Archive of ‘Holiday Dinner’ category

Macaroni… Easy-Peesy and Cheesy

from http://www.FoodNetwork.com/caption

One of my favorite dishes to eat ever is a good macaroni and cheese. I like it creamy and full of flavor. My personal recipe (not shared) is inspired by Chef Delilah Winder’s 7-cheese macaroni (which Oprah dubbed the Best Macaroni & Cheese in the WORLD).  When I met Chef Delilah and tried this dish– I had to agree.

The woman knows what she’s doing. And she has no problems sharing how it is done. I swear it is easy-peesy! You basically dump the ingredients into a large mixing bowl (with the exception of the eggs) and mix is as best you can. Chef Delilah puts on gloves and mixes it by hand– she doesn’t believe that a spoon can do it justice.

Anyway, I’ve shared her recipe below. But just know that you can substitute these for your faves and even use less options. I only use 3 to five cheeses when I make it, and I add a little ground mustard seed.  Once I perfect a written recipe (with measurements I mean), I’ll post it as a Part II (Maybe for Christmas). And once you get it all down, you’ll be able to add ingredients like sausage, crab, lobster, etc.

Click below for Chef Delilah Winder’s Macaroni recipe courtesy of the food network.

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Make a Reservation… For Thanksgiving Dinner!

I recognize how lucky I am to have my family in Atlanta. Every holiday is an opportunity to gather with them and eat my favorite dishes like dressing (not stuffing), deep fried turkey, collard greens, etc. But if you aren’t as fortunate as i am to have a large family full of good cooks, you and your loved ones can dine out! That’s right! Can’t cook? You can still have a Thanksgiving feast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://ow.ly/fu0Km

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Camicakes Cupcakes… Providing Smiles by the Box

“Happy Birthday to ME” — a lovely birthday surprise from my awesome team at the 9-5.

There is a lot of hype surrounding the Camicake. I was so pleased when I was surprised by my team with an assorted box. Camicakes is the perfect choice for childrens’ parties, holidays, birthdays, babyshowers and more.

I never really thought of myself as a cupcake person, but how can you not be? Handheld cake decorate so beautifully can only do one thing: make you smile. Mind, they probably have a days caloric intake per bite, but its totally worth it!

Okay, on to the favorites:

My senior colleagues RAVE about the red velvet cake. I’m rarely a champion for anything red velvet– and this is no exception. While it is moist (unlike most restaurant versions) it doesn’t make me do a happy dance.

The Lemon Meringue is a tasty option if you like a light lemon poundcake. The Bananas Foster is a delicious choice for anyone who loves banana cream– I wasn’t quite sold that it was bananas foster. The Raspberry Chocolate is a delight; the almonds add so much to such a simple flavor. I think I love anything strawberry- so I’m not even going to get into how much I gravitate toward it. The Cotton Candy flavor was a pleasant surprise that took me back to a carnival or theme park; the sugar on top is just perfection. The Salted Caramel was fantastic. Not as pretty as the others, but there again I probably should rate anything that is caramel flavored because it will get a rave.

I have to say that the best thing about Camicakes is the icing. Its pretty and colorful and full of flavor. I’m not quite sold that the cake in the cupcakes are the greatest thing since cake, but how can you complain when they are moist, sweet and perfectly topped. There is another purveyor of cupcakes that I may have to write about, but for now: If this is your cupcake provider of choice- you aren’t doing too bad.

 

Camicakes Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

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La Fourchette… Tunisian influenced Mediterranean

Father’s Day 2011, I met mine in Buckhead for an early dinner. I can always count on him to be open minded about food. Things that would make my mother cringe, make him giddy. Eating ostrich, horse or grasshopper makes him feel like Andrew Zimmern (his favorite TV personality).

Usually the restaurants with the most exotic cuisines are either sketchy hole-in-the-walls or astronomically priced. I scoured my Scoutmob app for a coupon and write up that I thought would appeal to him. To be honest any new restaurant appeals to him, but as it was father’s day I really took his food preferences into account. He is all about the seafood. La Fourchette sounded pretty cool and the reviews on UrbanSpoon were good. So I used my Open Table app to make the reservation.

My dad and I always start with the calamari at any restaurant that offers it. (PS- I still think Eclipse Di Luna has the best calamari in Atlanta). But La Fourchette doesn’t offer calamari. They did, however, have Slow Cooked Octopus on the menu. UH DUH! “We’ll start with the octopus!” [HIGH FIVE!]

It was a great way to begin a great dining experience. I asked the server where his accent was from, he told me Tunisia. He also shared that the recipe for the octopus was the Tunisian owner’s mother’s recipe. It was crazy good. The picture probably looks a mess, but that was the picture I took after we ate most of it.

To be honest this was a few months ago. I don’t remember the details the server used to describe each dish, but I do remember that we killed it. I had the Jumbo Lump Crab Pasta with Zucchini Confit. My dad had the Grilled Loup de Mer. I had never had Loup before, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it from now on. I don’t think my dad loved the sauce, but he didn’t complain: it was something new and he was happy to try it.

