Sunday, January 31, 2010

Partial Wannabe (Breaded Pepper Strips with Homemade Ranch!)

So WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY before she was uber popular . . .way before she had numerous shows . . .and before she built her empire . . . back in the day when it was just her and her one little Food Network show . . . I LOVED . . .

Rachael Ray and 30 Minute Meals. I know, I know, people either love her or are annoyed by her . . .but I LOVE 30 Minute Meals. I think she's brilliant. I don't actually want to be RR, but I do admire the empire she's built and love her recipes . . . and I think she's adorable . . .and think it'd be cool to have a food show . . . and would love to travel around the world and get paid for it . . . but I'm not at all attracted her husband and don't envy her insanely busy life . . . so yeah, maybe I'm just a partial Wannabe :)

So this morning I was watching her and she made "Fresh Baked Chile Fries with Fresh Ranch Dipping Sauce" and they were so different from what I was expecting . . .and looked yummy and kinda healthy . . . so that's my weekend food blog. You can watch that episode or go to her site to see it done well :) or you can read this blog post with TONS of photos. Tigger even got involved for a bit :)

You'll Need:
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
fresh herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
Salt & Pepper
Peppers (Poblano and Bell)
Parmesan Cheese
Spicy Brown Mustard

Work It:

Da Ranch:
You'll need Buttermilk, Sour Cream, garlic, herbs and salt. That's it! I had no idea how easy making ranch at home would be--plus buttermilk is low fat and you can do a lowfat sour cream a and it's pretty darned healthy! Ama-za-zing! RR's recipe called for 3/4cup each of buttermilk and sour cream, but for dipping sauce I recommend a full cup of sour cream and a little less buttermilk.
Here are my herbs all layed out like a cute heart! I've got Italian Parsey, Chives, Dill, and Garlic in there.

You want to use a garlic press or really mash up the garlic so you don't get huge chunks in your ranch.




Plus Salt . . taste and then a few grinds of salt and then taste again before you add more . . .
Look at that pathetic whisk! It's all mangled . . . no idea how it got that way . . . wierd. Anyway . . .
Then put it in a container and into the fridge for a bit while you make the breaded peppers (a.k.a. "vehicles for dip")
Da Peppers: RR used Poblano and Jalepeno. I'm not a fan of heat, so I used the oh-so-exciting Bell and Poblano (which was living on the edge for me! but Poblano's are sweet and mild but do have just a HINT of heat; and for this non-heat lover it was perfect! I use RED bell's because Red are supposed to be better for you because they contain Lycopene, a cancer fighting carotene)

Slice up the peppers: You want them to be in strips you can hold and dip (not too small)
I just slice down the sides until you're left holding the stem and seeds.
Tigger wandered into the kitchen about this time and wanted to show me his sweet knife skills:

Also, cut with the skin side down, easier to slice through.
That's Tigger in the back ground throwing out his hands and saying "Whoa! Check it!".

You can slice a little ring around the stem . . .and then cut the membrane attaching the stem from the sides and pull out the entire seed pod. The heat is in the seeds! Trust me, I got one seed stuck under my thumb nail and then accidentally licked ranch off that thumb later . . . it burned!

throw that nasty thing away!
Remove the membrane and the rest of the seends and slice away. Plus then you'll have cool rings. You COULD do ALL rings I suppose . . . but my peppers were a little on the limp side and I wasn't sure the rings would hold up as well as strips.
Da Breading:
You'll need 3 stations: 1) Flour 2) Egg, mustard, a little buttermilk, a little flour 3) breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and any seasoning you want to add

here you can see 3 eggs, about 1-2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard a spash of buttermilk and a Tbsp of flour.

It makes a much thicker egg wash than I'm used to and it turned out GREAT cuz it was more like a batter than breading!

there you go! for being "Unkept" I love the look of a nice organized breading station! Before you start breading, get two cookie sheets sprayed with oil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees!

Tigger jumped back in to help--he manned the flour station. If you look in the background you can see an "Unkept" pile of stuff still from Christmas on an end table . . . waiting to find a permanent home. Shhh . . . don't tell the pile of stuff but that probably IS its permanent home!
Okay, back to breading!

I like to use a fork for the egg batter--lots less gunk on your fingers!
Then dip in the breading--I apparently forgot to take a photo of this.
Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400, then flip and bake for another 6-7.

Dip them in your homemade ranch and you're good to go! They are VERY yummy! Like even better than I imagined. Oh, and the ranch is SO tasty and refreshing! I'll never buy Ranch again!
This would be a GREAT SuperBowl snack! I'm not a huge football person so I ate them for dinner.

