Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spiced Buttermilk Poached Pear Bread #twelveloaves

Spiced Buttermilk Poached Pear Bread from girlichef.com
The tender poached whole pears peeking out of this spiced buttermilk quick bread make it a real show-stopper, and I'm using it to conjure up autumn—crisp air, sweatshirts, apple cider, football, and bonfires.

This month's #TwelveLoaves theme of pears gives fall a nod, as well. As soon as I knew our theme, I knew what type of bread I'd be making. I have a similar version bookmarked in several places. Basically, it's a quick bread with poached pears taking center stage. It's pretty simple to switch up. It really just depends on what type of quick bread you want to pair with it.

Since I'm in that autumn state of mind, I wanted something speckled with warming spices, and thought that a buttermilk quick bread would play the perfect host. Combined with pears that were also quickly poached in a spiced simple syrup, it really does taste like cooler days.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Spicy Bacon Bloody Mary and Bacon-Infused Vodka #BaconMonth

Spicy Bacon Bloody Mary + Bacon-infused Vodka #BaconMonth #putsomepiginit via @girlichef
So, do you remember a few days ago when I was all excited to wrap #BaconMonth up with a neat little bow? I told you that the 31st was International Bacon Day, making it the perfect close to a month-long bacon fest? Turns out, I lied. Not purposefully—it was due to a mistake on a website that lists food holidays (it was actually the 30th, and the Saturday before Labor Day). Consider my bubble burst.

Ultimately, though, even if my bow is a little crooked and wonky (believe me, that's nothing new), it was still an amazing month. I also mentioned a raising of glasses, and that is still on! This Bloody Mary was the majority of bacon month in-the-making. I know have a jar of vodka infused with the flavor of bacon sitting pretty in my fridge. I'm pretty sure that calls for a Bloody Mary a day all weekend long. How perfect is it that this is a long weekend, by the way!?

I like my Bloody Mary with a kick, so I start out with spicy tomato juice or V8. From there I add more spice. You can always tame it down if you don't like as much heat by using regular tomato juice and/or leaving out the horseradish and hot sauce. But that's no fun.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dijon Mushrooms - Easy Gourmet Cookbook blog tour + giveaway

Dijon Mushrooms - Easy Gourmet Cookbook blog tour and giveaway | girlichef.com
Piled atop crusty toast, these oven-roasted mushrooms with garlic, lemon, and dijon pack a major flavor-punch and they couldn't be simpler to make. These Dijon Mushrooms are just one of the numerous dishes I have dog-eared to try in the new cookbook by Stephanie Le of I am a Food Blog. Today the blog tour stops here for a tasty sneak peek at this cookbook that is set to be released this upcoming Tuesday, September 2nd!

I will start off by saying that I'd never visited I am a Food Blog before receiving my copy of this book. And now, I'm a wee bit hooked. Stephanie has amazing style and photos, and her food and drinks are inventive and fun while still be totally approachable (for example, her Filet 'O Fish and Fries Burger—love). Her cookbook follows suit.

When I mentioned her blog being approachable, the book is even more so. She still displays plenty of creativity in her food, but chose to go with "basic", unintimidating titles. For example, the recipe that I'm sharing today—Dijon Mushrooms. Totally unassuming. Or another recipe that high on my "to try" list, Maple-glazed Duck. Nothing scary about that. Flipping through the book, you'll see other names like Coddled Eggs, Seafood Pappardelle, Spaghetti and Meaballs, Baked Mac & Cheese; recipes that even an inexperienced cook probably wouldn't shy away from. And they shouldn't. Some of them are more involved than others, but none of them require formal culinary training to be successful.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Polenta Bread {Bread Baking Babes}

Polenta Bread | girlichef.com
This beautifully rustic bread is speckled with bits of yellow polenta throughout, has a slight tang from preferment, and is surround with a thick and pleasantly chewy crust. It also happens to be this month's Bread Baking Babes bread of the month, as chosen by BBBabe Elizabeth of blog from OUR kitchen.

