Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

I am a French Fry Monster.

Those crispy, delectable, fried potato-goodness are my vice. But oh–what a glorious vice it is!

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

But seeing how it’s probably not the best idea for me to inhale my weight in fries (though I may or may not have tried before), I’ve got to find alternatives to get my crunchy fix in.

And these Oven Baked Portabello Fries fulfill that craving quite well.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Thick portabello mushroom strips are rolled into an egg white mixture and then coated with toasted panko breadcrumbs. After a short tanning in the oven, they come out wonderfully crunchy and not the least bit mushy on the inside. And let me tell ya, these beauties are totally crisp. By toasting the panko and then baking the fries on a rather high heat, they’re able to get that wonderful crunch I love when I go to town on traditional potato fries.

Did I mention that they get dunked into a Sriracha Mayo?

You’re welcome.

ps. They’d also be fantastic wrapped up in tortillas with some Avocado-Cabbage Slaw to make some killer veggies tacos.
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Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Sriracha Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced parsley
kosher salt
black pepper

Fries
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
2-3 dashes hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
kosher salt
cooking spray
1 large portabello mushroom cap or 2 medium sized portabellos
½ teaspoon minced parsley

Whisk the first seven ingredients for the Sriracha Mayo in a bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.

In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown. Set the toasted panko into a dish.

In another bowl or shallow dish, whisk together the egg whites, water, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, hot sauce, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Take a wire rack and place it over a baking sheet. Lightly coat the rack with cooking spray.

Slice the mushrooms into long strips approximately 1/3 – ½ inch in width. One slice at a time, dip the mushroom into the egg white mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to gently press the breadcrumbs into the mushroom slice to coat well. Lay the coated mushroom slice on the wire rack. Continue with the remaining ingredients.

Spray the tops of the mushrooms with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the mushroom fries halfway through the baking process and spray the tops with cooking spray before returning them back into the oven. The fries are done when they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with additional kosher salt and parsley. Serve hot with the Sriracha Mayo.

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Oh…Hey.

So, do you remember when my Fam Bam did a Thai themed Family Dinner? Because if you don’t, let me tell ya it was DEE-LICOUS!

Totes ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK……

And as I said before, my MVP dish of the night goes to my seester’s fried fish cakes. Although humble at first glance, these scrumptious bites are out of this world. Definitive seafood flavor punched with kaffir and something subtly rich—coconut milk.

I wish I had them right now…..like a dozen of them! These beauties poof up when you them and settle down to an even “fritter like” consistency.  And trust me, double the batch because you’ll want more!

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Thai Fried Fish Cakes
From About.com

1 lb (.454 kg) white-fleshed fish fillets
6 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into thin strips
3 tablespoon coconut milk
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1 extra tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
3 green onions, sliced
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili, sliced or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili
1/3 to 1/2 cucumber (to accompany cakes)
oil for high temp. frying
To SERVE: Thai sweet chili sauce, lime wedges, handful fresh coriander

Rinse fish and pat thoroughly dry (if using frozen, the fish will be more moist so be sure to dry it as well as you can). Cut into chunks and place in food processor or large food chopped.

In a cup, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, and brown sugar. Stir with a fork to combine, then pour into the processor over the fish.

Add remaining ingredients (kaffir lime leaf strips, green onion, galangal/ginger, garlic, and chili). Pulse to create a thick fish paste.

Picking up a small amount in your hand (about the size of a golf ball) pat the paste into a small cake and set on a clean plate. Note that traditional Thai fish cakes are small (about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 to 1 inch thick) and not too thick. Tips: If your paste is too wet to easily form into cakes, add a little flour or breadcrumbs to the mix. As you continue making the cakes, it helps to rinse your hands every so often with cool water to prevent paste from sticking.

Set plate of cakes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, prepare your pan for frying as well as your garnishes. Cut the cucumber length-wise, then dice up into small cubes and set aside. Pour oil into a small frying pan or wok (at least 1 inch deep).

Heat oil. When hot enough (a breadcrumb should sizzle and cook immediately when dropped in), gently place cakes in oil. Allow to fry 30 seconds to 1 minute before turning, gently lifting cakes from the bottom of the pan (they may stick a little). Fry until golden-brown and drain on paper towel.

Serve fish cakes immediately with the chopped cucumber and Thai sweet chili sauce drizzled over. Top with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice just before eating. Excellent like this, or served with rice for a main course dish. ENJOY!

Make Ahead Tip: You can make the fish paste up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and set in the refrigerator, then form into cakes and fry.

(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Pork Larb Gai

Larb (also often spelled as laap or laab) has been one of my favorite Thai dishes for a long time. It essentially translates to “minced meat salad” and can be made from a variety of different proteins – pork, beef, chicken, fish, duck, etc.

The word larb means “to chop up” in Thai. That’s right folks–authentic larb aficionados use a cleaver to chop/mince their proteins until they reach the perfect consistency. But truthfully, I’m a tad lazy and use pre-ground pork/chicken/turkey.

Andy Ricker, chef and author of Pok Pok does a beautiful job narrating his adventures of Thai cuisine and does an infinitely superior job of explaining the nuances of larb than I ever could. In a nutshell, there are two different schools of larb — the Northern Thai version and Northeastern Thai (Isaan) version. I gravitate towards the Isaan style that is heavily laden with citrus and toasted rice powder. The Northern style also uses various proteins and herbs but often includes pork/beef blood.

Pork Larb

I’m obsessed with Isaan-style larb because it’s truly a flavor explosion (I’m so cheesy). It’s incredibly savory with the garlic, shallots, fish sauce……bright and aromatic from the tons of citrus & fresh herbs…..and rather “earthy” from the toasted rice powder. Whether you eat it with sticky rice or as lettuce wraps, larb has multiple layers of texture, especially when you take intermittent bites of fresh cucumber slices, cabbage or fresh chiles.

My version isn’t totally authentic but it definitely is my homage to the original and can be whipped up in about 20 minutes. Not bad at all when you need a quick bite and its lightness is perfect for a warm summer meal.

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(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon warm water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
1 tablespoon minced Thai chiles, divided
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 pound ground pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon toasted rice powder*
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
accoutrements: extra fresh herbs, lime wedges, cabbage, lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, steamed rice

In a bowl, create the sauce by whisking together the sugar and warm water until dissolved. Add in 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste). Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste), red chili flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high and add in the pork.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the pork around the wok/skillet while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook the pork until it is no longer pink, approximately 3-4 minutes. Stir in the remaining fish sauce and scallions.

Remove the wok/skillet from the heat. Toss in the rice powder, remaining lime juice, red onions, mint, cilantro, and basil. Stir in a few spoonfuls of the sauce to taste. Plate the larb with extra fresh herbs, whole chiles, lime wedges, sliced cucumbers, lettuce and cabbage. Serve with either steamed rice or whole lettuce leaves for wraps. The remaining sauce can be served alongside as a dipping sauce.

*If you cannot find pre-ground toasted rice powder, you can easily make your own. Toast uncooked jasmine rice in a skillet over low heat until golden brown. Once cooled, transfer the toasted rice into a spice grinder and grind until you get a fine powder.

French Bistro inspired Family Dinner – C’est Délicieux!

January 2014 Family Dinner

Bonjour! Pour notre dîner de famille, nous avons préparé un menu français.

Yup–that’s what 4 years of French classes at Diamond Bar High School got me. Monsieur Kirkeby would’ve been so proud. Although I can’t be 100% sure that it’s grammatically correct :)

January 2014 Family Dinner

Our most recent monthly Family Dinner adventures swept us away to a French Bistro theme. They’re dishes that were meant for casual dining although I’ve also heard bistro cuisine referred to as “glamorous comfort food”. However you define it – it’s délicieux!

We like to have a plentiful selection of items to nosh on for our Sunday Family Dinners but as they were only 10 of us that night, we had to make some concessions. The biggest challenge was trying to narrow down which dishes we’d prepare…. Poulet Rôti? Steak Tartare? Salade Frisée aux Lardons? Escargots?

So much good food, so little time!

January 2014 Family Dinner

As always, we started off with some adult beverages. Although this time around, I opted not to prepare any mixed cocktails and served chilled sparkling vin from the Loire Valley in central France and a Côtes du Rhône.

