Lobsta Rolls

ImageWhy is it that every time the battery on your smoke detector starts to get low it’s the middle of the night? That obnoxiously loud chirp, followed by a woman’s computerized voice saying, “WARNING. LOW BATTERY” at 1 am, startling you awake from vivid dreams about tsunamis, is terrifying. Why can’t that chirp and that warning message ever start in the middle of the day, when it’s bright, and you aren’t completely disoriented? 

Smoke detectors have kind of become the bane of my existence… At least for my existence last night anyway. I’m house-sitting for my parents right now. I spent the night tossing and turning on the couch trying to hide from the warning chirps because I was too lazy and sleepy to get out a ladder or a chair and attempt to change the smoke detector battery in their bedroom at 1 am. Once I moved to the couch, I realized how scary it was to be alone in my parents’ house. The living room has a lot of windows. And the yard is really big. And dark. And quiet. And I watched the Impossible a few hours before bed. Which isn’t necessarily a scary movie, but it’s sad and disturbing and rather graphic, hence the vivid tsunami dreams. So I basically started freaking myself out and barely slept at all, especially since I could still hear the sound of the warning chirp coming from down the hallway every 5 minutes. And this morning, when I got out the ladder, I still could not reach the smoke detector to change the battery! Those things should have a remote, so that you can at least shut the freakin thing up until you can find a taller human being to come over and help you fix the stupid thing.

These are the moments where I wish I had a man. Sure, a husband or a live in boyfriend would be ideal. But sometimes I just think that a man servant would suffice. Like a butler. Or a male bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being an independent woman and burning my bra and all that (okay, not really. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a feminist). But sometimes, I’m just too lazy or unmotivated to worry about doing it all myself. And I want some tall, strong, handsome man to do the work for me. Like change the battery in my smoke detector. Or put air in my tires. Or carry heavy objects up the two flights of stairs to my apt. Or purchase, cook, crack and pick a lobster tail. 

Alas. I have no such man servant. Or butler. Or even a potential dating prospect to eventually serve in this capacity. So when I read the recipe for lobster rolls in this issue of Real Simple and they suggested buying frozen lobster (as opposed to live, scary ones), I thought it was such a genius idea. If Martha Stewart is endorsing frozen lobster tails, it can’t be that bad, right? However, when I read the recipe more closely, I realized they still intended for you to buy a lobster tail and cook and pick it. But I was fortunate enough to find already picked, packed in water, fully cooked and frozen Maine lobster. I was a little wary of buying lobster this way, but I decided to take a walk on the wild side. And it was actually really good and made for a much easier version of lobster roll than I had ever imagined.

So despite my new, easy recipe for lobster roll, I’m still looking for someone to change the battery in my smoke detector, help me with my car, and do other various manly things. So if there’s any tall, young bucks out there who are free this evening, lemme know.

LOBSTA ROLLS

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz of cooked lobster, thawed if using frozen
  • 2 tbs of mayonnaise 
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 2-3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 dashes of Tabasco
  • 4 small cibatta buns, lightly toasted with butter

Directions:

Steam the corn in a pot of boiling water for about 6 minutes. Remove and lightly butter the ear. Once it cools, remove it from the cob.

Combine corn, celery, lobster, mayo, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Slowly add in a few dashes of Tabasco, and more mayo and lemon juice if needed until it’s the desired taste and consistency you desire.

Spread on your lightly toasted buns and serve. 

Notes: The first time I ever had a lobster roll, the bread was dry. Good bread is key to a good lobster roll! I really liked the addition of the Tabasco here to give it some heat and help cut on the buttery sweetness of the dish. Feel free to substitute the mayo with veganaise. And I’m calling these “lobsta” rolls simply because I think it’s funny to say “lobsta” instead of “lobster.” 

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TEX-MEX QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS

ImageI just made my to-do list for work this week. There are five things on it. That’s right, five. For a whole week. And I already did one of them. So I guess that means there are really only four. I could probably come up with other things to do, but eh. What’s the point? Summers are slow around here. I feel like we bust our butts all year long, so once the fiscal year ends, I kind of just want to slow down and relax for a few weeks. I just wish I was slowing down and relaxing at the beach… not at my desk. 

Alas. Here I am. (sigh) I guess this means I have plenty of time to tell you about these quinoa stuffed peppers I made last night. Don’t let my sigh fool you– They were delish. I’m looking forward to leftovers tonight.

