Friday, March 30, 2012

Deviled Eggs Three Ways

Deviled eggs are not safe around my husband. He pops 'em like candy and can easily eat an entire plate of the soft, creamy, flavorful treats by himself. Our good friend Ann is the Queen of Deviled Eggs (we should get her a crown) and has been commissioned to prepare them for all parties and events until the end of the world. Thom loves Ann's deviled eggs so much that she can't even set the tray down on the coffee table before he's eaten at least two. Ann, however, has decided to go be with her family in Pittsburgh for Easter so it is up to me to prepare the deviled eggs for Easter.

I have big shoes to fill... I better make three different versions so Thom can choose his favorite...let's see... why don't we try chipotle bacon, a classic version, and a fresh lemon-chive deviled egg. Yeah... those sound good!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Scones - Decoration Ideas

These adorable Easter egg scones are a fun way to bring a little color and whimsy into your Easter brunch. They're a great way to get children involved in an uncomplicated cream tea with visiting relatives without being overly fussy about finger sandwiches (although I do love those dainty nibbles!). These scones can be as intricate or subtle as you choose and are only limited by your imagination.

I found this great egg shaped cutter by Wilton at my local craft store. It's tall enough to work as a biscuit cutter and I knew as soon as I saw it that I would be making scones with it. One of the great things about scones is that they take so many different flavors well. Be as creative as you want with the dough - consider adding nuts, dried fruit, spices, or citrus zest. My favorites are candied orange peel and cardamom or finely chopped candied ginger with cinnamon. Since you'll be adding sugars and icing to the tops for the decorations just be careful about making the dough too sweet. This may be one time you want to skip the chocolate chips!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lamb Stuffed Phyllo Packets

Thom and I share a love of many things culinary related, but absolutely nothing matches his love of lamb. One night when we were out to dinner with my Dad and brother my brother started to ask Thom a question and Thom, the most mild-mannered man I know, actually shushed him and said, "shhh! I'm lambing."

Thom likes lamb.

When my Mom hosted an engagement "meet the future in-laws" dinner for us she made a delicious lamb stuffed phyllo dish. She worked on that menu for weeks, wanting everything to be perfect, and it was incredible. Flaky, buttery phyllo stuffed with savory lamb and salty, tangy feta. I was inspired by that dinner when I developed this recipe which can be made ahead in bite sized pieces and frozen, unbaked, until you need to pull a tasty appetizer out for unexpected guests. Or just, you know, because it's delicious. I made mine into larger portions, two of which form a reasonable portion with a salad or another side dish.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Move Over Hollywood, It's Award Season in Bloggywood!

Food bloggers are, on the whole, a kind and generous group of people. We come from all cultures, countries, and walks of life. We share a basic, fundamental love of food. Be it the pleasures of eating, the labor of growing our own food, the drive to review the best places to find good food, or the simple human joy of creating food for others. We tend to follow each other... not just our recipes, but to share our lives, our joys, and our frustrations in the stories that accompany mouthwatering photos.

These days I not only keep up with my real life friends (for whom I am truly grateful ~ you know who you are) but I wake up wondering what luscious vegan dessert Amy will make (and I don't even bake vegan! She's that good); what Griffin will throw on the Big Green Egg this week; I ask my husband Thom (whose parents are from Austria) if he's ever had the recipes on Sofie's blog and then we discuss regional differences in food. He in turn asks me why I don't make duck bacon like Susan does.

I very grateful to have been awarded four blog awards this week by this wonderful community of cooks, writers, and photographers. The concept behind all the awards is to let a blogger know you enjoy their blog as well as to introduce readers to great blogs. The awards are:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes - a Teddy Bear's Picnic!

I'm guest posting with these lemon blueberry cupcakes over at Java Cupcake today. It's a deliciously sweet blog filled with goodies galore. In honor of the arrival of Betsy's baby boy these luscious lemon cupcakes are topped with a blueberry cream cheese frosting and a sweet little chocolate teddy because...

If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise. If you go out in the woods today you'd better go in disguise. For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain, because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

When I was a little girl my Mom would read me stories in the voice of my teddy bear. My favorite were when she would make up stories about what Teddy did all day while I was at school. When I was going through a problem with a bully Teddy had advice for how she handled her bully, Ruthie Bruin (Mom really should have been a children's book author). Teddy was as real and loving to me as... well... as my Mom.

