Gardening Update: The Growing Process!

Standard

I am so excited I had to pour a glass of wine while I posted! lol I am proud of my garden and how much it has flourished. For a while I was scratching my head trying to figure out why my squash wasn’t growing or why it seemed like my basil was looking flimsy. Well I am happy to say the consistency, calcium, sprays and all those other tips I posted in the “Gardening Tips” post have been paying off.

I wanted to show people a steady progression so I can determine if what I was doing, and it has been!


LETS START WITH THE 1ST TOMATO PLANT: “BIG BEEF”

I stand about 5’6-5’7 and this plant has grown to my chest! The vines are thick, very green and very sturdy. I look forward to see this plant produce VERY LARGE and JUICY tomatoes. I might even begin bottling my own tomato sauce because of this plant! Deeper in the center I see many green tomatoes so there is no doubt this plant will produce an exceptional amount of tomatoes. Stay tuned! 🙂

Big Beef Big Beef1


NEXT TOMATO PLANT: “EARLY GIRL”

It’s funny that this tomato plant is called early girl and it was the first plant out of all my tomato plants that quickly began sprouting! This plant smells strong and the tomatoes feel firm and are already turning BRIGHT RED!

Early Girl IMG_9138


MY 3RD AND FINAL TOMATO PLANT: “CELEBRITY”

Again, I find these names hilarious…the name must mean that these tomatoes are incognito and afraid of being seen LOL…the “celebrity” of this tomato plant! lol Im waiting for this baby to produce some tomatoes, so far I see hope…the vines are green, strong and sprouting but these are the smallest out of my 3 tomato plants.

Celebrity IMG_9136


Next: Jalapeños! This plant likes dry weather, don’t over water it! Once I stopped watering it everyday I saw it sprout up and the colors were very dark! Once you see little yellow flowers, prepare for some very spicy jalapenos! Jalapeno

Jalapeno 1


SWEET BASIL. Make sure you get mite spray because bugs tend to love this one. I had to revive it back to life by getting snail bait… and I walked out a few days later and saw a sea of snail shells…it was like a cemetery of snails…lol Im sorry but I like my basil more than I like snails. But it worked! Rest in peace to all those asshole snails!Sweet Basil


Next: Yellow Squash!! Ok i have to be honest, I couldn’t figure out where the squash was growing lol Until I looked deep, right in the center and here it is!!

Yellow Squash

You see the tiny yellow squash below? Fascinating isnt it? lol Ok I am way too excited. But this is a journey that requires a lot of time, attention to detail and trial and error so I just wanted to share it all with you guys!  I will keep you all updated and look forward to making some delicious meals straight from the garden!

Yellow Squash 1

Spicy Shrimp Enchiladas

Standard

“I love anything with red sauce. I love anything with shrimp. I love anything with gooey cheese. Lets put all that together and make a really delicious shrimp enchilada because SPROUTS has jumbo shrimp on sale for 6.99 lb!” lol—That was literally the conversation I had to myself the other day that made me decide to make shrimp enchiladas. And of course you know I had to make it spicy because im a spice-freak!

IMG_9008


Ingredients

  • 8-10 tortillas depending on how many you want to make
  • 1 block of Monterrey jack cheese ( I also added Habanero Sieera Jack Cheese- from Sprouts)
  • 1 jar of your favorite brand of red enchilada sauce. If you want to make your own, please refer to my *pozole rojo* recipe where I show you how to make homemade guajillo chile sauce which can be used for Enchiladas.
  • 1 cup of green onions
  • 2 serrano chiles chopped up
  • 1lb of shrimp cut in half
  • 1 whole on the vine tomato

PREP EVERYTHING AHEAD OF TIME SO IT’S QUICK TO ASSEMBLE. SHRED YOUR CHEESE, DICE YOUR TOMATOES, ONIONS, AND CHILES.

IMG_8977 IMG_8978

In a skillet, with your olive oil combine green onions and serranos. Saute for 2 minutes. Next add your shrimp. Make sure you season them however you’d like.  IMG_8982

On low, toes the shrimp and make sure the flavors begin to meld together.

