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Monday, April 25, 2011

Coconut Cake

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Coconut Cake
Coconut Cake with French Vanilla Frosting
For Easter, I made Ina Garten's Coconut Cake from her cookbook Barefoot Contessa At Home but instead of using Cream Cheese Frosting, I used French Vanilla Frosting because my nephew wanted that frosting. Either frosting works beautifully, but I prefer French Vanilla. For the filling, I used 1-12 ounce jar of Pineapple Preserves. My family said the cake was so delicious so you should try this cake if you are a coconut fan. Thank you Ina Garten for this incredible recipe.

Coconut Cake just frosted pictured with Ina Garten's recipe
The recipe for the frosting is as follows:
Step One
1 cup Milk
3 tablespoons Flour

In a nonstick pan, make a white sauce of these two ingredients. It will be very thick. Stir regularly to dissolve the flour to prevent lumps and boil for 1 - few minutes. Turn off heat and put aside. Cool completely before incorporating into next step. It will have a paste-like consistency.

My piece of Coconut Cake
Step Two
2 sticks of Unsalted Butter
1 cup of Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Cream the butter in mixer and then add sugar and vanilla extract, and continue to mix until the ingredients are blended well. Add the cooled white sauce from step one, and beat at high speed for about 5-8 minutes until it is creamy and fluffy. This frosting is enough for a two layer 9-inch cake.

I adapted this French Vanilla Frosting from http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1918,153191-241196,00.html but added more vanilla and had to mix for three more minutes than stated in the recipe. Also, the recipe called for butter which I presumed meant salted butter, but I prefer unsalted butter so I used this (as listed here).

You can get the recipe for Ina Garten's Coconut Cake from a previous blog entry http://twofrys.blogspot.com/2010/09/two-amazing-cakes-that-always-please.html

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Al's Mummy Dogs©

Pin It Al's Mummy Dogs©

Al's Mummy Dogs©
Last night, Allen wanted to bake the Pillsbury Flaky Butter Crescent Rolls we had in our fridge but we weren't sure with what. We had Angus Beef Hot Dogs so that was our choice for dinner. So quick, easy, and fun. I called them Al's Mummy Dogs© because they look like mummies. Just wrap the dogs up with the crescents rolls and follow baking temperature and time. To have with our meal, the hubster mixed 2 tablespoons of Spicy Mustard with 1 tablespoon of Real Horse Radish so if spicy is your thing, this is a great combination. The crescent rolls were slightly sweet and complimented the bold taste of the angus beef dogs.

-Allen and Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Foodie Events in May: Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit and Cooking For Solutions at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Pin It There are two fantastic foodie events happening in May, Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit and Cooking For Solutions at Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you are in Las Vegas or in Monterey, CA during these dates be sure to check out these events. Unfortunately, I cannot be there but here is some information if you are interested in attending.

This year Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit will be held from May 5 - 8, 2011. The lineup features world renown chefs like Bradley Owen, Guy Savoy, Francois Payard, Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Tal Ronnen, Julian Serrano, Michael Mina, and Mary Sue Milliken, and more. The five partner resorts participating include Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Wynn Encore.

For event schedule and further information, go to:
http://www.vegasuncorked.com/

Cooking For Solutions at Monterey Bay Aquarium May 20 - 22, 2011 will feature more than 70 chefs and 60 wineries to celebrate sustainable cuisine.

Some of the featured chefs are Alton Brown, Robert Irvine, Nathan Lyon, Rick Moonen, Cindy Pawlcyn, Sam Choy, Mark Dommen, and Brandon Hill.

For event schedule and further information, go to:
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/vi/vi_events/cooking/default.aspx

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, April 21, 2011

McCargo's The Flavor of Bold Signature Blends

Pin It McCargo's The Flavor of Bold Signature Blends

McCargo's The Flavor of Bold Signature Blends
Just recently, we bought and reviewed Simply Done Well Done from Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. (see link below to read review). Allen ordered McCargo's The Flavor of Bold Signature Blends from American Spice Company Friday afternoon and we received our spices yesterday. There are four different spices you can order: McCargo's Signature Rub, McCargo's Signature Blend, McCargo's Smoked Salt, and McCargo's Seasoning Salt. We had to have them all so we ordered McCargo's Four Piece Gift Set which is on sale now for $19.99 so hurry and get yours. We cannot wait to start cooking with McCargo's spices. It's like having him in our kitchen (I wish).

