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171 posts categorized "13) Tex/Mex,Thai/Asian, India, Greece & More"

03/15/2017

~ Kids' Stuff: Mel's Copycat Wendy's Chili Con Carne ~

Quality time. Sitting at Wendy's with one, two or all three of our kids for lunch. When school was out for the Summer, I did that about twice a week. We'd all get in my car to run errands, drive a short mile to the traffic light that exited our neighborhood and intersected with our town's busiest four-lane main thoroughfare, and there, to the left of that light sat: Wendy's. I've always contended its placement was purposeful. Our Park Forest neighborhood was a well-planned maze of tract houses on tree-lined streets with sidewalks, and, almost every house contained: children. On...... View full recipe for "~ Kids' Stuff: Mel's Copycat Wendy's Chili Con Carne ~"

03/13/2017

~ Walking Dead: It's Chili & Mac 'n Cheese. Together. ~

On Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, while scouting around in search of food and guns, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), fall through a rooftop into a room filled with just that, guns and miscellaneous canned foods and military RTE (ready-to-eat) meals. Rick goes full-blown romantic on Michonne. After the obligatory sex, they eat a candlelit feeding-frenzy dinner and Rick presents her with a surprise, and it's not jewelry -- it's one last type of RTE meal. "I've been waiting to show you this one," Rick says, "It's chili. And mac 'n cheese. Together." The scene wasn't over...... View full recipe for "~ Walking Dead: It's Chili & Mac 'n Cheese. Together. ~"

02/04/2017

~Cold & Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip w/Wonton Cups~

Crab meat. I love it. Fresh, frozen or pasteurized, it's an ingredient that has rocked my food world. With it, I make an array of hot and cold appetizers and hors d'oeuvres. I use it to make steamy crab bisque and add it to several seafood soups and stews too. I adore an ice-cold crab salad or crab salad sandwich, and, I can't resist a well-made crab cake or crab cake sandwich. There's more. I can't count the of number classic main-course meals I make with crab. If you've eaten in a Chinese-American restaurant you know what crab Rangoon is...... View full recipe for "~Cold & Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip w/Wonton Cups~"

02/02/2017

~ How to Make: Baked Mini- Wonton Cups & Tacos ~

In my food world, I associate fun food with small, two-three bite appetizers and snacks -- I don't think I'm alone. Ever notice how folks always gravitate around a table, cocktail table or picnic table containing an array of small-bites, noshes and nibbles? We are indeed all in this food world together, but, it's small food that makes the world go round. It makes people smile. Real world fact: It is more fun to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if it is cut into four triangles. Like French puff pastry, the Chinese wonton can be used as a...... View full recipe for "~ How to Make: Baked Mini- Wonton Cups & Tacos ~"

01/31/2017

~ Open Sesame Asian Chicken Slaw Wonton Tacos~

What in the wild-world-of-culinary-sports made me ponder turning wonton skins into mini-taco shells? Over the weekend I made two popular deep-fried Chinese-American appetizers to celebrate Chinese New Year: crab Rangoon and firecracker shrimp. Yesterday, I roasted a chicken, for the purpose of making some Asian chicken salad today -- to use up a few of the miscellaneous Asian ingredients that were leftover, which, included some wonton skins. Wonton tacos? Why not? They're a ton of tasty fun. A bit about making mini- wonton cups & wonton taco shells: For those who don't know, these small squares of flattened dough are...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame Asian Chicken Slaw Wonton Tacos~"

01/28/2017

~ Have a Blast: Hot and Crispy Firecracker Shrimp ~

Start with really big shrimp (no alternative facts here). Simmer down. What's the point of having a blog and being on social media if you're going to lie -- about anything? Here on KE, where I test, write and photograph my own recipes, it's easy to speak truth. Experience has taught: the bigger the shrimp the better the firecracker shrimp, and, since their count, which determines their size, is clearly-labeled, you will have no where to run or hide if you don't use 21-25 count (jumbo), or ideally, 16-20 count (extra-jumbo) shrimp, to make this appetizer. No matter what you...... View full recipe for "~ Have a Blast: Hot and Crispy Firecracker Shrimp ~"

