November Daring Baker’s Challenge: Caramel Cake!

November 29, 2008 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 29 Comments

This month’s challenge was an exciting one! Whipping out that candy thermometer is always a fun time for me, since I am a chemist… It never ceases to amaze me when you can visually see sugar changing its form just by heating. Caramels and sweet things that are caramel based are positively adored by several members of my family! They were very happy to help me finish this beauty off! And I had extra caramels too!

I would like to thank Dolores for hosting this month and Alex and Jenny also for helping out! This recipe comes to us from the Shuna Fish Lydon from the Bay Area!

Continue Reading November Daring Baker’s Challenge: Caramel Cake!…

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Duck Insanity!

November 24, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Dinner | 4 Comments

These meals have been a long time coming! Because you see, I love duck and so does Ned and we had talked and talked about making this for oh-I’d say 2 good years!Β  Finally! We got to enjoy the most divine meat and the fruits of our labor!

The last time I had duck confit was in Paris in July 2007, and it was just as I remembered… amazingly succulent and delicious. We paired that with brussel sprouts and a shallot, dijon mustard cream sauce – all courtesy of Mr. Thomas Keller from his Bouchon cookbook (which I am currently going to take property over from Ned!)

I also made a butternut squash risotto to accompany the above feast- which I LOVE and am going to make as often as I can!Β  On the first night when we took apart the duck we cooked the breasts with swiss chard, mashed potatoes and a pomegranate sauce. Check it all out below!!

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The Ultimate Dining Adventure at Alinea

November 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Dessert, Dinner, Travels | 9 Comments

This post is a commemoration of the dinner that my original foodie (Ned) and I had exactly one year ago at Alinea in Chicago! This was my first foray into the world of photo-documenting deliciousness and I thought that posting it today would be appropriate to bring it to the masses! This all started because my dear sweet friend Gina was to be betrothed to Jon Harrison on November 17, 2007 in Chicago, IL. Ned and I were looking for a way to celebrate our November 11 anniversary and (insanely for sure) we thought it would be amazing to toast to our times together at this fine establishment!

Now I have to sincerely thank Ned for bringing food, delicious and exciting food, into my life more than four years ago. This blog and my love for food would not exist if it was not for him imparting his true passion to me. We had the most amazing time doing the 24 course tour menu and the ten-flight wine tour. Dinner took nearly four hours and I am delighted to say we closed the restaurant that night (much to the chagrin of the waiters??)! I really cannot wait to go back someday.

This was not the first dish we received that night, but it was surely my favorite! Check it and the rest of the insane amount of dishes and descriptions out below!

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Charm City Cookbooking

November 15, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Cookbooks, Dessert, Dinner, Entertainment | 4 Comments

Last night was my voyage into true foodie land with some amazing ladies right here in Baltimore! We each chose recipes from Beard on Food and got together to have a wonderful time cooking and subsequently eating all that scrumptious food! To see the recipes for all of these incredible dishes, check out his book!

I chose a stuffed green pepper recipe for our side dish and I would have to say that the flavors were interesting, but it was a little too bread crumby for my palate. Renee, our gracious host, made beef stroganoff (also seen above) which was DELICIOUS!! The noodles were perfect with the tender pieces of filet and totally decadent sauce.

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Adam Robert’s Caramel Corn for Top Chef

November 12, 2008 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Dessert | 6 Comments

Tonight my beloved Baltimore is making its mark on the Bravo television network through the talented and lovely Miss Jill Snyder! I have been a fan of Top Chef since its inception and ever since my foodie status went from wannabe to superstar (ha! yeah right…) it is evermore exciting!! For the premiere festivities, I decided to make Adam Robert’s caramel popcorn! This recipe is the thorn in Adam’s side and I was ready and eager to take it on!

So this challenge (that was self-imposed) was definitely no easy street!Β  But, I would have to be proud to say that I did end up victorious, eventually!

