Invites for holiday parties are started to sprinkle in. I’m always surprised when people invite me to their parties. Is that weird? I’m always like, Oh, I guess they like me? I’m a lil’ weird, I know.
Social situations where I barely know anyone make me super nervous. They make my palms sweat and they make me even more shy than I should be. For this situation I need party ammo. Things I can bring into the maybe-awkward-social situation that will work as lovely conversation starters.
“How ‘bout them nuts?! I made them!” That line will definitely make it more awkward but hopefully the person I’ll be speaking with has a sense of humor and will laugh and I’ll be fast friends.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet. These nuts are all super easy to make, take under 30 minutes combined and make good presents, too!
The first variety is Sweet and Salty Rosemary Marcona Almonds. If you’ve never had a Marcona almond, you’re in for a treat. They’re very different from a traditional California almond. They’re softer in texture, lighter in flavor and are a bit sweeter. You can find them in the bulk bin at your local Whole Foods or (possibly) health food store.
The savory and herbaceous rosemary is lovely with the sweet and saltiness. It’s a no-brainer. And very very holiday-esque. Super into them.
The second nut situation we have are Honey Sesame Cashews. They’re sweet and salty and the sesame adds a nice nuttiness to them. If you’re feeling fancy and dramatic, use black sesame seeds. They’ll look really pretty.
I’m gonna be honest with you: there isn’t anything necessarily fancy about the ingredients in this grilled cheese (minus the brioche). This isn’t one of those grilled cheeses filled with expensive cheeses, spreads or meat like prosciutto or anything like that. This is more about the actual preparation.
Here’s why: The first time Josh and I made a grilled cheese together, I was shocked at how haphazard he was with the technique. The heat was too high, burning the bread! The cheese in the center wasn’t completely melted, and instead of butter, he used olive oil. THIS IS ALL WRONG!
Like all awesome things in life, grilled cheeses are ridiculously simple to make. And like all simple things, the details matter A LOT.
Here is a fun “how-to” on making our favorite childhood sandwich. And, as always, if you have tips on this matter that you feel passionate about, please leave them in the comments below; we’ll all benefit.
For the past few weeks, everyone has begun gushing about the commencement of fall, and all I could think about was ice cream, cold drinks and basically dunking my entire head into a vat of iced water. We just finished up a pretty intense heatwave and pumpkin spice was the furthest thing from my mind.
Now that the weather has stopped being an a-hole I feel like I can honestly entertain the idea of soup and squash and stuff. And plus, now I’m actually beginning to see gourds that have leoprosy and cute baby white pumpkins (always a favorite). I’m excited!
The fall-inspired recipes will start soon, I promise, but I’m thinking this year I might ease into it rather than start with a big pumpkin boom!
These cheez-its are an example of me scootin’ into the season. There’s nothing fall about them, they’re just some crackers for snackin’! Just some schnacks.
When I first started cooking and baking, crackers were the thing I loved to make the most. I’d make them after work and bring them in the next day and people’s minds were blown, “You made crackers?!” My co-workers thought I was genius, but what they didn’t realize was that crackers might be the easiest thing to make EVRRRRR.
For this recipe I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet. These crackers call for a bit of hot Hungarian sweet paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper. The cheddar and paprika are made for each other. It’s a union that in my brain makes sense but should be exploited more.
These are like fancy adult cheez-its. If you have chillren, then I say bring down the paprika and get rid of the cayenne all together.
A few ex-boyfriends ago, I learned an incredibly valuable less: how to properly make a tomato sandwich. I am forever grateful.
During the summers we’d drive to Virginia to his family’s lake house. It was there where I’d buy big-ass tomatoes from old men who sold them out of their pick-up trucks parked alongside the road. They were beautiful and warm from the sun (the tomatoes not the old men). There’s something about a southern tomato that’s just really special. They’re kinda magical.
The first step to a glorious tomato sandwich is salting the tomatoes and allowing them to sit and drain on a few paper towels. This makes it so the tomato sandwich doesn’t end up being soggy. NO SOG ZONE.
I learned that tomato sandwiches MUST be eaten on white bread.
I’ve learned in the last few weeks that giving your corn headbands is a good idea. Husks look adorable still attached to corn; they just need some help being tamed so you can smash your face into the cob of corn. Headbands made of husks totally work.
I feel like I might make elote in a somewhat controversial way. A lot of people boil corn in espazote to give it a good flavor; but honestly I loooove raw corn so I say scratch the boiling step and just go straight to the grill. The juicy, fresh-tasting corn with the bits of char are a winning combo. Boiling sounds like no fun at all. I think boiling on the scale of cooking options might be my least favorite, unless it’s boiled in butter or oil; but then it’s more like frying.
Other additions that must accompany elote? Lots of cotija cheese all crumbled, lots of lime wedges, crema or mayonnaise and ancho chile powder.
