shesalty

Really, Really Good Pad Thai.

First, make your sauce.

Combine these:

5 T fish sauce + 1c water + 1.5 T lime juice + 1.5 T rice wine vinegar + 3.5 T sugar + ¾ t salt + ¼ t cayenne + 3 T chili pepper sauce.

Cut 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. Coat in a little fish sauce. 

I know, fish sauce smells horrible. But it tastes great. It brings out all the other flavors. You will love it! 

Next, cut a quarter pound of firm tofu into ¼-inch cubes. Toss in more fish oil. 

Boil your noodles while you do your veg prep work. I couldn’t find pad thai noodles, so I used linguine. Perfectly fine! 

Make an egg crepe! Whisk an egg. On low heat in a non-stick pan, cook the egg ‘pancake’ without stirring. When it is 80% cooked, flip it and finish. When cool, shred or slice the egg. If this seems too difficult, just scramble it up and add. Shh, no one will know.

Toast 1/2c of peanuts. Chop. Buy unsalted if you can!

Slice 3 scallions thin, on the bias.

Mince 4 cloves of garlic and 1-inch of ginger. Use the tip of a spoon to 'scratch’ off the skin with ease.

Bean sprouts go well in this as well. I bought mine in a can (I only used half). You can find this in the Asian section at the grocery store (hopefully!). 

Alright, time to impress yourself. :-p

Heat your wok or large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add 1 T of oil. Gently saute your chicken until cooked through. You don’t necessarily want color here, just to cook the chicken. It will be tender, not chewy in your noodles. 

Add 1 T oil to the pan, then add the tofu and saute for 2 minutes. Remove all from the pan and set aside. Heat another tablespoon of oil. Saute your garlic, ginger, and scallions.

Add your noodles and your sauce to the pan. Stir for about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens and absorbs into your noodles. Add the chicken, tofu, peanuts, bean sprouts, and shredded eggy goodness.

Remove from the heat. Add another tablespoon or so of lime juice. 

Then?

DEVOUR THAT GODLINESS!

Rachel

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

Here’s a recipe for quick and easy pancakes that will make you stomp your stupid box of Bisquick right into your kitchen floor. 

Although, if you like bland, cardboard tasting pancakes, be my guest. 

If you’re ready to upgrade to crispy, buttery, fluffy pancakes full of life and wonder, read on. You deserve it. 

Crispy Buttermilk Pancakes (yield: 5 portions)

  • 2c flour
  • 2T sugar
  • 4t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t salt
  • 4T melted butter (plus more on the griddle)
  • 2c buttermilk
  • 1.5t vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Maple syrup (pure maple is the best!)
  1. Combine dries (first 5 ingredients).
  2. Combine liquids in a separate bowl (make sure the shake the buttermilk carton before measuring).
  3. Heat skillet on medium heat (you may have to turn up or down until you find what works best)
  4. Add wets to dries with a rubber spatula. ((Attention! DO NOT OVER-MIX PANCAKE BATTER–EVER! That is when you get those flat, boring pancakes. My picture is a little small but you want LUMPY batter and UNMIXED flour. People in my family were asking left and right if my batter was mixed enough. I told them yes, yes just wait. And they all loved the pancakes incredibly!))
  5. Melt 1T butter per batch of pancakes until the foam subsides. Add 1/2c batter for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip, cook, top with more butter, pure maple syrup, then devour. Melt more butter with each batch (also, wipe off burnt butter as it collects). 
Pretty simple right? And you’ll be called The Breakfast Champion from here on out.

These might make a good Easter brunch next week!

Enjoy!

Rachel

p.s. I have a refrigerator again so I’ll be cooking!

Spiced Dark Chocolate Banana Bread--The Most Incredible Recipe Ever!

I’ve been feeling a little bit like I’m in a cooking rut. First, I Brian moved out–a huge source of my inspiration (Love you, Bri!). Then, I was without a refrigerator for about a month. Then for about a month I had no pots or pans. With my busy schedule I was practically living on granola bars and sandwiches. 

