Recipes, Articles, Giveaways & More...
I’ve always been fascinated by the art of entertaining. As a small child, I would watch my mother and grandmother effortlessly moved around the kitchen - expertly preparing beautiful dishes, setting a strategic pace, and tying last-minute details together. Our guests were graciously invited to join us at the table, a spot set with them in mind. After everyone was seated, the food was served.
Soon and slowly, bright orange carrots, small heads of lettuce, onions, and the first round of plump tomatoes will be ready to pick and eat. I’m eager for glass cups filled with ice-cold homemade lemonade with beads of water collecting and dripping down the sides. Planting a garden has been an annual ritual in our family for many years. Some years, it’s large enough to feed a small army; others, just a few tomato plants satisfy our desire for fresh produce.
As we spend more free time on our backyard patios, the desire to cook outside becomes greater! It’s time to grill, and it’s time to barbecue, baby! Those two words are often used in the same context - grill and barbecue - but did you know that they are two truly different methods of cooking?
I think we’ve all had at least one jalapeño popper at one time or another in our lifetime. You know the appetizer that comes out coated in breadcrumbs, deep fried, and bubbling hot… The one that instantly burns your tongue with scalding hot cheese, and then burns it again with the heat from the pepper. Yes, I know you’re familiar with this deliciously sinful appetizer! As far back as I can remember, the jalapeño popper has been a staple at parties, graduations, and get-togethers. It’s an expected appetizer at many bars and family restaurants.
Biscuits and gravy is the heartiest of hearty breakfast foods. Don’t you agree? Soft, flaky biscuits covered in creamy gravy… a decadent and filling way to start off the day.
Let’s talk about the FLAVORS of this dish! Chicken is a meat well accepting to marinades and glazes. Its receptivity makes choosing the right seasoning a critical decision. This recipe begins with a sweet and salty overnight marinade, and then finishes with a complex glaze of sweet, acidic, and savory spices.
I always laugh quietly to myself when I see a menu or commercial that advertises a “California” sandwich, salad, burger, etc. What makes it California? Avocados, of course!
Chicken wings are the quintessential party food. They’re most commonly served covered in a spicy-savory buffalo wing sauce, deep-fried, and with a side of blue cheese and celery sticks. This classic appetizer is a well-loved staple on many bar menus.
Being a chef means working long hours, unpredictable schedules, and limited time to sit down and enjoy a meal. A spoonful here, a taste there is typically what sustains the chef working in a restaurant or catering business. After a while, this lifestyle exertion began to add up! Last year, I stepped away from the culinary world to completely immerse myself in food, product, and lifestyle photography. In this transition, I realized how much all the little bites, tastings, and endless food surrounding me had taken a toll on my health. Something had to change. I made the decision to jump on my bike, cut out most processed sugar, fast food, and finally transition to vegetarianism. You don’t need to become a vegetarian to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself, but it certainly has worked for me. Eight month later, countless miles logged cycling and running, and eating healthy has brought me to my college weight. College weight!
As a child, my family rarely went out to eat. Dinner was served at 5:30 sharp, and we were all expected to be at the table washed up and ready to disclose the highlights of our day. Eating out was a considered a luxury and was reserved for special occasions. As we got older, the rules began to loosen a bit and we developed a new family tradition. After church every Sunday, we began having lunch at a restaurant. The choice of restaurants varied each week, but we most of the time ended up at traditional home-cooked American type diners (think carved roast beef, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls). I undoubtedly considered this a treat and was always grateful for the opportunity, but the adventurous foodie in me truly relished the times my parents would feel bold and choose a local Chinese restaurant. My experiences with ethnic cuisines were limited at that time, and my desire to experience what I perceived as authentic ethnic cuisine was insatiable. And best of all, Sunday was buffet day at most Chinese restaurants on our route. Huge, unfamiliar dishes filled with Chinese-American delicacies were all mine to sample and savor. I was drawn to the unexplored combinations of sweet, sour, and salty. In my eyes, it was harmonious perfection.