Empire Slice House

empire Slice House Exterior

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I have no idea why I haven’t written about Empire Slice House yet.

This buzzing-with-hipsters hangout in the Plaza District is always packed, and because of that fact, once you enter, you’ll be overwhelmed with pandemonium, from every one of your senses.

The walls are completely plastered with odes to music artists from all eras, like David Bowie, Prince, The Doors and comic book legends as well.

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A pristine white combination fan and lighting fixture looks like something out of a science fiction movie and throw in some shiny red retro looking chairs and stools on top of a hard wood floor and you’ve got enough to keep your eyes busy for about…oh….3 or 4 hours. Add in the din from the kitchen and diners, and like I said….bzzzzzz!

If you love New York style pizza, you’ll love Empire Slice House. There has been such a fiercely battled Pizza War-of-the-Roses over the two American greats, with clearly picked loyalties on both sides of Chicago style verses New York style.

Having lived near Chicago for my early college experience, I am more of a Chicago-style fan, having cut my teeth on cheese and meat stuffed pizzas from Gino’s (deep dish) and Giordano’s (stuffed) and Burt’s (pan pizza) with their layer of rich tomato sauce spread over the top.

Incidentally, most people don’t realize the difference between deep-dish, stuffed and pan Chicago pizza…except us nerdy food writers.

We care about e DEEP things my friends.

Google it. It’s a fine but distinctive line.

Ok, let me get off my digress bandwagon and tell you about New York style pizza. I

New York pizza is thinner while having a puffier outer crust and usually is placed directly onto the oven deck to cook. It’s usually lighter on sauce and sold by the pie or by the slice.

Such is the case at Empire Slice House.

You can buy pizza by the slice for $3.25 per slice, or a whole pie ranging from $19-$23, or you can build your own pie. By the slice isn’t offered for everything on the menu but there isa daily offering of several varieties.

If $20+ for a pizza seems expensive for you, consider that the pies are enormous at Empire. I mean ENORMOUS.

We decided that next time, we may order by the slice as the
three of us took a bunch of pizza home from our visit. I had Mr. Wonderful hold his hand up to the pie just so you could see how huge it was.

Pizza empire slice house

Because am a huge garlic knot fan, I had to try the 16th St. Garlic Knots.

Garlic knots empire slice house

These were pretty good, but I have a hard time liking any garlic knot better than the ones at Andolini’s in
Tulsa. They are the best I’ve ever had but these were pretty decent. One tip – ask for a side of the pink sauce for mere pennies.i am an adoring pink sauce fan, a combination sauce of marinara and cream sauce, and I highly recommend it.

There are also appetizer offerings like Italian Nachos, Antipasti and Drunken Mushrooms, which I could not talk the Wonderful guy into ordering on account of he hates goat cheese with a passion.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you might want to order up an Andre the Giant Meatball, coming in at one pound of porky and lamb goodness on your first visit.

The pies themselves are named quirky names like “Fungus Among Us” – a mushroom lover’s dream of portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms along with spinach, and a drizzle of light truffle oil.

Or how about one of their most popular pies…the Foghorn Leghorn which consists of Asiago cheese, chicken, bacon, jalepeno, sweet marinara and srirachi (rooster) sauce. Mr. Wonderful and I decided on half and half, so I got my half with the mushrooms.

Fungus among us

Mr. Wonderfuloordered the Notorious P.I.G., a conglomeration of various meats like bacon, pepperoni, sausage, capicola and Canadian bacon.

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The pizza slices are so large you can almost fold them in half to eat, and that might be a good plan to keep the toppings from sliding off when you’re holding it in one hand.

The flavors are great and if you’re a craft beer fan, you’re going to be very happy at Empire Slice House as they come with a large offering of such as well. ’ve also heard great things about their salad, and would like to try it next time as well.

All in all, Empire Slice House is a fun place with great New York style pizza and is definitely worth checking out.

Empire Slice House
1734 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK
405-557-1760
Website

Looking for Empire Slice House? Here’s a map to help you find it!

Empire Slice House on Urbanspoon

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Savory Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Quiche

Savory pumpkin quiche

Savory pumpkin quiche

This week I roasted up an entire sugar pumpkin just to give you a tutorial on how to do it (click here to see the tutorial).

Today I decided to use the cubed and roasted pumpkin squares to make this delicious Savory Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Quiche. I also think it would be fabulous with roasted butternut squash cubes.

Savory pumpkin quiche

The original inspiration for this quiche was from this recipe and my very favorite cracker crust favorite quiche from my Aunt Jane’s recipe. It’s versatile and you can add in different vegetables to dress it up.

I think for fall, pumpkin worked quite nicely.

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Hello Autumn!

 

Savory Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Quiche
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • NGREDIENTS:
  • 2 c. crushed saltine crackers (1 sleeve plus 6 crackers)
  • 7 T. melted butter
  • 8-10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 c. Roasted cubed and peeled sugar pumpkin
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 T. Chopped fresh sage or 1 t. Dried
  • 2¼ c. half-and-half
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. Pepper
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 2½ c. grated swiss cheese (8 oz)
Instructions
  1. In food processor, whiz crackers until fine crumbs are formed (or place in gallon Ziploc baggie and use rolling pin to crush).
  2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, remove from heat and stir cracker crumbs. Spread cracker crumbs in bottom and sides of pie pan to form crust, pressing firmly.
  3. Combine other ingredients in large mixing bowl and pour into crust.
  4. Use spoon or spatula to evenly push around cheese and other fillings.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until fork inserted in center of quiche comes out clean without any eggs sticking to it.

 

I love autumn and participating in Food Network’s Fall Fest! Check out what other fabulous bloggers are making with pumpkin this fall!!!

Feed Me Phoebe: 7 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Fall
The Lemon Bowl: Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Oat Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Bacon and Souffle: Easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Weelicious: Quick Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Virtually Homemade: Gluten-Free Dark Brownies with Pumpkin Frosting
Devour: Eat As Much Pumpkin As Possible
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Cake
Red or Green: Spiced Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Syrup Glazed Bacon
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
The Cultural Dish: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
The Mom 100: Pumpkin Gingerbread with Crystallized Ginger
Haute Apple Pie: Pumpkin Bread Truffles
Domesticate Me: No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: Pumpkin Almond Spice Waffles (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Pumpkin Spice (and Everything Nice)
I Am Baker: Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow
Taste With The Eyes: Savory Little Pumpkins with Labneh, Zaatar and Pumpkin Seed Oil

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Pumpkin- How to Roast them Three Ways

How to cook a sugar pumpkin

How to cook a sugar pumpkin

So, because I must try everything related to cooking, I purchased a sugar pumpkin this week and decided to use it in a savory recipe. Yes, most people use pumpkin to make pumpkin pie, but I MUCH prefer butternut squash and even acorn squash in savory recipes now that my horrible sweet tooth has gone away.

There are different pumpkins you can cook with, but the most common one used in baking and cooking is the sugar pumpkin.

Small sugar pumpkin

It’s given the name sugar pumpkin because it’s smaller, sweeter, and less stringy and grainy than their usual counterparts that you use to carve creepy faces in for Halloween.

They are usually about 6-8 inches in diameter and you should pick one that is firm with no bruises or soft spots and are a good bright orange (not yellow) in color.

Anyway a 4 pound pumpkin will yield about 1 ½ cups puree. A 6-8 pound pumpkin will usually yield about 2-3 cups of puree. Keep this in mind and if you’re subbing fresh puree out for canned pumpkin, cans usually run either in the 15 oz. smaller can or the larger, 29 oz. can. So:

One 15 oz. can = 1.875 cups or a little more than 1 ¾ cup.
One 29 oz. can = 3.625 cups or a little more than 3 ½ cups

Gad, that is the most math I’ve had to do in a long time. It just occurred to me that my math teacher was right when he said I’d need math.

Not really, I used an online converter. Take that Mr. Math Teacher from high school.

I seriously hated math. And chemistry.

SO MUCH!

I am going to show you how I peeled, cut up and roasted the pumpkin in three different ways.

First off and to keep from having to cut through the stem of the pumpkin, which is rather tough, slice off the end of the pumpkin as closely as you can get to the stem.

Cut stem off pumpkin

Now you have a flat surface to flip the pumpkin upside down on because remember what I always say… when it comes to knives and cutting, flat surfaces are safe and round surfaces require Band-Aids.

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Now that you’ve flipped the pumpkin upside down on it’s flat surface, slice it in half. You may need to first stick the knife into the pumpkin a bit and then slowly push in a rocking motion to widen the cut until you can get right through it.

Cut pumpkin

Now your pumpkin is cut in half and you’ll need a large spoon to start scraping out the seeds and stringy pulp. Use some muscle as you have to scrape a bit hard to get the stringy stuff.

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I believe this was a first for me. This pumpkin had seeds that were sprouting. It freaked me out just a little bit because at first I thought there were some kind of creepy pumpkin worms or something.

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Hey, I’ve had a giant spider building webs over my herb garden, a bird in my living room and this week, a strange smell has hit us in the entryway that for the life of us we cannot figure out where it’s coming from.

Worms in a pumpkin would not be weird in my current world.

Do NOT throw away this mess as we’re going to use the seeds tomorrow to make some yummy roasted spiced pumpkin seeds!

Keep scooping unil you get all of the stringy matter out. I hate stringy matter and get every last bit out if I can. You’ll know when your far enough because the pumpkin flesh will be a tad bit lighter than the darker stringy stuff, and you won’t see strings anymore.

Well that just makes sense doesn’t it?

Toss all the inside matter, including the seeds into a large bowl of water and swish it all around until the seeds float to the top and separate from the stringy mushy stuff, which will sink. Scoop the seeds out with a strainer and let them drain.

Pumpkin seeds

Now, here are three methods of cooking pumpkin in different ways. Each will start after the pumpkin has been de-stemmed, sliced in half, and the seeds and gunk have been removed.

FOR METHOD #1 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN WHOLE:
This is the simplest method for getting pureed or mashed pumpkin.

Just flip the pumpkin over onto a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment), cover it with foil and bake it in a 375º for about one to one and one-half hours or until the skin begins to crumple a little and you can stick a fork it in easily.

How to roast a whole oumpkin

Flip the pumpkin over, let it cool a bit and then just scoop out the soft flesh. Puree it in a food processor or blender until is very smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin it out with a tablespoon of water or two.For really smooth soups or custards, press it through a sieve to remove any fibers.

FOR METHOD #2 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN IN SLICES

Slice each half into 1 inch wedges.

Pumpkin wedges

Roast in a 375º for 20-30 minutes or until browning slightly and fork inserted goes into easily.

Roasting pumpkin wedges

Now you can easily slice along the skin and then cube them or whatever you want to do with them.

FOR METHOD #3 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN IN CUBES

This is my favorite method for roasting butternut squash. I love to spray or drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and get them carmelized and toasty and serve them as a simple side dish.

Set one half of the pumpkin back up on the flat side where you cut the stem off and begin to peel it just like you would a potato.peel until all the outer skin is gone, and then repeat with the other half of pumpkin.

Peel sugar pumpkin

Now take each half of the pumpkin, and cut it into one inch wedges just like Method #2 (only this time you’ve skinned the pumpkin).

Now rotate each wedge and cut them into nice little cubes. You can add olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast them in the oven at 375º for about 15-20 minutes.

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So there you have it.

Three different ways to roast a pumpkin. tay tuned for the new recipe coming soon – Roasted and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and for another recipe, I’m using those pumpkin roasted cubes I made to make a Bacon Pumpkin Quiche for Thursday!

