Frying up some Fried Green Tomatoes!

Green tomatoes coated with cornmeal and fried! A southern staple!


The theory that everything fried tastes good, holds true to the southern classic fried green tomatoes. This version has no buttermilk or flour but came out just as crunchy and tasty. Until I moved south from New York, I’ve never had this unique dish.

They say that to make fried green tomatoes, be sure to use tomatoes that fit the other definition of green: under-ripe instead. Also, the variety is not as important as the firmness of the tomato, but any good beefsteak will bring good results for sure. The tomatoes are hard, in texture and even acidic in taste when raw but when you dredge them in eggs and cornmeal they are just divine! Traditional recipes say to use buttermilk and flour to but this version does not.

Ingredients
2 green tomatoes
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/8 cup canola oil or vegetable oil

How to Make it

Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with 1/2 inch of oil, then place it over medium-high heat.
Slice the green tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes.
Coat the tomato slices in the beaten egg, then dredge them in the yellow cornmeal .
Fry as many tomatoes in oil that in sit in the pan in one layer, cook for about 2 minutes a side depending on how thick they are.
Transfer them to paper towel to remove any excess oil. Then repeat until all the tomatoes are cooked.

chef tip! use canola or vegetable not olive for frying because of their high smoke point.

#TastyTuseday

Easy Israeli pearled couscous, oyster mushrooms, herbs and grated parmesan

Sometimes you just want a dish this quick and hearty but not so rich. I happened to be that I had bought some Israeli couscous recently to try at home. I wanted to the try the difference between regular couscous and this one… Both are similar in that it’s a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour , but because of its size, Israeli couscous has a slightly chewy texture, similar to barley,

This dish below has garlic, Israeli pearled couscous, oyster mushrooms, herbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Super delicious and easy!

I made this dish with what I had in my fridge . You can replace the Israeli couscous with another grain if you want or have on hand at home, small grain Israeli couscous is toasted to give it a nutty flavor, which also makes it a sturdier pasta, so it withstands liquids and longer cooking times better., barley, millet, rice, or a even small pasta like orzo. I like dishes like this that are flexible and easy to make by changing ingredients.

Ingredients

1 cup Pearl or Israeli Couscous

1 ½ cups Water

2 cups raw chopped oyster mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons dried Italian herb seasoning

Olive Oil

How to make it.

Bring water to a rapid boil. Add couscous , then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain off any remaining water . Set aside.

In the meantime saute the sliced oyster mushrooms , raw garlic and chopped parsley and lots of dried Italian herbs with good oil. Grate in parmesan cheese for more richness.

Combine with mushroom and cheese and oil mixture with the cooked couscous at the end.

It reminds me of a lighter risotto that takes less time. Super fast and super good 

chef tip! If the dish gets dry add in water or stock at the end.

chef tip! Israeli couscous is naturally toasted to give it a nutty flavor, which also makes it a sturdier like pasta, so it withstands liquids and longer cooking times better.

#TryMeTuesday

Raw broccoli salad with seeds and nuts ? Oh Yes!

Raw broccoli gets a bad rap for taste for some people.. I have found out that just steaming the florets in the microwave first removes the bitterness. This way you are keeping all of nutrients in buy not over cooking it . win win!

A new favorite of mine is a raw broccoli side salad for lunch! what I do in a bowl

For one head of broccoli, chop in large pieces , rinse and steam broccoli in the microwave for 2 minutes in a bit of water.

For the dressings add to a large bow, 2 tablespoons of avocado Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and water together.

Mix the broccoli into the dressing and then add whatever nuts and dried fruit I have at home. This time I added unsalted raw pumpkin seeds which gave it a nice crunch. Sometimes I even add bacon bits. It’s so delicious and so easy to add and make it your own. Try it out and change the way to you think about this great nutritious greens

chef tip! you can make it in batches for parties, the longer it sits the better taste try it out.

