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”→
Today we’re definitely putting the redneck in The Fancy Redneck. I mean what’s more country than putting a can of beer up a chicken’s butt, letting it just hang out in the oven for a while, and calling it dinner?
All horrendous visuals aside there is a method to this madness. The beer creates a nice steam inside the chicken that keeps it moist while cooking and gives a subtle eau de beer perfume to the meat. When paired with an ultra spiced compound butter for the baking the result is like a rotisserie chicken that your local grocery store could never.
Sometimes life provides you with serendipity. On my blog’s Instagram page I posted a poll asking if my next post should be something healthy or naughty. Turns out about 70% of people wanted to see something decadent. Right after I posted this it was time to start planning what to make for the Fourth of July. And maybe it’s obvious, but a kickass burger felt like the only way to go.
To me Juicy Lucy’s are a special burger because it’s like the savory version of a Hostess cupcake and its hunt for the cream filling. But instead of chocolate and cream we have meat and cheese, and I’m not the slightest bit mad at that. Topped off with homemade pickles and a honey dijonnaise we have the perfect bite of meaty, cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and tangy. For a burger that creates a full on sensory experience look no further. Continue reading “Juicy Lucy”→
So here we have another super beloved, famous recipe of my mom’s. She would make these every Christmas to bring to our family gathering. Pretty much the entire family considered these cheesecakes to be the crown jewel of the holiday feast.
For this dinner my best friend and I were reminiscing about our favorite hookah bar that recently closed down. Back when we were 19 this place was an old haunt of ours. One of our favorite things about that place was their chicken alfredo. To be honest their alfredo sauce was pretty bland, but oh lord the chicken.
Shrimp is one of the key items in South Carolina food culture. Growing up one of the main spots for my family vacations was Charleston. For those of you who have never been Charleston is a beautiful town filled with a rich history that is as old as America itself, and they also boast some of the best food in the world in my opinion. Since Charleston is on the shore you can find beautiful coastal style dishes in almost every restaurant. Think she crab soup or shrimp and grits. Every time my family would travel to Charleston we made sure to eat every bite of shrimp that was available to us and we would even get coolers full of shrimp from seafood markets to take home with us. The shrimp there is that good.
For this dish I was inspired by memories of Charleston, South Carolina. I wanted to create something with beautiful shrimp, but really turn the volume up on the flavor to create a fiery, yet decadent shrimp. I crusted the shrimp in some of my favorite spices like old bay and lots of garlic powder. Then I combined oil, butter, and garlic in the pan to create a sort of garlic butter, and then cooked the shrimp in the garlic butter for extra oomph. I paired these shrimp with my tomato basil cream pasta, recipe found here. This created an incredibly well rounded dish. The shrimp had spicy and garlicky notes while the pasta balanced it out with the sauce’s creaminess and sweetness of the tomato and basil. This pairing worked incredibly well, but I think these shrimp could go with any manner of dishes. They would be beautiful next to a steak for a surf and turf, orwould be delicious with polenta for a play on shrimp and grits. There are so many options for these little flavor bombs, plus the cooking on them is super easy to boot!
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Start by mixing the garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper, and old bay together. Heat the oil and butter over medium high heat. While your oil and butter heats up toss the shrimp in the spice mix. Once the butter is melted add the garlic and give it one minute to cook. After that minute add your shrimp to the pan. The shrimp should take about two minutes to cook on the first side and one minute on the second side. The spices should form a nice crust on the shrimp. For serving I topped my pasta with the shrimp and garlic from the pan, and then topped the whole plate off with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It does not get much easier or more delicious than that!
It has to be obvious at this point that creamy pastas are my kryptonite. There is just something so magical about a cream sauce that packs a ton of flavor. The one downside of a cream sauce is that they can feel overly decadent. For tonight’s meal I wanted to try and explore the lighter side of the cream sauce, if there is such a thing.
I am about to share something very sacred with all of you. Do you recall your first food memory? Maybe something a parent, guardian, day care professional, or nanny made for you? That one special food that always just makes you feel warm, tingly, and loved? This is my version of that. Ever since I was three or four years old I remember my mom making her famous chicken parmesan.
Everyone who cooks for long enough, whether they are a home cook or a professional chef, has developed a signature dish. For my mother that dish is the most divine chicken parmesan, and for the elite chefs of Le Cirque in Manhattan it is potato wrapped sea bass. The signature dish is a universal truth of the culinary world. And now the time has come for me to share my signature dish with you.