Gameday Chili

I could care less about this years Superbowl.  As soon as I publish this I’m going to have to Google who’s even playing.  I usually get pretty excited about it, not for the game itself, but for the excuse to have a party and make some of my favorite foods (and sometimes the commercials).  Here’s one of my many chili recipes that’s sure to spice up what might otherwise be a boring Sunday evening.

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Love it or hate it, there is no denying that chili, or chili con carne, is one of the first great American dishes.  Now that’s not to say that it was actually a good dish back in the day, more of a pioneer version of a military MRE (meal ready-to-eat). Dried, and formed into a brick, chili was an easy meal to rehydrate and cook out on the trails.  We’ve come a long way since then, chili competitions, Bobby Flay “Throwdowns”, chili in a sense provided a gateway for the amateur chef to make his or her mark on the scene. Continue reading

Categories: Main Courses, Side Dishes, Snacks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Beefcake” Pasta Salad

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“Follow your dreams, you can meet your goals, I’m living proof.” – E.T.C.

January has not been a good month for blogging.  It’s the high season in the Caribbean and we’ve had lots of visitors.  Every time I’ve tried to cook and blog about it I just can’t seem to find the time to put it all together.  I’m forcing myself today to put up what I just made for lunch.  I don’t cook pasta all that often, but when I do, I always enjoy it.  This a great lunchtime dish, for me it’s pre-gym workout fuel.  This dish has a good balance of carbs and protein to get me through the next hour or so of lifting.  In the words of Eric T. Cartman, “Beefcake!” Continue reading

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Jamaican Chicken Curry

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There is a woman who owns a small eatery around the corner from me that has a concept that I absolutely love, you eat whatever she decides to cook, and if you don’t like it, leave.  Now I’m not one for eating out, but lately I’ve been so busy I’ve had to grab a few orders of take out when I ran out of leftovers.  Everything I’ve had from her place has been exceptional, and I keep hoping that one of these days she’ll make her famous chicken curry.  The other day I went on what I thought was “curry day” only to have my hopes crushed by a closed sign on the door.  Screw it, I had time, so I made my own.  It was fantastic, I’ve already made a second one for friends.  It’s not as complicated as it might appear, and it is definitely worth the effort.  Makes at least 6 servings. Continue reading

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Boil’em, Mash’em, Stick’em in a Stew

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Boil’em, mash’em, stick’em in a stew, potatoes Plantains!

A staple of the Caribbean diet, plantains are a close cousin to the banana.  They mature in a similar way, the more yellow they get, the sweeter and softer they become.  Green plantains are tough, and are usually boiled and mashed, or fried into chips.  I recently decided to fry up some green plantains, here’s their story. Continue reading

Categories: Side Dishes, Snacks, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes and Mustard Mash

Happy holidays!  It’s been rather busy around here this holiday season, and I haven’t had a chance to write about any of the great stuff coming out of the GP kitchen.  There’s been some sugar, some spice, and a lot of really picante food!  We skipped out on the traditional holiday routine, and decided to do a “Very Curry Christmas.”  I will do my best to get some of that posted in the new year.  With that being said, here’s a dish I’ve been meaning to post that won’t set your taste buds on fire.

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Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes and Mustard Mash

Sounds fancy, right?  I first made this about 10 years ago.  I had been to a restaurant that served a similar dish with the crusted tomatoes and a grilled pork loin.  I enjoyed the tomatoes very much but the pork was dry and life-less.  I figured I could try and make it at home, and I did.  That was one of the first times I realized how much better making the same things you eat out at home can be.  Here’s how it goes: Continue reading

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“Man Flu” Soup

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So gracias to a co-worker of mine I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather.  Yes, that means man flu.  The number one symptom of man flu is whining and thinking your going to die, when it’s really just a puny little cold.  Guilty as charged.  Nothing makes you feel a bit better when your a bit down than some nice spicy soup (winning the lottery aside).  I made a couple of pots of this the past few days and I’m starting to feel right as rain.  It really should be called “I threw whatever I had in my fridge soup”, but I thought this title was more fitting.  Anyway, here it goes. Continue reading

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Black Bean Soup, by Request

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This is my first post as per request of a friend in South America.  I don’t remember exactly what I had made back in those days, but I remember that I had to buy the beans dry and then cook them.  It was always a long process, and since I didn’t exactly have a trusted bean vendor per say, sometimes I got beans that came out a bit dry (old beans). Continue reading

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Easy Baked Rotini

The bird looks hungry

Sometimes you just need pasta, yesterday was one of those days.  Baked pastas are always a crowd-pleaser, relatively easy to make, and taste amazing.  If you’ve never tried your hand at one, now is the time.  It’s a very simple concept: noodles, sauce, and cheese.  How you go about those three ingredients is what separates the good from the extraordinary.  For this particular dish I used rotini, mainly because I happened to have in the pantry.  You could easily do this with ziti, penne, or any other similar style of pasta.  The important thing is to make a sauce that you’re proud of, and the rest of the dish will follow.  This will serve at least 6. Continue reading

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Tired of Turkey Yet? Turkey Tex-Mex Lettuce Wraps

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Happy Friday.  As I mentioned before, my “fowl beast” was 21 pounds… for 4 people.  I’ve eaten more turkey this past week than I have in the last few years combined.  Now, I’m not complaining, that bird was delicious.  We’ve had turkey sandwiches, turkey tikka masala, turkey jalfrezi, just to name a few.  Yesterday, I needed something quick and healthy for lunch before heading off to the gym.  I had my camera nearby so I documented this one.  These are really easy, and taste amazing.  Finish off the rest of that bird with a little Tex-Mex flair.

