Lobster Mac and Cheese

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It’s Valentine’s Day, the day of love. To us, we celebrate love on a daily basis. Even on the days where we can’t seem see things eye to eye, we still celebrate it every day.  I am lucky and proud of the fact that Michael and I love each other through our many strengths and craziness.

So this year for Valentine’s Day, we opted to stay in for dinner and cook lobster mac and cheese. I was walking around the store on Sunday thinking about what we should make. I walked by the meat and seafood department and saw that lobster tails were on sale. That was when a light bulb turned on in my head and I thought to make lobster mac and cheese. This is a relatively easy recipe adapted from my cooking idol and inspiration, Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. I paired this mac and cheese with sauteed broccoli. You can always have mac and cheese on its own, as a side dish with steak, or with a side salad too. So here you have it, lobster mac and cheese. Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Serving size: 4-6 people    Prep time: 10-15 minutes    Cook time: 50 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Macaroni
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Lobster tails
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 Cup Cheddar
  • 4 Ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook your macaroni until it is very firm. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 35o° F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.

Using a pair of scissors, cut down the middle of the bottom of the lobster tails in order to remove the shell. Take care to not cut into the meat.  In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter starts to brown, place both lobster tails in and begin to stir for one minute. Remove lobster tails and set aside.  Allow for the tails to cool, and then chop into chunks.

Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet. Put in flour and whisk to combine. This will create a roux. Let your roux cook for about a minute; make sure to whisk constantly. Pour in milk, continuously whisking, then cook sauce until thick and bubbly. Next, add your salt and pepper. Add Parmesan, cheddar, goat cheese and stir until melted. Once melted, add lobster chunks and cooked macaroni. Sprinkle in parsley.

Pour mac and cheese into buttered pan and top with extra cheddar. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a slight crust has formed and the cheese is nice and bubbly.

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Maria’s Spam Fried Rice

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You make a bunch of white rice in the rice cooker.  But what do you do with that leftover rice?  Alas, this was my dilemma one night.  I had leftover rice from the night before and not a lot in the kitchen except for Spam, eggs, and kale.  I wasn’t even a fan of kale at the time – it was there to be used as food for our guinea pig.  But, Michael was coming home from work and I needed an idea for dinner.  I had made fried rice before, but never with these ingredients.  With no other good options, I mixed the Spam, eggs, and kale with the leftover rice, and created was has undoubtedly become Michael’s favorite dish.  Since that night, this fried rice recipe has always been a hit in our home with friends and family.  It’s incredibly simple to make, and full of flavor.  Don’t let the Spam frighten you.  Spam is widely used in Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cooking.  If it’s good enough for meals in paradise, it’s good enough to use in this fried rice recipe in your home.  Without further ado, here is Maria’s Spam Fried Rice.

Serving size: 4 people    Prep time: 5 minutes    Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Spam (Cubed)
  • 4 Cups rice (day old)
  • 1 Bunch of kale
  • 1/2 Onion (diced)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Salt

Directions:

Start by prepping your vegetables. Dice your half of an onion and chop kale into smaller leaflets. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and set aside. Cut spam into cubes as well and set to the side.

In a deep frying pan or wok, heat up oil of choice. For this recipe, I used canola oil. Once oil is heated, saute onions and garlic. Then place cubed Spam into pan and saute with onions and garlic. Once Spam is browned and crisp, place rice into pan. Mix together for about 3-5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper. Once mixed together, add soy sauce. After salt, pepper, and soy sauce have been mixed into rice mixture, add eggs and thoroughly blend throughout rice mixture. Once eggs are mixed into rice, add your kale. Continue to mix fried rice for another 5-7 minutes or until kale is slightly wilted.

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Chula Seafood

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Today is another food adventure. I apologize for the lack of recipes at the moment. We are in the process of moving and all my cooking gear are still boxed up. Watch out for next week’s blog for a wide variety of recipes. So stay tuned.

This week I decided to check out Chula Seafood in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since moving to Arizona from California, I will admit that I was a bit of a skeptic when it came to the freshness of seafood. But here at Chula Seafood, they are known for their fresh seafood, never frozen. And I have to tell you, they are true to their word. You can taste the freshness in the poke bowls. The tuna is exceptional and incredibly fresh.

For my food adventure, I ordered their Hawaiian Style poke bowl and their Confit Tuna Sandwich. The bowl consisted of Yellowfin Tuna, cucumber, carrot,  radish, mango, onion, edamame, macadamia nut, soy, sesame, ginger, garlic, rice. Their Confit Tuna Sandwich consisted of Albacore,House Giardiniera, avocado, spring mix, cucumber, paprika-ginger aioli,  on Noble Bread with a side of spring mix salad. It was all so delicious. I almost didn’t want to take any home to Michael. I at least let him try the tuna sandwich.

I highly recommend going to Chula Seafood. Every bite was truly heavenly. Service is amazing. I even took some of their smoked salmon home. Stay tuned for a recipe incorporating their smoked salmon. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, go to Chula Seafood!

