Tasty Inspiration

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Today’s breakfast was inspired by a single new ingredient to my household.  I’ve used it for years but never purchased it until yesterday (I’ve had a few hookups keeping me supplied).  It is gochujang or Korean hot/red pepper paste.  I initially saw it used on a couple of cooking shows and got curious about it a while ago.  I was lucky enough at the time to have a Korean coworker who supplied me with my first taste.  I used it mostly as a background flavor for soup or marinades but however I used it I was hooked.  I’ve been getting more and more adventurous with spicy foods over the last year or so but having even a half a kilo (just over a pound) of this spicy paste in my fridge intimidated me.  Not the case any more.  I just had to decide what to make with it for my first real attempt at showcasing this delicious paste.

I remember seeing a recipe that caught my eye a while ago for shakshuka.  It is simply poached eggs in a spiced up tomato sauce that originates from the middle east, Tunisia to be exact.  Since I really love poached eggs I made a mental note to try this recipe but hadn’t done so until today.  I felt that with the cold rain that we have today I needed something a bit more comforting to add to the meal.  A toasted tortilla sounded great.  Then the picture of huevos rancheros popped into view.  Why not merge these two meals?  It should be mentioned that I’ve never actually eaten huevos rancheros let alone made them but they’ve always sounded tasty and simple.  

So here’s my translation of this blend of recipes.  I’m calling it shakshuka rancheros with a Korean kick.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang (you could use Sriracha or something similar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tortilla 

1- Puree gochujang with the can of tomatoes with chilies until most of the chunks are gone but not totally smooth

2- Add puree to a hot skillet and cook until the sauce cooks down just a bit.  Don’t want this to be like soup. Keep at a simmer.

3- Carefully drop cracked eggs into the simmering pan of sauce.  Lower temperature and cover for about 3-4 minutes or until eggs are set to your liking.

4- Toast tortilla in a dry skillet or over the gas flame of your stove.

5- Plate.  Place eggs and sauce over the top of the tortilla and serve hot.

This is just a start of what you could do with this recipe.  I found the heat just right but you could always change up the kind of tomatoes you use or add more gochujang.  Cheese and beans could be added as toppings or even sour cream if you want to go that way with it.  It’s simple, cheap, and very tasty.

 

Neighbor Fun

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I have lived in the same house for seven years and have just recently become friends with my neighbors. I’ve always known who they were and would share a few words in passing. But in the last few months I’ve really gotten to know them well and I’ve decided that they’re about the best people I could have asked to have living near me.

Why?

There are so many reasons and all of them different.

Have you ever been sent a message from a neighbor telling you that they have a plate of dinner ready for you? I have had this happen about four times so far this summer. Do I reciprocate? You bet! I love cooking for people! They got a loaf of zucchini bread tonight.

They’re helping to repair some damage to my property and connecting me with really good deals on resources to get some of the stuff done too. Have plumbing issues? They’ve got me covered. Need a dog sitter? Got that covered too. Need to know the best deals for saving cash at the store? Got help with that even! Haven’t seen a movie they were talking about? Here’s the DVD to borrow.
Don’t feel like walking around to the gate on the other side of the fence? There’s a pool ladder that will fit nicely over the fence for easy traveling (I didn’t say we weren’t redneck about this stuff).

Forget having to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg like in the past. These neighbors go far beyond that degree of kindness. And I can guarantee it’s genuine.

Tonight I needed a bit of a study break. Just in time to join a sparkler party with my friends next door. There’s something special about seeing a bunch of adults playing with sparklers.

Every day they continue to show me how blessed I am to have them in my life. Each and every one of them bring something unique and I am proud to call them friends.

Jump In My Belly!

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I’ve been working on getting more protein in my diet (insert dirty joke here). With my reconfigured guts chicken is pretty much a no-no, beef has to be cooked just right, as does pork. So I’ve been looking into less mainstream meats. I’ve tried goat as well as rabbit and they didn’t go so well. Since it’s a texture thing more than flavor I keep trying new things to see what else works.
I have had frog legs before when I was on a cruise an remember that I liked them. That was before my lap-band so I didn’t know if the texture would work out this time around.

For the uninitiated frog legs have the flavor close to chicken with a texture similar to fish. I purchased several pairs and a package of seasoned cornmeal normally used for a fish fry.

The result? Tasted just like I remembered. Did it sit well with my band? Nope. Well, it was worth a try.

FRIED FROG LEGS RECIPE
•1 pound frog legs (found in the seafood department at the store)
•1 package seasoned fish fry mix (I like Louisiana brand)
•1 cup milk
•4-5 dashes hot sauce
•Oil for frying

-Mix frog legs, milk, and hot sauce in zippered bag for 10-30 minutes
-Heat oil for frying to 350
-Remove each piece from the milk bath and coat evenly in the fish fry mix
-Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side
-Remove from oil and drain on paper towels
-Serve hot

Oh Happy Day!

I went with Hubby to the shop today. Since I left my car at home I got to hoof it a little way to the tiny Basehor farmers market. Tiny market for a tiny town so it’s fitting. Five stalls and one was a commercial candle only booth so I’m not really counting that one.

I was still pretty happy with the haul. And for only $4 I think I won the lottery!

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An Experiment

My family has quite a relationship with pomegranate jelly. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. A bit of history on this for you. My parents have been together since the early seventies and my dad’s mother was making this jelly back then. My dad worked for the railroad and we never lived near the rest of the family. More specifically the single woman that knew how to make this magic jelly. So it was really something special to get a jar in the mail. Grandma has been gone for more than a few years and the jars ordered from different companies are nothing special. So I’ve taken it upon myself to attempt this jewel colored family history.

I took this:

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Did some of this:

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And came up with this:

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It’s the perfect color and the little bit I got a taste of was spot on!

The color of magic:

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Smoking a Fatty

I know some of you got excited by that statement.  Not THAT kind of fatty.  Ok?  Imagine log of Italian sasauge stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.  Now, imagine this creation completely encased inside of bacon strips woven together all mingling in a bbq smoker.  Toss in some dry bbq rub and some sauce on top.  There you have what is called a fatty or sometimes a bacon explosion.  I’m thinking about calling it a cardiologist’s nightmare.

For the recipe/method click here.

This is the first time I’ve attempted to cook anything in a smoker.  I’ve seen it done several times but I’ve never had a smoker of my own to play with.  After seeking the assistance of people that know what they’re doing I tossed aside the thought about my first attempt being ribs.  I was told that like cast iron smokers need to be seasoned with full flavored fatty food.  Damn.  Don’t you just hate that? Yah, me too.  Enter the sausage, bacon, cheese log!

It’s only about half finished (I think).  But here’s the pic I snapped just after I tucked it into it’s nice warm bed for a little nap.

Can't wait to see it all cooked up!

Meat As Promised

Have you made any Magic Sauce yet?  I told you that I’d pass on my recipe for Italian Chicken Breasts (see I didn’t forget) so here you go.  It really is less recipe and more technique. When I made this batch we had a side of oh-so-fancy mac and cheese ala blue box but it’s perfectly suited to be chicken parmigiana.

1. Pound chicken breasts thin. I use a rolling pin in a ziploc bag (the hot pad is to protect the tile counters).

 

2. Add 1 egg and a splash of milk to the bag. Seal and squish it all up to coat the chicken.

 

3. Dredge chicken in seasoned bread crumbs (I like the Italian flavored kind).

4. Heat a skillet, add Magic Sauce, when oil is hot add chicken and cook on each side till done and crispy.

Perfect!