The Weekend Gourmet F

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mom's Favorite Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Rocky Road Brownie Sundae for Mom

This week, our #SundaySupper theme is Mom's Favorite Recipes. This event is being co-hosted by Christie Campbell of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures and Wendy Leep Hammond of Wholistic Woman. Ahead of Mother's Day next week, they asked us to share one of our Mom's signature recipes...or a recipe that Mom would love! My Mom truly loves chocolate, so I decided to create a recipe just for her that combines some of her favorite flavors. My Rocky Road Brownie Sundae for Mom is full of chocolate goodness, creamy ice cream, pecans, and marshmallows. It's gooey fun -- and I can't wait to make one of these decadent little sundaes for her when I go home to visit next weekend!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review of Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex Cookbook...Featuring Chicken Enchiladas Rojas #enchiladas #cincodemayo

I recently received a review copy of the fantastic new cookbook Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex by authors Cappy Lawton and Chris Waters Dunn. Lawton is a popular San Antonio restaurateur,  and Dunn is a cooking teacher and culinary consultant. This amazing cookbook features more than 60 different enchilada recipes -- both traditional and modern varieties. If you think enchiladas are strictly a Tex-Mex creation, this cookbook will show you otherwise! The cookbook features chapters for chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and dairy fillings...and it teaches you how to make your own enchilada sauces, toppings, and other accompaniments. If you're intimidated by the thought of making homemade enchilada sauce, don't be! Each recipe walks your through the process step by step, and the end result is so much more flavorful than pre-made canned sauce. I had a hard time deciding on one recipe to feature from this book, but ultimately opted to make Chicken Enchiladas Rojas.

From start to finish, it took less than an hour to make a batch of delicious homemade chicken enchiladas -- including making the spicy chile sauce from scratch. Two big time savers that I utilized were to use a roasted deli chicken for the filling, and I purchased fresh corn tortillas. These flavorful enchiladas are not the least bit heavy, and they can be assembled on a serving platter or on each person's individual plate. They're garnished with crumbly Mexican queso fresco, diced purple onion, a drizzle of Mexican crema. I'll show you step by step how to cook and assemble these colorful, flavorful enchiladas!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Regional Specialties #SundaySupper...Featuring Loaded Tex-Mex Chile con Queso

The theme for this week's #SundaySupper is Regional Specialties. Our hostess Sue from A Palatable Pastime asked us to share foods that are specialties in our part of the country. There are many foods that are staples here in Texas, including: BBQ, chicken fried steak, and chili. Since I live in San Antonio, I decided to share my personal spin on a classic Tex-Mex appetizer: chile con queso. Queso is an addictive melted cheese dip that pairs perfectly with crispy tortilla chips. It's typically made with easy-to-melt processed cheese, green chiles, and diced tomatoes. My Loaded Tex-Mex Chile con Queso takes this local specialty to new culinary heights -- and there's not a speck of processed cheese in sight!

My hearty, chunky chile con queso is flavored with spicy Mexican chorizo sausage, aromatic veggies, diced tomatoes, and a shot of tequila for fun. It's super creamy thanks to the addition of two kinds of cheese. Then, just before serving, this moderately spicy queso is topped with a generous amount of chunky avocado-pico de gallo salsa. This hearty queso is best served with sturdy tortilla chips and warm flour tortillas for dipping. It basically combines the best flavors of chile con queso and guacamole into one delicious bite!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sea World San Antonio's Seven Seas® Food Festival....Featuring a Ticket Giveaway

Attention San Antonio-area food and wine aficionados: SeaWorld® San Antonio guests are invited to set sail on a tasty culinary voyage during the park’s 2nd annual Seven Seas® Food Festival. This event is being held every weekend between now and May 15th. Festival goers can sip and savor a wide range of delicious foods, unique wines, and craft beers and cocktails that represent a dozen different countries -- including Italy, Greece, France, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Korea, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, United States, and Spain (new this year!) Last weekend, Michael and I attended an exclusive blogger sneak preview of the Seven Seas® Food Festival. We had a blast taking an around-the-world culinary journey without ever leaving San Antonio!

