Soup, Glorious Soup!

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I love soup.  I know I’ve mentioned this before–like every January, but January seems to be a good time for soup.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, I’m one of those weird-can-eat-soup-any-day-of-the-year people so I don’t necessarily need cold weather to indulge, just a spoon.  This is very handy when one is experiencing an unseasonably warm “winter” in NYC and one loves soup so much.

The other day I had some amazing wonton soup from Ginger’s in Midtown (for anyone in, around or visiting NYC).  It was so delicious.  The broth was seasoned perfectly and adorned not only with wontons so fresh they were practically falling apart, but also spinach which added an extra layer of goodness.  The irony of it all, is that I rarely get wonton soup–I almost always get egg drop but on a whim I went with the wonton and here I am at 7:30am wondering what time Ginger’s opens and if I can work it into today’s schedule.  Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes as to how good this soup is, nothing but tasting it will!

It did remind me that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about soup.  In looking back at some older posts, I realized that I owe you an up date on my Kaliflower Soup, which I am determined to get juuuuuust right and I think I may have finally solved the “too much” kale debacle (hint: baby kale!).  There is another soup from a health store on the Upper East Side that I’d also like to try my hand at: it’s a veggie soup with yellow lentils, so it has a creamy rather than brothy base that accompanies most veggie soups.  The result is an extra-hearty veggie soup that could easily be a meal all on its own!  I also promised April an actual Roasted Asparagus soup recipe other than Jaime’s vague instructions…

I guess I need to get cooking!

But before I go, I thought I’d leave you with some links to earlier soup posts, in case you’re in the mood to do a bit of cooking on your own and needed some inspiration (and before you argue, stew is a soup and who cares what you call it, it has Guinness so just try not to shovel it in too fast and burn your mouth!):

Bon appetito!

shiner soup

Thanksgiving Bowl

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For those of you out there who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that you had a wonderful day filled with great food, family and/or friends, football, parades or however you like to celebrate.  I spent the day rotating between cooking and loafing and eating an extraordinary amount of cheese–it was a great way to spend a day!

Aside from the getting together with loved ones and cheese (and of course, wine–but isn’t that a given??), my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  Everything that is delicious seems to have even more flavor after sitting in the fridge (although I would say that is true of most things).  Thus when you bring them out again for a midnight snack, breakfast, or whenever strikes your fancy, the results are magical.

In that spirit, I present to you my Thanksgiving Bowl:

I know, I know there are some of you reading this now who are disappointed it has nothing to do with football, well…yesterday was a huge disappointment on the football field–so I’d rather just forget those games, thankyouverymuch!

But there isn’t anything disappointing about this bowl!  It has everything delicious about Thanksgiving.  For me, that would be mashed potatoes, turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce–well almost everything delicious except the pie.  I would recommend saving that for dessert…or even better: an appetizer!  😉

So tell me, what’s in your Thanksgiving Bowl?

Put A Stick In It!

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Pretty much since the arrival of Lucille and the discovery that–with the right accessories–she could make ice cream, I have wanted an ice cream maker.  Not necessarily that ice cream maker (I’m open to seeing other ice cream makers), but I do love making ice cream…in part because I love eating ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, and in larger part because it brings back great memories of sitting on Grandpa & Granny’s porch watching Grandpa crank the ice cream maker, waiting eagerly for him to sneak us a spoonful before Granny would put it in the freezer.  I also have heard that right now Aldi in the Twin Cities has a great deal on a 2qt ice cream maker…you know, just in case you live, work, or are traveling through the Twin Cities and decide that your Minnesota souvenir of choice can also be an integral part of your kitchen.

But this isn’t a post about ice cream.  This is a post about a well-loved cousin to ice cream: the popsicle.  A more portable version, easier to make, already-portioned-out-so-you-don’t-eat-the-entire-2quarts-in-one-sitting summer staple.  What started this mild obsession?  Well, awhile back, I saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Pops from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food and realized that not only did I have all the ingredients on hand, but that this might be the answer for my yearning for an ice cream maker.  I accepted this as fate–and the sign of a genius plan!–when the other day I was out and about and found a popsicle mold for only $4.  Done and done!

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While waiting for them to freeze, I did what anyone would do: I got on Pinterest to look for more recipes.  Actually, I also blame the Fudge Bars from Whole Foods temporarily residing in my freezer because, well, it would also be AWESOME to have fudge bars without going to the store!

