For Amin’s 30th birthday, I wanted to do something really special. Amin is half Iranian and over there they love the flavors of lamb, rose water, cardamom, pistachios, and saffron. So I made him an amazing rack of lamb (which I hope to write about in the future), and then I came across this recipe from Kokocooks. The first time I made this I went all out and even candied rose petals which you can do, but it takes six hours and it’s really just a garnish so I omitted it.
I chose it not just for my husband’s heritage but also because of the story behind it. As I looked at different recipes I found a website that said the origin came from a story of a woman who fell in love with a handsome prince, and she made this cake in order to win his heart hence why it’s a love cake. I told my husband the story when I gave this to him as well and it definitely won his heart over.
You have the rosewater and saffron frosting which is amazing balanced by the cardamom cake. The only word of warning I give here is please be careful with the rosewater…even if you think it smells good, only add the recommended amount because it can not only overwhelm the other flavors, but it can become the only thing you smell and taste for a while. This is where I would like to say that if you watch any food competition on TV if rosewater is involved it usually means someone is getting voted off for using too much. Okay. I’m done with that rant now for the recipe!
Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner!!!! I grew up in Tampa Florida which has a really strong Latino demographic. I had fantastic Cuban neighbors who taught me how to salsa dance, and would roast an actual pig on a spit! The longer the night went and the more drunk people got they’d dress up the head which they kept on a pike. My parents begrudgingly stayed since they weren’t really the partying types, but I LOVED IT! I was able to step into a world where the family ties were strong, and people knew how to really have a lot of fun. I still listen to Reggaeton Music when I’m feeling nostalgic. So while I don’t have any Latino heritage, I like to remember the role that those people played in some of the best memories of my childhood!
So for me, I like to celebrate Cinco De Mayo as a way to have fun like I did at that party.
Growing up I LOVED Easter! It was so much fun! I remember all the cool candy I’d get in my Easter basket, but one thing I absolutely adored was the food. My mother would make egg sandwiches with the hardboiled eggs my sisters and I dyed and we would have an Easter ham. Now personally, I’m not a fan of having the same protein every day for a week, I remembered discovering how much I didn’t really like Turkey past Thanksgiving (and even then I was never really into poultry). My mother was a leftover mastermind though. She was one of those people who could pull random things out of the fridge and somehow reinvent it and it would 9 out of 10 be amazing. One thing I looked forward to was her split pea soup! Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe for what she made, BUT I found this recipe which tastes exactly the same AND it’s a crock pot recipes which means you can set it and forget it while you go about your day!
My husband and I got a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. We got it mostly for the really interesting (and expensive) recipes, because, well it’s fun to read about how to cook escargot.
In the pasta section, there was an affordable gem that Amin and I now make regularly. It’s called Penne Alla Vodka and I swear you’ll never go back to eating jarred pasta again once to see how crazy easy it is to make and how absolutely pro chef it tastes. Below, not only will I walk you through it, but I’ll give you a video to watch to see how it’s done first hand!
I had good intentions. I went to the store to buy ingredients for last weeks Guinness, Jameson Whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream Recipe. The problem was, I didn’t exactly know how much Baileys to get, so faced with spending $40 on a massive bottle I wasn’t sure I’d ever use, I grabbed ten of those little airline bottles worth and brought them home. Needless to say, the cupcake recipe went really really well, but now I had Bailey’s leftovers, as well as one of the worst colds I’ve had in a very long time.
Considering this post is for St. Patricks day, it’s a fine time to try out a drink recipe! While hopped up on Dayquil and snooping around Pinterest I found a link that went to another link which eventually led to the Baileys website with a recipe on a basic Baileys Martini!
Let’s be real here. Most holidays in America are celebrated with food, booze or both and St. Patricks Day is no exception. It’s really a big deal here in Boston too with a lot of people heading into the city with their “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts and green and gold colors to go pub hopping.
As I’ve said before, I don’t particularly enjoy crowds, especially drunk crazy people crowds so I usually stay home, play some wonderful Celtic music and watch Lord of the Dance or the first “Leprechaun” movie (don’t judge!) while I cook and fill my home with the wonderful smells of food.
Of course, I live on Pinterest, and while there I happened to find this absolutely amazing recipe for Guinness, Whiskey and Irish Cream Cupcakes. First, I have to say that I love cakes in miniature form. I don’t feel bad for eating an entire one, where I might if it was an entire cake. I also loved how it uses all of the Irish trademark alcohol classics. Needless to say, I made these Guinness cupcakes with a Jameson whiskey ganache center and Baileys Irish Cream frosting and gave them to my husband to pass out at work and they were a real success! I also think the addition of a cute little Chocolate coin on top and the green clover sprinkles really takes it to that next level.
I love oysters. Growing up my dad was paranoid about eating anything remotely not burnt to a crisp. He demonized everything from medium-rare steaks to sushi. So I wasn’t exposed to a lot of unique foods until I was on my own. After moving out I’ve tried several unique raw foods including sea urchin, and octopus, and one of my absolute favorites is Oysters.
The reason I’m featuring Oysters is that they’re also an aphrodisiac which makes them perfect for a romantic month like February. Now, to be honest, there is nothing available that can increase sexual desire in people and frankly from what I’ve seen on Travel Channel and Food Network, the more disgusting the food, the more it’s marketed as some sort of sexual enhancement so take this with a grain of salt.
My husband and I got married at the age of 22. I know it was young, but honestly, we had been dating for five years at that time and we REALLY just wanted to be married. After the honeymoon when Amin and I were opening our wedding gifts, one of the people I had invited had got me the Betty Crocker “Bridal Edition” Cookbook.
I can honestly say that besides the silverware that someone else got me, it’s been one of the most used gifts. 11 years later, I still pull it out. It taught me everything from how to devein shrimp to how to make chicken broth for chicken soup when Amin had a cold. The recipes were also fairly cheap to make which was a plus since after we returned home from our honeymoon we endured some serious poverty.
While I’ve moved on to some more challenging recipes lately, I usually pull out this book Every November when I’m doing batch freezer meals for the winter. One of our absolute favorite meals is a chili which I throw over pasta and add cheese and sour cream too. It freezes amazingly well and I often cook it in bulk. I can’t tell you how comforting it is after a day of shoveling snow to be able to pull this out and warm it up and dinner is made. It’s also cheap so you have more cash for your holiday shopping!
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I am sadly not Asian…unless you want to count the family rumor that my grandfather’s grandmother was Mongolian. Asian culture has always been an interest to me and my husband. I wouldn’t say we’re complete ‘weeaboos’ though. We understand there’s more to Japan than it’s anime. We love to watch Basho (Sumo Wrestling) and I often keep up on Japanese news through the NHK channel. Strangely, Eastern art in general has found it’s way into our home- through lanterns from Marrakesh to Japanese wall hangings of cranes in our dinning room. A few years ago, we even got to enjoy an 16 hour layover in Tokyo where we went to Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku (that trip is for another blog post entirely). Read more
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I am a long time fan of Alton Brown. He doesn’t just throw a recipe at you, but rather takes the time to educate you about the way food works and explain exactly happens when you do certain things to your food. So when I was looking for a new dessert to try and make I found his Alton Brown’s Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe on the Foodnetwork.com website. I served it actually yesterday for my Halloween party that I threw, but it is a wonderful fall dessert and easy to make in comparison to other things I’ve cooked. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer. I hope you enjoy it. Read more