Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oatmeal "Raisins" Cookies - That's Raisins with an "S"

I'm on a baking kick my friends (as you can probably tell). I think I'm in the holiday spirit - and no, the name of the post is not a typo - it's "raisins", plural, not "raisin", singular. These Oatmeal "Raisins" cookies have three types of raisins: regular, golden and Craisins. There are a few things that I think make this cookie truly spectacular. 1) I soak the raisins in rum (yay rum!), then simmer them in water until they are plump and juicy. 2) I add cornstarch in addition to the baking powder and soda. 3) I add a lot more salt (I think I say this in every post). These are more traditional O.R. cookies. If you want something different try my "Sow Your Wild Oatmeal Cookies" which are spicier and have white chocolate chips. They are delicious too! These cookies are very easy, another great recipe for a holiday gift or just making a batch of cookies - who needs an excuse? Get the recipe after the jump.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things I Love: Mother Shuckers Original Cocktail Sauce

First things first with a little disclaimer. Some cooking blogs don't like to post about products, and I totally see why. You want readers to feel that they are getting the straight scoop so-to-speak, not some paid-for or promoted product endorsement. However, there are certain items that I have discovered that I feel are of the highest quality and can really make life more delicious and cooking easier. The goal of Gour-Maybe? is to help my readers make better food so anything to that end is fair game on this blog! No product-focused posts on Gour-Maybe? are paid for or solicited. 

Now, onto the good stuff! I stumbled upon Mother Shucker's Cocktail Sauce on accident when I was in a pinch looking for something easy for some boiled shrimp I was craving. Yes, that's right, this girl was all cooked out after Thanksgiving! I just wanted to open a jar, boil some shrimp and be done with it. The name and packaging attracted me - it looks boutique, handmade, original - even says "Award-winning" so I gave it a shot.

Oh. My. God. This sauce is so good. Spicy, complex, fresh are just some of the terms I'd apply here. It's got a great color and just the right kick. I almost NEVER use a product straight out of the jar without tweaking it, adjusting seasoning and heat etc.  I also almost NEVER find a packaged product that is better than a fresh option. With that said, I would honestly not change a thing about this cocktail sauce, except make bigger bottles of it. I used it on boiled shrimp, but you could add it to a Bloody Mary or maybe just get a spoon or straw.

It will definitely be a Gour-Maybe? pantry/fridge staple. If your local store doesn't carry it, you can purchase it via their website here.

Try some for yourself and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Oyster and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Fresh Herbs and Stilton


I am a MAJOR fan of mushrooms (and I mean the kind you cook with!). If you hate mushrooms, but the only ones you've ever tried are white button mushrooms from the market, you are really missing out! Recently I've been exploring using less common varieties in my dishes from Lobster mushrooms to Hen of the Woods to my new fave: Oyster Mushrooms. Many standard mushroom risotto recipes called for Portobello and dried Porcini, but I make mine with only fresh Oyster and Shiitake 'shrooms. I think this is a better and more fresh approach that keeps the focus on the fresh mushrooms and their flavors. This recipe makes a great entertaining meal, because you can serve 4-6 entree portions or 8-10 sides with this amount of risotto. You can also make it in advance and keep it warm until serving. Of course, it wouldn't be a Gour-Maybe meal if I didn't incorporate a few unusual ingredients - Stilton, cayenne, lemon zest and fresh oregano, rosemary and sage - that separate this risotto from the mushy masses. Skip your bicep workout that day friends, because you are going to be stirring your arm off! Mushroom mania begins after the jump.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gour-Maybe? Grilled Cheese - Rye, Niman Ranch Ham, Cheddar, Fontina, and Pimento Cheese - Yes - Pimento Cheese


It's simple, easy, savory, reminds you of childhood and takes about 10 minutes to make. It's fabulous with soup, wonderful alone and delicious any time of day. It's the one, the only the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. So what makes a Grilled Cheese Sandwich stand out from the hundreds you've probably had in your lifetime? In my opinion, it's a plethora of amazing ingredients from the bread to the cheese and everything in between. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you have to go nuts with every GCS, sometimes plain is great. but try this, and tell me it's not better. My boyfriend said, "it's the best Grilled Cheese sandwich I've ever had" - he didn't even have the Rye bread because he's a Sourdough purist, so he was missing out. If you don't like Rye - then join his club and have the second best Grilled Cheese Sandwich ever. I add ham (Niman Ranch) to mine - if you are a vegetarian - then don't, but it's an amazing add. I also do a really good mayo inside the sandwich (Dukes). I also have a secret weapon - it's.......Pimento Cheese! I'm serious, it makes all the difference. Post Thanksgiving you might even try it with Turkey leftovers. Maybe? Get ready to grill with the ingredients, secret weapon and recipe after the jump.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gour-Maybe Brunch Favorite - Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch food. I love pancakes and waffles, but given the choice between savory and sweet breakfast foods, I will take the eggs any day!!! Eggs Benedict is challenging and daunting for a lot of people because of the sauce and egg poaching, but I promise, that is because you haven't tried it THIS WAY. This is true Gour-Maybe cooking - a classic recipe made easier (and I think more delicious!). Start with great English muffins (I use Bays) and great Canadian Bacon or Ham (I make mine with Niman Ranch Ham) and end up with an easy brunch in 10 minutes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pepita Crusted Ahi Tuna with Pumpkin/Poblano Rice, Pickled Onions, Cilantro Pecan Pesto and Jalapeno Ponzu


This sounds a lot more difficult than it is, and trust me, the results are worth the effort you have to make. If you start the night before, it's a piece of cake!! A rare tuna has to be one of my favorite things to eat. I usually think of sushi/tuna in the summer, but the pumpkin elements make it a perfect transition into fall, which believe it or not, is not in full effect here in Texas! This is a southwest take on seared tuna. Make the sauces in advance, and this will take you 30 minutes to prepare and plate. The key to great tuna is... GREAT TUNA! I got mine at a great local DFW spot, TJ's - I'm sure you have something similar in your neighborhood. Barely searing (about 30 seconds per side) gives you that little ring of sear, with a beautiful rare middle. Don't you dare overcook Grade 1 tuna!!!! Read all about the pieces of this delicious little puzzle after the jump. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Vichyssoise with Chimichurri and Goat Cheese

I love seasonal cooking, and pumpkin is definitely the vegetable of the moment for me considering Halloween is right around the corner. I also live in Texas, where it's getting cold, but not THAT cold. I have created a "vichyssoise" version with pumpkin that could be served hot or cold, depending on your mood or your weather. It's comforting and creamy and it looks beautiful on a plate - which I also love. It uses just a fraction of the amount of cream of a normal vichyssoise, so it's actually pretty healthy, because the pumpkin and spices make it so creamy you don't really need it. I love curry and the heat of the paprika and cayenne - it gives it a little unexpected twist! The soup is so easy, but I won't lie, breaking down the pumpkins is a pain in the ass, but you will be well rewarded with delicious soup (and enough puree for many other things pumpkin). Chimichurri balances the richness and gives it a little shot of herbs so don't skip it. Get cooking after the jump!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crab, Avocado and Egg Stack with Chive

After yesterday's pancake experiment, we are clearly on a breakfast bender/carb "detox" in the Gour-maybe kitchen. So while we are on this train, how about an amazing, luxurious, delicious brunch dish that is so easy it takes less than 10 minutes, AND makes you feel like you are staying at a 5-star hotel? Get excited for the Gour-maybe Crab, Avocado and Egg Stack because it's going to be your new breakfast/brunch favorite. You could make it any day of the week, just to treat yourself. It's also perfect for entertaining, because you can easily double or quadruple the ingredients. Easiness after the jump!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ricotta & Buttermilk Pancakes With Honeyed Syrup

from the side - omg - hard to photograph when all you want to do is eat!
batter fluffiness!

The men in my family are pancake lovers. Borderline addicts. Ok, not so borderline addicts. Full-blown pancake addicts. They eat pancakes everywhere they go, yet few ever pass the "delicious" test. I don't know why they don't open a pancake store with the amount of tasting they've done. They sound like Goldilocks and the three bears after every breakfast: "Too heavy, too dense, too sweet, not sweet enough!"  Last weekend, my brother called me in the process of making pancakes. His hadn't turned out the way he wanted, so it got me thinking - how do you make a freaking great pancake? There are lots of theories: sour cream, buttermilk, separated eggs, etc. I like a PC that is fluffy, light, with that slight chewiness that melts in your mouth, and how do you decide between honey and syrup for your topping? So this weekend, I decided to try and make some pancakes. I went with cake flour for lightness, melted butter, ricotta and eggs for fat, and buttermilk vs regular for my liquids. These are amazing. I don't think I will ever make another recipe. But I sure as hell will be making these with different flavors, bananas, granola, blueberries, choc chips etc! Get cooking after the jump!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me! Best Carrot Cake in the Universe with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

gratuitous frosting shot

more frosting...
This past weekend was my birthday, and all I wanted was just a leopard McQueen clutch. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, and some shoes. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, some shoes and a great dinner. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, some shoes, a great dinner and an amazing cake. Sooo, what does someone who has a food blog make for her birthday cake? Yes, that's right, I made my own cake, but my boyfriend made the McQueen clutch and dinner happen, so I was pretty happy to contribute the cake part AND, I happen to have an amazing, ridiculous carrot cake recipe AND, carrot cake happens to be my absolute favorite. I usually eat it in the Fall, because cream cheese frosting and Texas summer heat don't mix. But September is officially Carrot Cake Season! Suck it NFL! Don't take it from me, an anonymous tester described it as, "this carrot cake is the fantasy football equivalent of a running back scoring four touchdowns in a game!" I don't know what that means, but it seems positive. Read the full recipe after the jump.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spicy Savory Pimento Cheese

