Monday, April 24, 2017

CFE Saltfish Blogger Recipe Challenge - Tequila Saltfish Tacos

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Disclaimer: I received complimentary product for the purpose of this recipe and am participating in the CFE Saltfish Blogger Recipe Challenge.

Hey y'all! Another recipe post! Woo! This one is for a blogger recipe challenge put on by CFE International. What is CFE International? From their website:
In 1971 CFE International was founded as Canadian Fish Exporters, Inc., a U.S. corporation. For over 45 years, we have focused on the production and import/export of salted dried fish. Our brands, Cristobal, Buena Ventura, Isla Brisa and BacalaRico are highly respected as premier quality salt fish and are known by name throughout the world. Historically we are also the world's largest distributor of genuine Gaspé Cure Cod. Our company operates in compliance with U.S. HACCP regulations for seafood products.
Quality frozen seafood. Cool. They also say that they're an active sponsor of The Greater Boston Food Bank, Feeding South Florida, City Harvest of New York and Friends of Boston’s Homeless and their efforts to eliminate hunger. Doing good and eating fish. Great! Want to learn more? Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can find their products at Brookshire Brothers, HEB, Fiesta, Food Town, H Mart, Kroger, Los Altos Ranch Market.

Basically, they wanted bloggers to create some tasty recipes using their salted (cured) fish. I got the Isla Brisa brand to work with. Be sure you follow the instructions on the package to prep the fish--my first round with this recipe was way too salty to eat because I didn't follow directions. Oops.

Anyway, onto the recipe!



Tequila Saltfish Tacos
  • 4 Salted Alaskan Pollock Fillets
  • 2 tbs tequila
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup cojita cheese
  • 1/4" vegetable oil (in a frying pan)
  • 4-6 tortillas
Slaw
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 cup slaw mix
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
-Prepare 2 fish fillets according to instructions (note: this takes a LOT of soaking to de-salt the fish! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!) once they've been sufficiently de-salted, cut into 1 inch pieces.

-In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, tequila, and apple cider vinegar. Toss with the fish chunks, and let refrigerate for an hour.*

-Prepare the slaw: mix together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, and red onion. Let sit for 20 minutes to 1 hour. When the onions have pickled slightly, mix together the slaw mix, jalapeno, and cilantro. Drain 1/2 of the liquid from the onions and toss the remaining liquid and onions with the slaw mix. Set aside.

-In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Set aside. In a third bowl, combine the garlic, chile, cayenne, and corn meal. Heat the oil until hot and shimmering (about 350 degrees F).

-Drain the fish and pat dry. Dunk in the egg, then toss in the cornmeal. Fry in the oil until browned on all sides. Let drain on a paper towel.

-Assemble the tacos by arranging 4-6 pieces of fish on the tortilla, top with slaw and cojita cheese. Serve immediately.

*If using non-salted fish, know that the fish will look "cooked" when you pull it out of the fridge. No worries! This is natural!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Deviled Easter Eggs - Perfect for #EasterWeek!

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Welcome to day 7 of #EasterWeek hosted by Bernadette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
This week we are celebrating Easter and Bernadette’s blogging anniversary with all kinds of delicious recipes and a giveaway! From appetizers to ham recipes, we have everything you need for a great Easter dinner or brunch, and one lucky winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. 


These eggs can be edited for nearly any holiday. Well, Halloween and Easter in particular. To be honest, they're famous as my Halloween "alien eggs" where I mix the yolks with guacamole or just food coloring (depending on what I have on hand, and place them on my table.




But they work just as well as Easter eggs. Look at that gorgeous color! No food coloring here, just beet juice and vinegar, making for an almost pickled deviled egg.

These are so friggin delicious, I could eat a whole tray myself. The vinegar gives it a nice extra bit of flavor, and keeps it firm, so extracting the yolks doesn't ruin the egg. Enjoy!



