Thursday, March 5, 2015
Oh, look, it's snowing again. For the bazzilionth time this winter. Shocking, I know. I'm trying hard to be positive and see the bright side. I'm cozy and dry at home. I have food in the fridge and a blissfully well stocked liquor cabinet. I have a sweet furry dog to keep me extra warm. But the house-bound, stir-crazy thing is making it hard to see the glass as half full. So I'm going to fill it with a little spring.
Beautiful blood oranges were piled high on a display in my market and the smell of fresh mint hit me when I walked past the herbs.
So what if it's atrocious outside. It's warm and citrusy and minty inside. Cheers!
2 oz. Gin
2 oz. Fresh blood orange juice (approx. 1 blood orange)
1/2 oz. Lime juice
1/2 oz. Simple syrup
1/2 oz. Elderflower liqueur
5 Sprigs fresh mint
Combine the gin, blood orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, edlderflower liqueur and fresh mint in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the mint using a muddler or a wooden spoon. Fill with ice, shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with extra mint and a wedge of blood orange, if desired.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Know what makes a food blogger happy? New pots and pans. OK, and kitchen appliances and new dishes and cooking gadgets. But for sheer ooing and aahing, nothing beats a shiny new pan. The only problem comes when we're hesitant to use it because it's too pretty and we don't want to mess it up. This new beauty from OXO sat on my table, being admired, for longer than I care to admit.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Snow...snow...snow...groundhog emerges, says "eek, snow" and runs back into his burrow...snow. Pause for chocolatey love celebrations. Snow...snow...snow...oh, look at all this lovely citrus in the markets now...snow...snow...snow. That was my February. How was yours? I guess the only upside (and I'm struggling to find one, believe me) is that I got to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. So, it was a freezing cold, overly snowy and generally unacceptable February but with lots of delicious food. Let's take a quick look back at all the recipes before we climb back under the covers and pray for spring. Did I mention it's snowing this morning?
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
One sad, lonely, over-ripe banana. One baked doughnut pan. And a sweet tooth. That's how this all started. Normally, if I have sad bananas, I think about banana bread but this time I had just one. Not enough for a well flavored bread. But, it was just right for a small batch of baked doughnuts.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to my newest snack obsession, Pasta Chips. I'll admit that I couldn't wait to taste every flavor and then I mostly just wanted to munch away while watching a great movie. But what makes these special is that each variety is its own little flavor bomb and really deserves to be used in some way other than just shoved into my mouth in record speed. So, I think the only practical solution is that, from now on, I just buy two bags of each!
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I'll be the first to admit that I'm completely obsessed with Greek yogurt. If I don't have my daily serving, I get a little cranky. If my supermarket runs out of my favorite brand, I will go to another market to find it. I need my fix! But apart from my daily treat, I love using it as an ingredient in dips, dressings and even cakes and quick breads. But my number one passion these days is turning it into cheese.
Monday, February 16, 2015
A few years ago I was attending a business dinner at a fine Italian restaurant and saw cauliflower ragu on the menu. I'd never heard of it before and, I admit, it sounded a bit odd. But, given my lifelong fondness for cauliflower, it was a sure bet I'd order it. And I promptly fell in love.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Let's say that you're in the mood for an ooey gooey chocolatey dessert. OK, that would be pretty much every day. But let's say that you also wanted to make something pretty simple and no fuss. And a little special, but still no fuss. And maybe even a little romantic? These skillet brownies are so what you're looking for!
Monday, February 9, 2015
It's getting to be that time, isn't it? Heart shaped boxes of chocolates for sale everywhere. Cards and bouquets of flowers and restaurant reservations to be gotten. Hmm. I'm all for the chocolates and cards and flowers but being packed into crowded restaurants on Valentine's Day is actually not big on my list. I much prefer a romantic dinner at home. And this is definitely the time to splurge on a good dessert.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
After a long busy day, when I get hungry and realize it's already dinner time but I'm still at my desk, want to know what makes me happy? Remembering that I have dinner all ready in the fridge and it just needs a quick re-heating. Really happy.
Monday, February 2, 2015
In case I haven't mentioned it in the last ten minutes, I don't like winter. I bring this up again this morning as I look out the window at a snow and sleet covered mess outside. It's also Groundhog Day but I doubt he can see his shadow or even dig his way out of his burrow. Sigh. Still, all this inclement weather means more time in my kitchen. And it's all a bit more bearable when I can get some of Florida's sunshine, at least in citrus form.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I don't recall ever eating gratins at home but my first restaurant taste of one fixed my obsession forever. Rich, creamy, gooey, often cheesy, they were right up there with the best in comfort foods. And so I learned to make them. But seeing first hand how rich they really were, made me rethink them. Oh, not to top eating them...don't be crazy! Just to remake them a bit.
Monday, January 26, 2015
If you're not familiar with this French classic, it's typically a luscious blend of cream cheese and heavy cream, sweetened and topped with a fruit sauce. The French word coeur means heart and this dish (literally "heart of cream") is usually molded in a heart shaped pan, hence the name. And that certainly makes it popular for romantic occasions. Sure, I'm all about chocolate on Valentine's Day but this makes a nice dessert alternative, especially if there's also a box of chocolate candy involved for late evening snacking.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Stuffed cabbage rolls were on my mother's regular meal rotation when I was a kid. And I loved them. Even the cabbage part. As a very young woman on my own, I kept a crazy schedule with a full time job and grad school at night. No time to cook much and mostly what was in my fridge was yogurt. Except on those lovely evenings when I'd get home late, open the fridge and find that my mother had dropped by during the day and left me a pot of her homemade cabbage rolls. She was such a good mommy.