Now, I have all the things I need! But I needed a little inspiration back. When I saw a couple of black bananas in my fruit bowl, I decided to go back to my roots. Baking.

Before I came to culinary school I thought I wanted to be a baker. I spent several months teaching myself to bake before my dad suggested the idea of switching to a culinary degree. I was an awesome baker though! I would bake all day back home. 

I feel like part of my talent may have come from my grandmother–Mamaw. She was a champion baker. She died from cancer when I was young, but to this day we still have her white KitchenAid mixer.

Last week I decided to get a KitchenAid of my own. I was browsing them, deciding on features and colors before I realized that I wanted hers. A white, standard KitchenAid mixer. Today I felt my Mamaw baking with me in my kitchen. Everything went perfectly as planned. Her spirit gave me the inspiration I asked for. Miss you Mamaw! Love you. Think about you every day! Keep your spirit with me always. 

Spiced Dark Chocolate Banana Bread (yield: 3 baby loaf pans or 1 loaf pan)

Dries:

  • 1 3/4c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ c granulated sugar
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4t ground clove
  • 1/4t ground nutmeg
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4c chopped walnuts
  • 1/4c chopped dark chocolate

Wets:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3c buttermilk
  • 1/2c vegetable oil
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1c mashed overripe bananas

Recipe:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F. Fifteen minutes into baking I turned mine down to 300F (my oven is sensitive so pay attention to yours, too!)
  2. Sift together the dries (notice I put the brown sugar in the ‘wets’ because you can’t sift it so just add it with the wets!). Some ingredients (like the kosher salt) may not go through so just add it!
  3. In your KitchenAid (or by hand), beat the eggs. Do this first because you never know when egg shell bits will fall in. Then add the other wet ingredients, including the brown sugar but NOT the mashed banana (make sure to shake the buttermilk carton first before measuring).
  4. Chop the walnuts and chocolate if you didn’t buy chopped. I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate. What a heavenly chocolate it is. I recommend it highly! Also I didn’t use the full 1/4c. I added until I saw fit and then ate the rest. 
  5. Mash your bananas before you measure them. Measure 1c then add to the batter. Mix well. 
  6. Please! DOUBLE CHECK that you included every ingredient. Also–taste the batter! Sometimes you can tell when something is wrong, but it’s also good to see if you like it. I nommed on batter until the bowl was clean. It was just TOO good. 
  7. Spray your pans! Nothing is worse than a stuck baked good. So disappointing! 
  8. Mine baked for about 45mins, but like I said before it all depends on your oven! A helpful tip–rotate the pan/pans for even cooking. Towards the end check FREQUENTLY so you don’t burn it.The bread is ready when a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 15mins, remove from the pan, then cool completely.
  9. This bread is great with a little spread of butter. Mmm.
  10. Eat entire loaf. No sharing. :D
Banana bread is this–dense, moist, sweet, and of course, banana-y.
***OH and? This bread is WAY better the next day. On the day it was made it didn’t seem very banana-y or sweet. Today? HOLY BANANA GODDESS.***

I hope you enjoy! 

Rachel

SHESALTY said: When I get like that I will stop lifting, hop on a bike with an upbeat song, and go super hard for about 5mins. That picks me right up!

I think music was definitely a factor! I’m soooo sick of 95% of the songs on my playlist (the only ones I like are zumba songs that I found through Sharee’s zumba video hahaha). Thanks for the advice :)

Warning: AMAZING Lettuce Wraps!!

As you all know, I am spending two weeks in Minnesota visiting my family. Well, while I am home I am working with my (awesome) personal trainer, Sharon, who totally kicks my butt early in the morning and helps keep me in shape. She is going to a family reunion this weekend and wanted a delicious appetizer to bring. We came up with lettuce wraps! I went home and tested a recipe. It was spot on the very first time. So Sharon, this is for you! Enjoy!!

