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Monday, December 7, 2020

Korean Barbecue Meatball Subs

 

I'm not going to 'beat around the bush', this recipe is bad ass!  I'm proud to share it with you, plus it's a less stress, no mess ingredient call and with the use of a pressure cooker or crockpot,  the flavors can be super infused for a bevy of bold taste, in a short period of time!  The flavors of Korean Barbecue kick you right in the mouth and finish with warm buns and tangy toppings.  I used sweet and hot banana peppers for a splash of color and some mozzarella cheese, bringing in some neutral and stretchy cheese goodness that we look for in a meatball sub. I used store bought, precooked chicken meatballs for a fast, familiar and complimentary flavor profile, mimicking the flavor of Korean Barbecue chicken! 
 Once the veggies have been chopped, the rest is smooth sailing into a delicious and unforgettable lunch, dinner or game day special feature, so easy, a toddler could do it!  No shade toddlers, I'm just saying, it's crazy easy!  This dish is not too  harsh on the middle, so what the hell, have 2, just wait until the next day for the second one, the taste is even better after the cavorting of ingredients overnight!  
Recipe:
2 lbs.  store bought or precooked chicken meatballs
1 11 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. veggie stock, you may also use less sodium beef or chicken stock
1/4 c. Gochujang
5 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c. pure cane sugar
2 tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. mirin 
2 tsp. Liquid smoke, mesquite 
1 tbsp. dried cilantro, divided
12oz. grated whole milk mozzarella
1 small jar sweet/hot banana peppers
 4 green onions, trimmed, white and green parts, sliced
8 to 10 hoagie buns
Olive oil for drizzling
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
 
Instructions:
Place meatballs frozen or thawed in Ninja Foodi. 
Add stock first, pouring over meatballs.
Add remaining ingredients, down to cilantro, adding 2 tsp. to the pot. The remainder will be for garnish.
Place the Foodi on pressure cook mode and set time for 30 minutes.
Once 30 minutes is up, carefully release pressure and remove
 top and stir.
Place Foodi on Sear/Saute mode at medium high and reduce until desired consistency of sauce is reached, generally about 10 minutes.
Place oven on broil setting.
Split hoagie buns and place a bit of sauce and a scant amount of cheese to each bun.
Add up to 5 meatballs to each bun.
Sprinkle generously with cheese.
Drizzle all subs with olive oil.
Sprinkle on remaining cilantro and place under broiler.
Broil until golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes.
Garnish with sliced green onion and sweet/hot banana peppers.
Makes 8 to 10 Subs. 
Serve with chips, fries or green salad.

If using a crockpot, simply place all ingredients in the vessel, then place on high setting for 4 hours.
Follow assembly instructions as stated for the Foodi.
If using a stovetop, place all ingredients minus meatballs in a medium heavy bottomed pot with lid and bring up to a boil, add meatballs and simmer for 2 hours, then place on medium high setting for the last 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.








Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ramen: Mukbang Style

This post is simply dedicated to the one that got away.  Featured is a photo of my rendition of How I do 
 Ramen, a contest sponsored by Nissin, which was founded by a Japanese fellow by the name of Momofuku Ando, in 1958, who invented chicken Ramen.  He later went on to create "The original Top Ramen in 1970 for the United States. For  the 50th anniversary, Nissin launched a contest seeking a person to fill the newly created position as the "Chief Noodle Officer", by submitting a photo of 'how you Ramen', recipe and short paragraph on why you would be the one for the job.  The winner was to receive 50 years worth of Ramen, $10,000, and exclusive rights to different aspects of the Noodling process with Top Ramen for a full year, pretty cool right?! But yeah, the concept I came up with is an homage to Korean origin Mukbang, which started gaining popularity around 10 years ago, and has since become a phenomenon that has swept world for obvious and some not so obvious reasons.  I was also amidst another chef's challenge at the time, which I go into in previous articles, so I was pouring most of my time and energy into that project. I really enjoyed the Spiceology challenge and know my creations will go towards a good cause, that makes me smile.  The noodle bowl for the aforementioned contest was a fun one too. 
 The bowl consists of three types of Ramen flavors, chicken, shrimp and beef.  The seasoning packets are combined to create the broth for the recipe.  I only added enough to be visible in the photo, maybe about 1/3 of yield.  I included some sweet and sour shrimp, simply marinated and broiled to perfection  and brushed with some Thai Chili sauce, after marinating in some rice vinegar, garlic, brown sugar and liquid aminos.  I also included some crispy, crunchy and appetizing Hot Cheetos Chicken, cutlets of sliced chicken breast, double breaded with an egg wash and deep fried to a heavenly crunch, with the chicken breast retaining its moisture within the Cheetos barrier.  I also have some Everything Bagel fried Spam.  I made a quick batter using buttermilk pancake mix and a tablespoon of Everything Bagel blend, rendering a nice and crunchy shell over the Spam, imparting much needed texture to a versatile and often loved or hated protein source, I for one, enjoy a piece of pan fried Spam every now and then, there is no shame here.  I also included an egg, steeped and slowly cooked in concentrated green tea and liquid smoke!  I sliced some sweet red peppers and added fresh cilantro and Serrano Chiles, plus some crunchy, pungent and tangy Kimchi, fresh lemons and sliced green onions, all adorning the top of this dish to feed several or one Mukbanger.  I made sure to add an umami rich dipping sauce full of Sambal Oelek, with a touch of brown sugar and reduced sodium soy and a splash of fish sauce, plus the ever popular Cheese Sauce for dipping and I guess helping food slide down your gullet, chewing optional.  Please chew your food lol.  I made sure to include a nice tall mug of dark soda, diet for,  me, which is usually always included, ice cold with a straw to top it all off and of course provide much needed service when applied.  

Due to a technicality, my submission was not able to be accepted, I worked literally up to the minute to get it in on time, alas I digress.  I failed to email the tiny paragraph about why my photo and recipe would be the right  choice for representing the new CNO. And to think, I submitted the writing part the next morning on a whim, an added incentive, and just to be on the safe side.   Oh well, you win some, you lose some, but I feel like a winner, because I came up with a Fantastic presentation, concept and recipes.  This bowl is something serious, seriously good, my family and I shared this bowl after the photo shoot and all was well.  Next time, I'll make sure the fine fine print is taken care of, in the meantime, I hope this feature fills your head with creative energy and your bellies with delicious rewards.  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The XXL Hot Cheetos Burger

After much cajoling by the kiddoes, I decided to duplicate yet another food item from the Mukbang videos, the Hot Cheetos Burger.  This one, though seemingly rather easy from the video, gave way to a bit more of a challenge, as opposed to doing the chicken and even the pork cutlets, I didn't post those guys, but they were phenomenal.  In keeping with the burgers we saw on the video, they were easily 1/2 lb. each, way too much for my taste, for a single patty at least, though I do love a good double burger!  The size however, does lend to a protein with medium rare to medium outcome, of which I failed miserably and had to microwave my "Ginormagantuan" (borrowed from Stan Smith, American Dad) burger.  The microwave, though shunned by some, was a savior for this recipe, this time. 

 The burger demo calls for the par-cooked burger to be dipped in an egg wash, then doused liberally in the Hot Cheetos coating, then deep fried.  Due to the stupid crazy size of my burger, I was left with a burger, medium, with a raw center.  I used ground chuck mixed with super lean beef to achieve a more meaty and stable patty, I think I'll use the good old 75/25 blend, which is great for maintaining a super moist product, as long as you drain it properly, always pour off that extra animal fat, you don't need it, even if you add some olive oil back into the dish to retain moisture, it's still a 'better for you' fat, with no cholesterol.

Once I worked out the doneness kinks, the rest was smooth sailing.  For dramatic effect, I added Colby Jack Cheese, American cheese, which is just the right thing to do, some fries, WuJu Sauce and Blue Cheese, for a Hot Cheetos Loaded, Black and Blue Behemoth. For the record, WUJU is a beast!!  You will want it on everything!  The burger was rather tasty, but I will definitely make it with 2 patties instead of one next time and use corn starch before the first dip, to keep the red hot coating in place, its all about the crust.  The family received the burger well, and everyone was beyond stuffed.  They did however agree that the chicken and pork are more favorable candidates for our imminent next round of Hot Cheetos Mania coatings.  










 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

'Ten'doori Style Chicken, Soulful Mixed Greens and Southern Style Corn Pudding w/ an Island Twist



 Multiple cuisines inspire this dish for wonderful results.  I recently finished up a most exciting recipe contest sponsored by Chef's Roll, Spiceology and the National Kidney Foundation.  The goal of the contest involved select chefs,  were chosen to develop recipes using a collection of 13 Salt Free Spice Blends, put out by an absolutely amazing spice company called Spiceology.  You can read more about the aforementioned on my post before this one!  
The following recipe is one that I developed using no added salts and limited  fats for submission, but eventually ended up replacing it with a couple other recipes.  I  planned to come back and make this a part of the #lifeordeathrecipe challenge, but failed to meet the deadline.  I was able to submit 4 other recipes that I feel good about though!  

The chicken for this recipe is inspired by the Spiceology Salt Free Blend, Tandoori Glory, a  bright and vibrant dance of warm spices, including paprika,cinnamon, cumin and others.  In fact, I created a Tandoori Chicken marinade, with the name, a play on my own, Tendoori, because I decided to use sour cream instead of yogurt, and a few other depth building ingredients, call that 'Southern Swang'.  I marinated the chicken in the spice forward sour cream and Tandoori Glory combination, for several hours, imparting a delicious and vibrantly colored protein, that I served with Southern American side dishes, loved and respected in our home.  

The greens were hand picked for me, by one of my dear friends, Vee, who always brings by seasonal goodies, grown with love! I  prepared the greens in a traditional Southern American Soul Food fashion, with smoked ham hock or smoked turkey necks, low sodium chicken stock, onion, garlic and a healthy pinch of Spiceology Guac and RolI (Gr)!  The beauty of Spiceology Salt Free Spice Blends is that you can take them in any direction.  For this instance, it is used as a flavor enhancer to a dish, that contains ingredients with potentially too much salt and balances it out with lots of herb and spice flavor boost! At the same time, going less salt and salt free is right at your fingertips for the next recipe, accommodating regular and restricted diets respectively.  Anytime is a good time to seek out a comfort zone when cooking and consciously limiting sodium intake.  It's a practice that is beneficial to us all, each and every one.  

I hadn't made a corn pudding in ages it seemed and it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to the dish as a whole.  The corn pudding recipe is inspired by the Islands and Tropical places.  I used coconut milk instead of regular 2% milk and evaporated milk, which I use in my traditional Southern American version.  I also used a healthy teaspoon of Spiceology's Salt Free Mango Tango (Mt) to impart delicious mango and chamoy notes.  I use pure cane sugar on the regular for sweet or sweetened dishes, as well as everyday purposes, which is Island inspired by nature.  For an interesting edge, I also added Spiceology's Salt Free Chile Margarita (Ch) spice blend to counter yet compliment and balance the sweetness of the corn pudding.  My mom said that dinner was "Excellent" and that felt like 1000! She is my most discerning critic, one I adore and accept her objective opinions respectfully and with a keen ear.  

The natural bitterness of the mustard, kale and turnip greens blend, contributes to the overall Umami of the combination of spices, ingredients and cultures that are represented on this plate.  

Today, I'll be publishing the recipes for the Tendoori Chicken and the Island Inspired Corn Pudding.  

Tendoori Chicken:

4 to 6 chicken leg quarters, about 8 oz. each, with or without skin, bone-in or boneless, your choice

8 oz. regular or reduced fat sour cream 

1 tbsp. Spiceology Tandoori Glory (T) Salt Free Blend

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

2 to 3 drops, red gel food coloring, optional

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced

2 tbsp. grated onion with juice

1 tbsp. Sriracha or to taste

1 tbsp. Buckwheat honey or to taste

1 tbsp. liquid aminos or to taste

Wash, trim and pat dry leg quarters, removing any slimy or fatty portions, before bending at the joints and making diagonal cuts across the top sides.   

Combine all the listed ingredients to create marinade.

Slather each leg quarter front and back with marinade, making sure it gets down in the slices  and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.

When ready, roast off in a 400*F oven, air fryer or grill, until juices run clear, internal temperature is 165*F and  the protein is golden and shows signs of caramelization, about 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand for several minutes to redistribute juices and handle.

Serves 4 to 6. 

Tropic Southern Style Corn Pudding:

2 cans, whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 lbs. fresh frozen, thawed

1 can cream style corn

2 large eggs

1 can coconut milk, regular or lite

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

4 tbsp. melted unsalted butter

2 tbsp. organic Coconut flour mixed with 2 tbsp. AP flour

2 tbsp. pure cane sugar

1 tsp. Spiceology Salt Free Mango Tango (Ma) Blend

1/2 tsp. Spiceology Salt Free Chile Margarita (Ch) blend

1 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon

1/4  tsp. Five Spice

1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract

Zest of one lemon, and the juice of half the lemon 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Blend the liquid ingredients, then stir in spices.

Add corn and stir.

Pour into a butter greased or non stick sprayed baking vessel, about 11x9 or a large cast iron skillet.

Cover with foil and bake for first 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove foil and cook until pudding is slightly reduced and set, with no giggle in the center, about 45 minutes total, depending on oven.  

Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves plenty, with extras. 





Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Spiceology of Life, We're on a Chef's Roll


Spiceology has 13 Salt Free Blends!


Roasted Ratatouille Sandwich w/ Cauliflower Pistou on Herbed Cloud Bread


 I am fortunate enough to have been selected to take part in a most exciting adventure with the help of Chef's Roll and Spiceology.  In support of and in conjuntion with the National Kidney Foundation, chefs and Culiniarians from all over the United States are coming together to create recipes, for those with salt sensitivities or other renal conditions that makes too much salt, a most dangerous and unwelcome endeavor, potentially putting their lives at stake, yes, causing death.  

Renal conditions do not have to mean loss of enjoyment and flavors in your meals and with the help of Spiceology, kicking up meals and taking delicious bites of life, just got easier.  Spiceology presents us with 13 magnificent Salt Free blends to layer on the taste, wake up the taste buds and put enjoyment back on the menu for almost 370 million people, worldwide.  The best part of it is you don't have to have an issue with your kidneys to care about the sodium you consume, sometimes senselessly in some other seasonings available on the market.  Spiceology has new and inventive blends, that in turn may be blended together to create just about any flavor profile from any cuisine you can think of.  Purple Haze, Everything Bagel, Chile Margarita, Steak and Bake, Mango Tango, Lemon Pink Peppercorn, Really Ranch, Guac and Roll, Greek Freak, Pizza Pie and El Taco are some of the names of these awesome blends, each one, as spectacular as the next.  No longer do you have to accept the salt with the rest of the principal ingredients of a spice and herb blend, Spiceology makes it easy.  

Bold and bright, Spiceology brings the A game and inspired the recipe for the photo above, Roasted Ratatouille with Cauliflower Pistou on Herbed Cloud Bread.  Head on over to Chef's Roll and Spiceology to check out the amazing Salt Free recipes for your viewing enjoyment and a  detailed listing of each blends' specific ingredients. Better yet, get your hands on some and work your magic!  An added incentive to this exhilarating challenge is that I too have become more aware of the added salts in these herb and spice blends on the market' and I am happy to be a new edition to the Spiceology family. 

 You can have more confidence in the foods and dishes you prepare for clients and family members, knowing there are no 'sneaky', unwanted salts hanging around or hiding in your herb and spice blends, making the meal healthier and better for  you, with just a pinch, shake or a palmful. This #lifeordeathrecipe challenge is just that.  Take charge and get BOLD with Spiceology, Chef's Roll and the National Kidney Foundation.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself and helpful to those in need... of a little spice in their life!  I have several more recipes featuring Spiceology Blends to be submitted to the challenge, wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Veg-cellent!

A good tip for making sure you get your proper veggies for family meals is to go ahead and prepare them all at one time, for the whole week.  That may sound like a lot of work, but in reality, it shaves tons of time off your meal planning for each and every day, making light work out of 1/3 of the decision process.  The only thing that will be needed is a protein and a starch, then you're good to go.  The easier the vegetables are to access, the more likely your family members are to consume them.  Simply grill a bunch of your favorite veggies as seen above or to your specific liking and let the fun begin.  The prepared items may be added to a large, plastic and rectangular bowl with a lid.  For mealtime, you can have an extensive variety to choose from with ease.  I used my newest 'toy' for these guys, a 17 inch tabletop outdoor griddle, put out by Blackstone. It's fueled by these handy 1 lb. canisters of propane, and the work surface is such that you can get a substantial amount grilled at once.  I love it!  I even made Pad Thai on the griddle for a super fresh and easy dinner one night, then we had dinner right on the patio, serving off the griddle, serving as the warmer and the dish.  Now, back to the veggies, you can vary your seasonings and flavorings by way of different oils and salts, even butters.  I used Ghee for some of the above vegetables.  For others, I used simple extra virgin olive oil.  Of course, you can prepare the vegetables separately or in combinations.  I found that doing both ways was the bee's knees! 

 I also used this magnificent oil called Cocavo, which is a blend of organic, unfiltered coconut and avocado oil, scented with Lemon, along with Turmeric.   This oil is bright, light and full of fresh flavor, complementing whatever you add to it with lots of vigor and flavor pop!  

The vegetables may also serve as add ins to your Ramen, soups, sandwiches and other dishes you make, easy peasy.  Realistically, you may want to freeze them until needed, but the fact that they are super ready to go will serve you and your family in a considerable way better than needing to wait for them to defrost or thaw, which will change the texture and more likely the level of satisfaction with your dishes.  

Friday, October 2, 2020

Trick or Tokyotreat October 2020 Box! Shoto Todoroki and the MHA Crew Too for a 2020 Halloween Bash that's Plus Ultra

Treat Yourself with Tokyotreat!

 
Tokyotreat features unique and fun Japanese snacks!

Tokyotreat October 2020 Box


Halloween Tablescape with Tokyotreat and My Hero Academia, some of our favorites.  These treats are amazing and hand picked by the  Tokyotreat gang!  My family loves getting together and sampling all these wonderful snacks and knick knacks, every one is as good as the next! Keep up the Good Work.  Stay Plus Ultra!

NOTE: The Shoto Todoroki Figurine and The My Hero Academia Mini Backpack are personal belongings of Bronwyn's and are not included in the featured October Box.  

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Hot Cheetos Chicken, Mukbang Style

Hot Cheetos Chicken!

 After seeing these brilliantly colored food items, ensconced in a Hot Cheetos hail of fire, I could not and the kiddoes would not let me rest, until I emulated what we'd seen and quell our curiosities.  My young teens have stumbled upon and subsequently introduced me to  Mukbang or Mukbanging, which from  my understanding and  a visual assessment is when people record themselves eating massive quantities of food, with the main focus on the sounds made while doing so, ergo biting, chewing and swallowing.  The menus of the participants vary, from French fries, burgers, cheese sticks, onion rings and chicken nuggets to king crabs, octopus and whole fried spam dipped in cheese sauce and various other delicious looking dishes, from their native country.  American youth are taking part in the action too. I have seen Soul Food plates with greens, cornbread, chicken, ribs and macaroni and cheese, crab boil platters, loads of McDonald's food, KFC and Taco Bell, plus hot wing trays. Please be advised, I never said these practices were healthy or healthful, but no judgement here, so save your waistline by watching someone else do it.   One of the coolest parts of these videos is the participants that prepare their dishes right before your eyes. It seems to be the standard to wear gloves for the event, black usually.  I am not certain as to the exact reasons other than hygiene, but likely to draw focus to the hands and for dramatic effect and contrast.  
 There are copious amounts of noodles and noodle bowls with all the accouterments and super hot sauces.  The displays also feature random other vegetables lying around like fresh mushrooms, peppers and lettuce leaves, that serve as quick bites and vessels to house some of the prepared proteins and items that are small by comparison.  
Another very popular dish to Mukbang is select items breaded with Hot Cheetos and deep fried to crunchy hot perfection.  This was almost bizarre to me at first, but after seeing it done and all the items the Bangers would 'incrimsonate' (to make red or add red color) with those crushed, hot little staffs of goodness, I had to give it a go.  I'm glad I  did. 
 The breading is a two step method, one with egg wash as the binder of the crushed Cheetos to the protein or items of choice. I wasn't certain of the heat index for this first round, so I decided to mix in some of the original Cheetos with the Hot Cheetos.  The regular ones can be seen in the flecks on the chicken pictured above.  I found the finished dish not so full of fiery heat, so next time, I'll use the Hot Cheetos XXL, yeah, it's a thing!
I used boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets for my recipe and they turned out marvelous.   The crisp and satisfying crunch may be obtained by using an air fryer or a deep fry method.  Either way, if you are a fan of Cheetos and chicken or anything with 'crunchtacity,' (the ability of a food item to audibly crunch) this method is for you.  The breading allows the protein to stay moist during cooking, which is a plus! The color alone is brilliantly seductive in nature, encouraging you to feel the burn of chilies, even before your first bite!  I can't wait to share the next recipe and photography with you all, it's a tossup between  Hot Cheetos Cauliflower and  Katsudon, Hot Cheetos style.  Katsudon is a breaded and fried pork cutlet, served with egg and thinly sliced onions, simmered in a  delicious and flavor forward brown sauce, over steamed rice.  My daughter Bronwyn and huge Anime fan, chose this dish as her 13th birthday meal, while my nephew Braelyn, also an 'Animeniac', decided on Sweet and Sour Chicken as his celebratory meal on his 14th birthday, only two days later. Both were served with my go to Yellow Jasmine Rice recipe and Braelyn's with veggie stir fry on the side.   They were pleased with their menus and I beamed with pride in contributing to their special days!  Stay tuned for the next episode of Hot Cheetos Cuisine!

Bronwyn's dish, Katsudon for her 13th birthday.

Katsudon for my mom.

My Hero Academia Plus Ultra Energy Drinks!


Saturday, September 26, 2020

On the Hunt for the Elusive Paw Paw



This year, our Paw Paw haul was considerably smaller than that of the last.  Normally, there are several of us that partake in the 'hunt', at least two people, to watch each other's back, especially along the highway.  There are some super secret locations from which we harvest these fragrant and most delightful gems.  The Paw Paw is known by many names, but its scientific name is Asimina Triloba and its been around for quite some time. The Paw Paw, also known by many other monikers like Poor Man's Banana, Kentucky Banana and more recently, Hipster Banana to name a few.  I highlight many more of its most amazing benefits in a previous article I posted, Paw Paw Poundcake.  This is the only tropical like fruit that grows indigenous in the Americas, most along the Eastern Side of the United and Southern States.  The Paw Paw has a very volatile shelf life, so it is not available in the Mass Market.  The Farmer's Market is the best place to find them potentially during late August to early October, but for my area of Central Virginia, its definitively late August thru the first couple weeks of September.  
I was so excited to finally find a few this season, I ate one in the car, on the short drive home. I wiped it with my shirt and peeled it with my teeth.  I asked the Paw Paw where its buddies were, of course it did not answer.  I knew there were more to be located, because the intoxicating, majestic and sweet aroma fills the air, you can literally follow your nose.  They flourish in partially shaded and well drained, but moist soil.
Most of the fruits pictured below were a tad too hard yet, the less appealing the skin gets, the better it becomes. The tropical and fragrant notes are more pronounced and the taste is exotic and familiar at the same time.  It possesses the mouthfeel almost like that of an avocado and it has good fats too!! 
 It is important to take advantage as soon as the Paw Paw start to ripen, the animals love them as much as we do and when they are ready, they will fall right from the tree, under its own weight.  They can literally litter the forest floor.  That is in part why they grow in natural groves, but it takes several years for a tree to produce fruit.  I finally have some of the seeds that I've thrown in my compost bed, start to grow on the back side and I can see many tiny trees, on their way to greatness.  I've also thrown them around the perimeter of our property over the years, to hopefully gain a few more followers, wish them luck!  
Paw Paw fruit, tropical and American at the same time.


The fruit of the Paw Paw are protected and almost hidden by its broad leaves.  They are much like the Morel in the spring, in that they are hard to spot, until you get accustomed to seeing them, then the magic happens.  Did I tell you that they smell Ahmazing!  I collected the Paw Paws pictured above from the roadside.  I didn't have the luxury at that moment, to go down the embankment, deeper into the woods, at the time or by myself.  I didn't get to go back, forfeiting my total haul for recipe development.  I am quite salty about that. The day was rainy and  I was in between rain showers when I made it to the area and with prior engagements looming, I could not steal any more moments, but I was glad that I at least harvested the few I did.  In the voice of Dr Claw, "Next time, Gadget!"  Now, I have to again wait until late August of next year.  Never miss a moment to tell a Paw Paw you care, they are gone in a flash!
Paw Paws trees have broad, flat leaves.

The fruits grow on the underside of the leaves, almost hidden.


 
 

Giving Your Cells a Hug!


