Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

Tangy Lime Delicious

Hi, my name is the little kimchi pierogi and I’m a key lime pie lover.

  • I grew up in Florida and we had a key lime tree in our backyard.  I mean, I never really stood a chance.
  • One summer day long ago, Pierogi Mom and I baked key lime pies from each of her three different recipes.  We had a taste test, picked our favorite, and threw out the other recipes.  They are forever dead to us.  (And yes, it was a glorious day.)
  • I convinced BK we needed key lime pie at both our rehearsal dinner AND our wedding.

So now you understand.

Before I thoroughly confuse you, this recipe is NOT for key lime pie.   But the relationship to it is what caught my eye.  I’m never motivated to make an entire rich, sweet pie for just BK and I.  It’s a lot of work that will only lead to us eating too much and getting sick.  That is the beauty of this recipe though: it’s a quick fix that yields a little ramekin of lime pudding that is similar to key lime pie filling.

I was on high alert for these to be too sweet…such is the downfall of many a similar dessert.  But with every bite, I decided that it was firmly in the “just right” camp.  If you are someone that neeeeeeeeeeds that meringue or whipped cream on top of your key lime pie though, I would suggest adding some whipped cream on top of these after cooling.  You could also try cutting down on the sugar a bit or adding a pinch of salt.

One caution: Don’t be like me and decide (without checking) that your all-purpose flour is self-rising.  It is not.  Take 10 seconds, check what kind of flour you have, and make the substitution if necessary.  It will be a well-used 10 seconds of your life.  Really.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
shortening for greasing baking cups
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (from 2 limes)
⅓ cup self-rising flour*
⅔ cup low-fat milk
½ cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes or a bottle)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease four 1-cup ramekins (or ovenproof coffee cups) with a little shortening.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites; beat the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed (or use a whisk) until soft peaks form.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of butter, the sugar, egg yolks and lime zest in a separate mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes, until creamy and light.

Use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold the flour, milk and lime juice into the sugar-egg yolk mixture until well combined. Gently fold in about a third of the beaten egg whites to lighten the mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter among the ramekins; bake for 25 to 40 minutes or until the tops are golden and the pudding has just set. Serve warm.

*Can substitue ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and ⅙ teaspoon salt, mixed well.

Slightly adapted from “Ready, Steady, Spaghetti: Cooking for Kids and With Kids,” by Lucy Broadhurst, via The Washington Post.

Watermelon Jalapeno Margaritas

Me: Why don’t we have margaritas with our fajitas this weekend?
BK: OK.
Me: Are you sure?
BK: Yes.
Me: Really?
BK: Yes.

BK: Unless you make some “weird” margarita.  Then I’ll just have beer.
Me: Beer it is.

And that is how I came to drink quite a few watermelon jalapeno margaritas this weekend.  (Don’t judge…there is only so much you can (should) scale down a recipe!)

The watermelon is super refreshing and the jalapeno leaves a little bit of a kick in your mouth.  Yummmmmmmm!!  We made it a meal with fajitas and refried beans and I can think of few better ways.  Although fresh is better, in this and all other recipes with lemon and/or lime juice, if you don’t have the time or inclination to squeeze your own, bottled is more than fine.  I recommend serving the margaritas ice, ice cold — my reuseable ice cubes worked wonderfully because this drink gets watered down very quickly.  Of course you can use regular ice cubes, but don’t let the drink sit for too long (if this is a problem, we need to talk).

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed watermelon
1-2 tablespoons sugar, depending on sweetness of watermelon
6 tablespoons lime juice (from 2-3 limes or a bottle)
8 ounces tequila
7 ounces Triple Sec, divided
8 thin slices jalapeno
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
lime wedges for garnish, if desired

Directions:

In a blender, puree the watermelon and sugar until smooth.  Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer.  Transfer the liquid to a pitcher and add the lime juice, tequila, 6 ounces of the Triple Sec and the jalapeno slices.  Stir to combine and let sit for at least 2 hours.  (This amount and time with the jalapeno will give the drink a little bit of a kick.  For more punch, add additional jalapeno slices and/or let it infuse for longer before serving.)

When ready to serve, combine the salt with the chili powder in a shallow dish.  In a second small plate, add the remaining 1 ounce of Triple Sec.  Dip the rims of 4 glasses in the Triple Sec, then coat them in the salt and chili mixture.  Divide the margarita between the 4 glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.

Adapted from The Food Network.

Best Ever Grilled Chicken Fajitas

I do not bestow this title lightly.  This recipe really is The. Best. Ever.  Thank you, Annie!  Thank you, thank you.  It was not just the margaritas talking when your husband said “this chicken is a miracle.”   (Or maybe it was, but they were speaking the truth.)

I’m a huge fan of fajitas, but rarely order them when out…I just cannot overcome my passionate love of enchiladas (another story).   I had given up on making them at home because I felt beaten down by constant disappointment.  But after reading Annie’s review, I went for it one more time and was so, so happy to have found (yes, I am going to say it again) The Best Ever fajitas.  They have so much flavor.  They are so good.  Please, I am begging you…make them now.

To make a pretty quick and sure-to-please meal, pair the fajitas with some refried beans, grilled veggies, and margaritas.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes or a bottle)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and diced
1½ tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
1 large red onion sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
2 large bell peppers  stemmed, quartered and seeded
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc., for toppings, if desired

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breast halves in a separate bowl and pour in just enough marinade to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, reserving remaining marinade.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat your grill.  Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and place them and the onion rounds and peppers on the the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned and until it is no longer pink inside.  Cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Turn the heat on the grill down and in 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

Meanwhile, separate the onions into rings and place them the bowl with reserved marinade.  Slice the bell peppers and chicken lengthwise into narrow strips and add them to the bowl with the onions.  Toss well to combine.  Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas.   Serve with accompaniments, if desired.  (I found that sour cream worked really, really well with these fajitas and enhanced their flavor.)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, via The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Annie’s Eats.

