Baked hard "boiled" eggs – time saver or mess maker?

Happy New Year to all!

My husband, Michael, and I have decided that we are starting to eat healthy and exercise more.  Since he is working today, I am at home watching the Food Network.  One of the tips I picked up today was  hard cooking eggs by baking them instead of boiling them.  Since I was planning to hard boil some eggs today, I decided to try it.

I preheated the oven to 325 F, put 12 eggs into my muffin tin.  I baked the eggs for 30 minutes and then put them into ice water for 10 minutes.  I had one egg that broke in the oven, but it didn’t make a mess.

Here are my thoughts on this method of hard cooking the eggs:

1.  The eggs get a dark mark on them where they touch the muffin tin. This mark goes through into the egg white.  Not appetizing at all.
2.  The eggs are NOT easy to peel.  I have a bunch of egg that are missing most of their whites because they did not peel nicely.  What a mess!!
3.  It was easy.  I may have to play with this idea a little bit to figure out how to get the dark mark to not happen.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Are macarons are my Waterloo?

A few years ago, while out shopping at an outlet mall with my husband, we discovered a little french bakery that was selling these adorable little sandwich cookies called macarons.  We have since found several other places that sell them. One place is called Le Macaron.  We fell in love with these cookies.  They are a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, ground almonds and food coloring. They are filled with either flavored icings or jelly/jam.  When I first saw the name Macaron, I thought I was going to be getting a coconut based cookie – which I don’t like. To my delight, I bit into a crispy, chewy, delicious little cookie.  I was hooked.

Since there are no places nearby that sell macarons, I’ve been toying with making my own for a while.  I bought a macaron kit with a mix and a macaron kit with all the tools needed for success in making them.  Today I decided to try making them.  I love to share both successes and failures in the kitchen.  Macarons turned out to be a FAIL.

Here is a short before baking video:

While they were baking, I could see that the macaron dough had run together.  Here they are after I took them out of the oven:

Due to the running of the dough, I could only get ONE actual macaron.  It was delicious.  Here it is:

So, it is back to the old drawing board.  I will be trying this again.  Stay tuned and see if I have success or more failures with macaron baking.

Food adventures with Mike

Anyone who has met my husband knows that he can be a bit of a picky eater. In Mike’s mind, the only thing better than meat with potatoes is meat with meat.  Slowly over the almost 13 years we’ve been married, I have managed to get him to try some new foods, mostly at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  This past Sunday, while we were looking for a place to have lunch after visiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mike suggested we try Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar in Sarasota, FL.  It is near the new Mall at University Town Center.  For an appetizer we shared the small order of chickpea fries.  YES!  I said CHICKPEA FRIES.  They were served with a tomato jam and a saffron aioli.  















They were absolutely delicious.  I wanted to lick the little bowl that the tomato jam was served in.  It was so tasty.  The saffron aioli had a bit of a kick to it and it was Mike’s favorite. We both said we would order them again.  

I don’t have a picture of Mike’s lunch.  He had a pressed angus burger.  It had caramelized onions, manchego cheese, and chili aioli.  The sandwich was so big that he couldn’t finish it all. 




I had the chicken pita with a side of cranberry-pistachio quinoa.  I couldn’t stop eating the quinoa.  It is a food that I really don’t enjoy preparing but love it when someone else makes it for me.


I would have loved to try one of the desserts but I was full.  I asked our waiter for a wine suggestion.  After a few questions, he suggested two wines.  I chose the Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling.  It was the perfect pairing.  

I wish Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar was closer to home.  I could spend many happy meals tasting all of their food. If you are ever in the Sarasota area or any of their other 7 locations, I suggest you give them a try.  If you are an adventurous eater, you will be very happy.












My go to recipes.

Everyone has a set of “go to” recipes that they make when time is short. Here are some of my easiest and tastiest go to recipes.

BROWN SUGAR PORK CHOPS

I got this recipe for Brown Sugar Pork Chops from Weight Watchers many years ago.  It is yummy andy you can make it with bone in or boneless chops.

