Archive for the 'Food and Recipes' Category



Book Review: Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good”

Full disclosure: I had absolutely no interest in buying or reading this book until I read an article on NYMag.com that made fun of it. I came across Rebecca Harrington’s hilarious article, “I Tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s Diet,” in which she makes Gwyneth’s recipes for a week and hilarity ensues. Is the article a glowing recommendation? No, but did I have to buy the book after reading it? Yes (and the Tracy Anderson DVDs, but that’s a totally different blog post).

itsallgoodI’m not sure WHY I just had to have this particular book. I mean, I’ve never really been into the gluten-free thing. Or veganism, though I tried it for a few weeks in college and I can assure you, a life without cheese is not a life worth living.

IAGtacosAnd “It’s All Good” had received a lot of negative press. Some reviews said the meals required “$300 worth of ingredients” and claimed it was an impossible diet.  A quick flip through the pages proved that those idiots have empty pantries and assumed you’d have to go out and buy coconut oil every single time you want to cook something (tip: a jar of coconut oil can hang out in your cabinets for awhile between meals). Plus, many of the reviewers were following her Elimination Diet, which is listed in the back of the book and includes only the most extreme recipes.

IAGcornThough there are a few exotic ingredients in some of her dishes, many of these recipes rely on a handful of high quality ingredients to create simple flavors. Some of my favorite recipes include the fish tacos, quinoa with kale and a fried egg, and the sauteed corn with chimichurri (above). We put the left over chimichurri on chicken tacos and it was DELISH. I haven’t, however, worked up the nerve to coat a fish in an entire container of salt and roast it. But I’m working up to that one.

IAGpopsicleYes, there are some Gluten-Free/Detox/Vegan recipes as well, but there are also meat and dairy recipes. Don’t expect to find fried foods or processed ingredients, though.

IAGbarnDO expect to find lots of pictures of Gwyneth without makeup, walking in fields of grass or eating organic foods on a windy beach.

IAGjuicekaleShe also includes lots of great juice and smoothie recipes. Her “Best Green Juice” has become my morning ritual (her description of “grassy lemonade” is spot on!), but the beet/carrot juice is good too. Obviously, if you can’t tell by the gazillion marked pages in my copy, I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking to clean up and healthify your diet. Yes, Gwyneth can be a bit obnoxious at times, but the girl’s got a knack for cookbooks.

juiceGwyneth’s “Best Green Juice”

5 leaves of kale, stems removed

1 whole lemon, peel and pith removed

1 whole apple, chopped

a sprig of mint

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

Juice all ingredients in a juicer, or if you’re like me and don’t own a juicer, blend them up and pour through a fine mesh strainer. Enjoy!

 

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Farmers Market Salsa

Confession time: I don’t like tomatoes. I’ve tried really hard to force myself to like them, but I can usually only eat a bite or two before I inevitably pull the tomato off my burger/sandwich/salad. I can eat tomatoes cooked or mixed into dishes, but chunks of raw tomatoes are not my jam. The ONLY exception to this rule is homegrown, Arkansas tomatoes. In the summer, if someone gives me tomatoes from their garden, I will eat them with a fork and a little bit of salt and pepper.

FarmersMarketSalsa

Recently, my mom brought over a bag of tomatoes and jalapenos from my Pawpaw’s garden. I had planned to eat them whole, but she brought the bag over and left it on my porch one afternoon and by the time I got home from work, some of the tomatoes had busted from the heat. Since I had a lot of tomatoes to use up quickly, I thought it was high time for some homemade salsa.

FarmersMarketSalsa2

So one Sunday morning, I got up early and went to the Bernice Garden Farmers Market, where I picked up red onions from Barnhill Orchards, bell peppers from Little Rock Urban Farming and some fresh cilantro. This recipe is one that can easily be tweaked to your tastes. I’m a fan of pulsing mine in the blender (because, duh, I don’t like chunks of tomatoes in my salsa), but if you like a chunkier salsa, a food processor would be your best bet, or even dicing all your ingredients and combining in a bowl.

FarmersMarketSalsa3

Farmers Market Salsa

Recipe yields 2 jars of salsa

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped

1 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 large or 2 small jalapenos, chopped (I removed the seeds from one but not the other to add heat)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 teaspoon cumin

juice of one lime

Add all ingredients except lime juice to a food processor or blender and pulse to desired consistency. If you like a chunky salsa, chop all ingredients and combine in a bowl. Add lime juice and more salt, pepper or cumin to taste and pulse a couple more times to combine.

Pinterest Recipes I’ve Tried and Liked : Nutella Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t really know how to get around the longest post title ever. But listen, anyone with a Pinterest account has probably seen this pin in one of its many incarnations: the Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt.

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Like many of Pinterest’s crazier dessert recipes, I pinned it and promptly forgot about it because, seriously, who can actually cook those recipes without the guilt and fear of what it will do to your thighs?

(If you read that sentence and said, “ME!” then I truly, truly envy you. Now go away before you make me hate myself.)

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ANYWAYS…..

I don’t know what came over me in Target one day (probably the same thing that comes over me every time I’m in Target and make an impulse purchase), but I saw Nutella and I remembered that one Nutella-stuffed cookie recipe I pinned way back when, and suddenly, I had to make them. I looked up the recipe right there in the Nutella aisle and a few hours later, Aaron was crying tears of happiness and mumbling “Mmmsooogoodneedmmmoremmmilk.” Or something like that.

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A recipe for this cookie has been posted on plenty of blogs, but I chose this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. I have no idea if it was the original, but it was excellent! The only change I made to her directions was putting the Nutella jar in the freezer for a couple of hours before assembling the cookies. It was much easier to scoop out a teaspoon and place in the dough when it was frozen.

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So go on, already. Just do it. If you’re fearful of the calorie count, you absolutely should be. So just take them to work tomorrow and let your coworkers hate themselves fawn over your amazing cookie baking skills.

Smoked Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

When planning my Friendsgiving menu, something amazing happened. It was one of those moments where you are thinking about one thing you like, then the thought of something you love pops into your head, then you realize YOU COULD TOTALLY COMBINE THOSE TWO THINGS to make this one totally amazing mega-thing.

That’s how these smoked pimento cheese deviled eggs came to be. I was thinking about deviled eggs, then I was thinking about pimento cheese, then I realized those two things would probably be excellent combined.

Not to sound cocky, but turns out I was right. They were EGGcelent, if you will. So I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Disclaimer: If you think you hate pimento cheese, don’t stop reading now! I was like you! I hated pimento cheese, until I tried the recipe of my former boss, Michele. My pimento cheese is adapted from hers, but not quite the same.

Also, this recipes makes extra pimento cheese – so you can eat it by itself too. Yum!

Smoked Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

(makes 24 eggs + a tupperware container full of pimento cheese)

Ingredients:

1 dozen hardboiled eggs

2 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

8 ounces hickory smoked cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded

1 jar diced pimentos

1 jalapeno, finely diced

8 strips hickory-smoked bacon

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 cup mayonnaise, plus more to taste

Directions:

While your eggs are boiling, chop 4 bacon slices into bits and cook over medium-high heat. Move to a plate and drain on a paper towel. Chop the other 4 slices into 1-inch pieces, cook over medium-high heat and move to drain on a separate plate.

In a large bowl, combine cheeses, diced jalapeno, pimentos, bacon bits and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toss to combine. (Reserve the 1-inch bacon pieces to garnish your eggs at the end.)

Next, add the 1/2 cup mayonnaise and stir it all together. This is where you get to go nuts. If you like your pimento cheese extra creamy, add more mayo. I usually add a tablespoon at a time until I’m happy with the result.

Meanwhile, slice the hardboiled eggs in half, remove the yolks to a small bowl and mash them up. Add 2 Tbsps dijon mustard and 2 Tbsps mayo and mix to form a paste. Once again, add more or less mustard and mayo until it tastes the way you want it to. I like a mustard-y deviled egg, myself.

Now that you have pimento cheese in one bowl and egg mixture in another, get out a third bowl and add a bit of both pimento cheese and egg, then mix them together. Keep adding egg and cheese until you find the balance you like.

Fill your eggs, top with a 1-inch piece of bacon and sprinkle with paprika. Enjoy!

I loved the smoky flavor so much, I’m considering using a smoked cheddar/smoked gruyere combo next time I make them. The sharpness of the cheddar (even though it was mild cheddar) cut the smokiness a little bit, so next time I want to go FULL SMOKE, Y’ALL.

Do you have a special Thanksgiving recipe? I’d love for you to share it if so…

Another Ode to Tiny Food

I’ve previously preached about my love for/obsession with tiny foods, as well as my favorite food blog, spoon fork bacon. I’ve even mentioned that spoon fork bacon will be publishing an entire book of tiny party foods. And today, my friends, Buzzfeed posted 8 photos/recipes from said book. So I had to share.

Itty-bitty country style eggs Bendict! Eek! Click here for recipe.

Tiny tacos!

Tiny chicken and waffles! (Ahem…been there, done that.)

Tiny Pop-tarts!

That’s it. I officially can not wait for Tiny Food Party to hit shelves so I can buy it and make every single tiny recipe in it! Click here for more photos/recipes in the Buzzfeed article.

 

RECIPE : Mint & Melon Salad

Recently, I met some girlfriends for brunch at The Root Cafe. We’re enjoying our food when one of the fine folks working there brought a plate of mint and melon salad over to us to try. I promptly devoured it. Then I did what any sane person would do.

I got in my car and drove straight to the farmers market to purchase a watermelon, cantaloupe and some fresh mint. The people at The Root mentioned that the salad was made of watermelon, cantaloupe, mint and a little honey, but I figured since I had mint-infused simple syrup leftover from cocktail merrymaking, I’d drizzle my salad with it.

I was feeling indecisive about fruit shapes, so I chopped/balled the whole cantaloupe and half the watermelon.

