Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches

When I was a kid, my mom made me waffles almost every weekend. My favorite thing to do was to eat them with chocolate chips and put one chip in each hole. Fast forward a few decades, and I still love waffles, but I am sort of picky about where I order them. My requirements for a waffle is it MUST be served with maple syrup (no artificial corn syrup thank you very much), and it needs to be a big, puffy Belgian- not thin like an Eggo Waffle. I also don’t really like fruit with my waffles; give me some freshly fried chicken and we are in business. But sadly, I rarely find a brunch joint serving chicken and waffles to my very specific requirements, so for football Sunday this week, I decided to do my own. After stealing  borrowing my mom’s waffle maker to make the magic happen, I was ready to make my own chicken and waffle creation. Continue reading Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches

Chinese Carrot Dumplings with Stir-fried Broccoli

Our one year wedding anniversary is coming up and Luke and I are heading back to Coronado this weekend to celebrate. I am totally ready to lay on the beach with a frosty drink in my hand and splash around in the ocean. Unfortunately, the closer I get to vacation, the more I want to start early and begin to crave sweet treats and all things covered in cheese. But I also want to look respectable in my swim suit, so I am resisting the cravings and trying to keep my menu vegetarian friendly until Friday. I find that it is easiest to be satisfied with a vegetarian meal when the dish is full of flavor and has a lot of substance to it. I’m not the kind of person who can eat salad for dinner every night. So for this week’s blog post, I decided to take the opportunity to do something really creative with a vegetarian dish and came up with the idea to make a stir-fry with homemade dumplings.  Continue reading Chinese Carrot Dumplings with Stir-fried Broccoli

Pork Bowl with Collard Greens, Macaroni and Chow Chow Relish

When Luke and I were in Tokyo, one of the things we eventually realized is that we were ordering our food all wrong. One night we stumbled into a little hole in the wall that featured miniature coal grills in the middle of the table. You could order an assortment of meat and vegetables and grill it yourself. As we paged through the meat choices, it struck us that a plate of meat, while delicious, didn’t seem like a particularly complete meal. It was a little early for dinner, and we were the first people in the restaurant, so we couldn’t look to the other patrons’ plates for hints on how to order. We tried to ask the server how big the plates of meat were, but language was a barrier, so we were on our own. We ended up ordering two platefuls of thinly sliced meat, and a side salad. Once the restaurant began to fill, and others around us began to get their food, we realized what was wrong with our strategy- everyone else ordered rice, vegetables, meat, and then made a bowl! It was supposed to be obvious that all of the ingredients on the menu were to be mixed together. (It was also supposed to be obvious that you were meant to grill the vegetables with the meat. When our server realized we were eating our veggies raw, I think he was appalled by our total stupidity). I immediately wished that I could have a food do-over, and cursed my American tendency to eat all of my dishes separately. Continue reading Pork Bowl with Collard Greens, Macaroni and Chow Chow Relish

Chorizo and Caramelized Sweet Potato Hash with a Poached Egg

I love living in Dayton, but since being here, I have been seriously craving some authentic Mexican food. I used to think people were full of crap when they complained that you can’t get good Mexican in the mid west, but now I can kind of see their point. It isn’t that Mexican restaurants in Ohio don’t have some delicious offerings in their own right, but they are often unarguably Americanized menus. Think a lot of cheese on almost everything. So when I saw an episode of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel featuring kitchens across the country doing twists on Mexican and Latin food, I was inspired. And it led me to creating a chorizo and caramelized sweet potato hash that probably isn’t “authentic” Mexican either, but it was pretty darn good, and I did learn how to make my own red chili sauce, so that is something.  Continue reading Chorizo and Caramelized Sweet Potato Hash with a Poached Egg

Spicy Stuffed Jalapeno Burger with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomatillos

As surprising as this may sound, I don’t actually watch a lot of cooking shows on television. I am admittedly obsessed with Top Chef, but I have never really gotten into the other various cooking competition shows on the Food Network. The format of cooking reality tv is always the same- there’s a challenge with a specific ingredient that the contestants do not know of beforehand, and there is a time limit to finish one’s dish. Sometimes contestant’s are classically trained chefs, sometimes they are home cooks, sometimes the two compete against one another. But the format doesn’t change much, and it just get’s repetitive after awhile. But I have to say, I am so into this new show on the Esquire Network The Next Great Burger. Mostly because everyone involved seems to be having such a good time. The concept is simple- three people are chosen to come and cook their signature burgers for a group of 60 people. The contestants range from classically trained chefs, to food truck owners, to serious home cooks. There is no time limit- all that matters is who can makes the best burger, not how fast any one contestant can feed the masses. The show is filmed at a bar, and the 60 people assembled drink freely throughout the entire show, chat with the contestants while they cook, and just overall seem like they are having an awesome time. It is technically a contest, but the “Judges” always give positive feedback, and the atmosphere is more like a party. If I were going to choose food contest to enter, I would want to enter that one. Continue reading Spicy Stuffed Jalapeno Burger with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomatillos