Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chocolate Bell Pepper Chorizo Tostadas with Quail Egg

chocolate, bell pepper, how to use, soy chorizo, chorizo, make your own tostadas, quail egg, raw, how to openSo far there are a lot of things I love about my new condo in San Diego, but the one thing that tops the list is my neighborhoods weekly farmers market, also known as the Little Italy Mercato! With more than 150 booths there is something for everyone, including many items I’ve never eaten before, much less cooked with… kind of like that escargot, but less scary!

This week I picked up some squash blossoms, chocolate bell peppers and quail eggs.  While I’ve eaten squash blossoms and quail eggs before, I’ve never cooked with them and I’d never even heard of a chocolate bell pepper until this weekend! So what exactly is a chocolate bell pepper? It’s simply a hybrid bell pepper that spends 75 days turning from a green pepper into a chocolate-brown pepper.  The taste is a little sweeter than a green bell pepper, but very slight.

chocolate bell pepper, hybrid bell pepper, sweet bell pepper, inside of a brown bell pepper

Now comes the fun part, what am I going to make with these little “Mercato Treasures”? I went to my dungeon of happiness, also known as my refrigerator, to get some inspiration.  Staring at me in the face was my favorite Trader Joe’s item of all time, Soy Chorizo.  As my friend said at dinner that night “this is the first non-meat item I’ve eaten where I couldn’t tell the difference.”  I think it’s better than most traditional chorizo’s and definitely better for you!

So with my obvious obsession of TJ’s Soy Chorizo, I immediately decided to add that in to the mix. I also wanted to incorporate those quail eggs on top so I knew I had to create something that was “open”  i.e. not a taco, burrito etc.  So I was thinking pizza because where does my mind go at least 50% of the time… you guessed it, pizza!  But keeping with the Mexican theme, I decided to go with tostadas, they’re kind of like mini mexican pizzas after all!

cotija cheese, green onions, soy chorizo, tortillas, quail eggs, onion, chocolate bell peppers, squash blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp avocado (or olive) oil
  • 1 chocolate bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 12 oz soy (or traditional) chorizo sausage
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 large flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese
  • 9 fresh, local quail eggs
  • 1/4 cup green onions (chopped)
  • 2 squash blossoms (chiffonaded)

Start by heating up the avocado oil in a large skillet.  Add the bell pepper and onion. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic clove.

chocolate bell pepper, avocado oil, onion, garlic

Next, add the chorizo, then top with the cumin and chili powder. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes to combine all the delicious flavors.

In the mean time, make your tostadas.  Pre-heat the oven to 350° and use a 3 inch circle pastry cutter to cut 3 tostadas from each tortilla.

tortillas, tostadas, pastry cutter, circle, small

Place the tortilla circles on to a baking stone and into the oven for 10 minutes or until nice and crispy.

tostadas, homemade, baked, tortillas

Remove from the oven and top with the bell pepper chorizo mixture and the cotija cheese.

chocolate bell peppers, chorizo, onions, tostadas, cotija cheese

Next, top with the green onions and chiffonade (fancy word for cutting herbs into long, thin strips) of squash blossoms.

chocolate, bell pepper, how to use, soy chorizo, chorizo, make your own tostadas, chocolate bell peppers,

Finally, poke a hole in the side of the quail egg, then slice it open. Remove the top half of the shell, then transfer the yoke back and forth between the shell halves while discarding the egg white (like you would do with a chicken egg).

Quail eggs are safe to eat raw without worry of salmonella because a quails body temperature is higher than a chickens which makes them resistant to infections and kills any harmful bacteria. The reason I say “fresh, local” quail eggs is because you are eating them raw. Do you really want to eat something raw that you don’t know where it came from or when it was laid? I think not!

Eating quail eggs raw gives you all the amazing nutritional benefits of the egg, rich in good cholesterol with no bad cholesterol, more protein than a chicken egg and over 100% Vitamin B1, just to name a few. It also acts as a “sauce” when you pour it out over the dish.

chocolate, bell pepper, how to use, soy chorizo, chorizo, make your own tostadas, quail egg, raw, how to open, chocolate bell peppers,

And voila, my Little Italy Mercato creation has come together!

chocolate, bell pepper, how to use, soy chorizo, chorizo, make your own tostadas, quail egg, raw, how to open, chocolate bell peppers, garlic

Knock that little egg over to cover the chorizo in the “yolk sauce” and dig in!

chocolate, bell pepper, how to use, soy chorizo, chorizo, make your own tostadas, quail egg, raw, how to open, chocolate bell peppers

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.  Yay for soy chorizo!

