Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Party's Over...but Cooking from Emeril's Sizzling Skillets & Other One Pot Wonders Will Live On....Post 9

Well boys and's time for this little party to come to an end.  This is my last post as part of Emeril's One Pot Blogger Cooking Party.  Let me tell you it's been a great experience; lots of fun. I made a bunch of great new food blogger friends and had an opportunity to cook some amazing food....Thanks to Emeril and the wonderful people at the Secret Ingredient Blog/Morrow Cookbooks for this opportunity.

I'd like to leave you with two final reasons to purchase your own copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders.

Beef & Barley Soup with Garlic Basil Oil

I know I've said it before but I'm a soup lover; eat it almost every day.  So it's befitting that I end this little soiree with another delicious soup from Emeril.  His Beef & Barley Soup is just bursting with flavor. Loaded with meat, chopped veggies and perfectly cooked barley this is a One-Pot wonder for sure.

Italian Sausage, Zucchini, & Bell Pepper Bread Pudding

Ahh...the creme de la creme...probably the most unique meal I cooked during these past 3 weeks.  The Sausage, Zucchini, & Bell Pepper Bread Pudding.  This one's got it all: flavor and texture wrapped up in one.  A definite crowd pleaser.

I know I will be cooking more from this book and of course I'll be sharing it with you....but I do urge you not to hesitate in buying your own copy.  There are enough recipes in here to make the purchase well worth it.

The winner of the Emeril by Zak 7 piece flame bowls is......Donna from the blog The Slow Roasted Italian.  congratulations Donna and thanks to all that participated.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the cookbook, a set of the serving dishes by zak!, a bottle of Emeril’s spices, and a small grocery reimbursement. Upon completion I will also receive a few of Emeril’s other cookbooks and one blogger will be chosen to win a T-Fal slow cooker. All opinions shared are my own. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Emeril's Wok Seared Duck Salad...One Pot Blogger Party Post 8

I love salads. To me a meal isn't complete without a salad.  What's even better is when the meal itself is the salad.  Main course salads of all varieties are something I just really enjoy.  So I was really excited to see that one of the 3 Emeril recipes I could share in full, from his new book Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders, was for a Wok Seared Duck Salad.

This was actually one of the first recipes I tried...why then am I waiting until week 3 to post?  Just because I wanted to whine down this little blogger party with something extra special.  And this salad fits the bill.

Please don't let the fact that it's duck deter you from trying this recipe.  I'm sure you can easily substitute chicken; but don't.  No wok; no worries...I cooked my duck in a skillet and it turned out perfect.

Another thing I urge you to do is not to skip the toasted Jasmine.  I know it seems really strange to grind the rice and use it in powder form but it really adds an extra dimension to this dish.

There's still one post can expect another yummy dish and the giveaway winner to be announced.  You haven't entered yet?  What are you waiting here for details.

Wok Seared Duck Salad
2 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
2 magret duck breasts (about 12 ounces each) or 1 ½ pounds other domestic duck breasts
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼ cup fish sauce (see note below)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup julienned red bell pepper

1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the rice. Toast the rice, shaking the wok constantly, until all the grains have turned golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mortar and set aside to cool. Once the rice has cooled, grind it using a pestle until it reaches a sandy consistency. Alternatively, grind the toasted rice in a clean spice grinder. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Place the chile in the wok over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the wok, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to the bowl with the rice.

3. Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily. Place the duck breasts in the wok, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the wok. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck from the wok to the bowl with the rice and chile and set aside.

4. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine. Serve the salad immediately.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Emeril's Chicken in a Pot & A Giveaway...Post #7

I'm not a huge fan of crock-pots; no particular reason...just not.  So when I come across a crock-pot recipe I want to try I will usually find another method for cooking it. Which is exactly what I did with the Chicken in the Pot recipe from Emeril's new cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders.

This is the final week of my 3 week adventure as part of the One Pot Blogger Cooking Party for Emeril and we're going to end this week with a bang or should I say Bam!  I have a cool giveaway for you (see below)  and one last yummy recipe to share.

Ok,  back to Chicken in a Pot. The original recipe calls for cooking a whole chicken in a crock-pot for about 4 hours. I decided to use chicken leg quarters and  cook them on the stove for about 2 hours in a dutch oven. 

The results were amazing.  Just a 1/2 cup of white wine was all that was used to yield a rich flavored broth that smothered the chicken and vegetables.  Speaking of veggies; I added extra carrots and celery and purple fingerling potatoes.  I also omitted the onion and used chopped leeks instead.  This recipe makes a delicious hearty chicken stew; perfect for a crowd.

Enough about chicken...let's talk giveaway.  As part of this Blogger Party I've been given a set of  Emeril by Zak 7 piece flame bowls to share with one of my readers.  These unique bowls are perfect to use when entertaining guests.  They make a wonderful show piece.  

You want to win a set of these bowls?  Here's what you have to do:

Leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win. Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter; just let me know. Now if you’d like to “Kick it Up a Notch” you can leave me separate comments for each of the following that you do. Oh and don't forget to include an email address so that I can contact you if you win.

1. Like Emeril Lagasse on Facebook
2. Follow Emeril on Twitter
3. Friend me on Facebook
4. Follow me on Twitter
5. Like the Secret Ingredient Blog on Facebook
6. Follow Morrow Cooks on Twitter

That's 7 chances to win. You better get started..contest ends Thursday September 29th at midnight EST.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Linguini with Artichokes, Shrimp & Mascarpone Post #6 Emeril One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party

When I tell people that I am part of the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party and that I have been cooking Emeril recipes for two straight weeks I see this strange look come across their face...and then I get "So you're cooking WITH Emeril?" As much as I wish Emeril and I were standing side by side in the kitchen, chopping veggies and browning meat, that's not the case. What I am doing though is cooking from Emeril's soon to be released book Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders and sharing my experiences.

The next question I get is "Are you having fun with that?" Hell yes! I'm having lots of fun with this. I get a sneak peak at a new cookbook, I get to cook yummy Emeril recipes almost every night, and I get to be part of a cool blogger group...what's not to like?

This is usually followed by "Aren't you bored cooking just from one cookbook?" Not yet, Emeril's new book has such a nice variety of recipes. And I love that a lot are what I call "week-night" friendly. Like last night's Linguini with Artichokes Shrimp and Mascarpone. This restaurant style meal came together literally in the time it took to cook the pasta...less than 15 minutes.

I left the shrimp out (remember I'm allergic) and I added slightly less mascarpone and slightly more lemon rind...just personal preference. I "kicked it up a notch" with some crushed red pepper sprinkled on top and had a yummy pasta dinner for my hubby and I ready in no time. Unfortunately, this is not one of the recipes I can share with you....bummer I know. But you can get this recipe and over 100 others in Emeril's new book. (preorder it here).

If you want to find out more about Emeril you can follow him on twitter or like him on facebook.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Stew & Roasted Red Pepper Aioli.... One-Pot Party Post #5

We're mid-way through the Emeril One Pot Blogger Cooking Party and I thought it would be good to do a little recap. About two weeks ago 20 food bloggers were selected to promote Emeril’s new cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders. What did this mean? Just that we were expected to cook 3 recipes a week from this wonderful cookbook for 3 weeks. We would also do two giveaways and share only 3 preselected full recipes with our readers. (that’s you)

As I mentioned above each blogger was given 3 full recipes we could share. I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed when I got the three because one of them was for Cajun Shrimp Stew; and I’m allergic to shrimp…bummer for me.

I pondered changing up the recipe and adding chicken instead of the shrimp and using chicken stock in place of the shrimp stock. But after much deliberation I just didn’t feel that chicken would have done the recipe justice. So instead I decided to share the recipe with you (see below) and point you in the direction of some of my blogger companions (see links below) who have already posted about this stew and loved it. I hope you’ll decide to make it and if you do I hope you’ll come back and tell me about it.

In place of the Shrimp Stew I decided to make the Roasted Red Pepper Aioli as my 5th recipe.

We grow our own bell peppers and I love finding things to do with them. So when I saw that there was a Roasted Red Pepper Aioli recipe in Emeril’s book I knew I had to try it. Emeril uses the Aioli as a topping for Bouillabaisse but I think it makes a great bruschetta spread or even a nice sauce for chicken.

If you just can't wait...and I can totally understand can preorder Emeril's book here.

Cajun Shrimp Stew
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock (see below)
2 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes. (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time—it is important that the roux not be burned at all or the stew will have a bitter taste.) As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.)

Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.

Rich Shrimp Stock
1 to 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
14 cups water
1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped (the onion peel deepens the color of the stock)
½ cup roughly chopped celery
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley

 Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45 to 60 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before using. (The stock may also be placed in airtight containers and frozen for up to several months.)

Links to some of the others that have made Cajun Shrimp Stew

Savoring Today
Cajun Chef Ryan
The Boys Made Me Do It
Diabetic Foodie
Just Off the Red Street Car Line
Tracey's Culinary Adventures

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the cookbook, a set of the serving dishes by zak!, a bottle of Emeril’s spices, and a small grocery reimbursement. Upon completion I will also receive a few of Emeril’s other cookbooks and one blogger will be chosen to win a T-Fal slow cooker. All opinions shared are my own. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emeril One Pot Veal Marsala and Giveaway Winner.....Post 4

Have you ever bought all the ingredients for a recipe only to find that you don't have the right pan? This has happened to me on several occasions. Well Emeril's new book: Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders puts an end to this type of kitchen dilemma.

 Each chapter includes recipes that focus on a different piece of cookware; so you know exactly what's needed before you get started.  There's a section on woks, dutch ovens, slow cookers, casseroles, skillets and big pots. It's definitely a different way to utilize a cookbook, and might take some time getting used to, but it is really functional.

I'll admit there's not much I don't like about this book...except maybe that there aren't any dessert recipes...but it's not that kind of cookbook.  This book focuses on meals cooked in just one pot and includes over a 100 recipes most with color photos.

If you've been following my blog you know that this is the start of week two of the Emeril One Pot Blogger Cooking Party sponsored by The Secret Ingredient Blog.   You also know by now that I am limited to how many full recipes I can share; but that there are no limits to the amount of recipes I can temp you with.

This Veal Marsala is one of my temptations. Thin slices of veal dredged in flour and fried in butter and Marsala wine.  Topped with mushrooms it was very yummy and easy to make.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for.  The winner of Emeril's new cookbook, picked by random number generator is: Janet of the blog LaDue & Crew. Congratulations to Janet and thanks to everyone that participated. 

There will be another exciting giveaway coming up later in the week. Check back often to see how you can be a winner.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the cookbook, a set of the serving dishes by zak!, a bottle of Emeril’s spices, and a small grocery reimbursement. Upon completion I will also receive a few of Emeril’s other cookbooks and one blogger will be chosen to win a T-Fal slow cooker. All opinions shared are my own. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Emeril's One Pot Blogger Cooking Party Post #3...Win A Copy of His New Book

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the One Pot Blogger Cooking Party I’m participating in with 19 fellow bloggers. It’s a 3 week blogging event to promote Emeril Lagasse’s new book Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders which is being sponsored by Morrow Cookbooks.

So far I’ve made three recipes from this book; all equally delicious. We’ve been asked to limit the actual recipes we can share, otherwise why would you buy the book. So I’ve only posted one full recipe; Tuscan White Bean Soup. But don’t worry there will be two more that I will hopefully share with you over the next few weeks. But here’s something even better. One lucky reader of this post is going to win their very own copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders. But just in case you haven’t been enticed by what you’ve seen so far I’d like to share this with you:

This is Emeril's Eggplant Involtini. What makes this recipe different than any of the hundreds of others out there is that the eggplant is broiled and baked…never fried. Trust me it’s got the same great taste you get from the traditional fried version but not all the added fat and calories. Which I do think is important. Thin layers of eggplant stuffed with a mixture of balsamic, bread crumbs, tomatoes, herbs, pine nuts and mozzarella…you won’t even notice they aren’t fried. And just think of the time savings in the kitchen. I was able to whip a pan of these up in minutes; baked them for about 20 minutes more to melt the cheese and I had a wonderful vegetarian dinner.

Ok…on to the contest. Here’s what you need to do. Leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win this book. Maybe you’re a huge fan of Emeril (well that’s a given) or maybe you have been waiting for a book with One-Pot recipes. Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter; just let me know. Now if you’d like to “Kick it Up a Notch” you can leave me separate comments for each of the following that you do.

