New Years Celebration 2015

To bring in the New Year, I again had the opportunity to give a party and create new art in the form of food for friends and family. Made to enjoy, engaging all five senses was at least my goal, it is only my hope that the guests agreed.

Thank you to my friend Ayu: I have wonderful pictures of all the food because of her care and time to photograph every single dish!

Another huge thank you to Kim and Maureen Bowyer for loaning many wonderful dishes as well as coming early, setting nearly everything up! Because of them, the end was relaxed, and under control as guests arrived.

And my siblings. For cleaning house, excusing my absence from everywhere other than the kitchen, and putting up with my banging around until 2am in the morning finishing projects.

Last but not least, thank you to my parents, for letting me once again, fill their freezers and fridges full of containers stocked with waiting to be assembled foods, filling the kitchen with dishes and messes, and on January 2nd, filling their house with lots and lots of noise, games, vibrating walls, messing fingers and full bellies–all in the forms of humans.

I will be sharing a few of the recipes. Most of the dishes were “Culinary Premiers.” In other words, first time experiments; but the former sounds much more tactful when talking about serving to 50 guests a dish for the first time–All to say, many of the recipes I forgot to write down as I went, and thus do not remember what I put in them.


Beer and Teriaki marinated Venison Bites


Nutty Beer Bread


Rich Chocolate Mousse


Danish Open-faced Sandwiches. Spicy Mustard Beef Goat cheese Cranberry Apple Walnut Whipped Pea Tomato


Creamy Tuna Mousse


Rosemary Caramelized Onion Quiche


Muddy Coconut Snowballs


Table decoration #1–jello mold


Spinach cheese tart with corn flour crust


Table decoration #2


Creamed Spinach dip


Cucumber roles with soy sauce- soaked veggies and creamy ginger sauce


Flaky Apple Salted Carmel squares


Almond Orange Salad with Ginger Yogurt Dressing



Mini Maple Walnut Pumpkin Pies Lemon Tarts Banana Souffle Bars with Chocolate and Streusel topping


Mediterranean Dip with Rice Crisps


Curry Apple walnut Salad


Baked Pumpkin Cups with Sausage Meatballs


Apple Butter and Dark Salted Carmel Rum Crepe Cake (my personal favorite dessert)


Individual cheese balls in spinach spoons


Vanilla Cream Puffs



Veggie cake: cream cheese-sour cream-mayo-garlic frosting with cucumber sandwich layer and cheese layer. (The most fun and delicious moist sandwich/cake you’ll ever eat!)


Mrs. B.–the magic party lady!



Table decoration #3


Grilled Cheesy-garlic Polenta with Broiled Bratwursts Bites


Individual Strawberry Cheesecake Shortbreads




Cream cheese pesto Mold with Crackers



All I can say is I cherish giving and sharing with others one of the things I love most.

Time–Stop. Go. Stop.

It’s been so long since I’ve posted I don’t think there is any way to possibly catch up on all that has happened. But that is what pictures are for and why I love that photography will capture the essence of life without having to waste words.

There are just two pieces of news I feel obligated to share before starting the photo bombing:

>>I am back in school and have managed to completely scrunch so many things together that I–completely unheard of for me–left no time for extra activity or anything relating to the word “relax.” But classes are enjoyable, work continues to plod along, and even sleep occasionally finds time to nudge its way in and keep me alive.

>>I finally purchased a smartphone. The main reason being that I will be able to get internet without a computer near by, as well as use it for any music-school related listening requirements. Actually those two reasons are just bonuses; the real reason I’m so excited about it, is because it takes high quality photos and now I can take pictures of food wherever and whenever I want, 24-7!!

Working at Houlihans until midnight+getting no food= coming home determined to outdo all the delicious smells and tastes I saw all night.

Working at Houlihans until midnight+getting no food= coming home determined to outdo all the delicious smells and tastes I saw all night.


Grilled summer squash with Chipole Chicken, onions, and peppers, with spicy Mexican sauce, topped with creamed avocado pesto, cheddar cheese, and sour cream.


