Thursday, July 10, 2008

White Bean Dip with Baked Pita Chips

I think that this is a perfect snack, or meal, if you get carried away. While watching one of our many PBS channels, there was a lady making what she called "healthy after school snacks". This was definitely the most grown up of each of her items, but pretty great looking. I don't remember what spices she used, but I instantly thought of the seasonings for the dipping oil at one of our favorite restaurants, San Chez. Last summer they changed their menu to no trans fat, and introduced a wonderful oil with parsley, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. It is absolutely fantastic, and I decided to use these seasonings to try to re-create the flavor.

The only downside to this is that there is no recipe. I just added olive oil, cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper, and lemon juice until it tasted right and had a nice smooth texture. There was some method to the madness, though.


1 can Canenolli beans, rinsed and drained
1 lemon
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

-Blend beans using preferred method (I love my stick blender, much less messy than a food processor for small jobs!)
-Add the lemon juice and a bit of olive oil, mix in
-Add a pinch of salt and pepper
-Slowly add cumin and parsley until you get your preferred taste

-Turn oven onto 400 degrees
-Cut a pita into 8 pieces, brush both sides with olive oil
-Bake for 15 minutes, flipping them over after 7 minutes
-Let cool

-Serve the dip cool.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Corn Bread

This 4th or July weekend was a bit cold and very rainy. What better weather for comfort food! Greg had a morning and afternoon off, so we got to spend our lunch hour making food together. Greg tackled the corn bread, while I made a new Broccoli Cheddar recipe. Our old recipe, though very tasty, had 1 brick of Velveeta in it (hm....). Not surprisingly, this soup was far superior to our old recipe! We found the recipe on the Food Networks website, courtesy of Emeril. We made a few minor changes based on what we had in the apartment, but it's more or less the same recipe. The corn bread recipe is actually from my Mom. Since Greg is a very precise baker (he often weighs and sifts his dry ingredients), he followed her recipe very closely, and as always it was wonderful!

The soup is very easy to make, and is really fragrant. Our apartment smelled like it for a day or so afterwards. I suppose we could have aired the place out, but it was just so humid that we left the air on so we wouldn't melt.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe:

5 TBS butter or margarine, cut into 2 and 3 TBS
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS flour
3 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. skim milk
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 16oz pkg frozen broccoli

-In a stock pot, melt 3 TBS butter or margarine, add onion, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Add the garlic and stir to combine.

- Slowly add the flour and stir to coat. Add the chicken stock to this mixture, whisking constantly. Boil and bring down to a simmer for 5 minutes.

-Add the broccoli, continue simmering for about 10 minutes.

-Add the milk, let simmer for another 5 minutes. When the soup has thickened, slowly add the cheese, whisking constantly while it melts. Serve warm, enjoy!!!

Corn Bread Recipe:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

1 C. cornmeal
1 C. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C. milk
1/4 C. melted butter

-In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. Mix well.

-Melt your butter. Add all of your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Combine well. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan, bake for 20 minutes.


Friday, July 4, 2008


"Hey y'all, here something that I know you're just gonna love!". OK, if you couldn't guess, this used to be a Paula Deen recipe. I love Paula because she loves food, and she makes everyone else love food. Well, this is all a bit of a digression. I say the recipe "used" to be Paula's because Greg and I changed just about everything about it. We roughly got proportions from her recipe, and a general season base. Instead of shrimp we used chicken ($), instead of dried onion and garlic we used the real deal, instead of beef bullion we used chicken, and instead of long grain rice we used brown. We also added a few spices: sea salt, sage, ground mustard, & ground coriander. I think all of the changes we made to this one really make up for the lack of creativity in the last few posts. It was really fun and energizing to take our time and dissect a new recipe again. I'll have to remember that feeling next time I just don't feel cooking anything fun.

We do thank Paula for her inspiration and her proportions, because we absolutely love this dish. The flavor and texture are great, and it really transported us to the South. It's also pretty healthy (again, I think this makes up for my last few posts, this was turning into a dessert blog!) and very filling. It's easy to cook, though it takes a bit of time since there are different stages.

What I think is most fun about this recipe is that it is a combination of Creole and Cajun cooking! I didn't realize we were mixing cooking styles until I looked them up afterwards. From what I can gather, Creole jambalaya has the tomatoes and the meat is not browned. In Cajun jambalaya, the meat is browned and the "trinity" is added: onion, celery and green bell pepper. In our recipe, we cooked the onion with spices, added our (yellow) bell pepper, then added our meat, browned it, then added our tomatoes, rice and chicken stock.


1/2 lbs Andouille sausage
1 lbs chicken
1 C. instant brown rice
1 C. chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
2 gloves garlic, crushed or micro planed
14 oz. diced tomatoes
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 bay leafs
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp ground coriander
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Olive oil

-In a large stock pot or dutch oven, add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, sage, thyme, ground mustard, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper and bay leafs. Stir to combine, cook until the onion is transparent but not yet caramelized, medium heat, 5-10 minutes.

-Cut the chicken and sausage into small bit size pieces. Add these to the onion mixture. Stir to combine. Turn up to medium high heat. Let the meat brown on one side.

-Add the rice, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Stir it all and scrap any pieces of meat of the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes (or as directed for your rice). Once the meat is cooked through and the rice is tender, remove from heat and let stand. Serve warm and enjoy! Also goes great with a slice of chocolate cake!