This is one of my favorite meals and I get to cook it only once or twice a year – once on St. Patrick’s Day [March 17th for those not in the know] and again when either the mood strikes me or I have special guests. Well, the other day we had special guests in and not only did I make this special dinner, we actually sat at the Dining Room table!
I am not the Vinegar King, but I am friends with the Vinegar Queen. I do love vinegar, though. All kinds of different vinegars. I used to be a straight white vinegar kind of guy, but then I got hooked on balsamic, red-wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar for changes of pace.
Lately, I’ve been on a rice wine vinegar kick – specifically Nakano Original Rice Wine Vinegar. I love the sweet and sour taste of it on my salads and cucumbers. It’s flavorful enough that you can just use it and olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper.
I have used it with Good Seasons Italian Dressing and it’s really tasty.
Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.Buff
OK…I can’t believe I haven’t posted this one yet. This is my favorite snack/appetizer. It’s spicy, but good spicy. Serve it up and watch it go. The preparation time is a matter of minutes and it’s a whole lot better than any store bought version. Last year, I showed my friend’s teenaged son how to make it and he makes it all the time.
- 1 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 Vidalia onion – chopped
- 4-5 stalks of fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeño – chopped fine
- 1 TBLSP ground chipotle powder
- 1 tsp lime juice
- Mix everything together.
- Serve with tortilla chips
- Salsa above
- 1 pound of Velveeta Mexican cheese or Velveeta pepper jack cheese – cut into 1 inch cubes
- In a microwavable dish, mix the salsa with the cheese.
- Microwave for 3-4 minutes and stir.
- Microwave for 3-4 more minutes and stir until smooth.
- Serve with tortilla chips
Well, Eddie, it’s a very simple and very tasty dish.
Potatoes are very versatile – it’s no wonder they’re the staple starch in most of our diets. Almost all spices can be used with them, because they pick up the flavor of the spice so easily. I’ve done this little recipe with many different spices – to include basil and cilantro. Here’s the one for basil…just replace the spice and you should be good to go.
- Potatoes – one for each person
- Seasoning – salt/pepper/garlic, Old Bay, Cholula dry pepper powder, Florida Seasoning, etc.
- Fresh Basil – chopped
- Cast iron pan – a must for potatoes. And remember, Luke, "Hot Pan, Cold Oil."
- Put the pan on the stove and set to stun…um…I mean medium high heat.
- Quarter and slice potatoes. Keep the skin on.
- Spr ay oil [I always use olive oil] in skillet – just a light coat. Add potatoes and whatever seasoning you want. Brown one side of the potatoes in skillet.
- Flip potatoes and add fresh basil. Add a little bit of water and cover.
- Potatoes are done when they are soft through the middle – about 2-3 more minutes.
Now that the summer is upon us and you can get nice fresh watermelon, here’s a simple salad that’s sure to be a hit with the adults at your memorial day party. I served it a couple of nights ago at a dinner party and it sure was a big hit. You know how you can tell something’s good? No-one’s talking.
- 1 small seedless watermelon
- 3 bananas
- a bunch of seedless green grapes
- TBLSP of lime juice
- 1/2 cum of rum
- Cut 1/3 of the watermelon off the top.
- Take out all of the watermelon using a spoon or a melon ball device if you like to create a watermelon bowl. Put the fruit from the watermelon in a tupperware bowl.
- Slice up the bananas [make sure you peel them first]
- Cut the grapes into quarters.
- Mix about half of the watermelon with the grapes and the bananas
- Add the lime juice and mix well
- Add the rum and mix well.
- Put the mixture back in the watermelon bowl and put the watermelon top back on.
- Place it standing up in the refrigerator and chill for a few hours before serving.
Some hints: It doesn’t matter what other fruits you use. Go ahead and experiment. If you’re going to a party with children in attendance, you may want to make two one N/A. Make sure you mark the outside of the watermelon to be sure the kids don’t eat the good fruit.Buff
- 1 cup flour
- 1cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 pound shrimp
- 4 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 pound potatoes
- Pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup milk
- Green onion tops
- Combine the flour and oil in a large nonstick saucepan and whisk until smooth. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture is the color of peanut butter, about 10 minutes.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the wine, water, potatoes, old bay, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are done.
- Turn off the heat and add the milk, mix it in well.
- Serve the bisque, garnished green onion tops.
Oh my goodness. The.best.spices.evah! My good friend, Kate, recommended Penzey’s to me a few years ago and I have sung their praises ever since. I’ve shopped on line with them for the longest time and recently I had the opportunity to visit one of their stores. I was like a kid in a candy store. I had to buy one of each.
