• Gluten free,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    “Stuffing” our faces

    As always, Thanksgiving in Tucson was full of friends, family, fun and food comas—lots of them. While I’m the last person to let dietary restrictions rain on my pig-out parade, I felt inclined to make a gluten-free dish for my dear nana (A thinly veiled attempt to become the favorite grandchild? Maybe). The resulting creation was a sweet potato “stuffing” inspired by a work potluck dish a la creative director of the century, David (A thinly veiled attempt at a raise? Maybe.). This stuff is FANTASTIC—even if you aren’t foregoing gluten. While it won’t replace the good-old Pepperidge-Farm-stuffing-in-a-bag variety my family loves so much, it’s definitely a holiday side worth…

  • Appetizers,  Dessert,  Entrees,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    A haunting in Roscoe Village

    I like horror—maybe a little too much, judging by my Netflix queue. Many a night, Dave flings the bedroom door open to find me in the glow of some weird B-grade horror movie. What can I say, I love things that are a little sick and twisted. Which is why I say, screw the cutesy Halloween decor—give me fake bugs and terrifying zombie props. Scouring Pinterest, I found some equally spooky Halloween bites: Spider web dip Refried beans, covered in a layer of guacamole, surrounded by a ring of salsa and shredded cheese, decorated with a “spider web” of sour cream. I put the sour cream in a plastic bag,…

  • Appetizers,  Side Dishes

    Devil is in the details

    As a cook, there’s nothing better than converting the non-believers. I’m talking about the moment when someone says “I don’t like (insert food item),” tries your variation anyway, and becomes wide-eyed with surprise and delight. “I DO like (previously detested food item)!” My Italian take on deviled eggs elicited this response. The potentially disastrous ingredient combination wasn’t lost on me—but I pushed ahead, mixed the yolks anyway, and came out with finger-food gold. You won’t be embarrassed to show up at your next party with these babies—even if they are in one of those ridiculous pastel-colored deviled-egg carriers.  Uovas Diavolos (Italian-style deviled eggs) You’ll need: A dozen hard boiled eggs…

  • Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Bring on the beans

    Let me start by saying: Holler if you love baked beans. Like, really love baked beans. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one. Sure, most will take a modest scoopful from the BBQ buffet line, but few make a plate in which their hot dogs/chicken/ribs/etc. are swimming in a sea of ’em, like I do. In my quest to convert the non-believers, I served up a crock-pot-size vat of these beauties, studded with an entire pound of pork belly: Pork belly baked beans #ratingval# from #reviews# reviews Print Author: Adapted from thepioneerwoman.com Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 6 hours Total time: 6 hours 15 mins Serves: 10-14  …

  • Appetizers,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Bacon cheddar hush puppies

    The smell of spring—and bacon grease—is in the air, and both are equally intoxicating. If you care to fill your kitchen with the latter, these little fried morsels will do the trick. While I’m tempted to recommend them alongside more fried food (fried chicken anyone?) they’ll probably seem less gluttonous as an appetizer shared among friends. I had to troubleshoot a little with these because my first batch was a little dry, so I suggest dropping one in the frying pan first to test, then adding a little more butter, cheese or perhaps a little dollop of sour cream to the batter if you need to moisten them up a…

  • Appetizers,  Beverages,  Cooking Tips,  Dessert,  Entrees,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    The one day a year when bingeing is socially acceptable …

    … is nearly upon us!! Hip-hip-hooray!!! As far as food goes, holidays don’t get much better than Thanksgiving. Last year’s Thanksgiving post pretty much covers things so I’m posting the link again (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). There’s also my Southwest Thanksgiving post and the Paula Deen post to give you a little turkey-day inspiration. Also keep an eye out for a special Thanksgiving Day post. Happy gorging!

  • Cooking Tips,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Any way you slice it

    Full disclosure (I don’t want to get sued by the FTC). This post is sponsored by the Slice Slab. You see, Dave has sort of stumbled into the cutting board business. That doesn’t sound at all odd, does it? Long story short, we got our hands on some excess Corian (think poor-man’s granite), a state-of-the-art machine designed for cutting countertops and the like out of huge slabs of wood, granite and plastic, and an ingenious design for a unique and fabulous carving board. See, not weird at all. A pretty neat design (thanks Roy) was made even better after we had the idea to put a graduated “spout” on the…

  • Appetizers,  Beverages,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Giving gracias

    I’m still recovering from the 48-hour cooking marathon, gluttonous spread and absolute debauchery that is our misfit-full, southwestern Thanksgiving celebration. Let me paint the scene: Colorful characters mingling over excessive amounts of tequila, criminal quantities of turkey (2, 15-pounders and a 20-pounder to be exact), all the trimmings with a southwestern flair, ridiculously perfect, sun-shiny, 75-degree weather, football broadcast on a backyard pool-side cabana bar TV… … and me slaving away in a hot kitchen. I kid, I kid. I have to admit I enjoy it. Besides, if I didn’t cook, we’d be eating pies from Costco (no offense Don) and canned cranberry sauce. OK, so we ate those things…

  • Holidays,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Channeling Sandra and Paula

    These recipes are actually Paula’s own, but if Sandra Lee and Paula Deen had culinary love children, they’d look something like these. If this sounds appealing to you, read on. If the thought of Sandra and Paula joining forces makes you want to tear your hair out, don’t close that window just yet. Yes, I’ll admit it’s slightly shameful that two of my favorites Thanksgiving dishes involve canned cream corn, frozen hash browns, dehydrated potato flakes and french-fried onions. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll love these recipes too—even if you won’t admit it and have to sneak bites of leftovers by the light of the fridge while everyone…

  • Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Jalapeno green chile corn muffins

    For the Northwestern tailgate earlier this month, I attempted to contribute to the festivities and failed miserably. The cornbread tasted great, there just wasn’t enough of it. I placed my puny loaf pan next to the enormous aluminum banquet trays, and I have a feeling it was greeted with deep suspicion. “What the hell is this tiny pan of cornbread doing in our ridiculously giant tailgate buffet? Is this some sort of trick? Is it poisoned??” I have to say I don’t blame them. It was a slightly confusing sight. By the end of the tailgate there was just a paper-thin slice missing from the pan. I should mention that…