Friday, January 30, 2015

Two Olive Tapenades - 1 Spicy, 1 Rich

I told you about the Hummus Vegetable Sandwich I have been making. They are so good. Well I was cheating a little. I was just finely chopping up olives instead of using tapenade. Mainly because I could not find pre-made at the store the day I went to look for it. The good thing about my cheat is that it inspired one of these tapenade recipes. I was using jalapeno stuffed green olives for the sandwich. So when I went to make my green olive tapenade I substituted pickled jalapenos for the capers. The results is the green olive version is spicy, zesty and bright. The black olive version is rich and fruity. So delicious! Tapenade is so easy to make. The food processor does all the work. Just place the ingredients in and pulse until chopped, then turn it on and drizzle in the olive oil. That is it. You have a delicious spread for crostini or sandwiches and wraps.

Spicy Green Olive Tapenade
Makes over 1 cup (9 oz.)


6 oz. can dry weight green olives*, pitted and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 sprig of parsley
1 large leaf of basil, torn
1 Tbsp. pickled jalapeno, sliced
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 shallot (or 1/4 small red onion), minced 
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Add the first eight ingredients to a food processor. Pulse and drizzle in the olive oil. 

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rich Black Olive Tapenade
Makes over 1 cup (9 oz.)


6 oz. can dry weight black olives*, pitted and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 sprig of parsley
1 large leaf of basil
2 tsp. capers in white balsamic vinegar, drained
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 Shallot, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Add the first eight ingredients to a food processor. Pulse and drizzle in the olive oil. 

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Note: I used Lindsay Naturals Olives for both these tapenades. I bought them as a lower sodium option. I did not receive any compensation for using their products.

Linking to:
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Reasons To Skip The Housework: Skip The Housework Link Party
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Dizzy, Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday

Hummus Experiment #3 and Recipe Reviews

Remember the smooth hummus experiment? Well I have been a little lax in experimenting. But when I came across Minimalist Baker's Best Ever 5 Minute Microwave Hummus recipe, I knew it was time for experiment number three. Dana went on and on about how close it was to restaurant hummus. Verdict ... She is SO RIGHT! Oh man this hummus is the right color, the right texture and taste amazing. It is so easy too. You just cook the garbanzo beans and garlic in the microwave and blend the hummus hot. Now you may be shocked at the amount of tahini and olive oil. But I think this is the secret to the recipe. I think many of us try to eliminate too much fat from our hummus recipes by cutting back on the tahini and olive oil. I am guilty of this myself. But it made a huge difference in the end results. So creamy and fluffy! I used four cloves of garlic because I knew cooking the garlic would mellow it out some. I didn't even add any salt because the can of beans I used were not low sodium. It taste perfect! I may have to revisit some of my own hummus recipes and "fatten" them up a bit.

So what did I do with this hummus? Well I admit, I ate some with a spoon. Don't judge! But the real reason I wanted to make hummus was to make a wonderful sandwich I just recently discovered. It is a Hummus Vegetable Sandwich from Martha Stewart. The first time I made this sandwich I made it with store bought hummus and finely diced olives. It was so amazing I decided to make homemade hummus and tapenade so I could make many more sandwiches. I have made sandwiches for my sister, I made a sandwich and took it to work for lunch. The hummus and the sandwich are so delicious. Turns out, this sandwich travels well too. It did not get soggy, it was perfect lunch time fare. I think this will become a regular around here. I hope you will try it for yourself.

Hummus Vegetable Sandwich
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 1


2 slices light honey wheat bread
1/4 cup hummus
1 tablespoon olive tapenade
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 coarsely grated carrot


Spread 1 slice bread with hummus; spread remaining slice of bread with tapenade. Top hummus with cucumber slices and carrot. Place bread with tapenade on top to form a sandwich.

Want to know more about the Tapenade click here 
for two recipes. One spicy and one rich.

Linking to:
Reasons To Skip The Housework: Skip The Housework Link Party
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Dizzy, Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pulled Pork Rellenos Tacos

Don't you think it is time for another Chili Rellenos Taco? I do! This is Virginia BBQ meets Relleno Tacos. When I was in Charlottesville, Virginia I tried some Pulled Pork at The Ordinary at Michie Tavern. It was delicious, not heavily smoked or over sauced. It was moist, very flavorful and not too sweet. I purchased the cookbook in the gift shop but I was a little disappointed that the pulled pork recipe was not in the cookbook. So I began to search. I found a crockpot recipe at for Virginia Barbecue. It was not the same but very tasty. I love the dry mustard in the sauce. Like the pork at the Ordinary it is flavorful, not too sweet and not over sauced. You can really taste the pork. The first time I made it, I served it on hamburger buns to the family with my Men's Club Coleslaw. It was very good but totally sogged out the bun. You needed a fork to eat it. It was then I had the idea of these tacos. I went to the store to buy poblanos but I could not find them. So the leftovers went in a baked potato instead. Also great!

