Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Attention Trader Joe's Shoppers...

Trader Joe's issues recall of several products http://t.co/PZepOdw2

Provided by HuffingtonPost.com

Business Cards for the Blog!

I got the business cards for the blog in the mail!

I have caught myself in a situation more and more lately where someone is wanting me to write down the site for my blog. Rather than scrambling for paper and pen, I decided to have business cards printed up. They are a really inexpensive way to utilize a new form of marketing for the blog. Here's what they look like! 



Friday, July 20, 2012

grilled peaches

When you’ve spent all day at the pool or grilling out, the last thing you may feel like doing is mixing up some cookies or a cake for dessert. Or at least that’s how I feel. SO my solution in such a situation is to keep the grill on a little longer and grill some fresh peaches. One perk of living in Charlotte is being able to drive thirty minutes south to get some juicy South Carolina peaches.

When grilling fruit, remember to oil the fruit so it doesn't stick to your grill. Don't be afraid to leave them on there for a while--you still want those grill marks!

Take a look at my grilled peaches, drizzled with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meatless Monday:: Portabella Burger

My best friend and I have been through all sorts of phases with each other since we were six years old. Some are fashion phases, curly hair phases, too short bangs phases (thank God those have ended!) and the list could embarrassingly go on and on. However, my friend Whitney made a lifestyle change two years ago that is going to stick with her--and it also affects me. Yes, I am a culinary arts student who fearlessly eats anything who has a best friend who is a vegetarian. And proud.
This post is for you, Whit. Love you.

Vegetarians have various reasons for their lifestyle choices, but all suffer together when they want to eat out in a restaurant or public cookout. Not everyone is considerate of keeping options for vegetarians....or vegans, or gluten allergies, or etc. but that's a different post ;)
Realizing this, I made sure Whitney had some yummies to munch on for Fourth of July celebratory festivities. The first night I made a portabella mushroom burger that she absolutely drooled over. If you are looking for a re-inventive way to have a healthy and hearty burger without the beef, check this recipe!

The method of production is quite simple, so don't start stressing. You simply buy whole portabella mushrooms from the farmers market or grocery store and de-stem them all. It should come right off if you gently pull on it. Then place them on a well-oiled grill to get started. If you're worried about them sticking, you can wrap them in an aluminum foil pouch and that also works. For this specific burger, I also roasted some red bell peppers on the grill with the mushrooms.
Then, toast the burger buns so everything is hot and crunchy.
Now as Whitney knows, I am a huge cheese fan so I had to pair a delectable cheese for this burger. My choice was also one of her absolute favorites--goat cheese. And it went perfectly with this burger. To round everything out with the flavor profiles, and to provide a sauce for this burger, I added a homemade balsamic glaze. I also chose to soak the grilled mushrooms in this glaze before building the burger to add extra flavor.

What do you think?

So I am ordering business cards...

You have read correctly...I am ordering business cards! I meet many new people in my line of work on a daily basis, and often they ask me how I ended up in Charlotte and what I like to do, etc. Sooo...it's much easier to hand them a card with my blog info on it rather than writing it hastily in my scribble scratch handwriting...

Pictures to come of the beautiful cards! But they will look a bit like this: 

Designed by yours truly :)  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Appetizers in a pinch

You know the frenzied felling all too well…the knots in your stomach return and your mind seems to be racing at 1,000 mph but you can’t seem to form thoughts? The moment you realize you have to bring an appetizer for a gathering and you completely forgot can be tantalizing. Thankfully, there are some tried and true recipes you can always rely on that will save you time to actually get yourself ready, too. 

First up, is also a kid-friendly idea: pigs-in-a-blanket. I have memories of helping mom make these as a kid. They require little production; just pick up mini-weenies and crescent rolls from the grocery store. They are always a great snack for young and old. Don’t forget to serve them with sauces for those munchers who like to dunk their pigies before chowing down. If you don’t have time to whip up homemade favorites, you can’t go wrong with BBQ, mustard & ketchup. 

Next, I always like to rely on a flatbread. Pillsbury has a pizza dough product right next to the crescent rolls in the refrigerated section that is perfect to make a quick flatbread when you’re in a pinch. The versatile thing about this recipe idea is you can alter the toppings and sauces for the guests taste! For example, my tomato-hating boyfriend came home to Tennessee with me for the Fourth of July and I made a fresh mozzarella and basil flatbread. Simple. Quick. And everyone loved it. The options are endless, but I like to have at least one appetizer present at a social gathering for vegetarians, so keep that in mind.

Finally, something that is a well-rounded appetizer is prosciutto crustini. It takes a bit to make, and requires prior planning. But if you’re on you’re a-game, try it out! We also served this for July Fourth poolside snacks, and I think my mother ate half of them by herself! This appetizer includes sliced French bread, homemade fig preserves, goat cheese, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and balsamic glaze. 

The method of production is simple if everything is already cooked. You can find bottled balsamic glaze, but I prefer to make it myself. Despite how much the vinegar stinks up the kitchen till your nostrils and eyes burn, it tastes better and I like to control the sugar content. But to each their own. I also like to make the fig preserves, and haven’t found a market where you can buy it. It’s easy though! I take dehydrated figs and cut the stems off, then chop them up into teensy pieces. Next, I place them in a small saucepot with ½ C. water and 1 C. sugar. I start the heat on medium to medium-high until all the sugar is dissolved, then crank it up to a boil for about five minutes. 

When it’s time to build the appetizer, I find it best to stack in this order: goat cheese, fig preserves, then prosciutto, and that’s all for now. Bake on the sliced French bread in the oven on 375 degrees till the crustinis are toasted and the prosciutto is a little warm. When you pull them out of the oven, add the caramelized onions next, then drizzle the balsamic glaze. When you’re about to serve, garnish with chopped chives. 

If you have zero time and don’t have any of these ingredients on hand before your event, you can always grab cream cheese, shredded cheddar and canned crushed pineapple, mix together and roll in whatever crushed nuts you can find to make a cheese-ball and call it a day. 

Happy frantic event cooking!