While we prepped, we nibbled on an Abbaye de Belloc which is a French sheep’s milk frommage that we picked up earlier that day from Center Street Cheese Shop.

Frommage

Next, we had a hearty Soupe à l’oignon - French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup is rather nostalgic for me. The first “fancy dining” memory I have is eating French Onion Soup with my parents at a restaurant in Minnesota. I couldn’t have been more than a few years old but the fact that none of my siblings were there makes me believe that I must have crashed one of their very few “date meals”.

French Onion Soup

There was a Salade Niçoise overflowing with goodies like olive oil preserved tuna, haricot verts, olives, eggs, and grape tomatoes. My sister took the lead on this and adapted Tyler Florence’s version that can be found here. It was incredibly satisfying and could have been a meal in itself–but we’re gluttons.

Salad Niçoise

I can’t imagine a bistro themed menu without some version of mussels. Our sister prepared her Moules with lots of wine, leeks, celery and fresh herbs. She used P.E.I. mussels that were so plump and were sweet and tender. They took on a creamy texture that was out of this world.

Moules

And then our deep carnivore side took over and we threw down some serious Steak Frites. We opted to go with simply seasoned grilled steaks (ribeyes and T-bones) and then topped them with an herb butter I had made with tarragon, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

To go with the Moules and Steaks, we put our niece, Nini, to work with double frying our Frites. You first fry the potatoes at a lower heat to cook them through to a translucent stage. Then, you crank up the heat and fry them up again so that become crisp and perfectly golden.

This Potato Monster totally approves.

Steak avec Frites

As for dessert, we had an apple Tarte Tatin with ice cream and it was a FLOP!

Seriously!

So for those of you who ask if we never mess up on any dishes — you better believe it! And this Tarte Tatin was a prime example of how you can follow a recipe word for word and still have a disaster. My caramel didn’t set, the puff pastry was a soggy mess…I was SO bummed! It didn’t look terribly bad but trust me, looks can be deceiving.

But I survived and will live to make more desserts. Plus there was still lots of vin left so we commiserated with booze like all honest cooks do.

Tarte Tatin

Despite my failed dessert, it was a fantastic meal! And like I said, with so many other Bistro classics that we didn’t have the time (or enough room in our stomach) to make, there may be a Part Deux to come!

In the meanwhile, fix yourself up the delightful Salade Niçoise that our seester made. You’ll adore it–especially with some baguette and a crisp white wine.

À bientôt!

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Salade Niçoise

Ingredients:
½ tablespoon minced garlic
2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
½ cup quality extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
½ pound petit new potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned
1/4 pound haricots verts, trimmed
10 to 12 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna packed in olive oil
8 ounces mesclun, washed and dried
½ pint grape tomatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
6 ounces pitted Niçoise olives

Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon and olive oil in a small jar.  Add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper into the jar before tightly securing the lid back on. Shake the jar vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Taste and adjust for seasonings as needed. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Stir in a few pinches of salt before adding in the potatoes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters before adding them into the water. Allow the potatoes to boil for about 8-10 minutes, until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Toss the warm potatoes with 1-2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to coat lightly.

Add the haricots verts to the same pot of boiling water. Blanch the haricots verts for 1-2 minutes and then drain them into a colander. Immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Shocking the haricots verts will stop the cooking process to stock and allow them to maintain their bright color. Drain them and set aside.

Drain the olive oil from the tuna and use a fork to flake the fish into large pieces. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Arrange the mesclun on to a large platter. Arrange the dressed potatoes, haricot verts, tomatoes, eggs and olives over the top of the greens. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings – Happy Lunar New Year!

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

Today marks the first day of Tết {Vietnamese Lunar New Year} – so allow me to say Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!!

Like the good Vietnamese gal I am, I’ve spent the past several days cleaning up the house, running to the bank to get “new money” to stuff in the red envelopes for lì xi (lucky money), paying off my bills and finishing everything else Mom used to tell us to do in preparation for Tết. Hey- I do what I can to deflect any bad ju-ju!

