Saturday, September 6, 2014

Orange Mint Tea


This orange mint tea is the perfect drink for summer. It is sweet and fruity with a hint of mint. This tea has been made for many parties and it is always a favorite! It is so light and refreshing! 

To make just over a half gallon of tea you will need:
  • 3 & 1/2 cups of WATER
  • 1 cup of SUGAR
  • 4 single cup bags of ORANGE PEKOE TEA (any black tea will work)
  • 4 MINT SPRIGS
  • 4 (more) cups of WATER, cold
  • 1 cup ORANGE JUICE
  • 1/4 cup +  2 Tbs LEMON JUICE

Bring 3 & 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until it dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes

Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tea bags and the mint sprigs to the sugar water. Cover the pot and let the tea steep for 5 minutes


After 5 minutes use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and the mint. 


Stir in the 4 cups of cold water, the orange juice, and the lemon juice.


Serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig!


It is even more refreshing than it looks!





Orange Mint Tea
Ingredients:
  • 3 & 1/2 cups of WATER
  • 1 cup of SUGAR
  • 4 single cup bags of ORANGE PEKOE TEA (any black tea will work)
  • MINT SPRIGS
  • 4 (more) cups of WATER, cold
  • 1 cup ORANGE JUICE
  • 1/4 cup +  2 Tbs LEMON JUICE
    Directions:
    1. Bring 3 & 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until it dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes
    2. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the tea bags and the mint sprigs to the sugar water. Cover the pot and let the tea steep for 5 minutes
    3. After 5 minutes use a slotted spoon to remove the tea bags and the mint. 
    4. Stir in the 4 cups of cold water, the orange juice, and the lemon juice.
    5. Serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig!


      This original version of this recipe can be found at the following link: http://www.recipe.com/minted-iced-tea/ 

      Monday, September 1, 2014

      Lobster Rolls


      A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to splurge on groceries for the week and make these lobster rolls. Let me tell you, it was worth it! Imagine sweet, buttery lobster placed over crisp lettuce, and topped with a spicy mayo all on a grilled bun. Delicious. 

      To make 4 lobster rolls you will need:
      • 4 steamed LOBSTER TAILS
      • 3 Tbs + 2 Tbs BUTTER, melted
      • 1/4 of an ONION, finely chopped
      • 4 NEW ENGLAND STYLE BUNS (you could just square off the sides of 4 hot dog buns)
      • 8 BIBB LETTUCE LEAVES (I used romaine because my grocery store was out of Bibb lettuce)
      • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
      • 1 Tbs RED WINE VINEGAR
      • SALT & PEPPER, to taste
      • 1/2 cup of SPICY MAYO (see recipe below)
      • 1 Tbs CHIVES, minced
      • Optional: LEMON WEDGES
      For the spicy mayo you will need: (DON'T SKIP THIS! It makes the whole dish! (I also put this on sandwiches!))
      • 1/2 cup HELLMANN'S MAYO
      • 1 Tbs DIJON MUSTARD
      • 1/2 tsp MUSTARD POWDER
      • 1/2 tsp LEMON JUICE
      • 1/4 tsp OLD BAY
      • 1/4 tsp SRIRACHA HOT SAUCE (add more if you like spicy food!) 

      Start off by making the spicy mayo. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix!


      Whisk up the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then dress the lettuce with the mixture. 


      Take 3 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it onto the cut (outer) sides of the buns.


      Grill each side of the buns until golden brown. 


      Take the cooked lobster meat out of the shell and cut it into bite sized pieces.


      Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot and then saute the onion in the butter.


      Toss the lobster in the butter and onion.


      Assemble the lobster rolls by placing the lettuce leaves into each bun, add the buttery lobster, drizzle on the spicy mayo, and lastly garnish with chives and lemon juice.


      Then enjoy!






