Tag Archives: Yum Yum Yum

Drinking Like a Lady: Lancaster Strawberry Wheat Beer

8 Apr

When I see a beer that advertises some sort of fruit in it I can’t help but get excited. My sweet tooth does backflips. They usually don’t meet my expectations, however.

With fruity beers I feel like you can go overboard with a cider or I can’t taste any fruit at all like a pale ale. But fruity wheat beers rock. They are awesome in every sense of awesome. My favorite wheat beer , 21st Amendment Hell of High Watermelon, only comes out in the summer so I’ve been waiting patiently for months for it to come out…

Then I stumbled on the Lancaster Brewing Company. They make a Strawberry Wheat Beer that I fell on tonight during a trip to the liquor store. It is fabulous. Just a hint of strawberry taste combined with the beer. Gosh. I’m in heaven. I don’t even like strawberry flavors that much and I love this.

Definitely give this a try. It’s perfect for a nice sunny weekend or when you want to settle in and watch baseball. Since it’s baseball season… finally!

Go Greek! Lamb Kebabs and Tzatziki Sauce

5 Apr

Three years ago, around this time, I was touring Italy and Greece with some really wonderful friends. Ah, I love saying that, it makes me sound like some spoiled rich girl

Me in Mykonos

Obligatory show-off photo

when in reality most of my travel time was spent eating Nutella sandwiches, drinking 3 euro bottles of wine and sleeping in hostels.

So many things stick with me from that trip. Landscapes that I sometimes still can’t believe I actually experienced. I’ll think of scaling cliffs in Mykonos and get chills. Priceless, precious memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And then of course, there’s the food.

Since visiting Athens and Mykonos I have become obsessed with Greek food, particularly lamb kebabs which were also a big meal in England. They are the ultimate form of perfection. I can’t even do them justice with words.

Since I am unfortunately not Greek, I don’t have the secrets of Greek cuisine. But Alex and I have put our heads to the cutting board and created an Americanized  version of the lamb kebab that is really simple and really delicious, especially in the summer. Opa!

Lamb Kebab with Tzatziki and Grilled Potato Wedges

Ingredients (feeds three-four)
Tzatziki Sauce
1 tub (16 oz) plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 large cucumber
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek seasoning
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Kebabs
1 1/2- 2 lbs ground lamb
1 large egg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons diced white onion
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
Large pinch of dried rosemary, chopped fine

Potato Wedges
3 large baking potatoes
Kosher salt
Pepper

Olive oil, for grilling
Pita bread
Lettuce, tomato, white onion, cucumber for garnishing

Recipe

Tzatziki
Straining the yogurt
1. Strain the liquid out of your Greek yogurt for about two hours. Now fancy Food Network stars will tell you to do this by purchasing $4 worth of cheese cloth for a two hour little blip on your radar. If you’re cheap like me, you’ll realize this is a crazy thing to do and refuse to do so. So do what I do. Take three paper towels, lightly dampen them, and rubber band them around the top of a bowl. Then use that to strain your yogurt. Use what you got, and feel like you’re in a Bounty commercial in the process. You can also use a very fine mesh strainer.

Chop your cucumbers
2. When all the liquid is out of the yogurt, it will almost appear crumbly, more like Play Dough than yogurt. While you wait, take your cucumber, remove the skin, dice it and then run it into a pulp through a food processor. The cucumber is extremely watery, which is okay. That’s why you’ve strained your yogurt!

Mixing Tzatziki ingredients
3. In a large bowl, combine your yogurt, cucumber, hot sauce, garlic, lemon juice and seasoning. Stir and season to taste. Cover it and let sit for about a half hour, or however long it takes to make the remainder of the meal.

Potato Wedges
Boiling potatoes
1. While the yogurt strains, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heavily salt the water, then add your potatoes whole with the skins on and par-boil for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Allow the potatoes to cool, then cut then into 1/10 wedges, or as big as the typical steak fry. Drizzle them with olive oil.
My man grilling
3. Grill wedges until crispy on the outside, then place in a warming oven and season with salt, pepper and malt vinegar if desired.

