Real Gouda Cheese Filled Dates

I actually let go of my OCD nature when I made these dates. My classmates decided to have an Easter party and I didn’t want to make stuffed peppers for two, nor soup. So I let myself skip to this appetizer from Portlandia.

I also realize Easter was awhile ago. Although I was able to skip to making the recipe, I had to stick to the order of when I wrote about making it. I know I have issues. Knowing is half the battle they say. I say it’s more like a quarter though.

A funny thing happened on my way to making these dates though. My classmates are actors, cause it’s an acting class. So you can imagine we have some pun and hammy lovers in the mix. We know that I’m an offender of such myself.

So I wrote I was going to bring cheese stuffed dates on our facebook invite and someone replied with, “I went on cheese stuffed date once. It was pretty gouda, but after awhile she turned out to be a real Muenster.”

He kept going with the puns. It was kind of impressive, but we didn’t let him know that. We naturally begged him to stop and I apologized to the whole group for inspiring our friend’s ode to cheese puns.

So to make a date full of puns you will need 24 Medjool dates. Side note, are there other types of dates? Do they specify Medjool so that people like my friend won’t make puns? What’s up with that? Well I looked it up just now and there does seem to be different types. I have only gone on Medjool dates though.

I not so secretly do love puns everyone. I can’t help it. I’m a sad individual I know. This was not a real gouda one either.

So you’ve got your dates. What else do you need? You need cheese and ham. Cause this date is like my friend, hammy and cheesy. Specifically though, you will need a 1/4 cup of finely chopped ham, 1/2 cup of shredded Manchego cheese and 24 almonds to smooth things over.

The first step to making your dates is to pre-heat the oven to 350. Slash each date in the middle and remove the seeds inside. Once the seeds are removed you will fill the dates with the ham, cheese, and almonds.

After the stuffing process you bake the dates for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

The end result is tasty. Dates have a sweet flavor that is hard for me to describe. It’s sort of like a raisin, only not as tart. So the combination of the sweetness of the date and the slightly bitter flavor from the cheese and ham causes you to feel like you are eating a strange and complex dessert. Yet it’s not a desert. Like I said I have hard time describing it, but you’ll be happy to know that it is truly real gouda.

I mean it’s not made with gouda, but yeah puns and stuff.

IMG_1092

Manchego and Medjool dates

Sweet Potato & Red Curry Soup

My next recipe comes from Isa Does It which is a vegan cookbook. I am not vegan, but so far I’ve enjoyed reading and cooking from this book. I’m still in the soup section and I’m really excited about some of the entrée recipes that are featured in the later chapters. I’d skip to those sections, but my OCD tendencies won’t let me.  Some day though, some day I’ll get to them.

This particular soup was a nice change of pace from all the other soups I’ve made so far. I was happy to not have to blend anything for once. It also features sweet potato, rice, and purple kale. Kale is a big deal here in California. It’s been a heated battle between it and quinoa as the vegetable of the month for the past two years or so.

What you’ll need to make this delicious and healthy soup is, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 small diced yellow onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, 3/4 cup of jasmine rice, 6 cups of vegetable broth, 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste, 1 pound of purple kale, 1 large sweet potato, 1 15 ounce can of lite coconut milk 3 tablespoons of lime juice,1 tablespoon of agave syrup, and cilantro and sriracha for serving.

The first step is to preheat your soup pan with the olive oil. Once nice and warmed up you will add your onion and a pinch of salt for sautéing. Do this for 5 minutes and then add garlic and ginger for another minute of cooking.

Then add the rice, broth, and some more salt. Cover the pot and let it boil and then simmer. Once you’ve simmered, you will add the paste, torn bite sized kale pieces, and your quarter sized chunks of sweet potato. Simmer all these things for about 15 minutes. Make sure your sweet potatoes get sweeter and tenderer though.

Once those potatoes are tendered, you will add the coconut milk, lime juice, and agave. Cook that for a bit and you should have a nice and healthy curry soup.

As you can guess, this wasn’t a difficult soup to make at all. My only note is to just buy one bunch of purple kale. I sometimes get too literal with recipes. I bought two bunches to get my one pound worth. Don’t worry about that. One bunch of kale is more than enough.

Other than that, making this soup was simple and painless. If you like spice, you can add even more curry and slather the soup with sriracha too. I did, naturally, and it was quite good.

