Tuesday, December 31, 2013

F is for: Framboise Champagne Jello Shots

Happy almost New Year!

Apologies for the last minute New Year's Eve idea... But my NYE plans are pretty last minute as well. As of two days ago, we had no plans so I decided to host a small get together for whoever wanted to ring in 2014 I'm a low key way.

Being the Jell-O shot aficionado that I am and being the champagne lover I am, it only seemed right to do some sort of champagne Jell-O shot for New Year's. (Similar to my French 75 shots, but with raspberries and chambord).

A popular addition to bubbly is adding a dash of raspberry or framboise liqueur, so I decided this would make a fabulous Jell-O shot as well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

F is for: Flaming S'mores Cocktail

You’ve heard about chestnuts roasting on an open fire at Christmastime, but what about marshmallows? 

And what if that open fire was right in your martini glass?

S’mores aren’t just for campfires in the summer. There’s nothing that says the delicious concoction can’t warm your belly in the winter.

You will need all of the ingredients for s’mores, plus alcohols to mimic the delicious dessert. I went with marshmallow vodka and crème de cocoa, along with a marshmallow-graham cracker-chocolate rimmed martini glass. (Godiva chocolate liqueur and/or chocolate vodka could be other yummy additions).

And of course the coolest part about this drink is you get to set it on fire. To learn how to {safely} accomplish that task and for the s'mores-tastic recipe, hop on over to Tablespoon. Cheers!

Friday, December 20, 2013

E is for: Epcot World Showcase {Drinking around the World}

The first time I visited Disney World, I was in high school. I distinctly remember walking around Epcot with my mom and little sister, and thinking "how fun would it be to come back after I turned 21 and drink my way around the world?"

Now, I'm not taking credit for the idea... as I'm sure others had thought of this even before I did. But you have to admit, this was pretty forward thinking for a 14-year-old.

Fast forward about 20 years, and a somewhat impromptu trip to Florida to escape the snow and cold of Connecticut, and I was finally able to live out my awesome idea. (Which, has apparently become sort of "the thing" to do at Disney as adults). 

I'm happy to report that I completed the #drinkingaroundtheworld challenge (yes, of course I hashtagged and documented my journey on instagram), along with my step sister and boyfriend who patiently put up with my annoying antics. I also learned a few things along the way, and therefore passing them onto you... my faithful blog readers.

UPDATE: I recently completed this challenge again, in 2019, and re-logged my experience with better photos and more food/drink options. You can read the updated version here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

E is for: Eggnog Jello Shots, Eggnog Martini & White Cosmo

It is because I love you... my faithful blog readers... so very much that I am posting this amazing recipe today, at least a couple days earlier than I had planned.

Because as I was making these for a party I'm attending this evening (ugly sweater party, you should see my outfit as I type this), it dawned on me....

Perhaps other people would want to make these for parties this weekend too!

Consider it my Christmas gift to all of you.

This idea was spawned partly from my eggnog pudding shots last year and partly from an eggnog martini I created for Stoli (see below). The end result was nothing short of scrumptious.

These aren't traditional in the sense that they don't use brandy or rum or bourbon. Instead I did a mixture of vanilla vodka and amaretto (though I think Creme de Cocoa or Frangelico would be bomb as well).

D is for: Deviled Eggs {Park Tavern Style}

recipe for Park Tavern Deviled eggs
You guys.

I am so freaking excited to share this post with you. Like, unnaturally excited.

If you've ever eaten at Park Tavern, you are sharing my excitement right now.

After my first trip to PT (the first of many during my time in SF), I wrote about my experience on the blog and declared these the best deviled eggs I'd ever had. This was not a lie and is still true to this day.

My friend Kim shared my love for these little devils and took it upon herself to recreate them based on some of the flavors she picked up on during one of her several trips to PT.

Similar to how I came up with my copycat Marlowe/Park Tavern brussels sprout chips, Kim totally nailed it. I had originally planned to just make her recipe, and then on a whim... I simply asked the restaurant if I could have the actual recipe. Much to my joy and surprise, they said yes! I'll still include notes with Kim's version in case you want to try them both out.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

D is for: Drunken Noodles {Penne alla Vodka}

Most people simply eat something they enjoy and that's the end of it. Many times, when I eat something I really like, I start thinking about the "why's" and the "how's."

Take vodka sauce for example. It's so simple, yet so good. And so different from traditional marinara sauce. It's got a little heat, a bright tomatoey flavor, and balanced with a touch of cream.

So when I came up with the idea of creating an easy vodka sauce featuring Stoli vodka, it got me thinking... what does the vodka really add anyways?

The Food Lab came to the rescue again... breaking it down in this article. The alcohol actually acts as a sugar to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes, so long as it's cooked off properly. They recommend 1/4 cup of vodka per quart of sauce.

I did a much higher concentrate, but I also allowed my sauce to simmer longer, which perhaps cooked off more of the booze. Either way, when paired with my favorite marinara sauce, it makes the perfect weeknight meal. Add chicken or shrimp for protein, or leave as-is for a vegetarian dish.

