Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maple Glazed Rosemary Sweet Potatoes - just in time for Thanksgiving!

Brrrr! There has been a significant weather change since my last post!! I am not prepared for my first Northern Ohio winter..and today they are calling for 5 inches of snow! It's my birthday and the timing of the storm before Thanksgiving could not be more ill timed. I'm hoping the weather, in typical Ohio fashion, will just spit and not bury the town tonight - so fingers crossed.

This year I claimed sweet potatoes to be my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast we celebrate every year at my aunt's house. I've decided to change it up from the pecan and brown sugar crusted dish we've become accustomed to. This year, I am making maple glazed rosemary sweet potatoes.

It's a new twist on an old dish. Here's all you'll need:

  • 5 Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 Sprig of Rosemary
  • 1 Head of Garlic (about 12 cloves), 2 minced cloves
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Chop your tubers up and place in a microwave safe dish with the whole heads of garlic. Toss in olive oil and microwave for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant.

Season with salt and pepper, add your shallots, toss again in oil and microwave for three more minutes.

While your potatoes microwave, mix together the rest of the ingredients into a sweet and tangy rosemary sauce. Pour some over the potatoes when they are done and toss again to cover all the potatoes evenly.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes and pour over the rest of the sauce after about 20 minutes.

Serve, and enjoy!!

I served mine alongside brussels parmyere (recipe to come!) and chicken with homemade gravy and stuffing.

This was my little "practice run" for Thanksgiving, so I'm going to be improving upon both of these recipes this week by adding Purple Japanese sweet potatoes and organic maple syrup straight from the tree - I can't wait to make them again, SO MUCH YUM. WOW.

Recipe TL;DR
Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

Preheat Oven to 425 F

  1. Begin by chopping your potatoes into cubes and placing them into a bowl with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 12 cloves of garlic. Cover bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. Season sweet potatoes with salt and pepper, add sliced shallots, toss again with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and microwave for an additional 3 minutes or until garlic and shallots are fragrant.
  3. Mix together rosemary, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and pour half of the sauce over the sweet potatoes when they are still in the bowl after coming out of the microwave. 
  4. Pour sweet potatoes on a greased cooking sheet and place into preheated oven for 20-22 minutes.
  5. At the midway point, flip potatoes and scrape up sticky brown bits and add to the bowl with the rest of the rosemary maple sauce. Stir and pour mixture over the sweet potatoes, and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until browned. 
  6. Serve immediately as a highlight of your Thanksgiving meal!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Angry Orchard Pork Chops

Hard cider is easily my drink of choice. I've never really been keen on beer and have always leaned towards the sweet stuff. Once I discovered the deliciousness that is Angry Orchard, beer was even less enticing. With hard ciders, beer quickly dropped to the bottom of my list of drinks to order at a bar. Angry Orchard on tap? It's a done deal.

I wanted to experiment with my new love of hard ciders. Try something different for a change. I had some pork chops laying around and decided it was the perfect time to mix two of my favorite things! I ended up with a sweet and savory gravy and lightly breaded chops. MmmmMmmMMM!

Welcome to my experimental side ;)

Dat Ingredient List:

  • Pork chops, boneless
  • 1 Bottle Angry Orchard (or similar hard cider)
  • 2 Teaspoons Rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon Sage
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • Salt & Pepper
You Ready?

Soak your pork chops in hard cider at room temperature for about 45 minutes

While your pork soaks, mix together your flour, paprika, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper and pulse gently in a blender until a soft powder forms. Reserve 1/4 - 1/2 cup for gravy.

Take the chops from the cider, letting the excess drip off, then place directly into the flour mix. Coat evenly on both sides.

In a medium pan, heat a touch of oil and sear chops on both sides until a brown crispy crust forms.

While the chops cook, mix together 1/2 of the Angry Orchard with garlic and then drink the rest of that cider! 

Bring to a boil and then add your brown sugar.

Slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, add the remaining half cup of your flour mixture until your gravy begins to thicken. Stir constantly!

Once your gravy is done, it will look almost like caramel...except with a garlic twist!

Serve alongside some beer battered onion rings and a pasta medley! Awwww yeeeeeahhhh

Recipe TL;DR:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

  1. Begin by soaking your chops in hard cider for a good 30 minutes - ideally your chops should be room temperature when they are ready to be cooked.
  2. Mix together flour, paprika, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper, and pulse in a small blender or Magic Bullet until it become a fine powder. Set aside 1/4 to 1/2 cup for use in gravy.
  3. Coat each chop with the flour mixture as you heat a small amount of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Cook the chops on each side until a thick, golden brown crust forms - about 4 minutes per side.
  4. As your chops brown, in a separate pan add your garlic and Angry Orchard. All to simmer for a few minutes, add the brown sugar and bring to a boil.
  5. While constantly stirring, add the flour mix to the boiling cider very slowly!! About 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce thickens.
  6. Immediately serve chops with a ladle of gravy. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Garlicky Potato Fries with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

It's been a while since my last post! Luckily, I have a pretty good excuse...I actually got a job!! After graduating this past May, and moving to a new part of the state, I experienced several months without a job and it was during those long boring weeks that I worked on my blog the most. But now that I work 40 hours a week, often late into the evening, not only has my blogging suffered, but so has my frequency of being able to prepare a meal that requires much prep work. The past month or so I've enjoyed being able to spend my days off relaxing and doing mindless (but entertaining) things like Redditing or playing SimCity...

Nevertheless, I still documented the meals I did have time to make the past few weeks, so I have quite a little collection to share. Now that I feel like I've caught up on my rest, I'm going to try to churn these posts out as fast as I can! Too bad after today I won't have another day off until next week. So we'll see.


One of my favorite things to make - and I'm like, 98% sure these are the reason my boyfriend loves me so much - are garlicky potato fries! These fries really pack a punch of heat and flavor. And accompanied by the cilantro lime dipping sauce, they are a serious contender to be my favorite side dish.

They're super easy, here's all you need! 

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yields: About 3 Servings 
  • 4-5 medium sized potatoes - Red skinned are my favorite, but any potatoes you might have laying around will do.
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
For the Sauce:
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 5 Tablespoons Lime juice or 1/2 of a juiced lime
  • Freshly Chopped Cilantro

Off We GO!

Chop your potatoes into medium cubes. 

Add your chopped garlic to a bowl with olive oil and microwave until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Then add your chopped potatoes to the bowl, toss gently to coat with the garlic oil and microwave, covered, for about 6 minutes. The edges of the potatoes should be starting to turn slightly translucent.

While you wait for your potatoes to 'precook' mix together your spices! Do not add any salt or pepper..yet.

After you rush to turn off the microwave before it hits :00, pour your spice mix over the potatoes and make sure to distribute it evenly. Then add the salt and pepper right before pouring them onto a cooking sheet.

Grease a pan and spread out the potatoes in a single layer, then set them to cook for 15-18 minutes.

At the half way point, take out the pan and flip those taters!!

ProTip: These potatoes will increase your chances of getting laid.

Serve alongside the cilantro lime dipping sauce. Allow the flavors to sink into your taste buds. Savor it and smile, you've just made the best oven fries of all time.

Recipe TL;DR:
Preheat Oven to 440 F
  1. Chop your potatoes into medium sized cubes. Not so big they will take a long time to cook fully, but not so small they will burn.
  2. Pour olive oil into a medium sized bowl and add your chopped garlic (or garlic powder if you're out of fresh garlic) and microwave until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add your potatoes to the bowl with the garlic oil, cover and toss gently to coat the potatoes, then keep covered and microwave 5-7 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes are just becoming translucent.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the corn starch, paprika, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Pour over potatoes when finished in the microwave and shake to distribute evenly.
  5. Grease a cookie sheet and spread the potatoes over it in a single layer. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes then flip the potatoes to prevent burning on one side, and set to cook for another 20 minutes.
  7. While your potato fries are baking, stir your sour cream and add in your lime juice. Not stirring your sour cream before adding the lime will cause your sour cream to curdle! Then add in your cilantro.
  8. When the fries are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Prepare for your dinner guests to fall madly in love with you. 
  10. Serve with dipping sauce, and enjoy!

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Tempura Shrimp to Make You Drool More than Bubba

Have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant (or one of those edgy Chinese restaurants that serves Japanese  cuisine too because we Americans are too dumb to realize there's a difference between them?) and gotten the ever so delicious, lightly breaded, and ever so crispy tempura shrimp? Have you ever gone home and tried to make it for yourself, only to realize that you have no idea how so you just throw a pizza in the oven instead and cry a little because you don't really know how easy cooking can be? Well, that was me not too long ago. But thankfully, over the course of a few years, I was able to turn that frown upside down because cooking tempura shrimp from scratch is waaaay easier than you think it is!

The boyfriend and I watched Forrest Gump the other day and by the end of it, all we wanted to eat was shrimp! 

"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it...Dey's uhh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo...Pan friend, deep fried, stir fried...There's pinapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger shrimp sandwich...
That - that's about it."
~ Bubba

If that scene alone doesn't make you want some shrimp, then there must be something wrong with you.

As anyone who follows this blog would know, I have been on this insatiable "Asian Kick" lately where pretty much every. single. post. has pretty much been some sort of ethnic inspired meal. Today's is no different. Now that I was craving some Bubba Gump shrimp, I had to put my own twist on it. There's this amazing Pad Thai place by my house that serves these incredible tempura shrimp poppers - they are so sweet and crispy, my mouth is watering just thinking about them! I wanted to create my own little rendition of those in hopes to satisfy my need for shrimp AND Asian cuisine.

And guess what. It did.

It was shockingly simple to make too. When I first began looking up recipes, I thought: "There's no way that's all there is to this! Where's the complicated steps it takes to get this perfectly crispy breading I've been craving!?" But truth be told, the "secret" is in the ice. 

Allow Me to Explain:


  • 1/2 lb shrimp, shell removed, tail on
  • 1 Egg (not pictured...ooooops!), whisked
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Starch
  • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar (or honey or sugar)
  • 2 Cups ICE COLD water
  • 3 Cups Oil, for frying

It's So Easy, I Only Took Four Pictures:

Mix together the flour, ice water, egg, agave nectar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. The mixture should be clumpy, so don't bother trying to get a smooth blend. In fact, you don't even have to fully blend it. Some unmixed flour on top is perfectly acceptable. The key here is for the batter to be extremely cold. The difference in the temperature of the batter and the oil is what makes the final result so light and crispy! If you don't feel confident your batter is cold enough, add more ice cubes - but remember, as the ice melts, your batter will become more liquidy and won't stick to the shrimp as well. If you add more ice, add another tablespoon of flour per ice cube to counteract runny batter.

Coat your shrimpies in the corn starch. Doing this will help the batter adhere to the shrimp.

Dip the shrimp in the batter several times to get a nice coating, allowing the excess to drip off.

Then quickly move the freshly battered shrimp to your pot of oil. Allow to fry for approximately 1-3 minutes, but keep your eye on them! They will burn very fast! As a rule of thumb, remember the more shrimp you cook at once, the cooler the oil will be. I recommend doing 3 at a time and taking a minute between removing them all to allow the oil to return to the proper temperature (which most recipes recommend to be 335 F). I cooked mine over medium high heat and they each took about minute to a minute and thirty seconds to finish. Also be sure to remove any drippings from the oil between batches as well or else they will burn and taint the flavor of the oil! No one likes burn flavored batter!

Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up and excess oil.

Right Brain Needs a Break? Try Some Left Brained Instructions:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1-3 minutes per shrimp
  1. Devein and depoop (that's what that dirt line is folks) your shrimp. Remove the shells but leave the tails intact.
  2. Mix together flour, egg, baking powder, salt, agave nectar, and ice water into a clumpy batter. If your batter is too thin, it will not stick to your shrimp.
  3. Drip shrimp into batter several times to get a nice coating, allowing excess to drip off. Immediately transfer to hot oil. Only fry 3 or 4 shrimp at a time, adding more will cause the oil temp to drop too low.
  4. Allow shrimp to fry for 1-3 minutes, watching carefully to insure they do not burn. 
  5. Transfer to plate with a paper towel covering it to soak up any remaining oil. Repeat steps with remainder of shrimp. Serve immediately!
And that's it! If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can make a tentsuyu dipping sauce - which is traditional with tempura meals. Buuuut if you're like me and don't always have dashi, mirin, or daikon lying around, a simple mix of soy sauce and brown sugar will suffice!

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