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute corn tortillas for flour tortillas to make this a gluten-free meal.

Chopped Challenge Thursday: Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage and Escargot

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

I am BEYOND excited to share with you all the results of my first “Chopped Challenge Thursday”.  In case  you missed the 1 Year Anniversary post explaining the concept, on Monday I made an announcement on Little Leopard Book’s Facebook Page asking for the four “mystery” ingredients for my “Chopped Challenge Basket” this week.

Bacon, Escargot, Lemon Curd, Sage, Chopped Challenge, Basket, Week One, Ingredients, Food Network

The first four responses came from Cindi Bogue with Lemon Curd, Kyle Baker with Bacon, Brian Spracklen with Sage and Krista Lombardi with Escargot. Lemon Curd, Bacon, Sage, I can make something happen with this… ESCARGOT, what the heck am I going to do with escargot? Thanks to Krista for throwing a curve ball at me on week one!  Although it wouldn’t be called a “challenge” if it were easy!

I knew I wanted to make the lemon curd and sage into a sauce. First thing I thought of was bacon wrapped scallops with a lemon sage reduction, but then Krista threw the escargot at me and my plans changed.  This change actually led to the development of an amazing lemon sage alfredo sauce. The only way I knew to cook escargot was with some garlic and wine so I thought, let’s go pasta here!

I wanted to use a large noodle to hold up the thickness of the alfredo and meatiness of the bacon wrapped scallops and escargot, so I chose Pappardelle, a broader, larger fettuccine egg noodle.

So the final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week One: Pappardelle tossed in Lemon Sage Alfredo topped with Seared Bacon Wrapped Scallops and White Wine Garlic Escargot

scallops, pappardelle, white wine, sage, parmesan, butter, lemon curd, bacon, escargot, cream, nutmeg, garlic

Ingredients

White Wine Garlic Escargot

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 7 0z can escargot

Lemon Sage Alfredo Sauce and Pasta

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 8 oz package pappardelle

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 fresh large sea scallops
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

We’re going to start with the escargot. I mean why not?  Who doesn’t just love themselves a little afternoon snail on top of their pasta 😉

I will admit that prior to this meal I had never cooked, nor eaten escargot and that I was much more concerned about the actual eating part than the cooking part!

I opened them up and surprisingly they looked and smelled so much more appetizing than they sound…. NOT!  They are scary looking!

At this point, I feel like everything I’ve said above is going to come back and bite me in the butt some day when I end up on Food Network and they make fun of me for not being super excited to eat the delicacy that is escargot!

Any who, I drained the little buggers using my strainer and then place them in a bowl full of cold water to rid them of the canned taste (because that’s really going to help the cause here!)

soak, escargot, can, water, bowl

Yes, that is a hot pink plastic Wal-Mart bowl from college.  I feel like everything looks less scary in hot pink! I mean really, would you be scared of someone breaking into your house in a hot pink jumpsuit?  I think not!

As the snails squirmed over on the side I began their sauce bath by melting the butter in a large skillet, then adding the garlic.

Sauté the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the white wine, salt and pepper.

white wine, sauce, garlic, butter, escargot

Allow the sauce to come to a light boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Next add the escargot.

escargot, white wine, cook, garlic, butter

Now, what do you do with the rest of the bottle of wine you ask?  Drink it while these guys are cooking so that you have the courage to eat them when they’re ready (at least that’s what I did!)

Alright, one chopped basket ingredient down, three to go. Lets make some sauce!

Start out the lemon sage alfredo by pouring the cream and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next, add the butter and allow to melt.

butter, cream, lemon, alfredo, sauce

Once the butter has melted add in the lemon zest, nutmeg and lemon curd.

lemon curd, alfredo, sauce, cream, butter, sea salt, pepper, sage

Lemon curd is VERY sweet, the first ingredient in lemon curd (also known as the dominate ingredient) is, none other than our friend sugar. I counterbalanced the sweetness with the sage and sea salt.

Next, add the sage, salt and pepper.

Sage, Alfredo, Butter, Cream, Parmesan, Lemon, Sauce, Savory, Pepper

The sage was actually an amazing addition to the sauce. The savory, peppery flavor complimented the cheesy rich alfredo and balanced the sweetness of the lemon.  Thanks Brian 🙂

Finally, add the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine well and make sure no chunks of cheese exist.

lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon curd, sage, alfredo, parmesan, cream, nutmeg, butter

Simmer on a burner for 15-20 minutes while the sauce thickens.  In the mean time, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pappardelle 10-12 minutes.

