Greenling – Local Food Delivered

This is a wonderful concept. This is hands down, the most convenient way to eat local, organic food. Greenling has come to my hometown and I couldn’t be happier. I was so geeked-out, happy that I took pictures of my first delivery (the surprise 50% off my delivery didn’t hurt either.) Way to surprise and delight your customers, Greenling.  

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

So a co-worker took me to Olive Garden for the lunch a few weeks ago and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was looking forward to eating my body weight in bread sticks. When the soup and salad lunch came though, I was obsessed with this soup. It was warm and filling and just the thing after a rotten work morning. In the clearer light of a relaxed Saturday when I drug my husband back to Olive Garden, the real lack of chicken or gnocchi in the soup left me unsatisfied and made my husband think I was crazy for talking so much about the soup beforehand. I had to vindicate myself and so I searched and experimented to come up with a recipe to make what my head and soul knew was possible. This is that recipe. Enjoy! Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 chicken breasts, diced 3 stalks celery, diced 2 carrots, diced 1 medium onion, diced 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic 1 teaspoon dried oregano 4 cups chicken stock 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt a couple of fresh grinds of black pepper (to taste) 16 ounces fresh potato gnocchi (found in refrigerated aisle […]

Bacon Jam

Everything is better with bacon. A favorite local restaurant of our makes bacon pepper jelly that I just can’t get enough and that began my search for how to make it at home. This recipe isn’t the same as the restaurant, but I love it just the same. Bacon Jam adapted from Martha Stewart 1lb uncooked bacon 2 medium yellow onions diced 1 red bell pepper diced 1 jalapeno diced 4 cloves of garlic minced 1 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup real maple syrup 1 cup brewed coffee 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 6 4oz. jam jars with lids First we need to cook the bacon. I prefer doing it in the oven, but if you prefer the skillet then do what works for you. Let the bacon cool and reserve 2 tablespoons of the grease that cooked off. In a skillet, pour in the bacon grease and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook until the onion start to become translucent in about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Next add the sugar, syrup, coffee and vinegar. Bring your concoction up to boil. Chop up your cooled, cooked bacon into 1 in. […]

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I had a mini pie-a-palooza over the last couple of weeks and this seems to be the winner of them all. This pie is most famous for belonging to In Jennie’s Kitchen. If you haven’t heard the story of Jennie and her husband Mikey, then you should go to her blog. In this season of giving thanks and being with loved ones, what has happened to them serves as a reminder that everything is temporary and we need to savor the good times while they last. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen blog) Serves 10 to 12 Crust: 9 ounces chocolate animal crackers 5 tablespoons butter, melted Chocolate Layer: 4 ounces finely chopped milk chocolate 1/4 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts Filling: 1 cup heavy cream 8 ounces cream cheese 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Ganache: ½ cup heavy cream 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped Whipped cream topping: 1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor […]

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle

It’s fall and the holiday season is right around the corner which means I start to go into hyper drive with cooking and crafting. I was inspired to make this brittle from the Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle post on Craftzine. I have a brittle recipe I love though, so I add some spices and pumpkin seeds to it. The brittle isn’t too hard and the spice is really mild. If you’re adventurous, I would recommend playing with different spices and nuts to suit your taste. Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle 2 cups sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup butter (plus more for coating a cookie sheet) 1/2 cup water 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda sifted 2 cups roasted, salted pumpkin seeds 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder 1/4 teaspoon sea salt Special Equipment: Candy thermometer In a 3-quart, nonstick, heavy saucepan clip on your candy thermometer and then combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and water and stir occasionally until melted and it reaches 275 degrees. This will take some time to get that hot, so in the meantime, take out your cookie sheet and coat it liberally with butter and place it on a heat resistant […]

Adobo Root Beer Pulled Pork

This blog is quickly becoming the Distracted Chef. I’m certainly on a cooking kick lately and this following recipe is something I mixed up a few weeks ago and is something I swear I could eat every day. I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork, but I had to put my own twist to it. This recipe is super easy and the spices and the root beer are just a miracle together.  The only problem is that it takes so long too cook! Adobo Root Beer Pulled Pork Recipe: 4lbs pork shoulder (sometimes called Boston Butt or Pork Butt) 4 cloves of garlic, minced 2 yellow onions, sliced 1 shallot, sliced 1 teaspoon oregano 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt 12 oz. bottle root beer (I used St. Arnold’s Root Beer) 7.5oz can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil Black pepper Start your oven at 275 degrees. In a dutch oven over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. When the oil is heated, add the onion and  shallot and let cook until it begins to become translucent, usually 5 – 10 minutes. Next step is to […]

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

It is like 1,000,000,000 degrees outside still and the only thing I can think about is ice cream. I’ve been churning out ice cream, sorbets and popsicles for months now. This one is my favorite and is pretty trendy right now. It’s just delicious. Salted Caramel Ice Cream Recipe 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided 1 teaspoon  sea salt 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups 2% milk (you can use whole milk for a richer ice cream) 3 large eggs An ice cream maker First make the caramel, heat 1 cup sugar in heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring to heat sugar evenly until it is melted and has darkened to a rich golden brown color. Add 1 cup cream carefully because it will foam up on you so be extra careful. Stir until the cream and caramel are incorporated. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool for 30 to 60 minutes until it has cooled to room temperature. Second we make the ice cream base, bring 1 3/4 cups 2% milk, 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup sugar just to a […]

