Who: The Pioneer Woman
What: Cookbook Signing
When: Tues, Dec 8th at 7 p.m.
Where: Davis-Kidd Booksellers
The Mall at Green Hills
2121 Green Hills Village Drive
Nashville, TN

The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite blogs, so naturally, when I heard she was coming to Nashville to promote her new cookbook, I was beside myself with excitement! I even sent her a message letting her know that I would make myself available to pick her up from the airport, take her to lunch, dinner, shopping, etc. Basically whatever she might want to do, I’m game.

Hmmm…yeah, I didn’t hear back from her. But maybe it’s because she has like a million and one followers???

Any of you other cooks, food bloggers, or fans planning to go to the book signing next week? Would love to meet up with you!

Click here for her book signing schedule in other cities. Still to come: Dallas, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, NYC, and Oklahoma City.


My Black Friday shopping consists of me, a big cup of coffee, and a computer. That’s right, I don’t venture out in that craziness, especially since this year many retailers are offering the same deals online.

I told you I would keep passing along holiday gift ideas, and today I’ve found a fantastic deal on magazine subscriptions for you! Amazon.com is having a blowout sale on 10 popular magazines–all are only $5 for an entire year!

A couple of them are favorites of mine for recipes: Southern Living and Food & Wine. For those on your gift list that may not be quite into food as much as we are, there are plenty of other subject matters to choose from- sports, fashion, travel, home decor, and more.

Click here for a full list and order before Tuesday, December 1st, when the sale ends!

Gobble Gobble

Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

photo credit: Thanksgiving Turkey by tuchodi

And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Dump Cake is another one of the recipes I’ve been asked about over the last few days. It’s a guilty pleasure and I only make it a few times a year for special occasions or to feed a crowd. I refuse to make it for just me and hubby, as that is extremely dangerous (sneaky bites with every pass thru the kitchen = entire cake gone in 2 days).

Consider this the perfect potluck dessert-easy, inexpensive, yet impressive. You don’t even need to know how to cook. It never, I mean never, fails me. When it joins me at a party, I’m adored.

The version I grew up eating has cherry and pineapple, but there are lots of other variations you can try. My fellow food blogger and twitter buddy, Lesley, is also very aware of the awesomeness that is Dump Cake. When she saw the dump cake tweets between me and Amy of Word Kitchen, she volunteered some of her favorite options. Apple filling with yellow mix, cinnamon and pecans? Mmmm. And cherry with chocolate mix? Okay, Yum. I’m thinking sometime soon I might give it a go with peaches and butter cake mix, making a quick and easy peach cobbler. So your choice, the tried and true “original” recipe below, or invent your own version!


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Dump Cake

Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 (18.25 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Spread crushed pineapple on bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan. Top pineapple with cherry pie filling, and sprinkle cake mix evenly over fruit. (Layer in the order listed. Do NOT mix)
Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly.

Serve on it's own or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Photo credit: dump cake by nochipra

I was planning to blog about a few other things this week but have noticed over the past few days that just about the only thing on most people’s minds is their Thanksgiving menu. I’ve actually had several emails from friends and co-workers requesting recipes for a couple of specific things, so I decided I should share them with the world (or at least my lovely devoted readers)!

Every year we have a Thanksgiving potluck at work, and every year I bring the same thing- Corn Pudding. Actually, a couple of my co-workers probably wouldn’t allow me to participate if I didn’t bring it. When the sign-up sheet comes out, I’m not even the one that signs myself up anymore, yet mine is the first name on the list, with a big CORN PUDDING out beside it. No joke. Don’t get me wrong, I love corn pudding as much as my co-worker who signs me up for it, so I would probably continue to bring it time and time again even if I wasn’t prompted. But it is nice knowing my food is appreciated :-)

When it came time to make it this year, I remembered that in previous years the container was scraped clean, with no leftovers to have for lunch the next day. This is just not acceptable around my office- we want to eat like kings for at least a couple of days! So this time I doubled the recipe and made 2 separate casserole dishes, thinking we probably wouldn’t even put the second one out on the table, but instead, save it for the next day’s lunch.

Yeah, right. Dish #1 went fast, so Dish #2 was heated up and over half of it was devoured as well. I’ve now learned my lesson and have made a mental note to triple the recipe next year!

Some of you out there may be reading this and thinking, “What the heck is corn pudding?”. Well, it’s served as a side dish, and is most definitely a classic Southern comfort food. I’ve seen it made with various ingredients, some more sweet and some more savory.

This recipe was handed down from my grandmother– it was a dish that she often made when I was growing up. So not only do I love it because it’s outrageously yummy, but I love it even more because it brings back memories of her. Hers is on the sweeter end of the spectrum of corn puddings, and it’s totally addictive, so beware!


