Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peanut butter and?

As I am sure I have mentioned a time or two, I am not a baker. The idea of exact measurements makes me crazy! This food blogging has forced me to measure things and keep track of what I am cooking so I can share it with you. I suppose it is a good lesson...

I read awhile back a post by my friend the Spirited Miu Flavor about a peanut cake...this was shortly after reading about homemade peanut butter by the Duo Dishes...this made me hungry and made me actually want to bake!

So while I really wanted to make these items exactly as they had...I didn’t. I cheated! Baking from scratch still scares me.

I decided one morning that peanut butted muffins would be wonderful. So I got my ingredients together and began baking.
The only thing I did different than the box was instead of oil I put in 1 cup of chunky peanut butter and baked as muffins.

Now I am dreaming of some kind of topping for these...Should they be peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate frosting? Or maybe Peanut butter muffins with a homemade strawberry jam type topping? Thoughts? I will have to make them again when I figure it out because these muffin/cupcakes plain have been consumed pretty fast!

Pasta with NO Pasta?

Pasta for me, as I am sure it is for so many, is a great weakness! If I lived someplace like Italy this would be no problem. The Italians can have pasta of some sort for every meal and it is acceptable along with drinking wine like its water...Maybe I should just move!

In an attempt to keep from exploding or becoming as big as a house,or having to move to another country I will try to put a limit on my pasta intake. This is very difficult and sad, but I have found a pretty good replacement, that is healthy, tasty and cheep!
Yellow Squash fettuccine With Bolognaise Sauce

With a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of squash the length of the squash and as even thickness as possible.
When you hit seeds, stop and go to another side.

Stack the strips and slice into thin strips the width of fettuccine.

Pile them in a bowl and pour the heated sauce over the raw squash.

The heat from the sauce cooks them to al dente texture!

I would Recommend using only thick hearty sauces for this. The squash does have a lot of water in it and will release it in the sauce.
Top with cheese and dig in! No guilt and after dinner you will not feel that sluggish over full feeling Pasta can give you.

Truth be told this was breakfast for the Wino...and since I do not live in Italy (yet!) no wine for now...

Let me know if you have found any other great substitutes for pasta and Bon Appetit!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Farmers Market Inspiration!

Wednesday afternoon I finally made it to my local Farmers Market, after missing it for the past few weeks, and found some fantastic vegetables. This had me thinking dinner...what can I make for dinner? When I spotted the beautiful Anaheim chilies it came to me! Chili Relleno, roasted Anaheim's stuffed with goat cheese...hmmm. Then there were shiny red bell pepper, ah ha! Roasted red bell pepper sauce, I love roasted red peppers with goat cheese. There is nothing like a Farmers Market to inspire a great meal. Unfortunately there were no goat farmers at my market, so I was forced to buy my goat cheese at Trader Joe’s.
If you have never roasted a pepper it is really quite easy, the goal is to burn it! First you coat them with oil and then either place them under a broiler or over a flame (like the BBQ). Turn them occasionally until they are charred on all sides, the blacker the better. Then you place them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, so that it steams. Let them sit for a bit covered, then start pealing the skin off. If you have rubber gloves this will keep you from staining your hands and perhaps keep from burning them also. Very important, DO NOT RINSE the peppers, this just washes away flavor!
In this recipe I am only feeding two of us so if you are feeding a crowd you will need to adjust the amounts.
4 large Anaheim Chilies roasted, and carefully de-seeded. I did this by taking the stem off and carefully scraping the seeds out with my finger...if there is an easier way please tell me. I wanted the chilies to remain whole. set them aside.
The filling:
4 oz soft goat cheese
½ cup shredded jack cheese
1/4 cup diced mild green chilies
mix all together with a fork and put in a plastic zip top bag
slice a corner of the bag, making a hole big enough that the chilies fit through, this is a quick disposable piping bag.

Red Pepper sauce:
In a blender;
3- 4 large red bell peppers roasted and de-seeded
2 garlic cubes (from Trader Joe’s) or 1 large garlic clove
½ teaspoon of cumin
1/4 of a cup of vegetable stock
blend until smooth
sea salt to taste
If the sauce is a little bitter add a dash of sugar or agave syrup.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

To assemble pour sauce into a baking pan (or individual pans like I did)
Carefully pipe cheese mixture into the Anaheim chilies, if they tear just put them seem side down.
Nestle the cheese filled chilies down in the sauce and pipe any remaining cheese mixture on top.
Bake for 20 minutes
When the 20 minutes are over turn the oven to broil and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese on top is slightly golden.
Top with cilantro sour cream and serve with a side of black beans.

Recently I was thrilled to discover that Zinfandel is wonderful with spicy dishes, so while at Trader Joe’s I picked up an inexpensive Zin blend from Lodi California, about $6.
TBD Rouge 2007 is a combination wine with Zinfandel being the lead variety, followed by petite sirah and malbec.

This wine is robust and spicy with a dark ruby color and a fruit forward aroma. It was excellent with the black beans and the Relleno.
This was such a delicious dinner and almost entirely local, organic, healthy and home made! Almost!

Cheers and Bon Appetite!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Picture perfect breakfast!

First things first!
Corn tortillas are my favorite, crisped up with olive oil.
Refried Black beans, nutritious and delicious!

