Leftover Lightning! Xmas Eve Eve Leftover Omelette

I’m pretty proud of the Xmas Eve Eve dinner I whipped up this year, but nightly leftover turkey & caramelized onion mayo sandwiches got boring really fast. I still had a good amount of grapefruit & tarragon poached salmon, sautéed mushrooms and extra gruyere, caramelized onions and fresh herbs from my scalloped potatoes and they sounded like a great combo for a hearty brinner omelette. As you can see, in the last year I perfected my omelette-making game…

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To Taste: Easy Garlic Knots

A few nights ago, I made tasty mini stromboli with a pocket mold I picked up at the VNA Rummage Sale. Both varieties – sauce, tomatoes, fresh garlic & mozzarella and a hearty mix of chicken & veggies – turned out really well. However, one of each kind was plenty to feed us for dinner and I was left with a half pound of white and half pound of wheat dough blobbed together. My budget is always important so food rarely gets wasted in my house, giving me an even better reason to get creative and tell you about it!

TIP TIME! A good pizza dough is pretty easy to make at home, but if you’re short on time, pick up a $1/lb ball of white, wheat, or herb from Trader Joe’s or stop by your favorite pizza place. They usually will sell you a ball of their dough for just a few dollars.

One of my fave extras to order from the local pizza joint are garlic knots, usually halved and reheated in the toaster oven for a midnight snack. They seemed like the perfect remedy for my extra pizza dough and were really easy to make. I gathered some fresh herbs from my garden and had the rest of the ingredients on hand as pantry staples. In under 25 minutes, I had a plate of knots and the most satisfying garlic breath ever!

Check out my Easy Garlic Knots recipe after the jump!

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Instafood: MMS Gallery

Whew! I’m still here. I may not be posting… er… very often, but that doesn’t mean I’m not cooking, eating, exploring, and shooting it all along the way. Sometimes I forget to pat myself on the back for all the awesome food I make and count the blessings for the food love other people put in front of me. Today, I got the confidence boost I needed, one that came after a quite reflective weekend.

Long story short, a pretty rad lady I know founded and created a simple, yet beautifully-executed concept, The MMS Gallery: Masterpieces Made Simple (acronym intended). It’s an online collection showcasing user-submitted smartphone photography from around the globe. I stopped in here or there to check out their first couple of themes, but the topic of their third was right up my alley: FOOD!

After a month or so of submitting pics, I went about my life. Summer has been flying so I sorta forgot about it all until I got an event invite to the gallery opening… and saw their infographic about the submissions… and realized 7, yes 7, of my photos were chosen!! This shot is my fave – a #nofilter capture of Spring afternoon white sangria with one of my favorite ladies, Heidi.

See the rest of my MMS photos after the jump.

MMS Gallery Opening
Thursday July 14th | 630-930pm |1000 N Hancock St Suite 103

Check out this Geekadelphia article/interview w. my favorite creative couple,
Hilary Sedgwick + Kenny Kim about their creation of The MMS Gallery.

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To Taste: Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

On Day 4 of my staycation between jobs, I whipped up an umami-packed dinner for Dre & me. On Day 2, I took an Asia Mart adventure with Sarah in search of fun ingredients for the meal. I try to be somewhat adventurous each time I go to an ethnic market, so I picked up some bunashimeji (aka beech mushrooms), fresh vegetable noodles, & a new jar of hoisin. The beech mushrooms are so tiny and too cute! I filled them out with sliced creminis and enhanced them with the depth of fresh thyme from my Slug City.

Bunashimeji, Cremini, & Fresh Thyme

I begin by sweating shallots with a bit of olive oil in a pan and added the mushrooms & thyme. I tossed them as they sauteed for about 10 min and finished it with white truffle oil. I love truffle. I love the smell. I love the taste. I LOVE TRUFFLE!

Truffled Mushrooms

While my mushrooms cooked, I heated an awesome new grill skillet that Sunshine passed along to me. I marinated some chicken breasts in hoisin, ginger, & soy and seared them for deep grill marks on both sides until cooked through. The noodles took a quick dip in boiling water and were a perfect pillow for a pile of savory truffled mushrooms. This may be one of my favorite dishes I’ve made… and 5 years ago you couldn’t dare get a mushroom near my plate!

UMAMI!

Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

To Taste: Flavored Finishing Salts collabo w. Sunshine

Sunshine turned me on to this awesome how-to video on how easy and rewarding it is to make flavored finishing salts. Eric Gower, the handsome personality behind Breakaway Cook, introduces diverse suggestions for ingredients to flavor moist sel gris. I’m beyond envious of his spice shelf and could watch his videos over and over and over.

Creative Use of Salts from Eric Gower on Vimeo.

Sunshine suggested and I agreed that this was a great inspiration for a crafty foodie collaboration! She had also found some mini jam jars that would be perfect vessels to store our new seasonings. We chose an afternoon during my week of leisure between jobs and got to planning our approach.

In the video, Eric Gower makes 4 different salts with lavender, matcha, smoked paprika, & saffron. We couldn’t get our hands on any of those ingredients, so we thought of great flavorings of our own. Sunshine finally located the sel gris at Trader Joe’s that is suggested as the base for our blends and we prepared our ingredients for blending. We heated the oven to about 275degrees and started drying our lime wheels, herbs, mango, & bacon:

Lime Wheels, Bacon, Herbs, & Mango

While our fresh ingredients dried in the oven, we set up the food processing attachment to the Cuisinart stick blender Dre got me for VDay. Quickest way to my heart is through a kitchen gadget! First up was some crystallized ginger we located on a last minute trip to the Asia mart. We ground it and added in about 2 T of the sel gris. A few more seconds of blending and we had so simply made our premier flavored salt.

Crystallized Ginger Salt

Luckily, we saved some fresh mango slices to sample the salt on. It was a perfect pairing!

Crystallized Ginger Salt on Mango

We still had some time to kill while our items dried in the oven. Sunshine found some really fun Victorian-inspired banner designs that we printed out as labels for our jars. We cut and arranged them on the lids with pencil-written names. One already filled and four more to go!

Labeled Salt Jars

The fresh herbs were first to be fully dried so we ground up the basil, thyme, oregano, & parsley. The result looked like a bowl of emerald-speckled diamonds and tasted amazing on fresh tomato slices.

Herb Salt

We whirled up our lime batch next, but I somehow missed getting a decent pic of it. Once the mango was crispy, we added it to two separate batches: one with just mango and another with the addition of bacon for a sweet & smokey approach. Both looked and tasted beautiful.

Mango Salt

Bacon Mango Salt

By this point in the afternoon, we’d downed quite a few Absolut Boston (elderflower & black tea vodka) and Arizona Lemonade cocktails. We moved the party to the patio to snack and focus on sampling all of our salts. I pan-fried chicken breast and sliced some more tomato as simple hosts for the variety of salty tastes.

Flavored Salt Sampling

They were all amazing but our stand-out favorite was definitely the crystallized ginger. We finished up our meal with sliced fresh strawberries… with salts, of course! I’m sure our cholesterol levels were staggering by the end of the day.

Strawberry w. Mango Salt

Even the Baby Kitty joined us for a great afternoon on the patio. She loves to stalk flies from the edge of the garden.

Baby kitty stalking flies

I’m so glad Sunshine stumbled upon this project as it is one of my favorites to date. We have alot of fun ideas on using our salts, so keep an eye out for exciting updates.

Flavored Finishing Salts

Check out Sunshine’s blog post on our crafty flavored finishing salts project on Blog Full of Jelly!

Quickie: Everything Bagel w/ Homemade Veggie Cream Cheese

I’m alive, I promise! I’ve had to take a temporary hiatus from blogging between computer issues & a much needed vacay. Thought I’d share some quick food love with you this great Friday in Spring. I fell in love with my chef’s veggie cream cheese at the Philly Mag Martini Madness event this past week at work. Man, I was thrilled there was some leftover to schmear on my toasted everything bagel this morn. I loved the ample cucumber & peppers (a few years ago you’d never hear that out of my mouth, or in my mouth for that matter) and it’s fresh veggie taste has me excited to start my garden this weekend.

Everything Bagel w/ Homemade Veggie Cream Cheese

Happy Spring, readers! I promise to be back in the swing soon with lots of amazing food love to share!