Cook It Real Slow

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First off, a very Happy New Year to all my readers.  All 17 of you! :-)  I hope your holiday season was filled with fun, friends, family and of course…copious amounts of delicious FOOD! The past month was a whirlwind of activity both in and out of the kitchen for me here at Zia’s Kitchen, not just due to special holiday meals, but also because my birthday falls smack in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was difficult to get out of the kitchen and to my computer, but I am back now to ring in the New Year and share some of my culinary adventures from the 2013 Holiday Season and my new adventures in 2014. To begin with……….. 

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Fish Taco Tuesday

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Or it could be called Taco Tuesday Madness.  Madness because of the undertaking of this meal when you are making (almost) everything from scratch and dealing with 2 kids under the age of 2. A mad undertaking it was, but it was for Mama Sis’s birthday and truth be told I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good fish taco and I have learned to make them pretty decently.

Ok there was a lot to this meal, a few things were store-bought like the corn tortillas for example – I’m not COMPLETELY mental in trying to make those.  I also bought a Pico de Gallo and black bean dip this time because I really didn’t have the time and there is already a crazy amount of chopping involved in this meal. The rest however was made by little old me…. 

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Breakfast for Dinner

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE breakfast. I mean I love food in general…obviously, but breakfast is my favorite meal.  Strangely enough breakfast holds many many memories for me, more so then any other meal…particularly downthashore”. That’s how you say “Going to the beach” if you are from Philadelphia or New Jersey.

Growing up, we had a beach house in Ocean City and most mornings Dad was in charge of breakfast.  This was decades before I realized I should be eating Gluten Free so we had pancakes, pork roll sandwiches (another Jersey/Philly thing), sticky buns from Mallon’s…you name it.  I even have distinct memories of being at my Dad’s parents beach house – Mommom and JJ and watching my grandmother make cream chipped beef. That was my Irish side of the family…. 

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Zucchini Polenta Lasagna

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Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
― Julia Child

Or pan. Or baking dish. Or mixing bowl…..

Sage advice from Mrs. Child, and something I occasionally forget to do. Now, due to Littledude’s vehement refusal of greens I have resorted to trickery and deceit these days.  Although a lot of dairy is not good for anyone, cheese is the proverbial “Golden Ticket” of ingredients to get him to eat anything green these days so cheesey goodness hiding the veggies is the way I have been going…. 

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Getting Figgy With Your Mushrooms

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Figs, glorious figs!

I love when figs are in season.  Well I love seasonal anything, but figs are one of my favorites.  Black Mission Figs to be precise. I’ve loved figs ever since I was a kid.  I am sure Fig Newtons had something to do with it.

So this is another quick and easy Gluten Free and Vegetarian dish that is wonderful for fall.  Even when you live somewhere where it’s currently in the 90’s, humid and fall doesn’t really exist…Ahem, Florida.  So I turn up the air condition and pretend. So I invented this recipe while i was staying with my godfather in Northern England a few years ago. Ok “invented” is I am sure technically untrue
as I am pretty sure I am not the first person to create this 3 ingredient dish, but I had never heard of it so I invented it in my little world…. 

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Mini Meatloaf Monday

Mini MEatloaf

I keep seeing the term “Meatless Monday” on cooking blogs, so of course I am going the other direction.  MEATLOAF MONDAY!

I have made this recipe a few times already. I’m going to let the cat out of the bag here….it’s a Hit!  It is the perfect sized delicious Turkey meatloaf, IMHO, and incorporates good greens for the little “no green things” dude in the house. The best part about them is that these little loaves freeze so well.  This is the kind of recipe that will take you under an hour to prepare a bunch of them that you can then pop in the freezer for a quick dinner in the future.  You only have to remember to defrost them a few hours before, and have some tomato sauce on hand to cook them up with.  Easy Peasy I promise…. 

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Pan Pizza

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In this house most Friday nights are “pizza night”, a night where I make another go at making gluten free pizza from scratch. Yeah I live a wild and crazy life…. I know….. I know

So here we are again on my quest for pizza that doesn’t taste so….gluten free.  There are a fair amount of pizza dough mixes on the market it appears <I just did a quick Google search> most of them pricey.  Soon however, I am going to have to resort to ordering a new brand off the internet as I think I have tried Bob’s Red Pizza Crust Mix every which way you can.  Many different types of pizzas and calzones have been attempted with varying degrees of …well success is not the correct word here, let’s go with results.… 

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Red Chard and Beans

Last Night’s Dinner

Pistachio Crusted Flounder, Red Burmese Rice and Sautéed Red Chard with Cannelini Beans.

Nom Nom

First admission.  I didn’t make the fish.  I COOKED the fish, and perfectly well I might add <pat self on back> but the fish was pre-crusted and NOT Gluten Free.  I got it from The Fresh Market when I did a huge “protein shop” at the butcher last week.  I pick a bunch of things, order 4 of each as it’s normally Nonna, Mama Sis, myself then the munchkins split one, and have the butcher wrap it all to freeze. Wrapped, labeled and perfectly portioned – it SO speaks to the inner OCD freak in me.  I’m a 20 plus minute customer but my butcher John is the BOMB and I walk out so happy.  Completely broke but happy and with enough quality meat and fish for a few weeks…. 

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Tuesday Tips # 1

North Yorkshire, England

North Yorkshire, England

Welcome to TUESDAY TIPS

Tuesday’s Tips is about…..I bet you figured this out already.  Yes I will be giving tips about cooking, food preparation, and more…. things I have learned over the years from experience, chefs and of course my late Gram who was THE cook in the family…. 

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Cheese To The Mac

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Confession time. I know that dairy is not good for you. I know humans weren’t “meant to eat” dairy products. I know dairy can cause inflammation, congestion, allergies etc. But here’s the thing.

I. Don’t Care.

Ok I DO care, but I can NOT stop myself from eating cheese. I am Italian and I am allergic to Red Wine, Gluten, and I don’t eat lamb or veal (baby animal issues). All things that drove my late grandmother absolutely NUTS. So if I lose the cheese then I am basically not an Italian! Except I do have the talking with my hands, highly excitable, vicious temper thing going on for me…. 

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