Tuesday

You say Tabbouleh, I say Taboule ~



I was bringing lunch to the beach last weekend for about 6 friends and wanted something that would hold up for the day, or even a few (leftovers are so good).  I decided on this Tabbouleh salad because of it's simplicity and thinking what a refreshing dish for one of my luncheon menu items. I also made Turkey wraps with red leaf lettuce, feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion and sliced fresh tomatoes.  It made a nice lunch and it was so easy to do.  My friends all said they loved it and I told them how easy it was to make.  And I kid you not, because making the turkey wraps took far longer to make, lol!  

I found a recipe with a boxed mix and decided to try it.  So I bought a box of Near East brand and followed the directions on the box (so easy), and while it sat in my fridge for a half hour, I chopped the veggies and made the dressing.

Here's the recipe from the Sunkist site.  I did adapt the amount of the dressing I used.  I cut the olive oil to 1/3 cup and used only the juice of 3 lemons.  Added a teaspoon of salt to the dressing too.  I used this recipe because it called for boxed Tabbouleh/Taboule.


Ingredients:

  • 1 box Near East® Taboule mix (5.25 oz)
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped radish (about 1 bunch) * didn't use
  • 2 1/2 cups vine ripened tomatoes (about 4 tomatoes) * I used roma
  • 6 medium Sunkist® Lemons, juiced * I used 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cup extra virgin olive oil * I used 1/3 cup

Instructions: (Makes 4 servings)

  • Follow step #1 of the Taboule mix directions on the box. * I followed the directions on the box and then mixed the rest of the ingredients in.
  • Stir in parsley, mint, green onion, radish (didn't use) and tomatoes.
  • Mix in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toss, cover and chill for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Yields:
  • 4 - 6 as a plated appetizer/salad.
  • 6 - 8 servings as part of a multi course sit down meal.
  • 15 - 20 for a pot luck buffet.
*Tip on tomatoes.  No matter what I am doing with fresh tomatoes, I always seed, salt, chop or slice and let drain for about 15 minutes and then pat them dry.  In my opinion it helps make the tomatoes stand up longer in a recipe.

Sunday

SK's Double Chocolate Banana Bread (adapted)


When I see a post from Smitten Kitchen's blog, my eyes and ears perk up.  And I usually like if not love most of the things that I have chosen to make from her.

This one didn't disappoint either, it's delicious.  It's really a chocolate lover's dessert, while the flavor of the banana shines through. The only change I made was to add chopped walnuts along with the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  After all, what is banana bread without walnuts?  

Here's the link to the recipe:

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/03/double-chocolate-banana-bread/

And here is the picture of it right after I took it out of my oven.


And a picture of it sliced.  Yum!  Oh it's so easy to make too.




Saturday

Bermuda ~



Getting away on vacation is so nice, doing it on a cruise ship is the best ~

Bermuda is gorgeous, a place to return to again and again.


Sun, surf and pink sand.

A beautiful blue lagoon.

And the most beautiful aqua blue ocean I have ever seen.

Back to reality now.... sigh!

Monday

Thai Carrot, Ginger, Apple and Cilantro soup ~


I belong to a board named chowhound.com and get many tips about restaurants, recipes and food in general.  If you haven't heard of it, just google it.

This recipe was submitted by juju, who got it from a cafetaria.  It's her favorite carrot recipe.  I needed a soup for work this week and made this little gem over the weekend.  It caught my eye because I love anything with Thai flavors.

Here's the recipe:

Thai carrot ginger soup:

3 lbs young carrots, peeled and rough chopped
1 lb onions, sliced thinly
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
1 leek sliced thinly, washed
2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped fine
2 cloves garlic
1 apple, ripe rough chopped with skin
1 stalk lemongrass, whole, bruised with a knife
1/8 lb butter, cubed
1 cup of chicken stock
½ tsp red thai curry paste
1 cup orange juice
½ bunch cilantro chopped
4 cans coconut milk
2 tbsp olive oil
Fish sauce to taste (around 2 Tablespoons)
Lime juice to taste

Method:
Add the butter and oil to a heavy bottom stock pot. Turn the heat on low. Add the onions, celery and leeks. Sweat out the onions, celery and leeks until fragrant and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, ginger and thai curry paste. Mix well and cook for two minutes. Next add the carrots and lemongrass. Cook for five minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk along with the orange juice and apple. Bring to a boil and season again with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Working in batches puree the soup in a blender. When it is smooth add the chopped cilantro and fish sauce and lime juice to taste. It usually only take a tsp of each.

I halved the recipe and it made plenty.  It's really delicious,  thanks juju.


Thursday

Just peachy chicken thighs, easy week night dinner ~











Oh yes, another chicken recipe.  I know, I know.... But, I really do like chicken thighs and easy recipes, so I played around and came up with this dish.  And I wanted something for a warmer weather meal, and peaches are definitely a summer fruit here. 

