It’s a great evening of after work cooking when I make a quick and easy vegan dish like this one and it turns out tasting far better than imagined.  I had found some great looking mustard greens at the Ojai Farmer’s Market last Sunday and didn’t know what I was going to use them for.  After a quick search on Pinterest, I found this amazing recipe using the Farro grain. The nuttiness of the Farro grain, the flavors of roasted onions and pinenuts along with some currants ended up making a flavorful dish that was greater than its parts.

If you are looking for something that takes only 20 minutes from start to finish, this salad will satisfy on many levels.

Full Recipe: [Farro Salad with Toasted Pinenuts, Currants and Mustard Greens]

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What’s Your Food Truck Name?

On January 23, 2013, in Food, by Chris Baccus
1

Ever wonder what your Food Truck name is?  Mystery solved.

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Jägerschnitzel for #SundaySupper

On January 19, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
73

This week’s Sunday Supper theme is Retro Recipes.  I was reminded a couple weeks ago about one of my favorite restaurants when I made some German Lentil Soup from Portland Oregon’s Der Rheinlander. The soup was great, but it was missing something. Something I loved to eat as a child – Jägerschnitzel.  It was one of the few ways I would eat mushrooms, the other being on supreme pizza.

Jägerschnitzel is basically a bacon mushroom cream sauce on a wiener-schnitzel  I had the recipe for Der Rheinlander’s basic schnitzel.  All I needed was some inspiration for a mushroom cream sauce.  I found a few on the web, but had an amazing mushroom cream sauce I’ve made many times before. Add some bacon and onions and I would be whisked back to the early 1980s eating a Jägerschnitzel in Portland.

I may have the oldest of the retro recipes in this week’s Sunday Supper event.  Both the Austrians and Italians claim to have invented the wiener-schnitzel. The Italians claim the dish was made in 1134 at a banquet for the canon of Milan’s St. Ambrogio Cathedral.

Now that’s retro.

Jägerschnitzel
Serves 4

4 veal scallopini, pounded thin
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon milk
1 lemon, juice
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
flour, to coat
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon cut into wedges

Mushroom Cream Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced and quartered
1 tablespoon cream sherry
1 slice bacon, small diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
small bunch parsley

For the schnitzel, wrap veal cutlets in cellophane and pound with a mallet. Heat a saute pan on medium-high heat with oil and butter.

Rub some lemon juice over the veal and then dredge the veal in flour.  A simple way to do this is to use a gallon ziplock bag and place about a 1/2 cup flour in the bag and shake the bag to coat the veal.  Remove veal from bag and now with the egg and milk mixed together in small bowl, coat the flour dredged veal in the egg and shake so it is not dripping egg and coat with bread crumbs.

Add the bread crumb coated veal to the saute pan and cook on each side until the bread crumbs are nicely browned, not burned, about 3-4 minutes each side.  Remove the cooked veal from the saute pan and place on a plate.

Now to make the sauce, add the bacon and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, onions, shallot, and thyme and cook for about 2 minutes then deglaze the pan with the cream sherry. Once the sherry has cooked off, about 1 minute, add the heavy cream and butter. Add the parsley and reduce heat to a simmer and place the cooked breaded veal back in the pan.

After letting flavors combine for a couple minutes, serve with spätzle and some vegetables.

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Join us Around the Family Table this Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time and share your favorite Retro Food Memory with us!

Sunday Supper Retro Appetizers:
Sunday Supper Retro Salads:
Sunday Supper Retro Breads and Sandwiches:
SundaySupper Main Dishes:
Sunday Supper Retro Sides and Veggies:
Sunday Supper Retro Desserts and Cocktails:

Sunday Supper MovementI’d love to hear about some of your favorite Retro Recipes!  Feel free to leave links and/or recipes in the comments.  Also, feel free to join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the#SundaySupper hashtag, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest.

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Carrot, Parsnip and Lentil Casserole #SundaySupper

On January 15, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
2

This is what I was going to make for last week’s #SundaySupper theme celebrating the One Year Anniversary of what “Family Foodie” Isabel started out as a friendly twitter conversation talking about what people were cooking on Sunday evenings.

