Thursday, April 18, 2013

Artichoke Stems, Trail Cooking and Eric Ripert- a Culinary Triple Threat for April #FoodieFinds

There's nothing I enjoy more, than learning new things about food.  So, I decided to start a mid-monthly review of the top tips, techniques and trends I've discovered along the way.  Whether it's a new recipe that's now a family favorite, or a new way to cook a favorite food,  I can't wait to share my monthly #foodiefinds with you.  Please join in and add your #foodiefinds to the comment section below, or on my Facebook page too!

1) Hulu #foodiefind

I have a foodie crush.  And no, it's not on artichokes or bacon, but on Eric Ripert.   So I guess you'd really call it a celebrity crush.

But, it's not just his chiseled good looks, and don't even get me started on his accent.  It's his elegant demeanor, gentle humor and work philosophy.  Are you getting it?

OK, so I'm addicted to Hulu... and yes, the addiction started when I finally discovered Downton Abbey, and watched the entire first two seasons over a three week span.  And this led me to try other great shows, like Kitchen Confidential (talk about a blast from the past- how could they have cancelled this? Hilarious.) 

And an oldie but goodie, Avec Eric.  There were only 2 seasons of this PBS show, but each and every one are worth watching, and following Master Chef Ripert on some really unique and interesting culinary adventures.

Typically, when I think about working in a kitchen, visions of "Hell's Kitchen" episodes come to mind.  But that's not the case with Eric Ripert's kitchen.  I was especially impressed with an episode that toured his restaurant, Le Bernardin.  Eric said that if there is stress, or if his staff is hungry, they will not be able to add the care needed in preparing the food correctly.  So each day, they all sit down to a meal together, and work in a peaceful kitchen with great respect for each other, the ingredients, and also the land- promoting sustainability.  A culinary crush triple threat, for sure.

2) Budget #foodiefind

Budget meals seems to be the buzz words these days, with just about every cooking show, and magazine, showing cost per serving.  As a whole, I think we're cutting back and shopping smarter.

And this month, I found two tips that have already saved me some serious cash.  First, let me say that I adore The Fresh Market.  But they hadn't always been the first to come to mind when I think budget-friendly... until now.  Check out these two great ways to save each week (they have new specials each month, sign up for their newsletter to get updates). 


And how about this awesome online resource.  All You's Grocery Circular Roundup lets you know what's on sale at all your local grocery stores.  You can even search by ingredient, or store.

I love this site because I can plan my meals, then go online and see who has my ingredients on sale.  This is especially helpful for fresh meats and produce.  Best money-saving tip yet!

3) Tips #foodiefind

What's not to love about The Chew?  Great recipes, crafts, celebrity guests... and a ton of tips!  And last week, Mario Batali literally changed the way I've been cooking for years.
Ever since Rachel Ray turned us all on to using EVOO, I've been a purist.  But, on this episode, Mario explained that by adding some canola oil to our olive oil, we can get temperatures much hotter in our pans, without burning our food.  I tried it, and it worked great.  And wouldn't you know, the next day I saw this at the grocery store... they must watch The Chew, too!

4) Recipes #foodiefinds

I'll admit that more often than not, I reach for my go-to recipes when I'm making up my shopping list. But this month I decided to get even more adventurous and try out some of the recipes I've been eyeing online, and goodness knows I have a ton on my Pinterest boards, too.

These three recipes are not only #foodiefind worthy, but I've made them each at least three times already this month... which makes them a family favorite #foodiefind.

First, a magazine recipe find, Saucy Chicken Thighs from Taste of Home Magazine.  This recipe is simple, inexpensive and full of flavor.  I use Sticky Fingers Original BBQ Sauce and leave out the hot pepper sauce.  I never liked thighs... but this gem of a recipe has made a thigh believer out of me.

Next, an online find.  Melissa d'Arabian's Warm Steak and Potato Salad was a great find.  Not only is it a $10 Dinner, but it also has all my favorite flavors.  And the best part?  The dressing.  Such a tangy and unique flavor from the bacon and sour cream.  And for the times I wanted to go lower carb, I switched out some roasted asparagus for the potatoes. Yum!

And finally, a Pinterest find, and my favorite find of the month, or of the year, even.   This Lime Basil Chicken from Goodeness Gracious is a recipe I can't seem to get off my mind.  First you marinate the chicken in lime, garlic, soy sauce and other yummy ingredients.  Then after the chicken is barbecued,  you top it with a sauce made of more lime juice and zest, green onions and basil.  This sauce is so good, it should be bottled.  Seriously delicious... round 4 tonight.

5) Cookbook #foodiefind

Sometimes it feels good to just turn off the computer and sit down with a good book... a cookbook, that is.  I was turned on to this cookbook by a friend who described the dishes with such passion and zeal, that I had to track down this out of print book.  It's an old cookbook, and one of those books you won by earning points.  And while, I'm not a smoker, (nor am I advocating smoking in any way) baby, this cookbook is on fire.

I found this rather large, hardcover book filled with a ton of recipes super cheap ($3) on e-bay.  And not only are the pictures fun, but the style of cooking reminds me of something that Curly would be cookin' up on City Slickers.  First recipes on my list to try... Beef and Beer Stew, Wild Berry Buckle and Fry Bread Tacos.

6) Technique #foodiefind
It's artichoke season, and I can't seem to get enough of these green leafy globes of goodness.  Never tried cooking one?  Well, here's a great video I found from Dottie that explains all about it.  And who knew... you can eat the stem too?  I'd like mine with mayonnaise, please.

For more great #FoodieFinds, check back every mid-month.  And to get these and other posts sent to your e-mail, click the subscribe button on the top right sidebar. 


  1. Your blog is a great advertisement for Hulu, Diana. Believe I may be watching an episode or 2 myself avec Eric =)
    Merci beaucoup!

    Thank you too for passing on the tips about allowing myself to leave Rachel Ray's EVOO behind and add a bit of canola oil à la Mario Battali =)

    Last and not least, appreciate all your moneysaver suggestions.

    1. Thank you Kim!!! I think you'll love Avec Eric- such a fun show!!! And so glad you could use some of the tips. Thanks for stopping by ;-)


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