So when you type ‘popsicle’ (why limit yourself to just fudge?) into the search box of Pinterest you get about 3 days worth of pins. I found a wide variety of recipes for fudge popsicles (hellllllooooo, Nutella pops!), complicated fancy ones that look pretty and sound amazing, but fall into the Too Hard Basket (such as blackberry ombre popsicles or coconut/salted caramel/chocolate with almonds–but if you decide to make these, personally I think it should be pistachios), über-easy/healthy ones (aka put fruit in a mold and fill with coconut water), and my new favorite: the adult beverage ones.  WHAT THE WHAT?  This is just further proof this really was a genius plan!

It started with this Peaches & Cream recipe from Tutti Dolce (who seems to be a connoisseur of popsicles, as several of my popsicle pins are from Laura!). I clicked on this one because it’s summer and I almost always have peaches on hand.  In reading through the recipe, this caught my eye:

1 1/2 Tbsp crème de pêche (peach liqueur)

Liqueur?  Oh yes, please, and thankyouverymuch!

So then (and this is how Pinterest sucks you in), I start actively searching for adult popsicle recipes and realize that there are a lot of lushes kindred spirits (pun intended!) out there!  Sangria, Bourbon, Tequila, Prosecco…I’m quite certain you’d be hard pressed to find something without [insert your favorite adult beverage here].

I then did what any pinner would do: I created a board.  Not just for the adult popsicles, although I do appreciate your faith in me that I would could do that.  I even included a few of the Too Hard Basket ones, mainly because they are pretty and maybe complicated popsicles are your thing.  I mean, I don’t judge.  Who knows…perhaps–if given the appropriate amount of champers–I might be prompted to try one of them….until giving up in a huff and just sitting on the couch, drowning my sorrows in another bottle of champers while waiting for the easy adult popsicles to freeze.  What?  It’s the most likely scenario.

But back to popsicles….inquiring minds want to know: what’s your favorite?


 
Happy summering!

PS–if you’re interested, here’s my Put A Stick In It Pinterest Board.  If you already follow me on Pinterest, you’re welcome for the plethora of popsicle recipes in your feed 😉 And, of course, I’m always looking for more great recipes if you wanna share your favorite popsicle recipe!

Peachy Keen!

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I love scones.  Probably the best scone that I’ve ever eaten was a bacon, cheddar, & chive scone.  I mean, c’mon–it is bacon and cheese!  But that’s not why we’re here today.

Peaches.  Peaches are why we’re here today.  We are (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) smack dab in the middle of peach season!  To me, peaches are–along with watermelon–are the very embodiment of summer.  So when I found the recipe below on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it immediately.

They were, in a word, scrumptious.  As per usual in my house, I substituted plain greek yogurt for sour cream and used half & half instead of heavy cream.

Oh and in case peaches aren’t your thing (Sissy, I’m talking to you!), I’ve also tried them with cherries instead and they are equally amazing.

I only ask you do yourself a favor: just make a double batch!

A huge THANKS! to Michelle at A Latte Food for sharing this wonderful recipe!

bon appétit!

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Peach Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Peach Pie Scones with a Vanilla Glaze
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Scones
Ingredients
Scones
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh peaches, diced
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Scones
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Stir in the peaches, and mix until just combined.
  • On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that’s about a 1/2″ thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a bit of heavy cream.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Glaze

  • Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp of heavy cream. If the glaze is too thick, continue adding in heavy cream, one 1 Tbsp at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency. Pour over warm scones and enjoy!

http://www.alattefood.com/peach-pie-scones-with-a-vanilla-glaze/

Too Distracted for Doughnuts…

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I know you’re saying to yourself (probably outloud and in disbelief): “Shez, ain’t no such thing!”  

Don’t panic!  I haven’t been too disctracted to EAT doughnuts, only to write about them.  

Since 1938, The United States has been celebrating National Doughnut Day the first Friday in June.  National Doughnut Day was created by a Chicago branch of the Salvation Army with a two-fold purpose: create awareness of the Salvation Army’s community service projects and to help raise money for these projects.  The doughnut theme paid tribute to the Salvation Army’s dough lassies, who would pass out doughnuts to the troops during the First World War (it was so popular that it resumed during WWII–you can read more about it here!).

I had every intention of creating a doughnut post yesterday, however, with the excitement and craziness of FAMILY! arriving, I forgot all about it.  I did eat a doughnut (a delicious one from Culture Coffee!)–don’t you worry about that!  I mean, I had to have something distract me while waiting on their plane to land…

 

Fabulous Not Forty Birthday Dinner #2

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What would a birthday trip be without a special birthday dinner?  Granted this one was a lot more low key than the first one.  It was equally as memorable–this time for the food–nor did I get drenched!