At this point, the escargot is simmering, sauce is thickening, pasta is boiling and I’m drinking the rest of the wine, oh wait, no I’m making bacon wrapped scallops!

Start by placing the bacon in a 375° oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you would like it). I learned this trick somewhere, sometime, that I don’t recall, probably Food Network, but you place the bacon on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, that way the grease drips off the bacon instead of swimming around in it!

bacon, how to, cook, oven, grease

You want to cook the bacon slightly prior to wrapping it around the scallops because scallops cook much quicker than bacon and if you don’t pre-cook the bacon, you will end up with one of two things:

  1. Overcooked scallops… $17.99/lb people, just saying, overcooking something that expensive and delicious should be a crime!
  2. Undercooked bacon… no one likes soggy bacon, let’s be real!

So while the bacon is in the oven, lightly salt and pepper the scallops on each side.

Next, remove the bacon from the oven and wrap one slice around each scallop, securing with a toothpick.

Next, add the butter to a warm cast iron skillet and watch it melt. (OK, you don’t have to actually watch it melt, but it’s quick and exciting so why not!) As soon as it is melted spin that skillet around to allow the melted butter to cover the bottom. Add the scallops to the pan.

Cook for 5-7 minutes then use tongs to flip.

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. The scallops should be a nice white color with a light brown caramelization on top.

Chopped Basket Ingredients have been used, stove burners are full, kitchen smells amazing, I think it’s time to plate this baby up!

Are you ready?  Ready for what you ask?  To be bombarded with pictures!

This recipe was so fun to create, from the incoming Facebook comments with ingredients, to the recipe coming together in my mind, to the ingredients coming together in the kitchen, I am proud of this dish and took enough pictures to show it 😉

I want to grab the scallop right off my computer screen and eat it!

For some reason I feel the need to write something between each picture, so we’ll just say YUM!

Lets check out the inside of that scallop.

Buttery, creamy, mouth-watering amazingness!

Now about that escargot…

Yeah, that’s them, sitting over there by their lonesome, tossed to the side, haunting me with their presence on my plate.

I have to eat them, right?  I mean I did spend $12 on a tiny can of them.  I have to try.. at least one… maybe half one.  Maybe if I wrap it in a noodle, top it with bacon and smother it with sauce I can bare it!

Bacon, Scallops, Chopped, Challenge, Food Network, Escargot, White Wine, Pappardelle, Lemon, Sage, Alfredo

Yes, that was the first bite I was able to muster up the confidence to eat. A tiny little sliver of escargot, covered in my porky BFF, bacon.

It wasn’t that bad, the taste was salty and the texture reminded me of a portobello mushroom.

Although I will probably not put escargot on my weekly shopping list, it was a fun experience and I’m glad I can say I’ve both cooked and eaten the french delicacy!

Over all this dish was delicious.  I would eat the sauce, pasta and scallop combination pretty much every day!

If you’re feeling super adventurous in the kitchen, prepare this dish as is.  If you’re feeling a little less likely to want snails on your dinner, discard the escargot and enjoy the amazingness of the bacon wrapped scallops!

If you’re on a budget (or vegetarian), escargot and scallops may be a little out of your price range but never fear, the sauce in and of itself is so delicious it could be a meal on its own with the pappardelle!

♣ Vegetarian Option: See above ↑

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute the pappardelle with a gluten-free pasta such as corn spaghetti from Trader Joe’s. You can also order gluten-free pappardelle online or find it in specialty stores.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Ground chicken is combined with buffalo sauce, spices & vegetables to create perfect buffalo chicken burgers topped with buffalo blue cheese sauce.

Blue Cheese Buffalo Chicken Burgers

It’s been a record-breaking 3 months since I posted a recipe involving one of my favorite ingredients, the almighty buffalo sauce… I would say it’s time for a reappearance!

Buffalo Chicken Burger Recipe

Here for you today is the ultimate Buffalo Chicken Burger.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Buffalo Potato Salad

Combining all the amazing elements that we think of when daydreaming about the combination of buffalo sauce and chicken, from celery and carrots to blue cheese, this burger encompasses it all (and just in time for football season might I add!)

Get step by step directions & photos for how to make this recipe below, or watch how to make it on my web series “29 Minute Meals”!

Subscribe on YouTube for new “29 Minute Meals” episodes every Wednesday!

Buffalo Chicken Burger Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken (You can purchase already ground chicken in the grocery store or use 2 chicken breasts and grind them in the food processor like I did!)
  • 1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot stick (peeled and shredded)
  • 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup franks red-hot buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 6 hamburger buns

Optional Toppings

  • tomatoes (sliced)
  • baby spinach
  • red bell peppers (diced)
  • green onions (diced)

Start by combining the ground chicken, celery, carrots, red onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl.