pimento cheese and crackers, garnished with celery leaves and a dash of cayenne

I will kick off this post with this: I used to HATE Pimento Cheese. Give me PB&J, Turkey and Swiss, but keep the "orange stuff" out of my sight. It was basically lunch punishment. However, with the revival in southern "gourmet" comfort food over the last several years (and a little maturity in the taste buds), I've experienced pimento cheese that is a long way away from those lunchbox nightmares. Now, I love the spice, the heat, the creamy texture. With anything, I think it starts with really good ingredients. I like mine to be spicy, and full of flavor. I also love that you can make it in one bowl, with just a few ingredients, and serve it so many different ways. Pimento Cheese isn't JUST for sandwiches, people! You can do a sandwich on some delicious sturdy bread (grilled or cold) - delicious. Top a baked potato, Serve with spiced pecans and crackers on its own. Use as a dip with crudites (I love celery with pimento cheese). Roll small teaspoons in chopped nuts for a perfect holiday canape. Here's how I make mine. Check the calorie counting at the door, because this isn't going to fit in your fitness plan. Read all about it after the jump!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"From Scratch" - Literally - Chicken and Dumplings To Die For

A delicious Sunday's work

Don't ask why the celery has to be peeled! Just peel it - and know it's worth it.

When it starts to cool off in Dallas - usually in September/October - the temp doesn't have to drop much below 80 degrees before I am breaking out the boots and getting my favorite warm comfort foods on the table. Fall is my favorite season! Nothing says "comfort food" to me more than Chicken and Dumplings. But how do you make something so basic "Gour-maybe?" well, you start with Thomas Keller's recipe from Ad Hoc. Then, you literally go nuts, because you don't know why you need all those carrots cooked different ways and celery bathing in ice. Then you taste it. And you shut your mouth because it's that good and you eat it every day for a week straight. The dumplings are melt in your mouth, and flavored with chives and mustard. Trust me, you will love them. I use about double the chicken, and encourage you to double the dumplings as well. Because those are my favorite parts. I make mine much more rustic, and like it that way. I don't have Keller's refinement even my crazy pants OCD is just fine with a lop-sided dumpling or an uneven carrot slice. So pick a weekend to make this, maybe a rainy one. Start it in the AM, and eat it for dinner. Full, long, but worth it recipe after the jump.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thai Green Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice

I am a major fan of bold flavors, so it's no surprise that I love curry: Indian Curry with all its big spicy flavors, Thai Curry with its hints of lemongrass and complexity. There's really not a curry I don't like! If I'm being TOTALLY honest though, I have a soft spot for the green curries, both Indian and Thai. I love a jalfrezi, but in the summer, it's the Thai flavors that really get me going. You had me at ginger, lemon grass, basil and cilantro, oh and garlic and onions. Oh and sweet potatoes. Oh and coconut milk. You get the picture! This curry requires a little prep, but it's super easy once you get going and the leftovers are fantastic too. It also looks pretty, and that's just as valid a reason as any to cook something! Try this curry for an end-of-summer dinner and then we'll get some Indian Curry going for the fall. Read the full recipe after the jump.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summery Citrus Raspberry Cake

Alright Gour-Maybe users, if you are looking for a light, flavorful, not-too-sweet, "dessert" (or snack or breakfast for all I care) then I have the cake for you! This cake screams summer, when berries are in season and on sale. You could use lots of different types of berries. It's not super rich or heavy like a birthday cake, it almost floats off the plate - probably because it has no calories... Ok, maybe a FEW calories, but they are totally worth it! It's basically all fruit! Come on! The orange and meyer lemon and tart raspberries give it such a delicious, fresh flavor, and the buttermilk keeps it from being too sweet. The sugar-coated raspberries bake in their own juices almost created a jam over the top. I realize I'm going on and on. This is great for a party, or a baby shower, or a special easy dessert. The one caveat is that you will need about 2 hours of time. Be sure you have a spring form pan and parchment paper on hand, as a Gour-Maybe, I've found I use both frequently, so if you don't have one, go get one, it will be a good investment. Read the recipe and the tips after the jump.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Halibut With Fresh Herbs and Roasted Cauliflower Puree