Finally with the poblanos and all other ingredients in hand I was able to make these tacos tonight. It was just as good as I had imagined. The poblano adds a layer of heat and smoke and it also help prevent the tortilla from getting soggy. It cradles the pork so well. I loved everything together. It is warm and spicy from the pork and chili. It is also cool and creamy from the coleslaw. The cheese is a bonus. Everything is better with cheese. Definitely a great mash up! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Pulled Pork Rellenos Tacos
Serves 4


4 poblano peppers
1 cup pulled pork (Virginia Barbecue)
8 small flour tortillas
1/2 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup coleslaw (Men's Club Coleslaw)
1/2 red onion, diced
Pickled jalapenos, slices (optional)


To grill the poblanos: Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Place poblanos on the grill. Grill for five minutes on each side until skins are charred. Remove poblanos and cover with plastic wrap. When poblanos are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of the poblanos. Cut poblanos in half from stem to tip, remove seeds, stem and veins being careful not to split open the sides of the pepper.

To assemble the tacos:  Place a poblano half on each tortilla. Place some pork over the chili, top with cheese. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute to melt the cheese. Top with slaw, onion, and jalapenos.

Linking to:
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
The Diary of a Real Housewife: Friday Favorites
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo

Recipe Review: Total 10 Protein Bowls

So why have I not been posting more recipes. Well I have been cooking other people's recipes. I saw Dr. Oz had a new diet plan out and while I did not decide to do the plan I did decide I wanted to try a few of his recipes. I made all the Total 10 Protein Bowls, the Greek Yogurt Mayo and Crunchy Artichokes Hearts. I also made the Total 10 Turkey Breakfast SausageHuevos Rancheros and Caprese Eggs.

One thing I did notice is that the recipe instructions left a lot up to interpretation. It really annoyed many commenting on the site. I think the writers were leaving it open to allow for different tastes but it annoyed most people. Seems like they wanted to be told exactly what to do. There maybe a lesson in that for us bloggers and recipe developers. It is fine to offer options to change the recipe for others tastes, but they want to know how to make the recipe in our photos. I got a little side tracked there but it is something we should all think about when we post.

Back to the reviews. Below is a review and further instruction as to how I made these recipes. The links to the recipes are in the first paragraph. Be sure to read the comments for other tips as to how people made these recipes work for them. Be sure to check them out. They really are tasty healthy recipes. I am sure glad I found them.

Mexican Bowl
It was very filling but not my favorite so far. I grated the cauliflower mixed it with all ingredients except salsa, avocado and tomatoes. I microwaved covered until warm then topped with remaining ingredients. I ended up adding some sazon seasoning. It was just okay. Next time I will add cilantro, more salsa and maybe cook the cauliflower with some seasoning. Worth experimenting with one more time.

Italian Bowl
I cooked two portions at once. I started with the Total 10 Breakfast Sausage then added 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 red bell pepper all chopped. I also added one pint of grape tomatoes halved. I cooked that until the onion was cooked and the tomatoes broke down releasing it's liquid. I took off the heat and added the zucchini noodles(3 small) and basil stirring to combine for a few minutes. I wish I had a little more zucchini noodles. I will use more next time. It was delicious I will make again.

Chinese Chicken Bowl
I made this bowl first. I grilled the chicken and took it off the grill to rest under foil. While it rested I stir fried the veggies. I made two portions and used 1 bunch broccoli(crowns only), half a 4 oz pkg mushrooms, 2 handfuls snow peas, 3 green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. I drizzled in the soy once the veggies were bright green. I just stir fried until tender crisp. Served topped with diced chicken. Very tasty!

Thai Chicken Bowl
I made this bowl second. I made the dressing first; everything but veggies and almonds. I shook it in a jar. Then I made a bowl of slaw, 1 green onion, a few chopped snap peas and red bell pepper. I topped it with almonds, avocado and chicken, then I drizzled with the dressing. You will have dressing left to make a few more bowls. This was very delicious too!

Mediterranean Bowl
This was the last bowl I tried. I made it raw. I did not cook any of the veggies. I used 1 small zucchini, 1 small yellow squash, 2 radishes, several slices of cucumber, 2 pepperoncini sliced(instead of pickles), some red onion, 5 yellow cherry tomatoes. I skipped the cabbage all together. It made plenty. I seasoned with salt, black and red pepper. Stirred together with the hummus and a little lemon juice. Then I topped with can tuna. I did not want to bother cooking the chicken. It was very good! The liquid from the veggies mixed with the hummus and made a nice dressing. I really liked the pepperoncini too. I would make again.

