Strawberry Banana Smoothies

This weekend  over father’s day we decided  to go strawberry picking, I had never been  before  but   you say the word strawberry and I am there. Image

I love strawberries, they are easily my favorite berry.   I never expected to come away with so many strawberries though, it was the perfect day to go, we didn’t have to move very far in the field to  come away with two big crates filled with strawberries. We got  so many strawberries I don’t even know what to do with all of them. 

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I made a strawberry pie,  ate a couple dipped in Nutella and brought them for lunch all week long, good thing I decided to freeze over half over them  I don’t think I would  get sick of them if I had to eat them everyday until they were all gone.  Freezing strawberries, especially these fresh ones  will make delicious summer treats.  One treat we will have to make more of are these delicious Strawberry Banana Smoothies.

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

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makes 4

-2 cups of  frozen strawberries

-1 banana

-1/2 cup of yogurt

-1-2 teaspoons of honey

-1/4 cup or so of milk and/or water to thin it out

Mix in blender or vita-mix and  you have a delicious refreshing summer treat!

 

 

 

Steak Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas

So  with Mr. Pea’s obsession with Mexican cuisine  we  eat a lot of tacos in our house, one of my favorite tacos he makes are his steak tacos.  I think I like his steak tacos even more when I make my homemade corn tortillas.  I think the  homemade corn tortillas have a better texture then the ones that  are in the packages in the stores, I don’t make homemade ones every time, but when I do  it makes it even better. As for the steak in a steak tacos , there is only one way to make them  that they are melt in your mouth delicious and that is  medium rare, so all you well done people out there  you might want to skip this recipe it is not for you. With steak tacos  it is all about the marinade,  you don’t use the best cut of meat for steak tacos, you use skirt steak  and  it needs a bit of flavor to make it delicious.

Chipolte Steak Sauce:

Ingredients:
1 Can(s) 14oz with juices diced tomatoes
3 Clove(s) peeled, halved garlic
3 chipotle chiles en adobo
1/2 Teaspoon(s) mexican oregano
2 Tablespoon(s) apple cider vinegar

Directions:
In a food processor or blender, combine, the tomatoes, garlic, chiles, oregano and vinegar. Process until smooth. Pour into a small (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 15 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in water, if necessary, to give the sauce the consistency of steak sauce. Taste and season highly with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cool, pour into a bottle and refrigerate until needed.

Place skirt Steak in dis, drizzle with olive oil (2 tablespoons) and then  and spoon marinade over the steak, let marinade for 1  hour.

While the steak is marinading  it is a good time to start making your corn tortillas.

How to make Corn Tortillas:

Corn Tortillas

Makes 15 tortillas

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups powdered Masa harina for tortillas (Maseca brand is widely available)
OR  1 pound fresh-ground masa

Directions

1.  Mix dough.  If using powdered masa harina, measure into bowl and add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water.  Mix with hand, kneading until thoroughly combined. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.  If using fresh masa, scoop into bowl.  Break up and knead a few times until smooth.

2.  Heat griddle or skillets.  Set large griddle (one that stretches of 2 burners) or 2 skillets on stovetop.  Set heat under one end of griddle (or one skillet) at medium.  Set heat under other end (or other skillet) at medium-high.

3.  Adjust consistency of dough.  Gently squeeze dough.  If it is stiff (it probably will be), knead in water 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time until the dough feels like soft cookie dough—not stiff, but not sticky.  Divide evenly into 15 pieces and roll each into a ball.  Cover with plastic.

4.  Press out dough balls.  Cut 2 pieces of plastic bag 1-inch larger than tortilla press.  Open press. Lay in one piece of plastic.  Lay dough ball in center.  Gently mash.  Top with second piece of plastic.  Close press.  Press gently—enough to mash dough into 1/8-inch disc. Pull off top piece of plastic.

5.  Unmold uncooked tortilla.  Flip tortilla onto right hand (if right-handed). IMPORTANT: top of tortilla should line up with top of index finger.  Lay on medium-hot griddle (or skillet) by letting bottom of tortilla touch griddle, then lowering your hand slightly and moving it away from you—the tortilla will stick to the hot surface so you can roll your hand out from under it as it rolls down flat.

6.  First flip.  After about 30 seconds, edges of tortilla will dry slightly and tortilla will release from griddle—before this moment, tortilla will be stuck. With metal spatula (or callused fingers), flip onto hotter side of griddle (or hotter skillet).

