November 29, 2008

Kitchen Klicks

Welcome to "Kitchen Klicks!" This is the first installment in my new weekly series where I highlight my favorite food bloggers from around the web. There are so many wonderful food blogs out there, but sometimes finding the really great ones can be hard because of the sheer number of them that exist. I hope that this series of articles will bring my readers to some of the blogs that *I* think are the best out there. Now, understand that I don't pretend to be *the* authority on the culinary blogsphere. I'm not in any way, shape, or form... but I do know what I like and what sites have proven themselves to be useful to me. That's what I plan to bring you here... blogs that have proven recipes, methods and information. Hopefully you'll find these sites as beneficial and enjoyable as I have and you'll add some new "regulars" to your daily reading menu. Enjoy!

I can't think of a better site to start with than Jerry's "Cooking By the Seat of My Pants." He's got an amazing blog with nearly 2 years worth of archived recipes and mouthwatering photos. Jerry's got everything you could want covered, from delicious main courses to wonderful side dishes and sinfully decadent desserts. His recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow and I love that at the end of each post he has a section where he talks about "what he would have done differently had he thought of it at the time." Definitely a helpful tidbit for you when you go to use one of his recipes yourself.

Here's a sampling of some of my personal favorites from his blog. Take a look and see if you don't enjoy them as much as I do.

"A CbsoP Thanksgiving - Our best Turkey-Day Recipes"

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

Colcannon Filled Cabbage Purses with Irish Parsley Sauce

Another thing you will want to check out is Jerry's "Cafepress Store" where he sells some of the most unique cooking (and holiday) inspired T-shirts, aprons, mugs and even baby wear for your little chef-in-training! If you need something special for Christmas for your favorite cook, go take a look. I especially like the "For Those About To Cook" T-shirts. I can think of a couple of folks on my shopping list who would love one of these shirts.

Aside from his food blog, he also authors a blog that chronicles his family's struggles and successes with having a child with autism by the name of "When there are no words- A father speaks out on autism"

Jerry's son was just recently diagnosed with autism, so his blog is new but is already an amazing testament to the power of what love and family can accomplish. His blog posts here are often thought provoking and informative. I think it's wonderful to get a glimpse into what a family touched by autism goes through. Autism is more prevalent than one might think in our society... more than likely *you* know someone who cares for or loves someone affected by it. I think it's critical that we all come to a better understanding of what it means to be autistic and what we can do to help those around us.

Lastly, Jerry has one more blog where he shares his knowledge on being a professional blogger and using the internet to make money. Amazing, I know... he's a blogging powerhouse! :) If you've thought at all about using your blog to make some extra cash, you'll want to take a look at his suggestions and proven methods at "Jerry D."

In Jerry's own words: "The tagline of the site says it all, really. My name is Jerry Russell and I started this blog to talk about realistic methods for making money online. Whether that’s from blogging or other avenues that I explore, the topics will be covered here. This blog is best read by those willing to get in and get their hands dirty. I am not here to offer a quick money making solution, nor do I know of one that works. I’m just going to show you ways that you can turn your time online into an income, period."

I hope you'll take the time to visit all of Jerry's sites and enjoy them as much as I have!

November 23, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower

I love to roast vegetables of almost any kind. There is something wonderful about this simple method that brings out the natural flavor so nicely. I think one of the best things about roasting vegetables is that they are good all on their own with nothing much added. You can forgo the butter and heavy sauces and really enjoy the vegetable the way nature intended. This is something that even my kids love and they are not too fond of cauliflower unless it's covered in a cheese sauce. Enjoy!

1 head of cauliflower
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional, but completely delectable!)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Rinse and pat dry cauliflower well.
3. Break apart the head into florets and place in a bowl along with the garlic, the lemon juice and enough olive oil to coat the florets well. Toss gently to coat.
4. Place the florets in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. (test at 20 minutes, they should be tender but not at all mushy)
6. Remove from over, plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

November 22, 2008

Another Award to Hand Out!

Over the past couple weeks I've been blessed with several blogging awards given to me by some wonderful bloggers. Now it's my turn to pass them on to some of my most deserving favorites. I admit I am behind in getting these handed out... but over the next week I will try to get caught up on all of the awards I have been given. :)

This original (as in she designed it herself!) award comes from Jessie @ The Hungry Mouse Thank you for this wonderful award Jessie :)

I pass on the "The 2008 Fabulous Food Blogger Award" to:

1: Holler @ Tinned Tomatoes Holler has a great blog filled with delicious recipes. She also co-hosts "No Croutons Required" which is a monthly vegetarian soup & salad challenge. Check out her blog!

