February 9, 2017

Mango Inspired Curry with a very Special Ingredient

I am not ashamed to admit that I read cookbooks like romance novels. Yes I just compared cookbooks to romance novels and with good reason......FOODGASMS!

If I had to pick one cuisine that has the most potential to create a Foodgasm it would have to be Thai food!! I kid you not every city I go to I always look for the best hole in the wall Thai spot to get my fix....ok I also look for wine stores but that's a whole different story!!

Now to the mentioned SPECIAL INGREDIENT.....have you ever had or made a curry with kaffir lime leaves and then had one without them?!?! HUGE difference.

For those of you who know what I am talking about, high five and you know what I mean.....for those who don't you REALLY need to find your own personal dealer, um I mean provider or sales person!! Kaffir Lime Leaves are needed in order to get to that next level of foodgasm, trust me, without them it's just a big fat tease. After living overseas, in Bangladesh where they sold kaffir leaves at the local markets I didn't expect to come to the states and either get the look of "what the hell are you talking about?" or to be asked 101 questions at the Asian stores like I was some under cover agent looking for "trouble" only then to be asked to come with them to the back of the store where this magical ingredient was handed to me in a undisclosed ziplock bag.....guess I passed the interrogation but won't lie it was....guess it pays to know your ingredients.

OK I have to confess something.....the first time I was asked to follow this guy to the back of the store after being asked 101 questions I was a wee bit nervous, probably from watching to many episodes of Criminal Minds LOL but comes to find out I scared them more by knowing so much about the ingredient.

Anyhow, once you have tasted a curry with this special ingredient you will know when it wasn't used and don't believe what anyone or any cookbook tells you lime zest will not produce the same flavor. Oh and the dried leaves, yeah do not waste your money on that crap it!!

Mango Curry with Baked Flounder

Mango Curry

1 TBS coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
about 1 1/2 cups of Sugar Snap Peas, cut in half (green beans could be used as well)
1/2 unpeeled zucchini, sliced into 1 inch circles & then cut in half
1 roasted red pepper (the kind in a jar)**, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS minced ginger
2 TBS red curry paste
1 TBS soy sauce
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth (use veggie broth if preferred)
1-2 mangos, peeled & cubed (I used 2 because I love mango!)


In a stock pot, melt the coconut oil and add the onions. Sauté until softened. Now add the rest of the veggies, don't let them cook too long and definitely don't let them burn SO remember to stir them. Now I know the ingredients doesn't state salt and pepper but sometimes you just have to know that they need to be added.....and if not....ADD SALT AND PEPPER to your taste and preference now before proceeding to the next step ;-)

After adding your salt and pepper and giving it another good stir it's time to add your garlic, ginger and curry paste. Once you can smell these awesome ingredients it's time to add the soy sauce, coconut milk and broth. Now cover it and let it come to a simmer. Once it is simmering you are ready to add your mango and those precious and oh so AMAZING kaffir lime leaves......if you decide to make this without the kaffir leaves I am begging you DO NOT TELL me about it because I am TELLING the results are NOT going to be the same!!!

Let this simmer for about 10 minutes, no more is needed.

As you can see in the picture I ate my curry with Flounder but you could easily eat this with something else. If tofu is your thing go ahead, chicken would work great too. If you need the carbs I would suggest a healthy serving of jasmine rice, I don't miss the rice but hey that's just me.

**I prefer using jarred roasted red peppers because bell peppers don't like me so much and I find it a bit of a pain in the a$$ to peel bell peppers to get rid of what causes me to burp so much.....yes it's the skin of peppers and tomatoes that make you burp!

January 28, 2017

Fancy Rahmen

I know we have all heard the quote "when one door closes another opens". If you believe that some doors close because they weren't made for you to walk through.....GREAT you are either an optimistic person and don't mind overcoming obstacles thrown your way or you didn't really try that hard to make it "your" door in the first place. Which ever it might be, don't take that closed door as a slap in the face or you failing at something but more as a sign that you were made for something greater, you might need to work a little harder, probably lose a little more sleep or I don't know show off more grey hair.

The reasons these doors close are usually not very obvious and will not present themselves to you on a silver platter and you probably won't know EXACTLY which door to approach next because lets face it that's not how this shit works! Choices, it all comes down to the choices we make in our lives. Some of these choices are simple and trivial while others impact us immensely but no matter what you decide you are the one in control of either working toward becoming a better person or getting lost in those hallways.

