Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chili Cheese Pasta

Ever feet like there's no time to cook? Either you're in a hurry or you're extremely tired or perhaps you just plain old don't feel like it... well this recipe is perfect for one of those moments. It's a few ingredients tossed in together and the result is quite tasty (unless of course, if you're not a huge chili cheese kind of person, then perhaps a simple jar of tomato pasta sauce and sprinkles of parmesan cheese can be better to your liking).

Whatever the case may be, we can all appreciate a quick go to meal from time to time. 


Chili Cheese Pasta
Inspired by a a tasty sampler at Trader Joe's

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of chili (I used Dennison's Turkey Chili)
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • approx 7 oz of pasta
  • 2 tbsp of goat cheese (optional, adds more creamy texture and only a hint of goat cheese flavor)
Procedure:
  1. Cook pasta according to instructions via package
  2. Heat can of chili in a sauce pan until hot and bubbly, add in cheese(s) and mix until melted and well incorporated.
  3. Stir in pasta and enjoy.
** another (longer/probably healthier) option is of course make your own chili, however when in a crunch for time, this will get the job done quick and easy. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wandering (eyes) - Hatchery Dec 2014

December's box of goodies. Slightly delayed but what else is new right!? Here's eye candy to make up for it :)

  • Red Velvet Pancake Mix (Buttermilk INC, LA, CA)
  • Horseradish Mustard (Pantry House, Santa Cruz CA)
  • Shallot Oil & Amber Vinegar (Wei Kitchen, Seattle WA)
  • Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter (Reginald's Homemade, Richmond VA)
  • Jalapeno Pepper Jelly (Sweet Fire Jelly, Palm Desert CA)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coconut Blueberry Muffin Loaf!

Coconut flour... smells awesome, I love coconut...but as a flour, not a huge fan. It is such a pain to work with and unless you have about a dozen eggs lying around, you can forget about it! Its a decent substitute for regular flour I suppose for those who can't have regular flour but honestly if you don't have to, I wouldn't bother. 

Why so negative? Well because coconut flour is like a huge sponge when it comes in contact with liquids, it'll suck it all dry so in order to compensate, you add an obnoxious amount of eggs and liquids to the batter and even then you're still left with somewhat of a doughy "batter." For example, this recipe, normally a muffin batter is somewhat runny not as runny as cake but less so than cookie dough, this looked like cookie dough when I was done. It was ONE cup of flour and twice the amount of liquid. 

I suppose it comes with some nutritional benefits that regular flour doesn't offer like extra fiber and lower in carbs and whatever you make will undoubtedly come with more protein from all the eggs you had to use. Try everything once right? I just wished my mom hadn't bought such a huge bag of it not knowing what it was...her English is very limited and she read "coconut" and thought it was like coconut milk powder or something and bought the Costco 4lb bag. At the rate of ONE cup at a time, I fear we may never see the end of it...

The loaf is very dense and still somewhat on the dry side but not so much that its not good. Minus all that, this still turned out rather well in terms of taste, not bad for my first go at playing with coconut flour. The blueberries were a bit lost in there so its may not be a bad idea to cook the blueberries with roughly 1/4 cup of sugar for just a tad before adding to the batter so that some of that natural blueberry flavor can come out. I might even consider adding a bit of lemon zest to it as well (a couple of changes for next time around...I do have 4lbs to work with!).

Coconut Blueberry Muffin Loaf
Recipe from Nutiva Coconut Flour

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp raw honey (I ran short of honey so I continued with 2 tbsp of corn syrup; maple syrup and agave might be other options as well)
  • 1 cup coconut milk ( I ran 1/4 cup short of coconut milk and add in 1/4 cup of soy milk)
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted (I didn't have any coconut oil around so I used mainly coconut butter and about 1 -2 tbsp of olive oil)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries 
  • 4 tbsp Chia seeds (optional
Procedures:
  1. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl or blender, whisk together honey, coconut milk, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla
  3. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients (mix in chia seeds at this stage)
  4. Fold in blueberries and pour batter into muffin or loaf tin.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes via muffin tins, approximately 30 minutes in a loaf pan at 350 F degrees or until the muffin/loaf begins to turn golden brown. Insert toothpick to test doneness, toothpick will come out clean.
  6. Sift a bit of powder sugar on top for garnish (optional)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Oven Baked Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

I have to say trying to keep the blog up to date lately have been such a back burner item than I want it to be...

