Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Yummers!

There is nothing better in the summer time than fresh produce. The vegetable choices are at their peak. Whether you harvest from your own backyard, find at a farmer's market, or swing through the produce aisle, summer veggies are a quick go to for a meal. One of the easiest and yummiest way I cook up my garden finds is to saute them and serve over pasta. And of of the best things about this dish, you can easily make it your own. Rarely do I serve it the same way. Use whatever you have on hand! Below, is what I happened to have on this particular day.
Angel Hair with Summer Veggie Saute
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
dash red pepper flakes (if you like a little kick)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 meduim zuchinni, chopped
1 medium squash, chopped
1 cup diced tomato (can also substitue with a can)
1 cup baby spinach
Angel hair, cooked according to package directions
How to:
Over medium heat, saute the garlic and red pepper flakes. There are few things as good as fresh garlic cooking up!
Next, add in the onion and saute a few minutes. The squash and zuchinni are next in the pan. Allow the veggies to cook and soften a bit before adding in the tomatoes. Cook for another minute or two. Turn off the heat and fold in the spinach. The heat of the vegetables will help wilt the greens.
Now that the vegetables are finished, serve them over the pasta. On this particular night, I had some shrimp I needed to use. So, I seared them with a little lemon juice, butter and cajun seasonining.
This dish is very simple and good. I have even served it as a side. Like I said above, this is really just a method. Throw in any vegetable you enjoy! I love cooking with eggplant and mushrooms.

Restaurant Review 1: Steak and Catfish Barn

I'm a sucker for tv, especially shows about food. Food Network and the Cooking Channel are at the top of my list. Travel Channel also has their fair share of great food shows, one of which being Man v. Food. I love learning about great places to eat in cities that I would love to visit. Although it may also be that Adam Richman, the show's host, looks a lot like a grown up Kevin Arnold. ;) Wouldn't you know it, Adam (and the show) visited Oklahoma. I had to go check it out.
A few weeks ago, my family visited the zoo and worked up quite an appetite. We weren't too far away from an eatery where the show filmed. The Steak and Catfish Barn it was!
I admit, driving up to the place wasn't the most exciting. It truly does look like a truck stop off the busy interstate. The inside stayed with that theme. It was a little dark and seemed like it hadn't been decorated in about 15 years. That didn't bother us. It was clean, and honestly some of the best eats come from hole in the wall establishments.
The waitstaff was very friendly and attentive. Our boys enjoyed looking at all the decorations covering the walls. The menu was large enough, mostly with fried foods. But after all, that's what The Travel Channel came for, and so did we! My husband and I both ordered the catfish dinner. It came with hush puppies and our choice of two sides. I chose the green beans and okra. He chose a side salad and fries. I also ordered a side of the green tomato relish. Our oldest chose his favorite, popcorn shrimp. Boy #2 opted for the catfish. The baby was happy with Cheerio's.
The food was good. I won't say spectacular. Honestly, I prefer my catfish a little more thinly cut. My husband enjoyed the catfish and had no complaints. I will say, the green tomato relish was delicious! Eating it with the hush puppies, catfish, or straight....YUM! (mental note for a recipe search....) The boys each enjoyed their meals as well. The food was very fairly priced, and the service was great. It was easy place to eat with the children as well. If we are up on the north side of Oklahoma City again, we may head back.
And a shot of Adam for the road.....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fruit Leather

If your kids are like my boys, you can go through a box of fruit roll ups in a matter of a day or two. Ok, you don't have to be a child to go through a box. I admit to indulging in a few. ;) As much as we enjoy those tasty treats, I wasn't sure they are the best (from a nutrition standpoint) for us to be eating.

I had done some researching on different recipes on making fruit leather, and honestly the method behind it seemed pretty simple. Cook fruit. Puree. Spread thin. Dry. Cut. Enjoy! So, that is exactly what I did!

We had recently been to Sam's and bought an enormous box of pluots (a plum/apricot hybrid). When we had eaten our fill, half the box remained. Enter in fruit leather experiment! I also had a peach and a nectarine which were not the best looking fruits, but trimmed up worked out great! After the pluots, peach, and nectarine were pitted and chopped, they measured 4 cups. I added about 1/2 cup water to help get the juices flowing.
The fruit simmered on low for about 15-20 minutes. I gave them a rough mash with a potato masher to make sure they were nice and soft. At this point I tasted them and added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, one at a time as to not over-sweeten. Then, I strained the mixture over a mesh colander. The fruit mash was then transfered to the blender for a whiz. I pureed until it was a nice, smooth consistency. It was such a pretty color too!
At this point, it was a thick consistency. I was able to drag my spatula across the bottom of the pan and the puree stayed seperated. Next, I lined a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. When that was secured, the fruit was spread and into the 175 degree oven it went and stayed there for quite a while. (Long enough to drive impatient little boys nuts!) Five hours later, I pulled the fruit leather out of the oven. It should feel tacky. Finally, time to cut and serve!

(Apologizing in advance for the sideways picture. No matter what I do, I cannot get it to turn even though it is turned on my computer. Who knows....
It turned out great! We all love it, and I cannot wait to experiment with the recipe more. I am almost certain you could use any fruit you like. Maybe even add some spices like cinammon or sweeten with honey. Yum! The possibilities!

Now, on to this. Ugh!

We're a hungry bunch!

Welcome! Wait, who am I welcoming? Now I feel like I'm talking to myself. Ok, I am talking to myself. However, if you happen to stumble upon my blog, I am glad to have you here.
I've been a fan of food for a long time. Trying out new recipes and restaurants are hobbies. Since becoming a wife and mother, I have enjoyed having my husband and three young boys along for the "food adventure".
My hope for this blog is simple. I want to use it to write about my family's food adventure. Whether it be a simple dinner at home or an excursion to a new restaurant, I would like to capture those memories here.
Fingers crossed I can keep it up! I've been writing posts in my head for quite a while. :)