A simple, fresh and impressive appetizer for your next party. This baked brie is full of summer flavor and melted brie cheese.
Remember the good old days when you could eat whatever you wanted, not gain an ounce, feel like a champ after eating a large pizza all by yourself with a six pack of beer and not bat an eye? Okay, well maybe not the whollleeee large pizza, because obviously you still needed some of it for breakfast the next day… but still you get my point. The good ol’ days. Fast forward to the present and I’ve come to the unfortanate realization that can’t eat like I used to. Somehow a quarter pound burger has left me feeling like a bloated beached whale, writhing around trying, making the most ghastly of gutteral sounds. You’re welcome for that visual. Yet somehow – nearly a half pound of baked brie positively slathered in gingered peach and blueberry compote didn’t make me bat an eye. I’m not ashamed. It’s baked brie.
One of Lori’s “Change It Up” tips in this recipe was to add fresh blueberries to it. Well just as it happens I had some on hand. Talk about perfect!
My jeans be shaking with trepidation at the prospect of buttoning this morning but let me tell you right this instance – Worth. It.
This recipe comes from Lori Lange aka Recipe Girl‘s new cookbook! After getting my mitts on a copy of this beauty from Lori, I couldn’t help but flip through and see all of the gorgeous photos from Matt Armendariz who brought her creations to beautiful light. From the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lover Brownies to the Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Crispy Sage – I was sold. But naturally – the cheese was beckoning and calling to me. I simply had to heed the call. And ohhh did I. Me and that brie got to know each other very intimately.
This recipe was so simple and if it was set before me at a cocktail party – I’d just make off with the whole plate and not look back. You can’t stop me. Oh, and lucky me, I bought another slice of brie and have perfectly ripe peaches and a clamshell of blueberries to make foodie love too. Again, you’re welcome for that visual. Sorry, not sorry.
But so you will forgive me and come back again and not leave me forever – Lori has kindly offered up a copy of her cookbook to YOU!! Check below for all the details and get your mitts on this creation!
Easy, no-bake treats with Cocoa Krispie cereal and Nutella laden marshmallow ! These Nutella Cocoa Krispie Treats are perfect for summer.
Okay seriously, Dr. Quinn is making me cry. What the heck you fictional 90′s TV woman?! You just go on with your doctorin’, Sully lovin’ and pony riding. Ben and I don’t have cable. I know, how lame. Right? I agree completely. He We’re just that abhorrently cheap. But it’s probably for the best.
Because of that cheapness, we’re Netflixing our way through out favorite TV shows. Dr. Quinn is that latest show taking up that majority of our sittin’-on-our-ass time. My middle school Saturday nights at 8 were sacred time for me – I got my pony fix, and I’m pretty sure my love of bearded men came from Sully. I mean – that wild hair, that scruff. Daynnggg gurrllll. Ben wonders why I don’t let him shave….Well, blame it on Sully. It was ingrained deep in my teenage hormonal psyche apparently.
And…yeah. Sorry, I’m getting distracted again. I just can’t stop staring at Sully. *Hi Ben*
Anyway – this weekend I’ve got another wedding cake to make for one of my oldest friends! I should be working on that tonight, too. Damn you Sully! Dani, said friend, and I have known each other since we were in middle school – playing on softball and fast pitch leagues all the way up through high school. We’ve seen each other through those awkward teenage years, TV crushes (of which mine obviously still continue today), real life crushes, softballs to the faces, strike outs and a Chevy muscle car obsessions. Yeah, I was the girl in high school with a subscription to Super Chevy magazine. Cosmo? Puh-leeze. So I’m super thrilled to be baking the cakes for her wedding this weekend.
*See local Portland eateries and food culture through my Instagram lens*
You follow me on Instagram, right? Cause if you do you probably noticed Ben and I were eating ALOT last weekend. Like, a gargantuan amount of food. And simply said – it was spectacular. We adventured down south to Portland to take in and savor all of the cheese and food culture that this self proclaimed “weird” city has to offer. Portland, the land of the Hipster. Or as I like to think of it, the land of everything local, tasty, quirky and hand made. The Portland food scene takes immense pride in sourcing local ingredients and hand crafting quality food in all forms. If you have a craving for anything under the sun, you can find it in Portland just around the block.
