Thursday, December 30, 2010

My day off

I have not been to work since December 23rd and I finally got a day where I didn't really have anything to do. So guess what I did? I made stuff.

Freezer Jam

The first thing I made was freezer jam. Now I know that's something that dudes don't normally do but if you are raised on the stuff and try to find a store equivalent you are going to get let down. Not to mention that those Smuckers guys jam sucks. So I went to the store and got some organic frozen black berries and some pectin and followed the recipe and before I knew it I had jam. The only thing to remember is that you need to follow the recipe to a T. If you don't do what it says you will get bad results.

Bread Pudding

Challah Bread

The other thing I made was bread pudding. I have been dabbling in the idea of making deserts now for a while and I finally started. This recipe I got from a buddy who has a subscription to Cook's Illustrated and it was spot on. The cake was spongy and rich and delicious. The awesome grocery store up the street even had Challah bread which is this sort of weaved sweet bread and you can tell it made a difference. If you've never made it please give it a shot. You will like it.

Thanks for looking everyone I hope you all have a wonderful New Years!

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

This is something that probably should have made it on the cookbook list but it would have been a little premature. I really haven't found a marinating method that gave me that flavor I was looking for. So I did more research and now I think I got it down. The only thing that could have made this better would have been if I cooked the entire meal on the grill but it was snowing yesterday so that was out. The flavor was rich and in hind site I should have marinated it overnight instead of all day. Like always if you have questions or suggestions please shoot me an email.

Kitchen Notes
* You can use whatever kind of meat you like but thighs just happened to be what I had in the freezer.
* You can add more heat if you like by adding more crushed red peppers to the marinade or even some fresh jalapenos to the veggie list.
* If you don't have Mexican oregano then regular oregano will work.
* If you don't have some cheese cloth for your veggies for the marinade then you can just put them directly into the marinade (it's just easier to get the veggies out when they are all tied together).
* If you have leftovers you can take the meat and veggies mixture over medium high with a few eggs and cook until complete and have a killer breakfast burrito.

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic mashed
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped onion plus one whole onion sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 green pepper sliced
- tortillas warmed
- toppings including sour cream, guacamole and shredded cheese

The Process
1. In a large ziplock bag add the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, lime juice, vinegar, cayenne, oregano and salt then mix well. In a cheese cloth add the garlic, 1/4 cup of onion and cilantro then tie it off and add to the marinade. Then add the chicken to the marinade and seal then put in the fridge overnight to 2 nights.
2. In a large cast iron skillet heat a little bit of oil over medium high heat. Then when the pan is hot remove the chicken from the marinade and place in the pan until the bottom side is almost black. Flip the chicken and do the same to the other side adding a little of the marinade if the pan totally dries out (which it doubt). When the chicken pieces are black on both sides (don't worry if they're not cooked through we are going to add it back to the pan later) remove from the pan and place on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
3. Add the veggies to the same pan with a little bit of oil and using a wooded spoon, scrape up all those charred pieced of meat while you stir the veggies for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken into desired lengths and add to the pan and mix well. When the meat is cooked the dish is done. Add some meat mixture to a tortilla with your desired toppings and eat em up.
4. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

The Finished Product

Now I know this doesn't sound manly at all but I saw that movie Julia and Julia about Julia Childs. This lady was a cooking star before they even phrased the term. She was like 6 feet tall but just had an amazing talent. So that basically sparked my interest in her and I started doing my research on her and the one recipe that pops up almost immediately when googling her is Beef Bourguignon. It's pretty much a fancy beef stew that has an entire bottle of wine in it. You heard me an entire bottle. So when I got my new Le Creuset French Oven I had to try this out.

The recipe I used is right here and can be found in here Art of French Cooking book that the movie was based around kind of. I pretty much followed it word for word with a few exceptions:

1. I didn't have any excess fat when I was done sauteing the veggies so there was nothing to drain out.
2. Instead of fresh garlic I used 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic (thanks Rachel).
3. I didn't use the herb bouquet when I made the pearl onions (I used fresh ones).
4. It only took mine 3 hours to be done. When it's done the recipe calls for you to remove all the contents of the reduced wine and stock and reduce the sauce even more. Mine was plenty thick already so I didn't have to do that. All I did was stir in my mushrooms and pearl onions and then return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes.
5. I served mine over potatoes but in retrospect I should have used mashed potatoes or even polenta cakes or something.

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it was. The flavor was rich and deep and even my wife who doesn't eat beef went for seconds. You have to try this. Trust me it's worth the effort. Julia Child's was onto something back then and it's very fulfilling to me to take a recipe that's 40 years old from an icon and make it and completely nail it. You really want to eat this dish I am serious.

My Pictures Link
Recipe Link Again

Christmas Pictures


Jess and Shaka

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas because I know I did. Another benefit of being married is being able to go to more than one houseful of presents in the same day and this also includes food. Christmas Eve was at my Mom's place in Tacoma and Christmas was at my in-laws place in Port Orchard. I took as many pictures as I could but I was super distracted. So I didn't get as many as I could have but I got enough. I did get to watch my 3.5 year old nephew open his MOUNTAIN of presents which was super cool. Then I got to see my new nephew attempt to open presents which was also awesome. So check out the pics and let me know what you think. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and thanks for stopping by.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Who doesn't love hot wings? They're crispy, spicy and oh so satisfying. So why not put that in sandwich form you say, well alright I will. I started with chicken breasts, breaded them, pan fried them the dunked them in sauce and put them on a bun covered in lettuce. I was truly happy with the results and I will be making these again. This is pretty much the exact same sauce I use for my hot wings and almost the same way as I do my fried chicken so I was familiar with the process. If you have any questions please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* There are a million different hot sauces you can use. I like Franks because it does have a nice kick to it.
* You can use whatever buns you would. I used the cheddar kaiser rolls from Safeway they are top notch.
* You can use whatever kind of oil you want to fry them I used canola because it's what I had left over in my pan from the previous day.
* The cayenne pepper is optional for those who love hot food.
* I use ranch as my bun sauce but you can use blue cheese (I haven't acquired a taste for it).
* You should definitely consider taking an old spice container and combining equal parts salt, pepper and garlic powder, mixing it well and using it for like a base seasoning. I believe Paula Dean calls it her house seasoning or something. I use it on everything.
* Makes 4 large sandwiches.

