Cheesecakes can be tricky business. Temperamental ingredients, water bath cooking, cracks, etc. So, when I stumbled across this recipe which uses ricotta instead of full-fat cream cheese (lightening it up a bit) and NO (I repeat, no!) water bath (and a fun back-story to boot), I knew this one was destined to be my Recipe of the Week this week. So, let me introduce you to your newest best friend: Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake from one of my favorite sites, Cake 'n Knife.
Have you ever gone to a cooking class at your local kitchen store? I’ve been to several and have really gotten a lot from the experience. I have found that attending a cooking class can really improve yours cooking skills quickly. You’ll usually walk away with more knowledge some recipes
The other night I went to cooking school. I went to the “Sharpen Your Knife Skills” class at Central Market here in Houston. I found it an interesting experience. Since I’ve taken a few similar cooking classes over the years, it made me think about the best way to get get the most out of your class.
¡Ay, caramba! ¿Una receta mexicana dos semanas en una fila? Which (I think) means" "Oh wow! A Mexican recipe two weeks in a row?"
And the answer is yes. I wasn't out trolling around looking for another Mexican recipe, but when I came across this one it caught me eye. It brings together so many great things - any of which would be super on their own - the cool little corn meal cakes, the smoky beans (I love smoky flavor), the avocado salsa. So, in effect, I'm sharing with you three recipes in one. Go ahead - start thanking me. :)
I was at Sur La Table the other day for a Vitamix event they were having. Of course while I was there I had a few other things to check out. One thing I've been thinking about is purchasing a kind of knife many people have never even heard of before, a nakiri knife. I am thinking of buying one. I thought you might find it interesting to learn a little about them and about what I found when I compared two of the most popular ones.
Today I'm thinking about both yesterday and tomorrow. A little philosophical? Perhaps. Well, no not really. It's just a darn clever way to introduce this week's featured Recipe of the Week. Yesterday I had the great fortune to spend some time with Abi, the owner of one of my favorite new food blogs VeryVeganish.com. We discusses family, business, blogging, and food. (More on Abi and her wonderful blog and story a little later.) Tomorrow I'll be taking my family out to dinner. And last week I promised one of my triplets (yes, we have been blessed with triplets!) that we would go to one of his favorite restaurants called Escalante's, a slightly-upscale local Mexican place. And there, being a vegetarian, I typically only have 1-2 choices - and almost always choose the spinach and mushroom enchiladas. So go I go out to scan through Abi's VeryVeganish.com blog and what do I come across? Her Tex Mex Spinach and Corn Enchilada Deep Dish recipe. It was a sign from above that that recipe had to be this week's Recipe of the Week.
The other day I was driving between Houston and Brenham, TX. Along the side of the road are local stands (often just the backs of pickup trucks) selling local watermelons, peaches tomatoes, etc. I decide to stop and buy a bunch of tomatoes. I figured (1) they were locally grown which are so much better and (2) they helped support local area farmers. We all know that produce grown locally just has a different, fresher flavor. Those apples and onions in your local grocery store were probably picked at least a week ago. And if they had any flavor at all to begin with (doubtful), it's lost it by the time it reaches your grocer and your home. It got me to thinking of produce quality and flavor. That got me to thinking of heirloom tomatoes. I’m certain you’ve heard the term “heirloom tomato” and have at least a vague idea of what it means. Talk about flavor! Have you had one? Do you grow them? Have you ever thought about what makes them so different? That sounded more and more like a blog post to me, so here we go!
Dang it's gotten hot quickly here in Houston! There's no doubt that summer has got a grip on us right now. So, if you're like me sometimes you look for ways to put together great dishes without turning on an oven or a stovetop. And I also wanted one that used some of the awesome produce that is so plentiful this time of year. And that just screams BERRIES! So, this week I went in search of one such recipe. What I came across fits the bill perfectly...tasty, sweet, and NO-BAKE! So, this week's Recipe of the Week is No-Bake Berry Cheesecake from one of my favorite blogs, Mandy's Recipe Box (a site I have featured on this blog before).
Nonstick cookware is pretty much all about the nonstick surface, right? Once the surface is messed up, the whole thing is pretty messed up. Food starts sticking to it, you start to wonder if you are eating bits of the black coating, etc. Truth is, it’s life span is really about five years. So, how do we keep that surface as nice and clean as possible for as long as possible? Well, there are a couple of things you can do. Here are a few pointers.
So last night I spent the evening harvesting tons of sweet basil from my planters and my garden...and turning it into enough basil pesto to last us years! And at the same time I had Food Network's Chopped (one of my favorite shows) rolling along on the TV. Not a bad evening, huh? And this morning my kitchen was still suffering from a post-pesto hangover of sorts - the drying food processor, the still-strong smell of basil and garlic wafting through the air, a big bag of finished pesto hardening in my freezer. And the kicker? And as is seemingly always the case, I ran out of pine nuts before I ran out of basil. So, back to the store today with the promise of more pesto-making this evening.
