the perfect marriage – ham and citrus

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas! I spent the day cooking and lazy-ing around with my husband 🙂 We got each other, what I thought, the same amount of gifts… until he showed me a huge box behind the couch. It was a new keyboard (as in…piano. Yes, I’ve been known to tickle the ivories every now and again. He also got me a Rachael Ray, Make Your Own Take Out recipe card collection. OMG, best gift ever. Future entries with recipes coming soon!

We spent Christmas with our pups, in the kitchen, mostly. After a biscuits and sausage gravy breakfast, we spent the rest of the late morning making a ham, mashed potatoes (a heated debate over smashed or mashed was brewing but I squashed it and compromised – we had his pick- mashed) & green bean casserole.

For some reason whenever I make chicken, cornish hens, turkey or whatever… I have this compulsive disorder to always put citrus on it or in it. I am kind of obsessed with citrus on poultry, for sure. Well, maybe obsessed with adding citrus to pretty much anything, really. But, I thought oh, what the hell… I have some tangerines and oranges… let’s put them on the ham! I melted together butter, honey dijon mustard, orange marmalade, cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, maple syrup and that was our glaze. We bought the ham that came with a glaze in a bag but that suspiciously ended up in the garbage..?.
The sliced orange and tangerines were laid atop the pig and foil was wrapped to keep it moist. SO GOOD. The citrusy-buttery-maple flavors penetrated the meat and it was deliiiiiiish. I wasnt sure how it was going to turn out, with it looking a little ridiculous with sliced oranges and everything on it, too.


The mashed potatoes were crap because I bought the wrong taters and I probably put too much sour cream in them. There is a certain potato for mashed and Yukon Golds just weren’t cutting it for me. I like red and russets. They always seem to yield thicker and creamier mashed taters.
The green bean casserole was another hubs request and we couldnt make it without fresh green beans… it is like 3000 times better than using canned beans. Using canned is now banned.

Last night I made yogurt-marinated lamb gyros on naan. Have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE naan on my blog, yet? Love.
I like pita bread buuuuut, naan is seriously yummier.

And after that triumph, I whipped up some jumbo orange-cinnamon cupcakes with cool whip. 🙂 With the help of Pillsbury yellow cake mix, I added 1/2 cup creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon orange extract, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
…and I quote my husband from last night, “I love being married,” as I shoved a cupcake in his mouth while he was crouched on the ground, slaving over a put-it-together-yourself-IKEA shelf. 🙂

Wishing the few c-food readers a safe and happy 2010!

…enjoy your New Years!

merry cherry tarts

I can’t possibly describe in typing… or blogging, for that matter… the extreme happiness I feel due to us *finally* having a working stove. Our move has been trying but the most agonizing thing has to be that for almost the past 2 weeks we have been committing crimes. Eating out. Literally.. every… single.. night. EXCEPT the last 2 nights! Yes! Hallelujah!!
We were without proper nutrients for like… 12 days. We had no fridge or stove (OR MICROWAVE) and our tummies were forced into empty calories and frequent bathroom visits. I am still recuperating.

Now all that’s over. Let the cooking & baking commence!

Well, first off Merry freakin’ Christmas!!! Like I said, I love this time of year. Its just…fun. 🙂
I made these little cheesecake tarts for my coworkers. (Who am I kidding..?.. )
My mom has made these before and I am pretty sure they were more like mini cheesecakes and probably better. But a couple days ago I was browsing recipes for cheesecakes and wanted to make tarts that were no-bake. ..since, do I have to even mention?.. the whole no oven debacle. I found a few recipes but they were for no-bake cheesecakes. Whatever. I used one of the recipes, to only throw it out the window and make THESE:

Right!? …aaaand one more, what the hell…


Well… I guess they make BAKED cheesecake tarts for a reason. Because when you slide your spoon into these, what you essentially scoop out is: goopy, droopy cheesecake yummy-ness. Its not a thick & creamy, cheesecake consistency… more like… cheesecake pudding tarts. 🙂 Either way, so delish. Who cares.

Merry Cherry Cheesecake Pudding Tarts
Filling
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 21 oz. can cherry pie filling

Graham cracker crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (look in the baking aisle. this was news to me – i had grabbed graham crackers!)
1/3 cup melted butter/margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine crumbs and butter just until combined. Line 10 aluminum cups in a muffin pan. Lightly coat cups with nonstick baking spray. Press graham cracker crust into bottom of cups and bake in oven for 8 minutes. Place in refrigerator just to cool, about 5 minutes. Pour in cheesecake filling just a smidge (cookbook writing in my future? I think so!) over 1/2 way full, make sure you leave room for the cherry filling. Cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. I left mine in overnight. Didn’t really make a difference, though.
Spoon cherry pie filling over tarts.. more like.. GLOB cherry pie filling over tarts.

..and, I think she’ll agree, this post could not have come at a better time. Enjoy your birthdays – Happy Birthday Brandy!

Merry Christmas & ENJOY your tarts!

