Holy cow, how is it almost September?!
I had so many plans for this summer, and I was well on my way to accomplishing them in June. Then July rolled around, and brought with it that horrible heat wave that drove all motivation from me. Then work picked up, and I've been busy designing a logo, a website, business cards, and operating manuals for work. Which means a lot of time spent on the Adobe help website, looking up answers to all of my problems.
I have also been working like a dog on my novel, so that I can get it on Amazon by September (back to school presents for everyone you know? Just sayin').
So basically my summer has turned into an eyes glued to a computer screen and butt falling asleep in my chair kinda summer. Boo.
I did set aside time to make some fabulous corn chowder though, because it's the best time to find these guys at your local farm stand (try Knickerbocker Farms in Pittsford, NY for the best sweet corn ever!) ...continue reading
Some of my favorite cooking is when I get home from work, look in the fridge, and say, "what can I make with this?" It's a fun form of problem solving for me. Sometimes I look up recipes, but more often than not I just make something up, hoping I create something new and exciting.
On one particular night my sister called as I was pulling out the possible ingredients, and she asked me what I was making. I said I didn't know yet, so she asked what I had. I told her:
- chicken breasts
- goat cheese
- spicy sausage
I had been planning on chopping it all up and maybe sauteing everything, perhaps tossing it with pasta? But Leah saved the day once again and told me:
"Here's what you do. You butterfly the chicken breasts. Cook the sausage and break it up, then mix it with the goat cheese. Stuff the chicken with the goat cheese mixture, and wrap it in bacon."
She blew my mind, and dinner that night was so incredible I decided I needed to make it again and document it for the blog. This time I stuffed it with a goat cheese/spinach mixture, but feel free to throw in whatever you want! I'm thinking next time I'll add fresh basil, maybe some garlic or mushrooms? ...continue reading
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:
- 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.
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
How many of us have made New Years Resolutions?
How many of us have already broken them, not even three days into the year?
I'm certain that many of you have resolved to eat better, lose weight, get healthier. Not like last year, where you broke down and cancelled that gym membership in February, this year will be different!
Disclaimer: as I write this, I am elbow deep in a bag of skittles. So perhaps I'm not the best life coach. In fact...don't listen to me at all.
My New Years resolutions (for life, not for cooking) consist mostly of being happier, healthier, and figuring out what the hell I plan on doing with my life. Easy enough, right?
What we all can do though, is challenge ourselves to find or create some delicious and satisfying recipes that aren't horrible for you. (They don't even need to be healthy, but they can't be terribly unhealthy.) I'm going to help by starting the year off with some delicious spinach fettuccine, from my new Cooking Light cookbook I got for Christmas (you'll be seeing a lot of cookbook recipes now). ...continue reading
I dont know much about German food (or German culture in general), and what I do know is limited mostly to stereotypes:
Epcot didn't teach me much
But I'm always open to trying new foods, so when I was at Disney we ate at Biergarten. The food was exciting, the people were nice, and the music was lively! So when Ken and I were deciding what cuisine to tackle next, I thought, "why not German?"
This proved a little more difficult than we imagined, and while I'm fairly certain our methods were as unauthentic as you can get while still calling it German food, I think it turned out well!
On our menu we had:
- hot German potato salad
- Spaetzle dumplings
- and of course, beer
I knew right away I wanted to make spaetzle. When I had it at Biergarten, I was blown away by how tasty it was, even though I didn't know what was in it. Making it at home was a bit of an adventure, because the recipe we used called for a spaetzle maker, which obviously I don't have. So we had to get a little creative.
Constructing the rest of the menu was a challenge, because German food apparently consists mostly of side dishes. After searching for recipes for days, we gave up on trying to find a big main dish and instead chose to make a spicy potato salad, and fry up some sausages to round out the meal.
What do you do when you mother goes shopping at BJ's and comes home with 10 pounds of potatoes and 6 quarts of chicken broth? Why, you make potato cheddar soup, of course!
So a few weekends ago, while I was puttering around the house in my pajamas, I started looking at what else I had in my cupboards that I could use to make the soup.
Bacon? Now we're getting somewhere!
I apologize for all the soup recipes that I've been posting, but I just can't stop making them!
You will need:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 white onion, chopped (the recipe called for 1/2 but I added a little extra. Sorry Ken!)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups water
- a handful of baby carrots, diced (or 2 large ones)
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- several cloves (5-6) of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons chicken soup base
- 1 cup warm water
- 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I added close to 1 and 1/2)
- 6-10 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the diced onions and sauté until translucent.
Don't you just love that smell? ...continue reading