07 May 2012

Recipe: Andersen's Split Pea Soup

One of my fave soups is split pea. Jim had it 4 times a week for close to a year when he was a young'un, so he was very apprehensive about me trying this recipe. However, against his better judgement, he allowed me to have my fun and brew up a batch of this childhood favorite. Much to his chagrin, he enjoyed it, and even went back for seconds! Guess this one will be added to our recipe box, and will pull it out every now and then.

I did a google search for split pea soup and ran across the recipe for Andersen's, which is a restaurant in California, and was very happy with the result.

What you need:

2 quarts water
2 cups split peas (14-16oz bag)
1 branch of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
pinch of cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

I put all of this into a large pot and turned it up to high.

Bring it to a hard boil for 20 minutes. It will start to look frothy like this:

Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until peas are soft and start falling apart. Once the peas are starting to get a bit mushy, remove the bay leaf and either push all through a small sieve or you can do like I did, and dump it into the food processor and pulse until all the big chunks of veggies are broken up.

Transfer back into the pot and bring back to a slow boil.

When serving, add a pinch of paprika to the top and enjoy!

Just an added note, this didn't need any ham, it's pretty hearty, so if you are looking to go meatless, this will do nicely. However, we are carnivores and will be adding ham next time.

Recipe: Homemade BBQ Sauce

Indoor BBQ is something we have to do regularly here in Alaska. We've done this BBQ sauce for the past 2 years and love it. It's so simple and tastes so much better than what you buy in a bottle. There is also so much you can do with this to change the flavor, leave out the hot sauce and add honey, etc. Very yummy!

What you need:

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 Worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 dashes hot pepper sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all of these into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before brushing onto your favorite meat.

We used chicken for this meal, but this would be good with pork, brisket, or any other meat you choose.

We also had red potatoes pan fried in olive oil, fresh garlic and rosemary. We cubed about 5 medium sized red potatoes, heated up olive oil in a pan, added fresh pressed garlic, then the potatoes and rosemary.

While the potatoes were cooking, we set the broiler to high, and put 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half in with just a touch of salt and pepper.

Cook these on each side until the pink is gone, then start brushing on the BBQ sauce, adding more and turning every few minutes. Once the chicken is just about done, turn the broiler to low and allow the BBQ sauce to caramelize before turning and allow the other side to do the same.

With this we had an Argentinian Malbec and it went perfect with the spice of the BBQ sauce!

That's it! Enjoy :)

30 April 2012

Recipe: Rockfish Parmesan

One of the benefits of living in Alaska is the fresh fish. You can catch fish and fill your freezer for the year. Well, we have some friends that PCS'd last year and gave us a TON of fish out of their freezer (thanks Kirk and Angie!!). In that fish, was Rockfish. Neither of us have ever eaten or cooked it, so we looked up some recipes and decided on one to try tonight. Rockfish Parmesan. Oh. My. Gahhh. Heaven. This was absolutely amazing! Moist, flaky, rich, delicious. We served this with candied baby carrots and sticky white rice (Calrose).

Here is what you will need:

1 lb. Alaska Rockfish (or red snapper, works the same as well) fillets, thawed
2 tsp. lemon or lime juice
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 fine dry bread crumbs (I used store bought Italian flavor)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (we grated it normally and then chopped it fine with a knife)
2 tbsp. oil (we guess-timated and used peanut oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut rockfish into serving sized pieces.

Combine lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce; sprinkle on fish. We doubled this and put the fish on a plate, brushed it on with a silicone basting brush, and let it set for about 1/2 hour or so.

Put the flour in a bowl/dish.
Put the egg in another bowl/dish and beat slightly.
Put the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese into a 3rd bowl/dish and combine. We added some oregano to this because we love oregano. Add as much as you want, or none at all. It's all about what you like.

Dip fish into the flour first, coating completely.

Next, dip into the egg.

Lastly, roll in the bread crumb and Parmesan mixture and make sure it's well coated.

Pan fry the fish in oil over medium heat, allowing 10 minutes cooking time total per inch of thickness at the thickest part, or until the rockfish flakes easily with a fork. Ours was about an inch thick, so we cooked it about 5 minutes on each side.

We put these on a plate of paper towel to drain the oil. After it has drained a few minutes, we sprinkled on a little parsley flakes, for the color and the taste. Then, when it was still warm, we sprinkled on a little extra parmesan cheese. DELICIOUS!


As a side note, we drink wine with dinner, and we try to pair wines with our food. Tonight we had a Chateau St. Michelle Pinot Gris, same thing as a Pinot Grigio.

26 April 2012

Recipe: Shrimp in Parmesan Garlic Sauce over Pasta

We all love a rich, garlicky, cheesy alfredo sauce, right? Of course! But who wants to feel fatter and more guilty with every bite because of all the calories and fat? Never fear! I found an amazing recipe that is tried and true in our house. You get the rich and creamy without the guilt. I make this with shrimp, but you could use chicken, pork, or any other meat you would like, really. I enjoy how the shrimp marries with the garlic and the rich parmesan, it's almost a no-brainer for me, but there are a lot of people that don't like shrimp, can't eat it, whatever the case may be, so feel free to substitute for what fits your preferences.

Ready? Here's what you will need:

Shrimp in Parmesan Garlic Sauce over Pasta

1 lb. Shrimp (raw, peeled and tails taken off)
Olive oil
1 large or 2 small/medium cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 slice of onion (I use yellow) about 1/4 inch think, chopped fine
Salt, Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pasta of your choice

First, the sauce - it takes longer than the shrimp and you can simmer it while you wait for that to cook.

In a medium sized sauce pan, put the butter and garlic powder over medium heat until melted.

Add flour and cook for one minute. It will be a thick paste.

Add broth and milk, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and allow to simmer, whisking occassionally.

At this point, I usually start the water for my pasta, but depending on what kind you are using (I used to bowtie pasta) and how long it needs to cook. If yo are doing angelhair, thin spaghetti, etc. now would be the time, if you are using something heavier like fettacini, linguini, bowtie, etc., you might want to start before the sauce.

So since we have the sauce going and the water going, now it's on to the shrimp.

In a saute pan, put in some olive oil, and turn the heat to medium high.

At this point, I have my sauce, my water, my saute pan and my steamer started with fresh brocolli, so my stove is going full force!

Once your oil is heated, add in your chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Once the onions have started to cook, add the garlic in, give it a stir and then add your shrimp.

You will know they are done when they turn an orangy color and start to curl... at this point, turn off the heat and set it aside until your pasta is done so that the shrimp doesn't overcook.

Once the pasta is done, go ahead and add the shrimp into the sauce, then add the grated parmesan cheese and fold it all in.

Once its heated all the way through, go ahead and dish up, and enjoy! We chose fresh steamed brocolli to go with this, and I was almost tempted to actually put the brocolli IN the sauce, but was afraid of it getting soggy, so refrained.

My plate - with just sprinkle of shredded parm on top.

Jim's plate with shredded parm and a touch of nutmeg. It brings out amazing flavor!


19 April 2012

Intro And Welcome

We would like to welcome you to our blog and our kitchen. We are Jim and Wendi. We are just getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary on Sunday, the 22nd. 

We are madly in love with each other, and with cooking. It's our way of showing love to each other, our friends and our family. 

We invite you to follow our cooking adventures, whether they be successes or failures (yes, we'll post our mistakes as well!), and we hope you will enjoy taking this journey of love and food with us.

Welcome! Please sit back, relax and cook with us. We are glad you are here!