September 23, 2014

Photo Highlights: French Quarter Tour

Jordan and I followed the Frommer's New Orleans self guided walking tour of the French Quarter this weekend. This tour is the first of three, the second being of the Garden District and the third is Esplanade Ridge & Bayou St. John. 

The walk is supposed to take approximately two hours, without stopping at any of the shops or museums. With that being said, we had three hours (parking cost us $25 for 3 hours!!) and we were running for our car at the end and had to skip a few spots. I would recommend having at least four hours! I would also recommend bringing along your own refreshments (you can walk around with booze in New Orleans!!) or grab some at one of the many establishments you will pass along the way - including the the oldest operating bar in the country (Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop).

Yes, those are beads on the power line. No, it is not Mardi Gras.

Inside Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, enjoying an Abita brew and taking selfies

These guys were really good, listening to talented street performers is a New Orleans perk!

These guys too

Love the architecture 

One of the two haunted houses on our tour: Le Pretre Mansion

More building eye candy

Preservation Hall

Jackson Square!
Our last stop, before jogging to our car because our parking time was almost out

September 21, 2014

Spicy Goat Cheese Poblano Corn Chowder

Mmm, isn't it interesting how you can add goat cheese to about anything to make it delicious? The first time I made this soup I didn't actually add any goat cheese, but had sprinkled some on later and of course loved it. So if you are not a goat cheese fan, make this soup without it, it's still really good!

Also - my sister made the same soup but with Almond milk instead of the regular milk, so skip the goat cheese and sub with almond milk and voila, you have a vegan spicy poblano corn chowder!

Spicy Goat Cheese Pablano Corn Chowder


4 ears of corn
2 red onions
2 cloves of garlic
5 poblano chili peppers
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup milk
1/2 cup goat cheese (more to sprinkle of top)
chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Begin by placing your poblano peppers on a baking sheet and putting them in the oven on the top rack. Turn your oven on broil and allow the peppers to broil for about 5 minutes on each side. You want the skin to char, so don't be alarmed when they turn black! (See the picture below)

After these are done toss them in a paper bag ( I throw mine in a regular brown grocery bag) and fold it closed and set aside. The time the peppers spend in the bag will help you remove the skins later.

charred pablano chili peppers

While your peppers are resting, pour your olive oil in the kettle you will be cooking your soup in and turn it on medium - medium high. As this is heating up you will need to chop your onions and garlic up. You can decide how course or fine you want the chunks of onions to be, depending on your preference! Once chopped throw them in your heated olive oil and stir while they saute. Once your onions are reaching the opaque stage (5-7 minutes) go ahead and pour in your vegetable stock. You may want to only start with three cups, and once you add in your corn and poblanos you can see if it seems like you are going to need more liquid, add an additional cup then. (Bear in mind you will also be adding a cup of milk later too!)

Next you will need to cut the corn off of the cobs - I do mine in a shallow, wide bowl so the corn doesn't fly everywhere! After it is all cut off, toss it in the stock/onion mixture and make sure the heat is at medium-high and let sit while you get the pablano peppers prepared.

The peppers will probably still be hot when you open the bag, so be careful! You're going to now remove the charred skins - I start by removing what I can and then once I've gotten all I can off of a dry pepper I run it under cold water, removing the rest of the skin. You are going to need to remove the stem and the seeds on the inside, so I do that at the same time. Once a pepper is done being skinned and seeded, mine tend to look like flat sheets of pepper. I wait until I'm done doing that to all my peppers before I chop them up and toss them in the soup. (There is no right or wrong way to do this, as long as you remember to a) remove the burnt outer layer of skin b) remove the seeds and c) chop it up.)

It the ratio seems heavy veggies and not much liquid go ahead and add your other cup of stock, otherwise proceed to the next step!

If your mixture is boiling, take it off of the heat before adding the cup of milk. You want to make sure to pour the milk in slowly! Also, once the milk is added, it's important to make sure now to not boil the soup to prevent any type of curdling from occurring.

Next add in the goat cheese and stir until melted. Finish by adding salt and pepper to your taste preference.

This isn't going to be a really thick and creamy chowder, so don't be disappointed by its slightly brothy appearance, that is how it is supposed to be!

Serve with some chopped cilantro on top and some more crumbles of goat cheese.


September 3, 2014

Birthday Boozy Brunch

Jordan's birthday was yesterday! 29! We had a little boozy birthday brunch for him this weekend at our apartment with a few friends. Unfortunately I was a little too busy cooking to get many good pictures, but I thought I would share a few, and also a link to the delicious recipes we cooked up! Some long standing favorites and some new.

Brunch Menu

Bloody Mary Bar & Grapefruit & OJ Mimosas

For my bloody bar I went with Zinger's bloody mix, some Crystal hot sauce, Spicy pickled green beans, garlic stuffed green olives, dill pickle spears, and cheese cubes

I'm a sucker for anything grapefruit, so I made sure to have both Orange and Grapefruit juice available to mix with the champagne.

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Fritata - We have been using this recipe for a couple years now - actually it's become my easter go to! It is seriously delicious and impresses everyone. My only changes to the original recipe is that I add a little bit more goat cheese then the recipe calls for, and also threw in some chopped fresh dill.

Receipe here via Cooke and Kate

Buttermilk Soft & Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls - This was a new one to me! The last time I tried to do cinnamon rolls they failed miserably when it came to the roll-up phase - these on the other hand turned out perfect! Too perfect maybe - as they have all been eaten. I did the overnight version, and used bread flour instead of AP because that is all I had left.

Receipe here via Averie Cooke

Breakfast potatoes - this recipe turned out...okay. I think we may have been a bit heavy handed with the EVOO - and also it might have helped to have the potatoes more spread out on the pan and not on top of each other.

We also had some delicious, thick cut brown sugar bacon!