Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beef and Bleu Biscuit Cups

Well I hate to say it, but Husband was right. These were a gooooooood idea.

I love to bounce ideas off Husband as I develop recipes (particularly for this contest). Even though we have different culinary tastes, he is brutally honest and has great instincts when it comes to my recipes. Which I kinda hate because if I win the contest, I owe him 30%. Anyway, I'll give credit where credit is due. The bleu cheese and biscuit was Husband's idea, and the beef and shallots were mine. Put it together and you have a super-easy and super-delicious appetizer that is sure to satisfy your next cheese craving.

Beef and Bleu Biscuit Cups


2 7.5 oz cans of biscuits
8 oz roast beef, chopped
4 oz gorgonzola cheese crumbles
2 Tbsp horseradish sauce
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in small sauté pan over medium heat. Saute shallots, stirring occasionally, until onions start to turn golden and crispy, but not completely brown (about 10 minutes).
2. While shallots are sautéing, cut each biscuit into half and press dough into a greased muffin pan, making sure to press biscuits up around the sides in each cup.
3. Spread ¼ tsp of horseradish sauce into bottom of each cup.
4. Put 1 Tbsp of chopped roast beef into each cup.
5. Top each cup with 1 tsp of gorgonzola and ½ tsp shallots.
6. Bake at 375 degrees until bubbly and biscuits are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Yields 40 biscuit cups.

Monday, January 25, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I love it when two of my favorite appetizers combine to make one KILLER appetizer--in this case, Hot Bruschetta Brie. I stumbled upon this recipe a few years ago whilst perusing allrecipes.com, and instantly fell in love. I mean, what's NOT to love, right? Traditional bruschetta mixed with my favorite cheese of all time--brie. Actually, it used to be my favorite cheese of all time (I was basically reared with a wooden spoon and a wheel of brie), until I had an "incident" with a very questionable slice of brie and some fig preserves. I went on a year-long hiatus from my beloved cheese and have since recovered, albeit with a slight shudder at the memory. But that's neither here nor there...

This appetizer is simple, stunning, savory and...what's another "s" adjective?? Scrumptious? Sure. It's especially beautiful during the holidays, with the bright reds and greens from the tomatoes and basil. Serve with assorted artisanal breads--my personal fave is the Roasted Garlic loaf. I mean, you can never have too much garlic, right? Not while this Twilight craze is still going strong...

ANYway, here is the recipe. And I was just kidding about the wooden spoon...also (in case any of you are wondering), I am Team Edward.

Hot Bruschetta Brie
adapted from allrecipes.com

2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (8 ounce) wheel Brie cheese

1. In a small bowl, mix roma (plum) tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and olive oil. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

2. Remove top layer of rind from brie. Place brie in a small microwave safe serving dish. Microwave on high 1 minute, or until the cheese begins to soften. Spoon roma tomato mixture over the cheese. Microwave on high 1 minute, or until slightly melted. Serve immediately with artisanal breads.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip

In keeping with my feta obsession, I experimented with a new recipe this weekend while hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law. It's similar to my mom's yummy Artichoke Dip, but with feta instead of parmesan, and peppers instead of artichokes. Ok, so maybe they're not that similar. But they are both delicious. I love the combination of the tangy feta with the fiery peppers, and the Panko breadcrumb topping added a nice crunch to the creamy dip. It's kind of like a really gourmet pimiento cheese--either way, it's a keeper!


1 shallot, diced
1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
8 oz. feta, crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Sliced baguette or pita chips


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and saute shallot until softened (8-10 minutes). Combine next four ingredients in a glass bowl; add shallots and blend well. *Note- Make sure the peppers are VERY well drained, so they do not add too much water to the dip. Pour mixture into 8×8 casserole dish and top with Panko breadcrumbs. Melt remaining 3 Tbsp. of butter and drizzle over dip. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Broil for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the topping is crispy and golden brown.

Serve with a fresh, sliced baguette or pita chips.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


So Day 2 of our weekend (or rather, 24 hours) in Atlanta started off pretty much perfectly--with Mimosas. I know you saw that coming...

Rosebud is another adorable eatery in Virginia Highlands. It's chic, yet comfortable--perfect for a girly brunch, but equally inviting for solo dining. I can imagine myself sitting at the bar on a Sunday mornig, chatting with the staff as I read the paper and try to decide what in the world to order. It's times like this I wish that I were a food critic so I could order everything on the menu and not feel weird or guilty, because you know, it'd be my job. That's about what we did. Not because it's our job but because we love food and we do what we want...good-bye diet, hello Big Nasty (more on that later).

We began our descent into gluttony with one of Rosebud's "Morning Starters"-- Hashbrown Casserole with Fresh Crab, Jalapeno, Caramelized Onions and Aged Cheddar. Out of this world. Everything tasted so fresh-- I thought at first that so many strong flavors (the crab, peppers, onions) would be overwhelming, but they blended perfectly. As you can see, I liked it.

Next up was the Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Tomato Gravy. Our sweet waiter took the time to divide the dish into individual bowls for each of us--very thoughtful. The grits were the creamiest I have ever tasted--almost like a risotto. Normally, I don't care for tomato-based sauces in my shrimp and grits, but I was more than pleasantly suprised. In fact, I'm pretty sure we licked our bowls clean.

Our entrees were the Omelette Special (Braised Beef and some kind of cheese that was similar to Camembert--HEAVEN), the Big Greek Omelette, Brioche French Toast with Mascarpone and Rosemary-Orange Honey and everyone's favorite-- The Big Nasty. And by nasty they mean delicious. It's a beast of a sandwich with lightly breaded and fried chicken, topped with a scrambled egg, smoked bacon and cheddar.

I'm pretty sure I gained 10 more lbs. just writing about it, but I'd say it was worth it...can't wait to try and re-create some of these delightful dishes at home!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Girls Just Want to Have Fun…and Food…and Wine…

I love girls weekends…mostly because my girls love the same things I do…good food, great wine and even better company. This past weekend, we went to visit our dear friend Hope, who recently left us for the big ATL. We miss her terribly, but the upside is that we have the perfect excuse to make frequent trips to see her and I can check out all the fun places that I didn’t get a chance to try/wasn’t allowed to drive to when I lived there.

We started out at
La Tavola in Virginia Highlands, where Hope is a hostess on nights and weekends. Sidenote--in all the 8 years I lived in Atlanta, I never went to Virginia Highlands. Boy, did I miss out. The area is full of amazing eateries, trendy boutiques and eclectic crowds. If only we’d had a few more days…but I digress.

La Tavola is everything I imagine an authentic trattoria to be…simple and intimate with a wine list to die for. Oh, and the food is pretty stellar too. We started our meal with some delightful Prosecco Rose and three appetizers-- Mozzarella Burrata with tomato conserva and crostini, Escarole and Sausage with Parmigiana-Reggiano fonduta and Bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, oregano, garlic and spicy ricotta. I love a good bruschetta, and this version was no exception. The cherry tomatoes were halved, instead of chopped or diced, which soaked up the flavor from the garlic and oregano beautifully. The spicy ricotta was smooth with a nice kick, and a welcome change from the traditional shredded parmesan or mozzarella that I’ve had in other bruschettas. The Escarole and Sausage was delicious, but the Burrata…oh the burrata. I had never heard of burrata until reading one of favorite blogs, Orangette. It’s essentially a ball of mozzarella, stuffed with more mozzarella that has been mixed with heavy cream. Cheese stuffed with cheese?? Yes, please! To quote the wonderful Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, “I am deeply in love with it”. I’ve heard that it doesn’t need more than a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt, but I honestly can’t imagine anything better than the delicious tomato conserve (sort of like a sweet tomato jam) that La Tavola paired with it-- it was the perfect complement to the smooth, creamy and slightly tangy flavor of the cheese. If I go missing one day, I'm huddled in the kitchen at La Tavola and eating my weight in burrata...

And moving on. There were several entrees that looked amazing, so we each decided to get something different and share (we’re sweet like that). The winners-- Smoked Risotto with Butternut Squash (one of my faves) and Boar sausage, Pork Porterhouse with Buckwheat Polenta, Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal scallopini) with prosciutto, sage, roasted fingerling potatoes and braised brussel sprouts, and Braised Beef Ravioli in a red wine reduction with marrow butter and fresh thyme. I'm drooling over my keyboard as I type...

The risotto was perfectly creamy, sweet from the butternut, and smoky from the boar sausage--incredible combination. I’m not sure how to describe the pork and polenta, other than really tasty. The veal was also delicious, and I can happily say that someone else besides Tyler Florence can make me love brussel sprouts. But my MOST favorite was the Braised Beef Ravioli. The ravioli was fresh and tender, and the marrow butter added an incredibly rich, velvety flavor. It is quite possibly the most sumptuous (ha! I’ve always wanted to use that word) dish I have ever enjoyed.
We were so in love with the restaurant that they basically had to kick us out so they could clean and go home. We headed back to Hope’s house to finish the evening with La Tavola’s dessert sampler and more wine (FYI, the Chocolate Nemesis cake is as serious as its name). We tore into that sampler like we hadn't eaten in DAYS (it was maybe 15 minutes).

Well five paragraphs and who knows how many words later, I guess what I meant to say was, I think I know where we're going for my birthday dinner. See you in April, La Tavola!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta

I'm in the middle of what I like to call a "love affair with feta". It's all I want to eat, cook with, read about, etc. So when I was trying to figure out what to make Husband and some friends for dinner, this jumped out at me-- Giada's Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and FETA (yippee!). Done and done.

Now for all you meatloaf-haters out there (you know who you are, *cough* Heather), let me say this--this is NOT your momma's ketchup covered hunk 'o mystery meat. This is the good stuff. Gourmet meatloaf, if you will (who knew there was such a thing?). It's suprisingly moist (I say "surprising" because turkey is so much leaner and therefore, more likely to get dry) and full of flavor. I honestly felt like I could taste the Mediterranean...the tangy feta and sun-dried tomatoes came together beautifully. Not the most photogenic meal, but really, sometimes food tastes better than it looks. Not always...but sometimes.

Turkey Meatload with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk (I used Skim because that's what I had and it worked fine!)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.

Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.

*Pairs well with smashed baby new potatoes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Robusto, Robusto, wherefore art thou, Robusto?

I had a really awesome rhyme that ended in "baguette" (get it--because "baguette" rhymes with "Capulet"--I'll wait while you give a courtesy laugh). I kill myself, sometimes...

But seriously, where has Robusto been all my life? I'll tell you where. Whole Foods. In the cheese section. With my name all over it.

I happened upon Robusto during one of my lunch breaks (Heather and I love to go to Whole Foods at lunch because they always have yummy samples so we can fill up and its free--sshh, don't tell on us). Anyway, there were several different cheese to sample that day but I can't remember anything past reaching the little plastic tongs in the clear dome because I think I might have swooned. It is the most amazingly delicious cheese I had ever tasted. It's described as a cross between Gouda and Parmesan, but who really cares because either way, Robusto cheese will change your life. Try it on a fresh baguette with some olive oil and a little sea salt, or add it to your favorite panini-- but I'd recommend sitting down the first time you try it so when you faint from sheer tastebud-ecstasy, you won't hurt yourself. Personally, I am looking to make the word's best homemade mac 'n cheese with this sucker...let the swooning begin.