Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Central Market : Paella 3 Ways

On Tuesday, I had the honor (again) of joining the team at Central Market Cooking school in Plano This time, Dean Liesenfelt and his team member, Margaret, cooked up Paella, not 1, not 2 but 3 ways!

Paella, pronounced "pa-e-ya", is named for the pan which is used to cook the dish. La Paella is made of iron, historically or most commonly now, stainless steel. The pan is circular and shallow and has two handles. The word itself has a latin meaning of flat basket.

During the centuries following the establishment of rice in Spain, the peasants of Valencia would use the paella pan to cook rice with easily available ingredients from the countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails. On special occasions rabbit or duck might be included, and the better-off could afford chicken. Little by little this 'Valencian rice' became more widely known. By the end of the nineteenth century 'paella valenciana' had established itself.

The special thing about this evening is that Dean treated us to a slice of Pata Negra For your information, Pata Negra (black footed) pigs are fed acorns and grasses. It develops a meat that is high in fat but is mostly unsaturated. It is exported from Spain to the US. I believe that Dean said that Central Market sells it for like $150.00 a pound? Maybe more? The link I sent says $28.50 for a QUARTER pound. What a treat - it was delicious.

Paella Three Ways

Paella Valenciana

Some of the ingredients: pork, chicken, garlic, onion, green peppers, saffron, Valencia rice, shrimp, scallops, squid rings, grouper, clams, mussels, peas, white asparagus, lemon wedges and multiple spices and stock.

I did not taste this one. The peas turned me off a bit. I bet if I had tasted it, I'd have been fine.

Clam Fideuá (Pasta Style Paella) My Favorite!

Some of the ingredients: small clams, monkfish, tomatoes, garlic, fish stock, saffron, paprika, fieas or spaghetti, mussels.

My total, hands down favorite. I love mussels and clams, noodles, saffron and paprika. No way to lose me here!

Squid Paella Negra

Some of the ingredients: cleaned squid, mussels, shallot, garlic, hot pepper flakes, tomatoes, paella rice, squid ink, broth, clam juice, saffron, parsley.

Tasting notes: a little musty from the ink and slight kick from pepper flakes. I enjoyed this fresh but not leftover the next day.

I had the pleasure of getting the recipes since I volunteered. I don't have the energy to type it all here but if you see something you like, please comment and I'll try to get it scanned and emailed to you.

The February volunteering schedule is full so I won't have any new posts until March, if I can get in. BUT, I now have $40.00 to put towards a class and plan to try and get in on one of Dean's classes as a student.

Slow Cooked "Bolognese" Sauce

I have reeeeally wanted to make some good "spaghetti" or "bologense" sauce lately and have been studying up on ingredients, history, etc. For true facts on honest to goodness bolognese sauce from, you guessed it, Bologna, Italy head on over to the wiki page and read on.

In the meantime, I found a great recipe from Kate over at Framed Cooks.

Since we all know (and if you didn't, you do now) how true food bloggers at heart love to borrow, link back and promote our fellow foodies. Its a food bloggers biggest complement to have anyone cook and enjoy their dish but better yet, have a fellow blogger cook and enjoy their dish and then tell everyone how amazingly delicious it was.

Head over to Kate's place and check out the recipe. I will tell you I made a few variations.

- I took one slice of bacon and chopped it finely and browned with the ground beef.

- I did not use a slow cooker because I got started late. I just used a big stock pot on the stove top.

- I only had one can of tomato sauce so I used 14 oz of Ragu to make up for it instead of schlepping back out to Sprouts.

- I have a friggin garden growing in my fridge because I cannot resist the urge to buy produce (or meat or...) despite the fact that I'm only going to the store for allergy medicine and diapers. So I added finely chopped button mushrooms.

- As I was cleaning (and organizing) my fridge as the sauce was simmering, I found a small schmidge of butter that my mother in law had compounded with garlic. So you know what's next - it went in the pot. It was about a tablespoon.

I'll add a picture once I plate it but Kate's picture says enough.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Central Market : Sushi 101

I wanted to write about my experience volunteering for Central Market's cooking school. Not because I really think you'll get something out of it but so I don't forget what I learned and experienced. First off, the chef, Dean Lisenfelt and his assistant, Rebecca, as well as Johnny, the other volunteer were *the nicest* people I've worked with in a *LONG* time (sans my current work team :))

I arrived at 5:45 for a 6:30 PM class and started by helping setup place settings for about 24 people. Rolling mats, pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi paste. As the students started to arrive, I checked them in and handed out their cards. If you attend 8 classes, you get $40.00 to go towards your next class. As volunteers, when you volunteer for two classes, you get this card filled out for you.

As the class was taking place, I was listening with 1 ear and paying attention to the tasks at hand. I had hoped to glean a little bit about sushi making while assisting the best I could. I made a goal for myself to have at least 5 takeaways, not including 3 new friends :)

1) Nori paper - rice likes the rough side
2) When cutting your roll, dip your knife, let the water roll down the blade.
3) Don't smoosh or pack the rice or Dean gets REAL mad
4) when cutting your roll, don't push down. Let the knife do the work. rock back and forth.
5) any roll, dipped in tempura and covered in Saracha and Duke's mayo is UNBELIEVEABLE.
6) to Serve wine and beer to the students (2 per class is the max) I need to be TABC certified. On my todo list :)
7) don't let your sticky rice get dry
8) get a rice steamer. It will be your best friend.

So while Dean was teaching 1 roll (we taught 5 total), Rebecca, Johnny and I were preparing plates with the contents of the next roll and so on. Crab (with a C not a K as Dean put so well), Spicy Tuna, cucumber done on the Mandolin (see my kitchen wishlist!), avocado, pancetta, smoked salmon, tempura shrimp (my fav) and cream cheese. Not in that order!

When the class was over, we promptly cleaned up and I learned from Rebecca how the kitchen dishwashing works (rinse, sanitize, put away) because she said at the Paella class on Tuesday, I would probably have to do some washing because I would be the only volunteer. No worries! I still remember how to do it :)

Once we had most everything cleaned and neat with a few left behinds came the best part - we ATE leftovers! We had a buffet of all the previous ingredients and we just dug in, noshed informally and made some wonderful small talk. They asked about my children, their ages and I got to share about my blog. I shared with Chef Dean about my homemade chicken stock to which he shouted to Rebecca "Hey Rebecca - Angie ROCKS". What a great feeling and I can't wait to volunteer Tuesday and thereafter. 40 bucks towards a class or not, to be able to glean skills from Dean and his team or to be appreciated by the students, or to be able to bounce my creative ideas off of someone like Dean or Rebecca, is completely gratifying. Not to mention to leftovers I got to munch on!

BTW, I could take the tempura crumbs, that fall off to the bottom when you fry something in tempura and then lay it over the rack, and put it in a bowl of milk and eat. Seriously. Love tempura as much as I love sour cream and anyone that knows me, knows that in my will it says "to be buried in Shepps sour cream until covered".

Look forward to posting about Tuesdays Paella class.

Chili (Recipe from LBJ Ranch kitchen)

Papa bear's mom made this and brought it over and I begged for the recipe. I'm making it today. The first picture shows how I really feel about this recipe.
I made one variation. I cooked the onions seperately while I brown the ground beef, then I combined. I love the flavor that the onion gives the oil so I don't want that drained out when the meat gets drained.

Chili (Recipe from LBJ Ranch kitchen)

1 large yellow onion chopped
1 ½ lbs coarsely ground beef
1 heaping teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Cumin
4 tablespoons Gerhardt chili powder
1 can stewed tomatoes (mashed)
1 can Rotel (tomatoes and green chilis)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch + 6 TBS water
1 small can tomato sauce
1 family size can Ranch beans

Saute chopped onion in oil until clear in a seperate pan.
In a pot, brown meat thoroughly, stiring often, then drain.
Add all spices and stir well (don’t add cornstarch)
Add stewed tomatoes and Rotel tomatoes (I mashed the stewed tomatoes in the pan once I added them)
Mix cornstarch and water, then combine with tomato sauce.
Add tomato sauce mixture to chili
Stir well
Add can of Ranch beans
Cook covered at least 2 hours
Best served over rice.

Freezes well

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Farm Fresh Eggs Part 1 - Baked Eggs with Pan Au Levain croutons, sausage and spinach

I saw this recipe for Baked Eggs over at Use Real Butter. I love her snarkiness. Just read her about me section and you'll see why I love her :)

So I have these gorgeous (see photo) Farm Fresh Eggs from Rehobeth Ranch that I purchased at the Chestnut Square Farmers Market and have been dying to do something with them. I also purchased a Pan Au Levain from the Village Baking Company.

Baked Eggs with Pan Au Levain croutons and Spinach

Preheat oven to 375
Buttered two ramekin bowls.
laid small amount of chopped spinach to bowls.
broke each egg one at a time in to a seperate bowl to which I then poured, one each, gently in to the ramekin careful not to break the yolk.

In a separate pan, I sauteed some onions, sage, thyme, salt and pepper with a 1/2 pound of extra lean ground pork to make a homemade sausage mixture.

