Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fried Burro Plantains

Yesterday I went on a little walk over to the local Mexican grocery store, Palms Super Market, just to look around. They always have a lot of fresh exotic produce and I enjoy spending close to an hour walking about the store, looking at all the strange fruits and vegetables, and googling them on my phone to find out what they are. This time they had a wide variety of plantains, and one in particular caught my eye. Maybe it was because of the name, or perhaps it was because they were the strangest-looking, but I felt a connection to these Burro Plantains so I picked up a bushel and took them home with me. Plantains can be kind of intimidating-looking because of how thick the peels are, but I have another tutorial video in this post showing how to peel them and then cut them properly for the recipe. I'd never made fried plantains before, but I'd had them at Cuban and Brazilian restaurants and sweet Lord, they're delicious. So I tried making them today, and I am happy to say they came out very, very well! It was really simple and easy, and required very few ingredients, which my pocketbook always appreciates. I made them two different ways, sweet and savory. Hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taro Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Good news everyone, yesterday was my birthday, YAY!!!! I wanted to make myself a cake that would be fun, but still pretty. So I decided to make a cake with taro powder and do a really fancy job with the icing. I saw the technique featured here at Project Wedding by i am baker, whose original post about it is here. Lovely, yes? The flowers look complicated, but they're actually really easy to do. In fact, this is my first post including an instructional video. It's a short clip that just shows how it's done. I'll also describe it in the recipe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Banger Stew with Red Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is based off of one that my mom makes that I absolutely love. She uses beef instead of Irish banger sausages, but the sausages were on sale after St. Patrick's Day and the beef wasn't, so....sausage it was!

I changed it a bit and added some more carrots and substituted green beans for peas, but if you like peas go ahead and throw them in there too. Don't be scared now, that's the advantage of making stews! You can throw in whatever odd vegetables you have lying around the freezer and it will usually still come out great. Happy stew-making!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bacon Avocado Salad with Bacon Dripping Dressing

   Yes folks, another post with avocados. They were on sale for $1 each when I decided to make the avocado fries, so I picked up another one with the hope of making some sort of salad with it. I'm trying to eat healthier, which translates to eating more vegetables. It's kind of difficult because I'm not the biggest salad fan, as you could probably tell because I've only posted about them once, and it wasn't as "healthy" as it could have been.

....I may have put chocolate in the dressing.

   And then I put bacon in this one. So you can see where I'm struggling with this whole "eat better" thing. But even though they're not the healthiest salad choices, there are still vegetables in them. Plus it's just much more fun to eat a salad when you have nice fatty treats hidden inside, like bacon and avocado. It's like a treasure hunt!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Avocado Fries With Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce

    A couple weeks ago I went out to an improv comedy show with my friend Alana, (the same one from the Blue Velvet Cake post). We met up early beforehand and walked around Hollywood until we found a fun Irish pub to have a few snacks at before we went over to the show. I look at the menu and ordered the avocado fries, thinking they were french fried served with some kind of guacamole dip or with chunks of avocados sprinkled over them. When I got them they looked just like normal, thick, breaded pub fries. Then I bit into them...and I realized that I was in heaven. Yes, they were slices of avocado, breaded and deep-fried. Crunchy on the outside, warm and creamy on the inside. I was shocked. They were so incredibly delicious, but I had never heard of them before and for some reason the thought of deep-frying avocados had never crossed my mind. Nevertheless, I was determined to recreate them, and for what better occasion than St. Patrick's Day? Not only are they green on the inside, but they're the perfect pub food. If you plan on having a pint of Guinness today, feel free to make these as an accompaniment. They're worth it, trust me on this one.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jasmine Green Milk Tea Boba

I first had boba tea back in high school when my friend Annie took me to an Asian cafe in our hometown. Boba is made from tapioca and or jelly balls, and the balls can be dark brown or multi-colored, like the ones here. At first I was surprised by the little gummy tapioca pearls coming up the straw and had a hard time not swallowing them straight away. But after a few sips I was able to get the hand of swallowing the milk tea and chewing on the little gummies. Then when I went to LMU I found a little creperie right off campus that makes the BEST boba tea. My favorite was the jasmine milk tea boba, which I have recreated right here. I saw these tapioca pearls today at Simpang Asia for 2 bucks, and because I have little to no self control, I bought them and made this boba tea straight away. They're such fun and cute drinks, and pretty easy to make too. Enjoy them :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Thai Chicken Curry

    If I had to pick the type of food I enjoyed most, it would come down to Thai food or breakfast food. I'm still undecided. Nevertheless, I do love Thai cuisine and my favorite thai dish of all is red curry. It goes wonderfully with duck...but duck is pretty expensive...soooo I used chicken instead! The dish came out very well. It tasted just like the red curry at my favorite Thai restaurant, and now I'm pretty darn proud of myself! The best part was that it was surprisingly easy to make, with just a few simple steps and no complicated cooking processes. While there are specialty ingredients listed here, most of them can be found at normal grocery stores in the Asian foods isle. There's a brand of food products called Thai Kitchen and they make red curry paste, fish sauce, and canned coconut milk, and they're carried at most large supermarket chains, (I get it at Albertson's). If you have any trouble with the ingredients just let me know and I'll do my best to help :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Stuffed With Goat Cheese

     I'm sorry it has been such a long time since my last post! I have been putting together a video for a commercial competition for the past two weeks and it was due today so I was able to get it finished up and submitted on time, thank goodness! I'll let you all know how it turns out, fingers crossed. Anywho, I recently got back into French goat cheese and had some chicken breasts and shredded spinach in the freezer so I decided to try and stuff one with the other. My family is Greek so I've always eaten feta, but I had chevre (French goat cheese) once when I was younger and it must've been a particularly strong one because I remember it being quite sour and altogether unpleasant-tasting. A month or two ago I was looking for some cheese to put on my garden burgers and I saw that Trader Joe's had goat cheese for $2.99 a log. So, I picked it up and, long story short, I am now mildly addicted to it. These came out really well, and I was happy to be able to eat some nice vitamin-rich spinach with creamy cheese and skinless chicken breasts, a fairly healthy meal option all together. They were super easy to make, too. Hope you all like them!

2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in half
8 Ounces Herbed Goat Cheese
3 Stalks Green Onions, Diced
1 Cup Shredded Spinach
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the goat cheese, green onions, spinach, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside.

Take one of the chicken breast halves and, using a sharp small knife, cut a pocket in the middle layer of the breast, making sure not to cut through to the outer layers. Repeat this process with all of the breast halves.

Stuff each breast with the spinach mixture, and place them on a well-greased casserole pan. Spread the leftover spinach mixture on top of the chicken breasts and then cover the casserole pan with either a glass lid or tin foil.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken reaches a temperature of at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit.