Menu 28 – The Super Bowl…of FOOD

“Because I’m all about that food, that food, NO football…”

 OK I’ll stop. But I will admit, I had to look up who’s playing. Don’t we all agree that unless your team is in it, the Super Bowl is really about commercials and snacks?

And what could be better! Fun commercials and an excuse to eat ridiculously indulgent food. I’m all over it like Defense on the QB 🙂 (I’m trying over here. Really.)

It’s not the Super Bowl without dip. This Blue Cheese Caramelized Shallot dip is ugly (it turns kind of blue and brown with the cheese and the shallots) but it doesn’t matter – it’s delicious. Get the best potato chips you can find and cut some vegetables if you feel you must. Set this out right away. Also, Jerk Wings. There’s really no recipe for these – but they’re always just right. Go buy Walker’s Wood. Dump a bunch of it in a bag with your wings. Pour in a beer. Close it and marinate for a few hours. Roast the wings for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. They’re sinus clearing and amazing (just don’t touch your eyes). And now the main event – the Cuban Sandwich. I’m always looking for reasons to eat a Cuban Sandwich. Break it down – roasted pork, ham, cheese and a pickle – all pressed and delicious. For a Super Bowl crowd, make it like a slider. These sandwiches beg for rice and beans on the side. Try the recipe below and set out a bunch of hot sauce. To finish, toffee bars. So good and bad at the same time.

We’re not trying for a lot of coordinated flavors here – we’re going for indulging in awesome hot sticky slow roasted fattening deliciousness. Wash it all down with a lot of local beer and no matter who wins, you will be a happy watcher.

Menu 28 - 2 4 2016

Tips and Notes

Make this dip. Don’t think twice. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/blue-cheese-and-caramelized-shallot-dip-104792

Cuban Sliders!! SHOWSTOPPER http://www.beantownbaker.com/2013/01/cuban-sandwich-sliders.html

Must have Rice and Beans: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rice-cooked-in-black-beans-em-moros-y-cristianos-em-364829

Brownies are so last season. Try these gooey sticky toffee bars. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/amy-thielen/toffee-bars.html

 

Menu 24 – Yes, We Can Still Ring in 2016!

I love everything about the holidays – the music, the decorations, the festivities and the ending. I love when they stop. It’s just so much of everything that by the time January rolls around I am thrilled to shut it all down and start fresh. It’s cliché but healthy to lighten up the eating, slow down the drinking, to begin anew. That is what this week is about. At the beginning of the year, we always find a need to clean out closets and drawers (partly driven by my craziness – my husband can see it coming around December 30th when I start asking how much we really like or need anything in the house that isn’t bolted down). It’s a great time to set the budget for the year (I do a monthly budget – I can’t help it, I am a CFO of a business and my house). We plan vacations for the year which come around so fast. With all of this happening, we still need to eat. So let’s do that with a nod to lucky New Year traditions. Black-eyed peas are a must and this shrimp dish is delicious and so easy. Collards go alongside to represent money. Why not? And eating ring/round shaped cookies is a nod to good fortune (these linzers look delicious!)

It all makes donating that coat you haven’t worn for six years so much easier.

Menu 24 - 1 6 2016

Tips and Notes

Garlicky Shrimp and Black Eyed Peas – Despite what the recipe tells you, this is a one pot wonder. The recipe suggests that you cook the shrimp separately from the other stuff. Here is what I do. I start with the shrimp, garlic and salt and pepper in the pot. I lightly cook them and then remove them to a separate bowl (make sure you get all the garlic out). Then I do the bacon and the veg etc. in that same pot. Why lose that shrimp taste? Seems silly. I add the wine and broth etc. and once that has all cooked, towards the end I add the shrimp back in. It’s just easier that way. This is great with garlic toast too – but I think everything is better with garlic toast.

Collards – try this straight up recipe.

Cookies – I have two discs of sugar cookie dough leftover in my freezer (you don’t?). Punch out traditional lucky New Year ring shapes. Bake. Decorate as you wish, or eat plain – they are delicious. OR if you don’t have extra, make these from the wonderful Lindsey http://hartandgarnet.com/l-is-for-linzer-and-lindsey/ . Who doesn’t love linzer cookies!

Also, take a moment and draw some stick figures. This is surprisingly fun. You can bring so much life into a little man or woman made only with a few marks. Give it a try.

Menu 20 – Eat WELL

So Thanksgiving happened and you ate ALL the pie. Not a crumb left in sight. There were also midnight drumsticks dipped in gravy and fried stuffing patties topped with cranberry sauce (creative, yes?). You drank nothing that wasn’t caffeinated or alcoholic. Elastic waistbands were required.

Friends, the holidays are long. Let’s maintain a little self-control and not totally crap the Healthy Bed (Crass. Don’t care). I overindulged last year and my memory of that Christmas is more about feeling huge than enjoying myself. You may not need rules. I do. Here are mine.

  1. Alternate all alcoholic beverages with water. Lots of water all day.
  2. Start the day with a protein and vegetable breakfast.
  3. Snack on whatever you want as long as you eat something healthy beforehand. Want a cookie? Great. Have a few slices of raw chopped peppers first.
  4. No food magazines after 9PM. This is a year round rule – late night perusing makes me hungry. Big holiday meals and leftovers don’t need any help from cravings I can avoid by say, reading a book instead of looking at food on Pinterest.
  5. Move around. Keep up your exercise routine.

The theme => No deprivation. All excess in moderation.

Set yourself up right with a meal that isn’t 6,000 calories. A few days of virtue is a healthy way to appreciate the cookies, the butter, the creamed spinach…remember, it’s barely even December and the parties are just starting. Try this delicious and easy fish dish. Over spinach and a little rice, you will be satisfied. There should be dessert. I listed broiled grapefruit (which sounds really fun) but this would also be a great time to have banana ice cream – link below – which is delicious and best eaten the day you make it.

Let’s treat this holiday season like the marathon it should be.

Menu 20 - 12 4 2015

Tips and Links

Thank you, Ellie Krieger: Thai Style Fish in Coconut Curry Broth

Try Broiled Grapefruit OR Banana Ice Cream!

Menu 19 – Turkey Curry Extravaganza!

Once upon a time you spent hours and hours preparing a meal. You planned ahead and finished on time. The turkey was moist, your house smelled divine.

And then you couldn’t stand another second of that sage/celery smell, yet your refrigerator was still “brimming with goodness.” What to do? In my world, the day after Thanksgiving is Curry Day. Go to a different country, change up the flavor profile, and minimize your time in the kitchen. Turkey Curry with all the toppings #FTW!

This curry recipe doesn’t even pretend to be authentic, but it is tasty. Think of this as a method, or 9 steps to goodness.

  1. Prepare rice, white or brown, your choice.
  2. While the rice cooks, heat up a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan.
  3. Dice an onion and gently sauté it in the oil for about 5 minutes. Mince 2 garlic cloves and a tablespoon of ginger. Add your garlic, ginger and 2 – 3 teaspoons of curry powder to the pan and sauté that for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add about a cup of your leftover gravy. Pull out that extra box of chicken stock you bought and add a cup until it’s as thick or not as you want it. Add leftover turkey that you’ve pulled apart into bite size pieces. On medium heat, let this simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Have someone else prepare curry toppings – sliced bananas, raisins, chutney, peanuts, coconut, mango, apples
  6. Tell the kids to set the table
  7. Have your uncle pour some good craft beer for the adults
  8. Taste your curry and see if you want to add more curry powder, salt or pepper. Enjoy!
  9. To plate, rice/curry/toppings of your choice and BOOM!  Dinner my friends, is served.

 

Menu 19 - 11 24 2015

Tips and Notes

I will admit, this recipe is a bit loosey goosey (technical term), but at some point there are things you make off the top of your head. If you want a more structured approach, try this one: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2012/02/chicken-curry.html just modify the turkey part since you’re using leftovers and not starting with raw.

Menu 16 – Baby Care Package

One of the things I vividly remember about having a new baby is the sense that all of a sudden you are one-handed. Everything needed to be done with half the usual hand/arm resources. I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me at the time that the baby could be put down (maybe I just didn’t want to). It’s nice to hold a baby.