      Lobster Rolls
      Ingredients:

      To make 4 lobster rolls you will need:
      • 4 steamed LOBSTER TAILS
      • 3 Tbs + 2 Tbs BUTTER, melted
      • 1/4 of an ONION, finely chopped
      • NEW ENGLAND STYLE BUNS (you could just square off the sides of 4 hot dog buns)
      • BIBB LETTUCE LEAVES (I used romaine because my grocery store was out of Bibb lettuce)
      • 2 Tbs OLIVE OIL
      • 1 Tbs RED WINE VINEGAR
      • SALT & PEPPER, to taste
      • 1/2 cup of SPICY MAYO (see recipe below)
      • 1 Tbs CHIVES, minced
      • Optional: LEMON WEDGES
      For the spicy mayo you will need: (DON'T SKIP THIS! It makes the whole dish! I also put this on sandwiches!)
      • 1/2 cup HELLMANN'S MAYO
      • 1 Tbs DIJON MUSTARD
      • 1/2 tsp MUSTARD POWDER
      • 1/2 tsp LEMON JUICE
      • 1/4 tsp OLD BAY
      • 1/4 tsp SRIRACHA HOT SAUCE (add more if you like spicy food!) 
      Directions:
      1. Start off by making the spicy mayo. Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix!
      2. Whisk up the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then dress the lettuce with the mixture. 
      3. Take 3 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it onto the cut (outer) sides of the buns. Grill each side of the buns until golden brown. 
      4. Take the cooked lobster meat out of the shell and cut it into bite sized pieces.
      5. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot and then saute the onion in the butter. Toss the lobster in the butter and onion.
      6. Assemble the lobster rolls by placing the lettuce leaves into each bun, add the buttery lobster, drizzle on the spicy mayo, and lastly garnish with chives and lemon juice.



        This original version of this recipe can be found at the following link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/lobster-roll.html


        Wednesday, August 20, 2014

        #EverythingIsAwesome Breakfast Burrito


        I made this for the first time a few weeks ago and I haven't stopped thinking about it since! In my household this steak and egg burrito is affectionately known as the "#EverythingIsAwesome Breakfast Burrito." The tender, juicy steak is paired with sweet onions, and then combined with scrambled eggs and creamy, nutty gruyere cheese. It is simply wonderful. There is nothing ground breaking about this dish, but the combination of flavors just work! Excuse me while I make an emergency trip to the grocery store so I can make this now...

        To make 2 dinner servings (4 wraps) you will need:
        • 1 Tbs BUTTER
        • 1 small ONION, sliced thin
        • 8 oz. STRIP STEAK
        • 3 EGGS
        • 4 medium sized TORTILLAS (we used the "fajita" sized)
        • 1/2 cup GRUYERE CHEESE
        • SALT & PEPPER, to taste

        Melt the butter in a skillet and then saute the onions in the butter for about 15 minutes or until they are caramelized. 


        While the onion is caramelizing, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and season the steak with salt and pepper.



        Once the cast-iron pan is hot, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side.

        Note: The cook time will depend on how thick your steaks are. Our steaks were extremely thin so they cooked up after 2 minutes on each side. If your steaks are fairly thick you may need to cook them for up to 5-6 minutes on each side.

        When the steaks are cooked, take them off of the heat and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes. While the steak is resting, whisk up the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and then scramble them until sightly firm.


        After the steak has had time to rest, slice it thinly against the grain.


        To assemble the wrap, spoon some of the scrambled eggs onto the tortilla, lay a few pieces of steak on top, add some grilled onions, and lastly top with the gruyere cheese.


        How beautiful does that look?!? I would eat this every week if I could!


        Ok, I'm going to have to make this again soon... writing up this recipe has made me hungry!






        Steak & Egg Burrito

        Ingredients:
        • 1 Tbs BUTTER
        • 1 small ONION, sliced thin
        • 8 oz. STRIP STEAK
        • EGGS
        • 4 medium sized TORTILLAS (we used the "fajita" sized)
        • 1/2 cup GRUYERE CHEESE
        • SALT PEPPER, to taste
            Directions:
            1. Melt the butter in a skillet and then saute the onions in the butter for about 15 minutes or until they are caramelized. 
            2. While the onion is caramelizing, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and season the steak with salt and pepper.
            3. Once the cast-iron pan is hot, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side.
              • Note: The cook time will depend on how thick your steaks are. Our steaks were extremely thin so they cooked up after 2 minutes on each side. If your steaks are fairly thick you may need to cook them for up to 5-6 minutes on each side.
            4. When the steaks are cooked, take them off of the heat and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.
            5. While the steak is resting, whisk up the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and then scramble them until sightly firm. 
            6. After the steak has had time to rest, slice it thinly against the grain.
            7. To assemble the wrap, spoon some of the scrambled eggs onto the tortilla, lay a few pieces of steak on top, add some grilled onions, and lastly top with the gruyere cheese. 



