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.

Only for those......