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January 2010 Archives

Chicken Stuffed Soft Pretzel with Homemade Honey Mustard

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Alternate titles for this post were "Chicken Wellingzel" or "Chicken Pretzington" because it is basically a play on beef wellington, but with chicken instead of beef, and pretzel dough instead of puff pastry. This idea came to me out of nowhere, I have seen people crust chicken with the crumbs from the pretzel bag, but never seen anything like this. I really wanted a super delicious honey mustard to go with the pretzington, so I opted to make it myself, sort of following an Alton Brown mustard recipe. My friend John recently went to Poland to visit family(more on this in the future), and his relatives over there have a bee farm! He was able to smuggle in some fresh honey for me to use in this recipe.





Groundhog Cake

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Old fans of the site who remember Mandi, know that she loves groundhogs day. One of this website's first posts ever was some groundhog cupcakes she made for her office. Last year, she re-created the cupcake groundhog in a much larger size on a cake. It didn't quite make the deadline of posting for groundhogs day, so I promised her I would save it till the next year. I totally forgot about these pictures and was about to post something different when I noticed them hidden away on my hard drive! I thought I would post this today for anyone looking for some groundhogs day party ideas (What?) Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.





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Last Restaurant Standing: Fresh, Local

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Last night's Last Restaurant Standing was one of those bland mid-season episodes we often get with this show. Most of the terrible people are gone, so we don't get comic relief of people messing up badly, but there are lots of couples left to slowly weed through. The pre-service challenge was sort of boring, then there were no major missteps at service. I usually anticipate an episode like this at this point in the season, and expect a full recovery next week! Now on to the recap(with spoilers from this episode)...

Sloppy Bao

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Last time I was in New York, I was staying a block away from the best Banh Mi I have ever had. It was so good, I went back for more the next day. Something else on the menu caught my eye instead. The third sandwich down the line was called the Sloppy Bao. An amazing combo of curried ground beef, cilantro, mango, and that awesome bread. I recreated the sandwich with a few mods this past weekend and it was everything I remembered.





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Tex-Mex Twice Baked Sweet Potato

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Yesterday I mentioned catering a party this past weekend. I also made some mini twice baked potatoes for that party, and ever since my brain has been spinning with variations on the twice baked potato. I made these sort of tex mex themed ones and they were a big hit. Expect a few more twice baked potato variations on the site soon!



Chipotle-Beet Polenta

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I made this polenta recipe in the infancy of my website. That was back when my site was just jumbled posts that didn't really explain anything well (things haven't changed!) Passing beets at the store the other day, I was thinking it would taste nice with pork. It is actually really easy to make, and looks classy because of the redness. I cooked the pork and polenta with a simple roast brussel sprout and parsnip side. I actually whipped the veggies together catering a 90th birthday this past weekend, but didn't get a taste! I had to make it again this week to see how it was.





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Last Restaurant Standing: Badger Badger Badger

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Last Restaurant Standing kinda threw me for a loop last night. What happened to the challenge? There have already been 4 couples chopped (packed their knives?) in only 3 episodes! Are there no challenges this season? Is it a super short season?

On a rainy boat, Raymond tells the couples they will finally get their restaurants. He passes out the keys to everyone and it is a lottery for location. The couples head out to find their storefronts. They each get 1000 pounds to hook up their dining rooms. Raymond sends a package to everyone that has an amuse bouche (one bite at the beginning of the meal to offer a glimpse of the chefs point of view). He asks the chefs to create one and serve it on the street to try and get covers for opening night. The other different thing in this episode is the presence of Raymond. In past seasons, Ray has stayed put until the end, only gathering intel from the inspectors. This season he appears to be visiting restaurants already! As always, If you didn't watch yet, don't click through because there are spoilers about the episode.

Avocado Chicken Arepa

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On my third attempt making arepas, I finally felt like they were perfect. The first try was a complete failure. The second was tasty but the arepas were a little too thick. I suppose the third time is a charm cliche is true because making these was quick and effortless, the whole lunch taking only 25 minutes. I had this filling at caracas arepa bar (if you refresh a few times, its actually on the landing page) and was very interested in the idea of a chicken salad with avocado instead of mayo. I do it all the time with tuna salad, but previously hadn't thought of it with chicken. I have extra everything, and can't wait to have another for lunch today!





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Winter Root Veggies

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I went to a winter farmers market last weekend, wondering what would be available at a winter farmers market in New England. There were a few meat stands, some cheese, pickles, the best yogurt I have ever bought, and lots and lots of root vegetables. I haven't tried many of the more exotic root vegetables, so I decided to get a variety and serve them in simple presentations to see what they were all about. The first night, I jsut cubed and roasted them to see the difference between them all. The second night, I boiled them all together and made a root veggie mash.