First stop: dinner! at a swanky seafood and steak house in St. Paul called Kincaid’s.

We started with Country Fried Calamari, which were (as one would imagine) battered and fried.  What made them unique was the addition of artichoke hearts.  I’m not a big fan of artichoke hearts, but when they’re deep fat fried and served with a garlic aioli, I am aaaaaallllllllllllll over that!

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Of course, we were nearly done before I even thought to take a picture (I’m so embarrassing to take out to eat these days!), so I tried for an artsy shot with my Chateau St. Jean cabernet sauvignon!

When the main course arrived, I grabbed a few quick shots of my surf & turf and April’s shellfish fettuccine.  Of course, I was way more focused on the food than on actually focusing the shot (as you can see)–but trust me, if you would have been smelling dinner, you would have been eager to get to it as well!

Everything was so delicious that stopping with enough room for dessert did not seem like an option.  Besides, who am I to waste delicious steak, shrimp, and au gratin potatoes?

After dinner we took a stroll through downtown St. Paul, headed for our second stop: The Ordway Centre for the Performing Arts, where we had tickets to see Nice Work If You Can Get It. It was a fun show, with lots of great singing-a-long-songs (don’t worry, I refrained from singing–much to everyone’s delight!).

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While a much more low key event than FNFBD#1, Birthday Dinner #2 was a great evening spent enjoying delicious food & wine, lots of laughs, and hanging with one of the coolest people I know–it doesn’t get much happier than that.

Lobstah Overload!

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Just kidding…no such thing!

After an afternoon of wandering around downtown Minneapolis, April & I met up with a friend at the Smack Shack.

We started the feast with a lobster guacamole appetizer.   I will admit it took a couple of bites to wrap my head around eating guacamole and lobster together.  Once I did, it was really good.  And by that, I mean, the lobster was amazing.  The guacamole was okay. Don’t get me wrong, it was good–just a little less flavorful than I like it.  But I didn’t make it, nor do I consider the Midwest a place where spicy foods prevail.  Plus it did allow for the lobster to shine, thus: really good.

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I also ordered another appetizer which the table refrained from enjoying: raw oysters.  Their loss (although they don’t think so).  I let our lovely waitress pick out a selection of both East and West Coast varieties.  Going in, I thought I would prefer the West Coast, as they are from the same ocean as my favorite oysters (from Sydney and the southeast Australian coast).  But no, I preferred (ever-so-slightly, mind you) the East Coast oysters, which have a more crisp, clean, and salty flavor.  The West Coast oysters were a bit more creamy and mild.  Both paired nicely with the local beer from (literally) down the street: Fulton Lonely Blonde.

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All of that was forgotten when the main course arrived.  Well, not the beer–it also paired deliciously with….The Lobster Mac & Cheese.  It was everything amazing in the culinary world.  Creamy, cheesy, buttery, big chunks of lobster.  It melted in your mouth.  I was truly torn between shoveling it in as quickly as possible and drawing out every.single.savory.bite to make it last as long as possible.  I may have even used my finger to scoop out the last bit of cheese from the bottom of the bowl (the waitress assured me everyone did!).

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While I’m always in love with a good meal, this was one of the very few meals I was truly sad to see end.  Lobster, cheese, pasta, beer, oysters, guacamole: how could you go wrong with any of those combinations?  😉

Margarita Monday, Part Cuatro…Again

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I know I shared this margarita before on a certain [ahem, birth-] day a few months ago, but I thought it was fitting to share again, since this delicious margarita was a tasty part of Birthday Trip #2! Salute!
😉

The Epicurious Texan

I wasn’t actually planning on Margarita Monday to be a regular thing, but I figured what the heck–who doesn’t like margaritas?!?!?  Also, if you’d like a picture of your tasty margarita to appear here for Margarita Mondays, please tweet it to me @epicurioustexan!

In honor of today’s Big Birthday: Not 40, Just Fabulous, I thought it appropriate to honor this Margarita Monday with my cranberry margarita from Chevy’s during my Birthday Trip #2 (because when you’re turning Not 40, Just Fabulous, you get multiple birthday trips!).

