Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Recipies Coming Soon!

So "No Susie Homemaker Here" has gone through a trasnformation from a carefree newlywed to an expectant mom. With 2.5 weeks to go until due date, I am on maternity leave. I have no idea what to do with myself! I have been working since I was 13 starting with babysitting for the neighbors...then my friend and I started serving food at the neighborhood parties. I worked all through college and even started working full time at a PR firm in my last semester of I am 33 and I finally have some time off before baby comes. Everyone says to enjoy this time to myself because it won't be long till I am breastfeeding all through the night and cleaning up poopie diapers...that is all well and good, but there's only so much "The View" and "What Not to Wear" a girl can watch! So I have once again picked up my knife and cutting board and am about to try out some recipies. I am hoping to pitch in a little bit so Joe can take a break from the nightly cooking. See what happens next!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Trader Joe's General Tsao Stir Fry

This week, I embarked on another kitchen crusade to feed the hungry Ironman chef. He suggested I use our Trader Joe’s General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce. With 130 calories per serving and zero fat, this sauce is a very healthy alternative to the take out General Tsao and it probably took the same amount of time to make as it would have to arrive at my apartment for delivery. I was not able to take a photo of this because my camera was in Joe's instead I added a photo of a guard in Cambodia...close enough to General Tsao, right?

Coated fry pan
Small pot to boil veggies
Rice cooker

• Trader Joe’s General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce (1 Container)
• Two large carrots
• One head of fresh broccoli (it has so many more vitamins than frozen broccoli)
• Two medium sized chicken breasts (cut it into cubes or however you like it. I usually put salt and pepper on it for flavor)
• Two cups of Basmati rice

First take care of the rice because it takes the longest. We use a rice cooker that we got on Clement Street for $14.00. It was a good investment. However before you put it in the rice cooker you have to rinse the rice. Using this electric pot designed to boil water fast is simpler than making rice on the stove, because you don't have to watch it.

Determine the amount of rice needed—most recipes call for 2 parts water to 1 part rice. Use the plastic measure provided. Put rice and water in the pot. Put the pot into the base and cover with the lid. Push down the switch to start cooking. The switch will automatically return to the "Keep warm" setting when the rice is done, usually in about 20 minutes.

Stir Fry:
Cut up your veggies so they look like stir fry size. And put them aside. Fill a pot with some water so you can submerge the broccoli spears. Now heat the pot and the water.

Ok now pour the General Tsao sauce into the fry pan. Now, add water to the General Tsao container and shake it and then pour it back into the pan. The sauce is thick so the water helps thin it out a bit.

After the sauce starts simmering, throw in the cut up chicken to the pan too. (Note: you can dip the chicken in flour and fry it a little bit if you want to go that route. Its more General Tsao like and you would add the sauce to the chicken instead of the other way around.) Now, throw your broccoli and carrots in the water in the pot. When you see the broccoli get pretty green, stop the presses! Drain the veggies.

Check out the chicken. Is it mostly white or cooked? If it is, add your veggies. Turn the heat on low and let everything hang out together and get to know each other.

How about the rice? Is it done? On our cooker, a light changes color.
When everything is done, you can serve it up. This served about three people. In our house, its one helping for him, one for me and one to bring to work the next day for lunch.

However, I had an unfortunate experience when I tried to bring this to work for lunch… the top to the Tupperware came off and the General Tsao sauce got all over my back pack including part of my computer. Luckily everything was OK, but I continue to smell General Tsao at my desk!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What to bring on a summer picnic

Our number one favorite thing to do in the Bay Area is picnic. Any time of year, if its sunny, we are picnicking.

Here is how we do it:

Start off with white wine such as a Riesling, Gerwerstraminer, or a Rose (I am not talking white zinfandel, people). Australia makes good rose wine.

If you have questions about wines and you don’t have a lot of money, please go into your local wine shop and tell them how much you want to spend and they will pick something out. For those of you in Jersey, go to Bottle King on Route 23 and ask for Jeff. He is great. For my friends in Cali…anyone want to head up to Sonoma this weekend?