#TryMeTuseday

Butternut Squash Pasta sauce with Potato gnocchi

While shopping in Target I saw the large range of pre-made pasta sauces they have under their Good & Gather store brand.. Most sauces I love to make from but I was intrigued by one in particular which reminded of my my favorite soups, Butternut Squash.

So here’s my butternut squash cream sauce with herbs and potato gnocchi. The gnocchi really soaks up the sauce well. You can also eat the sauce itself like a soup it’s just that good. This sauce provides a sweet and savory touch to pasta and vegetable dishes. Give it try if you see it. I like that it tastes like butternut without being overwhelming. 

chef tip! a little goes a long way.

#TryMeTuesday

Angus New York Grilled Strip Steak with Hatch Chili Seasoning

For the first of many #TryMeTuseday I tried a new steak with a special store seasoning blend. A 2021 goal for this bog was to post something useful , interesting and tasty weekly. So now every Tuesday I am going to cook and share with you all an ingredient, product that is new to me. On Thursdays it will be #TastyThursday which showcases any recipes I’ve redone from others or made up on my own..


Normally when I do food shopping I stay away from pre-seasoned meat or seafood because I like to create my own seasoning blend.

Recently I picked up a Beef Choice Angus New York Grilled Strip Steak with Hatch Chili Seasoning on it. The steak came from the store with the dry rub seasoning on it from WALMART.. If you see it try it out for yourself. They also serve the same seasoning on fajita bee stripes to.

I’m not sure what’s it in exactly (SECRET I’m told) but the seasoning added a really good, almost unexpected flavor. A little heat, a little sweetness, a lot going on in it. Really good job Walmart!

Steak Cooking Tips for a Medium Rare!

Before cooking, be sure the steak at room temperature so it can cook as evenly as possible.

I sear the steaks in a smoking hot pan with salted butter and oil, about 4 minutes per side.

It will need a 10 minute rest before you can even cut into it. Please rest the steak, it is tired.

This will give you the most perfectly juicy medium-rare steak if that is what you are looking for.

I served mine with it with garlic and oil sautéed steamed Broccoli and Beans ..

chef tip! I prefer mine at medium rare.. To learn more about steak temperatures check out this article below from THERMO PRO

https://buythermopro.com/knowledge/medium-rare-steak-temp-chart/

Cast Iron Skirt Steak done right

Grilling and searing flank or skirt steak in a cast iron skillet has become my favorite way to grill steak. I served this one with with corn , panchetta and mushroom sauté.

Also ever wondered how to get a well-cooked, juicy piece of meat, without butterflying it or cutting down the middle to see if it’s done and has a good color? Here is what I do for a medium rare each time.

Salt, pepper and oil your steak. Once the pan is hot, lay your steak in and leave it undisturbed. The high heat will brown the steak quickly, once you see a crispy texture on the outside of the steak, flip it. This should only take 2-3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other side.

As a general rule, once both sides are browned, you can assume that the interior is cooked to medium-rare.

I remove the steak and let it rest before I slice it.

Perfect every time!

Easy Grilled Lamb Loin Chops in a herb lemon marinade

Easy to make , tasty to eat, these tender Lamb loin chops take only a few minutes per side to cook but taste great. Lamb has a intense flavor but its worth it when it’s done right.

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to lamb cuts. Look in a butcher shop or grocery store, and you might find many types of lamb chops: rib chop, sirloin chop, shoulder chop, blade chop , loin chops or even Frenched Lollipop .

What I’ve learned that is that not every lamb steak is created equal indeed. The  mini T-bone steaks cut or loin chops are my favorite for grilling. This delicious marinade turned these boring lamb loin chops into something so tender and good.

Ingredients
1 pound lamb loin chops , T-bone steaks cut
Marinade
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions

Combine the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon zest and olive oil in a measuring cup.

Pour the marinade over the lamb chops, making sure to flip them over to cover them completely. Cover and marinate the chops in the fridge for as little as 1 hour.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat, then sear the lamb chops for 2-3 minutes, on each side.

