13 July 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Nut Butters

When I saw the new challenge for this month, I wasn't quite sure how to react. The idea of making a nut butter has always been intriguing to me, but Hubby is not a huge fan of nut butters, so I wasn't sure how easily I'd be able to pull off the taste. But then I realized a holiday was near. And holidays means parties. Parties mean food. Plenty of food... which means I can make whatever I want on the side as long as Hubby has enough food. And oh boy, I went to town on this challenge.

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

11 July 2010

Grilled Chicken and Pasta in Fresh Basil-Cream Sauce

Remember my Ravioli Double Take? The sauce had potential, but it just fell short of the mark (both in taste and quantity). After reading your comments, I decided that I really need to revamp the sauce and give it a chance. So I did. Thank you readers for convincing me to try this one again!

I knew I didn't want to try more ravioli, but I also wanted to stay away from my normal pastas: macaroni, tagliatelle, and spaghetti. And, surprisingly, I stumbled across orechiette when I was looking for a grill. Crazy, huh? I grabbed the orechiette and wandered over to the chocolate section. I found a bar of Lindt salted chocolate, and feeling adventurous, I grabbed it. Hubby has never been so surprised to like a chocolate before, claiming whomever came up with the idea to add salt to chocolate was a genius. I concur.

08 July 2010

Double Take: Cheesy Chive Biscuits

I was looking for something quick and easy for this week because Tabitha’s summer schedule is beyond crazy. For some people, biscuits might be intimidating, but not for these two Southern gals! Tabitha is actually the person who taught me how to make biscuits (follow the recipe on the back of the White Lily bag) and I tried to get the right before I left Winston-Salem. That didn’t happen. With White Lily flour not an option in Germany, I had to get creative. Self-rising flour was not an option either (Okay, so there is self-rising here, but the rising agent is yeast rather than baking powder). Nicely though, baking powder is available in these cute little one use packets with the perfect amount for two cups of flour. So I switched from the famous White Lily recipe to baking powder biscuits. And by golly, I perfected biscuits.

01 July 2010

Double Take: Beef and Chicken Fajitas

A big plate of grilled meat... yum!

I’ve always been a fan of soft tacos, but I’ve never been one to order fajitas on a regular basis at Mexican restaurants. I’d rather have the tacos de asada... or quesadillas... or chimichangas. I have always been attracted to the sizzling cast iron skilt it arrives on, and the smell of course, but not necessarily the fajitas themselves. Most likely because it always comes with tons of green bell peppers. And well, I’m not a fan of bell peppers.

But the recipe in the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (p. 248) did not call for bell peppers. In fact, it didn’t call for much of anything. It’s basically a recipe for a marinade with serving suggestions. Which means easy peasy, right? Well, actually, right. This recipe was incredibly easy.

Prepare a spice mix: chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Add Italian dressing, mix well. Add meat (steak and chicken) to a bag or glass dish with the marinade, let sit two hours, grill. You’re done. Right? Right. Except, don’t forget to prep all your toppings. But you have 2 hours plus grill time to prep, so no big deal. You even have time to throw a chile con queso together. Yum.

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