Tuesday, September 29, 2009


When ones moves away from their home, they realize they miss the three F's...family...friends...food.  There is a great restaurant in downtown Salt Lake called the Red Iguana.  They have a dish there calleld Tinga Poblana that is made with shredded pork and is in a spicy red sauce.  I LOVE this dish.  I order it every time I go to the Red Iguana.  I have yet to find a killer mexican restaurant here in Colorado...but I haven't been out looking.  If you have any suggestions, definitely let me know!

I went off in search of a recipe for Tinga Poblana online and I found a pretty decent recipe online from the Homesick Texan.  I frequent this blog often and cook up a lot of the recipes our Homesick friend posts.  I have yet to be disappointed.  You should definitely check this blog out.

1 pound of pork shoulder or tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound of Mexican chorizo (do not use Spanish chorizo. It’s a completely different meat. )
1 bay leaf
1 large onion
5 cloves of garlic
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 cup of peeled ripe Roma tomatoes (about 4). You can use canned ones if tomatoes aren’t in season
1/2 teaspoon of Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 cup of cilantro
3 tablespoons of either sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup
Black pepper
1 avocado thinly sliced
Cortija cheese
1 lime cut into wedges

First you want to brine your pork for at least four hours.

Put the pork in a bowl and cover with six cups of water. Add six tablespoons of salt, three tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of black pepper and a clove of garlic, minced. Cover with a plate to keep the meat underwater, and refrigerate for four hours, brining it up to eight hours. (Do not over-brine!). After you’re done brining the meat, rinse the meat. pat it dry and throw out the brine water.

Place brined pork in a large pot with half the onion (uncut), the bay leaf, a clove of garlic and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes until tender.

Take out cooked pork (save the cooking water) and when cool shred it. Set it aside.

Dice the other half of the onion and mince the three remaining garlic cloves.

Cook the chorizo out of its casing in a dry skillet until brown, about eight minutes. Carefully tilting the skillet, drain the oil to one side and then remove the chorizo.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender with the three minced garlic cloves and chipotle peppers with adobo.

Transfer the chorizo oil to a pot, and then cook the onions in the oil on medium for about five minutes or until soft and then add the tomato-chipotle puree, Mexican oregano and thyme.

Cook for five minutes on medium, and then add the shredded pork, chorizo, 1/4 cup of cilantro and one cup of the pork cooking water (you should freeze the leftover pork cooking water because it will make a good stock for cooking beans).

Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. It should be thick. If it’s too liquidy, just cook uncovered for a few minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve on fresh tostadas, either store bought or made from corn tortillas. To make tostadas, heat an inch of oil in a skillet and fry whole tortillas on each side a couple of minutes until crisp. Place a hearty spoonful of tinga on the crisp tostada and then sprinkle on top cotija cheese (if not available, you can substitute Monterrey jack or sour cream) and the remaining cilantro. Serve with sliced avocado and lime wedges. This recipe will yield about 10 to 12 tostadas.
While I was cooking this recipe up I started to think the ingredients sounds a LOT like a salsa I make from the Herdez Salsa Casera.  The Salsa Casera has all the tomatoes, onions, garlic and cilantro this recipe calls for and I throw it in a blender and add a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for added heat and flavor.  When I had my first taste of this meal...it tasted like I had put my salsa on top of nicely cooked pork and chorizo.  It was good! 
Even though the Tinga Poblana at the Red Iguana doesn't have chorizo in it  and isn't served on a tostada or tortilla chips...I'll take this recipe as a substitute in the mean time. 


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Pumpkin Waffles

I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but the chill has been in the air here in Colorado Springs for nearly two weeks.  As a result, I decided today was the day to officially open pumpkin season in our kitchen!  I found this KILLER, and I mean KILLER, pumpkin waffle recipe at Pumpkins Waffles Blog.  This person is persuing the perfect pumpkin waffle recipe and I think they have found it with this one!

At first this appeared rather time intensive for Sunday morning waffles...but the three bowls it took to make this recipe were WORTH IT!  The only thing I modified with this recipe was the buttermilk.  I didn't have buttermilk and didn't feel like running to the store just to get it when the recipe only calls for a 1/3 cup.

