Friday, June 26, 2009

My New Best Friend Marlene's Healthy Green Enchiladas

Recently I hosted a little recipe swap. Over the course of 10 months, 10 of us worked our hungry way through the alphabet. Along the way some truly awesome recipes were shared, but none surprised me quite as much as Marlene's "Healthy Green Enchilada" recipe. It is, in a word, DIVINE. Light and fresh tasting, but extremely satisfying. We fought over the leftovers, I kid you not. Try it. Immediately, if not sooner. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Here's my version. It's not as pretty as hers was. She served her dish with limes sliced thinly laying on top of the enchiladas. So nice!

Great. Now I'm all hungry again, just looking at that picture.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If it sounds gross, change it.

Okay, so this past weekend on Giada's show, she made these sandwiches and none of them sounded all that fantastic. One of them was an egg salad sandwich, but she put gorgonzola in the egg salad. Along with chives. And while all of those things individually taste great, the concept of all of them being together didn't quite sell me. (Plus I couldn't stop thinking about how bad your breath would be after. Eeesh.)

Next she made a sandwich (ahem, PANEENO with an Italian accent) that really pissed Alison off (we texted about it at great length) because Giada went on and on about how her mom never baked her cookies but instead she made her this PANEENO with cheese, rosemary, jam, and brown sugar. You know what Giada? My mom made cookies, okay? Sometimes she even used store bought dough. So don't come at me with your gourmet sand- Errr... PANEENO and tell me that your mom never once made you cookies. I'm sure she just strolled you on down for freshly made Italian Gelato on the daily as well. Giada, I have nothing but love for you, but really. Sometimes I find myself saying things out loud like "Oh, spare me" when I watch your show.

Anyway... I thought the jam in the sandwich YEAH, I SAID SANDWICH reminded me of a Monte Cristo, which I normally love, except that they usually have vile ham on it... plus the whole batter and powdered sugar thing is a mess. I think the last time I had a Monte Cristo was at the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. Without ham, of course. I decided to make my own version, and it turned out so delicious, and it was so easy. I used my grill pan, too... since I don't have a Paneeno maker, And P.S. I thought it was Panini anyway? Her version was buttered/olive oiled bread, with fresh mozzarella, rosemary and raspberry jam. Eh... not so much with the rosemary. Ask Alison about the time she made something with rosemary and it took over her whole house. It's a funny story.

My version was buttered bread, with provolone and asiago cheese, then a few slices of oven roasted turkey and a spoonful of raspberry jam and the other slice of bread... Grill until crispy and serve with jam on the side a la the above photo. Giada and I do seemingly prefer the same brand of jam... I don't know what it is called but it's the one with the red and white gingham top that has some kind of French writing on it. What does that say Bonne Mama? Mamman? HEH? Incidentally, my other favorite jams are my friend Chucky's homemade strawberry jam and also the kind you can buy at Ikea. Unfortunately, they don't come around that often. But the mystery French Jam is great. It's like the French woman on Lost. Try the apricot, too.

To make a long story short, I have found that with most recipes, if it's gross, change it. You might end up making a new signature dish! This gets our top rating. 5 Stars for Ridiculous.

Click here for links:
Giada's My Mom Made this instead of cookies recipe

Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top Chef Masters: Week 1

Tonight was the premiere of Top Chef Masters. Who watched? What did you think? Do you want some Macaroni and Cheese like I want some Macaroni and Cheese?

Here are some of my random and (partially) incoherent thoughts.

  • How genius to take only 4 chefs at a time to compete against each other? This prevents any kind of personality overload, while still giving us the opportunity to get to know each chef. I did not expect these "Masters" to be so personable and funny. Just normal dudes, hanging out, sniffing pork. And with only 4 chefs preparing food, the dishes each got the attention they deserved.

  • So each week they'll be revisiting past Top Chef Quickfires, you say? GENIUS, I say. To see these renowned men practically get all teary eyed because they have to prepare a dessert? For Girl Scouts?! (And knowing that even I could school Michael Schlow in the dessert department is just wicked, by the way.) It doesn't get any better than that. Unless it's...

  • Cooking in someone's real live actual dorm room. Using a hot plate. Rinsing pasta in a shower. Genius.

  • The "critcs?" LOVE them. They're not too salty, not too sweet. Just right. And the scoring system? Have I used the word "genius" yet? Cuz it fits.

Bravo, I'm well on my way to forgiving you for The Fashion Show. I'm still holding a little grudge, but if this show doesn't make up for it, I don't know what could.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lemony Goodness.

Since she is my culinary hero and everything, I thought it was about time I included a review of an Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa recipe. Honestly, every one of her recipes I've tried has turned out amazing, just like she promises on her show. There's nothing worse than watching someone prepare a recipe or seeing photos of some yummy food, and then attempting it yourself and finding out that you would have been better off with a $1 hamburger from Wendy's or a bowl of cold cereal. So when I want to make something delicious, I turn to Ina. Consistency is so important, don't you think?

Here's just one example of her greatness, her fabulous Lemon Bars.

I don't have her team of handsome gents on hand to make my presentation look flawless, but you get the idea. Every once in a while I get a craving for something lemony and buttery and this is the perfect antidote. I cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8" x 8" pan, and it works just fine. Try it, you won't be disappointed.