Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime and Peanuts

This dinner kinda has an identity problem. It has some Thai influences from the fish sauce and the peanuts but then I went and served it as a taco with white corn tortillas and a side of black bean and corn salad. I also was running low on cilantro but had some creamy cilantro sauce in the fridge that I served with the tacos that was made of milk, eggs, pablano chiles, cotija cheese and a lot of cilantro which leaned it even more towards the Mexican side. Even though it was a little confused it still tasted great. I especially liked the crunch of the peanuts in the taco.


Serves 4
  • 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shells on (I used 26/30 count shrimp and removed the shell because I served them as shrimp tacos)
  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


1. Zest limes into a bowl. Squeeze in juice from 1 lime, and whisk in fish sauce and sugar.

2. Preheat grill to high. Brush shrimp with oil on both sides, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill until pink and firm to the touch.

3. Toss shrimp with fish-sauce mixture, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions. Juice remaining lime over shrimp.

Recipe from the August 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Smokey Beef

This slow-simmered beef with just the right amount of spice is my favorite new use for beef roasts. I have a freezer full of roasts so this is a great recipe that I can make during the summer when a traditional pot roast sounds way too heavy. And not to mention I don't want my oven on for hours roasting us out of our home.

The original recipe calls for a chuck roast that is defrosted, boneless, and is cut into 4 equal sizes. It also asks for it to be cooked in a dutch oven for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. I have made this a few times now and have used a different roast each time. This last time I used an arm roast and I did not bother to defrost it, remove the bone or cut it into pieces. I also prefer to make it in the crock pot. It does take much longer but it is nice not to have the oven on during these warm summer months. I often put in on before I go to bed and then just turn the crock pot down to warm until we are ready for lunch or dinner. I have found that whatever roast, cooking, or preparation method you choose it always turns out great. Our lab also appreciates the adobo flavored bone. :)

The first couple of times I made this I served the beef with corn tortillas that were given a quick char. That is very good but the last time I made it I decided to make some flat bread from my refrigerator dough from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day and that was really good. Bottom line, this is a great use of those pot roasts that are in your freezer.


Serves 8
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 3 pound beef roast (chuck, rump, arm roast, etc.), excess fat trimmed
  • tortillas or flat bread
  • toppings as desired


1. In a crock pot mix together chiles, ketchup, water, garlic oregano, salt and pepper.

2. Cut beef roast into 4 equal pieces (if the roast is frozen don't worry about this step and just turn the whole frozen roast to cover). Put the lid on the roast and set the crock pot to low. Let cook until beef is fork-tender about 6-8 hours. You can also roast the meat at 350 degrees in a covered dutch oven for about 2 1/2 hours.

3. Transfer beef to a bowl. With a large spoon, skim off and discard fat from cooking liquid. Shred beef with two forks; moisten with cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve beef with tortillas or flat bread and desired toppings.

Recipe from the March 2009 issue of Everyday Food.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homemade Homegrown

This is the time of the year that cooking becomes even more enjoyable for me. This is because I get to use so many fresh and local ingredients. And when I say local, I mean local. Not the farmer's markets (even though they are wonderful), I'm referring to my parents property and my back yard. Visiting the markets is awesome but I get way more pleasure from harvesting and using something that I have planted or tended to.

I also get a lot of satisfaction in making homemade food. It is really a stress reliever for me. The other day I was just stressed and irritable at work for no good reason. I thankfully was able to sneak out a little early and I went straight for my fridge that was stocked full of ingredients from my last visit to the parents. I thought I would highlight a few dishes I made that night that helped me unwind and feel like I had accomplished something. I'm not going to include recipes but if I get enough requests I will share them later.
Our deck that my husband and I designed and built. This is where most of our summer meals are eaten including the one below. I have also snuck herbs in all my pots. :)


I have become a total pizza snob since living in Rome. I really don't even enjoy American style pizza anymore. There are a few places around that make good Italian style pizza but these pizza's below even rival them. All I'm missing is a wood fire oven.

Spicy Italian turkey sausage, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, ricotta, and mozzarella make up this pizza. I have been using the refrigerator dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. This was the light wheat and the pizza below used the French Boule dough.

This pizza featured fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, prosciutto and basil from my herb pot on my deck.

Dolmathakia me Kima: Stuffed Grape Leaves With Meat & Rice

I have eaten these a few times at Greek restaurants but never have made them. I was picking blueberries that are located right next to our large grape pergola, when my mom told me I should take some of the leaves home and make Dolmas. That is just what I did. The grape leaves, beef, and the eggs used for the avgolemono all came from the Lowber farm.

Rainer Cherry Crumble

The star of this crumble in the Rainer Cherry. My parents have this one tree that looks very sad but boy does it produce the cherries! The cherries are so sweet that I did not add any sugar to the fruit. I made the crumble topping using whole wheat pastry flour, oats, walnuts, a little butter, raw sugar and yogurt.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garbanzo Curry

This is another quick and easy weeknight dinner. Packed with vegetables and one of my favorite beans, garbanzo beans. I served this over brown rice and made naan using Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day.


Makes 6 or more servings
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 green chillies, diced
  • 2 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 dried red chilly, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • 1 can coconut milk (lite is fine)
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots


1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan and add the onion and green chillies and cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for five minutes. Add mixture to blender and blend until very smooth and set aside.

2. In the same heavy bottom sauce pan add the remaining oil and add the cumin seeds, ginger and red chilly. Cook over medium heat until toasted. Once toasted, add the blended paste, the garbanzo beans, frozen peas and carrots, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and coconut milk. Cook for about 10 minutes until carrots are tender.

Recipe by me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sweet 'n Sour Stir Fry

This is one of those easy weeknight meals that I often make. It is quick, healthy, good for lunch the next day and most importantly tastes good. I really don't measure anything out when making this dish, I just eyeball everything. I have attempted to give accurate measurements below however. Also, as you can see there are peaches in this recipe. I usually use one can of peaches in light syrup but I have also made this using fresh and frozen peaches. If you are using fresh or frozen peaches you will want to add more water to the sweet and sour sauce and a little bit of sweetness either from brown sugar, agave or honey.


Makes about 6 servings
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized cubes.
  • 2 green bell peppers, large dice.
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced.
  • 1 can of peaches in light syrup. Reserve the syrup and dice the peaches.
  • handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water


1. Heat oil in a deep sided fry pan or wok. Add chicken and cook until brown. Remove chicken when cooked and set aside.

2. While the chicken is cooking, in a small sauce pan add reserved peach syrup (see note above if using fresh or frozen peaches), ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and 1/4 cup water. Mix the cornstarch with 1 or 2 tablespoons water before adding it to the other ingredients to prevent lumps. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. If sauce is very thick, thin with remaining 1/2 cup water. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In the same pan that the chicken was cooked in add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the bell pepper and cook until soft but still has a slight crunch, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low.

4. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan with the onion and bell pepper. Add peaches and peanuts and pour the sweet and sour sauce over the mixture. Stir until everything is coated evenly and serve over brown rice.

Recipe by me.
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