Web Development and Food.

Irish Car Bomb Jello Shots…..

irish car bomb shotsI’m going to make these tonight.  yeehaw. I’ll let ya know how they are.  I’m going to pack them in the small cups with lids you put ketchup in to share at a party.
2 cups Guiness beer, divided use
2.5 to 3 packages unflavored gelatin (depending on how firm you want your shot to be)
2 teaspoons brown sugar or muscovado
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup Jameson
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
Put 1 cup of Guiness, sugar and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and sprinkle with 2 packets of gelatin and allow to soak in for a minute. Heat and stir until everything is dissolved.

Remove from heat and add the remaining cup of cold Guiness. Pour into a pan or molds and allow to set for about 30 minutes.

Place Jameson in a saucepan and sprinkle with one packet of gelatin. Allow to soak in for a minute. Heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Stir in Bailey’s and allow mixture to cool. Pour on the slightly set Guiness mixture. Allow to set several hours or overnight.

Shrimp n Grits

There is very little food I miss from our time living in Knoxville, TN, which include amazing Mexican food and the grits at Puleo’s restaurant.  Once in a while I get a hankering for shrimp n grits.  I make my own version – which we love.  It’s a pretty rich dish, but once in a while – it’s ok, right?

Maryann’s Shrimp n Grits

1 C. quick Grits (I use Quaker)
4 C. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 C. shredded parmesan

1 lb large shrimp
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 med. onion, halved and sliced long-ways
1 large clove garlic
1/2 lb. fresh green beans
1 C. white wine
1/3 head fresh parsley, rough chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. Old Bay (optional)

onionssmIn a saucepan, boil water and salt.  While you wait for the water to boil, begin the shrimp.  Add oil and butter to frying pan, and heat until butter is melted and bubble.  Add onion, saute the the onion in the oil and butter until onions are soft – 8 min or so, add garlic and cook for 1 min to release flavor.





Add 2/3 of the chopped parsley.  Stir that up and then add white wine.  Cook until reduced by half, and then add the green beans.  Saute this mix for 5 min or until the green beans are tender crisp.





Move everything over to the side of the pan, and turn heat to high.  Add the shrimp to the empty side and cook for a 1-2 minutes per side.  Mix all the ingredients together to coat the shrimp.





When the water boils, slowly add the grits and stir continuously.  Lower the heat so that it’s a rolling boil.  Cook grits according the package (mine are 12 minutes).





grits2When the grits thicken to a pasty consistency, add 1 C. shredded cheese.  Turn heat to low and keep stirring so the cheese melts into a gooey mess.




Plate it up!  Add a serving of grits to a pasta bowl or plate, and then spoon the shrimp mix over it.



The Best Superbowl White Bean Dip

Ok, I need to post this before I forget about it – and I didn’t take any pictures, so you’ll have to just try it.  It’s so delicious.

Superbowl White Bean Dip

1 TBS. Olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 cans canellini beans (15 oz)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
half head fresh cilantro leaves, chopped.
1 C. shredded mexican cheese
1/2 C. sausage – crumbled (optional – I had some cooked up from breakfast, so I threw it in for extra flavor – chorizo would be awesome here.)

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion.  Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 min.  Add the sausage if using, I precooked mine, so it was already drained.  If you use it raw, cook it through and then drain off the fat.

Add the beans – I took out about half the water in each can.  Add cumin, red pepper, and salt.  Continue to stir until it gets nice and bubbly.  Then add in the cilantro.  Before adding the cheese, I hit it with the immersion blender.  You could use a potato masher or pastry cutter to do the same job.  I blended just a bit to get that nice bean dip texture with a little chunkiness.  Adjust any of spices and cheese to your taste.

Warm a bag of tortillas chips in the oven for 5-6 min, and serve with a bit of sour cream if you have that one hand.


