Thirsty Thursday Mai Tai!

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In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

You cannot go to Hawaii and not have a Mai Tai.

SIDENOTE: Autocorrect wants to change Mai Tai to Man Tai, which is making me snort coffee out of my nose!

Sorry [wiping coffee off the laptop], where was I?  Oh yes, “you cannot go to Hawaii and not have a Mai Tai.”  Unless, of course, you are not 21 then you can totally go to Hawaii and not have a Mai Tai.  Same applies if you don’t drink.  Or can’t drink.

But if you can drink and do drink and are old enough to drink, then I feel like you cannot go to Hawaii and not have at least one Mai Tai.  It’s part of the experience.

I guess now would be a great time to mention that we’re in Honolulu–and we’ve just landed after a 9 hour flight from Atlanta. After we dropped our bags at the hotel, we walked around Waikiki for awhile and stopped in at Duke’s for a late lunch and our first drink (you can read about Tracy and my drinks from previous Thirsty Thursdays.  Christi had the Mai Tai pictured at the bottom of this post).  After that we walked around a bit more and then ended up at the hotel bar.  And before you make a I-cannot-believe-you’re-in-Hawaii-just-sitting-at-the-hotel-bar face at me, it’s not the standard-tucked-away-in-the-back-of-the-hotel bar.  It was a rooftop hotel bar where you could lounge by the pool or overlook the beach.  And the drink of the day was none other than the Mai Tai.

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Ironically, the Mai Tai did not originate in Hawaii or any where in Polynesia (where it tends to be the go-to drink), but in San Francisco.

Like all great things, there are some discrepancies about who created it and when, but the over all consensus seems to lean towards Trader Vic’s in the mid 1940s.  I don’t really know enough to weigh in heavily one way or another.  Plus, in the grand scheme of things Mai Tais are not my drink of choice–even in Hawaii–so I’ll leave the debating up to the aficionados.

However, I feel like with all this talk about Mai Tais, I’d be remiss if I didn’t leave you with a recipe for one!  I found Trader Vic’s Original Mai Tai recipe in an article by Rick Carroll.  If you click on the link, he is kind enough to give you a brief history of the mai tai, the recipe, and a list of places throughout the islands where you should drink one.

Trader Vic’s Original Mai Tai
  • Pour only 80 proof J. Wray & Nephew Rum over shaved ice.
  • Add juice from half a fresh lime.
  • Some orange curacao.
  • A dash of rock candy syrup.
  • A dollop of French orgeat (it’s an almond syrup usually made with rose or orange flower water).
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Add a sprig of fresh mint.

I’m also going to suggest an umbrella…just because!

mai tai

Aloha!

More Than One Way To Devil An Egg

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I don’t know about you, but there are a handful of required food items at any given social gathering in my family.  Vying for the most important are: queso and deviled eggs.  Since tomorrow is a holiday and I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile, I thought now might be a good time–you know, in case you’re stymied for ideas of what to take to the obligatory July 4th BBQ you’re invited to attend.

In trying to pick which of the two VIP food items I wanted to talk about, I decided to go with deviled eggs because I was chatting with Christi the other day about side dishes for her July 4th BBQ and since then I’ve been pondering all the ways you can make them.  If you google “deviled eggs,” Google will kindly return with “about 3,460,000 results” in 0.42 seconds (Google is a bit of a show-off) and if you search for “deviled eggs” on Pinterest, you could scroll down for 3 days and not run out of pins from which to choose!

I know that I’ve already shared my recipe for deviled eggs with you.

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But as both Google and Pinterest show, there is more than one way to devil an egg.  Probably the only thing harder than keeping your self control in check, is picking a recipe.  I mean, do you want classic or something more creamy or something with a kick or something eye-catching and holiday-themed?  The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few that caught my eye (note: few is a relative term, as you’re about to see):

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I feel like I should definitely start with these Fourth of July Deviled Eggs from Kathryn at Singing Through The Rain.

deviled eggs 1

The recipe that sounds the best to me are the Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs from Aubrey at Real Housemoms.  Hellllllo bacon + jalapeño!  In fact, they sounded so good to me, I actually pinned them twice!! 🙈

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Another recipe that sounds tasty are the Chorizo Deviled Eggs from Kevin at Kevin Is Cooking.  Like the bacon in the recipe above, the chorizo adds a nice bit of crunch.

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Of course, if you want reeeeeeeeeally creamy eggs, add avocado–like Gina at Skinny Taste in her Guacamole Deviled Eggs.

If you really haaaate cilantro, I guess you can leave it out…. 😉

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Looking for a good brunch deviled egg?  McCormick has a recipe for Spicy Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs!

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If you wanna be extra faaancy with your deviled eggs, how about these Uptown Caviar Deviled Eggs from Chef Kenny Giambalvo at the Bluehour Restaurant in Portland, OR?  Shared by What’s Cooking America

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If you’re looking for a completely different flavor profile, perhaps you might like these Deviled Eggs with Beets and Smoked Salmon from Katya at Little Broken?

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If salmon/beets/dill aren’t you thing, how about Mexican street corn? Melanie at Melanie Makes combines the fun of Mexican street corn with the deliciousness of deviled eggs in her Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs.

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And finally–while it’s still 4 months away–it’s never to soon to be planning your Halloween party food with the Deliciously Rotten Deviled Eggs from Stephanie at Parenting Chaos.

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Any pique your interest?  Honesty I could probably spend another 4 hours sharing deviled eggs recipes, but I’m starting to get hungry and for some strange reason, eggs sound good 😉

But before I leave, I want to hear from you.  Which recipe sounds the best?  Vote below!  And if you can’t decide between two, I’ve left you the option to pick’em both! 😉

Happy deviling!

Thirsty Thursday: Tropical Itch

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In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

When there is a drink on the menu called the Tropical Itch, how could you NOT order one?  I mean, I didn’t…but Christi did and really that’s more or less the same thing!

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I mean, c’mon–it comes with a back scratcher!  If you like fruity, tropical drinks how can you refuse something with a garnish that detailed?

In case you’re wanting to recreate a bit of Hawaii ambiance at home, here’s a recipe from Modern Tiki for a proper Tropical Itch.

Tropical Itch
1 oz bourbon (we used Four Roses)
1 oz 151 proof rum
1/2 oz orange curacao or triple sec
1/2 oz lemon juice
3 oz passion fruit puree*
2 oz water*
1 oz dark rum (we used Meyers)
1-2 dashes bitters
bamboo backscratcher, for garnish

HipaHipa!

Pizza Night!

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Growing up, Friday night was always pizza night…because who doesn’t love pizza?!?  Plus nothing goes with football like pizza (hey, we’re Texans!  Also upon further reflection–aka growing older–I’ve found beer to be a better accompaniment to football, but at five years old pizza is probably the better option).

Of course, until I moved to New York City, I didn’t realize how serious pizza was.  I mean, sure, I’ve always loved it.  But here?  Here you’d better have an informed opinion about crusts and styles and toppings.   There used to be a great pizza place up the hill from my house, but they moved a couple of years after I moved here and the place became [shudder] a seasonal accountant office.

Anyway, the point is that my pizza options are now limited to Dominoes (don’t get me wrong–sometimes you just need the coolness of ordering your pizza online and watching the Pizza Tracker thingy…no, I haven’t been drinking…much…) and the Italian place up the street, who admittedly makes a mean calzone, but you have to be prepared to wait at least an hour.  At that point you could just make it yourself.

MAKE IT MYSELF?!?!?

I do need to give props to Ann for having the brilliant idea, finding a sauce, and picking up supplies at Whole Foods.

I’ve never really given much thought about making my own pizza because while the theory of making pizza dough from scratch always seems too tedious (despite assurances by April about its ease and the tastiness of her pizza).  However, enter in the age of fresh pre-made dough (not the pop open can variety)….and voilà! now homemade pizza seems a lot more reasonable.

Plus the world is your oyster when it comes to sauces and toppings.  Although I find that when you have more than 3 toppings, the pizza tends to get too heavy and thick.  Of course, if you’re a fan of Chicago-style pizza then top away! Personally, I’m not and prefer thin slices with crisp, crunchy crust (and for the record, I felt that way long before I moved a borough away from Brooklyn!).

Through trial and error, I’ve found that baking the pizza in stages ensures a crisp crust and that everything is cooked properly.  Also I like it really garlicky and spicy, if garlic or spice isn’t your thing you might just want to use 2 cloves and less pepper.

Asparagus, Avocado, & Onion Pizza

  • 1 ball of pizza dough (as I mentioned, I purchase mine–but here are a plethora of dough recipes I found on Pinterest if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • Sauce (mix together the following ingredients):
    • 1/4 c. of olive oil
    • 4 cloves of minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 12-ish stalks of asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil topped

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Lightly oil a baking stone/cookie sheet.  Slowly pull and stretch the pizza dough to the desired size and thickness.  Spread the sauce on top of the dough–I use a pastry brush to make sure that it is spread evenly.  Bake the dough for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the onions and asparagus and bake for 10 more minutes.

Once those 10 minutes are up, add the cheese and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

I know all the back and forth sounds a bit tedious, but trust me–it’s really not that bad and TOTALLY worth it.  After 5 minutes add the avocado slices and bake for 5 minutes more.  At this point, the cheese should be bubbly and the crust golden brown.  If not, continue baking until it is.  Once it reaches this point, pull it out of the oven and sprinkle with the basil.  Cut the pizza into slices and enjoy!

By the way, this pizza pairs really well with hefeweizen beer and fruity, dry white wines, like viogniers and dry rieslings–okay, fine and some not-too-buttery chardonnays.  Buon appetito!

Sunday Comics: #56 Easter Chocolate

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I know this has been around for a long time, but it still makes me laugh…every.single.time.

