Homemade Hamburger Buns, Pulled Pork, and Spiced Pickled Onions

Pulled Pork Pickled Onions Homemade Hamburger Bun

I’m planning our wedding menu, and since we’re going to be in my hometown in North Carolina, I wanted it to follow a Southern theme. I got so excited when I saw the caterer’s suggestions (chicken and waffle bites!), that I had to stop everything and make pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. I didn’t even make a side. Just one giant pulled pork sandwich to sate this GRIT’s craving.

YA’LL. This might have taken all day, but it really didn’t take much effort. I’m going to share my dinner and today’s lunch with you. That’s right. I’m eating it again, and I plan to eat it for dinner, too. It’s that stinkin’ good!

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Ridiculously Easy Thai Steak Salad

Thai Steak Salad

THIS SALAD. I’m still thinking about it.

Last night was warm enough, so I decided to whip up a steak salad. But, not just any old steak salad — one infused with explosive Thai flavors: a little lime, a splash of fish sauce, a spoonful (or two) of chili garlic paste. Heaven.

If you’ve ever tried the Tiger Cries (aka Crying Tiger, Tiger’s Tear, etc.) salad at a Thai restaurant, only to return home and want it again and again for the rest of your life, this steak salad recipe will sate your craving. It’s not too spicy, either, so if you’re sensitive to heat, this won’t kill you. That being said, it’s super easy to pump up the fire with additional chili garlic paste or a fresh pepper. Continue reading

Salmon, salmon everywhere

A good friend of mine works for a seafood supplier, and every time I cook seafood he asks me what I paid for it. He’s always telling me that he can get me fantastic deals if I just buy from him, but for some super foolish reason, I had never taken him up on it… until now.

While in NJ visiting my fiance’s family, I received a text from my pal that simply read, “7 lbs of salmon. $7.” Let that sink in for a second. That’s a dollar a pound! And this is restaurant quality fish, my friends! I wasn’t going to be back for a few days, so I told him to toss it in the freezer until I could get back to deal with my prize. I immediately started fantasizing about all the things I would do with this fish. I could have never imagined what I would come home to. My friend came over the day after I returned with a huge Styrofoam, um, casket. There I was frantically rearranging frozen goods so that I could insert a giant slab of fish that spanned the length of the freezer. That was the easy part. The next day I thought I would break it into nice 6 oz portions. Hah. No way. That was NOT going to happen. I took a serrated blade to it and was lucky to hack it in half. I threw the tail end back in the freezer and deboned and scaled the other half (no easy task) before putting it in the fridge to thaw. Not really sure what I wanted to do with it, I decided to just bake the whole thing, and then figure out how to use the cooked salmon throughout the week.*

The first night we had perfectly moist salmon fillets. Easy peasy. Now it was going to get tricky. What do you do with cooked fish? How do you avoid drying it out? I’ll tell you: salmon cakes and salmon chowder. Boom. Problem solved. I can eat salmon (crab, fish, whatever) cakes for days, and the weather is just crisp enough that chowder is still a welcome addition to our meal rotation. The fiance is happy, I’m happy, and this salmon is finally disappearing. Life is good.

salmon cakes on lettuce

Salmon cakes with Sriracha cream. I could eat this everyday.

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Put an egg on it, show him what you’re workin’ with

I knew The Man had a lunch date at noon, but that didn’t stop me from making him a brunch-worthy meal at 11:15 this morning. How did I lure him in? With a simple question: would you like an egg? He made the mistake thinking that meant a scrambled egg or two, or maybe something hard boiled and portable. Hah! In his dreams. Cue polenta, mushrooms, and a delicious runny egg.

Throw an egg on it.

Throw an egg on it.

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Decorative Gourd Season

It’s fall. How do I know? Because, everywhere I look it’s pumpkin this, butternut squash that. A friend of mine sent me a photo the other day from a Trader Joe’s in LA demonstrating just how out of control the commercialization of fall has gotten.

Trader Joe's Fall    Trader Joes Fall

Don’t believe autumnal hype is reaching catastrophic proportions?  I’ve got three words for you: pumpkin dog treats. Yep. Pumpkinpocalypse is upon us. Truth be told, while I have a lot of fun poking fun at the gourd-obsessed, I’m really making fun of myself. Today, I purchased a perfect lil’ sugar pumpkin and spent the better half of the day consuming it. I made a delicious seafood, pumpkin curry; roasted the seeds for a snack; simmered the pulp and skin for broth; and even took a stab at making my own pumpkin spice syrup for my morning coffee (suck on that, Starbucks). By the way, peeling a raw pumpkin is no joke. I honestly can’t believe I survived it. Let me know if you want to see the recipe for the curry (or syrup, or anything else for that matter) — I’ll happily post it!

The best damn pumpkin curry in the universe.

The best damn pumpkin curry in the universe.