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Appetizers

Recipe Pairing: Herbed Turkey Cheddar Meatballs and Hard Apple Cidre

turkey meatballs with cheddar - tailgate snack

He drinks a Whiskey drink, he drinks a Vodka drink // He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink // He sings the songs that remind him of the good times // He sings the songs that remind him of the best times

Oh yes, I went there. I just started this post with lyrics to “Tubthumping.”  But it’s honestly all I could think of as I bought a pack of Stella Artois’ new hard apple Cidre. You see, when I was growing up the 90s and heard “Tubthumping,” I never understood why cider was mixed in with those other drinks, not realizing that such a thing as hard cider even existed! It wasn’t until much, much later in life — like, I think right after college, when I wanted to expand my horizons beyond beer and cheap wine — that I ever tasted my first hard cider. And can I tell you something? I really didn’t love it.

So when Stella Artois asked me if I’d be willing to try their new Cidre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I can unequivocally say that they’ve changed my mind about hard ciders. Drinking Stella’s Cidre is like drinking apple juice. Wonderful, refreshing, adult apple juice. That you have to be careful with. Lest you drink three and not realize what you’ve done.

Stella’s hard Cidre is really crisp and zippy, and tastes very apple-y — the flavor reminded me of a cold apple cider, and enjoying a few last weekend made me strangely excited for fall and football and tailgating. So much so that I was inspired to put together a little snack that’d be perfect as a party appetizer, but could easily double as a dish at a game day party or tailgate. A classic pairing with apple is cheddar and mustard, so I thought I’d try making some meatballs with herbs from our garden and sharp cheddar cheese mixed in. A little mustard on the side, and hello delicious Cidre snack. To lighten things up, instead of using beef or pork, I used white ground turkey meat. I guarantee you can totally pull these off — here’s what you do:  Read more »

Recipe: Slow Roasted Tomatoes

oven roasted tomatoes | via vmac+cheese

Some of you might’ve seen my Instagram snaps of the dinner I made for Joe and I last week on Valentine’s Day. This pic of the tomatoes I was slow roasting to go with our chicken got a lot of questions and comments, so I thought I’d share exactly how to do it, and why I love these tomatoes in particular.

Make no mistake — tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat, raw, in sauce, or otherwise, but these oven roasted ones are simply divine. First of all, they go with everything. Really, everything. Put them in salads, add them to soup, deck out a sandwich with them, line an antipasto platter, serve them as a side to meat or seafood, mix them up with pasta. The options are truly endless. Second of all, they’re so easy to make. You just need to have a few hours of time to let them do their thing in the oven. And third, you can use basically any variety of tomato you want — vine, the little Campari ones, romas or plums.

Once you slow roast these for a few hours, the flavor is out of control good. Super concentrated tomato-y, and unbelievably sweet. The tomatoes also get so soft you can smear them around; you could even puree these and add to your basic marinara to amp it up a bit, or blend them in with regular hummus to flavor it. Like I said, the options are really endless! Here’s how to make it (good news — there’s really no set recipe!):  Read more »

Recipe: Chile Con Queso

velveeta free chile con queso | via vmac+cheese

You know that saying, “You can take the girl out of the place, but you can’t take the place out of the girl?” For me, “the place” is Texas. Like it or not, when you grow up in the Lone Star State, certain things just stay with you. This is true even after living in California for ten and a half years (oh my god, I can’t believe it’s been that long). There are a few things I still do that raise eyebrows here on the west coast and make people wonder just where I grew up. One is use of the word “y’all.” Sometimes I’m conscious of it, and won’t let it slip out; other times, it just flows right from my mouth. Another thing I simply can’t let go of is my undying love for Tex-Mex food, which you basically cannot find out here. When I moved from Austin to Los Angeles, it took me a long time to realize that the Mexican food I had grown up with was in fact not Mexican at all, but instead, a cheesy, saucy, completely unhealthy genre of awesome that really only existed in Tejas. Read more »