Cooking In Stilettos...
Saturday, May 31, 2008 Obsessed With: Breville Cordless Immersion Blender

I sometimes think I have the Bill Cosby disease, namely where on the Cosby Show, Mr. Cosby had gadgets galore in his kitchen. See, while y'all know I love my pots and pans - I also tend to gravitate to the electronics department of Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma when I'm curious about new and exciting things for the kitchen.

One of the first things I bought when I started my adventures in culinary mishaps was an immersion blender. While it works great and does its job, I hate the cord, it's a pain to clean, it's pretty beat up and I've had it for about 5 years now. Do I use it all the time - no, mostly because I hate that cord. It always gets in the way.

So, when I encountered the Breville Cordless Immersion Blender, I stood there in shock and awe. Sure, I spent about $30.00 for the original immersion blender I have, but $99.95 for this? That's a pair of shoes for me or a shiny new LC pot at the LC Outlet. What is a girl to do?

This is on my wishlist and, while I'm looking at it fondly, I'm still trying to justify the cost of an immersion blender when I already have one. Now if I made more things that required the use of one, I might be able to tell my inner PF demon to back off, but for now I'll keep fondling whenever I see it and, perhaps, one day it will be on the counter and not in a cabinet like many of my gadgets.

Any ideas how a gal can justify forgoing a new pair of stilettos for this beauty?

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Posted by Lys :: 7:43 AM :: 1 comments

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Friday, May 30, 2008 Will You Watch: The Next Food Network Star...


As y'all know the premiere of The Next Food Network Star is coming up fast and furious (and that song in the constantly played commercial appeals to my inner dance diva). However, after last year's controversy with JAGGate and then Amy Finley, the winner of TNFNS leaving the network, I was wondering the nagging question: "To Watch Or Not To Watch".

Food Network Addict did a GREAT review of the show which piqued my curiosity so yes, I will tune in. Plus, not only is Flay involved but Morimoto too? Mr. Tivo will be set.

Will you be tuning in?

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Posted by Lys :: 6:15 PM :: 4 comments

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Philly Recap: 9th Street Italian Market

During my trip to Philly a couple weeks ago, I took Saturday morning for myself and did something I always wanted to do - wander the Italian Market during one of the busiest days.

Here in Orlando, our access to fresh spices, etc. is a bit limited and we can get spices from the Fresh Market but it's not the same. So that Saturday morning, I went and wandered up and down 9th street. My main object of interest was the Spice stores. I had seen Ms. Patti Labell profile them on her show Livin' It Up and thought "I Must Must Must Go". So, I parked the rental car on a side street, popped on my flats and went walking.

First thing I encountered: Fantes. Yes - THE Fantes. Well, one of them anywayz. I go to the website often but like my first experience with Sur La Table, I told the people - let me fondle, let me wander - I'll find you for help - trust. And wander I did. Meowmix joked that only I could go to Philly and get excited over a pasta colander instead of shoes. I know, some of you are in shock but ever since I saw Nigella use one I thought "Wow - how handy". And, it's not found in Orlando. I found some rosette forms, fondled some pots, bought some gratin dishes (which the cranky salesgal didn't wrap very well and wound up breaking - grrr) and a few other things. I was hoping to get my Global Cheese knife but they didn't have it and it would have to be specially ordered. I'll just get it online.

Bonus: inside Fantes, they had a little coffee shop and some cafe au lait later I was back out and wandering the Italian Market again on the hunt for the spices shops.

I found two spice shops, both of which were amazing. One of which was the Spice Corner and the other was the Italian Market Spice Company (their website isn't up yet). There I bought so many spices my car smelled like a tangine. I bought curry, Nigella seeds, tarragon, rosemary, ancho chile powder, tumeric, and a host of other stuff that was so fragrant and fresh. I even found Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

I wandered in some of the shops on the side, marveled at the fresh produce lining the streets and just breathed in the sights and smells. I went into one of the butcher shops, Orlando's Meats (hey - it said Orlando - I had to pay homage, no?). It was in there that I spied The Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook for sale. This was something I could take home with no problem from the airline. Also, before you shoot me for going to the butcher, here in Orlando we have Publix, Fresh Market and yeah - that's about it. *sigh* You don't know how I wanted to shake some of the people whining in line to say "Be thankful you have such a resource. You'd be eating some funky chicken if you were in Orlando" (Have you EVER had Winn Dixie poultry :::shudder:::) The manager of the butcher shop gave me an autographed copy that I've been reading with amazement. For an Irish/Indian gal, I swear I must have been Italian in another lifetime because it just is a fascinating read.

After browsing some other shops, I left, vowing to go back again. And this time - I'll bring a list and ship everything home via mail.

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Posted by Lys :: 12:04 AM :: 4 comments

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 Technique Classes at Williams-Sonoma...

