Best Way To Cook Corn on the Cob

I know summer is almost over, but there is still time to enjoy delicious, fresh corn. Corn on the Cob is one of my favorite summer treats, however I never really knew the best method of cooking it until last week. I did a Google search and found the best method for cooking corn on the cob ever from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I have often been disappointed by different methods of cooking this "easy" dish, but this one made the perfect corn on the cob, not once but twice! Every family has their own way of doing this, but from now on this is the Sean & Joey way! Enjoy!!!

Instructions

Just before cooking, husk the corn, pull off the silky threads, and cut out any blemishes with a pointed knife. Drop the corn into a large pot filled with boiling salted water. Cover the pot and let the water return to a boil again, then turn off the heat and keep the pot covered. After about 5 minutes, remove enough ears for a first serving. You can keep the remaining corn warm in the water for another 10 minutes without its becoming tough. Serve with lots of butter and salt.



Delicious Library












H
ow many times have you ordered a cookbook on Amazon only to get home to find you already have it? If you are like me, more than I care to remember. I didn't even know how many cookbooks I really had. That is until today! I found an amazing way not only to organize your cookbooks but your entire library of books, CDs, movies and much much more! Delicious Library.

This is an amazing tool is so many ways. Delicious Library allows you to scan the bar codes of your books, cds and movies using your built-in iSight camera. (Sorry, folks Mac only.) Once scanned it pulls all the cover art and information about your library right into the application! I scanned my entire cookbook collection today in about 30 minutes! Amazing! What's more you can publish your collection using your MobileMe account! You can check out the start of my library right here. This is just a start of what this amazing program can do! Honestly, this is probably the smartest piece of software I have bought in years! If you have a Mac (and you really should. PCs are so 90s!) check out this software and download the trial. You will be hooked!

Blueberry Peacan Crumble

One must really take advantage of the fresh fruit that's in season during the summer. Now Max, Joey and I LOVE blueberries. (Well, Max likes his one at a time, so I guess we should say, "Max loves a blueberry." See the video below.) Blueberries are truly at their best during the summer and they are much cheaper than other times of the year!

I have tried so many crisp and crumble recipes and always failed. I finally found one courtesy of one of my favorite Food Network stars, Dave Lieberman. Let me tell you, Dave makes some awesome desserts. This is one of my new favorites. It's just delicious. Heat it up and serve with vanilla ice cream or fat free whipped topping!

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 4 ounces pecan pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A couple pinches salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butte,r cut into small pieces
For the berries:
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the topping: Put all topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your hands until mixture sticks together in small clumps.
  3. Pour the blueberries into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the berries, sprinkle the sugar and flour over them and toss until the berries are coated with sugar.
  4. Scatter the topping over the berries in an even layer. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the berry juice is bubbling up through the topping, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Now for a special treat, here is a video of Max's first blueberry.


Zucchini Bread


My friends Tom and John have this amazing garden in Sonoma. The other day Tom came into work with a zucchini for me that was the biggest zucchini I have ever seen. If you worked with us you can imagine the jokes about it. :-)

Since I didn't know what to do with this thing the obvious choice was Zucchini Bread. I searched my cookbooks and couldn't find anything that inspired me so I turned to the net. I found this recipe on Recipezaar, one of my very favorite cooking sites. It was submitted by MizzNezz. I made four loaves today and they are amazing! Just thought I would share it with you!

The bread has this crunchy top that I think is from the orange juice and the apple sauce. It's moist, not too sweet and very flavorful. This certainly deserves one big, YUMMO!!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Beat until well blended.
  4. Add zucchini, applesauce and orange juice; stir well.
  5. Combine flour with next 5 ingredients.
  6. Add to zucchini mixture; stir well.
  7. Add nuts; stir gently to combine.
  8. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9in loaf pans.
  9. Bake for 60-70 minutes; till toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in pans 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from pans and let cool completely.

Crock Pot Chicken, Gravy and Stuffing

Oh, comfort food. You've gotta love it! There are just times you want to put something yummy and familiar in your mouth. Yes, that sounds all sorts of naughty, but when you eat comfort food, don't you kind of feel that way? Naughty! You know this isn't the healthiest thing to do, but when you want it you want it.

I was looking for an easy crockpot recipe for Sunday. We are having brunch and I knew I wouldn't want to cook later in the day. I knew a crockpot meal was the key to us having dinner that night and having lunches for the week. Since we are going back on Weight Watchers I thought we could just splurge and have this meal one last time.

This is a super easy recipe. Honestly, just mix up the soups and the milk and throw it over the chicken and cheese. On top for that throw in the stuffin mix and chicken broth. Now, I pretended to make this more figure friendly by using low-fat soups and low-fat cheese. In my mind that worked and it tasted great, but it was kind of like ordering a burrito supreme with extra cheese and a diet coke.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4-6 slices swiss cheese
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing
  • 1/2 cup butter, Melted
Instructions
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour Chicken broth over breasts.
  2. Put one slice of Swiss cheese on each breast. Combine both cans of soup and milk.
  3. Cover chicken breasts with soup mixture. Sprinkle stuffing mix over all.
  4. Drizzle melted butter on top.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Pie Pudding

One of my main tasks this week was to clean out my pantry. (It's really just my big cupboard, but pantry sounds fancier.) My goal is to clean this out and use some of those canned goods that are just taking up space. I had all the fixins to make several pumpkin pies, but was just not motivated to make pie. Not that it's hard, but it's just messy and takes time. While I was cruising Recipzaar I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Pudding and thought I would give it a go. This was one easy recipe and it turned out super yummy! It really is just pumpkin pie without the crust, but a bit creamier. It was so easy I will definitely make it again. To make it a bit more figure friendly I used non-fat evaporated milk. A lot of members on Recipezaar also made it with Spenda, but that's going too far for me. I made a double batch and cooked it for seven hours. YUMMO!

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (melted)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • whipped topping (optional)
Instructions
  • In a large bowl mix together the first eight ingredients.
  • Transfer to crock pot coated with Pam.
  • Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours.
  • Serve in bowls with whip cream, if desired.

I'm Back & I Bring My Favorite Cooking Site - Recipezaar.com

It's been a long time since my last post. What oh what have I been doing? Well, all sorts of things that I may reveal, but the main thing tonight is that I want to talk about my favorite "go-to" site for recipes. I have tried them all - Epicurious.com, Cooking.com, but there is one that I always go back to and that is Repicezaar.com.

I have become a loyal fan of this site. When I want a specific recipe this is the place I go. I will tell you why. I want to make enchiladas - I get 334 recipes. I not only get those recipes, I get ratings for each recipe I get valuable comments from Recipezaar members on not only if they liked or didn't like the recipe but on how they modified it to make it ever better. I get a little cooking lesson by just cruising the site! Now doing get me wrong, there is a horn o' plenty of uber-fatty comfort food here, but you know what? I like that sometimes! I like it that when I am in the mood to make macaroni salad, (which honesty is never figure friendly), I get over 250 recipes to choose from. Plus, once again, I get all those great comment from the members.

But wait, there's more!!! For free you can save your favorites to your own cook book! Yes, save them and go back later to retrieve them! As a paid member, which is super cheap, you can keep multiple cookbooks to save your recipes. I have several right now including slow-cooker, desserts, diabetic (for when Aurora acknowledges me), dessert and many more!

Check Recipezaar out. I honestly love this site. In fact I am making a slow-cooker dessert at this moment and if it turns out well you will see it here next week!

Guacamole

Being from California we grew up with avocados. Guacamole is a staple of any party and goes just right with my Cinco de Mayo theme. This is a fairly straight-forward recipe. What I really like about it is that the lime juice really keeps the guacamole from turning brown. I totally forgot to put the cilantro in last time, so if you don't like cilantro just leave it out.

