Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

4th of July weekend is upon us! As the most highly anticipated summer cooking holiday of the year (sorry Memorial Day and Labor Day, but you know it’s true…) it’s imperative to have your menu game on point. And I’m not talking just the expected hot dogs and hamburgers. You need some winning sides ready if you’re going to impress at that neighborhood BBQ or block party!

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorites appetizers or sides any time of year, because you can make them as heavy or light as you’d like them to be, depending on what you choose to fill them with. Plus, in the summer, you can even cook ’em on the grill! The cow-loving folks at the Texas Beef Council recently reached out to us with an especially inspired idea… next time you’re debating between making burgers or stuffed mushrooms, why not treat yourself to the best of both worlds and stuff a mushroom full of beefy, blue cheesy goodness?

 

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

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Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

Rib-tato Salad to the Rescue!

Rescuing what, you ask? Rescuing you from getting stuck in a boring recipe rut for your next picnic or BBQ.

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

I was recently hosting a big birthday cookout for Rob in our backyard and obviously meat was the #1 priority on the menu. Fortunately I had two racks of succulent dry seasoned pork spareribs from Smithfield on hand and I couldn’t wait to show off their deliciousness to all our friends. We smoked ’em on the grill for a couple hours and the smell had everyone at the party drooling.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

We devoured some of the ribs as-is, straight off the serving board, but I wanted to do something a little more creative with the rest of the meat. I knew these smoky, sweet ribs would be such a great complement to traditional picnic sides…

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

A thought dawned on me. I was about to throw together a potato salad. What if I just mixed the rib meat into the potato salad itself? A little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, a little chewy…. yeah, it was basically the best idea ever. To really play up the sweet and smoky, I added some sweet potatoes into the mix and garnished with BBQ sauce. It was a hit and I have an inkling I’ll be making this dish for plenty of upcoming potluck parties.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

 

Rib-tato (Rib + Potato) Salad

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Baileys Almande Mai Tai

Cocktail O’ Clock: A Healthier Mai-Tai

Baileys Almande Mai Tai

Bailey’s has a new addition to its line of liqueurs: Almande, a creamy, non-dairy drink made with almond milk. Not sure if you know this about me, but I love Bailey’s but I avoid drinking dairy milk because it does not get along well with my stomach… so this is fantastic news to me! The packaging is obviously very girly, and I am In. To. It.

This smooth spirit blends the luscious, nutty flavors of real almondmilk and real vanilla to create a versatile drink. Serve over crushed ice or mix with coconut water for a delicious summer cocktail.

YES PLEASE, love you, Bailey’s! While you can definitely sip this sweet drink on its own or over ice, Bailey’s also shared some delicious tropical recipes for this summer… so, I’m passing them along to you! This Mai Tai caught my eye because it combines Almande with two of my favorite summer flavors: coconut and watermelon. I can feel the island breezes blowing now!

You’ll have to forgive this ultra punny name (or just embrace it, like I did)…

 

Mai-Tai Interest You In Some Almande?

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Delicacies epicurean bracelet charms

Fashion Goes Gourmet with Delicacies Jewelry

What do you give the chef, home cook, or food lover who has it all? When their kitchen is bursting at the seams with every kind of specialty ingredient and kitchen gadget possible, why not try… jewelry?!

A team of food loving entrepreneurs, including designer Nicolle Nelson and Chief Culinary Officer Andrew Zimmern (you know, of Bizarre Foods fame), has come out with a new line of bracelets called “Delicacies.” Billing itself as “The world’s first and only full-line of jewelry for epicureans,” Delicacies offers sterling silver & leather charm bracelets and gold pendants. Each piece features an ingredient – artichoke, chicken, basil, egg, fish, etc.

Delicacies epicurean bracelet charms

Similar to selecting a gemstone with certain ascribed powers, each Delicacies piece has a special meaning. For example, cacao means creativity, passion, and prosperity, while chicken signifies good fortune, protection, and wisdom. (Chickens are protective? Who knew!)

Delicacies sent me a bracelet to try out (tomato = health, love, and passion… I’ll take it!) and it even came in a cute little mason jar holder instead of a jewelry box. The leather bracelet strap is bordered in a lovely robin’s egg blue color that perfectly matches my FitBit (score!). The charm is very delicate and doesn’t stand out, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you like your jewelry. Here I am holding a tomato, IN a tomato bracelet. Whoaaaa.

