Kitchen Concoctions: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Perfect Soup For A Fun Holiday

I love the fall and winter for all the foods that a popular during that time. Like pumpkin and sweet potato and cranberry and eggnog and gingerbread, and…

I mean I KNOW I could totally eat those foods any time of year but there is just something about the fall and winter when it makes it ok. In fact I strongly believe that these flavors and foods taste even better in the fall and winter!

And considering that I love the tastes of pumpkin and sweet potato so much you would have thought that I would be chomping at the bits to cook and bake with pumpkin and sweet potato as soon as October hit. But to my own amazement I have not made a single thing! I haven’t even bought anything pumpkin flavored!

So when I saw this recipe in this month’s cookbook I absolutely knew I had to try it. I am usually not a big fan of bisques, I usually like hearty, chunky soups. But as I type this I am craving a big bowl of tomato bisque and warm, flaky garlic bread. So, maybe I just don’t know what I am talking about!

This soup appealed to me because of not only the sweet potatoes but because of the combination of the sweet potatoes and bleu cheese. This soup was smooth and creamy and rich. The flavors blended so well together. At first glance you would think this soup was plain and boring. But every spoonful left you wanting more. The bleu cheese was defiantly the secret, but perfect, ingredient in this soup.

Of course I did make a few minor changes to this recipe. The original recipe called for leaks but I did not have any on had and substituted carrots. Also, this recipe could be completely vegetarian if you used vegetable stock (which the recipe originally called for) instead chicken stock, but again I used what I had on hand. Also, you could use fresh or canned sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato and Cheese Soup
adapted from 365 Dish A Day

4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 (6-8 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained and rinsed
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon parsley
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 (5 oz) package bleu cheese crumbles, with 2 tablespoons set aside

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until lightly softened. Add the sweet potatoes and cook. Then add stock, parsley, the bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the soup in batches to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Be careful when blending hot items in the blender and make sure there is away for steam to escape.

Return pureed soup to pan, stir in cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the crumbled bleu cheese until melted (do not let soup boil). Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with the 2 tablespoons of bleu cheese.

Oh, and I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! I love this holiday it is so much fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

4 Eyes

A few weeks ago they sent out an e-mail at work saying that on October 30th we were going to celebrate the Halloween Holiday by having a costume contest and a “Boo-fet”! I at first thought the e-mail was supposed to be “Boofest” and it was a typo but then I asked and it was supposed to mean ‘buffet’ and that we would have a potluck lunch. They asked everyone to try and be creative and come up with food items that keep with the Halloween theme. I was excited about this because with this politically correct world we live in I thought it was cool that my office was going to celebrate Halloween. All I had to do now was come up with a costume and what food I was going to bring. I started to do sum research and found TONS of cute Halloween food recipes and ideas online and had a hard time narrowing it down. Of course my first inclination was to do a Halloween dessert. Halloween cookies and cupcakes would be fun to make! But by the time I went to sign up there were already 4 desserts. I felt like I had to do something else so I kept looking. I then settled on these 'Eye-ball' deviled eggs. I immediately wanted to do them because they were SOO cute. I thought no one will take this. I then went to go sign up to bring them and someone already signed up to bring deviled eggs! Now I have no clue what Halloween food I am going to make or what my costume is going to be and this thing is in days. Anyone have any good suggestions? Please Help!

I decided to go ahead and make these egg “Eye-balls” because they were so cute, so easy (and I had several eggs to use up). For the life of me I cannot find the website that I originally saw these on so I am just going to wing it with my own version.

Deviled Egg Eyeballs
4 large hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1-2 drops green food coloring
black olives, sliced

In a medium pan, place eggs and cover with about an inch of cold water. Turn heat on medium and when the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and cover for 17 - 20 minutes. Run under cold water to let the eggs cool.

Cut eggs in half longways. Remove yolks and put them in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, paprika, food coloring, salt and pepper. Stir well and pipe them back into egg whites.

Put catchup into a Ziploc bag. Cut small hole off end and pipe out lines for eyes. Place one slice of black olive on prepared yolk part of the egg.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shhh! Don't Tell Sarah!

So, I have been really trying to make a conscience effort to eat healthy and exercise lately. I mean I usually eat pretty healthy because I love fruits and veggies but I also have a food blog (and a sweet tooth) and no one would want to read this blog if all I posted was 100 different ways to eat broccoli!

