Monday, April 30, 2007

Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sandwiches

My sandwiches didn't win, but since they made the finals and I thought they were pretty tasty, I thought I'd share the recipe :=). This way you won't have to wait until the recipe is published in the Sac Bee 2008 recipe book. If you try them, let me know what you think.

The smokiness of the chipotle combined with the sweetness of the strawberries, make for a great spring sandwich!

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ c. seedless strawberry jam
¼ c. tequila (optional)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice & zest from one lime (optional)
1-2 pints fresh, cored strawberries
1 c. chicken broth
cooking spray
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
Romaine lettuce
Thinly sliced red onions
6 sandwich rolls, split, buttered and toasted

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add onions and sauté until soft. In food processor, combine chipotle peppers, jam, tequila, lime juice and zest, chicken broth and ½ the fresh strawberries. Blend until smooth. Add to saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Put ½ the sauce aside and use the remainder to baste chicken.

Spray chicken with cooking spray. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill 5 minutes on one side. Turn and baste with sauce. Grill another 4 minutes , turn, coat with sauce and grill another 3 minutes.

Slice remaining strawberries. Slice grilled chicken at an angle.

To assemble sandwich, layer sliced strawberries and chicken on roll. Drizzle sauce on chicken and then top with sliced red onion and lettuce.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

From the Ashes, A Grill

Craig has repaired our gas grill! व्हिले I love the flavor from charcoal, it's nice to be able to grill a quick chicken breast without waiting 20 minutes for coals। Here's his description:

Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, my grill is back! I replaced the heat shield, ceramic coals, handle, and re-attached the front panel. The project cost me around $50 - which is hundreds less than buying a new grill! My grill turns 8-years old this Father's Day. Hopefully I'll get another 8-years out of it now. All I need is propane, which we'll be buying tomorrow. ....and it could use a bath. I drilled two holes in the front panel and used tie-wraps to reattached it to the grill frame. Added a new heat shield and ceramic coals. My dad made the handle for me.

The old heat shield, or what was left of it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Verrines: Next Big Thing or Passing Fad

Lately I've become obsessed with researching verrines. Apparently they are very popular in France right now. After spending too much time surfing the web for information, I now realize there's not much out there abut them. There's not even a Wikipedia definition for verrines. Most articles I came across refer back to the LA Times article by Betty Hallock, Layered luxury in a glass.

So what are verrines? They are layers of food served in individual glasses. In some ways, a fancy parfait. Each layer is distinct but easily complements and blends with the other layers. They can be appetizers or desserts. They can be savory or sweet.

They seem to be the "in" g in LA's finest restaurants. What a great way to serve a little bit of food at an outrageous cost to people who don't really eat anyway? :-)

Since I'm more of a margaritas and mexican food girl, the recipes I found feature French layers, didn't really appeal to me. I think I'll try my own version this weekend. Stay Tuned.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's Artichoke Season!

Yesterday I bought 2 jumbo artichokes. I am thinking that artichokes are the perfect convenience food. There easy to prepare and filling. I've been surfing the web looking for a good recipe. Some of the stuffed recipes look delicious. Maybe I'll try one over the weekend. But tonight, I'm just going to keep it simple. I have a Cookie Lee party to go to tonight.

I'm just going to microwave the artichokes for about 8-10 minutes and serve them with melted butter for me and mayonnaise for Craig.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Strawberry Festival

Here's a nice article from the Sacramento Bee about the Strawberry Festival Recipe contest. I didn't win, but at least the writer thought my sandwiches were delicious :-). The winning recipe does sound delicious. The winner had donated beautiful cookies for our gift bags. Mine was delicious.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Chipotle Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes

I had an open can of chipotle peppers and a chocolate cake mix, so I thought I'd give Vanilla Garlic's Chipotle Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcake recipe a try. Wow, surprisingly yummy. It reminded me of a chocolate hot tamale candy. Definitely not something I would have thought of on my own. The only thing I changed was I added some vanilla extract to help detract from the cake mix taste. I'll post a picture later.

Grilled Flank Steak Crostini with Greens

Of the many things in life I love, two are finding a good deal at the store and the recipes from Easy Entertaining by Michael Chiarello. So imagine how happy I was when I found a flank steak at Safeway at 50% off AND used it in one of Michael's recipe! I figure the meal cost us less than $8. Less time and money than a trip to McDonald's. Here's the recipe:

Grilled Flank Steak Crostini with Greens
1 flank steak
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
12 cups greens, such as mustard, chard or spinach, washed ( I use spinach)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Hot sauce, optional
1 baguette, sliced on the bias into long thin slices

Bring the flank steak to room temperature.
Prepare an outdoor grill or preheat a stovetop grill pan.
Season both sides of the steak with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on 1 side of the meat and lightly rub it in.
Sprinkle half of the oregano on top and place the steak on the grill, herb side up.
Grill on 1 side for about 5 minutes or until the juices of the meat come to the surface of the steak. Turn the steak once and continue cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until done to your taste. Let rest for a few minutes.
Meanwhile: In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute, or until light brown. Add the greens and toss occasionally.
After about 3 minutes, the greens will have cooked down. Season with a large pinch of salt and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Cook another 3 minutes. Splash greens with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and hot sauce, to taste, if using. Transfer the greens to a plate.
For the crostini: Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the slices on the grill or grill pan and cook until crispy, about 1 minute on each side.
Cut the flank steak across the grain in 1/4-inch slices. Place a slice of steak on top of each crostini, top each with the greens and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and hot sauce, as desired. Can be served warm or at room temperature

This is one of the easiest recipes I've tried from his show. Craig and I working together can have it on the table in less than 20 minutes. One thing we noticed with this recipe is that the flank steak, spinach and bread by themslves are a bit blah. But put them together with a little olive oil and you have one outstanding meal.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Welcome to Our Blog

This is a first for us. Neither Craig or I have ever blogged. However, for many years we have taken pictures of our food creations and shared them with our friends and family. It was an eye opener for me when I met Cakegrrl at the Roseville Strawberry Festival and found her blog. She iinspired me to give my own blog a try.

Her blog is at Cakegrll's Cakery. Great site, fun to read and lots of pictures. Check out her award-winning recipe for Strawberry Avocado.

She's got some great links to other great foodie sites, including Vanilla Garlic. I don't know if I'll ever make any of his cupcake recipes, but I love looking at the pictures.!