Foreign languages really are a beautiful thing. I think that may be why so many women find men with accents and the ability to speak a different language so darned attractive. For example, you could have a face that looks like a butt. And then you open your mouth and speak with an Italian accent and I am instantly charmed beyond belief. It’s sort of a fact. Accents and foreign languages, they just do it.
And, I mean, you can say just about anything in a different language and it will sound beautiful. Like the word string beans. Doesn’t it just sound more elegant and fancy to say haricot verts? That’d be French and it would probably be one of my favorite French words. Then there is arancini di riso. It sounds like something you’d order at an expensive Italian restaurant, right?
When really, arancini di riso is just fried rice balls. But let’s be honest, what sounds better? Imagine going up to someone at a cocktail party and saying “Hey there, want some fried balls o’ rice?” I think you’d probably get the side eye as you walk away. Instead, take them a platter of arancini di riso. It’s the perfect party appetizer with the perfectly elegant name.
Essentially, arancini di riso is risotto that has been cooled then mixed with some glorious mozzarella cheese. It’s coated in panko and fried until golden and crispy and perfect. When you bite into one of these babies, you get a mouthful of creamy risotto, melty cheese and super flavor. They are a tiny bit time-consuming, since – as any Top Chef fan knows – risotto is a time-consuming process. It has to cool completely before mixing and I’ve found that letting the mixed risotto balls chill helps when breading and frying. If you are planning on serving these for a party, just be prepared to make them in advance. I made these on Saturday, ate them on Sunday and they were still super crisp. A little foresight will take you a long way on this one.
What’s your favorite party appetizer? Better yet, what’s your favorite accent?
There are certain things in life that, no matter how far you stray, you will never fully abandon. One of those things is meatless meals on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. Sometimes, I slip and forget. But this year, I’m going all the way. I’ve already prepped by compiling lists upon lists of substantial, filling meatless meals that will make my belly happy without leaving me completely deprived. I’m ready.
I’m also giving up fro-yo, for the record. Help me with that one. It’s going to be killer.
Either way, if you are giving up meat or are just looking to eat a few more meatless meals, I’m here to help. I’ve got 25 scrumptious meatless meals here to see you through the hard times.
A big part of why I enjoy Mardi Gras so much is the bright colors. As much as I want to be demure and classic, I am not. I tend to get really excited about a violent shock of color in cupcakes, desserts, clothing, pens. You name it.
So these cupcakes were right up my alley. The cake itself is a traditional king cake recipe. Forgive me for not shoving a tiny baby into one of the cakes, I didn’t happen to have a tiny baby on hand. The cake is almost muffin-like. The buttermilk adds a great twang of flavor. But the icing is really the piece de resistance here.
It’s classic buttercream – butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream, a dash of vanilla – that’s been tinted to epically bright proportions. Of course, we went with the standard Mardi Gras colors. Green, yellow and purple must make an appearance. And instead of doing each cupcake in a different color or attempting to fiddle with tie-dye icing in a pastry bag, we just layered. The result is a flavorful, incredibly festive rendition on the classic King cake.
Woohoo! Mardi Gras! Live it up! I’ll be eating one of these while I sit on the couch, gorging myself on as much candy and junk as I can before Ash Wednesday.
The time has come for a certain someone I know to choose what language they’d like to learn in school. The options – French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese – are interesting. I recommended Spanish, since it is far more useful than Mandarin Chinese and even French in every day life. I should know. I took four years of French in high school. It’s been ten years and I remember very little and really never gained an ability to speak it conversationally.
I do, however, remember our yearly Mardi Gras celebrations. It’s a traditional French holiday in which you are meant to eat lots of fatty, rich foods to prepare for the 40 day sacrifice you are meant to make. Because it is a French holiday, we always celebrated. Students would bring in different foods and drinks and we’d basically spend the entire period pigging out. My mom, a pastry chef, once sent in paper-light cookies dolloped with feathery chocolate mousse. It was a hit, calling all teachers from the third floor to indulge.
This year, I made a few treats of my own. Our Mardi Gras menu includes blood orange spritzers, some fresh beignets that I’ll share later this week and this jambalaya. Now, traditional jambalaya has chicken, shrimp and andouille sausages laced throughout. I had no shrimp on-hand and my chicken was frozen. So I just sort of flung caution to the wind and adapted. What resulted was a flavorful, satisfying, spicy jambalaya that will please any Mardi Gras celebrator. It is filled with veggies, spicy sausage and lots of rice, making it incredibly hearty and filling.
So if you plan on celebrating before giving up something you love (like maybe meat. I am debating. I know it should be a sacrifice but come on!), try out this jambalaya.
Sometimes, I think my talents and creativity is wasted. I have all of these great ideas brewing in my mind that just don’t come to fruition. For example, Milkshake. Now, the idea for Milkshake. isn’t my own in entirety. After many projects and home-repair days, my husband, a dear friend and I came up with the idea of a milkshake shop. They came up with the idea of a roving milkshake truck and I’ve since added on a shop that would serve gourmet milkshakes in conjunction with the roving truck. The name, Milkshake., is all my own.
Or my Alice in Wonderland themed dessert shop. Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite cartoon flicks as a kid, mainly because of its whimsical and colorful nature. Think of the desserts you could have with Alice in Wonderland as your inspiration. Crazy cotton candies, brightly colored cupcakes, fruity and flavorful drinks in cute bottles that say “Drink Me”. It’d be an insanely good idea and really would work best in a place like, I don’t know, Disney World. It would have to be called Alice’s Restaurant. The sign would obviously be a giant Cheshire cat. It’s all planned out.
I imagine Alice’s would serve desserts like this. Something whimsical and bright but also tasty and rich. We first tried this fudge around Christmas and then gave it as gifts to just about everyone. It’s rich and creamy and filled with fruity flavors from the Pebbles. They make it a fun, kid-friendly food that is a big hit. Take this to a party, make it for your next big event or just have some hanging around for fun. It’s too tasty to resist.