First Blogiversary

I’m thrilled to be here bringing you my very first blogiversary! This week marks one whole year that I’ve been blogging over here at Red Velvet and I couldn’t be happier to make this milestone. Many bloggers don’t make it a full year, life gets too busy and the upkeep of a blog on top of their daily lives gets to be too much and their posts get fewer and farther between but I’ve been able to keep blogging a few times a week for an entire year. This was one of my goals when I began this little blog and I’m so happy to be able to say I’ve accomplished it.

This week, in celebration, I’ll bring you some more personal details about myself including:

  • A full house tour
  • A Q&A about yours truly
  • A quiz to find out more about all of you reading out there

And of course a few surprises!

Thanks for reading, without all of you, this blog would be nothing, I’m so grateful to be able to speak to each of you in your own kitchens, each day.

Happy 1 year!

Spring Flowers II

It’s gorgeous outside today. After a week of a weather forecast promising warm and sunny temperatures but in reality getting cloudy, cold and dreary weather, I was beginning to think the weather people needed to be fired and my longing for some sunshine was at its peak. Currently, I think its about 80 degrees outside and sunny! All the trees in the city are blooming everywhere and its such a great day to take a slow walk, breathing in the Spring air (but not the pollen if you have allergies) and soaking up some Vitamin D.

If your yard is anything like mine, Spring flowers have popped up and begun blooming. Last week, I was getting our house ready for company and decided to take advantage of my pretty flowers. I love clipping flowers from my own yard to display at home, the flowers are fresher, they smell better and I feel accomplished knowing that I grew them (well, not really me, more mother nature, but you get the idea).

My powder room is a combination of white and greys with pops of yellow so I threw together this little vignette with the flowers from the yard and other things I had on hand.

I’m also lucky enough to have tiny daffodils growing in my yard and used them too.

Nothing like some pretty Spring blooms to brighten up the bathroom!

Anyone else using the free flowers in the yard to bring some Spring inside? I hope you enjoy this beautiful day and have a great weekend!

Dinner Club – March

As promised last week, I’m finally (after battling it out with a case of bronchitis) back to regale you with our March Dinner Club experience which was also our St. Patrick’s Day celebration. When choosing the date for this month’s club, we all noticed that St. Patrick’s Day was on a Saturday and that all of our schedules were free so naturally we choose that to be the date of our club and we choose traditional Irish fare as the theme. Eric and I ended up with the dessert course this time, if you remember last month we had the appetizer course, read more about that here.

Being of Irish heritage and having visited Ireland were definitely an advantage for this theme, however dessert was probably the most difficult course to research. Go ahead and Google it, not one major dessert will appear, if you’re even able to find one that is definitively Irish. In the end I did find a lot of apple cakes, recipes that combined Guinness and chocolate (not unlike the Stout Cake I made last week) and many that contained Irish Whiskey. I found one that was from an Irish restaurant and was for a white bread pudding with a caramel whiskey sauce. This recipe was different than most of the other and I liked that it deviated from the popular Bailey’s Irish Creme, or Guinness and chocolate ingredients. It also stated that this recipe “was the best thing you’ll ever taste in your life” if that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

Start the recipe by soaking the raisins in whiskey and set that aside until the very end.

Remove the crusts from the white bread (I just used white sandwich bread, nothing fancy) and lightly brush with melted butter.

Toast one side under the broiler until it just begins to brown.

Remove from the oven and, once cooled, cut into cubes.

While prepping the bread cubes, combine the milk and heavy cream in a medium size sauce pan. Cut a vanilla bean lengthwise and use a knife to scrape out all the black seeds into the cream mixture. Put the vanilla pod into the cream and slowly bring to a boil, watch it carefully so that it doesn’t boil over.

Once it boils, immediately remove the pot from the heat (to avoid scalding the milk). Take out the vanilla pod and chill until cooled, about an hour.

Once the cream mixture is cool, whisk together the eggs and sugar.

Add in the cream mixture. Stir in the bread cubes and raisins and let the whole thing sit for about 15 minutes.

Pour the whole mixture into a buttered baking dish and dot more butter.

Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, about an hour.

While that’s baking, make the caramel whiskey sauce.

Melt and sugar and water over medium heat stirring slowly until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Boil the mixture without stirring for about 30 minutes, until it just starts to caramelize (a hint of golden color).