Stay tuned friends and have a most blessed day!!!

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Curried Cauliflower Chowder

Creamy cauliflower soup chowder

Creamy cauliflower soup chowder

Every time I see another picture of a recipe for a creamy cauliflower soup, I get the urge to run right home and make it. This weekend I actually did it and I think I came up with a healthy option as well as a delicious one.

This recipe makes a pretty good sized pot of soup and you will need two heads of cauliflower. One you cook ahead of time and purée right into the broth to become the thickener of the soup instead of cream. The other is chunked up to give it some texture and bite and the entire thing is flavored with a little hint of curry spice that packs a big punch of flavor.

 

cauliflower soup recipe

This soup is one you can have seconds and thirds of without feeling guilty so eat up my friends!

Creamy healthy Cauliflower chowder

I am writing this post also in honor of Food Day, which will be here on October 24.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of a movement towards sustainable, affordable and healthy food that builds all year and culminates in a day of action on October 24 every year.

What you can do to be pro-active:

*Plant a vegetable garden in your backyard or even start a potted garden with easy-to-grow foods like lettuce, herbs or tomatoes

*resolve to and put into action a plan to introduce healthier foods into your diet. Start with something small like incorporating one or two raw or cooked fresh vegetables into you and your family’s lives.

This is not just a great cause but should become an added benefit to you and your family to bring health and an active lifestyle for years to come.

 

Curried Cauliflower Chowder
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • One medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1½ to 2 T. Red curry paste or 1 T. Curry powder
  • 4 c. Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 heads cauliflower, core and leaves removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
  • Chives and/or sliced red chiles for garnish
Instructions
  1. In large stockpot or soup kettle, add olive oil and older over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes to soften but not brown, stirring often
  3. Add garlic for one minute, stirring often
  4. Add curry paste or powder and stir another minute
  5. Add stock and one had of cauliflower
  6. Bring to boil and simmer for 15minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender
  7. Pour in batches into blender and purée until smooth
  8. Add back into pot and stir in 2nd head of chopped broccoli
  9. Simmer 15 minutes with lid on until very tender
  10. Our in coconut milk and stir
  11. Serve with garnishes of chopped chives and red chilie

 

See what other fabulous food bloggers are making with cauliflower during Food Networks Fall Fest!

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower
Feed Me Phoebe: Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Red Curry
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Hash Brown Cauliflower and Potatoes
The Cultural Dish: Cauliflower and Leek Soup
Dishing with Divya: Gobi Manchurian
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Smokey Cauliflower Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Red or Green: Cauliflower and Peppers Pasta with Spicy Pesto
Swing Eats: Cauliflower T-Bone Steaks with Olive, Lemon and Parsley
Dishin & Dishes: Curried Cauliflower Chowder
Domesticate Me: Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin
Weelicious: Vegetarian Tagine
Devour: 5 Reasons to Make Cauliflower Immediately
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cauliflower Breadsticks
Taste With The Eyes: Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut, Cilantro, Mint
FN Dish: Reasons to Reconsider Cauliflower (recipes)

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Brown Sugar Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Brown sugar cider glazed turkey meatballs

Brown sugar cider glazed turkey meatballs
Can you believe football season is here again?

Cider brown sugar glazed

It’s time to make tailgating, game-day food again! I lovefall, I love gathering with a bunch of friends and everyone bringing some good tail gating food!

Sometimes, however, tailgating food can be awful heavy, and so I am trying to come up with some healthy but flavorful football game snacking foods this season.

Because as much as I love unhealthy game night food, it doesn’t love my hips, thighs or tummy.

And all the women over forth said a resounding AMEN!

I played around with this meatball recipe this weekend, and while healthy, it still tastes great, getting it’s flavor punch from some fresh peppers, garlic and onion and a glaze made with apple cider and brown sugar.

I think it’s a keeper ya’ll.

Glazed turkey meatball recipe

Start out with two pounds of ground turkey meat. I buy the 85-15 for this recipe. You can buy the even leaner cut but I find it’s just too dry.

85-15 ground turkey

I mean it’s game day food right? We don’t have to sacrifice everything for gosh sake!!

Add in 2/3 cup of bread crumbs. I make my own in the food processor in a flash by tossing in two pieces of multi-grain bread and whirring it for about 20 seconds. Instant bread crumbs!

Fresh bread crumbs

You can buy the pre packaged dry bread crumbs, but for moistness sake, I prefer to make my own with fresh. You can do whatever you want though. If you don’t have a food processor or want to mess with it, by all means, used dried!

Toss it into a large bowl with the turkey meat and then get to chopping up one-half of a red pepper and three green onions. You want approximately one-half cup of each. Add them into the bowl. Also add a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary and one clove of garlic, some salt and pepper and oh yes, one beaten egg!

Meatball ingredients

See these?

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I buy these disposable gloves at my local Sally Beauty Supply store and I keep them under my kitchen sink for when I chop jalapenos or need to dig my hands into a big bowl of raw meat to mix it up.

They come in super handy!

Mix this all up with your hands and then start to roll them into meatballs about the size of a ping pong ball, or maybe just a tad smaller.

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Brush an oven-safe large skillet with some olive oil and start placing the meatballs right into it. (You may want to do this BEFORE you get your hands all messy.)

Brush oil on iron skillet image

Keep going until the pan is completely full and the little buggers are shoulder to shoulder.

Baked turkey meatballs

Pop them into a 350º oven for twenty minutes.

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While those are cooking, let’s get started on the glaze. In a medium-sized pitcher or bowl, whisk together ½ cup apple cider with ¼ cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, you know, just to make it interesting.

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Pour this right over the meatballs, turn on a stove burner to medium-high and bring this to a low bubble.

After about ten minutes, the glaze will thicken and begin to look a little sticky. Turn each meatball over and pop them back in the oven for five minutes.

Insert toothpicks and voila!

A healthy game day snack bursting with savory flavor!

Enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer
 
Ingredients
FOR THE MEATBALLS
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (85-15)
  • 2 slices bread or ⅔ c. bread crumbs (dried or fresh)
  • ½ c. red pepper, chopped finely
  • ½ c. green onion, whites and green, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 t. dried
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • FORE THE GLAZE
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add turkey.
  2. If using fresh bread, tear bread into pieces and place in food processor. Turn on high for 20 seconds or
  3. until bread crumbs form. Measure ⅔ cup of breadcrumbs and pour into turkey bowl.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients (not glaze ingredients)
  5. Using hands or large spoon, mix well.
  6. Lightly oil large oven proof skillet
  7. Using hands, roll meat mixture into balls the size slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. ontinue to roll
  8. until all meat is gone, placing each one side by side in skillet
  9. Place skillet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. While the meatballs are baking, make the glaze. Dump all ingredients into small pitcher or bowl and
  11. whisk well.
  12. Pour glaze over meatballs in pan over medium high heat and heat until it bubbles.
  13. Allow it to bubble ten minutes then flip each meatball over and heat 5 minutes more.
  14. Remove and insert toothpicks and serve!

 

m4s0n501
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A Very Rough Day- Judging a Pie Bake-Off

Savory spice shop pie contest

Savory spice shop pie contest

Today was was a horribly TOUGH kind of day.

i was forced to judge a pie baking contest.

i had texted my friend Abel to ask if he carried dried Chipotle peppers since I’m obsessed with cooking out of this cookbook right now. He promptly texted back to let me know that his shop, Savory Spice Shop (Oklahoma City) carries black, red and brown varieties which made me a happy camper.

Then he asked if I’d consider being a judge in their 2nd Annual Pie Baking Competition.

Would anyone really be stupid enough to say no to such an offer?

So today was the day, and yes I managed to live through it.

We started out by judging the savory category, which meant that savory pies or sweet pies that contained a savory ingredient were classified as such.

