Monthly Archives: September 2010

Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese


As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Nature’s Pride Multigrain bread and was asked to create an award winning recipe that would win me a trip to San Francisco to attend the 2nd annual Foodbuzz festival.  Seeing that I absolutely adore San Francisco and I love to eat and drink (ALOT), what other choice did I have but to take a shot and enter?


Now last year, right after I became a featured publisher on Foodbuzz I found out about the festival and by that time it was too late.  This year, with purchasing a new home and planning a wedding, my funds have become dismal, insufficient, practically…nonexistent.   I realize the only way that I can get my happy ass butt out there is through this contest.  Now that wasn’t a sob story to make you feel sorry for me and pick me (…not that I’d mind by any means) but I hope my recipe inspires people to look at sliced bread in a different way….an elegant way.

I chose to make hor d’oeuvres as preparation for my housewarming this weekend and kept the following things in mind:

  • – simple preparation
  • – minimal cleanup
  • – delicious flavors
  • – beautiful presentation

So I came up with Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese! These little morsels are packed with flavors that will be a hit at any party or soiree — just be sure to make extra because they’ll be gone in a heartbeat.  Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients for Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese:(serves 12)

  • 6 slices of Nature’s Pride Wholegrain Bread
  • 8 oz ribeye
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz container bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup field greens
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and once bubbling add the sliced onions.  Allow onions to caramelize, about 4-5 minutes.  Do not move the onions around too much, this slows down the caramelizing process — stir every couple of minutes and once done, set aside.

Start searing the ribeye next.  Heat a skillet at medium high heat with a tablespoon of butter, sprinkle each side of the steak generously with kosher salt and pepper and once the pan is hot and butter is bubbling, sear each side of the steak — about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat and place the steak on a pan in a toaster oven at 400F for an additional 4 minutes.  Set aside for 5 minutes to allow juices in the meat to settle.

Meanwhile, prep your bread and salad greens.  Using a 1 1/2″ circle cutter, cut out two circles from each slice of Nature’s Pride Multigrain Bread and using the skillet that the steak was cooked in, melt an additional tablespoon of butter at medium low heat and toast each side of the bread pieces, about a minute on each side.  Mix greens in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Thinly slice ribeye steak and place ontop of the toasted Nature’s Pride crostinis.  Garnish with greens and top with caramelized onions and bleu cheese crumbles.  Serve immediately.

Pairs well with a sweet Riesling or a smooth Merlot.

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Hope you guys enjoy my recipe.  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Moroccan Carrot Soup


Back in March, Collin and I purchased our very first home together.  It was ragged, beaten down and was practically obliterated by termites.  The woman who owned the house before us lived here for over 40 years and never did a single update.  I want you to imagine that — original wall paper and carpet, stove tops and ovens from back in the 70s, we even found a hoover vacuum cleaner back from the the 60s, and not to mention that the doors and walls had deeply yellowed with age.  It was just plain awful.

But together we saw something in this house: potential.  We knew with a little lot of hard work, we could make this into something liveable, something beautiful, something we’d be proud to call our very first home.  Finally now after 6 months, we’ve finished: new walls, new kitchen, new paint, new floors…the list goes on forever.  And let me tell you, it’s freaking fantastic.  As a way to celebrate our achievements, I’ve decided to throw a housewarming party this Saturday — complete with a roast pig, a keg, and plenty of food but most importantly sharing our new home with our family and friends. 

In many ways this house has become representative of my personal struggles these past couple of years.  Since graduating college two years ago it has been a challenge to figure out what direction I wanted to take in my life, especially career wise.  At my lowest point, I felt like this house the way we first found it: dark, in shambles, and completely unorganized.  However, with time, ample searching, commitment and hard work I’ve found my niche in cooking, photography and piano and slowly but surely I’m begining to feel myself flourish.  I wouldn’t be here if Collin didn’t notice my potential and continued to push me to strive for my dreams, what once seemed like an impossible feat has now become my gorgeous reality. 

We completed the very last project, the deck earlier this week and we couldn’t contain our excitement and wanted to put it to use right away. I made this hearty, comforting to the soul bowl of Moroccan Carrot Soup to perfectly compliment our cool Fall nights we’ve recently been having (finally Texas!!!!).  We spread out a blanket, lit a few candles and basked in the aromas of cumin and fresh wood as we had our soup in silence.  Collin laid back on the blanket, closed his eyes and let out a huge long sigh — “I can’t believe we live here, we have the best house in the world.” 

Indeed we do my love, indeed we do.

From Epicurious

Ingredients for Moroccan Carrot Soup:(serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 2/3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen
  • Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in spice mill.

    Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth. Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

    100th Post:Lindemans Framboise Float


     

    Because this is my 100th post, I will share a confession.