IMG_1100

Spicy and tasty curry soup

Stuffed Peppers

Hello again. It’s been awhile since my last post. This is because I was on a road trip to San Antonio the past week. I started writing about my big adventure yesterday, but there’s a lot to tell. We already know my editing skills are abysmal and that entry is going to require a bit of time to make comprehensible. Hopefully it will be well worth it though.

Writing about stuffed peppers from Taste of Home Cooking for Two is all I can handle for now.

What you will need for this recipe is 1/4 cup of uncooked millet, 3/4 cup vegetable broth, 2 medium sweet peppers, 1/3 cup of frozen corn, 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons of celery, 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, one finely chopped green onion, 1/2 teaspoon of mint flakes, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, 1/4 teaspoon of oregano, 1 small minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

The first step is to cook your millet. I couldn’t find millet, but I had some leftover pearl barley which is similar enough. To cook, you will boil the millet or barley in your broth. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes. That’s what the cookbook says anyway. I recommend checking the package of whatever you end up buying, because certain items have different simmering time. However long it takes, once it’s cooked, you will drain and transfer to a bowl for cooling.

While all of that is happening you can prepare the other ingredients as well as the peppers by cutting the tops and removing the seeds. The peppers will be placed in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain them afterwards and rinse in cool water.

Back to the millet, once cooled that is, you will fluff a bit and then add the remaining ingredients. After everything is blended nicely together, you will spoon the mix into your peppers. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and then bake for 55-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

As you can see this isn’t a difficult recipe to make. It’s very simple. The peppers turned out nice and soft, but I wasn’t a big fan of the filling. The walnuts and corn were my favorite part about it. Other than that, though I felt it was pretty bland.

This isn’t something I would make again, unless it was smothered with cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

IMG_1094

Although the pepper is stuffed, it sadly won’t stuff your stomach

A is for Aphrodisiac Asparagus Soup

Did you know that asparagus is an aphrodisiac? I find this surprising. I mean it is most certainly healthy. It cleanses your urinary tract and kidneys and provides you with energy. Energy is always helpful for vigorous sexy times. What I can’t get over (this falls under the category of  TMI, but I know I’m not the only one) is it makes my urine smell real funky. I don’t know how others feel, but for me that’s not conducive to feeling sexy. When I eat asparagus, I feel just about as sexy as Old Gregg from The Mighty Boosh.

This is how I feel when I eat asparagus.

Apparently the French are big believers in the sexual prowess that is bestowed upon them when eating asparagus. It is tradition to eat asparagus for every meal the day before your wedding night. So naturally, the cookbook At Home with the French Classics has a Cream of Asparagus Soup. Notice, how those Frenchies take it even further with the cream reference? Those dirty little cheese lovers.

To make this soup you will need, 2 tablespoons of butter, 3 pounds of asparagus, salt, pepper, 6 cups of chicken stock, 2 1/2 tablespoons of either arrowroot, potato starch, or cornstarch dissolved in 2 1/2 tablespoons of cold water, and 1/4 cup of heavy cream.

The fist step is to heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted you will add your asparagus, which should be cut into inch lengths without the stems. Saute the asparagus for about five minutes or until they are a bright green. Feel free to season them with salt and pepper as well.

Once the asparagus is cooked, you add the stock and bring it to a boil. While its boiling some foam will rise up. The cookbook calls this impurities that you will need to skim off and remove I’m not sure if that’s a sexual reference or if it’s symbolic of virginal wedding nights. Someone probably knows, but I do not.

You will boil the asparagus in the stock for about 5 minutes. The cookbook also mentions you can keep the asparagus tips for garnish. I do recommend this if you are planning on seduction because the tips of asparagus are pretty phallic. In fact, I say you should just make a giant phallic sculpture of them as a table centerpiece.

Whether you decide to do that or not, the next step is blend the asparagus and stock. I used my excruciating method of transferring the soup back and forth between the blender and two pots. If you’ve got the money, I recommend buying an immersion blender. Whenever I make soups like this I fantasize about those things.

Once everything is blended, you’ll want to simmer your soup and whisk in the starch. I just used cornstarch because I had some from a previous recipe. Once that’s nice and whisked, you add your cream.

The final result is an extremely sexy soup that will make your pee smell funky, but will also get you all ready to funk. If you know what I mean.

Creamy, sexy, goodness

Creamy, sexy, goodness

Seafood Salad

Like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, I am a bum; but hey, at least we’ve got hobbies. I’ve got acting and cooking. He’s got bowling and wacky tabaccy. To each his own.

