Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Another wave of good reads

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to hardcover helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better. The Mixed Stew crew likes hunting through cookbooks for a good recipe or three.

We recommend The Joy of Cooking for food lovers looking for classic recipes.

Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners has the recipes and food ideas to fill your weekly menus with good eats. Look out for this book by a celebrity chef.

Here’s a cookbook that's also a primer on herbs. Jekka’s Herb Cookbook has unique and yummy recipes, like Baked Fennel and Lavender Oat Cookies.

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Roast Corn with Dill Butter

Corn ears that turn heads
Regular corn on the cob gets a makeover in this roasted corn treat. The Mixed Stew crew slathered fresh corn ears with the dill butter from South Mountain Creamery. What happened? The dill enhanced the corn’s sweetness with very subtle minty flavors in every bite. The foil wrapped seal locks in natural juices that mature and emerge from the heat of cooking. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesdays’ Helping: Turkey Skin-On or Off?

To eat lean or leaner
We’ve all sat down to eat Thanksgiving turkey and selected our favorite—white or dark cuts of meat. The white meat tends to contain less fat and can be drier than dark meat. Recently, however, the Mixed Stew crew was reminded that diet-conscious eaters can go a step further to consume a healthier portion of roast turkey by removing the skin. That’s mostly anyone’s prerogative, but we recommend choosing to eat the turkey breast without the skin for an even leaner meal that’s filling. Remember that boneless and skinless turkey breast medallions also make for a leaner substitute for boneless pork (aka “the other white meat”) chops.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Dill Garlic Butter

An unlikely twist on seasoned butter
We’ve discussed garlic butter before, but we picked up an 8 ounce package of Dill & Garlic Butter by South Mountain Creamery. Each container costs $3.00. The slight peppery and minty flavors of fresh dill enhance the rich, creamy, and buttery taste in this flavorful seasoned butter. A hint of garlic rounds out another trinity of flavors. We added Dill & Garlic Butter to make a yummy roasted turkey breast, but we also recommend adding it to well-cooked salmon or grilled tuna. Also, slather a bit on toasted bread for a light appetizer or snack.

South Mountain Creamery
8305 Bolivar Road
Middletown, MD 21769

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Dill Butter Roast Turkey Breast

A tasty way to be fowl

The difficulty when preparing and cooking turkey breast is preventing the white meat from drying out. A blend of garlic, dill, and butter spices up our latest version. More importantly, the process produces a juicy and flavorful cut of meat. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
1 cutting board
1 baking pan
1 wire rack
Non-stick Cooking Spray
1 boneless turkey breast (tied) with skin-on
2 tablespoons (or more) garlic dill butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

Cooking and Preparation:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Sprinkle and coat entire outside of boneless turkey breast in salt and pepper. Next, coat wire rack with non-stick cooking spray. Position turkey breast on rack and place in oven to roast for 1 ½ hours. Baste turkey breast with garlic dill butter after first 45 minutes of cooking time then place back in oven. Let fully-cooked turkey breast rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Crab Shanty Pub: Ellicott City, Md.

The Mixed Stew Crew dropped by this seafood restaurant on an early Friday evening to sample its Tapas specials. These small appetizers are served every Friday between 5-10 pm. Customers can select any three tapas for $10.00 or order six of these decadent dishes for $20.00. We tried the Firecracker Shrimp, Peppercorn Beef Satay, Roma Crab Bread, and Garlic Shrimp Skewer. Guests can enjoy the old-fashioned pub ambience and the full bar on Friday nights at The Crab Shanty.

Shanty Pub.
The Crab Shanty Restaurant
3410 Plum Tree Drive
Ellicott City, Maryland


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Unusual Pies

Weird pies stuffed with more than just fruits

Perhaps you’ve had a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie or Shoofly Pie? Don’t be misled by their giddy nicknames since each of them contains only sweet ingredients, such as chocolate and molasses. However, here are “more unusual” pies that you may wanna sample:

Funeral Pie -- an Amish tradition that’s really a baked raisin pie that’s served at funerals. Raisins have a long-shelf life, which means they’re available year-around.

