Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

09

Apr

Kale

Did you know that Kale is a form of cabbage? And that it’s high in  beta carotene , vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin (helps prevent macular degeneration),  and calcium?  And Sulforaphane (a chemical with anti-cancer properties!) Also, Kale tastes Amazing. I would describe it as addicting. I have had Kale chips every day this week. 

Most likely you’ll recognize Kale as a common garnish but it is so much more. Although Kale can be a bit bitter raw it is wonderful baked to a crisp or even sauteed. It has a taste similar to broccoli. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil. 

Ingredients

Kale (chopped into bite sized pieces ) 

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

1 Clove Garlic Minced

In a large bowl mix a good amount of Kale (it will shrink when cooked) with the olive oil, salt & pepper, and garlic. Make sure all the of the pieces are evenly and lightly coated. Spread evenly on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven on the top rack.

Now this is very important: You must watch the Kale carefully! It will burn quickly. Continuously pull the cookie sheet out and stir the Kale (removing any pieces that are crisp and crunchy) It should take between 5 and 10 minutes to cook all the Kale. 

You could also try different combinations of seasonings. Enjoy!

26

Sep

California Tuna Salad Wrap

This wrap is the mature version of the classic Tuna Salad Sandwich but I took out the canned tuna and the mayonnaise and dense pieces of bread. This wrap really highlights the Tuna, tastes delicious, and doesn’t have all the fat found in mayonnaise. 

This wrap will make a perfect lunch but I definitely would wait to add the avocado until you’re ready to eat since avocado has a tendency to brown. 

Ingredients:

1/2 Lb. Yellowfin Tuna Steak

1 Avocado Cubed

8 Cherry Tomatoes (sliced)

1 or 2 tbsp chopped onions (depending on your onion preferences)

1 Boiled Egg (yolk discarded and white chopped)

1/4 Red Bell Pepper

4 Tortilla wraps

Lime Juice

Salt & Pepper

*This recipe will make four tortilla wrap. Depending on how hungry you are (my boyfriend ate two) you may want to cut the recipe in half. 

1- Sear Tuna steak on the stovetop over medium covered until completely cooked. Once completely cooked, chop and set aside to cool. 

2-In a bowl mix onion, tomato, red pepper, tuna, egg, and avocado. If you are making this for a lunch later on in the day, slice and add the avocado right before you eat it. Add a little bit of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

3-Microwave wrap for 10 seconds just to soften. Lay wrap flat on top of a piece of foil to wrap it in. Fill the center with tuna salads, leaving edges free for rolling. 

4-Start with the side, tucking them in and holding in place with fingers. 

5-Still holding in place with your fingers grab one end and tuck over, being mindful ot to smash down on the tuna salad.

6-Finally, grab last edge and wrap over. Turn seam side down and wrap in tin foil, setting aside until you are ready to eat. 

Now you are ready to enjoy a healthy, delicious, and fresh tuna salad wrap! I may also try wrapping the tuna salad in a butter lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla wrap. 

24

Sep

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

A few years ago, I started making cakes on the side mostly for friends and family. But at the request of others I decided to pursue this as a small, small, business on the side to make a little extra money and of course I absolutely LOVE cooking and baking so it’s a good fit for me. 

I’ve also been meaning to write a blog featuring an article in our local Newspaper’s Taste section about my cake but I just haven’t gotten around to that yet… look for that blog soon. 

Today, I had an order for Birthday Cupcakes, Strawberry with Cream Cheese Frosting. Thank you and Happy Birthday to Catinia ! I thought I’d post a nice photo of these cupcakes because I was just so darn proud. 

23

Sep

Veggie Flatbread Pizza

This pizza was totally inspired by game day snacks leftovers. I had all this pizza dip, half an eggplant, onions, and mushrooms still left in my fridge. So I decided to come up with a pizza using the leftover pizza dip as my sauce & base. This pizza was amazingly delicious and I will be making it often from now on. My meat-lovng boyfriend loved this pizza just as much as I did. 

This pizza had a delicious base made of my pizza dip, topped with artichokes, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, green & red peppers, roasted garlic, feta & cheddar cheese. 

*If you don’t have leftover pizza dip, just make 1/4 recipe to top your pizzas with.

Ingredients

-2 pieces your choice Flatbread

-Pizza dip (see previous recipe blog)

-1/2 Eggplant chopped

-4 Baby Bella Mushrooms

-1/4 Green Pepper Chopped

-1/4 Red Pepper Chopped

-1/4 Yellow Onion Diced

-One Handful of Frozen Artichokes, prepared according to package. 

