Foodie

I don’t just eat to live, I live to eat.

~See Lemons Eat

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Boozy

seelemonsonline : November 15, 2013 9:01 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #377: Fruit in alcohol is dangerous, yet so delicious and fun.

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Recipe: Something boozy – Sangria

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I did not follow the recipe I intended to because my friend’s Mom made this awesome Sangria for a party and I wanted to try her recipe. She probably makes her own adjustments to the recipe because mine doesn’t taste as good. I  also strayed from it because I didn’t want to buy raspberries or lemonade/orange juice. Instead, I substituted a cheap looking peach drink. I think it worked out.

Lessons Learned:

  • I picked a cab sauv, but I think it would have went just as well with a pinot grigio
  • Definitely let the mixture sit for at least an hour – overnight if possible. The fruit pieces need time to soak up that alcohol and taste extra awesome
  • Add the wine last. I added it first and I felt like it was splashing a lot
  • Cut all the citrus fruit into wedges. that means slice horizontally and then quarter them. This will make the fruit much easier to eat.

Final Thoughts:

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I love this sangria recipe. It’s easy to make and has a lot of nice acidic flavors that work really well together. I think I need to learn how to cut wedges better because the pieces were too large to consume and I had already squeezed them all too hard so they look deformed. I really like the addition of gin and ginger ale – it’s pretty genius. Sangria for all!

~See Lemons Drink Sangria

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[30 Day Challenge] Something New Soupy

seelemonsonline : November 14, 2013 8:47 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #376: I’ve only ever made Chinese style soups. I’m really looking forward to experimenting with potato soups because that just sounds like mashed potatoes to me.

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Recipe: Something new soupy – Ham and Potato soup

DSC_0155 I followed the recipe for the most part except I decided to add squash because I had extra. I also added some heavy cream at the very end because I thought the whole consistency could be slightly thicker.  Also, I didn’t really measure anything except for the amount of flour I put in, so my proportions were probably off.

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t chop the potatoes too small because they will erode in size as they cook. I personally love the starchy thickness, but I also want a bit of potato to chew on.
  • When making the flour-butter-milk mixture, make sure you get a deeper sauce pan because the clumps will take some heavy stirring to remove completely
  • I was going to add carrots at first, but I feel like the color would clash too much…. or maybe pop?

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0216 (2) This turned out much better than I thought it would, and I found out that the reason I like these soups is because they use a milk-butter-flour mixture to make it thicker and more yummy. This style of soup for a second tasted like clam chowder with the clam. I think I made chowder… Anyway, I’m going to probably add that mixture to other soups to see how they turn out. Oxtail chowder?

~See Lemons Eat Ham and Potato Soup

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Childish

seelemonsonline : November 13, 2013 11:23 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #375: I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I was in college. True story.

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Recipe: Something childish – Grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich

DSC_0096I don’t really eat PBJs because my Mom packed dumplings or leftovers from dinner for my elementary school lunch. I don’t think this has negatively affected my upbringing one bit.  This take on PB&J is like a grill cheese sandwich, but with peanut butter and jelly instead of cheese. Crazy, right?

 

Lessons Learned:

  • I put the bread into a toaster first so it’s easier to spread the butter on the bread. Unfortunately, this also made the jelly leak a little bit, so I would suggest adding less jelly. The Peanut butter sticks pretty well, so you’ll be fine with that.
  • Cut diagonally instead of horizontally/vertically. I totally eff’ed up and made a rookie mistake.
  • Eat while still hot because a cold PBJ after it’s been grilled is just a regular PBJ with extra butter infused

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0110I didn’t know I’d have so much fun making a PB&J. In fact, I really like heating up bread over the skillet for some reason. Shortly after making this PB&J, I made a grilled cheese sandwich with the extra mozzarella cheese and it was awesome. Try it grilled! The extra 3 minutes will make the sammy much better.

~See Lemons Eat PBJs

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Indian

seelemonsonline : November 12, 2013 11:19 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #374: Chicken Tikka Masala and Palak paneer are my favorite go-to Indian dishes. I’d make the Palak Paneer, but I have no idea how to make that cottage cheese taste even close to that good.

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Recipe: Something Indian – Chicken Tikka Masala

DSC_0074I have to admit, I was very intimidated by this recipe. It required a complex marinate for the turkey breast and an open grill with skewers to cook the chicken. However, after measuring all the different spices, it all worked out smoothly. I never realized there was tomato sauce in Chicken Tikka Masala…

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Measure out the marinade proportions. I used a touch of curry to the whole thing and lightened up on the cumin.
  • I didn’t have a hot grill, so I just put all the pieces into a pan with the sauce. I think this was a terrible idea. If you are to do it this way, you should definitely sear the outside first on a hot skillet so you get the crispy outer edges. I made a baked, rather than grilled, chicken and I think the texture is just slightly off from the stuff I eat at Indian restaurants
  • When marinating the chicken, put all of it into a large plastic zip lock bag instead of a bowl. This will help in mixing much better. Feel free to marinate overnight for additional flavor
  • Make the sauce in a larger pan because the chicken takes up a lot of room. Be sure to stir frequently and adjust the taste with your own salt and jalapeno.