Ingredients

  • 6 ripe avocados
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed then minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, cut into rounds
  • 1 big handful fresh cilantro with stems, about 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Halve and pit the avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados using either a fork or potato masher, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together. Drizzle with a little olive oil, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and give it 1 final mix with a fork.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap tight on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Easy Spanish Rice

I have not always been a huge fan of Spanish Rice, but this recipe is delicious. It goes perfectly with the enchiladas below.

I use canned diced green chilies rather than bell pepper. They just seem to add a better flavor the the entire dish.

This takes a bit longer than you would think. Browning the rice beforehand always takes me about 20 minutes. It's well worth the wait, though.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I like onions so I used a large one)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped (or 1 small can diced green chilies)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add rice and onion and cook (about 5-10 minutes) stirring occasionally, until rice is golden brown and onion is tender.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender.
Serves 6 - 8


Garlic Beef Enchiladas

¡Hola amigos! Today is Cinco de Mayo! Growing up in Southern California this was a big day for us. I remember doing the Mexican Hat Dance every May and always having to dance with Graciela Rodriquez because she was really tall and would beat me up if I didn't. (In all honestly, I really wanted to dance with Abel Garcia, but that wasn't an option in 5th grade.)

Along with the dancing we always had the most amazing Mexican food. One of my favorites is enchiladas. This recipe is my tried and true favorite. Now, take note! This is no quick and easy meal. Enchiladas take a long time to make, but for me, this recipe is worth it.

The recipe originally calls for flour tortillas, which are easier and more figure friendly. However, I use corn tortillas, which I lightly fry to make them softer. It takes more time, but the result is outstanding. In any case, enchiladas will never be figure friendly and if you spend that much time making something why not just go for it! Cut your serving size back and you will be just fine.

Ingredients


  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

Sauce

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 10 large flour tortillas (or twelve lightly fried corn tortillas)
  • 2 (8 ounce) cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese

Instructions
  1. In saucepan, cook beef or turkey and onion until browned; drain. Add flour and seasonings.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  5. In another saucepan, saute garlic in butter.
  6. Stir in flour until blended.
  7. Gradually stir in broth and bring to boil.
  8. Cook and stir for 2 minutes until bubbly.
  9. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings and heat through.
  10. Pour 1 1/2 cup sauce in 13x9 inch pan.
  11. Spread about 1/4 cup beef mixture down center of tortilla and top with 1-2 Tbsp cheese.
  12. Roll up tightly and place seam side-down over sauce in pan.
  13. Repeat with remaining tortillas and top all with remaining sauce.
  14. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes until cheese melts.
8 - 10 servings



Easy Angel Food Cake with Berries

Joey and I are in a conundrum, we are trying to slim down for our cruise in August, but we both have horrible sweet tooths. (teeth? - whatever!) Honestly, a meal isn't a meal without dessert, but I can only have so many Skinny Cow icre cream sandwiches no matter how tasty they are.

This recipe is great on so many levels. It's simple, low in calories and just plain delicious! Angel Food cake has virtually no fat, so this is perfect for anyone.

Now is the time for fresh berries. We make this with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries - sometimes all at once. The key is the frozen strawberries. They already have the juices going. We have tried them with real sugar and artificially sweetened to even lower the calories. The real sugar makes a better sauce, but the other was just as good. We usually use two packages of strawberries and then a pint each of whatever other berries are in season. Mix it up and have fun!!! You can also use fresh strawberries, slice them and put sugar on them for about a half hour or so. Also, non-fat topping is delicious so count those calories and go with that!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries with sugar, defrosted
  • 1/2 pint black berries, raspberries, or blueberries
  • 1 store bought angel food cake
  • Non-fat or light whipped topping
Instructions

Mix frozen strawberries that have been defrosted with fresh berries. Cut cake into thick slices. Top sliced cake with juicy berry mixture and whipped topping.



Braised Cabbage

My friend, Tom, hates cabbage. Apparently he has some unique college roommate experience that has turned him off it for life. Well, I bet you think I will tell you, "Oh my God, he made this cabbage and he can't get enough!" Well, no, this is more of a challenge to him.

This really is the best cabbage I have ever had. The vinegar must really make a difference. Also, don't cook it too long. I was never a cabbage fan, either, but after this I have changed my mind. (By the way, this goes with the Ultimate Pork Roast. Thanks, Tyler!!!!)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, such as cider, white wine or even sherry
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage, quartered, cored, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions

Bring a big pot of water to a boil over high heat adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of salt to make the water taste like the sea. Add the vinegar, and then the cabbage and boil over high heat until the cabbage is wilted (don't overcook it - it should still have tooth), 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then toss in a bowl with the butter, oil, the parsley, chives, and salt and pepper, to taste.



Roast Loin of Pork with Baked Apples and Cider Gravy

This is the first Tyler's Ultimate meal I ever made. OMG, it really was the ultimate. I have made it twice once with no bones and once with bones. I have to say I prefer it with no bones. I know they say bones make the meat more tender, but as you know, Joey and I eat our leftovers at lunch and to me the bones are a pain in the bootie. I didn't think it was much more tender, either. On top of that, we paid a lot more to have our butcher custom cut the bone-in cuts for us. Just get a Pork loin and follow the directions. I ensure you this will but one ultimate meal for you! On the apple front, one thing I have noticed is that a lot of Food Network people tell you to get your corn muffins at the store. Okay, what store? I have yet to see a corn muffin on sale anywhere in San Francisco! I bought me some Jiffy and made the bread on my own.

Make sure you really hollow out the apples and, I will say, you are going to need an entire tin. You want to make sure you really hollow out the apples to make them uber-delicious!

Ingredients


Pork:

  • 2 (5 pound) pork loin roasts, rib bones attached, back bone (chine) removed
  • Small bunch sage, leaves chopped
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, juiced optional

Apples:

  • 8 Gala or Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 or 2 large corn muffins crumbled (1/2 cup), reserve some for sprinkling on apples
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup hard cider
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the pork roast in a roasting pan with the ribs facing up, braced against each other. Add sage and thyme to olive oil. Brush the pork roasts with oil mixture and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast the pork loin for 2 1/2 hours, until the skin is crackled. (Put the apples in the oven along with the pork roast in the last half hour of cooking.)

Remove the pork roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Pour out some of the excess fat from the roasting pan and put it on the stove over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour into the hot pan juices, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook and stir the roux until its light brown. Add the cider and continue to stir to incorporate. Pour in the chicken broth; boil and stir for 5 minutes until the sauce is thick. Check for seasoning - add lemon juice if necessary. Serve the cider gravy with the pork roast and baked apples.

To make the buttered apples: Core the apples with an apple corer, making a good size cavity to hold the stuffing. Douse the cut sides of the apples with some of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning while you make the stuffing. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, muffin crumbs, raisins, sage, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities of the cored apples; stand them up, side by side, in a baking dish and sprinkle the tops with the reserved muffin crumbs. Pour the cider around the apples and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F, until soft when pierced with a knife. Place the warm apples in the center of a round serving dish. Spoon the cider sauce around the apples and serve with the pork loin.

This goes with Braised Cabbage. The best cabbage EVER!

Serves 8

Busy Gal Meals

I am one busy boy these days. It seems that no sooner am I done with my crochet homework then a new package arrives for me. If your day is jam packed with activity, you might want to try these meals as well. I mean, Nutri-dation? Who could complain about that? All they'll know is it tastes great!

This is from one of my favorite movies Girls Will Be Girls. It's fun, campy and anything with Varla Jean Merman is sure to be entertaining. (Now you know where our lovebird got her name!)

Three Bean and Pork Slow Cooker Chili

I got a new crockpot!!!! I love it! Karolyn got it for me for my birthday. I will write a review on it next week. This is my first meal using it.

This Weight Watchers recipe is quick, easy and simply delicious. When you need a no-fuss, throw-it-in-the-pot meal, this is the one to go to. It makes a ton, by the way, but freezes well.

