Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels

Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels | @girlichef
It's hard to believe that today is already the first day of October! The mornings and the evenings are now chilly, bordering on cold. Pumpkins and gourds have taken up residence on porches. The leaves are lighting the streets on fire with their brilliant colors, a few even finding their way underfoot as we walk to the bus stop wrapped in a cloak of darkness. Lamp posts that haven't been transformed into scarecrow poles are shrouded in brittle corn stalks. Pretzels of all shapes, sizes, and orientations are held in the highest of regard.

Wait, what? Pretzels? You better believe it. October is National Pretzel Month, and flanked by my small army of pretzel-lovers, we'll be celebrating it in style all month long in our house—starting now.

You know my affinity for celebrating food holidays, right? If it's your first time here, it's true. I grab hold and celebrate one whenever possible. It's just fun stuff. Well, it should come as no surprise that I'm joining a group of like-minded bloggers today, and we're inviting you to a party featuring all pretzels, all day long.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cardamom Ice Cream Root Beer Floats

Cardamom Ice Cream Root Beer Floats | girlichef.com
A little over a week ago, I visited Seattle for the first time. I was there to attend IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference), but also to see this city that's been on my list of "must visit" places since I fell for a little band named Pearl Jam so many years ago. I packed a lot of good stuff into two and a half days. There's so much I want to share, but it takes me time to process and sort. I'll be dividing my experience up into bits and pieces and sharing them with you over the next few weeks (or so), starting today with an unassuming little root beer float.

It was actually the burger that I was after. That morning, Bea and I had visited the Space Needle. Being the good friend that I am, I forced her to go to the top. She insisted that she'd rather just sit underneath, sipping from a bottle of something wrapped in a paper bag. She informed me that she did not like heights. So I informed her right back that I didn't either, but there was not a chance in hell that I was going to leave Seattle without viewing it from above—tourist trap or not (for the record, it's so much more than that). Let's just say she thanked me for being so...persistent.

But I digress. The Space Needle is a story for another day. My point being that while we bought a ticket for it, we decided to take advantage of the discount you receive when buying a ticket to the Chihuley Garden and Glass at the same time. The plan was to come back once it started to get dark, though. So we hopped back on the Monorail after walking around the Pike Place Market district for a while on Saturday evening. Our plan was to check out the museum (not technically a museum, but that's what I'm calling it) and hightail it back to the hotel in plenty of time to spend time at the Taste of Seattle and Gourmet Fair that closed out that night of the conference.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Funny Girl cocktail {food 'n flix}

Funny Girl Cocktail for #FoodnFlix | girlichef.com
There's a reason I'm always so proud of myself when I complete a Food 'n Flix challenge early in the month. It's because I've given myself time to digest, if you will. I've watched our chosen movie at least once, brainstormed, thought of an inspired dish. This month is not one of those months. As a matter of fact, I'm sliding in waaaaaay under the wire. There are advantages to being "the creator".

I had every intention of posting at least on time this month. I knew the end of the month was set to be extra busy, so I rented Funny Girl from library at the beginning of the month...and wound up returning it without watching it. Grrrrr, I hate that. I just never found the time in my day, and didn't want to pay out the wazoo for it, so back it went. So, fast-forward to the end of the month...and renting it again. Apparently I spaced the due date, because I rented it a day or two before the actual post was due. With my post-trip scatterbrain, I just couldn't get together what I wanted to make. And I wanted to make the obvious—Filet Mignon with Sauce Bordelaise, in honor of the famous exchange between Nick and Fanny:

Speaking in French, Nick orders "filet de boeuf, sauce bordelaise".
Fanny remarks,  "I would have ordered roast beef and potatoes."
To which, Nick replies with a smile, "I did".


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spicy Carrot-flecked Chicken Sliders #10DaysofTailgate

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
This is one of those times that the photos just don't do the dish justice. That's my fault. I've been so preoccupied this week. That always happens when I return from a trip—it takes me a few weeks or so just to get my brain and my surroundings back on a schedule. But despite the lousy pictures, these sliders are too tasty, too perfect for game day, and too simple not to share with you during our #10DaysofTailgate event.

Basically, they're just chicken meatballs. You could make them a bit smaller and crowd them onto a long crusty bun for a buffalo sub. Or just take one and center it on a slider bun for easy grab-n-go bites. Okay, I know it looks like even the slider bun is too big for these little guys, but once you actually give 'em a smash down to prepare them for a bite, the meatball spreads and fills up that extra space you see.

These could be made using your favorite hot sauce, but if you can get your hands on a bottle of Carrot Karma Hot Sauce by Intensity Academy, that is without a doubt, the way to go. Made with only a few natural ingredients, it is carrot-based, and therefore leaves beautiful orange flecks of sweet heat (there's also habanero in there) throughout the chicken and on the bun.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Potato Chorizo Breakfast Casserole #SimplyPotatoes

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Simply Potatoes. All opinions are 100% mine.
Potato Chorizo Breakfast Casserole | girlichef.com
Today I'm partnering with Simply Potatoes to bring you a recipe featuring part of their refrigerated, prepared potato line. Since I already use these products in my own kitchen, I'm happy to have the opportunity to share them with you today. If you're not familiar with Simply Potatoes by Crystal Farms, they are a fresh (never frozen) potato product made with real ingredients that located in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store.

The main reason that I keep them on hand is because they're so darn convenient. I've mentioned this before, but my oldest child is a potatoaholic. He would happily eat them for every meal of the day, if I made them. So, you can probably guess that hash browns are an often-requested breakfast dish in my house (and not only by him). I like to keep a bag or two of Simply Potato hash browns in the fridge to meet this request. School morning are generally pretty rushed around here, and the simple fact that I can open a bag, pour the already shredded potatoes into a hot skillet with a bit of fat, and serve up them up in mere moments makes me happy.

But Simply Potatoes goes beyond hash browns for a weekday breakfast. You can find them in all forms, from diced to sliced to wedges—and with all  manners of "seasoning" (O'Brien, Garlic and Herb, Southwest Style, Rosemary & Garlic). Should I even tell you that they also have different varieties of mashed potatoes? That means everything from leisurely weekend meals to holiday sides to breakfast-for-dinner to weeknight supper side dishes are at your fingertips!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs #10DaysofTailgate

Sticky Mango Mustard Glazed Duck Meatballs #10DaysofTailgate #meatballs #duck | girlichef.com
I'm not usually one to hide an ingredients, or tell my family it's something other than it is. However, if I'm using something that I think they may turn their noses up at, I probably won't tell them what it is if they don't ask. Case-in-point, these meatballs. They're tender, lightly spiced duck meatballs in a sweet, spicy, sticky mango mustard glaze. Sounds good, right? My guess is that half of you said yes, the other half held back because they were made from duck. Why is that?

I think it's just because duck isn't a meat that everybody grows up eating (and is therefore accustomed to it). Duck is often dismissed as a special meal (read, holiday meal) meat. If you know me, you that's an assessment that I just don't agree with.  Duck doesn't have to be a roasted, laquered whole bird garnished festively—though that is a happy picture. Try working instead with something as simple as ground duck, and using it where you would normally use beef, pork, or turkey.

Now, just in case this is your first time here (or you weren't familiar with the fact), I am a Maple Leaf Farms (duck) Ambassador. I'm not paid to say good things about duck, my opinions are all my own. But lest you think I'm only saying good things about duck because I'm an ambassador, you can flip that around and say I'm only an ambassador because I like to say good things about duck.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings #10DaysofTailgate

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings #10DaysofTailgate #chickenwings #appetizer | girlichef.com
Whether you're enjoying them outside the stadium, plucking them one by one from a huge foil pan, or getting messy inside during the game, wings are one of those ubiquitous game day foods. Some like them spicy (hand raised), some like them sweet (okay, I'll raise a hand here, too), some like them bathed in garlic (both hands and both feet raised), but you're hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't enjoy a good chicken wing. Vegetarians—sssshhhhh. You can have cauliflower "wings" instead; I won't deny you.

So, since today is the official start of the #10DaysofTailgate, what better thing to share than a finger-lickin' batch of wings? These particular wings are simple. Beyond simple. With only three other ingredients (one of which is optional), I should probably say embarrassingly simple. But hey, they're too good not to share. Plus, they feature one of our awesome #10DaysofTailgate sponsors, Not Ketchup!

Spiced Fig = Instantly Smitten. This fruit ketchup is slightly tangy and slightly sweet, and my bottle is entirely empty. I rinsed it out and put it back on the shelf, but as of yet, it's not automatically regenerating. And for some reason, I couldn't get the idea of combining it with garlic and slathering on wings out of my head. So, that was exactly what I did.