Saturday, September 29, 2012

e - mail me !

That's right! It's only taken us a year but we've finally figured out that e-mailing me is much easier than commenting for asking questions, sending photos, suggesting recipes, etc! SO-

E-mail me! If you have no idea how to bake a chicken or you want to know how I clean (or don't clean) my cast-iron skillet... e-mail me and ask! If you are having a difficult time figuring out how to become a "member" of the blog or bloglovin, you should first look at this post, but if you still can't figure it out, e-mail me! If you're loving a recipe on the blog but feel like you don't understand some part of it, e-mail me! Getting the drift? Questions, comments, love notes, WHATEVER... is your new 'go-to!'

So, considering I've just given you a way to contact me here at Recitherapy, how 'bout YOU share a recipe with ME today, hmm? ;) I like that idea. I'm waiting!

Happy Saturday, people!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Yuengling Red Lentils & Herb Lime Grilled Cod

Yes you read that correctly... Yuengling red lentils! It's lentil time and it's definitely brew time, so I thought I'd merge the two and tip my hat to America's oldest brewery! (but really I just only had Yuengling in the fridge and wanted that extra something in the lentils) ;)
If lentils aren't a familiar face around your kitchen, I'm gonna suggest to you that they should be. And you know what? Life's too short to turn your nose up to something just because your mother never made it or because you think you know what it'll taste like even though you've never actually TRIED them yourself.... hitting home to anybody? ;) Let me tell you why these babies need to become part of your repertoire:

  1. lentils hold a huge amount of vitamin B6 and folate, therefore hugely decreasing the risk of breast cancer for those who eat them!
  2. lentils give your body a serious boost of energy due to their ridiculous iron levels.
  3. ONE CUP of lentils contains 17.9 grams of protein and 15.6 grams of fiber, which is 62% of your daily fiber recommended intake! WIN!
  4. lentils, especially red, take all of 12 minutes to prepare and take to a WHOLE lot of different preparation styles and flavors. they're an easy canvas.
Have I convinced you yet? :) Yes? Good. Let's get going then. (ps this was for two people)

Place your lentils in a bowl. Rinse thoroughly! I don't have a sieve with small enough holes so I rinsed this way. Just had to do it a couple of times.
 aren't they so pretty? i love when the food itself inspires you to cook.
Mince two cloves of garlic and mix it in with the clean lentils. Let sit while you start your onions and marinate the fish.
Yes, we're gonna caramelize some onions today because there's nothing better in life. Also they'll taste great with AND add some fun texture to the lentils. Drizzle some olive oil in your skillet and sprinkle in red pepper, chili powder and seasoned salt.
Being cautious, finely slice half an onion and toss into your medium- low heated pan.
Turn the heat down a little and let these babies get caramely brown. I let mine cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes. Ridiculous, I know. But they're SO GOOD that way. In the meantime, grab whatever herbs you've got... we used lots of fresh basil, parsley and oregano. Melt some butter in a cup or bowl (a fair amount, this is a marinade) and toss in the fresh herbs while it's still sizzling hot. The butter will really take on the flavors of the herbs this way.
 see the sizzling bubbles? that's a good sign.

Now let's slice a lime in half and squeeze half the juice into the hot herb butter mix. Save the squeezed half, you'll use it in a minute.
Let's check on the onions. Go ahead and give them a little stir around.
Now place your cod in a baking dish that's deep enough to hold some marinade and pour the herb butter mixture all over the top. Instead of letting the fresh herbs go down the sides, go ahead and place them all over the tops of the filets, and push some into the little slits and holes if there are any. Then squeeze the other half of the lime juice all over and leave both squeezed lime halves on each filet. Drizzle the tops with a little olive oil and sprinkle with lots of fresh cracked pepper and a little sea salt. Set aside to marinate.
Back to the onions! They should be getting pretty soft and golden by now, so let's turn the heat way down to low and pile them up in one spot in the skillet. This is when they'll get nice and caramely.
 these show the caramelization happening probably every 5 minutes...
once they look like candy heaven, they're about done. ;)

You can leave those in the skillet on a very low heat for a long time and they'll be fine so let's leave them. Dice up one roma tomato and place in the same skillet and let them cook for a few minutes, just to soften them a bit.
Now for the lentils! This is the part that smells the best... you will totally die. Warm up a little olive oil in a pan that will fit the lentils and some liquid. Toss the lentils in and coat in the olive oil. If you're ridiculous like me, you'll need to melt your frozen homemade chicken broth in a separate pot.
When your broth is melted, pour it in with the lentils on a simmering medium- low heat. I used about 1 & 1/2 cups broth. Now, crack open a Yuengling, or whatever other type of beer you have for that matter and pour in about 1/4 cup. Season with cracked black pepper, a little sea salt, chili powder and red pepper, and put the lid on for 12 minutes.
Your nose will start to smell things that are too tempting to NOT smell... so you'll want to lift the lid of that pan after about 6 minutes of cooking and smell the deliciousness. Then go ahead and remove yourself from the kitchen for those last 6 minutes, otherwise it won't cook properly. ;) Turn your grill to 350 degrees and get it nice and warm. Lay out foil and wrap the fish very loosely, creating a big cocoon for the fish to get a little smokey in. Pour the marinade all over each piece and grill for 10 minutes in the foil.
While the fish is grilling, grate a little sharp white cheddar cheese and open the lid of your gorgeous lentils. Toss a pad of butter in there and pour in a little more Yuengling and stir. Then add in your onions, tomatoes and the cheddar. Salt and pepper to taste from that point.
Your fish should be finished so let's plate the food! Pile on your delicious red lentils first and make a bed for the fish. Top it with the cod, drizzle a little olive oil on top, crack some fresh pepper and squeeze on a little fresh lime. Pour yourself the rest of that Yuengling and enjoy your fabulous, homemade meal. We finished every. last. bite. and felt like we were at a fancy restaurant.
So friends... don't be afraid of lentils! Don't be afraid of trying a little Yuengling in your cooking! Have a little shindig and give this recipe a try. Every step is so simple and it tastes and looks so beautiful.

Happiest of Friday to you and yours.... ENJOY!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

a farewell to light dinners

I don't know what the weather's like where you live but here in Nashville, it's starting to turn... fast! I'm still waking up to happy, chirping birds basking in the sunlight, but I walk out to hear the church bells in my slippers and I'm desperately clutching my hot cup of coffee cause it's FRESH outside.

Now, there's something you should know about me: I hate the fall... well I used to hate it anyway. So much of me DREADS the leaves falling off the trees... I can't stand the idea that as soon as I start to really enjoy the yellows and reds, it all turns to GREY and BROWN! And then we're stuck in a miserable holding pattern until the groundhog decides to make his presence known... but something inside me is changing.... I'm kind of loving the idea of pumpkin, and rich, stewed broths, and whiskey over the stove and the fireplace going... I think being married to my husband has done a number on my hatred for all things cold weather friendly (he is, after all, Australian and never grew up with a real, leaves changing Autumn... he couldn't love it any more).

BUT! In my admittance to turning fall friendly, I am still having a very hard time letting go the idea of tossing something fast and crisp and cold together for dinner in a snap. And yes, we'll be featuring easy and quick fall dinner ideas here on Recitherapy, don't you worry... but it's different than tossing cold lettuce and fresh tomatoes together and serving it with a glass of wine. There's just an element of happiness that, in my opinion, can't be found in any other seasonal dinners like you can find in summer meals. So here's a farewell to the fastest, easiest little dinner for one (or 10), summer style.

  1. Grab some kale and chop it up finely.
  2. Make some hummus and mix it in with some sharp, bite-y cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Melt two different kinds of cheese over markouk and top with cracked black pepper. Don't have markouk or even know what it is? Use what you've got... pita, greek pita, roti, naan, whatever is skinny and delicious (markouk by the way, is a Lebanese flat bread, paper thin and outrageously delicious... find an Arabic grocery near you and ask if they have it. then buy it). I used sharp white cheddar cheese and fresh feta. Lots of fresh feta.
  4. Slice up some tomatoes and black olives if you want and toss it on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Pour yourself a glass of wine and go to town on that awesome fresh dinner.

In other news... I'd like to show off Holly's beautiful Ultimate Brownies! Puppet, I'm so proud you made these! She sent me a message saying she had always been a die hard brownie mix fan, because they ARE so good and way too easy to pass up. But she wanted to try our recipe because they look so good and she's never had brownies with frosting... She had total success and said she'd never buy a mix again! HA! RECITHERAPY WIN! So friends, take the way of Holly and try them out for yourself! It's that brownie making time again with all these fall parties and halloween shindigs coming up... so go ahead, bake a batch, take them to your church chili cook off party and ENJOY. AND TAKE PHOTOS if you make these things and tell me about it! I love hearing your cooking and baking success stories and you know I love the photos.

