Monday, August 31, 2009

Looking for the review of Seven Sister's Coffee House?

For Orlando Foodie & Foodettes, if you might be on the hunt for my recent review of Seven Sisters Coffee House located in ViMi on Mills Ave., well then you have to mosey a bit further to the article's home at And if you haven't had a cup at Seven Sisters, you must walk, pedal, or ride there as soon as need a caffienatted pick me up.

(Mrs. Kathy Triolo truly enjoying her Queen Bee latte.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Looking for the Cajun Cakery Tasting Recap?

Hello Foodies & Foodettes - are you possibly looking for my interview with Sarah Mason of Cajun Cakery about her recent partnering with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Floria for last week's cake tasting event at The Vixen Lounge in downtown Orlando? If so, please visit the the following link-Captivated by Cajun Cakery's Charity-at

See you back here at L&S for more cookery very soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How bout Them Apples? Perfectly Roasted Chicken

In a recent episode of Top Chef Masters, the Master Cheftestants were strapped with the challenge to re-make another Cheftestants signature dish, of course signing the dish with their personal style in the end result. Chef Art Smith was charged with re-tooling Suzanne Tracht's steak and egg dish. His result of a ground lamb scotch egg did not fair well with the judges, but he knows it and stops their criticisms short with this snarky remark, "I've got issues with eggs, ok. I've had so many issues with eggs, I could lay an egg!"

Well, the perfectly roasted whole chicken is my egg.

I've been able to cutup a whole chicken and roast the parts of the whole successfully; yet the whole bird crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside alluded me time and time again. Hell, I've even made a giant 16lb turkey for Thanksgiving successfully (love those popup timers). I've tried glazes, marinades, simultaneously roasting with fresh vegetables, and none of my hackneyed methods yielded the roasted chicken of my dreams. To my utter joy, this period of failure came to an end over the weekend.

Of course, I get by with a little help from my friends. Them Apples, a UK cook and foodie blogger, recently released his tried and true method for roasting a chicken. Post reading his post I purchased a young 5lb chicken and dedicated my Saturday night to Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken, homemade jalapeno cornbread muffins (inspired by Seven Second Rhapsody), and steamed broccoli.

After thawing and washing my little bird, I compared the cooking notes on the package to the cooking notes from Them Apples to inform my preheating. My bird's package says 350 degrees and 20-23 minutes per pound. Them Apples recommends, "200c, twenty minutes per 500g and an extra thirty minutes on top of that. This is one of those times when you need to know your own oven." Using my hand iPhone unit converter app, I found out 200c = 396 f and 500g = 1.1lbs. While my two sources agree on timing per pound, the heat was 50 degrees off. What do you do in a situation when you want to learn the 'proper' technique? Split the difference. Finally, the summary of this whole paragraph ends with preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Now my heat is ready, I turned back to Them Apples for simple steps of flavoring using my own cupboard's components:
  • Brush the inside and out of the bird with olive oil.
  • Rub the inside and out of the bird with salt and pepper.
  • Line the inside with lemon slices; de-seeded.
  • Roughly chop 4 large garlic cloves and fill the bottom inside of the bird with the pieces.
  • Fill the rest of the cavity with fresh herbs; whatever you have on hand. I had flat parsley, mint, and basil.
  • Let that puppy, I mean chicken, roast for 20-23 minutes per pound at 375. I roasted mine just about 10 minute less than the recommended time.

EUREKA! It worked. By Jobe, I've got it! Dreams do come true! And other such triumphant sayings. The skin was crispy and delish, the meat was tender and flavorful-and the smell! My god, the aroma filled the house and almost our stomachs because it was so heavy. Thanks to Them Apples and all my other foodie friends whom continue to educate, motivate, and inspire me and my food.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Peaches-n-Cream with Sesame Cookies

I love a good rivalry. Rivalries are different from a feud in that rivalries are normally friendly and inspire creative competition among friend,s where as feuds are detrimental and destructive to relationships. I have an on-going cooking and baking rivalry with my good friend Becky [first appearing on L&S in May 2008 in the 'Life is Super Lame Without Friends' post.]

Each time she visits it is our standing date to cook and/or bake a meal much too large for us to actually consume. During her last visit to Orlando she was gushing about her version of Chicken Bryan with a pesto pasta. I had just conquered making Sesame Semolina Bread [post coming soon], so of course I made the bread available but I could not just bring bread to the table alone. I had to do something-something summery, sesame-y, and overall spectacular. After my job, I got to work right away in my kitchen on a dazzling dessert of a home made large sesame cookie in a peaches-n-cream dish garnished with almonds and fresh mint. Yes, Becky hit a home run for dinner but I wanted to finish with a grand slam so may I present Roasted Peaches & Almond Cream Cheese Whipped Cream with Sesame Cookie...

The dish really was born out of a survey. Surveying the pantry and wanting to use more of the 2lb bag of sesame seeds purchased for the bread, I also had cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, peaches, mint, and almonds. Carefully the pieces of the puzzle fell together. First I baked the sesame cookies. The sesame cookies I found at were very similar to the other recipes I found online, but not at all like the Italian sesame seed cookies I remember as a child sampling wares from the bakeries. The sesame cookies of my youth were very sweet, thin, and snapped when you bit into them. The sesame cookies I just made are more biscuit like, thick, and have an excellent crumble.

I followed the recipe accordingly but I added some anise extract as suggested by other recipes and I also dipped the cookies in milk before rolling in the sesame seeds. I tried for crescent shapes and while you will notice the shape and size variation [ still practicing the fine art of presentation], I hope you will also notice the gradation of 'toastiness' from left to right. The cookies to the far left are 'toasted' while the cookies to the far right are 'lightly toasted.' Levels of toastiness are important so I wanted to illustrate the differences in color albeit the photo is quite not 'good'.

Once the cookies were baked, I started on the cream cheese whipped cream. Using a thekitchn recipe for a base, my tweaks worked out very well and in my favor because the flavor was bold yet subtle-it was so good, it was a paradox. Here is combo recipe of L&S and TheKitchn:

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
yields about 5 cups

  1. 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour
  2. 2 cups whipping cream
  3. 7 tablespoons powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2-3 teaspoons almond extract

Whip the cream cheese in a small bowl until soft and aerated. In a larger bowl whip the cream until it forms soft peaks that collapse. Scrape in the cream cheese and continue whipping on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar and vanilla.

Keep refrigerated. This will stay stable and stiff but still have the soft look of whipped cream.

After we ate the Chicken Bryan, I started prepping the dessert to serve. With the cookies and cream ready, I began on the peaches and they could not be simpler.

  1. Heat over to 405 degrees.
  2. Halve 2 peaches and remove seed.
  3. Melt 1-2 tblsp of butter in a small bowl.
  4. Using a brush, brush butter all over peach halves and place buttered half on pan.
  5. Sprinkle surface area of each half with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Place cut-side down when ready for the oven.Bake for 20-24 minutes. Note, peaches below are not cut-side down.

Now for the assembly!

  1. Put one peach half in the bottom of a latte cup or a large wine glass on top of a spoon.
  2. Place one sesame cookie on top of the peach.
  3. Spoon 2-3 heaping tblsp of the whipped cream on top.
  4. Sprinkle freshly chopped mint and sliced almonds on top, and VOILA!, the grand slam of summer desserts is served.

All were delighted with the multitude of flavors and textures. The taste of the peach, cinnamon, almond, cream cheese, mint, and sesame romanced their taste buds. The textures of the crunch, crumbly cookie, the velvety kiss of the cream, and the sweet flesh of the peach elevated the peaches and cream concept to gourmet. I recommend it one and all when you really want to WOW your crowd and win your rivalry.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eating Philly, my iPhone Photo Travel Journal

A few weeks back I was honored with a request to write a guest post for Eat, Live, Travel, Write while Mardi is away on an exotic adventure to Laos. Being the dedicated Aussie food blogger she is, she wanted her blog watched over in her absence. Inspired by her protective nature, of course I accepted. Wanting to stay true to ELTW's themes, I supplied Mardi with Eating Philly, my iPhone Photo Travel Journal.

(TastyKake Row: TastyKakes have been produced in Pennsylvania for many years and everybody has their favorite TastyKake snack.)

My ELTW post is an iPhone photo showcase and history lesson chronicling my recent trip to the Philadelphia area and my daily indulgences of Southeastern Pennsylvania/New Jersey foods that aren't the cheesesteak. If you are curious about the regional specialities of pork roll, hoagies, peanut chews, water ice and more please follow this like, Eating Philly, to my guest post on ELTW. Mardi, thanks so much for my chance to share my childhood foods with the otherside of this world. Cheers!