Thursday, March 31, 2011

Deep fried what?!!

  Pickles!  Okay I know what you are thinking, that is gross.  Maybe it is, I don't know, but when I had these the other day I HAD to find a recipe for them.  Try 'em out and see what you think!

Deep Fried Pickles

adapted from Jennifer Clement of Maggie's Pickle Cafe


  • 12 dill pickle spears, chilled
  • Egg wash, recipe follows
  • Breading, recipe follows
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Ranch dressing for dippin'


Using very cold dill pickle spears, dip pickle into egg wash and then coat with breading.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.
In a deep fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees F. Alternatively, heat oil in a large, heavy pot suitable for deep-frying. Carefully add chilled pickle spears, in batches, to the hot oil and fry for about 3 1/2 minutes or until golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with Ranch dressing.


Egg Wash:
1 cups milk
1 eggs
Pinch lemon pepper
Pinch dill weed
Pickle juice

1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lemon pepper
1/4 cup dill weed
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons garlic salt
Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

For egg wash: In a baking dish, whisk all ingredients together, except pickle juice. Add pickle juice, to taste, and whisk to combine.
For breading: Combine all ingredients in a baking dish.

Eat funky well my friends!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The family that eats together...eats more together!!

Do you have a person in your life that just makes you laugh so hard that you literally can't breath some times?  I am lucky enough to have 6 incredible women in my life that leave me in stitches every time I am around them and this past weekend was no exception. My crazy sisters, awesome Mom and I lived, laughed, and of course ATE it up for our "Sneak Attack" getaway.  I'm usually not one for glutenous behavior, but man, it was fun this weekend to enjoy a wide array of culinary tastes that Utah had to offer.

My sister, who just happens to be 8 months pregnant with her first girl (she already has 3 boys!) and who was had no idea we were coming to visit her (we are sneaky like that) just so happened to meet us all at Siegfried's of Salt Lake City.  Siegfried's is an fantastic German restaurant that offers a huge menu of traditional German entrees, sides and a great "build your own sandwich" option.  It is also has terrific grocery selection that makes you want to hop on the next plane to Berlin.   Between all us gals, who had only eaten a handful of stale airplane pretzels and a swig of flat Diet Coke, ended up ordering a few Reubens, Bratwurst, Knockwurst, warm German potato salad, spaetzle, and rotkhol.  Oh and did I mention that we also piled on a German chocolate cake, cheesecake, and a chocolate hazelnut cake?  We know how to party!  The Reuben was the best I have ever had.  Flavorful, juicy and very filling.  Perfect meat to sauerkraut ratio and was grilled up right before my eyes.  Dee-lish!  The Brats had a great snap to them and seriously were bursting with Germany goodness.  I loved their rotkhol, which is a sweet and sour red cabbage.  It had wonderful texture and fantastic bold zing to it.  Great German food and even more amazing was the company in which it was enjoyed with.
Siegfried's Deli on Urbanspoon

 The Garden
The next day of our visit, we collectively decided to skip breakfast.  Usually I advise against this, but considering we spent the entire night prior polishing off 3 bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs, coconut M&M's, and Reese's peanut butter eggs (dang Easter candy!!) it was a necessary action so we could thoroughly enjoy our lunch/baby shower at the Garden Restaurant.  Located in the Joseph Smith Memorial building in Temple Square, this restaurant had an awe-inspiring view of downtown Salt Lake City.  The environment is was so refreshing and light.  Beautiful, vibrant flowers decorated the dining area while a retractable glass roof opened to reveal a brilliant blue sky.  A perfect setting for a group of crazy sisters and their mom to gaggle and laugh the afternoon away.  Oh yes, and the food was divine as well.  I have to admit, after everything was ordered and eaten, I've decided that the BEST thing I had that afternoon was the fried pickle appetizer.  I don't know, maybe it's because it was a freakin' baby shower, but I must have been having sympathy cravings from my sister!  Regardless, these babies were so yummy!  Breaded in panko bread crumbs and deep fried to perfection, this appetizer was a pleasant surprise to my taste buds.  Mmm...

Here are a few of the entrees that were ordered.  A cool and crisp raspberry salad, which had a beautiful presentation with a crunchy fried plantain crisp.  The dressing was a vividly eye catching color, but was overly sweet for my liking .  Also a classic grilled cheese with tomato soup.  The tomato soup was warm, comforting and had a great depth to it's flavor and the sandwich was buttery and delicious, oozing cheesy goodness.  We also had the Philly cheese steak sandwich, which was good, but needed about twice as much meat for the roll it was served on.  Another deliciously spicy sandwich that graced our plates was the Cajun chicken sandwich.  It had a perfect blend of heat that was balanced with a cool guacamole.  We were provided with a wonderful meal and great service.  Our waiter even brought us a huge bowl of mints after my sister told him they were her favorite! Good man giving the pregnant woman what she wants!

I truly can not fathom how much food we ingested, and also what an absurd amount of fun we had in such a short amount of time. I also can't believe how hard I am working out this week to pay it off! Every bit worth it! I love my crazy, beautiful, jaw dropping, abundant, joyous, daring, inspiring, big hearted family! Here's to the next party! Until then, eat well my friends.

The Spaetzle, The Asiago, The Target, The German,
The Sugar High, Genghis Mom, and The Ruffle

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ode to camping

Some people may think that camping is nature's way of promoting the hotel industry, but I love to camp.  It's actually one of those things that my husband and I feel for each other doing.  Our courtship consisted of rock climbing adventures, mountain biking accidents and good ol' camping fun.  One time, a few weeks before we got married, we were sitting around the camp fire and "nature called".  I quietly muttered under my breath, "Dude, I hate peeing in the wilderness."  I went and did my thing and came sat back down next to my honey.  All of the sudden, he got icy cold with me.  We're talking wouldn't even hold my hand!  What had I done?  Was this the end of the dynamic duo?  After about 20 grueling minutes of intense silence I finally asked what on earth his problem was.  He looked me dead in the eyes and said, "I thought you liked camping and all this outdoor stuff.  You just said you hated being in the wilderness!!"   Oh the look of sheer joy and relief that washed across that poor man's face when I told him what I had really said was PRICELESS!  "Peeing Chad...not being!  Geez, man!"  Ah good times.  Here's to more stupendous camping memories to come!!

Smore's Bars

3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
18 whole graham crackers, crushed, about 3 cups
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 milk chocolate bars, approximately 1 1/2 ounces each
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in crushed graham crackers, flour, and salt. Reserve 1 cup of the graham cracker mixture and press remaining mixture over the bottom of a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Arrange chocolate bars, in a single layer, over graham cracker crust mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Crumbled reserved graham cracker mixture over the marshmallows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars. 

It's not the best camping weather here in WA just yet, but it's right around the corner...I can feel it!  Hopefully I can bribe the weather gods with these treats!  Eat well my friends!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't call it's KIMBAP!!

So as I mentioned earlier, when I was pregnant with my first crazy kiddo I was a Korean food fanatic. Something about the garlicky and spicy flavor combinations appeased my overwhelming desire to go....I'm just gonna stop there. We all know what pregnant people want to do most of the day. This is a food blog and I shall refrain from digressing. Moving on...When I was about 8 month pregnant and inhaling everything in sight, my husband and I were invited over for dinner by a group of crazy Korean bachelors.  They thought my hubby was a bit of an oddity being a young white dude and speaking perfectly good Korean. Needless to say, they thought they'd test him out to see how good he REALLY was.   They made us a delicious traditional Korean meal and had, I'm assuming (it was all in Korean), a great conversation with Chad.  I just sat back, ate and listened.  When I saw that they had made kimbap (pronounce khee-bahp) I told them that I LOVED sushi.
"No, no. This is not sushi! This, is Kimbap!"
Well, they told me.  They were a great group of guys and gave us a wonderful lil' baby gift that we still have hanging above our son's doorway...and he is 8!  So, here's to you boys of the Korean bachelor pad.  My recipe for KIMBAP!

Truly, it's not much of a recipe as it is a procedure.  You can really put whatever the heck you want in it. 

Some things that are traditionally found are:

fried egg
pickled radish (takuan)
imitation crab meat

The list could go on forever.  You could even do BBQ beef and coleslaw or chicken, spinach and bacon!!

Some items that you most definitely will need are:

  • Kim (roasted seaweed) - you can find this at any Asian market or I have even seen it at WalMart...if you are desperate.
  • 4 cups cooked rice, short grain.  Make sure the temp is warm.  Not hot, not cold...warm.
  • sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds, ok this is optional...but if sure makes it taste and look good!
  • bamboo rolling mat

First off, you will need to prep all of your fixings.  Try to cut everything about the same length and size.  I'm just nutty like that.  I also like to season my rice by mixing in a little of the sesame oil into it.  Remember, a little goes a long way!

Next, take your kim and put it on your bamboo mat.  Give about 3/4 of the kim a layer of rice (about 1 cup) leaving a 1/2 in border. 

 Then, at the bottom of you sheet you will want to put your fixings next to and on top of each other.  
Get them all comfy and cozy with each other.

Now, just roll with it baby.  You will want to try to tuck and roll to keep everything in. 

Right before you get to the end of the roll, wet the edge with a tiny bit of water and finish rolling.  Give it a few slight squeezes.  There is nothing too tricky this.  It may take a few attempts, but once you get the hang of it, it's a piece-o-cake.

To finish these little beauties up, gently slice through the rolls, wiping your knife every so often to prevent it from sticking.  Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds and KIMBAP!

Your finished product is a super healthy and fun snack.  You can dip them in soy sauce or just eat them plain.  Even my kiddos dig these lil' circles of deliciousness.  Get creative and experiment!  Let me know if you try them out, how it worked, and what you put in them.  Eat well my friends!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

#1 Korean BBQ

Kimchi...oh just the mention of it can make some people's nose hairs curl in disdain. As one of Korea's most well known foods, this funky fermented cabbage is an "acquired taste".   My husband, having immersed himself for 2 years in Korea and the Korean culture, hails himself to be some what of an expert on Korean cuisine.  When he first attempted to get me to eat kimchi, I literally turned my nose up at it.  I had to do some thing to get it away from its pungent fragrance.  But I did soften up and I was hooked on kimchi when I was pregnant with kiddo #1.  Yep, kimchi and cream filled doughnuts kept me content for a whole 9 months.  Don't let my hubby tell you otherwise!! 

In Lacey and Olympia, there are a few Korean restaurants.  One that my family and I have grown to really enjoy is the #1 Korean BBQ.  Family owned and operated, we are always greeted with a warm smile and seated quickly.  You have the option of eating at a regular table or, if you chose to, you can BBQ your own meat at one of their special  tables that has a grill in the middle of it.  You cook, they'll be happy with your food.

Their menu offers many authentic Korean dishes such as, Doenjang Jigae (a soybean paste soup), Bulgolgi (thinly sliced meat that has been marinated in a delicious sauce.  Literally means "fire meat" because you grill it up.), and Dolsot Bibimbap (a Korean "stir fry", if you will.  Usually served in a piping hot stone bowl.)

After ordering your entree  you will be brought 6-8 Korean side dishes called, Banchan.  Some of the most commonly served are kimchi, seasoned bean sprouts, roasted anchovies (don't be intimidated.  They are REALLY good!), spicy cucumbers, and pickled radishes.  I always feel like I am getting a meal before my meal with these.  Bonus!  They are very flavorful and a perfect way to start your meal. 

Dolsot bibimbap with egg on top.

On our most recent visit, my husband and I ordered the Dolsot Bibimbap and the Bulgolgi.  Both came out piping hot, one still cooking in a stone bowl (make sure you request that your bibimbap be "dolsot" if you want it in the stone bowl!) and the other sizzling on a cast iron skillet.  My husband always orders his bibimbap with an egg on top.  It may cost you an extra buck, but it makes the dish very tasty.  If you do order any of the different types of bibimbap, let the rice continue to cook on the sides of the bowl.  It becomes a lil' crispy layer of goodness that provides wonderful texture to the dish. A top the rice was various veggies and thinly sliced beef.  It was a little overcooked, but I think that is nature of Korean cuisine.  My hubby mixed everything together and added some gochujang (a chili pepper paste) to kick up the heat a notch.  The different flavors and textures make this dish a winner in my book!  My Bulgolgi was also a very rewarding dish.  The beef is marinated in a soy based sauce to provide an excellent flavor and enhance the tenderness of the meat.  They provide, lettuce leaves, whole cloves of garlic, and an excellent dipping sauce called samjang.  Wrap everything up in a lettuce leaf for little package full of flavor being delivered straightaway to your face!! 
Dolsot bibimbap all mixed up!

Even though I wouldn't consider this the best Korean food I have ever had, it is a great place to experience good Korean food.  Always fast, ALWAYS friendly, I feel confident in recommending others to go enjoy some delightful Korean eats there.  They also sell their homemade kimchi if you decide that it's something you just can't live without it. One last  thing that I love about this place is that they do offer a military discount of 10%.  You may leave this place smelling of something fierce, but your bellies will be full and satisfied.  Eat well my friends!
#1 Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Peppermint Patty's Day!

