HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Halloween is my second favorite holiday, after Thanksgiving. They are the two holidays that fall in my favorite season of the year, Autumn! So I guess it makes sense. Even though I am traveling during All Hallows, Halloween, Samhain, etc. this year, I am looking forward to spending the holiday with our friends Nicki and Lisa in Vermont :)

I would like to re-post something from a few years back, early in my blogging career, some special treats I made a few years ago for a Halloween Party! Enjoy! Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Spindly Spiders:

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I thought I would make these guys using black licorice gumdrops and black shoestring licorice. However, according to the manger at the Publix grocery store we went to, black licorice is not popular in Florida, therefore they do not carry it, even at holiday time. Bah! So I had to come up with a different plan!

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You Will Need:
Dried Plums
Blackberry Fruit Leather
Toothpicks
Red Tube Icing

METHOD:

To make the spider, roll the plums in the palms of your hands to form them into balls. Cut the fruit leather into very thin strips (using the shortest side). Using toothpick make 4 small holes on each side of the plum (spider body) and poke the fruit leather strip into the holes. Spiders have 8 fruit leather legs in total. Then using the tube of red icing, place two eyes on the top of the spider! Great for decoration and a very healthy fruit snack!

Kitty Kupcakes:

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Cupcakes with character. I have a black kitty and I had to pay homage to her especially on Halloween – so she is my inspiration for these cupcakes! You could change it up and do orange kitties if you prefer.

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You Will Need:
Halloween Cupcake Wrappers
Cupcake Baking Pans
Chocolate Cake Mix
Chocolate Icing
Pastry Bag
Star Tip
Dark Chocolate M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces
Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
Chocolate Chips
1 cup Chow Mein Noodles
1 TBS Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
1 TBS Sugar
Red Tube Icing

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METHOD:

Prepare the cupcakes according to the cake package directions. Once they have cooled put the icing in the pastry bag using a star tip. Pipe the icing on the cupcakes.

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In a small bowl combine chow mein noodles, cocoa powder and sugar. Place two small pieces or blue corn tortilla chips as ears, M&Ms for eyes, chocolate chip for nose , chocolate covered chow mein noodles as whiskers and a red mouth.

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Wands:

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Bring a little magic into Halloween with these delicious dark chocolate pretzel wands!

You Will Need:
1½ package of Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
Package of Pretzel Rods
Halloween Sprinkles
Microwave Safe Mug
Parchment Paper
Cookie Sheet

METHOD:

In a microwave safe mug melt the chocolate chips (you want to use a mug so that when you dip the pretzel rods, the chocolate will go about 1/3 way up the stick).

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Dip pretzel rods in chocolate and sprinkle them with sprinkles over parchment paper (you can also roll the sprinkles if you prefer, but you will use a lot more). Lay on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper until chocolate has hardened.

Eerie Eyeballs:

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These were a HUGE hit at the party! Everyone loved the peanut butter surprise inside! Yum!

You Will Need:
Mixing Bowl
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I used Organic and did not mix the oil in, that way the PB itself is harder)
3 TBS Unsalted Butter, softened
Parchment Paper
Cookie Sheet
1½ Lb. White Candy Coating (like Dolci brand for covering fruits)
24 Dark Chocolate M&M’s
1 TBS Water
¼ to ½ TSP Red Food Coloring (I had less and my icing turned out pink, so I used the leftovers of the red icing from the cupcakes).

METHOD:

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In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, peanut better and butter. Shape into one inch balls. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Chill for 30 mins or until firm.
In a microwave safe bowl melt white candy coating and stir until smooth. Be careful not to burn. Dip PB balls into coating and place on parchment paper. Immediately press M&M (M side DOWN) on top of each ball for a pupil. Let stand in fridge for 30 mins or until set.
In a small bowl combine water, food coloring and remaining confectioner’s sugar. Transfer into a re-sealable bag and poke a small hole into the corner of the bag. Pipe wavy lines downward from pupil creating the look of bloodshot eyes. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

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Finest Foodies Friday – October 30, 2009

First off, I would like to wish my mom a Happy Birthday today! She has started her own adventure in blooging fairly recently and is doing a great job!  If you want to wish her a happy birthday too, go check out her blog posts on Travelcloseup.com. She has taken over my first blog, a travel blog and is making it her own! So go check it out, and don’t forget to say Happy Birthday! I am sure subscribing to her blog would make her day too! :)

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IF YOU LIKE FOOD BLOGS, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE EVERY FRIDAY!

As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!

What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 5,200 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Milk & Honey

This blog is written by The Milkman’s Wife – a nod to her husband’s dairy farm upbringing. This blog is the food journey of a suburban girl turned “country guy’s wife”. She says:  “ To me, food and life are so intertwined, they simply can’t be separated. Food brings back happy memories, keeps the spirit of those who have passed alive, and starts new traditions. Inside this blog, you’ll find the real stories behind the food I make and you’ll learn a little about me in the process.”