The Seven Seas® Food Festival is designed to appeal to all palettes, so there's literally something for everyone! Inspired by seven different seas, the savory cuisine reflects culture favorites of regions near the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, North Pacific, Pacific Ocean, and the South Atlantic. "Flavorful pairings range from spicy to sweet to totally unexpected," said Scott Ronczkowski, Executive Chef for SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio. In addition to authentic international cuisine, many of the country's food stations also provide authentic entertainment like Spain’s guitarist and flamenco dancer.
Guests can take their festival experience to the next level by purchasing a range of upgrade packages that include wine and cheese pairings and sampling packages. Cooks can also catch live cooking demonstrations presented by local San Antonio and celebrity chefs, who show audience members how to create mouthwatering dishes using products of The Coca-Cola® Company. When we were there last weekend, Chef Jeff White of San Antonio's popular Boiler House restaurant demonstrated how to make yummy savory pork carnitas. When the demonstration was over, we received samples of the finished product.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mode Foodie April Article...Featuring Unscrambled: Egg Recipes for Brunch and Beyond

Check out Unscrambled: Egg Recipes for Brunch and Beyond

by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode

Eggs are a staple ingredient for several reasons. I always have a dozen eggs on hand in my fridge! Eggs are economical, they're a great source of protein...and they're very versatile. For this month's Mod Foodie article, I'm sharing Unscrambled: Egg Recipes for Brunch and Beyond! The recipes in my roundup come from all over the web...and feature a wide range of recipes. There's everything from an Eggs Benedict-inspired burger, eggs baked in an avocado half...and even a pizza that includes an egg in the center! Click the slideshow above to get all of these amazing and versatile egg-based recipes.

Disclosure: This is a compensated article for Mode Foodie. All opinions are solely mine.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Celebrating National Pecan Day...Featuring Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

April 14th is National Pecan Day, and I want to celebrate by sharing one of my favorite pie recipes with you. Pecans are a popular staple ingredient here here in the South...we often use them in savory and sweet dishes. My Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe combines the goodness of sticky-sweet pecan pie with decadent melted chocolate chips and a shot of bourbon. It's a decadent treat, but it's really simple to make. If you love making pie crust, by all means use your favorite recipe. If you're like me and making scratch pie crust makes you twitchy, do what I did: buy a good-quality frozen pie crust.

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Sur la Table Cooking Class Experience...Learning to Make Homemade Pasta

Michael and I recently took a Let's Make Pasta! cooking class at our local Sur la Table location, and it was an amazing experience! During this informative and fun hands-on cooking class, we learned how to make fresh pasta to create two dishes: Fettuccini Carbonara with Asparagus & Smoked Bacon and Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni al Pomodoro. During this informative 2.5-hour class, we learned a lot...and we enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner in the process! 
We were especially excited to take this pasta class, because Michael gave me a pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas. I wanted to learn how to properly use the attachment -- and how to make fresh pasta. Our instructor, Chef Cindy Drake, taught class participants how to make fresh pasta dough. Then, we learned how to use a hand-crank or automatic pasta roller for a stand mixer to make thin sheets of pasta. From there, we used half of our pasta to make fettuccini and half to make pasta sheets for the cannelloni. If you're intimidated by the idea of making fresh pasta, don't be! We left this informative class with hands-on knowledge and skills to make fresh pasta at home. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hamilton Beach 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven #Giveaway...Featuring French Onion Pull-Apart Rolls

I love being a Hamilton Beach Brand Ambassador, because I get a chance to try out lots of fun and helpful kitchen appliances! This month, I was sent a Hamilton Beach 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven oven to try out in my kitchen. I'm not sure how, but I've never owned or used a toaster oven before -- not even when I was in college living in a dorm back in the day! After using this amazing toaster oven the past few weeks, I'm a convert! The Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven fits easily on your kitchen counter and features an innovative roll-top door, which makes it so easy to place food in and take food out of the oven. Even better, the roll-top door comes off for easy cleaning. Hamilton Beach's Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven can fit up to four slices of pizza or bread -- and it offers bake, broil, and toast functions. It also features a 30-minute timer with automatic shutoff, and it includes a bake try and a rack with two positions. 

I love how versatile this toaster oven is! We're a two-person household, so the Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven has been great for reheating slices of pizza to crispy perfection, creating hot toasted sandwiches...and making the amazing recipe for French Onion Pull-Apart Rolls that I'm sharing here today. Flavorful toasted pull-apart loaves are all the rage these days, so I decided to create a version for smaller households that can be made in a toaster oven. If you love French onion soup, you're going to go crazy for these cheesy onion-infused sourdough rolls!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Food Lover's Weekend In Boston Part 2: Royal Sonesta Boston and EVOO Restaurant

During our trip to Boston, we spent one evening across the Charles River in nearby Cambridge. Our home base for this portion of our trip was the modern Royal Sonesta Boston. This gorgeous newly renovated 400-room property is located right on the Charles River, and it offers gorgeous Boston city views! The check-in process in the Sonesta's sleek lobby was very quick and simple, and we were on our way to our room. Our Executive Suite River View featured pretty Boston city views across the Charles River, a spacious living area that came with a large dining table, and a comfortable bedroom. We felt like we were staying in an urban studio apartment rather than a typical hotel room!
The bed was very comfy, and the linens were so soft! The suite's large bathroom featured a deep soaking tub and fragrant spa toiletries. The little touches make all the difference, so we were delighted to find some welcome treats waiting for us on the bar area between our bedroom and living area. In addition to perfectly chilled bottles of Artesian Voss water, we were provided a platter of chocolate-dipped strawberries, hand-dipped artisan chocolates, and a colorful fruit display. While we changed for our dinner reservation at nearby EVOO Restaurant, we sampled the goodies...and they were all decadently delicious! The Royal Sonesta Boston offers its guests a wide range of amenities, including a CD clock radio, flat-screen high-definition televisions, complimentary WiFi internet, fridge, and electronic safes. Our stay was off to a great start! Before we knew it, it was time to hop into a waiting cab in front of the hotel entrance and head to dinner.

EVOO is an award-winning New American restaurant that features organic, local, and sustainable ingredients -- with a menu that changes daily. We were warmly greeted by the restaurant's manager and shown to our table. Our dinner tasting was a fabulous experience -- the food was expertly prepared and whimsically presented. Our dinner tasting started with flavorful artisan cocktails and a shared appetizer of Beer Battered Picked Onions from the Small section of the EVOO's dinner menu.
The were like ordinary onion rings on steroids! The batter was light and crispy and the rings were perfectly fried. One bite revealed that the onions inside were lightly pickled -- which provided a mildly tart flavor. The creamy sauce served on the side for dipping was delicious -- and the presentation in a small fryer basket was really fun. Our meal was off to a great start!

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for April...Featuring Boston's Bostonia Public House

This month's featured restaurant for The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is Boston's Bostonia Public House. During our visit to Boston this Winter, Michael and I enjoyed a great dinner at this upscale casual Contemporary American restaurant. We found Bostonia's location to be ideal -- it's located in a lovely historical building in Boston's Financial District that was originally built in 1902. Bostonia Public House was an easy 10-minute from the Omni Parker House, where we were staying that evening. When we walked in on that Saturday evening, we immediately heard some really great live music playing in the first floor courtesy of a group of student musicians from nearby Berklee College of Music. We were warmly greeted by the hostess and shown to our table in the restaurant's second floor. We looked over the dinner menu and decided to start with cocktails and a shared appetizer. The restaurant's manager stopped by our table to say hello -- and to recommended we try the warm Lump Crab Dip. 
This decadent seafood-based appetizer features a creamy base flavored with sweet lump crab meat and is topped with melted cheese. The dip is served with addictive house-made salt and pepper potato chips. While we enjoyed this yummy dip, we sipped on a pair of expertly prepared cocktails from the bar. After we enjoyed our appetizer, we shared two quintessential Boston foods that we can't get here in Texas: a bowl of clam chowder and a lobster roll.
BPH Clam Chowder features smoky bacon, leeks, celery, and marble potatoes in a creamy clam-filled base. The bacon provided a nice smokiness and depth of flavor to this rich clam chowder. It was truly exceptional chowder! We paired the creamy chowder with an amazing Hot Lobster Roll. This sandwich contained plenty of sweet lobster tossed in warm clarified butter and piled into a toasted bun. This decadent lobster roll featured only a few ingredients -- but it packed a true flavor explosion! We were smiling ear to ear as we sampled these two menu items. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eggland's Best 2016 America's Best Recipe Contest Giveaway...Featuring Individual Tex-Mex Baked Egg Skillets #eggs #ad

The 2016 Eggland’s Best “America’s Best Recipe” Contest is underway, and inventive cooks can enter by creating an original recipe that uses Eggland’s Best (EB) eggs and locally-sourced ingredients made popular by their state! From now through April 29th, Eggland’s Best will accept contest entries via their website. Each recipe entry must use at least TWO whole EB eggs and ONE locally sourced ingredient that is grown or manufactured in the entrant’s home state. Every state has its famous foods that can be used to create anything from traditional cuisine to family-style recipes and more. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – Eggland’s Best eggs are versatile and provide lots of nutritional benefits! 

