Celebrate Fat Tuesday in style…by overindulging a little. Here’s some of our favorite decadent recipes:
And if to wash it all down, seek out some NOLA brews.
Mardi Gras is upon us, landing on March 4th this year. For the ultimate “Fat Tuesday”, we bring you beignet bread pudding. Not for the faint of calories, it’s decadent, delicious and a welcome addition to your stomach, especially if you’re drinking those hurricanes and earning your beads. For a little bit of NOLA wherever your Mardi Gras is, this bread pudding is the closest thing you’ll get to ending your evening with some café au lait-dunked beignets overlooking Jackson Square. Baker beware: this recipe does have to sit overnight, but it’s the perfect weekend project.
Beignet Bread Pudding
Serves: a crowd (10-12)
1 (28oz) Box of beignet mix or your favorite beignet recipe (you’ll need about 3-4 dozen)
4 Cups of whole milk
1 Cup of sugar
1/3 Cup brewed coffee (Café du Monde brand** coffee, if you’re going really authentic), cooled
Make and fry beignets according to the package or your recipe’s directions. Set aside.
Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Rough roughly tear the beignets into 1/4″ pieces and scatter in the pan, making sure all areas are covered.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and coffee until fully combined. Evenly pour over the beignets and press down slightly, making sure all of the beignets are touching the liquid. Cover and let sit over night.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the bread pudding and bake for 45-60 minutes, until it is set.
**Want the Café du Monde coffee, but short on shipping time? Check out your local Asian grocery store, which, oddly enough, often stocks the coffee and for less money.
We’re in the thick of it; blood orange season that is. I love these little ruby-hued citrus that come every year, typically between December and March. They have a slightly more fruit forward taste that can sometimes finish with a stronger acidity than regular oranges (it’s hard to describe but you’ll know it when you taste it). What’s more is that their distinctive color is actually an indicator of higher levels of antioxidants, which make them better for you. These characteristics make them a great switcheroo for any situation that normally calls for an orange. You can generally find them at Whole Foods or other specialty/organic markets; larger grocery stores will sometimes carry them too. Grab a couple today and try them out in our sparkling cocktail, or with some of our suggestions below. If you think of any inventive ways to use them be sure to share your pics on our Facebook page. –Brown
My Bloody Valentine
Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter what your “status” is, everyone loves a good love song. Here’s some of our favorites for listening at work, a romantic dinner at home, getting ready to go out with your galantine’s (or dude-equivalant), or snuggling up with that special someone.
Bonus: we added our first dance song in here. First person who can correctly guess it in the comments, wins a bag of our signature Sweet & Smokey Cocktail nuts (Note: those of you that know already are disqualified).
Red & Brown
It’s Wednesday, you’ve made no plans for Valentine’s Day (which is Friday by the way), and you’ve got a special a lady (or guy) who you’d like to impress. Relax. Don’t panic and pay through the nose for a last-minute reservation; as long as this person has been in your apartment before (or you’re comfortable asking her/him over) you should make dinner. This only requires the ability to read a timer, a cast iron (or oven safe) pan, and another medium-sized pan or pot. Also, she or he has to like steak. As long as you can meet the requirements above and have about 20 minutes you can create a delicious steakhouse-style meal that will be sure to impress. –Brown
Porterhouse with creamed spinach
1 16 ounce Porterhouse or T-Bone steak (get aged beef if you can splurge)
1 large bag or bunch of spinach (about 11 ounces), rinsed, dried, and roughly torn
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how comfortable you are with your guest)
2 Tablespoons butter (plus more for finishing)
1 small shallot, diced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 Cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon canola oil (you can use vegetable oil in a pinch but not olive oil)
Ground black pepper
About 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to eat take your steak out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. This is important to make sure it cooks evenly and you’re not serving raw meat (unless your date is into it).
About 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat, preheat your oven to 500° F and put your pan in there once it’s come to temperature. You want to get that thing as hot as possible so try to leave it in the oven for at least 10-15 minutes.
Put your other pan or pot over medium heat on the stove and melt the butter. Add in the shallot and garlic and cook them down for 1 minute.
Add your spinach and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook it down for 3-4 minutes and add in the cream and nutmeg. Stir for another 4-5 minutes until the cream has thickened; you can add a pinch or two of flour if it’s not thickening up, just be sure to stir it in so there are no lumps. Check your seasoning and add more of whatever you need, if anything. If it tastes good, drop the heat to a simmer and stir the spinach occasionally while you’re searing your steak.
With potholders remove your cast iron pan from the oven and place it on the stove over high heat, but don’t turn the oven off. Salt and pepper your steak generously, this is all the seasoning you’re going to need/use so don’t be shy.
Put your hood vent on (it’s gonna get smoky) and pour a tablespoon of canola oil in the pan. Add the steak and sear it on one side for 1-1 1/2 minutes just to get a nice brown crust on it. Flip it over and sear for another 1-1 1/2 minutes. Keep everything in the pan and immediately pop it back in the oven and cook it for 2 minutes; this will give you a perfect medium rare steak.
Remove the steak from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute. I recommend pre-slicing the steak from the bone so your date doesn’t have to. Less cutting time means more staring-lovingly-into-her-eyes time. Serve it up with a nice side of your spinach et viola! Love on a plate.
