...sharing food...

i am currently sharing food pictures from Belize and travels in Latin America.... i hope you enjoy!
i have started this blog with a number of ideas in mind. i love to cook, bake, and otherwise play with food, so i thought sharing what i do might be fun. i am also going to use this as a means of recording the various dishes that i do come up with. i try to use all organic and as much local food as possible, and i am vegetarian, although a fish dish or two may pop up on here at some point along the way. i'll try to describe what i do to make the food, but if you want a recipe, email me at cocinadooglasATgmailDOTcom. i will also offer up some restaurant reviews from time to time, and share food that i eat on my travels. otherwise, enjoy, and make some food!!!

oh yeah... i like beer too!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Veggie Quiche

New blogger here! While not nearly as creative as Dooglas, I do try to use local, organic products and EASY is the type of cooking I lean towards! This morning I decided to clean out the veggie bin in the fridge and altered a recipe from Dr. Weil - a fabulous quiche that uses potato slices in place of the traditional crust. Healthier and just as tasty!

The dish is lined with thinly sliced potatoes and then filled with fresh veggies of any sort, eggs, milk and spices. Local eggs and produce I find at Jack's Farm, now a weekly haunt of mine. The recipe calls for milk and sour cream, however I substitute rice or soy milk (without carrageenan) and an extra egg. I also use whatever veggies I have on hand. Mushrooms are always a nice addition as well as a little hot sauce.

The basic recipe...
Saute 1/2 c chopped onion, 2 cloves chopped garlic in a little olive oil till onions are transparent. Add 1 c sliced carrots (and mushrooms to taste) 1 T parsley, 1 T basil, chili flakes to taste, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook 5-10 minutes longer.
Butter pie dish and line with thinly sliced potatoes.
Whisk 6-7 eggs, 1 c milk, 1/4 c softened sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4 c shredded cheese of your choice, and a little hot sauce.
Mix liquid mixture with any fresh chopped veggies (enough to fill dish) and pour into potato crust.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 1 hour at 375.
Let cool a little bit before serving.

Serve with some greens.....

A nice winter tummy warmer here at the river!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thai Green Curry

Ok - I'm pretty sure this was the best plate that I have made so far (since starting the site at least), and it definitely is the best curry that I have created. How does this sound: white eggplant, sweet potato, and peanuts in a green curry sauce. The only thing I was missing was some fresh cilantro with which to top it all off. Here's the basic recipe:1 medium size white eggplant cubed
1 sweet potato cubed
1 sweet white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup green curry paste (see recipe below)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 lime - juice, and grated rind
2 tbsp raw sugar

Start by cooking the garlic, onion, and curry paste in a large wok or frying pan for about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggplant, and cook an additional 4 minutes or so. Add the coconut milk, and vegetable stock, heat to a near boil, and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook until tender - about 10 more minutes. Finally add the sugar, lime juice and rind, and the peanuts, and serve with brown rice in a bowl. Yum.Green Curry Paste:
2 jalapeños
1 small white onion
1 long hot green pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 lime - juice & grated rind
1 tsp soy sauce (braggs)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin

Prep: Throw it all in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Simple and easy, and it comes out good - just the right amount of heat.

And finally - a really easy way to make your own vegetable stock:
1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oregano
salt & pepper

Dice all the veggies very small, and cook in some oil in a small pot for about 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Sometimes I'll add some vegetable seasoning too - like Spike or something to give it a little more flavor. You can then take out what you need (one cup for the above recipe for instance), and use the remaining water/stock to cook your rice in.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Florida Heat Hot Sauce!

I enjoy making different types of sauces, and with a good variety of hot peppers down at the market, I decided to start making some hot sauces. This one utilized the BPUs of 4 types of red peppers - three habaneros (orange actually), four long red hots, 1 cayenne, and 2 large red hots. Chopped, and placed in a blender - seeds and all - with about 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of prepared salsa (tomatoes, various peppers, onions, garlic), 2 tablespoons of honey, and a handful of garlic cloves, and then blended until smooth. I then cooked the sauce over low heat for about twenty minutes, and jarred it. I'm letting it sit for a bit before trying - at least a week - and sharing two of the jars with friends, which I think is one of the best things about making and jarring hot sauces! Another fun thing is the creativity you can use to make hot sauces. Fruits, veggies, and hot peppers seem to go so well together, and in so many combinations. I'll try to keep a jar of my own on hand pretty consistently, and if I find friends who like them (and use them!), I should be making a bunch of them. If you enjoy the heat, you should definitely try your hand at making your own - and stay tuned for new ideas...

Salt & Pepper Tofu with Green Stir Fry

After trying that salt & pepper tofu at Yummy House a couple of weeks ago, I have been wanting to try to put something similar together at home. So I gave it a shot, and served it with another stir fry and some brown rice.
Salt & Pepper Tofu: I cubed a half-block of tofu, breaded it with my salt & pepper mix, and pan fried it until the tofu started turning that golden brown. For my breading mix, I used seasoned bread crumbs, a good amount of ground salt, garlic, and pepper, and some spike seasoning. I rolled it around in the seasoning, and threw it in the pan. The breading didn't stay on as much as I had hoped, but it still cooked up to make a sort of salt, pepper, and garlic crumble, and topped with some fresh chopped cilantro, and I had myself a pretty good side of tofu.
Green Stir Fry: With a head of yummy broccoli, and some sweet peas in the fridge, I decided to make a simple stir fry to serve with the tofu. Chopped up the broccoli, a jalepeno for some spice, and threw in the snow peas, cooked it in a mixture of sesame and canola oil, tamari, and some thai fish sauce that I just picked up. Simple but yummy...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dinner with the Anthro Peeps

I got to do a group dinner for a change the other night when a group of friends from the anthropology department got together for a little welcome back from the holidays dinner. And as I love it, the whole bunch of us were buzzing around the kitchen putting it all together. The meal included a walnut-cranberry-fetta over baby-greens salad, a nice caprese salad, and a vegetarian lasagne served with garlic bread. Not pictured was a bunch of yummy golden corn-on-the-cob, and the dessert of dark-chocolate dipped strawberries. Two of us put together the lasagne, so that's what the focus of this post will be. We started with the sauce by cooking up a large onion, a bunch of garlic and mushrooms. We added a large can of diced tomatoes, along with some sun-dried tomatoes and some extra tomato sauce to increase the volume. We created a mozzarella-ricotta cheese mix, a shredded basil-spinach mix, and some steamed zucchini. This gave us three distinct layers in addition to our homemade sauce and the noodles. Topped with mozzarella and parmesian, baked for about 30 minutes, and then enjoyed with the rest of the spread. Thanks to everyone for a great meal and a great evening!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Okra Over My Cauliflower - Indian Style

Maybe they would call this Bhindi Gobi, I'm not sure, but either way, it was kind of a fun new dish that I haven't made before. What we have here is a baked head of cauliflower, on a bed of rice, covered with an okra-tomato Indian curry.
I'll start with the cauliflower - take the full head, brush it with olive oil and a little bit of tumeric and curry powders, add a little bit of water to the pan, and bake it. It took about 45 minutes until the cauliflower was soft enough so that when I dished it out, the serving spoon sort of just went right through. Then I took the short-grain brown rice that I've been using, and spooned it around the cauliflower.
For the okra-tomato curry, I used my array of spices (pictured here) to make my own sort of garam masala, which I cooked in oil before adding anything else. After cooking the spices for a few minutes, I added the chopped garlic, onion, and okra, and cooked them until the onions were translucent. Then I added the diced tomatoes, and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes or so. During this time I also added a tiny bit of cinnamon, and some more powdered garlic, just because I can't get enough of the stuff. Then I simply ladled the curry over the the cauliflower and rice, and it was ready to serve.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Simple Stir-Fry

Feeling decidedly uncreative, but still with the pangs of hunger in my belly, I decided to go stir-fry last night. This is a basic and simple dish with two shallots, carrots, celery, green pepper, broccoli, sweet peas, and tofu, all chopped to preference. In a wok-fry hybrid pan, I heated some oil, and started with the garlic, and quickly added the rest of the veggies, stirring and flipping occasionally. I then added Braggs liquid aminos, tamari, and some homemade hot sauce at this stage. After a few minutes, I added the tofu, and let that cook for a another few minutes until everything looked like this... Served with short-grain brown rice, and enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Latin Night!

With a fridge full of stuff, and an empty belly, I decided to cook something for myself tonight, but I couldn't really come up with anything too striking. Well I finally decided on a Latin/Mexican theme, and came up with some pretty interesting, and definitely yummy stuff. On the plate is some corn-on-the-cob topped with a slab of fresh mozzarella, a baked sweet potato topped with rice and beans, some more fresh mozzerella, and some fresh salsa, and finally a spicy hot-pepper eggplant baked with three cheeses. Yup - yummy yummy.
So let's see - the corn is pretty simple, so no explanation needed there. The sweet potato was pretty simple too. I baked the potato and then cut it in half. The rice and beans was a simple kidney beans and rice, with some garlic, peppers and onions, and some green salsa I had in the fridge, served with the mozzarella and fresh salsa on top. The eggplant was a little more time consuming, but not all that much. I used a really flavorful, almost creamy, heirloom variety of eggplant that I got down at the market. It was sort of like purple and white zebra-striped. I first cooked the cubed eggplant with some cumin and dried hot red pepper, and set it aside. Next I cooked up some garlic, onion, and three different types of peppers until they were soft, and then added the eggplant back in for just a minute or so. The mixture was then put in a small baking dish and topped with shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesian cheeses mixed with seasoned bread crumbs (pictured at right without the cheese topping). Baked for about 12 minutes, and served with the rest. Now I just need someone to share this with!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Stuffed Peppers & more Brussel Sprouts