Tomato, Corn, and Pepper Salad

This dish always seems sort of ridiculous to me.  That’s because I remember the first time I made it and how BK reacted.  We were out of lettuce and so I sort of shrugged to myself and went ahead and threw together the remaining salad add-ins with dressing anyway.  Now, BK has no problem with vegetables, but he certainly never asks for seconds.  He did with this dish though.  Then, after he finished his seconds, he asked if I minded if he took the entire bowl of leftovers for lunch the next day.  The entire, large bowl.  He loved it.  L-O-V-E-D it!  It’s such a simple dish that I always fee slightly silly when he goes crazy over it…like such praise should have required more effort on my part.  Oh well 🙂

The salad keeps pretty well for a couple days and is an especially great way to highlight produce you grow yourself.  We often eat it with some tuna cakes and it makes for a super healthy, light meal.  With Labor Day coming up, you could certainly bring this as a side dish to that BBQ you have!

Ingredients:

12 ounces corn kernels, frozen (thawed) or fresh
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
coarse salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Stir ingredients together in large bowl.  Serve to happy family.  Receive many thanks.

Source: the little kimchi pierogi.

Peaches and Cream Bars

The other day, BK came home from a stop at his parents’ with a huge bag of beautiful, ripe peaches.  They had done the pick-your-own thing at a nearby farm and ended up with about 70 million pounds of peaches that the two of them couldn’t finish.  Ding!  These peaches and cream bars were a perfect thing to make.  They are cobbler-like and have an obscene amount of butter.  In other words, they are delicious!  With the last days of summer approaching, they are a perfect Labor Day treat to take advantage of the soon-to-be-gone produce.

Ingredients:

Crust and Topping:
3 cups all purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

Filling:
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 pounds peaches, pitted and sliced thin

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add in a few at a time.  Mix until the butter is evenly combined and the mixture appears crumbly.  (I go old school and use a fork, but a pastry cutter works great also.)

Take out 1½ cups of the mixture and set aside.  Press the remaining mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.  Add in the sour cream, flour and salt.  Fold in the sliced peaches.  Pour over the cooked crust.  Take the remaining 1½ cups of the dry mixture and sprinkle over the top of the peaches.  Bake until the top is lightly browned and the filling is set, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool at least 1 hour before cutting into bars.

Store in the refrigerator.

Slightly adapted from The Pastry Queen via Taste and Tell.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I obviously have a thing for fruity summer drinks, and really, really enjoyed the strawberry lemonade I made earlier this summer.  I also have a thing for cupcakes (who doesn’t?).  They are tiny, delicious, easy to make and come in tons of different flavors.   This recipe combines two of my favorite things and results in something that is absolute fabulousity!  I made them for Lil Sis and she is begging me for more.  The fresh strawberries, lemon juice, and lemon curd give them a huge taste.  And, I swear that even though they are cupcakes and not a cold beverage, the flavors cooled me off on a hot summer day.

I know there are those that look down on using boxed cake mix.  So I’m just going to say this: yes, scratch is usually better.  But mix is fast and easy and if you use good ingredients and homemade icing, it will taste almost as great.  Plus, sometimes you just need a cupcake in a bad, bad way and don’t have time to measure lots of stuff very carefully.

Ingredients:

For cupcakes:
1 package white cake mix
1 (3 ounces) package strawberry jello
1 cup mashed fresh strawberries (1 ½ cups whole=1 cup mashed)
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk
4 eggs

For lemon-cream cheese frosting:
½ cup crisco
½ cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons lemon curd
1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)
1 tablespoon milk, if needed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, jello mix, mashed strawberries, oil, milk, and eggs.  Beat on low speed until just blended, about 1 minute.   Scrape bowl and beat 2 minutes more on medium speed. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Pour batter into cupcake liners — fill almost to top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back lightly when touched.  Cool completely.

Cream together shortening, butter, and cream cheese until smooth.  Add vanilla and combine.  Sift together powdered sugar and salt and slowly add to creamed mixture.  Add lemon juice, lemon curd, and coloring and mix well.  If the frosting is too stiff, add milk.

Frost your cooled cupcakes and garnish however you please.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Adapted from Cupboard to Cupboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

BK loves chicken lettuce wraps, so we had a taste test one week…we tried 3 different recipes and this one is probably our favorite.  The original had water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions.  I knew mushrooms and onions were on BK’s “I don’t eat” list, but I wasn’t sure about water chestnuts.  When I asked, he looked at me and said, “My little pierogi.  I don’t understand water chestnuts…what are they?  What food group are they in?  Are they nuts?  Do they grow in the water?  Are they like the cro-magnon relative of actual chestnuts?”

Ummmm…<blink, blink>

Instead of answering his questions (I couldn’t anyway), I went ahead and took his response as a “no.”  I then took the liberty of substituting green peppers and carrots — nice “normal” ingredients.  I imagine you could probably use lots of different kinds of veggies and it would taste great.  In addition, we usually eat the wraps with rice and some Korean gochujang…one of us is Asian, after all.

Ingredients:

Wraps:
2 tablespoons oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 leaves bibb or boston lettuce

Stir-Fry Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Directions:

Bring 1 tablespoon oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.  Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove chicken from the pan.

With the pan still on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Add garlic, peppers and carrots to the pan.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, until just soft.  Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes until sauce has reduced some.  Serve in the lettuce “cups”.

Heavily adapted from Food.com.

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