Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ChezOB:1, Morris:0

Q: What is the Tampa Bay area famous for?

A: Not alot.

That makes planning my football menu slightly difficult.  I already used Citrus as a base once this year for the preseason Jacksonville game, and with two Regular Season Miami games coming up, I don’t want to use up all the lemons in Florida yet.

According to my secret sources, (Wikipedia) Tampa either means “Sticks of Fire” or “The Place to Gather Sticks.”  Apparently they hired Ron Burgundy to do their translating.  They should consider themselves lucky they weren’t named for an Alligator’s Penis.  Either way, in my language, sticks = fire = grilling.  

Much like the Tampa Bay offense, my refrigerator is a hot mess right now.  One or two fresh veggies, but other than that - leftovers, leftovers and more leftovers.  In that respect, at least Raheem Morris knows how I feel.  This is where our similarities end however, as I plan on conquering my food challenge.

The game plan tonight involves taking our “not quite stale” pita bread and making some pizzas with it.  Dan and I are huge Hummus lovers, and even though we scrape the Sabra container clean, we always have extra pita.  

Leftover Pita Pizza
  • 3 Pita’s
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced and slightly sauteed
  • 1 Shallot, thinly sliced and caramelized
  • 3 types of leftover shredded cheese: Mozzarella, Taco and a Monterey Jack/Cheddar combo
  • 4 leftover Chili Grape Meatballs, warmed and diced
  • 1 leftover Chicken Breast, shredded
  • 1 fresh Tomato, chopped
  • Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
  • BBQ Sauce

Pizza 1:
Pita, Mozzarella, Tomato, Roasted Red Peppers, Zucchini, Shallots
Pizza 2:
Pita, BBQ Sauce, Taco Cheese, Chicken, Shallots
Tomato 3:
Pita, Jack/Cheddar Cheese, Chicken, Meatballs, Zucchini, Roasted Red Peppers

Place each pita on foil and and grill on low heat for 7 minutes.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Communication Breakdown

I always thought Dan and I were great communicators.  Even if we didn’t come right out and say something, we knew what the other meant.  Like when Dan would call on Friday afternoons and say he had “a meeting in Conference Room D,” I knew he meant he was going to JJ’s to have drinks with his coworkers.  And when I would say I was just going to “take a quick peek in DSW,” Dan would know that he might as well go sit in the food court because it was going to be awhile.  I was wrong.  

Me: You grill the fish for 10 minutes with the lid down.
Dan: When do I flip it?
Me: No flipping.

2 minutes later...

Me: Put the lid down!
Dan: Should I flip it now?
Me: No flipping.

1 Minute later...
Me: Put the lid down!

1 Minute later:
Dan: I think I should flip it.

2 minutes later...
Dan: It’s done!

It wasn’t done!  The man is crazy.  I told him he was never cooking fish again.  I can’t decide if he was just being obtuse or if this was one of his “I don’t want to have to do this, so I am going to do it so bad she will never ask me to do it again” moments.  Upon reflection, no-one could be that confused about the phrase “10 minutes with the cover down.”.  

Well played, Dan. Well Played.  

Tonight we used 3 recipes that were given to me by family and friends.  My sister Heather turned me onto Chef Paul’s “Magic Seasoning” and this two step Salmon Recipe, the Green Beans recipe was created by the most fantastic baker I know - the Lovely Lainie, and the Risotto recipe was created by my Sunday Funday partner-in-crime, Erica.  

Two Step Salmon
  • 1 Lb Salmon, cut into 2-3” strips
  • Chef Paul’s “Seafood Magic”

1. Heat grill.  Lay Salmon skin side down on foil and generously spice with Seafood Magic.
2. Grill for 10 minutes WITH THE LID DOWN.

Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds
  • ½ Lb Fresh Green Beans, snapped and rinsed
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • Salt and Pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine EVOO, Garlic, Salt and Pepper.  Stir together.  
2. Put Green Beans and Shallots in a foil packet. Pour oil mixture over Beans.  Seal packet and Toss.
3. Grill for 10-15 minutes, flipping once.

Parmesan Risotto with Artichokes
  • 1 (32 oz) Can Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • ½ Cup White Wine
  • ¼ Cup Freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 small jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Salt and Pepper

1. Heat broth in a medium pan on the stove top.
2. Roughly chop Artichokes and set aside. Add the liquid from the jar to the Broth.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt Butter and add Shallots.  Cook 4 minutes.  Add Arborio, cook 3 minutes.  Add Wine and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly.
4. Add Broth 1 ladle at a time, always waiting until the last ladle was absorbed before adding more.
5. Once all the broth is absorbed, remove from heat and add Parmesan, Salt, Pepper and Artichokes.  Serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Return of Football Food

The first preseason game of the year is always a bit anticlimactic for me.  I get excited for it, I plan for it, and then I end up switching back and forth between the game and Chopped because all of my favorite players aren’t in the game at the same time and kicking a little Jaguar tail.  As much as I love Woodhead, I wouldn’t mind seeing a few other familiar players on the field.  Not to mention tonight’s Chopped episode has Amanda Freitag as a judge.  That woman rocks a kitchen.  She totally should have won The Next Iron Chef two seasons ago.

Even though we aren’t entertaining this evening, there is no sense in abandoning our usual corniness of creating a menu based on famous foods from the opponents hometown. And by our, I mean my.  In honor of Florida and their abundance of citrus fruit, we went with Orange Rosemary Pork Chops, Raw Squash Salad and a simple Herbed Rice.

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops
  • 4 Pork Chops
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • EVOO
  • 1 Shallot, Minced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • ⅓  Cup Orange Juice
  • ⅓  Cup Chicken Broth

1. Heat EVOO in large skillet over Medium High heat.  While pan is warming, season the Chops with Rosemary, Salt and Pepper.  Brown Chops for 5 minutes per side and transfer to serving platter.  Cover to keep warm.
2. Add Onion and Garlic to pan and saute until soft.  Add Juice and Broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil and reduce by half, approximately 3 minutes.
3. Pour of Chops and serve with rice.

Raw Squash Salad
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • 2 medium Yellow Squash
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint or Basil
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • ½ tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3 slices prosciutto,extra thick, chopped
  • ¼ Cup crumbled Feta

1. Shave Zucchini and Squash into thin strips.  Discard seeds.  Place in a medium bowl and toss with salt.
2. Combine mint through pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk.  Pour over squash.  Toss.
3. Cook Proscuitto until crisp
4. Plate squash, top with Proscuitto and Feta.

Happy Cooking!