The food abides…

Cullinary Experiments

Happy New Year from the Tampa Food Dude!

Currently enjoying a little New Year’s Day charcuterie and an Einstock Icelandic Dopplebock. Nice, malty, holiday brew and I’m digging the viking bottle art with the reindeer antlers and red nose. Hope everyone is enjoying the last bit of the holidays before we all go back to the grind…


Turkey Sausage and Kale Italian Wedding Soup!

When you send your girlfriend’s mother home with the turkey carcass and she returns a week later with an incredible homemade Turkey Sausage and Kale Italian Wedding Soup…

Incidentally, this paired incredibly well with the aforementioned Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread.

Post-Turkey Day Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread!

I’ve mentioned my attempts at Alton Brown’s Cheddar Dill Beer Bread before. Decided to whip up a couple of loaves for my friends’ Post Turkey Day Bash again. However for my second loaf I experimented a little and came up with a something new.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread. Basically the same format as the Cheddar Dill Beer Bread with three changes.

First, instead of a Pale Ale I used a Smoked Roggenbier. Any smoked beer will do but this is what I was able to get my hands on. Second I substituted a Smoked Gouda for the sharp cheddar. This added a warm and creamy depth to the bread. And last, instead of the dill weed, I just added a few drops of liquid smoke just to kick that smokey flavor up a notch.

I was really impressed by how this came out. That smokey undertone was present but not overpowering and when you toast this up and just add a little butter, it’s makes for a great breakfast. It’s also the perfect compliment to a hearty meal like a soup or a chili.

Have a favorite beer-bread recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… beer is freedom… and the food abides…

Thanksgiving 2018!!!

This year we played host for the Thanksgiving feast. First time we’ve done Thanksgiving together and cooking for eight was a fun challenge but it turned out to be a hell of a meal.


My girlfriend cooked an amazing turkey this year using a compound butter with sage and thyme. It was an incredibly juicy bird and she really outdid herself.

I also tried my hand at carving the roast beast for the first time ever. I think I did a pretty good job with it, but I’d like to practice a little bit more for next year. Presentation is everything and a better carving job makes for a better look on the plate.

As if her turkey wasn’t enough, she made a decadent Asiago and Garlic Mashed Potato Bake. These may be the best mashed taters I’ve ever eaten.

We left our guests in charge of the veggies and they showed up with some sauteed Green Beans with Garlic and Toasted Almonds. I know green bean casserole is the tradition this time of year. However I’ve never been fond of such a rich veggie dish when everything else is as heavy as it is. Needless to say, I really appreciated these.

Another veggie, the baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash were simple and a perfect side dish for our meal.

Of course it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my Sage Turkey Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing. It’s a staple this time of year and I even froze a couple bags of cranberries in case I want to make it again over the holidays.

This is what I love. No frills, no weird tofurky substitutions and no wacky global sides. Just a simple, traditional Thanksgiving meal with great people.

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This has been a truly great year and I’m glad I got to set aside a day to show some gratitude for that. I hope everyone had plenty to be thankful for and is ready to enjoy the holiday season.

And remember… the food abides…

Trader Joe’s Garlic Chicken Pesto w/Cauliflower Gnocchi

Made a run to Trader Joe’s this past weekend and among some other great items (cough, cough… Cookie Butter… cough, cough…) it turns out that their Cauliflower Gnocchi combined with their Garlic Pesto Chicken makes for a pretty badass meal…

Breakfast Avocado Toast…

Somehow I found myself on the Avocado Toast-for-breakfast bandwagon and I have no earthly recollection of how that happened. By the way, try it with just a dash of smoked paprika. You’ll thank me later…

2017 Holiday Wrap-Up!

Once again it was a hell of a busy season. I had made a conscious decision to get out and experience as many holiday events as possible and I made sure to take lots of photos.

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Putting up the Christmas tree at the beginning of the season saw the addition of a new beer-themed ornament and I’m really starting to appreciate these things.

After Christmas Tree decorating, we hit up Menchie’s to try their new holiday flavors. In the bowl is a swirl of Egg Nog and Gingerbread Cookie and it made me irritated to know I’ll clamor for this stuff for the next 11 months.