Lower the heat to medium then cook them for 5-6 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees F.

Allow the lamb chops to rest on a plate covered with aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving.

They should be pink but not raw.

cooking tip! Always bring meat to room temperature before cooking to allow perfectly cooked meat throughout.

Roasted Chicken Drumsticks spiced with Annatto

Roasted Chicken drumsticks with herbs and lemon is a great combination. I was in a Latin supermarket and found ground annatto.. But what annatto tastes like besides that makes food yellow? Annatto’s flavor can be described as earthy, musky, and slightly peppery sweetness with a hint of nutmeg. Look for it in your store and try adding it to your dishes.. I like it mostly with all kinds of meats and and shrimp as part of the spice rub. Sometimes I add it to my grains, stews and even soups.

Check out this page on SPICEography to learn more about it

Cooking With Annatto Seeds: The Dos And Don’ts

For my dish I paired my chicken with the vibrant annatto and other herbs . The herbs and spices gave my dish a wonderful flavor and aroma, and with the chicken it came out so flavorful.

How to Make it

In a large bowl add the chicken legs, salt, pepper , olive oil , lemon juice and the spice mix. In the spice mix I added the annatto, smoky and sweet paprika, dried parsley with garlic powder .
Bake the drumsticks at 450 for 30 min on a sheet pan .

chef tip : This recipe also works for chicken quarters and thighs at the same temperature . Change time accordingly

My Fried “Rice” Rice which is really Nice!

So one evening I had a large head of cauliflower in my fridge I had to use it up and also has bit of white long grain rice left over Here is the dish that I thought up to use both up. You can leave out the white rice to to make it gluten free.

It made me think about when “riced” vegetables became huge in the cooking world and what is cauliflower rice is actually.

So Cauliflower rice is not actually rice or a starch. It is simply a vegetable, cauliflower, that has been riced. The verb “riced”, according to the dictionary, I read means to pass potatoes or other vegetables through a sieve or ricer, such as cooked potatoes which are riced before making mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is riced, usually before cooking or blended in food processor lightly , in order to turn it into tiny bits that then look like rice. Cauliflower rice is a low calorie and low carb alternative which I have grown to love for grains of actual rice and is gluten free . Give it try !

Fried Rice and “Rice”

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked white rice
1 head of cauliflower chopped into pieces.
1 cup chopped leeks or spring onions
1 tablespoon each of onion power and garlic powder and turmeric powder.
salt and pepper to taste

How to Make it

So cook white rice according to the directions and set aside.
Add raw cauliflower to a food processor and grind on on low. do not over grind.
Add olive oil to skillet and add in chopped leeks and cook until browned but not burned.
Add garlic, onion and turmeric powders plus salt and pepper.
Lastly add in the cook white rice and combine once the cauliflower is cooked.

chef tip! Add in any other vegetables you want or chopped meat or egg , Combinations are endless. Just make sure they chopped finely and cooked through before blending them towards then end.

Stuffed tomato with quinoa, kale and onion!

Large garden heirloom tomatoes are my favorites. Their smell is so fresh and divine! Wonderful raw in a salad or in rich sauce but this time I decided to bake and stuff them for a change. This dish is perfect for summer heirloom tomatoes or store-bought large on-the-vine tomatoes. For the best flavor, serve the tomatoes slightly warm or at room temperature. Stuffed tomatoes also freeze well when cooked for later.

How to Make It

Core Tomatoes removing the inside flesh and seeds, don’t go to the bottom and breakthrough.

Set aside the flesh in a bowl and add in the cooked kale or spinach , onion. parsley, dried spices , oil and cooked quinoa . Mix well and combine

Then stuff it into the raw tomato bake for 25 min at 350 degrees A wonderful healthy easy side dish ! Try it out and make it your own. The mixture can be anything that’s mixed in with the quinoa so have fun!

This was a meat free side dish but what I love is that you can mix in anything you want with the quinoa. If quinoa isn’t your thing cooked rice would also do.