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Chinese Non-Delivery

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Remember in my earlier posts about it being the start of low season and everything closing up early?  Turns out, that affected the food industry as well.  Since our deck had not one, but two grills, we decided it might be fun to grill something for dinner.  We found a grocery store, strolled around for awhile, but nothing struck our fancy.  So we decided Chinese delivery sounded great, bought some candy and left.

Get back to B&B, find the menu, and notice that they don’t offer delivery service between October and April.  Great! Fantastic!  We peruse through the rest of the menus that would deliver–at least in October–but nothing sounded as good, so we opted to go back into town to pick up dinner.  Besides, I needed coffee supplies anyway–because thankfully while April was reading the menu, I was exploring kitchen supplies and noticed the only coffee on hand was decaf.  DECAF!  DEEEEEECAAAAAAFFFFFFFF.  Who does that?!?!? Plus it also allowed us to pick up blizzards at Dairy Queen–so in the end, it was quite a successful jaunt into town.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Chinese delivery take-out:  it’s 7:40pm when we call.  It’ll take about 30 minutes, can we be there by 8pm?  Uh, what?  Okay [definitely not arguing with getting our food faster].  She gives me the price and the address and just happens to mention not to be late because they close at 8pm.  Okay.  BY 8PM [she just keeps repeating this].  Message received loud and clear.  We arrive at 7:53pm because, well, we definitely wanted our food–not just because we were hungry–rather we weren’t sure if any other food options would still be open other than the 24-hour gas mart.  At this point we were even panicking that DQ might be closed.

Fortunately it was still open.

With food, blizzards, and coffee supplies in our hot little hands, we returned back to the B&B for a quiet night in, playing Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit.  And for those of you in my life who think I’m a LotR’s fanatic, I just want you to know that April kicked my ass!

An Extra Shot

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For those of you who are unaware, coffee is what makes me a whole person.  Don’t bother writing in with [insert crazy argument here]…all I will read is blah, blah, blah COFFEE blah, blah, blah.  I will then make a cup of coffee, thank you for the suggestion, and go about my day.

Anyway, I’m only mentioning this to those of you who have never had the pleasure of knowing Morning Me before coffee: she ain’t pretty.  And the point I’m so long windily trying to make is that it is a rare occasion where I turn down a cup of coffee.

As mentioned in my prior post, there was an announcement that my delayed flight would soon be boarding.  I was torn in two.  Coffee or getting to the gate on time?  Okay, there wasn’t that much tearing…especially given there was no line at the cafe three gates away (probably because most people don’t drink a lot of coffee at 8:30pm….except perhaps the baristas, who were, in fact, bouncing off the walls).  I asked for a breve latte.  Actually FIRST I asked how many shots where in the size I wanted.  Three.  Wow…really?  That’s fantastic.  Then I order a breve latte.  All the baristas stopped momentarily to see if I was actually a person.  A real-live-ordered-breve-and-no-skinny-anything latte.

Then the barista at the register said something magical: would you like an extra shot?  It’s free.  I’m sorry, FREE COFFEE?  Oh honey those are THE TWO BEST sequential words on the planet (except for maybe FREE BEER or FREE WINE).  It’s coffee and it’s free.  I know that extra shots are not normally free, but who am I to argue with a barista who was being extra nice [read: don’t go visit and start demanding extra free shots].  Too bad there wasn’t a lottery place in the airport, I would have totally played because I was feeling so lucky.

I think normal people might balk at 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm.  But not me.  Oh no, not me!  With gusto I said “of course I do…that would be fantastic!”  I didn’t even question why it was free, I just went for it (I mean, really who would turn this down???)  As I was gushing my profuse thanks I could see a realization of the late time start to sink into the barista’s brain and I could read his sudden perplexed expression like a book:  no, no decaf–all regular please!

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Thankfully my gate was near by because it was so creamy and so delicious, I needed to sit down.  Colectivo Coffee is a Milwaukee based coffee and roasting company who has been contributing great coffee to the fine folks in and visiting Milwaukee since 1993.  You can even go to their store on Humbolt Avenue and watch the whole roasting process–which is not only fascinating, but smells amazing!  Trust me, if you’re in the Milwaukee area visit one (or more of their stores)–you won’t be disappointed: the freshly roasted beans shine through in every cup they make.

My coffee reverie was interrupted by nice flight attendant, who very graciously announced final boarding for my flight.  Once in my seat with my seat belt buckled and tray table in its upright position, the aforementioned reverie continued until the last drop of creamy coffee was gone.  And before you write in and chide me about 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm, just know that after I finished my delicious breve, I napped allllllll the way to MSP!