Friday, August 31, 2012

Color PHOTO Index of YOUR BLOG's Recipes - SEARCHABLE!

It's been a pretty big month for  As much as I love the "FoodPorn" sites, I always thought they had a fatal flaw.  The very fact that they pick and chose the best (In someone's opinion... but don't get me started) means that many posts are left off their data base.  So, the short term benefit of being chosen (LOTS of lookie loos that day, gratification of a job recognized as well done, etc.), can not be expanded to a permanent benefit.

From the beginning, I envisioned as more than just foodporn.  Instead I wanted a site that would host links to any and all of your (OK, mine) posts.  But, once that body of work has been submitted, because our standards are different, that group of YOUR links can be used.

After months and months of effort... We have the very first useful completely indexed... completely searchable data base for not only every recipe submitted to the site (from the more than 1,000 users), but also the data base can be filtered to only the links you submit (or if you save other bloggers recipes, the site now filters just the links you save).

 Think of the INDEX (Back of the Book) in a real cookbook.

Or even something as basic as the table of contents.

Blogs do not have them, which means unless we go to a great deal of work to catalog, index, tag, link and remember; much of our work is at best difficult to find again.

I remember the first  20 posts I wrote almost word for word...

The next 100 vaguely and the rest have become so routine that I can usually recall the main ingredient, the finished dish but little of the specific blog.  So, after 750 plus posts (over 900 if you add this site with my "old" blog), finding my favorites has become difficult and time consuming.

And sure, if you use the "Search this Blog" feature that Blogger provides, you can search by keyword.

But even that, especially with 900 recipes to file, is difficult to use.  The results are all text.  That always seems bizarre to me as food blogging is almost always a visual medium.

The results also only show a limited number of links, causing you to page through to possibly find the post you are looking for.

Honestly, not very efficient, time consuming and frankly a royal pain.

There has to be a better way...

Add caption
And here it is...

First, the table of contents for your blog.  Recipes separated by course.  It's much easier to find that recipe you remember when you know it is filed under "Breakfast".

When you submit your recipe links, you assign a category or course...
Appetizers, Beverages and Drinks, Bread,Breakfast, Desserts and Sweets, Lunch and Snacks, Main Course, Other, Salad, Sauces and Spices, Side Dishes, Soups and Stews.  Just seemed logical that when you take a look at your work, you see the links separated by the courses you assign them.  Just like the table of contents in the book that is your blog.

But wait... It gets BETTER still...

Take a look at the yellow bar in the screen shot below...

Do you see the checked boxes???

That's where you can narrow your search.  Want to see all the "Chicken" recipes (no matter which course you assign them)?  Just type in "Chicken", and check the box you want to search... If you know you titled the recipe with that word, just search the titles.  But sometimes you need to search deeper... Search the TAGS you assign as well.  And occasionally you need to search deeper.  That's where you may need to hunt through the description you provide of your post.

So, next time I spy an amazing sale on chicken, with just a few key strokes, links to my body of work pops up.  I can get inspired to make a soup or a simple sauced chicken breast...  BBQ ideas to pizzas.

Just like the index in the back of the book that is your blog.

But better still...


.Food blogs are almost 100% visual.  Everyone posts a photo of the finished dish.  Even more than the title, we probably remember the photo we take of the dish.  So, even better than the index in the back of a "real" cookbook, your recipes are now indexed along with your photos!

Remember, all is - is a collection of links BACK to your blog.  Click the photo and by the magic of the internet, a new window opens on YOUR blog.  The universal "Blue Lettering" link is also active.  Click on the blue letters of your recipe title and you also are opening the link to your blog.

But, also remember that what we do with those links... how we organize them and how we make them useful to YOU makes us different.  We are the "other guys" and I hope that shows.  This feature is exclusive to

But, like every other tool to get the most of this feature you need to be active.  Make it a habit to post not only your current posts, but make the extra effort to go through your back log of older posts.  Once you get the hang of it, it is less than a minute to add the links for a post.  Try to post a months worth of older stuff once a week.  Or for every new post, add an older set of links.

It may take some effort (like my 750 plus links on my older blog), but in the end, having a PHOTO, SEARCHABLE, INDEX of your blog will be worth all the effort!

And one more thing...


What do you think?  And better still, what features would you like us to add?

Currently we are working on automatic "Pinning" to Pintrest, as well as a printable recipe feature that incorporates new Google Search demands that make recipe searches more difficult for blogs.

So again... What do you think?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Caramel Flan with a spicy Mango Sauce

One of my never ending searches is for a really good flan recipe.  Most flans I have had just seem to have so little flavor considering the ingredients.  They just do not taste caramelly enough.

Well, here's the most caramelly tasting flan you have ever had.  Rich tasting with caramel taste throughout.

The sauce adds that hint of spice with the sweetness of the mango.

Honestly, the color is not as appealing as I would like, presentation needs some work (this makes the quest never ending I guess), but as far as taste goes... nothing better.

Here's what I did...

For the Mango Sauce
1 ripe soft Mango, peeled and diced
Juice from 1 Lemon
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 tsp Chipotle Powder

For the Caramel
1/2 cup Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw Brand)
1/4 cup water

For the Flan
4 Egg Yolks
1-1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
1-1/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • To make the mango sauce, saute the diced mango an lemon juice together for 10 minutes or until the mango begins to soften and liquefy.  Add the milk and continue stirring until everything is hot.
  • Place the creamy mango mixture into a food processor and pulse for several seconds until everything is completely liquefied.
  • Add the spice and pulse again for a few seconds.
  • Return to the stove and keep warm.  You may need to add more milk to keep liquid
  • To make the Caramel base (topping once flipped), mix sugar and water in a small pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved and begins to melt into a thick caramel syrup... about 10-15 minutes.

  • For the Flan, mix together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.
  • Stir in Vanilla and whisk thoroughly.
  • Take 6 Mise en Place bowls (small ramekins) and add 1 TBS of the caramel sauce in the bottom of each
  • divide the egg mixture evenly into each bowl
  • Bake in hot water bath for one hour or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and comes out clean.
  • Cool to room temperature
  • Loosen edges and flip onto a plate.
  • Top with the Mango sauce and serve

For extra presentation points I divided the mango sauce.  I added some red food coloring to about 1/3rd.  Topped one of the flans with the yellow sauce, added a dollop of the red mango sauce and took a toothpick and swirled.

Needs a little work on presentation, but the taste is 100% there!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Peach Milkshake - the Steak N Shake Method

It was a very good day!  Farmer's market finds include some terrific Missouri Peaches!

Keep a few in the fridge for just grabbing and snacking.
Peach crumbles are coming soon, but here's what I did the first day...

Kansas, like most of the country has been hit hard with the drought and 100 plus degree days.  Too many to count and no real end in sight yet.  But Jackie and I had spent the morning out and about, and craved something cold an refreshing...

My very first "real" job was for Steak N Shake.  Back when they had curbies that ran your food out to your car.  But I also spent sometime inside, flippin burgers and making...SHAKES!

I do not own a real 50's style shake machine, stainless steel cups.  But I do have a food processor (blender would work as well).

Here's what I did...

1 Peach, peeled and ptted
6 small scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup of Milk, I used 2%
More milk to thin as needed

And just process for 1 minute.  Check the thickness of the shake.  Some people like their shakes so thick you can stand a spoon in them.  Me, I like them thick, but not so thick that you can not use a straw.  I needed to add another 1/4 cup and process again for another 30 seconds.

Sweet, Creamy, Peachy and delicious...


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tapenade Swirl with O Olive Oil Discount for ALL!

Thank everyone for the tremendous response to our "Rites of Spring" Extravaganza!

It was very exciting to see all of the entrants, as well as read over their glowing recommendations for O Olive Oil, their artisan Vinegars and the quality of service received.  It was equally gratifying to read over the comments that the company made in emails to me as well as their FaceBook page (a great place to catch up on recipes using their products as well as future sales).

They were thrilled with the response.  So much so that they have hinted at another contest later in the year, and have allowed us a special discount just for readers of!

It's very easy to take advantage of the offer... just head over to their website...
Once there, look over all of their products (me, I am in love with their white Balsamic Vinegar and their O Fig Balsamic (A Finalist for Outstanding Vinegar of 2012 at The National Association of Specialty Food sofi Awards).  Then select a few you would like to purchase and during the check out procedure, simply add the code
on the checkout page and you will receive your discount!

One of their newest products is a set of Tapenades.  Those are a natural additional product for an olive oil company.  Tapenades are a spread made from minced olives.  O Olive Oil selected three of their pressed citrus oils as flavoring for their new tapenade line... Blood Orange, Meyer Lemon and Jalapeno Lime!

Me, I was very excited to give their Blood Orange Kalamata Olives & Capers a try.

Making a swirl bread is very easy.  I made my ENG BREAD recipe.  Eng Bread is my version of a sweet French bread, very versatile, easy to make and versatile.

I was making some slider buns for chicken salad sandwiches and decided to save about 1/4th of the recipe for a loaf of Tapenade swirl bread...

Simple enough, spread out the bread into a flat (about 1/2 inch) rectangle.
Spread the Olive tapenade
Roll up the bread into a tube
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes