Saturday, October 29, 2011


I started this blog to write down recipes and interesting foodie things since it was a pretty common trend for everyone to want to be a food blogger, but I couldn't commit to doing that and doing a good job. I just realized that I hadn't been keeping up with it because with working full time and going to school, it's just not something I can fit into my schedule. Since I've also been busting ass to get to the top of the department and work has become one of my main focuses, I've decided to change up the direction of this blog from food to anything since I'll probably keep up with it more if it doesn't focus on one particular thing.

I suppose I don't have anything important to say right now. A few things that are running through my mind:
-It's snowing outside. It's October 30.
-In about an hour, I'm going to start working on a Chipotle Beef Chili, so it'll be ready when my guy gets home from work at around 3-4 hours (lots of time to simmer - whooppee!).
-There's nothing on TV.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Things I Do With Herbs

Sometimes, I have so many herbs and so little to do with them. Sure, I can lay them out and dry them and boom, I've got dried herbs to use for the next six months, but it's not quite as yummy as using the herb fresh in my honest opinion.

My absolute favorite herb is Cilantro. Nothing beats Cilantro and I love it with anything and everything. Two of my favorite things to do with Cilantro is either make a Cilantro mayo or a marinade. Some people have referred to my recipe as a sofrito, but I don't think it's quite that. Kind of close I guess. But anyway, I usually make these with Cilantro, but Parsley, even Dill would work well in these recipes. Just experiment with what you've got. Why not? If you don't like mayo, you can make your own herb aioli if you'd like, but in my eyes, aioli isn't all too different to mayonnaise.

When it comes to my Cilantro mayo, I make mine incredibly simple: equal parts of chopped Cilantro and mayo. If that's too much flavor for you, you can do a 2 to 1 or even 4 to 1 for a lightly flavored mayo. I personally LOVE Cilantro. I could eat it as is! So to me, the more the better. I usually chop my Cilantro into tiny bits so I get a nice bite every time. Yum!

As a marinade, it's easier to use a blender or food processor for this. I put in a bunch or so of Cilantro, 1 large onion or 2 small onions (you can add more if you want a heavy onion flavor), 5 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, and run the machine. I drizzle in about a quarter cup of olive oil and make sure everything is a soupy mess. This is an awesome marinade for anything and if you love Cilantro enough, you can use this, as is, as a sauce. Cooked and tossed with a bit of pasta? It's like a lighter version of a Cilantro pesto. Yum.

This is a great way to use up leftover fresh herbs. And if it doesn't work out? Hey, just go with the original idea and dry them to use later. :)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Braised Pork Bellies

I love braised pork bellies, but they are incredibly unhealthy so I try to make them only once a year. Unfortunately, when I do decide to make them, most recipes take hours to do. I don't like that. So I've simplified it and made this a recipe that shouldn't take more than half an hour before dinner's on the table. Okay. Lets do it.

- 2 pounds of cleaned pork bellies, sliced into quarter to half inch thick chunks
- 1 large onion or 2 small onions, sliced
- 5-6 cups of water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark, even regular granulated is fine, doesn't matter, but the brown gives a nice color)
- 1 tbsp salt
-1 tbsp pepper
-1 tbsp oil

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil gets hot, add the onions and saute. You're looking to caramelize the onions as we want to get as much sugar from the onion as we can. When the onions start to change color, push them to the side of the pan and add the pork bellies. Brown the pork bellies on each side until they become golden brown on each side and don't forget to occasionally stir the onions. Since they're on the side of the pan, they are still able to continue to brown, but slower since the pan is hot, but not quite as hot as in the middle.

Once the pork bellies are browned, stir the onions and pork bellies together. Add the salt, pepper, and brown sugar to the pan and stir so the onions and pork pick up the flavors. Now is when you want to add the water. Make sure the water just covers everything that's in the pan so you may need less or more than 5-6 cups of water, but just be sure that everything is covered with water. Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat to medium, letting the water bubble and reduce down about 60%. It should take about 15-2o minutes for the water to reduce that far, but keep the lid off and give the pot a stir every 4-5 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. When the liquid has become a thick sweet and sour gravy, make sure to taste and add more sugar/pepper/salt if you'd like. Besides that, you're done!

I suppose one downfall of this dish is the fact that you don't get whole pieces of pork belly, but this is one of those dishes that I like to serve over a mountain of white rice and it's easy just to snuggle up on the couch with just a spoon and be lazy. This, to me, is considered comfort food and is what I call "spoon and bowl food" where I don't need anything else but those two things. If you want to make it a bit nicer and less casual, some steamed veggies go great with it to cut the fattiness of the meat.

Another thing I also like to do is add chicken to this dish. Where I brown the pork, I also brown whole drumsticks or thighs (I like dark meat better) and whatever I do with the pork, I also do with the chicken. If using breasts, cut them in half so they aren't so big so they'll cook at the same time as the rest of your ingredients.


Portobello/Brie Quesadillas

I came up with this for lunch with all the leftovers that have been sitting in my fridge. I bought a huge chunk of brie a short while ago and realized that if I didn't do anything with it soon, it'd probably go bad so I came up with this. This is great for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike as it's a pretty hearty and substantial meal.