Now that I got my philosophical rant out of the way let's get down to the real choice of the this post! Eating Rahmen.....if you have never eaten the sodium overloaded & msg flavor enhanced packs of goodness then you probably missed out on many other great convenience foods as kid, teenager or young adult who is struggling to figure out why they hell being adult is supposed to be cool!!! ANYHOW.....here is my FANCY version of Rahmen that will require a little more than a microwave or water cooker BUT trust me so worth it. AND the best part is you have the choice to add whatever you want to finish it off or you can just eat the noodles & broth if that floats your boat. Whatever....it's your choice!

Fancy Rahmen

1 TBS oil**
1 TBS minced ginger**
1/2 onion, finely diced**
garlic, minced**
2 TBS Sriracha
1 TBS soy sauce
6 cups of Beef Broth or 6 cups of water & 3 Beef Bouillon Cubes**    
3 packs of Rahmen......ONLY THE NOODLES, throw those NASTY SEASONING PACKS AWAY!!      

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the ginger, onion, garlic and Sriracha. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring constantly, you don't want the garlic or onion to burn.

NOW YOU HAVE THE CHOICE.....I have done it both ways, flavor wise it's the same. The only difference is Option 2 eliminates the visual aspect of onions being in the broth.

Option 1: Add the soy sauce and broth and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling, add noodles and boil uncovered for 1 minute. Turn heat off and cover. Let the noodles sit in the broth until they are the consistency you prefer. During this time I get all my toppings ready. Transfer noodles to bowls, add your toppings and THEN add the broth.
Option 2: Carefully transfer the Sriracha Mix to a blender and blend the crap out of those onions so it looks like a paste. BE CAREFUL doing this though, not only is it blazing hot but it might make your eyes water a bit. In the same pot you used to heat the Sriracha Mix up add the soy sauce and broth before stirring in the the Sriracha Mix. Now bring to a boil, once the broth is boiling add noodles and boil uncovered for 1 minute. Turn heat off and cover. Let the noodles sit in the broth until they are the consistency you prefer. During this time I get all my toppings ready. Transfer noodles to bowls, add your toppings and THEN add the broth.

Topping Choices: hard boiled eggs, diced avocado, freshly sliced mushrooms, sliced green onion, thinly sliced uncooked beef, shredded chicken, raw shrimp, bean sprouts, sweet peas, shredded carrots, shredded cucumber, snap peas, tofu.....you get the idea....make it your own FANCY Rahmen with whatever the hell you want to add or not it's up to you.

** I use coconut oil but you can use whatever you prefer
**Did you know you can peel ginger and keep it in the freezer?
**I like using sweet onions but shallots work great too.
**use as many or as few cloves as you prefer, trying to tell you how many cloves to use is tricky because I have used anywhere between 2-5 cloves of garlic, it all depends on how big the cloves are or the mood I am in.
**I have made this with Vegetable and Chicken Broth but prefer the Beef Broth best.

January 20, 2017

The Best Damn Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Have you ever found yourself on a quest? This quest could be for a new car, the best schools, deciding where to go on vacation or maybe just finding a perfect pair of jeans......because let's face it finding the perfect pair of jeans seems nearly impossible and the ones that are perfect cost almost as much as a car payment does! I really shouldn't have to pay that much for comfort, or should I?

I know what you are thinking, "what does this grilled cheese sandwich have in common with finding a pair of jeans?".....well let me tell you it has a lot in common, at least for me it does. I currently find myself on a quest for finding my way back to what I a passionate about. I don't like to admit that I slipped so far from what brings me so much pleasure but it's true and this damn grilled cheese is my step back into reconnecting myself with my passion.

So what makes this grilled cheese so special, well it's part of a menu I am working on for my "dream coffee shop". I have a vision of what I want my coffee shop to be like, look like and what I want to offer as far as freshly prepared food and drinks go. Now it's just a matter of fine tuning those ideas so when that day comes to open the doors to my coffee shop I will only be serving you the best damn tasting food you deserve and would expect from me!!

The Best Damn Grilled Cheese Sandwich (or BDG)

-perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs, sliced.....you know the kind where the yolk is bright orange
-a sweet pile of sautéed onions....that have been sautéed in coconut oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper
-lots of crispy bacon
-gouda and pepper jack cheese
-a smear of spicy mayo (I whip my spicy mayo up on my own but don't have a recipe to share for it....I will tell you that it gets it's heat from that lovely red condiment associated with a rooster)

-bread (duh, it's a sandwich) I used Italian Bread in this picture but prefer it with a ciabatta or English Muffin Bread......I say use whatever bread floats your boat!

