30 July 2010

Bloody Meowy

Kacey's Kitchen - Bloody Mary
This might be over the top for you, because it is definitely is for me. It's so out of character that I will admit this, it slightly disgusts me. I talk to my cat. Like she's a person. Now, before everyone starts on that whole 'whoa, who brought the crazy cat lady' thing, lets think about a few things. YOU, my friends, are here on a voluntary basis. You read this blog because you want to...for whatever crazy reasons you have, no one brought me here...you brought yourselves here. And secondly, I know you talk to your pet too. Whether or not it's a cat, a dog, a goldfish, an alligator or a horse....you talk to it. And I'd be willing to bet that it talks to you too. Or at least you pretend it does. You give it some sort of strange accent and imitate what it is thinking, what you KNOW it would say if it could.

For example, my parents chocolate lab Bosco. Here he is:
Bosco 4
Asides from being the best 12+ year old puppy ever, Bosco is loving and sweet and lives each of his dog days to be loved and waiting for my sister and I to come and visit so the whole family can be together. He's deathly afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks, and he is so upset when someone packs a suitcase, that we have to trick him in order for us to leave. He also has a really goofy voice. No, no, not his dog voice, his people voice. Bosco's a smart dog, but, well...his speech doesn't really show it. He walks moseys around the house and the yard, swinging his tail in every direction, and in an Eeyore-esk way says something like:

"D'oh, D-D'oh, D'oh, D-D'oh. I'm a brown dog. D'oh. Anybody wanna give me a treat? D'oh D-D'oh. Anybody wanna pet me? D'oh, D-D'oh. I guess I'll lay down now'.

*plop*

And then there is Sammy. I hate cats, but I'm convinced she isn't really a cat. But just in case she really is, I know that she's the only cat I will ever truly love and care for. She's a fluffy black and white Maine Coon who steals souls, drinks too much, and is an international spy in cahoots with Lieutenant Kitty, the orange stray that sleeps in our backyard. But don't tell her that, she doesn't know that we know what she knows.

Got all that?

Sammy loves unconditionally, that is, until she doesn't want to love you anymore. When that happens, she'll usually abruptly jump off of your lap and retreat to her newest headquarters - the cardboard box. That's where she reports all of your strange humanly habits and brainstorms ways she can rule the world universe. She sleeps all day and demands you feed her as soon as you wake up. And she won't kill cockroaches because, well....she's just too good for that sort of thing. She's a little bitch, and I'll call her out on it, but she doesn't mind. She knows what she is, and she knows everyone will love her anyway.
7.26.10 Vodka Kitty (6) 7.26.10 Vodka Kitty (5)
So when Sammy suggested that we make Bloody Mary's last Sunday, with her strange accent that changes frequently, it sounded more like she asked for a Bloody Meowy, Rosie Perez style. And if the cat wants a Bloody Mary, why should be deny ourselves???

So that's how the Bloody Meowy was born. It might have a silly name, but the story that goes along with it is pretty serious. Plus, this isn't your normal Bloody Mary. Being so spicy and delicious, it needed a different name. I'm not sure if Bloody Meowy screams SPICY, but it'll work for now.

Spicy Bloody Mary (Bloody Meowy)
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1.5 oz Absolute Peppar Vodka (plus an extra splash for goodluck)
  • 3 oz tomato juice
  • 1 splash lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops hot sauce
  • Slap Ya Mama Hot! seasoning (or other cajun seasoning)
  • carrots, celery, limes, and lemons, optional, for garnish
  1. Wet rim of glass and roll in Slap Ya Mama Hot seasoning. Fill glass with ice.
  2. Add all other ingredients (except carrots and celery) into another glass or pitcher with ice.
  3. Stir or shake to combine, strain into seasoned glass.
  4. Garnish appropriately.

28 July 2010

Panko Crusted Zucchini Chips

Kacey's Kitchen - Panko Crusted Zucchini Chips
This picture looks familiar, huh?

