Tag Archives: Bobby Flay

Mesa Grill Black Bean Soup

Happy (belated – gulp) 2017!! With some extremely notable exceptions – a new nephew! a wonderful extended vacation with Matt! a good friend getting married! – I didn’t like 2016 any more than anyone else, so I decided to skip all the food blogger end-of-year countdowns and just jump into 2017 with good vibes. Mold in my apartment has hampered that a little, but take heed, it will not win!

I’d been planning to jump back into blogging yesterday, but seeing as it was MLK Day, and this particular MLK Day seems more … I don’t know, pertinent? Important? … than usual, given the current political climate and happenings, I didn’t feel that I personally could add much to that conversation. So today it is!

I want to begin this New Year with one of my favorite recipes, one that I first cooked years ago and never forgot, yet have never committed to my blog. What you have here is perfect comfort food for cold weather or grumpy days that will not interfere with any fitness/weight loss/lose those holiday pounds goals. In fact, it might even help! And this soup is SO delicious. The genius of this recipe is in the garnishes. Garnishes to soup or chili are usually in the vein of just throw whatever you like on there, if you like anything at all – and of course that’s totally fine! But it’s just not how this particular soup works. On its own, it’s a solidly built yet kind of non-special black bean soup. But when you garnish it as instructed, the entire bowl sings and makes everyone all kinds of happy.

On a different note, I do aim to be a better blogger this year. When your blog is not your primary source of income, it’s too easy to back-burner it, but that’s lame. I want this to be a fun, inspiring, and of course delicious space, so I vow to be better at time management. And feel free to hold my feet to the fire, my dear readers whom I love!

Source: slightly adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay


2 tbs olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup red wine
3 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, and seeded
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1 large red onion, sliced ½-inch thick into rounds – do not separate the layers of the rounds
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 serrano chile, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

8 oz. crema, crème fraiche, or sour cream
1 scant tbs ground cumin
1 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 large tomatillos, husked, scrubbed, and chopped
3 tbs finely chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno chile, finely chopped, seeded if desired
3 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

First, make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent but not browned. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half.
Add the beans and reduce the heat to medium. Add the jalapenos, poblano, and stock. Simmer 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. If the soup has cooled, rewarm before serving.
While the soup is simmering away, make the garnishes. I recommend starting with the GRILLED ONION RELISH: preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Cheater’s note: a griddle pan or nonstick or cast-iron skillet works fine as well. Just sayin’. Anywho, brush the onion slices with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through. If the rounds start coming apart when you flip them, it’s fine. Remove the onions from the grill and chop.
For the TOMATO-SERRANO RELISH: combine the tomatoes and serrano chile in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the CUMIN CREMA: place the crema in a small bowl, add the cumin and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to thoroughly combine.
For the AVOCADO-TOMATILLO RELISH: gently combine the avocados, tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and oil in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, then spoon at least one tablespoon of each garnish on the soup, laying them side-by-side as much as possible. And it’s totally okay to add more of any or all garnishes when your bowl of soup is halfway gone. That’s why you make so much of each garnish!

Bar Americain’s Sweet Potato Pie

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

Alright, I know everyone who’s hosting has likely finalized their Thanksgiving plans already, and is very likely already in the throes of prepping their feast; so I won’t share this superb pie in the spirit of giving you an idea for your Thanksgiving this year, but more in the spirit of giving you a break from all the cooking/cleaning prep work to look at (somewhat) pretty pictures of a delicious sweet potato pie you can almost taste. And hey, if anyone bookmarks this to put it on their menus for Thanksgiving 2017, then I’m very flattered! I’m sure Bobby Flay is too.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

I have been fortunate enough to dine at his Bar Americain restaurant several times, but never have I ordered this particular pie, or the ice cream he serves with it at his restaurant. I have the cookbook; you should have the cookbook too.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

As making ice cream is a little more work than this time of year allows, I topped the pie with a sour cream-whipped cream concoction I learned from the great Ina Garten, then topped that with toffee chips. Let’s just say, no one complained about any lack of ice cream.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

The pie is outstanding! A traditional sweet potato pie filling ensconced in a cinnamon graham cracker crust, topped with billowy whipped cream and the light tang of the sour cream, plus toffee. Because what can’t be improved with a little toffee? Enjoy!

