Paleo Asian Sloppy Joes

This is something that morphed as I made it.

It was gonna be paleo Asian burgers. Sounds great, right?

Follow me on the journey to see what ended up happening:

Paleo Asian Sloppy Joes

marmie cooking class and il mulino

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground white meat chicken

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 serrano pepper, diced

2 tsp. chile paste (I used these pastes that I seriously love for those times when you don’t have the fresh stuff on hand – it’s LEAGUES better than the jarred stuff and doesn’t have any weird chemicals)

1 cup cilantro leaves, washed and diced

1 package fajita or Asian mix, diced

1 tbsp. oil

to taste: ground ginger, coriander, soy, hoisin (ignore that bottle of mayonnaise there!)

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1. Sautee the onion, garlic, spices, and other veggies (but not the serrano pepper) in the oil for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn translucent.

2. Now, put  lid on the skillet and turn down the heat. Cook the veggies for another 15-20 minutes or until they are incredibly soft. We don’t want to caramelize the veggies, we want to soften them and stew them until they become a jam that we can…

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mash with a potato masher or drinking glass! This makes the meat very moist and the vegetables palatable for even the harshest of critics.

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3. Combine the chicken with the hoisin, soy, and diced pepper.

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Don’t try to form them into patties. With so much moisture from the veggies, they will just fall apart. 

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instead, just add them to the veggie mixture and mash it all around.

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4. Cook until the chicken is totally opaque and cooked through.

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5. Serve on portabella buns or mixed greens with a garnish of hoisin and Sriracha.

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These didn’t turn out the way that I thought they would, but they are still great. The important part is the extra fat from the oil used to sautee the veggies – it makes the meat very tender and juicy instead of the hard, crumbly discs that you occasionally get when using low fat meat. The vegetables literally disappear into the meat. The sweet, spicy, and pungent flavors of the sauces and spices make this a great filling for a taco or topping for a salad – I would even serve this with fried wonton crisps as a room temperature party dip!

Bottom line, mistakes aren’t all bad.

Some of them are pretty damned tasty.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Quesadillas

This is a sweatpants-appropriate recipe.

It’s not classy. It’s not dinner party-appropriate. Hell, it’s not even fresh – it came about when my fiance was hangry* one day around 3 pm. I threw some stuff together, served it to him, and then asked for a taste…and it was good. Real good.

Blog good.

So, here it is. Just dig around your fridge and pull out the leftovers and make this rather tasty, embarrassingly trashy dish.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Quesadilla

spinach and meatloaf quesadilla1 Ingredients:

2 tortillas

leftover meatloaf (the really good, glaze-y kind)

1 onion, diced and caramelized

1/4 cup mashed potatoes (yeah, we used purple ones)

Handful of shredded cheddar cheese (maybe 1/4-1/3 cup)

20140321_201744 1. Put the tortilla in a nonstick pan over medium/high heat.
20140321_201820 2. Add about 1/3 of your cheese.
20140321_201914 3. Add the meatloaf, the onions, and…

20140321_201946 the mashed potatoes. Add all of the ingredients to the center area of the quesadilla, because when you add the top tortilla, the toppings will spread and you don’t want them to fall out of the sides of the quesadilla.

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4. Top with the rest of the cheese and the other tortilla. When you top with the second tortilla, push down hard with your fingertips. You want to mash the meatloaf and the potatoes and also tho help the melty cheese glue the tortillas together.

20140321_202059  5. Pretty soon, your bottom tortilla should be golden and crisp, which means that it’s time to flip! Just let the other side cook for a couple of minutes and you are ready to…

20140321_202249 6. Serve (on a paper plate of course…toldja this was dirty food).
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This is a handheld guilty pleasure. It’s crispy, cheesy, and melty. It’s meaty, soft, and has buttery mashed potatoes. The meatloaf is even better than regular chorizo or ground beef because it’s extra soft, thanks to its breadcrumbs. The quesadilla gets its flavor from the spicy/sweet ketchup glaze that melts in the heat of the pan, and also the sharp, salty cheese. You can top this with sriracha or bbq sauce, but you don’t need to. This is everything that you need.

Oh, and you need sweatpants.

There…now you have everything that you need.