See that pair of crispy little guys in the corner of the bowl? Those are some panko crusted zucchini chips. I dunno about you guys, but I always seem to be in excess of zucchini during the summer, whether or not I grow it myself. So I end up eating it every way possible. My favorite, shredding or julienning it and adding it to a stir fry or pasta dish. But every once in a while, my little wok overflows (literally, I overflow it every time - might be due for a larger one) with vegetable goodness and I am forced to decide to only use half of each vegetable I desired. Leaving me with half a zucchini.

So when I cooked up that delicious Salmon Noodle Soup, which was filled with soft tender salmon, slippery noodles, and brothy, well, broth, I thought something nice and crispy might go well. And what do you know - I still had half of a zucchini!

Now, I went ahead and lightly fried these just to brown them and popped them into the oven to continue baking, but you can surely just bake these the entire time, it will just take a few minutes longer. These make an excellent side dish, but could easily be served as an appetizer or snack.

Panko Crusted Zucchini Chips
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup (approx.) flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (approx.) panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch thick chips.
  2. Beat egg in shallow dish. Add flour and panko crumbs to individual dishes.
  3. Season zucchini with salt and pepper.
  4. Coat a zucchini chip in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg and then coat in panko crumbs. Place on dish and repeat with entire sliced zucchini.
  5. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place as many zucchini chips in the pan that will fit in a single layer. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, just until golden brown. Repeat until complete.
  6. Remove zucchini chips and place on baking sheet and keep in warm oven until ready to use.

26 July 2010

Salmon Noodle Soup

Kacey's Kitchen - Salmon Noodle Soup 1
This meal totally hit the spot. I'm not sure where I got the idea from. At some point after I purchased about 3lbs of salmon I realized I wanted soup. Eventually it led to this. Let me tell you something: this was super good and I'll be making it, or a variation of it for a long time. I served this warm, but the next day I ate it straight out of the fridge and it was DELICIOUS chilled!

*Those little things in the upper left portion of the bowl are panko crusted zucchini chips, which I'll go over in a few days...Have no fear!

Salmon Noodle Soup
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 2 cups cooked salmon (recipe follows)
  • 2 packages soba or somen noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 -2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 mushrooms (shiitake preferred)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 scallions
  • sesame seeds
  1. Cook noodles according to package. Flake salmon into chunks.
  2. Heat sesame seed oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add mushrooms and saute just a minute.
  3. Add vegetable broth and soy sauce. Let simmer about 5 minutes until mushrooms get tender.
  4. Turn off heat. Add spinach, noodles, and salmon. When warm, distribute into bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.
Soy'd Salmon
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1 lb salmon (or whatever size chunk you have laying around)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  1. Crush or roughly chop garlic.
  2. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Place salmon in a baking dish and cover with soy sauce mixture.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat broiler, unwrap salmon, and place directly under broiler for about 8 minutes, until just cooked through, light and flaky.

23 July 2010

Ciabatta Bread

Kacey's Kitchen - Ciabatta Bread
I may have mentioned once or twice or a million times how much I love bread. I may have even reminded you all about it a couple billion times already. I've been slowly tackling recipes in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart, which by the way, not only contains excellent edibles, but it is an excellent read with tons of background and everything most of us need to know about the who, what, where, why, and how's of bread.

So I chose a Ciabatta bread, biga version. Why did I choose a biga rather than a poolish? A simple flip of a coin. That's how most important decisions (like what to have for dinner) are made here. Until I read this book, I had no clue what the heck a biga and poolish was. Sure I heard of them, but I usually just ignored it and carried on with something else. Cause that's how I roll.

Basically a poolish and biga are a couple of basic versions of pre-ferments. You know when you need to make a 'starter' the day before actually making your bread? That's that. Don't be scared of breads with pre-ferments. Sure, it might take a little longer (not too much more hands on time), but you'll be amazed at how deep the flavor it brings to the bread. Plus, you know it's gonna be good when your house smells like bread BEFORE you bake anything.

Mmmm....

So I ate one loaf for dinner and froze the other two, just to insure that I wouldn't consume almost 5 cups of flour worth of bread (plus butter!), in less than 24 hours.