To read more and get the recipe, click here to head on over to orgnl.tv.

C is for: Chicken Bundles stuffed with Prosciutto, Spinach & Goat Cheese

When I’m trying to eat healthy, I end up eating A LOT of chicken. Sure, it’s good for you… high in protein, low in fat, blah, blah, blah.

But let’s face it… boneless chicken breasts can be pretty boring. And for all they boast in health benefits, they can sometimes lack in flavor.

Not to worry though, I have an easy fix for this. Simply stuff ‘em! 

You can pretty much choose whatever ingredients you want. I’ve done goat cheese & pecans in the past… but this time I decided to do prosciutto, spinach and goat cheese for my filling. Yes, I realize prosciutto and goat cheese aren’t the healthiest of options, but we’re only talking a small amount here. So as long as you don’t eat extra slices of prosciutto as you’re cooking you should be fine (I may or may not have done this…don’t judge).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

C is for: Christmas Jelly Shots

Fill in the blank.

Nothing says "holiday cheer" like ____________.

If you said "holiday jelly shots," then we can be friends.

December equals holiday parties.
Holiday parties equal booze.
Booze equals jelly shots.

This is about the extent of my math skills.

But I promise there is little to no math involved in making these delicious boozy treats. It's a take on ribbon gelatin desserts you probably grew up with as a kid. I just spiked the red and green layers with vanilla vodka for a cheery Christmas concoction.

To get the recipe and the step-by-step how-to, click here to head over to Tablespoon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

C is for: Candied & Pickled Jalapeños

Holy spicy and sweet.

If you like jalapenos, you've gotta try this.

My friend Sachi recently came to visit me in Connecticut and was absolutely raving about this candied jalapeno recipe. Being a lover of all things spicy and all things jalapeno, I knew I had to check it out.

I didn't follow her recipe exactly. Mostly because it called for canning the jalapenos. The only thing I know about canning is that my mom used to do it and it involved a lot of boiling of jars.

Just as I did with the aioli, I'm sure if I put my mind to it and researched a little, I could totally conquer canning as well. But I knew I was going to be eating these just as soon as they were ready (as opposed to sitting on a shelf), so I decided to do more of a candied/quick pickle approach that you can store in the fridge.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

B is for: Black Friday Breakfast Frittata & Green Bean Casserole Sliders

Black Friday is something I’ve never participated in. I have an aversion to large crowds of people fighting over discounted merchandise.

I prefer to do my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my home when possible (AKA online shopping), sometimes even collecting gifts before Thanksgiving. (Did I really just say that? Wow, I’m turning into my mom).

But for those of you who will be rising at the crack of dawn to brave the masses and wait in long lines… this recipe is for you (click here).

And if you’re like me and plan to just sit around and eat leftovers on Black Friday, well then, I have a recipe for you too (see below).

Remember my green bean casserole grilled cheese sliders (the ones that won bronze in a grilled cheese recipe contest?) Well, these are sorta based off those except much easier in that they just use leftover green bean casserole, turkey and dinner rolls from Thanksgiving, along with some brie cheese. (BTW... I hope you made yours with all homemade ingredients this year!) To get this super simple recipe, click here to head over to Tablespoon).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

B is for: Brie Mashed Potatoes

You need these potatoes on your Thanksgiving table.

No, I'm serious. NEED. THEM.

Recently I was at a local restaurant with some girlfriends, and one of the dishes was served with brie mashed potatoes. I don't even remember what the main dish was because the potatoes were so damned delicious. So creamy, so buttery, so subtly cheesy. I asked the waiter what was in them (besides the obvious... brie), and he told me sour cream.

This got me thinking. I already make my mashed potatoes with crème fraîche, which is basically a more fancy and tasty version of sour cream. I decided I would make my own recipe, but add some triple creme brie to the mix.

Want the ultimate proof that these potatoes need a spot on your turkey day spread? My brother in law, who doesn't even eat potatoes normally, ate these and loved them! So there you have it. BIL-approved. You NEED these potatoes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

B is for: Brine or not to brine?

colored turkeys at gozzi's turkey farm
For the last three Thanksgivings, I've brined my turkey. I'll admit, I sorta got caught up in the hype, the trendiness of having a fool-proof, uber-juicy bird. And sure enough, it got rave reviews from my family.

However, this also coincided with me starting to use farm fresh turkeys. So in the back of my head, I always wondered if the improved results were a product of that or the brining or both.

So I started doing some research. The more I read, the more I started to change my mind about brining. The osmosis thing sounds good in theory, but it really just creates the illusion of a moist turkey. In reality, it's more of a watery turkey. (And, to be perfectly honest, it's sort of a pain in the ass).

Then I read this food lab article, which actually did side-by-side tests of different techniques. I'm a sucker for a good experiment, and simply salting the poultry was the clear winner. Similarly, this L.A. Times article touts the "Judy Bird" technique used by Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. Considering I love the roasted chicken at Zuni, I was officially sold. No more brining. Or, I should say... no more wet brining. The Judy Bird recipe is considered a dry brine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

B is for: Brussels Sprout Chips

If you're familiar with this blog, you likely already know how much I adore brussels sprouts. They're probably my favorite vegetable.

