FFTP: Gumbo, Voodo Kitchen

Chicken and sausage gumbo from Voodoo Kitchen.  The gumbo was packed with chunks of andouille and chicken, along with the requisite holy trinity vegetables.  I am jealous of the darkness of the roux – mine never gets that rich.  And as a bonus, the truck also sold these stunning mardi gras themed cake balls, made by a local company.  The flavors were king cake (purple), white chocolate (gold), and red velvet (green).

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Beef And Stout Pot Pie

Happy Pi Day!  I believe I’ve waxed poetically before about my love for pie.  This year to celebrate, I’ve made a savory pie.  A pot pie.  And since a certain holiday is on the horizon, I added beer to the pot pie.  And cut a shamrock shape into the crust.

My son has only recently discovered his love for pie. He could hardly keep his hands off these pot pies, but how could I get mad at this face? Really, it’s the crust he loves.  He tolerates the filling.  It was the pumpkin tarts and mini pecan pies I made on Thanksgiving that converted him.   So now every time he hears the word “pie” he comes running.  He liked the savory filling in these pies.  He even ate the carrots!  I think the incentive of extra crust helped him get the vegetables down.

Hey, whatever it takes.

original recipe

Beef And Stout Pot Pie

Beef And Stout Pot Pie

Ingredients

2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
¼ c flour
1 c stout beer
2 c beef broth
1 Tbs fresh thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
2 c frozen hash brown potatoes
1 roll pie dough (if making mini-pies, use 2 rolls)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef on all sides with salt and pepper. Brown meat on all sides. Remove beef with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Add the onion and carrots to the Dutch oven and saute until onions begin to brown. Stir in the tomato paste and flour and cook another few minutes. Slowly add the beer and beef broth, stirring as you pour to eliminate lumps. Add the thyme and parsley, and bring contents to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; let simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove lid from the pot. Stir in the frozen hash brown potatoes. Pour contents of the pot into a deep dish pie plate. Roll out pie dough and cover the filling. Crimp the edges. Cut a few slits into the surface of the pie dough.
  4. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Recipe makes six 5-inch mini pies. Use two pre-made pie crusts, or a recipe for a double pastry crust. Cut pie dough into into 6-inch circles to cover the mini pies.

http://kokocooks.com/2014/03/beef-and-stout-pot-pie/

 

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Homemade Vegetable Stock

Anytime friends of ours have a baby, the first thing we do is offer to bring them a meal.  Back when we had Tyler, our friends and neighbors did the same.  So, when some friends of our recently had a baby, the first thing I asked (after finding out her name) was, “would you like us to bring over some food?”

Our friends are vegetarians, and after the birth, the mom was really into soups.  I have never been fond of commercial brands of vegetable stock.  They’re either too orange (overdose of carrots?), or too bland.  So, I decided to come up with my own version.  It’s very non-fussy, and the recipe makes enough to store and use as needed.

original recipe

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Yield: 4 quarts, or 16 cups

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Use as a 1:1 substitute for chicken stock in soup recipes.

Ingredients

1 large white onion, cut into large chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
5 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
4 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch chunks
2 leeks, green stems only, rinsed well and roughly chopped
3 dried bay leaves
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
17 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover pot and let the stock simmer for 60 minutes. Turn off heat and keep pot covered. Let cool for an hour.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove solids from the stock. Season with a little more salt if necessary. Store in freezer-safe containers or bags.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/03/homemade-vegetable-stock/

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FFTP: Chicken Tostadas, Mi Casita

Chicken tostadas from Mi Casita.  This dish consisted of two crisp tortillas, generously heaped with guacamole, seasoned chicken, salsa, and sour cream – great flavors all around.  I love when I can order something from a food truck that is delicious, filling, and doesn’t sit heavily in my stomach.

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Asparagus and Leek Quiche for a Surprise Shower

Today, we are honoring a very special lady.  Katie has been a good blogging friend of mine for a few years now.  Actually, I’ve known her since before either of us started blogging.  We first met online, when we were wedding planning.  Both of us had our receptions at the same venue, albeit a month apart.  She and her husband John are now expecting a baby in just a few weeks, and we wanted to surprise her with a shower!  Special thanks to Julie and Christine for organizing everything.

The “theme” of the shower was “Easy ideas for the new mom and dad.”  Not only does Katie blog recipes, she and John also are DIY home improvement experts. They’ve been sharing updates on the baby room on instagram, and I can’t wait to see how it comes together!  Talk about busy!