7.  Second flip.  After about 30 seconds, tortilla should be browned underneath.  Flip.  Cook 30 seconds more—tortilla should puff in places (or all over—a gentle press with metal spatula or fingers encourages puffing).  Transfer to basket lined with towel.

8.  Continue.  Press and bake remaining tortillas.  Stack each baked tortilla on previous one. Keep tortillas well wrapped in towel to keep warm.

***We keep our in this baking dish covered with foil in the oven on warm until ready to serve

Now it is time to cook the steak, and it doesn’t take long at all to cook it.

Cooking the Steak:

 Before you star cooking make sure you trim the fat off the skirt steak before cooking. Heat cast iron skillet medium high. Since the marinade already has oil in it no need to add oil to the pan. Let it cook on the one side for 5-7 minutes and then flip over the steak and cook it for 5-7 more minute.  Let it sit covered in foil  for 5 minutes to let it rest (this is an important step), and then  cut it into thin slices or chunks whatever you prefer.

then  you are ready to assemble your steak taco. There are many toppings for steak tacos,   but  the traditional ingredients for a  steak taco are chopped white onion and cilantro, I add avocado and hot  sauce  for some extra flavor.

Enjoy!

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwhich

So  when  I was little I was never a big fan of eggs, I thought they were weird and slimy. I was a big  fan of the sweet breakfasts like french toast, pancakes and waffles,which are just vehicles  for butter and syrup.  It was until a few years ago that  I really started to appreciate the egg, and now I love  them. I am not even picky about how they are cooked, although I am partial to my poached eggs, I also like hard boiled, over easy, scrambled and of course the fried egg. Who doesn’t like a fried egg with all its buttery, creamy goodness. until you  try to cook a fried egg with my fool proof technique  you have never really had a fried egg.

My first tip would be to use the freshest eggs you can find, they make they produce the best shape when frying eggs.

Here is the technique I use for cooking the perfect fried egg:

1. Place a small non-stick frying pan over the lowest possible heat on your stove (if using gas, you should barely see the blue flame)

2. Add the butter and let slowly melt, making sure it doesn’t foam and is not sizzling

3. When all the butter has melted, crack the egg into a small bowl, dish, or saucer

4. Then gently slide the egg off the dish into the frying pan and cover with a lid

5.Continue cooking approximately 5 minutes until the egg white solidifies from transparency into snow-white cream; the yolk will thicken slightly as it heats. How quickly the egg cooks is dependent on how low you have the heat.

6. Do not flip the eggs but leave the egg sunny-side up and natural and salt and pepper taste.

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwhich

-1 fried egg

– salt and pepper to taste

-1 Bolillo roll, cut in half and toasted

– 1-2 slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

-1-2 slices of tomato

– 2-3 slices of bacon

-slices of avacado (optional)

Memorial Day Weekend Camping

Every year Mr. Pea and I travel to Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville, WI to go camping with our family and friends. It is always a great time, good for some rest and relaxation, good company and good food. This past Memorial Day Weekend camping was so much fun, minus the scary thunderstorms and sticky hot days, and the dreaded mosquitoes that came out after the rain. We still had a great time and did have some really good food this weekend, as we always do. I have never went camping like Mr. Pea’s family goes camping before, they go all out with the food. It’s like going to a fine dining restaurant in the middle of nature, candlesticks and all! I thought I would share with you all some of the food that we had this weekend.

First, I would like to start off talking about our tradition for Memorial Day Camping weekend, stopping in Madison, WI to go to Ella’s Deli. If you have never been to Ella’s Deli, you should visit this top notch kosher style deli, if only just once. This place has been around since 1976, and there is a reason why it is still around today, it is SOO good! They have good matzo ball soup but they also have sweet and sour cabbage soup and chili that are pretty amazing as well. If there is one thing you go to a deli for it is corned beef, and I think you all know my feelings on corned beef, since I declared it my favorite meal on St. Patty’s Day. But this corned beef sandwich piled high on rye bread is one of my favorite things to eat hands down. If you leave room for dessert, which I never can do, they have a twelve page dessert menu to fulfill your sweet tooth! It is not just the food that makes Ella’s one of my favorite places, it is also the atmosphere of all the animated displays, nostalgic trinkets and toys from years past, and the tabletop games to keep you entertained while you wait for food. Also, if you go there during the spring, summer and fall months, no trip to Ella’s is complete without a ride on the 1927 Parker Carousel! So much fun!

