MILLET BURRITO BOWL

This falls under the “best use of leftovers” category.  Lately, I’ve been addicted to THIS Spiced Millet Breakfast Bowl.  As per Sarah’s recommendation, I have been making a huge vat of millet and using it throughout the week.  As an aside, the correct pronunciation is mill-IT.  However,  I prefer to call it “mill-AY”, because I’m fancy like that.  If you would like more info on this grain (I refuse to call it bird seed, because that will only gross you out, and you should not be afraid), check out what BOB has to say about it. PS – I buy mine from the bulk section of our local store to save me some duckets.

Anyhoo.  I came home from a long ass day work, and had a serious craving for a burrito bowl.  And when I have a craving, don’t nobody wanna get in my way!  Upon perusing my fridge, I found leftovers from Sunday night’s meal of grilled flank steak…

….and knew I was in business.  Toss in the leftover mill-AY, black beans, a few other veggies, and VOILA, I was a happy girl.  I love burrito bowls because you can use whatever you have on hand, and they are always d-to-the-licious.  Last night’s shmorgishborg included the following:

MEAT:
Leftover flank steak, sliced paper thin, then doused in fresh lime juice.  Let it come up to room temp while you prepare the rest.

MILLET:
For a large vat of cooked millet: bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add 2 cups of millet, simmer covered for 20-30 minutes, until all water is absorbed (stores well in the fridge for the week).

In a 12 inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Toss in about 3 cups of cooked millet, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Heat the millet through, and adjust seasonings to your preference.  (Sidebar:  chipotle powder would be great here, but alas, I was out.)

CHILI LIME DRESSING:
This part is totally optional, but I like a little dressing on mine (it eliminates my need to slather everything in sour cream…. not that I’m judging – if that is what you want to do, go for it!).  I also eyeball my dressings, so use this as a guide and make changes as needed:
1/3 cup canola oil, 2 teaspoons agave, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, juice of half a lime, salt to taste.  Whisk it together well and adjust.  (I also added a dash of cider vinegar to mine, just to give it some kick)

VEGGIES: 
The sky is the limit.  Here is where you can really get creative with whatever you have available.  I vouch for the following:  diced heirloom tomatoes, rinsed black beans, corn, fresh cilantro, green onion, diced yellow bell pepper, a bit of finely shredded lettuce, and a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese just to make things fun.  I assure you that avocado would have been invited to this party as well, but I was out.  Sigh.

Avocado or not, it was scrumdiddlyumptious.  Super light and fresh, without giving me the dreaded “gut bomb” that I sometimes experience after such a meal.

Oh.  And did I mention that it’s MAY?!  I can smell dirt and freshly cut grass.  Yessssss!  Bring.  On.  Summer.  That is all I have to say.

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Filed under dressings, meat, mexican, quick and easy

WINE STEAL trader joe’s grand reserve – 2009 cabernet

I am no wine snob.  Just wanted to make that perfectly clear from the get-go.  I am, however, a Trader Joe’s shopping snob (stated smugly whilst shining my nails upon my lapel).  Seriously, if shopping at Trader Joe’s were a competitive sport, I would absolutely be on Varsity.  Maybe even Pro.  So, it took me completely by surprise when I learned that I have been missing out on, perhaps, one of the BEST TJ’s deals:  their estate produced wine, marketed under their own private label.  I’ve walked past these bottles countless times, dismissing it as “generic wine”.  What a ROOKIE!  The Trader Joe’s 2009 Grand Reserve Cabernet is a total steal at $12.99 per bottle.  Produced by a top-secret winery, this wine could easily sell in the mid $20 range should they market it under their own label.

Truth be told, I vacillated about whether or not to post about this.  Mainly because I want to go back to Trader Joe’s and buy the remainder of their stock immediately (once it’s gone, it’s gone, folks).  But then I remembered that I’m the one who’s totally late to the party on this.  So here you go:  don’t pass this one up, it’s well worth your thirteen bucks.

I will now ride the pine, with my tail between my legs, on the JV shopping squad.  At least I can soothe my wounded ego with another glass of this fabulous cab.

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HOME TOUR powder room redux

With the exception of a quick jaunt to Mexico, we have been up to our usual antics here in Kleeville: painting and tiling anything that stands still.  Our latest conquest has been the tiling of our kitchen backsplash, which is not quite worthy of photo documentation at this point.  In the mean time, I can offer you a peek at another little project that we finished prior to our trip.

Mad props go to our builder, Cory McCandliss, for incorporating several unique touches into what was originally built as a spec home.  One of my favorite rooms is this little powder room, located off the kitchen.  When we first toured the house, I immediately swooned over the basin sink and bamboo pedestal that Cory built into this bathroom.  The original wall color, Lenox Tan by Benjamin Moore, started to look dingy over time.  Having recently painted the living room in “Metal Shavings”, we decided to go with another dark gray.  We chose “Chelsea Gray” by Benjamin Moore, as it compliments the travertine tile so nicely.

Here’s the before picture.  Before you look at it, I just want to say a few things.  Firstly, this is the ONLY picture I could find of the previous color (believe me, I looked HARD).  Secondly, my husband is a really good person.  Thirdly, this was taken on the night of my surprise 35th birthday.  We maybe might have ended up at Jack’s that night.  Or maybe he had food poisoning.  Or something.  What I’m trying to say is:  please attempt to reserve your judgement.  (Actually, you should go ahead and judge our friend Rich, because it was ALL his fault.)  Anyhoo….here it is.  The BEFORE photo:

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BEFORE

Sorry about getting my thumb in that lovely shot.  (Pretty sure I had a 7 layer burrito from Taco Bell in my other hand.)  And here…ta daaaaaa… is the AFTER photo:

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AFTER

We are thrilled with how the dark paint contrasts with the sink and artwork:

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PAINT COLOR:  Chelsea Gray by Benjamin Moore
ORIGINAL ARTWORK:  Brenda Dunn
BASIN SINK:  Decolav

Coming soon:  kitchen tile backsplash.  So far I am elated with the results.  The tile is on the wall, next comes the grout.  Good times all up in here!

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Grandma Dottie’s Tomato + Horseradish Pot Roast

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately:  Grandma Dottie was batsh*t crazy.  Don’t let her charming name fool you, people, the woman was N-U-T-S.  We can all admit to having a bit of “crazy” lurking around somewhere in our DNA, and my paternal grandmother is responsible for mine.  Those of you who are shuddering, while you conjure images of some sweet little Nana, can stop right now.  I assure you that there was nothing sweet –or little –about Dottie.

Garish moo-moo’s, plastic go-go boots, and “creative” religious beliefs aside, my grandmother was nothing, if not a fabulous cook (I must give credit, where credit is due, after all).  To this day, the mere thought of her baking powder biscuits makes me drool profusely.  So for that, Grandma Dottie, I thank you…. 

While it’s true that she never won “Grandmother of the Year”, Dottie could cook a mean pot roast.  As a kid, Lin-babes worked hard to lure me into eating anything having to do with red meat.  Remember Randy’s meatloaf scene from A Christmas Story?  That was me.  Dottie’s pot roast changed all of that.  It was like a gateway to my becoming a full fledged carnivore.  Oh…and the gravy that it yields? Forgetaboutit.  Amazeballs.

I present you with my attempt at recreating Dottie’s masterpiece (my dad may argue that Chicken Curry was her piece de resistance, so for the sake of argument, we’ll get to that dish another time)….

CRAZY ASS DOTTIE’S POT ROAST:
1 Whole(3-3 1/2 pound) Chuck Roast
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Carrot
1 Sweet Onion, Chopped Fine
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 Cup Beef Broth (plus more if needed)
4+ Tablespoons Horseradish (TJ’s makes a spicy one!)
1 (15 oz) Can Tomato Sauce
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
Salt + Pepper
1 1/2 Pounds Assorted Root Vegetables, Cubed
(carrots, WHITE sweet potato, red potatoes, etc)

1.  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.   Pat the roast dry with paper towels, then salt and pepper the heck out of it.  In a dutch oven, heat 2 TBSP of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Brown all sides of the roast, only slightly browning the top.   Transfer roast to a plate. 

2.  Add chopped carrots and onion to the pot and cook until softened.  Add garlic and thyme.  Stir in beef broth, scraping up all the delicious bits on the bottom of the pan.  

3.  Return roast and accumulated juices to the dutch oven, and slather the top with horseradish–you want a thick layer.  GENTLY pour the tomato sauce over the top of the roast, making sure not to disrupt the horseradish.  Add a bit of water or broth to the pot so that the liquid comes about half way up the roast.  

4.  Cover the pot and cook on the lower bottom shelf for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, nestle the the root vegetables around the roast and spoon some of the cooking juices over them.   Cover and return to the oven for another hour.  Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.   (Total cooking time for a 3+ pound roast = about 3 hours)  

I like to shred mine up a bit, and discard any marbled fat pieces.  Make sure to get as much of the tomatoey horseradish goodness onto the meat as you can.  Spoon a little of the cooking gravy over your root vegetables (white sweet potatoes are the BOMB with this roast), then say a little prayer for my Grandma Dottie and dig in!!!