- 4 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixed together
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks butter)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne powder
- oil for frying
- 4 buns
- shredded iceberg lettuce
- ranch dressing

The Process
1. In a cast iron skillet fill with 1 inch of your oil of choice and bring to temp over medium high heat. Mean while make your assembly line. Take your chicken breasts and season with s + p + gp mixture, set aside. In a medium bowl combine the eggs, water and 2 tablespoons of hot sauce and whisk together well, set aside. Add the flour to another bowl, set aside. In a medium sauce pan combine the remaining 2 cups of hot sauce, butter, honey and optional cayenne. Bring to a simmer them remove from heat and place in a glass bowl.
2. When the oil is hot, take the chicken and dunk in the egg, then the flour, then the egg, then the flour. Then place in the oil and fry on each side for about 6 minutes or until it turns a dark golden brown. Flip and do the same thing to the other side. When both sides are done, remove from oil and set on a paper towel for 3 minutes to allow to cool slightly. Do this to all the chicken breast pieces (I can usually do 2-3 at a time).
3. To assemble the toast the buns in the broiler then cover each side with the sauce of your choice. Then dunk the fried chicken in the hot sauce mixture and then place directly on the bottom half of the bun. Cover with the shredded lettuce then the other half of the bun.
4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Pictures

Shining Skulls Show
Shining Skulls

Date Day
Christmas Lights

So I took a weekend off from taking pictures because of my birthday and all. Trust me I was in no condition to be handling my expensive equipment. Jesus that sounded dirty. Anyways this most recent weekend I was able to take some pics of my buddies band when they had a show in Capital Hill. The show was killer and the pictures I am pretty happy with. Then the next day it was date day with my beautiful wife. It started out in downtown Seattle then we spent the day in Bellevue. We went to the Snowflake Lane then the Bellevue Botanical Gardens for their Christmas lights. It was amazing. I have never seen so many lights. I have been going to Zoo Lights in Tacoma like my whole live and this one was better. I played a ton with my camera to get different effects with the lights. So check them out and let me know what you think. Thanks for looking.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Everyone knows I am a meatball fanatic. I honestly have 4 different variations of these small to medium sized balls of deliciousness. However they are all sort of an Italian type of dish. So when I saw this type of meatball while browsing and immediately put it on the "I have to make this list" I keep. So I did a little research and determined this recipe would be the best for what I was shooting for. I hope you like it and if you have any questions let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* You can use ground whatever to make these but I used beef.
* I used some leftover sweet and sour sauce I had from a previous dish but you can use whatever you want. My recipe is here.
* You can put pretty much whatever veggie you wish in the stir fry so experiment and find what you like.
* Panko bread crumbs can be found in the Asian section of your favorite super market or you can just use regular ones if you like.
* Yields 4 servings

- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, half grated, half roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, 1 grated, 2 roughly chopped
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- oil for frying
- 1 green pepper roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper roughly chopped
- 1 bunch green onions roughly chopped
- 1/2 a 20 ounce can pineapple chunk
- 1 cup sweet and sour sauce
- white rice for serving

The Process
1. In a mixing bowl combine the ground beef, grated onion, grated carrot, egg, soy, oyster sauce, corn starch, chili sauce and brad crumbs and stir to combine. Then form into 1 inch balls about 1/2 of the size of a golf ball. Then place a cast iron skillet or saute pan on the stove over medium high heat and add enough oil to come half way up the pan. When the oil is hot add the meatballs one at a time to the pan (it took me 2 batches) and cook for about 5 minutes. Then using 2 forks flip the meatballs over and allow the other side to cook about another 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel covered plate.
2. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large work over high heat. Add the other half of the onion, 2 sliced carrots, green pepper, red pepper, green onions and pineapple and stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the veggies start releasing their liquid. Then add the reserved meatballs and the sweet and sour sauce and cook for about 2 minutes stirring to make sure everything is mixed together. Remove from heat.
3. To serve plate a ball of rice in the middle of the plate and scoop over a few ladle fulls of stir fry. Garnish with sesame seeds and hot sauce if desired.
4. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Who am I kidding?

Homemade pasta, my first time ever
Homemade Pasta

Chicken Alfredo with scratch made linguine
Chicken Alfredo

Scratch made veal raviolis with a basil cream sauce
Scratch Made Veal Raviolis

I am not going to lie I have been having blog withdrawls. Don't think for a second I have stopped cooking because that couldn't be more false. For the past few months I have been blogging almost daily with recipes that I would make during the week. Now I didn't really realize how much I truly enjoyed until I took a break from it. I am jonesing for it you guys. So I might not be blogging as much as I used to but the recipes will keep coming. Basically it will be things I haven't made before or modifications of previous recipes. Also if you think about something that you would like me to make then send me an email or leave me a comment. I am always open to trying new things so send me ideas.

That being said I got some new toys in my arsenal thanks to my awesome friends and family. For my birthday I got a Le Creuset enameled French Oven (same as a dutch oven only porcelan lined) like this one. Let me tell you this thing is amazing. You get such rich flavors from it and you can just throw it in the oven and braise something forever. Seriously the nicest pan I have ever owned and I asbolutely love it. The seond piece of hardware I received was a pasta roller like this one here. Now I have always wanted to make pasta but didn't have this tool but now I do and let me tell you it's worth the extra effort. The pasta you end up with is so delicate and delicious it's crazy.

So Merry Christmas everyone I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. I am going to keep writing the recipes and taking pictures so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Time Off

So for the past 3 months or so I have been writing recipes like crazy and it has proven to be not only challenging what rewarding. People started making my food and I started getting tons of feedback which was truly awesome. Now the reason I started kicking it into high gear was because I wanted to write a cookbook for my friends and family. I have received a ton of support from everyone which has been humbling and much appreciated. I have about 50 - 60 recipes and pictures for each and I think I am ready to knock this out.

So for the next few weeks I am going to focus on getting all of these recipes in a format that I can submit to Create Space. Create Space is an Amazon company that lets everyday people like me publish their work online. People can then order books from them and I don't have to worry about inventory or anything like that. It's going to be awesome. You can read more about it here.

When I am done and the book is out I will start cooking again making things I haven't made before and the blogs will continue. I have a list of about 30 items I want to make and I am also going to start making deserts. So keep your eyes open my friends I haven't forgotten about you. I am still available for emails and questions so feel free to keep in touch. Have a great Christmas and New Years and I will talk to you all soon.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadilla

Chicken and Bean Quesadilla

If you don't know by know quesadillas are one of the best appetizers you can get when you go to a Mexican restaurant. The crispy shell, the gooey cheese and whatever else comes in them make them the premier finger foods of the genre. Now you can put whatever you want in these and I really do mean everything. Also you can use whatever cheese you want as well. The only thing I recommend is using 8 inch max size for your tortillas. The bigger they are the harder they are to flip so in this case don't go too big. Hope you like them please let me know if you have any questions.

- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
- 10, 8 inch flour tortillas
- 4 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- any sort of dipping sauce mine can be found here

The Process
1. Take the chicken thighs, chicken stock, bay leaves salt and cilantro and add to a medium sized sauce pot, cover and bring to a boil. Then boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Then remove the chicken from the pot and set on a plate to cool. Also reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid that the chicken was boiled in. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it using your hands and set aside.
2. In a medium saute pan, add the chicken, reserved cooking liquid and the rest of the dry seasonings and cook on medium high for 5 - 8 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Now you are ready to assemble some quesadillas.
3. In a large cast iron skillet turn the heat onto medium low and add a liberal spritz of Pam or other kind of oil to prevent it from sticking. When the pan is hot, add a tortilla, then some cheese, chicken, beans then some more cheese and then cover with the other tortilla. Spray the top tortilla with the Pam and when the bottom half is done, it will be golden brown, very carefully flip it and cook the other side. The the bottom side is done set on a plate to allow to rest for 1 minute. Repeat until you have as many as you want.
4. Slice into triangles using a pizza slicer and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pinks and Sunday

Sipping some Starbucks

You go first

So these guys got to come to my shoot last weekend but not before they enjoyed some coffee with me. So here are a few pics of them doing what they do, chilling out and looking cool. Let me know what you think.

Skateboarding Pics = Awesome


So I got to take some pictures of my coworkers son and his buddy at the skatepark in Bellevue this last weekend. The sun was out, the concrete was dry, it was a good day for skating. I skated for years but as I have gotten older I have found that falling hurts much more than it used to. So now I stick to longboards and just focus on going fast. That being said I have always wanted to take pictures of skateboarders. I used to love looking at skate magazines and looking at all the cool photography of crazy people doing things that I would never do. So this was a huge bonus for me plus I got paid for the first time which was kind of cool. So check these pictures out and let me know what you think. I hope you all are doing well and are getting jazzed for Christmas, I know I am.

Direct Link

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trying Something New

Sunday & Pinks

So I always look at pictures on Flickr and the numerous sites I visit every day. I have noticed that a few photographers have these little toys they take around and take pictures of. I think that is a killer idea because you can sort of take these toys on adventures and photograph them So I thought I would give it a shot. I ordered a few cute little toys from Kid Robot and they showed up yesterday. Now I am going to take them around with me and put them on all different kinds of things and snap shots of them. I decided to name them Pinks and Sunday and in the future you will be seeing tons more of them. What do you guys think?

Thanks for looking and have a great weekend.

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

So I don't know that Corn Chowder is the best name for this. Maybe Chili Roasted Chicken, Bacon and Corn Chowder would be more accurate but who cares. All you need to know is that it's super good and you should make it. Now you can put whatever you want in this and in retrospect, I would definitely have put in some celery. If you have any questions please let me know.

- 1 whole chicken
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
- 1 onion diced
- 2 sticks of butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup flour
- 8 cups milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound of frozen corn kernals or fresh if it's in season

The Process
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your and rub down with oil then season with the pepper, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Place in oven and cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on the couter and allow to cool. When the chicken is touchable, shred all the meat off the bones and set aside until ready to use.
2. In a medium saute pan, saute the onion with some olive oil over medium high heat until it's sweated. Meanwhile melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted and simmering, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Then whisk in the flour in small batches until it's all blended with the butter. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring a lot to cook the flour taste out of the rough.
3. Start stirring the milk into the rough using a whisk to combine the soup. Bring to a simmer then thin out with the chicken stock. When that is simmering stir in the chicken, onion, corn and precooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper then bring to a simmer and continue to do so for 30 minutes. Serve in bowls with a little bit of black pepper.
4. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stuffed Meatballs

Stuffed Meatballs

This was one of those dishes when I found out about it I almost slapped myself for not trying it sooner. I mean I love meatballs and I loved stuffed anything so why didn't I put 2 and 2 together earlier in my almost 28 years on this planet. There really is nothing to this recipe. It's basically my meatball recipe I posted before with less eggs and more bread crumbs. These you need to keep their shape or you will get cheese every where. Also the cooking method is different but it's still super easy to make. I hope you like them.

- olive oil for frying
- 1 pound ground italian sausage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion grated
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 cup bread crumbs
- half a pound of mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
- your favorite marinara sauce or mine found here

The Process
1. Combine the sausage, beef, onion, eggs, parm, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, pepper flakes nutmeg, garlic and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and using your hands, mix well. Take about a golf balls sized chunk of meat and lay in your hand and loosely form a ball. Then take a cube of the cheese and press into the middle of it then form the meatball around it. Make sure to really press down on them to try to get rid of all the creases. Set on a rimmed baking sheet until ready. Do this for the remainder of the mixture.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and at the same time heat about 1 inch of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add about half the meat balls to the pan, you don't want to crowd them, and using 2 forks cook them until all sides are browned. Try not to puncture them. When they are all done place the meatballs in the oven to finish cooking.
3. Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the meatballs are done. How you will be able to tell is one or two of the meatballs will start to ooze cheese. When this happens they are all done.
4. To serve place on a plate with noodles and your preferred sauce.
5. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Noodle

So this is my final thanksgiving leftover recipes but I have the best for last. Now when you were carving your turkey you hopefully saved your carcass and tossed it in the freezer to eventually make soup. If you did then it's time to take that thing out and get it cooking. This soup has such deep flavor and it's so easy to make you will be hoarding turkey bones for years to come. I also used the last of my turkey in this recipe. So this should really be the last thing you make with your leftover turkey. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Turkey Stock
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 bunch celery roughly chopped
- 10 carrots roughly chopped
- 1 bulb garlic chopped through the equator
- 20 peppercorns
- 5 bayleaves
- 1/4 cup sea salt

The Process
1. In a large stock pot put all the ingredients in it then add water to cover. Place on stove and bring to a boil. Simmer for half 8 - 12 hours on low. Place the pot in the fridge for about 12 hours or until all the fat solidifies on the top. Scrape the fat off then run the stock through a strainer to remove all the bones and veggies. Then pick through the bones and remove any pieces of meat you find and reserve for your soup.
2. Enjoy!

Turkey Soup

- 6 carrots, peeled and diced
- 6 stalks celery diced
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 10 cups turkey stock
- 2 to 3 cups leftover turkey, roughly chopped plus whatever you reserved from the turkey stock you made
- salt and pepper
- 8 oz egg noodles cooked according to package directions

The Process
1. In a large stock pot add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. over medium high heat. Then stir in the stock and the turkey. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes on low. Stir in the precooked egg noodles.
2. Serve in bowls with grilled cheese and a little bit of Tabasco.
3. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leftover Prime Rib Sandwiches and Bacon Mac N' Cheese

Steak Sandwich

If you are like me you had a ton of leftovers from thanksgiving and one of those is prime rib them you should be making this. It's super easy and super quick and now you can use your leftovers so you don't have to waste them. You can put in whatever veggies you like like onions, peppers, jalapenos and cover in whatever kind if sauce you like. Now this recipe for mac and cheese is to die for. You can use whatever kind of noodles you like but I recommend shells because they seem to hold in some considerable amount of cheesy goodness. This also makes quit a bit so if you are not expecting a crowd then cut it in half. If you have any questions please let me know.

Steak Sandwiches

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/2 pound mushrooms sliced
- a pound or two of leftover prime rib sliced very thin
- 4 kasier rolls
- sliced cheese (I used pepper jack)
- some sort of sauce like horseradish or A1 (optional)

The Process
1. In a large cast iron skillet heat oil over medium high heat and add the onions and mushrooms and cook until they are nice and reduced and caramelized. Then add the sliced prime rib and stir to combine.
2. Set your oven to broil on high heat then on a cookie sheet add your rolls cut side up on it. Then cover your rolls with the sliced cheese and place in the oven until the cheese is melted.
3. Remove your rolls and fill with the meat and veggies then cover the optional sauce. Serve with Mac N Cheese.
4. Enjoy!

Mac N' Cheese

- 1 pound of bacon, thin sliced
- 1 pound noodles (I used small shells)
- 1/2 cup butter plus 2 tablespoons
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 4 cups shredded cheese (I used the Mexican blend)
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

The Process
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil the noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Also cook the bacon until it's crispy then drain off the fat and set aside until ready to use. While the noodles are cooking start your cheese sauce.
2. In a large non stick pot add 1 stick of the butter over medium heat and melt. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute then slowly whisk in the flour. Cook for a minute or until the rough gets some color to it. Then stir in the milk slowly and bring to a simmer. Add 3 cups of the cheese in small batches and stir until it melts.
3. Stir in the cooked noodles and the bacon until it's mixed well then season with salt and pepper. Add to a large casserole dish then cover with the remaining one cup of cheese. In a bowl melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter then stir in the bread crumbs then cover the mac and cheese with it.
4. Place immediately in the oven and cook until you see it bubbling in the center about 10 minutes. Then switch the oven to broil and crisp up those bread crumbs. Remove from oven.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leftover Turkey Hash

Turkey Hash

So you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and some extra veggies lying around? Then you should probably be making and eating this for your next breakfast or possibly dinner. All you do is take some potatoes some veggies, cook them down in a cast iron skillet then add some turkey and serve with some eggs and you are good to go. The ingredients I used I had in my fridge so use what you feel comfortable with. Don't have any leftover turkey use leftover roast or ham. Trust me it's all good. If have any questions please let me know.

- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large russet potatoes, washed then diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup button mushrooms sliced
- 1 pasillo pepper, cored and chopped
- 2 cups uncooked, washed, fresh spinach
- 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 roma tomatoes diced for garnish
- Eggs however you like them

The Process
1. In a large cast iron skillet add the butter and olive oil and melt together over medium heat. Then add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add the onion garlic and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add the mushrooms and peppers and stir together and cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are almost cooked through stirring occasionally. Add the chopped turkey stir together well.
2. Add the spinach and cover the pan with whatever you have I used a cookie sheet and cook for 2 minutes. When you remove the lid the spinach should be done. Mix well into the dish then season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve add a spoonful of the hash to a plate and add your eggs to the top of it then garnish with the tomatoes.
4. Enjoy!

Turkey Balls

Turkey Balls

So do you have some leftover Thanksgiving and you are tired of turkey sandwiches? Then this if for you. I am being serious when I say that the person I saw make this on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives was a pure genius. When I open a restaurant these will be on the menu for an appetizer for sure. This is one of the best things I have ever eaten and will be making it again next time I have turkey dinner leftovers. Now I didn't really measure anything so I am going to do it by parts. What I mean by that is 2 parts, this to one parts this so just use what you have. You really want it to be mostly mashed potatoes, mostly. Let me know if you have any questions

- 2 parts potatoes to...
- 1/2 part turkey shredded
- 1/2 part stuffing
- oil for frying (I used peanut)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- leftover cranberry sauce and gravy for dipping

The Process
1. Combine the mashed potatoes, turkey and dressing/stuffing in a bowl using a spoon. Then using your hand roll them into balls about the size of a golf ball. Do this for the entire bowl. Then roll in eggs then into the bread crumbs and place on a plate.
2. Heat enough oil in a pot or deep fryer making sure there will be enough to cover the balls entirely. Drop the balls in and cook until the are deep golden brown.
3. Serve with leftover dipping sauces of your choice.
4. Enjoy!

Taking Pics

Levich Family


I have been a busy dude taking pictures of people and their family and I LOVE IT. It is really fun and very challenging and it's great practice. Not to mention that I get to take pics of super cute kids which is awesome. Also it was Thanksgiving so we had a ton of people over for the eating that I got to cook most of which was awesome. So check out some of the pics and let me know what you think. If you want some pictures taken I am interested and I haven't been charging anybody anything. I just want the practice. You can buy me beer how about that?

Family Pics
Thanksgiving Pics

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

Have you ever had something that had peanut sauce as a dipping sauce? Usually it's something like spring rolls or chicken skewers or something like that. Well why hasn't anyone combined peanut sauce and all the fixings for a stir fry before? Well I did and let me tell you the results were astounding. I used chicken for this recipe and it was really good but you can use whatever kind of meat you like. I also used chunky peanut butter but you can use smooth if you like. I think chunky is better because of the crunch which gives you a nice texture contrast. I hope you like it and if you have any questions please send me an email.

- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon corn starch

Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 bunch green onions cut on the bias medium sized
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/4 pound snap peas cut in half
- 3 carrots peeled and sliced thin

Peanut Sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 inches ginger peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup soy
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 - 2 tablespoons chicken stock

The Process
1. Marinade the chicken in a bowl and place in the fridge for 30 - 60 minutes. While this is going on make the peanut sauce. Take the peanut oil and heat over medium heat. Then add the garlic, ginger and pepper flakes and stir until fragrant about 1 minute. Then add the peanut butter, soy, honey and orange juice then bring to a simmer. Thin out with chicken stock and simmer for an additional minute. Set aside until ready.
2. When the chicken is done marinating and the sauce is done add the peanut oil to a large work over medium high heat. Then add the chicken and cook until all the pieces are cooked through about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add all the veggies for the stir fry and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You just want to see the veggies starting to cook. Then stir in the peanut sauce and cover all ingredient of the stir fry well. Cook for an additional minute then call it good. If you like soft veggies cook for an additional 5 minutes based on preference.
3. Serve over white rice and garnish with sesame seeds and a little siracha for some heat.
4 Enjoy!

New Pictures

Big Eyes

Carley and Wes


So I have really been busy with my picture taking. I got to do more pics of my friends for their save the date cards and I also got to take some pics of an old friend of mine (old like I haven't seen her since highschool) and her little daughter. Now let me tell you pictures of little kids is my new favorite but pics of couples is very awesome as well especially ones of people in love at Carley and Wes. Not to mention it was like 20 degrees out and they were troopers through the hole thing. I also got to shoot some pics of nature and my wife and this awesome graffiti wall in Tacoma. So take a look and let me know what you think. I appreciate any feedback. Also if you are looking for someone to take some pictures for you I am very interested. The more practice the better.

Save the Date Pics
Mommy Daughter Pics
Other Pics

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shredded Pork Tamales with a Red Chili Sauce

Shredded Pork Tamales

Tamales are one of those things that I never made because I was intimidates by them. So I never made them I just enjoyed them when I could and never really thought about making them. Then I looked them up on the internet and found out that they are super easy to make they just take some time to roll up. Other than that they are are simple and the payoff is totally worth it. I used leftover shredded pork for my filling but you can use pretty much anything. I have seen them stuffed with sweated spinach and cheese before so it's really whatever you want. If you have any questions please shoot me an email.



- 4 cups Masa flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2.5 cups cold water or chicken stock
- 20 dried corn husks soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
- Some for of filling I used pork from this recipe
- Red chili sauce

The Process
1. In a large bowl combine the masa, salt and garlic powder and mix well. Then stir in the oil with a spoon. Then, using your hands to mix, start pouring in the stock until you get a pretty solid mixture. It usually takes 2 to 2.5 cups of the stock to get the right consistency. You are looking for play doh.
2. Take a corn husk and lay it flat then take a chunk of the masa about the size of a golf ball and smash it out on the surface of the corn husk leaving about 1 inch of the thinner end untouched. You are looking for about an 1/2 an inch of masa on the husk. Then add a little bit of the filling to the tamale and roll it up. The idea here is to completely seal off the filling. Then roll the husk around the outside of it and twist the thinner end around and roll under the rest of the tamale. Place in a large steamer basket. Repeat until all the masa is gone. You should get around 20 or so.
3. Steam over water for 45 - 60 minutes. Remove from the pot and discard husk. Then cover with the Red Chile Sauce and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
4. Enjoy!

Red Chili Sauce


- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 cups chicken stock
- salt to taste

The Process
1. In a large sauce pan add the oil and bring to temperature over medium heat. Then add the flour and chili powder and using a whisk stir like crazy to avoid clumping and sticking. Cook for 2 minutes to let the flour cook out. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook for about 7 - 8 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Let cool a little before serving.
2. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken Andouille Sausage Gumbo


Yesterday I went to the grocery store in search of andouille sausage but was pretty bummed when they told me they were out of it. That was only half true because they ended up having chicken andouille sausage which was made with dark meat chicken and all the same spices. So I got it thinking to myself that it wasn't going to end up being as good as it's pork counterpart. Let me tell you I was wrong, very wrong. I have only made this dish one time and it was in the crock pot and it didn't turn out as good as the one I made yesterday. It was amazing. You should really try this out it is stick to your ribs good.

