spicing it up for valentine's day

valentine's day is a day to spice it up - so why not start with dinner?  today's recipe is a soup i have changed quite a bit from the original.  i'm not much into cream soups so it became brothy instead.  i added rice and chicken for a little more substance, changed the spices up, and served it with tortilla chips to tone down that spice for those (such as me) who prefer their food with a little less heat.  needless to say this is another well enjoyed meal in our house, and as leftovers!  so get your heat on and have a happy valentine's day! ♥

spicy corn chowder with chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbs. garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 pkg. frozen whole kernel corn
1 can petite diced tomatoes
3 tbs. chopped green chiles, canned or fresh
3 tsp. parsley, dried or fresh
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
2 cups cooked rice
tortilla chips (optional)

1. in a dutch oven, heat the oil on medium.  add the chicken and cook til the outsides turn white.  remove from pan, set aside.  add onion, bell pepper and garlic.  cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. add the rest of the ingredients except for the rice and tortilla chips.  bring to a boil over high heat.  reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.  stir occasionally.
3. optional - serve with tortilla chips.  we crush ours into our soup.

makes about 6-8 servings.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


wearing handmade wednesday: Girl Tuesday Jewelry

a few years ago, i discovered GirlTuesdayJewelry when i came across an adorable cherry pendant made from red heart glass beads in her etsy shop.  it's still one of my favourite pieces, and that purchase made me a big fan of her jewelry.  last year for valentine's day i picked up her tough love barbed wire hearts earrings.  they're so unique, fun, and edgy, and perfect for the holiday.

towards the end of last year while browsing her shop i decided i wanted barbed wire hoops, as seen on me below.  i love the hearts, but the hoops are more versatile for my wardrobe.  i picked rachel's original hoops, 1.75" in diameter.  i also requested to have them oxidized to make them a little more raw and rugged like real barbed wire.  needless to say i LOVE them and they are the perfect accessory to toughen up any outfit.

i've got a couple of other things i have my eye on in her shop - a stars lariat, ball and chain earrings, and a big heart pendant - so until they make their way into my jewelry drawer i'll be stalking them often.  you can join me in stalking her creations in her etsy shop, at her website - www.girltuesdayjewelry.com, and some of her rocker chic items can also be found at www.punk.com.


talking tacos

i'm back! =)

finally my life is starting to get into order again, which means new recipes for the blog!  this week's gem began in the kitchen of rick bayless.  i was lucky enough to work a few blocks from his restaurants in chicago and ate there several times.  i even blew my entire football pool winnings one week on a dinner at topolobampo.  believe me, it was worth every penny of the $150 that was spent.  so when i learned rick bayless was going to be on "top chef masters" needless to say i was thrilled!

they had an elimination challenge to make street food using animal parts we americans don't normally eat.  rick did tacos with tongue.  as much as he's a master chef, i can't say i wanted to go run out and try tongue.  i did, however, want to try his recipe using something else for meat.  with trial and error, i was able to reduce the recipe to a 2 person (with a bit of leftovers) serving size and i originally began to make it with beef steak.  it was great - until one time i was craving these tacos and adding the steak was out of the food budget that week.  it turned out i didn't even miss it!  the funny thing is i'm not a fan of chorizo, avocados, or pecorino romano but together they are DIVINE!  i *promise* you these tacos have so many flavors to experience, your tongue won't be missing anything. ;)

bacon, chorizo and potato hash tacos (tongueless, adapted from Rick Bayless' recipe)

1 lb bacon
1 white onion, diced
1 lb chorizo, casing removed
2 large potatoes, cubed
pecorino romano (or queso anejo)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
white corn tortillas

3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
4 jalapeƱos
3 avocados
1 large white onion, finely diced

1. very lightly boil potatoes in salted water.  set aside to cool.
2. make the guacamole: puree the tomatillos and jalapeƱos.  mix that into the avocados. add onion.  add cilantro and salt to taste.  put in refrigerator to chill.
3. in a bowl, cover the red onion with very cold water.  salt generously.  let stand for 10 minutes and drain.
4. fry the bacon.  remove and blot.  cook the onions in the bacon fat to carmelize.  in a separate pan cook the chorizo until cooked through and browned.
5. chop the potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2").  add the potatoes and chorizo to the onions and cook until crusty like hash browns.
6. warm tortillas on a slightly oily griddle.  layer tacos with the hash mixture, a couple of strips of bacon, guacamole, red onion, and top with pecorino romano.

makes about 6-8 tacos.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...