Bruschetta Inspired Pasta

When it is a hundred million degrees outside, this is the perfect thing for lunch or dinner. I love bruschetta and this pasta is so much less work and is just delicious. The bonus is that you only have to turn your stove on for a few minutes to cook the pasta. Heaven knows, you don’t need any more heat going on. What You’ll Need: Serves Two 12 oz bag of cherry tomatoes, stems removed and tomatoes quartered 1 bunch fresh basil, julienned 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 Teaspoon balsalmic vinegar 1 Teaspoon kosher salt Couple of grinds of black pepper Pasta of your choice Mix all ingredients (except the pasta) in a bowl and cover tightly at room temperature for 4 hours letting the tomatoes macerate. Take a moment to look at the tomatoes and basil together – just beautiful. If you plan on waiting longer than 4 hours, put the mixture in a refrigerator. You don’t really want to wait longer than 12 hours to eat this though. Cook and drain your pasta. Mix the tomato mixture with your pasta to coat and you’re done. I bet you didn’t even break a […]

Cheese Pops

I love a good cheese ball. You’ve probably heard of cake pops from the crazy talented Bakerella and now here are some pops on the savory side, cheese pops. I got inspired from the Bacon Pops post on The Kitchn, but to be honest I just wanted an easy way out so I cut a few corners. I started with goat cheese and a cream cheese that already had herbs and flavorings, namely Chavrie with basil and roasted garlic and some Alouette sundried tomato and basil cream cheese. The bacon and pecans are very real and very delicious. Ready to cut some corners? Let’s get started. What You’ll Need: Goat Cheese Pops (makes 10) Chavrie (I used flavored with basil and Goat Cheese, but use whatever flavor appeals to you) 4 ounces Cream Cheese 3 Bacon strips, cooked and diced finely 1 cup pecans, finely chopped Black Pepper Lollipop sticks Ice cream scoop, 1 tablespoon size (optional) Plastic gloves (optional) In a bowl, combine the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Add pepper to taste and add a few pinches of the bacon pieces and continue to mix. On a plate, mix the remaining bacon and pecan pieces and set […]

Caramel & Chocolate Covered Apples

What is Fall without some caramel apples? You see these fancy apples in gourmet stores these days and they can cost $10 or more. For the same $10 you can make a batch for you with plenty left over for gifts. I use Honey Crisp apples for this since they are huge and they’re sweet and crisp hence the name I’m guessing, but they’re great. You can use whatever apple that appeals to you. Which ever apple you choose, be sure to put them is some boiling water for a minute to get the wax off the skin. If you skip this step, all the caramel goodness will slide right off your apple. Caramel recipe: 1/2 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon kosher salt In a clip your candy thermometer to a heavy saucepan over low heat, add butter, sugar cream and corn syrup and stir until boiling. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until the thermometer reaches 248 degrees or firm ball stage. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. You are ready to coat your prepared apples! Once the […]

Chocolate Macarons with Strawberry Cream Filling

A recipe in pictures first. The real recipe is below. Chocolate Macarons with Strawberry Cream Recipe Macarons are notoriously fussy so the two things that are an absolute must are a food scale and a larger sifter. You’ll also need a large pastry tip(Wilton’s 12 or Ateco #807) and parchment or Silpat. For the meringue shells: 90 grams of egg whites left in a refrigerator or cool room fro 24 hours. This is normally about 3 large egg whites. 25 grams granulated sugar 175 grams powdered sugar 110 grams blanched almonds 25 grams of cocoa powder With a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they start to foam. Once you start to see the foam, pour in the granulated sugar. Keep whisking until the the whites are opaque and white and are starting to pull away from the edge of the bowl. In a food processor add the almonds, powdered sugar and cocoa powder and grind it down to a fine powder. Run the powder through a sifter to get out any large pieces of almond left. This is a crucial step. I’ve left it out before and really regretted it. It will be impossible to pipe to macarons and they […]

Hush Puppies

During my youth in Louisiana, I became acquainted with hush puppies at an early age. I’ve never been crazy about seafood, so hush puppies were always my favorite part of any fish fry. Like many foods, I miss how my mother made them and never can seem to find good hush puppies in restaurant. I’m a hush puppy purist. No corn or jalapenos please! This weekend, I gave hush puppies a shot myself. Put cornmeal, baking soda, salt sugar and flour in a sifter…. In a separate bowl, combine 1 egg and milk…. Mix the egg/milk with the cormeal/flour. Add 4 chopped green onion, cayenne, tabasco and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees and then grab a ice cream scoop to measure out your dough. Gently drop the dough scoops in the fryer and wait until they are golden brown. You may want to move them around a little while they are cooking so they don’t stick together. They are usually ready in 4 minutes depending on how big your scoop is of course. Fried deliciousness! Hush Puppy Recipe (makes 12 – 16 hush puppies with a 2 teaspoon scoop) 1 cup […]