Chula Seafood

8015 E Roosevelt St. Scottsdale, AZ 85257

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PT Noodles

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It’s been quite chilly the last week here in Phoenix. And for me, every time it gets cold, I crave a big bowl of Pho. Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of noodles (specifically rice noodles), broth, meat, and a few herbs. Typically, it uses beef or chicken. I ordered my Pho with rare beef, tendon, tripe, meatball, and brisket. Pho is typically served with sides of bean sprouts, mint, jalapenos, and lime wedges. You then put all of those ingredients in the hot bowl along with hoisen sauce and sriracha.  The beef in pho is typically served rare; it is expected to cook a little longer while sitting in the bowl of hot broth. Michael ordered vermicelli noodles with BBQ pork and an eggroll. It almost tasted like a noodle salad with the sweet pork. Both our dishes were incredible. Going there for lunch today totally hit the spot. And we most definitely got our grub on!

PT Noodles is located at 1375 N. Litchfield Rd, Suite 101 Goodyear, AZ 85395

 

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Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

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Candied bacon? Deviled eggs? What in the world? Yes, it is an incredible combination. This twist on the classic appetizer is always a hit with our friends. So much of a hit, that one of our good friends repeatedly requested that I make it this week’s featured recipe. I understand why it’s popular. The candied bacon adds a sweet, savory crunch that completely transforms the texture of the traditional deviled egg. Plus, the bacon provides a nice color contrast to the white and yellow of the egg. This is a great recipe to try if you’re preparing appetizers for a party. So without further adieu, here’s my Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs.

Serving size: 12 deviled eggs    Prep time: 5 minutes    Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Eggs
  • 6 Strips of bacon
  • 1/4 Cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp of Spicy Brown mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • 1/2 Tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tsp of chives
  • 1/4 Cup of brown sugar
  • Paprika and sriracha (as desired for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Lay out bacon on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread brown sugar over bacon until evenly coated. Place bacon in oven and bake for 18 minutes or until crispy.

Begin boiling eggs for 10 minutes while bacon is baking. Once eggs are cooked, place in ice bath for 10 minutes. Once eggs are chilled, peel and cut in half. Remove yolks and place in mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and chives. Mix until smooth. Place teaspoon amounts of the mixture back into the hollowed out egg whites.

Cut bacon into small pieces and place on top of the eggs. Garnish with a dash of paprika, s dollop of sriracha, and additional chives if desired. Ensure eggs are chilled prior to serving.

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Creamy Eggs & Avocado Toast

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Looking for a simple and small breakfast? I can’t really say this is light because of the creamy eggs. But I can tell you how incredible this toast is. The creamy eggs were an inspiration from Chrissy Teigen’s best selling cookbook Cravings.

Michael decided to cook me breakfast on New Year’s Day. I had received Cravings for my birthday from my brother and sister. So Michael decided to cook breakfast from it and chose the Creamy Eggs. Wow! They were phenomenal. We paired it with leftover cheddar biscuits.  It was an incredible pairing. Did I mention how amazing those eggs were? The nuttiness of the grated Parmesan and aroma of thyme created this beautiful concoction.

This Creamy Eggs and Avocado Toast is my take on the meal Michael prepared.

Serving size: 4    Prep time: 5-10 minutes    Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large eggs
  • 4 Pieces of toast (for this recipe, I used whole wheat)
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 Cup of heavy cream
  • 3/4 Cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp of Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 1/2 Tsp of thyme

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together  heavy cream, Parmesan, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp thyme. Preheat pan at medium heat and place butter to coat pan. Once butter is melted, place cream mixture into pan. Spread evenly throughout the pan. Once cream is spread out, crack open eggs into four parts in pan.  Add remaining thyme and pepper. Turn stove to a low temperature and allow eggs to cook for twenty minutes.

While eggs are cooking, place four pieces of toast in oven or toaster. Toast to your preference. Once toast is ready, allow one minute to cool down. When toast has cooled, spread avocados onto bread. Place eggs on top of avocado toast.

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Poke Poke Poke

Poke poke poke! What the heck is poke? Poke is a Hawaiian raw marinated fish salad, typically featuring ahi tuna.  Poke is a new trend in customized fast casual dining. Quite a bit of spots have opened up where customers can design their own poke bowl. Typically, these bowls contain a bed of rice topped with poke. From there, the bowl can be customized with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, edamame, and other toppings.  This trend hasn’t made it everywhere, however, so for my recipe today, we’ll be creating an at home version of my favorite Poke Bowl which features spicy mayonnaise.

Serving size: 2    Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 2 hours (to allow for rice to chill)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz of Ahi Tuna
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of Sriracha (if you would like it spicier, feel free to add more)
  • 1 tbsp of green onion
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Pickled ginger (optional)
  • Seaweed salad (optional)
  • Dried seaweed (Nori)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

Cook rice in rice cooker or stove top. Once rice is cooked, refrigerate between one to two hours.

Cut ahi into cubes and set aside. To create the spicy mayo, mix mayonnaise, sriracha, and sesame oil in a medium sized bowl. Add cubed ahi into the mixing bowl and thoroughly coat.

After the rice has chilled, place into serving bowls.  Evenly top the rice with poke.  Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and avocado.  Top with sesame seeds, nori, green onion, pickled ginger and seaweed salad as desired.

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