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Bloody Mary: Recipe, 3 Variations & 8 Alternatives

The Bloody Mary is a divisive cocktail – people either love it or hate it. With its bold flavor, unique appearance, and controversial history, nothing is boring about this classic brunch staple. Let’s dive into the origins of this singular drink and find out how to craft the perfect Bloody Mary.

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Dirty Martini: Best Cocktail Recipe + 5 Delicious Variations

We know martinis should be shaken not stirred. But did the infamous Mr Bond ever discover the joys of the now-famous Dirty Martini? The delicious tang of the added olive brine means you’ll either love it or loathe it. Below are some variations that will have you grabbing that cocktail shaker in no time.

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Korean Street Food: 25 Popular Dishes + 3 Secret Recipes

Food occupies an important place in Korean culture. Korean meals are a brilliant blend of colors and flavors that looks delicious and tastes heavenly. Their street food is the same. As you explore it, you’ll get an exclusive look into the heart of the country’s culture.

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French Food: 23 Popular Dishes + 3 Secret Tips

The French values of liberty and tradition are integral to their culinary mastery and iconic recipes that have boomed in popularity throughout the years. They’re known for their liberal use of flavor and rich ingredients, adherence to tradition, and going beyond what’s expected of them.

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11 Pineapple Benefits and 4 Side Effects (+ Nutrition Facts)

Compared to other tropical fruits, pineapples are a real nutritional miracle. They are refreshing, sweet-yet-sour, and juicy to boot. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the benefits of the fruit and its side effects too. In addition, we’ve put together some valuable tips to help you when buying, storing and preparing pineapple.

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Stout Creole Gumbo over Smokey Cheddar Grits

Stout Creole Gumbo over Smokey Cheddar Grits

This is something you need to be warned about. At least I did and I think we are alike, you and I. When I first started to dive into trying to figure out this food and cooking thing I didn’t know how important some things were, because not everything is important. Sometimes you can make swaps, skip steps, make it your own, and it’s still delicious. And then sometimes you ignore the "soften the butter" step and your chocolate frosting looks like ground beef and you have no idea what happened. 

I’m going to ask you, no, BEG you to cook your flour for a long time and you’ll look at me like I’m a crazy person. It’s just flour! How important can that be?! I’ll just do it for like 3 minutes, it’ll be fine, right?! 

I know, I hear you, it doesn’t seem that important. BUT IT IS. Have you ever seen a sad, anemic looking gumbo with a light brown sauce? Back away, don’t eat it. It’s not very good. And it’s because the person who made it skipped that step. It’s ok, they were probably having a bad day, we forgive them.  But not your gumbo, your gumbo is dark and gorgeous and delicious. Because you didn’t skip that step. You opened your beer early, drank it and just enjoyed a little moment to yourself. I promise you, it’s worth it. 

Especially if the beer you opened was this one:

I spend some of my childhood years in San Luis Obispo, California. If you’ve never driven Highway 1 south from San Franciso, ending in San Luis Obispo to stay the night at The Madonna Inn, you now have a new item to add to your travel checklist. I’ve been all over the world and I promise you, it’s one of the best road trips that exist in the Universe.  Once you do, you must reward yourself with a beer at Firestone Walker. The beer doesn’t just have a place in my heart because of where it’s grown, it’s absolutely some of the most amazing and consistent beer there is.

Craft beer can be squirrely, and making batch after batch of the same beer, making sure each batch taste the same as the last, is nearly impossible. But I have yet to try any Firestone Walker beer that isn’t exactly what I want it to be. It’s consistent, and consistently incredible. 

Coconut Merlin is a beer you should try, it’s fantastic. If you can’t get it where you live, then I guess you just have to do that road trip I suggested. Don’t worry, there is beer at the end. And it’s really good. 