Like these Green Chile Apple Phyllo Tarts. Scrumptious!

Phyllo chili apple tarts

Or this Ancho Chocolate Cream Pie. SWOON.

Ancho chocolate cream

However, this Cajun Meat Pie was our winner. It was absolutely superb!

Cuban meat pie

The sweet category was almost impossible to pick.

Strawberry pie

This strawberry cream pie got most GORGEOUS!

Buttermilk pie

This Buttermilk Pie got most old fashioned like grandma would make.

Coconut cream pie

This Coconut Cream Pie got, well, we just LOVED it.

This pie was mysterious, even from it’s name…Three Layer.

Three layer pie

Especially fantastic was the shortbread crust, then a pastry cream layer, then a chocolate later, then fresh whipped cream. YUM!

Any one of these pies held their own, and was delicious for a number of reasons. We debated, and debated.

Fellow judges Kerry Myers, Darcy Schein from Pie Junkies,  and myself

Fellow judges Darcy Schein from Pie Junkies, Kerry Myers and myself

But this pie was amazing in flavor, and texture.

Grated apple pie

Oh merciful heavens but this was wonderful, homey and flavorful with grated apples, and topped with a scattering of pecans.

It was our winner!

Afterwards I left with my brown paper bag of spices– Schezuan peppercorns, za’atar, freeze dried corn, Jamacain jerk spices and Mexican oregano. I always tend to do that when I visit Abel’s store.

If you haven’t been to Savory Spice Shop yet, you most certainly should sign up for their newsletter in the shop or here to keep updated on their fun events like this….

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Tacolicious, a Cookbook Review

Tacolicious cookbook

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I received my copy of Tacolicious, Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More last week.

Saturday I sat on my patio in some truly gorgeous weather and read it from cover to cover, marking pages I wanted to try as went.

After about thirty marked pages, I just decided to give up and cook my way through the entire book.

To date, i’ve made two of the salsas, and the Tacos Al Pastor, which were absolutely spot on fabulous!

Tacolicious recipes al pastor

The only issue I can see with this cookbook would be trying to find the authentic ingredients used in many of the marinades and salsas, but if you have access to a Latin/Mexican market and a variety of dried chiles, you will be n love with these recipes.

Toast ancho chiles

They have awakened a whole new spicy fiesta for me, that while knew it existed, had not been spurred into action by me.

Al paste tacos

The authors started out by doing some extensive Mexico traveling and after a chance encounter with Rick Bayless and visiting restaurants ranging from fancy to taqueria fare in Mexico City, decided to bring the flavors to San Francisco and opened their first taco stand at Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.

Their food became so wildly popular, that they now have four mortar and brick locations, three in San Francisco, and one in Palo Alto.

I love the way the book is separated into salsas and pickles, snacks, tacos, beans and drinks. The taco section boasts at least 20 recipes for tacos ranging from Al Pastor to a vegerian version made with butternut squash, kale and pepitas. There is even a small chapter on hosting a taco party and suggestions, which, after reading the book, making my first set of recipes,is most definately on my agenda SOON. The drink sections is like a Tequila 101 mixing it up with salts and drink mixes and even several horchata and agua fresco recipes.

Whatever you do, make the orange sauce (Hint: there are no oranges involved).

Orange sauce tacolicious

You will never regret it. I have a huge container of a double recipe in my refrigerator that is calling me right now.

I highly recommend Tacolicious.

It’s spicy deliciousness from cover to cover.

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Kid-Size Caprese Salad in Five Minutes

Caprese salad

Kids love things that are pint sized, like they are I right? This recipe for a Caprese salad makes it just their size and would be fun to pack in an air- tight container for their lunch box! You can literally whip it up in five minutes for a kids lunch or snarf it down yourself if you choose!! If you have a cherry tomato plant, you know how wonderfully sweet and delicious they can be. Last summer I had more than I knew what to do with cherry tomatoes.

