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March 2009 Archives

Nine Chile Chili Risotto

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Every time Mandi and I reconstitute dried chiles, we think "what should we do with this beautiful water???" The water you use to revive the chiles always turns a deep red and retains a lot of the flavor. Risotto was the obvious thing that came to mind, so we developed this recipe from there. Now I am far from a stock snob and have nothing against store bought stock. I think it is a very convenient product and can add a deep flavor to quick meals. However, I find that if the stock is front and center of the meal like a plain chicken soup, it is essential to make your own. Risotto is a place where homemade stock will elevate the meal far beyond what you could ever get from a can or box. This is because as you make risotto, the flavors of the stock get more and more concentrated as you evaporate it into the rice.





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Spring is in the Food

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Can you feel Spring in the air? I don't know if it was just Bermuda, but there was definitely a Spring vibe this weekend. Mandi and I had a great weekend watching the basketball games and cooking. On Sunday, we tried to use as much from our garden as we could to keep the Spring vibe going. The container with lettuce and swiss chard was pretty full so we decided to eat some of the larger leaves to make room for the young ones to grow.





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Shirts!

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I made some shirts recently. Well actually, I had some shirt ideas and sent a crudely scribbled design to Rich who made them awesome. People who like the site, have seen Mandi and I wearing these now and then. Some of you have made comments about them, so I decided to make them available to everyone! You can click here to go to my store, or click the ad on the right from now on. If you have any comments, ideas, or requests, feel free to email me or as always, leave a comment. Hope you like them! Thanks again Rich and as always, Kim for the store design.

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Beef Panang

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I sometimes just wander in the Asian section of the store for awhile to see what they have. There is a surprisingly good amount of Thai ingredients here for Bermuda standards. I was specifically looking for dried lime leaves that day. I wanted to put them in a coconut soup (coming soon.) From behind, I hear "Can I help you?" It was a little Thai girl that I had never seen working at this store in the past. This surprised me because I know the butchers very well, have talked with the cheese guy for a half hour before, and have even gone drinking with Mark, the produce guy. "You usually have dried lime leaves here" I said. This led into a conversation of what Thai dishes I had made in the past and what she cooks for her roommates. "Come back Wednesday, and I will bring you some fresh lime leaves from my backyard!"





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Last Restaurant Standing - Dinner Party

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This week, the challenge couples must cater a dinner party. I have to admit, last week I was really excited for this episode, but in the end it was just average to me. One good thing though is that all of the clearly bad couples are gone and we can start chipping away at the serious contenders. Raymond sits everyone down at a private table at his restaurant. He tells them that it is possible to hide at your restaurant, but there is nowhere to hide at this dinner party. They will be catering for 20 people and must attend to the hosts every wish.

Broccoli soup

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Just plain old boring broccoli soup? I don't think so! I love broccoli soup but often when I set out to make it I end up putting all these other veggies in and it isn't broccoli soup anymore. The other thing about broccoli soup is people usually blend it up. I do love that smooth soup texture but I also like a little bite in my soup. Here is what I consider to be the best broccoli soup I have ever had. I made it last night and brought leftovers to work today! I will probably end up eating it right after I post this because it was so good.





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Candy Ravioli

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I haven't made fresh pasta in awhile, and I have not made colored pasta in even longer. Just over a year to be exact. In fact, striped pasta was my first post ever on TFimB. Wow was that ugly. Cell phone pics? Really? As you can see we have come along way! We saw these candy shaped ravioli in a Jamie Oliver cookbook somewhere and ran with the idea. We decided to do 2 different "flavors" and show which one was which by different colored "wrappers".





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Taquitos

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Mandi and I sometimes like to play with our food. It's these nights where we don't really set out with a meal in mind, but rather some ideas to play with and a few hours to kill. The theme on this night was corn tortilla dough. We had just made some tortillas at Amy's for the first time in a few months and it brought up all these new ideas in our heads we wanted to try out.





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4 Pizzas

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As I mentioned earlier this week, we had some impromptu pizza this weekend that I was very happy about. We made pizza about a month ago, but before that, the last time was probably October! My pizza oven was growing roots. We came up with 4 new pizza varieties this time around and I wanted to share them with everyone. If you want to know all the basics of pizza making, be sure to check out the pizza week extravaganza I put together back in October.





