Sunday, June 12, 2011

Turkey sliders with goat-cheese-stuffed peppadews

This is straight outta that terrifying show, semi-homemade or what have you, where a pretty lady literally gets to have a TV job where she tells you how to pour things out of cans and boxes and make it seem like fresh food.

Well, not really. But there is a major cheat - pre-made turkey burgers from Whole Foods.

Here are your ingredients -

2 mediterranean-style turkey burgers from Whole Foods butcher shop
8 mini-challah rolls
8 good sized fresh peppadews
a small log of goat cheese
some vegetables for the side (carrots and celery work a treat, or you could bake up some frozen french fries)

1. Separate each turkey burger into four equal pieces, then mash them into burger-like shapes. Pan fry them in olive oil, 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through.
2. While the burgers are cooking, your cat will probably be meowling up a storm. Do not give him hot turkey burger off the stove! Resist. Instead, use your broiler to toast the mini challah rolls, which you have cut in half like hamburger buns. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until nice and toasty looking.
(PS, all of the above steps could certainly be done on an outdoor grill!)
3. While the buns and burgers are cooking, take your peppadews and squeeze out any excess oil. Make four slices around them, leaving the center intact, so that they look like four leafed clovers. Take a nice smear of goat cheese and stuff it in there.
4. When the sliders are ready, place them on the buns, and smush the stuffed peppadews on the top of the sliders cheese side down. Pop on the top of the bun and voila - super flavorful burgers with no extra condiments necessary!

Two years later! Orange Glazed Tempeh

Loyal readers...I'm not going to make a big deal out of this, but I am back. With a new recipe.

I ate this first at the house of Sally B, Clare and Ezra. The recipe is from 101 Cookbooks. I have made this at least three times since discovering it. Please let me assure you that even meat eaters love this vegan joint.

You need:

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (I did not use this because I have never owned it)
2 teaspoons maple syrup (agave syrup also works really well)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 small garlic cloves, crushed (I only had powdered garlic and used 1/4 tsp per clove)
roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lime
a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves

Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.

Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.

Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime, with the coriander scattered on top.

CLH also thinks you should serve this over quinoa. It's not hard, just buy a box of quinoa and follow the directions. Harder to screw up than even rice, and more delicious and nutritious.

This is seriously delicious. I'm a little addicted!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Orange Shrimp

WHOA GUYS: I cooked seafood in my own home. I still need some more practice, but because it was my first try with seabugs, I will not call it a fail dinner. It was fine, and actually tasty with the addition of some chili sauce from the Super H Mart. My main complaint was that it was a little blander than I'd hoped. I think the problem is that I didn't add the chile, b/c I didn't have any. I'll include it in this recipe. I bet it not only adds zing, but brings out the orange taste.

I used Mark Bittman's modified orange shrimp scampi recipe:

1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 big garlic cloves, cut into slivers
salt & pepper to taste
1 orange, peeled and juiced (save and roughly chop the peel; reserve the juice)
1-2 dried hot red chiles
1 lb shrimp (I buy it cut and deveined, Baxter didn't raise no fool)
Minced fresh cilantro (1/4 - 1/2 cup)

Warm the olive oil over very low heat - don't skimp on the olive oil. There should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan, which should be a big one.
Put the garlic, chopped orange peel, and chiles in the oil and cook for a few minutes, over low heat, until garlic turns golden.
Raise heat to medium high and add the shrimp, orange juice, salt & pepper. When they turn pink on one side, turn them over and add 1/4 cup of the mined cilantro. Raise the heat slightly and cook until the shrimp are done (I used the "when the tail turns pink" method of telling when to stop cooking.) Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and serve!

I served with sticky brown rice. Probably would be very delicious over linguine or other stringy pasta.

PS I am listening to the new, inane McDonald's commercials where they pronounce words wrong to try to make them "fun" and rhyme with "latte." It's filling me with rage. Luckily, there are delicious smells coming from my oven, because of a recipe I kind of made up! Recipe to come soon, after we taste test it...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer Drinks!

Today was the first day of the year when I could, in good conscience, make myself some iced tea.