-4 Garlic Cloves Roasted

-Feta Cheese

-Shredded Cheddar

-Olive OIl

-Garlic Salt

1-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pull out your flatbreads…these are my personal favorites. 

2- Brush Olive oil around the edges to form a crust…some people don’t like crust but it happens to be my favorite part. Then sprinkle garlic salt around the edges. 

3-Spread pizza dip mix over the top. I skimmed the hardened mozzarella off of the top of the dip and used it to make a mozzarella base. 

4-Sautee chopped Eggplant and Mushrooms with a tiny bit of olive oil over medium heat until the veggies are soft. I like to to sauté my eggplant and mushrooms to give that meaty feel to the pizza (something my boyfriend enjoys.)

5-Top the pizza first with artichoke (if you don’t add these first the over will dry them out and make them super crisp), chopped roasted garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms & Eggplant, feta and just the tiniest bit of cheddar cheese

5-Pop in the over for 10-15 minutes depending on desired crispiness. I like mine pretty crispy and crunchy. 

This recipe is enough for two pizzas. Experiment with different veggies and sauces…I mean…who doesn’t love pizza right? 

22

Sep

Cheese Pizza Dip

I must admit that I did rip this idea off of a friend, who made it for poker night years ago. I’ve kind of tweaked the recipe and given it my own twist. I make this dip all the time to take to parties and it’s usually a big hit. You’ll love it because it’s super easy to make and quick too! 

I made this for the MSU/LSU game Thursday night. Unfortunately, we lost but I consider this dip a huge success. 

Ingredients

-1 package Cream Cheese softened

-8 ounces of small curd Cottage Cheese

-8 ounces of fresh Mozzarella shredded (I like to use Galbani’s Mozzarella Fresca)

-1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan

-1 egg white

-28 ounce can Hunts Crushed Tomatoes (I’m very partial to Hunt’s)

-1/4 tsp Garlic Salt

-1/8 tsp Celery Salt

-Basil, Oregano, Parsley, and Pepper to taste.

-Bread, sliced.

1-Mix together Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Egg White, Parmesan, and most of the Mozzarella (reserve some for melting on the top)

2-In a separate bowl, mix Crushed Tomatoes, Garlic Salt, Celery Salt, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, and Pepper.

3-Grease the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan and press cheese mixture into the bottom. Top with the sauce mixture & sprinkle reserved mozzarella over the top. 

4-Cover with tin foil and bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite bread. Personally, I like to use a sourdough loaf, slice it and toast them until they are crispy (the bread is easier to dip if it’s crisp). This recipe makes a LOT of dip so beware…if it’s only for a few you may want to cut the recipe in half. 

*If you eat meat you may want to try chopping and layering pepperoni in between the cheese and sauce. Experiment… try grilled eggplant chopped up for an Eggplant Parmesan dip or top with onions, peppers, and mushroom for a Veggie Pizza Dip. Spinach would be great, artichokes, zucchini….let your imagination run free! 

19

Sep

Pineapple-Strawberry Salsa

To say that I love the salsa-fish pairing is an understatement. To me, salsa and fish are two things that go together like peanut butter and jelly, toast and jam, steak and potatoes, well… you get the drift . Salsa just helps to add a punch of flavor to fish. I absolutely love it. 

So far, I’ve experimented with tomato salsa, peach salsa, mango salsa, and this time I ventured a little further from home with pineapple-strawberry salsa. I know, I know this sounds crazy…crazy delicious! The pineapple is sweet and the strawberries add a bitter texture. It works together perfectly, probably the best salsa I’ve made to date. 

I used this salsa to top baked salmon and it was a wonderful pairing. 

Ingredients

-1/4 Pineapple diced small

-2 Strawberries diced small

-Handful of fresh Cilantro chopped well

-2 cloves Garlic minced

-1/4 White Onion finely diced

-1 Red Jalapeno Pepper deseeded and minced

-1/2 freshly squeezed Lime

-Salt to taste

-Mix everything together and let set for at least an hour. I like to let it set about 3 hours so all the flavors marry together. Try this with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite fish tonight!

17

Sep

Caramel Espresso Brownie Bars

As with all game day treats, you need a sweet to satisfy everyone’s cravings. These bars are chocolatey chewy delectable morsels oozing with caramel and topped with toasty marshmallows. It’s Saturday so get up, get into the kitchen, and whip up a batch of these brownies for someone special or just make them for yourself (don’t worry I won’t tell anyone if you eat an entire pan by yourself.) 

