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The Best Rice Salad Ever!

Just look at that mise en place — and it only partially reflects all the ingredients. The finished dish had 3 different rice varieties, pork loin, cranberries, dates, walnuts, a variety of lentils, herbs, raw vegetables — and a chocolate and orange dressing!! Yes, you read that correctly: chocolate and orange!!

Great for a party or a one-dish meal for the family. Continue Reading

Roasted Chestnut Dumplings: Sweet, Savory, Salty and Sassy

My first thought when I hear the word “dumplings” is dim sum. Delicious little and filled pockets of dough that are either steamed or pan fried. I guess it depends on where you come from and what your cultural heritage is as to what dumplings mean to you. Not that I’m Asian, but that’s where my mind went. Perhaps because, interestingly, while most cultures have dumplings, they’re called by different names like pierogi or tortellini, etc.

The Creative Cooking Crew is kicking the new year off with a dumpling challenge. Continue Reading

Kicking Off the Holidays with Lunch at the Beach and an Impromptu Dinner Party Featuring Squid Ink Pasta and Seafood

I just love “the holidays”, don’t you?  But, sometimes, things get a little hectic — like this week when I scheduled a holiday lunch at a beachfront restaurant on the same day I was supposed to meet 4 people for an early tapas dinner in a Spanish restaurant. Feeling sorry for me? Hah, I thought not. Continue Reading

How to Make a Tapas Party with Foods from Chile

I’ve been to Chile twice. I loved the country and I loved the food!  So, I was delighted to be invited by Kitchen Play to participate in a blogging event with Foods from Chile. The #CookChilean challenge went like this … they sent me a mystery box of food … I offered readers the opportunity to suggest what I should make with the ingredients … and now I’m happy to reveal that the winner is Erica of My Colombian Recipes who suggested ‘seafood tapas’.

Those 2 words gave me the idea (and excuse) to make a tapas party so I invited a couple of wine-toting friends over for a fiesta. “Tapas” are universal these days and the food ingredients I received lent themselves perfectly to the “little dish” theme.

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Family, Food, and a Colorful Potato Salad Recipe That Was Totally Upstaged by Everything Else!

In my family we celebrate birthdays BIG. Sometimes big is even x2, like Sunday when we celebrated both Cassie’s 17th and Aurora’s 21+.

‘Big’ is the operative word because (a) we’re a lot of people and (b) we always make big menus for our BIG appetites. Generally, the meal revolves around a food request from the birthday person. And then the family cooks get cooking!

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Brunch, Booze and Bagpipes

My friend, Gail, said “Father Time is knocking on my door again“. She wanted to get together with the gals for a birthday brunch on Sunday. Here, in South FL, we have lots of brunch choices from waterfront casual to high-end hotels. We generally tend toward the high-end, like the Four Seasons, for these special celebrations. But, hey, they’re expensive, a little stiff, and you can’t hang out ALL day. Wouldn’t it be more fun to do a brunch at home?

I volunteered to host the brunch at “Casa Nova” and the gals readily agreed.

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A 5-Tapas Cocktail Party for 5-Years of Blogging

No, it’s not me. I’m only approaching 4 years. But my friend, Lori Lynn of Taste With the Eyes, is celebrating her fifth anniversary by inviting 5 bloggers to guest post on her blog. If you know LL’s work, you know this is an honor with a capital-and-bolded H.

When I received Lori’s email inviting me to participate in her anniversary celebration, I was eating my way through a trip to Barcelona. So, inspired by my surroundings, I decided when I came home to create a virtual cocktail party with 5 tapas, one for each year.

Tapas and food blogging are best when shared
and you get to taste each other’s food.

Please visit Taste With the Eyes for the full post and recipes.

Really ‘Cool’: Watermelon Soup with Cilantro Drizzle

Fruit soup is a delicate balancing act — you want the sweetness of the fruit but you also want to balance that sweetness with a little acid and piquant heat. I think I accomplished just that for this month’s 5 Star Makeover Challenge: chilled soup. Continue Reading

Junk Food Goes Gourmet, Holy Mole: A 5 Star Culinary Makeover Challenge

The message announcing the new challenge said “take your favorite Junk Food … something you are addicted to, for example chips or fries … and use it in a gourmet dish!”

I panicked and replied “Yikes, I’ll have to find a bad habit in a hurry.” Continue Reading

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