Category Archives: Summer

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato SauceOne pot meals are a lifesaver.  Whether it is a special occasion or a busy weeknight, getting dinner on the table quickly, with a minimum of dirty dishes is always a win in my book.  This one pot chicken and spinach pasta with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce is a crowd pleaser every single time.  

I’m going to come right out and say it:  I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person.  There.  Judge me if you must.  I do however, enjoy making a nice meal for the one I love.  We always stay in for Valentine’s Day and I’ve done the big, fancy dinners that take hours to prepare and minutes to devour.  While that’s lovely and all,  I spend half the night in the kitchen.  This one pot meal is super delicious and did I mention… ONE PAN to wash?  Furthermore, I have better things to do on Valentine’s Day, like eat the entire box of candy.

Continue reading

Crash & Burn Potatoes

Crash & Burn Potatoes l Pook's Pantry
This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

If you are looking for a new way to serve potatoes, this is it!  I made these a few days ago with the intention of saving them for dinner that night.  I have news for you, they didn’t survive the afternoon.  We ate a few and then we ate more.   We even ate them cold because they were delicious.  Normally, the phrase “crash & burn” has a negative connotation to it, but not in this case. These little spuds are smashed (flattened) and roasted until super crispy then bathed in a spicy cinnamon malt vinegar sauce.  Hence, the name Crash & Burn Potatoes.

Continue reading

Restaurant-Style Bloody Mary

How to make a Restaurant Style Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary.  It is THE quintessential brunch beverage, yet I only have them at a restaurant.  Brunch and Bloody Mary’s go hand in hand.  We are going to make a restaurant-style bloody mary at home.  I made a killer batch of bloody mary’s last weekend and they were hands-down one of the best I’ve ever had.

First things first, we are making it from scratch.  The difference is remarkable when you don’t use a store-bought mix.  The drink tastes MUCH fresher and brighter, which if I’m being perfectly honest, can be dangerous.  I’m usually a two drink max kind of girl and I had two drinks in no time flat.  Consider yourself warned, because they go down Very Easily.

Continue reading

Lobster on Thick Cut Idaho®Potato Chips with Spicy Saffron Aioli

17-lobsterDress up your favorite Idaho® Potatoes with lobster and saffron aioli for a special holiday appetizer! Salty, crunchy thick-cut chips are a sturdy base for buttery lobster tail.  Topped with a spicy saffron aioli and chives, it makes an elegant nibble for any party.  This post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

The holiday season is upon us, which means HOLIDAY PARTIES!  It’s a special time of year, so I don’t feel guilty about a little splurge.  The end of one year, the beginning of a new one…  It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family and it’s a time to pull out all the tricks and SHINE!  I make one or two special appetizers for parties and lobster on thick-cut potato chips is no slouch.  The saffron aioli elevates it to “high falootin’ status” and this appetizer is always the first to disappear.  It looks much fussier than it actually is, everything except the chips can be made in the morning and set aside in the refrigerator for later.  This is key when you have lots to do before guests arrive.

Continue reading

Picadillo (Cuban-Style Hash)

PicadilloPicadillo is Spanish for “hash” (or “mince”).  Essentially, this is a Cuban version of the good old American mélange, eaten on its own or used as a filling for empanadas. Spanish influences, specifically Andalusian, are obvious due to the addition of olives and raisins. Picadillo is often served topped with hard-cooked or fried eggs and is usually accompanied by fried plantains.

small affiliate

Where are my fellow chile heads?!  
Although I love peppers, I’m not one of those crazy people that shoves whole habaneros in her mouth… funny story about that, actually.  
The year was 1993 and I was living in Guadalajara, México.  I was a student at the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and a group of us were out strolling the Mercado Libertad, which is a huge multi-level market.  It houses everything from food to shoes to flowers.  Here we are, a bunch of 20 year old kids walking around with eyes popping out of our heads.  This was the first time most of us had been on our own in a foreign country.  We happened upon this vendor of chiles.  You know where this is going, don’t you?!  A girl in our group stated that she could handle really spicy food and was going to buy a few peppers.   We tried (in vain) to warn her that these were seriously hot and she shouldn’t pop the entire thing into her mouth.  Let’s just that the afternoon took a turn… to the Emergency Room!   I guess I shouldn’t have said a “funny” story,  just “a story”.

