Happy New Year – Bananas Foster Manhattan

What better time to talk about a cocktail than on the eve of New Year’s Eve!!

Bananas Foster Manhattan


Bananas Foster Manhattan

2 ounces Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 ounces banana liqueur
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes bitters
Additional whiskey for wetting rim of glass
Cinnamon Sugar for rim of glass
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Place the cinnamon sugar onto a small plate (but big enough to fit the rim of a martini glass). Place a little whiskey onto a second same size plate. Dip the rim of a martini glass into the whiskey, then dip into the cinnamon sugar; set glass aside.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add in the 2 ounces whiskey, banana liqueur, vermouth and bitters and shake well. Strain into prepared martini glass, garnish with a cherry and enjoy!

Makes 1 cocktail.




Chicken Bolognese with Creamy Garlicky Polenta


Chicken Bolognese with Creamy Garlicky Polenta

3 tablespoons Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil, divided
1 cup frozen seasoning blend chopped vegetables (onions, celery, green & red bell pepper)
1/2 pound ground chicken
14.5 ounce can petite cut diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/4 cup red wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided
1 cup milk, plus up to 1/2 additional cup
1/4 cup fast cooking polenta
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Additional finely shredded parmesan cheese, minced fresh basil and Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the frozen vegetables and cook until heated through, approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil and the ground chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through, approximately 3 – 4 minutes, breaking up the chicken into small pieces as it cooks. Stir in the diced tomatoes with juices, red wine and 1 tablespoon basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook at a low boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When Bolognese has cooked approximately 20 minutes, prepare the polenta.

Place the 1 cup milk and remaining 1 tablespoon Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat just until it is about to boil. Stir in the polenta and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup parmesan, and 1 tablespoon basil. Stir in enough milk (from the additional 1/2 cup) to loosen to desired creamy consistency.

When ready to serve, stir into the Bolognese the remaining 1 tablespoon basil and remaining 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese.

To serve, spoon polenta evenly into two serving bowls, top with the Bolognese. Garnish with additional shredded parmesan cheese and minced fresh basil; drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon Sinful Food Garlic Olive Oil.

Serves 2


Southwest Summertime Burgers and a Saucy Mama Giveaway

I’ve been waiting for weeks to be able to share this delish burger with you.  It is my entry in the Barhyte Specialty Foods Saucy Mama’s 2017 Recipe Contest.

First, though, a little about the contest! Saucy Mama is a sponsor of the World Food Championships (WFC) and for the fourth year in a row, this contest is a preferred qualifying event for WFC.  WFC will be held in November in Orange Beach, Alabama.  Saucy Mama has put together a team of previous years contest winners and is looking to add one more team member, in either the burger or bacon category.  Anyone wanting to participate in this contest made application to Saucy Mama, where they accepted the first 25 qualified applicants that maintain a food blog and/or active, public social media presence surrounding food.  They generously provided our choice of 6 of their absolutely yummy products to use when creating our entry.  The winner of the contest receives a golden ticket to WFC (which is the registration and entry fee to participate), a $1,000 travel stipend and a team dinner with the entire group in Orange Beach.  To be on Team Saucy Mama would be a huge honor!

Oh, and one more thing…Saucy Mama has graciously offered all 25 participants the opportunity to hold a giveaway and provide the winners with one package featuring three Saucy Mama products (except olives and apricot ginger mustard).  In order to register for my giveaway, visit Saucy Mama’s webpage and peruse the products.  Comment on this post with the three items you would choose should you win.  All comments must be made by midnight, EST on Wednesday, June 21st!  So hurry, don’t be left out…you will absolutely love anything you choose (but if you want to know my favorite…it is the Poblano Ranch Dressing!)

So, without further ado, here is my entry:

Southwest Summertime Burgers

Southwest Summertime Burgers

4 ounces Spanish chorizo, casing removed
1 pound ground chuck
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped poblano pepper, seeds removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 cup fresh corn kernels (substitute frozen corn kernels that have been thawed if fresh is not available)
3 cups thinly sliced, then quartered, sweet onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 tablespoons Saucy Mama Honey Barbeque Wing Sauce
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup small diced, hulled strawberries
1/4 cup small diced tomato
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 good quality hamburger rolls, split, toasted
1/2 cup Saucy Mama Poblano Ranch Dressing

Cut the chorizo into small pieces. Place pieces into a small food processor and process until finely ground. Place chorizo and ground chuck into a medium bowl; mix together until combined. Equally divide into four portions and form into burgers slightly larger than the rolls; set burgers aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add in the poblano pepper and cook until it begins to soften, approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and corn and cook for 1 minute; transfer to a medium bowl; set aside to cool.

Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, allow to heat. Add in the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until the onions are crisp tender, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, add in the Saucy Mama Barbeque Wing Sauce, mix to combine; set aside.

Place the skillet back over medium heat. Place the reserved burgers into skillet and cook until first side is browned, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Flip burgers over, top with the pepper jack cheese, and continue to cook until burgers are lightly browned on the second side and cheese has melted, approximately 3 minutes.

