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258 posts categorized " 01) Hors D'Oeuvres, Appetizers & Starters"

04/30/2024

~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~

Cóctel de camarónes. That's Spanish for cocktail of shrimp. If you're a fan of Southwestern spice, but never tasted a shrimp cocktail prepared Mexican-style, I recommend giving this Southwestern perfect-for-Summer twist on the classic a try -- plenty of plump, tender, poached (sometimes lightly-grilled) shrimp, swimming around in a citrusy, tomato, cilantro and spicy-hot sauce, containing pieces of diced avocado, cucumber, onion and jalapeño. It's a snazzy fork-friendly salad in a glass, not to be confused with its cousin, ceviche, which contains raw, cooked-via-marination fish and/or shellfish mixed with spices, citrus juice, vegetables and/or peppers. Traditional shrimp cocktail, as we...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~"

04/10/2024

~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~

When I want a perfectly-cooked, rare- to medium-rare steak, one that gets cooked indoors, next to the elegant filet mignon, the rustic flank steak is my choice. That said, in terms of taste, texture, versatility and price, without compromise, hands-down the flank steak wins on all points -- which is why I purchase one or two almost every week. In my food world, there's plenty of room for premium Delmonicos, NY strips, porterhouse and T-bones too, but, in terms of cooking steak indoors vs. grilling steak outdoors, those cuts typically "just don't do it" for me like filet or flank....... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~"

03/25/2024

~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~

Everyone knows anything one can sandwich between two slices of bread can be tucked into a pita pocket to eat on the run. Almost everyone knows that the flat round pita (or any flatbread) is a great foil for all sorts open-face knife-and-fork sandwich meals too. What all busy moms know is: if the ingredients on the pita are amicable to being baked in the oven, and you refer to it as pizza, it's a sure-fire way to get children to venture into trying just about anything. It's called "bending the rules for the common good", and, when my kids...... View full recipe for "~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~"

02/10/2024

~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~

Chicken wings are all-American and teriyaki is an all-Japanese method of cooking. Trust me when I tell you, if you walk into a restaurant in Japan, you aren't likely to find teriyaki chicken wings on their menu. That said, Japanese teriyaki sure does turn out a really good version of American chicken wings, however, unlike our traditionally-prepared wings, which are typically plunged into the hot oil of a deep fryer, teriyaki wings, in order to render their signature fall-off-the-bone tender interior with a slightly-crispy, sticky exterior, they require a kinder, gentler treatment. As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is...... View full recipe for "~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~"

01/31/2024

~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~

Place a platter of these appetizers on the cocktail table and I'll bet they disappear before bets can be taken on how long it will take them to disappear. Put a platter of them on the dinner table alongside a fresh vegetable stir-fry and some steamed white rice, and, when served as a family-friendly dinner, they won't last any longer. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise and Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~"

01/10/2024

~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~

Everyone loves a home-baked sweet or savory pie or quiche, but, for those times when you are out of time, or, just don't want to take the time, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, making a puff pastry braid using store-bought puff pastry is a valuable skill to have. As long as you play by the rules, they bake up perfectly 100% of the time. What are the rules? I'm glad you asked. My three basic rules/guidelines for filling a pastry braid: 1) With the exception of the obvious (any liquid or liquid concoction that pours or flows), any solid...... View full recipe for "~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~"

01/05/2024

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

12/30/2023

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

We all have our favorite breakfast and brunch casserole recipes -- I'd be lost without mine. They taste great, they're typically relatively easy and budget-friendly to prepare, and some can even be made ahead (mornings are hard enough as it is), but, let's be honest: casseroles aren't elegant. They're low-key, family-style, comfort food -- the blue jeans of the food world. Newsflash: Occasionally, it's necessary to dress up for a special occasion -- and that extends to the food. If I told you I have a small repertoire of AM meals that make a stunning presentation, taste as good as...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/25/2023