Vegetable Soup Recipe


Vegetable Soup -

I posted this picture on Facebook last night, and my friends wanted the recipe.  Since I didn’t work from a recipe, I’ll try to give you the ingredients and general idea of how I did it.  It is the best soup I’ve ever made! I used a bunch of vegetables we got from our farm share yesterday (which, by the way are so beautiful I could cry).  (



3 carrots (large dice)
3 stalks celery (large dice)
1 large onion (diced)

1 large leek (thin sliced, like you’d cut a green onion)
2 cloves garlic
3-4 medium potatoes
2 TBs herbs de Provence (it’s an herb mix you can get in most grocery stores)
1/2 TBs dried rosemary (use fresh if you have it!)
8 cups water
2-3 TBs high quality chicken base (or to your taste, I think that’s how much I used)
1/4 cup half n half (or to your taste)
1/3 cup white wine (I always have a cheap bottle of Chardonnay in the cupboard to cook with)

kosher salt and pepper to taste

pasta of your choice (I used mezzi rigatoni b/c it was already cooked in the fridge)
parmesan cheese (for garnish)

OK, here’s what I did:

First, I have a small garlic chopper that I LOVE – I put the garlic and the dried herbs in the chopper together and chopped it all up until everything was minced well.  In a large pot, I heated 2TBS Olive oil and 1TBs of butter (for extra flavor).  Added the carrots, onion, celery, leeks to to the pot.  Saute the veggies until the onions are softened (~5 min).  Then add the garlic/herb mixture.  Yeah, it smells awesome.

Cook the mixture for a couple more minutes to release the flavor of the garlic, and then add the wine. Cook the wine down for about 3 minutes, and then add the water and chicken base.  If I had had vegetable broth made or in the cupboard, I’d have used that, but I had chicken base, so that is what I used.  I use the Better than Buillon bases, and I really like it (available at most grocery stores).  Don’t get the cheap, crappy, full of MSG stuff, ok?  These bases are very flavorful, and are cheaper than buying the liquids overall.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then add the potatoes (be CAREFUL not to burn yourself, drop them in gently).  Cook the soup for ~20-30 minutes, and check the taste and the doneness of the potatoes.  If the potatoes are nice and soft, you’re good to go.

The finishing touches that made it so much better:

I used an immersion blender to blend the soup to thicken it (that’s why the potatoes need to be nice and soft).  Just a little bit, so I didn’t pulverize all the potatoes and the soup still had some ‘chunk’ to it.  I ended up adding a bit of water/cornstarch mix before I realized I could thicken it this way, so you could do either.  Once the thickness is to your liking, turn off the heat, and slowly add the half n half.  This gives it that extra silky richness. Stir that in, and taste it again.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with the cooked pasta and good parmesan (don’t shake it out of the can, that hurts my heart) and a nice crusty loaf of bread if you happen to have that on hand.  I didn’t have the bread, but it didn’t matter, the soup was THAT good.  If you have any questions, leave a comment below!


CSA 2012 – Week 1

My family and I signed up for a half-share in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm this summer.  Today was our first pickup of fresh vegetables (all organically grown).  I’m totally blown away by the beauty of this food.

I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time at the farm today because it was after work, and I had to get home to the family, but my initial impression is that this place is going to be awesome for us this year.

First, Farmer Erin totally has it together with her technology.  Her website is really good (  She sends out email updates, does most of her transactions online, the welcome newsletter was well-done, and she’s doing social media.

Impressed. (Computer geeks appreciate all those things very much)

And she’s super nice, friendly and completely welcoming.

OK, so above all, the food looks and tastes wonderful.  I seriously wanted to cry when I saw it all at the farm.  Erin and her team have a great setup, you walk in, they clearly show you what you get each week, and you go through the ‘line’ – and pick up your food.  Super easy.  You can go out back to the pick-your-own section of the farm to pick the ‘extras’.  We’ll bring the kids next time for that!

Bok Choi
Garlic Scapes
Swiss Chard
Kale & Collards
Mixed Greens

We grilled some chicken and I made a bok choi stir fry that was delicious.  I used the recipe here: – I used fish sauce instead of oyster sauce because that’s what I had on hand.  I added some of the garlic scapes for extra flavor.

We’ll make some salads for tomorrow and I’ll figure out the spinach and cooking greens tomorrow and this weekend.