Monday, January 19, 2015
When I was growing up, my father used to eat prunes and tell me they were healthy. But all I saw, when he offered me one, was a wrinkled, shriveled mess. I couldn't image what kind of tree had grown it and I certainly wanted nothing to do with it. And he would chuckle and continue eating his prunes. At some point in my adult life, somebody clued me in that prunes were dried plums. Plums? Really? I like plums. I eat plums. They're really plums, huh? Hmm.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I have a very well stocked pantry with an enviable variety of grains from which to choose when making interesting recipes. The only thing that could possibly be more interesting is if I actually looked in there once in a while instead of just reaching for potatoes. But, it's a new year, a whole new me, a healthy me...OK, I was out of potatoes. But that gave me a chance to reacquaint myself with one of my favorite quick cook grains.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Over the weekend I found myself doing the thousand yard stare into my pantry, trying to decide what to make for dinner. I had some salad ready and some chicken but I needed a side dish. Potatoes, polenta, rice...hmm...I kept coming back to the rice. I guess I like rice with chicken. Except that I'm trying to cut back on the starches for a while and add a few more vegetables. And then it hit me that I could make my favorite non-rice rice!
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Let's talk about beets this morning. Come back here! I'm not talking about that mess you got at some school cafeteria somewhere. And when people tell me they think beets taste like dirt, I have to assume a cafeteria is the only place they've tried them. Beets are sweet. Unless they're pickled. Then they're sweet and sour. And good.
Monday, January 5, 2015
OK, I'm officially cold. Somehow the holidays make the weather seem bearable and being outside, among the lights and decorations is festive enough to overcome the chill. But my annual post-holiday intolerance of all things cold, snowy and wintery has set in.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
At last we've come to the end of 2014 and not a moment too soon. I'm not gonna lie, this was not my favorite year and I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning with a fresh new attitude and endless possibilities.
Monday, December 29, 2014
OK, so Christmas is over and the long Christmas weekend is over and you've eaten all the cookies in the house. You might have even made some public statements about being sick of sweets and ready for a healthy new year. But... the new year isn't here quite yet and you're getting hungry again and you do sort of still want something sweet. Or maybe that's just me.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
"And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago" was running through my head. Just like the line from The Carpenter's Home For the Holidays that reads "I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin' for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie" was looping in my brain the other day when I made pumpkin pie. I'll be over this soon, I promise.
Monday, December 22, 2014
I have Christmas music playing pretty much non-stop these days. When I'm at my desk, when I'm at the gym...it's my annual binge. And, come the new year, it will be banished again until after next Thanksgiving. One of my favorites has always been Home for the Holidays by The Carpenters and it's made me associate Christmas with pumpkin pie.
Friday, December 19, 2014
I like giving homemade food gifts because I think the love and effort that goes into making them truly expresses to the recipient that they were important enough to you to make the effort. And so I spent the morning of my dearest friend's birthday in the kitchen, baking these treats for her. I also have a treat for you today because Peanut Butter & Co. will send 4 jars of their peanut butter, in your choice of flavors, to the winner of my giveaway below.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
If you think that I'm capable of walking past a package of chocolate chips stuffed with peanut butter then it's obvious that we've never met. It was definitely one of those "stopped in my tracks" moments in the baking aisle when there, next to the chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips, was the combo of my dreams. Thank you, Nestle, for your new DelightFulls filled baking morsels. Or snacking morsels, as the case may be. Or just buy two and do both.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Today I have the pleasure of working with Mirassou on some great holiday entertaining ideas.
We're deep into holiday entertaining mode around here. Cocktail parties, appetizers before dinner, something special for New Year's Eve perhaps? I have some great wine and that needed a great appetizer to match. Wine and cheese is a given but a savory cheesecake is so much more impressive. And I promise you there won't be a sliver left because it's just too good.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Have I ever mentioned to you that I am a cashew thief? I mean that, if there's a bowl of mixed nuts around, I will surreptitiously steal all the cashews. And if you happen to comment on how few cashews there are in the bowl, I will stand there and complain to you about how the mixed nut companies are shorting us on cashews while pretending there is an equal number of them in the can. This has happened.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Excuse me but can somebody please tell me what happened to the first part of December? These days it seems like I blink and I'm handing out Halloween candy, blink again and I'm roasting Thanksgiving turkey and and now all my get-it-done at the start of the month December plans are late. Some of you may be getting Christmas cards for Valentine's Day if this keeps up.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Today I have the pleasure of partnering with Minute® Rice to create this mouth-watering recipe. As always, thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.
We all have our guilty pleasures and, while mine are usually sweet, rice balls have the savory honor. There's a gourmet Italian market dangerously close to my apartment and they make the most perfect arancini. They also have an amazing produce selection which is why I go there...cough, cough...OK, moving right along.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Every year it seems like I spend the month of December coming up with creative ways to feed guests. Oh, planning a dinner is easy enough but what about those in-between, buffet type foods. A cold cut platter, cheeses, crudites, something more special?. But what?
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I was whining about not being motivated to make a fuss over breakfast and calling it a successful meal when I've actually poured milk into my bowl of cereal. But, it's the holiday season and making a good breakfast for someone you love or visiting guests is such an act of love. And, in fact, it is on holidays and birthdays that I haul out the bacon and eggs and French toast to make people happy at breakfast. But that's kind of the problem because the recipients are happy but the cook is eating leftover cold French toast crumbs while cleaning the kitchen. Wow, I guess I wasn't done whining.
Monday, December 1, 2014
The post-Thanksgiving weekend comes with certain traditions around here. Pumpkin and turkey decorations are put away, I can hear the Christmas tree vendors setting up down on the sidewalk and my kitchen smells like gingerbread.