Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot summer nights

Don't complain of the hot weather outside, in no time there will be blizzards and below zero temperatures. Where are you going to grill out those delicious footlongs then? That's right, I said footlongs. Our favorite grocery store decided to humor us and carry footlong hotdogs. Jacob was quick to notice the newest products and that night we enjoyed delicious beef with BBQ sauce and coleslaw right on top. Mmmm...

Not so fast, Sam! Put some coleslaw on it first!
There ya go!
Jeff's BBQ ribs. Now, that's a topic for another whole post...
Beer brats from Wisconsin.
Jackson's appetite grew as we were eating. So much that he decided Bocce balls were a good snack.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The worst thing I ever ate...

... was Limburger cheese. Excited to try something new, and encouraged by my love to all cheese, I purchased Limburger and decided to give it a try. Let me tell you something about Limburger - it's nickname is stinky cheese and it is so due to bacteria Brevibacterium linens, which is also present on human skin and responsible for the body odor.
Needless to say, my adventure with the new cheese ended in my defeat. Perhaps one day I will grow up enough to give it another try and enjoy it, as it should be, I am sure. But probably not.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Twarozek and Nalesniki - try pronouncing that!

When asked about my favorite foods I often forget about this one - "twarozek" or farmers cheese. And no, it isn't the yellow farmers cheese in a plastic wrap that you can find in a store. It is so much more than that!
Unfortunately, the grocery stores up here do not carry it. Apparently there aren't enough Polish people around! Thinking I could make couple people convert to natural farmers cheese, I decided to make it myself. Gallon of milk and half a cup of vinegar later, voila, I am now a proud farmers cheese maker! I boiled the milk and added the vinegar, which created slimy curds. You need to make sure that you stir it well so that all the milk fat is creating the curds and the fluid left around the floating soft curds is very watery. Pour the fluid onto a cheese cloth spread on a coriander and squeeze gently to get the watery fluid out. The mass you're left with is the Polish farmer's cheese. Now it wasn't that bad, was it!
Next I made some "nalesniki", or Polish crepes, and filled them with the mixture of the farmers cheese, sugar and raisins.To make the crepes you will need:
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 cup milk 
Simply mix the ingredients and fry on an olive oil prepped pan. Polish crepes are thicker than the French ones, but you can make them any way you'd like!
Now, that's the flavor of my childhood!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Schrimp Tacomania

I am a big fan of shrimp and even a bigger fan of grilling them! One of many ways to eat them is to make delicious shrimp tacos, which will make you feel as if you were right next to the ocean, while, in reality, you are right in the middle of the continent... But let's dream on!
I grilled he shrimp after brushing some olive oil and bay seasoning on them and started building the tacos. I added some spring greens, avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro and plain yogurt - a healthy alternative to cream.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shrimp Gumbo Jumbo

Hmmm... what's better than shrimp? Having your friend make a shrimp gumbo, that's what! Meal was courtesy of Jacob's Hungarian grandma who lived in Alabama and taught him everything he needs to know about cooking yummy food!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mexican Corn

My friend Jacob's ideas have been an inspiration for many dishes at my house, many of which are a regular item on our menu. One of my favorites is the Mexican Corn - perfect for summer grilling! Jacob stopped by a street vendor once while in Mexico to purchase a corn snack and asked them about the recipe. Here it is!
Soak corn with husk in water for about 15 minutes. Cook it directly on the grill without the use of tin foil - soaking in water will prevent the husk from getting burnt too soon. Next, mix some mayo with crushed garlic, salt and cayenne pepper to your taste. There is no exact proportions, just spice it to your liking! Make sure you have enough to spread a thin layer on the corn. Next, grate some cotija cheese. It is a dry and firm Mexican cow's milk cheese, which is pretty salty in taste. The consistency reminds me of feta cheese, only a little firmer. Spread the cheese on a plate and roll the mayo-mix covered corn to cover it evenly with the pieces of cotija. Now, enjoy!
Make sure you have some napkins ready! It gets so messy that the photo above does not do it justice. Just deal with it and eat it!Pair up the corn with a rib eye steak for extra flavor!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breakfast of champions

Watching the FoodNetwork early Sunday mornings usually results in very delicious breakfast ideas, and here is one of them. Don't worry - it's calorie free!
Cut some potatoes up and fry them with bacon, to assist the flavor. Season to your liking, then transfer to a casserole dish. Cut off the bottom of a round Camembert's rind and put it in the middle of the potatoes - exposed part of the cheese down. Bake at 350 for however long it takes for the cheese to melt.
There are no words to describe it; you have to try it yourself! Now, make sure you take your dog for a long walk afterward!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Piece of Italy

Thank you, FoodNetwork, for this little piece of goodness...
6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 teaspoons dark rum
24 packaged ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
Giada De Laurentiis' directions are as follows; beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom. Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
ANNA'S TIP: When Giada says that dipping ladyfingers too long will cause them to fall apart, she means it, people! Take that advice to heart, especially if you're unable to purchase ladyfingers and need to settle for nilla wafers - dip for 3-4 seconds. Otherwise, you will end up with a tiramisu soup... Also, the directions state to keep in the fridge for at least 2 hours; I think it takes more than that for the mascarpone mixture to settle. I have tried to cut it up before after 2 hours and ended up with a soupy cake - leave it in for at least 3 to 4 hours!