Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Pho Pasteur: Catonsville, Md.

A recent craving for piping hot bowls of Vietnamese pho brought us to this fairly new restaurant. The casual yet charming d├ęcor is warm and inviting at Pho Pasteur. A regular bowl of their Pho dac biet with eye round rare steak, well-done brisket, tendon, and tripe runs for $6.50 (and the large costs $7.50). We also enjoyed two deep fried pork eggrolls, an appetizer, at $3.50 per order. Other yummy menu items included a variety egg-noodle soups and seafood flavored soups. Not in the mood for pho? A short list of grilled meats or grilled shrimp with rice and salad may appeal to your taste buds.

710 N. Rolling Rd.

Catonsville, Md 21228

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Homemade tortillas

Hand-rolled with rustic charm

A bit of time, wax paper, water, and a corn flour is all it takes to make your own homemade tortillas. Cook or grill these in a hot cast-iron skillet greased with oil or non-stick cooking spray for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. The unruly thickness and texture creates a corn flavored bite in every serving. Toast them a bit longer for crisper flavors. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 flat wooden spoon

1 medium-sized bowl
½ cup water
Wax paper
1 cup masa flour
Non-stick cooking spray
1 cast-iron skillet

Cooking and Directions:

Mix corn flour and water in medium-sized bowl until a mass of dough forms. Split this one piece in two to 4 smaller pieces. Pull out two roughly 9 inch pieces of wax paper. Press and flatten dough pieces between wax paper. Heat cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat until HOT. Spray bottom of pan with non-stick cooking spray. Carefully position flattened tortilla dough in hot skillet. Cook on each side for 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat process for other pieces until done.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Pre-browning meat for stewing

Sealing in flavors

Notice that we coated pork pieces in corn flour then took the extra time to brown them before setting them in the crock pot for braising. The flour works to seal in the natural juices and flavors of the pork. We bet that you’ll notice a difference in every bite of the finished dish. Substitute corn starch in a pinch for duplicating the tasty outcome. A light browning is all it takes. Be mindful not to overcook and dry-out the meat pieces. You can also deglaze the skillet to make at least a cupful of flavorful meat stock for extra sauce.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Salsa Verde

Tomatillos are the buzz
This Mexican salsa has a crisp flavor and tanginess that’s a yummy change from the usual red salsas. Pureed green tomatillos and green chili peppers serve as the two main ingredients that form a spicy taste combination. Several recipe variations exist with some calling for one or all of the following the lemon juice, lime juice, onion, and cilantro. Also look for milder Italian versions for topping savory meats. Consumers can find canned salsa verde at most major supermarkets in the Latin foods section.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Green Chili Verde

Ooey gooey rich and stewy -- pork

You’ll be sore out of luck looking for red tomatoes, red tomato sauce, or tomato paste in this green chili verde. We used lean chunks of pork and slow cooked the ingredients for hours to produce a rich and yummy end product. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 pair of thongs
1 plate lined with paper towel
1 crock pot W/ lid
1 cast-iron skillet
1 cup masa flour
1 (7 oz) can salsa verde
½ cup water or chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can green enchilada sauce
3 tbspns cooking oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced smaill
Pinch salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Heat cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Add oil and grease bottom of pan. Coat and toss pork pieces in flour. Next, lightly brown pork pieces for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown then set aside on wire rack of paper towel-lined plate. Combine other ingredients in slow cooker set to a cooking time of 6 hours. Add in pork pieces and cover with lid. Let ingredients slow cook for at least 6 hours before serving with rice or tortillas.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On Break

The Mixed Stew crew is taking a short vacation for this week. We'll be back on March 26th with a new menu and more food ideas!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries

Sitting down to eat a meal at Boardwalk Burgers and Fries usually means heaping servings of fries and very satisfying burgers, which are made to order. David and Fran DiFerdinando founded their restaurant chain 1980. The brothers were inspired and sought to bring the classic and trademark boardwalk fries to places other than the boardwalks of Ocean City, Md. Look for medium-cut fries made from Idaho potatoes that are fried in peanut oil then lightly salted. Cooks leave the skin on and that adds an extra bite to every fry. Guests can add vinegar, black pepper, or Old Bay Seasoning to their liking as beachgoers do on the boardwalk. Meanwhile, signature (Mushroom Swiss or BBQ Bacon) and customized burger sandwiches can also be made-to-order. The single burger platter includes a medium-sized heap of fries and a regular- sized drink for under $10.00. The Mixed Stew crew recommends that you ensure that you ask the cooks to toast the bread when placing your order. Not in the mood for burgers or fries? The menu also lists chicken tenders, hot dogs, and salads. Look for a franchise near you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

A healthier sweet snack
The Mixed Stew crew picked up a container of these seasoned roasted almonds. Archer Farms brand name nuts and dry-mixes make for great nibblers. We’ve sampled their cinnamon sugar variety but also look out for other flavors, such as honey cinnamon, raw, and salted. Otherwise, we suggest making a homemade batch with cheaper raw almonds. Roast almonds at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on baking sheet. Let roasted nuts cool to room temperature before tossing them in a mixture of 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Pistachios

A wonder of a nut

Here’s another mighty fine nut that we recommend in a pinch as a substitution for junk food. Food historians trace the cultivation of pistachios to the Middle East since before 6500 B.C. The tree is biologically known as Pistacia vera. Look for a natural beige shell that’s sometimes dyed red or green. Pistachios possess an earthy flavor with a subtle chalky essence that’s similar to the taste of almonds. Consumers can find pistachios year-around at most major supermarkets in their characteristic half-open shells. Eating pistachios translates into better cholesterol levels and improved cardiovascular health. Avoid purchasing pistachios with visible discolorations, bruising, or water damage.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Pistachio Cake

She has everyone seeing green
Who thought of pistachio cake? We’ve noticed several recipes for traditional Italian or Sicilian pistachio cake. Pistachios have been cultivated in the Middle East since before 6000 B.C. The green hues of pistachio cakes are just right for ringing in the holiday season or even Saint Patrick’s Day. Meanwhile, richer recipes call for elaborate frosting while purists like pistachio cake with no icing or hardly any additional adornments.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Pistachio Cake

A nutty, dizzying delight

Every slice of this cake makes a light and soft dessert. Try our pistachio cake if you’re tired of the usual vanilla or chocolate. Pistachio provides the delicate and unique flavor note. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large spoon
½ cup rum (or lemon lime soda)
1 tbspn all-purpose flour
2 (9-inch) round cake pans
Non-stick cooking spray
1 package Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix
Whites from 3 large eggs per box instructions/ingredients
1 (3.4 oz) package pistachio pudding mix
1 cup apple sauce
1 package Duncan Hines vanilla frosting

Cooking and Directions:

Follow instructions on side of cake mix box substituting apple sauce for vegetable oil and decrease water by 1/2 cup because that will be substituted with rum. Add pudding mix and rum then blend well. Be careful not to over mix. Grease pans with non-stick cooking spray then coat bottom and sides with flour. Pour cake batter into pans and bake. Test center for doneness with toothpick. Let cake layers cool then frost.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Shamrocks and frozen green martinis

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

Saint Patty’s day is knocking on our door. Here are five major U.S. cities that have yearly parades in honor of this patron saint of Ireland.

New York City


New Orleans

District of Columbia


SHEKNOWS’ Food and Recipes offers several different festive cocktails and drinks that are just the right color for the holiday.

Lastly, Busy Bee Party Ideas provides a big load of St. Patty’s Day party decorations, games, and menu items.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Parmesan Spiced Popcorn

Eat ’em by the handful

We suggest making this popcorn for the next big game or party. The bacon bits make all the difference. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large bowl
1 metal spatula
1 freshly zapped bag of microwave popcorn
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Pour hot popcorn into large bowl. Toss in cheese, bacon chili powder, oregano, pepper and salt. Blend well with spatula. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Chicken wings in the stir-fry

A matter of flavor

Why use chicken wings in a stir-fry? Wing pieces are packed with a lot of flavor compared to boneless chicken meat. Remember that cooking poultry and any red meat cut on the bone ensures better flavor. There’s a trade-off of handling and eating tasty wing pieces with fingers versus using boneless chicken meat that’s usually not as flavorful or can easily overcook and dry-out. Also, small wing pieces tend to absorb added spices and flavors with ease, so go ahead and leave the skin on.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Oh Fricasee, What Art Thou?

A fancy white stew

This dish consists of stewed or braised ingredients in tasty gravy. Fricassee is also a method for cooking and preparing ingredients. The main ingredients include chicken pieces (on the bone) or veal along with cubed veggies, such as carrots or celery. The gravy’s appearance should be white to very light brown, but no darker. Look for different recipes for fricassees throughout the South where it’s prevalent and popular as a comfort food dish. Meanwhile, a Cajun fricassee calls for seafood instead of chicken or veal. A traditional Greek fricassee is usually flavored with pork. Popular thickening agents include butter, milk, or cream.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chicken Corn Fricassee

A sweet and sassy stir-fry

Homemade creamed corn forms the tasty foundation for this chicken and corn fricassee. Get ready to munch with all your fingers since chicken wings provide extra rustic charm for every serving of this dish.

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 wok W/ lid
1 small bowl
1 large fry-pan
1 garlic clove, chopped small
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbspn butter
1 lb chicken pieces
1 tbspn granulated sugar
3 tbspns cooking oil
1 16-oz bag frozen sweet corn
1 can evaporated milk
2 tblspns yellow cornmeal
¼ tspn turmeric
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Combine corn meal and milk in small bowl. Set aside. Heat large fry-pan over medium-high heat with oil. When hot, add 1/2 of onion and sweat for a minute or two and then add chicken wing pieces to brown. Cook wings for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Then remove from pan. To pot, add butter, garlic, and remaining ½ chopped onion. Pour in corn and let kernels cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle in turmeric, sugar, and salt. Next, mix in cornmeal mixture and let ingredients cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, constantly stirring. Pour in browned chicken wing pieces. Blend with creamed corn and let ingredients simmer for 10 to 12 minutes before removing from heat. Serve immediately.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Three more 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 Bear and Fish by Yabin Yu and Jialin Tian for food lovers looking for Chinese comfort food dishes, such as Coconut Curry Shrimp, Sauteed Duck & Oven Roasted Salmon Filet.

Richard Chamberlain’s Healthy Beef Cookbook has yummy recipes like Ancho Chili-Rubbed Beef Steaks, Southwest Beef Steak, and Beef w/ Broccoli Soup to fill your tummies. All recipes include cuts from the cow.

Lastly, Mangoes & Curry Leaves is a travel cookbook with recipes and panoramic photographs focused on India and the Subcontinent. The Cumin-Coriander Beef Patties, Sweet Sev W/ Raisins, and Silky Goan Pudding highlight flavors of the region.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Filipino Beef Tapa

A beef dish to relish

A combination of sweet and salty makes Filipino Beef Tapa a tasty breakfast meat or savory dinner. A little goes a long way with a suitable serving of steamed rice. Here’s our rendition:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 clear Ziploc bag
1 metal pan or skillet
2 cups water
1 pair metal tongs
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 to 1 ½ lb beef, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Combine all ingredients in plastic Ziploc bag and seal. Next, toss and mix well. Let beef marinade overnight in fridge. When ready to cook, heat pan on medium-high heat and add about 1/4-cup of water and let water simmer before adding beef to pan. Add enough beef tapa just to cover bottom of pan. (You might have to cook in several batches -- using up the water as you go.) When water evaporates, leave beef in pan for a few minutes longer until it crisps to your likeness, then remove from pot and serve.