Friday, September 30, 2016 die for!

Pan seared scallops, brown butter peas and rice...Friday night dinner

I picked up the scallops from the Town Duck, they have fresh seafood on Fridays, you have to pre-order but OmGeee...this seafood is so fresh you can almost hear the ocean waves when you open your package. When a friend told me how amazing the scallops were I knew I had to get in on these.

I dusted the scallops with flour, and with a say dusted, very lightly, you don't want to bread them, just dust. After searing the scallops in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, I pulled them from the heat and added the "sauce". It wasn't so much a sauce that you pour over but added to the pan and then the add the scallops back in to coat.
2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil

The brown butter peas are easy peasy... 2 tablespoon butter, heat in pan till starts to brown, be careful because you don't want to burn the butter, just brown it. I used frozen peas but fresh is better. Toss the peas around the butter and just keep them moving in the pan, you want them brown not burned. Once you've pulled the peas from the heat sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Cook up your rice of peas over rice, scallops over peas...serve with a nice glass of red wine. Tonight was Bogle Essential Red .. tasty!

Until Next Time
Forks UP


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fritos ... not just for lunch

I had a hankering for chili ... yes I know it's 98 degrees with 95% humidity but I could just about taste the spiciness of the jalapeno peppers and ancho chili powder. 

So here is a quick summer time chili recipe to be served over big scoop Fritos.

1 pound ground beef of your choice (I wanna try this with bison)
4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and chunked
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 onion diced
1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced - seeds and all
Ancho chili powder to taste 
Ground Cumin to taste
Salt to taste
dash of sugar

Let's talk about the "salt to taste" ... I saute the onions and pepper together and sprinkle with salt, this helps sweat the onions. I add the ground beef and sprinkle with salt, not much just a pinch here and there. I'm not shy to use salt but I also think that if you use good fresh ingredients you don't need a lot of it.

After I brown the ground beef I add in chunked tomatoes and the sauce, toss in spices to taste, depending on the amount of heat your tongue can take. I let the chili simmer for about an hour and it got nice and thick.

Notice no beans ... this is a no beans chili ... why ... cause I don't want beans on my Fritos.

Place big scoop Fritos in bowl, spoon chili on top, then add anything else you think your dish needs ... you can add sour cream, cheese, picked jalapenos or even more hot sauce. 

Grab a cold beer and sit back and enjoy

Until Next Time
Forks Up


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Gnocchi with Pesto

Last weekend I was inspired to create something with the basil in my garden that was turning into a big bush so I needed to start using it before I start freezing it for soup.

Here are my pesto fixings .. 

1 cup fresh spinach
20/30 leaves of fresh basil
juice from one lemon
Gourmet Garden  Cilantro - 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 
1 to 2 cloves of garlic crushed 
I don't mince my garlic, I'd rather chop it and then smash with salt, this takes the bitter out of the garlic and because I'm not cooking it I would rather have the flavor then the bitter.

I chop, sprinkle with salt then smash with my knife

My secret ingredient ...

Red Pepper flakes..if you've not tried Penzeys Spices pop over to their website..they seriously have some of the best spices I've ever used. I place several shakes, I don't measure, this is just a by taste thing.

I put all of the ingredients into my food processor..

Cook up the gnocchi according to the directions on the package..

I don't drain the gnocchi in a colander because it will get smushed (yes smushed is a real word)
I use my wire wok ladle and place in glass bowl and spoon pesto over gnocchi.

For this dinner I decided to make salmon on the grill to go over the gnocchi...

We love our salmon with a little Cajun Foreplay from Dinosaur BBQ
I have to give a shout out to our friend Neal for giving us this bottle, when I run out I'll be ordering online because it is perfect on fish, chicken, pork, burgers..heck it's good on everything.
On the grill the fish went..
off the grill and on to the plate..

The recipe made enough to have two dinners...first night fish...
second night I sauteed some chicken, added a little chicken broth, threw in the gnocchi and
another yummy dinner.

I hope you give my little recipe a try and let me know what you think..

Until Next Time
Forks UP


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cheating ... But Not Really

We've all heard it ... Fresh is Best 
While I do agree sometimes there are factors that keep us from using fresh. Time, convenience, availability, you name it there are reasons that we can't always use fresh.

In the summer I grow basil, and I have a nice fresh sage plant in my herb bed but the one herb that I've tried to grow with little success is Cilantro ... and I love cilantro so I have found a solution to my problem ... 

