Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Super Bowl Party Eats!

It’s the biggest game day period. Forget basketball, baseball and don’t even mention soccer, the Super Bowl is the most watched final game of any sports league’s season. So it only makes sense to throw down a major fiesta! And what’s a Super Bowl party without super chow? Nada! Here are some tasty recipes courtesy of Food Network for your big bash that’ll have everyone huddled around the feast and not the tube. Get cookin’!

Grilled Chicken Wings
This spicy dish is courtesy of grill master Chef Bobby Flay. It’s a Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce recipe that’ll put a kick in your football get together. With an 18 minute cook-time, you can grill up a batch of these during half-time and still not miss a moment of the game.

Macho Nachos
With a name like Macho Nachos, you know this is some seriously hearty chow! Courtesy of the sassy Miss Paula Deen, this recipe is a snap to whip up, only 7 minutes prep time. Mmm, cheesy goodness…

Stuffed Peppers
I am a huge fan of stuffed peppers so this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Stuffed Peppers is right up my alley. The plantain chips in this dish will definitely make this one a winner among the crowd.

Beef and Black Bean Chili
This protein packed dish courtesy of Bobby Flay is a hearty eat! It’s got spice and it’s a flavorful dish to curl up with in that easy-chair and watch the big game. Get the recipe for Bobby’s chili!

Chicken Empanadas
Miss Paula Deen is back with another Southern-fied Mexican dish! This recipe she calls Cheesiest Fried Chicken Empanadas with Chili Con Queso Dip is super delish and only takes 20 minutes to whip up. You had me at cheesiest, Paula!

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay's Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise pictured at the top. They're a quick grill and delightful!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Food Network

Friday, January 30, 2009

Grill, Baby, Grill!

What’s the main course at a Super Bowl party? Oh, yeah, BBQ! Delicious chips and dips are only the appetizers that keep you from drooling over the marinated protein and veggies. Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular grilling day in the winter and if you’re lucky like we are here in Northern California, you’ll be able to take to the outdoors and start charring up a feast. I’ve got some grilling tips courtesy of to make your cookout food grilled to perfection.

Chicken Legs
For grilling drumsticks you have to use the direct method. That means grill over coals, this keeps the leg juicy and flavorful while creating that crisp outer layer. Place the chicken legs 5-6 inches above the direct flames and be sure to keep the heat to a medium level to prevent dryness. It’s up to you if you want to douse them in BBQ sauce or eat them right off the grill. Learn more about how to make the mouthwatering chicken in this lovely photo at


Burgers are a cinch to grill. Using the direct heat method cook the meat about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how rare or done you’d like your burgers. I suggest slapping on some cheese during the last minute you’ve got it on the grill since I prefer my burgers with melted cheese.


Whether its chicken or veggies that you’ve speared, it’ll be a quick grill. You have to remember to brush up the skewers with oil to prevent the veggies and lean cuts of meat from sticking to the grill. Try out different herbs and spices on the skewers while they grill. I prefer to marinate little cubes of chicken breast for a couple of hours then line them up on a skewer with slices of bell pepper, mushrooms and artichoke then throw them on the grill. Use direct heat and grill for about 13-20 minutes. Don’t forget to rotate!

Hot Dog
What’s a BBQ without hot dogs? These party favorites are a snap to cook. Toss them on the grill and rotate as needed for about 4-8 minutes using direct heat. Make sure you’ve got enough buns because these babies are the first to go!


Depending on the size of your steak, which is typically ¾ thick, you want to use the direct heat approach to sear. The time ranges between 8-14 minutes grilling time with a flip at about 4 minutes.


Grill fish over direct heat and depending on thickness cook for 5 minutes on each side per inches thick, for example 2 inches thick would require 10 minutes cooking time on each side. With shrimp, I recommend using the chicken skewer method (mentioned above). Marinate, and don’t forget the lemon juice. Now, throw that shrimp on the barbie!


Is there a better way to eat corn than grilled? I don’t think so! Cook this veggie for about 10-12 minutes and keep an eye on them. Rotate them consistently until you’ve got golden kernels. Scrumptious!


My personal favorite grilled veggie. Boil these guys for about a minute in salted water. Dump them in cold water to stop the cooking action. Drain, dry and brush with oil. Place them on the grill. Unless you want scorched asparagus, be sure to place them perpendicular to the bar grates so they don’t fall through. Grill for about 6-8 minutes (3-4 minutes on each side). Viola! You’ve got tasty veggies.

Alas, you’ve got the basics for a fantastic Super Bowl cookout! To get more tips go to

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photo of the Day

Alright, people, who would mind starting off their day with one of these? This is my ultimate fantasy breakfast! I'd try it out but it would probably hurt the tummy this early in the morning. Nonetheless this chocolate chip cookie sundae looks delectable. Freshly baked, warm chocolate chip cookie topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and a whirl of whipped cream. It's got a cherry on top, that counts as fruit, right? So it wouldn't be so bad...

