Roasted Red Pepper, Asparagus, & Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

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Thanksgiving is less than one week away and for all of you, like myself, who are just starting to put together your Turkey Day menus, let me offer a suggestion; why not try something new this year? It’s crazy, I know, to break away from tradition and consider something other than the obligatory stuffing (or dressing, if you’re not putting it into the bird), but I’ve got something else in mind for you. This incredible side dish will go with whatever meat or meat substitute (Tofurky anyone?) is the customary centerpiece at your table. (Side note: I just learned that many Texans serve ribs on Thanksgiving. How awesome is that?!) Anyway, regardless of what other lovely foods grace your plates next Thursday, this savory bread pudding will make you and your tastebuds very thankful. Continue reading

Harvest Soup

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Okay, so Harvest Soup isn’t the actual name of this soup. It’s proper name is Mushroom and Hazelnut Soup, but since my mom only made it on Thanksgiving, my sister and I started referring to it as this (and be grateful, because the runner up was Pilgrim Stew). This is yet another recipe that’s been in the family for years, and we have no idea where it originated, other than one of my mom’s cooking magazines from way back. You see, at one point in the early 90’s (about the time Martha Stewart hit the scene), my mom decided that she wanted to fancy up our Thanksgiving dinner by serving courses. She was looking for something seasonally appropriate for the first course and felt that hazelnuts and mushrooms sounded autumny and elegant. It was an immediate hit with our guests, who, nearly 20 years later, ended up becoming my in-laws; that’s how magical this soup is! (Just kidding. Kind of.) Anyway, since that fateful Thanksgiving, this soup has made a return appearance every single year, but ONLY on the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

Golden Applesauce

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Okay, for those of you good sports playing along with yesterday’s trivia quiz, the answer to the question, what do we always serve with pork chops, is applesauce, of course! As Bobby Brady said in a terrible Humphrey Bogart impression, “We’re having pork choooops and applesaaaauce, that’s swell.” Just so you know, in my entire experience as a home cook, I don’t think I’ve ever once made pork chops without applesauce; that’s how much of an impact this wacky Brady Bunch quote made on my young, impressionable mind. But this isn’t your typical flavorless, out-of-the-jar applesauce, this version is the real deal! Sweetened with golden raisins and honey, and spiked with cinnamon and ginger, this tart little number (and I’m not referring to myself here), will make you reconsider every other applesauce you’ve ever eaten. Cross my heart. Continue reading

Fireside Mussels

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Almost two years ago my parents decided to add a deck onto the back of their kitchen, and somehow in the planning process, my dad miraculously talked my mom in to allowing him to build a brick pizza oven along with it. I don’t know how he managed to convince her, but I’m pretty sure a bottle of Merlot was involved. Regardless, I was delighted. By association, I became the proud owner of a beautiful cooking device that I use almost of every time I’m home. In addition to crafting homemade pizzas (of which we’ve made dozens), we use it to cook calzones, empanadas, and, just recently, mussels. Now, I realize that a brick oven isn’t something you can just go out and buy, like a waffle iron or a ice cream maker, so I’ve also included cooking instructions for these Fireside Mussels using a regular outdoor grill (which is how I cook them whenever I’m not visiting my parents). No matter what vessel you use to bake these succulent bivalves, they’re going to taste amazing! Just promise me you’ll serve them with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the extra cooking liquid – believe me, you’ll thank me for it! Continue reading

Shrimp Ceviche

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Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian dish made of chopped seafood (usually shrimp, scallops, or geoduck), citrus juice, and a few other salsa-like ingredients. It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, and it’s really easy to make. So easy, in fact, that it cooks itself! You see, by combining citric acid with raw seafood, you’re able to cure the shellfish in a flavorful lemon/lime bath and essentially “cook” it without actually using heat, making it the perfect summer snack food during these hot August days. Now, I’m not sure what it is in the acid that causes the little fishy proteins to magically change, but it’s pretty cool to watch the uncooked shrimp slowly turn pink before your very eyes. I considered doing some extensive online research on this cooking method and then blowing you away with my vast knowledge on the subject, but that sounded exhausting. Instead, I’m including a link for some extra credit reading for those of you really interested in learning something new today. Continue reading

Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho (with a kick!)

When I created this blog nearly 8 months ago, I was living in Kansas and knee-deep in one of the bitterest winters the Mid-West had seen in years. At the time, my family and I were surviving on weekly soups and hearty meals to keep ourselves warm, so it seemed perfect to name my food blog SoupBowlRecipes! It was an obvious choice for someone who was freezing and didn’t have the foresight to consider that they would eventually move to one of the hottest states on the planet, where, for at least 6 months out of the year, the thought of making soup is unbearable. And now here we are in Texas, in mid-August, where the temperature for the past few weeks has been hovering around 100°F and shows no signs of breaking. So what’s a girl supposed to do? Well, what every good soup blogger does when life hands them lemons – make lemonade! Or in this case, I’m taking my farmers’ market tomatoes and making a refreshing gazpacho! Continue reading

Olive Stuffed Arancini

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Arancini is a traditional Sicilian dish made of little balls of rice that have been rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs, then fried in oil. Yum, right?!  The rice (or risotto) can be left as-is or stuffed with a variety of tidbits like cheese, ham, peas, or my personal favorite, olives. The first time I tasted one of these mouthwatering flavor bombs was on a walking food tour through Greenwich Village while I was living in Manhattan. I was handed this crispy round thing that looked a little bit like a hushpuppy, but was so much better. Since then, I’ve seen them on menus at the occasional Italian restaurant, but not nearly as much as I’d like to (seriously, these things need to become more mainstream!) – so I decided to make them myself. And share them with you. Because I’m nice like that. Continue reading