Registering for gifts was actually a blessing for Jared and I because we literally had nothing before we got married. We both had our fair share of Goodwill finds and college-rusted utensils, and I was sick of it! It was finally time to upgrade so we gave our used things back to Goodwill and registered for anything and everything. When we moved into our new home, our kitchen was set with new and shiny things we received from our friends and family. All the other rooms were empty, but the kitchen was packed! Haha.
Not gonna lie, there was one item we didn’t use right away just because I didn’t want to ruin them—my Global 3-piece knife set. Besides the stainless steel pots & pans and Kitchen Aid mixer, these knives were the third most expensive item on the list. Man, oh man, they are sharp as hell and feels so naturally in the hand. I will never go back to my non-name brand knife. Look at these beauties…
Before I opened the knives, I needed a place to put them. From Bed, Bath and Beyond, we purchased the magnetic knife holder for a mere $16.99. It measures a foot long and attaching it to the wall was simple. The holder comes with two screws that you drill into the pre-drilled holes on both sides of the holder. Pretty sturdy. So far so good. The Global 3-piece knife set was little more pricey at $229, which includes a 5 1/2″ carving, 8″ chef and 3″ paring knives.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering why I registered for these knives. For no good reason at all, I saw chefs on TV cooking with them. Now I know why :)
As you can see, I have several other knives on the magnetic holder. It’s a great tool for those lacking cabinet space, which we do. And that’s the main reason why I waited so long to use these knives. I didn’t want to dump them in a cabinet with all my other kitchen gadgets. I needed a designated spot for the knives and for less than $20, I’d say this holder makes complete sense. So, if you’re looking to invest in a fantastic set of knives and a holder, I totally recommend these two items.
From the kitchen of: Southern Biscuit and Pearly Squirrely Makes: 24 biscuits
Total time: 15 min to prep, 10-12 min to bake
I was first introduced to these Southern Biscuits during our trip to Ohio a few weeks ago for a wedding. I fortunately had a chance to talk and mingle with the bride and groom’s family. I was speaking to the groom’s grandmother, Pearly Squirrely, and the discussion of biscuits came about. Pearly Squirrely lives in Charleston, WV, a throw stone’s away from the infamous Biscuit World. She told me about her own recipe for pepperoni biscuits telling me that the secret was the flour. The next morning after the wedding, we gathered for breakfast where she baked these moist, airy biscuits with bits of pepperoni mixed in. When I asked her how she made them, she practically said, just follow the directions on the back on the flour. Haha. I guess her secret was not so much the ingredients, but the mix.
3 1/4 cups Southern Biscuit Complete Mix (found at Food Lion)
1/2 bag 7 oz Hormel Pepperoni, chopped
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1. Prepare the pepperoni. Roughly chop the pepperoni, about half a 7 oz bag. Set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°.
2. Prepare biscuits. In a large mixing bowl, add the Southern Biscuit mix with buttermilk stirring with fork or wooden spoon. Stir together using as few strokes as possible, just mix until completely combined. At this point, also add the chopped pepperoni and lightly mix in with the dough. The dough will be a little sticky and loose. (We didn’t add the pepperoni until later, which was a mistake. Better to add the pepperoni at this step.)
3. Cut out biscuits. Place the dough on a floured surface using some of the biscuit mix. With a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough 1/2-inch thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter or glass cup, cut biscuits and place them in baking pans so the sides are lightly touching. With the remaining dough, reform and cut out more biscuits.
4. Bake. Place biscuits in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until tops are lightly golden brown. Remove biscuits from oven and brush melted butter over the tops. Serve warm and enjoy!
I am a little paranoid about being wasteful, especially because my parents taught me at a very young age not to be. We ate at home 98% of the time. We ate whatever my parents cooked and finished whatever was on our plates. My parents were born and raised in the Philippines so I can understand their parenting habits. I am the same way today, and can’t imagine not teaching my kids the same habits.
One of my ways to not be wasteful starts with freezing my meats. It would be a shame to spend so much money on good quality meat for it to be ruined in the freezer. Because of my paranoia, I have three important steps to preparing my meats for the freezer. I know this might be a little over-the-top, but I’d rather not waste my food and money!
1. Cover with cling wrap. This first step is very important when preparing meats for the freezer. Be sure to wrap the meat tightly with cling wrap ensuring the cling wrap touches the meat. Remove any air pockets.
2. Cover with foil. This second step helps keep the meat fresh. After you’ve wrapped the meat with cling wrap, cover tightly with foil to prevent freezer burn.
3. Place in freezer zip lock bag. Just to be on the safe side, take your meat wrapped in plastic and then in foil, and place it in a freezer zip lock bag. As you zip up the bag, remove any air.
So these are my three steps to keep the meats cozy in the freezer. Just place the bags in the freezer and they should stay good for a few months. To defrost, refrigerator overnight or pop in the microwave. Taking these extra steps is worth it!
With pork chops this time, cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Cover tightly with foil.
Place in a freezer zip lock bag and then freeze! The secret to keep the freezer burn away from your meats.
From the kitchen of: Isabel Makes: 4 servings
Total time: 10 min to prep, 4 hour+ to marinate, 30 min to grill
The best part about an early Spring is this amazing grilling weather. These current temperatures in the past week have been ridiculous — 70s during the day, 50s at night — can’t get any better than that! Needless to say, I am on cloud nine with the fact I can finally grill! Another way of cooking, grilling allows a different flavor profile from the charred smokiness from the gas or charcoals. I definitely have my parents to thank for my love of grilling. My parents certainly didn’t cook just hot dogs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). My dad’s infamous beef skewers first introduced me to grilling, as well as, my relentless TV watching of Bobby Flay. I am a grilling machine, so lets kick off this grilling season with grilled chicken in a Korean-style marinade.
1 package chicken legs, 1 package chicken thighs (total 10 pieces or so)
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup water
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onion stalks, chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. Prepare the marinade. In a zip lock bag, combine the chopped green onions, garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Zip the bag shut and shade the marinade around.
2. Marinade the chicken. Add the chicken legs and thighs to the marinade. Close the bag, mix well and allow the chicken to marinade in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight if you make this the day before. Be sure to lay the bag flat in the refrigerator so the marinade coats all the chicken pieces.
3. Grill the chicken. Whatever your preference is, heat up your gas grill or charcoal grill. When the temperature reaches about 300-350°, place the marinated chicken on the grill. Cook each side roughly 15 minutes. Brush on some of the marinade to keep the chicken moist. Because of the sugars in the marinade, it might smoke up a lot, but don’t fret, the skin on the chicken is getting some nice flavor. Serve hot!
From the kitchen of: Isabel Total time: 10 min to prep, 20 min to fry Makes: 4-6 servings
A colleague orders out for lunch every once in a while, and I always look forward to the days he gets onion rings with his sandwich because he never eats them all and shares them with the group. The onion rings he gets though are not my favorite. But hey, they’re free and I can’t pass up on free food. His onion rings are the thick kind. They’re fat slices with a thick coating of breading and deep fried. As you can imagine, that after some time, the onion and the breading do get a little soggy. Well, my version is the complete opposite. Mine are shoestring so they cook up super fast and stay crispy for a longer time. There is a good balance between the salty, thin, crispy exterior and the oniony flavor and texture. I used evaporated milk to bind the flour to the onion and it turned out freaking amazing! You absolutely can’t eat just a handful. Before you know it, the pan will be empty. Shoestring onion rings are definitely the way to go.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 sweet white onions, medium to large size
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt for seasoning
vegetable oil, for frying
1. Mix flour with seasonings. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cayenne, chili powder and teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside.
2. Prep onions. Thinly slice the onions. The first onion, slice off the ends and remove outer layer. Slice the onion in half and thinly sliced the halves. The second onion, also remove the ends and outer layer, but keep it whole. Thinly slice the onion keeping onion in rings. This way you have a mix. Place slices in a bowl and pour the evaporated milk over the onion slices allowing to soak for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 170° and line a cookie sheet with 2 layers of paper towel.
Thin, thin, thin slices. Using a sharp knife is the key.
3. Fry the onions. While the onions are soaking, heat a dutch oven or large pot with an inch or so of vegetable oil over medium high temperature. Allow the oil to get hot. To test whether the oil ready, try frying one onion ring. It should take about 30 seconds or so for the onion ring to brown.
Once the oil is hot, take a handful of the soaked onion rings and dredge it in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and gently place the onions in the hot oil. Using a strainer utensil, turn the rings over once or twice allowing them to turn golden brown It will only take 30 seconds to a minute for the onion rings to brown. Remove and place on the paper-lined tray and keep them in the heated oven to stay crispy while you continue to fry up the rest. Repeat process 4-6 times til all the rings are fried. Once all fried, season with salt and eat immediately.