Day 20

Crispy Baked French Fries

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My Thoughts

Once again, this was a last minute recipe. They were a little annoying to make because they stuck to the parchment paper, but as long as you cook them long enough, they end up coming off.

I added some soy Parmesan, which was definitely great. Even though they didn’t look as good as the other recipes, my family DEVOURED them.

Finally I cooked a potato recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 organic russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, into 10 to 12 even wedges. The trick is to first quarter the potatoes lengthwise, and then cut each quarter lengthwise into 2 to 3 wedges (I sliced mine a little too thin).
  2. Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Let them soak for 10 minutes (this releases some of the starch in the potatoes and lets them absorb moisture, which leads to crisp outsides and moist interiors).
  3. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper with 1/4 cup oil and sprinkle evenly with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry thoroughly with a tea towel or paper towels. Toss the potatoes with the remaining teaspoon oil and mix evenly.
  4. Arrange the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover the sheet tightly with foil. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the underside of the potatoes are spotty golden brown.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and scrape the fries loose with a spatula. Then use tongs or the spatula to flip over each wedge (keep the potatoes in an even layer). Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Rotate the pan as necessary to help them brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper (thinly sliced green onions and shaved Parmesan are optional) and serve hot.
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Day 18

3 RECIPES TODAY!

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So in usual Mitchell fashion, I bit off a little more than I could chew with this dinner. I wanted to make a nice little spread of food for my friends Marley and Erin who were coming over. I ended up needing their help to get everything done, and we ended up eating really late.

I think my mom and I both agree that this homemade Naan will be made frequently in this house. The clarified butter that we spread on the Naan gives it an amazing flavor especially with the black pepper chicken.

Mustard seeds are dangerous; they become fireworks if you put them in oil that is too hot (that’s what I did the first time). This black pepper chicken recipe should REALLY be cooked on a low heat once you start adding the spices. It ended up being just the right amount of spicy and tasted really amazing.

The chicken skewers were pretty good but probably could have marinated a bit longer because I didn’t really taste the lime. But it was a nice contrast to the spicy chicken. Grilled mango is also great as long as the mango isn’t too mushy when you put it on the skewer.

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Recipe for Naan

Ingredients

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 oz dry yeast (1 envelope)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 1/4 cup flour plus more as needed

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil plus more

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

3 tbsp clarified butter

Directions

Put the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the yeast and sugar, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture becomes foamy. In the meantime, sift together the flour and salt. In a separated bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, olive oil and the egg. When the yeast is ready, add the milk mixture. With the mixer in low speed, slowly add the flour and salt. Mix for 5 minutes. Flour a working surface and knead the dough with your hands adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking, knead for 5 minutes more. Oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat, cover and let it rest for one and half hour or until the dough has double in size. Divide the dough in 60g pieces, roll into balls. Let them rest for 20 minutes. In the meantime, heat a cast iron skillet and lightly oil it. Flour a working surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin. Cook the bread in the skillet (about a minute on each side). Immediately, brush each bread (both sides) with butter and wrap them with a kitchen towel to keep it warm ad soft.

Sinfully Spicy Recipe

Murgh KaliMirch –BlackPepper Chicken

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ cubes
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, scallions
  • Fresh lemon/lime juice (to taste)

To marinate :-

  • 2 tbsp thick plain yogurt- I used soy yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon/lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2″ fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For tempering :-

  • 2 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with sunflower/vegetable/canola oil)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 Serrano chillies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt (to adjust)

Method :-

Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients listed for 20 minutes, refrigerated. Once ready to cook, take out the marinated chicken from the refrigerator & let sit on countertop.

In a thick bottomed, wide-mouthed pan, heat up the oil on high.If using mustard oil, heat it to a point when it’s slightly smoky.For other oils, heat up till you see ripples on the surface. Meanwhile, using a mortar & pestle, coarsely grind the coriander & cumin.Once the oil is heated, reduce the heat to medium & wait for 2 minutes. Add the mustard seeds & let them crackle.About 10-15 seconds. Also, add the chillies next & let them crisp up for another 10-15 seconds. Tip :- Be extra careful, mustard seeds & chillies splutter a lot when added to oil. 

Next, add the coarsely ground spices to the oil & stir for about 30-35 seconds or till you smell the aroma. Start adding marinated chicken 5-6 pieces at a time to the pan and  stir-fry over high heat for few minutes, tossing continuously.Repeat with another batch of chicken pieces. The idea is to lightly brown the outside of the chicken but still keep it juicy inside.Lower the heat once all the chicken has been added.Add the leftover marinade(if any) & stir frequently. Cook on low heat till the oil separates on the sides of the pan and the chicken is cooked. About 12-15 minutes. You can cover the pan for last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Adjust the salt, toss well and remove.Let sit covered for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or scallions, squeeze fresh lemon juice & serve hot.

Notes:-

  1. The cooking times will differ depending on the size of chicken pieces and the cut used. If using chicken breasts, the cooking time will be about 6-8 minutes for 2″ cubes.
  2. If you like dish less hot, de-seed the chillies before you mince them.

