Nov 17 | Spices and Seasonings, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dessert | 0 Comments
Pumpkin pie is filled with warm spices that bring the Fall season into full effect. I like to make a batch of pumpkin pie spice to use for all types of recipes from pies, cookies and cakes to adding a couple of dashes to my morning coffee grinds for a dose of light pumpkin flavor. Check out the recipe below and experiment with the warm spices in your spice rack.
Now let's get crackin'!
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice3 tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Ginger
1.5 tsp. Allspice
1.5 tsp Cloves
Place all ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Keep in an airtight container to keep fresh.
Mar 2 | Spices and Seasonings, Techniques, Vegetarian, Vegan, Baked Goods, Side Dishes | 0 Comments
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 Samosa2 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.
Sep 17 | Spices and Seasonings, Techniques, Chicken, Kitchen Basics 101 | 0 Comments
Roasting a chicken is a very simple and easy skill that can be done with so many flavors. I like to keep things simple with salt, pepper, lemon, fresh garlic and rosemary. You can pop this in the oven for an hour and it will turn out perfect every time. The goal is to cook the chicken so the meat is moist and tender, while roasting the skin so it is crispy and flavorful.
If you dig this method, try seasoning your chix with cumin, chili powder and lime juice for a Mexican theme, use a BBQ dry rub for quick down home flavor, or marinate in honey, soy sauce and chili flakes for a Chinese style dinner.
Roasted Rosemary Garlic and Lemon Chicken3-4 lbs. Chicken, bone in, chopped
1 tbsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 head Garlic, cloves smashed
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Lemon, quartered
Pre heat the oven to 425 F. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and season on both sides with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and chopped rosemary. Place the smashed garlic cloves, rosemary stems and lemon rinds throughout the chicken and bake for 1 hour. Using a large spoon, baste the chicken every 20 minutes. Reserve the chicken juices to serve with the chicken.
The chicken is done when the temperature of the meat is 165 F and is not longer pink. You can use a meat thermometer, which is the best way, or simply cut into the meat to check for doneness.
Sep 9 | Spices and Seasonings, Chicken, Dressings and Sauces, Side Dishes | 0 Comments
Peruvian Chicken¼ C Fresh Mint, minced
¼ C Fresh Cilantro, minced
2 Limes, juiced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Pepper
2 lbs. Boneless Chicken or Tenders
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 Beans1 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 Sauce½ 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.
Jul 29 | Spices and Seasonings, Techniques, Chicken | 0 Comments
Kung Pao Chicken1 lb. Chicken, small dice
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 tbsp. Cornstarch
1.5 C Onion, small dice
1.5 C Peppers, small dice
1/3 C Peanuts/Cashews
2 tbsp. Veg or Olive Oil1 tbsp. Veg or Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Ginger, minced
1/2 - 1 tsp. Red Chili Flakes
3 tbsp. Soy Sauce
3 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1.5 tbsp. Sugar
Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the salt, pepper and cornstarch. Pre heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, when it smokes add the chicken in a single layer. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook for 3 minutes to brown on all sides and cook through, then remove the chicken from the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, when it smokes add the onions and peppers. Toss the veggies, cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned, then remove from the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, then add the garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Cook this for 15 seconds and then add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sugar. Cook for 15 - 30 seconds, then add the chicken and vegetables back to the pan. Toss the mixture to cover in the sauce and cook until thick, about 2 minutes. Toss in the peanuts and serve immediately.
Jul 1 | Spices and Seasonings, Techniques, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sandwiches, Side Dishes | 0 Comments
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 Fritters16 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.
May 10 | Spices and Seasonings, Pork, Video | 0 Comments
Jerk is a term referring to a spicy marinade/paste made from habanero peppers, herbs, citrus, garlic and ginger and is a staple of island culture and flavors. In Jamaica, jerked foods are served from roadside, wood-fired grills with the flavors and aromas pulling people in from all over the community. The term jerk originated from the mexican word "charqui" which means dried meat or jerky.
The recipe below is pretty darned authentic with whole fresh ingredients, herbs and spices. You can also make a big batch of this paste and keep it in the fridge for up to a month.
Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg
Jamaican Jerk Pork2 Habanero Peppers, Chopped
1 tbsp. Ground Jamaican Allspice
1 tbsp. Thyme
¼ C Green Onion, Chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
½ inch Fresh Ginger, Chopped
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Salt (Optional)
1 ea. Lemon, Lime, Orange, Juiced and Zested
1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil2 lbs . Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Chicken, Fish or Vegetables
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. Place the pork into a bowl and marinate with the jerk paste overnight. Place the grill over medium high heat and grill the pork for 5 minutes on either sides or until cooked through.
Feb 11 | Spices and Seasonings, Techniques, Video, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vegan, Pasta | 1 Comments
Homemade Pad Thai
8 oz. Pad Thai Noodles
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 8-10 minutes. Heat a wok or large pan on high heat. Add the oil and let it start to smoke. Add the garlic and eggs then scramble well. Add the noodles and sauce and toss well. Plate immediately, garnish and serve.
¼ C Sugar
1/3 C Lime Juice
¼ C Fish Sauce
1 Red Chili, Chopped
2 tbsp. Tamarind paste (Optional)
Place these ingredients into a bowl and mix together until the sugar is dissolved.
1 Red Pepper, Sliced
2 Limes, Cut into Wedges
½ C Peanuts, Chopped
3 Green Onions, Sliced
1 Cilantro Bunch, Chopped
Garnish the hot pad Thai with the above ingredients anyway you or your guests like.
Feb 1 | Spices and Seasonings, Soups, Stew and Chili's | 1 Comments
The Mardi Gras season is upon us and that means celebrating with good food, good drinks, awesome music and great friends. If you can't "Let the good times roll" on Bourbon Street, try this recipe and celebrate with your friends and family.
This gumbo recipe is simple and classic with its roots in French, Spanish, Native American, African and Island cultures and flavors . Though it looks complicated from the start, if you break it down you will have great results every time.
The cool thing about gumbo is that you can add anything you like. Feel free to add any type of canned, fresh or frozen vegetables, roots (parsnips, rutabaga, carrot, turnips) , and meats and seafood like venison, pork, lamb, crawfish, lobster.
* Remember to be patient with your roux. It is the basis of the whole dish and adds great flavor, color and thickness to your gumbo. Go slow and low and stir the whole time.
Homemade Mardi Gras Gumbo 3 tbsp. Oil
1 lb. Andoullie Sausage
2 lb. Chicken thighs, Boneless, Skinless, chopped
1 tbsp. Salt and Pepper
1 C Oil
1 C Flour
4 C Onion, chopped
2 C Pepper, chopped
2 C Celery, chopped
2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
2 qts. Seafood Stock
12 oz. Beer
3 Bay Leaf
1 tbsp. Hot Sauce
3 tbsp. Creole Seasoning (See link below)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Make the roux by placing a large pot on low heat. Add the flour and oil to the pot and mix until incorporated. Slowly cook this "roux" for 2 hours, or until it is the color of peanut butter. Stir constantly and do not burn this mixture. Be patient, this is a slow process.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Brown the sausage and remove from the pan. Brown the chicken and remove. Set the meat aside and chop into small pieces, reserving all of the juices.
3. When the roux is done, add the chopped vegetables to the pot and sauté for 10 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk in the broth and beer so that no lumps form. Add the meat, bay leaf, seasoning and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours skimming of any fat and foam that floats to the top.
5. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce and mix. Add the shrimp and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the gumbo with salt and pepper and serve with a bowl of white rice. Garnish with parsley and green onion.
Link for Creole Seasoning:
Link for gumbo Video with Chef Egg:
Feb 1 | Spices and Seasonings, Vegetarian, Vegan | 0 Comments
If you want to make a great gumbo, you have to have 3 things, the holy trinity if you will. The first is a perfectly cooked roux, the color of roasted peanuts. The second is spicy andoullie sausage. The trifecta of gumbo is a perfectly balanced seasoning. This recipe for Creole seasoning is great because it will give your dish a full depth of flavor that you just cant get from salt and pepper. You can make a large batch and keep it in an airtight container. It is perfect for gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya and for seasoning meats and seafood. This is strong stuff, so remember that a little goes a long way!
Creole Seasoning2.5 tbsp. Paprika
2 tbsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 tbsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Onion Powder
1 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 tbsp. Dried Thyme
Place the ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. Store the seasoning in an airtight container