Currently I drive nearly 100 miles a day to get to and from work and I've been doing this for over 2 years and this past year, especially during the busy season, its been quite cumbersome. My original thought was to live at home for a bit, also watch after my dad for a  little bit after his car accident (another story for another time) but now he's gotten so much better and back into a somewhat regular routine, I think its time I find myself a place to call my own and live closer to work so I don't have to commute so much. I've forgotten what it feels like to live close to work, I bet its going to be amazing!

Of course, before I can get all excited about having my own place, there's that dreaded awful process of trying to find a place. Applications, looking at different locations, talking to potential landlords, etc. It's been so fun!... I'm getting close to actually calling a place my own...soon enough. So anyways bare with me as I might semi-continue to neglect this blog a bit more. No fear though, I've been compiling a list of fun experiments I want to play with once I get settled in. Then I can make up for some lost time. :)

In the mean time here is another recipe I snagged online from that bottle of Nando's Peri-Peri sauce I bought from my adventures in a supermarket. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Nando's Peri Peri Chicken
(recipe from Nandos.com)

Ingredients:
  • 4 pieces of chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of Nando's Peri Peri sauce
  • 1 tbsp spice rub (optional, it'll give the chicken a much bolder taste)
Procedures:
  1. Marinate chicken with spice rub, brown sugar, 2 tbsp of Nando's peri peri sauce, and olive oil for at least 30 minutes or longer
  2. Bake chicken at 350F degrees for approx 30-40 minutes, glazing the chickens with a layer of sauce every 10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Creamy Peri Peri Chicken w/ Pasta

I know some people like to go to the grocery store, get whatever it is that they need and then haul a** out of there. I'm completely the opposite and quite frankly why I prefer to shop alone. I know its the supermarket and sounds completely silly, but I love to browse. See if there's any new or interesting fun ingredients the store decided to stock that I can play with. Its like creating my own version of the mystery ingredient of Iron Chef, except no prize money or trophies but a yummy meal/treat is nice too.


In one of my many browsing trips, I came upon this little gem, Nando's Peri Peri Sauce. I've never heard of Nando's before until I went to Europe (apparently they are also in Australia but I was not aware of that when I visited) but they are a somewhat famous chain restaurant and known for their Peri Peri sauce and roasted chicken dishes. Given this and also to bring a little bit of overseas closer to home, I decided it would be fun to buy a jar of this sauce and see what fun things I can make with it. Turns out most of the work was already done for me, they have an entire website full of recipes for you to try out. After glancing through, I settled on 2 (one to be posted later) since I had just enough sauce for 2 separate dishes. 

Creamy, a bit of tang, and just a slight kick to give your taste buds a jolt. 


Creamy Peri Peri Chicken w/Pasta
recipe adapted from Nando's Recipes

Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional. it helps bring out the flavors in the tomatoes and mellow out some of its acidity)
  • 500 g of chicken fillets, thinly sliced (I used chicken breast tenders, slightly cubed)
  • 1/4 cup Nando's Peri Peri Sauce (or you can Google Peri Peri sauce, there are some amazing recipes to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of cream (125ml)
  • 250 g oven roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe below)
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 g cooked pasta (approx 250 g of uncooked)
Procedures:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes in olive oil, sugar, garlic powder, and rosemary. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan, cook onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes
  3. Add in chicken and stir fry on high heat for 3-5 minutes
  4. Stir in peri peri sauce and white wine and simmer for 1 minute to reduce slightly
  5. Stir in cream and oven roasted tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Laddle over pasta and serve (or mix with pasta)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wanderings (eyes) - Hatchery Catch Up!

I'm sure some of you might be curious to see (or scoping out whether or not it's worth it) how my Hatchery subscription is doing.

A few months ago I was beginning to lose interest because a lot of the stuff I was getting was very local. However in the months that followed, I'm once again intrigued. 

And because I disappeared off the face of this planet for a little bit, here are the last 3 months' goodies (I have no idea what happened to the month of Sept...I might have forgotten to snap a few pics before digging in):

AUGUST:

  • Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed Oil (Acala Farms, Barneveld WI)
  • Classy Classic Spice Blend (Gourmegg, New York, NY)
  • Pineapple Gum Syrup (Liber & Co, Austin TX)
  • Fudge Sauce (Our Sundae Dates, Nashville TN)
  • Curry Ketchup (Red Duck Foods, Eugene OR)
  • Asian Bulgogi BBQ Sauce (Sweet Heat Gourmet, State College PA)

OCTOBER:

  • Charred Sriracha (Ft. Greene Farms, Brooklyn NY)
  • Peach Spread (Southern Okie, Edmond OK)
  • Lavender Extract (Meso Nutso, Coburg OR)
  • Nana Honey Peanut Butter (Reginald's Homemade, Rockville VA)
  • Roasted Garlic Pepper Seasoning (Greenpoint Trading Co, Brooklyn NY)
  • Peppercorn Horseradish Dip (Taste Weavers, Urbana OH)


