Sunday, December 11, 2011

South Western Breakfast Scramble


Second to Italian food I LOVE breakfast!  I worked at Denny's for a few years and I loved it just because I could eat breakfast at anytime.  There are so many ways to cook a simple egg.  I was a big fan of over-medium but have recently moved towards the scrambled.  I love to add peppers and onions to my scrambled eggs, squeeze in some ketchup, and dowse it with Tabasco!

Potatoes in general are a favorite of mine as well.  Again there are endless ways to cook the plain ole potato.  For breakfast I'm a big fan of small cut home fries with peppers and onions, just love peppers and onions I guess!  My favorite breakfast is the hash brown though.  I like them extra crispy.  I like them nearly burned in fact!

So being addicted to breakfast as I am, and having lots of friends who think they can't cook, I figured I would whip up a simple breakfast with everything all in one bowl.  It's jalapeno, carrot, peppers, onions, and sausage.  All cooked in one skillet so there is little to clean up!

South Western Breakfast Scramble
Here is what you will need:

a bag of your favorite hash browns with peppers and onions, or make your own
jalapeno
shredded carrot
sausage
garlic
chopped white onion
diced bell pepper
salt
black pepper
eggs


So I cheat with my hash browns as you can see from the picture above :)  These potatoes are great though, they are fresh never frozen and I found them in Albertsons right next to the breakfast meats.  As far as measurements it all depends on your taste and how many you are cooking for, you can not really mess it up, that is the beauty of a dish like this. 


 I shred my carrots so they cook faster, dice my onion and bell pepper.  I cut the jalapeno into rings and remove the seeds.  I like to start my hash browns first as I like them dark.  Then when ready add every thing else!  You may want to brown the sausage and crumble it up first tho, it was hard to get it to crumble and the hash browns soak up some major grease, but it is not impossible to do.  That is it, plate, serve, and enjoy!  A quick easy breakfast for all you people that say "I can't cook!" Oh yes you can!  I have said it before and I will say it again.  Cooking is only as hard as you make it!


What is your favorite breakfast?

Love Food, Live Life!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Whitetail Cafe!


If you know me then you know I am always on the look out for something new.  Well with word of my blog spreading around town I have gotten to hear a lot about every one's favorite places to eat.  I have even been approached by some restaurants to come in and give them a try.  I have some friends of the family that told me about this place and I am glad they did!

They feature wild game!  Now I grew up around hunting and fishing so I was instantly excited to go to a restaurant that served wild game. :)  The menu is not large, when you do something right and well it does not need to be.  I had a chance to speak to the owner Michael Powell and it was obvious he really enjoyed what he dose.  When we ate it became even more obvious!

I went with my usual partner in crime, my Mom, and her friends.  I love going out with them, they really crack me up and surprise me with some of the things they say :-D

They have a salad bar option, which is nice.  I like to make my own salad then you get exactly what you want!


Check out this Chicken Fried Steak! The picture does not due it justice, the thing is massive and cooked nicely.  Not tough as they can be if over cooked.


I know it is familiar but it wild game, Catfish! Served with Hush Puppies and Beans!  Delicate texture and breaded with corn bread.  I like this stuff now which surprises me O_o Taste changes try things constantly and you will surprise yourself one day!


I had to be more bold and try the Wild Pig and Venison Sausage.  There are two versions of this on the menu.  One is the sausage in its simple form (really not simple, it is bursting with flavor) and one that is stuffed with jalapeno and cheese.  I tried them both as my aunt ordered one and I the other. They are both good but I prefer spicy foods so I liked the stuffed version.



I have to admit I was jealous of my Mom's choice.  To me this is the star of our trip!  It is a Venison Burger.  It was so juicy and not gamey at all.  The bun was a type of jalapeno bread which just set it on a new level.  When I go back I am ordering that for sure! 



