Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sriracha Popcorn | Friday Night Bites

Real butter, fake butter or no butter?  Microwave or stove?  White or yellow?  Plain or flavored salt?  How do you like your popcorn?  I prefer white popcorn that is popped in a large pot over the stove and lightly salted with a drizzle or two of real melted butter.  I pop it the old fashioned way over the stove, the way my Mom taught me and shake it in a paper bag to ensure the salt and butter distributes over all of the popcorn.

With the resurgence of popcorn onto the culinary scene; it has been claimed as the snack of 2013.  It is light, crispy and versatile.  Among the savory flavored popcorns - I have seen it dusted with various herbs, parmesan cheese, truffle, garlic, bacon, chili, lime, dill or curry.  The classic sweet variety is caramel and kettle corn.  Popcorn has gone gourmet!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Winter Minestrone Soup

Winter is still here.  For many parts of the country, it is more extreme than others.  Here in the Bay Area, it has been relatively mild, except for very chilly evenings.  You know what that means – time for soup.

There is something satisfying, gratifying and comforting about making soup.  The combination of flavors, the simmering and the beautiful fragrance that is exudes throughout the house is simply wonderful.  Recently I purchased the Ina Garten cookbook – “Foolproof, Recipes You CanTrust”.  And oh how I trust Ina.  She has honestly never steered me wrong.  I have collected all her books and adore each one.  Her recipes are straightforward, simply and extremely tasty. My bucket list includes meeting Ina one day in person. Smile.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whiskey Apricot Meatballs | Friday Night Bites

Hubby loves meatballs.  They can be with or without sauce.  He just plain loves those little nuggets of joy.  He prefers my homemade ones but the mini party meatballs from Trader Joe’s work just fine too.  Of course, those need to be sauced up.  With the simplicity of the frozen variety, a great sauce is just what the doctor ordered. 

Since 2013 kicked off, work for both of us has been crazy busy and stressful.  Our Friday nights are sacred to us and highly cherished.  Recently we had some friends join us for our weekly tradition.  I wanted to go simple yet pack a “punch of flavor” and create my own sauce recipe.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Lemon Scented Olive Oil Cookies | Secret Recipe Club

Spring seems to be in the air in the Bay Area.  The weather topped almost 70 degrees on Saturday.  Despite lemons being available year round in the Bay Area, I tend to associate them with spring, since they are bright yellow, fresh, and vibrant. 

Today is the reveal for group C of the Secret RecipeClub.  If you are not familiar with it, let me enlighten you for a moment.  The Secret Recipe Club is a group talented food bloggers who love to share recipes.  Once a month we are paired with another food blogger to select a recipe from their blog to make and we all post on the same day.  The really fun part is to see who received your blog and what they chose.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meyer Lemon Brown Butter Bars

Meyer lemons are in season.  Oh how I love the sweetness and unique flavor of these beauties.  We have a meyer lemon tree in our backyard and this year it began to produce these little gems again.  I have to say, I thought the tree was done producing and to my surprise, it still had some life in it.  Yeah.

When a fellow food blogger and friend, Laura from Tutti Dolci created these Meyer Lemon-Brown Butter Bars, I had to make them.  I actually doubled the crust portion of the recipe, since that is one of my favorite parts and with the brown butter, the more the better.  Right?

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Friday Night Bites | Sriracha and Honey Cashews

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Not sure why, but they happen.  I recently learned that a long time friend that I have known from kindergarten just lost her father a little over a week ago.  The part that makes it even more difficult is that ten weeks ago she lost her mother.  If that wasn’t enough, her beloved little pug passed away two days after her father.  I have to sit back and reflect as to why all this is happening to such a sweet person.  I wish I could take all of the pain away for her.  The best I can do is support her through this challenging time with positive thoughts, many prayers and be there as a friend.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Conversation Heart Cookies

Love is in the air.  With Valentines Day around the corner, you can’t help think about love - whether you are in love or seeking the love of you life.  You may love this holiday or despise it.  Hopefully it is the first.

Hubby and I joke that it is a Hallmark Holiday.  We certainly don’t go overboard by going out to a super expensive dinner.  Hubby always says to me, I have my own personal executive chef at home, so why dine out.  I am always flattered.  I do like to balance eating at home and dining out.  However, for Valentines Day, a delicious dinner at home by the fire is at the top of my list.  We exchange small gifts, a mushy card and simply enjoy each others company for the evening.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Friday Night Bites | Parmesan and Caramelized Shallot Crackers

Most of you have probably seen or least heard of the movie – “Meet the Parents”.  Last weekend, hubby and I had a “meet the parents” night at our house. Not quite like the actual movie.  Let me explain.  A good friend of ours is single.  He doesn’t have a hard time meeting girls, just meeting the right girl for him.  Over the years, he has brought over various girlfriends to meet us.  Many we have actually become friends with despite their relationship did not move forward.

After several months of dating along with things moving into the next stage is when he will typically bring them over to our house to “meet the parents”.  I am actually flattered that he respects my hubby and me so much, that he wants us to give him the “stamp of approval”. Last weekend, we had the pleasure of meeting his current girlfriend.  We had been hearing about her for a while and now it was the official “unveiling”.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Shiitake Mushrooms

A couple weeks ago I hosted an intimate dinner party at my house for friends.  At first I thought let’s go formal and sit in the dining room, then I changed my mind.  Several weeks ago, our “mini kitchen make over” was complete and why not enjoy the fruits of our labor.  The makeover began with the death of our refrigerator.  The counter depth fridge was replaced with my absolute dream refrigerator – the sub-zero.

To accomplish the installation, we needed to remove a cabinet, build a frame and add a small faux cabinet above.  The end result was a beautiful new refrigerator and with the removal of the cabinet, the kitchen began to appear larger and brighter.  When we purchased our house new eleven years ago, we opted for a Viking cook top with a built in BBQ.  Not until years later, did we realize the hood above was significantly underpowered.  Each time we would barbeque the house would fill with smoke and it became ultimately un-useable.  After doing some investigation, the builder has installed an under-powered motor with the hood.

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