Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Rolls

It’s 2 in the afternoon.  I realize 2 pm is a bit past breakfast for most of the world, but we run on our own schedule around here.  Rat Boy is doing a Photoshop tutorial (a.k.a. school) and Hubby is napping.

I just polished off the most awesome breakfast pastry I have evah produced on my own.  By that, I mean it didn’t come out of a can with a little guy in a baker’s hat on the outside.

Behold the beauty of the Lemon Raspberry Roll!

Come to Mama!  🙂

I found the recipe at Joy the Baker.  She has many yummy things, but this one jumped out at me.  The recipe for these scrumptious breakfast rolls is here.

They’re a bit messy in the construction process.  I had a bit of trouble getting the filling to stay inside the dough as I was rolling it up.

And it’s a BIG piece of dough!  But I just scraped up all of the wayward filling and poured it over the rolls I managed to get into the pan.  The ends didn’t roll too well.  They’re more like knots.  😛

Somehow, magically, they cam out looking like this on my first try!

They look pretty, smell great, and taste fantastic.  The icing is sweet enough to balance out the lemon and raspberry tangy-ness without being too sweet.  Total awesomeness!  😛

Rat Boy and Hubby also gave 2 thumbs up.  Sometimes I wonder if they are just being nice so I’ll keep feeding them.  Not today.  I ate 2 already, and would probably have another, except we’re going for sushi in a couple of hours!

Plus, my diet plan is screaming in agony…as are my jeans.

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Caturday…The Back to School Edition

And so it begins….again.

Because kids are germy when they get back together at the beginning of the school year…

Even Rat Boy is getting back into the groove!

Kitchen Kat wants his own blog.

Is having some troubles getting lappy open…

Y’all have a great week!  Meanwhile, I’ll try to cook something decent!  😛  I’ve been in bread-baking learning mode this week…and you REALLY don’t want to see my beginner’s efforts.  Not attractive.  Yet.

Chicken Taco Solutions

So I had some leftover grilled chicken breasts hanging out in the ‘fridge, along with some pico and a hunk of cheddar cheese.  I had been reading “My Brother’s Tacos” on Pioneer Woman earlier this week…fortuitously it would seem.

When Rat Boy gave his hungry almost man-call I lept into action.  Actually, I went and stood in the door of said fridge, shopping around.  And saw the chicken.  Miracle moment for me…thankfully.  And I’ve never been so glad that I started reading other people’s food blogs.  (and that Aggie turned me on to the whole blog scene)

I hauled out a small saucepan, figuring that I’d only be making a couple of tacos.  Blessings to the inner voice that said at the market yesterday, “Just throw a bag of tortillas in the cart…they might come in handy”.  So a thin layer of oil to start.  Thankfully, I had something besides olive oil on hand, so I went with canola, which really seems the better of the two for frying.  🙂

Shredding the meat from the already cooked and chilled breasts was SO easy…usually I’m leaping around the kitchen waving my burnt fingers, LOL.  Then I stirred in the pico, and voila!

Yes.  All that remained was to slap some into a corn tortilla and throw it into the hot oil.  Not literally, it’s just a way we Texans have of exaggerating some things.

Really, they look and smell awesome.  Brown, and turn, and brown, and drain.  Using paper towels.  LOTS of paper towels.  It really helps when removing the finished tacos from the pan if you hold them at an angle to let the most oil run out of the taco at that time.  If you want to live dangerously, it can run out onto your hand later.  I am not responsible.

After draining, add cheese, guacamole, sour cream, or whatever floats your taco boat.  A couple of tacos turned into four, then the entire bag of tortillas was gone.

Rat Boy let me have a bite.  They were great!  🙂

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallops with Apricot Cream Sauce

My friend, Thomas from Norway, made a variation of this dish for me when I nearly froze to death visited Oslo a few years ago.  He used scallops and dried apricots (I’m assuming that apricots do not grow in Norway).  It was delicious!  So I keep making it, and changing it up a bit here and there.  This time I added the shrimp, as it is summertime on the Texas Gulf Coast and the shrimp are fresh and plentiful!

I decided to use fresh apricots.  The fresh apricots at the market looked so good!  I just had to have some.  🙂

Pan seared shellfish is always a winner in my book.  I used a little thyme infused olive oil.  Be sure not to brown them, not cook them all the way though, as you’ll be finishing them in the sauce.

I did the shrimp separately, as you want to gently turn the scallops, but you can stir the shrimp.

Mmmmmm.  Yummy!  😛  I love shrimp!

Remove scallops and shrimp to a plate.  I used the leftover juices in the pan to stir fry/steam some asparagus while preparing the sauce.

Just toss it for a minute or so in the hot pan, cover and remove from heat.  By the time the sauce is done, so is the asparagus.

For the sauce, I used a larger pan on low heat.  Start by melting the cream cheese (the variety of which is your choice entirely), adding a little white wine to thin the melting cheese.  I used about 1/4 cup wine for a 8 oz. block of mascarpone.  When the cheese is melted, add the diced apricots.

Let the sauce simmer just slightly, stirring until all the lumps are incorporated.  Not the apricot lumps.  They will stay lumpy.  The sauce will take on a gorgeous pale apricot color from the juice.

Add the shrimp and scallops with any drippings from the plate, and let them finish cooking.  Since they were only pan seared, they should need another 5 minutes or so to be completely cooked.  That gives them time to soak up the apricot flavor of the sauce.  🙂

I made some quinoa with shitake mushrooms to go with this saucy seafood dish.  Pasta and rice are also good choices, as you want something to soak up the extra sauce.  It’s so good, you’ll want to lick the plate if there’s no other way to eat it!

I added some sprigs of fresh thyme just before serving.  Just because it looks pretty.  I already had the flavor it the shrimp and scallops from the oil, but more thyme never hurts!  And black pepper of course.

The presentation looks suitably upscale also.  I’m making myself hungry again.  😀

Caturday is Here Again!

At least this morning I am awake enough to spell.  I think.


Must be some nice city folks.

I’m off to yoga.  Enjoy your Caturday!

Tilapia

We are SO lucky in some ways.  Yes, it’s hot.  Yes, it’s humid (well, usually).  Yes, traffic stinks.  But we do get to have access to some of the best fresh seafood, courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico.

I was feeling adventurous yesterday, so I ran over to the fish market about 20 minutes from the house to see what they had in stock.  It’s always fun to arrive and see the shrimp trawlers pulled up to the docks out back, and see the guys unloading their haul with shovelfuls of ice.  The seagulls I could do without, though Rat Boy has believed they are his minions ever since the fateful beach trip where I gave him a bag of Goldfish crackers and let him feed the flying rats until his little heart was content.

Anyhow, I decided to get some Tilapia, mostly because it looked great, and they had already sold out of Redfish.

I like to bake Tilapia, as it’s pretty firm, but usually very thin.  The filets I got yesterday were a little more robust, but they were a bit larger than usual, so I guess that’s to be expected.  I start by slicing an onion (sweet for this dish) fairly thin, and layering it in the bottom of the pan.

The fish lays nicely on top.  This keeps it raised up on a little platform of onion, not soggily soaking in all the juices.  Plus, the onion tastes fabulous when it’s finished!

Sprinkle some black pepper and chili powder on the fish, then drizzle olive oil over the filets.  This is the thyme infusion I made about a month ago with thyme from the thyme/basil experimental pot on the porch.

I added a thinly sliced lemon and some coarsely chopped basil.

Pop it into a hot oven…400F for about 20-25 minutes.  The fish should be flaky when it’s done.

It just looks gorgeous when you pull it out of the oven.  If you’ve got a nice casserole dish, you can use that, and it goes straight to the table looking awesome!

Last night, it was available at my take out counter (aka the kitchen counter) with a mushroom couscous.

This is SO easy, and looks so pretty.  Everyone thinks it took hours to prepare.  Truth is, I only had the oven on for about 30 minutes in all.  But we won’t share that.

Don’t forget…keep wiping your brow and muttering, as I find that tends to keep the menfolk out of the kitchen.  Then enjoy a nice glass of vino!  🙂  And graciously accept their praise when they dig into this yumtastic fish!

Orange Chicken

Monday, I had some boneless, skinless chicken breasts hanging out in the fridge.  I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them, but they needed to move along.  So I threw them in Tupperware with about a cup of orange juice.  I figured that would at least give them some flavor, and maybe some juiciness also, and me some time to figure out what the heck to do with them.

So last night, after yoga and pilates and mostly conquoring the HUGE basket of laundry that Rat Boy dumped in my laundry room (I really wonder if he had ANY clean clothes left in his room but  that is a story for another universe time)…after all that, I realized I hadn’t made dinner.   And it was 9 PM!!!  Hubby leaves for work about 10-10:15.  CRISIS MODE!!!

Then, I remembered the chicken and started rummaging to see what else I could find.  I had an onion.  A red bell pepper was hanging out in the back of the produce drawer.  I always have rice and pasta.  And I located some broccoli that looked like it was ready to get up and leave the room.  On its own.

I started by slicing the marinated breasts pretty thinly.  Pretty unimpressive looking raw chicken.

 

I have an electric stove 😦 so I don’t use a wok.  Instead I started the large skillet heating, and drizzled some basil infused olive oil into it.  When it was hot…REALLY HOT, I tossed in the chicken to brown.

You want this to cook quickly so it doesn’t dry out, and stir frequently, so it doesn’t cook unevenly or stick.  Non-stick is my friend.  🙂

 

Keep tossing until all the pieces are nicely browned.  Mmmm…browned chicken is so pretty!  🙂

Then thinly slice an onion and toss that in also.

 

The chicken will juice as it cooks so keep up the heat and the stirring.  Add red pepper flakes to taste.  We like it HOT!

 

Keep stirring!  While some of the liquid was steaming off, I started thinking sauce.    I just had to use the orange juice, so I whisked that together with about 1/2 cup of light soy sauce, a couple of dashes of rice wine vinegar, and a tbsp of corn starch.  I ❤ corn starch…since I finally moved out of the Dark Ages and started using it!  Add all the liquid to the pan and stir, stir, stir!

 

Add the other veggies you want to include.  Last night it was red bell pepper and broccoli.  Nice red/green combo!  And, yes, that’s basil.  Don’t tell Hubby.   🙂  Had to trim the plant yesterday…again.

 

You’ll want to turn down the heat and stir until the sauce thickens, then cover the pan, and let the steam work on the last veggies so they aren’t completely lifeless and wilted.  I totally hate soggy broccoli!

 

You’ll note everything has a nice glaze to it.  That’s the corn starch at work.  If you stop stirring too soon, it WILL burn and stick, creating the gooey gelatinous mess from the Black Lagoon, which by the way, IS actually in Texas.  East Texas.  A whole different world out there.  I know.  I have relatives.

Back to the chicken.  I decided to serve it with rice, as it had taken on a distinctly Oriental flavor in the creative process.  The basil was a nice, slightly peppery addition.

 

And Rat Boy went nom nom nom nom…and then he came back to see if there was any left.  And went nom nom nom again!  Success!  And I really only had to wash the one pan.  (And one for rice, but it’s small.)   😀

I didn’t use any garlic, but I’m sure it can do nothing but improve any dish, so I’ll probably add some next time, and maybe some real hot peppers if I have them.  This didn’t turn out too spicy, regardless of the quantity of red pepper flakes I used!

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