While that’s caramelizing, warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat.

Once the caramel is ready, add butter and whipping cream. Stir over medium heat until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool. Now you can store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Once its time to serve, add in the whiskey and more cream until the sauce reaches the consistency you want.

Drizzle sauce over a big piece of bread pudding.

I was told it tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch on a Saturday morning, as a child. And everyone had seconds on dessert. All in all, the bread pudding was a great success! Not to mention, it was pretty easy. We have some sauce left over and Eric just asked if I would make another batch to “finish up” the sauce.

Here is the link to the recipe I found online.

Irish Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce

Since we started this post with dessert first, I guess I’ll go back and tell you about the first two courses. We began at the first house with some home made Irish Soda bread and Irish Rarebit. Yep, I know what you’re thinking, “Do you mean rabbit? Did you eat rabbit?” Nope. That’s what I thought when they first said what they were serving, too. But in fact, there is no rabbit to be found in this dish, nor does it look like a rabbit. Wikipedia only had an explanation for Welsh Rarebit but it states:

Welsh rarebit is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot over toast. The names of the dish originate from 18th century Great Britain.Welsh rarebit is typically made with Cheddar cheese, in contrast to the Continental European fondue which classically depends on Swiss cheeses.

The Irish rarebit includes Guinness and cheese in the sauce. We all forgot cameras so I’ll pull one from the internet so you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Rarebit Recipe

After some rarebit and beers, we moved on to the second house and the main course.

We enjoyed some delicious Shepards Pie. Again, photo stolen from Pinterest because we forgot to take pictures.

Individual shepards pie

Finishing with the bread pudding was perfect. We all felt happy and comfy, just like you should after eating an Irish meal because it’s probably windy and rainy outside the window.

Thanks again to all our dinner club couples for putting in a wonderful effort to making great dishes. Can’t wait for April!

Down and Out

My apologies to you all. I’m battling a case of bronchitis and was laid up in bed for the last 3 days. I’m finally able to function a bit more and hope to be back tomorrow with a good post for ya! I’d hoped to have a nice post ringing in Spring but it seems Winter decided to give me one last good sickness before leaving for good.

Thanks for popping over to check for new material, I’ll have some tomorrow!

Irish Boxty

I love the fact that Americans celebrate their heritage so strongly in so many ways around the country and perhaps one of the best examples of that is St. Patrick’s Day. Americans who have any ounce of Irish blood in their veins assume the roll of a proud Irish American on this day that we celebrate luck, the color green and of course, beer. I’ll freely admit, that I too am one of those Americans and because I happen to look like I just stepped off of the shores of the Emerald Isle, I will inform you that I do have quite a bit of Irish blood in my veins. My heritage is made up primarily of German and Irish heritage. My father’s mother is Irish and my father’s father was German. My mother’s father, also Irish and her mother had English and Croatian blood. I’ve been able to do the ancestry.com thing and found out that some of my Irish ancestors came from County Donegal in Ireland, a very cool discovery. We’ve got a line of O’Connors, Fagans and Pauls that stretch back, just to name a few.

Eric’s family has been over in the US much longer than my family, which is pretty cool. I’m almost certain that he probably has a relative who has fought in ever major American war! We’ve been told that his heritage is Scottish and he may even have some links to the Vikings, among other things. He does have a great grandmother who was Irish though and on St. Patty’s Day, that’s all that matters!

Sidenote: As a teenager, one of my first jobs was working as a hostess at Chi-Chi’s Restaurant. Because of my fair complexion, freckles and very red hair I was often asked why, as someone who was Irish, was I working at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant? This was very strange to me and yet it happened frequently. I though Chi-Chi’s was a pretty American restaurant… Oh, well, I sometimes forget how Irish I truly look!

This weekend we’ll be celebrating with friends and a traditional Irish feast, however, as mentioned on Monday, I did make some Irish meals this week to celebrate this time of year and one of them was Irish Boxty. Here is a picture of it from a restaurant (not mine!):

Irish Boxty is the equivalent of the French crepe. It’s a potato based, pancake like dough that the Irish fill with meat, poultry or veggies usually with a cream sauce. I also equate it to the American chicken and waffles. It’s delicious.

When we visited Ireland a few years ago, we went to an exclusively boxty restaurant one evening, in Dublin. The food was fantastic and very economically priced. I recommend a good boxty dinner who anyone going to Ireland.

A few nights ago, I tried my hand at my very first Irish Boxty dinner. I had a more difficult time finding a good recipe for the filling, so I found one and then amended it to my tastes but I was able to find a good boxty recipe on Foodnetwork.com.

Start the boxty by pealing all the potatoes and boil half in salted water to make mashed potatoes. Grate the other half of the raw potatoes. (I used the food processor to make it easy on my arm.)

The grated potato end up being a bit larger than had you done it by hand but the labor saved is worth it.

Once the other half of the potato has been mashed, put both kinds of potato into a large bowl along with the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix it together well.

Slowly add in the buttermilk until you have a thick batter consistency. Eyeball it, you will likely not use all of the buttermilk.

Set the batter aside while you make the filling. I chose a chicken and cream sauce filling. Once your ingredients are prepped, cook the chicken in a large frying pan over medium high heat until it’s just cooked through. Then add the chopped shallots and cook for another few minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the mixture and cook until they’ve released their moisture. Add in the madiera and cook down for about 5 minutes.

Add in the cream and milk and stir well. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now cook the boxty cakes on a medium griddle, just like you’d cook pancakes.

Top the hot boxty with the filling and serve alongside a pretty green vegetable.

Talk about yum! Mushrooms, cream, madiera, chicken, potato; good, good, good and goo-ood! The whole dish took me about an hour to make because I had to boil and mash the potatoes first. I’d recommend using some leftover mashed potatoes for you guys to shorten the cook time and reuse those potatoes. Leftover mashed potatoes are never that great anyway so this is a great way to reuse them!

And so I leave you with this Irish proverb:

For every wound, a balm.
For every sorrow, cheer.
For every storm, a calm.
For every thirst, a beer.

I wish you a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and a fun weekend! I’ll be back next week with a full recap of our traditional Irish feast!

Here’s the boxty with chicken and cream recipe:

Irish Boxty
Print
Author: Adapted from Food Network
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Boxty Pancakes
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) freshly cooked potatoes
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) peeled raw potatoes
  • 8 ounces (225 grams/ generous 1 1/2 cups) white flour
  • 1/4 American teaspoon baking powder (1/2 Irish teaspoon bread soda), sifted *see note
  • 8 to 12 fluid ounces (225 to 300 millileters/1 to 1 1/2 cups) buttermilk
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • Butter, for frying
  • Note: an Irish tablespoon is the same quantity as an American tablespoon plus a teaspoon
  • Chicken & Cream Filling
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 8 oz. sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup madiera
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Boxty Pancakes
  2. Peel the cooked potatoes while they are still hot, drop into a bowl and mash immediately. Grate the raw potatoes, add to the mashed potatoes with the flour and sifted bread soda. Mix well, and add enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter.
  3. Heat a frying pan, grease with butter and cook large or small pancakes in the usual way.
  4. Chicken & Cream Filling
  5. Heat olive oil, in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add in cubed chicken and cook until just cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, until they have released all their moisture. Pour in the madiera and reduce until there is about 1 tablespoon left, about 5 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream and milk and stir well. Lower heat to medium and simmer to thicken, 2-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Omelette for Two

One of my favorite things about Saturday mornings is making breakfast. During the week, we’re both up early and on to work by 8 o’clock; breakfast consists of a cup of tea at my desk and a banana or packet of instant oatmeal, an effort to stay healthy but not really a meal. But on Saturdays, I can make those muffins I saw on Pinterest or the sausage I just picked up at market and watch TV in my bathrobe until 11am!

Last weekend, I had all the ingredients to make one of our favorite Saturday morning meals, an omelette for two. I found this recipe in my Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook a few years ago and have been making it with different variations of ingredients ever since. It’s light and fluffy like an omelette but it makes a lot more and is less temperamental since it puffs up in the oven. What’s better is that you can make it with anything you happen to have one hand. For this recipe, I stuck to the ingredients called for, bacon, onion, cheese and potato.

Start by chopping up the ingredients and preheating the oven.

Heat a frying pan over medium low heat and cook the bacon slowly for about 10 minutes.

Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels and add the butter. Once melted add the potatoes and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat until the potato begins to brown and the onion is translucent, another 10 minutes. Add the bacon back to the pan.

While the potato and onion are cooking, beat the eggs and milk together until well combined. Add the cheese to the mixture and some salt and pepper.

Once the bacon has been added back to the potato mixture, pour the egg and cheese mixture over it.

Place the pan into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the egg is fluffy and just cooked through.

Slice and enjoy with a side of fruit and a cup of your favorite hot beverage!

Like I said, use any ingredients you have on hand. A few days ago, I used green peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese to make a different one.

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Omelette for Two
Print
Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1/4 pound good thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup medium-diced Yukon gold potato
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, diced, plus extra grated cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the bacon crosswise in 1-inch slices. Cook the bacon in an 8-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan, and then add the potato and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced Cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the omelet puffs and the eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute. Serve hot directly from the pan.

Chocolate Stout Cake

St. Patrick’s Day is in less than a week and as someone with predominantly Irish heritage, I always enjoy celebrating the holiday with some Irish inspired dishes. This week, I’ll be sharing with you some Irish dishes that you can make to celebrate too!

I spotted this recipe, a chocolate stout cake, on one of my new favorite baking blogs, Sweetapolita, a week or so ago and realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make it. Few things go together better than chocolate and Guinness and then add the fact that you can eat them together in cake form. Brilliant!

Start this cake by measuring and cutting parchment paper to line the bottoms of two round cake pans. Then spray the pans with baking spray.

Heat the Guinness and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts.

Remove it from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.

Pour it into a separate bowl and set it aside to cool completely (I put mine in the fridge to speed up the cooling process).

In a medium size bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In an electric mixer, mix together the eggs and sour cream until well combined.

Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix until well combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once cooled, frost with the whipped vanilla bean frosting.

This cake was delicious. It tasted chocolaty but also had another layer of flavor from the Guinness. There is a visible difference between my cake and the one from Sweetapolita, my cake is lighter in color. I think I may have needed a darker cocoa powder but I couldn’t find any at the grocery store. I may have to start ordering some baking ingredients online in order to get what I truly need.

The frosting was sensational! Creamy and light and the addition of the vanilla bean was a great idea, it looked like vanilla bean ice cream covering the cake. The flavor in the icing paired very well with the cake. All in all, a simple and delicious recipe and perfect for your St. Patty’s Day celebration!

The recipes for both cake and frosting can be found at Sweetapolita.com.

 

Beer Mac n Cheese

Last week, while perusing Pinterest, I spotted this picture:

It had the description: beer mac n cheese. I clicked and it took me to the blog, How Sweet it Is with the full recipe. The author compared the taste of it to beer and cheese soup and it looked nice and easy to make.

Now, I don’t love the typical mac n cheese. Cheese itself has never been one of my favorite foods, on its own. I like it on pizza and used in recipes, but eating it straight or a dish like mac n cheese has never really been my thing. But add in some beer and this is now a dish I could get along with!

I did adapt the recipe according to my tastes. Start the dish by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside. You can use whole wheat pasta in this recipe, it holds up to the cheese sauce well and makes the dish a bit healthier. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.

Once melted, add the diced onion and cook for about 5-7 minutes until translucent but not brown.

Add the flour and stir. Cook, stirring, until the mixture gets a nice golden color, about 2 minutes.

Add the milk, beer and cheeses, while stirring. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Add the paprika, nutmeg and pepper.

Pour the cheese over the noodles in a stir slightly.

Top with bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese and small pieces of butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Top with sliced fresh basil.

Serve with a side of arugula tossed with vinaigrette.

The mac n cheese tasted good. The consistency was great with the whole wheat pasta and I enjoyed the fresh basil however I think next time I will add Gruyere cheese instead of parmesan and use a darker beer. I only had Yeungling in on hand so that’s what I used this time and I would like liked more of a beer taste. The whole thing was good, I just found myself wanting stronger flavors. I can’t wait to make it again!

Here is the recipe:

Beer Mac n Cheese
Print
Author: adapted from How Sweet It Is
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 8 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 10 large basil leaves, chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time since pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
  3. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely NOT thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer, but you want it to thicken a little bit. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
  4. Add noodles (once cooked and drained) to a casserole dish, then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil.

 

Funfetti Cake and a First Birthday

This past weekend, Eric and I were in Delaware visiting his family. This was a rare weekend in which Eric and both of his brothers and their families were all in the same state. We all gathered together to celebrate the first birthday of our youngest nephew, Patrick. This is the same cute baby that we visited in New Hampshire last May and wrote about in this post. It’s hard to believe he’s a year old already!

In preparation for the occasion, I asked if I could bring the birthday cake. I recently discovered a new baking blog that has changed my baking life, sweetapolita.com. The recipes are amazing and I find that most of the writer’s tastes are similar to my own.

For example, she has many recipes for white cake and that is a recipe that I continue to tweak in search of the perfect one, the one that, I’m embarrassed to say, tastes the most like a white cake mix. There is just something about all those chemicals mixed together that create a fluffy, white, deliciously perfect cake. I’ve been striving to achieve that from a scratch cake for years and Sweetapolita may have done the hard work for me. Not only did she post her white cake adventures, but she went a step further and posted a recipe for a funfetti cake. I don’t know about you but funfetti was my birthday cake of choice for about 8 years running as a child. Those colorful dots inside the cake just make it taste so much better! I knew immediately that I wanted to make this for Patrick’s first birthday.

Start the recipe by bringing all of your ingredients to room temperature, yes the milk, eggs and butter. This is a very important step and one that is often skipped. Starting with room temperature ingredients makes the cake a better texture. It only takes about 30 minutes on the counter for these ingredients to warm up. Cut the butter up into cubes and it will soften even faster.

Cut parchment paper to line two round baking pans and spray with cooking spray for baking (the kind that has the flour in it already). Or spray with cooking spray and then flour each pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites (feel free to use the egg whites in the carton from the grocery store, they save you from throwing out a bunch of yolks) 1/4 cup of the milk, vanilla and almond extract and gently stir.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for a minute or two. Add the butter and mix on low for 30 seconds, then add the rest of the milk and mix on medium speed for 90 seconds. This part is crucial, you must time the mixing (I used a stop watch) and be sure you’re mixing on  the proper setting otherwise you run the risk of over mixing the batter.

Scrape the bowl and add the liquid ingredients in 3 batches mixing for 20 seconds after each addition.

Gently stir in the rainbow sprinkles with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Divide into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, checking frequently to avoid over baking.

Allow cakes to cool on a rack and ice with the whipped vanilla frosting. Decorate with sprinkles however you like! Sprinkles are so colorful and pretty, they are one of my favorite things.

For the party, we added a birthday candle.

Here is the birthday boy getting a slice of cake! 

And here’s a close-up shot of the cake sliced.

This cake was incredible. The texture was light and fluffy, the flavor was sweet with a hint of almond extract and the icing tasted like ice cream. Hands down, one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and one of the prettiest.

Thanks to Sweetapolita for the awesome recipe! Click here to go to her blog and print the recipe out for yourself.

And the Winner Is….

Who caught the Top Chef Finale last night? I think the final competition is always one of my favorites. There are no weird challenges, no gimmicks to get viewer ratings, no stupid tasks that have nothing to do with cooking, its just the chef and their food, their way. They get the chance to create their ultimate tasting menu for the judges. This season did not disappoint. Both chefs brought their A game and served incredible meals.

The final two came down to Sarah vs Paul. I was rooting for Paul.

I’ve liked Paul’s dishes since the second or third episode. I think he’s creative and consistent with his dishes. Sarah was always a little bit up and down and I wasn’t always crazy about her flavor choices. I think Paul also has better skills in the kitchen and keeps his head under pressure, two essentials to being a great chef.

They both prepared heavenly meals and I wish I could have been one of those lucky judges to get to eat both incredible meals. In the end, my choice prevailed an Paul took home the title of Top Chef for season 9!

All in all, it was a good season, however I  was annoyed at how obviously Bravo tried to use stupid challenges to create drama and gain viewers. They also drug out the season by adding the first few episodes that narrowed down the top 16 from 29. I miss the challenges that were mostly about cooking and less about how good you are at riding a bike, cross country skiing, or shooting a gun. But such is the way of a successful reality show.

The only question left to ask is, when are they going to do a Top Chef Philadelphia already?!

Anyone else catch the finale last night? Were you rooting for Paul or Sarah?