Sour Grapes

Michael Elliott is a classically trained chef who has worked with food since the age of 13 as an apprentice to Chef Susur Lee in Toronto. After completing his BFA in Art History and Studio Art at Concordia University in Montreal, he continued to work as a chef in some of the city’s best restaurants. In 2002 he began his career as a food stylist working on the popular French language cooking show “A la Di Stasio”. Since then, he has worked as a stylist, recipe developer, and writer in both North America and Asia. He has experience in television, film, and print media. This blog is his take on all things food – from recipes, restaurant reviews and food styling.

Italialicious

Everything Italian Tastes Better.” This blog is all about the simple, fresh and regional cooking of Italian cuisine. Also discussed at length on the about page is Italian- American cuisine, and how it is so different that what is eaten in Italy, regionally. This is a topic I have always been interested in, since it is the cuisine of my relatives and ancestors. Immigrant food, is a wonderfully diverse topic. This blog shows you traditional Italian cuisine, where it comes from and how it changes as the people change.

Kitchen Butterfly

The butterfly is Nigerian-born, Liverpool-schooled (in part) and now an expatriate living and working in the Netherlands. This now foodie, hated food until she was 9 years old! To read about the day that changed it all, see her about page.  Why Butterfly? : “I am flighty. I am constantly seeking…. content with my life but still in search of more. I am big on combinations – cross-pollinating and cross-fertilisation. I’m big on flavours and textures. I love pretty. And colour.”


I Ate That

Ben blogs so he can combine his two favorite things – food and photography. He has a wide variety of interests, but his love for food and cooking has never waned. He started taking photos of the food he and his wife would make, and these pho­tos would make their way onto the inter­net, where friends would make encour­ag­ing state­ments of jeal­ousy and drool; thus, I Ate That! was born!


That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

November 2009 Foodie Blogroll Giveaways!

foodie-blogroll

It is another month, which means we have another new round of great giveaways and contests to share with our Foodie Blogroll members blogs! If you have a food blog, and are not a member of The Foodie Blogroll, what are you waiting for? Please join our community of over 5500 food blogs!

This is the last time I will be posting about Foodie Blogroll Giveaways on The Leftover Queen blog, as a rule of thumb. In case you haven’t heard, after a year of listening to your feedback and developing a band new software program, we launched a new and improved Foodie Blogroll website this month!!!!

The new website is much more interactive than the old site was, and so after this month, I will be posting all the giveaway news on The Foodie Blogroll website! So if you have not been there yet, please go over and check it out! :)

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In order to promote the new website and its interactive features, we are working with Regional Best this month. Regional Best features artisan foods. You can purchase handcrafted local foods directly from artisans, family farms and small companies. They have everything from chocolate and confections, to gluten free foods, condiments, cheeses and meats. They are giving away three (3) $25 shopping sprees a week, through the month of November, to Foodie Blogroll members located in the continental US! In order to be eligible you must go and comment on the post about the Regional Best Giveaway on the Foodie Blogroll website on our Contests and Giveaways Page. You can begin commenting on this contest entry starting next week.

You can now comment on all posts, articles, blog and member pages! Please come and check out our new features, and be sure to comment on the Regional Best contest post!

We have 2 other exciting giveaways to offer you this month directly from Foodie Blogroll members! Two cookbooks – The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning of Ivy’s Feast and Poor Girl Eats Well – To Go! By Kimberly Morales of Poor Girl Eats Well !

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Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning is about cooking in mixed-diet families, where there are hearty and satisfying meals for everyone at your table – vegetarians, vegans and omnivores. Inspired by her own background as an omnivore married to a vegetarian, Manning has developed a diverse and delicious collection of 90 recipes, each adaptable to yield a few vegetarian servings of a meaty dish, or a few omnivore servings of a vegetarian one. Typical entries in this beautifully illustrated cookbook include elegant Japanese Eggplant and Halibut with Miso Glaze, and a sumptuous Spaghetti Carbonara for gourmands of all persuasions. Ivy says that it is a great book for the holidays, giving you ideas of how to feed the mixed crowds of eaters that may be dropping by for festivities. To be eligible to win Ivy’s book you must have a verified active blog featured on Foodieblogroll.com.

