Friday, November 7, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy.

     I've had so many drafts that I was scheduling to post to this blog regarding a great many things - however, I've been extremely swamped over the past year. Has it really been that long?

     My daughter now lives with me full time, I've made a career change, and am starting back to school after nearly a seven year hiatus. All grand and wonderfully exciting things, but also a great deal of added stress.

     I've also begun writing for a local publication called the Free-Times as a freelance music writer, and am still trying to finish some audio work I did for a friend of mine who is an author. It's not my first narration, but my recording of an actual novel and I'm becoming overly paranoid about how it may not meet the level of perfection that I want it to. I should be within the last phases of editing this weekend though.

     As far as my culinary adventures I've begun to teeter more outside of my comfort zone, and have become far more willing to take risks - to experiment with new and exciting ingredients. In Columbia there isn't a huge global marketplace but there is a location called the "International Corridor". I've become extremely fond of squeezing that phrase into conversation with Jenn whenever possible. In any event, I've been able to locate some of the ingredients needed for certain recipes that I can't find in conventional stores or even specialty markets.

    I have sort of consigned myself to the facts of being a full-time father and soon-to-be student that traveling abroad is more than likely not going to be in the foreseeable future. With that being said, I really think that other than reading articles and looking at pictures of far away lands that I can really understand the culture in the best way that we can understand one another without music - Food,of course.

     In the meantime, I'll be compiling recipes for some fo the foods that I've been working on such as Pan De La Muerto that I baked for mine and Jenn's Day of the Dead Party, Tom Kha, the technique I learned to roll heart shaped sushi, and much more.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kofta Burgers and Greek Potatoes

The Plan

Jenn and I ate at the Mediterranean Cafe in Lexington and I had the Kofta dish, and I couldn't stand that Jenn couldn't have any due to her lack of eating mammals. I decided then that I had to adapt a recipe with ground turkey for her, but I couldn't just leave it at turkey Kofta, I wanted to make a burger. I scoured the interwebs in search of something similar to my idea - a burger on flat bread or pita, maybe even a pita pocket. To no real avail. I decided that I wanted to make my own Tzataziki Sauce, Hummus, Oliveda, and instead of lettuce - shredded grape leaves.

Turkey Kofta

2 lbs Ground Turkey
2 Tablespoons Coriander
2 tablespoons Cumin
2 tablespoons Turmeric
2 tablespoons Allspice
2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Ginger
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Parsley
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs

Mix all ingredients together working everything together in a large bowl. Cover and allow to sit refrigerated for thirty minutes. When ready pat meat into 4 ounce thin patties (for my purposes, I used a George Foreman grill, and it only took around 4 minutes or so for them to cook). Makes eight 4 oz. servings.

Tzataziki Sauce

2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
1 cucumber seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup minced dill
1/4 minced mint
1/4 cup lemon juice

Really good, and really simple sauce. Basically, cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds with a spoon and dice it into small centimeter sized cubes, and then mix all ingredients together.


1/2 cup pitted Kalamata Olives minced and strained
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash olive oil

Dice the olives finely and strain off any additional juice with a sieve or pat dry with a paper towel and combine other ingredients.

Greek Potatoes

3 large Russet potatoes diced
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Rinse and dice the potatoes, mix all ingredients together making sure to coat potatoes with oil and consistently with paprika, bake at 350 degrees until tender.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Zuppa Toscana!

     I am normally not much for chain restaurants, but my father had me convinced that I should give Olive Garden a try - if only for the frugality of soup, salad, and breadsticks. My daughter recently moved in with us (halfway through winter break), and on her first day Jennika and I decided to go to Olive Garden as a sort of treat for everything we had accomplished for the day.

     I decided to go with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks with Zuppa Toscana as my soup choice. It was a really simple soup with kale, cream, and ground Italian sausage, but extremely flavorful. Apparently, you can choose a different soup throughout the meal, but I must've had three bowls of Zuppa Toscana, and had no room for anything else.

     Up to this point, I had never really had many Italian soups - sans Italian Wedding Soup and Minestrone.  I was beginning to wonder if Zuppa Toscana was just a soup devised for marketing by the executive chef for Olive Garden, but my googling determined that this was not the case and that it was a legitimate Italian soup. I decided to take on trying to cook it for Dacey, Jenn, and I, but I also knew I'd have to modify it because the original recipe obviously has pork sausage and bacon in it, and Jenn doesn't eat mammals. We were able to locate some Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage at the local grocery and some turkey bacon. So I worked the recipe in this manner:

  4 Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages
1/4 Cup Minced Marinated Garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Medium Onion Diced
1/2 Cup of Turkey Bacon Bits
4 Medium Potatoes Diced
32 oz. Chicken Broth
1 Bunch of Kale cut into strips
2 Cups Heavy cream

     Remove sausages from casing, add to stockpot with minced garlic, diced onion, and olive oil. Cook sausage until browned. Add broth, potatoes, and kale. Cook until potatoes are tender, then add heavy cream. Simmer for 15 minutes.

     For the extra kick from using mild sausages Jenn and I added some crushed red to ours individually. All in all, I think it turned out splendid, however I'd use about a good tablespoon of fennel seed for my next adaptation.

     That's all for now.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rosemary Garlic Potato and Turkey Sausage and Brussel Sprout Tacos

Rosemary and Garlic Potato Tacos (inspired by Turkey Sausage and Brussel Sprout Tacos)

I know what you're thinking,"What do you mean brussel sprout tacos?" We had leftovers from the other day when we made the Sausage and Brussel Sprout Torichiette, and on a whim I decided to warm them up and dress them in hard taco shells with shredded cheddar (the Fontina was sliced not shredded, and I'd rather maintain the texture). It was fantastic. I didn't imagine that it would turn out so killer, but it really did. I also made cheese tostadas on the side for Jennika and I. Again, Sriracha Sriracha. It's getting old I know, but my insurmountable paranoia about the possibility of it being discontinued has heightened my usage considerably.

