April 18, 2010

Sweet Tomato and Corn Salad

I am very excited to welcome summer (with big fat open arms). The weather around here is warming up and the days are getting longer. So, as soon as I possibly could, I started whipping up my favorite summer-esque salads. This recipe caught my eye and was bookmarked on epicurious quite some time ago. When I realized time had slipped away last season but that this one is young and promising, I stepped into action.

I pulled myself together and finally gathered what I needed for this super simple, super yummy summery salad. It's not that anything in this recipe is exotic, or difficult...I just haven't had them all in the same room together - yes it's sad, I know it. I love tomatoes, love my sweet corn, and I have green onions growing on the patio (the one thing that seems to escape my kill-all-things-green-ness) so I really had run out of excuses, and I'm glad I did.

April 12, 2010

Bloggin' Lovin'...I Stole It

I read tons of food blogs...tons, each and every day. I have so many favorites but there are a few that I'm sure to check in on daily. Joy (The Baker) is one of the gals that I'm currently stalking...admiring big time these days. When I saw this recipe she had for caramel popcorn I fell in love, ahhh sweet, salty caramely popcorn - we were meant to be.

Ummmm, so I guess I never really knew quite how...expansive popcorn kernels were. Nope, I've never made homemade popcorn before now, it's sad - I know it. So when the recipe says to pour the popped corn into a large bowl it really means a super-large bowl, otherwise this happens...

April 9, 2010

Garlic Mustard Grilled Steak Skewers

I'm not much of a beef eater myself, but my husband loves his red meat. I could live without steak and burgers if I had to, buuuut I'm here to serve! When the weather started to warm up this spring, I wheeled out the grill  and eagerly looked forward to the season. Well if I I had to hold my breath for hubby to fire her up...I'd be a very hungry girl. The first time I used that grill I fell in love, it was my new 'thing' and I wasn't surrendering it back over to neglect.

One of my favorite things to grill is corn, full ears buttered and salted, right over the flame - need I say more really? But let's face it, we're here to cook more than corn. After several, and I do mean several, failed steak attempts I was ready to throw in the towel. My problems: (#1) I love my steak rare, I'm talking crawling off the plate - Hubby likes his well done, char it and make sure she aint breathing. (#2) getting used to the open flame. With an electric stove who remembers how to cook over real fire nowadays? (#3) I was a compulsive flipper because that's what grilling is right, flipping?! I would baffle Bobby Flay...or anyone else who watched I'm sure.

April 6, 2010

Fried Banana Dumplings

Not too long ago I bought one of those bargain bags of bananas at the grocery store. You know, the five pounds of super ripe bananas that are ready to use for whatever you have in mind for them. This bag-o-bananas is such a good deal that I always tend to buy now and worry about what to do with them later. So I got to that point...banana bread (check), Ooo so cute mini banana cupcakes (check), banana pancakes (check)....ok now what?!

I had about 4 remaining bananas getting extra ripe, waiting for their calling but a girl can only handle so much. I was out of ideas, no inspiration and tired of the same old desserts. So I moseyed on over to my ever-so-trusty epicurious and started browsing. So many things looked very tempting but when I got to this recipe I stopped in my tracks. I have to say...I'm a sucker for a fried dessert, guilty. I was curious, and a little skeptical, but I figured all I had to lose were a couple of bananas and I wouldn't shed a tear to have them taken off my hands.

April 4, 2010

Oven-less Chicken Parm

I absolutely love Italian food. Growing up, the only Italian food we ever ate was from restaurants (the best) so I had a very warped sense of what Italian cooking truly was. It was only when I had just gotten into cooking that I discovered how satisfying and comforting the cuisine really is. I started off small with a basic red tomato sauce then I moved onto risotto, chicken francese and chicken parmesan. All of these recipes have become staples in my house, but let's face it...who wants to pump the oven for chicken parm on a hot summer-y day? (yea....I do)

Well sort of - I came home one night, completely clueless about what I was serving for dinner (and that never happens). I had everything I needed for chicken parmesan, but blech, the heat. With no other inspiration and the clock ticking away I decided to suck it up and go for it. So I had all of the chicken breaded and hanging out while the oil was heating up and it hit me. Why the heck should I bake the chicken in the oven when I can very well do it on my stove top, hell-looo! So I browned all of the chicken breasts as I would normally do in a large skillet with some olive oil, took them out and set them aside.

Sweet & Simple Red Slaw

I have never liked coleslaw. It has a slimy, mushy un-appealing presence that never really called to me. I had always attributed this to not liking cabbage, but I think I may have been a little unfair. The real problem is the mass-produced tubs o'slaw sitting in a deli case for ages, allowing the cabbage to get lazy and turn to mush (this will happen to you too if you don't quit being a couch potato - I'm sure of it).

A good, crisp, fresh coleslaw is like no other and it's rather easy to throw together. So say good-bye to your old image of coleslaw and take a bite of this. The red (purple, whatever) cabbage offers a nice depth of flavor and the dressing is sweet and zippy. This kind of slaw salad with its fun colors feel like summer all over again!

April 1, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bird Nests

I woke up early this morning...way early. What's a girl to do with 30 extra minutes of time...before the rest of the house gets up and demands every ounce of attention? Why, she bakes of course...not that this was actually baking, but it counts. I wanted to make a special treat for My Perfect Little Helper this morning without creating a sink full of dishes before the sun rose. I had some almond M&M 'eggs' that I had been saving (which I think is quite notable thank you very much) for just this purpose.

I know poeple everywhere have been making these haystack things with their children for ages. Truth is, I've never has one - nope, my mom was not whipping up cute little hay thingies when I was little. Not that I think I've been deprived or anything, but the fact that my four year old had something before I even knew about it says something don't you think? So I searched around google and found...oh about a bazillion recipes for these sweet little concoctions but most of them used butterscotch chips - something I don't have lying around.