Compared to ordinary eggs, each Eggland's Best egg has four times the Vitamin D, more than two times the Omega-3s, and 25% less saturated fat! By choosing EB over ordinary eggs, you are getting an egg that is fresher, tastes better, and contains more vitamins and nutrients. Today, I’m sharing my contest entry recipe with you! I’m a native Texan who lives in San Antonio…which is known for its spicy Tex-Mex food. My Individual Tex-Mex Baked Egg Skillets can be served for breakfast, weekend brunch, or even a casual weeknight breakfast-for-dinner entrée. Simply add some warm tortillas on the side, and you have a complete meal!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things for March #WendyFaveThings #GreatEight

It's time for this month's Wendy's Favorite Things roundup. This month's Great Eight features healthy snacks, a great new cookbook, a unique twist on bacon...and my favorite personalized wine glasses!

(1) Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea. I'm a big fan of Bolthouse Farms refrigerated juice blends and smoothies. When I tasted their Vanilla Chai Tea Perfectly Protein Beverage, I knew I had found my new favorite portable breakfast of afternoon pick-me-up. This blend of heart-healthy green tea, vanilla, and chai spices contains 7 grams of filling soy protein. This chai tea tastes amazing...and it's good for me too. Score! This dairy-free beverage is also gluten free -- and it contains just 3.5 grams of fat and 175 calories per 8-ounce serving. To find Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Latte near you, check out their handy Store Locator.

(2) Horizon Organic Cheddar Shapes. Horizon Organic's new Cheddar Shapes are a fun way to get your daily requirement of protein and calcium! Kids of all ages will have a blast eating these star-shaped bites of cheese. Eat them alone, stack them on crackers, or use them to add a fun garnish to your favorite recipes. Each 1/4-cup serving of Cheddar Shapes provides 20% of your daily calcium needs...along with 7 grams of filling protein. I love to eat Cheddar Shapes on top of Triscuits for a filling after-work snack. Like all Horizon products, these cheese shapes are USDA certified organic. Horizon also makes triangle-shaped Colby Shapes for those who prefer a sharper bite to their cheese. To find these products near you, check out Horizon's online Store Locator.
(3) Haulin' Oats Oatmeal Jars. I was a teenager in the 80's, so the creative name of Haulin' Oats organic gourmet oatmeal was the first thing that caught my attention! Then, I tasted their oatmeal and fell in love...this stuff is the real deal! Every flavor starts with organic rolled oats topped with brown sugar, flaxseed, and spices -- along with a rich blend of nutty almond butter and coconut oil. Then, they add lots of yummy organic, sustainable ingredients. Haulin' Oats comes in cute glass jars, making it perfectly portable. When you're ready to serve, cover the ingredients with boiling water and let cook for 5 minutes before eating. Each flavor is named after a popular song. My personal favorite is My Cherry Amor, which features pecans, dried cherries, and white and dark chocolate chips. It's a healthy treat that gets my day off to a great start! Haulin' Oats products can be purchased via their online store.

(4) Sauces 'n Love Pink Pesto Pasta Sauce. I'm always looking for products that taste great and help me get dinner on the table quickly during my busy work week. One of my favorite new finds is Sauces 'n Love Pink Pesto refrigerated pasta sauce. In the time it takes to boil up some pasta and sear some chicken breast, I can have a restaurant-quality dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. This creamy sauce features Vodka sauce infused with herbal basil pesto. The addition of homegrown tomatoes and cream provides a nice richness. Like all Sauces 'n More pasta sauces, this Pink Pesto is gluten free. This sauce really is the best of both worlds -- creamy tomato-based sauce flavored with the robust flavor of pesto. My Texas readers can find Sauces 'n Love Pasta Sauces at their local Central Market. To find their sauces nationwide, check out their Store Locator.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mode Foodie Contributor Feature...Featuring Big-Flavor Homemade Salad Dressings for Spring

Check out Big-Flavor Homemade Salad Dressings for Spring

by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode

Spring is here...which means warmer temperatures are on the horizon! When the weather starts to turn warmer, I start to crave lighter foods -- including lots of main dish salads! For this month's Mode Foodie Contributor feature, I'm sharing a roundup of amazing Big-Flavor Homemade Salads Dressings for Spring. If you think homemade salad dressings are complicated to make, think again! The recipes I'm sharing this month can be whipped up in minutes, and they feature lots of fresh flavors that are perfect for Spring. I'm sharing everything from light and tangy vinaigrette to creamy dressings that are lighter in fat and calories. Once you give these dressings a try, you'll see how simple it is to whip up a batch of homemade salad dressing in minutes!

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Mode Foodie. As always, all opinions are solely my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Confetti Easter PEEPS® Sandwich Cookies

Easter is this weekend, which means you’re going to need some sweet treats to share with your friends and family! The days leading up to Easter can be hectic, so I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes from last Easter with you again today. My colorful Confetti Easter PEEPS® Sandwich Cookies are made with a convenient boxed sugar cookie mix. They’re rolled in brightly colored sprinkles, filled with a sweet-tart grape buttercream filling, and decorated with fun PEEPS® Orange Delight chicks. Your little bunnies can even help you roll the cookie dough and coat them in the sprinkles. These festive cookies are cute to look at, yummy to eat…and super easy to whip up in an afternoon. So…gather your favorite sprinkles and let’s get baking!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

San Antonio Book Festival Is April 2nd...Featuring Squash Casserole from Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables #giveaway

Attention San Antonio-area book lovers: the San Antonio Public Library Foundation will be holding its 4th Annual San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday, April 2nd! This free event will take place from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Central Library and The Southwest School of Art, located in Downtown San Antonio. The goal of this fun book festival is to unite and inspire readers and writers alike. The San Antonio Book Festival will feature more than 80 authors, as well as entertainment for all ages -- including Geektown, which is specially geared toward teenage readers. There are a ton of great events planned for the San Antonio Book Festival -- there's truly something for every type of reader! 
One of the festival events that I'm most excited about attending is Eat Your Vegetables (and Love Doing It)!, featuring noted cookbook authors Cynthia Graubart and Nathalie Dupree. They'll be discussing -- and signing - their amazing new Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables cookbook. Cynthia Graubart is the author of six books, including the James Beard Award-winning Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. She also writes the New Sunday Supper column in Southern Living magazine, and she shares her message of gaining confidence in the kitchen to groups large and small. Graubart is also a television producer who produced GPTV’s first nationally syndicated television series, New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree.
Photo provided by Patrick Heagney Photography
Nathalie Dupree has been the host of more than 300 cooking shows on PBS, The Learning Channel, and the Food Network. She has written 14 books, three of which have won James Beard awards. Ms. Dupree has also been awarded the Grand Dame of the Les Dames d' Escoffier, Who's Who in American Cooking by the James Beard Foundation, and was two-time president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is married to author Jack Bass and lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I received a copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables to try out in my kitchen. Being a native Texan, I was very impressed with all of the great recipes. So many of them reminded me of the vegetables that my Grandma Wofford would make with fresh vegetables from her large garden. Today, I'm sharing a fabulous recipe for Squash Casserole -- it's easy to make with simple ingredients, and it's perfect for your Easter table this weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Eggtastic Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and Ham

This week, #SundaySupper is sharing Eggtastic recipes! Our hostess is Wendy from Wholistic Woman. She asked us to share our favorite egg-centric recipes. I absolutely love cooking with eggs! This versatile ingredient is economical, and it's and excellent source of protein. Today, I'm sharing Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and Ham. This delicious, slightly decadent dish is perfect for weekend brunch -- or a quick weeknight Brinner. If you've never had shirred eggs, you're in for a very special treat! This French classic features eggs baked in a shallow dish with a bit of cream. My version is flavored with thyme, prosciutto, and nutty Gruyere cheese. This recipe's a keeper folks...and it's one of my most favorite ways to enjoy eggs!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bacon Tomato Queso Skillet...Featuring Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes & Chiles #GameDayWinner

We're huge sports fans at my house...we loudly cheer on our Houston teams all year long! College basketball March Madness is going on right now, which means basketball fans across the country are getting together to see how their bracket is playing out. With game day naturally comes game day snacks...and I've got a fantastic hot skillet dip to share with you today! I'm a Blog Ambassador for Red Gold Tomatoes -- they're truly the only canned tomatoes that I use in my recipes because of their consistent quality and flavor. Today, I'm sharing my personal spin on their amazing  Bacon Tomato Queso SkilletThis flavorful queso is made without processed cheese, and it's moderately spicy thanks to the addition of spicy Red Gold Original Tex-Mex Petite Diced Tomatoes & Chiles. My version of this skillet queso features black beans, a shot of tequila, and the addition of green onions for added color and flavor. Whether your're throwing a game day party...or getting geared up for Movie Night, you're going to want to whip up a batch of this creamy, smoky queso dip!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for March: Boston's B&G Oysters #WGDO #seafood

Boston is well known for its abundance of amazing seafood. Michael and I both grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so we're dedicated seafood lovers from way back! During our recent Boston trip, we enjoyed a seafood lunch at B&G Oysters that was so fantastic that we decided to spotlight them for this month’s The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out feature. B&G Oysters is a popular upscale-casual oyster bar located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. B&G is part of Boston restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s restaurant group. We arrived for lunch, and the manager and chef treated us to a lunch tasting featuring many of the restaurant’s signature dishes. We ordered a few menu items that jumped out at us, and the chef also selected items to round out our tasting. All of the seafood we enjoyed during our lunchtime visit was extremely fresh and expertly prepared.

While we looked over the lunch menu, we enjoyed an amuse bouche of perfectly fried oysters. They were lightly crispy outside, tender and briny inside. The oysters were artfully served on a bed of tangy sauce inside an oyster shell. We also sampled the Corn Cake with Lobster and Jonah Cab. This elegant appetizer featured a silky-smooth creamy corn cake topped with chunks of lobster, sweet Jonah crab meat, and a savory sauce. The combination of flavors and textures in this appetizer were perfection. 
The chef then sent a plate of House Smoked Salmon Toasts to the table. This striking dish featured house-made smoked salmon, velvety soft-scrambled eggs, and caviar on triangles of toasted black squid ink rye bread. This dish was absolutely gorgeous on the plate – and it was also very delicious. The combination of smoky salmon, briny caviar, red onion, and creamy scrambled eggs was a true treat!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Meatball #SundaySupper...Featuring Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs

This week, the #SundaySupper crew is featuring meatballs. Our hostess Sue from Palatable Pastime challenged us to come up with fun and tasty meatball recipes. Let's face it: meatballs are just plain fun -- and they're also incredibly versatile. I combined two of my favorite foods to make my Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs. Flavorful Italian-inspired meatballs are stuffed with a slice of zesty pepperoni and a ball of fresh mozzarella. Then, they're baked and topped with a chunky tomato sauce.

These meatballs can be enjoyed as a fun appetizer or first course, but I also enjoy them served over tri-color orzo for a fun dinner. Anyone who loves pepperoni pizza is guaranteed to go crazy for these meatballs -- and everyone enjoys the surprise of melty cheese inside when the cut into these meatballs. Let me show you how simple these meatballs are to make!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Boston Foodie Getaway Part I: The Back Bay via Mandarin Oriental Hotel #WGTravel

Photo provided by Mandarin Oriental
The Weekend Gourmet recently enjoyed a long weekend getaway to Boston. During our visit, we enjoyed the city's many historical sites, and we also ate a lot of amazing New England seafood. If you've never been to Boston, you should definitely put it on your travel list -- there's so much to see and do! For one portion of our trip, we visited Boston's stylish Back Bay neighborhood. Our base of operations for that segment of our trip was the gorgeous AAA Five Diamond Mandarin Oriental Boston. It's part of the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel chain, and they really take customer service to new levels! We loved Mandarin Oriental Boston's convenient location to the attractions we were visiting...and we also loved all of the great amenities. Upon arrival, we quickly checked in an were escorted to our room. The spacious room featured a comfy King size bed, a large sitting area, and a spacious bathroom that featured a large shower and a relaxing jetted tub.
I have to say that the customer service at the Mandarin Oriental was pampering and very accommodating. We mentioned to our bellman that we wanted to go to the gift shop to purchase some bath salts, because our muscles were sore from the walking we'd been doing. Five minutes later, there was a knock at our door. Our bellman came by with two small jars of complimentary bath salts for us to use that evening. It's little touches like this that really make Mandarin Oriental stand out. After settling in, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Back Bay neighborhood. On our way out, we stopped to admire the hotel's spacious lobby, with its Art Deco flourishes and gorgeous floral displays.

After an afternoon of exploring, the Sun was setting and it was nearly time for our dinner reservation. Our last stop was the Skywalk Observatory inside the Prudential Center Shops, located just steps away from the Mandarin Oriental. An elevator quickly took us 50 stories above the city, where we enjoyed breathtaking 360-degree views of Boston. The views were especially magical at night, with the city lights twinkling below! We even saw Fenway Park in the distance.
Because we had Go Boston Cards, our admission to the observatory was included. I can't recommend this convenient card highly enough! For one price, we were able to visit many of Boston's most popular attractions. Go Boston Cards include your choice of 40 popular attractions in increments of 1-7 days, letting you customize your cards for your trip. After our visit to the Skywalk Observatory, it was a short 2-minute walk back to the Mandarin Oriental.

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