Saturday, December 7, 2013

Macadamia, Cashew and Sea Salt Brittle

It's BAAAAACK! Are you looking for an easy holiday gift? So was I until I found this delicious brittle. Every year since 2008, I have baked gifts for friends and family. Food for me is an experience to be shared, and I love it when I can make something that my friends can enjoy. Over the years, I've made different variations on my gifted treats: brittle and truffles, brittle and cookies, brittle and cake, but there's one thing that is always the same: the MACADAMIA CASHEW & SEA SALT BRITTLE! Brittle is something my Grammy used to make (classics peanut brittle) but this brittle is on another level! It's chock-full of macadamia nuts, and cashews (although I'm sure you could make it with other nuts too). It's sweet, it's savory, it's decadent and buttery. It's easy enough to make large batches for a whole list of friends or a small party. It's got enough salt to include "salt" in the name of the brittle - so it's got to be good. This is truly delicious. Most people describe it as "addictive" and I include myself in those people, so I usually only make it once a year to avoid shoveling a whole bag into my mouth. I hope you try it and love it too. Recipe after the jump!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Spectacular Kale and Artichoke Dip

I am a fan of all things that you probably should consume in mass quantities: Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Wine, Cheese, etc. So it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite things in the world is the classic, cheesy, creamy spinach artichoke dip. It's something that can be really good, or really bad, depending on the execution. I like mine with a thick base, and lots of the veggies. Because spinach is sometimes watery even when drained quite a bit, I tried this with kale. The result - amazing. Kale stands up so well - I even like the flavor better! Since I like about a 70/30 veggies to base ratio, I actually don't use all the base that this recipe makes, but you can add more or less depending on your taste. Did I say this is amazing? This is amazing. You won't even care what you eat it with, but I'd suggest some sturdy tortilla chips or pita chips or a large spoon. I use a different blend of cheeses: Parmesan, White Cheddar, a little bit of Feta and Fontina, and of course, cream cheese. I don't use sour cream, which many do. Get the secrets of the fantastic dip after the jump.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb and Tapenade

Even though it's just SLIGHTLY cooler in Texas, I am mentally ready for it to be full-blown fall. Nothing says fall to me, like a leg of lamb. It's also one of those things that looks incredibly impressive and intimidating for a dinner party, but is super easy - just rub and roast. When it comes to a side, creamed corn came to mind, because let's face it, corn is cheap, lamb is expensive, and it works for fall without being as heavy as a sweet potato etc. Corn is also just sweet enough to balance the salty, savory flavors of the tapenade and lamb rub. Look for the Chive and Parmesan Creamed Corn recipe coming soon! This lamb recipe was inspired by Esquire's Eat Like A Man Cookbook. My fiance bought this book, which I told him looked like a caveman's diet guide, but after this recipe, I'm thinking about hitting the treadmill harder and cooking all of them anyway. Grab a new bottle of olive oil, cause you'll burn through a bottle with this one! Like I said, this will be so much easier than you can imagine! Make the rub and the tapenade the day before, and you will be a most relaxed hostess.Get the recipe after the jump!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lobster Pappardelle with Lobster Mushrooms, Basil and Bacon

Sometimes recipes are worth a little extra labor - in honor of Labor Day weekend, this is one of those recipes. It is actually not that difficult at all to make - and if you are having a dinner party with really lucky, and deserving friends, then this would be spectacular. The labor comes with breaking down the lobsters. You can find a great video on how to do that easily on my last lobster post (Lobster Mac and Cheese). There is nothing to me that works better than a great pair of kitchen shears - takes a lot of that labor off your hands! I took advantage of a Lobster sale ($8.99/lb) to make this dish. I splurged on Lobster Mushrooms. If you can't find them, use Shiitake.  If you do the sauce and meat a day ahead (which you can) - the rest is a snap! The result is a dish that is delicious in a way that makes you want to skip the meal before and after, just so you can have more of this. The fresh herbs balance the cream and richness of the lobster. Try it and you will add this to your recipe box for sure! Get the breakdown after the jump.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Feta Scramble with Lemon Chive Cream

On any weekend, when I am in the mood for something delicious for breakfast, lunch or brunch - my thoughts are always on the easy, breezy scramble. You might remember we did a Kale, Squash, Sausage and Fontina Scramble a few months back.  The best thing about this for a meal, is that you often have all the ingredients in your fridge, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to make. I had leftover asparagus, prosciutto for lunches, and feta that I used for salads, so I went a bit Mediterranean. I added a yummy Lemon Chive cream to brighten it up. You can also do this with egg whites and skip the cream for a healthier version. I love this with a sourdough English Muffin, but use whatever you'd like! Get scrambling after the jump!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Classic Guacamole

How I have not done a Gour-maybe guacamole post until know is beyond me, but we are making an amazing batch of green chile chicken enchiladas tonight because it's Hatch Chile season, and I thought we'd kick off the meal with some homemade guac. Guacamole is a Texas staple, and this is my recipe for basic guacamole - you can add bacon, more spice, less spice, or this week some Hatch Chiles might make sense, to make it your own. But try this - it's so easy, literally takes 5 minutes, and I don't know why you'd ever buy guac again! Serve with a Mexican dinner, chips or even chopped veggies for a more healthy snack. This is a short post, so there's no jump! Recipe is below. Ole!

Guacamole (Serves 6-8)
You will need: 
  • 3 large ripe Haas avocados - pits removed, one pit reserved, flesh diced
  • 1 clove garlic - grated fine (I use a microplane)
  • 1/2 c diced red onion
  • 1.5 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 T green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 T fresh lime juice (about 1/2 - 1 lime)
  • 1 T chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Other fun adds: 2 T chopped Bacon,  2 T roasted corn, 2 T chopped Hatch chiles (optional)
Prep all ingredients. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with a stiff wooden spoon (or a mashed potato masher works great) until mixture begins to smooth. I still like lots of texture in mine, so I don't go too crazy on the mixing. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Place one reserved pit in the guacamole. This keeps it nice and green! Cover with saran wrap, so that it touches the surface of the guac and no air can get it. Refrigerate for an hour to let flavors come together. Serve with tortilla chips, chopped veggies etc. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spicy Berry Semifreddo

I've been seeing semifreddo recipes all over the place with summer here, and although I'm more of a cake or cookie girl, it's been so damn hot that something cold sounded amazing. Don't let the word "semifreddo" - which might seem intimidating - fool you, this is just easy, delicious ice cream minus the egg yolks and with a lot less effort! Berries are my personal favorite fruit, but you could make this with a lot of fruits! I added a little cayenne and salt because as you know if you read this blog, I love a spicy sweet or a salty sweet. This does have to chill overnight, but honestly, that makes it even easier. Do this a few days ahead, and serve when you are ready. Keep the extra puree in the fridge: I've used it as a stir in for yogurt and frozen it to make almost a sorbet. If it's hot where you are, go get some berries and get to work. Get the semi and the freddo after the jump!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Macaron Madness

Macarons seem to be quite the trend these days - especially as gifts like the spectacular ones from Laduree - much less messy than a Cronut, and probably less expensive! I set out to see if I could tackle the Macaron, with a very open mind. Being admittedly type A, these "challenges" are what I live for, but they do kind of look little colorful circles of delicious painstaking (painful) work. I decided to start with Martha Stewart's Macaron recipe - after all - who better on a detail oriented task than Martha? Two days and about 60 Macarons later, I think I have some tips to Macaron success for those of us who aspire to Laduree heights! You can really make these any flavor or color, or just start with a plain batch to learn the steps. I did Lemon with Lemon buttercream, Orange with orange buttercream, and Almond (using almond extract). Get le scoop after le jump

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Ultimate T.A.B.L.E. Sandwich

Ok. You can have your BLT, I will take a TABLE. That's right - Tomato, Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, Egg. This is a two meal sandwich - you should probably skip breakfast. Like with my Gour-Maybe Grilled Cheese, the key is amazing ingredients: Heirloom Tomatoes, Haas Avocados, thick slab Bacon, Boston Lettuce, and a freshly fried Egg (over easy). I put mine on grilled Sourdough (from a bakery), and don't skimp on the mayo, or on the salt and pepper. If  you start with quality ingredients, you'll end with an unforgettable sandwich! This is more a methodology than a recipe, as everyone pretty much knows how to make a sandwich... RIGHT? Get the recipe, after the jump!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summery Potato Salad With Chives and Scallions

This might be the easiest and most delicious potato salad you could ever make, which is perfect if you are planning on making something to take to a 4th of July party (or if you just want an amazing cold side for lunch or dinner anytime). If you aren't a fan of chives, scallions and mustard (your loss), then I have another great potato salad recipe here! I adapted this recipe from the recent Bon Appetit, featuring Eric Ripert, so you know it's got good bones. It essentially starts with homemade mayo (the tang is key - so don't substitute and don't be afraid) then just mixes in potatoes and chives and scallions and a little mustard! Voila! I think the key to the flavor is letting the potatoes sit in the dressing. I'd make this ahead, and let it chill overnight or at least 4-6 hours before serving. It's truly amazing! Get the recipe, after the jump!