Friday, May 27, 2016

Taco Dogs

Because it's Memorial Day Weekend, and well, because I love a good hot dog (obvi), I decided to make us all an American classic, with an Arizona twist. Nitrate free, all-beef hot dogs snuggled up in a sweet Hawaiian roll, then topped with taco-seasoned ground beef, and some classic taco toppings. Tacos + Hot Dogs = LOVE. What are you making for Memorial Day Weekend?

Taco Dogs
Makes 4

  • 4 nitrate free beef franks
  • 4 hot dog buns (I prefer Hawaiian sweet roll hot dog buns, they are my not-so secret weapon)
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. salsa
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded cheddar
  • crushed tortillas chips
  • hot sauce

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add in the ground beef, breaking up with a spatula, then add in the chili powder and garlic powder, and salsa; cooking until no pink remains. 

Meanwhile, heat up your grill and grill the dogs until hot all the way through. Remove from the heat and place into hot dog buns.

Top with the ground taco meat, shredded lettuce, cheese, tortillas chips, and hot sauce. Devour!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Greek Lamb Burgers with Feta Salad

Let's talk about summer. More specifically grilling. The grill is basically my best friend during the summer because a) it keeps the heat out of the house, and b) my husband cleans it up afterwards. My personal favorite thing to throw over those hot coals? Burgers. More specifically (I'm getting down to the nitty gritty today) burgers that are so full of flavor, but only require a minimal amount of ingredients. I have been finding myself recently minimizing the amount of work that it takes to get dinner on the table, but refuse to sacrifice flavor. Good quality meat is the first step to having delicious burgers. Then hand mixing in some fresh herbs and high-quality spices that will result in the perfect flavor profile.

Greek Lamb Burgers with Feta Salad

Makes 4
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, separated
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
  • 4 hamburger buns or kaiser rolls, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
In a medium bowl, mix together the mint, paprika, cinnamon, salt, 1 tbsp. of the olive oil, and the lamb. Form into patties and set aside.

In another bowl, toss together the spinach, onion slices, feta, and vinegar. 

Heat up the grill over medium high heat. Grill the burgers for 4 minutes on each side, until only a little pink remains in the center. 

Serve burgers atop the split buns, then top with the feta salad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Fruit Tarts with Peach White Balsamic Reduction

Welcome to class, students! Yep, that's right. Gonna teach you all a little something about vinegar. Did you know that balsamic vinegar come from Modena, Italy? The same area that I went to on my honeymoon and learned more than I ever thought there was to know about how olive oil is made, and where vinegar comes from, and that there are government minimums for the number of years that it must age, and how to spot the good stuff from the cheap. 

Spoiler alert, Queen Creek Olive Mill is one of the good ones. The best in fact. While they grow their own olives on their 100-acre farm in Queen Creek, Arizona, they get their balsamic directly from Modena. Add in a swirl of peach puree and you've got the perfect addition to fruit, chicken, or fish with their Peach White Balsamic Reduction.

This dessert is great for kids of all ages. The vinegar reduction provides the perfect acidity to cut through the sweetness of the fruit. Plus, who doesn't love flaky golden puff pastry? 

Summer Fruit Tarts with Peach White Balsamic Reduction
Makes 6

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 ripe peach, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • Peach White Balsamic Reduction
  • mint (for garnish)
  • powdered sugar (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Roll your puff pastry out and cut into 6 evenly-sized pieces. Place onto a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Pierce all over with a fork.

Place sliced peaches, cherries and blueberries all over the puff pastry, leaving about 1/4-inch around the edges. 

Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before drizzling with Peach White Balsamic Reduction.

Garnish with mint leaves and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve within an hour or 2.

Peach White Balsamic Reduction was provided to me by the fine folks at Queen Creek Olive Mill. All recipes and opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Vampire Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms

I could never be a vampire. I mean for some more obvious reasons, like the fact that I'm a human, but also because I love garlic entirely too much. I just could never be a vampire. This steak is loaded with garlic, hence the name Vampire Steak. But then what's steak without a delicious side dish? I'm normally a very strong mushrooms hater, but marriage is all about compromise, and well, my husband LOVES mushrooms. So this meal really is for him. And it's a good thing he's my husband already because all that garlic is sure to stay with me! But so worth it!

Vampire Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 pound flank steak
  • 6 small or 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground paprika
  • 2 tsp. freshly chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. small mushrooms (like button or cremini), cleaned
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Score the steak with a sharp knife, careful not to cut all of the way through. Add all of the ingredients for the steak into a large ziplock bag and shake to coat the steak. Place in the fridge to marinate for 4-8 hours. 

Heat the grill over medium-high heat. While the grill heats up, preheat the olive oil in a large saute pan.

Add the mushrooms to the hot oil and cook, until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the steak to the grill in the meantime. The steak only needs about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to rest a couple of minutes. 

