January 30, 2013

Cheesy Onion Chorizo Dip

It's that time of year. Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us, and that means a ton of food. Is the best part of the game watching the game? Definitely not. It's the endless supply of wings, chips, nachos, and, most importantly, dips.

This is not your ordinary dip. Of course it's cheesy and creamy and gooey, but it's also spotted with spicy nuggets of chorizo and succulent caramelized onions. Chorizo is a spicy spanish sausage with a beautiful red color; just remove it from the casing (don't leave it on even if it's not plastic) and cook it in a skillet, breaking up the clumps with a spoon. For the onions, just throw them in another skillet with some butter and seasoning and let them cook until golden and tender. Mix all the other ingredients together and let it melt together to make the perfect bite.

Not sure how to serve it? Be creative! Experiment with different flavors of chips, or just slice and toast some bread. I've found one of the best ways is to just eat it with a spoon, but that is usually frowned upon in Super Bowl parties or really any time I'm sharing it with other people. However you eat it, it is sure to be fantastic!

8 oz Chorizo
2 T Butter
2 Cups Diced Onions
1/8 tsp Thyme
8 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
3 T Hot Sauce
4 Scallions, Sliced

Remove the chorizo from its casing and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring to break into small pieces. Cool.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme; season with salt. Lower heat to medium-low and cook onion, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes or until soft and caramelized. Cool.

Heat oven to 375F. Grease a baking dish or pie plate.

Combine the cream cheese, hot sauce, and mayonnaise. Add the mozzarella, onions, 3/4 of the scallions, and chorizo.

Pour the dip into the prepared dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes or unti bubbly, then broil until golden. Sprinkle with remaining scallions and serve with bread and/or chips.

Recipe Adapted from

January 27, 2013

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

With all of the healthy recipes I've been publishing, it is high time I made something, well, not. I want calories. I want deliciousness. I want artery-clogging goodness. A note to the reader: stop here if you want to eat healthy. These bars are dangerously delicious, and you won't be able to resist making them. They are filled with everything you could possibly want, like gooey caramel, shortbread, beer, nuts, and, of course, lots and lots of bacon. These aren't prissy little treats with gossamer threads of spun sugar atop light, fluffy mousse. No, these are man bars.

The bars have lots of components. There's the crust, a really simple brown sugar shortbread. Pulse it, press it, bake it, done. After I make the crust, I make the bacon. It really isn't necessary to make it this soon, but this way you get a snack while you slave over the stove making the rest of the recipe. I cook off six strips cut into bits (for the bars) and a couple more strips (for the chef). I drain off the fat, but I definitely don't throw it away because I toast the pecans in it. Yes, you read that right. Pecans toasted in bacon fat. Just chop the pecans, add them to the skillet after you take out the bacon bits, and stir over medium heat until fragrant. Meanwhile, make the beer reduction. I put the beer in a pot over medium heat and let it reduce down until it's half the original volume; just be careful that it doesn't spill over the edge. It's the same amount of flavor but much less liquid, so the bars will be gooey but not too liquidy. I add butter, cream, corn syrup, and lots of brown sugar to the beer reduction, and then I stir in the pecans and pour the whole thing onto the crust. After a nice sprinkling of bacon, I bake the bars until set and chill them until I can cut them.

Nobody can resist this dessert. It is a little complicated, but it is certainly worth it. They are rich, decadent, and full of flavor; sure to please anyone.

2 Sticks + 2T Butter
2 Cups Flour
2 1/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Stout
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
1/4 Cup Cream
2 Eggs
6 Strips Bacon, Diced

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment.

Pulse the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add 1 stick and 2T butter; pulse until small bits remain. Add up to 1/4 cup water until it begins to stick together.

Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 12 mintues or until golden.

Cook the diced bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Drain the bacon and keep the fat. Heat the fat in the skillet and add the pecans. Toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool.

Heat the stout in a small pot over medium heat; reduce to half the original volume. Add the remaining butter and whisk until melted.

Combine the stout/butter mixture, corn syrup, and cream. Add the remaining brown sugar, then whisk in the eggs. Fold in the toasted pecans.

Pour the pecan mixture onto the crust. Sprinkle with the bacon bits and bake for 30 minutes or until almost set.

