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December 2010 Archives

Steak and Harissa Crostini

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I've always wanted to make Harissa, and now that I have, it's a big WHAT WERE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?! It was super easy, and it is a very flavorful and versatile sauce. I've been totally hooking you guys up with New Years apps this week huh? You are going to be the star at your party. Check out the Steak and Harissa Crostini today on tablespoon.

Mini Shrimp Tacos


My mind is on New Years apps this week. This one is fun cause it's mini. Mini things are fun right? These actually came out amazing. I made them by myself (a bunch of my friends are snowed OUT of Boston), and ate them all! 24 mini tacos consumed by me. Crunchy, creamy, salty, bite-sized, these are everything you want in a New Years snack. If you wanted to make a shortcut version of this, you could use those tortilla chips that are shaped like mini cups, but where is the fun in that?

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Meatball Wellington


I am always looking for appetizer ideas, especially around New Years time, and at Christmas this year, my vegetarian aunt came up with this one. Why my vegetarian aunt thought of meatball wellington, I will never know, but who cares, it is a fantastic idea! Her idea was wrapping each meatball individually, but I thought that was too much work.  I made the meatballs into a mini meatloaf and wrapped it similar to an actual beef wellington which is normally made with a whole beef tenderloin. Instead of the mushroom paste normally between the meat and pastry crust, I made a tomato sauce that was super thick and pasty.

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Masala Spiced Deviled Eggs

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I've never liked deviled eggs, but when Tablespoon challenged me to try and make some that I actually liked, I was up for it! I made them Indian spiced with lots of caramelized onions and a secret spicy surprise. Check out the masala spiced deviled eggs today on tablespoon.  There is also a really good hot sauce recipe in that post.



Right off the bat, I have to admit that there was a bit of fail in this dish. See I am an honest blogger, I dont have to admit anything to you guys because I invented the idea, so I could just pretend that it came out right! The idea here is a Middle Eastern version of the ultimate Italian dish, the Timpano. (Timpano means drum in Italian, and a dombak is a Persian bongo drum) I planned to cook all of my favorite Persian foods, layer them up with rice, and bake the rice to form a "tahdig" or crispy rice layer as the crust of the dombak. Everything came out perfectly and the meal was delicious, but time and time again I struggle to get a nice tahdig. I have done ok with my cast iron on the stove top, but I feel like I should be able to get the same effect in a nice hot oven! I will have to do some R&D and get back to you...

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Bacon Pineapple Jalapeno Bites


It's no secret that bacon pineapple jalapeno is an amazing combo. Today we have it in its purest form. A simple bite of bacon, pineapple, and jalepeno in perfect proportion with a slight cheddar accent. We have all had bacon jalapenos with a cream cheese filling, so this is a fun and delicious twist on that idea. I made these with some friends for a Christmas party this past weekend, and we all had a lot of fun assembling them and, of course, eating them!

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Italian Sushi Rolls


My deep-rooted love of Italian flavors is constantly flooding my brain with new ways to explore classic ingredients. I also love sushi. Like most of my ideas, this one seems so obvious that looking back I cant believe this was the first time to try it. Using a little poetic license, I'm gonna call this experiment "Italian Sushi". Cheesy orzo, Italian sausage, roasted peppers, basil. It was easy, and it was awesome. These would make a great appetizer for a holiday party, get everyone laughing and telling you how super cool and creative you are.

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Corn Chowder Sandwiches


In the grand tradition of TFimB turning sandwiches into dips, appetizers into soups, sandwiches into soups, dips into appetizers, etc, etc, today we have a soup turned into a sandwich! This sandwich was awesome, and tasted just like the soup.

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Egg Nog Pudding


This boozy egg nog pudding is like a pudding shot but more grown up. Serve them when guests arrive as a make ahead signature cocktail. Check out the whole post for Egg nog pudding today on tablespoon.

Stewed Lamb with Habanero Sauce


I first wanted to make a curry with the lamb cubes I got from Lava Lake Lamb, but when it was time to cook it, I actually wasnt in the mood for Indian. I wanted something more Mexican spiced, so the idea for this dish sort of came from me cooking the lamb the way I would make curry, but just with different spices! On Sunday nights at my place, we always eat spicy, so I decided to base the sauce on the habanero flavor I have been craving lately.