And since I have been on this healthy ‘kick’ I casually mentioned how I was trying harder to exercise to Eric’s mom (Sarah) and she asked if we could start working out together a few times a week. I said sure, that, that would be awesome to have someone else to work out with to help me stay motivated. But, I had no idea about how hard core Sarah would be! We were walking one night last week and she was a couple of feet in front of me and she looked back and said “Come on slow poke!” and then the other night at the gym I had done 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and then done some weights so I was ready to go and she still wanted to work out! She has also been sharing all these healthy food tips and advice with me and all the while I am thinking about ice cream and things like these brownies! : ) But I am so glad that I have someone by my side to help me stay focused.

I got this month’s cookbook way back in August and first started ‘reading’ it back then. The first recipe I knew I HAD to try were these brownies. I have been thinking about them ever since but have not gotten around to ever making them. And now it is the last week of October and I am scrambling to make them and blog about them.

Since they are brownies, they don't really fit with my 'eating healthy kick' and I am totally going to have to workout an extra 30 minutes tomorrow but it was worth it. These brownies came together quite quickly and were rich and chocolaty. The coffee in them helps bring out the chocolate and make it a stronger flavor. Defiantly have a gallon of milk on hand when you make these, you're gonna need it!

And, SHHH don’t tell Sarah about my splurge! ; )

Mocha Brownies with Sour Cream Frostingadapted from 365 Dish A Day

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons strong coffee****
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan. Place the 1/2 cup chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water until melted (a double broiler). Stir until smooth.
Beat the sugar and eggs together until pale and thick. Fold in the chocolate mixture and coffee. Mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the batter and fold in. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set. Let cool in pan.

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate in glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir in the sour cream and beat until evenly blended. Spoon topping over brownies and make a swirling pattern with spatula. Let set in a cool place. Store leftovers in the fridge.

****I am not a big coffee drinker, and don't own a coffee maker. But I do keep instant coffee on had for the occasional coffee craving and to cook and bake with. The instant coffee makes it easy because all you have to do is heat some water in the microwave and add a spoonful of the instant coffee!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Top Secret Recipe

One thing that I love about Z’tejas is the yummy cornbread they put on the table before your meal. I could totally just take that and eat it as a meal in and of it’s self! Well one day when I was looking up the phone number to one of the locations, I stumbled upon a section on their website with some of their recipes! What restaurant out there is willing to publish their recipes? Usually that is top secret!

I was even more thrilled when I saw their corn bread recipe was on of the featured recipes! This corn bred is sooo good and went perfect with a big ole bowl of chili I made a while back (geez that’s how far behind I am! I posted that chili recipe way back in August, I guess it is time to make it again since the weather is FINALLY starting to cool down around here).

At Z’tejas they make this cornbread in a cast iron skillet (so it is a thin cornbread when made that way). I don’t have a cast iron skillet, at least I didn’t think I did, but then a few days after making this cornbread I found one on my top shelf! So I made half of this batter into cornbread muffins and also made half in a 8x8 pan. The muffins came out better than the ones in the 8x8 pan, I think because the cake pan made them too thick. This is an extremely moist cornbread, so the key is to either defiantly cook them in a cast iron skillet or to do muffins and cook them for a long enough time, until at least golden brown on top and done thoroughly (this is key information for your muffins to turn out like the original from Z'tejas!
Z'Tejas Cornbread
adapted from the original Z'Tejas recipe

1 1/2 cup corn meal
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup creamed corn
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, buttermilk, eggs and butter together. Add the creamed corn and frozen corn. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan or use a buttered cast iron skillet and fill the skillet or a muffin tin that has been greased or lined with cupcake liners.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes (check with a toothpick that should come out clean).

Thursday, October 22, 2009


One of the reasons I love living in Austin so much is that there are so many locally owned and operated restaurants. One of my all time favorite Austin restaurants is Z’Tejas.

Z’tejas started out in 1989 on Austin’s famous 6th Street in a historic downtown house. Since then the restaurant has grown and now has 2 more locations in Austin and 6 more locations across the country including locations in Salt Lake City, UT, Phoenix, AZ, and Costa Mesa, CA.

All of the newer Z’tejas restaurants are very nice with bar/cocktail areas, booths, patios, etc, etc. However, the first location in that old house on 6th Street has a funky eclectic vibe. It is truly a different experience. No booths, cramped seating (tables are put in every which corner they can squeeze) linens and furniture are mismatched and it is always loud and busy. I made the mistake of taking my grandmother there one day when she was in town for lunch and because it was so load and busy she could not hear a thing. I felt so bad, here I was trying to give her an authentic Austin experience and she couldn't enjoy it! (I mean she raved about the food after we left I just should have taken her to one of the other locations were the mood is a little more mellow.)

Not only is the dining experience unique and eclectic at Z'tejas but the food is outstanding! The menu, largely influenced by the south, signifies the bold robust flavors of Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. I have eaten there many a time and never been disappointed!

On Saturday and Sundays they serve a scrumptious brunch with migas, breakfast enchiladas, and breakfast quesadillas. Every brunch item comes with your choice of a apple bran muffin (which is extremely moist with apples, shredded carrots, and raisins in it) or a banana nut muffin (ok- but not my mom's) and a bowl of fruit.

For lunch and dinner the amazing food continues with their Chicken Avocado Sandwich, with grilled cilantro pesto chicken breast topped with melted Jack cheese and fresh
avocado slices, served on a bun with lettuce, red onion, tomato and jalapeño mayonnaise. (one of my favorites). To the Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad Baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, crispy bacon mixed with warm bacon dressing and topped with Parmesan pecan-crusted
chicken and goat cheese (another favorite). And their tortilla soup is also amazing with fresh avocados in it! Every day each Z'tejas has a daily entree special and a daily dessert special, so you will never tire with their menu.

During their Happy Hour appetizers are half off and consists of Jumbo Quesadillas, Chile Pork Verde, Ahi Tuna, and several more. You sure can't beat half price!

If you happen to be in Austin then the 6th Street location is a must, if not try to check out Ztejas in at one of their other locations. I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh How Martha Of Me

So I originally wrote this post on Sunday! Sunday! Can you believe it that I was AHEAD schedule on posting. But then I had computer/camera problems and after 4 days of non-stop tinkering and very little patience I was able to get my pictures from my camera to the computer and from the computer to my blog. I guess better late than never!

I like to learn new things all the time. Ever since I was a little kid I was always trying new things… gymnastics, Girl Scouts, swimming, violin, piano, choir, etc, etc. I have also applied that to cooking and baking. I am constantly trying new techniques and equipment. I also want to learn how to make various things; like cheese, homemade granola bars, various cakes, and breads, etc., etc. Now granted I learned a very in-depth knowledge and how to make a great deal of things in culinary school; but there are still things I am learning.

That is one reason why I was interested in doing this cookbook as the cookbook of the month. Not only did it have basic recipes for pork and chicken but it also had things like pumpkin soup, and these sesame crackers.

Now you might say why would I want to go to all the trouble to make my own crackers from scratch (how Martha of me) but I have never made homemade crackers from scratch so why not! They were really not that difficult, just like making cookies and they were full of flavor. Great with the hummus I posted yesterday, or with cheese or dip.
Sesame crackers
adapted from 365 Dish A Day

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pepper
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons cold water
1 small egg white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the flour, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, the lemon rind, thyme, salt and pepper in bowl. Cut in the butter using fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Gradually stir in water until mixture forms dough.

Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface and roll out thinly. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter**** cut the dough into rounds and place on baking sheets, which has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.

Brush the crackers with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and a little salt. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Store in an air tight container.

****I have a big ‘ole box of cookie cutters that my mom gave me for Christmas a few years ago but it did not have a circle cutter small enough for crackers. So, I just improvised and used the lid to one of my spices… bam the perfect size!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

He Really Does Listen!

You know when you were a kid and you wanted something so bad for your birthday or Christmas you would drop hints to your parents (or maybe just flat out tell them) of things you wanted. And then when you get older and are in a relationship do the same thing with your spouse or significant other, just hoping they listened? Well of course I do that with Eric (my boyfriend). One thing that I have been dropping hints about was a food processor. I would say things like “I could make this recipe if only I had a food processor” or “I know you love pesto sauce and I could make it for you from scratch if only I had a food processor” and “Man I wish I had a food processor to make homemade hummus and then blog about it."

So with my birthday coming up next month and then Christmas right around the corner from then, I was hoping that I would get a food processor (since I gave such great hints).

So last Friday I was having a pretty rotten day at work and when I got off Eric said he had a surprise for me; and low and be hold it was a food processor! I was so excited, I told him he could have waited for my birthday of Christmas and he said no that I had waited long enough. “Plus he added “now you can make pesto, and hummus and any other recipe your heart desires” (Awww).

