Browsing articles from "February, 2012"
Feb 28, 2012

Recipe for: Broiled Fontina Cheese

From the kitchen of: Ina Garten
Total time:
15 min to prep, 4 min to broil   Makes: 4 servings

I was in charge of food at our good friend’s pregame drag show brunch. I’m sure you’re asking, what the hell is a drag show brunch? Ok, so let me explain. My friend is getting married in April and there’s one thing every bride-to-be should do before they get hitched. Experience the fine ladies at the drag show brunch at Godfrey’s in Richmond. Oh, yes. Godfrey’s is definitely an experience. This place is the real deal. While you sip on mimosas and eat your Eggs Benedict, drag queens perform throughout your dining experience. They are literally strutting their stuff. Just be sure to have your singles ready!

But, before we went to Godfrey’s, we did a little pregame at my house with pomegranate mimoas and some nibbles, which included this broiled Fontina cheese, which is an Ina Garten recipe. I loved this recipe because it was incredibly simple to make. You’re really not “cooking” anything. You’re just melting Fontina cheese, which is a relatively mild cheese that takes on the flavors you add to it wonderfully. It’s a tasty recipe you can quickly whip up in minutes with unexpected guests.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. Fontina cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt + pepper
crusty baguette for dipping

Directions:
1. Cube Fontina cheese.
Remove the cheese from the packaging. With a sharp knife, remove any wax and toss. Cube the cheese evenly and place on a small cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have a skillet, using a heat-proof pan should be fine to use.

2. Add herbs and seasonings. Spread the thinly sliced garlic, chopped thyme and rosemary, and olive oil over the the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Broil the Fontina. Turn on your oven’s broiler on high. After allowing it to heat up a minute or so, place the skillet under the broiler (at least five inches away from the heat). Allow the cheese to melt for about 4 minutes. The garlic slices get slightly toasted and the herbs releases its oils. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want the cheese to overcook. Serve with warm crusty bread.

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Feb 23, 2012

Virginia Wine Expo this Weekend!

I love me some wine. I love drinking samples of wine. I love drinking an unlimited amount of samples of wine. The one place to do that is the Virginia Wine Expo this weekend at the Convocation Center in Richmond from February 24-26. Get ready! Now, in its fifth year, the Virginia Wine Expo features exclusively Virginia wines with over 400 bottles to taste and sample. I’m not even sure if it’s humanly possible to sample everything without falling flat on your face at the end. So pace yourself, you got all day and even all weekend to sample. So, go to virginiawineexpo.com to purchase tickets. I already got mine for Friday evening! Can’t wait!!

After sampling so many wines, you’ll get the munchies. Believe me. Luckily for you and me, there are some gourmet food vendors giving samples of their food. You might go back for seconds or fifths, but hey, it’s there for you to sample :) I love the food, but I think the greatest thing about this event is the celebration of Virginia wine. There are a buttload of wineries popping up everywhere in the state of Virginia, it’s just freaking amazing to get them all under one roof to sample. It’s a good thing.

Here’s the itinerary for the weekend! Go get a ticket and I hope to see you there!

Friday, Feb. 24
Noon – 2 p.m. – Virginia Wine Lovers’ Luncheon @ Acacia Mid-Town presented by Richmond magazine
4 – 6:30 p.m. – Prelude to the Expo Soiree @ Bistro 27 presented by Richmond magazine
5:30 – 10 p.m. – Walk-Around Grand Tasting presented by Mercedes-Benz
9 – 1 a.m. – After Hours @ T. Miller’s

Saturday, Feb. 25
Noon – 2 p.m. – Late Winter Harvest Luncheon @ Lemaire presented by Richmond magazine
Noon – 8 p.m. – Walk-Around Grand Tasting presented by Mercedes-Benz
5:30 – 8:30 p.m. – VA Wine & Hors d’ oeuvres Reception @ The Tobacco Company Restaurant
1 – 2:00 p.m. – SEMINAR: Fresh Southern Favorites & Virginia Wine
2 – 3:30 p.m. – SEMINAR: Your ‘Pleasure’ Senses and Professional Wine Tasting Techniques
3 – 4:00 p.m. – SEMINAR: Why Virginia? The State of Virginia Wine
4 – 5:00 a.m. – SEMINAR: Modern Charcuterie & Virginia Wines
8 – 1:00 a.m. – After Hours @ T. Miller’s

Sunday, Feb. 26
11:30 – 2 p.m. – Virginia Wine + Brunch @ Selba presented by Richmond magazine
Noon – 5 p.m. – Walk-Around Grand Tasting presented by Mercedes-Benz

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Feb 21, 2012

Recipe for: Deviled Eggs with Chives & Bacon

From the kitchen of: Isabel     Total time: 30 min     Makes: 12 deviled eggs

I know you’ve had your fair share of deviled eggs, like I certainly have. So, I’m sure you’re asking what’s so special about my recipe? Besides the chopped fresh chives, bit of sugar and crispy bacon, absolutely nothing. There’s no right or wrong way to make a deviled egg. People use ingredients that they enjoy tasting whether it’s vinegar or pickle juice, garlic or chives, yellow or Dijon mustard, you can make deviled eggs based on your individual taste. It’s all subjective. And quite frankly, I’ve never eaten a deviled egg I didn’t like.

