• 4th meal,  appetizers & hors d'oeuvres,  eat,  party food & snacks,  vegan,  vegetarian

    Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

    What is game day without nachos?  I mean, have you ever been to a sports bar that did not have nachos of some fashion on the menu?  Am I right? Nachos are the classic quintessential crowd pleaser, but this time there is a healthy twist: these are vegan! Vegan nachos?  Not very Y-chromosome, my burly friends say. But curiously enough the nachos somehow disappear. Hmmm. It’s the Mystery of the Disappearing Nachos. Just because they are vegan does not mean they are not drool-worthy! Yep. These spicy vegetable-laden chili slathered chips have converted even the most stalwart of carnivores. This is your opportunity to be creative, to think outside the…

  • seafood

    Dirty Bon Temps Shrimp

    This dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser! But be warned: because you are leaving the shrimp in their shells, this meal does not kowtow to your prissy friends; they will have to work for their dinner, and they will get a little untidy. So why eat them? Because I guarantee every head-sucking, finger-licking, sauce-sopping moment is worth it! You guests will be elbow deep in deliciousness, and we know that kind of eating isn’t for everyone. You may earn their forgiveness, however, by providing steamed hand cloths. Maybe even with a fancy slice of lemon atop. Look for extra large shrimp or larger. And while it is not absolutely essential…

  • seafood

    New Orleans Spicy BBQ Shrimp

    Can you say rapture? Yes, that’s what I feel when I eat this dish. Rapture. These shrimp prepared New Orleans barbeque style steep in a spicy + buttery bath so good you will lick your dish. (Or so I have heard. I personally have never ever done such a thing.) For this recipe, you will leave the shrimp unpeeled. The shells add an essential smokiness, and their tails are like little shrimp handles. Oftentimes I recommend offering your guests warm, wet cloths for their hands, but it’s probably not necessary since they will suck their fingers clean. You might, however, want to provide bibs.  Just sayin’. It is integral that…

  • soups & stews,  vegetarian

    Velvety Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic Soup

    Soup’s on! You know why? 1. The weather is crisp, 2. I found beautiful red peppers on sale and went crazy, and 3. January is National Soup Month! This velvety rich soup is one you will want to cozy up to during these winter months. It is vibrant + piquant + creamy. That combination = DELICIOUS! Roasting the peppers intensifies their flavor and adds a welcomed touch of smoke. Slip them into the oven for a couple of minutes, wait for their skins to blister, then sweat them and peel. So simple yet yields impressive results. Red bell peppers headline this recipe because of the unique sweetness they develop as…

  • dessert,  vegetarian

    Chocolate Eclair Trifle

    Decadent. That’s what The Man calls this recipe. I call it Chocolate Eclair Trifle. But unlike the French eclair made from a creme-filled choux pastry, this recipe swaps out some other ingredients in a combination of layers that will knock your socks off. I like using a trifle dish to display the dessert’s glorious layers. After all, seeing layer upon layer of goodness is some of the allure.   The final layer is carte blanche. For this year’s holiday party I mounded on pomegranate arils because they are so damn pretty! Sometimes I throw on some sliced strawberries or toasted nuts (most any nut will work) or some chocolate curls…

  • vegetarian

    Three-Cheese Brussels Sprouts & Balsamic Red Onion Pizza

    Brussels sprouts pizza with balsamic caramelized onions and three cheeses, baked to crispy perfection? Are you kidding me? Your mouth will.not.believe. you are feeding it something so outstanding! The Man absolutely loves pizza. He could eat it every damn day. Me? I like to think of it as a palette upon which an artist can dabble, drizzle, sprinkle, and layer whatever she desires in order to complete her canvas. Yeah, I know that sounds like a bunch of poetic bollocks. Sorry (not sorry). This pizza is layer upon layer of deliciousness: balsamic caramelized onions, shredded mozzarella, Brussels, and grated Parmesan. Then a layer of feta and a sprinkle of red pepper…

  • gluten free,  vegetables & sides,  vegetarian

    Crispy Rosemary Parmesan Potato Stacks

    I am salivating as I type this recipe. These are So.D@mn.Good!  cheese + carbs + herbs + buttery crispness = a stack of ooey gooey potato awesomeness! And here is a BIG secret:  they are sooooo simple yet soooo impressive. Your friends will think you are fancy even if in reality you are quite basic. Trust me—I speak from experience. AND…these potatoes will give you a good excuse to pull out your buy a mandoline. Yaaaay! This is the kind of recipe I ADORE—the kind where you do you and make it fabulously you. You can pretty much add any herb(s) and cheese(s) and this stack of yum will take…

  • drink,  frozen

    The Augusta Velvet Hammer

    If you are looking to woo your guests with a scrumptiously boozy and frozen delight, this drink I am here to help. If you are looking for a quick loosy-goosy feel on a festive night, this drink I can help with that, too. If you are looking for irresistible charm and beguiling wit, you have come to the right place. You will be the boss of all drinks delightful if you serve this sweet + creamy + boozy + dreamy milkshake for grown-ups at your next soiree. What is this magical elixir? It’s called a Velvet Hammer, and I think I have cracked the code for its enigmatic, closely protected…

  • salads,  vegetables & sides

    9½ Layer Salad

    For best results, make this a day ahead for the flavors to meld together. When I reached “adult” status at our family gatherings (meaning I was old enough to contribute a dish), this salad is what I chose to bring. And I have been bringing it to every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas ever since. It makes a lot, so it is perfect or a big gathering. But that is also why it is such a treat–I could never make a salad of this size for the two of us. It truly is one of those tried-and-true go to recipes that will work for any occasion. Low country boil? Check. Clambake?…