You’ve heard of coconuts, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut water. Have you ever heard of coconut cream? I hadn’t until very recently. Is it possible that I’m one of the last to the party? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time! Anyway, I have to admit that I’m more than a little intrigued (maybe infatuated?) with coconut cream. If you’ve been using it for a while…ummmm….thanks for telling me! If you’re new to it, let me be the first to turn you on to this stuff. Oh, and, you’re welcome! :)
It was Mexican dinner night the other night. Shrimp tacos. Refried beans. Spanish rice. Tortilla chips. so of course we just had to have pico de gallo to go with it. And because I love cilantro I had some chopping ahead of me. And if you've ever chopped cilantro, like a lot of herbs it can be hard to chop up into small pieces with leaves flying around and all. At the last second I remembered the mezzaluna knife that I had bought last year - and never used. Wow! Could I kick myself now? What was I thinking? The mezzaluna is my new favorite herb cutting tool! So I just had to share it with you.
It's summer. And here in TX the temperature is getting hot, hot, hot. The strawberry crop is in full swing. This is when I look for ways to throw them into so many different recipes like pies, salads, etc...or just eat them by themselves. Then I came across this gem from Hilah Cooking and just HAD to make to share it. It's simple, cool, and oh-so-summery. So guys this week's Recipe of the Week is Whipped Coconut Cream with Strawberries from Hilah Cooking. Let's check it out a little more closely.
Summer is now upon us! And if you have a backyard I bet you have already been back there grilling. For many it’s steaks, hot dogs, burgers. For other it’s grilled veggies. But, how many of you have tried your hand at grilling fruits? It’s a great way to try something different. Something lighter and sweeter right off the grill.
Well, I'm on a semi-vacation this week. We're enjoying a week in beautiful San Diego, CA. We've enjoyed time at the beach, at the San Diego Zoo, at the Birch Aquarium, at Petco Park watching the Padres, seeing the seals (and having a great lunch with a view at Georges Ocean Terrace) in La Jolla, and a few other great activities. Oh, and overnight there ws even a 5.2 earthquake felt here in San Diego. The COMPLETE California experience! So, while I'm taking it easy a little I thought I should share a recipe that takes it easy as well. How about an easy, simple (yet still tasty!) recipe? So, in that spirit I chose White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic and Herbs from the Naturally Ella blog as the Recipe of the Week this week.
As some of you who follow me on social media may know, I recently did a weight-loss thing. I hit my goal of losing 30 pounds (yay!) and I am in the process of “short-term maintenance”. This part of the plan involves adding some foods back into my diet. One thing this includes is a limited number of grains. And one of the grains that’s at the top of my list is millet. Have you ever heard of millet? Have you ever used it? Since I now get to include some carbs back into my diet I thought I’d introduce you to this wonderful ancient grain.
As always I like to share one of the best recipes that I came across during the last week. This week I found a wonderful one that I think you're gonna love. From one of my favorite Houston local bloggers (A Tasty Mess), including one of my favorite ingredients (zucchini noodles), and using one of my favorite tools (a spiralizer). Bing! A triple-play. So, I just had to make French Onion Zucchini Noodles from A Tasty Mess my Recipe of the Week.
Are you thinking about buying some new cookware - and have settled on stainless steel? Good choice. Theres a reason (well, several reasons) why stainless steel cookware has been so popular over so long. Let's look at a few of the key characteristics that make stainless so great - and think about which ones are more important.
The weekend is here. A three-day weekend at that. As we get ever closer to summer, beautiful, fresh berries are appearing more and more in our markets. So, why not start to put them to work, huh? I've been scanning around looking for a great recipe to share with you that employs those berries. And I found one! Truth is, I found loads of them. The hard part was picking one to focus on for this week. I chose this one because (1) it's so darn good and (2) it gives us a little info you may not have known. Oh, and a little sweepstakes you may want to drop your name into. (More on that in a sec.)
Have you ever heard of a Pullman bread loaf? It’s a square-shaped bread loaf with a light crust. (Think of a tube in the shape of a square.) The Pullman loaf is a somewhat dense, tight-crumb bread with less of a crust than we are used to seeing in typical sandwich breads. And it's square, so it doesn't have the more rounded top we are used to seeing also. They loaves have a thin crust and a soft, finely textured crumb. These loaves are also called "pain de mie" in French, which means "bread of the crumb".
I love recipes targeted toward weeknight cooking. Those that simplify more complex, more involved recipes that we love. Well, this is one of those recipes. It takes a dish many love, pasta carbonara, and simplifies it to make it quicker, simpler...in short, more "weeknight-friendly". This week's Recipe of the Week is Carbonara Orzo Risotto from TheKitchn.com, one of my favorite websites.
