12 December 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Crispy Panko-Coated Ranch Chicken Thighs

Crispy Panko-Crusted Ranch Chicken Thighs

My how time flies! It's Secret Recipe Club time again and I still haven't posted anything other than SRC reveals. Heavens. When will I get back into the swing of things? It certainly won't happen between now and Christmas. Bender and I are leaving our beloved Winston-Salem on December 23 and will be moving to Nashville a few days after Christmas. Wish us luck!

14 November 2011

November Secret Recipe Club: Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

It's Secret Recipe Club time reveal day again! I have no idea how it crept up on me so quickly. I'm quite embarrassed that I have not posted a single thing since the last Secret Recipe Club reveal! Oops. Things are moving along quite quickly here. Bender and I only have one more month in Winston-Salem and have been taking advantage of what little time we have left to spend with our friends. Alas, that means things like the my Fabulously Fun Food blog have gotten the cold shoulder. Perhaps when we are in Nashville I will have a bit more time to dedicate to this blog. After all, it has provided me with the support and outlet I needed when I was living in Germany. So, stay tuned after the new year for more frequent updates.

17 October 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roast Chicken

It's that time of the month again: Secret Recipe Club time! The Secret Recipe Club is the brain child of Amanda of Amanda's Cookin. It's become so popular that it's been split into groups and I am a member of group B, lead by the corageous Tina of Mom's Crazy Cooking! Each month, every particpant is assigned a blog to cook from. You can see my previous posts of Red, White, andBlueberry Cheesecake Bars, Green Tomato Gazpacho, and Baby Bok Choywith Shitake Mushrooms. Interested in joining in the fun? Fill out the form here to join!

15 October 2011

Double Take: Pecan and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Tabitha and I have had great fun cooking together again. Occasionally Bender will join us to enjoy the meal, but mostly we enjoy cooking things he doesn’t find interesting. In an effort to include him in some of our fun, every once in a while I’ll pick something I’m certain he’ll like, and we’ll make it at our place. That’s exactly how this dish ended up on our menu!

06 October 2011

Double Take: Super Tomato Risotto

Yes, that’s right, I made another risotto. Can you tell I like them? First the Spring Vegetable Risotto, then the Green Bean Risotto, then Risotto Primavera. I can’t get enough risotto. I thought I’d stumbled on upon the perfect one with Risotto Primavera, but Tabitha seemed interested in this Super Tomato Risotto that I’d bookmarked ages ago. And who can say no to tomatoes?

23 September 2011

Double Take: Pink Parsley's Vidalia Onion Tart

A slice of sweet onion deliciousness!

I love onions. I love them in the morning and in the afternoon. I love them in the evening and underneath the moon. But enough about me, you came here to hear about a sweet onion tart. Mhmmm, onions. Oh wait, there I go again. Back to the tart!

19 September 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Baby Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms

It's that time of the month again: Secret Recipe Club time! I must admit I get a thrill out of getting my blog assignment, pouring through the assigned blog looking at recipes, and then waiting with anticipation to see who picked what recipe from my own blog to make. It's a rush. Are you interested in joining in on the fun? Head on over to The Secret Recipe Club to sign up!

17 September 2011

Double Take: Chorizo, Beef, and Poblano Tacos with Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

Chorizo, Beef, and Poblano Tacos wtih Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

You know my aversion to bell peppers? For some reason I can replace them with poblano peppers with no problems. It's great. So I was quite disappointed when I could not find a poblano pepper in Germany. So I went for two years trying to avoid using peppers (sometimes failing miserably, see Chicken Cacciatore). Now I am back in the land of poblano peppers and am thrilled. So to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (September 16), Tabitha and I made these tasty little tacos. Things happened, like they do, and unfortunately we did not get these posted by Mexican Independence Day, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy them!

08 September 2011

Double Take: Zucchini, Ham, Basil, and Ricotta Fritters

Zucchini, Ham, Basil, and Ricotta Fritter

Wow. Tabitha and I got to cook together again! Yippee. Bender and I are settled in Winston-Salem and starting back to work and “normal life.” Tabitha and I busted out two items, and we'll be showcasing one of them today: Zucchini, Ham, Basil, and Ricotta Fritters.

The original recipe called for slicing the zucchini into long, thin strips. We opted for a medium dice. If you prefer your zucchini to disappear a bit more, go ahead and shred it. Your cheese grater will thank you for the use. 

01 September 2011

Double Take: Spicy Roast Chicken from The Wednesday Chef

How about a nice place of Spicy Roast Chicken?
I have the tendency to spout the joys of roasted chicken. I will spare you that this time around because you heard it back in June. But rest assured. I’m still roasting chicken up a storm. Well, maybe not a storm since I didn’t have A/C, and the windows in the kitchen were placed so that the kitchen table gets the breeze rather than the cooking area. Grr.

25 August 2011

Double Take: Rosemary Onion Bread

Rosemary Onion Bread

I've taken my bread making to a new level and couldn't be more thrilled. If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, you know that I've always been a little hesitant about working with yeast. But, I made it through the cinnamon rolls. And then I conquered pizza dough (I need to give you my new recipe for that. It has changed dramatically since I first posted it). I've tried my hand at rolls a few times, those will make the blog eventually too. But today I want to share my first attempt at a loaf bread with you.

22 August 2011

100th Post: Green Tomato Gazpacho for The Secret Recipe Club

Green Tomato Gazpacho

For today's post, I'm focusing on the positive. Happy 100th post Fabulously Fun Food! Bender and I have now been back in the USA for two weeks and will be moving to our new home next week. We've spent the last two weeks visiting with family, which has been wonderful after two years of being so far away. As such, I've spent most of my time away from the kitchen, but I snuck in to my mom's kitchen last night and whipped up a batch of Green Tomato Gazpacho. Perhaps snuck is the wrong word considering my mom put more effort into making the gazpacho than I did. Halfway through the process I realized that I could not find the avocado I purchased, so I had to get Bender to drive me to the store to get another one. Luckily, Publix accepted my story without any questions, so I didn't have to buy a second one. So Momma did all the chopping; I did the blending.

18 August 2011

Double Take: Almost Bourdain's Mandu (Korean Dumplings)

Dumplings.... one of those things that I don't photograph well.

Dumplings are one of those foods that seem to cross food cultures. Each one has its own version, a different unique spin, and I have yet to come across one I didn’t like. Oh, some of them fail to excite me, that’s true enough, but I don’t actively dislike any of them.

But one thing that really doesn’t excite me about them is making them. There is just something about filling and sealing each dumpling individually that doesn’t get me going. I’m more than happy to eat them (and very happy in the case of samosas and empanadas), but to stand there over a bowl of raw meat filling and sealing and crimping the edges for ages just doesn’t excite me.  

11 August 2011

Double Take: Almost Bourdain's KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

Sticky, yummy, messy Korean Fried Chicken

Tabitha and I are finally getting around to making a recipe that has been going around the blogosphere for as long as we’ve been food blogging: Korean Fried Chicken. With all the hype, I wasn’t quite certain how I would like it. I also wasn’t totally convinced that I had access to the key ingredient: gochujang. So when Tabitha added it to our “to-make” list, I decided to look for it. Turns out, it was relatively easy to find since Ellie at Almost Bourdain had actually taken a picture of the container. If she hadn’t, I’m sure I wouldn’t have agreed to post this recipe since nothing in the store actually said “gochujang.” My smart phone came to the rescue and Wikipedia informed me that its name is also Hot Pepper Paste. The Asian store in Jena is quite small, but its shelves are also packed to the brim. Yay! Now I just had to figure out when to make it…

04 August 2011

Double Take: Pink Parsley's Summer Vegetable Gratin

Summer Vegetable Gratin with corn and Cuban burgers.

By the time this post goes live, I'll be sitting in the airport waiting on my flight out of Germany. We're moving back to the US. Whoa. So I hope you'll forgive me as this post is short and sweet...