Every time you consume natural fruits and vegetables, you impart remarkable benefits into your system and well being.  Even frozen ones are great choices, because they are typically harvested and frozen at maximum freshness and peak ripeness, sealing in the love of the precious sunlight and season, ready for whatever you have planned.  I usually get most of my frozen fruits from the Dollar Tree, that's right I said it.  They have a good supply of frozen fruits and veggies, plus coconut water, which are essential to the smoothie mixes we know and love.  I have some fantastic add ins from other places like protein powders, flax and chia seeds, but they aren't necessary to have a good for you and satisfying blend to drink and literally almost immediately, feel better, plus know you're doing your body a service that it appreciates.  I have Spirulina, Matcha, Ashwaghanda, Maca, Beet and other powders that I blend in with smoothies as well as baked items, imparting precious phytochemicals and other antioxidants into your daily regimen with just a couple of scoops.  
I prep our smoothie blends by pouring them into a large vessel and mixing them as evenly as possible and them transferring to quart sized or gallon sized bags for enough to make four with refills. Almost perfect nutrition is just a blend and pour away, a very affordable and phenomenal one at that!
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

American Buffet Blues and Covidity

My mother and me at a buffet before Covid-19.


Once upon a time, there was the American Buffet. The Americas bloom with hubs, casinos and family friendly spots, where one could have a run of the gamut of copious amounts of food choices.  Some specialize in the Comfort Food Style or Country Buffet settings, while others, though a bit more expensive, could provide more extensive and charming foods like prime rib, lobsters, crab legs, custom made sushi displays, chocolate fountains and American versions of Chinese Food.  
The sign that hung over the gates of Hell in Dante's Inferno,"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here" is certainly the theme of the waist bands and waist lines of its patrons, at least for the night, because as much as we would like to think we aren't gluttonous in our ways, not limited to food alone, we are in fact liable to over indulge.  
I myself, am guilty of such, though not even close to the 21 year old me, with a gang of friends, fresh from taking a ride in the car, on the desolate back roads near our Alma Mater, with the herbal remedies consuming the vehicle, making it a practical dutch oven of Marley's Muse.  We  then headed to the Golden Corral for dinner, a proverbial orgy of mastication, from soups, salads, entree after entree, desserts, more entrees and topping it off with ice cream, refills of soft drinks, coffee and waters with lemon...We were inundated with food, no one there to tell us "You've had enough"  like we were too intoxicated to drive from the bar or had too much to drink, no safe words, emergency stop buttons or elder to reprimand us for putting too much on our plates, just full on satisfaction/misery for college work money well spent and participation overload, filled to the gills and as the moments ticked by, sick.
 We weren't sickened by food borne illnesses, like E Coli, Listeria or Staph, but rather overindulgence to a fault.  Back then, we possibly took for granted the assumption that everyone washed their hands, stayed home when they were not feeling well and were careful not to sneeze on or near other people or foods, remembered to cough or expel air into the curve of their elbows. 
Reflecting, we had only one instance of such food debauchery at an "all you can eat buffet," of which we never took part in again, at least not like that.  Those were the days...
With this  new 'normal', the American Buffet has been all but decimated, definitely compromised and even more of a risky endeavor than before.  We were already faced with the veritable lottery of illnesses and bacteria, susceptible to the preexisting conditions.  With Covid 19, the gamble is such that the slightest carelessness, even on the part of other consumers, can prove fatal, or at least regrettable.  From listening to the experiences of  people I know personally who have contracted, fought and recovered from Covid 19, I think I'll take the 'mild food poisoning for 1000 Alex', the lesser of two evils. 
With the Covidity of this situation reaching fever pitch, I feel that in order to save the American Buffet, many more safeguards must be implemented. I actually brainstormed some ideas of how to preserve its integrity, like requiring the patrons to wear disposable gloves when visiting the food stations, as not to transmit bacteria from handle to handle, no individual will be touching the actual handle, employees included.  Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Temperature checks at the door is not out of the question.  Some walk-thru  ultraviolet light systems at the entrance would be nice.  The sneeze guards would need to completely cover/separate the diners from the food items, with only the opening for the utensil, a small circle if you will, just large enough to get portions from the desired dish.  I also think there would have to be a station that immediately washes/disinfects the soiled trays, eating utensils, drinking vessels and discarded napkins, with proper sanitation methods applied.  It seems like a lot, but in fact a lot is at stake. 
 Consumers want to feel safe and a measure of comfort when venturing out to recapture some normalcy.  Alas, this is indeed only a phase and I have full confidence in our scientists and doctors to arrive at a cure we can all stand behind, soon.  Earlier, I mentioned the word (Covid)ity, I think I'll be the first to say, I coined this word to mean "1.) of dire importance, 2.) something that denotes the severeness of a situation or 3.) at the precipice of one's attention".  The suffix ity, is defined as "the state of being something".  This word is derived from the words and virus (Co)rona (Vi)rus (D)isease of the year 2019 or Covid 19 for short, (Covid is being presented as a noun per my definition ) which in reality is all of those definitions, and more. 
(Covid)ity may be used outside of the context of the virus, to communicate a certain importance of any thing or event.  This assigned definition of the scientific abbreviation gives us a takeaway that may be used interchangeably.  One day, this pandemic will be no more, but embossed on our brains, in history and medical books, its Covidity, never forgotten.
 


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Thai Style Green Coconut Curried Cabbage w/ Red Bell Pepper and Amabito no Moshio

Taste the magic and depth a good Thai curry can bring to your dinner table in this simple recipe, low on effort, but big on return.  I bought this massive head of cabbage from a fellow at the local Farmer's Market, weighing in at whopping 8 pounds. I believe strongly in helping to support small businesses where I can, I too belong to this growing population.  It was a beautiful specimen.  I also bought a bushel of fresh corn, which I trim and rinse well with water, then microwave, for a no fuss side dish or snack in a flash.  I was also able to procure a 1960's, vintage tool chest designed for young boys, made by American Toy Company.  It is in amazing condition.  Collecting vintage things is kinda my thing, but we will touch back on that later!  
 The corn comes out bursting with natural sweetness and flavor, as good as any method, anywhere.  I learned this trick from a dear friend of mine, an older gentleman, widowed, that would come into the restaurant I worked in when I was a freshman and sophomore in college.  He told me about how he prepared his corn and I then tried it at home and was surprised at the delicious flavor profile and how the husks left on, serve as the perfect protection and steaming vessel for each individual ear.  The only thing left to do after that is pull down the husks and remove the silk.  Add your desired condiments or serve as is for a refreshing course in corn.  
The humongous head of cabbage gave way to many ideas, but I settled for presenting it two ways with our Sunday dinner, traditional and curried.   I quartered the large cabbage and cut away the core.   In a large heavy bottomed pot drizzled with olive oil and smoked pork fat seared the quarters on all of its flat sides.  The smoked pork fat of course is optional, I rendered it from some jowl we had for Sunday breakfast.  The pork fat is in keeping with the traditional Soul Food version, full of flavor and smoky presence.  I seared the sides of the cabbage quarters, until a nice golden color was reached, about 20 minutes over medium heat.  
I really wanted to develop the flavors, before adding salt or any spice that could render the water before it could be properly browned.  This is where I divided the cabbage into 2 recipes.  From there, I added enough stock/water to cover the cabbage and sparsely separated the chunks with a fork.  You may use vegetable stock for a vegan version or chicken stock, water also.  Dashi stock will be fabulous if you have it. I brought them up to a boil and then set at at gentle rolling boil for about 25 minutes.  After about 25 minutes and reducing the liquid by 1/3, I added 4 oz. coconut milk, 1 tbs. Thai Coconut Green Curry Powder (by Manitou Trading Company and a small pinch of Amabito no Moshio (Seaweed Salt) reduced cooking temperature to medium to medium low. 
 The coconut green curry by Manitou is rich with lemongrass, tamarind, coconut milk, onion, garlic, lime leaves, shallots and other spices, even better simmered in a bit of oil before adding to the cabbage, to bloom the flavors.  Simmer the cabbage until desired texture is reached and add the sliced pepper towards the end as not to cook the slices apart.  Drizzle the finished dish and subsequent portions with COCAVO*oil.  Serve each serving with some of the delicious infused juice.
Cocavo oil is a fantastic blend of unrefined extra virgin coconut and avocado oils, with a hint of turmeric and lemon, just amazing!



Nice browning and caramelization adds depth and flavor.  Season afterwards, not before.




This pot is quite large, 12 qt. capacity and makes the cabbage look small!



The lone Red Bell Pepper growing beside my herb garden with my Begonias.




The Big Green Cabbage.






 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Pantry Chicken and Broccoli 'Lo Mein'



Feeling like takeout, but want to stay at home and save some money? This recipe is easy to execute and full of bold and delicious flavors from the Orient. These ingredients are probably in your pantry and freezer already. The Lo Mein in this recipe is actually spaghetti, left over from a spaghetti dinner I made on a Friday night, two weeks ago.  The uncooked spaghetti was in a large sealed zip bag, but I wanted to go ahead and rotate my pasta stock, so I built a dish around it. Buying the 2 lb. package really saves!  
Some thawed chicken breast, frozen broccoli, peas and carrot blend, and some baby corn come together and BOOM! you've got a delicious one dish meal with all the right moves! 
The black sesame seeds are an added plus, but not necessary, the plain will do just fine.  I used some liquid aminos in this recipe to supplement some of the soy sauce and shave the sodium, just a bit.  I don't worry too much about it in this dish, because the amounts are spread across at least 10 servings.  
Some water chestnuts are a  great inexpensive way to add mega crunch and texture, just a thought!

Recipe:
1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips, then cut into 1 inch, bite sized pieces
1 lb. spaghetti noodles, cooked according to instructions, in salted water, just short of al dente, about 7 minutes.
1 lb. frozen broccoli, thawed
1 c. frozen peas and carrots, frozen
1/2 can baby corn, drained and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 c. reduced sodium soy, plus 3/4 c. water or stock to make 1 cup.
1/3 c. liquid aminos 
1/4. c. pure cane sugar
3-5 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 to 2 tsp. Sriracha or to taste
2 tbs. cornstarch, plus 2 tbsp. water to make a slurry
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. ground ginger 
SPST
Olive oil for drizzling
Sesame Oil for garnish, optional

Instructions:
In a medium hot skillet drizzled with olive oil, brown chicken in batches.
SPST. (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
While pasta cooks, add the thawed broccoli. After 7 minutes, drain and shock in cold water.
Add pasta and broccoli back to spaghetti pot and drizzle with scant amount of sesame oil and keep warm on the lowest setting.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine soy, water, aminos, sugar, ginger, garlic, Sriracha and corn starch, set aside.
 After the chicken is all browned, add back to skillet , add sauce ingredients from bowl and bring up to a boil
to thicken, then turn off heat.
Add peas and carrots and baby corn, stir.
Pour chicken mixture over pasta and broccoli.
Over medium low heat, fold until evenly coated and veggies/colors are distributed as evenly as possible. 
Check seasonings and adjust as desired. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle lightly with sesame oil.
Sliced Green onion will make an excellent garnish also. 




Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Southern Style Sides: Down Home Green Beans



If you happen to have a ham bone around, from 'Virginia Prosciutto', in all its salted and cured glory would be great, now is a great time for this delicious and flavor rich dish that is these green beans.  Most of us have a sure bet menu items that our families' gravitate towards, travel well and get rave reviews, even from people we may not normally share the table with regularly.  I've been making this version of green beans for years, especially for the special dinners, birthdays and holidays.  
If pork is not really your thing, no worries, smoked turkey wings, legs and necks, make delicious music with the greens too!
Old fashioned green beans aren't just dumped from the can and heated. Freshly snapped from the garden during this time of year is optimal, work with what you have access to. Soul Food style greens and beans should be simmered for additional time, up to 2 hours, sometimes more, infusing the vegetable with depth and charm, fulfilling and full of love and effort.  You can taste the history in each bite.  
A few aromatics are all you need and a little more time, your tasters won't soon forget it.  I am a fan of a quick steam or saute of a garden fresh green bean, simple and drizzled with a little olive oil or sprinkled with some almond slivers .  As popular as green bean casserole is, I've never really fallen into that matrix, the cream of mushroom in the can, saving families since the thirties, when it was created and marketed for making affordable dinners and gussying up a plain meal in minutes, a godsend for the Depression Era. 
This dish is as easy as pie, needing only the time to simmer for a couple of hours and reduce the liquids.  The pieces of ham are just a little added bonus!  

