Tag Archives: cooking

LEXINGTON TRIP – Incredible Food Show

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Last Saturday ended in absolute disaster – my car breaking down in middle-of-nowhere-Kentucky a little more than an hour from home. It was a horrible experience that has led to a devastating amount of stress this week (if you’re curious, no, the car did not live to drive another day). Finally, though, I am trying to take some time to put all that out of my mind and focus on a good, solid update of just how amazing Saturday was before my breakdown fiasco. 

Mister and I were up and out of here before 6AM, hitting the interstate towards Lexington, Kentucky. Why? The INCREDIBLE FOOD SHOW!  I’d never heard of it before until my sister, a former Kentucky resident, sent me a link to the website. Mister and I took one look and knew we just had to be there. Free food? The Voltaggio brothers? More free food? Well, you had to know we couldn’t resist…

Here are a few of our highlights (and a few pictures as well!):

– BEER CHEESE! –

I  wish I had a picture for this, but sadly, I was too busy stuffing my face to remember my camera. Beer cheese is a type of cheese spread that is typically only found in Kentucky. In fact, Mister and I had never even heard of beer cheese until the Food Show. This delicious spread is slightly spicy and often found in mild, medium, and hot varieties. There were several -and I mean SEVERAL- merchants who specialized in beer cheese, but Mister and I ended up purchasing from Us Two Girls – Hop’n Pop’n Beer Cheese. These two lovely ladies came to the Incredible Food Show as guests last year and decided to try their luck as vendors this year. Their beer cheese is absolutely delightful. Mister got the hot, and I got the medium – which I may or may not be currently dipping my pretzel sticks in while I type 😉

-WINE, WINE, WINE, …and PEACH BELLINI?

Yes, please! Lots of wine tastings happening at the Incredible Food Show, and while we all know I’m a big wino, Mister had me beat! He sampled just about every wine that was offered at every booth. I tasted quite a few, but I was completely struck on the Lovers Leap Vineyards booth. Why? Because they were serving peach bellini – an absolute favorite of mine! Simply delicious, to say the least. But what makes it even better? They had these nifty stemless wine glasses for only $1! Be jealous.

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-Voltaggio Brothers-

Hilarious! That’s all I can say about this duo. They were the winners of Top Chef, which I never watched, but now I wish I had. The vegetable landscape they created on the spot was slightly wacky, but the banter between these brothers was priceless. It was very reminiscent of Mister and his brother, since they both work in a kitchen together and act eerily similar to the Voltaggios. 

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-Breakfast-

The whole reason Mister and I left at 6AM and rushed to get to Lexington was to be one of the first 300 in the door so we’d receive a ticket to the Kentucky Proud breakfast that was being presented by Students from the culinary school at Sullivan University. It meant a lot to me to be there, since before I attended college I actually toured Sullivan’s culinary school. I opted against it just being too scared to be so far from home on my own. It was a pleasure to see how much it has grown since I first saw their program. So many students now! The breakfast was simple – scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, and a corn muffin. The eggs though were quite delicious and new to me though because it was a combination of chicken and duck eggs.

-Vito’s and the Sausage Queen-

Vito’s Italian Sausages was my personal favorite of everything we sampled. A 100 year old recipe that advertised “NO MSG, NO NITRATES, NO PRESERVATIVES, NO FILLERS, NO GLUTEN, NO SUGAR. OR CARBS!” It was perfection. I ended up purchasing two packages of the robust sausage, and I’m wishing there was a way to have more shipped to my home. When we returned home, we cooked up some of the sausage with red and orange bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and roma tomatoes then tossed it in some fettucini with a homemade creole butter sauce. Delicioso! Plus, we got to meet the Sausage Queen – a wonderfully fun lady with a crown of sausage. 
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Those are the major highlights, but here are a few more memorable Food Show moments my camera captured:
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If you want a good time and some great food, I really recommend checking out the Incredible Food Show when it comes around next year!

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Mister’s Simple & Quick Calzones

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Mister has worked in pizza kitchens for the majority of his life, so when I had a hankering for calzones, I knew it was best to just let him take over in the kitchen. I love homemade stromboli and calzones not just because they are delicious, but because they are so cheap to make. I normally have my favorite toppings on hand, so all it usually requires is the dough, cheese, and sauce. Here’s the recipe:

For ONE Calzone

– 1 can of pizza dough (Pillsbury makes an exceptionally good one!)
– 4 Tbsp. canned pizza sauce (more or less to taste. Mister and I sprang for the pricier sauce just because it was so yummy.)
– handful mozzarella cheese
– Your yummy toppings (I’m a pepperoni and banana peppers kind of girl, and Mister goes for ham and pineapple)
– Olive oil/vegetable oil (whichever you have on hand)
– 1 Tbsp. melted butter
– dash of Italian seasoning
– sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese

Ball up the pizza dough and then press out onto an oiled, circular plate until dough is flat and can be stretched without tearing.

