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


~ 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 ~"


~ 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 ~"


~ 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 ~"


~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~"


~ 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~"


~ 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 ~"


~ 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)~"


~ 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 ~"


~ 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 ~"


~ Thai Turkey Patties & w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~

Americans do not require an excuse to indulge in a thick, juicy 'burger, complete with a slathering of sauce, and/or few savory toppings served on the perfect bun. We will hike, bike or drive to our favorite joint to eat one. We've declared May, National Burger Month, and, May 28th, National Burger Day. We adore them. That said, have you ever wondered: when does a burger turn into a patty? What's the difference between a patty and a cake? Aren't they all one-and-the same? In my opinion (and probably yours too), it depends where you grew up. In my neck...... View full recipe for "~ Thai Turkey Patties & w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~"


~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~

I raised three boys. When I was making cheeseburgers, chili, tacos or spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, no one had to be called to the table twice. On those nights, our dinner conversation was downright pleasant too. It was smooth sailing for lasagna, stuffed peppers, meatloaf and sloppy Joe's too. You could say, ground beef brings out the table manners in boys growing up in America. From my perspective, ground beef made me happy for a lot of years too -- it was budget friendly, and, meals made from it were relatively quick and easy to prepare as well. About...... View full recipe for "~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~"


~ Chicken, Shrimp or Steak Chop-Chop Taco Salad ~

Chop-chop salad, or chopped salad, can contain anything your heart desires, as long as the ingredients play well together. Whether it is well-planned in advance, or a casual melange of leftovers, all of the ingredients get chopped, sliced or diced into similar-sized, fork-and-mouth-friendly morsels, then judiciously drizzled, not drenched, with with some sort of cuisine-appropriate dressing or vinaigrette, tossed together, placed on a plate or in a bowl, and, served immediately. Try not to confuse "chop-chop" with composed salads of chopped ingredients that are meticulously lined up side-by-side (like the famous Cobb salad), or, carefully layered. The "chop-chop" is a...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Shrimp or Steak Chop-Chop Taco Salad ~"


~Fun with Flour Tortillas: Sugar 'n Cinnamon Snacks~

When I first tasted these easy-to-make sweet snacks, my heart skipped a beat. It was back in the 1970's and leftover, made-from-scratch flour tortillas were cut into strips and deep-fried. When they emerged from the hot oil, all curled up and crunchy and resemblant of Fritos, they were immediately tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. My girlfriend Toni, a Mexican-American, served them with cinnamon ice-cream. "Totopos de azucar con canela" ("sugar and cinnamon chips") are, what I suppose to be the Mexican-American version of what us American grandmothers do with leftover scraps of pie pastry -- we make...... View full recipe for "~Fun with Flour Tortillas: Sugar 'n Cinnamon Snacks~"


~ Deep-Fried & Crispy Corn Tortilla Chips (Totopos) ~

Oddly, I learned to cook Tex-Mex food in authentic fashion right here in Central, Pennsylvania. The year was 1974 and I was a new bride. The day after our wedding, my husband and I moved into a brand new, garden-apartment complex in State College. It was so new that we were the first residents, except for the manager and his wife, who lived directly above us: Tom and Toni. We four became immediate friends -- not because were the only inhabitants, because we four really enjoyed each other. Tom was an all-around, hat-and-boot-wearing Texas cowboy. Toni was a beautiful Mexican-American...... View full recipe for "~ Deep-Fried & Crispy Corn Tortilla Chips (Totopos) ~"


~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~

Strawberries to make salsa? If you are a skeptic, all you'll need is one taste and it will make perfect sense to you. Just like tomatoes, they are full of naturally sweet and tart flavor which makes them terrific used in savory ways. Simply substitute them for tomatoes in almost any Tex-Mex-flavored salsa recipe, and, add the usual suspects: a bit of acid (lime juice), an herb (cilantro), spices (salt and a bit of sugar to bring up the flavor too), and, of course, the always-necessary onion (or green onion). If it's heat you're craving, mince up a jalapeno pepper...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~"


~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~

Today is the unofficial start to barbecue and grill season here in Central Pennsylvania. Whether your preference is the low-and-slow barbecue pit (Eastern or Western North Carolina-, Texas-, Kansas City-, or Memphis-style), or, the fast-and-furious charcoal or gas grill, from Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day, there will be plenty opportunities for all of us to show off and share our smoke and fire skills. We Americans love to cook, eat and drink in the great outdoors. Joe and I don't pretend to be pit-masters or grill-masters, but, we do turn out some very tasty stuff, and, amongst our favorite...... View full recipe for "~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~"


~ Batter-Dipped Avocado Bites w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

I call these avocado bites, others call them avocado fries. I avoid the term fries because the pear-shaped avocado, with its golf-ball sized center pit (which in reality is a seed that can be planted to grow an avocado tree) is next to impossible to cut into classic, uniformly-sized, square-tipped French-fry-shaped sticks without a lot of waste. Plus, you know the drill, once you remove the buttery-rich fruit from its thick, protective skin, you have no time to play around -- once exposed to air, the green starts turning gray with every tick of the clock. The easily-sliced fruit consists...... View full recipe for "~ Batter-Dipped Avocado Bites w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"


~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four -- make enough potato salad, they're coming back for more. While we're playing the counting game, I don't think one can have too many recipes for potato salad -- people love the stuff. Baked, boiled or roasted, gold, red, russet or sweet, potatoes, when paired with the right dressing, can complement a meal from a multitude of cuisines -- in fact, every culture that eats potatoes makes a version of potato salad. Here in America, potato salad recipes vary from region-to-region and our American Southwest is no exception. Today's recipe is the one...... View full recipe for "~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"


~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

For me, the only thing that tastes better than a thick, juicy hamburger hot-off-the-gill is: a thick, juicy cheeseburger, hot-off-the grill. I don't grill enough to profess to being an expert, but the stuff I do grill is mighty tasty. I'm cooking these to please me today -- they're my favorite twist on traditional cheeseburgers. I'm mixing the cheese into the burgers instead of placing it on top of them, and, I'm packing the mixture full of bold, spicy, American-Southwest Tex-Mex flavors. Admittedly, it's unorthodox, but, I've been told, often by the critics themselves, "this is one of the best...... View full recipe for "~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"


~ Roasted Lamb Sandwiches w/Lemon-Mint Mayo ~

As a teenager in high school, I loved walking around county fairs, at night, at the end of every Summer. The memories are vivid: the lights on the ferris wheel, the music blaring from the bandstand, the smell of engine oil from the drag-race track, and, the oh-so-glorious food. My friends each had their favorite "fair food" (corn dogs, foot longs, Italian sausage, Belgian waffles, PA Dutch funnel cakes, etc.). Me? I headed like a heat-seeking missile straight to the vendor selling gyros -- notoriously overstuffed Greek lamb sandwiches. This was back in 1971, '72 and '73, and, this American-Greek...... View full recipe for "~ Roasted Lamb Sandwiches w/Lemon-Mint Mayo ~"


~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~

Oh baby it's cold outside -- several degrees below zero cold here in Happy Valley. Even if the sun does comes out, the temperatures aren't going to tempt me into venturing outside into the swirling tornado of white snow whirling around on my back porch, thanks in part to the snow machines running full throttle up on the Tussy Mountain Ski Slope (almost in my backyard). Staying indoors is on my agenda, and, I am not alone. The better portion of the entire Northeast is in this deep-freeze with me. I can't be the only one dreaming of a bowl...... View full recipe for "~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~"


~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~

Svenska kottbullar. Swedish meatballs. The only two Swedish words you'll ever need to know. The National Dish of Sweden, and famous throughout the world, I've never met a person who doesn't adore them -- soft, one-inch meatballs bathed in beefy, creamy sauce love. Traditionally served during the holidays as an appetizer or main-course at smorgasbord (an elaborate, festive buffet), typically accompanied by buttery egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes, and, always with lingonberry preserves as a condiment, they're elegant, extraordinary and exquisite. Sweden's culinary gift to meat, gravy & potato lovers: (God bless us every one.) Swedish-style meatballs were first...... View full recipe for "~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~"


~ My All-Purpose Tex-Mex (Texican) Veggie Saute ~

It is a wise man who stops to ask for directions. Every recipe in our food world has a purpose and every recipe I post has a reason for posting it. One of my favorite things about writing a cooking blog is: the questions that come my way. As my grandmother always said, "where there is smoke there is fire", which in the world of food writing should be interpreted to mean: "if one person asks a question, there is a big chance a lot of other people are asking the same". More importantly: never hesitate to ask about the...... View full recipe for "~ My All-Purpose Tex-Mex (Texican) Veggie Saute ~ "


~ Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy, Chile, Creamed-Corn Dip ~

Newsflash. Depending on the search words you use, as of this morning there are over one million recipes for corn dip, cheesy corn dip and Mexican-syle corn dip for you to choose from on the internet. Some are published by bloggers like myself, others by celebrity chefs, and even more by scads of manufacturers like Kraft, Green Giant, Old El Paso and Tostitos (to name a few). Most are really easy and all are guaranteed to make your game-day tailgate a success. One more thing -- they're all pretty darn good -- just not as good or as special as...... View full recipe for "~ Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy, Chile, Creamed-Corn Dip ~"


~ Oh My Thai: Savory Minced Pork Stuffed Omelette~

Eggs are universal, and, as a person who loves eggs, whenever I travel to a foreign country, I make it a point to try at least one of their egg dishes. Almost every country offers some version of "the omelette", and, unlike here in America where we associate eggs with breakfast or brunch, eggs are considered a filling, healthy, nutritious meal any time of the day. For an egg lover like me, eating an omelette in a foreign country is also a tasty way to indoctrinate myself to the herbs, spices and seasonings I'll be encountering "full-strength" in their other...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Savory Minced Pork Stuffed Omelette~"


~ Oh My Thai: Crispy, Airy, Puffy & Fluffy Omelette ~

A Thai omelette is comfort food at its best. The Thai people satisfy hunger with Kai Jeow (Khai Jiao) the same way we Americans satisfy it with pizza or macaroni and cheese -- which -- is why -- Kai Jeow is a very popular snack or street food too. Why? Unlike America, in Thailand an omelette is not primarily associated with breakfast -- omelettes are for eating any time of the day! A bit about Kai Jeow-style omelettes: Aside from the fact that they are made with eggs, they are quite a bit different than the thin, light-colored, creamy French-style...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Crispy, Airy, Puffy & Fluffy Omelette ~ "


~ Oh My Thai: Quick, Easy and Classic Fish Cakes ~

If the thought of snacking on fish cakes sounds a bit uninspiring, you've obviously never encountered Thai fish cakes -- they are unlike any European or Western fish cake you are ever going to taste. They're one of Thailand's signature and most popular street food snacks. They're one of my favorite Thai snacks too, and that's not just because they are bursting with Thai flavor. If you keep canned Thai red chili paste in your pantry, once you have a fresh fish fillet and some green beans in hand, you can satisfy your craving for Thai food in less than...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Quick, Easy and Classic Fish Cakes ~"


~ Oh My Thai: Spicy Red Curry Sweet Corn Fritters ~

Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin, the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Spicy Red Curry Sweet Corn Fritters ~"


~Oh My Thai: Spicy Quick-Pickled Cucumber Relish~

Thai cooks use a lot of cucumbers -- in soups and salads, and as garnishes. This cool, crunchy and refreshing cucumber relish is one of the most common condiments for Thai food in general. It's found in all Thai home kitchens and on the streets of Thailand too, meaning: the high-quality "street food" that vendors sell and many Thai people eat on a daily basis. These cucumbers are often served to cut the richness of coconut-based curries, and, are particularly good when accompanying grilled or fried fare: omelettes, fish cakes, corn fritters, satay, spring rolls or barbecued chicken (to name...... View full recipe for "~Oh My Thai: Spicy Quick-Pickled Cucumber Relish~"


~ Loco for Cocoa: Spicy Chocolate Cherry Cookies ~

This recipe started off back in the 1980's as a simple-to-make but excellent chocolate chocolate-chip drop-cookie recipe. It was so kid-tested and mother approved there was a period in my life when I had it committed to memory. Those were the PTA bake-sale days -- these and a few other cookies of mine (gingersnaps, snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies) made a few elementary schools quite a few dollars. I remember making 25 dozen of these chocolate cookies for Park Forest Elementary's Thanksgiving play (Jesse, in the 1st grade at the time, played the role of Christopher Columbus and opened the...... View full recipe for "~ Loco for Cocoa: Spicy Chocolate Cherry Cookies ~ "


