Monday, July 5, 2010


Well I have not really had an IL challenge for quite some time. Since my adventure with an ostrich egg, actually. It's summer! Everyone is busy with family and vacations and getting sunburns, so its alright! Steven and I have been busy so for this summer, too.
Went to Hilton Head and Savannah with his family to grab Tito from college at SCAD (click that link, Tito is amazing.)
The following week my BFFFFFF came to visit me! I hadn't seen her since my wedding in Sept 09. It was so good to see Cynthia! We went to Busch Gardens and Beer, Bourbon, BBQ fest. Some temp tattoos happened
And fun was had.

In other life news my dogs have grown even cuter

And my IL kitchen stadium has been revamped with some new wall colors

But anyways, now what you're really here for. Food!
Here's some things that I have made this summer (that I have remembered to photo document!)

Tuna Teriyaki
I used to LOOOOVVVE salmon teriyaki from Richmond's Haru back when I wasn't allergic to shellfish and I coud still eat there. I took a stab at making some teriyaki of my own. It wasn't nearly as good but def. would eat again!
I used bottled teriyaki sauce, cause, hey it's summer and I was feelin a bit lazy!

Also in the spirit of summer and nice days I made this steak dinner for us and my inlaws. The sauce you see in the pan is mushrooms cooked in butter with cream mixed in.
The veggies are eggplant, zucchini and squash.

If you want specifics on how these were cooked or anything, holler at me and I'll write it up.
I hope all 9 of my loyal followers are having a fantastic summer!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Egg (Ostrich egg!)

I am SO SORRY it has taken me so long to update this, call me a bad blogger if you will but I TRY!
So a few Wednesdays ago I was given my newest secret ingredient for IL which was Eggs. I started planning and when it came time to grocery shop Dallas told me he would be providing the eggs, about 2 dozen or so.
To my surprise, THIS is what he showed up with
A freakin' ostrich egg.

This egg was HUGE. The shell felt like shiny plaster and it was heavy. Cracking the shell took a few tries, I think I ended up just taking a hammer to it and clearing the small eggshell bits out before breaking the soft tissue under the hard shell. Either way, it was complicated.
Ha, still in my work clothes.



It looked just like a ginormous chicken egg inside. I mixed in some heavy cream in with my eggs. I like cream in eggs, don't know why, you don't have to do this.

Anyways, on to cookin'.

Dish 1
Italian egg roll
You will need:
Puff pastry
Cheese - I used parmesan and ricotta
Balsamic vinegar

Set out your puff pastry to thaw. It takes about 45 mins
When it is soft, unroll it, coat with EVOO and sprinkle with some cheese.
These pictures all came out dark and yellow tinted :\

Scramble some eggs with some more cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Don't scramble them all the way, keep them a little runny.

While your eggs cook find a second to cover your pastry dough with a layer of sliced salami.
Sprinkle with cheese - I used ricotta

When the eggs are done, cover the salami and roll up.

Bake in the oven at 400 untill puffy and done looking --- technical I know.

Reduce some balsamic vinegar for a drizzle. This takes 5-10 minutes.
If you don't want to do this, they sell balsamic drizzle sauce sometimes in the grocery store :)

When your roll is done, remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze, cut and serve!

Veggie Quiche
You will need:
Pie crust - I got the cheap frozen kind from the grocery store.

I had no idea making quiche was so easy! And it tastes impressive.

Start by throwing some chopped onions in a pan with some EVOO and mushrooms - stir often

When the onion is soft lower heat and add a handful of spinach leaves on top to wilt.

Wait about 2 minutes and put veggies in frozen pie crust and fill with a beaten egg. Throw a little salt and pepper on top and some cheese and put in them oven at 400 to bake
Takes maybe 10ish minutes. Check to see eggs are solid and cooked, remove, cool and serve!
(I made 2 because of the amazing amount of egg I had!)