Read our Two Fry's cookbook review:
http://twofrys.blogspot.com/2011/04/simply-done-well-done-aaron-mccargo-jr.html

To order McCargo's Signature Blends @ American Spice Co:
http://www.americanspice.com/specialty/mccargossignatureblends.html

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival 2011

Pin It Just a quick reminder that tickets go onsale tomorrow for the Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival July 28 - 31, 2011.

The events are all listed:
http://www.harrahs.com/acfoodandwine/#page=events

Get your tickets before they sell out!

:)

Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spanish Rice with Steak

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 Spanish Rice with Steak

Spanish Rice and Steak
Yesterday, Allen made this delicious dinner. We used Vigo Authentic Saffron Yellow Rice (Authentic Spanish Recipe) which is completely seasoned so all the work is done for you. They also have a low sodium alternative, which we plan to use next time. A handful of Spanish Stuffed Queen Olives (stuffed with pimiento) sliced in half, were added to the rice during the last 5-7 minutes of cooking time just so they warmed up. The rice is cooked within 20-25 minutes according to the package instructions. We have tried different brands of Spanish yellow rice such as Goya, but we love the taste of Vigo the best. It tastes so close to my Mom's Spanish rice, which is why I like it so much.
For the steak, Allen used London Broil and cooked it in our indoor grill pan. Apartment living makes these adjustments necessary. Olive oil was added to the pan, and the steak was seasoned with coarse salt and McCormick's Steak Seasoning. Make sure the pan is real hot before you put the steak in. He cooked it medium since that is the way we prefer it, but if you want it medium rare suit yourself. Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before you slice it to keep all the juices in the meat. For an added touch and more flavor, I sprinkled some basil on top of the rice. This entire meal took Allen about 25 minutes to make.
Vigo

Allen and Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cherry Pie

Pin It Cherry Pie 

Cherry Pie
This recipe takes just a few steps. If you do not have a crust guard, cut strips of foil to cover the edge of the pie crust so the edges do not burn. I used Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts and 2-21 ounce cans of Comstock Original Country Cherry Pie Filling. I used the recipe on the label. All you do is preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line 9-inch glass pie pan with pie crust carefully pressing crust on the bottom and sides. Place cherry filling evenly into crust. If you have decorated cutouts for the pie crust do that first. Place crust over filling and either flute or ridge edges. Make four slits on the crust if you did not use cutouts. Bake for 15 minutes. Put aluminum foil around the edges and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool completely before serving. Once cooled refrigerate for a couple of hours or serve warm if you prefer. It is so delicious!
Comstock

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Creamy Potato Salad

Pin It Creamy Potato Salad

Yummy Creamy Potato Salad
I love potato salad and when I make it there's plenty leftover. I usually buy a large bag of russet potatoes and make the entire bag at once. I made this potato salad Monday when my Mom visited and I sent her home with alot and we had leftovers for days. If you are not a fan of mayonnaise or eggs this is not the potato salad for you. I like my potato salad rich, creamy and eggy too. I am not including exact measurements since I just add ingredients little by little until I reach the taste and consistency I like. After I boil the eggs and peel them, I slice each egg into 4 quarters and with a fork or potato masher break them up. The shallots need to be chopped very fine. You can add as much or as little as you like but these are the ingredients I use. I do not add sugar since the relish has a nice tangy sweetness to it. You can add black pepper but I don't since the Dijon mustard gives the potato salad great taste.

Ingredients
Hellman's Mayonnaise
6 Eggs
Shallots
Relish
Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, April 15, 2011

Portabello-Turkey Fetuccine Alfredo

Pin It Portabello-Turkey Fetuccine Alfredo

Portabello-Turkey Fetuccine Alfredo

I made this dinner last night in about twenty minutes and it is very rich, filling, and delicious. I used Bertolli Alfredo Sauce with Aged Parmesan since it is so delicious and cuts the cooking time in half. This is the sauce brand I use when I do not make the sauce from scratch. My preferred pasta brand is Barilla, but you use what you like. I bought the portabello mushrooms pre-sliced, and to clean just gently wipe them with a dry paper towel. Do not wash mushrooms in water because you will end up with rubbery mushrooms. I buy ground turkey that is 93% lean and 7% fat so be sure to add enough olive oil when you are cooking to keep moisture in the pan and meat as it cooks. I use McCormick's Italian Seasonings which is just oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, and marjoram. If you don't have this in your spice rack and you like cooking pasta you should add this to your spice collection.

