Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So Good: Trader Joe's Steamer Clams in Garlic Butter Sauce

Dear Joe,

Thank you for understanding that just because I don't have the energy to slave over a hot stove waiting for little necks to open, that it doesn't mean I shouldn't have them for dinner  whenever I want.


super  thank you for not screwing up the buttery, garlic, white wine goodness that steamers are served  in and giving me an excuse to dip french bread in it.


Most of all Joe, thank you for consistently surprising me with things I never thought could taste good frozen and microwaved.

Last thing, thank you for your frozen chocolate covered bananas.

Love,

Michelle

P.S. Let's not let these steamers disappear off the shelves anytime soon like your strawberry coconut milk ice cream, mango sticky rice, chicken apple sausage, pad thai noodles and all those other things I can't find anymore.  I'm begging you.

Carl and Ellie: A Love Story

One of my favorite love stories that's worthy of a repeat post.  (Get your box of tissues ready)



P.S. Let me know if you haven't seen the movie. There is a surprise at the end about what was in Ellie's adventure book.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

There are about a handful of things left in life that bring out my inner child, and one of them is fruit roll ups...


Given the opportunity -- meaning the man of the house brings them home because he thinks it's funny to see me light up like a little kid -- I will eat an entire box in one sitting.


So when I saw this recipe in September's Food Network Magazine, I knew I had to give it a try.

There are several flavor options (check them out here) but I opted for Strawberry Banana and Raspberry Vanilla. While the raspberry had great color, in hindsight, I would stick to fruit with smaller/less seeds.


See, this is what fruit roll ups do to me... (Cupcakes and tiaras aye? I guess somethings never change)


Shopping List for Strawberry Banana (from Food Network Magazine)
3 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 medium bananas, peeled
3/4 Cup sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Non stick foil or a silicone mat
Parchment paper

Transfer the pureed fruit to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally at first and then more often toward the end, until most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture is very thick, 35 to 45 minutes. Be careful: The mixture may splatter.

Line a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or nonstick foil. Use an offset spatula to spread the fruit on the mat or foil into a thin layer. Bake at 200 degrees, until barely tacky, 3 hours to 3 hours, 30 minutes.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the fruit leather cool completely. Peel off of the mat or foil. If the leather is still moist on the underside, return it to the oven, moist-side up, until dry, about 20 more minutes.

TRICK: Since I used foil, I cut off the outer edges of the foil with scissors so it was a thick clean square layer of fruit leather on foil that I would begin peeling off

Once removed from foil, lay the leather smooth-side down on a parchment paper and use kitchen shears to cut it into strips on the paper. Roll up the strips and store in zip-top bags for up to 1 week.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Franks Red Hot Buffalo Dog

Pre-season football snack anyone?


I can't wait for more football. Lazy Sundays napping on the couch in an oversized jersey and leggings or meeting up with friends for cheap pitchers of beer and WINGS.

When I came up with this combo for Hot Dog Friday it was kind of a "duh" moment. Of course I would put cheesy, creamy, spicy, celery crunch on a hot dog.

And of course it would be really good.

I just used the base of my buffalo chicken dip (that I've seen people eat with a spoon) minus the chicken and then sprinkled some more Franks Red Hot sauce, blue cheese, and celery pieces on top. So easy and definitely "fun food"

Just in case you missed a few, here is a recap of Hot Dog Friday so far. Which one has been your favorite? 

Gryo Dog
Thai Hot Dog
Grilled Ruben Hot Dog
Honey Basil and Panko Dog
Lil Smokies with Green Apple and Brie Cheese

Hawaiian Hot Dog
Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs
Sweet & Savory Breakfast Hot Dog
Spanish Olive Hot Dog
Pulled Pork Dog with Lemon Pickled Onions

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5.9 Margarita Sabbatical

Sorry I don't have anything tasty to share with you today ...

I normally would have come home after work and started cooking/baking something, but last night I just wanted to sit on my porch with Honey, have a cocktail and pet her. (The poor thing was home alone when her world shook. She hates thunder so I can only imagine how she feels about earthquakes.)


I bet people in Cali are laughing right now but ... I really just needed a hug and some time to chill out after the walls in my office rumbled and my co worker yelled "Run! We have to get out of here." (total panic in my office)

After my margarita on the rocks with salt I felt better... I decided to clean the bathroom since we have a friend staying with us for the weekend. And then I figured, I might as well clean the kitchen too ...

Before I knew it the sun was going down and I missed all my good photography light. I will make it up to you I promise.

P.S. New stuff on Facebook though. Stop by

Monday, August 22, 2011

Virginia is for Sunset Lovers

Please excuse my neighbors big ole' truck ...  but I just had to share tonights sunset.

It's starting to feel like Fall a bit early in Virginia this year. I have the air conditioner off and all the windows open.


While I will miss laying by the pool, this cool night air sure is lovely.

Pancit Bihon

Have you ever had Pancit? It's a traditional Filipino noodle dish and it's a-maz-ing. My boyfriends family is Filipino and he can't get enough of it.  He raves about this stuff.

I tried to make in on my own last year -- and being that I am not Filipino --  and the women in my family haven't been making it for generations,  it was a TOTAL FAILURE.   It tasted nothing like my boyfriends mom's and we were forced to drown it in soy sauce. Terrible. 

This time though, I decided I wasn't messing around ...


Determined to get it right, I went to Juliana's, a Filipino grocery store. Nessa, who runs the store with her husband was extremely helpful in talking me through the recipe and showing me the proper ingredients.

I also picked up some tapioca pearls for bubble tea, artificial mango, and banana flavoring and coconut juice as well.  Such a cool little market for foodies.


Nessa's tips as well as my boyfriends step moms really made a difference this time and it was close to perfect {huge grin}.

P.S. You HAVE to  try this coconut juice. We first discovered it at our local Pho restaurant. It tastes nothing like the coconut water you buy at the store. This stuff is a coconut paradise vacation in your mouth.

The brand name is in a different language so I can't help you there. But it looks like this...



Shopping List
Rice Stick Noodles (8 oz)
Carrots, julienned
Shredded cabbage (about a quarter of the head)
1 White onion, minced
3 Garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup chopped scallion
4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
Sweet Chinese sausage
2 cups chicken broth from store
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tea spoon fish sauce

You will need a large pot that you can soak your noodles in, a sauce pan for boiling chicken, a large frying pan for sauteing sausage and another large frying pan for simmering your veggies.

First slice your carrots, onions, garlic and scallions and shred your cabbage and set aside.

Boil your chicken in about 2 cups of salted water until it is just about cooked through out. They should be thinly sliced so that only takes about 10  minutes. Remove the chicken and pour the broth into your large pan that you are saving to soak your noodles in. (Don't soak them yet)

Next, place your sausage in a frying pan with 1 cup of your store bought chicken broth, on low to medium heat put a lit on it and cook until soft. When done, pour that broth into your saved chicken broth as well.

Using a food processor shred your chicken breasts and sausage. (remove casing from sausage if any)

In your other pan for sauteing the veggies cook your onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add your carrots and 1 cup store bought chicken broth and teaspoon fish sauce to pan with garlic and onion. Sauteed until soft. Add cabbage last (to keep a little crunchy) and sauteed for about 5 minutes.

Pour veggie broth into other reserved broths. Soak noodles in reserved broth for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Combine all cooked ingredients, tender noodles and broth and soy sauce into large saute pan and toss cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Garnish with hard boiled egg and serve.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pulled Pork Dog with Lemon Pickled Onions

Typically, I don't eat onions. The aftertaste stays in my mouth forever and it takes days to get that musty smell off my hands. Gross.  But ...

I found out last night that pickling onions makes them bright, zesty, a pretty color pink and totally worth the lingering aftertaste. I  mean,  I was actually eating them out of the jar.


This tasty hot dog is my spin on the classic pulled pork and coleslaw hot dog. I think these pickled onions would be awesome on a burger too.


So what do you think I should do when Hot Dog Friday is over? These posts have really forced me to think outside the box and reinvent classics and I want to keep it up. 

I chose hot dogs because they are a summer staple (that I crave), but there is a playfulness to hot dogs too.

What is a playful Fall classic? I was thinking maybe Caramel Apples. What do you think?

Shopping List
All beef hot dogs
Hot dog buns
BBQ pulled pork (awesome recipe from Eat, Live, Run here)
1 Red onion
1 Cup white vinegar
1 Lemon
Red pepper flakes
1/3 Cup sugar

 Lemon Pickled Onions: Slice your  red onion into thin strips using a mandolin. Rinse onion with water and pat dry.

Place your onions in a large bowl and zest your lemon on top. Then squeeze all of the juice from the lemon into the bowl as well.

Pour in your cup of white vinegar and sugar. Mix the onions with your hands coating them evenly. Squeeze the juices into the onions.

Sprinkle on about 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pour them in a jar with a lid or cover your bowl and refrigerate for about an hour. Drain the remaining juices.

Keep refrigerated.

Top your hot dog with your pulled pork and then your onions and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Raspberry Stuffed Cake Pops

I've never made red velvet cake pops before. Did you know that if you mash up red velvet cake in your hands they will be stained red for about 24 hours?

True story.