You can use whatever sausage you like but I HIGHLY recommend andouille sausage. This can be found at specialty grocery stores and butcher shops. Also you can use whatever kind of other meat you like but I really like the flavor you get from the bone in chicken thighs. You can also leave the skin on if you like but it gets kind of slimy and weird when it simmers for a while. Also you can use shrimp stock instead of chicken stock but that would have killed my wife because she's allergic. File (fee-lay) powder can be found anywhere just ask someone who works at your local Safeway where it is. Trust me then have it.

If you have any questions please let me know.

- 8 bone in chicken thighs skins removed
- 1 - 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil.
- 1 - 1.25 pounds of andouille sausage sliced into 1/2 inch pieced
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, cored and diced
- 1 green pepper, cored and diced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon file powder
- a couple shots of Tabasco

The Process
1. Take the chicken and season with the cajun seasoning on both sides. Then heat the peanut oil over medium high heat in a large stock pot. When the oil is hot add the chicken to the pot in batches and brown both sides of the chicken then remove and set on a plate. Then add the sausage pieces and brown on all sides then remove using a slotted and place in a bowl on the counter. Now it's time to make the rough.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan to melt. When it's melted slowly start mixing in the flour and stir well using some form of a whisk. Then cook this mixture for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. You are looking for your rough to be a peanut butter color. Then stir in the chicken stock and mix well.
3. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, onion, red pepper, green pepper, pepper, salt, bay leaves, file and Tabasco. Stir well to combine then add the sausage and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
4. When it's done simmering, remove the chicken thighs and set on a plate to cool (continuing to simmer the soup). When the chicken is cooled remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Then add it back into the soup and mix well. Turn off the heat.
5. Serve in bowls with some crusty bread.
6. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shredded Pork Chimichanga

Shredded Pork Chimichanga

Chimichangas are one of those dishes that you order when you really want a good crunch full of delicious meat. How I make it is take a chunk of pork, give it a dry rub, then place it in the crock pot all day. I have been working on this recipe for a while and I have it down now. I use this shredded pork for a number of different dishes. If you have leftovers including the sauce make sure to save it because it will get used trust me. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call. Hope you like it.

- 5 - 10 pounds pork shoulder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 jalapenos, stemmed removed, roughly chopped
- vegetable oil for frying
- large flour tortillas
- shredded cheddar cheese

The Process
1. Place the onion, garlic and jalapenos at the bottom of the crock pot. Combine all dry spices together for the dry rub and then season season the pork with it. Place the pork on top of the veggies in the crock pot. Pour in the tomato sauce and the beef stock then put the lid on and set it on 12 hour low and walk away.
2. Remove the pork and place in a large bowl trying to leave all the veggies behind. Then using an immersion blender, puree all the leftover ingredient in the crock pot until it's completely smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender then place all the juices and veggies in a blender and puree. Season sauce with salt if necessary. Then stir in some of the sauce with the pork using a wooden spoon. The pork should be falling apart so stirring it in should be simple. You are not looking for submerged meat here just enough to keep it moist. Set the rest of the sauce aside until ready to be used.
3. In a large skillet, add about 1 inch of vegetable oil and heat up over medium heat. To make a chimi, take a tortilla, fill with some meat and cheddar cheese. Do not over fill these or they will fall apart, trust me. Roll them up as tight as you can. Then place them, rolled side down, into the hot oil, be careful not to burn yourself, and hold down the top of the chimi so that the oil doesn't pop it open, for about 30 seconds. Do this for however many chimichangas you want and when they are browned on both sides, place on paper towels to soak up some of the oil.
4. To serve, place a chimichanga on a plate, then cover with some of the braising liquid. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and any leftover salsa you have like this one.
5. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken and Pepper Dumplings

Chicken and Pepper Dumplings

Who doesn't love chicken and dumplings? It's so good and as the weather gets colder it seems to warm you to your very soul. When I make this it's an ordeal because I make the stock and dumplings from scratch. You obviously don't have to do these steps but it would be in your benefit to. You get a richer and more flavorful and overall, more satisfying soup. I hope you like it and if you have any questions please let me know.

- 2 cups flour plus more for dusting
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 stalks celery, diced
- 6 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 12 cups good chicken stock found here or store bought equivalent
- 1 whole chicken, de-boned and meat shredded
- 2 tablespoons chicken base
- 2 - 3 teaspoons salt

The Process
1. To make dumplings combine the flour, baking powder, kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and garlic powder in a bowl and mix well. Then in a separate bowl combine the milk and butter and place in microwave and heat until the butter melts. Make sure to keep an eye on this because you don't want this to mixture to cook, just heat up a little and melt. Add the wet into the dry and mix well with a spoon. Then dust your counter with flour and plop the batter on top of it. Kneed a couple of times making sure there's plenty of flour on the outside to prevent sticking. Then using a rolling pin roll it out flat until the whole ball is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Then cut into diamonds using a pizza cutter. Place on plate in fridge until ready to use.
2. In a large stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat then add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for about 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add the thyme and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, chicken meat, chicken base, salt and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.
3. Add the dumplings and cook until they start to sink about 10 minutes stirring frequently. To plate put scoops of soup into bowls then season with some fresh ground black pepper and a little bit of Tabasco sauce.
4. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chorizo Tacos with Roasted Tomato Salsa and Sweet Potato Mash

Chorizo Tacos with Roasted Tomato Salsa and Sweet Potato Mash

Last night I made some crazy good tacos and I just have to share the recipe with you guys. Now for those who aren't familiar with chorizo you need to get on that and what better time then right now. It's usually made from ground pork (that I bought because I don't have a meat grinder ) and contains all different kind of dried spices that make this into some killer meat. Chorizo has so many applications it would be hard to name them all. I have used this in chili, omelettes, gravy, stuffed peppers and even stuffing. So you can basically add this stuff to anything that you want to spice up. The best part about this chorizo is that it doesn't totally overwhelm all the other flavors of your dish. I mean you will know it's there but it won't be the only think that you taste.

I served this with roasted tomato salsa but in all actuality it's more like roasted vegetable salsa. You don't have to make your own if you don't want to and you don't even have to roast them before you make them if you don't want to either. Just chop them up all fine and mix in a bowl. Also if you don't like the heat you can cut back on the chilies and peppers in the chorizo, salsa and sweet potatoes. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you like it.

- 2 pounds ground pork
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons chili powder
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 5 serrano chilies, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons cider vinegar
- flour tortillas
- shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 avocados sliced
- shredded iceberg lettuce
- sour cream
- roasted tomato salsa (recipe follows)
- sweet potato mash (recipe follows)

The Process
1. In a large bowl add the pork, salt, chili powder, garlic, oregano, chilies, cumin, pepper, sugar and vinegar then using your hands mix well until all the ingredients are mixed in. Then place in a resealable plastic bag and put in the fridge and let marinade for 1 - 2 days (preferable 2).
2. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add your chorizo and cook for 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Make sure to break up the meat the best you can using a spatula.
3. To serve, add some chorizo to a tortilla with some cheddar, avocado slices, salsa and lettuce to a warmed tortilla. Then serve with a scoop of the sweet potatoes and a dollop of sour cream.
4. Enjoy!

