Thursday, July 31, 2008

Away for the Weekend

I'm off to sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the weekend and don't have anything to post while I'm away. It's a work conference but, working for Williams Sonoma Inc. the food is usually pretty darn good! I will take some pictures and get some recipes going while I'm away. I also should have time to get caught up on my new cooking magazines that I've been neglecting, which means I'll be cooking up a storm when I get back home.

I will leave you with a picture of my baby, Muppet...just in case you need some company!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I received an award!

How exciting!!! I received the Brillante Weblog award from my fellow Portland food blogger For the Love of Cooking! Thank you so much for thinking of me Pam!

The requirements of recieving this award are:
  • Post the logo on your blog.
  • Add a link to the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 5 other people for this award and add links to their blogs.
  • Leave a message for the people you've nominated

It was tough choosing who to nominate, but here we go:

Anne's Food-Anne is from Sweden and creates amazing recipes. I love her pictures and large culinary assortment. Also she features her cat's on the weekend, which I absolutely love!

Blazing Hot Wok-I love Darlene's recipes, they are straight forward, inventive, and simply delicious! She also leaves comments on my blog regularly, thank you!

The Perfect Pantry-Lydia teaches me everything I need to know about her featured products. She also has fun stories, great recipes, and hosts Drop in and Decorate, which is just really cool. And the daily comments keep me cooking, thanks Lydia.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks-I love Ree and her sense of humor. She has excellent down home, comfort food. Also she has step by step pictures and explains everything in detail.

No Special Effects-Manggy inspired me to buy a new camera because his pictures are truly cook book worthy! His recipes look fantastic, and I constantly drool every time I look at his blog!

Thanks everyone for your daily inspiration to be a better and more creative cook!

The Radio Room

The Radio Room

I was at a new restaurant by my house the other night for dinner called the Radio Room and was tempted by the Linguini Carbonara on the menu and had to try it out. It was presented so cool with the egg yolk on the side. The pasta was a little under-cooked but overall it was pretty tasty. I did notice that they used a lot of shallots in their sauce, which I could have lived without, but it did add a different flavor than I have had with Carbonara. I think overall the food was good, not great, but I had to post the beautiful presentation, I think I might have to steal this idea from them :)

Location: NE ALberta and 11th Avenue
Brunch: Daily 9am-3pm
Happy Hour: Daily 3pm-6pm
Dinner: Daily 6pm-12am

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Raspberry Lemonade

I had the most delicious drink the other night at dinner and just had to post the picture and recipe. The idea is so simple and the execution was perfect. It’s really tart and yummy and the presentation was beautiful. I will have to keep this recipe up my sleeve for a dinner party.

Raspberry Lemonade

3 Ounces Vodka
Raspberry puree (just buy a bag of frozen raspberries and muddle a bit)
Lemon Slices
Superfine Sugar

Rub the rim of a pint glass with a lemon wedge and press into the sugar to coat the rim. Fill glass with ice, add a couple slices of lemon and then pour in vodka, next add lemonade to fill glass and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon of the raspberry puree, garnish the rim with a lemon slice and enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barbecued Beef Ribs

I think barbecued ribs are one of my favorites. I love any type of rib-beef, pork, lamb, you name it I’ll eat it! I got my first charcoal BBQ this summer (I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always used a gas grill!) and have been experimenting with it. I finally decided to try an indirect heat, slow cooked recipe, hence the ribs, and they turned out pretty good, but it’s so hard waiting that long to eat! I pulled out my Cooks Summer Grilling magazine for the grilling tips and it was so much easier than I had imagined. I will have to try the pork ribs next time.

Barbecued Beef Ribs

8 Pounds Beef Ribs
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
Charcoal BBQ

Heat coals in chimney until just starting to turn grey, about 20 minutes. Pour coals over ½ the grill and place a metal bread pan of water on the other side of the grill. Place the ribs on the side of the grill over the water and place lid on grill with the vents opposite the coals. Cook for 3 hours, turning meat every 30 minutes (do this quickly so you don’t loose your heat!). During the last 10 minutes of cooking liberally coat with barbecue sauce. Let rest for a few minutes then cut in to pieces and serve with lots of napkins!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Pasta Salad

I just can’t get enough fresh veggies during the summer and thought I would throw all my favorites into a pasta salad. I almost named this Ratatouille Pasta Salad but Summer Pasta Salad seemed to fit better. This is such an easy recipe to whip up for a picnic, dinner, or a barbecue, you must try it out. I usually make my more traditional pasta salad with the mayonnaise based dressing, but thought I would change it up a bit this time.

Summer Pasta Salad

1 Package Tri-Colored Rotelli Pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
2 Yellow Summer Squash
2 Small Zucchini
1 Cucumber, peeled and seeded
4 Roma Tomatoes
1 Red & Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded
½ Red Onion
8 Ounces Fetta
1 Bottle Italian Dressing (yes I cheated a bit here)

Cut all veggies into similar sized pieces, toss with pasta, cheese, and dressing and let sit for a couple hours for the flavors to meld together. You will probably need to add more dressing before serving, the pasta soaks it up very quickly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Blog!!!

Happy Birthday Blog!!!

