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on a dare

Yesterday morning I opened my computer and did what I do each morning. I checked my email, I made sure my blog post posted correctly and then I went on Facebook. The first thing I saw on FB was a post from my high school and FB friend, Cynthia.

fbpost

Did you see that? A dare was issued to me on social media. I had to try this recipe now! I was dared! So yes, I made it. And yes, it’s pretty great. Although there were some serious omissions on the original recipe…

… such as the importance of placing the bottom round of dough onto parchment paper or a baking sheet before adding the filling. Let me tell you, it is impossible to move the dough with the filling on it from the counter to a baking sheet! But no worries, I suffered through that error and I’ve rewritten the recipe to reflect such an important detail.

sunflower spinach pie

I also amped up the filling to my liking and added other little details that were obviously done on the original recipe but not mentioned in the instructions, such as using an egg wash and placing seeds on the center section.

baked

All in all, a great recipe that just need a bit more explaining and details. And it really is easier than it looks to make. It would be perfect for Easter! Trust me, you can do it!

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April 10, 2014   2 Comments

Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli and a birthday wish

Tarbell's

Chef/Restauranteur and longtime friend, Mark Tarbell of Tarbell’s Restaurant, was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes on Monday and Tuesday nights. His menu was inspired, fun, and delicious. The first course was Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli.

frico round

Frico, is an Italian savory food, typical of Friuli, in the northeastern tip of Italy, which consists of a thin crisp wafer of shredded cheese, baked or fried until crisp. The customary cheeses used include Montasio, Parmesan or mozzarella. Mark used Montasio cheese, but Parmesan is easier to find and works just as well.

I’ve sung the praises of smoked paprika or pimentón many times here before. I don’t know why I didn’t think of making a pimentón mayonnaise – brilliant!

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February 26, 2014   4 Comments

Olympic sliders

A quick note before we get to today’s recipe: If you read yesterday’s post about the amazing cauliflower, you’ll recall that I said my friend, Ronnie had the dish at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. Ronnie sent me a fabulous photo of the hotel lobby all decked out for Christmas. It’s a must see, so I’ve added it to the bottom of that post, for all to enjoy. Check it out!

So… I heard about an amazing snack that is served at a bar in Brooklyn. The bar is called Pork Slope and the appetizer  – Chicken & Waffle Sliders. How perfect would that have been for the Super Bowl?!?

pork slope slider

Via

Dang it. Oh well, you know what I did? I served it as our Official Olympics Opening Ceremony Snack. Yeah, take that lopsided 2014 Super Bowl! You were not worthy of these Olympic sliders!

olympic snack

I found a recipe online, changed it just a tad… and …. it was a major hit with my two guys.

waffle grocery

A quick word about the frozen waffles. The recipe I found called for Aunt Jemima frozen square waffles. I could not find Aunt Jemima waffles at my grocery store, nor could I find square waffles. Belgium waffles – that was all they had in any and all brands. The closest thing to square that I was able to find were octagonal waffles.

2 buns

What you want to use for each slider is four squares of a waffle for the top “bun” and another four square piece for the bottom “bun.”  Here is what I did.

stop sign waffle

Take a waffle.

3 buns each

Cut 3 “four square” pieces from each waffle.

6 waffles, 18 pieces, 9 sliders

A package of 6 frozen octagonal waffles yielded 9 sliders. Here’s the math:

6 waffles = 18 “buns” = 9 sliders

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February 12, 2014   5 Comments

“The Rebel Within” Knockoff

There is so much I have to tell you about this recipe that I hardly know where to begin. So, how about at the beginning?

pot pantry cards

Almost exactly one year ago, on January 30, 2013, I wrote about how Marissa and I had gone into a kitchen store in San Francisco and found wonderful watercolor postcards of famous dishes from various San Francisco restaurants. We framed the postcards and they now hang in Marissa’s kitchen. One dish in particular caught our fancy. It is a breakfast muffin from Craftsman & Wolves.

firm yolk

The next day, 1/31/13, I tried to recreate “The Rebel Within” at home. Although the end product was tasty, it was not at all what I was looking for… there was no runny egg yolk in the middle of a baked muffin.

within

Fast-forward almost a year to January, 22, 2014, when I wrote about how Marissa and I finally went to Craftsman & Wolves and tasted “The Rebel Within” for ourselves and about my renewed passion to try to recreate it at home.

Just as I had done back in January 2013, I went online to research what I could about how it would be possible to bake a whole egg in a muffin and get it to be “soft-boiled” with a runny yolk.

3 eggs

Via

First, I stumbling upon this website and read up on “egg cookery” – I then found out that two wonderful women had “cracked the code” to The Rebel Within. They went through dozens of eggs and baked more muffins than I would have ever had the patience to bake… and they did it!

hot or cold

Via

Tuesday morning, I used their method.  The result?

not perfect

Although my “Rebel Within” was not as beautiful, or as perfect, or as tall and well-shaped as the muffins at Craftsman & Wolves or as the muffins the brilliant women at Follow Me Foodie baked, it tasted exactly like the muffin Marissa and I enjoyed at Craftsman & Wolves!  And the yolk – it was perfectly runny!

runny

If you would like to make this masterpiece at home, I’ve posted the recipe here, the majority of which is copy/pasted from the Follow Me Foodie post, with just bits and pieces of my own additions and omissions.

I still strongly suggest you go to the Follow Me Foodie recipe post and read from top to bottom about their trials and tests and all of their tips and suggestions. It’s truly amazing and a really good read, even if you do not plan to bake the muffins. There’s a whole boatload of interesting information, dedication, perseverance and patience to be seen there!

If you don’t have the time to read it all, allow me to let you in on a few of the notes that I found to be more important:

2 eggs cracked

The recipe makes six muffins. Even so, I suggest you start with 12 eggs, as I did, when you’re making the Extra-Soft Boiled Eggs. Of the 12 eggs I started with, seven turned out perfectly.

5 bad eggs

Another two would haven been “usable” but were less than perfect … and the remaining three … completely unusable.

cracked eggs

It is imperative that you “warm” the eggs before dropping them in the boiling water. Use hot tap water to do so. I actually brought the eggs to room temperature first, and then let them sit in the hot tap water for the amount of time it took the water that the eggs would be cooked in to come to a boil. Even so, two of the eggs cracked almost immediately as they were placed in the boiling water. I took those out and discarded them straight off the bat. They were two of the “completely unusable” eggs mentioned above.

breakfast sausage

Via

The Follow Me Foodie women used bacon for their recipe, I used breakfast sausage, just as they do at the C&W. As much as I love bacon, I’d suggest going with sausage for this.

Be certain to boil the eggs for EXACTLY 4 minutes and 30 seconds. If you want to achieve that runny yolk, this is the most important part of the recipe.

popover pan

The Follow Me Foodie women suggest that you either use a popover pan or a large muffin tin. I have 2 popover pans, so of course, I used a popover pan. I can’t begin to imagine how it would work in a muffin tin. It wouldn’t be tall enough.

If you don’t own a popover pan, buy one or borrow one! If you live anywhere near me, you can borrow mine.

lift off

Once the muffins were done baking and had cooled, I found it easiest to remove them by placing a baking sheet on top and flipping it over, then gently lifting the popover pan off. Because of how much they overflowed, I feared that the tops would rip off if I tried to “lift” them out of the molds individually. This is the method that worked for me.

1 good 1 bad

Finally, when peeling the extra-soft boiled eggs, take care to gently crack all over. While peeling the last couple eggs, my mind was wandering and I failed to do so. The egg on the left is what happened as a result of not cracking all over. The egg on the right is an example of how to do it correctly.

Oh, and to those of you who so generously and selflessly volunteered to be taste-testers … I’ll have to soft-boil and bake up another batch. Those first six muffins are long gone my friends!

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February 6, 2014   6 Comments

stuffed sweet potato skins

On Sunday, Dave and I went to a second baby shower for Tram. She’s having twins after all, so she should have a minimum of two showers! This was a couples shower that her best friends threw for her. It was at the home of Chef Michael Cairns and his wife, Dar. Michael is the Executive Chef at the Montelucia Resort and Spa.

onesie clothesline

So yes, naturally the food was outstanding! As was the decor, the company, and the relaxed casual vibe on an absolutely perfect and beautiful Sunday afternoon.

quinoa bar

Everything was delicious but the two standouts for me were a delicious and ultra-creative quinoa bar that we started with. And a pureed sweet potato side dish that Chef Michael served.

After eating that addicting sweet potato dish, I was craving sweet potatoes on Monday and I could not shake it. That is how this recipe was born… out of a craving. As we all know, pregnant women are not the only people who get them!

Connor and I thought the heat from the chipotle peppers was perfect. Dave thought it was a bit much. If you’re heat sensitive, cut the amount of chipotle in half. Or start with half as much, taste and then decide if you want to add more.

chipotle chicken stuffed sweet potatoes

Chipotle-Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Greek yogurt, for garnish
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

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January 28, 2014   2 Comments

no chip “nachos”

I served this appetizer at the Christmas Craft Party and I’ll be bringing it to a family Christmas party next this weekend. (I think I may be in denial that Christmas is a week from Today!)

