I despise life sometimes. Well, let me rephrase that to be a bit more positive. *wink*
I despise how life can get in the way of throwing together a fabulous meal every night. The definition of life in this statement would be…long and tiring workdays, lack of groceries because of growing bills, lack of inspiration because of stress, etc. You get the point. However, no matter how busy I get in life, I treasure the moments where I can come home and cook up something fabulous. It’s a simple reminder that I am awesome at something, and it’s a very easy way to put a smile on the hub’s face. I got a huge thumbs up on this dish tonight! Yay me! *smiles*
It’s important to never lose sight of the little moments in life that make all the other stuff we despise in life worthwhile!
Tuna Steak Piccolini
Marinated Tuna Steak
- I used lime juice, soy sauce, and a three pepper sauce which contained a little EVOO. Unfortunately, for my marinades I don’t measure, so I don’t have exact measurements for you. I find the best thing with marinades is to keep it even portions of oil, seasonings, and acid. The Tuna Steaks marinated for about an hour.
Piccolini – If you don’t have the Piccolini (mini-pasta from Barilla), then just use regular pasta noodles of choice.
- 1 orange bell pepper (sliced in strips)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced in strips)
- 5 shallots (diced)
- 1 can green peas (drained and rinsed)
- coarse sea salt to taste
- fresh basil (chopped)
- EVOO to cover the bottom of the pan you’re cooking in
- Cook pasta separately in salted water with a few drops of oil.
- Meanwhile, sauté the peppers and shallots in EVOO until softened with the sea salt.
- Gently stir in the can of peas and fresh basil. The peas are fragile, so after combining them, don’t stir too much, and reduce the heat to Low.
- After the pasta is cooked to your liking, fold the drained noodles into the peppers and peas and cover.
- For the Tuna Steak…I seared mine on both sides using my Calphalon grilling pan. However, feel free to use your George Foreman, or just a good ol’ pan on the stove. In fact, prepare it the way you want to. This IS your kitchen after all. *smiles*
You never know when you will be inspired. New things come around the bend at every turn, and you really have to be prepared for what you’re thrown. Now, I’ll be honest, the idea of making my own poached egg scared the crap out of me. Much less, making a Hollandaise sauce was giving me the jitters. But, what the heck, I was in my own home and inspired, and you would be the only ones that would find out if I failed miserably or not. *smiles* Well….I didn’t (kinda didn’t)!
After attending a catering event with Fresh.Local.Good food group (which you can read about that event and my experience by clicking here), I was inspired through a few conversations I had with a couple of individuals there. One…there were leftover crabcakes, and when I was offered to take home a few, I was given the suggestion of making Crabcake Benedicts in the morning (who would turn down the most wonderful crabcakes ever???). Two…I had a conversation about Alton Brown. Three…well there is no three, unless you count the fact that I LOVE Crabcake Benedicts with a Roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise!!!
What better person than Alton Brown on teaching me how to make a perfectly poached egg and a tasty Hollandaise sauce. Away I went…
I followed his instructions below for the poached egg portion of the breakfast…
Always use fresh eggs. If you can’t see the difference between the “thick” white and the “thin” white, the yolks will probably break in the pan. Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan. When using a non-stick skillet cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water. Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water). Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny so I’ll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes depending on there size. Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra “test” egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.
Now that I had that part done…it was on to the Hollandaise. Well, sorta. Since I do use recipes as guidelines, I ended up
altering this one a bit. Where it called for lemon juice and cayenne pepper, I used a favorite hot sauce instead…Pepper Palace, Sauce Makers Reserve Hot Sauce. My super good friend, Jo, brought it back for me from Mardi Gras! It has all of the wonderful bits of a hearty hot sauce and left the Hollandaise with the most perfect flavor and aroma! I did find the Hollandaise incredibly easy to make by his instructions. It reminded me of making my homemade Banana Pudding that I made for months on end that one time, with all of the whisking over the double boiler…(I think I’m still kinda tired of Banana Pudding *smiles*).
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teapsoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pour 1-inch of water into a large saucepan; over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low.
- Place egg yolks and 1 teaspoon water in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until mixture lightens in color, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
- Place the mixture over the simmering water and whisk constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until there is a clear line that is drawn in the mixture when you pull your whisk through, or the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove the bowl from over the pan and gradually add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisk until all of the butter is incorporated. Place the bowl back over the simmering water occasionally so that it will be warm enough the melt the butter. Add the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately or hold in a thermos to keep warm.
So where is that beautifully poached egg footage like I normally have with the fork popping the yolk???? Ummmmm….I cooked mine too long. *big innocent smiles* I ended up with an almost completely hard-boiled egg, but it was still decently creamy inside. It wasn’t bad for my first attempt. However, the entire dish was phenomenal, and I even patted myself on the back for having such success after a long night and rolling right out of bed and cooking. Bravo, Jen! Bravo!
I sautéed red pepper, shallots, and jalapeno to serve the Crabcakes on, instead of a type of bread. Just made a lighter breakfast and added a tremendous punch of flavor! Once again…recipes are for your tweaking. It’s your kitchen, play in it!
Here’s the thing about Foo Fighters. I just recently learned (after starting my journey of the “Will Cook for Foo” posts) that their Tour Rider is supposedly a hilarious concoction of humor. It even has a special section for the food as well…a coloring book. *huge smiles* I truly adore these guys!
The Catering section of the Tour Rider goes on to explain to us what a delicious breakfast is in their opinion (which they would enjoy every breakfast in my house if all they drew was hash browns, eggs, and bacon), the difference in good and bad salads, how much they love steak and potatoes, and it includes activities for you to do. I repeat…I adore these guys!
For example: This one is Pat Smear’s, the Guitarist, page.
Since Pat Smear enjoys fresh veggies and the lighter fare, I decided to do something a little different this week. Instead of the normal recipe to follow this post, I want you to watch the video I made about “Cheeking Peppers”. It’s the easiest way to prepare bell peppers. (And, I had fun with my new video editing software…*smiles*)
Since there is no lyric or song with this post…I want you to enjoy their Tour Rider by following the link below.
You can view the full “Part Seven: Catering Visual Enhancement & Activities” by clicking here, and then click the arrow towards the top right of the first page and click “next” until you’ve seen each page of it. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/foo-fighters-2011?page=0
Don’t be fooled, there will be a Twitter update though… “@foofighters: I’d love to color myself into your Tour Rider…specifically under the Catering section when you come to NC!”
Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here..
Yay! Alan with 100.3 The Buzz called and said my tickets were in for the concert! So excited! I figure I’ll head up there next week during the rest of my vacation and pick them up. I’m serious. I can’t wait! *huge smiles*
For the post this week, I wanted to talk briefly about the “dream” and the road of sacrifices we go on to achieve it. There is this YouTube video, that you can find the link to below, where Dave Grohl talks about the beginnings and how they only had $7 per diem. They would make “bag salads” in order to save money. I know in the last post I talked about budgets, well this time I’m talking about sacrifices for the greater you. This is what the Foo Fighters had to do to make their dreams come true. Granted, there were a lot of steps along the way, but there were small sacrifices here and there that they had to make.
Now, I’m sure that they didn’t mind the yummy salads (a head of lettuce, cheapest salad dressing one could find, and a stolen carrot). Personally, I adore salads. A good fresh salad never hurt a soul….maybe the extra fiber from the lettuce hurt a tummy or two, but that’s not what we’re talking about. *smiles* With the many sacrifices we make throughout our day, whether it’s a sacrifice to get ahead in our own world, a sacrifice for your children’s health and well-being, a sacrifice to where you are putting yourself on the back burner for a little bit. Regardless of the sacrifice, we are making it for a purpose….for the greater future ahead of us.
We all have to start somewhere. Going back to school, purchasing something for a beginning, having faith in the universe, or just plain believing in yourself…it’s all a part of the greater picture.
So, whether it’s ramen or bag salads, we all make sacrifices for our brighter tomorrow…What’s your sacrifice?
This week’s “Will Cook for Foo” comes from their song Learn to Fly.
The selected lyric was “Fly along with me, I can’t quite make it alone. Try to make this life my own.”
My Twitter update “@foofighters Fly along to me, I can’t quite make it alone. Try to make it to my house for me to cook for you!”
