Friday, June 24, 2011

New Project!

So, you might have noticed my lack of posting over the last several months....I have a good reason, I PROMISE. :)

Head over here to check it out!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday Brunch

So, we all know how much I love brunch. So much that I’ve dedicated at least 30% of my blog posts to the subject. And I’m proud to say, I have a new favorite spot…Little Savannah in Forest Park.

I first enjoyed Little Savannah during Birmingham’s first-ever Restaurant Week (a smashing success), and was blown away by the laid-back atmosphere and outstanding food. I’m about to be their neighbor (a fact I am especially ecstatic about), so I knew I had to at least try their bruch before I committed to eating there every Sunday.

It was love at first bite. Oh, who am I kidding, it was love when they didn’t question the red Solo cups of Prosecco that accompanied us into the restaurant (nothing to see here, folks). It just got better from there.

Our visit, made even more enjoyble by the company of some of my favorite people in town (i.e., the lovely EatBHM), looked like this:

*Clockwise, from Top Left: Farm Egg Frittata with Sausage, Potato & Leek, Wright's Cheddar and Lettuces; Provencal Violet Sparkler; Petite Beef Tenderloin with Fingerling Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Poached Egg and White Truffle Oil.

True story – one of our fellow diners ordered the Bananas Foster. Little Savannah was out of bananas. :( No worries, dear Nancy hopped across the street to V. Richards and voila! Ten minutes later we were enjoying TWO dishes of the sweet and delicious dessert – free of charge. They also comped our French Press coffee. I’d say we were more than compensated for the purchase of the bananas. Kudos to Little Savannah for going above and beyond to ensure our satisfaction.

My next visit, a mere week later with more of my favorite people, looked like this:

*Top: Cinnamon Apple and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Smoky Bacon and Maple Syrup; Bottom: Scallops and Grits with Sauteed Mushrooms, Bacon Vinaigrette and Fresh Thyme

The second visit also included Crab Cake Benedict and repeats of the Farm Egg Frittata and Mimosas. Needless to say, every dish tasted even better than it looked and I will absolutely be claiming a cozy little table for my weekly brunch-fix.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats

Forget the generic heart-shaped box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day, and indulge in these simple and sweet treats for your loved ones.

Besides, baking is sexy. ;)

Hazlenut Meringue Kisses
Recipe and photo from
Yield: 4 dozen (serving size: 4 kisses)


• 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 large egg whites
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• Dash of salt
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine hazelnut mixture, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Place egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold hazelnut mixture and vanilla into egg mixture.
Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon egg white mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe 48 (1 1/2-inch-round) mounds onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until meringues are done and dry to the touch. (Meringues are done when surface is dry and meringues can be removed from paper without sticking to fingers.) Turn oven off; partially open oven door. Cool meringues in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; carefully remove meringues from paper.

Peanut Butter Caramel Pound Cake
Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis, photo from
Yield: 8-10 servings


• Vegetable oil cooking spray
• 1 (9.5-ounce) bag soft caramel candies, unwrapped (recommended: Kraft Classic Caramels)
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 3 eggs, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-5-by-3-inch nonstick, metal loaf pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a 14-by-3 1/2-inch piece of parchment paper. Spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the sides of the pan with a 14-by-7-inch piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the caramel candies and heavy cream over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candies have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the eggs and vanilla. With the machine running, gradually add the flour mixture in batches to form a thick batter. Beat in the peanut butter. Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of the caramel lengthwise along the center of the batter. Using the tip of a knife, swirl the caramel sauce into the batter. Place the remaining batter on top and pour another 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce lengthwise along the center of the batter. Swirl the caramel sauce into the batter.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and peel away the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour (center of cake will fall during cooling). Slice the pound cake and place on a serving platter. Warm the remaining caramel sauce over low heat. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the pound cake slices or serve alongside.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Superbowl Snacks

Whether you are a football fanatic or half-hearted fan, everyone knows that the best part of the Superbowl (besides the commercials, of course!) is the FOOD. Take a look at these scrumptious-sounding snacks below, sure to keep your tastebuds happy while cheering on your team.

You can’t cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers without a good ‘ol Philly Cheesesteak. Try this bite-sized version from Guy Fieri- it’s an easy pick-up appetizer that’s perfect for a crowd.

Guy Fieri's RITZ Cheese Steak Sliders

*photo from


1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 lb. trimmed thin cut boneless beef rib-eye steak
1/2 tsp. each granulated garlic, chili powder and dry mustard
1/2 tsp. each dried thyme, basil, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. each white pepper and cayenne
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup sweet onion, quartered, thinly sliced
1 cup red bell pepper, cut in julienne stips, 1″ long
1/2 cup each yellow bell pepper and Anaheim chile, cut in julienne stips, 1″ long
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT DELI DELUXE Process Jalapeno American Cheese Slices
96 RITZ Crackers

IN a small saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar to a boil, then simmer gently over low heat 40 min. until reduced to 1/3 cup.

CUT meat across the grain into ¼”-thick slices, then julienne to 1″-long pieces. In a large bowl, combine dry spices. Add steak pieces; toss to evenly coat. Set aside.

IN a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and Anaheim chile and sauté 4-5 min., stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1-2 min. Remove to a plate. Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add steak and cook 2 min. until done, stirring frequently. Add the 1-1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and the Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine. Add the vegetables and cook until heated through. Drain excess liquid.

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cut each cheese slice into 6 pieces. Place 1 piece on each of 48 crackers, then top with approximately 1 Tbsp. of the steak mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 5 min., or until cheese melts. Place on serving plate and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top each with a second cracker.
Every good football gathering needs buffalo wings – pair with this yummy Wisconsin Bleu Cheese sauce and its the perfect choice to support the Green Bay Packers.

Buffalo Wings with Wisconsin Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce
recipe and photo from


2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken wings
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon hot-pepper sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
2/3 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Blue Cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
3 celery stalks, cut into sticks


Preheat broiler. Cut off wing tips; discard. Split wings at joint. Place in 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Combine oil, hot pepper sauce and paprika. Pour over chicken, turning to coat pieces evenly. Marinate while making sauce.

In small bowl, combine Wisconsin Blue Cheese and sour cream. Stir in vinegar, 2 tablespoons green onions and pepper. Whisk in 1-2 tablespoons milk until sauce is smooth. (Or pulse in food processor.) Sprinkle the top with remaining green onions. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Broil wings 10-15 minutes, until lightly charred and no longer pink inside, turning occasionally until crisp and cooked through. Remove to platter and sprinkle with a few more dashes of hot pepper sauce, if desired. Serve with the celery sticks and Blue Cheese dipping sauce.

Enjoy (and Go Packers)!