27 March 2010

Snacky Dinner Evolution

We have a particular meal that has had a major overhaul since we moved to Germany. We call it Snacky Dinner because it's basically a meal of small snacks. It has always been one of Jason's favorites, but I never particularly warmed to it because it's not a warm meal. I know, I know, I'm picky, but I just don't like cold meals... breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I want something hot (or at least warm). It can be 95 degrees outside and I'd rather have something hot than cold. It's why I'd rather have grits than cereal, or when I'm forced to eat a sandwich, I'm much more likely to be happy about it if it's grilled or baked.

25 March 2010

Double Take: The Grinder

A couple weeks ago, Tabitha from Double the Garlic and I were discussing fig cake. A friend of hers was cooking through a cookbook with her mom and brought a fig cake (recipe from the aforementioned book of course) to Tabitha's bookclub. The cake interested me, but cooking through a cookbook with someone else is what really peaked my attention. Tabitha and I cooked dinner together most Thursday nights for well over a year. We've both been missing that since I moved away, so we decided we should cook through a cookbook together.

We made a LOT of Asian food and other non-traditional foods since my picky eater wasn't around those nights (he had to teach, which actually is how we started cooking together in the first place... I had the house to myself and could experiment with foods I liked, and, as it turned out, so did Tabitha). However, my picky eater is around now, so we had to chose a cookbook that would satisfy him too. Amazingly, it only took us about a week to pick one out!  And the winner is...

The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook!

This cookbook had a nice mix of southern classics and other random food styles thrown in for good measure. My copy arrived last Thursday, and I spent the evening thumbing through it while Hubby and I watched Frasier (we finished the series Friday and promptly put in season 1 episode 1). I even got Hubby to look at the book (which he describes as a textbook... it does have over 1250 recipes) and he picked out several recipes and even asked me to make one for lunch on Saturday. I was thrilled that he was interested, but a bit worried since Tabitha and I had not laid out any rules yet. We knew we wanted to cook the same recipe around the same time and blog about it, but that's where our planning had ended. So I made Hubby tell Tabitha that we'd be making a dish from the book before her copy even arrived.

It did, however, work out just fine. Tabitha's copy arrived Saturday and she was able to make the sandwich Monday night for dinner. We threw together a few rules (no subsitutions if at all possible, post Thursdays after making the recipe at 12pm EST). So now the unveiling of our first intercontinental cooking event!

The Grinder is a warm sandwich (which means that I like it), but comes together quite quickly (which means Hubby likes it). As far as the recipes goes, the cooking time seemed a bit too long, the prep time listed a bit short, but overall it was a tasty sandwich! I'm not a fan of bell peppers, but I cooked them long enough such that they didn't bother me. The recipe asks you to put the olive oil (used to cook the garlic and peppers) on top of the bell peppers, but it seems the sandwich would be less messy if you placed it on the top piece of the bread instead. I also used fresh mozzarella, which was a bit too moist for the sandwich and made the lower layer a bit soggy. Hubby wanted a bit more spice, but with a few tweaks the sandwich will be great! Oh, the recipe does call for green peppers, but our grocer was out so I substituted red (with the blessing of the cookbook of course). Since the recipe is not available online, I won't be posting it, but you can find it in the All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.  Enjoy!

Make Again: 2 votes! :)
Never Again: 0 votes

For more pictures and a third opinion, head on over to Double the Garlic and see what Tabitha has to say about The Grinder!

20 March 2010

Beef Soft Tacos

I came across a recipe for taco meat a few years ago. The first time I made it, Hubby declared it was not that much better than the seasoning packet you get at the grocery store. But two days later, when we were driving down Reynolda Road, Hubby changed his mind. It was completely out of the blue, we weren't talking about the tacos again, but it was in his head and he said as much. I couldn't believe it. And ya know what, we haven't used that little packet since.  

14 March 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto

The Daring Kitchen popped up on my radar about six months ago, and I've been watching it closely, trying to decide if I were up to the challenge.  In February, I caved and joined.  I was initially worried that the challenges would be a bit too far out there for Jason (hence my hesitance to join).  But I threw caution to the wind and today you get to see my first challenge. 

Mandatory taglines: The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

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