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Sweet + Spicy NUTS

This recipe was passed down from a friend to a friend to a friend.  I tinkered with it a bit, and gave some away in little gift bags over the holidays.  We  seriously could not keep our hands out of these nuts!   So, with the Super Bowl on the horizon, I thought I would pass it along.  They are the perfect combination of spicy and sweet (I highly recommend heating them up right before you serve them).  Enjoy!

2 TBSP Vegetable Oil, plus extra for the pan
2 Cups Whole Roasted Cashews
2 Cups Walnut Halves
2 Cups Pecan Halves
1 Cup Whole Almonds
1/3 Cup Honey, plus extra
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1TBSP Ground Chipotle Powder
Minced Rosemary, divided
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet with vegetable oil.  Combine the nuts with 2 TBSP vegetable oil, coat evenly.  Whisk together honey, brown sugar, and chipotle powder.  Mix with the nuts to coat evenly.  Add enough rosemary to lightly coat, then season with salt, toss again.  Spread nuts into a single layer, drizzle on a bit more honey (continue to add more chipotle powder/honey until you are happy with the spicy/sweet combo), then roast for 20 -25 minutes, stirring half way through.  When they are golden brown, remove from oven and finish with remaining salt and fresh rosemary.  

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Mom’s Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

 

This is, hands down, my favorite way to eat asparagus!  Thanks goes to my sweet momma for sharing her simple recipe (Lin-Babes is a total badass in the kitchen).  The asparagus is nice and light, but has a little crispy deliciousness from the parmesan that makes it super addictive.  We recently had this with the Horseradish-Crusted Salmon recipe from Real Simple.  You can bake them both at the same time– the salmon took about 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees.   It is a quick and easy dinner to prepare, from the fridge to the table in 30 minutes.

 

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil (*start with one teaspoon, add more as needed)
1 to 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
course salt
freshly ground pepper 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a cookie sheet, lightly drizzle the asparagus with one teaspoon of olive oil at a time, using as much or as little as you need to lightly coat the vegetables (you don’t want to oil fry them).  Roll the asparagus in the oil until it is even.  Season with course salt and freshly ground pepper, then sprinkle on the finely grated parmesan cheese (buy pre-grated or use a microplane grater, just make sure it is fine).  Roll it around again, so everything is evenly coated.  Spread into a single layer, leaving a little room between each spear, so the heat can circulate around it.  Roast on the lower middle rack for about 7 or 8 minutes.  Take it out of the oven when it is still a bit firm (don’t overcook!).  Use a spatula to peel it off the sheet, it should have a nice, slightly crunchy layer on the bottom.  

 

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Filed under family recipe, quick and easy, veggies

Home Tour: living room redux

I love it when other blogs post home tour photos, so I thought I’d share a before and after photo of a recent project.

A few months ago, we installed these ANNO STRA Panel Curtains from IKEA.  They are super easy to install, sturdy, and offer a sophisticated look for the money.  We’ve been burned on curtain rods in the past, and love the sleek design of the suspension set mounting — you can stack up to three panels, on each side,  which allows for complete coverage of a 9′ window when pulled together.   When retracted, they nest behind one another, taking up little space.

While I love the look and versatility of them (you can easily cut them to any length), they blended in too much with our Lenox Tan (Benjamin Moore) walls.  A few Saturdays ago, I decided that I couldn’t handle any more tan-on-tan, and we’ve been on a painting binge ever since.  My husband is a good sport, and the master at cutting in the edges– he trusts me just enough to roll it out.  He also has a great eye for color, and picked out “Metal Shavings” (Miller Paint), which we had mixed using Benjamin Moore (their paint has far better coverage and is easier to work with).  We are thrilled with the results…

BEFORE: "tan-on-tan"

AFTER: "metal shavings"

pendant light, panel curtains, and book case:  IKEA
coffee table and rug: DANIA
original artwork:  “Eastern Gorge” by the lovely CATHLEEN REHFELD
ginormous dog bed:  RUFF WEAR

I love the contrast of the blonde wood and panel curtains against the dark gray.  It also makes Cathleen’s beautiful painting really stand out!  Our dog loves it too, apparently.

Coming up soon on the “Home Tour”:  the powder room, master bath, and new kitchen tile backsplash….we are on a tear, people!

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