Cat Cora Cookbook Winner

Patricia and I want to thank everyone for entering the Cat Cora Cookbook Giveaway.

And the Winner is… Renee!

Renee Says: My favorite cookbook is Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories by Lisa Lillien. I love it because I love to indulge but I still want to be healthy without sacrificing taste. This book has great recipes. Thanks for the amazing giveaway

Congratulations Renee!  🙂

Two Girls Cooking

Chile Lime Steak Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

I was never too excited about mexican cuisine until Patricia and I got to know each other. She LOVES it, and so she made me try some things I may have avoided otherwise. Thanks for that Patricia! Now it’s one of my favorites. I still can’t eat it as spicy as she does, but I’m miles ahead of where I was!

When I read on Saturday that Cat Cora would be making Chile Lime Flank Steak Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, I thought…  hmm, that’s not something I’d normally put together. Since I’ve been shown before I can like things I wouldn’t expect, I was game to give this a try. I was very pleasantly surprised at how great these were.

The heat of the chiles is toned down by the sweetness of the pineapple and red onions. So even a spice wimp like me can handle the little bit of jalepeno in the salsa. I’m not usually a fan of cilantro, but I did use it here. It is not overpowering as it can be in some salsas. The steak is so tender and juicy, I may use the marinade even if I’m not making tacos!

From Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist:

Steak:

1 tsp chile powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs flank steak, trimmed of fat (I couldn’t find a flank steak, so I used a sirloin)

Mix spices, salt, pepper, lime juice and oil in a small bowl. Place the steak in a shallow dish and rub the paste evenly over both sides. Cover and let marinate for 1-4 hours.

Salsa:

1 small pineapple

1 small red onion

3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp rice vinegar  (I had white wine vinegar on hand and that worked fine!)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 fresh jalepeno, seeded and minced

Serve on 16 six inch tortillas

Preheat grill to medium-high. Slice off leafy top of the pineapple and just enough of the bottom so the fruit rests flat on a cutting board. Slice off the skin with a sharp knife, cutting from top to bottom and taking off as little of the flesh as possible. Discard the skin. Cut out any “eyes” with a paring knife and discard. Slice the fruit away from the core in 4 or 5 slabs.

Place the pineapple slabs on the hot grill and grill until the fruit is just beginning to show some browning, 1-2 min per side.

Let the pineapple cool for a few minutes, then dice. In a medium bowl, mix the diced pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and jalepeno and blend well.

Grill the steak for 5 to 6 minutes on each side (slightly longer for well done meat). Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cat explained this allows the juices to go back into the meat rather than running out onto the cutting board.

Meanwhile, place the tortillas on the hot grill and grill for about 10 seconds on each side, then wrap in a cloth napkin to keep them warm.

Slice the steak across the grain into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve with tortillas and salsa.

Scott was a bit skeptical too when I told him what I was making, but he’s a great sport. He’ll give whatever I make a try. He loved these tacos! Top 3 in his favorite meals he decided, so we’ll definitely be making these again soon.

🙂

– Jodi

Cooking Demonstration and Book Signing with Cat Cora

Patricia and I were invited to Macy’s on Saturday for a cooking demonstration and book signing with Cat Cora. There were several other bloggers from the Twin Cities area and it was awesome to meet and talk with Dutch Baker’s Daughter and Cafe Cyan. Not only were we excited to be invited to the event; we felt pretty important with our front row reserved seats!

While waiting for Cat to arrive, we were served non alcoholic watermelon margaritas.  They came in the tiniest little cup and tasted great!!  When Cat arrived, the bloggers were all called over to meet her and get pictures taken with her.  She is so open and friendly; she made us all feel very comfortable!  I was also surprised to find she wasn’t too much taller than me (I’m 5 ft on a good day)!

After we all took our seats, Cat told us about her new cookbook, Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist.  She said she’d be making two recipes from the book. I will try out and post the recipes myself later this week. First she prepared Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa.  Cat encouraged everyone to not only make her recipes just as printed; but to have fun with them!  For example, try using mango or peaches in place of the pineapple. We each got a little taco of our own to try.  I was concerned the spices would be too hot for me (medium salsa is as hot as I can handle).  However, the pineapple salsa to helped cool it down; it was just right!

The second dish was the Grapefruit and Cherry Ambrosia with Honey Cream. We each got a small sample of this to try as well.  Though I’m not a big fan of grapefruit or cherries, she did included pineapple and toasted coconut. Yum! I really enjoyed the cream, I would love to make this with some of my favorite fruits.

Through the entire demonstrating, Cat answered questions from the audience. We learned about her 4 kids and how they stay connected with her busy schedule; she says how she sends them cards, gifts in the mail and calls them every day.