Onion Pie – take loads of thinly sliced onion, garlic, herbs, grated parmesan cheese, and sliced tomatoes then bake them in a pie to make this hefty side dish by the slice.

Vinegar Pie – one of the easiest and simplest pies (a Southern favorite) any cook can prepare and serve. The use of apple-cider vinegar and sugar creates a combo of flavors that are not unpleasant, but daring.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Ready-Made Pie Crust

Unroll this timesaver
We tend to forget about ready-made pie crusts since they're located in the grocer’s chill unit instead of the frozen food aisle. The fun comes from simply unwrapping and unrolling the pre-pressed pie crust, which are basically flat sheets of perfectly mixed dough. Use this food item to save the time and labor that’s usually required for making a purely homemade pie crust. Each (15 oz.) box contains two flat sheets of dough that’s just right for one sealed pie between two crusts or two pies with just a bottom crust. Cooks can also make yummy turnovers or tarts with this product.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday's Cupful: Background on Apple Pie

Origins go back further than you think

There’s nothing more American than apple pie. The modern and traditional incarnation of apple pie was handed down to American Colonists from England. However, the practice of pre-filling a baked bread or pastry with fruit or savory ingredients dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians. The Greeks used a precursor to the modern pie crust that was simply flour and water. Meanwhile, the Pharaohs employed cooks that sealed ingredients into flatbreads before baking them. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, the practice of making baked puddings, such as marlborough pudding, led to baking apples pies, but the addition of sugar came later and sweetened most of the contemporary recipes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Bread Bowl: No Fail Apple Pie

A family tradition made simply

Baking a homemade apple pie can really sooth the senses as the yummy odor permeates through the kitchen. Premade pie crust and fresh apples (of the golden variety) make all the difference in our recipe. Here’s our rendition:

What you will need:

1 metal fork
1 cutting board
1 baking tray
1 pie pan
1 (15 oz) package premade pie crust found in grocer's refrigerated section
2 cups apples, sliced thin
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
melted butter
pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Roll out 1 piece of premade pie crust over and inside pie pan to form the bottom crust. Let the excess fall over the sides of the pie pan. Next, neatly arrange and pile apple slices inside the rolled crust. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and salt over apple slices. Take a second piece of pie crust and roll on top of apple filling. Cut away and discard the excess so that the pie can be sealed inside both the top and bottom pieces of pie crust. Carefully close and pinch crust at edges with metal fork. Place constructed pie on top of baking pan. Brush top crust with melted butter. Bake in heated oven for 50-60 minutes. Let pie rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into or serving.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Bangkok Garden 9: Columbia, Md.
Look out for the charming Asian garden as you walk into this Thai restaurant. Guests will like the elegant atmosphere that includes a warm dining room. We ordered the Moo-Yang (Grilled Pork on Skewers $10.95) and Nua-Dadd-Deaw (Fried and Sun-dried Marinated Beef $7.95) to start the meal. Both appetizers were tasty. The Nua-Dadd-Deaw was like fresh beef jerky and the Moo-Yang had been charbroiled to perfection. The Shrimp Pad-Thai ($10.95) didn’t disappoint; although, we wished the portion was heftier. That’s just our opinion. The Pad-Kah-Na (Pork and Broccoli Stir-fry $10.95) is for diners that like less spicy and lighter fare. Meanwhile, the Pad-Ped-Pah (Spicy Pork Stir-fry $10.95) had a slightly sweet flavor with a thick brown sauce akin to Chinese-style dishes. Lastly, the Soft Shell Crab (Market Price) came in the restaurant’s special “three flavor sauce.” Drop by Bangkok Garden 9 in Columbia, Md.

