High Heels & Grills

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sticky Sesame Chicken | 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook Giveaway


You know who the Six Sisters are, right? Right. Of course you do. Because they're awesome. And if you don't, you need to fix that ASAP. They are basically the coolest group of bloggers that you will ever meet! I heard of them for the first time through my sister-in-law and have loved them ever since. Not only do they have incredible recipes on their blog, but they are the sweetest girls ever!

They've come out with a couple cookbooks, including A Year with Six Sisters' Stuff and Family Recipes, Fun Crafts, and So Much More, but recently they came out with a new cookbook, 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff, that's geared towards making the holidays easier and creating your own family traditions and I absolutely love it! Between the recipes {Like Gingerbread Cookie Bars on page 67. Hello, delicious!}, neighbor gift ideas {I would be totally okay if I were to receive Peanut Butter Truffles on page 97 from my neighbor}, and their cute crafts {I'm not a huge crafter, hence the food blog route, but I think I could totally pull of their cute Peppermint Candy Wreath on page 136}, you couldn't ask for more in a cookbook.

They even have easy holiday dinner recipes to help with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Which is what brings this delicious Sticky Sesame Chicken into play. Don't get me wrong, I love holiday food, but one can only have so much of it, right? If you're anything like us, the last thing you want to be doing after baking pies and brining turkey all day is having to spend more time in the kitchen to make dinner. That's what is so great about this recipe! It can be done in 20 minutes and it's to die for! You can find the recipe for this on page 115 in the cookbook, but I'm going to give it to you below as well. 

Basically, this cookbook is the only Christmas cookbook you will ever need and lucky for you, I'm giving one away! Just enter below and cross your fingers!

Sticky Sesame Chicken
Print Recipe
Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff 12 Days of Christmas Cookbook
Makes 4-6 servings
Ingredients:
  • 28 oz. package Tyson's frozen popcorn chicken
  • 6 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups white rice, cooked
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:
  1. Cook the chicken according to package directions. {I like to cook it longer because I like it more crisp.}
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the honey, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. While stirring, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes to let sauce thicken up.
  3. Toss the cooked chicken in the sauce and serve over rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Good luck! May the odds be eva' in yo' fava'. ;)

-Sarah

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coconut Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Thanksgiving is just around the corner for us American folk and let's be honest here - the best part about Thanksgiving is the pies, am I right!? Everybody needs a good old fashioned coconut cream pie in their life and after over a year of searching, I've finally found my favorite one! It has just the right amount of coconut and creaminess in the center and to make things even better, it has a gingersnap crust!

With so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, including my family, my religion, my friends, a roof over my head, a beautiful place to live...I could really go on and on here, I can't help but think about how blessed I am to have something so simple as delicious food to eat that I seem to take for granted so often. I'm sure there are people in parts of the world that can't even fathom being picky and yet, sometimes I tend to be just that.

On top of being blessed with the luxury of food to pick and choose from, we can take it one step further and look at how blessed we are to have quality food as an option, such as REAL® Seal dairy products, rather than having to settle for mediocrity. 

According to the REAL® Seal website, "Milk is the No. 1 food source for three of the four nutrients identified by the federal government as falling short in the diets of both children and adults." There are so many substitutes and alternatives for milk these days, which is great for those that need it, but it's no wonder there's a lack in these nutrients! The REAL® Seal lets you know you're buying a genuine dairy product, not an imitation or substitute. It guarantees you are benefiting from the many nutrients associated with products made with milk form cows on U.S. farms.

With that being said, I was able to incorporate some REAL® Seal products into this recipe and trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed!

Coconut Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust
Print Recipe
Recipe adapted from Food Network
Makes 1 9-inch pie
Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 30 gingersnap cookies
  • 5 Tbsp. salted butter, melted {Look for the REAL® Seal!}

Filling:
  • 3 cups half and half {Look for the REAL® Seal!}
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter {Look for the REAL® Seal!}
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Topping:
  • 1 cup whipping cream {Look for the REAL® Seal!}
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. CRUST: Place the gingersnaps in a food processor and pulse until fine. In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and butter and mix until crumbs are fully coated. Press firmly to the bottom and up the sides of a deep dish 9 inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes and let cool completely.
  3. FILLING: In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and mix until smooth and cornstarch is dissolved. Place on medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Once the mixture becomes thick like pudding, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbsp. butter and 1 cup coconut.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. 
  5. TOPPING: Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the whipping cream and sugar and beat over medium-high heat until stiff peaks form. Don't over-beat! Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, place the remaining 1/3 cup coconut on a small baking sheet and broil on low for about 5 minutes. Check periodically to make sure coconut doesn't burn. Broil until lightly browned.
  7. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie filling and top with toasted coconut.
  8. Refrigerate until serving.
I hope you will take the time to visit the REAL® Seal website and learn about some of the benefits of their products yourself! Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

-Sarah

Monday, November 24, 2014

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Dill Mayo and a Giveaway

This is it friends! The last Man Monday in my special 4 week Zach Plans My Holiday Meal event!

