Favorite recipes and stories about home cooking. We love comfort food and dishes that warm the heart. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Crème Brûlée Experiment

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet - this is mostly just to show off the pictures of the final product...

I made crème brûlée for the first time tonight and expected it to completely fail. Mostly because I didn't follow a recipe - just looked up the ingredients and decided to "wing it". I also didn't have all of the right ingredients, so I improvised.

Surprisingly, my crème brûlée came out perfectly. No curdling, no fires, no crumbly topping... Who knew?

Sorry for the lack of recipe, but the ingredients I used were egg yolk, granulated sugar, half & half, vanilla bean powder, and nutmeg. I preheated the oven to 280 and baked it for about 40 minutes - baking time could vary...

Fresh out of the oven. Notice that the custard is holding the toothpick in place? =)
Brûlée'ing the crème

The final result: Crème Brûlée

I'm as proud as a kid who just successfully tied their shoe laces for the first time...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bacon Brownies Recipe

Bacon Brownies
I know the words “Bacon + Browniesin the same sentence are hard to swallow, but I’ll swear to this: Once you go bacon, you’ll never be satisfied with a plain ol’ brownie again. And I promise that when you bite into these bacon brownies, you won’t get a chunk of meat that feels like it doesn’t belong there.

These bacon brownies will give you the best foodgasm of your life (my friends refer to them as “chocolate bacon crack”). They’re amazingly moist, with a crunchy-sweet bacon candy topping and the flavors meld perfectly together. Even if you’re not a bacon fan you’ll still love these brownies.

Here’s the recipe for the best Bacon Brownies EVER!

Bacon Brownie Ingredients
  • ½ cup Bacon Fat
  • 4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
  • A pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 4 Regular-sized Eggs (or 3 jumbo)
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar (+ 1 Tbs. for the Bacon Topping)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 strips of Candied Bacon
  • 2 Tbs. hardened Sugar from the Candied Bacon process
  • ¼ cup crushed Pecans

Bacon Brownie Preparation
  1. In a double boiler, slowly melt the ½-cup bacon fat with the unsweetened chocolate and Cayenne pepper, stirring occasionally until well blended.
  2. Let the chocolate mixture cool to room temperature (keep it liquid – do not let it get hard).
  3. In a large bowl, beat the 4 eggs together until light and foamy.
  4. Continue to beat, while adding the Salt, sugar and Vanilla.
  5. While still beating
  6. Add the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar mixture and with just a few swift strokes combine. Even if you normally use an electric mixer, do this part manually. Before the mixture becomes uniformly colored, gently mix in the all-purpose flower (sifted flour is recommended to ensure there are no floury clumps).
  7. Add brownie mixture to a 10x10 inch well-buttered (or greased) baking pan.

Bacon Topping Preparation
  1. Crush the candied bacon and the hardened sugar left from the candied bacon preparation into little bits.
  2. Combine the crushed candied bacon with the crushed pecans and a Tbs. of granulated sugar and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle the candied bacon/pecan mixture evenly over the bacon brownie batter.

Bake the bacon brownies at 350°F for approximately 40 minutes. You can check to see if your bacon brownies are done baking by taking a regular toothpick and poking through the center of the baking pan. If the brownies are ready, the batter won’t stick, but there should be a little bacon brownie residue left on the toothpick to ensure the brownies are still moist.

Let the bacon brownies cool to room temperature and then cut into squares and serve.

Do you love bacon? Check out these bacon treats!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Grilled Cheese with Red Onion, Cherry Tomato & Irish Cheddar Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Irish Cheddar Cheese
Grilled Cheese with Red Onion, Cherry Tomato and Irish Cheddar Cheese is my absolute favorite grilled cheese sandwich. If you've got a craving for comfort food you absolutely must try this recipe on for size and if you have tomato soup to go with it, even better!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • Thinly sliced Irish cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 slices of cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Tbs. of chopped red onion
  • Butter

Grilled Cheese Preparation
  1. Place 2 slices of the whole wheat bread on a flat surface, divide half of the Irish cheddar cheese among the slices. Top the cheese evenly with the cherry tomatoes and onion.
  2. Place the 2 remaining slices of bread on top to make two sandwiches. Butter the top of the bread using half of the butter.
  3. Preheat a pan on medium-low heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan, butter-side down (may need to do in batches) and cook until lightly golden brown.
  4. Spread the remaining butter on the bread facing up, then flip and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese has melted.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brown Sugar Candied Bacon (With a Kick)

Brown Sugar-Candied Bacon
I am obsessed with the combination of sweet and savory. And if you’ve taken the time to look through my recipes, you’ll notice that they have a much defined sweet-savory theme.  