I don't mind though because I made these for one of our awesome Summer interns who is leaving us today and she loves red velvet.

Maria is totally worth red hands.


This is also the first time I've stuffed fruit inside my cake pops. It worked out so well that I may try bananas next time. Watch out Starbucks ;)

Shopping List
One box red velvet cake
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Chocolate frosting
Chocolate candy melts
Red sprinkles
Lolly pop sticks

Bake your cake according to the directions on the box. When the cake is done and cooled crumble it into a large mixing bowl. (Pioneer Woman has an awesome step by step with photos here). Scoop about 2 large spoonfuls of chocolate frosting into the bowl and mix with your hands until combined.

Form small balls placing a raspberry in the center when you form them. Balls should be smaller than a golf ball. Stick a lolly pop stick in each ball, careful not to go all the way through to the other side.

Place balls on a parchement lined baking sheet and freeze over night.

Melt your candy melts in a deep, small bowl at 30 second intervals until smooth and thin. Take one cake pop out of the freezer at a time to coat. If they get to soft they could fall off the stick while you are coating them.

Spoon the melted chocolate over the pop until covered and then, while holding the pop at the top of the stick NOT THE BOTTOM, lightly tap, tap, tap against the side of the bowl until you lose all your excess chocolate and the pop seems evenly coated.

Sprinkle sugar or nuts or topping before the chocolate hardens.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Honey Loves Ice Cream

Did you know they make ice cream for dogs?  It's called Frosty Paws.

Honey closes her eyes when she eats it.  That must mean it's really good...


It's the little things in life right?

Banana Butter Cupcakes with Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting

Have you ever heard of a dirty banana?

It's a frozen banana and coffee flavored cocktail served at Seacrets, an outdoor bar in Ocean City, Maryland.


What did you think I was talking about? Get your mind out of the gutter!

These cupcakes aren't coffee flavored but they are  banana flavored (clearly) and after drinking way too many dirty bananas on Saturday afternoon it's all I can think of while writing this post.


I made these for a co-workers birthday on Friday. Fresh bananas in butter cake with a light cream cheese and chocolate frosting. The banana chips and adorable cupcake liners just added to the fun.

Is it possible to still be hungover from Saturday? I also drank several "Pain in da butts." Frozen strawberry and pineapple with rum.

I hope I can revive my body in spin class tonight. Welcome to my Monday.

Shopping List (makes about two dozen cupcakes)

1 box Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup melted butter
2 bananas
2 packages cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's natural unsweetened cocoa powder
Banana chips for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix your cake mix, eggs, butter and bananas with a hand mixer until smooth. Fill your muffin liners 2/3 of the way and bake for about 21 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

In a separate bowl mix your roomtemperture cream cheese, powdered sugar and cocoa until combined. Fill with a pipping bag and top your cupcakes after they have cooled.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs

Can you believe there is only one month of Hot Dog Friday left? Just one more month until we turn our air conditioners off and start talking about pumpkins and apple cider.

This weeks hot dog is not fancy or original -- but it's certainly a classic that I had to include.


My boyfriend told me yesterday that when he was a little boy his dad used to take him to 7/11 for a chili cheese dog and a Slurpee before they went to the comic book store. "I was soooooo happy," he said. "We called them 'chili death dogs.'"

For me, chili cheese dogs remind me of  the first baseball game I ever went to. I was with my grandpa and we had just driven from Connecticut to DC to drop off my things at my new apartment for my summer internship. We dumped off all my stuff and headed to a Nationals game. First baseball game and first night in DC. (I never left)

I think chili cheese dogs hold a special place in everyones heart.  Right?


Then again, as we know, I clearly like hot dogs more than your average bear.

This recipe comes from "In the Wabe" a gorgeous photography and food blog I just found. After baking them in the oven like she suggests, I may never cook a chili cheese dog any other way.

Note: I used Amy's Organic Chili, with tofu (I actually prefer it), turkey dogs and light mayo.

Oven Hot Dogs from "In the Wabe"
8 hot dogs
8 hot dog buns
1 can of chili
1/2 an onion, diced
cheddar cheese
mayonnaise
mustard
sweet relish

Line inside of hot dog buns with mayonnaise and sweet relish. Evenly add mustard. Fill with hot dogs and squish into a 13×9″ baking pan.

Top hot dogs with chili, cheese, and diced onion. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Remove hot dogs carefully with tongs or a spatula. Be careful my got stuck to the foil a little bit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bon Appétit Michelle

Can you believe it? Bon Appétit  featured me on their website yesterday! I know, crazy right?!