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I have started my food blog, it has flown by! I have cooked over 150 different recipes and posted them and have learned a ton during this time. I remember when I posted my first posting, I though…will I be able to keep this going long term? And here I am a year later just as excited to post every new recipe. The thing I have really loved about my blog is that is has challenged me to continually try new recipes and be a little more adventurous than I normally am with cooking. I still have a huge list of favorites that I need to make and post and yet another list of recipes that I want to test, so I’m sure this next year will be just as exciting.
Thank you everyone who has followed my blog and left comments, it’s what really keeps me going with this very fun, but time consuming project. Also, thanks to all my friends who put up with me taking pictures and delaying all my dinner parties until I get the “perfect” shot of the food.



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Biscuits & Gravy

I think everyone loves biscuits and gravy. I served these a couple weeks ago for my Sunday Brunch and they turned out perfect. One of my friends that’s from Texas said they were as good as his mothers, what a complement! The key is to use a lot of sausage and you have to use whole milk to make a good gravy, no skimping on this dish. This recipe does makes a ton of gravy so feel free to cut it in half. I did love the leftovers that I had though, yummy. I think I was from the south in a past life, it’s just such good comforting food.

Biscuits & Gravy

8 Biscuits, I hate to admit it but I used Bisquick in this recipe!
2 Pounds Ground Sausage
¼ Cup Flour
1 Quart Milk (4 cups)
Salt & Pepper

In a large frying pan fry the sausage while breaking it up into pieces with a spoon until browned and cooked through. Next sprinkle with the flour and continue cooking for about 1 minute over medium heat. Add the milk and cook over medium high heat while constantly stirring with a whish until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with lots of fresh black pepper and a little bit of salt. If the gravy doesn’t thicken enough, then mix a little bit more flour with milk and add to the pan.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lamb Gyro

I was craving a gyro the other day and got inspired to make my own recipe for this, it turned out really well. I thought making the meat like a hamburger would allow me to flavor it throughout and also grilling it gave it a nice smoky flavor. I put lots of cucumber riata, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro to garnish. I realized after I had made these that I completely forgot the feta! Oh well, they still tasted yummy. This recipe makes enough for about 6 gyros, so you could easily cut in half if your only serving a couple people.

Lamb Gyro

2 Pounds Ground Lamb
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
Pita Bread
Tomatoes, chopped
Red Onion, sliced thin
Cucumber Riata

Combine the ground lamb, salt, pepper, cumin, and chopped cilantro and mix together to combine. Form meat into hamburger sized patties (will make about 6). Grill until just done, let rest for a couple of minutes and then cut into strips. Serve on a warm pita with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and cucumber riata.

Cucumber Riata

2 Cups Yogurt
1 Cucumber, peeled seeded and finely minced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Seeded and finely minced
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
½ Teaspoon Salt and Pepper

Mix together and let rest for a few minutes for flavors to combine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Croissant Bread Pudding

The Caramel Sauce...this is how dark it needs to be
This recipe was inspired from Nigella, I saw her make this on tv a while back and thought it was such a great recipe. I love the caramel sauce that you make first, it really adds a depth of flavor to the dish my regular bread pudding recipe doesn’t offer. She didn’t serve her pudding with a sauce, but I couldn’t resist adding this for the perfect touch. I think I’m going to go heat a little bit of this up right now, it will be the perfect ending to my day!

Croissant Bread Pudding

1 ½ Cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Water
3 Cups Half & Half
4 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Cup Brandy
6 Croissants, ripped into pieces

Place the croissants in a large baking dish and pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, add the sugar and water and place over medium high heat. Cook, without stirring until the sugar turns a deep golden color, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low, add the Half & Half, and stir vigorously with a whisk, and watch out, it will sputter quite a bit! Continue stirring until well combined, some of the caramelized sugar will form a ball, but keep whisking, it will become melted again. Now add the eggs, cinnamon, and brandy, stir to combine. Continue to cook over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly. Pour the sauce over the croissants and let sit for at least 10 minutes, or until the croissants have absorbed the sauce. Place into oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until puffed, golden brown, and set.
Serve warm with brandy cream sauce.

Brandy Cream Sauce

1 Cup Cream
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Brandy

Heat the cream, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in medium saucepan until almost boiling. Mix the brandy and cornstarch together and stir into the cream mixture. Bring to a light boil, and cook until thickened.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!

Hope you all have a happy and safe 4th! I just got off work and am whipping up a batch of salsa to take to my BBQ tonight! Cheers!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Red Potatoes and Herbs de Provence

Herbs de Provence are so underused in my opinion and they are one of my favorite herbs to use. I love the complexity of the flavor and the aroma they add to any dish. I use them with pork chops, in soups, stews, on roasted vegetables, and in many other recipes. Lydia posted an entire blog just on Herbs de Provence, you should check it out! This potato recipe went over very well at my Sunday brunch, but this would be a perfect side dish to any lunch, breakfast, or dinner.

Red Potatoes and Herbs de Provence

Red Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Herbs de Provence
Salt & Pepper

Clean potatoes and cut into cubes, and place in a baking sheet. Drizzle potatoes generously with olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with the Herbs de Provence, and salt & pepper, stir to ensure potatoes are well coated with spices. Place in a 375 degree oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes, turning half way through cooking.