01/25/2017

~ Crab Rangoon w/More Crab than Cream Cheese ~

Crab meat, scallions and seasoned cream cheese all wrapped up in a wonton, deep-fried and served with a sweet dipping sauce (like duck sauce or sweet and sour sauce). It's a staple appetizer on most Chinese-American restaurant menus, and, an appetizer I almost never order. Why? Because 99% of the time, both the sweet flavor and delicate texture of the crab (or worse -- imitation crab) is 100% lost to the cream cheese -- akin to seasoned cream cheese spread. With Rangoon (the capital city of Burma) in its name, most people think this is an authentic Asian specialty. It's...... View full recipe for "~ Crab Rangoon w/More Crab than Cream Cheese ~"

12/10/2016

~ Pantry Cooking: No-Pain Stay-Sane E-Z Lo Mein ~

Lo mein. In Chinese it literally means "tossed noodles", and, it implies a method in which cooked wheat noodles get tossed into almost any type of stir-fry at the end of the cooking process. As a result, the noodles absorb some sauce and stay soft while the other previously-cooked ingredients (meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables) get distributed evenly throughout. An example of the opposite would be chow mein, which means "fried noodles", and implies a method in which the noodles are fried to a crispy state at the beginning of the cooking process. Lo-Mein. Like spaghetti, I want it when...... View full recipe for "~ Pantry Cooking: No-Pain Stay-Sane E-Z Lo Mein ~"

10/13/2016

~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~

Real-deal oven-roasted beef, a chunk of habanero cheddar cheese, my homemade Baja-spice mix, colorful bell peppers, a sweet onion and a package of flour tortillas. The ingredients are all at my fingertips and the clock is ticking. The only question is, how fast can I slice the beef, grate the cheese, sauté the veggies and assemble them all together between some flour tortillas, grill-pan them all up, get 'em sliced, plated and placed on the TGIF cocktails-are-served table. Topped w/Sriracha-infused crema & fresh salsa too? Making the beef, vegetable & spicy-cheddar quesadilla filling: ~ Step 1. I roast an eye-of-round...... View full recipe for "~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~"

09/22/2016

~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~

My love affair with all types of Asian food is no secret. Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. You name it, I adore it. Give me a recommendation for an Asian restaurant in your locale, when I'm in your town, you can be sure I'm going there to eat. I dabble in cooking a great deal of it too. I crave Asian and rarely does a week go by without my needing it. Some of my recipes have been classically learned, while others are a product of my own creative cravings for Asian fare. Indulge me in this delish 5-minutes-to-fix Asian...... View full recipe for "~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~"

08/23/2016

~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~

It is salad season. From the end of July through the end of September, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, all sorts of herbs (and a host of other vegetables) get picked daily, right in my own backyard. Rare is the day some sort of salad or crudités isn't on our table for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It's simply appropriate that a salad composed of the freshest, homegrown ingredients get enhanced by an equally bright and bold scratch-made dressing. A quick scroll through Category 8 (Condiments, Sauces & Gravies) here on Kitchen Encounters will reveal many of my favorite salad...... View full recipe for "~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~"

08/20/2016

~ Garden Fresh Brunch: Corn 'Cakes & BLT Salad ~

Skip all the cloyingly-sweet things iHOP offers and pay attention -- there is more than one way to eat a pancake, and it's not just a sugary treat for breakfast or dessert. Brunch is served, and this savory pancake meal is full of at-their-peak, in-season ingredients, all local, many from my own backyard. Mix a batch of bloody Mary's, sit back, and savor the moment -- this is a bold-flavored, fresh-tasting way to celebrate the fruits-of-your-labor and an end-of-Summer garden. A quick-trip back in American-pancake history & time: I didn't invent adding cooked corn kernels, savory herbs and/or spices to...... View full recipe for "~ Garden Fresh Brunch: Corn 'Cakes & BLT Salad ~"

08/17/2016

~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~

In my kitchen, when one recipe can be turned into a second dish the next day, foodie life is good. When the second recipe can be turned into a third on yet another day, foodie life is great. When dish number three tastes as good or better than the previous two and none of them make me feel like I am eating leftovers, that's when I take a bow. This scenario is especially appreciated by me, the family cook, when our fruit trees and vegetable garden is producing at peak levels. For example: I've got lots of prime-quality local sweet...... View full recipe for "~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~"