C

m.i.a

I am here food blog. Just…not.. We are moving and life has been crazy busy and stressful and I am wrecked today and sore from painting all weekend and I have blister on my hands 😦 Wah, wah wah!

We have been eating randomly and nothing great except a nice restaurant we went to in Lake Worth on Saturday tooootally made that crazy day worth it. It was an unexpected great lunch, actually. We thought it was going to be a take-out seafood kinda place but it is quite the contrary! The place is Fritter’s. And I can tell from the menu, whoever dreamed up that joint…def. went to culinary school because it’s all about the sauces there. We ordered a fritter sampler as an appetizer, which boasts 6 fritters of your choice. You can choose from conch, crab, shrimp, corn.. We opted for corn and crab, served with a side of honey and a lime-cilantro sauce for the crab. We also shared the shrimp po-boy and that came with a side sauce that I cannot remember right now but it wasn’t a traditional remoulade. Just a delightful little lunch… makes me happy to think about it now 😀

Good news? We have access to ..not one… but TWO Rita’s near our new place.

texas and french braises

Like I promised, our trip to Texas was spent stuffing our faces. Literally. Since it was Thanksgiving and all, that day was definitely a given. The others.. well.. the only thing I can say is, if you’ve been.. you know exactly what I am talking about when I say there is a restaurant every 50 feet.

We dug right in once our plane landed. Straight to my dad’s fiancee’s house to eat her mom’s Duck/Dove Gumbo. (HELLO!!?) I am not the world’s biggest fan of duck… or dove, I guess… We made duck confit at school and I hate it. The fattiest, gamiest (?) piece of food ever. And when they mentioned it was on the menu, I was wishing we had stopped at Whataburger on our way from the airport. I was honest though, and told her it was not my fav. Little did I know it was going to be the most yummy gumbo I have ever had. Minus the tiny bone my dad almost choked on. 😦
Apparently rice goes on top. I opted for the bottom. I failed.

Thanksgiving was great. Big, perfectly golden brown turkey, homemade dressing… I even got up somewhat early to make a pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and homemade cranberry sauce and I had to be in charge of the taters. The night before I somehow got conned into making mini blueberry pies and a cherry pie…. mind you, this was right after we endured the worst 2 hour flight of my life and eaten gumbo. 🙂

Friday I had to get a Shipley’s kolache and a glazed. I always get a sausage & cheese and a jalapeno, sausage & cheese kolache. For the foreigners, a Texas kolache is like a corn dog of sorts… minus the stick and instead of cornmeal, donut dough. So delish. I could eat like… a whole box. 🙂

That evening I had to get my Tex-Mex fix. Now, there’s really only one other restaurant I would’ve liked to have gone.. but didn’t because Lupe Tortilla is just too damn good. Pappasito’s is a favorite buuuuuut, they have them in Atlanta, so I wasn’t that hyper about getting there. Lupe Tortilla has the best fajitas. Ever. The end.

Saturday was authentic, amazing, smoky bbq from Goode BBQ. ugh! Cannot live in this world without it. I had this, a stuffed, loaded baked potato with sliced smoked turkey and smothered in bbq sauce

Saturday my brother cooked dinner for us and Sunday was my traditional farewell lunch at Humble City Cafe. I get the same thing… every. single. time. Chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes & green beans. Yum. Loved every bit of it.

So now onto more important matters. I made white wine coq au vin and ‘true’ chili verde last week that I need to blog about!!!

I am pretty sure I missed the day we made coq au vin in my first quarter cooking class. I think it was my birthday or something….. So I guess they made traditional coq au vin and I was totally sleeping or partying or whatever. I broke out my dutch oven and didn’t stop cooking until 9:00…p.m. Which is very late for me. Dinner is served no later than 6… and if it is, I am grumpy. Shayne bought me a stews & braises cookbook and it has been nothing less of AWESOME. The recipes are surprisingly easy and do not require mad ingredients. Braises and Stews: Everyday Slow-Cooked Recipes.

Coq au vin is kinda like the beef burgundy, except no beef and this was a white wine coq au vin. I would’ve probably liked the burgundy a bit more buuuut… nevertheless, this dish was excellent. Very comforting on a cold night. IF we had those here. 😦 It requires layering of flavors, which I love. Searing the meat.. infusing the oil.. all that yummy stuff that pays off big in the end. Once again…. the photo is from my phone 😦


Next? Chili verde, same cookbook. Very easy… 4 cans of green chilis, one onion diced, 3 cups chicken broth, 1 lb. pork shoulder for stew, 1 cup chopped cilantro, 2 garlic cloves chopped, olive oil and a dutch oven. In the dutch oven – sear the pork until golden brown on both sides, remove from pan and set aside. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chicken broth, chilis, cilantro and add pork and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until pork is tender, 1.5 hours. Easy. Kind of….waiting for it to come out of the oven is the hard part. Get some snacks! 🙂 Serve with sliced avocado, lime wedge and warm corn tortilla. DELISH!

enjoy your meals!