Do you have a BDG of your own?? 

May 18, 2015

The Greatest Toasting Bread

I don't know about you but I actually enjoy getting new kitchen tools, gadgets and appliances as gifts. Cookbooks are a perfect anytime gift too. 
Do you have favorite kitchen related gift you received that you are still super happy about? 

My all time favorite kitchen appliance gift I have, has got to be my KitchenAid Mixer. My husband gave me this for Christmas a few moons ago and I love it! It came with a meat grinder attachment, which I have used many times and am always trying to come up with new ways to use too. One of these days I will probably need to get the sausage maker attachment, so I can make my own sausage links.

The smell of fresh baked bread is such an inviting and comforting smell. I have a confession to make: I have a fresh baked bread addiction that I refuse to give up. I could give up other carbs but not my homemade breads!

If you are looking for a cookbook with easy to follow baking recipes with helpful explanations and  techniques to use then you should give Julia Child's "Baking with Julia" a try. 

I have to admit I didn't know that Julia Child had "just" baking cookbooks but my husband found this one for me and it now has a special spot on my cookbook shelf.

The first recipe I made using this cookbook was the White Loaves (pg. 81). I decided to try this recipe after seeing the color picture of some seriously scrumptious looking toasted bread on page 56 of this book. When I saw the picture of this bread, the first thought that came to my mind was: "I need this bread with a slab of butter right about now."

The recipe makes 2 loaves of bread but can easily be cut in half to only make 1 loaf. **My tip is if you have the flour on hand to make the 2 loaves do it and freeze one after it has completely cooled.

adapted from Julia Child-Baking with Julia

**From start to finish you will need about 3 hours to make 2 loaves**

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
6-7 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour*
2 tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, softened


Pour 1/2 cup of the water into your mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, mixture should look foamy.

Add the rest of the water and about half of the flour. Stir (using the dough hook) until well blended. Now add about 3 1/2 cups flour, the salt and butter and stir until well combined and shaggy. *You will need to turn the mixture off a few times to make sure you scrap down the sides of the bowl.

Continue to knead, about 8-10 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. If the dough does not look smooth and elastic at this point add a little (one tablespoon at a time) more flour until it looks and feels smooth.

You can do the kneading by hand if preferred or if you do not have a dough hook attachment for your mixer. Just make sure to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface.

Now it’s time to shape the dough into a ball and to put it into a lightly greased bowl (bowl should be large enough for the dough to double in size). Cover loosely with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

Meanwhile butter two 4″x8″ loaf pans and set aside for later.

If your dough has doubled in size you are ready to punch the dough down. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Now on a lightly floured surface pat each piece into a rectangle that’s about 9″x12″
Picture Credit goes to Max at Kvalifood
 Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan. While you are waiting for the dough to rise again go ahead and preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. 

Once the dough has doubled in size again you are ready to bake it. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown. Remove the loaves from the baking pans as soon as you take them out of the oven and put them on cooling racks to cool.

**Remember don't cut your bread until it is almost completely cool....I know, I know freshly baked bread is amazing BUT if you can control your urge to cut right into the loaf you really should. It still has some magic to work while it's sitting on the cooling racks.

>>I was not paid to mention the products or websites used in this post, the information given is based on my opinion only<< BUT I wouldn't mind doing sponsored post from time to time if asked ;-)

May 14, 2015

Insanely Awesome Recipes You Have to Add to Your Meal Plan

I don't know about you but the urge to add new recipe ideas to my already never-ending list of "Have to Try" seems to truly never end. I just can't help myself and the internet doesn't make this addiction any easier to handle....thanks a lot social media for making me a recipe hoarding addict!

So with that being said here are a few of my finds from this week. A few have already been tried and are going to my "Keeper" files. The others are going to my "Have to Try" list. Please tell me I am not the only one that has this list!

>>Loving this design<<

Breakfast....Bagel Bombs....Yes, please
Will make again.....Sriracha Caramel Corn....why?  Because it's addicting
Delish....Whiskey Slushes.....yum
I wonder.....Better Than Girl Scout Cookies......because I need to be convinced
Quick Dinner Idea.....Enchilada Spaghetti & Meatballs....change things up
Taste of Germany.....Bratwurst Sliders....OMG
Bacon...Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza....enough said
How about this Recipe?......Simple One Hour Bread.....yup, simple and great

If you have a great find of the week please do share. I not only found new recipes to try out but I also found a new blogs to follow....win win, if you ask me. What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?

January 7, 2015

Homemade Pretzels

When you hear the name "Glitter Ball" what do you think you are being asked to go to? I have to admit when we were first asked to go to the Glitter Ball with our friends I thought for sure that the we were being invited to an actual "Ball". You know one where you get dressed up in gowns you will probably never wear again....WRONG....the Glitter Ball has nothing to do with fancy gowns and suits. Its one crazy costume party hosted by the Australian Club here in Dhaka. It's the type of party where you come up with a theme for your table and dress up, possibly even do a skit/performance and if you are lucky win prizes.

The biggest challenge with the costume/theme is that you want your table to be noticed and you want to have an idea that no has done before. A lot harder then you think! One couple in our team attended the 2013 Glitter Ball so thankfully they were able to fill us in on some of the ideas people had before us. Last years winning team did a KISS performance! This year there was a team dressed up like characters from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and did an awesome performance.  So much fun!!

Here is my 2014 Glitter Ball team/theme:

So with our theme we decided we had to have something to go along with our costumes besides the awesome engrave beer mugs we had custom made....we decided on pretzels!! Perfect snack to go with our theme. But instead of just a few we decided to spend 6hrs on baking enough pretzels to last us through the night and t A whole basket full of them!! For us to eat and for us to share.
We miss having fresh pretzels from the local bakeries in Germany....but let me tell you....I have filled a void our family has had ever since we moved away from Germany. These taste and look like the real deal, as real as you can get pretzels to look & taste without using food grade lye.......not that I think I would actually use it if I did have it available thought LOL!

How do you like eating your pretzels? Dipped in cheese, mustard or butter? Or is there something I haven't tried yet that I am missing out on??

1+1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 Tb brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
4 +1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c butter, melted
Vegetable oil
2 quarts + 2 cups water
2/3 c baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 TBS water
Coarse Salt

To begin, place the 1 1/2 cups of warm water in a mixing bowl, with the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the top of the water, and let it sit about 10 minutes until it gets bubbly. Place your bowl under the mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and add in the flour and butter. Let the mixer run for about 4 minutes, until the dough comes away from the bowl and is nice and smooth. Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a clean, oiled bowl, Turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, grab a large pot, and put 2 quarts plus 2 cups of water in it, along with the baking soda. Bring the water to a full boil.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly spray the paper with oil. Set aside.

Now grab your dough while the water is heating up.
Turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface. Cut the dough into 8 equal portions.
Take one portion and roll it into a long snake, about 2 feet long. To shape the pretzel, bring the ends up; twist once, and then again. Turn the ends down towards the bottom, and press the ends gently against the dough where it crosses. With a slotted spatula, gently place the pretzel in the boiling water for **30 seconds**

Lift the pretzel out, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining 7 pretzels.

Beat the yolk with a tablespoon of water in a small dish, and brush the tops of the pretzels with the mixture. Sprinkle with some coarse salt. Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes or until dark golden brown.

December 30, 2014

Sauerkraut & Potato Stew

If you ask most of my friends where I am from the chances of them telling you Germany are much higher then them telling you where I was born. I guess I can't blame them though, I did spend most of my life growing up in Germany, speak German fluently and even graduated High School from a German speaking school so besides the fact that I was born in Texas and am a proud American I pretty much am as German as it gets.

The best things about living in Germany (besides family & friends) has got to be the food! I miss the local bakeries and butcher shops the most. Or maybe it's the "Turkish" Döner Kebabs you can't actually get in Turkey. Wait, I do really miss eating the best gummy bears ever....Haribo made and sold in Germany are the best!

I have made this stew a number of times and have had all intentions on sharing it with you sooner....but for some reason I always forget to take a picture before it's gobbled up!!

Taste of Germany Stew

2 TBS olive oil
14 oz. smoked sausage, cut into thin slices
1-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle of lager beer
2-3 potatoes, peeled & cubed
2-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1-1/2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a dutch oven or large stew pot heat oil, add sausage and brown. Toss in onions; cook & stir until tender. Add cabbage and 1/2 cup of chicken broth; cover and let steam for 5-10 mins. Stir in spices and garlic. Slowly pour in the beer, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes before adding the potatoes and the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes and cabbage are soft.

Turn off heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar & fresh parsley....enjoy!

**I like adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to my bowl before I eat it.

Optional: add 1/4 tsp of caraway seeds.....I personally don't like caraway seeds and feel like they aren't missed in the stew but you could add them for a little more "taste of Germany" if you care to.