Paradise in the Panhandle

17 05 2015


We spent the past week vacationing in Seacrest Beach, West of Panama City Beach.  We stayed in a beautiful home just a few minutes walk from the beach.  As usual, our vacations revolve around food and we continue to be those jackasses who take pictures of their food while on vacation.  We went out to some great restaurants and cooked some terrific meals.  Our rental house was extremely accommodating in every way imaginable.  It is very clear that the owners are passionate about cooking and are concerned that their guests have the nicest stay possible.  We would definitely return to this location and this rental home.

Cowgirl Kitchen

Cowgirl Kitchen was a great little bar and restaurant at Rosemary Beach.  They had excellent beer, wine, and food.


Tuna Dip


Whole Hog Pizza – I’m daydreaming about this right now


Brownie A la Mode to go

Glazed Chicken Thighs and Homemade Cheddar Biscuits



Donut Hole

The Donut Hole is a bakery/restaurant in Inlet Beach.


 Red Velvet and Chocolate Sprinkle Donuts


Sweet Potato Praline Pancakes


The “Diet Plate”

Shrimp Guacamole


Seasoned and seared some small shrimp


SAM_2082Served on tortilla chips

Waffles with Strawberry Compote and Fresh Whipped Cream




Fresh whipped cream with a dash of vanilla.  Like I said earlier, our house’s kitchen was very accommodating.  The only equipment I brought was my gyuto.


Don’t forget the mimosas


Shrimp Skewers and Sautéed Vegetables  SAM_2139



Charlie’s Donuts

Charlie’s Donuts is a donut truck in Aly’s beach.  You have to get there early before they run out.  Amy was nice enough to run (literally) over there first thing in the morning.


Yep, that’s bacon on the right.  These were very well done but a bit on the sweet side (yeah, even for donuts).

The Hub – Mile Marker Fifteen

The Hub is the center a new development a few miles West of where we were staying.  It was about a 20 minute bike ride, following the 30a bike and pedestrian trail.  The idea of The Hub is pretty cool – it is a centralized place where people can get together to watch live music, and other events, and have various options for food and drink.  They have a lot of comfortable seating.  Mile Marker Fifteen is their Mexican restaurant/bar.  Everything there is counter service.


Taquitos with Guacamole – Cooked chimichanga-style, very good


Sweet Potato and Chorizo Tacos – Even better

Grilled Fish and Zucchini



Added in some sweet potato fries


And some wonderful tomatoes – I wish we could get this good of tomatoes at home this time of year

Cowgirl Kitchen Round 2

We needed a quick lunch that accommodates a quickly expiring 2 year old, so we decided to go back since we had such a good dinner there.


Amy’s blackened shrimp quesadilla.  My pulled pork sandwich, with cole slaw on it, was very good but not particularly photogenic.



3 08 2014

After using our Bialetti stove-top espresso maker, for many years, we finally invested in a pump espresso machine.  We decided on the low-end De’Longhi 15-bar pump espresso machine.  As far as we could tell, it made just as good of coffee as machines that are double the price and it took up less counter space.  It makes excellent espresso, though I believe it has become the catalyst for a new addiction.




Let There Be Pasta!

21 07 2013


We have wanted to make fresh pasta for many years.  We only dabbled in rustic pastas due to not wanting to invest in a pasta roller and cutter.  This all changed when we found a pretty good one on clearance.  We decided that a manual one would fit our needs better, though we could have gotten one to attach to our stand mixer.

Making pasta is actually much simpler than you may think.  You only need 3 ingredients:


  • 2 Cups Unbleached Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt


First off, make sure your assistant has all of her equipment ready.


Place your flour into a mound and form a cup in the center.  Add your 3 eggs and salt to the flour cup.  As you can see here, I did not make my cup big enough and my eggs overflowed.  I won’t make that mistake again as it was a PITA!  Using a fork, whisk the eggs.  Slowly work the eggs into the flour from the center out.


Using a dough knife, fold the egg and flour mixture into itself until it has thoroughly combined.  Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.  I quickly found out that my dough was too wet as it glued my hands together.  I slowly added flour until the dough was workable.


Using the palm of your hand, kneed the dough for at least 5 minutes.


Form a ball with the dough.  Let it rest for at least 15 minutes.


Cut it into 3 pieces and form those into smaller balls.


Press the dough flat about 1/2 inches thick using the palm of your hand.  Make sure both sides are floured.


Starting at the largest thickness, run your dough through the pasta roller.


Use one hand to carefully pull the dough along, being careful not to stretch it.


Decrease the thickness by one level each pass until your reach your desired thickness.  I was making fettuccini, so I took it down to level 2 on my machine.  After each pass, if the pasta gets sticky, sprinkle on a small amount of flour.


Make sure both sides of your pasta are floured otherwise you will be scraping it off of your workspace.


Run the dough through the cutter die.  It helps to have a second hand to pull the cut pasta along.