Next, you want purchase cheese. You want to mix it up between hard cheese and soft cheese:

Brie, Humboldt Fog, Cowgirl creamery has a great triple cream brie called Mount Tam, Smokey Blue

Tuscanelo, sharp provolone, (avoid yellow cheddar cheese), Pecorino Romano, Rosemary Parmesan, Manchego

Fig spread
Olive tapenade

Dried apricots
Green apples

Prosciutto and/or salame (you want to avoid any kind of Hormel prepackaged items as a loved one presented at a family function recently…step away from these kind of things, please.)
Roasted red peppers
Sundried tomatoes
Assorted fresh olives

Stuff you probably already know:
Picnic blanket
Cheese boards
Napkins, plates, etc.
Plastic wine glasses (DO NOT bring red solo cups for wine. We have plastic wine glasses, you can grab them anywhere)

Persian Rice with Crunchy Tadiq

We recently took a trip to San Diego, California where we enjoyed the warm weather, family and friends. One of the highlights of that trip was enjoying some yummy food. When we visited with our friends Jam and Daniele, we were so lucky to enjoy a traditional Iranian meal. While we had so many delicious things that night, one thing that stood out was the Persian rice with its crunchy tadiq, which you will see in this photo. The Tadiq is the best part of the rice. When you remove the loose rice from the pan, you see the tadiq at the bottom. You must lift it gingerly and place it on a platter. Then you can break it into pieces and people love to eat it just like that. Its really the best part! I just had to replicate it at home and I want to share the recipe with you too! This meal is best served with some very chilled vodka.

•3 cups long grain white rice
•1/2 cup melted butter
•1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
•2 quarts water
•1 cup water

Start the 2 quarts water and salt boiling in large stock pot or dutch oven. Rinse rice until water runs clear (or as close to clear as you can get it).
Add rice to boiling water, boil about 10 minutes or until rice is about half cooked.
Drain rice in colander, reserve.
In stock pot or dutch oven, pour about 1/4 cup melted butter on bottom, tilt to cover 2 inches up sides.
Pour the half-cooked rice into the pot, try to make a nice mound in the middle, and avoid the sides as much as possible.
With the end of a wooden spoon, make holes in the mound of rice (5 or 6 places) evenly around.
Pour the remaining melted butter onto the rice, and drizzle 1/4 Cup of the extra water into the holes you made. Cover pot with kitchen towel to absorb the steam, place pot lid on towel.
Cook on very low heat, checking after about 15 minutes. If the rice is browning too fast, add the remaining extra water a little bit at a time.
Cook rice until it's done, about 30 minutes. Try not to check it too often, as it needs to steam.

Saffron is our friend

I recently had the opportunity to dine with a very wise man named Bahram Moeenziai. In this video he tells us how to prepare saffron for home use. In a future post, I will show you how to use it for a meal. It probably won't come close to the delicious meal that he made. This particular Saffron that he uses is very potent and comes directly from Iran. Therefore, he had to add two sugar cubes to the saffron and grind it before use.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farmer's Market Delight

We hit up the farmer’s market on Divisidero and Grove this past Sunday and came back with some delicious produce. Here is something you can make in a pinch!

This recipe serves two.

2 cloves of garlic
3 small heirloom tomatoes
3 T olive oil
2 T fresh basil
1 T of olive paste tapenade
Angel hair the size of a quarter in diameter
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup organic chicken stock

Start off with a medium pot filled with water. While the water is getting hot. Chop up your garlic. I try to get it really fine. Cut up the basil really thinly too. We took it from our basil plant, Mr. B. He is going down hill so we are trying to use him up! Chop up your tomatoes and get ready to cook!

Heat up your non stick skillet pan, on medium heat. While you are heating up the pan, add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water. Cool until al dente.

Once the non stick pan is pretty hot, pour your olive oil in the pan. Once sizzling, add your garlic. Cook until turns a little brown on the edges.

Next throw in the tomatoes, then add the tapenade. Shake the pan around so the tapenade moves around a bit. Now, hit it with organic chicken stock and let simmer for about a minute.

Once the pasta is ready, add to the skillet and mix altogether. Joe does this super cool “tossing” thing with his wrist, but every time I do that, something falls into the burner. So I kind of push everything around with a spatula.

It is ready to be served. Add some fresh grated parmesan cheese.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Top 10 Kitchen Must-Haves

According to Chef Joseph Alfieri, Here's a list of 10 things everyone should have in their kitchen:

1. Food processor
2. Hand mixer (We have a Braun and like it. I am kind of interested in the "Slap Chop")
3. Chef knife
4. Sautee pan (I prefer a pan with a non-stick coating, but Joe does not)
5. Sriracha chili sauce
6. Olive oil
7. Chicken stock (of course we use Trader Joe's organic, low sodium)
8. Kosher salt
9. Stock pot
10. Your favorite Ethnic spice (Chef Joe likes Goya)