While burgers cook, finish preparing the strawberry corn salsa: To the reserved bowl of poblano and corn mixture, add in the strawberries, tomato, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, mix to combine.

To assemble the burgers, place the bottom of the hamburger rolls individually onto 4 serving plates. Evenly top the roll bottoms with the barbeque onions, then with a burger, then with the strawberry corn salsa. Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons of the Saucy Mama Poblano Ranch Dressing. Top with roll tops and enjoy!

Makes 4 burgers.


UPDATE July 22, 2017 – the winner of the drawing is Susan Chase!  Enjoy Susan!!


Flamenco Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Puree

So, one of my favorite contests to enter, that I have yet to crack, is the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  Once again this year, I entered two recipes (the limit you can enter) and sadly didn’t make it again! But, you know me, that is not going to stop me and I will be cooking and eating garlic like crazy next year to try and make it to the finals in 2018.  There is nothing like a live cook-off and everyone that I know that has been lucky enough to make it, has nothing but good things to say about it.  In the meantime, I thought I would share one of my recipes from last year.  It was delish and even though the recipe calls for a lot of garlic, it was not overpowering at all!  Enjoy!!

Flamenco Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Puree

Flamenco Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Puree

1 head garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, stalks trimmed, broken down into florets
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup finely grated Manchego cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound extra-large shrimp, shells removed, tails left on, cleaned
2 ounces Spanish chorizo, casing removed, quartered, sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry, divided
3/4 cup seafood stock, divided
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Garnish: Fresh chives, sautéed slices of cauliflower florets, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut approximately 1/4 inch from the top of the bulb of garlic, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the bulb of garlic onto a double thickness piece of aluminum foil (large enough to seal the garlic in the foil). Drizzle the garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, seal foil around garlic and place onto a small baking sheet. Place into preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly. Remove roasted garlic from garlic skin; mash into a paste, set aside.

Roughly chop the florets and place into a medium saucepan. Add in the smashed garlic cloves and enough water to just cover the cauliflower and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, approximately 10 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor, add in 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and the reserved roasted garlic, and process until smooth. Add in the sour cream and 2 tablespoons butter, and process until fully incorporated approximately 10 – 15 seconds. Stir in the Manchego, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper; set aside; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the 2 cloves minced garlic, cumin, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, ground chipotle, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Toss shrimp in marinade and mix to fully coat; let marinate 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the shrimp and cook until cooked through, approximately 2 minutes per side.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the chorizo and cook until crispy, approximately 2 – 3 minutes; add in the sliced garlic and cook 30 seconds, just to soften; remove from skillet; set aside. To the skillet, over medium heat, add in 1/4 cup sherry, 1/2 cup seafood stock, and mustard and cook until mixture reduces to 2 tablespoons. Over medium-low heat, add in the reserved chorizo mixture, crushed red pepper flakes, chives, remaining 1/4 cup seafood stock and remaining 2 tablespoons sherry and heat just until heated through, melt in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

To serve, spoon the cauliflower puree onto serving plates, top each evenly with the shrimp, spoon chorizo around the puree, drizzle broth over entire dish. Garnish with fresh chives and sautéed slices of cauliflower florets, optional.

Serves 2



Food Wine Conference 2017 at Rosen Shingle Creek

Wow, I can’t believe the 2017 Food Wine Conference has come and gone already!  A great time was had by all, from all the absolutely wonderful food and wine, to all the informative classes and fabulous speakers.   But what I want to highlight for you is where the conference was held, at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Rosen Shingle Creek

I look forward to this conference every year, partly because of this hotel.  The hotel and property really are beautiful (and I love that each room has its own mini fridge!!).   Relax poolside and take a dip in one of the four heated pools or two hot tubs; play a quick game of tennis on their tennis courts; shoot some hoops on the basketball court; how about a game of volleyball on the sand volleyball court; stroll the nature and walking trails; relax at the spa; play a round of golf at the golf club; maybe even go back to your childhood and play a few video games in the game room.

One of the unique things at the hotel is the finch family housed in the main lobby.  Aren’t they cute?!

There is a wide variety of unique eateries, from fine dining Italian cuisine and elaborate buffets, to the casual atmosphere of the poolside bar and grille.  On the first night of the conference, attendees are treated to The Taste of Rosen Shingle…delicious tastings from many of their restaurants.

As if these food pics don’t make you drool, the family style dinner served on the second night of the conference will.   First, this is what you are greeted with upon entering the dinner.  Nice, huh?!

Then, dinner itself…check out this menu…

Believe me, all the food they served was absolutely delicious…the shrimp and grits were the best I have ever had!

On Sunday, classes moved right next door to the Rosen College of Hospitality, a 159,000 square foot, state of the art, Mediterranean resort-style campus, which is the largest facility ever built for hospitality management education.

All I can say is, if you are looking for one of the best blogger conferences to attend, this is the one for you. I can’t wait for next year!

Disclosure:  As always, opinions in this post are my own, but I received an offer of a discounted conference registration for being a Brand Ambassador.