Monthly Archives: March 2012

Jambalaya with shrimp and andouille sausage

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Stupid Rochester weather, teasing us like that. For a full week it was 80° and sunny as can be, and I ate lunch outside, grilled my dinner at night, I even wore sandals! Then in typical Rochester fashion, the temperature plummeted down to 30° and the sun slipped back behind those dreary March clouds.

I needed a spicy and flavorful meal to pull myself out of my rainy-day, spring’s-not-quite-here, throw-a-blanket-over-the-hostas-peeking-out-of-the-soil-because-it’s-going-to-get-down-to-25°-tonight blues. And what better way to ward off that lingering winter chill than by traveling (metaphorically) down south, to sample some spicy New Orleans style cuisine? Continue reading


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hurricane, rum, dark rum, malibu, lime juice, simple sugar, mixed drinks, fruity, easy, bartending, orange, lime, cherry

I’ve been wanting for awhile to start posting drink recipes on this blog. I’m 23 years old, and although I live at home still (I know, I know), I do occasionally like to have a couple of drinks. My only problem is that I have a very sensitive palette that can’t stand anything bitter or dry. So that rules out beer unfortunately. Apparently it’s an acquired taste, but I’ve been trying to acquire it for several years now, and I still make a disgusted face when I drink it.

With beer (and any dry wines) out of the picture, my sweet tooth leads me to crave the fruitiest, girliest drinks imaginable. Usually I get vodka mixed drinks, but I’ve always been a fan of rum as well. So when Kevin suggested making hurricanes to go with our New Orleans themed dinner, I didn’t hesitate to agree. Continue reading

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Grilled lamb chops with tangerine-rosemary rub and grilled vegetables

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As weird as it is, Spring seems to be upon us in western NY. With temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s this past week and daylight savings time giving us an extra hour of light at the end of the day, I’ve spent most of my evenings outside with my grill.

My grill and I have a special relationship. Without it, I may never have begun cooking! It has inspired more creativity and healthy meals than any other cooking method combined, and there’s nothing better than throwing some food on the grill and hoping for the best. It is also a million years old, tiny, and rusting through. This amounts to the most uneven cooking surface I’ve ever worked with. Food must constantly be rotated from the middle (surface of the sun hot) to the outer edges (untouched by heat), to facilitate even cooking. It’s a dance of love, and if I neglect it and walk away for a few minutes, I’ve scorched another meal.

That first taste of grilled meat after a long winter cooped up indoors is like manna from heaven. It doesn’t matter what kind of meat it is, or even how well-cooked it is. As long as it has that delicious smoky flavor that only comes from being cooked over an open flame, nothing tastes better. I broke my winter fast with some pork chops last week, but if you haven’t uncovered your grill yet this season, might I recommend some delicious lamb chops?

Lambs represents springtime, and when perfectly seared on the grill and rubbed with a citrusy herb mixture, you feel like you’re biting into the end of winter. So hang up those heavy coats, put away your ugg boots, and dust off your grill! Let’s enjoy the weather while we can, before it snows again.  Continue reading


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Bacon wrapped asparagus bundles

Ah, the beauty of bacon wrapped vegetables.

Some may think that the bitterness of asparagus might not be a good match for the fatty, juicy goodness of bacon, but they would be wrong. So very, very wrong.

The wonderful thing about this side dish is how easy it is to make. There are only 4 ingredients:

  • Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper
  • center cut bacon

All you have to do is heat the oven to 400, toss the asparagus with some olive oil and pepper, separate into bundles, and roll them up in the bacon. Then you place them on a cookie sheet or broiler pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the bacon is done to your liking.

Alternatively you could grill them, but that’s how easy it is. It’s the perfect side dish to whip up in a hurry because there’s no messy preparation or marinating to worry about. it’s just that simple.

And did I mention how fantastic these taste? The fat from the bacon seeps into the asparagus, creating the most incredible flavor ever. I’m not even a big asparagus fan, and yet I couldn’t get enough of these.

So do yourself a favor and add these to your dinner rotation, or whip them up the next time you have company over. They’ll thank you.

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Bacon wrapped beer can chicken

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In an effort to break myself out of my cooking slump, I thought I would try focusing on a single ingredient rather than a technique, method, or nationality of food. And what better ingredient to inspire greatness than bacon?!

This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but it turns out that pretty much everything is infinitely more awesome when you add bacon. So with that in mind, I set out to create the ultimate roast chicken using bacon and beer. Or, as I like to call it, the Ron Swanson experience (Parks and Rec anyone? Anyone? No? Moving on…)

When you cover a small chicken with bacon and shove a beer can up his butt, you really lock in the moisture. Disappointingly, however, this wasn’t as bacon-y as I’d anticipated! The texture and juiciness of the meat was perfect, but I found the flavor to be a little lackluster, almost dull even. I think I prefer my usual method of making beer can chicken, which I will post eventually.

But just for fun, here’s this recipe.  Continue reading


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A bad case of cooking block

Trying to be an artsy fartsy photographer in San Diego

As a writer, writer’s block is no new thing to me. I have always written short stories and, yes I’ll admit it, some embarrassing Elijah Wood fanfiction back in high school, but sometimes months or even years will go by where I cannot think of a single thing to put down on paper.

This past week I finished my third edit of my novel. It is such a proud feeling to know I’ve worked so hard on this book (I started it in 2007!), and now I’m anxiously forwarding it to a few close  friends and relatives so they can read through it and tell me what they think. I’m pretty nervous, as this is the first time a single person besides myself will have access to my most precious piece of work. What if they hate it? What if I’ve wasted 5+ years of my life on something that is just “ok?”

Then I realized how similar cooking and writing are.

For a food blogger, I’m surprised I didn’t come to this conclusion earlier. How many times have I sat in front of my blank computer screen, cursor blinking annoyingly as I try and try to come up with a clever way to start a blog post? How often have I stood in front of my empty refrigerator, waiting for inspiration to hit and tell me what fabulous, creative dishes to whip up that week?

Writing and cooking are both extremely passionate, personal experiences that must be endured alone, and yet the final product is meant to be shared. It’s a strange juxtaposition, and it leaves you feeling vulnerable as you present your work to the world and say, “I made this. I hope you like it.” Continue reading

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