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Holy Cow...I Can Cook?

I started this food blog New Years 2010 to force myself to get in the kitchen and teach myself how to cook. Well it has been a year, and it turns out, cooking isn't so hard after all. I kept the promise I made to myself and cooked healthy yummy meals for my family all year. Once I just got in there, read the recipes, and experimented I found cooking is yet another form of artistic expression. Just like with my art, I let go of the fear of failure and found a new passion.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shrimp Egg Rolls

These egg rolls are pan fried, so you still get a crispy outside without deep frying them!

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (don't freak out~ you can find it in the Asian section of the market)
12 oz bean sprouts, roughly chopped
12 egg roll wrappers
12 cooked jumbo shrimp (peeled, deveined, and split in half lenghwise)
*Trader Joes has cooked frozen jumbo shrimp in a great!
6 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup grape seed oil (peanut oil would also be great)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine 3 tbsp chili sauce and bean sprouts, tossing well to coat.
2. Working with 1 egg roll wrapper at a time, place wrapper onto work surface with one corner pointing toward you (like a diamond). Spoon about 2 big tbsps of bean sprout mixture into center of wrapper; top with 2 shrimp halves and a couple tsps of cilantro. Fold lower corner of wrapper over filling; fold in side corners. Moisten top corner of wrapper with water; roll up jelly-roll style. Place egg roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining wrappers and filling.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add 6 egg rolls, seam side down; cook 7 minutes or until golden, turning occasionally. Place on wire rack. Repeat with remaining oil and 6 more egg rolls.
4. Combine remaining 1 tbsp chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper. Serve dipping sauce on the side.

Serves 12

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bacon Lettuce & Tomato....Salad?

I do love me some bacon, but lets face it, you can have too much of a good thing. This light and simple salad is a bit like taking apart a BLT sandwich. It is a great dinner salad for a hot summer night. Oh and did I mention...bacon vinaigrette?

6oz French bread baguette, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Cooking Spray
4 slices of bacon (get the good stuff, thick & hickory-smoked)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups of tomatoes (plum, roma, cherry whatever you like) sliced or chopped, but keep them kind of chunky)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. layer bread on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until toasted.
3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tbsp drippings in pan. Stir oil into bacon drippings in pan; remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, pepper and salt. Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
4. Combine lettuce,and tomatoes in a large bowl. drizzle with vinaigrette. Add bread; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.

Serves 4

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Balsamic Dressing

I doubled this recipe to take to a BBQ. It is a fantastic summertime food, fresh and light, but full of flavor. I also get to use lots of fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden!

6 oz Bow Tie Pasta (Farfalle)

3 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
*I used 2 cups cherry and 1 cup chopped roma tomatoes since that is what I have in the garden right now*

1/3 cup fresh basil (thinly sliced)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp shallots (finely chopped)

2 tsp capers

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp garlic (minced)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 tsp olive oil

4oz feta cheese (crumbled)

1. Cook pasta. Drain. Combine pasta, tomatoes, and basil in large bowl.

2. While pasta cooks, combine vinegar, shallots, capers, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl stirring with a whisk. Gradually add olive oil to vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Add cheese; toss to combine.

Serves 4