Bagel Burgers with Dill Pickle Cream Cheese

Bagel Burgers with Dill Pickle Cream Cheese #burgerweek

Bagel Burgers with Dill Pickle Cream Cheese are just one of those things that had to happen eventually. McDonald's in France (or Mac-Do, as they were called when I was living there) has been serving burgers on bagels for years, but I thought it was time for bagels, burgers, cream cheese, and pickles all to come together Stateside in one glorious summer perfect meal. These Bagel Burgers with Dill Pickle Cream Cheese are my submission for #BurgerWeek. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see other unique burgers from top food bloggers AND to learn how to enter for a chance to win one of two Broil King gas grills and multiple accessory packages! How perfect would it be to start the summer with a brand new shiny grill? I know. I KNOW. It's not OFFICIALLY summer yet. By my reckoning, though, any time we have three days in a row that measure over 80°F we are in summer, and around here, summer has arrived. In our house, that means as little cooking IN the house as is humanly possible. The grill is used for as many meals as we can cook on it or adapt to it. And bread? Yeah... we still need our daily, but we prefer it in a form that doesn't require mama to fire up the oven; by we, I mean me. Enter bagels and tortillas. I haven't yet figured out a way to make tortillas man up to the job of holding a burger, but bagels? Naturally. They're sturdy, they're round, and they're delicious. When I went to Manhattan last month, I didn't want to bring my kids some NYC t-shirts or … {Read on...}

Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade made with strawberry basil infused vodka from

Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade is the perfect blend of sweet and tart to wet your whistle on warm summer evenings. Made with Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka, this craft cocktail is made with love. Don't fret, though, craft cocktail doesn't mean you have to go to bartending school. Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade makes great cocktails achievable for everyman (and woman!) Cocktail power to the people! Until recently, my eyes kind of glazed over whenever anyone started talking cocktails. Yep, lots of kinds of liquor and liqueur sloshed into a glass with ice. I found the old school of mixology both unappealing and intimidating. There were too many varieties of hooch to keep track off and I didn't have enough desire to learn about it. Drinks had stupid names like Sex on the Beach. Blah blah blah. I don't care if it's the tastiest drink ever known to man, I was NOT going to a bar and asking for 'sex on the beach'. I DO, however, like this modern brand of mixology that borrows from the culinary scene. Using things like herbs and bacon and chocolate (not necessarily all together, mind you), mixologists are turning out adult beverages that are complex in flavour but MAKE SENSE. They're taking advantage of alcohol's innate ability to dissolve flavours and its volatility to deliver aroma. I like this stuff. Instead of using a jigger of this and a whoosie of that and fifty billion different little additions, we start with something most people know: vodka. Easy peasy, … {Read on...}

Pho {Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup}

Pho or Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup from

  There's no other way to put this: Pho {Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup} is my favourite food in the world. Simply put, there's no other food I crave more than this. Fragrant beef broth made aromatic by simmering with toasted spices, ginger, and scallions poured over paper thin slices of beef on top of rice noodles are good enough by themselves, but with the traditional Pho toppings of bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and basil, thin slices of hot peppers (if you're brave), and a squeeze of lime, you're absolutely in another world; a world where everything is a taste explosion! No noodle soup will ever be able to compare again after jumping on the Pho train! I went ahead and said it, didn't I? I said the 'favourite' word. It's not quite akin to picking your favourite child, but for a food blogger it's close. This soup is it, though. This is the food I crave more than any other in the world. Pho (pronounced fuh?) is my happy food. When I'm celebrating, I want pho. When I'm sad, I want pho. When I'm horribly sick, this soup -THIS PHO- is what my cells NEED to feel better. What's the big deal? Isn't it just a noodle soup? Well, I'll tell you this now, that giant sucking sound you just heard was the enormous, simultaneous gasp for air from all those who love pho around the world. It's what every noodle soup aspires to be when it grows up. It's everything a soup wants to be and it ALL STARTS WITH THE BROTH. Now that whooshing sound? That was all the pho lovers … {Read on...}

Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja {Cuban Saucy Shredded Beef}

Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja a.k.a. Cuban Saucy Shredded Beef from

Today is a big day for me! I'm spending the day getting certified as a barreFit instructor. While I'm sweating it out in the studio, I want to share this fantastic recipe for Ropa Vieja that was inspired by my time in Miami last month. Take advantage of the slow-cooker to turn out this saucy, shredded, salty, sweet Cuban Classic flank steak preparation. Serve with some hot, cooked rice, a shower of fresh cilantro, and some lime wedges for squeezing and and feel like you've been transported to Miami! You know that trip I took to Miami last month? This will come as no surprise to most of you, but my awesome roomies (Mary and Meseidy) I ate a large swath through that city, decimating all the Cuban food we encountered with no mercy. Yes, I know the city is full of scantily glad beautiful people -Holy Lack of Inhibitions, Batman- but for us it was all about the food and well-clothed friendship. I demolished Cuban Hash for breakfast (pulled pork, fried potatoes-and-onions-and-peppers, garlic, and a fried egg). I ate Cuban sandwiches for lunch. We went out to a Cuban restaurant for late afternoon snack with girlfriends and ordered an entrée of Vaca Frita that came with a massive plate of fried onions, black beans, and rice. I love unabashedly meat-and-garlic-loving cuisines. Do you think I got tired of the all-Cuban-food-all-the-time approach I took to the city? No. In case you're wondering, that's the answer. In fact, I went through withdrawal when I got home. WHERE … {Read on...}

Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka

How to infuse vodka for cocktails, baking, and cooking.

I need to get a little science geeky here for a moment. Did you know there are flavour compounds in food that you absolutely, positively cannot release unless you hit 'em with alcohol? It's the truth. There are two reasons for this: Volatility: You know how you can smell whiskey or another strong alcohol right when you open the bottle? It's because alcohol evaporates so quickly and the molecules carry the essence of the flavours straight to your nose. Versatility: Alcohol bonds with both fat and water making it the perfect vehicle to grab every water soluble flavour (basic salty, sweet, bitter, and sour) AND every fat soluble flavour (aromatics like garlic, herbs, spices, and other seasonings) and combine it into one perfect umami bomb. You just can't get that kind of performance from anything else. You can't fully TASTE food unless you can smell it, and alcohol binds to those aroma receptors that are otherwise only dissolved in fat unlike anything else. That being said, you'll understand why I say it's crucial that you try making Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka this summer. CRUCIAL, I SAY! Why? Because strawberries are both sweet AND aromatic (see geeky moments above) and you haven't experienced the true glory of strawberries unless you've hit them upside the head with vodka. Ditto on the basil. We've had this strawberries-plus-basil discussion before, right? Here and here, for starters. Basil is also highly aromatic. Are you seeing my pattern here? Taking … {Read on...}