In the race for the “right” vanilla flavor you need to balance flavor with the cost. Do you go (maybe invest is a better word?) for the real stuff or is imitation okay? What’s the difference? What’s the tradeoff? Is there a time when you’d want to use one vs. The other? Well, here’s the stuff you need to know.
Crêpes. Love 'em. Scared to make 'em. That about sums it up for most people, doesn't it? Admit it. What words/phrases come to mind when you think of crêpes? Difficult? Fussy? Frustrating? Lots of work and planning?
So, what if I told you there was a recipe that tackles both sides of all this? One that makes a tasty crêpe that's easy to make and avoids a lot of the headaches? You'd be interested, right? Well, good. Because I certainly am!
It may be time for an upgraded kitchen knife. If you’re like me you may have never thought much about your knives or thought you wouldn’t spend the money on one of those higher-end knives. The weight, balance, and cutting ability of that first really good knife made all the difference in the world. Honestly, I could just feel the difference. This is not only beautifully designed but also is very solidly constructed. It made me think about the other cheap knives I had in my drawer. I could feel what a difference a really top-notch knife could make. Not as any type of status symbol, but as a well-designed, well-built tool. My curiosity was peaked. I wanted to learn more - and also see if I could upgrade the rest of my knives.
I ask you. Would it be Mothers Day without brunch? And would it be brunch without scones? Correct answers: No and no. And so off I went hunting for a great Spring-like scone recipe. It didn't take long to find just the perfect thing. So this week's Recipe of the Week is from one of my favorite bloggers, Gaby Dalkin ("Your Everyday California Girl"), over at What's Gaby Cooking: Meyer Lemon Blueberry Scones. As Gaby put it so well on her blog, "...it’s a combo of perfectly ripe and juicy blueberries, lemon curd AND a Meyer lemon glaze.".
Choosing the right cutting board(s). Boy, is this one of the most overlooked decisions people make in their kitchens! You may not think about it much, but your cutting surface can make a ton of difference in your cooking. The wrong cutting board can leave behind germs, dull your knives, and just generally make it harder to cut. There are several types out there; some better than others. Here are some of the more common ones you’ll come across.
Well, here we are venturing deeper and deeper into Spring. Here in the Houston area it has been one wet and soggy Spring so far. In fact, we're still dealing with flooded reservoirs and bayous - with more rain expected this weekend. Sigh.
So let's turn instead back to the garden. As I wrote a few weeks ago, so many great veggies start showing up at this time of year - spinach, asparagus, green onions, spring peas, etc. That's why this recipe stood out to me. It's a perfect way to use some of the asparagus that is so nice and tender right now. The flavors of the creamy, tangy goat cheese, the sweetness brought out in the roasted asparagus, and the spicy arugula go particularly well together.
This week's Recipe of the Week is Roasted Asparagus and Arugula Pizza from OhMyVeggies.
Have you ever braised meat? Heard about it and wondered how it’s done? It can seem a little intimidating, can’t it? Honestly, once you learn the basics of braising you can transform even the toughest cut of meat into a tender masterpiece. Braising is just one of those very basic cooking techniques that you HAVE to know. It’s not really that hard - and you’ll be happy you know how.
What is it that made this recipe catch my attention this week? Well, a couple of things. First, I have to admit it. I’ve been on a bit of a blue cheese kick this week. I picked up some blue cheese at the market the other day and I’ve been finding ways to include it wherever I can. I love it’s strong, tangy flavor. I’ve been eating lots of cheese lately, but mostly of the mainstream cheddar, butterkäse, swiss, and havarti varieties. Blue cheese just sounded like a really good alternative with a punch of flavor. So when I saw this recipe with a honeyed blue cheese sauce it just spoke to me. :)
Secondly, I came across the beautiful de Buyer blue steel crepe pan I picked up a few months ago and have used exactly ZERO times! Time to break it out...
In addition, where else are you gonna find a recipe that tells you how to make great crepes AND caramelized onions - and an interesting sauce too? Oh yeah! So, this week’s Recipe of the Week just had to be Caramelized Onion Crepes with Honeyed Blue Cheese Sauce from LocalSavour.com.
There are SO MANY cooking oils available to the home cook nowadays, it can be confusing and overwhelming. Of course there are the old standards, canola, olive, corn, sunflower, safflower, “vegetable”, etc. And in recent years we’ve seen tremendous growth in some more unique gourmet oils like nut oils (hazelnut, walnut, etc.), avocado oil, coconut oil, etc. In addition, we’ve become much more aware that there are even differences (sometimes big ones) in the oils we are more familiar with. (After all, an olive oil is not just an olive oil, right?)
So, how do we make sense of them all? How do we know when or why to use one vs. another? I thought I’d share a primer on some of the keys to look for - what’s important and what’s not.