Yum Peaceful Cooking: October 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teriyaki Sliders

These babies are slidin' right into home plate.

Grand Slam!!

Out of the park!

Ok, I'm seriously not a baseball fan. Sir Sportsalot burned me out on that...yeeeeears ago. Once upon a time, 2 expansion teams were drafting into the leagues....The Rockies and The Mariners or was it the Marlins? crap, I think it was the Marlins. Anyways... just to irk Sir Sportsalot, I decided to be fan of The Rockies...just so I could say I've liked them since they began. And ya, being a Dodger fan himself...it irked.

But I couldn't tell ya how they did this past season...or even a name of a single player on the team.

Some fan, right?

But....when I think of sliders....what comes to mind is "sliding" onto base oooor....those little water turtles....red eared sliders.

So...thats where my head is. If it doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. You're not alone.

Now for these Teriyaki Sliders....

I got the recipe from my sister who got it from a magazine (have no clue which one...sorry).

I did make a few slight changes. Not enough to call it my own...just enough to make it a little extra mmmm mmmm good.

I did borrow a couple of ideas from Spryte. She has 2 recipes for Sliders. One is the White Castle Style Slider where I borrowed the cooking method....BRILLANT!!! Sooooo would not want to be flipping 24 mini patties.

The other recipe is her Teriyaki Turkey Sliders with Ponzu Sauce where I borrowed her pineapple addition to the slider. Totally YUM!

Ok...lets move on already.

why does wine make me so chatty?

Teriyaki Patties:
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken (or pork...actually, beef would be fine too)
3 scallions, chopped
4 oz chopped mushrooms, sauteed
2 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 - 2/3 cup panko
1 teaspoon sesame oil

I ground up a couple of chicken breasts. It was a bit moist so I ended up adding 2/3 cup of panko. Start with the 1/3 cup and see how it all feels before adding more (or not)

Tip: I keep my ginger in a zip lock baggy in the freezer. It keeps for a long time and when you grate ginger, frozen...its a snap!! Just take a knife and scrape off the skin and "zest" away. No messy stringy stuff....just fine little crystal like ginger.

1/4 mayonnaise
1 tsp teriyaki sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch wasabi powder (optional)

24 pineapple slices
24 dinner rolls  (I used Kings Hawaiian Rolls)

Wasabi Powder.....hmmm.

I added the "pinch" and let it sit for a minute...nothing. No heat, no nothing. So I added more. Still nothing. I ended up adding a good teaspoon or more and still nothing!! No heat. Just a weird flavor that I wasn't sure I liked. What happened? Anyone out there experienced with this stuff? Wasabi is hot stuff. I don't get it.

O'well...let's move on

Preheat the oven to 400' F.

Combine all the teriyaki patty ingredients. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray and spread the chicken mixture into the pan, as evenly as you can...

Cook for about 30 minutes. You want to make sure its thoroughly cooked of course....no pink in the middle

Meanwhile, grill your pineapple slices. It was too cold for the "man" of the house to BBQ outside so I got out my waaaaaay old, indoor grill pan (when is it ever too cold in SoCal to BBQ???)


At least it gets the grill marks done good.

Then mix up your sauce ingredients

When the chicken is done, cut into 24 patties, about the size of the dinner rolls

And put your sliders together....

Soo...how many of these babies can you put away?

Btw...I happened to serve them with sweet potato fries. It was my first experience with those.

Not bad. not bad at all.

I did make regular fries for Sir Sportsalot cuz I didn't think he'd be real thrilled with the sweet potatoes. I walked out of the kitchen for a minute and when I returned, he had loaded up his plate with them.

Now, if I had told him...."instead of regular fries, I thought I'd make them out of sweet potatoes" I wouldn't gotten "the look"

Go figure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

French Toast Sammy

There's a commercial for Kaiser Permanente that sings a song that goes something like this

When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman....

Well, here....lemme just show ya....

I don't know why, but I just love that commercial. When I first saw it, I thought...."it's so obvious that it's brilliant". When you were a little girl (sorry to the guys who are reading...but change the nouns accordingly) and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up...did any of you ever think to say...an old woman? Of course not. Who wants to be old, right? But of course we all want to live long enough to be old. I remember thinking how cool it will be to someday be a grandmother. I know...thats probably a strange thing for a child to think about...but I've always looked forward to it. Maybe it's a testament to my wonderful grandmothers.

Anyways....where am I going with this?

Not very far....

I just wanna live a really long time

So I can enjoy this wonderful version of French Toast for a really long time!

and be a grandmother someday....but not too soon. I can totally wait for my girls to grow up 

Soooooo....when my youngest daughter asked me to cook breakfast and I had this on hand:

Potato Bread (store bought)
cream cheese
homemade strawberry jam
butter (for the pan)
powdered sugar

French Toast Sammys is what I made.