You also likely know that I'm obsessed with the brussels sprout chips at Marlowe and Park Tavern in San Francisco.

I've been meaning to take my own crack at them for awhile, and finally got around to it this week. I'm fairly certain chef Jennifer Puccio flash fries hers, which is one of the reasons they taste so good. However, that seemed messy, so I decided to roast the leaves at a low temperature in the oven, similar to my method with kale and fennel chips.

They're seasoned with sea salt and a Meyer lemon zest. The result? Pretty damn close if I do say so myself. Just as I do at the restaurant, I inhaled the whole batch in about three minutes flat, so I know I did something right.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A is for: Aioli

I have a confession to make.

For a long time, I've been afraid of making aioli.

It's an irrational fear. Anyone who cooks as much as I do should be comfortable making an emulsion. I think the science behind it is what made me nervous.

Turns out, it's actually super easy.

So, the moral of today: conquer your fears.

Onto the aioli. Aioli means different things depending on where you're eating it. The name literally means "garlic + oil"... which are the only two ingredients when making it in Spain (specifically Catalonia), where I studied abroad. But in the French version (specifically Provence), it often includes egg yolk and is basically a homemade mayonnaise.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A is for: Apples with Salted Caramel Pudding Shots

The person who decided that salt and caramel should go together deserves a medal. I mean, really. It might be the most delicious combination of all time. The perfect marriage of salty and sweet. 

Leave it to the folks at Stoli to transform that lip-smacking combo into a vodka flavor. Leave it to me to turn it into the perfect boozy fall bite.

These fall pudding shots uses Stoli's Salted Karamel vodka and an Apple Creme liqueur I spotted at the liquor store. They turned out fabulous! And you know how I love to put boozy concoctions INSIDE things like fruit, pie crusts, brownies, etc. For these, I hollowed out some apples so you can eat the entire thing!

To get the recipe, head over to ORGNL.TV.

Z is for: 'Za {NYC Pizza Restaurant Review}

When my dad and step sister came to visit last month, one of the items on Dad's "bucket list" was to drive to New York City. As a wheat farmer from Montana, New York isn't a place he ever had a reason to visit. But now, with his daughter just two hours away in Connecticut, he wanted to see what the Big Apple was all about.

When I asked what he would like to see and do in NYC (keeping in mind we were only planning a day trip), the two things at the top of his list: the 9/11 Memorial and New York Pizza. I hadn't yet had a chance to visit Ground Zero yet, so I was on board for that. And I love me some pizza... soooooo, we suddenly had a nice little itinerary.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Z is for: Za'atar Chickpea Fries

Ladies and gentlemen... I present to you:

The Original French Fry. 

Or at least that's what I'm calling them.

These fried little morsels are called "panisse" in the South of France (specifically Marseille). I don't believe I ever tried them during my travels, but like socca, they are made with chickpea flour. (I do remember eating socca in Nice with my mom, which is more like a pancake.)

Instead of potato, these fries are made with chickpea/garbanzo bean flour. 

(BTW... these are also similar to panelle, which is served in Italy as a patty or fritter and often served in a sandwich.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Y is for: Yogurt Banana Pops

Early on in my blogging adventure, I was lamenting to my friend Rob how having a blog makes you realize there are no truly original ideas anymore. He asked what I meant and I told him that no matter how creative you think your new, outside-the-box recipe idea may be... chances are someone has already thought about it AND blogged about it.

Never believing me, he did his best to come up with the most ridiculous idea he could. His idea? A banana, dipped in yogurt and cereal and frozen like a popsicle. I laughed my "I know I'm right and you're wrong" laugh and proceeded to google his "new" idea.

Sure enough. Several PAGES of search results popped up. It's not to say it was a bad idea, just not a totally original one, so I decided I would at some point make his banana pops on the blog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

X is for: XO Eggplant

For awhile now, XO sauce has been this mysterious unicorn to me. It's hailed as this magical Chinese condiment, but one I had yet to try. And as someone with an alphabet-themed food blog, anything starting with the letter "X" is automatically on my radar.

Then Grub Street dubbed it "the most baller condiment" based on its high-end ingredients and steep price tag. "Ok," I thought, "this is something I need to try." 

The last time I was on letter X, I posed a question to my Twitter followers, soliciting the best recipe for the stuff. A Chinese woman replied back, asking why I wouldn't just buy some... equating it to trying to make ketchup. Huh. Well I suppose she had a point. I would never make ketchup. I tabled the idea for the time being, instead making Xacuti and tabbing the XO for a future blog post.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

W is for: Whole Wheat {homemade} Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

I'm extremely excited about this post for a number of reasons.

Reason #1: I made whole wheat pasta! From scratch! With my new pasta maker!

Reason #2: This clam sauce is ridiculously easy and ridiculously good, and I'm pumped to share it with you guys.

Reason #3: I FINALLY get to show off my new dining room table that I purchased before the move.

I am absolutely, positively in love with this table. However, the windows in my dining room face south, which makes it difficult for photographing. But I was determined to make it work, and I'm so glad I did.

Friday, October 25, 2013

W is for: Witch Hat Cheese Ball & Broomsticks {for Halloween}

Sometimes the way things look in my head are NOT the way they turn out when I try to execute them.

But you know what they say... if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Case in point: this post.

My vision for these fun fall appetizers was totally different than what it turned out to be, but I think they are equally adorable and perfect for your Halloween get togethers!

I brought the "witch hat" to book club last night. We carved pumpkins, chatted (a little) about this month's book (Orange is the New Black), and drank lots of wine. (Mine is the smiley one on the right... sort of what I look like when I've had too much prosecco).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

W is for: Walking Dead {Zombie Brain} Jelly Shots

Thanks to the 80’s horror flick, Return of the Living Dead, we know that Zombies like to feast on human brains.

Well guess what? I like to feast on jelly shots.

So what better way to booze up your Halloween get-together than with some zombie snacks for your undead party goers?

These brain jelly shots are perfect for eerie entertaining. They are ghoulishly good. Demonically delicious. Creepily... well, you get the idea.

They also take the term "jelly shot" to a whole new level with a slimy surprise in the middle. Trick or Treat? How about both! To get the walking dead recipe, head over to Tablespoon.

And for even more Halloween fun, don't forget to check out the Zombie Jelly Shots from last Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

V is for: Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

As much as I miss the mild California weather, (with no threat of winter just around the corner), I'm really enjoying my first New England fall.

The colors are ridiculous right now. An autumn rainbow of reds, oranges, yellows in every shade you can imagine. In fact, I just returned home from a overnight trip to Maine, and the colors were gorgeous.

There's also that slight bite in the air right now. The kind that makes you want to curl up on the couch and watch movies all day (or perhaps a marathon of Million Dollar Listing. Don't judge).

Chili is the perfect food for those cool fall days. And because I'm not *quite* yet sick of the pumpkin craze, I decided to make a vegetarian pumpkin chili. (Vegan if you don't add sour cream or cheese at the end). The pumpkin is subtle and adds a perfect creamy texture to this chili. There's also a secret surprise ingredient. To find out what it is and to get the recipe, head on over to Tablespoon. Happy couch surfing!

Monday, October 14, 2013

U is for: Uttapam {with brown rice & pumpkin}

Once again I was stumped with one of the alphabet's more obscure letters, and once again I was saved by the delicious cuisine of India.

Remember my Xacuti I was so proud of during my last turn at "X?" My dear friend Sachi's mum, Shree, coached me through it and it turned out beautifully. I once again called on Shree to help me create my own version of Uttapam.

Uttapam is a thick, savory pancake served in India. It's also known as Indian Pizza. I've actually sampled it several times at one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Dosa. Appropriately, the restaurant serves a wide variety of "dosa," which is a thinner version of uttapam. Both use the same rice-based batter to create a variety of delicious combinations.

I would equate dosa more to the consistency of a crepe with savory filling, while uttapam is more of a thick pancake with the filling cooked in the batter. Both are served with sambhar or coconut chutney.

Monday, September 30, 2013

T is for: Three Ingredient Beef Tacos

Aside from the impending heat wave scheduled to hit Central Connecticut this week, I think we can all agree that once the calendar turns to October... fall is officially here.

And you know what fall means? (Aside from all things pumpkin)... Time to bust out my slow cooker.

There's really nothing easier than popping a cut of meat into a slow cooker in the morning, only to come home to an aromatic house and dinner just a few minutes away from being ready.

This particular recipe takes the simplicity aspect one step further. All you need for this one? Three ingredients. (Well, four if you count salt, which I don't). Just like my Coca-Cola marinade, this one uses the acid from soda to help break down the meat. Add your favorite taco ingredients, and you've got a quick and inexpensive dinner that couldn't be easier.

To get the recipe, click here to head over to Tablespoon (plus, you'll get 10 other slow cooker recipes using Coke). Happy Fall and Happy Slow Cooking!

Friday, September 27, 2013

S is for: #SireSF

Wow. I can't believe it's been half a year already. This week marks six months exactly that I started my new career at ESPN. 

As many of you know, my big move from San Francisco to Connecticut this spring was preceded by what I can only describe as the most epic goodbye tour ever. Knowing how much I would miss SF and my beloved West Coast lifestyle, I decided to properly say goodbye in the only way I knew how... through food, friends, drinks and debauchery. 

Being the active social media participant that I am, I documented the entire thing on Instagram, using the hashtag #SireSF. It was a fun way to keep track of my “funemployment” tour, and a good way to get my friends involved as well. What ensued was not only a memorable and thorough farewell to the city I fell in love with, but also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a 7-week hiatus from the working world and spend quality time with my amazing friends. Yes, my waistline and my wallet took a bit of a hit, but I wouldn’t trade one second of it for anything.