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Last Restaurant Standing - Stoned Pork

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This week is all about takeout. Raymond shows the remaining couples the first takeaway food in Britain, the Cornish pasty. It had savory food at one end, and a dessert at the other, the ultimate on the go food! Raymond tells the couples that they must create a takeaway box that shows their restaurant brand. He says that takeout should be a calling card for your restaurant, and when people are finished eating they should be excited to try your restaurant in person next time. I really enjoyed this episode. Did it seem extra long to anyone? I filled up a whole sheet of paper with my notes! This episode also featured the first "PG 13" content that has been on this series in either season!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

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I got to work today wondering what I would be posting, and low and behold, there is a beautifully done guest post sitting in my inbox!!! This is from long time reader/commenter, and old college friend Val. She decided to make some irish car bomb cupcakes and sent them to me just in time for St. Patrick's day! I totally forgot it was today! I'm a bad half Irish person! But here in Bermuda people don't really talk about it so I guess that's why I forgot. Anyway, on with the post. From now on, it will be Val talking with me adding a few comments in bold. Also- if you still haven't voted, check yesterdays battle and add your 2 cents.

This weekend I went home for my mom's annual Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner and my grandma's 95th birthday. So for the occasion I decided to make Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. A chocolate Guinness Cupcake and Bailey's Butter Cream frosting... and some of them I soaked in Jameson. Everyone thought they came out amazing and they were easy to make. The recipe made 36 so unless you are having a huge party I'd cut the batch in half.





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Food Blog Battle: Chile-Mango

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As most of you know, Macheesmo and I have a standing rivalry. We decided to heat up this cold war and have a food blog battle. We set some rules and got started. First, he sent me a list of ingredients from which I chose chile powder. I told him which one I wanted, and sent him a new list. He picked mango. Now we both had to make a dish with chile powder and mango, then post it around 9am on Monday morning!





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Bucatini All'Amatriciana

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We made this one Saturday afternoon around 3pm. Why at such a random time? Well, because "Lidia's Italy" is on PBS at 12:30 here on Saturdays and this is what she made that particular day. I have seen that show probably only about 5 to 7 times in my life and have cooked pasta literally within 2 hours of watching it EVERY TIME. She just makes the pasta look so simple and beautiful. To me, that is the true judge of a good cooing show. When a great chef is on TV, as the show finishes you have the urge to get up and make something. When Alexandria was on at 10:30am, Mandi and I would have just finished breakfast and already be wondering what we were going to make later! Amatriciana is a traditional roman pasta dish that uses guanciale as the fat base. I can not find guanciale in Bermuda so I used pancetta here. This is totally acceptable by some, and considered a travesty by others!

Also, if you have a minute, check out my rival's site today where he mentions the food blog battle we are having on Monday. You can even leave him a threatening comment about how he is goin' down! Ahh the magic of the internet.





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Wallpapers

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I never think there will be good wallpapers until I start looking!  I haven't done a wallpaper post in awhile and it's funny that Marina mentioned it last night and I happen to have it today. I think these came out good. There are a couple that I promised Amy (Who else would want a pulled pork wallpaper?). The best way to check out my older wallpapers at the moment is to click here. Pretty soon, I will have an easier link somewhere, but I am still working on the page. Remember for dual monitor people, make the image your wallpaper and then press 'tile' in the display properties. As always, let me know if you use any of these! Also, if you want to talk about chopping block, put it in the comments from yesterday's post.




 
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Last Restaurant Standing - What's the Deal with Airline Food?

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Before I start my review I have a couple things to talk about. First, remember yesterday when I said I had bigger fish to fry than Kim? Well that bigger fish is Macheesmo! Some of you may know that we have been forming a blog rivalry and it will come to a point this Monday when we have a cookoff! Now since we all can't taste each other's food, it will be up to you to vote. The ingredients have been chosen, and more details will come as the day approaches.

Second - Man, there are just way too many cooking shows on TV right now!! How am I supposed to keep up? Thankfully top chef ended just in time for the new one on NBC tonight. Are you guys gonna watch? It seems to me like it's a big rip off of Last Restaurant Standing! But just different enough that they won't have to pay Raymond and the gang for using their ideas. Sneaky. Some advance reviews have said Marco Pierre White isn't crazy like Ramsay so the show therefore isn't as good. Apparently you need to call people donkeys to have a good coking show these days. Plus the dude is crazy anyway. He once cut a guy's chef jacket and pants off with a knife when he said it was too hot in the kitchen. I am going to watch obviously, if only to see if it is Last Restaurant Standing plus product placement. Speaking of LRS, it was a good one last night wasn't it!

