2011, Recipe 28: Herbed Turkey Meatball Subs

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray magazine
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (gives it a sausage-y taste)
  • Five 6-inch hoagie rolls (I used wheat)
  • 3 onions, halved and sliced (I used 2)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 6 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped (I used bacon)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (I had dried so I used it)
  • Salt and pepper
  • One 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve the skillet. Using a food processor, pulse 1 hoagie roll into crumbs; add 3/4 cup crumbs to the bowl.
  2. Using the food processor, finely chop 1 cup onion slices and the garlic. In the reserved skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic-onion mixture and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes; add to the bowl, wiping out the skillet. Using the food processor, finely chop 1/4 cup basil; add the pancetta and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the bowl along with the turkey, egg, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix together.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onions and cook until browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the meatballs and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with foil and cook until the meatballs are firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Partially split the remaining 4 hoagie rolls; arrange cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Broil until toasted. Top each roll with 4 meatballs. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup basil and stir into the tomato sauce; spoon over the meatballs. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melted.

    Results: Yum! And I love that my picture looks more delicious than theirs! :) (Which you already know if you follow me on Tumblr!)  Two things, 1) Pancetta is way too expensive to be putting it in some meatballs so I used bacon-- completely unnecessary so maybe there's a reason she picked pancetta, however I'm quite sure this would be perfectly delicious without the unnecessary 300 calories or more bacon adds to this.  2) The recipe doesn't say what to do with the onions you sliced and browned! So I put them on the bottom of the hoagie rolls.  SOOOO GOOD!!!  I love caramelized onions!  And the little bits of basil you snag?  Killer!


2011, Recipe 27: Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes, Garlic, Capers, and Olives

Recipe courtesy Kathleen Daelemans
  • 1 pound pasta noodles such as: penne
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers rinsed, roughly chopped
  • 2 anchovies, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives such as kalamata, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped parsley or basil leaves
  • 1 can rinsed and drained, white albacore tuna
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cracked black pepper
Cook pasta in large pot of rapidly boiling water until al dente or done to your liking.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Place olive oil and the garlic in a large saute pan and turn heat to medium. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden. Add capers, anchovies, olives, and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down and become a sauce, about 8 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta. Add parsley and tuna and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Results: YUMMY DELICIOUSNESS!  LOVED IT!  Rashan really liked it, too!  But he didn't taste the tuna... LOL  I'm not sure why the recipe only calls for one can.  The tuna just disappears.  Next time I'd use two.  I served it with garlic bread.  I picked this recipe because I had everything on hand.  This is absolutely one of those simple meals you could just throw together in the time it takes to boil the pasta.  Y'all know I don't do cherry tomatoes so I used canned, diced fire-roasted.


2011, Recipe 26: Creamy Grits with Rosemary Bacon

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.com
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • 8 thick-cut bacon slices
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
Sprinkle rosemary over bacon in a 4-sided sheet pan. Roast, turning once, until bacon is golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, bring water, milk, butter, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add grits in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Simmer over medium-low heat, covered, stirring often, until grits are tender and creamy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve grits with bacon.

Results: YUMMMM!! Rosemary bacon is the new love of my life!  I wanted more rosemary!  I subbed chicken stock for the water in this recipe and YEAH... you should do that.  Stupid good.  I served this with what else?  Eggs over medium.  You know what?  I was so excited to get into this that I couldn't focus enough to get a less blurry picture.  My bad.  LOL  Cook it yourself and see.


2011, Recipes 24 & 25: Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper

Tuscan Lemon Chicken 
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, flattened
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Results: Really yummy and I didn't even have a grill to cook this on! Loved it!  And grandma was over the moon about it!

Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
  • 1 tablespoon whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound dried Italian egg pasta, such as tagliarelle
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese (4 ounces), plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Place the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and crush them until you have a mixture of coarse and fine bits. (You can also grind them in a small food mill or coffee grinder.) Set aside.
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until al dente. Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into a glass measuring cup and reserve it. Drain the pasta quickly in a colander and return the pasta to the pot with a lot of the pasta water still dripping.

Working quickly, with the heat on very low, toss the pasta with 1/2 cup of the grated Pecorino, the crushed peppercorns, cream, butter, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing constantly. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Off the heat, toss in the remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino. Serve immediately with a big bowl of extra grated Pecorino for sprinkling.

Results: I just used regular pepper... lol.  This was yummy!  I also served it with salad with lemon-garlic infused olive oil dressing.  Basically you sauté minced garlic in olive oil, let it cool, poor it over the greens, squeeze lemons over the greens, add salt & pepper.  Let it sit to wilt for about 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy.  Unnecessarily yummy!  Yes, the theme is yummy!


My Own Remix

I got this purple Calvin Klein dress from Off Saks 5th Ave for a GREAT price.  I love the color so I had to force myself not to wear it.  Instead of making it total torture and denying myself, I decided to remix this is several ways!  And I must say... I love every one!

In the first set, I was shooting for my film at church that day so I forgot to take pics of my outfit!  They (my family) didn't know what I was trying to do so they didn't tell me my hat was at the wrong angle.  Anyway!  Here I'm trying to highlight the necklace (Target) and the dress together.  I also bought this hat after stalking it at an antiques store!  Don't worry, you'll see it again!
In this next set, I had to teach.  Now that I'm teaching high schoolers this semester, I definitely go a bit more wild with the colors!
Scarf: gift
The necklace: I made
The jacket: Express
Tights: Target
Shoes: Nine West
The third set is a more casual take.  I wore this to eat Mexican food with Rashan.  MMMM.  I'd been wanting to do a Jameil version of the knee socks and this worked for me! 
"Headband": The belt of an express blazer
Earrings: Mom-ed
Sweater: American Eagle
Belt: My dad found it at a hotel
Tights & socks: Target
Boots: Nine West (thrifted)
This last one is my favorite!  I had a screening of my first film this day at my aunt's church. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!  I also could show you at least 5 more pics of this shoot b/c I loved them!
Hat: Etsy-ed
Blazer: Banana Republic
Pin: Express (free from some cardigans when I worked there. I cleaned out the stock room long after the cardigans were gone and found it!)
Bracelets: The Limited (sent to me for free!)
Tights: Target
Shoes: Nine West (I bought these at least 4 years ago after I stalked them until they went on sale for $20!)


2011, Recipe 23: Fish with Lemon & Basil baked in a foil packet

Recipe courtesy of Arte Culinaria

Line a small baking dish with enough foil that the excess foil will fold over the top of the pan.
Place two fish fillets into the foil-lined dish.  I’ve made this recipe with tilapia and cod.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the fillets.  Then add about a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest.
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper 
Add 2 tablespoons each of finely chopped basil and capers.
Drizzle the fish with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Tent the foil over the fish (don’t let the foil touch the fish) and seal the top and ends of the foil.  The idea is that the juice and steam will stay in the foil.
Bake in a pre-heated 375F  oven (or toaster oven) for about 10 minutes per 1/2 inch of fish.  Last night I made this with 1 inch thick Alaskan Cod and it took about 20 minutes to bake.
Remove from oven and let the packet sit for about 5 minutes.  Then carefully unwrap (watch out for the steam).  Serve it with rice or light pasta.  Also, as a variation, instead of basil and capers, use dill or some other fresh green herb.

Results: Yummy! I had to make several substitutions because my mom didn't have capers or olive oil.  I used butter, wine and a dried onion & herb mix instead.  Delicious!  I served it with tabouleh and tomatoes and broccoli.  I felt so healthy!


2011, Recipe 22: Sausage Asparagus Skillet

Recipe courtesy of The Local Cook
  • 1 lb bulk sausage
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 4 medium potatoes (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb asparagus (cut in 1 inch lengths)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (shredded)
1. Fry the sausage and onion together until lightly browned and drain fat.
2. Add the potatoes and water, and cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
4. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Results: I didn't love this. It tasted really bland.  I'm pretty sure it needed salt and pepper at each stage.  Garlic probably wouldn't hurt either.  The next morning I fried up two eggs to go with it and added sriracha to the hash.  Better... but I still didn't love it.


Seeing Spots

Today on Everybody, Everywear, it's Polka Dot Day!!!  YAY!!!  If you know anything about me, you know I love me some polka dots!  I packed my bags to go out of town for Spring Break (fake spring break since I'm a graduation student working on a film...) and forgot my polka dots!!!  SMH. 

So I scrounged in the closets in my mom's house, found a skirt and made it a dress!!  Thank God for fashion bloggers giving me that idea!  These are actually tiny hearts!  It's a tad ill-fitting right now but luckily for me, my grandma's a seamstress, I'm headed down there TOMORROW and she's finally going to get to give me the lesson in sewing she's always wanted to give!  WHEEEEE!!!  (For the record, I had to BEG to get permission to turn this into a dress but SO WORTH IT!!)
Dress: Former skirt
Belt: Too old to remember
Shoes: Nine West


2011, Recipe 21: Tyler's Ultimate Spicy Crab Salad

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons garlic chili paste or Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime plus lime wedges for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One avocado, halved and pitted
Put the crab meat in a bowl and add the mayonnaise, cilantro, chili sauce, and lime juice. Mix gently to combine the ingredients without breaking up the large lumps of crab meat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Results: YUM!!!  Oh Rashan and I loved this!  I would skimp a bit more on the mayo.  I put some salt on the avocado and it was DELICIOUS!!


2011, Recipe 20: Fat Noodles with Crab, Buttered Artichokes, and Mint

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (about 16 ounces) artichokes, drained, rinsed and halved
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pint (8 ounces) lump crabmeat
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pappardelle, stir to separate, and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain and dump the pasta into a serving bowl. (You'll need to use 1 cup of the pasta cooking water for the sauce.)

While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and olive oil in a medium skillet and put it over medium heat. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, add it to the skillet, and reduce the whole thing for 5 minutes to thicken. Then add the artichoke halves, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, crabmeat, and salt and pepper and toss to warm everything through. Add that to the bowl with the cooked drained pasta. Add the mint and Parmigiano and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Toss and serve with extra Parmigiano.

Results: YUM with yum pasta!  I really liked this and so did Rashan!  The artichokes?  The BEST!  You should quarter them instead of halving them so they go throughout the pasta.  I served it with sourdough garlic bread!  Yummy!!  Also, the only reason I made this is because there was a great sale on crab.  I have enough leftover to make another Ty recipe.  Can't wait!