- 4 large portobello caps, sliced
- 4 8-inch tortillas (You can do 10-inch tortillas too if that's what you have)
- 1/2 cup sliced brie, about 8 thin slices
- 5 tsp oil

Heat up a medium nonstick skillet to medium heat and add a tsp of oil. When the pan is hot, add the portobello caps and saute for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan. Clean pan and brush pan with a tsp of oil. Once the pan is hot, add a tortilla and heat through, about one minute. Flip to the other side and add 2 slices of brie, breaking up the slices and dropping them all over one half of the tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the mushrooms, spreading them evenly over the cheese, covering only half of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over, let it sit for another minute for the cheese to melt and remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

You can definitely do this with two pans to quicken the pace and get dinner/lunch/midnight snack out all together if you'd like. If you don't have portobellos or brie, you can just as well do this with chicken or pork and shredded cheddar or mozzarella or pretty much anything else you'd like. The possibilities are endless. This is a good recipe to experiment with. I usually serve it with a fresh mound of pico on the side with a good scoop each of beans and rice and if you want, sour cream and guacamole.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spicy, Sauceless Chicken Wings

I'm really excited because I just came up with my newest chicken wings recipe. First of all, it's fried and has got a good kick and is all made in one bowl so this is what I came up with. This came from my love for Buffalo wings as well as the awesome double-frying idea of Korean fried chicken so this is what I came up with.

- 4 pounds chicken drummettes
- 1 cup (more or less) your favorite buffalo sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup corn starch
- 3 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp chili powder (more or less based on your taste)
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- Oil to fry

Clean, dry, and place all your drummettes into a large bowl. Pour the buffalo sauce over the chicken. You can put in less or more buffalo sauce based on your taste and how spicy or not spicy you want this to be. Alternatively, you can also just omit the buffalo sauce or use your 3/4 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce diluted with 1/4 of water. Just use your imagination. Your chicken will marinate and will give the wings and awesome sauceless kick. Just make sure all the chicken is well coated with the sauce.

After marinating for as long as you want (anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 days - just remember to refridgerate), add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil and mix very well. This is best done with your hands. When well mixed, you'll be left with a goopy, messy, clumpy mix. Don't forget to wash your hands after handling poultry! At this point, heat up your oil to about 375-400 degrees. Although the heat is a bit high, once the chicken is added, the heat of the oil will drop a bit. Fry the chicken in batches and remember not to crowd the pan with too much chicken. After about 3-5 minutes, the chicken is ready to be flipped. It should only take 1-2 minutes on the opposite. Take the chicken out of the oil and finish the rest of the chicken. Once all of the chicken has been fried, re-fry the chicken for another minute or two. After the chicken has had a chance to settle, re-frying them adds an extra layer of crispness.

Note: When it comes to frying, you have two choices. You can heat up a huge pot and do it deep-frying style or you can do what I did: a wide, shallow pan filled with an inch of oil. If you do the pan technique, you will need to flip the chicken, but if you deep fry it, you won't need to flip, obviously. In between batches, take the time to scoop out any tiny bits of the batter that has fallen into the oil to prevent burning. If you want, you can eat the chicken just the way it is or drown them in 1/4 cup of butter mixed with 1 cup of buffalo sauce. More butter for a more mild sauce and you can omit the butter for a crazy kick.


Friday, March 27, 2009

My first post

Wow, my first post. What to say, what to say? I wasn't planning on even starting a blog. I was looking at someone elses and it prompted me to create one and I suddenly decided that this would be a good idea because hey, of course people would love to hear all that I have to say...won't they?

Ah, guess I can talk about how I wanted a snack and quickly picked up some egg rolls and started munching when I realized we had baby bananas and it dawned onto me: dammit, I should have made a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Baby bananas are good for this kind of this because they're significantly sweeter than regular bananas. Luckily though, now I've got a great lunch idea for tomorrow!

And can I just say that Jimmy Fallon is so cute and I've thought that way back when he was still a nobody on SNL. His show just came on and rawr.

Anyhow, I've been having a crazy amount of back pain lately and I know it's from all of the physical work that I've been doing at the gym and with my move at work and I can't wait for everything to be OVER and done with.

My best friend's been on vacation for a couple days and he'll be back in a couple days, but not being able to talk to him every minute of the day like I normally do is blah. I'd rather not do it... Haha.

I'm just spewing out random thoughts and ideas that are coming to me one after the other. This post isn't really directed towards anything, but I'm sure at some point, I'll have a clear cut idea of things to write. For now though, it's about 12:45am on March 28 in Boston, MA, coincidentally my above mentioned best friend's birthday, and I seriously need some sleep as I have to get up and move some more stuff at work in the morning. Blah. Only plus about all this is the fact that my boss has been buying me lunch for the last couple days. That's pretty much it. Besides that, I'm praying for some free chiropractic care because my back is killing me.

Okay. I really need sleep. Good night, folks.