Since I was out of town and couldn’t attend the real baby shower, I definitely wanted to participate in the virtual one.  I contributed an easy quiche.  It uses one pan, one bowl, and a pie shell. That’s way less prep and cleanup compared to some of my other recipes.  The filling was inspired by spring, which so many of us are craving right now.  And one slice will keep you full for a while – especially important for a nursing mother.  Below is a collage and links of all the other wonderful people who made something for Katie.  Being a busy mom myself, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes on those on-the-go weeknights!


Easy Broccoli & Cheddar Soup from The Little Kitchen
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers from Cook the Story
Individual Tortilla Caprese Pizzas from a farmgirl’s dabbles
Easy Cheesy Potato Corn Chowder from A Little Claireification
Slow Cooker Jambalaya from A Spicy Perspective
Italian Style Stir Fry from Aggie’s Kitchen
Apricot Chicken from Bombshell Bling
Easy Baked Spaghetti from Chocolate & Carrots
Cuban Casserole with Whole Grain Mustard Butter Biscuits from Climbing Grier Mountain
Freezer-Friendly Quinoa Meatballs from Cooking with Books
Baby Boy Subway Art Printable from H2OBungalow
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Cake from Inside BruCrew Life
Asparagus And Leek Quiche from Kokocooks
Roasted Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Red Potatoes from Life After Empty Nest
Yogurt Blueberry and Honey Smoothie from My Sweet Zepol
Pesto Parmesan Chicken Salad from Shaken Together
Printable Baby Whale Themed Cards and Project Life Mini Album from Simply Kelly Designs
Coconut Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies from Simply Southern Baking
Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Garden Vegetables from Sweet Remedy
Easy Kofta Kebabs from Tasty Chomps
Crock Pot Fajitas with Chicken and Quinoa from The Dinner-Mom
Overnight Oatmeal from The Hungry Housewife
Honey-Dijon Chicken, Apple & Quinoa Wraps from The Kitchen Prep
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Soup from The Lemon Bowl
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos from The Nifty Foodie
DIY Whale Art from While They Snooze
One Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice from Yellow Bliss Road

original recipe

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

Ingredients

9-inch pie shell
Filling
2 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts peeled, chopped, and rinsed
8 oz. asparagus (preferably thinner stalks)
5 eggs
1 c half-and-half (can substitute with whole milk)
6 oz. grated swiss cheese (about 1 ½ cups)
1 tsp fresh chopped dill
2 tsp fresh chopped chives
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bake pie shell according to package instructions (or according to recipe , if making a homemade one.) Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, and saute until just starting to brown, stirring occasionally. While the leeks cook, trim asparagus stalks. Take 8-12 stalks (depending on width of the stalks) and trim so they match the radius of the edge of the pie shell (4-4.5 inches). Set aside. Chop the bottom of the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Chop remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces and place in the bottom of a large bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, half-and-half, and swiss cheese to the bowl and mix together. Stir in the browned leeks, dill, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Arrange the reserved asparagus stalks in a spoke pattern on the top of the filling.
  4. Place quiche on a baking sheet and bake until set in the middle, about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes - if the top of the quiche begins to brown, place a sheet of foil over the top for the remainder of the time.
  5. Let quiche cool for 15 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/02/asparagus-and-leek-quiche/

 

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Mended Heart Cookies

These cookies come with a story.  A love story.  Probably not the kind of love story you expect to hear about on Valentine’s Day.  Let me explain….

My sister and I were orphans in South Korea.  We were adopted together by my parents.  Originally, the adoption agency only wanted my parents to take my sister, because I was born with a heart defect.  Why would an American couple want a flawed baby, when there were so many healthy children available?  My parents fought and fought to adopt the two of us together.  Finally, they were successful.

We arrived in the U.S. in February.  My sister had just turned three, and I was fifteen months.  We were malnourished, had scabies, eczema, and all other kinds of medical issues.  They all cleared up, save for the bum heart.  The doctors wanted to wait until I was forty pounds before they operated on it, but I was such a scrawny kid that my mother feared I would never reach that weight.  So when I was four, they scheduled the surgery.  The doctors patched up a hole in the septum, and repaired a faulty valve.  The surgery left a scar on my chest, making me a member of the “zipper club.” Some of my earliest memories are from my days in the hospital.  My parents had the support of all their friends and family during that time.

Which brings me to these cookies.  One of my mother’s friends silk screened a shirt for me.  It had a picture of a smiley-faced heart with a little bandage on it.  It was one of a kind.  It was my favorite when I was little.  That shirt made me feel special. My mom saved it for me, along with the clothes I wore when I arrived from South Korea.  The below picture is the only one I could find of me wearing the shirt.  I was post-surgery, still in the hospital. You can see the bandage from the suture peeking out.  My son is just a bit older than I was in that picture.  He’s modeling the shirt in the picture on the right.  He calls it the “old heart shirt that you wore when you were little.”

