Fried Pickles

Thomas and I recently had a housewarming/birthday party for our friend, Lanny. Lanny is a guy who has all types of tricks up his sleeve – mainly hilarious stories and witty one-liners. A few months ago, he introduced us to his best contribution yet called the Pickle Back, which is a sequence of taking a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. It sounds absolutely disgusting, I know, but it’s honestly amazing how well whiskey and pickle brine complement each other. I knew that the Pickle Backs would be flowing at our party (one friend even brought her own homemade pickle brine), so I decided to go with the theme and make fried pickles, also known as frickles. Now, I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty sure that I heard some partygoers utter the word “legendary” in reference to my fried pickles. Just sayin’. Lanny himself, a good ole Southern boy, sang their praises. With the abundance of Pickle Backs and fried pickles, we had one hell of a pickle party! Did that sound dirty? Whatever, it was awesome! Have you ever had fried pickles? Slices or spears?

Fried Pickles

I’ve had fried pickles in the form of slices and spears. I chose slices over spears because as my other Southern friend, Joey, adamantly says, “They’re like perfect little scoops for Ranch dressing.” So, that’s that.


1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1-1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for dredging
1 jar dill pickle chips
Vegetable oil for frying


Drain pickle chips on a paper towel (save the pickle juice or Pickle Backs!). In a bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, spices, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until well combined. Pour another cup of flour in a separate bowl. Add the pickle chips to the wet batter mixture and coat them evenly.

In a heavy pot suitable for frying, pour enough vegetable oil to fill the pot a few inches. Heat oil to 375 degrees. In batches, take some pickle chips from the batter, dip them in the flour, and then add them to the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. When done, drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat process for remaining pickles. Serve hot with Ranch dressing and enjoy!


And the winner is...

I sincerely want to thank everyone who entered my very first giveaway… and even those who did not, including my dear sister, who in her own words, "freaking hate[s] Whole Foods." For shame! I also want to assure all participants that this giveaway was indeed very official. See my tiny torn pieces of paper? State issued. Not really. Notice my crystal bowl? It’s fancy. Anyway, without further ado, I am proud to announce the winner. Drum roll please…

Congratulations, The Pilot’s Daughter! I hope that you enjoy your gift card to the always fabulous Whole Foods Market (no matter what my sister says)!


Maple Peanut Butter & Bacon Sandwich

Are you burnt out after hours and hours of cooking Thanksgiving dinner? Does the thought of eating yet another plate of turkey and stuffing leftovers make you feel ill? Then this recipe is for you! While I was home for the holidays, I came across a cookbook that I used to read as a kid. One recipe in particular for a peanut butter and bacon sandwich always intrigued me. It boggled my 7-year-old brain, which was accustomed to a sugary jelly accompanying peanut butter. Since I enjoyed this strange sandwich so much as a kid, I decided to whip it up again, this time adding my beloved maple syrup. With the perfect salty-sweet ratio, this maple peanut butter and bacon sandwich is a simple meal that surely will not leave you with any leftovers.

Maple Peanut Butter & Bacon Sandwich
(Sounds gross, I know, but just trust me on this one. For real.)


2 slices bread
2 slices bacon
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Drizzle pure maple syrup


Cook bacon according to the package’s directions. Toast the bread and then slather with peanut butter. Add the bacon, drizzle with maple syrup, and enjoy!


Inspiration (and a Giveaway!)

Blogging has been such a fun hobby that has introduced me to so many great sites. I have to say that when I first started this blog, I felt vulnerable and absolutely terrified. I didn’t even tell my friends and family about it for months, out of straight fear of rejection. Silly, I know. I turned to other blogs and sites for inspiration to get me going. After reading all of the comments that established bloggers’ posts generated and seeing their global reach, it was evident that these writers knew what they were doing and that I should continue to follow them through example.

Below is a list of the sites that I visit regularly. Some you may have heard of and some you may not have. These guys continue to inspire me to keep it real. I consider them to be incredibly successful, not because of their cookbook deals, income, or Twitter followers, but because of their dedication, honesty, and influence. I can only hope that one day my blog can be as successful as these!

Ah, does this guy have the life! David is a former pastry chef from San Francisco, who now lives in Paris as a writer. I love his candor about the ups and downs of living in Paris, and the humor he finds in difficult unforeseen adjustments, such as banking hours, cable connections, and language barriers. Living in Paris isn’t all about accordion playing and baguettes, you know. Truth be told, I secretly want David’s life. I follow his blog as he reviews Parisian wine bars and restaurants, posts delicious recipes, offers relevant travel or cooking-related advice, and gallivants around the world. He has also written six books and has more on the way. Not a bad gig, if you ask me.