1. Like Emeril Lagasse on Facebook
2. Follow Emeril on Twitter
3. Friend me on Facebook
4. Follow me on Twitter
5. Like the Secret Ingredient Blog on Facebook
6. Follow Morrow Cooks on Twitter

Contest ends Sunday September 18th at midnight EST.  Winner will be picked randomly.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the cookbook, a set of the serving dishes by zak!, a bottle of Emeril’s spices, and a small grocery reimbursement. Upon completion I will also receive a few of Emeril’s other cookbooks and one blogger will be chosen to win a T-Fal slow cooker. All opinions shared are my own.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuscan Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe...Emeril One Pot Blogger Cooking Party

I’m a huge soup eater. Seriously, most days my lunch is a nice bubbling bowl of homemade soup. Since I am pretty much cooking all Emeril for the next three weeks (you can read about that here)  I was really happy to see that his new book Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders includes several recipes for various different soups.

I’m by no means what's referred to as a "health nut" but I try to keep my lunches somewhat on the healthy side. Or at least what I consider healthy. Chock full of veggies and white beans Emeril’s recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe seemed a good option to me. What makes this soup even better is that it doesn't take long to make. With a little forethought on my end I was able to kick this out in no time. I prepped all the veggies and soaked the beans the night before and then it was only a matter of letting it simmer for about an hour or so.

A few changes I made to this recipe...although I think as is it's pretty darn perfect.  I added more veggies..ok maybe I am a health nut.  I also pureed more beans than the one cup it called for.  I did about 4 cups. I used homemade stock and fresh herbs from my garden; a mixture of sage, thyme and basil. 

This was one of the best bean soups I've tasted. I'll admit I was initially thrown off by the lemon and lemon rind in the recipe...but it worked.  There were several layers of flavor to this soup which shined through in every mouthful.

Lucky for you this is one of the 3 recipes I’m allowed to share. So you can get started making it right away. You don’t have to wait for the cookbook giveaway later this week. You read it right; I’ll be giving one lucky reader a chance to win a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders.  Check back later in the week for details on how you can enter to win. Until then go make some soup.

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe
(courtesy of Emeril Lagasse) (pre-order book here)

This is a comforting, hearty soup with flavors reminiscent of northern Italy. We used baby lima beans because we just love their tender, creamy consistency, although in Italy it would likely be made with cannellini beans or great Northern beans. Use whichever beans you love or have on hand; just take note that the cooking time will vary slightly.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups small-diced onion
1 cup small-diced celery
1 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds dried white beans (cannellini, baby lima, or great Northern), rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, about 1 × 3 inches
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
1 ½ pounds broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, beans, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer gently and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 1 cup of the beans from the pot to a small bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon. Return the mashed beans to the soup and add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until the broth thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining black pepper, the broccoli rabe, and rosemary sprig and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove the Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig and discard them. Serve the soup in wide, shallow bowls, garnished with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

13 cups, about 6 servings

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Emeril's True Bolognese...My Addition to the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party

It's Sunday and in our house that means pasta for dinner; usually Sunday Gravy but occasionally we substitute.  This Sunday I was planning to make some sort of hearty meat sauce in honor of a family friend who is moving away.  I hadn't quite narrowed down which recipe when I received my review copy of Emeril's Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders (available for pre-order now). Browsing through this incredible book (we'll talk about it in more detail during the next 3 weeks ) I was really happy to see a recipe for True Bolognese.  I knew immeditatly this would be my kick off recipe for Emeril's One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party    and my goodbye dinner for Peggy.

Bolognese is a meat based sauce, with very little tomato product, originating out of Bologna, Italy. I've made my fair share of Bolognese sauce over the years and they've all been quite different. Some use white wine; some use red. The type of meat has ranged from all beef to a mixture of beef, pork, and veal.  Stock is often used but sometimes it's just water.

Emeril's version of this classic dish was delicious.  Paired with some crusty Italian bread and topped with some grated Parmesan; it was like comfort in a bowl.   His recipe is pretty similar to ones I've made in the past with the biggest difference being the type of dairy used.  In my cooking endeavors I've only come across Bolognese sauces made with either milk or cream. His calls for 1/2 & 1/2.  This was new to me...but I thought it worked well; coating the meat and balancing out the acidity from the wine.  Dinner was a huge success.

As a member of the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party we've been asked not to post full recipes on our site except for  three that have been pre-chosen by the publisher.  So I won't be sharing the Bolognese recipe with you now.  But don't worry over the next few weeks I will not only be teasing you with great recipes like this one but also sharing the 3 full recipes we were given. Oh and don't forget about the giveaways.  There's going to be two.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Kick it Up A Notch" with Emeril's One-Pot Blogger Party

If I were to credit one TV personality for my love of cooking it would be Emeril Lagasse. Watching Emeril on the Food Network back in the early 1990’s helped me hone my skills around the kitchen and come to see cooking as fun and not so much a chore.

So obviously I was super excited to find out I was selected from more than 100 applicants to take part in Emeril’s One Pot Blogger Cooking Party to promote his upcoming book Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. Thank you Morrow Cookbooks and the Secret Ingredient Club for including me in this wonderful group of 20 talented bloggers.

So what does all this mean? Well for one thing over the next 3 weeks I’ll be cooking and blogging everything Emeril. I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on his new book, along with sharing some recipes, and offering you not one but two chances to WIN.

Sound like fun? It does to me. Check back often starting September 12,2011- October 1, 2011 to take part in this awesome blogger party.

Full disclosure: For my commitment to this blogger cooking party, I received a copy of the cookbook, as well as a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls, and Emeril Seasoning; a $50 grocery reimbursement and Emeril cookbooks upon completion of the party. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wusthof Classic 5-pc Studio Set Review...And My Mother's Unusual Knife Habits

I’ve always been slightly intimidated by large knives. I’m sure this stems from my childhood and the fact that my mother only used one knife to do everything. What am I saying she still uses that same knife.

At mom’s house no matter what you’re trying to cut, a small steak knife is all that’s available. It’s her bread knife, chef’s knife and paring knife all wrapped into one. Over the years I’ve tried getting her to use other knives. I even bought her a nice block set once. But she just won't use anything but her one steak knife. Hey, she's happy with it…and who am I to judge.

When I bought my first knife set I picked something small; which unfortunately also meant; not so sharp. I knew the quality just wasn’t there with my small set but I was content using them because of their size. Until last year when I took a knife class for fun, with a friend, and I was instantly hooked. I wanted good knives. I tooled around with different options hoping to find something that fit my requirements of being small and still powerful.

So when I was asked to review the Wusthof classic 5-pc Studio set I was psyched. Described as just the essentials in a compact wooden block…I knew this was going to be the knife set for me. The set includes a 3 ½ inch paring knife, perfect for peeling fruits and veggies. A slightly larger but same shaped 4 ½ inch utility knife. Which surprisingly works great when cutting tomatoes. Yes, it’s that sharp. The 6 inch chef’s knife is great for chopping and dicing. Also, included are pull apart kitchen shears for cleaning meats and snipping herbs.

Although, I know that Wusthof’s intention with this set is it be used for small kitchens. I also think it’s a great set for beginner’s or for people like me that are just slightly unsure of themselves when it comes to having a large knife in their hands. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will convert my mother but hey you can’t win them all. Whatever your reasons I would recommend giving the Wusthof Studio set a try.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Last Minute Labor Day Potato Salad with Pancetta, Rosemary and Lemon

Still scrambling for a side dish to complete your Labor Day menu?  Try this potato salad. Seasoned with herbs, olive oil and lemon juice it's not as heavy as your traditional mayonnaise based potato salad but still packs a lot of flavor due to the crumbled pancetta on top.

 Potato Salad with Pancetta, Rosemary, and Lemon
(adapted from Epicurious)
5 ounces 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta (Italian bacon; about 5 slices)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 garlic clove, pressed
2/3 cup olive oil
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange pancetta slices on rimmed baking sheet, spacing apart. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes (do not turn). Drain on paper towels. Cool. Coarsely chop pancetta.
Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, rosemary, lemon peel, and garlic in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Place potatoes in large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer with lid ajar until tender, 18 to 25 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Drain; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices (remove skin, if desired). Place in large bowl; add celery. Drizzle dressing over; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

DO AHEAD: Pancetta and potato salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pancetta; chill. Keep potato salad chilled. Bring pancetta to room temperature before continuing.

Sprinkle pancetta and chopped parsley over potato salad.