Boy do I wish I had a Sur La Table around these parts like the one I visit in NJ with their full teaching kitchen, but I have to be sated with taking technique classes/demonstrations at Williams Sonoma. They just sent out the schedule yesterday and this is what is on their "Menu"*

SUNDAY, JUNE 1 All-American Backyard Party

Everything tastes better when it’s cooked out back. We’ll help you get ready for the season of outdoor eating. You’ll learn how to grill juicy burgers, classic barbecue chicken and other delicious foods that are sure to make your backyard barbecue the hit of the block.

SUNDAY, JUNE 8 Grilling: Favorite Summer Sides

Burgers, franks and chicken may get top billing, but we’ll show you how to grill veggies that’ll steal the show. Learn simple ways to get the most flavor out of summer produce as we demonstrate some of our favorite summer sides from the grill and from the garden.

SUNDAY, JUNE 29 Extreme Ice Cream

Learn a few basics, and they’ll all be screaming for ice cream! We’ll show you how to make your own ice cream at home that you can enjoy all summer long. You’ll learn how to take basic ice cream flavors and transform them into delicious, decadent, “extreme” ice cream flavors that are uniquely yours.

SUNDAY, JULY 13 Pizza

Not all pizza comes in a box. We’ll show you how to make a pie from scratch in the kitchen and on the grill and how to get family and friends in on the fun. You’ll learn how to make a pizza dough in minutes, how to bake it to perfection and how to wow them with toppings.

SUNDAY, JULY 27 Summer Fruits & Vegetables

Make the most of summer’s bounty as we guide you through our fruit and vegetable garden. Learn the basics of fruit and vegetable handling and storage, and take away exciting recipes that showcase our summer produce.

Have any of you taken a class at Williams Sonoma? Tell us about it in the comments.

*Note: I'm not sure if this is only for the Central Florida area only. Check with your local WS for details. Thanks.

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Posted by Lys :: 12:02 PM :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008 Tried & True: Cherry Clafouti

Here's what is on the agenda this week at the Lys' household - Cherry Clafouti

I've had good success making this, both as individual clafoutis and as one big clafouti. Want to achieve heights of nirvana - serve it with a scoop of vanillla or pistachio ice cream.

You can make a clafouti with mostly any fruit but since I saw some gorgeous cherries at the Fresh Market this week, I'm going to use those. I've also been able to use thawed frozen berries, cherries, etc. Whatever I have on hand, I can pull it off. So yes, this recipe is one of my "Tried & Trues."

Why don't you make something special this weekend. I guaratee you will have people clamoring for more:

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Cherry Clafoutis


Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pound stoned cherries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an oval ovenproof dish about 13 inches long. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the pulp to the egg mixture. Stir in the brandy and flour. Whisk in the milk to form a smooth batter. In a mixing bowl, toss the cherries with the remaining sugar. Place the cherries in the ovenproof dish. Pour the batter over the cherries and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is sponge like. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the clafoutis warm. Garnish with powdered sugar.

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Posted by Lys :: 7:44 AM :: 3 comments

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008 Giveaway: Flayin' It Up - Mesa Grill style...

OK Cooking in Stilettos readers - are you prepared for the onslaught of summer? Want to try some new and fresh recipes from Food Network's Bobby Flay?

Well, I have one copy of Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen to give away to ONE lucky reader. I have and adore this cookbook and know that you will love it too.

So, wanting to pass the wealth along to you - here's what you have to do. Leave a comment with one of your favorite summertime recipes in THIS post only with your email. I will pick out a random winner on June 1st via Randomizer and announce it here and then zip off the cookbook to you.

Bobby Flay and summer: two things that go together VERY well.

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Posted by Lys :: 5:35 PM :: 6 comments

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Monday, May 26, 2008 Williams Sonoma Update...

Remember that tablecloth I fell hard for - the scarf print tablecloth in blue?

Well, I ran into it today at Williams-Sonoma and its mine, all mine. I also took home the matching napkins too. And it was all on sale.



I am a very happy girl, indeed.

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Posted by Lys :: 9:57 PM :: 3 comments

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Sunday, May 25, 2008 Pantry Find: Williams Sonoma Spice Rubs...

There are a few things that I can't resist - fresh spices are one; Williams Sonoma spice rubs are another. There's something about a good spice rub that adds a bit of za-za-zu to the ordinary.

Two things I must have in my pantry:


Williams Sonoma Coffee Spice Rub (with brown sugar, chipotle peppers, espresso and premium herbs and spices)

Williams Sonoma Chili Lime Rub (with a blend of New Mexican chilies, California cilantro, Turkish cumin, paprika and more – plus sea salt and tart lime)

Check them out and see how your cooking might sing with new flavor.

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Posted by Lys :: 6:33 PM :: 3 comments

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Friday, May 23, 2008 Soup's On...