I'm not big on making side dishes. I don't know why, but I just don't make a ton of them. I put so much effort into my entree that the side just put off until the very last minute when I blanch some green beans or broccoli. Occasionally they'll get roasted, but I'm a big fan of blanching vegetables. In an effort to balance my cooking skills a bit, I picked out a gorgeous looking Summer Vegetable Gratin to try my hand at a side. Plus, it looked substantial enough to be a main so I was kinda hoping it'd be a good vegetarian main dish for us.

29 July 2011

Double Take: Risotto Primavera

Risotto Primavera

Since my first successful foray into risotto well over a year ago, I’ve taken to making it frequently, particularly when shell peas are in season! There is just something about sitting down with a big bag of peas, and opening each pod individually to get the green globes, all lined up and sitting pretty, out of their homes and into the bowl. Some might end up not making it to the bowl, but that’s okay. The risotto will still be yummy.

I’ve developed a bit of a carefree attitude to making risotto these days. If I’m just making a pea risotto, I’ll throw a cinnamon stick into the chicken broth for about 10 minutes to give it extra flavor. I no longer measure, but just go with what feels/looks right. Don't worry though, I've left the original recipe's measurements intact so you get a good reference for starting out! 

25 July 2011

Egg Linguine turned Fettuccine with Italian Sausage and Zucchini Tomato Sauce

Homemade noodles in homemade tomato sauce.

Making pasta for the Daring Cooks challenge gave me the confidence I needed to try it again. And so I did. On a weeknight. When Bender and I were both hungry. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but it ended up not being a terrible one. If you only ask me.

I was determined not to over-flour the dough this time. The Pappardelle as so difficult to roll out, and I had such a headache while doing it that it was actually a quite unpleasant experience. The noodles were pretty thick and chewy, not a favorite around here, despite Bender’s comment that they were well made (I’m beginning to think he might have said that in hopes that I wouldn’t make pasta again). Overall, I was okay with the final dish, but not pleased. So I had to make pasta again and make it tasty, right? Silly me, having to prove to myself that I can make something properly.

21 July 2011

Double Take: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore: chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes,
mushrooms, and noodles.

I have had a strange relationship with bell peppers. As a kid, I loved them. Hand me a green bell pepper and some ranch dressing, and I'd go to town. It was the perfect snack. Well, really alfalfa sprouts and ranch dressing were the perfect snack, but bell peppers were a close second. As I got older though, my love of bell peppers faded. I began to dislike the side effects. And I began to taste them more than one should. When they were added to a tomato based dish, such as a tomato sauce, they completely overpowered the rest of the flavors in the dish. And I began to notice them in meatloaf. I got to where I would only eat my mom's meatloaf and bell peppers were the reason why.

18 July 2011

Secret Recipe Club July 2011: Cheesecake Bars

Fresh blueberries and cheesecake? Patriotic yumminess!

One of the blogs I lurk on recently introduced me to the Secret Recipe Club. This club is composed of food bloggers who are interested in increasing exposure to their blogs and the blogs of others. I immediately signed up. Unlike the Daring Cooks challenges, everyone makes something different. Each month I will receive the name of a blog and will be required to make one recipe from that blog. But here’s the reason I joined so quickly: I can pick any recipe from their blog that I want to make. I normally hesitate about such things because Bender is a pretty picky eater. But if I can pick the recipe, I’m pretty certain I can find something that even he would like. Are you interested in joining our little club? If so, click here to fill out the form!

14 July 2011

Double Take: Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

Beef and Pork with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

The way I’ve been cookng lately, you’d think I lived in the Southern hemisphere. But though we are now at the middle of July, it hasn’t quite gotten hot yet. Oh, it’s toasty here this week (if you consider temps in the mid 70s upper 60s to be toasty), but when I woke up on July 1, it was a mere 49°F/9°C. Thus, my oven is still in use and I’m willing to use my stove for lengthy periods of time. Roasting in the kitchen does not cause me to roast, so I’m taking advantage of the cooler than usual weather and using my oven and stove as much as I can.  

Of course, poor Tabitha is not enjoying such cool temperatures. Oops. But maybe it’s okay since she has air conditioning and I don’t?

13 July 2011

Daring Cooks July Challenge: Homemade Pasta!

Pappardelle with Braised Beef Ragu

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

Whoa. I have to make pasta? Are you crazy? It was like pulling teeth to get me to make gnocchi.

07 July 2011

Double Take: Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

We were too busy eating our burritos to take pictures of them...
so you get pictures of my leftovers! 

I have been salivating over several recipes for carnitas for quite some time now. For some reason, I tend to frequent blogs that have recipes for carnitas. Maybe my love for Mexican food draws me to the blogs? When I was making my list of blog recipes I wanted to try, I came up with no less than three carnitas recipes. I decided we couldn’t make all three, so I added two to the list. But you see, apparently Tabitha had been mesmerized by the carnitas as well. She had also seen an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and had gotten the recipe. We settled on America’s Test Kitchen and were off!

30 June 2011

Double Take: David Lebovitz's Whole Lemon Bars

Are you ready for this?

I think I should rename this post: Not All Lemons Are Created Equal.

About six months after I started my job, one of my coworkers went on a Lemon Bar making binge. He wanted to find the perfect recipe that wasn’t too sweet, and had the right amount of tart. Perhaps binge is the wrong word since he only made two batches before giving up. I’d completely forgotten about it until 8 months later when I read David Lebovitz’s post on Whole Lemon Bars. David did go on a Lemon Bar making binge for us and came up with the perfect recipe. And since Tabitha loves lemon bars too, I knew we had to make this recipe.

23 June 2011

Double Take: Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs

Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Cheddar Cheese Grits and Spinach

Sometimes a recipe can be surprising. You look at the ingredients and think, “Meh.” While you are making it, you think, “Oh gosh, I hope Bender likes this. I'm beginning to think it might be too heavy on the mustard and rosemary for him. And he's not a fan of honey either. Oh, dear.” Then the kitchen gets smoky because you're using your grill pan and the hood is still broken (see NOTE below recipe). So you open the window in an effort to get rid of some of the smoke. In the process you knock the almost full bottle of olive oil into glass recycling bag. And that's when you realize the olive oil is still open. Annoyed with yourself for wasting all that olive oil and not wanting to think about the mess it created, you set the food on the table. And then you hear, “This chicken is really tasty,” from your picky-eater spouse. So you taste it. And boy, is he right! All is well again. Olive oil be darned.

16 June 2011

Double Take: Pioneer Woman's Beef and Snow Peas, sorta

Homemade Beef with Broccoli
Beef and Snow Peas Broccoli has always been one of my favorite Americanized Chinese foods. And well, you just don't get Americanized Chinese food in Germany, so I've been missing it for the past couple years. Well, almost two years. It will be two years in August. Can you believe it? My time here has gone by so quickly.

14 June 2011

Daring Cooks June Challenge: Healthy Potato Salad

Roasted Potato Salad, ribs, and green beans

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

What? Potato Salad? Where’s the challenge in that? There’s only one potato salad I like and that’s my mom’s. Needless to say, my reaction to this month’s challenge was a half-hearted, “Meh.” And unfortunately, that’s how I approached this challenge. I’m still surprised at myself for participating. Even more surprising is that my potato salad was actually tasty.

09 June 2011

Double Take: Sortachef's Peri Peri Chicken

Give me a whole chicken, and I’ll make your taste buds happy. The first time I roasted a chicken was frightening success. Frightening because my oven did not work at the time. It took many more months for me to discover that my oven cooked hot because the heating element never turned off. Once I figured that out, cooking in it was a breeze: leave the oven on for ten minutes, then turn it off for ten minutes. And so on and so forth until the item in the oven was fully cooked. I’m still in shock that I cooked this way for the better half of a year. But I must say, this method worked perfectly for roasting a chicken.