Y'all, I may be living up here in Chicago, and I may be a Yankee when it comes to politics and fashion; but when it comes to drink selections, I have to tell you that I'm a southern girl at heart (I love tea, punch, and simple syrup). Here are some delicious summertime beverages (both adult and all-ages) to cool you off.

I picked up this recipe, or its origin, from a very fantastic southern woman who also happens to be one hell of a state senator.

4 bags of Celestial Seasonings Magic Mint Iced Tea
Sugar (to taste)
1 lime
Water (boiling, cool, and ice)
It's also very preferable to have a fiestaware pitcher.

Place the tea bags in your pitcher, and fill it about halfway with boiling water. Let the teabags steep for quite some time - long enough for the water to cool off a little bit, so that it's merely warm or lukewarm. After the long steep, fish the teabags out (I use a slotted spoon). While the tea is still warm/lukewarm, add your sugar if any. This is where geography really counts - here in Chicago, I only added about 2 TB for the whole pitcher. Down in Atlanta, you might add as much as 3/4 of a cup. The amount of sugar is most likely going to be inversely proportional to your northerly distance from the equator. Stir real well, so the sugar can dissolve. Next, fill the pitcher the rest of the way up with cool water. Slice your fresh lime, squeeze all it's juice into the tea, add a couple ice, cubes, and stick it in the fridge. You can drink it as soon as it's cold enough for you (it's good when very very cold, IMHO~)

I picked up this recipe very recently, from a terrific southern lady who also happens to have recently catered a lovely engagement party...!

Cran-Something Juice (Cran-Raspberry works a charm)

That's it! Get a punch bowl or a very large pitcher. Pour about 3/4 of a regular-sized Cran-Something cocktail in there, and then add a can of Fresca and some ice. It is tasty, y'all! And I don't even like Fresca! If you want to make me and Blanche Devereaux really happy, you can also add (CLH OPTIONAL SECRET INGREDIENT) a block of raspberry sorbet. Ohh-la-la.

I picked this up from some terrific northern ladies who happen to live on Big Rock Candy Mountain. But we were drinking it in the deepest south of all, Miami Beach, Florida.

White wine
Peach Juice
Seltzer OR citrus soda

This is really just punch with wine, y'all. It ain't complicated. I find that this one works best if the ingredients are in about equal amounts - but if you're working with a little less bubbly stuff, that's OK too. I mix this one right in the glass. First: ice in the glass (and who am I kidding - by glass I mean Solo cup), then wine, then peach juice, then seltzer or soda.

ENJOY! I am enjoying a tangy iced tea right now (guess what - it's caffeine free).

Monday, April 27, 2009


Remember when I had to pull a clump of hair out of the shower drain, and it resembled a sodden rat? Well, this weekend I met that hair clump's cousin - a REAL GIANT RAT.

This is a sad story for those who don't like to hear about dead rodents. And it's a gross story for those who don't like to hear about live OR dead rodents. Most likely, no one should read it. The only exceptions are those who will enjoy carrying with them the mental image of me 1) quietly screeching while also 2) freaking out as well as 3) flipping my shit (I'm looking at you, Scurvington Marie).

Picture it: Sicily, 1932; night. Our cat, Pope Lazarus I, has become increasingly interested in looking through the glass doors at something outside on our sunken patio. Disc0 and I figure it's probably shadows, or friendly ghosts...until I see something alight on the outside handle of the porch door. "A giant moth!" I exclaim, "or perhaps a bat which will soon leave the state and never, never come again, leaving me worry free!"

Disc0 is the first one to notice the tail. And then begins the squeaking.

So a giant rat, at least half the size of Pope Lazarus I the Jungle Cat, is freaking out, trying to escape our sunken patio (into which it either jumped in search of old leaves and PBR cans, or fell during a Showgirls-esque brawl with his understudy for the role of the Rat King in the Urban Blight Productions production of the Nutracker [this was a big rat, y'all]). We know this much - Disc0, Pope Lazarus I and I cannot open the patio door to help him, or the Rat King will surely enter, swiftly overcome us, and start making himself an omelette. So we figure - he got himself down there, he can get himself back up. Rats can scramble up 6 feet of brick, right? RIGHT?

The next day, the Rat King is nowhere to be seen. We figure he climbed out or was rescued by a hawk. Sadly, later in the afternoon, the Rat King emerged from a pile of leaves, looking pitiful. He crawled into a very dignified position...for this I am grateful... and soon, he was gone. In spirit. His gargantuan frame remained.

Long story short (not), Disc0 got a plastic bag in one hand, and paper bag in another; gently laid the Rat King to rest using both; and placed the paper bag on the lawn. But while he was traveling back upstairs - oh the horror! - Chicago's mighty wind struck the Rat King and his resting place back down into the porch! Disc0 was already up on the lawn! Immediate action was necessary!! So I put on my big girl boots, starting the quiet screech, and went to the porch- and lifted the paper bag by touching approximately four paper bag molecules with approximately 2% of the combined entire area of my thumb and forefinger...but I could still feel the melancholy weight of the fallen Rat King.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crazy Glazey Chicken & Broccoli!

Whoo - don't worry all you readers (Scurvington Marie), I have been cooking this past month - just not really any new recipes. Kinda boring. So last night I made one up!!

This is based on the masterful work of Clare, who made the most ridiculously delicious marinade for grilled chicken I have ever eaten. I took the idea, and made a sort of general tso-ish, sweet glazed chicken dinner last night that was decidedly tasterrific! You'll want to start a few hours before dinnertime, because this involves some marinating.


TB of minced ginger
TB canola oil
TB sesame oil
2-3 TSP cornstarch
One small onion, sliced
Soy sauce (a bit more than a cup)
Maple syrup (a bit less than a cup)
1-2 chicken breasts. in bite-sized chunks
Head of broccoli
rice (I used thai purple sticky rice - I just like the consistency of glutinous rice, but this would probably be tasty with a more flavorful rice, too)

Mix together the soy sauce and maple syrup in a freezer bag, then add the ginger and make sure it's well mixed by smooshing the bag around. Fun. CLH TIP: Make sure the bag is securely closed before you put it down, or you will have marinade on your floor instead of in your belly. I know from experience, dude.

PLace the chicken chunks in the freezer bag. CLOSE IT SECURELY, and put it in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

When the marinating time is coming to an end, start to cook your rice (this usually takes about 30 minutes) based on the instructions on your rice container. Far be it from me to give tips on cooking rice - trust me, you'll do better with the manufacturer's instructions. At the same time, boil some water in another pot so you can steam your broccoli.

Heat the canola and sesame oils in your favorite, unsticky pan over medium heat. Cook your sliced onions until translucent, and then use tongs to transfer the chicken chunks from the marinade bag to the pan, but RESERVE the marinade. Sautee the chicken until just cooked through, and then pour the marinade into the pan with the chicken and onions. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch to help it thicken. Bring it to a bubbly boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer.

While the sauce and chicken are simmering, hopefully your steaming pot is steaming - place your broccoli in a steamer and set over the boiling water, and steam for about 5 minutes.

Back to the chicken - cook for at least 5 minutes - I think I did more like 10 - until the sauce is nice and thick and glazey. Then serve over rice and with the broccoli - the sauce is good on all of these things and it makes for a very colorful plate!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Well, darned if this isn't becoming a dessert blog. That's cool because dessert is my favorite thing to make.

These are the best chocolate cupcakes ever! The cake recipe comes from THE SUGAR BAR.

Here it is with US measurements and a couple small tweaks (like baking time):

3/4 cup butter
1 cup soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbs coffee granules
1 1/2 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat to 375.

Beat butter till soft, smooth, creamy and pale. Add sugar and beat till creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and coffee granules together. Mix the vanilla and milk together in a small bowl or pouring jug. Add a third of the dry ingredients into batter, mix well. Add half of the liquid, beat well. Alternate till you end with the dry ingredients.
Line muffin tray with liners. Fill cups 2/3 full.
Reduce oven heat to 345. Bake 20 minutes or so.
Let cool completely before icing.

I used a variation on AMY SEDARIS'S amazing frosting meant to go along with her vanilla cupcakes. If you are looking for the ultimate VANILLA cupcake, look no further than Amy Sedaris, my hostess and homemaking heroine. I added a little bit of peppermint oil to make my icing minty, so I have choco-mint cupcakes. See here (my first cooking pics)!!!

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