One evening we decided to catch the Christmas Light Display in North Straub Park. While the photo doesn’t do it justice, the City of St. Pete did a good job with it this year. And it afforded us the chance to grab dinner at 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse where we ate outside and enjoyed a great park-side view as pictured above.

From 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse, the Manchego Artichoke Fondue. I never thought of Manchego as a melty-cheese but they somehow altered the laws of physics to make it so.

Also from 400 Beach, Asian Seared Scallops on a Soba Noodle Salad with a Ginger Plum Sauce.

And a Rod Bender Red Ale from 3 Daughters Brewing Company hit the spot while we enjoyed the lights.

The night before Christmas Eve, we also managed to take in the Holiday Boat Parade from the Sail Pavilion in Downtown Tampa. I’ve never attended before, but dockside drinks and a really impressive display from the participants made this an event I’ll want to attend for years to come.

Entertained about eight guests for Christmas Eve Dinner this year which was a perfect size for my table. The Christmas Crackers are becoming a fun little holiday tradition.

Christmas Eve Dinner saw my first attempt in years to make Stuffed Mussels. These take a long time to prep which I usually can’t waste if I’m working during the day on Christmas Eve. But since it fell on a Sunday this year I took a shot. The entire batch was gone so it’s safe to say my guests loved them.

Christmas Morning always starts with leftover Linguine in White Clam Sauce eaten cold, right out of the container. It’s kind of like eating cold leftover Lo Mein but much more flavorful.

Christmas Day was spent at my at my friends’ house in Westchase and included lots of homemade Limoncello. There were literally bottles of this stuff everywhere and each sip was worth the calories.

This is the kind of thing that makes you really appreciate Christmas in Florida; a lakeside beer at sunset on Christmas Night.

And speaking of beer and Florida, Abita Brewing’s 2017 Christmas Ale was a really good brew this year and the Santa/Gator bottle art just seemed far too appropriate not to showcase.

The Christmas Toast. Can’t say enough about how much I love scenes like this.

I’m a Turkey Junkie and my friends did not disappoint. Christmas Turkey Dinner with Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes, Stuffing and Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad. Those potatoes were the highlight.

The day after Christmas saw a Boxing Day hike with the canine at Flatwoods Park as my attempt to burn off some of the holiday calories.

The hike was followed by a nice lobster roll at Prime Bar which kind of negated the calorie-burning but hey, I’m on vacation.

It’s not the holidays without a care package full of homemade baked goods from Mom which also arrived the day after Christmas. Spritz Cookies, Candied Pecans, Gingerbread Cookies, White Trash and Fool’s Toffee.

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Of course no holiday wrap-up is complete without the cataloging of some beer-themed loot and my friends are excellent gift-givers.

Homebrewed Beer Soap made with IPA! This isn’t going to be one of those fancy soaps you only put out for guests. I’m using this bad-boy.

Cenoscillicaphobia metal placard . It’s a fear I can relate to so I found this amusing.

Can’t go wrong with new glassware. I love my state. I love beer. These glasses scratch both itches.


One of my friends visited California in December and was cool enough to pick me up a stainless steel pint glass from Black Plague Brewing.

I’m not a fan of Belgian beers but some of the holiday ones are able to mask the Belgian yeast funk with the correct blend of spices. Barrel of Monks Father Christmas Holiday Ale is something I wanted to try but couldn’t get my hands on. Fortunately my friends saved the day with this bottle.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around I was hovering on the brink of exhaustion so I had no complaints about a relaxing night with some Tuna Croquettes for dinner and a few good holiday brews to close out the season.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Gingy Imperial Gingerbread Porter may have been my favorite seasonal beer this year. And it went great with the aforementioned cookies as a way to ring in the new year.

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Last but not least I leave you with the traditional but rare photo of the Tampa Food Dude in a funny Christmas hat. Because nothing says “Christmas Lunatic” like a guy in a shiny red fedora. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays as much as I did this year and I wish you all a fond Merry Christmas and a Happy New Beer!

