BBQ season is near and nothing goes better with grilled meats that a cool and tangy slaw. Check this recipe for a simple and healthy kale/apple slaw. The motivation came as I was cleaning out my fridge one day and needed to create a cool side to go with some BBQ chicken. I saw the kale starting to wilt in the back of the fridge and knew this would be a great base for a crunchy slaw. I used my cheap plastic mandolin to cut apple and carrots into thin matchsticks and then sliced up some onion for kicks. The onion I sliced was very strong, so I rinsed it in cold water to remove the overpowering flavor and aroma. I also had a bit of red bell pepper in the produce bin, so I sliced it thin and threw it in.
The dressing is fairly standard using mayo and sour cream as a base and then adding sour and sweet flavors with apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. The flavor was a little dull so I seasoned the dressing with half of a lemon and a nice pinch of salt and pepper. I had some random sesame seeds in the cabinet, so on they went for a garnish. The slaw barely made it around the table as everyone piled heaping spoonfuls over grilled chicken and pork loin.
Now Get Cracking! Chef Egg
Kale and Apple Slaw w/ Creamy Apple Cider Dressing
Place the first 5 ingredients into a bowl. Place the remaining dressing ingredient into another bowl, mix to combine and adjust seasoning to taste. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to combine. Place in a sealed container in the fridge until service.
It is no secret that I LOVE TACOS! One day I was making a fresh batch when I looked in my cabinet to find no tortillas, hard or soft. This life problem gave forth to one of the greatest cooking discoveries of my career. The question was, how can I make homemade flour tortillas just like they do at the taco shops? With a little research and "real world experience", I have come up with a very easy recipe and method for making soft flour tortillas. This can be used for tacos, quesadillas, chimichangas, wraps, tortilla chips and more. Once you start making fresh tortillas, you will never go back!
Now Let's Get Cooking!
Homemade Flour Tortillas
2 C Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tbsp. Shortening or Butter
3/4 C Warm Water
Place the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix well with a fork. Add the shortening and then press it into the the flour with the fork tines until it is combined. Add the warm water and mix well until a ball of dough forms. Kneed the dough for 3 minutes with your hand then cover with plastic for 15 minutes. Cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces and let rest for another 5 minutes.
Place a ball of dough onto a floured surface and then flour a rolling pin. Lightly press down the rolling pin onto the center of the dough, turn a half turn and repeat. Flip the dough over, place the pin on the middle of the dough and roll outward, up and down. Lightly re-flour the surface, dough and pin. Turn and repeat this process until the tortilla is very flat.
Place a skillet (non stick, cast iron or steel) over medium high heat. Place the flattened dough into the pan and cook for one minute. The tortilla will puff up a bit, you can just press it down with your hand. Turn the tortilla and cook on the other side for about 20 seconds. Place the warm tortilla on a plate and cover with a moist towel while cooking the rest. Keep the tortillas wrapped in plastic until serving.
Pasta Cacio y Peppe is a classic Italian pasta dish from Rome. Pasta is cooked to "Al Dente" or "To the Tooth" and is then cooked in a light sauce made from starchy pasta water, butter, cheese and fresh pepper. This simple recipe is basically pasta tossed in cheese and pepper and can be made for a simple and inexpensive lunch or dinner. This is also a great recipe to bust out if you want to impress friend while on a budget.
Pasta Cacio e Peppe aka Pasta w. Cheese and Pepper
8 oz. Spaghetti
1 tbsp. Salt
3/4 C Pasta Water
3 tbsp. Butter
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4-1/2 tsp. Fresh Pepper
1 pinch Salt
1. Bring 3 - 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Place the salt in the water, stir in the pasta and cook for 8 minutes. This will cook the pasta until it is "Al Dente" and will be slightly undercooked.
2. Remove 3/4 of a cup of the pasta water and then carefully drain the pasta well. The pasta water will be used to help make the sauce.
3. Place the pasta water and butter into the pot and stir together well over low heat. Add the hot pasta, cheese, pepper and salt to the pot and toss very well. The starchy pasta water, butter and cheese will melt together and form a cheesy and peppery sauce that will lightly coat every strand of pasta. The slightly undercooked pasta will finish cooking in the sauce while it soaks in more flavor.