Recipe:
1 gallon green beans, from the can, drained and rinsed
1 ham bone or portion
2 medium onions, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Chicken or Vegetable Stock or water, enough to cover green beans in large, heavy bottomed pot
Olive oil
SPST
Start by sauteing onion and garlic over medium high heat, in a large vessel, with a heavy drizzle of Olive oil.
Once onion is aromatic and showing signs of carmelization, add remaining ingredients and bring up to a boil.
Once mixture starts to boil, reduce to medium and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After above time, reduce again to medium low and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced and beans are tender and flavorful.
Taste as you go, check the seasoning of the green beans until the desired intensity is reached.
Whenever that time comes, turn to low.
This recipe makes a large quantity. For smaller families or dishes, simply halve the recipe.
You can freeze the extras, for slow cooked veggie goodness in a flash later!
 



Monday, August 17, 2020

Creamy Parmesan and Bacon Tortilla Cups


 This appetizer happened so fast and was received so well, I had to share with my fellow Culinarians.  I had to stop in by Kroger, which is usually a once monthly deal, when I pick up my scripts and saw some sweet deals going on, my wallet approved of.  There was a gourmet dip in the deli section, reduced and reasonable, so I grabbed it up, taking advantage of something that would normally be out of my budget's comfort zone, saving me several dollars, that I would gladly keep for other essentials. 

 I was initially envisioning this gourmet dip, smothering a baked potato, turning a side dish into a main course with a few sauteed mushrooms or garlic shrimp and leafy green salad by its side.  As I made my way through the store, picking up some healthful steps with my Samsung Health app that's installed on my phone, I saw the tortilla cups.  These two items were not meant to converge, until I was back at home and having a few of the cups with a Spinach dip another family member picked up on the same visit.  I have a Ninja Foodi and it helps facilitate many of the spur of the moment ideas that may need my immediate attention, before I either forget, or fail to write down.  Luckily, this recipe became only a matter of putting 3 things I enjoy together and adding some heat.  I filled the cups with the Parmesan forward dip and sprinkled in a few real bacon pieces from the package, usually adorning a salad.  I placed my Foodi on the broil setting and in a matter of  minutes, there was this piping hot, cheesy, melty, crunchy and smoky 2 -3 bite snack, full of flavor and good enough to share with others.  The family loved it and looked forward to the next time they would be making an appearance.  That was good enough for me.  We don't normally agree on everything, at least not all the time, but this time, everything fell into place, like Plinkos on a game of The Price is Right, gotta love it when that happens!  

Recipe:

Tortilla Cups

Parmesan and Peppercorn Gourmet Dip, (Kroger)

Real Bacon Pieces

SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)


Instructions:

Fill cups midway with Parmesan Peppercorn dip.

Sprinkle with real bacon pieces.

Place in Ninja Foodi or under a broiler.

Broil until bubbly and melty.

Plate and serve. 

Makes as many as you don't feel guilty eating.

P.s. The shadow you see directly behind the plate is actually one of our dogs, Grizzley, he wanted in on the action! I was out by my herb garden, trying to catch some good natural lighting and he was curious about what smelled so darn good and if there was enough for him! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Smoked Pimeñto Ĉheese Mac & Cheese: Soulful and Southern Spoonfuls


Mac and Cheese is an integral part of kitchens, families and meals all over the country.  In many ways, it's hard to go wrong, especially if you're privy to the box variety, which is still possibly the #1 best seller among convenience foods.  Today's recipe is not one in the same.  I used two recipes I created and rolled them into one to create this ooey gooey and inviting version of America's Favorite and a Southern American staple, Smoky Baked Pimento Cheese Macaroni and Cheese.  I came up with this Sunday, after considering the union many times over.  I was actually due to make a batch of my Smoked Pimento Cheese for the family and for my younger brother to try, he is in from New York for a visit.  Sunday dinner was upon me, so I also needed to get a menu going to complement some fried chicken and my Southern Style Green Beans, so Mac and Cheese would round out the roster.  
Southern Style Green Beans!
Our family is fond of Nascar and we like to listen to the races and maybe place a few little friendly wagers to make it all interesting.  I've picked Ty Reddick as the up and comer to set these other drivers on their ears, forcing veterans like Denny Hamlin, "The Closer "Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex jr. and Keselowski to show and prove on the track more and more each week!  Reddick is on his way to great things I think, shoutout to him and his team.  Oh yeah, mac and cheese, this will surely be a food fan favorite, especially if you are a lover of the two dishes separately.  Prep is a cinch and the payout is a victory burnout.  It will leave the baking dish as fast as a Nascar race to the checkered flag!  Culinarians, start your engines or should I say ovens...

RECIPE:
1 lb. cooked macaroni, cooked in salted water for 8 minutes, then shocked in cold water, drained and tossed with a little olive oil.
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 8 oz.  pkg. EACH regular cream cheese and Neufchatel (lower fat cream cheese)
1 8 oz. pkg. three cheese blend, Cheddar
1 8 oz pkg. sharp Cheddar, shredded
6 oz. EXTRA Sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 tbs. butter, unsalted
1/2 c. mayonnaise, optional but optimal
2 tbsp. diced pimento, drained and pressed free of excess moisture
2  tsp. liquid smoke, hickory
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed powder
1/2 tsp. Jalapeno powder, optional
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Olive oil for drizzling

Directions:
Bring all cheeses and butter to room temperature before beginning.
Preheat oven to 375*F.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients starting from the cheeses down.
Fold in macaroni in two to three batches, blend well.
Spread in a large baking dish, sprayed with nonstick spray, butter or drizzled with olive oil.
Cover tightly with foil and bake until for about 35 minutes, until heated through and the top has set.
Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until desired caramelization is reached.
Let stand for several minutes before serving.
Makes enough for a Sunday dinner with Monday covered!

*You may use substitutions wherever you see fit.  This is including, but not limited to lower fat mayonnaise, reduced fat cheeses and fat free evaporated milk.  