Next step for you, take a second and enjoy the song…Click here for the humorous video to the song “Learn to Fly” video.
Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here.
See the Foo Fighters video on Bag Salads by clicking here.
- 1 head of lettuce of choice (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 2 bell peppers (seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces…I used 4 Poblanos and 4 California Wonder Bell Peppers out of the garden.)
- 1/4 of small yellow or red onion (chopped into bite-size pieces)
- 1 to 4 chicken breasts (prepared the way you like, grilled, baked, etc.)
- 4 pieces of BACON (YUM!!! chopped into bite-sized pieces) (FYI: Today was International Bacon day!!! *super duper big smiles*)
- Shredded cheese of choice
- Your favorite salad dressing (I used Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing.)
- Combine lettuce, peppers, and onion into a large Ziploc bag.
- Add your dressing (as much as you would like) to the bag, and SHAKE!
- Empty bag into the selected plates and top with the cheese, bacon, and grilled chicken.
Today’s Sundays with Friends comes from a true Southern Belle that I met at my real job. *smiles* I feel very blessed to have met her, because she has been there when I have needed her in the past couple of years. She swears that her Southern accent has rubbed off on me, and I’ll admit it…it has indeed. I believe I have brought out a few traits in her as well…my redheadedness has rubbed off on her a bit I believe. She does have a redhead for a husband, so she needed to learn a few tricks to deal with him. *big smiles* Just kidding. They are a loving couple that are the epitome of a hard-working Southern family. With two adorable kids, huge responsibilities in life, and a beautiful home, somehow they figure out how to make it all work in their everyday lives and still eat good every night. Including finding time to write this entry for The Onyx Plate. From your Jennifer to you…Welcome to The Onyx Plate, Jennifer!
I am doing this blog for a special friend and ONLY because she is a special friend. My days consist of getting up at 5:30 am, getting two kids ready for school and daycare, and clock in at work from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. I have to commute two hours a day four times a week. I get home around 7:30 p.m. to fix dinner and get two kids ready for bed to start the routine all over the following day. I am free on Wednesdays; therefore, this is how I made time to do this blog about picante salsa.
Last year my husband’s cousin’s wife, sent us some homemade picante salsa. It was so good. He would ask for more and more because it was so good. Each time we would get a jar it would be spicier than before. We decided that this year we would grow our own tomatoes to make our own salsa so we didn’t have to keep eating all of their makings.
We planted five plants and had around 35 tomatoes the first round, which of course they were not all ready to be picked at the same time. I had to go to my daddy’s to get some from his garden, which was just enough to make my 5 quarts and 1 pint of picante salsa. I also had to borrow my daddy’s water bath. My mother-in-law gave me some cans to use. The Onyx Plate thinks that my southern way of saying cans instead of jars is cute. That is right, I am a southern girl that lives in Stokes County with a little accent and all, which has actually rubbed off on her. LOL!
As I was preparing to start my salsa, and taking pictures of my ingredients, I thought to myself this is fun. Now I know why she likes doing this kind of thing. If I only had more time on my hands, this could be a hobby for me also. I put my camera on the desk computer when I was through taking pictures. My husband came home and got on the computer. He picked up the camera out of curiosity to see why it was on the desk computer. He turned it on and seen my blog pictures. He asked, “ Are you taking pictures like your friend Jennifer now?” I said, “I am helping her out with her blog for Sunday’s with Friends.” He laughed.
You will need:
- pint jars with lids and rings (quart jars work too)
- canning funnel
- large cook pot
- water bath canner
- towels to use for hot jars, cleaning and cooling
- jar tongs
Notes: Cut a small X on the bloom end of the tomatoes and drop them in hot water and then immediately put them in cold water so the skin will remove easily. It also works to fill up your sink with the tomatoes you want to use, make sure the drain stopper is closed, then pour a pot of boiling water into the sink with the tomatoes. Immediately use a long spoon or knife to open the drain stopper and drain the hot water out. Add cold water to the sink to cool tomatoes. Repeat until the tomatoes are cool enough to peel.