Mix a couple eggs, the milk, a bit of sugar and vanilla in a shallow dish (I used a pie tin)

Get some cream cheese and mix it with your favorite jam or jelly

Mix it together reeeeeeal good (might have to break out the hand mixer to get it all nice and smooth)


Dip your bread in the egg mixture and fry em up in a medium hot, buttered pan

Cook for a couple of minutes on each side

Heat your oven to 350' F. Place the cooked french toast on a cookie sheet and spread the cream cheese mixture over 1 slice....then place the other slice on top...

Heat in the oven for about 5 minutes. Just enough time for that cream cheese to get really creamy

Garnish with powdered sugar and a strawberry if you have one...I'm bummed that I didn't :(

This was one seriously good breakfast!

Oh and that commercial? Yep...it has a whooole other message to it that has to do with October and Pink...and it was a totally awesome coincidence that brought this whole post together.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

So I s'pose it would be fitting if I dedicated this post to the grandmother my girls never met and the mother-in-law I never met.

In loving memory of Grandma Sally

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken

Or, Khoresh-e fesenjan ba jujeh

But....before we dive into this flavorful, taste-bud-tantalizing dish. Let me tell you the why and how of it all!

One day I went into the kitchen and I found out that I was being invaded by these cute little bottles.

They came marching across my counter, chanting....

"Take me to your leader"

I quickly raised my hand and said, with pride...."THATS ME!!!"

When you have a whole case of  Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice willing to do anything your heart desires....well shoot....that just opens up a whoooole bunch of possibilities, now doesn't it?

Ok, it didn't really happen like that...but it was almost as cool. Molly from Pom Wonderful was kind enough to ask if I would like a case of these little cuties.

Well, who wouldn't?

I've tried the juice before. I'm lucky enough to have a supply available to me at my local grocery store (though its a tad bit costly). But I've only tried it as a beverage. And loved it!! (btw...my favorite is the pom-blueberry version...OMG).

But now that the manufacture sent me a case....well shoot. I can't just drink them all and say YUM!

How rude of me!

So I put my feelers out to see what I could find.


One of the gals at work told me about a recipe she had at home that was wonderful. Bless her heart...she brought her cookbook to work the very next day!! (heaven!!)

After looking at the ingredients...I wasn't sure if I could do it. There were a few key ingredients that just don't play well with my taste buds. So I browsed through her big fat heavy incredible cookbook and found Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken.

Khoresh is persian for stew. Usually its duck or veal but me being who I am (and they said I could in the cookbook), I used chicken.


That's all I'll say for now. Let me show you what I did and then you can say "WOW" too!

Oh ya...when I made this, I halved the recipe....(just in case no one liked it) but I'll give you the full version recipe.

2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 lbs chicken legs or duck breast, cut up with skin removed (I used boneless skinless chicken breast. next time I'll probably use boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
5 tablespoons oil or butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pomegranate paste dissolved in 2 1/2 cups water, OR 4 cups fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2 pound or 2 cups very finely ground walnuts (I used pecans)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons sugar (optional) (I didn't need it)
Seeds of a whole fresh pomegranate (a.k.a. arils)

In a Dutch oven, (or bean pot like I used), brown onions and chicken in the oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.

Look at this beautiful squash....

I didn't need much, so I'm going to have to find something to do with the remaining squash. Maybe just caramelize them and served them as a side. Or make a lovely soup.


Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a non-stick skillet (I don't own one..used my cast iron) and brown both sides of the butternut squash, set aside.

In a food processor, finely grind the nuts....

You see how small my food processor is? There was no way I'd be able to continue according to the directions. Therefore I removed the nuts and continued in a bowl, by hand...

Add the diluted pomegranate paste (juice in my case), cinnamon, saffron water and mix well.

This is suppose to create some sort of paste. It was pretty watery. Not sure if it has anything to do with fact that I didn't use a food processor or not. But....just so's ya know...it didn't matter.

Oh look...the chicken and the onions are nice and brown now...

Add the butternut squash to the chicken...

(shhhh....don't tell anyone...but I nibbled on a few of those caramelized squash squares...and YUM!!)

Add the so-called-nut-paste to the mixture...

wooooa....that turned into an odd color. (got kinda nervous at this point)

If the sauce is too sour, add 2 tablespoons of sugar (wasn't needed....tasted awesome!!).

Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally.

Now the book goes on to explain that if the stew is too thick, add warm water. If it's not sour enough for your taste, add more pomegranate paste, or sugar to sweeten it.