Delicacies tomato bracelet

And hey, Father’s Day is coming up next weekend. Delicacies now offers “Thick Cuts” which are basically man bracelets, could be a thoughtful gift for the dude in your life if he (a) loves to cook and (b) loves to wear accessories.

The real question, I guess, is… are you a big enough fan of cooking and tomatoes (or whatever your choice ingredient is) that you’d like to wear your love on your wrist? These bracelets are $75 a pop ($85 for the thick cuts) and the pendants are all around $200. A pretty penny! Would you consider one of these pieces for yourself or a food-loving friend, or do you prefer to spend your dough on actual food?

Seafood Pasta Jobell Cafe and Bistro Wimberley, Texas

Food Porn of the Day: Seafood Pasta Overload

Seafood Pasta Jobell Cafe and Bistro Wimberley, Texas

I guess overload isn’t the best word, because in this case, there is NO such thing as too much of a good thing. This is the seafood pasta from the lovely Jobell Cafe & Bistro in Wimberley, Texas. This gorgeous pile of decadence is comprised of lobster tails (yes not tail, tails!) and lump crab served over fresh sundried tomato pasta with cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and fresh parmesan cheese. I can’t emphasize how amazing this was. If you are ever in the Texas Hill Country area, you owe it to yourself to stop by Jobell’s beautiful grounds to treat yourself to a glass of wine and this ultra-luxurious dish on their shady patio.

Texas Beef Council Western Burger

Say Yee Haw to National Burger Month

Texas Beef Council Western Burger

Did you know that May is National Burger Month?! Well, it is. As a human living in Austin, Texas, I eat my fair share of beef, and my Austin born & raised fiance eats a TON of it. It’s safe to say that burgers are his #1 favorite food in the world. So I feel like I’m somewhat qualified, even if it’s through transference, to tell you about good beef and burgers. And yes, if you haven’t been to Texas and had our beef, it’s good. Really, really good. (May I recommend ALC if you’re ever in the neighborhood?)

The lovely people at the Texas Beef Council sent over their latest recipe for celebrating National Burger Month: the Western Burger. This burger keeps it simple… no crazy sauces or deep-fried mischief here, just solid beef with a slight twist… jalapeños right in the patty! Because Texans also like it spicy. Texas Beef Council says, “This Western Burgeris a perfect, guilt-free way to celebrate the month-long holiday and gives a nutritious spin on one of Texans’ summertime staples fit for any backyard gathering.” Works for me! So if you want this bad boy healthy, you can serve him in a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, but follow your heart/stomach.

Texas Beef Council’s Western Burger

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artists lament from the townsend

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Artist’s Lament

artists lament from the townsend

Every Spring, Austin hosts the  Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest, a festival all about – you guessed it – comedy. This year, Moontower features comedians like Martin Short, David Cross, Leslie Jones, Maya Rudolph, Janeane Garofolo, and more… and it’s happening this very weekend! In honor of the event, Justin Elliott, the Director of Hospitality and Bar Program Creator at popular downtown cocktail bar The Townsend has created a special drink, only available Thursday (4/21) through Saturday (4/23). It’s called the Artist’s Lament ($8) and it’s available at the bar, which is hosting a number of Moontower shows.

This drink is only on the menu during Moontower, and The Townsend will be a popular spot during the festival for comedy shows and, of course, drinks. If you’re not in Austin for the fest this weekend, no worries! We got the secret recipe to make this complex and bitter cocktail at home.

What Justin says about this drink: “Loosely based on the classic ‘Artist’s Special’ I present – in honor of the miserable lot that we all know comedians to be – the ‘Artist’s Lament.’ Basically it has a lot of the tasting notes of an Artist’s Special but it’s way more bitter and it’s definitely smoking about a pack a day.”

Sounds good to us! Bottoms up to the weekend, let’s laugh and lament.

 

The Artist’s Lament

1 oz Dolin Vermouth Dry
1 oz Bigallet Amer China-China
.5 oz (1:1) Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Port Charlotte Islay Scotch Whisky

Swizzle together with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

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