Check out the other Easter recipes today!
Desserts- Easter Sugar Cookie Pie from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen 
Amaretto Cream Cake from Making Miracles 
Easter Treats- Sweet Potato Braided Bread from Farm Fresh Feasts

Deviled Easter Eggs
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • The juice from 1 can of beets
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp sliced green onion
  • pinch of paprika

-In a bowl or jar, place the hard boiled eggs. Cover with vinegar, beet juice, salt, and enough water to submerge the eggs entirely. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

-Once eggs are a deep purple, drain. Slice each hard-boiled egg in half length-wise and scoop out the yolk into a small bowl. Arrange whites on a plate.

-Whisk the yolk with the mayo, onion, and mustard and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe yolk mixsture into each egg half, and sprinkle with paprika. Serve cold.



ENTER TO WIN! Giveaway open April 3- April 17, 2017 to residents of the continental U. S. age 18 and older. This giveaway is sponsored by Bernadette Martin of Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. No affiliation with the cookbook authors is implied. Winners will be announced on April 18 and will have 48 hours to respond. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 1, 2017. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Easter Nests - #EasterWeek2017

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Welcome to day 5 of #EasterWeek hosted by Bernadette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
This week we are celebrating Easter and Bernadette’s blogging anniversary with all kinds of delicious recipes and a giveaway! From appetizers to ham recipes, we have everything you need for a great Easter dinner or brunch, and one lucky winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. 


It's been a crazy amazing week for me, you guys. My book debuted on Tuesday. I was on tv on Wednesday. My wedding plans are falling into place. I had two shows this week with my improv and sketch troupes that were incredible. The sun is shining and Texas is pretty. Some magical combination of gorgeous weather, having my book in my hands, a little antidepressant, and the wedding less than 100 days away just has me happy.

This recipe makes a delicious little sweet treat. I adapted the recipe from Cory's mom's Christmas recipe for "haystacks"--I thought they'd make adorable little nests and I was right! Peanutbutter and butterscotch go together very well. 


*As of writing this... it might not be the best week for America. Which brings up some very conflicting feelings. I try to keep my blog a happy place, so all I'll say here is that it feels very strange and selfish for me to be achieving so much, while there is so much to be concerned about outside my own bubble. Not sure what needs to be done, what can be done, but I'm going to try my damnedest to not just sit idly by. In the meantime, I'll keep this a place for food and lightheartedness, because I'm sure we'll need both.

Let's take a look at what the other bloggers put together today...

Today’s Deliciously Perfect Recipes for Easter:
Appetizer- Dandy Deviled Eggs from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Salad- Arugula Strawberry Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen Side Dish- Cheesy Green Bean Casserole from Making Miracles


Easter Nest Candy
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles
  • 2.5 cups butterscotch chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanutbutter
  • ~1/2 cup candy shell chocolate eggs

-Melt the butterscotch chips. Stir in the peanutbutter, fold in the noodles.

-Scoop the noodles out by the loose cupful, and place on wax paper to set. Shape into nests with lightly oiled hands.

-Before the chocolate has set, press three eggs into the center of each nest.

-Refrigerate 10 minutes, or until firm.



ENTER TO WIN! Giveaway open April 3- April 17, 2017 to residents of the continental U. S. age 18 and older. This giveaway is sponsored by Bernadette Martin of Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. No affiliation with the cookbook authors is implied. Winners will be announced on April 18 and will have 48 hours to respond. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 1, 2017. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Baked Carrot Cake Donuts - #EasterWeek2017

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Welcome to day 3 of #EasterWeek hosted by Bernadette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
This week we are celebrating Easter and Bernadette’s blogging anniversary with all kinds of delicious recipes and a giveaway! From appetizers to ham recipes, we have everything you need for a great Easter dinner or brunch, and one lucky winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. 


Okay so, carrots. Did you know that you really shouldn't feed your rabbit too many? I didn't. Apparently, they're not nearly as good for them as leafy greens.

Likewise, you probably shouldn't consist on a diet of just carrot cake. Especially carrot cake donuts. Though you might want to. My fiance's aunt is an accomplished baker, and she gave these the thumbs up the other day.


If you don't have a donut pan, get one. These babies are pretty much cupcakes in a more fun shape. Plus fried donuts, while crazy good, are sooo high calorie. Not that these aren't, honestly, I have no idea.

Anyways. Enjoy #Easterweek! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card or a handful of cookbooks--my own included!

Today’s Deliciously Perfect Recipes for Easter: 

 Appetizers-
 Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen 
Green Egg Salad Sandwich from Farm Fresh Feasts

 Main Dishes- Bourbon Maple Turkey Ham from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
 Sweet Pineapple Glazed Ham from Making Miracles 


Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
For the Donuts

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used bourbon vanilla)

For the Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a donut baking pan with nonstick spray or coat wells with butter* and set aside.

-In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, carrots, pineapple, coconut, olive oil, vanilla, and eggs.

-Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined. Fill the donut wells until they are just barely full. Bake for 13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.**

-Prepare the icing: in a stand mixer set on medium-high, whip the cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the mixture is thick. Slowly add the milk until the desired consistency is reached.

-Spoon into a piping bag or use a knife to spread onto cooled donuts.

*if you do not have a donut pan, you can use a typical cupcake pan
**for a more firm, crispy donut, turn each donut over in their well and bake for an additional 5 minutes.


ENTER TO WIN! Giveaway open April 3- April 17, 2017 to residents of the continental U. S. age 18 and older. This giveaway is sponsored by Bernadette Martin of Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. No affiliation with the cookbook authors is implied. Winners will be announced on April 18 and will have 48 hours to respond. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 1, 2017. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Dream 24 Years in the Making - Pub Date for How to Eat a Lobster, my first book!

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Photo by Steve Rogers Photography 


It's finally here! The release of my very first book, How to Eat a Lobster and Other Culinary Enigmas Explained, is TODAY!! I feel inspired to tell you the tale of how I got here. If you order my book, please review it on Amazon <3 And, take a selfie with your copy and tag @forking_up and #howtoeatalobster and you'll be entered to win a sweet tote bag!

In 1994, I was six years old. I'd just learned to read, and was devouring books as quickly as I could. I hadn't yet thought about writing any, since my handwriting was pretty crap and we'd only gotten through the early stages of how to spell actual words.

Jane Yolen, a nationally acclaimed author who has been called "The Hans Christian Anderson of the New World," lived in our little town of 3000. Each year, she'd hold a writing contest and pick a few winners per grade. I was in first grade, and I won a prize: An autographed book by a real, live, famous author. My book was called "My Garden and the Humongous Flower" a fantasy tale about the community garden plot my family had just rented.

A more recent Jane Yolen Writing Contest group of writers

Clearly, this meant I was the best writer in the entire class. Grade. Nay, the entire WORLD!--It is a great and powerful thing when you tell a child they're good at something.

I immediately got a journal for 200 tickets at the local arcade and started writing down poorly-spelled story ideas. Mostly sequels to my favorite books, or stories about unicorns or cannibalistic witches (I had a weird fascination with cannibalism as a child and I have no idea why) and soon started recording my daily life as well. After all, if I was going to be a famous author, people would want to read about my life.

Jane Yolen (in the middle) and her daughter, author Heidi Stemple, at the Writing Contest they invited me to a few years back

I didn't win a prize again until 6th grade, but that didn't stop me. While I told everyone I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, deep down I knew I wanted to write books. I don't think I even knew writing was something you could make money off of until I was in middle school.

In high school, thanks to two English teachers--one who never hid how much he loved and supported my writing, and another who kept his support more secret and challenged me because he knew it would make me better, both absolutely instrumental in making me a better writer--convinced me that writing was the career I should pursue. I graduated, and was awarded the Jane Yolen Scholarship, and set out to pursue a BFA degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College.

My first day at Emerson College, meeting my Freshman year roommate

Emerson was amazing. I was surrounded by creative young people and I learned how to write in all different styles. I also learned how to be an editor, and decided working behind the scenes was probably a better career path than being the one in the spotlight. I thought graduation would bring me to a publishing house in Boston or New York City, but I found myself back home, hoping the journey would continue with a hometown boyfriend instead. I ended up taking a job in Marketing, since Western Massachusetts didn't have many publishing opportunities.

