Virtual Potluck: Herbed Risotto with Spicy Mushroom Gravy

Risotto with Mushroom Gravy

So I've been working on some things behind the scenes, one of which is a blogger group I am now a part of called Virtual Potluck.  Basically we are a group of 12 bloggers that work on projects together and support each other along the way.  Our food blogs come in all shapes and sizes and during the brief time we've been working together, we have learned so many things from each other.

You can find the Virtual Potluck Facebook page here.  If you "Like" the page, you'll be able to follow all the VP bloggers during this project as well as future projects and we have a lot of fun stuff already planned!  

Virtual Potluck

I'm really excited to bring to you our newest project with Marx Foods, who challenged us to develop original recipes using some of their food products.  Marx Foods has this fabulous website where you can order practically any ingredient you can think of from meats, poultry, and seafood, to pantry items such as dried mushrooms and chili peppers, to fresh produce they'll actually overnight to you so it's fresh when you receive it.  Take some time to peruse their website; it is beautiful and very interactive.  Not only do they describe every single ingredient, but they also give you tips on how to use the ingredient in your cooking, including recipes.  I could spend hours on this website.  If you're looking for an exotic ingredient that you can't seem to find at your local market or if you live in an area where you can't get a lot of good quality ingredients, this website will be a lifesaver for you!


Click on the Marx Foods logo above to visit their site.  Enter “POTLUCK” into the “Coupon Code” field at checkout for 10% of everything in the store. Valid 11/21 – 11/27.

The concept of this project was for us to imagine we were all invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and were asked to bring a dish.  In the mail, we all received some ingredients to use in our dishes.  We could use all, some, or one of the ingredients to create an original dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.  Be sure to check out the other 11 Virtual Potluck bloggers' dishes - you'll find links to all of their blogs in the right side bar listed under Virtual Potluck.  But first, let me introduce to you the host of our Marx Foods Thanksgiving dinner, Donna at Cookistry.  Donna has graciously put together a nice roundup of all of our posts for this event to make it easy for you to peruse everyone's Thanksgiving offerings.  So sit down at our Thanksgiving table, enjoy our dishes, and let us know what you think!  Oh, and stick around until the end because I'll tell you how you can win a couple of Marx Foods samples so you can create some dishes of your own!

For my dish, I decided to use the following ingredients:

Dried Wild Porcini Mushrooms

Dried Lobster Mushrooms

Dried Japones Chilies

Italian Vialone Nano Rice


After the jump, find out what I did with these ingredients.


Daring Cooks Challenge: Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes


During my last year of school I was so busy with final projects and homework and just trying to make school and work not make me crazy that I had to give up some fun stuff like a super cool cooking club called "The Daring Bakers".  If you've never heard of them, google  it.  They are awesome and being in the club is so much fun.  Well, as you can see I didn't bake anything to share with you today, because now that I have the time to get back into some fun cooking projects, I decided rather than join back up with The Daring Bakers, I decided to join another part of the club called "The Daring Cooks".  Since I'm very much a savory person and barely ever bake (not that there's anything WRONG with that...), I thought it was a perfect fit.

So basically how this club works is every month we are given a secret challenge.  It's always a fairly unique and challenging recipe and the "secret" part makes it fun :-)  Then we have all month to make it and document it and we all wait until the post date given to post our completed challenges on our blog.  So every month around this time I'll be bringing you a different Daring Cooks creation and then you can jump around to the other blogs that participated and see their creations too.

To check out the other Daring Cooks, the blogroll is HERE.

This month's challenge was "cooking with tea", which I'm pretty sure I've never done.  In this dish you basically use tea in place of wine and beef broth to braise your beef.  I thought the final product tasted good.  The beef was very tender and pulled apart easily with no need for a knife and the sweet potatoes were tangy and sweet.  Mark wasn't as excited about this dish.  He said he kept wanting it to be beef bourguignon but instead he was tasting tea.  I kind of tasted the tea, but not as much as he did and it may either be his super-human sense of smell that I believe he was born with, or the fact that I'm still getting over a cold and can only half-smell things.  So I'm sure that is hindering my ability to pick out the flavors he is.

So if you're interest is peaked, I say make this.  I did like it, so maybe you will too.  If nothing else, it was cool to see how tea can be incorporated into a savory dish like this.  After the jump, I'll show you how this is made!


Cleveland Fabulous Food Show - Winner Announced!

Just a few more days until the Fabulous Food Show hits Cleveland!  Have you gotten your tickets yet?  If not, check out the website HERE.

Also, be sure to "Like" their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/fabulousfoodshow

...and follow them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/#!/FabFoodShow

And the winner of the pair of free general admission tickets to the Cleveland Fabulous Food Show is...


Scott, please email me your email address so I can email you your free tickets!  Congratulations!

Can't wait to check the Fab Food Show out this weekend and I'll be sure to fill you all in on the great things we find there this year!  



Fabulous Food Show Coming to Cleveland! (Plus a chance to win tickets!)


Well, this time of year usually means basketball, right?  I should be watching the Cavs on TV this evening with a cold, delicious Great Lakes Oktoberfest.  But as we all know, that's not gonna happen thanks to this stupid NBA lockout.  If you've been a FOODIE reader for a while, you know I'm a huge Cavs fan, so you can imagine the withdrawals I'm going through.  It's just such a fun thing Mark and I do together and I'm really bummed that we're not at the Q right now cheering our team on.  Ah well...  life goes on.

On the bright side, guess what else this time of year means?  (The graphic at the top of this post probably gave it away, eh?)  Yep, it's Fabulous Food Show time, people.  Foodies unite!

This year is the 6th annual Fabulous Food Show, presented by Time Warner Cable, November 11-13, 2011 at the I-X Center. Tickets are on sale NOW for all of your favorite
chefs: Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Duff Goldman, and Cleveland’s own
Michael Symon! Tickets can be purchased online at www.fabulousfoodshow.com.

Your ticket includes admission to one chef show in the Main Kitchen Theatre, as well as the
Market Place featuring more than 225 exhibiting companies, the Culinary Celebration
Theatre, Grand Tasting Pavilion, Sweet Street and over 100 ongoing demonstrations on six
different stages.

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Check out the Celebrity Chef Schedule of shows HERE.

And if watching your favorite celebrity chef in action just isn’t enough, be sure to stop over to the Celebrity Book Signing Pavilion and get their autograph. A Book Store will also be on-site with all celebrity chef books for sale.

...and so yeah, there's even more than that to do! 

The Taste of the Neighborhood Stage, presented by The Plain Dealer features the culinary
exploits of Cleveland’s top local chefs. This unique, interactive setting allows you to watch your neighborhood favorites outside of their respective kitchens…and pick up a cooking tip or two!

Want to see who is up and coming regionally and internationally? The Culinary Celebration Theatre, presented by Giant Eagle, boasts a 400 seat theatre featuring tons of NEW talent.  Top-ranked culinary professionals from Cleveland and around the country will be showcasing their skills in 30-minute demonstrations.

fn_anne-thornton_talent_s3x4_alAttendees with a sweet tooth will spend a lot of time at the Sweet Street featuring various demonstrations from regional chocolate experts. While you’re there be sure to take a stroll through Cake Walk and borrow some ideas for your next baking venture!

Sweet Street will also showcase Anne Thornton, a Cleveland native and host of Food Network’s Dessert First with Anne Thornton. Attendees will get great new recipes just in time for the holiday
season, as Anne “demystifies and simplifies the world of pastry and dessert.”

The American Wine School will assemble more than 300 wines, spirits and specialty beers for sampling in the Grand Tasting Pavilion and conduct informative daily seminars in the Wine Theatre.  And if you like what you try, you’ll be able to find your favorite vino in the Wine Cellar store, located conveniently next to the seminar area.

If you’re thirsty for something a little more exotic, don’t miss Woody’s Liquid Kitchen featuring Australia’s famous mixologist Hayden Wood. As an entertainer and educator on all things liquid and drinkable, Woody will show you that the best bar is right in your own home!

The holidays never tasted so good! Before you buy your gifts and prepare your delectable meals for the holidays, come sample assorted products and services from more than 225 vendors at the Market Place!

Sounds like a pretty fun way to spend the day, right?  Well, just for stopping by and visiting me here at Foodie, how about a chance to win a pair of tickets to the event?

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN...  just leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite part of the Fabulous Food Show if you've gone in the past.  If you haven't been to the show before, share what you're most excited about at this year's show.  I will choose a random winner from your comments Wednesday, November 9th at noon.  Good luck!

For more information on the event, check out the website HERE.

Be sure to "Like" their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/fabulousfoodshow

Follow them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/#!/FabFoodShow