March 2009


Money seems to get tighter and tighter these days, so why spend 15 bucks on delivery pizza? One of my favorite pre-made products in the grocery store is Pillsbury’s refrigerated pizza dough. For around $2.50, you can pick up a tube of it and get creative by adding your favorite toppings. You can even find one-serving size cans of pizza sauce in the pasta aisle, so it saves you from having to buy a huge jar of sauce. Why not skip the marinara sauce altogether and do a white pizza or use up that barbecue sauce in your fridge place of it? The Mexican pizza I made (recipe below) cost about $9 to make (not including things I already had on hand, i.e.: olive oil, herbs, etc.) and could serve four people, so this is definitely a recession-friendly meal. (more…)

Check out the Creative Loafing Food & Drink podcast, The Nosh Pit featuring yours truly on the latest episode:

Just a quick note to tell y’all that this is a very rough draft of what this blog will be.  I have to spiffy it up a bit!

Anyway, keep checking back and don’t forget to read my other blog at the Creative Loafing Food & Drink site: (Why not bookmark and suscribe to it while you’re at it?)



As the temperature starts to rise (at least in this part of the country), its time for some refreshing and simple dishes for those hotter days, like my Asian-inspired cold soba noodle salad. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and have a heartier, more substantial texture than regular pasta noodles. In Japan, they’re used in a variety of ways throughout the year: cold in the summer in a salad (like this one) or hot in a soup or broth in the winter months, and in a multitude of variations. Surprisingly enough, soba noodles are now more widely available now bring in the ethnic aisle many grocery stores. Or you could take a culinary adventure to your local Asian market and pick up other interesting ingredients to play with.



Forget tableside Caesar salad (so ’80s), it seems the hot new trend is tableside guacamole. Right in front of your eyes, your server will whip up a batch of fresh guacamole with your choice of mix-ins: onions, peppers, jalapenos, tropical fruit, cilantro, etc.

I’ve seen this trend at higher-end Mexican and Latin restaurants lately, like the renowned Boudro’s Texas Bistro in San Antonio, TX (read about my culinary adventure), and Cantina Laredo in Wesley Chapel, FL. But be prepared to shell out around 10 bucks for it, which seems to be the average. It’s all for the novelty and the show, I suppose. (more…)


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, no matter the time. For this recipe, my inspiration was the wonderful produce available this time of year and my deep affection for egg-based breakfast/brunch foods. I hit up my local produce stand, then got in the kitchen and got my frittata on!

This frittata recipe is super simple, even easier then making an omelet and without all the flipping and fuss. I love the array of colorful vegetables that are now available at the produce stands and just about all of them would be great in this dish. I used almost every color in the rainbow in my frittata: a yellow tomato, red cubanelle pepper (comparable to a bell pepper, but a bit sweeter), verdent spinach and arugula, and red (actually, purple) onion. (more…)


Barbecue sauce is one of my favorite things on the entire planet. I don’t discriminate — sweet, tangy, thick, runny, you name it and I’m a fan. It’s the main reason I go out for barbecue in the first place. This versatile condiment is not only great for grilling, there are a plethora of uses for barbecue sauce (most of which I have tried) as a marinade, slathered on meatloaf, french fry dip, substitute for tomato sauce on pizza or spaghetti, pretty much in and on anything. Maybe not on cereal, though. I draw the line there. I have tried tons of different types and this following recipe is one of my top favorite barbecue sauces I’ve ever consumed.

Vinegar is the main ingredient in barbecue sauce and I’d never seen one that used balsamic in place of red or white, so this piqued my interest. I had seen this recipe for balsamic-based barbecue sauce on Giada DiLaurentiis’ show Everyday Italian on Food Network a few months ago and jumped at the chance to make it. I love this version because of its unique, slightly sweet, and rich flavor. I could even eat it on ice cream (maybe not on cereal though). Seriously tasty. (more…)


It’s that time of the year again: St. Patty’s Day! I’ve been reminded of my fondness for Irish soda bread thanks to the bombardment of St. Patty’s themed emails from various foodie websites. I also have a deep love (and a hankering) for scones lately, too, so I was happily surprised when I stumbled upon this recipe for Irish soda bread scones — two in one! These scones are also great because I can bake a batch or two and give them away as treats on March 17th.

This recipe is very simple and virtually foolproof, especially for novice bakers. I love these scones because they’re more bread- than cake-like and not too sweet: the perfect blank canvas for butter and jam. They’d also be great with raisins or currants, spices (i.e.: cinnamon, ginger), chocolate chips, or even green food coloring! Start off your St. Patrick’s Day with one of these warm delights topped with your favorite spread or dunked in your morning coffee (they’ll help soak up the booze you’ll be probably consume later on, too). (more…)


Skittles are pretty tasty by themselves (excluding those chocolate abominations), and vodka is just wonderful, but maybe not on it’s own. So what if you combined the two? Skittles-infused vodka: two great tastes that taste great together. You get the sweet, synthetic flavors and a great buzz all in the same swallow. I stumbled across this entertaining article about how to infuse vodka with Skittles candy.



The weather here in the Tampa Bay area has been absolutely gorgeous lately, an has put me in the mood for some grilling action. I’ve had a hankering for a big juicy burger for ages, but I wanted to try something different than a plain old patty with American cheese on a boring bun.

I was at the book store and noticed the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger cook-off cookbook in the bargain section. It inspired me to create a gourmet burger of my own (and also reminded me that I had forgotten to enter last year, again). I didn’t find any one particular recipe that I wanted to use, but it got my creative juices flowing. Fortunately, being a foodie, I usually have all sorts of fancy cheeses, condiments, etc. in my fridge and pantry, so I decided to throw together a “bistro burger” (I thought that name sounded better than: “fancy-schmancy burger”).

Recipe after the break: (more…)

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