Buffalo Chicken Burger Patty Mix

Next, add the egg, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce, bread crumbs, chili powder and paprika.

Buffalo Chicken Burger Patty Mix

Form into 6 patties.

Buffalo Chicken Burger Patties

Next, place on the grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes per side.

While the burgers are on the grill combine the additional 1/4 cup buffalo sauce with 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing.

Blue Cheese Buffalo Sauce

Toast the buns, then spread the mixture onto each side of the bun.

Remove the burgers from the grill and place onto the bun.  Top with the blue cheese crumbles and any desired additional ingredients.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

These buffalo chicken burgers are super flavorful and pack a bit of a punch while the blue cheese cools down the spiciness and adds a layer of creaminess.

Buffalo Chicken Burger Recipe

I served these scrumptious buffalo chicken burgers with Buffalo Potato Salad for the ultimate buffalo sauce filled dinner!

Buffalo Chicken Cheeseburgers

Buffalo Potato Wedges or Spicy Buffalo Macaroni Salad would also be perfect with this dish!

Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Burgers

♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute “veggie crumbles” for the ground chicken.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Use Gluten Free Breadcrumbs  with gluten-free buns, or go “bun-less” for a low carb option.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 burgers

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot stick (peeled and shredded)
  • 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup franks red-hot buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 cup Mary’s Gone Crackers Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Optional Toppings
  • tomatoes (sliced)
  • baby spinach
  • red bell peppers (diced)
  • green onions (diced)

Instructions

  1. Start by combining the ground chicken, celery, carrots, red onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Next, add the egg, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce, bread crumbs, chili powder and paprika.
  3. Form into 6 patties.
  4. Next, place on the grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes per side.
  5. While the burgers are on the grill combine the additional 1/4 cup buffalo sauce with 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing.
  6. Toast the buns, then spread the mixture onto each side of the bun.
  7. Remove the burgers from the grill and place onto the bun.
  8. Top with the blue cheese crumbles and any desired additional ingredients.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-buffalo-chicken-burgers/

Nutmeg Cream Cheese Sopapillas

Champagne, nutmeg, first anniversary, dessert, recipe, food, ice cream, sopapillas, cinnamon, stuffed, cream cheese

When I decided to serve Mexican food for my one year blog anniversary dinner I knew I had to stick with this cuisine throughout the whole meal, including the dessert.  So instead of baking a one year anniversary cake, I went with one year anniversary nutmeg and cream cheese stuffed sopapillas complemented by a delicious side of homemade coffee ice cream.

The result was an entire house that smelled like cinnamon heaven and a sweet, creamy, delicious dessert!

Crescent rolls, cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, sugar, butter

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 8 oz packages crescent rolls
  • 3 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup honey (not pictured/for topping)

Start by adding the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, sugar, cream cheese, filling, dessert, recipe

Use beaters to mix well. Roll out the Crescent roll dough and separate into the 4 perforated rectangles in each can using your fingers to press together the two triangles.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillasNext, spread each rectangle with the cream cheese mixture.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillasFold over and press the edges together.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillasMelt the butter and brush on top of the sopapillas.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillasNext, combine the additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the sopapillas.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillas, sugarPlace in the oven at 350° for 15-17 minutes. Enjoy that amazing cinnamon nutmeg smell that is now filling your entire house!

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillas, recipe

Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey.

cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, crescent rolls, dessert, sopapillas, recipeSlice these babies open and get to that delicious creamy center!

sopapillas, filling, cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, recipe, food, dessert

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe for gluten-free crescent rolls can be substituted for traditional crescent rolls to make this a delicious gluten-free dessert.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers

These chipotle lime chicken fajita skewers are made by marinating chicken, then skewering it with peppers and onions, and grilling for a deliciously flavorful meal!

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers

I was so excited to host my first dinner party in my new home!  It was even more exciting because we were also celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog!

Read the full post here!

Spicy Frito Chili Pie

Frito Chili Pie

Sometimes all I want to eat is a down-home, feel-good, Oklahoma meal that reminds me of home,  and last night was one of those nights!

Spicy Frito Chili Pie Recipe

I always loved Frito Chili Pie growing up.  Whether we would make it at home or eat it at Sonic it was always a favorite of mine.

Frito Chili Pie Recipe

I took the traditional Frito Chili Pie recipe and kicked it up a notch (or maybe three) to create this spicy version of a classic favorite!

