Caramelized Onion and Arugula & Regular Sliders


I’m not sure if any of you are like me on this one… but I absolutely love food items in miniature form. “Bite-size” or in some case, “two-to-three bites” items are perfect for sampling and give the opportunity to try many different things without feeling too full.

Sliders are a great example of this concept. Just think about it… have you ever been torn between which toppings you want to use on a burger? Realistically, it’s not like you’d put half a slice of pepper jack cheese and roasted poblanos on one side of the burger and then put cheddar cheese and ketchup on the other lonely half of the burger. Right?

Therefore, this little problem is cleverly solved with Sliders.

I chose to put carmelized onions, arugula and garlic mayonnaise on one of the Sliders while putting cheddar cheese and ketchup for a plain ole fashioned getup for the other Slider.

Simple to make, enjoyable to put together, and food in miniature form is just so much more fun anyway!

Cheers!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” This thought kept reverberating through my mind while both making this dish (no judgments — I had to sample!) and during consumption. Sometimes, I just get the itch to make comfort food and this past Saturday was no different.

The idea to make macaroni and cheese dawned on me when I happened to peruse down the aisles of the grocery store and spotted one of my childhood favorites in a box: Macaroni & Cheese. Although some of the boxed kinds of Macaroni & Cheese are too die for, I decided to forgo the powdered cheese and unknown-mysterious-overly-processed-can’t pronounce ingredient combination in order to try the “real deal”. However, in making this decision, I knew I would be consuming exorbitant amounts of butter, cream, milk, and cheese in order to delight my taste buds. But, every now and then, I truly believe these types of good (but, oh-so-bad) foods are just absolutely necessary. My final response? Dig in!

Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs.

Step 1: Grate Cheeses; Chop Garlic


Step 2: Melt Butter; Whisk Flour &
Mustard; Pour in Cream & Milk




Step 3: Add Sauce to Noodles and Cheese


Step 4: Melt Butter; Add to Olive Oil,
Bread Crumbs and Chopped Garlic


Step 5: Add Bread Crumbs to the Top
of Macaroni; Bake and Enjoy!

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” Wait, I have a correction: “It tastes so good, it must be bad – but, I’m going to enjoy it anyway!”

The moral of the story: indulge every now and then — it’s a good thing!

Cheers!

Cheddar Jalapeño Bread

I LOVE spicy food. Just ask my friends — I excessively douse my scrambled eggs, Asian inspired dishes, sandwiches, and tortilla chips with Salsa, Tabasco, Sriracha, or Secret Aardvark sauce (or any combination thereof). But, in addition to my love of fiery, heat-loaded sauces, I also happen to enjoy jalapeños. In my opinion, jalapeños are a perfect addition to nachos, sandwiches, soups, and rice dishes to provide an extra kick of flavor.

Two weekends ago, I indulged in cheddar jalapeno bread for the first time at a friend’s house. I was completely enamored by the salty, spicy, and cheesy flavors that mixed together with the bread. I’ve always put jalapenos on sandwiches that are already overloaded with other ingredients; however, I had never thought to just make bread solely with jalapenos as one of main ingredients. I found a recipe for Cheddar Jalapeno Bread; however, my first attempt resulted in a massive failure. Now, that’s not to say that the previous recipe is flawed, because it is definitely not (this recipe is one of the top ten bread recipes on Epicurious and has plenty of amazing reviews). I would totally recommend anyone to make that recipe. My main problems resulted in the fact that the yeast I had on hand did not rise for some unbeknownst reason as well as that the bread takes about 6.75 hours to make from start to finish. Even though I love to bake and I’m completely willing to take the time, I’m usually not that patient (especially after I messed up the first time!). So, I decided to take a previous recipe for bread (as seen here), and add onto it by putting cheese and jalapenos on it at the end!

Step 1: Make Other Bread

Step 2: Slice Fresh Jalapeño Dough; Grate Cheese


Step 3: Place Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Jalapeños,
and Jarred Jalapeños On Top of Bread and Bake!


[I usually wouldn't prefer anything "jarred"
over fresh -- but, in this case, jarred jalapeños
are even spicier and bake really well!]

I was a bit nervous to make this recipe; however, I’m happy at the results. For next time, I’ll definitely make one modification: add the cheese and jalapeños just a few minutes before the bread is done baking. That way, the cheese-y flavors will be more pronounced!

Cheers!


Happy 2011! New Year’s Sunday Brunch

 This year my friends and I decided to host a New Year’s Sunday Brunch. We thought this would be a perfect time to get together, catch up on each other’s lives, and cheers to a Happy New Year.

Naturally, I awoke too early on a Sunday and had plenty of time to mosey around the house before everyone arrived. With the extra time, I conjured up a few items that I think no casual Sunday brunch should be without.

Sunday Morning Paper

Different Coffee Mugs

Vanilla Candles

Flowers 

Non-Traditional Holder for Utensils

New Year’s Sunday Brunch included a Spinach and Bacon Quiche and Belgian Buttermilk Waffles with Glazed Bananas.

I chose to make a quiche for several reasons:

1. Can easily alter/modify/add ingredients

2. Option to pre-buy the crust or make from scratch

3. Simple and I have never made one before!

That being said, for this quiche, I altered the ingredients to cater to certain food preferences and allergies of my friends (I substituted cheddar cheese for swiss cheese (on one-half of the quiche only), nixed the bacon, and added mushrooms and roasted red peppers). I also chose to make the dough/crust the day before in order to avoid waking up too early to make it the day of brunch. Despite the fact that I had to bake the quiche for 20 minutes longer than the recipe suggested, the quiche turned out well and next time I’d like to experiment with other ingredients such as chicken, asparagus, and gruyere!

Step 1: Use a Blender/Food Processor
to  Make Dough; Fill 9-inch Pan with Dough

Step 2: Chop Dry Ingredients; Place in Crust


Step 3: Blend Liquid Ingredients;
Pour Onto Crust

Step 4: Bake, Cut, Serve!

The waffles seemed like the easy, go-to choice to complement a savory dish for this brunch. Plus, I couldn’t remember the last time I actually ate waffles and almost had forgotten what they taste like. That fact by itself solidified this choice as a done deal. These were very crunchy and the bananas provided a great flavorful kick in combination with maple syrup!

Step 1: Mix Dry Ingredients Together; Mix
Liquid Ingredients Together; Combine


Step 2: Preheat Waffle Iron and Pour
Batter (3 minutes each round)

Step 3: Heat Butter Until Foam Subsides;
Place Bananas on Pan for 1 Minute Each Side

Step 4: Add to Waffles, Drizzle Syrup, Enjoy!

I’m hoping that we can make New Year’s Sunday Brunch a tradition for next year too!
Cheers to a Happy 2011!