Endless Halloween: Slurp Some Seriously Spooky Spaghetti


Photo: Lori Hirsch Stokoe / www.tastewiththeeyes.com

YESSSSS. It’s almost time to start seriously thinking about Halloween cooking. There’s nothing better than horrifying food that actually tastes wonderful, right? And Halloween is the perfect excuse to pull it off. This one’s for all you cavemen. I normally wouldn’t be one to sub out my glourious gluten-y pasta for protein-rish versions, but October is the perfect time to start experimenting with black bean pasta. The awesomely atrocious dish pictured above uses Explore Cuisine’s spaghetti, which is made from just black beans and only black beans.

Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce and White Carrot Phalanges


White Carrot Phalanges

Peel 8 white carrots then carve with small knife into finger-bone shape. Steam until al dente. Set aside.


Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce

  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti – cooked, drained
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce (can choose gluten-free)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (choose one that is more blood red in color, rather than orange)
  • fresh basil
  1. Heat the sauces in separate saucepans over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place warm Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti in the center of four serving plates.
  3. Ladle alfredo sauce over the center of the spaghetti.
  4. Arrange carrot phalanges over the sauce.
  5. Splatter marinara sauce over the entire dish, in a gruesome manner.
  6. Garnish with basil.


More ridiculous recipes in Endless Halloween.

A Better Breakfast: Icelandic Skyr B-Fast Bowl


Ya’ll know I like to eat epic baon and eggs dishes for breakfast, and even on weekdays I’d be much more likely to grab a breakfast pastry than whip up a healthier breakfast. Perhaps I should say “had been more likely” as I’ve been experimenting with (gasp) healthy breakfasts lately. I know, I know, but I’m 35, with a kid on the way, and can’t eat baconbaconbacon every day forever. Lately my daily start has consisted of Greek yogurt mixed up with whatever fresh fruits and nuts I happen to have on hand. I also love to mix it up with some Skyr — Iceland’s thick, creamy answer to yogurt — it has just the right consistency. So, if you’re hankering for a healthier start to your days, try this recipe from Icelandic Provisions Skyr. Also, if you’re feeling sad and betrayed by this whole healthy thing, let me just point out now that this recipe contains vodka. So there.

Skyr Breakfast Bowl


Raw Granola

1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. red quinoa
1/4 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. chia seeds
2 tbsp. dried coconut
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 pinch sea salt

Macerated Stonefruit

1 white peach, pitted
2 Italian sugar plums, pitted
3-5 mirabelle plums, pitted
1 tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. dried lavender
2 tbsp. vodka


How to Make It

Chop all pitted stone fruit into bite-sized pieces. Toss fruit in sugar, lavender, and vodka. Rest covered at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

For granola, pulse dried cherries in food processor until finely chopped, almost paste-like. Add nuts, chia, and quinoa, and briefly pulse until combined. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and sea salt. Pulse entire mixture until fully incorporated.

Add ½ cup skyr to bowl. Top with ¼ cup macerated stone fruit and sprinkle with raw granola.

Labor Day Cocktail O’Clock: Shandy Slushy


Just because summer is unofficially coming to a close doesn’t mean it’s time to stop drinking frozen cocktails! (We’d generally argue it’s never time to stop drinking frozen cocktails, but that’s a whole other story.) Take a long, hot gander at The Shush, an off-menu drink offered at El Original TX-MX In Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, where tipplers in the know can slurp on either a grapefruit or lemon slushy shandy, saying goodbye to the last hot-ish days of summer in style. Read on for both recipes.


Lemon Shush

4 Servings


– Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

– 3 oz house made honey syrup (see below)

– A dash of bitters


Honey syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 cubes of fresh pineapple

– Lemon zest to taste

– 3 oz. of honey

– 54 oz. of crushed ice

Muddle fresh pineapple then add lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil on a stove and let it cool to room temperature.


Slush Directions:

Break down crushed ice as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t dilute the slushy.  Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients, except shandy. Add the homemade honey syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add shandy base.

Garnish with a dash of bitters and lemon wedge.


