Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Johnnycakes and I have been quite the land rovers lately and have not been eating much fresh seafood. Tonight was a perfect evening for one of our favorite meals; fish tacos. Johnnycakes speaks Spanish so I often like to practice my Spanish with him, hence the Tacos Pescados translation. I realize there should probably be a "de" or a "del" between the Taco and Pescados but I like the way just "Tacos Pescados" sounds.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Posted by Marianne at 10:26 PM
Friday, May 25, 2007
This truth is one of the reasons why I am so excited to head to Ocean City, MD for Memorial Day weekend. The last time I checked, Ocean City was not world renowned for it’s pristine beaches, year round climate and exotic local flavor but it is home to some yummy treats that you can only find there! I have been going to Ocean City, MD every summer of my life and there are certain foods that keep me coming back. Honestly, I am more excited about eating Thrashers French Fries, Grotto Pizza, Kohrs Ice Cream and enjoying a Seacret Sunset than I am about the sun and surf. My childhood, teen and college years are filled with memories of eating candy apples and cotton candy on the boardwalk, visiting the Olive Tree restaurant on 17th Street with my family and hitting Layton’s Restaurant after a long night partying at Senior Week or on a girls weekends.
Johnnycakes shares my passion for vacation and trying new foods. Our entire honeymoon was one big southern home cooking feast! We have plenty of pictures to prove it. There was even the time, on our first Ocean City trip, we spent the entire weekend traveling to our favorite pizza joints up and down Coastal Highway and the Boardwalk. The winner? A tie between Grotto Pizza (only in Delaware) and Piezanos (formerly Ponzettis) on the Boardwalk.
Don’t worry though. We wouldn’t be a Couple of Cooks if we didn’t plan to prepare a few meals at home. We’ll be sure to fire up my grandparent’s rickety old grill and cook some steaks and make some healthy breakfasts to start our day. I’ll be sure to report back on our dining deliriums!
What about you? Do you have any special dining or meal preparation plans for Memorial Day weekend or vacation memories to share? I’d love to hear some about them!
Posted by Marianne at 6:53 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This post is inspired by a contest I saw on the Food Maven blog. Maven has created a contest in tribute to the three year anniversary of her blog "Coconut and Lime", where she posts a variety of yummy and diverse original recipes. Here is the link to her post., http://foodmaven.blogspot.com/2007/05/reminder.html. I recently discovered her insightful and fun blogs since becoming a fledgling Baltimore blogger myself.
What is the challenge? To post a recipe featuring the namesake ingredients coconut and lime. Since Johnnycakes and I are both fans of coconut and lime, we thought it would be fun to play along. We were a little stumped about what to prepare and traded some lofty ideas back and forth including coconut and lime bread pudding, rice pudding, french toast and even shrimp. Eventually our practical side won out when we needed to plan meals for the week and put dinner on the table.
Here is our creation:
"Coconut and Lime" Chicken Veggie Curry
zest of 1/2 a lime
1 5.5 oz can of coconut milk
1/2 cup of water
1.25 lb. of skinless chicken breast, cooked (marinated in 2 TBSP. lime juice, 2 TBSP. chopped cilantro, salt and pepper)
2 TBSP. sesame oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 TBSP garlic chili paste (less if you can't take the heat!)
1 TBSP. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped cashews (optional)
Dice marinated chicken breast into bite size cubes. Heat medium pan with 1 TBSP. sesame oil. Cook over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Set aside.
Heat deep pan with 1 TBSP. sesame oil. Add chopped celery, carrots, onions, red pepper and peas to heated pan. Cook until softened. Add 1 TBSP. garlic chili paste and stir for one minute. Add coconut milk, water, lime juice from 1/2 a lime and lime zest. Finally, add curry powder, ground cumin, fresh cilantro and chopped cashews. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cooked chicken breast and simmer for five additional minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with brown rice.
The result? A spicy, zesty chicken curry dish with lots of fresh vegetables and flavor. Plus, it meets the Couple of Cooks criteria that meals should be healthy, convenient and economical.
Thanks Maven for posting the contest. It was lots of fun to participate in. Now I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The only real meal we prepared at home were tuna melts for lunch on Saturday afternoon. I had prepared tuna salad on Friday evening while I was chopping veggies, etc. when I was making the Manhattan Clam Chowder. So on Saturday, we had a big bowl of tuna salad ready to go. I had picked up the new whole wheat Thomas's Bagel Squares at Wal Mart on Friday. Johnnycakes topped the bagel squares with the tuna salad and cheddar cheese and toasted the sandwiches in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes and walah (sp?).... A quick, cheap and healthy lunch! They were delicious.
The week ahead.... Sunday's also mean meal planning for the week in our house. I am feeling lazy and don't feel like going to the grocery store today but I should be able to pick up any little items we might need on my lunch hour or on my walk home from work. A convenient full-service grocery store and traditional public market with a produce section are both within walking distance from my house and work. We got a new Weber grill (YEAH!) so we are planning an inaugural meal tomorrow night of cheeseburgers. Let the fun begin! We will also probably prepare turkey sausage reubens, chicken curry, leftover frozen pork potstickers (a couple of cooks classic) and we will use a gift card on Friday night to eat dinner out on our way to the beach for Memorial Day weekend.... A little planning is all it takes!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Since we have an extra mouth to feed while Johnnycake's father is our houseguest, we've had to get a little creative in "stretching" our meals to feed three instead of two. We have an extra mouth to feed, so to speak. We also had a few fresh vegetables in the fridge who's days were numbered in the freshness department, namely mushrooms and cauliflower. Lot's of talk of Philly Cheesesteaks prompted Johnnycakes and I to make homemade cheesesteaks using the Lauras Lean brand NY Strip steaks we had in the freezer. I also thought tonight would be a good night for the $6.00 asparagus. It would be a shame to see that go to waste.
