French Onion Dip

French Onion Dip

I am all for French Onion Dip made from the Lipton’s packet. It is the best. It is classic.

But there are times when you really should treat yourself to something really great, and, in this case, I made the most incredible homemade French Onion Dip ever.

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Like I said, the packet is great, but this homemade version just blows it out of the water. The 2 types of onions – vidalia and shallots- give it layers and layers of flavor. And once you caramelize them you really make them extra tasty and happy.

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I have been loving my monthly recipes from the past few years that I have been participating in Secret Recipe Club. There are about a hundred of us that are divided into 4 groups so we can recipes from each other’s blogs every Monday. The general gist of it is that the blog you are assigned is a secret, as well as the recipe that you pick from their recipe archives.

Well, there are a few months every year that have 5 weeks so we have an extra Monday just waiting for a great recipe! The organizer came up with a wonderful idea of having people opt into that extra recipe posting and for having a theme for the recipes.

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So for this inaugural extra recipe week I was assigned the blog Culinary Adventures with Camilla with the theme of “Tailgate Foods”. So I quickly began scouring her blog for the perfect food that you would love to eat while cheering on your favorite team make the big play, score a touchdown, and win the game.

I was so freaking excited when I saw this French Onion Dip recipe.It is the perfect tailgate food. The perfect foot to nosh on while watching football (or my favorite- NASCAR!).  I just had to make it. And I am so glad that I did!!!

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The dip was a big bowl of creamy, dreamy delicious goodness that was basically irresistible. I had to put the dang bowl and bag of chips away- far, far away- so that I could stop shoveling in into my mouth. OMG.

Grab a bag of ruffled potato chips and dig in!!!!

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French Onion Dip

Makes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sweet Vidalia onions, diced
  • 2-3 shallots, minced
  • freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Cup sour cream
  • 1/2 Cup mayonnaise (I insist on Hellman’s)

Process

  1. In a saute pan over medium-low heat add oil, heat and add onions, shallots.
  2. Cook the onions and shallots until they are caramelized, about 20-30 minutes. Stir regularly. Add the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce.
  3. Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, add the sour cream and mayonnaise. Mix well, to fully combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

Adapted from Culinary Adventures from Camilla

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Check out all of the other great bloggers participating in this BONUS Secret Recipe Club post this month. Get ready for some delicious Tailgating Food!!

 

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Our Wedding: Pictures- Getting Ready

Taggart Wedding 2015

I can’t say enough about how much I love the photos from our wedding!!!!

We love the attention that we received, the thought and care that went into getting our photos, and the end result. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE

Lefebvre Photo did an incredible job. I can’t rave enough about owner Danielle Leberve and Rachel Girouard. Both are so wonderful and talented.

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Danielle came over to hang with me at our venue, Crissy Farm, while I got ready with my sister and best friend. My sister, Kristen, was my Matron of Honor and my best friend, Emily, was my Bridesmaid. It was nice and laid back and we took our time getting ready.

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Typical me… writing my vows are the very last minute.

And typical Price, he wrote his weeks prior, and practiced them over and over again as he memorized them.

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My hair and make-up was done by a friend and former co-worker who in a previous career used to own a salon. She is just awesome, plus amazing at doing hair. We did a previous run through a few weeks prior quickly when we tested out a few options for my up-do. She took her time this time and the end result was exactly what I envisioned and more.

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While we were getting ready at Crissey Farm, Rachel was at our hotel room with Price as he got ready with this brother/best man, Chase, and best friend/groomsman, Chris.

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Before I knew it was time to get dressed and then go downstairs to do our first look pictures.

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I loved my dress so much!

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The guys arrived a bit before we were ready and ended up taking some funny pose pictures. Goofs!!

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I’ll be sharing more wedding photos in the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned!

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Croque-Madame Puffle Waffle

Croque Madame Puffle Waffles

Aside from eggs benedict, my favorite savory brunch delight is the croque madame.

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It’s like the best grilled cheese stuffed with ham that is then topped off with a cheesy sauce on top and then some oozey eggs. It’s such a great savory option to change things up from your typical french toast and pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, french toast is awesome with its crisp egg crust, big pat of melty butter, and sweet, sweet syrup. But there are times when you need to skip the sweets for brunch and get a croque madame. And don’t forget your bloody mary!

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Of course I had to make it in waffle form!

When I was originally thinking of making a croque madame waffle I was thinking of making an infused waffle that was spiked with mustard powder and everything bagel seasoning, which I still think is an awesome idea, but I ultimately decided to make it in puffle form.

The puffle makes the sandwich have such a great crunch. I loved it.

