Monday, February 28, 2011

Quench your thirst with a Paloma


Two days ago they predicted snow would fall in San Francisco. Snow did fall, but only on the highest point in SF. Today the sun is beaming into the house but deceivingly there is a layer of frost on the rooftops and ice anywhere water was once standing. I'm not going to complain, I'm just going to pretend it is warm by cranking up the heater and making a drink that is supposed to be made during hot and humid weather.

1 shot of tequila (2 oz)
1/4 shot of triple sec
1 can of Squirt
1/2 lime
rock salt
1 mason jar

Fill a shallow bowl with rock salt. Take your mason jar and run the rim under water. Dip the mason jar into the bowl so the entire rim is lined with salt.

Fill the mason jar with ice.

Pour one shot (2 oz) of tequila and one quarter of a shot of triple sec into the jar.

Fill the remainder of the jar with Squirt and squeeze half of a lime over the top of the drink. Stick a straw into that mason jar, pretend it's sunny, pretend you're on a beach somewhere with sand sticking to your legs because you are so sweaty from the heat and drink.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Sour Cream Pancakes


I originally found these sour cream pancakes on Smitten Kitchen's blog who got it from Ree Drummond's cookbook. I am not lying when I say that this is the ONLY pancake recipe that I have used since I originally stumbled upon Smiten Kitchen's post a year ago.

The recipe is perfectly sized for two. I get about 7 fluffy five inch pancakes out of this recipe.

7 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (I swapped some with yogurt when I realized I was short, to no ill-effect)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter or oil
Maple syrup

In a bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and the salt).

Gently mix in the sour cream.

In a separate bowl, whisk the two eggs with the vanilla extract. Add into the batter.

In a skillet on medium heat coated with oil or butter, scoop two spoonfuls of batter onto the hot skillet.

Once bubbles begin to form at the very edge of the pancake batter, it's time to gently flip them over. This should take around 1-2 minutes depending on how hot your skillet is.

Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the goo on the outside of the pancake doesn't look runny. These pancakes get puffy so make sure and pat them down with a spatula a couple of times. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy every minute of these pancakes. They go way too fast.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Ground Turkey Tacos (like the ones your mom used to make)

There is one staple that we always had in our home when I was a kid and that was tortillas. Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, burrito sized tortillas and even sun dried tortillas. On any given day, if you are ever a guest at my parent's house, look into their fridge and I bet you $100 that they have both of those items. Make it $1,000.

It has been a family joke for years but my mom is a compulsive tortilla buyer and I adopted that habit. The only difference is I only eat corn tortillas and I buy mine at Costco and stick them in the freezer.

This taco Tuesday I decided to adapt my mom's recipe: ground beef, Lawry's taco seasoning packet, cheese, hot sauce and stewed tomatoes. I'm sure you've had them before.

1/2 package of ground turkey (or 1/2 lb)
1 bell pepper chopped
1/4 onion chopped
1 jalapeno chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp  paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2/3 c tomato sauce
cilantro, shredded cabbage and shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

In a hot skillet with oil pre-cook the ground turkey breaking apart the pieces with a wooden spoon. Pour out any liquids left over from cooking.

Add in the chopped bell pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute until the onions are transparent.

Next add all of the herbs and spices. Depending on the heat you like you can always add more cayenne pepper.

Add the tomato sauce and cook on medium heat until the meat has soaked up the spices and tomato sauce. Set aside with the shredded cheese and shredded cabbage and enjoy a really easy meal and just call me Jacqui Crocker.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Dog Cookies


According to a video made by Nova, dogs have the level of intelligence to understand a full range of words other than sit, down and roll over. Today I spent the day getting our dog Lucy to understand the words cookie, toy and clean up. By the end of the day she understood cookie and toy but we're still working on the words "clean up".

In all seriousness, all of the scares in the last couple of years with dog food laced with contaminated wheat gluten caused us to be extra cautious about the food we serve Lucy.  In addition to $50 bags of dog food every month, we feed Lucy a homemade meal once or twice a week and lately I've been baking her homemade dog cookies. Have I mentioned yet that our dog is spoiled?

Similar to the baked goods I make these dog cookies get distributed to family and neighbors. I like to add parsley to this recipe (which helps eliminate bad dog breath) and blueberries (dogs love them, did you see Fantastic Mr. Fox?).

Nico, a chiweenie and my dog niece, says that she smacks her lips after eating my dog cookies because they are that good.

1 c flour
1/2 c wheat germ
3/4 c beef or chicken broth
1 c smooth peanut butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 dried blueberries
1/4 c chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl combine the flour, wheat germ, chicken broth, peanut butter and minced garlic.

Fold in the parsley and dried blueberries.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface (the dough should be about 1/4" thick). Cut the dough into rectangles or use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Let cool and serve.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Sweet Potato Pecan Buns with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze


Since I got my espresso maker for Valentines Day I have a new morning routine. Who cares about breakfast, all I care about is coffee! Over the last week my coffee addition has gotten to the point where my body does not react to normal doses of caffeine.

