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Category Archives: Ingredients

Foodie Pen Pal and Goodies Company.

 

If you are a foodie, I have two things you’re going to love:

 

First: Foodie Pen Pals!

 

Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean (theleangreenbean.com) started a Foodie Pen Pal program a few years ago that has really taken off.  There are now upwards of 1000 participants each month.  I decided to do it last month and was pleasantly surprised.  Briefly, what happens is 1) you sign up at the beginning of each month on her website (even if you’ve done it in the past), 2) you are then assigned a person that you have to make a Gift Box for, the ingredients of which cannot exceed $15, and include a recipe of your choice, 3) this is mailed by mid month to your pen pal, 4) SOMEONE ELSE is assigned to do the same for you, so you get a package from a different person than the one you are sending to, and finally 5) you blog about what you got in the mail and what you made with it on the last day of the month.  Pretty awesome, huh?  That way, each month you meet two new Foodie friends.  Definitely check this out.  It’s really fun, very inexpensive, and a cool way to meet people who are interested in FOOD.

 

So the person assigned to me was Lindsey (a different Lindsey) and she lives in Guam.  How cool is that???  My kids and I had a great time looking up Guam, reading about the local culture and food, and of course enjoying her gift box.  So Lindsey sent me a bunch of awesome treats from her island…

 

 

Included was:

 

Coco Jo’s local chocolate chip cookies

 

Nori, for treats or for making small sushi rolls

 

Guguria, another hard cookie made by the locals

 

Yan Yan, an on-the-go sweet treat with chocolate and strawberry dipping sauce

 

Ginger Peach tea

 

Papaya soap

 

So I didn’t really make a recipe with these items, but instead had a dessert party with my kids…  They dug all of the great sweets and we pretended that we were on an island in the middle of the Pacific!  Thanks Lindsey!

 

 

 

Second: Goodies Company!

 

 

You’ve probably seen the side bar ads for this on Facebook.  I decided to sign up and this month was their first shipment.  Similar set up in that you pay a set fee each month and then get a box of stuff.  It’s like Christmas every month.  So this first month had a Halloween theme (in that everything is sweet), and I received:

 

 

 

Dang – Toasted Coconut chips

 

Nutella & Go – Breadsticks and nutella…

 

Smartfood Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Crisps

 

Juicefuls Snacks

 

Mayesa Chocolate Beverage

 

Brownie Brittle Chocolate Chips treats

 

So a fun selection for the Halloween month.  The box is presented very nicely with a descriptive insert regarding all of the products.  Check it out at Goodies Company or on Facebook.

 

So if you are a Foodie and/or like pen pals and/or like getting surprises in the mail every month, you should absolutely check out these two great sites.

 

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Random Thoughts, Recipes

 

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Panko breaded tomatoes and zucchini.

 

Very quick and easy recipe, and you can utilize your goodies from the garden.  Grab a zucchini and a tomato, like so…

 

 

Slice into 1/4 inch rounds, like so…

 

 

Now, I’m not usually one for cutting corners.  But I was feeling exceptionally lazy and particularly hungry this morning.  So I just wanted to get the job done.  Mix together panko breadcrumbs and whatever savory spices you like.  I love using panko for this as the breadcrumbs are larger and give a really nice crunch to offset the soft vegetable.  I used the Italian Herb grinder as well as granulated garlic and onion.  If the breadcrumbs seem too big, crush them somewhat as you mix everything together.  Set up a breading station, two or three eggs (beaten) in one bowl and the panko mixture in another.

 

 

Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet (medium high heat).  Dredge the tomato and zucchini rounds in the eggs, let residual drip, then bread both sides and gently lay into the oil.

 

 

Allow to brown for a couple of minutes per side, then lay on a paper towel to rid the excess oil.

 

 

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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Fire and Ice.

Simple, refreshing summer appetizer.  Watermelon and jalapeno peppers.  Dice a quarter to a half of a seedless watermelon (depending on size).  Seed a jalapeno pepper and dice.  The pepper itself is not too hot and carries a nice crisp taste, but if you’d like a little bite then keep some of the seeds.  Also, I like to have latex gloves in my kitchen arsenal for working with peppers.  Nothing worse than getting pepper juice on your fingers then rubbing your eyes (or worse, parts lower…).  Add a sufficient quantity of minced fresh cilantro.  Mix and devour.

Now for a few science points.  First, it’s commonly thought that the heat from a pepper comes from the seeds.  While the seeds do impart some of the heat, it is generally because of their proximity to the “pith” which is the rubbery flesh generally residing on the rib of the pepper which support the seeds.  Capsaicin, the chemical which causes the burning sensation, is made in the glands of the pith and therefore gets onto the seeds.  If you’re not aware, capsaicin is also used as a pain agent for arthritis (kind of like Ben Gay).  When applied to the skin it has been found to deplete substance P—a neurochemical that transmits pain—which desensitizes a person to pain.  Cool huh?

