Perfect One Dish Dinners

I may, or may not, have a cookbook obsession.  It’s been a few months since I last put a new cookbook on the shelf.  It’s also been a few months since I picked up any of the cookbooks that were already on that shelf.  Maybe I’m more a cookbook collector than a user?  But don’t tell The Mistah that otherwise I’ll have to resort to sneaking new cookbooks into the house under the cover of darkness.  Some women buy new clothes or shoes they don’t want their husbands to know about.  My guilty purchases tend to lean more towards purses, camera gear, and cookbooks.  Don’t judge.  I know you come here for these peeks into the crazy. My point is that I have a weakness for cookbooks. Continue reading “Perfect One Dish Dinners”

IFBC 2010 – Seattle

This year I have been asking myself one question over and over – why do I blog.  I know why I started the blog but what keeps me doing it three years later?  What is my ultimate goal for this and how do I define my success as a blogger?  Ok, so maybe not just one question.  But all the same, I’ve been looking for answers.  I went to Big Summer Potluck looking for answers, and instead found a community.  And when I went to IFBC, not knowing what to expect, I found ways to define myself by what I am not.

I am not looking for a book deal.  I am not interested in playing the SEO game.  I am not a recipe developer.  I am not educated on the needs of specialized diets.  I am not interested in paying to attend a conference and sitting through infomercials for websites or cooking encyclopedias.  Ultimately, the message I took away from the Big Summer Potluck was indirectly reinforced at IFBC – blog for myself, be authentic, and define my own success.

There were good moments at IFBC.  There were bad moments.  There were events I was excited about which provided huge disappointments.  And there were unexpected moments of powerful validation.  So instead of focusing on the parts of IFBC that made me question whether it was the best use of my time and money, the message I have decided to hold onto is that I decide my legitimacy as a blogger.

So, what did I learn at IFBC 2010?  I learned that I really don’t need to spend $$$ to attend a blogging conference.  Many of the best moments, the ones that really resonated with me, mostly occurred outside of the conference.  To me, the journey is where I get my inspiration and excitement.  The opportunity to meet new people and expand my food world can happen anytime, anywhere.  Next year, instead of sitting in a venue for 8 to 12 hours a day over the course of a weekend, I can pack up the car and see where the road takes me.  Someone else can have my seat at IFBC 2011.

Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars

So remember how I gushed about the people I met at the Big Summer Potluck, how warm and welcoming they were, how genuine and down to earth everyone was? None of that has changed.  They are all lovely people.  What I didn’t realize going into the event was exactly WHO some of these folks were.  At the risk of having BAH shut down by the food blog police for gross ignorance, I am oblivious to the vast majority of the food world. Continue reading “Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars”

Grilled Peach Salad

I have bad luck with peaches.  The ones I get at the store are never ripe.  So I put them in a paper bag to ripen only to have them go bad in three or four days.  Is there anything quite as disappointing as cutting into a peach only to find that the stone has split, the sugars have started to breakdown, and the inside is all fuzy with mold?  I might as well have just thrown $3.99 a pound right into the garbage.  And the ones that don’t go bad, well they just don’t taste like anything.

In that idealized, perfect world of mine, I would be able to go to the market each and every day for the freshest, most perfect produce.  I know, I know, I could make a point of getting my produce at the farmers market instead of the grocery store.  Going to the source for in season product takes one of the variables out of the equation. However, it leaves the biggest variable….me.  I would have to remember to use it right away.  No lingering or forgetting or procrastinating for days on end.  Maybe for idealized, perfect me that wouldn’t be a problem.  For real me, it’s a struggle.

So while my multiple personalities duke it out over who is running this show, I’m going to suggest that you try Pat and Gina Neely’s Grilled Peach Salad.  Because both ideal me and real me agree that grilled peaches, bacon, and balsamic vinegar are a phenomenal combination that makes even boring store bought peaches delightful and impressive.

