Admit it, you have a drawer in your kitchen that has a handful of one-use gadgets that you’ve forgotten about. These tools are meant to make our lives easier, but unless you need a whole lot of freshly minced garlic on a daily basis, or need to pit thousands of cherries each summer, the tools mostly just take up space.
I’m a sucker for these gadgets, and look wide-eyed at them in the store, excited about how this will revolutionize the way I prep food. However, I often stop before going through with the purchase, reminding myself that I shouldn’t buy something for the kitchen that only does ONE thing. So, I decided to do a little challenge. Below, I’ve listed links to some of the most popular one-use gadgets. You’re all going to vote on the one you think is the most ridiculous, and it will be my job to find FIVE ways to use that gadget. It won’t be pretty, people. And yes, there will be photos. Maybe video.
So take a look below, and leave a comment (on this post, Facebook, or Twitter) with what object you want me to purchase and actually use. Then stay tuned for the outcome. Positive results are not guaranteed. (Gulp!)
This device slices open your Avocado, removes the pit, and slices it into smaller pieces. I also can do all of these things, with a knife. (h/t to @aryooki for the suggestion.)
Is slicing bananas this difficult? Did someone really need to “solve” this problem? (h/t to @jared2598 for the suggestion.)
Again, is this necessary? Are people not able to quickly form uniform patties? I can’t imagine how difficult this press must be to clean.
This device pits cherries. And also maybe pierces ears? I’m getting flashbacks of sitting in a chair at Claire’s…
I can’t stop giggling when I look at this picture. It looks like the corn is wearing a cheerful little life vest! Anyway, this device removes kernels from your corn and puts it into the container. I’ve done this before with a knife and a plate. I really don’t understand why this exists.
This torture device-looking object cracks eggs. That’s it. It cracks eggs. (h/t to @rhinosaur for the suggestion.)
Quite your crying, onion goggles are here! Not only do they protect your eyes from onions, but they come in a variety of colors, including a classy “tortoiseshell” version.
Ok, this looks kinda nifty, if you consume a lot of pineapple or have an occasion where your pineapple has to be ridiculously classy. But how often will you really use this?
Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of this device. It has claws that open up to rip the stem right off a strawberry. It’s like a freaky alien.
Ok, so what device will it be? Let me know in the comments which device I should find FIVE uses for. I’ll pick a winner on July 27!
It’s here! Ghostbusters Day! I’ve been waiting a while for this movie to come out, and I can’t wait to finally see it. I enjoyed the first two Ghosbusters films, love Paul Feig, and love all of the ladies in the new one. Plus, I’m all about supporting films with women playing fun and diverse characters. Am I expecting it to be the best film ever? No way. But the first Ghostbusters weren’t either. I’m expecting a fun romp, something I can laugh at and quote and be swept away with for a couple hours.
In honor of the new movie, I decided to tweak and adapt a “Ghostbuster” cocktail recipe into something truly amazing. So, behold, the new and improved Ghostbuster! It’s got the signature green color, little “ghost” bits in it, and it tastes like a candied apple. YUM! Make a round for you and your friends before you see the new film, and then let me know in the comments what you thought of the movie!
- 1.5 oz Sour Apple Pucker (in honor of the film’s setting: The Big Apple!)
- 1.5 oz Marshmallow Vodka (you know why…)
- a few drops of Irish Cream
- Shake together the Sour Apple Pucker and Marshmallow Vodka in a shaker with ice. Pour into a martini glass.
- Carefully place a few drops of Irish Cream onto the top of the cocktail. (Be extremely careful and use extremely small drops. I recommend using a dropper or straw to place them in. If you put too much in, or with too much force, it will just fall straight to the bottom.)
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Outlander. The book series-turned Starz series has captured the attention of so many. And while most of us focus on, umm, other scenes, Theresa Carle-Sanders has chosen to focus on its food. The creator of OutlanderKitchen.com, Theresa has made a name making historical and character-based recipes from the book series. And today, some of her recipes have now been released in a book titled “Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook“.
I had a chance to sneak a peek at some of the recipes from this book, and they’re all amazing. The recipes include the passage or reference from the book where they’re mentioned, beautiful pictures, clear instructions, modern-day adaptations, and notes to make the recipe as perfect as possible. And the recipes are GOOD.
Theresa and the folks at Random House are letting me share a recipe AND give away a copy of this book. Check out the recipe for the delicious goat cheese and bacon tarts, and scroll all the way down for the contest! (Can we talk about these tarts for a second? They have fried sage on them. Fried Sage! I’ve never seen that before, and now I need to incorporate it in everything.)
