Mad Scientist at Work…

Japanese BeefEveryone has that friend – the one who might be just a little bit crazy? Well for me, that friend is James. And he’s commonly referred to as the Mad Scientist of the group, for his random thoughts that he puts into action. This time around, he was sent a photo from a friend of his of some delicious looking concoction, and he said, let’s make that! Well, the deliciousness you see above is what the result was! At the top, is a mix of baby bell peppers, onions and garlic with spice and a little bit of apple cider vinegar. The middle is a chuck roast, cut thin, seared and broiled after being marinated with spices, garlic, red wine and a spicy pepper oil. A simple coleslaw is at the bottom and at the bottom on the right is a shitake onion blend that was tangy and delicious. I would offer the recipe, but to be honest – I was more of a sous chef than having anything to do with the actual preparation. In the end – this didn’t really look like the dish that was the inspiration, but it was still ridiculously delicious! 

On a side note, have you ever seen those infomercials where they so very much over react that you just look at them and shake your head in disbelief? I saw one of those today, for this new bag that “bakes” potatoes in your microwave in just four minutes! Because 45 minutes in the oven is just too much. This is not the first mini infomercial that I’ve seen that drove me nuts. What are your thoughts?

 

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Must Love Garlic

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To live in my house, you must love garlic. And in this case, lemon. My adventurous side came out and I decided to exercise my “portion control” by virtually steaming chicken thighs in lemon juice. That is, after it seared in garlic oil. Yum. And then served it with a monstrous salad with minimal dressing. When everything tastes good solo, it barely needs to be a dressed up.

This is so simple:

Chicken thighs

2 Lemons Sliced into thin halves

5-7 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

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Salt, Pepper

Olive oil (about a tablespoon)

Pan with a lid

Put the olive oil in a hot pan (medium heat), warm it up for a second and add the garlic. Let it go until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. And longer and it will burn. Salt and pepper one side of your chicken to taste, then put in the pan seasoned side down and season the other side. Sear for a couple minutes – chicken thighs are typically thin and cook quick. After a couple minutes, flip, add in your lemon slices, and cover. Turn heat to medium-low. Let cook for about five minutes and flip. Cook about another 6-7 minutes covered. your lemon juice should be fragrant and seeping out into the pan to boil. Take the cover off and check. If needed, keep the cover off and cook for one to two minutes more to finish.

Serve with a ginormous salad. Remember protein should only be the size of your fist to be a proper portion! My salad had tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, a pinch of sea salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious. And less than thirty minutes.

 

Chorizo and Kale Pasta

Dinner last night was something I’ve never tried before. Pasta! Just kidding. Well, not really. It was pasta, it was just pasta with chorizo and kale…and tomatoes, onion, garlic and cheese. It was pretty good. Though I’m not sure it’s something I’ll do again. It was kind of bland. And unfortunately because of my lack of experience with kale, I wasn’t sure how to make it better.

I had made baked kale chips the other night and they were delicious – like I ate half of what I made in one sitting before realizing I wanted a couple for lunch the next day. And that was just oil and salt. I wonder if the baking did something to them that the cooking in a pan did not? The chips were a little sweet, had a really good flavor and the salt brought out the flavor even more. The kale from my pasta didn’t have a whole lot of flavor. I kind of felt like Thumper trudging through the greens to get to the chorizo and cheese. Sad day. Oh well, it was edible, and everyone has to screw up sometimes!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Oh yeah, and I’ve become a fan of Instagram. You can follow me at jennmontgomery.

Going Green…

When the hunny is away, the wife will…

Eat salad!

My hunny doesn’t like veggies. Not one little bit. There are a couple that I can get him to eat. Corn, if it’s on the cob, broccoli if it’s only a couple ”trees,” sweet potatoes, if they are fries. Salad, but only when doused in ranch or it’s a caesar with no cheese and minimal croutouns. Just a salad for dinner? No meat or only a small amount of chicken? For-get-about-it. And of course, he has the metabolism of a 12-year-old, so he can get away with it. Sometimes I hate that fact.

So since he’s off doing what he does, I can have a salad for dinner. I’m trying to watch what I eat and not just be on a “see-food” diet, so salad is a good thing. What’s I’ve found though, is that a lot of people who try diets hate salad. But they have this crazy idea in their head that salad is some lettuce and some dressing. And that it’s boring and tasteless and miserable to eat. But one of my favorite things is that you can mix salad with anything. Whatever kind of great flavors you like, it can go in a salad. It doesn’t just have to be tomatoes and croutons.