5810 Robert Oliver Place
Columbia, Md. 21045

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Barley/ Brown Rice Tea

A soothing tea blend
Remember Mugicha aka barley tea that’s popular in Japan and Korea? The Mixed Stew crew combined some barley tea kernels with brown rice kernels to brew a soothing tea. The brewing process extracts all the rich nutrients and flavors from brown rice. Brown rice tea contains selenium, which can help strengthen the body’s immune system and fight colon cancer. The nutty barley tea flavors are enhanced by the earthy and wholesome grain taste of brown rice. The resulting hybrid tea can be enjoyed as a relaxing hot drink or refreshing ice-cold beverage. Before combining the two in boiling hot water, toast the rice grains in a pan on the stovetop. You don't want to burn the rice, but you do want to smell the toasted aroma before adding the grains with the barley to the brewing tea liquid. Note that the cooked rice and barley, a byproduct of brewing this tea, can also be served as a nutrient-rich substitute for steamed white rice with any savory dish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday's Helping: Experimenting with Tabouleh

Substitutes can sometimes work wonders
What are some unusual ingredients that you can add to substitute in tabouleh? Several variations also call for chopped cucumber; however, we also suggest small chopped zucchini or minced shallots. Add a peppery and spicy kick with minced jalapenos. Meanwhile, diced avocado, peas, crushed hard-boiled egg, and chickpeas can make for a denser and creamier feel in every mouthful. Finally, chopped walnuts or pecans can be tossed into any tabouleh to provide more flavor and slight crunch.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: History of Tabouleh

A grainy salad of sorts

This dish is traditionally calls for bulgur, but we used red quinoa in our rendition. Tabouleh translates from Levantine Arabic into “little spicy.” Historians trace its origins to the Lebanese and Syrian mountains and the Middle Ages. Look for different variations with main ingredients that include parsley, lemon juice, mint and other herbs and spices. Some recipes list diced cucumber among the heartier ingredients. Tabouleh is one of the most widely prepared dishes in the Arab region and has grown in popularity in Western countries. American consumers can find ready-made tabouleh in the gourmet chilled foods section of most major grocery stores. We often order it as a side dish at one of our favorite Middle Eastern restaurants. Can you think of non-traditional uses for tabouleh?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday's Bread Bowl: Quinoa Tabouleh

A reinvented Mediterranean staple

This dish is yummy as a light meal or large snack. The blend lemon juice, garlic, and parsley create a refreshing flavor while the quinoa adds satisfying texture. We suggest using quinoa to change things up from bulgur. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
2 Cups cooked quinoa, cooled to room temperature
8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Plastic wrap
1 ½ bunches fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
¼ Cup lemon juice
1/3 Cup green onion, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, coarsely ground
Pinch of black pepper

Preparation and Directions:

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix and toss well. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge. Chill for at least 3 hours (letting the flavors mature) then it’s ready to serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Customized flavor of Asia

This Asian sauce possesses the right combination of tangy, salty, and sweet. Look for a quality soy sauce that’s the most common and popular main ingredient to this tasty sauce. A sweet food item, such as brown sugar, honey, or molasses helps bring out and enhance the flavors in the total recipe. Several different recipes exist from very simple to complex. We suggest making your own teriyaki sauce if you need to control the salt and sugar content. Also, look for a few varieties at your local gourmet foods store. Here’s our rendition:

What you will need:

1 spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
1/3 Cup honey (or brown sugar)
¾ Cup soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons green onion, sliced

Optional ingredients:

Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoons ginger, minced
1/2 tsp of sesame seed
1/2 tsp of pepper flakes

Preparation and Directions:

Combine all in ingredients in bowl. Mix well and the sauce is ready to use for marinades or seasoning.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday's Side Dish: Put an Egg on It

Much more than a topping or garnish
Yes, there’s something charming and yummy about adding an egg to any savory dish or meat sandwich. The loco moco isn’t alone when it comes to a whole egg being included in the presentation. Look to East Asia’s ethnic cuisines for a whole egg floating atop soups, such as Japanese Ramen and Udon. Koreans enjoy an egg over their traditional rice bowl aka Bi Bim Bap. While growing up in Guam, the Mixed Stew crew liked ordering grilled cheeseburgers with a fried egg at more than one food truck or eatery. Also, remember that the California-based Fat Burger lists and includes a fried egg among possible burger toppings and additions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday's Helping: Background on Loco Moco