Serve this immediately with fresh pepper and more cheese on top.
Roasted potatoes are one of my favorite sides and they go great with breakfast, lunch or dinner. This recipe is very basic, so you can use any kind of potato you have on hand (white, Idaho, yukon gold, red skin, sweet potato and yams). Feel free to switch up flavors to match your tastes, budget or whatever you have in the kitchen. I like roasted potatoes with roasted, grilled or baked meats like chicken, steak, fish and pork chops. You can also serve these on the side of some eggs and bacon or create a chilled roasted potato salad with the leftovers.
Now Let's Get Cooking!
Herb Roasted Potatoes
5 C Potatoes, diced
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Butter
2 tsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Dried Herbs - Italian Herbs or French Herbs aka Herbs D' Province
1/3 C Fresh Parsley
1/2 tsp. Salt and Pepper
1. Pre heat your oven to 450 F. Place the potatoes and salt into a medium pot then cover with water by one inch. The high heat is going to crisp up the potatoes quickly without drying them out too much and the salt in the water will help to season the potatoes on the inside.
2. Place the pot over medium/high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, cook for 7 minutes and then drain very well. Starting out with cold water and then bringing to a boil will help the diced potatoes cook evenly. Boiling before baking will help to make the potatoes fluffy when you eat them. Draining the potatoes well will keep then from getting mushy and help them to brown evenly.
3. Place the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and toss to coat well.
4. Place the potatoes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the potatoes and continue to cook for 20 minute or until crispy and golden brown. The parchment paper is used to create non stick surface on your baking sheet, it is also biodegradable. It is a little more expense that aluminum foil, but is a great tool to use for everyday cooking.
Hard boiled eggs are a great way to get your protein fix for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. The method for cooking the eggs is very simple and can be done in no time at all. I like to boil about a dozen eggs at a time and keep them in the fridge for whatever comes my way during the week.
To store the eggs, peel them and dry well with a paper towel, then place in a airtight container. They should last about 4 days. You never know when you are going to have a craving of deviled eggs, egg salad or my favorite, breakfast guacamole!
You will need...
6 -12 Egg
1 Medium Pot
1 Slotted Spoon
1 qt. Ice
1. Place the eggs into the bottom of a pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring the water to a full boil, cover, and turn off heat.
3. Let the eggs sit for 12 minutes.
4. Take the eggs out of the pot and place then into a bowl with ice water.
5. Let the eggs cool completely before peeling.
6. Dry the eggs week and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Place the first 7 ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Toss the remaining ingredients together, season with salt and pepper then refrigerate until service. Top each serving of soup with the chopped vegetable garnish.
Samosas are a classic indian hand pie/pastry that is served with a variety savory flavors. Generally a pie dough is rolled flat, stuffed with a mixture of vegetables and spiced lamb and then fried. This recipe has been simplified, stuffing a vegetable mixture into a piece of puff pastry and baking until golden brown.
You can use a variety of filings including ground meats, potatoes, grains, beans and vegetables. Spices can include curry, cumin, cinnamon and garam masala (a mixture of warm spices), that can easily be purchased at the grocery store for little $$$.
The technique takes a little practice, but once it is perfected you can make a big batch of samosa in no time. It is also a cool group activity. Remember to use parchment paper or a SILPAT (non stick silicon pad) on your baking sheet so the pastry won't stick!
Baked Vegetarian Samosa
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 C Sweet Potato or Potato, small dice
1/2 C Onion, small dice
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 C Kale, sliced thin and chopped
3/4 C Canned or Frozen Peas
3/4 C Rasions, chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1-2 tsp. Cumin
1-2 tsp. Curry Powder
3/4 C Water
1 Lime, juiced
2 sheets Puff Pastry, defrost in the fridge
1/2 C Water
2 tbsp. Sesame Seeds, optional
You will need a baking sheet with parchment paper or a SILPAT (non stick silicon pad).
Pre heat the oven to 425 F. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pan. Place the sweet potatoes and onions into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, tossing every minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients and cook for 5 minutes, tossing every minute. Add half of the salt, pepper, cumin and curry and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the sweet potatoes are soft. Season the mixture with the rest of the spices to suit your taste and stir in the lime juice. Let this mixture cool to room temperature or chill completely.
