Sunday, January 28, 2007

White Cheddar-Chorizo Fondue

I haven't done much cooking this week, and I was eager to get in the kitchen and do something fancy. We had a fondue with chorizo sausage at a restaurant that we really liked, so when Mike found the sausage at Winn-Dixie, I decided to try my hand at it. First, I rubbed the inside of a pot with olive oil and a garlic half, then made a double-boiler with a larger pot to melt the white cheddar with a bit of milk and flour. Meanwhile, I browned the sausage after removing the casing and set it aside to add just before serving. Lastly, I toasted a Cuban Loaf from Publix in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes and cut up some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. The wine glasses you see are my own creation; I crushed some ice in the blender and whirred some Arbor Mist Zinfandel Sangria in to make sort of a wine slush. Is that a wine cooler?

The verdict
For a made-up recipe, I was very impressed with this dinner. It wasn't a fondue in the traditional sense of the word; we ended up scooping out some of the cheese mixture and schmearing it on the bread. When Mike found out that I only used half of the cheddar to make the dish, he proclaimed, "Well, we can have this again!" I guess he liked it. He likes pretty much anything involving sausage. I give this meal 4 and a half stars for taste and 1 star for health. I apologize again for the poor picture quality, the SOMEONE who lost the digital camers still hasn't replaced it.

p.s. I tried one of the crock-pot roasts I put together for the freezer a few days ago, and it turned out very well. I didn't put any liquid or seasonings in the bag, so I could do something a little different from the first roast. Mike actually put it in the crock-pot, because I had a cold during the middle of the week and wasn't feeling great. It was perfect for a night like that.
I think my favorite is # 2, how about you?

Signs Found in the Kitchen

1. A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen, and this kitchen is delirious.
2. No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
3. A husband is someone who takes out the trash and gives the impression he just cleaned the whole house.
4. If we are what we eat, then I'm easy, fast, and cheap.
5. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
6. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.
7. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.
8. A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
9. Help keep the kitchen clean -- eat out.
10. Housework done properly can kill you.
11. Countless number of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.
12. My next house will have no kitchen --- just vending machines.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mike and I spent the weekend in Fort Lauderdale, and while I definitely would not want to live there, the city has some GREAT food!! Mike and I went to a great restaurant called the River House, which was two old houses that were connected and converted into a restaurant. I would like to apologize in advance for the poor picture quality, they were taken with Mike's phone, since SOMEONE lost the digital camera.

First up, a raspberry mojito. This was my first mojito, and I thought it was pretty good. I don't think I'd like a traditional mojito, though; I need the fruit to take the edge off.

Next up, I had crabmeat-encrusted black grouper with a creamy sweet corn sauce and truffle-infused yukon gold mashed potatoes. This was WAY fancier than anything I would make, but I would like to try my hand at the corn sauce, as I think it would make just about anything taste better. The crab-grouper combination was delectable. The potatoes were tasty as well, but I couldn't pick out the truffle taste. I was excited to try them, because I've never had truffles before. For dessert, Mike and I split a Bailey's chocolate-mint cheesecake. It was plated beautifully, and I wish I'd had room to enjoy it better. I couldn't really tase the Bailey's or the mint, but I suspect I was too full! The River House was the most romantic restaurant I've ever been to, and I'd recommend this restaurant if you're ever in Fort Lauderdale. I hope that we can take my parents there next year and I can show you more pictures!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Crock Pot Chicken

I bought a country-style chicken (because I hate cutting it up myself) and I decided to give it a go in my beloved new crockpot. I sprayed it with olive oil, then sprinkled it liberally with onion powder and garlic powder. Then the crock pot did the rest. On the side, we had steamed broccoli, leftover crescent rolls, and brown rice.

The verdict
I don't know what it is, but ever since my days as a camp counselor, I can't stand chicken and rice together. They used to serve this yellow rice dish with chicken in it that was old and tough and nasty, and it always made me sick. I thought this would be okay as long as the chicken and rice didn't touch each other. The chicken was good, and the rice was good, but I definitely plan on making chicken like this again, though, because it's much easier than baking it. The leftover chicken and bones are simmering in the crock pot, so look, for a tasty chicken soup in the coming days. I give this meal 2 stars for taste and 3 and a half stars for health.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This morning I cooked Mike a nice breakfast. Here we have crescent rolls, fruit salad, and a hashbrown casserole. I had never attempted to make hashbrowns before; that's always been Mike's domain. To the potatoes I added cheddar cheese, chorizo sausage, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mike seemed to enjoy his breakfast very much!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Stew That Almost Wasn't

This morning I put a beef roast in the crockpot, and when I got home this evening, I was greeted by the mouth-watering smell. Unfortunately, although I added liquid when I put the meat in, it had all completely evaporated, leaving the beef on top looking more like jerky. Mike sampled it and said it still tasted good, so I added some broth and was going to let it sit for a few minutes while I got the biscuits and broccoli ready. I figured I would just turn it into a beef stew. What Mike DIDN'T say was that he thought turning up the crock pot to high was a good idea, so when I checked the pot again, it had turned into a Thew - a really thick stew! But we were really hungry, so we tried it anyway.

