Category Archives: Desserts

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

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Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

Summertime is finally here, and it’s my favorite time of year. I love cooking for parties and potlucks, but in the summertime it’s definitely no fun to be stuck in a hot kitchen! Therefore, I’ve decided to make a Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake. It’s super delicious, easy to make, and requires no hot oven whatsoever, especially with the help of all my amazing KitchenAid® appliances.

KitchenAid 14-cup food processor

I prepared my graham cracker crust in my KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor which crushes and mixes them into crumbs in seconds!

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

Next I made my cheesecake filling in my amazing Artisan Stand Mixer which is the best way to beat cream cheese and sugar together into a light and fluffy and delicious no-bake filling!

KitchenAid Springform pan

I love my new Springform pan that I used to make the cheesecake in,

KitchenAid electric kettle

and I got a super cool electric kettle that I used to poach the peaches with.

Poached Peaches

You’re going to love this chilled creamy cheesecake with vanilla poached peaches and a homemade raspberry sauce. It’s so refreshing and is simply the perfect dessert for the summertime months! This is such an easy dessert recipe that requires no hot oven, and I’m so excited for you to try this recipe for yourself. Get as creative as you want with the no-bake cheesecake base and toppings, and just have fun with it!

Raspberry Sauce

You could substitute blackberries or blueberries for the sauce, switch up your cream cheese flavors (I used half regular and half peach flavored cream cheese for the filling), add some spices or chocolate powder to your graham cracker crust (or try Oreos, vanilla wafers or chocolate grahams!) or try poaching some other stone fruit such as nectarines or plums..the possibilities are endless!

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

And when you have all these amazing KitchenAid tools to help you make it, it makes the cooking easier and more fun! Be sure to share your take on this Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake recipe with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

CLICK HERE FOR STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND MY RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

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Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze

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Almond Shortbread Cookies

So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty, scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.

KitchenAid Countertop Oven

I recently got a new KitchenAid® 12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!

Blood Orange Glazed Almond Shortbread Cookies

Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE AND STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

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Favorite Game Day Recipes for the Super Bowl!

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superbowl 2016

So the big day is right around the corner..Super Bowl, yay! I’m not really partial to either team and am not even a huge football fan, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE the Super Bowl simply because of the fun parties, the commercials, and the food and drinks, of course.

So in spirit of the football party season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite game day recipes that are perfect for a crowd. Finger foods, appetizers, dips and spreads and small bites to party in style! Stay tuned later this week for some fun cocktail ideas for the big game too..may the best team win! #gopanthers #gobroncos

#FOOTBALL #FOOD!

Sloppy Joes

Devishly Good Sriracha Jalapeño Honey Sloppy Joes

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Taco Pizza

Seriously Delish Taco Pizza

Spicy Cajun Chili

Spicy Cajun Chili

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Meatball Madness!

Meatball Madness!

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizza

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Mini Tarts

Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts

Chic Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Orange Tart

Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

Click here to find some more great celebrity chef #recipes to celebrate the Super Bowl on NFL.com

And some more game day recipe ideas on Food Network!

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Sweet & Savory Mini Tarts

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Sweet & Savory Mini Tarts

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to start thinking about fun food to make for all the parties and get togethers with family and friends. I love making appetizers, mini tarts, and small bites for potlucks and parties because it’s fun to experiment with different flavor combinations and they’re generally easy to transport.

One of my favorite things to make are  Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts, and I’ve used my KitchenAid® Professional-Grade Nonstick Mini Pie Pan to whip up two delicious tarts that you can bring to your next holiday soiree. I love this pie pan because its nonstick professional-grade construction and removable bottoms make it easy to work with. And the pre-engraved ridges for the crust ensure that all of your tarts and mini pies come out looking perfect!

Cranberry Almond Mini Tarts

My Mini Cranberry Apple Almond Tarts are super delicious – sweet and tangy with a little bit of crunch, made with fresh cranberries, orange juice, honey, apples, cinnamon and chopped almonds.

Mini Savory Tarts

I also made some savory Mini Bacon, Veggie and Cheese Tarts that are great for a holiday brunch or even a small evening get together with friends and family. They’ve got tons of good stuff inside too – eggs, cream, shredded cheese, crispy bacon and lots of fresh sautéed veggies like zucchini, mixed bell peppers, green onion and garlic with a touch of fresh thyme for garnish.