Alright, before I get into the recipe, we are finishing off this Holiday series with a giveaway! Naturally. We have teamed up with the fine peeps over at Certified Angus Beef® to give one lucky winner a Le Creuset Roasting Pan like this:



and a package of Certified Angus Beef Steaks including a premium selection of four 12-oz. strip steaks, four 8-oz. filet mignons and four 10-oz. ribeyes. Now, remember the tri-tip I presented to you a couple weeks ago? We used a Le Creuset Roasting pan to cook that, and it was awesome. These things are heavy duty. Also, Sarah and I have been living like a King and Queen off of these Certified Angus Beef®  steaks for several weeks. CAB wants to share the love with you guys. Also, we want to give this to you guys so you can go make these recipes I've been smacking my lips about for the last month!

Just leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favorite cut of beef is along with your e-mail address to enter!

Alright, now to the meat of the post *knee slapping*.

The last few weeks I've given you a delicious appetizer, a hearty main course, and an easy dessert. You could easily put together a holiday meal to impress following my plan. Now, you might have some left-over roast yeah? Well, this recipe will solve the dilemma about what to do with that roast. I mean, just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean you should go throwing out perfectly good food. Use that leftover roast and your soul won't crumble away into a grief-ridden-sorrow-fest-of-torment. Don't use it... I guarantee nothing.

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Dill Mayo
Print Recipe
(Makes about a dozen sandwiches)
Ingredients:
  • 1 package (12 pack) Hawaiian sweet rolls, or pretzel rolls (or use leftovers!)
  • 12-18 very thin slices of your leftover roast
  • 1 package arugula (baby arugula works best on these little rolls)
  • Lemon Dill Mayo
    • 1/4 cup mayo
    • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (use 1 teaspoon, if using dry dill)
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Okay, this couldn't be more simple. Lay out all your ingredients minus the mayo stuff. Mix your mayo, cream cheese, and lemon juice together until it is all smooth and consistent. Add in your dill and salt and pepper until it tastes the way you want it.
  2. Spread about a tablespoon of the mayo goodness on each roll, top and bottom. Put your arugula down, the beef on top of that, and put your top on.
Done. Easy. No wasting happening here. Your hippy self, whom you call "the Earth Child," is singing that John Lennon song "War is Over." Oh, and your soul won't crumble away into nothingness... Wow, aren't you glad you made these leftovers? ;)

Well folks, I really enjoyed putting together your holiday meal for you. Seriously. Oooo! I just had a moment of inspiration. Why not do this again? Next time, I'm going to create a meal that all my bros out there can put together to impress their wives/girls/harems/lonely-selfs for Valentines! Stay tuned. Zach out.

Giveaway Terms & Conditions:  Giveaway will end on Friday December 5th at 8:00 pm MST. Open to anyone 18 years of age or older with a valid US shipping address. (No P.O. Boxes please.)   Winner will be contacted via email so please be sure to comment using a valid email address where we can reach you. Winner will have 48 hours to respond and confirm their shipping address, otherwise a new winner will be selected and so on.

Disclosure: This giveaway is provided by Certified Angus Beef ®. All opinions are my own. #ROASTINGSEASON

-Zach



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Is there a flavor combo to you that just screams Christmas? Of course, there's the usual peppermint, or anything cinnamon/nutmeg, but chocolate and orange are definitely at the top of my list! Zach is very adamant that we have a chocolate orange in our stocking each year, since that was a tradition for him growing up. I always preferred the white chocolate oranges, but I've grown a fondness for the regular ones now that he shares his with me every year. I also have a HUGE fondness for cheesecake, so when I saw a recipe that combined the two, it was almost too much. It tastes just as amazing as it sounds and doesn't disappoint in the least!