~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~

Circa 1980-1985 -- better known as the cloudberry jam period of my life. One of my husband's business associates (a man from Norway temporarily working here in Happy Valley) introduced us to a Norwegian specialty: small squares of grilled bread cheese topped with cloudberry jam. It was served as an appetizer at a cocktail hosted by Rolf and his Swedish wife. I fell in love with this cheesy treat immediately -- and said so. When I reciprocated the invitation, I was gifted a jar of the jam, a small brick of bread cheese, plus, a tin of stroopwaffes as a...... View full recipe for "~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~"

11/20/2023

~ Thanksgiving to Tailgate: Stuffing Stuffed 'Shrooms ~

For the family cook, entertaining for Thanksgiving is a labor of love, but, if he or she is a college football fan too, that can mean entertaining for a tailgate party as well, which can be overwhelming. That said, if you've got a game plan in place in advance, transitioning your formal Turkey Day feast into a relaxing tailgate on your coffee table, can be almost effortless. One of my gameday-after-the-holiday tailgate menus is: stuffing stuffed mushrooms with turkey-club sliders. Any leftover stuffing* recipe can be used to stuff mushrooms. I Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole. It's lightly and...... View full recipe for "~ Thanksgiving to Tailgate: Stuffing Stuffed 'Shrooms ~"

09/20/2023

~Grillmarked: Thai-Inspired Hot & Sticky Honey Wings~

Wings and tailgate. Tailgate and wings. If two words ever went hand-in-hand onto the gridiron, yep, it would be those two. If I say tailgate, you say wings, and, if there is one thing we tailgaters can't resist, it's a new wing-flavor-profile to experiment with. I came across this one in the Parade Magazine insert of my mom's local newspaper about a decade ago. Parade credits the recipe to Michael Gulotta, chef-owner of MoPho and Maypop restaurants in New Orleans. It's a keeper. The moment I read through the ingredients list, I knew I was gonna love this recipe. For...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked: Thai-Inspired Hot & Sticky Honey Wings~"

09/15/2023

~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~

Once upon a time there was a woman in Happy Valley Pennsylvania who was planning to make chicken Milanese for dinner. "In the style of Milan", it refers to a thinly-sliced and lightly-pounded protein dredged in flour, dipped in egg, then coated with breadcrumbs. It's quickly-sautéed in butter and/or olive oil until golden. It's crispy outside, juicy and fork-tender inside, and, after squirt of lemon and a parsley garnish it's served the moment it comes out of the skillet. It couldn't be easier, especially when cooking for just two. I refer to it as one of my flash-in-the-pan dinners. (Italian...... View full recipe for "~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~"

08/20/2023

~ Creamy Old English and Pimento Cheese Crab Dip ~

During the college football season, I add a few staples to my pantry and refrigerator lineup. When you live in a college town, you never (and I mean never) know when you're going to need to fix a quick appetizer. I make sure I'm never without pasteurized crabmeat in my refrigerator and Kraft Old English and Pimento Cheese spreads in my pantry. If the doorbell rings or the fans on the couch run out of wings, I can have crab dip on the cocktail table in about five minutes. Give me five minutes, I'll make you some great crab dip:...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Old English and Pimento Cheese Crab Dip ~"

08/15/2023

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés....... View full recipe for "~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~"

08/10/2023

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern...... View full recipe for "~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~"

07/25/2023

~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~

I haven't eaten at a Taco Bell in years, but, it's worth mentioning the first time I ate a Mexican pizza was the first time I ate at a Taco Bell -- and I liked it a lot. My personal-sized snack pizza came as a pleasant surprise. It contained refried beans, nicely-seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, a few small-diced tomatoes and red enchilada sauce -- all sandwiched between two slightly-crispy flour tortillas. It wasn't my choice to stop at their drive-thru window on that day, but, I must admit, it indeed inspired me to make many a Mexican snack pizza...... View full recipe for "~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~"

04/20/2023

~ GF Manchego, Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites ~

If you entertain on occasion, it's wise to have one or two really good gluten-free recipes in your repertoire. In the case of these delightful two-bite snacks, I love to serve them even when gluten-free is a non-issue. On the topic of GF and speaking from my own experience, two decades ago I knew one person with Celiac's disease. Currently I know three Celiacs. Don't ask me to speak about people decide of their own free will to follow a gluten-free diet without a doctors diagnosis -- a silly, somewhat irresponsible fad-diet trend which I'm starting see too much of....... View full recipe for "~ GF Manchego, Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites ~"

03/05/2023

~Manchego, Apple, Prosciutto, Arugula & Fig Crostini~

I have a handful of favorite ways to enjoy Manchgo cheese here in my kitchen, but, truth told, my favorite way is the simplest: put a thin slice of Manchgo on a French bread slice with a dollop of fig preserves. That's it. Just three ingredients (bread, cheese and jam). It is marvelous -- sometimes, when I'm hungry and in need of quick, snack, I skip the bread and use Club or Ritz crackers as the crunchy base. Combined with a few other easy-to-find ingredients, these two-three-bite three-ingredient appetizers go from marvelous to over-the-top in a few short moments. One...... View full recipe for "~Manchego, Apple, Prosciutto, Arugula & Fig Crostini~"

02/28/2023

~ Manchego Cheese -- What it is and How to Use It ~

It's my opinion that it's impossible for any one person to have one favorite cheese. There are thousands of choices, with unique varieties available in in every region of the world, with new varieties being created as we speak. To name a few, are hard cheeses, soft cheeses, semi-soft cheeses, crumbly cheeses, spoonable cheeses, melting cheeses, grating cheeses and blue-veined cheeses. There are cow's milk cheeses, sheep's milk cheeses, goat cheeses and vegan cheeses. Some cheeses are processed, others are not. Some are aged for a short time, some are aged for a long time. The best one cheese lover...... View full recipe for "~ Manchego Cheese -- What it is and How to Use It ~"

12/05/2022

~ Dijon & Bacon-Wrapped Jumbo-Shrimp Appetizers ~

Bacon-wrapped shrimp is a relatively-easy appetizer that’s guaranteed to impress. There's more. Because they can be assembled 1-2 days before the party, this make-ahead hors d'oeuvre lowers the last-minute stress level considerably . The trick to making perfect bacon-wrapped shrimp, meaning, an opaque shrimp that is perfectly-cooked through with a layer of crispy bacon around it, is to partially-cook and cool the bacon before wrapping the raw shrimp. Why? Because it takes longer for bacon to cook to crispy perfection than for shrimp to cook to tender perfection. The trick to perfect bacon-wrapped shrimp = precooked bacon. 1 pound bacon,...... View full recipe for "~ Dijon & Bacon-Wrapped Jumbo-Shrimp Appetizers ~ "

08/18/2022

~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~

It's said to have been created by an unknown French cook in Los Angeles in 1954 and was intended to mimic the taste of French onion soup. The recipe became such a popular addition to the fare served in martini-drinking social circles, it got printed in a local newspaper. Shortly after, in 1955, the Lipton company promoted it on the TV show "Arthur Godfry's Talent Scouts", touting it as "Lipton California Dip", and followed that up with ad campaigns in supermarkets and on television. In 1959, the recipe was added to the Lipton instant onion soup package, where it remains...... View full recipe for "~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~"

08/15/2022

~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~

Lipton's Classic French Onion Dip. It's made from one packet of Lipton's boxed French Onion Soup Mix stirred into one 16-ounce container of sour cream This beloved all-American flavor-infused concoction is meant as a dip for potato chips and vegetables -- it deserves to be served with a sense of pride. The packed contains a mix of dehydrated onion, onion powder and other herbs and seasonings, which can be used to flavor burgers, meatloaf and roasted potatoes too. From California Dip in 1954 to French Onion Dip in 1960 -- Lipton cornered the market on it. It's said to have...... View full recipe for "~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~"