The only red bell peppers I could find in the store were GINORMOUS. Yet, I still had plenty of filling leftover, which tastes great on its own. So you could choose to stuff this in the peppers or… not. They were a little more time consuming than I thought they would be. It just took me a while to get all the ingredients together. Nevermind that I was distracted by the real housewives drama going on in the background… That Vicki is cray.

TEX-MEX STYLE QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 3-4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/4 cup of green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of another shredded cheese of your choice (see note below)
  • 3/4 of a orange bell pepper, diced (optional, see note 2 below)
  • a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine quinoa, black beans, corn, chiles, jalapeno, feta, tomatoes, cilantro, shredded cheese, and orange pepper (if using) in a large bowl. Then go to town adding your cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper until the mix has a good flavor. 

Cut the tops of the red peppers off and scoop out the seeds and seams from the insides. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the red peppers until they are stuffed to the brim. Add some more shredded cheese to the top.

Set stuffed red peppers in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil and olive oil. Set the tops of the peppers back on as best you can. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until your red peppers are pretty soft and somewhat prune-y. Let cool for a few minutes before digging in. 

Note: I have this block of cheese that I keep using. But I threw away the original packaging so I don’t know what kind of cheese it is. If you have pepper jack or something that shreds nicely (vs. grating, like parmesan does), use that. 

Note 2: I had a bit of an orange pepper that I just threw in here b/c I needed to use it. If you aren’t serving the quinoa in a pepper, I definitely recommend adding the pepper. But since I served this in peppers, the extra pepper wasn’t needed. That’s why I said it’s optional. 

SUMMER SOBA NOODLES

Summer Soba NoodlesThere’s this recipe blogger (who shall remain nameless) who my sister and I love to hate. Her recipes are delicious and her photographs are beautiful. But her writing drives me nuts. She’s always saying things like, “I had some mung beans on hand so I decided to just whip up some hummus.” Mung beans? What are those? And where the heck do you buy them? Or “I had some nettles from the market that I wanted to use up so I made this pasta and it was a total breeze.” Nettles? Seriously? No one just has nettles. And a pasta with nettles does not sound like a breeze.  I find it annoying that she makes whipping up recipes with obscure ingredients sound so easy, as if everyone lives this glamorous life of going to the “market” (vs. the “grocery store”) and has a fully stocked kitchen with healthy, wholesome ingredients and beautiful dishes and perfect lighting. Sorry, but that just isn’t my reality.

However, this dish I am about to share with you was actually born out of ingredients that I had on hand and needed to use up. And it was easy to make! Other than the sesame oil and the miso paste, nothing I’m listing here is obscure. And sesame oil and miso are pretty easy to find and can be used in a lot of recipes.

I was going to see a friend’s new house last week and offered to bring dinner. I was planning to make my spring pasta, but I realized the only pasta I had were soba noodles. So I decided to do an asian twist on what I was originally planning to make. And voila!

SUMMER SOBA NOODLES

Summer Soba Noodles 2

Summer Soba Noodles 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of soba noodles (9.5 oz)
  • 1 cup of multi colored heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 2 large handfuls of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • about 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce or shoyu
  • about 2 tbs of sesame oil
  • about 2 tbs of rice vinegar
  • about 2 tbs of water
  • 1 tsp of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp of yellow miso paste
  • Siracha to taste (optional)
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.

Make the dressing or sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, water, garlic, mint, miso paste, lime juice and a few generous pinches of the cilantro and scallions. Whisk together, adding more water, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil as needed. Start with smaller amounts and add more as needed, to taste. You don’t want the soy sauce to overpower everything. If you want, you can add siracha to the dressing and whisk it in. I opted not to do this since one of my friends does not like spicy food.

Combine noodles, tomatoes, avocado, remaining cilantro and scallions in a large bowl. Slowly add dressing until it’s the consistency and taste that you want. Top with sesame seeds and lime wedges for garnish. Add siracha as desired.

Note: When dicing the tomatoes, I made sure to separate the seeds and juicy guts as much as possible. Small heirloom tomatoes can be pretty juicy when you dice them and I was worried this would “water down” my dish. I also think this recipe would be good with some cilantro lime shrimp. Yum! 

Potato Salad Re-Mix

Potato Salad Remix 2Happy post 4th of July Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely holiday and spent the day/evening/weekend eating your face off, enjoying some brews, sitting by the pool and watching fireworks somewhere like I did.