IMG_8983

Add your tomatoes… cook for another 2-3 minutes. SET ASIDE.IMG_8986

Now the preparation begins here. In a skillet, let your sauce heat slowly. In a SEPARATE SKILLET lightly fry your tortilla shell just until it’s malleable ( able to bend and not break. This will make rolling up the corn tortilla much easier). After, dip the tortilla in sauce and begin to assemble. IMG_8988

Pour mixture in to the tortilla.

IMG_8991 IMG_8992

Add cheese. Fold left, fold right, fold tight! lol Continue this process. Add cheese to the top!IMG_8993

BAKE 350 FOR 15 MINUTES OR UNTIL CHEESE HAS MELTED.IMG_8994

And here you go!IMG_9001

Yummy! Let me show you my spread:

IMG_9003 IMG_9009

Tilapia in Chardonnay Lemon-Butter Sauce

Standard

Tilapia is such a light, flavorless fish…but the good thing about tilapia is that, it taste exactly how you season it so naturally if you season it well, it will taste delicious.

I had a bunch of frozen Tilapia in my freezer and wanted to do a little more than the bake, basic pan-fry or sear…so I thought adding a sauce! Honestly, I had bottles of chardonnay in my fridge, lots of butter, lemon and garlic……4 ingredients that I always seem to have on hand lol

To my surprise, my creation was actually amazing! I was really shocked how “gourmet” my plate looked too! lolIMG_8904

Prep: 5 minutes. Cook: 20 minutes. Total: 25 mins


The process was easy:

  • 4-6 pieces of tilapia
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 good bottle of chardonnay ( dont cook with it if you can’t drink it!) You will only need about a tablespoon of wine.
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine ( I used margarine).
  • chopped parsley
  • cajun seasoning
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch

IMG_8884

In a skillet, I sauteed garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Once your garlic is brown, CAUTIOUSLY add your wine and it will bubble and smoke a bit, control the fire. Add a little water and your butter shortly after. About 1/2 cup of water. This is what the process will look likeIMG_8885 - Copy IMG_8885

Once it cooks down and starts to melt…. Squeeze plenty of lemon juice. I cut a lemon in half and made sure all the seeds were out and used a press to make sure all the juice was out of it. IMG_8886 IMG_8887

Add parsley.IMG_8888

Next, add your corn starch. Simmer on low heat and it will begin to thicken up. IMG_8893

As your sauce thickens, set it aside covered on low heat. Now you’re ready to cook the fish!IMG_8894

In a separate skillet, add butter and olive oil to the pan, and sear your tilapia. I rubbed a little parsley on there for color. I also added small bits of garlic that was leftover.IMG_8895

I cooked the fish until it was nice and brown. 7 minutes on each side. And once the fish was done, I laid them out on a plate and drizzled the sauce on them! IMG_8897

IMG_8902  IMG_8908

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Standard

Hey everyone! It is nice to come to the realization that making jambalaya does not have to be this lengthy process. When i was little- before I knew how to cook, my idea of jambalaya meant buying a box of ZATARANS and throwing a few shrimp in there and calling it a day lol…. But Noooooooo, Jambalaya is so much more and requires much less time when you do it homemade.

One thing to remember: The Holy Trinity: Celery, Bell Peppers and Onions. You cannot truly respect Louisiana cooking without knowing about The Holy Trinity!

This recipe can be used with shrimp, crab, lobster, etc. I just opted to do chicken and sausage because I wanted minimal ingredients to really taste my little experiment lol But next time, I will do langostine, shrimp, and crab meat!

Prep: 10 mins. Cook Time: 40 mins. Total: 50 mins.IMG_8723


Ingredients:

  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 whole onion diced
  • an assortment of bell pepper chopped ( green, yellow and red).
  • 2 cups of uncooked white rice
  • 1 whole can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper for spice
  • 3 chicken breasts diced, seasoned with creole or cajun Louisiana seasoning
  • 3-4 andouille sausage

IMG_8711

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium/high heat. Brown sausage and chicken. Remove from skillet after 5 minutes. Next Add and Saute veggies (onions, celery and bell pepper) until translucent/softened. About 10-15 minutes.IMG_8713 IMG_8714

Next, add the sausage back in with the veggies. Now the rice…IMG_8715

Next combine your diced tomatoes and chicken broth or stock. Cook down for 30 minutes or until rice is softened. Now is the time to add your seasoning….make sure you season to taste….remember…you can always add salt, but you cannot take it away! IMG_8716

And now…. ENJOY!

IMG_8724 IMG_8727

Citrus Marinade- HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS on SHRIMP AND FISH.

Standard

So if you’re in California, you are fully aware of how hot its about to be and you are fully aware and accepting that winter is over, the rain is finished, no more foggy, cool, over-cast type days…stew season is over, and we have now been forced into eating salads, more fresh seafood, stir fry’s and anything with citrus because its HOT AS HELL outside and everybody is now trying to “watch their figure”.

So, because stew season is over, and i’ve been craving all things citrus, I wanted to do a marinade and take out all my fish and shrimp in the freezer and cook it altogether…a little Hodge-Bodge  of seafood…so this recipe can translate to any time of fish or any type of seafood for any occasion, at any time…

I used:

  • 3 lemons cut in slices
  • 1 whole shallot
  • 2 cups of fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 whole habanero for heat (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika for color

I used 1lb of jumbo shrimp and 6 pieces of raw tilapia and combined all the ingredients and placed it in a large zip lock bag and let it sit for 4 hours.

CM1 CM2

So now, we can get to the food preparation…After i removed the fish and shrimp, I wanted to cook the fish in the skillet so I could control the sear on it. And I opted to bake the shrimp because It gives it a nice plump texture.

F1

Just a little butter… lol…. I cooked this down for 15 minutes on medium heat. If you want more of a sear, turn the heat up higher. F2 F3 F4

I cooked this at the same time as the fish because I wanted them to be done around the same time. I opted to bake all the remnants from the marinade in with the shrimp. I cooked it on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. S1

And there you go! It was simple, and healthy. I also decided to make some asparagus- and it went well together!S2

Bacon and Tomato Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms and Garlic

Standard

Oh, what a terribly delicious dish to sink your teeth into. Even though it is loaded with bacon, it’s perfectly healthy lol! Somehow, this dish has a deceptively delicious way of making you think you’re eating something light because it honestly doesn’t FEEL so heavy.  This dish was made so quickly I did not get a chance to take a picture of the step by step process but I will lay it out for you….

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 strips of bacon diced ( if you’re not getting it from the butcher, i recommend BLACK LABEL brand bacon.)
  • 4-6 mushrooms sliced
  • 1 whole onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 whole tomatoes on the vine (diced)

Once you have your bacon chopped. Cook it in the skillet ( no longer than 5-7 minutes) and as you see the bacon browning nicely, add your mushrooms, onions and garlic and diced whole tomatoes. Let this cook down for 15-20 minutes. Add your parsley.

B0

I like to serve mine over bow tie pasta. I feel like it holds the ingredients quite nicely!

And once your preferred pasta is cooked, serve it and enjoy! It is that simple!

B3

Crispy Popcorn Chicken

Standard

This was a really easy and quick appetizer to make! There was really no need for a step by step process because it only took me a couple minutes!!

All I did was season and slice up my chicken breasts in cubes, then dredged the chicken in egg (2 eggs beaten) and then floured the chicken.

For a healthier version, I opted to sear and allow the chicken to crisp in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil as opposed to oil and I liked it much better- sometimes deep frying can feel a little too heavy!

IMG_8332

After cooking for 5 minutes on each side or until nice and brown. I put them in a baking dish at 350 degrees and allow them to continue cooking for 10 minutes!IMG_8333 IMG_8334And they’re done!! I like to mix my bbq sauce with hot sauce…MMMM!!

IMG_8335 IMG_8338 IMG_8340