*Hangry: so hungry that you get angry. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Lazy Creamy Spinach

I have always loved creamed spinach.

My earliest memories it involve the California institution Lawry’s. I haven’t been back in years and don’t know if I can bear to every visit again. From what I hear, it is an overpriced tourist trap with salty meat and overpriced drinks, but I remember it as my first truly fine dining experience. I loved getting all dressed up and eating prime rib as heavy as I was, a baked potato that came with a cute little poem encouraging me to eat the skin, and  - of course – that creamed spinach.

Lawry’s spinach was dense and rich – it barely tasted of spinach at all, it was really just a vehicle for gallons of cream and loads of butter.

Look, it was so delicious that it upstaged the Yorkshire pudding. How many dishes can say that?

This dish isn’t creamed spinach and it isn’t nearly as delicious as I the version that I recall from Lawry’s.  But, then, I wonder if anything would be as delicious as that memory?

Lazy Creamy Spinach

spinach and meatloaf quesadilla

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 lb. fresh spinach

1 tbsp. butter plus 2 tsp. oil

1/4 cup creme fraiche

a few dashes of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

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1. Sautee the garlic in the butter and oil over medium heat until it is fragrant but not brown – we don’t want any bitter taste here.

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2. Throw in the spinach. Turn it for the next 5 minutes or so. It will wilt down very quickly.

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3. When it is wilted – I mean really wilted – turn off the burner and add the creme fraiche. it will get a little soupy but not too much.

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4. Add seasonings, taste, and serve piping hot.

This is such a great side dish to meatloaf or honey mustard chicken. It’s rich but not super heavy and the creme fraiche adds and unexpected tang along with its creamy richness. You don’t have to boil cream forever or strain out any complicated spices – just sautee, add the creme fraiche, and go. It’s similar to sour cream but with an even denser texture and slightly sweeter taste. Speaking of sweet, if you don’t have fresh nutmeg you can skip it, but it really does add that “je ne sais quoi” - like how orange rind perks up carnitas or a bay leaf enriches chicken stock. This is comforting, savory, and tastes leagues better than the frozen stuff. It isn’t the same as real creamed spinach, but it does the trick.

You can’t go back to your youth, but it doesn’t hurt to update your classic memories. 

Baked Buffalo Chicken

Originally published at Whisked Foodie

Though it’s hard to characterize something as “the best,” some things just are “the best.”

For example, “Walk Like an Egyptian” is the best song by a girl group.

The first sequel is the best Back to the Future movie. And Anchor Bar Buffalo Sauce is the best sauce for wings. It might be because the bar created the buffalo wing, or it might be because it is the perfect blend of spicy, salty, and tangy. But it is, without a doubt, the best buffalo sauce on the planet. It doesn’t need any doctoring or fresh herbs. It doesn’t need any extra heat. It really doesn’t even need chicken – mix it with blue cheese dressing for the world’s most delicious veggie dip. If you do want the original dish, you will have to fry those wings. However, I – shockingly! – take the lazy way out and bake them. I also use thighs because who doesn’t love some juicy meat? Just use this easy recipe on some wings and thighs, bake them, and impress everyone at your girls night.

 What, y’all don’t eat wings at your girls nights?

The Best Baked Buffalo Chicken

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Ingredients:

2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and wings
¾ cup flour
1 tablespoon pepper
1 cup anchor buffalo sauce

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1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, toss the thighs in flour and pepper until they are coated. Place them on a greased baking sheet. 

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2. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear when the thigh is poked with a fork. 

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3. Take out of the oven and toss immediately in the buffalo sauce. Too much sauce isn’t a problem, too little sauce is. Don’t be stingy, here!

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4. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing and celery. 

This stuff is so delicious. Even though it isn’t fried, it is crispy from the flour coating, juicy, and undeniably saucy. The sauce is obviously the king – don’t doctor it at ALL! It’s signature vinegary, spicy flavor is all I want or need in an American-style wing. And don’t forget that floury coating because that is what keeps the chicken from getting soggy. I have eaten these for dinner with some freezer fries and for lunch with an iceberg wedge salad – they don’t weigh you down too much and the flavor is just exactly what you crave. These aren’t great the next day, so try to eat them all in one sitting.

