Entries Tagged as 'blogging events'

SMACKDOWN! Vietnamese Grilled Pork Balls and Lemongrass Beef

Wanna bite?

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Recipes to Rival–Tamales!

Hello dear readers!  I’m sorry I haven’t been writing much lately…I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  My cuh-RAY-zee meds got screwed up and it really sort of effed me right up.  Things are better now…ye olde kinks have been worked out and I’m back to being only an average level of mental rather than full on nuts.  This is a good thing…because today I have a special treat for y’all.  Tamales!

Last month I read on someone’s blog about a new group called Recipes to Rival (to find out how to join, scroll down the sidebar), which is kind of a savory counterpart to the Daring Bakers…

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Attention Potato Salad Police: Rogue Potato Salad Spotted

Attention all units…a rogue potato salad has been spotted at the canaryhouse.  Please use extreme caution when approaching…this salad has NO recipe.  It has NOT been tested 100 times.  If you see this salad, grab a fork and sit down quickly.  Quietly.  And apprehend that sucker before anyone tries to get in the way. 

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Melissa at Alosha’s Kitchen had a run in with the folks at Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, where she had adapted a recipe of theirs, noted her changes and credited the source…but that was apparently unacceptable behavior, because their recipes are PERFECT and are not to be changed by anyone, fer cryin’ out loud.  In my opinion, they can stuff their so called perfect recipe.  Recipes are *meant* to be changed, adapted, and perfected in our own ways.  Perfection in the kitchen isn’t measured in precise measurements and techniques, it comes from being creative, being happy and having fun.  If the folks over at CC/ATK/CI don’t see that, well, there’s something wrong in *their* kitchen. 

So, with that, I offer you my humble potato salad.  I’ll give you the ingredients I used, but I’m not posting a recipe, just the ingredient list. Personal adaptation and creative expression are encouraged. I was out of celery, so there’s none in there, but hey…I worked with what I had, and it tasted freaking awesome.  SO there.  I’d also like to enter this subversive salad into this month’s Potato Ho Down Event, hosted by Evil Chef Mom

Yes indeed…not only do I have rogue non-recipes, I’m a ho too. ;)  Deal with it. lol


potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced
boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
red onion
celery (if you’ve got it)
sour cream (or quark cheese or Greek yogurt)
red wine vinegar
salt and cracked black pepper


Mix up the dressing ingredients and pour over chopped potatoes and eggs.
Feel free to add more stuff like peas, peppers, green onion etc.
Taste it to make sure you like the seasonings and the tang factor.
Let sit in the fridge for an hour or so.
It’s even better the next day.

Michelle’s Incredible Lentil Salad

Do all of you know Michelle at Thursday Night Smackdown? If you don’t?  Get over to her site right now! I’ll wait.

No, seriously, I will.

Isn’t she great? She has the best sense of humor, and her blog is filled with delectable goodies ranging from appies to salads to mains to desserts. I discovered TNS a few months ago, and it has quickly become one of my “first reads” in the morning. Thursdays are “Smackdown” days. Michelle chooses a recipe from one her many cookbooks and makes it. Mondays are “Cheap Assed” days, where she uses pantry staples and inexpensive ingredients to make incredible meals for *under* *$5!* per serving. With today’s economy, that is one hell of a bonus! You may remember her Extreme Rotini and Cheese, that I am totally claiming as my own from now on (sorry Michelle! lol) As of late, she has been making meal after incredible meal…all spot on with my tastes. It’s as if she were trying to seduce me with her cooking. You’re not, are you, Michelle? lmfao I’m just teasing. It’s just that…I dunno…awesome food…swearing…getting my funny on…well, it’s just the best, that’s all. It’s like one stop blog shopping. Treats! Snark! Giggle! See what I mean?

So anyway…the other day she made this incredible looking lentil salad. Lentils! Salad! I’m so there. Not only is this salad good, it’s EXCELLENT. I even cheated. I didn’t cook my lentils with the oh so fun to make cloved onion. I used a jar of lentils. That I had in the pantry. Then added the ever so smallest pinch of ground cloves to the salad. Nobody noticed that I hadn’t spent that extra hour plus cooling time. See that? And? AND I was frugal, because I used pantry goods, as well as basil from my leetle basil plant on the patio.  I also subbed Feta cheese, because that’s what I had.  That salad was free! I had everything in the house. I bet you do, too.

Now, there are a couple of events that I want to participate in. My very good friend Shaye, at Smarter than Pancakes had a birthday recently, and would like us to bring something to her Birthday Picnic!

I’m bringing this salad. Not only because it’s freaking fabulous, but because it’s a dish that lends itself *perfectly* to an afternoon outside with friends. So, Happy Birthday, Shaye! MUAC!

Grace at A Southern Grace is also hosting an event, called Beat the Heat! 

that I’d like to participate in, seeing as it’s hot as Hades round here, and we’re all looking for refreshing dishes to combat the scorching heat of summer. The catch?  No heating up the kitchen!  Microwaves and ice-cream makers are allowed, but not the stove or oven or any other heat emitting appliance.  Grace, check this salad OUT man. Seriously. If this doesn’t beat the heat, maybe we’ll have to have a beer with it or something. ;) lol

Empanada of the Month! Empanadas Mendocinas

empanadas mendocinas 

The lovely Rebecca at From Argentina with Love is hosting “Empanada of the Month!”and you know I just couldn’t resist participating.  Empanadas (or empanadillas as these little ones are called over here) are basically beautifully flaky pastry wrapped around the filling of your choosing.  They’re like little pillows of crispy on the outside, flavor explosion on the inside.  The variety is endless…you can fill them with meat (as in this case), fish, vegetables, cheese or even custard and/or fruit for dessert empanadas.

empanadas mendocinas 

Empanadas Mendocinas are basically filled with ground beef, onion, olive slices and a slice of hard boiled egg, with a bit of bite from the crushed red pepper.  The first time we tried Empanadas Mendocinas was (if you can believe it! lol) at our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant, Calabria.  Before you think we’re goofy for ordering Argentinian food at an Italian place, let me explain.  The owners and all of the workers are native Argentinians.  Of course, that doesn’t detract from their ability to make incredible Italian food…one of these days I’ll tote my camera along so you can see.  :)   So anyway, back to the story.  One of the appetizer menu items is empanadas, so we asked what they were and she explained.  Well, that was the end of that!  Bring it on out!  We want that!  So, we had our first delicious taste of these little bites.  Since then, we order them as an appetizer every time we go.

