Category Archives: Homemade

Summer Eats: Papaya-Avocado Seared Ahi

Hello friends! First of all, may we offer our most sincere apologies for our lack of posts in the past month and a half!  We don’t have much of an excuse for the lack of updates besides our own laziness.  However, each of us have been undoubtedly busy with our demanding jobs, along with vacations to Austin, San Francisco/Marin County,  Ventura/Santa Barbara, Colorado (for Fletch, who went to both Boulder and Vail), and most recently San Diego.  We’ve had a large amount of awesome food in the past month and a half, and to begin to catch you up, here’s one dish that really set the bar high.

I mean, how can you not want to eat this?  It’s fresh, healthy, summery…. incredible.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sushi-grade Ahi steaks
  • Fresh, ripe Papaya (should be orange on the outside and not too firm)
  • Ripe Avocados
  • Baby salad greens
  • Sweet, fruity salad dressing (we used pear champagne vinaigrette)
  • Side of your choice, if desired (couscous is pictured above)

Season the ahi steaks to your liking – liberal salt, pepper, and anything else you may choose to compliment the flavors.  Sear the steaks on high until the top and bottom are white, yet the middle is still pink – usually about one minute per side, depending on the thickness of the steak.

Slice the papaya and avocados lengthwise, and toss the salad greens with the dressing. Arrange and plate the dish, and just take it all in –  the sweetness of the salad with the papaya mixes with the saltiness of the fish and avocado and creates a unique and delicious flavor.  Enjoy!

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Meal Idea: Costco Salmon Fillets with Herb Butter

This is a great healthy, quick and easy meal if you happen to be at a Costco.  Pick up their Salmon Fillets with herb butter and a “Grand Parisian” salad.  You can spread the herb butter on top of the fillets, also using some salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Bake the fillets at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Couscous makes a great accompaniment to this dish, as well as the salad. Fast and delicious!

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Turkey or Chicken Spanakopita Burgers

Here’s a great summer meal that is tasty, quick, easy, healthy and affordable – what could be better?  You can use either ground turkey or chicken.  We’ve tried this with both and they are equally delicious.  Here’s what you’ll need (this recipe yields 4 servings):

  • About 1.25 lbs ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 pound feta crumbles
  • About 1 and a half cups frozen (defrosted) spinach
  • grill seasoning (for poultry)
  • salt, pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Buns, and burger fixings

Dice one-half of the red onion and sauté in a pan with salt and pepper on medium in olive oil (about 5 minutes).  Add the three cloves of garlic, crushed or minced.  In a large bowl, mix the defrosted spinach with the feta crumbles.  Add in the browned onion and garlic, mix well and let cool a couple minutes.  Add in a teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of grill seasoning.  Add ground meat and mix together with your hands.  Form into four patties.

Grill on medium (you can use a gas or charcoal grill or the stovetop) for about 6 minutes a side, or until thoroughly cooked.  Toast your burger buns, and build the burgers with fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and anything else you think would be tasty.  A side of salad or fries makes a great accompaniment.

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Prosciutto & Parmesan Chicken

If you are looking for a reasonably quick and tasty Italian dinner, I highly recommend the following chicken dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 skinned & boned chicken breasts
  • Flour seasoned with ground sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to dredge the chicken in)
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • Several leaves of fresh sage
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Start by cutting each chicken breast in half and dredge them in the flour. Make sure that there are no lumps of flour sticking to them.

TIP: Leaving the flour on the chicken for too long makes it goopey and pretty unattractive – don’t dredge too far ahead of time.

Set your oven on ‘Broil.’

While your oven is warming up, melt the butter in a large skillet along with your fresh sage. Add the chicken so they are all in one layer (make sure they don’t overlap so they all cook evenly). Cook this over a medium heat until the breasts are golden on both sides. Turn as needed.

Remove the chicken from heat and place on a broiling pan. On each, put a piece of prosciutto and your freshly grated Parmsean (really, fresh is a lot better than the Kraft in this dish).

Throw this under the broiler for as long as it takes for the cheese to melt (approx. 5 minutes).

This is a really tasty dish to serve with fresh polenta (make sure you start this first, as it takes longer than the chicken). Take 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water and boil. Whisk in 1 cup cornmeal and let it cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. When cooked, add salt, butter and a heaping pile of parmesan cheese. Viola!

If you like this recipe, I recommend the cookbook “Italian – the Essence of Mediterranean Cusine” by Carla Capalbo.

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Ashley’s Dynamite Minestrone Soup

Sorry for our apathetic approach toward blogging recently – we’ve been too busy eating lots of good food and getting too full to write.  We promise to update more often – but tonight I have a wonderful recipe I’d like to share.  Our good friend Ashley showed us how to make this last Sunday, and we enjoyed it so much that we had to repeat it tonight.

This is a good one for when you’re craving just a light dinner.  In today’s case it was Mother’s Day and I went out to Joan’s on Third with my parents for lunch (I had a half roast beef sandwich, mac and cheese, salad, and a piece of crown cake).  When dinner time came around, I felt myself not wanting something decadent, but light and healthy.  Here is Ashley’s tasty recipe for minestrone soup:

  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cans seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots (sliced)
  • 2 large celery stalks (sliced)
  • 1 russet potato (chopped)
  • About a box and a half of chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Fresh basil leaves (chopped finely in food processor)
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • Salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Start by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic.  Put a large pot on the stove and coat the bottom with olive oil.  Sauté onions in the pot until they become translucent, then add the minced garlic.  Slice the carrots, celery, and chop the peeled potato.  Throw the veggies into the pot as well, and top with salt and pepper.  Stir for a minute or two, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.  Add in the tomatoes, corn, and kidney beans, then add the chicken stock.  Put about two handfuls of fresh basil into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the basil to the soup, along with two bay leaves and some dried Italian seasonings.  

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on med-low until vegetables are fully cooked (could be about 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it).  Serve with freshly grated parmesan, and if desired, a dollop of sour cream and balsamic vinegar.  Yummy!

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Guinness-Meat-Cheese-Puff Pastry-Pie! Oh My!

Here’s an extraordinary entry for you ravenous foodies in search of something a bit different, and by different, I mean different in a ridiculously tasty way.  This recipe comes from one of our favorite Brits, Jamie Oliver (from his show “Jamie at Home”).  Behold, the one, the only, THE GUINNESS-MEAT-CHEESE-PUFF PASTRY-PIE!!!  GET IT IN YOUR BELLY!!!

You know you want it.  I’m looking at you, vegetarians.  So here’s the deal: let’s start with all necessary supplies to make this thing work.  Your grocery list will include the following:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of good old fashioned beef  (beef brisket or stew meat, cut into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1 block of cheddar cheese
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 or 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • rosemary
  • frozen peas
  • 1 pint of Guinness 

Now that we’ve got what we need, let’s figure out how we’re going to make it work.  A little advice, this dish requires a bit of prep and cooking time, so I suggest making this a weekend treat when you have less to deal with (like that meeting with your lame boss or cruel dentist appointment).  To begin, slice the onion and saute in large pan with a sizable chunk of butter.  Once browned, add the garlic, mushrooms, two sprigs rosemary (chopped), carrots and celery, beef, and plenty of salt and pepper.  Let the beef brown a bit and then pour the pint of Guinness into the mixture.  Lastly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to thicken.

So far, so good.  For part 2 of this process, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees while transferring the above ingredients into an oven-safe dish (add 1 cup of water or beef broth to mixture to just cover the meat).  Bake in oven for 2 hours. Before the 2 hours are up, prep the puff pastry by defrosting for 40 minutes and grate about 4 handfuls of cheddar cheese.  At 2 hours, remove dish from oven and line a deep oven-safe bowl or casserole dish with the puff pastry.  Brush edges of dish with egg wash (1 egg beaten), and score the other sheet of pastry in cross-hashes and brush with egg wash.  Add about two handfuls of grated cheese to the mixture and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined dish, and top with the other two handfuls of cheese.

Cover dish with the scored sheet of pastry and press the edges together – you’re then ready to pop it in the oven.  Bake the pie for 40 minutes and until the top begins to brown.  Remove from oven and serve with the cooked peas tossed with butter.  Dig in, enjoy, and thank us later.

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