Comfort Foods and Indulgences

buffalo-hot-dogs-noble-pig-2Football season gets my mouth watering for Buffalo sauce. It's kind of a given isn't it? I mean, there is just something about the tang and the heat that keeps me looking forward to game day. Football = Buffalo just does.

One of my favorite places to enjoy Buffalo sauce is on pizza...pepperoni pizza to be exact. I love it. I often put too much and my mouth and lips burn like heck...but so what, this sauce is one of my faves.

So I thought about what I wanted to use as my vehicle for Buffalo sauce for this year's football festivities, hot dogs came to mind. But, just pouring Buffalo sauce on top wasn't going to be enough. Therefore, I also made a Buffalo mayo to drizzle on top. And this is how Buffalo Hot Dogs were born. You can thank me later.

So, let's recap...the hot dogs received a double dose of Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing straight shot and the other made into a Buffalo mayo and were finished off with celery and blue cheese. To. Die. For. I cannot lie.

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Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip-Coffee-CakeThe sun is rising and turning the sky a beautiful pink hue. No rain today, a small miracle since it has been pouring for at least the last two weeks. Maybe I will get my garden cleaned up for its winter sleep. But maybe I won't. The decks also need some cleaning up. There is always a pull of whether to work inside (laundry) or out, but I think the sunshine will win today since it's a rarity.

My oldest son has joined the speech and debate team this year for his high school. Today is his first tournament and we had to have him at school at 5:45 am, dressed in a suit. This is a child who sleeps until 1 pm on the weekends and lives in athletic wear...but he got up, got dressed and off he went.

Thank goodness we had this coffee cake to comfort us after the early wake-up call. I have to hand it to him for having the courage as a freshman to get up there and debate a difficult subject in front of all kinds of people. And his topic today....GMO's, however, he does not know if he will be put on the pro or con side of the argument. He has done so much research and has had team practice three nights a week for almost two months. Hopefully it all goes well. Fingers and toes crossed. 

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sandwich.pulledchickenWe love pulled pork sandwiches in our house, but I don’t always love working with pork. I do admit to loving the taste and making a huge 5 pound pork butt is easier than any week night meal. And I know that pork is the “other” white meat, but I just don’t like eating it that often.

I do make a really good pulled turkey recipe that I discovered over ten years ago in Sara Foster’s The Foster's Market Cookbook, but like the pork, it takes hours to cook. This recipe is great fall dish when the weather is cooler and turning the oven on for 3 to 4 hours is no big deal. I have been searching for a pulled chicken recipe and alas, I finally found one over at The Comfort of Cooking. Georgia uses a dry rub to marinate her chicken and I think it is the rub that gives the chicken it’s tenderness.

I use organic, grass fed chicken from Whole Foods. For this dish, I don’t purchase the boneless, chicken breasts. Instead, I get the chicken breasts with the ribs attached. I then ask the butcher to remove the ribs. The breasts without bones tend to dry out on the grill. The taste, using the chicken in this way, is significantly different. If you don’t use your butcher at your local supermarket, you are missing out! They are always so accommodating, friendly, and they love their meats and poultry.

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ImageThe beginning of a new year continually fills me with a sense of renewal, a longing to de-clutter my life and an overwhelming desire to live more simply. My effort and elbow grease spent on creating and implementing holiday meals are behind me now and it’s time to move forward with new plans, goals and ideas for the future.

I am not one to make too many New Year’s resolutions but this year I have vowed to get back to basics in the kitchen; emphasizing fundamental kitchen techniques such as grilling, sautéing, braising and finally perfecting that “good white sauce”. These are just a handful of skills I feel all good cooks should be able to carry out with ease.

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APPLESAUCE-SPICE-CAKEI made this cake a few weeks back to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Traditionally, apples (and honey) are served in abundance during the 10 day period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Eating this combination stems from an age-old Jewish tradition of eating sweet foods to express our hope for a sweet new year.

I was a bit nervous to serve this cake as one never knows how it will turn out. I did take a little nibble from the bottom of the cake and it was tasty. The true test came when the kids took their first bite. My niece, Ruby, and my nephew, Luca were raving and saying things like, “this is the best cake I have ever eaten”.

They stole little slices, wrapped them in plastic wrap and vowed to eat them the next morning. According to their parents, the cake never made it to the next morning!

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