Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maple Pistachio Crusted Salmon

     I was feeling kind of adventurous and really wanted something special.  I had some salmon filets in the fridge and wanted to spice them up with something different so I came up with this topping for the fish in my head while at work.  I thought the combination of sweetness from the glaze and the distinct flavor of pistachios would be a great combination.  Trust me, (and my coworker), they were.  Now I have had many kinds of fish coated or crusted in different types of nuts and they always seem to be a great combination of textures for the fish.  I'm truly not a nut fan, however I do like pistachios and often have some in my house so I thought what the heck.  Maple Pistachio Crusted Salmon.

  • 1-2 filets of Salmon
  • 1/4-cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs soy
  • Pinch garlic salt
  • Handful fresh pistachios crushed
  • Salt/pepper

     I started out by gently patting the Salmon filets with a paper towel to get rid of some of the moister on them.  I then salt and peppered them a little bit. Meanwhile I combined the maple syrup, honey, soy, and garlic salt in a bowl whisked until well blended.  I then laid out some tinfoil and placed the salmon on top of it.  I took a marinating kitchen brush and gently coated the salmon filets with the maple syrup mixture.  I then sprinkled the crushed pistachios over the salmon filets.  Brought all four ends of the tinfoil over top of the salmon filets to create a portable covered baking dish.  Then in my heated broiler I placed the salmon and let it cook for roughly 5-7 minutes.  If you don't have a broiler I recommend using a hot grill.  After about 5-7 minutes I uncovered the salmon by opening up the tinfoil fixture to brown the pistachios and the top a bit.  Don't leave it in there too long, only about a minute as they start to brown quickly.  Remove and let cool a bit.  You can check to see if it is at your preferred temperature.  I prefer my salmon a bit on the medium side.  Serve over some great multi grain rice or your choice of side dish.  Serves 2. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pesto Pasta

     As we all know I am a pasta snob. I love the stuff and cannot seem to stop making it or bragging about it.  There is just something almost out of this world with homemade pasta.  It's so easy but the taste is as if you spent days working on it. 

     Picture this, a kitchen filled with ringing music.  You know the kind, the stuff that plays gently overhead in your favorite Italian restaurant or pizzeria.  Meanwhile there's a slight dusting of flour all over the floor, because let's face it, flour ends up all over yourself and everything around you no matter how careful you are.  There's that smell of basil all through the room as fresh pesto has been blended up.  You hear the soft rumble of a large pot of water boiling as well.  Then there is the cranking of the pasta maker, as the young attractive gentleman cranking out the pasta in the room works his magic, (i.e. Me). The pasta then hangs gingerly on the pasta rack.  You run your fingers through it like soft hair on a beautiful woman.  Now just before the pasta is dropped into the boiling pool of water you take a step back and sip so lovingly on your homemade wine that this guy has poured you. Can you picture it?  Can you smell what this kitchen is delivering you?  If so, then welcome to my kitchen.  You are welcome!  Home Made Pesto Pasta.


  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3-cup olive oil
  • 1 large diced clove garlic
  • 1/4-cup pine nuts
  • 3 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs cream

      In a food processor chop up the basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and salt.  Drizzle in the olive oil and the cream to incorporate.  (I like to add a little cream at times to give the sauce a bit of a smooth texture).  Pour over your fresh pasta and mix.  Enjoy.  Fresh herb sauce that the aroma takes over the kitchen.  Serves 1-3

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cheat River Shrimp

     So years ago I used to work at this upscale restaurant that sat on the edge of my hometown.  A little place that sat on the river with outdoor dining on a nice multi level deck under wonderful sets of ferns, flowers, and even a grape arbor.  We served items ranging from Angus beef, local fish, other seafood, and even pastas.  One of my favorite items was a small appetizer called "Field and Stream".  It was some grilled shrimp and sausages with a few different dipping sauces.  My favorite of the sauces was the key lime mayo sauce.  It has been years since I worked there and luckily I was a good friend with the owners and their daughter with whom I grew up.  I was able to adapt this recipe into my own so that on one bored weekend I decided to whip this up. 

     Not much to this delicious dish.  A couple ingredients that everyone probably already have in their fridge.  Some white wine, fresh garlic, lime juice, and mayo and you have yourself a very refreshing and easy shrimp appetizer that can be put together for guests or even for game day.  Below you will find two recipes.  A quick one for the shrimp and another for they mayo dipping sauce. For this recipe I don't really use any measurements as they are eyeballing it and just pouring in.  Please enjoy what I call Cheat River Shrimp.


  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • White wine
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper

     Toss shrimp already de-veined, de-shelled, etc., in bowl with some white wine, olive oil, couple cloves of chopped garlic, and black pepper.  Cover and refrigerate over night.

Key lime Mayo

  • Mayo
  • Key limejuice
  • Spicy Mustard
  • Black pepper

     Mix above ingredients together based on taste until you have a delicious dipping sauce.

     Grill your shrimp on top of a hot grill until pink and you have those grill marks.  Serve with dipping sauce.  That is it!  Simple and delicious.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kick-off Taco Pinwheels

     Here is another great game day snack that even the novice in the kitchen can put together.  It will get rave reviews and it wont even mess up your yelling at the referee or miss a beat with your drink.  A simple combination of crescent dough and some taco flavors baked into a bite size snack.  I used all store bought ingredients for this and the amounts are only in spoonfuls.  Please enjoy my Kick-Off Taco Pinwheels.
  • 1 roll of store bought crescent dough
  • Nacho cheese
  • Taco sauce
  • Salsa
     Unroll the crescent dough and separate into two separate rectangles. (They usually come in two).  Press the seams together on each separate rectangle as they come precut into triangles.  With a spoon spread out the nacho cheese, the salsa, and some of the taco sauce.  Starting with the shortest end roll upwards.  You will have two small rolls now.
     With a serrated knife cut each roll into six separate little pinwheels.  Place on un-greased baking sheet and bake in 375 F degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Makes 12 bite size pinwheels. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Game Day Meatballs.