Since then, we have made hummus 4 times (that’s 4 times in less than a week people). Wait, let me rephrase that, Eric and I made hummus together once and HE has made it all the other times himself. Was this secretly a gift for Eric? Or Maybe we just LOVE hummus that much! We have made a total of 3 different types. I am just posting one of the hummus recipes now and will have to do the others on a later date. (Because with less than a month until my birthday and less than two months til Christmas I have to start dropping hints to something else I want... maybe a Kitchen Aide Mixer or Bread Maker or a trip somewhere...)

Now, Eric only bought me a small food processor (the box says 3 cups) so the recipe below is to fit a food processor that size (you could always just double it if you have a bigger machine). But still, the two cups this recipe makes is way more than any package you can buy in the store only cost about a buck to make and you can’t beat that!
Red Bell Pepper Hummus
my own concoction

1 (14.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (may add more to taste)
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place whole garlic cloves and sliced red bell pepper on baking sheet and place under broiler and roast for approximately 3 minutes. Combine all ingredients, except water and olive oil, in a blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes somewhat smooth and combined, but do not over mix. Add water as necessary to facilitate blending. At the end, add olive oil and pulse, just to incorporate.

Pour mixture into a bowl and stir to ensure mixture is combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 3-4 days in the fridge. (I promise you that this hummus tastes so good it will not last that long!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Too Tired To Think Of A Good Title

I probably have a million (ok, maybe really just 10 or 12) recipes for Jerk Chicken in my files of recipes to try. So when I saw a recipe for jerk chicken in this month’s cookbook I decided I would finally give it a try.

When I was a kid/adolescent (according to Eric, when I refer to being a ‘Kid” it could either mean age 5 or 15) my family was really good friends with another family that was from Jamaica. They cooked authentic Jamaican food, several times for various functions. One time they made this Jamaican Jerk Chicken that was very delicious. And maybe because I am worried that no recipe I will find will be as good as I remember their Jamaican Jerk being I have been skeptical to try any of the millions of recipes I have for jerk chicken.

Well this recipe is not exactly as I remember Jamaican Jerk Chicken being, but it was good. A very complex mix of flavors and spices. It was pretty spicy so you could leave out the adobe sauce if you need to. Eric said he did not care for this chicken because of all the different flavors (I guess your palate just has to be used to complex flavors).

The original recipe does call for 2 red chillies, however, since my grocery store was out when I went shopping I substituted 2 adobe chillies and added a tablespoon of it’s sauce.

Jerk Chicken
adapted from 365 Dish A Day

2 chpotile chilies (from the can), finely chopped + 1 tablespoon adobe sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoons scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
2-4 chicken breasts (I used 2 but the recipe called for 4, use more or less depending on how much sauce/marinade you want on each)

Mix all ingredients together. Brush chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour marinade mixture over chicken and let marinate for at least 8 hours (marinate more or less depending on how strong you want the flavors to be.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook fr 35 minutes or until chicken is done.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Heart My Crock-Pot!

I love my crock pot! I absolutely love it. It makes dinner so easy to make and so easy to clean up.. I really need to use it more often, but the only downfall to the crock pot is that you have to plan out your dinners, since you have to throw everything in several hours before you eat. But then you can go to work or run errands or do other things around the house and dinner just cooks itself leaving the house smelling so good. I should really strive to cook more crock pot dinners… the positives far out way the negatives (WAIT there are no negatives in my book).

Another fellow blogger also wanted to use her crock pot more so she challenged herself to use it every day for an entire year. On the blog A Year Of Slow Cooking, Stephanie O'dea, chronicles her adventures in the kitchen using her crock pot for an ENTIRE year (that’s 365 recipes)! She has everything on her blog from dinners, to side dishes, to desserts. If you have not checked it out yet you should (I strongly recommend it)!

So far I have tried two recipes from her blog and both have turned out wonderfully. This recipe for Asian Pork was delish! The pork was so tender it just fell apart. I served this pork over white the next day everyone in my office was talking about how good it smelled! This is defiantly a keeper.