If you have a dish that you like to cut them up for, you also know how long it can take to individually slice 30 or more of these little suckers! My mom-in-law sent me this trick one day and I’ve been using it ever since.  And if you follow through to the end, you’ll see a quick recipe that I use for my cherry tomatoes.  I’ve been eating this recipe at least twice a week for the past month! Take two lids, like those from a coffee container or other plastic container.  It works best if they’re the same size.

Sandwich your tomatoes in between them gently pressing down on the top lid.Take a serrated knife that is longer than the lids diameter and while still pressing gently down on the top lid, saw through the whole mess of them at one time!

Now dump your cherry tomatoes into a bowl.  Put in an equal amount of small fresh mozerella balls.  I am addicted to these tiny ones from my favorite new food store.

Forward Foods.  Toss in your cut cherry tomatoes.

Splash some balsamic vinegar over top and then drizzle some olive oil as well, using a little bit more olive oil than vinegar, just eyeball it.

Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and then chiffonade up some fresh basil and sprinkle it over top.  Stir everything up real well and let the tomatoes and cheese marinade for 15 minutes at least. If you can wait that long.

This is just a simple Caprese Salad recipe and I’m so addicted to this salad this summer.  I buy a huge box of grape or cherry tomatoes (due to the fact that my tomato crop was ruined this year!) .  It will make several of these bowls of salad. And with this quick cutting method for the cherry tomatoes?

I can have it at a moment’s notice.


Kid-Size Mini Caprese Salad in Five Minutes
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 8 oz. Container small fresh mozzarella cheese balls (bobboncini)
  • 2 c. Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 6 T. Olive oil
  • 8 whole fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ t. Pepper
  • Pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice tomatoes in half and dump into bowl with fresh mozerella balls,
  2. Roll basil leaves up together like a cigar and then thinly slice across.
  3. Scatter over tomatoes and mozerella.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix.
  5. Best if let marinade 20-30 minutes but also delicious right away!!!
  6. ***Optional: add one small cloves of chopped garlic into the mix!

See what other fabulous bloggers are making for Food Network’s Summer Soirée featuring Back to School Lunches!

Feed Me Phoebe: Easy Shrimp and Corn Chowder with Chives
Weelicious: Easy School Lunches
Virtually Homemade: Brown Bag Pumpkin Chocolate Bars
Back to (Cooking) School: How to Make Quail
Dishin & Dishes: Kid Size Caprese Salad in Five Minutes

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Ceviche, Peruvian Kitchen – a Cookbook Review

ceviche, a Peruvian kitchen cookbook review

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The name Ceviche pulled me in, but the rest of the book captured me as I flipped through Martin Morale’s Ceviche, Peruvian Kitchen. The book offers many more recipes than just ceviche so if citrus-cured seafood is not your preference, keep reading!

This Peruvian cookbook is one of the first of its kind for American kitchens and the author is a one-time guru who ran iTunes Pan Europe and Disney music but now is a critically acclaimed restaurant owner in London, notably Ceviche and Andina. Morales has become somewhat of a pioneer of Peruvian food in Britain and now shares his love for his cuisine in this wonderful cookbook.

We have a fantastic variety of ethnic markets here in Oklahoma City, as well as several Peruvian restaurants, so I knew many of the dishes as well as knew that I could find the ingredients.

Ceviche Mixto from La Brasa Peruvian Kitchen in Oklahoma City

Ceviche Mixto from La Brasa Peruvian Kitchen in Oklahoma City

I made a visit to one market and came home with quite the haul.

Peruvian ingredients from Feria Latina  in Oklahoma City

Peruvian ingredients from Feria Latina in Oklahoma City

However, if you don’t have the blessed market that I do, never fear, for Morales gives you acceptable substitutions for many of the hard-to-find the Peruvian tough-to-find ingredients.

The first recipe I tried was the Carapulcra (Peruvian Meat & Potato Stew) This stew uses the Inca dehydrated potatoes called “papa seca” which gives it a truly unique flavor and along with ground peanuts, Peruvian peppers and yes, even a hint of dark chocolate, this created a smoky, spicy, earthy and nutty flavor as well.

Peruvian meat and potato stew

Again, while Morale. suggests the authentic ingredients, substitutions are offered for each ingredient that is hard to find.

I am anxious to continue to read and experiment with this book and look forward to trying out my hand at the various kinds of ceviche as well and my next dish most certainly will be –the restaurant’s signature dish – Don Ceviche, sea bass with onion, cilantro and sweet potato marinated in that luscious Tiger’s Milk.

The photographs will lure you in to Ceviche and captivate you with their stunning depiction of color and the stories Morales weaves into his recipes will take you through his journey of his dream to bring his homeland (by his Peruvian mother) home to all of us and there you will stay and be tempted to fix many recipes.

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My First Furniture Re Do

Vintage antique white dresser

How to antique white furniture

About a month ago, and before the oven broke, the entryway flooded, and my life was vaguely normal and boring…..I refinished this dresser.

It was a dresser that my daughter had with one of her first bedroom sets and it was that pale blonde wood color, which I no longer like at ALL. Except for the part where she had hand painted scriptures on it…

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Kayla is my hipster daughter and her bedroom was an eclectic mix of mission trip relics and general mess.

I was redoing her room upstairs since she has taken up residence in California for the next two years, and
didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I did want to give it a good facelift.

On account of most people who move to California from Oklahoma never come home again.

I can’t imagine why for the life of me?

It’s 105º today and my flowers and tomatoes are burning up. The 15 minute drive to and from work barely gives my car enough time to recover and just start to cool down resulting in me taking LOTS of showers.

I will not set foot outside the door and away from the air-conditioning unless it’s a life and death emergency. The dogs beg to go out, hit the door frame and whine and turn around to say, “I’d just rather HOLD IT!”

Compare that to my daughter’s California and being surrounded on three sides by National forest, beauty and a pretty reasonable driving distance to San Francisco, L.A. beaches and a Trader Joe’s in her hometown.

Come to think of it, she may never come back to Oklahoma again.

Anyway, I figured I’d redo her room as a guest room so I decided to distress this old dresser.

I started with a layer of Zinsser Bin primer and didn’t even have to sand the dresser. Because sanding makes me crazy. And it produces a lot of dust residue and I didn’t want to move the dresser downstairs and outside.

Nuff said?

Then I painted it with dark brown paint as my undercoat. Then I took a candle and rubbed it around allthe edges of the dresser.

Distressed white antique dresser

Then I painted it with antique white paint.

Then I realized it was WAY too white for what I was going for.

Then I searched my Pinterest Painting Techniques board for distressing and realized there were 100 different ways to distress furniture.

So I dove right in and tried the technique using stain mixed with a clear glaze, because I already had those in my garage and I didn’t want to spend any more money.

I mixed equal parts of stain and glaze (the stain was mahogany) and dipped a rag in it and rubbed it right over the face of the dresser.

Then I had a mild heart attack because I thought I’d ruined the entire thing. Because it looked way too dark and stained!!!

But then I used a clean rag and wiped the stain off.

How to distress a white dresser

And I loved the way it looked!!!

The next day I went to Hobby Lobby and bought these knobs on sale for 50% off.

Antique knobs for distressed antique white dresser

For the love of Pete (whomever he may be), NEVER buy anything FULL price there, because if you wait a week, it will go on sale for 50% off. I got lucky this week!, because knobs were on sale!

Then I excitedly ran home to put on the knobs, only to realize….

Did you know you should REMOVE the drawers before you paint them?

Yep, the drawers were painted shut.

I never said I was a professional furniture distresser…

This is how we learn things in life.

we DID get them open….

After the knobs were on, I was really pleased with the overall look.

Antique white distressed chest of drawers

I can’t wait to do the old desk in the room next!

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