Ben and I stayed downtown Portland, right along the Willamette River at Hotel Fifty. After a plane ride that morning we wanted to soak in the sun and took a stroll along the river before venturing to our first stop Foster and Dobbs for wine tasting and of course cheese! Johan Wines was the featured tasting of the night and so we sat at the shop for a good two hours tasting and eating delicious hand crafted local cheeses. Since we were in PDX we figured local was the way to go. We started with the most mild cheeses and wines and worked out way up to the dark red wines and robust blue cheese of the night.
The next morning Ben and I nabbed some coffee and walked over to Portland Saturday Market to explore what local craftsman and women had to share. I picked up a few things for friends and tried to resist the powers and smells of the fry bread stand as I walked by…I’m a carb-oholic, there is no denying it.
For lunch we decided on Urban Farmer, a steakhouse downtown, where I had the Shrimp and Pulled Pork Cheese Grits and Ben had a cheeseburger between a crispy english muffin. It tasted like a high-end locally raised Big Mac. But better. My shrimp and grits made me swoon a thousand times over. The poached egg on top was the clincher. On the menus, and on the chalkboards around the restaurant proudly displayed the names and farms where they sourced their ingredients. Portland is proud to proclaim the high quality and craftsman ship of their producers, farmers and foragers.
After that we needed a walk – and dessert. Of course, that means ice cream. And the one place you need to stop at for ice cream in Portland is Salt and Straw. Salt and Straw incorporates seasonal ingredients into many of their ice creams, and with all the berries out and ready to be picked, they had a whole new array of berry flavored treats – one that I wanted to try, was sold out right before I got to place my order! It’s popular stuff. So I went ahead and tried their Stumptown Coffee and Burnside Bourbon ice cream. Not a bad trade in my eyes! Ben went with his good ol’ stand by double vanilla bean vanilla. He’s a creature of habit.
Last but not least for dinner, we joined one of my dearest friends and Portland food connoisseur, Josh, at his favorite restaurant in town The Woodsman Tavern. Josh recommended the Country Ham tasting plate for a starter and it was a winner. Much like a cheese plate, you start with the lightest and work your way up to the saltier and more complex. I ended up with the salted and butter braised trout with sun dried tomatoes. Josh went with the meat loaf you see below, loaded with crispy onions and gravy laden mashers, while Ben dug his fork into the basil and garlic sausage and mussels. It was a tummy full of winning.
Our last stop on Sunday was to Homestead Farm Supply where I positively fell to pieces at all of the homegood for all forms of urban and country homesteader. There were kits for making laundry soap, hand soap, canning, raising your own chickens and of course – cheese making!! With classes for locals who want to make more of their own stuff, Homestead Supply is the go to place for people to take in all they can and try something new. The list of cultures and my new list of possible DIY cheeses at home just spilled over the brim – Thankfully they will be coming out with a catalog this fall, so I will be ordering my own cultures to give more cheese making a try. I mean sure, I’ve made my own ricotta before, but I want to dive right in and get my curd on!
Portland was a treat and a half. I’ve had the chance to dive deep into the food scene and take in all of the passion, art and craftsmanship that goes into every dish that gets created in this town. I have a whole new outlook on it all and value every bite I take even more.
If you’re in Portland, be sure to visit any of these fine establishments and find some more to add to your must-see list.
*fine print* I have been working in partnership with Cracker BarrelCheese and this immersion into the Portland food scene to experience the craftsmanship, heritage and culture of food was sponsored by Cracker Barrel. All opinions are my own.
Try this easy weeknight roasted broccoli and tomato summer pasta skillet for a fresh and light meal with lots of seasonal vegetables.
The British Royal heir is coming, the British Royal heir is coming!! The day nine months in the making is finally here and my productivity level at work has absolutely tanked…Oh wait I’m not even at work yet. I just barely made it into the shower and got dressed into the first thing out of my closet to remotely match and go together because I’m furiously checking tweets, news outlets, cosmic signals and everything trying to get the latest updates on this royal babe. It’s stooopidddd…. To say that I’m obsessed would be a categorical understatement – but you already knew that I was a little bit touched. Sorry, not sorry. And things are getting totally crazy around here (ie – my mind).
Ben and I just got back to a weekend in Portland where we ate, drank and soaked in our weird neighbor to the south – and with all the time I was on my phone, about half of it was spent on checking twitter to see if there were any new “The Royal Womb is EnRoute” tweets. I have a VERYYYYY understanding husband. But I’m not sure he can take much more of my excitement over the whole ordeal. Don’t worry hunny, it’ll be over soon – and I’m betting it’ll be a GIRL. And you heard it here first – her name will be Eugenia Sophia BananaHammock. KIDDING!!!
I know Alexandra has been top of the betting names list – and since the beginning that was my guess too – but with all that hype, there is no way that will be the baby’s name!! I’m betting Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Carole Cambridge. For a boy – George Arthur Charles Michael William Cambridge. But really you can toss about five names into the royal baby name and you’re bound to get ONE of their names right… Put all the names into a hat and pull ‘em out one by one and BAM! Royal Baby Name!!
So if you’re like me and hanging on every baby update – make sure you eat in between refreshing those tweets. We have to keep our strength up! I love this roasted broccoli and tomato summer pasta skillet. I made it MONTHS ago and haven’t been able to tell you all about it because it was on a new product from Star Fine Foods. They’ve just released an all new line of mono-varietal olive oils that are divine. Mono-varietal means that each oil is made from a single type of olive which gives it unique flavors and characteristics. Each type of oil also has great pairings with certain types of food. The Fresh Olive Oil is light and airy, and perfect for roasting these veggies and coating this pasta. A little parmesan cheese never hurts either – so this is a very light and simple dish for summer. And if turning on your oven isn’t in the cards – try grilling your broccoli with some of this oil coating it. How delicious!
A simple cocktail, perfect for summer – this Strawberry Basil Sorbet Bellini is a twist on a classic peach belini with champagne poured over homemade strawberry basil sorbet.
You get bubbles! You get bubbles! EVERYBODY gets BUBBLES!! Just call me the Oprah of Bubbles, I don’t mind, because it’s summer and all of you need a respite from this heat and dang it I have a respite for you!! It might be the three glasses of this in me while I type – but I’m pretty sure bubbles are the new black. And red. And green. This beaut has summer strawberry and basil sorbet playing the role of fruit puree in the traditional bellini.
Strawberry +Basil = Sorbet + Bubbles = Sorbellini
Or would that be Sorbetellini?
That rogue “t” trips me up every time I type it. And the same thing goes for Sherbet! How many of you pronounce your sherbet with an “R”? I never even realized that sherbet didn’t have an “r” in it until one of my midwest blogging buddy told me about it! Naturally I had to investigate the next time I went down the ice cream aisle – and there is no R in sherbet!! I feel like my whole ice cream filled life has been a lie. I just chose to ignore the missing “r” much like I chose to ignore that Matthew Crawley is dead. (He can’t be dead! It’s a cruel joke! Damn you, Downton!!) What is this all about? Rachel said that we all say it right, but it’s the ice cream people who have been misprinting their labels for years. I happen to agree.
So is it Sor-bayyy or Sor-Bet? Rogue letter everywhere…
But we Washingtonians are rather apt at putting rogue r’s into places they don’t belong. Anyone ever hear their grandparents drop an “r” into “wash”… You going to go warsh that darn car? It makes me cringe! And as G-ma would say, we’re “Warshingtonians”.
Okay, I could go far too down that rogue letter path and never recover – so let’s move on.