I was slacking with my hobbies last week though! In fairness to myself, I was busy not being a bum for once. Although truthfully I still felt like a bum, because mostly all I did was sit in a room reading all day. I got paid though. That was nice.

Anyway, my next recipe is Shrimp and Scallop Salad with Mandarin-Poppy Seed Dressing from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Meals. It’s another easy recipe and what you’ll need are 4 ounces of bay scallops, 1 can (15 oz) mandarin oranges, 8 oz of baby shrimp, 4 cups of arugula, and 1/4 cup of poppy seed dressing.

Like most salads, this recipe is extremely easy where most of the work is in the preparation. This salad is surprisingly low maintenance even in that area though. The most labor intensive part of the recipe is cooking your scallops in simmered water for 4 minutes. Then, if you want, which I did, you can cut them. After that, all you do is mix all the other ingredients together and toss.

The only note even when doing that is to be sure to reserve 2 tablespoons worth of the juice in the canned oranges to also toss with your salad.

Other than that, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve made so far. As for my taste review, however, it was ok. I don’t think that’s the recipe’s fault though. I’m not a huge fan of seafood salads in general.  I prefer my seafood to be grilled or fried and not in a salad. The only exception for me is sushi. I’m not sure exactly why this is though. There’s something about compacting raw seafood in a roll of rice that is just so damn delicious. I can’t explain it.

Fruit with fruit of the sea salad.

Fruit with fruit of the sea salad.

Salt-Cured Eggs, Mr. Yuck Approved

This is more of a suggestion and less of a recipe as well. It comes from my Everything Thai Cookbook and requires a month of preparation. Thankfully I was getting excited about my future recipes and noticed this, so a month ago I went ahead and salted my eggs. The process is easy, but I think it’s a little unnecessary and strange.

What you do is pour one in a half cups of salt into a pan filled with 6 cups worth of water. Then you boil the water. You let the water cool and then pour it into a container with your eggs. Seal that up nicely and then wait a month. Once the month is up you just boil your eggs like normal.

I tried two eggs this morning and they were soooooooooo salty! I was not a fan. I’m going to give it another shot tomorrow, but as of now I feel a great wave of depression and disappointment that is akin to how I feel about all of my romantic endeavors.

Cavolfiore Fritto in Pastella (Sicilian for Fried Cauliflower)

This recipe comes from my Sicilian cookbook, Sicilian Cookery. I sadly don’t have much to say about this one. There are no major funny mishaps to talk about and I don’t have any good side stories. So I suppose I will get to the actual recipe.

What you need for this is 1 head of cauliflower, 1 cup of flour, 2 eggs, 1 anchovy, and oil for frying. I should note that I did not use any anchovies when I made this. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I loathe anchovies. So, feel free to give that a try, but anchovies and I are finito.

I feel somewhat guilty about not liking them, though. I’m a quarter Italian and half of that is Sicilian, but I hate anchovies. Anchovies are all over this cookbook. I’m starting to wonder if my Sicilian ancestors were kicked out of Sicily because they also hated anchovies. My only other theory is that my German and Irish ethnicity overtake my tastebuds whenever I give anchovies a shot. I do really like potatoes, sauerkraut, and bratwursts afterall. Who knows? It’s an ongoing investigation.

The first step in making fried cauliflower is to boil your cauliflower in salted water. Once boiled, you drain the water and break off the cauliflower into florets. While your cauliflower is boiling, you can make your batter, which consists of the eggs and flour. Do this by beating the eggs first and then slowly sprinkling in the flour. Continue to beat the mixture, keeping it nice and smooth. The next step is to add the anchovies, bleh! If you do, cut the anchovies first into small pieces and then beat them along with the flour.

You should have a nice smooth anchovy batter after that, which you will use to dip and smother your cauliflower with. I struggled with this part because the batter stuck more to my hands then the cauliflower. If I were to do this over again, I would have probably dipped my hands in some flour to prevent this. This was something I was aware of, but did not do for some reason. So, silly me.

Hopefully you’ll have more success with this. Either way, once the cauliflower is dipped in batter you are going to fry them in canola oil until they are a nice soft brown. I did not fry mine very well, but it was still tasty. I like cauliflower unfried though, so I wasn’t disappointed. Despite that, this recipe probably wasn’t a success for me. Frying is not my forte, but oh well, that’s what fast food restaurants are for.

Semi-fried cauliflower

Semi-fried cauliflower