     It is football season here in the states and that means coming up with some tasty but easy to make football food ideas.  As a bachelor you have to have your own football parties at your house. Inviting over some of your friends and family and serving them something that is appetizing but can be easy to go with the amount of drinking and screaming that goes on during the games.  My family and I are fans of college football just as much as professional football.  To be completely honest I don't really watch professional football.  Any sport on TV is at times boring as I am a remote control clicker that has to be watching multiple shows at one time.  However, when it comes to college football and especially my alum WVU I have to watch the whole thing.  So since it is the season for football I will be posting here and there quick football snack ideas that anyone can make.  Here is my version of the typically cocktail meatball that many people serve with my own twist.  Game Day Meatballs


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Handful parsley
  • Salt/pepper

     In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, diced onion, egg, chopped garlic, some bread crumbs, parsley, and salt and pepper. Form into Ping-Pong size balls and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in 350 F oven for about 20-25 minutes.  You will then simmer them in the cocktail sauce on the stove.  Makes roughly 25-30 mini meatballs.

Game Day Sauce:


     Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour into a large sauté pan and simmer over low to medium heat.  After meatballs have been cooking in oven, transfer to the sauce and simmer covered on low for about 10-15 minutes.  Serve with toothpicks or on mini buns for a great game day snack.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso
     Here comes the Chinese food kick again.  It is just one of those things that I love to eat and cook at the same time.  Its simplicity is great and the flavors are fantastic.  What better item to prepare than a traditional take-out item. We have all had it so don't lie.  General Tso's Chicken. 
     Now there is some disagreement to whether or not it is a traditional Chinese item that you would find in China or just simply and item created from a traditional one to attract the American pallet.  Whatever it is it is one of my favorites.  I decided to do some research on finding the best way to make this dish.  I looked at a couple authentic Asian recipes for this dish, combined some aspects of each one together, and created my own version of this dish.  Let me tell you this was fantastic and had all the flavors I love from ordering this dish in my local Chinese restaurant.  A little secret I discovered while doing my search was that in a lot of dishes in China they use Ketchup as a base.  Please enjoy my take on a classic take out item: General Tso's Chicken.
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs chicken stock
  • 3 tbs soy
  • 2 tbs rice wine
  • 2 tbs hoisin
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 chilies
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli

      Whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch to make a paste.  In a large wok pour enough vegetable oil in to fry the chicken.  Cut chicken into small bite size chunks, mix into egg white mixture, and drop into hot oil.  Fry in oil about 3-5 minutes a side until nice and golden brown.  Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  I then removed the oil from the wok.  Sautéed some carrots and broccoli in the slightly oiled wok until a bit tender.  Meanwhile mixed the chicken stock, soy, rice wine, hoisin, ketchup, sugar, and chopped up chilies in a bowl.  Poured into the wok to thicken up and tossed the chicken back in to coat.  Served with some fresh made lo mein noodles.  Serves about 2-3 people. 


Monday, September 2, 2013

Flavorful Ingredients To Win With Health

    What do I mean when I say "Flavorful Ingredients To Win With Health"?  Well, I went on a little getaway out of state to my cousin's town, Toledo, to not only visit and spend some relaxing time with family, but to also run in a 5K Color Run.  A Color Run is a fun filled morning of running/walking 3.2 miles, getting blasted with colored cornstarch, all in the name of charity raising money for the Children's Miracle Network.  So, now you see what these flavorful ingredients for health are.  Get it?

     I'm a runner at heart.  Have been doing it since grade school.  I used to run in events when I was in my teens and continue to this day running for exercise.  When the thought and invitation came up about running in a 5K again, was brought to my attention by my cousin I thought, "What the hell, lets do this!" 

     Myself and another cousin took the 6-hour drive up north to Toledo for this special event.  We arrived early afternoon that Friday at our family's house.  A nice evening on the deck with homemade pasta, sausages, tomato/cucumber salad, bread, and wine was the perfect meal for our busy day about to happen. After a nice evening chatting and eating it was time for bed as we planned on waking up fairly early to get to the race in time.

     The next morning that alarm clock went off way to soon for my blood, 5:30am.  We all awoke, dressed, and drove downtown to the start of the event.  What a site to see, over 5000 people participating in this special run/walk all in support of a good cause.  There was a stage with entertainers playing music, doing Zumba, etc. Booths set up all around selling items from the event, water stations, etc.  Everyone lined up at the starting line as the event began.  They sat us off in waves so that at all times someone would be on the road during the race.  The music blaring and the announcer pumping us up. 

      If you have ever ran a 5K all you need to know is that it goes by pretty quick.  You think at first you will never reach the finish line and before you know it you are there.  Running is a great way to release endorphins and get the cardio your body needs.  It feels great to run as it gives you a lot of energy.  Add in a charitable cause and you feel even better.  At the end of the race everyone packs around the fair grounds and stage where they continue to play music and have color bombs where they count down from 10 and everyone tosses their color packets up in the air to create a wonderful cloud of colors.  Definitely the "Happiest 5K on the planet" as they profess with their tag line.  I would highly recommend this to anyone whenever the run comes to a city near you.  Not only for the health benefits and charity but also for the pure enjoyment of it all. "Take your own ingredients to win with health!"

Homemade pasta boosting meal


Runners and walkers

Dancing for joy

Color Bombs