The first time I made Candied Bacon I used maple syrup.  But I find, unless braised quite a bit, that the bacon doesn’t absorb the maple flavor too well. And once cooked, it doesn’t get the hard candy feel the candied bacon made with Brown Sugar has.

If you’re a bacon fan and love the sweet and savory combo as much as I do, you absolutely have to try this candied bacon recipe.

Candied Bacon Ingredients:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Heavily cover both sides of each slice of bacon in the brown sugar and arrange the slices so there is no contact between them on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes (until the bacon is well caramelized).
  5. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the bacon strips to a cooling rack and allow the excess fat to drain. Let the bacon cool until hardened.

Maybe be served alone as Bacon Candy or used as a garnish for a Bacon Cocktail.

Do you love bacon? Check out these tasty bacon treats!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Foodie Gossip: Anti-Valentine’s Day Food: Avoid the Sex by Feedin...

Foodie Gossip: Anti-Valentine’s Day Food: Avoid the Sex by Feedin...: "Beer or Ale is a the perfect beverage to lower the libido.Want to avoid the sex without hurting your partner’s feelings on Valentine’s Day? ..."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nutella Banana Sandwich: I Finally Discovered The Golden Sandwich

Nutella + Banana = TLA
Last night I had a double foodgasm that left me wanting more. I had tried Nutella before and wasn’t all that impressed, but after finding an article about Nutella, I decided to give it another shot. And after the first bite, I heard angels sing.

I made a Nutella-banana sandwich and it was ammmazing. It was sweet and creamy… It was the perfect dessert sandwich. And when I woke up this morning, I found myself craving more.

Making one took about 3 minutes. I just slathered Nutella on two pieces of bread, then layered one side of bread with banana slices and laid the other slice of bread on top. I never knew something so simple could be so amazingly delicious!

If you haven’t tried a Nutella-banana sandwich, I highly recommend that you take yourself to the store, pick up a jar of Nutella and whip one right up – you won’t regret it!

The Nutella-Banana Sandwich
And just so you know, I am not in any way affiliated with Nutella. I just became their biggest fan.

Follow up: I just tried another and added blue berries to it. It was better than the original...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Truly * Tastefully, Tara: Why Not Roast in Your Pot?

Truly * Tastefully, Tara: Why Not Roast in Your Pot?: "Dear Readers, I grew up in a reasonably gourmet household where mom’s dinners consisted of meals like bouillabaisse and blue cheese and he..."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Applewood Bacon & Swiss Gruyere Cheese

I made this grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today and it was absolute heaven. The saltiness of the bacon, the creaminess of the Swiss Gruyere cheese and the sweetness of the caramelized onions blend perfectly in between the crunchy bread. If you've got a craving for comfort try this recipe on for size:

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)
- 4 slices of whole wheat bread
- Thinly sliced Swiss Gruyere cheese
- 4-6 slices of Applewood bacon
- 4 Tbs. of caramelized onions
- Butter

Grilled Cheese Preparation
Place 2 slices of the bread on a flat surface, divide half of the cheese among the slices. Top the cheese with the Applewood bacon. Then top the Applewood bacon with the caramelized onions and the remaining cheese.

Place the 2 remaining slices of bread on top to make two sandwiches. Butter the top of the bread using half of the butter.

Preheat a pan on medium-low heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan, butter-side down (may need to do in batches) and cook until lightly golden brown.

Spread the remaining butter on the bread facing up, then flip and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese has melted.


Do you love bacon? Check out these tasty bacon treats!

Seared Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange and Avocado Salsa

After a very random week-long craving for fish, I decided to pick up some sushi-grade Ahi tuna. However, with the exception of shellfish, my experience cooking fish has been pretty limited and I wasn’t too sure how to prepare it. And to be perfectly honest, I have no idea how I came up with this dish. The idea just popped in my head and I had all of the ingredients at hand, so I just decided to try it out. And of all of the recipes I’ve thought up, of this one I am the most proud. Hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

Ahi Tuna Orange Marinade:
  • ¼ cup Rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Honey
  • Juice from 1 large orange (approx. ¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp. champagne mustard
  • 1 Tbs. blood orange-infused olive oil

Combine tuna marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix until completely blended. Put 1-2 Sushi-grade Ahi Tuna fillets (approx. 1 lb) into a zip lock bag, add marinade and seal tightly. If you can vacuum seal it, that’s even better. Put the ahi tuna in the fridge and let it marinade for around 30 minutes.

Blood Orange & Avocado Salsa
- 2 blood oranges (cut into small pieces)
- ¼ of a regular orange (for color - cut into small pieces)
- 1 avocado (cut into small pieces)
- ¼ red onion (finely chopped)
- 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 ½ Tbs. honey
- ¼ of an orange – just the juice
- A VERY small pinch of chili flakes or paste – just to add depth. Do not add more than a pinch or you’ll overpower the Ahi tuna.

Combine the orange, red onion and avocado in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, orange juice and chili flakes and blend well. Pour the mixture over the orange and avocado pieces and gently fold with a spoon, without mashing the avocado. Place in the fridge until ready to search.

Set the stove to medium-high and preheat your frying pan. Add just enough olive oil or butter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Take the Ahi tuna out of the bag and place it in the pan. Sear each side of your fish for approx. 30 seconds (1 minute max).

Remove the Ahi tuna from the pan. You can plate each serving of tuna on a bed of spinach or lettuce (I prefer spinach). Spoon the salsa over the tuna and serve.

I paired my seared ahi tuna with a sparkling pinot noir and it was perfect. But If you can't find a sparkling pinot noir, then a sauvignon blanc will work as well.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Truly * Tastefully, Tara: Skillet Chicken Parm

Truly * Tastefully, Tara: Skillet Chicken Parm: "Dear Readers, This is my first winter in the burbs and it’s not quite as convenient to just “run out and get something at the store” as it ..."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sausage is Souper!

Dear Readers,

I must admit, I’m currently experiencing what’s commonly known as the post-holiday blues in a serious way. That magical time of the year between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and New Years Day is over. All the parties, all the special food, all the visiting with loved ones you don’t see very often has fizzled down into the doldrums of the chilly winter here in the Northeast. To that I say, bah-humbug!

BUT winter is a really great for preparing and eating the heavier foods you don’t want to eat in the summer because it’s too hot to have the stove or oven on too long. With temperatures in the low 30s yesterday I thought it would be a great Sunday for Sausage Meatball Soup. 

You’ll find as you get to know me, I don’t often follow recipes. I usually know if I can make something just by tasting it. My husband used to tease me because when we go out to eat together, I’ll go completely silent if my dish is delicious to concentrate on the flavors so I can to try and decipher the recipe. He used to laugh about that, until I started making the same dish for him just as well or even better. Now he just gives me my time to taste and eagerly awaits the day I make it for him at home.

Such is the case with the sausage meatball soup I made yesterday. I didn’t use a recipe and I haven’t actually eaten sausage soup in years. The thought of it just popped into my head and I thought I’d try it out to see how it would taste. The results were delightful…try for yourself.

Truly & tastefully,

Sausage Meatball Soup
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, loose – not in casing (or you can take it out of its casing in a pinch)
  • 3 cups fresh chopped baby spinach
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 64 ounces of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup powdered parmesan or Romano cheese (or more to taste)
  • Pepper and salt to taste (keep in mind you probably won’t need a lot of salt because of the cheese)
  • ** Optional ingredients for the carb. hungry – 2 potatoes diced into bite sized chunks, a large can of drained and rinsed hominy

Sausage Meatball Soup Prep:
Sit down and relax for the first activity, it’s a bit time consuming but well worth it. Roll the pound of loose sweet sausage into little bite sized meatballs. They should be able the size of a quarter, if a quarter was spherical. Brown the sausage meatballs in your soup pot, you shouldn’t need oil because the sausage is fatty, but if they start to stick just pump a few squirts of cooking spray into the pot with the sausage. for a couple of hours. Somewhere near the end of that 2 hour simmer time frame, add the ½ cup of parmesan. You want to make sure to add the cheese when the soup is not boiling or it will melt and stick to your pan and serving spoon. About 10 minutes before you’re about to serve, stir in the chopped spinach and serve when the spinach has wilted. **If you want to add the carb-ie ingredients, put the diced potatoes and hominy in the pot at the same time as you add the chicken broth.