08/06/2022

~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~

Clams casino is considered a classic Italian-American dish. Interestingly, clams casino is also considered a clams "on the halfshell" dish, and, the name has little to do with the gaming industry per se, although every casino restaurant or restaurant in the vicinity of a casino seems to have their variation of the dish on their menu. Let's me put it this way, I've never been to a casino restaurant that didn't have it on the menu. Clams casino, which means "big mess" in Italian, is a basic concoction of clams, bacon, butter, and breadcrumbs that work spectacularly together. Onion, garlic...... View full recipe for "~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~"

08/03/2022

~ Clam Sizing, Buying, Burping and Perfect Steaming ~

Steamed clams are one of my favorite Summertime treats. It's not unusual for us to pick up a few dozen, meaning three-four dozen. We mostly enjoy them as a quick pre-dinner snack, but, we've been known to make an entire meal out of them too. We simply sit around and fork-shuck 'em out of their open shells while they're plump and steaming -- as soon as they emerge from the liquid. One-at-a-time, each morsel gets dipped in some melted garlic-tarragon butter before eating. Clams come in many sizes, from quite large to quite small: The enjoyment of clams was an...... View full recipe for "~ Clam Sizing, Buying, Burping and Perfect Steaming ~"

07/31/2022

~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~

A couple days ago I restocked my supply of pasteurized crabmeat for the upcoming tailgate and holiday season. I do it every year around this time, and, I was down to my last can, so, I bought three more. Like most folks, I love to eat crabmeat, and, while fresh crab is indeed a delicacy, for my purposes pasteurized crab is my first choice. Like fresh crabmeat, it must be stored in the refrigeratory, but unlike fresh crab it has a very long shelf life -- up to 18 months. What's not to love about that. Because it's pasteurized, it's...... View full recipe for "~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~"

06/30/2022

~ Stop Frittering Around & Fry Up A Batch of Fritters ~

Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August, when local sweet corn is in season, and sweet apple fritters in September and October, when local apples are in season. I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin, the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Stop Frittering Around & Fry Up A Batch of Fritters ~"

06/14/2022

~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~

Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken wings. Why? Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Fast forward to present day -- Simply wander into a bar, any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. It's remarkable. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and butter sauce. There are three stories regarding the invention of Buffalo wings and all come...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~"

05/02/2022

~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~

Kabbaba is the ancient Aramaic word meaning to char or to burn. Medieval Persian soldiers, who used their swords as instruments to grill food over open fires in the field of battle, are credited with inventing kabobs. It was only natural that this simple method of cooking food relatively fast on a "sikh" (a metal skewer), made its way into the kitchens of the royal houses, then onto the tables of the common folk and eventually into the streets, where vendors cooked and sold them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (where they untreaded them onto or inside some form of...... View full recipe for "~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~"

04/23/2022

~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~

If you are a fan of Chinese-American cuisine and have a place in your heart for deep-fried chicken wings, welcome to this party. This is not so much a recipe as it is a semi-homemade way to show ya'll a new crowd-pleasing twist on Buffalo-style chicken wings. I'm not gonna lie. All I do "for real" is deep-fry the chicken wings. Past that I sauce them with my favorite store-bought General Tso's sauce then serve them over chicken-fried rice from my favorite Chinese restaurant. General Tso's chicken, a Chinese-American creation of the latter 1970s, traces its roots to Pang's restaurant...... View full recipe for "~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~"

04/14/2022

~ RedHot & Honey-Butter Chicken Wings & Waffles ~

Chicken and waffles was a childhood favorite of mine. Fast forward to adulthood -- it still is. I love the Southern-style crispy-fried chicken kind and, the Yankee-style PA-Deutsch tender pulled-chicken w/gravy kind. Cluck, cluck. In my food world there's also a third variation: Pub-grub-style deep-fried chicken wings and waffles. On paper, this might sound like a rather strange duo, but, in reality, a steaming hot waffle with honey butter melting atop it is the ideal foil for some hot-out-of-the-deep-fryer RedHot-sauced Buffalo-style chicken wings. Trust me, skip the French fries -- the switch to waffles with wings will change your life,...... View full recipe for "~ RedHot & Honey-Butter Chicken Wings & Waffles ~"

04/11/2022

~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~

There are two types of chicken-wing aficionados -- those who dredge their wings in a flour-based blend of seasonings, and, those who do nothing at all -- the latter group is know as the wing purists. Trust me on this next point: One method is not better than the other. One method, no matter what the claim, does not produce crispier wings. Dredging wings in a seasoned-flour mixture prior to deep-frying, vs. deep- frying wings in the classic manner, naked in a bath of seething hot oil, accomplishes only one thing: a bit of seasoning on your wings and a...... View full recipe for "~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~"

04/08/2022

~The Chinese-American General Tso's Chicken Story~

General Tso's Chicken is a staple on every Chinese-Americane eat-in and take-out menu. I personally am grateful for that, as, every week or two I crave Chinese fare and rare is the occasion when sweet, savory and spicy General Tso's Chicken is not a part of my order. Sometimes I eat it with some chicken fried rice and steamed broccoli as a main course, other times I eat it as an appetizer or a snack, but, eat it I do -- it's addicting and I adore it. The basic ingredients are easy-to-find & indeed basic: The basic ingredients of General...... View full recipe for "~The Chinese-American General Tso's Chicken Story~"

03/18/2022

~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~

While no one agrees on who made or sold the first pizza bagel, in 1985, Stanley Garcaynski and Bob Mosher invented Bagel Bites using custom-made mini-bagels. They adapted the recipe from the back of a package of Lender's bagels, and that little schtick made these two a lot of money really fast. They began by marketing their edible pub-grub invention to local restaurants, bars and hotels, and, after almost instant success, within six short years, they sold the company and brand name "Bagel Bites" to Heinz (owner of Ore-Ida) in 1991. The American dream come true. The 90s -- they...... View full recipe for "~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~"

03/15/2022

~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the 90s -- the decade of Bagel Bites, aka mini-bagel pizzas. They were the trendy after school snack of the era. For the most part, I emerged from this unscathed, meaning: I escaped the worst of it -- my kids were in their 20s by 1996. That said, I remember these freezer-to-toaster-oven treats for one reason: the uber-annoying theme song of the Bagel Bites commercials -- "Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza is on a bagel, you can eat...... View full recipe for "~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~"

03/12/2022

~The History of Deviled in Deviled Eggs & Other Food~

Everyone knows what deviled eggs are, most folks know what deviled ham and deviled crab is, and, what's up with devil's food cake? I always say that behind every recipe there is a story or a history, and, foods referred to as "deviled" are no exception. While the origin of deviled eggs or any other deviled delight can't be pinned down to one person or one location, one thing food historians know for sure is: the name emerged in the 18th century and evolved over time. The word deviled first appeared in print in 1786 and was used to describe...... View full recipe for "~The History of Deviled in Deviled Eggs & Other Food~"

03/09/2022

~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~

Pickled eggs can be made several ways, but the ones I love and the ones my family always made were the Pennsylvania Deutsch version, which are sometimes referred to as pickled-beet eggs or red-beat eggs. My mom and grandmother served them but once a year as a side-dish on our Easter feast table, but, in local Pennsylvania Deutsch communities, pickled eggs were and still are a very popular tavern food -- they can be found marinating in large jars on bar tops next to beer taps all over Pennsylvania. It takes about five days for hard-cooked eggs to pickle, so,...... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~"

