Monthly Archives: July 2013

McGinty’s Brunch

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I’ve mentioned before that I have a love of all things breakfast food related and think breakfast should be served all day long, which makes brunch pretty much perfect in my book!  A few weekends ago some friends and I went to McGinty’s Public House, an Irish restaurant and bar, in Silver Spring.  They have a prix fixe menu where you get 3 courses and a mimosa for $20.95, which 4 of us decided to get.

Prix Fixe menuTheir regular brunch menu also had a bunch of delicious options.

mchinty's brunch menu

We started out with our round of mimosas.

mimosas

For our starter all of us decided on McGinty’s Brunch Tart, which was a tart with avocado, tomato, mozzarella,  scallions,  bacon and an egg, it was a great combination of flavors!

brunch tart

brunch tart 2

We got a variety of entrees.  Alyssa, Nick, and I all got McGinty’s Crab Cakes Benedict, which was absolutely delicious, the chipotle hollandaise sauce really set everything off.

carb cakes benedict

Don ordered the steak and eggs which came with home fries and kale.

steak and eggs

Brooke ordered the corn beef hash which came with eggs, home fries, and asparagus.

corned beef and hash

For out final course we each ordered a different dessert and I have to say, they were all amazing!  I went with the crepes brulee which was 2 crepes filled with berry compote and topped with lemon cream and pecans.  The crunchy caramelized sugar was soooo great!

crepes brulee

Alyssa got the granny smith apple strudel, it came with sea salted caramel and balsamic strawberry ice cream.  The ice cream had a really great flavor and went really well with the sea salted caramel and apples.

apple strudel

Don went with the brioche bread pudding that came with vanilla ice cream.

bread pudding

Last but not least, Nick ordered the profiteroles.  the crunch outside and the gooey inside was fantastic, especially with he strawberry compote.

profiterole

Everything was incredibly delicious, I highly recommend McGinty’s for your brunch needs if you find yourself in Silver Spring!

 

 

 

 

 

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Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

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Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

There are very few summer time treats that compare to juicy fresh peaches.  While I love fresh fruit on its own sometimes you just need to add sugar and transform it into a delicious dessert, fresh peaches go perfectly in cobbler served with ice cream.  You may remember my Strawberry Cobbler post from a few months ago, this is essentially the same recipe, except I like yellow cake mix instead of white to go with the peaches.  It’s incredibly easy, and amazingly yummy so do yourself a favor and make it this weekend!

Peach Cobbler in bowl

First peel and slice the peaches and place them in a lined dutch oven (if you don’t have liners you can use parchment paper).

Peaches

Then sprinkle them with cinnamon and brown sugar and the cake mix.  Top with pats of butter (yum)!

peaches topped

Put the lid on, add some charcoal to the top and bottom, and cook!

dutch oven

It will get golden brown and bubbly

cooked in do

Soooooo tangy and juicy and sweet and delicious!

peach cobbler in do

Serve it up in a big bowl and add ice cream if you so desire, it’s heavenly!  It’s the perfect treat for a summer bonfire (or really, any summer event).

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Recipe

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh peaches

brown sugar

cinnamon

1 box yellow cake mix

1 stick butter

vanilla ice cream (for serving)

whipped cream (optional for serving)

– Peel and slice the peaches and place in a lined dutch oven

– Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the peaches

– Dump the boxed cake mix over the peaches and distribute evenly

– Place pats of butter evenly spaced on top of the cake mix

– Cover the dutch oven with the lid

– If cooking outdoors:  Place fire embers or charcoal briquets on a sheet of foil and place dutch oven on top (make sure the embers aren’t actually touching the bottom of the dutch oven as this will create hot spots and uneven cooking).  Place more embers or charcoal briquets on the lid.  Cook for 60-90 minutes (depending on heat), turning the oven 1/4 turn and the lid 1/4 turn in the opposite direction every 15 minutes until done.

– If cooking in the oven: Bake at 350° for 60 minutes (or until done)

– Serve with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream

Truckeroo

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Truckeroo

Friday night I went to Truckeroo with a few friends. Now, many of you may be asking, “what the heck is trukeroo?” (don’t worry, this was my exact reaction when my friend Brooke asked if I wanted to go). Basically, once a month in the summer a bunch of food trucks gather in the Bullpen and the National’s Stadium and sell their delicious food from 11 AM to 11 PM, there’s also live music and drinks available. After I learned what it was I couldn’t say no (if you’re in the DC area you should ABSOLUTELY go to the next one, it’s August 16th and I plan on being there too!) so I invited my friends Nick, and Kerry to join us too!

trukeroo

We took the metro to the stadium and were greeted with a ton of people, live music, and smells from TONS of food trucks. Our plan of attack was to make a loop and see what our options were. After seeing what was available we decided to try DC Empanadas.