Sweet and Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 head Boston lettuce (also called Bibb or Butter)
  • 1 # lean ground beef (I used 80/20)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 med/lg onion, small dice
  • 2 red jalapenos, minced
  • 2-3 spears lemongrass (How to use? Look below!)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ inch ginger, minced
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • ¼ c hoisin sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T chili pepper sauce
  • 1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained and minced
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced thin (on the bias looks nice!)
  • 1 T dark sesame oil (also called ‘toasted’ sesame oil)
  • ¼ c peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted
  1. Gently pull whole lettuce leaves from the core. Rinse and lay out to dry as you cook.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the beef in 1 T olive oil, breaking it up.
  3. Drain and set aside to cool. Using the back of your knife (the non-sharp edge) bruise the lemongrass. In the same pan sweat the onions and jalapenos with the lemongrass. 
  4. When just about cooked add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and chili pepper sauce. Remove the lemongrass.
  5. To finish add the water chestnuts, scallions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, peanuts and ground beef. Season with salt if you think it needs it! Heat through and scoop mixture into lettuce leaves.
  6. DEVOUR!!!

I rinsed the leaves one by one (look for dirt!) then set them on paper towels to dry. If some leaves have a thick stalky end you can tear or cut them off.

Quarter the peppers, remove the seeds and ribs by filleting them with your knife.

Use the non-sharp edge of your knife to bruise the lemongrass stalks.

Here’s an easy way to peel ginger! Take a spoon and use the edge to scrape the ginger peel off. Then slice it and mince!

Mise en place!

I found that it was easier to combine the first set of liquids first instead of trying to measure each one by one while trying to saute.

After this step remove the lemongrass stalks!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to post a recipe so, I hope you enjoy this!!

Rachel

Challah! Lavender Vanilla French Toast with Sugar Dipped Strawberries

This morning I woke up ravenously hungry. I opened the fridge door hoping to find eggs for an omelette. I realized that I had nothing to add to the eggs, and saw that nothing else was in the fridge. Like the lazy person I am I hopped on the computer and was going to attempt to pass the time until lunch. 

My stomach wouldn’t stop growling. A bag of leftover challah that was just chilling on top of the fridge caught my eye and I thought, 

“Oh shit! I know what I’m gonna dooooo.”

Make some challah french toast. I added some lavender, which has a delicate aroma and seemed perfect this morning. To the eggs I added some cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and rubbed lavender buds.

For a hint of sweetness I dipped quartered strawberries in sugar. 

My-oh-my, am I lucky to have the knowledge, skills, and passion to just throw shit together like a champ. 

Happy Sunday!

I hope you don’t have to spend your entire Sunday writing a 3-page paper on pairing wines AND memorizing practically everything there is to know about French and Italian wines…because that’s what I have to do, hah!

Rachel

Butternut Squash Soup

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted (sorry!), but I have been SO SO busy at school. Graduation is coming up and now I’m in the restaurants on campus. Besides class I am mainly doing homework and sleeping. I did however make some pretty delicious butternut squash soup with bacon, thyme, and sour cream. I also enjoyed some local white wine with it–a wine I’ve fallen head over heels for. Take a look! 

Rachel

Traditional Family Taco Night!

Taco night is a family ritual of ours (we even hand fry our own shells!). My dad is from Arizona and my mom is from Texas, so spicy food is what we love! Here is a simple recipe for Spanish rice. I hope you enjoy!

Spanish Rice

  • 1c long grain uncooked rice
  • 1 onion, sm dice
  • ½ bell pepper, sm dice
  • ½ poblano pepper, sm dice
  • 1 jalapeno, sm dice
  • 2 tomatoes, sm dice
  • 2 c water
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t cayenne 
  • 2 t salt
  1. Heat 2 T olive oil and saute the rice, onion, and peppers until just about done. 
  2. Stir in the water, tomatoes, and spices. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Yep. It’s that simple. 

Grilled Flank Steak with Zucchini and Tomato Sauce

Start with the steak! We bought 1.5 pounds of flank steak. We took 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. We used a mortar and pestle and ground it down (you can use a spice grinder as well, or go with ground fennel and pepper to begin with, but fresher spices equals fresher flavor!) Mix your spices with 3 tablespoons or so of olive oil. 

