#FoodNetworkStarFinale

I haven’t been watching a whole lot of Food Network lately, (I’ve been binging on Orange is the New Black) but if there is one show I do love it’s the Next Food Network Star. And we’re down to the finale so it’s only a few months away that we’ll be seeing a show from our favorite food network star get pulled from the cable line up. Sandwich King? Rebel Chef? What happened to those guys?

Either way – my vote goes to DAMARIS! Despite the unusual name, I really like her. Is “Damaris” a southern thing I don’t know about? I was so curious I googlized it and found that the name meant “heifer” and “drunkard”. Hmm, we have more in common than I thought.

Well she’s a real charming gal, with a great sense of humor. Anyone who makes me laugh is a winner in my book. I must admit, I was also very intrigued by her recipe in the second to last episode. Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Pork Loin, Apple Mustard Butter and Salad.

Good luck Damaris!

Damaris Phillips

Damaris Phillips

Cronuts for days

A few weekends ago my hubs and his long time friend Mike decided they wanted to make the infamous Cronuts. (Read more about the croissant/donut craze here) Mike, who is his own culinary star among friends, had already dominated this magical pastry but wanted to drop some bakery knowledge on us. Here are the men at work. (Love men in the kitchen)

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After 7-8 hours of attentive kneading and caressing we had cronuts! Time to hit the fryer.

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Mike’s choice sides were chocolate ganache, bacon syrup, maple glaze and the winner of the night – guava and cheese. Can you blame us Miami folk?

photo[5]It was really a sensational dessert. I felt like I was having a one-of-a-kind experience that some wait 2-3 hours for – and we made more than the 2 allotted from famed Dominique Ansel. Pfffft. Take that!

If you want to stick it to the pastry man, try it for yourself. This is the recipe we used here.

Mull Over Moment: Corn Recipes

I’ve been detoxing this week which usually consists of a lot of juice, caffeine cravings, and salivating over my favorite food blogs, plotting for the weekends recipes. In this case I have 4 ears of corn that I just can’t decide what to do with. Corn pancakes, corn fritters, corn pizza, corn quesadillas – there are so many great options! CAN I PUT CORN IN A COOKIE? Probably.

Here are my contenders. You’ll know next week which one I fell for.

Creamy Sweet Corn Pasta With Clams

Summer Corn Cakes

Mais Pizza

Charred Sweet Corn Fritters

Kale and Corn Quesadillas

Kale and Corn Quesadillas

Sweet Corn Pancakes

Sweet Corn Pancakes

Weekend in BPK

This past weekend my husband, Nick, and I went to hang with my mom and step-dad at their Keys home in Big Pine Key. Weekends there generally consist of full breakfasts, packed lunches for the boat and dinners using the catch of the day. My mother, who is equally gourmet took on most of these tasks, but here are a few I pioneered.

Peanut Butter Pecan Biscotti’s

Recipe c/o @joythebaker

http://sprng.me/imj9j

IMG_1This recipe was easy and fun, given it was my first time making biscotti’s. I also under baked them a little since I prefer them to be not so tooth-braking.

Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich

Recipe c/o @food52

http://sprng.me/imgoh

photoI made a traditional Pan Bagnat recently for another boat trip and it was delicious, savory and kept really well. However, something about eating fish while out at sea was sickening. So, for this go-around I went for a different recipe. While still a pressed sandwich, this one offered Mediterranean flavors such as artichokes, olive tapenade, roasted red peppers and artichokes, and lovely prosciutto.

And this photo is just for fun. It also makes me feel like my parents are bad asses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chicken Tikka Masala

I was craving Indian food recently and since there are nearly no options for good Indian in South Beach I decided to cook something up myself. Chicken Tikka Masala seemed like a good starter recipe. Simple ingredients you can find at a local supermarket and preparing the sauce a day early definitely helped.

I went with a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen since for me, they are always fail proof. Flavors were great and I think the only adjustment I would make is to turn up the heat, but that’s just my preference.

Recipe c/o America's Test Kitchen

Recipe c/o America's Test Kitchen

Recipe Weekend Wrap-up

I spent a lot of time in my condo this weekend which always means there is a lot of cooking (and therefore cleaning). My most surprising number was the stuffed peppers w/ gruyere and salami – very simple and fun!

Friday I went to a neighbors BBQ in which I volunteered to bring (1) Roasted Fennel and Cannelini Bean Dip and (2) Rhubarb Crumb bars. I failed to get a picture of the dip since it disappeared rather quickly and Fresh Market surprisingly didn’t have rhubarb so I substituted with strawberries and yellow raspberries.

Berry Crumb Bars IMG_3517

Saturday morning I made my favorite new muffin recipe. They’re hearty and gluten-free!

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Also indulged in my favorite vegetable juice

Beet Carrot Apple Celery Ginger Juice

Lastly, had a few friends over for the heat game Saturday night and threw these together.

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Naughty naughty

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“The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach”

Ladies, listen up. If you haven’t heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” then you may be in trouble.  Well, you may not be doomed, but trust me- growing up with 3 brothers, I know men love to eat! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to eat? Based on my first 2 posts, clearly I DO…so please read on. 

Lets get back on topic…my mom has drilled this philosophy into my head since the day I could pick up a fork. I’ll be celebrating my parent’s 36th wedding anniversary this weekend, and I can’t help but remember her story about their first date. She prepared a classic Ravitz family meal, that I’ve masterd by the way…a roasted chicken stuffed with rice (I will be posting about this one day). How cute, they were making out and forgot to check on the chicken roasting (I mean burning) in the oven. Luckily, she had 36 years to impress him through other meals. Present day, I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and he comes from a religious Jewish family. Note to self, “I will master the art of Jewish cooking.” 

First up, a classic European dish: Stuffed Cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is ground meat rolled up into boiled cabbage leaves.  I like to think of them as “little packages of love.”  Once you roll up your packages, they steam in a sweet and sour sauce that can be created in multitude of ways. My  mom has a secret combination that is so simple and delicious. It’s simply delicious! Here are my “packages of love” steaming away in their sauce: recipe to follow. 

My photography will get better, I promise! But they do look delish.

Ingredients:

Packages of love:

2 heads of white cabbage

2 lbs of ground beef

2 eggs

½ cup of breadcrumbs

¼ cup of milk

½ tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

½ tablespoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon onion powder

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1 14 oz can jelly cranberry sauce (I prefer Ocean Spray)

1 12 oz jar chili sauce

Directions:

Remove the center core of each head of cabbage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add one head of cabbage. Check on the cabbage after 10 minutes, the outer layers should be soft enough to start pulling off. Pull off one leaf at a time and set aside. The inner leaves will need to boil longer before you can remove them, so keep checking on the cabbage while you prepare the rest of the meal.

 Meanwhile, dice the 2nd cabbage head so you have shredded leaves. Set aside.

  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well and form into balls. I make about 10 meatballs with 2 lbs of meat, but you can make them as big or as small as you please. Make sure you have enough boiled cabbage leaves per ball and once you do, discard the cabbage and water from the pot.

 Combine the jelly cranberry sauce and jar of chili sauce in the same pot over very low heat. This is crucial because if the heat is too high, your sauce will burn. Once the cranberry has melted, add the shredded cabbage leaves and cover. Cabbage is filled with moisture, so steaming the leaves in the sauce will create water. This is a good thing! Let the sauce and cabbage steam for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften.

 While the cabbage is cooking, begin preparing the packages of love. Place one meatball in the center and fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage so the meatball is tightly packed inside. Place the packages of love, seam side down in the big pot and cover (still on very low heat). Allow the packages to simmer for 1 hour and then serve.