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Showing posts from May, 2018

Tomato Bisque

Dare you take a risk and make tomato bisque? Tomato bisque is thick, creamy and silky; the perfect tomato soup. It’s key ingredients are rice (the starchy thickener) and cream (the luxurious richness) and canned San Marzano tomatoes. Why canned tomatoes? Fresh tomatoes need a lot of processing before making them into a soup; you must remove the skins, the seeds, and roast them for a while to eliminate excess moisture. When tomatoes are in season, this can be a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but when you want a delicious soup year-round, canned tomatoes are the way to go, and San Marzanos are the best brand of them there are. I think you’ll love this lunch-time favorite; give a try and let me know! Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large sweet onion, diced 3 celery stalks, diced 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 quart chicken broth, plus more as needed 1 (28-oz) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes 3 tablespoons jasmine rice 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chinese Egg Noodle Stir Fry

I love a stir fry; I make them a lot of them on Fridays (so-called Stir Fry-days at my house. I know I am hilarious, and a fan of Archer). Normally I make my stir fry with beef or chicken and I serve it alongside rice. To shake things up, I decided to make it with eggs and mushrooms and bought some Chinese egg noodles to replace my rice.  Chinese rice noodles have a fantastic chewy texture; I found them in the international section of my local grocery store and they were very inexpensive. I highly recommend using them at home! This sauce is sweet and sour and lightly spicy; the ketchup doesn’t make it taste tomato-ey, I promise. It rounds the whole sauce out. The sauce thicken as it cooks and coats the noodles perfectly; the eggs absorb the flavor of the sauce as they cook. Easy, fast, cheap- the perfect weeknight meal! Ingredients: 8 ounces Chinese egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms 5

Bleu cheese, pear and pecan puff pastry

The problem with being a blogger/foodie weirdo is that I constantly am buying loads of ingredients, using a small portion of them for a given recipe, and then I am left with an embarrassing amount of leftover ingredients. You should see how packed my pantry, fridge and freezers are! It is a problem, but it is also a wonderful gift. Some of my best recipes come from trying to use up various ingredients I have from other recipes. This particular hors d’oeurve was a result of a cheese plate night, a beef wellington, and pecan pie. The only I bought was the pear. I figured that cheese+puff pastry+ nuts+ fruit really had no way to go wrong. I have enjoyed bleu cheese and pears before, so I reasoned that surrounding that combo with buttery puff pastry and crunchy nuts could prove delicious. Happily, I was wrong- it is incredibly delicious. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed 8 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled 1 anjou pear, sliced into 1/4 inch discs 1/3

Slutty Brownies

Slutty brownies are what you make when you need three chocolatey desserts in one- chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and America’s favorite cream-centered cookie, the glorious Oreo. I use double stuffed in my bars because the cream center is the best part. The Oreo cookie softens sandwiched in the middle of two ooey-gooey layers and the creme center kindly melts. Jessica Simpson explained where the name came from on Leno: They are slutty because a lot of things go in to them. (Cymbal crash!) A lot of the recipes I saw out there in the internet world called for using a box mix for each bar layer. Not for me! Instead, I use a super fudge brownie recipe I love and my classic blondie recipe. It’s only slightly more work and so much more flavor. And more reason to brag about your baking prowess when you bring these out to share. If you have any left to share. If you really and truly want to make these slutty brownies even more sinful, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (and hot

Sloppy Joes

My friends Parker, Kate and I often talk about food at work. When work is especially slow, we fantasize about what we want to make for dinner. This Friday was the last day of school vacation week and my office was a ghost town. We were messaging one another about our favorite junk-food meals, (tater-tot casserole, Frito pie) and we started discussing sloppy joes. I remember the first time I heard of a sloppy joe; I was a little girl watching Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in their film, “It Takes Two.” In the  movie, there is a massive food fight scene starring the humble sloppy joe sandwich. I was 9 when the film came out and had never had one; it’s not really the kind of food my mother would make. In fact, since I also never ate “hot lunch” at school, I was married and in my twenties before I ever ate a sloppy joe sandwich.  So how can this possibly be a comfort food favorite of mine? The minute I had my first bite, it felt like home. Similar in flavor to a hamburger or a

White Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

This is a decadent hot chocolate; whole milk, cream and white chocolate, turned into a fall classic with the addition of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. If you want to turn this into an adult indulgence, add a splash (or more) of white rum.  As much as I love a Pumpkin Spice Latte, sometimes I want a pumpkin drink without the bitter influence of coffee. Granted, a PSL is a creamy sweet indulgence, but sometimes I want more cream, more sugar, more decadence, durn it! That’s when I mix myself up one of these bad boys, don a sweater and curl up in a blanket with a good book and sip my troubles away.  Ingredients: 2 cups of whole milk 1 cup of heavy cream ½ cup pumpkin puree 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon allspice ½ cup white chocolate chips 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Splash of white rum- optional! Method: In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk, cream, pumpkin puree, sugar

Bread Machine Bread

My late grandfather, Bumbi, made friends very easily. Wherever he went, he could strike up a conversation and come away with a friends, most of whom would remain his friends for the rest of his life. He and my grandma, Mimi, have a house in Camp Ellis, where they would spend the summers with their children (my father being one of them). Bumbi made fast friends with his neighbor, Milty. Melty became like a second grandpa to me. He would teach me songs (our favorite was La Cucaracha) and tell me wonderful stories. I still have some of the birthday cards he wrote me (my very favorite being the one he wrote me on my 16th birthday, which made me laugh out loud in the middle of reading it). Every story he told me delighted; even something a mundane as using a bread maker he turned into a story that I still remember and retell myself.  When I moved out on my own, I bought a bread machine because of Milty. Whenever I use it, or hear La Cucaracha, or see my stuffed animal Ducky o

Strawberry pudding

I remember going in for minor dental surgery when I was around nine years old. My two front teeth were growing in very crooked and it was determined that my frenulum (connective tissue between the upper lip and gum) needed to be cut. I had to be put under general anesthesia for the procedure, which meant I had to fast. On the ride home, I was groggy and starving. My mom bought me a Nesquick Strawberry milk and It. Was. Heaven. Ever since then, strawberry flavored desserts are one of my very favorite. Today, I wanted to make strawberry pudding, without artificial strawberry flavoring. Freeze dried strawberries worked for my cake and my frosting, and I had extra left over, so I decided to experiment. To call it a success would be an understatement. It is delicious; full of strawberries, creamy and smooth. Yum! Serve it with some fresh strawberries if you feel so inclined, or just eat it in big spoonfuls out of the fridge. Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups freeze dried strawb

Beef Stew

Beef stew is another one of the first recipes I ever learned to cook, and the first thing I cooked for my husband when we were dating. My mother taught me how to make it; it’s a simple and warming comfort classic, especially delicious on crisp cold nights with a slice of baked bread to sop up the juices. The trick to this dish is to layer the flavors; build the base flavors with a mirepoix, brown the meat, legalize the pan, and braise the meat low and slow until tender.  The mirepoix veggies you started with will be mush at this point since they’ve cooked so long; this is why we wait to add the veggies to the stew in a second stage of cooking. The mirepoix veggies are the veggies that contribute to the flavor of the dish, while the veggies added later contribute to the “bite” of the dish.  At the end of the cook time, add the vegetables to the stew and you get veggies that are tender and cooked through but still maintain their shape. I like to make this dish when I have