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Carne Asada Marinade

So, we are off to Costa Rica in a few days and one of our neighbors there, an ex-pat from California, has said the only thing he misses is good Mexican food!  I told him that the next time we visited I would make him some California style Mexican food.  I will be cooking up some of my refried beans, Mexican rice, guacamole and salsa.  To top it off I will be grilling some carne asada and pollo asada.  Since the meat is not available marinated in Costa Rica, I have come up with a really good marinade.

Mix together all of the spices, put in a zip-lock bag, add the liquids and refrigerate for a few hours…

1 teaspoon each of the following spices:

salt, pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chile powder, oregano, cumin, paprika

Liquids:

1 can beer, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 4 cloves smashed garlic, 2 limes (cut in half and squeezed) 1/2 cup olive oil

Peach Upside Down Cake

I usually do this with pineapple but today I had a few nice peaches so here it is!

Prepare a 9″ by 11″ cake pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray.  In the bottom of the pan put one stick of melted butter. Swirl around to evenly coat the pan bottom.  Evenly distribute 1 cup of packed brown sugar.  Peel and slice 5 large peaches.  Arrange on the top of the brown sugar.  Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the peaches.

peach2Now mix up your favorite cake mix or make one from scratch….

Sift together:

3 cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

Set aside.  In your mixer bowl put one cup of room temperature butter.  On medium speed, mix until the butter is smooth.  Next add 2 cups of sugar and beat until light and smooth.  Add 5 whole eggs, ONE at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg addition.  Measure 1 1/4 cups  of milk.  On slow speed add the flour and milk in three additions, alternating between the flour and milk.  Start and end with the flour.  Add 1 tsp vanilla.  Spoon over the fruit and spread evenly.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let rest for 15 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert on to a serving plate.  Goes great with vanilla ice-cream!

peach

Grilled Pork Loin

photo (8)Super easy and moist!  I used to make this years ago when my kids were little and while on camping trips.  Use a disposable aluminum pan for easy clean-up.

 

4 lb pork loin

1 stick butter

1 pkg Lipton’s dry onion soup mix

2 bottles of your favorite beer

Put the pork loin on an elevated meat rack in the aluminum pan.  Add the butter, beer and soup mix to the pan.  Preheat half of a two burner grill and put the pan on the side with no direct heat.  Close the lid.  In about 15 minutes, check to see if the butter has melted and then baste the roast.  Check every 15 minutes or so and baste each time.  Insert a meat thermometer and continue checking and basting until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes. I like to pour a glass of wine and sit outside while the roast cooks….


salad
This recipe is inspired by a local restaurant that I enjoy going to for lunch with my daughter Victoria.  Last week I had their simple baby greens salad as a starter and I loved the dressing.  I came home and started looking at recipes for the right blend of items and this is what I came up with….

6  tbsp.  champagne vinegar

4 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 cup canola oil

salt and white pepper to taste

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey.  Slowly whisk in the canola oil in a steady stream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.  Simple but a real keeper!

My favorite sandwich is a corned beef Reuben….the only problem when ordering one is that they always come from the kitchen soggy!  I am sure this is because of the sauerkraut but I have figured out how to make it so it comes out crispy on both sides.  Two other things that make mine extra good are homemade corned beef and sauerkraut.  This blog isn’t about making those but a step by step plan to help you make a perfect Reuben!

1.  Heat the corned beef and sauerkraut.

2.  Butter one side of a slice of hearty bread, i.e. rye, pumpernickel or whole grain.  Place it butter side down on a griddle pan.