Ah the luck of the Irish.  Hopefully you are lucky enough to bust out some of these SUPER easy peppermint patties!  Happy St. Patty's Day my friends!!

Peppermint Patty

1  14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
6 cups powdered sugar, plus additional for kneading filling
1 1/2 pounds chocolate-flavored candy coating, melted
Green food coloring (optional)  

In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract and food coloring (optional). Add 6 cups sugar; beat on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with powdered sugar. Knead lightly to form smooth ball. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2-inch patty. 

Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. Put in freezer to harden up. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy PIE day!

Get it...cause it's March 14th...3.14 = pi.
Ok enough of the mathematics.  I'm not a therapist, so math will have to find solutions to its OWN problems.  I will, however, get on to the "PIE" part of this post.
Here's a recipe for my famous (ok nearly famous) French Silk Pie.  I will warn all of you that there is NOTHING healthy about this pie.  I'm not even going to pretend.  It is satiny smooth and beautifully rich, so I guess all you will need is a sliver.  Yah right, like every 10 minutes or so!!  Please send a link or comment with your favorite pie recipe!!

French Silk Pie

1 prepared pie crust  Here's a recipe I really like.  But smarter, not harder...Pillsbury will work too!!

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

In small saucepan, melt chocolate; cool.  In large bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Blend in chocolate and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed for 5 minutes after each addition.  Seriously, beat each one 5 minutes.  Don't skimp!!  Pour into baked crust.  Refrigerate least 2 hours before serving.  Garnish with  whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Try not to make yourself sick picking at the leftovers...I'm not speaking from experience or anything.  Now what's YOUR favorite pie recipe?  Eat well my friends!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday morning

Ah the day of blissful rest!  After an insanely fun week with the fam and some well needed (and deserved!!) vacation time, I have been thoroughly wiped out.  Whoever said they needed a vacation from their vacation, hit the nail on the head.  Whew!  What a crazy week.

This morning when I got up I thought, "I really want to make a nice breakfast for our last day of vacation, but I'm so freakin' exhausted!!"  Good thing I had some of my handy dandy Oatmeal Mix ready to go.  Taken from the Make-A-Mix Cookery book (can we say OLD SCHOOL?!),  this mix has an abundance of uses.  My all time favorite is the oatmeal muffins.  With it's sweet nutty flavor and moist texture it's sure to be a hit with the troops.  The wonderful thing is, you can make this mix ahead of time and just use it when you need it.  Sure beats buying the muffin mixes at the store.  Hope you enjoy!!

Oatmeal Mix

3 cups flour
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cup butter flavored shortening (I use butter.  You just have to make sure you use it up a little quicker.)
3 cups rolled oats

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Stir in brown sugar.  Mix well.  With pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed.  Stir in oats and mix well.  Makes about 9 cups.

Keep on reading cause here are 3 delicious recipes that you can make using this mix...

Oatmeal Muffins

1 egg
2/3 cup milk
3 cups Oatmeal Mix

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  Put Oatmeal Mix in a large bowl.  Combine egg and milk in smaller bowl.  Add all at once to Oatmeal Mix.  Stir until just moistened.  Yes, your batter will be lumpy.  Don't freak!  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake 15-20 minutes.  Deeee-lish!!

Oat Pancakes

1-1/2 cups Oatmeal Mix
1 cup water
1 egg, slightly beaten

Combine all your ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cook on your hot griddle for 3-4 minutes each side.  Serve it up with your favorite topping like this yummy buttermilk syrup or my son refuses to put anything on them.  They are that good!!

Oatmeal Cookies

1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 cups Oatmeal Mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix wet ingredients together.  Add Oatmeal Mix and cinnamon and stir until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until edges are browned.  Makes about 24 cookies...that is, if you don't eat all the dough like I usually do!!

Well, hope you try out this really easy and versatile mix.  It will make you home smell like heaven on a lazy Sunday morning!!  Eat well my friends.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Iron Rabbit

Freakin' INCREDIBLE!  Okay, I think that sums this one up....oh alright, I got more than that!  I recently watched a friend's kiddo and she insisted on compensating me some how.  I politely refused, but she is a wonderful human being and suggested that she take me out to lunch.  Now, I'm never one to turn down a lunch, especially if it is kids free.  I accepted her invitation to dine at the Iron Rabbit.  Needless to say I will now be changing my first born son's name to Iron Rabbit Hills.  I think it flows quite nicely.