Ingredients
2 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
a sprinkling of low sodium soy sauce
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with Pam and place chops in dish.
2. Top each chop with 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp brown sugar
3. Sprinkle with low sodium soy sauce.
4. Cover casserole with tin foil. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes. 
5. Remove tin foil. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
6. Serve chops with sauce made by butter, brown sugar and soy sauce.

We enjoy this served with a side of rice and some vegetables or a salad.

Orange and Rosemary Chicken

I don’t remember where this recipe came from.  I played around with the original recipe until I got it just right. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved  (or 1 can of white whole potatoes)
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 clove garlic, smashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 2 oranges (squeezed halves reserved)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tsp.  salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water.  Bring to a boil over medium-highheat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside. (Skip this step if using the canned potatoes) 
  2.  Crush the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and put in small bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 orange and the olive oil.  Add the chicken and turn to coat. 
  3.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4.  Add the chicken, cover and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken; add potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining orange.  Add the squeezed orange halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.


Pork with mango barbecue sauce

I didn’t have any barbecue sauce in the house, so I came up with this tasty recipe. This recipe is great for those days when you are working late and will not have time to “whip something up”.   It is also great for pot lucks.

Ingredients:
4 pound pork roast
1 cup mango rum
1 pkg frozen mango (or 2 fresh mangoes cut up)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste

  1. Place pork roast in crockpot. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in crockpot. 
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours 
  4. Take pork out of crockpot. Place on plate and shred with fork (watch out it is hot). Return shredded pork to crockpot. 
  5. You can eat like a stew or place on a tasty roll. 

Kathy’s Awesome Chili

INGREDIENTS:

“Here’s a chili recipe you’ll love using meatloaf mix.. Other ingredients include beer, strong-brewed coffee, unsweetened cocoa powder and ground cumin.”

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground meatloaf mix
1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, and ground meatloaf mix in oil for 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned and the onions are tender.
2. Mix in the diced tomatoes with juice, dark beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth. Season with chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander and salt. Stir in 1 cans of the beans. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.



Let me know if you try any of these and then share YOUR favorite go to recipes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!! – Barbecue for two.

With no family nearby, planning a 4th of July barbecue is a little lonely.  What is a girl who loves to cook to do???  Make a special barbecue for her husband and herself.

I started up the charcoal grill and threw on two turkey burgers and two steak burgers.
While the burgers were cooking, I sliced up some onion and dusted them with flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. I then fried them until they were golden brown and crispy.   I also spiral cut a zucchini and did the same.
When the burgers were cooked, I threw American cheese on the steak burgers and some feta cheese on the turkey burgers.
Here is the steak burger with bacon, frizzled onions, and cheese on a pretzel bun.
Here is the turkey burger with frizzled zucchini, onions, and tzatziki on a pretzel bun with some frizzled zucchini on the side.
Both of us were FULL….but we left a little room for dessert.
Mike had strawberry shortcake.
Since I am allergic to strawberries, I had black cherry shortcake.  It was delicious because I cooked some fresh black cherries in some black cherry balsamic vinegar.  OH YUM.
So, it is possible to have a delicious, gourmet 4th of July barbecue for two.
I have to make special mention of the turkey burgers.  Heartland turkey burgers from Walmart were a BIG surprise.  Delicious and juicy without that weird turkey taste.  I recommend them highly.
Happy eating!

This meal inspired me to post again!

It has been so long since I posted a food blog.  I have been feeling rather uninspired.  Until today!

After a wonderful visit to the Punta Gorda History Park Farmers Market, I was inspired to make something delicious with corn on the cob. After looking around to see what other ingredients I had on hand, I decided to make Frogmore Stew or Low Country Boil.

New red potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, and shrimp boiled in a pot with Old Bay Seasoning.  I did not have the hot sausage that the recipe I found called for, so I substituted chicken and apple sausage.

I cut the original recipe from 12 servings to 2 servings.