Mini Sweet & Savory Tarts

So easy to make and so delicious and fun for a holiday party!

I’d love to hear in the comments below what you would make in the mini pie pan for your holiday party – sweet or savory? Or both? What flavors and ingredients would you use? How would you change up the crust? Be sure to share your take on these sweet and savory tart recipes with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Happy holidays!

Check out how i made them with my KitchenAid mini pie pan Stainless Steel cookware and get the #recipes on the Kitchenthusiast blog HERE!

Disclaimer: As a Kitchenthusiast Contributor, I have been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents my own opinion.*

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New Work: Food Styling & Photography

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I recently did food styling & photography for Newman’s Own Salad Dressing and Arnold Bread for their annual recipe contest websites, advertisements and marketing materials.

I also have been doing photography for Baked By Melissa (the mini cupcakes in NYC!), for their website, social media and advertising and events. Here are some new shots I’ve done for them recently too!

Newman’s Own Salad Shoot

Arnold Bread Sandwich Shoot

Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-324 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-379 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-399 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-414 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-436 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-476 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-514 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-537 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-550 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-583 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-592 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-614 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-642 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-702 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-737 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-758 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-766 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-776 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-785 Arnold Shoot Sept 2015-807

 

Baked by Melissa

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Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

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Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Fall has finally arrived – my favorite season of the year! I love the cooler weather and dressing in jeans, sweaters, boots and leather jackets. I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. And I love the gorgeous fall produce and warmer, cozier comfort foods that come with the season.

Pears Hazelnuts

One of my favorite things to make in the fall is pie – sweet or savory with gorgeous fruits and veggies and all sorts of lovely ingredients and spices.

Pear Filling

There’s something so soothing about the smell of pie baking in the oven that warms up the home and goes perfectly with the crisp fall air and cooler days and nights.

KitchenAid Stainless Pie Pan

I recently got a KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 8-Piece Set of cookware along with a new KitchenAid® 9” Professional-Grade Nonstick Pie Pan and was inspired to make a gorgeous Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie with a Chocolate Graham Crust. The flavors of nuts, homemade caramel, fresh pears, chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg pair perfectly together and scream fall.

Pour Salted Caramel Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY STEP BY STEP RECIPE & PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

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Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Summer Edition + Recipes from Spring Show

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#CookingwithColor4Kids

 

My #CookingwithColor4Kids TV Show Summer Edition is LIVE and what a fun show we have for you…Thanks to all the amazing kids and parents who were on the show and for cooking and sharing all your awesome Summer recipes with us!

CWC_SummerFoods

Lily McGee & Jennifer Hess McGee made us some fresh and healthy Summer Jar Salads

Maxwell Leduc from Canada talks about his favorite Summer dishes to make and how he cooks gluten-free

Ava Llorca makes us fresh Strawberry Shortcake from scratch – her favorite Summer dish

Deborah Berg from Israel makes us a delicious Beet Salad fresh from her garden

Jacob and Cooper Nixon from Charlotte NC make Strawberry Shortcakes and Caprese Salads with fresh fruits and veggies from their Dad Jeff Nixon‘s garden

Jonathan and Nichelle Pace talk about how they make homemade Pancakes and BBQ Chicken

LIVE on our YouTube Channel at – https://youtu.be/MDVf1k-3Eng

BRIC

Also airs on Brooklyn Public Network television tomorrow Sat July 18 at 11:30 am EST in Brooklyn on:
Cablevision channel 67
Time Warner channel 34
RCN channel 82
AND in all 5 boroughs of #NYC on Verizon channel 42

VIEW ONLINE LIVE at BCAT TV Network Channel 1 Sat July 18 at 11:30 am – http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network

COOKING WITH COLOR 4 KIDS SPRING 2015 SHOW

AND…if you missed our Spring Show from May – you can also watch it online at https://youtu.be/YYVsNgMpZig

I made some fresh and healthy Caprese Salad Skewers, Straw and Hay Pasta with Peas & Pancetta in a light creamy Parmesan Sauce and a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess for dessert! I also had a Guest Chef from our video crew make a big batch of Mediterranean Tabbouleh for us on the show..so good!

HealthCorps Kids

Also check out the video also on our Spring show of the HealthCorps kids from a high school in the Lower East Side, NYC cooking Fish Tacos for Cinco de Mayo – so many healthy and fresh things going on over there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cooking with Color 4 Kids was also just featured in Lodging Magazine this month – read the article online here!

