fishyrocketboy:

Looking for a last minute dish for Cinco de Mayo? Give this terrific guacamole recipe a try!

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

Maybe I will change your life... Maybe I will change your life…

Many Thursday nights I attend a party – one with cocktails, drinking games involving accents, special culinary guests and lots of fun food talk… of course I’m referring to the internet get-together known as #KitchenParty. On one show a few weeks ago, Gaby Dalkin of the What’s Gaby Cooking blog was the guest discussing (among other things) her avocado obsession, and her newly released book, Absolutely Avocados.

photo

After watching the show, and perusing her blog and recipes, I decided I just had to have this book in my hands! Not even wanting to wait the few days for Amazon to deliver said tome, the following day I made my way to local retailers to gladly pay full price (and sales tax) for the book. On my second stop at Books-a-Million I found the book (tucked away in the Vegetarian Cooking section, even…

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fishyrocketboy:

As it’s once again Mardi Gras time – take a look back at Cajun-style dish I stirred up last year… this recipe has been very popular, so give it a try if you haven’t yet!

Originally posted on Eating (and Drinking) around the World:

Smothered Chicken Thighs - Louisiana Style Smothered Chicken Thighs – Louisiana Style

With it being slap in the middle of Mardi Gras season (it’s actually Fat Tuesday as I write this), I thought it the proper time to share a Cajun-influenced dish I stirred up a bit ago – chicken pieces cooked in and smothered with a rich sauce filled with the “trinity” of peppers, celery and onions – in other words (and perhaps more familiarly) a chicken étouffée. Since there’s beads to get and Hurricanes to drink, let’s not waste any time – Let’s Cook!

Smothered Chicken Thighs – Louisiana Style (Chicken Etouffée)

Ingredients

4  Chicken Thighs (bone in, skin on – you can remove skin if you must)

Salt & Black Pepper for the chicken

2 Tbl  Canola Oil (or other veggie oil)

4 Tbl (1/4 Cup) Butter

2 Tbl  Flour (all-purpose, or whole wheat AP, etc.)

1/2  Red Onion, finely chopped

1 large…

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Raspberry Margarita

Raspberry Margarita

Recently Miss Bonnie & I (along with her Parental Units, Mamma Ginny and Papa Harry, a real-live Disney Princess/Disney Legend, a real-live WWE Superstar and several hundred of our closest DIS buddies) took a week-long cruise on the Disney Magic for our anniversary. As is our want, we took several beverage seminars while on-board (and yes, I promise a post discussing them…) and one was (big shock here!) a tequila/margarita tasting…

One of the drinks we were served there was a very nice raspberry margarita, so I decided to re-create it and the (also very nice) results are here for you to try!

Raspberry Margarita

2 Tbl  Silver Tequila

1 Tbl  Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur of choice)

1 Tbl  Fresh Sour Mix (2 parts fresh lemon juice to 1 part simple syrup)

1 Tbl  Raspberry Puree (like the kind you make in a blender at home… see note below)

2 tsp Agave Syrup (or Simple Syrup)

Salt or Sugar for rim of glass if desired

Whole fresh Raspberry for garnish if desired

Raspberry Margarita

Raspberry Margarita

Moisten the rim of your glass(es) and salt or sugar the rim if desired and set aside.

Put all the ingredients (except the garnish) into your shaker and add lotsa ice… shake well until the outside of the shaker gets all cold and frosty.

Strain into the prepared glasses and garnish as you like.

This makes one pretty stuff & real good sized beverage (or two more dainty-sized ones). If you want to drink more than one or two without falling down you can actually cut back on the booze a bit (yes, I said it) – take the tequila down to 1 or 1 1/2 ounces and cut the orange liqueur proportionally while keeping the rest of the ingredients the same.

For the raspberry puree you can take fresh berries (or frozen would be fine if your can’t find nice fresh ones) and throw into a blender – you may need to add a spoonful or two of water to get things going – and whirl up until good & smooth. While you’re doing this you have to sing “Raspberry Puree, like the kind you make in a blender at home…” to the tune of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”… I dare you not to think of that song now…

You may want to adjust the amount of sweetener (agave, etc.) up or down a bit to your taste. Other berry/fruit purees would also work just as well in this concoction in place of the raspberry.

Give this one a try & let us know what you think!

Back to the bar, and the kitchen, see you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

Apple Margarita

Apple Margarita

With lots of apple varieties on sale and in season at the market, it got me to thinking… and of course Dedicated Readers will assume my thoughts went to how to use them in a margarita… and they would be correct!

And it’s been a while since I’ve given you a Margarita of the Month (maybe I should change it to Margarita of the Season?), so lets dive right in!

Apple Margarita

1/2 Cup  Apple Juice (if you have a juicer, making your own fresh juice would be ideal!)

4 Tbl  Silver Tequila

3 Tbl  Lime Juice (fresh squeezed)

2 Tbl  Triple Sec

1 Tbl  Agave Syrup (or Simple Syrup)

Salt  for rim of glass if desired

Slice of Apple for garnish if desired

Mix them up...

