Cooking In Stilettos...
Monday, March 31, 2008 The FN Dish Spotlights Sunny Anderson and Alice Waters...

This week's FN Dish with The Amateur Gourmet, Adam Roberts, spotlights two fabulous people, Alice Waters, who is the champion of local agriculture, and Sunny Anderson, host of Cooking For Real, set to debut on Sunday, April 6 at 10:30 a.m. (set your Tivos!)

Take a minute and enjoy.

Labels: , , , ,


Posted by Lys :: 6:40 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Sunday, March 30, 2008 Colin Cowie Gets Ready For Spring...

Did anyone catch the new Colin Cowie collection on HSN.com this week?
Now, don't sniff up in the air yet - trust me when I say that Colin Cowie is one of the premier event planners. I have some of his collection from December and I get so many compliments on it when I entertain. Colin Cowie personifies chic, elegant yet effortless entertaining. The man knows his stuff. Few people know that his book, Effortless Elegance, was one of my first inspirations (and cookbooks to my huge collection) and let's not even talk about his tv show on WE back in the day. He's one for creating ambiance while ensuring your guests AND you have a great time. If you haven't checked out his new book, Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide To Life As It Should Be, you should It has so many fabulous ideas and tips.

Check out some of his summer collection that was featured this week on HSN. As I picked most of the teal/cobalt blue colors because I'm such a blue/teal freak, many also come in shades of green, clear, etc. All is mix and match and coordinate.

First one to catch my eye: His Textured Glass 15" Serving Bowl.






To light the lamps, why not check out the Color Blocked Candles.




For a little mood lighting, I love the Reversible Candle Holders.








Set of four Glass Accent Bowls


There are so many fabulous products that, obviously, we can't feature them all - from candles to rugs to dinnerware to linens to silverware. You can check it all out here: Colin Cowie Collection on HSN.

Now excuse me while I go click my little heart out (with cash back, of course!) Who's ready for a little soiree?

Labels: , , , ,


Posted by Lys :: 5:35 PM :: 2 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Saturday, March 29, 2008 A Little Comfort...

There are times when a gal needs a little comfort food and, after this week from hell, comfort was on the agenda. Nothing screams Massachusetts than a bowl of warm clam chowdah and there is NO better than Legal Seafoods.


Now that I reside in Central Florida - that's not an option. The only other *gasp* is Friendlys and that's only because it's from my childhood - not necessarily an accurate reflection of true home goodness that is Legal Seafoods.


You can imagine my surprise when I found Legal Seafoods Clam Chowder in the refrigerated section of Costco. Yeah, I know - warehouse super club but still - LEGAL SEAFOODS.


So tonight, I grabbed some freshly baked ciabatta and a bowl of Clam Chowdah with a bit of added touches i.e. freshly cracked black pepper, a bit of sea salt and Italian flat leaf parsley.


Now that, my friends is a bowl of comfort.


Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 11:17 PM :: 2 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Patience Isn't Always My Forte...

While wandering through Costco last night (after a hellacious week), I was greeted by THE Cookbook - The Sur La Table Cookbook that I whined to y'all about having to get.

And I couldn't resist. I had to get it after flipping through it (and it was cheaper than the full price) I think some of my other cookbooks are about to be retired. This one is a-m-a-z-i-n-g for the beginning and intermediate chef.

What's a gal to do? I don't, necessarily, have the patience to wait by the mailbox. I'll just put that $24.95 towards something else fabulous for my kitchen...

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 2:05 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Thursday, March 27, 2008 B[u]y The Book: "Things Cooks Love"

There are two cookbooks that are on my "Must Have" list - the Anniversary cookbook from my favorite grocery store - The Fresh Market and Sur La Table's "Things Cook Love".

As a huge lover of all things Sur La Table, I was thrilled to hear that they have their first cookbook, "Things Cooks Love" available on their website. I don't know about y'all but I know with me - I'm not only a shoe-a-holic, but also a cookbook-a-holic. I have cookbooks scattered on bookshelves, in my kitchen, in boxes - you name it. It takes a push from above to get me to part with any of them (and yes, I did - no more Rachael Ray or Paula Deen in my house - just a personal choice - that's all).

If you buy it today from their site - you can get an autographed copy for $24.95. Saving money too - so in the cart ready for checkout!

From their site:



We’re thrilled to introduce our new cookbook, Things Cooks Love. It’s a true celebration of food—more than 300 pages packed with wonderful recipes from around the world plus tips, techniques and in-depth looks at ingredients, tools, cookware and more. From selecting the perfect chef’s knife to preparing Cornish hens al mattone, if you love to cook, this book will become the cornerstone of your global kitchen.


Introductory special $24.95. Will be $35.00 after May 31, 2008.


