44 & X 5-8 Club Agave airline miles Al Forno alfajores Amber India Amy's Bread Arizona Biltmore resort & spa Arkansas Arlington National Cemetery Atlanta Baldoria balsamic vinegar banana bread Bannock Bar Centrale Bar LaGrassa BBQ Festival Ben's Chili Bowl biscuit BLT Steak Bond 45 Bongo's Cuban Cafe butter butter tart ceviche cheese toast Chef Boyardee cherimoya chicken & dumplings chili chimichurri chips chocolate-banana bread Christmas Christmas Carol cilantro Citrus cookies Cooking Uptown cotton candy country fried steak crab crack pie cucumber salad dates Delta Denver Broncos deviled egg Disaronno Dish Elway's fall farmers market filet mignon Flank Steak Fontina cheese football Freedom Tower fries garden garlic ggarlic bread Ghostbusters Grinch Guest blog Halaal Harlee Hell's Kitchen Henry's Hi-Life High Tide Harry's Hilton Resort Holeman & Finch honey hot dog ice cream iPhone Iran Jake's Good Eats Jewel of the Desert Joe's Stone Crab John's Pizza Jucy Lucy Juicy Lucy Krispy Kreme lemon lemonade Lenny's lomo saltado Magnolia Bakery Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Mamaw Man v. Food Matt's meatballs meatloaf Mia Dona Minetta Tavern Miraflores Mission American Kitchen & Bar Mollie Katzen Moosewood Momofuku Mooo Mr. K's mustard Nick's Family Diner NYC One Travel onions Osteria Al Doge Osteria Marco Papaw Pappy's parsley pasta sauce pesto Peter Luger Pig Pickin' pizza potato toe Rao's Red Cat Red Eye Grill rhubarb ribs Rioja Rosebud rosemary Salsa Salut Bar Americain Schnippers Sean's wedding Seasons 52 Shake Shack shrimp slog Sparks Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark squash casserole St. Louis steak STK Miami Strawberry Fields Swine Wine Table Mesa Tate's Bake Shop The Parker House The Radio City Christmas Spectacular thyme Times Square tomato salad tomato soup Torched Cherry Limeade travel Vesta Dipping Grill Victor's Cafe Wall Street Wildfire Wolfgang wontons Zelo

Tonight's dinner

Ricotta gnocchi with a brown-butter sage sauce.... 


Carrie and Fred's Portlandia

I must confess:  I am new to Portlandia.  I am currently watching Season 1 and I find Carrie’s and Fred’s humor at today’s often crazy and baffling idiosyncrasies hilarious and a little terrifying.  Terrifying, because I see portions of myself in these characters.  The first espisode with Colin the chicken had so much of me in the characters of Peter and Nance that I laughed out loud when I received the Portlandia cookbook with Colin on the cover and his dossier on page 62.  I can’t wait to make my version of Colin’s butterflied roasted chicken with my local farmer’s chicken.  I hope he will taste half as good as Colin would most likely taste!  The spicy garlic pickles may have a place at my Thanksgiving table because everyone needs a little spice (and being Southern, I love a good pickle). 

The crispy pork riblets or (and…probably and) the Sichaun chicken wings may make an appearance this weekend.  My mouth was drooling as I read through the recipes.  I love all things garlicy and spicy and these recipes seem to have a nice touch of heat.  Maybe these will help keep me warm while us Charlotteans deal with some crazy cold weather this weekend.  I hate the cold but I’d love for it to snow!  I would snuggle down on the sofa with a nice heavy quilt, eat some baked manchego-filled dates (did I mention I also love dates?), and watch the rest of Portlandia Season 1.The Portlandia cookbook is not a behemoth cookbook as so many are today.  It arrived at my house in a nice envelope rather than a box, fits nicely in my purse, and has, maybe, fifty recipes. Oh, and please, don’t forget the Slamburger recipe on page 90 – the picture of it looks ah-mah-zinnnnng!  Sloppy-and-juicy-where-the-juices-will-run-down-your-fingers-as-you-bite-into-it-while-standing-in-a-crazy-feet-apart-and-hunched-over stance so you can enjoy your burger….can you tell that I’m hungry???

