried meat for a day or so...hello, I am a carnivore!

And this is what it looked like all put together. This is where I tell you about my silly idea to use the reconstituted leftover mushroom jus. The recipe called for 2 cups of good beef stock, which I had, but I decided I didn't want to waste the mushroom jus, so I did half and half. Which resulted in my sauce being a little loose. It was magnificent to slurp of my plate afterwords, but didn't do the gravy like glomb to my filet and corn that I wanted it to. Oh well, lesson learned, next time I will reconstitute what ever needs to be reconstituted in the liquid I am using for the recipe...makes sense right!!!

And here is what my dinner looked like next to the picture in the book. Pretty darn close. The red, yellow, and green square like things in the book picture are...ugly tomatoes (ahh, the gift that keeps on giving). I opted not to add tomatoes to my dish because the heirlooms that were at the store just didn't look ripe. Oh and I forgot about the fresh herbs under the cheese fritter until after I shot this pic...oops.
You can really see how loose my sauce is in this picture, I'm a little embarrassed. But not really, because this dinner was out of this world. My hubby loved it too and even said it was better that the local steak house we went to for dinner on my birthday (no, we didn't go to Outback, not that there is anything wrong with Outback).

Thankyou Fran, Cari, and Gabi, and Saki, and MuMu for the fantastic cookbook.

ps: I am a sucky blogger...anyone know of a good book I can read on how to format and stuff, I really need to learn how to make this more reader friendly. Or..I will gladly make you dinner in trade ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some more stuff I"ve been cooking up lately....
Oven roasted vegetable tahbouli with pan fried shrimp and blood orange balsamic glaze!

I saw this recipe in a 4 ingredient cookbook, it called for 1 egg, one potato, some cheese, and some butter.

I added some arugala and some Jimmy Dean sausage!

Here are some onion slices that I dried, before I made my own spice mixes to give out at Christmas time, I thought they made pretty dried onion roses. By the way if you can dry your own onions I highly recomend it, same goes for lemon zest (I made my own lemon pepper, which was to die for...on cottage cheese, and salmon, and tomatoes, and just about everything!)

I love hollandaise...I often make it on a whim...butter butter butter, oh how I love thee!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pictures of Dinners Past....

I was going for a simple dish here to work on my buerre blanc skills. So I cooked up some rice, and pan fried a couple chicken breasts with salt and pepper. The buerre blanc was the fun part. I through some rough chopped shallots and garlic cloves in pan with a cup of white wine and reduced it by half, then I added about a half cup of heavy cream and reduced that some more. When that was done, I removed the pan from the heat, and whisked in a half a pound of butter (cut into cubes). My buerre blanc was silky and smooth and delish as it was at that point, but I wanted I got out my stick blender and emulsified a whole handful of basil and one bunch of chopped green onions...

Moving right along. A couple of nights later I made Ina Gartens Mexican Chicken Soup. My husband and I were watching her show one afternoon and, well, I just had to make this. So I went to , and found the !

I got home from work and got right back to cooking. Al (my husband) had started the chicken for me, since I had to work a little later than usual. Everything came together quickly, and within an hour we were enjoying a hearty and delicious soup. I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone. It was easy to make, and I am pretty sure the whole family would love it.

chow for now!