~ Kids Stuff: Jesse's Favorite Tex-Mex Beef Tacos ~

Jesse is my son. He's in the latter stages of thirty-something now with a seven-year old son of his own. Jesse was a really good kid. The kind of good that makes you wonder what you did to deserve a child that sweet, smart and easy to get along with -- until it came time to eat. Let's cut to the chase and say until he was a teen I had a very short list of 100% stressfree dinner options: pizza, pasta, bacon, shrimp, anything with ground meat, and, chocolate. That about covers it! There really isn't too much more...... View full recipe for "~ Kids Stuff: Jesse's Favorite Tex-Mex Beef Tacos ~"


~ The difference between fajita & taco seasoning is: More than "just a little bit of this & a little bit of that". ~

Like fajita seasoning, taco seasoning is a standarized concoction of spices common to Tex-Mex cuisine. It was invented for convenience sake by American manufacturers for modern day American cooks trying to find an easy way to mimic authentic flavors without really learning how to cook the dish authentically. A standarized blend of anything is a totally foreign concept to Mexican cooks -- and that includes our American-manufactured chili powders. Read on: Chili powder, spelled with an "i" is an American concoction that bears little resemblence to chile powder, spelled with an "e". Chili powder contains spices and salt. Mexican cooks...... View full recipe for "~ The difference between fajita & taco seasoning is: More than "just a little bit of this & a little bit of that". ~"


~ Mel's Homemade Tex-Mex-Style Taco Seasoning ~

Taco (tah-koh). The definition is a simple one: a grilled or fried, soft or crispy, corn- or wheat-flour tortilla filled with a host of grill or stovetop cooked meat, sausage, poultry, fish, seafood or vegetable fillings and an array of condiment toppings. The tortilla (the empty, portable, holder) turns into a taco when it gets filled. Once filled, the taco is picked up by folding it in half and eaten with the hands. Once filled, the taco usually takes on a specific name: tacos al carbon (skirt steak), tacos al pastor (pork), tacos de pescado (fish), tacos de camarones (shrimp),...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Homemade Tex-Mex-Style Taco Seasoning ~"


~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~

"Count me in, I'll give it a try." That's what I said on Facebook last week. It's what I agreed to do, and I'm doing it. I'm making a taco ring today. Here's how it came down: One of my hungry guy foodie friends, Jaqmes, posted a photo with a link to a recipe for a taco ring. Cocktail-connoisseur friend, Jill, said she'd made it and it was quite good, especially when washed down with a six-pack of Corona. For a moment, I thought Jill's cheese slid off her cracker and landed in the deep-end of her pilsner. The thread...... View full recipe for "~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~"


~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~

To a carnivore like me, tacos al carbon (skirt steak fajitas) are as close to food perfection as Tex-Mex fare gets. They are the very first fajita I ever sunk my teeth into and the very first fajita I learned to make (even before fajita fever hit our nation during the 1980's). The years were 1974 thru 1979 and our neighbors in our very first Happy Valley apartment were a Texas cowboy and his beautiful Mexican-American wife (who hailed from San Antonio): Tom and Toni (Antoinette). I was only in my twenties and had absolutely no previous experience with any...... View full recipe for "~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~"


~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~

Fajitas (fa-hee-tas) -- oh so delicious and oh so easy to make too -- I never had to call my three boys or Joe to the dinner table twice on fajita night. That was back in the mid-to-latter 1980's when close-to-authentic versions of fajitas surfaced nationwide on good Tex-Mex restaurant menus. The poor and unpretentious fajita had 'gone Hollywood' -- flamboyant skillets of sizzling steak or chicken served tableside with warm flour tortillas, sauted vegetables and mounds of condiments were a delicious and fun dining experience for the entire family. Like a wild fire in a dry forest, this meal...... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~"