Goat Cheese and Bacon Tarts from “Outlander Kitchen” by Theresa Carle-Sanders
(This recipe is inspired by Voyager, chapter 4, “The Dunbonnet”)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch strips
- ½ recipe Blitz Puff Pastry (page 29), chilled, or 1 pound (450 grams) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 8 ounces (225 grams) goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated or minced
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 36 small fresh sage leaves, or 18 large ones, cut in half lengthwise
- Move a rack to the top-middle rung and heat the oven to 400°F.
- In a frying pan, crisp the bacon over medium heat. Drain on paper towels.
- On a lightly floured counter, roll the pastry out to a 16-inch square. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese, bacon, poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate.
- Lightly beat the egg with 1 teaspoon cold water to make an egg wash.
- Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut 36 rounds from the pastry. Transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Reduce the oven to 300°F.
- In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter until bubbling over medium heat. Fry the sage leaves in batches until crisp. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate and repeat with the remaining sage leaves.
- Top each puff pastry round with a teaspoonful of the goat cheese mixture and a fried sage leaf. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes and serve.
Find this recipe on page 74 of Outlander Kitchen for more notes and information!
Want to win a copy of Outlander Kitchen? Enter Below!
It’s June. The sun is shining, temperature is climbing, and everyone in Seattle is complaining about their home’s lack of A/C. Clearly, summer is almost here. And with summer comes one of the tastiest desserts: strawberry shortcake! National Strawberry Shortcake Day is right around the corner (on Tuesday, June 14th!) and I’m preparing to celebrate the holiday with a new recipe and a fun event!
Various Macy’s locations around the country are going to be holding special events on the 14th with local chefs to celebrate Strawberry Shortcake Day. I’ll be at the one in Downtown Seattle. Join me at 6pm to meet Stacy Fortner, the Executive Pastry Chef at Dahlia Bakery and see a baking demo! Best of all: the event is free! If you’re one of the first 50 people there, you’ll also get a special gift from Pyrex, and if you make a purchase in the home department that day, you’ll get a copy of the (amazing) Dahlia Bakery cookbook. If you’re not in Seattle, check out Macys.com/events to find one near you!
In honor of this upcoming holiday and to stretch my baking muscles a bit, I thought I’d make myself some Strawberry Shortcake. And this time, I wouldn’t cheat and buy pre-made items at the store. 😉 No, this time, I decided to crack open a copy of Helen Brown’s Holiday Cook Book, a somewhat bizarre 1952 cookbook that I recently added to my vintage book collection. Her strawberry shortcake recipe was very basic and written in a colloquial way, like you would find in notes on a family recipe card. (“Add enough milk to make a soft dough” instead of actual amounts.) I took her recipe, added some flair, and figured out some of the measurements. So enjoy my take on Strawberry Shortcake, using a recipe from the 50’s, and incorporating my natural sugars.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbs sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 5 tbs unsalted butter
- 1/4 milk
- 1 pint strawberries
- whipped cream
- Natural Ruby Sparkling Sugar
- Sparkling Strawberries
- Mix the flour, baking powder, 1 tbs of sugar, salt, and egg together.
- Add the butter in small pieces. Mix with your hands to incorporate the butter into the batter.
- Add half of the milk and mix. Slowly add in more milk as needed to make a soft biscuit dough.
- Place the biscuit dough into a parchment paper-lined casserole dish or cake pan, pushing and stretching it lightly to fill the pan.
- Sprinkle the top with some ruby sparkling sugar.
- Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the shortcake is baking, rinse and cut up the strawberries, and mix them with 2 TBS sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
- Once the shortcake is out of the oven, let cool slightly.
- Cut the shortcake into squares, and then cut each square in half to make a biscuit “sandwich.”
- Place the bottom part of the shortcake onto a plate, and place some of the strawberry mixture and whipped cream on top.
- Top with the top half of the shortcake. Garnish with whipped cream, ruby sparkling sugar, and a sparkling strawberry.
Will I see you on the 14th at Macy’s? What’s your fave strawberry shortcake recipe?
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Every year, I look forward to spring and summer for one specific reason: the fruit. Fruit is so cheap, delicious, and plentiful then, and I just can’t get enough! Right now I’m loving all of the giant, plump strawberries available everywhere. And while I often eat them by themselves (or with a light dusting of sugar or whipped cream, if I’m feeling fancy), I thought I would jazz them up a bit with some of my Natural Ruby Sparkling Sugar.
These strawberries are dipped in chocolate and covered in sparkling sugar, making them look like a jewel-encrusted version of the fruit they are. I think these would be beautiful at a wedding or baby shower, or any time you want something extra special. Plus, they’re super easy to make!
- Wash and fully dry the strawberries
- Heat the candy melts according to directions.
- Dip the strawberries into the candy melts, coating up to the top.