I expect that our clan’s Tết celebration on Sunday will be filled with a lot of shenanigans, new year’s wishes, a bit of gambling and a whole lot of eating! Braised bamboo, crab, sticky rice, roast pork, stuffed rice cakes and a ton more. I CAN’T WAIT!

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

To get in the new year’s spirit, I decided to make some dumplings. Truthfully, this style of dumpling isn’t traditional for Tết but they’re quite common for Chinese New Year celebrations. Dumplings are eaten because they symbolize wealth & richness as their shape resembles Chinese gold ingots.

This time around I decided to fill the dumplings primarily with ground chicken, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, some aromatics and a TON of fresh ginger. I often use a pork & shrimp filling as well but you could use almost anything that tickles your fancy. Just one thing, you’ll want to cook a bit of the filling before you start assembling the dumplings so that you can adjust the seasonings. Trust me, you don’t want to stuff 100 dumplings before you discover that your filling is bland.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

As for the dumpling skins/wrappers, let me be the first to admit that I never make my own and I’m happy to just grab a package of the pre-made ones. I’m sure there’s a lot of pros of going 100% homemade but the thought of rolling out all of those super thin rounds is just too daunting. But one day I’ll give it a try— ya know….bragging rights and all.

If you opt to buy the packaged skins, I’d recommend the egg-less Shanghai style wrappers. But if you’re in a bind or live in an area where it’s difficult to procure Shanghai style wrappers, you could use wonton skins. The texture and flavor will be a bit different though as those are typically are made with eggs.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

Once you’ve mixed up the filling, you’re ready to assemble the little dumplings.

  • Wet the edges to help seal the edges,
  • Add a heaping teaspoon of filling,
  • Fold in half and pinch the center,
  • Fold 3-4 pleats to the right and then pinch and crease the end to seal,
  • Fold 3-4 pleats to the left and then pinch and crease the end to seal.

And that’s it! The filled dumplings should form a slight crescent shape and be able to sit upright. Alternatively you can fold the dumplings so that they lay flat. Instructions on how to fold a flat dumpling can be found here.

Man…I have the most wrinkly fingers and desperately need a manicure— but I digress.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

Keep on filling, folding, and pleating…..don’t worry, it gets faster once you get the rhythm down.

At this point, you can either pan-fry the dumpling right away or freeze them so that you can have them whenever you have a dumpling hankering. If you do choose to freeze them, be sure to freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet for a few hours before stacking them in a container. If you don’t, they’ll clump up together while they freeze.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

Once you’re ready to cook up these little buggers, grab a skillet that has a fitted lid and fry them in a single layer for a minute or two. You’ll then want to add a bit of water and slap on the lid to allow the dumplings to steam and finish cooking.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

And that’s it! Deliciously juicy and flavorful dumplings that are ready to be dunked into a quickly made sauce of soy, rice wine vinegar and a few other goodies.

Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings

Well Friends, let me again say – Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!! I wish you all an incredible Year of the Horse filled with health, prosperity, wisdom, and joy!!

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Pan-Fried Ginger Chicken Dumplings
Makes approximately 50 dumplings

Ingredients:

Dumplings:
2 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground chicken
1 cup minced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce (more, if needed)
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 package Shanghai-style dumpling skins (50 count)
water
vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Place the cabbage in a large bowl, sprinkle it with salt and let sit for about 20 minutes. Wrap the cabbage in a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel. Squeeze out and discard the excess liquid and place the drained cabbage back in the bowl.

Add the ground chicken, mushrooms, scallions, shallots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame seed oil, and black pepper to the bowl. Using cleans hands, mix the filling until thoroughly combined. To test for seasoning, take a small spoonful of the mixture and pan fry in a non stick skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side. Taste and if needed, add more soy sauce to the uncooked filling.

Begin assembly of the dumplings. Lay one dumpling wrapper on a flat surface. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edge of the wrapper. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of the dumpling skin. Pick up the dumpling, fold it in half and pinch the center together. Starting from the center, make about 3-4 pleats on the right side of the dumpling. Repeat with the left side of the dumpling so that all the pleats point towards the center. This will also create a flat bottom to allow the dumpling to sit upright and form a slight crescent shape. Place the dumpling on a baking sheet and continue until all the filling/wrappers have been used.