And there's part of me that could still find a way to justify it.

21 July 2010

Chicken Parm Sliders

Kaceys Kitchen - Chicken Parm Sliders 1

Well, well, well....here we have it. The first meal created with my brand new meat grinder. These really hit the spot. A light 'burger' with tons of flavor and freshly ground meat, what's not to love? I even made my own buns, which I'll share with you soon.

For some reason, although I just described them as a 'burger', I never really considered them that. It's definitely a sandwich, but these seem to deserve a different title. Maybe it's the homemade buns, maybe the use of a meat grinder, maybe the delicious tomato topping...whatever the case, this dinner just seemed to be a little more special than a "Chicken Burger". I suppose I'll stick with the trendy 'slider' term, until something better comes along.

The highlight of the meal (asides from the meat I ground myself. By the way, did I mention that I have a meat grinder now?). Anyway. The highlight of the meal was the cherry tomatoes. Sauteing/steaming them in garlic and olive oil until they pop really give them such a deep flavor. I look forward to using this technique for many recipes in the future.

I can't recall what we drank with this meal, but looking at these pictures and remembering how good those tomatoes were on top of the panko coated chicken, I think a nice peppery red wine would be perfect right now. I mean...with this meal.... and right now.

Chicken Parm Sliders
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Rachael Ray
  • 2 tbsp EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • A generous handful of sweet basil, shredded or torn
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 to 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • A small handful of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup mozzarella (or fresh ricotta)
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 8 rolls
  1. In a small pot with tight fitting lid heat 2 tbsp EVOO over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, stir 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and cover pot, raise heat a bit and cook tomatoes, shaking the pot occasionally, until tomatoes burst, 8-10 minutes. Mash up sauce with wooden spoon and season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Thicken, uncovered for 2-3 minutes, then stir in basil and fresh parsley leaves and turn off heat.
  3. Meanwhile, season chicken with thyme, salt and pepper. In a separate dish, combine breadcrumbs with sesame seeds and Parmesan cheese, parsley. Form 8 small patties 3 inches wide and coat in breadcrumbs, gently pressing patties into crumbs to make them stick. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, shallow non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Cook patties to golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Place a spoonful of mozzarella or ricotta on bun bottom. Drizzle cheese with a touch of EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Top cheese with a few spinach leaves, the patties, then some sauce and bun tops.

19 July 2010

Meat Grinder

Meat Grinder Attachment 2
I have something exciting to tell you about. My brand new, handy dandy, spiffy new, food grinder. My first real attachment for my KitchenAid. This baby was a part 1 of 3 surprise that arrived in the mail courtesy of Aaron's parents. And what a surprise it was!!! It was like Christmas here (especially for a couple of kids that don't celebrate Christmas!)

So before I even had a KitchenAid, I had dreams of grinding my own meat. Of shoving handfuls of chicken and steak and pork into this contraption and watching as it gracefully squeezed out tender little bits so I could make my own burgers and even better....to stuff my own sausage!!!

I'm not sure how to explain it. There is something so satisfying to be able to squeeze freshly ground raw meat through your fingers.

I'm currently wondering how many people stopped reading at this point. But for the few of you who are left, let me continue on.

I quickly unboxed this glorious gift and washed it out in preparation for use. I didn't have any meat ready, but I wanted to be prepared when I did. The following day I couldn't wait any longer and I picked up some chicken breasts, cut them into long strips, and popped them into the freezer for a little, not to freeze solid, but just to firm up a bit so the grinder wouldn't mushify it.

Let me show you what happens:
Meat Grinder Attachment 1
Mmm....meat....

So after a few hours of thinking of other things I could shove in there: cheese, vegetables, the cats tail, the annoying dove outside, or even better...the neighbors dog who just won't shut the fuck up - I realized the safe thing for everyone would be to clean up, and put the grinder away for another day, and think of a meal to use all this ground chicken I had.

Don't mistake me DOG....I have not forgiven....nor forgotten....Beware!!!

Anyway, sorry.

No. Actually, I'm not sorry. That little shit is annoying as hell. And he'd fit perfectly in the grinder.

*Awkward silence*

Continuing on...

So I know I've explained how excited I was am about the grinder, but I should explain that is was a gift for both of us. You see, I like to cook so it was a gift for me, and Aaron likes to eat without cooking, so it was a gift for him. Like my sister said when I told her about it, "Woah! He must have loved that gift. He reaps the benefits of it without any work!!!" (Or something along those lines. Plus, that means lots of meat filled manly meals in the future. Don't worry, I promised his parents I would feed him other things than meat...on occasion.

Eventually I show you parts 2 and 3 of this gift. But first, I have to go order some sausage casings....MUAHAHA!

16 July 2010

Lemon Pasta with Crab Cakes

Kacey's Kitchen - Lemon Pasta with Crab Cakes 1
I'm trying to catch up here with some posts. I made this for dinner about a month ago and forgot about it until I stumbled upon a few pictures. Thinking back on this, I wonder how I forgot it. This was a very satisfying meal. By only adding a splash of cream, and using a bit of butter, it kept everything creamy, but not too saucy. The addition of lemon and zest was perfect on a hot Florida afternoon, and the crab cake was that crispness and added texture I desire with nearly every meal.

I remember liking this a lot but wished that I had just tossed in the crab meat into the pasta mixture instead of making it into crab cakes. It would have kept things lighter and I believe just as satisfying. But I couldn't help myself, after find a large container of lump crab meat for only $7, all I had on my mind was crab cakes.

You'll find both recipes below.

Lemon Pasta
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta (or any pasta of your preference)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach (washed & dried)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • splash of heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp EVOO
  • salt & pepper
  1. Prep all fruit and vegetables. Chop onion & tomatoes. Mince garlic. Juice & zest lemon(s). Set aside.
  2. In large pot, boil water for pasta. When water starts to boil, add a pinch of salt to season water. Add pasta & cook until al dente. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and EVOO. Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and stir, toss in tomatoes, spinach, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. After a few minutes of letting the flavors get all into each other, add a splash or two of heavy cream.
  5. Stir in the pasta, add extra ingredients if necessary. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Crab Cakes
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen, adapted from Phillips Foods (Shirley Phillips Crab Cakes)
  • 8-10 oz. crab cakes, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. parsley flakes
  • ¼ c. breadcrumbs
  • chopped chives for garnish (if desired)
  1. Preheat oven at 375°F degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for crab meat.
  3. Fold in the crab. Shape into four patties.
  4. Line cookie sheet with tinfoil (for easy cleanup), place patties on it, and bake 12-15 minutes or until evenly brown on each side and warmed through.

14 July 2010

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Kacey's Kitchen - Shrimp Taco's 4

Alright. I have a bad blogger confession for you. I made something so delicious that I quickly gobbled it down swearing that there is no way I could forget how to make something so good.

And well...you guess it. That's exactly what happened. These few pictures and the memory I have of them are the only thing that remains. Sure, I could guess what I did, what ingredients I used, which is what I'm going to do. But it will remain as that. A guess. I promise you though, my guess will be close, and you'll have to use your best kitchen judgment for the measurements, but it will be delicious!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Printable Estimated Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
  • Shrimp, cleaned & shelled (plan on 3-4 per taco)
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Cole Slaw (estimated recipe to follow)
  1. Mince garlic. Mix shrimp, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and salt & pepper together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and saute shrimp until cooked through, approximately 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, chop avocado and tomato.
  4. Warm tortillas slightly in non stick skillet or microwave, just a few seconds each.
  5. Top each tortilla with cole slaw, shrimp, avocado and tomato.
  6. Eat the delicious goodness!!!
Cole Slaw (for Spicy Shrimp Tacos)
Printable Estimated Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • Cole slaw mix (because really, why not?)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sour cream
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Red onion
  1. Chop onion and cilantro. Toss with cole slaw mix.
  2. Add a spoon of sour cream (just enough to coat), a few splashes of rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss together and add extra ingredients if necessary.

