Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bananacon (Bacon-Wrapped Banana Poppers)

The summer is a wonderful time, folks.  Full of long days and cool drinks, relaxation and busy travel.  It's that unique time of the year when you feel like your wildest dreams could be realized.  ...Even if those wildest dreams involve checking a few long-overdue home improvement projects off your to-do list. *ahem*

Since anything is possible, why not put bananas and bacon together for a sweet and savory appetizer or treat?

I can't claim credit for this idea.  A computer game that Kyle sometimes likes to play, called Starbound, has a feature where you can make food in-game.  One of the things you can make is called... you guessed it, bananacon!  Get it?  Like, banana + bacon =... BananaCon?  A convention for bananas?  Wait.  That's not quite right.

Source: http://starbound.wikia.com/wiki/Bananacon

Anyway, I decided to recreate them, à la Gourmet Gaming.  And let me tell you, these are even more delicious than they sound.  So kick back, enjoy your summer and this little treat.  You've earned it.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Warm Corn Chowder Salad with Bacon and Apple Cider Vinegar

It's that time of year.  That one where it might still be really cold where you are, or maybe it's looking like spring is around the corner... but chances are, we're in that weird in-between time.  Not winter, not quite spring.  We all know that time.  The one where you're not really doing one thing or another, but just kind of floating in between.  I've been there.  You probably have, too.  Between undergrad and graduate school.  Between job and other job.  Between Masters and PhD programs.  It's a thing.  It can be stressful.  And sometimes it can be freeing, to just be in transition and not need a plan for every moment.

So before winter goes away completely (although some would argue it never really arrived here in Indiana), here's a warm salad to keep you toasty.  It's got corn - reminiscent of summer and warm weather - and also hearty bacon, potatoes, and cooked vegetables to warm the cockles.  Let's get this last one in before we're no longer in between.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Summer Basil Potato Salad

In honor of a 70˚ day in February, here's a summer salad for you to enjoy.

You know, each semester brings its own feel, always reminiscent of the last, but with its own special twist.  It feels stressful every time, with weeks that never seem to end, and days where all you want to do is take a nap right there on your desk (I definitely had at least three such days this past week).  But this semester is special, in many ways.

It's special because it's the last time I will probably ever take a full load of courses, in my entire life (weird!).  It's special because it's the second semester I'm working at the Global Village Living-Learning Center, and now I've really gotten in the groove and been accepted into the fold, and I have a million cool events planned for my residents and it's crazy and wonderful and fun.  It's special because next fall may be completely different and I don't yet know how.  It's special because for the first time, I'm starting to really come into my own as a researcher, and I'm starting to submit papers to conferences, and to kind of be a real professional in the field.  And it's feels pretty good.

Now enough with this being inside on the computer - Kyle and I are going to go outside and enjoy this beautiful day with a little tasting over at the local winery.  How classy of us!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Baked Croque-Monsieurs

After a summer in France, I have to admit I'm a little disenchanted with the array of food we have to choose from here in the United States.  It seems like everything is so heavy and... fried... here.  And we eat so many chemicals I can't pronounce that it feels like I can taste the sodium benzoate and monosodium glutamate.  People aren't obese in the U.S. because of fat, or even sugar - I would argue that the big problem is the additives in the food.  Why do you think obesity only became an issue in France after American fast food chains moved in?  They had plenty of butter, sugar, and carbs before we came along!

Anyway, enough of the soapbox.  The positive side to this is that French food is awesome, and I appreciate it... a lot.  There are very few additives in the food you buy there, so everything is a little more natural, and lot more delicious.  Just a simple sandwich is a work of art.

So now I find myself back in the United States, and missing French food... Le sigh... But that's why I'm here with a recipe for croque-monsieurs that will knock the chaussettes right off ya feet! This gooey, cheesy, crispy baked ham and cheese sandwich will make you think you done died and went to paradis.  It's just what the médecin ordered.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Parisian Summer Salad with Baked Goat Cheese Rounds

In 10 days, I'm leaving on a marvelous adventure in France!  I will be one of four instructors for a six-and-a-half-week French immersion program for high school students.  It's going to be a lot of work, but it's going to be amazing.  I'll be in Brest, which is in Brittany, and from what I hear, they have incredible food.  Ever heard, for example, of a kouign-amann?  Basically, buttery, sugary, caramelized goodness.  And there's more where that came from.  So excited!

In preparation to go to France, I will share with you my own creation, inspired by the wonderfully fresh and light salads I had in Paris last summer with my family.  They often served their salads with toast topped with baked goat cheese, which pretty much has the texture of soft, creamy sex.  So, within days of coming home to the States, I whipped up my own approximation of such a salad, complete with sexy goat cheese toast rounds (ignore the burnt edges in the photo above - it was still phenomenal).

Hopefully this salad will transport you to the outdoor patio of a Parisian café in the summertime, where I often like to live in my dreams. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Asian Cashew Chicken

I really, really love Chinese food.  Any Asian food, actually, but especially take-out Chinese.  It gives me the same comforting feeling that other people probably get from fried chicken, mashed potatoes, or collard greens.  I can't explain it, but it just makes me happy.  But for some reason, I rarely cook Asian food myself.  Maybe I was afraid I'd get sick of it if I actually made it, or that I'd screw it up and ruin Chinese forever (highly unlikely).  Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try.

Another blast from the past (I first made it last January), this Asian cashew chicken is just as awesome as anything I could get at our local No. 1 Chinese Restaurant - and without all the MSG, whoo!  Makes great leftovers, too.  I proudly announced that I had made this from scratch when I brought it in to school for lunch the next day.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Favorite Chili & Corny Bread

I have a confession to make.  It took some inspiration from my truly lovely friend Janine (over at HeARTful Cooking) to get back on my food blog.  I really enjoyed making it, and I've cooked so many interesting things over the past year, but never found the wherewithal to just bite the bullet and make a post about it!

I tend to be long-winded in my blog posts.  I think that's my problem.  Ever get to a point where you know it'll take you so long to do something (like, really unnecessarily long) that you just don't want to start?  That was where I was at.  For a year.

But I really, really like this little blog of mine, and you know, next year's going to be a little weird.  My funding situation is potentially non-existent.  I probably won't be teaching.  I'll be taking just two classes, most likely.  I'll be retaking a Masters exam.  So I'll need to find some solace in food.  Cooking it, not getting take-out like I have been.  But that's a different issue.  (Damn you, Falafels and your shawarma!)

Welcome back to Please Pass the Muffins.  Here, we like muffins.  And you.