Friday, August 26, 2016

Un-Recipe Files - Mango with Lime and Chile Salt

Perfect Pairing: Vegetable Peeler

IMG_1865

So there have been a few changes recently in the Lam fam!  At the end of July we moved into our new home in Bettendorf, Iowa.   We were in transition for a few months until we closed on our new home.  We absolutely loved living with my parents at the lake (AKA: my favorite place on earth).  It was great to have time to relax after moving from Chicago and before moving into a new home.  Friends, moving is stressful!  Fortunately we had an army of helpers that actually made moving fun!

Chris and I are loving our new home and neighborhood.  I miss Chicago restaurants and our friends there, but that is about it!  Moving into a new state/home may not be the biggest news for us…. We are expecting a little one in January!

13886347_10103437112910140_4104588252232256199_n


We are both over the moon excited to grow our family and become parents.  Fortunately I have felt great and have really enjoyed pregnancy.  Now that we are moved in and the final box has been emptied we can focus on all things baby!  I am truly pinching myself over all our blessings.  God is good!


One of the most common questions I get is if I am having any odd food cravings or aversions.  While I haven’t been dipping pickles in Nutella there are some foods that speak to me.  In fact, they call out to me.  I am loving cereal, fruit, anything pickled and carbs in general.  The only aversion so far has been certain vegetables.  I will love them one day and detest them the next day.  The pregnant body/mind is a fascinating thing. 


IMG_1841

In addition to green grapes and blueberries I have been eating a lot of mangos.  Fortunately they have been on sale at our local grocery store so I can feel good about adding them to the cart every trip.  My mango obsession actually started before I was pregnant.  During our vacation to Cabo this year I discovered the Mango Man.  I kept seeing people eating mangos on a stick or in a bowl with something red sprinkled on top.  My curiosity got the best of me one day when he was on the beach in front of our hotel and I ponied up the cash to try one.  


IMG_5124

Holy smokes.  Game changer.  Mango Man would peel the mango with lightning speed, chop it with a machete, squeeze fresh lime juice on top and sprinkle with chile lime salt.  The whole thing happened in about 15 seconds.  I quite literally chased him down the beach the rest of the trip. 


IMG_5128

I started doing my own version of this once I was back home.  Sometimes I use a chile lime salt (like this) and sometimes I use my wedding Sriracha Salt.  You can also just use a sprinkle of good kosher.  The combination of the sweet ripe mango, tangy lime and spicy salt is perfection.  The perfect pairing, my friends!  I had always scored and peeled the skin off mango in sections but after seeing Mango Man’s methods I started using my trusty veggie peeler and was amazed with the results.


IMG_1847

Eat and enjoy!!


IMG_1860


Friday, July 8, 2016

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Perfect Pairing: Grilled dinner

IMG_9204

Last summer I went to a food and wine festival at Lincoln Park in Chicago.  Chris gave me the tickets for my birthday and I was SO excited.  The morning of the festival I woke up feeling gnarly and not at all like going to a food festival, but I persevered because that is my mecca.  I saw demos from some of my favorite chefs like Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard and tried lots of good food and wine.  Fortunately, I felt better as the day went on and we had a great time!


IMG_9223

One of the best bites of food I had all day was a truffled Mexican street corn.  Holy corn Batman, it was delicious.  I may have gone back for seconds… and thirds.  It was a small piece of sweet corn rolled in some glorious mayonnaise mixture then topped with parmesan and shaved truffles.  I just can’t even describe it. 


IMG_9193

Last summer my cousin’s wife made an extraordinarily good Mexican Street Corn dip for our annual Lake House Chef’s Challenge.  It was a serious crowd pleaser.  So, ever since the dip and the festival corn I have been wanting to try a variation on Mexican street corn.


IMG_9177

Enter Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad!  Grilled corn and grilled scallions are mixed with pasta in a tangy sauce and then combined with cilantro, parmesan and avocado.  It is really tasty. 


IMG_9182

If you have not grilled your scallions you are missing out.  It totally changes the flavor.  They are fantastic on tacos.


IMG_9184

This salad is so not the typical summer pasta salad and would be a hit at any party.  There is some prep involved so I think it is paired best with a simple grilled entrée like hamburgers or brats. 


IMG_9229

I wonder what else you can do with Mexican street corn.  Goals!

IMG_9209






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Creamy Goat Cheese, Pesto and Burst Tomato Dip

Perfect Pairing:  Crackers

IMG_9085

Summer!  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  I am soaking up every minute because I am already panicking that it is almost July.  Wait!! I was going to do so much more in June!  

IMG_9059

I am lucky enough to live at the lake this summer until we close on our new home at the end of July.  I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t suck living and working here.  I pinch myself daily looking at the beautiful views. 

IMG_9088

A TGIF cruise is a favorite summer tradition.  We load up the pontoon with friends, food and drinks.  We set sail (motor) into the sunset with some chill music and enjoy the appetizer buffet in front of us.  Heavenly.

IMG_9075

This appetizer is perfect for a TGIF cruise or any appetizer night.  A layer of whipped goat cheese is topped with prepared pesto and finished with burst cherry tomatoes.  Drag a cracker through all of it and you have an incredibly flavorful summer app. 

IMG_9094



Three years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Raisin Bran Muffins (these are ALWAYS in the fridge in the summer)



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Grilled Ranch Potato and Sausage Packets

Perfect Pairing: 8-cup glass measuring bowl

IMG_1561

Friends!  Are you still with me?!  If you are, bless your heart. 

So… I have been majorly slacking on my little passion project, Perfecting the Pairing.  Let’s be honest, all of 2016 has been a bust, but the last two months have been ridiculous with ZERO posts.  I have a good reason!  Life has been bananas!  Wonderful, but bananas.  

In the last month Chris accepted a job in Iowa, we sold our condo in the city (closing soon), I started working remotely (it was an answered prayer to keep my job), we celebrated our one year anniversary, and we moved in with my parents until we close on our new home in Bettendorf, Iowa.  We kind of feel like our lives have been turned upside down but we are absolutely overjoyed with the exciting changes happening.  We are going to miss Chicago so much (especially our friends… and the restaurants) but we can’t wait to open the next chapter in IOWA.  If you follow this blog at all you know how much I love the lake where my parents live, so living there has not been a hard adjustment! 


IMG_1520

Now that life has normalized a bit I am anxious to start blogging again!  These days I get to cook on a regular basis for more people and have access to all of my mom’s fun kitchen gadgets/serving pieces/spices/etc.  I have ZERO excuses!

The warm weather makes me want to grill all the time. Grilled foil packets are a quick and easy dinner with minimal clean up.  Everything is mixed together (potatoes, green beans, shallots, and pre-cooked chicken sausage) to make a complete meal.  The whole shebang is seasoned with ranch seasoning and red pepper flakes and thrown on the grill. 


IMG_1523

So simple!


IMG_1552

I pre-cook the potatoes for a few minutes in the microwave to speed up the grilling process.  I use my favorite 8-cup glass measuring bowl.  This is a must-have tool in my kitchen.  I use it all the time. 


IMG_1567 


Perfecting the Pairing is back!  

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  We got married! #LamsInLoveForever



Four years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Pickle Dip (I just re-discovered this recipe and make it all the time.  Now I add a spoonful of hot pepper jelly!)
 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Creamy Shrimp Dip

Perfect Pairing: Crackers and Cucumber

IMG_1902

Making dreams come true! 

IMG_1913


That was a bit of a red herring.  This Creamy Shrimp Dip is good but will not make dreams come true.  Now, Disney World…. That is a place that can actually make dreams come true!  I just got home from a trip to Florida.  Among the highlights were lots of relaxation time on the beach, seeing dolphins almost every day, locally grown strawberries, and ample reading time with a palm tree view.  My husband’s highlight was watching his team, the Detroit Tigers, at Spring Training.  My favorite part was spending a day at the happiest place on earth, Magic Kingdom.  I was so excited to share my favorite place with Chris. 


10176002_10103116435280680_2229333441393397516_n

We had an incredible day.  The weather was perfection!  I insisted on making the most of the day.  We were some of the first people in the park when it opened and we stayed until the final fireworks.  I think we just beat the spring break crowd because we were able to do every single attraction on our (my) list and only waited for about 30 minutes, tops. 


12813906_10207479536700413_2477267959671910305_n

In addition to the must-do attractions, there are a few mandatory food stops.  We had the famous Dole pineapple whip (Chris said he liked my impossibly light version better!) and a Mickey shaped rice krispy treat. 


10356766_10207480495364379_1110960131734085476_n

I can’t wait to go back!


12805698_10103117613434650_7243312812947248771_n

So this Creamy Shrimp Dip won’t make your dreams come true, but it is so easy and tasty!  The creamy base is sour cream and mayonnaise, light is fine.  Crunch is added with cucumber and green onion.  Flavor comes from a hit of horseradish, lemon, and a healthy dose of fresh dill. 


IMG_1907

Delicious with crackers or cucumber slices. 


IMG_1921








Friday, February 19, 2016

Mushroom Flatbread with Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic

Perfect Pairing:  Girls' Night

IMG_1870

A couple weeks ago Chris was out of town for the night on a mini “bro-cation”.  For the record, he did not call it this, that is 100% me.  He headed to Champaign/Urbana to watch the Fighting Illini play.  


IMG_1868

That meant I had a night by myself at home.  I was going to miss him, but I was also going to make the most of it by making it super girly.  I was going to make the girliest thing I could think of for dinner, enjoy a mini bottle of champagne, and watch a chick flick that featured Bradley Cooper as a chef.  I was pumped.


IMG_5171

I formulated my plan for a girly dinner as I perused the grocery store.  What is girlier than flatbread with goat cheese?  I mean, it is actually just pizza, but we call it flatbread so it sounds classy.  If I was making pizza for my husband it would most definitely have some kind of meat on it.  If I am making it for me it is going to be overflowing with mushrooms.  Chris is not a huge fan, so this was the perfect time to go fungi-wild. 


IMG_1879

Instead of traditional pizza sauce I used a basil pesto.  So much flavor!  I always keep pesto in the freezer, it is a great ingredient to have on hand.


IMG_5173

The sautéed mushrooms are finished off with a caramelization of balsamic, and then the whole flatbread is dotted with tangy goat cheese. 


IMG_1890

So good.  So girly.  Dudes, if you want to make and enjoy this flatbread…. No judgement here!






Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Miso Potatoes

Perfect Pairing: Chicken Yakitori

IMG_1494

Have you bought miso yet?  I extolled its virtues in this super simple Grilled Miso Salmon and in this Grilled Vegetable Salad with Miso Dressing and Toasted Cashews.  I can’t tell you how often I use miso in everyday cooking in salad dressings, marinades, and seasoning for roasted vegetables.  That being said, I think this potato recipe is my favorite use of miso.


IMG_1493

Small red potatoes are boiled until they are just tender, fried in a little melted butter, and then coated in an umami bomb of miso, brown sugar, and spicy garlic paste.  They are mouthwatering.  They also smell amazing while you are pan frying them. 


IMG_1512

I think these little beauties are great served with any grilled Asian-inspired protein.  I served them alongside Chicken Yakitori and a simple slaw.  


IMG_1509

You will love this detour from your regularly scheduled potatoes!





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...