And remember… Beer is freedom… and the food abides…

Jalapeno Lingonberry Salmon

Here’s a tip. Whenever you’re at IKEA don’t forget to stop at the Swedish grocery they have just after the checkout area. They have some great stuff including this Jalapeno Lingonberry dry rub which I used on some fresh salmon I just bought from Land & Sea. May very well be the best piece of fish I’ve ever cooked…

Christmas 2016 Photo Wrap-Up!!!

It’s always easy to tell whether or not I’m busy during the holidays by the frequency or infrequency in which I post. If this year’s lack of even a Thanksgiving update was any indication, it’s obviously been a whirlwind of a month and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately that meant the little free time I had was spent shopping, testing new recipes and otherwise preparing the abode for holiday revelers.


Whenever I remain in Florida for the holidays I always make a giant pot of Linguine with White Clam Sauce and host a Christmas Eve dinner for anyone close to me who can make it. This year quite a few more people than usual chose to attend so I had a packed house.


My Christmas Eve table, complete with English Crackers. Mismatched chairs and place settings meant there were more people than ever joining us this year and that couldn’t have made me happier.


Of course my beer fridge was well stocked with plenty of holiday brews. Some of my favorites this year were the Barley Mow Tinsel, Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice and Shiner’s Holiday Cheer.


Because I had such a large group this year, instead of just the Linguine with Clams, I went full Seven Fishes. One of the dishes that came out very well was a Zuppa di Pesce, an Italian fisherman’s soup with clams, mussels, shrimp and scallops that I made in the crock pot. I added a little more oomph to the recipe by including some squid ink fettuccine which really upped the brine flavor.


I don’t typically eat Baked Ziti as it’s too heavy but I tried my hand at cooking one of these for the non-fish eaters in attendance. There was only one small slice left at the end of the night so I have to assume it went over well.


And of course no Christmas Eve is complete without the Linguine and White Clam Sauce. This is a shot of the bottom of the pot where there are more clams than pasta left. What most people don’t realize is that’s the best part. Eaten cold right out of the container on Christmas morning, there is no better breakfast. The overnight refrigeration seems to have the same effect that it does on Chinese Lo Mein (also better when eaten cold the next morning).


Once the pasta was eaten, the desert cleared away, the guests departed and the kitchen cleaned I got to sit and relax for the first time in almost a month. Took it as the right moment to crack open a bottle of Blue Moon’s Gingerbread Spiced Ale that I’ve been sitting on since last year. Time did not diminish it’s flavors and it went down well while I watched A Christmas Story about 3 times in a row.



To keep myself young at heart, I have a rather juvenile morning ritual of cereal and cartoons on the weekend. Given that this particular weekend was Christmas however, I changed it up just a little bit by cracking a Dogfish Head Beer for Breakfast Stout and tossed on the John Denver & the Muppets Christmas special from 1979. Yes, I realize a late night beer on Christmas Eve and an early morning beer on Christmas Day is a little overkill, but it’s the holidays and I worked hard this year so I cut myself some slack dammit.


Just like Ralphie’s Dad, I’m a Turkey junkie so Christmas Dinner at my very good friends’ house in Riverview was much appreciated. Turkey, mashed taters, stuffing, green beans and a beet salad. After Christmas Eve’s very heavy pasta and oil based fare I was ecstatic to have some veggies along with it. The aforementioned Shiner Holiday Cheer went perfectly with this meal.


While it was no where near as hot or humid as it was last year, temps in the mid 80’s during the day meant it was rather temperate so I took a break from my heavy winter brews in favor of a refreshing Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat and it scratched the itch until the sun went down and things cooled off.


Of course we have to talk about the holiday loot. I have some great gift-givers in my circle and among some really awesome items, there were a few badass booze-themed ones that deserve mention.


This is a 64 oz. Miir Growler. The proceeds of one of these growlers gives clean water to one person in a developing country for a year. Given the spirit of the holidays this was something I really appreciated.


I’ve had my eye on this one in my Instagram feed for quite some time now and just haven’t gotten a chance to make it down to Cigar City to pick up a bottle. Fortunately my friend had his finger on the pulse and showed up with a bomber of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Russian Stout with Vanilla and Hazelnut. I think this badboy will be a New Year’s Eve brew.


