Thursday, August 1, 2013

From Boring to Amazing!

Most of the cilantro in my garden went to seed last week during the hot spell. Now I have a bunch of coriander, and I want to use it before it goes bad. I whipped up this fresh chimichurri sauce to serve on top of the grilled chicken my mom made for dinner tonight. Chimichurri is a traditional Argentinian sauce made of parsley, cilantro, and other spices and served over grilled meat. I tweaked the traditional sauce recipe by adding tahini, which gave it a thicker and richer taste. My mom and Sydney loved it, and suggested it be served on top of a cheese quesadilla. Or you could stuff them inside the chicken fajitas from yesterday. Any way you eat it, this spicy sauce will jazz up even the most boring piece of meat.
Tahini Chimichurri
makes about 1/4 cup
1/2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed down
1/4 cup fresh parsley, packed down
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper powder

Wash all of the fresh herbs, and pat them dry. Blend all the ingredients together until there are no more chunks. Refrigerate in a sealed container or serve immediately over grilled chicken or steak.
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Sydney is going into tenth grade this year, and all her friends are celebrating their sweet sixteenths. She has been invited to four birthday parties just this week, and is rushing to get all the presents prepared between two a day soccer practices. I helped her out a bit by making this card for her friend Isaac. Most of the birthday cards I make are for girls or the little kids I babysit, so it was nice to make a teenage boy card for a change.

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Remember back in May when I made my mom cream cheese danishes for Mother's Day? I decided to revamp the recipe with a bit of a heavenly twist: Nutella. Let's just say that they did not stick around for long.
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Nutella Danishes
makes 6
2 sheets puff pastry dough
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp strawberry jelly
powdered sugar, to top

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Divide the cream cheese mixture in half, and stir in the Nutella to one portion of it. Roll out the puff pastry sheets into two fat rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 equal squares. Spread about 1 tbsp of the plain cream cheese mixture and 2 tbsp of the Nutella cream cheese mixture into the center of each pastry square. Leave about 3/4"-1" space around the edges. Place a tbsp of the jelly in the center of the cream cheese, making a bit of an indent. Push in the edges of the pastries to resemble a danish. Spread them out on a large baking stone and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.

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