4 cup water
2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
10 new red potatoes
2 corn cobs cut into 3 pieces each
2 chicken and apple sausages cut into pieces
12 shrimp

Place the 2 tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning in the four cups of water. Bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes.  Add sausage and boil for 5 minutes. Add corn cobs and boil for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and boil for another 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink.  Drain and enjoy.

Dinner was delicious and it has inspired me to start keeping up with my food blog again.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Day1

After arriving at Port Orleans Rverside around 9am, Mike and I headed to Downtown Disney to await a text message saying our room was ready. After a leisurely stroll and some fun shopping, we headed back to the resort to check in our room around 1:30pm.

At 4pm we decided it was time to head to Epcot. First I have to say – WOW are there a lot of people here. If you don’t like crowds, don’t bother to come for the food and wine festival.
Our first food stop was Hawaii for Kalua Pork Sliders with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Cutney and Spicy Mayonaise. This was a tasty little morsel that proved that Mike CAN eat mayo and not have it kill him. We shared a Kona Brewing Company’s Big Wave Golden Ale, which I enjoyed a lot but Mike said was “okay”.
Next we tried Dole Pineapple Fritter, which were so good I forgot to get a picture of them.
Our first “must try” spot was Canada for some Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. I wanted to get a vat of this delicious soup. With the soup I tried some La Face Neige Apple Ice Wine. This was a very strong and delicious wine reminiscent of hard apple cider.
Since the foods we tried were just little bites, I was feeling hungry and knew what I was going to have when I saw “Fish n Chips” in England. This was the second best fish n chips I ever had. (The best was Sullivan’s Gaslight Inn in Franklin, NJ.) I even tried it with malt vinegar. YUM!!!
We continued through the countries and shops and, in America decided FUNNEL CAKE!  Even better…pumpkin spice funnel cake.
It was the best funnel cake I ever ate.  This is what did us in. After our funnel cakes, we were full. No mas food in ze belly por favor.
We road the Three Caballeros boat ride and hobbled back to the resort with our eating plan ready for tomorrow. Watch out Poland…you have some Keilbasa & Potato Pierogis with MY NAME on them.

Looking forward to visiting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

My wonderful hubby, Mike, and I are finally heading to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival next week.  All week I have been checking out the menus and pictures of the food that they are serving this year.

Check out the website here: Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Stay tuned for blogs from the festival.  You may want to cover your keyboard with a towel…you will be drooling.

These Poisoned Apples treats are delicious

Several months ago, I discovered an awesome “auction” website called Tophatter.  It is a fun, interactive website where you bid on items you wish to purchase.  It is actual time auctioning, unlike Ebay where you have to wait to see if you win for several hours to several days.

One day, I was on Tophatter and came across an auction for caramels from Poisoned Apples. I was lucky enough to win the auction for a pound of orange caramels. When they came, very well packaged and looking beautiful, I bit into one and have been a fan ever since.

You do not have to wait for another caramel auction. You can purchase items right from The Poisoned Apples Etsy store.  Go and check them out. You won’t be sorry.

I’m currently attending a Tophatter auction to try to get some more yummy caramels. Wish me luck!!!

Dessert doesn’t have to be unhealthy

My husband, Mike, and I have been TRYING to eat healthier.  Being food lovers, this is very difficult. Tonight I decided to show him that you can have a tasty dessert without ruining a healthy eating day.

Poached pears with raspberry sauce

For the poached pears

2 pears (I used bosc), pealed, cut in half and cored
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. honey
1 cinnamon stick
3 small pieces of candied ginger

Place the pears in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower temperature and cover until sauce is reduced and pears are tender. Remove cinnamon stick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the raspberry sauce

1 pint raspberries
1/4 water
1 tbsp. honey

Put ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  When berries have started to burst, stir.  Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.  Pour into a fine strainer over a boil and remove to remove all of the seeds.  Taste. If not sweet enough, add 1/2 tbsp. honey.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve 2 halves of pear in a bowl with cooking juices. Drizzle with the raspberry sauce. DELISH!

I served them with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream and some fresh raspberries.