02 June 2011

Double Take: Taste of Germany

We've been a bit quiet lately, and I beg you to forgive us. Tabitha and I actually got to spend some time together here in Germany! Woohoo! We did a tour of Bavaria with a dip into Austria to see Salzburg. So today, we're both going to share with you some photos of our good eats.

Nuremberg is famous for its sausages. And it's asparagus season here in Germany! In fact, Nuremberg was celebrating asparagus week while we were there. Every restaurant we visited had a special "asparagus menu" just for the week (though most likely it will last throughout the entire asparagus season). Most asparagus here in Germany is white, though occasionally I can find green. Most of it is also much thicker than what you find in the US, but once peeled, it can be quite tender, slightly sweet, and oh so tasty. And if the Hollandaise also has lemon in it? I'm in heaven.

White asparagus with Hollandaise and boiled potatoes.

13 May 2011

Daring Cooks May Challenge: Gumbo- Let the good times roll!

Gumbo served with rice and filé powder. 

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh. For a pdf file of all of Denise’s info, click here.

This was my first foray into Gumbo land. It's been on my to make list for a while, but since I don't live in the US anymore, it has had a low priority. I'd read that you couldn't make true gumbo without filé powder and I'd never seen that in my US grocer, so it was on hold. Early one morning in April, however, while killing time before my flight to the US in a hotel room in Frankfurt, I logged onto the Daring Kitchen and discovered that I would be making gumbo within the next month. I added filé powder to my must-buy-while-I'm-in-the-US list and got excited. 

I also had to admit that part of the excitement came from the creator of the recipe: John Besh. I was a Food Network junkie when I lived in the US and definitely remember John Besh from The Next Iron Chef. He was one of my favorites, and while he did not win, he did make the final two. And now I got to try out one of his recipes! 

06 May 2011

Double Take: Key Lime Bars with Graham-Cracker Pistachio Crust

Key Lime Bars with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust
Photo courtesy of Holly Ballenger

Remember my disastrous lemon meringue pie? Remember the solution recipe I gave you? Well, take the delicious lemon pie, make it lime, put it in a different crust (rectangular rather than pie-shaped) and you get Lime Bars with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust. Many thanks to Culinary in the Country for bringing this recipe to my attention!

This recipe was so close to my lemon meringue pie recipe that I knew it had to be good. I've frequently turned my lemon meringue pies into key lime meringue pies, so I knew the lime would be perfect. And adding pistachios to the crust? Oh my. I love graham-cracker crusts, I love pistachios. Match made in heaven! And so darn easy to make! Just read the directions before you start or things will take longer than needed.

Things to remember before you start cooking:
1. You need to melt butter before you start!
2. The crust has to bake (8-12 min) and cool (30 min) before you put the filling together. 

01 May 2011

Double Take: Gnocchi inspired by One Hungry Chef

Potatoes on a salt bed, ready for the oven

Gnocchi is one of those foods I keep seeing everywhere. It keeps popping up on blogs I frequent, it's on menus everywhere, and I see it in the stores all the time. I've ordered it a few times in restaurants, but never totally been blown away by it. But all the blogs say it is so much better homemade, so I gave in and decided to try it. And Tabitha agreed we should do it for a Double Take. 

One of the common ways I've seen it served is in a gorgonzola sauce. While the sauce was tasty, it was missing an acid to cut the cloyingness from the cheese and cream. I think even a few grape tomatoes served on top would have helped it immensely. Either way, I was determined not to serve it with a creamy sauce what-so-ever. And I had to think about what Bender would want. He's not a potato dumpling fan, so much so that I avoided using the word dumpling at all costs with him. I didn't want him to think it was going to be like kloesse, German potato dumplings. 

21 April 2011

Double Take: Hoisin Pork Tenderloin

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus

What’s hoisin you ask? I have a friend who calls it “High Sin” because it’s so good that it must be sinful. It is delicious, if a bit sweet. It’s similar to a thick barbeque sauce, but it definitely has an Asian flair. I’m fairly certain hoisin sauce is available in most grocery stores these days, but it’s almost always cheaper (as much as ½ price) at Asian grocery stores. Never been to an Asian grocery store? I highly recommend checking them out. You’ll be amazed at what you can find there!

