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So as you all have probably realized – I am obsessed with peanut butter. I found this recipe online and the great thing about it is that it is 21 Day Fix approved so it’s a great treat for those trying to watch what they are eating but still craving something savory. I decided to whip up this treat for my husband and I while we were stuck at home during the Blizzard of 2016! We ended up getting over 3 feet of snow!  This bark was super easy to make and only took a few minutes
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The Texas Brisket Odyssey

2 March, 2015, 0 comments, on

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Being a good North Carolina boy, I have very acute attraction to pigs. I’ve eaten BBQ sandwiches since before I can remember my multiplication tables.  Every church fundraiser or every July 4th pool club party was a sure bet that we’d get wonderful pulled pork sandwiches. These were topped with no real sauce per se and cole slaw then wrapped in wax paper. Since I was also husky (according to Sears) I’d be able to pack back about as many as they would send my way….thus began my great cuchon love affair with succulent fatty meat, seasoned to perfection. 

The big debate in NC is Western Versus Eastern style BBQ. Eastern NC BBQ is just plain pig with salt and pepper and the occasional butter.  There is no rub, no sauce, nothing but the great flavor of the hog itself.  The meat is cooked without any type of rub or sauce and once on the plate, then you can add sauce.  Eastern NC sauce is vinegar-based, supplanted with peppers and usually has a great kick/heat  to it.  Once you add this to great pork meat, the marriage is obvious bliss.   Western NC BBQ is very similar but the end result is a little tamer, little sweeter and less vinegary.   Most of the cooking is done the same, but the sauce has a more tomato-based feel to it.  What was strong with vinegar is now calmed by the tomato paste or sometimes ketchup that is combined to create a “lite” version of Memphis-style sauce.   Whereas Eastern NC sauce is almost mysterious – ‘what is that flavor?  I can’t put my finger on it’   -- in Western NC, pitmasters will actually add the sauce into the pulled pork when they are chopping and pulling, mixing in before they serve it. 

The debate makes me tired, simply because so many people talk about it and have their opinions.  I’ll just say that I have never met BBQ that I didn’t really like, except bull’s testicles, and both NC styles have their pros and cons. ….but what else is out there?  Last January, at our Beer Bourbon and BBQ show in NYC  I got into a conversation with one of our guests about BBQ and he couldn’t stop talking about Texas BBQ.  His stance is obvious that Texas BBQ is superior in every way to any other BBQ in the world.  Mind you, he was from Pennsylvania and had never been Texas, but from what he had tasted at the New York BBQ restaurants he’d frequented, he was sure that Texas is the purest form of BBQ in these United States. Who am I to argue? But I needed to find out for myself.  

Cue the ZZ Top music………

Click "read more" below to see where our amazing Texas Brisket Odyssey took us.

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Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

5 December, 2014, 0 comments, on

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Parties and potlucks getting the best of your wallet and creativity?  Time to whip out the ole S.S.P!

It’s official; the holidays are upon us!  Yes, it’s that glorious time of year to enjoy friends and family, and of course good food.  I am sure you are wondering at this point what on earth S.S.P stands for, and what it has to do with the holidays?  S.S.P (Skillet Scalloped Potatoes) is a classic side dish that is a hit Thanksgiving through New Year’s and anytime you want some delicious comfort food.  Relatively easy to prepare and actually quite economical to purchase ingredients for, you will find this a great recipe to arm yourself with for this seasons dinner parties and potlucks.  I will say from the outset, that a mandoline slicer is a must have when preparing this recipe.  I purchased mine from Marshall’s Homegoods for a whopping $12.99, and am already in love with it, well worth every penny.  In my opinion the other essential for this recipe is a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one and wish not to make the investment, you could substitute a baking dish.  Here are the basic ingredients you will need.

cheese, milk, dairy

potoato, onion

I did not use a recipe, but will walk you through the steps ... click "read more" to view the full recipe!

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Post Halloween Candy blues bringing you down?

20 November, 2014, 0 comments, on

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We’ve got the solution –
Peanut Butter Fudge Cake!

Come on let’s be honest, we’ve all suffered from candy withdrawal after the Halloween!  The best cure for this is a little time spent in the kitchen for some pre-Thanksgiving baking.  If you were looking for a healthy alternative to deal with your candy withdrawal, this is not the blog post for you.  Turn back now, or you’ll end up indulging your taste buds.

I came across this delightful recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge cake from a fellow foodie and trusted source when it comes to food.  Visit http://www.kusinamaster.net/2014/10/peanut-butter-fudge-cake.html for the full recipe. I am recipe tweaker by nature and will note two things (if using this particular recipe) that you may want to change. First, the recipe did not call for any salt, this was a bit of a red flag to me, so I added ½ tsp to the dry mixture.  Second, it instructs you to mix 2 beaten eggs into the dry mixture (contains 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar) which alarmed me because the idea of mixing 2 eggs with that much flour concerned me as far as the process of homogenization goes.  I chose to temper my eggs on the stove whilst the oven was pre-heating and add after the butter chocolate mixture had been incorporated into the dry mix.

I began by mixing the dry ingredients whilst the eggs were tempering and the oven was heating.

(To read the full post click "read more" below)

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Beef Stew For Fall

5 November, 2014, 0 comments, on

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With autumn upon us, it’s time to start experimenting with new comfort food recipes!  I set out to make the perfect beef stew.  I realize most of you are thinking, there is nothing “new” about beef stew, but what I mean by new, is just something different from what my granny used to make.  No offense to granny, she made great food, but it was pretty basic in that it was made with canned vegetables and lacking in the fresh herbs department.  The recipe I chose was from Food & Wine 2003.  This stew takes 2 days to make, so plan accordingly.  I will assure you that it is well worth the effort!  For the full recipe that I used visit http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/beef-stew 

I used a 3.5 lb chuck roast.  Begin by trimming off the fat and cutting into 1-2 inch cubes, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Next you will want to brown the meat on all sides   I chose to use my cast iron enamelware pot for this task because I knew it would take me from start to finish.  As a side note this was given to me by my ex-boyfriend, whom I refer to “as the one that got away” every time I use my Le Creuset because this is by far my favorite piece of kitchen cookware.  If you do not own one, I strongly suggest investing in one! (Click read more to get the rest of this recipe!)

beef, stew, recipe

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Milkshakes For Big Kids!

9 September, 2014, 0 comments, on

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It was a steamy hot summer night in my lil ole apartment in Baltimore.  My roommate had foolishly decided to crank the oven up to 400 to bake a sweet potato for dinner, which only added to the sweltering effect.   I needed to cool off and chill out fast!  I took stock of what I had in the freezer and pantry and decided a spiked milk shake would take care of this situation right quick!

I have recently become quite fond of bourbon, so I decided I would use bourbon and some crème de coco (because what gal doesn’t like chocolate?!) as my spirits in this shake.

milkshakes, desserts, icecream, recipe

icecream, milkshakes, recipe, desserts

I wanted to add some texture to the shake as well, so I decided to pulse some pretzels and dark chocolate in the blender to add to the shake at the end.  I also decided that some banana could add a nice depth of flavor, and I just happened to have one already frozen.  Once I had pulsed the pretzels and dark chocolate in the blender until fine, I set these aside to add later.

Lastly and most importantly, a high quality ice cream is a must!  I grew up on Bryers ice cream.  I remember as a child growing up in a large family, my mom would send all of us kiddos down separate check- out lanes at the grocery store when it was on sale (BOGO), and we would end up with at least 8 half gallons of Bryers ice cream!  Gone are the days when they actually used to sell ice cream in half gallon sizes (currently most are sold at 1.5 quarts!), but the flavor and quality remain the same.

icecream, milkshakes, desserts, recipe

I creamed the ice cream, bananas, and spirits in the blender on medium speed, adding milk as needed to thin it out.  Once this was blended smoothly, I incorporated the reserved pretzel chocolate pieces.  I would recommend a wide straw, or using a spoon, as these will clog a normal sized drinking straw.  I poured the shakes into some old fashioned ice cream parlor glasses and garnished with a pretzel.

icecream, milkshakes, dessert, recipe

Not only did it serve cool my roommate and I off on the sweltering summer eve, but it also relaxed us very much thanks to the bourbon!  I highly recommend experimenting with other flavors of ice cream, and using other spirits.  Get creative, and be prepared to want seconds of these milkshakes for big kids!

milkeshakes, icecream, recipe, desserts

-Emily

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