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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Panmarino (Italian Rosemary Bread) - Bread Baking Babes

Panmarino (Italian Rosemary Bread) by @girlichef
It's the 16th, and you know what that means - Bread Baking Babes time! Cathy from Bread Experience is our BBBabe kitchen of the month, and her bread choice was influenced by her Tuscany state-of-mind (after spending time there recently). Can you blame her? Not me. I don't think I'd get it off the brain for years. It's been my numero uno destination spot for as long as I can remember. Her choice: Panmarino, or Italian Rosemary Bread.

Described as a bread that's fragrant with rosemary, with a crust that "sparkled with diamonds", I couldn't wait to pull mine from the oven. It's a fairly simple recipe. Aside from the Biga* that needs to sit for at least 14 hours before you make the bread, it comes together quickly, as well.

The original recipe makes 4 one-pound loaves. That's actually not too much, as I bet neighbors and family and friends would readily welcome one into their kitchen (or you could freeze a couple). But I decided to halve the recipe the first time around.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Orlando Here I Come! #fwcon

Palm Trees Outside Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando Florida
In a few short days I'll be in Orlando, ready for a weekend filled with amazing food, wine, friends old and new, time spent in a stellar resort, palm trees, and lots and lots of learnin'! Yes, I'm making a list and check it fifty times twice in anticipation of the second annual Food and Wine Conference!

I may be a bit biased since last year's Food and Wine Conference was my first-ever blogging conference...and the fact that it was started by the amazing Isabel Laessig, founder of something near and dear to me, the Sunday Supper Movement. Plus, I get to spend an entire weekend with so many of my Sunday Supper family members - some of whom I met in person last year, all of whom I already feel close to since we spend so much (virtual) time together already.

Margaritas on a hot and humid summer evening may also play into my excitement.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grilled Brie with Tropical Fruit Compote #SundaySupper

Grilled Brie with Tropical Fruit Compote by @girlichef
Funny how you take some things for granted. Take for instance a grill. I grew up in a household that trucked a grill in and out of the garage year round, though especially during the summertime. It wasn't usually anything fancy - burgers, dogs, brats, chicken breasts, the occasional steak. But to this day, the smell of mesquite clinging to the air transports me right back to my 10-year-old self.

It wasn't just us. My grandparent's actually have a grill cemented right in to a concrete slab off of their patio. If we dropped by an aunt or uncle's house for a visit, charcoal levels were immediately checked. Heck, we even packed food fit for the grill into our cooler when we went camping since all of the campsites had  grills built-in.

Neighbors invited you over for cook-outs. The smell of sizzling meat drifted down the street and snaked through your windows, instantly making the decision of what to have for dinner an easy one: something on the grill. Heck, when I moved into my first apartment, my little grill was camped out on my porch.