if music be the food of love, play on…..
At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that. For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.
But what to do? Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it….. If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.
Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections. Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.
First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak. Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata. If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.
Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak
From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto. Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat. (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)
Shrimp Étouffée Risotto
If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’ This from Brit+Cco. This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.
Linguini with Clams
Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes. To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio. This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.
Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio
Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie. Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.
Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night. I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.
Engagement Chicken Pasta
if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta. That will impress.
life is not merely being alive, but being well
It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well. And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages. Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.
For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it? Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult. Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.
First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic. This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.
Vegetable Rice Soup
Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette. This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.
Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette
From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today. Looks great.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken
Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies. Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either. (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)
Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette
Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty. These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either. From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette. I must try this recipe this weekend.
Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette
poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight
I’ve been told some people are obsessed with bran muffins
Now I’m not certain what’s going on, but several of the cooks whose blogs I follow have posts about muffins this week. I looked it up, thinking it was National Muffin Week or something, but no, it’s seems it’s just one of those spooky coincidences that keeps happening for me right now.
National Muffin Day in the USA is actually February 20th.
Two interesting things; #1 here in England we do not eat a lot of English muffins. #2 I didn’t know there was a second meaning for the word muffin, or stud muffin at any rate.
However, be all that as it may, here are some cool muffin recipes, which I may have to reprise on February 20th, or not.
First up this week we have Heather Christo’s delicious looking almond poppyseed muffins, and being from Heather they are allergen free, vegan, and gluten free. All I know is they look very yummy.
Almond Poppyseed Muffins
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a recipe for ube mochi muffins. I have to admit the only bit of that I understand is muffins, but these little cakes look fantastic and I would be interested to try them.
Ube Mochi Muffins
And I thought I should include a recipe for ‘space muffins’ for those of you who would like to ingest their marijuana. Personally, I cannot see the attraction, but then I have enough of a problem with booze.
Now for something else completely different we have these pizza muffins from In Dianes Kitchen. Now that is a good idea for a pre-prepared snack or for something to take to work for lunch.
Gingerbread Apple Muffins
Our last collection this week is from delish magazine; 52 muffins to make your morning a little more enjoyable. From this great collection I’ve chosen to feature the chocolate lover’s chocolate chocolate-chip muffins by our friend Averie Sunshine.
Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins
Good food is at the heart of a great Christmas and a Happy New Year
The theme for this Food on Friday was suggested to me by a friend in California ~ I would never have thought if it on my own. Here in England the traditional Christmas Day fayre is exactly the same as a Thanksgiving Dinner ~ only better. The idea of having a pot luck Christmas lunch / dinner is alien to an Englishman, but it does sound brilliant. As a matter of fact, we don’t do pot luck at all in England.
Ergo these recipes should not only be fantastic in their own right, but should also be suitable to take along to a pot luck meal.
First up this week, here’s a simply delicious dish from Dianes Kitchen; baked chicken Parmesan meatballs. Diane says these are great eaten right of the oven, or with your favorite sauce. These look as though they would be very welcome at any pot luck.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
If we’re looking for an appetiser to have with drinks then we could do worse than go for these fabulously festive brie bites from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.
Brie Bites with Puff Pastry
Here in England, just about the only time we eat brussel sprouts is at Christmas, so I felt I just had to include a sprouts recipe. From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these roasted bacon brussels sprouts with salted honey. A great side dish to take to a pot luck.
Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Salted Honey
In all my visits to the USA, I have never, ever had a decent baked potato. That’s because you guys cook them in the microwave. A proper jacket potato needs a very hot oven, and I’ve yet to see anyone in the USA actually use their oven, So, since great baked potatoes would go down well at a pot luck here’s Ali from Gimmie some Oven to tell you how to do it.
The Best Baked Potatoes
So, you’re going to a pot luck and you want to really help the table along / show off how rich you are, then why not take along a whole maple glazed ham. We have the perfect recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious.
Maple Glazed Ham
Our collection this week comes from Taste of Home, 40 last minute Potluck ideas ready in 30 minutes or less. From this collection I’ve chosen to feature herb-roasted olives & tomatoes, partly because the recipe is by Anndrea Bailey from Huntington Beach, California. I like Huntington Beach. Anyway this is a great vegan side.
Herb Roasted Olives and Tomatoes
one of the best soup recipes ever.
I’ve made this.
there is always something to be thankful for
Here in England the few American expats celebrate Thanksgiving, otherwise this holiday just passes us by. Perhaps that’s why we English make such big things of Christmas and the New Year celebrations. Anyway, with a few twists, your Thanksgiving menus are pretty much like our Christmas menus.
First, something we don’t ever have here, from the gorgeous Ali at Gimme Some Oven, this healthier Pecan Pie, (with no corn syrup). You know something, I’ve never ever had pecan pie.
Balsamic Maple Mustard Whole Roasted Cauliflower
If you’re not going to roast a whole turkey then Heidi at Foodie Crush has a 30 minute recipe for a perfectly juicy roast turkey breast. Looks like a brilliant idea to me.
Roasted Turkey Breast
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Here’s something fairly important and very useful from Diane at In Dianes Kitchen, turkey cooking facts and safety. I well remember the first time I tried to cook a frozen turkey, what a disaster!
Turkey Cooking Facts & Safety
Finally, your collection this week is from Country Living Magazine; 56 Best Thanksgiving Recipes to Serve on Turkey Day. I’ve chosen something different from this list; Scalloped Oysters by Nancy Fuller.
Friends, fun, beer, and BBQ ~ it’s what summer’s all about.
When you read this I’ll probably be in the air, somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, but I’m looking forward to sampling food like this when I eventually arrive at my various destinations in the USA; Orange County, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff in AZ, and probably LA and San Diego Counties too.
From my Californian friends I know that it’s already BBQ season over there, so here’s an essential accompaniment to any grill, a potato salad. Except from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, here we have a wonderful looking pesto potato salad.
Pesto Potato Salad
Another potato side, this time from Diane’s Kitchen; simple twice baked potatoes, and the good thing about this dish is that, (if you need to), you can mostly prepare it the day before and finish it off in the oven or microwave.
Simple Twice Baked Potatoes
From Creme de la Crumb this is a fast, easy, and flavourful recipe you can just stick in the oven or broiler; sheet pan salmon, asparagus, and potatoes. Or you could just do the salmon and asparagus and have it with a dill salad.
Sheet Pan Salmon, Asparagus, Potatoes
Talking of a dill salad, from Julia Moskin at the New York Times, we have this soft herb salad, which just cries out for whatever fresh greens you have growing in your garden. This will go great with any BBQ’d salmon dish.
Soft Herb Salad
Your collection this week is from Olive Magazine which has 62 of the best BBQ recipes, and I especially like this very easy Miami-style blackened fish sandwich with smoked paprika mayo. Cooking fish on the grill is so easy and deliciously cool.
Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo
And to drink with your early summer BBQ garden party; Beer. Vine Pair has a list of the 50 best bottled beers of 2018, and at #1 the Sierra Nevada Brewing hazy little thing IPA. If I was still a drinking man I’d quaff a few tinnies of this stuff. IPA stands for India Pale Ale ~ Asian Indians, not the American kind.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Hazy Little Thing IPA
clean, healthy, great with tequila
If you want to live a healthy life, eat more broccoli.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are very good for your health, being nutritious, full of fibre, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals. However, broccoli is better for you as it has much more vitamins B, K and C, as well as containing vitamin A which isn’t in cauliflower at all. Broccoli also contains a lot of sulforophane, which is said to have anti-cancer properties.
The main thing with cooking any vegetable is not to boil them to death, because boiling will leach out up to 90% of the good stuff you’re eating the vegetables for in the first place. Anyhow, boiled broccoli and boiled cauliflower are tasteless, and more akin to bad prison / school food than anything you’d want to have at home.
There are some great recipes for these two cruciferous vegetables;
First for this week we have broccoli pesto pasta with whipped ricotta from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. This is a 30 minute dish that you can also take to work the following day ~ perfect for Meatless Mondays.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Whipped Ricotta
From Joy Wilson at Joy the Baker, there’s a cool recipe for roasted cauliflower and plantain tacos. I firmly believe that roasting cauliflower florets is the best way to cook this vegetable. However, I’m not certain about making tortillas from scratch.
Roasted Cauliflower and Plantain Tacos
In Diane’s Kitchen there’s a recipe for chicken stir-fry and ramen noodles, which includes lots of nutritious broccoli. This easy dish should only take you 30 minutes to prepare.
Chicken Stir-Fry and Ramen Noodles
From the Good Houskeeping test kitchen I found this kale and roasted cauliflower salad. Now that the weather is warming up a little, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about salads again ~ and you don’t get much healthier than this.
Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Well now, this is different from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats broccoli cheddar tots ~ part of her Side Dish Sunday. I guess you can call these very healthy nibbles / appetisers ~ and very interesting.
Broccoli Cheddar Tots
Your collection this week comes from Olive Magazine with their 32 best ever broccoli recipes, including this broccoli and crispy chilli beef stir fry. I just love stir-fry it’s such a quick way to cook food, sealing in all the flavours and all of the goodness.
Broccoli and Crispy Chilli Beef Stir-Fry
click the link to check some out
Time is an illusion ~ lunchtime doubly so…..
So many people either grab something from the deli, or supermarket, or just eat out at lunchtime. Actually, at weekends there’s no reason even a working person should do that. It’s perfectly possible to prepare and cook a great lunch in about 30 minutes at home, and that way you know exactly what you’re eating without having to puzzle over just what’s in your lunch burrito. And, if you make lunch, (or supper), at home, then you’re going to have some great leftovers to take to work the following day.
From Dianes Kitchen there’s this wonderful-looking crab meat Frittata. Now, while I like both frittata and crab this is a combination I’ve never thought of. I agree with Diane, this dish would be great at breakfast, lunch, or supper ~ or for something to take to work the following day.
Crab Meat Fritatta
Chungah at Damn Delicious has a recipe for creamy red pepper shells, I think this dish would make a wonderful lunch along with a glass of Italian or Californian red wine, and maybe a hunk of crusty bread. I think I could whip this together in 30 minutes, and it’s another dish to take to work the following day.
Creamy Red Pepper Shells
Well then, Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb invites us to try this dish of Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers, which she assures us are the BEST healthy stuffed peppers you’ll ever eat. If you don’t want your peppers too hot, then choose green and not red. As well as ground beef and rice you could use a host of similar Southern and Californian ingredients to make you stuffed peppers luncheon. I guess you could make this dish in 30 ~ 45 minutes.
Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Here’s an awesomely artistic dish from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing. This is big, green, nutritious, filling, and healthy. OK, so this may be a 40 minute recipe, but there are so many cheats and shortcuts into making this that I think preparing this dish just takes as long as you want to take.
Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing
I am very well aware that you American guys like your mac and cheese, so just for you here’s a recipe. Found for us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes this dish, by Aaron Hutcherson, combines two classic American comfort foods into Chili Mac and Cheese.
Chili Mac and Cheese
This week’s collection is brought to us by Good Housekeeping who have no less than 70 Healthy Lunch Ideas That Will Actually Keep You Full Until Dinner ~ wow! From this collection I’ve chosen to feature a Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad ~ even I like to be healthy sometimes. Anyhow you can make this dish in 25 minutes, and as well as being a good lunch or supper, it will make a good side for any of the other dishes featured in this weeks Food on Friday.
Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Marmaduke isn’t a big fan of Mac and Cheese
and then again, neither am I
What the New Year brings to our tables will depend on what we bring to the New Year.
Next Year I will have a new focus for each week’s food on Friday ~ concentrating on recipes, foods, and dishes to enhance our wellbeing, health, and happiness. I have no doubt whatsoever that the great cooks I have featured thus far in this series of blog posts will be more than up to the challenge of our creating a healthier lifestyle, while still retaining each of their unique signature styles.
But, for this last Food on Friday of 2018, I want to show you some recipes and dishes which will be great to offer your guests at whatever New Year’s get-together or wild party you are hosting.
No part would be complete without a great cheese board, so from San Diego cook Averie Sunshine we have ideas on just how to make the best cheese board. I really like that Averie uses prosciutto on her cheese boards! Me, I like to have a soft blue cheese, or maybe just a good old English Stilton. There are as many wines to drink with cheese as there are cheeses, but with Stilton it should be a good warm port.
The Very Best Cheese Board
Should you want to drink beer at New Year, then what about having these spinach and artichoke stuffed soft pretzels to go with your brew? From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. Of course, what we English call beer and the fizzy pop the rest of the world drinks are two very different ales.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Soft Pretzels
So, if you live by the sea, then you should serve a dish that reflects that. I guess none of you live on the Chesapeake, but from Dianes Kitchen I offer you this Chesapeake Crab Strata. Serve it like slices of pizza. Here in the North East of England we get some really great crab from the cold North Sea. Some say you should drink a Pinot Grigo with crab, but I would always prefer a cold Verdicchio.
Chesapeake Crab Strata
After my recent trip to Albuquerque I said that I would never eat meatloaf again ~ but brought to us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipies here’s an idea for bbq meatloaf bites. Now I know that the chef, Nick Evans, intended these to be part of a meal for kids ~ but after a few drinks all men are just kids anyhow. As far as I’m concerned you can drink whatever the
fuck hell you like with meatloaf….. personally I would choose a red Cotes du Rhone Villages.
BBQ Meatloaf Bites
From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s this new recipe collection; 15 best quick and easy New Year’s Eve appetisers….. My favourite dish here is this really clean-looking dish of lemon garlic shrimp kabobs ~ try these with a really cold vodka martini.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs
And finanally for 2018, from Country Living Magazine, we have a collection of 40 unbelievably easy New Year’s Eve appetisers. From this collection I like the look of these smoked salmon and cream cheese cucumber bites. Just how easy is that? If you want to show some real class, then you drink single malt whisky with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites
not many are man enough to drink Laphroaig