5.13.2015

The New House

You never realize how much work something is, until you are halfway into it! We have lived in our new home for 11 days now. I am so tired, so exhausted, so pooped! It is like you get one thing done, and fifteen more things pop up afterwards! But.. Kevin and I are having an extremely great time fixing up the place. We are so thankful and thrilled. What a major difference paint and mulch can make!

Last night we had our first home cooked meal on the electric stove. To my surprise, it really wasn't that bad! The oven seems to preheat faster than my gas oven did, and the stove top worked just fine. I made tacos (for Tuesday, of course!) and they came out with their same great taste! I look forward to organizing the kitchen more, and getting back into my regular cooking routine! It's been A LOT of pizza, and burgers on the BBQ.

Here are some before and after pictures -









Got to have a red door!

Hubby working hard!

We have deer, snakes, turtles, and much more! Thought it would be great to capture these two together.. after I let out a huge scream!!













4.09.2015

Cipollini Onions


Good evening friends! I have been wanting to post about cipollini onions for a while now. Although you may have seen them here and there on my blog, I've never dedicated a post to them. Cipollini onions were introduced to me in a cooking class that I attended last year at Elegant Eating. They were delicate, yet textured.. and sweet, yet tangy. The flat shape makes these onions perfect for roasting, and they are great to use whole!

Take one minute and think about a thick, juicy piece of marinated steak... let you mouth start salivating for just one bite. But wait... add one or two of these bad boys on top of that steak! You will never want a steak without them! My favorite way to cook cipollini onions are by roasting them in the oven with whole garlic cloves. They need about 30-45 minutes to develop their tenderness, and so well worth the wait! You can add a bit of balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, a bit of fresh parsley, chicken broth.. the sky is the limit!


I will tell you this, they are not easy to find! Ever play the game Where's Waldo? Then yes, you may understand what I'm talking about! I get lucky at Fairway market, but other local grocery stores don't carry them often. One time I was lucky enough to get charged for pearl onions, and didn't realize until I got home that I paid about .44 cents for 6 of them! They are very inexpensive, but rare enough to give that "wow" factor that dinner guests look for.

Tonight, my husband added them into the crock pot with a pork tenderloin. He made some root beer pulled pork from my blog, along with steamed broccoli and canned corn. Nothing better than pulled pork on a toasted seeded bun! Good job, honey!

Try a few of these onions out and let us know what you think!


3.31.2015

Browned Butter Bay Scallops


Snow in Spring?! What kind of mean jokes is Mother Nature playing on us? April fools Day is still a a day away! For this past snowy weekend, my husband and I trucked it over to my parents house for a nice dinner. My mom and I teamed up and decided to do a little fish theme!
In this post, I will give you the most delicious browned butter bay scallop recipe (wow, that's a lot of B's!) and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Some other recipes featured in this post:
Basil Risotto
Basil Pesto Salmon - see below! yum!
Cajun Fried Flounder


Browned Butter Bay Scallops
Serves: 4
Cook time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 lb bay scallops
2 tbs UNSALTED butter (We used Plugra brand)
1 tsp garlic salt
Pepper, to taste
*optional: lettuce, chopped red onion, sliced avocado


Directions:

1. Heat medium saute pan on medium-high heat. Melt butter.

2. Season scallops with garlic salt & pepper, and saute for about 3 minutes on each side until browned.

3. I chose to serve over a bed of lettuce, with a few chopped red onions and sliced avocado.


Recipes featured in the picture below are linked above!


3.10.2015

Double Dippin' Cutlets


It's always told to never double dip, but in this case it is a must! No one loves chicken cutlets more than my husband. It is the first meal I have ever cooked for him, and still today, it is number 1 "go to" meal. Kevin mentioned wanting to try a double dipped version of my thin chicken cutlets. This allows for a thicker, crunchier, and crispier cutlet.
*Tip: after frying your cutlets, place them on a baking rack to drain. When allowing them to drain out on a paper towel, it may become soggy after some time.