3.  Put a slice of your favorite cheese.

4.  Layer the corned beef over the cheese.

5.  Drizzle with thousand island dressing.

6.  Heap on the sauerkraut.

7.  Add a second slice of cheese.

8.  Top with a second slice of buttered bread, butter side up.

Turn the heat on medium and stand by until the bottom slice of cheese is melting and the bread is browned and crisp.  Carefully, flip over and continue to cook until the second piece of cheese is melting and the bread is crispy.  Remove from the heat, cut in half and enjoy!  Give it a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!reuben

Chocolate Chip Pie

I had a friend who used to make this once in a while and my family loves it.  I lost contact with the friend but managed to hold on to the recipe.  It is a super easy recipe that comes out tasting like a giant chocolate chip cookie.  I like to serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Make a single crust pie dough.  If you don’t like to make your crust from scratch, I won’t be insulted.  I went for many years using the prepared crusts from the refrigerated section at the store.  I now make it from scratch as it really is easy.

In your food processor put:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup cold butter cut in small pieces

Process until crumbly.  Add 3-4 tablespoons of ice water and process just until it starts to come together.  Roll out and put in a shallow (as opposed to deep dish) pie plate.

Filling:

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup melted butter

1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk together the eggs, sugars and vanilla

Add the flour and whisk until smooth

Add the butter in three additions, whisking until smooth after each addition.  Add the chocolate chips (1 cup of nuts also if you like) stir until well mixed.  Pour into your prepared pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the center is puffed and golden brown.  Give it a try, it is sure to please your family!chocolate chip pie

polentaIf you are a fan of polenta, as I am, you are going to love this recipe.  I like to serve it with my Beef Bourguignon or Braised Short Ribs..  It is another of those recipes that is truly simple but sure sounds fancy.

4 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 cup polenta

2 tbsp. butter

1 cup parmesan cheese

4 ounces goat cheese

Add the salt to the water and bring to a boil.  Slowly stir in the polenta, stirring constantly.  Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 25 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add the butter and the two cheeses.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the texture is smooth.  Serve immediately.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dessert Crepes

crepeI haven’t made these in a few years but they popped into my brain this morning so I am making them for dessert tonight.  Fairly easy, serves 4.

Blender Crepes

In your blender put:

2 eggs

1 tbsp. canola oil

dash of salt

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

Blend until smooth and then pour into a small pitcher.  Heat an 8″ skillet on medium high.  (I use the smallest non-stick skillet that comes when you buy a set)  Once the pan is hot, add 1 tsp canola oil and wipe it around with a paper towel.  While holding the pan in one hand, pour a small amount of the batter into the hot pan while swirling the pan to evenly coat the bottom.  Cook until the top is dry and the edges start to brown.  Flip over and cook just until starting to brown.  You need to oil the pan every 2-3 crepes.  Stack the crepes with parchment paper between.  This recipe will make 8-10 crepes.

Filling

In the bowl of your mixer add:

16 ounces softened cream cheese

1 egg

2 tsp Grand Marnier

Beat until smooth and then add 2 cups powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Evenly distribute the cream cheese between the crepes rolling up as you go along.  Place in a rectangular casserole dish.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the crepes for 30 minutes and then serve with your favorite fruit topping.  Tonight I am using peaches.

Topping

4 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced

3 cups red wine (I am using a Pinot tonight)

1 cup sugar

1 6″ cinnamon stick broken in small pieces

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp whole allspice

6 whole peppercorns

Pour the wine into a saucepan.  Add the sugar.  Tie the spices in a spice bag and add to the pan.  Bring up to a boil, turn down and let simmer until it thickens some.  Add the peaches and simmer just until slightly tender.  Serve warm over the warm crepes.

Grilled Shrimp Appetizer

shrimpThis is a family and friends favorite!  I usually do this as an appetizer but you can increase the number of shrimp and make it a main dish.  Serves 4.

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail left on

12 large fresh basil leaves

12 slices Prosciutto  diParma

prepared teriyaki sauce

Wrap each shrimp with the basil leaf followed by the prosciutto.  Secure with a toothpick.  Put in a container and cover with teriyaki sauce.  Refrigerate until ready to grill.  On a heated grill, put the shrimp and grill turning once until the shrimp turn pink.  Serve immediately.  Simple, but I guarantee your family will love it!

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