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Zezmerelda

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get Dippin’: Super Bowl Party Dips

What’s a chip without dip? A chip. That’s why I’ve rounded up the best, simplest, most delicious, chip-worthy dips from Recipe Zaar so that you can make this Super Bowl about the food and not the game. Who’s playing anyway?

Spinach Artichoke Dip
This savory side dish is perfect for dipping. Hot out of the oven, this recipe will be scooped out of site.

Holy guacamole! By far the most popular dip is a mash-up of fresh buttery avocado, ripe red tomatoes, crisp onions, spicy jalapenos. and fresh herbs. Check out this bang-up recipe!

Break-out the pita and falafel! This is my kind of dip, spiced sweet roasted bell pepper feta hummus--that was a mouthful. Whether you go cross-cultural and dip a tortilla in it or slather it on a chicken skewer hot off the grill, this nutty dip will taste sooo good!

7 Layer Dip
This is the ultimate dip. Hearty and thick, this side dish will definitely stay on a chip. Scoop it up in a tortilla or chow on it solo, either way you'll be in dip paradise. Get the recipe!

Cheese Dip
Nachos in the making. This Tex-Mex recipe for Chile Con Queso is an awesome base for nachos, just throw on some jalapenos and you're good to go!

Tuna Dip
Pack some protein on that chip with this tasty tuna recipe.

What's a Super Bowl party (or any party) without salsa? This authentic Mexican recipe will be scraped off the plate quicker than you can whip it up!

Photo Credit
: Courtesy of Flickr

Avocado: A Wonderful Fruit

Creamy, buttery avocado. This fruit is both healthy and delicious. A diet rich in avocados has been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Most of the calories that come from avocados are fat calories so it should be consumed in moderation however avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fat. Forget bananas, avocados contain a whopping 60% more potassium. Avocados are one of the top fruits rich in fiber. And let’s not forget how rich in vitamins they are, they’re chalk full of vitamins B, E and K. So as you get ready to whip up some guacamole for that Super Bowl party, rest assured because you’ll be serving up a healthy, nutritious and delicious dip for those chips! Learn more about the wonders of avocados.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Friday, January 23, 2009

Peanut Butter Recalls

The list of products being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination keeps getting longer and longer. Everything from Keebler and Famous Amos cookies to LUNA Bars and even dog biscuits are being pulled off the shelves to eliminate any possible risk of selling products which may contain salmonella-tainted peanut butter. So far 486 (and increasing) cases of salmonella have been reported, 6 people have died and 107 have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The source of the contamination has been linked back to Peanut Butter Corporation of America, a plant in Blakely, Georgia that produces peanut butter and peanut paste. The peanut butter is sold in bulk ranging from 5 to 1700 pounds to companies like Kellogg’s and institutions like schools and nursing homes. The companies turn the peanut butter or peanut paste into products like cookies and crackers. Companies that manufacture products using the contaminated peanut paste which is used in candy like peanut butter cups will then sell those products to another company that will use them in ice cream, for example, then a grocery store may buy that ice cream and sell it as a private label. This has made it difficult for investigators to track down exactly which products contain peanut butter or paste originating from the Georgia plant. This is what is prompting the lengthy recall list. Hershey’s and Kraft have stated that their products, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Nutter Butters, do not contain paste from the Georgia plant. The Girl Scout organization has claimed that their products are free of contamination as well.
In the mean time, consumers are advised to stay away from any products containing peanut butter or paste. There is no explanation for how the salmonella ended up in the peanut butter but there is speculation that it may have been contaminated after the peanuts were roasted since the high temperatures of roasting peanuts would have killed any strain of the pathogen. See an updated list of the products being recalled at the Food and Drug Administration website.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Faves: Sugar Bowl Brownies

There’s no hiding it, I’ve got a sweet tooth and the record to prove it. I’m easily tempted by fresh baked chewy chocolate chip cookies and you don’t have to ask me twice to try any luscious pastry. One of my favorite treats is a chocolate petite brownie from San Francisco based Sugar Bowl Bakery. This confection is absolutely delightful. It’s a bite size brownie (though it takes me about 2 ½ bites to devour it) that is so moist and decadent I can’t help but savour the moments that it’s in my mouth. The petite brownie has a light flaky top that melts once you sink your teeth into it. The tender center instantly saturates your taste buds with condensed decadence. Enjoying one of these baby brownies is truly an indulgent experience. I had one last night and though I could’ve had another, one was plenty to satisfy my sweet tooth. For more information on where you can get these chocolate morsels, check out Sugar Bowl Bakery. Though they are based in San Francisco, they've got locations nationally and they sell these wonderful treats at Costco and Starbucks. They also make them in a cranberry granola flavor which I’m dying to try.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sugar Bowl Bakery