                  I adapted this recipe from one that I saw on the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/steak-and-egg-burrito.html

                  Saturday, August 16, 2014

                  Ina's "Perfect" Pie Crust


                  I have been on a quest to find a good pie crust for awhile now and this is the best one I have found so far! The crust is tender, flakey, and delicious! Thank you Ina Garten! 

                  To make one 9 inch pie crust or two smaller 6 inch pie crusts (like the pictures shown in this post) you will need:
                  • 6 Tbs UNSALTED BUTTER
                  • 1 & 1/2 cup FLOUR
                  • 1 & 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                  • 1/2 tsp SALT
                  • 3 Tbs VEGETABLE SHORTENING
                  • 1/4 cup ICE WATER

                  Before you start, make sure that your butter is very cold! I usually cut the butter into cubes and then pop it in into the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)!


                  Use a food processor and pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. 


                  Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening to the food processor. Pulse another 6-8 times or until the contents start to look like course meal with pea sized butter chunks.


                  Start adding the ice water a little bit at a time, pulsing in between. (If you have a food processor you can slowly drizzle the water into the feed tube while pulsing.) When the mixture begins to clump together you have added enough water. Pinch the dough in between your fingers to see if it holds together. The 1/4 cup water specified in the recipe should do the trick, but if it is still crumbly and falls apart in your fingers add a little bit more. Be careful not to add too much water though or else the crust will be tough! 


                  Once the dough starts to clump together, dump the dough onto a clean and dry surface. Take the heel of your palm and press it down into the dough in order to 'shmoosh' the butter and flatten it into layers. Then carefully shape the dough into a disk. 

                  Look at all of the butter clumps! This will create an extra flaky crust!


                  Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days).


                  Once the dough is chilled, unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick


                  Next, place the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Carefully press the dough into the corners of the pan so that the dough lines the bottom and sides of the pan. (The picture below is a 6 inch pie plate.)


                  Then tuck the overhanging dough on the edges under itself and pinch with your fingers. Pour in your pie filling and bake at 400 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes!


                  I made a strawberry pie, but you could use any filling you want!






                  Pie Crust
                  Ingredients:
                  • 6 Tbs UNSALTED BUTTER
                  • 1 & 1/2 cup FLOUR
                  • 1 & 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                  • 1/2 tsp SALT
                  • 3 Tbs VEGETABLE SHORTENING
                  • 1/4 cup ICE WATER
                  Directions:
                  1. Before you start, make sure that your butter is very cold! I usually cut the butter into cubes and then pop it in into the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)!
                  2. Use a food processor and pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. 
                  3. Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening to the food processor. Pulse another 6-8 times or until the contents start to look like course meal with pea sized butter chunks.
                  4. Start adding the ice water a little bit at a time, pulsing in between. (If you have a food processor you can slowly drizzle the water into the feed tube while pulsing.) When the mixture begins to clump together you have added enough water. 
                    • Pinch the dough in between your fingers to see if it holds together. The 1/4 cup water specified in the recipe should do the trick, but if it is still crumbly and falls apart in your fingers add a little bit more. Be careful not to add too much water though or else the crust will be tough! 
                  5. Once the dough starts to clump together, dump the dough onto a clean and dry surface.
                  6. Take the heel of your palm and press it down into the dough in order to 'shmoosh' the butter and flatten it into layers. This will create an extra flaky crust! Then carefully shape the dough into a disk.
                  7. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days).
                  8. Once the dough is chilled, unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick
                  9. Next, place the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Carefully press the dough into the corners of the pan so that the dough lines the bottom and sides of the pan. Then tuck the overhanging dough on the edges under itself and pinch with your fingers. 
                  10. Pour in your pie filling and bake at 400 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes!



                    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

                    Grilled Cauliflower


                    I know grilled cauliflower doesn't sound that exciting, but it is! I was pleasantly surprised how much the flavor changed after being grilled. It went from being kind of flavorless and spongy to having a softer texture with a smoky almost nutty flavor! This has become one of my new favorite things to grill!