08/15/2016

~Warm Mexican Sweet Street Corn Cups (Esquites)~

When you travel, if you enjoy exploring the ethereal world of street food, Mexico City just might be the mecca for this foodie sport. The native locals call it street-food-hopping -- it's bar hopping for foodies. While it's oh-so-much fun to participate in a street-to-street eat-fest like this with well-seasoned friends who have their own list of top-secret hot-spots, the street scene is so vibrant, if you're alone, you can sign on to take a professionally-arranged "street eats" or "taco tour" too. When it comes to Mexican street foods, high on my short list are: Barbacoa (agave-wrapped slow-roasted lamb barbecue),...... View full recipe for "~Warm Mexican Sweet Street Corn Cups (Esquites)~"

08/12/2016

~Classic Grilled Mexican Sweet Street Corn (Elotes)~

It's that time of year: sweet corn season. Where I live here in Central Pennylvania, it's hard to drive a mile in any direction and not encounter vendors selling it at a farmer's market or a home-grown stand in front of their farm. While in season, I buy it twice a week. We enjoy it, on and off the cob, cooked in lot of ways -- I even freeze the cooked kernels. For six years now, I make it a point to post a recipe or two each year that gives my sweet-corn-loving readers another way to serve this beloved...... View full recipe for "~Classic Grilled Mexican Sweet Street Corn (Elotes)~"

08/10/2016

~ A Big Fat Greek Lamb 'Burger. Where's the Beef? ~

A cheeseburger, eaten anywhere in the good old USA -- each one a cheeseburger in paradise. It's become the quintessential American food. There are two claims* as to who slapped that first slice of processed American cheese on the lonely hamburger, but, we can all agree it was the best marriage of food since sliced white bread married peanut butter and jelly. And, we've come a long way baby -- nowadays the cheeseburger is eaten in fast food chains, fine-dining restaurants and all points in between. Cheeseburgers are for pick-up, delivery, drive-thru, eat-in, eat-out, eat-alone or invite-some-friends from sea to...... View full recipe for "~ A Big Fat Greek Lamb 'Burger. Where's the Beef? ~"

08/07/2016

~ My Greek Gyro-Style Beef & Lamb 'Burger' Pitas ~

When it comes to street food, it's almost impossible to walk past any vendor selling gyros. My first gyro encounters were limited to the Jersey Shore in the latter 1960's and '70's and Mr. Krinos (a friend of my cousin and no relation to the famous Krinos brand of Greek products sold in stores everywhere) explained they were, Greek-style, in that they were a combo of beef and lamb wrapped in a pocketless pita with lettuce, tomato and onion, and, served with a cucumber-yogurt-based tzatziki sauce (save the fried potatoes and mustard for souvlaki pork kabobs). Gyro (YEE-roh) making. It's...... View full recipe for "~ My Greek Gyro-Style Beef & Lamb 'Burger' Pitas ~"

08/05/2016

~ It's all Greek to Me: Except for this Tzatziki Recipe~

When it comes to posting ethnic recipes, even if the ethnicity is the one you inherited by birth and have the papers to prove it, it's best to start with a disclaimer. Too many an ethnic cook self-appoints him- or herself the sole authority on an entire cuisine, and, quite frankly, they get snarky about what goes on in the kitchens of others. If it's not the way their family prepares it, it's wrong. That's wrong. Disclaimer: I am not Greek. What I don't know about authentic Greek cuisine is a lot. What I do know about Greek cuisine is,...... View full recipe for "~ It's all Greek to Me: Except for this Tzatziki Recipe~"

07/31/2016

~ The Persian-Style Ground Beef or Lamb Kababba ~

"Kabbaba" is the ancient Aramaic word for "to char" or "to burn", and medieval Persian soldiers, who used their swords as instruments to grill food over open fires in the field of battle, are credited with inventing "kabobs". It was only natural that this simple method of cooking food on a "sikh", a metal skewer, made its way into the kitchens of the royal houses, onto the tables of the common folk and into the streets, where vendors cooked and sold them for breakfast, lunch and dinner placed onto or inside some form of flatbread. Kabobs are a source of...... View full recipe for "~ The Persian-Style Ground Beef or Lamb Kababba ~"

06/17/2016

~Dinner's in 30 Minutes: Indian-Style Butter Chicken~

Put your big boy pants on. Put bigger pants on. If you're conscientiously counting calories, carbohydrates or cholesterol, your calculator is entering the forbidden zone. Butter chicken is to Indian food what General Tso’s chicken is to Chinese food. It's love from first to last succulent bite, it's positively irresistible and addictive, and, it's guaranteed to push even the most self-controlled eater into the abyss of really bad diet days. Get your affairs in order, there's more: Butter Chicken is served w/basmati rice, mango chutney & buttery naan. A bit about "butter chicken": "Murgh makhani" (which means "chicken cooked in...... View full recipe for "~Dinner's in 30 Minutes: Indian-Style Butter Chicken~"

06/14/2016

~ Flatbread in a hurry? Easy No-Yeast Indian Naan ~

From biryani to vindaloo, whenever I cook Indian fare, I can't, in good conscience, serve it without flatbread. My Indian girlfriends have all explained to me the integral role their many varieties of flatbread (and crepes) play in their very diverse Indian culture and cuisine. Every Indian cook knows how to make their family's traditional breads, and, every Indian cook serves one or more types every day with almost every meal. Not making it is not an option. That's that. India is very complex culturally, geographically and religiously. Over the centuries, Indian food has been influenced by many foreign cuisines...... View full recipe for "~ Flatbread in a hurry? Easy No-Yeast Indian Naan ~"

06/12/2016

~ Dinner's in 20 Minutes: Japanese Teriyaki Chicken~

On days when cooking is a chore, having a few recipes like this tucked away in your repertoire will keep you sane. Yes, even I have those kind of days occasionally, and, recipes like this do keep me sane and out of the drive-thru too. Most times, they're faster than delivery as well. In the case of this meal, I simply put rice in my electric rice steamer, open a package of fresh broccoli florets, chop a few chicken tenders and get a bottle of teriyaki sauce out of my pantry. I don't feel one bit guilty about it either...... View full recipe for "~ Dinner's in 20 Minutes: Japanese Teriyaki Chicken~"

05/23/2016

~ Thai-Style Wok-Roasted-Peanut Red Pork Curry ~

Thai curry meals are relatively easy to prepare and can contain meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. Seasonal vegetables can be included, or, the dish can be made of vegetables (vegetarian). Thai curry dishes are also a staple in Thailand. They range from soupy to stewlike and are ladled over steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles. In many homes they are made from ingredients growing around the house and are eaten on a daily basis. They typically contain less protein than Westerners like me often add, and, they're are an economical, healthy part of the Thai diet. Thai curry meals are...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Wok-Roasted-Peanut Red Pork Curry ~"

05/20/2016

~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~

Get out the turmeric and attire yourself in something you don't mind discarding because we're making satay today. If your manicure is French, put on a pair of latex gloves too. Why? Because, in case you don't know, turmeric (TER-muh-rihk), that earthy-colored, pleasantly-fragrant powdered-spice (that rarely gets used in American cooking) will permanently paint your world a vivid yellow-orange. Made from grinding the rhizome root of the curcumin plant and a close relative of ginger, it's a prime ingredient in curry and mustard powders, and, it's used to give many of the rice dishes, soups and sauces of Indonesia, Malaysia,...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~"

05/17/2016

~ Cold 'Chicken Noodle Salad' w/Thai Peanut Sauce~

Planes, trains and automobiles. I get my inspiration for recipes in the darndest places. In the Summer of 1986, there was a day trip from San Diego to Tijuana in a rental car on our agenda. I ordered a Baja Fish Taco at a taco stand as a snack to eat en route -- I wish I'd ordered six. In the Winter of 1990, there was a train ride from England to Wales. I ordered the Cottage Beef Pie for dinner -- I licked the casserole clean. In the Spring of 1993, on a flight from Taipei to Tokyo, a...... View full recipe for "~ Cold 'Chicken Noodle Salad' w/Thai Peanut Sauce~"

05/15/2016

~ Thai-Style Spicy Peanut Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~

Oh my Thai. Oh my -- I love Thai food. When I get to craving it, unlike a lot of city dwellers, here in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, running off to a Thai restaurant is not an option (for me). That's mostly because I spent a great deal of time, almost two years, learning to cook Thai. Happy Valley's Thai eateries: they're good, they're just not great. They leave me saying, "I could have done better at home", because I really can, and that takes the fun out of going out for me. That period of time, under the...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Spicy Peanut Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~"

