Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Zesty Sunflower Seed Dip/Dressing

I'm a person that usually gravitates toward creamy dressings for salads.  While I don't think I'll ever become a full-time vegan, there are days that I just want to avoid meat or dairy products.  I have been playing with this particular recipe for the past couple of weeks, tweaking it here and there until finally nailing down a version I'm happy with.  I initially found the first version I'd made to be too tart (I thought I'd put a little too much lemon juice) so I put it in the fridge and started over with a new batch.  Upon tasting it again later, I found that it wasn't so bad after all.  In fact, the more I tasted it the more I liked it.  It was great for dipping veggies but still a little too thick to pour over a salad (easily fixed with a bit more liquid to produce a creamy, dairy-free dressing).  If you give this recipe a try feel free to tweak it to suit your taste buds.  Ancho chile powder adds some kick; occasionally I will also add a couple of splashes of Tabasco chipotle sauce for a bit more heat.  Recipe follows next...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekend Splurge: Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Thịt Heo Quay)

When you've been a good girl all week, I think you're entitled to a bit of a weekend 'splurge' don't you?   If you love roasted pork and crispy crackling like I do, you have to try this (trust me)!  Backstory: I happened to find this recipe out of frustration.  Every now and then I'd treat myself to a bit of crispy roast pork on the weekends.  About a year ago I had a (rare) bad experience at a local Chinese BBQ establishment that I won't name.  I ended up throwing the roast pork I'd purchased away-it was that bad.  Feeling completely unsatisfied I decided to try my luck making it at home.  After searching online I finally found what I feel is the perfect recipe.  All credit to the wonderful Helen Le of danangcuisine.com for her version of Vietnamese Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Thịt Heo Quay).  When I find something this good I have to share.  More info on Helen and this great recipe follows after the jump...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Foodie Events: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2015

It's back!  The 5th annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival kicks off today and runs through the weekend.   Taking place in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, the festival boasts a variety of interactive events and dining experiences featuring some of the top chefs, sommeliers and restaurants in the South.  You can opt for a 1 day or 3 day pass (or special Connoisseur passes for the serious 'foodie'). Participate in one of several classes throughout the weekend, enjoy the tasting tents or take in a fine dining experience during special evening dinners featuring award winning chefs such as the Rathbun Brothers, Shaun Doty (Bantam + Biddy) and more.  Festival attendees can even download a handy 2015 mobile app to view schedules, maps, purchase tickets and more.  There are several ticket and event options available to customize your festival experience. While some events have already sold out there are still other great festival events to choose from so hurry to secure your spot!   For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the event website at atlfoodandwinefestival.com.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meatless Mondays: Cannellini Bean Salad With Lemon-Thyme Dressing

As I make an effort to adopt 'cleaner' eating habits I'm really trying to stay faithful to Meatless Mondays.   So far so good:  I've lost about seven pounds over the past four weeks.  Needless to say I'm very happy and pleasantly surprised!  Today I was in the mood for something quick, easy and fitting for the warmer weather we're experiencing.  This is my variation of a simple cannellini bean salad with roasted red bell pepper and a zesty lemon-thyme dressing.  The leftovers ought to taste even better for lunch tomorrow.  Recipe follows after the jump...