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

Source: lightly adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay


2 lbs. sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbs molasses
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups evaporated milk
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs sour cream
Confectioners’ sugar, to taste
Toffee chips, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, halve each potato lengthwise and scrape out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. While the potatoes are still hot, mash with a potato masher or fork until mostly smooth.
To make the crust, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix until combined. Grease a 9” deep-dish pie plate, then evenly press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until light golden brown and firm, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Keep oven on.
To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugars, molasses, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and milk. Gradually add the egg mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes, whisking gently until combined. The filling mixture will be a bit lumpy at this point; hit it with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and pour the sweet potato mixture into the shell. Bake until the filling is set around the edges and the center is jiggly but not liquidy when jostled lightly, about 45-55 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 12 hours.
Now make the topping: in a clean mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sour cream and confectioners’ sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread on the chilled or room temperature pie, then top as you wish with the toffee chips. Slice and serve.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!


One of our great sponsors for the week is Red Star Yeast – they generously sent us all a huge packet of their instant yeast for some baking experimentation. I made three recipes with it in the spirit of oh-I-have-to-test-a-bunch-of-yummy-yeasted-goods-nudge-nudge-wink-wink. I successfully made yeasted doughnuts, coffee flavored cinnamon rolls, and of course, these bagels that won out for a space at Brunch Week.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

A couple months ago, I decided to be one of those nutso home cooks that uses real lye. In my defense, my husband is a professional scientist who has worked with tons of hazardous chemicals in his career, so I felt okay with him supervising. And I suppose it worked, as no one was harmed in the making of these bagels! They may look a bit rustic, but they are incredible and taste just as advertised – like the love-child of a bagel and a soft pretzel.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Now we all know that a good bagel needs a good cream cheese spread, and I wanted something savory, and unique. This is Brunch Week, after all. Roasted jalapenos and cilantro mixed with softened cream cheese did the trick beautifully! The spicy-creamy concoction meshed very well with the saltiness of the pretzel bagels – and yet the cream cheese spread is delicious in and of itself too; I think it would be wonderful with plain bagels.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Give these a try, and yes, you can use baking soda if you’d rather. 🙂 Enjoy!

Sources: Bagels adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion; Cream Cheese Spread from Brunch @ Bobby’s by Bobby Flay


1 tbs Red Star instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 quarts water
2 tsp kitchen-grade lye or baking soda
Coarse pretzel salt
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs milk
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

For the BAGELS: combine the yeast, bread flour, kosher salt, sugar, and 1 ½ cups lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then knead by hand for 10-15 minutes. Place the bowl in a lightly greased bowl and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface the divide into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up some.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath. Pour 2 quarts water into a large stainless steel stockpot. Bring to a boil, THEN add the lye while wearing disposable latex gloves (if you’re using baking soda it doesn’t matter as much when you add it, nor is it important to use stainless steel. Or gloves). The lye will bubble up and look rather menacing for a minute, but it is okay.
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Working one at a time, use your index finger to poke a nice hole through the center of each ball of dough, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole to about 2 inches in diameter. Transfer the bagels to the boiling water bath. You’ll likely have to do this in batches – I fit two at a time in there. Cook the bagels 2 minutes, flip, and cook 1 minute more. Using a stainless steel skimmer or strainer, carefully lift the bagels out and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Liberally sprinkle the tops of each bagel with the coarse salt.
Now bake the bagels in the oven 20 to 25 minutes. You can flip them after 15 minutes of baking to help keep their shape better, but since I used the lye, I was a little afraid to do so.
Remove the bagels from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the CREAM CHEESE SPREAD: combine the cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the jalapenos and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for best results, then let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving (though I can attest that serving it right away still tastes awesome).
Split the bagels, toast if desired, then spread with the cream cheese and eat!

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Tuscan Porterhouse with Rosemary-Balsamic Steak Sauce and Seared Radicchio #SundaySupper

Tuscan Porterhouse with Balsamic Rosemary Steak Sauce and Seared Radicchio

Ah, Italy. That romantic, boot-shaped European country known for a seemingly unfixable corrupt government, the inability to mass produce a decent car, and some of the most beautiful, delicious, well-crafted food in the entire world. Yep, it’s Sunday Supper, and our theme this week is Italian Feast!