    I can’t drink.  I mean I can but 90% of the time I choose not to.  Not because I’m not down to party but this girl unfortunately has a severe case of alcohol intolerance.  It’s embarrassing really and I am sure I will look back on this post and regret ever admitting this to the world.  I’m that one-beer drunk and usually you’ll know within 20 minutes; my face begins to turn red, you’ll suddenly notice my flaring nostrils due to my labored breathing and within the hour my head will either end up against your shoulder or against the nearest stationary object.  Trust me, it’s bad – my entire demeanor goes from perfectly composed to disheveled in 30 minutes flat.

    So the only place you’ll usually ever find me drinking is at home.  Because at home, I can have the reddest face in the world (and biggest nostrils) in the comfort of my wonderful couch and blanket.  I can have my glass of wine and melt into the pillows while watching Legends of the Fall for the 26th time.  And on top of that, I get to drink in my jammies and not worry about maintaining my balance while wearing stiletto heels.  It’s awesome, everyone needs to try it sometime — the drinking in the jammies part, not the stiletto heels.

    When Collin was out of town for a week in Tucson, I decided to cope with his absence through ice cream.   So on my way to the ice cream aisle this beautiful bottle of Lindemans Framboise caught my eye, and it even whispered buy me, mix me with that vanilla bean ice cream, you know you want to.  I mean how could I have said no to a talking bottle of Lindemans, of course I had to buy it!  Safe to say, it was pretty much the best decision of my entire week — hands down, best combination EVER.

    Lindemans Framboise is one of my favorite Lambic beers — the delicate tartness of the framboise spreads throughout your palette filling your nose with the intoxicating smell of raspberries with each sip.  Magical to say the least. BUT THEN adding creamy vanilla bean ice cream into the mix?  Decadence at its finest people, I could honestly have it everyday (if only alcohol and ice cream were fat and calorie free..).  I even threw in a few fresh raspberries ontop of the float which made the entire drink even more awesome — didn’t think it was possible but it did. 

    Ingredients for Lindemans Framboise Float: (serves 2)

    • 12 oz bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise
    • 4 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream

    Place 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream in each glass — preferably a tall glass.  Slowly pour the framboise until the foam reaches the top.  Serve and drink immediately!

    You can thank me later for this recipe — I accept gratitude in forms of cash, check, food and some hugs (careful, I’m picky).  Bookmark this for when you have a bad day at work, or if your spouse is being an ass, or just because you’re awesome and you want to freaking treat yourself.  Whatever the reason, just remember: Life is always sweeter with dessert! Cheers 🙂

    Shiner Bock Drunksticks


    Last weekend, Collin and I attended the Addison Oktoberfest — an annual beer festival that takes place in Addison Circle towards the end of September.  We’ve gone every year for the past 3 years and it’s always a grand spankin’ good time.  I mean what’s not to like?  Copious amounts of beer? Check.  Greasy plates of brats and funnel cake? Check. Carnival rides and endless debauchery?  Double check.

    As continuation of the bright, youthful spirit of Oktoberfest, I’ve decided to feature some recipes that uses beer as the main ingredient.  Collin has been out of town all week and our fridge was stocked full of Shiner Beer — to the point where I had no room for any of my groceries (boys, what am I going to do with you?).  So what other option did I have but to drink a bottle and use the rest to make this fabulous recipe — Shiner Bock DRUNKSTICKS <—- ya like that?  I had that epiphany while I was enjoying my bock, not gonna lie I felt pretty good about myself after that.

    Ingredients for Shiner Bock Drunksticks: (serves 2-3)

    • 1 lb chicken drumsticks (about 4-6) – preferably organic
    • 2 bottles Shiner Bock
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoon shallot, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon sriracha
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

    Rinse the drumsticks under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Set aside.  In a large bowl add all the ingredients and whisk well until most of the sugar and salt has dissolved.  Place the drumsticks in the marinade and marinate for 3 hours to overnight.

    Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a large baking tray with foil.  Remove drumsticks from marinade, pat dry and place on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your drumsticks) — you can use a meat thermometer or pierce the thickest part of the thigh with the tip of your knife (if the juices run clear it is done).

    For the Glaze:

    • 1 bottle Shiner Bock
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoons sriracha
    • salt to taste

    While the chicken is baking in the oven, you can prepare the glaze.  In a large saucepan, add the beer, and sugars– place over medium high heat.  Make sure the sugar is evenly dissolved and allow mixture to reduce to the consistency of maple syrup, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the Sriracha and add salt to taste.  Once the chicken drumsticks are done, toss them with the sauce and serve immediately.

    Happy Friday Folks 🙂 it’s good to be back!

