Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Marinated Olives –N- Cream Cheese

Light and savory are a treat

This dish is a rustic but filling nibbler that’s just right for the Lenten season.  Marinated olives serve as the pivotal ingredient that adds extra zing in every bite.  Meanwhile, the cream cheese lends a rich and smooth element that enhances the olive’s natural flavors.  Spread this seasoned condiment over freshly toasted bread and serve immediately.  Also, this spread makes a great accompaniment to butter crackers or other crunchy wafers.  You could also add a bit of paprika to kick it up a notch while still observing Lent.       

What you will need:

1 small bowl
1 metal spoon
1 cup cream cheese
½ cup marinated olives, diced
Sprinkle salt and pepper

Preparation and Directions:

Combine ingredients in bowl and mix well.  Serve immediately or chill for at least 3 hours then serve.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternate Ingredients for Zuppa Toscana

Slimmer servings will do 

We have a number of recommendations for lightening up our zuppa toscana recipe. Substitute the heavy cream with an equal portion evaporated milk or “fat-free” evaporated milk. Half-n-half is also a better option for anyone on a diet. Meanwhile, look for spicy Italian sausage that’s made with chicken or turkey instead of fat-laden pork. Remember too that turkey bacon is just as flavorful as regular pork bacon. Are you on a carb-restricting regiment? We suggest substituting one of the potatoes with diced rutabagas or turnips.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Sausages Used in Soups

Bangers in the broth
Why not, right?  Sausages make an ideal ingredient for large batches of soup.  The seasoned meat is already tasty.  Select smoked sausages, such as kielbasa, andouille, or regular franks to add strong smokey flavors to the broth of a beans soup.  Meanwhile, use fresh Bratwurst or Italian sausages for cream soups or chunky chowders.  Finally, remember that chorizo and Linguica sausages can add a spicy Latin American twist to any soup recipe.      

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Zuppa Toscana

Something filling and borrowed 

This recipe is inspired by Olive Garden’s trademark soup that many patrons seem to like and enjoy. We used real heavy cream to make it a rich and homey comfort food. 

What you will need: 

1 wooden spoon 
1 large stock pot w/ lid 
1 lb ground Italian sausage 
3 large or 4 small potatoes, chopped 
2 large carrots, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder ½ pack (or about 4 slices) Bacon, sliced small 
2 cups kale, chopped 1 cup heavy cream 
1 quart water 2 cups, chicken broth 
Pinch of red pepper flakes 
Salt and Pepper 

Cooking & Directions: 

Heat large stock pot on medium-high heat then add bacon. Cook until crisp (10 minutes) then remove cooked bacon from pot. Add sausage and brown until cooked. Add onion and sautee until translucent. Return bacon to pot. Pour in potatoes, water, and broth. Lower heat to medium and stir well. Let ingredients reach a slow simmer and let potatoes cook to a tender consistency. Sprinkle in pepper, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Lower heat to low and add kale. Let veggies cook for another 10 minutes, add cream. Turn off stove and add heavy cream. Heat through and serve immediately. *You don't want to overheat the cream or the burnt flavor will ruin the soup and that is why you should turn the heat off first.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Sexy fruits to cherish

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to other interesting sites. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

Do you need a pick-me-up after the Valentine’s Day high?  Feel better by adding more cherries to your rolodex of food recipes.  Look for an abundance of National Cherry Month information on nationalcherrymonth.

Peruse choosecherries for different nutritional and food studies on cherries.  These small fruits are packed with antioxidants that can improve your health outlook. 

Finally, Cherry Republic features and sells different prepared foods that contain cherries.  Buy special the products or just read profiles about special food items, such as cherry salsa or cherry ketchup.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Hot Seaweed Nori

A healthy snack in a pinch 

Remember the big sheets of dried seaweed that we’ve used for sushi rolls? The Mixed Stew crew picked up a hefty package of Happy brand Ajitsuke Nori. Each large package contains 100 smaller packets of (5 inch) dried nori strips. Prices should range between $8.00 and $12.00 so shop around. Expect a spicy kick in every bite of the seasoned seaweed. The mini portions are convenient for topping savory appetizers, such as deviled eggs or individual bowls of soup. Garnish scoops of hot steamed rice with this food item for a change. Also, throw two or three packets into your packed lunches. Eat is by itself to get as an ocean-flavored snack. Dried nori is a very healthy alternative to bags of potato chips or pretzels since they’re low on carbs. Nori contains vitamin B-12, which is essential in promoting better cognitive function.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Healthy Spins on Cherry Pie

Making it better for you 

Use “No-Sugar Added” or “Low-Sugar” canned cherry pie filling to lessen the dietary repercussions of our recipe. Remember, though, that making a homemade pie filling is the best way to really control the calorie count in any fruit-based pie recipe. In any case, you need to cut back on the sugar requisite for such recipes. Add several sprinkles of ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg instead. These “warm” spices will help bring out more of the cherries’ natural flavors. Lastly, we suggest making a whole top crust of crushed walnuts instead of plain pie dough to increase the wholesome nutrition in every slice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: History of Cherry Pie

Tart rather than sweet counts 

Do you know that every February 20th constitutes National Cherry Pie Day? This gold standard among American desserts is a favorite during midsummer when cherries are really in season. Avid Cherry pie bakers prefer that the end result be more tart than sweet. Consequently, Morello cherries and black cherries are usually called for in many recipes. Cherry pies became very popular as a dessert staple before the invention of the ice box or refrigerator. Also, remember that George Washington grew cherry trees during Colonial times. Serve this tart dessert with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Classic Cherry Pie

An All-American Standard 

A double- crusted cherry pie embodies American comfort food. Enjoy watching the sweet and tangy cherry filling ooze out of each slice. Here’s the recipe: 

What you will need: 

1 (9 inch) pie pan 
1 package frozen pie crust dough 
1 cooking brush 
1 small bowl 
2  (21 oz.) cans cherry pie filling 
1 egg white, beaten 

Cooking and Directions: 

Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Layout pie crust over pie pan and gently press into bottom. Brush pie crust and crust edges with egg white. Pour cherry filling into prepared pie crust. Carefully cut second layer of uncooked pie crust dough into strips. Arrange crust strips over cherry filling in crisscross pattern. Place pie in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Crust will turn golden brown. Position a cookie sheet below pie during cooking process to prevent spills in the oven. 

Helpful hint: This recipe is borrowed from the labels of canned cherry pie filling.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Holiday Break

The Mixed Stew is taking a President's Day break.  We will be back on February 18, 2013.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Deep Chutney Apricot & Chili

A hot –n-sweet condiment 

The Mixed Stew crew purchased a (10.5 oz) jar of DEEP brand name Apricot & Chili chutney at Lotte Plaza for $3.99. Each spoonful contains real sweet apricots, hot chilis, tangy onion, and hints of orange zest. Serve this food item with your favorite crackers and cream cheese in a pinch. Also, any chutney makes a great accompaniment to roast lamb or roast beef. East Indians make an array of chutneys for serving with their meals and snacks. What makes chutneys different from the usual jams, jellies, or preserves? Typical chutneys usually contain some kind of vinegar or citric juices.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Substitute Ingredients For Crispy Beef

Good eats to spice up 

We made our version of crispy beef easier to prepare by simply chopping the beef steak into small cubes. Traditional recipes call for the beef to be sliced very thin like strings, which you’re more than welcome to do but we wanted to save prep on time. Try using white meat or chicken breast meat to make the end product healthier to consume. If you really wanna kick things up a notch then we suggest using peeled shrimp or small scallops. Are you a vegetarian? Then we suggest using tofu or pre-fried tofu that’s sold at H-Mart or Lotte Plaza.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Crispy Beef

A sexy layered dish 

We’ll go out on a limb and gamble that biting into servings of our rendition of Crispy Beef mean that you’ll be making it for many years to come in the comfort of your own home. The contrast of tangy, hot, and sweet flavors add so much character to this entrée. The crispy texture, which is made possible by deep frying, coupled with the spicy sauce constitute mainstays of dishes from the Szechuan region of China. Szechuan cuisine often calls for chili peppers and prodigious use of the stir-fry wok. The Mixed Stew crew went mild on its recipe spin compared to more elaborate variations.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chinese Crispy Beef

A homey and simple rendition

The Mixed Stew Crew is happy to pass on this recipe for Chinese crispy beef.  The combination of slightly sweet and spicy seasonings enhances the natural beef taste.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spatula
1 cutting board
1 large bowl
1 large wok
1 medium-sized bowl
1 serving plate layered w/ paper towels
3 carrots, chopped into small cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups canola oil
1 ½ lb – 2 lbs beef steak, chopped into small cubes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 -3 tspns dried pepper flakes
1 tbspn granulated sugar
3 tspns garlic powder
½ tbspn sesame seeds 
Pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Combine flour, pepper flakes, garlic powder, and salt in large bowl.  Place meat in bowl with dry ingredients.  Toss meat well until well-coated.  Heat up wok on high heat with 2 cups oil until hot.  Deep fry coated meat for 12 - 15 minutes until crispy.  Remove and drain crispy-fried pieces to plate layered with paper towels.  Next, discard most of the cooking oil, except for 3 tablespoons, from wok.  Leave wok on stove at medium-high heat.  Sautee onion, garlic, and carrots for 8 to 10 minutes until onion turn translucent.  Return beef to wok and toss well while pouring in soy sauce.  Add granulated sugar to ingredients while constantly stirring.  Finally, sprinkle sesame seeds over cooked ingredients.  Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Chinese New Year Bets

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to other interesting sites. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

Ringing in the new lunar year aka Chinese New Year officially occurs on February 10, 2013. The Malaysian Insider forecasts what we can expect from The Year of the Snake.

Need Chinese New Year recipes and celebration ideas?  Evite provides a plethora of info on its site. 

In commemoration and conjunction with Chinese New Year, HSBC issues money-saving tips and new years’ financial resolutions for the family as published by the Regina Leader-Post.   

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Tandoor Chef Samosa

An East Indian Delight 

Have you ever had a samosa? We bought a box of frozen Tandoor Chef brand samosa that you’ll find at H-Mart and other well-stocked grocery chains. These triangle-shaped frozen pastries are filled with spicy fillings and ingredients. Tandoor Chef provides different flavors, such as tandoori chicken and lamb. We tried the chicken version and were very pleased with the end product. You’ll really get a taste of authentic tandoori spices. Each (22.5 oz) bright orange box contains 24 individual samosas that one can either deep-fry or bake in the oven. Add more kick to your next potluck or brunch with this food item.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternative Pozole Fixings

Make it your own 

The Mixed Stew crew suggests substituting the chicken in our recipe for pork – especially parts with generous marbling. Grab a roast chicken at the grocery store to use in making pozole while saving big on prep time. Also, try using chicken breast meat to lighten things up. Change up the yellow onion for leeks for a slightly different flavor to the end product. Want things less spicy? Leave out the sriracha for a milder batch of pozole. Remember, though, that it’s not a true pozole without a generous portion of hominy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background On Pozole

A Traditional Mexican Stew

What is so unique about pozole?  This particular soup dish dates back to the pre-Spanish era in Central America.  Pozole had ritualistic characteristics and was only served on special occasions.  Spanish colonization meant changes to the original recipe but hominy and hot chili peppers remain the defining ingredients to this very day.  Look for several modern variants of pozole (aka posole, pozolli, or poso).  The name comes from the Nahuatl word, potzolli.  Recipes may call for pork, chicken, or no meat at all.  Cooks serve pozole with toppings, such as diced radish, sliced cabbage, or avocado wedges.  Meanwhile, some restaurants or pozolerías in Mexico and the American Southwest only serve pozole.