05/09/2016

~ Tamagoyaki: A Fried & Rolled Japanese Omelette~

Leave it to the Japanese to turn a plain omelette into a work of neatly-rolled edible art that's as good tasting as it is pretty to look at. "Tomago" means "egg" in Japanese and "yaki" means "to grill or grilled". Tomagoyaki is essentially: the scrambled egg of Japan. They eat them for breakfast, pack them into bento boxes for lunch, and, serve them alongside other foods, like sushi. Back in 1986, on my first morning in Tokyo, my first tamagoyaki was served with a small salad of pickled fish and pickled ginger. It was in our hotel's dining room (The...... View full recipe for "~ Tamagoyaki: A Fried & Rolled Japanese Omelette~"

04/28/2016

~ Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs w/Lo Mein ~

Chinese spaghetti and meatballs. That's what my boys named this meal, they loved it, and, just saying it brings a reminiscent smile to my face. In reality, it was just me serving some easy-to-make sweet-and-sour-sauced pork meatballs atop a package of store-bought fresh Chinese egg noodles for a change-of-pace dinner. On occasion, I served the meatballs with cooked and drained, spaghetti-esque lo-mein noodles too, but, my kids preferred the yellow-colored fresh ones better, so, whenever my Asian market had them in stock, that's what I bought. Doesn't this trio look yummy? Having just spent the week writing a series of...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs w/Lo Mein ~"

04/25/2016

~A Chinese Cantonese Classic: Sweet & Sour Pork~

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most well-known Chinese dishes in the world, and, amongst Americans, it's extremely popular. Marinated, crisply-fried cubes of pork butt or loin, and, stir-fried bell peppers, onion and pineapple -- the two unite at the end when they get tossed together in a perfectly-balanced sweet and savory, ginger-laced ketchup-based sauce to coat. Pork, "the other white meat", is the Cantonese classic, but, if you prefer poultry over porcine, boneless, skinless chicken breast is a common substitution in Chinese and American kitchens. Classically served as a "sauced-pork dish" with fried rice for accompaniment, in...... View full recipe for "~A Chinese Cantonese Classic: Sweet & Sour Pork~"

04/22/2016

~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~

Everyone loves to eat food on a stick. Hot, cold, raw or cooked, it's pre-portioned, super-easy to serve, and, it's portable too. Just take a walk around the world. Food-on-a-stick is street food, and, everyone eating it has a happy look on their face. When it comes to grilled food on a stick, I think people get a spring in their step. Be it thin pieces of meat threaded onto a skewer or bite-sized chunks of meat, vegetables and/or fruit all in a row, folks will stand in line for a kabob. It's been going on for centuries. "Kabbaba" is...... View full recipe for "~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~"

04/19/2016

~ Sweet & Sour Sauce for Seafood, Poultry or Pork ~

Duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and, brown sauce -- if you associate them with Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine, you'd be correct. All three are cooked, pantry-staple condiment-sauces that are thickened with cornstarch. The first two cousins are used primarily as glazes and dipping sauces. The latter, brown sauce, is used mostly to finish quick stir-fries. You can find my recipes for ~ "Would You Like Duck Sauce With That?" "Yes!" ~ and, ~ A Chinese Staple: Real-Deal Basic Brown Sauce ~ by clicking into Categories 8 or 13. Today's topic is: Chinese-Style vs. American-Style Sweet & Sour Sauce: The...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet & Sour Sauce for Seafood, Poultry or Pork ~"

02/01/2016

~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~

Eat your vegetables. No problem. I've always loved vegetables. Granted, I typically like some form of protein with or in my veggies, but, every once in a while, an all-veg meal is AOK with me. This is one of them, and, it's one of the quickest, easiest meals you will ever make. Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, is one I grew up eating, but, until I was thirty-something, it came to my table via round green or red heads. Thanks to publications like Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Gourmet magazine, I began experimenting with recipes for Chinese bok choy (an...... View full recipe for "~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~"

01/19/2016

~ Chinese: Crockpot Chicken & Egg Noodle Soup ~

I take soup seriously. Next to a well-constructed sandwich or a well-composed salad, a well-executed soup is a perfect storm of a meal -- especially during a snow storm. Soup-, salad- and sandwich-making all have one thing in common: all components must play well together. Like a perfectly-tuned symphony, no one ingredient should take center stage for a solo unless the composer carefully orchestrates it. No matter how simple or complicated, if one ingredient is out-of-sync, the performance, while possibly palatable, will not garner a standing ovation. When one 4 1/2-pound pack of chicken tenders = 3 distinctly different delicious...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese: Crockpot Chicken & Egg Noodle Soup ~"

