Sweetiekins

During my recent trip to Scottsdale, AZ, for work which included a day trip to Sedona and enjoy the ridiculously amazing weather and the gorgeous red rock landscape with my very sweet Filipino aunty of a cubicle mate, Lourdes. If you’re following my gastrogasmic adventures on the accompanying Facebook page you’ll have seen some of the incredible meals from that trip.

IMG_0148

My lunch at SaltRock Southwest Kitchen in Sedona, AZ

 

One of those meals followed me home when, a few weeks ago, Lourdes showed me that she had attempted to make these roasted sweet peppers we had ordered for lunch at a small resort in Sedona. She shared one with me and regardless of what they say about food always tasting better on vacation it’s very difficult to mess up oven-roasted mini sweet peppers.  The one thing she hadn’t been able to get was the aioli. I was so inspired that I decided to stop by the Aldi that just opened up down the road (bringing back some fun memories).

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, from Foodfanatic

My own method for cooking up these little babies is to

  1. Toss with (very little) avocado oil or olive oil,
  2. sprinkle with some coarse salt and fresh ground pepper,
  3. You can also add a sprinkle of garlic powder if you want a little extra something,
  4. Roast on a baking tray at 400 F for 20-30 minutes turning about halfway through (fair warning I like them lightly charred so adjust the time as desire).

Simple right? And unlike some other roasted vegetables these taste really good on their own with very little help. But if you’re looking for something to go with them you can mix this aioli up:

  1. Crush 1 large clove of garlic into a small bowl,
  2. Add about a teaspoon of lime juice and a teaspoon of harissa,
  3. Mix in a heaping spoonful of mayonnaise (or I use vegenaise) and an equal amount of sour cream.

Alternatively, and I’ve done this a couple of times, you can just use a butter knife to cut through one side of the pepper and put about a 1-2 teaspoons worth of goat cheese and just consume that heck out of those babies!

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An (Armchair)Adventure with Some Seriously Sexy Food

I’m thinking I need to take a trip soon to help quell the over-flowing wanderlust I’ve been suffering from lately. And not one of those well-planned out trips with reservations and logistics. I mean the kind that happen because you’re on the verge of sleep deprivation and someone starts off with “You know what would be epic…?” and ends with you waking up to the sound of sheep under the shadow of Stonehenge (because it’s the one not-cloudy morning in England for the month).

But in the meantime I still have over 1,000 emails to clear out of my inbox at work and I’ve been in bed by 10 pm all week (and it’s already Monday!) so I’ll just have to make do with this little treat I found during this evening’s browsing (follow the link to travel photos that go with the amazing looking recipe pictured below):

 

Raspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in CookingRaspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in CookingRaspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in Cooking

Raspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in Cooking

Just a Little Snack

Personal Pear Pizza with Stilton & Walnuts, from Ono Kitchen

Personal Pear Pizza with Stilton & Walnuts, from Ono Kitchen

I don’t do New Years resolutions. If you aren’t going to take charge of you life all the time then you aren’t doing it right. Doing what right? One might ask. Life. You’re not doing it right. Try again.

Just so you know… I’m not skinny and I’m not “eating great” while “losing weight”. Except that eating great bit. I try to do that whenever possible. So here’s a little snack I found while looking around the great wide web of the internet after work today. I feel like this would also work great with a goat cheese/rosemary/honey combo.

And while we’re at it, how about a drink? Something warm and creamy, perhaps?

Coconut Rum Spiked S’more Hot Chocolate

Coconut Rum Spiked S’more Hot Chocolate, from Margaritas in the Rain (There are more pictures on the original page).

Yep. That works!

And now to go read the latest issue of Saga

GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

It’s getting warm and slightly uncomfortable weather wise but things are also growing in the garden and we’re planning to get an umbrella for our back yard so we can actually enjoy our outdoor furniture. Now if only my back yard looked a little something like this:

Santorini-blue-and-white-paradise

This month’s menu is inspired by a little Mediterranean Island sun. Meant to be enjoyed outside with with lots of loud friends and family.

Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme

“Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme” From Leite’s Culinaria

Beefsteak Tomato Salad

“Beefsteak Tomato Salad” from Martha Stewart

Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

“Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta” from Martha Stewart

Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt

“Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt” from Applemint

Zucchini Patty Sandwiches

“Zucchini Patty Sandwiches” from Whole Living

Lamb

“Lamb” from Joseph De Leo Photography

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

“Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip” from Our Best Bites

Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

“Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake” from Simple Provisions

Honey-Ricotta Turnovers

“Honey-Ricotta Turnovers” from Martha Stewart

The Close to a Great Month: National Grilled Cheese Month

How many of you actually remembered that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? How many of you think it should be moved to a more appropriate month? Like January of February… Hmmm? Yeah. Think how much sexier it would be to get (and eat) a grilled cheese on V-Day.