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This recipe wraps up my puffle recipes for the month. I loved them all but this was my favorite as it had some much flavor in it from each and every aspect of it from the ham and cheese sandwich then the bechamel sauce, and eggs. Sure, it’s more complicated from the other simplier ones but it’s worth the extra bit of effort to make the bechamel and to fry up some eggs.

The recipe is perfect for hosting brunch as it makes 8 puffles, which can equate to 8 to 4 servings (depending on your side), but you can easily halve it and make it for a casual weekend brunch at home.

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Brunch will never be the same when you give these Croque Madame Puffles a try!!

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Croque-Madame Puffle Waffle

Makes 8 puffles

Ingredients

For the puffles

  • 1 17.5 ounce box of puff pastry dough
  • 16 slices of honey ham
  • 8 slices of swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup or so of dijon mustard

For the bechamel sauce

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3 1/2 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (1 1/3 cups)
  • 8 eggs
  • olive oil

Process

  1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the instructions on the box. (Typically 40 minutes at room temperature prior to use)
  2. While the puff pastry is thawing, begin to make the bechamel sauce. Place a 1 quart heavy bottom saucepan over moderately low heat. Melt 3 tablespoons butter, then whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder, and 1/3 cup cheese until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and cover surface directly with a sheet of wax paper until you are ready to use it.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface to be 12″ x 12″. Work the dough to eliminate the seams. Cut the dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Score each piece in half.
  4. Leaving 1/2″ boarder, spread a teaspoon of the dijon mustard on half of each piece. Add the ham and cheese to each half. You will need to rip the slices to make them fit.
  5. Fold the other half of the puff pastry over the filling, crimp the edges to seal the filling inside the pastry dough.
  6. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry dough to make the other 4 puffles.
  7. Preheat your waffle iron at this point. Place the puffle dough on the waffle iron. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. The dough should no longer be expanding and puffing up when you open the waffle iron.
  8. Gently remove, and place on a cooling rack until ready to serve the puffles.
  9. While the puffles are cooking/cooling, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil to the skillet. Crack 2 eggs in the skillet to begin frying up. If you prefer them over-easy, when they are just about set on the bottom, carefully flip them over and cook for no more than 20 seconds.
  10. Plate 2 puffles, drizzle some bechamel sauce on, and then top with the fried eggs.

Puffle adapted from Epicurious, sauce adapted from Epicurious

 

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A Day in Provincetown

A Day in Provincetown

The Provincetown Fast Ferry from Boston Harbor Cruises takes just 90 minutes from the docks of Boston to Provincetown. 90 minutes of blue waters, crisp salty air, and fun!

We took the 9am ferry from Boston to P-town a few weekend’s ago. We’ve been talking about it for ages and finally managed to make it work. I’m so glad we did. The weather was beautiful in the 80’s and the skies were bright and blue.

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I wore Autumn for most of the boat ride in our Ergo. It kept her in there so she would relax since she didn’t nap in the morning at her typical time. Plus, I knew she was safe and sound in my arms on a very crowded boat.

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Once we got to P-town, we checked out the area closest to the pier where the ferry came in. Immediately falling in love with the area. Charming details, cute stores and restaurants, and happy people. It all felt so sweet.

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Of course, we quickly stopped off at the beach!

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There was a charming little beach just next to the long pier we walked into town on. There are beautiful beaches in the area, but we just hung around here for a few minutes so Autumn could dip her toes in the water. She loved it!

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Autumn eventually fell asleep in her stroller as we walked all around Commercial Street checking out the stores and galleries.

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There was a farmer’s market set up next to City Hall so we stopped there to relax our feet and catch some shade while Autumn napped in the stroller.

We also grabbed some Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer. It is alcoholic so it backs a bit of a gingery and boozy punch. Sadly, it’s only available on Cape Cod, so I will have to stock up at the next chance I get.

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I mean, come on, this is just so damn adorable!!!

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We wanted to go to the Lobster Pot but they didn’t have a patio and we really wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather, so we headed over to the Governor Bradford Restaurant after Autumn woke up from her nap.

It worked out perfectly as Autumn loved her clam chowder. It was her first time trying it and she absolutely loved it. So cute!!

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P-town is well known for its acceptance of the LGBT community. There are several events throughout the year, especially during the summer, focused on and hosted by the LGBT community. Unfortunately there were no major activities that weekend for us to watch or participate in.

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Autumn’s first experience with facing painting was met with mixed reviews- she loved it but her expression of disdain was priceless. Of course I couldn’t miss another chance to see that scowl so I rushed her over to her to face painted at the vendors in town. Fortunately, she enjoyed it and, unfortunately for me, no scowl.

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Damn, I love this kid so much!

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Besides just walking around and enjoying the day, we had the goal of getting some ice cream. Perfectly refreshing during the summer!

We found the most adorable gelato place that had an adorable girl scooping up the gelato. She was very sweet and very generous

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Oh my goodness P-Town, you’re awesome.

This guy had several outfit changes throughout the day to showcase his fabulous style while promoting a show that night. It was fun every time we saw him around town promoting a show happening later that night.

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Such a sweet little Daddy’s girl!

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Our time in Provincetown wrapped up when we took the 4pm ferry back to Boston. Autumn ate a quick dinner and crashed from the fun filled day. We skipped the normal bathtime routine and she went to bed with the face paint on. Ha!

I highly suggest that everyone visits Provincetown if they have the chance. So much fun!

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Dan Dan Noodles- SRC

Dan Dan Noodles

Ah vacation!!

It’s here! It’s really, really here!!!

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The past week has been killer to be able to properly meet a deadline and prep for my time away from the office but it was worth it in the end as I get to enjoy this whole week off with my family. The best.

My dad came up from FL and was saying with us since Tuesday night. On Saturday morning we headed down to Cape Cod with a very packed car. It was quite a feat to fit it all and quite comical to see too. But we made it down and have been having a fantastic time all together.

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From walks to the pool to not napping (kill me) to leprechauns in trees and lots of birthday cake, it’s been a jam packed past 2 days. Tiring but in the best sort of ways. Damn, the dog is even worn out. He cut his foot on something so he has a sad little limp (I’ve bandaged it well!), but even then 5 kids is a lot of him to handle. ha!!

And so here we are, Monday! It’s another Secret Recipe Club Day as well. Holy smokes. It feels like I can tell time from these posts. Every 4th Monday of the month, and before I know it I am prepping for another and then another.

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For this month’s Secret Recipe Club post I was given Sally’s blog, called Bewitching Kitchen. Sally is just the best. She is such a fun, active member of SRC. Plus, her blog is just awesome.

Sally has had the most interesting life. She has lived all over doing scientific research based on bacteria. Everywhere from Brazil to France. Such a smarty-pants who has lived in incredible places. She met her husband while working and since then they have been working together. For just about the past 20 years they been working on “trying to figure out the mechanism of a transport reaction in bacteria.” Umm what? I design bathrooms, she wins. ha!!!

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Anyway, she has been blogging for years and years so she has a HUGE index of recipes. I had such a hard time picking one to make this month. For real!!! I was scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling through all the recipes. From appetizers to breads to cakes to drinks to entrees.

I picked the Dan Dan noodles as I figured they would be delicious, something that would be fairly easy to whip up, and a crowd favorite. Crowd = me, Price, & my dad.

It was a dinner that really hit the spot!

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The original recipe called for 8 ounces of udon noodles and 12 ounces of ground pork but the packages that I purchased came in 10 ounce and 16 ounce, respectively. Since I didn’t want just a bit left over in each package, I just used it all up and played around with the quantity of the rest of the ingredients. I think it all worked out perfectly.

It is quite spicy so if you are sensitive, then just cut back on the chili oil and try it before you add the full amount. It’s a good heat though. I swear!

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I served the Dan Dan Noodles with steamed broccoli. I just feel dinner is not dinner without some veggies. I mean, even my pizza has veggies on it. ha!

This was a fantastic dinner!! I could really see myself making this again, which is saying a lot considering my attention span is almost non-existent so I’m always on to trying something new, and hardly make anything ever again.

Dan Dan Noodles

I hope that when you have a craving for a spicy Asian dish you will toss the take-out menus aside and make these awesome Dan Dan Noodles.

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

Makes 4- 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons or less chili oil
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablepsoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, optional
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced scallions

Process

  1. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just tender (follow instructions on the package).  Drain, rinse  with cold water, drain again, and place in a large serving bowl.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes, just to begin browning it. While cooking, break apart into small pieces with a spoon.
  4. Add the ginger; cook until pork gets lightly browned, about 2 minutes more.
  5. Stir in chicken stock, then add the chili oil, red vinegar, soy sauce, tahini, peppercorns, and a pinch of sugar.
  6. Simmer everything together until the sauce thickens, about 7 minutes.
  7. Pour pork mixture over noodles; garnish with peanuts and scallions.

Slightly adapted from Bewitching Kitchen

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Check out all the other great Secret Recipe Club posts this month!

And be sure to check out my 3 years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

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