Once this was cooked through, I placed some to the side of the egg yolk in the ramekin. I diced 4 large Pan Au Levain 1x1 inch 'croutons' coated with some olive oil and placed gently on top of the ramekin, careful to avoid the yolk.

Bake until whites are set - about 15-20 minutes. I know you can also set your broiler and place the ramekins 6 inches from the top for about 5 minutes but you risk missing the proper time to remove by cooking too fast if you aren't babysitting it. Try it out and see what works for you.

All I can say is that the way the Pan Au Levain soaked up the yolk was like butta.

Fried Rice - with leftovers

I had leftover rice from when Papa bear's mom brought over chili. Leftover asian grilled chicken. Combined with some asian spices and oils, chopped carrots and fried egg - it made for an easy meal for Papa bear as he recovers from his stomach bug.

Not real measurements here.

fry the egg first so you dont have to transfer rice mix back and forth. Fry the egg, add salt and pepper to taste. break the yolk in the pan and then flip until well done. Set aside and chop up to preference.

Olive Oil with a few dashes of sesame oil (start small with the sesame oil, I mean VERY small. Its overpowering).
sautee carrots until they start to soften, then throw in diced leftover chicken.
When this is warm, toss in leftover cold rice (works best with fried rice).
add a dash of rice vinegar and some red chili flakes and some soy sauce (maybe a tbsp?) and turn dish.

Add egg, mix until well turned. Taste. Add additional elements if necessary.

Leftover Risotto

I had some leftover risotto and wasn't sure what to do with it. It had become a little binded and wasn't as tasty as when it was hot out of the oven.

Formed patties out of risotto
Rolled in Panko
Fried in olive oil until golden brown
topped with Tzatziki from Sprouts

The sourness of the Tzatziki really livened up the risotto.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Personalized Stuffed Crust Pizza with little man

I suck because I waited so long to post this one that I don't have the "recipe" but it was too fun not to post the pictures of me and lil man making our personalized stuffed crust. We each picked something we wanted the crust stuffed with and had our own section of pizza personalized. Lil man had a cheese stick, Mama bear had gargonzola, Daddy bear and baby bear had chedder. Honestly, recipe or not, there was no magic potion to this. I found a nice, trustworthy, fast rising pizza dough recipe. Ragu Pizza sauce, cheese and turkey pepperoni. Bake. The End. It was so much fun to cook this with Lil Man.

Remedy for anything! Pork and Shrimp Won Ton Soup

Family is under the weather and last night hubby picked up Pei Wei and brought me some Won Ton soup. Delicious and warming. I was inspired to try the art of wontons. Unfortunately, hubby is so sick right now that he can't enjoy them. :( It was really easy actually. Not as hard as I thought it was going to be once I got the art of forming the won tons down. Honestly, they aren't *that* fattening unless you are avoiding carbs. The wrappers are carbs obviously.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus 3 tablespoons finely chopped
10 cups canned low sodium chicken broth (I used my homemade broth)
1/2 pound ground pork
10 medium shrimp (already steamed at albertons), chopped
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
About 30 wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen

In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of sliced scallions and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low so that the broth just simmers. Allow broth to simmer for at least 20 to 30 minutes while the wontons are being assembled.

In a small mixing bowl combine the remaining teaspoon of minced garlic, remaining tablespoon of chopped ginger, 3 tablespoons of finely chopped scallions, the pork, egg yolk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Working on a flat work surface, lay out a few of the wontons. (Keep remaining wonton wrappers covered with plastic wrap.) Fill a small bowl partially with cool water and set aside. Using a teaspoon measure, place a heaping teaspoonful of the meat filling in the center of each wonton. Using your fingers, lightly wet the edges of the wonton. Bring 2 opposite corners of the wonton together to form a triangle and enclose the filling, pressing edges firmly around the mound of filling to eliminate any air pockets and seal. Moisten opposite corners of the long side. Curl moistened corners toward each other, overlapping one on top of the other, and press the edges together to seal. You should now have a rounded stuffed wonton with a triangle poking up at the top. Assemble the remaining wontons in the same manner. When the wontons are all assembled, set aside.

Add the sliced bok choy, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots to the broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using your hands or a slotted spoon, gently add the prepared wontons to the simmering broth. Increase the heat slightly so that the broth returns to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally (very gently), until the wontons float and the pork filling is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately

REMEDY: Too many veggies, not enough eaters (Veggie broth)

I accomplished two things today. A great flavorful veggie broth and a picture I can live with. I had not done veggie broth before and I was inspired by Cafe Fernando and his wonderful photos and use of veggies to make a broth. I followed his tips and preferences for making a fat free broth by not browning the vegetables in oil first. I just cut them up in a rustic manner meaning since I wasn't presenting these on a plate or dish, they don't need to be pretty but they do need to be cut. Sorry for the lack of exact quantities but frankly, it doesn't really need to be exact.

3/4 lb baby carrots, chopped (I had two partial bags that I combined. One was a little dried but nevertheless, once they were submerged in the water they came alive again).
4 stalks of celery with ends sliced off and chopped
half of an onion chopped in to large peices
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP kosher salt
generous amount of black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 container of organic mushroom broth

Throw it all in a stock pot with about 8-10 cups of water. Bring to a boil then let simmer for at least an hour. If you like a richer broth, let it reduce more. I would add salt and pepper minimally until you strain and give it a taste first. I wanted mine to be a little more rich so I went to Sprouts and bought a container of organic mushroom broth and added to it AFTER I strained it. I have a good strainer for broths that catches all the large peieces of pepper and garlic leaving me with a nice clear broth. Discard the veggies or find something to do with them. I guess you could puree them and use them for a veggie gravey. Since I'm not a vegetarian (yet), I got lazy and *gasp* threw them out. I know. I suck. Extremely disappointed in myself.

Bring broth to room temperature. Divide in to 1 or 2 cup storage containers or place in ice cube trays. Read Cafe Fernandos pointers. They are really awesome. (The link is at the top).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Could I get the weekend please?

There are about 20 things in my fridge that I need to cook before the produce gets bad.

Brussel sprouts
Organic baby carrots (the fancy kind with the stems still on from Central Market)

Along with already Cooked rice and linguine, leftover pork and leftover vietnamese chicken. I did acquire some lemon fused montrachet goat cheese, free sprigs of thyme and chives (not scallions). I plan to use the chives to curl up with an entree of sour cream and a side of baked potato tomorrow.

So back to the list.. hell yes...its like a painters palette. Now if I could shake this head cold and get a good nights sleep, all would be well. My goal is to be in bed by 9 tonight. Will it happen? Meh, probably a lofty goal but a goal nonetheless. I am taking off work tomorrow to get physically caught up. I won't be able to sleep in unless I talk Papa Bear in to doing me a favor but I do plan to treat myself well and to go work out. I'm thinking of starting the morning off at Starbucks in my sweats curled up with the Kindle. Then the gym and then I'll do some cooking by myself during the time I'd normally be working. I'll be killing two birds with one stone - organizing the fridge and making sure mine and Papa Bears hard earned money doesn't go out with Baby Bear's diapers or down the disposal...or ..shhh to my inlaws hidden in a casserole
:-X I KID!!! kidding!!! I love my inlaws :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quick Collard Greens? Wha?

Did it, love it, try it. I don't think I've ever had collards but if I did, I'm sure I had ones where the life and nutrients were cooked the hell right out it because someone's grandmother buried it in ham hocks and hours and hours of cooking. Not necessary. I feel about 15 times healthier having just had this one time.


1 pound fresh collard greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken OR vegetable broth

Trim the center ribs from the collard leaves. Stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar; slice very thinly.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add a large handful of collards to pan; cook until collards wilt. Repeat with remaining collards until all of them are in the pan. Stir in salt and peppers; sauté 2 minutes. Add broth; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates and collards are tender.

Serves 4-6

Remedy: My desire to cook with buttermilk and rice

Adapted from this recipe.

Followed her recipe a the T except when it came to the "mix ins" and I deleted the butter. I keep a frozen, sliced, peice of salt pork in my freezer and cut off of it whenever I need to add some flavor to something bland, such as rice.

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 TBSP of salt pork, cut and chopped from the meatier part
1 TBSP shallots chooped
6 button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup light buttermilk

Combine rice and chicken stock into a casserole dish or dutch oven. Give it a stir or two. Cover and place into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the majority of the liquid is absorbed.

**ADAPTATION** while rice and stock are cooking, saute salt pork, shallots, onion, chopped mushrooms in a pan with 1-2 TBSP of olive oil until onions are cooked through.

Remove rice from oven and stir in vegetable mixture.
Stir in light buttermilk.
Stir in Parmesan,and salt and pepper until combined and cheese is melted.

Place back in oven for 10-12 minutes to lightly brown top and fuse flavors.

Feel free to throw in a few frozen peas, mushrooms, or anything else your heart desires.

And I agree with the OP (original poster). You definitily want to cook this to impress. Its yum-dilly-ishous. I'd like to try this with brown rice and sans the buttermilk. I was trying to warm Papa Bear up so thats why I made it richer :)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Kitchen Wish list

I have accumulated wish list of kitchen items and I need to keep track of it somewhere other than my head.

Not in any particular order of importance.

Lodge Dutch Oven - 8 qt (not enamel coated)
Large Cast Iron skillet preseasoned
New non stick cookie sheets Kroger had baker's secret for half price!
Pizza stone
Pasta attachment for my mixer which i doubt exists so a pasta maker?
Electric skillet (big and rectangular)
Tons and spatula


Remedy: No Hot Dog Buns

Snowy, lazy day. What's in the freezer? Nathan's skinless hot dogs. Yum. Best hot dog? Off the grill. But I dont want to go outside right now and grill. 2nd best hot dog? In the toaster oven! I surprised Papa Bear with one but I didn't have any buns (and the kids dont use buns lately) so I did have leftover wheat french bread baguette that we had last night with our linguine and white clam sauce. It makes for a hell of a hot dog bun. I could get used to these!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Remedy: No Meatballs for little man's spaghetti

I asked Lil Man before dinner if he wanted spaghetti. He said yes. I said do you want meat in it, he said no. Therefore, I did not thaw any ground turkey. So. Put bowl in front of him. "Where are my meatballs?" Me: Excuse me? So I quickly jumped to action and since I am still trying to finish off my chicken that I made the broth from, it quickly got sacrificed.

1-2 cups of shredded cooked chicken

handful of fresh baby spinach

1 tsp fresh garlic

spoonful of spaghetti sauce

a slice of left over grilled sourdough garlic bread

1 egg

olive oil for pan

combine in food processor until well pulvarized. Make balls. Cook in frying pan - flipping occassionally until cooked through.

I stole one and sprinkled some gargonzola crumbles on top. Hell yeah.

Problem solved!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pickled Daikon and Carrots (Vietnamese)

love love love the marinated carrots and daikon that are served in Vietnamese Vermicelli bowls and on Banh Mi sandwiches so being that I'm bored I'm making some of my own to munch on.

1/2 lb. carrots (I used baby carrots sliced as matchsticks in 4's.
1/2 lb. daikon radish – cut same as carrots.
3 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons distilled or rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you want your pickles
2 tablespoons salt

Dissolve all together and place in containers to marinate for a few hours. Good for a week.

POST NYE Alcoholic Anonymous version of Drunk Pork Loin

Let's cure your hangover.

1 lean pork loin
1 can of ginger ale
1 can of Dr Pepper
1 bottle of your fav. BBQ sauce
1 onion sliced
put it in the crock pot on high
put the lid on

Come back in a few hours and eat it.

Then have 1 ingredient banana ice cream for dessert. Recipe to come later =)

Chicken Migas

I'm trying to find ways to use the chicken I had boiled to make broth. So this morning I whipped up a little bit of Chicken Migas. Migas translates to 'crumbs' in English. Migas are traditionally made for breakfast and used with leftover bread or tortillas. Migas vary across cultures. TexMex migas are not made the same as Portuguese or Spanish migas are. The ones I made are more like TexMex.

3-4 TBS Olive Oil
6 corn tortillas - sliced in to small 1-2 inch strips.
2 TBS Olive Oil
half of a medium onion, chopped.
1/4 cup of peppers (yellow, orange or whatever you have on hand)
dash of paprika
dash of chili powder
dash of salt and pepper
1 cup of shredded chicken
6 eggs - combined as if you were making scrambled eggs.
1 cup of fresh spinach chopped
3 TBS of Queso

Heat Oil in a large non stick frying pan. Make sure oil is hot and sizzles if you drop a tortilla strip in it. Otherwise, the tortillas will absorb all of the oil.
Once oil is hot enough, place strips in and turn them until they are golden brown.
Turn off heat.
In another pan, saute onion and peppers or any veggies that you like. If you are adding fresh spinach, I have a step at the end to add this.
Add the chicken and stir.
Add the spices and salt/pepper and continue to combine everything well.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs well with a whisk or a fork. The whisk works better and will make the eggs more fluffy so that you can use fewer eggs.
Turn the heat back on your tortillas to medium-high and distribute them evenly on the bottom of the pan.
Add your meat/veggie mixture on top of the tortillas and distribute evenly.
When the pan is very warm, pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat, veggies and tortillas. Do not turn the eggs for about a minute or two.
Let the eggs cook in to the mixture some before turning.
Fold the mixture from the outside in and cook thoroughly over medium heat.
Fold in the chopped spinach if you are adding this.
Spoon migas on to a plate.
Spoon queso on top and then spoon a small amount of migas on top of the queso.

Enjoy! Papa Bear went back for seconds!

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