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0126I don’t want to brag, but this chicken tikka masala turned out amazeballs. Despite the lack of grilling, I think the spongy consistency goes well with the tomato sauce. If you’re afraid to cook this, don’t be. It’s really simple and the recipe can be adjusted to your taste. The key ingredients and concepts are around grilled chicken and thick tomato sauce with heavy cream.

~See Lemons Eat Chicken Tikka Masala

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[30 Day Challenge] Something to use with extra guac

seelemonsonline : November 11, 2013 7:40 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #373: Tex mex nights are great for parties. I wonder if it’s weird for Latinos if we were to have a sandwich making party.

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Recipe: Something to use with extra guac – burritos

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Once again, I just used whatever I had in the refrigerator and nearby grocery store to put together my own ghetto burrito. I even bought refried beans because for some reason I thought they were once delicious.  Since they didn’t have tortillas, I bought these roll-up flat things that I thought looked Mexican (sorry for food stereotyping). Anyway, what comes out of a creative and crazy bachelor-type mind is a pleasant surprise.

Lessons Learned:

  • Extra cheese never hurt for the burrito or any Italian dish
  • Cook for many people because burritos are more fun when you’re making them with friends
  • I remember liking refried beans a lot more when I was younger… I don’t think it goes that well in a burrito anymore. Maybe it was all that chipotle I’ve been eating.
  • Definitely get the tortillas instead of this roll-bread-type-thing. It’s definitely better when your food is wrapped instead of rolled.
  • Toast your tortilla! Just place it on a hot dry skillet for 30 seconds before adding anything. It really adds that extra bit.
  • Remember to also buy hard taco shells so you can make tacos (which are like chips + burritos)

Final Thoughts:

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Classic. I really enjoyed this burrito that I turned into a roll. On the second night, I actually added rice to the whole thing so it was more of a proper burrito. May the tex mex nights continue. I think this is definitely a great meal to make with a bunch of friends. I like interactive meals.

~See Lemons Eat Burritos

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[30 Day Challenge] Something with Dip

seelemonsonline : November 10, 2013 10:33 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #372: I don’t know how to pick the best avocado, and I think that means I still do not have the Force.

DSC_0023.Recipe: Something with dip – Guac and chips

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I’ve made guacamole plenty of times in the past for picnics and tex-mex nights, but I really enjoyed this particular take on it. I think the diced garlic and bit of cayenne really brought out some strong flavors and gave it some character. I wound up directly combining this with the burritos on the same night.

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t forget to get extra avocados because there’s never enough guacamole in the house. Let’s just say, I usually finish the guac before we make a dent in the chips.
  • Make sure you dice the red onions extra thin and small or else they really make the guacamole spicy
  • Be gentle with the cayenne – it’s good, but can take away from the flavor
  • To peel the avocado, cut it in half, remove the seed, and cut with hash marks. This will take less time for mashing.
  • Get someone who knows how to tell if the avocado is ripe.

Final Thoughts:

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Guac is totally my jam… made of avocado deliciousness. I think I just like the taste of avocado with a pinch of salt and olive oil, but adding other stuff in there also helps.  It’s excellent with chips, and like mashed potatoes, goes with everything. I think the only thing left for me to do is learn how to pick the perfect ripe avocado.

~See Lemons Eat Guacamole

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Chinese Comfort Foody

seelemonsonline : November 9, 2013 11:19 am : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #371: I remember the first time I made congee in college – I fed my entire dorm room and then I was too lazy to do the dishes, so we didn’t have congee again until 2 months later.

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Recipe: Something Chinese comfort foody – jook/congee

DSC_0660I didn’t follow the recipe at all on this one, but instead did my Mom’s version of congee with smoked turkey. First, I washed the rice and smoked turkey bits. Next, salt the rice and fill 8 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.  Once at a boil, transfer to a slow cooker and leave it on low for 4 hours or overnight. In the morning, you can just stir and serve with shredded lettuce. The turkey should be falling off the bone and the congee should be very thick and yummy.

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked congee in a slow cooker, but it always turns out amazing and very thick/creamy
  • Always add the lettuce because it adds a fresh crunch to the overall soupy texture and will make the whole thing less thick if you added too much rice
  • Salt lightly since the smoked turkey will already be salty
  • Add peanuts or anything you can think of crunchy to the soup to add additional texture and flavor
  • Share with your friends and family! It’s a hearty breakfast.

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0678My goo-mah makes the best congee I’ve ever had in my life. Every time I visit, it gets better and better. The one I made is no where near as good, but I think it passes as a very filling breakfast on the go. Next time, I need to bring a bit of mine to Pennsylvania so we can do a side-by-side taste test.