Holiday Sushi Ideas


Earlier this week I came up with some ideas for Christmas sushi appetizers that were a lot of fun to make and eat. Head to tablespoon to see the sushi ideas in action!

Sweet Potato Tamales


With a few sweet potatoes left over on Monday, I was indecisive all day about what to make with them. I couldn't believe my eyes when Endless Simmer came to the rescue with one of their classic "100 ways" posts about sweet potatoes! After getting over the initial pride (this is the first time I have made one of their lists, can you find me?), I got down to business trying to figure out which of these amazing dishes I would make that night. Instantly I fell in love with the idea for these tamales, but completely changed the recipe when I made them that night.

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Chicken Parm Soup


If nothing else, I am a man of tradition. My traditions are very important to me, and if I do something that is fun, I immediately call it the first annual, in hopes that we can re-create the magic next year. Thanksgiving is a big time for these traditions. This past year I participated in the 9th annual Thanksgiving Challenge, and while I am not going to get into the details of that event, I will brag a little and say that I was the champion. The other tradition I want to talk about is one with my family where we make tortellini on the day after Thanksgiving. The tortellini are made and frozen for our yearly Christmas Eve party. Because we have a lot of helpers come over, it is important to feed them! We make a new soup for lunch every year. If you are new to the site, check out the past years soups, and the detailed tortellini post and soup recipe, but today's post is all about this chicken parm soup.

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Chile Crusted Leg of Lamb and Sweet Potato Green Bean Gratin


I recently recieved a beautiful leg of lamb from Lava Lake Ranch in Idaho (more on them at the bottom of the post). The best way to cook a leg of lamb is to grill it with a nice rub. Most people do an herby rub, but I was in the mood for a little more south of the border type flavors. I crusted the lamb with a nice mix of 4 different chiles and some cumin and coriander. For a side dish, I was debating on what to make all day. I bought some green beans and sweet potatoes at the grocery store, but still didnt really have a plan. At the last minute the gratin idea came into my head, but I didn't have anything to use as the liquid! I was about to add milk, but it seemed really thin and suddenly I noticed that we had egg nog in the fridge. I decided to go for it, and it came out great!

Pad Thai Risotto

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Pad Thai + Risotto = amazing. There isn't much else to say about it! Check out the pad thai risotto I posted on Tablespoon today to see just how good it can be!

Buffalo Chicken Chili


Every time I think I have done everything possible with buffalo chicken, someone I know comes up with a new one! This time it was my roommate Sal who suggested making a buffalo flavored chili. Now, I have always been a fan of spicy dishes, but thanks to living with Sal, a true chile-head, I have become all out obsessed! We buy a big bag of habaneros weekly. I never remove a seed from any chile I come across, it all goes in the pot! I have decided to start adding a spice scale to my recipes, and telling you exactly how many peppers I used to achieve that number on the scale. Tonight's heat scale is:

Before you go scoffing about 7.2, I want to warn you, 7.2 is nothing to scoff at! In fact, this is one of the hottest things I have ever made. Let me tell you a bit about the scale to put it into perspective. Remember when you ordered thai food and your curry dish has 3 chiles next to it and you were sweating while eating it? That would be placed around 5 on this scale. Anything 8.8 and above is pretty much inedible. Still scoffing? Then make this and follow the directions as closely as you can.

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Grandma's Meat Stuffing


One of the staples at my family Thanksgiving is a meat stuffing my grandmother makes. This is the first year that she hasn't had her own kitchen for thanksgiving, so it was up to my mom and I to re-create it. Asking her for the recipe proved fruitless however due to a bit of memory loss. My mom and I talked on the phone beforehand trying to figure out exactly what was in this thing, but I think it's been a little different every year for at least the past 3 years so it was hard to remember. In the end, we came up with something that everyone agreed was delicious and "pretty close to grandma's version". The thing we disagreed about though was HOW it was different. "Less bread" said my Dad. "More bread" said my Mom. I think next year I will take both of their advice. (cause it was perfect)

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