Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brunch Anyone?

When I was growing up Saturday breakfast was a tradition and attendance was mandatory for my Dad's biscuits and gravy (still can't make biscuits, but I've got the gravy down), hot strawberry jam, scrambled eggs and bacon. This was the standard fare every Saturday morning unless he was on some sort of new breakfast dish kick (these kicks included potato breakfast casserole, breakfast burritos, waffles when we got the waffle maker, etc.). Although I hated getting up in time to eat this is a tradition that I have continued as an adult, abet at noon rather than 9:00 a.m. My roommates and I would always get up and make brunch in college and the bf and I do it now. Every Saturday I make brunch and lately one of my favorite things has been a large frittata (thank you Rachel Ray). Last Saturday I made one with potatoes and onions and it is one of my favorites so far.

Bacon, Potato and Cheese Frittata
1/2 package bacon chopped
3 med. size potatoes peeled and finely chopped
1 med. size onion finely chopped
6 eggs whisked
splash of milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of the following: seasoning salt, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
1 handful of fresh parsley or cilantro finely chopped
1 teaspoon butter (if necessary)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In a med. to large size skillet fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Do not drain, add the potatoes and allow them to cook in the bacon grease. Once the potatoes have a bit of color add the onions. Allow to soften and add the seasoning salt, granulated garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook until the potatoes are done. While the potatoes are cooking mix the eggs and the milk in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat of the potatoes to medium low. Add the egg mixture and allow to begin to set up. Top with the cheese and bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the mixture is firm.

Cut into wedges and serve with fresh fruit and a variety of breakfast breads. Salsa is also a really good topper for the frittata.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's wedding season

Or at least for me. This weekend the bf and I went to wedding number 2 for the summer. It was the wedding of one of our very good friends, DB. The ceremony was outdoors and absolutely beautiful! The best part of the weekend was the rehearsal dinner, the bride and groom had karaoke, and not just a machine in a corner, they had a company come in and set it up like at a bar's karaoke night. It was too much fun, especially with the open bar!

Because we've been so busy with all of the weddings, I haven't done much cooking lately, so I'm going to post the pasta salad I made during the Fourth of July weekend. Enjoy!

Southwestern Pasta Salad
1 box bow tie pasta
1 small bottle ranch dressing
1 good size handful cilantro chopped
1 tablespoon of each: chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, pepper, granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 bag frozen southwestern mix vegetables (it should have corn, peppers, onions, etc.)
1 cucumber finely chopped
1 bunch green onions chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool. Place in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, spices, herbs, mustard and dressing. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes then serve.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

One of my favorites

I love egg salad, but it is one of those things that it is either amazing or really gross. I think it is very hard to find good egg salad. My mom's friend Terra makes fantastic egg salad and the bf and I love the egg salad you can pick up at Stanley's Market in Chicago.

One of the best things about egg salad is that it is delicious, easy to make and cheap. I think it is even something that you can make really special and entertain with. Just serve it with sliced red onion, sprouts, thinly sliced cucumber and a variety of breads and you've got a great light lunch for guests!

Well I finally decided to try and make it myself and it was a success. I checked out several recipes on and came up with my own take on a classic.

Egg Salad: (this make a small batch)
5 hard boiled eggs
4 teaspoons mayo
2-3 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon each: Emeril's Essence, pepper
salt to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

Allow the eggs to cool. Peel and finely chop the eggs. Place in a bowl. Add the onion, spices, mustard and mayo. Stir well. Allow to refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. Enjoy!

As a side note, dill would be a great addition to this recipe as well.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another take on $2 steak

My steak marinade from last night was a success! Here's the recipe:

$2 Steak part 2
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup coffee (yep, sounds weired I know)
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons grill seasoning
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence

Mix all ingredients together in a gallon size food storage bag. Add cheap steaks (last night we used chuck steak?) don't spend more than $3 or $4 a piece on the steak. This is not a marinade that you use for a good quality steak, this is to tenderize cheaper cuts of meat. Place the steaks in the marinade and place in the fridge for around 2 hours, turning ever so often to make sure the meat is evenly coated.

Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature on the counter before cooking. Cook on an outdoor grill or a tabletop grill 3 minutes per side for rare/medium rare. Cook longer if you like your meat more well done.

If you don't have a tabletop grill, grill pan, or an outdoor grill you can use a griddle or a cast iron skillet to cook the steaks. Last night we used a cast iron griddle to cook the steaks and they turned out fantastic. (p.s. you can get a good cast iron griddle at Wal-Mart or the dollar store for less than $10, and it's one of the most useful pots in my kitchen.)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fun times at the thrift store

One of the reasons I am so happy to be back in NC is that I can visit my favorite thrift stores once again. I'm sure that Chicago has amazing thrift stores, but with studying for the bar I haven't had time to check them out. As soon as I find one I'll post about what I've found.