I’m not one to eat a whole habanero, but I do enjoy a little heat.  The kind that makes your lips and tongue tingle, not the kind that feels like someone lit a match on them.   I seem to have a higher tolerance for heat than some, which means that I may not be the best person to ask if something is spicy. We burn through jars and jars of chile paste like it’s going out of style (I assure you, it is NOT). Most of the spicy food we eat happens to be Asian.  Bowls of noodles in fiery broth are my happy place.  Food from Latin America is a close second and for good reason: I’m married to a Texan, I used to live in Mexico and we currently live in Florida.  I chose this particular recipe to share because I love picadillo.  I know, I’m totally selfish.  I make big batches of this delicious filling to make empanadas.  The saltiness of the olives with the sweetness of the raisins is really good.

My very favorite thing about this book is its inclusion of food from around the globe.  I love exploring cultures through food and this book is a peek into how chile peppers really are a global ingredient.  It’s fun to try new recipes and flavors, especially when the recipes are so varied and enticing!  

Below is a short list of some of the 250 recipes you’ll find in this book.  I have my eye on the Spinach and Tomato Dal next…  What would be your first choice?
– Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Middle East)
– Castilian Garlic Soup (Spain)
– Chinese Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup  (China)
– Paella (Spain)- Tagine of Chicken with Apricots (N. Africa)
– Cuban style hash (Cuba)
– Original San Antonio Chili (US)
– Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (SE Asia)
– Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Africa)
– Spinach and Tomato Dal (Indian)
– Calabrese-Style Fried Potatoes with Peppers (Italian)
– Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Thai/SE Asia)
– Kimchi (Korea)
– Mexican-Style Tomato Juice – (Mexico)
– Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots – (French)

Picadillo (Cuban-Style Hash)
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 1 each - red and green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  3. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1⁄2 habanero pepper, minced
  5. 4  cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 1⁄4 lbs lean ground beef
  7. 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  8. 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1 piece (2 inches/5 cm long) cinnamon stick
  10. 1⁄4 cup  dry sherry
  11. 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes, with juice
  12. 1⁄2 cup dark raisins
  13. 12 large pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  14. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Garnish
  1. 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  2. Finely chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, red and green bell peppers, habanero pepper and garlic and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add oregano, cumin and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sherry and cook, stirring, until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and juice, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in raisins, olives, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook until olives are heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Transfer to a large deep serving platter. Sprinkle chopped eggs over top. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. Gluten-Free Friendly!
Tips
  1. You can substitute Cubanelle peppers for the red and green bell peppers if you like.
  2. I have used a habanero here because these peppers are common throughout the Caribbean, and I like the slightly fruity flavor they impart to this dish. However, it may be more common to find picadillo made with jalapeño peppers, even though purists suggest that jalapeños are not used in Cuban cooking. Both chiles do a fine job of bringing heat to this dish, so use whatever is easiest or suits your taste. If you’re using jalapeños, you’ll need 1 to 2.
  3. Instead of garnishing the entire dish with chopped eggs, transfer individual servings to warm soup plates or deep bowls and top each with a fried egg. Garnish liberally with parsley.
Adapted from The Chile Pepper Bible
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 Get The Book

Chile Pepper Bible

You can find Judith on Pinterest, Facebook & Instagram!

This recipe has been reprinted courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. I received one copy compliments of the publisher. No other compensation was received. Links to the book are affiliate links. 

If you’d like a chance to win a copy The Chile Pepper Bible of your own, make sure to enter the giveaway below!  Thanks to the publishers Robert Rose for providing a copy for the giveaway. It is open to US and Canadian residents!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker ChickenA little bit sweet, with garlic and ginger, and as spicy you’d like it, this fragrant, saucy chicken dish is made in a slow cooker. It’s super simple and requires very little hands-on time. Serve over rice with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Continue reading

Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups

baked-eggs-pepper-cupsI had bell peppers on my list.  Not these sweet little things, but the grown up kind. When I laid eyes on these, somehow the big guys lost their appeal.   I’m a sucker for cute little things.

As soon as I got them home, I started thinking about what I could do with them.  The obvious was mini stuffed peppers or filling them with dip and sticking a few veggies in them.   Then I went a completely different direction…  I love the idea of these for a brunch.   With the holidays right around the corner, these would be a perfect bite for Christmas morning or the day after Thanksgiving when any major cooking is off the table.  The evening before, slice the lids from your peppers and wrap them up for the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, crack an egg into each pepper and slide into the oven.  How’s that for easy and minimal cleanup?!

These are also perfectly portable, just toss a couple in a container and off to work or school you go! I’d much rather eat this than a dry granola bar.  Looking for a light meatless supper?  It’s got you covered there too!  They are also a good size for little hands, no silverware necessary.  

baked eggs - Pook's PantryBack to brunch: I love the idea of a platter filled with a dozen of these, with different spices or seasonings, on a bountiful table for everyone to help themselves.  (READ: I’m not waiting on you!)

Small servings work especially well for someone like me who is perfectly content to make a meal of several appetizers.  I like to taste a few different things instead of having one entree!  This allows me to have one baked egg and also a few other treats, which is really my goal in life…  to try everything I can get my hands on.baked-eggs-in-mini-bell-pepper-cups
Be creative!  Try different combinations, different herbs, etc.  Scallions, tarragon, chives and dill are great herbs for eggs.  Curry powder, hot sauce,  HP sauce (from UK) and of course hollandaise, if you’re feeling fancy, are delicious on eggs.  Another option is putting a little cheese or bacon in the bottom of the cup, or whisking it all together and making an omelet baked in the pepper cup.  Whatever your favorite egg combination, make it delicious!Baked Eggs - Pooks Pantry

Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups
Yields 4
Individual Baked Eggs in Mini Bell Pepper Cups
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Mini Bell Peppers
  2. 4 Medium Eggs
  3. seasonings of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice top off pepper and set aside. Remove seeds and membrane from pepper. Crack 1 medium egg each into mini bell pepper.
  2. Set on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish and bake for 16 - 18 minutes, until whites are set, but yolks are still a bit runny.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, curry powder, herbs, hot sauce, etc. Whatever tickles your fancy!
Notes
  1. Small or medium eggs work best in mini bell pepper cups. Large eggs will overflow!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
PIN IT:
baked-eggs-pin

Roasted Idaho® Fingerling Potatoes with Shishito Peppers and Asian Spices

togarashi-spiced-fingerlings-ppThis post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes, all opinions are mine!
small affiliate

Last month, I was invited to join Idaho® Potatoes on their Harvest Tour 2016.   What a privilege! I had never been to Idaho before and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.  I had arrived a few days before the rest of the bloggers to stay the weekend in Boise with L and her husband D.  The 48 hours spent in Boise felt like twice as long because L had planned so many incredible things for us.  We had the most incredible time in Boise and I seriously can’t wait to go back.  If you’ve never been, GO.  I know most people would think “Really?!”  “Boise?!”  Yes.  Boise.  The food was on par, we rode bikes everywhere we went and had some fantastic wines.  I may have to do a follow up post on Boise, because I loved it so much.  I’m sure that it had much to do with L, her outstanding itinerary and her wonderful husband who is such a love.
Onto the HARVEST TOUR!!!!

Continue reading

Food Friends

Greetings, All!  I am away in Idaho this week with my friends from Idaho Potato!  In lieu of posting a new recipe, I wanted to share some awesome recipes from my super talented friends.

I do hope you will check out their recipes, as I happen to think they are pretty great!  Besides being amazing in the kitchen, they are good humans and I am lucky to know them.  I can’t wait to tell you all about Idaho and the fun things happening there right now!  I’m updating and sharing pics on social media every day, so if you want to see what we’re up to, check out my Facebook page,  Instagram account or Twitter feed for the latest shenanigans.

Continue reading

Citrus Sunshine Cooler

small affiliate
Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

Continue reading