My suggestion would be to buy a bottle of each spice, then when you need to refill, buy in a bag. The bottles are really nice and sturdy.
My highest recommendations are for the following spices:
- Ground Red Chipotle – I use it for all Mex/Tex-Mex recipes
- Cayenne Pepper – I put cayenne on everything. Well maybe not fruit, but…
- Granulated Garlic Powder – when you need powder instead of minced
- Oregano (Turkish) – for all Italian and Greek recipes. I use it in my Matrix sauce and sprinkle it on pizza
- Basil (California Sweet) – the tomato’s best friend. Matrix and pizza as well
- Oriental Mustard (Powder, Canada Hot) – I mix up a paste with equal part water/mustard powder and a dash of soy sauce for take-out egg rolls. Even the HMIL would love it.
- Cinnamon – go to the site. Buy some. It doesn’t matter what type. you will love how the smell jumps out of the jar!
- Bangkok Blend – spicy and sweet all at once. I use it on steak as a replacement for Montreal seasoning
- Lemon Pepper – great for grilling Buffalo wings – it’s how I prepare my wings [which I do every week in football season].
- Florida Seasoned Pepper – in place of lemon pepper. It’s got the citrus without the salt.
Try these spices. Trust me on this, you will not be disappointed.Buff
As you all know I am a true blue carnivore, but every once in while the mood strikes me to not eat meat at every single meal. Like today. Sure, I had some chorizo in the freezer that I could have used, but went for something decidedly different – vegetarian chili. Now had I entered this recipe in a Texas chili cook-off I’d be disqualified for two reasons – no meat and it has beans. I dedicate this meal to our fellow blogger Robin.
- 1 pound red beans
- 4 28 ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes
- 1 pound mushrooms – chopped
- 1 Vidalia onion – chopped
- 1 large green pepper – chopped
- 1 jalapeno – finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2 TBLSP ground chipotle
- 4-5 stalks of fresh cilantro
- 1-2 TBLSP of salt – depending on your own taste. If you want to reduce the amount of salt, use vegetable broth instead of water. Or add vegetable bouillon.
- Put the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Over low heat, simmer beans for about an hour, make sure the pot is covered.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and 2 cans full of water
- Bring to a boil, stir occasionally.
- Lower heat to bring it to a simmer
- Cook until the broth is thick, stir often.
I like to serve this with a nice hearty bread and an ice cold beer or a glass of wine! Taking some tips from the book, He Said Beer, She Said Wine, I would recommend a double IPA such as Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA and a South African Pinotage Rose.Buff
If you’re like me…[don't you hate when commercials begin with "if you're like me"? NO. I am not like you at all. I am nothing like you.] Anyway, I love a baked potato with a nice thick juicy steak. And since we’re having the in-laws in for dinner tonight, we’re serving juicy porterhouses. Here’s a tried and true recipe.
- 4 Russet Potatoes [Do Not Use Any Other]
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Pierce potatoes with a fork on each side – about 8-10 for each side
- Lightly coat potatoes with oil
- Lightly salt potato
- Bake for one hour. Skin should be crispy in and inside should be tender.
Serve with sour cream and chives or salt and pepper and butter or any other of your favorite backed potato topping.Buff
A sommelier and a brewer team up to give you an in-depth food paring insights for wine and beer. Contains "wine versus beer" dinner party recipes, complete with wine and beer recommendations, so you can ger your friends involved in the debate at home.
Sam Calagione is the founder of Dogfish Head brewery and Marnie Old is a very well-known sommelier. The delve into the depths of their respective potent potables in a Sam Malone/Diane Chambers style.
The book is breezy and both authors know what they are talking about. It’s broken up into five sections:
- The Great Divide: an introduction and a debate
- Wine Primer: basics about wine
- Beer Basics: a primer about beer
- The Food Debate: about beer, wine and food pairings
- The Great Debate at Home: how to host a beer versus wine party
I happen to like beer and I happen to like wine, so I’m not one of those either/or kinda guys. Generally beer is not served at dinner parties, so providing the information of what beer goes with what food is the best feature of the book. There are a brazilian books about wine and what goes with what. What makes this book unique is the approach of serving both and letting your guests pick what they’d want to drink. It also provides a fun and interesting way to get beer
slobs aficionados to try a glass of wine and wine snobs connoisseurs to try a pint of ale.
If you like to host dinner parties — and I know you do — then this is a book you should add to your kitchen library.