Tuscan Porterhouse with Balsamic Rosemary Steak Sauce and Seared Radicchio

Though I’ve only been to Italy once, back in college when my foodie palate was … unsophisticated, to say the least … I have absolutely adored and relished getting to know real-deal Italian cuisine the past ten or so years. Italian food is all-around wonderfully superlative: it’s regionally diverse, skillfully crafted, maturely restrained, honest, and incredibly romantic.

Tuscan Porterhouse with Balsamic Rosemary Steak Sauce and Seared Radicchio

I had a difficult time deciding what to share for today’s post. Gelato, the best frozen treat ever? One of the many classic and delicious pasta dishes? A pizza from Naples? I went around and around in my head before deciding that a Tuscan porterhouse, also known as bistecca alla fiorentia, was my calling for today.

seared radicchio with gorgonzola

What a stunning meal. Thick juicy steak, doused in a sharp, tangy, earthy homemade steak sauce, and some of the best radicchio I’ve yet tasted as a side dish. So, we all know that radicchio is BITTER. It’s almost too much for me, but I found that searing it in the meat drippings then tossing with a lovely gorgonzola really tamed the almost-too-bitter part. So delicious and perfect. Enjoy!

Tuscan Porterhouse with Balsamic Rosemary Steak Sauce and Seared Radicchio

And do not forget to check out all the Italian Feast recipes from my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: adapted from Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

2 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1 (16 oz.) porterhouse steak, about 1 ½ inches thick
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 small to medium head of radicchio, outer leaves peeled, quartered, cored, and thickly sliced lengthwise
2-4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 tbs low-sugar ketchup
1 tbs prepared horseradish
1 tbs honey
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tbs olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Marinate the steak: whisk together 2 tbs olive oil, smashed garlic, and rosemary in a small baking dish just large enough to hold the steak. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Bring the steak to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Remove the steak from the marinade and brush off any pieces of garlic or rosemary. Season the steak generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Preheat a cast iron skillet over very high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Once it is very hot, add the steak to sear. Don’t touch it and let it sear very nicely on one side, then flip and let it sear on the other side. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the meat, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer the steak to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
While the steak is in the oven, make the STEAK SAUCE: add the balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary to a small saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced by half. Let the mixture cool a bit, then add the remaining steak sauce ingredients. Whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Let the steak sauce cool to room temperature before using, for best results.
Once the steaks are out of the oven and resting, place that same cast iron skillet over medium heat. Do not wipe it out. Add the radicchio and toss it around with tongs to sear and wilt it. Once it has wilted to your desired preference, add the gorgonzola and let it slightly melt, for about 1 minute. Taste the radicchio and see if it needs any salt; season accordingly to taste.
Slice the steak and serve with the steak sauce drizzled over and the radicchio on the side.





And Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Matt and I have been on many, many dates in our thirteen years together (thirteen years, I still can’t believe it!!), but one that particularly stands out to me happened several years ago on Valentine’s Day. He took me to Bar Americain, one of Bobby Flay’s high end restaurants, and I guess because it was Valentine’s Day, I was anticipating a lowly-lit, slightly secluded, quiet and romantic experience.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Yeah, not so much! The restaurant’s seating is very New York (read: close together), and the place was absolutely packed that night. We were led to a two-seater table, sitting facing one another, with barely enough room for a small purse between myself and the next two-seater table. All was not lost though. What made the entire night incredibly entertaining, albeit not terribly romantic, is that the couple seated next to us was this elderly man and woman who were having a very spirited argument about the finer details and overall merits of The Real Housewives of … somewhere, I forgot which city.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Matt and I gave up on any romantic conversation and instead had fun listening to this couple go at each other’s throats about such a banal topic. Oh, and the food was good too!

What I’m sharing today is what Matt ordered that night, or more accurately, a streamlined version of it, seeing as my home kitchen is not a Bobby Flay restaurant. I’m happy to report that I still got the point across though. This is a play on the New Orleans dish dirty rice, which is typically made with white rice, but Flay twists it up with a combination of Arborio rice and wild rice. Quite delicious! In his restaurant he pairs this with seared duck breast, but I slimmed it down to some duck bacon lardons scattered over the rice, thus keeping the meal to less food overall, plus this let the dirty rice be the star of the plate. You can sub regular pork bacon or even turkey bacon if you can’t find duck bacon.

Dirty Wild Rice with Duck Bacon, Pecans, and Bourbon Sauce

Even with a few changes, this really does taste restaurant quality, and happily reminded Matt of our date years ago. Which was the goal, so that was nice. I highly recommend for a lovely date night at home! Enjoy!

dirty wild rice with duck bacon, pecans and bourbon sauce

Source: adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

1 quart chicken stock
1 package (8-12 oz.) duck bacon, chopped into lardons
Olive oil, as needed
½ lb. chicken livers
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, diced, seeded if desired
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup cooked wild rice
2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbs pure maple syrup
¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup bourbon
2-3 whole thyme sprigs
2 tbs cold butter, cut into cubes
Louisiana style hot sauce, for passing at the table

Pour the chicken stock into a small stockpot and keep warm over low heat. Set aside.
In a large, high-sided skillet, add the duck bacon lardons over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until the fat has rendered and the lardons are crisped. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon.
Pat the chicken livers dry with a paper towel, then season them with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil to the skillet if needed (you may have enough fat from the bacon). Add the chicken livers over high heat and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked to medium, about 5 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, let cool until you can handle them, then coarsely chop. It’s okay if there’s still a little bit of pink on the insides. Set aside.
Turn the skillet to medium heat and add the butter. Add the celery, garlic, and jalapenos and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted peppers and cook 1 minute. Now add the Arborio rice, stir and cook 1 minute.
Begin adding the warmed stock to the skillet, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. You may not need all of the stock.
Now stir in the wild rice, chicken livers, parsley, thyme, and maple syrup. Let it heat through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Meanwhile, pour the bourbon into a small saucepan or stockpot, add the whole thyme sprigs, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce by at least half, until it has thickened a bit to a sauce consistency. Add the cold butter, one piece at a time, until it melts. Shut off the heat and remove the thyme.
To serve, transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Scatter the pecans and reserved duck bacon over top. Spoon into bowls and drizzle with bourbon sauce. Pass the hot sauce if desired.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

If I were a New-Year’s-Resolutions-making kind of girl, then one of mine for 2016 would be: learn to like cauliflower. Even as my palate has matured over the years, cauliflower and I could never quite be friends. I’ve always found this particular vegetable somewhat off-putting, with both a perceived bland flavor and a weird texture.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

So. What do you do to a food you don’t love? Smother it in cheese. Oh yeah. Then bake it in the oven until that cheese is browned and bubbling, and the cauliflower has turned incredibly soft but not mushy.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’m happy to say there’s at least one variation of cauliflower that I very much enjoy now! Actually, spoiler alert – I’ve found two ways in which I love it, but that post will come later. For now, we stick to drenching cauliflower in a three-cheese sauce and topping it with more cheese, and while I wouldn’t necessarily describe this as low-carb mac and cheese, it might be the closest thing. I highly recommend! Enjoy!

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
6 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus extra for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets, each floret cut into 2 or 3 pieces
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium heavy saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Don’t let the mixture brown. Slowly whisk in the milk. Raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Monterey jack cheese, half of the goat cheese, and half of the Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl, then pour over the cheese sauce. Stir well to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan or skillet, then sprinkle the remaining goat cheese and Parmesan evenly over the top. You can also top the casserole with a few more grinds of black pepper if you desire.
Place the skillet or baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top is bubbly and browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and extra Parmesan, if desired.

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

This summer, I learned the hard way, yet again, that stone fruits (specifically peaches, nectarines, and plums) really aren’t ready for prime time up here until August (apricots seem to usually be ready much sooner). I always try to force my will upon the stone fruits sometime in late June/early July, and every time I lose. This year I ceded the issue when I royally screwed up a nectarine crostata that shoulda woulda been delicious if not for unripe, horrifically uncooperative fruit.

