Sunday, June 26, 2011

Market to Menu Monday! Week 4! a blogger link party in the making, Featuring Vegan Fire Roasted Tomato Corn Chowder

I found the most beautiful tomatoes this week at the Farmers Market and knew right away what I was going to make.  A friend on my Facebook Group: Wichita Falls Foodies started a conversation about tomato chowder.  I was interested instantly!  I love jalapeno corn chowder and never thought to do a tomato chowder.  I poured through my "Flavor Bible" and came up with a good recipe.  I follow a lot of bloggers that are vegetarian so I wanted to make it a vegetarian dish.  This was also something that tested me, I love meat!  Sorry veggies, but I dedicate this one to all of you!

Vegan Fire Roasted Tomato Corn Chowder

Here is what you need:
six large tomatoes
1 large onion diced to desired thickness
2 medium leeks cut in half then into 1 inch strips
fresh basil to taste
2 or more corncobs
some olive oil to grill tomatoes
salt and pepper for grilling tomatoes
1 tablespoon of salt for soup
1 tablespoon of pepper for soup
1 cup vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups soy milk or something similar
4 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in water

I had some veggies I was going to have to throw out so I made my own vegetable stock!  I made the house smell so goooooood!

Cut your tomatoes in half and coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on the BBQ with your corn to get them nice and roasted.  Watch the tomatoes closely.  They will fall apart if over cooked!

When they are done you need to peel the tomatoes and remove the corn from the cob.

Once that is done use a food processor on the tomatoes and add them to a large pot.  Add 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper.  Add your corn starch, onion, basil, and leeks.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. 

About an hour and a half into the simmer add the corn.  This will help it stay firm and give the chowder some texture.  Add the soy milk and be sure not to over heat.


That is it your done!  It was so good.  The freshness of all the ingredients could be tasted and was intense.  The pepper made it slightly spicy, the leeks and onions pair well with the tomato and basil so it had a great flavor profile.  The corn gave it a nice texture and the fire roasting of the tomatoes and corn gave it a smokey flavor that was unbelievable.  I had to make a grill cheese to go with it!  I used pepper jack cheese and some jalapeno.  A classic combo!

What did you get from the market this week???

Love Food, Live Life!

Bloggers Join the party! Check out the Market to Menu Mondays! page for details!
Get out, Get fresh, Get cooking, Get blogging!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Willie's Place

I love family run restaurants.  They usually share my passion for food and you can count on friendly service.  Willie's Place delivered on my expectations and beyond!  I have to say this was the most welcomed I have ever been.  They recognized me from my blog and did not shun me like others have in the past.  When I walked in there were a few people in the restaurant, which is small and charming I might add, and they were defiantly friends, regulars, and I believe some family as well.  This was a good sign to me.  Regulars make or break a restaurant and regulars tend to spell good food!  I know I don't go back to restaurants that have horrible food.

I stepped up to order and asked "What do I need to try?"  I was recommended a "Wet Willie" which is a burger smothered in nacho cheese, or a... dang the name eludes me but it is what I ordered.  It was a burger with the nacho cheese and Frito's!  I love texture and crunch so it had my name all over it. 

This was the best burger I have had in Wichita Falls.  It was cooked perfectly and had all the fixings, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and of course we are in Texas so mustard.  I think what made the burger so good was that it was "fun" and the people who cooked it and enjoy making it.

I ordered onion rings to go with it and am glad I did because french fries would have been to much.  Did you see the size or that towering burger?  No way could I have had a heavy starch on top of that bad boy!

As I took a seat the owner Willie asked if I like hot (spicy) food.  And boy do I ever.  He said "I'm gonna give you something to try."  I knew instantly what it was.  Willie's Place offers a Man V. Food challenge with two spicy triple burgers called Screaming Willie's and a pound of tater totts or french fries.  He kicked down a sample of the Screaming Willie sauce.  I have to say it was the best super hot sauce I have ever eaten.  Usually the flavor gets lost in the heat, but this had a deep smokey chipotle flavor that was out of this world.  I was crying but could not stop eating it!  I am going back and trying the challenge soon, the info for the challenge is on the picture below.

The menu is Ala carte but very reasonably priced.  And when you see the size of the portions you will not be disappointed.  So get down there and treat your self to a Wet Willie!  Don't worry you won't get a wet finger in the ear unless that is what you want!

Love Food, Live Life!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garden of Eden Salad with my Fruit of the Earth Dressing for the Fave Diets Blog Hop!

I was really excited when Mark from contacted me to participate in his blog hop!  I love the whole link party and blog hop idea.  It is a great way to meet other bloggers who have similar taste and passions.  As I understood this was to be a deli salad hop I must admit I was out of my comfort zone.  I'm not even sure what makes a salad a deli salad.  But I have been toying with the idea about this fruit salad for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to make it!