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
Print Recipe
Makes 1 cheesecake
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs {almost 1 package of graham crackers}
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 {8 oz} pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tsp.  orange extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated orange peel
  • Whipped topping {for garnish}

Directions:
  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, the butter, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl. Pat firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. {I do this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.} Add the remaining 1 & 3/4 cup sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.Sir in the sour cream and orange extract. Set aside.
  4. Place the chocolate chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue to microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted.
  5. Stir 3 cups of the cream cheese mixture into the melted chocolate chips and pour over the crust. Freeze 10-15 minutes, to let the chocolate set up.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  7. Stir the orange peel into the remaining cream cheese mixture and gently spread over the chocolate mixture.
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until set except for a 3-inch circle in the center. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door ajar for one hour. Remove from the oven. 
  9. With a knife, loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan. Let it cool completely and then remove the side of the pan. 
  10. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  11. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.
Tip: To help avoid cracks in the top of your cheesecake, beat the batter at low speed and let the cake cool to room temperature before refrigerating. The texture and flavor of cheesecakes improve with chilling, so for optimal flavor, make this one or two days before you plan on eating it.

Happy holiday eatings! 

-Sarah


Monday, November 17, 2014

Cranberry Walnut Stuffed Apples

Welcome to round THREE of Man Monday's Holiday Special: Zach Plans My Holiday Meal. Also known as ZPMHM. Has a nice ring, doesn't it? I might just make a Christmas song out of it...

Anywho. So, if you've been following along with my other posts this month, I've already given you guys a plan for an appetizer and an entree. So what's next? Dessert!

Now, I know what you're thinking... stuffed apples for dessert? Is this not America? Where's the pie? Where's the heart-attack-on-a-stick? Where's my deep fried snickers bar?! Well, though all of those things are delicious, I wanted to make something a little easier than pie, a little classier than a chocolate bar, and though this recipe will still give you the Holiday richness you desire, it's definitely not a heart-attack-on-a-stick. And, if you want, you can even serve it as a side-dish. It doesn't even need to be served as a dessert. Anyway, enough talking... this is how you do it folks.

Cranberry Walnut Stuffed Apples
Print Recipe
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 1/4 dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove spice
  • tin foil (optional)

Directions:
  1. So this is super easy. First, preheat your oven to 350º.
  2. Then, core your apple from the top and hollow it out a little bit with a spoon, but don't cut all the way through. You want a little bit of the apple core to remain on the bottom to hold all the goodness in.
  3. Melt your butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Combine the remaining ingredients and incorporate well. Don't let it get too hot, or you'll have chunky, impossible-to-work-with syrup on your hands. Just mix it together until the sugar is dissolved in the butter and your cranberries and walnuts are well coated.
  4. Take about 1/4 cup of your cranberry mixture and stuff it into one of your apples. Repeat for the remaining apples. If you have some mixture left over, that's okay, just cram it on top of the apple that has the least.
  5. I like to place a little piece of tin foil under each apple on a baking sheet, this keeps the juices from getting forever caked on your baking sheet.
  6. Place the apples in the oven and cook for about 14-20 minutes. Stay closer to 14 minutes if you want a firmer apple. 20 minutes will give you a soft, deliciously squishy apple. Personally, I like the firmer apple.
That's it my friends! You now have yourself a holiday meal, planned by me. I PROMISE you, if you follow all of my instructions for all three of these posts, you will have a memorable Holiday meal, worthy of praise. Of course, you can always check out our other recipes for some side dishes and more dessert options. Needless to say, there's no reason to stress over the season anymore. I've done that for you. ;)  

Next week: What in the world are we going to do with these delicious leftovers? Find out what I have planned next Monday my friends!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Fall time is completely upon us. Or, if you live in Colorado like me, it's full-on blizzarding outside. Either way, I think this soup is the perfect recipe for a day like today. I was a little skeptical at first, considering the majority of this soup is made from squash, but after you have a spoonful, you'll be shouting praises that it's made mostly of squash, because it's delicious and keeps your calorie count down too! You're welcome. The apple in this, gives it just the right touch of sweetness to add to the salty, curry taste.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Print Recipe
Makes 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs. butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and diced {I used a gala}
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a baking pan with 1/2 inch hot water. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Drain water from pan and turn the squash cut side up. Bake 20-30 minutes longer or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Carefully scoop out squash and place in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter completely. Add the onion, apple, and garlic and sauté until tender. Stir in curry powder and ginger and cook for one minute, while stirring. Stir in broth and pureed squash and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add cream, salt, and pepper. Heat through, but do not boil. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

Holiday Roast with Rosemary Veggies

Welcome to the second episode of the Man Monday special: ZPMHM (Zach plans my holiday meal)!