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Recipe for Mango Chicken Skewers

Joshua Trent Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes- just 2
  • Bell peppers, optional- just 1

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the spices, and lime juice. Immerse the chicken and mangoes in the mixture and marinate for 2-4 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare a hot grill, line the grill with a strip of foil on one end to prevent the bottom of the skewers from burning.
  3. Take the skewers and alternately place pieces of chicken, mango and peppers.
  4. Arrange the skewers evenly on the grill. Turn them once while cooking and cook until cooked through and nicely charred. 6-10 minutes. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Notes

You can marinate the mango with the chicken but if you’re marinating a while they may get mushy so feel free to leave them out.

Day 17

Blackened Salmon Sandwich with Homemade Aeoil and Arugula on Garlic Tuscan Bread

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So for those who know me, I have never been into seafood or fish. I figured it was about time I try to face my fear and make something for the blog. I guess if I want to keep working on my cooking, I’m going to need to like fish.

This salmon was… SO SO SO SO SO SO SO good. I’ve always loved a good aioli so drenching the salmon with it definitely helped. I was also surprised how spicy this blackened seasoning was, but it ended up being great. I used a homemade recipe for creole seasoning, which worked perfect.

There’s something fun about cooking salmon because it’s so pink and also really fragile. Once you cut into the salmon it flakes so nicely and you can really see how moist it is.

I’m going to have to try salmon again and explore seafood/fish more.

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Use Real Butter Recipe:

Ingredients

3 tbsps cajun or creole seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp paprika
dash of ground pepper
4 tbsps melted butter
4 pieces of salmon (about 3-4 ounces each)
sandwich buns (something soft)
arugula
aioli

Directions

Prepare your grill on high heat. Combine the cajun or creole seasoning with the thyme, paprika, and ground pepper in a shallow bowl. Place the butter in another shallow bowl. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and dip each piece in the melted butter to coat completely. Then dredge each piece through the spices, making sure to press the spices to any bare spots. Grill the salmon for 6-8 minutes over high flame, flipping once half-way through the cooking time (nominally around 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Set one piece of salmon on the bottom of a sandwich bun. Top with aioli, arugula, and the top of the sandwich bun. Serves 4.

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creole seasoning
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
3 tbsps black pepper
2 tsps white pepper
2 tsps cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dried oregano
1/4 cup dried thyme
2 tsps ground cumin
2 tbsps sugar

aioli
3 cloves garlic
1/2 -1 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Make the aioli: Peel the garlic cloves and mince. Gather the garlic into a little pile and pour the salt over it. With the flat of a sturdy knife blade, crush the salt into the garlic until you get a nice paste. Combine the paste in a bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk or beat the egg yolks together (you can also use a food processor), adding a few drops of olive oil at the start. Keep whisking and adding a little oil until it begins to thicken. While whisking/beating, pour half of the oil into the mixture in a slow and thin stream. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and continue whisking in the remaining oil until it reaches the desired consistency. Add more lemon juice and or salt to taste.

Day 15

Ginger Peach Peppermint Juleps

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My Thoughts

This was a quick little mixed drink. Once again, I needed a recipe that was suitable for my laziness.

I get an iced coffee every day that has peppermint in it, and I continue to enjoy the fresh taste of peppermint in this mixed drink as well.

Mixing and crushing the peppermint and peach with the liquor and then refrigerating before adding the ice and ginger ale does make a serious difference. It gives it a much fruitier taste.

I’ve also learned that Juleps are sweet flavored drinks that are made of sweet syrup and alcohol.. good to know?

Recipe Adapted from Dirty Gourmet
Ingredients

1/2 fresh ripe peach, sliced
10-14 fresh peppermint leaves
2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz peach schnapps
8 oz ginger ale (to fill, depending on your glass, you may have extra)
Ice

Directions

Toss the peaches and peppermint into a tall, chilled glass.

Pour in the bourbon and schnapps, then muddle together, bruising the mint and pressing some juice from the peaches. As mentioned above, you can also prepare this ahead.

Fill the glass with ice, then top off with ginger ale. Stir.

Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Day 12

Summer Cucumber Salad

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So I’ll admit it, I got really lazy today and decided I wasn’t in the mood to make anything too elaborate. We had a bunch of left over vegetables from our lake vacation and it just so happened this recipe made it so I wouldn’t have to go to the store.

The dressing was a very mild, but tasty white wine vinaigrette dressing. I also added some sunflower seeds on top because everyone likes them a lot at my house.

I think I’m tired of just cut up vegetables to eat with dinner, so I might have to keep making little fresh vegetable salads like this more often.

Recipe created by Epicurean Mom

Ingredients

For salad:

2 cucumbers, skin shaved and sliced in 1/2-inch slices

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped in 1-inch pieces

1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped in 1-inch pieces

3 scallions, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Edible flowers *Optional*

For Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Combine all dressing ingredients, stir well, set aside.

Place salad ingredients in a medium bowl, pour dressing and toss to coat.  Cover and place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day ahead.

Day 11

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Squeaky Clean Spinach & Stone-fruit Smoothie:

I know smoothies are pretty simple, but I figured I’d try something new, and it’s HOT this weekend. I’ve always been a little skeptical of putting spinach in smoothies and sort of get turned off by the dark green color of crazy healthy green smoothies. I have to say, it’s pretty good, and adds smoothness to a smoothie that I’m not used to.

Of course since there are five boys all under my age in this house, I had to make a few batches without spinach, which actually tasted pretty good too. Honestly, they’re just scared (as I was) of the dark green color.

Also, a good trick, that might seem sort of obvious with smoothies is to add ice after you’ve mixed all the other ingredients little by little. Makes for the perfect consistency.

Maybe I’d be more healthy if I made myself a fresh fruit smoothie with spinach every morning…

ImageIn Pursuit of More Recipe:

Ingredients

  • (2) fresh nectarines (can sub peaches or apricots, if using apricots up to 3-4)
  • (1) heaping cup frozen peaches
  • (1) large handful packed fresh spinach leaves
  • (1) banana
  • (1-1.5) cup mango juice (can also sub apricot, peach, or other yellow tropical combo)
  • (1) cup ice cubes (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until super smooth – about 1 minute minimum.

Depending on the strength of your blender, the time it takes to properly blend really varies.

Day 10

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto/Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip

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This was a fun one since no one in my family could decide if i should make the dip or the pesto. I decided to cut the recipe in half so that we could try each. I’d have to say my favorite of the two was the dip, because the white beans added a little extra flavor and just made more sense to eat with a chip.The pesto was great, just really thick and needed some extra salt.

I think the key with these recipes is to roast the red peppers fresh. This also kept the dip and sauce warm so extra cooking wasn’t necessary. I just roasted them the same way I did the brussel sprouts, with olive oil and a lot of salt and pepper. I included a picture up top of the red peppers after being roasted. I secretly just wanted to eat them like that.

I’ll ACTUALLY post pictures of the kitchen that I’m cooking in soon.

Girlichef Recipe:

Ingredients (serves 4-8)

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 c. walnuts
  • 4 roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 c. cooked (or canned) and drained cannellini beans
  • 1 c. fresh basil, optional
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times to break up any large pieces.

Add the roasted red peppers and basil and process, streaming in the oil as you go, until all the ingredients are well combined and as coarse or as smooth as you want them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately with crudités, crostini, or vegetable chips, or spread on sandwiches or toss with pasta.

Store in a covered airtight container in the fridge for a day or so, or freeze.

Day 9

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Salty Sweet Strawberry Crisp with Lazy Basil Ice Cream

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Wow, this dessert is seriously nailing it and it’s also amazing to be cooking in a beautiful kitchen at the house my family is renting on Canandaigua lake (will post pictures tomorrow).

Using Ritz crackers and almonds for the topping made for an unbelievable crunch. Additionally the strawberries get extremely hot and make for a gooey warm sauce that ends up boiling all over everything (AMAZING). I love the little ramekins I used to bake and dish the dessert. It makes for awesome presentation and easy/portioned eating.

Adding basil to soy ice cream made for an extremely fresh topping that ends up melting its way into the dessert as you eat. Also, out of everyone who tried the dessert, not one person noticed any difference in the taste of the soy ice cream. I guess basil and strawberry goo does the trick.

I’d have to say… Strawberries are definitely the most used ingredient so far in the blog. What can I say, they’re on sale at Wegmans and they’re amazing.

Salty Sweet Strawberry Crisp Ingredients

2 heaping cups hulled & diced fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on berries)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

15 Ritz crackers
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup raw almonds, finely chopped
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
pinch of coarse salt

Lazy Basil Ice Cream Ingredients

1 cup good vanilla ice cream
6-8 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 4 6-ounce ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet.

Toss strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Divide evenly among ramekins.

Using your hands, crumble crackers into roughly pea sized pieces a medium bowl. Add brown sugar, almonds, salt and melted butter. Toss together until damp and evenly mixed. Top ramekins with mixture.

Bake ramekins uncovered on foiled lined baking sheet at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and top is browned.

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve the crisps, remove ice cream container from freezer and sit at room temp to soften. Roll basil leaves into a cigar-shape and slice finely (aka chiffonade), then chop finely into small pieces. Scoop about 1 cup of softened ice cream into a small bowl and fold in basil with a spatula. Serve immediately over warm strawberry crisps.

To make ahead: You can bake the crisp several hours ahead of time. Cool, then keep loosely covered at room temperature. (I don’t recommend refrigerating, as the topping will get soggy.) Reheat at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until warm.

Day 5

Gazpacho

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So to be honest, I least enjoyed the taste of this recipe. I think my problem is with Gazpacho in general. It tastes a little too similar to salsa, so I feel like I’m eating salsa as soup, which is just a little alarming. Although, with some added croutons, the soup tastes nice and refreshing. All of the fresh vegetables would also make an awesome salsa.

Everyone in the family got to taste the Gazpacho tonight, which was awesome. It’s nice to hear everyone’s feedback, and everyone seemed to like this recipe.

We didn’t have a food processor that was working, but small amounts of the vegetables in a blender on the chop setting worked just fine. I also loved the taste of the white wine vinegar, after buying a whole jar of it I’ll have to find another recipe that uses it.

Food Network Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.