Cooking Tips

Freeze Food for Fast Fixins'

home-frozen-food

As a rule, I HATE frozen veggies. I almost never buy frozen food if I can keep from it.

But, being all kinds of busy, I know the value of time. Freezing food does not seem to be a valid “quick” solution. But it CAN be….

If you pre-prep certain veggies and greens, you can pop them out, fire them up, and chow down in no time flat.

There’s no end to what you can do with frozen veggies if they are done the right way. Healthy, tasty, and fast.

It may not look appealing in this form, but I can guarantee that the greens I have in here are just as tasty after the freezing as they were when they were fresh. And they will last a pretty long time.

But to get them here will take a little bit of work, not much though, and it’s nothing YOU can’t do.

Step one: Wash your greens, broccoli, or whatever veggie you are working with.

Step two: Chop your veggies up into small chunks, about a 1/4 inch or so.

Step three: Bring a pot of water to boiling, add veggies for about 3 minutes.

Step four: Have a big bowl of ice water at the ready. Remove your veggies from pot to your bowl full of ice water to halt the cooking process.

Step 5: Dry your veggies and bag ‘em!

Step 6: When you are ready, take out however much you want to cook, pop them in a pot, or place directly in a sauté pan and heat up over medium heat. Then use as you wish.

un-frozen-food-fast

If you are using a Foodsaver machine, you can even boil in the bag!

Personally, I am a big fan of mixing my frozen greens in with my morning eggs. They add great texture and some great taste.

So, freeze some goodies up for immediate deployment on your next date and spend more time with your lady than with your food.

Sexy, Easy, Tasty...No, No, I Mean the Food

So you want to impress your lady with some tasty tasty yumminess, in and out of the bedroom I’m sure. But let’s start in the kitchen shall we? In order to be good date food, a dish must have 3 things:

1. It must be easy to make.

You don’t want to be running back and forth or be completely preoccupied with your cooking duties. You want to be paying complete attention to your date! Therefore, the best dishes should be ones that can be fully prepared ahead of time.

2. It must smell, taste, and look good.

Smell is the herald of taste. When your date walks in to your place, the first thing to greet her (besides you, looking hot in jeans, a t-shirt, and an apron), will be the amazing aroma of a long cooking extravagant meal. She will know that you took a lot of time to prepare this feast just for her. Her senses and attraction to you will be inflamed from the start. Things are looking good for you, my friend! When she bites in to this thing she has been anticipating for so long, she will be completely satisfied… Well, not completely yet…

3. It must impress!

Sure, you can have a Hamburger Helper baking away and it will smell good and taste pretty darn good sometimes. But is that impressive? Uh, no. If you cook up something that sounds exotic, evokes far away lands, and has a sense of elegance to it; then you will escalate the attraction she already feels for you. Not only did you work hard, slaving away in the kitchen all day just for her, but you did so preparing a dish fit for the Princess she is! She will surely have greater interest in rewarding your efforts, because you worked so hard!

Oooooooor diiiiiiiiiid you? (Insert sly grin, with eyebrow cocked here)

Historically elegant (and easily misspelled) dishes with names like Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, Chicken Cacciatora, and Osso Buco, can cause novice cooks to sweat like a chicken on Colonel Sanders’ farm. They not only have amazing names and taste as good as they sound; they are also incredibly EASY to make. All these dishes have one thing in common, they are braised.

And believe it or not, you actually need almost no culinary skill to pull these savory miracles off.

cooking-technique

You pick a meat, brown it all over in shimmering oil over med high heat, then put it in a pot with veggies, herbs, and a simmering liquid (wine, stock, etc), and cook it in the oven (or simmer on the stove) for a couple of hours. That’s basically it. You can find any of these recipes easy enough just about anywhere on that webby thing, my favorites are Saveur and Food Network‘s sites.

The beauty of these dishes is that it fulfills all of our criteria perfectly. You can pick almost any kind of meat you want and it will work. It truly is the perfect way to cook. All the work gets done ahead of time and you get to bask in the savory glow of a tasty job well done, over a glass of wine, and in the company of a soon to be satiated lovely.

braise |brāz|
verb [ trans. ]
fry (food) lightly and then stew it slowly in a closed container : [as adj. ] ( braised) braised veal.

 

Pan Seared Linguica

It doesn’t get easier! Linguiça is a fabulous Portuguese Sausage that will work as any regular smoked sausage will. But saying you are cooking up special International sausage just makes you sound cool.

What You'll Need:

  •  Pound or so of Linguiça, sliced

  • One onion, sliced

How to Make It:

Heat pan up over med high heat

Add onion, sauté for a few minutes

Add sausage, and stir fry til nice and brown on the edges and your place smells like a Portuguese street vendor cart

Serve with some crusty bread and wine.

Chimi Her Churri

Let's Get Saucy!

I know, I know, it's frickin' Friday! Humpday was 2 days ago. Well, things have been movin' and shakin' over here in the Spencer compound.

There are a lot of technical happenings taking place right now. The DKYD is getting some new hosting and boy does that take a lot of time.