Ultimate Pumpkin Waffles:

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm

*Grated and lightly packed into the spoon, use slightly less than 1/2 tsp. Grated and loosely scooped, this is about 1 tsp. of nutmeg. If you have to use pre-grated, dried nutmeg, use slightly less than 1/4 tsp.

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl: wisk to blend. The waffles are spicy, so if you’re not a big spice fan, cut the quantities in half.

2. Separate egg: yolks go in a medium sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.

3. Add pumpkin, buttermilk and milk to the egg yolks. Wisk to blend and set aside.

4. Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.

5. Pour warm butter into the yolk/buttermilk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, wisk to combine; this is crucial for keeping the butter from firming up on contact with the cold milk(s) in the bowl.

6. Add all of the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and slowly mix them together until just combined. The batter is thick, so it may appear to be slightly lumpy. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added. Do not overmix, as doing so will toughen the waffle texture.

7. Plug in the waffle iron and set the temp as desired. Higher temperatures tend to work best.

8. Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.

9. Once the waffle iron is heated, you’re ready to pour the batter!

When Alex got is first taste of these waffles he said, "They taste like pumpkin pie!"  They were indeed yummy!  Just in case you are thinking of skipping the step of separating the eggs and beating the egg whites...DON'T!  It is totally worth it.  These waffles were fluffy!

Welcome to open pumpkin season!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Coming from Utah, I always thought scones were fried flat bread...that's what we call scones. I remember being at a coffee shop and seeing they had scones on their menu and being shocked silly when they brought me out this crumbly dry bread. What the...? Since then, I have come to really enjoy scones.

I was searching out recipes for dinner this last week and got side tracked when I came across the following recipe for scones on Allrecipes.com.

Grandma Johnson's Scones:
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup raisins (optional) - I used cranberries instead of raisins.
I also added a teaspoon of vanilla on the urging of some of the reviews on Allrecipes.com

In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in the butter. Stir the sour cream mixture and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened.Mix in the raisins...or cranberries in my case.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll or pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick round. Cut into 12 wedges, and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. If you read my blog often, you'll know there is always a little trauma in the making of yummy food. The trauma of this dish involved the binding of the scone batter. The reviews on Allrecipes.com mentioned the crumbly nature of these scones and gave some suggestions to change the texture. When it came time to turn the dough out and knead it, the trauma began. This dough was CRUM-BLY! I tried molding it together and cutting it, but the pieces just crumbled apart. Fortunately I own a handy-dandy scone pan that came to my rescue. I stuffed the scone batter into my pan and crossed my fingers. These babies came out PERFECT! They were so yummy and perfectly crumbly! You can add whatever flavors to this recipe you want...chocolate chips, orange rind, vanilla bean. This is a GREAT starter recipe. I will definitely be making this one again and again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vodka on the Rocks...Wait no...Vodka Sauce on Tortellini

We have some friends in Utah that make a killer Pasta with Vodka sauce that I have been missing since we moved. Their version is somewhat bastardized due to the fact it is made with a jar of Alfredo sauce and a jar of spaghetti sauce...but I'll tell you! It is out of this world!!!
I wanted to find an authentic recipe and to my surprise, I found that it is really made with Vodka. I found the following recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog. I figured if it had vodka in it...it couldn't be half bad. Instead of serving this over regular old pasta, we served it over tortellini's. THAT was a good call!
Pasta alla Vodka:
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 to 1 cup vodka
1 can tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta
1 cup grate Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add in chopped onions and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for two minutes. Pour in vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. Add in tomato puree and stir. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Allow to simmer, being careful not to overheat. Stir in red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Splash in a little water if it needs it. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into large serving bowl.

Eat it out of the serving bowl. Faint. Repeat as needed.
I was pretty optimistic about this one, especially after reading the last line of the recipe, "Eat it out of the serving bowl. Faint. Repeat as needed." Yeah, I don't think I would go that far. It was a good recipe, but the only chunk factor in it came from the onions. It was lacking in some way. I think next time I will puree my own tomatoes and leave some of them chunky to counter balance the onions.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stay at Home Mom...so much time for cooking!

Alex and I are getting settled in our new digs. We really like the house and LOVE the neighborhood. We actually have deer that come into our backyard! Check it out!These guys come in the evening to feast on our neighbors garden. They are making me think twice about planting a garden next spring...Hopefully our dogs can keep them at bay. LOL!

As a result of giving birth and moving...I have become a stay-at-home mom. I will wait for the laughing to subside. Yes, for those who know me, this is pretty comical. I have always been the career, working girl with ambitions that would take me to the moon and back...and now I stay at home and make my husbands lunch in the morning. An added bonus to the stay-at-home mom thing is I get more time to cook! WHOOHOO!!!! Each week I am scouring the net in search of new fun recipes with the full intent of posting all our yummy meals here. I have to tell you all...the reason I started this blog was so I could show off to my father the new dishes I was cooking. He loves to cook and we like to call each other and brag about the good stuff we make. Now that we live far away...we need it even more.

O.K., let's get past all the nostalgia and get to cooking! I was searching out chicken recipes because I got a raging deal on chicken breasts at Safeway and scored this recipe from Tarts and Calories.

Roasted Chicken and Corn Chowder:
2 cups shredded roasted chicken - instead of purchasing a rotisserie chicken, I baked my chicken breasts in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
1 red pepper, diced
1 potato, diced
2 strips bacon, sliced in 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
3 cups frozen corn
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1 tbsp Tabasco
2 limes

Cilantro for garnish

a large stock pot, fry the bacon until crispy and the fat renders out. Scoop out the bacon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Into the pot of yummy, yummy bacon fat, add the potatoes, pepper and corn. Cook for five minutes and add in the stock, milk, thyme and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture. I left it a little chunky in this case, but it's up to you how smooth you'd like it. If you don't own an immersion blender, use a regular one and just puree half of it, if you want a rustic texture.

Then toss in the chicken, bacon pieces and the juice of one lime. Season with desired amount of salt. Garnish bowl with another squeeze of lime and some cilantro. I added a little bit of white onion and garlic to this recipe...because lets face it...what isn't made better with a little onion and garlic? I also left out the thyme because I thought we had some and realized too late that we didn't. I made Alex do my grocery shopping this week and he scored me nice thick pieces of bacon...this recipe is worth making just to smell the bacon cooking in the pan. Oh goodness!!!! I was going to forgo using the immersion blender on half the soup, but when I added everything it needed something to thicken it up, so I gave in. It turned out pretty good.

So the stove top in the house that Alex and I purchased has one temperature...high! It doesn't matter what you set the temperature to it always cooks it at high. I set the temperature to below medium and went to change Kate's diaper and came back to a boiling pan that was almost overflowing. YIKES! I can't wait to get our new gas stove!

Overall, I think this was a decent recipe. Alex told me more bacon would make it better. :) Next time I try this one I am going to play with it a little.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Going Away...Party!

Sheesh. I have been neglecting my blog in a big way! Not because I haven't been posting stuff...but because I have been cooking and taking pictures and NOT posting them. Shame on me! That is what having a kid and moving out of state will do to a girl.

As I mentioned in my last post Alex and I are...well, at this point...have moved to Colorado. For our last weekend in our house in Utah, we threw a going away party so we could hang out with all our friends one last time. For the occasion I made my favorite, easy, pasta salad. I made up this recipe several summers back when I was trying to think of a side dish to bring to a BBQ. This pasta salad has been a hit ever since.

Sarah's Kick Ass Pasta Salad: note - this is the doubled recipe
2 boxes colorful pasta
2 cans chicken - I prefer to use Costco's Kirkland brand
2 cans artichoke hearts
1 can olives, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 packages Italian dressing seasoning
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup olive oil
Cook pasta according to directions on box and set aside. Combine chicken, artichoke hearts, olives, peppers and onion together in a bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, combine Italian dressing, mayo and olive oil. Add mayo mix to other ingredients. Toss until all ingredients are covered with the dressing mixture.
This recipe is doubled and makes a TON! The salad was a huge hit at our going away party. It is perfect for a large gathering and is just as good as a main course.