Cat went on to explain to us what goes into filming an episode of Iron Chef America.  She said they are not told what the main ingredient is ahead of time, but they are given what type of cuisine is would be (such as Greek) and to stick to that. The cooking battle is in real time, but there is about 6 hours of filming that goes into each 45 minute episode!

In addition to this book tour, Cat is now working with the First Lady and her anti-obesity campaign to help inspire kids throughout the country to learn more about the food they eat. She spoke about teaching kids to grow their own vegetables and how many of the kids are less reluctant to try something new when they got to be involved in growing it. Since I’ve been growing some things on my own these last couple years, I have to agree; things just seem to taste better when you’ve had a hand in growing them!

After the demonstration was over we each had the opportunity to have Cat sign our cookbooks. Patricia and I each picked one up for ourselves and can’t wait to start making some of the recipes.  We decided because we had so much fun, we wanted to share this with our readers!  We are giving away one signed copy of Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist.

TO ENTER

To enter the giveaway answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What is your favorite cookbook?

One entry per person please.

Deadline is Thursday June 10th, 2010 at 11:59 pm central standard time.

Winners will be selected at random and announced Friday.

Good luck!

Don’t forget to check back later this week for the recipes in today’s post!

– Jodi

Cheese, Garlic and Herb Swirl Bread

I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches lately. I mix up the toppings to try to keep it interesting: Turkey or ham, tomatoes or onions… But I almost always use a little wedge of spreadable cheese. First, because I love cheese and I think a sandwich just isn’t the same without it. And second, because this little cheese wedge is only 35 calories and also lets me skip the butter/mayo I would want to spread on my bread.

I got to thinking, since I like this spread cheese so much on my sandwiches, what about baking it into my bread…? I didn’t think the flavor would come through well if I just mixed it into the dough, so I decided to make a simple dough and make a swirl bread instead.

So I found a recipe on Taste of Home and decided to adapt the fillings to see if it would work. The bread is moist with a crisp crust, and the filling remained pretty well intact. The flavor of the cheese is noticeable, but not as much as when you spread it on a slice of bread. A slice does come apart a bit when I cut it, so I think this would be a little difficult to make a sandwich with. It would go great with some soup or pasta to dip it in!

Here’s what I used:

3 pkg (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

2-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided

1 tsp sugar

3-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp salt

2-3/4 to 3-1/2 cups bread flour

1 6.5 oz tub garlic and herb spreadable cheese (I used Alouette light garlic and herbs)

1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the whole wheat flour, salt and remaining water; beat until smooth. Stir in enough bread flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray; turn once to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Roll each piece into a 14-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Brush with some of the egg; refrigerate rest of egg. Spread half of the cheese over each dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under. Place seam side down in two 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Brush with reserved egg. Bake at 375° for 40-50 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks. Makes 2 loaves (12 slices each).

My loaves both turned out pretty well, just a little split in the top of each one where the dough was rolled a little too thin. I will make this one again for a side dish, but am still looking for different recipes to play with for sandwiches. Do you have a favorite sandwich bread?

– Jodi

CSN Gift Certificate Giveaway

Patricia and I both love a good giveaway, we always let each other know when we find one so we can both have a chance to win! When CSN stores offered to sponsor a $50 gift card giveaway on our blog, we were very excited and of course accepted right away. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs or even your most specific needs such as a bathroom vanity or a bird cage!

One winner will receive a one-time-use $50 gift certificate to use at CSN Stores.  Here’s a couple ideas we might pick out if we could, both under $50!

Patricia’s been thinking about a panini press
 

Jodi's been dreaming of an ice cream maker

Here’s how to enter:

Visit CSN Stores and have a look around.  Come back and leave a comment telling us what you’d use your $50 for if you win.  Don’t worry, you can always change your mind later!  (This must be done first for any additional entries to count)

Deadline: Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 11:59pm central standard time.

Extra Entries:

1) Follow @jodi_lee or @godzgirl37 on Twitter. Leave a comment here indicating that you are now a follower. (If you already follow us, just let us know!)

2) Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment here with a link to your tweet.

3) Re-post this giveaway on your own blog and leaving a comment with a link to your post.

4) Join our group on our Facebook page Two Girls Cooking.  Leave a comment here indicating you are now a member (If you are already a member, just let us know!)

5) Post about this giveaway on Facebook. Leave a comment here with a link to your update.

Make sure to leave a comment with your name and email address each time you enter (ie. one when you tell us what you’ll buy, another if you become a join our group…).

We will announce the winner on Sunday, June 6th, 2010.

Good Luck!

Jodi and Patricia

Two Girls Cooking

Fine Print
No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be selected at random by Two Girls Cooking using Random.org. All entries received after the Giveaway closing day and time will not be considered. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the email. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.