NOVEMBER:

  • Original Burger Marinade (Charleston Gourmet Burger Co, Charleston SC)
  • Brown Sugar and Ginger Glaze (Saucey Sauce Co, Brooklyn NY)
  • Yellow Peach Mint Jam (Jam Lab, Fremont CA)
  • Garlic Dill Mustard Sauce (Mustard and Co, Seattle WA)
  • Nomad Spice Blend (Savour This Kitchen, Calabasas CA)
  • Rum Away with Me (Saucy Sisters, Vista CA)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Banana Maple Nut Bread (Muffin)!

Nothing like attending your high school reunion to make you feel old. Of course as the years go by, there's a number of clues that start to rear its ugly head anyways...

Here's a just a small list of helpful examples: 
  • Floppy disks - found some in my old desk drawer the other day... its unfortunate you can't even play frizzbee with them as they are square. 
  • VHS tapes - We have so many of these stored somewhere we can probably built a fort out of them. Oh the good times when someone watches a video and its the most annoying thing ever when they didn't rewind the tape so you get to sit there and wait while the tape gets rewound.
  • Tape Rewinders - I thought those were the most awesome machines ever known to man at the time! It rewinds your VHS tapes and it was separate from the VCR so you could watch something else while the tape rewinds
  • VCRs - I bet kids now don't know what theses are
  • Recorder players/CD players/Walkmans - the hippest things one could own for playing music... that wasn't even 10 years ago...poor things lost their titles so fast. 
  • Cell phones were just mobile phones you can carry around to make calls and certainly only a select few own these. As far as I can remember, my uncle had one of the first: that thing was as big as your shoe. Then I was introduced to my first cell phone the Nokia 3310, one model up from the original Nokia 6110... back in those days Snake was the most exciting thing you could do on it. Texting was definitely foreign... you can send messages like mini emails...what??!
  • Computers that weight a ton and had approximately 50MB of memory...I'm so glad its evolved. 
Crazy all how technology has changed and how its affected our very way of living. Seeing my old high school for the first time in the last ten years has really brought this realization full circle.

I remember having to write essays, homework, test taking all by hand but now everything is on the computer/online. Instead of having ancient chalkboards/white boards, they have this thing called 'Smart Boards' which basically serves as a large screened tablet. Move aside overhead projectors! Heck technology has made it so it was almost unnecessary to even have a 10 year reunion. Every moment is a reunion with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram around. You know exactly what old classmates are up with a click of a button (or a tap of the screen, that certainly wasn't around until recent years). 

Personally I only went because I wanted to walk the halls again. I actually enjoyed my high school years. Though not the most exciting years of my life, I've certainly made some lifelong friends there. I'm pretty sure I was one of the nerdy kids, college bound and on the fast track, we loaded ourselves up with honors and AP classes, club activities, and even the tennis team. Its funny looking back, even with all of that we managed to still have so much random time to do random projects. Did I mention I use to make plush dolls and knit scarves? Not just one, but loads. Just thinking about all that makes me tired, oh how I miss that energy.

While there's been number of renovations, some things never change... for example: my old high school chemistry class. Walked passed it and remembered it like it was yesterday! I could go on for a while longer making me feel even more old, so I'm going to stop.


Back to present time, I present you: banana maple nut bread! I just felt like banana bread and so I made some, life is good. It was delicious and I was content. I also learned an interesting fact about making banana breads/muffins, apparently you can mash as many bananas as you want into it. Well from reading a few other blogs, perhaps no more than 3-4 although one blogger went up to 6. Notes on that experiment was that it was very banana-y and dense. I'd imagine anything past that point, you might as well just eat the banana on its own.

Banana Maple Nut Bread
adapted from Better Homes Cookbook: Banana Muffin

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 4 tbsp maple flakes (or maple syrup is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt (optional: I have no tried this yet, should make this more moist)
For Streusel topping:
  •  3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Procedures:
  1. For streusel, mix all the ingredients together until it becomes crumbly, set aside
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, make a well in the center of the flour mixture, set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients (egg, milk, oil, mashed banana, ricotta/yogurt). Stir wet ingredients into the flour mix along with the chopped walnut and stir until just mixed. Batter should be lumpy. 
  4. Spoon mix into a loaf pan (since this recipe is originally meant for making muffins, muffin pans can be used as well). Top with streusel topping from earlier. Bake at 400 F degrees for 25-35 minutes. Insert toothpick into the loaf, baking is complete once the toothpick comes out clean. 
  5. Best served warm.