This week I'm bringing to you the entree or the main course of your meal. Now, for those of you who read last week's post, you'll notice I'm following a theme. This is a special occasion peeps! Why limit your culinary festivities by going out and buying some pre-made ham? I'm telling you, go out on a limb (or bottom sirloin *knee slapping*) and try out this roast to truly celebrate the holiday season. This particular roast is a Certified Angus Beef ® brand tri-tip. I picked the tri-tip because it ain't as expensive as say, top sirloin, prime rib, or tenderloin roasts, yet it's still pretty tender and delicious (if cooked right... that's where I'm going to help folks!). I suppose you could do a roast of your choosing, but the cooking times might vary. I'm only going to go over the techniques for tri-tip.

Throw this roast in a pan with some rosemary veggies, and you'll have impressed the masses with not a lot of effort to be honest. It takes a little bit of time, a little bit of techique, and you get a lot of reward. Without further ado, enter: your holiday roast!

Holiday Roast with Rosemary Veggies
Print Recipe
Ingredients:
  • Dry rub:
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons pepper
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
    • 1/4 cup granulated honey (can be found on amazon.com), or brown sugar if you're lazy
    • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tri-tip (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • (Optional) Rosemary Veggies:
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (2 teaspoons if using dry rosemary)
    • 6-8 New potatoes, chopped into 1" chunks
    • 3-5 large carrots, chopped
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped

Directions
  1. Mix the ingredients of your dry rub together thoroughly. Thickly coat the outside of your roast with your rub. For best results, let rest overnight in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator. 
  2. Preheat your oven to 300º.
  3. Melt your butter in a large skillet (large enough to accommodate your roast). Get your pan pretty warm, but unlike a good cooking oil like canola, your butter will burn if you get it TOO hot, so be careful. When the butter looks hot and begins to brown, place your roast in the pan to sear. It should sizzle when you put the roast in. Sear all sides of the roast for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. After you have a good sear, place the roast on a  roasting rack or oven safe cooling rack, and then place that in the center of a roasting pan.
  5. (Optional Rosemary Veggie step) Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pot. Add your garlic and rosemary and let them get all lovey and comfortable with each other on medium heat for about a minute, set aside for just a bit. Put all your chopped veggies in a large bowl. Add your garlicky-herby butter to the bowl and toss. Now, place your rosemary veggies around your roast.
  6. Place the roasting pan with roast and veggies in the oven. Now this is where it gets a little tricky. There's not really a set time for how long to cook this stuff. Let me explain. If you got a 1.5 lb tri-tip, and the high heels and grills fan down the street got a 2.5 lb tri-tip, and you both cook them at 300º for 30 minutes, yours will be pretty well done, while his will be mooing still. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. So, how do you know when it's done? A meat thermometer of course!! For a rare roast, you want an internal temp (at the thickest point) to be 125º. For a medium roast, you want 140º. Now, you'll want to take it out of the oven a good 5º BEFORE reaching your final temperature. Trust me on this one. In other words, if you want it rare, take it out of the oven at 120º. If you want it medium, take it out at 135º. It will continue to cook and go up an additional 5º, I promise. In short, it should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
  7. When you've reached the right temp, remove the roast and veggies from the oven, cover with foil, and let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing and dicing (spoiler alert, there will be no dicing). When you're ready to cut into the roast, cut AGAINST the grain (as opposed to with or parallel to the grain). This will give you the most tender cuts. Enjoy!
So, that was a whole bunch of words that said: put a dry rub on it, sear it, cook it in the oven with your veggies, cut it and enjoy. See? It's really not that hard. The hardest part is getting the internal temp right, and that's pretty simple (stab and watch the digital display of the thermometer...). Just, please, for the love of Hanukkah, don't cut into the meat to look at it's doneness *Zach lifts up his nose while whispering "amateurs", even though he did this exact method up until a couple of weeks ago*.

So there you have it. Your appetizer is taken care of, you have a delicious main course, your guests are patting you on the back, your kitchen smells delicious, and Santa is steering Rudolph right around to come eat with you. Those elves will just have to have Christmas dinner without Santa. There ain't no way he's missin' that tri-tip! 

What could make this experience any better? Oh, I know, dessert! I guess you'll have to wait until next week for that one, my friends.




Monday, November 3, 2014

Steak Crostini with Blue Cheese Sauce

Welcome to a special Man Monday!

What’s so special about today? Well, why didn’t you read my post last week, huh? If you did, you would know… just saying.


