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June 2009 Archives

Summer Corn Soup

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We have recently begun to see some really beautiful fresh corn popping up at the grocery stores here in Bermuda. You have to grab it quick though! It seems to be sold out in an hour everywhere I go. Mandi and I wanted to do something that highlighted the fresh corn flavor. We decided on a simple soup with not too many ingredients to cloud or confuse the corn. At the last minute, the addition of masa harina enhanced a different type of corn flavor, and thickened the soup to a perfect silky consistency.





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Pasta Salad Week - Playing With Colors and Shapes

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Now that we have gone over many pasta salad basics, I have a few awesome ones to show you that I made to bring to that beach party from last week. Yesterday I hinted a little about making sure to have at least 3 different colors besides the pasta. I feel that this is really important because it causes people to salivate for your pasta when they first see it. Bring either of these to your 4th of July party, and they will be a huge hit! I came up with both of these ideas focused more on the shapes rather than the colors. I thought of the pasta shapes and tried to emulate them with the other ingredients. Here we have noodle salad, and ball salad.





Pasta Salad Week - Leftovers

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Today's post isn't necessarily about the specific recipes listed; it is more about giving you the idea that anything can be a pasta salad. With the new theme on the website of frugally using up your leftovers, today I am presenting you with two different pasta salads made with only what was lying around in the fridge. Use these as inspiration for something to do with your leftovers! When making a pasta salad with leftovers, as a guide I try and check for 4 things; at least 3 colors besides the pasta, crunch, juiciness, and acidic bite. If you have all these things, your pasta salad is ready for the big time!





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Pasta Salad Week - A Healthier Version

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I decided to swap around some days in pasta salad week and show the healthier option today. As I said in the intro on Monday, the title "pasta salad" is a bit misleading because most of these are far from salads or healthy in any way. I wanted to have at least one healthy one up for you guys. I decided to make Tabouli (or Tabbouleh) because bulgur is much healthier than normal pasta. Cracked wheat you say? I say it is pretty much whole grain pasta. Don't believe me? Check out this chart I made to prove it.





Pasta Salad Week - Old Standbys

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Yesterday, in my introduction to pasta salad week, I mentioned how we all probably have the "old standby" salad which we bring with us to picnics and BBQs every year. In college my standby pasta salad was nothing more than bowties or fusilli mixed with a bottle of Italian dressing, pepperoni, peppers, onions, and feta. Simple and tasty. But growing up my mom always made one that was pretty unusual. She would pack it up for me to take all sorts of places, from swim meets to school lunches. We've re-created her pasta salad a few times since then just tooling it out and guessing; but last week I called my mom in order to get the exact recipe to share with you. One bite brought me back all sorts of memories!





Pasta Salad Week Intro

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Welcome to pasta salad week! A whole week you say? On just pasta salads? YES! I love pasta salad and I think it deserves it's own week. Let me tell you why.

WHY:
Pasta salad is the best thing to bring to a BBQ. It is a fact that almost every person who reads this blog will be going to a BBQ in the next two and a half months. (Except poor Marina in the southern hemisphere.) More than that, most of you will be going to a BBQ in the next two and a half WEEKS. Fact number 2, you will be asked to bring something, or because you read this blog and are a food lover, you will offer to bring something. Fact 3, you will make that stale old pasta salad you have been bringing to BBQ's for years. Everyone will say how tasty it is even after all these years, you will forget your dish at your friends house and never see it again, and all will be right in the universe. Well I wanted to put pasta salad week out here to give you guys some options and help you try something new. Something that will really knock the socks off Aunt Susie at your fourth of July party. Everyone will love you and ask for the recipe. You will say it just came to you in a dream. That can be our little secret.

Lets talk a bit about pasta salad.
What is pasta salad? What is pasta salad NOT? Pasta salad is not a salad really, nor is it anywhere close to healthy (most of the time.) My pasta salads are generally a bit better for you than the average mayo soaked version, but not all of them, and not by much. I suppose pasta salad needs pasta in it. I sometimes use bulgur, quinoa, or other grains, but still call it a pasta salad. I don't think I have ever made a rice salad in my life. Below is the pasta salad week menu that will be populated with links as the days go by. To get us started, I have some older pasta salads I have made. Two of these posts were linked in my summer grilling recipe round up from a few weeks back, but I wanted them on here too to make pasta salad week complete.

Today:            Intro and old pasta salad posts
Tuesday:        Old Standbys
Wednesday:   Leftover pasta salad
Thursday:       A healthier version
Friday:           Playing with colors and shapes

 

 

Bulgur Citrus Zucchini Salad



 

Steak, Arugula and Roasted Red Peppers with Penne



 

Black Bean, Avocado and Corn with Quinoa



 

Cous Cous with spinach tomatoes and feta

 

 

 

Come back tommorow for more of exciting pasta salad week!

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Secret Beach Party 2009

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Long post for you guys today, but there are 3 great recipes at the bottom! This past weekend when my sister and her boyfriend Matt were down visiting, we threw a party on secret beach. You may remember secret beach from our party last year? As always, we took our grill grate down to the beach and lit a fire. We cooked some excellent food over an open flame wood fire! In a way, you could say that this was the first of many engagement parties for my sister. Allie and Matt got engaged the day before this party! Everybody can wish them good luck and congrats in the comments!





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Potato Gratin

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I must admit. I have been afraid of potato gratin my whole life. Au gratin, scalloped, dauphinoise, call it what you will, it's all the same. Why should I hate it? Potatoes, check. Cheese, check. Cream, check. Onions, check. Sounds amazing? Well when I was very young, I had this dish made from a box and I still have bad memories about it! This isn't a diss on my mom, or boxed scalloped potatoes; it was just a personal thing. I still remember that gummy awful texture to this day. It was the worst thing I ever ate and it caused me to fear potatoes au gratin for the rest of my life. Until this past weekend. We threw this dish together without a recipe or a plan, but it came out amazing. How could you mess up with such simple tasty ingredients? That's what I am still trying to figure out about that box. One thing that made this texture better for me was that we made the whole thing very thin. This caused less gumminess on the inside and more crispiness ratio on the top.





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Smoked Short Ribs

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After smoking that Boston butt a few weeks back, I have been excited to try my hand at smoked meats again. I got the chance this past weekend when my sister was here visiting. We smoked one of my all time favorite cuts of meat, the short rib. I wasn't sure how the ribs would take on the smoke flavor, cause marinating beef usually doesn't add much to the flavor compared to pork or chicken marinades. I thought the same concept would hold through to the smoke. Boy was I wrong. The smoke penetrated the ribs beautifully and the flavor was amazing. I wish we had all short ribs!  But unfortunately the store only had a few and I had to volumeize with a bone-in pork loin.





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A better Dark and Stormy

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2 weeks ago, I said I would never post an entry on foodie fights day, to encourage people to check out that site (so go check it out because there is a battle today). Since I missed yesterday due to public holiday in Bermuda, I decided I owe you guys a post. This is a very short post of a delicious summer night drink. You can make a pitcher of it and it will last a while. It is sort of a mix between the Bermuda drink called the dark and stormy, and a mojito.

Dark and stormy is a pretty popular drink here in Bermuda. You mix dark rum with a soft drink called ginger beer. My friend Gareth drinks these whenever we are out at happy hour. I like the IDEA of this drink, but am not a fan of the syrupy ginger beer. This cocktail solves that problem by using fresh grated ginger.





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Green Mac and Cheese

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Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort meal for Mandi and me. We make it when it has been a rough day, or on a Sunday night to relax. It is very easy to make, super addicting when you eat it, and the best thing is there are always leftovers to bring in to work for lunch. We wanted to make some a few days ago so I looked at the site to see what Mac and cheeses I have done on here to make sure we made something different I would be able to post. I was surprised to find only 2 (full) mac and cheese recipes! We brainstormed this one over email in the afternoon and feasted on its amazingness that night.





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More BBQ Chicken - Wrap and Quesadilla

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I have been trying to save money lately (who isn't?) and my lavish 30 ingredient meals aren't really helping. One way we are trying, is bringing in lunch to work every day. Mandi and I usually go out to lunch and that is a huge expense especially in Bermuda. The way we plan lunches now, is when we are cooking a meal early in the week, we make a ton extra of one of the ingredients, then mix it into other meals. We have always used leftovers in creative and delicious ways, but they usually aren't seen on the website. I have decided to show more of these preparations because 1, I am making them anyway, why not take pictures, 2 they are delicious, 3 you guys get more posts to look at with less money spent on my part, 4 because maybe it will help others with neat money saving leftover ideas, and 5 because Mandi hates even numbers. Shown here is a dinner we made with leftovers from the night before, and a lunch we packed that I can't wait to rip into in a few hours!





BBQ Chicken Grilled Pizza

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Hey guys! Sorry abut the lack of post yesterday, I know you all need something to get you going on Monday mornings. But don't expect a post next Monday either, it is a holiday here in Bermuda and I will be on a secret beach somewhere with some friends and my sister who is coming down to visit!





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Fish Tacos

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I made a fancier version of this a while back, but today's meal is more home style. This is great for a hot summer night. It was quick on a weeknight, and fairly healthy. If you grilled the fish, It would be healthier, just leave the flour out of the rub mixture. I ate this the other night cause my friend was IMing me about what to eat for dinner. She was sort of saying "I guess it will be baked haddock again..." I sent over this idea to her, and my mouth started watering. I had to make it myself too!





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Frozen Yogurt

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This frozen yogurt changed my mind about frozen yogurt. I used to think it was just a substitute for ice cream for people who were on a diet. Now I know it is its own thing with complex flavors that deserves its own place in the world. I made this froyo from super scratch and I am guessing that's why everything tasted so good, but I am sure that if you got yourself a tub of some fresh yogurt and strained it out a bit, you would get a similar result.





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Updates

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A few updates about the site in the coming months. First of all, I have decided to never do a full recipe post on Foodie Fight day. I really love the new site, and I want to make sure you all have ample time to check out the competition! In case you didn't realize, that means today punks, so go check it out!  The competition reminds me of one of my favorite jokes ever.  What did one melon say to the other melon when they wanted to get married? 

Secondly, I have to regretfully say that I will probably be an infrequent poster from now until September. SEPTEMBER?!?!?!?! Well, by infrequent, I really just mean 3 times a week instead of the usual 4 or 5. There are a lot of big changes going on in my life this summer and I am going to have to be saving lots of money! I will let you all in on the surprises later, but they include a big move, a possible trip around the world, and career choices among others! "2009, more like two thousand mine!"- Amy Poehler - A.S.S.S.S.C.A.T Sunday January 4th 2009 NYC.

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Lamb Kofta

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I have had Kofta at restaurants before, but I was never quite sure what about it defined it as kofta. After doing some research, I don't really think there is anything! Kofta seems to just be Middle Eastern spiced meatballs. There are hundreds and hundreds of different recipes for them. Most have grated or blended onions in them, but after that, it's wide open. We made these with some mint from the garden (a common addition) and grated pepper and onion. These are something different you could take to a BBQ, but it would be really helpful to make them on flat skewers because my kofta were very fragile as I was placing them on the grill.





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