DC Empanadas

Everything on the menu sounded sooooo good!

DC Empanadas Menu

Nick and I got the fish tacos. I originally wanted to get an empanada because, afterall, it was an empanada truck, but he fish tacos sounded so delicious and it’s really hard for me to turn down a good taco. I’m so glad I got the taco because it was hands down the best fish taco I’ve ever had. The chipotle remolade and avocado lime crema on top were delicious!

fish tacos

Brooke got the Ropanada, which is a shredded beef taco with rice in a tomato sauce.

empanada

ropanada

Kerry decided on the Tio Asher, a vegetarian empanada made with tofu, black beans, corn, cilantro, chipotle peppers and green onions.

tio asher

The food was so hot we decided we needed drinks, so Kerry and I headed to the daiquiri stand.

 

Daq Shack

I got a passion fruit daiquiri, it was absolutely perfect for cooling me off in the crazy DC heat and humidity.

Passion Fruit

For our second course we headed to the Tapas Truck.

tapas truck

Most of their items were served with garlic fries, which was a big plus for me! Kerry and I decided to share the Shrimp Pil-Pil, which was fried shrimp over garlic fries with sweet chili sauce (the sauce was probably my favorite part, it was the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and spicy).

shrimp pil-pil

Nick ordered the Pork Slider Andaluz.

Pork Slider Andaluz

And Brooke went with the Rabas – calamari served over garlic fries with spicy chili sauce. I absolutely loved how they served them in the newspaper cones.

Rabas

After those courses we were all pretty full but we decided we HAD to have dessert! Brooke and I headed to Carmen’s Italian Ice & Cafe.

Carmen's Italian Ice

As usual I was indecisive and couldn’t decide between custard and ice, luckily Carmen’s has gelatis that combine the two! I ordered the mokaccino custard with piña colada ice and it was absolutely fantastic!

gelati

Brooke got the mokaccino custard topped with chocolate chips.

custard

Nick decided to go to Pleasant Pops.

pleasant pops

They had a bunch of interesting flavors, he decided to try the cookies and cream pop, he said it was delicious.

cookies and cream pop

After we got our desserts we decided for sit at the picnic tables with some drinks and listen to the live music.

the bullpen

 

Brooke and Nick

Brooke and Nick

Kerry and I

Kerry and I

It was a great night and I would definitely recommend you check out the next truckeroo if you’re in the DC area!

 

 

Guacamole

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Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my all time favorite snacks (although if I’m being honest I could easily eat enough to make it a meal).  If I have guacamole in hand you can bet that I’ll incorporate into just about any food I’m eating, eggs, burgers, sandwiches, salads, most things can be improved with some guac!  I love making homemade guacamole, it’s soooo simple and it tastes about a thousand times better than store bought, try it, I’m sure you’ll agree!

guacamole on plate

Make sure you have ripe avocados (they should be brown and should give a little when you squeeze them) and cut them in half.

avocados

Remove the pits (they should come out easily if the avocados are ripe) and cut the flesh into chunks while it’s in the skin.

chunked in skin

Scoop the flesh into a bowl (I use a tupperware container so I don’t have to transfer it for storage) using a spoon and mash with a potato masher (you can use a fork if you don’t have a potato masher).

potato masher

Add some lime zest and juice and mix it all up with the potato masher.

add lime juice and zest

Stir in some fresh salsa (I use store bought but if you’re feeling ambitious knock yourself out and make your own).

fresh salsa

And some grated garlic.

grated garlic

And some spices: fresh cilantro (I’ve used dried cilantro in a pinch, but fresh really is better for this), cumin, and chili powder.  Then stir it all up until it’s well combined.

stir guac

Serve it up with some chips.

guacamole

So delicious.

Guac on chip

Really, words cannot properly express how much I love guacamole, I guess it’s a good thing a picture is worth a thousand words.

guacamole on plate

And here’s another thousand, that’s how much yummy this is!

chip dipped in guacamole

Recipe

Guacamole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3 ripe Haas avocados

2 limes – zest and juice (if your limes are really large or juicy use the juice from 1 1/2)

1/2 cup fresh salsa

2 cloves garlic – grated

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

– Halve the avocados and remove the pits

– Cut into chunks in the skin then scoop the flesh into a bowl using a spoon

– Slightly mash the avocado chunks with a potato masher

– Add the lime zest and juice to the avocado and mash with the potato masher until you reach your desired consistency

– Add the salsa and garlic and stir to combine

– Stir in the spices

– Serve with tortilla chips or assorted vegetables

 

Yellow Squash Pasta

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Yellow Squash Pasta

As I’ve established before, I love pasta (see chicken fettucine alfredo, penne with vodka sauce, parmesan pasta and veggies, and pesto pasta with butternut squash) but there are some times when you want something lighter.  I’ve had spaghetti squash before, which is pretty delicious, so a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon this recipe for zucchini pasta from Miss Chris Creations I was intrigued.  I had some squash in the fridge and I decided to make a tomato sauce to go along with it, the dish turned out great!

squash pasta

First use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips of the squash or zucchini and lay them out on a paper towels, and sprinkle them with salt (to bring out the water).

squash strips

Meanwhile mince some garlic.

garlic

Put it in a pan with some olive oil and dried Italian seasoning (basil, parsley, oregano).

garlic, evoo, seasoning in pan

Let the squash sit and then squeeze the excess water out of the squash.  I dabbed them with paper towels and then put the squash in a ball and squeezed until no more water came out.

squash

Add the squash to the pan, and some fresh ground black pepper, and cook until the squash is tender.

squash in tan

Then add some tomato sauce and cook for a little longer.

added tomato sauce

Serve on a plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

squash pasta

Yummmmm!

squash pasta on fork

Recipe

Yellow Squash Pasta

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 yellow squash or zucchini

salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley)

fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Parmesan cheese (for serving)

– Use a vegetable peeler to cut thing strips of squash or zucchini, stopping when you get to the seeds

– Lay the strips out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for 10-15 minutes

– Meanwhile cook the garlic in a pan with the olive oil and Italian seasoning

– After 10-15 minutes, dab the squash with paper towels, then ball up and squeeze out the excess water

– Add the squash to the pan with some black pepper  to taste and cook until the squash is tender (about 5 minutes)

– Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for a few more minutes

– Serve, topping with Parmesan cheese as desired

Orange Cinnamon French Toast

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Orange Cinnamon French Toast

I absolutely love breakfast foods, I think restaurants should serve them all day, and breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things.  Until a few years ago I was never a big fan of French Toast.  I know, I thought it was strange too, bread, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, what’s not to like?  So I played around with different ingredients and came up with this Orange Cinnamon version.  It’s now my go to french toast recipe and it’s pretty delicious if I do say so myself!

orange french toast

First buy some cinnamon swirl or cinnamon raisin bread, this is an absolute necessity, don’t even try to make this with regular bread, it won’t be nearly as scrumptiously delicious.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Then cut it into thirds.  Part of the reason I was never a huge french toast fan was that I always thought the center wasn’t done right, it was too egg-y or something, but cutting it in thirds eliminates that problem.

Sliced bread

Then zest 2 oranges into a dish and then add their juice.

oranges

Crack some eggs into the dish, add cinnamon and vanilla, and whisk away.  Dip the bread slices into the mixture so that they’re completely coated and then place them in a buttered skillet.

bread in egg

Cook for a few minutes, and the flip and cook on the other side.

bread in skillet

Once cooked, remove to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

orange french toast

Serve with more powdered sugar, syrup, and fresh fruit if desired.

orange cinnamon french toast

Recipe

Orange Cinnamon French Toast

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 loaf of cinnamon raisin or cinnamon swirl bread (16 slices)

8 eggs

2 navel oranges – zest and juice

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

powdered sugar (for serving)

syrup (for serving)

fresh fruit (optional for serving)

– Slice the bread into thirds

– Scramble the eggs in a shallow dish

– Add the orange, cinnamon, and vanilla to the egg and whisk together

– Dip the bread pieces into the egg mixture until they’re completely coated

– Place in a buttered skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes until done

– Flip and cook the other side for 3-5 minutes, or until done

– Remove from the skillet and place on a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar

– Serve with extra powdered sugar, syrup, and fresh fruit as desired

Zucchini Pizza Bites

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Zucchini Pizza Bites

I’ve seen various recipes for pizzas using vegetables as a crust floating around pinterest and other random corners of the internet for the past few months and was always intrigued by the idea.  When I visited home a few weeks ago and found some delicious zucchinis and squash I knew I wanted to try making pizza with them, it turned out great!  We made traditional pizzas with tomato sauce and mozzarella and we also tried using pepper jack cheese (which ended up being AMAZINGLY good) as well as some pesto pizzas.

zucchini pizza bites

First slice up some zucchini and squash into 1/4″ thick slices and lay them on a greased baking sheet.  Put them in the oven and bake for a little.

zucchini on baking sheet

Then take them out, cover them with your desired sauce (tomato or pesto), and add cheese.  We also topped ours with some dried Italian spices (basil, oregano, and parsley) and some fresh ground black pepper.

zucchini pre oven

Return them to the oven until the cheese is bubbly and gooey and delicious.

zpb

Then serve them up on a plate and enjoy!

pesto zucchini bites

 

They’re kinda like bagel bites, but healthier.

zucchini bagel bites on plate

 

Recipe

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 zucchini or squash

1/4 cup tomato sauce or pesto (or some of each)

1/2 cup cheese (we used a mixture of mozzarella and pepper jack)

shredded Parmesan cheese

Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley)

fresh cracked black pepper

– Preheat oven to 375 °F

– Slice the zucchini into 1/4″ thick disks and place on a greased baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes

– Remove from the oven and spoon tomato sauce or pesto over top

– Place cheese on top of sauce

– Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper

– Return to the oven for 15 minutes (or until the cheese is melted)

– Remove from oven and serve

June 2013: A Review

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I don’t know about you but June flew by for me!  I started summer research at University of Maryland, caught up with some friends, and went to O’s game (in which they killed the Yankees 11-3, go O’s!).  As usual I have ten amazing recipes I found this month and my top viewed posts, enjoy!

My Top 3 Most Viewed Posts

  1. Blueberry Sugar Cookies – Absolutely delicious, soft, airy cookies with tangy blueberries and sweet, sweet sugar! blueberry sugar cookie bite
  2. Chili and Cornbread – A favorite last month too, classic, and yummy. chili and cornbread
  3. Chicken Tacos with Black Beans and Corn – Mexican food, what’s not to love? finished chicken tacos

My Top 10 Favorite Links

  1. These Potato Chip Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars combine salty and sweet, such an amazing idea (from Vanilla Kitchen)!

    IMG_1833

    From Vanilla Kitchen

  2. Looking for a creative way to make salsa?  This Grilled Avocado and Peach Salsa (from Savory Simple) sounds delicious to me!

    Grilled Avocado and Peach Salsa ~ Healthy Party Appetizer ~ Savory Simple

    From Savory Simple

  3. I think I need a slice of this Banana Almond Toffee Cake (from The Thankful Heart) ASAP, or maybe just the entire cake!

    IMG_1763

    From The Thankful Heart

  4. Chicken Ranch Burgers (from Tastes of Lizzy T) will definitely be making an appearance on my dinner plate sometime soon.

    Chicken Ranch Burgers

    From Tastes of Lizzy T

  5. This No Bake Nutella, Peanut Butter, and Marshmallow Pie (from Life, Love, and Sugar) looks super simple, and super delicious!

    Nutella, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Pie

    From Life, Love, and Sugar

  6. I’m always looking for new twists on pasta recipes and this Tuna, Yellow Pepper, and Chilli Linguini (from Homemade With a Mess) sounds fantastic.

    007

    From Homemade With a Mess

  7. As you’ve probably figured out by now, I love all things chocolate, I’m sure these Black Bottom Cupcakes (from Flavor the Moments) would be no exception.

    black bottom cupcakes {all dressed up}

    From Flavor the Moments

  8. With the rainy days in the forecast this week Spicy Chickpea Soup with Coconut Milk (from My Favourite Pastime) will be delicious!

    Spicy Chickpea Soup with Coconut Milk myfavouritepastime.com_0574

    from My Favourite Pastime

  9. A new recipe for Mexican nights, Grilled Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa (from Foxes Love Lemons).

    Grilled Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

    from Foxes Love Lemons

  10. Mini Coffee Cheesecakes (from BB A La Carte), scrumptious!

    IMG_7079

    from BB A La Carte

What were your favorite recipes from this month?