Now, for the rest of you who cancelled all your plans, gave the baby a sedative, and locked yourself in your closest, anxiously awaiting the arrival of ZPMHM (Zach Plans My Holiday Meal), the wait is OVER! Naturally, our first dish is the appetizer. Mmm, strip steak crostini *drooling*. But before I get to that, let me explain my thought process behind this meal.

Remember when I said I was going to plan a fantastic holiday meal for you in my last post? Well, I can't ensure that guarantee unless you do it the way I did it... This is the way I did it:
The holidays are all about celebration, right? Some of the ingredients might be a little out of the ordinary, cost a little more, or TASTE WAY BETTER. But that's what the holidays are all about! Take the meat choice in this appetizer for example. I used a strip steak for the little meaty slices. Not just any strip steak, but a Certified Angus Beef strip steak. What is Certified Angus Beef? I'm so glad you asked. Virtually it's a brand that selects only the best angus from a variety of strict guidelines from good fat content (marbling) to the emotional welfare of the beef (no joke). This results in, LITERALLY, the best beef you will ever taste. So, since the holidays are all about celebration, celebrate a little for heaven's sake and get some Certified Angus Beef.
Also, I chose the strip steak because it's still tender and has good marbling, but it's not as pricey as the tenderloin or ribeye. By all means, if you want to go for the BEST, you can get tenderloin instead.



At first glance, this recipe seems complicated. It's not. I just get wordy... because this is important to me. After all, your holiday dinner depends on it. All right, *wringing hands together* let's get to the good stuff!
Steak Crostiniswith Blue Cheese Sauce
Print Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French baguette bread, sliced into 1" or 1 1/2" crostini (which is plural for crostino... in case you didn't know... I didn't...)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 12 oz Strip Steak, whole
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (or peanut oil, or veggie oil, or whatever the heck you have... but canola would be best for the sear)
  • The Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • chives and black sesame seeds for garnish
Directions:

*For BEST results, dry rub the steak (step 3 and 4) the night before and let the steak rest in your fridge in a Ziploc bag. If you "ain't got time for that", disregard.*
  1. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  2. First, melt your butter on medium heat and incorporate the minced garlic. Baste each side of your crostinis with the garlic-butter on a metal baking sheet. If you want to get all fancy, use a rosemary or thyme sprig to do the basting for a subtle, herby flavor. Place the crostinis in the oven for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to get them nice and toasty. Set crostini aside.
  3. Next, mix up your dry-rub for the steak by combining the salt, pepper, brown sugar, and parsley.
  4. Liberally coat all surfaces of the steak with your rub. Don't worry about it being "over-seasoned." *see above note* In the meantime, get your skillet screamin' hot with that canola oil in it. Please exercise sound judgment with the heat of your skillet. The last thing I need is to hear about someone starting their house on fire because "he said to get it screamin' hot!" as they rush you to the ER.
  5. Give your steak a generous sear by placing the freshly rubbed steak in the skillet and hearing it scream at you. This is why you want it to be hot. Don't you dare put the meat on the skillet before the "screaming" phase. Let the meat scream for about 6 minutes on each side BEFORE flipping to the next side. This will give you a nice medium-rare steak. If you want, in order to ensure it doesn't overcook, after the second flip insert a meat thermometer (a must for cooking beef). You want the temp to be 140º internally for medium rare. If you want to cook it any further, I'd put it in the oven at 300 º to let it finish. You want 155º internal temperature (of the meat, not the oven...) for medium doneness. For even MORE doneness, go ahead and hand over your Decency Card, and let it continue to cook until next Christmas.
  6. Once the meat is done to your liking, let it rest for at least 2 minutes.
  7. While the meat is resting, add the blue cheese and cream to a small pot on medium heat. Let the blue cheese melt and stir occasionally to combine well. Remove from heat and add the sour cream, stir again to combine. Add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.
  8. Cut the steak against the grain into very thin slices. How thin? As thin as you can get it. Place a thin strip of beef (or two) on each crostino. Give each crostini a little blurp (not a real word... translation: about 1/2 tablespoon) of blue cheese sauce and finish off with your garnishes. That's it!
Alright folks. There's your appetizer to start of your fantastic holiday meal. Enjoy, and I eagerly await your comments about how impressed your guests were when they snarfed (translation: immensely enjoyed to the point of near-choking experiences) your beautiful crostini. Next week? The main course baby!


Much love,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Corn, Potato, and Kale Chowder

It's a very Man Monday peeps.