I think RR would be proud . . . :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

5QF--finally a blogpost this week!

Hello Blogland! I've missed you!
It's been a crazy busy week this week--swim meets, parent night for incoming Freshmen (what?! no . . that can't be right . . .), and lots of work. Which means I haven't posted since *gasp* MONDAY!! Yikes!

Luckily Mama M gives me a great excuse to post today so I'm not such a slouch!
AND . . . Happy Almost Birthday to Mama M! Her Bday is this coming TUESDAY . . . be sure to stop over and wish her a Happy Birthday on Tuesday!:

To join in: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, grab the MckLinky code, and link up! Be sure to link back to Mama M.!

Questions for Friday, 1/29/10: (Muchos gracias to my friends, Lisa P., Liz, Megan, and Thorney London for their question suggestions! Wanna be linked in a future 5QF? Just leave me a question suggestion here, in my community! It's fun and totally not scary...I promise! Check it out!)

1. Would you ever vacation alone?

I would and I have! I used to travel for work and would take a few extra days while I was traveling to vacation. I've also done a few retreats on my own . . and I think I'd be totally fine going somewhere exotic (but full of activity) on my own--like to an all-inclusive resort. I can make friends if need be I suppose :)

That being said, I like vacationing on my own only when I have some introspective self-work to do . . .otherwise I'd MUCH rather go with friends or family. Well, friends anyway :) What I haven't ever done is gone on vacation with a love interest . . . looking forward to that first sometime in the future (probably distant future :)

2. Do you go the speed limit?

Nope . . hardly ever . . . lead foot.

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?
I started blogging because my bestie Mama M made me do it! Well, sort of .. . my first blog post (just a month ago!) explains it better.

4. Where do you shop for yourself?
Lane Bryant--almost the only store on the planet with fashionable and reasonably priced plus sized clothing. It's very frustrating yet strangely liberating--I don't waste a ton of time trying to find clothes--If I go to LB and they don't have it, I'm not getting it!
However, I used to LOVE August Max--they had high quality professional clothes for plus sizes . . . but they're no longer in business (sigh).

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding...or...what song would you like your first dance to be to?

Not married so this is yet to come. And I have NO idea what I would want it to be--likely a song that has meaning to both me and my groom to be (yet to be named). Although . . . Unforgettable comes to mind . . .

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Unkept Soup- (with a Smoky Tomato base!)

Unkept Style is usually based on me getting a craving for a flavor combo and throwing things together to satisfy the craving. Soup happens alot in this scenario. I mean, who doesn't love soup? Plus soup is usually my answer when I get home and don't know what I'm going to make for dinner. The other night I was inspired by one of the flavor combos from Carrot Gravy and ramped it up for an awesome soup. The base for a rich and delicious soup is: 2 cans Condensed Tomato Soup, 2-3 Beef Boullion cubes and a can of water AND this:

This is my newest kitchen "Secret Weapon"!! I picked up this seasoning when I made the stuffed mushrooms a few weeks ago and have been using it in just about everything since! Seriously! It gives everything a nice depth. YUM! It's so good that Tigger poured it straight into his hand and then into his mouth (despite my protesting "hey it's not cheap kid!") Buy it. Use it. Thank me later! (and keep your teens away from it)

For this soup you'll need:
2 cans condensed Tomato Soup
(1 can water)
2-3 Beef Boullion Cubes
1-2 Tbsp Smoky Sweet Pepper Seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 Onion Sliced
1 clove Garlic sliced
1-2 cans of beans (I used Garbanzo but Kidney would've been great)

Work it:
Heat a pan with 1 Tbsp of oil and sweat the onion and garlic until soft:

Add the raw hamburger and brown:

Add 1-2 Tbsp Smokey Sweet Pepper Seasoning.

Drain and Rinse the beans (I also had some leftover cannelini beans you'll see in there); pop them in with the browned burger
and let the beans soak up the flavor and warm through

Add 2 cans of Condensed Tomato Soup, 1 can of water and 2-3 beef boullion cubes--let this come to a boil and stir on occasion. Cook through long enough for the cubes to dissolve fully. Taste and add more seasoning if needed! (Sorry I forgot to take a photo of this.)

And that's it! It's more like a chili in texture but would be great without the beef or without the beans as well.

Oh! and then I made toast in the oven. I like lightly buttering both sides of the bread and putting it in the oven at 425 degrees; flip them over after 5-7 minutes and give them another 5 minutes. Crack a little salt and pepper on top--YUM!
I know the soup itself doesn't LOOK that appetizing but oh it is VERY tasty! I promise!