If you are tardy to the party – it’s BERRY WEEK! The usual suspects and I are teaming up to celebrate summer in every berry filled way we could imagine. And trust me, there are some doozies of recipes in this line up. These women are inspired, each and every one of them.
Now go get cho’ berry awwnnn!! It’s awwn. Like donkeh Kawwng!!
Learn how to quickly and precisely de-bone chicken and other poultry in easy to follow step by step photos.
We are getting truly hands on today folks. This is one how-to that has been on my list – yes, there is a list – of things to learn and show you for MONTHS. Actually, I think this is the How-To that started it all. Months ago, my step dad had told me about de-boning a chicken and he volunteered to show me when I went out to my parent’s house last fall. Well, between the wedding, Ben going back to school, working, honeymooning, blogging, and everything in between the lessons in deboning birds went by the wayside. I’m so sorry!! I had no idea how 1) practical and 2) Serial Killer-esque this could be, but I have got to tell you right this second before you click off this page for me dropping “serial killer-esque” into a post – that this made one of the best chickens Of. Myyy. LIFFEEEE!!!!
Ben has been trying hard to institute a weekly menu rotation at our house – because he is a creature of redundancy habit, and he firmly stated this stuffed chicken is going to be on the top of the imaginary Weekly Menu. At least I will get lots of opportunity to practice this technique.
Surprisingly enough, you don’t need a knife for this nearly as much as you would think. Most of your knife skills will come in handy when you remove the wishbone, separate the joints, and remove the meat from a few bones. The rest is all you and your mitts.
This Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing is fantastic with a deboned chicken barbecued over a grill. Try this stuffing for a southwestern flair.
Man, it’s hard getting back into the swing of things after a nice relaxing stint on the beach! And in a hot tub. With a glass (fine, three. Okay, four) of wine. And lots of chicken and chorizo and cornbread stuffing to devour. For months Ben, Huck and I had been meaning to visit my parentals down on south Puget Sound to take smell of salt water, the rumble of the few boats going by and the totally amazing qualities of sitting on your ass in a lawn chair for 24 hours straight. It was just enough time to work in a nice butt groove. Me and that chair became one. I’m only marginally ashamed.
Besides the sitting on my ass time, there was swimming time for Huck, and we came to the conclusion that SKIN SHOULD NOT MOVE THAT WAY!!! He loves his swimmy time. Heaven forbid he get that excited about tubby time at home! The smelly the water the better, apparently. But at least the salt helped calm his raging allergies. My dog is like that poor little third grader that constantly has Kleenex poking out of his pockets and is sneezing all the time. I would show you the comically long list of his doggie allergies, but it is too long for print. And it includes his allergy to feathers…He’s a bird dog allergic to feathers? This is your lesson in Irony 101.
But other than that – the pinnacle of the weekend relaxing was that I got to learn how to de-bone a chicken.
To say that it is amazing would be an understatement. Nutella is amazing. The space program is pretty amazing. Deboning a bird is freakin’ AWESOME!! And not “awesome” in the One Direction is like so awesome (which they’re not) – but Awesome as in a whale breeching out of the ocean kind of awesome, or the Duchess Kate having a girl to continue the long line of the British Monarchy kind of awesome. Yes, I’m a Royal-holic. I’m well aware.
Deboning a bird – is awesome. And I now have a littel insight into the mind of a serial killer… which would be a little more disturbing if the end result of a deboned and chorizo and cornbread stuffed chicken wasn’t so incredibly delicious!!
So be SURE to come back tomorrow, because I took step by step photos of my entire deboning and stuffing a chicken lesson from Bonus Dad so you too can learn how to do it. And I mean really people – you need to learn this. It’s super impressive. Come on, let’s be impressive together! In the mean time, go make this stuffing and stuff your deboned bird with it. I ate it, fell over, died, revived myself, ate another bite and died again.
