Monday, April 20, 2009

1905 Salad - Shower Recipe 5

The Columbia Restaurant is an institution in Tampa; it's legendary. There are several locations, but the original is in historic Ybor City. Their 1905 salad is incredibly popular and several other area restaurants have their knock-off versions. I have made this salad for several parties and it is always a hit. The dressing is a great recipe in itself. I urge you to make extra to keep on hand, but I'll warn you - it is garlicy. But I think that is what makes it so yummy.

Here is the link to the recipe:


Hummus - Shower Recipe 4

I love hummus. There are a lot of good store bought kinds out there, but nothing beats freshly made hummus. It also couldn't be easier; you just dump everything into a food processor.

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained, reserving the liquid
2 cloves garlic
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 2 lemons
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste, you can find in most grocery stores)
Several dashes of hot sauce, I like cholula, but whatever is your favorite (Use as many dashes per your spice level. I use about 10)
2 Tbsp of the reserved liquid or you can use water
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, just enough to swirl around the food processor at the end
Pita bread to serve with

Place all the ingredients, except for the olive oil, into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed. Taste for seasoning. You may need a little more liquid. I like to add a swirl of olive oil at the end and then process for one more second.

I like to take my pita bread and cut into wedges. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Warm in a preheated 350 degree oven for a couple minutes. Serve the hummus chilled or at room temperature.

Now that you have this recipe, you can add all sorts of ingredients: roasted red peppers, olives, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, oregano, dill, etc., etc.

Also, you can make this with white beans. I actually added a little leftover white beans in mine this time. I need to use them up and this was perfect.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pomegranate Sangria - Shower Recipe 3

This pomegranate sangria was a recommendation by my boss. It is a Bobby Flay recipe that I modified a little bit. This recipe uses two bottles of red wine, so make sure you have a big enough pitcher, or split between two. I actually bought this plastic pitcher with a sealed lid for easy transport. It was also ideal for making in advance.

2 bottles of fruity red wine, a Spanish rioja or a French red should be good
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup simple syrup, cooled (Place 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan. Heat over low-medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. Stirring occasionally.)
3/4 cup triple sec
3/4 cup brandy
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Place the fruit on the bottom of the pitcher. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, stir well. Cover, place in the refrigerator for atleast 4 hours, or up to 48 hours. Serve over ice.

Broccoli Slaw and Raman Noodle Salad - Shower Recipe 2

This recipe has been kind of passed along over the years. I think originally it was my sister's mother-in-law's recipe. She made it for my sister's bridal shower like 10 years ago. I've made it for other friends' showers and so on. It is really easy.

2 Raman noodle packages (Any flavor you like. I usually use chicken.)
1 package of broccoli slaw ( You can find this in the produce section, usually by the packaged broccoli florets. What it is, is broccoli that has been shredded into a slaw like cabbage.)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cashews
1 can of mandarin oranges, optional (I don't use, but if you like mandarin oranges, knock yourself out.)
4 green onions, chopped, optional
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
both seasoning packets from the Raman
1 cup oil (vegetable or olive)

Break up the Raman noodles and place in a large mixing bowl. You DO NOT cook the noodles. The dressing will soften them. Add the broccoli slaw, sunflower seeds, cashews, oranges and onions to the bowl, mix.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar and seasoning from the packets. Add the oil and whisk well.

This can be put together the night before. However, do not dress until morning of your party. I like to dress it a few hours before so the noodles have a chance to soften.

*Note: You probably only need to use 3/4 of the dressing. Add a little at a time and judge for yourself. But, I never use all of it. It gets too soggy.

Baked Brie - Shower Recipe 1

My absolute favorite cheese is Brie. I could eat it all the time, but that would be bad. Even though my friend Brook doesn't like cheese (I know blasphemy, right?!) I really feel that no shower is complete without brie. And it was a big hit.

1 round wheel of brie
2 spoonfuls of apricot preserves (You can use any kind of jam you like. I just think apricot is a great match with the brie.)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 sheet of puff pastry (Can find in the freezer section of the grocery store. Usually comes two per package. Take one out and let thaw for 30 minutes on a baking sheet.)
1 egg, beaten
Granny Smith apple slices
wheat crackers (I like Ritz Simply Socials)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the wheel of brie in half, remove the top. Spread an even layer of apricot preserves on top of the brie. Then sprinkle the almond slices on top of the preserves. Place the top of the brie back on. Unfold the puff pastry onto a baking sheet. Place the brie in the middle and fold up the edges of the pastry. Brush with the egg to secure the edges. Flip the brie over so the seam side is down. Brush the top with the egg. Bake in the oven for roughly 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow it to set for a few minutes. Cut into the brie and serve on crackers or apples.

Shower Time!

Today was my friend Brook's bridal shower. I helped out by making four dishes that everyone really seemed to enjoy. I had several people ask for my recipes, so I told them I would post them here. I will post one at a time, so keep checking back! Below is a rundown of what I made.

Columbia Restaurant's 1905 Salad
Hummus and pita bread
Broccoli Slaw and Raman Noodle Salad
Baked Brie
Pomegranate Sangria

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Greek Burgers

Sorry I have been M.I.A. recently. I've been really busy and not cooking anything of note recently. But the other night I made these delicious Greek-style burgers. In lieu of regular hamburger buns, I used whole-wheat pita bread. I topped them with my cucumber yogurt sauce.

For the Burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Greek seasoning for taste (I use a special seasoning from Land & Sea Market, if you can't find any, use a mix of dried oregano, garlic salt and pepper)

For the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:
6 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves
3 inch piece of a seedless cucumber, peeled (these are the types of cucumbers that are found wrapped in plastic, a.k.a. English or Hothouse)
A little sprinkle of Greek seasoning or salt and pepper

Red onion
banana peppers

Mix the burger ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Make 8 equal size patties. You want smaller patties so they'll fit nicely in the pita pockets. Place the patties in a preheated skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 minutes per side, longer if you like your burgers well done.

Meanwhile, scoop the Greek yogurt into a bowl. With the small side of a grater, grate the garlic into the bowl. If you have a microplane that is even better. With the larger side of the grater, grate the cucumber, but not directly into the bowl. The cucumber has a lot of water so I like to squeeze the excess water out before adding it to the bowl. Mix well, season.

Now, heat the pita bread for a few minutes in a toaster oven or regular oven at 300 degrees. Remove the pitas from the oven and slice in half. Carefully open up the pita bread. Place the burgers inside the bread, you may need to cut them in half. Fill with your preferred toppings and the yogurt sauce. Pita is fragile, so don't over stuff or they might crack or fall apart.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Simple Dinner

Tonight I made a simple dinner of roast chicken breast. I had these bone-in chicken breasts from Land & Sea. I just drizzled the chicken with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and a little Greek seasoning. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. You can use any kind of seasonings you like. By roasting on the bone with the skin the chicken stays very juicy. I served with roasted asparagus and wild rice.

Stay tuned for some recipes I am making this weekend for an Easter get together. I am making a rustic apple tart and some kind of veggie side dish, yet to be determined.

I am helping with a friend's upcoming bridal shower, so stay tuned next week for the dishes I am planning.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Cleaning...Eh!

I may excel at being a modern housewife when it comes to cooking, but when it comes to cleaning house, I fail miserably. I absolutely hate cleaning. I do it, but I don't like it. I keep my kitchen very clean, but I procrastinate when it comes to other household chores. I have decided that a new plan of action is going to be doing one chore a day. That way it doesn't take much time and the house is always visitor ready. In case anyone decides to drop by.

Tonight, however, I did more than one. I cleaned and organized my closet a bit, vaccuumed and did the dishes after dinner, since the hubby cooked dinner tonight. I do, however, have a confession to make. In not so modern housewife-style I was cleaning with my pearls on. I didn't even realize it. I had left them on from the workday. I assure you though, I wasn't wearing a dress and heels.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Update: 5 Ingredient Fix

I watched 5 Ingredient Fix, a new Food Network Show, this morning. I really liked it. The host, Claire Robinson, is very cute and she made dishes that looked really good. I totally agree with her philosophy that great dishes don't need a ton of ingredients, all it takes is five ingredients or fewer. I hope the show does well. I'll definitely tune in every Saturday morning.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Food Network Show Debuting

I saw a preview tonight of a new Food Network Show that is debuting tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 9:30. It is called "Five Ingredient Fix." That's right, apparently all the meals contain only 5 ingredients. Sounds exactly like a show A Modern Housewife could benefit from. I can't imagine a recipe with only five ingredients being very difficult or taking that long to prepare. I plan on watching and I'll let you know what I think. I don't know much about the host, Claire Robinson, but in my experience with Food Network the chances of a new host being annoying is about 50/50.

