Valentine’s Day! Nutella Cheese Ball recipe and cookbook review: Cheese Balls by Dena Rayess

#ChronicleBooks #CheeseBalls #DenaRayess #HeamiLee #Cheese #Dessert #ValentinesDay

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! What to make as a dessert? How about a glorious Nutella cheese ball with big fat juicy strawberries to accompany it! Thank you to Chronicle Books for letting me share the recipe with you!

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California Dreaming Board recipe and Cookbook review: Platters and Boards. Vegetarian and Flexitarian.

#plattersandboards #shellywesterhausen #chroniclebooks 

You’re a total foodie, you love artful plating, and you’d love to entertain, but you just aren’t into cooking?! I used to turn my head at that “confused dog” angle when I’d hear people say they don’t cook. How do you eat? So many of my friends are foodies that don’t love cooking, though. I found the perfect book for you!!! Platters and Boards.

61WvNwCFZLL._SX364_BO1,204,203,200_There is just so much to love about this book. Entertaining has never been so easy. For each platter, she has *one* recipe to make and the rest is artful, but not fussy, plating. It is the perfect answer for foodies who don’t want to cook. Or me when I just wanna chill on weekends. It reminds me of Donkey in Shrek talking about parfaits, “You know what everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Heck no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious.” I think platters are the same way. Each one is visually appealing. People feel excited when they greet a generous platter. There are so many wonderfully creative platters in here. She’s an idea hamster.

This is my second Shelly Westerhausen book. I love Vegetarian Heartland. She’ll make you cook in that one, thp. She is on the foodie end of the vegetarian spectrum. In this book, she teams up with Wyatt Worcel, and he interjects meaty suggestions for the platters. Basically, everybody’s happy. Continue reading “California Dreaming Board recipe and Cookbook review: Platters and Boards. Vegetarian and Flexitarian.”

Jen’s Air-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers

My kids’ school has a night called mini-school when they walk the parents through the kids’ schedules, the teachers talk about the curriculum, and contact info is exchanged. It goes for a few hours right when dinner would be. That’s our excuse night to grab Little Caesars for the kids and go out for a beer and hors d’oeuvres dinner after the meeting. Nice. On the last one, we popped over to a little place down the street called the Drunken Donkey. They have a great beer selection, every sports broadcast you’d wanna see, games, and beer-based munchies. Perfect. We ordered Bacon Thingies, poppers stuffed with chicken and cheese, and wrapped in bacon over shredded iceberg lettuce with a ranch drizzle. They were fantastic.

The Final Four’s coming up. I thought this would be the perfect excuse to bust out the air fryer and try to make some bacon thingies. It worked beautifully, so I thought I’d share. My youngest doesn’t like jalapeños too much, so I stuff a few mini bell peppers for her, and she adored those. I’m rocking an extra large Philips with a shelf, so I can fit 16. You can set the peppers in yours ahead of time to see how many you can fit.

If you love them, please come find me again! 😀


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Jen’s raclettes. Cheesy, melty, oozy deliciousness, and the most relaxing party you can host. Yeah.

I put 5 miles on my sneakers on most days. Yesterday was 9 because it was so nice out. I started in a winter coat this morning, and pretty quickly tied it around my waist because it was t-shirt comfy outside. I’m down in Texas, loving the spring blossoms everywhere, but feeling pretty guilty about all this sunshine when I see my buddies up north posting pics of snowy windows, and having one more cup of coffee before grabbing their shovels. Brrrrr! I grew up in Wisconsin, and lived most of my adult life in New York, so I remember big old banks of snow all too well. So this post is for my friends in the frozen tundra. A peace offering for all my flowery posts.

chefThere used to be a show on Public Television called Chef. Oh, it was great! Lenny Henry played Chef Gareth Blackstock. In a few episodes, Chef sets up meetings with illegal fill-in-the-blank suppliers in the woods in the British countryside. He’s always the most wonderful blend of absolute nervousness and excitement. Awesome. When those Facebook quizzes come out asking if a friend ever saw you in the back of a police car, what would it be for, my friends would tell you it would involve cheese. My husband knows that it would be the height of romance if he could arrange a questionable cheese transaction in England for me. Holiday made.


Continue reading “Jen’s raclettes. Cheesy, melty, oozy deliciousness, and the most relaxing party you can host. Yeah.”

Jen’s Garlic and Basil Fondue

It’s cold outside! I’ve lived in Texas for 10 years now, but I grew up in Wisconsin, and chilly air is like Pavlov’s bell to this Cheesehead. I start craving melted cheese.

My favorite fondue method is a little unorthodox. Rather than heating wine and tossing corn starch coated cheese into the pool, I love to start by making a roux and building a lovely béchamel. The resulting texture is velvety. I like to use a combination of both milk and wine, like you would in a wine cream sauce. It’s a bit less boozy which is nice for family fondue night. This uber-garlicky fondue is just as nice for roasted veggies as it is for bread. Really. I know that that’s not generally true, but you need to trust me here.

It is of utmost importance that you cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces. Your guests will be armed with nothing but a fondue fork, and will not be singing your praises if you make them feel like a moose, trying to navigate a ginormous piece of broccoli into their mouth. Seriously. No one feels attractive with an overstuffed broccoli mouth. My husband, the physics major – I’ll call him Nerd Boy for my purposes here – would have you scale down the size of all objects to be dipped for a different reason. It increases the surface area that cheese can adhere to, resulting in a higher cheese to bread ratio.