Add sauce, cheese, and toppings to one half of the dough – careful not to overstuff.

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Fold the other half over top of the toppings. Secure the edges of the dough by crimping with your fingers.

Cut 2-3 slits in the top of the dough. If you like, top calzone with reserved toppings to show what deliciousness is inside.

Brush with melted butter, then top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.

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Pop it in the oven (preferably on a baking stone!) at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (or until golden).

Enjoy your delicious pizza-y treat.

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(Hint — for a delicious dipper, mix a few Tbsp. of Catalina dressing with a squirt of ketchup to make the famous red sauce often served with calzones.)

Yum-o!

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Still in the process of checking multiple projects off my list, but I took this weekend to relax with Mister and have a fantabulous time. Instead of my own little projects or my own adventures in the kitchen, I’ll be sharing his this time. I’m rather proud of him, if you couldn’t tell.

He’s been wanting to learn to paint for some time now, so instead of giving him any instructions, I handed him a few blank canvases, said “Create”, and set him free. One of our first “dates” was simply driving around on country backroads belting out Beatles songs in the night air. It’s still something we do frequently, since we both love and appreciate all Beatles music. That love extends to the film Across the Universe, so it’s no wonder he picked the strawberry icon from the film for his painting to me. Adorable, isn’t he?

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Monday I had a -very- long day at work, and left Mister at home all day to prep for a dinner that he refused to give me any details about. One thing is for sure, I love surprises…especially where food is concerned. When I came home, a snack was waiting for me before my shower: a basil and bacon cheeseball – Delish!
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Fresh from the shower, I was ready for more yummy eats. The appetizers were awaiting me – banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried and a spinach salad with toasted almonds and cranberries. Can you say YUM?
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Finally – the main course! The big surprise came in the form of Mister’s signature country tomatoes (layers of tomato sandwiched with cream cheese with garlic and basil and breaded in panko bread crumbs and fried), bacon wrapped filet mignon, and then two -count ’em- TWO kinds of jumbo shrimp – coconut and panko breaded. The pictures don’t even begin to do the meal justice.
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Quite literally the best meal of my life. I literally went into a food coma immediately following the consumption of all this goodness. I laid in the floor outside the kitchen and snoozed due to a totally stuffed belly. I’d say I’ve found the perfect personal chef, for sure.

A Dark and Stormy Dinner

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The hiatus over the last week was not by choice, but rather by the consequences of lightning striking the transformer next to my house. I had just put my journal on the cat perch to let some gesso dry, when I took that picture while watching the storm. It wasn’t even five minutes after that that the lightning struck. I watched as my surge protector that connected my iMac desktop, Wii, and television went up in blue sparks, nearly catching the curtains on fire. We were in total darkness.

About two hours before, I’d decided to roast a whole chicken in a beautiful curry rub with some chunky tomatoes and onions. It had looked so pretty.
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I kept my fingers crossed that it had cooked through completely. I was thrilled to discover that it had cooked up perfectly, and I would at least have a delicious meal of curried chicken even though the power was out.
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It was then that I realized that I had no way to cook my rice in the house. My rice cooker would be absolutely useless without any power. I had to take a less convenient method…the grill.
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It took FOREVER to boil…especially when dad wanted me to fix a pot of corn on the cob as well. Well, daddy and Jenks had to wait anxiously for awhile inside the now overly warm house.
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Eventually though, the meal was able to come together. I can’t even explain how good that curried chicken tasted with the tomatoes and onions over rice. Simply delicious.
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….Even if we did have to eat by a modern candlelight….
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We were without power for a few days, and luckily nothing on my surge protector got fried. We weren’t so lucky elsewhere in the house. We lost the modem and router (why I haven’t been able to post), my mother’s iMac and printer, and our kitchen tv. It could have been a lot worse. I’m just happy to be back now.

Unforgettable Fried Chicken

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This past Saturday, my lovely mister and I decided to make some fried chicken for ourselves and my family. I must say, he has shared a secret to the best breading I have ever tasted, and I feel the need to share it with you. It’s so deliciously simple too.

Equal parts flour and cornmeal
A couple table spoons Old Bay
-Here’s the secret- Instead of just dipping it in the egg wash, then the dry mix, then frying — DOUBLE DIP! Return it to the egg wash and then the dry mix for another coating.

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I adore frying in cast iron. Can’t get enough of it.

I also suggest stuffing your chicken with delicious goodies. He butterflied this piece open and tossed in some pepperjack cheese before frying.

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We wound up with a huge plate of yumminess. Absolutely delicious!

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I wish I had taken a picture of the Memorial Day meal we made. We bought some mini party buns and made tiny burgers (that really weren’t tiny at all) that were stuffed with either cheddar and bacon or mushroom and swiss. Unfortunately, by the time we finished grilling, I was so hungry that I forgot to snap any pictures.