Yet you still need to eat. And for new mothers, this often means you need to eat A LOT. I was famished. Breastfeeding takes it out of you. This week we are preparing a care package for a friend with a new baby (or, as the case may be, babIES if twins arrived!). Fork and finger friendly foods are the way to go here. It’s also nice to provide basic items that are a godsend at 3PM or 2AM…already cut up fruits and vegetables; soup that one can drink from a mug; a vegetable pasta great hot or cold. Also, make a frittata that can keep easily in the fridge and precut it for her – what a great way to start the day after you’ve been up all night. Seriously, you need sustenance. And yes I am suggesting you cut up fruit and raw vegetables and put them in containers for your friend. TRUST me, she will be grateful. Boil some eggs while you’re at it (9 ½ minutes is perfect).

I had a lot of ideas here, so preparing this may take a bit of time…but think of your friend who just dealt with nine months of baby prep. And, if you double everything, you’ll have a stocked fridge too. Not so bad 🙂

Menu 16 - 11 4 2015

 

Tips and Notes

Baby was up all night, Frittata

I need a quick lunch that I can drink…Broccoli Soup

The witching hour is coming I need a SNACK to get me THROUGH DIP

Did we make it another day? QUICK pasta dinner while the baby sleeps!

Menu 15 – Post Trick or Treating “Stopping by” Goodies

I’m not really sure how it happened, but last year our house became a landing pad for several trick or treating families. Maybe it was the open door, the surprisingly cold weather and the open bottles of bourbon. I expect this year will be no different – but THIS year I will be prepared…with more than just, you know, bourbon. After everyone is trick or treated out, the kids can watch Hotel Transylvania and count their candy. The adults can grab a slice of lasagna, a bowl of soup or a wedge of pasta pie (EPIC). Nothing particularly Halloweeny or Spooky about those, but it’s all delicious. The lasagna is a family recipe – from Kansas (yes, Kansas) with a lot of meat. The bucatini pie will have no meat – so everyone should be happy. The soup just sounded good on a cold night. And last but not least, a lot of garlic bread. At least that will keep the vampires away. Have your friends bring their favorite drinks. But open your own bourbon. Somehow Halloween doesn’t seem complete without it.

Menu 15 - 10 29 2015

Tips and Notes

Look how cool this pasta pie is…http://food52.com/blog/14299-why-pasta-pie-is-the-make-ahead-recipe-and-leftover-you-ve-been-seeking

And this farro soup). Page down, you will find it. Make ahead. Perfect on a cold night.

This internet is FULL of garlic bread recipes… this one looks pretty delicious.

Last but not least, my family lasagna recipe. I don’t claim to be a recipe writer – so email savegourmet@gmail.com with any questions! Kansas Lasagna

Menu 14 – Apples All The Time!

So you went apple picking…and now you’re feeling overrun. What on earth are you going to do with 85 apples? It seemed so fun at the time. The web is filled with ideas for apple overflow (pies, sauce, butter). But maybe you want to create a meal, or, surprise surprise, a menu out of your apples! There is a restaurant near us called Applewood that hosts theme dinners where an ingredient is highlighted throughout the meal. That is what I am doing here. Bring on the apples!

We start with a cocktail. Forget apple martinis – we are going hard cider here with The Pork Chop from Miami’s Yarbird. Next, a big bowl of a crisp salad from Eye Swoon (click, it’s gorgeous – and do not skip the basil, it makes it). Because you called 10 friends to join you, you need a huge pork shoulder like the one from Pioneer Woman roasted with apples and onions, and smartly paired with wild rice (we need more wild rice in life). To finish, you’re taking everyone to Russia with a simple and gorgeous Apple Sharlotka from The Smitten Kitchen. Happy eating!

Menu 14 - 10 21 2015

Tips and Notes

But first, a hard apple cider cocktail…The Pork Chop

and then, this lovely crisp SALAD…served alongside Pork Shoulder With Apples and Onions and wild rice.

To finish, this gorgeous Apple Sharlotka

Really? You still have apples? Ok. Pickle some (http://food52.com/recipes/16743-quick-pickled-apples) and serve cold the next day with leftover pork. Chop them and mix them with breakfast sausage (more pork!) and freeze. Infuse some vodka and make this cocktail: http://www.whatkatieate.com/recipes/apple-ginger-and-cranberry-vodka-cocktail/. Mix up apple pie filling, freeze it and use in pie, a galette or over pancakes.

Still more? Jeez. Drop them in brown paper bags, create a cute drawing and give them to your dinner party friends as parting gifts (look at you the creative host).

AND then there’s THIS great idea – use the apples for the table! Look at this gorgeous table design from the super talented Little Green Notebook!