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Cheesy Jalapeño Biscuits

I stayed away from baking for a long time.  I always found that there was less room for improvisation than in just cooking.  A little of this, dash of that, and you might just end up with a brick or a door stop.  You also need a reliable oven, which I did not have in any of my last few apartments. I’m past that now, here’s my first non-pizza baking post, chew on these!

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Categories: Baked Goods, Side Dishes, Snacks, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“The Fowl Beast” & Thanksgiving Lessons Learned

The Beast

Happy Monday!  As I thoroughly enjoyed preparing the Thanksgiving feast this year, I thought I would share some of the things I learned.  Allow me to start with a little background.  The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner I was at University, 1000 miles from home.  Several friends and I were “homeless” for the big meal, so I decided to give it try.  It was very last minute, I think we were all hoping for last second flight deals that never happened.  I had to buy a fresh turkey, which I remember being very expensive for a strapped-for-cash student.  There were loads of phone calls to mom, since Google wasn’t really an option back then, asking everything from cooking time to how to carve the bird.  The preparation of this meal is so ridiculously over-the-top that it’s hilarious to reminisce on what probably looked like some Monty Python sketch.  The meal turned out great and I became hooked on cooking. Continue reading

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The Key to a Great Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving is only a few days away.  I’ve seen so many fantastic posts from fellow bloggers gearing up for this weeks foodie fest.  I didn’t cook Thanksgiving for the past couple of years, though I did contribute a couple pans of green bean casserole, so I don’t have any great wisdom to bestow on anybody except for this one offering.  If you’re going to make a green bean casserole this year, fry your own onions!  It can be done ahead of time and makes a massive difference.  I also made a spicy casserole last year, adding fried jalapeños into the mix, amazing.  Here’s a quick guide of how to make some fried onions (or jalapeños): Continue reading

Categories: Side Dishes, Snacks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chipotle Beef & Black Bean Enchiladas

I love Mexican food, and you should too.  Now I’ve never been to Mexico, and I suspect that most of the restaurants I’ve been to were more close to Tex-Mex than anything else.  So the authenticity of the food I make and call Mexican is no doubt questionable.  But it’s awesome, and I guarantee you’ll like it or your money back… nevermind. Continue reading

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Sunday Lunch in the Hills

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We had a chance to get out of town yesterday and go over to a friends house for lunch.  They put out quite an amazing spread.  Off the grill we had chimichurri marinated churrasco, sausages, and chicken thighs.  All accompanied by sweet peppers with feta and olive oil, potato gratin, Mediterranean salad and more.  Delicious.  Dessert put me into a coma.  I remember a torta de tres leches, a pear crumble, and the rest is a blissful blur.  It’s important to have friends with good taste!

Now off to make another pizza.

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Accidentally Awesome Pizza

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Last night I made an amazing pizza.  Now pizza that you make yourself always tastes amazing, but this one had something special.  I’ve made hundreds of pizzas, and somehow this one rose above the pack.  With the exception of some photos I didn’t bother documenting it… mainly because I was tired and couldn’t be bothered, I just wanted food.  I remember coming home from work hungry, and thinking that I really want a bbq chicken pizza right now.  I didn’t have any bbq sauce, but we did happen to have some dough leftover from making a pizza two days before.  It was brilliant.  Afterwards I wrote down what I remembered doing, knowing damn well that I didn’t measure anything.  If anything this is for me to remember what made this so special.  Continue reading

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Chipotle Shredded Beef

So anybody who has read a few of my posts from last month probably can tell that I like braising cheap cuts of meat.  Groceries are expensive where I live, and often selection is limited.  I tend to buy whatever is on sale, and that’s usually a tougher cut that’s going to take some time.  It makes for an interesting challenge in the kitchen, especially when certain things just aren’t available on a week to week basis.  For example, lately I have had no access to fresh chilies.  How the hell am I supposed to keep things picante around here?  Fortunately, I usually keep a few cans of chipotles in the pantry.  I absolutely love the chipotle flavor, but as it tends to overpower subtle flavors, I only use it on occasion.  This is one of those opportunities. Continue reading

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Caribbean Meatballs

Caribbean Meatballs with Island Spiced Potatoes

It’s election day in the US, and with every possible form of media jamming last minute political ads down your throat, perhaps you need to get in the kitchen and make something crazy to cover up the taste.  Give yourself a little island getaway from the comfort of your own table.

I remember meatballs being a popular meal choice in my home growing up.  Well, popular for everyone except me.  I never really enjoyed meatballs until I started making them for myself.  I usually like to make “albondigas”, which are Spanish tapas style meatballs.  For this entry, I thought I would try something a bit different.  I really enjoyed the Island Spiced Burgers I made a few weeks ago, and I used a bit of that concept in this recipe.  I always find making meatballs to be a labor of love (a.k.a. pain in the @$$), but in this case it was definitely worth the effort.  This will serve 4. Continue reading

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Island Spiced Potatoes

I’ve been on a Caribbean food kick for the past few weeks.  This dish is similar to “The Hash” I make for breakfast.  They’re great on their own or served with these meatballs.  This will serve 4. Continue reading

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Not Your Average White Bean Chicken Chili

I have always had a bit of an improvisational aspect to my cooking.  I often look in the fridge and use whatever I happen to have that day.  On this occasion I had the makings for a chicken chili.  I’ve made variations of this for years, but this time I thought I would add a few different spices into the mix and see how the flavors combine.  The results are quite tasty.  This should serve at least 6.  Continue reading

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Sunday Brunch: The Spanish Tortilla

Another weekend of plans screwed by tropical weather.  This time the culprit was hurricane Sandy.  We were up really early on Sunday when the call came in that our activities would be postponed due to high winds.  Since we were already awake, we decided to go for a walk where we saw these beautiful Tarpon searching for their breakfast. Continue reading

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