14 April 2011

Double Take: Julia Child’s Garlic Soup

Garlic soup with gruyere toast. 

We all know that Tabitha likes garlic, but I’ll be honest, I like it just as much as she does. The thought of garlic oozing out my pores does not scare me. Luckily, Bender likes garlic too; otherwise I’d probably up the creek without a paddle. When Tabitha found this recipe listed over on Hey, What’s for Dinner Mom? I was excited to make it. Despite Bender’s love of garlic, he doesn’t have a love of soup (well, minus my chicken soup when he’s sick). I knew I’d be making this one just for me, but decided that was okay. I opted to serve it with a roast chicken so I would have plenty of time to make the soup while the chicken was roasting away in the oven. My original plan had been to make it while he was out of town, but a cold threw me on my bum for over a week while he was gone. Talk about a bummer. (Luckily, I had plenty of Gilmore Girls to keep me company.)

Daring Cooks April Challenge: Edible Containers

Cheddar cup filled with refried beans, cilantro, and onion.

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Whoa. Edible Containers. At first it seemed quite daunting, but after much brainstorming (with the help of tons of suggestions from other Daring Cooks... and Tabitha), I settled on feeding the cravings I’ve been having lately: Mexican food. I don’t know what it is, but I always want Mexican food. I was also hosting a dinner party and serving carnitas, so I figured throwing a few edible containers in there wouldn’t hurt, right?

07 April 2011

Double Take: Almost Bourdain’s Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi tofu with fried basil leaves

Don’t let the T word scare you. I did until I was 16. Tofu never entered my house growing up, but once I tried it, I was hooked. And I blame this particular dish for hooking me. Agedashi is actually a very descriptive term: age means deep fried and dashi is a type of broth. So, agedashi tofu is deep fried tofu in dashi sauce. I typically order it as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants, but have had to go without since we moved to Germany.

I tried making it once before when we lived in the US, but it didn’t turn out quite right. The crust was off. And the crust tasted terrible. I wasn’t the master fryer then, and I suspect that my oil wasn’t quite hot enough. When I found a recipe that used a different coating (potato starch instead of corn starch), I decided it was time to try again. And I convinced (without much difficulty) Tabitha to try it, too.

31 March 2011

Double Take: Red Thai Duck Curry via The Pioneer Woman

Thai red curry with duck over jasmine rice
I don’t know what it is about Thai food, but I start salivating just thinking about it. What I would give to have a plate of spicy noodles from Thai Sawatdee in Winston-Salem or a bowl of green curry from Yum-Yum Thai in Tucker! Words cannot describe my love of these dishes. But alas, Thai food is quite different here in Germany, and I have yet to find something that really makes my taste buds sing. Since Bender doesn’t care for Thai food, I don’t make it much at home either. But he’s out of town. Woot! Which means I get to make whatever I want for myself for two whole weeks (I’m desperately hanging onto this silver lining. Our tiny apartment feels ever so empty right now)! So when Tabitha pointed out this recipe for Red Thai Duck Curry, I immediately jumped on it. I’ve waxed on about my love of duck before, so I won’t bore you with the details again, but that just added to my willingness to make the dish. I was slightly put off by the peppers, and even more put off by the pineapple, but at the last minute I decided to throw in both (Amazingly, I found a pineapple for 1€, so I didn’t feel like I had a good excuse not to include it.)

29 March 2011

Beer Bread

Stupidly easy beer bread! 

During our St. Patrick’s Day festivities, I decided to step out on a limb and make bread. I’ve done pizza bread and biscuits and that sort of thing, but I’d only made a loaf of bread once. Yep. Once. And that was back in 2005. So it was definitely time for me to try something new and different. Because I don’t make loaf bread often, I decided to hold off on purchasing a loaf pan until I knew whether or not I’d use it again. And, well, this bread is so stupidly easy (and tasty) that I might be blowing 5 euros on a loaf pan in the very near future.