Here is how the website describes the show:
"In her new daytime cooking series, 5 Ingredient Fix, host Claire Robinson proves delicious dishes only need five ingredients or fewer to make cooking easier, faster and down right irresistible. Claire shows viewers how to enhance the natural flavors of carefully-selected, fresh ingredients to illustrate her belief that each ingredient should truly stand out in a recipe. With eclectic and elegant menus perfect for every occasion, her straightforward cooking style promotes healthy, seasonal eating as well as stress-free shopping. Claire minimizes fuss and maximizes taste to achieve mouth-watering meals in no time!"

Sounds good to me.

A Publix Grievance to Air

So, I went to the store this evening to pick up some fresh chorizo to make this chorizo and chickpea dish for dinner. I run up to Publix on a mission to find this one ingredient quickly (the only one I needed) and get the hell out of there.

My first mistake was going during 6:00 traffic when all the idiots are out on the road. My second mistake was going when I was hungry. (I'm not a pleasant person when my blood sugar is low.) My third mistake was going to Publix, since clearly they suck because they don't carry what I needed. All they had was ONE type of chorizo that is already smoked. I needed fresh, uncooked chorizo for this dish. I knew I should have gone to the Sweetbay that I know carries it. I just figured Publix would have it. And I figured they would have more to offer than just one kind. Wrong! Apparently, people in Carrollwood don't cook with chorizo.

On the verge of cutting a biatch and not wanting to go to another grocery store that would be out of my way, sending me back on the road with the crazy drivers, I decided to pick up dinner from Jasmine Thai, which is located in the same plaza that I was already at. So, I get my dinner, drive back home, eat my delicious dinner, my blood sugar goes back up, I calm down, and no biatch got cut in the process. All in all I would say it was a successful night. Thanks for letting me vent.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Do You Mean He Don't Eat No Meat?

That is my absolute favorite line from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." And tonight I had a big fat Greek salad for dinner. My husband was having dinner with a friend who's in town, so I decided to just go get a salad for dinner. It has been so long since I had a Greek salad from Pappas. I was very excited. I think why I like their salad so much is because it is loaded with potato salad.

I have been very good lately at taming my sweet tooth, but I couldn't resist getting a piece of baklava for dessert. It's like a little piece of heaven doused with honey. I would really like to make baklava myself sometime, but I find all those paper-thin layers of phyllo rather daunting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Holy Guacamole!

Who doesn't love guacamole? Avocado has got to be the most perfect fruit/vegetable that exists in nature. It has the most wonderful, buttery texture and it is a lovely color. Another plus, in my husband's case, is that avocado is full of good fat the breaks down cholesterol. Considering his is through the roof, he can use all the help he can get. I like to use Haas avocados, the little ones from California. You can tell when their ripe when they give just a little bit to the touch. Also, the more brown the outside is, the more ripe.

3 ripe Haas avocados
juice from 1 lemon (the acid helps keep it from turning brown)
hot sauce of your choice (I like Cholula and I use about 8 dashes, but it depends on your heat preference.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
red onion, finely chopped, however much you like (I don't like too much so I only use about 1/2 a small onion.)
salt and pepper
1 tomato, seeds removed and diced

Cut the avocados in half by running a knife along the edge and twisting the avocado open. Remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a large bowl. (I use a spoon.) Discard the shells. Immediately squeeze the lemon juice over them. Add the hot sauce, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; toss. With a knife, slice into the avocados numerous times until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and mix again. Check for seasonings. If you like fresh cilantro, by all means add a handful. I don't really care for it.

P.S. When storing guacamole, take a piece of plastic wrap and place directly on the guacamole. Air is what makes the flesh turn brown, so this keep that from happening. In addition, cover the bowl with plastic wrap as well.