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Poor Girl Eats Well – To Go! is Kimberly Morales’ self published book about eating well on a budget.  You can order her book on her website. Her very popular blog Poor Girl Eats Well, has been nominated for a Foodbuzz blog awards nominee in the category of “Blogger you’d most like to see have her own show on the Food Network”. So be sure to congratulate her on her nomination. Her blog is dedicated to those who can’t always afford the best but still expect the best. “Often imitated, never duplicated, I will show you how you can stretch your dollar while making delicious, good-for-you meals”. You can enjoy her tips, tricks and delicious recipes in her book!  <!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>This 46-page mini-book features top favorites like the Caprese Omelette, Shrimp with Pineapple-Pepper Relish, and the Mushroom Asiago Quesadilla. A few of the most popular tips are featured too, with the bonus tip on how to have a successful $25 Shopping Cart trip  A perfect holiday gift for anyone that loves food! To be eligible to win Kimberly’s book you must have a verified active blog featured on Foodieblogroll.com.

Thanks to all our current Foodie Blogroll members for your support and ideas over the last year. Please keep an eye out for our monthly newsletter next week with all the contest details.

Chicken Soup is Food for the Soul

chicken-soup-heave_cooking

One of my favorite comfort foods in the fall and winter is a beautiful roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots. There is just nothing better—except making chicken soup afterwards. This post is basically just a public service announcement to say, when you roast a chicken, don’t throw the bones away! Keep them and make stock or chicken soup!

I still have stock in the freezer from when I made bone broth the last time.  This time I decided to leave some of the chicken on the bones, and boil it all to make chicken soup. I just love the smell of the house when I am making stock. It makes me feel like all is right in the world. It is a warm and fuzzy feeling. It speaks to my soul.

To the chicken and bones I added 6 cups of filtered water. I boiled it until the liquid had reduced by half – this took several hours over low heat and produced a very dark and rich broth. I let the pot cool and then threw in the fridge over night.

The next day I skimmed off the fat and took the meat off the bones. Then I looked around in the freezer and on the counter top to see what I had in terms of veggies. There were some frozen peas and summer squash, as well as a few lonely fingerling potatoes. So I chopped up the potatoes and added them to the broth with the chicken and other veggies. I let everything simmer for about 30-40 minutes, and then served.

This is such a simple, yet economic, hearty and extremely tasty meal! So the next time you have bones (of any kind) make soup!

Finest Foodies Friday – October 23, 2009

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IF YOU LIKE FOOD BLOGS, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE EVERY FRIDAY!

As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!

What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 5,200 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Memorie di Angelina

This blog is written by Frank who is lawyer by day, cook by night. This food blog is inspired by the wonderful home cooking of his Italian grandmother. You’ll find her recipes there, plus some of his favorite dishes from other parts of Italy, especially Rome, where he has lived for ten years!

Tiny Urban Kitchen

This is a beautiful blog with nice photos and great food. Jen cooks in her tiny urban kitchen in her tiny urban condo near Boston. She is a research chemist and at home, she loves experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with fun, new creative ways to cook.

Chat & Chew

Ali is a magazine consultant by day and fights hunger by night. After an unsuccessful journey through culinary school she is now getting a “formal culinary education from the world…wide web.” She recently made Giada De Laurentiis’ Espresso Caramel Bars. The adult version of a Twix. Yum.

The English Kitchen

This is blog that de-bunks the myths of English Cookery one recipe at a time. I definitely love learning more about cuisines around the world, and one cuisine I love learning more about is English food. I still swear that the English have some of the best desserts in the world, but despite rumors to the opposite, there are also really good meals to be had as well. Learn more about English cooking here!

Two Hungry Pandas

I picked this blog to feature this week in honor of my step-daughter Gwen, who loves Pandas! These Pandas are named Wesley and Evelina–two hungry pandas chowing their way through the San Gabriel Valley and beyond. They do mostly restaurant reviews, and their photos are superb.

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

Holy Smoky Pile O’ Ribs!

big-rack-or-ribs-galore

I said something to that effect when we got our takeout home and opened up the package to see what you see above. We are heading out soon on our annual New England trip, and I had gone through all of the leftovers, and stuff in the fridge. So we decided to call our local BBQ joint and have someone else do the cooking for us!

We have been to Smokin’ D’s a few times in the past and each time, they had always been out of ribs. This little BBQ joint, and by little, I mean little – all they have are big wood burning smoke houses lining the pack wall, a kitchen prep area and the cash register. No seats. Just BBQ. This little BBQ joint is housed in a small shack next to a gas station. It has a huge resin pig sculpture on the outside to greet you, and basically they start cooking in the morning, and close once all the food is gone. They do pork, brisket, chicken and turkey. Their pulled pork sandwiches are heavenly, served on thick slabs on garlic toast with one side (cole slaw, beans, or yellow rice) and a beverage for only $5.95! And really, it is some of the best BBQ I have had in my life. DE-licious.

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(My brother-in-law, Davide in front of Smokin D’s, hangin’ with the piglet).