Ingredients
Sliced Portabello Mushrooms
Ground Turkey
Fetuccine Rigate (or any pasta you like)
Bertolli Alfredo Sauce with Aged Parmesan (or any brand you prefer)
Milk
Shredded Mozzarella
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Coarse Salt
Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Italian Seasonings
Olive Oil
Butter
Basil

Take a handful of basil and chiffonade (roll up and cut into long strips) and put aside for the grand finale.

Get a large pot going with alot of water and when it boils season water with coarse salt, and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Drop in your pasta and cook to al dente. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid since you will be adding it to the alfredo sauce.

In a medium size sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the sliced portabello mushrooms and coarse salt, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Close with a lid for a few minutes on medium-low heat until the flavor of the butter blends in. You do not want rubbery tasting mushrooms, so do not overcook them. Put aside when done.

Salad
Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season ground turkey with coarse salt and italian seasonings. Add turkey to hot pan, break up turkey with a potato masher, and cook for about 12-15 minutes. Once the turkey is cooked, add alfredo sauce. After you have added half of the sauce, pour about 1/4 cup of milk into the sauce jar give it a good shake and add remaining sauce. Stir. Add in your cooked mushrooms. Stir together. Cover and simmer on low for about five to seven minutes, just enough time for the sauce to heat up. After you have turned off the pan, add the reserved cooking liquid from the pasta and stir. 

Once you drain the pasta, pour pasta back into the pot you cooked it in and add 2 tablespoons of butter and blend until fully incorporated, then add 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and blend until it melts into the pasta. Add the alfredo sauce, turkey, mushroom pan contents in with the fetuccine and bring all the ingredients together. Add as much Parmesan Cheese you want and blend in. Serve. Sprinkle basil over the pasta and enjoy.

Serve with a side salad and your favorite dressing.

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival 2011

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Caesars Entertainment, in cooperation with the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, will host the 2011 Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival July 28 – 31, 2011. Tickets for public events will go on sale Wednesday, April 20, 2011 through http://www.ticketmaster.com/ and http://www.acfoodandwine.com/.

The poster (see left) shows Guy Fieri, Pat and Gina Neely, Robert Irvine and Sunny Anderson. What follows are events I have found on http://www.gourmetshows.com/caesars/events.html. I am so excited for this. Hubby and I had such a blast at this event last year, and in 2009. I like attending the one in Atlantic City better than the one in NYC since that one is so massive and everything is all over the place and somewhat overwhelming. This is a little more intimate and you have casinos all around you to enjoy as well.

An Overview of Festival Events
There's something for every taste in our line-up of festival events, including tastings, parties, entertainment, cooking demonstrations and more. Listed below are a few of the scheduled Festival Events to whet your appetite.

Food Network Chefs On Stage
Guy Fieri
Saturday, July 30
Circus Maximus
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$35

Pat and Gina Neely
Saturday, July 30
Circus Maximus
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
$35

Sunny Anderson
Date and Time TBA

Robert Irvine
Date and Time TBA

The Grand Market
This world of indulgence will excite, inspire and amaze as you eat and drink your way through this tasting village.

Friday, July 29
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Saturday, July 30
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Session 1
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Session 2

Sunday, July 31
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

$45/Session
6th Floor, Bally's

Taste of Italy Pavilion at The Grand Market
The Grand Market is pleased to present a wonderful opportunity to savor the authentic tastes of Italy in our "Taste of Italy" food and wine pavilion.Within the walls ofthe pavilion you will find a variety of fine wines to sample, plus a succulent feast of cheeses, olives, oils, and breads direct from Italy. Local and Philadelphia area restaurants will be on-site as well to present their own signature Italian dishes.

The Grand Market Culinary Demonstrations
The Gourmet Shows 2010 lineup of chefs was a knockout, featuring TV stars, cookbook authors, and renowned chefs from all over the world. The 2011 Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival lineup of appearances by live culinary demonstrations, as listed below, should be even more exciting!