Stout Creole Gumbo over Smokey Cheddar Grits

5 from 1 vote
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Gumbo:

  • 1 lbs bacon chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup white onions diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ½ cup stout beer
  • 4 cups seafood or fish broth
  • ½ lbs okra sliced
  • 2 (14.5oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo file
  • 1 lbs andouille sausage cut into ½ inch rings
  • 1 lbs raw shrimp
  • 1 lbs live clams
  • Chopped parsley

For the Grits:

  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 cup corn grits
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese use smoked cheddar for a more intense smoke flavor

Instructions
 

Make the gumbo:

  • Add the bacon to a large stockpot or braiser over medium heat. When the bacon starts to render add the onions and peppers, cooking until the onions have softened and the bacon has rendered all of it’s fat.
  • With a slotted spoon remove the bacon and vegetables, setting aside. You want about 1/3 cup of bacon fat still in the pan (no need to meticulously measure, just eyeball it), if there is significantly more than 1/3 cup discard excess, if there is less add the olive oil to the bacon fat. Sprinkle with flour. 
  • Cook the flour, stirring frequently over medium heat, until the roux is dark brown. This will take at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes, it’s the backbone of the dishes’ flavor so don’t skip it.
  • Once the roux is a dark brown add the beer, scraping to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, okra, bacon and vegetables, Cajun seasoning, cayenne, file, and sausage. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and clams, stir slightly and then cover immediately. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Lift the lid, discard any clams that did not open. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Make the grits:

  • Add the broth and half and half to a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer.
  • Add the grits, salt, and smoked paprika, cover with a lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the grits have softened, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cheese.
  • Serve the polenta topped with gumbo.

Notes

If you want to make this in advance, stop right before adding the shrimp and clams. The dish without the seafood can simmer over low heat for hours without issue, but it will make the seafood tough. Add the seafood, cooking right before serving. You can also make and refrigerate it without the seafood and then add it back to the pot, bring to a simmer and then cook the seafood before serving. 
Don't store live clams in water or in airtight packaging. Store them in an open container between wet paper towels. Ideally, buy them right before using. 

Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto

Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto, this five-minute sauce is a game-changer. 


Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto this five minute sauce is a game changer.

If you’ve ever waited tables, you’ve had this nightmare.

You’re slammed. Every table in your section has been sat all at once, plus the section you’re covering for the guy who was cut early. You have 17 four tops. The computer is broken and the cooks aren’t making your food. The bar isn’t making your drinks and the runner is on a smoke break. Your heart is pounding. For some reason, you also can’t move as fast as you want, as if you’re trudging through waist-high mud. You’re being yelled at by every customer.

Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto this five minute sauce is a game changer.

I’ve worked with gang members in South Central Los Angeles but the only job that ever gave me nightmares was waitressing.  The pathetically over reaching people pleaser in me fills with anxiety at the thought of letting people down. Which is one (of the many) reasons I always have beer in my house, liquor in my bar, and even though I don’t drink it, white wine in my fridge.    This fear has also implanted in me the need to be ready to entertain at a moment’s notice. What if people come over! What if the FedEx guy is hungry! I’m like an Italian grandma, I just want to feed you. Until I figured out how easy it is to make pesto, I used to keep it stashed in my fridge for people feeding emergencies. Add it to potatoes, noodles, make a creamy pesto dip, even put it in some melted butter and serve with cocktail shrimp. It’s a got-to. It’s the most impressive thing you can make in five minutes. Unless of course, you’re too busy with serving 17 parties of 4 all at once.

 

Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto this five minute sauce is a game changer.

Pale Ale and Baby Kale Creamy Pesto

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups packed baby kale
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbs pale ale
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Add the kale, basil, pecans, garlic, salt, pepper, and beer to a food processor. Process until well combined.
  • Add the olive oil in a slow steady stream until well combined.
  • Add the sour cream, pulse to combine.
  • Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodle Soup

 

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodles Soup. Only Takes twenty minutes.   

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodle Soup_

I once got beligerantly drunk at a cafe in Spain and asaulted a waiter.

That’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, unless you ask the waiter. My sister and I had been traveling south from Madrid on our way to Morocco and stopped for a few nights in Tarifa. My sister is a fantastic traveling companion, mostly because when I get a few drinks in her she giggles like she can’t speak English. She was one of the youngest attorneys in the State, passing the BAR at 22-years-old, she’s one of the smartest people I know and she turns into a school girl when she has a glass of wine, which is fantastic.

We’d ordered sangria (they’d brought us a giant pitcher to share), calamari, and a tortilla espanola. About half way through the sangria, both of us giggling so loudly we officially became "Those Damn Americans" at the back of the resturant. I was starving and it had been 45 minutes since we’d ordered and the food portion of our order hadn’t arrived, the empty stomach giving the Sangria more power than it should have had.

I stumbled through the resrutant looking for the waiter, completely unsure of how to ask about my food with my limited Spanish skills.

I finally find him by the bar, loading a tray of martinis. "ummm….¿Dónde está mi comida?"

"¿Que?"

I wasn’t sure if it was the Spanish slaughtering that he was confused by or the food order.

"Mi Comdia….Tango hambre." Which, due to the alcohol and lack of Spanish skills, turned into me telling him that I was a man, or a hamburger. This made him more confused, and it made me more frustrated. Which, any man who is trying to feed his hungry girlfriend can tell you, the combination of tired, hungry and drunk does not bring out the best qualities in an otherwise lovely girl.

"Necesito comida!"

He frowned, shoved a menu in my face "¿Qué quieres, SENORITA!?"

I should have been worried about the result of badgering the person who brings me food, but I was too hungry. A few minutes later a plate of food was literally thrown on the table, fried squid falling onto the floor. He didn’t even stop walking when he handed off the comida. Which of course made my sister and I burst out laughing, in a ridiculous display of drunk girl bi-polar emotions. The food was fantastic, and on the way back to our hotel we were chase by a couple "mal chicos" who were trying to sell us cocaine. But that’s a story for another day.

When you find yourself on the recieving end of a hangry woman who  "Necesito comida!" this is the perfect soup. It’s full of flavor and warmth, and it only takes 20 minutes. Just don’t throw it at her, she’s not herself when she’s hungry.

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodle Soup 2

And we apologized by leaving a giant tip, we might be unreasonable when we’re drunk and hungry, but we aren’t bad people.

 

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodle Soup

Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs chopped shallots
  • 2 wt oz shitake mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup stout beer
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup yellow miso
  • 1 tbs garlic chili sauce I use the Huy Fong version
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 lbs raw shrimp
  • 7 wt oz Udon noodles
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 8 sheets roasted Nori chopped

Instructions
 

  • Heat the sesame oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the shallots, cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms, cook until softened. Stir in the garlic then add the stout beer. Add the chicken broth, miso, garlic chili sauce, fish sauce and red chili flakes. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the shrimp and noodles, simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls, top with cilantro, green onions and nori.

I use this Chili Garlic Sauce, it’s fantastic, I go through about a bottle a month. (affiliate link)

Spicy Miso Stout Udon Noodle Soup 3

 

Stories

IPA Ceviche Lettuce Wraps

Beer Ceviche Wraps 2

We tend to feminize or masculinize food. Beer is man food, as is bacon, grilled red meat and bourbon. While tea, lavender, scones and blueberries tend to been feminine. Chocolate seems to be neutral go-between, grabbing it’s gender label once the final product is presented. Chocolate Stout Cake with Maple Bacon Frosting: Man Cake. Chocolate Strawberry Mousse: Girly.

Although I don’t ascribe gender to my food, I can clearly see the lines drawn in the sanding sugar. These daintly looking no-cook treats will fool you like the little vixens they are. One look at these mango and shellfish filled lettuce cups and you firmly place these in the Chick Food category. But with a sharp bite of beer and a punch of spicy heat, they would beg to differ.

Along the lines of my  I think now is a really good time to tell everyone minor motorcycle crash story, It’s past time to tell you that alcohol intensifies heat. While there is no way to tell the precise Scoville Units in any given jalapeno pepper, I can tell you that number will be dramatically increase after those suckers have spent an hour soaking in a high ABV IPA. So if you don’t want to turn on the oven, and don’t mind a little capsasin abuse to the mouth, this is a great meal.

If you’re man enough.

Beer Ceviche Wraps 4

 

IPA Ceviche Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb raw shrimp diced
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 manila mango peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato diced
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2/3 cup IPA beer
  • 4 heads endive
  • 1 head radicchio

Instructions
 

  • Place the shrimp in a small bowl. Cover with ½ cup lime juice and ½ cup lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until the shrimp have turned pink, about 2 hours.
  • In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (except the radicchio and the endive), allow to marinate for at least one hour.
  • Just prior to serving, drain the shrimp, add to the mango bowl and toss to combine.
  • Scoop a few tablespoons of the ceviche into the leaves of the endive and the radicchio, serve chilled

Notes

For a lower heat level, reduce Sriracha to 1/4 or 1/2 tsp.

Scallops On Smoked Sweet Corn Puree With Stout Balsamic Glaze & My Year According To Instagram

2012, according to Instagram

2012 instagram2

1. Drinks with Greg of Sippity Sup after the Herbavoiracious Book Release Party

2. Sharing a beer sampler with Jessica of How Sweet It Is during a break from BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle

3. Road trip to Big Bear with my gorgeous friend Linda, of Salty Seattle

4. The road trip with Linda was for the wedding or Matty, and Andrew of Eating Rules, amazing ceremony.

5. Chillin' on the field of Dodger Stadium with Andre Ethier. No biggie.

6. A much needed vacation to Santa Barbara with my amazing little family.

7. My first cooking segment! On CBS news in Los Angeles

8. Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! I won the  Foster Farms regional cook-off in San Diego.

9. Trip to San Francisco and Napa valley for the Foster Farms National Cook off Finals. I didn’t win, but I did get an amazing weekend trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley, the opportunity to cook at the CIA, and some cash out of the deal. Not bad.

10. I signed my first book deal! with Adams Media.

11. How amazing is my husband? Seriously.

12. Feast of the Seven Fishes at the home of Greg of Sippity Sup. With Joy The Baker, Kristin of The Cuisnerd, and The AMAZING Table Set Guys, Nathan, Andy & Greg.

13. Joy and I had a couple of drinks. And then picked up sharp knives. She made a salad, and I mostly just giggled.

14. Christmas Eve at The Dresden a long running tradition. Although most people just know it as "That Place They Filmed The Movie Swingers" It’s a Los Angeles  landmark.

15. I rearrange my entire living room to take pictures. Of food. During my lunch break.

16. I gave my daughter a trampoline for Christmas and she doesn’t want to get out of it. Ever

 

Scallops smoked sweet corn puree stout balsamic glaze

I had such an incredible year, truly a year that was blessed by the blogging community and those who have supported me, the online friendships that turned to lasting ones and the connections we feel through food.

One of the my favorite events this year was The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a small dinner party and Fancy Schmancy Pot Luck thrown by Greg and Alaska SeaFood (see numbers 12 &13 above). A truly incredible night, hoisted up by the stellar seafood, an epic example of how essential it is to buy the good stuff when cooking a meal from the sea. Alaska Seafood is focused on providing the world with incredible, sustainable, wild seafood and were they gracious enough to provide each of the seven cooks who participated with the best Alaska has to offer.

feast seven fishes

(Photo: Andy Windak)

The results were outstanding. Some of the most incredible food I’d had all year.

Check out this amazing video of the evening put together by Andy.

Here is the progression of the Feast of The Seven Fishes dinner:

Hors d’oeuvre: Kritisn, Grilled Blue Star Oysters

Amuse Bouche: Nathan, Rye Crisp with Maple Cream, Rye Beer-Marinated Salmon Roe, Green Chile Sugar and Fennel Top

Frist Course: Me! Seared Sea Scallops with Smoked Sweet Corn Puree & Stout Balsamic Glaze (recipe below)

Soup Course: Brian, Seared Ponzu Halibut with Forbidden Rice

Third Course: Andy, Uni Capellini with Scallop, Bonito and Nori Crumble, Rye Toast with Pine Nut Porcini Butter

Fourth Course: Joy made this Crab, Apple & Pomegranate Salad

Dessert: Greg Caffè e Frittelle Dolci

 

Seared Scallops Smoked Sweet Corn Puree And Stout Balsamic Reduction

There are two ways to buy scallops, "wet" and "dry." A wet scallop with be soaked in a phosphate solution to preserve it. This makes it taste soapy and gives it a bit of a rubbery texture, but the vast majority of scallops sold in US markets are wet. Dry scallops are more expensive, harder to come by and infinitely tastier.

If you can’t find dry scallops, the best way to treat a wet scallops is a quick brine.

Here is my quick brine recipe that works wonders to get those phosphates out of your tasty seafood.

If you can find some dry Alaskan scallops, I highly recommend that you grab them.

Also, I used this smoker. It’s less than $50 and stores in your cabinet, perfect for me and my occasional smoking needs.

Scallops On Smoked Sweet Corn Puree With Stout Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 stick butter, divided in half
  • 1 leek, chopped, white and very light green parts only
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup stout beer
  • 2/3 cup balsamic
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2oz pancetta
  • 12 scallops
  • Maldon salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Yield: 6 appetizer portions

Instructions

  1. Brine scallops if necessary.
  2. Smoke one ear of corn for 8 minutes over alder-wood chips according to smokers manufactures specifications. (in lieu of this add 1/4 tsp smoked paprika or replace the salt with smoked salt).
  3. Cut the kernels off all ears of corn, including the smoked ear of corn. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot, melt 1/2 stick butter. Sautee leeks until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and corn kernels, cook until softened, about 8 minutes. In a food processor or blender, puree until very smooth, abut 5-8 minutes.
  5. Pass through a chinois or strainer.
  6. In a medium sauce pan, add the stout, balsamic and honey. Boil until reduced to a thick syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  7. Dry the scallops well by placing between two stacks to paper towels.
  8. In a pan over medium high heat, melt the remaining 1/2 stick butter.
  9. Season the scallops on top and bottom with salt and pepper.
  10. Sear on both sides until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side.
  11. Cook the pancetta until crsipy.
  12. Plate the corn puree, top with two scallops per plate, drizzle with balsamic glaze, then top with crispy pancetta.

 

IPA Ceviche

 

As summer nears it’s inevitable end, it’s not the weather that I’ll miss the most. In fact the leather boots and chunky sweaters of colder days are starting to beckon. The produce, back yard grills, the smell of life and food floating on a late afternoon breeze will be lost in the dawning of fall.

This isn’t a recipe about avoiding the oven, or  grumbles of triple digit heat, it’s about enjoying August produce, paired with those Summer release beers and spending as much time as you can in the open air before we’re all forced to head inside, cook with squash, and drink stouts. Which I am already looking forward to.

IPA Ceviche

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 lb raw shrimp shell & tail removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup IPA Beer
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cups tomatoes diced
  • 1 large jalapeno diced, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper sauce such as Sriracha

Instructions
 

  • Add the lemon/lime juice and raw shrimp to a small bowl. (Shrimp will "cook" in the juice as it marinates.)
  • Mix beer, onion, tomato, and jalapeño in a large bowl, allow to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Drain the vegetables and return to large bowl.
  • Once the shrimp have "cooked," drain and add them to the large bowl along with the salt and pepper sauce, toss to combine.
  • Serve cold with corn chips.