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Dan Dan Noodles via F&W

This recipe came to me via the Food and Wine email and I had perfect opportunity to try it. I have a friend that has recently moved to rural northwest Georgia from Tibet. We have been spending quite a bit of time together and she loves having me over to her house to cook meals and watch movies among other activities. She is trying her best to make food like that of her homeland, but it is hard to come by the same ingredients and she sometimes becomes frustrated. The day following a meal at her house, I got the F&W email and decided to try to give her a little taste of home, if only similar.

See the recipe here.

I did manage to find all of the ingredients in my local market, which was a relief. I took everything over there and commenced on making the meal. I asked her to prepare her mein noodles as she does at home and asked her if these ingredients looked familiar. They did and I could see a sparkle in her eye as I was bringing everything together.

She does not have a food processor or blender as of yet, so I chopped all of the ingredients by hand and used a whisk. It worked just fine. It was beautiful as well.

 

After using the skillet for the first cooking, I browned some pork chops in the peanut oil with just a little salt and pepper. Once they were nicely browned with the perfect crunch, they were set aside for a few minutes. Before serving the noodles, we put them in the skillet so that they could soak up all of the leftover oil and goodness. I thinly sliced the pork with her magnificent Chinese cleaver and placed over the top of the noodles. We poured the sauce mixture over the noodles and pork then topped with green onions cut on the bias and a squeeze of lime.

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This was one of the best dishes I’ve made in quite a while. My friend loved it. Not quite like home, but close enough. She loved it so much that she wanted to cook it a second time this week for her husband’s family. And so, we did. The second time, we used a blender, hoping to get the consistency described in the recipe. However, I must say, we were both disappointed with this method. The flavor was quite different and the second dish did not compare in beauty. We decided that next time, we would revert to the original, more time consuming method.

Let me know if you try it or have already.

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Food, What's For Dinner?

 

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Using the Coconut Oil

Ah, Pinterest, you have struck my fancy again. A few days ago, I was perusing the pictures and came across a post that I, myself, have posted about in the past. See that post here. 52 Uses for Coconut Oil started out as a list with more uses for coconut oil than I thought I could ever use. As it turns out, readers have added 70+ more uses to her list. Glancing at this made me realize that I bought a jar of it quite a few months ago and had not used it yet. I decided it was time. I will preface this list with the fact that I’m not really a coconut person.  It’s growing on me.  The taste and smell of the oil are faint, so I can handle it.

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Here’s what I’ve done with it this week:
1. Facial moisturizer. After I washed my face, before going to bed, I slathered it on. It soaked right in. The next morning, I looked like a new person. My skin was very hydrated and more plump.

2. Additive to coffee.
From what I can see, others are consuming it in lots of ways. I thought I would try it in my coffee. I drink mine with only half & half. I added just a little amount of the oil, about half of a teaspoon, give or take. It added just a hint of flavor.

3. Cat food additive.
During these dry months, it’s important to keep pets hydrated so they aren’t scratching dry skin. You can lead a cat to water, you know. I melted just a little of the oil in the microwave and drizzled it over their food. They didn’t seem to mind at all and ate all of it. (Of course, cats can be finicky, so easy does it on the amount.)

4. Leather Moisturizer. I’ve got a pair of ropers (cowboy boots) that I’ve had for over ten years.  The toes were a little scuffed up and I couldn’t put my hands on my shoe polish at the time. So, I rubbed a little c. oil on it and it fixed them right up.  Not the same as a polish and buff, but definitely hydrated them and brought them to a better state.

5. Lip moisturizer.  Works just as well as it did on my face.

6. Scalp conditioner. With the air being dry lately, My scalp around my forehead  has been the same. In the morning before my shower, I rubbed some on my scalp and let it soak in for about ten minutes, then just washed as usual.  Worked like a charm.

What have you been doing with it?

Cheers, Olivia

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in 3 Ways, Food, House, Pets

 

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52 Uses for Coconut Oil

I wanted to put up a 3 Ways post today. After some time, and a mental block, I was perusing the net and then remembered this that I came across a couple of weeks ago. I am taking absolutely no credit for this one. Just passing along a very thorough and useful list of things to do with Coconut Oil!

http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/01/52-uses-for-coconut-oil-the-simple-the-strange-and-the-downright-odd/

Currently, I do not use this for anything and never have. Looks like I need to! I will get some and try it. What are you doing with it?

