Cooking with Love: Carla Hall's Rustic Mushroom Tart

Hey, guess what? I got an opportunity to review Carla Hall”s brand new cookbook, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You.  I was obviously very excited.  Thanks, ES!

I have been a fan of Carla Hall since her first season on Top Chef, Season 5.  When she came back for All-Stars, I also enjoyed rooting her on.  She has a southern style of cooking that focuses on comfort food and fine dining spins on classics.  Plus, she has a super perky and positive personality, but not in an annoying sort of way.  Like in a contagiously sunny kind of way.

This book has so many great recipes that I”ve bookmarked to try, like goat cheese grits and buffalo wing burgers (yum!)  It also has some little anecdotes and tips from Carla.  Carla was a caterer before she made it big and has some great tips about serving large groups, if you are into that kind of thing.  If I had to give a constructive criticism about the book, it would be that I would like a picture for every recipe.  That”s probably not doable to have so many photographs, but that”s what I like.  Although the pictures that are already in the book are quite stunning.

All in all, I”d say everyone should definitely have this cookbook on their shelves.  It”s pretty rockin”.

So, I decided to make the mushroom nbso tart recipe and it was pretty boss.  Super easy and oh so tasty.  I didn”t use a paddle attachment on a food processor , so my dough was a little more crumbly than hers appears.  It was still really good, though.

You should make this and pop over to Amazon to preorder her book, which comes out November 6th.

Rustic Mushroom Tart from Cooking with Love

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A Little Moderation: Lemon-Leek Linguine

I lost 122 pounds at Weight Watchers. How? My girlfriend left because she caught me asking out one of the coaches at a meeting. Who knew these ex-fatties could be so hot! Anyway…The reason that I popped my head into a meeting was that I recently had a blood test for my medical insurance and the results weren’t quite what I expected. My cholesterol was a little high (225) and my Body Mass Index was 25.3 (the normal range for men is 18.5 to 24.9). I do get plenty of exercise because I’m kind of a gym rat, and I run pretty hard 4 days a week. I don’t need to change what I work out, just what I put in. So I’ve decide to cut back on the decadence and lighten up my meals during the week.

I learned two things at that meeting. One: my ex has a heck of a right cross, and two: I need to eat better. Even though I usually go for the gusto, a little moderation might not be such a bad thing. I just need to make better choices. Like they say, making the right choice comes from experience. And experience comes from making bad choices. (Believe me; I know a thing or two about making bad choices!)

Don’t freak. It’s gotta taste good. Oh, I’m still going to eat fried foods and butter sauces, just not every day. I’ve gotta concentrate on portion control. Nothing on my plate should be bigger than my fist and no more refilling multiple times. One plate per meal and (here comes the hard part), ONE drink per day. Of alcohol. Any alcohol. That means no more Nyquil shots before bed.

So here’s a dinner recipe for a lighter version of my pan-fried chicken and linguine dish. Yeah, it’s still fried but there’s no flour coating for the chicken; it’s only seared, and then finished in the oven. This actually tastes so good that the hard part is the portion control. And I don’t just mean for the alcohol.

Katt’s Lemon-Leek Linguine with Chicken

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Thanking the Pre-Made Pastry Gods: Guinness, Leek and Steak Pie

I’ve been on a little bit of a pastry kick recently. I’m not sure if it’s due to the season and it just seems more homely and warming or the fact that every time my other half bakes he shows me up to my friends. See, I’m the cook in my house and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

However, puff pastry is something I’ve not experimented with and it intimidates me. I’ll spend all afternoon working hard on preparing a delicious filling like this Guinness, Leek and Steak Pie for it all to fail should I not get the puff pastry right — which is why I thank the pre-made pastry gods. Why do I need to make my own puff pastry when I can find it in the frozen food aisle?

The sweetness from the leeks and bold flavor of the Guinness is a perfect marrying of flavors to compliment the meat, the beautiful meat that falls apart to the touch of the fork. So should your pastry making skills fail you, like mine often do, this pie filling would be perfect in a bowl as you are curled up in your leopard print snuggie in front of the television… Did I just say that out loud!

For the recipe, keep reading.

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