After 2 quiches and an egg roll I had enough left over for 4 bowls of scrambled eggs.
My troops were full and ready to complete their battle

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Hi all! It's been a few weeks! Sorry about the lapse in Iron Lydia posts, but game/cook night hasn't happened for a few weeks due to life stuff! I'm back now!
So yesterday I finally completed my battle with Asparagus! Here's the goods:

Bacon wrapped asparagus with *quick* "hollandaise" sauce
Take about 5-6 pieces of asparagus, with the bottoms chopped off. You want them about 4 inches long and pretty skinny. Take the 5 or so branches (?are they asparagus branches?) and paint with EVOO and place on a generous piece of tin foil.
Once you've done for as many servings as you like, wrap into a tin foil pouch and place on the grill on a med/low heat and cover.

Now for the sauce!
You will need these things:
Combine them in a bowl. You will want more mayo then mustard, a small shake of garlic and a small bit of lemon juice, mix, and done!

In about 15 minutes take your bacon wrapped asparagus off the grill and serve with the sauce. Easy!

The for main course I made:
I dont even know what to call it!! (Any loyal follower care to name this dish?)
You will need the following:
1 Small eggplant
1.5 bundles asparagus
Spaghetti noodles
Cottage cheese (weird, I know!)
Spices you like, I used garlic and cumin with some salt and pepper.
Sesame seeds

In a large pan, I used one of these Rachel Ray grill pans, they are awesome! Any old big pan would work though.
Cut the tips off of your asparagus and cut your eggplant into small chunks. Combine in pan and heat with enough EVOO to coat veggies with some to spare!
Season the veggies in the pan and stir often. Throw in some sesame seeds. keep on med/highish heat. Again I used cumin and garlic! It went really well, but again - whatever you like!

Meanwhile, while your veggies cook boil water and begin to cook your noodles.

Once your noodles are soft, stain the water and return to pot. I put a tiny bit of butter on to keep them from sticking. Mix in about 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. I know this is weird and a lot of people hate it, but trust me, you wont even know it's there. It makes the while dish have a cream sauce effect without being very heavy.
After mixing, combine noodles and veggies in pan. Mix well! Serve! Enjoy!

The boys did not have any battle this week, they were worn out from last weeks Fallschirmjaeger vs US Rifles in the bocage

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm bad about getting these posts up immediately following my cooking on Wednesdays! Maybe it's because I go to bed at like 9:00.
But here it is, Wednesday's battle with Avocado! My 2nd Iron Lydia challenge to date:

Summer Guac Party
This is so fun and so tasty! I stumbled across making this dip one day while trying to make guacamole and running out of lemon or lime juice! It was such a hit I introduced it to my troops on wednesday and they destroyed it!
You'll need! 2 ripe avocados .
Some lemon/lime margarita mix
Coarse salt

All you do is chop up your 2 avocados until they are in small pieces, or in chucks the size you like in guac dip. If you like your guac very smooth, use a food processor!
Mix in about 3-4 tablespoons of your margarita mix and a few pinches of coarse salt. Taste test often for preferred flavor :)
Put in whatever bowl you, garnish the top with one small splash of mix and some salt
Serve immediately with tortilla chips!

Sweet & Spicy Smothered Bacon Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice!
You'll need
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 slices bacon, cut into smaller pieces
4 avocados
2 mangos
1 large tomato
1 large onion
1 small can pickled sliced jalapenos
Pepper Paste
Garlic. (powder, paste, bulb ...whatever
For the rice I used 4 packets of Uncle Ben's 90 second white rice. If you prefer you can steam or boil your own.
1 large lime

Cut your 3 chicken breasts into smaller pieces. Put in a large hot pan with bacon. Keep on med-high heat.
While chicken is cooking combine the following in a large food processor.
1 onion (cut up)
1 tomato (cut up)
As many jalapenos as you like and can tollerate
A squeeze of pepper blend paste
2 mangos. As I discovered mangos are really hard to peal! Suggestions on how to welcome!
At this point I threw in some more pepper blend and jalapenos for some more spice, but that's just me :)
4 avocados, sliced.

Check on chicken and bacon in pan. Stir. Add in some salt and jalapeno slices (if you like!) and whatever other spices you think you may like. I used a little lemon zest

While chicken finishes cooking, heat your instant rice (if that is what you chose to use! I like the 90 sec rice, it's just as good as what I put in my rice steamer, and the clean up is much easier!)
Put rice in large bowl, throw in some torn up cilantro leaves and squeeze in juice from 1 lime. Stir.
Stir chicken as needed. When it is cooked and no longer pink in the center remove from heat. Plate your chicken next to the rice and cover it with your mango/avocado salsa. Serve.
I had a ton of left over salsa blend that I served with chips and sent to work with for some other troops the next day.