Below are my #recipes from the Spring show..hope you enjoy and Happy Summer!

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad Skewers

Ingredients
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 container fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or 1 cup for glace
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation
Assemble tomatoes, rolled basil leaves and mozzarella balls on medium-sized toothpicks or small wooden skewers.

Drizzle with olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

To make balsamic glace (a thicker cooked down version of balsamic vinegar), add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Dip a spoon into the vinegar to check for thickness. As it cools the syrup will also thicken.

Drizzle balsamic glace evenly over the caprese skewers and serve immediately.

Makes 12 skewers.

Straw and Hay Pasta

Straw and Hay Pasta 

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen baby peas, defrosted
4 ounces (1/2 cup) diced pancetta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 pound dry egg fettucine or linguine
1/2 pound dry spinach fettucine or linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Trim the scallions and slice into thin strips and then crosswise about 3 inches long. Add the scallions to the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until wilted.

Add the diced pancetta, and cook for about 5 minutes or so until it gets crispy and browned.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer another 2-3 minutes.

Stir the pasta into the salted boiling water and let return to a boil, then cook for 9 minutes until al dente (slightly firm and chewy).

Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook over high heat until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Garnish with black pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Ingredients

Meringues
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Make the Meringues:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Whisk the eggs with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high and slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until sugar is completely incorporated and the stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla with a spatula.

Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops on the baking sheet.

Bake for 90 minutes or until the surface of the meringues are dull and they feel dry to the touch. Let the meringues cool for at least an hour or overnight.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat, and add the rhubarb, strawberries, OJ, sugar and orange or lemon zest.

Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and starts to fall apart.

Set aside and let cool to room temperature (or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if making ahead for up to 1 week).

Whipped Cream: (can also use store-bought if you prefer to not make your own)
In a large mixing bowl, whip together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla with a whisk until soft peaks form.

Assemble the Eton Mess:
Crumble meringues into a large mixing bowl.

Top with spoonfuls of whipped cream and strawberry rhubarb compote in layers and fold until just barely combined.

Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

tabbouleh

Mediterranean Tabbouleh

Ingredients

1/2 cup fine bulgur
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup boiling hot water
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with all the ingredients, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until combined well.
This dish can be served as a side salad or main dish, along with an assortment of grilled meats, pita bread and falafel with hummus.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Download the recipes below as a PDF:

CWCMay2015_CapreseRecipe

CWCMay2015_EtonMessRecipe

CWCMay2015_StrawHayPastaRecipe

CWCMay2015_TabboulehRecipe

#cookingwithcolor #cookingwithkids #kristenhess #theartfulgourmet #artfulgourmet #ediningnews #bric #foodtv #springrecipes #summerrecipes

 

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A Special Treat for Mom: Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

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Chocolate Orange Tart

Happy Mother’s Day! What a gorgeous day it is today to celebrate Mom and all the awesome things she does every day of the year.

photo by @dadarocks

I’m posting this recipe today in honor of MY Mom, who loves Chocolate and Orange, in any form, and who I promised to make this delicious thing for when I go home to see her in June.

Chocolate Orange Tart

This gorgeous Chocolate Orange Tart is something I made recently for a photography event at Drift Studio in NYC hosted by eyeFi, a really cool app that allows photographers to upload their photos to the internet via a WiFi enabled SIM card, directly from their DSLR cameras.

Chocolate Orange Tart

They asked me to bring some food and style a lovely still life for the photographers to shoot at the event and it was quite the hit that people actually started eating the tart off the still life set! (LOL- Who can blame them?!)

ChocolateOrangeTart-OrangePeel

The tart is made with luscious semi-sweet chocolate and cream with a dash of orange flower water and baked in a graham cracker and cocoa crust,then topped with a gorgeous shiny chocolate glaze and homemade candied orange peel made from a Cara Cara orange, for extra citrus zing that balances out the richness of the creamy chocolate center.

CandiedOrangePeel

I’m wishing all the Moms out there an amazing Mother’s Day today and hope you’re indulging in something sweet and lovely, just like YOU.