Somehow, I don’t think that will be a problem.

After all, these are the world’s best baked wings. 

Everything Gravlax

There is little that is better in this world than a cup of dessert coffee (sweetened condensed milk is the key), a mid morning showing of all of the “Back to the Future” movies, back to back, and a toasted everything bagel with fresh smoked salmon.

Yes, I toast my bagel. You aren’t supposed to in NYC, but after years of pretending to fit in and eating chewy, soft bagels, I have gone back to the toaster. Crispy on the edges, warm enough to melt the cream cheese…oh yeah.

But I digress.

Everything bagels and lox is such an indulgent combination. You can’t eat it before work because your breath is going to be RANK. You can’t eat it in the car because you will be spilling poppy seeds and crumbs everywhere. And you can’t eat it quickly because a bagel and lox is a behemoth of a sandwich.

So, basically, this is a treat you have to eat on a weekend morning with nothing to do except lick the cream cheese from your lips.

Of course, the only thing better than an everything bagel with lox would be an everything bagel with everything gravlax…everything-ception?

This follows the exact same method as used here, so refer there for the picture diagram, but here are some step by step instructions for making what may be my new favorite lox ever. Though it takes some prep time, it is incredibly easy – all you need is some space in your fridge and 48 hours.

Everything Gravlax

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon filet

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salt

1 tbsp. each celery salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic powder, and onion powder

3 diced scallions

1 large handful dill, washed and chopped

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1. Combine the sugar, salt, and assorted herbs and spices in a bowl.

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2.  Place the salmon on cling wrap, skin side down,  and thickly cover the 3 exposed sides in the spice mixture.

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3. Tightly wrap the salmon and weigh it down with some heavy cans (and, yes, a tiny sugar shaker if that’s all that fits in that teensy weensy space). Then, put it in the fridge and don’t check it for 48 hours.

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4. When the salmon comes out, unwrap it. There will be a good amount of liquid in the loaf pan – that’s totally normal! If your cans got messy, just wash them with soap and water. Then, push all of the excess spice mixture off of the salmon.

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5. Follow these instructions and slice the salmon thinly against the grain. Trust me: the more you do this, the better you get!

That’s what she said.

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6. Serve immediately or the next day on warm bagels with scallion cream cheese.

This is the gravlax to end all gravlax. Salty but not overly so, thanks to the balance of the sugar and the rich salmon. Dill permeates the salmon with is grassy taste and scallions add the bite. The poppy seeds and sesame seeds release their oils into the salmon, infusing it with nutty flavors. And the salmon itself - even out of season – is so mild, so soft, and so satisfying that you might find yourself eating it by the forkful. Use this stuff to scramble into eggs, to top pizza with a creme fraiche base, or to chop into quiches, but honestly…it’s not going to last that long.

I just hope it lasts until the bagel is done toasting.

Valentine’s Day Menu

So you forgot to make Valentine’s Day reservations.

Or you decided you didn’t want to eat out on the night that many industry professionals call the “sh*tshow of the year.”

Or you are hanging by yourself or with a friend rather than a date.

Whatevs.

There is no reason that you can’t have a totally amazing, delicious, and – yes – sexy – meal at home.

Might I recommend this menu:

Naomi Pomeroy’s Asparagus Soup

I know that asparagus isn’t in season, but it doesn’t matter. This is just the best soup I have ever eaten…ever. It’s light, rich, and vibrant – the perfect little amuse bouche to whet your palate.

Lazy Caesar Salad

Caesar is always appropriate, especially when you want to be elegant yet lazy.

That’s how I would describe myself…elegant yet lazy.

This is pungent but not too fishy, assertive but not too goopy, and is great with fresh croutons and some torn romaine lettuce.

Filet and steak sauce

Because Valentine’s Day just calls for a hearty steak and some zippy steak sauce. This foolproof method ensures that you will have enough time to make this while your date – or you!  - sip your first glass of wine. Don’t forget the homemade steak sauce.

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Classic Pommes Puree

After you celebrate your heart, why not stop it with some awesome mashed potatoes made with enough butter to make Michelle Obama call a press conference?