My troops must have been been hungry from their battle at El Alamein
Stay tuned next week for my battle with Peanut Butter! Asparagus!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cream Cheese

A week ago after cooking dinner for my husband's friends who come over for a weekly game of Flames of War, it was suggested I make a game of this night too. Dallas has named it "Iron Lydia" and is now in charge of unveiling my secret ingredient. I get the ingredient a week before so I can start planning and grocery shop the night before.
I do a little research and then plan dishes, I don't read from any pre-written (to my knowledge) recipes. I read quick how-to's and then I wing it!
Wednesday was my first IL battle ever: Cream Cheese! This is what I came up with!
The Menu: Dirty dipp appetizer, cream and goat cheese stuffed shells, chocolate cream cheese w honey puff pastry roll.
Prep: Prepare your cook aparatas!

You'll need a whole lot of cream cheese! Dallas brought 4 sticks and I used all of them. I set them on my back porch where it was warm to soften them up! Also if you plan on making this dessert set out our frozen puff pastry dough so it thaws.

Appetizer "Dirty Dipp" (Okay, I lied this was a pre-fabbed recipe that I got from Beer Burbon BBQ fest last year)
1 stick cream cheese mixed with about 1 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt!) I never measure when I cook, I just "eyeballit"
Mix sour cream and cream cheese until you have a dip like consistency. I spiced mine up with "Dirt" that I bought last year from the BBBBQ fest. You can use whatever you like! Garlic, old bay, chili powder, whatever!
Serve immediately with chips.

Cream & Goat Cheese Stuffed Shells
You'll need: (I was cooking for 6, so you can cut this in half for depending on your troop size)
Jumbo shells
2 sticks cream cheese
2 containers goat cheese crumbles
2 jars whatever type of sauce you like. I used:

Step 1
Bring large pot of water, 2 table spoons EVOO and dash of salt to a boil.

Start preparing dessert.
You'll need:
Thawed puff pastry dough. You buy this in the frozen dessert section at a grocery store. Probably near frozen pie crust!
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 (about?) cup sugar. Taste test for sweetness :)

Microwave your already soft cream cheese for about 15 seconds. You want it just hot enough to melt the mini choco chips.
Stir choco chips and sugar into your warm cream cheese until blended. Drizzle some honey onto the mixture.
Test for sweetness. The honey will make it taste a little tart, but don't worry, it won't taste that way once baked. If you desire, add more sugar. I added in some more chocolate chips once cooled too, so they would melt while baking.
Set aside for later!

Back to your boiling water!
Add in your jumbo shells, cook until Al Dente
Strain, coat with EVOO to prevent sticking, and set somewhere cool.
You dont want them to burn your hands while you're stuffing them with cheese!

While your shells are cooling, preheat your oven to 400
Begin mixing your cream in goat cheese. In a bowel mix your GC crumbles into the cream cheese.
Coat the bottom of a pan with your tomato sauce and begin stuffing your shells.
*It's important to have a layer of sauce at the bottom of the pan so your shells don't get hard while baking*
Line up stuffed shells in sauced pan until it's full! 1 layer only, and no over lapping! You want them to all cook evenly.
Cover shells with sauce
Place in oven and bake for 10-15 mins.

While your shells are baking, get your dessert ready so you can pop it in the oven as soon as you take the shells out.
Spread chocolate cream cheese mixture on your puff pastry
Roll up! (In hind sight I should have rolled it up evenly, like a pumpkin roll or pin wheel and not started at the corner.)
Be ready to put desert in oven as soon as you take the shells out. Bake about 10-15 mins until dough looks flaky and very light brown. Remove, and let cool.

When time is up for your shells, remove from oven, serve, and enjoy!

*I forgot to snap some pics of dessert coming out of the oven, the only one I got was of Dallas enjoying!

That's brings my cream cheese battle report to a close. Thanks to the troops for helping with the dishes after their battle at at Sidi Bou Zid.