Real Food for Real Life

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spicy, creamy, crunchy goodness...

Buffalo Burger with Bleu Cheese Celery Slaw
and Easy Steak Fries

Sometime last week we were watching an episode of triple D, but the only thing I can remember about the episode is a celery bleu  cheese slaw that was served with hot wings.  I have had that stupid slaw on my mind all week, so enough was enough, I had to make the slaw.  I did not have any wings in the freezer but wanted the spicy bite against the cool slaw, so I decided on buffalo burgers.  Preparing these was as simple as basting the burgers with hot sauce while they were grilling; we used Frank's Extra Hot Red Hot to ensure that they were indeed spicy, but you could obviously use whatever suits your taste.  I used sirloin burgers here, but would have actually preferred turkey or chicken, so again, use what you have or like.  The slaw was so crisp and delicious, I don't even know how to describe it, you just have to trust me and give it a try.  To finish out the meal we had easy steak fries, which I couldn't resist dipping in Frank's spicy BBQ sauce. 

Bleu Cheese Celery Slaw
adapted from Guy Fieri and Triple D

bleu cheese of choice
bleu cheese dressing of choice  

Yes, seriously, this has only three ingredients.  Use what ever amounts you want to make.  I had some celery sticks in the fridge and a wedge of gorgonzola dulce (may favorite bleu), so that is what I used.  Slice the celery very thin and then crumble/grate the bleu cheese into the same bowl.  If not eating immediately, just stash the bowl in the fridge at the point.  just before serving mix in just enough of you favorite bleu cheese dressing to moisten the slaw and serve.
Note- only make the amount of slaw that will be eaten at the meal.  We had some leftover and when we went to eat it a few days later it wasn't so good.  The celery had released water, leaving it limp and the slaw wet :(

Peonies in a Piilsner

"Mommy!  Put that camera away!"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Manager's Special dinner...

Simple Broiled Salmon, Brie Cream Linguine, 
and steamed vegetables

I have taught me husband well and he, too, is a great appreciator of the "manager's specials" at the grocery store.   When he was shopping for my Mother's Day dinner he found the brie at $3.49 a wedge and bought two.  We still had the second wedge a few days later when I was reading a blog post by Cooking with Caitlin, and was intrigued by her Brie Cream Pasta.  Perfect!  I now knew just what to do with the brie (besides just eating it, which would have been okay too :).  I did not have the asparagus she used in her recipe, but I did have two bags of prepared broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, also manager's specials at 79 cents each (actually only 29 cents each after my coupons :).  I would have been fine to eat just the pasta and veg, but Ben likes a piece of protein with his dinner, so I went scrounging through the freezer.  What did I find but yet another manager's special, a thick 12oz piece of beautiful salmon that I had snapped up for $2.99.  Chris had a leftover grilled portabella mushroom because the silly boy won't eat salmon...unless it's in expensive sushi that is, than he'll make a pig of himself.  We squeezed fresh lemon all over everything on the plate which really made it, and there was enough pasta and veg leftover for lunch the next day.

Brie Cream Pasta
adapted from Cooking with Caitlin

1 lb pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccini), I used 13.25oz of whole grain linguine
1 wedge of Brie, rind removed
1 cup 2% milk
 fresh lemon wedges
salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper

Cooke the pasta in salted water until a minute or two shy of al dente; drain and leave in the strainer.  While the pasta is cooking, remove the rind from the Brie and cut into small cubes.  Return the pan to medium heat and warm the milk and brie until the cheese is soft; whisk until smooth and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Add the pasta back to the pan and stir for a minute or three, or until al dente and the sauce is absorbed and coating the pasta.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges- this is a must.

Simple Broiled Salmon

This technique works with any choice of seasonings, you can even brush the salmon with a salad dressing of choice.  Just make sure there is at least a small amount of oil in whatever you decide to use.  We are not fans of the skin, so by placing the fillets on unoiled foil we are able to use a spatula to lift the cooked fillet and leave the skin behind.  Added bonus is easy cleanup.

 Salmon fillet(s)
olive oil
seasonings of choice

Preheat the broiler and line a broiler safe pan with foil.  Place the salmon on the foil, oil lightly, and season as desired.  Broil 4 to 6  inches from the broiler.  Thinner pieces will be done in 6 minutes or so, but a thick piece such as this, you may want to finish in a 350 oven for another few minutes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A belated Mother's Day post...

 Brie Smothered Pork Chops and
Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise

Except for being in the middle of a three day bout of vertigo, my Mother's Day was fabulous.  The boys did everything the whole day, bought me a nice little bunch pretty flowers (that still look great almost two weeks later :), and most impressively, worked together to make a fantastic meal.  They cheated a bit and bought a cheesecake, but that's okay, I'll forgive them :)

The brining produced and incredibly juicy and delicious pork chop while the sweet "pan sauce" was the perfect counterpart to the slightly salty brie.  We did not have any Calvados, so Ben subbed bourbon, and in doing it again I think I would keep the bourbon.  I did wish that there had been more apples, so a repeat will involve doubling the pan sauce (not really a sauce).  The Hollandaise was perfect but left Christopher complaining of a sore arm after all the whisking, but hey, how many 12 year old boys can say they can make Hollandaise?  The leftover sauce firmed up in the fridge and made a wonderful spread on breakfast bagels for the whole week following :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Iced Coffee Yum!!

Iced Coffee Yom!!

When the weather turns warm I love iced coffee.  What I don't love is paying $4 for one, nor knowing exactly what is in it, and I'm quite sure that I would not be happy with the calorie count.  Making my own at home does away with all of that, plus I can enjoy one (or two) whenever I like.  While I normally take coffee black with no sweetener, I find that when it is iced I like just a touch of both sweet and white.  I just add ice to a tall glass and drizzle a bit of agave syrup over the ice before filling with leftover coffee (I've been keeping leftovers in a Rubbermaid bottle in the fridge).  I give it a stir with my straw and add a splash of coconut or almond milk (forgive me, but I just don't like cow's milk).  I haven't tried it yet, but think that a vanilla or chocolate flavored milk would be divine here.  The agave syrup stirs easily into the cold beverage and at 60 calories for a whole TABLESPOON of the stuff (I think I might be using 1/2 teaspoon at the most).  So what is that, 10 calories?  The coconut milk has 80 calories for a whole CUP, and again, I'm using just a bit so the calories are minimal.  

Save yourself the $4 and massive calorie count and try making your own iced coffee at home.  Use whatever sweetener and whitener you like, in whatever amounts you like, and make it your own.  Enjoy!

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