Grilled Peach Salad with Balsamic Bacon Vinaigrette

Adapted from The Neelys

BAH Note:  The grilled peaches caramelize and provide a sweet balance to the bacon balsamic dressing.  You don’t have to have a grill, or a grill pan, to grill the peaches.  I used a 10 inch nonstick frying pan.

  • 1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag baby spinach or lettuce mix

Lightly coat the peach quarters with olive oil and cook in a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until char marks form.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon from the skillet to a plate.  Add the shallot to the skillet and cook in the bacon grease until tender, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the mustard, vinegar, and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the baby spinach or lettuce mix in a large bowl.  Add the grilled peaches and vinaigrette.  Top with the bacon, toss, and serve.

Beet Chips

2010 has been full of my own personal food discoveries.  Not in the sense that I’ve discovered new food like some culinary Christopher Columbus or Neil Armstrong.  Although the mental image of me walking through the farmers market, claiming the beets and radishes and peas in the name of Bon Appetit Hon, and planting my flag is rather amusing.  I also don’t mean it in the sense of discovering the extreme cuisine of different cultures.  Traveling the world in search of culinary adventures isn’t my dream job. I don’t have the stamina or stomach of Anthony Bourdain.  I’m just a home cook from Baltimore who is trying to overcome some of my prejudices about what is palatable.

Take beets.  Until 2010 I would have said that meaning “please take them away from me, they are dreadful”.  But now, I mean they are a prime example of a food I have embraced this year.  I initially went a little overboard with the roasted beets and had to step away from them for a while.  But then the Universe found a new way to bring us together – beet chips. Continue reading “Beet Chips”

Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins

Do you ever have the kind of day where you don’t know if you’re coming or going?  Where you can’t tell up from down?  Or whether it’s time for breakfast or dessert?  I can’t exactly help you cope with the first two things on that list.  But the third, I’ve got covered thanks to Three Baking Sheets To The Wind.

She posted about this Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffin that immediately got me to wondering…well, which is it – a pancake or a muffin?  Curiosity piqued as it was, I didn’t fool around letting this question, or recipe, linger.  My brain, and my recipe folders, are too congested to let burning questions such as this go unanswered, just bouncing around.  What follows is the official transcript of the conversation I had with myself after these had been mixed, baked, cooled, and consumed. Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins”

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze

I don’t have much of a story to go with this recipe.  I can tell you that I “forgot” that the fish needs to marinate for 30 minutes before going into the oven.  I can also tell you that I was quite unhappy when I “remembered” this fact having come home hungry, late, and sweaty from a trip to the gym.  I guess the last thing I should tell you is that The Mistah and I kept giving each other big thumbs up signs when we finally sat down with Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze.  We were too busy stuffing it in our mouths to use our words.

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze

Adapted from Bon Appetit

BAH Note: I can’t claim this trick as my own but I want to share it with you.  The person who sent me this recipe said her secret to broiling the salmon was to cook the salmon on the center oven rack for 6 minutes and then move it up to the top rack for two minutes more.  Obviously, you’ll want to position your racks before you turn the broiler on.  But I used her method and had great results despite my unnatural fear of the broiler.   According to the original recipe, you’ll have enough sauce for six salmon fillets.  I put half of the sauce in the fridge to use at another time.

  • 1/4 cup Asian or Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 salmon fillets, with or without skin

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the chili sauce, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl.

Place salmon fillets on sheet pan (skin side down if applicable) and spoon chili sauce mixture over the top of the fish.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Set the oven to broil.  Using a spoon or pastry brush, baste the salmon with any marinade that has spread onto the sheet pan.  Broil for 6 to 10 minutes or until browned in spots and nearly opaque in the center.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Today’s Count

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 7/2/08 at Exit 51

Today’s Count

If you read my July 1st post, you are already aware of my problem when it comes to collecting recipes.  Just to illustrate how in need I am of an intervention, I thought I’d share with you the recipes I found today. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Today’s Count”