2: Judy @ No Fear Entertaining Judy's blog always has something scrumptious for you to ponder. She's got great recipes for entertaining as well as family favorites. Her blog features organic, locally grown produce and grass fed meats. Go take a look and see if you don't come away from her blog hungry!

3: Elle @ Elle's New England Kitchen Elle is currently celebrating her 100th post with her top 10 most frequently viewed posts and I tell you they are spectacular! Her blog is beautiful and delectable!

4: Haley Suzanne @ Appoggiatura The amazing recipes and wonderful photos on this blog will make you salivate for sure. She's got main courses, yummy sides and delicious desserts.. everything you could ask for. She got a newer feature called "Cooking for One" that I have been really enjoying too.

5: Asado Argentina Written by a former US citizen now residing in Tierra Del Fuego, you'll find some of the most delectable Argentine recipes and a bit of history and information about Argentina at this blog. Gorgeous photos too! My honey lived in Argentina for several years as a teen and this blog has helped me recreate some of his favorite foods from that time. Wonderful!

I'll be handing out more awards here soon... so keep checking back to discover some more of the incredible food blogs out there!

November 19, 2008

A Tag and Are YOU It?

I was tagged this morning by Kang @ London Eater.

The golden rules of tagging:
# Link to the person who tagged you
# Post the rules on the blog posted
# Write six random things about yourself
# Tag six people at the end of your post
# Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
# Let the tagger know when your entry is published

Six random things about me:
1. My favorite color is black. Second favorite would be green, followed by red. But black is way ahead of those two.

2. I am addicted to the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" but I refuse to watch it until it comes out on DVD each season. In fact, I watch most TV on DVD.

3. I work from home as a medical transcriptionist. When working, I can type upwards of 130 words per minute without my text expander. With my expander (Instant Text), I can type about 200 words per minute.

4. I love to read and inhale books faster than I can buy them. I read many different genres but am currently on an autobiography kick.

5. My favorite comfort foods are macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and ice cream.

6. I cry at sappy movies, TV and commercials. I admit it.

Tag! You’re it.
1: April @ The Hungry Engineer She's got an awesome blog with great info, recipes, tips and reviews. You should check her out! One of my favorites.

2: Michelle @ Taste As You Go Another great blog with wonderful recipes and interesting articles. And another blog I read daily.

3: Laurie @ That's Not What The Recipe Says Her blog is fairly new to me, but so far I have really enjoyed her stuff and I encourage you to take a look as well. Sweet lady, great recipes.

4: Reeni @ Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice Her blog has some of the most delicious creations around and I promise that if you take a look at her stuff once, you'll return again and again.

5: Bob @ I Cook Stuff He's got a wonderfully approachable blog with inspired recipes and photo tutorials. I love how he always seems so excited about his cooking and that he's not afraid to try something new. Go visit him!

6: Rachel @ Laptops and Stovetops This is another new to me blog, but one I have really enjoyed following. Some wonderful recipes served up with a side of humor. Good stuff. Go take a look :)

November 16, 2008

Tipsy Egg Nog

I make this egg nog every year for the holidays. It's not kid friendly for sure with all the liquor and the raw eggs but it is simple to prepare and always seems to get rave reviews when I bring it to parties. Thick, rich and delicious... the Grand Marnier adds a fairly subtle but really wonderful and unique orange flavor.

* 6 eggs, separated
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup Grand Marnier
* 1/2 cup rum
* 1/2 cup brandy
* 1 1/2 quarts whole milk
* 3 cups whipping cream
* Nutmeg

Beat egg yolks until thick. Beat in sugar, and then Grand Marnier, rum and brandy. Chill for about an hour. Add milk while stirring. In another bowl, beat whipping cream until thick then set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff but not too dry. Fold egg whites and whipping cream into egg mixture. Let egg nog chill overnight. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top of each mug right before serving.

November 9, 2008

A Little News

Peanut Butter Boy is asking for your recipes using peanut butter.
From his blog: "As of Saturday, November 1st it is officially (yet unofficially) National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month. While this holidays origins are unclear, one thing is certain, it’s time for a peanut butter feast. Coincidentally, as of November 1st, it is also the Peanut Butter Boy’s 1 year anniversary! After one full year, I’m still going strong and my love for peanut butter has not diminished one bit. To celebrate, I’m sending out a call for your favorite peanut butter recipes. I want everyone to post and send me their favorite peanut butter recipe by November 30th (even if it’s an old recipe you’ve posted). At the end of the month, I’ll round up the entries and construct a (hopefully) large list of recipes! See the submission form beneath the following recipe."