In the meantime, I began to blog. Somewhere along the line I'd developed a love of recipes and all things food, and I needed a place to keep it all. When The Lisa Ekus Group unveiled their Twitter Contest, Sign Me Sal, a March Madness-esque bracket contest where each round eliminated half of the entrants. You basically were tweeting them a book proposal, which I'd learned to do during my studies to be an editor.

My agent, Sally and me at a chili cookoff!


I made it through the first round. Then the second. Then the third. Then I was in the final two. And finally, I won. My dream was coming true! Jane Yolen even invited me to that same contest, to talk about my writing journey. I wrote about that amazing experience over at my old blog.

What followed was two years of my agent, Sally Ekus, working tirelessly to get me signed. A new author with just a handful of clips and a modest blog following is no easy sell. But she didn't give up. Eventually, Quirk Books approached her with a concept, and she introduced us.

The rest, is history. What followed was an amazingly collaborative effort with my editor and myself, that resulted in the beautiful book you see today. On shelves. In real bookstores. TODAY. Not to mention the incredible PR team that's already giving my little book a bunch of great press.


Today is book 1. I hope it leads to book 2, but I think that little girl with stars in her eyes crossing the stage to receive the first accolades for her writing would be proud of me either way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

#EasterWeek Win a $200 gift card! - Mini Croque Madames

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Welcome to day 1 of #EasterWeek hosted by Bernadette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
This week we are celebrating Easter and Bernadette’s blogging anniversary with all kinds of delicious recipes and a giveaway! From appetizers to ham recipes, we have everything you need for a great Easter dinner or brunch, and one lucky winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. 


So, what are two food items you think of when you think of Easter?

Ham, and eggs, right? Probably chocolate, but we'll get to that later in the week. For our first day of Easter Week, I thought I'd make the queen of breakfast sandwiches: the Croque Madame. It's an upgrade to the Croque Monsieur because it includes a fried egg, which really amps up the flavors of the rest of the sandwich.


Since Easter is a family holiday, I thought these mini croques would be perfect for an Easter Brunch. This way, you get all the flavor of a delicious heavy sandwich, in two little bites, so your plate has room for more items and your belly has room for chocolate later!

Before we get to the recipe, check out the other Easter Week contributors below!

Today's Deliciously Perfect Recipes for Easter:
Main Dishes:
Slow Cooker Honey Ham from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Peppered Parmesan Asparagus Quinoa Quiche Muffins from It's Yummi 
Banana Crumb Waffles from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Side Dish:
Wild Violet Butter from Farm Fresh Feasts 
Dessert:
Blueberry Grunt from Making Miracles


Mini Croque Madames

  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 lb Black Forrest Ham, cut into strips
  • 1 cup caramelized onion (about 2 small onions, cooked over low heat with a tablespoon of butter and a bit of salt, stirred occasionally until caramel in color)
  • Dijon mustard (enough to spread on each sandwich)
  • 6 small eggs (or, enough to top each sandwich)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
For the bechamel sauce
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of parm, cheddar, and gruyere) 
  • 1 tsp parsley
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

-Prepare the sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, and whisk until a thick paste forms. Slowly pour in the cream, and whisk until thick. Add the cheese and parsley, and set aside.

-Brush one side of each French bread slice with melted butter. Arrange half the slices on a cookie sheet, butter side down. Top each with onions, ham, and cheese.

-With the remaining slices, spread a bit of Dijon mustard on the non-butter side, and place on top of each assembled sandwich, Dijon-side down.

-Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through and topping with a bit more gruyere. The sandwiches are done when the bread is golden brown.

-Generously oil a 6-well muffin tin. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until the whites have set, 8-10 minutes, checking halfway through.

-To assemble the sandwiches: top each with cooked egg, a drizzle of bechamel sauce, and the egg.


ENTER TO WIN! Giveaway open April 3- April 17, 2017 to residents of the continental U. S. age 18 and older. This giveaway is sponsored by Bernadette Martin of Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. No affiliation with the cookbook authors is implied. Winners will be announced on April 18 and will have 48 hours to respond. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 1, 2017. a Rafflecopter giveaway