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Grandmama's Corn Pudding

Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:

2 (14.75 oz) cans cream style corn*
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (whole, 2%, skim, soy, whatever you have on hand, they'll all work!)

*you can also use 1 can whole kernel in place of 1 can cream style for a thicker consistency

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter. In an 8x8 pyrex casserole dish*, mix melted butter with sugar and flour. Add beaten egg and mix.
Add corn and milk. Mix all. Bake for 1 hour.

*make sure you use a flat dish to bake, and not a bowl. The bowl shape will cause it to cook unevenly, and your center will be too runny.



Very few dishes can transport me back in time to the first moment they touched my lips. Usually it’s an amazing dish from a restaurant- a Shrimp Risotto appetizer at Zola here in Nashville, the Crunchy Roll at Surfside Sushi in San Diego, Ricotta Gnudi at The Spotted Pig in NYC, the Seared Scallops in Truffle Cream Sauce at River’s End on Hwy 1 where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean…ah, the memories.

Yet this dish I’m about to share was not from a restaurant, but from a friend. My friend Elizabeth dazzled me with it at my book club’s Christmas party several years ago and I still remember my delight at first taste. Who knew I liked asparagus soup? Not me! Rich and creamy, it was a beautiful start to an elegant holiday meal.

Want to leave a lasting impression on your guests? Then I suggest adding this to your dinner party menu~


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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cut asparagus pieces (ends discarded)
2 tsp butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus pieces and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until asparagus are very tender. Place the broth and asparagus in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cover and process until pureed. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour until absorbed. Stir in the milk, half-and-half, asparagus puree, cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Add the salt and pepper.

Optional: To Serve, top with shaved parmesan and cracked pepper




Photo Credit: dinner by daphne31

Asparagus on Foodista

As I mentioned previously, in these weeks leading up to the holidays, I’ll pass along some great gift ideas for the foodie or cook in your life. Today’s are for the home cook and personally endorsed by yours truly–all are items in my kitchen that I particularly adore.

The first was actually given to me as a gift by my friend Melissa on my last birthday. She’s a stellar cook herself, so she has a good grasp on the sorts of kitchen items I would enjoy.

Prepara Herb Savor

I grow several herbs myself, but there are a few things that I haven’t been able to grow, so I have to purchase them at the grocery. They usually come in a much larger portion than is needed for one recipe, so unfortunately much of it goes to waste since fresh herbs last only about a week in the fridge before spoiling.

This is where Prepara comes in. They boast that the herb savor will prolong the life of the herbs for up to 3 weeks, but I’ve had them last well past that even! This thing is miraculous. It works with all kinds of herbs- cilantro, parsley, rosemary, mint….

It came in particularly handy this summer by keeping the mint fresh for our Pimm’s Cups. For anyone that uses fresh herbs in their cooking (or in their cocktails), this gadget will be life changing, and money saving.

Click here for more information or to purchase.

This next item I picked up at Sur La Table while in Pittsburgh. I’m a minimalist, so I’m not one for having alot of gadgets that serve a singular purpose, but this one is the exception. It is fantastic.


Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper

The zipper is rounded so it doesn’t leave any waste on the cob like a knife does. It follows the curve of the cob and neatly strips off multiple rows of kernels all at once.

Since it was already September when I purchased, I missed out on a majority of the corn crop, but still put this gadget to good use for a couple of weeks. I cannot wait for next summer when I will wear it out!!

For more information and to order click here.


Many months ago I shared with you the recipe for scrambled egg muffins I make on a regular basis for my hubby. I used to use a regular muffin pan to make them, but they would always stick and be really hard to clean- which meant that often, the pan would soak in the kitchen sink for days. I hate dishes in the sink. Well, those days are gone.

Silicone Baking Cups

Last year for Christmas, Ravi’s mom gave me these wonderful little silicone muffin cups. They are so easy to use- pour the stuff in, bake, then pop the stuff right out. I use the term “stuff” because you can use these for muffins, cupcakes, or recipes like my scrambled egg muffins which really aren’t “muffins” at all. They’re easy to clean and take up much less space than a muffin pan.

Click here for more info or to purchase.

So there you go, a few ideas that will hopefully help you out with your holiday shopping. I would love to hear from you as to what your favorite kitchen items are, so please comment and share!

A new discount gift certificate company called Groupon recently launched in Nashville and so far there have been some great deals for restaurants like Flyte, Miro District, Melting Pot, and one of my favorites coffee shops, DrinkHaus.

But today’s deal has me especially excited….

1/2 off ChaChah!!!!

That’s right, for $25 you get a $50 gift certificate!

ChaChah was recently voted Best New Restaurant by the Nashville Scene, so this is a complete bargain that is absolutely just too fantastic to pass up!

Hurry, the offer is only good for TODAY, so click here to get your gift certificate now!