December 30, 2009

Machaca and Rice

Last week, The Husband took me to a place he'd just discovered - Burrito Heaven. I was a little apprehensive as the place was clearly a hole in the wall, however it turned out to be absolutely fantastic. It also introduced me to the wonders of shredded beef.

Growing up in the Northeast, tacos and burritos were always made out of ground beef. Only now have I seen the error of my ways! Of course, I immediately set out to recreate this delicious dish. My first attempt is pretty close, I'm happy to say! The Husband thought it was a tad too spicy, so if you're a wimp cut down on the peppers. Or add some delicious mango chipolte sauce to reduce the heat.

Also, this blog is officially a year old! Happy Birthday!


1 lb chuck roast
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 c sliced jalapenos
1/2 c sliced onions
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t cayenne
1 t garlic powder
5 oz hot sauce
1 c water
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder

Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Brown all sides in the oil. Drain and place in crockpot. Add the jalapenos, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic, hot sauce, and water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the roast from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Return to crockpot and add in extra cumin and chili powder. Cook for at least another hour on low.


1 c white rice
2 T olive oil
1 c chicken stock
2 T salsa
1 clove garlic, crushed

Saute the rice in the oil until toasted on all sides. Drain the oil off. Add in the stock, salsa, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.


For Christmas, I got an ebelskiver pan. Ebelskivers are basically just filled pancakes. For those who know me, pancakes are my weakness. I never get them right! In the evelskiver though, I hoped to find a pancake I could make. Now, the awesome thing about them is that you can fill them with just about anything! The pan has seven holes. You put a little batter in the bottom, then a little filling, then top with the batter. Turning them took a little getting used to, but I'm already better at it than I am at flipping normal pancakes.

The ones pictured here are the pizza ebelskivers. They came out quite beautiful, with the pepperoni peeking through. I've also made cheesesteak ebelskivers and cinnamon apple ebelskivers.


Pancake batter
Italian seasoning
Marinated mozarella balls
Marinara sauce

Season the pancake batter with Italian seasoning instead of sugar. Grease the pan and heat over medium low heat. Place a pepperoni in the bottom of each well. When the pan is hot, add one spoon of batter to each well. Working quickly, place a mozarella ball in the center of each, then top with another spoon of batter. Once the batter is bubbling in the center, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Note: if you don't have marinated mozarella balls, you can marinate them yourself with olive oil and italian herbs.

December 26, 2009

Pear Compote

It's Christmastime again! The Husband and I were alone for Christmas this year. We're still in the process of modifying and creating our own traditions for Christmas, especially when it comes to food. So we had a bunch of experiments and this was dessert.

Now, The Husband is a very dedicated chocolate fan. His desserts are chocolate desserts. As you can see, this clearly does not have any chocolate in it. Well - he scarfed this stuff down so fast, I thought the world must be coming to an end!

Really, this is a fantastic dessert. The flavors are perfect, the colors are pretty and best of all, there is leftover syrup to drizzle on ice cream the next day!


1/4 c red wine (I used a pinot noir)
1/3 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 slices lemon
2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered

Combine the wine, water and sugar in a saucepan until well blended. Add the cinnamon, lemon, and pears. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until pears are tender. Remove pears and chill. Strain and reserve the sauce, also refrigerate. Serve chilled, with vanilla ice cream.

December 13, 2009

Halibut Stuffed Potatoes

I have been very bad about dinner-making lately. I've been pretty busy and stressed out with the upcoming concert, so we've been doing a lot of eating out and scavenging. Fortunately though, the Husband knows that cooking is one of my de-stress mechanisms, and today he urged me to actually take the time to cook. Reluctantly, I pulled some halibut out of the freezer and set to work.

Boy, am I happy I did!

This little experiment was a resounding success. My husband is well known for being an incredibly slow eater, but tonight he had devoured his entire plate before I was even halfway through with mine! Apart from that, this recipe is endlessly customizable, allowing for infinite variations. You'll never get bored! Plus, it's a great way to use up leftover fish.


2 baked potatoes
1/3 lb halibut or other white fish
2 T butter
2 T milk
salt and pepper
garlic and wine seasoning
1/4 c shredded cheddar and provolone cheeses

Wrap the fish in tinfoil and cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. Flake the fish and set aside, leaving the oven on.

Take the baked potatoes and slice a small bit off of the top lengthwise. Scoop the "guts" into a small bowl. Add the butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash together.

Here's where the variety comes in. The next ingredients can be traded out for just about anything in the book - whatever you think will taste good. For example, instead of the following one of my potatoes had BBQ sauce. But anyway... Add the cheese and garlic seasoning to the mashed potatoes.

Stir the flaked fish into the potatoes, then spoon the mixture back into the potato shells. Top with a sprinkling of cayenne and bake until warmed through.

Milk and Cookies

At the class six the other day we made a discovery: gingerbread schnapps. Unable to decide if this would be horrible or fantastic, we bought a bottle to find out. The Husband put on his bartender hat and came up with this baby. He made it two ways, one with the Godiva and one without. He prefers the former, but I prefer the latter! I named the drink Milk and Cookies or (with the Godiva) Chocolate Milk and Cookies. Delicious!


2 parts whole milk
1 part vodka
1 part gingerbread schnapps
1 part Frangelico
2 parts Godiva liquor (optional)

Food for Thought

If only...