Located in the heart of Olympia, WA, Iron Rabbit is a hidden gem.  The dark wood and rustic brick gave the restaurant an atmosphere of warmth and comfort.  Kind of an urban pub feel.  Our waitress was extremely joyous and bubbly, but did not hover and was very helpful when we were trying to decide what to order.
Because Iron Rabbit offers local and seasonal foods, the menu is constantly changing.  Their lunch menu provides mouthwatering hamburgers, delicious wraps, and  more.  The dinner menu is a bit more extensive and provides entrees such as Flat Iron Steak, Fish and Chips and even a Thai Curry Noodle.  Prices ranges from $10-$15, and I would gladly pay more for their flavorful fare!!  Another thing that I was so impressed with was the fact that they offer vegan and vegetarian meals.  They also welcome any special requests and "highly encourage" free refills on your drinks.  Love that!
During this particular visit, at the recommendation of our lovely waitress, I ordered the Sicilian Burger.  All of Iron Rabbit's burgers are hand forged...and delicious.  A balsamic glaze was drizzled over the meaty goodness which was also was topped with a slab of creamy goat cheese.  My hamburger-o-love was accompanied by roasted garlic, (I'm talking whole cloves!!) red onions, roasted red peppers and a pesto aioli.  Holy deliciousness!  The burger was so jam packed with flavor and incredibly juicy.  My mouth is watering as a I type.  I literally only had to eat about a third of this burger and was completely satisfied.  It seems like sometimes you get a burger and just keep eating it so you can find the flavor, oh but this one...there was no hiding the abundance of flavor.  Another high note was the side that I got along with my burger.  You can get french fries, but I highly recommend that you get the Pot O Fire as your side.  They are homemade red potato chips that are drizzled with an amazing secret sauce.  Our waitress wouldn't reveal all of the ingredients, but she did let us know there was ginger...yep, that's all she gave us!  Whatever is in it, it is divine.  To top it all off, it is sprinkled with Gorgonzola cheese.  Heaven...I'm in Heaven!  To end our meal, my friend and I split a Bread Pudding that had a wonderful dense texture and was swimming in a pool of their caramel whiskey sauce.  I just wanted to dive in there and join the scrumptious pool party. 

Everything from the atmosphere, service, and most definitely the food was top notch!  There is an absurd amount of passion that has gone into making this place a a fantastic dining establishment.  Please do your life a favor and go eat there...NOW!
Eat well my friends!!

Iron Rabbit on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hospital food?

The other day my husband came home raving about a salad he had in, of all places, the hospital cafeteria. I thought all they served there was watered down chicken noodle soup, bologna on white bread and maybe a carrot and raisin salad to "add some color". Apparently this place has some high class tastes and is serving up a delicious Thai inspired salad with sliced bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, cucumbers and mouth watering dressing.
Chad, my dear husband, busted out the knives and mixing bowls and started to experiment. *SLICE,SLICE, SLICE...CHOP,CHOP, CHOP* I just sat back and listened as the man took over dinner. What he produced was a very colorful and vibrant salad that had a wonderfully refreshing and clean taste. I'd say that's super sexy, but my mom might be reading.
Originally, we used an Asian style dressing to top this salad, but after a little experimenting and tweaking, I think I've come up with a really fantastic Thai peanut dressing that pairs nicely with the salad. Throw in some grilled chicken and BAM! you have a healthy, balanced meal!

Thai Peanut Salad

1 bag coleslaw mix cabbage (not the one with the dressing in it.  Just the cabbage and carrots. You could also slice up your own cabbage and julienne all those lil' carrots, but come on...smarter not harder!)
1 bunch cilantro, ends trimmed
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchstick slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick slices
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced and cut into halves
3 grilled chicken breast, sliced (please, by all means, make sure you season you chicken before grilling!)
chopped, dry roasted peanuts (optional)

Put the cabbage on the bottom a serving bowl and top with cilantro.  Add the remainder of your veggies and chicken.  Make it look pretty people!  Toss with an Asian style dressing or the following Thai peanut dressing.  Top with the chopped peanuts.

Thai Peanut Dressing

6 T creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 T rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T sesame oil
1 T fresh, minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lime juice

Throw everything in the blender and just go for it.  Blend until smooth.
Make sure you don't overdress.  A little goes a LONG way!!

Eat well my friends!!