A favorite in the Pacific Islands
Expect to find different renditions of this dish on many restaurant menus throughout Hawaii. Folklore explains that loco moco was invented and first served up in the late 1940s at the Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii. A group of teenage boys requested a cheaper meal consisting of steamed rice topped with a grilled hamburger patty and gravy. The fried or poached egg was added later. The teenagers called it the loco moco since one among their group was nicknamed crazy, which they learned was “loco” in their high school Spanish class. Meanwhile, “moco” was chosen for its rhyming sound rather than its meaning that translates into mucus or snot. The loco moco gradually caught on in popularity throughout Hawaii. Several variations substitute the beef patty with grilled spam, teriyaki beef stir-fry, or fried mahi-mahi. The egg adds more heartiness and makes the meal more satisfying. This is Hawaiian comfort food. Hawaiians also like serving their loco moco with hot sauce or teriyaki sauce. Look for loco moco in Hawaii, Samoa, and Guam. Pacific-Islanders also love an egg on their burger sandwiches.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday's Cupful: Loco Moco

A Hawaiian breakfast tradition

Hawaiians love eating this dish that consists of brown gravy, a hamburger patty, steamed rice, and a fried or poached egg. The components make it right for early morning and brunch. Meanwhile, the hearty ingredients will satisfy many appetites. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large bowl
1 to 2lbs ground beef, thawed
1 fry pan
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
1 whole egg, beaten
Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
4 eggs, poached or fried (sunny-side up, over-easy, whatever)
Hot or warm brown rice
Gravy ingredients:
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup and an equal amount water
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce*
2 tablespoons soy sauce *
or substitute both sauces with 4 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce

Cooking and Directions:

Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, milk, bread crumbs, beaten egg, and pepper in bowl. Mix well. Form meat mixture into four hamburger patties. Heat up fry pan on medium-high heat. Cook and grill hamburger patties to desired doneness. Next, de-glaze fry pan by sautéing sliced onion for gravy at medium-high heat. Cook onion until translucent and then add condensed soup with equal amount of water. Add desired sauces to pan. Mix well and bring to a slow simmer. Serve each patty over warm brown rice in individual serving bowls or saucers. Top each with an egg and loads of mushroom gravy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holiday Wishes

Happy Labor Day from the Mixed Stew crew!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday's Last Spoonful: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

The Mixed Stew is going on hiatus from Aug 29 thru September 6. We hope everyone enjoys a week of veggie repeats until then and Happy Labor Day. The Mixed Stew will be back on September 6 with even more yummy posts.

Post from August 14, 2009

A winning black and yellow combo

Corn and black beans offer an interesting blend for the senses. The colors are a feast for the eyes at any party or potluck. This is a viable alternative to tomato-based salsas. The sweetness of corn kernels blends with the earthy flavor of black beans. Add chopped onion, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, minced jalapeño, and minced cilantro for a spicy and yummy salsa. Also, squeeze some lime or lemon juice. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips. Or, put a spoonful on top of grilled fish as a condiment.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday's Side Dish: Soy Cucumber Salad

The Mixed Stew is going on hiatus from Aug 29 thru September 6. We hope everyone enjoys a week of veggie repeats until then and Happy Labor Day. The Mixed Stew will be back on September 6 with even more yummy posts.

Post from August 6, 2009

Cool off with this cuke recipe

Cut cucumbers and dress them with vinegar and soy sauce. It’s a cucumber salad that’s popular in Guam – especially at parties. We suggest adding some sliced hot pepper to jazz things up.
Sliced cucumbers in soy sauce

What you will need:

3 large cucumbers, cut into 2 inch wedges
1 small onion chopped
¾ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vinegar, palm vinegar is preferred but cider vinegar will do, too
1 large bowl
1 wooden spoon
kitchen plastic wrap
Pinch of salt and pepper

Preparation and directions:

Combine soy sauce and vinegar in large bowl. Add cucumbers, onions, salt, and pepper. Mix and toss well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour. Then serve.
Helpful hint: Nelly prefers to use seedless (also known as burpless, hothouse or English) cucumbers for this dish. If "regular" cucumbers are being used, it helps to first cut the vegetables lengthwise and then lightly scrape off most of the seeds and pulp before cutting the cucumbers into wedges. Don't worry about being too neat about scraping everything off. This reduces the water content in the dish.