String Cheese for G-Strings
The weather’s getting warmer and you want to fill your tummy without working on that muffin top. If stripper aerobics classes don’t put the sparkle in your crystal heels, you might want to shave off some calories another way.
When I first saw the shockingly seductive pics of baked treats using wonton and eggroll wrappers on Pinterest, I was skeptical. Could some cooking spray and a quick trip in the oven beget lacy, crunchy appetizer happiness? I ran the first test on my classic crab rangoon recipe and was literally floored – each light and crispy bite was greaseless and guilt-free. Plus, my kitchen wasn’t covered with a sheen of oil from manning a deep fryer. Continue reading Baked Mozzarella Sticks with Butternut Squash Marinara
Your Cans Totally Rock
Let me teach you guys a magic trick. How’d you like to learn how to take some old cans in your pantry and elevate the contents to heavenly bites of goodness? This white bean bruschetta is downright dirty in its simplicity – crack open a can of white beans, toss with a fresh vinaigrette of lemon, rosemary and garlic, and slather the deliciousness on toasted crostini. Continue reading White Bean Bruschetta with Rosemary and Lemon
Time got the best of me this year, and damned if I live for a party, it seems that my schedule has me working for the weekend where I’ll work some more. Eddie Money is shaking his head at me right now. So what’s a girl to do? Call it quits, tune out, and plan to join in on the festivities? Hell.to.the.no. I’m going to attack every last starstruck moment out of this life of mine like Joan Crawford with a wire hanger. And I’ll look damn good doing it, even if it means haute couture pajamas as the dress code.
When my panties are in a bunch and I need culinary majesty fast, I usually turn to the glory that is the crostini. There is something so delightful about a portable snack – just a little bite of something assembled with care and made from bright, fresh ingredients. I find that of the things that I make for friends, bruschetta and crostini seem to go the quickest – people appreciate a bit of goodness. The toppings are just as important as the vehicles – crusty breads, crisp crackers, buttered toasts sprinkled with sea salt, even a potato or plantain chip all make for great bases for a crunchy bite. Continue reading Last Minute Oscar Party Action
The Colonel never did anything for me growing up – to this day, I am wedded to the addictive blend of herbs and spices that form a layer of lipsmacking goodness around the crisp skinned chickens roasted at the Peruvian joints in Northern Virginia (or for us OGs, two up – two down*) And I’m lying when I say joints, for there is only one location that has my heart, and that’s El Pollo Rico. The exterior of the restaurant looks like a nondescript warehouse with bumping fluorescent lighting and a steady clip of customers zipping in and emerging with styrofoam containers and brown paper bags almost translucent from the french fry grease. Like a speakeasy for chicken, my dad would always run in, broker the deal and grab the bounty, returning with parcels that perfumed the car with the scent of cumin, garlic and majesty. When we finally got home and tucked into the feast, it was scandalously good – the chicken was served with fat steak fries, and both items would receive a ceremonial dip in a mustard/mayo sauce and then a dollop of fresh minced jalapenos before making it to my greedy mouth. And if I was lucky (really lucky), they’d still have fried yucca in stock, which we’d bring home in lieu of the fries. Cracklingly golden on the outside and tender in the center, this was the first preparation I’d ever had for yucca and I was sold for life. In fact, I loved it so much that I had to find a way to prepare it at home – I couldn’t wait for trips to the right coast to get my yucca fix. Continue reading Fried Yucca with Mojo Criollo
Let Me Take You Down, Cuz I’m Going to…
Today I want to talk about straddling in the kitchen. You know, working the line between flavors, textures and temperatures to your own advantage. Juxtaposing ingredients to ensure that every bite is both sassy and class. It’s similar to the way that a chocolate-covered pretzel or a good and salty margarita scratch some primordial itch that occasionally pops up and leaves you clawing the walls for the smallest taste of the intoxicating combination. And if you don’t scratch said itch, you feel a need to indiscriminately throat chop everyone around you, until someone plies your greedy mouth with a salted caramel cupcake. I totally approve – desperate times call for desperate throat chops, and I’d kill a man for salted caramel. Continue reading Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chocolate Olive Oil
Recipe for the Daring Kitchen
This month, The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax
& Lis and they chose to present patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness. We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.
I Want a Taste of You, Baby Cakes
This recipe was all the doing of my buddy Karen – you see, this month has been banana cakes and not in the good way. My schedule’s relentless and although I’ll never cop to biting off more than I can chew, my mouth is as full as my plate and work is looking like an endless buffet. Karen and I are cooking buddies, seeking out new techniques in the kitchen and regularly participating in the monthly challenges proffered up by the online foodie club, The Daring Kitchen.
Karen immediately dug through her mental rolodex of recipe majesty, a good thing because my brain was more fried than a bucket of chicken from the Colonel. She remembered a fabulous black bean cake recipe from Emeril Lagasse would be perfect to make. I was relieved for her quick wit and paired the cakes with a fresh pineapple salsa enlivened with piquant red jalapenos and a simple avocado crema made with greek yogurt and lime. The final result was ridiculously good – a composed plate that looked like it should be served at a fancy pants restaurant rather than the picnic table in my backyard. Plus, the time we spent cooking was a welcome respite from the piles of work in front of me. Good times! Continue reading Black Bean Cakes with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Crema
Sexy Ass Spinach…For Lovers Only
I know that this is one of those recipes that you think of from 90s potlucks and progressive dinners. Pop it in a bread bowl and you are completely with the era. But I still go back to this recipe for the winning combination of flavors and the lack of pre-processed ingredients used to make it. This is no TGIF Frozen Spinach Dip in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. This one is for lovers only. Shallots and garlic flavor the creamy dip and bring out the sweetness of the spinach and artichokes. Best of all, the ingredient list is simple enough that you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already. So if you need a calorie splurge to go with a little junk TV, this’ll do the trick. Bravo, here I come… Continue reading Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles
! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
Grab Your Buns and Go to Town
I’ll admit that this is not my first time to the pork bun rodeo. From my sister’s obsession with the steamed version on Sunday’s at the dim sum parlor, to my husband’s cravings for the baked variety fresh from the Chinatown Roast Pork Bun Factory in NYC, I had a clear and compelling reason to learn how to make them for myself. I found a recipe by cookbook author Andrea Nguyen for the perfect little snacky bites and thought that I would try her recipe. But the idea of making that dough from scratch made me sleepy. Especially after cooking the pork for the buns not once but twice before stuffing. I saved myself a step and used Pillsbury dinner rolls to get the job done. The results were less than perfection in terms of the dough, but still so freakin’ delicious. Continue reading Baked Roast Pork Buns
I first fell in love with this cole slaw after eating at California Pizza Kitchen – trying their chicken potstickers for the first time, I noticed that they came accompanied by an interesting looking cole slaw studded with scallions. One taste and I was hooked – the combination of sesame oil and peanut butter was a palate zinger. I had to learn to make it myself.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler – whisk a few ingredients together and toss with the cabbage and then let the tangle of goodness ruminate on its future awesomeness. Not that cole slaw can think, but if it could, I imagine that’s what it’d be doing. Thinking about how cool it is. Continue reading Asian Cole Slaw
Ribs require a hefty dose of patience to get them right, right? In order to achieve fall-off-the-bone tenderness along with a lacquered barbecue crust, you need to give them time and a lot of TLC. Or do you?
These ribs are for the hungry and lazy – a troublesome combination that is often hard to please but will be bowled over by this ridiculously easy recipe. Parboil the ribs in a pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time from hours to a mere 15 minutes. Paint with homemade glaze and broil for a few minutes for fresh off the grill goodness right from the kitchen and in a lot less time. Done and done. I’m not kidding. That’s really it.
Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs
1/4 c. of browning seasoning
3 tbs. of lemon juice
1/2 c. of apricot jam
2 tsp. of molasses
1/2 tsp. of dry mustard
2 tsp. of dark corn syrup
1/2 tsp. of ground ginger
2 tbs. of chili paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs. of soy sauce
4 drops of mesquite liquid smoke
1 onion, quartered
6 dried apricots
2 c. of chicken stock
3 lbs. of ribs
Mix the browning seasoning, lemon juice, apricot jam, molasses, dry mustard, corn syrup, ginger, chili paste, garlic, soy and liquid smoke. Add half of the marinade, onion, apricots and 2 c. of chicken stock to the pressure cooker. Top with the ribs (cut into thirds to fit in the cooker) and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Remove ribs to a rack set over a cookie sheet and let dry while you make the sauce. Add the remaining marinade to the pressure cooker and boil vigorously until reduced to a cup of liquid. Brush the ribs on both sides with the marinade. Turn the oven on broil and cook until lacquered and crisped. Let rest for 5 minutes before carving. Slice ribs into individual pieces and serve.