It is chicken nachos, minus the chips!

melty goodness

In the place of chips are those adorable mini bell peppers you can find in most grocery stores and always at Costco.

lazy chicken

I was in a super time-crunch for the craft party so I used a new product I found at Costco, rotisserie chicken breast meat. It came in a 2 1/2 pound package, I pulled out what I needed, and froze the rest.

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December 18, 2013   3 Comments

chile, cheese, and chorizo

If there was one food, dish, or recipe that you could eat for the rest of your life; as much as you want, as often as you like, from now until eternity – without gaining an ounce – what would it be?

ice cream

If you would have asked me that question a few weeks ago, I would have said, “Ice Cream!”

Ice cream is my go to answer to any question that begins with “What food would you…”

I love ice cream; the coldness, the smoothness, the creaminess, the richness, the pure happiness that ice cream brings. And that is why we rarely have ice cream in our house!

But ask me that question today – my new answer is, “Chile, Cheese, and Chorizo Bread Pudding.”

going going gone

I developed this recipe for my classes at Les Gourmettes and I could not love it more! I am quite certain it is as calorie and fat laden as ice cream, if not more so. It’s full of bread, cheese, chorizo, more cheese, eggs, and milk. And it is SO GOOD!

Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is just perfect, in every possible way. It is amazing! Well, except for the calorie/fat count – on that front – it sucks!

I made it twice last week. First for the class and then again for a dinner party the evening before Thanksgiving that we had with our family and Marissa’s boyfriend, Jeff’s family. One of the guests was vegetarian, so for the dinner party, instead of using a 9×13-inch pan, I made two 8×8-inch pans. One with the chorizo and one without.

The recipe is for the larger pan but the images are of the two smaller pans … just to clarify … so you aren’t confounded by the instructions vs. the photos.

Oh, and if you don’t have time to make the red pepper sauce, it’s still delicious with out it. Just saying!

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December 4, 2013   4 Comments

Migas for the crew

Before I get into today’s post – I want to take a moment to wish my mother-in-law, Patricia Hopkins, a very happy birthday! I love you. xoxo

I made brunch for the fabulous crew from Forevergreen Landscape Designs, Inc., the great group of guys who’ve been redoing our front yard and patio area for the past month.

brunch on the patio

The project was supposed to wrap up last Friday, but because of a mistake by the rock delivery dude, who delivered the wrong color rocks, the project is ongoing… it should be done by the end of this week with a reveal sometime next week.

screen

Long before the nasty gray cement-like rock was delivered, I’d promised to make the guys breakfast or lunch on what was to be their last day… we settled on brunch. And since the majority of men on the job are Hispanic, I decided to make Migas.

As you can see, I was very stealth and snapped a couple photos through the screened windows of them enjoying their meal.

peak

Mexican or Tex-Mex Migas is a traditional breakfast dish consisting of scrambled eggs mixed with strips of corn tortilla, diced onions, chile peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese.

chips and such

My version uses crushed tortilla chips, minced serrano, and Parmesan.

Chip Custer is the owner of Forevergreen Landscape Designs. He is the very talented landscape designer who did our backyard. If you go to his website HERE, you can check out photos 2, 3, 8, 10, and 12. Those are a few of the before and after pictures of the backyard project we did with Chip five years ago.

Now you see why I happily cook for these guys!

onion tomato serrano

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November 13, 2013   4 Comments

salade verte amère

That is French and translates word for word into Salad. Green. Bitter.

bittergreens

It sounds poetic in French but it certainly does not sound as lovely or appetizing in English. So we shall give it a nicer English name … Bitter Greens Salad with Pomegranates & Parmesan.

So much better. This, of course, was the salad from the European Dinner Party.

I put out store-bought cookies and candies at the end of the meal, so there will not be a dessert recipe. The main course is all I have left to post. Expect that recipe tomorrow.

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November 11, 2013   1 Comment

easy meaty or meatless Monday meal

It has only taken me a week, but I’m finally getting back to you with the second recipe using those polenta scraps from the Polenta Pesto Bruschetta recipe I gave you a week ago today.

trader joe's polenta

This is almost the perfect “layer and bake” recipe, all you have to do is brown some Italian sausage. Although, you could easily make this dish even more convenient by omitting the sausage, thereby creating the perfect Mindless Meatless Monday Meal.

Dave was out-of-town when I made it, but Connor was home for the night, so meat was called for. We enjoyed the spiciness that the sausage added.

Italian Polenta Bake

Italian Polenta Bake

Polenta trimmings from this recipe, or a tube of prepared polenta, cut into rounds
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, cooked
1  1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce
2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

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September 16, 2013   1 Comment