Side note: I’d been planning to do this blog post for awhile in anticipation for my next round of “S” on the blog, but like most things in my life, I procrastinated and put it off until I had inadvertently moved onto T already. I’m sure my readers will grant forgiveness on this one very important instance. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

T is for: Tablespoon {Rainbow Mooncake Jelly Shots}

Today I'm pleased to announce a new partnership with the website Tablespoon.com. Similar to my association with ORGNL.TV, I will be crafting recipe ideas and posts to be featured on their website. If you are not already familiar with Tablespoon, I encourage you to check it out. The site features lots of fun and easy recipe ideas, and it even allows you to create your own recipe box.

My inaugural post features something very near and dear to my heart... Jelly Shots! Since I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject, this was a perfect thing to kick off my Tablespoon career.

Unlike some of my past jelly shot recipes, this one is super super simple. What makes them special is the mooncake details. For those of you unfamiliar, mooncakes are a delicacy offered between friends and family during the Mid-Autumn festival, which is a harvest festival for lunar worship and moon watching in Chinese culture. Traditionally, these are baked goods, but why make a cake when you can make a cake-shaped shot? (That's always my motto anyways).

Click here to head over to Tablespoon to check out the recipe!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

S is for: Serious Pie {Seattle Restaurant Review}

OK... it's time to get serious.

I've had a lot of great pizza in my day, with a lot of favorites for different reasons. There's the broccoli rabe pizza at Delfina, in my old 'hood in SF (which I never managed to blog about sadly). There's the delicious white clam pizza at Pepe's here in Connecticut. The famous margherita pie at Tony's in San Francisco. Flour + Water, Zero Zero, and Pizzeria Bianco all would make my Top 10 list as well.

But on my recent trip home to the West Coast, I had the pleasure of dining at this Tom Douglas restaurant and it's definitely at or near the top of my all-time favorite pizzas.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

S is for: Succotash

So this is my version of succotash.

And then there is THIS version made famous by Sylvester the cat.

I'll admit, up until this blog post, my knowledge of "succotash" was basically limited to the Looney Tunes character and his famous catchphrase. Turns out, it's a pretty tasty side dish as well.

I got the idea for this on a recent trip to this little farm stand near where I get my hair done. On this particular day, they were offering fresh corn, zucchini, and a variety of locally grown hot peppers. I bought a bunch of everything, not really knowing what to do with it. A friend suggested succotash and I was sold.

Monday, August 26, 2013

R is for: Raspberry Lime Rickey Cocktail

I made this delicious concoction before I took off for Williamsport, PA for two weeks with every intention of working on my blog during my down time while covering the Little League World Series.

Like most well-laid out plans, that didn't happen. Instead, I spent any free time hanging out with my newfound friends on this amazing crew and sleeping in to make up for the evenings spent at 33 East, Francos and Brickyard. 

I made a great choice. Though exhausting, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to cover such an incredible event and I'm confident these people will be in my life forever.

Long story short... this blog post is long overdue.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Q is for: Quesadillas with Cowboy Caviar & Steak

Ahhhhhh.... Q week. Not quite as challenging as X, but still quite the quandary.

I've done quinoa (twice), I've done quiches, I've even done an actual restaurant named Q. And yes, I've already done quesadillas.

But quesadillas can be done so many different ways, that I figure it's OK to do a different twist on them. Especially when it means sharing this delicious recipe for Cowboy Caviar.

If you remember from my July 4th post, Cowboy Caviar was on the menu for our celebration at Gig Harbor with my siiiiister and BIL's family. Sis makes this for pretty much any gathering, and sorta like my baked brie, it's a crowd pleaser that's always requested when she attends an event.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

P is for: {grilled} Peach Basil Ice Cream

Recently, I was reunited with one of my best friends, Devon Fox, while MLB held its All Star festivities in New York. It was like the good ol' San Francisco days, enjoying food, music, baseball and laughs until the wee hours of the morning. After the work portion of her trip was complete, she hopped on a train to come see what Connecticut was all about.

Since cooking together was always such a big part of our lives back in SF, we decided we would make dinner at home. (Following a boozy lunch and spa day of course). After scooping her up at the train station, we decided to swing by one of the local farmer's markets that was billed as "one of the biggest in Hartford."

We giggled a little when we walked up. The Ferry building it was not, but it still had a couple of good finds, including some mint mojito Italian ice from Chet's. On a 100-degree day, this was a life saver. We bought individual cups to cool us off as we perused the produce and went back for a pint later on. We also picked up some local peaches, as Devon had suggested grilling them and serving them with vanilla ice cream. Fast forward to our post-massage-induced coma and an 80-dollar shopping trip at Whole Foods in which we hit up the antipasto AND trail mix bars, picked up some fancy cheese, steak for the grill, and about a million other things that sounded good at the time. Well, we somehow forgot to buy ice cream, and we also forgot to grill the peaches.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

P is for: Patriotic Roundup for 4th of July

Happy 4th of July week!