For Mild Picante Salsa:
- 18 cups tomatoes, peeled (approximately 3-4 per cup)
- 4 cups onion, chopped (approximately 2 onions)
- 1 cup green pepper, chopped (approximately 2)
- 1/4 cup heaping jalapeno pepper with seeds, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped (optional)
- 2 12-ounce cans tomato paste
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup canning salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
For Medium Picante Salsa:
- Use recipe above and instead of 1/4 cup jalapenos, use 1/2 cup jalapenos
For HOT Picante Salsa:
- Use recipe above and instead of 1/2 cup jalapenos, use 1 cup of jalapenos (approximately 10)
- Simmer mixture for 10 minutes on medium heat. Don’t let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot.
- After 10 minutes, put mixture in hot jars with hot lids. Wipe off jar top and make sure nothing is on the top ring before putting the lid on the jar, or the jar will not seal properly. Do not overfill jars and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
- Remove from hot water bath, place on a towel until cool and lids seal. You will hear a pop for each one. Do not tighten lids until the jars are completely cooled.
- Do not let a fan or air conditioner blow directly on the canner or on the cooling jars because they will crack!
- Makes 6-9 pints (always varies)
- Doubling the recipe saves a lot of time!
I’m sure some of you know how it feels to have to rush in the morning to get yourself ready. I can’t even imagine having to get someone else ready as well. Honestly, I’m good if I can even make it on time to work. The bed is just so comfy. Come to think of it, we have been talking about getting a new mattress. But dang, if I have a problem getting out of this one in the morning now…there is no way it would be any easier in a brand spankin’ new mattress. Ugh. Oh well, the sacrifices we make for sleep…. *smiles*
Since I am constantly in a rush on all weekday mornings, except Wednesday – my day off – I thoroughly enjoy fixing (you like the Southern use of the word “fixing” don’t you?) myself breakfast on Saturday mornings. The reason I say myself, is sometimes the hub doesn’t even want breakfast, or would prefer a bowl of cereal. I’m not sure if I should take that as reflective of my cooking skills, or if he just really doesn’t like eggs that much. But, since he doesn’t read my blog…that will remain a mystery. *smiles*
I have told you in the past that I absolutely love chopping vegetables…peppers and onions are the favorites as you can most likely tell. On Saturday mornings, my perfect Saturday morning breakfast is a bit of bell pepper and onion sautéed together. After they are nice and soft, I push a few of them in a pile and crack an egg right over top of the pile. This way when the egg is cooking it holds the peppers and onions together as well, instead of having the peppers and onions falling all over the place when you go to eat your biscuit. I carefully keep the egg in a round/oval shape as it cooks so the egg, peppers, and onion will fit perfectly on my biscuit. When I flip it, it should be nice and golden on the bottom. I let it golden up on the other side and place it directly inside my fresh-from-the-oven biscuit. It’s always the perfect shape to go in the biscuit. It’s healthy, all except for the Mary B’s Biscuit I just put it in. But, come on, it’s Saturday. One warm breakfast during the week won’t hurt…too bad.
First off…Happy Memorial Day to all of our troops and veterans! I personally appreciate everything and every sacrifice made for us here at home. Thank a Veteran today, and pay your respects to those gone on before us whilst protecting our great country.
I tried something new today with the Cilantro out of my garden. It was quite good. Unfortunately, I used my whole supply of fresh Cilantro for it.
I learned recently – wish I had figured it out before this planting season – that Cilantro will “bolt”. Bolting is when the soil around the plant becomes too hot, and it triggers the plant to “bolt” in an attempt to produce seeds for the next year’s crop before it dies in the Summer heat. I read that once the Cilantro “bolts”, there is no turning back. You can try and slow it down by clipping the flowers, but there really isn’t any way to stop it. The leaves loose their intensity of flavor once the plant flowers, and cease to mature. Therefore, my supply of Cilantro was sadly limited this year.
I have also learned to plant them in succession in the early Spring months. Plant them apart by a couple weeks, and you will have continuous Cilantro during the Spring and Summer months. This I will try next year.
The positive side of “bolting”??? The seeds of the Cilantro plant…are actually Coriander seeds. Did you know that??? I sure as heck didn’t.