~ Mel's Homemade Tex-Mex-Style Fajita Seasoning ~

Fajitas (fa-hee-tahs) were originally named "tacos al carbon" and were served ready-to-eat-with-the-hands by wrapping strips of unpretentious and cheap skirt steak, cooked directly over a campfire or a grill, in a flour or corn tortilla. "Faja" the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", with "ita" added to the end of it, means "a little strip, band, sash or belt". The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's. Throwaway items (heads, entrails and meat trimmings) were given to the Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) as part of their...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Homemade Tex-Mex-Style Fajita Seasoning ~"


~ 1905: It was a very good year for a Spanish salad! ~

The 1905 Salad. Never heard of it? You haven't traveled to Florida very often. The Columbia Restaurant, now a chain of six or seven restaurants (I've lost track) throughout The Sunshine State, is a fourth-generation family-owned business that specializes in really good Spanish food at reasonable prices. To say it is a tourist attraction is true to some extent, we ate there and we were tourists, but, we ate there on the recommendation of a native Floridian. Now, whenever I am in Florida, if there is a Columbia within striking distance, I'm going there for The 1905 Salad. This unique...... View full recipe for "~ 1905: It was a very good year for a Spanish salad! ~"


~ E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry~

I'm no expert, but, I do know just enough about Jamaican cooking to NOT be dangerous. I know that a dish consisting of ackee fruit and salt cod is their National Dish. Since I've just spent the past week posting some luscious recipes for cod fish (I love cod), a lovely thought and tribute to Jamaica (I love Jamaican food) would have been to end the week with this uniquely tantalizing recipe. Alas, even if I could get my hands on an ackee here in the states, I wouldn't touch it. Parts of the ackee are toxic, so, my better...... View full recipe for "~ E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry~"


~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~

I never met a fish cake or a crab cake I didn't like. Some recipes are better than others, but generally speaking, I love them all. Whenever I broil, bake or poach fresh fish filets I always buy two or three, for the sole purpose of having leftovers to make fish cakes the next day. Almost any kind of fish can be used to make fish cakes, but, this recipe is the one I use specifically for white fish cakes. Firm, lean and meaty cod, grouper or haddock are my favorite three, and, I found some beautiful wild cod filets...... View full recipe for "~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~"


~Oscar Bites: BBQ'D Porkrib Tartlets for the Starlets~

Oscar night in our house is subdued. Monday morning comes early for Joe and I, so we accept no invitations to parties and never throw one. We enjoy a few cocktails, I make a snack or two, and we give watching the show our best effort. Joe usually walks away from the TV as soon as the food runs out, and, I don't blame him. In all honesty, as much as I love to watch movies, I find the Oscar ceremonies atrocious. I've lost count as to how many times I've vowed not to watch it. Alas, I'm not good...... View full recipe for "~Oscar Bites: BBQ'D Porkrib Tartlets for the Starlets~ "


~ Broiled & Baked: K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking: Kid friendly and mother approved!) ~

Just because it is the end of February does not mean Spring is right around the corner. Especially this year. Unlike Winters of the recent past, this one's agenda has been brutal, with 8"-16" of snow in our current forecast for this Sunday (March 2nd). I can live with old man Winter. It's easy to do from the inside looking out, but, sometimes I yearn for the taste of a grilled rib or a piece of chicken dripping with red, ketchup-y sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Note: Joe is no slouch. He never puts our grill away for the Winter,...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled & Baked: K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking: Kid friendly and mother approved!) ~"


~ Cooking Boneless Pork Backribs (Pork on a Fork) ~

Some people go to church on Sundays. Joe goes to Sam's Club. Men like Sam's Club. Even the name implies the place is for men. Sam's sell things in bulk and men like that. This works out great for me: 1) Once a week Joe picks up everything I use in big amounts (aluminim foil sheets, pans, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc.), which makes mid-week shopping more like running quick, errands. 2) Sam's Club has a great meat department, which I have come to rely on for several items. Bonelesss pork backribs, however, took me some time to warm up...... View full recipe for "~ Cooking Boneless Pork Backribs (Pork on a Fork) ~"