Ok, so I’ve eaten my fair share, but I’ve never actually made deviled eggs. In my quest to make deviled eggs, I asked my Facebook readers what ingredients they use in their version of a deviled egg. I got a butt load of awesome suggestions including the addition of sugar. I narrowed it down to a few ingredients, keeping the taste slightly tangy with the vinegar, salty with the chopped bacon and fresh with the chopped chives. I think whether you try my version, your own or a family recipe, everyone should have a deviled egg recipe they enjoy eating.

Ingredients: (easily double the recipe to get 24 deviled eggs!)
6 eggs
3 heaping tablespoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon chives, finely chopped
cayenne (or paprika)
pinch of sugar
salt & pepper
2 slices of bacon, cooked & chopped
baking soda, for boiling

Directions:
1. Boil and peel eggs.
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add a little bit of baking soda to help the peeling process. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a boil, immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 12 minutes. Transfer eggs to an ice-water bath to stop cooking for a minute. Remove the eggs from the ice-water and gently them. Running under cold water can help the process. Refrigerate in air-tight container until ready to use. If you have a better way of boiling/peeling eggs, please let me know! All my eggs did not peel easily and was a pain in the butt!

2. Mix dressing. In a small canning car or small bowl, mix mayo, dijon mustard, chopped chives, vinegar and several dashes of salt, pepper, cayenne and a pinch of sugar. Shake or stir until well-combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. At this time, fry two slices of bacon at medium temperature. Allow to cool on a paper-lined plate.

3. Assemble deviled eggs. Slice the peeled hard-boiled eggs in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, transfer all the yolk into a mixing bowl while arranging the egg whites cut side up on a serving platter. Use a fork to break up the yolks and then add the dressing. Mix it together until you’ve reached a smooth texture. Using the spoon again, scoop the egg mixture back into the egg.

4. Add toppings. Just before serving, crumble the crispy cooked bacon on top. You can also sprinkle more cayenne and chopped chives for garnish. Serve immediately.

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Feb 16, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Pretty Tasty Things!

Pretty Tasty Things is officially one today! My very first post debuted exactly one year ago today, and I made Tilapia Fish Tacos. It honestly seems as if I had been working on my blog for more than a year just because maintaining a blog ain’t easy. It’s like having a child! I have a 9-5 job like everyone else, but then I go home and continue to work until I go to bed. I cook almost every day, develop ideas, create 2-4 blog posts a week and try to keep up with social media. I even had to cut back on the number of posts a week because it was just too much. I was getting overwhelmed. However, I found a happy medium and have learned to handle it better. Along the way, I taught myself a lot about WordPress and a little about photography. I feel like I can tackle anything.

To celebrate this special occasion, I needed the Carvel ice cream cake in my life. The Carvel ice cream cake holds a lot of meaning for me. For almost every birthday celebration while growing up, we would get a Carvel ice cream cake. And it wouldn’t be any ice cream cake, it had to be Carvel with layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with an Oreo/cookie crumble in between. This type of ice cream cake is different than Baskin-Robbins because it’s purely made with ice cream with no cake, which is clearly the best and Pretty Tasty Things deserves only the best. So, Happy 1st Birthday, Pretty Tasty Things!

Before I leave, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all wonderful feedback, reading my blog, trying my recipes, liking my Facebook page, tweeting me and following me on Pinterest. Without you, it would be very hard for me to continue on. It wouldn’t be very encouraging for me to work this hard and not have any readers. I like knowing that many of you are trying my recipes or reading about how I’m trying to decorate my new house, and more recently reading about my newest nephew. Pretty Tasty Things is my bread and butter, and I look forward to all the pretty and tasty things it’ll bring me!

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Feb 14, 2012

Recipe for: Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

From the kitchen of: All-recipes
Total time:
15 min to prep, 20 min to bake    Makes: 20 cupcakes

I am literally obsessed with red velvet cupcakes. Obsessed. If I had to pick a favorite cupcake, it would certainly be the red velvet cupcake. At at our wedding, our “wedding cake” was a tower of cupcakes from Frostings located in Richmond. We had three different types of cupcakes, one of which was the red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Granted this version I’m showcasing today isn’t as good as Frostings, but it’s still delicious. I found the recipe on the very popular All-recipes website where cooks like me share their recipes. This one in particular received rave reviews and so I knew, this one would at least be tasty. If your significant other is obsessed with red velvet cupcakes, this recipe will definitely satisfy their craving. It would also be a nice little treat for Valentine’s Day :)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 fluid ounce red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cream cheese packages (8-oz)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Sift dry ingredients.
First, preheat the oven to 350º. Over a medium bowl, shift the dry ingredients together to remove the lumps—flour, cocoa powder and salt. This is an important set to prevent a lumpy batter. Set aside.

2. Mix wet ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Add the baking soda and vinegar until the batter is well-combined. Afterwards, add the dry ingredients in thirds mixing between installments. Finished batter is smooth, yet a little thick. Slightly thicker than pancake batter.

3. Scoop and bake. Line two 12-cupcake trays. Using a ice cream scooper, scoop the red velvet batter into each cupcake filling it only two thirds to prevent overfilling. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the cupcake at the 20-minute mark, it should come out clean.

4. Top with cream cheese frosting. With the electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar in thirds mixing between installments. Add vanilla and mix until well-combined. Top each cupcake with the frosting. Enjoy!

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