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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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Just a quick one today guys. Again, something I have always wanted to make and found the opportunity to make it healthy this week. Greek stuffed peppers usually have rice, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and ground beef inside. This healthy variation has quinoa, broccoli rabe, a small amount of sausage, and ricotta salata. Not a competitor to my favorite stuffed pepper dish, but definitely a tasty meal.





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Last Restaurant Standing: High Street Chains

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Last night on Last Restaurant Standing, the remaining couples were split into 3 teams to run some chain restaurants for the day.My theory is Raymond and company could only secure 6 storefronts, so they had to cut 3 couples before moving the show into the individual restaurants. The places they took over this week were referred to as "high street chains". Asian and pizza which I believe would be compared to P.F. Changs and California Pizza in the US, as opposed to Pizza hut and Panda express. There was a third place, sushi, which got me thinking, are there any sushi chains like that in the US??? Remember, if you have not watched yet, do not click through because there are spoilers about the episode.

Thai Lettuce Wraps (For Everyone!)

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I mentioned last week that I was eating healthy this month. I have been wanting to make Thai lettuce wraps for awhile, so I thought now would be the perfect time. The one drawback? Living at home the past few months, I cook my more exotic cravings at friends houses, and save safer foods for my family. I set out to make these lettuce wraps versatile enough that everyone would like them regardless of their picky levels. Spoiler alert... It didn't work.





Chile Rellenos

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This is a continuation from yesterday's post. That night I also made Chile Rellenos. I have always wanted to make these, but for some reason thought they would be too much effort. I found them to be easier than I had thought. Before looking up recipes, I didn't realize that it is a mostly egg batter. It's almost like making a souffle! The batter was authentic, but the filling wasn't. I filled these with a chicken black bean and cheese mixture.





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TamTom Soup

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I was at a bar over the holidays and ran in to a really old friend, as people tend to do at hometown bars that time of year. Amy has been living in Australia for the past 5 years and told me she can't find any decent Mexican food in her town. She asked where she could find authentic Mexican nearby. My (I thought at the time) super clever reply was: "the only place to get good Mexican around here is my kitchen!" Steph had Amy and her Husband over for a Mexican feast a few days later and everything was really tasty. For the main meal I was making Chicken Chile Rellenos. It would be good, but I wanted to use some of my favorite and more exotic Mexican ingredients somewhere. I searched around for how to add Tamarind or Tomatillos to no avail. Finally I gave up and decided to just wing it on a soup. The results were amazing and even had a fun name!





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Last Restaurant Standing

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Last Restaurant Standing returned last night in a big way! As you would expect from a new season of your favorite reality show, the stakes are raised, and the contestants are better. It was a breath of fresh air to be reminded of the natural feeling of the show, compared to the over the top pacing of most reality shows in the United States. So just how are the stakes raised? This season, the winners will not only go into business with Raymond, but also both other judges; Sarah Willingham and David Moore. Sarah and David are no longer helping Raymond choose a business partner, but choosing one for themselves!

Click through to read the rest, but warning, spoilers!

Continue reading Last Restaurant Standing.

Indian Spiced Chickpeas and Cauliflower

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Is everyone eating healthy this month? I am planning on it. I still have one older less healthy post for later this week, but it's a two parter so since I am reviewing Last Restaurant Standing tomorrow(remember to watch tonight guys!) I thought I would save that for Thursday and Friday. So what about this meal? It was tasty and filling, meatless and healthy, Indian flavors, but still americanized enough for my family to enjoy it. An all around winner for me, and it was really easy to cook for a weeknight! (Like I have a job or something)





2010

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Happy New Year guys! I have a few quick things to mention before I go back to the food tomorrow.

First is spam. I am sure you all have been noticing the massive amounts of spam on the comments. I am trying my best to get rid of it all, and also trying to get better filters to block it. I have been working on it for weeks, but haven't had any luck so far. I hope that the spam issue will be resolved soon!

I think you all are probably wondering if someone won the tortellini challenge this year. Last year, the grape disapeared. This year, I put a whole raw garlic clove into the tortellini! My Aunt Donna recognized the flavor the second she bit into it and even spit it out! She was a little grossed out by the raw garlic at first, but was happy in the end when she realized that the prize was a full bag of tortellini.

Some people have been asking if I have finally tried horchata. The answer is no, I haven't had a chance yet. I wish I have, but I haven't tried it.

Lastly, I am glad to tell you guys that the next season of Last Restaurant Standing starts tomorrow. My oldest fans will know that I love this show and write a recap of it every week after the episode airs. Why do I do such a thing that doesn't fit with the theme of my blog? I have 3 reasons; I love the show, I feel like it has no presence on the web, and I want to add my other main hobby (tv shows) to the site! I hope more people watch it this year so we can get a nice discussion going each week.

Talk to you guys tomorrow with an awesome recipe!

Continue reading 2010.

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