I make this just as directed, except I really have to thicken it before I serve it. My thickening agent of choice is cornstarch. I actually had to use a lot last time. About 4 Tablespoons mixed with about 1/2 cup of cold water. When using corn starch makes sure to always mix it with cold water before you add it. Make sure the chili (or whatever you are adding the cornstarch to) is bubbling to activate the corn starch.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion(s), chopped
  • 2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
  • 1 cup carrot(s), chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder, medium-hot
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper(s), seeded, chopped or 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped (do not touch seeds with bare hands)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 pound lean pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • 29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with green pepper, celery and onion, undrained
  • 6 oz canned tomato paste
Instructions

Combine onion, garlic, carrots, chili powder, oregano, chilies, salt and pepper in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir. Add remaining ingredients. Stir again.

Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 6 to 8 hours. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Note: Start the chili at a HIGH setting so the ingredients quickly reach a safe temperature. You can reduce the heat to LOW after 3 to 4 hours, if you prefer.

Serves 10

Points Value: 5

Music To Cook By - Janita

Cooking is more than just ingredients, preparation and kitchen gadgets. It's an experience. I love my kitchen. The light, the plants, the decor; and, the speakers and iPod base I have there. There is nothing more relaxing to me than having the time to prepare a wonderful meal with a glass of wine (or two - okay, three) while listening to some great music. Janita has recently been a big part of that experience. I love that artist!

I discovered Janita one day while preparing some meal or another. I was listening to internet radio not really paying much mind to what was playing. Suddenly, this amazing song caught my attention. I quickly turned down the heat and ran to the computer to see who it was. It was Janita's I Miss You from her Seasons of Life. Right then and there I stopped everything and looked her up. Thank goodness she was on iTunes because I wanted, no needed, that CD and needed it NOW! It had been a long time since I had found music that really touched me. I am so thankful for that night. Seasons of Life has become a staple, not only while I cook but on my way to work, when I am cruising the net - all the time. I had found a new gem that I know will last me a lifetime.

Janita is unlike any other artist. Her vocals, arrangements; and, most of all, lyrics are amazing. Karolyn called it "Sean music" but it's much more than that. I am not at all adept at reviewing music, but let's just say that Janita touches a part of my soul that few artists do. It's upbeat, yet profound. It makes me think of special people, places and times in my life in a way that makes me feel good.

It's hard to find one or two songs that are my favorites on this CD. I love them all. I think you really need to buy it and let the music take you to your own special places. This is truly one amazing artist.

I looked on MySpace and was thrilled to find Janita. I was even more thrilled when she responded to my email. What an great person. I spent a good deal of time looking for a legal way to share her music with you and I think the video below is acceptable. (If not I hope Janita will let me know.) Check it out then buy the CD or download it from iTunes. I am sure you will fall in love with the music as much as I have.

Wash & Wrap Your Herbs

Okay, I overly staged this picture. It looks like I am selling cocaine rather than teaching you to save your herbs! he he he

Actually, this is a tip that I got from my favorite TV personality Rachel Ray. If you don't like her, then I can tell you right now, "PISS OFF!" She has given me more cooking tips than any book, chef or TV program PERIOD!

One of the things she always tells us is to wash our herbs when we get home and store them for future use. Now I thought she was just doing that because she had to make those 30-Minute Meals and needed to save time. Well, maybe that's true. (Honestly, Rachel, no human can chop all that food during a commercial break.) However, this is actually a very good tip.

How many times have you found herbs all wilted and icky in your refrigerator? If you are like me - many times. So, I was for some reason compelled to try Rachel's method of washing my herbs beforehond. (I was probably drunk. :-) Well, to tell the truth, this actually preserves the herbs for future use! When you wash them, wrap them in a paper towel, then place them in a ziploc bag, they do stay fresher longer. I get the ziploc bags that you can write on and date them. (This works great for all sorts of food storage.)

Try this! I promise you will not only be singing my praises, but Rachel's as well!