DATES AND TIMES TO BE ANNOUNCED.
Rocky Fino
Michael Giletto
Daryl Harmon
J. Geoff Johnson
Maria Liberati
Ralph Mazzochi

Food Network Kick-Off Party
Thursday, July 28
The Pool at Harrah's
10:00PM - 1:00AM
$95

As the sun sets Thursday night in Atlantic City, the Festival heats up at the official kick-off party hosted by the Food Network. Located at The Pool at Harrah's, Atlantic City's hottest nightlife locaton, the Food Network Festival Kick-Off Party will feature fabulous food, signature cocktails, sizzling entertainment and, of course, your favorite Food Network friends!

Restaurant Invasion with Robert Irvine
Friday, July 29
Caesars (Restaurant TBD)
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$85

Join Food Network chef and personality Robert Irvine as he invades the kitchen at Caesars. Robert puts his own twist on the foods specific to the garden state. Limited seating for this one of a kind festival dining experience.

Sexy Women Eat
Friday, July 29
Dusk
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$65

Divya Gugnami, CEO of BehindtheBurner.com and author of the newly released book, Sexy Women Eat, will demonstrate how to make some of her favorite signature low-calorie libations. Recipes include the Drinkable Dessert, Sexy Strawberry Smash and Luscious Lemonade. All cocktails are easy to make and have fewer than 150 calories per serving.

Viking Cooking School
Join Cooking Channel talent as they walk festival goers through simple dishes with a gourmet flare easily prepared at home. Attendees share a hands on cooking class at The Viking Cooking School located at Harrah's Resort.

Friday, July 29
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Saturday, July 30
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Sunday, July 31
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

$65/ Session
The Viking Cooking School, Harrah's

Guy Fieri's Cheesteak Battle
Friday, July 29
Dennis Court Yard
9:00 PM - 12:00 AM
$75

With or without peppers? With or without Provolone? This summer, chefs representing signature regional restaurants are heading to the Atlantic City beach to find out, once and for all, which makes the best cheese steak. A year’s worth of pride and bragging rights are on the line as YOU decide. Tony Baloneys and crew will be on hand to defend his 2010 title. Who will take home the 2011 title? This year, it’s all up to you!

Wine Unplugged "The Dead"
Friday, July 29
Club Harlem Showboat
10:00 PM - 1:00 AM
$65

It's 1965 and the bizarre mix of psychedelic rock, blues, rock and roll, country-western, bluegrass, country-rock, and improvisational jazz culminates from the stage. The pioneering godfathers of jam bands grooves to one of a kind sound, while the sweet nectar of some of the countries premium boutique wines fill your glass. Join the Juggling Suns as they replicate the sounds of one of histories greatest rock legends.

Guy's Big Bite Brunch
Saturday, July 30
Caesars (restaurant TBD)
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
$85

A little tired from the Friday night Festival events? Need a little "hair of the dog?" Start your Saturday morning off with a bang at Guy's Big Bite Brunch. Because, no one is better equipped to smack the cobwebs out of you than Food Network star Guy Fieri as he expertly creates a brunch to remember!

Wine Down 101: Fast Track to Wine Expertise Seminar
Saturday, July 30
Mia, Caesars
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
$50

America's premier wine tasting class is returning to the shore! Michael Green will teach you how to taste and speak intelligently about wine by sampling the classics. Discover grapes and regions from around the world that you probably don't know but should at this fast-paced, high energy tasting. By session's end, you will feel more confident with the world's most irresistible beverage.

Brews, Blues and BBQ
Saturday, July 30
Music Hall Showboat
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
$65

20 craft brews, mouth-watering BBQ from the grills of Pat and Gina's kitchen. The House of Blues provides the setting, and John Popper provides the sound track. In 2010, Blues, Brews and BBQ was one of the highlights of the Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. It was so nice, we had to do it twice. Join BBQ experts Pat and Gina Neely, along with John Popper for cool grooves, stellar brews, and tasty barbecue.

LeTour de France
Saturday, July 30
Mia, Caesars
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
$50

Grab your corkscrew and a baguette and sip your way through France's most celebrated wine regions. With stops in Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the Rhone, Michael Green will help you master the lexicon of how to decipher a French wine label and learn what makes these classic wines so special. A selection of French cheeses will also be served.

The Lobster
Saturday, July 30
Dennis Court Yard
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
$125

Experience one of the ocean's treasures and the different ways it can be prepared. Regional chefs put their personal touch on this tantalizing piece of ocean goodness. Savor mouth-watering lobster dishes while a sommelier pairs wines with the variety of dishes from the sea. The chefs will demonstrate how easy it is to prepare alobster meal in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Sunset Sliders with Sunny Anderson
Saturday, July 30
Caesars Pool Deck
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
$75

Sunny Anderson, star of Food Network "Cooking for Real", will host an intimate dining experience under the starry sky of Atlantic City. Join her as she rolls out the red carpet on Caesars Rooftop Pool for an evening of food, cocktails and fun.