Mix them up…

Moisten the rim of the glass with a piece of lime and salt the rim – set aside.

Throw everything (except the garnish of course) into your cocktail shaker and add a big handful of ice… shake ‘er up good until the outside of the shaker gets frosty.

Shake 'n strain...

Shake ‘n strain…

Strain into the prepared glass (on the rocks or neat – your call) and garnish with a slice of apple…

Apple Margarita

Apple Margarita

then drink up!

This makes two pretty stiff drinks (or one for me…), and since it has all that apple, it’s gotta be a healthy drink! Right???

Give it a try, share your thoughts, you know the drill…

Back to the bar, and the kitchen! See you soon!

 

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

Pork Chops and White Beans

Pork Chops and White Beans

With the chill of fall around much of the country, I thought it was the perfect time to share a warming, homey bowl of beany goodness!

Late last year I attended a cooking demo given by my buddy Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, to give an early introduction to his new Pork Chop cookbook.

Pork Chop Cookbook

Pork Chop Cookbook

As I flipped through the book before the demo began there were several recipes that looked good right off, but one really stood out to me as the one I wanted to make first: Pork Chops and White Beans.

I’d actually been craving a big mess of creamy white beans for quite a while – it’s one of those things that really takes me back to my youth in Alabama. Now I am of a Certain Age (read that: I’m an old fart), and when I was in grade school the lunch cooks actually cooked the food, and actually a lot of it was really good! By far my favorite lunch at Gilbert School was the white beans and ham hocks, a real Southern staple.

So not long after getting Ray’s book, Bonnie and I made the recipe with white beans, and it turned out even better than expected! Bonnie about swooned over the finished product, and I think if given the chance she might just leave me for that other guy with a goatee…

Let’s not wait any longer – Let’s Cook!

 

Pork Chops and White Beans

Ingredients

1 Lb  Dry White (Great Northern) Beans

1/2 Cup  Vegetable Oil, plus more as needed (Peanut, Canola, Olive all will work…)

6 Bone-In Pork Chops, about 3/4″ thick (most any cut should work, we used Sirloin… they were on sale…)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Cup  All-Purpose Flour

1  Red Onion, finely diced

3  Celery Stalk, finely diced

1  Green Bell Pepper, also (you guessed it) finely diced

1 Lb  Andouille Sausage, diced (we had smoked sausage on hand and used that – I’m thinking any good cooked, smoked, cured sausage should work – kielbasa, chorizo, etc.)

Well dice my sausage!

Well dice my sausage!

1 Tbl  Tomato Paste

2 Tsp  Dried Thyme

1 Quart  Vegetable Broth (I’m sure it wouldn’t suck if you had to use chicken broth, or a combo…)

Procedure

The dried beans need to be soaked overnite: sort through he beans to check for any small stones or other alien objects (and yes, discard same if you find…), put into a large bowl and add cold/room temp water to cover by at least a couple of inches.

Beans under water...

Beans under water…

Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature overnite. When getting ready to cook drain the beans.

Awaiting the knife...

Awaiting the knife…

Prep your veggies (dice the onion, celery and bell pepper; smash away at the garlic) and set aside.

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Salt and pepper your meat on both sides.

Yeah, we coulda used a bigger plate...

Yeah, we coulda used a bigger plate…

Put the flour on a plate and coat the chops well all over – shake off the excess and set aside for now.

Nice piece of meat ready to go...

Nice piece of meat ready to go…

You’re going to need a big-ol’ Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed large cooking vessel (we originally started cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven, and then realized the whole thing just wasn’t gonna fit, so we then switched to a stockpot to finish off the dish, as the visually astute of you may notice from the accompanying pics) – add about 1/4 cup of the oil to your cooking vessel of choice and heat over medium-high.

Fry, fry, baby...

Fry, fry, baby…

When ready to go, add as many of the pork chops as will fit comfortably and fry until golden brown (about 5 minutes a side). Drain the browned chops on paper towels and let sit aside as you move on… the rest if the dish is going to cook a bit before they go back in, so if you want cover and throw into the ‘fridge…

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Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pot and throw in the chopped veggies. Cook a few (3 to 4) minutes until the onion is opaque then add the sausage du jour… continue cooking about 5 minutes or so until the veggies have softened.

DSCF5505

Stir in the tomato paste, the thyme, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the quart of broth, plus a quart of water and bring up to a simmer.

DSCF5507

Add the drained beans and stir well. Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring now & then.

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Add the chops, mix well and return to the simmer. Cover and cook for another hour, again stirring when you think about it…

DSCF5513

Uncover and cook about another 45 minutes until the beans are tender and the gravy is as thick as you like (“the consistency of a bowl of chili” according to Dr. BBQ). Stir on occasion, trying not to break up the pork chops (at this point at least…).

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Remove the chops to a serving plate and the beans to a bowl… this is really good with a side of greens and some cornbread (maybe try Grandma Hayes’s Corn Bread?)!

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Or if you prefer, you can just break up the pork and toss on top of a bowl of beans…

So... darn... good...

