Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gator Grits

This past week was the NCAA women's gymnastics championships, hosted by the University of Florida in Gainesville. Their mascot is the "gator" and if you didn't know it, gators eat turtles - proof - see the photo. We went to Lake Alice, on campus, a wild life preserve where they have alligators and turtles and such roaming around in natural habitat. We just happened to be there when this little gator was chomping on a little turtle.

We did NOT eat turtle while we were in Gainesville, but we did enjoy a few southern foods.

The first day of competition we went to "The Swamp" - a well known eating establishment serving sandwiches, soups, salads and such with a fun outdoor patio and yummy beer specials on tap.

We enjoyed a lovely patio table, where Brian had the Mango Mahi Mahi sandwich, and I had the the Swamp Philly Cheese steak Sandwich, but if you read the fine print in the menu, you can substitute out the "cheese steak" for the fresh catch of the day, which happened to be Grouper. So imagine a yummy fresh grouper fillet grilled with onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheese, served in a hoagie bun - DELICIOUS!

During the meet, one fan returned to his seat with what looked to be a churro dipped in honey, and if not, it looked like a turkey leg.... it WAS a turkey leg. I had to check out the concessions for myself and see what else these crazy Floridians served at home meets. You don't have to settle for the standard hot dog, popcorn and nacho chips with cheeze-whiz at this place. UF served
"Southern Style Nachos, Turkey Legs, and Pulled Pork Sandwiches - with the pork pulled right at the concession stand.

The Crimson Club sponsored a fan lunch at TGI Friday's - and delivered a yummy spread of chicken fingers, dipping sauces, salads, and sandwiches.

Our Red Rocks defied the naysayers and easily qualified to the "Super Six" finals, but were undone there by the beam, and we settled for 6th place. Still, 6th in the country is nothing to sneeze at. Neither was the food we enjoyed during our journey to Gainesville.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh Just Have Nachos!

Sometimes you just want to make a quick meal, no fuss, and you use what you have hanging around that house. And who DOESN'T have tortilla chips, a can of refried beans, scallions, jalapenos and cheese? Well, if you're that person, then YOU shouldn't be reading this blog, or you don't know me very well.
Slice the scallions and jalapenos. (If you have fresh jalapenos, great, but if not, just use the ones out of the jar - they're oh-so-tasty, too.)
Spread on layer of tortilla chips in your favorite Nacho pan (everyone has one).

Open your can of re-fried beans and drop dollops of beans evenly, or close, on top of the chips. Next spread a layer of cheese, and top with 1/2 of the chopped scallions and jalapenos.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 - just watch and take it out when the cheese is melting.
Spread another thin layer of chips, top with cheese, scallions and jalapenos, and...
back into the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes - just watch and don't let the cheese burn.
YUM. Probably not too healthy, but it's fast and easy and oh-so-delicious.
You might mock me, but come on, it can't be "gourmet" every night, but it can always be yummy and delicious.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BBQ Chicken Mozzerella Omelet

Okay, really it's just "Omelet Day" but that's not nearly as interesting as the ingredients that I had to stuff my omelet. The other night I sauteed some chicken pieces in a little oil, barbecue sauce and Italian salad dressing (it was delicious) and I had a little of the chicken left over. We decided it would make a yummy omelet for breakfast, so that's what I did.

Basic omelet ingredients:

2 eggs (or 3 if you want a larger, eggier omelet)
Olive Oil
1/2 and 1/2
salt and pepper
something yummy to fill your omelet

In a glass (or bowl), crack the eggs, drizzle a little oil, pour in a splash of 1/2 and 1/2, and sprinke in a bit of salt and pepper. Whip it all up with a fork.

In a large skillet, melt a bit of butter and a drizzle of oil over low to medium low heat. Pour the egg into the skillet, cover with a lid, and let the egg slowly cook until the egg just jiggles, and is not runny. (If you turn your heat too high, the bottom of the egg will over-cook and the top will still be runny and raw. That's where the lid comes in - it captures the heat and gently cooks the top of the egg at the same time as the bottom of the egg. If you like your omelet more runny in the middle -YUCK- leave the lid off).
Remove the skillet from the heat to fill it. Spread a thin layer of cheese on the entire egg - I chose mozzerella to go with my BBQ chicken, but you can use whatever cheese you prefer... the important thing is to use cheese! Next I spread the chicken evenly over one half of the egg, then added another thin layer of cheese on top of the chicken.

With a large spatula, gently fold the omelet over, the cheese only side top of the chicken side. Replace lid and heat for a few more minutes.

Now, if you're adventurous, flip the omelet over once, curling the edge under itself. Remove from heat, and serve.

Brian and I like to share one omelet, so I cut ours in half. I also served it with fresh pineapple and strawberries, and coffee and juice. YUMMY breakfast! Be creative, fill your omelet with what you like to eat.

And don't forget the kitties! They like omelets, too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bunny's Secret Mormon Family Recipe™ Apricot Mustard Glazed Ham

It's EASTER, and nothing says Easter like Ham. Why? I have no idea and no one I have asked has the answer, but Ham it is!
For this recipe we turn once again to Bunny and one of her secret Mormon family recipes.

Half hams were on sale at Rock 'n Roll Ralphs, just 88 cents per pound. I couldn't remember whether to get the Butt half (more rounded) or the Shank half (more pointy) - but the butcher said go with the Butt - less bone, more meat.

The ingredient list is pretty simple; first, the Apricot Mustard Glaze:
1- 12.75-oz. bottle apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mush it all together. If it’s too thick, heat it briefly in the microwave to thin. You may need to half the recipe if you are baking a smaller ham - mine was 8 pounds and the amount was perfect.

Next, for the Baked Ham....

The important things here are 1.) make sure the ham is at room temperature before you bake it, and 2.) bake it covered tightly in foil to keep it juicy.

Remove the ham from its packaging. Place two 24-inch-long pieces of foil crisscrossed in an appropriate sized baking dish. Place the ham cut side down at the center of the pieces of foil. Brush or spread half of the Apricot Mustard Glaze over the ham. Bring up the ends of the foil and wrap the ham tightly. Let it stand at room temperature for 1½ hours.

Note: If you are baking a very large ham, you may need to use three pieces of foil to completely enclose the ham

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 300°. Bake the ham until the center registers about 100° on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of your ham (approximately 17 minutes per pound).
Remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450°. Roll back the foil to expose the ham. Brush the ham generously with the glaze (reserving some glaze for later), then return it to the oven until it is golden brown and the glaze is bubbly, about 30 or 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and brush with the remaining glaze. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for another 30 or 40 minutes before carving.

There you have it!!
Of course, we had this meal yesterday, with Au Gratin potatoes (from a box) and asparagus. AFTER I bought my ham, we were invited up to the "Baker Ranch" for Easter Brunch with Joerg, Robbie, Jerry, and a group of friends, so for our Easter meal we enjoyed Pork Roast with delicious gravy garnished with mushrooms and carmelized carrots, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Asparagus, and a "rum pot" of fruit marinated in rum for 4 months, served with ice cream AND whipped cream.
Ah, happy Easter.