This popcorn isn’t just any caramel popcorn, it is surely tricked out! With fantastic spices and macadamia nuts it takes on gourmet status. So go make some popcorn, and GO Jill!! πŸ˜€

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Soulful “Cassoulet” with a cauliflower gratin

November 11, 2008 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Dinner | 4 Comments

This months’ Cook’s Country had a feature on a turkey cassoulet which got me thinking… This is definitely a lazy sunday cozy kind of meal! BUT I got my recipe from a real French source of inspiration, Paris Bistro Cooking, which my original foodie gave me for my birthday last year! I have had this cookbook for nearly a year and a half and have never cooked from it, until Sunday! I paired the “cassoulet” with a cauliflower gratin based on the recipe from the lovely Ina Garten.

I would say the soulfully inspiring part of this meal was constructing the bouquet garni and slow cooking the beans and ribs with that and the mirepoix. There is something so fulfilling about using the simplest ingredients to give the most remarkable flavor to more simple ingredients!

Now let me preface this by saying my rendition of this french dish is not a completely authentic cassoulet recipe, because it has no duck! Don’t you worry- I love me some quack quackers πŸ˜›, but for budgets sake and possibly mental (in terms of doing a confit…by myself..), I omitted it!

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Off to have a Sip & Bite in Canton…

November 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Dessert, Travels | 5 Comments

After our stroll around the JFX Farmer’s Market, Julie, Meg and I headed over to Canton for some delicious fare at Sip & Bite!Β  At the market, I picked up some cauliflower, fresh herbs, carrots and onions! Meg took some awesome pictures (as usual πŸ˜€ ) and Julie got some squash, herbs, a huge cauliflower (that weighed nearly 10 lbs I swear!) and lots of other heavy things! ha…

This is my first time to Sip & Bite after seeing it there on that corner for nearly 5 years! I am very glad we stopped in.

Continue Reading Off to have a Sip & Bite in Canton……

Blue Agave with some tunes

November 10, 2008 at 11:41 am | Posted in Dinner, Entertainment, Travels | 4 Comments

For our dining enjoyment on Saturday we stopped by Blue Agave in Federal Hill. After dinner Scotty, Jes and I headed to Rams Head Live for the Decemberist’s concert! Now I would have to honestly say that the music was more enjoyable than the food for the evening and the company was even better!

So as I discuss the “mexican” food- how about we jam out to some rockin tunes! Shall we??

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Jacked Up Banana Bread

November 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Dessert | 7 Comments

Yes this banana bread is CLEARLY jacked up! With peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips, it is almost to die for. But who wants to die for banana bread?? Little Laurita decided to not eat the fresh bananas I got her from wegmans early last week and so they sat and sat and got nice and speckly brown… Then I went searching to do something about it and magically I made this!

This is some really tasty “health” food for sure. πŸ˜€ Sometimes when I’m eating it almost tastes and feels like coffee cake! But I would have to say the chocolate chips are the best part.

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Sopa de Pollo para el dΓ­a de elecciΓ³n

November 4, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Dinner | 3 Comments

Now this wonderful chicken soup isn’t particularly Mexican. It’s just the recipe abuelita has used forever! Scotty generously made it for his friends that just moved into their house and that motivated me to give it a try! For some reason every Sunday I have the urge to make soup. So I went for it and it came out perfectly!

This soup would be perfect for such an important night as tonight! Whatever happens with the election, feel good food is definitely in need for all!

We ate some on Sunday night (alas the lovely picture shown above…) and then discovered the excess of noodles I chose to use had congealed on Monday! Abuelita told me to use 1 cup of noodles when she was explaining the recipe, but when I was finishing off the recipe and looked at my HUGE pot of soup I thought why not just use the whole box of pasta! BUNG! (…thats the sound of me hitting my head with a frying pan…) Next time I make this it will be better!

Continue Reading Sopa de Pollo para el dΓ­a de elecciΓ³n…

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