Prepare the dipping sauce by whisking together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

To cook the dumplings, heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place a single layer of the dumplings in the pan. Fry the dumplings for 1-2 minutes until the bottoms are golden. Carefully pour in about 1/4 cup of water and immediately place a tight fitting lid on the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow the dumplings  to steam for 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until all the water has evaporated. Transfer the dumplings to a platter and sprinkle the tops with scallions and toasted sesame seeds. If you need to fry the dumplings in batches, use a paper towel to wipe the frying pan clean before repeating the above process. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.

*If you would like to freeze the dumplings, place the baking sheet directly into freezer for 4-5 hours after you have assembled them. Be sure that the dumplings are in a single layer and are not touching each other. Once the dumplings have frozen, you may transfer them to a sealed container. They can be kept in the freezer for a few months and should be cooked frozen. Add 1-2 additional minutes to the cooking time when pan-frying frozen dumplings.*

Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip for Game Day

Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

This upcoming weekend will be jammed packed with events. I’ve got our niece’s 9th birthday party Saturday morning with her school friends, our monthly Family Dinner that evening, Tết (Lunar New Year) celebration with the clan on Sunday, and of course– the Super Bowl later that afternoon.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

By the time the game rolls around on Sunday, all I will have the energy to do is plop myself on the couch with an iced cold brewskie and have delish snackies within an arm’s reach away from me. I’m hoping for the usual suspects like pizzas, ribs, nachos, tacos, and wings. Mmmm…..buffalo wings. I love buffalo wings.

But as tasty as buffalo wings are, they are just a mess to eat. I pretty much go through a few trees worth of napkins every time I have them. So instead…..

SAVE THE TREES and MAKE DIP!

Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

My Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip is a nod to the lip-smacking, scrumptious wings. It’s made with lots of chicken (leftover rotisserie is great in this), hot sauce (I like Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce), tons of cheeses and a few other goodies. Once it comes out of the oven, the dip is super bubbly and is just waiting for a potato chip or celery stick to be dunked into it. It is sinfully cheesy so don’t even bother to count calories while you’re inhaling it.

Need some other Super Bowl menu ideas? Here are a few other bites that are sure to please a crowd:

Whatever you choose to fix up, enjoy the Super Bowl!

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Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon ranch salad dressing
3 tablespoons (or more) hot sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 scallions, chopped and divided
4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles, divided
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 ounces cooked chicken, roughly chopped
celery sticks
potato chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and ranch salad dressing until well combined. Stir in the hot sauce, garlic and all but 1/2 tablespoon of the chopped scallions. Mix in 3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles, Monterey Jack cheese, pepper, cayenne and chicken.

Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining blue cheese crumbles on top. Place the baking dish on top of a baking sheet. Bake the dip for 25 minutes and then turn on the broiler to allow the top to become bubbly and turn golden brown.

Sprinkle the remaining scallions on top of the dip and serve hot with celery sticks and chips.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs + The Pioneer Woman Holiday Cookbook GIVEAWAY!

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

As my nephew, Lucasaurus, would say…..

Oh Yea! Oh Yea! Oh Yea!

The other week I came home to a package on my doorstep from the fabulous Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman). Within seconds I ripped it open to find a lovingly signed copy of her new cookbook – The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Over a 100+ lip-smackingly delicious recipes that are just darn gorgeous. And perfect for any holiday from Valentine’s Day to Cinco de Mayo to Turkey Day and heck–even game day!

I was already drooling from the ravishing photos when I came across the page for Sriracha Deviled Eggs. Sriracha? Deviled Eggs? Football Finger Foods? YES, PLEASE!

And let me tell ya……they are darn good and so quick and easy to make! Ree describes them as “with a Spicy Asian kick“—just like me :)

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

In celebration of Ree’s new cookbook, I’m giving away (3) signed copies of it! Yup–you read correctly… THREE COPIES!

There are six (6) different ways to enter (increase those odds, Baby!) To Enter, please be sure to leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did This Giveaway has ended- THANKS!