Pumpkin Cookies

It's the holidays, and cookie time is here! I'm sure that some of you heard about my Great Cookie Catastrophe, wherein I spent one evening baking four types of cookies with expired baking soda. This, of course, resulted in Epic Cookie Failure. With one exception.

The pumpkin cookie.

By fortunate coincidence, I happened to misread the recipe and used only baking powder instead of both powder and soda - resulting in my one success of the night (although the Husband's coworkers did enjoy eating the cookie crumbles). I found the basic recipe from Libby's.


2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t ginger
dash salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c pumpkin
1 egg
1 1/2 t vanilla

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in medium bowl. Cream sugar and butter in another bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla, then slowly beat in dry ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool complete before serving.

December 8, 2009

Seven Glaciers

This is something new for me, but at the Husband's urging, I am posting my first restaurant review!

Seven Glaciers is a restaurant at the Alyeska Ski Resort located on top of the mountain and accessible by tram. It takes its name from the seven glaciers visible from its perch way above sea level - there's one in the upper right corner of the picture, but it's covered with snow so it's a bit hard to see.

Last weekend I stole the Husband away for a surprise get-away to Alyeska. Our finale was lunch at the Seven Glaciers. Lunch is definitely the way to go - this time of year it's dark by dinner time and what's the point of hauling all the way up a mountain to dine if you can't see anything?

Tram tickets are included with any Seven Glaciers reservation - thumbs up! The nice tram people even gave us tickets for complimentary hot chocolate up at the restaurant. That's another plus. The tram runs every 10 minutes, making it easy to get up there in time for your reservation. Be warned - it is chilly and icy. If you are wearing heels, beware!

The restaurant is, quite frankly, gorgeous. You have to climb an additional flight of stairs to get there, but once you do the first thing you see is a lovely wine room with glass walls. The wine shelves have a modern feel to them, playing with shapes and arches. Almost all of the tables have a view of the ski slopes and surrounding mountains. Those on the southern side also get a great look at Turnagain Arm. The decor and settings are definitely aiming for upscale and modern.

As the hostess checked our coats and escorted us to our table, I was getting pretty excited. With decor like this, service like this, the food must be quality, right? The first thing I got was my free hot chocolate (I was wearing a skirt, okay?), which did not disappoint. Fresh cream on top and all! Unfortunately, things started to go downhill from there.

First, our waiter did not tell us about the specials today. When we overheard another waitress telling the table beside us about the rib-eye special, he hurried back and apologized. He then told us all about the 8oz prime rib special.

Huh? So is it rib-eye or prime rib? He assured us that it was prime rib, but we weren't convinced. Either way, one of them was wrong.

The waiter proceeded to explain to us that the portions were designed so that a full meal would be one or two from the "Appetizers and Salads" side and one or two from the "Sandwiches and Entrees" side, plus a dessert. With this in mind, we ordered an appetizer to share. I ordered a sandwich and the Husband ordered the mystery-cut steak special, for which he was never asked how he wanted it cooked.

When the appetizer arrived, I was reassured. Small portions - we had corn and chicken fritters, which came with an array of sauces, all artfully plated. On the plus side, the chile-honey sauce was the most fantastic thing I've eaten in a long time. Unfortunately, the other sauces were boring at best and my fritters were not properly cooked. Almost burned on the outside, but still gooey on the inside. Blech.

When the entrees arrived, I was shocked at the quantity of food. It turns out that the Husband's steak was prime rib, but that mountain of meat was definitely not 8oz. It looked more like 16 to me! It was also slightly overcooked and no steak knife was provided. He did approve of the arugala salad that came along side it though. My sandwich of beef tips and gruyere on a garlic baguette sounded delicious, but when arrived it was clear that it should have been advertised as an open-faced sandwich. No way could I pick this thing up - I had to ask for a knife. The beef tips were tough, if there was garlic on the bread I couldn't tell. Nor could I tell if the little cheese shreds were, in fact, gruyere. In fact, all I could taste was this sauce which had been liberally poured over it. And it was not a good sauce.

Now, had we received this entree course at a different restaurant, I would have had a more favorable view. But the Seven Glaciers is clearly trying to be an upscale restaurant - I expect small portions, cooked well and tastefully plated. The appetizer followed these lines, but the entree just subscribed to the Alaska motto "Bigger is Better!" and was really quite shocking to me. I believed I described it as "Alaska trying to be fancy."

Still, we were up here, and decided to see what dessert had in store for us. We ordered the apple dessert. An apple-flavored brioche bread pudding, topped with roasted apple ice cream and rum sauce. Alongside, a mini apple tart and a miniature caramel apple.

With dessert, we were getting closer to the small portions and thoughtful plating (though I thought the tart was unnecessary from a portion and visual perspective). So I dug into the bread pudding, making sure to get some of the rum sauce. Now, I love rum sauce. I love rum, too. But I don't want my rum sauce to taste like I'm downing shots of bacardi, people. And that's what it tasted like. I don't know what they did to this poor sauce, but man. The only thing you could taste was raw alcohol flavor. And it wasn't even good rum!

That said, the bread pudding was fantastic, but the roasted apple ice cream was the star of the show. I could have eaten bowls of both. The tartlet was dry - unneeded in all aspects! The Husband proclaimed the caramel apple to be better looking than it tasted, but I can accept that in a garnish.

So, the bottom line for Seven Glaciers - they try too hard to be something they are not.

That said, I would absolutely come back again. But only for lunch. And then only for soup and salad - and that apple dessert, but no rum sauce, thank you.