Author Archives for Have Fork, Will Travel

About Have Fork, Will Travel

Office by day, home cook/baker by night, maker of many things. Food groupie always. Life is too short for bad food.

Stuffed Mushrooms

3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp basil, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 lb mushrooms caps, cleaned
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place mushroom caps upside down on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, cream butter and beat in minced garlic. Divide garlic butter mixture into 2/3 and 1/3. Put the 2/3 garlic butter in the mushroom caps.

Melt remaining butter in skillet and add the breadcrumbs. Cook over low heat until toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Stir in beaten egg.

Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly between the mushroom caps, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Steak Bites

1/2 lb top sirlion or filet, cut into 1″ cubes
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp ketchup
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp white wine
fresh parsley, for garnish
salt and pepper

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, paprika, garlic, red pepper flakes, and ketchup together in a zip bag or medium size bowl. Add the cubed meat and mix well to coat. Put into the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Heat the remaining olive oil in heavy pan and add the onion. Cook onion over medium low heat until soft, then remove from pan. You want the onion to be translucent, but not caramelized.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and take out of marinate. Reserve marinade for later. Turn up the heat to medium high, and add the meat to the pan. Cook 1 1/2-2 minutes per side until browned. Reduce heat to medium low, and add the tomatoes, reserved marinade, and wine, and cook 6-8 minutes, uncovered.

Serve with rice, noodles, crusty bread, or toothpicks for snacking.

Bacon Twists

1 premade pie crust
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 lb green beans or asparagus
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and tip green beans, or wash and break off the woody end of asparagus.

Unroll pie crust and cut into 1/4″ strips. Cut bacon into 1/4″ strips, trying to leave a little fat on the meatier side of each piece.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place a piece of parchment paper or foil on a rimmed baking sheet.

Start wrapping each green bean or asparagus with the pie crust and bacon. You want to alternate the spiral down the vegetable. Make sure the ends are covered. Place wrapped vegetable on the baking sheet, and continue with the remaining pie crust, bacon, and vegetables.

Lightly brush each wrapped piece with beaten egg, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately, or let cool slightly (for snacking).

Coconut Lentil Curry

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
10-12 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1 cup lentils
1-2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
3 cups water or broth
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can coconut milk
1 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cumin, coriander, onion powder, turmeric, ginger, and salt. Cook over medium-low to medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add lentils and water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the lentils start looking dry or sticking to the bottom too much, add 1/2-1 cup of water. Once lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and add cilantro.

It is delicious when served like a soup, or you can serve it with crusty bread or a bowl of rice. Enjoy!

Sweet Butter Shrimp

16-20 medium or 8-12 large shrimp (I prefer to remove the shells up to the tail)
1/2 tsp powdered ginger or 1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest of half a lime
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of your favorite sweet & spicy sauce

Mix ginger, garlic, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 5-10 minutes. Don’t leave it in longer than 15 minutes, otherwise the lime juice will start to cook the shrimp.

Heat a heavy pan and add the butter and olive oil. Once the oil/butter mixture is hot, add the marinated shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side (larger shrimp take longer).

Once both sides are done, remove from pan and drizzle with your favorite sweet and spicy sauce. You can also cook and reduce down any marinade that is left.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, paprika, and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Form into equally-sized patties and set aside.

Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat until the surface of the oil is shimmering. Gently add the patties, and flatten slightly in the pan. Cook until crisp and golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the potatoes are cooked.

2021 – A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Well, we’re under way into the new year. Same pandemic, but there is hope and vaccines on the horizon. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I miss being able to leisurely browse at the store, but after a year I can safely say that I am finally getting the hang of working remotely (setting up the background area, lighting, makeup, hair, etc. for Zoom meetings). Ok, maybe not the hair. It is what it is. Being remote isn’t that bad, and I love the 15 second commute from getting coffee to the bedroom that I am using as my office space. I also like the super-comfy attire when working from home. I don’t know when the university will have the staff work more hours on campus, but there will be a little bit of adjustment after doing this since last March.

In looking back, even with all the bad things that happened around the world in 2020 there were good things. Take a few minutes and thing about it. I bet that you can come up with 3-4 positive things or events. Having to find new ways to do things opened up other opportunities and made us be creative. I learned how to make and shoot cooking videos (thank you to my #1 taste tester and photographer, my hubby), met amazing people through the WC bingo cards and playing along with the show, and learned that I can talk on camera during a live feed without being too awkward (mostly). I can actually say that I feel more accomplished on several levels than I did a year ago. Always more forward, even if it is slowly. Progress is just that, and any skill learned can be a good thing down the road.

As the title of this post says, a rolling stone gathers no moss. I miss performing in person with the Clovis Community Band and the Wind Symphony of Clovis, but they have been working on virtual ways so that we can still make music together. It isn’t perfect, but it does make you want to practice more so you don’t drop notes anywhere. I’ve also started working on a few side projects that should be live by summertime, and continuing to work with the local library on themed cooking videos. The Valentine Tapas for Two (small plates for sharing) will be live February 11 (see the flyer below), and I’ll post the links for it under the Fresno County Library Sessions on this site. I hope you tune in and let me know what you think. I love making the WC bingo cards every week, and I’m happy that others enjoy them as well. It is such a fun show; I often wonder how the recruits made it to adulthood without having even basic knowledge (like how to use a can opener). Allison Wolfe (season 15 winner) has a live Instagram feed every Sunday about an hour before the show, and Darian Barnes (season 20), Stephanie James (season 21), and I chime it about the previous week.

