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Tofu-riffic Tacos!

Pickled red onions on a taco?!  Oh bay-bee!  The favor combination of the vinegar-y onions, creamy guacamole and the spicy, smoky sauce on the tofu is other-worldly good.  Like something I’ve never tasted or even imagined.  You may think you don’t like tofu, but after trying these tacos, you’ll be running to the store for more!  We came across this combo in a Denver restaurant called Fuel Cafe–a tricky place to find in an industrial part of the RINO district–click through the images on their page to get a feel for the place.   Well worth the journey for tacos like these.

yum1

To get started, you’ll need to pickle a red onion.  It’ll need time to chill and be ready for your tacos.  You can make the pickled onion ahead of time.

ingredients for pickled onions

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.

Slice the onions as thin as you can.

slice thin

Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 10-20 seconds.  You don’t want to blanch the color out–if you see it starting to fade it’s time to drain them!

blanch

Drain completely in a colander and return to the now empty but still warm blanching pot.

drain

Add the vinegar, sugar and salt along with enough water to just cover the onions.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.

add vinegar sugar salt water

Place onions and vinegar into a jar and chill.  The onions will turn a beautiful fresh hot-pink color!  So pretty!

in a jar

Now that your onions are chilling, prepare the sauce–it’s essentially the same as for sofritas.  The sauce can be made ahead of time.  You’ll need:

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
  • NOTE-ignore the tofu, I recycled the pic from the sofritas post!  🙂

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomato paste.  Set aside.

add tomato paste

Now for the tacos!  You’ll need:

ingredients tacos

  • pickled red onions (see recipe above)
  • prepared sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 (14 0z) package extra firm tofu–always choose organic tofu to avoid GMOs
  • prepared guacamole–buy it or make it yourself.  Mine is simple–avocado, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • corn tortillas
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Drain and then press the tofu by placing it on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

Let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes) and then cut into cubes, by cutting through the side and then cutting long sticks.  Finally cut the sticks into cubes.  The cubes will be about 1/2 inch on a side.

cube tofu

Spray a fry pan with oil and place over medium high heat.  Add tofu cubes and fry, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides–or as many as you can get.  Don’t worry about getting every cube perfectly browned.  🙂

fry tofu

Reduce heat to low and add enough sauce to coat the tofu–about half of the sauce.

add sauce

Stir to coat.  Now it’s time to put the tacos together!

stir to coat

 

Warm the tortillas inside a kitchen towel in a microwave or however you like to warm them.  Place a bit of lettuce, then tofu cubes, then a bit of guacamole, then pickled onions and finally a sprinkle of cilantro.  Look at them!  Like art!

yum2

Squeeze a lime over the top, pick one up and have your first wondrous bite.  Oh my.

Both the sauce and the onions can be made ahead to speed up the tacos when you’re ready to make them.  Is this my new favorite way to eat tofu?  Yessssssss!  Mmmmmmmmmm-yummy!

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The Smoothest, Yummiest Peach Daquiris Ever!

After becoming the lucky recipient of 3 boxes of peaches, I set about to “put them up,” as my Mom would say.  I made peach pie filling, and peach butter, but saved a few back to celebrate with some yummy fresh peach daiquiris.  Here’s how:

  • 3 peaches, peeled pitted, quartered
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 cup light rum
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • 3 cups ice.

Blend until smooth. Makes a blender-full of some of the smoothest, yummiest peach daiquiris ever.  Enjoy!

daiquiris

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Holiday Crab Dip

No need to limit this dip to the holidays, though.  This is an uber-easy, uber-quick, uber-yummy dip you can make anytime.  Anytime you want to be the party rock star, that is!  (It disappears quickly, you might want to make a double batch!)

How ’bout that cute little crabby baking dish?!  We saw it at an art store in North Carolina and I just had to have it.  It came with this recipe!  Bonus!

  • 3 oz lump crab meat
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened (low-fat or non-fat is ok)
  • 1 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • 2 drops hot sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 325F.

Gently mix all ingredients together, to preserve the lumps of crab as much as possible.

Place in a small casserole or baking dish and sprinkle with additional Parmesan.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.  Enjoy with bread, crackers, celery, carrots or a spoon!

 

That’s it! Be warned that this dip DOES seem to disappear.  I made the mistake of setting it out as guests started to arrive at a party while I finished up some other yummies.  By the time I turned around, it was nearly gone!  Maybe it had something to do with this cute little crabby dish.

What a face, eh?  I love it when I can cook or serve something in art.  Do you have a special serving dish that makes your food even yummier?

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2011 in review–Thanks for cooking with me!

Woo Hoo!  Over 9,000 visits in the first year of Somethin’ Yummy!  I’m over 10,000 as of today.  I’ve learned a lot in 2011 and hope to bring you an even better blog in 2012.  (I’m not scared of the Mayan Calendar at all–maybe I can find some Mayan recipes to try!)  Thank you so much for cooking with me and sharing in recipes that have real meaning to me.