Friends. This last weekend I had the most EPIC culinary experience! Well, I mean, I haven't had many epic culinary experiences... at most, I've had "awesome" or "just pretty cool" experiences. But this was beyond my biggest expectations! 

So what happened? Sarah and I went to Wooster, Ohio and spent three days being pampered by the awesome folks at Certified Angus Beef. I'm not going to go into crazy details about it just yet... I've been informed by my supervisors (Sarah and Addi) that that story is beyond my pay grade... so just be patient, and Sarah will tell you all about it later.

Okay, now for the same ol' Man Monday stuff. 

Now, this post has two purposes. First, I'm going to give you an awesome recipe, of course. Second, I am going to explain to you guys how November is going to go down. I'm committing to presenting 4 epicly awesome Man Monday posts in November! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for details.

Today's recipe is good enough that we've made it twice already. This corn chowder makes awesome leftovers too. You can whip up a giant batch, and eat it for the entire week. The best part? That's exactly what I did, and by the end of the week, I still wanted more.



Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence's corn chowder recipe, though, I took some liberties in changing it a bit, for simplicity/efficiency's sake (no surprises there amiright? *chuckles*)
Corn, Potato, and Kale Chowder
Print Recipe
Recipe adapted from Food Network
Makes 8-10 cups

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon chopped... use about 1/2 tablespoon IF USING the dried stuff. For some reason, my fresh thyme wasn't quite as potent as the dried stuff. Any ideas why? *crickets* No? Okay.)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, salted (I HIGHLY recommend the Swanson brand)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn (I'm sure canned or steamed corn would work too)
  • 1/4 cupped parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
Directions:
  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and garlic and cook for about 5-10 minutes, just don't let it burn or get crispy.
  2. Slowly whisk in the flower until you get an even consistency.
  3. Stir in the veggie stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the cream and potatoes. Bring back to a boil again, and boil hard for a good 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the frozen corn. This will decrease the temperature quite a bit, so make sure your potatoes are done before adding the corn. Decrease the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add your parsley and kale and simmer until the kale is cooked just right. When is the kale cooked just right? Well, whenever the heck you say so, I don't know how you like your kale, sheesh.
  5. Serve with anything you don't love. Why? Because you will be complimenting the soup so much, that whatever side dish you add to the meal will feel jealous and have hurt feelings the whole night. It just won't compare.
Enjoy my friends.

Now, to introduce a Man Monday production, an event happening every single Monday in November, a culinary extravaganza prepared by Zach and Highheelsandgrills.com, known simply as: ZPMHM! Or, "Zach Plans My Holiday Meal!"

First, a quick explanation. Holidays can be stressful. At least for me, a big reason for that is the planning for and the execution of the meals. So with ZPMHM, my goal is to take 90% of the planning out of the equation for you guys. How will I do that? I'm going to provide 4 recipes in November, an appetizer, an entree, a dessert, and a leftover. I PROMISE YOU, if you follow my recipes for your Holiday dinner, you will have a memorable meal, worthy of your holiday celebration, and good enough to impress. Not only that, but you'll have leftovers too! I'm even throwing around the idea of including a few videos, to assist you in making this meal even more manageable.

What do you guys think? Good idea? Are any of you even still reading this post? How many fingers am I holding up? (hint: 4)

I'm super pumped about this guys and I hope you all come along. Though, I'm not so sure about this acronym... ZPMHM doesn't really roll off the tongue... any ideas on a new title for this event? Send those ideas via a comment below, or on Facebook. I'll give a personal shout-out to the winner and maybe some fairy dust...


Thursday, October 16, 2014

KitchenAid Giveaway!

Guess what? It's giveaway time. And for good reason, too! 


Have you met my friend, Sandra, from A Dash of Sanity? She's pretty much my BFF. And not just in blog world, but in real life! Zach and I moved to Colorado last year and Sandra and I happened to attend the same church. We hadn't even met yet and we had already talked over the phone a few times and I knew instantly that I loved her and would be great friends with her. Her and her husband had us over for dinner one night and word got out that we were food bloggers. She seemed curious about it, but told me that she didn't think she had the know-how or the content to do something like that. Boy, was she wrong! Her blog is amazing and she comes up with the most delicious, original recipes. She called me a week or two later to tell me that she was officially starting a blog and she has done an incredible job since!

Anyway, that all happened just one year ago and to celebrate, we are teaming up with some other amazing bloggers and friends to give one of you a Red KitchenAid Pro 450 Series 4.5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer! 


I love my KitchenAid Mixer {mine is even red, too!} and I'm sure that you will as well. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below!