A late, late, night, and a Banh Mi Hot Dog cure.

After a heck of a late night in downtown Jacksonville, including too many adult beverages, a fantastic dinner at Kitchen on San Marco, and some freakishly fun action watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 1904 Music Hall, I DO NOT want to go to the grocery store, or even move from this couch. I’m even too lazy to drive-thru right now.

The question then is, what do I make with what I have on hand? In scouring the kitchen, I realize it isn’t much; carrots, one lonely purple onion, some hot dog buns, Grillman’s hot dogs (I don’t normally love hot dogs, but these are amazing!), cilantro and a few assorted condiments. Sad, isn’t it….?

But wait! A recipe comes to mind! Vinegar….salt….sugar….siracha…sweet pepper relish….mayonnaise….let’s make –

Banh Mi Hot Dogs

banh mi hot dog2

First, we need to pickle the carrots and onion for a sweet and sour topping.

Pickled Carrots and Onions

  • 1 purple onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Slice the onion very thinly, then cut the slices in half to make half moon strips.
  2. Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips.
  3. Mix the apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt together. Then stir in the water.
  4. Submerse the carrots and onion in the pickling liquid and let it sit for a while, at least an hour.

(Whew! That was hard work. Go sit back on the couch, or take a nap, while you wait for the pickle process.)

carrots and onions

Next, we need to cook the hot dogs and assemble the bahn mi.

grillmans

Banh Mi Hot Dogs

  • 4 GRILLMAN’s hot dogs (I guess you could use a different kind, but these are damn good, and they’re the only kind of hot dogs I’ll eat.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sweet pepper relish
  • Siracha
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro
  • Pickled carrots and onions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Cut your hot dogs in half. This allows them to get crispy, toasty brown.
  3. Place the hot dogs cut side down in the skillet. Leave them be for a few minutes until they are nice and toasty brown on the bottom, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. Flip the hot dogs over and continue to cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes.
  5. Set the skillet aside with the hot dogs in it to keep them warm.
  6. Toast your hot dog buns in the over, under the broiler, until they are just beginning to get golden. Watch them, don’t walk away. This only takes a few minutes.
  7. Slather up your buns with mayo, and 1 tablespoon of pepper relish.
  8. Put your hot dogs in the buns.
  9. Top each with pickled carrots and onions, and 1 tablespoon of cilantro.
  10. Drizzle some siracha on top, to taste.

Sweet, salty, sour, savory, spicy….delicious!

banh mi hot dog

(Bonus: these are quite possibly my best hangover cure yet!)

Want a bite?

banh mi eating view

Easy weekend brunch idea!

Use up your leftover veggies in a delicious frittata!

1. Chop up 2 cups of leftover cooked veggies, and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Sauté the chopped veggies in a large, oven safe pan with olive oil and the minced garlic for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Scramble up 8-12 eggs, depending on the size of your pan. You’ll want enough to cover the veggies. Start with less, you can always add more.

4. Pour the eggs over the veggies. Stir gently for 1 – 2 minutes until the eggs just start to set.

5. Pop the pan in the oven, on a middle rack. Let it cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the top is set, and slightly puffy.

6. Optionally, sprinkle some fresh grated parm on top, and broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is slightly brown.

7. Be careful taking the pan out of the oven! The handle will be hot. (I always forget – ouch.)

8. Slice into wedges, and serve up with some bacon, and a side of fruit.

Voila!

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage Ever!

I’ve eaten my family’s crock pot style corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s Day every year since I was born. Until last year, when I made the best corned beef and cabbage I’ve ever had and now, I’ll never go back.

Why the change in tradition? For some reason that week, it slipped my mind that it was St. Paddy’s Day, and I forgot to pick up a corned beef the night prior. Mid-morning when it finally dawned on me, I was at work, and it was too late for the crock pot. However, we DO NOT miss corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy’s Day, so plan B here I come.

I scoured the interwebs for a “shorter” cooking time, and finally landed on a baked version that looked promising. Now, this was a big switch for me and the family, and the reason I finally put my trust in this recipe was because they A) had both a boiled and baked version, and B) sounded just as passionate about their corned beef.

And of course, me being me, I made a few tweaks. Here’s my take:

corned beef and cabbage

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage Ever

Corned Beef Ingredients

  • 3 lb. corned beef
  • 15-20 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • aluminum foil

Cabbage Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme

*We enjoy boiled red potatoes, Irish soda bread and a good Irish beer, with our corned beef and cabbage. Pick these up at the store while you are there; I get my soda bread from Publix, but you can look for a store in your area that carries it.

Corned Beef Cooking Instructions

  1. Blanch some of the salt out of the corned beef. Submerge it in a pot of cold water, bring the water to a boil, then dump out the water and rinse off the beef and pat it dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix the honey, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and thyme together in a bowl.
  4. Place the corned beef, fat side up, in a piece of foil large enough to wrap it with, but leave it open for now.
  5. Stud the top of the corned beef with the cloves.
  6. Smear the thyme-honey-mustard sauce across the top, but save about 4 tbsp. for glazing at the end.
  7. Wrap up the corned beef loosely. Place it on a sheet pan, the middle rack of the oven and let it cook for 2 hours. (If you are making the cabbage, start it now.)
  8. Turn the oven to broil, unwrap the foil top expose the top of the corned beef, spread the rest of the honey mustard on the top.
  9. Place the corned beef under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t walk away! Watch it so it doesn’t burn.
  10. Take the beef out, let it rest for 10 minutes, then cut into thin slices against the grain.

Cabbage Cooking Instructions

  1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, removing the core.
  2. Dice the onion. (If you are making boiled potatoes, start those now.)
  3. Heath up a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt the butter and olive oil together.
  4. Cook the onions for 1-2 minutes until slightly translucent.
  5. Add the cabbage, a handful at a time, allowing the first handful to wilt, before adding the next. Keep stirring as you add the handfuls so the cabbage is coated with the oil and butter.
  6. Once all the cabbage is in the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook the cabbage, without stirring, for about 10 minutes at a time. This will allow the cabbage to caramelize. Every ten minutes, stir the cabbage, then leave it alone again for 10. Continue this process until the cabbage is a beautiful caramel brown all over.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the fresh thyme.

Take out a large platter and arrange the cabbage in the middle, place the corned beef on top, and the potatoes surrounding. Serve with Irish soda bread, some really good butter, and a cold Irish stout.

Sláinte!

Jacksonville’s March Foodie Events

There are soooo many foodie events happening in March! How do you choose?!

Here are just a few I’ve got my eyes on. Which ones are you attending?

March 13th & 14th – Gumbo Festival

Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl of gumbo? “Over 20 individual cooks and restaurants compete for the best gumbo in Northeast Florida. Categories include Showmanship, Best Restaurant and People’s Choice. The public can enjoy a vendor expo and unlimited gumbo servings for $10 each, and have the opportunity to vote for their favorite gumbo…All proceeds benefit Mandarin Food Bank. Plus, live music…”

March 14th – River Run Kegs and Eggs Block Party

Brunch at my favorite brewery. No brainer. “Join us for our second annual River Run Kegs + Eggs After Party on Saturday the 14th! We’re opening early – at 10:00am – the day of the Gate River Run and closing down King Street to bring you a brunch block party. This is likely the LAST block party we’ll ever have on King Street!

Funkadelic Food Truck and Chew Chew Food Truck will be serving up various brunch items along with their regular lunch menu until 5pm.

Last year our brewers came up with some incredibly creative brunch-themed beer offerings like Javadark (UNDERDARK with coffee), Graham Boat (Jon Boat with Golden Grahams), Cocostar (Darkstar milk stout with coconut + cinnamon), Sweet Potato Pancake (maple Punk Monk), Pork Porter (bacon Baltic Porter) and more… we can’t WAIT to see what they concoct this year.”

March 15th – Brew.B.Que

Pork….beer…mmmmm “On Sunday March 15th from 12-4pm Hemming Park will host Brew B Que, a celebration of bbq (and cold beer). Come chow down on barbecue, drink a cold one and experience a porkolicious Sunday Funday. Free to attend (beer and bbq sold seperately) and street parking downtown is free on the weekends.

March 21st – Gastrofest

Every foodie who is any foodie, plus some, will be at this one. You should see the lineup of restaurants, cocktail and craft beer extraordinaires who will be present! Not to mention there are demonstrations, discussions, a homebrew and cocktail competition….From their website, “We celebrate Jacksonville’s culinary scene with tastes, talks, films and workshops all day. Buy Taste Tickets or Star Passes to try the restaurants and food trucks throughout the day. Taste Tickets are $1 each and most Tastes are 3 Tickets or less. Four Star Passes get you all the tastes in the park, and Five Star gets you all the Tastes, plus alcohol, a GastroFest Bag and souvenir cup from Friends of Hemming. We’ve also got Kid’s & Education Zone during the day (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) and a great schedule of free expert speakers and films at the MOCA through the end of fest, workshops at Down the Rabbit Hole, a Homebrew Contest and much, much more.”

March 23rd – the Fratelli Branca Cocktail Pairing Dinner

This menu looks soooo incredibly luscious. “The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails will host a private five-course dinner with cocktail pairings on March 23, 2015. The cocktails will be made with spirits from the distinguished portfolio of Fratelli Branca Distillery. A representative from Fratelli Branca will guide diners through the Italian distillery’s products and history, which spans more than 160 years.

  • Bitter Caramel Lacquered Scallop, Sesame Cashew Puree, Pickled Sunchokes, Charred Scallion
  • Confit Porkbelly, Duck Egg Ravioli, Smoked Bacon Hollandaise, English Peas, Aged Parmesan, Frisse
  • Carpano Bianco Poached Halibut, Wild Mushroom Consommé, Fava Beans, Braised Pearl Onions, Watercress
  • Coffee / Cardamom Braised Duck Leg, Chamomile Scented Root Vegetables, Roasted Parsnip, Huckleberry Compote, Tatsoi
  • Malted Chocolate Torte, Orange Gelee, Branca Menta Ice Cream, Pistachio

SERIOUSLY?!

A lot happening for foodies in March! I’m ecstatic! Where will you be eating this month?

Cycles of Dieting

I think a lot of people can resonate with this. I know I’ve certainly had some ups and downs with being consistent with healthy habits. Often after a period of no workouts and bad eating, I’ll get overzealous and hit the gym full force and go completely restrictive on my diet…for a few days and then I get injured or start feeling sick. How about you? When you first start a new program, have you found it leads to illness? How do you “take it slow”? How do you stay strong in those hard moments?

sometypeofartist

I don’t like my body.

diet01

I’ve always been overweight, and I don’t expect myself to ever reach the hot, buff levels society expects me to be at if I’m to be considered an “attractive” person, but I would like to lose my gut. Over the past year or two, I can really start to feel it weighing me down. It’s getting harder for me to bend over. It’s getting harder for me to move around at work. Hell, it’s getting harder for me to just breathe. I already have enough weighing me down in my own head; the added weight of my stomach isn’t needed.

Dieting is something I feel like I’m continuously on and off with. I always start off the same way. I make a conscious decision that I’m going to start exercising more, eat less, and eat healthy.

diet02

I start using the elliptical machine every day or…

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