Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Sometimes you just want every flavor at once, you know? Late August is so hot and steamy that I can’t get enough fresh, fruity tropical flavors… pineapple, I’m looking at you! But it’s also hatch chile season in the southwest and these smoky, delightful lil peppers are everywhere, and everyone in Texas looooves cooking with them.

I had a beautiful Smithfield Teriyaki Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin and I was craving a Cuban sandwich, so I figured, why not incorporate the teriyaki flavors and give it a slight Hawaiian flair by adding some sweet grilled pineapple into the mix? Then I also realized I had a bunch of the aforementioned hatch chiles to use, and thought about how much I love spicy and sweet together… and decided to give my sandwich a Texas twist by whipping up a swiss & hatch pimento cheese spread instead of your traditional slice of swiss cheese.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Then I realized that these were going to be HUGE flavor bombs and made them into little sliders instead of giant sandwiches, which was a great choice. (I also realized that making sliders meant I could use my very favorite soft Hawaiian slider rolls, and who doesn’t love that?) These Cuban-Hawaiian-Texan pork tenderloin sliders have so much delightful texture and flavor going on, little bite-size morsels are perfect. And while they might sound a little cray-cray, they don’t take all day-day (ha) to make. Even though they taste complex, they took me under a half hour from start to finish! Serve these alongside a cool, crunchy salad for a summertime dinner, or maybe as an app at your next cookout.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

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Green Belt Cocktail

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Green Belt

Green Belt CocktailIf there’s one thing Austin likes to do in the summertime, it’s DRINK. When you’re dealing with hot-ass 100 degree sun on a daily basis, what else can you do?! Luckily alcohol brands realize our dire need for a cold cocktail, and there’s lots of fun, booze-focused festivities here on a pretty regular basis.

Take New Amsterdam Vodka, for example. They’re hosting the It’s Your Town party this Saturday, focusing on street art plus vodka (two things I can totally get behind). New Amsterdam Vodka says, “we’ve partnered with local street artist Bradford Maxfield to create seven original pieces of work for It’s Your Town, including a larger-than-life mural inspired by the nightlife and music scene of the city.”

I’m into it!

New Amsterdam Vodka was nice enough to share one of their Austin-focused signature cocktails with us. If you don’t live in the Austin area or can’t find Juiceland or Topo Chico near you… feel free to substitute with your favorite cold-pressed green juice blend and favorite sparkling water (La Croix, anyone?). It won’t be quite as Austin-y, but I guarantee it will still be delicious.

The Green Belt

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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.

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