I loved the early chats, since Sunday was a guaranteed day I’d be in the kitchen when the weekend came to a close. See our family eats mostly home cooked meals. We don’t do a lot of dining out. Mostly because we like to choose where are food is from, plus it helps I’m not a bad cook. So a lot of what I make is similar or better than what we get at most restaurants. Of course, it is also a great way to reduce our monthly costs even if do buy mostly local and organic. That’s still cheaper than dining out.

The Sunday Supper crowd grew from a few of tweeting our cooking accomplishments to now being a group of over 100 bloggers who contribute a post for each week’s Sunday Supper theme.  Last week everyone chose a recipe from a past Sunday Supper theme.  Sadly I came down with the flu on Friday and had my worst day on Saturday. I was all set to make my recipe and write a blog post, but my wife looked at me and told me ‘no, you’re not cooking tonight.’  So she made spaghetti and I went back to the living room to rest.

It’s Tuesday night and with all the ingredients still fresh and ready for me to make, I knew tonight would be the night I’d finally have a chance to try this casserole out. I had eyed it back in November when Katy from Happy Baking Days shared this amazing looking dish with the Sunday Supper group. Glad I did. It is an amazing dish, sort of a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe since I forgot I had spilled my bag of dried lentils the week before, I went with canned. Also, I had a small amount of tomato past to make the base a little richer. The original recipe is great too so don’t feel you need to adjust, unless you too spill lentils all over your kitchen floor and forget to restock.

Original Recipe: [Carrot, Parsnip and Lentil Casserole for #SundaySupper]

Carrot, Parsnip and Lentil Casserole
Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, thick bite-size chop
2 parsnips, thick cubes
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1 15-oz can lentils, drain
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, do not drain
1 tsp concentrated tomato paste
2 tsps cumin
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp ginger
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
4 white potatoes, peeled
2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon butter
Grated cheese, I used raw cheddar

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Heat a pan on medium-high heat with the olive oil, onion, and garlic for about 4 minutes or until translucent, not burnt. Then add the parsnips, carrots and salt and pepper to taste. Let that cook in the pan for about 3 minutes and then add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, lentils, kidney beans and spices and cook for 10 minutes at a slightly bubbling simmer.

While the vegetables are simmering, cook the the potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and add milk and butter and mash potatoes. Set aside.

Pour the vegetable mixture into a casserole dish. Flatten and then add several mounds of mashed potatoes.  Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle mounds of potatoes with cheese and increase oven to 400 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes until tops of potatoes brown.

Remove from oven and serve.

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Here are the other recipes from last week’s bloggers celebrating the One Year Anniversary of SundaySupper. Congrats again Isabel!

Sunday Supper Appetizers:

 Sunday Supper Soups and Breads:

 Sunday Supper Main Dishes: 

Sunday Supper Veggies: 

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks: 

 Sunday Supper Breakfast Faves:

Sunday Supper Wine Pairings by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

 

 

 

 

 

German Lentil Soup

On January 14, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
2

 

I lived in Portland, Oregon for 12 years growing up and one of my favorite places was The Rheinlander.  Our family would often do their Sunday Brunch, which is still the best brunch I’ve ever had. The restaurant also has an amazing cheese fondue that was reason number one to go there.  With so many great things, it was easy to overlook one of their best dishes – Lentil Soup.

Fortunately, chef Horst Mager published a cookbook years ago and I was sure to buy one last time I was in town.

Someone posted the recipe for the Lentil Soup on AllRecipes.com.  I highly recommend cooking this one and put up against your favorite lentil soup. If you have found better, please share. Otherwise, enjoy this wonderful German version then make some Wiener Schnitzel and Cheese Fondue.

Full Recipe: Rheinlander Lentil Soup.

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Gaming In-App Purchases and How to Prevent Them

On January 13, 2013, in Family, Featured, by Chris Baccus
2

I hate — emphasis on hate — games that use In-App Purchases (IAPs) especially games targeted at small children.  It’s been a vicious sneaky way for app developers to make some big money before parents wise up to what is going on while an innocent child doesn’t fully understand what they are doing to mom or dad’s credit card.

The latest story dealing with this sick tactic comes from The Guardian, “Parents told to beware children running up huge bills on iPad and iPhone game apps.” I’m sure it won’t be the last either.  With rapid adoption of tablet computers – many predict tablets will outsell laptops in 2013, this issue will grow.  It is far easier to give your toddler or young child a tablet to play on than say your home computer or laptop.  Tablets are light and easy for kids to understand using simple touchscreen motions. For instance, my two boys understood my iPhone at age 2, a similar type of interface as my iPad.

So what should you do as a parent?

Here is my approach:

  1. Try to avoid any game that is designed around In-App Purchases (IAPs.)  There are many great games that don’t use this tactic and I deplore it as a parent when buying a game for my child. So try to avoid games that use this.
  2. Change your iPad (or similar device) settings to not allow in-game purchases.  Here is a screenshot of that setting from my iPad 2. It is in your Settings application.  Go to General –> Restrictions –> (Enter your Restrictions Passcode) –> In-App Purchases setting and turn it to “OFF”

Do #2 regardless. This will block any in-app purchases without a password.

And please don’t get me started on all the manipulation from Disney’s Club Penguin. Genius game design though as a parent I find it repulsive.

Here are the screenshots for changing your In-App Purchases setting to off on an Apple iPad:

Step 1: Go to the Settings application and find the General setting

Step 2: Click on the Restrictions setting:

Step 3: You should be prompted by a password request. If not, please set a 4-digit passcode:

Step 4: Set the In-App Purchases setting to OFF:

 

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Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup

On January 13, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
6

I was definitely coming down with something and knew a good hearty soup would help get me through a couple days of sickness. Sadly by the following day when I finally made it to the doctor I found out the flu that has become an epidemic was what I had. This soup definitely helped; though, the Tamiflu medicine is pretty helpful too.

Whether you are healthy or sick this soup makes for a hearty dish during the winter months. It can also easily be made vegan by removing the sausage.

Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup
Serves 4

2 medium onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, slivers
1 tsp paprika
4 bay leaves
pinch chili flakes
2 cans cannelini beans
1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped
1 25 oz chopped Pomi tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
3 spicy italian sausages, bite-size cut
olive oil
pepper and salt to taste

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-high heat stockpot and add the onions with a pinch of salt, chili, bay leaves and paprika.  Let that cook for a 5 minutes until the onions become translucent, then add the garlic.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

Add everything else except the sausage and kale.  Bring everything to a boil and season with your liking of pepper and salt.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

While everything else is cooking, heat the sausage in a saute pan and brown it with some olive oil turning and cooking on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes for precooked sausage. Add to the soup. When you are about 10 minutes away from serving, add the kale to the soup.

Serve with some sourdough bread and some shaved parmesan cheese.

 

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San Antonio Puffy Tacos for #SundaySupper

On January 5, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
74

 

One of my favorite things about being part of the SundaySupper bloggers is how the weekly themes make me think beyond what I might normally do as a home cook.  This week was definitely one of those times as I had to consider what would I make from my Recipe Bucket List. Problem was I don’t have a Recipe Bucket List. So, I thought what to do? I’ve made fresh ravioli, homemade oxtail gnocchi, stuffed chicken, and a few other things came to mind, but all things I’ve done. Then it hit me.  Puffy Tacos.

When I was in San Antonio doing training for a potential wireline union strike at the phone company I had a chance to stop at Los Barrios, a well-known Mexican restaurant famous for their puffy tacos. At first, I wasn’t impressed with the place. It looked like a local Chi-Chi’s with tile tabletops, typical Mexican-American menu combo plates, and a focus on margaritas.  I was ready to be unimpressed and back to my true South of the Border love – street tacos (I have another blog where I review ‘street tacos’ found at Gas Stations.)

I ordered what I came for: Puffy Tacos.  They were great and the margarita was pretty good too.  They’re definitely different from the typical street taco I love and still prefer over a puffy taco, but the tacos at Los Barrios were pretty darn good and I left pleased with my evening out in San Antonio.

With a Recipe Bucket List decision to be made and my now living in Los Angeles, not Dallas, it was going to be some time before I returned to San Antonio so why not try doing this dish at home. Well that is just what I did and while they were not as perfect as Los Barrios; they were pretty good and a solid 4 out of 5 rating from this taco reviewer.