You can see the Cookbook Preview Here.

Now - tell me is your curiosity is peaked just a little? What's YOUR favorite cookbook?

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 6:42 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Anthony Bourdain Speaks Without Reservations...

One of my fave "celeb" Chefs is gracing my city this weekend for the Florida Film Festival (which I'm going to try to catch his book signing - no promises tho!) and I caught this courtesy of Erin Cooks. The Amateur Gourmet interviewed Antony Bourdain for the FNDish on Anthony Bourdain's views of the Food Network. Take a peek and see what Tony had to say.

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 5:42 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 Yay or Nay: Lotus Sanitizing System...

While at Sur La Table in Palm Beach yesterday, I had a little one on one demo with this system. I'm becoming quite the little pest about "is the food really clean". With all the recent drama with food born illnesses and stuff just not being "fresh", my curiosity is peaked. I'm still doing my research but I put it to you, blog readers: Yay or Nay - what do YOU think about the Lotus Sanitizing System.
Do you think it works? Have you heard anything about it? Do you know anyone that has one?


Speak your mind in the comments!


Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 8:41 PM :: 6 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Sunday, March 23, 2008 Tastebook - How I Heart Thee...

A couple months ago, I learned about the lovely site that is known as TasteBook.

See, if you are a cookbook fanatic like me, there sometimes isn't enough room for all the lovely cookbooks one encounters. Or, perhaps, you have recipes that you use that you found online, but cooking via a laptop isn't always convenient when counterspace is at a premium (as I found out tonight).



TasteBook houses your favorite recipes, both oldies and new finds, recipes from some of your fave chefs like Nigella, Giada, Bobby Flay, etc. and sites like Epicurious, Self and Gourmet, in one convenient site. Each tailored cookbook is in a binder with 100 recipes and it will be printed just for you - tailored with your choice cover and your title.

My first cookbook was Cooking With Style - the next on its way to me is, what else, but Cooking In Stilettos. Would you expect anything else of yours truly - thought so. So, if you want to make a cookbook that is ultimately for you - why not check out TasteBook.com and then you can make some serious magic in the kitchen.

Labels: , , , ,


Posted by Lys :: 10:13 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Saturday, March 22, 2008 Tried & True: Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze

One of the favorites that my father always requests when he visits is Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze. It's super simple and fabulous. The fresh herbs add a kick and I tend to also use a bit more of whole grain mustard as well.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze [Recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis]

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
6 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 lemon wedges

  1. In a mini food processor, combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, wine, oil, Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon of whole-grain mustard.
  2. Grind the mustard sauce until combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of whole-grain mustard to the sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Set aside mustard sauce.
  6. Preheat the broiler.
  7. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  8. Spray the foil with nonstick spray.
  9. Arrange the salmon fillets on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  10. Broil for 2 minutes.
  11. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fillets.
  12. Continue broiling until the fillets are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
  13. Transfer the fillets to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 9:42 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 Set Your Tivos! Sunny Anderson Hits the Small Screen..


I'm excited - the Food Network is premiering yet another new show. On April 6th - "Cooking For Real" with Sunny Anderson hits tvs everywhere.

Who's Sunny Anderson you ask? Well, if you ever watched the show "Gotta Get It" where Food Network spotlighted a bunch of "must have" gadgets, she might look familiar. She was even on Emeril a couple years ago as a guest chef. To those in the hip hop world, she was on "THE" station - Hot97, where my boy K was a jock for some time. And she's a testament to what happens if you just follow through with your dream.

Well, she's also got a blog. And you can check it out here. Make sure to bookmark it and check it out. Also if you look to the sidebar, it's on the blogroll.


I'm looking forward to the debut. Real food for real people!


[Photo: Courtesy of Food Network]

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 10:22 PM :: 1 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Sunday, March 16, 2008 Culinary Vacation: Saborea Puerto Rico

Many people hear about Culinary Vacations/Getaways but I haven't seen many advertised until now. Sure, there's the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami every February which I always want to attend but the ticket prices are outrageous, there are various culinary vacations in Italy and France and now I heard about this: Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza.

From
their website:

Puerto Rico will debut the island’s first Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza at the world-famous blue flag beach of Isla Verde in Carolina from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6, 2008.

Saborea Puerto Rico celebrates both our Caribbean traditions and worldwide flavors. These three days of flavor and taste bring together celebrities, master chefs and signature events for a weekend-long festivity organized by industry professionals with the best taste and attention to detail. The programmed activities include demo kitchens, signature events, wine seminars, kids’ kitchens and a Tasting Pavilion.