So, we’ve been enjoying berries instead. Perhaps it’s the inner contrarian in me, but I absolutely love finding savory recipes for berries, despite the fact that they are so perfect in desserts and drinks. And make no mistake, I love berries in desserts and drinks! But, we’re consuming less sugar these days, so this just fits our lifestyle better, I guess. Fortunately, there are many, many methods of showcasing berries in all their sweet-tart glory that don’t add any sugar and are perfectly at home as your main dish for dinner.

grilled venison chops with blackberry-sage brown butter

Like this one. This one is beautiful. It came together very quickly, yet I would have happily paid $30 in a restaurant for it. This is one of the first recipes I made in the new apartment, (which is why the photography is subpar) as I was dying to try out my brand new indoor grill pan, and it taught me the value of saran-wrapping your smoke detector! Hashtag newer building problems.

Grilled Venison Chops with Blackberry-Sage Brown Butter

No matter. All worth it. Well, for us anyways. I suppose the neighbors may respectfully disagree… I hope y’all enjoy it!

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

4 (8 oz.) venison chops
2 tbs canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish
12 fresh blackberries, sliced in half

Preheat your outdoor or indoor grill pan to high.
Brush both sides of the chops with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops and grill 3 minutes on the other side, until you have a nice brown exterior and the inside is between medium-rare and medium. Venison is incredibly lean, so you really, really don’t want to cook them even a second past medium.
When done, transfer to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
While the venison is resting, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced sage leaves and cook, occasionally stirring and turning the leaves, until the edges curl and the butter is dark amber but not black or burnt, about 5 minutes. Add the blackberries to the butter and cook for 20 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the butter onto 4 large dinner plates. Top with the venison chops, and spoon some of the blackberries and butter over each top. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Nacho Dogs

Nacho Dogs

Happy Tuesday. Moving sucks.

Enough about me – we should instead talk about combining two comfort/junk food classics into one incredibly tasty meal. This is for sure something to be saved for splurge day. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Which brings me to what I have discovered through my journey of shedding some pounds, and is actually a pretty important point. My new philosophy (one of them anyways) is to spend my calories the way I spend my money. No one would purposely go out and spend their hard-earned money on say, clothes that they found ugly, or that didn’t fit right; or a book you have no desire to read, or a genre of music you know you don’t enjoy. We spend money wisely, on things we know we’ll use and enjoy.

Nacho Dogs

It’s really the same with food. If I’m spending more calories than usual on a meal or snack because I’m allowing a small or occasionally a large splurge, then I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’ll really enjoy it. Good ingredients, things I know I like, and savoring every bite.

Nacho Dogs

These nacho dogs were worth it. They’re kind of like the Kardashians – a bit over the top, and a bit trashy, but making no apologies. (Speaking of which, please, oh please watch this video if you haven’t seen it. My sides were hurting from the laughter). Unlike the Kardashian’s show though, these hot dogs were extremely enjoyable and good. Like I said, worth every extra calorie. Enjoy!

Nacho Dogs

Source: Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

4 plum tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 large chipotle in adobo, minced
3 tbs finely diced red onion
Small handful of cilantro leaves, minced
8 good-quality beef or turkey hot dogs
8 good-quality hot dog buns, split (I used brioche – so delicious)
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
Guacamole (homemade or good quality store-bought)
Tortilla chips, coarsely crumbled

First make the salsa: preheat your indoor or outdoor grill to high for direct grilling. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove the tomatoes from the grill, and let cool enough so you can handle them. Slice in half, scrape out the seeds, and coarsely chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbs olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced chipotle, red onion and cilantro. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now cook the hot dogs. Grill the hot dogs until golden brown and lightly charred (if you like) on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove to a plate, then grill the buns, cut side down, until lightly golden brown and toasted, about 20 seconds.
To assemble this wonderful hot mess: place a hot dog in the bun, then top with cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, salsa, and crumbled tortilla chips. Serve immediately.

Barbecue-Sauced Shrimp with Crème Fraiche Dressing


Finding simple, weeknight meal recipes that can be thrown together without much planning and that can be on the table in under an hour is not at all rare. Finding such a recipe in a Bobby Flay cookbook, however, is quite rare. No matter how many Food Network shows he does, Flay will always be a restaurant chef at heart. His recipes tend to be complex, involving many steps and many more ingredients. Which is fine, of course. Many, many home cooks, myself included, love a good kitchen project.

