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Geoffrey Zakarian-all star-academy

Shrimp & Grits- All Star Academy

March 10, 2015

In episode 2 of All Star Academy we were challenged to cook with both famous, and infamous pairings… In the first challenge we each had to put a twist on a classic pairing. My team- Team Bobby was assigned Spaghetti & Meatballs. I was thrilled with this challenge. I am very confident with meatballs- and I’ve made countless versions of them before. Plus, if you recall in episode 1 I made some Albondigas, which a spanish style meatball- I was ready to rock this one out! I made “Southwestern” style Meatballs and in lieu of official pasta I used some colorful roasted peppers Julianned as a bed for my chili infused meatballs. Bobby warned me- not using noodles was risky, but I said “Screw the pasta” I’m going for it…. The turned out delicious! When time came for each of our mentors to put one of us up for elimination, I was sure I’d be safe… But then Bobby surprises me by […]

bobby-flay with angela+george

Albondigas Soup- All Star Academy

March 2, 2015

Episode 1 of All Star Academy was quite a whirl wind! To bring you up to speed on what this hot potato has been up to read my previous post. Below is a run down of the show from my point of view as well the recipe for my Albondigas Soup. All Star Academy has scoured the nation to find the top 10 home cooks in America (this includes yours truly as part of the home cooks cast!), and brought them together to compete under the tutelage of Food Network’s All Star Chefs: Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Curtis Stone & Michael Symon. In episode one, the 10 of us had to compete for a spot on one of their teams, oh yeah, and the big winner last person standing at the end of the series will walk away with $50,000! Not too shabby huh? The most terrifying moment… serving up my dish for these All Stars to judge! Bobby Flay checking in to peak […]


Truffle Honey Popcorn

February 18, 2015

I had a craving for something sweet & salty the other night- Popcorn is always an easy fix. If you are part of gen-Y or later you probably are unaware that you can make this delicious snack on your stove top and completely customize the flavors! That’s right sans-microwave popcorn my friends!!! You can buy the plain kernels in the popcorn aisle (shocker), and all you need is a little oil and a large pot with a lid. I’ve experimented with many different flavors over the years, my old standby favorite is simple olive oil with salt and pepper, & sometimes a little Tony Chachere’s too. But this time I was in to mood for decadence and the stars in my pantry were aligned for the most indulged treat I have every allowed myself. I have four words for you- DUCK FAT, TRUFFLES, & HONEY.   Truffle Honey Popcorn Ingredients 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 1 tbs canola or vegetable oil 2-3 tbs duck […]


Peach & Prosciutto Crostini

January 18, 2015

It’s stone fruit season!   Cherries, peaches, plums whathaveyou, I’m obsessed with all of them. And while I love the traditional baked goods that frequently make use of these beauties, my favorite way to enjoy them is cut fresh and as unadulterated as possible. This recipe is one that really lets the season’s best fruit shine. You could certainly substitute the peaches in this recipe for your favorite. I’d recommend stopping by the farmers market and sniffing out the freshest juiciest crop.   Ingredients 1-2 ripe peaches 1 baguette ( cut in to crostini rounds) 1 cup ricotta cheese 3-4 thin slices of prosciutto honey balsamic vinaigrette fresh cracked pepper   All you have to do is assemble! You can buy already toasted crostini rounds, or crisp them up yourself.  I crisped mine in a pan with a little unsalted butter. Layer as follows: Balsamic Bread Ricotta Honey drizzle Prosciutto Peaches Pepper   *I could have done the balsamic drizzle at […]

detox smoothie recipe

Pear Cilantro Smoothie DETOX

January 6, 2015

The holidays were delicious, and gluttonous- which is why it’s time to cleanse. I love this green smoothie. Most “green” drinks call for kale spinach and other bitter greens that I can’t bear to drink. This breakfast smoothie is a real winner with sweet ripe pears and fresh herbal cilantro to kick off your new years resolution cleanse. Cilantro is a fantastic detoxifying herb which naturally helps to purge heavy metals from your system. If you’re in the camp of believing it tastes delicious and not like soap as some will have you believe, then you’ll love this power cleansing beverage. I’ve seen many various takes on the pear+cilantro recipe online. Some call for the addition of apples, some call for bananas and dates,  but I decided to kick mine up by blending a spicy serrano pepper and spritz of lime, because my 2014 resolution is to live dangerously, and my tastebuds needed a wake up call this Monday morning. […]

homemade Greenbean casarole recipe

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

November 26, 2014

  he green bean casserole is my number one favorite side dish of the season! Growing up it didn’t get much better than the classic Del Monte canned beans with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, topped with French’s Fried Onions. I’m guessing most American households serve something quite similar. I’ve seen recipes for homemade versions (aka – recipes that don’t call for products from a can) of this classic everywhere, and I’ve tried quite a few with some success, but I’ve never quite nailed the tender, creamy, and crispy nature of this dish that I’ve grown up loving…until now! Let’s just be honest, bacon makes everything better!     Key steps that make a world of difference: A salt bath for the fresh beans! I just rinsed my fresh green beans and submerged them in a bowl of very salty water for about an hour. Bacon grease is your friend. This flavorful fat is what sets everything apart, but careful […]


Pumpkin Butter Bars

November 17, 2014

Tis the season for all things PUMPKIN! I absolutely love all the sweet and savory pumpkin inspired baked goodies that begin popping up this time of year. The only problem is I’m not much for baking. I lack the patience and scientific precision it takes to pull off the perfect cakes, pies, or pastries. I’m definitely no Bakerella– I’m a Hot Potato–  So when I stumbled upon this recipe that called for box cake mix and my favorite addition of the season- pumpkin butter– I was intrigued. Inspired from a Williams-Sonoma recipe I played with a few years ago, these delicious pumpkin bars are now a staple on our Thanksgiving table.   Pumpkin Butter Bars 1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix 1/2 cup butter, melted 13 ounces pumpkin butter (specifically 1 13-oz. jar of pumpkin pecan butter) 3 eggs 1 tablespoon flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter, softened 3 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon cinnamon Preheat oven to 350. Reserve 1 cup […]

Grilled Oysters

Grilled Oysters

October 22, 2014
It's grilling season! For most people that means burgers, BBQ, and red meat of any kind, and on some occasions a meaty fish will even get to grace our fiery pits, but we rarely think to toss the lowly bivalves on the coals- why? Oysters are one of the easiest delicacies to grill up, and they are such a crowd pleaser! You'll want to choose a larger variety with a deeper cup that way it won't dry out too quickly.My oysters were a meaty briny bunch which I got from our favorite mongers at TJ's. I just told them what my plans were and they picked out the best for me to grill. The recipe I have used previously calls for you to grill them- then shuck the top shell- and top with melted herb butter or simply a squeeze of lemon. This time I made my herb+shallot butter and spooned that in to the shell just as it began [...]

Lemon Pepper BEER Shrimp

July 28, 2014

I love a one pot dish- especially when you’re entertaining for a big crowd.   We were at the lake house for the 4th of July with a big family group this summer- which means lots of hungry (and often tipsy) mouths to feed. One night I spied our lovely hostess with the mostess pouring BEER into the shrimp skillet! Obviously I was intrigued and had to stalk her for the recipe… This crowd-pleaser could not be simpler! You just toss some rather surprising ingredients (shrimp, beer & Italian dressing) into an oven friendly dish – bake – then eat! Peel & Eat Beer Shrimp Ingredients 2 lbs shrimp (deveined- but shell kept on!) Italian dressing light beer (like Corona) 8-10 lemons quartered half a stick of butter Salt & pepper to taste   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put the shrimp and lemon wedges in a large baking dish. Dot the top with a few pieces of butter (about a quarter stick per dish), drizzle with […]


Lobster Potato Salad

July 19, 2014

Let me start off by saying – I have never really been fond of potato salad. It’s typically overdressed in mayonnaise (my kryptonite) and the actual chunks of potatoes are void of any flavor. Well, it’s easy to be swayed by anything Smitten Kitchen posts, so when I saw her post about the lobster salad she made with Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) in the Hamptons I knew I had to try it, and I knew it would be a winner. This potato salad is anything but boring, and I love how the vinaigrette actually penetrates the potatoes to give them loads of flavor. *The recipes from Smitten Kitchen & Barefoot Contessa call for you to assemble the salad then chill and wait for at least 1 hour. But it looked so tasty I just couldn’t wait, and it was still delicious after chilling in the fridge for a mere 15 minutes. I’m sure leftovers are going to be amazing! Lobster Potato Salad 1 1/2 […]

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