Since the alternate ingredient tacos I have been stirring on other vegetables/ingredients to use, and came to the decision today to dice a few potatoes and a half an onion in some butter and garlic and rosemary. Topped with shredded cheddar and turkey bacon bits; I had found a winner.

As far as a recipe for the sausage and Brussel sprout tacos, follow the steps for roasting and baking the ingredients from the previous blog on the Pesto Torichiette recipe. The potatoes, a bit more.

Three potatoes diced into centimeter or slightly larger cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
One half onion diced
tablespoon of rosemary
two tablespoons of minced granulated garlic
teaspoon of jane's krazy mixed up salt
teaspoon of jane's krazy mixed up pepper
1/8 cup turkey bacon bits
10 corn tortillas warmed or steamed

Add butter to pan and melt, then add potatoes and seasonings. As Potatoes become slightly cooked and more tender add in the onion. Keep potatoes cooking but only until easily chewable in the mouth, do not overcook until mushy. Remove from heat once optimal tenderness is reached, and dish out servings onto double corn tortillas (each taco should be two corn tortillas for added support and tortillas should be warmed to avoid breaking), add cheese and desired toppings (sour cream, salsa, etc). Serve Warm.

Caprese, not just as a salad anymore.


The Other night after Jenn made Beer and Cheese Soup (recipe and entry pending), we didn't have much in the way of dessert but we were still a tad bit hungry. Seeing as tomatoes are a fruit, and Jennika loves any sort of cheese I rounded up the sliced Fontina I talked about earlier, and sliced a leftover tomato with the cheese layered in it. I topped it with a balsamic glaze. I Also got some of our mozarella balls in brine out and drained them. I sprinkled some Jane's Mixed up pepper on them and added some separate Stonewall Kitchen Balsamic Fig dressing to the other side for dipping. Sweet/Savory Dessert Achieved.

Dem Feels after successful weird tacos.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Garlic Bread Soup??

My Caprese Panini and Soup

As I'm sure everyone can tell - I have a special place in my heart for the caprese salad, and thus I try to find anyway to eat it... every day. So I made a half caprese sandwich on sourdough with fresh basil and mozarella and balsamic reduction and grilled it on the George Foreman which makes a suitable substitute for a panini press. For Jenn's sandwich I made a slight variation by just using pesto, mozarello, and tomato.

 Jenn's Pesto Panini and Soup

Now what about Garlic Bread Soup?

I was a bit skeptical at first of any sort of "bread" soup, but we found this recipe on the Pinterest so we decided to give it a try. Recipe is as follows:


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 large garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 slices of sourdough loaf, cubed
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish


  1. Step 1

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until hot but not smoking. Add garlic paste; cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Add bread, and stir to coat. Stir in stock and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Discard bay leaves. Stir in eggs to cook, stirring occasionally to break up eggs, about 10 minutes. Serve soup garnished with parsley leaves.
*  -with adjustments for our personal taste.*

And there you have it.

It turned out fantastic, I had my doubts. The best comparison I can really come to is Egg Drop Soup, but more starchy and a heavy overtone of garlic. Which works out well for both of us as we're avid over users of garlic.

Was listening this today while I was whipping up lunch, hope you all enjoy this one.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Heavy Metal Veggie Bake

Veggie Bake in Cast Iron

I've been coming increasingly fond of cast iron. I don't really know why, but it just... tastes different I guess. So for dinner tonight, I baked an americanized Ratatouille.

1 yellow squash thin sliced
1 zuccinni thin sliced
1 potato thin sliced
1 tomato thin sliced
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
1/8 cup olive oil
tablespoon of Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees then slice and arrange your vegetables to your liking in your cast iron pan, or casserole pan. This recipe creates three small portions so increase as necessary to fill your pan or dish. Pour olive oil evenly on veggies and bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until veggies start to look flimsy and tender. Pull out the pan and put the Parmesan on top then toss back into the oven until melted. Quick, Easy, Healthy recipe.

What I'm feeling tonight.

Stir Fried Quinoa and Vegetables with Sriracha Mayo

Quinoa has lately become the forefront of healthy eaters and diets within the past few 
years (at least around here). I've been aware of it for quite some time, but I've never really
come up with quite as creative of recipes I've seen in magazines or on Pinterest. 
Basically, you would cook your quinoa as usual and simply stir fry with a little bit of butter and soy sauce. The vegetables I cooked in similar fashion, but used teriyaki instead of soy.

Vegetables of choice washed and diced (we used zuccinni, squash, onion, carrots, and peas)
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of teriyaki
1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
2 eggs
Add water and quinoa and water to a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes. Meanwhile,
stir fry vegetables until tender with a tablespoon of butter (amount of vegetables and types are up to you as listed in my ingredients we used zuccinni, squash, onion, carrot, and peas), add teriyaki and cook to desired tenderness. A lot of times I tend to slightly under cook my vegetables for a better crunch. Once the quinoa is finished add it to a saute pan with some a tablespoon of butter, and add enough soy to darken the quinoa, but DO NOT over saturate. Cook until slightly crisp and then add two eggs to quinoa stirring until the eggs are cooked. Top with vegetables and enjoy.

As always, I have to add a little something extra in the way of a sauce. Since it's Asian-inspired recipe, what better to add than a Sriracha Mayo drizzle. Sriracha mayo is the spicy mayo you usually get with sushi.

Sriracha Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's)
1/4 cup of Sriracha
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice

Mix well!

Dem feels. Picked out the chords on piano too :)