Anyways, after some time, I noticed the stew was changing colors....in the end it became a deep rich brown, almost black. But it wasn't burnt at all.

Just prior to serving, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of fresh pomegranate seeds on top of the Khoresh.

I don't even know how to explain it. Rich in flavor....full of depth. Unbelievable. The sweet and sour that is create from the pomegranate and the cinnamon and butternut squash.....loved it!!

Here in the "States" we use cinnamon as a desserts ingredient. It takes a little "adjusting" to appreciate the other side of cinnamon in a savory dish. If you can get cinnamon rolls out of your head, I think you'll enjoy it :)

So...let me give you a few hints on de-seeding a pomegranate. I saw a great little video over at Pom Wonderful that showed this process but I had such fun pulling it off, I thought I'd include it here:

Slice the end of the pomegranate off

See those segments? the thick membranes? Cut right through that....

Now you will have segments kinda like an orange. Set up a bowl of water and with the arils facing down, bend the skin backwards, releasing the arils into the water.

The arils will sink and any membranes that end up in the bowl will float. Take a strainer or slotted spoon and scoop the membranes out. ...

Now all you have to do is drain out the water and you have a whoooole bunch of pomegranate seeds to play with :)

AFTER NOTE: Ok...so I started getting worried that I may have done something terribly wrong to my Khoresh. Why is it so dark? So I went poking around. I found one image that looked the way my stew looked before cooking it....that reddish brown. Well, mine didn't stay that color for very long...so I think that image was not from the finished product (tsk tsk). So I searched some more. I came across a blog by an Iranian woman where she was talking about a dinner party at a restaurant where they served this very recipe. And it was so dark....that it was almost black!! YEAH!!!

Oh ya....and they served it over rice. YUM!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Over Due Salubrious Sunday and Over the Top Award

You know what? I haven't posted a Salubrious Sunday meal for a while.

Why is that?

Hmm...probably a lot of reason but I don't wanna get all foodie-analytical on you so lets just fix the situation and move on.

May I present to you yet another recipe from my Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook: Honey Mustard-Glazed Pork Chops

You know what else?

I suck at making glazes.

They never ever remotely resemble what I think of as a glaze. You know like those hams...all sweet and candied and good.

Not mine.

 I get....a sauce.

Someday I will conquer the glaze.

Salubrious Sunday was not that day.

I did slightly alter this recipe. I was in the mood for Spanish Rice (which is posted --->here<---) and Calabacitas (which is posted --->here<---) so I needed the meat to be a little more....something. The letters in red will be what I added / changed, which isn't much.

Here are the ingredients:

1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard (Dijon Mustard is MUCH better)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 Chipotle in Adobe Sauce
1/2 tsp onion salt  powder
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4" thick
Orange slices, if desired

In a small bowl, combine your honey and mustard (and cloves if you're gonna play by the book)

Take out one of those chipotle peppers

Slice it open.....

Do you like it hot? or not? Me? I'm chicken...so I removed all those little seeds and then chopped up the pepper

btw...it took days for that stain to go away. I tried bleach, lemon...409. Its all good now...but for a while there....not so pretty

Ok...add the pepper to the honey mustard mixture and set it aside.

Heat your skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle your chops with onion salt and pepper....and lemon pepper (if you're not playing by the rules).

Add the meat to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Turn. Reduce heat to medium-low; pour the honey mustard sauce over the chops.

Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until no longer pink inside (and meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 160').

Sooo....does that look like a glaze to you? I dunno, it looks like good ole sauce to me. And now that I think of it, of course it would. All that steam from covering the skillet is going to keep everything moist...even a wanna be glaze doesn't have a chance.

This wasn't my favorite meat. It needed something. Or lots of somethings. I dunno. There just wasn't enough flavor. I can't imagine how bland it would've been without the chipotle pepper. If I try it again, maybe I'd add a jalapeno, some onions....garlic. Something to make up for the disfunctional glaze sauce.

For the chops, the calories were only 270 (calories from fat 80)l total fat 9 g (sat fat 3 g, trans fat 0g); chol 70 mg, sodium 330 mg. Carb 24 g

And now...for the highlight of my day....check this out!! I got an award :) from my fellow lush, Heather over at GirliChef.

Thank you sooo much Heather!!!

Don't you just love awards? (Well except for those "loser awards" you'd get at camp. You know the ones.... Messiest Cabin, Latest Troop, etc.)

Anyways...I'm suppose to answer some questions, using one word? riiiiiight.