I love potatoes, and mashed potatoes specifically, but I don't love working out. So what is the next best thing? Cauliflower that is much healthier, but TASTES like mashed potatoes.  So tricky! Yum! This dinner can serve 2 or 4. The puree and herb sauce make plenty for 4, you just have to buy more fish to accommodate more guests. I also love me some Halibut, especially in the summer because it's light and can be paired with lots of different sides. This is a really easy summer dinner, and if you made the herb sauce and cauliflower in advance, it would literally take 10 minutes. If not, it's still under an hour. The herbs with capers and citrus cut through the (faux) richness of the cauliflower, and the Halibut just pulls it all together. The bright green sauce also looks really fresh and vibrant. I can't pretend I don't care what my plate looks like, I like some color people! Check out the recipe after the jump. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gour-Maybe? Guest Blogger - Jennie Weizel - With Homemade Breakfast Treats!

Chocolate Banana Bread! Notice artsy pics - way to go Weizel!

Is that Chobani? Wait, nevermind, I made it!

Whole Foods $7.99 a pound? I don't think so! Make it in your very own kitchen!

Hi Gour-maybe readers, I am excited to have friend and former co-worker (we don't really hate her for leaving) Jennie Weizel to talk about our favorite meal of the day: breakfast. Among many things including food, sarcasm, and good hair days, Jennie and I share a love of hobbies usually loved by the elderly like jam-making, and we are A-ok with that! Below she shares links to her favorite homemade breakfast staples: Greek Yogurt, Granola, Strawberry Jam, and Chocolate Banana Bread. Perfect to make big batch, and keep on hand. We can pretty much guarantee we'd make a parfait!  Click on the links for her inspiration and follow her on Twitter . Let's hear from the lady herself:

"Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I don’t understand you people who don’t eat anything until lunch. That’s crazy talk! Maybe when you try these recipes you will change your non-eating breakfast ways. These recipes are extremely simple and I usually make them ahead of time on a Sunday evening while watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians    - the news - this way each morning I can just grab it and go.
You might be thinking, “I could buy all of these things she is making herself” and you definitely could—but then you couldn’t brag to all your foodie friends that you MADE YOUR OWN GREEK YOGURT! I will just leave it at that. (we couldn't agree more! Go for the foodie bragging rights!)
The Greek Yogurt and Granola are great paired together and I always enjoy the Chocolate Banana Bread with my cup of coffee.
One of my favorite things to make is Ina Garten’s Strawberry Jam (Gour-Maybe also secretly desires to BE Ina Garten) recipe and it will take your breakfast or PB&J to a whole new level. Ina always makes me want to hop on the next flight to The Hamptons. It is a little bit more of a time intensive recipe but it’s worth the wait. After all, who doesn’t like sugar, Cointreau, and fresh fruit?

We heart you JW! Come blog on Gour-Maybe anytime!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Most Amazing, Easy Blueberry Muffins

After discussing what I could bake for my boyfriend who isn't a big bread person (WHAT????) or a big sweet person (MUST BE NICE!!!), I had crossed off cakes, cookies, and pastries, when he mentioned Blueberry Muffins as something that he'd like. So I decided that I'd try and track down a recipe for the best Blueberry Muffins around. I love sweets, and breads, and sweet breads, so this was not a chore for me. I am particular as to what I like in a muffin, and I've always loved a muffin with a topping or crumb. I also happened to have on hand a pint of half-devoured gigantic, fresh blueberries. So when I stumbled upon THIS RECIPE from "A Cup of Jo" (a fabulous blog that you should follow), and I saw 1 cup of blueberries (check) ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge (check) and a crumb topping (check check), I knew I'd found the one. I made slight modifications, adding ginger and cinnamon to the dry ingredients. I did use the lemon zest. Other than that, I followed the recipe. People get ready, these are (Gordon Ramsey voice) the MOST.... AMAZING....muffins! I would make them for a crowd, because otherwise you might eat every single one. Recipe either at the link or reprinted after the jump.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spicy Crab Cakes with Hatch Chile/Poblano Risotto

It's almost the end of Hatch chile season (sniff), so to say, "Adios" properly to my favorite seasonal pepper, I am doing another Hatch recipe. (This will end soon, I promise!). I love crab cakes, but part of the reason is that I always buy the good stuff: JUMBO LUMP. Don't go buying the stringy stuff and expect it to turn out the same way. Crab meat is like plastic surgery, you don't want the cheapest! I also love risotto, and was a little skeptical at how a "Hatch chile" and "Poblano" pepper version would turn out, but I wanted something with a little kick to support the spicy crab cakes. If you prefer another starch, by all means do a salad, a vegetable etc. The result was a spicy, complex risotto, with lots of flavor and a great amount of heat and a little tartness thanks to the goat cheese. You could potentially use a Queso Fresco as well. Get the recipe after the jump!