Pistachio Ice Cream with Salty Honey Swirl

Whenever I go to a new gelato place or see a new flavor, I try to branch out. I do. But I always end up with pistachio and/or hazelnut. I just can’t help it. When I was on vacation recently I went to an ice cream parlor and tried new flavors, and still ended up with pistachio. I hadn’t had pistachio in ice cream form, and it was crazy good. I knew I had to make it when I got home. To kick it up a notch I added a salty honey swirl from this post on The Merry Thought. Continue reading

Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Spicy Tomato Jam on Puff Pastry

I’m filing this as another post under “Travel for Food” since this recipe is inspired by a dish I recently had while traveling with my husband and friends to St. Martin. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend going. It has unbelievable beaches and is a food lover’s paradise. Half of the island is Dutch, and the other half is French. They both have fantastic food options, but the French side boasts some seriously legit French restaurants. We all went out for a big dinner one night, which is where I ran into this dish. Each layer is so superb, and tastes delicious all together.

If the food isn’t enough and you need some convincing to go to St. Martin, btw, this might help:

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Big Easy, Big Belly: Part 2 + Houston

Let’s go see some ‘gators! For our second day in New Orleans we ate some breakfast in the RV and headed about twenty minutes out of NoLa towards Airboat Adventures. We did the group airboat gator tour, where we saw about 10 gators and even got to hold a baby one! It was surprisingly soft, although we don’t recommend trying it out as a pet.

After the afternoon tour, we drove back to the RV park. We didn’t head straight there, though. First we had to make a stop at one quintessential New Orleans place: the drive-through daquiri. I couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of our giant RV going through the drive-through, although the server seemed less than amused. We asked her to describe one of the flavors and she said she didn’t know how to describe it, so we stuck with orange.

daquiri

Later that evening we headed back downtown. We took the local trolley and local bus towards Magazine street and stopped at a happy hour at Bouligny Tavern. This was a hipsters paradise, complete with a dark bar, chic cocktails, and a music played with actual old school records. We didn’t want to spoil our appetite for dinner, but we did get the gougeres, which were out of the world amazing. Whenever we go back to New Orleans we are stopping here for a full meal!

For dinner we landed at Croquette, which was another friend recommendation. We decided to do it up this night, and ordered the full chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing. It was a very creative menu, with solid ingredients and fun flavor combinations. They also worked around our limitations (no shellfish for Akil, no meat for me), and the service couldn’t have been better. My only complaint is that there were fried eggs on at least 2-3 dishes, which isn’t my favorite thing, but Akil loved it. Also, when the dessert came out and it was a little underwhelming, they gave us a different one, with homemade ice cream! This is definitely a place to stop for a splurge or a simple happy hour,

Coquette

For the night we headed towards, where else, Bourbon Street. We’d both been there enough, but decided to try the famous drink at a bar that had been on Bar Rescue: Spirits on Bourbon. It was surprisingly delicious, and not as sweet as the color suggests. After that, we went to Frenchmen street and popped in whenever we heard some music we liked. We finished off New Orleans with a late night po’ boy, which came with gravy that I’m pretty sure was sent from heaven. (Don’t forget this a no-judgement zone)

Our next big drive was from New Orleans to Pecan Grove RV Park in Austin, TX. We had a few stops I knew we had to make on the way, so we got going pretty early. Luckily we were still full from those po’ boys, so no need to stop for breakfast.

The first stop was the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, which is even taller than the Washington Monument, so it was a bit of a novelty for us. The area also boasts one of the largest shipping areas in the US, so there were a lot of interesting things to see and learn about.

After the monument it was time for a late lunch at Goode’s Armadillo Palace.  Akil couldn’t wait to get his teeth into some authentic Texas BBQ, and it didn’t disappoint. We over ordered though, not realizing that the saying is true. You know, about things being big in Texas.

armadillo

Next up was my favorite roadside stop of the whole trip. It was giant statues of The Beatles and busts of presidents, all 44 of them. The busts were taller than Akil, and The Beatles statues were several stories high. It was just so cool.

beatlesThe last pit stop was to pull off the side of the road to see Ms. Pearl, the giant squirrel. It’s exactly how it sounds. My friend Brittany is obsessed with squirrels, so we knew we had to do it. She’s also obsessed with her cat, who is the most photogenic cat I’ve ever seen. FACT!

squirrel

Side story, in the RV park we came across the following van. Unfortunately we never bumped into the actual owners, but I at least creepily took some pictures:

Big Easy, Big Belly

Before I start this post I’d like to ask that we declare it an official “judgement free” zone. I realize that the amount of food and drinks that are about to be described could feed a family of four for probably a week, and we did it in two days with just two of us. I’m not proud of it. Well, maybe I am. Anyway, everyone have their beads ready? Let’s head to New Orleans.

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Traveling + Food (or, Traveling for Food)

I’ve been a little busy lately, and then on a long vacation, so I haven’t had as much time to cook and take pretty pictures lately. I still want to write, though, so I decided to do what I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, and that is to document the food that my husband and I ate on our honeymoon. For our honeymoon we rented an RV and did a road trip across the southern half of the US. Part of this will also describ our RV experience, but I promise there will be a lot of food talk. I don’t want to say that food was our main focus of the honeymoon, but I also don’t want to not say it…since it pretty much was. Sometimes in life you need to just embrace your inner fat kid and roll with it, and that’s literally what we did.

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Cookie Butter (Speculoos) Pie

If you haven’t heard of speculoos, also known as cookies that make cookie butter butter, you may be living under a rock. It’s everywhere. Namely, Trader Joe’s. Good ole’ TJs sells not only the cookies, but three cookie butter varieties. What more could a girl want? Once I discovered that they sold the actual cookies, I decided I had to make something with them. What’s better than cookie butter on top of more cookie butter? Putting it in the shape of a pie and adding a dark chocolate layer.

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Vodka Penne Bake with Spinach and Broccoli

As you all know by now, I really like recipes that are easily adaptable to fit your individual likes/dislikes, and this pasta bake is no exception. You can sub out the type of sauce, noodle, cheese, or veggies easily and get a totally new taste. For this one I stuck with pretty basic ingredients since I was making it for book club and couldn’t remember if anyone had particular vegetables that they liked or didn’t like. The one major change I made was using gluten-free pasta. If I were making this for myself, I would likely switch out the broccoli for some mushrooms and sub half of the mozzarella cheese with feta cheese, and use marina instead of vodka sauce. Or, keep the broccoli, add mushrooms, and add gorgonzola. Or, asparagus and goat cheese. Really, the list could go on. Let’s at least start somewhere though, okay?

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Cream Cheese Ice Cream with Red Velvet Cake Swirl

This ice cream is GOOD. And, the base can be used for so many flavors. You can add any type of cake (carrot cake, regular chocolate cake, brown butter, etc.), or go with the classic graham cracker swirl, with or without fruit. For this one I wanted to add red velvet cake because it is purty. I use the word swirl loosely, since it’s sounds nicer than “Cream Cheese Ice Cream with a ton of Red Velvet Cake dumped in.” Anyway, the other great thing about this recipe, other than the versatility, is that the base does not have to chill the whole night. So, if you’re like me and always have your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer at all times, you can easily decide to make AND eat this ice cream in the same day. Continue reading

Super Green Spring Salad

I want to apologize ahead of time for not getting enough pictures for this post, and for the poor quality of the one picture I did get (and for the inclusion of my feet in the picture). However, I didn’t want that to stop me from posting it. This past weekend fluctuated between being lazy and ordering Chinese delivery on Friday and being super busy Saturday with a wedding, so it wasn’t exactly full of healthy food. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, my husband and I made the executive decision to have a healthy dinner instead to at least end the weekend on a good note. Continue reading

Brunch Time!

I’m not sure I could love brunch more than I do. I’m not sure if it’s because I went to school in DC, and then stayed in DC, where there is a prominent brunch culture. I think it the end it just speaks to my food soul. It’s the best of both worlds. You don’t have to chose between breakfast or lunch food, or sweet or savory, and it’s completely appropriate to drink mid-day. I could easily write a dissertation on brunch and why it is so amazing, but I will spare you. I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of the wonders of brunch, so I’ll just move on to the post. Continue reading