This time we called ahead, to make sure we had a chance to get their ribs, and we figured since they are hard to come by, we should get extra, to last us a few meals. So we ordered the rib special which is supposed to feed 3 people! So imagine our surprise to see this pile of ribs when we opened the bag!!! Not only did we each have two meals out of it, I also put at least 8 ribs in the freezer to use later this winter in soups and stews and beans!

If you ever find yourself driving through Saint Augustine, we recommend Smokin’ D’s!

110 State Road 206. St Augustine, FL. 32086 . 904-797-2050

FYI – My posts may be more sporadic over the next several weeks. We will be in New England, and also San Francisco for the FoodBuzz Food Blogger’s Festival! But I am bringing my laptop and will be working, just maybe not as much on a regular schedule! Look forward to seeing many of you in San Francisco in a few weeks!

Finest Foodies Friday – October 16, 2009

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IF YOU LIKE FOOD BLOGS, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE EVERY FRIDAY!

As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!

What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 5,200 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino
Of course I HAD to feature this blog! Not only because there are some delicious recipes and gorgeous photos, and not because it is a blog out of Rome. Those would be reasons enough, but the title also has “peperoncino” in it, which is the name of our dog! He goes by “Pepino” now because “peperoncino” was too difficult for most Americans to pronounce, but he will always be Peperoncino to us! Anyway, enough about me and more about Lola’s blog. She is an Italian-American living in Rome and her blog takes you to all the places she loves, which you can imagine, has a lot to do with food! I especially enjoyed her post about Autunno or, Autumn.

Chef’s Tales
Michael obtained his catering qualifications in his native Yorkshire, England. For 30 years he has worled and traveled the world over from Europe and North America to Asia and the Caribbean. He has cooked for celebrities, heads of state and various royal families. “As readers of this amusing and insightful journal-Chef’s Tales will discover, there is much more to being a successful international chef than just getting the cooking right!”. Enjoy this blog full of cooking adventures and delicious recipes!

Poppy Planet
This is a delicious blog that is full of step by step illustrated recipes. It is written by a native Romanian who is now living in Sweden. Every recipe that I skimmed through looks just mouthwatering! There really is something for everyone here from sweets, to appetizers and main meals. The pictures are large and extremely helpful!

Sandra Keros
“Learning how to prepare healthy meals wasn’t just a hobby for me. It was a lifeline. It helped rescue me from a serious medical condition and improved my quality of life tenfold.” For Sandra finding a way to learn how to prepare delicious, yet healthy foods was a journey to wellness. Her blog is full of healthy recipes, health tips and discussions on food related topics, such as Slow Food and Farm Aid. I especially enjoyed reading her post Top 7 Reasons Why Calorie Counting is Bogus an interesting juxtaposition to some of the theories being discussed in our Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat, giveaway.

Berry Blue Toes
After being diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, she began her journey into raw food, completing a 92 day Juice Feast. If you are into raw food, or want to learn more about it, or how you can add some delicious raw dishes to your diet, this is a great blog to check out!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

BBQ Buffalo Cheddar Burgers with Maple Caramelized Onions

caramelized-onion_burger_ready-to-eat

So last week Kat from A Good Appetite won last month’s Royal Foodie Joust with her Brie Stuffed Maple Burger with Spicy Apple Bacon Compote. That got me thinking (and drooling, slightly) about burgers…and maple, one of my favoritest ingredients on the planet. She said that she thought that maple went really well with beef, so I wanted to see if it went just as well with buffalo. I suspected it did.

I love buffalo meat, it is leaner than beef and has more CLA in it, because buffalo must eat grass to survive. To read more about CLA, and why it is important, click here. I also love burgers and it is often our meal of choice for movie night. This meal accompanied the movie Appaloosa with Viggo Mortensen.

I am also a huge fan of caramelized onions. They go good with just about anything you can cook up. Seriously, I bet putting them on ice cream would be awesome. Ever had garlic ice cream? That stuff is fan-freaking-tastic. I only have had it once, but it is a food memory that has stuck with me for probably more than 15 years. So really, I might try the caramelized onion thing, but not today.

caramelized-onion_burger_beer-and-syrup

Back to the onions. Recently I had made cinnamon spiced caramelized onions to go on a spicy carrot soup. I didn’t blog about it, but the recipe is pretty much like the one I did for Yogi Times way back when. Just added some nice cinnamon to the onions as they were doing their caramelizing thing. They turned out pretty good, so I figured that adding maple to this batch would be worth trying. Top the burgers with these maple-y onions, some Vermont sharp cheddar and some local St. Augustine, FL datil pepper BBQ sauce, and see what happens. A burger of transition, one that features the local delicacies of our current and future homes.

Well what happened is that the sky opened up and…wait no, that didn’t happen… What really happened is that it was one of the best burgers either of us had in a while. Kat, thanks for the inspiration, and I am sure before the fall and winter is over, I will be taking a stab at your winning entry!

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