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Foody Friday: Orange Vanilla Apricot Short Ribs

2999294054_4f3eb98808_zSometimes in order to create a dish that is truly unique, you have to let go of the things you have been taught. After all, innovation can only exist if there is a starting point or an original idea, right? You might feel like creating a mint and arugula pesto, watermelon soup, or a mango shrimp pizza. All of these items may not sound appealing for everyone, but then again they must have sounded good at some point in order to have been born into the culinary universe.

When going out on a limb and getting creative in the kitchen, there are a few things you might want to consider:

* Test your idea in a small batch. Try simply tasting the ingredients individually first then making different combinations.

* Use your noodle! If you are putting chocolate and peanut butter together, it’s likely to taste good, but tarragon and papaya might need a third element to tie it together. Does it need acidity, salt, sugar, heat? Ask all the questions you can – it will only add to your bag of tricks to find out the answer.

* Recipes are your friend. If you want to make a vinaigrette you know it’s usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. The type of vinegar or “acid” – orange, lemon, or lime juice, for example – can be adapted or swapped out for the most part with good results. This being said, you should always taste as you go, rinsing your palate each time.

* Add ingredients in small amounts. If you think it needs more lemon juice, add just a touch, then taste. You can always add more, but you can’t take it back out.

* Keep it simple. Less can truly be more and if you have a good concept picked out, try not to over do it. Sometimes a cook will get swept up in the creative process and ends up ruining their dish. I have been there plenty of times and it’s a real bummer. Just try to relax, have fun, and keep things simple. If you do end up with a star fruit beef stew tower with almond milk foam, try not to feel bad about it – instead, feel good about trying something new. People get into ruts with food and you can’t make a magnificent discovery without a few attempts.

If you have never tried cooking fusion or sweet & savoury foods, try following a recipe at first in order to experience the balance the chef was going for – this may help you to create your masterpiece. Pick a dish you have made your own way with the “normal” ingredients so you have a jumping off point, and always get others involved when you can. In my kitchens, we taste everything together and talk about it. Is it too salty, does it need to be puréed more, or is it perfect? These questions shouldn’t put you on guard – they should open your mind up to what your guests will be tasting. With a little confidence and a lot of practice, you can be innovative and exciting in the kitchen all while satisfying your own cravings and curiosities. Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: Baby Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Well, I knew it would come to this, and after a few requests around the office I proudly present BACON!  Personally, I think that it’s glorious just as a slightly crispy, slightly chewy, salty, smoky strip of heaven served a la carte with black coffee and toast.  However, I can appreciate stretching any recipe to accommodate what is quite possibly the best ingredient ever.

For this week’s recipe, I present the Baby Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing: a classic recipe that allows you to justify eating this sinful slice of charcuterie while still being able to call it a salad. I love this dish; it’s a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a summer lunch (or brunch). You can serve it alone or with crostini. Any way you choose, it’s hard to go wrong with bacon in the driver’s seat!  During asparagus season I’ll pour this over lightly grilled asparagus and top with freshly chopped pineapple and green onion. Yummm! Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: Hooray for Chocolate Chip Cookies!






Here is a chocolate chip cookie recipe I have been using for years. It’s near and dear to me so I would like to share it with you! Even during these sweltering summer months, there is nothing like a chocolate chip cookie. Try eating them with some vanilla ice cream at your next summer barbecue.
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I Scream, You Scream!: The Ice Cream Post

Photo by Jessica Merz on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

As February winds to a close, it’s time to plan for the most wonderful time of the year: ice cream season. Unlike the winter months, where the only advantage to eating ice cream is that it is delicious (which is really the main draw, let’s be real), springtime seems perfectly suited to the frozen delicacy. Not too hot, so it doesn’t melt all over you, and not too cold, so it doesn’t make your teeth hurt. Ice cream is the best. To celebrate the glory that is ice cream, here is a list of events all across the USA to get your sweet tooth satisfied. BOO-YUM!

Friday, March 2 | Deadly Dessert | Philadelphia, PA

ICE CRIME! This dinner theater production in Philly needs you to solve a mystery surrounding Len & Terry’s Ice Cream. “But wait,” you say, “I want to eat ice cream, not just talk about it! YOU TRICKED ME.” No, I did not. This is DINNER THEATER, and Bistro Romano, as part of its full menu, has a fine selection of gelato and sorbetto to satisfy that craving. This is an all-immersive ice cream experience.
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