Wednesday, December 6, 2017

F is for: Fried Mac 'n Cheese Balls

A couple weeks ago, Justin and I hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new NYC apartment. My mom flew in for the holiday, and we also hosted various friends who did not have a chance to head home.

Being the psycho organized planner that I am, I sent out several emails in anticipation of the big feast. I have certain staples that are always on my own Thanksgiving table (GBC, garlic mashed potatoes, Grand Marnier sweet potatoes, sourdough stuffing... just to name a few.)

However, I wanted to make sure we also included dishes that were special to our guests. My friends made several suggestions, including macaroni and cheese. Feeling like we already had enough side dishes to go with dinner, I decided to turn the idea into an appetizer. A cheesy, breaded, deep fried, glorious appetizer.

Monday, December 4, 2017

E is for: Eggs en Cocotte with Crab

Hopefully most of my readers know by now that I'm the new floor reporter for Food Network's reboot of the Iron Chef franchise (it's called Iron Chef Showdown, and it airs on Wednesday nights at 9pm ET/PT, so if you don't already... PLEASE watch.)

Anyways, what many of you DON'T know, is how I got the job.

I'll save you what my friends call one of my "yarns" (long stories that tend to drone on endlessly), and just tell you that it included a live audition at the Food Network studios in NYC. Actual chefs competed with a "secret ingredient," and I had to interview them throughout the process.

The ingredient that day was eggs, and one of the chefs made something called "Eggs en Cocotte." To be completely honest, I had never really heard of it before, though in retrospect I had definitely eaten them previously without knowing the fancy name.

Basically "en cocotte" is a French term that refers to the way the eggs are cooked. (In small vessels or ramekins.) It's a very elegant way of serving eggs, and I thought it would be fun to share with you here on the blog.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

D is for: Dad's Clam Chowder

Does anyone else feel like fall has had a bit of an identity crisis?

The beginning of it was super hot, almost unbearable summer temperatures. Then we got some bone-chilling 32 degree days last week, and now it's back in the 40's and 50's.

Regardless, autumn is finally here and that definitely means sweater weather. And scarf weather. But for the purposes of this blog, it is most certainly soup weather. A warm, thick, creamy bowl to warm you up on the coldest of days.

My dad's clam chowder definitely checks off all those boxes. He made it for Justin and me when we were home visiting Montana this past September, and I couldn't wait to share it with you here on the blog.

While it's perfect for fall, you can really justify making it anytime of year.

It's just that good.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

C is for: Champagne! {Part III: Paris}

The third leg of our French adventure wrapped up in La Ville Lumière (City of Light.) Paris was not initially high on Kim's list, having visited previously when she had recently discovered she was pregnant. I assured her it would be a much different experience this go around, especially considering she was not allowed to drink Champagne OR eat cheese on her first visit. (Two of my most favorite French activities.)

Personally, I had only been to Paris back in 2002 when I was traveling through Europe following my study abroad program. It was one of the only portions of my six week trip where I traveled alone, so I was excited to return with a friend.

Despite the rainy weather, I was determined to make Paris just as memorable for Kim as our stops in Versailles and Reims.

Monday, November 6, 2017

C is for: Champagne! {Part II: Reims}

Being the Champagne lover that I am, this one has been on the bucket list for awhile. I always enjoyed my frequent visits to Sonoma & Napa while living in the Bay Area, but THIS... this is the birthplace of my favorite wine of all time.

It is my mothership.

As you may or may not already know, any winery can produce sparkling wine, but you can only call it "Champagne" (with a capital C) if it hails from the Champagne region of France.

For that reason, this was the star portion of the trip, which we planned everything else around. So after our relaxing day and night in Versailles, we set off for our 3 day trip to Reims.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

C is for: Champagne! {Part I: Versailles}

It was around this time last fall when my friend John reached out to me with an unusual request. He was planning a special present for his wife Kim's birthday, wanting to gift her a girls trip, a fun getaway and little break from work and mommy life. (Insert "awwww" sound effects here.)

Being the frequent globe trotter that I am and one of Kim's closest friends, I was a natural choice and I of course said yes! That was the easy part. Deciding on the perfect location was a bit more challenging.

We quickly came to the conclusion that a visit to the Champagne region of France would be on the itinerary, considering our mutual obsession affinity for the bubbly. After pondering several other Western Europe locations, we eventually came to the conclusion that sticking within north-central France made the most sense.

Seeing as how neither of us had been to Versailles, we added that to the list, and rounded it out with a couple days in Paris. Oui oui!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

C is for: {Thai} Cashew Chicken with Caulflower Rice

I continue to marvel at how busy I constantly manage to be, despite not having to go to work five days a week. The last two months have been an absolute whirlwind, and I'm just now starting to catch my breath. Of course, the blog is always the first to suffer, as evidenced by the fact I've gone almost two whole months without a post.

Between my trip to France (still need to blog about), our 3-week Northwest road trip (future blog series), and picking up and moving my whole life to Brooklyn... I haven't left myself a whole lot of time for E is for Eat. In the midst of the traveling and chaos, I've also managed to gain a few (ok, several) pounds to the point that some of my clothes stopped fitting.

I decided it was time for a reset. I'm sorrrta doing a Paleo-ish eating plan. (I say sorta, as I just downed a salad with quinoa on it, which doesn't technically fit.) But, for the most part, I'm avoiding grains, dairy and legumes and cutting out alcohol for at least a couple weeks. It's only been a week and a half and already I'm feeling less bloated, with much more energy.

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