This morning I decided to change the pace, committing to starting breakfast first, then I walked the dog, then I made coffee, then I cleaned the kitchen, and then I ate breakfast. If you're in a rush, start this recipe the night before. I promise I will go easy on the coffee moving forward.

Sweet Potato Butter Buns with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 c milk
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour (don't pour it all in at once)
1/2 c sugar
1 lg egg
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
Extra butter for greasing your pan

3-4 tbs golden brown sugar
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
1 c sweet potato butter (or apple butter or any other fruit butter you have available)

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the dough put the butter and milk in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds.

Once the butter is fully melted, combine one cup of flour, sugar, the egg, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer use it! Stir all of the ingredients together until fully incorporated.

Add the last 2 1/2 c of flour one cup at a time. The dough should begin to ball up. If the dough is too sticky, keep adding more flour.

Knead for about 8 minutes (I forgot to mention that this recipe includes a workout).

Oil a clean bowl and coat the dough lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and a towel and store for two hours in a warm, draft free spot until the dough has doubled in size.

Just so you're prepared, butter your baking dish ahead of time. A 9x9 baking dish works perfect for these buns. (This is when you can walk the dog, run, take a shower, do what you need to do)

On a floured surface, roll your dough out with a rolling pin. If you prefer smaller buns, break the dough into four sections.

Once the dough is rolled out (about 1/4 inch thick) in the shape of a rectangle, spoon on your sweet potato butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

Starting on the long side of the dough, roll the dough into one long log.

Cut the dough through the log. You should be able to cut about 9 circular sections more if you are making smaller buns.
Place the sections of dough into your pre-buttered baking dish. Leave a little space between each section of dough.

Set aside for another 45 minutes (or until they have doubled in size).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes and while the buns are in the oven mix up your glaze.

Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract with a mixer. Beat until ingredients are well combined.

Take the buns out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

According to the recipe you should invert the rolls onto a rack; however I missed this step and they still turned out alright. I can see how esthetically this would make a difference.With a spoon or knife, layer the cinnamon cream cheese glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls. They should be just warm enough that the glaze melts slightly.

Eat while hot.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taco Tuesday : Masa Pockets


I managed to get this recipe out last night but before I wrote anything our internet went down. We've been hit hard with non stop rain, the water is so high on the road it creates a wave that splashes into our front yard. Last night I saw someone get hit by one of these waves. Now I'm heading out to face the rain. I can't find my rain boots, I don't have a proper rain jacket but I do have a big umbrella, wish me luck.

1 c masa harina
3 tbs flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c water (added in 1 tbs at a time)
1/2 c corn
1/2 c cooked shrimp chopped
1/4 c shredded fontina
oil for pan frying

In a bowl combine the masa harina, flour, baking soda and salt.

One tablespoon at a time, add water to the dry ingredients until a nice ball is formed. The dough should not crumble easily and it should not have a sticky texture.

 Take a golf sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll it out flat like a tortilla.

Spoon a teaspoon of corn a couple pieces of shrimp onto the masa dough.

Add the cheese.

Fold in half and pinch the edges together, making a half circle shape.If some of the sections are difficult, keep working the dough, it will mend together.

In a skillet on high heat add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Place the masa pockets into the pan and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

When they're done place them onto a paper towel to absorb the extra oil and eat them while they're hot!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Leek and Feta Greek Quiche

A while back I wrote about how I once imagined married life on the weekend
7:30AM wake up
7:45AM start breakfast & homemade lattes
8:30 AM sit next to a sunny window and read the newspaper, drink a delicious homemade latte and a savory breakfast (aka: google reader and NYT online)

My dream is now reality. My husband does not surprise me with gifts, he gives me options. Dearest Jacqueline, for Valentine's Day since I love you so much I want to buy you a KithenAid mixer or an espresso machine. In hopes that KitchenAid will find my food blog the perfect path for advertising they'll just send me a mixer, I went with the espresso maker. Talk about instant gratification, the perfect buzz and more cohesive mornings.

I enjoy the thrill of receiving gifts, so I'm saving my Valentine's Day gift for my husband until tomorrow. I did make him this Amazing Greek Quiche

Leek and Feta Greek Quiche
Recipe adapted from: My Greek Ambition

1 onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil
2 c leeks chopped
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 lg eggs lightly whisked
1 package of feta cheese (buy a block of feta and then crumble by hand)
1 tbs dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a pie pan or spring form pan. Turn your skillet onto medium high heat. Melt the butter in the skillet and add the olive oil. Toss in the onions and saute until transparent. Add the leeks and saute for about 5 more minutes until leeks are wilted.

In a mixing bowl sift the flour and baking soda.