Here’s another one who has it all figured out. Nicole Franzen is a Brooklyn-based food and lifestyle photographer, whose blog features fantastic photos from farms, markets, and restaurants. She also posts simple and healthy recipes that appropriately correspond with the season. Nicole is a self-proclaimed vegetable addict and loves photographing all types, which is perhaps why I love visiting her blog so often (I am completely addicted to veggies, as well). I dare you to try and find better photographs in the esteemed pages of Bon Appetit or Saveur. Although, her photos are most likely the ones in those mags anyway. Go Nicole!

If you need a good laugh and want some food porn, visit Joy’s blog, which has won possibly every blog award in the world. Joy lives in Los Angeles, where she writes her blog and highly-anticipated upcoming cookbook (Yay!). I love that her blog isn’t just all about food. Yes, she posts recipes all the time, but before she even gets around to the nitty-gritty of cooking, she often sidetracks about stories that have absolutely nothing to do with said-lemon poppy seed muffins or whatever it is she is baking that day. In her signature short sentences and witty conversational style, she is brutally honest. In one post, she talked about her disdain for bikinis: “Wait… does anyone ever feel like a babe in a bikini!? Who are these women? I bet their thighs don’t rub together…. that’s weird. My thighs rub together. It’s because I love rice pudding. Duh.” Needless to say, she’s hilarious.

Truth time. I originally wanted my blog to mirror Emily’s brilliant Cupcakes and Cashmere, which has the perfect mix of food and fashion; however, I veered away from the fashion aspect because a) it would have been a very expensive habit to maintain, and b) I can’t pose to save my life. Emily, on the other hand, manages to showcase amazing outfits without looking like a total goober. She also cooks up deliciously tempting comfort foods that make you wonder how she is able to fit into her skinny jeans the next day. A single shot of her holding a piece of candy prompts hundreds of girls to ask what shade of nail polish she is wearing. This girl has reach! Emily has a book coming out soon and I (along with zillions of other girls) absolutely cannot wait to scoop it up!

I heart Chris and Andrew from Immaculate Infatuation, a great site that reviews restaurants throughout the boroughs of New York City. Pretentious food snobs, they are not. If you want favoritism and brown-nosing, then head over to The New York Times. Otherwise, count on Chris and Andrew to be super honest about restaurants’ food, atmosphere, patrons, and value. In one of my favorite reviews, they dubbed Dos Caminos as a great place “to laugh at Euros in crazy outfits all day long.” Once I read that, they had my heart. Many friends often ask me for Manhattan restaurant recommendations since I used to live there, but I have learned to just send them directly to Immaculate Infatuation instead. It's easier that way. These guys know their stuff! Did I mention that they have their own App?

Have you ever watched a couple on TV or in a movie and wished that you could be friends with them? Jim and Pam from The Office are my TV couple of choice. For my favorite movie couple, it’s a three-way tie between Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride (as you wish), Edward and Kim from Edward Scissorhands (come on, free haircuts!), and Tom and Hannah from Made of Honor (have you seen his penthouse in NYC?). The blog couple that I would love to befriend is hands down Bryan and Laura DeLuca from Here, There, and Elsewhere. They are an adorable newlywed couple who recently started a blog that chronicles their once-in-a-lifetime trip throughout Europe. They post daily stories from either Laura or Bryan’s perspective, and are really honest about the trials and tribulations not only about married life, but also about international travel. Did I mention that they are hilarious? They post about Murse Mondays, where they include photos of Euro men sporting murses, aka man purses. They also share videos of Bryan’s beard growth watch and spontaneous dance parties. If you sit in a cubicle all day and want to live vicariously through them and their epic trip, visit their blog!

There you have it. Those are the sites that I visit regularly. Did you notice a theme amongst them? Yes, that’s it – honesty. All of these writers speak from their hearts and are not trying to be something that they are not. They are, therefore, my Internet heroes and I thank them for their inspiration!

Now, it’s your turn. Do me a favor. At the end of this post, leave a comment about your favorite blogs and sites that you follow. Or, if you write a blog yourself, don’t be afraid to plug it. I would love, love, love to read it, whether it’s food-related or not. Even if your blog is just starting out and you aren’t completely sure which direction it’s going to take, I want to read it. Go ahead, self-promote. Let's boost traffic and make friends :)

But wait... THERE'S MORE! When you leave a comment, you are automatically entered in my very first giveaway! Here's your chance to win a $25 gift card from Whole Foods! That's right, you can score a sweet prize just by commenting on this post!

**** Contest is now closed. Thanks to all those who entered! ****
Here's how:

1) Simply leave a comment telling me about the blogs you follow or write yourself.