Enjoy Cilantro to it’s fullest, like I’m going to with my Coriander seeds I am growing…. *smiles*
See the article I read for this information by clicking here.
Cilantro Dipping Sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cayenne peppers
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Puree all ingredients, except for the mayo, together in a blender. After pureed, stir the mayonnaise in to the Cilantro. Enjoy!
I don’t have a picture of the final dip picture, but it turned out a light green. Very beautiful. Of course, I love the color green. *smiles*
There comes a time in everyone’s foodie history where they feel as though they need to branch out, encourage their tastebuds to mature, and please their palate with different delicacies from around the world. I’m trying, I really am. I was having the discussion with the hub tonight that we really don’t know what authentic is unless we came from the particular region or have visited the country. We are solely relying on what we are told is “authentic”.
This point frustrates me. Do you know why? It makes me want to travel…travel to different countries…taste all of their glorious creations…gain weight because of this…and live freely. Ok, so yeah, nothing frustrating sounding in that last statement, eh? Well, the frustrating part is the lack of funds to do this with. Over the past month, I have won over quite a few subscribers from around the world. I feel very blessed to have them as part of my everyday foodie experiences. Hey to all of my international friends…send me recipes of your favorite dishes…PLEASE! I want to start trying a few other items out. I believe it would be quite the learning experience for myself and my palate.
Speaking of exploring different items I haven’t been accustomed to in my raising…Tomatillos came to mind. I had seen two people in the past two weeks eating this glorious looking green chili-esque item. Everything about it looked amazing, not to mention they looked extremely happy while eating it!
As I am when buying new cooking items, I couldn’t wait until I got the recipes. They just couldn’t get them to me in time. In the midst of my impatience, I immediately dug into my brain trying to pull up items that would work with the Tomatillos. Honestly, I was trying to stay away from the suggested frying them, enchiladas, chili, soup, etc. But, the more I searched online, the less versatile I found these little guys to be. I resolved to the fact that I had to make one of the aforementioned items.
So, I threw together a few things. If you haven’t noticed…I thrive off of hand-chopping my vegetables for my meals. I enjoy the labor part of it…the stress relief of it…and the creativeness it brings to my sometimes mundane life. In the end, we had an amazingly delicious burrito dinner. You can see the recipe below if you want to try something so simple and yummy…
My opinion on Tomatillos: This was my first time touching, buying, and using Tomatillos. Never researched them online either. Just heard about them from a couple people at work, and decided…I can figure this one out. This may be why I wasn’t prepared for the gluey feeling under their husks. It was quite interesting…similar to having Elmer’s Glue on your hands, not dried yet, then running your hands under water to wash them…kind of slimy, kind of sticky. Either way, this washed off easily after the husks were pulled off. The raw Tomatillo brought to mind a combination of a tomato and a Granny Smith Apple, acidic, yet sweet and tart. As I mentioned, I found them less versatile than I expected. Would I use them again? Yes, the recipe was that good…would I use them much though?…not too often.
I encourage you to be adventurous in your recipes and shopping…Next up on my adventure list…The bag of Star Anise I bought the other day….Hmmmmm….
Ground Turkey Tomatillo Burritos
- 6 Tomatillos – husked
- 5 cloves of garlic – peeled
- 3 bell peppers (I used one yellow, one orange, and one green. The colors didn’t make a difference after it had sat in the crockpot all day.)
- 1 medium red onion
- 3 jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes (I didn’t have any jalapenos this time…so sad…so, I seasoned with crushed red pepper flakes to taste.)
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 lb ground turkey (I always get 99% fat-free ground turkey.)
- Chop all of your vegetables up into bite-size pieces. Do not add cilantro at this point.
- Cook your turkey in a skillet until cooked throughout (Should be white with no pink showing)
- Combine all ingredients in the crockpot, add the cilantro, and simmer on low for 4-6 hours.
- Serve on your favorite tortillas with your favorite toppings!
Optional Sidenote: I laid all of my chopped vegetables out on a pan and put them in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes to get a warm charred look to them. Watch them though, once they start turning, they will turn very fast. Don’t get them too brown…just the tips and tops need to start turning brown…like you’ve grilled them. This does add flavor, but it’s not necessary…promise.