    I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Event: Coppell Farmer’s Market


    This past weekend my friend Eric and I decided to go on an adventure — to Coppell Farmer’s Market! I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter helped me host a farm to table lunch.  The mission was to choose a local farmer’s market, find some wonderful fresh produce then go home and make a meal using ICBINB products and farm fresh produce.  Originally I had a pretty strong group going but then the morning of (we had to leave at 9am) the group quickly dwindled down to one.  YES, one. In amidst of questioning my popularity, Eric arrived at my place and I had to think fast.  So I knocked him out with a frying pan, tied him up and threw him in my car — GOTCHYA, there’s no escaping now!

     Okay so maybe that’s not how it happened exactly but don’t worry, no one got hurt. 

     

    The two of us ventured out to Coppell,TX and found the wonderful farmer’s market.  Though the market was relatively small compared to the Dallas Farmer’s Market, I really enjoyed a lot of the vendors here.  The entire shopping experience was less daunting, with about 25-30 tents compared to the 100s at the DFM.  They had all your neccesities — fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, honey and jams, fresh herbs, fresh breads and my favorite…a sorbet stand.  But I’ll get to that later.

    There was a wonderful bread stand from Village Baking Co. — by the time I got there it was slim pickins so I figured the bread must be good.  We chose the last Jalapeno Cheddar Loaf, because the cute guy selling the bread said it was his favorite — what can I say, I’m a sucker for blonde hair and blue eyes AND JALAPENOS AND CHEDDAR! I warmed it up in the oven when I got home — it was quite delicious with melted pockets of cheddar cheese and jalapeno slices scattered in every bite.  It was money for sure.

     OKAY now this was my favorite stand by far.  The folks at Savoy Sorbet are magical — they make these sorbets that are not only all natural but they are freaking DELICIOUS.  They call it “like catnip for humans!” because it’d probably be inapproriate to write “like crack for humans!” because that’s how addicting it was.  I wanted to buy the entire truck of sorbets and bury my face in it — but apparently that’s un-lady like.  I tried the lavender which was bright yet floral but it didn’t taste like soap (which I thought it would) it was truly the most elegant sorbet I’ve ever tasted.  But my favorite by far had to be the Chamomile Orange, which tasted like sunshine rainbows and hugs.  Don’t believe me?  Try it out yourself.  With the sweltering heat that day, there couldn’t have been a better tasting remedy. 

    We picked up the last of the summer squash — zucchini and yellow squash, sweet yellow corn and a couple pounds of tasty grass fed ground beef and lamb sausage for our lunch menu.  We also swiped up some fresh SPICY salsa and corn tortillas and a watermelon (that turned out to be a dud). 

    I kept the corn simple — after Eric cleaned and husked the corn, I just threw them in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes and served them as-is.  That’s the beauty of fresh produce, you don’t have to do much to it to get great flavors.  We used some ICBINB spray and sprinkled some seasoning salt ontop — you can opt for lemon-pepper, cajun seasoning, or just plain salt and pepper.  I gave mine a dash of cayenne, cuz everyone can use a kick every once in awhile 🙂  

    For the veggies I diced the zucchini and yellow squash in to 1″ pieces and blanched them with some french green beans.  In a medium sauce pan I sauteed some minced garlic and shallot along with some salt and pepper with some ICBINB spray and tossed the veggies in the mixture.  Again, very simple to do and the veggies tasted fresh and crunchy — I love blanching my vegetables for that very reason — my heart always hurts a little when I taste overcooked mushy vegetables.  You are not only losing a lot of nutritional value that way but the beautiful natural flavors go away too! 

    Ah, last but not least!  Our 1/2 lb grass fed beef burgers.  I bought Hawaiian hamburger buns (YES THEY MAKE THOSE!!) and the sweetness of the bread really complimented the earthiness and savory flavors of the beef.  I seasoned the patties with some cayenne and some coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  When making the patties, if you poke a hole through the center (like a meat donut) it helps it cook faster.  I cooked the patties similar to the way I’d cook a steak –preheat your oven to 400F, heat up your skillet at medium-high heat and add your butter (I used ICBINB spray in this case).  Once the butter is bubbling sear your meat patties, about 3 minutes on each side at medium-high heat and finish the rest of the way in the oven (about 4-5 minutes) you can use a meat thermometer to get the perfect doneness level as follows.

    Rare
    Medium-rare
    Medium
    Medium-well
    Well done
    120° – 125°
    130° – 135°
    140° – 145°
    150° – 155°
    160° and above

      Everyone loved the farm to table lunch — everyone being me, Eric, Collin and the guy who helped us dig a ditch that day (We’re installing a french drain so I can have my deck for my housewarming party, my fiance will claim I am a slave driver but I urge everyone not to listen to his lies.)  I’d like to thank I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for hosting the event, it was a blast!

    Here is some additional info on I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter —

    • 0 Calories per serving
    • 0g Fat per serving
    • No gydrogenated oils
    • Is made from a blend of vegetable oils like vanola and soy
    • has no cholesterol

    You can find additional recipes at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter where they also have giveaways and promotions, so check it out!