12 July 2010

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Kacey's Kitchen - Shrimp Taco's 3
See that delicious shrimp taco goodness??? I love shrimp tacos, but that's not entirely why we are here today. I mean, it is why we are here, but the shrimp tacos as a whole, we aren't covering right now. You'll just have to wait a little so I can break it all down for you. Plus, I honestly can't remember exactly what I did. I hate when that happens.

Anyway, while I try to rack my brain for the ingredients, I'll share with you a recipe for whole wheat flour tortillas. A staple that you need to make, and a staple for these shrimp tacos. Remember to try and roll these out as thin as possible, and store any extras in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen, adapted from The Big Book of Bread by Anne Sheasby

* makes 12 small tortillas, 6 large
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cups warm water
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Lightly rub in the butter.
  3. Make a well in the center, then add enough water, mixing to form a soft dough. Knead the dough lightly for 1-2 minutes, then cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 or 12 equal portions, depending on how large you would like your tortillas.
  5. Roll out each portion on a heavily floured surface to form a very thin round. Brush out the excess of flour from the tortilla. Another way to do this, if you don't have a tortilla press, is to cut open a large ziplock bag, place dough ball in the middle, and roll flat. This eliminates any sticking, and it's easy clean up!
  6. Heat a large non-stick pan until very hot, then add a tortilla and cook for 1.5-2 minutes or until the surface starts to bubble and the underside is speckled brown. Turn the tortilla over and brown the other side for about 30 seconds.
  7. While the tortilla is cooking, roll out another round and repeat. You might need to brush away some burned flour from the pan in between cooking the tortillas.To re-heat, wrap them in foil and place in a preheated oven at 350F for about 5 minutes.

09 July 2010

Oreo Cupcakes (Take 1)

Kaceys Kitchen - Oreo Cupcakes 1
Oreos YAY!!!! Definitely the best cookie ever!

I can't think of anything I've ever had with Oreo's that I didn't like. Oreo ice cream, check. Oreo cake, check. Oreo pudding, check. Oreo cupcakes, check. Deep fried Oreos, dear god Check! A whole package of oreo's and some ice cold milk to eat all by myself, double check!
Kaceys Kitchen - Oreo Cupcakes 2
I've eaten a fair amount of oreo's my life. And by fair amount, I mean I have probably funded some Nabisco Big-Wig's children's college experience. It's alright though. I have gained great happiness and satisfaction while on Oreo binges. Whoever said you shouldn't eat your feelings obviously hasn't found the food that cures them. Eating feelings is fine, in moderation, but I find it's better to have feelings about what you eating. I eat because I want to. And more importantly because I like to. And I like to like what I'm eating. Take these Oreo cupcakes for example. These definitely didn't hurt me at all. Except when I ate the last one...that was upsetting.
Kaceys Kitchen - Oreo Cupcakes 5
If you like Oreo's and are a huge chocolate fan, then these are for you. As much as I would never EVER turn these away, I think I've had a better Oreo cupcake before using a vanilla cake base. I'm just a vanilla-y type of gal. So I'll make them for you guys and let you compare.

Oreo Cupcakes (Take 1)
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen, original recipe unknown

Cake
  • 2 1/3 cupa all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 handfuls of crushed oreos
Frosting
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp. Oreo cookie crumbs
Optional (Yet highly recommended) Garnish
  • Oreo halves or oreo crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
  6. Fold in crushed oreos.
  7. Divide batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until a toothick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
  8. In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs.
  9. Using a pastry bag or back of a spoon, frost cupcakes. Garnish with cookie halves or cookie crumbs.

07 July 2010

Open Faced Breakfast Burrito (AKA Breakfast Tostada)

Kacey's Kitchen - Open Faced Breakfast Burrito 1

Now here's an easy one for you. A tostada is basically a toasted ingredient used as a base for a dish. You'll typically see the mexican version of a tostada, which is a crispy (baked or fried) flat tortilla topped with, well...pretty much anything. In this case, it's breakfast. I had a couple of left over homemade whole wheat tortillas, which I just realized I didn't share with you yet, that were getting a little stale. What better way to deal with stale bread products? Crisp them up more!