So, check out the Somethin’ Yummy stats for 2011.  People from all over the world have visited!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Breakfast Burritos To Go

We’re off on a fabulous vacation to the Big Island tomorrow, driving to Vegas and flying from there.  Hoping for a stress-free early start, I’ve already made breakfast!  I made another batch of  Aloha Coconut Scones and some cute little Breakfast Burritos to Go!  These are basically a breakfast scramble wrapped up in a tortilla and then wrapped in plastic wrap–ready to grab, nuke and go!

Here’s what I used for my burritos, but use whatever ingredients you have around and like.

  • 8 eggs
  • 4-6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 pre-cooked sausages–these are andouille
  • a medium onion, chopped
  • a green pepper, chopped (I chopped up the multi-colored bell peppers from my garden and froze them.  I just grab out however much I need!)
  • tortillas
  • shredded cheese
  • a jalepeno, finely chopped if desired
  • plastic wrap to wrap up your little burrito bundles

First, make the scramble.  Wash and cube the potatoes–approximately 1/2 inch cubes.  Boil until almost fork tender.  (They’ll cook the rest of the way with the scramble.)

In a hot pan with a TBSP or so of olive oil, saute onions and peppers until tender-crisp.

Cut sausage into quarter moons and add to the pan.  Heat through.  Mmmmm!  This smells soooo yummy!

When potatoes are nearly fork-tender, drain and add to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes start to brown.

When potatoes are beautiful and brown and tender, beat eggs with a splash of milk to loosen them a bit. 

Pull the potato and sausage to one side of the pan, add eggs to the other side.

Cook eggs until mostly scrambled, but still a bit wet.

Stir everything together to finish cooking the eggs.  That’s it!  You can serve the scramble as is with a bit of cheese on top, or continue and make these cute little burritos.

I like to warm the tortillas in the microwave to make them a bit more pliable.  Create a burrito-building station with the filling, tortillas, cheese, and plastic wrap.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap, then a tortilla.  Place cheese and filling in the center of the tortilla.

Fold each side in and roll so filling is completely inside the tortilla.  Wrap in plastic wrap in a similar fashion–I usually lay the burrito across a corner, bring the corner up, bring sides in and roll.

 

Keep rollin’ and wrappin’ until all the filling is inside the burritos.  I ended up with 16 burritos. 

 

Tomorrow morning, in a minute or less of microwaving for each burrito (depending on your microwave), breakfast is ready!!!  Be sure to open the plastic a bit to vent the burrito before microwaving.  Half of these are for Michael, me and our travel companions, half for Mr17 to grab for a snack or a quick breakfast when his schedule gets crunched. 

I confess to adding a jalepeno in after I took the ingredient picture–I usually put a bit of salsa in the burritos, but wanted these to be less messy.  If you’re not worried about dripping, add salsa before you roll them–yummy! 

They’ll keep for up to a week in the fridge, probably up to 6 months in the freezer–they always get eaten around here, so I need to experiment with the freezing thang.  Maybe you could try and let me know?

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Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies

What possessed me to designate Saturday for sweets?!  Lately, Saturdays have been way to busy to blog.  My excuse this week?  Jazz Aspen Snowmass!  Yup, got to see Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Steely Dan in this glorious locale:

So, being a long weekend, perhaps we have two Saturdays, today being the second of them.  🙂 

Last week , my friend Judith had a birthday AND agreed to work the afternoon of her birthday so I could get to a meeting at Mr17’s school.  I just had to do something nice for her, right?  As always, I was also looking for ways to use up zucchini.  The two motivations came together in this lovely, gooey, cakey cookie full of chocolatey yumminess!  (For some reason, the link-y thingie in my editor is not working, so here’s the link to the original recipe, old-school-style: http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2011/08/chocolate-oatmeal-zucchini-cookies.html)

I decided to go for greatness by adding chocolate chips to this already yummy recipe.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost the picture of the ingredients.  This pic of the final product will have to do:

Oh, yeah, now that’s the ticket!  You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups rolled oats (The original recipe calls for quick oats, I used old-fashioned oats.  Quick oats provide a better texture, old-fashioned give a more no-bake cookie texture.)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, soda, salt, cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle blade (or electric mixer), cream sugars and butter and oil.

Add egg and vanilla.  Beat until thoroughly combined.

Add dry ingredients, a bit at a time to the wet.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Add oats and beat until evenly distributed.

Finally add zucchini and chocolate chips.

Drop onto cookie sheets.  I used a 1 TBSP cookie scoop, because that’s what I own; original recipe used a 2 TBSP scoop. 