These stir-in paste herbs from Gourmet Garden

Cilantro and Ginger are always in my fridge and in the winter I keep the basil on hand. I recently discovered their Hot Chili and I'll be trying this the next time I make Thai Swordfish. I've not tried the garlic so would love to hear if you have...

So tell me ... is it really cheating if it's still homemade?

Until Next Time
Forks Up


Sunday, July 31, 2016


Normally eggs are not my go to for breakfast ... first I need to clear something up..
I am not the enemy of breakfast (someone that lives in the house likes to say this about me) ... it's just not my favorite meal of the day. I'm happy to have a Nature Valley Biscuits with Peanut Butter

I'll have one of these biscuits and a cheese stick and am happy till lunch. 

Sunday is our Saturday so often I'll get up and make breakfast this morning after a discussion on the Facebook group, Quilters Who Cook, I changed my mind from pancakes to eggs because I remembered that I had a counter top full of yellow squash I had to figure out how to use up.
So...eggs to the rescue because pancakes with yellow squash would be gross.

Half an onion, two tomatoes from my little garden, yellow squash from Messick's Farm Market (CSA) and farm fresh eggs from the Warrenton Farmers Market and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (goat cheese would have been better but I was out).

I chopped the tomatoes into very small pieces and lined a bowl with paper towels to soak up the juice, cause you don't want tomato juice in your eggs.

After dicing the squash and 1/2 onion I threw about a table spoon of butter into a hot pan added the squash/onion mixture, lightly salt & pepper and saute but not too long, you want your veggies to have a little crunch.

next up ...  add the tomatoes

After I took this picture I took the veggies and spread them out in the pan so they would cook evenly and this also gave me time to beat my eggs ...
Now here is my tip on beating your eggs ...

First ... break the yolks before going to town beating your eggs, this will help get an even blend without having little bits of whites in your finished product. Second ... use a fork..don't grab your whisk unless you want your eggs full of air, the fork is the perfect egg beater out there. Third ... DO NOT add milk or water ... there is no need to do this when making an omelet you'll get moist eggs from the veggies.

Now pour the eggs over your veggies

I do push the egg mixture around before I flip over the top of my omelet. Right before you flip the top over this is when you want to add cheese.

Serve with fresh fruit and toast on the side.

With a breakfast like this you are ready to take on the day..

Until Next Time
Forks Up


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Soup Time..Yes in the Summer

Normally you don't think of soup when you think about summer time cooking
but for me it's always soup time. How nice is it to come home from work and just heat up the soup you made the day before...or even the day before the day before. 

One of my go to soups is something I call "Ravioli Soup"..
it's easy and tasty ... did I mention easy?

I use ground beef and spicy Italian sausage, emptied from the casing.
Large can tomato sauce
Large can chopped/diced tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 large bag frozen ravioli (I use cheese)
2 to3 cups of Swanson Chicken Broth (this depends on how soupy you want it)
2 cups half and half (use can use whole milk but it won't be as rich)
Oregano - 1 to 2 tablespoons to taste
handful of fresh basil 
 I bring all the ingredients to room temperature before I start cooking

Brown both the meats, but don't over stuff your pot because you won't be able to brown the meat it will steam it and that makes it tough.
This is the pot I my LeCreuset

Remove meat from pot, add onion and saute, you can add some olive oil if you need to just to so the onion doesn't stick, sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt over the onion as it starts to cook. By salting the onion it allows it to sweat and brings out the sweetness of the onion. 
Once the onion is nice and soft add the browned meats back to the pot, add tomato sauce, and drained diced tomatoes, chicken broth and oregano. Salt to taste, I don't add much salt as the sausage adds a zing and the broth has some sodium in it. 
Once the pot comes to a boil, turn heat down and add ravioli, bring again to a boil.
Turn heat down and add half & half ... be careful not to bring to a rapid boil on this step,
it's better to bring to a slow boil.

Time to chop the basil  

I roll the leaves together and then dice

and toss on top 
stir it in 
reduce heat to a simmer
for 30 to 45 minutes

Outside dining at it's best!

Until Next Time
Forks Up


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Welcome Back

5 years...

In 5 years I've cooked a lot of meals, dined in so many restaurants some worth mentioning the others not so much...

I thought I would give my foodie blog another shot..something different then my real life but something that I am passionate about.

So if you were with me before...
thanks for sticking with me..
if you are just finding me..

Until Next Time
Forks Up