31 December 2010

Funfetti Friday

Because it's Friday.

Because it's New Year's Eve.

Because I have a dozen recipes I need to type up and post and I don't feel like doing it right now.

And finally...because everyone loves Funfetti cupcakes. From the box.

Have a good evening folks - party hardy.

29 December 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan. It's a dish that I often forget how much I love, until I have it. Of course, a favorite is always chicken parm, but this is a great veggie alternative that I guarantee will satisfy most 'meat at every meal' people. Eggplant is a thick and hearty vegetable, pairs deliciously with cheese and tomato sauce. Especially once you bread and fry it. I fried my breaded eggplant, but you could bread it and bake it...or if your looking for something even healthier, this would still be delicious if for forgo the bread coating all together. Just thinly slice the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and continue on.

I made this a few months back, and I think I'll be making it again soon. We eat a lot of chicken in this house anyway, so it's great to have such a comforting and satisfying meal, with a healthier substitute.

Eggplant Parmesan
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp EVOO
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3 cups homemade tomato gravy (or your favorite jarred sauce)
  1. Slice eggplants about 1/2" thick. Pat dry, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip each slice of eggplant into flour to lightly coat, then egg mixture, and finally bread crumbs to coat completely.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place eggplant in pan. After about 3 minutes, when bottom of eggplant is golden brown, flip over and cook another 2 minutes until bottom is browned. Remove to paper towel lined dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
  4. Preheat oven to broil.
  5. In large baking dish, spoon a little of the tomato sauce into bottom of dish to lightly coat.
  6. Place slices of eggplant down so touching or slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  7. Cover eggplant with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Place baking dish in oven, and broil until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
  9. Serve over pasta and with a piece of crusty bread.

22 December 2010

Pulled Pork Enchiladas & Homemade Corn Tortillas

When I make pulled pork, I make a lot of it. I eat some, then I freeze most of it, and I'm able to use it for lots of different thinks including: Pulled Pork Quesadillas and Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and now these delicious Pulled Pork Enchiladas.

I've shared with you my love for homemade tortillas, and now I'm going to tell you how to make them. Until my birthday this year, I've had to take the time to hand roll each tortilla. And while it might not seen like a big deal to roll dough out to 6", using a tortilla press saves tons of time and is much easier. Which means I like to do it more, which means we eat tortillas more, which is always good.

I love, love, love (homemade) corn tortillas. They are incomparable to store bought. Don't get me wrong, I had always loved store bought tortillas...until I made my own.

So anyway, my mom bought me a 6.5" cast iron tortilla press and I use it so much, I bought my sister one recently. So she can flatten whatever she wants. It's heavy duty, and doesn't take up much room. Like I said, sure you can roll your dough out...but if you've got one of these baby's - I guarantee your making more tortillas than before.
I made these tortillas to help use up the rest of my frozen pulled pork. And they tasted great. I did use canned enchilada sauce for this dish, but I spruced it up a little adding tomatoes, onions, and seasoning. Of course, if you have time, you could make it completely from scratch.

Below you'll find the recipes to both the Corn Tortillas and the Pulled Pork Enchiladas. Enjoy!

Corn Tortillas
  • 2 cups MASECA
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly for about 2 minutes to form soft dough. If dough feels dry, add more water (one tbsp at a time).
  2. Divide dough into 16 equal balls. Cover with a damp cloth to keep dough moist.
  3. Line a tortilla press with two sheets of thick plastic wrap. (I cut a ziplock bag open. Alternatively, you can roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin)
  4. Place each ball between plastic and press until tortilla measures 5-6" in diameter. Carefully peel off plastic wrap.
  5. Preheat un-greased skillet on medium-high heat. Cook tortillas one at a time for 50 seconds. Turn, then cook the other side for another 50 seconds. Cover tortillas with a cloth napkin to keep soft and warm.
  6. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
***I find that waiting until the first tortilla is almost done cooking for flatting the second tortilla is the best way, that way the dough doesn't dry out too quickly. If the dough does dry out, simply add a tad more water and continue on!


Pulled Pork Enchiladas
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • Leftover pulled pork
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can Enchilada sauce (I used green)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 red onion
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl. Add a sprinkle of garlic powder and black pepper.
  3. Dice tomato and red onion, add to enchilada sauce. Stir to combine. Add seasoning if necessary.
  4. Spoon a little enchilada sauce into the bottom of baking dish so the tortillas don't stick.
  5. Fill each tortilla with some pulled pork and shredded cheese and lay in baking dish, overlapping slightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas and pulled pork.
  6. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over filled tortillas, sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven for 25 minutes or until tortillas are heated through. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
  8. Remove from oven and serve.

