Strawberry season has already kicked off in some parts of the country, but up here in Ohio we are still patiently waiting for the local U-Picks to open their patches to us. In the meantime, I have been making do with the fresh selections at my local grocery store and keeping my eyes out for any early ripe ones to start trickling into the farmers markets.
Having lived in Northeast Ohio for several years now, I decided that it was darn time I jumped on the pierogi bandwagon! Honestly, before moving up here, I didn't know a thing about these little dumpling darlings. A traditional Cleveland pierogi is simply a dumpling stuffed with potato and cheese or sauerkraut. I mean, what's not to love there?!
Potatoes are above all my favorite food item. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling, either! They are such a stable side item and can be fancied up or just delicious with salt and pepper.
Peach season always takes me back to fond memories of my grandmother, a favorite of which being when we went peach picking! My grandmother never got her driver's license, but her friend would drive over in her bouncy old pick-up truck and the three of us would pile in and head out to the orchards. I would just about eat myself sick on peaches while picking... it was glorious.
Lets be honest... artichokes can be intimidating to cook with. Sure, an easy spinach artichoke dip with quartered or diced canned artichokes is no problem, but working with fresh ones is another story. They require prepping by peeling and soaking or boiling, and they just look a tad bit wicked sitting on the shelf at the store.
I love all of the food videos that float around on social media these days. Lately, I have seen several Korean BBQ recipes that I have been wanting to try. Most call for sugar, however, and I have been trying to cut back on processed sweets. So I decided to try making bulgogi with honey instead. I also added ginger and chili sauce for a little extra kick. This dish was so simple to prepare and insanely tasty! I served it with rice and steamed broccoli. This dish is also the perfect filling for lettuce wraps!
I recently had a run in with a mean little case of the winter crud. It kicked me out of commission for a bit, but I let my body fight the bug battle while I drifted in and out of snoozeland. During this wild rollercoaster ride between feverish sleep and reality, I dreamed of eating wonderful soup made with rich shiitake mushrooms in a velvety bisque of caramelized onions. So naturally, when I regained enough strength to get back into my kitchen, I made a big batch of bisque!
I may currently live in Ohio, but I am still just as Southern as a black-eyed pea! Black-eyed peas are a common food item year round in the rich food culture of the Southern United States, but eating them on New Years day is said to bring you good luck in the upcoming year. There are many things you can do with these tasty fellas, but in the south they are traditionally slow cooked with a smoked ham hock or pork jowl. Once on your plate, you have the option to splash your peas with a pepper soaked vinegar sauce, simply referred to as "pepper sauce," which is a common table staple.
Cornbread is a southern staple. It is frequently served at lunch and supper with just about any southern dish. My grandmother even used to crumble up leftover cornbread and stuff it into a cup of buttermilk for a snack! My dad makes the best cornbread and there are very few suppers that I can remember that were not served along with a warm slice of southern goodness.
I have noticed that bacon wrapped dates have become more and more popular over the last few years, popping up on more menus and showing up at catered events. I have heard that they are nicknamed "Devils on Horseback". I have had them stuffed with a variety of different soft cheeses, or just as a plain love affair between bacon and dates. They are great for gatherings and easy to assemble. I like to put them together and stow them in the fridge the night before I am hosting, so all I have to do is pop them in the oven right before guests arrive. They give your house a delicious aroma so even if you just called in a take out order for your party, your house will smell like you have been hard at work in the kitchen all day!