Cold Sesame Noodles

This is the complete meal. I know you might not like salmon, but I still encourage you to try the Pan-Roasted Soy-Lacquered Salmon with these noodles. However, Kitten told me that although she hated fish, she would love to try these noodles with some sort of beef dish. Okay, honey, you go to town!

These really are the yummiest noodles. I will say, though, if you make these in the blender, put the liquids in beforehand and gradually add the peanut butter. My blender just couldn't cut it otherwise. If you have a food processor make it in that! Thanks to Tyler for the yummo side dish. If you are reheating, you can have these either hot or cold. I like them cold, Joey likes them hot.

I made the sauce the night before to save time. Tyler never makes a 30-Minute Meal, so cutting any corner is welcome!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Directions

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl.

In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and water.

Process until the mixture is smooth. Put the blender jar into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 1/2 hour. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and toss until well coated. Serve garnished with the scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers

What an amazing accompaniment to the Soy-Lacquered Salmon! There is really nothing else these delicious cucumbers would go with. This reminds me of the tsukemono I used have in Japan, but this is a bit spicier. Okay, I actually over did the spicy part a bit the last time I made this. I couldn't find Thai Chiles so I got Serrano Chiles instead. Not totally bad, but if you don't like SPICY, not a good replacement. If you can't find the Thai Chiles I would go with a Jalapeño or one of those colored chilies they have at the market. My version was so spicy that even Joey could tell. (We will follow up soon with details regarding Joey's inability to taste or smell at the moment.)

This can totally be made the night before and actually it's better that way.

As always, thanks to Tyler Florence for a great dish. Love that man. Love his food!

Ingredients

  • 4 kirby cucumbers or 2 regular cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let sit for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Pan-Roasted Soy-Lacquered Salmon

I am so sorry that I haven't posted for awhile! I had a birthday, then came tax time - BUSY!!!!! Not to worry we are back and back with a bang!

Joey and I love salmon. Not only is it delicious, but it's so good for you. Tyler Florence is one of our favorite chef's of all time. This is from his show Food 911. This recipe goes along with Cold Sesame Noodles and Spicy Pickled Cucumber which will follow tomorrow and Monday.

I make this recipe just as stated. Make sure you have the time to marinate the meat. I usually do so for 2 hours. Also, you are going to need a skillet that can go into the oven. I have my handy cast-iron skillet for just this kind of thing. This is truly one of our favorite salmon recipes, so enjoy!!!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, halved, and smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
Directions

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the salmon, mix the sake, soy sauce, mirin, and miso until the miso has dissolved. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and salmon fillets. Cover and marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2
hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon skin side down. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked medium-rare, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

Serves 4 - 6


Sweet and Sour Braised Brisket

Sometimes what looks good on the Food Network and on paper does not come out the way you had hoped. That was the case with this recipe. It looked so delicious when I saw Dave Lieberman make it, but I was very disappointed with the end result.

I diligently got up super early on Sunday morning to get this thing in the oven. 6:30!!!! That's a challenge on week days, let alone Sunday! Anyway, I followed the instructions - browned the beef, sauted the vegetables. It smelled delicious! When I pulled it out of the oven, though, I was so sad. After 10 hours the liquid had actually increased and the meat was not all that tender. I was going to write this recipe off until last night.

I came home and Joey had our leftovers all plated up and ready to go for dinner. I was amazed at how delicious this dish had become! The meat was flavorful and tender. YUMMO! As Rachel would say.

If I were to make this again, I think I would do it in the crock pot rather than the oven. I would also decrease the liquid a bit. I don't know if I love beef brisket, but this really did make some great leftovers and, to us, that is just as important as the first time we have something.

Ingredients

  • 1 (6-pound) brisket, upper portion
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Few stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into eights
  • Cloves from 1 head garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 26-ounce box strained tomatoes (recommended: Pomi)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Rub brisket generously with salt and vegetable oil.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil to evenly coat pan and when the oil is hot and is just beginning to smoke, add the brisket and brown on both sides. Transfer the brisket to a shallow baking dish. Add the vegetables to the saute pan. Cook until they brown and start to soften, about 5 minutes. Then pour the vegetables over the brisket.

