As a kid there was only one type of potato I would eat: Arby's curly fries. And that was because they could barely be called potatoes. To me, a carb-a-holic and veggie-phobic, potatoes were lumped in with peas and carrots and other nasty things my mother could not persuade me to eat.
When I discovered garlic mashed potatoes 3 years ago, I wanted to kick myself. 21 years of living without potatoes? What a waste!
Now these starchy spuds are a regular part of my diet, in various forms. And my new favorite are these roasted, golden brown, flavorful fries.
My next item to recreate from last year's failed first posts was the grilled corn.
When I made this last year, it was my first time attempting to cook corn on the grill. I had no clue what I was doing, but decided to barge ahead blindly and make something up. Well, that something resulted in the aluminum foil leaking out butter, which then caught on fire. Psh...rookie mistake, right?
I wish. Pretty much every time I grill corn it catches on fire. I've learned several tricks since that first time though, and these result in actually edible (and delicious!) final products. ...continue reading
You might notice a goat cheese trend on my blog, and there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this phenomenon: I freaking love goat cheese.
But the main reason is because my boyfriend is lactose intolerant, and as he loves to cook with me, we have been trying out some low-lactose dishes. Luckily, there are some amazing recipes with goat cheese out there, like this delicious pasta medley that incorporates the goat cheese into a tangy, alfredo-like sauce.
Disclaimer: the photography might not be quite up to par for this post, as I was cooking at Kevin's apartment and he has little to no counter space to set up lights. ...continue reading
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
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
Time seems to be moving so quickly! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all flew by, and I cannot believe we are nearing Valentine's day already. I don't have anything huge planned this year (although I'm very much looking forward to it), but if you're looking to make a delicious, romantic meal at home to impressed your significant other, might I suggest whipping up a batch of these?
Everything about this dish screams Sexy. You take brie, one of the creamiest, most indulgent cheese ever, pair it with some juicy mushroom caps sauteed in butter, and top it off with sauteed garlic, green onions, and parsley for one of the most incredible little appetizers you will ever eat.
And do you know the best part about it? They take like 10 minutes to throw together, leaving you lots of time to uncork that bottle of wine and snuggle up. 😉 ...continue reading
One of the only good things about being an adult, I've recently found, is that you get to expand your taste palette and eat fancier things. You have more money to purchase food, you have taste buds that are suddenly sophisticated, and you have a desire to try new things.
One of my favorite new combinations (probably not new to anyone else) is spinach and artichokes. Now, I've mentioned before how much I love artichokes, and spinach is something that pretty much everyone enjoys. It's soggy, absorbent, and packed full of nutrients. And when you combine them with a lot of gooey cheese...
You normally find this intoxicating combination in dips, several of which I've made recently. But when you cut out the cream cheese, half-and-half, and a good amount of the cheese, and slap your veggies on a thin, crispy pizza crust with some fabulous garlic sauce, and you have a (mildly) healthier version. ...continue reading
When you read a recipe that has a fire warning, you can't help feel a little nervous. You also start to get really excited, anticipating the moment when you get to pour the brandy into the pan, imagining the flames leaping upwards to lick the hood of your stove, almost feeling the intense heat on your smiling face.
So when the moment finally arrives and nothing happens, it's quite a let down. Which isn't to say that the recipe wasn't a success, because it was. The steak turned out perfectly, the sauce was so subtle and rich, and the combined flavors were awesome.
But I wanted to watch stuff blow up. *pouts*
Along with the steak, we also made herbed potatoes and asparagus with a french vinaigrette, recipes that I will post shortly. All in all, I think French week was a great success!
It was daunting going into this meal in particular, because everything cooked so fast. We found ourselves measuring out everything before hand and lining it up in the order that we would add it, so that we didn't mess up once things started cooking (Mise en place, for you cooking people). I think it's a great technique when you have meals that move quickly, but I prefer to take my time, chop as I go. I call it the "sit and drink some wine and surf the internet while your food cooks" method.
I must have been riding the high from my success with the Chinese food last week when I decided to try French cooking this week. That, or I was delusional. I thought "Hey, I like French food! I'll make that next! How hard can it be?"
And then I started looking at recipes, and all I could think was:
I love Arrested Development!
But it was too late at that point, and I just decided to go for it. I knew I wanted to make French onion soup, and I found a recipe that seemed fairly easy. But then for the entree...oh my goodness. It was impossible to find a recipe that that didn't involve years of experience, hours and hours, and super expensive ingredients.
Finally I found one that seemed reasonable...if you consider flambéing with brandy reasonable. Check back in a few days to make sure I didn't scorch off my eyebrows or light my house on fire.
But for today's success story:
French onion soup
I am so proud of this! It was a soup, which obviously I've been making a lot of recently, but it was completely different from the usual carrots/celery/onions + chicken stock formula I've been using. It was a little more challenging, a lot more expensive (gruyere!) but so rewarding at the end.
I knew I wanted to challenge myself, and guess what I got to use for the first time ever?
This is cool because I didn't even know we had one of these. Turns out, it's been hiding on a top shelf in a cabinet I never go into, for like 30 years. When I asked my mom how to use it, she had no idea.
So, after googling "how to use a wok" (this is a judgement free zone, folks), I was ready to make a delicious side dish to go with my sweet and spicy takeout chicken. ...continue reading