Tag Archives: brown sugar

Coffee Crusted Chicken

Like a good percentage of most average Americans, coffee plays a very important role in my daily life. It’s practically ritualistic and routine, but never taken for granted. While there is an aspect of my morning tradition that does prevent caffeine withdrawal, I mostly drink a huge cup first thing because I enjoy the flavor.

Other than water, it is the one thing I consume constantly so I invest in the good stuff. My coffee of choice is the Reading blend from Old City Coffee in the Reading Terminal Market. It is the perfect combination of a French blend and their namesake Old City Blend, producing a deep, smooth, toasty mix. I prefer it black, as to not dilute the delicious notes with cream or sugar.

While there are practically a million ways to take your morning beverage, most wouldn’t realize the grounds could serve as the perfect ingredient in a rub for most meats. This savory recipe appealed to my appreciation for coffee and opened my eyes to other ways I can get it in my system. Read More…

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Breakfast Pastries

The cereal and breakfast treat aisle was always my favorite place to be when I was a kid. Shelves of boxes with happy, animated mascots and bright colors, never failed to work their marketing magic on my brain. The fact that most of them came with a prize only made them more appealing.

Most of the time I would ask for boxed, fruit-filled, iced pastries or a sugary cereal and instead we would leave the grocery store with a healthier breakfast option like shredded wheat or granola bars. There were occasions where my parents would allow me to pick something special, like my birthday or first day of school. Pop-Tarts were usually my pick.

When I was little, I was patient enough to toast them and, at the time, one was enough. In high school, though, I was usually pressed for time and would grab a foil wrapped pack of two straight from the box and eat both on my way to school. Since then, the variety of Pop-Tarts has increased incredibly; you can now find flavors like S’mores, ones with blue and purple icing, and even a low-fat line. Despite all of the options, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the originals, like brown sugar-cinnamon, strawberry, and cherry.

This week marks the start of the school year for most kids. Their alarms will go off a little early (or for the first time since last school year ended) and they’ll be donning their new wardrobe or freshly pressed uniform. Before they head out the door with a new back pack full of sharpened pencils and unused crayons, give them a special treat to commemorate their new year. Read More…

Party People: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Bacon seems to be a pretty fashionable ingredient these days, making appearances in many dishes that are considered “outside the box” when compared to your standard breakfast sandwich. Food and Wine has a 20-recipe slideshow dedicated to the pork product that includes pasta dishes, salads, and even a snack mix. Restaurants and bakeries in the area add bacon to dessert items, giving the cured meat an opportunity to shine as a refined ingredient. The craze has led me to the conclusion that everything is better with bacon.

Joe’s uncle, Bill, hosts some pretty amazing parties, but his forte is the holiday gathering at the end of each year. Everything from the decorations to the food and drinks is perfect, and he makes party planning for a group of about 50 look easy. Though every item on the table tastes delicious, I have a crazy love affair with the mini hot dogs wrapped in bacon that always appear at this annual get-together. My infatuation can be embarrassing; the hors d’oeuvre is not meant to be made into a meal, but it’s next to impossible to refrain from standing next to the tray, poking away with toothpicks. I’ve begun making them for other parties, and it seems I’m not alone in my addiction; my godson, Ryan, loves the recipe so much that I no longer have to ponder what dish I’m making for his birthday parties. Read More…

Sautéed Chicken Breast in Orange Dijon Sauce

The Book and The Cook Fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 1999 was a memorable moment. My mom and I walked into the exhibit hall to an overwhelming lineup of tables with representatives from restaurants, catering companies, new products, and culinary arts colleges. Located on the sides of the hall, small stages were set up for cooking demonstrations; however, the highlight of the event was an appearance from Emeril Lagasse on the main stage.

That year, I started contemplating my future and where I’d be attending college; after The Book and the Cook Fair, I was sold. My mom and I left that day with a bag full of information from culinary arts colleges, and I finally knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” One thing led to another, though, and my talents for drawing and painting became a more logical focus, as I had opportunities to receive scholarships from local schools.

Though I never became an artist OR a chef, I still make both activities a hobby, but always wonder what would have happened had I taken the culinary arts route seriously. Last fall, I attended a 6 week series of community classes at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in University City. Though the classes are non-credit and won’t make you an Iron Chef overnight, I learned valuable cooking basics – information that every chef knows like the back of their hand. Taught by Restaurant School instructors, each session followed a method of cooking, which we reviewed in a book from the school that now sits proudly among my other cookbooks. Not only were we allowed to keep this useful cooking manual, the classes ended with each student taking home a meal they had made that evening. It would have been nice to have something to show off my talents when I came home; however, the delicious meal never made it that far – I always devoured it on the car ride home. Read More…

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