Take the defrosted puff pastry out of the fridge and place both sheets on a cutting board. Mix the egg and the water in a small bowl and set aside. Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares. Take one square and lightly roll it out and rub/paint a small amount of the egg mixture in the 4 sides. Place 2-3 tablespoons - a golf ball sized scoop - of the vegetable mixture in the middle of the square. Pull the 4 corners together with one hand and pinch tightly. Use your other hand to seal the seams together, creating a four cornered pouch of awesomeness. Place the pastry on the lined baking sheet and continue until you have formed 18 samosas. Paint the remaining egg mixture over the pastry and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Place the samosas into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pans and cook for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
You can serve samosas with homemade or store bought chutneys, sweet chili sauce or fresh salsa.
Place all ingredients into a bowl and marinate for 1 hour. Place your grill over medium heat. When it is hot, place the chicken on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
If you want to marinate a whole chicken, make a double batch of the marinade. When it is time to cook, you can bake at 400 F or grill over medium heat for 75-90 minutes. The chicken should reach 165 F in the thickest part of the breast or thigh, not touching the bone.
Rice and Beans
1 C Rice
13 oz. Canned Black Beans, rinsed
2 C Water
2 Bay Leaf
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
½ tsp. Salt and Pepper
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place all of the ingredients into the pan and bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
Peruvian Green Sauce
½ C Mayo
1/3 C Sour Cream
1 Lime, juiced
1 C Cilantro
2 Jalapeno, chopped with no seeds
2 Garlic Cloves
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ tsp. Salt and pepper
Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.
A heaping bowl of corn grits can be a tasty, filling and inexpensive meal. You can make grits for breakfast, lunch or dinner and serve it with just about anything from bacon and eggs, to shrimp, pork and vegetables. I like my grits with lots of cheese and served with spicy sausage. Check this recipe out below and feel free to mix it up and make this recipe your own.
Italian Sausage and Grits
2 tbsp. Butter or Olive Oil
1 Onion, small dice
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 C Water
1.5 C Corn Grits
1/2 C Cheese - Parmesan or Goat Cheese
1 tbsp. Butter or Olive Oil
8 oz. ltalian Sausage, crumbled
1 Bell Pepper, small dice
1 C Tomato, small dice
Salt and Pepper TT
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the grits and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the grits are cooking, place a skillet over medium heat, add a little oil to the pan, when it smokes add the sausage. Cook the sausage for 5 minutes, add the bell pepper sand cook for another 5 minutes. 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 10 minutes stirring often, then season with salt and pepper.
Place a portion of the grits into a bowl and top with a heaping scoop of the sausage mixture. Garnish with more cheese, chives and fresh herbs.
Falafel is a staple street food in Middle Eastern countries and throughout Europe. A good falafel is made by stuffing a big pita with fried chickpea fritters, seasoned with warm spices like, cumin, paprika and coriander. These crispy fritters are then topped with salads made from fresh chopped tomato, onions and cucumber as well as a parsley and bulgar wheat salad called tabouleh. A falafel is then finished off with a drizzle of tahini (sesame seed paste) and dollop of greek yogurt tzadziki. If your lucky, some places will top the whole thing off with French fries.
This sandwich is inexpensive to make, has all of the food groups, is vegetarian and bursting with fresh flavors and textures.
Middle Eastern Falafel - Chickpea Fritters
16 oz. Canned Chickpeas, drained
½ Onion, minced
½ C Bread Crumbs
¼ C Parsley, chopped
¼ C Vegetable Oil
Place the first 8 ingredients into a quart sized freezer bag, seal tightly and smash with hands to combine. You can also pulse the all of the ingredients in a food processor until combined. Form 4-8 equal sized balls and then press into patty. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil starts to smoke lightly, carefully add the patties to the pan. Fry the patties on one side for 2 minutes and then turn, continue to cook the other side until golden brown. Drain the falafel well on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
You can serve you falafel on pita bread or any middle easter or greek flat bread. Top your falafel with chopped tomato, cucumber, pickles, greek yogurt, hummus, tabouleh, tahini and even french fries.