Maple Apple Brussels Sprouts Hash

Crunchy and cabbage-y and sweet and bacon-y. Plus, the leftovers are a great breakfast when topped with a fried egg.

And now…for the grand finale…

Peanut Butter Pie

It ain’t my recipe, but I have never had a peanut butter dessert as good as this one. And I have never had a non peanut dessert as good as a peanut one. So…

You get the picture.

And whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, dine well and treat yourself well.

See you next week!

Pantry Chicken

Occasionally, save for a few mealy tomatoes and a squidgy head of iceberg lettuce, I have absolutely no fresh vegetables, herbs, or even protein in the house.

It doesn’t happen to me often, but it happens.

And when times like that hit, it’s important to know what to do. I turn to my freezer for ground chicken or chicken cutlets, to my fridge for mayonnaise and mustard, and to my pantry for every spice under the sun. The result is more tasty than you might expect!

Pantry Chicken (photos taken with the wrong setting on my camera – many apologies)

chicken and cauliflower

Ingredients:

4 chicken cutlets

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. hot Chinese mustard

dash of Worcestershire

LIBERAL DASHES OF ANY/ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:

Seasoning salt

pepper

garlic powder

onion powder

cayenne pepper

poultry seasoning

oregano

Parmesan cheese

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 and combine all ingredients except chicken. Taste for seasonings – it should be pretty aggressively seasoned. don’t forget to go easy on the salt at first, since the Worcestershire is loaded with sodium. However, go heavy on the dried herbs.

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2. Coat the chicken in the mixture.

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3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chickens juices run clear when poked with a fork and the top is bubbly.

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4. Serve with a starch (YES, this is leftover fried rice, and you know you do it too, so shut up)

This chicken is so good that you might even make it on nights when you have other options. The mayonnaise keeps the chicken extremely moist and it cooks quickly enough to remain tender. The marinade forms a crusty, bubbly surface that is fabulous on a sandwich. Best of all, the taste is complex and vibrant. It’s amazing how just some dried spices and herbs come to life in a zippy, rich sauce. This is great on a Cobb salad, over mashed potatoes, or even served with  - yes!  - Chinese leftovers.

I was going to go grocery shopping today, but, I might just feel like raiding the pantry instead.

Creamy Mexican Corn Dip

Remember when I made that awesome corn recipe last summer but I never quite posted the recipe?

So sorry for that.

I am here to rectify the situation, no matter how late.

And I rectified it in the winter! In a way you can eat it with chips!

And…I hate to say..it might even be better than it was this summer.

After all, it’s cheaper, it can be made ahead of time in vast quantities, and we wear big coats to hide our spare tires. 

Creamy Mexican Corn Dip

corn dip

Ingredients:

3 cans corn

2 serano chiles, diced

2.5 cups nonfat greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 chopped chipotles in adobo, with some of the sauce

3/4 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped

Juice of 1 small or 1/2 large lime

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 block feta or cotija cheese, crumbled

1.5 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. each cumin and coriander

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1. Put the corn and jalapenos in a very hot and heavy skillet or grill pan. The idea is to char it over high heat so there are some burned, crunchy parts. It should take about 5 minutes.

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2. In the meanwhile, mix together all of the other ingredients.

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3. Add the corn mixture to the bowl with the other ingredients.

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4. Refrigerate for an hour and then taste for seasonings. I tend to like mine on the tarter, spicier side, but you can make your own decisions.

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5. Serve with tortilla chips.

This stuff is so delicious – this makes a huge portion and it was gone within an hour at our Superbowl shindig. It is sweet and savory and spicy and creamy. The heat is very mild but enough so that you sit up and take notice. The char on the corn brings an earthy, savory note and the lime juice perks everything up. Don’t forget to use full fat mayo, because it rounds out the tangy taste of the yogurt. However, most of the mixture here is made from nonfat yogurt, so it really isn’t that bad for you. I mean, it is if you eat it with a ton of beer and some mini chicken Parmesan sliders like we did.

This is perfect for those who are kosher, gluten free, or vegetarian. Though, it might be even better by crumbling in some smoky bacon.

Hmmm…that would be good….

Expect yet another version of this recipe soon.