So in my jealousy I'm posting this picture of her digging in! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Love ya Mom<3



Love Food, Live Life!
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/328/1603121/restaurant/Whitetail-Cafe-Wichita-Falls"><img alt="Whitetail Cafe on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1603121/biglink.gif" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blackened Rib Eye with Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Spicy Herb Potatoes


So one of my favorite cuts of beef is the Rib eye.  It is essentially a piece of Prime Rib.  One of the most flavorful and tender cuts, it is hard for me not to order one when I see one on a menu.  When I cook a steak for myself I tend to use one, and I have posted a couple recipes that I like to use already.  This time it is a little bit different. I had been collaborating with Chef Kevin Smith and found out he made his own spices which he sold on the Etsy online market.  He no longer sells these spices as he has moved on to other ventures but I was lucky enough to get my hands on some.  He grows his own herbs and blends them with his own recipe of assorted spices.  There are three types, one for meat, seafood, and a veggie blend.  He also whipped up a batch of his blackening seasoning for me :) Now you wont find to many seafood recipes on my blog because I really don't care for seafood.  I am learning tho!  Your taste changes and since I have started exploring food with a greater depth I am learning that I taste food much more differently than I used to.  Food has more flavor and I can actually taste the different spices and layers of flavor.

With this discovery I had to try some scallops.  I had tried some at work and realized that if cooked properly I liked them.  Kevin suggested I do a Blackened Rib eye with Bacon Wrapped Scallops so this it what I came up with!

Lets start with the steak.

Blackened Rib Eye
Here is what you need:

a cast iron skillet (Teflon dose not like the extreme heat you'll need)
olive oil
blackening seasoning

Start by getting your skillet warming up.  The key is to get it to the point it is almost smoking!  Then rub down your steak with olive oil and apply the blackening very liberally.  Put a little olive oil in the skillet and add the steak.  It will smoke!  That is ok, you want the seasoning to form a nice crust and stick to the steak.  If you get nervous and try to flip the steak to soon there is a chance you will scrape the seasoning right off the meat.  I like mine rare so it dose not take to long to cook.  If you want yours more well done, turn down the heat after you have formed a nice crust on both sides of the steak.


Spicy Herb Potatoes
Here is what you'll need:

thin sliced potatoes
thin sliced jalapeno to taste
thin sliced sweet whit onion
rosemary to taste
thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste
butter to taste


I did my potatoes in a foil pack and cooked them out on the grill.  I did this because my old roommate Joe and I lived in a small studio at one time and all we had was a fire pit.  We used to make foil pack potatoes all the time so it was sort of nostalgic for me :)  This would be a great veggie idea for your next camping trip too!  Just trow all the ingredients minus the butter in a mixing bowl and toss.  Place the mixture on foil, a large enough piece that you can wrap them, top with a couple nubs of butter.  Close up the pack, you may want to double wrap them as the butter will want to run out!  Just use you finger to test the pack every now and then, it will have a lot of give when done, and make sure to flip it often so it dose not burn.


Bacon Wrapped Scallops
Here is what you'll need:
lemon juice
olive oil
black pepper 
fresh chives
I used the seasoning I got from Chef Smith so just use what ever you want, skip the sat tho!
bacon


Ok so I put no measurements because it really depends on how many your cooking for.  Just use your best judgement.  I juiced a lemon and mixed in some olive oil and whipped it together with some black pepper and marinated the scallops for about a half hour.  You are going to want to chop your chives real fine.  The bacon needs to be cooked off but be sure not to get it to crispy as you need to be able to wrap the scallops.  When your ready lay the bacon out, you will probably use about a half piece of bacon for each scallop.  Lay the bacon out coat what one side with the chives.  Season the scallops if you like and wrap them up with the chives on the inside.  Secure the bacon with a toothpick and cook away!  Scallops cook fast and get real rubbery if over cooked so make sure not to turn your back.  For presentation I tied some chive around each one, this was quite an irritating task!  The chives kept breaking on me :(  but I must say the end result was beautiful!
I have to admit I will be making this again.  I loved the steak which is needless to say.  The sweetness of the onion gave the potatoes a nice balance of sweet and heat.  The use of fresh herbs is away a good choice if they are available to you, they have much more flavor and go further.  I was so excited about the scallops!  They where bursting with lemon and bacon makes everything taste better right?  I was happy that I took Chef Smiths advice and went outside my comfort zone and tried some seafood.  It was a nice play on surf and turf and the scallops had such a clean flavor.

What is your favorite steak recipe?  How about your favorite seafood recipe?  If you have a blog link it in the comment box so we can share!

Love Food, Live Life!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 :) A Foodie holiday if ever there was one!


Well first off I need to apologize for my absence. I was going astray but with the help of good family and friends who kept on me about stopping my blogging I have made it a mission to make a comeback! Thanks to you all who helped me through this difficult time in my life and pushed me to get the help I needed and made me realize what is important to me! :D I love you all and can not stress enough how much you all mean to me.