I recently got an email that jogged my memory about Father’s Day. The verdict: I do recommend La Fourchette– especially now that they offer Sunday Brunch. As you may or may not know, brunch is my favorite meal of the day. Lunch often turns into a second breakfast for me. And La Fourchette offers my favorite part of brunch: Bottomless Mimosas for $12. [HIGH FIVE!]

La Fourchette on Urbanspoon

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Live Chat w/Carla Hall of Top Chef All-Stars… RIGHT HERE 8pm EST

At 8:00PM EST, Celebrity chef Carla Hall from “Top Chef All-Stars” will be LIVE online and available to take questions. For foodies, kitchen newbie’s or anyone tasked with a holiday meal, Carla will answer their questions, will give cooking tips and an inside peek into the celeb world of “Top Chef.” Whether you’re putting together a feast for the whole family, baking a few cookies for Santa or your loved ones, the busy holiday season lends itself to a lot of time in the kitchen.

Chef Carla Hall – who cooks from the heart, and balances her Southern traditions, classic French training, and holistic approach to food as an entertaining expert and owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall in Washington, DC – will talk about seasonal, local ingredients that’ll spice up any holiday dish and answer any cooking questions you may have.

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My French Immersion… Atmosphere Bistro

One day a few weeks ago, I got a random email from my high school bff Harvey about “French Restaurant Week.” How could I not know about this? I did some research and realized that it wasn’t a real thing, but that France-Atlanta, an organization designated to be the liaison between (duh!) France and Atlanta, was offering a promotion: special prix fixe menus at select French restaurants in Atlanta as a way to introduce us southerners to the cuisine. Harvey and I decided to try Atmosphere Bistro. And I made up my mind that I would finally try escargot! That’s right, the snails!!

Atmosphere is located on Piedmont just north of Ansley mall; a small house with simple signage that’s easy to pass. We walked into the teeny restaurant and were seated immediately at a table with a view of piedmont. We asked about the France-Atlanta menu, but the server seemed confused. He brought back a special menu only valid on Wednesday and Thursday that didn’t match what we saw online. Instead of inquiring further, we decided to start with drinks and just order from the regular menu.

Champagne! How festive and fun. I knew it was going to be a good meal.

I ordered an endive salad to start and the Coquilles St. Jacques for an entrée. My friend ordered the split pea soup and the veal liver entrée. Don’t ask for the French name. So, how was the food? Lets just say that he and I spent half the meal debating who had ordered the best. The split pea soup was delicious. It almost had the consistency of mashed potatoes with great pea flavor. The endive salad wasn’t the best salad I’d ever had, but when my entrée came- I knew I had won! The sauce and mushrooms were so perfect with the scallops that I starting laughing when I put it in my mouth! When I tried the veal liver I swayed from side to side in my chair with a long sigh—making my friend laugh too. It was great…

So who won! Of course I did. Harvey’s veal liver was perfect, but it was served with mashed potatoes. How original.  My Coquille St. Jacques wasn’t just scallops with mushrooms, but scallops with mushroom ravioli! The tender pasta, the white wine sauce, the garnishes… I cleaned my plate!

Oh but that wasn’t the end. We also ordered dessert: profiteroles and chocolate lava cake. The profiteroles were more like mini ice cream sandwiches than anything. And as I’m not a big chocolate eater, Harvey had the entire chocolate lava cake to himself. It looked… chocolaty. And he never complained, so I assume it was good.

Would I recommend Atmosphere Bistro? Absolutely. I’m not an expert in French cuisine, but I enjoyed it. Will I go back? Hecks yeah! I forgot to order the escargot!!!

Atmosphere Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Happy Hanukkah! December 1-9, 2010

This year Hanukkah begins a bit earlier than usual. Today marks the beginning of the nine day holiday celebration for the Jewish community. I won’t go into detail about the holiday itself or traditions (mostly because i don’t know), but I wanted to share some recipes I found and links to community events as well… For more details visit: http://www.jewishatlanta.org or http://www.atlantajcc.org

Again, happy holidays to everyone and very special Happy Hannukah to my dear friend Michael Zouroudis.

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WATCH THIS… How to Deep Fry a Turkey

My Uncle Stan deep fries a turkey for EVERY holiday! I’ve never watched him do it, but I imagine he’s got it down to a science by now. I found this video on Good Morning America… If you are planning to deep fry a turkey this year for the first time… or even second time- PLEASE watch this video first. And then go back and watch my “Fire safety” video.

If the embedded video won’t play, use this link… http://www.hulu.com/watch/195898

Take Aways:

(1) NEVER do this inside your house, in your garage, on your deck, near your kids or pets, or just behind your house… Execute well away from everything you love!

(2) NEVER Trust the fill line, always test it yourself with water before you fill and light the pot. See video for example.

(3) Place the bird in the fryer properly (cavity down) so that the oil will drain when you pull it out.

(4) Kids and cameras are often NOT a good combination, but I have to admit I laughed.

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