Back to the cooking.... With the market coming up, I needed to use a few things in the fridge so that I could restock, and I came up with a nice two course meal. Dish one was caraway-dill brussel sprouts over pasta spirals. I started with a quick and easy veggie broth which I make by dicing onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, cooking them until soft, adding spices to taste (oregano, basil, cumin, or in this case some caraway), then adding water and letting it simmer for 10 minutes or so. After getting the broth going, I cooked up another onion and some more garlic in a fry pan, and added the brussel sprouts, dill, and more caraway, and let it cook for a few minutes, finishing it up by adding the broth and letting it cook for about 15 minutes until the brussel sprouts were done. I served it mixed with some left-over pasta spirals.
Dish two was Provençal-style stuffed peppers. Here I cooked baby portabellas, red onion, garlic, and zucchini, for about 5-10 minutes, added two chopped tomatoes and some basil, and cooked for another 5 minutes or so. I used this as a filling in 6 halved red and green peppers that I first blanched for about 3 minutes. I baked the filled peppers, covered for about 20 minutes, then topped them with shredded cheddar and fresh basil, and baked them five minutes more. Served and enjoyed.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yummy House in Tampa

So this will be my first restaurant review for the site, and I'm happy to say that it will be about a yummy meal from Yummy House - a chinese restaurant in Tampa, FL. As with nearly everything down here in the sunshine state, Yummy House is in a small strip-plaza, and is fairly unassuming, but the food inside certainly lives up to the name on the sign. So let's get down to it - our meal: We started with an appetizer of the salt & pepper tofu, which was definitely the highlight of the evening. Crispy-fried cubed tofu, soft and creamy in the center, and topped with a type of salt and pepper crunch, made of garlic, chives, cilantro, jalepenos, and of course salt and pepper - we didn't stop until the plate was clear. We also had a pot of green tea, which seemed to have a hint of seaweed that my friend didn't like, although i have to say it made for a compelling flavor. We finished the evening with two entrées - the tofu-fish bowl, and the vegetarian buddha's delight. The tofu-fish bowl was basically a large soup, warmed by flame in a unique metal pot, with large slabs of silken tofu, cabbage, onion, whole cloves of garlic, ginger, and big chunks of white fish, served with a side of rice. Tasty, but a whole lot of soup for one person, and a bit lacking as an entrée. The buddha's delight was a typical vegetable stirfry, with baby portabellas, baby bok choy, onions, carrots, baby corn, and water chestnuts, covered in a light, slightly sweet sauce, over thin rice noodles - simple, but good. With the lack of good Chinese food in the Tampa Bay area, I will certainly hit up Yummy House again, and the menu invites multiple visits, with a number of unique dishes available. Service was certainly a bit abrupt, but we got what we wanted fairly quickly, despite the lack of open tables. I think we both would have liked to finish the meal on something as tasty as that salt & pepper tofu though, and walked out to the cold with those smiles that the appetizer brought to our faces at the beginning of the meal.
Give it a try:
Yummy House
2202 W. Waters Ave
Tampa, FL

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

happy new year!

so i started out the day on new years eve with the plan of cooking a big dinner with some friends, and having something yummy to post here today. well as we all know, plans are best made to be broken, but we did get a little food made. along with some basic rice and bean quesadillas, we roasted some zucchini and brussel sprouts with garlic and olive oil, and topped it with mozzarella. accompanied with some pear martinis, and we were off to a good start for the evening. then this morning (afternoon really), we made up for the lack of a big meal last night by making a big breakfast - i guess you can call it "first breakfast, and really, cooking with a friend is the next best thing to eating what you've just cooked! but on to the food - we had some pretty basic morningstar farms veggie bacon and veggie sausage along with some generic 12-grain toast. but our meal got more interesting after that, and included rosemary and red onion potatoes, the left-over brussel sprouts and zucchini topped with poached organic free range eggs, and some stewed tomatoes to top it all off.
and here's how we made it all:
the roasted brussel sprouts and zucchini was really simple. olive oil and garlic was put on our little homemade tin foil tray along with the halved brussel sprouts and thick-sliced zucchini. baked at about 400 until they all started getting a little browned, and with occasional flipping. then top with the shredded mozzarella and bake for five minutes more, and done - easy.
the potatoes - start again with olive oil and garlic, but this time in a large frying pan. add the rosemary to start and let it cook for a few minutes. add the diced red onion, and the small-cubed red potatoes, and let it cook on medium until the potatoes begin to brown, and the onions get caramelized. yum.
the stewed tomatoes - another simple one - melt some butter in a small sauce pan, add the tomatoes and cook until they all become a similar consistency - sort of like stew!
this was certainly a nice big breakfast that provided a great meal to start off the new year. may we all continue to eat well!!