My favorite guilty food pleasure, something I eat, say, after working a long weekend, is pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeno pizza with a Coke so cold from the freezer it's slushy. Odd combination though it may sound, my guilty pleasure indulgence has all the flavor bases covered: savory spicy pepperoni, sweet pineapple, bitingly hot jalapenos, tangy tomato sauce, and that ice cold sweet syrupy Coke that refreshes in a way nothing else can at times.
Hey, I didn't say it was healthy. I said it was a guilty pleasure, an indulgence, a mental break for my tongue and sustenance to my comfort aura.
Here's a recipe for Tanna, who loves buttermilk. So do I, actually.
I made waffles over the weekend, Sunday night when I wasn't really sick anymore but didn't feel great either. Why is it that breakfast always sounds yummy to the tummy when you don't feel good and don't feel like cooking? I don't know either but why fight the feeling?
This is my favorite waffle recipe. The beauty of it is in the three bowl technique. You have a bowl for the dry ingredients, a bowl for the wet ingredients, and a bowl for the whipped egg white. The other ingredient that makes these waffles so good is the Tbsp of corn meal. Corn meal provides a bit of a crunch and the egg white provides the lift which is the perfect waffle combination for me.
On a side note, no Easter posts from me. I have to work all weekend so I'll be working all night and sleeping all day. If Gene's lucky I'll pick him up a white chocolate bunny on the way to work.
What to do at the beginning of spring when the peaches smell good but have the texture of...well...thready mush? Make Julius's. I'd call them smoothies but there's no yogurt or ice cream (but there is milk) and my favorite way to make them is basically a rehash of a recipe my sister used to make for the family when we were growing up that aped the Orange Julius drinks. Do they even still have Orange Julius stores anymore? I know ours left the mall years and years ago which made me a little sad, really. I loved those things, especially all the other flavors like banana and strawberry. Yum!
Happy St. Pat's Day a little early! I'm working most of the weekend including Monday but I wanted to share this meal with you. Yum! St. Pat's food is one of my favorite go to for celebratory meals. Don't know why I don't prepare it more often. Actually, the Reuben is my all time favorite sandwich and corned beef hash and eggs is my favorite breakfast. Can't go wrong with corned beef and cabbage in any form!
By the way, the green bread is a joke. It's simply my standard white bread everyday recipe that I added green food paste coloring to for some St. Pat's silliness.
As for the holiday itself, St. Patrick is credited with both driving the snakes and the pagans out of Ireland. As Ireland's patron saint, Patrick is attributed with using the abundant shamrock as a teaching tool to explain the three-in-one nature of the Trinity.
This is my entry for this weeks' Weekend Herb Blogging, originally created by the lovely Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This week, WHB is hosted by Kel of the fabulously photographed Green Olive Tree. Check out all the other entries after Sunday evening.
Cardamom is a spice, not technically an herb, but Kalyn's focus is on all herbs, spices, or plants. Cardamom, my favorite spice, is used quite a bit in northern European and Middle Eastern cuisines.
When I was a kid I was the oldest of five. With being the oldest and the oldest daughter I quickly became my mother's sergeant at arms in the kitchen. Growing up, we planted an acre garden across town on some land my dad owned that also came with enough raspberry and blackberry brambles to sustain us with fruit throughout the summer, and frozen, through the winter. We also canned apples from my Nannie's three trees in her backyard.
This made for the most common winter desserts at our house being apple crisps and berry cobblers. Guess who was in charge? Yep, me. Even at nine or ten years old I could whip together the family dessert and move on to helping mom with the rest of dinner.
Foodie Rachel, another southwest Missouri food blogger, has mentioned this casserole several times on her blog, lovingly remembering her grandmother each time she makes it for herself, her husband Justin, and their ADORABLE new baby, Joslyn.
I gave it a try and, to my delight, it REALLY IS very good.
I'm not much of a casserole person but I don't mean that as a diss in any way. I grew up with casseroles, they are after all, the heart of Midwest and Southern cooking of the 70's when I grew up but then as an adult I spent all of my twenties and most of my thirties as a hotel convention and banquet planner where I learned to think and cook in terms of three courses of individual foods: Salad. And then: Meat. Starch. Vegetable. And then: Dessert during The Speaker. And then: We all go home.
Lately, I've found myself at times craving the foods from my youth: hamburgers, fried chicken, meatloaf, mac & cheese, and casseroles. That seems to be a national trend that's been going on for several years now. You can see it in the comfort food themed shows on The Food Network, in the plethora of upscale burger joints like Hubert Keller's The Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, in the bistro food of Thomas and Josef Keller, and the renewed popularity of diners in our culture. More and more mid-level and high-end restaurants are picking up on comfort foods either done closely to the originals or reworked for the upscale palate. I have no problem with either approach, although I lean towards the middle ground with re-worked recipes like real cheddar and tangy bleu cheese with rosemary Mac & Cheese rather the Kraft or Velveeta box but I draw the line at something like hand-stuffed hot dogs with fois gras and sweetbreads. (Forbes Traveler). That's just wrong.