Have you set new goals for 2021? I don’t believe in making “resolutions” but I do believe in making goals. One good thing about that is you can adapt them as the situation changes. Set a few short, medium, and longer term goals that you want to get done this year. Write them down somewhere, and even post one or two where you see them every day. Make a plan on how to reach them and write them down. You can do it. One of mine is to learn to make croissants this year. Well, that and finally get the cookbook library organized. I did get all of the Food Network and celebrity chefs put into one bookshelf, so baby steps do add up.

So. 2021 is new and shiny still. What do you want to do with it? How can you be the best you that you can be? Your goal today is to pick one thing, just one, that you’ve always wanted to try or learn. Write it down and at least two steps to make to get there. Now set the date to make step one happen. There! Progress! Keep on keepin’ on, and always move forward.

2021 – almost time for new Worst Cooks In America Bingo!

As 2020 draws to a close, we start looking to the new year with hope and anticipation. For me, that means working on more recipes, reading more cookbooks, and watching Food Network for Worst Cooks In America and playing WC Bingo. Allison Wolfe and I have so much fun creating the bingo cards to go along with the show. Just to be clear, I am not affiliated with Food Network or Worst Cooks. I am simply a food groupie and fan, and found a fun way to interact with the show. The bingo cards have proven to be popular, so we are gearing up for the new season that starts Sunday, January 3rd at 6pm PT/9pm ET.

The new season bring a new(ish) chef to Team Blue – Carla Hall. She was a judge on the recent Halloween redemption episode (I see you, Brett Azar!), but has not had to run the gauntlet of boot camp recruits. I don’t know if she knows what she signed up for, since the redemption chefs had already been through the drill before. Both chefs are amazing in the kitchen, and it will be great to see what they can do with people that can burn water.

I hope you have fun playing bingo along with us. I don’t get to see the show ahead of time, so I am just as surprised at the shenanigans that go on. You can print up an individual card or play a few, the choice is up to you.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Food Network, but I am a huge food groupie. Watching food competition shows is my idea of a sporting event.

Want to play along? Click here to pick a bingo card after December 24, 2020.

Bingo card archive

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope you are staying safe and well, and that you have a nice spread of food on the table on Thursday. We went slightly non-traditional with glazed ham, and sweet potato gnocchi (previously made and in the freezer) that was cooked and tossed with brown butter and ground sage. I don’t normally cook a ham for Thanksgiving, but the way 2020 has been going all bets are off. The leftover ham will be made into ham and cheese tamales tonight and paired with a roasted beet and feta salad. One of the more fun things about the holidays is deciding what to make with the leftovers.

It was definitely not the usual day for sure. My kids texted me with holiday wishes, and we had a leisurely morning of puttering around before I started dinner in the oven. No rushing to finish tidying up the house before guests arrived, or bundling up the many containers to take elsewhere. Just the two of us, the dogs, and the cats, having a quiet afternoon. At least we have good internet service so that we can stream interesting things to watch. For me, that is almost always food channels, but we do manage to watch the latest Mandelorian or rewatch Letterkenny.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is only a month a way, and the end of the year is almost upon us. I’m looking forward to the two weeks at the end of December to get a few projects wrapped up. Even though I’m working remotely I’m still “on the clock” from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, so some things have to get put on the back burner until free time presents itself.

One thing to look forward to in 2021 is the start of the new Worst Cooks In America with Anne Burrell and Carla Hall. The new season kicks off on January 3rd at 6pm PT/9pm ET on Food Network. You know what that means……BINGO! I hope everyone has as much fun as I do with watching the show and playing bingo. I’ll start putting the bingo cards together and should have them posted around Christmas. In the meantime, if you are watching old episodes and want to have some fun, you can find the card archive here.

Spicy Green Beans

Green bean casserole. Just the mention of it conjures up the specter of Thanksgiving dinner. It also brings up heated debates regarding what is in it, do we really need it, who fixed it well, and heck, why can’t we just have green beans with butter and bacon? Enter Food Network chef Alex Guarnaschelli with her take on green beans. I adapted my recipe from hers, because we all want to copy the best.

3/4 cups green beans (washed, tipped, and cut into 1-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons creamy horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
zest and juice of one lime
6 sprigs basil, stemmed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon mustard
bacon pieces, to top beans with
salt and pepper

Whisk together the horseradish, olive oil, cider vinegar, mustard, lime juice and zest. Make sure everything is incorporated well. Taste, then add a touch of salt and pepper. Whisk and taste again. Set aside.

Cook green beans in boiling salted water. Make sure to have a bowl of ice water with a colander in it ready. When the beans are cooked but slightly crunchy (about 2-4 minutes), remove from boiling water and put into the colander in the ice water. Stir the beans in the water to cool them quickly.

Once the beans are cool, drain well and put into a medium bowl. Add the dressing and some of the almonds, then toss to coat. Taste again, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves and sprinkle with remainder of slivered almonds and bacon pieces.

Optional ingredients: bacon (obviously); cocktail onions, cut into quarters; diced peppers; dried cranberries; fried garlic or onions

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