First, you should know that this recipe is not appropriate for use with the Perfect Brownie Maker. Everyone knows that I am absolutely obsessed with my Perfect Brownie Makers. Oh the way every brownie comes out perfectly square with the chewy edges and I don’t even have to wait for them to cool to grab one. I had difficulty getting the brownies out and pretty much had to desecrate them to pull them away from the pan. Still delicious but not entirely appetizing any more. 

Next time I will thoroughly grease and flour a pan. Everyone will be certain to love these bars. They are so simple too….okay I took the easy way out because I am a sucker for Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate brownie mix. Now, normally I’m not one for boxed mixes and I shudder at the thought of a boxed cake mix but please just trust me when I say that Ghirardelli has come up with a complete winner! 

Ingredients

-Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

-Vegetable Oil

-1/4 cup brewed coffee cooled. 

-1 Egg

-1/2 bag small Marshmallows

-Hershey’s Caramel Sauce

-1/8 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits

-2 Tbsp Ground Coffee

-1/2 bar Ghirardelli 80% Cocoa chocolate. Cold. 

1-Prepare brownies according to Box direction only used brewed, cooled coffee in place of water. 

2-It should take about 5-7 Tbsp’s worth of caramel sauce. Drizzle Caramel sauce over brownie mix in a grid pattern….then pull a knife through in both directions to get the caramel slightly incorporated. Sprinkle toffee bits over the top. 

3-Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. 

4-While the brownies are baking chop up the cold chocolate bar into fine pieces. Mix chocolate shreds and coffee together in a small bowl. 

5-Pull half baked brownies out of the oven and top with marshmallows and follow by sprinkling on the chocolate/coffee mixture. 

6-Return to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes. 

7-Remove and let the brownies cool before slicing and serving. 

* For an extra special desert try topping a warm brownie with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce! 

30

Aug

Lemon Cupcakes with Passionfruit Frosting

Sweet and Tangy

   The inspiration for this cupcake was an Arnold Palmer, you know the drink that’s half lemonade and half iced tea. Making sweet tea frosting is proving more difficult than I thought; fear not though, I haven’t given up yet. Tazo’s Passion Tea is one of my absolute favorite teas to drink over ice and while having a glass the other day, I thought this passion fruit tea would make a wonderful frosting. I just love the natural color that this tea gives to the frosting. 

This cake and frosting combination is wonderful. The cake is citrusy and tart while the frosting is sweet and floral and I think the two flavors work very well together. 

 

The key to the frosting is using two tea bags and boiling the tea bags in the water  down to the amount called for in the recipe, concentrating the flavors. Make sure your tea is cool before you incorporate it into the frosting. 

 

Cake Recipe

 

1 Stick Butter (room temperature)

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Milk 

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

2 TBSP Lemon Juice

1 Lemon Zest

1 Lime Zest

 

Frosting

1 Stick Butter

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/4- 1/2 Cup Brewed and Cooled Passion Fruit Tea

 

1-Cream Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla, Lemon Juice, and zest together in a large bowl.

 

2-In a smaller bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and then slowly add to the wet mixture using an electric mixer, mix on medium high for two minutes. 

 

3- Pour into pre-lined muffin tins. 

 

4- Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

Frosting

 

1-Cream butter with an electric mixer slowly adding the Powdered Sugar. 

 

2-Slowly add the tea and continue to whip until light and stiff. 


 

 

*Make sure your cupcakes are cooled before frosting them. I did a large swirl with this and I think the colors go very well together, very CandyLand. 

25

Aug

Grapefruit & Basil Spritzer

Thursday Night Cocktail


 

This cocktail is simple, savory, and relaxing. It’s the perfect way to end your work day or start early and spend the day relaxing. One of my newest obsessions in Basil; I love it. I’m totally into finding new and inventive ways to use this fragrant and earthy herb and it was only natural for me to try to incorporate it into a cocktail. 

 

Ingredients

 

2 oz. Good Vodka

3 oz. Natural Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice (not cocktail)

2 oz. Club Soda

Ice

Basil

Sugar

 

First, rim your chosen glass with sugar and in a mixing tin add vodka, grapefruite juice, club soda, and ice. Then pour into the glass, garnish with Basil and enjoy.

 

I find that the basil adds great flavor to this cocktail. Perfect for late summer!