Tuesday, February 14, 2012

~Date Night 2/15/12--Fiesta!~


We really like Fajitas.  Fajita salads, really.  I use this marinade and usually use chicken.

  • 2 skirt steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeƱo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
print a shopping list for this recipe view wine pairings


1. Cut the steak crosswise into 2 to 4 pieces and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over the steak, turning it to coat well. Marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator, turning once or twice. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Preheat the broiler. Remove the steak from the marinade, scrape off any bits and place on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat source for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Slice the meat thinly. (For easy eating, the steak strips should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.) To assemble fajitas, click here .

I make guacamole with fresh avocados, sour cream and fresh, store-bought salsa and a squeeze of citrus to retard the browning.  Frequently, I add extra garlic, jalapeno, and cumin.  Yummy!

For our cocktail hour, I will be making Margaritas!  Ole! I will serve quesadillas with them.

Dessert will likely be brownies (probably from a box; probably Ghiradelli).  I'll add some ground cinnamon and cayenne.  That's all you need to take your brownies "south of the border."  I'll top it with some fresh whipped cream.

So that should bring you up to speed on my cooking for the week.  Talk at you later!

Happy Cooking!

French Onion Soup

I see that I have already  linked you to this recipe (Tyler Florence, 11/7/11), but I made it again last week.  Mmmmm!  So yummy.

Rather than make you traipse through the webernet, I'll just post the recipe.  You just have to promise me that you'll try it


1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

I do have French Onion Soup bowls, but I tend to use the first method.  You see, we are lazy and like to eat our soup in front of the television and bowls right out of the oven are just too hot.

Chicken Piccata Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Josh and I were invited to a 25th anniversary soiree on Saturday.  I was asked to bring an appetizer and this is what I brought:


2 pound(s) fresh button mushrooms
6 tablespoon(s) butter
1/4 cup(s) minced green onion
1 tablespoon(s) minced capers
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) black pepper
1 cup(s) chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup(s) dry white wine
4 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup(s) panko (japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup(s) butter,melted
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 15 x 10 jelly-roll pan. Clean mushrooms, removing stems;set 
caps aside. Finely chop enough mushroom stems to equal 1/2 cup. In a large skillet, melt 6 
tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add mushroom stems, green onion, capers, thyme, salt 
and pepper;cook 5 minutes,stirring frequently, or until stems are tender. Stir in chicken and wine;
cook 5 minutes,or until wine has evaporated. Add cream cheese and panko,stirring until combined. 
Fill mushroom caps evenly with the chicken mixture. Place in pan,and brush each with melted butter. 
Bake 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
Notes:Mushroom caps may be filled 2 days before baking. Cover with plastic wrap and r
efrigerate until ready to bake.
This is a Paula Deen recipe.  Not knowing what the rest of the menu contained, but having heard
that the host does things very extravagantly, I didn't want my appetizer to be too heavy.  (It turns 
out another sister did the bulk of the cooking.) I eliminated the chicken.  I've made it that way in 
the past.  Yummy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Date Night--2/8/12

I was all ready to make Cornish Game Hens for dinner.  I'd found, not one, but two recipes I was going to blend into a very yummy dinner.  Mariano's was out of the fresh CGH.

Strike 1.

I'd found what I thought was going to be a yummy orzo pilaf.  It turned out to be extremely bland.

Strike 2.

I went to the market with no appetizer or dessert plan.  This could have been strike three, but this next anecdote explains why my appetizer turned this into a game winning play.

This is one of the reasons I am so in love with Mariano's--all the other shoppers are so friendly!  I was fighting with a produce bag and carrot fronds, when I overheard a lady say to her companion (turns out it was her mom), "If I come to your house, will you teach me how you do your artichokes?"  I immediately add my own request to come to her house and learn how to "do her artichokes."  She proceeds to tell me exactly how to do it.  I'll shall do my best to share her methodology with you.

1.  cut the stem and the very top off the artichoke; remove any tough leaves from the stem end
2.  soak in lemon water (that's just water with some lemon juice in it), the length of the soaking was unspecified...I let it soak until I had step three ready
3.  mix bread crumbs and grated parm together, I added one minced garlic clove and a little EVOO
4.  put artichoke into a sauce pan and fill with water to reach about halfway up the artichoke
5.  press breadcrumb mixture on and into the leaves at the top (I had some of this mixture leftover and I added it when it was done cooking)
6.  bring water up to a boil and reduce to simmer.  The nice Italian mother (did I mention she was Italian?  She was.) said to simmer it for "every bit of 40 minutes."  I think mine simmered for closer to an hour and it probably needed a little longer.  You know it's done when you can put a knife all the way into the choke without resistance.

To eat, you just pull the leaves off with the yummy breadcrumb topping and scrape the leaves between you teeth.  The eating with your hands made it a little sensual and thus an excellent "date night" appetizer.