A conversation with Martha Stewart, part 2

I know you all have been anxiously waiting to hear the rest of what Martha had to say, so here it is! (If you missed the first post, you can catch up here.) This “part 2″ is around Martha’s tips on holiday cooking – they’re coming sooner than you think people!

Martha’s holiday cooking tips

  • Vacherin cheese is a wonderful “winter” cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s very creamy in texture, a little “funky”, and is best eaten spooned right out of the rind.
  • She said her couscous royale is always a hit at holiday parties. It has the perfect blend of herbs and spices, and is great for your vegetarian guests.
  • And now for the big reveal – how Martha cooks her turkeys! Martha is very much about home-grown goodness and sustainable farming, whether it be vegetables, turkeys, or goats. For her holiday turkeys, she prefers to use one of her own grown Lebrun female turkeys as they tend to be bigger (up to 22lbs) and juicier. Her secret for cooking it comes in the form of a cheese cloth soaked in white wine and butter. (I was, and still am, drooling over this.)

From Martha’s Mouth:

  • Florence asked Martha’s opinion on whether or not you’re born with a good palette. “Yes, I believe you either have a good palette or you don’t. Some people are just born with it.” She went on to reference many famous chefs who have made it because their palette is so broad.
  • A reoccurring theme throughout the conversation was Martha’s praise for the people she works with. “The greatest influence in my life are the people around me, the people I work with. I learn from them every day.”

It was such an experience getting to meet Martha Stewart and learn a bit about who she is. If any of you ever get a chance, I highly suggest taking advantage! That woman has a wealth of knowledge that we can all learn a little from.

martha and florence

Fruit Salad…Without the Fruit

Do you ever have those days where you buy lettuce with the full intention of making a salad, but by the time you get around to making it, it’s just not that appetizing anymore? Many a lettuce heads have gone bad because I couldn’t eat another boring salad…

However, the other day when I was pantry-diving, like I mention here, I found a can of mandarin oranges along with some almonds. Light bulb! I made my own version of a fruit salad…sans most of the fruit. :) Liven up your salad and get your taste buds going with this citrus-y combo! I promise it won’t disappoint.

Salad

  • 1 bag mixed leafy greens
  • 1 small can of mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Handful of snow peas or sugar snap peas, cut in half

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice (trust me on this one)
  • 1/4 cup juice from the can of mandarin oranges
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Mix the dressing together in a small bowl, then toss with all of the salad ingredients.

I like my salads chopped, so I put everything in my chopper – dressing ingredients included – and mix/chopped it all up. Super simple guys.

“But wait, there’s more!” Check out our other sultry salads to get out of your bland salad rut.

Mandarin Salad

Happy Eating, XO.

Firehouse Chili

Football season is in full swing. However, as much as I love me some pizza and wings during NFL Sundays, I am trying to conserve some money. I figured chili is just the way to cook at home, eat yummy Fall food, and still have enough leftovers for the Monday night game. So fire up the crockpot when you wake up next Sunday and have a delish serve your self “buffet” set up for all day game watching. Your wallet will thank you and you can always check out the cute delivery guy next Sunday.

  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic (fresh not powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds Hot  (or Mild) Italian Johnsonville Sausage crumbled (and then 1 pound ground beef, or turkey or even all 3 lbs. sausage, you pick!)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)
  • 2 packages McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (any flavor)
  • 2 –  15 oz. cans Bush’s dark or light red kidney beans
  • 2 green bell peppers chopped small
  • 2 cans yellow corn
  • Pinch of cumin & red pepper flakes to taste (I ended up just throwing in a jalapeno instead of red pep flakes)
  • chicken broth, as desired for thinner consistency chili. It can also be stirred in at end.

Dump all ingredients in the order listed above and cook for 6-8 hrs. in crockpot. (I stirred half way through to make sure the meat was cooking evenly). I served with a platter of “garnishes” such as: shredded cheese, sour cream, pea shoots (or shredded lettuce), diced green onion, chopped avocado with a side warm baked corn bread. (don’t hate, but I cheated and used the store bought mixes vs. making from scratch). You can even skip the cornbread and crush up some tortilla chips as a topping as well. That’s why I love chili, its so versatile. Spicy, mild, whatever meat, veggies, and toppings galore, just eat and enjoy how you like it best!

photo

Happy Eating, XO.

So Easy a Caveman Can Do It: Lemon Basil Hummus

Get the last of the fresh herbs in while you can with this fresh and super simple recipe! It’s honestly so easy a cave man can do it. And I think this may even qualify for the paleo diet?!

I had friends coming over and literally had no finger food ready, so I went pantry-diving. Chic peas? Check. Basil about to go bad? Check. So many lemons I couldn’t possibly use them all myself? Check. All of my friends like hummus, so why not give it a whirl? Like literally, whirl it in a food processor. (I crack myself up…)

  • 1 can of chic peas
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 lemons (1 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp of zest)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Break out the food processor (or mortar and pestle) and pour in all of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. That’s it! Seriously. But I mean, don’t forget to service it with pita chips (I’m addicted to Stacy’s sea salt pita chips). Or you can stuff it in to a cucumber for a healthier snack like we did here.

Chic peas/hummus is such a versatile ingredient, get creative! Mix your own flavors (red pepper and lemon, anyone?) and let us know what you come up with! Tweet it to us @damn_delish.

Lemon Basil Hummus

Happy Eating, XO!

Lettuce wraps

Now that the nights are getting cooler, we can start turning to some cozy, spicy, comfort food. I’m not saying jump straight to the heavy chili, but you can definitely ease in to it with these lettuce wraps! They’ll make you sweat and cool you down all at once. Warning: Do not eat these in front of potential significant others! After seeing how messy these can get, they may not come back for seconds, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Pickled cucumbers

  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil

Lettuce wraps

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup scallions (don’t worry, the pickles will take care of any rank breath from the garlic and scallions!)
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha (in a pinch, you can use Franks red hot sauce. It won’t be nearly as spicy, but still gets the job done.)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 lb ground beef (feel free to use ground chicken or turkey)
  • 1 head boston lettuce

Throw all of the ingredients for the pickles in to a jar or bowl and store in the fridge while you prep the wraps.

For the wraps, heat the peanut oil over medium heat. Add in the onions, garlic, scallions, and meat and cook until brown. Slowly stir in all of the sauces – Sriracha, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Cook until they’ve been absorbed by the meat, and serve immediately.

Scoop the meat in to a lettuce leaf and top with the pickled cucumbers. The heat from the meat and spices, paired with the chilled pickled cucumbers will be like a party in your mouth!

Lettuce wraps

 

Happy Eating, XO.