Whenever my family gathers, there’s bound to be a battle.
A food battle.
An Iron Chef Battle to be exact!
Each summer we meet for a week for reminiscing, new memories, and of course eating deliciousness together. Picking a bushel of Maryland Blue Crabs is a given! Papa tells stories from flying planes in World War II and his adventures with the love of his life, Nana. Though she died eleven years ago, he keeps his wedding band on with pride. Guy time. Girl time. Family puzzles. And LOTS of good food!
Our Iron Chef tradition began with Battle Bacon: 3 teams, 3 courses each, 10 pounds of bacon (fat and all) consumed. Oh my word. Even our coffee tasted like bacon after that cooking fest! Scratch-made bourbon bacon ice cream with maple bacon sprinkles. Cinnamon pancetta carbonara. Spiced bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. And my personal favorite: Rice Krispy bacon treats with chocolate bacon drizzle.
Elastic waistbands for days.
This year, we opted for a lighter palette with Battle Lemon! Our amazing friends, the Lawrensons, came as our honored judges. What a blast! As the house filled with citrus-tastic aroma, the kitchen buzzed with preparations.
Lemon ricotta dip with garlic and chives. Lemon parm popcorn. Marscapone gnocchi with brown butter lemon sauce. Perfectly roasted chicken with lemon sage stuffed skins. Lemon, lemon, lemon.
Dessert round bore the winning dish:
Lemon Buttermilk Pie. This simple dish from Food Network Magazine amazed us all. Creamy texture. Perfectly balanced lemon flavor. Not too sweet. Not too tart. Just right. This pie is sure to become a new family favorite. Trust me – you want to try this pie!
So get your citrus on and whip up some lemon buttermilk goodness today!
You’re welcome, America.
Crispy. Savory. O so healthy. Kale chips!
If you’re craving some crunch without the carbs, give these a go. I whipped up a batch last night…make that two batches. Between Evan and I, they were gone!
- 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut leaves into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with a light drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.
So put any preconceived ideas about kale aside and whip up a batch. They just might become your newest crispy craving.
Filed under Food, Recipes
Chicken Salad. Its about as classic as burgers and hot dogs. Wherever there’s a cookout or leftovers, you’re likely to find chicken salad.
To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of this traditional dish. Cold chicken with grapes and celery? No thanks. It often tastes bland to me and given the choice between creamy calories in a savory entree or a sweet dessert, I’ll always err on the side of sweetness! But I digress..
Recently, I had a surplus of roasted chicken in my fridge that needed a makeover. An old recipe from my catering days in Annapolis popped into mind and I just had to give it a go. Moroccan Chicken Salad. Chicken. Honey. Almonds. Cardamom! YUM! Seriously folks, you’ve got to try this stuff! In light of today’s holiday and the likelihood of us all having leftover chicken in our fridge at some point, I just have to share this delicious goodness with you.
Combine mayo and honey in a bowl until you have a smooth, sweet mixture (roughly 2 parts mayo, 1 part honey). The honey helps balance the mayo’s tang. Add salt, pepper and (most importantly) Cardamom to taste. TRUST ME! You do not want to miss the cardamom step. Its the magic touch that brings this all together. Toss diced cold chicken, dried apricots, and chopped almonds in the mixture until its is fully incorporated. I prefer the taste of pine nuts in the salad but almonds are much more budget friendly. 🙂 Serve on a toasted croissant or fresh bread. Its sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy. Delicious!
So whip out that leftover chicken and discover the wonders a little cardamom and honey can do to an old classic. You’ll be glad you did.
Filed under Cooking, Recipes
Ever since my first visit to Georgetown Cupcake in January, I have been craving gourmet cupcakes: moist, decadent and down-right soul-satisfying! Much to my mouth’s chagrin and my waistline’s delight, D.C. is a five-hour drive away, reducing me to merely dream about their yummy goodness. So until my next venture to our nation’s capital, I have been in search of recipes that can placate my palate. *sigh*
Last week, my Mom came across the most amazing recipe in Country Living that has done just the trick! Carrot Cupcakes. To say these tasty morsels are delicious would be a stark understatement. I’ve enjoyed many a fine carrot cake in my life, but none have ever come close to comparing with the flavor and texture of this recipe: carrot cupcake with golden raisins and chopped nuts (we used pecans instead of walnuts…simply out of preference) covered by a dollop of carrot-infused cream cheese frosting and finished with strips of candied carrot on top. Oh. My. WORD! The only phrase that comes close to capturing this decadent morsel is “Dangerously Delicious!”
So the next time you’re in the mood for a satisfying treat, skip the local bakery and whip up a batch of these carrot cupcakes for yourself. It will certainly be worth it!
(click on the recipe for the full size to print)
The weather seems perplexed lately, caught between winter’s chill and the warmth of spring. With the wavering temperatures, what is one to do for food cravings? Do you choose comfort foods that taste like a warm blanket on a frigid day or reach for spring’s fresh flavors?
Answer: toasted coconut marshmallows! Creamy and indulgently satisfying while light and airy with a hint of tropical goodness. My how I enjoy this recipe! Thanks to Ina Garten, these delectable goodies are easy to make and completely worth your while. I’ve also used her basic recipe to make cinnamon marshmallows before, grinding red hots into a powder and substituting them for sugar. Any time I’ve made this recipe with kids, they have always been fascinated how such a small amount of liquid whips up into a massive, fluffy cloud.
So go whip up your own batch of Ina’s Toasted Coconut Marshmallows today! Perhaps they will help make sense of this weather madness. 🙂
Filed under Cooking, Recipes
Confession: I have an addiction. Meringues! These light, fluffy, gooey, delectable treats always leave me craving another bite. The fact that they are primarily egg whites and contain no flour often has me rationalizing just one…or twenty…more. I now limit myself to making a batch only for the purpose of taking them to someone because let’s be honest – they will all be gone by morning. It’s for the baby…really!
In honor of this deliciousness, here’s a recipe for chocolate chip meringues for your enjoyment. You can use any size chip but I prefer mini morsels or Andes mint chips. (The original recipe bakes the meringues at 300°F but I’ve found 310° works better for our oven.) Eliana loves to watch the clear egg whites whip up in a frenzy into thick, glossy goodness.
So grab your bakers’ hat, your favorite apron, your sweet tooth and bake away!
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
- Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, vinegar and vanilla while whipping to stiff peaks. Mixture should be glossy. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are dry. Yeilds 4 dozen cookies.
Here’s wishing you all a delightfully delicious weekend!
This weekend found me in a baking mood. (Be aware – I do not proclaim to be the most proficient baker at all! I’d much rather cook than bake, but preggo hormones had me craving something sweet.) Part of my morning routine is to visit The Pioneer Woman’s website and see if any of her kitchen concoctions spark my curiosity. Well Friday was no exception. The delectable image of pineapple pie covered in a meringue topping caught my eye and as the weekend went on, I could not get it out of my mind.
By Saturday night, I had a baking itch that I simply could not scratch. So with the necessary ingredients assembled, I grabbed my favorite apron and got to work. 20 minutes later, this lovely pie emerged from the oven:
Creamy pineapple filling topped with fluffy meringue. Mmm. My first attempt at pie – a success! Simple and scrumptious. There’s a very strong chance I’ll be baking this one again.
Filed under Cooking, Recipes