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This post features a guest cook/my best bud, Jenny.  Jenny is an avid sailor and skier, a teacher, marine biology nerd, Bill Murray fan, occasional boozehound,  and all-around great human.  While at College of Charleston, she started making half-quesadillas as a quick meal and sometimes hangover solution (if her mac and cheese supplies had diminished).

Buying a quesadilla maker seems as ridiculous as buying a mini pie maker (what??) or some other single purpose kitchen electronic/countertop-space-monopolizer, but I’ve considered it once or twice because I can’t seem to flip anything larger than a pancake without making a huge mess.  Jenny’s method eliminates the need to flip.  You lay the tortilla flat with its toppings face up,  fold it over, and repeat. Blam. Well done, Jenny.

Quantity: 2
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1 lb raw shrimp
2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper

salsa:
1 avocado, cut into 1″ cubes
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

2 large tortillas
approx. 3/4 cup feta cheese
approx. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Combine salsa ingredients and set aside.

2. Mix raw shrimp, cumin, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  With a large skillet, toss shrimp in oil over medium heat until both sides appear fully cooked.

3.   Sprinkle cheddar evenly over tortillas, but add feta to one half. Add desired amount of shrimp and salsa on the same side as the feta. On medium heat, coat a large pan with cooking spray and slide one of the tortillas onto the pan. Once it look like the underside has browned, fold the empty side over and firmly press the tortilla with a spatula. Take off heat and let it sit on the pan for a few minutes.

4. Repeat with second tortilla. Serve!  Goes very well with a sweet salsa like this one

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More stupid kitchen tools:

http://ecosalon.com/unipurpose-single-purpose-kitchen-tools-and-utensils/
Electric pancake maker? Wtf, man.

http://technorati.com/technology/gadgets/article/10-ridiculous-kitchen-gadgets/
How to lure a finicky eater: alter his/her hot dog to resemble something that is also slimy.

 

 

Cheese O’ Clock: Stackables

February 22nd, 2013

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Snacks on snacks on snacks. Does anyone else like to make little Lunchables snacks when you encounter a cheese plate? Sure you do! When it all goes together so well, it’s so fun to stack everything you can onto one feeble cracker and chomp. Party in the mouth.

Baguette bread
sharp asiago or cheddar
green and kalamata olives
sausage, pepperoni, or chorizo
Dijon mustard

Sigh. So good so simple. Have a nice weekend!!

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Bourbon Chai

February 20th, 2013

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I’ve been up since 3:30 in the morning. For no reason.  First, I lied in the dark for an hour hoping to eventually sail off into into sweet, velvety sleep-but to no avail. Next I went into the other room and watched old episodes of Bob’s Burgers with my dog Homer, with his warm and fuzzy self curled up at my feet (for once he was trying to help me fall asleep).  There is something soothing about “already seen” cartoons..a comforting quality that almost always does the trick. Not today.  So I gave up and just decided to stay awake..

Fortunately I love my job and the people I work with, so today was just another day. With much, much more coffee.  Well, coffee and the random bouts of hysterical delirium that I remember fondly from exam week all-nighters in college.  For example: laughing a little too hard at this photo:

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Ugh. I’m losing my marbles..

After a biiig dinner, a bourbon chai will surely help me along on my quest for slumber.

Ingredients:

1 tea bag of decaf (duh.) Chai Spice
8 oz. water
3 oz. milk
1 oz. bourbon, I use Bulleit or Maker’s Mark
1 tbsp honey or agave

Boil water and steep tea bag for 5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and drink up.

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Goodnight.

 

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This is excellent and couldn’t be easier.  The original recipe called for canned chili, but I used turkey and white bean chili from the takeout section at Wegmans.

Ingredients:

1 cup chili
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp hot sauce

Fritos Scoops

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, stir in chili, brown sugar, hot sauce until blended. Take cream cheese and cut into four 1-inch squares and place at opposite corners of the bowl.

2.  Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes total- taking the bowl out at the minute-mark to stir.  Serve with Frito Scoops or tortilla chips

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You can mix it up a little bit by add more tomatoes, peppers, taco mix, etc.  I added a few spoonfuls of the spicy corn relish below :)

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Winter Citrus Cocktail

February 14th, 2013

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Happy Valentine’s Day drunkards!  Welcome to Love Potion No. 9 for 2013!  I’m going to  keep with last year and stick to the hooch on v-day rather than baking cookies or the like (although these look incredible). 

I created this cocktail with my valentine in mind, who can go through a crate of clementines in 2 days and loves anything of the whiskey, scotch, bourbon variety.  Also, it may be the perfect Valentine’s day drink: it’s refreshing, slightly sweet, and warm and inviting. So whether you’re single, in a relationship, ravaged with scurvy or just thirsty, this cocktail is for you.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 oz bourbon
juice of 2 clementines
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar or white sugar
seltzer water

Directions:

Fill 2 glasses with ice.  In a separate cup, combine bourbon, clementine juice, lemon juice, and agave nectar. Mix well. Pour over ice and top with seltzer water. Garnish with clementine peel.

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Together we’ll make a love potion:

Just beet it.

February 12th, 2013

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My heart beets for you. Valentine’s day is around the corner. If you happen to be making dinner and are looking for a festive salad, look no further than the deep red beet. 

What takes this salad to the next level is the dressing. OH my god this dressing.  The recipe is adapted from my mom’s all-time favorite.  It’s  light, warm, subtle and goes beautifully with almost any salad. 

Ingredients:

Salad:
5 cups baby spinach and arugula
4-6 steamed beets (depending on how much you like beets), sliced
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3/4 cup feta cheese
ground pepper

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. If almonds are raw, bake in a small pan at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, boil garlic in water for 10 minutes and drain. Mash garlic and salt to a paste. Using a jar or tupperware container, add all dressing ingredients and shake shake shake until dressing is fully blended!  The original directions involve whisking, but this is much faster.

3. In a large bowl, toss spinach and arugula while slowly adding the dressing until you’ve reached your desired amount. Note: I used about half of the dressing, there should be plenty left over! Divide salad amongst the plates and top with beets, feta, almonds and pepper.

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If you want to go extra-dweeb on this one and use hearts of romaine, go for it. Have fun with the awkward “trying to take a cute bite of a big-ass leaf” scenario while on your date though.

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“I guess these are healthier.. But mostly I don’t feel like dealing with scalding hot oil today.”

My friend Jenny introduced these to me a few months ago.  She’s summed up perfectly why one (especially the accident-prone. heyo.) would want to take an alternative route in making these delicious little nubs.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 14 minutes
Makes 16 sticks

Ingredients:

8 mozzarella sticks
8 egg roll papers (found in the refrigerated or frozen section)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven 400 degrees.

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1. Cut egg roll paper diagonally.  Take half of a mozzarella and roll it from the corner to the end.

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2. Brush the first end with water and fold towards the center. Press lightly.   Turn the stick over.

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3. Repeat on the other side.

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4. Place sticks 1-2 inches apart on foil over a baking sheet.

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5. Brush sticks with oil. Be sure to oil both sides. Sprinkle salt.

6. Bake for 7  minutes. Remove sheet from oven and flip each stick over.  Return to oven and bake for remaining 7 minutes.  Let cool

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Dipping sauces! I used marinara and sweet chili sauce. Next time, I’m going to make this sweet and sour sauce with dash of cayenne pepper or sriracha sauce.

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My old roommate Chelsea and I made these mozza sticks last Saturday.  They were awesome.  I’m definitely making these again.

NOTE:  There was a small cheese spillage issue, in that half of the mozza sticks had cheese oozing out (ex. hollow cheese stick, 2nd to the left).    Chelsea and I took the good with the bad, because something beautiful happens when the cheese oozes out- baked cheese chips.

Despite this serentipitous cheese chip creation, I would like to avoid spillage in the future.  Jenny had the same issue and she suggested adding an egg wash over the oil,  saying perhaps the egg would bind them and make them crispier (bonus!).

Does anyone have any recommendations?? Please feel free to comment below

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Curry Ginger Squash Soup

February 3rd, 2013

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Ohh hey there squash. Come here often? Well in my kitchen you do, you delicious minx.

My mom and I got this recipe from my cousin Nina (who gave me this awesome book for xmas), and it is a superb, nay a superior addition to its preceding soups (seen here and here).

Serves: 4
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb butternut squash, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup diced onion
2 tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios (optional)
ground pepper

Directions:

1. In a large pot on high heat, boil squash for in water for 30 minutes and then let simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes until squash is soft enough to pierce with a fork all the way through.

2. In the meantime, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a medium pan at medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook til lightly browned. Set aside.

3. Drain squash. Pour it back into the pot and mash into mush with a potato masher. Return to stove and set to medium-low heat. Add broth, onions, and butter. Let it heat up for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in ginger, curry powder, and salt.  Add pepper to taste.

4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle pistachios over the center. Serve!

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Keeps for 2-3 days.  For some reason, the soup loses water and gets very thick after a day, so you might need to add more chicken broth before reheating.

Enjoy!

P.S. WONDERFUL NEWS: Patrick’s sister Ashley and her husband Colin had their baby Friday night. His name is Finn Edward McCabe and he is beautiful.  Congratulations new parents and welcome to the world, little one:

 

 

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This is always a huge hit and is super easy.  You literally just plop the jelly on top of a block of cream cheese. The pepper jelly is sweet and savory and goes so perfectly with the soft, mild cheese.

Ingredients:
8 oz. plain cream cheese
1/4 cup red pepper jelly
Water table crackers

Next week: Baked Mozzarella Sticks