Ramblings


Update yer bookmarks, mateys, because this pirate ship has set sail to other waters. Find the Culinary Pirate at http://www.culinarypirate.com.

PS022811 Fresh Fruits #221Here’s a piece I did recently for the Photography Issue for the Tampa newspaper, Creative Loafing, that I work for.

Local freelance food stylist and photographer Andrea Acailawen has learned to blend her love of photography and passion for food into a successful career, bringing food to life through her camera lens.

Working for a Northern California ad agency, she styled products and food for a variety of clients: home goods and kitchenware companies, department store and grocery chains, restaurants, wineries, a cherry grower — even a nut manufacturing plant. Now she’s opened her own photography and styling business in Tampa and is “starting from scratch in a new market.”

It’s not surprising that she ended up in this vocation. Her chef/photographer father taught her how to cook and bought her a camera at the age of 6 for a class field trip: a medium-format Hasselblad (one of those old-school, boxy-looking ones with a single lens and film-winding crank).
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My apologies for skipping my ‘Random’ roundup last week (and pretty much neglecting my blog lately). I was fortunate enough to spend the better part of last week in Key West, taking in the sights, culture and of course, the food. Anyway, since I came home late Thursday and was exhausted, I was in no shape to celebrate St. Patty’s Day which is why all of these Irish-themed recipes are on my list this week. Maybe I should just celebrate a week late, eh? ;-)

Keep an eye out for my Key West food adventures post in the near future!

Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week; both from the site I run and from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.
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They love their veggies!

Check out the Southwestern braised beef short ribs I was bragging about making for Valentine’s dinner. They were divine, to say the least.

Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week; both from the site I run and from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.

Affordable Italian bubbly for any celebration (even if you’re just celebrating a Tuesday)

Biofuel from beer? Turning brewing waste into natural gas

Cheese secrets you mite not want to know: The crawly critters that influence cheese

Top of the hops: Hopslam, Hoptimum and all of the beer hype

‘Want to Make’ List:

I think I’ve got a sweet tooth this week!
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Update on last week’s ‘Roundup’ post: the short ribs were A-MAZING. I did them with a Mexican/Southwestern twist, with chipotles in Adobo and tequila (among other things). Keep an eye out for the recipe and photo on my blog this week!

Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Remember that beef stew I talked about making two weeks ago in my new cast iron dutch oven? Yeah, we ate it all before I could photograph. It was darn good. Needless to say, I’ll be making it again soon, tweaking the recipe a bit and, of course, sharing it with all of you lovely people.

As for this amorous evening, I’m (well, “we are”) staying in. Why spend the money on dining out when you can whip up a heartfelt, gourmet meal at home? On the menu: Mexican-style braised beef short ribs over cheddar polenta and some sort of tasty green bean dish for a side (fresh ones, of course). As for dessert, I cheated and bought it from a secret supplier with the initials C.F. ;-)

Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week; both from the site I run and from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.

Liquid love: Valentine’s Day cocktails to enhance your amorous efforts – Since tequila happens to be my aqua vitae of choice, here are some fabulous cocktail recipes with tequila as the star ingredient to enhance your amorous efforts — or drown your singleton sorrows in.

My Blue Valentine: The god of love’s role in the discovery of blue cheese – Did you know that the mischievous Ancient Roman deity, Cupid, is legend to be the reason we have blue cheese? Blame it on him and a couple of horny shepherds.

Score some points on Valentine’s Day with this strawberry “tiramisu” trifle – This Hallmark holiday is a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, and with this easy and elegant recipe you’ll be able to impress your special guest(s) with a swanky-looking final course that you spent practically no time preparing.

Top Chef Podcast – All-Stars Ep. 9: Funny business – Whether you watch the show or not, our review of it is top notch snark and an all-around good time. Listen to us (attempt to) recap this episode and the hilarity that ensues.
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Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week; both from my site and from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.

I have decided to finally put my fabulous new cast iron dutch oven to work. And what will be my inaugural dish? A take on this Beef Carbonnade stew from Epicurious with a few steps from The Joy of Cooking (a.k.a.: my favorite cookbook) thrown in. I’m using Fuller’s London Porter for the stewing liquid and adding a red bell pepper and potatoes to the rest of the veg in the stew. Stay tuned for pics and the recipe!

BabyCakes bakery in Downtown Disney: Vegan and gluten-free indulgence – My review of the new branch of NYC’s popular vegan bakery.

An unlikely pair: Cheese paired with coffee is a buzz for your taste buds – Our cheese guru, Kira, pairs different cheeses from various coffee blends from a local roaster. Be sure to check out her fab blog, Whey Cool Curds.

The Urban Daddy blog touts these Boozy Donuts, “warm donuts injected with some of your favorite cocktails.” Unfortunately, they can only be found at Flex Mussels in NYC and the recipe isn’t listed online. I smell a copycat recipe challenge.

Add to the ‘Want to Make’ list:

The Brazilian cocktail (Yum Sugar) – This South American-inspired drink is “one part healthy smoothie, one part fizzy spa cocktail.” And, no, it’s not named after the popular waxing technique.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Nachos (How Sweet Is Is) – If buffalo chicken dip and nachos had a baby, this would be that dish. And it would be delicious. Easy game day fare! …even if you’ll just be watching the Puppy Bowl next Sunday.
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First order of business: HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY! I can’t believe my day is almost over and I’ve just found out about this! But thanks to Tastespotting and their drool-worthy peanut butter recipe roundup, I have been informed and will be celebrating. Well, I did start my day with a dollop of natural peanut butter in my breakfast smoothie. Maybe I’ll finish off more of those Reese’s cups left over from Halloween. (They don’t have a shelf life, right?)

Ooh ooh, look what I found today: a Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit on ThinkGeek! Because “nouveau-cuisine is so last year.” It includes 5 different food additives (Sodium Alginate, Xantham Gum, etc.), fun little tools (and a syringe in case you don’t already have those lying around) and a DVD with recipe demos. Like Marcel on Top Chef All-Stars, you too can now make all the foam that your little heart desires. Watch the video trailer for it here. FYI: This will be added to my half birthday (April 30th) gift list.
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Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes I’ve found in the foodie blogosphere that caught my eye recently. Plus, they’re on some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs that are worth visiting.

Stuff I’d like to make:

Apple-Infused Vodka (Boulder Locavore) – I’ve made fruit infused vodka — which is easy-peasy — and this apple vodka recipe looks fab. I’m going to use Galas because they’re the most perfect pommes.

Brie & Brisket Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce (Confections of a Foodie Bride) – I love every single element of this dish. Plus, I can put my slow cooker to work for this one (my new fave kitchen appliance).

Caramelized Onion Cornbread (Sweet Potato Soul) – Ooh, I never thought about putting caramelized onions in my cornbread! This would also go great with the above recipe.

Chocolate French Toast (La Mia Vita Dolce) – If you don’t like French toast and chocolate, there’s something wrong with you. (Unless you’re allergic to chocolate or wheat, then you have my pity.)

Maple-Bacon Kettle Corn (Brown Eyed Baker) – Um, hello? Bacon. And maple syrup. Together for one night only. ‘Nuff said.

The Nikki Heat Cocktail (The Pegu Blog) – I love a bit of heat in my cocktails (well, in pretty much everything) and this one looks pretty good.

Pork and Tomatillo Stew (Smells Like Home) – Because I love me some Mexican and Tex-Mex fare, this is right up my alley. I think this might be the first recipe I make in my new cast iron dutch oven!

The Retox Cocktail (Saveur) – Bourbon, maple syrup, bitters, lemon juice and cayenne. “An alcoholic version of the Master Cleanse diet.” Awesome.

Roasted Winter Squash with Cranberries, Pepitas and Honey-Lime Vinaigrette (The Perfect Pantry) – Colorful, simple and just plain delicious-looking.

Veggie and Parmesan Cake (WordFlux) – I have another confession to make: I love vegetables. And this colorful, savory cake has lots of them. It’d also be a good way to get some veggies in your kids (or your veggie-hating pals).

I found this while perusing the Zombify tumblr page which has some great zombie-related pics and videos.

What’s ironic is that I love food and I thoroughly enjoy zombie films, but I can rarely enjoy the two together, you know? Eating while watching a zombie tear apart an unwilling victim isn’t very appetizing (especially when you’re eating something red-colored or with with marinara sauce). But food as zombies, however, just makes me hungry. They’re not a threat to us as they’re vegetarians! ;-)

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