Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip with Banana Peppers

Perhaps this is a phenomena that exists only amongst my girl friends at home, but we love dip. We can polish off a bowl of dip so fast that we barely even remember eating it. I decided to come up with my own recipe for buffalo chicken dip, a favorite of my friends, for a girls night at my house. Because really, what goes better with a box of Franzia than steaming hot cheese?

Alright, so this is definitely not the healthiest post I've ever done. However, being from Upstate New York I need to recognize the glory that is buffalo chicken (wings, pizza, sub, you name it - I've tried it). Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York is credited with the creation of buffalo chicken wings, but I didn't discover buffalo chicken in other forms until I entered college. Buffalo chicken of every variety is my #1 guilty pleasure food.

This dip is perfect for a tailgate or lazy night with friends. Just make sure to wear your turkey pants!

Buffalo Chicken Dip with Banana Peppers
Serves: 10-12 people  Prep: 10 minutes  Total: 30 minutes

1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 cups of chicken meat)
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup Original Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 cup banana peppers, chopped or whole
1/2 cup crumbly Gorgonzola
Tortilla chips and celery

Preheat oven to 350. Remove all the meat off of a precooked rotisserie chicken and chop into medium cubes. Set aside.
In a 9-inch pie dish, combine cream cheese, blue cheese dressing and buffalo wing sauce. Add chopped chicken and banana peppers and mix well. Sprinkle Gorgonzola on top and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and celery.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Honey Hush Cornbread

Hurricane Irene is hitting most of New England right now, while I sit snuggled safely in my house in Upstate New York. I've been huddled on my laptop all day keeping an eye on the storm and all my friends in Boston. I can't think of a better time to introduce a new recipe dedicated to my second home.

Actually, this recipe pays homage to both my homes, here in Syracuse and back in Boston. Syracuse is pretty quaint as far as cities go, but if we're known for one thing (besides Syracuse University basketball) it's Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. This barbecue joint has been famous since I was born, originating right off of West Gennesee Street in downtown Syracuse, and has since introduced locations in Harlem, Troy, and Rochester.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was voted America's Best BBQ in a nation-wide search held by "Good Morning America" back in 2009. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel's show Man v. Food. Dylan and I are in a constant debate about the supremacy of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, as he is convinced there is no {insert noun} better than the one in DC. I've since gotten him to admit that it is "on par" with his favorite barbecue restaurant in his hometown. I'll accept that as defeat.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que  Honey Hush Cornbread
Serves: 9  Prep: 10 minutes  Total: 40 minutes

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey*

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, melted butter and honey. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until moist all the way through.
Pour the batter into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

*In the original recipe, the honey is brushed on top of the cornbread after baking. I decided to incorporate it into the batter for a richer taste throughout. Either way will do the trick!

Argentine Food Adventures

Hello all! I'm back in the States from an amazing trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. My hopes to food blog while away, to put it bluntly, failed. Between classes, being with my peers and seeing the city, there wasn't much room for personal downtime. And what little downtime I did receive, you can bet I was napping.

Before I continue with my regular recipe sharing, I want to fill you in on some highlights of Argentine cuisine.


Most meals I ate in Argentina or received from my host family were loaded with carbohydrates. A standard day of meals would consist of a medialuna for breakfast (pictured above), empanadas for lunch, and a plate of polenta for dinner. There were so many carbs, in fact, that one was left wondering how everyone in this country was skinny. Because of the winter season, you would be hard-pressed to find an appealing variety of produce in the city, let alone one decent tomato. Since empanadas (pies filled with meat and cheese) were the cheapest option, they became a lunchtime staple amongst my fellow students.


Argentine beef is certainly something to brag about. The grass fed cows produce a richer, more tender cut of meat. One of my best meals in Argentina was a fat cut of beef I had at a traditional tango show that almost put me in a red meat-induced coma for the rest of my stay. My only beef (no pun intended) was when I tried to order a hamberguesa, wanting to eat something reminiscent of home, only to get a filet cut of steak on funny tasting bread. Still delicious but deceiving. This creation came from Uruguay, topped with ham and a fried egg... Not for the health-conscious.

Step 1: Order a Submarino. Receive a mug of freshly steamed milk and a bar of Submarino chocolate.

Step 2: Unwrap the chocolate bar and submerge in the steamed milk like so.

Step 3: Stir the chocolate into the steamed milk for the freshest hot chocolate you've ever had in your life.


Mate is a type of tea specific to South America, particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay. Dry leaves of mate are loosely steeped in hot water, and it requires a unique calabash gourd and a bombilla (silver straw) to drink it. The bombilla blocks the loose mate while letting in the delicious, grassy tea. These are some calabash gourds at Recoleta, a popular open-air market for artisans. Almost every person working a stand at Recoleta would be drinking mate, passing the gourd amongst their peers. The ubiquity of mate can be compared to that of Starbucks in the US, except mate is much cheaper.


It was cheap. It was delicious. It was enjoyed by all.
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