What you will need:
1 pack of thin chicken cutlets, trimmed of cartilage and fat.
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 eggs, mixed with 1 tbs water
Oil for frying


Steps:
1. Mix both types of bread crumbs together in a shallow bowl (for dipping)
2. Mix the eggs & water into a shallow bowl (for dipping)
3. Place oil in large fry pan on medium/high heat.
4. Dip one cutlet at a time in the egg wash, then bread crumbs, then REPEAT.
*This step is important, because dipping in egg, bread crumb, egg again, and bread crumb again will give you that very crispy crust.
5. When oil is hot enough, fry cutlets for 2 and a half minutes on each side.
6. Drain cutlets on baking rack & serve.

Update: House, and more!

Has it really been weeks since I last posted? Time sure does slip away. As most know, I married Kevin on New Year's Eve and we have been playing catch up with life since. I finally got around to the DMV to change my last name (a 10 minute wait at the DMV, it was almost unheard of)! Since our wedding, we have been adjusting to many things.. sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is not so easy. ;)
House hunting has been taking up most of our time. Being that it is a good time to buy because the market is low, we were really motivated to find "the one" ..  Surprise! We found it!
Kevin and I are in contract as of today, and will be closing on a very special date (just so happens to be my birthday). We are so thrilled to start this new adventure!
You may even see us on a TV show about our house search *hint, hint!!!!

As for cooking, we will need to do changes to our *new* kitchen. I have never cooked on an electric stove/oven and would like to upgrade to gas as soon as possible. All of the appliances are pretty outdated and will need to be replaced. Our work is cut out for us and I look forward to sharing a few updates with you all about the move! Hope to get a new recipe posted soon too!

We always celebrate with the BEST champagne! Veuve Clicquot

1.26.2015

Honey glazed Pork Tenderloin


In New York, we are about to get a record breaking blizzard. They are estimating a snow fall between 24 and 36 inches. That is 3 feet people! So, what does one do in preparation for a snow storm like this? Bread, milk and eggs of course. I am not sure why those are the essential items that one buys in a storm like this.. I mean really, french toast? There was no bread left yesterday, and I accidentally dropped the eggs in the parking lot, leaving them splattered all over the pavement.
We stocked up on food last night, really because we wanted some snacks to munch on while snowed in. The only issue is, now my husband was mandated to sleep at his job (hospital) and I will be all alone with all these snacks! :) During our grocery shopping last night, we got ingredients for risotto, pork tenderloin, chop meat, frozen pizzas, water, etc. We made sure to have batteries at home for flash lights, and a new lighter for candles and our gas stove/oven - just in case we lose power. I even stopped at Petco to stock up on my feathered children's food!

Being we had the ingredients to make a delicious dinner, I decided to go with basil risotto (one of our favorites) and a perfect pork tenderloin recipe. You will not be sorry when you taste the butter-like texture of this pork and flavorful honey mustard/honey glaze. It melts in your mouth! You can find the basil risotto recipe here. Below is the recipe for the pork only.


Servings: 2 to 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:
1 lb pork tenderloin
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs honey mustard
1 tbs honey
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
2-3 shallots, peeled
*optional: carrots, fingerling potatoes, etc.
1 cup chicken stock


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Season pork generously with salt & pepper.

2. Heat a medium/large non-stick pan. On medium to high heat, heat olive oil and butter in pan. Place the tenderloin in the pan and brown each side for 3 minutes (total of 6 minutes).

3. Put the garlic cloves and shallots in a casserole dish or roasting pan, leaving some room in the center for the pork. Once your pork is browned, place into roasting dish. Brush the honey mustard and honey on top of the pork.

4. Bake for 40 minutes on 350 degrees. Add chicken stock into dish and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes (total of 55 minutes). Broil at the end for a minute or two to crisp the top.

5. Remove from oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Slice pork about 1 inch thickness and serve.





We always have sundaes on Sunday so here is a quick pic of our fudge ripple sundaes! Kevin doesn't like sprinkles so you can assume which one is mine!

1.01.2015

A New Year's Eve Wedding


2015! Brought in the New Year by getting married to the most handsome man I know! Last night was so beautiful and so special to both of us. I love my husband and look forward to a lifetime of happiness,  sadness, love, tears, fights, and make ups. Lol Why not be realistic, right? 
Here are some pictures to share with you all.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year, and hope you had one as nice as we did!