1. Where is your cell phone? on my cookbook
2. Your hair? a mess
3. Your mother? wonderful
4. Your father? precious
5. Your favorite food? chocolate, no wait...bread. shoot...potatoes. noooo chocolate. crap
6. Your dream last night? weird
7. Your favorite drink? margarita on the rocks
8. Your dream/goal? content
9. What room are you in? den
10. Your hobby? seriously?
11. Your fear? cockroaches
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? the 90's
13. Where were you last night? shhh
14. Something that you aren't? grown-up
15. Muffins? top?
16. Wish list items? kitchen-aid!!!!
17. Where did you grow up? SoCal 
18. Last thing you did? ate, no wait...drank wine
19. What are you wearing? jammies and sir sports-alot's t-shirt
20. Your TV? on
21. Your pets? too many
22. Friends? close
23. Your life? busy
24. Your mood? nostalgic
25. Missing someone? sometimes
26. Vehicle? small (nicknamed: Chuy)
27. Something you're not wearing? umm...never mind 
28. Your favorite store? any store with a kitchen gadget section

Ok, that was relatively painless (for me that is). And now I'd like to pass this award on to a few of my bloggin buds....Shane over at Culinary Alchemist, Michelle at Big Black Dogs, Cathy from The Dutch Bakers Daughter, Erica at My Columbian Recipes and Debby over at A Feast For The Eyes

Just grab the badge, and load it up onto your blog and have fun!

So...I got home today and what do I find? My daughter has decided to make the box of Duncan Hines 100% Whole Grain Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins that I picked up at the store over the weekend (I had gotten a coupon through one of those banner ads on BakeSpace.com). Oh yum!

And what do I do with it?

Why, I decide I need to celebrate my award!

And of course improve on a boxed product. So I mixed 50/50 Hazelnut Spread (I was too cheap to buy the Nutella brand) and mascarpone. (killer combo on it's own....seriously). And I looked at this lovely dark chocolatey muffin and decided I wasn't going to "ice" the muffin. It's a muffin, not a wanna be cupcake.

So I sliced it and spread it....and ooooh eeeeem geeeeeee!!!

Now thats Over the Top!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grandma Mary's Banana Pudding

The other day I asked my sister if she had a recipe she'd share with me. I wanted a dessert....and I wanted it to be something I hadn't made.

My sister lives in Alabama, so for me this would be a total blind recipe. Never tasted, never seen.

She told me about Grandma Mary's Banana Pudding.

Nope...we don't have a grandma named Mary. I don't even think we have a relative named Mary. But there was a real Grandma Mary.

She lived next door (read 1/2 mile away) from my parents. I had the pleasure of meeting Grandma Mary a few short times but for my little sisters, she was like a grandmother. Just a sweet, darling little lady. Southern through and through and this recipe is one of hers.

Let me tell you....this is not like any banana pudding you've ever had.

If it is, then thats only because you've had this very same one before and you will be able to confirm that this is one fantastic dessert.

There aren't a whole lot of ingredients. It's not difficult at all. But I have to warn you...what sets this apart from the others is the coconut topping. And that takes a bit of time.

but WAY worth it!!!

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups coconut flakes
2 packages 3.5 oz vanilla pudding mix (pair according to package instructions)
6 bananas
1 16 oz container cool whip

Preheat oven to 300' F

In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and coconut

I started out using a fork to mix this up and ended up using my hands. It makes a doughy blob which would be kinda messy in a mixer.

Take that blob and crumble it as best you can into a shallow roasting pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. During the baking process, say....every 10 minutes or so, stir, mash, and crumble the mixture with a spatula. This will accomplish two things

1. Prevent the mixture from turning into a cake
2. Create nice toasty, golden brown crumbles...which is what you want the end result to be

Have you pre-paired the pudding? Cuz you're gonna need it

In a 13 x 9 casserole dish, take about 2/3 of the coconut crumbs and put them on the bottom of the dish. Carefully spread the pudding over the crumbs. Slice the bananas and cover the pudding with the slices....spread the cool whip over the bananas and then sprinkle the remaining coconut crumbs over the cool whip.

Put into the fridge to set and enjoy!!

My oldest daughter told me...."Mom, I don't LIKE pudding". Ok dear. Whatever you say.

10 minutes later she's going back for seconds. Apparently "this is pretty good for pudding".

Just so ya know...It would be very simple to cut the recipe in half and make an 8x8 dish. I'll do that next time. (half of this went to work today so I wouldn't be eating it all week)

Also....I'll probably make my own vanilla pudding from scratch the next time I make it. I'm not saying it wasn't good as is...cuz this stuff is waaaay good. But come on...homemade pudding? I knoooooow!!! I thought about making my own whipped cream but I don't know if it has lasting power the way cool whip does. Right?

Oh...and if you're tempted to use banana pudding......be my guest. I personally can't do the "banana flavor" thing. Trust me...with all those banana slices, you get plenty of real banana flavor!