01/27/2022

~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~

Yes, you read it right -- these ribs are beer-batter-dipped and deep-fried. One could say strange things happen to people during a lengthy arctic-esque freeze stirred into a pandemic -- to name a few, we binge-watch way too much TV, eat way too many carbohydrates, and, push like to way too many Facebook memes. BUT, as Cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs as it might seem to many, batter-dipping and deep-frying spareribs isn't one of them -- the Chinese have been deep-frying ribs for centuries, and they're a popular item on many Chinese-American restaurant menus. That said, it should come as no surprise that South...... View full recipe for "~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~"

11/15/2021

~Caviar - The Perfect Start to Any Holiday Celebration~

The word caviar, which refers to lightly-salted roe, aka fish eggs, comes from the Turkish word khavyar and dates back centuries. There are many types of caviar, but true caviar comes from sturgeon, which has been a big part of the Middle Eastern and Eastern European diet for all of their history, and, caviar from the Caspian Sea and rivers of Russia has always been considered uber-premium. In order of high-end to low-end pricing, there four types of sturgeon caviar: beluga, sevruga, oestra and ship -- and no sturgeon caviar is what I consider cheap. The experts will all tell...... View full recipe for "~Caviar - The Perfect Start to Any Holiday Celebration~"

10/15/2021

~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~

Got leftover chicken-fajita filling or steak-fajita filling? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but when I do, I know exactly what to make with that tasty couple-of-cups: fajita quesadillas. Ooey-gooey and cheesy, they're so dang good, I won't lie, sometimes I make the filling for the sole purpose of making fajita quesadillas. When I do do that, it's usually because I'm feeding a crowd, and, more-often-than-not, the occasion is a tailgate in front of the TV. No matter how many I make, they're the first appetizer to disappear -- there never seems to be enough. "Queso (KAY-soh)" is the...... View full recipe for "~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~"

08/24/2021

~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~

Bananas and plantains -- they resemble each other, and they're related too. I eat a banana almost every morning, but, I can't say the same for the plantain. By accident or out of curiosity, if you've ever peeled a plantain and taken a taste, you knew you weren't eating a banana. That said, when sautéed, the taste and texture of the yellow plantain is remarkable. As a lover of sautéed bananas, a la bananas foster for dessert, or atop eggnog pancakes w/sautéed butter-rum 'n nog bananas. The best way for me to culinarily describe the difference between the two is,...... View full recipe for "~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~"

08/21/2021

~My All-Purpose Beer Batter for Deep-Frying Anything~

Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish or vegetables. Heck, even cheese and macaroni and cheese can be beer-batter-dipped and deep-fried. Slices, strips, chunks, fillets or paillards. Appetizer, snack, small meal, main-dish or pub grub. It doesn't matter. This beer batter will coat it evenly and fry up light as air. There's more. Be not afraid. Batter-dipping and deep-frying, while somewhat repetitive and time-consuming, it is super-easy. While you don't need an electric deep-fryer to deep fry, a small investment of $50-$75 dollars will get you a light-weight, countertop, cool-touch fryer with a lid, precise temperature control and an air filter which will...... View full recipe for "~My All-Purpose Beer Batter for Deep-Frying Anything~"

08/18/2021

~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~

I grew up eating hot crab dip in the Chesapeake Bay area where it is made with Old Bay Seasoning, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, dry English mustard and white cheddar. I thought it was the ultimate crab dip until I tasted hot crab dip made in New Orleans, where it is made with Cajun seasoning, Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce, Creole mustard and cream cheese. Both versions also contain Parmesan, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic, plus, in NOLA during Mardi Gras, for festive color, they throw in some green and red bell pepper too. When eaten in close proximity to either place,...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~"

08/12/2021

~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~

When it comes to slow cookers and crockpots, most folks either love them or they hate them, period, or, they neither love nor hate them, they use them due to circumstances beyond their control. I've heard all the reasons in favor, against and in between. Trust me when I tell you, I understand. I neither love nor hate mine. I simply recognize it for what it can do and do not try to make it do the things it cannot. The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to...... View full recipe for "~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~"

06/24/2021

~The Sizzling History behind Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~