One of the theories about the comfort food trend is that since 9/11 we've all been collectively searching back in our psyches for the safeness that the world seemed to be when we grew up and we find that comfort in the foods from that era in our lives. (Food Reference.com) I can sort of buy that. I think 9/11 might have been a catalyst for people to look back at their roots in search of succor, warmth, and all things good that we associate with being old-fashioned and rural.
Or maybe it's simply the natural pendulum of things, or to use a different analogy, our food choices coming full circle for us.
And another of my favorite shots of the hotel taken as we waited for the airport shuttle. These were the best pics I took all week!
How about some food pics? This is supposed to be, after all, a food blog but I'll be honest. We didn't eat that many upscale meals. We had the lunch at RM Seafood and the caviar at the Bellagio but other than that we really stuck with basic food. I allowed myself a few comfort foods I rarely allow myself to eat like a Reuben & fries, chicken pot pie, that room service bleu cheese & avocado burger, etc. At Caesar's before Bette's show we ate at the "food court" and that was actually fun. Gene had carved turkey and dressing and I had a side of mac & cheese. The "food court" at Caesar's ranges from a Starbucks to the carved meat place to upscale chinese to upscale subs. The tables are nicely done and the condiment bar includes real flatware and real plates you can transfer your "fast food" meal over to. It was very well done and exactly what I would expect from Caesar's.
After the show we stopped by the basic 24 hour cafe. I had the coolest matzo ball soup I've ever had and Gene chose a quesadilla that was very good, one of the best we've ever had. Sure, it was just a quesadill and soup but the mark of a great kitchen is to do even the basic foods very well.
Isn't the presentation fantastic? The bowl contained the matzo ball, about 3 oz of chicken, a chunked baby carrot with the greens still attached, and the sprig of dill. I loved the chicken broth on the side. It was a nice touch especially since I really don't like a lot of broth on my dumpling but like to spoon it separately. It's like they read my mind. LOL! Plus, it was adorable!
The quesadilla was just a basic chicken quesadilla but the remoulade on top was perfect and it had tons of flavor. That's the kind of food that can be made very well or very badly.
Let's see....other pics of food. Oh, here's one of the morning room service carts from the Luxor. I just love room service carts. I almost judge the quality of a hotel by them. Again, something simple that can be done very poorly or very well. The Luxor did well. Everything was presented beautifully even though it was only a caraffe of coffee and a basket of pastries most days and a choice of USA Today or the local Review Journal accompanied each tray. That's a nice touch.
On to part TWO of our Vegas picture parade. Let's start with another pic I just sort of snapped off at the Luxor's entrance while we were waiting for the airport shuttle.
You know why there's a huge light on the top of the Luxor's pyramid, right? It's so the drunks can find their way home at night. At least that's what I've always thought made sense...
Okay, where were we?
Ah yes, the evening at the Bellagio where we mixed the modern art exhibit, loved the Chinese New Year themed Conservatory, and ate caviar in the Petrossian Bar. That night, like every other time we've been in Vegas since the place opened, as we walked by hearing the piano player and seeing all the lovely tables and comfy chairs, I said "I'd love to have a drink in that bar sometime." Gene replied "Tonight's the night." Which we all know is man-speak for "Let's get her done so you can shut the hell up already." :-)
But it turned into a wonderful experience!
This would be us with my cosmo, his sherry, and our caviar. Boy howdy, we look happy to be there, don't we? It's okay. You can laugh. I am. I don't know what our deal was. I remember it took the waitress a long time to get the shot. Maybe we were tired of smiling or something. Don't remember. I swear we were actually having a lovely evening sitting there chatting about nothing important, people watching, and finding out that we really like caviar. The good stuff does live up to the hype. And then the bill came. Just kidding. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find a way to make the car payment...
The Petrossian brand can be ordered here: Petrossian. They have several different kinds: sturgeon, salmon, pike, and tons of gift basket combinations. Ours was the sturgeon roe, Tsar Imperial label. Loved the mini blinis and toast points. They were so cute. Sorry no more pics than the one. I was too busy having a great time! It's a simple thing but vacation to me is about seeing new things and trying new foods. I'm sure I'm not alone out there or we wouldn't be blogging. I'm a lucky girl in that Gene is the same way so even though I make jokes I really don't have to drag him along at all. He's the one who ordered the caviar. He's the one who planned the whole vacation from picking out the room to getting show tickets. Everybody say "Ahhhhhhhhhhh".
Hey, the lid from the caviar and our Bette tickets. Yay! Okay, for one, that's the only pic I have from Bette although I do have the souvenir plastic hurricane glass from the show. Duh. Stupid me was so excited to get inside the showroom I passed up the formal pics with the showgirls and then none of the photographers inside the showroom came close to our seats so we have no formal Anniversary pic. Wah.
Second thought about this pic. The lid? I dropped it into my purse so we could remember the name of what we had. I didn't even wipe out the couple of eggs sticking to it. Then I FORGOT I'd dropped it in there. Here's the perfect example of the difference between good fish and bad fish. When I realized it was still there I figured the inside of my purse would stink to high heavens but it didn't. I couldn't even find the silly lid at first, and when I did, even sniffing the lid itself only gave off the faintest of "sea"-ish odor. Now that's good fish and I'm sure what we had wasn't even the most expensive on the menu.