Brownie Malt Sundae Inspired by Farrell’s for #tbtfood

brownie malt sundae

I didn’t go to many birthday parties as a kid. In our neighborhood, all the kids went to each others’ parties so there was always someone’s birthday on the horizon, but outside the neighborhood, I wasn’t invited to many parties. I guess I was sort of insular and weird in school with a small circle of friends, most of whom happened to live in my neighborhood, so we were already on each others’ birthday lists.

Many school birthday parties are when popularity is tested, tried on like a sparkly new sweater. Waiting for an invitation to a birthday party was like waiting to be picked for a kickball team in gym class. Everyone knew who’d be picked first. And everyone knew who’d be picked last. But unlike in kickball, birthday parties were exclusive, and not everyone need be chosen. It can be so very hard to be the insular and weird kid.

One year, and much to my surprise and delight, Colleen Mattson invited me to her birthday party. She was a School Friend, and it wasn’t a traditional party. From what I remember, it was her family, maybe a couple of other girls and me. They took all of us out to Farrell’s for dinner and then ice cream.

Farrell’s was at the mall, and since my family rarely went out to eat, it was a huge treat for me. Farrell’s was big and loud and shiny. The menus were printed in old timey Western font, like wanted posters that Marshall Dillon had lining the walls of his office.

I remember Farrell’s! Now I want a sundae!

Caramelized Onion, Zephyr Squash and Jazz Apples for #loveNZfruit


This is the last of three sponsored posts for the #loveNZfruit promotion. I have enjoyed creating these recipes, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them as well. Here’s my Taylor’s Gold Pear recipe, and here’s the lovely salad I made with Envy Apples last month. This month is special, though. This month, Jazz Apples has partnered up with The Canadian and American Diabetes Foundations with Crunch to Contribute. Post a photo of you crunching an intensely apple-y and crunchy Jazz Apple and the lovelies at Jazz Apples will donate a dollar to either the Canadian or American Diabetes Associations. Pretty cool, right? So, crunch away and share your snaps!

Great promotion! And isn’t there a giveaway too?

Ginger Ale Stracciatella with Marcona Almonds for Ice Cream Tuesday


Today is a double post day, so this Ice Cream Tuesday post will be short and sweet. But what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in delicious flavor.

You may know that The Beloved brews beer with some buddies in Charlotte. Very good beer. Every so often, he makes the three hour drive to hang out with his friends, make beer and drink beer. Their latest creation lives in a keg in our refrigerator. It’s an English golden ale base brewed with lots fresh ginger and some grains of paradise. It is complex and delicious. And perfect for turning into ice cream: Ginger Ale Stracciatella with Marcona Almonds.

Sounds great! Gimme!

Spicy Succotash with Bacon and Fava Beans for Progressive Eats


I was raised in the South, but my folks were both raised in the North. I grew up in a house that was geographically in North Carolina but culinarily in Queens. This caused me more than a little stress growing up. Living right in the heart of the Queen City, I had no idea what grits were, or cornbread, and we never ate collards and black-eyed peas for New Year’s. Not until I was an adult did I discover the warm comfort that is a big old piece of Southern corn bread mashed up into a soupy plate of pinto beans.

Southerners ate biscuits. We had rolls. Southerners ate cheese grits. Mom served cream of wheat. Southerners ate chicken and flat or “slick” dumplings. When we had dumplings, ours were big and puffy and sat atop a fricassee.

Don’t get me wrong, friends. I love rolls, and I even like cream of wheat. In the great dumpling debate, I won’t throw a puffy one on the floor if it’s offered, but I do come down on the side of the slick dumpling. I had some catching up to do.

Southern fried chicken. The glory that is whole hog barbecue. Nubby cubes of golden cornbread. Fluffy buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. Collard greens and field peas. Rich yet thrifty bread pudding. Crispy-tangy fried green tomatoes. Homemade pimento cheese sandwiches.

Great, now I’m hungry. And what’s this whole #ProgressiveEats thing, anyway?/span>

Coconut Oat Vanilla Nut Creamer | OATrageous Oatmeals | OXO Giveaway

coconut oat vanilla nut creamer

I could not be more excited about helping to promote my friend Kathy Hester’s upcoming book, OATrageous Oatmeals. What I love about Kathy’s new book is that she didn’t take the easy way out, offering us 100 different recipes for breakfast oatmeal. Nope. Kathy takes oatmeal off the breakfast table and puts it in beverages and savory dishes. She even takes it into the bathroom for a scrub and a soak and into the hearts of pet lovers everywhere with dog biscuits and catnip treats for kitties! Yay!

Kathy’s recipes are always accessible, and she gives oil-free options when appropriate, for folks who are on fat-free diets. All recipes are also clearly labeled as gluten-free, soy-free, etc as it applies. And of course, all her recipes are vegan.

Tell me more! What recipe did you try? Where’s the Giveaway?/span>

Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni for #tbtfood

homemade hamburger helper cheeseburger macaroni

Pretend it’s Thursday.