I am currently halfway through my West Coast vacation and enjoying every second of my time here. It's been a bit of a whirlwind... Hartford to Seattle last Friday, with a layover in Minneapolis. Stayed with the siiiiister and BIL (brother in law), then Woodinville for a wedding of one of my college friends. Sunday I jetted down to San Francisco for a (way too) quick trip to catch up with friends and enjoy the unseasonably warm SF weather (kayaking on the bay!) Then it was back to Seattle to celebrate the 4th of July and mom's 60th birthday. I stayed with four different friends in four nights with 3 airplane rides. Phew!

We will be spending our 4th of July with BIL's family in Gig Harbor. I'm looking forward to spending time on the boat, soaking up some rays, and relaxing with friends and family. Along with most American families, we will be BBQ'ing for the 4th. I will be making my Orzo Pasta Salad, the siiiiister will be making her "Cowboy Caviar" (I'm certain this will be making an appearance on the blog in the future), and I might whip up some white peach sangria just because. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday, and if you are looking for some ideas for your own Patriotic Parties, try some of my ideas below, or check out last year's 4th of July roundup.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

P is for: Pad Thai with Brown Rice Noodles {Recipe Remake}

Recently when I posted my whole wheat orzo pasta salad, I immediately got a text from my best friend Kimmy telling me how excited she was to try it. Turns out, her son Tucker *loves* orzo, and is awesome about trying new and different flavors.

She then challenged me to come up with a healthier version of Pad Thai. Admittedly, Pad Thai has been on my "list" for awhile but I hadn't yet gotten around to making it. This seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Challenge accepted, Kimmy!

I decided to adapt a recipe I received from frequent e is for eat guest blogger, Jullie Anne of Mangoes and Palm Trees ages ago. I had spotted brown rice pad thai noodles in the store recently, so I knew that would be part of this recipe remake. Kimmy also informed me that sodium intake is something she keeps an eye on for her little one. Unfortunately, because of the fish sauce, this has about 750 mg of sodium per serving. If you omit the fish sauce, this number will drop to just 90 mg per serving.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

P is for: Pepe's Pizza {Restaurant Review}

The first time I heard about Pepe's Pizza was long before I moved to Connecticut. It was about two years ago to be exact. That's when I became friends with Ben.

In one of our early conversations, I asked him what his last meal on earth would be, and without hesitation, he practically yelled "Pepe's Pizza," which he remembers fondly from spending summers in Connecticut. He also recalled stories from college when, after a few drinks, he would call Pepe's and try to talk them into overnighting a pizza to him in Arizona.

I was intrigued. But also skeptical.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I decided I was taking the job at ESPN. Ben and I were having lunch as part of the #SireSF goodbye tour, and he made me promise to wait to experience Pepe's until he could be there to walk me though it. Fortunately, I only had to wait two months after my arrival in CT, and as a bonus, our friend Matthew was also in town to sample one of the oldest pizzerias in the country.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

P is for: Palmer Jello Shots {for Father's Day + U.S. Open}

As my friends and loyal blog followers have been pointing out... it's been far too long since I posted a jello shot recipe.

So when Brit.co asked me to come up with something for tea week, I decided now was a great time to get back into the game and make some Arnold Palmer Jello Shots. (I guess technically these would be John Daly jello shots since they contain alcohol... whatever you call them, they are delicious).

These will be officially launching on the site this Tuesday, with full step-by-step instructions. However, when I posted these on instagram yesterday, several people were interested in making them for Father's Day, as it's a great tie-in with the U.S. Open and golf. You can use lemon vodka or sweet tea vodka or a combination of both. Serve them atop lemon slices or you can even make them inside the peels for a more portable shot.


O is for: ORGNL.TV

If you follow e is for eat on Facebook, then you've already seen the fabulous photo shoot I did with the talented Don Bell. The motivation behind it? Well, I've been wanting to do a shoot like this for awhile... but had just never gotten around to it. Recently I agreed to do some guest contributing on ORGNL.TV, which officially launches July 1st (though you can check out my first article here.) As they were constructing the bio pages, one of the editors asked for a few of my "lifestyle" headshots I was like... "ummm, what do you mean?"

While it wasn't totally necessary, I figured it was a good time to get some professional photos taken for use on the blog and other future endeavors. I immediately thought of Don. He is soon headed to L.A. to start a job with Fox Sports1, but he has been an anchor at ESPN for the last three years. Our time at the Worldwide leader barely overlapped at all, but long enough for me to know his talents are just as strong behind the camera. I texted him to see if he would be able to help me out before he left, and he asked if I was available the next day. Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity, I was able to book two of our awesome hair/makeup girls from ESPN (Renee Russo and Maureen Sullivan), who were able to come to my house on super short notice and glam me up for the shoot.

Don Bell Photography
I told them all I wanted it to be chill, natural, "me." Just hanging out in my kitchen like I do with much of my free time. Needless to say, I'm ecstatic with the photos. I think they nailed it. The relentless rain even broke for a bit so we could snap a couple outside, and we randomly found a little garden at a school next door to my place. We *really* wanted to get a shot of me tossing the cherries up in the air, but couldn't figure out a way to execute correctly. Oh well, I think the shot of me holding them and *contemplating* throwing them turned out great. What do you think? (P.S. I've also added an "about me" section to the blog, found here or by clicking the tabs above).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

O is for: OK...it's time. {plus, a chance at $1,000 in pampering}


I've been saying it for weeks...or maybe months. But I swear, I'm finally going to do it. And I'm going to lean on my faithful blog readers to hold me to my word.