Grapefruit Shush

Serving size 4


– Traveler Grapefruit Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of grapefruit juice

– 1 oz. of lime juice

– 2 oz. mint simple syrup (see below)

– 54 oz of crushed ice


Mint simple syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 pulled mint leaves

–  2 parts water

– 1 part sugar

Combine mint leaves with 2 parts water and 1 part sugar. Bring to a boil and then let it cool to room temperature.


Slushy directions:

Use crushed ice to be broken down as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t cause it to separate or dilute. Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients (except shandy). Add the mint simple syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add Shandy. Garnish with a ruby red grapefruit wedge.

Garnish with grapefruit wedge and mint sprig

Not Your Grandma’s Roast Chicken

Photo: Sideways.nyc

Photo: Sideways.nyc

For most serious foodies, chicken has long been that “other” item on the menu — the one that you might order if it’s fried, but otherwise would never prioritize over pork or beef. But lately I’ve seen more than a few restaurants that put fowl front and center, making the humble bird their centerpiece dish. None more so than Le Coq Rico, which I first read about in The New York Times earlier this summer, and simply had to have their gloriously golden roast chicken, 100-degree weather be damned.

The restaurant was kind enough to share Chef Antoine Westermann’s recipe for the perfect roast bird, a deceptively simple dish where butter and olive oil rubbed all over — and inside — the chicken make a world of difference.

Roast Chicken, Westermann Style

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Happy National Watermelon Day!


Tomorrow, August 3rd is apparently National Watermelon Day…a holiday I’ve been personally pre-celebrating pretty much every day for the past three weeks or so. Fresh watermelon is pretty much my favorite thing about summer, but this year I’ve also noticed a plethora of watermelon drinks on the market. One of the tastier ones I’ve sampled is Sparkling Ice’s Strawberry Watermelon fizzy drink, and for the holiday occasion they’ve offered up this fabulous recipe for filling your watermelon with…what else? Watermelon!

Pomegranate Watermelon Summer Slush

1/2 Personal-size seedless watermelon, chilled, cut & cubed (about 5 cups)
1/3 Cup Sparkling Ice Strawberry Watermelon
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 Cups ice
Small watermelon wedge, spear of blueberries a few pomegranate seeds (optional for garnishes)

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish as desired and serve in a hollowed-out watermelon shell for a fun “fish bowl” inspired drink.

Oh, and if you’re not liking this whole “mock” thing….sub in some hard stuff!
Sparkling Watermelon Vodka Lemonade

3 Cups seedless watermelon pieces
3 Lemons, juiced
1/2 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint
2 Cups Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice

In a blender, puree the watermelon and lemon juice, strain through a sieve into a drink pitcher. Add mint, vodka and Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice, then stir. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint.

Cocktail O’Clock: A Better Bloody Mary


There’s no better way to brunch-bust a hangover than with a nice, tall bloody Mary. But as the weather gets warm, I often find a dark-red glass of tomato juice just doesn’t sound appealing in the morning. Fortunately, we have options, courtesy Supper @ Hotel Emma in San Antonio. Housed within the original Pearl Brewery brewhouse, Emma serves a unique lineup of clear cocktails that puts a unique spin on classic drinks. Their “Pearl” bloody Mary starts with a housemade tomato water, mixed up with lemon juice and mineral water for a lighter, fizzy BM experience. (And vodka, of course!)

“The Pearl” Bloody Mary

1 1/2 oz Vodka
2 1/2 oz tomato water ( See below for recipe)
.25 oz lemon juice
.25 oz mineral water
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Mom’s Breakfast in Bed: Cheesy Corn Muffins with Nut Pesto


In need of a last-minute momma’s day idea? Here’s a quick and easy bake-up that will have your house smelling cheesy and warm, and brings the flavor with a creative savory pesto in lieu of butter and jam.


2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup plain flour

1 1/3  cups cornmeal

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 pinch white pepper

4 tbsp. softened butter

1/2 cup Jarlsberg® cheese



5 tbsp. olive oil

1 pack fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup cashew nuts

salt and pepper


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