Haute Hot Food

Only for the adventurous in eating that want to tantalize their taste-buds and make food dance on their palate.

For I am not afraid of letting the food
overtake my desires, nor am I afraid of letting my desires be my food. Food is my expression, not just my livelihood. Cooking is my art, not out of responsibility, but purely out of passion.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Getting lost isn't so bad

Today I found myself lost.  Not in the sense of direction, but lost purely in moments and memories.   I sat in the floor thumbing through old pictures asking myself 1001 questions with no answers to be discovered.  I realized I have walked a path not traveled by many, and passion is my drive.  Stolen moments make mesmerizing memories, and the memories etched in my mind have forever shaped who I am becoming.  
The randomness I was reminded of today made me smile and the joys of my heart make my soul sing.

I love the smell of grass. I'm not organized. I'm addicted lip gloss. I can't french braid. I prefer pie. I still make snow angels.  I smack my gum.  Flowers make me smile.  I get lost in books.  I still get giddy about Christmas morning.  Bubbles are my favorite.  I sink under the sheets. The ocean is my therapy.  I dance when I cook.  My music is always too loud.  I adore kissing.  I don't like octopus. I want to boat around the world. I catch myself watching my kids sleep. Train's "Marry Me" is played daily on my iPod.  I don't like massages. I haven't removed my toe ring in 6 years. I still swipe icing off cakes. I was on a synchronized swimming team. I can barley make it through a movie.  I've been told I snore. I break dishes on a daily basis.  I want another tattoo.  I can set a trot line. My reoccurring dream is always about being an ice skater. I've swam with a shark. I faint when I get shots.  Birthdays are still a big deal. I am a horrible speller.  I can't make it through a day without coffee.  I love a good cigar. The best medicine is still ice cream. I've caught many things on fire in the kitchen. Watching passions in others is contagious.  Abandonment of the heart is the purest form of happiness.

Simplistic in form, but made with the best sous on the planet, my son.  This is his "happy" and his delight.

Strawberries and Cream

2c. ripe strawberries. sliced
1tsp Vanilla
3TBL sugar
1c. Heavy Cream
1c. milk
drizzle of honey
1/4c Favorite homemade granola

Let all ingredients except honey and granola sit overnight in airtight container.  Serve in a martini glass with a drizzle of honey and topped with granola

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sweet Tea and Lemonade

Sweet Tea and Lemonade

Being raised in a Southern home, there were a few things that were always a given.
1) We prayed before every meal.
2) "Please" and "Thank You" were never a choice.
3) Saturdays were for yard work and Sundays were spent at church.
4) Driving the tractor was a prerequisite for driving the car.
5) The water hose supplied the water for thirsty kids.
6) Blackberry cobbler was a summer staple.
And last but never the least...
7) The pitcher of sweet tea was flowin' and the lemonade was always tart.

No matter the season called,  if the  occasion was festive,  or for even if the only reason was a random Tuesday, there was something about the constant simplicity of those pitchers of sweet tea and tart lemonade.  It meant more to me than a cool refreshment,  they  represent the hospitality of a true Southern mother.  She is simple yet inviting, comforting and dependable.  She is consistency and intense diligence which is always done with pleasure, and her stature is an innocent warmness immersed in pure grace.

When I dance in the sea of memories I tend to look at myself and wonder, am I portraying the southern mother memories in my own children or in anyone that crosses my threshold? Do I offer the simple, yet still move their hearts to those passionate unpretentious melodies?  I attempt to offer all I am even with the simplest of moments.  

Perfect Lemonade

Rub glasses with cut lemon and sugar the rims for an extra treat
2 cups sugar
1 cup hot water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 gallon cold water
1/2 gallon Club Soda
1 lemon, slicedMint sprigs, for garnish

In a 1 gallon container, place sugar and hot water, and stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice and cold water to render 1 gallon. Stir until well mixed. Pour lemonade over glasses of ice, squeeze slice of lemon on top of each, and garnish with mint.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pillows of Perfection

     Watching cooking shows growing up, I thought I could conquer the world of culinary perfection at the drop of a hat.  After all, they made everything look so easy and effortless. The dishes jumped off the screen, and I could almost smell the aromas steaming up in the room.  As I grew up, I realized there was a trail and error approach to cooking. Sometimes the oven caught on fire, and then other times, the meal was fit for pure royalty.  Either way, the thing I came to realize, was that each of the chef's I had diligently studied in my youth had a common resounding ring to them that echoed loudly through each episode: pure passion.
     I remember watching the ever graceful Lidia Bastianich on her Italian cooking show stir sauces, roll pastas, saute seafood, and prepare her meals not as an eager self-absorbed and over confident chef, but as a passionately strong woman just wanting to share her traditions and love to anyone willing to listen.  
I was mezorized by her ability to teach seemingly difficult executions with patients and perfection.  

Salute to Lidia.  Salute to traditions.  Salute to passion.

Perfect pillows of gnocchi were my favorite technique Lidia taught. These will soon be your go-to pasta to make at home whenever you have those few potatoes floating around you don't know what to do with  As always, best enjoyed preparing with those you love, having fun, and savoring the moments. 

Fresh Gnocchi
1 1/2 lbs mix of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes
1 c. (plus extra for dusting) flour
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp salt
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1TBLS Olive oil

Pierce potatoes and bake in a 400 degree oven about an hour or until soft.
Scoop out warm potato and whip until smooth.  Cool for 20-25 minutes
Add flour, salt, nutmeg and egg yolk and kneed until dough forms.

 Turn onto slightly floured surface and kneed until comes back together adding additional flour if sticky.  Divide dough into 4 sections. Roll each section into a rope about 3/4" wide.
 Cut each rope into 3/4" pieces

   With a floured fork, roll each piece down the fork while pressing gently and allowing the pasta to slightly concave.  

The pillows are ready to cook!
To cook: bring salted water to rolling boil and gently add pasta.  Cook about 4 minutes or until it rises to the surface.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Add favorite sauce and devour.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Life, Tattoos. and Pineapple.

When I was 18, I decided to do the one thing that my parents had always forbidden me not to do....march into a seedy store front, lay myself at the mercy of a questionable individual, and get a tattoo.  I walked into the eclectic shop, picked the only one I could afford at the time, and sat down for the hour long painful experience.  Although barley a inch wide, and only being able to bare 2 colors, it felt like an eternity before I sat up and looked down at the tiny gardenia on my hip.  I was happy, no, I was ecstatic.  Not that I was completely satisfied with the selection (after all, I had no money and wasn't about to go into debt being away at an extremely conservative Christian university), but I was satisfied with the seemingly "adult" decision I had made.  Since that Friday night, I have learned many life lessons about so called "adult decisions", that looking back, I can clearly see how it was more about the sense of freedom to create and decide for myself rather than the small purple flower that adorned my body.
Now, being almost 35, I can say that I still relish in the freedom of something still so out of the box, and the sense of accomplishment that only can come with personal victory.  The way I express these thrills may look different now, but the value is the same.  I value creating experiences to bring about utter joy, and I adore the different.
So you ask, "What does this have to do with food?", and I simply answer. EVERYTHING.