*Call me lazy, burned out, bored, or whatever – but I’m handing the reins over to BEN today!! You know, that guy I always talk about. That one I’m kinda married to (unless Henry Cavill comes along…), and the one who was basically a hermit this last year finishing up his first year of nursing school. Yes, THAT husband of mine. Here he is taking over and showing you some brain food worthy COOKIES!! Enjoy*
Hi folks! Happy Friday! It’s been a while since I last wrote here, in fact, I’m sure the majority of you never even saw my first post. If you are interested, you can check it out here. For this go-round, I thought it would be fun to change it up a bit and talk about something near and dear to my heart: cookies.
At this point you are probably thinking, “Well, what’s the point of making cookies if they aren’t plain chocolate chip?” I agree that it is hard to break away from your old stand-bys. For example, I eat a turkey sandwich, yogurt, an apple, and a fiber bar for lunch everyday. I eat cereal for breakfast every morning, and I’m working on Megan to adopt a steady weekly dinner menu (it’s not going well).
Anyway, it’s well documented that plain chocolate chip cookies are the best cookies (I read that on the internet somewhere, so it’s legit), but sometimes you need to break away from what you know… It’s kind of like a vacation. A cookie-cation!! If you are as cheap as I am, it’s a vacation you feel like you can actually afford.
So when it came time to make my vacation cookie, Megan suggested a recipe by the Picky Palate. You should check out her blog: http://picky-palate.com/. I can’t say that this is an adaptation from her original. All I did was substitute white chocolate chips for the brown kind (because we didn’t have any). So the recipe posted here is hers (don’t accuse me of plagiarism). I look at this as peer review research.
So the next time you or your kids want some cookies, just remember to leave the guilt behind because you are feeding your brain. And if you need a new “scientifically” peer reviewed recipe to get started, check out the recipe here, or head on over to the Picky Palate and make yourself some tasty treats. If this cookie doesn’t look like your thing, check out some of the other cookie ideas below. (Sorry, none of them are plain chocolate chip either).
Really, the $30 collapsable camping slash tailgating rusted piece that is sitting on our deck doesn’t really count as a grill. No one should play a game of Grill Your Steak Before the Gas Runs Out on propane bottles that run out ever third time you use it, which naturally leads to half cooked steak, mostly raw dogs and burgers a unappetizing shade of half cooked gray. Last year Ben decided against getting the new grill that I wanted to get him in lieu of a chest freezer. Five propane canisters and an aching back later – I’m so over that grill, and I learned how to grill a steak without a grill and in our oven with perfect results every time. It’s faux-grilling at its finest!!
If you haven’t yet, go invest in a cast iron skillet. You will love incorporating cast iron into your kitchen because it lasts forever, it holds heat incredibly well and the added iron into your diet is actually good for you!! Can’t say that about cheap non stick cookware, can ya? A few months ago we learned how to properly clean and season your cast iron skillets – now you get to put it to good use. If you don’t have any cast iron on hand, use an oven-safe skillet for this recipe instead.
Here are the three things you need to do before you get started on the faux-grilling.
1) Take your steak out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Or at least take the chill off. Start this at least 20 minutes before it goes into the pan.
2) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. – I know, it’s summer. But it won’t be on for very long at all. I promise.
3) Preheat your cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat. – I heated mine at a level 6.
Now you’re ready to grill.
We keep seasoning simple on steaks ’round them these hurr parts. Season both sides of your steak with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Pat it into the meat to make sure it sticks. If your cast iron is dry and not well seasoned, add a little olive oil to your pan and let it come up to temperature. If the oil starts to smoke, turn down your range.
Next, lay your steak into the pan and let it start to sizzle and sear. Depending on the thickness of your steak, you might have to sear it for a minute, or up to three minutes on each side. This will help seal in those juices. Let the steak sear until it easily releases from the pan. Don’t try and turn it to soon and risk ripping off all of the gorgeous searing you just created because you were in a rush. Flip the steak and repeat on the other side.