For those who have never tried making congee, it’s easy and doesn’t require that much preparation if you do it overnight.

~See Lemons Eat Congee

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[30 Day Challenge] Something with Meatballs

seelemonsonline : November 8, 2013 9:06 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #370: I love going to Meatball Shop for mashed potatoes. I guess their meatballs are good too.

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Recipe: Something with meatballs – meatball sub

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I actually followed the recipe for most of this. The breading to meat ratio is definitely the big secret to having fluffy meatballs. I also made sure that the cooking time was right so it stayed moist and tender.  Earlier this year, I ran out of space on a flat pan to cook the meatballs, so I just threw them into a cupcake pan. This turned out awesome, so I decided to do it again. As for the little quirk, I added mozzarella cheese into the mixture so it looked like the meat had marbling to it.

Lessons Learned:

  • Definitely use the cupcake pan if you have it because I feel like it works out really well. I’d still stay conscious of the meatball size because I had wound up making them bigger so it would all fit within one batch and into the cupcake holes.
  • Always following the breading to lean beef mixture recipe. It’s part of the secret.
  • The shredded mozzarella within the meatballs probably kept the whole thing moist. I didn’t even need to add any sauce to it and it still tasted great.

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0861 I think I should have stuck with the original plan to make this into a meatball sub. The meat was crispy on the outside and surprisingly tender and juicy due to the extra cheese.  Next time, I want to try making slightly smaller meatballs from a pan. The pan could brown the outside more evenly in the beginning and I could just cover it and add the sauce to cook the rest of it. In conclusion, if you haven’t made meatballs yet, don’t be afraid to do it. Happy times to come!

~See Lemons Eat Meatball Subs

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Comfort Foody

seelemonsonline : November 7, 2013 10:14 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #369: Mac and Cheese is a staple of all childhood diets. I only got to eat it when I was a “good kid.” This is what prompted my childhood obesity and hard work ethic.

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Recipe: Something comfort foody – mac and cheese

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Once again, I decided to stray from this recipe. I followed the general idea of having pasta, cheese, and some crunchy stuff all baked together, but that’s about it. I used the bow tie pasta because that’s what I had around (and I also like calling them bow ties). Instead of breading, I used a bag of jalapeno potato chips. For cheeses, I used mozzarella and some cottage cheese. I thought the cottage cheese was ricotta, so… don’t make that same mistake.

Lessons Learned:

  • Crushed jalapeno potato chips are a great substitute for breading
  • Cottage cheese is not exactly the best replacement for ricotta or Parmesan, but still tasty when it all comes together
  • I’m a big fan of using disposable aluminum baking pans just to prevent any cleaning. Be sure to use one that isn’t too deep so you get more surface area for crispy cheese/chips.
  • I feel like I didn’t add enough cheese to this whole thing. I don’t think you can ever have enough cheese.

Final Thoughts:

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Don’t be afraid to experiment with mac and cheese! It’s such a simple concept and you really can’t mess it up. I don’t even know why I’m adding these recipes if I don’t follow them and replace all the ingredients. Just so you know, I do consider following it, but my free spirit as a cook just takes over.  To be honest, I think your free cooking spirit should too.

~See Lemons Eat Mac and Cheese

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[30 Day Challenge] Something Baked and Wrapped

seelemonsonline : November 5, 2013 9:42 pm : 30 Day challenges, Foodie

Random Observation/Comment #367: Wrapping foods into each other make them taste better. Ham wrapped in swiss cheese wrapped in chicken… genius.

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Recipe: Something baked and wrapped – Chicken Cordon Bleu

DSC_0503This recipe is surprisingly straight forward given that I had no idea how to make it and I only read the idea of the recipe once. It’s a chicken breast wrapped in ham wrapped with some swiss cheese folded into a ball with a toothpick holding the whole thing together. Once that’s done, rub it with flour and paprika and then brown all the sides on a hot skillet. Next, add the dry white wine and cover for 30 minutes to get an even middle cook.

Lessons Learned:

  •  Remember to get larger pieces of chicken breast that’s not too thick. You want it to be able to wrap around the ham and cheese and not stick out too much.
  • Don’t slice a medium thickness too thin to make it larger or else the chicken will be too thin and it will come out dry.
  • Be generous with sticking on the flour and paprika because it will give a nice and crispy outer brown layer on top when the whole thing is cooking
  • One of the toothpicks didn’t hold and I had a chicken cutlet layer. With the timing, it still turned out great, but remember to put the chicken as the bottom layer so the white wine soaks into it for flavor

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0658What a wonderful cheesy recipe and filled with so much character. I can see it working with other cheeses and some variations to the sauce as long as you don’t overcook the chicken. The white wine and other sauces are thickened with corn starch and poured over the finished product to make it look that much more professional. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe again in the future.

~See Lemons Eat Chicken Cordon Bleu

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