Barbecue Sauced Shrimp with Creme Fraiche Dressing

But, not the other night. The other night was weary and hungry and impatient, and demanded a flavorful dinner to hit the table right now. I really didn’t think the answer would be found in a Bobby Flay book, but I certainly won’t complain about my find, as this dinner couldn’t be simpler.

Barbecue Sauced Shrimp with Creme Fraiche Dressing

Heat the grill, toss the shrimp in a good-quality barbecue sauce, store-bought or something you already made, either works, and let them hang out for a few minutes. Make the dressing while the grill is coming up to temp, then throw the shrimp on the grill. Of course they cook very quickly, so you’re done in no time. Throw together a simple salad, or whatever side dish you prefer, and you have a perfect, light dinner.


Flavors are strong, with the sweetness of the shrimp, the spiciness of the barbecue sauce and the bitter tang of the crème fraiche playing together quite nicely. Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Cherry Crumble Pizza; Avocado Milkshakes; Banana Pudding Ice Cream; Peanut Butter Ice Cream; Reisling Ice Cream; Rocky Road Ice Cream; My Mom’s Taco Salad; My Mom’s Blackened Catfish}
{Two Years Ago: Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette; Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar Jalapeno Butter; Cheddar Risotto with Smoked Paprika; S’Mores Whoopie Pies; S’Mores Ice Cream; Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round-Up; Green Gumbo; Better Than Taco Bell Mexican Pizza; Cream Cheese Kolaches; Mango Liquado; Rhubarb Crisp; Salted Honey Pie; Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding; Fattoush Salad; Orrechiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto}

Source: Boy Meets Grill by Bobby Flay

2 cups good-quality barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade
48 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups crème fraiche or sour cream
2 tbs finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbs fresh lime juice
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.
Combine the shrimp and barbecue sauce in a large bowl and refrigerate until the grill is ready, no longer than 30 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the barbecue sauce and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill until cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Discard the used marinade.
While the grill is preheating, make the dressing by combining the crème fraiche, onion, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Store in the refrigerator if not using right away.
Pile the shrimp on a large platter and drizzle some dressing over them. Serve with the remaining dressing.
Serves 6 to 8 people, depending on appetites and quantity of side dish(es). I halved the recipe, served with a side salad, and it was good for 2 people.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

I noted on Facebook yesterday that this week had become something of a de facto Cocktails and Ice Cream week here on the blog, so why not embrace it and blog one more ice cream recipe to nicely round things out? Who cares if it’s unnecessarily and offensively cold outside – ice cream always sounds good to me!

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

Here we have a warming, comforting cinnamon ice cream base, and our add-in is this delicious cinnamon-oat crunch thing that you bake up and then break up, then add into the ice cream once it’s churned. It’s so homey and flavorful.

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

I hope y’all enjoy this one! And please, stay warm!!

Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream

{One Year Ago: Make Your Own Ranch Seasoning Packet}
{Two Years Ago: Basil and Blood Orange Salad}

Source: ever so slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
¼ cup plus 2 tbs packed brown sugar
2 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces, chilled
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until just combined. Transfer the mixture to your prepared baking sheet and pat it into a 4-inch square. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Make sure you center this on your baking sheet. There is no leavening agent, so it spreads out, not up.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then use your hands or a butter knife to break the cinnamon crunch into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Combine the milk, heavy cream, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Once it simmers, shut off the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes. Return to the heat and warm it just so that bubbles begin to form at the edges of the pot. Shut off the heat.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, granulated sugar, and salt until pale yellow. Slowly pour in about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper your eggs so they do not scramble on you. Now slowly pour the entire egg mixture into the warm milk mixture on the stovetop, again whisking continuously. Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean. Turn the heat on medium-low and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon continuously for 5-8 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and the custard can coat the back of the spoon. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean, medium bowl. Leave it out and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Alternately, you can place this bowl in an ice bath to speed the process.
Once at room temperature, place plastic wrap directly on the custard and chill in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Once thoroughly chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, adding the reserved cinnamon crunch in the last 5 minutes of churning. Transfer to a freezer safe container and chill for about 2 hours before serving.