Second, the scale which is used to rate the “hotness” of peppers is called the Scoville Scale.  For reference, bell peppers have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of zero, jalapenos are around 3500-8000 SHU, and the Habanero come in at a whopping 100,000-300,000 SHU.  Again…wear gloves while handling peppers!

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes, Science

 

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Udon Noodle Bowl

I may have posted about this already, but man it’s really good…  Udon noodles are traditional Japanese wheat noodles.  It’s a larger gauge noodle with a lot of texture and flavor.  And when cooked you can serve hot or cold, and you can add just about anything to the bowl.  Many times they are used as a soup, but in many ways I like a noodle bowl with fixings.

This is the one I made last night.  Boil the noodles according to the package directions.  I like them a little salty so I add a fair amount of kosher salt to the water.  When done, drain (serve hot now if you like).  Run under cold water and let cool through.  I do this because I like to add a sauce and it reduces the starchiness and stickiness of the noodles.  For the sauce:

1 T neutral oil (Sunflower, etc)

1 T soy sauce

2 t sesame oil

1 t minced lemongrass (I actually like to use a product called Garden Gourmet which makes squeezable products…and it might be easier for you to find than fresh lemongrass if it’s not at your local market)

1/2 t garlic powder or fresh minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk all of the ingredients and toss with the noodles.

Then add whatever you would like to the bowl.  My favorite is with jarred pickled cucumbers and chili bamboo shoots, both of which I buy at my local Asian market.  I also like to serve with steak or chicken.  The steak I make is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and Turkish red pepper (I’ve discussed this in a prior steak post).  Grill to medium and serve.

I LOVE this steak.  With just salt, pepper, and the Turkish red pepper you get a nice spicy crust and a beautiful Medium cooked middle.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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Flank Steak Soft Tacos

Tacos are fantastic.  Savory, and you can add almost anything you want to them.  Here’s a simple recipe for you for flank steak tacos.  Grab a flank steak.  The flank is from the abdomen of the cow, so it’s tough.  Tougher than most other cuts you work with.  Season the steak.  If you’re in a hurry use something like this.

The Badia Fajita seasoning is pretty good, but I like the products from Pico de Gallo.  They make some awesome rubs and seasonings.  The Carne Asada is just the right amount of taste and heat.  If you have time, season with

1 T chili powder

1 t each salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin

1/2 t cracked black pepper

Rub rub rub.  I like to score the flank steak since it is tough, just to get some good seasoning deep in the meat.

Grill on medium-high heat until your doneness.  I usually like beef medium, but I’m happy to have flank steak medium-well or well.  The meat still retains its flavor.

As an accompaniment, for the soft tacos I like to grill the tortillas, and then add shredded cabbage and a chipotle mayo sauce.  The chipotle mayo is easy.  Mayo, liquid from canned chipotles (don’t need too much otherwise it will be too hot and overpowering), juice from half a lime, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Then I like to make a nice slaw to offset the heat of the taco.  Julienne carrots, jicama, red onion, vidalia onion, and red bell pepper.  Dress with a wisked mixture of olive oil, fresh lime juice, sugar, salt black pepper, and cumin.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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Bacon Jam

Yes.  You read that right.  Skillet Street Food sells a product called Bacon Jam.

It’s a sweety, salty mixture of goodness that goes well with just about anything.  Nice for a spread on burgers.  Good substitute for (or addition to) the bacon on a BLT.  Great on crosstini or panini.  Or scallops.  Or steak…

Oh man I’m hungry.

You can make your own too.  I haven’t tried this recipe but it looks pretty darn good.  Maybe I’ll test drive it this weekend.

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

PS – You had me at Bacon…

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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Home made Chili Powder

Chili powder is essential in your kitchen.  But spices are expensive (as an aside, always try to buy bulk spices rather than jarred.  They’re much cheaper.).  Chili powder is very easy to make.  This is what you need:

3 each dried Arbol, Ancho, and Cascabel chilis (easy to find at a large chain store or Mexican market)

2 T Cumin seeds

2 T Garlic powder

1 T Oregano

1 t Paprika

 

Deseed the chilis, and cut them up into small pieces.  Toast in a frying pan over medium heat until smoking.  Be careful not to burn.  Set aside to cool.  Toast the cumin seeds in a frying pan until fragrant.  Set aside to cool.  When cool combine all ingredients into a spice blender or food processor.  Grind into a fine powder.  Use immediately or store in an air tight jar.  Should keep fresh for several months.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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