Fajitas were originally named tacos-al-carbon and were served as portable food, ready-to-eat-with-the-hands, by wrapping strips of unpretentious skirt steak that had been cooked over a campfire or on a grill, in a warm corn or flour tortilla, meaning they were served taco-style. "Faja" is the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", and, with "ita" added to the end, it means "a little strip, band, sash or belt", meaning the ingredients for fajitas are always cut into strips. The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's....... View full recipe for "~The Sizzling History behind Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~"

06/16/2021

~ Nacho Mama's Sheet-Pan Chicken-Fajitas Nachos ~

Spicy fajitas and cheesy nachos. Together. Carefully layered on top of each other on a sheet pan. Yes, a sheet pan. Why? Because nachos require a perfect ratio of cheese-to-toppings on each chip and the sheet pan provides the surface area needed to accomplish that. Nothing is sadder than picking up a cheesy nacho to find no goodies on top of it, or worse, picking up a nacho chip overloaded with goodies to the point they all slide off onto the plate or your lap. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's when...... View full recipe for "~ Nacho Mama's Sheet-Pan Chicken-Fajitas Nachos ~"

06/10/2021

~ Tex-Mex Skinny Chicken-Fajita Corn-Tortilla Tacos ~

Fajitas were originally named tacos-al-carbon and were served as portable food, ready-to-eat-with-the-hands, by wrapping strips of unpretentious skirt steak that had been cooked over a campfire or on a grill, in a warm corn or flour tortilla, meaning they were served taco-style. "Faja" is the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", and, with "ita" added to the end, it means "a little strip, band, sash or belt", meaning the ingredients for fajitas are always cut into strips. The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's....... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Skinny Chicken-Fajita Corn-Tortilla Tacos ~"

05/08/2021

~Making Great Cheese Quesadillas with Corn Tortillas~

We all have a few favorite food combinations, meaning, two foods that go hand-in-hand together. A duo you can't emotionally separate because you can't enjoy one without the other. A few of my cheesy favorites: a cup of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, my mom's meatloaf with some macaroni and cheese, my favorite cheeseburger with a side of fries. Another personal favorite: a bowl of Wendy's-style chili with a few quick-to-make cheesy quesadilla wedges. "Queso (KAY-soh)" is the Spanish word meaning "cheese", and, a quesadilla is a tortilla containing ooey-gooey melted cheese. Quesadilla (keh-sah-DEE-yah): A round, flat, cooked-until-soft...... View full recipe for "~Making Great Cheese Quesadillas with Corn Tortillas~"

05/05/2021

~Cheesy Ground-Beef Corn-Tortilla Taco-Quesadillas~

Everyone I know loves a taco or three. No one I know loves a taco that's been made using a taco-shell that came out of a box -- they taste like the cardboard they came packed in, and, unless the fillings sit in the shells for several minutes, the shells shatter like glass -- bring out the knives-and-forks because everyone's dinner just landed on their plate. It's a less than ideal situation. In a perfect world, everyone would make fresh corn tortillas from scratch, but, in today's busy real world, that time-consuming process is, frankly, unrealistic. That's where store-bought, soft,...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Ground-Beef Corn-Tortilla Taco-Quesadillas~"

02/20/2021

~ Fry the Entire Danged Thing -- Unsectioned Wings ~

Chicken wings. While not even close to the top of my list of healthy-eating snacks or meals, they are at the top of my list of favorite snacks or meals, and, much like the greater percentage of the rest of the population of the United States, from time-to-time I get a craving for them. Also, much like the greater percentage of the rest of the population of the United States, I am in agreement, deep-fried wings, as opposed to air-fried oven-roasted or barbecue-grilled, are the best wings. What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in...... View full recipe for "~ Fry the Entire Danged Thing -- Unsectioned Wings ~"

11/26/2020

~ Be Safe, Think Small, Turkey Day Charcuterie Tray ~

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti (Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)... View full recipe for "~ Be Safe, Think Small, Turkey Day Charcuterie Tray ~ "