Every time I look at this shirt, I remember what an active childhood I had, full of running around outside, climbing trees, playing tag with the neighbors.  All these things that I would not have been able to do had I not had that heart surgery.  Had I not been chosen by parents who wouldn’t give up their fight to adopt a child that no one wanted.
So on this Valentine’s Day, I share with you the love that enabled me to live.  My heart has been broken many times since, but it always emerged mended and strong.

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Linguine With Clams

For some reason, I think pasta is a sexy food.  Especially pasta in long strands.  Maybe it’s because I’m a carbaholic.  Maybe I have “Lady and the Tramp” syndrome.  You know, that scene at the Italian restaurant, where the two share a romantic plate of spaghetti? Yeah, Disney got it right that time.

I’ve made this dish a few times recently, whenever I see live clams available at the seafood counter.  It makes the perfect romantic dinner – not too heavy, and it comes together easily so you won’t be stuck in the kitchen all evening.

;)

original recipe

Linguine With Clams

Yield: 2 servings

Linguine With Clams

Ingredients

8 oz. dried linguine
2 Tbs butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ c dry white wine
1 ½ lbs small clams (or 2 1/2 lbs medium clams)
Olive oil for drizzling
¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes
Fresh chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook linguine in a pot of water until al dente (about 8-9 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine and clams to the pan. Cover and let steam until clams have opened up, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and the red pepper flakes. Gently toss the pasta while it heats up, about 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan cheese before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/02/linguine-with-clams/

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Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Once again, it’s World Nutella Day!  What a wonderful time of year.  It’s been going strong for eight years, and this is now my fifth year participating!  Thank you Sara of Ms. Adventures In Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso for hosting this event.

World_Nutella_Day_badge

This year, I updated the nutella cupcakes from a few years ago.  What could I do to make them better? Why not cover them in chocolate!  Typically, hi hat cupcakes have a marshmallow frosting that’s dipped in chocolate.  Marshmallow frosting didn’t quite work with nutella, so I made a buttercream instead.  As usual, the little chef hovered around the photo shoot, patiently waiting for his cupcake.

Some of my other nutella concoctions:

Braided Nutella Bread

Nutella Pillow Cookies

Nutella Milkshake

Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 dozen unfrosted chocolate cupcakes
Frosting
½ c butter, softened
¼ c shortening, softened
3 Tbs nutella
1 Tbs vanilla
3 c powdered sugar
Chocolate Glaze
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbs vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. For the frosting: Beat together the butter. shortening, nutella, and vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes using a large circular pastry tip. Chill cupcakes for 20 minutes.
  2. For the chocolate glaze: Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in a double boiler set over a pot of simmering water. Mix until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into a tall, skinny container (I used a coffee mug). Dip cupcakes, frosting side down in the chocolate. Dip quickly to prevent the frosting from falling off. Chill cupcakes for another 15 minutes to let the chocolate set.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/02/nutella-hi-hat-cupcakes/

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FFTP: Honey Brie Sandwich, The Big Cheese

The Honey Brie from The Big Cheese. I love both those foods, so this sandwich was a slam dunk for me.  It also contained a layer of arugula and a layer of sliced pears.  Once in a while, it’s nice to have a food truck dish that doesn’t leave me feeling totally stuffed to the max.

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Biscoff Buckeyes

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I have a thing for peanut butter. Especially when it’s paired with chocolate. (See: these.  And this.  And, of course these.) Like in buckeyes.

When I first started making buckeyes, I melted a little bit of paraffin in the chocolate achieve a smooth texture.  That was a loooong time ago.  Nowadays, candy melts make dipping a lot easier.  It was an easy stretch to adapt these candies to include biscoff.  Along with adding a bit of texture, the cookie crumbs intensify the biscoff flavor.

original recipe

Biscoff Buckeyes

Yield: 40-45 buckeyes

Biscoff Buckeyes

Ingredients

1 c biscoff spread
1/4 c butter, softened
1 c biscoff cookie crumbs (about 12 cookies)
1 3/4 c powdered sugar
2 c dark chocolate candy melts

Instructions

  1. Cream the biscoff spread and butter with a hand mixer. Beat in the cookie crumbs and powdered sugar on a low speed until well combined.
  2. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Set balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Insert a toothpick into the center of each buckeye.
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water. Dip the buckeyes in the chocolate, leaving the top bare. Return buckeyes to the lined baking sheet. Chill until the chocolate has set.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/01/biscoff-buckeyes/

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