The most delicious cheesecake that you could ever imagine tasting! Thanks to a local friend, Lisa.



Cheers! 
-Kevin and Kimberly


12.18.2014

Wedding Countdown: 2 WEEKS!


We are just less than two weeks away from getting married! It is a bit surreal, filling out paperwork with my new last name on it. Kevin and I are just about done with all the planning of things but we have a few more loose ends to tie, including appetizers! I will be preparing the appetizers myself before heading to a restaurant for dinner with our families.
I do like the idea of Mushroom Bites, which I happened to make last New Year's Eve. They are easy to eat, and extremely flavorful - yummy, gruyere cheese!

Cheese... that reminds me!!


We took a trip to The Village Cheese Shop and had the most INCREDIBLE cheese ever! It will be a great (& expensive) treat for our families to try. The cheese is called Pecorino al Tartufo with pieces of truffle in it! Delicious and a must for our wedding. I highly recommend trying it!


We picked up the last of our wedding favors today, which I cannot wait to share with all! Of course they are food & kitchen related. I also redecorated my cake stand to match our New Year's Eve "theme" since the most gorgeous little cheesecake will be sitting on it that evening. The colors of our wedding will be black, silver and gold - and anything sparkly! 


I won't give away anymore sneak previews. 
We look forward to sharing pictures from our day with you all very soon!

Francois Payard - French pastry Chef

What goes around, comes around.


Recently, I posted a review and a giveaway for Mrs. Renfro's Gourmet Salsas. I will only review and write about products that I truly like, and that I can give honest opinions about.
I was lucky enough to be the winner of someone else's giveaway, Chef Francois Payard. Lucky doesn't do justice in describing how I feel about winning this one. I've always had some type of luck on my side.. so when I do win things, I am not always shocked. This to me, was indeed shocking! I wasn't asked to review any of the following items, but I feel compelled to tell you about them.

I live close to NYC and although I have heard of Chef Payard, I've never been able to visit any of his shops or taste any of his delightful treats.. until now of course! I received a package from Felipe and Francois this afternoon at my office. To my surprise, there were quite a bit of treats in the box!

Macarons!
Chocolate!
AND
Chocolate covered almonds!

I guess they didn't realize that my wedding is less than two weeks away and these kind of treats are the last thing I should really be eating! ;)



When opening the package, we all said how beautiful the boxes looked. Yellow, sleek and smooth which really gives a ritzy feel to it. I read the first treat, Almond Givrettes - caramelized almonds dipped in dark chocolate and coated with confections sugar. Mouths started watering.


Next were the chocolates that were so gorgeously decorated. Each piece looking like artwork. Lastly, Chef Payard's macarons. I have been looking forward to the macarons most after seeing all the wonderful feedback from Francois' customers online. 


I will share some things that were said by my lovely coworkers after tasting these treats:
"This is the most decadent macaron I have ever tasted." - Annmarie K. (she had the dark chocolate macaron)
"The pistachio macaron is to DIE for, you must try one." - Uncle Ed
"OMG" - Patty C.
"WOW.. how have I never eaten [macarons] before today?" - Kevin, my fiance (trying his first macaron ever)
and last but not least,
"These are outsmazing!!" - ME, who also had my first macaron today. And yes, outsmazing is outstanding and amazing put together and is said often between Kevin and I when we love something!


The feedback from my coworkers was truly special, as I have never heard so many people rave about one product like that. My uncle Ed, who is probably the most picky person that I know when it comes to food, was really floored by the bursting flavors in the chocolates and macarons. Out of everything, the salted caramel chocolates were my favorite, as were the raspberry macarons. Kevin's favorites were the coffee macaron, and the arabica coffee chocolate - of course, anything coffee flavored!

Feeling very grateful and hope to visit Francois Payard Bakery soon! Thanks Chef!


12.09.2014

Review: Mrs. Renfro's Gourmet Salsas


A few weeks ago when at the grocery store with my fiance, Kevin, we
stumbled upon an aisle filled with bread, tortillas, chips, dips and
other goodies. While browsing the different chips and dips, Mrs.
Renfro's caught our eye. Chipotle Corn Salsa... how flippin' good does
that sound! Most people know that Kevin and I enjoy our kick of
spiciness.. so we decided to try it out.

After LOVING this salsa, I went online to search the name brand a bit.
I found a neat story about how Mrs. Renfro's came to be, which can be
found here. You can truly appreciate a product more when
you get to see who is behind the making of it.

I picked three salsas to review and hope that it will push you enough
to try them for yourselves! I am also giving away TWO salsas
of your choice from Mrs. Renfro's Gourmet Salsas. There are 18
different salsas to choose from - check them out! Use the entry form below for
your chance to win.
I will be announcing the winner on Monday, December 15th.


Note: All three of these salsas are gluten free. We all know how
popular GF is becoming!


Salsa #1 Chipotle Corn Salsa- I have to say that this one is my all
time favorite. The corn gives incredible texture yet the salsa is
still smooth throughout. It has the perfect punch of spice to it.
Tonight I added this salsa to my taco recipe and it really brought
everything together. A true Mexican taste! See below for pics.

Salsa #2 Garlic Salsa- Who doesn't LOVE garlic?! I was very surprised
by this salsa, and so was Kevin. Although it is called garlic
salsa, we just weren't expecting it to have such a powerful, garlicky
taste.. but it was strong, and it was great! The spice in this
specific salsa kind of creeps up on you in the after taste, which we
liked! Kevin voted this one as his favorite and he proved it by almost
finishing the jar tonight! I think this salsa would be a huge hit at
parties, as it goes with many different types of foods.

Salsa #3 Habanero Salsa- WHOA!! Don't let the pink top fool you. You
will need an iron tongue for this salsa. Highly recommended for the
HOT lovin' people out there, but for everyone else, consider yourself
warned. Kevin can handle heat.. (I mean look at his soon-to-be wife!
lol) .. he had trouble with this one though. We did dab a bit of this
salsa on our tacos (when I say dab, I mean dab!) and it was a
delicious touch.
I will admit, it has been thirty minutes after our tastings, and our
tongues are still tingling from this one! Next, I would like to try
the Mango Habanero flavor by Mrs. Renfro's, as I think the sweet mixed
with the spicy would be a perfect combo! 


To go with our taste test, we used the chips below. They are so easy
to eat and dip with AND they are GF too!



Mixing Mrs. Renfro's Chipotle Corn salsa into our beef taco recipe was
a great addition!
We look forward to trying another Renfro salsa in our next Taco
Tuesday night!















Below is the entry form to enter for your chance to win any two of the
salsas on Mrs. Renfro's site. To check out your options, visit their
website here. MRS. RENFRO'S SALSAS

Good Luck to all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

11.26.2014

Hoisin Teriyaki Meatballs


Yummy! Meatball time!



These Asian style meatballs were delightful. Hoisin sauce is a favorite in our house, so I hope you all enjoy the recipe we created!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20-25 meatballs
**I serve these over white rice**


What you will need:
1.5 lb ground beef (85% lean)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, thinly chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tbs soy sauce (low sodium)
1 large egg
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbs soy sauce (low sodium)
1/3 cup teriyaki (low sodium)
1 tbs sherry cooking wine
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Scallions, to garnish


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a larger bowl, mix together (with your hands) the beef, garlic, scallions, salt & pepper, soy sauce, egg and breadcrumbs. Form golf ball sized balls with the mixture and place on baking tray.

3. Bake meatballs in oven for 9 minutes, turn them over, and bake for an additional 9 minutes. (18 minutes total).

4. When meatballs are just about done, mix hoisin, soy sauce, teriyaki, and sherry together in a bowl. Heat a wok or medium sized sauce pan on medium heat.

5. Once wok/pan is hot, add in sauce and heat for about 1 minute. Lower heat, add meatballs to sauce and mix until all are coated.

Add sesame seeds & scallions to garnish. Serve over white rice, or by themselves for an appetizer.