My salad tonight was a smorgasbord of yummy goodness. I actually made too much, and I’m hoping it will keep in my fridge for a couple days so I can enjoy it again. My salad started out with a mix of romaine lettuce and iceberg lettuce. I like crunchy leaves, but a lot of people like the spicy crispness of arugula. Then some tomatoes went in, followed by dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, bleu cheese, carrots, pecans, and some crumbled bacon. Though not very good all by it’s lonesome, one or two slices of crispy bacon crumbled into a salad adds a nice saltiness and crunch. Everything in moderation people.

So then my salad was topped by avocado (yes, a whole one; I like the green stuff), and grilled (on my George Foreman Grill) chicken breast that was spiced with garlic and some red pepper and black pepper and onion spices. Finally, I took some of the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt, black pepper, and oregano, mixed it with olive oil, and tossed the salad in a bag so that it was evenly coated. Served with a little bitty biscuit, and I’m a happy girl.

The moral of the story is that a salad doesn’t have to be boring. Mine was bright and vibrant and crunchy and delicious. If you like the flavor of something solo, there is a good chance it could be incorporated into a salad somehow. Ask me, I’ll tell you how.

Birthday Goodies

Yesterday was my birthday… the big 23! Not one of those get down and crazy birthdays, but one of my best friends came over for dinner, and that was just fine for me. Not everything has to be extravagant, right?

I decided that I wanted to make dinner on my birthday. Confused mom a little bit. But I like to cook, and I don’t get to do it a lot anymore, so it was a treat for me.

I started off making a Berry Coffee Cake. Now, what I haven’t told you yet, was that this was the second try on this cake. I made it a couple days ago and much to my dismay and frustration, it came out way undercooked. I followed the instructions, may have added a little too much liquid, and the cooking time just wasn’t adequate. Teach me to just eyeball amounts when baking.

What’s cool about this coffee cake is that even though it’s light and fluffy (when you cook it right), and tastes like it should be utterly fat-filled and unhealthy, it came out of a fantastic new cookbook by Marlene Koch, called Eat What You Love. She takes every day recipes that people love (it’s a book filled with comfort food) and makes it healthy. What’s super cool about this cookbook is that she doesn’t substitute flavor for calories. There’s even a paragraph in which she goes into detail about how if substituting a “low-fat” versus “non-fat” item will decrease the level of flavor, she’ll opt for “low-fat.” I like this lady. Thank you Grandpa for introducing me to my new favorite cookbook!

Anyway, I had the first piece with my coffee this morning, and it was delectable and believe it or not, filling! Score for low calorie items! I’ve put in the bibliography and the recipe on the appropriate pages for your cooking pleasure.

And on to dinner. Once again editing one of my favorites, I made a creamy version of my Medling. And since the recipe was requested by my best friend, here it is… Mom said it was a little too spicy for her tastes, but she ate her portion worth, which means it was good enough to overcome the spiciness. The difference here is that I added artichoke hearts, a little bit of parmesan cheese (freshly grated of course) and more sauce than I normally would. Let’s just say there was more goodies than pasta and I was totally OK with that. And of course, I made my favorite garlic bread to go with it. Like I would have it any other way with my obsession for garlic.

Oh yeah, and thanks dad for cleaning up the disaster I made in the kitchen. I really need to learn how to be a cleaner cook. Though it’s not quite as much fun that way…

Accidentally Amazing

Why is it, that every time I make something that is absolutely to die for delicious, it’s completely on accident?

So this concoction was made solely so that I could get rid of some of the veggies that I had stocked in the fridge before they went bad. The end result was accidentally amazing.

Pasta – check. Asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, bell pepper and garlic, all chopped to about the same size, tossed in basil, rosemary, dill (lots of it), parsley, and a pinch of cayenne. Sauteed in garlic butter, then placed to the side. I saute spinach in garlic butter, then toss the rest of the veggies back in with it, because the spinach only takes a tenth of the time.

Before this all got started, I grilled up some sweet Italian sausage and got the water boiling. Let that drain before mixing it, otherwise it makes the veggies greasy. Oh! And don’t forget to pay the salt tax to the veggies either.

Toss everything together with cheese, and enjoy. Again and again…because I happily ate this three days in a row.

Find the recipe here.