Well I didn’t come up with April for this fantabulous food of amazing but someone did and I’ve been honoring those who made up foodie holidays before me. But I think that me and my Foodie Nation need to make a few changes here and move the month long celebration to a month where we’re not thinking about bathing suits and getting tanned in places that haven’t seen the sun in a while. But in all fairness, grilled cheese is amazing all year round and always will be. So here is my compilation of all the grilled cheese sandwiches I have seen and approved of this month:

Corned Beef Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions and Grainy Mustard

“Corned Beef Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions and Grainy Mustard” from Closet Cooking

Parmigiano & Fig Grilled Cheese

“Parmigiano & Fig Grilled Cheese” from Love & Lemons

Grilled Beer and Cheese Sandwich

“Grilled Beer and Cheese Sandwich” from Honest Fare

This recipe actually uses homemade beer bread so heck yeah I approve.

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich

“French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich” from Portuguese Girl Cooks

Roasted Red Pepper Portobello Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

“Roasted Red Pepper Portobello Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese” from BS’ In The Kitchen

BS’ In the Kitchen kept up with the Grilled Cheese Month a lot better than I did so check out the site for even MORE.

Spinach and artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich

“Spinach and artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich” from Joy the Baker

Check out the link to see all the “how to” photos that go along with the recipe.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

“Breakfast Grilled Cheese” from Grilled Cheese Social

There are also some “how-to” photos with this one and it’s made on a bagel. I like bagels.

 

On Throwing a Grazing Party and Staying Sexy

From Monica Eisenman

So, as some of you might have remembered, I had a party this weekend. And yes there were some road blocks in the plan (like the fact that it was supposed to be last week but we had to push it back a week because of a funeral) but since when are good parties supposed to be easy and peaceful? If someone in your family hasn’t yelled at you needlessly while helping you prepare crusts for mini quiches than your party is going to suck. Because stress breeds good food ON TIME.

The menu, inspired by this month’s Gastroporn Menu, was labeled as a “Tea Party” but with most of my parties turned into an extended grazing affair that was really more like three or four smaller parties all strung together throughout the afternoon and evening. I also made something new that I surprisingly enjoyed eating about an hour or two after all the guests had left because eating them in front of people just isn’t sexy and a hostess should always be sexy: Blue velvet Cupcakes.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

“Blue Velvet Cupcakes” from Sprinkle Bakes

Now… I like making cupcakes. I don’t always like eating cupcakes but I do like making them. Why? Easy dispersal. Try giving away cake at the end of the party and tell me you didn’t wish you’d made cupcakes. And if you aren’t giving away cake at the end of a party then don’t complain to me about your expanding waistline. Take that cake to work and give it away. It will make you more friends and fewer pounds.

Note: Don’t use a tablespoon of blue dye for the cupcakes. That’s too much and cupcakes that turn tongues a funny color…not sexy.

But you know what is sexy? Eating chocolate mousse from a tiny cup with a mini spoon. The recipe I used  can be found in “The Great Disappointment (of 2012)” post. A friend gave me the recipe and I have no idea where it came from but probably the Internet.

Note: I also piped some fresh whipped cream (made with a little sugar and a splash of vanilla) on top and put my brother to work with a piece of 100% chocolate and a vegetable peeler to garnish the tops.

There were also things I really don’t have a recipe for but if you’ve played around in a kitchen long enough you’ll just know what to do. Like stuffed mushrooms and mini-quiches. Watching my caveman-neanderthal dad trying to press rounds of pie crust dough into a mini-muffin tin was absolutely priceless.

And, of course, there were the scones we always make (the recipe is in the “Tea Time, Nap Time, Fun Times” post from many moons ago) served with the remaining fresh cream from above and berries. I love me some berries. I brought the rest to work with me today along with the remaining 3 scones (to give away). Everybody is always asking for that recipe and it’s ridiculously easy so there is no reason NOT to try it. Unless you’ve got allergies, in which case I am so sorry.

Anyone who knows anything about me and my party style also knows that I like complicated. I like the idea of doing everything from scratch and if I had the ability to gather and make all the ingredients by hand on my mini plot of land out back I so would.

But beware of making things complicated to your guests. Try to make things they can just pass by, pick up with a couple fingers, and just put in their mouths (which is where your party food SHOULD be going). Otherwise they will pass by the stuff with a dip or the thing that goes on top of that other thing and go straight for that stuff that just ends up in their mouths.

Here’s a recipe that looks good:

tartelettes chèvre et confiture d'oignons

“Tartelettes Chèvre et Confiture D’oignons (Onion Tartelettes with Goat Cheese)” from Vaniglia

There’s often at least a couple people at a party known as “grazers”. These are the folks that don’t take a heaping plateful and then start denying food while patting their bellies. These are those smart party goers that pace themselves. A min-quiche here, a cupcake there, caprese salad on a stick? Why not! Oh and then maybe another deviled egg. So set things up nicely for these folks. They know what they’re about. And, as always, stay sexy, Foodie Nation!