Tuesday, April 25, 2006
This dish was inspired by Valenciana Paella minus certain ingredients and the paella pan. It was thrown together very quickly with the ingredients I had in the pantry. If I had mussels, seafood, rabbit, chorizo, and a few other items I would have made paella. But paella for one or even two is a sad dish to make so I usually settle for a very simplified version of this yummy spanish dish.
- chicken breast
- shrimp shell and chicken bone stock
- brown basmati rice
- parsley flakes
Monday, April 24, 2006
I noticed that many people end up at my blog because they google "macho salad." I originally posted a recipe that I found. I didn't make any changes even though I noticed that it was missing a few items. I eat this salad all the time and have made it on several occasions. I can see the restaurant from my office window.
I made a few changes to the recipe. The first is changing the cider vinegar to champagne vinegar. I talked to one of the waiters and tried to get the recipe out of him. He only revealed that they used a champagne vinaigrette for the dressing.
The original recipe called for salad greens. The restaurant uses a mix of different baby lettuces including frisee. It also called for croutons but did not specify what kind of croutons. I know for a fact that they make their own croutons using leftover cornbread that they serve in the restaurant. They also use leftover rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken is one of the entree options. The salad ingredients also changes from time to time. I listed the usual stuff I find in my salad bowl.
The Hillstone Restaurant Group opened a Houston's in Cherry Creek. I ate there for the very first time a few weeks ago. The menu is definitely different from the Cherry Creek Grill but still very good.
Sunday was lunch at the Cherry Creek Grill with Chris. I ordered the macho salad like I usually do. The salad was a little different this time. The dates were missing and the tomatoes were sliced instead of the usual grape tomatoes. It was still good. The cornbread was also delicious. I found the below recipe under Fairway Grill's Macho Salad. The recipe seems pretty close. I think I shall attempt to make it this week. The Cherry Creek Grill is part of the Hillstone reataurant group. It operates under Houston's, Bandera, Palm Beach Grill...depending on what city you are in.
This recipe makes a lot of dressing! Halve or quarter it. Trust me.
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup fresh garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 quart + 1 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients except oil in a bowl. Whisk in oil to emulsify by hand. Keep Chilled.
5-6 cornbread croutons
3 cups baby lettuces
1/2 cup rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
8 medjool dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup avocado, diced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, raw
1/2 cup almonds, roasted and chopped
green onions, sliced (I always request the salad without the onions.)
dressing (recipe above)
Toss everything together.
From left to right:
Charles Cimicky "Trump" '04 Barossa Valley, Australia
Round and juicy, not as dense as most Barossa Shiraz, but showing lots of ripe cherry and peppery spice notes. Tannins are soft.
Qupe, '04 Central Coast, California
A Firm, taut wine, with an earthy clay flavor at the core, with meat, beef and just-ripe berry flavors
Forefathers '04 McLaren Vale, Australia
Dense, but it seems to get more transparent with each sip. It has pepper and licorice overtones to the dark berry and cherry flavors, lingering enticingly as the finish starts to float.
We decided to go try out the new wine bar in Larimer Square after work on Friday. I highly recommend the place for the wine. The food was good but the portions were tiny for the price. Lisa and I split a few items. Lisa paid for my wine and the calamari, pizza, and the mussels we shared. I don't know why she did. it was too expensive for her to pay for the entire outing.
All three glasses in front of me were for me. It was part of the Sexy Shiraz wine flight. The one on the left was the yummiest. I have to go get myself a bottle of it.
I was a little nervous about venturing downtown right before a Rockies game. (I no longer live downtown so it is so damn inconvenient to drive downtown.) I found a spot right next to the Cheesecake Factory. It was only a few blocks from Larimer Square. I love Larimer Square. The few places that I have eaten at have all been excellent. When I got to the bar, Lisa and I were the only ones there so we grabbed a small table. A few minutes later Nicole arrived and said Oz and her husband were on their way. We asked the server to move us to a bigger table. Aaron showed up a few minutes later and then Karen showed up. We had to pull up an extra chair. I stayed until about 8:00. I ran across the street to the Market and grabbed two slices of the Spring Fling cake. I smiled at the guy. He gave me extra large slices of the cake. I took a slice over to Chris for his birthday. He agreed. It is the best cake in the world.
Friday, April 21, 2006
This is an aboslutely gorgeous salad. I injured myself with the mandarin orange can as I was rushing to get this done before kickball last night. The chicken breast was marinated in salt, pepper, olive oil, and carne adobado seasoning. I grilled it in the george foreman beforehand. The greens are a mix of spinach and pre-packaged romaine hearts with red cabbage and carrots. I topped it off with sliced mushrooms, toasted almonds, strawberries, and mandarin oranges.
The star of the salad is the dressing. It is a sesame dressing that was inspired by a recipe I got from Frank's old roommate Steve who got it from a chef friend. The recipe was written on the inside cover of a cookbook. I got this recipe years ago and unfortunately it was misplaced in the many many moves so I came up with something very similar.