You can go *HERE* and scroll to the end of the post to submit your peanut butter recipe!


Heidi from Savory TV has stared a new "directory of the best food blogs on the net, edited by actual people." It looks like this will be a great way to find quality food, cooking, or recipe blogs. If you are interested in adding your blog (read the side bar for requirements) or looking for some new sites to add to your reading list go to Tasty Bloggers

November 5, 2008

Smoked Mozzarella Fritters with Caesar Salad

I made this wonderful combination for a light lunch the other day and everyone adored it. A classic Caesar salad topped with smoked mozzarella fritters. I left out the croûtons that would normally go along with a Caesar salad, since I felt there was enough crunch with the fritters. However, I will include the recipe I would have used for the croûtons, should you want to make them. For a lunch meal, this salad alone with a couple of fritters was enough. If I was going to serve this for dinner, I think I would pair it with a soup and a nice hunk of crusty, buttered Italian bread. I think it would be delicious with a simple tomato soup or maybe a minestrone. Together these recipes will serve about 4. Enjoy!

Smoked Mozzarella and Ricotta Fritters
Recipe courtesy: Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

In a small bowl combine the ricotta, smoked mozzarella, thyme, salt, and pepper. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl. Line a tray with parchment paper.

Scoop a 1 1/2 tablespoon ball of the cheese mixture into the flour and roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the eggs and roll to coat. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the parchment-lined tray. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture.

Meanwhile heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.

Caesar Salad
Recipe courtesy:Martha

*Ingredients and Equipment*
For Croutons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 8- to 10-ounce loaf rustic Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Dressing
2 garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For Salad
2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves only, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish

*Bake Croûtons and Mix Dressing*
Step 1
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the cubes of bread, and toss until coated. Sprinkle the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper over the bread crumbs, and toss until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet. Bake until the croûtons are golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Step 2
In a large wooden salad bowl, mash garlic, anchovy fillets, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a paste using two forks. Use a balloon whisk to mix in 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the lemon juice, mustard, and egg yolk until smooth and combined, and then gradually whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream, until dressing is emulsified.

Step 3
Add lettuce, cheese, and croûtons and toss to coat with the dressing

November 3, 2008

Pesto Challenge!

Pesto is one of the most versatile things around. It can be made in the classic way with basil and olive oil or it can be something entirely different, made up of ingredients you'd not normally think of as pesto. It can be a pasta sauce, a marinade, a condiment... it's use is really only limited by your imagination. Do you have a favorite pesto recipe or way of using it?

In conjunction with Yummr, I'm going to be giving away 5 pounds of Barilla pasta in the Yummr Pesto-rific Dishes Challenge to one lucky pesto presenter! All you have to do is is come up with your best pesto recipe and a photo and post it HERE! and to your own blog, if you have one. Once you've done that, send a Twitter to me @KitchenGirlJo or to @SuDoughName with a link to your submission. During the month of November, I'll be twittering some of the submissions and at the end of the month, I'll pick a winner!

If you're not already a member of Yummr, you should be! It's a great community of foodies sharing thoughts, recipes and ideas. There are friendly forums, frequent challenges with wonderful giveaways, fun "food stamp" incentives and more. Yummr is another way to reach out and meet other great food enthusiasts like *you*!

I look forward to Twittering with you all this month and seeing what delicious dishes you come up with. If you don't already follow me on twitter, please feel free to here: @KitchenGirlJo To get your creative juices flowing, here's one of my favorite recipes.

Classic Basil Pesto with Penne
2 (tightly packed) cups fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 chopped garlic cloves
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use really good oil for this)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 pound pasta of your choice

- Place the basil and the walnuts into a food processor. Process together using the pulse setting several times. Add the garlic, pulse several more times.

- While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil through the chute slowly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the Parmesan. Pulse again until blended. The finished consistency will not be completely smooth. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

-Toss with hot pasta, prepared according to package directions.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

November 1, 2008

We Have An October Winner!!

A short time ago, I used to draw a random number. And the winner is...

Judy from No Fear Entertaining!

She's got a great blog that you should all go visit too, just click on the bold text.

CONGRATS Judy! I will be contacting you by e-mail with details shortly :)

I hope you will all come back again and enter the next giveaway... coming soon!