  1. Leave a comment sharing what is your favorite holiday dish to make;
  2. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  3. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so);
  4. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so);
  5. Follow our boards on Pinterest (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so);
  6. Follow us on Instagram (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so

The deadline to enter is Thursday, November 7th at 5pm (PST) This Giveaway has ended – THANKS! and the winners will be notified the next day. Good Luck!

Thanks so much to The Pioneer Woman for sponsoring this giveaway! And don’t worry Bella, I won’t give away our copy.

Bella

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Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Makes 24

Ingredients:

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs (peeled, sliced open, and yolks removed)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Black sesame seeds, for garnish

Mix the yolks with the mayonnaise and Sriracha. Then add the rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mash it and mix it together until the mixture is smooth. It will be a little on the thin side. Spoon the filling into the egg halves. Then sprinkle a few black sesame seeds on top.

Note: I opted to use a piping bag with a decorative tip to fill the eggs and topped them with a sprinkle of paprika and some chives—but the eggs are just as delish as is.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Papas Rellenas – Cuban Potato Balls

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Not gonna lie….I could really use a Papas Rellena right now.

Or two, or three—okay….probably 4. Well, for now at least.

We made Papas Rellenas {Cuban Potato Balls} for our June Sunday Family Dinner as an homage to Porto’s Bakery. Papas Rellenas are incredibly addictive crispy, mashed potato balls that are stuffed with a savory meat filling. At Porto’s Bakery, they fill their Papas with ground beef, veggies, and spices.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

I had stumbled upon a wonderful recipe for Papas Rellenas from Jonathan over at The Candid Appetite. If you haven’t seen his site, you must check it out. But be warned, whether you read it on a full stomach or not, his posts will leave you drooling!

As for the Papas, not only was his post incredibly informative but his step by step photos were gorgeous! I was so inspired that I had to try and take pics along the way as well. Clearly mine weren’t nearly as stunning but let’s just go with it.

On to the Papas!

After washing, cubing and boiling a ton of potatoes–smash them up to smithereens! Then, get started on the aromatics.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

You’ll want the aromatics nice and fine. Throwing them into a food processor will definitely make life easier but if you’re a glutton for punishment, take a chefs knife and go at it!

After you pulse each item, you’ll want to drain it through a very fine sieve to get rid of any excess liquid. Sound crazy? Nope, it’s brilliant.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

After everything is prepped, begin browning the beef in a large skillet. I drain the liquid from the beef before adding in the chopped onions and garlic. Once the onions become translucent, add the red and green peppers into the party.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Once the filling has been seasoned and cooked down, you’re ready to start assembling. Lucky for me, I enlisted the help of my niece, Nini, to join the Papas Rellenas Assembly Line. She also served as the hand model for the next series of photos.

Huh…what if this is the catalyst to her budding Hand Modeling career? Um, don’t tell my sister.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Back to the Papas……

To get uniformed potato balls, grab an ice cream scoop. Porto’s Bakery make their Papas Rellenas quite large but I opted for a smaller size for a 1-2 bite. Using the gadget of your choice, scoop out a dome of the cooled mashed potato mixture.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Using the palm of your hand, try to flatten it out into an even round—about 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Place a heaping spoonful of the cooled filling in the center of the potato.

Now let me warn you, despite what every fiber in your body says–DON’T OVER STUFF them! If you do, they won’t seal properly and things will get down right wonky.

Willy Wonky!

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Carefully fold the sides over the filling.

This is where you’ll kick yourself if you overfill it.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Then gently roll it into an even, smooth ball.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

Once all the potato balls have been filled, start the 3-step process to bread them.

Flour. Egg Wash. Bread Crumbs.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

After the Papas have chilled for several hours, it’s time for a 3-5 minute “soak” in an oil jacuzzi that’s been heated to 375 degrees F until they’ve become golden brown.

Bada-Bing! Bada-Boom!

That’s it!

On a random note (as if I wasn’t random enough), my other niece, Nina, took over hand modeling for the “completed” Papas pics. What can I say? I’m prepping the kids for the Hand Modeling Olympics.

Papas Rellenas - Cuban Potato Balls

These Papas Rellenas can be served at room temp with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro & a few lime wedges. You can also serve them with a Mojo dipping sauce or by itself.