Garden of Eden Salad with Fruit of the Earth Dressing

Here is what you need:

1 sweet apple
1 sour apple
2 mangoes
2 peaches
6oz. or more of fresh raspberries
1 pound fresh strawberries
a good hand full of fresh spinach
mint leaves to taste
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons of raspberry vinegar
2 or more tablespoons of lemon juice to prevent oxidation of the apples

First start by dicing your apples and setting a quarter or so of them aside for the dressing.  Pour the lemon juice into a bowl big enough to hold the apples and toss.  Remove the skin from the apples you set aside and move on.  Dice the peaches, separating about a quarter of them as well and remove the skin from the separated quarter.  Dice the mango and again hold about a quarter of them for the dressing.  Dice or quarter the strawberries and hold how much for the dressing???  That's right!  A quarter!! 

For the dressing add all the fruit you put aside plus some raspberry but save some for the salad it's self, into a food processor with the sugar and vinegar.  Add some mint and puree!  Be sure to taste and add sugar, mint, or vinegar to your taste.

Tear up some spinach and place into a large mixing bowl.  Add all your fruit and as much or little of the dressing as you like.  I added some whole mint leaves to mine because I am addicted to mint!  Toss plate and serve!

It is quite easy and very refreshing.  I like the fact that the same fruit in the salad is used for the dressing.  "It is like a flavor explosion in your mouth!" quoted from A'Z Johnston at work when I took it in for some feedback.  I also got a lot of compliments on how fresh and clean the flavor was.  It is an impressive dish that is simple to make.  I hope you give it a go!
Love Food, Live Life!

If  you enjoy the whole blog hop idea drop by Market to Menu Mondays!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Market to Menu Monday! Week 3 a blogger link party in the making!


Man did I score big this week at the Farmers Market!  I got fresh lettuce, 3 kinds that were grown hydroponically!  I scored fresh cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomato, onion, and basil!  I admit I was a little overwhelmed at first.  I had no clue what I was going to do with it all.  Then on my Wichita Falls Foodies group on Facebook started a great conversation about tomato chowder.  I knew right then what I was going to do! Cream of Cauliflower soup!  Of course I would do a mixed green salad to accompany it.  But it was not until I had did my research on flavor pairings for the soup that it hit me.  Stuffed cabbage!  I went to United Market Street, a local super market that sells local meat at their butcher counter.  I was informed the beef I bought was organic, free range, and grass fed.  That is becoming more important to me as I am discovering how much genetic engineering is going on.  Cattle are not designed to eat corn, which is what they raised on mostly now days.  We designed the cow to fit our needs!

O.k. enough of that.  Lets get to cooking all these fabulous ingredients!

Cream of Broccoli and Cauliflower with Shallot Soup

Here is what you need:

1/2 head of broccoli
1/2 head cauliflower
1 medium size shallot
3 chicken bullion cubes
3 cups water
1 cup cream
2 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup parmesan cheese

First coarsely chop the cauliflower, broccoli, shallot, and garlic. Set some broccoli and cauliflower aside for garnish.  Boil the cauliflower and broccoli then set aside to cool.  Save 3 cups of this water to make the soup.  Puree the broccoli, cauliflower, shallot and garlic in food processor.  Add the remaining ingredients to the water then add your puree and cheese.  Simmer for about and hour stirring often.  That is it the soup is done!

Stuffed Cabbage

Here is what you'll need:

1 cabbage leaf per serving, 2 if it is a small cabbage
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 can rotell
1 large carrot grated
1 onion grated

Get the water going so you can steam your cabbage.  You can also microwave it if you are in a crunch.  The goal is to get is soft so you can fold it without it tearing.  Brown your beef, then add the rotell.  Drain, then season your beef.  I find you get more flavor this way, why pour half your seasoning it to your grease bin????  Stuff and fold the cabbage.  I topped mine with store bought salsa because I did not plan ahead :(  It turned out really good though.

For the salad I made a tomato basil balsamic dressing and used the cherry tomatoes!  It was really good.  I used :

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
lots of cherry tomato
a good portion of basil
garlic powder to taste
a touch of salt and sugar to taste

I blended it all in a food processor and had to adjust it to fit my taste.  I have said it before and will say it again.  It is a recipe not a code of law.  I love very zesty food.  You may not.

Over all this meal was awesome.  The soup was unbelievable.  You could taste all the ingredients, nothing over powered the dish.  The Stuffed cabbage was spicy, just the way I like.  The salad was almost my favorite part.  The lettuce was so flavorful and the cherry tomatoes were the best I have ever eaten.  The dressing was good and fresh which is what was so attractive.  This was the most fun I have had yet with Market to menu Monday!

What did you get this week?
Love Food, Live Life!
Check out who's joined the party!
Chef Kevin Smith!

Bloggers!!!! I am trying to start a link party. I call it Market to Menu Monday! The idea is inspired by Peas and Crayons (What I Ate Wednesday). The concept is simple enough. We all go to the market buy and cook fresh at least one day a week. Farmers Market, Super Market, dose not matter. Go to the butcher counter and by fresh meat. You do not need to do a full post with a recipe but if you can that is great! The hope is to point each others followers to each others pages and we can all grow together! email me at
with a link to your post and lets do this!!!!
To participate you need to add this button to your post!!! That is really the only rule! Have a button to share?
Let me know and I'll add to my page too!
Grab a Button!


Friday, June 17, 2011

2011: A Foodie Odyssey part 11: Mongolia! featuring Sweet and Sour Apricot Lamb Chops!

Mongolia! At one time Mongolia was the largest empire the world had ever seen.  Traditionally and many still to this day have returned to their nomadic ways.  Food plays a major part in a nomads life.  You follow your food to live.  You follow the seasons to harvest.  All without farming.

Soldiers used to stoke up a fire, harvest what ever was around and cook on their shields!  Passion for cooking is a human trait.  I heard a great saying "Animals eat, People dine."  That spoke to me. The connections you make through food may not register to the average person but it is there.  Imagine being a Mongol warrior knowing that tomorrow you are riding into battle.  The person to your left and right may very well die.  The chances of your death were just as prevalent.  Knowing this could be your last meal must have made every one special.  The men who prepared those meals did so with religious passion.

The food is the most unique I have encountered and had trouble finding a dish I could prepare.  I stumbled across this Lamb Chop recipe and had to try it.  I am almost positive that this is not traditional, but here we go!

the above link is where I found the recipe

Here is what you need:

4 lamb chops about 4 ounces each
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups apricot preserves

This is complicated so pay close attention.  In a mixing bowl all your ingredients except the lamb and whisk until smooth. Pour into a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat until nice and thick. Be careful not to burn it!  Broil the chops for about three minutes on each side.  Coat the chops after cooking and you are done!  See complicated! NOT!

This is a simple easy and quick dish.  Now I am not a fan of sweet and sour but this was good.  It may be the fact that I prepared it and knew exactly what I was eating.  I garnished the plate with some fresh mint that I had left over and it added a great layer of flavor.  You could use the sauce to coat chicken wings for awesome sweet and sour wings! The limit to it's application is only limited to your imagination.  So get in the kitchen and whip something tasty! And let me know how it turns out!

Nepal is the next stop on our journey!  Thank to all those who have stuck with me and voted!  Don't forget to vote at the top of the page for next week!

Love Food, Live Life!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Balsamic Chicken Kabobs with PLUM!

In my ventures to the market I always do my best to avoid impulse buying.  But those darn marketers are so good at what they do!  All those little goodies just calling your name..."Hey C.J.! Over here! LOOK at me! I'm a Southern Living BBQ cookbook! You know you want me!"

And so I bought it :-)  It is awesome!  It has 72 recipe cards from main dishes to beverages.  If you see one I recommend grabbing it.  It has classic recipes and some very interesting ones. In my current culinary quest I have been incorporating a lot of fruit into my cooking.  As I browsed through the book looking for the first recipe I would try, this one fit my profile!

the link above is the southern living website

Here is what you need:

8 (12) inch skewers
1 1/2 pound skinless chicken breast diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium red onions
4 large plums cut into quarters
2 medium green tomatoes
2 teaspoon season salt
2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup molasses

O.K. so don't learn the hard way like I did a few years back.  You need to soak wooden skewers!  If you don't they tend to catch fire!  Imagine that!  Wood catching fire!  So make sure you soak them for at least a half hour.  Meanwhile start prepping the veggies, plums, and chicken.  I started firing up my grill at this point.  I do not use traditional charcoal, I use mesquite charcoal, actual burnt pieces of wood.  All natural baby!!  Now thread the veggies, plum, and chicken onto the skewers.  I put all the seasoning in the sauce and it turned out great but they sprinkled it onto the chicken.  Which ever you decide to do now would be the time to do it.  Get grilling!  They cook rather quickly.  Be sure you add the sauce at the end of the grilling process so that it dose not burn.

They were amazing!  The sweet/zesty flavor profile was awesome.  The onion soaked up the flavor of the plum and the sauce and played well with the tomato.  I could not get my hands on green tomato but red worked just fine.  The plum was tart, I think the acidity of the vinegar brought out the tartness, but that is half of what made the dish so tasty.  You get sweet, zest, and tart!  If you manage to get it all in one bite it is an astonishing experience!

They are a quick and easy way to impress people for your next BBQ!  What are some of your favorite BBQ dishes?



Love Food, Live Life!