Thursday, April 25, 2013

CCC - Creative Cooking Crew Challenge BLT

This months challenge for CCC was to use the letters BLT in a sandwich with out using bacon, lettuce and tomato. Well this one had me stumped all month long until Monday. I finally came up with my idea after mulling it over and talking with a friend. I made Beet greens (B) Lemon aioli (L) and Tuna (T) and it came out tasty and delicious.
 Beet greens. I lightly sauteed some beet greens in a little garlic and olive oil.
Lemon aioli. I made a lemon aioli and I also added a little lime zest along with the lemon zest.
Tuna. I pan seared some tuna with some secret blackening herbs and spices.

My BLT all came together on some 7 grain toasted oat bread because you cant have a BLT unless its on toast and thats the name of that tune. Want the recipe? Here: Saute some beet greens, make a lemon aioli and sear some tuna - then put it together between two slices of toast - BLT!

The Creative Cooking Crew is a group of 24 innovative food bloggers hosted by Laz of Lazaro Cooks! and Joan of FOODalogue. Each month brings a new culinary challenge with a round-up of all the entries posted at the end of the month. Although there is no real judging and the challenges are all just for fun, we take pride in sharing our entries, pushing our culinary limits.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flatout Flatbread bread is #FlatoutGood

There is a new bread in town and its name is Flatout Flatbread, you can find it at Walmart. When I was asked to be a Flatout Flatbread Blog Ambassador I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn't want to have a chance to get creative with a brand new product? Well you know me, always the over achiever I had to make 3 (three) different pizzas. Tomato, spinach and Gouda cheese with truffle oil on the plain Flatout Flatbread. Grilled chicken, Monterey Jack and American cheeses with green onion on the spicy italian Flatout Flatbread and, shrimp, tomato and spinach with Gouda, American and Monterey Jack cheeses on the spicy italian Flatout Flatbread. All of them were excellent.

Flatout Thin Crust Grilled Shrimp 
with Tomatoes & Spinach Pizza

Preheat grill with a pizza stone to at least 500F*

1 Flatout Thin Crust Flatbread in Spicy Italian
4 Grilled shrimp peeled and cut in half lengthwise
8 Thin slices of fresh tomato
10 Fresh spinach leaves torn in half
1/2 cup  grated Gouda, American and Monterey Jack cheeses mixed
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

On a pizza peel place one Flatout Flatbread. Spread olive oil evenly over uncooked Flatout Flatbread. Place the 8 tomato slices staggered over entire length of the flatbread, put the spinach leaves on top of the tomato, put the cheese on top of the spinach and stagger the sliced shrimp on top of everything. Slide pizza off peel and on to the preheated pizza stone on the grill. Bake for 2-3 minutes. Quickly remove and let sit 30 seconds or so and then slice into 2-3 inch squares and enjoy.

*Same method can be used in the oven.

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Checkout Facebook for flatout recipes and all kinds of other goodies.

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Disclaimer: I was comensated and given product to do this post - all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grilling like you mean it

This past weekend my son turned 15 and one of his favorite things is to eat up on the roof. It could be something as simple as hot dogs or burgers or as complicated as ribs wrapped in banana leaves - it doesnt matter as long as we are sitting outside up on the roof. Well you can imagine his birthday celebration was - up on the roof. We made quite the seafood feast as per his request  and the cutest thing is remembering how he would ask for these things when he was little. I would ask him what special thing he wanted to eat for his birthday and he would say "frimp and frab" so that is what we had  some shrimp and crab.
This post, however, is all about the grilled oyster.
I scrubbed the shells free of any loose dirt and particles and rinsed them under fresh water and put them straight on a hot grill while I made my sauce to top them with. I let the oysters sit on the grill a good 6-8 minutes until they popped open slightly then I shucked them and put them on a plate.
My sauce was simple: a little fresh squeezed lime juice some maple syrup, a little chile oil and a splash of hickory smoked bbq sauce to liven it up a bit. While this is no mignonette it certainly didnt seem like it, the sauce was bright and flavorful and perfect on the lightly grilled oyster.
So good, so lightly briny and so delicious with the little saucy drizzle.
The oysters werent the only thing we had from the grill, I also made some shrimp and some chicken quarters, and we steamed some crab legs inside but they could have easily been done on the side burner of my grill. So the next time you think that your grill is only good for chicken, beef and pork then think again!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kitchen PLAY’s “30 Days of Grilled Cheese” Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Tomato Soup.

Nothing beats a great grilled cheese sandwich except another grilled cheese sandwich. A grilled cheese sandwich is one of those things that can only be topped by itself, but - and I say this with the utmost of reverence - a grilled cheese goes great with a bowl of tomato soup. I know it's a cliched and patterned response but grilled cheese and tomato soup go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Now before I get all into the nitty gritty of this recipe during April through May 1, Land O’Lakes will donate $1 to Feeding America every time someone pins or repins a Land O’Lakes recipe on Pinterest. That’s eight meals for a hungry family when you pin a recipe—and eight more every time anyone else repins it. Giving goes viral. Find your favorite Grilled Cheese recipe to pin on

I used Land O'Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend - Land O'Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend is the best combination of the most flavorful Italian cheeses—Asiago, Parmesan and Romano—blended with the creamy goodness of Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese. Add this delicious cheese to everything from favorite dishes to lunchbox sandwiches or burgers hot off the grill. The creamy, decadent taste truly makes each dish an everyday masterpiece. The Land O’Lakes Test Kitchens have developed recipes and tips that highlight the wide range of uses for this cheese. Find recipes, photos and tips on the Taste of Italy product inspiration page at

Let me first start with my tomato soup recipe - its easy, fast and delicious. I make it all the time for my son and it comes together in minutes.

Christo's Classic Roasted Tomato Soup

5 large tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion chopped
4 cups water (roughly)
2 TBS of honey
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBS cornstarch (for thickener - optional)

On a grill, or in a grill pan or over the flame of your gas stove char roast the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are evenly roasted on all sides let them cool before removing the charred skin and the seeds and place in a blender.  Sauté the garlic and the onions until tender and put in blender. Blend the tomatoes, onions and garlic until smooth. Put the tomato paste and tomato sauce in a sauce pan and stir until incorporated then add the contents of the blender. Add water to make 6 cups and heat gently to a steady simmer. Add honey and salt and pepper to taste then make a slurry with the cornstarch and add it the soup to thicken. Serve hot.

For my mini grilled cheese sandwiches I used little mini pita pocket breads and a grill pan. You can use a panini press and get the same results. I wanted the little pitas to look perfect with their little grill marks so I put a little butter on the sliced breads and grilled them empty till they were the color I wanted and then I put the cheese in them and heated until they were melted. I had tried to do the whole process in one whack and all I was left with was burnt cheese and a big mess so doing them separate was a lesson well learned.  I garnished my mini grilled cheese sandwiches with little slices of tomato, pickle and a parsley leaf secured with a toothpick.
 If I could only tell you one thing I would tell you that my son ate at least ten of these and two bowls of soup - I think that's a record. In fact by the second round he just said "just give me the pickles and tomatoes whole - I can't wait - these little grilled cheeses are the best!" So I did. 
1.                  Land O’Lakes has produced a variety of top-quality cheese products, from farm to table, for over 90 years. Land O’Lakes is a farmer-owned cooperative, consisting of independent farms, large and small. These farmers take pride in providing the best ingredients to go into all Land O’Lakes cheese products, so you know they care and it shows. You can get America’s favorite cheese sliced fresh at the deli counter, just how you like it, at a wide variety of grocery retailers and independent delis, primarily on the East Coast.

 Land O’Lakes cheese - a taste everyone loves.

*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY Sidecar series. All opinions given are my own.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Doggone Good at Char-Broil

Turn your next tailgate party into a gourmet event; it’s easy with these kicked- up dogs. Does mustard, ketchup and relish sound a little boring to you? It does to me! Make your own quick pickles and relishes ahead of time and say goodbye to the boring hot dog. Here, I grilled some elk sausage, cheddar bratwurst, Angus hot dogs and turkey sausage. Then, I served them in traditional buns as well as on grilled garlic Texas toast. The real punch came from my assorted “pickles” that each person can mix and match or pile and pile on high. Oh… don’t forget to bring the mustard and the ketchup.

Check out the recipe for pickles at Char-Broil Live and if there is a grill you like you can get 25% using this code C13CG25
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