Spicy Frito Chili Pie Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz can chili beans
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 bag (9.75 oz) corn chips (AKA Fritos)

Start by cooking up the onions in a little olive oil over medium heat. After 3-4 minutes, add the garlic clove.  Cook for an additional minute then add the ground beef.

Ground Beef Chili

Cook until the beef is brown then drain the grease. Next, add in the chili beans and green chilies.

Green Chili Ground Beef and Bean Chili

Mix together well, then add all of the spices.

Spicy Chili Recipe

Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.

While the meat and beans are soaking in the spices, arrange the corn chips on a plate. Once the chili pie mixture is ready, spoon it on top of the corn chips.  Top with cheddar cheese while the chili mixture is still hot so that the cheese will melt in.

Sonic Frito Chili Pie

I also topped it with a little arugula and tomatoes to calm the spiciness of the chili mix!

Spicy Frito Chili Pie Recipe

♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute a beef-less ground beef (Trader Joes makes a delicious version of “Meatless Crumbles”)

♦ Gluten Free Option: Most corn chips (including the original Fritos) are gluten-free, but always check labels to make sure!

Extra Spicy Frito Chili Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Extra Spicy Frito Chili Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz can chili beans
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 bag (9.75 oz) corn chips

Instructions

  1. Cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat.
  2. After 3-4 minutes, add the garlic clove.
  3. Cook for an additional minute then add the ground beef.
  4. Cook until the beef is brown then drain the grease.
  5. Add in the chili beans and green chilies.
  6. Mix together well, then add all of the spices.
  7. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.
  8. While the meat and beans are soaking in the spices, arrange the corn chips on a plate.
  9. Once the chili pie mixture is ready, spoon it on top of the corn chips.
  10. Top with cheddar cheese while the chili mixture is still hot so that the cheese will melt in.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-extra-spicy-frito-chili-pie/

Anniversaries, Adventures and Announcements

picture, collage, shape, number, one, little leopard book

Anniversaries

Today I celebrate the one year anniversary of LLB, and what a year it has been! What started as a virtual place to write down my stories, ideas and recipes, has turned into an entrepreneurial culinary endeavor.

Over the past year my top two posts were A Girl with a Plan, a Blog and a Craving for Adventure and my Summer Adventure Travel Schedule. I’m so excited that people were interested in my “Summer Adventure” and got involved!  Look for an upcoming post re-capping the entire adventure! Coming in at number three was my post on How to Make Canvas Wall Art.  Leave it to Pinterest to make one of the top posts on a food blog, a post about a DIY project!

My top recipe posts were my Strawberry Kiwi Cupcakes and my re-creation of Sonic’s Strawberry Kiwi Slush.  Um I’m seeing a trend here, maybe I should just stick with Strawberry Kiwi recipes from now on 😉

The top search terms for my blog were little leopard book (that one’s pretty obvious!), strawberry kiwi cupcakes (the above now makes more sense!) and Russell Westbrook Girlfriend. Um, what?  Yes, due to the popularity of the OKC Thunder, one young stud player and an infamous cake I made for my brother’s girlfriends birthday, the number three search term used to find my blog is “Russell Westbrook Girlfriend”!

Adventures

A year ago I was living in Los Angeles, attending college for Broadcast Journalism and dreaming of one day being on the Food Network. Since then I completed my degree in Broadcast Journalism, spent the summer on an adventure across the United States and moved back to San Diego.

I have turned my little blog into a little business with the hopes of growing into a big blog and a big business in the near future!  I have returned to school, once again, to study the art and business of food and nutrition. I am pursuing a second degree in Culinary Entrepreneurship and could not be more excited to share everything I learn on the little leopard book!

Announcements

On the business side of the blog, I am now offering my blogging and social media services to bars and restaurants. I have a unique approach when it comes to bringing new followers to the business, as well as capturing the attention of current social media followers. I am also combining my previous years of experience in event planning and ever-expanding knowledge in the kitchen to offer small catering party options, cooking classes and event planning services.

All of my services offered are detailed on my personal page www.WhitneyBond.com.

I am also adding a couple of new features to the LLB that I am SUPER excited about!

The first is “Single Sundays“.  This is where I will post simple recipe options for those of you cooking for one.  I always hear my friends complaining to me that they don’t want to go through all the effort just to cook for themselves. Well, Sunday’s are now dedicated to you. Simple, quick meals that can be made throughout the week and enjoyed in the comfort of your own company with complete control of the remote!