 

Chocolate Glazed Orange Tart w/ Candied Orange Peel

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 piece

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Tart Shell:
  • 1 package of graham crackers (9 total)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower extract or Grand Marnier liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Candied Orange Peel:
  • 1 orange (Cara Cara is what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the chocolate tart shell:
  3. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb, add the cocoa and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the melted butter to the cracker cocoa crumbs and stir together until mixed well with no lumps.
  5. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch tart pan, about 3/4 inch up the side of the pan.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. To make the filling:
  8. Bring the cream to a boil then pour over the chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir together until smooth.
  9. Whisk the eggs, orange flower extract and salt in a separate bowl, then fold into the melted chocolate.
  10. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the filling is set about 3 inches form the edge, about 20-25 minutes. (The center should still be a bit wobbly).
  11. Cool the tart in the pan on a cooling rack for about an hour.
  12. To make the chocolate glaze:
  13. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
  14. Pour in the chocolate chips or chunks and stir until melted and smooth.
  15. Stir in the corn syrup and then the warm water.
  16. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart, then tilt the glaze to evenly cover the top. Let stand until glaze is set about 1 hour.
  17. To make the candied orange peel:
  18. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the orange into long strips, then cut into thin matchstick pieces.
  19. Place the orange peel in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain the peel, rinse out the saucepan.
  20. Add the peel back into the saucepan and add the sugar and water, stirring everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the peel becomes translucent and the sugar water becomes thick and syrupy.
  21. Remove from heat and place the orange peel with a fork on to a plate and let cool. The orange peel will cool and harden with a sugary coating when ready. Place the candied orange peel on top of the chocolate tart and serve.
  22. Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead.

Notes

Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead. Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/05/10/a-special-treat-for-mom-glazed-chocolate-orange-tart/

 

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Roadtrip! Food, Cocktails & Rodeo fun in Houston Texas

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houston-thegirls

One of my favorite things to do in the world is traveling – especially with my group of awesome girlfriends. We usually do a few group trips a year as we all live in different parts of the country: Nashville, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, LA..etc.

Rodeo Houston

We decided to do a road trip to Houston, Texas this time around for a fun weekend of awesome food, cocktails and a trip to the annual Houston Rodeo! What a blast we had! I have to admit I’ve never been to a rodeo before but it was truly impressive watching those cowboys riding bulls and cowgirls racing around the rodeo field.

Rodeo Houston

We even got to see the country star Billy Currington perform live, fireworks and all!

IMG_0990

Another fun experience was the Pedal Party around the Montrose area of Houston – there was 15 of us on this big mobile beer wagon with music, a tour guide, bartenders, lots of beer, and we pedaled our way around this fun neighborhood bar hopping and drinking, eating…and drinking some more…

Pedal Party Bar Hopping Houston TX

..so much fun!!!

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Of course one of my missions on any trip is finding amazing food in each town we visit – and we had plenty of it! We had a truly delicious brunch at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette – a great place with an outdoor patio and great food!

Executive Chef Travis Renig and Me

I got to meet Executive Chef Travis Lenig which was a delight. We ordered a feast fit for a king and his crew! Lobster Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Mac & Cheese, fresh Gulf oysters, pitchers and pitchers of Mimosas, Bourbon Maple Bacon, Eggs Benedict, Southern Biscuits, Tuna Tartare, Homemade Bacon Jam, Crispy Fish & Chips and were treated to Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, compliments of the house! Click here to check out their awesome menu.

Gosh we are a spoiled crew. And we laughed our heads off with great conversation and autographed the menu (as we always do on our girls trips) for a fun keepsake. Such an awesome restaurant sitting outside on the patio in the sunshine and excellent hospitality and service..highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Houston!

Irish Stout Beef Stew

We also decided to cook for St. Patty’s Day at my friend Pam’s house – I made a delicious Irish Stout Beef Stew, (click here for the recipe!)

Dinner on the patio

a lovely fresh salad with greens from her garden, along with some Sourdough bread and red wine (and Guinness Stout!) to accompany…

Butterfinger Pie

with Butterfinger Pie for dessert! O.M.G. How delicious that was with a warm chocolate fudge sauce on top! YOWZA.

Such a great group of girlfriends and it was awesome making new friends too in the friendly state of Texas! Next on the map? The Hamptons in July and Austin in October! Stay tuned!

Check out more fun photos below from the trip! 

Irish Stout Beef Stew

Irish Stout Beef Stew Recipe

1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 bottles Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
4-5 turnips, cut into large chunks
¼ cup corn starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.