Mixology Seminar
Saturday, July 30
Caesars (exact location TBD)
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
$50

Sweet and Stylish with Sunny Anderson
Saturday, July 30
Caesars Palladium Ballroom
9:00 PM - 12:00 AM
$75

Sunny Anderson will host, along with some of your favorite Food Network stars, this ultimate nightlife event that will blend designer fashion, sensual desserts and cocktails to create a one-of-a-kind showcase of style and decadence. Sunny will present her favorite specialty cocktails and featured chefs will serve their best-loved desserts for your tasting pleasure. Plus, the hottest models will walk the catwalk in today's trendiest fashions.

Cigar & Whiskey Gala
Saturday, July 30
Caesars Palladium Ballroom
10:00 PM - 1:00 AM
$95

You are invited to an exclusive, multimedia learning and tasting experience. Enjoy whiskey-based cocktails and appetizers and a full whiskey education program featuring your favorite whiskey blends. Get hands on instruction from the professional rollers of Cortez Cigars. The Cigar and Whiskey Gala will highlight 10 of today's hottest cigar makers and manufacturers. All of this under the stars with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. This event is a cigar smokers dream.

Chef Party
Saturday, July 30
The Foundation Room, House of Blues
12:00 AM - 2:00 AM
$210

Spend some time with a few of your favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities in the relaxed setting of The Foundation Room at the House of Blues. Rub shoulders and enjoy festival signature cocktails in this ultra-exclusive festival nightlife event.

The Neely's Gospel Brunch
Sunday, July 31
House of Blues, Music Hall
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
$60

Pass the biscuits! Join us at the House of Blues for an inspiring gospel performance and an amazing buffet. Food Network stars Pat & Gina Neely will be on hand to welcome you with a little Southern hospitality. While the choir performs, you can enjoy a delicious, traditional buffet featuring pecan caramel sticky buns, hickory smoked bacon and sausage links, homemade biscuits and country gravy, homemade waffles, an omelet station, southern fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, Creole chicken and shrimp jambalaya and much more!

Super Suds: Tastes and Trends in Artisan Beer
Sunday, July 31
Mia, Caesars
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
$50

Build your "Beer I.Q." as Gary Moterosso reveals the latest trends in artisan beer. Brush up on the brew-making process, taste through classic styles, and learn how to pair beer with your favorite summertime foods. With some of the finest pilsners, porters, stouts, ales and lagers from across the world, "Super Suds" is sure to delight the beer drinker in you!

Sun, Sand & Organic
Sunday, July 31
Bally's Beach
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
$100

Join us as we celebrate our planet and the fruits it gives us, in the first Atlantic City Green Organic Beach Wine and Food tasting. Featuring wines that are totally organic from wineries around the country, paired with a menu that is coompletely raw. This event will feature NO electric, NO petroleum, and all products wll be recycled or donated. At the event, the staff, family and friends will initiate a beach clean-up to reduce our carbon foot print and beatify the Atlantic City Beach.

I will post more as I find out information.

http://www.caesars.com/acfoodandwine/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-Network-Atlantic-City-Food-and-Wine-Festival/394280993342

Poster © acfoodandwine.com

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mom's Flan©

Pin It Mom's Flan©

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has been making this flan for holidays or for family dinners. I figured it was time to learn how to make it, and I was very happy with the results. Just be sure to have all your ingredients out on the counter, your mixer or blender, pans, etc. before you start. This was very easy to make, but keep your eye on the caramel since that can burn quickly. I did it first try so you should be able to as well. This flan is very rich, creamy, and delicious. I hope you make it for your family and let me know how you liked it.

Mom's Flan
Ingredients
5 Large Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 12-ounce can Evaporated Milk
Vanilla Extract
Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and put aside.

In a mixer or blender, beat eggs until combined. Add evaporated milk, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, condensed milk, and blend until smooth.
(Add condensed milk last since it is so thick to make sure it all blends together real well).
Put aside and make the caramel.

In a nonstick, medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Add 1/8 teaspoon of lemon juice. Swirl around pan occasionally. The caramel should liquefy and have a thick consistency and be golden in color. This takes several minutes.