- While the strawberries are still wet, dip them into a bowl of the ruby sparkling sugar, making sure to fully cover the candy melts.
- Place on wax paper until hardened.
You can change the colors of the candy melts and sugar to match the occasion. I’ve even seen people do this with orange sparkling sugar to make the strawberries look like carrots!
If you have spent any time with me recently or follow me on any social media, you’re probably aware that I’ve been obsessed with Hamilton. And honestly, you should be obsessed with it too. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Hamilton: An American Musical is a Broadway show that uses hip hop, rap, and diverse, color-blind casting to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life. I know. It sounds ridiculous. But I promise, even if you don’t listen to rap, even if you’re not an American history buff, you’ve gotta give it a try. Right now. You can find it on Spotify and iTunes and Amazon and wherever you listen to music. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
…Done? Good. Now, remember the song “My Shot”? It’s probably the one stuck in your head at this very moment. We’re gonna play with that today and make Hamilton’s Shot!
Hamilton’s Shot is a red, white, and blue shot made with Caribbean rum. It’s colorful and tasty and fun. Plus, the shot comes with a “greenback” for those who need a bit of a chaser. (Get it? Cause Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury and he’s on the $10 bill! I know, genius.) But you may not even need it: the grenadine and blue curacao add a very fruity and sweet taste, so you’ll barely even notice the burn of the rum.
Now, the trick to getting the beautiful red, blue, and white layers is to tip the shot glass slightly and to slowly pour the next ingredient onto the glass so it meets up with the previous layer. The first try or two may not turn out super well. Don’t throw away your shot! Take a break and enjoy the not-as-pretty but still tasty drink, and then try one last time. Soon enough you’ll have a shot that makes you satisfied.
- 1 part grenadine
- 1 part blue curacao
- 1 part Caribbean white rum
- (optional) green fruity drink (I found a green Sunny D in the juice aisle. Ecto-cooler could also do the trick!)
- Pour grenadine into a shot glass, filling it just 1/3 of the way. That would be enough.
- Tip the shot glass and slowly pour in the blue curacao, aiming for the inside wall of the shot glass.
- While still tipping the glass, pour the white rum slowly, aiming for the inside wall of the shot glass.
- Slowly place the shot glass upright and marvel at the beautiful shot you created!
- Pour some of the “greenback” into a glass.
- Time to take a shot! (Once you perfect this shot, you’ll be making them non-stop for your friends!)
Now that I’ve made one Hamilton-themed drink, what comes next? I think I’ll have to perfect a recipe for a Hurricane. 😉
Are you a fan of Hamilton? Have you seen the show? CAN YOU GET ME TICKETS? Lemme know in the comments!
(By the way, I’ve slipped some Hamilton song titles in this post. How many can you find?)
I stumbled upon Cafe Nordo, an interactive dinner theater in Seattle, last year and went for my birthday. After one night in their 1920’s themed club, tasting delicious food and drink pairings and hearing live music from some of Seattle’s best, I was hooked. So when they invited me to check out their new show, To Savor Tomorrow, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
To Savor Tomorrow is set in the in-flight lounge aboard a 1963 stratocruiser. And while you feel like you’re in a luxurious plane in the 60’s, you’re really in a cute little theater/event space in Pioneer Square. As the night goes on, you’re served 5 courses that are inspired by 1960’s international cuisine with heavy molecular gastronomy elements. I like to think I can put together a great theme menu, but the creativity and skill of their Executive Chef/Food Designer, Erin Brindley, is mind-blowing. I’ve tried new foods and concepts both times I’ve attended Cafe Nordo productions. In between the courses (and strongly-poured cocktail pairings), you witness a show that keeps you entertained, involved, and talking about it well after it’s over. To Savor Tomorrow is James Bond-meets-“Airplane!” as a group of various nations’ spies all pretend to work on the plane while attempting to steal the newest food technology. Tongue-in-cheek songs, lazzis, and fight choreography kept me smiling throughout the show, and I felt super involved as I was served courses from the actors, still in character.
You can check out To Savor Tomorrow at Cafe Nordo, playing now until June 5th. Can’t make this show? They’ve got a lot of fun events happening this year. I’m already putting the “14/48: Nordo Food Theater Thunderdome” and the Twilight Zone inspired “Hotel Nordo” in my calendar.
If you see it, let me know what you think!
Ok, you all know how much I love board games, and you know that I’m a sucker for subscription boxes, right? Well, Board Game Bento combines both of these loves. Each box includes $80+ worth of games, expansions, and accessories, and they arrive in the mail each month. It’s like a regular built-in game night delivered right to your door! And they’ve got something special happening for the May box…
May’s theme is “What’s Cooking.” This means it includes food/cooking-themed games and accessories, and they’ve asked me to write some recipes based on the games to be included in the box! No spoilers, but you’re gonna LOVE the box, and the recipes are all perfect game night snacks/treats. Want to check it out for yourself? You can save $10 off your order with code “HOSTESS”! You only have until May 2nd to sign up for the “What’s Cooking” box, so hustle on over! Check it out at www.boardgamebento.com.
Are you a Board Game Bento subscriber? And what’s your fave food-themed board game?
A few weeks ago, in honor of the Season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead, I received a review copy of The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse. Now, I originally thought this would be a series of zombie-themed recipes, but what I didn’t expect is that this book would be full of practical advice. You may not realistically expect to be caught in a Zombie Apocalypse in the near future, but it got awfully windy and stormy in Seattle this past week, and many of my friends and neighbors ended up without power. Luckily, since I was reading this book, I knew to start making something delicious with my perishables, just in case the fridge/freezer didn’t make it through the night. I made Apocalypse Nownies, one of the first recipes and one of my many favorite puns in the book. These brownies were so great, I got permission to reprint the recipe here! Check it out at the end of the post.
In addition to these fun and delicious recipes, this book is full of amazing tips and tricks for any survival situation. You have recipes and guides for using up ingredients in your pantry, foraging and hunting through your neighborhood, gardening, pickling, and even repurposing MREs into slightly-more-gourmet fare. You’re taught how to find and filter water, and how you can prepare a variety of heat sources to cook your recipes. It’s incredibly practical and informative, set in an entertaining, zombie filled premise. But I’m guaranteed this book will save lives, or at least save you a bit of discomfort. Get it, read it, and then keep it in your emergency kit/bug-out bag. (Don’t have one of those yet? This book will show you how to put one together.)
Ok, enough talk about disasters and survivals. Let’s make some brownies!
Recipe from The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 8 oz. chocolate (unsweetened baking preferable, or whatever you have on hand)
- 6 tbsp. butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 1 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. espresso powder (optional, but recommended)
- 1/8 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)
- Start a cooking fire, either well in advance to generate sufficient embers for 350 degree baking, or with the Hibachi Grill. Grease and flour a baking vessel.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder until well-combined. Set aside for now.
- Set a medium pot, half-filled with water, over the cooking fire to use as a double boiler. Add the chocolate and butter to a second mixing bowl and rest it on the pot, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt (if needed). Mix until well incorporated and let cool for about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until the batter is shiny and smooth after each addition. Add the flour mixture and whisk again, more gently this time, until the mixture is smooth and shiny. The batter should be fairly thick. Add the walnuts and mix until just combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out to edges if needed. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 7-by 11-inch metal baking pan. Check the brownies after about 15 minutes to avoid overbaking–they are ready when the sides are firm and the center has just set (a knife or toothpick in the center comes out relatively clean). Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even cooking, especially if using an Oven Hack.
- Consume ravenously after letting the cooked brownies cool for 10-15 minutes.
Find this recipe and more in The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse!
Who run the world? Girls. And this year, the Girl Scouts are making it even easier for girls to learn awesome entrepreneurship and sales skills while making it even easier for us to get our cookie fix. Girl Scouts have personalized online stores where friends and relatives can purchase cookies and have them shipped to their door. Dangerous, right? With this new addition to Girl Scout Cookie season, I thought it would be only appropriate to make “millionaire bars” for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Recipe contest.
These bars are gooey, sticky, rich, and delicious. Seriously. You’ve got a Trefoil shortbread layer, dulce de luce, chocolate, and then Samoas chopped up on top. YUM.
Girl Scout Millionaire Bars
- 1 box of Trefoils
- 7 TBS butter, melted
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 additional TBS butter
- 1 box of Samoas
- Pulse the Trefoils in a blender or food processor until they’re even crumbs.
- Mix the melted butter and Trefoil crumbs together in a bowl until everything is wet.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8″x8″ baking pan. Refrigerate until firm.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler (a small saucepan on top of a larger saucepan full of simmering water). Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 60-90 minutes until it’s thick and caramel-colored. Pour on top of the shortbread mixture. Refrigerate until cold.
- Melt the chocolate chips until smooth. Stir in 1 TBS of butter until fully mixed. Pour on top of the caramel layer.
- Chop 1 box of Samoas coarsely and place the pieces on top of the chocolate layer, covering it completely.
- Let cool in the refrigerator, then cut and enjoy!
Need a cookie fix, but don’t have a Girl Scout you can pre-order through? Use this Cookie Locator to find the nearest cookie sellers to your proximity, starting March 4th!
What’s your fave Girl Scout cookie? And have you made any recipes with them in the past?