20 December 2010

Cabot Cheese Gift Delivery

So I get a UPS delivery the other day (I love deliveries!) and the package says "Refrigerate Immediately"...hmm...I guess it wasn't the ink cartridges I ordered. And then I noticed the return address label, "Cabot Creamery, Vermont".

Oh Hell Yeah! CHEEEEEEESE!!!

So I tear open that sucker and behold - 6 blocks of Cabot cheese, straight from the creamery. And!!! A wooden cheese board!!!

My parents know my love for all things cheese (and all other foods), and knowing that we would appreciate something practical (edible), they sent down a box of cheese from Vermont.

I had only been the Cabot Creamery once, it's tucked way in the middle of nowhere Vermont (like everything else) and surrounded by cows (like everything else). Unfortunately they weren't making cheese that day, but I did spend a good amount of time in the visitors center sampling their flavors of cheese I had never heard of.

Most of the ones my parents sent I had never seen before. If you notice, the ones they sent all have a bit of heat to them, which of course we love. This made for an excellent lunch on Saturday. Sliced spicy cheddar cheese, some crackers, some olives, and some wine. And then we sliced more cheese. And then got more crackers. And maybe while I was putting it all away, I may have sliced off some more cheese. It may have happened. And it was delicious.

Thanks mom & dad for the cheesy surprise!!! Love you!!!

17 December 2010

Panko Crusted Cod Tacos

I love fish tacos. It doesn't even matter what kind of fish it is, I just love the whole combination. I order them often, but it seems like not enough. If I see them on the menu and order something else, it always seems like still want the fish tacos! I know I've shared with you my Spicy Shrimp Tacos, which are fabulous, and this time, we've got some cod tacos! There's something about warm corn tortillas, crispy citrus-y cabbage slaw, and nice warm seafood that just goes so well together. And ever since I've been making my own corn tortillas, I really am addicted. So easy, especially with my new tortilla press I got for my birthday a few months ago! I've got a tasty post that needs to go up that will tell you all about making them!

Anyway, one of my favorite battered and fried fish is cod. It's great as Fish & Chips, it's great as a Fishwich, and it makes for delicious fish tacos. You should try it!
Of course, it doesn't need to be fried (baking these work great too!) or even battered (you could grill/saute/broil it!), but hey, why not, right?

Panko Crusted Cod Tacos

Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1/2 lb fresh cod
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • corn tortillas
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • cabbage slaw
  • lime juice
  • cilantro (optional)
  1. Cut cod into strips or 2 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Beat egg in small bowl. Place panko crumbs in dish.
  3. Dip each piece of cod in egg to coat, shaking off any excess. Coat in panko crumbs and place on a dish.
  4. Preheat oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Place a single layer of cod pieces in pan. Once bottoms start to turn golden brown, just about a minute or two, flip cod over and cook until just golden. Remove from oil onto a paper towel lined plate and repeat for all cod.
  5. Warm corn tortillas, fill with cabbage slaw and cod pieces. Give a quick squirt of lime juice. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

15 December 2010

Cincinnati Chili - Bachelor Style

Warning: This post does not contain Kacey's culinary skills at its best.

I've never been to Cincinnati, but I would like to. For nothing in particular, in fact, I'm not really sure what is in Cincinnati. But as usual, the only thing that I can think of is food related, Cincinnati Chili.

The appeal of this comes from shows on Travel Channel and Food Network like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and other similar shows where some grease hungry man travels around eating absurd amounts of slutty food. You know you love it. This is totally a meal that you would find on those shows.

If you've never seen or heard of Cincinnati Chili, I'll give you the Kacey's Official Breakdown. Usually when I give you something totally official, it means it's not official at all, and it's typically something I have little to no experience with. But since it's my blog, I can pretty much claim anything official that I want.

Anyway, here are some of the basic ways Cincinnati Chili is served:
  • Spaghetti & chili
  • Spaghetti, chili, & cheddar cheese
  • Spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, and either diced onions and beans
If that's not heart attack delicious sounding, I don't know what is. Unless of course you throw it all on top of a hotdog. Which sometimes happens too.