Happy Easter! -xoxo-

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Btw, if you’re looking to up your Easter chocolate game, check out this recipe the BFF found on FB for Drunken Bunnies from delish.com  you’re welcome.  I meant, enjoy*!!

 

*totally meant you’re welcome

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

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/

The Incredible, Edible [Deviled] Egg!

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I love deviled eggs.  I could literally make myself sick eating them.  I’m quite certain that at least once [or ten times] in the last 4 decades, I have.  I don’t think I’ve met a deviled egg that I haven’t liked.  My aunt’s are probably my favorite [I’ll let them duke it out as to which Aunt holds the Deviled Egg title].  I asked for her recipe once and I got: “oh you know, it’s a little of this and a little of that.”  Great.  That was very helpful, thankyouverymuch.  So I did what I always do when I’m a bit stymied in the kitchen.  I fetch Granny’s or Ome’s recipe book–in this case, it was Granny’s–and then immediately kicked up the heat, as I think the creaminess of the egg lends itself to a bit of bite.

There are two things I have learned over the years.  First, I only make them in small batches, so that if I decide to eat them all in one sitting a couple of days, it’s not such a gastroenteritis nightmare.  Secondly, I start with a small amount of each ingredient I add.  You can always add more but there is nothing worse than adding too much mustard and having mushy, runny deviled eggs.

As such, it turns out to be exactly like my Aunt said:  it’s a little of this and a little of that.

So when it is a certain holiday and you find yourself staring at a colorful bowl of hard boiled eggs and wondering what to do with them, it is THE perfect time to do a bit of experimenting on your deviled egg recipe.  If you didn’t want to experiment on your own but wanted something different, try one of these recipes.  I tend to be a [somewhat] traditionalist and keep my recipe pretty basic.

Hard boil the eggs, cool them, peel them, cut them in half, scoop out the yolks, set the egg whites aside, and smash the yolks all together.  To that you are going to add:

  • mayo
  • sweet relish
  • a dash of vinegar (for just a bit of tang–of all the ingredients, this is the one you want to use the most sparingly!)
  • salt & pepper
  • mustard**
  • paprika or chipotle powder for garnish

**the mustard is how I decide what type of kick my deviled eggs will have.  EITHER I use [pardon me, do you have any…] dijon mustard for a spicy flavor OR I use yellow mustard and add chipotle seasoning powder into the mix for a  smokey-spicy kick.

I like to start out with a tablespoon or so of each ingredient [except vinegar–use about 1 tsp max per dozen eggs].  I alternate the mayo, mustard, and relish until the filling has a creamy, but not runny texture.  Add the seasonings. Do a bit of quality control tasting and once the filling is to your liking, refill the yolk indention of the egg white.  Lightly sprinkle paprika or chipotle powder on top for a bit of garnish.

TA-DA!  Yes, it’s that easy.  I’m telling you, the hardest part is not eating them all in one sitting sharing.   Bon appetite!

The Mother Sauces

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No, these aren’t your mother’s sauces–these are THE Mother Sauces.  I mean, your mother may in fact make them, but maybe not.  Anyway lately they’ve been everywhere in my life.  Except in my kitchen–ain’t nobody got time for that!

For those of you who don’t study French cuisine, they are the five sauces upon which all other sauces are made.

  • Béchamel
  • Velouté
  • Espagnole
  • Sauce Tomat
  • Hollandaise

And if you want a bit of THE Mother Sauces trivia, Hollandaise wasn’t added to THE Mother Sauce line-up until the turn of the 20th century.

So why am I bringing up THE Mother Sauces? They’ve just been on my brain a lot lately.  Mainly because of April, who is in culinary school and recently learned how to make and spice up THE Mother Sauces (although she says that the Sauce Tomat is so flavorful, you can just eat it as is), so I’ve been drooling with every descriptive email that she’s sent.

And then last week, I watched The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Have you seen it?  If so, you know why I’m mentioning it in a post about THE Mother Sauces.  If not, then add it to your Netflix queue.

Anyway, I finally gave in and made some béchamel sauce last night….with a twist.  That twist would be cilantro.  And parmesan, although I think that parm is probably a frequent additive to béchamel–so we’ll just stick with the cilantro twist (April and Becca, stop making those nasty faces: cilantro is delicious!!).

First, start with a simple béchamel sauce.  I like to use Giada’s because it’s uber-easy!

Cilantro-Parmesan Béchamel

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup  flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warm
  • ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 pinch fresh ground white pepper (to taste)–honestly, I usually just use black pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated (to taste)

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the bechamel sauce to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch each of white pepper and nutmeg. Season the sauce with more salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Okay, that’s Giada’s part.  Then to that I add 1 cup of Parmesan and ½ cup of finely chopped cilantro–okay, I use more like a cup of cilantro–but it’s your béchamel, use however much you want.  Same goes for the parmesan.  Stir until cheese is melted and cilantro is thoroughly mixed in.  Add to your favorite pasta and make your taste buds happy, happy, happy!

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