Man v. Food

I’ve got a crush and his name is Adam Richman! Whether he’s chowing down on a 4 pound burger or feasting on a colossal doughnut, this dude epitomizes the concept of pigging out. On his show, Man v. Food which airs on the Travel Channel Wednesday nights, Adam tours the country state by state looking for the ultimate gluttonous havens. This boy from Brooklyn has trekked through some of the country's most famous food spots where they serve-up calorie dense guilty pleasures. Adam has introduced us to The Yeti (which he’s getting ready to tackle in the photo above), served up in Memphis’s Big Foot Lodge. The Yeti is a dessert made up of 18 scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate and strawberry sauce, whipped cream topped with cereals like Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies. After touring the town’s bender centrals, he takes on the local food challenge. Adam has taken on a 72 ounce steak (yeah, that’s right, 72oz.) in Amarillo, chicken wings doused in “atomic” sauce made from the world’s hottest chili pepper in Pittsberg, and the supreme Dagwood in Cleveland. If you can’t tell by now, this man can eat! Tonight Adam goes to his home state of New York to brave the spiciest curry. Goooo Man!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Channel

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

No matter what side of the isle you are on, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that our nation has embarked on a truly historic moment. Our country is opening a new chapter in its history and we are all optimistic about our future. So let’s celebrate! To a hopeful prospect and prosperity ahead. Have a cupcake, or two.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sea Salt, Caramel and Obama?

Sweet and savory have been combined in the past to produce foods welcomed by our palates. The latest craze originated in France and combines sweet caramel with sea salt. Salt has been an ingredient used in baking by some pastry chefs because it enhances sweetness. In the case of salted caramels, the salt's burning sensation brings out the burnt element of the caramel. The culinary delight was revered by chefs for years. The confection migrated over to the U.S. but slowly gained esteem among the masses. People seemed to take notice when the combination made it’s way to mainstream outlets. Last fall Starbucks added a salted caramel hot chocolate to the menu and Haagen Dazs added a salted caramel ice cream to its premium collection. And if that weren‘t enough, when Barack Obama disclosed his indulgence is salty caramel’s from a Seattle based chocolatier, Fran's Chocolates, the trend skyrocketed in popularity. Learn more about salted caramel in this New York Times article.

Check out this recipe for mini salted caramel cupcakes from Cupcake Bakeshop. Yum!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fran's Chocolates, Cupcake Bakeshop

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Salmon: Super Seafood

My introduction to salmon dates back to 2nd grade when a little redheaded girl from Alaska was a new student in our class. Embarrassing as it was, whenever you were the new kid in class, the teacher would point you out and make you introduce yourself to the rest of your classmates. Reluctantly, the girl introduced herself and told us she was from Anchorage. Her father was a fisherman and smoked salmon was a specialty of his. She passed around a tin of Indian hard smoked salmon to share with us. I examined my piece of fish jerky. The orangey pigment and oily texture didn’t really appeal to me. Then I took the dried piece of meat and tugged at it with my teeth. The salty flavor perked up my taste buds. The salmon was delightful.
Salmon has been hailed as the best source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Wild, cold water fish like salmon are the best source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) both of which the human body does not produce. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are very beneficial. These acids promote cardiovascular health, regulate blood pressure, and protect against stroke. Salmon contains a healthy balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats making it the perfect low calorie and low saturated fat source of protein. It is also brimming with nutrients like selenium, niacin and vitamins B12 and B6. It is also an excellent source of phosphorus and magnesium. Eating salmon regularly generates great health benefits from cancer protection to inflammation reduction to improving brain function.
My palate was deprived of salmon until about 6 years ago when I was reintroduced to the wonderful seafood. It was an Atlantic salmon that my mom marinated in a secret spice recipe and baked in the oven. The fish was made to perfection. The tender meat fell right off at the natural grooves as I poked it with my fork. The zest from the marinade beautifully enhanced the salmon’s natural flavor. Cold smoked salmon was a late entry on my menu but it’s been a regular part of my diet ever since I discovered its buttery sweetness. The versatility of cold smoked salmon is infinite. One of my favorite midday meals is a slice of multigrain toast topped with cottage cheese, tomatoes and smoked salmon. Another favorite is avocado slices on a butter croissant layered with fresh smoked salmon. I make sure to stock my fridge with this healthy fish because not only is it delicious, it is the healthiest form of lean protein and essential fatty acids. Learn more about the benefits of salmon.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Can we talk chocolate for a sec? Let me tell you about the piece I just had a moment ago. It was a dark chocolate wedge made by Trader Joe's. But wait, this is no run of the mill chunk o’ chocolate. Not only is it made up of high quality 70% Belgian cacao, it’s got ancho and chipotle chilies and Korintji cinnamon. Chilies? Yeah, chilies. There is a party going on in my mouth! This trio of zing really kicked up an otherwise ordinary block of dark chocolate. The bitterness of the chocolate combined with the spiciness of the chilies and cinnamon came together in perfect harmony. Alright, just one more piece...

Note: The Chocolate Traveler sells high quality chocolate wedges however I couldn't find anything similar to the chocolate that I tried made by Trader Joe's.


I’m one of those girls who can eat breakfast foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Waffles in the morning, milk and cereal in the afternoon and a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait in the evening. I could totally live off of breakfast eats for the rest of my life, seriously. One of my most favorite foods to start the day off with are pancakes. Hotcakes, flapjacks, griddle cakes, silver dollars, whatever you want to call them, these stackable cakes are an AM (or PM) darling.

I’ve compiled a handful of fabulous photos from Flickr of the most mouthwatering pancakes. Click on the photo and find out more about the recipes!

Chocolate Chip
As a self-identified chocoholic, I find these chocolate chip pancakes absolutely irresistible.

Banana and Blueberry Buckwheat

These hotcakes look incredibly delish and they're healthy too. Pass the syrup!

Oatmeal Coconut Blueberry (Vegan)
No animals were harmed while making this product. Coconut, blueberry and oatmeal, can it get any better than this?

Doughnut Pancakes with Coffee Sauce

I’ve never heard of doughnut pancakes but I want some! Recipe, anyone?

Felt and Wool Pancakes

Ha ha, gotcha! Unless you enjoy the furry taste of felt and the cottony flavor of wool, this one is better to look at than to chew on.

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Chips and Raspberries
Ay, dios mio! Peanut butter and chocolate chips? As a huge fan of Reese’s peanut butter cups, this is the ultimate pancake for me. The raspberries are the icing on the cake, literally.

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut
Healthy and tasty all in one. The nutritious whole wheat packed with fiber makes for the perfect guilt-free pancake.


Ah, the traditional buttermilk. This classic always satisfies my hunger for a savory hotcake.

Ricotta Lemon

This killer recipe puts a tangy twist on the classic pancake. It’s so good!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spicy Potato Wedges

Friday has got to be the most popular day of the week. It beckons the end of a torturous work week or grueling classes and the start of a leisurely weekend. As a kid, for me Fridays signified TGIF programming and comfort food. I'd get comfy on the couch with my spread of treats that wouldn't make their way into my lunch box during the week and watch Urkel and his crazy shenanigans. It was also the night when my mom would make tasty Middle Eastern pastries or her delicious chocolate brownies with rich cocoa icing, so I would have the satisfaction of munching on my favorite indulgences and inhaling the aroma of fresh baked goodies. 'Twas indeed double the pleasure. It was somewhat of a Friday night ritual for my brother to peel potatoes, hand-cut them and make two sizzling hot batches of French fries for us to chow on while we watched our favorite shows. They were all uniquely cut and when fried, their textures varied from thick and grainy to skinny and oily to thin and crunchy. I didn't discriminate, I savored each one. We had two dipping choices: ketchup or a super spicy cayenne pepper concoction that was my specialty. I would alternate between the two dips dunking the oily ones in the cayenne sauce and the thick ones in ketchup, don't ask why, it just seemed to go together. When my tongue was zapped with a little too much spice from the combination of the cayenne dip and the heat from the fries, I'd scoop up a generous portion of ketchup on one of the fat fries to cool my mouth. For some reason, my dad liked to eat them cold and with mayo; I cringed at the sight. Friday night French fries were a great end to the week.

I've got a great spin on the usual French fry recipe. It's a spicy potato wedge dish that is simple, healthy and flavorful. They'll take minutes to make and seconds to devour.

Here's What You Need:
  • Olive oil
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Granulated garlic
  • Dried parsley flakes

Here's What You Do:

1. Drizzle olive oil on a pan suitable for an oven.

2. Wash the potatoes and slice them so that they are thick. My strategy is to just cut them in-half then cut each half in-half and then cut each quarter in-half so that I end up with six wedges out of one potato.

3. Place the wedges on the oiled pan.

4. Mix the spices together to taste. I tend to make them more spicy so I liberally add cayenne pepper but you should mix the spices to your liking, of course.

5. Once you’ve combined the spices, sprinkle generously over the potatoes and place the pan in the oven at about 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (keep them in the oven a bit longer if you want them more well done, it’s up to you).

6. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr