Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Well, summer is coming and that means it's time to break out the grill, the spring veggies, and start eating some yummies!!! No more heavy soups or pastas (ok lets be honest, I can never part with pasta) to make us feel lethargic as its getting much hotter out. Anyways, I have to say that over the past few years, I've become a much better vegetable eater. I like them grilled, roasted, fried, baked, just about any way there is to eat a vegetable. BUT, I HATE steamed vegetables. I feel like it takes ALL the flavor out and makes me feel like a 90 year old woman when I eat them. This goes especially for carrots. There is really nothing more disgusting than steamed carrots. I'm not a baby. I have all me teeth! Give me something crunchy! Now that we are able to start grilling outside at night, I've had to start becoming more creative with my side dishes because, like I said before, heavy soups and pastas just won't do anymore. So last weekend I decided to drizzle some balsamic glaze, salt, pepper, and olive oil on some beautiful white and orange carrots (the big kind, the Bugs Bunny kind!) and grill them. The heat of the grill beautifully caramelizes the balsamic glaze and creates a lovely crust on the carrots. If you have picky eaters, they might love this. I promise, it sure beats steamed carrots!

What you'll need:
1 large bunch multi colored carrots, cut in half lengthwise
2 tbs. balsamic glaze
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper

1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Peel and rinse your carrots. Dry them well so the balsamic sticks to them.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Let it marinate for about 30 minutes before grilling.
3. Grill for about 5 minutes per side (or until JUST tender and crunchy).
4. Serve immediately
enjoy :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Turkey Sloppy Joes Sliders

A few weeks ago I moved in with a friend from high school and we have been having a blast. I've been cooking almost every night but I was running out of ideas. I just cleaned out my storage unit and found a TON of cookbooks! So I ran to them, spent about 2 hours reading them, and found a recipe for sloppy joes. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a sloppy joe but I just remember how messy they are. They're also pretty heavy and fattening but I knew I could fiddle with the recipe to make it healthier. I found a great started recipe from Skinny Taste and went from there. Ok... they were absolutely delicious! My roommates boyfriend had some later that night and he said that they are "nothing short of breathtaking." Instead of beef I used turkey, a ton of veggies, and a few slices of fresh avocado on top. To make them even cuter, I put them on mini buns to make sliders and they were just wonderful. There are great for adults and kids (don't tell them there are veggies, they'll never know!!!) and so much fun to eat! I served these with homemade sweet potato fries

What you'll need:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1 carrot, minced
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell pepper, minced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, minced
3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce (you don't have to do that much, I just happen to love it)
1 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce (no salt added, if possible)
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 package mini buns
2 avocados, sliced

1. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and cook the turkey (use a wooden spoon because it doesn't transfer the heat the way a metal spoon would), breaking it up as you go.
2. Half way through, add the seasoned salt. Once fully cooked, add the carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the Worcestershire and red wine vinegar, then cook for another 5 minutes. 
3. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste, stir to combine thoroughly, and cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken. While it's cooking, toast the buns in the oven under the broiler for about 3 minutes (DON'T BURN THEM!!!!! KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE LITTLE FELLOWS!)
4. Scoop 3 tbs. of the meat onto the bottom of each bun, slice the avocados and lay on top. Serve with sweet potato fries and chow down!!!

enjoy :) 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tea Time

On April 29, 2011 my heart broke in to 1,000,000 little pieces because my last chance of becoming the Queen of England was taken away from me when Kate married William. My entire life, I've wanted to be British and subsequently become the Queen one day. Welp, that never happened but that hasn't stopped me from wearing a tiara any chance I get and pretending from time to time that I am a proper English woman (is it just me or does your faux British accent in your head sound way better than when you try to use it in real life? I just sound like an idiot...). Yesterday my mom and I had High Tea at this lovely little tea room in Pasadena and I felt so regal the entire time. The food is out of this world, the service is wonderful, and the hats... oh my gosh the hats on these women!!! I felt like I was in a movie, it was just so wonderful. There was a baby shower and a bridal shower and I almost wanted to join in on their festivities just so I could eat more of the food (but I didn't have a hat :(
Anyways, it was time to order our meal. I didn't really care what we had, just as long as it came on the tower. First we started off with a tiny scoop of strawberry sorbet, then a tower came out featuring our scones, tea sandwiches, and  an assortment of desserts. Finally, we enjoyed a lovely strawberry and blueberry medley in a liqueur sauce with whipped cream. OH! And, along with the food, we were served strawberry preserves, homemade whipped cream, and lemon curd to put on your food (they "encouraged" us to play with our food!) I sipped on a fabulous passion fruit green tea as we enjoyed a lovely afternoon.
strawberry sorbet
lemon/blueberry scones
tea sandwiches 
red velvet/lemon cake/marzipan squares
"the" tower
fresh berry romanoff 

What is so lovely about high tea is that while there is a plethora of food, everything is in small amounts so you don't overload on the intake of the food. You sit for at least 90 minutes to fully experience the essence of such a proper and lovely meal. It's a great idea for a birthday party, shower, or special occasion of any kind. But remember, NO BOYS ALLOWED! It's a calm, ladylike environment that simply cannot be appreciated by a man (the food is too small for them, anyways). Needless to say, I have spent the last 36 hours obsessing over what type of tea sandwiches I would be making for myself for lunch every day this week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

French Omelet

Ok, quiz time! What is the difference between an American omelet and French omelet? Yes, there is a difference. Well, unlike an American omelet, a French omelet never turns brown and instead of getting folded in half it gets folded into thirds. It's quite beautiful and looks like an eggy burrito for all of your yummy fillings. How does it never turn brown you ask? Well, it is cooked VERY slowly on a VERY low heat. So yes it is VERY time consuming. If you have time in the mornings (or even for dinner!) then this would be a great choice. It's fun for everyone to get involved in because they can customize the filling for their omelets. Personally, I love mushrooms, spinach, onions, and cheese. I'm usually far too lazy to make and omelet and just scramble everything into an eggy mess. But if you have the patience and energy to make an omelet, French is the way to go. The key to this omelet is patience, so don't try to rush it. It's elegant and really, who doesn't like a cheesy omelet?

What you'll need (for one omelet):
2 eggs
1 tsp. butter
(fillings of your choice)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Heat the butter in a nonstick pan over low heat. Once the butter starts to bubble, it's time to start your omeleting.
2. In a bowl, crack your eggs and beat them until they're completely blended (you should see NO parts of the whites). This may take a minute or two so be patient!!!
3. Add your eggs to the pan and keep pulling the cooked egg to the middle, letting the uncooked egg flow out to the sides, swirling the pan so its evenly coated with the egg. Continue to do so until it is fully cooked.
3. Add your fillings to the middle and fold the sides in (so it looks like a burrito).
4. Top with the kosher salt and pepper and dig in!

enjoy :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Strawberry Caesar Salad

Ok, ok, ok. Please don't kill me. I know I've been a TERRIBLE blogger the past two weeks, but I have been so busy with moving and--- oh whatever, I can't make an excuse! Anyways, I apologize sincerely. Well, like I said, I just moved out of Mommy and El's house into an apartment with a friend from high school. I send all credit for this meal to she and her boyfriend because I saw them eating it one night and recreated it every day for a week because of how AMAZING it was. A simple caesar salad with my caesar dressing and homemade croutons is always a great side salad but what made this meal even more irresistible was adding sliced strawberries to it. I know, it sounds a bit odd but there is something so amazing about how the tangy dressing blends with the sweetness of the strawberries. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical the first time I tried it because I thought they were absolutely nuts. I have had grapes and apples in salads before but strawberries add a whole new level of flavor and gorgeous color. If you want to make it completely vegan, use aioli or vegan mayo for the caesar dressing, and if you want to add some protein chicken is the best way to go. I promise, you'll LOVE this salad and be totally addicted after the first bite!!!

What you'll need:
1 head romaine lettuce
5 strawberries, sliced
1 tbs. caesar dressing (recipe here)
1/4 cup croutons (recipe here)

1. Rinse and cut your lettuce and slice your strawberries (I cut my lettuce by dragging my knife from the top of the lettuce, vertically, three times, then chopping horizontally to get perfect small slices).
2. Sauté your croutons (let them cool for at least 5 minutes) and make your caesar dressing.
3. Toss everything together and serve immediately!

enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bon Appétit!

Mommy & I
This weekend, my mom and I took a Julia Child theme cooking class at EATZ LA. There really are few words to describe how incredible it was. I absolutely LOVED the movie Julie & Julia and felt as though I was sort of living it by taking this class. The closest I've ever been to taking a cooking class was watching 6 hours straight of the Food Network. I have always been pretty intimidated by taking a professional cooking class, especially by someone so wonderful as Julia. Her dishes are classic and I had never made a French dish before besides green beans. But I was so excited to give it a try. We made all of the Julia classics: beef bourguignon, chocolate roulades, quiche Lorraine, a French omelet, and salad nicoise. This was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life (and, best part, we were able to take home all of the leftovers!!!) I learned so much about the simple basics of cooking. Do you know the proper way to hold a knife while chopping and mincing? Do you know why a French omelet is different than an American omelet (yup, there's a difference!!!) OH, and the best part?! There was bacon in almost EVERYTHING!!! Over the next few days, I'll share with you the recipes for each of the dishes we cooked, of course giving all credit to the wonderful Julia Child. 
French Omelet
Salad Nicoise
Beef Bourguignon
Quiche Lorraine
Chocolate Roulades