Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Suppah Club

About a month ago, I decided to have the girls over to my place for some casual dinner. Why? Well, I love to cook and entertain for people (and I think I am getting better at it each time I try) and the boyfriend is gone on Tuesday nights for a late class, so I figured what better time to try out those Chicken Fajita Burgers I have been dying to try? The dinner was such a hit, that we decided to do it every week, rotating houses and chefs. You bring together good food, wine, girls, gossip and some ANTM, something good (or quite awful) is bound to happen. Well, after a few weeks eating mediocre food at friend's houses, (ok just kidding gals! You know that everything has been wonderful, but this is my blog so I have to talk trash) this week the feast is headed to 5235 (that's my apartment number if you're slow).

Now before I started this ingenious gal pal get together, I enjoyed my Tuesday nights alone freely roaming through the aisles of Target with no curfew (ok, I don't really have a curfew but the man likes to eat, and you know how I love to cook) or hitting the gym for a few hours with no one there bugging me about, "Are you done? When are we leaving? I'm tired." And no, I don't have a five year old child, but rather a 28 year old boyfriend who does not love to work out (although to his credit, he did run the Cooper River Bridge Run this past weekend with me, without stopping!).

So I guess what I am trying to get at, is that before we started doing this I truly relished the one evening that I have with the house to myself; and the fact that I could aimlessly shop after work with nothing to rush home to. Not that I don't love coming home to Matthew every evening, I do, but we all know that a little alone time never hurt anybody...and us females need it to de-steam ourselves sometimes (that's not really a word, but we do tend to get steamed up, so de-steaming seemed approp). But all that being said, I am definitely glad that we have started this tradition and I plan on enjoying it as long as it lasts.

So for tonight's menu, I am sampling a bit from Kalyn's Kitchen as well as Culinary Concoctions. Someday I won't have to sample from anyone, I can just pull recipes out of my head, but until then this blog is going to have to be a regurgitation of other people's recipes (other very creative, ingenious, culinary wizards, if you will). It also must be noted, that today I made my first batch of cookies from scratch, and although I only had one egg when the recipe called for two, I must say that they turned out delicious! Even though they are probably one of the most unhealthy things ever invented...but if we exercise regularly we can cheat every now and then, no?

I am going to post the recipes and links now, and then pictures later on this evening after everything is cooked and gobbled up.

Main Course:

Grilled Ginger Soy Pork Chops
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

(4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)
4-6 boneless pork chops

1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned rice vinegar, it contains sugar)
1 tsp. dried chili pepper flakes (I used red chili flakes)
2 tsp. ginger puree (also called ground ginger)
2 tsp. garlic puree (also called ground garlic)
1 tsp. dried mustard

Trim all fat from pork chops and pound to slightly over 1/4 inch thick. (If you're using the very thick pork chops you might want to cut them in half crosswise.) Mix marinade ingredients. Put pork chops in zip-loc bag and pour marinade over. Marinate 6-8 hours or longer.

To cook, preheat grill to medium hot. To get those nice grill marks, rotate the pork chops after about 4 minutes on the first side. (I usually lift one up and check for the marks before I rotate them.) Cook about 8 minutes per side; total cooking time will depend on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of the pork chops. Pork chops should feel firm to the touch but not hard when they're done. Serve hot.

Asian Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe adapted from the original South Beach Diet Book.)

6 cups green cabbage, sliced in strips (about 1/2 large head of cabbage)
2 T sesame seeds, toasted
2 T peanuts (or more)

2 T rice vinegar (don't use seasoned vinegar, which contains sugar)
1 T sesame oil
1 T agave nectar (can use honey but agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index)
1/8 tsp. Thai Chili Garlic Paste (or use a few drops of your favorite hot sauce)
1/8 tsp. grated ginger (I used ginger puree from a jar)

Slice cabbage in strips about 3/8 inch wide, cutting strips in half crosswise is they are too long. Mix rice vinegar, sesame oil, agave nectar, Thai Chili Garlic Paste and ginger in a small jar and shake to combine. (Can also wisk together in a bowl.) Toast sesame seeds about 1 minute in a small dry pan, until they start to be fragrant and slightly browned. Put cabbage strips into mixing bowl, toss well with dressing, arrange on individual serving plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds and peanuts.


Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seed Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground sea salt
1 ½ cups chocolate covered sunflower seeds, unsalted(see note)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Cream together butter and sugars, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time and scrape down bowl after each addition.
Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, combine and sift together flour, baking soda and sea salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low until fully incorporated.
Stir in chocolate covered sunflower seeds.
Form into 1-inch balls and place on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
Let cool for 2 minutes on pan and then move to wire rack.
Makes about 38 cookies.

NOTE: Chocolate covered sunflower seeds are found at Trader Joe's. I bought one container and while this was not 1 1/2 cups, it still was enough. If you cannot find these in the store, you can also order them online or substitute ¾ cup unsalted sunflower seeds and ¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.


I overcooked the pork, salad was kind of bland. But--the cookies were fab!

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