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{Recipe} Honey Chipotle Spiced Pecans

Meet your new favorite party treat. The Honey Chipotle Spiced Pecans are a crowd pleaser. They're spicy, salty, sweet and totally irresistable. They are easy to whip up and they'll disappear fast!

Honey Chipotle Spice Pecans


2 tbsp honey
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups pecan halves
2 tbsp granulated sugar (I use raw sugar)
3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the honey, chipotle powder, cayenne and cinnamon. Warm through. Stir nuts into warmed honey mixture to coat well. Spread honey-coated nuts in a single layer on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. In a clean mixing bowl, combine sugar and salt. Add hot nuts to bowl and toss to coat. Return nuts to baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Yum!



Lobster Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite things to make. I mean, what's better than cheese and butter coated rice? Not much! I made this lobster risotto for a special occassion and wow was it good. I found the idea for the recipe on the Stone Brewery blog but I cooked differently than they recommended. I prefer to cook my risotto more in the style of Jamie Oliver. My combo cooking method is in the recipe below. 

Lobster Risotto

Serves 8 to 10


1½ Tbsp olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6½ cups seafood or vegetable stock

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups Arborio rice

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1½ pounds lobster meat, chopped into bit-sized pieces

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a sauce pan, bring stock to a simmer. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and zest and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir constantly for about a minute. Add a ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream, Parmesan and butter. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly season the lobster with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high. Add the lobster meat and sauté very lightly until cooked (unless using cooked lobster, then cook until the meat is hot all the way through). Add the lobster and remaining stock to the risotto mixture. Adjust the seasoning if needed. To serve, ladle the risotto in a bowl and garnish with parsley.


Note: Lobster was not readily available on the day I chose to cook this recipe. I substitued langostino meat for the lobster. Langostino has a more mild flavor than lobster and it worked very well in this case


Avocado Smoothie {recipe}

Welcome to my newest obsession, avocado smoothies! A little yogurt, some ice, a touch of honey and you're headed to wow-land! This smoothie is creamy, sweet, savory and delicious. Go get a ripe avocado and wip one up! Now I'm watching the baby avocados on my tree with a new intensity, I can't wait until I can make these from my own crop!

Avocado Smoothies

Makes 2

1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with your favorite color straw!

Recipe adapted from here.


Banana Chocolate Blondies with Rum {recipe}


Yes, please! Have you ever made blondies? I've always made brownies and now I might be converting. I had some leftover bananas and wasn't in the mood for regular banana bread so I tried something new. Blondies! Try them now, it's worth it! 

Banana Blondies with Rum and Chocolate Chips

1 c unsalted butter
2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1.5 c all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp dark rum* 
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13" pan and set aside. Using a double-boiler, add the butter and brown sugar and whisk it together until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool for couple minutes or until it’s warm to the touch then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour. Stir in the bananas, rum and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve if you can wait that long!

*Optional ingredient however I'm not sure why you'd ever not want rum!

Click the Print Article button below to get a printer friendly page for this recipe. 


Philadelphia Soft Pretzels {recipe}

I have been on a huge pretzel kick for the last few months. Pretzels are not something that's readily available in Southern California, my grocery store sells one brand of pretzels. One. From a major snack company. There's no Snyder's of Hanover out here. And I spent so much time lamenting the lack of pretzels that my sister sent me a case of Unique Pretzels straight out of the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside. Yum!

But then I got thinking about soft pretzels and how delicious they are. A good, buttery, soft pretzel. When I worked in Philadelphia pretzels were a regular thing. A print vendor would show up at our IKEA office with a huge bag of soft pretzels and a vat of mustard, not bagels and cream cheese or boring old donuts. Hot, fresh, soft pretzels. I kept talking about them and I even got my husband to dream back to his Pennsylvania days where he remembers snacking on soft pretzels on a hot summer afternoon at the swimming pool. That was it, I had to find a recipe and make them. Then on a quiet Saturday morning, this recipe from KH Photography pops into my RSS reader. 

I got right to work!

1½ cups cool water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter melted, cooled to about room temperature
olive oil, for greasing the bowl

For finishing:
cooking spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
pretzel (or kosher) salt

For the dough, in a small bowl combine the water and yeast and let rest for about a minute. Add sugar and salt to the yeast mix. In a large bowl combine flour, melted butter and yeast mixture. Knead mixture for about 5 minutes. You could also do this in a stand mixer fitted first with a paddle attachment to combine and then secondly with a dough hook on medium speed. Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly greased with olive oil, turning the dough once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. In the meantime, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll a segment out into a 24-inch long rope. Make a u-shape with the rope and holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the u-shape in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before serving, if you can keep people away for that long! 

Serve with honey mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.

The recipe is adapted from here.