The second is “Chopped Challenge Thursdays“. I am completely obsessed with the show “Chopped” on the Food Network.  If you are not a foodie and don’t have the Food Network on 24/7 at your house you might have missed the show, so let me give you a 1 line run-down of the concept. One basket, four mystery ingredients, one dish. The ingredients range anywhere from cherry cola to sardines and jelly beans to lamb chops.  Here’s where you all come in! (Yay, fun, you get to play!) On Monday, I will make an announcement on my Facebook page (if you haven’t yet, just quickly slide your finger over your mouse and to the right, up a little, a little more and click the like button, see wasn’t that easy? 😉 ) I will be asking for the four “mystery” ingredients for my “Chopped Challenge Basket” that week. The first four people to respond will have their ingredients turned into a dish for my “Chopped Challenge Thursday” recipe post! Fun, interactive, challenging, exciting!

Thank you all for reading and sharing in the LLB experience with me!

Seared Duck Breast with a Balsamic Burgundy Reduction and Raspberry Chutney

Duck, Breast, Presentation, Raspberry, Chutney, Balsamic, Reduction

After a long summer of living out of a suitcase I am so happy to be settled in my new home in San Diego! With my new home came my beautiful new kitchen and all of my lovely kitchen gadgets which have been collecting dust in my storage unit all summer!

After unpacking (and cleaning off all that dust!) I was so excited to cook my first meal in my new kitchen!  What, oh what, would it be? I knew it had to be something new and fabulous as I was cooking for my ever-so-amazing movers (i.e. my guy friends with big muscles!) After watching Masterchef on demand all summer I was inspired to cook duck for the first time. I thought about getting real crazy and buying a whole duck, butchering it, confiting the legs and searing the breasts, but then I decided to take it one step at a time and just purchase the breasts for searing.

Luckily for me, my lovely new neighborhood in the Little Italy district of San Diego has a market just two blocks from my home which sells beautiful duck breasts. If your local grocery store does not sell them, try a meat market or specialty grocery store near you.

I decided to rub the duck breast with lavender. This rub was inspired by my morning purchase of lavender and honey goat cheese at the farmers market. Many people use rosemary or thyme when cooking duck and since lavender is close to that family of  herbs, I figured why not try something new!

Ingredients, Duck, Breast, List, Seasonings, Spices, Lavendar, Kosher Salt,

Ingredients

  • 2 duck breasts (app 1/2 lb each or less in weight)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp lavender
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup burgundy (or red) cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock ( I made my own with one cube chicken bouillon)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Start by combining the salt, black pepper and lavender with a mortar and pestle to release all of the flavors.

Mortar, Pestle,Seasonings, Spices, Lavendar, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Rub, Duck

Rub the duck breast down on both sides with the mixture.

Duck, Breast, Rub, Salt, Pepper, Lavender, Recipe

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes while you heat the olive oil in an oven-safe pan or skillet.

Add the garlic to the olive oil and sauté for 30 seconds.  Next add the duck breast, skin side down.

How to, Sear, Searing, Duck, Breast, Garlic, Olive Oil

Cook for 5 minutes or until the skin starts to lightly brown, then flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Next move the duck into an oven pre-heated to 375° and cook for an additional 5 minutes in the oven.

Remove from the oven and place the duck in a separate pan.

Duck, Breasts, Rub, Lavender, Seasoning, Spice, Recipe

Cover with foil and allow to rest.  Use the pan juices from the duck breast to make your reduction and raspberry chutney.

Start by adding the red wine and balsamic vinegar to the pan over medium-high heat.  Allow to reduce to almost half, then add the chicken stock. Reduce by half again, then add the honey and brown sugar. Mix well, then lastly add the raspberries.

Reduction, Sauce, Balsamic, Vinegar, Burgundy, Red, Wine, Raspberry

Crush the raspberries into the reduction.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes then drain with a mesh strainer.  This will separate the chutney from the reduction.

Return the duck breast to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side to bring some heat back to the duck.

Place the duck on a plate and glaze with the reduction, then top with the raspberry chutney.

Dinner, Recipe, Duck, Breast, Seared, Raspberry, Reduction

Packed with flavor, this was a dish I was definitely proud to serve my “movers”!

duck breast, balsamic, burgundy, reduction, raspberry, chutney

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.

Kangaroo and Lamb Tips Too!

The #1 item on my summer bucket list was to complete the “food list challenge”, a list of 100 interesting foods everyone should try at least once in their lives!  I got to knock another item off the list while in Boston by eating some delicious, meaty Kangaroo.

There was a new bar and restaurant that had just opened by my friend’s house called the “Tip Tap Room” which features various meat tips and over 30 beers on tap.  Yeah, get it, tips and taps, I’m not going to lie, I think the name/concept is pretty dang creative, I kind of want to steal it as a theme for one of my dinner parties!  Meat and beer, my kind of place!

They serve up more traditional meats such as chicken, steak and lamb, but also offer a “game of the day”, the day we were there, you guessed it, kangaroo! The obvious first choice of tips was Kangaroo, it was a mark off my food list challenge and a new scrumptious meat to try, but what other tip would we get…. we went with the lamb in a mint & shallot marinade with a minted glaze, chèvre mashed potatoes, sautéed greens and tzatziki sauce.

Lamb Tips

The potatoes were rich and creamy and the lamb was super flavorful!

As for the Kangaroo, the meat was similar to that of a sirloin steak. It was cooked to medium rare and nice, tender and juicy on the inside.

I loved the crunchy onions on top and light roasted potatoes on bottom.

I just looked at their website and the “Game of the Day” today is horseradish truffle marinated ostrich with foie gras blue cheese mash. Now if that doesn’t make me want to jump on a plane to Boston right now I don’t know what will!  I miss Foie Gras, can we get over this whole ban thing in California already?

I digress. If you’re in or around Boston, check out the Tip Tap Room at 138 Cambridge St. Boston, MA 02114 in Beacon Hill or online at www.thetiptaproom.com.

Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Aw the almighty smoker. Not all of us own one ourselves, but I’m sure if you’re from Oklahoma, someone in your family does! My grandpa’s was passed on to my Dad after he passed away and we put it to good use while I was in Oklahoma this summer.  This is our recipe for Smoked Brisket.

Smoked Brisket Marinade Ingredients

Ingredients (marinade)

  • 12-14 lb boneless trimmed brisket
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

Start by placing the brisket in a large bowl or dish, leaving enough room for it to be covered in the marinade. Next, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

Brisket Marinade

Then pour the marinade over the brisket to cover.

Marinating Brisket

Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. I left mine overnight.  If you value food over sleep, I turned my brisket every 2 hours so that both sides would get all the juicy marinade in there, but I understand if you value sleep, just do a couple flips before going to bed!

After the brisket is well marinated, it’s time to give it a good rub!

Brisket Dry Rub Ingredients

Ingredients (dry rub)

  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, then rub generously over the entire brisket.

Dry Rubbed Brisket

Oh yeah, looking good and ready to start smoking!

Smoking Brisket

Place on a large sheet of foil in the smoker and begin the smoking process.

While the meat starts to smoke, prepare the wet mopping sauce.

Brisket Wet Mop Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Place the vinegar, oil and wine in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat. Bring to a slight boil, then add the, onion, garlic lemon, pepper and salt.  Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Brisket Wet Mop Sauce

Take the wet mop out to the smoker and generously brush the brisket.

Wet Mopping Smoking Brisket

Continue this process about every 30 minutes for the next 6-8 hours while the meat is smoking.

Dry Rubbed Smoked Brisket

Remove that gorgeous piece of meat from the smoker and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Slice thinly for a delicious meat plate or for placing on a bun and making into a delightful BBQ sandwich!

Smoked Brisket

This delicious smoked meat was the star of the BBQ!

BBQ Cookout Spread

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.

Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Ingredients

  • 12-14 lb boneless trimmed brisket
  • Marinade
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • Dry Rub
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Wet Mopping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Begin by placing the brisket in a large bowl or dish, leaving enough room for it to be covered in the marinade.
  2. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the marinade over the brisket to cover.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
  5. Turned the brisket every 2-3 hours so that both sides get all the juicy marinade.
  6. After the brisket is well marinated, give it a rub.
  7. Combine all of the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl, then rub generously over the entire brisket.
  8. Place on a large sheet of foil in the smoker and begin the smoking process.
  9. Prepare the wet mopping sauce by placing the vinegar, oil and wine in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.
  10. Bring to a slight boil, then add the onion, garlic, lemon, pepper and salt.
  11. Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Take the wet mop out to the smoker and generously brush the brisket.
  13. Continue this process every 30 minutes for the next 6-8 hours while the meat is smoking.
  14. Remove the meat from the smoker and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
http://whitneybond.com/whats-for-dinner-smoked-brisket/

The Martha’s Vineyard Lobster Roll Challenge

One amazing roll + one serious challenge = lots of yummy lobster eating on Martha’s Vineyard!

As we boarded the ferry to escape the city of Boston for a week of play on Martha’s Vineyard, a challenge was set, who could eat the most Lobster Rolls. This is New England and these people are serious about their lobster! This wasn’t just a challenge of who could eat the most, it was also a challenge of who could find the best lobster roll on the Vineyard!