Tonight’s the kick off to the Olympics and although it is in Russia this year, we’re taking it back… way back: to ancient Greece. An important ingredient in Greek history and culture, Honey is the center of our cocktail. We took a twist on the classic Greek drink Rakomelo, which features honey brandy, and took it to new heights. The nerds that we are for food history and mythology, it turns out honey is also the main ingredient for Ambrosia, the food of the gods thought to bring immortality. And the Olympics, it is said, began as an honor to Zeus, the king of the gods, which not only brings us back full circle, but also explains the egg whites: clouds.
Celebrate one of the few world-wide cultural events with a toast to where it all began. If you’re enjoying this winter weather, this drink can easily be enjoyed hot– just leave out the egg white when heating the remainder of ingredients.
Makes 1 Cocktail
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz Port
1 Egg White
Whole Ice Cubes
Combine first 6 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about 5-8 seconds.
Add the ice and continue to shake harder and faster, until the cocktail shaker is ice cold to the touch.
Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass (although martini works too) and serve.
It’s the year of the horse according to the Chinese zodiac; fitting considering we’re rooting for the Broncos for this weekend’s showdown. Never content to pass up an opportunity to make food and throw a party, we’ve combined Chinese New Year with the Super Bowl for your snacking pleasure. Incorporating elements of lucky foods (like tangerines) and symbols (the color red and the number three) Red has created some delicious Asian-influenced takes on traditional football fare. Like buffalo chicken dip? Wait until you try it with sriracha and peanuts. Ribs get the takeout treatment with a sweet and sticky tangerine sauce. And why should noodles have all the fun when nachos are clearly the better option for tailgating from your couch? We swapped fried wontons in for tortilla chips and make a rich meat sauce that will have you wondering why you’ve been relying on salsa and cheese all these years. Check out the recipes below.
Tangerines are one of the special foods eaten at Chinese New Year as they’re said to symbolize luck. Pair them with a football party favorite: ribs, and you’ve got your go-to food that might just be the “little luck” you need to win your football pool this year.
Tangerine Sticky Ribs
3 pounds of pork ribs
3 Tablespoons of Asian 5 spice powder
1 1/2 Cup tangerine juice (about 4 medium-sized tangerines)
1 1/2 Cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 Cup fish sauce
1/2 Cup fermented black bean paste
4 scallions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
fresh black pepper, to taste
honey to baste (apx 1/3 cup)
Rub ribs with 5 spice powder and place in a 1 Gallon-sized plastic ziploc bag.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients, minus the honey. Pour into the bag, covering the ribs.
Zip the bag closed, making sure the ribs are laying flat on one layer (not on top of each other) and lie flat in the fridge. Let marinate overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Fill a casserole dish or roasting pan with water, half of the way up the pan.
Arrange the ribs on a cooking rack and place over the roasting pan, making sure the ribs are not touching the water.
Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Baste the ribs on all sides with honey and cook for another 1/2 hour.
In my family, buffalo rules… buffalo chicken dip, that is. A hot and creamy dip that perfectly combines everything people love about buffalo chicken wings–blue cheese dipping sauce + juicy pieces of chicken + generous amounts of hot sauce–without needing to eat around the bones. It’s definitely delicious and you may remember that I blogged about it another lifetime here. For our Super Bowl party though, I’ve swapped out the blue cheese for an Asian-style ranch and the Frank’s has been rightfully replaced with Sriracha. Serve along side our Wonton Chips for the full effect. This will definitely feed a crowd, but beware, it’s going to go fast– Red
Spicy Asian Chicken Dip
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 Cup Sichuan peppercorns
1 Cup sriracha + more for top
1/2 Cup roasted peanuts, crushed
2 bars of Cream Cheese
6 Oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 Cup buttermilk
1/2 Cup mayonaise
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.
Fill a medium-sized pot with water and the peppercorns. Bring to a boil and add the chicken. Continue to boil 3 minutes on high and then remove and cover the pot. Let stand until chicken is fully cooked through about 15-20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot and put aside to cool, but reserve 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid. When cool, pull the chicken with your hands, mixing up with the poaching liquid and scatter in a medium-sized casserole dish with the hot sauce and crushed peanuts. Toss to coat.
Combine Monterey Jack cheese, lime juice, mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, garlic, soy sauce and ginger in a sauce pan on medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until cheese and cream cheese are melted. Pour the sauce over the the chicken and gently mix to combine all.
Top with scallions and a drizzle of sriracha. Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.
Dan Dan noodles is a traditional Sichuan dish that’s beloved by heat seekers and known for its spice. We take the classic and give it a twist as a meat-heavy topping to our wonton nacho chips. This is a great dish to feed a crowd and give new spin on lifeless nachos. Although good on its own, a dollop of sour cream balances all the heat.
Dan Dan Nachos
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 lb ground pork or beef
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of sugar
1/2 Tablespoon black bean and garlic sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 1/2 Cup chicken stock
1/4 Cup of chile oil + more for finishing
1/4 Cup tahini paste/sesame paste
1 Recipe wonton chips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add meat, season with salt and pepper and stir, breaking up any large chunks of meat with a spoon or spatula. Add the Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce, sugar, and black bean sauce to the pan and cook until the beef is no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove beef from the pan and set aside in a bowl, reserving any liquid in the wok.
Return to medium high heat and the add ginger and garlic, cooking until aromatic. Stir in the chicken stock, 1/4 cup of the chile oil and tahini paste and cook on high until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
To Serve: Arrange wonton nachos on a platter. Evenly distribute the beef over the nachos and repeat with the dan dan sauce. Garnish with scallions and a drizzle of chile oil. Serve immediately.