Kebabs
Shaping the lamb kebabs
1. In a large bowl combine the lamb, egg, panko bread crumbs, garlic, onion and spices. Shape the mixture into a shape about the size of a sausage link and slide the kebabs onto metal skewers. You should get about 9 kebabs from 2 pounds of meat.
Opa!
2. Drizzle kebabs lightly with olive oil, then grill for about ten minutes on each side or until the lamb is cooked through. Serve with tzatziki, potato wedges, pita bread and toppings and enjoy!

Click here for printable recipes!

Monkey Bread: a Fail-Proof and Delicious Dessert

4 Apr

As Easter creeps up this holiday I join a lot of my friends in trying to help put together a menu for family dinners. In large family settings it can be really tricky to find food that everyone can enjoy, so oftentimes the simpler recipes tend to shine. Think about the stars of your holiday meals: turkey, ham, potatoes, all very simple but absolutely necessary for a successful holiday meal.

Dessert has always been a challenge for me when it came to holidays. My desire to impress and my love for baking has always trumped the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) rule of thumb. I hate the idea of making something as standard as cupcakes or brownies, but I knew for this year I would need something that everyone could enjoy.

Enter the Monkey Bread.

My mom has been making Monkey Bread since I was young, mainly because it’s super simple and crazy delicious. I decided to whip up a batch this weekend, and took my own little twist on it to make it even more successful. If you’re strapped for time and looking for a cheap fix, I guarantee that this will be a hit this holiday weekend.

Monkey Bread

Ingredients
2 packages, Pillsbury Grands Refrigerated Biscuits
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tub (14 oz.) Land O Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Spread

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bundt pant with a small amount of the Land O Lakes butter spread. Usually to do this I take a paper towel, scoop a small amount off the top of the tub and rub it in with my hands. It doesn’t matter if you put too much on, as it all melts into the same place, but don’t skimp!


2. In a large bowl, mix together your sugar and cinnamon. It will look wonderful and light brown and fabulously delicious. I like to make 2 cups of this, keep it in a Tupperware, and spoon it over buttered toast in the morning for a quick breakfast.
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3. Cut all of your biscuits into quarters and throw them into the large bowl of sugar, completely coating every piece. When shopping, make sure you buy the biscuits, not the layered dinner rolls that Pillsbury makes. Drop those pieces into the bunt and repeat until your out of biscuits. The remaining cinnamon-sugar can be poured over top of the bundt.


4. Melt the remaining Land O Lakes butter spread in the microwave, only for about 20 seconds, then pour that evenly over the top of the biscuits. If you would rather use butter, be my guest, but I found this stuff at Wegmans for pretty cheap and it has changed my world.


5. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. When the top is browned and you think it is done, take it out and examine the open spaces in between, and push down on a few of the pieces on top. If it feels squishy and soft, the inside is raw, but if it feels stiffer the inside is baked. Don’t worry about the top burning when trying to cook the inside. If that becomes an issue (I’ve made this recipe a ridiculous amount of times and I’ve never had that problem) put a piece of foil over the top.
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6. Flip your monkey bread out of the bundt and onto a plate and you’re done! The hardest part will be not grabbing it right away, but remember that it is pretty much covered in molten caramel, so please be careful! And enjoy!
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Try This: Easy, Grilled Dinner

30 Mar

Tonight was a tricky night for dinner for Alex and me. It’s Thursday, which is the best day of the week (30 Rock, Community, Swamp People… you get the picture), but it’s also a very, very, very crazy week at work so I’ve been stuck at the office fairly late.

Considering that I love Thursdays so much I really wanted to cook a nice dinner, but I needed to find something that was very quick (my Thursday shows start at 8 p.m. AKA way too early) and still very cheap. So a little searching on the FoodNetwork.com and I found my answer.

It may be a little bit cold for the spring time in New Jersey, but we still decided to celebrate the season and do some grilling. Peeled, raw, extra large shrimp were on sale at the grocery store, and I almost never eat shrimp for dinner, so Alex and I decided to make Bobby Flay’s Gambas al Ajillo. My favorite vegetable in the world, asparagus, is in season so I knew we had to make that too.  I have been dreaming about grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and once again I turned to my main man Bobby Flay.

Now if you’re having a fancy dinner party or something lavish, stick to Bobby’s recipe word-for-word. If you’re like me and are not trying to buy a million ingredients, simply take your asparagus, snap off the ends, toss them lightly in olive oil, salt and then wrap 3 pieces together in one piece of prosciutto and grill for about 15 minutes. We threw some french fries into the oven as well, but you don’t really need them. Take the fries off the plate and you still have a very full plate! They didn’t really get eaten because everything else was so insanely delicious.

Voila, a dinner that took maybe 25 minutes tops. Give it a try!

Try this: Super Amazing St. Patrick’s Day Soup!

15 Mar

As we all know, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. I’m almost completely Irish, so obviously I love it! Plus, it means I get to eat my favorite meal: corned beef and cabbage. I can’t get enough of the stuff, and my family will only make it once a

Photo from: SkinnyTaste.com

year.

…Well I couldn’t wait until Saturday. I was browsing Pinterest and I came across this recipe from a phenomenal blog called Skinny Taste for Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup. My thought process? What!? Shut up! That sound’s awesome okay I’m making it.

And so I did. And I am currently sitting at my desk enjoying my nice little tupperware  of it. Fabulous doesn’t describe this soup. It’s not greasy at all, almost no oils or additional salts since you’re cooking with water, and it’s very easy to prepare. Set it and forget it.  Plus, all of the ingredients for corned beef and cabbage are on super sale at grocery stores right now in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day.

Try this soup yourself! You’ll love it!

Vide-OH! of the Day

7 Mar

Sorry for not posting in forever. Honestly I’ve been doing a lot worth posting, but I’ve also lost my camera cord and charger… so…

Erica Bauwens, blogger extraordinaire.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll find my camera cord/charger within the week and post the two million pictures and projects I have to share, but until then enjoy this awesome chick! She runs “My Drunk Kitchen,” basically getting slightly wasted and sharing some type of generally easy recipe in the process. It’s so funny, she rocks and you will enjoy this.

Try This: The Works at Mac’s

1 Mar

There is nothing better to me on a sunny day then settling in at a bar in Philadelphia, having a few beers, and watching a game on tv. Alex and I did that the other day at Mac’s Tavern in Philadelphia (yes, the same Mac’s Tavern that is owned by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Rob and Kait McElhenney).

After two or three (or four…or five… who’s counting?) beers Alex and I were feeling a bit starving. This is the reason I love Philadelphia. You can walk into any ordinary bar on any ordinary street and find out-of-this-world food. Unbelievably amazing, ridiculously delicious options that you never thought you would find. Mac’s is no exception. This is the second time I’ve eaten here, but people rave about certain dishes on their menu, like their meatball hoagie and lobster mac and cheese. Alex and I were feeling the buzz and needed something big, greasy and terrible for you, so we opted for The Works.

Ohhhh The Works. The Works. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. A huge plate of chunky fries smothered in the best gravy you’ve ever had, ginormous slices of steak, thick-cut bacon, onions and mushrooms, then topped with ridiculously gooey mozzarella cheese. It’s like the ultimate drunk food, but classier and better than anything you could ever make drunk.

Life doesn’t get any better than good game, a beer, some food and a bar. Wait… I take that back. It only gets better when you have the french fries of the gods. The servers and bartenders at Mac’s better prepared for me to invade their bar when baseball season starts….

*Note* I did not take a photo of these beauties while I was there, but if someone reads this and decides to share one with me I would love it!

Drinking Like a Lady: Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot

28 Feb

My sweet tooth is bigger than any bone in my body. I love a nice, fruity beer and even ciders, which always leads to slack from my male beer-drinking friends. So imagine my surprise when everyone reacted so enthusiastically to Dogfish Head‘s new Noble Rot.

The first line in the description online is “Hmmm. We wonder if anyone will buy a beer with the word ‘rot’ in the name?” I honestly almost didn’t buy it because of that reason. When I hear “rot” I instantly think of weird smells and colors that I shouldn’t be drinking. Luckily, my boyfriend trusts Sam and the rest of the crew at Dogfish whole-heartily, and picked up a bottle for dinner after its Jan. 2012 release, because I did not want to miss out on this beer.

Listed as a “saison-esque project,” Noble Rot is a unique combination of two different kinds of wine grapes combined with pilsner and wheat malts. Mashed together, you get a really unique, beyond interesting beer… no wait, wine… no wait…?

I kind of wish I had payed more attention to the description of Noble Rot before I went through the process of drinking it, because I would have appreciated it much more. The beer drinks more like a wine, with a sweet, champagne-esque bite that overpowers the hops and malt. Were I to have sipped this drink a bit more slowly, I don’t think I would have been so overpowered by the taste, which was so delicious. Through all these new flavors, I can’t help but appreciate that distinct Dogfish taste that you get at the end of a sip. There’s a familiarity amid this strange, wacky brew, a taste that inspires me to buy Dogfish beer in the first place.

If you are just starting out in the craft beer world, it takes some refining. I wouldn’t expect someone who’s lived on Natty Light and Franzia to dive head first into a Double IPA anytime soon, but Noble Rot might be a good start. There’s a balance of flavors that doesn’t make it overly-hoppy or bitter, which can be kind of abrasive when adjusting to the craft beer scene.

One of the great things about craft beers is that each brewery has their own little signature, a taste or flavor that always ends up hitting home and making you say, “Hey, I know where this is from!” I’ve got to love Dogfish’s absolutely off-the-wall approach to beer, it’s what keeps me coming back.

Are you a fan of craft beer? Follow me on UnTappd and share your favorites!

30 Rock Funky Juice

23 Feb

Ice, Sprite and white wine… You’ve got yourself a Liz Lemon night.
Happy Thursday night!

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The Caribou Cafe: France in Philadelphia

22 Feb

This weekend Alex and I spent a lovely two nights in Philadelphia. Some may see that as bonkers, since you can literally see the Philly skyline from Alex’s backyard. The thing is, Philadelphia is packed with some of -in my opinion- the most amazing bars and restaurants in the country, a lot of places we have always wanted to go to but never indulged in. So this weekend we threw our seemingly endless saving spree out the window and tried a few of our favorite restaurants, and bars in full, gluttonous, heavenly style.

By our hotel on Walnut Street there was this little cafe that I had never seen before but grabbed my attention right away called the Caribou Cafe. It had adorable outdoor seating, fenced off with a wall of plants. The windows were painted with gold lettering of French foods with lace curtains between each of the light brown wood window sills, and I could see the warm orange paint and people sipping coffees inside.

I was instantly taken to my first morning in Paris during my time studying abroad in London. We had no idea where we were or what we were doing, but we were starving. We got off the metro and turned into the first cafe we could find, a quintessentially French little eatery. There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to have enjoyed my first French meal. Tucked along the Seine, with the Eifel Tower placed perfectly in the background, we enjoyed wine and Croque Monsieurs. It will always serve as my perfectly ideal image of Paris.

The Caribou Cafe instantly took me back to that morning and fed my French obsession. I knew I would love it before I even walked in the door. On our last morning in Philly Alex and I walked over for brunch. Walking through their velvet yellow curtains into the cafe I fell in love all over again. This place is beautiful. The bright orange walls compliment rows of dark tables and chairs and their bar, one of the most gorgeous bars in Philadelphia. On top of the counter sits a champagne bucket with three of their finest bottles sitting on ice and two massive silver lamps, shaped like elegant women, with a wall of more champagne, obscure liquors and beers lining the counters behind. I couldn’t stop gushing the entire time.

The menu is exquisitely French, of course. Escargots, quiche du jour, croque madame and monsieur, crepes, moules frites… oh gosh I shouldn’t keep going. Alex chose eggs benedict on a bed of spinach that he went nuts for, but cooked spinach and I do not get along so I avoided a taste of that. I chose their French Philly cheesesteak, sliced ribeye on brioche, with brie cheese, sauteed mushrooms, honey dijon mustard and a pile of frites. Unbelievable. The ribeye was cooked perfectly, the bread was fresh and toasted and the brie. Oh my gosh, the brie. This was without a doubt one of the best meals I have had this year, and I’m already dying to go back and try more.

I spent so much time planning this weekend and the thing I fell into was one of my favorite and most memorable stops. If you’re a francophile stop by the Caribou Cafe. You will be stunned. Also, they have a free beer deal on FourSquare, so stop by and enjoy a free Kronenburg!