Over easy please!

A little cheese, and salsa!

Muy Bueno!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Food for thought...bring your imagination!

For Christmas I was given a very cool book by my boyfriend called My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea , it's introduction is by Anthony Bourdain. Tony as I like to call him is my new favorite to watch on the Travel Channel, I still love Samantha Brown...but there has been nothing new....

I digress! The book is 50 Great Chefs writing about what their last meal would be, in what setting and with whom they would dine. It has photos of the Chefs in settings resembling their personality or fantasy meals some are slightly bizzare...Included arethe recipes of the final meals they would be having. Some are extremely extravagant and other very simple. According Tony, Chefs have been playing a version of this game forever. Discussing what the last flavor on their tongue would be if they were faced with...say the electric chair (probably due to some patron insulting their food and them beating that patron to death with a spatula). OK that last part was me, not Tony. Chefs can be a bit "Temperamental" and touchy about their food...and I TOTALLY understand!

My fellow foodies, food and beverage blogger, food fans, culinary experts or whatever you like to call yourselves I am curious what would you chose as your last Supper?

I struggle with my own answer, there are so many things I have yet to try and places I have yet to go that narrowing it down is difficult. Even narrowing down my favorite food is a challenge for me. Right now I would go with the simple comfort foods from childhood. When I go to bed hungry, I dream about food, what I dream about would be similar to the answer to this game.

My last supper would need to be buffet style set up on the beach at Crystal Cove in Laguna California around sunset. There would be candles and fire pits everywhere, long serpentine tables covered in candles, fruit, flowers, sea shells and beautifull linens. I would be dining with close friends and family drinking GREAT wine (no cheep stuff for my last meal) laughing and enjoying soft music, not so loud that it covers the sound of the surf. We would be lounging in comfy chairs or relaxing on large beach blankets.

The food would be home made creamy Macaroni and cheese with slice tomatoes baked on top. Large bowls of my mothers beef stew with fresh homemade french bread and lots of butter. Really good Prime Rib cooked to a perfect medium rare (by someone who knows what medium rare really is) sliced in thick slab with mashed potatoes red wine Demi Glace. Turkey and all the Thanksgiving fixings including cranberries, stuffing and green beans cooked with bacon and onion. Home made pastas with rich red meat sauces, spicy vodka sauce and cheesy lasagna.

I suppose there should be salads, probably the kinds with blue cheese and fruit involved, goat cheese and roasted baby beats. There would of course be Artichokes, marinated, stuffed, grilled and steamed. Asparagus drizzled with a warm Bur Blanc. Mushrooms sauteed with wine and garic. Since this is my dream, I don't have to go crazy on the vegetables!

There would need to be an appetiser section, like piles of really good sharp cheddar and blue cheese, some brie baked to ooy gooy (technical term) and topped with roasted garlic or even a fruit of some sort , soft spreadable goat cheese and roasted red peppers. Crunchy on the outside and soft and warm in the middle, french and sourdough breads. Olives of all colors and sizes marinated with olive oil white wine and herbs. There would need to be fresh salsa and thin crispy corn chips, and my grandmothers guacamole of course!

Desert would be chocolate cakes that are super moist, creme brulee, a variety of cheese cake especially pumpkin, warm peach pie with Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream, pumpkin pie with loads of homemade whipped cream. Chocolate bread pudding with a creamy brandy sauce and big soft cookies in peanut butter, chocolate chip, and oatmeal chocolate chip!

Since this is dream/ fantasy I would never be totally full and would have no need to worry about my calorie intake, it is my last meal after all.

I may have forgotten something but now I am really hungrey! I would love to post pictures of this, but photography in my dreams are not alloud...

So do tell, what would you eat if it were your last meal? Where would it be and with whom? Think before you write, use your imagination!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


For those of you who check in on me regularly you know I have been slacking on the blogging...Blog Block? Or lack of inspiration? Well I have spent hours scouring fellow food blogs and found my inspiration for today!

It started...or ended at the Spirited Miu Flavor and the beautiful salad! Imitation is the highest form of flattery right? Ozge, I hope you agree! Some days ago I could not resist the temptation that is Thirsty Thursdays by the Diva on a Diet and her Blue Berry Syrup! Of course as soon as I made the syrup life got in the way and I was unable to finish making the cocktail part...I know, what is this world coming to when the Wino doesn't have time for a cocktail!? So the beautiful Blueberry Syrup has been sitting in my fridge just calling to me.

In the early hours while I was laying awake, pretending I was going to go back to sleep...I was thinking about food. Am I alone in this? That is when it came to me, Blueberry Vinaigrette! After my morning coffee This is what I had for breakfast. Thanks Ladies for the inspiration and I hope I can return the flavor...I mean favor!

Blue Berry Clementine Vinaigrette

2 1/2 TBS Clementine Olive Oil (this was a gift from my Barefoot Mommy)
3 TBS white Balsamic Vinegar
a pinch, a dash or a smidgen of Dijon Mustard

Blend all the ingredients until emulsified and drizzle over the salad.

For my salad I chose a blend of romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and my favorite, Arugula. Topped with sliced ripe strawberries, and crumbled Blue Cheese.
This is such a light and fresh salad that is perfect for these hot summer days! It could almost be a desert, its that good.