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in 3 Ways, Food, Kitchen, Pets

 

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Do You Make Your Own Snacks?

Hello there.  I’m about to embark on making some snacks for myself.  Are you making your own snacks at home? What are you putting together? How about healthy options?

I have a huge sweet tooth, so I’m seeking healthier alternatives! Plain fruit or healthy crackers are completely boring to me! I’m going to try to find or come up with some good combinations.  Ideally, I could make a batch of something that I could keep around for a week or two.

Tell me what you’ve got and I will keep you posted on what I come up with.

Pistachios and dark chocolate might be starting this off…

Cheers.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Food

 

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Crème Fraîche 3 Ways

Crème fraîche is a French cream product that has similarities to sour cream. cream cheese, and yogurt. It is thick, smooth and creamy, containing between 18 ad 36% fat.  The flavor is tangy, similar to sour cream and the texture is easily spreadable.  It lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes.

Here are three things to try:

  1. Use it as a substitute for yogurt, sour cream, or even mayonnaise in most recipes.  Give it a shot!
  2. A very simple (and healthy) dessert or snack idea is to add a dollop on top of some fresh berries and drizzle with honey.
  3. Potato Gratin with Gruyère and Crème Fraîche

A fact about crème fraîche that is good to know is that it can be cooked or reheated without curdling.  This makes for easier use and a creamier outcome.

If you are unable to find it or would like to make your own, it is vary simple.  Here’s the recipe:

2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons buttermilk

Stir the buttermilk into heavy cream in a glass container that has a lid (quart canning jar would be perfect).

Leave the container partially covered, and let it sit at room temperature until it’s at your preferred thickness, about 8 – 24 hours.

Stir the contents and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

There are lots of varieties to this recipe.  Some cook for a short period, some use yogurt, some vary the amounts of buttermilk ratio.  I imagine that all will produce a similar product.

Have you ever tried making it?

Cheers, Olivia

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in 3 Ways, Food

 

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Today’s Lunch! Had to share!

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Grilled Cheese w/ cheddar, fontina, jalapeños, and thick cut country bacon! Good grief, it was good!

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Food, What's For Dinner?

 

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Jalepeño Cornbread

Growing up, my mother always made cornbread and I must say, has been very good at it. On occasion she would make Mexican Cornbread. I’m not sure how she came into making it, but I always enjoyed it. As I remember, she would add a can of Mexican style canned corn to the batter and occasionally a chopped onion. The burst of the corn kernel and the crunch of the onion always appealed to my senses as a child.

Last night, while making chili, I wanted something different to accompany it. So Mexican cornbread it was. Not having the recipe or being able to get my mother on the phone at the moment, I went to the internet to find a good substitute. Of course, who did I find there? Ina herself. If there is another woman in the kitchen that I love besides my mother, its Ina Garten. After looking no further than the Barefoot Contessa recipe, I was ready to go. Jalepeno Cornbread sounded close enough and better. As it turns out, I decided to marry the two recipes and what a wonderful product I ended up with.

Here’s Ina’s recipe. Link to Food Network.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
  • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers

Directions

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here are my modifications:

First and foremost, this is a giant recipe.  I cut it in half right from the start.  She says that her’s makes 12 large pieces and she isn’t kidding.  In half, it filled a standard iron skillet for me.
In addition to the scallions, I had a little white onion left over from my chili and I wanted to add that.  So, I added about 1/4 of a cup. I added 2/3 of a cup of canned corn (or half of an 11 oz. can). Her recipe calls for 3 extra large eggs. I used 2 large for the half recipe.
In hindsight, I wish I had added the seeds of the jalepenos.  The extra heat would have been a welcomed addition.
I must say, this was truly some of the best cornbread I’ve ever eaten.  The recipe called for much more flour than meal, which is more Northern for sure. We didn’t mind one bit. The texture was cake like and fluffy.  Brandon (the bf) and I walked into the kitchen and said at the same time “Oh my god, that smells so good.” Believe me when I say it- it was so good.  He and I both forgot to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven because we were dying to eat it.  We couldn’t even wait for it to cool at all- which you will see by the crumbs and broken pieces below!! At any rate, I am exceptionally happy with this recipe.  I will probably play with it a little more and I’ve even thought about making some sort of stuffing out of it to accompany some pork. MMMMMM.  Stand by for that.
Cheers.  Olivia

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Food, What's For Dinner?

 

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