I like tostadas. They are easy to share and eat with your hands. Just slice it up, or cut it like a pizza and dig in. Because the tortilla is baked, it's sturdy enough to hold up the weight of most toppings. If your using something really heavy like lots of beans, steak, etc, then just make it a double decker. Tortilla, thin layer of goodies, cheese, another tortilla, goodies, etc.

Breakfast Tostadas
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen

Makes 2 tostadas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 large green pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 1 handful pepper jack cheese (or any cheese of your preference)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tortillas
  1. Beat eggs in a bowl with a splash of water (or milk).
  2. Dice green pepper, onion, tomato, and mushrooms.
  3. Preheat medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt butter.
  4. Add vegetables and saute just a few minutes to soften slightly.
  5. Lower temperature to medium-low and add eggs. Cook slowly (the best trick for moist fluffy eggs!), stirring slowly and often in order for the eggs to cook consistently. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, turn oven on 300 degrees, and place tortillas directly on rack to crisp. Watch so they don't burn, you just want them ridged.
  7. Just before the eggs are done, toss in the cheese and melt.
  8. When eggs are done, split mixture between 2 tortillas.
  9. Eat and enjoy!

05 July 2010

Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki Sauce

Kacey's Kitchen - Chicken Gyro's 1
A few weeks ago I had a hankerin'. A hankerin' for warm tasty chicken, soft pillowy bread, crunchy onions, creamy sauce, and refreshing tomatoes. I just happened to have some chicken breasts that needed to be cooked up, so I baked some pita pockets, and threw together this delicious delicious chicken gyros.

I was extremely happy with this meal, which I ended up eating 4 days in a row. It's so satisfying having a completely homemade meal, and one that tastes fabulous none the less.

Below you'll find the recipes for the gyros and tzatziki sauce. You can find the recipe for Homemade Pita Pockets here.
Kacey's Kitchen - Chicken Gyro's 2

Chicken Gyros
Printable Recipe
by Elly Says Opa!
  • 1.25 lbs. chicken pieces (I used breast this time, but I also love using thighs, or a combo)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 batch of tzatziki (Recipe to follow)
  • sliced tomatoes
  • sliced red onions
  • 4 (pocketless) pitas
  1. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl.
  2. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
  3. Preheat the broiler (or grill, or pan on the stove). Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
  4. Meanwhile, heat your pitas. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions. Roll up and eat!

Tzatziki
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen, adapted from Elly Says Opa!
  • 1 32oz. container of fat free greek yogurt, or regular yogurt strained overnight to remove liquid
  • 1 seedless cucumber (english cucumber)
  • 4cloves garlic–depending how garlicky you like it
  • 1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and a little pepper
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mince garlic.
  2. Peel and shred the cucumber. Using a towel, squeeze the cucumber to remove as much liquid as possible (very important!).
  3. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes if possible.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

02 July 2010

Pita Pockets

Kacey's Kitchen - Homemade Pitas 2
I've heard rumors that pita pockets were fun and satisfying to make. These did not disappoint. This is another recipe I wish I had tried sooner and I recommend you trying at least once. Ever since I tasted these fresh, homemade pita pockets, it's hard for me to recall what a packaged one tastes like. No comparison. I felt the same way about homemade tortillas which I now make 95% of the time I need them.

These guys don't look like much when you put them in the oven, but it only takes seconds for them to start puffing up! That's probably why I like baking bread so much. It's so satisfying & exciting to see your doughy creation move and grow and multiply all on its own!!! (Well, with some help from yeast, warmth, and a little lovin')

Yea.....so that sounded a little creepy, eh?

...

These were made in order to have completely homemade gyro's (FABULOUS!), which I'll show you in the next few days.
Kacey's Kitchen - Homemade Pitas 3

Pita Pockets
Printable Recipe
by Brown Eyed Baker

Makes 8 Pitas
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet (or parchment paper) and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.