~Open-Sesame Asian Wings w/Garlic-Ginger Sauce~

I'm cravin' Asian today, and, what I've got in the meat drawer of my refrigerator is four Delmonico steaks and a six-pound package of chicken wings (both of which Joe "picked up" in preparation for the snowstorm-du-jour two days ago). Today, freezing rain is keeping us two lovebirds safe in our nest, and, as long as we don't lose power due to the ice, I'm making Asian chicken wings for dinner tonight. I'll make Joe the steaks with his favorite blue-cheese salad tomorrow! Blogging is reality -- I always make the best of what I've got! In the vegetable drawer...... View full recipe for "~Open-Sesame Asian Wings w/Garlic-Ginger Sauce~"


~ An Indian Masala Omelette w/Crispy Fried Onions ~

When it comes to breakfast I am a "savory", not a "sweet" girl. While I won't turn my nose up at a well-made waffle or pancake, I much prefer traditional eggy, savory fare: any type of egg with bacon and toast of some sort, an egg and sausage bagel sandwich, or, an omelette. For the record, I do not like cheese with breakfast, but Joe does, so, it is available upon request. On weekdays, Joe and I rarely sit down to breakfast together. He stops for coffee and a muffin on his way to the office, and I, well --...... View full recipe for "~ An Indian Masala Omelette w/Crispy Fried Onions ~"


~ Making Indian Birista (Crispy Deep-Fried Onions) ~

If you are familiar with Indian food, you have eaten their birista (bah-REES-tah): thinly-sliced crispy, golden, deep-fried onions. They are as common to an Indian kitchen as steamed basmati rice and roti (an unleavened, griddle-cooked flatbread). They are eaten as a snack and used as an additive to, or a topper for, delectable dishes like biryani, curries, steamed rice, mashed potato filling, soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled meats, meat patties and savory breads. If you are not familiar with Indian food, but are a lover of onions, because barista are generic (they contain no Indian spices), you can and will find...... View full recipe for "~ Making Indian Birista (Crispy Deep-Fried Onions) ~"


~ Indian Chicken Biryani: Demystified (& Simplified) ~

Back in 2005 and 2006 I volunteered my services as a cooking consultant to WPSU-TV. It turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life, as, without knowing, it evolved into a launching pad of sorts: it exposed me to the workings of a television station, and, allowed me to participate, from beginning to end, in the production of cooking on television. With no credentials other than "a local woman known for her cooking", Charlie, the producer, put me on his team. I took my 'job' seriously and am proud to say: I redesigned the look...... View full recipe for "~ Indian Chicken Biryani: Demystified (& Simplified) ~"


~ Easy Indian Chicken Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry ~

I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel twice over the weekend -- now I want a bowl of Indian curry in a hurry! I do not profess to knowing a lot about India or being an authority on authentic Indian cuisine. I have never had the opportunity to travel there, however, I have had the pleasure of having been entertained, on several occasions back in the early 1980's, in the home of neighborhood friends, Prashant and Bharti. Bharti was an excellent cook, and, while I did get some hands-on training from her, back in the '80's, without a local Indian...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Indian Chicken Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry ~"


~ Mel's Crispy, Deep-Fried Chinese Lemon Chicken ~

I am chuckling at my decision to make Chinese lemon chicken today. Why? If you check my January archives for the past three years, you are going to find more than a few Asian-style recipes. It seems I have developed a pattern of wanting Asian food at the beginning of each new year and today it is Chinese. I'm pretty certain it has little to do with celebrating Chinese New Year (the date of which is January 31st this year), and has everything to do with my wanting to "wake up my tastebuds" with something bold and bright in the...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Crispy, Deep-Fried Chinese Lemon Chicken ~ "


~ Time Out to Define: Hoisin Sauce & Oyster Sauce ~

Since I am about to embark on a little mid-January trist with Chinese food, I decided to define two of the most used sauces in the Chinese pantry: Hoisin and Oyster. Why? Because too many Americans think they are "almost the same" and can be used interchangeably: wrong. Hoisin Sauce (HOY-sihn): "Hoisin" means "sea-fresh" in Chinese, but contains no seafood and is not served with seafod either. Sometimes referred to as "Peking sauce", it is a rich, reddish-brown sauce with a sweet, tangy flavor. It's made from soybeans, sesame seeds, garlic, chile peppers, salt, sugar and spices. Besides being used...... View full recipe for "~ Time Out to Define: Hoisin Sauce & Oyster Sauce ~"