Potato salad seems to be a staple at any summer BBQ. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good old fashioned potato salad, with eggs and pickles and whatever else is in there. I really have no idea… I’ve never made it. But this year, I decided to create a lighter, healthier version of potato salad to bring to my summer parties. A potato salad re-mix, if you will. I went to three different parties this weekend (not on the same day, that would be miserable, and besides, I am not that popular) and brought this salad to every single one of them. It was easy to make head of time and to transport. And it seemed to be a hit!

I didn’t get a lot of great pics, but hopefully what you see here will suffice. I’m also adding in a pic of me holding up a peppermint stick in a lemon by the pool. This was one of my favorite childhood treats to get at the fair. And now they sell them at the snack bar at our pool. Score! I may be the only person over the age of 12 buying them, but that’s neither here nor there. I also may be the only person over the age of 12 who says score. Did I really just say that? Score?! What? Annnyway… About that potato salad re-mix.

Lemon Peppermint Stick

Potato Salad Remix

 

POTATO SALAD RE-MIX

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (about 2 lbs) of fingerling potatoes or other small waxy potatoes, cut into halves and quarters
  • About 2-3 cups of heirloom tomatoes, in varying sizes and colors, cut into halves and quarters
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas, thawed
  • A heaping handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbs of mayo (or veganaise, which I used and prefer)
  • 1 tbs of plain greek yogurt
  • About 1 tbs of dijon mustard seeds
  • Lemon juice and water to taste

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook potatoes for 8-10 minutes, until just soft. Be careful not to overcook the potatoes or else they will get too mushy. Once the potatoes are finished cooking, drain and set aside to cool. (I boiled my potatoes the night before and put them in the fridge overnight. I added them and the dressing to the rest of the ingredients right before leaving for each party.)

While your potatoes are cooking, this is a good time to cut your tomatoes. Combine tomatoes, peas, potatoes and dill in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, greek yogurt, mustard seeds, lemon juice and water. Continue to add mustard, lemon juice and water as necessary. The dressing should not be too thick. It’s better to add more water than lemon juice if you need to thin it out otherwise it becomes too bitter.

Add the dressing to the tomatoes, peas, potatoes and dill a little at a time until your salad is the consistency that you want. I tried not to go too heavy on the dressing. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Add more dressing or dill as needed. And enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted from: A Food for Thought blog

 

 

 

Pizza Dip

pizza dip 2You know those dishes that while you’re eating, you know you’re gonna regret it later, but it’s so good that you can’t stop and just keep eating anyway? Yeah, that’s how this pizza dip is. And yeah, I had major regret in the form of a stomach ache last night. But sometimes you just have to live in the moment.

My sister, her husband and I like to have lazy Sundays sometimes. Where we eat bad food and watch bad TV/movies. It’s usually sparked by a hangover, which my sister may have had yesterday. But I was just bored. Which really is not a good excuse to stuff yourself with cheese and carbs. But like I said, sometimes you just have to live in the moment. So after we made loaded cheese fries, and nibbled on baked Cheetos (a family favorite), I whipped up this dip. Just in time to watch Pitch Perfect (another family favorite).

This pizza dip would be good to take to a party, where there are more than 3 people. And since the 4th of July is this week and people are probably looking for party recipes, I thought I would share it now. (Look at me, being all ahead of the game.) Everyone loves cheese, so this should definitely be a crowd pleaser. Especially if there are boys. And especially if you add pepperoni.

PIZZA DIP

pizza dip

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened (1 box of a block of cream cheese)
  • 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4-6 ounces of provolone cheese (I used about 4 slices, torn into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano, chopped
  • a dash of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into small triangles
  • a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
  • bread, crackers or chips for dipping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake/roast for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting.

Meanwhile, mix softened cream cheese with provolone, and most of the mozzarella and parmesan. Add in the herbs and garlic. Once tomatoes are ready, mix them in too. Transfer to an oven safe dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is brown and cheese is bubbling. Serve with bread, chips or crackers.

Note 1: I used a 4th kind of cheese but I don’t know what it’s called. It was a block of some fancy cheese that I had leftover from another recipe. If you have another kind of cheese that you want to add, go for it. You can make the dip ahead of time, and either bake it half way or not at all and then pop it in the oven to get it bubbling when you get to the party.

Note 2: The 3 of us did not eat the entire bowl of dip. We only made it through about half. 

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is blog.