 Bake for 10-11 minutes (Longer if  you used a bigger scoop–up to 14 minutes for a 2 TBSP scoop), until center of cookie no longer looks wet.  Cool on pans 10 minutes before removing.

Using the small scoop, I got nearly 5 dozen perfectly sized bites of chewy, gooey chocolate zucchini nirvana.

Unfortunately, I just can’t get enough of these cookies. One leads to another–they’re small, y’know?  And then another–really, if I used a bigger scoop those two cookies would have been the equivalent of only one…. and so on….

Right after I made these, I was watching Food Network and Anne Burrell made oatmeal cookies and sprinkled a bit of sea salt on top before they baked.  I LOVE salted chocolate, so next time I bake these, I’m so doing the salt-sprinkle thing!  Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm-yummy!!!

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Foodie Blog Field Trip!

~Image from webdonuts.com   (How funny is it that I found a field trip image with my name in it?!  Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

I’m heading out for the weekend and won’t be posting to this blog for a couple of days.  I know, I know, you’ll miss me.  😉  Never fear, there are lots of foodie blogs for you to visit and this is a great opportunity!  Here are some of my favs:

A Full Measure of Happiness, written byLauren Zeitsman.  Lauren is a 20-something student who is an absolute food genius and amazing food photographer.  Visit her blog for comfort foods, exotic flavors and spectacular baked goods.

Smitten Kitchen, written by Deb Perelman.  Deb whips up culinary magic in a kitchen that occupies a tiny 42 square feet.  Visit her blog for stepped-up comfort food favs, tutorials and quick and tasty side dishes.

Daily Crave, written by Natalie Lewis.  Natalie is a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School grad.  Visit her blog for a huge variety of recipes from different regions of the world, and recipes for specific holidays.

Rainy Day Gal, written by Jenny in Seattle.  Jenny has created a visually gorgeous blog full of yummy recipes.  Visit her blog for sweets, main courses and appetizers–check out her recipe index!

FoodPress, written by tons of bloggers!  Even yours truly has been linked to in FoodPress.  FoodPress has featured tags (like dessert, breakfast, vegetarian), and featured bloggers.

Enjoy your field trip, and I’ll be back with Somethin’ Yummy in a couple of days.   (Unless Fang gets me!)   Hugs and kisses, Heidi  🙂

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House Favorite Goulash

Do you ever have those nights when you don’t know what you’re going to make for dinner?  When you’re tired and you want something easy-peasy?  Something that everyone will be happy to see?  In my house, the recipe that fills the bill is our House Favorite Goulash.  It’s not technically a goulash in the Hungarian sense, but this is how Mom made it and she called it goulash, so there ya go! 

It’s made of things I almost always have in the house. 

1 pound of ground meat  (This is hamburger, but any ground meat will work.)

1-2 packages of your favorite pasta  (We like penne, but any smallish pasta will do.)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped   (I didn’t have one last night, but it really makes this recipe better if you have one!)

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce   (Our favorite is the homemade sauce made from the recipe in Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)

Salt and pepper

Start your pasta.  I used 2 packages of pasta to be able to have enough for my teenager–he LOVES this(!), plus some leftover–it’s a GREAT leftover!

While pasta cooks, place a large fry pan over medium heat and add about a TBSP of olive oil to the bottom.  Chop the onion and green pepper (it really IS better with green pepper!), add them to the pan with salt and pepper to taste and saute until soft.

When veggies are softened, move them to the edges of the pan and place the ground meat in the center.  Break it up with a wooden spoon.

Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat chunks occasionally until meat is browned.  Mix the veggies into the meat and reduce heat to low.

When pasta is ready, drain it.  Return the pot to the stove over medium heat.  While pasta drains, add sauce and meat mixture to the pot.

Stir them together and add the pasta.  Stir to combine, and leave on heat until your goulash is heated through.

When steam rises from the goulash when it’s stirred, it’s ready to serve!  Ladle into bowls, top with your favorite shredded cheese and dinner is ready!  Yum!

So.  Nothing fancy, but a great, fast comfort food.  This recipe works well for potlucks, too!  (Thanks for the great idea–potluck recipes–Sue!)  You could get fancy and put the completed goulash in a casserole dish, stir some cheese into it, add more on top and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese starts to brown.  Mmmmmm….yummy!

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Filed under dinner, Potluck, recipe, Uncategorized

Go-Go-Go-To Gadgets!

Every cook has a favorite pan, a favorite set of measuring cups and other gadgets.  So, I thought I’d feature some of my favs today.  When I wrote the title for this post, this music popped into my head: have a listen for kicks and grins, while you’re reading about  Go-Go-Go-To Gadget number one.

If you follow this blog, you’ll recognize this one from the Mistral’s Chicken recipe.

