Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Non-Memories of Artichokes

 A few weeks ago, I gleefully posted that not only had I had artichokes for the first time, but I made them myself. I declared that I'd done it! I'd made nature's nachos! I was pretty freaking proud of myself.

My mom saw the post and goes "Oh! You used to love artichokes when you were little!" I was baffled. I had no memory of eating this majestic appetizer in any form other than pureed into a dip of some sort at a cheesy chain restaurant.

Somehow, the memory of delicious, delicious artichokes had slipped my mind. But clearly my subconscious knew what was up, because since the initial artichoke cooking I've made them at least five times.

Have you ever prepared artichokes? It looks daunting, but it really isn't. The most important thing is to trim off the sharp barbs (use kitchen scissors). The second most important thing is to cook them until the leaves easily pull off. The third most important thing is to scrape out the inside of the heart, because if you forget then you get a mouthful of softer, yet still pretty painful barbs.

It's a learning process for sure. But it's totally do-able, trust me. They make a wonderful app or side dish, and feel super fancy.

Lemon Butter Artichokes

  • 4 artichoke heads, barbs trimmed off
  • 4 cloves garlic--3 sliced thin, 1 diced fine
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • optional: 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • Enough water to fill 2 inches of a saucepan with cover

Place the garlic slices in between the leaves of the artichokes.

In a saucepan large enough for the four artichokes, pour in water to about 2 inches. Use a steamer basket or place the artichokes in the water, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until you can easily pull a leaf off.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the diced garlic and lemon juice, and seasoning if using. Set aside.

To eat: gently pull off the petals and dip large end in butter. Use your teeth to scrape off the soft fleshy part of the artichoke, discard the tough end leaf. When you get to the center, use a spoon to carefully remove the fuzzy top layer without scraping away the heart (the soft middle). You can do this end part in the beginning if you're serving to friends, but I like to do it myself because the soft heart is like the prize at the end.

Monday, July 13, 2015

HEB #PrimoPicks Taco Revolution - Chicken Tostadas #sponsored

Disclaimer: I received promotional products and gift card to facilitate this recipe.

Seriously, is there anything better than a taco? Or nachos? Or, really anything Tex-Mex and delicious?

Ever since I first stepped foot into that popular fast food taco joint, I was hooked. I was about 10, and was obsessed with chicken rollups. As the years went on I graduated to better locations, better tacos, and in recent years have mostly made them myself. Is it any surprise I found myself in Texas, land of the best tacos in the country?

And with HEB, making tasty tacos is simple. This month's Primo Picks were great, and I knew immediately that I'd be making a tostada (much like a taco, but flat) and topping it with all sorts of goodness. I love that HEB's store brands are so well made and tasty!

Pulled Chicken Tostada

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Adams Reserve Spicy Aloha Rub
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup HEB's That Red Sauce
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup + 1 dollop sour cream
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • vegetable oil (enough to fill a small skillet to 1/2 inch)
  • optional: guacamole

-Pat the chicken dry and rub with the Aloha rub. Bake for 20 minutes on 450 degrees F, turning once throughout. Set aside and let cool until it is cool enough to handle.

-In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of sour cream with the taco seasoning.

-Heat the oil over medium-high, until a crumb makes the oil sizzle. Carefully drop the tortillas in, one at a time, until crispy. Dab dry with paper towels.

-When chicken can be handled, use two forks to shred the meat. Toss with That Red Sauce.

-Assemble the toastada: spread 1/4 cup of the refried beans over one tortilla, and top with some of the sour cream mixture. Place a second tortilla on top, and top with half of the chicken, cheese, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream. Repeat with the other two tortillas and remaining ingredients.

Note: these measurements aren't exact, feel free to add more or less fillings if you desire!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Peach Old Fashioned with Four Roses Bourbon #sponsored

Disclaimer: I received a promotional product in order to create this recipe. All opinions are my own.

Guys, have I told you about my bourbon obsession? Ever since stepping foot in the South, I've had a hankering for bourbon that just cannot be quelled. Strange, considering my past liking of girly, fruity drinks.

Four Roses is one of my new favorites--and it's not just because I got a complimentary bottle to make a recipe with!--and it hits all the notes of what's great about bourbon, with some fruit flavors as well. It's smooth, mellow, and perfect to sip.

Turns out, there's a perfect drink that marries my love of bourbon with my taste for fruit: an old fashioned! It's becoming my new favorite drink to order when I'm out, and I feel like I've perfected the at-home version as well. I added a bit more southern flair by adding peaches and a splash of Texas Honey lemonade. Enjoy on the porch while you watch the sunset!

Texas Peach Old Fashioned
  • 1 oz Four Roses Bourbon
  • 1 oz Texas Honey lemonade (basic lemonade recipe with honey swapped for sugar)
  • 1 or 2 splashes Grapefruit bitters
  • 1 cherry
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 slice ripe peach, no peel

-In a cocktail glass, muddle together the cherry, orange zest, and peach together. Shake in the bitters.

-Fill glass with ice, and pour bourbon and lemonade over.

-Sip slowly, and enjoy.