Add the slightly beaten eggs and yogurt to the dry ingredients. After everything is thoroughly combined, crumble the feta and lightly fold it into the batter.

Pour the ingredients into your greased pan, sprinkle the dill over the top of the batter and cook for 40-45 minutes.

The result is a gorgeous golden crust and a light savory quiche.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Quinoa and Corn SalsaTacos

Taco Tuesday has been delayed but I have a really good excuse. Yesterday, I noticed that Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman Cooks was doing a book signing in SF for her new book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story. Not my evening planned out at all, I sporadically grabbed my sister-in-law and dragged her out to the book signing. At about 7PM Ree arrived with her three daughters to a crowd of devotees.
Ree did a great Q&A session answering questions ranging from how she doesn't gain weight when all of her recipes contain butter and cream to how she keeps such a good relationship with her husband. I was thrilled when I heard that Elise from Simply Recipes was in the crowd as well.

Upon arriving at the bookstore, I had been given the letter "K" which identified when I could get my book signed. A couple of phone calls, a long bathroom line, one coffee and two hours later they were just calling letter "G". In desperation, I had to make a decision to wait it out another hour or so to get my book signed, or catch my last bus home.

And that's why Taco Tuesday was delayed.

Quinoa and Corn Salsa Tacos
1 c quinoa
1/4 c red onion diced
1/2 c corn
1/2 c bell pepper diced
1 avocado diced
1/2 c black beans
1/2 jalapeno minced
1/8 c chopped cilantro
2 limes juiced
salt and pepper
6-8 corn tortillas
queso fresco

In a bowl toss the quinoa and chopped up vegetables together.
Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
To assemble the taco spoon the quinoa and corn salsa into the corn tortillas and crumble some queso fresco over the top.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Mango Carrot Smoothies

On foodie weekends such as Super Bowl weekend, I like to take on a lighter breakfast. I made way too much food last night so I can't even imagine eating a big breakfast. First I made homemade cheeze-its and snacked on a couple. I made a homemade salsa for my husband to eat while I was slaving away in the kitchen. My mind is so cloudy I can't remember what I made next. Wait, I remember . . . I mixed up some polomas a drink with tequila, Squirt, lime juice and salt all in a mason jar over ice. I'm not finished, I made dinner which was a turkey quinoa meatloaf with lemon roasted asparagus, and then I made dog biscuits to ship out to my sister (I know you're thinking it and I did not sample those). I topped it off with some homemade soft pretzels, they were so soft, chewy, buttery and salty that I could not stop eating them hence the liquid diet this morning.

When it comes to smoothies I'm a texture girl. I don't like seedy smoothies, I hate when smoothies are too liquidy and chunks in my smoothies give me the goosebumps. This smoothie has never failed me. It is always smooth and consistent and I promise you it does not taste like carrot juice.

Mango Carrot Smoothies
2 c carrot juice
2 c frozen mangos

You can use store bought or homemade carrot juice. Just make sure the carrot juice is pure carrot juice without any other juices or added sugar.
First add the carrot juice and then add the frozen mangoes.

Cheers to an easy, light breakfast. As for the Super Bowl let the best men win.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Salsa Verde Pork Tacos

I typically like to spend the last part of my weekend cooking and baking. Why? I love being able to come home at 7PM and whip dinner together in a matter of minutes. If I don't do this, I end up making instant mashed potatoes or resorting to our local taqueria.

What did I manage to do this Sunday? I sorted receipts for taxes (30 min), read my Google Reader, went to a friends house, watched two movies, cleaned a bit, walked the dog and microwaved soup and made a grilled cheese sandwich. I almost forgot, I put pork butt into a crock pot with some other ingredients to make the best salsa verde pork tacos that I've ever had. Alas, it was so easy I didn't take pictures.

Not my typical Sunday but so far I'm happy with the outcome.

Recipe adapted from

1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder (pork butt)
1 jar of salsa verde-I bought mine at Trader Joes
1/2 onion chopped
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
6-8 corn tortillas
1/4 c chopped cilantro

*Pork shoulder is typically sold bone in, I bought a larger piece of pork shoulder and cut it in half (awkwardly around the bone) and froze the rest for later. I recommend next time just buying your pork butt without the bone and chop it into quarters, it will cook quicker and you don't have to buy it in such a large hunk.

Trim the fat off of the pork butt.

In a crockpot toss in the pork butt, pour in almost all of your bottle of the salsa verde saving the last bit for garnish. Add in the chopped onion, chicken broth, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dried oregano.
Turn the crockpot onto low heat and cook for 7 to 9 hours.

The meat should fork apart easily. Remove any extra fatty pieces.

To ensemble your tacos put a layer of shredded pork into the tortilla, spoon some salsa verde over the top and garnish with chopped cilantro and minced red onions. .

Please make this tomorrow, or even better . . . for your Super Bowl gathering!

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