Houlihans defiance #2


Houlihans defiance meail #2

Tomato and grilled chicken, summer squash medley. Topped with fresh parsley andbasil, feta cheese, red onion, wasabi vinaigrette, and triple mayo dressing.

Rye and Pumpernickel bread slices I found at Dillons. Perfect Greek meal with spinach onion souffle, and topped with tomatoes, basil, avocado, and basil

Rye and Pumpernickel bread slices I found at Dillons. Perfect Greek meal with spinach onion souffle, and topped with tomatoes, basil, feta, and green pepper



Salads are Never Just Green

I tried some pickled cauliflower last week and loved it. I tweaked a few things and although I wasn’t patient enough to let it sit in it’s dressing for the allotted time, it went well in this salad I threw together for dinner.


Pickled and Grilled Cauliflower and Apple Salad

Pickled cauliflower: Mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon pickling spice together in a bowl. Add 3/2 cup cauliflower florets and let sit refrigerated for 6 hours or over night.

1/2 apple thinly sliced

Onion slivers

Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper

Chopped Romaine lettuce

Apple cider vinegar and olive oil for dressing

Cooked chicken breast

spreadable cream cheese, softened

Sunflower seeds

Place apple, slivered onion and cauliflower florets on rack to grill or broil, whichever you prefer. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder, parmesan, salt and pepper. Broil until slightly browned.

To assemble, place the a large pile of chopped romaine lettuce on a plate. Drizzle with vinegar and oil. Lay grilled toppings over lettuce and arrange slices of chicken breast on top. Cut little pieces of spreadable cream cheese and drop on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and more parmesan. Serve.

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Sweet and Savory

Every once in a while, I get in a mood to put things in one dish that normally wouldn’t be expected.

These cheddar crepes with caramelized pear and onion, infused with crystallized ginger and topped with heavy whipping cream flavored with ginger and cinnamon. Sound strange? So thought my top critics until they tasted them. If they pass the sisters, I am happy. SAM_5490 - Copy SAM_5483 SAM_5474


3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter


1 pear

1/4 cup slivered onions

1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon sugar

Whipped Cream:

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger powder


Beat the eggs on high until light yellow. Add the milk and oil, and incorporate the flour with the spices, slowly so no clumps form. Stir in the cheese.

Heat a large frying pan with oil.

Meanwhile, peel the pair. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and place all the filling ingredients together in it. Cover and let cook on low until onions are soft. Can allow to simmer.

Once the oil is hot, poor 1/4-1/3 cup amounts of batter in at a time to make the crepes. (Note: Since cheese tends to make things stick, when flipping the crepes, spray a little bit of cooking oil on the top before flipping. Once flipped shake pan by the handle while cooking the second side to keep it from sticking.)

For whipped cream, beat on high until soft peaks form. Add the cinnamon and ginger and beat a little longer. For more sweetener, add 1 teaspoon sugar.

To assemble, place each crepe flat on a plate. Spoon a sixth of the filling in each, spreading out (it will not be much). Place whipping cream on top and fold in half. Fold again into uneven quarters and top with the remaining filling and whipping cream. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and crystalized ginger if desired.



Traveling the World….or just to Nashville

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Nashville with a few girlfriends. We went with the main purpose to help a friend who has been working in an incredible ministry for Muslims women and children–Servant Group International. We helped with the children–playing games, doing crafts, answering questions, and just being a “friend” to them. It was encouraging to see what Servant Group as done in these family’s lives and I’m thankful for the chance we got to be there for them, even if it was only a couple days.

Aside for our “mission of focus,” I had one other reason I was pretty much sold about going to Nashville. And no; it wasn’t for the music. It was for food touring. I’ve done so little of it it’s embarrassing. BUT this was a start, and hopefully the beginning to much more.

After much web-researching I finally picked–and let me tell you, it’s hard to pick just one–restaurant that simply couldn’t be passed by.



The only one existing, run by the first women chef in Nashville, who has now owned it for 25 years and continually creates new items for her menu. (Yes, I really did ask about the history of the restaurant once we got there. Who knows, maybe I can tell that story someday.)

Of course, being the every-penny-matters girl that I am, I had looked up when their happy hour was. We went between 4-6pm which put four of their famous appetizers down for only $8 each.

The math was simple. There were 4 of us and 4 items. We had to get them all.


Every item down to the cracked peas had some unique and unexpected nudge to it, such as watermelon that had been vacuum-pressed served with catfish. Or Carmel and chili sauce on pork , and roasted cauliflower with whipped pesto.

Roasted Cauliflower truffled pea pesto, salted almonds, feta crema

Roasted Cauliflower
truffled pea pesto, salted almonds, feta crema

Tempura Catfish compressed watermelon, aleppo chili blueberries, fennel, himalayan salted walnuts, balsamic syrup

Tempura Catfish
compressed watermelon, aleppo chili blueberries, fennel, himalayan salted walnuts, balsamic syrup


Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta manchego, arugula, fennel, roasted tomato, capers, garlic oil, bacon

Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta
manchego, arugula, fennel, roasted tomato, capers, garlic oil, bacon

Pork Belly fried belly, kenji kimchi, tahini tofu sauce, ginger caramel

Pork Belly
fried belly, kenji kimchi, tahini tofu sauce, ginger caramel



Sweet Potatoes are not just for Thanksgiving

Entering recipe competitions is almost becoming a hobby for me. It never hurts, and may end up bringing in a blue ribbon and some cash.  One unique contest I discovered in my search for new ones, is the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission’s, allowing any way imaginable to use sweet potatoes.

The mention of a flopped sweet potato crepe in one of my previous posts? Yes, that was for this competition. But even with a flopped crepe, it doesn’t mean giving up altogether. Instead, it becomes a challenge for more creativity. And so, when I realized that crepe batter with mashed sweet potatoes sticks to the bottom of a frying pan regardless of the enormity of the oil level, this crepe batter can make incredible little oven-baked custard cup crepes.


Topping them with a slightly sweetened, thick, whipped Mascarpone Cream with a hidden taste of vanilla, and drizzled with dark homemade caramel sauce, these spongy custard-like cakes will definitely make it onto the contest page.

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Morning Goodness

My newest infatuation is scones. I may have to add that to my list of top four and make it a top five. Scones are wonderful in that, although they turn out fluffy and light with flour, their texture and density works with corn flour as well, easy for a tasty gluten-free meal. I made these strawberry scones drizzled with a lemon glaze one batch with flour, and the other with corn meal. Both tasted equally as good, allowing for a scrumptious morning breakfast.


Strawberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Strawberry Scones with Lemon Glaze



Crepes, Crepes, and more Crepes

I truly believe the amount of recipes that could be created with crepes are endless. If I ever own my own cafe, it will consist of the four greatest foods: salads, paninis, soups, and crepes.Why these four? Each of them can have an incredible variety or variation of flavor and ingredient combinations, and yet, with one bite, you are able to taste them all.

Introducing my newest crepe–Banana Cream  Crepes with Dark Chocolate and Coconut. P1440359

( Actually my second newest. My newest was a sweet potato crepe with Mascarpone cream which flopped. But I will save that for another story.)

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Simply Becuase it’s been too Long

With finals, grandparents in for graduation, graduation, starting a new job, and getting into a new routine, I am quite content with all the changes in life. Blessings are abundant.

As far as food goes though, not much has changed.

Sarah’s birthday happened right around graduation, and thus to celebrate, there must be some kind of a cake. Carrot is one of her favorites, but I couldn’t bring myself to just make a “standard” one. Instead I tweaked what most of us know as carrot cake, and still being carrot cake, gave it a little more flair and fun.

Three layered with carrot marmalade and a very creamy yet not sugary frosting. P1440313P1440323 P1440314