Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May Madness!!

So May has been a crazy month!!  Lots of busy weekends.  Not my usual cooking routine.  

Had a few friends over at the beginning of the month, made an apple brined pork shoulder

the corn cutters


This is just a standard dinner at my house.  Chicken, carrots and brown rice.

I made Carnitas a few nights later, added some leftover corn from the pork dinner.

For mothers day we had my parents and my brother over for lunch. Argentinian parrilla style!!!

Salchicha, Chorizos, Morcilla, Tira and Vacio.
There was also Mollejas and Porvoleta. 

Of course it started raining just in time for us to throw the food on the grill.  And stopped just in time for us to be done.  

                              Sean's opinion of the rain                                

Mom made dessert.  The top is apple strudel, the bottom is a delicious chocolate chip cookie, chocolate cream cake .

Then came the week of my birthday.  I went down to a special seafood market and got some blue crab, they keep them in an old boat, you scoop them up in to a paper bags and they weigh them out for you.  I took them home and had a fun time trying to get them in the pot.


I cooked them in beer and old bay, this one didn't want to let go.  And more corn on the cob.  Amazing lunch.

 Then for dinner I had a rib eye steak and topped it with crab meat.  I made some roasted artichokes to go with.

Friday Sean and I went to Sawa's with my parents and some friends of theirs.  they serve Mediterranean/Japanese food.   The food was excellent and the entertainment was outstanding.

 My mom loves to dance and takes belly dancing classes, the performer is also her dance instructor

                                                                                  My beautiful mom and her dance instructor.

I wanted to make a strawberry cake for my Birthday.  I used a box mix white cake and added some fruit preserves and swirled it around.

I sliced some strawberries and whipped some cream and layered it up.

this was very yummy, very light and fresh.

The next few months might get a little crazy too.  Keep your fingers crossed for us, hopefully good news to come.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fairchild gardens photo contest

So my Husband entered a Facebook photo contest for Fairchild botanical gardens and the photo with the most "likes" wins. so if you have could please help us out and like his photo. make sure it has his name as the caption Sean Paquet, its photo 18. then if you could share on your own page and help us get the most likes. this is a popularity contest not a photo quality contest. thanks!!!         we have until may 6


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gnudi and Steak with Mushroom sauce.

So we were watching "The best thing I ever Made" on the Food Network channel the other night and they were talking about using Ricotta.  They made 2 dishes. One being sweet delicious Cannoli, and the other Gnudi.  I had never heard of gnudi.  Gnudi are like the filling for a ravioli but with out the pasta.  Kind of like a gnocchi.  Boiled and the pan fried in brown butter kind of like pirogies.  Pan frying them makes the outside crust and the inside soft and gooey. 

I didn't make up the recipe, I did some searching and found something similar to what I saw on the show. Except I didn't have semolina flour and I didn't realize that they needed to sit in the fridge overnight so mine only sat for 2 hours.  Oh and I forgot to explain the part about how I don't like Ricotta so I use Farmers cheese.  If you don't know what Farmers cheese is, its Ricottas salty cousin.  Similar in texture but not sweet like Ricotta.  I don't like sweet things for dinner so Ricotta is fine for Cannoli's but not for Gnudi.

Usually found near the cream cheese. Comes in unsalted and regular.  The unsalted doesn't taste like anything.  You can get either one, just don't add salt if you get the regular one.  It comes wrapped in paper inside the wrapper.  

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the package.  

Add the eggs, parmesan, ground sage, nutmeg, pepper.   In the end I really like the texture of the parmesan I used and would recommend using the same, cut like little sticks or long pieces, don't use the powdered stuff.

I also added some chopped baby spinach and mixed it all up.

Rolled them in to balls like the recipe said on flour.

And then more flour on top.  This is when they go in to the fridge.

In the mean time we nibbled on some stinky cheese.  I ended up adding a little to the sauce for extra flavor and richness. 

Getting things ready.

I let them come to room temperature and then separated them from the flour.

I had some thin chuck steaks in the fridge left over form something else I made.  