The verdict
Well, this was interesting, if anything. When it was a roast, I didn't add very many spices, but when I decided it was going to be a stew, I tried to give it more kick. Since the water evaporated out again, it was very strong, a little too much so for my tastes. It seemed just right for Mike, though; he put a bisquit in the bottom of his bowl and ladeled some stew over it. You win some, you lose some, I guess! I give this meal 2 out of 5 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ham and Swiss Fococcia

Yesterday I picked up a loaf of garlic fococcia for tonight's dinner. Mike had praise band practice, so I needed something easy that he could have before he left. I cut the loaf in half, partially hollowed it out, then filled brushed the insides with a homemade honey-mustard sauce. Each half was then filled with ham and swiss cheese, and baked at 300 for about 5 minutes.

The verdict
How much easier can it get? This was the perfect in-a-hurry meal. The bread was awesome; crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, with just the right amount of garlic. I give this meal 4 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Grilled Amberjack

Tonight after watching my boys, I picked up some Amberjack at Northwest Seafood. It was my first time in the store, and while everything looked awesome, the prices were high, so I chose what was on sale, even though I'd never heard of it. I needed some guidance on how to prepare this fish, so I turned to the Internet and found this recipe for Ginger-Honey Amberjack. I also found this great site, where I learned about removing the bloodline and soaking the fillet in milk prior to cooking to tone down the fishy taste. We also had brown rice and a salad of mixed greens, spinach, carrots, and some corn leftover from taco night. To drink, I made a daquiri from frozen strawberries, a kiwi, Sprite, and Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Passionfruit Rum.

The verdict
The Amberjack reminded me of mahi mahi, but I'm glad I tried the milk soak. I was a little concerned because when Mike was cooking it on the George Foreman grill, the smell reminded me of canned cat food. Luckily, it didn't taste that way. The glaze was flavorful, and coupled with a Meyer lemon wedge, the taste was very good. I give this meal 3 and a half stars for taste and 4 and a half stars for health.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Today Mike, Sophie and I went for a picnic at Devil's Milhopper. On the way, we stopped at the Fresh Market, where I picked up some rotisserie chicken and baby back ribs. I also got a small bluberry-toppped cheesecake tart. We also had baby carrots with ranch dip, chips, and tangerines.

The ribs were good, but I especially loved the chicken. When the lady at the Fresh Market cut it in half, you could see the juices gushing out of it. It was so tender and so flavorful...but then, oh the cheesecake! It was the perfect ending to a perfect lunch. In fact, this lunch was so good that I didn't feel like I could top it with dinner, so we're having...leftovers! Yay!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chicken Tacos

Tonight Mike kindly volunteered to make dinner tonight, and he decided to make tacos from ground chicken. He used my homemade taco seasoning, which I gave as Christmas presents this year to family. For toppings, we had a mexican cheese blend, sour cream, white shoepeg corn, and black beans. Mike also used his favorite sweet chili sauce, Mae Ploy. On the side he served baby carrots with ranch dressing.

The verdict
Any meal my hubby makes is great! The taco seasoning I made was salt-free, but he added aboout half a teaspoon of salt to the meat while cooking, and I think it tasted very good. I enjoyed having the wide variety of toppings. I give this meal 4 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Crock Pot Cornish Game Hen

My fellow blogger Kat got me in the mood to try a turkey breast in the Crock Pot. However, I only thought I had one in the freezer. I did have a Cornish Game Hen, though, so I decided to take her basic suggestions and make that instead. I sprayed the defrosted hen with butter-flavored spray, then sprinkled it liberally with Penzey's Fox Point Seasoning. That went into my new Crock Pot, with some sliced garlic and 10 or so of my turkey broth cubes. I had bought some more purple potatoes from the Fresh Market, so I decided to make mashed potatoes, along with a mixture of steamed green beans and white shoepeg corn. The bread is a beer bread from our neighbor Christy. I love her because whenever I, er, accidently leave a dish at her apartment, she always returns it with something tasty on it.

The verdict
The hen was excellent; it was so tender that the meat fell right off the bone. I think this will quickly become my preferred way of making Cornish Game Hen. The potatoes didn't turn out great; I added the sour cream before it was truly warm, like you're supposed to, and that must have been the reason they turned a little gloppy. Christy's beer bread tasted different from my recipe, it almost tasted like it has cornmeal in it. It was good with some Canadian honey on top. I give this meal 3 stars for taste and 3 and a half stars health. I decided to try to make some broth out of the hen, as my turkey broth supply is getting low. I love getting as much as possible from a meal!