Monday, February 28, 2011

California Crab BLTs

As some of you may know, the Mister and I love us some crab. Whenever there's an excuse to have some celebratory cuisine (holidays, birthdays, days that end in "y", etc.) crab is one of our go-to ingredients (as evidenced here). The occasion that had us feeling crabby this time? Super Bowl Sunday (aka Super Snack Sunday, which is definitely my favorite football event).

After some preliminary hors d'oeuvres (here and here), we sunk our teeth into these amazing Cali Crab BLTs. I mean, check it out!

We wanted an upscale take on the classic sandy, so we substituted a few ingredients from the basic recipe. The first step was removing all the meat from the crab legs and claws (which was a much easier task with the use of some kitchen shears).

We started with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread (left whole, so we could cut Texas Toast-sized slices ourselves). Once the bread was lightly toasted, we spread a lemon aioli (lemon zest, lemon juice, mayo, S&P) on both pieces. Then we layered some arugula, big chunks of crab, avocado (there's the California part), lots of bacon, tomato, and another little sprinkle of S&P.

The flavors were simple enough that you could taste each one individually, but worked so harmoniously well together. The lemon in the aioli gave the crab the perfect zing. The salty bacon, juicy tomatoes, and peppery arugula...all smooshed together between tangy sourdough toast...Sandwich Heaven!

Happy Searching,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our New Favorite Dip

In planning our Super Bowl Menu, the hubs and I agreed we needed to include a dip. We weighed our options: Spinach Artichoke Dip, this yummy cheese dip from a while back, tried-and-true queso (Rotel + Velveeta, for all you non-Texans out there). But we really wanted to try something different. Thankfully, a few days before the big game, I stumbled upon this delicious recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip on the Mad Hungry blog. It combined our hankering for hot wings and dip into one tasty snack!

Truthfully, the picture doesn't do this dip justice. The color of the dip was not very photographically flattering, but trust me--this dip is awesome (would I lie to you?).

The recipe calls for the chicken breasts to be poached, but our favorite method for maximizing flavor is to roast them (more here). With the chicken in the oven, I mixed up the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, hot sauce, blue cheese, and lemon juice. Once the breasts cooled, I shredded the meat and tossed it with the other ingredients. Baked for 20 minutes, topped with chives and a few blue cheese crumblies and this dip was delectable.

We spread it on some toasted baguette slices (the recipe called for Fritos, but they're not my fave). And the spicy, creamy, verdict? Yep, it's our new favorite.

What dip do you love?

Happy Searching,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Potato, Potahto

Although the ancestry on my dad's side has been somewhat unclear (I've been told we're a bit Welsh, a bit English, maybe a bit German), I'm fairly certain there's some Irish in there. Why? Well, I do love the color green. But the most convincing reason is my love for potatoes. They are in total alignment with my love for other starches and complete my Holy Carbohydrate Trinity (bread, pasta, and potatoes). Amen.

I like potatoes all ways...I'm a non-discriminatory potato supporter. If it wasn't for me trying to fit into my pants, I'd probably squeeze them into every meal. I love them for breakfast in the form of homefries, hashbrowns, and tater tots (in that order). French fries hold a special place in my heart (and although I've tried them all over the world, Mickey D's is still my numero uno...Andi, I know you agree). I love 'em baked, mashed, scalloped, or roasted.

Now granted potatoes do have some nutritional value in the way of Vitamin C and Potassium, those benefits are slightly offset when they are topped with bacon, cheese, and sour cream.

But these Twice Baked Potatoes are worth it. My mom used to make them all the time when I was growing up and we decided to include them in our Super Bowl Snack Fest. They were super easy to make, too!

We baked the potatoes until they were slightly undercooked, scooped out the insides, and mixed them with butter, grated cheese, sour cream, and S&P. Then, we put them back into their skins (which we rubbed with a little oil and S&P so they would crisp up). We topped them with more grated cheese, crumbled bacon, and baked them @ 350 for about 20 minutes, until everything had melted and heated through.

A little sour cream dollop and some snipped chives finished off these starchy superstars. Potato? Potahto? Now matter how you say it, these were deelish!

So, how do you like your potatoes? :)

Happy Searching!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chili Weather

It has been more than a little bit chilly's been downright cold. Although we haven't had the blizzards and below-zero temperatures like other parts of the country, it's been cold enough here in Austin. Cold enough to bring a bit of snow, cancel school for a day, and work up a hankering for some belly-warming food.

A bowl (or maybe two) of this chili was just the kind of cozy meal I needed. It was one tasty (and mostly nutritious) chili, courtesy of the hubs.

He started by browning the turkey and turkey sausage (about a pound and a half of turkey and a pound of sausage). Then he drained it and used the same pan to sautee 2 chopped onions, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 3 poblanos (roughly chopped), and 3 jalepenos (with seeds and ribs if you like it hotter; without if not). He tossed in a good amount of cumin along with some chili powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cayenne, salt and pepper.

Then, he added 2 cans of drained white beans (canellini or Great Nothern), a small jar of drained roasted red peppers and the drained meat. He squeezed in the juice of 2 limes, a handful of chopped cilantro, and a quart of chicken stock. He covered it, brought it to a boil and then dropped it down to a simmer for about an hour. After everything had softened and the flavors had melded together, Ryan made a little roux to thicken the chili and simmered it for another 30 minutes.

The soup had the perfect warmth, both temperature and spice wise. A dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, and grated cheese were the perfect complements to the smoky cumin and the spice of the jalepenos.

With this bowl of balanced deliciousness, suddenly it doesn't seem so cold. What keeps you toasty on these cold winter days?

Happy Searching,
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