I didn’t grow up eating Hamburger Helper, and as a result, I have always had a soft spot for it. I loved the commercials: “Hamburger Helper helped her hamburger HELLLLLLP her make a great meal!”

My version of Cheeseburger Macaroni, one of the seminal flavors (in my mind, anyway), only takes about 40 minutes to make, so it’s doable for a weeknight supper and certainly for a weekend. I gussied mine up with some diced pickled jalapenos and havarti cheese, and it is delicious.

If you’re in the mood for, say, Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni, go for it. The fun in making your own is that you can customize it.

Mmmm, creamy deliciousness! Gimme!/span>

Browned Butter Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream for Ice Cream Tuesday


Pretend that it’s Tuesday.

Today’s Tuesday is a Southern Classic with just enough of a twist to make folks sit up and take notice. This browned butter peach buttermilk ice cream came about in two stages. We bought a lot of local peaches at the farmer’s market several weeks ago, and I needed to process them. Staring at a ton of fresh peaches is a time bomb I am not equipped to deal with, so cooking and freezing allows me time to ponder my options.

I also was asked to teach a private ice cream making party for the father in law of one of the ladies, Jennifer, who runs the kitchen at Whisk Carolina. It was Charlie’s 90th birthday, and ice cream is one of his favorite things. It was an honor to help him and his friends, family, and neighbors celebrate such a milestone! I wanted to make sure I served his favorite, and when I found out that it was peach, I knew exactly what to do. More or less.

Happy Birthday Charlie! Can I have some ice cream?/span>

Crème Brûlée Stout Ice Cream for Ice Cream Tuesday

creme brulee stout ice cream

Today I bring you a minimalist Tuesday. Usually my ice creams have a base, a swirl and a mix-in, because in my brain, that’s what makes it a Tuesday.

A few weeks ago when The Beloved and I were up at Lafayette Village, we stopped in the new craft beer shop/bar, Crafty Beer Shop, to check it out and pick up a few bottles. The Beloved was looking for hoppy, refreshing beer. I was looking for something to turn into ice cream, and we both came away winners.

Once I spied the bottle of Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Stout, I stopped looking. A beer named for a dessert? Of course it would be great in ice cream.

I’m so excited! Carry on!/span>

Get to Know Revolutionary Pizza | Jalapeño Pop n’ Lock Pizza | Cookbook Giveaway

revolutionary pizza

A big night for my family when I was little was going to Shakey’s Pizza, ordering large plastic glasses of fizzy root beer, listening to the player piano, and watching the magicians behind the large plexiglass window make our pizza. Dough tossed aloft on deft fists, centripetal force stretching the dough into a perfect circle. I adored watching them spread on the sauce–ladling on just enough in the center and then spreading it out in an ever-growing spiral with the back of the ladle. A rain of shredded cheese, dealing out pepperoni like playing cards. Once our order arrived, I felt very grown up as I sprinkled on my own Parmesan and Italian herbs from the shakers on the table.

I have had all sorts of pizza over the years, from huge chains, from all-you-can-eat buffets, from our toaster oven or even the occasional microwave pizza, from mom&pop shops to my own homemade and my bi-monthly Sandra Leed frozen pizzas. Thick crust, thin crust, hand-tossed, Sicilian, Chicago-style, even Ohio style and Michigan style pizzas, not to mention those rectangles of school pizza. All delicious in their own ways, or if not delicious, at least convenient. I’ve enjoyed toppings ranging from prosciutto and fig to macaroni and cheese.

I thought I knew pizza. And then along comes Revolutionary Pizza by Dimitri Syrkin-Kikolau, owner of two Dimo’s Pizza restaurants in Chicago. “Bold pies that will change your life…and dinner” promises the cover. I may have rolled my eyes. I mean, there was nothing between the covers of this book that was going to surprise me. When I opened the cover, I was immediately proved wrong in the most surprising and delicious ways. You will be, too. Just take a gander at some of the revolutionary flavor combinations from Revolutionary Pizza.

I am digging the sound of this already! Bring on the pizza and the giveaway!/span>

Mixed Cherry-Berry Grunt for #tbtfood

Mixed Cherry-Berry Grunt

I do not know in what world the bubbles rising from berry juices and up through batter make a grunting noise, because it is obvious to anyone with a pair of ears that they bloop. For better or worse, grunt is what it is called.

A grunt is pretty much like a cobbler. Exactly like a cobbler. The only difference between a grunt and a cobbler comprised of sweetened juicy fruits with big, pillowy dumplings is that a grunt it cooked on the stove top while a cobbler is baked.

This means a couple of things:

It is a safe bet that grunts predate cobblers since stoves pre-date ovens.
The dumplings in a grunt will have a softer consistency than ones i a cobbler since there won’t be any browning from Maillard reactions in the oven.
If you want a fruity baked dessert on a hot day, a grunt is preferable to a cobbler because you don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up the whole house.
I’m pretty sure that you can make a grunt in a slow cooker. If you have a recipe for a cobbler made in a slow cooker, get used to the idea that what you’re making is really a grunt.

I won’t have to turn on my oven? Sweet! Let me at it!/span>