Hope you love it! I’ll talk about my favorite cheese books and my favorite fondue pot after the recipe…. Continue reading “Jen’s Garlic and Basil Fondue”

Jen’s Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup

We have a glorious brunch place in Fort Worth, Texas, that I adore. It’s called Bird Café. It’s a wonderful place, and you must go if you’re ever in town. Their brunch cocktail menu is inspiring. My husband’s favorite thing there is called the Mother and Child Reunion. It’s fried chicken, a poached egg, and jalapeno gravy on a bed of grits. <I know!> But you will forgive their sick sense of humor the second you taste it. My favorite is called The Badass Waffle. It’s a waffle covered in berries, caramel apples, bacon, brie fondue, and maple syrup. It’s why I have a mouth.

Texas Waffle makerI should probably explain why I’m telling you about that amazing waffle. We’re doing a traditional Texas Christmas Eve this year. That’s tamales, queso, and margaritas. I thought it would be super fun to decorate in an understated cowboy glam. Then I wondered to myself what the best Texas Christmas Eve breakfast would be. Well, migas are my favorite, but I make them constantly. We’ve always cracked up at the Texas shaped waffles that you see in hotels all over the state. I have a killer double waffle maker, so I couldn’t justify buying The Texas Waffle Maker. Well, I can think of no better excuse than Christmas Eve morning! Now for a waffle that’s special enough. I had to try to recreate that Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup. Sounds like a delicious challenge to me! Giddy up!

Double Waffle

I love yeasty waffles with a bit of exterior crunch from Belgian pearl sugar. I adapted a King Arthur waffle recipe as my jumping off point.

Vegetarian friends, go ahead and skip the bacon, and go to your happy place. Swine-enthusiasts –scale up the bacon as needed. You do you.

My Amazon affiliate links to the waffle irons are below the recipe if you need one.

 


Continue reading “Jen’s Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup”

Kristen Kish Cooking. Fantastic recipes from the Top Chef.

KristenKish6Here’s a fantastic total foodie book for when you want to knock it out of the kitchen! My review with my pics and thoughts on the dishes I tried is below. Here’s a link to the recipe for Kristen’s Dead-of-Winter Vegetable Rosti with Saffron Aioli so you can taste the book. I just noticed that all of the measurements are twice as big in the book and fit my 12″ skillet perfectly. There are four of us and my youngest wanted a second piece. If you have anyone who likes extra when delicious and healthy collide, you might want to double this. And someone will have a lovely lunch the next day.

Continue reading “Kristen Kish Cooking. Fantastic recipes from the Top Chef.”

The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book and Jen’s Topless o’ the Mornin’ to You! Burger

BobsBurgersCover.jpgThe Bob’s Burgers Burger Book is everything a Bob’s Burger disciple hopes and dreams it might be. I tried to get a hold of someone over at Universe publishing to get permission to share a recipe with you. No response. So, I started scanning the Burger of the Day board this season for possibilities that hadn’t made the book. The Blanc Canvas. <snore> Topless o’ the Mornin’ to You Burger. Okay, Irish flavor profile without the top bun. Trying to lift and convey a burger to your face with a burger precariously perched on just a bottom bun. Who does that?! Awkward, at best. It’s the stuff of horror movies, really. How about nestling that burger on a bed of salty oven roasted fries? Yeah… Since we’re going to have to IMG_3699bring a knife and fork into this, we can take advantage of that and make an oozier sauce. A béchamel with Irish cheddar. I want more flavor. Let’s blast that burger with horseradish, and top it all with sweet, Guinness-glazed onions. Mmmmm. Yeah, I’m in.

My review of the book with my pics and thoughts on the burgers we tried is below the recipe.

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Zingerman’s recipe for Detroit-Style Pizza and Cookbook Review: Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo.

91smFQDXpPLIt’s chilly outside. Fire-pits and fireplaces, sweatshirts and sweaters, cocoa in warm mugs, crinkly orange leaves, cozy socks, baking, and melted cheese. This weather has me reaching for the book, Zingerman’s Bakehouse to make their pizza with a caramelized, crusty cheese edge and an oh-so-pillowy interior. It’s divine.

A huge thanks to Chronicle Books for letting me share the recipe for Detroit-Style Pizza with you so that you can taste the book!

My review with my pics and thoughts on the dishes I tried is below the recipe. Continue reading “Zingerman’s recipe for Detroit-Style Pizza and Cookbook Review: Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo.”

Homesick Texan’s Spinach Queso Blanco recipe and Cookbook Review: Queso by Lisa Fain

Queso coverTexas is pretty awesome. We get maybe 5 days of snow a year. Just enough to be ridiculous. When it does, kids get sent out in redneck sleds (laundry baskets). I saw an excited dad hand his beer off to his friend, and then he took his kayak down a snowy hill. And we have smoked brisket, queso, kolache, and Mediterranean geckos. It’s a good place. About that queso…. Lisa Fain, author of Homesick Texan and Homesick Texan Family Table, just put out a book of nothing but queso, and it’s fantastic!

Here’s the recipe for her Spinach Queso Blanco, so that you can taste the book. A big thanks to Lisa Fain for letting me share it with you!

Continue reading “Homesick Texan’s Spinach Queso Blanco recipe and Cookbook Review: Queso by Lisa Fain”