24 March 2011

Double Take: Culinary in the Country’s Panko-Crusted Chicken with Mustard-Maple Pan Sauce

Quick weeknight dinner. 

I’m always looking for a quick weeknight meal for us. I love mustard and panko, so this one was a no-brainer in that respect. But it also had maple syrup. Bender and I aren’t big on the sweet-savory combos, so I waited until he went out of town to make it. In other words, I figured there was a strong possibility I might like it, but a very strong possibility that he would not like it. I’m still on the fence about the sauce, but I did really like the chicken. And the best part? Minimal dirty dishes. Score!

22 March 2011

Daring Cooks March Challenge: Papas Rellenas

Surprisingly tasty papas rellenas!

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I’m late again. But I finished it! And the kitchen is still a mess, but that’s okay, I have a whole 12 days to clean it before Bender gets home! Which is actually why I’m late. I was waiting for Bender to go out of town again. Originally I had planned to make this before he left since we were having people over. But the more I looked at the recipe, the more I realized I wanted to try it as written, and not change the filling in the papas rellenas. And Bender was not going to like the filling. Heck, I hesitated over the filling. Raisins? Hard boiled eggs? Olives? Eh.

17 March 2011

Double Take: St. Patrick's Day

Dig in! You'll be pleased you did! 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

I think I’m the only person in my office wearing green today. St. Patty’s Day is just not a big deal here. And that leads me to one of the things I like most about the US: we have everything. The people in the US are so culturally diverse that we take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and turn it into a magical mix of everything. I’ve heard some people say recently that the US is turning into a stew pot more than a melting pot, meaning that we’ve been stewing so long that everything in the pot tastes exactly the same. I beg to differ. Granted, we’ve put our own twist on most things, but I’m cool with that. Some days I can be a bit of a staunch purist, but when I step back from my high horse, I’m generally greeted by something so much better than the original. Like beer. But that’s a whole other post entirely. Expect that one when Bender starts brewing again. 

03 March 2011

Double Take: Food o' del Mundo's Perfect Pizza Crust

Homemade pizza fresh from the oven. Does it get any better than this?

Welcome to Week 3 of the New Double Take Series! This week we feature something that should be a staple in every house: pizza crust! As you’ve seen before, I’m prone to buying the premade pizza crust because, well, I’m just a bit afraid of working with yeast. I’m fascinated by it, but I don’t have that much experience and haven’t gotten a ton of positive feedback on what I have attempted. So I haven’t been practicing. Somewhere, out of the blue a couple months ago, I got a tiny bit of confidence and decided to go for it. My first attempt was a bit, well, horrid. The dough tasted okay, but seemed to have the wrong texture. For some reason I had it in my head that I needed to knead the dough after it rose and before I put rolled it out. And of course, I didn't figure out that was what I had done wrong until Tabitha convinced me to try making pizza dough again.

25 February 2011

Double Take: Savory Galette

Savory Galette with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, Potatoes, and Cheese

As you know from my previous post, Bender has been out of town. I had three nights to myself to make whatever my belly wanted. So the first night I went Japanese and made tempura, the second night I went Tex-Mex-ish and made quesadillas, and the final night I went Italian-ish and made a savory galette inspired by Cake Duchess' Savory Galette with Potatoes, Onion, Zucchini, and Gorgonzola.

What’s a galette you ask? Well, I think the easiest way to describe it would be to call it a pie not made in a pie plate, filled with ingredients of your choice. If you can make a pie crust, you can make a galette. Still squeamish when it comes to pie crust? Never fear, read Smitten Kitchen’s pie crust tips and you’ll be armed and ready to go. Remember: Keep it cold.

22 February 2011

Daring Cooks February Challenge: Cold Soba Salad and Tempura

This challenge made me very happy. I finally had an excuse to use purple potatoes!

