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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to Basics: Broiling in a Gas Oven

Last month I kicked off a new "feature", where I demonstrate some basic element of cooking. Last month was my fool-proof way to caramelize onions. This month's How-To was all set, until my computer decided to devour my pictures. In my opinion, a "how-to" would be pretty pointless without pictures of the process so I will re-do it and post that for next month.

However, recently something funny happened. Well I found it funny, and I thought I would share it with all of you since it is cooking related.

Brent and I moved about six months ago, and now instead of an electric stove we have a gas stove/oven. We both have always had electric stoves and this was new and a bit awkward at first but now we are fairly efficient. Although I do find it annoying that I always have to look down under the pan to figure out how hot the heat is. One day we wanted to use the broiler to brown some cheese... I think I was making a frittata. Here is how the scene played out:

Me: Brent... it's not broiling.

B: What do you mean? Is the oven on?

(Why does he feel compelled to ask such questions?)

Me: Yes. There is no heating elements up at the top... its all below.
(Brent get up and inspects... just to make sure I was telling the truth)

B: Huh. You're right, there is only heat/fire under the oven where that drawer is. That's odd.

Me: Is it broken? How are we going to get gooey cheese on things if we can't broil? How am I going to be able to brown casseroles if I need too?

(To me at this point, this is clearly a sign of the Apocalypse. I'm not dramatic at all or anything.)

B: I don't know baby... I've never had one before.

Me: Well we are going to have to call [landlord's name] because this isn't going to work. I need to be able to broil.

B: I'll take a look at it later. It'll be ok.

Me: OK... I'll finish this in the toaster oven.

At this point let me clarify something. With an electric stove, there is a storage draw underneath that most people use to store pans or baking sheets.When we moved Brent asked why the baking sheets weren't under there like at the last house. My response was because it's too small and the "fire" is right there.

Do you see where this is going yet?

A few days later I decided to google about "how to broil with a gas stove" just for the hell of it. And guess what google said...

Use the drawer under the oven.

I called Brent and told him we were a couple of idiots...

The end.

Please tell me something like this has happened to some of you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Smokin' on Sunday

I love a good lazy Sunday...

Brent is smoking a nice pork tenderloin.

I hope none of our neighbors call the fire department.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Food Links!

I wanted to bring them back because I enjoyed looking for new foodie news. So each week I will be bringing you a few food related articles I find interesting.

Pero, I will be making one little tweak. Instead of just focusing on news articles, I thought it would be fun to include anything I find interesting on the 250+ food blogs I follow.

Celebrity Chef Disasters - Famous chefs discuss some of their big mess ups. I thought this was fun.

Hot Cheesy Mushroom Dip - From Kevin @Closet Cooking. Oh dear me, I want this so bad. I would sit and eat this with a spoon. No bread, no chips, just me and a spoon.

Pumpkin Spice Latte - From Adrianna @Cozy Kitchen. Yes. You read that right...a recipe for everyone's favorite fall latte. She is my hero.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with a Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Glaze

I wish there was a shorter name for this. Good gravy.

This recipe is adapted from one I found in my BHG cookbook a while back. I remember it clearly as a Sunday night and I wanted something new and different for dinner. I have a lot of cookbooks and I rarely look at them, but this night I happened to turn to them for some inspiration. I’ve made these several times since that night and have tweaked the recipe along the way. I think I’ve finally gotten it to where I’m extremely happy with the results. These are sweet, slightly salty, and have a bit of heat to them. What more could you ask for?

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with a Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Glaze

*Makes two dozen shrimp

- 2 dozen large shrimp, shells removed
- 8 slices of prosciutto, sliced thicker than normal
- 1 ½ cups bourbon BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniel’s No 7)
- 2 chipotle in adobo peppers
- 1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
- Scallions for garnish (optional)
- Salt and pepper

*Skewers would be helpful. Soak wood skewers in water for 30 minutes before using.


1. Combine chipotles and BBQ sauce in a blender, food processor, or your magic bullet that someone convinced you to buy 8 years ago.

2. Remove sauce and divide in half. Add the bourbon to one half and stir together. This is your basting sauce. Use the non-liquored up BBQ for dipping.

3. Clean shrimp and remove shells. (You can leave tails on if you choose to.) Pat dry and season with salt and pepper.

4. Slice the prosciutto into 3 long strips.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meatloaf: Love it or Hate it?

Recipe: Yankee Meatloaf with Mushroom and Shallot Gravy

Brent has been wanting meatloaf for a while. Well actually he has been wanting Beef Stroganoff but I told him no because THAT recipe is already on the blog. I’m a cruel a girlfriend, aren’t I? Meatloaf was his second choice and he said he wanted my stuffed meatloaf. Again, I said no, THAT recipe is already on the blog.

So finally I told him I would make this dish for him and he was very happy with the end result. In fact, he ate half of it in one sitting. I’ve made this version several times before, but for some reason he acted as if he never tried it before. Boys can be so strange.

Meatloaf is one of those dishes that vary wildly from recipe to recipe. Mine is more meatball like in texture and not “loafy”. This is how my mother made it and I prefer it that way. I also prefer to cook mine in a loaf/bread pan. I find that cooking it like that makes a moister meatloaf, and again this is how my mother always did it.

Yankee Meatloaf
*Serves 4

- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 1 small white/yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil

Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn Inspired Cookies

Recipe: Cranberry, Walnut, and White Chocolate Cookies

This recipe is a great example how I start out with one idea and eventually end up making something completely different. Fall is starting to set in. In Florida this basically means less humidity, since temps are still in the low 90’s for a few more weeks. Still, I’m ready for fall and wanted to make something that felt like autumn to me. So once I settled on making cookies, I took a standard chocolate cookie recipe and played around with the ingredients.

Cranberry, Walnut, and White Chocolate Cookies
Makes 6 dozen cookies
(printable recipe)

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups walnuts, chopped
- 1 ½ cups dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a small bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir together.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine butter, both sugars, and vanilla. Beat together until creamy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I have a tear in my eye as I write this post...

Recipe: Cheesy Baked Leeks

Over the last two weeks I’ve developed, written, photographed, and eaten several lovely dishes. I also had my next “How to Basics” photographed step-by-step. But you see my desktop is currently getting a bit of an overhaul at the moment, so I attempted to get some work done on my laptop.

This was a big mistake. My laptop literally ATE all of my photos.

And of course, I delete them as they are uploaded so they are gone off my memory card now too. I cried. But not an all out sob or anything, I swear.

So now I have a conundrum. Post without pictures, or make everything again?

I’ve decided to go ahead and post each of them anyway. I’ve only done this once before, and I’m not a huge fan of it but oh well.

This is a recipe for leeks. Baked leeks with cheese, mushrooms, and bacon. I’ve never worked with leeks before, but we had several in the fridge for another dish and they needed to be used. So I grabbed several other things in my fridge and this is what I came up with. Ok that may be confusing... I've added leeks to recipes, but I've never made a dish where leeks were the main component.

In all honesty, I thought this dish was going to be a failure. It wasn’t. It was intoxicatingly delicious. I made it almost a week ago and I’m STILL thinking about it. I want so badly to make it again, but Brent hates repetition when it comes to dinner so I will need to wait for now.

Cheesy Baked Leeks
(printable recipe)
*Serves 2, maybe 3

- 3 large leeks
- ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- ½ cup shredded provolone
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marry Me Nachos

The first time Brent made these for me was back in October. It was right before Halloween and I was trying my best not to eat “bad things” because we (and his brother) were going to be the Dukes of Hazard for Halloween.

Daisy Duke didn’t have a pudgy belly. She probably didn’t eat nachos. I however DO eat nachos and then spent all of Halloween night sucking my gut in as best as I could.

None of this has anything to do with why I call them “Marry Me Nachos”, but writing this post made me remember that. I call them “Marry Me Nachos” because I had about two bites and promptly asked Brent to marry me.

He said no.

And then I cried.

Just kidding. I just ate about 4 plates full of nachos and called it a day. It’s hard to upset me when food is involved.

I’m going to put a bit of a disclaimer here before I post the “recipe”. Getting a recipe from Brent is a little difficult and all measurements are approximant since he doesn’t take the time to measure, and make notes like I have learned to do. But I love these nachos and want to share them with you even if there really isn’t anything super special about them. Or maybe there is? Let me know if you anyone proposes to you after eating them. This could get dangerous.

“Marry Me” Nachos

*Serves 4-6 people

- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- tortilla chips
- diced jalapeƱos, small can undrained
- 1 cup bean dip, mixed with water
- 3 cups cheese cheddar and/or pepper jack
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ½ cup chopped onion or scallions
- 1 cup cheese on top
- 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups of water
- ½ cup salsa

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crab, Artichokes, and Cheese! Oh My!

So lately you may have noticed a trend on my little bloggy blog here. The last few recipes I’ve posted have been for appetizers of some sort. The reason for that is simple – Football season is upon us. I’m not really a football fan – I prefer baseball to be honest – but I try to be a good sport for my boyfriend.

Depending on the game, it can get a little ugly at my house because we have different favorite teams, and it just so happens that my favorite (and home team) is the one team he hates with a passion.

However, he picked Tom Brady as his quarterback for Fantasy so maybe it won’t be so bad this year.

I made this dip a little while back when we had family over for dinner. His mom is a big fan of Crab and Artichoke dip, so I thought I would make it for her. I served it with wonton chips because I forgot to pick up pita bread at the store and I had wonton wrappers in the freezer. You could use anything you want though! Warmed pita bread, crusty crostini, chips, a spoon – whatever floats your boat!

Please excuse my picture; I had to snap it quick before everyone dug in.

Crab and Artichoke Dip

*Serves 8 – 10 as a starter

- 14oz artichoke, drained and roughly chopped
- 12 oz lump crab meat, drained if too liquidy
- 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1.5 cup shredded Italian mix cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large mixing bowl stir together all ingredients except shredded cheese. Pour into an oven proof baking dish and then top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil.

2. Place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until cheese on top is slightly browned and dip is bubbly.

Thoughts: Creamy, cheesy, tasty, and I would have stood there and ate it all with a spoon if that was socially acceptable. I had made another appetizer, but this was clearly the favorite of the get together.

I’ve got a couple other appetizers that I will be posting as soon as I can. School started this week so I’ve been preoccupied with that.

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