My fun way to enjoy a deliciously divine simplicity.
Roasted Stuffed Pineapple

I was hooked after I picked fresh pineapples in Costa Rica!
1 whole pineapple, skin on, halved
2 cups Amaretti cookies, chopped
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c. Lightly toasted coconut
1/2 c hazelnuts,roughly chopped
1/4c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350  Line cookie sheet with foil
In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
Slice whole pineapple in half.  With a small knife run it on either side of then tough core at an angle and remove.  Using the same knife, make a grid of 1/2-1" cuts so it is in cube form being careful not to cut through skin at bottom
Stuff the crumb mixture into crevasses and pack onto top as well.
Drizzle melted butter over pineapple.
Place in oven for 40-60 minutes or until sides are slightly bubbling
Serve on a large platter with a fresh dollop with whipped cream.  Forks in hand and dig in!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blender Meets Beans

Dipping has gotten out of hand around here.  The days of simple salsa and over processed yellow cheese substance has long been thrown out the window.  One thing still remains forever etched in my memory: being 7 and sneaking into the kitchen with giggly girls, and spreading canned smashed beans on a white packaged tortilla,  topping it with a slice of cheese and turning the dial on our new handy quick cooker (a.k.a the microwave).   I may be a little older now, but the creamy delight is still a favorite.  Whether it be a late night snack, football party, girls movie night, snackie Sunday, or a random quick lunch, I'm always looking for an excuse to pull the blender out and pulse my heart out.
Perfect served any way imaginable 

Creamy Black Bean Dip

3c. cooked Black beans (if using canned beans rinse thoroughly)
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 large lime
1 whole jalapeno
1/2 bunch cilantro + extra for garnish
1 TBS ground cumin
2 TBS Greek yogurt
Queso Fresco for garnish

Place all ingredients in blender, and pulse until smooth.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All in a days work...someone has to do it

Alright, today was one of those days that you enjoy immensely and wish it wouldn't end.  Coffee with a new friend, created a new cookie (that I adore), and had a wonderfully entertaining lunch tasting all it as to offer with fabulous people, then an afternoon of sheer enjoyment!  I know, I know......you just want to know about the cookie.  Well, take a look and thank me later.  Ferrero Rocher, eat your heart out.....

***You might as well double the recipe, or it shall leave you craving more and no crumb in sight

 Chocolate Hazelnut Melt Aways
1/2 c. sugar
1C. Flour
1 Egg
1tsp vanilla
1/4c. shopped hazelnuts
1/4 c good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1c. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix dry in a small bowl and combine it with wet.  Fold in chopped chocolate and nuts until combined.  Shape into 1" balls and flatten out with the bottom of a glass.  Bake 7-8 minutes and let cool completely.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

National S'mores Day

I'm sure so many of you have great memories huddled around the campfire toasting marshmallows and making s'mores! Well, just because we may not be able to roast over an open fire all the time, doesn't mean we can't recreate that same nostalgic flavor we all love and adore! These will become an easy, creamy,and delicious fix when our childhood calls us back!

8 ounces Cream Cheese
7 ounces Marshmallow Cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup toasted coconut(optional)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips(plus extra for garnish)
1 lrg egg
2 tablespoons water
2 pie crusts
Preheat oven to 375
roll out pie crusts and cut out 2-3" circles with biscuit cutters
set aside in a cookie sheet
crush cracker crumbs and mix with cane sugar in a small bowl and set aside
in large bowl, beat cream cheese, marshmallow cream and vanilla until smooth.
pour into a re-sealable freezer storage bag and snip the end.
beat egg and water in a small bowl and set aside
To assemble: sprinkle crumb mixture on bottom of half of the crusts
top with a few chocolate chips
squeeze filling over chips (add coconut if desired)
top with second crust and seal edges with fork.
brush egg wash over each pie and top with additional crumb mixture.
bake 12-13 minutes.
garnish with melted chocolate chips and fresh mint!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Questions of bacon greatness....

I would like to start out by making a disclaimer:  You maybe offended, or even outright appaulled by reading any further.  I stand by my statements, fully and completely.  I will not judge you or your bacon wrapped anything at the next party or function. I am simply asking you to step back and take a look at your consumption and uses for this ever so popluar smoked pig.

 I find myself quite confused and torn from a seemingly very simple ingredient.  BACON.  Most start drooling at the very sight of the word.....yes, it's true and I have witnessed it first hand.(no names mentioned) When I read the words "wrapped in bacon", the first thing that comes to my mind is not the salty crunchiness, yet it's "what are they trying to hide under a layer of thick pork".   In my experiences, things that are wrapped in bacon are virtually tasteless and very apathetic.  I've noticed that whether it's bland peppers with a blend of unsalted cheeses, a sad shrimp that's overcooked, or chicken/meatloaf  all in a casing of thick smoked meat is all of the sudden the most decedent thing some have ever tasted.  This is the issue I'm torn with.  I don't have a personal problem with the meat, but I feel the misuse of it has taken over sad menus and dinner parties with a vengeance.  I am fond of bacon to enhance a dish. It adds just enough of a smokey salted finish to enhance another delicious layer of depth to a dish.  Bacon with a fluffy omelet is the perfect counterpart to an enjoyable brunch. Thick slices on a burger, breaks up the softness of the meat and gives it the BBQ flavor many enjoy daily.  All of these are perfectly acceptable uses, but when the slice takes over the entire flavor and texture of the main idea or theme, this is where you loose me.

With that being said, I would like to introduce you to my succulent Bacon Marmalade.  This sticky, salty, sweet combo offers the perfect balance with acidity and slight crunch.  My favorite way to enjoy it is on a crostini slathered with Brie and topped with toasted walnuts of pecans, or spread thickly on a hot cheddar biscuit.   The uses are endless and flavors are sure to satisfy the most notorious bacon consumers.

Bacon Marmalade:
1 1/2 lb bacon, chopped 
1 medium red onion, chopped

1 Serrano pepper , finely chopped (optional)
3/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup

 Place the chopped bacon in a medium skillet.Cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.

Remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet. Add the onions and pepper to the skillet. Cook onions until tender.

Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar. 
Add the bacon back to the skillet simmer over low/med heat until thick.  Place in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Store in mason jar and keep in fridge.

Toasted Crostini slathered in creamy Brie and slathered in Bacon Marmalade

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For the passionate only. What do you do when a chef falls from a car?

I'm a passionate woman, lover, wife, mother, friend, and chef.  I love what I do, and I wouldn't trade any of my experiences for anything this world has to offer.   They have made me who I am today, and the have all helped me to better my perspective on life and more importantly, about LIVING WELL.  I refuse to be anything less than full throttle in my passionate adventures, and I don't intend on backing down.  
    With that being said, when you are a foodie fanatic and everyday, you are looking for or testing new recipes, plating design, or restaurants, one is bound to hit a little diversity.  When I was a teen, a common question while playing "truth and dare', or (let's be real) "Spin the bottle", was, "What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened?"  I never had an answer, and would rack my brain to find something that turned my cheeks red, or had made me want to run for my life.  Nothing ever came to me.  The more I think about it now as an adult, the more I realized I had never done anything I was truly passionate about or that I was willing to put myself on the line for.  
   You see, with every avenue of life whether a construction worker, lawyer, chef, minister, parent, student, or spouse, there is a certain element of risk that must be taken in order to achieve the best outcome.  Sometimes it's addressing a crowd in a controversial speech, or walking the highest scaffle to reassure a job well done, sometimes it's laying your emotions or truth on the table to grow a relationship, and at other times, it's grabbing something you've never worked with before and creating a masterpiece.  
   Being a risk taker doesn’t mean you are always putting your life on the brink of seeing eternity, I simply means that you are just willing.  Sometimes the path of risk is an emotional one, and at others, it's a time to see if you can simply laugh at yourself in times that you may have taken yourself too seriously.  There are all types of growth through risks, and you'll never know what you're truly designed for until you decide to take them.
    Now, as I have walked out my passions in life with my food adventures with all my heart, I have endured quite a number of cheek burning, heart pounding, sweat stained, and proud moments.  But the question still remains: 

What do you do when....

1) You drop an entire of platter of ziti meant for 40 on the floor
2)Walk around Kroger's cheese section with my top COMPLETLY down (due to carrying a baby while shopping).... and no, no one stopped to tell me
3)After placing 100 hand formed mini pies on the dessert bar, at a very elite dinner party, an elderly motorists runs into it crashing it to the floor
4) Catching on fire the head of cardiology @ Baylor’s, oven. (Luckily, they were having such a "good time", no one but my staff noticed
5)During the middle of a demo, realizing my zipper was down
6)Spilling my drink on one of the most highly respected chef in Dallas
7)Falling from my car walking into brunch flat on my face in the street

Well, what I do might surprise you, or shock you.  I don't wither away and hide. I don't cut off my relationships, or make excuses.  No. I own it, I use it, I learn from it, and I enjoy it.  I choose to live out my dream, and love my passion.  It may be risky, and at times it may be rough, and you may even have a couple of skinned knees or a broken heart, but it will make you love more and you will learn not only to just live, but to live well.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer in the South

Yes, the temperatures reach at least 100 for numerous weeks on end, the pools slowly feel like bath water, and the humidity seems to stick to every inch of your body, but there is something I adore about Texas summers that seem to make the heat vanish from my memory. The gardens are full with the hottest peppers around, the tomato bushes droop from the Big Boy clusters, and my basil gets as big as a Texas Mequite. As wonderful as that all sounds, it's the staring at purple stained fingers, and a bucket full of berries that burst in your mouth that is the simple pleasure of living here that makes my heart jump. I'll be honest, more are eaten when picking than seem to make it to the kitchen, but when I've managed to have some sort of self control, my excitement quickly turns to a delicious  and juicy berry bubbling up from a buttery sweet crust. Cobblers are a staple at my home so much so that many a time they are picked over cakes on birthdays, and the leftovers (if there are any) are always on the breakfast menu when the sun comes up. The smells of fruit saturate the air, and the anticipation of warm fruit bathed in cold cream makes the awaiting audience salivate. Spooned out and dolleped perfectly with a scoop of sweetened cream or fresh home-churnned ice cream is my summer staple.  No one says it better......
 "Simply perfect in every way" - Mary Poppins

Here are two of my favorites:

Black Berry Cobbler:

3c. black berries
2/3c. sugar (divided)
1 1/2c. flour
1/2tsp salt
1TBL baking powder
Berry Pickin' at it's best!
1 1/2 stick butter
1/2c whole milk or cream
3 TBL  raw cane sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350
Butter a 9x13 baking dish.  place berries on bottom and sprinkle  1/3c sugar evenly.  In a food processor, pulse flour,  salt, baking powder, sugar, and 1 stck of butter until "peas" are formed. Add milk and pulse just until it comes together.  Spoon over berries.  Melt remaining butter and pour over the dough.  Sprinkle with cane sugar.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until lightly brown.

I prefer a mix of granny smith and fuji
Apple Cobbler With Honey Crust and Fresh Caramel Drizzle
2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled and sliced and tossed with juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBLS Flour
1TBL Vanilla
3TBL butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2c. flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBL cold butter
1tsp cinnamon
1/4c + 1TBL. Honey
Honey adds just enough sweetness.....try to find your honey as local as possible
1/4 c. Half and Half
2TBLS heavy cream - to brush on top
Preheat oven to 375
Toss all filling ingredients together in a bowl and spread into 9x13 baking dish.  In processor, combine all dough infredients until dough comes together.  Drop by spoonfulls over apple mixture.  Brush cream on dough and bake 35 minutes. Serve with ice cream and Caramel Sauce:

Homemade Caramel Sauce

  • 1 1/4c sugar
  • 1/3c water
  • 3/4c whipping cream 
  • 1/3c butter 
  • 1/2tsp vanilla 
  • Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, and boil gently, without stirring, until syrup turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan (about 8 minutes).  Gradually add cream (sauce will bubble). Add butter; stir gently until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Only for those......