Mom's Flan
Take a 9-inch glass pie dish that has been warmed in the oven for a few minutes and carefully pour caramel syrup into the warm dish, turning it evenly to coat the bottom and sides. Then pour egg mixture over it and sprinkle the lemon zest on top. Cover with aluminum foil. Place pie dish into a large roasting pan with water that covers half the height of the pie dish.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Let cool completely.

To plate flan, carefully invert on serving plate when it is completely cooled.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NIGELLA KITCHEN Recipes From The Heart Of The Home – Nigella Lawson

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Nigella Lawson does not need much of an introduction. The beautiful and voluptuous maven has been publishing cookbooks and cooking shows for years. I bought NIGELLA KITCHEN at a very crazy time in my life. It was weeks from Christmas and I was in the midst of final exams so I skimmed through it and shelved it. The holidays came and went so fast and my thesis writing was ongoing so I had little time to immerse myself in little else. Now that the thesis is completed, I finally read this cookbook last week. I was thrilled to see some recipes from her Food Network show, Nigella Kitchen. This is the first cookbook I own from Nigella, but certainly will not be the last.

NIGELLA KITCHEN features close to 500 pages and divided into: Part I: Kitchen Quandaries and Part II: Kitchen Comforts. In the Introduction Or What The Kitchen Means To Me, And Why I Live In It, Nigella aptly describes this cookbook as “simply the story of my love affair with the kitchen.” If you watch Nigella cook, you will agree her love for all things food really comes through in the kitchen. I love her writing and find it quite entertaining and honest, especially her kitchen confession to having many knick-knacks and clutter. I agree with Nigella, the kitchen is a place to escape to and you cook because you want to. After I read the introduction, I peruse this tome and love the plethora of gorgeous photographs by Lis Parsons.

Kitchen Kaboodle is a great read and among recommended gear, Nigella suggests dutch oven, roasting pan, non-stick frying pan, grill pan, and smooth griddle. The bakeware paragraph I relate to since like Nigella, I had a late start baking, and have a multitude of baking pans in different shapes and sizes, bundt pan, loaf pan, springform pan, tart pan, etc. Nigella is not fussy about knives so you buy what you need or want but feels every cook should have a food processor, mixer, food mill, rice cooker, microplane graters, whisks, etc. Her recommendations are common sense ones and Kitchen Gadget Hall of Shame is so hilarious.

Kitchen Confidential covers Nigella’s food tips and shortcuts, which I thank her for sharing. I got a couple of new ideas to incorporate into my baking and cooking. NIGELLA KITCHEN is not a structured cookbook divided into starters, dinners, deserts, etc. and Nigella states there is no rhyme or reason to it but do not let that deter you. This is my one quirk because I am so structured and like everything in order, but that is why post-it notes are helpful. I will highlight a few recipes in each section but keep in mind there are tons of recipes to choose from.

Part I: Kitchen Quandaries kicks off with recipes in What’s For Supper? such as Cheesy Chili, Pasta alla Genovese, African Drumsticks, and Chicken Fajitas. Hurry Up I’m Hungry has a lot of recipes to choose from but I especially like Tarragon Chicken, Lamb With Rosemary and Port, Sunshine Soup, and Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup. The recipes never look boring and Easy Does It features some delights Clams With Chorizo, Indian-rubbed Lamb Chops, and Mexican Lasagne. In Cook It Better, three desert recipes catch my eye Strawberry and Almond Crumble, Banoffee (Banana/Toffee) Cheesecake, and Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread. My Sweet Solution has a great selection of yumminess Chocolate Key Lime Pie, Old Fashioned Cheesecake, Grasshopper Pie (inspired by an episode of Glee), and Orange and Blackberry Trifle. Off The Cuff features more comfort food Slut’s Spaghetti (AKA Pasta alla Puttanesca), Indian Roasted Potatoes, Chorizo and Chickpea Stew, and Everyday Brownies.

Part II: Kitchen Comforts opens with Chicken And Its Place In My Kitchen and I am love chicken and these recipes My Mother’s Praised Chicken, Chinatown Chicken Salad, and Thai Chicken Noodle Soup. More sweet treats abound in A Dream Of Hearth And Home and I am in heaven right now. I must make Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes, Devil’s Food Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Swedish Summer Cake, and Lemon Polenta Cake. At My Table offers some hearty recipes like Venetian Lasagne, Homestyle Jerk Chicken, San Francisco Fish Stew, and Pappardelle With Butternut And Blue Cheese. The Solace of Stirring reminds me of making risotto with my nephew. My arm hurt from all that stirring but it is worth it. Two recipes I really want to make are Saffron Risotto and Risotto Bolognese.