** Roasted Tomato Salad **

- 10 roma tomatoes, cored then halfed
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 3 jalapeños, stem removed
- 1 green onion, root removed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (optional)

The Process
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Places the tomatoes, onion, jalapenos and green onions to a rimmed baking sheet then roast in the oven until the tomatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Place roasted veggies in a blender and puree until smooth then add to a bowl.
2. Add the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cilantro and rice vinegar to the puree and stir well. Place in fridge until ready to use.
3. Enjoy!

** Sweet Potato Mash **

- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

The Process
1. Add the coconut milk, garlic, pepper flakes, sugar, salt and sweet potatoes to a medium sauce pan over low heat and cook for 45 minutes, covered or until the potatoes are soft stirring occasionally. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes up then stir in the cilantro and pepper.
2. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My First Photo Session Plus More

Carley and Wes

A couple of friends of our recently asked me to take some pictures of them for their save the date cards for their wedding. This is kind of a big deal over a hundred or so people are going to be seeing my photo so I really need to do a good job. So I looked at a ton of photos on Flickr and Bing to make sure that I knew what I wanted to do and the pics I wanted to take. So we set out and I took a ton of pics. I am pretty happy with the results and will only get better at directing future sessions. So take a look at what I took and let me know what you think. Also there are a few more pics I shot with my new lens check them out as well.

Engagement Pics
Other Pics

Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Mustard Potatoes and White Wine Gravy

Sage Rubbed Pork Chop with Balsamic Mustard Potatoes

I have been asked by a couple of people to make something involving pork chops and I am very happy to oblige. Now I wasn't going to give you the run of the mill cream of mushroom soup recipe because I am going to assume that you already know how to make that. One of my favorite pork chops is one that is rubbed with sage because lets be honest, pork and sage are like pees and carrots. You really can't have one without the other. So I wrote this up last night and I hope you all like it. You can served this with mashed potatoes if you like but these potatoes are sweet and tangy so give them a shot.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

- 4 medium russet potatoes, washed then sliced into 1/2 inch half moons
- 1 tablespoon course ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 pork chops (bone in or out it doesn't matter)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- cornstarch and water mixed into a slurry

The Process
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl combine the mustard, honey and balsamic and stir well. Toss the potatoes in the sauce making sure to evenly coat them. Season with salt and pepper then lay them evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet and place in oven for 30 minutes or until they are crisp. Flip once.
2. In a small bowl mix the sage, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper then season each side of the pork chops with the mixture. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the pork chops and cook until the bottom half if golden brown about 5 - 6 minutes. Then flip and cook until the bottom side if done. Then place the entire pan in the oven for 5 more minutes to complete the cooking process.
3. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the chops and place on a plate and cover in foil. Return the pan to medium high heat and add the butter and melt. Then deglaze the pan with the wine and let reduce by half about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and stir in well. When it's simmering add the slurry until the sauce is the consistency you desire. Turn off heat. Hopefully your potatoes are done right now as well.
4. To plate add some potatoes to your plate then lean a pork chop against it. Then cover with some gravy and eat it up.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Faggioli with Potato Gnocchi

Faggioli with potato gnocchi

How many times have you been to the Olive Garden and ordered their soup and salad for lunch? For me at least 20 times. They have this killer soup called a Faggioli which is essentially Italian chili and it is amazing. The sausage and all the veggies makes this a heart, filling soup. Don't get me wrong I love minestrone it's delicious but when you add hot Italian sausage to the mix you take it to the next level.

For this dish I made gnocchi and this is something that I have never made. Let me tell you they were easy and so delicious. If you don't want to make them I would use half a pound of small sized noodles cooked by themselves in salted water then added at the last minute. Also you can pretty much add anything to this and it will be grubbin. Try different beans and veggies you won't be disappointed.

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 carrots, peeled and diced
- 5 stalks celery
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 zucchinis, diced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed (I used garbanzo and kidney)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 batch potato gnocchi found here with 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic added or 1/2 a pound of small sized noodles cooked according to package directions

The Process
1. In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, sausage and pepper flakes. Using a spatula do your best to break up the sausage as it cooks. Cook until sausage is done about 10 minutes.
2. Add the zucchinis, chicken stock, tomato sauce, beans, rosemary and thyme and stir well then season with salt and pepper. When boiling, reduce to low and simmer, covered for 1 hour.
3. When the soup is done add the gnocchi and stir well. To plate serve in bowls with some fresh Parmesan cheese grated on top.
4. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

When I got to a Chinese restaurant and I am looking for a dish that has some veggies, some heat and a ton of flavor all topped with some peanuts, then there is no where else to look other than Kung Pao. This dish comes with your choice of meat but I use chicken because it's always juicy and you seem to just get more of it. When I eat I like to have, in each bite, a little bit of each ingredient, and this dish is no exception. Now you can use whatever you want as far as meat and veggies but follow the sauce recipe and make sure to use the peanuts. If you can find unsalted peanuts then use salted and run them under cold water to wash the excess salt off. Hope you like it and if you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email.

- 1 & 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white rice wine
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil

The Sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons white rice wine
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 -2 tablespoons chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic minced

Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and diced medium
- 1 onion, diced medium
- 1 bunch green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts

The Process
1. Combine all ingredients for marinade in bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and coat completely then set in fridge for 1 hour. Meanwhile mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan and set on the stove (don't start yet).
2. When chicken is done marinating, add the peanut oil into a large wok over hight heat. At the same time turn the heat onto your sauce at about medium high making sure to stir it when it thickens up.
3. When the oil is hot add the chicken and cook until all the chicken pieces are done. Add the veggies and stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the peanuts and the sauce (which should be simmering by now) and stir well to combine. Cook for an additional 1 minutes then remove from heat.
4. To plate, form white rice in a ball in the center of your bowl or plate then cover with the kung pao. Season rice with little bit of soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired).
5. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reuben Sandwiches with Homemade Russian Dressing


So you made some corn beef and cabbage and now have a ton of leftovers. What can you do with the leftovers? Sure you could make a hash but have you ever had a Reuben sandwich? You take some rye bread, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and corned beef and toast it like a grilled cheese and you have one of best sandwiches around. Now if you don't like rye you can use sourdough. If you don't like Swiss cheese try provolone. Also you can put sauerkraut on these and it's killer. If you have any questions please let me know.

- 8 slices rye bread
- Russian dressing (recipe follows)
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 12 slices leftover corned beef from here or store bought equivalent

The Process
1. Take the pieces of bread and cover with the Russian dressing. Then cover each piece with a cheese slice. Then take a large saute pan and heat up the meat over medium high heat. Add 3 slices of the corned beef to half of the bread pieces then cover with the other half of the bread.
2. Take a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot spray the pan down with a liberal amount of Pam. Then add the sandwiches to the pan and toast until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the sandwiches and do the same thing. Remove from pan, slice in half and eat.
3. Enjoy!

Russian Dressing

- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 small pickles minced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper

The Process
1. Combine all ingredients short of the salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper then place in the fridge for at least one hour before using.
2. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti

This is a dish I made before I knew what it was. I said, hey I have leftover spaghetti (bolognese) sauce, noodles and cheese I should make a casserole out of this. Then I found out that it is a classic Italian dish that is excellent. This is one of those meals that you can make with leftovers that tastes like you just made it fresh. Now that I have done some research I have found that my recipe isn't very traditional but who cares. It's tasty and filling.

Now if you don't have any leftover spaghetti sauce then you can use jarred stuff but I wouldn't recommend it. Also you can use whatever kind of noodles you like I would just stick to bite sized ones not linguine, spaghetti type noodles.

- 1 pound noodles
- 4 cups leftover bolognese sauce found here or store bought equivilant
- 1 pound mozarella, half cubed and half shredded
- 1 cups of half and half
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

The Process
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the noodles to a little firmer than al dente. While the noodles are cooking in a medium sized sauce pan add the bolognese sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then stir in the cubes of mozzarella, half of the parmesan cheese and the half and half and stir until the cheese has melted. When the noodles are done, drain and return to the pan. Add the sauce to the noodles and stir well. Don't worry if it seems a little thin the noddles will thicken it up as it bakes.
2. Place the noodles in a large casserole dish then cover with the shredded cheese and parmesan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is starting to turn golden brown.
3. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a spatula scoop out squares of the ziti and place on plates.
4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Pictures and The Arboretum


I got to take some pictures of my new family this last weekend and I am pretty happy with the results. These girls are so pretty it makes it very easy to take nice pictures of them. I also got to get some pictures taken of us at the Arboretum by my good friend John Taing who is one of the main reasons that I picked up photography. Those will be posted later. Anyways check out these pics and let me know what you think.

Direct Link

Corned beef from scratch

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Now that title is probably sounding like a lot of work but let me tell you it isn't. I am not going to lie if you don't have an extra fridge or a ton of extra space in your fridge then this might be a little too unpractical. If you do have the space then you should definitely make this. All you do is let this piece of beef sit in thie brine for a week or two and you will be good to go.

Now you can use watever size brisket you wish but I recommend a 5 - 10 pounder. The best places to buy these are Costco and Cash and Carry. Also that's the best place to buy pickling spice. Other than the brining this is a pretty simple recipe that I am sure most people have made before.

If you have any questions please let me know.

- 1 & 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
- 1 & 1/4 cup pickling spice
- 5 to 8 pound beef brisket
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 14 to 18 red potatoes
- 10 to 12 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 head of cabbage, roughly chopped
- prepared horseradish

The Process
1. Take 1 cup of the salt and 1 cup of the pickling spice and add to the bottom of a large stock pot big enough to hold the brisket. Add 1 quart of water and stir until the salt has disolved. Then add the brisket and add water until the brisket is completely submerged. Place in fridge for 7 - 14 days (I did 8 days).
2. Remove brisket and rinse off with cold water. Then rinse out the pot then place the brisket back into it. Then cover with water, and add the remaining 1/4 cup of water and pickling spice plus the peppercorns. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for 8 - 12 hours.
3. Remove the brisket from the juice and place in a rimmed dish then cover with foil. Then add the potatoes to the water and raise heat to medium. After 30 minutes have passed add the carrots and cabbage. Using a carving knife or electric slicer, cut the brisket into 1 inch strips.
4. To plate, take a couple of potatoes and smash down on a plate. Then add some carrots and cabbage to the plate. Add a few slices of the corned beef then ladel over a few spoonfuls of the broth. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Have you ever had pancakes that were so good you couldn't stop eating them? Have you noticed that most breakfast pancakes have a certain taste to it? Have you tried to replicate it only to fall short? Well you are in luck I have a remedy for that and that's this recipe for buttermilk pancakes. They always turn out perfectly with a soft, moist center and a crispy outer crust. I mean these are the business. You will be converting non pancakers before you know it. I am super serious.

So this is a pretty simple recipe that you can modify in any way you like. I like to add fruit or chocolate chips to mine to sometimes and another cool thing is to add about a 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese and blueberries. Now those are killer pancakes. Kishelle, my wife, loves banana pancakes and those are easy as well. Try different things and make what you like.

As always if you have any questions please let me know.

- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 eggs seperated
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- eggs
- bacon
- maple syrup

The Process
1. Take all the dry ingredients and mix well using a whisk until combined. In a small bowl melt the butter until it's soft in the microwave. MAKE SURE that the butter isn't hot because it will cook the eggs and that would not have very good results. In another small bowl add the buttermilk. Then separate the eggs with the yokes going into the butter and the whites going into the butter milk. Mix both well then combine the 2 wet ingredient bowls into one mixing well with a whisk. Then stir that bowl of wet into the bowl of dry and mix well. Don't worry if it's a little thick these things cook perfectly. Then add the vanilla. Set in the fridge for one hour to allow the flour to break down.
2. In a medium sized cast iron skillet or fry pan, add a little bit of butter and melt. Then add a spoonful of batter and let cook until you start seeing bubbles popping through the middle. Then flip and cook until the bottom is done. Repeat until all the batter is gone putting done pancakes in the oven on low to keep warm.
3. To serve plate a couple of cakes on a plate with eggs and bacon then cover with maple syrup.
4. Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peanut butter, miso chicken with spicy hoison broccoli

Peanut and Miso Chicken

So if you didn't know I am really into cooking Asian food. Now I don't think this recipe is very authentic but it sure tastes like something you would get at a teriyaki or Chinese joint. This is a recipe that I created with some help from my mother in law (who is awesome by the way). She asked me if I have ever put peanut butter, miso and beer in your teriyaki marinade? I said no but I will now! I tried it and it was one of the best bbq recipes every. I absolutely love it.

So here's the skinny. It's basically a mixture or teriyaki sauce, miso paste, peanut butter and beer. When you combine these ingredients and let something marinade in it everything turns out amazing. I use chicken thighs because of the bone and the skin but you can use whatever you want. This would be killer on pork chops or chicken breasts as well. If you don't want to make your own teriyaki sauce then just buy your favorite, and add the PB, miso beer, garlic, ginger and onions to it and call it good. They do sell miso paste at Safeway and Fred Meyer so don't sweat it. Also you can use whatever kind of beer you want I used Highlife because that's what I had and because it's delicious.

Hope you like it and make sure to email me if you have any questions.

- 1 cup soy sauce
- 6 ounce can pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup thick soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chili, garlic sauce
- 1 cup beer
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup miso paste
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 bunch green onions sliced
- 6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 2 inches ginger root, sliced
- 3 - 4 pounds of chicken thighs
- white rice
- Spicy hoison broccoli (recipe follows)

The Process
1. Combine all the ingredients other than the chicken in a large bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved and the peanut butter has been integrated into the liquid. Add the chicken to the bowl making sure that it's covered then cover and place in the fridge for 2 days.
2. Preheat your grill on high for indirect heat charcoal or gas it doesn't matter. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and place on a plastic wrap covered tray. Then place the chicken pieces and place on the non-heat side of the grill skin side up (if using gas reduce the heat to medium high heat).
3. Come back 20 minutes later and check the chicken by flipping them over and seeing if the bones are starting to stick out of the meat. If they aren't then close the lid and cook for an additional for 5 - 10 minutes until the bone is protruding out of the meat. Then place the chicken skin side down directly over the heat for about 1 minutes (this chars the skin) then remove and place on that tray (remove the plastic wrap before doing this). Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Serve with white rice and broccoli.
5. Enjoy!

** Spicy Hoison Brocolli

- 2 heads of brocoli cut into manageable sized spears
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon white rice wine
- 2 tablespoons hoison sauce
- 1 - 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

The Process
1. In a large saute pan over high heat, add the oil and bring to temperature. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and rice wine and mix well and cook for about 1 minute. Add the broccoli, hoison sauce and sesame seeds and mix well. Cook stirring occasionally until the broccoli has shrank and it just starting to turn soft. Remove from heat.
2. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jalapeño Meatloaf with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes and Mustard Gravy

Jalapeño Meatloaf with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes and Mustard Gravy

Meatloaf is one of those dishes that I kind of avoided when I was younger. Then when I moved out on my own I found a recipe that was alright but never really stole my heart. Then I was talking with my boss one day about what I was having for dinner and he said then when his Mom makes meatloaf, she adds jalapeños and wraps it in bacon. I might have started crying right there. Those are 2 of my favorite things in the same place at the same time. I then started modifying my recipe to utilize these 2 ingredients. I started experimenting with the bacon or what I would like to use instead of breadcrumbs. I immediately stop putting milk in mine because of how it cooled down the heat from the jalapeños. It has now morphed into this recipe which I am really happy with and you should definitely make it.

You can use whatever kind of meat you like. I have used ground turkey instead of beef before which is good. Also you can substitute different ingredients for the ketchup like your favorite bbq sauce. Also you can put this in a bread pan if you wish just make sure to grease it really well to make sure that it doesn't stick. Also if you are not into hot stuff, leave the jalapeños out or possible add a milder one like green chilies which have no heat but tons of flavor.

If you have any questions please let me know.

- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 4 ounce can diced jalapenos, drained
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups bread crumbs
- 4 strips pepper bacon
- Parmesan mashed potatoes (recipe follows)
- Mustard gravy (recipe follows)

The Process
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients other than the bacon in a large mixing bowl and mix well with your hands. Grab some form of rimmed cookie sheet and spray down well with Pam, then take your meat mixture and form into a log on it. You are looking for a uniform shape here of about the same thickness and height all the way down. Lay the 4 pieces of bacon on top and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.
2. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Then with a serrated knife cut into 1 inch slices. To plate, add a scoop of mashed potatoes and make a little well in the middle. Then lay down 2 - 3 slices of the meatloaf and one strip of the bacon. Cover with the gravy and serve.
3. Enjoy!

** Parmesan Mashed Potatoes **
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 5 cloves garlic left whole with paper removed
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste

The Process
1. Take your potatoes and scrub them down to get the dirt off of them. Then cut them into chunks and place in a pot that has a steam basket in it. Add the garlic cloves as well. Then add to high heat on the stove and steam until you can cut the potatoes with a wooden spoon.
2. Remove the steam basket and water but leave the potatoes. Add the butter until it's melted then using a potato masher, mash them until they are somewhat smooth leaving some chunks over low heat. Then add the milk, Parmesan, thyme then season with salt and pepper. Mix well then remove from heat.
3. Enjoy!

** Mustard Gravy **

- 2 cups beef stock
- a dash of Tabasco
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- cornstarch and cold water combined to make a slurry

The Process
1. In a small pot add the beef stock, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder and dijon and and stir well with a which. Bring the mixture to a simmer then season with salt and pepper. When it's simmering, stirring constantly, slowly add the slurry until you get the consistency you desire. Cook for an additional minute then remove from heat.
2. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Pics


So I took my camera and my flash to a party way the fuck out in Graham, WA to take some pics of my wife and all our friends. I got a ton of killer shot but the flash does weird things to the people's faces. When I am editing my pics (every pic you see of mine has been in one way or another edited after importing to my computer) and I use my flash I have to warm them up because it makes all the people look very cold. So it takes some serious editing to adjust this flaw and it takes a ton of practice to get good at it. I am trying really hard to make people look like they are supposed to.

Anyways let me know what you think and thanks for looking.

Direct Link

Cheater Enchiladas

Cheater Enchiladas

You are probably asking yourself what are cheater enchiladas and why would I want to be affiliated with anyone who cheats (unless you play for the Patriots). To answer your first question, cheater enchiladas are a quick and easy way of making enchiladas with leftover sauce from my slow cooker enchiladas. So basically you are cheating your mouth, and probably friends, into thinking they are eating something that has been cooking all day. To answer the second question it's because they're delicious.

Now if you don't have any leftover sauce from the slow cooker enchiladas some store bought stuff will work just fine. I have seen it called Taco Sauce and Enchilada Sauce. Also you can use any meat that you want. Also if you don't have all these spices then you can use one of those taco seasoning packets but they aren't as good. Plus if you aren't into hot stuff, you might want to leave the jalapeños out.

Hope you like it and as always let me know if you have any questions.

- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into 1/2 inch strips
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 4 ounce can diced jalapeños
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 1/2 cups of leftover verde sauce from here or store bought equivalent
- 6 large tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheese I used medium cheddar
- sour cream
- avocados
- black beans and rice

The Process
1. Take your chicken and add to a large saute pan over medium high heat until all the pieces are cooked. Drain out the fat then return the chicken to the pan with the cream cheese, chili powder, cumin, oregano and pepper and mix until all the cream cheese is melted over medium heat. Season with salt.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grab your largest casserole dish and spray well with Pam or some other form of no stick substance. Take a little bit of the enchilada sauce and spread over the bottom of the dish. To assemble the enchiladas, separate the meat into 6 portions. Take a tortilla, add a portion of meat then roll up tight and plate in casserole dish. Do this to the other tortillas then cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce making sure to spread it out evenly, then cover with the cheese.
3. Place in oven for about 45 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before plating.
4. Place an enchilada on a plate, cover with slices of the avocado. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and black beans and Spanish rice found from the recipe above.
5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Panang Curry

Panang Curry

I have made a ton of curry in my day and they basically are composed of the following elements, curry powder, chicken stock, meat and veggies. I never thought that I would make a curry that was so delicious and had such a deep rich flavor. Now ever since I had this curry a couple of weeks ago I started doing research on how to make it. I found that it was pretty similar to what I usually make but called for a couple key ingredients those being lime leaves and Panang curry paste.

I am not going to lie this dish is going to require a trip to either a specialty grocery store or an Asian supermarket because you won't find these ingredients in your local Safeway or Albertons. If that is something you don't mind doing you will thank yourself because this dish really is crazy good. Also you can use any meat you like but this dish is traditionally made with beef. Also the peanuts are something that should make it into this dish because it's awesome. Also all the veggies are something that isn't traditionally in this dish so you can leave them out.

If you have any questions please let me know.

- 1 to 2 pounds chicken thigh meat, sliced into thin strips
- 8 Thai red chilies
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup Panang curry paste
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
- 5 stalks celery cut into thin strips on the bias
- 1 onion sliced
- 1/4 pound mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
- 1 red peppered, cored and sliced into thin strips
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts
- 1 cup good chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped and toasted
- 6 lime leaves, stem removed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
- white rice

The Process
1. In a large wok, add the Thai chilies, coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's done about 10 minutes. Add all the veggies and the stock and stir well. The stir in the sugar and fish sauce then season with the salt until you get the desired flavor.
2. Cook until the veggies are almost done to your preferred taste then stir in the lime leaves and basil. When it's all stirred together, turn off the heat, it's time to eat.
3. To plate add a rice scoop in the middle of a plate or bowl and cover in scoops of the curry.
4. Enjoy!