Anyway, so a few months ago on some random weekend, I was craving something that would meet 3 important criteria: quick, warm, hearty. And viola, a 3 ingredient Cincinnati chili was born in the amount of time it takes to cook a box of pasta.

The trick with this: Do not skimp. There should be tons of chili on top of tons of pasta topped with tons of cheese.

Not that you need a recipe, I'm sure you can guess what this entails, but just incase, here you go:

Cincinnati Chili - Bachelor Style
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen
  • 1 Box of pasta (any kind)
  • 1 can of chili (any kind)
  • 1 block of yellow cheddar cheese
  1. Boil pasta according to al dente instructions.
  2. While pasta is boiling, remove chili from can, place in a microwave proof dish, and heat until hot.
  3. Grate cheese.
  4. Drain pasta, top with hot chili and grated cheese.

13 December 2010

Pre-Wedding Dinner: Ferrisburg, VT: Starry Night Cafe

Since it's already been 2 months since the wedding, I thought it might be time for me to actually share some of the delicious foodings with you. We had plenty of it. We arrived Thursday afternoon, giving us time to get our marriage license and unwind from the days worth of flights. The next day friends and family started to arrive. Rachael, Aaron, and I spent the morning wine and beer tasting (to pick out the best party-favors for our guests of course!), hitting up Lincoln Peak Vineyard and Otter Creek Brewing, both located in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont.

Dinner was prepared by my mom, making her lasagna (which is the best lasagna ever by the way), followed by a huge breakfast the next morning - pancakes, eggs, fruit, the works! Soon after we got a great maple syrup tour by their neighbor who taps and produces maple syrup right out of his house (okay, his syrup shack).

We hit up Burlington, walking around Church Street, farmers markets and having lunch at Vermont Pub & Brewery. It was busy, but I think everyone had a good time. By the time we got home, we only had a couple of hours to relax and get ready for dinner at the Starry Night Cafe in Ferrisburg, VT - which is where I'm headed with this post. I had only been to the Starry Night Cafe once before, with my family just prior to moving down to Florida. I had driven past it a hundred times, and it looked tiny and fitting, just on the side of route 7 next to a covered bridge. It looked quaint, and although I knew nothing about it, I always wanted to go there. Now I know that apparently, it's known as being one of the more upscale places in the area (Let me clarify, it's Vermont Upscale. Which means it's pleasant and nice and clean and has local food, ever changing menus, and although it does have a slightly 'upscale' feel, just like every place in Vermont, it's COMFORTABLE.). It is on the pricier side, but everything is local, and really very good. It's a good special occasion type place. And it's super cute inside - local art, a round room, and very cozy. Let me share with you some of the delicious things we had.
Fresh Maine Lobster Phyllo with Sprout Salad and Tarragon Vinaigrette
Cheese Ravioli with Local Fresh Tomato Sauce and Shaved Parmesan
Sauteed Duck Bread and Confit Leg with Sweet Potato Celery Root Cheddar Gratin, Wilted Greens with Pancetta Red Wine Sauce, and Citrus Pistachio Butter
Grilled Misty Knoll Chicken with Smoked Apples, Baked Brie, and Seasonal Vegetables, and Sage Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
VT Cider Braised Pork Shank with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Wilted Greens, Smoked Cranberry Chutney and Crisp Parsnip Chips
A Grilled Tofu Dish
Carrot Cake with Local Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Pomegranates
Other dishes that weren't pictured included: Roasted Buttercup Squash and Pear Soup with Dried Cherry Creme Friache, Pappa al Pomodoro' Soup with Shaved Parmesan and Fried Zucchini Sticks, Cornmeal Encrusted Calamari with Yellow Curry and Coconut Dipping Sauce, Steak Tartare with Horseradish Slaw House Made Cheese Crackers and Cornichons, Mixed Greens with White Balsamic and Lemon Vinaigrette, Seared Organic Scottish Salmon with Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Wilted Spinach, Tomato Fondue, and Pesto Beurre Blanc, and a Local Venison Special. And of course, a bottle of wine and a few specialty drinks.

So the verdict? While I am only one of 10 people that enjoyed this meal, and we did do our best to share bites, I can only share with you my opinion on the foods I remember trying.

Lobster Phyllo: Um...seafood wrapped in a light flaky buttery dough served in a rich sauce - of course it's yummy!

Sauteed Duck Breast: I haven't had duck in a while, and dishes like this make me wonder why I don't have it more often. I think it was a table wide consensus that the confit leg was amazing.

Cider Braised Pork Shank: This was my order. I am never disappointed when ordering a pork shank, and this time was no different. Falling off the bone delicious, my only problem with this was the fact that I couldn't finish every last bite. In fact, I would like a Cider Braised Pork Shank right now please.

The Tofu Dish: Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what this was, I just know there were huge slabs of grilled tofu on my sisters plate. While I'm no tofu connoisseur by any means, I'm glad I didn't order this dish. I occasionally like tofu, depending on how it's prepared, but this was just too much, and I think my sister agreed.


Carrot Cake: Although I'm completely biased and find it hard to stray from my moms famous carrot cake, I'd have to say that they have something going here. The maple frosting was just enough and I loved the addition of pomegranates.

Steak Tartare: My go to appetizer. This one was pretty good, it could have used a little more of that horseradish 'kick', but I would totally order it again.

Mixed Greens Salad: The only thing that we ordered that we wish we could have taken off the bill. It was one of those dishes that everyone just stared at wondering where the $8 was. I mean, how hard is it to screw up a mixed greens salad, it's not like there are super high expectations there to begin with. One would think mixed greens would be, well, a variety of mixed greens. This was literally a small plate of 1 type of chopped lettuce. Maybe someone forgot to throw some sprouts on it or something, who knows. But everything else was so delicious, I think we all just tried to forget about it.

Salmon: I remember this being tasty, but nothing stands out as being particularly special.


Venison: I only had a small bite of this, and I remember enjoying it and thinking that it was cooked very well.


House Specialty Mixed Drinks: Tasty, although not seasonal.


So what's my final review of the Starry Night Cafe?

Starry Night Cafe - 5371 Route 7, Ferrisburg, VT

Total Price: Unknown, my father refused to disclose, although he did share that it was much lower than expected.

Food: 8.5
Atmosphere: 9.5

Presentation: 9


***All photos in this post are courtesy of Mr. Nich***

10 December 2010

Steamed Cobia, Asian Style

Using some gift cards we received from the wedding, I purchased some essentials. Heavy duty measuring cups, new cookie sheets, and stacking steamer baskets. You know, the usual. So looking forward to using them and going with my new 'thing' of wanting to eat more seafood, I found a recipe that just sounded delicious! And it was. It was healthy and flavorful and delicious. It calls for fresh lemongrass, but similar to the Wicked Thai Chicken Soup I made a while back, using lemongrass paste worked very well. I found this recipe from 80 Breakfasts, one of my favorite blogs to find great food at. The original recipe calls to use a whole fish, which I would love to do one day, but for now I just stuck with a fillet of Cobia. I think Cobia is now one of my favorite fish. I was originally looking to use Cod, but for about a month I couldn't find it fresh anywhere down here. My local fish monger had quite a good looking pile of freshly cut up Cobia for a decent price, so I went with that. I know I've had it before, but I don't recall how or where. It's a very thick, firm, and white fish. The taste is very good alone, and because of how thick the flakes are, I would imagine this fish grills very well. Steamed Cobia, Asian Style
Printable Recipe
By Kacey's Kitchen, slightly adapted from 80 Breakfasts
  • 1 lb Cobia fillet
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • Half a lemon, sliced
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  1. Line a bamboo steamer with parchment so it comes up over the sides. Line the parchment with the onion slices, some ginger slices, and a few slices of lemon. Lay the Cobia on top.
  2. Top the fish with the remaining ginger and lemon, lemongrass, leeks, and most of the cilantro, leaving a few stems for garnish.
  3. Top everything with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Fold sides of parchment over the fish (it doesn’t have to cover it completely), and cover.
  4. While you are arranging your fish, fill a wok with enough water not to touch the steamer when you lay it inside. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower to a fast simmer.
  5. When the fish is ready and the water in the wok is at a fast simmer, carefully place steamer on the wok.
  6. Steam fish for about 20 minutes. You may need more or less time depending on the size of your fish so check for doneness before taking it off the heat. Simply open the steamer, and insert a small knife into the fleshiest part of the fish, if it flakes easily it’s done.
  7. Turn of the heat and remove fish from the bamboo steamer. Serve with the remaining cilantro.