And the kicker? They can definitely made in advance and frozen so that you can fry them whenever you get a Cuban Hankering! So double the recipe! You’ll thank me…..or maybe you should thank Jonathan since it’s his recipe :)

Want to know how to make these golden delicious Papas Rellenas? Pop on over to here.

HAPPY FRIDAY, FRIENDS!

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

Remember when I made the Double Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburgers using Farmer John Jalapeno Bacon? The burgers were so baconlicious that plain ol’ fries just wouldn’t cut it.

Because once you decide to go big, you’ve got to go all in.

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

And in this case, going “all in” comes in the form of crunchy avocado “fries” that are wrapped with bacon. I know it sounds like a food stand at the summer fair but before you totally nix it, you’ve got to give them a try.

It’s the only Bacon thing to do, after all.

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

These “fries” have a great play on textures. Super crunchy from the panko breadcrumbs & crispy bacon balanced by the buttery avocado. Dunk them in a Roasted Poblano Aioli or a cool Cilantro Ranch Dressing and you have a perfect appetizer or side.

Have a Baconriffic Day!

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Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large avocado
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
4 slices jalapeno bacon, cut in half
vegetable oil

Slice the avocado into 8 equal wedges. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. Place the Panko breadcrumbs and flour into two separate shallow dishes. Season the flour with cayenne pepper, kosher salt and black pepper.

Once the avocados have chilled, take one wedge and dredge it into the flour. Gently shake off the excess flour before dipping it in the egg wash. Roll the avocado wedge in the Panko and gently shake off the excess. Set aside. Continue dredging the remaining avocados.

Take a 1/2 slice of bacon, wrap around each wedge of avocado using toothpicks to secure them together. Place back into the freezer for another 10 minutes.

Fill a heavy bottom pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.

Fry the avocado fries for 4-5 minutes, turning them from time to time until they become golden brown. Remove the fries and drain them on a wire rack or plates lined with paper towels. Season with additional kosher salt immediately when they come out of the oil and carefully remove & discard the toothpicks. Serve warm with Roasted Poblano Aioli or condiments of your choice.

Croquetas de Chorizo & Our Tapas themed Family Dinner

Croquetas de Chorizo

Truth be told, my sibs and I have had to handle our share of road bumps these past few years. Things way out of our control—which is a real pain for a family full of Type A personalities.

We’re cute–but Type A through and through.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

So we started our monthly Sunday Family Dinners.

It gave us an opportunity to spend the day shopping for groceries, catching up, venting to each other, sipping cocktails, teaching the kids kitchen tips, gorging on food and well–just spending quality time together.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

We began by just throwing together menus of dishes we liked to eat and now it’s morphed into different monthly themes covering cuisines around the world. We’ve thrown caution to the wind creating dishes we’ve never attempted before with just the shells of recipes and our kitchen instincts. Pretty extensive menus if I do say so myself.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

We’ve had a lot of memorable times through our Sunday Family Dinners from a full-on Cajun Seafood Boil in the backyard to a small kitchen fire from roasting our Porchetta to a Japanese Spread that would probably even make my favorite sushi chef, Tenchu, smile.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

And before we knew it, our 1 year anniversary of Fam-Din had arrived. Unfortunately our brother and his fam couldn’t fly back from NY but our sis P was able to make the trip down.

To celebrate one year of delicious eats and new foodventures, we put together a scrumptious Tapas Dinner.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

We started off with a few pitchers of my Red Wine Sangria that had steeped overnight. This liquid goodness is no joke, Friends. Sweet, fruity, and packs a punch!

Sangria

Next on the menu were Spanish Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms.

Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms

Spanish Chorizo gets its hue and rich flavor from the smoky Spanish paprika.

Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms

Then came the Grilled Flank Steak drizzled with an herbaceous Salsa Verde.

Flank Steak with Salsa Verde

And then there were Baby Octopus seasoned with Spanish paprika, lemon zest, parsley and olive oil.

Baby Octopus with Paprika and Lemon

Did you know that when simmering octopus you should throw a wine cork in the pot to help tenderize it while still maintaining its toothsome texture? Supposedly it has something to do with the enzymes breaking down the octopus tissue.

