Monday, May 26, 2014

Los Gatas Enchiladas

Los Gatos Enchiladas

     A dish inspired by my good friend Kurstie Strothers Hendon who is from Los Gatos, CA.  She first made these enchiladas for me a couple years ago.  Not being one well known for making Mexican cuisine, as I was not brought up on this, I fell in love with them.  Since being from California she was raised on such dishes and this was her take on a Mexican classic.  I of course made a little change here and there but the overall ingredients are what she uses.  Forgive the picture.  I tried my hardest to make it look pretty.  All that matters in the end is how good this dish tastes and boy does it. Hope you enjoy my friends: Los Gatas Enchiladas

  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • Small can black olives sliced
  • 1 lg can mild red enchilada sauce
  • Bag Mexican mixed cheese
  • Flour tortillas

     I boiled my chicken in a small pot until done.  Dice up the chicken and set aside.  In a skillet drizzled with olive oil sauté your onion bell pepper, and jalapeno until tender.  Toss in the corn, black beans, garlic, and olives.  Stir and sauté a bit.  Pour in about a third of your enchilada sauce.  Mix the chicken back in and add a handful of the cheese.  Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated.  Pour a bit of the enchilada sauce into a baking dish.  Grab a tortilla and spread some of the mixture in the center. 

     Roll up and place in your baking dish.  Continue until you have packed all your separate enchiladas side by side into the baking dish.  Pour over top the rest of your enchilada sauce and sprinkle with generous amount of your cheese.  Cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  This recipe makes anywhere between 6 and 8 individual enchiladas.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pizza Burgers

Pizza Burger

     It's summer time and what says summer more than something cooked right outside and right on the grill?  Nothing is more summer time than a good old-fashioned hamburger. American traditional grilling constitutes a great American dish. You have the hotdog, the BBQ chicken, and of course the great Hamburger.  There are so many ways to make a good hamburger. Whether you stuff it, top it, blacken it, and pickle it, etc. the options are endless.  The smell that comes from the browning beef arising off the grill is so mouth watering that you cannot wait to eat.  You can even smell someone grilling a good burger from down the street or around the block.  Getting together with a group of friends, drink some beers, and have a cookout on the grill is one of the greatest ways to show your appreciation for friends and to show off your cooking skills in the backyard.

     I have many different types of burgers that I like to make.  I am always trying to come up with a new version of a burger. Whether it is a new toping, choice of cheese, bun version, or combination of meats, it is always fun to play around and create a brand new burger to share with friends.  One of my favorite and very easy burger types is a Pizza Burger. Nothing fancy or too difficult, this burger explodes with flavors.  Serve it on a good crusty, seeded bun and you have a wonderful afternoon meal.  Please enjoy my simple version of the Pizza Burger.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • Spices and herbs
  • 1 10oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Crusty buns

     First combine your ground beef with some salt and pepper and 1 egg. I like to mix in a combination of spices and herbs, (which I am not giving away today), but play around with what herbs you might like in your burger.  Sometimes just plain salt and pepper is all you need in order to taste the good beef.  I mix them together until nice and incorporated.  This makes about 4 nice size burgers.  Pat out the burger shapes and place on a waxed paper tray and place in freezer for a short period of time.

     Meanwhile in a medium skillet drizzle a bit of olive oil and sauté over low to medium heat the 1 clove of garlic diced up.  Pour in the tomato sauce and paste.  Mix until combined. Stir in the oregano and sugar. Taste to make sure it is to your liking.  Turn off and remove from the heat. 

     Now take your burgers out of the freezer and start to grill them.  Make sure you cook your burgers to your liking or until they are well done.  I actually like my burgers a bit pink in the middle but don’t take my advice as people say you should not eat ground beef unless it is well done. Anyways, right before you decide to take the burgers off the grill, place a slice of fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella over the top of the burger.  Cover with a lid just until the cheese begins to melt.  Grill your buns to make them nice and crusty. Top your buns with the cheesy burger. Slather on some pizza sauce, lay some slices of fresh basil down on top, top with the other side of the bun, and serve. Delicious!  Serves 4.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mardi Gras Pasta!

Mardi Gras Pasta

      Inspired by the actual "Mardi Gras Pasta", from Johnny White's right smack dab in the middle of Bourbon Street, New Orleans.  This dish was one of my first meals on my first trip to the jazzy city of NOLA.  I loved it so much, as did my siblings and cousins that we had to track down the recipe or come to something close.  We had found a spice store near to the open market. Upon entering we discovered they offered a huge selection of different spices for Cajun/Creole cuisines.  Right there, right in front of us, was this perfect little bottle of seafood pasta seasoning.  We opened it and the aroma from inside was just like that dish we had up on that balcony of Johnny White’s.  We purchased a couple bottles and obtained the web address of the company.  Since then, we have been ordering it online a couple times a year if we run out.  The recipe is so simple and packs a punch of flavor.  Spicy, but mild, creamy but bold; Mardi Gras Pasta.

  • 1/2 lb shrimp or crayfish
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 5 tbs of Seafood Seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Pasta of choice

     Prepare pasta as usual.  I chose homemade noodles for t his.  The original dish was served with penne.  In a large skillet melt the butter and sauté the shrimp until starting to turn pink.  Toss in the garlic and sauté.  Pour in the cream, the tomatoes, seasoning, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Serve over the pasta and enjoy.  Every time I consume this dish it transports me back to that evening on Bourbon Street as the sun was setting and we were enjoying are night and the jazz music playing below.  You will enjoy this dish as much as we do. Serves 4.

The original dish
A few  of us on  Johnny White's balcony

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marmalade Chicken

Marmalade Chicken

     My Uncle Johnny makes a wonderful Orange Marmalade Chicken.  So I decided to try my hand at it, as usual, with a twist.  I had a bottle of Chateau Monet and some fresh orange marmalade.  So I decided to combine the two into a nice glaze slowly cooked on the stovetop.  As for the actual chicken, all I did was coat it in flour, then in egg, then in a flour/cornflake crumb mixture and fried it until brown on both sides then baked it in the oven.  Half way through the baking process you brush on your perfectly sweet but mild with a kick glaze until it caramelizes the succulent chicken. This was amazing.  It was just like I had hoped it would turn out.  The crispiness from the fried chicken was maintained even with the juicy caramelized sweetness of the glaze spread on top.  It was delicious.  Hope you enjoy my Marmalade Chicken.

Ingredients for glaze:
  • 1/3 cup Chateau Monet 
  • 4 large heaping tbs of Orange Marmalade
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

     First, I coated my chicken in some flour, and then dipped it in egg, then in a flour/ cornflake crumb combination.  Fried in a little bit of oil until brown on both sides.  Placed on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile I took the Chateau Monet and the orange marmalade and placed it on the stove over low heat.  Bring it to a simmer, toss in the garlic and vinegar and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the aromas combine.  About 20 minutes into the cooking of the chicken process carefully brush some of the glaze over both sides of the chicken thoroughly.  Put back into the oven and continue cooking for the remaining amount.  Use the rest of the glaze as a dipping sauce if preferred.  Perfect marmalade chicken.  Enjoy!