01/16/2016

~ Indian: Crockpot Chicken Coconut & Curry Soup ~

I am an all-American girl who loves Indian food, especially curry. I don't claim to be an expert on Indian cuisine, but, I dabble in it enough to know how to put "a pinch of this and a dash of that" in a pot or a pan and come up with an Indian-style dish that would make anyone who enjoys the flavors of India happy. What I'm attempting to say is, this is by no means an authentic Indian soup recipe -- a least not that I know of. The recipe didn't come to me from a person or a...... View full recipe for "~ Indian: Crockpot Chicken Coconut & Curry Soup ~"

01/14/2016

~ Easy-Does-It Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~

When I use my crockpot, it's not because I have no time to cook, it's because what I'm letting it cook for me, without compromise, is really good. It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed. I've made peace with mine, and, at present, I have more than a few uncompromisingly yummy slow cooker recipes. I won't lie, that took work -- on my part. Crockpots per se, and, the cryptic way almost all crockpot recipes are written are: not all that they are crocked up to be. Without exception,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy-Does-It Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~"

01/11/2016

~ How to: Make Crispy Crunchy Corn Tortilla Wisps ~

My husband tells everyone he married me for my taco shells -- it's a truthful joke. There was a period in my life when I made homemade taco shells like some people make homemade pizza -- once a week perhaps. The first time I invited Joe and his two little sons to my apartment for dinner in 1979, I made tacos for the kids. There I was, me and my tortilla press, putting on a show for my future step-sons while my own toddler rode his Hot Wheel in a circle around the coffee table while watching The Price is...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Crispy Crunchy Corn Tortilla Wisps ~"

01/09/2016

~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~

This time of year, a lot of people are looking to cut back on carbs, increase lo-fat protein and add a lot of vegetables to their diet. I know because a lot of recipe requests are coming across my desk. The first time I ate a chicken patty that I liked (I tend to refer to burger-type thingies as patties when they are cooked in a skillet and burgers when they are cooked on the grill), it was at my friend Kathy's house. Hers were Asian (as is she) and she served them with egg-drop soup. I asked her what...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~"

01/06/2016

~ Steak, Peppers & Cheddar Chimichurri Omelette ~

I won't lie, I don't love steak and eggs for breakfast. I don't hate it, I just like bacon, sausage or ham better in the morning. That said, I do like a steak omelette for dinner. In fact, it's one of my favorite 'breakfast for dinner' meals. Don't try to psychoanalyze this -- it makes no sense. Let's move on. I'm making breakfast for dinner today, and, it's going to be a great steak omelette full of peppers, onions and cheddar topped with my homemade chimichurri sauce. There's more. Think twice about crowding the plate with toasted bread and fried...... View full recipe for "~ Steak, Peppers & Cheddar Chimichurri Omelette ~"

01/04/2016

~ Steak, Habanero Cheddar & Chimichurri Sliders ~

Slider sandwiches and deviled eggs sort of have a lot in common: They're all-occasion, crowd-pleasing feel-good, portable food. Depending on what combination of ingredients you use to make them, and your presentation, you can serve them on a paper plate with a beer at tailgate or on a linen napkin with a cocktail at a back-tie event. Put a slider on a plate next to a stuffed egg and you've turned two unrelated snacks into a small, well-balanced meal. Stuffed eggs have been around since the days of the Roman Empire. The American word slider, which has no known originator,...... View full recipe for "~ Steak, Habanero Cheddar & Chimichurri Sliders ~"

01/02/2016

~ Chimichurri: The Sauce Steak Can't Live Without ~

The first time I ate steak with chimichurri sauce drizzled over it I was in my latter twenties and in a Houston steak house. It was amazing -- the steak too. I remember odd foodie facts like this because I tagged along on many of Joe's many business trips during the 1980's and '90's. On this one, our only trip ever to Houston, we ate in a steak house one night and a fish market the next. Sometimes, the secret really is in the sauce, and, chimichurri is one such example. This bright-green, herb-driven condiment, similar in appearance to Italian...... View full recipe for "~ Chimichurri: The Sauce Steak Can't Live Without ~"

12/20/2015

~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~

Yes Virginia, there is more than one way to make an omelette, especially if you are cooking breakfast or brunch for a crowd. The Denver omelette in particular, which is a festive-looking Southwestern omelette that is loaded with lots of smoky diced ham, bell peppers, onions and grated cheddar cheese, once the ingredients are diced, which takes about 10 minutes, transitions from making omelettes one-at-a-time to one crowd-pleasing casserole so easily, if you're like me, it's going to end up at or near the top of your go-to AM casserole recipes list. Here's my photo of ~ My Kinda Cowboy...... View full recipe for "~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~"

12/18/2015

~ My Kinda Cowboy Breakfast: A Denver Omelette ~

My phone conversation yesterday. "I'd like to order a Denver omelette with home fries and an order of French toast with a side of bacon." "Sorry m'am, we don't make Denver omelettes." Short pause. "Ok, do you make an omelette full of ham, bell peppers, onions and cheddar?" "Yes m'am, that's our Western omelette." Longer pause (where I'm calling from, as the crow flies, my gateway to the West is through Ohio to Chicago, which has zero to do with a Denver omelette). I wanted to say, "I think you mean Southwestern omelette", and further prove my point by explaining...... View full recipe for "~ My Kinda Cowboy Breakfast: A Denver Omelette ~"

10/04/2015

~ The Spice is Right: Baja & Carnitas Blends/Rubs ~

Most Americans love the fiery flavors of our American Southwest. That said, too many American cooks rely upon store-bought spice blends in an attempt to duplicate authentic flavor and don't realize: Mexican food is Mexican food. It can't be bought. It varies from region to region and cook to cook, and, the blending of the spices is at the discretion of each cook in each region. Because of this, when naming my blends, I am careful to add "-style" at the end, because, while they are "in the style" of a specific flavor profile, they are, after all, concocted to...... View full recipe for "~ The Spice is Right: Baja & Carnitas Blends/Rubs ~"

10/01/2015

~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~

When it comes to cooking, if the end justifies the means, I am all for breaking the rules -- as long as no one gets hurt and the end result is not compromised. Carnitas is the Mexican version of American pulled pork. I love one as much as I do the other, and, while neither are hard to make, the process to do either authentically is cumbersome -- handling huge hunks of porky porcine is not my idea of hog heaven. I also have no desire to build a Southern barbecue pit to smoke a pig, or invest in a...... View full recipe for "~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~"

09/29/2015

~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~

My mother made me grilled cheese -- I would eat one anytime she made me one. I made my kids quesadillas -- they would eat them anytime I made them. There was a span of time, 6-7 years, when my refrigerator was never without flour tortillas, Monterey Jack and salsa. Comparatively speaking, there's little difference between a classic grilled cheese sandwich and a cheese quesadilla -- except you use butter to grill the bread and oil to grill the tortilla. In terms of a quick-to-make & satisfying lunch or snack... ... my quesadillas are kid tested & mother approved! Quesadilla...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/24/2015

~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~

Excuse me, I'm just going to go ahead and eat this fish taco while you all argue over what constitutes a perfect fish taco and its toppings -- deep-fried vs. pan-fried (sometimes grilled), corn tortilla vs. flour tortilla, green slaw vs. red slaw, pico de gallo vs. salsa, and, crema vs. sour cream. My favorite fish taco, as long as it is well-balanced in both flavor and texture, is the one that is in front of me, and, the first one I ever ate was so good I've declined to debate this issue with anyone -- if you bring it...... View full recipe for "~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

08/25/2015

~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~

"I could have had a V-8." If you've ever leisurely sipped on a chilled glass of traditional gazpacho you wouldn't say that, even in jest. It is the ultimate vegetable smoothie. Here in my Happy Valley kitchen, me making gazpacho is a sure sign that Fall is around the corner. Our vegetable garden is producing almost more stuff than I can use efficiently. Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing, cool way for me to put a bounty of produce to a delicious use. Gazpacho is quite easy to make, but if you're under the impression it's as simple as throwing some...... View full recipe for "~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~"

06/14/2015

~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~

If you're looking for a change of pace to spice up your Summer menu, my tropical fruit salsa is your answer. While I love it served atop grilled white fish (like grouper and sea bass) on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, it is delicious on cheesy Tex-Mex nachos and chicken quesadillas. That said, it pairs equally as well with Thai-Asian fare like my ~ Crunchy Thai-Style Deep-Fried Coconut Shrimp ~ as an appetizer (recipe found in Categories 1, 11, 13 & 14), and, my East-meets-West fusion main course ~ Thai Turkey Patties & Rice w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~. Newsflash...... View full recipe for "~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~"