Asian Peanut Butter Pork

1.5-2lbs pork tenderloin
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Use a 4-6 quart crock pot. Put onion slices into the bottom of your crock pot. Put the pork on top. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, and peanut butter. No need to stir--the peanut butter needs to melt before you can do so. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6. The pork will be more tender the longer you cook it. 1 hour before serving, flip the meat over in the crock pot to allow the other side to soak up the peanut buttery goodness. Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Pork (just in case you haven't had enough already)

I have a perfect excuse as to why I did not post this yesterday. You see the last few posts I have made on this blog were pre-written over a week ago and then scheduled to be posted. I had to do this (and should have done it for this post too) because this weekend I was at Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL). It was so much fun… with three days of non-stop music! But needless to say that since I was there I had to pre-schedule the last few posts on here. And since this weekend wiped me out I was WAY too tired to blog this recipe last night.

I actually made this recipe from this month’s cookbook of the month over a month ago…. right when I started to get on this pork kick. This recipe is very similar to one I made last month from August’s cookbook of the month. There are a few slight differences and the recipe I made last month uses a pork loin instead of a pork chop. I really liked this recipe (I did make some changes and my version is below) but do have to say that I like the recipe for the pork loin better. Not that this is not any good I think it is that I just prefer pork loin over pork chop for my cut of meat. So, I think I will have to go back and remake this recipe using a loin.

(I know this picture is just plain awful... but please forgive it)
Pork Chops With Orange Sauce
adapted from 365 Dish A Day

4 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
grated rind of 1 lime
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
4 pork chops
olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together juices, garlic, and rinds in a small bowl. Drizzle pork chops with olive oil; then season with salt and pepper. Place pork chops in glass pan. Pour juice mixture over pork chops and place under a pre-heated broiler. Cook for 5 minutes on each side.

Remove pork chops from heat and pan. Pour sauce (juice) mixture into saute pan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over pork chops and serve immediately.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A New Season

WOW, I can’t believe October is already here! I love this time of year… the weather, the holidays, the food. And that is why I am having such a hard time deciding on what cookbook to choose for this month. I have two books that I am equally excited about featuring and I have made one recipe from each book. Even as I type this I am still debating back and forth what to do.

(A few hours later) Ok I am back and I have decided to take a break from the Food Network stars and do a cookbook that isn’t so famous (I guess I will use a certain famous food Network stars' book next month… can you guess who it is?)

So, any who, the book I decided to go with this month is 365 Dish A Day by Kay Halsey. This cookbook was a pleasant surprise one day when I was at the book store. It literally has 365 recipes AND (this is the most exciting part) pictures for almost ALL of the recipes! The actual book is very nice with it being hardback and a little bigger in size compared to other cookbooks; and did I mention that 95% of the recipes have color photos to go along with them! : )

I also liked this book for the array of recipes it has. From breakfast, to lunch to dinner to dessert, and everything in between. The only negative thing I would say about it is that the recipes are in no particular order. The book just starts with January 1st and goes from there. January 1st might be a dessert and January 2nd might be a salad or main entrée. This is where the recipe index comes in rather handy.

I can't wait to come back and share what I make from this book!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Emeril Is A Winner

Over all I was very pleased with this cookbook of the month. Every recipe came out very tasty and with my slight modifications can be made year round and under any cooking conditions (whether you have a grill or not). I liked that Emeril is not afraid to use unique flavor combinations or ingredient combinations; and yet it all works out and is very tasty.

I also liked this book because of the variety of recipes from drinks, to appetizers and side dishes to main entrees and desserts. All are great recipes for just about anytime of the year. They are great for families or large get togethers.

Like I said before the only (and it really is minor) beef I have with this book is that every recipe he can, Emeril trys to plug or use his specialty food products; like his seasonings and BBQ sauces. But quite frankly any of your favorite sauces or seasonings will do (and I never used any of his products and everything still came out very tasty). And in case you were wondering on the pictures for this book… there are quite a few (not as many as I would like) but still a good amount (enough to make me happy)!

This corn was one of those crazy concoctions. Sour cream, milk, lime juice, cheese, and chili powder… who know all that mixed together and slathered on top of some roasted (or grilled) corn would be so good.

This pork loin was one of my favorites from all the recipes I tried from this book. I first cooked it on both sides on the grill to seal in the juices and then finished it off in the oven. It was so tender and juicy and the glaze complemented it so well but did not take way from the natural flavors of the pork.

These spicy burgers are a definite make. They are very simple yet add that extra kick your average burger has been looking for.

These BBQ baked beans had great flavor… but I did have some issues cooking them. (If you want to know about that ordeal click here).

And these brownies… another unlikely use of ingredients… but some how everything comes together.

Even though Emeril is from New Orleans the majority of the recipes found in this book are Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired- which is some of my favorite types of food; so this book is a winner here
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