I quickly joined in the challenge as who doesn’t love the simple combination of fresh lobster meat, light mayonnaise and celery tossed into a deliciously toasted hot dog bun.

The Lobster Roll above came from the Seafood Shanty. A local bar serving up lots of fresh seafood and awesome ocean views! While the roll was delicious, it was a little heavy on the mayonnaise for my taste, and come to find out, I prefer my lobster rolls sans the celery!

The next Lobster Roll came from a restaurant in an awesome part of Martha’s Vineyard known as Gay Head Cliffs.

The views there were absolutely picturesque. We picked Aquinnah, a spot right on the cliffs to enjoy another delicious roll with a great view!

This was my favorite lobster roll of the trip and I definitely feel that I deserve the award for finding the best lobster roll on the Vineyard! Served with the traditional side of dill pickles and chips (Cape Cod chips nonetheless!), the meat was cold, tender and flavorful inside of a soft bun, minus the celery, with a little added lettuce.

Although there is only photographic evidence of two of the delicious Lobster Rolls consumed on Martha’s Vineyard, never fear, I was able to take down 4 rolls while on the Vineyard to tie for second place.  My former roommate made me proud by coming in first place with 5 1/2 lobster rolls!

Can’t wait to return to this little island gem for beautiful food and magnificent sunrises!

All Star Buffalo Cheesesteak and Hell Fries, Oh My!

Boston, Cambridge, Sandwich, Bar, All Star, Massachusetts, Front, Sign

After discovering Boston Magazine’s article on the amazing Grillo’s Pickles, I went on past the article I originally attended to read on the best burgers in Boston and continued on to the best fries in Boston.

Just 2 blocks down from Grillo’s was one of Boston’s best french fry spots. This spot was the All Star Sandwich Bar where they’re serving up delicious fried potatoes known as Hell Fries.

These cayenne pepper, cilantro and hot sauce topped fries live up to their hellish name. Order an extra ice-cold beverage on the side, you’re gonna need it!

Spicy, French Fries, All Star, Sandwich, Bar, Boston, Cayenne Pepper

Although I am a glutton for delicious, spicy potatoes, I knew I shouldn’t lunch on them alone. I decided to take a peak over at the sandwich menu,  I mean the name of the spot is All Star Sandwich Bar, they must make some pretty killer sandwiches. And do they ever.  I wanted to try one of each! Fried Poblano Cheeseburger, BBQ Fried Chicken Bacon Melt, American Fondue Cheeseburger, how would I pick just one?

Upon the recommendation from my excellent server Brad and my crazy obsessive love for Buffalo sauce I went with the Funky Daily Special Buffalo Cheesesteak BLT. Say what?  A sandwich with multiple meats, blue cheese and buffalo sauce, I’m so in!

Buffalo, Cheesesteak, BLT, All Star, Sandwich, Bar, Boston, Blue Cheese, Sauce

I really can not express the excitement and anticipation that overcame me when this sandwich arrived!

And the anticipation was met with overwhelming joy after just one bite.  Crispy bacon, juicy burger, creamy blue cheese and spicy buffalo sauce, quite the perfect combination and balance of amazingness!

They have tons of daily specials that I wish I had more time in Boston to try each one!

If you’re in Boston, check out your favorite daily special and let me know which you think is the best!

I’m thinking Wednesday’s Pastrami-Nater sounds right up my alley! I do have a slight obsession with the almighty pastrami sandwich though!

The decor in this little sandwich shop is cool and casual and the service was excellent. See Brad, awesome server, hard at work!

If you want to break a little sweat with some Hell Fries or chow down on an amazing sandwich special check out All Star Sandwich Bar at 1245 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA.  To view their entire menu visit their website at: AllStarSandwichBar.

Rajas Con Crema

As a side dish for my Chicken Mole, I was inspired by one of my favorite happy hour spots in San Diego, La Puerta. They have an amazing frozen mojito, (um yeah, what’s not to love about that?) as well as an assortment of tequilas, delicious apps and entrees.

Each of their entrees are served with a side of Rajas Con Crema.  This is my version.  Super simple and made with only 4 ingredients! This dish makes for a quick and easy, yet flavorful and creamy, addition to any Mexican meal!

Ingredients

  • 3 large poblano peppers (roasted)
  • 2 red onions (sliced)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crema Mexicana

Start by roasting the poblano peppers on a grill or in the oven under the broiler setting until the skin is blistered.

Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and cook for 5 minutes.

Now peel the peppers, slice into thin strips and add to the pan.

Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the Mexican Cream.

Cook with the cream for an additional 3-5 minutes then serve.

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.