Although in this recipe I used peach (all fruit) preserves, peeled, chopped peaches would work just fine I think. Just adjust the sweetness by adding a little brown sugar to the peaches, if not really nice and sweet fruit is available.  Not too sweet though as you want this to be a savory meal mostly.  



6-8 bone in, chicken thighs (fat trimmed)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup peach preserve
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. fish sauce
3 T. olive oil
1 T. kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T. fresh rosemary, rough chop



Prepare chicken:
Add chicken, rosemary, salt, pepper and 1 T. olive oil in a large bowl, stir to combine.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.  Add 1/2 chicken thighs, skin side down and brown for about 2-3 minutes.  Turn chicken, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, remove chicken to a plate, set aside.  Repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces.  I do it in batches so the skin gets nice and golden brown.  Remove second batch of chicken to plate and set aside.  Take skillet off of heat and add garlic.  Stir and let garlic get golden, watching that it doesn't burn.  Place skillet back onto burner on medium heat, add wine, stir to deglaze.  Add peach preserve and stir.  Add chicken back into skillet, skin side up, turn to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn off stove and add the fish sauce.  Stir to combine.  Served over sugar snap peas or rice, this is a great and quick week night dinner!  Yum ~


Joining Michael Lee West's Foodie Friday today
http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/





Saturday

Easy Rum Cake with Yogurt ~



I keep a box of yellow cake mix in my house for times when I need a dessert yet have little time to do something more labor intensive.  And that usually happens for one of my co-worker's Birthday celebrations 

We've all heard of this cake, it's the one that PW made really famous a few years ago stating it was her MIL's Christmas Rum Cake.  Well, no offense to anyone, but I'm sure her MIL's family got it from the 70's, when everyone was making the cake as it appeared on the bottle of Bacardi Rum.  Anyhow, I believe she may have doctored it a little to call it her own.  No harm done, it's a great little cake.

But the night I went to make it, I didn't have a box of pudding mix in the house and decided to embellish this recipe myself, only in a different way.  I was a little nervous doing it, because I had made this cake for my co-workers before and didn't want a disappointing dessert for the Birthday girl.  Well this version didn't disappoint at all, and it's made with yogurt, which could be a little healthier (or not), too!  Here's the recipe.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a bunt pan with cooking spray.

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup of plain yogurt (I used Fage)
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
In a large bowl, add all ingredients.  With a hand mixer, blend for 2 minutes on medium speed.  Pour mixture into the bunt pan and smooth with a spatula.  Place in the oven on a rack in middle of oven.  Let bake for 55-60 minutes, until cake is done.  It should be pulling away from sides and spring back when touched.  

When the cake is baking, more so at the end of the baking time, I made the rum glaze.  

1&1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup dark rum

Add the butter to a medium sauce pan and on medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the water and sugar and stir.  Bring to a boil, while stirring and cook for 5 minutes.  You can't leave it by itself, as you want to make a caramel sauce/glaze.  Let it cook for the full 5 minutes, keeping the heat on medium high to high.  I cook it on high, while I continually stir with a spatula.  Turn off heat and add rum, continually stirring as well, as it will steam and puff up.  Turn the heat back on for 1 minute and the glaze with be thin and caramel colored.

Remove cake from oven and poke a few holes all over the bottom of the cake, with a cake tester, or a long toothpick.  Then spoon some of the glaze all over the cake, even down the sides and middle tubular part.  Wait five minutes and invert cake onto a cake plate.  With the cake tester or long toothpick, poke lots of hole all over the top and top sides of cake.  Spoon the rest of the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides.

Let cake cool and marinate for a couple of hours before serving.


  

Tuesday

Meatless Mondays.....


I've been doing a lot less meat in my dinners lately.  I usually have enough protein by adding legumes instead.  But, this is my favorite vegetarian dinner by far.  It's easy and filling too.  Just delicious.  It takes about 15 minutes for chopping and you can literally add any vegetables you want.  Although, if you have things like broccoli and cauliflower on hand, just blanch them for a minute before stir frying them.

2 cups of chopped or sliced vegetables (kept uniform in size) 
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced finely
2 compari tomatoes, or 1 medium tomato, cored and diced
1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice
1 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. of black pepper

My favorite mix of vegetables for this dish are red pepper, mushrooms, pea pods, onion and zucchini.  

Place skillet on stove top, turn to medium heat.  Add oil and let heat until hot and add vegetables, sitr. Turn heat to medium low after 5 minutes.  Add in jalapeno, stir again.  Let cook for another 2 minutes.  Add garlic and toss.  Add chopped tomatoes and turn stove off.  Add rice, salt & pepper, and stir again.  Let sit another minute and transfer to plate.

By the way, this is a very low calorie dinner.  But, by no means does it taste low calorie.  Does it look like you'll be deprived?



It's yummy and filling too~