                    All you need is:
                    • 1 head of CAULIFLOWER
                    • OLIVE OIL
                    • SALT
                    • PEPPER

                    Preheat your grill or oven and cut up the cauliflower. (If you use an oven preheat it to 450 degrees F.) We cut the cauliflower into "steaks" but you could also just cut it into little florets. 


                    Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the grill or oven is hot, put the cauliflower on to cook for about 20 minutes or until it is tender. 


                    Look at the color on that cauliflower! That's where the flavor comes from!


                    Next time you grill, definitely give cauliflower a shot!






                    Grilled Cauliflower
                    Ingredients:
                    • 1 head of CAULIFLOWER
                    • OLIVE OIL
                    • SALT
                    • PEPPER
                    Directions:
                    1. Preheat your grill or oven and cut up the cauliflower. (If you use an oven preheat it to 450 degrees F.) We cut the cauliflower into "steaks" but you could also just cut it into little florets. 
                    2. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
                    3. Once the grill or oven is hot, put the cauliflower on to cook for about 20 minutes or until it is tender. 




                      Sunday, August 10, 2014

                      Beef Stew


                      This stew was one of the first recipes that I ever made by myself (other than scrambled eggs and boxed cakes). I based it on a recipe I found online and then adapted it for what I had in my pantry. I have now made this stew many times and it is one of my favorite winter meals. The stew is warm, hearty, and rich in flavor! 

                      To make 2-3 serving of this beef stew you will need:
                      • 2 Tbs VEGETABLE OIL
                      • 1 lb. BEEF STEW MEAT (could also use chuck roast and cut it into 1 inch cubes)
                      • 1 ONION, chopped 
                      • 3 GARLIC cloves, minced
                      • 1 Tbs TOMATO PASTE
                      • 3 cups BEEF STOCK
                      • 2 BAY LEAVES
                      • 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                      • 1/4 tsp PEPPER
                      • 1/4 tsp ALLSPICE
                      • 1/4 tsp PAPRIKA
                      • 1 Tbs WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
                      • 3-4 CARROTS, chopped
                      • 1 lb. POTATOES, peeled and cubed 
                      • 1-2 cups WATER

                      Pour the vegetable oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the beef in the oil. 


                      When the beef is browned, but not necessarily cooked through (it will continue to cook throughout the rest of the preparation) stir in the onion, garlic, and tomato paste.


                      Next, stir in the beef stock, bay leaves, sugar, pepper, allspice, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and allow the stew to simmer for about 1 & 1/2 hours.


                      Add the carrots and potatoes. If the liquid does not mostly cover the meat and vegetables, add 1-2 cups of water. Then simmer for another 30 minutes.

                      (Not enough liquid!)
                      (Perfect!)
                      Once the carrots and potatoes are tender, taste the broth and season as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve! 


                      The beef tastes tender and juicy while to potatoes are soft and flavorful! This is a great comfort dish!



                      I am already looking forward to making this again!





                      Beef Stew
                      Ingredients:
                      • 2 Tbs VEGETABLE OIL
                      • 1 lb. BEEF STEW MEAT (could also use chuck roast and cut it into 1 inch cubes)
                      • ONION, chopped 
                      • GARLIC cloves, minced
                      • 1 Tbs TOMATO PASTE
                      • 3 cups BEEF STOCK
                      • BAY LEAVES
                      • 1/2 tsp SUGAR
                      • 1/4 tsp PEPPER
                      • 1/4 tsp ALLSPICE
                      • 1/4 tsp PAPRIKA
                      • 1 Tbs WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
                      • 3-4 CARROTS, chopped
                      • 1 lb. POTATOES, peeled and cubed 
                      • 1-2 cups WATER
                      Directions:
                      1. Pour the vegetable oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the beef in the oil. 
                      2. When the beef is browned, but not necessarily cooked through (it will continue to cook throughout the rest of the preparation) stir in the onion, garlic, and tomato paste.
                      3. Next, stir in the beef stock, bay leaves, sugar, pepper, allspice, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and allow the stew to simmer for about 1 & 1/2 hours.
                      4. Add the carrots and potatoes. If the liquid does not mostly cover the meat and vegetables, add 1-2 cups of water. Then simmer for another 30 minutes.
                      5. Once the carrots and potatoes are tender, taste the broth and season as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve! 


                        The recipe I based this one on was Paula's: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/old-time-beef-stew-recipe/index.html