Pan fried it to get a good base for my sauce.  these steaks were very thin so I didn't cook then for very long.  Use which ever kind of stark you have on hand.  Put aside and reserve drippings.

Add mushrooms and garlic.

Add a some butter and a little flour and let it cook down.

Add chicken broth and drippings from the steaks.

when its reduced by half put the steaks back in to keep them warm.

I just realized I didn't get a picture of what to do with the Gnudi!!!  The most important part!!!!  I think I had too much going on and got focused on not messing up.  Well they get boiled for about 1-2 minutes, or until they all come up.  Strain then with a big slotted spoon, don't dump them out on top of each other.  I've had big problems with that with making Gnocchi and its not fun when all your hard work ends up a giant congealed mess!!!  so after you drain them brown some butter and sauté them for a few minutes to crisp up the outside, I did mine in 2 batches to not crowed the pan.

Defiantly one of "The best things I ever made".

So this is the recipe that I used.  I altered it a little to fit my needs and supplies on hand.  


This is their ingredient list
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for finishing the pasta
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups semolina flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10-12 sage leaves

Here's what I actually used

2 packages Farmers cheese
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan cheese (trust me on this one, go with the shredded)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground sage 
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 more cups of flour
3-4 tablespoons butter

Then there was the steak

2 thin cut chuck steaks
salt and pepper
1 cup of mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 serving sized pieces of Morbier cheese

Sometimes when I make things like this for the first time things go crazy and something doesn't come out right.  Well I would have to say this came out great!!  I didn't say it was easy but it did come out great!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vals chicken shepherds pie

So this is what happens when I know what I want but I can't make up my mind.  lol.  I'm not sure what the technical difference is between a Shepherds pie and a Pot pie is other than one has a potato top and the other has a pie crust top maybe that is the difference, I guess a pot pie uses chicken pieces and a shepherds pie is ground meat (I say meat because I avoid using ground beef whenever possible).  Well I wanted ground chicken and a pie top so I think I kind of mixed it up.  For the filling I wanted to use a can of creamed corn, frozen peas and fresh baby carrots.  Our basil plant is exploding right now so I'll be using some of that too.

Boiling carrots and potatoes.

Sauté onions and garlic and cook chicken.  I cleared a little space and added some tomato paste and some basil.

After the tomato paste cooked a little I added a can of creamed corn.

Some chicken broth and some frozen peas.  Let it cook for a few minutes.  Careful not to burn the bottom.

Add in the carrots and potatoes.

Lay out in casserole dish

Lay pastry crust on top, cut some slits, and egg wash.

We were hungry and dove in before I got the finished shot.

Handful of baby carrots cut in to 1/2" pieces and parboiled
2 Red potatoes small dice and parboiled

1 1/2 Lb Ground Chicken (or what ever kind of protein you prefer)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
salt and pepper
2 tab tomato paste
Fresh Basil
Can of creamed corn
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Puff pastry sheet
egg & water wisked for the egg wash

Parboil the carrots and potatoes.  Sauté garlic, add chicken and cook until almost not pink.  Make a well in the middle and add tomato paste and sprinkle some fresh basil on the chicken.  Let the tomato paste cook a little and then add the can of creamed corn and the chicken broth.  Add the frozen peas and stir.  let it cook for a few 3-5 minutes, careful not to burn the bottom.  Remove from heat and let it rest.  In the mean time roll out your pastry sheet to fit your dish.  I used a rectangular dish so i had to roll it quite a bit.  Pour the filling in to the dish and flatten it out.  Lay the pastry sheet on top, tuck in the edges, and cut some slits in the top and paint it with the egg wash.  Cook in a preheated oven at 350 for about 30-40 min or until its bubbling and the top is golden. Use the broiler for the last minute if you need to.  Let it cool for a few minutes before you cut in to it.  Also, I only used a crust on the top.  You can put a crust on the bottom if you like but I cooked this in a day in advance and put the crust on just before putting it in the oven for an easy dinner after work.