Posted at 10:11 am , on March 2, 2018
Those who are close to me know that I am no fan of coconut, however I do like fried coconut shrimp. It’s a weird thing, I know, most people love coconut but it’s never been my thing. I think one reason why I like this coconut shrimp is that the coconut is fried and has a toasted flavor. I also like the crunchy texture versus fresh coconut which reminds me of eating sweet grass. My whole family loves coconut shrimp plus they’re quick and easy to make. I found endless recipes for Red Lobster’s coconut shrimp which taste pretty darn close to the original. Most people deep fry their shrimp, however I pan fried them which worked just as well and made for a much easier clean-up.
Posted at 1:14 pm , on February 21, 2018
Sweet and sour pork is normally pork that is battered and fried, combined with onions, peppers and pineapple with a rich sweet and tangy sauce. For a healthier version I decided to stir fry the pork which to my surprise turned out really well. The pork was very tender and paired with fresh pineapple rather than from a can made for a very flavorful dish. The recipe comes from The Woks of Life, one of my favorite bloggers for authentic Asian dishes. They have several sweet and sour recipes to choose from but this is my favorite. I love the colors and the flavors of this dish. The sauce is tangy which I think is a better term than sour and the fresh pineapple brings out the sweetness. Ladle over rice for a complete meal that you won’t soon forget.
Posted at 9:50 am , on January 5, 2018
Early last December Joe and I visited Panama City Beach, FL for a short getaway. We thought a visit to the Sunshine State before Christmas would be a great time to get away without all the crowds and have the beach to ourselves. We were prepared for cooler weather but determined to enjoy the sunshine and white sandy beaches. Little did we know Mother Nature had other ideas. It was unusually cold and rained the entire time we were there. We rented a little condo on the beach where you walk off your deck straight onto the beautiful white sand. It would have been paradise had the wind not been so blustery with cold rain coming off the ocean. Mostly we just looked out the window because it was just too cold to venture out. We expected mid 50’s and got 30 and 40 degree weather, brrrr. It wasn’t a total loss, we went out to the movies and found a couple museums to wander around. We decided we would splurge for a big breakfast, skip lunch and find some good seafood to eat for dinner. My favorite breakfast was from Andy’s Flour Power Cafe and Bakery. I had the french toast plate with thick slices of french toast topped with candied pecans and fresh strawberries. I loved every bite and vowed to recreate it one day. This is my version of the Flour Power French Toast!
Posted at 10:13 am , on July 7, 2017
Josh taped an episode of Food Paradise on The Travel Channel that showcased their top picks for Mexican food. He wasn’t kidding when he said they featured some of the most delectable dishes. This is the first of two that I just had to make. A restaurant in Chicago “Carbon Live Fire Mexican” shared their Stelote burrito made primarily with steak and elotes aka Mexican Street Corn. I have watched that episode more times than I can count and have finally gotten around to making this mouthwatering burrito. Only I pan fried it so technically it’s a chimichanga. Either way you will love it! I grilled the corn along with the steak so they would have those fire roasted flavors. I removed the corn from the cob and added the dressing from my own “Mexican Street Corn” recipe. The steak seemed plain so I added some chimichurri sauce to the mix and wow did that enhance the flavors. Some folks serve rice and beans . . . me . . I just need my guac and salsa to complete this meal!
Posted at 10:15 am , on June 30, 2017
Summer is finally here, yay! I love this time of year when I can go outside and grill. The grill is set up under the shade of my favorite tree and although it can get hot it’s not all that bad. There’s such a satisfaction about cooking outdoors with the heat and aroma filling the air, Everything always tastes so good and the clean-up is easy. I love grilled veggies and make them often during the season. Usually I cook them on a grill pan and meticulously stand over it turning them and grilling in batches. This time I tried wrapping the veggies in aluminum foil where they steamed to perfection. When I opened up the foil packet the veggies were fork tender with bits of char on the bottom. I ladled everything onto a platter and melted some herb butter over top so that every veggie and every bite of steak was slathered with the flavors of buttery herbs, citrus and roasted garlic.
Posted at 8:51 am , on May 5, 2017
What goes with almost any Mexican dish . . . Guacamole of course! It’s a favorite for dipping, as well as topping burritos, enchiladas and nachos. And since I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d show you how I make guacamole in a molcajete. Molcajetes are used to crush and grind spices as well as preparing salsas and guacamole. In Mexico they are made from porous basalt volcanic rock, typically round in shape with a bowl in the center supported by 3 legs. The tool used to grind is called tejelote and made from the same material. A molcajete brings out the most amazing aroma by grinding the ingredients into the volcanic stone. There is an earthiness that heightens your senses of smell and taste. By grinding each ingredient you create a layer of flavors that will come together in the most amazing way. Every time I make guacamole in a molcajete I think it’s the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted. . . and then I make it again! Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Continue reading
Posted at 9:07 am , on September 2, 2016
As promised here’s another idea for any leftover Mayan pork. While Josh enjoyed a Mayan pork sandwich from the food truck, I had a platter of Loaded Fries. Oh boy were they good! The fries were crispy and loaded with cheese sauce, fresh pico, cilantro lime cream and lots of Mayan pulled pork. It was way too much for this girl to eat but I gave it my best shot!
Posted at 10:04 am , on August 26, 2016
Recently I had my first food truck experience. Here in KC there is an old warehouse district called the West Bottoms that’s been converted into a huge flea market that happens every first Friday/weekend of the month. If you love all things vintage then this is the place to be. They have anything and everything you can think of displayed in these beautiful old warehouses. People spend hours perusing through the old buildings looking for treasure. There aren’t many places to eat down there except for a line of food trucks that are parked along the streets. We walked the streets looking at all the food trucks each with their own artistic style and various menus, it was hard to choose. We decided on “American Fusion” which offered a small menu but caught our attention. Josh had their “Mayan Pork” sandwich aka Cochinita Pibil, a slow roasted Mexican pork from the Yucatan peninsula of Mayan origin. First of all, it practically melts in your mouth, it was that tender. And the flavor, it was amazing with a hint of smoky sweet flavors. I was inspired!! After researching everything I could find on how to make this delicious pulled pork I have finally created my own version. First thing on the menu Mayan Pork Tacos . . . . with more to come!
Posted at 9:16 am , on July 1, 2016
Today marks 5 years of An Inspired Cook! I never thought this venture would be so rewarding, but it has truly been a lifesaver for me. I love that my favorite recipes will forever have a place for my kids and family to go to for inspiration and bring back memories of our time together around the kitchen table. I look back on the past 5 years as a labor of love, one that I have enjoyed so much more than I would have ever imagined. I’ve been on an Asian food kick lately, partly because it’s so easy to make especially on these hot summer days when it’s just too darn hot to turn on the oven. These potstickers are so good I made extra to put in the freezer. I found that making fresh potstickers take only a few minutes to prepare and frozen take about 2 to 3 minutes more. What could be better than that! I packaged 18 dumplings per freezer bag and thought we’d have enough for several weeks. Turns out they are more popular than I thought and are just about gone. I guess it’s time to make some more!
Posted at 10:24 am , on May 24, 2016
Have you ever watched “Taco Trip” on the Cooking Channel? My sister Kat told me about this show hosted by Aaron Sanchez taking a look at the best tacos across several cities. I started watching and couldn’t stop thinking about all those tantalizing tacos. One that stood out was an Asian taco from New Orleans at the Pho Bistreaux that they called Bacos. It’s made with marinated strips of pork shoulder and topped with pickled carrots, cilantro and sliced jalapenos. A steamed bun or Banh Bao is used in place of a tortilla. You can make the dough by hand or there is a pre-made flour mix that you can find at an Asian food store. While looking for the mixed flour I happened upon some frozen pre-made buns which I thought would be easier especially for my first time making these. The frozen pre-made buns steamed perfectly but I think I will give the mixed flour a try next time. The chef at Pho Bistreaux gave away many of the ingredients but she wouldn’t disclose her master marinade sauce which she said had only 5 ingredients. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with my own 5 ingredients that I thought would make a tasty marinade. I was amazed at how yummy these tacos tasted. There are a lot of flavors layered on these tiny steamed buns and I can see why they are so popular!