Is it true? Um…not 100% sure but if European grandmas have been doing this for centuries–who am I to disagree?

Baby Octopus

Then we had the sleeper dish.

The dish we all underestimated and didn’t think much of until we took a bite– Saffron Clams. HOLY COW!

Of course big seester cooked the clams perfectly so that they were still wonderfully tender but it was the broth that was the kicker. Mind-blowingly fragrant and multi-layered from the saffron threads, white wine, lemon and herbs.

Total underdog and one of the MVPs of the night.

Saffron Clams

And what’s a Tapas dinner without Paella? This is a tried and true recipe we’ve done many times before but it’s just so-darn-wonderful!

Paella

And you know who prepared the Paella?

My 14 & 13 year old nieces– Nina and Nini!

Yup, I’ll wait while you scroll up and take another look at the Paella photo………..

Impressive, right?

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

And because we all have quite a sweet tooth—other big seester made homemade Churros con Chocolate.

Crispy fried dough dunked into a rich chocolate sauce? YES, PLEASE!!!

Churros con Chocolate

As for me, my other contribution to our dinner were crispy Croquetas de Chorizo –because I’m the family’s Potato Monster.

Croquetas de Chorizo

To make these Spanish themed croquettes, I start off by mashing up a few boiled Russet Potatoes.

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

After adding some spices, herbs, and other goodies, I begin forming the little potato logs and stuff them with Spanish Chorizo and cheese. Depending on how you get your Spanish Chorizo, you can either cube it, slice them, or even mince them up.

Croquetas de Chorizo

After the croquetas have been formed, toss them in the refrigerator so that they can chill and firm up. This helps them keep their shape during the frying process.

Croquetas de Chorizo

Next, enlist your 8 year old niece (like Maya) to help you dredge the croquetas. After they’re well coated, fry them until golden brown.

Don’t worry, I fried them :)

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

Once golden brown, serve them up with this floral and rich Saffron Aioli.

Saffron Aioli

Was our Tapas Dinner delicioso? Absolutely!

But the best thing about it (other than hanging out with the Fam while sipping Sangria) is that the kids played such a huge role in the preparation of our dinner. Although it’s bittersweet to see them grow up so quickly, we’re all so proud of them!

May 2013 Sunday Family Dinner-Tapas

Moral of the story? When life gives you lemons–cook every delicious thing in the world with your family.

I can’t wait for what the next year has to come.

Now if I could only convince one of my seesters to let me to dig a hole in their backyard to make an imu to roast a pig. Wouldn’t that be rad??
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Croquetas de Chorizo
Makes approximately 16 croquetas

Ingredients:

3 medium sized Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 eggs, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
8 ounces cured Spanish Chorizo, diced
4 ounces shaved Manchego or Parmesan cheese
vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
chopped chives, to garnish

Add the potatoes to a large pot of water. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Carefully drain the pot and mash the potatoes (or put them through a ricer). Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Beat one egg together with the olive oil. Add the mixture to the mashed potatoes with the parsley, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until combined.

Take about a golf ball sized amount of the potato mixture into one hand. Flatten it out into your palm in an even, oblong shape that is about ¼ inch thick. Add a few pieces of the chorizo and cheese in the center. Mold the potato mixture into a log shape, folding the sides to enclose the filling. Place the croqueta on a large platter and repeat the process until all of the croquetas have been formed. Cover the platter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Fill a large, heavy bottom pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the remaining two eggs. Place the breadcrumbs and flour into two separate shallow dishes. Season the flour with the remaining kosher salt, paprika and black pepper.

Take one croqueta and dredge it into the flour. Gently shake off the excess flour before dipping it in the egg wash. Roll the croqueta in the bread crumbs and gently shake off the excess. Set aside. Continue dredging the croquetas until you have enough to fit in the frying pot.

Fry the croquetas for 3-4 minutes, turning them from time to time until they become golden brown. Remove the croquetas and drain them on a rack or plates lined with paper towels. Optional: Once they come out of the fryer, sprinkle the croquetas with additional paprika. Continue the process until all of the croquetas have been fried. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chives and serve with the Saffron Aioli.