Rub the flank steak with the marinade. As Chef Reilly would say, “don’t be a rookie”. Use your hands! Get messy. The kitchen sink is there for a reason (well, it’s there for many). Who cares if you are covered in raw beef for a couple of minutes? Did I mention I ate half a 98% raw burger yesterday for lunch yesterday without realizing? Classic. 

Cover the steak and chill (a.k.a. soak up orgasmic flavors) for an hour and a half. Pull it out and give it a half hour to come to room temperature. 

Meanwhile, make your sauce. This sauce is so easy it seems like a joke. But trust me, the flavor is incredible and goes perfectly with the steak and zucchini.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 red bell pepper. 1 tomato. 1 onion. All chopped to the same size. Heat 2 T or so of olive oil and a pinch of salt (we’ll add more later). Cover the pan and gently simmer the veg until they are cooked through. Covering the pan will trap the steam and help sweat everything perfectly together. Add 2 T of white wine vinegar and cook (uncovered) a minute more. Pass the veg through a medium sized food mill. Return the sauce to the heat, add 2 T minced rosemary, and let the sauce do it’s thing. Season again at the end! Add some pepper, too. 

For the tortino you’ll need:

2 zucchini sliced thin. 1 minced garlic clove. 1 t finely chopped parsley. Some olive oil, and some grated parmesan. 

Line a sheet tray or baking dish with parchment paper. In a pan over medium-high heat, heat up some olive oil. Add the zucchini, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. Cook the zucchini until it’s done (obviously!). We alternated layers of zucchini and parmesan. Just overlap the zucchini coins like a spiral. Sprinkle a generous amount of parsley. Crack some pepper over it. Repeat for 3 layers. Bake at 350 until the parmesan on top has browned a bit. 

Grill the steak to medium rare (MEDIUM RARE, do you hear me?). You can grill it outside on a beautiful day, or if you happen to live in an apartment where you can’t have a grill (sigh) use your hefty cast-iron grill pan. If it isn’t done after the grilling process, finish it in the oven (we did!).

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes! I know it’ hard to wait, but all the juices will settle within the meat and trust me, it’s worth it! 

After that DEVOUR your meal. Feel free to lick your plate clean. You’re home. Enjoy the fuuuu– out of it! 

Have a spendiforous weekend! I get a 3 day weekend…then I start Wines, a.k.a. The Devil Wouldn’t Even Take It.

Rachel

You asked for it--Spanish Chicken Recipe!

A lot of you guys asked for my mother’s Spanish Chicken recipe, so I asked if she would be willing to share and she said ‘of course’! Here’s the recipe in her exact words. Enjoy! 

SPANISH CHICKEN

4 cups cooked chicken - cut bite size
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 large chopped onion
1 sm can Pickled Jalapeno Peppers + Juice (to your taste)
1 can evaporated milk 

1 dozen soft corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas (OPTIONAL)


Fold the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.

Spray a deep oval casserole dish with cooking spray, then I start out with the thinnest layer of chicken mixture that I can and smear it on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of corn tortillas, then a layer of cheese. Top that with another layer of chicken mixture, corn tortillas, and cheese, and finish with the chicken mixture.

Bake at 375 for 55 minutes, then top with more cheese and bake it until it’s bubbly, another 10 minutes. 

Good as a main dish or rolled burrito style in flour tortillas!

<3 Rachel and Susie

Pan-Fried Pizza

Brian made us both a midnight snack the other night. He transformed an ordinary slice of delivery pizza (hey, we do that sometimes!) into something other-worldy! He pan-fried it in a cast-iron skillet, which made it the crispiest pizza I have ever had. Also he sprinkled it with some red pepper flakes for spice, and topped it with a fried egg and grated parmesan. Ugh…

Too good.

If you don’t follow his blog you should probably do that because he is a wonder-chef! www.brianthony.tumblr.com

Oh! I passed the wines final! Now I move into the restaurants. I’ll be graduating in December! Can you believe it? But don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. Shesalty is here to stay!

Rachel