So with Thanksgiving in sight the family decided I should do the cooking.  Don't get me wrong I was excited to do so, but my family loves the IDEA of me cooking more than my Style of cooking.  They are steak and potato people.  So am I but I don't do simple!  Everything I do has my own twist, a signature if you will.  Don't all the great chefs try to test themselves with every thing they do?  So my Mom and I had dinner at Applebee's one night and planned out a menu that would meet both worlds in the middle. 

I tossed a few ideas her way and she responded with "Now remember who your cooking for."

I had to laugh and said "No, they need to remember who they asked to cook!"  You would not go into Gordon Ramsay's Maze and expect hamburgers and hot dogs would you?  I hope not LOL!

We did end up with a great and fun menu in the end.

The star of the show was Prime Rib.  My favorite cut of beef aside from Veal Osso Bucco.  


All I do for my Prime Rib is rub it down with McCormick Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning and garlic powder.


For our first side we agreed on Scalloped Potatoes, right out of the box :) I did talk her into getting the Loaded ones with bacon and sour cream!


Next I got to play with green beans!  My Mom got me a subscription to Food Network Magazine so this was the first recipe I talked her into letting me try.  It was really good.  Fresh green beans, bacon, roasted pecans with crushed red pepper!  It went over really well of course, because everything is better with bacon :)


My sister in law brought over a classic Sweet Potato dish.  It was yummy and usual!


The next dish I talked her into was easy.  I played on her love for Black Beans.  This is an idea I had, sure it is not original but it was for me.  I call it Black Bean and Corn Salad.
Here is what you need:
1 can black beans rinsed
1 can corn drained
1 can Rotell
dry cilantro to taste
garlic salt to taste
butter to taste
Just throw it all in a pot and heat! Simple and delicious!


The next recipe I stole from Albertsons!  They have a great Tomato Mozzarella salad that I am addicted to.  I of course put my own spin on it!

Wichita Falls Foodie Italian Salad
Here is what you need:
1 package each of yellow cherry tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
and all the other ingredients are to taste,
sliced black olive
sliced green olive
fresh basil
oregano
minced garlic
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
sliced mini boccocini mozzarella balls

This is best to make the night before serving, stirring it whenever you think about it.  This will let all the flavors marinate and the cheese soaks in all that flavorful goodness!


Dessert was a good ole cheese cake with cherries!


My Mom and I also agreed on a Sweet Potato Pie!  I had never had one before and was so pleasantly surprised at how much like pumpkin pie it tasted like.  If you have never tried one I suggest you do so as soon as possible! (I must mention to you all my Mom burnt the marshmallow :) for those of you at work who have heard me joking about my Mom burning everything this is the proof! I love you Ma!)


Ok I lost the recipe we used but there are no shortages of good ones out there! Just pick one that sounds good to you and do it!

This Thanksgiving was so fun and delicious.  I got to cook with my Mom who was the one who got me started in the kitchen and my Blog!  I love her so much and am one lucky guy to have a mother that taught me to be a gentleman and a lover of food.  I hope you all enjoyed this Foodie holiday and the friends and family it brought together on that day. 

Love Food, Live Life!
What was on your Thanksgiving Menu? Leave a comment or a Link to your Blog and share!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hwy Cafe


I found me another lil place none of my friends have heard of!  Hwy Cafe Bar*B*Q -N- Grill is the type of place I have been looking for.  I am a HUGE breakfast fan and have not found a place that is not a cooperate owned restaurant that serves a good one.  They have a good breakfast and offer something for everyone for lunch and dinner. 

Breakfast is from 6 A.M. till noon I believe.

I have been back to this place twice! That is a rarity for me as I am always on the hunt for a new spot.  I love the service which was friendly but not overbearing.  I recently went to lunch with a good friend and we sat there for about two hours just enjoying each others company and never felt pressured to leave.  It was a nice lunch and I hope we can do it again soon :)

On my first visit I went with my usual partner in crime, my loving Mom.  We also had a great first experience.  The owner came by the table and made sure we were enjoying ourselves and made small talk with his obviously regular customers.

Let's get to the food!

My Mom had the Hot Link Sandwich.  It is served with real home made french fries, and corn chips all smothered in their signature chili and topped with jalapenos.  This thing was a huge plate of country style goodness.  The smoked sausage link was amazing how can you go wrong with home made chili fries?  The chips where a great addition as it gave the plate some texture.