Ah, The Bone Collection is music to my ears and a carnivore’s dream. Some favorites here include Asian Braised Beef Shank With Hot & Sour Shredded Salad, Roasted Duck Legs and Potatoes, Beef Rib Roast With Wild Mushrooms And Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. Kitchen Pickings recipes serve as great appetizers or lunch Dragon Chicken, Coconutty Crab Cakes, Thai Roasted Scallops, and desert Chorros With Chocolate Dipping Sauce. If you need cocktail, and wine suggestions to accompany some of these recipes read Nigella’s And To Wash It All Down… for suggestions. The final chapter The Cook’s Cure For Sunday-Night-Itis does not let up with recipes Pumpkin Scones, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, and Texas Brisket.

As I previously mentioned this cookbook is massive so take it from me there are recipes to keep you busy for years. As the back cover so graciously says “Fabulous Feel Good Food To Make Life Less Complicated And More Pleasurable” and precisely what NIGELLA KITCHEN is.

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson Food Network Recipes
Nigella Lawson Facebook

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spotlight on Hot Topic, Sugar Rush Accessories

Pin It Foodie fans and accessory goddesses, here are some fun things to check out. My favorite section on the Hot Topic site is the accessories section, Sugar Rush. They have the most adorable foodie-related items. I also found some of the featured items here in the T-shirts section. I hope they expand their selection but so far, I love what they are selling. Hot Topic has an adorable selection of foodie tees, buttons, scented nail polish, wallets, plush clips, necklaces, earrings, lip balms, hats, giant gummy bears, etc.

Here are some of my faves: 
 
Burger Fries Earrings
 
Bacon and Eggs Necklace


Eggs and Bacon Face T-Shirt
 

Loungefly Ice Cream Pop Wallet
   

Peanut Butter and Jelly Let's Smoosh T-Shirt
 

Pink Ice Cream Pop Necklace

I Pizza Food Tee

Pylones Strawberry Pouch Tote Bag
 


Sugar and Spice Cupcake Lip Gloss Coconut Dream
To order, visit Hot Topic
All Photos © Copyright Hot Topic.
 
-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simply Done Well Done – Aaron McCargo, Jr.

Pin It
Simply Done Well Done - Aaron McCargo Jr.
 I have been a huge fan of Aaron McCargo, Jr. since he won The Next Food Network Star, in 2008. Since then I have never missed an episode of Big Daddy’s House and was looking forward to his first cookbook. I am so proud of all Aaron has accomplished thus far. If you have never watched Aaron on the Food Network or tried making one of his recipes, one time is all it takes to be hooked on his cooking. Aaron is truly a culinary great in the kitchen. This cookbook will make all foodies happy and full (burp). Aaron McCargo, Jr. is all about featuring bold flavors in his food. He likes it spicy (whew!), so if you are a wimp like me you can tone it down a notch and adjust the spice level to your liking. The photos by Lucy Schaeffer bring to life his delicious food and you can almost taste it. I'm getting hungry for some... I love the way Aaron cooks and he beautifully pairs ingredients together. The recipes in the book are not intimidating at all and are fun to make with your significant other and/or children.

The cookbook opens with a brief introduction about Aaron and his recommendations for some kitchen gadgets and basic suggestions for the cook. I love the chapter Appetizers with Gusto and all the recipes too. They are not wimpy appetizers either in terms of portion size and as Aaron suggests, some can be served as a light meal. I would with a salad on the side. I plan to make the following recipes first:

-Spicy Beef Quesadillas
-Shredded Beef Short Ribs
-Mushroom-Chicken-Cheese Balls
-Pork Empanadas with Ranchero Sauce
-Coconut-Ginger Chicken Skewers with Sriracha-Honey Butter
-Savory Taco Chicken Pizza with Guacamole and Chipotle Salsa

Smooth & Hearty Soups feature yummy looking recipes. I need to make more soup recipes so I look forward to trying:

-Spicy Cheeseburger Soup
-Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Rosemary
-Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Aaron dedicated Side Salads & Bigger Salads to his wife since she loves salads. They all look delicious. These three popped off the page:

