Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Livin' the Life: 6/25/2013

Summer has finally graced us with her presence.  And was she ever welcome.  Time to get out and enjoy the sights and events in the city while it's hot hot hot!

So...let's see what I've been up to...

I babysat my nephew a few weeks ago.  We went to playpark 
(aka the playground) and he picked some flowers for me (aka weeds).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guinness Brownies

I don't know about you, but I've been on a Guinness kick lately.  And since I'm an equal opportunist, I would even venture to say that I am on a "stout beer" kick.  I blame it on the stout beer that I had to consume as a member of my local bar's beer club.  After a few of those, the taste just started to grow on me and we are.  With me checking off stout after stout on that beer list.  Yah, that's how I'm livin'.

What's better than stout beer?  Stout beer in brownies.  Have I told you I've been on a brownie kick lately too?  Mmmmhmmmm.  That has been happening.  What can I say?  I'm a mess.  A mess of beer and chocolate.  I could do worse.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Prosciutto, Smoked Gouda, and Balsamic Onion Puff Pastry Pie

Are you a ham and cheese person?  I'm not.

I don't really like cold sandwiches.  I grew up with them, but they were definitely not on my "favorite" list.  In fact, I can still smell them and sort of want to gag inside.  These things happen.

However, maybe we can elevate the poor ham and cheese sandwich* to something more.  Let's use prosciutto and slices of smoked Gouda cheese.  Let's throw in some balsamic caramelized onions.  Finally, let's place all this between two layers of puff pastry slathered in whole grain mustard.  Let's do that.  Because we're grown folks and we can.

*If you happen to like plain ham and cheese sandwiches, I've got nothing but love for you.  It's just not my cup of tea.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Swedish Meatballs

I seem to always be in a state of "I need to clean out the freezer!"  I'm sure you all know by now that I'm a traveling consultant, which means that I make a lot of food one day, then freeze it because I'm out of the state for the next 3 - 4 days.  Heck, I also freeze some leftover ingredients so they won't go bad before I can use them again.  And, since I'm living in the NYC area and there are a ton of tasty restaurants nearby, I tend to only eat at home about 50% of the time.  Hence, the need to freeze.

But sometimes I'm just over it.  I look in my freezer and realize I can't reach the ice cube tray because there's a cup of frozen milk in front of it.  (Yes, you can freeze milk!)  Or I open the freezer door and I'm attacked by falling slabs of ground beef.  You know how that is, right? I had picked up some extra ground beef when it was on sale at my local grocery store but since I didn't have an immediate use for it, I threw it in the freezer...aka the "black hole".  Now was the time to use this.  

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog From Grandma Loy's Kitchen.  I loved looking through all of Miss Loy's recipes.  There was so many desserts!!  We all know those are near and dear to my heart, but I am sad (happy?) to say that I have a ton of desserts already stored in my freezer.  It's sort of bordering on a dessert hoard in there.  I don't want to talk about it.  With my ground meat firmly in mind, I eventually decided to make a batch of Swedish Meatballs.    I've actually never made this before because, guess what!, I don't like gravy.  Yep, last week I completely shocked you all with my black bean disclosure, and this week, I'm continuing on that theme with some gravy info.  I don't know why, but I've never been enthralled by the thought of butter, flour, and broth coming together to smother my meat.  Not so interested.  Cheese?  Why yes, I'll take that.  Gravy?  Uh, I'll pass, thanks.

So this time I decided to give gravy a shot.  Why not?  I live my life on the edge so let's take the plunge.  I'm so glad I did because these meatballs turned out to be really flavorful and the sauce made the meat extra rich and hearty.  I could totally get on the gravy train now.  (Get it?  I know, I'm corny!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Five Layer Taco Dip

I've been eating a little like crap lately.  I'm currently snacking on some Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato.  I recently (as in about 5 minutes ago) housed a small bag of popcorn for dinner.  And not long before that, it's possible that I may have eaten 3/4 of an entire monkey bread appetizer, which was probably meant to serve 4 people comfortably.  And yet...

So it may come as no surprise to you that I'm also lovin' all up on some Five Layer Taco Dip.  You knew that was coming, didn't you?  I have little shame by now.

I made this dip for my housewarming party a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.  So of course I recreated it for myself.  Hey, sometimes it's OK to be a little selfish.  Especially when it involves fresh avocado, corn, and cheese!

Interesting facts (because you care): I used to really dislike black beans, but I'm starting to come around.  I'm not completely on the bandwagon yet, but I'm thinking to incorporate them more into my dishes - especially Mexican-inspired dishes!  Also, this is the first dish I've ever made with black beans!  Look into the archives.  I challenge you to find a black bean recipe in there.