08 December 2010

Chocolate Cake Mini Donuts

It's MINI DONUT TIME! These are just too cute. And I'm not a huge 'cutesy' person. But dude. Mini Donuts! Seriously. Cute. They've been popping up all over lately and I've been totally wanting a mini donut pan so I could bake up a batch of my own. So I got a pan and I baked up a batch.

(You see, I could have bought myself a deep fryer and gone all out with these, but this is my way of not being a totally glutton.)

And then we ate the whole batch in 2 days. It may have been less that 48 hours, but really, who's counting.

That's how much self control this household has.

I blame it on the bitesizedness of them. And the cuteness. Impossible to say no.

Anyway, even though we ate them all in super lightening speed, they didn't meet my expectations. Maybe it's my fault for using the recipe on the back of the packaging of the donut pan. They weren't bad, and obviously very edible, but it just wasn't what I hoped for. They are still too cute to resist, and I can't wait to try another recipe.
If your curious and think they will tickle your fancy, here's the recipe:

Chocolate Cake Donuts
by the Packaging of the NORPRO Mini Donut Pan

Donuts
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tbsp HOT water
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick.
  4. Combine milk and butter.
  5. Alternately combine egg mixture and milk mixture with flour mixture and mix until smooth and soft.
  6. Spray pan lightly with cooking oil. Fill with batter 2/3 full. (Kacey's Kitchen Tip: Use pastry bag for easy & clean filling!)
  7. Bake 8 minutes.
  8. Cool. Carefully remove. Repeat with rest of batter.
  9. Frost or glaze.

06 December 2010

Corn Bread

Previously to making this basic cornbread recipe, I was a Jiffy girl. You know those little boxes of Jiffy muffin mix that are really cheap? The ones usually found at the bottom shelf of the grocery store? Yup, I use to think those were the bomb. Quick. Easy. Cheap. And I thought they tasted great. Until I made this recipe and realized how quick, how easy, how cheap, and how great it tasted. Sorry Jiffy, I'm not sure when I'll be seeing you again.

I made served this with my black bean soup and it was perfect with it. For leftovers I poured the soup over cornbread, heated it, and then mashed it all up for a super thick and textured soup.

Baked Cornbread
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 heaping tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix corn meal, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together.
  3. Beat eggs; add milk and oil. Combine with dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour into a 8 inch square pan for 20 minutes.

03 December 2010

Black Bean Soup

One of the things I've been missing in my kitchen was some sort of blender/food processor. For years I've been using the Magic Bullet (you know, that infomercial 'party' where they make everything from appetizers to cocktails in those individual cups?) and it's worked great, until recently - it started smokin'!!!

So I've been avoiding buying a something chop-choppy, which in turn means I've been avoid making meals I need to pulse and puree. I've gotten away with some things by making them super chunky, just trying to pulverize things with my potato masher...but it wasn't quite the same. So, when my good friends from Maine joked about getting us a toaster for a wedding gift, I told them that we already have a shiny red toaster that we loved, HOWEVER, we could totally use a blender! And what do you know, a few days later, a beautiful shiny blender arrived. And we blended and pulsed and chopped and pureed frozen mixed drinks until we couldn't liquefy no more!

One thing I was most excited about was using the blender to make soup. And one soup that I love, but I don't have nearly enough, and have never made myself, is black bean soup. So here we have it.

Lately I've been trying to get into the habit of using dried beans. While canned beans are so practical and seem cheap, using dried beans is much healthier and even cheaper. The more I make them, the more I realize that they really aren't as time consuming as I thought. As long as you are menu planning your week, you'll be able to soak the beans ahead of time, overnight, and then cook when you get a chance, and save them for when you are ready to use them.

This black bean soup is very tasty. Since I used olive oil instead of bacon fat, and dried beans instead of canned, I added a bit more salt then you may normally need. I served this soup with white rice and cornbread, and it all made for excellent leftovers.

Black Bean Soup
Printable Recipe
By Have Recipes - Will Cook
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat (or olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ sweet red pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
  • 4 14oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the bacon fat or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and red pepper and cook until softened.
  3. Add the cumin and chipotle powder, and heat for a minute, or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the black beans and the chicken both and bring to a boil. Add the cilantro.
  5. In a blender or using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until it’s smooth.
  6. Add the lime-juice and salt. Serve garnished with sour cream, minced sweet red pepper, and cilantro sprigs.