Monday, April 21, 2014

Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Libby's. All opinions are 100% mine.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan by @girlichef
I've never been shy about my love for pumpkin. It's healthy. It's versatile. It's delicious. It's a superfood that packs a powerful boost of Vitamin A (which promotes healthy bones, skin, and eyes) and fiber which, along with a balanced diet, helps to protect your body from certain types of cancer and heart disease. So, when I was offered the opportunity to partner with Libby’s Pumpkin to promote the versatility and health benefits of eating pumpkin year-round, I happily accepted.

So wait, pumpkin year-round? Oh yeah, I said it. Don't shove those hoarded cans of pumpkin puree to the back of your pantry once the cool weather finally gives way to a Spring thaw. Instead, shift your perspective. I'll concede to the fact that your warming spices may no longer be displayed prominently next to your salt and pepper, though.

I mean, did you know that one serving of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin actually provides more than 100% of your daily allowance of Vitamin A, and 20% of your daily fiber requirement? Why would you want to forget about such an easy source of antioxidants for 3/4 of the year? That's just crazy talk.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lemon Icebox "Pie" #SundaySupper

Lemon Icebox "Pie" |
A few weeks ago, somebody on twitter asked me if I had a good Lemon Icebox Pie recipe. I had to say that I didn't, but that I would ask around. We found some absolutely tempting suggestions, and I decided that it was time to make one for myself. I don't know why I hadn't before now...I love lemon desserts. If I'm being completely honest, I don't think that I'd ever even eaten a slice before. That changed last weekend.

I wound up slightly adapting a recipe by my favorite cookbook author, Tessa Kiros. In her latest absolutely gorgeous as usual book, Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life, she shares a pie that her sister has made for so many years that she could make it with her eyes closed. Not knowing the definite origins, she guesses that it probably came from a condensed milk can of old. I figured that "pie" (I'm air-quoting because can you really call it a pie if it's made in a rectangular pan? I suppose so, but for some reason, my fingers automatically raise...) was as good a place to start as any.

And guess what? YUM! So good. It's light an fluffy with that perfect lemon tang. I'm sort of in love with the simple filling. I think I'm going to stuff it an Angel Food Swiss Roll later on today. It also fits in perfectly at your Easter or Spring table.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Black Garlic Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream - #NationalGarlicDay (+ Giveaway!)

Black Garlic Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream #NationalGarlicDay |
The day that I've been promising you for the past 4 or 5 years has finally arrived. The day that I share with you a big bowl of GARLIC ICE CREAM! I've made a few garlicky desserts in my day. One that I've mentioned, but never actually shared with you, Pineapple-Garlic Upside Down Cake (imagine roasted garlic cloves in place of the maraschino cherries). And then couple of years ago, I shared an Apple Spice Cake with Roasted Garlic and Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce.

I can't help it, I'm drawn to the unusual!

But not only the unusual, as pretty much anything with garlic is good in my book. My old standby and perennial favorite is Chicken with 40 Cloves. Garlic Soup in pretty much any form is also something that I can't get enough of. One of my favorite treats is topping a round of Brie with as many roasted garlic cloves as I can fit on top, and then sliding it into a hot oven until the brie is soft. Give me that, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bottle of wine...good lawd, call it a day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peach, Maple, and Bourbon-Glazed Ham Steaks

If you're looking for a tasty last-minute addition to your Easter table this year, check out my Ham Steak Glazed with Peach, Maple, and Bourbon over at Food Fantatic! Just as delicious as a whole roasted or baked ham, but it cooks in mere minutes; perfect for smaller families (or last-minute "planners").

Plus, it's easy and quick enough to make any time of the year. And of course, it's boozy!

What's on your holiday menu this year?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pretzel Croissants {Bread Baking Babes}

Pretzel Croissants |
Guess whose turn it is to be the Bread Baking Babes Kitchen of the Month? Yes, mine! As the host, it's my responsibility to choose what we will be baking. Now, I like to choose a bread that is one (or more) of these things:

a) a challenge - something that takes a while to make or introduces a new technique
b) a favorite - something that I already love and think that everybody should know how to make
c) new to me - ummmmm, self-explanatory

The bread that I chose this month is sort of a combination of all three of my self-imposed requirements.

Sweet 'n Tangy Beer-Glazed Chicken #BeerMonth

Sweet 'n Tangy Beer-Glazed Chicken #BeerMonth |
If it's not your first time here, you probably know that I enjoy cooking and baking with booze. I'm even the resident Boozy Food Fanatic over at Food Fanatic. While I usually turn to my liquor cabinet shelves, I also include wine and beer in that category. Yes, I also drink booze, but bring it into the kitchen with the same fervor. I love matching the nuances of a particular drink with smells, flavors, and ingredients to turn them into something tasty.

These simple chicken breasts are one example. I started with an amber beer. Or should I say, una cerveza ámbar - Dos Equis Amber Lager. Mustard and beer are natural companions, but I also wanted some sweet and tangy flavors to add to the sauce. For the sweet, I turned to Piloncillo; those lovely brown cones of unrefined cane sugar. To balance out the deep, rich flavor of that, I added some cider vinegar.

Once all of those flavors bubbled and thickened a bit, I finished with handful of cilantro for a little brightness in every bite. I found the perfect accompaniment to be just some plain white rice, because it soaks up the juices and sort of mellows out the whole thing perfectly.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pizza Pockets #SundaySupper

Pizza Pockets |
One might think that pizza pockets are just a smaller version of a calzone. Smaller and shaped differently. Oh, and they have sauce on the INSIDE. I've heard tell that real calzones would not be caught dead sporting sauce on the inside. Plus, the only cheese acceptable in a real calzone is ricotta. So actually, pizza pockets and calzones really are two entirely different beasts.

Just like pizza, they make a great family meal because they are versatile (customizable), fairly simple to make (especially if you keep a few balls of pizza dough in the freezer), and let's face it - delicious.

This time around, I used sauce, cheese, and sweet Italian sausage in all of them, but to half, I added some onions, mushrooms, and black garlic that were sauteed in the fat left in the pan from cooking the sausage. So. Ridiculously. Good.

You could really shape these in any way that you like, go in half moons if you like, but if you do, be prepared to suffer the scorn of the connoisseurs who think you're trying to make calzones. I shaped mine the same way that I do my Pretzel Pockets (aka Hot Pocket-style). Due to the folding, the edges wind up being a bit thicker, like soft breadsticks, but as a crust-lover, I like the bonus crust. Everybody seems to.