Today is February 22, not February 14. Oops. I’m a little late posting this challenge, but it just seemed easier to make this one when Bender was out of town. I tried making it twice when he was in town, but my tasters kept bailing on me at the last minute (for very good reasons, not because they were averse to tasting it) and I wasn’t about to make this one for me and Bender only. So I decided to wait an extra week and make it for myself only when Bender was away at a conference. And boy, am I glad I did.

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl.  She challenged
Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.

17 February 2011

Double Take: Krista's Kitchen's Baked Chimichangas

Messy, delicious, naked enchiladas! 

Welcome to the new and improved Double Take challenges! For the foreseeable future, we'll be picking recipes from some of our favorite blogs to make and review for you! I'm also willing to take requests, so if there is a recipe that you'd like to see reviewed, please send me an email at fabfunfood AT gmail DOT com. 

For eating out, Mexican food is my ultimate comfort food. My parents and their friends meet at this one Mexican place every week, so whenever I go visit, I’m sure to join them. They’ve been going there for so long that I don’t feel like I’ve gone to visit my parents unless I go there, too. Which has made Mexican food comfort food. It’s homey, it’s delicious, and when I’m with my parents, it’s free to me! Yes, it’s true, I’m not yet old enough for me not to enjoy getting a free meal. Particularly when it comes with free margaritas!

10 February 2011

Double Take: Baked Potato Soup

Potatoes in milk. Blah.

This week we bid farewell to the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Tabitha and I have both been having trouble finding tasters. Some of Tabitha’s tasters have flat-out said no more SLC. So, we have decided that it is time to shake things up a bit. It is quite possible that we will pull out this, er, not-so-trusty
book every once and a while, but for now we are going to move onto other sources for our recipes. The majority will come from the blogs we love, but we will also turn to cookbooks and TV shows for inspiration. If you have a recipe you’d love to see us feature, please let us know!

03 February 2011

Double Take: Mississippi Mud Cake

A Sweet Ending to a Not-So-Sweet Week

Mississippi Mud Cake. 'Nuf said.

I did it again. I was away from my kitchen for a long time and the first opportunity I had to cook in it, we went out. You see, since the last post, our lives have been kinda crazy. Bender’s passport was stolen (Not intentionally, someone intentionally stole his bag, and his passport just happened to be in there.) so we had to make an emergency trip to the embassy to get a new one since we would be flying overseas in three days time. Amazingly, the embassy was incredibly nice to us even though we didn’t have a copy of his passport page, etc, etc, etc. Passports in hand, we boarded the plane Sunday, excited for our journey that we’d be looking forward to since we randomly planned it one night in September. We would be at our destination for five full days, and we had something planned to do all but one of those days. We’d use the fifth day to relax and revisit one of the four places. The first day, however, things did not go as planned. We woke up late so we decided to stay in town and go to a museum rather than venture out of town to see the popular landmark on the outskirts of town.

20 January 2011

Double Take: Lemon Meringue Pie

What is it about the word meringue? For some reason, I just can’t spell it. Nicely my word processor has spell check so you don’t have to read three different versions of the word throughout the post, but that’s just one of the words with which I have major issues (Sandwich and lingerie also give me fits. Am I the only one who has trouble these words?).

Pretty on the outside! Tabitha and I had a long discussion about the beads on the meringue... some people like them, some people don't because they imply you rushed the cooling process. I say, do what makes you happy!

13 January 2011

Daring Cooks Challenge: Confit and Cassoulet

Our January 2011 Daring Cooks Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

Double Take: Pork Scaloppine

We’ve been a bit sporadic lately, but I’m sure you understand. The Christmas season was busy and I was out of the kitchen for almost two whole weeks. I actually have had a hard time readjusting to cooking every day. Go figure. Maybe it’s the short days? Maybe December’s weather just really got me down? (Seriously folks,
we went ~30 days with temperatures never reaching freezing.
) Maybe it was coming back to cold Germany after 10 days in warm, sunny Italy? (Okay, so Venice was more like Germany is currently: cold and rainy, but the weather in Rome was spectacular.)

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