So… darn… good…

and still dunk in some cornbread…

And here’s one more picture of the book in case you forgot what it looked like since the start of the post…

Pork Chop Cookbook

Pork Chop Cookbook

I’ve made several recipes from the book, and liked them all! If you like a bit of piggy on your plate, this book is worth picking up! I put up a post a while back of a chicken recipe that was inspired by one of the chop recipes from the book, you can see it here.

As always, I hope you give this one a try, and please post your thoughts in the comments!

Back to the kitchen – see you soon!

 

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

It’s almost Classic time!

October 23, 2014

The Fifth Annual Food & Wine Classic at the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World is just around the corner, and I’m getting excited! The event runs on Friday and Saturday with the restaurants from the resorts providing food items (some will change from night-to-night, some remain the same both nights) and tons of wine and other adult beverages being offered. You can buy a wristband that allows you unlimited servings of everything, or buy individual tickets to purchase items as you like (not the best deal). There are also several seminars offered (for an additional fee) during the weekend.

In anticipation of the upcoming weekend (October 31 & November 1, 2014, by the way…) I thought we’d take a pictorial look at last years event to whet our virtual appetites… so let’s dive in!

Classic

Banners on the breezeway heralded the event…

Booths

Booths in the afternoon before the onrush on Friday

The calm before the storm...

The calm before the storm…

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam...

Edamame Relish and Lemongrass Foam…

and grilled chicken...

and grilled chicken…

combine for Cabana's Chicken Yakatori dish

combine for Cabana’s Chicken Yakatori dish

Chefs from Shulas

Chefs from Shula’s served the same item on both Friday and Saturday…

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Carved Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Watercress

Wine

There was more wine to try than you could shake a glass at… over thirty (!!!) booths with most offering one red and one white varietal

Big Fish

A Really Big Fish…

sign

outside the Todd English booth.

Prepping the Nitro Miso

Prepping the Nitro Aioli Miso Cracklings…

composing the dish...

that go along with…

the final dish

the final dish of Tuna Tartare.

Happy, happy guests...

Happy, happy guests soon filled the walkways between and around the Swan and Dolphin resorts

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Garganelli with Veal Cheek Ragu from Il Mulino

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish...

Chefs from Kimonos preparing Friday nights dish…

Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Dragon Roll with Shrimp, Tuna and Avocado

Sake-to-me???

Sake-to-me??? If you didn’t want wine with your sushi, you just had to step next door to sip some sake courtesy of Ty Ku.

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib's Smoke Shop

Texas-Style Beef Brisket from Cib’s Smoke Shop

A selection of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard

A plate of sweets from pastry chef Laurent Branlard on Friday

DSCF5215

Both Friday and Saturday Picabu offered a selection of tacos…

Beef, pork and veggie tacos...

Beef, pork and veggie tacos…

and stuff to spice them up with!

and stuff to spice them up with!

If you don't want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better.

If you don’t want wine with your tacos, perhaps beer would pair better… there were two beer kiosks with different options each night. There will be a separate beer garden this year with even more brewed selections and food (for an extra charge, of course).

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Lamb Gyro from the Fountain

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

Blackened Fish Sandwich with caramelized onions and Old Bay Remoulade from Fresh

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish 'n' Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar "Chips"

On Saturday Garden Grove served Fish ‘n’ Chips: Beer-battered Sustainable Bass with Tartar Foam and Vinegar “Chips”

And yes, there was pork...

And yes, there was pork…

lots and lots of pork!

lots and lots of pork!

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel

Handcrafted Bacon with Black Eyed Pea Puree and Maple Fluid Gel from Cib’s was perhaps our favorite item on Saturday… and you could have as much as your arteries could handle!

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Yellow Fin Tuna rolls were the Saturday selection from Kimonos

Shrimp being seared...

Shrimp being seared…

for the Shrimp "n" Grits from bluezoo

for the Shrimp “n” Grits from bluezoo

And to wrap up the evening...

And to wrap up the evening…

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard

a trio of desserts from Chef Branlard.

This really is our favorite event during Food & Wine Festival time, and maybe our favorite event of the year period! Bonnie and I will be there for sure (along with other members of the Harem), and we hope to see you there as well! If you’re going to be there, please be sure to say so in the comments below!

For more info on the Classic, go to the event website!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

 

 

For those (probably older) folks who still use snail mail…

Celebrity Chefs stamps

Celebrity Chefs stamps

you can now get the first celebrity chef stamps!

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

The backside of Celebrity Chefs

Nice photos/portraits of the five chefs (James Beard, Joyce Chen, Julia Child, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi) adorn the stamps with the back of the sheet sporting bios of each of them. It’s a nice variety of cuisines represented, and with the tradition that to be depicted on a US stamp a “real” person has to be deceased (even though this is no longer a hard-and-fast rule), this is certainly a good list of some of the first celeb chefs, but I think that Justin Wilson also belongs here…

Despite that little nit-pick on my part, I did scurry down to the local Post Office to get my hands on a sheet of these on the first day they were on sale!

So, keep an eye on your mail, you never know when Julia or Edna may show up in your box!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

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