Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake w/ Whisky Toffee Shards #NationalCheesecakeDay

Chocolate Cheesecake with Whisky Toffee Shards for National Cheesecake Day |
I'll just go ahead and get it out of the way. YES. I meant to have a layer of smoky Single Malt Scotch whisky-infused caramel sitting atop my creamy chocolat cheesecake. YES. I accidentally cooked my caramel too long and it turned to toffee. YES. The cheesecake and flavor profile was too delicious to abandon all together, so I went with it.

Phew. Now you don't have to wonder.

Now, I the toffee would have been easy enough to just pick up (as in, a solid disc easily lifted off), but after tasting it and weighing it against my time constraints, I decided to just go with it. But it is a tad bit intrusive in the grand scheme of things, so you may want to just leave it off and drizzle it with some chocolate or caramel, top it with some whipped cream, or better yet - just succeed in making a good layer of caramel (ba dum bum).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Raspberry-laced S'mores (Homemade Chambord Marshmallows and Graham Crackers)

Raspberry-laced S'mores, using homemade graham crackers, homemade Chambord marshmallows, and Theo Raspberry Dark Chocolate
So, I've kinda-sorta taken over Food Fanatic today. But for totally good reason! It's a twofer, complete with boozy, melty, raspberry liqueur-laced homemade marshmallows and the homemade graham crackers to go along with them! And you know as well as I do what marshmallows + graham crackers means, right?

Chocolate and fire are nearby!

In this instance, it's dark chocolate studded with little bits of raspberry, perfectly playing up the Chambord in the marshmallows. They're not just good S'mores, they're CRAZY GOOD S'MORES!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chiles en Nogada inspired by Like Water for Chocolate {Food 'n Flix}

Chiles en Nogada (Chiles in Walnut Sauce) inspired by Like Water for Chocolate for Food 'n Flix |
It all begins with a pregnant Mama Elena chopping onions. From inside the womb, Tita begins to cry, and doesn't stop until she is pushed into this world by a torrid stream of tears.  They  overflow from the kitchen table (where she was birthed) to the kitchen floor. The ocean of tears is eventually evaporated by the sun, at which point Nacha sweeps them up and fills a 40-pound sack with them. And, of course, then they're used in cooking for a long time.

Ummm, ewww. While vivid and descriptive, it's actually pretty gross when you think about it. I mean, those tears were mixed with amniotic fluid and who-knows-what else. So, let's not think about it. Let's just take it as the beginning of a very luscious, very sensual, very dark and tragic film.

Tita's kitchen birth foreshadows what will be her life. Bound by an old family tradition, Tita is forbidden to marry. Since she is the youngest daughter, she is not allowed to marry, and it is her duty to care for her mother until her mother's death. So, Tita thrives under the beloved family cook's love and tutelage.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grilled Steak Salad w/ Corn Salsa #WhatAGrillWants

Grilled Steak Salad with Corn Salsa |
You probably don't want to hear me say once again how much I love firing up the grill. So, I won't. Instead, I'll share some must-have tools and gadgets for those who use their grills as much as we do in my house; specifically OXO brand tools. I did receive these tools at no charge, but that doesn't influence my thoughts on them. I was using and loving OXO for many years before I even started food blogging, so please trust that all opinions I share are truly my own.

I want to start by sharing one tool that I have always wanted in my own kitchen. I've mentioned it before numerous times: a meat tenderizer. When we buy skirt steak (which is often), we always ask the butcher to "run it through the machine". That machine would be a small conveyer with numerous tiny and ridiculously sharp blades that pierce the meat as it goes through. OXO's Bladed Meat Tenderizer is a smaller, handheld version that actually fits in my kitchen. It has 50 sharp and durable blades that create air pockets in the meat. This helps to tenderizer less expensive cuts, and reduces both marinating and cooking time.

It has a non-slip grip and the blades lock in place for safety. So, in choosing some steaks adorn my salad today, instead of choosing one of my favorite break-the-bank cuts like tenderloin or NY Strip, I chose Eye of Round steaks, instead. They don't have much marbling, so they benefit greatly from help in the tenderizing and marinating department.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Smack 'n Cheese Pizza + Homemade Pizza Dough {blog tour + giveaway}

Smack 'n Cheese Pizza for the Revolutionary Pizza blog tour via @girlichef
Pizza. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Seriously. It's a bit of a tradition in our house; we eat pizza once a week. Fortunately pizza is entirely versatile and customizable. Sometimes it's take-out, sometimes it's frozen (there's some good ones out there), and as often as possible, it's from scratch. It's funny, because every person in the house has a favorite crust or topping or combination thereof, so it's rare that we please everybody (entirely) in one meal. Good thing we do it once a week.

So when asked if I'd like to be a part of the Revolutionary Pizza book tour, the obvious answer was "psssshh, YES!". This cookbook is all sorts of fun. If you're a traditional pepperoni or just-cheese kind of pizza-eater, this cookbook is definitely too much fun for you. It's for the bold and adventurous eaters, and the daring of mouth! It's for those who aren't afraid to enjoy their meal and their cocktail all in one bite. It's for those who welcome crazy combinations and deconstructed favorites.

And yes, it's definitely for the people who've thrown back a few over the course of the day. Or night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lemonates Patates (Lemon Potatoes) #GreekSummer blog tour + giveaway

Lemonates Patates (Lemon Potatoes) #GreekSummer blog tour + cookbook giveaway from @girlichef
I have a bucket list. It's extremely long. I can think of fewer places that I don't want to visit, than ones that I do. High on that list is Greece. Stark white houses on a hilly landscape against a brilliant blue ocean backdrop. Or the colorful homes jammed into a rocky outcropping. And the food. OOOOHHHHH, THE FOOD!

Well, until I can physically set foot on one its numerous islands, I will have to live vicariously through photographs, books, and best of all food and cookbooks.

Today, the tour stops here on a virtual trip to Greece with Debbie Matenopoulos, via her recently released cookbook, It's All Greek to Me. If you're like me, you'll probably recognize Debbie from shows like The View, The Insider, and Entertainment Tonight (or one of her many others), but what I didn't know was that she comes from a Greek family that instilled in her "a passion for bringing friends, family, and even strangers together over the dinner table for meals made with love". Otherwise termed "philoxenia".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Barbecue Ribs (simple and tender) #SundaySupper

Barbecue Ribs #recipe by @girlichef
One thing that just screams summer in our house is ribs. Come to think of it, the screaming may actually just be my family in the background emphasizing how long it's been since the last time I made ribs. For some reason, I seem to put off making ribs. I don't know why, because whether you know it or not, ribs are actually ridiculously easy to make. Because all it really takes is a good, flavorful rub, some (hands-off) time in the oven, and quick lacquering on a smoky grill.

That's seriously it. I mean, obviously you can go further. But the recipe I'm sharing today produces tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs that are packed with the smoky, barbecue flavor of summer.

I think the greatest thing about these ribs is the advance baking. You can make a ton of slabs up in advance if you're throwing a bbq party, and then glaze and turn them all pretty and sticky in mere moments once everybody gets hungry.