What might of helped is having a deep fryer and some additional experimentation. Plus I had trouble finding fresh masa corn flour. There was some at a local natural food market last week, but when I returned this week they said they only carried it during the holidays.  Too bad. So I went to the market and found some masa harina from Bob’s Red Mill that worked nicely, better than I thought it would.  So if you can’t find fresh masa, don’t worry just use a good quality masa harina and carry-on.

Puffy Taco Tortillas
Makes 6-10 shells

2 cups fresh masa or good quality masa harina
1 cup warm water (if using masa harina)
1 tablespoon lard or butter
2 Tablespoons baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying

You’ll need a tortilla press to make this recipe. I recommend finding an authentic Mexican market and find a press that is entirely flat, no lip or shallow cutout as some have. Also the heavier feeling the press the better – cast iron is preferred.

Mix the masa and baking powder together if using masa harina. If using fresh masa, just put into a bowl.  Slowly add the warm water to your flour constantly combining with your hands and finally add the lard or butter (I microwaved butter for 5 seconds, soft not melted.)

Continue kneading together and add a little more water if it is too dry and crumbly.  Add a little more masa if it is too wet. You want it to feel smooth and not sticky.

Combine into a large ball and put into a Ziploc bag for 20 minutes.

Open the tortilla press and place a sheet of parchment paper on each side of the press.  Take out about 1 ½” inches of tortilla dough and roll into a smooth ball.  Press in the center of the press.

Put the tortilla on a hot griddle or heavy non-stick pan.  Let it cook for 20-30 seconds on each side.  With a spatula remove it and place it into another pan with about a 1” of hot oil.

Let the tortilla fry for about 20 seconds it will begin to puff. With a spatula and some tongs navigate the frying tortilla to give it a center, “V” like form. Continue frying for about 1 minute working to maximize the puffiness of the tortilla. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel.

Continue with remaining dough then fill with your favorite filling.

 

Puffy Taco Filling
Makes 6-8 tacos

1 lb ground beef
½ small red onion, minced
½ green pepper, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 ripe tomato, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped lettuce

Mix beef with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat ground beef in a pan over medium-high heat.  Break up the meat and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and tomato paste.  Mix in pan and cook for about another 2-3 minutes.

Put cooked beef mixture into a puffy taco then top with tomato, cheese and lettuce.  Serve with some hot sauce like Tapatio and a couple cut limes.

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For more Recipe Bucket List adventures checkout the other #SundaySupper bloggers and join the chat on Twitter Sunday at 7pm EST.

This Week’s Sunday Supper Recipes:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Don’t forget to also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

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UPDATE: I watched the show this week. It’s a train wreck. Bad directing. Bad jokes. Obnoxious expressions. Tons of stupid gimmicks. This show will not last. It is painful to watch unless someone decides to rework it and make it more about the food instead of trying to be funny and cool.  Oh well, maybe some day there will be a good vegan cooking show that doesn’t insult my intelligence and use words like “funkalicious.”

Like most cable channels the Cooking Channel and the Food Network have been taken over by reality show competitions and less about learning how to cook that is why I’m happy to see a new show that gets back to cooking.  Yes cooking. You know learning a few recipes, enjoying the craft from a chef, and then trying it at home as opposed to watching four people I’ve never heard of coming up with disgusting concoctions using canned sardines and candy canes.

I remember great cooking shows like Mario Batali’s Molto Mario that taught simple, amazing Italian recipes to the masses. Perhaps this show can do that with vegetarian cooking.

The best part is this new show is entirely focused on plant based recipes, no meat.  Also organic, non-GMO, and some raw food people can learn to make.  How to Live to 100 debuts this Sunday at 5pm PST.  Bonus, the host Jason Wrobel is Detroit native

My only concern, since I haven’t yet seen this show, is it may be trying to be too clever. Jason describes the show as part cooking show sitcom, part comedy show, part man on the street. Three concepts in one. He claims they still manage to fit four recipes into each 30 minute show.

Guess we’ll see how much cooking really happens, but it is great to see a Detroiter bring vegetarian cooking to the masses in what looks to be a promising show in 2013!

More info: [Cooking Channel Website]

Jason’s YouTube Channel: [The J-Wro Show]

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