The Culinary Extravaganza kicks off Friday with visits to a coffee plantation and a local “Plaza del Mercado” where fresh local ingredients are available for purchase. Saturday and Sunday Saborea Puerto Rico is open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Isla Verde Beach. Events are being scheduled during the evening at close by hotels and restaurants.

Puerto Rico is eager to welcome visitors and promote one of the islands best features: its food. We cordially invite food and wine “apassionados” to join us for the best culinary event in the Caribbean. Don’t miss out on this gastronomic feast specially made for you.


Now, I adore Puerto Rican food and make a mean Arroz Con Pollo (sans ketchup, Ms. Ingrid Hoffman) and you are telling me that there is a culinary getaway on the island that I've always wanted to visit even since I was a closet Menudo fan (shush - don't judge!). :::sigh::: Sadly, I cannot attend this year due to plans for an event in Philly that will take up all my available funds but next year, should it happen again, I'm there! The price is super reasonable, the notable chefs - excellent and a coffee plantation?? Now that's an event I would love to be at.

If you are interested (and Chef. B. - you might want to cover), check it out at
www.saboreapuertorico.com

Labels: ,


Posted by Lys :: 1:12 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

An Encounter with Giada...

The Amateur Gourmet's Adam Roberts, while on assignment for FNDish, stumbles into a kitchen at SOBE Wine & Food Festival and stumbled into Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Giada de Laurentiis and a host of other notable chefs.

Check out his interview with Everyday Italian's Giada de Laurentiis as she dishes about her shows, the baby and more.

Labels: , , , ,


Posted by Lys :: 12:45 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 Baffled & Bewildered: Williams-Sonoma...


For those that read Just Because... y'all know I have been lusting after Williams-Sonoma's Blue Scarf Print Tablecloth for quite some time. I finally broke down and decided to go pick it up the other night as consolation. And that Williams-Sonoma had it in the exact size I needed. Score!

Now, yes, the tablecloth is quite pricey, but if you see it in person - it's stunning. I pretty much only use two tablecloths - a standard white or a red. That's it. For me to really venture into this is quite the departure for me. And most of my house is varying shades of teal/blue and chocolate. This would fit in perfectly!

As I trot to the cash register, I notice a apron, mitts, etc. all in the same print - but in the green shade. The manager basically ripped my heart out when she told me that the print is available only in the green and pink shade. It is not available in the blue and I really really really want the apron. So either I lose my heartset idea of the blue or I settle for the Pink or Green. I chose to put back the tablecloth and walk away, yet again disappointed by Williams-Sonoma.

What I don't understand is why Williams-Sonoma would only come out with it in two of the colors, but not all THREE. And when I saw the Green, even the manager said the color just was not "it" and she wasn't a fan of that particular shade of puce green. Williams-Sonoma, you should really consider it in Blue. I know I would have bought the whole set.

:::sigh::::

Labels: , , ,


Posted by Lys :: 10:08 PM :: 1 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 A Bit O' The Irish - Martini Style...

I know many people (including myself) has the standard Guinness or the Irish Coffee idea when it comes to cocktails from the Emerald Isle and we won't talk about the green beer. However, Fine Living debunks the standard Irish cocktail fare and puts forth a few new ones in their "10 Cocktails For The Irish In Everyone" series.

This one I found intriguing - a fabulous Baileys Irish Martini recipe just in time for St. Patty's Day. As a Baileys aficionado from a wee age, this is one that appears to be super simple yet chic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Baileys Irish Martini [Recipe courtesy of FineLiving.com]

Ingredients:
3 1/2 oz. Baileys Irish cream
3/4 oz. Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
shot of strong, cold coffee


Instructions:
1. Drop some ice cubes into a shaker and pour over Baileys.
2. Add Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey, then a shot of strong cold coffee.
3. Shake vigorously and serve in a martini glass.

[Photo courtesy of FineLiving.com]

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 7:29 AM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Monday, March 10, 2008 Tried & True: Baked Cheese Crepes...

I saw this recipe on Everyday Italian and HAD to try it. It's one of my "go to" recipes that works great when I'm having someone over for dinner or just feel the need for something really comfort-y. It takes a bit of practice to make the crepes but any mistakes or oops can be covered by the sauce (which is my saving grace, let me tell ya). Next time I make it, I will definitely post a picture.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Baked Cheese Crepes [Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis]

Ingredients
6 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (about) unsalted butter
8 ounces fontina cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup Marinara Sauce
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat a 6-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Brush the skillet with some butter.
  4. Working quickly, pour 3 tablespoons of the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
  5. Cover and cook until the egg crepe is just set, about 1 minute.
  6. Invert the skillet over a plate, and allow the egg crepe to drop onto the plate.
  7. Repeat to make 10 crepes total, brushing the skillet with melted butter as needed and stacking crepes on the plate.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
  10. Arrange 1 egg crepe on a work surface.
  11. Place some of the fontina and mozzarella cheese in the center of the egg crepe, then sprinkle with some basil.
  12. Roll up the crepe.
  13. Place the filled crepe in the prepared baking dish, seam side down.
  14. Repeat with the remaining egg crepes, cheese, and basil.
  15. Spoon the marinara sauce over the crepes.
  16. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  17. Bake until the cheese melts and the top is golden, about 15 minutes.