Makes 24
Recipe Adapted from

January 22, 2013

Cucumber Salad

Looking for a simple side dish that won't break your New Year's resolutions? This is it. It's just thinly sliced crisp cucumbers tossed with a yummy dressing and sprinkled with crunchy sesame seeds. It's that easy. The only trick is to keep the slices of cucumber as thin as possible so that they absorb the dressing. I have a mandoline, a really cool little piece of equipment that can slice anything as thin as you want it to be. I like to use it for this since it really speeds things up, but make sure you are very careful if you want to use one. If you don't have one, it's just as easy to use a knife to slice the cucumbers paper-thin.

The dressing is the perfect balance of sour, sweet, and salty. There is plenty of rice vinegar, which is acidic but not as sharp as you would expect vinegar to be. There's also a few spoonfuls of sugar to balance it out as well as some soy sauce for that salty savoriness that really makes the dish. I add sesame oil to highlight the flavor from the sesame seeds, which add additional crunch to the cucumbers. This dish is one of the easiest ones I've made, and it's well worth it.

2 lbs Cucumbers
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
2 T Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 T Sugar
1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds

Slice the cucumbers thinly; mandolines work well for this. Toss with the salt and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze gently to dry.

Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Toss the cucumbers with the dressing. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds before serving.

Serves 6-8
Recipe Adapted from Appetite for China

January 18, 2013

Garlic Potato Soup

One of my all-time favorite foods is mashed potatoes. I could eat them every day, but this soup is even better. It's basically mashed potatoes in soup form, with the added bonus of roasted garlic. I also love roasted garlic; some people consider it the candy of the vegetable world. I wouldn't take it that far, but it sure is delicious. It adds a light sweetness to the soup and adds to the velvety texture. Vegans and vegetarians can enjoy it, too, since you can use either vegetable or chicken stock.

The first step is to roast the garlic and potatoes. I roast them together to save time, but I wrap the garlic in foil with a splash of olive oil so that it caramelizes slowly and doesn't burn. I season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs for a simple but full flavor. They become extremely tender, a great base for the soup.

I saute the shallots instead of roasting because roasting doesn't have the same effect on them as it does the garlic and potatoes. There is also enough sweetness from the roasted garlic, and roasting the shallots would overdo it. After all the vegetables are cooked through, I cook them all together for a few minutes and then add the stock. I let everything simmer together for a while so the flavors combine, and then I puree it all for a velvety, smooth texture. It couldn't be easier, and it couldn't taste more delicious!

4 Heads Garlic
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
3 Shallots, Minced
7 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Heat oven to 400F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Toss with 2T oil, thyme, 2 tsp salt, and pepper. Place on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet.

Trim the tops of the garlic heads and place on some foil. Drizzle 1T oil on the garlic and wrap to close the foil. Place on the tray with the potatoes.

Bake the garlic and potatoes for 15 minutes. Stir to flip, then bake for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the potatoes and continue roasting the garlic until tender and golden.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, then squeeze in the garlic cloves. Mash slightly, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Add more stock if necessary.

Serves 6-8
Recipe Adapted from Kosher Scoop

January 13, 2013

Asian Broccoli Salad

Well, its 2013, and that means resolutions. This recipe will make it so much easier to eat healthier or maintain similar resolutions since it tastes so good and is actually extremely good for you. You may not have liked broccoli as a kid, but that's because you've never had broccoli like this. You just steam it and toss it with some other vegetables like scallions and bean sprouts as well as some dressing. If you've never made salad dressing before, don't be scared. All you have to do is whisk some ingredients together and you're done! Just toss it with the vegetables and you have a delicious, easy, and nutritious salad!

4 Cups Broccoli Florets (About 2 Heads)
2 Cups Bean Sprouts
2 Scallions, White & Light Green Parts Sliced Thinly
1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves, Optional
1/4 Cups Almonds, Chopped
2 T + 1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup + 1 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Honey
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
2 tsp Grated Ginger

Steam the broccoli until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Place the florets in an ice bath until cooled, then drain.

Heat 1 tsp sesame oil. add the almonds, stirring until toasted and fragrant. Stir in 1 tsp soy sauce. Cool.

Combine the remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger.

Toss the broccoli, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, and almonds together. Stir in the dressing. 

Serves 4-6
Recipe Adapted from Anja's Food 4 Thought