- sesame oil (i used to toast the oil first but in a rush so didn;t do it this time)
- balsamic vinegar (i used to reduce the vinegar until it got all syrupy but not this time)
- sugar free apricot preserves
- sesame seeds
- ground ginger
- seasone rice wine vinegar
- olive oil
- garlic (didn't feel like chopping garlic)
- brown mustard (couldn't find it so i left it out)
This was an impromptu dinner on Tuesday night. I was hungry and Gilmore Girls was starting in an hour so I whipped up some pasta. I had ground turkey and cooked cubed chicken breast so it all went into the sauce. I opened up a bottle of pinot noir and added it and drank the rest with dinner. The whole wheat pasta didn't tast bad but I noticed that they broke easily. I ended up with many short strands.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Chicken Marsala. The picture was taken after I already started eating.
Closer shot of the chicken marsala. I am a big fan of perfect grill marks.
I snapped a shot of the food before eating it. Somehow the chicken marsala tasted like it had a little soy sauce in it. All in all the food was yummy. I didn't eat any of the steak. I heard the chicken marsala was superior. It was tender and juicy even thought it was made with white meat. Pictures on Monday since I left the camera cord attached to my work computer.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I was invited to have Passover dinner last night. I was asked to bring kosher wine. I went to the liquor store and as I stood there I thought there was a mistake. She did not mean kosher passover wine. She cannot because the stuff was about $4 a bottle. I called Lisa and talked to her husband Aaron. He told me that yes kosher wine is cheap and disgustingly sweet but it is ritual so I can buy a regular bottle of wine and another bottle of drinkable wine. I grabbed the Manischewitz and a bottle of sauvignon blanc.
Dinner was awesome. It was a four and a half hour long production.
From 6:00-7:00 - was appetizers. Aaron told the story behind the food we ate. Julie had gefilte fish, charote, hardboiled eggs, matzo, and bitter herbs with salt water.
7:00-9:00 - Dinner consisted of brisket, chicken, some kind of mushroom dish with matzo, matzo ball soup, delicious kugel that reminded me of quiche, and salad.
9:00 -10:30 - Dessert
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I've never been a fan of dark chocolate until very recently. Now I love it. Above is a picture of ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder that I use to make yummy chocolate desserts, a 70% cocoa bar from Lindt, and an assortment of chocolates that Lisa brought back from Switzerland. I think it is time to make brownies.
Chicken Red Curry:
Pad Thai first batch:
Pad Thai second batch:
Purple Rice Pudding:
I invited a few people over for dinner on Sunday night. I only took a few pictures of the amazing meal. By the time I remembered the digital camera on the coffee table we were already rinsing the dishes for the dishwasher. I made shrimp & tofu pad thai, chicken red curry, shrimp & chicken tom yum soup, salad with thai peanut dressing, and my mom's purple rice pudding with taro.
I've posted the pad thai, tom yum, and a version of my red curry before. For the dressing it was my ex boyfriend's mom's recipe. It tastes wonderful and I am not kidding about the ingredients. I tweaked her recipe a bit but it still preserves the integrity of her recipe.
Thai Peanut Dressing
1 clove garlic
3 T Peanut Butter
Bottle of Italian Dressing (I'm not kidding!)
yolks from the hard boiled eggs used for the salad
msg (I am asian. I am not afraid of msg)
Saute the garlic in a little oil. Add the peanut butter and italian dressing. Crumble the egg yolks and add the mixture. Add salt & pepper to taste. That is it. Don's mom used to put everything into a blender. I just cook it all together since I have to saute the garlic.
Mom's Purple Rice Pudding
1/2 cup Thai black/purple rice
Taro root, cubed
1 can coconut milk
Rinse rice. Bring rice and water to a boil. Simmer until rice is almost tender. Add taro root. When taro root is cooked through add remaining ingredients. Serve warm or cold.
I sometimes like it warm. My friend Stephanie prefers it cold.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
The two are not ideal pairings but I bought some plantains over the weekend and I do not want them to go bad so they will turn into either tostones or fufu tonight. I am still debating on the chicken on whether to do engagement chicken or a roast chicken with a jerk rub. Not enough veggies so I will probably add a nice salad.
1 whole chicken (approx. 3 lb.)
2 medium lemons
Fresh lemon juice (1/2 cup)
Kosher or sea salt
Ground black pepper
Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Wash chicken inside and out with cold water, remove the giblets, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes). Pat dry with paper towels. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside). Season with salt and pepper. Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. (Tip: If lemons are hard, roll on countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.) Place the bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up (use wooden spoons!); return it to oven for 35 minutes more. Test for doneness—a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180 degrees, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork. Continue baking if necessary. Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving. Serve with juices.
disclaimer: I am not from latin american so I do my own version of tostones. There are several sites that explain this process a lot better than I do. True tostones fans will insist on using only green plantains for this but for me I like them a little ripe.
Heat oil. Slice plantains on a bias. Fry until golden. (Sometimes I stop at this point, salt them, and eat.) Drain on paper towels. Smash the fried plantain slices with pan, water glass, rolling pin, your palm or whatever you have handy. Fry them a second time. Salt immediately.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Turkey Chicken Sausage
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich & Fruit Salad
Turkey & Chicken Breakfast Sausage
1 lb ground chicken breast
1 lb ground turkey
2 t rubbed sage
sugar free maple flavored syrup
I mixed all the ingredients together and formed into patties. I pan-fried and then finished off in the oven. I also made more banana bran muffins at lisa's request. Also made whole wheat bread crumbs for the salmon cakes I am planning on making later this week.