Cooking was mainly a solo effort for me tonight because Johnnycakes had some maintenence tasks to tend to around the house. First, I cubed the meat into smaller pieces and seasoned the steak with a steak blend of herbs and spices. I chopped yellow onion and sauteed them with presliced white mushrooms. I eventually added the steak peices to the heat and cooked until pink inside. I also chopped fresh cauliflower which I cooked in a pot with butter (smart balance in our household). In an effort to duplicate a creamed cauliflower recipe of Johnnycake's aunt, I added milk and flour to the cauliflower once it was soft. Unfortunately, I burnt the cauliflower a bit because I did not add enough butter to the pan initally. This resulted in a brownish appearance for the cauliflower but gave it a wonderful smoky flavor! I boiled the $6.00 asparagus but in retrospect I should of steamed it because it turned out too soft and mushy. We piled the meat mixture over yummy rye bread and topped it with reduced fat Alpine Lace Swiss Cheese and toasted until melted. I added some greek salad dressing to the sandwich for extra flavor.
The result of all this hard work was a delicious meal which we enjoyed at our dining room table. These makeshift cheesesteaks might just become a Couple of Cooks regular feature!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
While at the market, we picked up a few items to assist in our culinary pursuits over the summer, including $6.00 asparagus. We saw plenty of stands with $3.00 asparagus but Johnnycakes was drawn to the organic stand. The asparagus stalks were bright green and thick and definitely looked more appetizing than some of the splindly bunches at nearby stands. The sign read that the asparagus was $4.25 per lb. We tried to pick a smaller bunch but the total still came to $6.00! I told Johnnycakes that we better enjoy that asparagus.
We also visited Nick, the local barbecue guy, to pick up some of his special "rub". This being our first visit to the market this spring, we were all out of his special seasonings for our barbecue. This time we opted for traditional "Carolina" instead of the southwest blend we tried last summer. We can't wait to try it.
In addition to these tasty items, we picked up some herbs to flavor our dishes. Johnnycakes picked thyme, while I picked basil, mint and cilantro. I've tried several times in the past to grow cilantro and it always dies. I am determined to make it grow this year! Johnnycakes also waited through a minor altercation between a farmer and a clueless patron over pepper plants and marigolds to score him self a banana pepper plant and a jalepeno plant for $.50 each. We also looked for cut flowers for our Moms and sisters but they didn't have much of a selection. It's a little early in the season and many of the booths aren't set up yet.
That pretty much sums up our first trip of the season to the Baltimore City Farmers Market.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
As the title of this blog indicates, this is really about the kitchen adventures of both my husband, Johnnycakes, and myself. Or as Johnnycakes fondly calls me, Butters. A Couple of Cooks is inspired by the fact that we share most of the kitchen responsibilities. Our busy schedules demand that we share the workload associated with cooking. Team work is the key to our kitchen success! Otherwise, we’d be eating out every evening! The division of labor usually means that one of us will do the prep work such as washing, chopping, shredding, the veggies, meat, etc., while the other one does the actual cooking (i.e. putting the food over a flame) and we usually split clean up duties such as the dishes and sweeping up. Or sometimes one of us is too tired to even think about cooking and the other one will pick up the slack. This ensures a home cooked meal 9 out of 10 times.
I tend to be more communicative than Johnnycakes, so I'll be the primary correspondent of our culinary whims. The desire to share the intimacies and intricacies, or lack thereof, of my palette springs from my lifelong love of eating and sometimes love of cooking. Food snobs beware! This is not meant to be a sophisticated commentary in any way. All content will be generated from our South Baltimore kitchen and communicated through that lens. I see this blog taking shape as a sort of diary or journal of the meals my husband, Johnnycakes, and Iprepare and consume. In short, I hope it is a celebration of food and a good showcase of the everyday cooking and preparation techniques of a young professional couple running a small household. Home economics, Health and Convenience are the themes of this blog.
Butters: What ever I am craving that day, which usually runs the gamut between Tex Mex, Italian, barbecue, southern cooking and Asian influence. I also like to bake on occasion but I’m not that great at it. I am also always trying to save a buck so my will to cook is driven by that desire much of the time. I also try to be somewhat health conscious and I feel that preparing meals at home helps to save on calories and fat . I try to make it to the gym or do some form of workout every evening. This is the main driver behind the convenience theme and the need for teamwork in the kitchen.
I think that Johnnycakes is more creative in the kitchen and I tend to be more practical and “let’s get dinner on the table” oriented. I like to think our styles meet somewhere in the middle.
If I were a food network star, who would I be: GIADA! I love her. Her show is a joy to watch and her food is excellent. As an Italian American, I feel that she has helped me reconnect with my heritage as an Italian. I have taken an active interest in Italian cooking thanks to her!
Training: Who needs Le Cordon Bleu when you’ve got the Food Network? Johnnycakes and I’s Saturday Morning ritual of watching the Food Network has really expanded my interest in cooking. I would definitely have to credit my mother. She is a stay-at-home Mom/Grandmom and was always making delicious and nutritious dinners. She is always making something for some party or event and always makes enough food for an army. I also took 3 years of Foods and Nutrition in the Home Economics department of my high school. I feel that helped me become familiar w/ the kitchen, cleaning up after myself and I learned the concepts of meal planning.
Dream: I would love to take cooking class vacation in Italy with Johnnycakes.
Johnnycakes: Johnnycakes mom is an excellent and traditional Colombian cook and so he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his mom eating and helping out.