Ok, I confess — I really like to play with my food. :-)
So when surveying the ingredients I had out to make some apps for a Chiefs game this month, suddenly the thought of just slicing the cheddar and sausage seemed a little too boring. So with the help of a can of chopped green chiles (somehow lost my small round cookie cutter!) and an extra Ziplock to pipe on some ranch dressing, suddenly my plain little apps were “kicked” (ha!) up a notch. ;)
I know I’ve talked on here repeatedly about how much I love-love-love my Saturday morning trips to our City Market in downtown KC. And how lucky we are here to have such great local farmers with their amazing array of fresh produce, herbs, meats, cheeses, plants, flowers, and on…and on…..
But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the treasures that lie on the perimeter of the market. Forming an enormous “L” around the farmers market are a host of local restaurants and stores, mostly specializing in specific ethnic cuisines. One of my favorites is Carollo’s – the most amazing Italian market and deli ever (or so I think!). I know we live in the heart of the Midwest, but for the brief moments I’m wandering around this grocery overflowing with pastas, tons of freshly-made cheeses, olives, olive oils, wines, and every kind of Italian meats you can imagine…I can almost pretend I’m in the heart of Italy. :)
I remember as a kid growing up, my sister and I would always tease my parents about their love of freshly-cracked black pepper. We had a huge pepper grinder that used to be placed on the table for every meal, and — while we rarely touched it — they took great delight in cracking fresh pepper onto just about every meal.
Now, decades later, it’s Yours Truly who has a slight obsession with the pepper mill. :) Absolutely love filling it with all sorts of beautiful peppercorns that I come across, and enjoying the satisfaction of grinding out some amazingly fresh, fragrant and oh-so-delicious black pepper.
Allow me to take a moment to brag on my friends. They pretty much…rock. :)
Last Sunday, we had brunch at my place. And even though it was fairly last-minute for some, the spread was absolutely incredible! Love them, and love that they enjoy food as much as I do. :-) For one of my two contributions, I decided to try out a recipe I’d had tacked to the fridge for months because it was so pretty — this yummy breakfast braid from Cooking Light.
I don’t know about other grocery stores across the country, but I feel like ours in Kansas City are always running sales on pork! While it’s not something I’d say I usually crave, I definitely enjoy “the other white meat” every now and then. (I owe this to being the daughter of my dad, who gets ridiculously excited about pork chops!) So since they were yet again on sale this week, day five of Cheap Eats Week here on the blog is an ode to the chop. :)
I think this may also be my first recipe on the blog featuring my favorite chocolate+chili combination! For those of you who’ve never tried it (and if this is the case, you must before you raise a skeptical eyebrow!), trust me that this doesn’t taste like pork with a Hershey’s bar on top. Rather, the cocoa just adds a subtle, yet delicious depth of flavor beneath the zing of the chili powder. I absolutely love the combination — in chilis, in truffles, cupcakes…you name it!