2) Follow me on Twitter and tweet this: I just entered to win a @WholeFoods gift card from @MyFareFoodie. Enter here: http://tinyurl.com/73r5t8h

3) To increase your chances of winning, leave an additional comment alerting me that you are a Twitter follower and that you have tweeted the above phrase.

Easy, right? I will announce the lucky winner on November 28th after a random drawing. Since my blog's comment form does not require you to enter your email address, be sure to check back on that day to see if you have won! Good luck!

I’ll leave you with a quote that I recently read:

“The scarier it is to hit ‘publish’ the louder the applause. Have faith in the words you write.”

Thank you for reading!!!

(P.S. I am not affiliated with Whole Foods Market in any way. I'm just a loyal and far-too-frequent customer)


Cranberry-Port Crisp

Have you ever had a cranberry? Like an actual fresh cranberry – not the sugary dried variety or the wobbly canned kind? They are fantastic and they happen to be absolutely everywhere this time of year. They are also super fun to eat because they pop in your mouth, kind of like an all-natural and über-healthy version of Pop Rocks. For this dessert, I combined two common components that are often present during Thanksgiving – cranberries and Port. During the holidays, my family enjoys after-dinner drinks, such as Port, so it seemed natural to pair the sweet wine with tart cranberries. This delightfully warming crisp serves as a nice departure from the omnipresent pumpkin pie. Plus, it is really fun to make since the fresh cranberries erratically explode as they cook! Don’t worry about the mess though, because the holidays are supposed to be unpredictable and hectic, right? What, that's only my house? Oh well, where's the Port?

Cranberry-Port Crisp
Serves 2


1 pint fresh cranberries
1 cup Port wine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Splash of orange juice or pinch of orange zest
Additional sugar, if desired
Ginger cookies, crushed


Simmer cranberries, Port, cinnamon, and orange juice/zest in a pot for 15 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add sugar if your cranberries are overly tart or your Port isn't quite sweet enough. Spoon into ramekins or small dishes and sprinkle with crushed cookies. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

P.S. Have you entered my Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway? Click HERE for details!


Grilled Ham, Asparagus, and Gruyère Sandwich

On one of my very first dates with Thomas, we went to a great restaurant where I had Atlantic salmon with grilled asparagus. When he noticed me pushing away the green spears in favor of fish, he brazenly asked, “Why aren’t you eating the asparagus? Is it because it makes your pee stink?” I was still masquerading as a dainty lady during our initial dates, so this awkward question prompted me to choke on my food. I was mortified. There we were, at the supposed butterflies-stage of our budding relationship, and already talking about smelly urine – very romantic indeed.

While this grilled ham, asparagus, and Gruyère sandwich is very quick and easy to assemble, it unfortunately creates the aforementioned unwelcome side-effects. If you are worried about additional smelly factors, then you can substitute another Swiss melting cheese for Gruyère, which can be quite stinky on its own. In my opinion, though, when it comes to cheese, the stinkier the better. So, to sum up, look beyond asparagus’ unpleasant side effects, pile on the smelly Gruyère, and enjoy this tasty sandwich. Smell ya later!

Grilled Ham, Asparagus, and Gruyère Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich


Olive oil/ butter/ cooking spray
8-9 stalks of asparagus, washed and trimmed
2 slices of bread
2 ounces Black Forest ham
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated


Coat asparagus in olive oil or cooking spray and roast in the oven or sauté in a skillet until tender. Butter the bread and assemble sandwich. Over medium high heat, grill in a nonstick skillet until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. (Tip: cover with a lid to help the cheese melt.) Enjoy!


Drunken Date Bread

Ah, the drunken date. We’ve all been there. Am I right? Thankfully, this is a different kind of drunken date. Medjool dates soaked in liquor are sure to flirt with your taste buds in this intoxicating quick bread. While this bread is a twist on rum raisin, there is no rum…and there are no raisins. In fact, Gentleman Jack showed up at the door for this date, and he was the perfect gentleman indeed. That is, until he got the dates drunk as skunks. I can assure you, though, that the drunker the dates, the better. Did that just make me sound like a slimy frat dude? Geez, my mind is in the gutter. Anyway, try this scrumptious bread as a snack with afternoon tea or for breakfast the morning after a drunken date of your own ;)

Drunken Date Bread
Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe
Makes 1 loaf


2 cups coarsely chopped dates
½ cup bourbon (I used Tennessee whiskey), dark rum, or brandy
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
¾ cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan with cooking spray and then dust with flour. Pour liquor over the chopped dates and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until combined. Stir in the flour, baking powder, spices, drunken dates, and walnuts. Pour in the milk and add leftover liquor from the dates if the mixture seems a bit dry.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Cut into slices, top with butter, and enjoy!