-Bacon and Pesto Pasta Salad
-Family-Style Curry Chicken Salad Platter
-Spicy Beef Salad with Peppers, Onion, and Fresh Herbs

Who does not love a great sandwich? If you ever watched Big Daddy’s House, you know Aaron is the king of killer sandwiches. His brother Donavan can attest to this too since he often visits the set and gets to eat Aaron's creations. This chapter, Sandwiches That Burst with Flavor is all that and more. I cannot wait to make:

-Inside-Out Pulled Pork Panini with Arugula and Chipotle Mayonnaise
-Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Smoked Gouda
-Catfish Nugget Sandwiches with Roasted Peppers and Jalapeño Relish
-Braised BBQ Pork Belly Sliders with Pesto Mayonnaise, Cheddar Cheese, and Caramelized Onions
-Grilled Marinated Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

You can make some lovely dinners for your family following recipes from this chapter, My Main Courses. I especially love these recipes:

-Jerk Chicken Pasta with a Sweet Kick
-Black and Tan Tilapia with Anchovy-Lemon Butter
-Broccoli Rabe and Artichoke Pasta
-Jerk Me Sweet Pork Chops
-Herb-Yogurt Chicken

My Favorite Side Dishes offer some exciting alternatives to the usual sides we make all too often. How about trying:

-Chilled Taco Loco Rice
-Orzo, Winter Squash, and Applewood-Smoked Bacon
-Lemon-Pepper Orzo
-Toasted Jasmine Rice with Crunchy Bean Sprouts

I love making my own aioli and dressings, and Aaron’s Dressings, Mayonnaises, Spice Blends, Sauces and Condiments chapter has a vast selection. I only wish pictures accompanied the chapter. I am going to start with:

-Lemon Vinaigrette
-Warm Cider Vinegar, Dijon, and Bacon Dressing
-Cilantro Mayonnaise
-Chipotle Salsa

Of course, Aaron would not omit some sweet sumptuous delights. Indulgent Deserts and Sweet Treats offers a selection that can satisfy whatever sweet craving you may have. I have four I plan to bake first:

-Tiramisu Cupcakes
-Apple-Pear Cobbler
-Buttermilk Doughnuts with Blueberry Compote
-Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter-Mascarpone Frosting

I hope I have enticed you to purchase a copy of this cookbook. This review is just a sampling of the diversity each chapter has to offer. There are so many different kinds of recipes so you can change up your routine and bring some new exciting and enticing flavors to your kitchen courtesy of Aaron McCargo, Jr. I plan to make all the recipes in this book and have highlighted here the ones I will cook first. I think the recipes speak for themselves and my husband and I plan to use this cookbook a lot.

Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Aaron McCargo Jr. Blog
Food Network Aaron McCargo Jr. Recipes
McCargo's Flavor of Bold Signature Blends Spices
Aaron McCargo Jr. Facebook Page

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nifty Plates

Pin It I love the Pinup Girl Clothing site and yesterday I found the coolest plates. These are the three plate sets I adore pictured below. They are very retro, and each set features four different plate designs. You can view the other plate designs at their site. If you love diner decor, retro/vintage style, you will dig these plates.




Go to: Pinup Girl Clothing

All Photos © Copyright Pin Up Girl 2010.

-Sophia/Two Fry's

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Scrabble Cooking Edition

Pin It The other day I was thinking about taking out my Scrabble game for hubby and me to play and of course I got preoccupied with something else. Well, that will change soon since today I received an email announcing Scrabble Cooking Edition. Foodie and Scrabble fans rejoice! This is going to be so much fun to play. The release date is set for May 12, 2011.


Product Information:
The Cooking Edition of Scrabble includes classic Scrabble fun with a cooking twist allowing players to earn bonus points for words related to everyone's favorite past time. Recipe cards are the perfect mix as players double and triple their scores with directives for all new custom game play. Become the master chef as you spell your way to victory with tasty abbreviations and names of your favorite celebrity chefs. Can you spell D-E-L-I-S-H?

Game Contents:
Game Board
25 Recipe Cards
100 Wooden Letter Tiles
4 Wooden Tile Racks
1 Mini Grocery Bag
4 Cooking Word Bonus Cards

Ages 8+
2-4 Players

You can preorder it for $29.95 here: Scrabble Cooking Edition Preorder

-Sophia/Two Frys