Saturday, August 1, 2020

Good Enough to Eat



My love of cooking and creating recipes started quite literally decades ago.  When I was nine years old, I made my first official recipe, with no recipe, a Peanut Butter Skillet Cake.  I simply added some self rising flour, granulated sugar, creamy peanut butter, large eggs and some oil to a bowl and mixed it up.  I then baked the mixture in a 350*F oven until it was browned on top and looked done.  I didn't measure a thing, I didn't even have measuring tools, but I made it.  My family of tasters consisted of my Dad, Mom and my big brothers, plus of course my little brothers and sister.  I can only recall what my Dad and older tasters reactions' were from so long ago.  Overall, they all loved it,  we ate the slices warm from the pan, cut like wedges of good ole fashioned cornbread.  The cake was somewhat dense and perhaps a bit on the sweet side, but otherwise, not bad for a nine year old . The family and I also had a bit of a tummy ache afterwards, but who says it was by fault of my cake, for certain.  
My second experiment was with turkey.  I sliced and breaded strips of the turkey breast and cooked it in a frying pan, with scarcely enough oil to create a memorable texture, maybe a little margarine.  I then added Worcestershire sauce to the cooked protein and simmered into a kind of 'gravy' I guess you could say. It wasn't that bad actually, maybe even almost good. I was maybe 11 then.  I followed no protocol or written recipe, I simply worked with my on hand ingredients.  I was still quite 'green' in the kitchen, using only the techniques gleaned from occasionally watching Graham Kerr and The Frugal Gourmet, PBS awesomeness or the ones  I had devised in our massive playhouses in the woods. Certain plants with these tiny red berries on each bunch were designated as "chicken" and another "beef", yet others still for greens and other vegetables that we used in our cuisine de art.  Mud of course, was the most common ingredient, made from scratch, because we had easy access to water sources and lots of banks and wooded areas from which we could procure dirt, both black and the highly coveted red variety.   

Mud became whatever food we could dream of . We made cakes, meatloaves, bread, casseroles, soups,  more cakes, pies, you name it, anything we had eaten at home with our families, was recreated in our playhouses, with all the adornments that tiny pebbles, various types of foliage, pine needles , pinecones and acorns could afford us.  Man, those were the days...the playhouses of old, produced the most masterpieces, works of inedible art, that in fact, sometimes looked so damn good, we had to take a pretend bite, sometimes a real one, though we always spat it out, laughter erupting through our little crew, proud and unabashed.  We worked hard at cooking and cleaning our piecemeal abodes.  Hell, we even swept the forest floors in keeping with our duties as females to provide and tend the pretend 'children' and 'home', while our husbands were off at work.  LOL. , "Yes, we done come a long way like those Slim a*% cigarettes, from Virginia"...Outcast; Elevators (Me and You) ATLiens album.
 Our parents were all out until early evening at work, we were on summer break, we were wards of our older siblings, more unwatched than watched.  This was fine, in our rural little village, with our one country store, near the lake, back in the woods, literally over the river and through the woods, where everyone knew everyone, from your sisters and brothers, mother and father, their mothers and fathers, cousins, aunts and uncles, who were also our neighbors and "How's your Mama nem? was more of a statement greeting, as opposed to an actual question. The latter statement/greeting is still king among interactions amongst the people we run into, that either grew up with or worked for or with my Dad and Mom.  Though now, it's Mom alone, who they ask about, since Dad decided he had run the race he was born to run and became my Ethereal Guardian in 2009, rejoined once again, with his parents and siblings on the other side, even my brothers Doug and Keith.  How time does fly.  
I moved up from my mud pies and tree leaf salads to actual physical food when I was around 13.  I began to gorge on cookbooks and tutorials, magazines and other media about cooking and the culinary arts. Reading was the most affordable way to experience different cultural and ethnic ingredients.  I was memorizing herbs, spices and pairings with foods, long before I actually was able to cook with them.  At 15, my first job was in a supermarket, Winn Dixie, where I learned about the fruits and vegetables that we didn't already grow in our gardens at home.  I learned more about meats and various cuts therein.  When I was 16, while some girls were making scrapbooks about their college room designs, I was making my first cookbook for my college life, from cutouts of various magazines, in the back portion of an album my sister Brenda gave me as a graduation present. The album was filled with my achievements through high school, photos and newspaper clippings, featuring my highlights and awards, a priceless memento from a most thoughtful soul.  I gained more and more knowledge through the cookbooks Brenda had on her stand in her kitchen.  Every time I went to visit, I would pick them up and read them like the latest teen magazine or romance novel, they were my first true love affair. I remember when I thought Quiche was pronounced "Quickie", only spelled much fancier and Hors d' Oeuvres  read "Whores de Ovaries".  I thought they didn't sound very appetizing, no pun intended.  One, two, skip a few and here I am.  I have more stories, but they are for another time... Being a Culinarian was apparently in my veins from the beginning, I just hope I can live up to my destiny's expectations. So far, so good, good enough to eat.
 
I







Sunday, July 26, 2020

Deep Dish Pulled Pork Tostada Pie: Ninja Foodi


Pulled Pork is the star of this recipe and a great idea for what to do with leftovers.  This deep dish version of a tostada is packed with layers of delicious and nutritious goodies like salsa, pulled pork, vegetarian beans, crispy hatch chilies, Peppadews, tortillas and loads of Colby Jack cheese.  All the flavors are sealed inside with a special sour cream topping that's baked right along with the tostada. The recipe is easy to follow and great for the kids to give a helping hand.
 All the food groups make an appearance in this pie and be served by itself or with some yellow rice or veggies for an authentic trip South of the Border on steroids.  I used my Ninja Foodi for this which really made it a cinch.  When using the oven, simply cover tightly with foil and remove the foil during the last 10 minutes for browning of the top. Easy, Elevated and Delish! 
 

Recipe:

1 1/2 lb. pulled pork ( cooked)
1 box taco shells, hard 12 ct.
12 oz. Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
1 12 oz. can Vegetarian beans, drained and rinsed
 1 12 oz. jar Medium salsa
1/2 c. Peppadews, sweet and spicy, drained
1/2 c. crispy fried Hatch Chilies
8 oz. sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Dash Hot Sauce or to taste
SPST. (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Start with a drizzle of olive oil in your Foodi and layer in half of hard shells, broken in half at the fold. Overlap is fine.
Place half of pulled pork over the shells.
Half of Salsa.
Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese.
Add beans and spread over cheese.
Scatter in Peppadews.
Another 1/3 of cheese.
Second half of shells.
Second half of pulled pork.
Sprinkle Hatch Chilies.
.Add remaining Salsa.
Add Remaining Cheese.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, beaten egg, hot sauce and spices.
SPST.
Mix well and spread over top.
Place on bake setting @350*F.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
May cover with foil during cooking until last 5 minutes , then remove to caramelize the top. 
Let Stand for several minutes before cutting.
Makes about 10 servings.
Delish at room temperature.










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Smokinhotchef
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