Anyway, SNR and I went to Goodwill on Sunday and I went to MegaThrift today. I was actually on a mission both days to find the items of clothing that I forgot to pack for the trip down here. After racking my brain with images of what I have to play with in my closet at my mom's I was able to create a list consisting of: jeans, sundresses (I didn't realize it would be so freaking hot here), a dress for a rehearsal dinner (it's going to be more formal than I thought), black heels (don't ask me why I forgot these), and brownish heels to go with my dress for the aforementioned wedding.

I'm still not sure what the hell I was thinking when I packed for NC - I'm thinking the post bar haze plus several glasses of wine probably contributed to this lack of proper packing. But my thrift store missions were a success. I found a pair of Joe's jeans for $8, a pair of Ann Taylor black heels for $4, a J.Crew blue sundress for $6, a pair of floral satin heels that are purple ivory and brown for $4, two sundresses that are cute but not brand name, and a really cute white cardigan sweater.

I'm very excited about these finds. The J.Crew sundress is one of the beach dresses and I'm going to wear to the rehearsal dinner with silver ballet flats. I'm going to wear the satin heels with the brown J.Crew dress (from their wedding/party line, another Goodwill find from a couple of years ago) to the wedding.

So that's about all for today. I wish I had my camera cord so that I could post pics of my finds. Also, I've created another take on the $2 steak marinade, will post recipe if it turns out well.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I do love leftovers

While back in NC the bf and I are staying with a very good friend. Because she is being so amazing and letting us stay with her for the better part of a month, the bf and I cleaned her place to day and also made a bit of dinner. Don't worry SNR this is one of many many meals you get from me while I squat on your couch.

Anyway, last night the bf, SNR and I made a wonderful dinner to celebrate the fact that her A/C was working again (long story, don't ask). Dinner consisted of her tailgate pork tenderloin, my mac and cheese and sweet potato fries. It was fantastic and there were a ton of leftovers which I turned into bbq pulled pork sandwiches today.

Emeril's BBQ Sauce (found on and I made it my own)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons molasses
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cola
1 teaspoon each: pepper, salt, Emeril's Essence, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients. Whisk well as the sauce comes to a simmer. Allow to simmer over low heat until ready to combine with the pork.

Just heat the leftover pork in the oven and cut into chunks. Place in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the pork. Serve with sliced red onions, and coleslaw

Coleslaw (I used a bag o slaw with dressing included)
1/4 red onion finely minced
bag of coleslaw mix
package of coleslaw dressing (about 3 tablespoons)
1 - 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt, Pepper, Essence to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Allow to refrigerate for about 30 before serving so that the flavors can combine.

I served this with frozen sweet potato fries and potato salad (store bought, Lowe's Foods makes great potato salad).

It's so good to be back :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

I forgot one thing in the steak recipe

I completely forgot to add one of the ingredients to the marinade! Luckily it is an optional ingredient but it does add a bit to sweetness to the steak. I add about 1/4 cup of cola (diet or regular) to the marinade as well. I feel like besides the flavor the acid helps to tenderize the meat.

This and that

I'm trying to figure out what to write about now that impending doom is no longer lurking around the corner. So glad that's over, seriously!

I've decided that I'm going to dedicate this second post bar post to catching everyone out with everything non-bar related in my life, and then I'm going to start posting all of the recipes that I've created during the bar exam (I've got some good ones).

First of all the bf and I found an apartment! It's fantastic, it's in a vintage building that has been completely gutted, which is fantastic because it means that there is hardwood throughout, two bedrooms, two bathrooms. Even better is that the kitchen is completely new meaning stainless steel appliances and granite countertops! I can't wait to cook my first meal. Another plus to the apt is that it is a 10 minute walk to Wrigley Field.

My new car is still awesome, super excited about that. The bf and I are back in NC (we left on Friday b/c the bf had a rugby coaching clinic there on Saturday) and I have to say that the drive back to NC was awesome. There's nothing like a road trip in a new car.

So that's about all for now. Actually not that's not all for now, I've got a great "steakhouse" dinner that I've been wanting to blog about.

Two-Dollar Steaks
2 really cheap sirloin steaks (look for ones that say good for marinating)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of each: salt, pepper, Emeril's Essence, steak seasoning, granulated garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

In a gallon size food storage bag add all of the dry spices. Add the basalmic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the steaks and coat well. Place in the fridge for two hours but make sure to turn the steaks a couple of times. Take the steaks out about 30 minutes before you want to cook them so that they can come to room temperature. Grill on an outdoor grill or tabletop grill (don't use a George Foreman, it will dry out the mean too much). Grill on each side for 1-3 min per side (depending on the size of the steak) for med. rare. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.

I served with with steamed asparagus and mac and cheese. See my previous posts for these recipes.