Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crispy potato skins

It was wonderfully drizzly and dreary outside today. The only thing I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with Mr. Incredible, a good book in hand and doggies warming my feet. But Mr. Incredible was working late so the puppies and I were on our own. This meant I could eat anything I wanted for dinner! Yes, I'm easily excitable. After checking the pantry, I found that I had the makings for potato skins. A carb-o luscious boat filled with a cargo of hot melted pepper jack cheese and cool sour cream will hit the spot. Are you with me? Let's get to it.

You'll need a few potatoes. I only had Yukon gold potatoes but use whatever tater you have on hand...preferably one that has thicker skin than a Yukon gold. I'll explain why later.  Bake them at 400 degrees for about an hour or until soft.

Let the spuds cool slightly before cutting in half lengthwise. In the meantime, crank the oven up to 450 degrees. Next comes the challenging step in this recipe.

Scoop out the potator pulp making sure to leave a 1/4 inch shell. Oh that reminds me...guess what I learned today! As delicious as they are, Yukon golds do not make sturdy tater boats. Make sure your looks like this (see photo above).

Not this. Sad face. It's OK though. This one went into the mashed potato pile.

Drizzle the potato halves with olive oil until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with pepper and lots of salt. They love that stuff. Put them on an oiled baking sheet with the skin side up and bake for 10 minutes. The taters will have nice tanned, crisp skin. Flip them over and fill the cavity with cheese. I used pepper jack. Bake for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, garnish with thinly sliced green onions cut on the bias and prepare yourself for boat loads of delicious.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fish Tacos and an anniversary

Mr. Incredible and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary last week by road tripping out West. If we can spend 46 hours stuck in a Jeep together we surely will make it to a 50th wedding anniversary right? 

Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. The views were gorgeous and almost hard to believe. It was like looking at a postcard. Mr. Incredible was trying to convince me to stand up and pose on the ledge with him. That was as far as I was willing to go. Heights aren't my thing. I like having my feet on stable ground thank you.

We also spent a few glorious days in Las Vegas (more about that in a later post). 

Our final stop was San Diego home of the most awesome (so says me) fish tacos! This is the World Famous Fish Taco plate from Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill. Rubio's is credited with introducing fish tacos to Southern California and starting a phenomenon that has spread coast to coast. The fish is beer batter dipped and fried, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla and topped with crisp cabbage. It is just delicious. 

Here is my version of fish tacos. In this recipe, the fish is pan fried instead of deep fried. Grilling the fish would be just as tasty if not more so.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Attack of the mini doughnuts!

Photos of powdered sugar covered or chocolate dipped rings started showing up on Foodgawker and Tastespotting...the mini doughnut craze was taking over. Little did I know I would be the next victim. They had taken over my thoughts and my cravings. The only way to free myself was to eat them. All of them. So I did. 

Take that super delicious mini cakes with holes in them!  You thought you had me, but I showed you who's boss. I beat you up into a batter, tortured you with a little heat, and drowned you in chocolate ganache! And then, like that wasn't enough...I pelted you with sprinkles. The rainbow kind. I enjoyed that and yes I would do it again. Next time, though you'll be dredged in a tub of cinnamon sugar. Muahaha haha haaaa!

Baked mini doughnuts


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Secrets, BBQ and Men

I was shooed out of my own kitchen the other night. It was 9:40 P.M. and Mr. Incredible was concocting a version of his favorite BBQ sauce: Gates Bar B.Q. from Kansas City, Missouri, home of the best BBQ. Yes, I said it. Simmer down Texans. You make some awesome brisket. But let's save that for another post.

Was the secrecy really all that necessary? Sharing is caring I told him. And that's when I got lectured forever about BBQ and men. I'll spare you the details because I'm sure you're strapped for time and also because I was only partially listening. He explained that men judge other men on two things. One is their grilling ability slash BBQ-ing skills. Two are their chili making abilities. The rest of the skills, you know, like nunchuk skills, bow hunting skills, and computer hacking skills do not apply here. Those are reserved for impressing the opposite sex. Because everyone knows girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

A man who already possesses decent grilling skills must then create a signature sauce. A sauce he can call his own and hopes that one day he can snicker in the faces of those who ask for this special recipe. "Alright, I get it," I said and had a taste. It was surprisingly good. Sweet, tangy, peppery with a bit of heat at the finish. It was the perfect accompaniment to the beef ribs I prepared the next night. Unfortunately, I was unable to coerce Mr. Incredible into giving me his recipe, so I'm hoping the pictures of these delectable beef ribs make up for it (fingers crossed). 

Ribs marinating in lemon juice, a little soy sauce, and pepper. The ribs are then covered and baked in a 350 degree oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until tender.

The ribs brushed with Mr. Incredible's signature sauce. Then placed under the broiler until the sauce is dark and caramelized. 

Ribs are turned over, sauced again and returned to broiler to brown.

Finished ribs served with jasmine rice and sauteed zucchini.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Super Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today, I packed up 4 years worth of stuff into 5 moving boxes. It's the end of the school year you see. Usually, I'd pack light (a few speech pathology books and some communication books I could work on over the summer), and wave a little goodbye to my work buddies knowing I would see them again in a couple months. But some won't be back in the Fall. One of them is me.
While everyone was celebrating surviving the school year, for me it was bittersweet. I'll be leaving the place that I've known since becoming a speech pathologist and starting brand new, not in one, but two schools of my own.

One thing you should know about me is that I'm no good at the mushy stuff. I'm awful at it. I'm equally as awful at saying goodbye. I get emotional, the waterworks start and I get the ugly cries. You know when your facial features contort and fluids spew from the eyes and nose simultaneously? Yeah. Not pretty. I managed to do that only 3 times today.

I came home this afternoon in need of some comforting. Two things immediately came to mind. One...The Peanuts cartoons. I don't know why, but watching them dance gives me the giggles.

Two...Chocolate chip cookies. It uses a combination of all purpose flour and bread flour making the cookies slightly crispy and chewy. These cookies soothe the soul and feel like a good hug. The genuine kind of hug that says, "Hey, you're family."