This same friend is also the one who makes his own limoncello which is one of my favorite after dinner cordials. This stuff does not last long in my house and I will be clamoring for another bottle by the spring.


It’s obvious that the majority of my friends are fellow zythophiles, so when I go to parties, dinners and other gatherings, I’m always bringing new beers with me for people to try. That’s why this bottle caddy, complete with opener, was a perfect gift. Tried it out yesterday and the best part is that it doesn’t tip over in car the way a regular cardboard six-pack does.


My Christmas Tree is a mismatched conglomeration of vintage ornaments from my youth, geeky fare like the Walking Dead, Star Wars and Marvel superheroes and booze-themed decorations. So when my friends gave me this Guinness ornament of course I already had the perfect place for it.


And in traditional fashion, here’s a photo of my dog Kira on Christmas morning, holiday bandanna on, new toy in mouth and while it can’t be seen here, tail wagging about a thousand times a minute.


So in case no one has figured this out yet, I’m somewhat of a lunatic when it comes to Christmas. I suppose a little photographic evidence of that lunacy is in order. Consider it your Christmas gift from me.


I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season as much as I have. We still have about a week before it officially comes to a close, so don’t forget to try a new dish or have a holiday beer with someone you haven’t caught up with yet.

Instead of my usual “the food abides” I will close with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Beer

Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese


Made a little Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Caprese to bring over for a dinner with some friends this weekend…

Baked Lemon Pepper Tuna Ventresca Croquettes

I’ve made fried croquettes before but after a long day of sampling local Oktoberfest beers I wanted something a little lighter. Tweaked my normal croquette recipe by both baking and using Tuna Ventresca (marinated tuna bellies) instead of pouched or canned.


For this dish I combined 2 eggs (beaten), 2 finely chopped green onions, 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, 1 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1 tsp of kosher salt, 2 tsps of freshly ground black pepper and a 7 oz. jar of Tuna Ventresca making sure to reserve the olive oil it was packed in. Formed that into patties, dredged them in more panko bread crumbs and placed them on a sheet pan prepped with cooking spray. Took the reserved oil and brushed it on top of the patties, then baked at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Flipped the patties and brushed the other side with the oil and baked for another 14 min.


Served the croquettes on a spinach and romaine salad and paired them with a Kona Big Wave Golden Ale which was a nice lighter ale to go along with the fish. The olive oil gave them a good brown and the panko a great crunch that went well with the greens. The best part was that since the Ventresca was marinated it didn’t dry out during the baking like normal tuna would have.

This is a good recipe to keep in my arsenal for entertaining. I’d imagine these can be prepped early and the patties refrigerated right on the sheets then tossed in the oven when it’s time to bake with only a minor adjustment of the baking time.

Have a favorite croquette recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… the food abides…

Jalapeno Peach IPA Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Grits

Jalapeno Peach IPA Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Grits 1

So I’ve come back for different takes on Shrimp & Grits multiple times. There’s just something I love about this dish and I enjoy tinkering with it. This latest visitation started when I took some out of town coworkers to the Cigar City Brewery for some craft beer. They happened to have an amazing Habanero Peach IPA which we really enjoyed and we discussed how it would probably make a good marinade.

Fast forward to today and while I tried to obtain a growler of the Habanero Peach IPA it was unfortunately a limited release and no longer in production. Not letting that stop me, I attempted to recreate the flavors in a marinade as best as I could.

Since it was the first time trying this I dialed down the heat just a little by going with sliced jalapenos instead of habaneros. Added a bottle of Castaway IPA from Kona Brewing and then mixed in some peach nectar. Finished it off with a pinch of kosher salt and a couple of healthy grinds of black pepper.  I let the shrimp soak in that for about 2 hours before sauteing in a little olive oil and lime juice with just a little more salt.

Served them over a bed of grits but where I would typically use shredded cheddar,  this time I subbed in a little smoked gouda. That smokey flavor went with both the heat of the peppers and the sweetness of the peach and lime quite well.

Jalapeno Peach IPA Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Grits 2

I was pleased with how this one turned out. This is an insanely easy dish which I intend to utilize when having guests for dinner because I won’t have to spend much time in the kitchen.

Have a favorite Shrimp & Grits recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… the food abides…

Pineapples on Acid!

Pineapples on Acid

Made these as a little treat for all of the grown-ups at a BBQ I recently attended. This idea comes from my old college roommate and its simplicity is genius. Pineapples soaked in Jagermeister and Coconut Rum then chilled in the fridge four about 4 hours just to let everything absorb and the flavors to meld. Just put out some toothpicks and let everyone spear their own fruit. If you’ve ever had a cocktail called a Surfer on Acid, this tastes just like one.

Oh and don’t waste any of the liquid at the bottom; it’s the best part. Pour that into a couple of shotglasses and enjoy the goodness!

Have a favorite alcoholic cuisine? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… the food abides…

Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Chicken Sausage Jambalaya

With some remaining Abita Louisiana Spiced Ale left over from New Beer Friday I wanted to steer dinner towards something spicy that it would pair well with and I’ve been thinking of Jambalaya for a while now.

Jambalaya 1

This Jambalaya is extremely simple. You just put everything in the pot and let it do its thing. And since I don’t eat red meat, the Andouille Chicken Sausage is a perfect substitute if you can find it. I have tried this in the past with uncooked chicken added at the beginning but I didn’t like the result because you had to cook it longer which dried everything out. Cooked chicken added at the end with the shrimp seems to work better and its still plenty of time for the flavors to meld.


1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of water
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium cloves of garlic minced
1/2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 Andouille Chicken Sausage sliced on the bias
1 cooked, chicken breast sliced into short strips.
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined.

Add oil, water, stock, sausage, parsley, bay leaf, cayenne pepper and rice into a large non-stick saucepan and stir well. Bring  mixture to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and absorbs most of the liquid. Stir in shrimp and chicken and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off heat and let stand with the cover still on for another 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with a little more cayenne pepper and some salt or a little bit of hot sauce (I’m a fan of Frank’s Red Hot).

Jambalaya 3

It’s that easy folks. This is a very low maintenance recipe so it’s perfect if you’re entertaining. Next time I may try my hand at some seafood gumbo but this worked rather well with the beer, so I’d consider it a successful pairing.

Have a favorite Jambalaya or Cajun recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… the food abides…

Christmas Eve 2015

Whenever I’m not in Connecticut with my family for the holidays I always host Christmas Eve dinner for my friends down here in Tampa.

Christmas Eve 2015

A table full of great people, a gigantic pot of linguine and white clam sauce, some holiday tunes and a good craft beer. That’s my Christmas Eve. Hope everyone is enjoying theirs as well!

And remember… the food abides…

Lump Crabmeat Eggs with Tomato and Onion

Lump Crab Eggs

Had some leftover crab from a stuffed mushroom recipe I made the other night so I decided to work it into a little Sunday morning breakfast. Scrambled eggs with lump crabmeat, fresh tomatoes and onions and a dash of Old Bay.

Everglades Shrimp and Grilled Parmesan Polenta Cakes

My own take on the classic southern Shrimp & Grits recipe.

Shrimp & Polenta

Shrimp sautéed in olive oil, lime juice, white wine and a pinch of Everglades seasoning served over grilled polenta cakes with parmesan and crushed black pepper.

Small Bites – Smoked Salmon and Gorgonzola Crostini and Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Mini-Toasts

Had some good friends over for a few drinks and that always means a table full of small bites to munch on. If there’s going to be a good deal of drinking involved, I always prefer smaller plates as opposed to a full dinner. Everyone can eat their fill and decide for themselves how much to eat and how much to drink. Since we did mainly apps, I experimented with some crostini and mini-toast dishes which my friends apparently dug.

Gorganzola and Smoked Salmon on Crostini

The first was a Gorgonzola and Smoked Salmon with Fresh Dill Weed on Crostini. Popped these in the oven for about 5 minutes at 350, just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the salmon a little.

Fig Jam and Goat Cheese on Mini-Toast

The second was Fig Jam and Goat Cheese with Chopped Pecans on Mini-Toasts. Left this one in the oven at the same temp but for about 10 minutes as the goat cheese took a little longer to melt.

Of course I have great friends who never show up empty-handed that contributed to the table full of food.

Twinkie Cake

The highlight was probably my friend’s dessert which was a Twinkie Cake.

Twinkie Cake 2

Yes, that’s a cake made out of layers of Twinkies and fresh strawberries. Tasted very similar to a strawberry shortcake. I haven’t eaten a Twinkie since I was a kid and I don’t really remember them tasting this good.

And last but not least, what’s a night of drinks without some good beer?

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat

One of my friends mentioned that they liked this, so I picked some up. I haven’t had a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat since college and it was as good as I remember if not better (which is saying a lot as I’m sure my palette has changed a great deal in the last 20 years).

A good night spent doing one of my favorite things to do: gathering around a table with good brews, great food and even greater company.

Have a favorite app or desert? Leave a message in the comments!

And remember… the food abides…

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Risotto

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Risotto 2

I’ve tried to make Risotto before and each time I failed miserably. It always wound up coming out either a soupy mess, or a gummy pile of overly-sticky rice that lumped up on a fork. Risotto is tricky, probably because it’s so precise. It’s almost like baking (which I’ve already admitted I’m not good at either) and because I’m more of an experimental “eyeball and wing it” type of cook, it’s no wonder I was never able to hone in on the “Goldilocks” zone in which the Risotto came out just right.

However I recently stumbled across a great article on my Zite feed from Epicurious called The Only Risotto Recipe You’ll Ever Need. This article seems to distill it down to a simple base and lets you go from there. So I decided to give it another shot.

 Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Risotto Ingredients

As the linked recipe says, I started with 2 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth and 4 cups of water brought to a boil and then lowered to a simmer. Then in a large pot I sautéed a 1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-high until they were soft. Added the Arborio rice and stirred for one minute. Added 3/4 of Chardonnay and stirred for another 2 minutes.

Now I think this is the part I kept screwing up in the past and I have to wonder if it’s the same mistake a lot of folks make when they attempt this dish. Instead of adding the water/broth mixture all at once, which I had done in the past, I added it in three smaller batches of 2 cups at a time. I waited until the Arborio had absorbed all the liquid before adding the next 2 cups, stirring often and then repeated a third time. Cooked for 20 minutes until the rice was soft and added 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 3 or 4 healthy grinds of black pepper. There’s a little bit of reserve liquid leftover in case it’s still a little dry, but I found out I didn’t need to utilize it.

Now the fun part. The article gave some suggestions, but I went my own way here. Folded in a whole filet of smoked salmon, some sautéed asparagus tips and a 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

As someone who’s wrecked a Risotto on more than one occasion I was pleasantly surprised by how well this came out. Even before folding in the extras, it was a creamy, well-balanced dish. Flavors melded beautifully and the texture was absolutely perfect.

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Risotto 3

This was a seriously great recipe and I’m thankful to the folks at Epicurious for posting because it really helped me get over the Risotto hump. The fact that the base is all you really need and there are endless combinations at that point means I plan on experimenting with some different flavors quite a bit in the future.

Tried to make your own Risotto? Have a favorite Risotto recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… the food abides…

Mojo Chicken Soup with Sage

My northern friends will likely balk at this as they’re currently enduring below-zero temps but for Southern Florida, 28 degrees is still pretty damn cold. It’s also a perfect night for soup.

Mojo and Sage Chicken Soup

This is a pretty standard chicken soup recipe with just a slight twist. Chicken stock, extra wide egg noodles, shredded chicken, sliced carrots and a healthy few grinds of cracked black pepper. However, instead of regular chicken I used a mojo seasoned chicken and then added in just a little bit of fresh sage during the last 10 minutes of simmering. Adds a little kick and a nice bit of depth.

And I now have a stomach filled with warm soup on a cold night.

Have a favorite chicken soup recipe? Leave a message in the comments!

And remember… the food abides…

Merry Christmas from the Tampa Food Dude!

Cookies and milk? Ha!

Christmas Eve 2014

In this house we will be leaving Santa some Apple Butter Crescents with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing and an ice-cold Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. True, I really want a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and a Krupps Mini-Kegerator, but in no way is this a bribe for the big man in red 😉

May all the flavors of the season enhance your holiday experience! Merry Christmas from the Tampa Food Dude!

And remember… the food abides…

Cheddar and Dill Beer Bread!!

Beer Bread 3

Every year my friends throw a Black Friday party. This year their theme is “Cheers to Beer” and will revolve around beer themed recipes. I decided to roll the dice and try to make Alton Brown’s Cheddar and Dill Beer Bread. Now I’ve stated on multiple occasions that I’m NOT a baker. It’s too precise and I’m much more of an “eyeball” it type of cook. That being said, it came out much better than I expected. Beer Bread 1 Here’s the recipe: Ingredients

  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4 1/2 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 12 ounces cold beer, ale or stout (I used a pale ale; specifically a Blue Moon Rounder Belgian-Style Pale Ale)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick spray and set aside. Beer Bread 2 Whisk together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cheese and stir in the beer just to combine. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, if using. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 210 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Beer Bread 5 Really loved how this came out. The crust is crunchy, the inside is chewy and oozing with cheese. I’m sure someone will inevitably bring a beer cheese soup or a beer chili and this stuff will go perfectly with it, especially paired with a nice fall beer. Beer Bread 4 I plan on tinkering with this recipe in the near future. I’m thinking a version of this with some jalapenos and then maybe a batch with a good smoked ale and maybe some smoked gouda instead of the pale ale and cheddar. Tried a beer bread before? Leave a message in the comments! And remember… the food abides…

Artichoke and Parmesean Chicken Sausage, Baby Brussel Sprouts with Feta Cheese and Smoked Sundried Tomatoes and Roasted Red Potatoes

Sausage and Sprouts

Artichoke and Parmesean Chicken Sausage, Roasted Baby Brussel Sprouts with Feta Cheese and Smoked Sundried Tomatoes (see previous post for details!) and some Roasted Red Potatoes. Served with plenty of mustard of course…

Roasted Baby Brussels Sprouts with Feta Cheese and Smoked Sundried Tomatoes

Everybody has that one food that’s like a culinary arch-nemesis. No matter what you do or how many times you try it, you just can’t get on board. For me, that food is the Brussels sprout.

To be honest, I’d never even tried them until I was well into college. It just wasn’t a veggie that my family ever made. But that very first time left a lasting impression. For some reason, and perhaps it’s just because Brussels sprouts are so earthy, they just always seemed to taste like dirt to me.

I’m fully aware that over time your tastes change and your palate evolves, so I’ve made it a point to keep trying them again periodically. But every time… still dirt. A few weeks ago I was at a restaurant and their steamed veggie of the day was Brussels sprouts. After not being able to get the dirt taste of out my mouth for the rest of the meal following two measly bites, I resolved to do something about this.

I was going to overcome this culinary Joker to my epicurean Batman if it killed me. Here is the result.

brussel sprouts

Rather simple, I just coated some baby Brussels sprouts extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic, then roasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Steaming hot, I added just a little more olive oil and tossed them with some feta cheese, smoked sun-dried tomatoes and some salt and pepper. I think it’s the sun-dried tomatoes that bring out the flavor.

Many people are skeptical about sun-dried tomatoes but there isn’t really any reason to be; I don’t think this variety tastes like regular sun-dried tomatoes at all. Since I don’t eat red meat and therefore don’t cook with bacon, smoked sun-dried tomatoes are my go-to item when I want that meaty smokey flavor. They just work really well as a substitute. I suppose you can make this with bacon instead and it would be just as good (or possibly even better as I’ve noticed bacon has gained almost a cult-following in the last few years).

Not a bad dish at all and I may tinker with it over time. I still think Brussels sprouts taste like dirt but if I had to eat plain dirt or dirt with cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and spices, I’d prefer the latter.

Have a favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts? If not, what is your culinary nemesis food? Leave a message in the comments!

And remember… the food abides…