Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shrimp and Grits at MONDO

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a favorite dish of mine to order at restaurants is shrimp and grits. luckily, we have so many wonderful restaurants in town that serve this dish. i have been lucky enough to try several variations of this dish while eating out around town. it’s fascinating to me to experience the different ways in which chefs prepare shrimp and grits. this particular variation at MONDO was truly a winner. on a side note: i realize that some of you who are not familiar with the south may think this (shrimp and grits) is a rather odd pairing. you’ll just have to trust me on this one when i say it works surprisingly well. like i said…out of all the great food in my city, i choose to enjoy this as much as i can.

MONDO is one of susan spicer’s restaurants. we have been for dinner and brunch recently and we enjoyed it very much each time. i got the shrimp and grits a few weeks ago when we went for brunch and i was delighted with my choice. most of the food there is quite different and i enjoy this because the pairings are unique and everything that i’ve tried has been bursting with flavor.

some other things we’ve tried and enjoy at MONDO are the smoked half chicken with thyme mustard jus, sautéed gulf fish with green beans, mondo bleu cheese burger with griddled onions, and the vanilla lemongrass sorbet

if you are ever in this area of town, i highly suggest you stop in and give this restaurant a try. the atmosphere is nice, the prices decent, and, most importantly, the food is delicious. herbsaint and bayona are two other susan spicer restaurants in town. haven’t tried these yet, but i would love to eventually.

shrimp and grits is something that i have not been adventurous enough to try making at home. just nervous that i will not be able to get the sauce/gravy flavorful enough. i’m sure i’ll end up trying this sooner or later and i’ll make sure to let you know when i do!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Insalata Rustica

my mom had this salad at a restaurant recently. then, she decided to recreate it at home for all of us to enjoy. it is so delicious with both a little bit of a salty flavor and a little sweet flavor too. she tweaked the original recipe that she found and this came together so perfectly. needless to say, we finished off this dish quite easily!

here’s what you’ll need:

1 large carton of spring mix
1 apple, cored and sliced
3 plum tomatoes
sugared pecans  - see, i told you earlier in the week that these would come in handy!
pack of prosciutto
pumpkin or sunflower seeds
raisins and/or craisins
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

we cooked the prosciutto down just a little bit in a pan before assembling the salad with the rest of the ingredients. then we assembled. serve in chilled salad bowls and enjoy this palette pleaser!

insalata rustica


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sugared Pecans

here in the south, we love pecans! anything from eating them plain to enjoying them in a fresh pecan pie will make us happy. a few years ago, my mom made sugared pecans. i didn’t remember ever eating these before. and let me tell you…it is quite a memorable experience. they are definitely a sweet treat, and everything from their texture to sweetness makes them fabulous! this recipe for sugared pecans is a precursor to a recipe i’ll be posting later in the week that i don’t think you’ll want to miss!

these sugared pecans are great plain, in salads, over ice cream, with other desserts, and with anything else you can think of trying.

here’s what you’ll need;

1 egg white
1tbs water
12oz pecan halves
3/4c sugar
2tsps ground cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter

preheat oven to 300. line a jelly roll pan with foil. in medium size bowl, whisk egg white and water until foamy. add pecans and stir until coated. set aside. in another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. pour over pecans and stir to coat. melt butter in pan (in oven), remove pan from oven and gently stir nuts into butter. spread evenly and bake about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so they don't burn. allow to cool in pan.

we enjoyed our sugared pecans over coffee ice cream!

sugared pecans


Friday, August 10, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese

doesn’t this mac n cheese look just delicious? well…i’d be lying to you if i told you it was my creation! all the credit for this recipe goes to my husband. creating good mac n cheese kind of runs in his family. all i can say is that he learned well from his momma on this one! we like to make this for special occasions and family gatherings, as it is always quite a hit. it is also very nice to have on hand (pre-portioned) in the freezer. i am one of those crazy ladies who loves to keep a stocked freezer. at any given moment, i usually have around 15 pre-made meals in my freezer ready to go….just in case. it also makes weeknight dinners much easier, but my method on this is another post for another day. back to mac n cheese. here’s a warning for you: this stuff is rich and creamy, and very delicious! i think you’ll be very happy if you try it!

1lb pasta (i use rice pasta, but you can use whatever kind you like)
4C heavy cream
2lb sharp cheddar
1 onion and 1 bell pepper
4 habaneros (or spice of any kind…add to taste)
1/2 stick of butter
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

chop onion, bell pepper, and habs. cook noodles, but leave them firm. sauté onion, bell pepper, and habs in 1/2 stick of butter. let this cool for 20 minutes or so. slowly add cream, eggs, salt/pepper, and 1/2 of the cheese. stir until smooth. put noodles in cheese mixture after removing from heat. butter a 13x9. pour noodle and cheese mixture into 13x9. cover with remaining cheese. bake uncovered on 350 for 1 hour. *tip* put a larger pan under the 13x9 because in the beginning it will be very runny and it usually drips.

macaroni and cheese





Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Simply Delicious Dessert

friends, i have a nice little dessert for you today that takes all of 10 minutes to prep. if it’s quick, tasty, and healthy, it fits the bill for me! this; however, isn’t really on the healthy side, but it was just a little weekend treat for us to enjoy with our very special guests.

here’s what you’ll need:

ice cream of your choice – we used neapolitan
6 oz chocolate – melt this, add a little milk if necessary to achieve a “drippy’ consistency
4 oz heavy whipping cream

ever since i had my mom’s homemade whip cream, i have never quite been able to go back to using cool whip. she ruined me. but that’s ok. i’d much prefer to take a few minutes and make my own whip cream. it truly is that.much.better.

make sure your heavy whipping cream is really cold before you start this process. i used my handheld mixer to do this. pour heavy whipping cream into a spacious bowl (because it will splatter), crank the mixer up to high speed and whip your little heart out. i like to be cautious, so i probably over whip it just a tad, but that’s ok. it’s never turned to butter on me. it takes me about 5 minutes to get it to the consistency that i like. think stiff mountain peeks. that’s what your going for. when finished whipping, refrigerate.

melt your chocolate. my lovely husband did this step for me using the microwave. you could do this on the stove, if you like.

layer in a glass or bowl: 2 scoops of ice cream, a few generous dollups of whip cream, drizzle melted chocolate on top. put this in the freezer and enjoy later.

we found out that they do need to sit out on the counter about 10 minutes before you plan on eating or they will be too hard to properly indulge.

i love this dessert most of all because the melted chocolate creates a hard shell. i think i was a kid the last time i had ice cream with a chocolate shell. this was definitely worth the wait!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer {fashion} Favs 3

here are a few items that i either own or have had my eye on this summer.

i have come so close to buying these ultra affordable wedges. i like both their simplicity and style.


white on white just makes me happy. i seem to be wearing a lot of white this summer.


i have always liked these bellissima cuffs. they come in many different variations, but i like this particular one because it’s so neutral.


these sam edelman sandals are so great. again, they are pretty neutral and low key, but  i’d pair these babies with some pretty wild colors. bright purple actually comes to mind.

Click to zoom in.via

i’ve been craving a french manicure all summer. why it took me so long to actually accomplish, i have no idea. i finally got around to it today and i’m so glad i did!

     french mancure











now that i’ve shared my summer fashion favs, i think i’m ready to see some fall fashion trends. i’m thinking some red pants will be a must for fall!