Add the garlic to the mushrooms, stir to coat, and the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in the broth & lemon juice. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and add in the butter and parsley.

Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced steak. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thai Curry Hummus

So yesterday I showed you how to make homemade pita bread. And what would homemade pita bread be without homemade hummus? You see, hummus to me will never get old. Once I discovered the secret to perfectly creamy hummus, I just couldn't stop trying to come up with new flavors. Something I had never tried? Adding curry to my hummus! Can I just changer! The mix of curry and ginger gives the hummus just the bit of bite I was looking for, without compromising or over-powering the other flavors. The cilantro has a cooling/chill component, and the peanuts, well the peanuts are just fun, and add a perfect crunch to bring everything together! 

Thai Curry Hummus

  • 1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, skins removed, liquid reserved
  • 2 tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tahini paste (can substitute for peanut butter)
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. ground curry
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of chopped peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • pita bread for dipping
In the bowl of a food processor, add in the sriracha, tahini, garlic, honey, curry, ginger and turn on to combine, about 1 minute.

Add in the chickpeas and blend until a thick paste forms. With the processor on, slowly add in the olive oil in a steady stream, and then add in as much of the reserved garbanzo bean liquid as you want until you reach your desired hummus consistency.

Season with salt and pepper and pule so combine. Serve with chopped peanuts and cilantro on the side of some pita bread, veggies, chips, you name it! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

We're going Greek today. I wish I could say we were going TO Greece, but Greek food will just have to suffice. I've been obsessing about making the simplest of things homemade recently. You all know how much I love to make my own broth and my own marinara sauce. But today we are going Greek. With pitas I mean. I'll admit, it's been a hot minute (do people even say that anymore?) since I have had a pita. But the craving struck and I just had to test them out for myself. Turns out, they are pretty damn easy to make! Plus, it gives you an excuse to make some delicious hummus for dipping your said pitas into. Win-win my friends. Win-win. 

These homemade pitas are the whole wheat version. So feel free to go all-purpose flour on my ass, just be sure to reduce the water a bit since all-purpose flour isn't as dense of whole wheat. I found them to be soft, yet sturdy enough to fill with veggies and sausage for a late lunch. 

Just look at that! Aren't they beautiful all stacked up nice and pretty like?! You know I love a good shot of food porn every once in awhile. I know you know what I'm talking about!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast, and honey. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so until foamy.

Add in the flour, salt, and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Mix with a dough hook until the dough comes together. If it is too dry, add more water, a little bit at a time as needed.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface and knead the dough for a couple of minutes, until smooth and elastic. Form into a smooth ball, coat a bowl with the remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil, and place the dough ball into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.

Preheat oven with a pizza stone or baking sheet on the middle rack to 450 degrees.

Roll of the dough back out onto your floured surface and cut into 8 evenly sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and set aside.

Working one ball at a time, roll the dough out until it's about 1/4-inch thick, adding flour to your surface as needed so that the dough will not stick. Set aside, and cover with the kitchen towel as you repeat for the remaining 7 balls of dough. 

Cook each disk of dough on the hot baking sheet in the oven for 4-5 minutes each until puffy and slightly crisp. Remove from the heat and repeat with rest of the disks. Allow to cool completely before placing into an airtight bag or container.

Will last up to 1 week. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Thighs

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day, spoiling mom, being spoiled, celebrating your friends who are moms, you know the drill. We took my mom out to lunch and enjoyed a DIY bloody mary bar, a present for everyone!Today's recipe is also a present for everyone. Roasted chicken thighs cooked into a creamy roasted red pepper sauce (bonus, I tell you the easy way to make your own roasted red peppers if you prefer over jarred). You only need a handful of ingredients to throw this baby together, and the fruits of your labor are endless. You can also switch this recipe up, by using chicken breast if you prefer, chicken broth over wine, or heavy cream over cheese. See? Versatile. 

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Thighs

  • 1 lb. chicken thighs (can be bone-in or boneless)
  • 1 tbsp. bacon fat or high-heat oil
  • 1 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped**
  • 1 cup white wine or broth
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • fresh basil for garnish

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the fat, or oil if you are using, to medium-high heat. Add in the chicken thighs and sear until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the heast and set aside.

In the same hot skillet, add in the roasted peppers and garlic, saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the wine, or broth, a little at a time, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce just slightly. Then add in the softened cream cheese and whisk until combined and the sauce is creamy.

Add the chicken thighs back into the skillet to heat back up. Serve hot with fresh torn basil leaves. 

**I prefer to roast my own red peppers instead of buying them in the jars. Simply cut out the core and the seeds of 2 red bell peppers. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to handle by hand. Peel off the roasted skins and discard. Ta-da! Roasted red peppers.

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