I mean, I get that magazine in the mail every month. (Along with Cooking Light and Everyday with Rachael Ray)

I'm still smiling ... People just love those darn jello shots!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears

"Gummy Bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventure that's beyond compare, we are the Gummy Bears... " 

Remember that cartoon? Talking, singing, bouncing, candy. My favorite candy actually.  Does it get any better?

Yes ... yes it does. You grow up and soak your favorite candy in booze!


My mom's friend Cathy makes drunken gummies for their bowling team (those wild bowling ladies!), but she uses gummy cherries.  You can pick any gummy you want.


Gummy penguins, gummy coke bottles, gummy strawberries, peaches, watermelons... the possibilities are endless (though I have heard that Swedish Fish don't work that well in vodka) 

I added some gummy Life Savers to my bears. Hands down, "Haribo Gold-Bears" are the best in the world.


I didn't like the idea of sticky fingers from pulling them out of a zip lock bag or party bowl, so I took the time (really it's only about 15 minutes) to stick them all on tooth picks.


We are headed to the beach this weekend to meet up with my best friend from college and I can't wait to bring these little guys with us!

They have quite a kick.  Eat responsibly :)

Shopping List  (inspired by Cathy Macomber on the Tuesday Nite Wildcats)
1 bag of gummy bears or gummy candy of your choice
1 cup of Absolute or Gray Goose vodka (or enough to cover the candy completely)

Place your bears in a large bowl and pour over your vodka, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 24 hours. I wouldn't go further than 48 hours, they may start breaking down.

Pour out your vodka (serve if you like, it will be pink and sweet from the bears) and carefully skewer your gummy bears. Arrange and serve.


For featuring on your website please make sure to contact thatssomichelle@gmail.com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Radish and Creme Fraiche Canapés

Aren't radishes pretty? They actually match my nail polish right now!


I used them for these pink canapés.  So frou-frou.


The magenta colored spheres were crunchy and delicious served on french bread with garlic butter, creme fraiche and dill.

I brought them to Jenny's clothes swap on Sunday. A fashionable snack for a fashionable event. Check out photos from the swap here at Savory Style.

I can't wait to show you what I have marinating in my fridge right now. I will tell you two things, it includes gummy bears and.... vodka!

Shopping List
1 bunch radishes
1 loaf french bread cup into thin slices
3 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
7oz. creme fraiche
Fresh dill

Combine your garlic cloves and butter in a food processor (until smooth). Spread butter on french bread slices.

Place buttered bread in broiler until browned.

Top your toasted bread with a dollop of creme fraiche and sliced radish. Sprinkle fresh dill on top. Serve.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Spanish Olive Hot Dog

Okay, Okay.  I have to admit it -- after two months of posting hot dogs every Friday -- I am finally all hot dogged out.

I was really tempted to throw in the towel this week ... but I promised a new hot dog every Friday all summer  and I am a woman of my word.  No matter how bizarre or challenging this gets. 


I took 212 photos of this hot dog. Hot dogs have proven to be very difficult subjects to photograph. This one was no exception.

I didn't even want to share these photos. [So hard on myself] But my taste tester said "No baby, this tastes really good, really good, you have to post it."

Do you like green olives and cream cheese together? If you haven't tried it I suggest you do. I usually make little pastry puffs filled with the salty and creamy duet. Or canapes, and spreads.  Weird yes, but delish.


Honey doesn't think it's weird.  She loves all of my cooking.  Good girl.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies

These strawberries were about to go bad...  I probably should have just put them in the blender with some almond milk and ice cubes... but I didn't.


I layered them in Hershey's Brownie mix with a cream cheese topping instead.

I've written about 15 different paragraphs about these brownies, and then deleted everything and started over.  Such food blogger block today!

Hopefully I have already won your affection. I tried to make the strawberries look like a heart on top of the brownie.  See?  Who needs chit chat, right? They speak for themselves.


Shopping List
One box Original Supreme Hershey’s Brownie mix
2 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup water
1 lb strawberries (sliced lengthwise)
8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, combine the brownie mix, 1 egg, water and oil until smooth.

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, grease it, and pour in half of your brownie mix. Layer your strawberry slices across the surface. Then cover the strawberries with the remaining brownie mix.

In a separate bowl mix your cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and one egg until smooth. Throw in a small handful of berries for some more color and flavor (optional).

Pour your cream cheese topping over the brownie mix and with a rubber spatula or spoon carefully smooth it over completely. You might end up swirling in some chocolate from the brownies but that's okay.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the toothpick in the center trick works.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chef Honey

Have you met my sous chef?


She really does follow me around the kitchen... my little helper.   You know, just in case I might need something cleaned up off the floor, or taste tested.

She was so upset with me for putting this hat on her, but I just had to share :)
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