Game Day Meatloaf Sliders

This recipe was originally published on Whisked Foodie, but come on…it’s perfect for Superbowl Sunday or any time of year. It’s simplified meatloaf served on squishy bread – easier than burgers to make for a crowd and at least as delicious. The secret is the mayonnaise and the toppings. Mayonnaise to keep it moist and condiments to jazz it up, since the seasonings are very low key on this meatloaf.

Who doesn’t love a slider?

Thin meat patties steamed with onions and served on soft, squishy buns have been popularized by White Castle, Krystal, and other fast-food joints. The key to these burgers is the soft, juicy meat atop the almost-creamy steamed onions. To achieve this at home is easier than you may think. It takes its cue from an unexpected place—the all-American meatloaf. The meat releases beefy juices that softly steam the onions, infusing them with flavor. Since it all cooks through evenly anyway, add some pork to the mix for a more complex taste, and be sure not to over-mix the meat. We don’t need to use bread or breadcrumbs as a binder here becasue we don’t want it to be too soft – you really want it to mimic the texture of a burger. Serve it with an array of your favorite sides, and call it dinner or even breakfast!

Meatloaf-Inspired Sliders

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds ground beef and pork or meatball mix
½ cup mayonnaise
1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
Liberal sprinkling of 21 Seasoning Salute or Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or to taste
Slider buns
Condiments, to taste
Directions:

1.Preheat the oven to 350

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2.Combine the meat, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Do not over-mix, just mix to combine.
3.Put the onions in a single layer on a tin foil-rimmed cookie sheet.

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4.Form the meat into a long, semi-hard packed loaf on the pan.

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5.Bake the meat for 30 minutes or until a knife pierced into the center of the loaf reveals only clear juices.

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6.Cut into slices, and serve on a bun with some of the onions.

She ain’t much to look at but she sure is tasty. Soft, juicy, and easily made ahead of time – ideal for a big party. Heck, you could even make this with all beef or chicken. Just be sure to go heavy on the seasonings and condiments and you won’t be disappointed.

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Except, of course, with the fact ht you have to watch a sports game.

Superbowl Sunday Menu

So, there is a big event coming up.

I know this because my fiance told me that we have to hold a party for it.

I have never hosted this kind of party. This isn’t really a dinner party. It isn’t an awards show party. And there will be no pairing of wine with cheese.

It’s a big bowl party.

Wait…no… a SUPER bowl party.

There’s going to be a football game and for some reason, people are super psyched.

I will try very hard to watch some of the game and not just play Candy Crush the entire time.

The good thing about this party is that the main focus, besides football, is on food. Not intricate, complicated dishes with subtle spicing, but with the trashiest food possible. Hearty in both ingredients and flavoring, it has to be stuff that feeds a crowd with varying palates and allergies and is also delicious. So, here is what I am thinking of making:

Bombay Deviled Eggs

The last time I made these was almost 2 years ago and they were so popular that they went without me even getting a chance to go back for seconds. They are handheld, they are filling,they are cheap, and they are major crowd pleasers. They aren’t overtly Indian, just slightly spicy and fragrant – the perfect twist on a deviled egg.

Mexican Cheeseburger Dip

I mean, come on…this stuff is tailor made for a Superbowl party. It’s hot, it’s meaty, it’s cheesy, it’s INCREDIBLY unhealthy, and you are supposed to eat it with Fritos…it’s literally PERFECT. I mean, right?

Right.

Jalapeno Popper Monkey Bread

Because why just serve normal bread when you can have one stuffed with cheese and bacon?

Tabasco Sweet and Hot Pralines

These are the perfect thing to snack on in between platefuls of meat and cheese. Just grab a a handful and munch while playing candy crush – I mean, watching the game. They are the perfect mixture of sweet and savory – tasty but not too hoity-toity gourmet. This is good stuff to have sitting around the house. I might mix it in the bowls with plain popcorn.

Fig, Ricotta, and Prosciutto Flatbread

Gonna get maybe 4 or 5 cans of pizza dough and bang these babies out. Might top some with chicken sausage or duck prosciutto to make it kosher.

Might not.

These are as close as I can get to heaven. Pork. Fig. Cheese. and Carbs.

Oh yeah.

Obviously, making some guac, too.

What are you eating on Superbowl Sunday?