So to say a mea culpa, I am giving you a sneak peek in to the new FoodGame book and sharing an incredibly versatile recipe for an intricate sauce that is ridiculously easy to make and goes with everything. Make this immediately and start sharing it with your saucy dates.

And now, for your nomnom pleasure, I give you an authentic Argentinean gaucho sauce that pairs perfectly with grilled meats and red wine known as....

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 2 cups chopped Italian parsley
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender or processor, blend til coarse, do not puree!

You can add, oregano, cilantro, onions, cayenne, or whatever else you want to try. But this is your base, experiment from here and enjoy. Serve over any kind of meat, preferably grilled.

While you enjoy it, imagine yourself sitting in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina sipping a fine Malbec as the sun slowly sets over the mountains. The scent of grilled meats wafting on the breeze and the expectation of building your own fire in the bedroom add to the intense experience. Yummy.

Keep spicing it up!

Steamed Artichokes

Artichokes can seem like a pretty adventurous proposition...and that is awesome! Because they are really super easy to cook.

You will look like a culinary rock star with mad skills

She doesn't have to know any different. Throw in some equally easy dipping sauces and date success is assured.

steamed-artichokes

What You'll Need:

How to Make It:

Thoroughly wash and drain the artichokes. Then, cut the tops and the stems of the artichokes off.

Top the artichokes with tons of chopped garlic.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all the juice over artichokes.

Drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over artichokes.

Steam artichokes over simmering water or in a steamer till the leaves come off easily and the base of leaves are soft and tasty

For the Dipping sauce:

I recommend melted butter with garlic and lemon or ranch dressing with some hot sauce mixed in for kick. Explore whatever you want!

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

This one has a few more ingredients than I usually use in one easy dish, but it is completely easy to make. You literally put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.

You can NOT screw this awesome dish up!

I recommend adding some grilled chicken, fish or steak on top to make it a great main dish, or keep it as is and do what you will. You can experiment with the amounts of all these ingredients to match your own personal taste.

quinoa-tabouli-salad

What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup of cooked Quinoa, let it cool (Here's how to cook it)

  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, seeded and chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup tomato, seeded and chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped into very small chunks

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1/2 cup chopped mint

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  • 1 teaspoon of

How to Make It:

Juice of a lemon and olive oil, mixed to make a vinaigrette (just whip together in a small separate bowl until it thickens).

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix everything together in a bowl…. Done!

Told ya it was easy. Keep spicin' it up!

Beet and Sweet Potato Gratin

Mmmmm, cheesy tasty root veggie goodness! Impressive to the eyes and even more impressive in the tummy.

I used beets and sweet potatoes here, but you can use carrots, potatoes, turnips, any kind of root veggie you want.

sweet-potato-beet-gratin

 

What You'll Need:

  • Beets, sliced

  • Sweet potatoes, sliced

  • Onions, sliced

  • Garlic powder

  • Cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, Gouda, whatever you like)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Paprika

sweet-potato-beet-gratin

How to Make It:

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice all the veggies very thin, I used a mandoline.

After you oil the baking dish (so veggies won’t stick) layer the beets, then sweet potato, then onion.

Add some garlic and salt and pepper.

Then add another layer of beet, potato, onion, and spices, repeat til you get almost to the top.

Top it off with your cheese, sprinkle with paprika, cover, and it’s ready for the oven.

Leave it in for about 45 minutes, then take off the cover, cook for another 10-15 mins. til browning on top.

Let it cool a bit, then slice it up and serve the tastiness!

Garlicky Potatos with Swiss Chard

Make this amazing side dish for any meat or fish dish for your date. As always, it's super easy.

What You'll Need:

  • Potatoes, chopped in 1 inch chunks

  • Swiss Chard (or other greens), chopped

  • Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped in thin slices (a la “Goodfellas”)

  • Olive Oil

  • Nutmeg powder (grated fresh is the best!)

  • Salt and

How to Make This:

Boil potatoes for about 7 minutes.

Heat sauté pan on med high heat.

Add oil.

Add garlic, sauté for a minute.

Add potatoes and sauté for 5 mins or so.

Add greens, sauté till wilted.

Sprinkle nutmeg, salt and pepper on top, serve it up!

Sautéed Asparagus and Tomatoes

Well it doesn’t get much easier than this!

sauteed-asparagus-and-tomatoes

What You'll Need:

  • Asparagus

  • Tomatoes, chopped (not from a can)

  • Garlic, chopped

  • Olive Oil

  • Salt and

How to Make It:

Heat oil in sauté pan.

Add asparagus, sauté til it starts to brown, stirring occasionally so it does not burn.

Add garlic and tomatoes.

Sauté til tomatoes break down and asparagus is cooked through.

Add salt and pepper and eat those bad boys!

Killer Beet Salad

Here's a delicious, super easy salad that will wow your date's tastebuds.

What You Need:

killer-beet-salad

Put your peeled and halved beets (with some olive oil drizzled on top, and salt and pepper) into an oven at 350 degrees til they are soft when a fork is pushed in easily.

Remove from oven, let cool.

Mix your beets, oranges, olives, onions, oil, and vinegar together, and serve!