Greek Yogurt Mayo
This is a tasty dip or dressing. I made 1/3 of the recipe. I did not think it taste similar to mayo but I really liked it. It would be great in a potato or pasta salad. Maybe even a chicken or egg salad. I used it as a dip for the roasted artichokes. I can't wait to try it with steamed artichokes.

Crunchy Artichoke Hearts
I am a bit confused about this recipe. They are tasty and crispy but also really oily. They almost fry in the oil. I think this is too much oil for one can of artichokes. I placed them on paper towels to try to remove the excess oil. I made the yogurt mayo for a dipping sauce. It was a great combination. I just need to find a way to get them crispy without all that oil. I used the artichokes packed in water too. I think I will mix in a bowl first next time and then lift out the artichokes and put on a cookie sheet. I followed the directions and mixed on the cookie sheet. They were swimming in the olive oil. They were so tasty it is worth trying again.

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Delicious! I used it in the Italian Bowl and it taste like Italian meat sauce. Very good. Might use a little less sage next time, my family noticed it. They are not fans of sage.

Huevos Rancheros
This was also delicious and so very simple. I loved the crunch of the red bell pepper. The salsa is great too. I made it twice once with red salsa and once with a green salsa, both very good.

Caprese Eggs
These eggs were very good. I grated about 1/4 of a garlic clove and sauteed it with a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes. Added the eggs and when they started to cook stirred in the basil. Very tasty!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Grilled Shrimp Po Boy with Kickin' Po Boy Sauce

Happy New Year everyone! (Very belated) I have observed all my New Year Traditions. I spent it with my favorite person in the world. I had a meal of smothered cabbage and black eye peas with the family when I returned. This year is off to a great start.

Central Texas was cold and rainy. We cooked black eye peas and a few other things together. We discovered we do not like fresh black eye peas we prefer dried. This totally surprised both of us. I mean fresh is usually better? Right? I guess in this case we have been cooking from dry so long that they evoke that comforting memory. The fresh were not bad? Just different. They smelled and taste different. They even took longer to cook. Odd? We won't try that again.

We did make a good old fashioned 7 Layer Dip for New Year's Eve. We made our own guacamole and added many pickled jalapenos, so technically it might have been an eight layer dip. It was amazing how happy this made us. I don't know why I don't make this more often. It has been years since I made one. We also cooked many other things. Mayo Baked Tilapia and Veggies, Beef Filet and Mushroom Pan Sauce and of course lots of Breakfasts. That is his specialty. But the stand out recipe of the week was a Grilled Shrimp Po Boy. 

This Po Boy was amazing! It was really just a "winging it" recipe. My favorite person wanted a good po-boy on good bread. So he bought the bread from Jimmy John's. As for what to put on the po boy? We both agreed shrimp. We talked about using a marinade for BBQ Shrimp he was given by a friend. Well? We left our shopping list at home so we left a key ingredient at the store. So this marinade is the result. It was still great. I don't know if you can tell much difference from the original. They are well flavored with a hint of smoke from the grill. Perfect on their own or on a po boy. I asked what kind of sauce he wanted. He said something with a kick. Well I think "winging it" yet again worked to our benefit. We now have a Kickin' Po Boy Sauce. It's spicy, creamy, a little sweet and tangy. It had a nice flavor kick but did not over power or compete with the shrimp. It was so good! I will definitely make this for the family soon. Maybe on a warm day. We nearly froze to death at the grill that night. It was so so cold! But totally worth it. (Smiling)

Grilled Shrimp Po Boy with Kickin' Po Boy Sauce
Serves 2 or 3


For Shrimp and Marinade:
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp horseradish

For Kickin' Po Boy Sauce:
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 to 2 tsp. capers
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For Po Boy:
French bread, sliced in halved
Butter, softened
Kickin' Po Boy Sauce (recipe above)
Shredded lettuce
Tomato, sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Grilled shrimp


For Shrimp Marinade: Combine everything but shrimp in a jar and shake to combine. Pour over the shrimp to cover. Let marinade at least 30 min before grilling.

For Kickin' Po Boy Sauce: Combine ingredients stirring well to combine. Set aside for later.

For the Po Boy: Pre-heat the grill to medium high heat. Butter both insides of french bread. Grill the shrimp a few minutes each side, until opaque and has nice grill marks. Place bread on the grill butter side down. Grill until butter has melted and has nice golden brown grill marks. Remove from grill and assemble the po boy. Spread the kickin' sauce on both sides of the bread, place lettuce, tomatoes on bottom half of bread. Season with salt and pepper. Top with grilled shrimp and the top half of the bread. Cut into 2 or 3 sandwiches. Serve immediately!

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
The Diary of a Real Housewife: Friday Favorites

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