Stop and think about the last time you were introduced to something that truly changed things for you. Something that brought an insane amount of inspiration to your life and craft. If you’re thinking of a man that’s cool and all, but for me it was learning about Carmenere wine.
Several months ago someone I know who’se food and wine opinion I have a high level of respect for recommended I try this golden nectar. I had assumed it was some super rare, exotic, and expensive wine only found in specialty stores. Turns out almost every grocery store sells it for less than $10 a bottle. Here’s the one I get.
It has a very savory flavor to it with strong pepper notes. It’s wild because I do not like bell peppers one bit, but love this. I’ve spent months trying to figure out what recipe could be the love letter to my new favorite wine.
I decided if I wanted to create something highlighting these savory notes, what could be better than pot roast with fall off the bone tender short ribs. Especially pot roast with mushrooms. The only thing that upset me about this meal was that with COVID I wasn’t able to cook it for a bunch of people and share it. Seriously I couldn’t wait for the world to know on this one.
Most of my recipes in the last several months have been inspired by fresh, home grown produce. I have one friend who’s garden I raided all summer to the point that I could be called Peter Rabbit. Through the fall my main inspiration has come from a friend’s farm that has had an amazingly consistent and diverse array of beautiful mushrooms. With the last batch I received I had originally thought of making a chicken marsala. But as I sat and thought about it I decided it was time to step my game up and give this Italian-American classic a major upgrade.
I rarely cook beef. I’m not fully sure why, it’s perfectly delicious, I just don’t mess with it. But recently I got a craving for two different beef dishes at the same time, meatloaf and beef stroganoff. There was no chance in heck I was going to put both on my grocery list and blow my mostly pescatarian lifestyle sky high. Enter: the mashup.
I mean honestly this makes all the sense in the world. This take on classic America combined with classic Russia soothes cold war tensions like Richard Nixon never could. Instead of the cafeteria style cream of mushroom based stroganoff over noodles, which I love; don’t get me wrong, I went for a more authentic flavor on the sauce. And honestly what’s better than a hunk of meat slathered in a rich, tangy mushroom sauce? Exactly, not a damn thing.
Within the last couple of years cacio e pepe has become such a culinary buzzword. Every pasta-driven instagram posts it almost on a daily basis. I’ve seen people say cacio e pepe is the new alfredo, whatever that means.
Like any hot trend there has been some elitism that has rode alongside it. From arguing the pronunciation to claiming if you don’t have pecorino made with milk from a virgin sheep that is then processed by the spirit of nonnas past then you’re doing it wrong.
While you do want to make everything right and perfect as possible, here’s the deal. Cacio e pepe=cheese and pepper. That’s the literal translation. You know what tastes great with cheese and pepper? That’s right, mother-hecking buttermilk biscuits!
The true beauty of this drop biscuit recipe is there isn’t an intense amount of work to it. Once your oven’s preheated the whole thing takes about 15 minutes. What could be better???
P.S. this is a small batch recipe that makes about 6-8 biscuits. Feel free to multiply for more goodness!
Like almost any southerner I’m a sucker for a good mac and cheese. What’s more comforting than carbs and cheese? Simple: carbs, cheese, and a crap ton of seafood. I based this recipe off of a traditional macaroni pie recipe, but with some switched up cheeses as well as the addition of shrimp, scallops and (admittedly imitation) crab.
I’m still not 100% sure if putting an entire sandwich through the tempura process was a stroke of genius or madness. See I have a very strong passion for hot ham and cheese sandwiches. I touched on it years ago with my croque madame recipe, but I needed more.
Part of the inspiration for this dish comes from the famous Disney parks monte cristo with blackberry preserves. The other half of the inspo comes from my love of Japanese techniques and flavors I tend to use more when I cook for myself vs. for the blog.
As soon as I took my first bite I was taken on a journey. This sandwich has crunchy, salty, sweet, fruity, spicy, and gooey all in one. It’s one of those things that’s perfect, but also its mere existence is terrifying at the same time.
Coming into this recipe I had never worked with lamb before. And even when I’ve eaten it it was almost always in the form of a gyro, or a burger that tasted like one.
Yet despite it being this big mystery I really wanted to dive in headfirst. Coming in here’s what I knew: lamb needs to stay pink, and that it can stand up to some heavy flavors and condiments. I brought back an old favorite with my roasted garlic mayo from my mushroom swiss burgers. But I also used this as a chance to dabble in something I’ve wanted to for a long time, jam making.
I’ve made some berry jams for breakfast items before and even tried my hand at the dark art of chia jam. But what about savory jams? I’ve heard of tomato jam but wanted to bring new life to the concept with a good vinegar hit and fresh herbs. Plus the leftovers are really good on toast with some soft cheese!
All together this burger is a flavor bomb, but the lamb still doesn’t get lost. It’s that magical moment where every component brings its own special flavor that hits all parts of the tongue. Truth be told I made them for my best friend to help me try and we both ate two in one sitting!
Ok let’s be real, 2020 has been a fairly zero stars experience. I took time away from recipe blogging because it just wasn’t feeling right with everything going on in the world.
But this doesn’t mean I stopped working, and planning, and developing recipes. I really wanted to stretch myself and take the time of isolation to work on recipes that would bring a cool variety to my little collection. So here we have the first Fancy Redneck original dessert (the other dessert recipes were ones I stole from my mom that she made when I was little).
I must say this pie does it all. The yuzu is sharp but adds a floral note that you wouldn’t get in a normal lemon pie, and the gingersnaps add a more savory and almost spicy element to the pie that’s tempered by a super fluffy meringue. I really wanted to write a dessert that would make the tongue dance.
While I’m still not 100% sure if now is the time for blogging I am damn sure it’s always time for a good pie.
Every so often I write a recipe that completely changes the game for me. A recipe that makes me proclaim to the void and all the gods, old and new that this will be my legacy. And let me tell you, managing to make crispy but oh so tender brussels sprouts that taste like the classic ground beef tacos you had as a kid is that moment.
And the process is simple: just drop the bad boys in the fryer for a few minutes and absolutely coat them with a super easy and basic homemade taco seasoning blend and that’s that on the sprouts. Then to top it all off I find the lemon-lime dip so fun. When you hear lemon-lime it takes you back to thinking about Gatorade, candy, fruit snacks, etc. But in all actuality it packs plenty of zing and coolness from the yogurt to cut through the spicy and semi-charred flavor of the sprouts. Every time I make this I’ll take a sample sprout to see how I did, and then I just keep going and going.
Back when I was about 20 I worked at the Lush store in Old Orchard mall right outside of Chicago. For those of you who don’t know, not only is it the mall they hang out in Mean Girls (even if the set is NOTHING like the real thing), but it’s bougie as they come. So bougie in fact they don’t even have a food court, just random nice restaurants scattered randomly throughout.
Most of these restaurants were the type of situation where you pay $15 for a burger at lunch time, and the fries and drinks are a la carte on top of it. But the main beacon of hope for my broke ass was the Auntie Ann’s located around the corner from Lush. It was literally the only thing I could afford in the whole mall to eat, and because of it I developed a weird addiction, maybe even passion for pretzel wrapped hot dogs. To this day I still get pretzel dogs almost any time I go into a mall. It’s in my code at this point.
Since a big point of cooking at home is having stuff you can’t just get anywhere, I added togarashi into the pretzel dough, and on top as well. For dunking I recommend either sweet chili sauce or Chinese hot mustard. This recipe got me 10 hot dogs and a few little pretzel nuggets. Continue reading “Togarashi Pretzel Dogs”→