I love BBQ so I had to try the smoked ribs.  They were astounding!  So smokey they almost had me coughing lol :D The seasoning was perfect and I felt it would be a sin to dip them in BBQ sauce.  In classic Texas style they are served with Texas toast, some raw onion rings, dill pickle, beans, and a most delicious potato salad.  I love Texas style potato salad, in California it's big chunks of potato and no vinegar.  I love the tang of the vinegar and the mustard!

I hope you give them a try, and if you do don't forget to mention the Wichita Falls Foodie sent you their way!

Love Food, Live Life! 


 <a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/328/1334151/restaurant/Highway-Cafe-Bar-B-Que-Grill-Wichita-Falls%22%3E%3Cimg alt="Highway Cafe Bar B Que & Grill on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1334151/biglink.gif" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Muffin Pan Meatloaf with Balsamic Parsnips


I am having so much fun trying all these new foods!!! I like to watch British cooking shows and they are always eating things we as Americans do not.  Parsnips are a common thing served in British cooking but I have never been to a restaurant here that served them.  I have never even known anyone to cook them at home. So in the spirit of being an adventurous Foodie I made it a goal to try them.  I whipped out my Flavor Bible and put this combination together, and I must say it turned out superb!

When I lived in Pahrump NV. my roommates mom would invite us over to dinner and she usually treated us to her most mouth watering meat loaf.  I do not know her recipe all I know is that she made it with Italian sausage and beef.  I decided to make a play off of that with my own twist.  We would always fight over the end pieces so I though why not put them in a muffin pan and make each piece an end piece!

Of course one of my favorite sides of late is my Tabasco mashed potatoes so I whipped up a batch of those as well :)


Muffin Pan Meatloaf
Here is what you'll need:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated sweet onion
1 cup or more seasoned bread crumbs
2 table spoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
fresh thyme to taste
fresh rosemary to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Start by sauteing your carrot and onion. Do there is no need to cook all the way through, but a shorter bake time due to the small size of the meat loaf muffins will not allow the veggies to cook all the way.  Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.  You will probably need more bread crumbs than a cup, the key is the texture.  You want it to be firm and hold shape, if it feels loose and dose not hold shape then you will have a melting affect and just have meat blobs.  :'(''' Bake at 350 for about an hour, make sure the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. I topped a couple with a little A1 towards the end of baking and I really liked it, when I make them again I will do it for all of them for sure.


Balsamic Parsnips

Here is what you'll need:
serves 4 to 6

Three large parsnips, peeled and sliced
two strips cooked bacon for bacon bits
5 scallions (green onion) for garnish
6 table spoons shredded Parmesan cheese
balsamic vinegar to taste


Boil your parsnips. To plate layer parsnips and Parmesan cheese. Top with bacon bits and sliced scallions.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar to finish! Easy, adventurous, and packed with flavor!

The meatloaf turned out sooooo goooood! It was moist, tender and the addition of veggies and the mustard gave it layers of flavor. Using fresh herbs whenever possible also adds a more dynamic taste to any dish. Fresh herbs are so much more flavorful and they even smell more pungent, and that in turn greatly affects the way things taste.
The parsnips are sweet like carrots once cooked.  The cheese and bacon of course make anything better! I like the balsamic finish because it leveled off the sweetness of the parsnips and pairs well with Parmesan and bacon. You NEED to try this for sure if your looking for something new to try as a side dish!

I have been loving using my Flavor Bible to come up with dishes that are as original as can be these days. Most everything has been done before, but you can always find some new flavors to combine and play with. If you try one of these I would really appreciate some feedback :) That is the only way I will know if you my readers like it! Remember to....
Love Food, Live Life!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roasted Lemon Chicken & Mustardy Carrots


The holiday season is creeping up!  Winter in general is my favorite season.  The holidays are just a bonus for me :)  My Mom started the holiday season a little early this year by getting me this awesome cookbook.  Southern Living is one of my favorite magazines and I have used several recipes I found from that publication on this blog.  This cookbook however was two gifts in one.  It is sold exclusively at Dillards and all the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House Charity!  Now if that is not worth it I don't know what is!  I am going to do several recipes from this awesome book as the holiday season treads on, hopefully you find some recipes you like and give them a try.

I recently had a friend at work want me to cook something on the lighter and healthier side.  Now I thought that was a great idea.  I need to tone back on all the super savory foods, my waist line has been moving in the wrong direction :(  I love lemon, I love chicken, I also love  carrots.  When I saw these recipes it was only natural that they make an appearance!
the above is a link to southern living

Here is what you need:

 1&1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 four pound whole chicken (I just used legs)
2 large garlic cloves minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
2 tablespoons butter softened and divided
1 teaspoon salt divided
2 tablespoons oregano divided you may need more if your not using fresh oregano
2 tablespoons fresh thyme divided

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  You need to zest a lemon to equal about 2 teaspoons (save your lemon you need the juice later). Combine the garlic, zest, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon, oregano, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1/2 your salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. You need to loosen the skin from the chicken and rub half the butter mix under the skin.  Sprinkle the remaining seasoning into the chicken cavity and rub it in.  If you do like I did and use chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken just add all the seasoning to the butter mix.  If you are using the whole chicken rub the remaining half of the butter mix on top of the chicken. Place Chicken on a lightly greased wire rack in a lightly greased roasting pan.  Now if you are using chicken pieces you are pretty much done here, just let it roast until you get an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which was about an hour for me.  If you are using the whole chicken you will need to baste the chicken every 20 minutes, this will make it nice and brown. It will take around and hour and fifteen minutes to roast. When done remove from oven and cover with foil. Transfer the drippings to a sauce pan and bring to a boil adding the rest of your butter, parsley and about 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Carve your chicken and drizzle the sauce over each serving. 


Mustardy Carrots

Here is what you need:

2 pound baby carrots
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Par-boil your carrots till just underdone. Drain carrots and add all your ingredients to a pan and cook, stirring constantly.  Be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. You want the carrots to glaze so be sure not to under cook.


Normally I would provide a link directly to the recipes I use but could not find them on the site. These are not my original recipes!

The chicken is bursting with the zesty flavor that I love! Roasting it makes it nice and juicy and allows you to work on some other task while it cooks not locking you down to the stove.  The color is awesome and the herbs are visible adding to the impact.  You eat with your eyes as much as your mouth! :-D   The carrots are glazed with a home made honey mustard basically, so if your a honey mustard fan you will love them.  I do not eat honey mustard at all! But one thing I have learned from doing this food blog is that you need to try  new things and have an open mind.  Your taste buds change, and even just the pairing of certain flavors may make one thing taste much different than you think.

Love Food, Live Life!



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hibiscus Cafe


I was really excited to go to Hibiscus Cafe just the other day and let me tell you it was better than I had imagined.  I love what little Greek food I have tried, mainly gyros and a nice Greek Salad.  This little restaurant goes beyond that!  I was very nice to see items on a menu that I was completely unfamiliar with.  Half the adventure of dining out is trying something new or a new twist on an old favorite.  This menu offered both. 

It is a small restaurant which I like.  It was also busy which is another thing to look for when trying new restaurants.  I always ask around as well and everyone seemed to love it that tried it.  One thing I need to point out that I also loved was a small message at the bottom of the menu.  It was something like this-"Due to the freshness of our ingredients we can not guarantee availability of all dishes" now that made my day!  Some of you may think what the hell!  If it is on the menu then I better be able to order it!  You obviously do not love food the way I and the owners of this restaurant do!  I would rather not have it than have a stale version of a dish.  This statement shows pride and care for the food and the guest.

We started off with an appetizer of Dolmadakia.  It is seasoned ground beef and rice wrapped in grape leaves and topped with a lemon sauce.  They were so good!  The portion was perfect for two or three to share and the zesty lemon flavor was right up my alley!  My first time eating grape leaves and I am on the hunt for some to cook with for sure!


Both meals came with a beautiful Greek Salad.  Taste better than it looks!  And I think it looks awesome!

My Mom had the Lemon Chicken.  Again it looks very good and delivers on the flavor.

If you know me or have been following this bolg then you know I'm all about lamb.  They had a lamb steak on the menu so naturally that is what I had.  It was seasoned wonderfully and cooked very well.  Both the dishes also came with Lemon Potatoes.  At first I was leery but O.M.G.!  I had an instant addiction.  I love zest and the potatoes popped with the zesty lemon flavor.  Potatoes absorb a lot of flavor so it was an awesome pairing.

If you live in Wichita Falls or the surrounding area and know a restaurant I should try pleas let me know!  You can contact me on Facebook @ C.j. Tate, Twitter @ DaFallsFoodie, or email me @ cjitsu6@gmail.com!
Love Food, Live Life!

<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/328/1334150/restaurant/Hibiscus-Cafe-Wichita-Falls%22%3E%3Cimg alt="Hibiscus Cafe on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1334150/biglink.gif" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>