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 4:29 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

It's Top Chef Time Again...

While getting ready for work this morning, the TV was providing background noise. It was left on Bravo from last night and, upon hearing the voice of the ever so caustic Anthony Bourdain, I was coaxed back into the room. It was a repeat of Top Chef and Judge Bourdain was lamenting about the lack of "inspiration" by the contestants. It was then during a commercial break that I discovered that the new season of Top Chef: Chicago is set to premiere on Wednesday the 12th.

SO - I ask you - are you going to watch Top Chef: Chicago?


[Photo courtesy of MediaBistro.com]

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 8:33 AM :: 1 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Saturday, March 8, 2008 Comfort, Southwestern Style...

One thing I always have in my pantry are organic chicken stock, beans (black or cannelini) and salsa. That way I can always make my favorite Southwestern Chicken Soup.

I have to say that I'm spoiled. When I have tortilla or southwest chicken soup at various places, I always think "mine's better" because mine is always different each time around and allows for adaptation.



I first got wind of the Southwestern Chicken Soup recipe courtesy of Grown Up Girlie and when I make a batch, I always make sure that there will be extra for lunch or dinner during the week. I adapted the recipe from Real Simple (where the photo is from because I was too hungry to take pictures) and this recipe kicks butt time and time again...





Southwestern Chicken Soup (adapted from Real Simple)



1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
3 cups cooked chicken pieces (1 small deli-counter rotisserie chicken or leftovers)
1 15-ounce can cannellini or black beans, drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)
1 small yellow onion, sauteed
1/2 cup sour cream
Tortilla chips (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Spritz of lime juice (optional)

  • Dice the onion and saute in olive oil

  • Empty the salsa into a large saucepan.

  • Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the chicken, beans, broth, and, if desired, lime juice, cayenne and cumin.

  • Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Top each bowl with a sprinkling of cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips (if desired). For a soupier dish, use 4 cups of broth.


Can't go wrong with Chicken soup when you are looking for a bit of comfort-y goodness. Buon apetito!

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 9:26 PM :: 0 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Thursday, March 6, 2008 Kitchen Spotlight: Tuscan Mattone 2-Piece Terra Cotta Press

Ever have a REALLY good roast chicken that you often wonder "How the heck can I recreate that at home?"

I know I've had a couple in my time that is tender inside and crispy outside and I think I found the answer.

Sur La Table has a Tuscan Mattone 2 Piece Terra Cotta Press that looks like it could do the job with flying colors. They even have a killer recipe that goes with.

Now, I wonder if this little lovely will help me recreate the Houlihan's Rosemary Chicken recipe... hmmmm.





[Photo credit: Sur La Table]

Labels: , ,


Posted by Lys :: 6:33 PM :: 2 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------

Don't Make Me Whip Out My Stilettos...

My regular readers at Just Because... know I had to say that...

Welcome to my new diversion. I figured that a gal needed one outlet solely to devote to all things Cooking, Entertainment and Kitchen related and *poof* Cooking With Stilettos is born. To answer the question - yes, I do at times cook with stilettos (any fetish people tho - get your mind out of the gutter please). I'm a gal who is busy busy busy and I don't always have time to change before I start cooking. Cooking is my passion and I hope that many share the same love of all things culinary.

I adore anything that is Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, Food Network, or cooking related. I love my kitchen and I'd like to think that if my kitchen had feelings, it would love me back - unconditionally. Even if I do smoke it up a bit. And clutter it with new goodies. And sing loudly while chopping. Hey, if anything I'll be brutally honest. It probably would kick me in the pants too, but still - with love.

Now - let's take you on a quick tour, shall we. To the left you will see the blogroll of cooking sites that I love as well as various blogs that I frequent. Also, if you scroll down a bit, you will see a whole slideshow of kitchen/entertaining goodies that you often can catch on "Everyday Italian". As I adore all things Italian - I figured, why not. Also, here you can find recipes that will garner you raves from not only your friends and family, but make you say "hot damn!" when you take your first taste.

So, bookmark, blogline, google reader this page and let's start this culinary journey together shall we?

Buon appetito!

Labels:


Posted by Lys :: 4:12 AM :: 1 comments

Post / Read Comments

---------------oOo---------------