Then I chopped a sprig of mint (maybe 10 leaves?) and tossed it in.

I squeezed the juice from half a lemon in there to keep things fresh. Then I drizzled the whole thing with a little mint-infused simple syrup and tossed it.

IT WAS SO GOOD! And it was even better the next day.

And I had so much watermelon juice and pulp left over, I canned it and plan to use it for more cocktail merrymaking this week!

Summer Cocktail Series : Frozen Rosemary Lemonade

So delicious, I named it after myself. Just kidding. Sorta.

But seriously, BEST COCKTAIL EVER. I used a homemade rosemary-infused simple syrup in this drink, which is easy to make and can be saved and refrigerated for a few days if you have any leftover (I didn’t).

Frozen Rosemary Lemonade

Ingredients
1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (about 2-3 inches long)

4 lemons, peeled and seeded

4 oz citron vodka

ice

For rosemary-infused simple syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the sugar is dissolved, add one rosemary sprig to mixture and continue to bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Allow to boil until mixture becomes a syrup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For lemonade:

In a blender, combine lemons, leaves from the other rosemary sprig, 4 oz rosemary-infused simple syrup and 4 oz citron vodka. Fill the blender the rest of the way up with ice and blend until smooth. Now’s the fun part. Taste your lemonade and add more syrup, lemons, vodka or rosemary as you see fit. (Full disclosure: I always end up adding ALL the simple syrup and 2 more ounces of vodka. Because I like my drinks sweet and boozy. Just like my men! How you make yours is completely up to you.)

Serve in mason jars, garnished with lemon slice or rosemary sprig for extra cuteness.

Summer Cocktail Series : Coconut Mojito

You heard me! I love anything coconut scented or flavored (Coconut M&Ms are all that is good and right in the world.) so of course I had to figure out a way to make a delicious, classic cocktail THAT MUCH MORE DELISH. For those of you who aren’t Team Coco like I am, the addition of coconut sparkling water adds only a subtle coconut flavor that doesn’t change the body of the drink, as say, coconut cream would.

Coconut Mojito

Ingredients for 2 drinks:

1/4 cup sugar

25-30 mint leaves

2 limes, cut into wedges

4 oz white rum

Coconut La Croix

ice

Combine sugar, 8-10 mint leaves and a squeeze of lime juice (just a little!) in a blender and pulse until combined. Move to a small dish. Dip glasses in lime juice then mint sugar to rim. (I place the glasses in the fridge for 1-2 minutes to set the sugar.) Place 8-10 mint leaves and a lime wedge in each glass and muddle to release mint oils. Add remaining lime wedges and 1 Tbsp of mint sugar to each glass and muddle to release lime juices. Fill glasses with ice. Pour 2 oz of white rum in each and top with Coconut La Croix. Mix well and add more mint sugar to taste. Garnish with a sprig of mint or lime wedge.

 

 

 

Summer Cocktail Series : La Paloma

It’s hot, y’all. Real hot. And my favorite way to beat the heat is with a cocktail, amiright? So Aaron has agreed to be my man model for the Official Rosemary on the TV Summer Cocktail Series. Beginning now and continuing till I don’t feel like doing it anymore, I’ll be serving up an ice cold cocktail recipe every week. Let’s begin, shall we?

This saucy senorita is perfect if you’re a margarita drinker looking to spread your wingspan a bit. It’s light and refreshing and probably the smoothest tequila drink I’ve ever had.

La Paloma

1 oz. tequila blanco

3 oz. grapefruit soda

juice of half a lime

margarita salt

Rim a glass with lime juice and dip in margarita salt. I used this lime-flavored margarita salt from Williams-Sonoma. If you don’t like salt on the rim of your drinks (I normally don’t), mix a pinch of salt into your drink. Trust. The salt is essential to this drink.

Fill glass with ice and mix tequila and lime juice. Top with grapefruit soda. I used San Pellegrino Pompelmo, but Izze would also work and maybe add a bit more color. I think the Mexican soda brand Jarritos also makes a grapefruit soda. Top with a lime slice and enjoy!

Recipe Recommendation : Camille Styles’ Grilled Panzanella Salad

True story: I took photos of this beautiful masterpiece of a recipe. I served it with a grilled pork chop and Aaron and I kept calling it “fancy grillin.” And we ate like real people at the dining table with cloth napkins and wine and NOT on the couch watching Friday Night Lights reruns.

Other true story: My camera got all wonky and won’t upload the photos. Luckily, I found this recipe on CamilleStyles.com and her photos are prettier than mine anyway.

Seriously. Make this. It is the perfect summer meal – you grill it, it’s light and it uses the freshest herbs and vegetables. I made a few edits to suit Aaron’s picky palette.

– Subbed a bit of thinly shaved red onion for the olives (olives! grody!).

– Swapped the feta with goat cheese (goat cheese! yummm!).

– Since I’m out of mint, I used a bit of extra basil and added a tablespoon of chopped, fresh rosemary.

– We halved this recipe and still had more than enough for the two of us.

images and recipe via Camille Styles


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