Sometimes you just need a burger in your life. A big, fat, juicy mushroom Swiss burger to be exact. Now that spring has finally arrived we’ve busted out our leaf blower, cleaned off the deck and brought the grill back out. Now if it’s still too chilly in your neck of the woods you can always use a grill pan. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this cheesy shroomy goodness.
I’m kinda into herbs. ‘Tis true. I am quite fond of almost all of them. Fresh herbs bring so much to both dishes and drinks (basil lemonade – swoon). I grow as many varieties as I can during the spring and summer and soon enough I’ll have them coming out of my ears. I will have too much to keep up with even as much as I cook. But I’m okay with that. Some I dry for later and some I preserve in olive oil (herb cubes) for those cold months when they’re not readily available or cost an arm and a leg at the market for 2 sprigs. Gasp.
There are very few people I know that don’t like scalloped potatoes (and let’s just say we’re not close). Creamy soft potatoes swimming in a cheese sauce. Pass me the pan people. Carbs I love them. What can I say. I could eat them every day. Of course I’d probably have to eat them while walking on a treadmill if I did. Okay scratch that walking on a treadmill while eating is really not advisable, don’t ask me how I know. Sigh.
A good glaze is a like a good black dress for food. When tasked with whether or not to glaze I say glaze away. Next weekend is Easter and hams will be gracing tables near and far. Ham is what most people think of first when they hear glaze but it’s great with chicken too. This is our classic go to glaze, brown sugar mustard. You can’t go wrong with this flavor combination. We however throw a little something something in for extra measure. Sweet heat if you will.
Would you be amazed to know that I had everything delivered to my door to make this incredibly tasty Italian Steak with Grilled Radicchio Salad. Each ingredient pre-portioned (no measuring people). The delivery box also included an 8 x 10 recipe card complete with step by step photographs with clear and concise cooking directions, cooking tips and glossary of terms. Pretty much every thing is done for you but the cooking and the dishes. I’d say that’s pretty amazing and that I’m sorry I didn’t think of this incredible service myself.
At any given time we have at least 6 different types of cheeses in our house. To say that we love cheese is an understatement. As much as I love dessert and I do I’m hard pressed to turn down a cheese plate when it’s on the dessert menu. It’s cheese, seriously what’s not to love about it. I love it to snack on, to add oomph to dishes and yes most definitely in GRILLED CHEESE sandwiches like this one.
As one who cooks a great deal (okay a boat load) it’s important to me that I ALWAYS have fresh herbs nearby. In the spring and summer I typically grow them in containers on my deck which is right off my kitchen. It’s convenient and I’m able to make a mad dash mid cooking to snip exactly what I need. What’s not convenient are the oh say 18 or so containers that I have around every square inch of the perimeter of my deck. It’s kinda out of control. Until I discovered I could turn a palette into an awesome vertical outdoor herb garden.
I happen to adore Brussels sprouts. You know those tiny little cabbages with the funny name. I haven’t always loved them though. Oh no (waving my finger like the Ginger Delta flight attendant) I had them (making the ugliest face you can imagine) BOILED growing up and well that’s enough to make you never want to try them again. It wasn’t until my grown up taste buds were forced tried them roasted that I turned the corner to adoration street. Roasting rocks. It was my favorite way to indulge in those adorable baby cabbages up until I decided to pan fry them. Now this crispy and creamy fritter version is at the top of my list. It’s unexpected and pretty stinking amazing. It’s got everything from sweet, salty to creamy and crunchy. It’s brussels sprouts like you’ve never seen them before.
I’m almost hesitant to say this but I believe winter is on it’s way out. I hope I didn’t just jinx it. It’s been a long, COLD unwanted one, and I for one am rejoicing in the prospect of spring and even longing for the dog days of summer, flip flops, top down on my convertible and for my GARDEN. Yes, my glorious garden. We have both raised beds and a large deck container garden and plant as much as we possibly can. I just can’t get enough. There’s something about fresh food you’ve grown yourself. It doesn’t get much better than picking a rip juicy tomato, sprinkling it with salt and popping it into your mouth. Or when they’re coming out of your ears (and they will) to oven roast them and preserve them in olive oil for later. Sweet sweet goodness.
(whispering) Hi my name is Paula and I am a coffee snob. There I said it. I feel so much better. What can I say. It’s true. Everyone knows how much I love coffee. I should clarify, GOOD coffee. I start MOST of my days with a cappuccino or espresso. I need my caffeine. Yes NEED. It’s necessary for the safety of all those around me. I will (with tears) not indulge in my daily dose if the coffee available to me isn’t up to par. Most of the time when I travel, sadly I go without. Although, I will say last week on my way to Houston I was THRILLED when I found a Lavazza kiosk in the Atlanta airport. I almost knocked 3 people over crossing over the freeway walkway to get to it. Nothing shall stand in the way of good coffee right?
