Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best Ever Football Snack (...at least one of the best)

It's not that we're obsessed with "buffalo style" recipes (see Buffalo Salmon), it's just that this is a real treat for people who like buffalo wings.  My friend Cassie shared this with our book club years ago, saying it was a great appetizer for men, but I can tell you that it's as big a hit with any women I've ever served it to!  Seeing that we're in football season, and comfort food cravings due to cold and wet weather, I thought this would be a wonderful one to share.

What:  A cheesy, tangy, loaded with chopped chicken (and a bit of a kick) hot dip.  It has all the flavors you love in buffalo chicken wings -- ranch and blue cheese salad dressings, hot sauce, fresh chicken, but without the grease.

Recipe: 2 to 4 finely chopped cooked chicken breasts (I usually use 4, and boil them in water, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf for a little extra flavor.)
  • 2 - 8oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup each of ranch and blue cheese salad dressings;
  • 3/4 cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
Mix all of the above listed ingredients together in a large bowl (setting 1/2 cup of the cheddar aside), and place in an oven safe baking dish.  Sprinkle top with reserved cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve it hot with sliced baggette, or buttery crackers like Ritz or Club -- and don't forget to serve some sliced celery and carrots on the side.

Why It’s the Best:  I think that the best thing about this dip, aside the fact that it's delicious, addictive, and loved by all, is that you get to enjoy the taste of eating a plate full of "hot wings", but don't have the mess involved with eating the "real deal".  You know what I'm talking about, the greasy, orange stained fingers, working the little chicken bones to get every last bite without looking like a caveman, the multiple piles of napkins wasted trying to rid your hands of the mess, etc... 

Okay, I know thats part of the fun -- but just give it a try, and let us know what you think by posting your comments on the blog site.  We'd love to hear from you (especially you, Sandrine!).  Enjoy.

How We Know: Years of successful sharing, and the fact that just about everyone who eats it wants the recipe.  You'll see...

Craving Level:  Weekly, during football season!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie

Although the Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe was usually my "go to" for a good chocolate chipper, I have found one that I (and the friends I have shared it with) like much better.  You need to make these cookies oversized, too, as that's how they are best.  Both of our kids request these oversized, chewy, chocolately cookies when bringing in treats to their classes on their birthdays, and they are always eagerly devoured by their friends and classmates.  Click on the highlighted link below for the recipe, and make sure to print it out and save -- you won't want to lose this one!

What: Homemade, extra large, thick and chewy homemade, bakery quality chocolate chip cookies.

Recipe:  http://www.recipelink.com/msgbrd/board_2/tklcc.html. Type the ID # 0211099 into the View Msg ID # box.

Why It’s the Best: This recipe produces consistently delicious cookies.  Unlike other recipes where sometimes the cookies are too thin, these come out perfectly shaped, and thick every time. I use a cookie scooper (similar to a melon ball scooper) with the dough, and overfill it just a bit, to make the oversized cookie, and drop them on doubled cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Give 'em a try, and let us know what you think.  

How We Know: The "proof is in the pudding" -- make a batch for yourself, family, and friends.  You'll hopefully see why these are such winners!

Craving Level: Daily

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Best Ever Foie Gras

Last year we vacationed in Jackson, WY (a Best Ever Family Vacation…if we were writing that blog), and stayed at the Snake River Lodge in the Grand Teton village (the ski resort area of Jackson Hole, which is what the valley is called).

Nestled into the side of the Grand Teton Mountain range at 9000 feet is the restaurant Couloir. To get you have to reserve a ride on the resorts gondola after hours, which requires a reservation (an important pont to remember).  The gondola ride, the view, the food combine to make it a memorable dining experience.

What: pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with pearl onion confit, cinnamon toast and anise syrup

Why It’s the Best:  True confession, I’ll admit that I not a big fan of Fois Gras.  In fact, the reason I’m voting this as a “best ever” is because the dish… didn’t taste Fois Gras.  I know this is blasphemous to hard core Foie Gras connoisseurs but what makes it a best ever is the creativity of the Couloir Chef, Wes Hamilton.

How We Know:  Ordering Fois Gras, for me, is like ordering the occasional Ruben sandwich.  I'm not crazy about it, but it breaks up the monotomy of ham and turkey sandwiches.   The same thing applies to why I ordre Fois Gras.  I do it to "shake things up" every once and while, and this time it turned out to be one of the most interesting tasting dishes that I’ve ever had.  The combination of the different flavors and textures really created a truly unique and favorable sensation.

Craving Level – Yearly

Reviews & Location - Open Table, Trip Advisor