Once both sides are seared – use your trusty oven mitts and place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Depending on your thickness of your steak – your may have to add or subtract time to your steak. For the 2 inch New York steak for this post, the steak was in the oven for 10 minutes. Plus or minus a minute or two. Ten minutes got us to a perfect 145 degree internal temperature.
After your steak comes out of the oven the next crucial step is to let your steak rest. Resting allows the juices to redistribute themselves within the steak. Cutting your steak too soon will release all of the juices leaving your will a dull, lifeless and worst of all DRY steak. Ain’t no one got time for that!
After that painfully long (when it comes to a perfectly rare steak) wait you’re ready to eat! Slice into that beautiful faux-grilled beast and devoured it unabashedly. Maybe Ben not getting a grill as a wedding gift wasn’t such a bad idea. At least I know I won’t be eating any boomerang charred steaks any time soon…
a) I’m dreaming of this panzanella. Again. You have no idea. #obsessed
1) Watching the Season Finale of Season 2 of Game of Thrones. Mind. Being. Blown. Jeoffrey is a little twerp. The Hound, well I almost want to hug him. What happened to Arya?!? Let Robb marry the nurse girl!!! And I want to see Briann beat the daylights out of Jaime. Oh and don’t even get me started on the Queen. Lady be some seriously brand of cray cray.
2) A pair of my closest and dearest friends, got married this weekend and I made them a cake, in a kitchenette. More on that to come. It included the Mission Impossible theme playing on repeat. Where was Tom Cruise repelling from the ceiling when I needed him? That’s okay, I had Kim and Bryan come to my rescue.
Exhibit A – Kitchenette.
Exhibit B – The Cake.
2b) I’m also coming down from a wedding cake sugar high. And an Idaho high. I love it there.
3) The groom cried more than the bride. And that made me cry more than at my own wedding. And I cried a lot there, too. I mean, alot. If you don’t subscribe to the “Look at the Groom as the Bride Walks Down the Aisle” notion yet – do it starting now.
4) I got into a staring contest with a Rooster. He’s a sore loser .
5) Ladies – get your man some Express. Ain’t no pair of dress pants will make a man’s bum look better! I’m off to buy more pairs for Ben, cause man – he looks good. Is there a quota on how much you can pinch your husband’s bum before it gets akward in public? Hi hunny!!
6) Struggles the Traveling Fish did make it to and from Idaho wonderfully. But I think he’s ready for his tank on my desk tomorrow morning. Therei s only so much room in a 20 ounce plastic smoothie cup one fish can stand. But he kept me great company while wedding cake baking.
7) OMG Robb married the nurse girl!! Sorry, Game of Thrones things. Seriously, watch it. But only if gore doesn’t bother you. It has it. Lots.
8) Beka made me watch and episode of Doctor Who where statues come to life and try to kill people. I am now suspicious of all statues. Don’t trust them.
Also – This. I mean, she’s like a dang Boho Chic ad.
9) I took like 17 different photos of this skull in Idaho. Why, I don’t know. But I like it. And if you don’t have the Snapseed app for your phone yet – Best $5 app you will EVER buy.
10) I just got a whole salmon overnighted to me. A whole salmon. What am I gonna do with a whole salmon? What are your favorite salmon dishes? I’ve got a few like Salmon Ceviche, and Salmon burgers with Healthy Coleslaw, but this beast seems right for the grilling.
11) For anyone planning an “Unplugged” wedding – or a wedding that you don’t want going out over all the social medias – get the WeddingParty app. All photos from the event get uploaded there and you can share them with other guests. It’s a wedding – it doesn’t have to be Facebooked, and you can enjoy it with just the people at your big day, not them and their 748 other Facebook friends. Best app!! It’s like Instagram for Weddings!
Okay – down to real business here. Panzanella. I can’t get enough. And the variations are endless. Have you seen Stephanie’s today, too? We are on the same wavelength with panzanellas today. Girl knows the way to my heart!
Mine is chock full of summer veggies, like tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, corn, and of course lots of feta and a light dijon sauce and obscenely large toasted hunks of bread. Because, duh.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more