We’re a little early but it’s been quite a week here at Idiot’s Kitchen.
If you follow IK on Facebook then you already know that the website was hacked big time a week or so ago. We’re back up and running but trying to get bigger & better security measures in place to prevent this from happening in the future. Fingers crossed!
Heaps of thanks to my tech guru, Thaine for saving my butt and getting Idiot’s Kitchen back from the abyss. Never underestimate the power of a good tech guy! He has pretty much earned cookies for life.
Meanwhile, I’ve been in the opera pit playing my usual winter gig at the Sarasota Opera. Lots of great music (Verdi!) and wonderful friends but oooh, way too much driving.
It’s been a stressful week…
Then I saw this video and knew exactly what to post for Valentine’s Day! (besides Henry)
A little back story: One of my best friends, who you’ve heard me mention for his tromboning & gardening skills, is my pal Larry from Minneapolis. We’ve been friends for at least 20 years and in addition to his many fine qualities, he is willing to put up with my nonsense by hosting me several weeks each orchestra season when I head north for concerts.
I know his family (they’ve kindly included me in family dinners and birthday parties) and, as you will soon see, they are all wonderful, kind, talented people. Probably the family member I know the least well, however, gave me the biggest shock and delight this week by creating this video.
Larry’s brother-in-law, Harry wrote the music you will hear and created this video, Our Love. Surprise #1 – I had no idea Harry composed music! It stars his daughter and her boyfriend and also Larry’s sweet, sweet parents. The voice you hear bringing to this amzing song and video to life is Larry’s nephew, David Geist.
This family has talent (and love) in spades.
Grab a tissue. Here we go!
Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever? Let’s watch it again! (Also makes me miss Minneapolis…even in the winter.)
I was going to include some Valentine’s Day cooking suggestions here and I’ve just erased them to let this lovely video, song, and sentiment stand on their own.
Every now and then we take a break from food posts here at Idiot’s Kitchen to go Out & About exploring.
Since moving to Florida 10 years ago, we’ve done most of the things people would expect – Disney, Universal Studios (Harry Potter!), the beach, Key West, and my personal favorite, NASA.
But the thing I have loved the most by a long shot is Snorkeling with Manatees.
For those of you who are land locked and might not know, Manatees are big aquatic mammals found in both fresh & salt water. Sometimes called Sea Cows, we happily have them in abundance in the Gulf of Mexico and waters in and around Tampa Bay.
Extremely sensitive to cold, in the winter they seek out warm spring fed waters or even water warmed by the local humungous power plant. This makes for great manatee watching or even better, manatee snorkeling.
If you are viewing manatees from the shore or from a boat, most of the time you will see this…
A big blob in the water floating by. If you stand there long enough, they will come to the surface and grab a breath of air and then you can see their cute noses. Cute but not that exciting.
If you really want to get up close and personal, you can take a charter tour and go snorkeling WITH the manatees!
Brown butter is the key to all things good and caramelly. It is simply butter that has been melted and then as the liquids and fats begin to separate, the fats start to cook and gently turn golden brown.
This releases the most delictable, toasty aroma. Your kitchen will never smell better.
I have never been a huge fan of the traditional stuffed pepper but I’ll take these Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers any day of the week!
If you’re not familiar with poblanos, you should give them a try. They are a mild pepper – not spicy, burn your tongue, clear your sinuses hot like a jalapeño but definitely have more flavor than a regular bell pepper.
If you’re used to making stuffed peppers with the traditional rice and ground beef in a green bell pepper, I think you’ll be (pleasantly) blown away by the flavors of chorizo, black beans, and cheese in these poblanos.
Time kick those tired old stuffed peppers up a big notch!
Here’s what you need:
Poblano Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Cooked Rice, Chorizo Sausage, Black Beans, Tomato Sauce, Cheddar Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Chili Powder, Oregano, Cumin, Fresh Cilantro, Salt & Pepper
For this recipe, you want to buy the crumbly kind of chorizo, sometimes called Mexican chorizo rather than the firm Spanish kind that looks more like smoked sausage.
This comes 6 links to a 1 pound package with each link wrapped in a little plastic-like casing that you must remove.
I can always find this at the Latin market but I know that the regular grocery store in my old neighborhood in Minneapolis used to have lots of chorizo options. (They also had a really great selection of devotional candles.)
We’re doing another TBT – Throw Back Thursday this week because I’m seriously craving Spicy Orange Beef!
If you’re new-ish here, you might have missed this easy and flavorful recipe from the first year of Idiot’s Kitchen.
I was thinking about it last night because I made a stir fried beef with bok choy that was pretty good, but left me REALLY wanting the oomph and flavors of Spicy Orange Beef.
Like most stir fry dishes, this is quick to prepare. Everything except the rice winds up cooking in one large pan or wok. In fact, the rice takes the most time so be sure you start it before prepping your other ingredients.
Eggplant Parmesan has always been one of my favorite dishes but since it’s usually breaded and fried, I had to give it up when I went gluten free.
Then I found this Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Jamie Oliver in the NY Times and figured that I could make a few changes to accommodate my gluten challenges.
This version has all the good eggplant parm things going on with much less work and no deep frying – just layers of eggplant, cheese, and a fresh tasting tomato sauce.
I also figured that as much as I love Jamie and his cute, cute, cute British accent, he wouldn’t mind if I added some extra cheese and a little shot of wine to his recipe to give the sauce a little more oomph.
Here’s what you need:
Eggplants, Onion, Garlic, Fresh Basil, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Red Wine (optional/not pictured), Tomato Paste (optional/not pictured), Mozzarella Cheese, Romano Cheese, Bread Crumbs (mine are GF), Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes (not pictured), Salt & Pepper
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