Whisk together the tomatoes, sugar, stock and vinegar in a mixing bowl then pour it into the same saute pan. Cook for a few minutes to get all the flavor out of the skillet, and then pour over the brisket. It should be at least 3/4 of the way submersed in the liquid. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 8 to 10 hours until tender and the meat begins to fall apart. Slice thinly and serve with veggies and cooking liquid.

Serves 8 - 10

Boston Lettuce Avocado Salad and Lime Dressing

We love the Food Network and one of our favorite chefs to watch is Dave Lieberman. Dave makes some really delicious food at a very low cost. I have to say that I think his forte is salads. Now what's to a salad? Not much, but don't you ever just want to make one that is a step above your average iceberg lettuce with some low-fat ranch dressing thrown on top? Dave always makes a salad something a bit special. I made this one on Sunday and we both really loved it. The dressing went perfectly with the avocado.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 2 small to medium heads Boston lettuce, discard any wilted leaves
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted
  • 1 large bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Leaves from 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • About 20 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Instructions

Pull the lettuce leaves from the head, rinse gently under cold water, and lay out on clean towels to dry. Use a spoon to remove the flesh in 1 piece from each half of the avocado. Thinly slice the avocado flesh into thin wedges.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and top with the avocado wedges, scallion, and cilantro. Finish with a healthy drizzling of the dressing.

Servings: 6 - 8

Note: I love having Varla Jean and Calvin cook with me. They LOVE nibbling on the greens that I feed them. If you have little feathered friends, please be aware that avocado is poisonous for them. DO NOT LET YOUR BIRDS NEAR AVOCADO!!!



Nutella

Okay, I know I constantly preach Weight Watchers, but honeys there are times when we just want, no, NEED something naughty. That's where Nutella comes in. Having a bad day? Need a I Hate Boys night? Lady Time? Or just being piggy?! Nutella is a dream come true. It's the original creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread. But my thought is, why spread when you can just spoon directly into your mouth?!

When I am really bummed this sure helps. I think of it as God's little way of making me feel better. It is heaven in a plastic jar. If you can't get it near at a store near you then just order some online. My recommendation is to order a lot. You will eat it quickly unless you have some weird will-power thing going on that I don't want to know about. :-)

I am sure it's points-free for you Weight Watchers. Hell, if wine is than so is Nutella! (Okay, I made that up. That is my personal opinion and is certainly not supported by Weight Watchers! By the way, wine isn't points-free either unless you are Sean or Karolyn.) But, when you are feelling down, why not splurge?

Beef Stuffed Cabbage

YAY! My first blog posting!!! This weekend promises to be full o' cooking as next weekend is my birthday and I will probably be busy with that.

This is one of our favorite one-pot recipes. (Not to be confused with Crock Pot!) It's a bit time consuming to stuff the cabbage, but the end result is oh-so yummy. We usually double the recipe so that we have lots of lunches for the following week.

This recipe comes from the Weight Watchers site. For those of you interested it's only 6 points!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 head savoy cabbage, about 8 whole leaves
  • 1/2 pound uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 medium carrot(s), peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion(s), finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
  • 1 large egg white(s)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic and oregano
Instructions

Wrap cabbage leaves in plastic wrap or moist paper towels and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, until soft. Cut off the thickest, white portion of the spine of each leaf to make leaves pliable and easy to fold; set aside.

Combine beef, rice, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, garlic, egg white, salt and pepper in a large bowl; mix well.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of beef mixture onto center of each leaf. Fold up bottom of leaf to cover filling, tuck in sides and then continue rolling to make loose rolls (rice will expand during cooking so it is important not to roll them too tightly).

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat; add rolls and sauté until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until cooked through, checking pot every 15 minutes and stirring to prevent sticking, about 1 hour. (If sauce thickens or reduces, add water.) Yields 2 rolls per serving.

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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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