Friday, April 29, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Greetings again my faithful readers.  Today's recipe is brought to you by my incredibly talented and extremely beautiful girlfriend Katie Canavan.

I wanted to make something soup'ish that would we could both bring into work for lunch.  The house favorite is usually chili, but that is way too hearty for spring.  Katie suggested chicken tortilla soup, which is one of my favorites, so I eagerly agreed.

I jumped onto allrecipes.com and found this tasty version.  This recipe is super easy to make and relatively cheap considering it has fed at least one of us for four days now.

Pictured above, Bottom to Top:  Chicken Tortilla Soup, Monterrey Jack Cheese, Green Onions, slice of Avocado.
Not Pictured:  Corn tortilla chips
Katie's not as big of a fan of hot spice as I am, so the only variation I made to this recipe was, instead of the jalapenos called for, I used an orange pepper and added some chipotle spice for a little kick.

This soup is quite delicious, especially if you're as much a fan of Mexican food as we are.  The cilantro really infuses quite well with the soup and you get a little taste of it with each bite.

Until next time, devoted followers, love and peace!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pablo's Cafe Grill

Greetings blog readers!  It seems as if this blog was simply meant to be!

Today Katie and I discovered a restaurant in an obscure town that we absolutely loved, which leads to another element I want this blog to cover, restaurants that we love!

Katie and I started the long drive from Chicago back to our home towns in Michigan.  We took a pit stop at the Travel Center of America in Sawyer, MI to grab some gas and some food.  We decided to forego the TCA's assortment of taco's, burgers, buffet style restaurant and fried chicken and instead decided to take a journey to find the other restaurant in the area.  Pablo's Cafe Grill.

I admit, I was rather hesitant when I first saw the name, I thought it'd be mediocre Mexican food that would turn my stomach inside out.  As we approach the intersection where Pablo's is located, we saw another restaurant that struck our fancy, the Soe Cafe, but it looked like it was closed, so we went with Pablo's.

As it turns out, it was an adorable little Mexican restaurant located in the heart of nowhere, MI.  The selection was pretty good, a weird mix of Mexican favorites, traditional diner fare, with very Italian chef's specials for the day.

Katie had some chorizo nachos and I had the chicken wrap, (I have a thing for wraps y'all...) which, came with two sides.  Fries, black beans, refried beans, rice, mexican rice (notice the very carby trend?), and mexican coleslaw, which, after asking the waitress, the best description we could get was that it was like coleslaw.....but with purple.  The waitress really was a sweetheart though and obliged me taking pictures of their food and for allowing us to get an order of churos to go.  (Deeeelicious).

I swear one day I'll bring a real camera and maybe things won't look quite so dark.  I'll also take the pictures of the food before I've started eating it.
The thing that truly warmed my heart to this place though was the table talker, which as I was flipping through found this little gem.


As a little side story, Katie and her family stayed at rented cabin just down the street from this place last summer.  We remembered there was a bakery down the street and we decided to stop in and get some presents for her family.  The guy behind the counter was super friendly and joked with us about being from Chicago (Aren't you ashamed?) and told us a very meandering story about another driver "playing games" with him while he lived in Chicago.  The story ended very abruptly, and with the words 'the other guy ended up hitting the brick wall'.  Soooo....I'm not sure, but I think this guy killed someone and was confessing it to us.

All in all, our stop in Sawyer, MI was really enjoyable!  And I'm so happy we discovered these restaurants here, as I'm really interested in trying the Soe Cafe the next time we're driving through.

That's all for tonight everyone!  Peace and love.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Greek Pizza

Welcome one and all to my new Food/Cooking blog!  I consider this my first OFFICIAL post.  So there's that.  I suppose it's only fitting for my first official post, I present my first completely original, cooking-related idea.  Usually, I find a recipe that sounds rl rl good, and I follow it with a few personal flares. But today is different my friends, today I present to you:

My Greek Pizza.

First up, I'll start with the crust.  I don't mind saying that I love the recipe from Say Yes to Hoboken.  For the most part, the recipe is pretty standard, it is worth noting that the dough will take an hour to rise, so be prepared for that.
Kneading dough is very cathartic

I've found that while you're waiting for the dough to rise, it is an ideal time to start preparing your sauce and toppings.  I'm not a huge fan of using the pizza sauce from a can (or a squeeze bottle, gross) and instead I like to mix my own from no-sodium-added tomato products.  I haven't perfected my sauce recipe yet, but for this pizza, I sauteed up about half of a white onion and two cloves of garlic.  I then added 1-16oz (Salt added) can of crushed tomatoes, and 1-8oz can of NSA tomato paste and half of a 16-oz can of sliced olives, drained.  I let that stand over medium heat for about 20 minutes and it cooks down nearly perfectly.



And now the good part - the toppings!  I sliced up some tomatoes and used some shredded mozzarella.  I added crumbled feta and the other half of the olives for a little bit of greek flavor and some italian sausage from Gene's Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square.  If you're in the area, I highly suggest stopping in.

Okay, I know that italian sausage isn't even remotely greek. Truth is, I wanted to get some gyro-style lamb to throw on there, but I didn't do my research before heading over to Gene's, and was at a loss for how to make that happen.

I threw the pizza into the oven at 400° for about 10 minutes, and then, I added the experimental topping - skinned and sliced cucumbers.  I was worried that they'd become too dry if I left them in the entire time.
I let all of this bake for another ten minutes, and the result was rather encouraging

I also added a bit of crumbled feta after I took it out of the oven.
So when I thought of making Greek Pizza, besides the gyro-style lamb, the other signature thing I wanted was a tzatziki sauce.  I wasn't sure that using the tzatziki sauce as the base for the pizza was a good idea. I'm not sure what would happen if I cooked that for 20+ minutes at 400°.  So instead I used it to drizzle onto the pizza afterwards, or as a dipping sauce.  Not knowing the first thing about what goes into a tzatziki sauce, I took a trip to allrecipes.com and found this lovely little guy that I highly recommend.  Definitely read the comments about how to thicken up the sauce as it turned out crazy runny, BUT delicious.

Well, there you have it, my first OFFICIAL post on my brand new food blog!  Over the next couple of days I'll be posting some recipes I've made in the past, and announcing a contest for my readers!  

Until next time y'all, peace and love.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome

Welcome to my food/cooking blog!  I'll be updating it and making it look better and posting actual articles here soon, but I wanted to take that big first step and actually MAKE the website.
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