Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gourmet Leftovers

Last weekend I took the entire family for a much needed getaway on the coast.  Opted to rent a house vs. staying in a hotel – best decision I made.  Chose this particular house because of this kitchen…

Going to be difficult to go back to the cramped quarters in my own little kitchen after being spoiled with so much counter space!

On our final morning, I was trying to clear out as much stuff in the fridge as I could.  The night before I had made a tequila pineapple chicken (which I will share at some point), and as a side, I made the potato tacos that the girls love so much.  I had quite a few left over, so for breakfast, I decided to reheat them and top them with bacon, some sautéed onion and jalapenos, a fried egg, and whatever toppings we had left from the night before. 

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m not really much of a breakfast person, but this was a pretty spectacular use of leftovers, if I may say so.  Would make for a great hangover cure, too, with just enough spice and richness to help cope with the ‘day after’ blues.  But even without the need for a ‘cure’, we still enjoyed the heck out of these, and it was one of the best meals of the weekend.

Kind of took some of the sting out of having to come home.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I have a little secret to impart…

I don’t really like pizza.

There.  I said it.

I blame it on the weekly treks my family would make to a mediocre pizza joint in a nearby town that offered free pop if you brought in their plastic cups, and discounts on their pizza thanks to a never-ending supply of coupons.  Apparently I get my frugality from my mother.

Anyway, while I have HAD pizza that I admitted was ‘good pizza’, it just isn’t really something I’m going to get all emotional over.

This stuff, however, may be a different story.

I blame Food Network for sending me here.  My Sunday morning ritual has become tucking Peanut in bed with me for a little snuggle while watching TV.  We (well, I, actually, since he’s not interested in TV) just happened to catch a show called ‘The Best Thing I Ever Made’, and Scott Conent made a Stromboli that just looked so enticing, I had to try it for myself.

Stromboli, like pizza, are only limited by your imagination.  You can go crazy with the fillings here.  The trick is to keep everything pretty dry and save your sauce to use for dipping.  I went with a really simple oil and balsamic dipping oil, flavored with garlic and herbs.

Oh, and O2, who also is not a fan of pizza, proclaimed it ‘amazing’.

Since I basically used the recipe exactly as written, I’ll just send you there.  The only change I made was to use peppered salami and omit the pepper called for.

* * *

All ready for rolling, and dressed for the oven...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Just when I’d determined that I was going to make a MUCH more concerted effort to eat healthy, I ran across marbled halvah at Safeway yesterday, marked half off just for me.  I mean, seriously?  Would anyone NOT see that as the fates trying to tell you to accept yourself as you are and forget about chewing on wheat grass and rice cakes?

Maybe it’s just me.

I also made a huge error in judgment by determining that we could just ‘wing it’ for dinner, knowing I had promised to help O2 make a cake for her boyfriend’s birthday.  You know how teens sometimes assume things like, there’s an endless supply of money to serve their every whim?  Or that the dinner dishes just magically wash themselves?  Well, they also think that baking and decorating a cake can be done (apparently by elves) in part of an evening. 


Anyway, as the evening wore on, and it became glaringly obvious that I was not going to get a meal of any kind, I started hunting around for stuff to snack on.  Dinner turned out to be a bakery hamburger bun and a big handful of kale chips.

Kale what???

Ok, if you read as many food blogs as I do, you see this stuff mentioned all the time.  But I can’t say that the idea of cooking up a bunch of kale to snack on really jumped to the forefront of my list of must tries.  But, in the interest of not dropping dead of a massive coronary before turning 50, I decided I should give them a whirl.  Turns out it’s pretty good stuff.

Don’t go thinking you’ll be able to substitute these for your favorite potato chip and dunk them in ranch dressing or anything.  They’re super delicate and almost disintegrate as soon as you pop them in your mouth.  But they do win big points for flavor when you dress them up a bit.  This is just a basic idea.  Take it and run with whatever crazy concoctions you deem fit.

Kale Chips

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch Italian kale (washed and completely dry), ribs removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°.  Add kale to a large mixing bowl.

In a small skillet, add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Turn heat to medium-low and cook the garlic just until softened.  Pour contents of pan over the kale in the bowl and toss to cover completely in the garlic oil.

Spread kale in a single layer over two baking pans.  Place on two racks in the oven and allow to bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until crisp, rotating the pans halfway through baking time.

Allow to cool completely on sheets.