And I'm late. Thirteen days late. I blame it on school starting this month. I was so preoccupied with back-to-school shopping and preparation for the kids, that the 16th came and went without blip on the radar. But, I'm making up for it now. I actually took my time and went nice and slow on these loaves. Every thing about making them felt right, and I think that's because I didn't even glance in the direction of my bread machine.

What's a bread machine got to do with it (or rather, the lack of)? Well, I've become pretty dependent on mine. Here's the story: years ago, I discovered how convenient it was to let my bread machine do all of the mixing and kneading, and subsequently the first rise, for me when I was busy. So, during the holidays, the bread machine came out. It freed up time and precious counter space. Once the madness subsided, it was tucked back in its place on the basement shelf.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bacon, Broccoli, and Garlic Fried Rice #BaconMonth

Bacon, Broccoli, and Garlic Fried Rice via @girlichef
Can you believe that there are only 4 days left in #BaconMonth!? I honestly cannot; it has flown by at the speed of light! This being the final week, I have 2 more baconrific recipes to share with you. The first being today. Thank you Catherine Obvious (bonus points if you know what that's from). The second being on the very last day of the month.

Why am I waiting until the last day of the month? Two reasons - the first being that it's a very tidy way to wrap things up. I like tidiness...and closure. The second being that Sunday, the last day of Bacon Month, just so happens to be International Bacon Day this year! I say this year because it's always the Sunday before Labor Day, which means the date changes. Can you think of a more perfect way to ice the Bacon Month cake? I cannot. *Turns out, the 30th is actually International Bacon Day this year, and it's the Saturday before Labor Day, not Sunday. So, let's just pretend, okay?

So, please come back for that and we'll raise our glasses to an awesome month of bacon goodness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boozy Bananas Foster Milkshakes for #BananaLoversDay + Blue Chair Bay Rum Giveaway!

Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum Giveaway + Boozy Bananas Foster Milkshakes | girlichef.com
Happy Banana Lover's Day! No, really, it is. And I can think of no better way to celebrate this self-packaging, potassium-rich fruit (botanically considered a berry, but I'm not even going to go there today) than with rum.

Why celebrate Banana Lover's Day with rum, you ask? Because it's not just any old rum, it's Blue Chair Bay's Banana Rum! It all makes sense now, wouldn't you say. When Blue Chair Bay asked if I'd like to try a bottle of their newest rum, I didn't hesitate. Mainly because I'd already been eyeing it, imagining the possibilities.

If you're not familiar with Blue Chair Bay Rum, I wrote a post celebrating International Pineapple Day with them back in April. I used their Coconut Rum to create a Drunken Hummingbird Cocktail. If you click through, you can catch a glimpse of this company founded by Kenny Chesney (there's a video at the bottom). You can also connect with Blue Chair Bay Rum on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Secret Ingredient Sliders #WeekdaySupper

Secret Ingredient Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders | girlichef.com
I'm excited to joining The Beef Checkoff again today, this time to help showcase how easy it can be to enjoy beef on a busy weeknight! While you'll never hear me complain about a simple, delicious steak thrown on the grill or in a sizzling hot skillet, there are so many other speedy solutions. Case-in-point, these sliders. The majority of the time it takes to make them is in the oven; aside from that, it's only a matter of mixing up a few ingredients.

Now, you may notice that they contain a secret ingredient - so please, go into this meal-making venture with an open mind. And assuming you don't have any family or friends with a nut allergy, try sliding the finished product in front of them at dinner time and have them try to guess what the secret ingredient is. A few sly palates may detect it, but most will be left guessing.

I've been making these sliders for over four years, all thanks to another blogger. This blogger no longer has a blog, but these are based on a recipe shared once by her brother-in-law. So, you may have guessed the ingredient by now; I gave a little hint above, or maybe you scrolled down and saw the photo. But for those who weren't really paying that close attention, it's peanut butter!