(I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review and my opinions are my own)


Mollie Katzen's Moosewood

Mollie has done it again with the 40th edition of the Moosewood Cookbook.  I received this cookbook over the weekend and quickly devoured the book as I would an anticipated novel.  I love Mollie's conversational writing; its as though Mollie is jotting down her recipes for a dear friend...and I am that friend!  After my first reading, I counted at least twenty recipes that I cannot wait to make; several of which will make it to the Thanksgiving table.  The no-nonsense approach to cooking will be an easy guide for a quick but delicious meal after a day at work.  Mollie has also updated several recipes with this edition to reduce the butter content but retain the amazing taste.  The only thing missing from the cookbook is color photographs of various dishes.  While these help me to dream up meals, this is only a minor inconvenience to the imagination.   Note:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Crispy Pig Skin

I'm not talking about the pig skins that you can pick up at any gas station south of the mason-dixon line.  I'm talking about pulling the skin off of a pig that has been pit-cooked long and slow and basted with my mommy's BBQ sauce.  The skin is crispy - so crispy, that it's almost fragile.  I usually burn my fingers as I'm trying to find a piece loose enough to pull away from the pig.  I score big-time when the piece I pull still has an oh-so-thin layer of juicy fat attached to the underside. Oh my gosh!!  My mouth waters just thinking of it!  Biting into the skin with your top teeth makes the skin crackle and crumble and then you sink your teeth into the glossy smooth layer of the juicy fat.  I cannot even begin to describe the delightful taste.  I can only tell you to seek out a pig pickin' in the Southern territory - these people know how to cook a pig!

This past Saturday night my parents hosted an intimate little hoe-down in the field behind the house.  We sat outside all day, tending the fire, ensuring that the pig had an even heat.  My mom made her infamous BBQ slaw (it's RED people) and her spicy Lexington-style BBQ sauce (the BBQ sauce is so good that MB and I stand around a jar and drink it straight from the jar!).  As I mentioned, this was a small affair.  It was a spur-of-the-moment cookout since we are having 70 degree weather in mid-November (yes please!!)!  No band...no huge tables laden with food.  Instead, it was a couple of tables haphazardly set up, mason jars filled with roses by my sister (the artistic one), fire pits for warmth and smores after the sun went down, and people pulling their own pig. 

I think we all agreed - this was the best pig-pickin' we've hosted:  my mommy didn't freak out because something wasn't perfect, no band to set up, no huge platters of food because some of those invited did not RSVP, thus, leaving us with loads of extra food (this is my pet peeve).  Well.... not really.   I think my number one pet peeve has always been that my parents work so hard to create a great atmosphere and pig pickin' and then people show up with a dessert that they purchased from the local grocery store or Walmart!  Seriously people - would it kill you to take the time to personally make a dessert??? Little secret - no one eats these desserts because everyone eats the HOMEMADE dessert and then the person that brought the nasty dessert doesn't even take it home so it winds up in the trash! The person that brought the dessert could have at least eaten it or taken it home!  Seriously!!!  But none of that this year, no issues were had this Saturday night - we had a fantastic time!  No one rushed away and we had great story tellings around the fire....not to mention the s'mores!

The burn barrel used for making coals to cook the pig

The pig being bastedThe fire pit for making s'mores!


Hi ho Hi ho

It's off to New York I go!!!

December 12 thru December 16, my chick-ees!!  Super excited - I so loooooove this city.  MB is super excited as well. NOT because he gets our place to himself for five days but because he's coming with me.  I'll be working for several days and he'll be playing.  At least I'll get to play at night.

I'm always excited to see a show, or two, or five while I'm there.  So far, we have tickets to two shows:  A Christmas Carol (my mommy absolutely hates this movie) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  I saw this show several years ago and I still believe this is the best show that I have EVER seen on Broadway.  How fabulous is it that I get to see it again?!?  Christmas spirit here I come!!