I need to drop a few pounds.

There. I said it.

Yes, I realize that most of you will immediately chime in with: "Are you kidding me? You're tiny." Yes, I'm only 5'4" (on a good day). And yes, I carry my weight pretty well. But believe me, it's time. You know why I know it's time? I was running errands last week, sporting my oldest, most comfy pair of skinny jeans. As I was getting out of my car to fill it up with gas, I heard a terrifying sound. The sound of my jeans splitting. I blacked out from embarrassment for a second, but I'm fairly certain I let out a "NOOOOOOOOOO" when I discovered the gaping hole. Yes, they were old but I know exactly why they ripped. They were definitely tight, as are most of my clothes these days. And when your job involves appearing on national TV everyday, fitting into your clothes is pretty darn important.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

O is for: Orzo with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Feta & Pine Nuts

As you know, I've been trying to eat a little healthier these days. But something I've always said is that healthy food doesn't have to sacrifice the taste.

Take this delicious orzo salad for instance. I subbed out whole wheat orzo for the regular stuff and only used a half cup of it (dry). The rest is packed with things like olives, sun dried tomatoes, a little feta and some pine nuts. Each serving is only 100 calories, 9 grams of carbs, and almost two grams of protein.

I love making something like this and then eating it as leftovers for the next couple days alongside a lean protein like chicken or fish. I've found it's definitely easier to eat healthy when you sort of plan out your meals like this. (And it keeps me from ordering chicken caesar salad wraps at the ESPN caf. :))

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

O is for: Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread

Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread.

I know, it's sort of a mouthful to say. But it's also a mouthful of deliciousness. It also might be the best banana bread I've ever made.

I'm firmly under the opinion that chocolate should always be a main ingredient in banana bread, even though it sorrrrrrta makes it a tad less healthy. But I say... use dark chocolate, which is an antioxidant and you'll feel much better about it.

Unless you eat a whole loaf. In one sitting. (Which has been known to happen with this delicious banana bread). It's. That. Good.

It's sort of like a banana bread version of my favorite ice cream, Cherry Garcia. (which, you should for sure make with any leftover cherries and chocolate you might have after making this delicious bread).

The mini versions work great for gifts or to prevent yourself from eating a full-sized loaf in one sitting. :) Happy banana bread making!

Friday, May 17, 2013

N is for: New England Clam Chowder Bites

Even though it's touristy, one of my favorite things in San Francisco is getting a sourdough bread bowl filled with piping hot clam chowder soup at Fisherman's Wharf. (Followed by Irish Coffees at the BV, but that's a story for another post).

And while the sourdough bread is very much San Francisco, the clam chowder is very much New England...and that's where the idea for these little morsels was formed.

Of course...this isn't a true bread bowl, as I used fillo (phyllo?) dough out of convenience, but they would make a great addition to your next party. I call them deconstructed, because it includes all the flavors of clam chowder, but not much broth fits in the cups. And if you are simply looking for a good clam chowder recipe...feel free to use this for that and ditch the cups altogether!

Friday, May 10, 2013

M is for: Mill at 2t {Restaurant Review}

Hello friends.

It's been awhile.

A million apologies for this 6-week hiatus. It wasn't planned. It wasn't intentional. But sometimes life gets in the way of your food blog. It happens.

Seven weeks ago today, Mays and I landed at Bradley International Airport...feeling a little sleep deprived and weary but excited for the new adventure.

I knew the transition was going to be challenging. Not only from a work standpoint, but from a lifestyle standpoint. Connecticut is nice, but San Francisco it is not. And pretty much every time I told someone where I had moved from, the response was almost always the same. Some variation of a scrunched up nose/raised eyebrow followed by: "WHY??!??"

It is for this reason I came in with fairly low expectations. I'm here for the job opportunity, not the social life. But I can honestly tell you that it's not that bad. I have New York and Boston just a short drive away (and have already visited NYC four times). And while the food options here are vastly limited compared to San Francisco dining, there are definitely some gems to be found. As my friend Kim and I discovered during my apartment-hunting trip, the state motto is "Full of Surprises," and I've definitely been pleasantly surprised since moving here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

M is for: Mays on a Plane

Welp...the cat's out of the bag.

In what's been a horribly-kept secret (kudos Bay Area Sports Guy), many of you know I recently moved to Connecticut to take a job with ESPN. Considering my first day of work was Monday, I feel I can now finally talk about it here on the blog. (Apologies to those I haven't been able to respond to on Twitter, Instagram, etc in the past few weeks).