So for all the Moms who love their babies and all the kids at heart who still love their teddies... have a cupcake today.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Steamed Artichokes - Preparation Technique

I still remember my first ever artichoke. I was probably 12 or 13 and visiting my childhood friend Holly in California where she and her parents had moved a few years prior. Her mother prepared herself a steamed artichoke with hollandaise sauce. She asked if we wanted a taste, most likely assuming we would wrinkle our noses and go back to giggling about cute boys.

Boy was she wrong!

We devoured that thing. From the first tentative taste, dipped cautiously in the thick, golden sauce, to the last hedonistic morsel, watery artichoke scented juices running down our arms, drunk with the buttery pleasures of hollandaise... I was in love. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup is long overdue. If you've made the Chicken Enchilada Lasagna you're probably wondering, "what the heck were we supposed to do with the other half of the shredded chicken?" This flavorful stew-like soup is perfect for the crazy early spring weather when we still have chilly nights. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boston's Haymarket and Pasta for One

I'm very pleased to be guest posting at Healthy Foodie Travels today. Kiri writes a delicious blog filled with cuisine from around the globe, world markets, and culinary traditions and recipes from her travels. In honor of Kiri's theme of healthy foods I decided to travel through my own backyard of downtown Boston to the Haymarket and the North End to find the ingredients for this healthy pasta dish with shredded Brussels sprouts, chickpeas and pine nuts.

I hope you'll hop on over to Healthy Foodie Travels to check out the recipe and while you're there stay for Kiri's delicious world travels! 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Double Chocolate Stout Beef & Lamb Stew

Beef stew is one of my favorite comfort foods. With St. Patrick's Day around the corner I decided to put a little Irish spin on this homestyle favorite by adding lamb and using stout in the sauce. Thom insisted my stew was more of a soup and thus, after a lengthy discussion betwixt mouthfuls of mashed potatoes and wiping away the juices dribbling down our chin we agreed to refer to it between ourselves as stoup.

And really, you can call it AnabanaMushPie for all I care - the end result is still delicious. Thick chunks of beef and lamb, sweet pieces of carrot and leek, earthy turnips and mushrooms, and mixing the saucy stoup gravy with the mashed potatoes!... oh, oh!... I could nosh on that all day! This stew pairs really well with either beer or red wine. We enjoyed a lovely Côtes du Rhône with ours - feel free to add a little extra wine in the sauce!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Food Bloggers Network

This morning I received an email from LinkedIn listing groups I might want to join. I don't use LinkedIn much but one group jumped right out at me: Food Bloggers. I clicked through, thinking, "yes! Finally! This is what I need!"

Have you tried networking with other food bloggers? I've been baffled over the last few months to discover that by and large the "networking" sites I've found are a bunch of links to people's blogs. How do you form relationships with a link? Where are you supposed to go to ask questions and get real answers without getting bombarded with "vote for my blog!" or "check out this awesomerecipeyoucan'tlivewithout!!!" or "we'd love to tell you... pay for this conference and you too can be one of 500 people to listen to someone we decided was an expert tell you how THEY did it... but not really give you any clue as to how to do it yourself."

Chocolate Stout & Baileys Buttercream Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies: portable cake-like snack dessert beloved all over New England (and spreading like wildfire across the US thanks to food bloggers and dessert mavens).

Chocolate stout whoopie pies made with Young's Double Chocolate Stout and filled with a Baileys buttercream: so damn good I want to shove five in my face right now heaven on a plate.

Whether you make these for St. Patrick's Day or just because they are awesome, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Greenslove Bloghop - Kale and Beet Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

These homemade ravioli are not only gorgeous and vibrant, they are absolutely delicious. The earthy, fresh flavors in the pasta are elevated to haute cuisine levels with a creamy gorgonzola filling accented with toasted walnuts. Served over fresh sautéed kale this dish makes an impressive first course to an elegant meal.

In Italy you often see pasta recipes as il primo or first course. In a traditional dinner (or Sunday lunch) this would be followed by il secondo or second course; usually a meat or fish based entree accompanied by i contorni, side dishes - usually vegetables. Both portions tend to be small so one isn't too full. Of course, by the time you've had your antipasto (which translates literally as "before the meal"), saved some room for qualcosa dolce (something sweet), and washed it all down with plenty of good vino you're pretty full and ready to fare un sonnellino (take a nap).