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Their burgers are pretty great also and I decided to change it up a bit and get a burger instead this time.

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Until next year Ella’s 🙂

Moving on to our camping trip….

Friday Night

Friday night meal is pretty easy peasy compared to the rest of the meals served the rest of the weekend. Friday night’s dinner used to be a fish fry, but without our fisherman there to prepare the fish fry, we have relied on a camp favorite, hot dogs and brats. Mr. Pea was the hero of the night with his brand new pitch forks, this made grilling up 2 packages of brats and 1 package of delicious Nathan’s hot dogs easy as pie. I have never been a huge fan of hot dogs, until I had a Nathan’s hot dog. Really, they are the only hot dogs I will ever eat, they are the hot dogs that are served on every corner in New York and I think that is why I make an exception for these delightful dogs.

Saturday

Saturday morning started off with a delicious hearty breakfast, but with the terrible thunderstorms the night before, we got a later start then we usually do for making breakfast. We made some eggs with mushrooms, onion and left over brats and cheese with some bacon, and of course a camping breakfast wouldn’t be complete without my homemade banana bread and O & H Kringle.

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Then for lunch, it is the highlight of the camping trip, a trip to the Potosi Brewery Company. This place is delicious, they have some really great brews, my personal favorite being the Heffeweizer, Mr. Pea, being a fan of the darker brews is a huge fan of the Cave Ale. If you aren’t sure what to get there is always the sampler that Mr. Pea’s mom got that lets you try 6 of their different brews. They also have really great food at the Potosi restaurant, my favorite thing they serve is their beer cheese soup, it is hands down the best beer cheese soup I have ever had. They also have some great fish (caught fresh locally), burger, barbeque and salads, anything I have had off their menu has been absolutely delicious! Also, a trip to Potosi wouldn’t be complete without checking out their National Beer Museum and Art gallery across the street. This great place located in the middle of nowhere, is one of my favorite places to visit.

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And if you weren’t full yet from breakfast and lunch, saving room for dinner is a must. Because dinner for Saturday night is grilled tenderloin, steamed asparagus, red potatoes with parsley and my contribution to the food a delicious Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad, of course. Dinners for camping are usually pretty fancy, candles and all, it is like you are fine dining in the middle of nature.

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Crunchy Romaine Toss

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Salad

1 1/2 Cups chopped broccoli

1 bunch of romaine, torn

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 Cup walnuts

1 pkg ramen noodles, broken

2 tablespoons of butter

Discard the seasoning packet for the ramen noodles. In a skillet, saute noodles in butter until golden. In a large bowl combine noodles, walnuts, broccoli, romaine and onions. Drizzle with the dressing before serving.

Dressing

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

1/4 Cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sal and pepper and shake well.

Sunday

Sunday’s breakfast was extra special this year, we made some blueberry pancakes, eggs bacon and had some fruit on the side. Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, and these were great!

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We had some left over salad from the night before and snacks for lunch, but for dinner we had Grilled Chicken, Spaghetti with a meat sauce and a tossed salad.

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To beat the rain in the morning we packed up really early and left to go home, but all in all I would say it was a successful camping trip, and I can’t wait to go back next year.

So every year for Mr. Pea’s birthday  I make  him a special birthday dessert. This year I decided  to make  some cupcakes for him, it turns out that it was someone’s birthday at work  so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and create a birthday treat for both.  The theme for my co-workers birthday was Halloween, so I tried to think of a dessert that Mr. Pea  would love and that  would fit the fall themed holiday as well. So I decided on these Carmel Apple Cupcakes, that seemed to fit the bill.  The only problem Mr. pea is not a fan of apples, although I have made some apple desserts for him in the past that he did like I didn’t want to chance ruining his birthday dessert, so I made them, minus the apples, but I highly recommend adding the apples to these delicious cupcakes.

 

Carmel Apple Cupcakes

For the Apple Cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups grated apples**

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the grated apples. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.

**Bakers Note – I prefer to use a mix of sweet and sour apples.  For my latest batch I used a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until caramel is dark amber. Immediately remove from heat, and slowly add cream, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool. If  you  are not familiar  with baking , making Carmel can be tricky, so  you  can also use a 1/3 Cup of the Carmel you can buy in a jar for ice cream toppings from your local store.

Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.   Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

**Bakers Note –  When I made the caramel I doubled the recipe and used the leftover to drizzle caramel over the cupcakes.  You will still have some leftover which is great on ice cream!