First of all, I'm incredibly sad to say good bye to San Francisco. I absolutely fell in love with the city, the food, and especially the people. In my five years at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, I covered some unforgettable events (2 World Series Championships, a perfect game, and a trip to Japan to cover the A's in 2008). I also ate some amazing food and bettered my own skills in the kitchen, constantly inspired by the amazingly fresh produce available in California. But most importantly, I made some amazing friends and connections whom I will cherish for a lifetime. I was fortunate to properly say good bye to most of those people (and restaurants) on an epic tour of the Bay Area that I plan to document here on the blog at a later time. (If you follow me on Instagram, I took you along for the ride).

Monday, March 25, 2013

M is for: March Madness {Buffalo Chicken Sliders}

Considering I haven't been working over the past four weeks, I'm feeling a little detached from March Madness this year. Working in sports television usually translates to a palpable buzz around the office come tournament time. There are generally several people hosting bracket pools and everyone is talking about their pick to win it all.

That's not to say I'm not going to be totally into the drama and excitement that comes with the NCAA Tournament. And since I've also been neglecting the blog lately, I figured that cooking up a March Madness appetizer would be a perfect opportunity to whet my appetite for basketball.

I don't know about you...but whenever I think of watching a big sporting event, buffalo wings always come to mind. I love the tangy, spicy flavor cooled off by ranch or blue cheese dressing. But what I don't generally love is how messy they can be. Sure...often that's part of the fun in eating wings, but let's be honest...who wouldn't appreciate a cleaner...and just as delicious...option?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

M is for: Mussel Madness 7 {& recipe for Thai-style Mussels}

"Everyday I'm musseling."

Yup...I used that joke about 85 times on Saturday. And yes, I thought I was hilarious.

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to join in on a longstanding tradition that includes some of my very favorite things: wine, gourmet cheese, seafood, the beach, and friends. Aside from the 50 mph winds, it couldn't have been a more perfect day.

Devon and I were invited to "Mussel Madness 7" by our co-worker, David Koppett. As you might have guessed by the name, this is the 7th year for this amazing event. It started out small the first year...maybe 7-10 people and has grown to over close to 200 people, ranging in ages from babies to 80 years old.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

M is for: Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto {Recipe Remake}

I love risotto. 

Like, really really love it. When I see it on the menu at an Italian restaurant, it’s always in the running for things I consider ordering.

But here’s the problem…as much as I adore the creamy texture that Arborio or Carnaroli rice creates for traditional risotto…I’ve really been making an effort recently to only eat brown or black rice these days. So I decided…why not brown rice risotto?

I knew it would take longer, but I decided it would be a nice experiment on the blog. (I would also be interested to try something like farro…but I was making dinner for my celiac friend Devon, so I stuck with rice).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

M is for: Miso Soup with Mushrooms {& moving}

Hello my darling blog followers. Once again, I find myself apologizing for the hiatus on e is for eat. My life has been a whirlwind these days, and unfortunately the blog has taken a back seat. Though…not to worry, I promise to bring you several delicious recipes and adventures in the coming weeks. (Starting today!)

The main reason for my absence is because I’m moving. I realize this will come as a shock to those who know just how much I adore San Francisco and all of the culinary treats it has to offer…both in the way of markets and restaurants. I cannot quite yet reveal the reason for the move (though it’s become one of the worst kept secrets in the Bay Area). But in due time, I will let everyone in on the exciting news. In the meantime, I have been doing my best to take full advantage of the short time I have remaining in San Francisco by doing as many things in the city as possible before I leave. (If you follow me on instagram, you have been along for the ride with my #SireSF posts).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

N is for: Niners, New Orleans & the Super Bowl {French 75 Jello Shots}

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I dream about jello shots.

I know. It's weird. And probably a problem. But not when it comes to my lovely and loyal blog readers...especially those who will be rooting for the 49ers on Super Bowl Sunday.

As many of my friends know, I love me a good French 75, which consists of Champagne (love my bubbles), sugar, lemon juice and gin. While I'm not normally a gin drinker, somehow the tartness and sweetness balance out the "I just ate one of those pine tree car fresheners" taste.

I've been wanting to make a jello shot version of this cocktail for quite some time...and decided the Super Bowl would be the perfect opportunity.

After all, champagne is THE drink for celebrating championships...and I think the "French" part of the drink fits in perfectly with the French influence in New Orleans. To celebrate the 49ers, I needed to make them red and gold...and that's how I dreamed up these brilliant boozy bites.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

M is for: Mango Black Rice, Chipotle Squash & Blackened Salmon

The other day, I was texting with my friend Cindy, and she says to me "How on earth do you have time to blog?"

Well, the short answer to that question is...I make blackened salmon at 11 in the morning.

Yes, my schedule is weird. But it actually works for food blogging, as I generally have lots of natural light to work with at the times when I'm actually able to cook. The only downfall is filling my apartment with smoke first thing in the morning and smelling like a campfire for the rest of the day.

We all have to make sacrifices.

But I digress. I'm super excited to share this recipe. It's one I started making five or six years ago. I don't recall where exactly I found the recipe, but I've tweaked it over the years and sort of made it my own. Also, I think it pairs perfectly with the Super Bowl taking place in New Orleans this week and all of the Cajun food being consumed in NOLA. (Go 49ers!)
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