For the full recipe that isn’t really all that much like a recipe, hop on over to PBS Food
I was born in the south and my family has lived there their whole lives but I don’t really consider myself southern, though I’m definitely southern-ish. I have a strong attraction to southern states, people and food. It was really no surprise that I went back to the south for college, North Carolina to be exact.
My first friend (and best friend ’til this day) at college was a svelte costume design major named Tre. We went everywhere together, including the cafeteria. Rumor had it that our school was just one grade above prison food, which as you know re: Orange is The New black is BAD. Naturally since we were in the south, they had pimento cheese at the salad bar. And everyday Tre would eat pimento cheese on white bread. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I opted for cereal.) I honestly never touched the pimento cheese because if you think it looks a little scary now in my pictures, imagine how it looked at the ‘one grade above prison salad bar’. Rough.
Today I teamed up with Frito-Lay to bring you one of those recipes I’ve always dreamed of making for the blog. I just needed a bit of a nudge…and by nudge I mean tasty FRITOS® corn chips in my possession. FRITOS CHILI PIE® is usually served in the bag. It’s one of those super fun recipes that makes you feel like you’re on a ranch. In my dream world that’d mean I’m on Hey Dude (do you remember that show on Nickelodeon, like, years ago?). It always made me want to go to Texas and live on a ranch but let’s be honest I’m not sure ranch work is my kinda thing. Eating chili and cheese on top of FRITOS corn chips in a bag is more my groove!
Over the next few days I’ll be taking over Frito-Lay’s Instagram account, sharing some of my favorite July 4th moments and snack combos. (Think sweet tea and grilled hot dogs!)
Frito-Lay is also giving readers and fans alike the chance to share their snacking moments in the Fun-Up for Summer Sweepstakes. To enter on Instagram or Twitter, upload a photo of your summer snacking moment with #FritoLoveEntry for a chance to win fun prizes. Full rules here.
Last Friday I bought a $13 movie ticket, along with a small bag of $6 popcorn, and joyfully watched the new Jon Favreau movie, The Chef. I loved it! Sure, there were problems with the movie, like the relationship between him and Sofia Vergara (seems a little unrealistic) but whatever, I took the ride.
Not to give too much of the movie away but part of it was shot in South Florida, where I grew up the majority of my life and it made me miss home in a way I never do. I miss my family, but I rarely miss Florida. My meh-ness toward Florida can usually be summed up with one word: humidity.
Despite the excessive moisture in the air, Miami does have a vibrancy and energy that I really do love. And I love all the Latin people (and food) in South Florida. It made me want the food of my peeps. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with this Peruvian Aji.
If you go into a Peruvian restaurant, most likely it’ll be on every single table. We eat it with everything. The ingredients can be tough to find. There’s usually a bit of black mint and fresh aji amarillos peppers in the sauce. So, in order to make it as assessible, I altered the recipe below to be as United States-friendly as possible.
Aji amarillo past might be the toughest ingredient to find, though if you live near a Latin American market, it’ll most likely be there. It’s also online. If you can’t get a hold of it, you can always add a bit more jalapeño.
I have a feeling that none of you would be my friend in real life if:
#1 You could hear the voice I use when speaking to Amelia. We all have animal voices. Mine is just REALLY bad. And strangely enough, it’s gets more grating the more tired I get.
#2 You could see me (sometimes!) reach into my dirty hamper and take out dirty socks and put them on my clean feet because ‘they’re not that dirty and I like black socks to match my black Nikes.
#3 You could see how many dishes I dirty when making simple things like a salad, lettuce cups or coffee. ‘Working clean’ is for fancy chefs or people who are more organized in their brains than me.
#4 You could see how many times I open the fridge/freezer, take a swig of something and then return it (versus, you know, pouring myself a glass). But really, I live with only one other person and we make out all the time so it’s totally fine if I double-dip, right…
And now, hummus.
This hummus is a labor of love. I’m afraid that you’ll hate me because of this hummus recipe. I’ve made a super simple thing kind of more complicated but I think it’s worth it so please hear me out. Please!
This recipe starts with shucking a bunch of peas, which I honestly like doing. There’s something about repeating the same motion over and over that is soothing.
And then, I juiced the jackets! Whaaa! If you don’t have a juicer, you can totally skip this step, but I wanted the hummus to be as green as possible and I love the notion of waste not want not.
No matter who you are, you’ll like this recipe. You’ll LOVE this recipe if:
A. You grew up in the 90s and used to go to TGIFridays with your friends where you’d eat appetizers only.
B. You and your parents would go out to dinner at Olive Garden and you’d order fried calamari and the tentacles would terrify you, but you’d still play with them and give them voices.
C. If you went to Macaroni Grill and loved drawing (borderline offensive) things on the paper tablecloths in crayon.
I know I just described my 12 year old self here but I also did all of these things in college, too. Very little spiritual growth happened for me during that time.