The Weekend Gourmet: 3/25/12 - 4/1/12 F

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blog Awards...and Citrus-Walnut Brown Rice Pilaf

Happy weekend, my friends...hope you have some fun adventures planned! Michael and I are in search of great tacos in San Antonio today, then Sunday is lunch with a friend and an afternoon smoothie break with another friend. In between all this activity will be some cooking for next week’s blog posts. Good thing I always seem to have a ton of energy in Spring! Before I share a fantastic side dish recipe today, I want to thank some of my blogger friends for some cool awards they’ve given me this week. 

First was Heidi at Young Grasshopper, who gave me a Versatile Blogger award. Then my friend Becky from Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves gave me a Kreativ Blogger award. They say good things come in three's, which was the case this week when Peter at Feed the Soul gave me a second Versatile Blogger award. I’m always touched when a fellow food blogger lets me know that they enjoy what I do here! These awards came with a couple of instructions. The first is to share with your favorite I'm sharing these awards with ALL my food blog friends. Swipe the Versatile Blogger or Kreavtiv Blogger button on the right and add it to your blog! I’m also supposed to tell you 10 things about myself. Since most of you only know the foodie side of me, here’s some things you might not know.
  1. I’m in my mid-40s, but I'm very young at heart...I love to laugh and have fun. To me, life’s a grand adventure both in the kitchen and out!
  2. I originally moved to San Antonio in 2000 to attend law school. Yes, I graduated -- and I even passed the Texas Bar on the first try!
  3. I love all kinds of movies...from silly comedies to Oscar-worthy dramas. This includes documentaries and foreign films. Oscar season is one of the highlights of my year!
  4. A peek into my mind: my favorite silly comedies are Wedding Crashers, Tropic Thunder, Old School, and Bridesmaids.
  5. I love all kinds of music, but my favorites are The Beatles, U2, Elton John, and Sting/The Police. Except for The Beatles, I've seen them all live...but I have seen Paul McCartney live several times!
  6. My favorite U.S. cities to visit are New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco/Napa. It’s no coincidence that they all have excellent food!
  7. I’m a political junkie...I don’t talk politics in here, but I have very strong political opinions!
  8. I'm not a picky eater...but the few foods I do dislike, I despise with a passion. Olives are pretty much Public Enemy #1 to me.
  9. I have a sister (6 years younger) and a brother (12 years younger). Tina lives just outside Cleveland, and Kyle lives in the Houston area.
  10. I’m a huge Houston sports cheering for the Texans, Rockets, and Astros. We’ve traveled to Chicago and New York specifically to watch the Astros play road games at Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium (old AND new), and Shea Stadium.
Before I head out in search of tacos...and a visit to the gym...I have a unique and simple rice pilaf to share with you today. Side dishes are often overlooked since they’re the supporting cast of the meal...but that doesn’t have to be the case! I love to pair a flavorful side dish with a simple main dish like grilled chicken or pan-seared fish. As soon as I saw this rice pilaf recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I knew I had to get in the kitchen and play around with it a bit. Brown rice, colorful veggies, lemon, and walnuts combine to make a side dish that truly takes center stage!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Exciting News...Big Changes Coming!!

Hello, may notice a few changes afoot here at The Weekend Gourmet! I have some very exciting news to share!! First off, I'm happy to officially announce that I have a new domain:!! This domain is via Blogger, so my old url will automatically forward readers here. Making this transition as easy as possible for myself and my readers was really important to me. 

After nearly two years of blogging, I decided that it was also time to  spruce things up around here a bit with some added functionality and a new look! You can see a few of the changes that are in effect already: first is the new banner, which I absolutely adore! I wanted to keep the look/feel of my original banner...but in a fresh new way! You'll also notice a white center box for my posts, and a fancy red font for all post titles. And that's just the beginning! Over the next week or so, be on the lookout for tabs at the top with jump pages for new and exciting content. 

Now is your chance to leave me a comment below...tell me what you think about the changes so far, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make The Weekend Gourmet reflect what YOU like to see when you come to visit. My readers are very important to me, so I want to know what you enjoy about The Weekend Gourmet...and what additions/changes you'd like to see. As always, I appreciate all feedback and comments!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cookbook Review: 150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes...Featuring Filipino Chicken Adobo

My friends at Robert Rose Publishing recently sent me several cookbooks from their Spring catalog to review and share some recipes with you. Today, I’m excited to tell you about 150 Best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & More Slow Cooker Recipes by Sunil Vijayakar. I was immediately intrigued by the concept since I use my slow cooker year-round...even in warmer months. During summer, it heats up my kitchen much less than turning on my oven. Besides...a slow cooker is a busy cook’s best friend: assemble everything and let the slow cooker do the work for you while you take care of other errands!
It had never occurred to me to use my slow cooker to cook Indian and Asian food...but Sunil says it’s a natural fit. The longer, slower cooking process is perfect for allowing the spices in curry-based dishes develop...and even cheaper cuts of meat turn out juicy and tender in the process. I thumbed through the cookbook trying to decide what to feature, and so many recipes from around the globe caught my eye. Check these out:
  • Aromatic Shrimp Pilaf
  • Bombay Chicken Curry
  • Vietnamese Spiced Beef & Noodle Broth
  • Cambodian Pork & Lemongrass Curry
  • Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry
I ultimately decided to try a recipe I’ve always been curious about but had never cooked: chicken adobo. This is Filipino comfort food at its best: simple ingredients cooked over low heat until the flavors combine into something that’s way more than the sum of their parts! Chicken is essentially braised in a mixture of chicken broth, soy sauce, cider vinegar, lots of garlic, and a few spices. The initial prep takes about 20 minutes, and then the slow cooker does the rest. If your slow cooker has a timer and a stay-warm setting, you can put this on before work -- and dinner will be ready when you return home. I made this after work last night since Michael was working late -- by the time we were ready to eat at 900, the chicken was fall-off-the bone tender...and my kitchen smelled amazing!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spicy Soyrizo-Potato Tacos With Chile-Lime Crema...Featuring Frieda's Meatless Soyrizo

Living in San Antonio, we naturally eat quite a bit of Mexican food...and one of our favorite foods is chorizo (chor-EE-so). Unlike Spanish chorizo, which is cured sausage that’s sliced into rounds...Mexican chorizo is a highly-seasoned fresh sausage that’s removed from its casing and broken apart into crumbles as it cooks in a skillet. It’s spicy and a bit tangy from the addition of vinegar. Chorizo is yummy, but it has one big downside: it’s usually very high in fat! So imagine how intrigued I was when my friends at Frieda’s sent me a coupon to try a healthier meatless version of chorizo called soyrizo.

When he heard the word SOYrizo, Michael was a bit skeptical...having grown up eating the real deal. But, he was interested to give the soyrizo a try since Casa Garcia has our share of cholesterol issues. We don't eat regular chorizo very often for health reasons, so we were excited to find a guilt-free product that could enjoy more often! I decided to feature the soyrizo in a meatless dinner: Spicy Soyrizo-Potato Tacos with Chile-Lime Crema. The flavorful veg-friendly taco filling contains Yukon gold potatoes, onion, Anaheim pepper, and soyrizo. After everything is combined and cooked into a hash-like consistency, it’s scooped into warm flour tortillas and topped with a cooling chile-lime crema and creamy jack cheese.

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