Recipes


Bread pudding is one of my favorite throw-together, quick and easy recipes. If you have at least these three items on hand, you can make the base pudding: bread (preferably day old and dry), eggs, and milk or heavy cream. It’s also a great go-to because it works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. It just depends on the extra ingredients you throw in: sweet for breakfast or dessert, savory for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Plus, prep time is ten minutes or less. How great and versatile is that? (more…)

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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If you’re not down with crowded bars and green beer this St. Patrick’s Day, try making some of your own verdant libations at home. They’ll probably end up saving you money (and a possible DUI) versus going out on the town.

Check out these fun and creative cocktails I’ve found on some seriously tasty-looking food and drink blogs.

Dancing Leprechaun (Science of Drink) – Simple to make, refreshing and, as the author states, “It is admirable concoction for active celebrating.”

Grasshopper Ice Cream Cocktails (Dine and Dish) – A frosty take on the classic Grasshopper cocktail that consists of vanilla ice cream, Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao and Irish Whiskey…and that’s it. (Be careful with this one!)
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bacon_meatloaf

You know how everyone claims that their mom makes the best meatloaf and no one else’s can compare to it? I would have agreed with that, until I found this recipe for bacon-wrapped meatloaf. The classic comfort dish that is meatloaf and delicious salty bacon combine to make a juicy, meaty, melt-in-your-mouth taste explosion. Hungry yet? Read on.

This version of meatloaf was actually a collaboration and experiment by myself and my guinea pig/willing victim (a.k.a.: boyfriend) one Sunday afternoon. The idea was to make a better version of standard meatloaf, but how? What would elevate it from a simple comfort food to one sexy hunk of meat? And then the idea was born: (more…)

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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Shortribs 5

Braised beef short ribs are the epitome of “high end” comfort food. They can often be found on restaurant menus, cooked with classical French or Asian flavors and bearing a somewhat hefty price tag. I think many people have the misconception that they’re pricey because they’re technically difficult or labor-intensive to prepare, but those preconceived notions couldn’t be father from the truth.

Yes, at the grocery store beef short ribs aren’t as inexpensive as stew or braising meat, but getting the result of tender, succulent, fall-off-the bone meat is so worth extra cost. And this “fancy” restaurant dish can be prepared right in your own kitchen (culinary degree not required). Making braised short ribs at home is definitely worth the effort, and they are, in fact, pretty effortless to prepare. They even create their own sauce while they cook.

For a twist on this classic dish, I’ve put a Southwestern spin on it, using spices and flavors commonly found in Southwestern cuisine and — my favorite bit — tequila. Serve them on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes or sweet corn polenta (as I’ve done) to soak up the flavorful, gravy-like sauce.
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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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Trifle 4_smWhen you think about Valentine’s Day, what first comes to mind? For most people, it evokes images of roses, Champagne, and chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. But for some, the first thing that comes to mind is a decadent dessert. (Well, for me at least.)

I know this is hard to believe, but there are many people out there who don’t like chocolate. When brainstorming up a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe, I wanted something simple to prepare but still classy-looking like a dessert you might see at a restaurant, not to mention something that could please almost anyone’s palate (chocolate haters included).

Tiramisu seems to be a favorite confection for many, but making it can be somewhat complicated and time consuming in the preparation — and not all of us are skilled pastry chefs here. I did want to utilize the ladyfingers, mascarpone cream and liquor-infused elements of the dish, though. And then it hit me — trifle! One of the easiest, throw-together desserts man (and woman) has ever created. Trifle is also a great quick-fix for a make-ahead or last-minute treat as the the components are simply layered atop one another, traditionally in a clear glass container to give it a nice presentation.

This Hallmark holiday is a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, and with this easy and elegant recipe (below) you’ll be able to impress your special guest(s) with a swanky-looking final course that you spent practically no time preparing — and they’ll be none the wiser. The ingredients are also pretty inexpensive, and because it’s strawberry season here in Florida, you can pick up a pint of them for a few bucks.
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Bread pudding duo sm

Broccoli, ham and cheddar (top) and pear-cranberry bread (bottom) puddings

Who doesn’t love bread pudding? It is warm, comforting, inexpensive and incredibly easy to prepare. It also makes for a great last-minute or make-ahead brunch or dessert dish, as you can have the ingredients prepped in no time and either throw it together and pop it right into the oven, or let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and bake it off in the morning.

With the following basic base recipe for bread pudding, you’re free to experiment with all sorts of sweet and/or savory combinations. I’ve also listed recipes for both a sweet and a savory bread pudding using the base recipe. I usually use French or Cuban bread, but if you’re feeling extra naughty (and not counting calories) challah bread and croissants make a great substitute. Heck, I’ve seen Paula Deen use a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in her bread pudding!

The base recipe for bread pudding is all about the ratio and simple math. For a basic custard base, you’ll want to use a 2 to 1, milk to egg ratio. A large egg is about 2 ounces, so for every egg you use, you’ll need 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of milk. (And the ratio is the exact opposite if you’re ever making a quiche.) Instead of using just milk, sometimes I’ll do half milk and half heavy cream for a richer custard base. But if all of this math is too much for you, just follow my recipe below.
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