I was thrilled when Rebecca graciously invited me to join in her Empanada of the Month event, and really excited to get my little paws on her recipe.  It’s incredibly good, you guys.  Incredibly good.  I didn’t add the lard at all…The ground beef I bought had a bit of marbling, so I just left it out in the interest of lowering calories.  I think the next time I would perhaps add just a bit more olive (one slice just ain’t enough for my greedy olive loving self lol), but other than that, wouldn’t change a thing. 

The Best Cup-o-Noodles You’ll Ever Eat! Creamy Pesto Penne

Fresh basil is abound at the vegetable markets, and you know what that means! Pesto! Lots and lots of pesto! It’s such an easy sauce to make, and goes oh so wonderfully well with, well, with *everything!* lol Would you believe the very first time I ever had pesto was at the Renaissance Fair in Southern Minnesota? There was a stand there that had freshly baked dense bread slathered with pesto. I think I went back to that stand like 5 times that day. lmfao Of course after that fateful day, I had to learn to make it on my own. Well, that was over 20 years ago already (and you better not make any old jokes either! :P ), and pesto still pays regular visits to my table. And by regular? I mean like at least once a week.


See those pine nuts in there? Yum. Pine nuts are soooo good…One of my first visits to Spain, we went up to a little town called Ávila. While walking, one of my friends picked up a gigantic pine cone and started eating from it. I was all like, “WHAT are you doing?” And she started laughing at me and showed me that she was eating the fresh pine nuts, straight from the cone. OMG! Free pine nuts! All over the place! Well, needless to say, we picked up a bunch of those suckers and had our fill of those delicious little nuggets. Good times, good times.

And while I’m on the subject of good times, Tony at Olive Juice is having a pesto event (It’s actually part of a series of events called, A Taste of the Mediterranean)!


Doesn’t that sound like fun?! Why don’t you join in and submit one of your own pesto dishes? This time, I’m submitting my old standby, Creamy Pesto Penne. I already have plans for another pesto dish this weekend, too. :D

creamy pesto penne


4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (to toast pine nuts, just toss them in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and aromatic)
1 large bunch basil (by large, I mean about 3 cups leaves), stemmed
1 small bunch parsley (about a cup), stemmed
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (about)
3 cups cream
1 pound (1/2 kilo) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 pound (1/2 kilo) penne


Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, make pesto.
Using a food processor, first process garlic, then add basil and parsley and process until finely chopped.
Now toss in the parmesan, salt and pepper and pulse until combined.
In a steady stream, add enough olive oil to bind the pesto (so it sticks together, but isn’t liquid-y).
Add in pine nuts and pulse to combine, you don’t want to break them up entirely..those little nuggets are good! :)
Mix about 1/3 of the pesto with the chicken strips.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Saute chicken until cooked through, then add cream and stir to combine.
Heat through, then remove from heat and add the remaining pesto and stir to combine.
Drain the pasta, and then toss with the creamy pesto sauce and chicken.
Serve with extra parmesan if you like.
Try not to die of happiness and joy with each bite. ;)

Penne con Pollo y Salsa de Pesto Cremoso

4 dientes de ajo
1/2 vaso piñones, ligeramente tostado
1 manojo grande de albahaca fresca, (unos 3 vasos)
1 manojo pequeño de perejil (un vaso)
1/2 vaso queso parmesano recientemente rallado, y mas para servir
sal y pimienta al gusto
1/4 vaso (mas o menos) aceite de oliva virgen
3 vasos nata
1/2 kilo pechuga de pollo en tiras
1/2 kilo pasta penne rigate


Preparar pasta según el paquete.
Mientras tanto, preparar el pesto.
Utilizando el robot de cocina, procesar ajo primero.
A continuación, añadir la albahaca y el perejil y procesar hasta que estén picaditos.
Ahora añadir el parmesano, la sal y la pimienta y procesar.
Verter el aceite poco a poco hasta que el pesto esté homogéneo, pero no líquido.
Añadir los piñones y pulsar un poco, no quieres romperlos del todo–que son buenos! :)
Mezclar la tercera parte de pesto con el pollo.
Calentar una sartén sobre fuego medio fuerte y rociar con aceite de oliva.
Saltear pollo y pesto hasta que esté hecho, y a continuación, añadir la nata.
Calentar solo hasta que la nata esté caliente, y retirar del fuego.
Añadir el pesto que sobra y mezclar bien.
Escurrir la pasta y mezclar con la salsa y el pollo.
Servir con parmesano si quieres.
Intentar no morirse de gusto y felicidad con cada mordisco. ;)

I would also like to thank Elle at Elle’s New England Kitchen for awarding me an I love you this much award!

i love you this much

Thank you so much, Elle! I love YOU that much and MORE!!! MUAC!!! :D

I’d like to pass this award on to some great bloggers:

Nina at Nina’s Kitchen
Judy at No Fear Entertaining
Ginny at Just Get Floury
Gloria at Canela’s Kitchen
Brenda at Flanboyant Eats


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