I’m not going to lie. The Homemade Roasted Carrot Ravioli with Mascarpone Thyme Filling I shared earlier this month are the best ravioli I’ve made to date and I hope you do give them a try. The finishing touch to those babies was the simple brown butter herb sauce that accompanies it. It’s quick, simple and IF you already happen to have a batch of ravioli in the freezer (because honestly if you’re going to take the time to make homemade ravioli why not double it and freeze some. You’ll thank yourself later when the craving hits.) it comes together in no time at all. Fast food at it’s finest.
I’m of the opinion that you always have more to learn. Taking classes is a great way to do that. One thing I’m always striving to improve is my photography. While I have come a LONG way since I started my blog five years ago I still am not where I would like to be. Have you heard of the website Craftsy? They offer online classes that are taught by world renowned instructors. Since Craftsy classes are ONLINE they’re available to you anytime (read you can take them in your pajamas) you want for as long as you want, there are no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD-quality video content.
One of my favorite flavor combinations in the world is tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. It works. Caprese salad is probably the most recognizable way to enjoy these ingredients but they multi task like nobody’s business. Try them on pizza, in pasta, on toast and yes even in quiche. Quiche is also a workhorse of a dish. What does that mean? It’s good served hot or cold and it’s great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. You can’t say that about too many dishes now can you.
Almond milk is surprisingly simple to make at home. If you can soak, strain and blend you’re golden. That’s really all there is to it. Besides being so fresh and so clean you tailor it to your taste buds. Want your almond milk unsweetened. Rock on, leave it be after straining. Want it sweet (raising my hand) add the sweetness that’s right for you. Want vanilla almond milk? You guessed it, add pure vanilla extract. Ready to make your own? Grab your raw almonds and let’s get to milking.
Disclaimer: I am working with Miracle-Gro for this project and was provided with a sample and compensation. All opinions are my own.
Growing food has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. It started with my Grandparents. They had a small but mighty backyard garden. I adored getting to help “pick” the food when we came to visit in the summer time. I would head outside, usually with a metal colander in hand, and pick as much as my little self could hold. I imagined it was hundreds of pounds but it was probably more like one or two. We won’t split hairs though. I can assure you I picked hundreds of pounds from my parents gardens over the years. They’ve had gardens in all shapes and sizes and grown more fruits and vegetables than I can shake a stick at. They’re great at growing.
Dinner rolls don’t have to come in a bag. I know this because up until a few years my dinner rolls did come in a bag. Once I cast my yeast and bread baking fears into the closet I found out that guess what? It’s just like anything else, with a little practice you’ll be amazed with the results. And there’s little better than hot fresh bread straight out the oven slathered with butter. I know they tell you to wait for the bread to cool but that’s not going to happen in my house. I just can’t help myself and I’m okay with that.
Simple scratch cooking made with a handful of ingredients. This dish is all that wrapped up in a nice saucy little bow. You’ll spend about 15 minutes of actual cook time and then you’ll let the slow cooker do the rest of the work. Nice, right? What you’ll have when the timer goes off is a fall apart tender chicken thigh covered in a thick, creamy, garlicky wine sauce that will have you licking your lips and looking for a baguette.
Meatloaf is something we’ve all had at one time or another. I’ve found it to be true it’s either really good or really bad. If it falls in the later it’s usually because it’s as dry as the Sahara desert. When it’s done right meatloaf can be magnificent. We all know it’s not going to win any beauty contests but it will satisfy your hunger in a big way. Meatloaf is stick to your ribs good and is a recipe you should have in your repertoire. We think ours is pretty special and after one bite we think you’ll agree. What’s our secret? The sauce.
Do you know what Valspar’s Pantone color of the year is? It’s Radiant Orchid. “Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health”
I told myself at the beginning of this year that I was going to cook more of the things that I love to cook. Homemade pasta is one of those things. There has been, and I’m sure will be always be, something so magical to me about mixing: flour, eggs and salt and watching them transform right before my eyes. Homemade pasta is good, down home, from scratch cooking that’s absolutely achievable but yes it does take some practice. This my friends is my most favorite homemade pasta to date. I’m not even going to lie I ate more than I should have. I couldn’t help myself they were THAT good. I now have on my stretchy pants and you’ll find me on the treadmill for the rest of the week. Was it worth it? Yep.