Add Guinness beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.

Return the seared beef to the pot, add the tomato paste mixture, baby carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.

Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit.

Add the turnips and place the stew pot back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter with a fresh green salad and a glass of Guinness Stout or red wine.

Serves 6-8.

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Food Trends of 2014 + Flavor Forecast for 2015

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2014 Food Trends

As the year 2014 is coming to an end, it’s always interesting to see what was hot and what was not in the culinary world and what new food and flavor trends we will see in the New Year 2015. Popular trends seem to come and go each year affecting everything we see: restaurants, blogs, online stores, magazines, TV shows, and even fast food and packaged goods and advertising.

2014 had plenty of interesting ones that went big this year:

Culinary mashups: Cronuts (croissant donuts), Wonuts (waffle donuts), Quesarito (a quesadilla rolled into a burrito), bananas fosters pancakes, bagel burgers, ramen burgers, pretzel subs, Chicken waffle sandwiches, you name it – crazy Frankenfood dishes hit the scene this year.

Spicy burgers: burgers went nuclear this year with everything and anything spicy – Sriracha mayo, poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, spicy onion rings, melted pepper jack cheese, harissa, ancho chipotle sauce, Mexican burgers with spicy ranch sauce…the list goes on.

Bahn Mi – a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with roasted pork, marinated vegetables, and herbs on a baguette

Savory Jams – fig jam, pepper jellies, lingonberry jams topped creative sandwiches everywhere this year.

Paleo Diet – this meat-heavy, vegetable-laden, dairy and gluten free diet went crazy. Huge protein portions, cookbooks, blogs and new restaurants opened with a core focus on MEAT.

2015 Food Trends

And here is the flavor forecast for 2015:

Middle Eastern mezze: hummus, pepper spreads, herb-marinated olives

Creative cookies: decadent makeovers on classic cookies

Umami veggies: savory flavors will infuse new recipes such as tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, nori, sweet potatoes

Smoked spices: deeper richer flavors for foods through smoked spices

Sour notes: coarse salt with sour notes from sour cherry, pickled ginger, mango and lemon zest add zing and bling. Burgers topped with kimchi. Shrubs (preserved fruits with vinegar and sugar) will show up in cocktails.

Liquid revolution: juice blends from fruits and vegetables to make healthy flavorful sauces

Global blends: Japanese 7 spice (aka shichimi togarashi) combines chilies, sesame, orange zest and nori. Shawarma Middle Eastern blends made with cinnamon, cumin and black pepper are also going big.

Tacos: regional and modern taco joints and pop ups are going to be everywhere

Scrambled eggs: forget poached and deviled – scrambled eggs for dinner with savory sauces and ingredients are hot.

Spicy flavors: Sriracha will still be in style, as well as international spices like Thai bird chiles that give a serious kick.

Flavor without fat: Chefs are now infusing meats and vegetables with flavor by grilling, rotisseries and smoke.

Meat spreads: Nduja is an Italian meat spread made with ground pork and spices, great for spreading on toast or filling ravioli.

Artisanal candies: Bourbon and sea salt caramels, ice cream gummies and other creative confectionaries will be everywhere.

Soft serve ice cream: seasonal flavors and innovative sundae creations are another hot item in the dessert scene.

Spanish cuisine: Tapas and small plates from the Spanish region will be hot in the fast-casual restaurant world.

Savory pancakes: think potato pancakes on steroids – infused with different vegetable flavors and creative toppings and sauces.

Patty melts: this classic diner dish heats up the food scene with innovative twists on this half burger / half grilled cheese sammie.

Mini cocktails: smaller versions of cocktails served in half portions are popping up to give customers the opportunity to taste more varieties

Artisanal hard cider: move over craft beer, the new trend is using artisanal hard cider to create libations with unusual ingredients such as bourbon, house-made Dijon syrup and thyme.

Gin: new places opening up that solely serve the classic Gin and Tonic in different ways

High-end daiquiris and frozen drinks: new twists on the daiquiri and slushie drink infused with fun flavors and alcohol combinations

Meals to go: restaurants and food brands understand the consumers shrinking leisure time by creating high end meals to go making it easier to eat gourmet food without spending hours eating out or cooking at home.

Family-style dining: more restaurants will be serving meals family style with larger portions to share around the table.

Sources: McCormick and National Restaurant News

 

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