Buffalo Chicken Soup

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Kim, The design team president, thought of this meal about a month back. She wanted to make a cheesy broth, a sort of cream of buffalo chicken soup. I thought more of a spicy broth with blue cheese crumbles on top. We were going to have a bit of a cook off and I was going to post both soups on here, but she eventually sided with me and said I should just make my version. (I have bigger fish to fry anyways) Thinking we made this idea up, I went to Google and sure enough there were plenty of hits for buffalo chicken soup. I didn't look at any because I had a pretty clear and simple idea of what I wanted to make and didn't want other recipes clouding my judgment.





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Moroccan Bisteeya

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Mandi had this meal at a Moroccan restaurant when she was home in Philly for the holidays. She has wanted us to make it ever since she got back because she wanted to show me how it tasted. The reason we waited this long, was that you really need to be in the right mood to eat a bisteeya (ba-see-ya). It is like a dessert and a meal all wrapped into one! I understand the sweet/savory/spicy thing, and love it when it is nicely balanced, but this meal is overly sweet. I thought this would be a downside for me, but it wasn't! I totally loved every last bite.





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Pork Tacos

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Are you all as excited for Daylight-Savings as I am? I love this time of year as the nights get a little lighter. It does suck, though, to have a 62 hour weekend rather than a precious 63 hour normal weekend. We should be allowed to leave work an hour early on Daylight-Savings Friday!  Who's with me!?  Jan?  But would you have to make up that hour in the Fall?? My excitement for "Spring Forward" also has to do with the blog becoming a bit better. I think I do better on here in general when it isn't Winter. For one, I get to have more natural light and not have to use that pesky flash all the time when I am taking pictures. More importantly though, there are more fun times with friends and BBQ's and beach food that make cool posts.

Changing the subject, Amy was housesitting this past weekend and invited us over for a nice meal. She had just bought a tortilla press and wanted to try it out! Who am I to say no to a new gadget?





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Recipe Search Techniques

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I didn't really ever think of this as a post, but I casually mentioned it in yesterday's review of LRS and a few people expressed interest in knowing the methods I use to research recipes online. This may be old news to many of you, but I hope these few small tips help you find that recipe you are looking for! The main reason a guide like this is necessary, is there is a LOT of recipes out there. Millions and millions of recipes. Not only that, 90% of them are crap! Sometimes it can be overwhelming when you are looking for just the right one, especially if you are not familiar with the particular dish or cuisine. Click through to learn my techniques!

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Last Restaurant Standing - Flags of the World

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"Imagine if a musician could find a new note, or if a painter could discover a new primary color, the possibilities would be endless. Well this is what it is like for a chef when they find a new flavor"- Raymond Blanc

Raymond surprises me every week with his quotes. He shows more passion and love for food than most celebrity chefs. He tells the couples they will be out of their comfort zone, He wants them to cook different cuisines of the world this week at their restaurants. This idea excited me, but also made me nervous. Let me tell you why.

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich

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We wanted to make many different things for this party but a lot of the ideas fell through. One of the ideas was cheesesteaks but we didn't want Mandi to be on the grill all night. We were watching Man v. Food on the travel channel (have you seen it? Think Diners Drive-ins and Dives minus awful catchphrases, frosted tips, and backwards sunglasses, and plus a fun eating challenge) and they were in Chicago (another plus to MvF, one city at a time.) On that episode Mandi and I saw a sandwich we had never seen before. It was called the Chicago style Italian beef sandwich. One of the things that attracted us to this sandwich (besides the fact that we were drooooling at our TV) was that it sits in a gravy and not only CAN be made a day in advance, but NEEDS to be made a day in advance! Like most regional food we make, we like to have someone from the area to vouch for authenticity, especially in a case like this where we have never been before! Our friend Mike was more than happy to be a taste tester.





Peanut Butter S'more Cake

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There was a big party at my house this weekend for 4 people's birthdays. As usual, there was jello shots and good food. Mandi made a delicious cake for me. In past years, she has made elaborately designed cakes that relate to what she got me as a gift. This year since we were both busy getting ready and cooking for the party, she decided to focus less on the pretty, and more on the tasty. And tasty it was! She used all of my favorite dessert flavors; s'more (chocolate, gram crackers, marshmallow, and burntness) and peanut butter, and just piled them up layer upon layer.





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