Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Margherita Pizza alla Vodka (Vodka Sauce Pizza)

I bet everyone since the coming of the internet has thought of a great idea, searched for it and realized a lot of people had the same idea.  This pizza was practically an epiphany for me: “…a vodka sauce pizza?“  The recipe for the sauce makes enough for the pizza plus a little extra for any future pasta nights.  I chose the margherita style pizza because I thought it would work best with the vodka sauce and not mask the flavor of it.  The fresh mozzarella, thin crust, and basil leaves were the perfect accompaniments to the vodka sauce. After I had finished enjoying the pizza I couldn’t wait to make a post about it.  It turns out other people thought the same thing! I don’t mind though..sometimes good ideas start from all over.

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Steak Tacos with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Caramelized Onions

What better way to try out a tasty new salsa than to serve it with tacos?  I picked out a skirt steak for these tacos because you can get a great sear on the outside and I figured it would go well with the salsa.  I went simple and just seasoned the steak with a little cumin and smoked paprika.  The salsa, steak and onions went really nicely together.  Caramelized onions are so good on tacos so I add them in whenever possible.  I caramelized the onions in the leftover adobo sauce which added a smokiness that wasn’t too sweet.  Then for a little texture and crunch I added some red cabbage on top.  A little crumbled queso fresco added creaminess (sour cream would probably work fine too.)  All together, this was a really delicious taco and I look forward to having it again sometime.

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Chipotle Cherry Salsa

I recently came across a recipe for chipotle cherry salsa and I was automatically intrigued.  The combination of sweet, spicy and smoky made me so excited to give it a try!  The only time consuming part was removing the pits from four cups of cherries.  It turned out to be well worth it as the salsa was everything I thought it would be: smoky/spicy from the chipotle and sweet and fruity from the cherries.  There’s also a hint of balsamic vinegar that adds another dimension to the salsa. It was a combination that worked out great for the Steak Tacos.

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Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Kimchi and Gochujang Mayo

Ever since I first made kimchi and gochujang I have been infatuated with those ingredients. Kimchi reminds me a little of sauerkraut so I had the idea of making a Korean inspired grilled cheese sandwich. Instead of grilling the chicken breasts, I decided to boil them which resulted in nicely shredded chicken. Then I tossed the shredded chicken in a simple Korean marinade of gochujang, soy sauce, ginger, and honey. The chicken was layered with kimchi, sharp cheddar cheese, and gochujang mayo. The result was a delicious, melty chicken sandwich that was spicy and sweet. All the flavors were perfectly balanced with each other and came together so well!

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Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Pizza with Cashew Butter Sauce

The grilled lemongrass chicken was so good that I wanted to have those flavors again.   Instead of repeating that same meal,  I used an entirely different format for those flavors–a pizza!  I decided to make the cashew butter dip as the sauce for the pizza along with an assortment of tasty toppings.  I tried something new and added roasted red peppers for color and flavor.  The grilled chicken was great with the red peppers and cashew sauce.  I topped the pizza with fresh mozzarella, jalapenos, cilantro, and bean sprouts which added a nice freshness and crunch.  The cashew sauce is rich so it only needs a thin layer of sauce on the bottom.  All the flavors worked great together and it was fun to eat the same dish in a whole new way!

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Roasted Eggplant Linguine with Prosciutto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

After making several batches of eggplant panini sandwiches I had some leftover eggplant that needed to be used up. First, I roasted the eggplant in the oven, and then cooked it in red wine with the prosciutto and tomatoes. The eggplant browned a bit in the oven and absorbed the flavors of the wine in the pan. It was pretty easy to throw together and doesn’t take long to prepare. The wine, eggplant, and prosciutto all complimented each other really well. I topped the pasta with a little fresh basil and feta cheese.

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Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

When making Vietnamese Pho I noticed that the condiments and garnishes play a big roll in the way you eat the dish.  With pho, the condiments are added methodically (usually one at a time) as you eat the soup.  This salad applies that rule as well, with the platter of condiments on the side of the plate.  Carrots, fresh mint, bean sprouts, red chilies, lime slices, and basil wait to be mixed in with the noodles or dipped into two bowls of dipping sauces.  If any of you “played with your food” as a kid you might enjoy the process of mixing and dipping involved with this dish.

One way I would describe this dish is clean and refreshing.  It really is a perfect spring or summer meal just due to the freshness of the ingredients. The grilled chicken is marinated in lemongrass paste, garlic, ginger and red chilies.  The chicken was so good and the flavors were sweet and a little spicy.  I loved the way all the condiments blended together with the rice noodles and chicken. I dipped the chicken in the Nuoc Cham and Cashew Butter sauces.  I was generous with the sauces and poured them over the noodles and condiments which tasted great as well.  I will be making this dish again soon!

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Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

Before making this recipe, I questioned using fish sauce in a way that didn’t involve heating it up before eating. I had never eaten fish sauce “raw” but I thought I would give this recipe a shot. Nuoc Cham is a simple dipping sauce made with chilis, garlic, lime juice and of course fish sauce. When all of those ingredients combine it results in a surprisingly mild sauce (and no food poisoning!). It was perfect for the grilled lemongrass chicken and I bet it would be great with spring rolls too.

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Cashew Butter Dipping Sauce

I came across a recipe for this Vietnamese-style cashew dipping sauce over at Steamy Kitchen. It looked awesome so I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up doing a few things differently from the original recipe but it turned out really well! You could easily change the sauce’s flavor by using peanut butter to use with other recipes. I used chili oil and sriracha to change things up a bit and I thought it tasted great!  My favorite part was the combination of the garlic and hoisin sauce with the cashew butter. It was a match made in heaven!

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