Happy beautiful Thursday to you friends! And stay tuned... soon to be shared: Pumpkin Banana Bread. And it's SO worth staying tuned for. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Alton's Kitchen . . . brunch fail

I feel sad to post something negative about this place, Alton's Kitchen. My family and I have successfully ignored it for years, because the restaurant that was in the same location previously was truly awful. We assumed it'd be similar and stayed away. HOWEVER... it's literally in my parent's neighborhood and we couldn't ignore it's convenience forever. To our surprise, everyone seemed to really enjoy their first experience there! (except me, ha!) So we went back again and everyone loved it again... and I liked it a little more this time. Well then my sister and her husband decided to stop in for drinks one night while they were waiting for mom and dad to rally themselves for dinner. They sat at the bar, which is our favorite part of the whole place... definitely has more atmosphere than the general seating area... ordered cocktails that they said were totally amazing and the bartender convinced them to stay for dinner. Already feeling impressed and adventurous, Jordan told the bartender to order for them... whatever he thought was the best thing on the menu, that's what they wanted. AGAIN, to their surprise, it was fantastic. And had he not just ordered for them, I can guarantee you none of us would have ordered it on our own... EVER. SO, a few nights later, Jord, Brent and I returned so that I could try this unbelievable dinner item. We sat at the bar, had a drink, ordered this strange entree and just about died and went to Heaven. It was incredible. It's called something like Cajun Creole Shrimp with popcorn rice... GROSS. But in actuality, it's this succulent, almost marsala like shrimp with a beautiful kick... really light, really delicious, really balanced and the best thing on the menu. I told them they need to re-name it, IMMEDIATELY.

blah blah blah, ANYWAYS... as much as this one dish had us professing our undying love to this fine establishment, brunch was another story. Jordan, I know you love it but man, please don't ask me to return for it. I'd really rather not.

Menu: impressive! Prices: not bad!

We ordered quite the array of dishes so I'll share them with you... first off, chicken and waffles.
I mean.... c'mon people. Yes, the idea is great and a southern tradition, I understand... but this is actually a heart attack on a plate, served with a side of cholesterol.
The Dippy Egg: the popular flatbread that everyone in my family seems to love. Had a lot of potential but in my opinion, tasted like poorly made eggs topped with so much jack cheddar cheese that you couldn't even taste the arugula. Sorry, family.
The Bronx Bagel: i ordered this because Jord found out they fly in the bagels fresh from NYC.

Well, I tried to customize it a little. I ordered the eggs poached instead of fried and I wanted to add avocado. The eggs came not only fried but VERY rubbery as well. And the cheese....?! I'm cringing writing this... IT WAS AMERICAN CHEESE. Now hear me... I'm not a snob, really. Sometimes there's nothin' like eating a strange, plastic like american grilled cheese...sometimes. But at a fine establishment like Alton's Kitchen, where everything else is so seemingly gourmet, something's just not right. And then those strange "breakfast potatoes..." What on earth? They were exactly those "Great Steak and Potato Company" steak french fries... remember that weird place that used to be in all the malls? They weren't at all fresh cut potatoes. And then it all came served with a giant pickle spear and a sad little "salad garnish" on the side... it just seemed like it couldn't figure out what kind of restaurant it wanted to be. And I suppose that's the real problem, in my opinion. It's not that the food was awful. It's really just the particular way they have decided to prepare the brunch items doesn't match the way they do everything else. I mean, it's fancy looking in there! HUGE ceilings, hardwoods, white tablecloths, the world's largest brass chandeliers, and easily 20 of them... you know what I'm saying? Something just doesn't fit. And do you know what's worse? I really want to recommend you go there and give it a chance for yourself... and I would tell you to be safe and order something simple like fried eggs and toast, but I don't think they can properly fry and egg without it tasting rubbery!

Alton's... I LOVE YOU AT DINNER TIME. I really do. I even love you for a good stiff drink and an appetizer. But if you're gonna be the only brunch spot in the Lake Norman area, I think you've gotta re-evaluate how you want to represent yourself. Friends, please please please try it for dinner. But Sunday morning.... stay home and make your own eggs.

ooh I hate being the bad guy... but somebody's gotta warn you!
ps: we'll have a happier recipe post tomorrow! ;)