It's no secret in my household that some of my famous go-to recipes are soups. From an Italian (NOT French) Onion Soup with Thyme (Thank you Giada de Laurentiis!) to my classic standby Southwestern Chicken soup (thank you Michelle!), soup works out well. You have leftovers which are great for lunch, it's great on a cold night or just when you want a little comfort.

Well, Sur La Table tempted me again, as always, and they have this gorgeous Le Creuset Soup Pot in CARIBBEAN! ME LIKEY! I think I'll be hitting up the Sur this weekend to fondle this lovely.

Some gals like Diamonds. For me, it's all about the Le Creuset. What are some of your favorite soup recipes? Leave 'em in the comments.

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Posted by Lys :: 11:50 AM :: 3 comments

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Thursday, May 22, 2008 Restaurant Review: Bourbon Blue…

When I was up in Philadelphia on business a few weeks ago, I always take the time to try to find somewhere I can chill out and enjoy time with friends and great conversation. I've learned that with what I do, sometimes just hanging at a club or at someone’s house doesn't always fit the bill. For me, a club often feels like work and just chillin' at someone's house, while it's nice, I want to get out and explore the city.

On the last night before I departed my favorite city, I needed to chill out after the hectic event we had just had the day before. So, after discussion with Meowmix, we decided that dinner at this hot spot called Bourbon Blue would be in order for the evening. Not only does it have a rockin’ bar atmosphere but the food was sublime. Manayunk has this vibe - where it’s city but not city - and you just instantly feel at home when you enter. It's warm, inviting and the people there are genuinely nice.

Let me preface this with I’m always apprehensive when it comes to traveling and restaurants. Yes, I do use “Google” to my advantage and I just wasn’t finding much in the way of reviews of this restaurant albeit some various articles from its opening 5 years ago. Also, Cajun/New Orleans food in Philly? I mean, c’mon - I know Philly is eclectic but NOLA food in PA? As my friend SL would say “What do they know about Cajun Cuisine?” I was a bit wary. Around Florida we have some good Cajun restaurants but I wasn’t sure if the North could actually create that mood.

Let me say for the record: I was wrong.

Bourbon Blue hit it out of the box AND then some. I apologize as I didn’t take any pictures that night but I was so caught up in everything that whipping out my camera just didn’t seem right. Not to mention, the lovely blackberry froze on me again rendering pictures impossible. We were lucky to secure a late reservation on one of their busiest nights as they had a number of graduation parties. While there was a very brief wait to be seated, it was to be expected. We were a few minutes late, and, of course, we were there on the busiest night of the week.

First of all - YOU MUST try the espresso martinis. BB’s fabulous bartender Heather whipped up this libation that had me bugging her for the recipe. Has the Espresso Martini replaced my favorite Cable Car Martini, one might wonder. No, but it's hit my second favorite cocktail status - knocking out my Egyptian martini that I've loved for so many years.

Our server, Mark, paid attention to the most minute detail - and for my friend Meowmix, after a server we had a few days prior, that meant a lot. When he saw her sombrero was running a bit low, he had another quickly whisked over. He knew that a sombrero was Kahlua and milk, NOT tequila. Vegas obviously didn’t get the memo a few years ago.

Now, let’s get onto what y’all want to know about - the food. First of all, the bread is this warm, fresh out of the oven, cornbread served with a Creole Butter that had me again pestering for the recipe (which I learned how to recreate when I returned to Orlando and no I am not sharing - their chef might shoot me!). For appetizers, we decided to start with the Blackened Chicken Quesadillas. Meowmix is notsomuch a fan of spicy food (which I’ve just started to love) and sometimes with a quesadilla it can be hit or miss. This was perfect. Savory yet subtle - the flavors melded perfectly with the cilantro sour cream and fresh salsa. For the entrée, per recommendation of Mark, we elected to try the Parmesan & Cornmeal Encrusted Scallops. They were perfectly seared on a bed of vegetable orzo. To end the meal: What else, another round of cocktails.

I can tell you that when I have to go back to Philly in August, I'm sure that a night out at the Bourbon will be on the agenda. Great food, great atmosphere and great people. When you find something that good, you don’t hesitate to go back.

Bourbon Blue
2 Rector Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127

215-508-3360 / www.bourbonblue.com

Rating: 4.5 Stars…

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Posted by Lys :: 5:34 PM :: 1 comments

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Thursday, May 1, 2008 I Haz A Button All Of My Very Own...

The Hotfessional (who I now luv more than my crack shoe savior, Ron and my Le Creuset pots) made me my very very first button.

Look to the right and you'll see it all new and shiny like my copper Ruffoni pan! Somehow that just makes Cooking In Stilettos that much more special.

Thank you Ree!!!!!

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Posted by Lys :: 7:11 PM :: 3 comments

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