The Garlic Peeling Tube!  I love this if I’m peeling more than a couple of cloves.  Break cloves from the head of garlic.  Place individual cloves one at a time into the tube.  Press down on a hard surface and roll back and forth–listen for the crackle.  Tip your perfectly peeled clove out on the counter!  Static build up will make some of the peel pieces stick to the inside and outside, but a quick dip under the faucet will rinse them right out.

Go-Go-Go-To Gadget number 2:  The Misto:

This groovy gadget eliminates cooking sprays and their throat-choking propellants, while allowing you to control the quality of the oil in the spray.  The top unscrews to let you add whichever oil you’d like to place inside–I have olive oil in mine.  The lid is a pump–pumping air inside that will propel the oil in a mist when you spray.  Have a look at the video that is part of the Misto link for a better explanation.

Finally, the way to have that lovely, frothy latte.  (With foam strong enough to support caramel or chocolate or butterscotch….yum!)

Go-Go-Go-To Gadget number three is the Primo Latte!  This tiny battery-powered immersion blender is just the thing for your inner barista!  Heat the milk of your choice (I like almond milk) into your favorite coffee cup in the microwave until it starts to steam.  Remove from the microwave and immerse the whisk end of the Primo Latte into the milk, push the button and whip until the froth is the consistancy you like.  Then add flavor or flavored creamer if you want, then hot coffee, then top with your favorite syrup or cinnamon or other sprinkles!

Run the whisk end of the Primo Latte under water to rinse, push the button to spin the water off, and place it in its stand until next time.  Mmmmmm!  Doesn’t that frou-frou coffee look yummy?  (It was!)

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How ’bout Lunch at il Bistro?

This was the gist of a Facebook posting from my friend Adele to my friend Becky.  Since I’m friends with both, I inserted myself into this conversation and the three of us went to lunch today at my favorite Grand Valley restaurant, il Bistro Italiano

 I love-love-love this restaurant and owners Ron and Brunella.  Brunella, the chef, is originally from Northern Italy.  The menu reflects her Northern Italian roots (often recipes her mom makes!) and her desire to provide a variety of food in regard to taste and to special diets (gluten-free, low fat, …).  Certain times of the year, Brunella’s mom is “in the house” assisting with the cooking–what a treat! 

Il Bistro is DH and my favorite “winemaker’s dinner” restaurant–the dinner specially prepared each fall with each course paired with a wine from the chosen winery. (For the past couple of years, this has been our friends, the Vogels, from Reeder Mesa Winery!)  The winemaker is in attendance, sharing the particulars of the wine, while Brunella shares her inspirations for the food paired with it.  (Look for a blog post about this fabulous dinner in September!)

Right now, Grand Junction is re-doing the downtown–tearing up roads and old pipes and such.  Unfortunately this so-called “up-lift project” is happening right outside il Bistro. 

Sidewalks are passable and the front doors are not blocked.  Inside, the restaurant is as it always is, comfortable, pleasant, with a lovely Italian vibe.  Both Ron (who is famous for his practical joking–beware!) and Brunella (sweet, welcoming) were there today.

The three of us sat down and were immediately provided with the usual yummy bread and pimento-ricotta spread that comes with every meal.  Adele requested olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as she is not a fan of the spread.  (BTW, this comes with more bread than is pictured…we were hungry!)

Next, Adele recommended we order Calamari for an appetizer.  I’m not a huge calamari fan, but Adele insisted this was different.  And it was!  Very lightly battered and fried, served with a creamy garlic-lemon sauce.  Mmmmm!  We ate it ALL! 

Next the entrees.  (Quotes are from the menu.) Adele ordered “My Mother’s Polpette–These are the meatballs I grew up with!  100% beef with parmesan cheese–served with fava beans and homemade chips.”  (Adele moved one of the chips so you could see the meatballs and fava beans.)  This is a gluten-free selection.

Becky ordered “Prosciutto E Avocado–shrimp, prosciutto di parma, avocado in a creamy white wine sauce–tossed with our spinach tagliatelle.”  It’s what she always orders. 

I ordered one of my favorites, “Gnocchi Al Funghi–an old Bistro classic: semolina gnocchi baked and served with a five-mushroom sauce.”  A vegetarian selection.  I’ve had this gnocchi paired with a Reeder Mesa Cab Franc before–perfect!!!

We ate, we laughed we chatted, and had no room for dessert (wah).  We may need to go back and JUST have dessert one of these days! 

I was a goober and didn’t read the menu today.  One of my seasonal favs, which wasn’t on the menu the last time I was there, was there!  Adele pointed it out after we had our food and were discussing Bistro favs.  Argghhhh!  Brunella tells me I need to come back within the next week or it’ll be gone ’til next fall.  “Rotollo Di Zucca–the traditional Bistro dish for fall/winter–homemade pasta rolled with pumpkin filling and served with gruyere sauce.”  Soooo yummy!

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