Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quick Chicken Salad

"Hey, honey, I'm coming home for lunch. Do we have anything to eat?"

I looked at the chicken salad I'd just made five minutes ago. "Yeah. I think you'll be fine."

Served over spinach and basil leaves, this was the perfect light lunch (especially with my bruschetta on the side). Use whatever spices you have handy and will taste good with chicken. Oh, and he cleaned his plate; you may want to double this recipe just to be safe. It tastes even better the next day.

Chicken Salad

1 cup chicken, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp garlic flakes
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

2 slices of bacon, browned and crumbled

Mix all the ingredients together in a container except bacon (chicken should be coated with mayonnaise, but not swimming in it). Add more seasonings to taste. Serve immediately, topped with bacon, or refrigerate for a day. Serves two diet minded people or one very hungry spouse.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 Most Useful Kitchen Implements

After The Big Wedding (tm), I went on a shopping spree with the gift cards I was so generously given by friends and family. ( I LOVE shopping with other people's money.) I was thrilled to finally have a chance to buy the things I'd been drooling over for months. So in the spirit of kitchen cameraderie, I give you...

10 Most Useful Kitchen Implements

  1. Tongs, one long, one short. Because trying to flip over fried foods with your fingers and a fork is ALL BAD.
  2.   Food processor. Ever tried shredding a block of Parmesan by hand? Trust me, you don't want to. And that stuff in the green container can be nasty.
  3. Microplane. You'll wonder how you got zest off a lemon without it. Nuff said.
  4. Sharp chef's knife It's big enough to cut up a chicken, and sharp enough to do it in seconds. Believe it or not, you're more likely to hurt yourself with a DULL knife than with a sharp one, because you're pressing harder.
  5. Dishwasher. Read the directions, load it correctly, and multitasking will get a whole lot simpler.Or just make your spouse/roomie/child do 'em.
  6. Sturdy cutting board. Get a wooden one for veggies, plastic for meat. Whichever you use, make sure it's thick and fairly heavy. Your cutting board should not resemble your pet's place mat.
  7. Upright mixer. You can beat everything from eggs to batter, and it beats the heck out of a fork (sorry, bad pun)
  8. Spatulas. Sometimes you just need to get the last 1/2 cup of batter out of a bowl. Get the good ones without the wooden stick handle, they won't fall apart.
  9. Vertical chicken roaster. This allows the fat to drain off the chicken into the bottom of the pan. the chicken skin gets crispier, the chicken cooks faster, and you can put vegetables around the base before it roasts. Mmmm, potatoes and onions a la schmaltz...)
  10. Storage containers. Whether you buy Tupperware or recycle yogurt tubs, you should have a place to put your leftovers. And taking them to work the next day saves you money and time! Cha ching!
  11. Lemme know what your favorites are!

Coconut Rum and Tea...I mean Coke

I met up with my friend at a local coffee shop earlier this evening to do some writing (OK, blogging). I forgot, however, that there are negative consequences to drinking coffee at nine at night. So after cleaning the kitchen and washing, putting away and starting a new load of dishes, as well as fixing the broken spice rack, I decided I needed some additional help to get to sleep. So I experimented with what we had left in the house.

Apparently, rum and cinnamon spiced tea was a really crappy combination. So I went with a classic, with a slight alteration.

Coconut Rum and Coke

2 ounces coconut rum
2 ounces Coke (Coke Zero, in this case)

Pour ingredients into a glass. Mix, and drink. Serves one hyperactive blogger.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Basil and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

A dear friend invited me over to hang out for a while, and his wife (an absolutely FABULOUS woman) made dinner. Among other things, she made another "refrigerator velcro" dish--quesadillas. "I love basil," she said as she put the plate down. "We always run out." As you can see, I wasn't sure if she was talking about the basil or the quesadillas. After I tasted her version, I had to go and make one of my own.

Basil and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

1/4 cup goat cheese
4-6 Italian basil leaves
4 corn tortillas

Warm a tortilla in a pan until slightly crunchy on one side. Remove it and spread the goat cheese onto the tortilla. Add half the basil leaves, and spread more goat cheese on another tortilla. Put the two tortillas together and toast the uncooked side. Repeat with the other two tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve. Serves two as a dinner or four good friends as a snack.

Monday, August 23, 2010

American Style Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki was created in Japan. It's basically a Japanese pancake consisting of a basic batter with various meats and vegetables added, and traditionally served with mayonnaise and oko sauce. It is, as Alton Brown would say, "refrigerator velcro" since you can use just about anything in it. I used cabbage, bacon and chicken in mine, but I purposely made this recipe non specific to encourage you to use your own ingredients. Most of the toppings, in particular, can be found at your local Asian section, or better, a local Asian store.

My version of oko isn't standard; it's a basic pancake mix with fillings. A more traditional one can be found here. There are two schools of thought concerning the making of oko--you can either mix the vegetables and batter up in a bowl and then pour it on top of the meat, or you can pour the batter on top of the meat and then add the veggies--but either way, it's quick and delicious, especially if you have everything cut up beforehand.

Shavon's American Style Okonomiyaki

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk

1-2 cups total chopped veggies
1-2 cups total chopped meats

Okonomiyaki sauce (a recipe can be found in the link above)
Bonito flakes
Hoisin sauce

Combine batter ingredients, using enough milk to bring the batter to a runny consistency. Put 1/4 cup meats in nonstick pan on medium heat. Place 1/4 cup vegetables in a separate bowl and add 1/2 cup batter, mixing until ingredients are covered in batter. Pour over meats and let cook for 3-4 minutes (or until meats are done--if using cooked meat, till batter is set. Flip oko over and cook the other side. Serve with bonito flakes, oko sauce, hoisin sauce and/or mayonnaise. Serves four.

New Home For My Blog

Hey folks! I've decided to move my blog over to You'll get a chance to see a few changes around here, such as favorite fellow blogs, links to foodie websites, photos of my recipes, and so on. You can still follow me on Twitter (foodrinkandlife) and I have an active RSS feed too. If anyone has any other suggestions to make this blog better, I'm all ears. In the meantime, enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beef Short Rib and Barley Stew

When I went grocery shopping the other day, I stumbled across some beef short ribs. I immediately called my mom, the Beef Short Rib Queen, to ask for advice. She gave me a simple recipe:"Brown them, add some onions, and then add water. Cook them till they're done." OK, not very specific. But I managed to figure it out on my own.

Beef Short Rib and Barley Stew

1 package beef short ribs

1/2 red onion, sliced

Water to cover

1 cup barley

2 tablespoons thyme

2 tablespoons salt, pepper

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup oil

Brown the short ribs in a large pot. Add the onion and brown. Add water to cover, then add the barley. Includehalf the spices and cook over medium heat until the meat falls off the bone (about an hour or so). Heat oil in a separate pan. When hot, add the flour and cook, stirring, until it becomes a paste. Add the other half of the spices and stir those in. Pour the paste into the rib pot and stir to thicken. If you need more seasoning, add it now. Serves four or five people.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Elvis Special, modified

A friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook entry regarding a frozen banana recipe. Seems when they're frozen and blended with other ingredients (not alcohol, no daquiris here), they match the consistency of soft serve ice cream. The original recipe called for bananas, peanut butter, and honey--the Elvis special--but I added cocoa powder to mine. I call it...

The James Brown Special (HAY!)

2 frozen bananas

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender or food processor. Blend till consistency is smooth. Serve, or freeze for later. Serves roughly three.