Friday, March 8, 2013

Greek Salad

It's no secret to my friends and family that the wife and I have been on health kick. Working out everyday and running outside on the weekends has been our forte as of late. This has in turn, started making us add healthier choices to our menu's rotation.

This is a recipe for a salad that I just came up with because I wanted all the ingredients of a gyro but without any of the pita bread (even though it's SO GOOD). I absolutely love it because it's not only delicious but good for you. You can add anything you wish to this salad and it will be great. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Kitchen Notes
* You can add things like peperoncinis (which I have no idea why I left it out of this recipe) and olives.
* You can use whatever kind of lettuce you'd like, even spinach would work.
* If you don't have Greek oregano regular oregano work fine.

* If you can't find Greek feta than any other feta will work.
* If you don't want to grill the chicken you can just bake them off.
* Makes 4 servings as a meal

* Chicken Marinade *
* 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
* 1 tablespoon white wine
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 2 cloves garlic minced
* 1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

* Greek Vinaigrette *
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon Greek oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
* 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

* The Salad *
* 4 heads of romaine lettuce washed and chopped
* 1 english cucumber seeds removed then quartered and chopped
* 6 roma tomatoes sliced into strips
* 1 red onion sliced
* 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
* 6 peperoncinis sliced thin (not pictured)
* 1/2 pound Greek feta crumbled

The Process
1. Combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade and submerge the chicken in it. Let sit on the counter and marinade while you're preparing the other ingredients flipping occasionally.
2. Combine all the dried ingredients for the vinaigrette then whisk in the vinegar. When the salt has dissolved whisk in the olive oil until fully mixed together. Put in the fridge until serving time.
3. Preheat your grill to high. When the grill is hot add the chicken and cook for 7 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken breast into thin strips.
4. On a chilled plate, add the lettuce, onion, cucumber, beans, tomatoes, peperoncinis and then finally the feta. Add the sliced warm chicken on top of each salad.
5. Dress each salad with the vinaigrette and eat immediately.
6. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Skillet Lasagna

Who loves lasagna but doesn't like all the time it takes to construct it? Well then this is the dish for you. It can literally be made in one pan in about 40 minutes or so. It is ridiculously good and very simple to make. This recipe is loosely based on the Cook's Illustrated version but with my own personal twist. I really hope you all enjoy it. Any questions please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* Use any protein you want, for this recipe we used turkey and ground chicken Italian sausage. You just want to make sure it's 1 pound total.
* Wine is optional but highly recommended, if not using wine use chicken stock or water.
* Honestly you don't have to use lasagna noodles, this would work well with any noodle type.
* If you don't have fresh basil use 1 tablespoon of dried basil and add it when you add the oregano.
* If you don't have a cast iron skillet a large frying pan will work.
* This makes 4 good sized servings.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic minced
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
* 1 pound of ground meat (beef, sausage, pork, veal, chicken)
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 28 oz can diced tomatoes
* 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 pound lasagna noodles broken into pieces
* salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
* 16 oz ricotta cheese

The Process
1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, pepper flakes and meat and cook, using a spatula to break apart the meat, for 10 minutes or until all the pink is gone from the protein.
2. Add the wine and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half making sure to scrape all those little bits off the bottom.
3. Add the oregano, sugar and both cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper then add the noodles. Stir together well.
4. Reduce heat to low (looking for a simmer here) and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the noodles are just about done stirring every 4-5 minutes or so.
5. When noodles are just about done stir in parmesan cheese and basil and reseason with salt and pepper if needed. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until noodles are done. Remove from heat.
6. Add the ricotta in dollops to the skillet. Cover with the lid one final time for another 5 minutes which allows the cheese to warm up.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm Back and I'm Making Ranch

I know, I know, it's been a while. Like well over a year a while. It's not that I haven't been cooking I'm always doing that. However I needed to free up some time to finish my MBA and I'm learning how to play the guitar now so I've been busy. However, after many requests from my friends I'm back to writing recipes and to start here's a new one that I've been using a lot as of late.

One of the biggest changes the wife and I have made is to quit using anything that we don't make ourselves. We were already pretty good about this but now we are going a little over board. We are also not using anything that is termed light or low fat because the chemicals and techniques they use to make these products actually make them more unhealthy for you than their full flavored counterparts.

So this recipe is for homemade buttermilk ranch. It's pretty killer. You can change the quantities to whatever pleases your pallet but this is a good base. All the dried ingredients are dried so with a well stocked pantry and a little sour cream, you'll be good to go. Any questions please feel free to ask.

Kitchen Notes
* Make sure to let this sit for at least 24 hours before using it or it will just taste like mayo.
* This keeps for about a month in the refrigerator.
* Makes about 2 cups.

* 1 cup mayo
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
* salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon a piece)

The Process
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a whisk until it's smooth. If it's too thick for your liking add a little more buttermilk.
2. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New England Trip

New England

For those of you who don't know I lost a couple of really close friends a few years back, Timmy and Randi. It was one of the hardest things for me to overcome and to be perfectly honest, I'm still not over it. England, New Hampshire to be exact. However something good did come from this, I became close to their wonderful families. Randi's family is from New England and her cousin, Tina, is one of the coolest chicks I have ever met. It's amazing that something so wonderful could come from something so terrible.

New England

So when the families were here last year I was talking with my new friend Tina and she informed me that she lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world when it's autumn. Crazy enough I had heard this from a number of people and I definitely was interested in checking it out. She cracked a joke about how we should come visit them out there and I was started giving it some serious thought almost immediately. I double checked it was cool if the wife and I stayed for a week, Tina obliged and 1 year later we bought the plane tickets.

New England

On October 13th, my Mom's birthday, we boarded a plane on our way to Manchester, NH. Of course we had a layover and we ended up having to stop in Philly on the way there. I was immediately pissed because of all the Steeler's garb I found everywhere but I digresses. I was really stoked about our trip so I didn't let the shitty service at the airport restaurant get me down, I chilled out and caught my transfer flight.

New England

We arrived in Manchester at 11:00 pm and we were bushed. We got back to Tina's place and just zonked out. The next morning we were met with the smell of fresh brewed coffee. We then realized that we were really staying in a legit log cabin. It was really cool. Never been in one before so it was neat. The coffee we were told was from Duncan Donuts and I had never had that before. Tina and her daughter couldn't believe it because that store out there is what Starbucks is to us here. I remember Kishelle asked if they had soy and the toothless hag of a Batista looked at us like we were crazy. It was quit an adjustment.

New England

Anyways we set off on our first adventure which was a trip to the New Hampshire coast and was was the first time I had ever laid eyes on the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was nuts that day. It was foggy like you wouldn't believe and it was movie raining. All day. It was nuts. That didn't effect our moods at all though, we are kind of used to that thing in Seattle. I did get to have my first lobster roll and it was amazing. No joke it's in my top 5 of all time best things I have put in my mouth.

New England

The next day we made a trip to see Randi and it was the first time seeing her in that state. It was a tough one for me, really tough. She is buried in an absolutely beautiful cemetery and she's in a good spot. It was great to see her but it really brought me down. So I focused on taking pictures and the great company I was in and that got me through it.

New England

After that we shot up to the White Mountains and say some unbelievable scenery. We went to Woodstock, NH which was a really cool town reminiscent of Winthrop, WA. Super cool little town with rad river river through it which made for some cool pics. We then headed over to Weir's Beach which is kind of like a summer get away for people, like Long Beach here. We then set back for home and had a killer meal that I made for the everyone, the only time I got to cook on my vacation.

New England

When we got up it was Sunday and Tina had a special day for a friend of her's who recently passed away after a motorcycle accident. They were going to attempt the world's largest, simultaneous motorcycle burnout. However this wasn't until after we had the best buffet which had prime rib, pancakes, waffles, bacon, haddock, turkey, stuffing and omelettes. Not to mention I was wearing my bright green Hawk's jersey with the coveted number 12 on it (that's Brady's number). Needless to say I was getting some weird looks. So after the killer food it was off to the rally point for the bikers then off to the race track. It was a pretty cool experience to see but unfortunately they didn't break the record. It was an awesome sight regardless.

New England

On the following day we were off to Boston for a night which I will do a separate post about later. It was awesome for the record.

New England

On the way home from Boston we got to see where Randi grew up. She was raised in Lowell, MA which is one of the oldest industrial cities in the nation. There were a ton of old factories and cool roads and lots to look at it. We went and saw Randi's mom who still lives in the same house that she grew up in. It was sad seeing her picture on the wall and the flag folded up on her old end table. However it was nice to see where the grew up and see her Mom again.

New England

On our last night there we went over to another one of Randi's cousin's house, her name is Dawn, I honestly couldn't tell you where it was other than it was in NH. On the way there Tina took us to a place that they do weddings right on a late. It was crazy beautiful and I was able to take some pretty sweet pics. When we got to the Dawn's house we were met with a fire, pizza, beer and lots of great people. We sat around the bonfire and BSed about a number of things. It's crazy but they think it rains in Seattle all the time. I mean it doesn't rain all the time, like 4 days a week. So we wrapped it up pretty early that night because of the 4 am wakeup call we had.

New England

As we left I could tell that we were going to have to come back to the beautiful New England. The place was unbelievable in terms of scenery, food and beer but the real kicker was people. You always hear horror stories about people on the east coast being complete assholes. This couldn't be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that they are honest and they don't take and guff from anybody. If this makes them assholes then put me on that list.

New England

I was also truly touched by the hospitality I received from my late friend's family. They were so kind and open and willing to accept us into their family. I know the circumstances in which we all became friends was probably the worst that anyone can think of but something amazing came from it, I made some of the best friends and connections I could have asked for. If you are reading this thank you for being so wonderful and making our trip so special. We love you guys and hope that you can make it over to this side of the USA some time again. It would be great to have you.

New England

To see all the pics click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taco Salad with Honey, Chipotle Vinaigrette

Taco Salad

Now I'm now the type of guy who orders a salad when I go out to eat at a restaurant but every now and again it's nice to kind of mix it up. This is kind of the best of both words. You get the spicy taco meat mixture, the crispy chips and the fresh, cold lettuce. It's simply too good for words. Then you combine it with a honey and chipotle vinaigrette, you are in for one killer salad. I really hope you like it because I know me and the wife certainly do. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
- You can use whatever recipe for taco meat you'd like, my recipe can be found here.
- If you want to use simple tortilla chips instead of my deep fried tortillas, that's fine as well.
- Customize however you wish, cheese and tomatoes would be great on this as well.
- Makes 4 large dinner salads.

- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon mexican oregano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 white corn tortillas, chopped into strips
- peanut oil for frying
- 4 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- 1 & 1/3 pound ground taco meat, my recipe can be found here

The Process
1. Combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle powder, lime juice, pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano and mix well using a whisk. Then slowly stir in the olive oil using the whisk until it all comes together. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to overnight.
2. In a large pot heat the peanut oil over medium high heat. Fry the tortilla strips in batches until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oil, place in a large bowl then season with salt and green tabasco (optional).
3. While frying the tortillas, cook the taco meat to your preference. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
4. In 4 large bowls, divide the lettuce, onion, corn, beans, cilantro, taco meat and crispy tortilla strips amongst them. Make sure the vinaigrette is mixed well, then add to each of the salads.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beef, Barley and Beer Stew

Beef, Beer and Barley Soup

Yeah you read that right I made this soup with a 16 ounce can of some fine Scotch Stout. It was delicious. Also it was my first rutabaga experience and let me tell you, it was really amazing. They are kind of like a really earthy tasting potato with a hint of horseradish. I recommend that you make this soup just how I have it written down because it couldn't have turned out any better. I mean you can play with it if you want to, but it's not really necessary. Like always if you have questions or comment please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* I used chuck steak but you can use whatever you like. I use it because of the fat content and it really fantastic when you cook it down.
* If you don't want to use the rutabaga, then potatoes will suffice.
* Serve with some warm crusty bread to sop up all the good juices.
* If you don't have an oven save cooking apparatus, then just cook it on the stove on low for 2 hours.
* If you can't find a Scottish ale, then some dark brewed beer would be great.
* Makes 8 servings as an app, or 4 as a meal.

- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 & 1/2 pounds chuck steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into cubed
- 1/2 pound of button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef stock, divided
- 1 16 ounce can of scotch ale
- 2 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pearled barley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves

The Process
1. Heat a large, oven safe (dutch oven), pot to medium high heat then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the beef cubes to the dredge and coat completely. Add the beef to the hot pot (reserve the remaining seasoned flour) and cook until all sided are browned about 8 minutes total. Remove the beef from the pot to a plate. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add the celery, onion, carrots, rutabaga, mushrooms and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes or until all the vegetables have been sweatted down. Add 1/2 cup of the beef stock to the reserved flour and stir until the flour is nice and smooth. Return the beef to the pot then add the flour/beef stock to the pot and stir well.
3. Deglaze the pan with the beer and bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the beef stock, the tomatoes, the barley, the thyme and the bay leaves to the pot and bring to a simmer. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary then place the pot in the oven and cook for 3 hours stirring every 1/2 hour or so.
4. Remove the pot from the oven and reseason if necessary. Ladel into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese or fresh chopped parsley.
5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pearrygin Lake 2011

Pearrygin Lake

Every year we do a big (Dad's side) family reunion in Winthrop, WA at a little state park called Pearrygin Lake.

Father and Son

We've been doing this for going on 30 years now and it never gets old.


You basically swim, eat, fish, drink, burn shit, camp and all other things outdoors for a week.

The Barn

It's the greatest time every year we absolutely love that place.


So check out some of the pics from our trip I hope you like them.

Old Truck

We are getting into picture season so if anyone is interested, click the Recruit Me link above.

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