Make sure your pasta has enough flour (preferably semolina) on it to not stick to itself.  We were going to be cooking ours soon so we just cut it to lengths that would fit on a cookie sheet and let it sit out.  If you plan on using your pasta in the future, you might want to hang it to dry for a couple hours before refrigerating or freezing it.


Cook your pasta in lightly salted, boiling water for around 5 minutes, until it reaches your desired chewiness.  Keep in mind, if you plan on tossing it with sauce, over heat, you may want to undercook it some so it doesn’t end up overcooking in your sauce.  Make sure you remove it from the water as soon as it is done or it will continue to cook.  You might also want to run some cold water over it to stop it from cooking any further.

IMG_5569Toss your pasta with your favorite sauce and enjoy!  We had a basil-almond pesto, in the freezer, we had made a couple months ago.  If anyone is interested, we can do a post on making pest sometime.  Pesto doesn’t have to be the over-garlicy crap you get at the grocery store.  We are hoping to make some ravioli next time; perhaps tortellini if we can get down the technique.

IMG_5570Make sure your assistant gets her share.

Basil Fried Rice

16 09 2012

Basil Fried rice is a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will enjoy.  We like to make potsticker with ours.  Keep your eyes open for a quick post on making perfect potstickers.


White rice – Probably about 4 cups cooked.  I like to use Basmati.

2-3 Cloves of garlic

1/2 Medium Onion

1-2 Small Chili Peppers

Fresh Basil – I love to use Thai Basil.  Italian basil will do fine if you can’t find Thai.

Protein – I usually use chicken or tofu.

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce – Fish sauce is basically fermented fish.  It sounds and smells terrible, but I assure you that it is cooking gold.  I think if you look up umami in the dictionary, you will find a bottle of fish sauce.

1 tsp. Sugar


Start by getting your rice cooking.  Chop up your vegetables and set aside.

Cut up your chicken breast.  I like to shave it into thin slices.

Add oil to your pan and heat.  Add your garlic and chilis.  Cook for a couple minutes.

Add your onion and chicken.

Add the sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce.  Cook on high until the chicken is cooked through.

Add your cooked rice and stir-fry for a couple minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in your basil.


Zucchini Brownies

31 07 2012


We are back!  How can something so small take every bit of free time we once had?!  ; )  Unfortunately due to a bug infestation in our garden and community garden, we are unable to grow zucchini plants, so we rely on others for our summer supply.  Jon’s dad came to visit his granddaughter and brought us several large zucchinis from his garden!  Now that we have a food processor, shredding the zucchini is much easier and our fingers/ knuckles do not end up wounded.  As was mentioned in a past post (speaking of, these zucchini brownies are SO much better than the last ones we blogged about), we shred the zucchini and freeze it in two cup quantities so it is ready for most recipes.  Speaking of food processors, in the near future, we will start blogging about making our own baby food.  Good times!


Ingredients: 1/2 cup Olive Oil 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups shredded zucchini 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or whatever amount you prefer) 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or you can leave out) Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick spray.

Large Bowl Ingredients

In large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, sugars, and vanilla. As a side note, the next time I make these, I will probably only use 1/2 cup brown sugar. They were plenty sweet enough for our liking and it would help make them a little healthier.

Small Bowl

In smaller mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.


Slowly add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture.  This mixture will be somewhat dry and crumbly.

Add Zucchini

Next, add the shredded zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts (the chocolate chips and walnuts are optional).  Mix all the ingredients together.  This batter will still be dry and crumbly.  Spread this batter into your prepared 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Sound effects

My assistant was not very excited about this baking project!

Final Baking Instructions:

Spread the batter out in the baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.  As with all baking, check the brownies towards the end of the time.  We like ours a little more moist and less done, that is why we bake them for 20 minutes.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Adapted from:

Newest Addition to the Benetti Kitchen

4 07 2012

Benetti Family

We have been a little “preoccupied” these past few weeks with the latest addition to our kitchen/ household.  On Father’s Day, we were given the best gift ever, Miss Lia Mae!  As we adjust to being new parents, things may be a little quiet on the blog.  There will probably be more posts to come with quick meals to the table and eventually, homemade baby food.  Now we present our little bundle of joy!

Taste of Cincinnati 2012

28 05 2012

If you live in or around Cincinnati, I hope you were able to make it to the Taste of Cincinnati this Memorial Day weekend.  We went down early today to avoid the crowds and heat.  It was still crazy hot which made a lot of food less desirable.  Here are a few pictures:

Opening Ceremony

Pretty excited about the roasted duck curry.

I got carried away and at half of it before I remembered to take a picture.  The duck fat just melted in your mouth; it was pretty amazing.

Amy’s first choice.

Mini Veggie Philly – This was really disappointing; hardly had anything on it, mostly bread.

Wouldn’t be Cinci without some pigs.  Amy is pointing to our neighborhood.

The stage was pretty quiet this early.

Getting busier.

Fishelman’s Fritter with Sweet Pepper Relish – Tasty, but tiny.  Could have been fried for a bit less time.

Amy finishing up her pretzel with beer cheese.

Getting ready to eat my fritters; ready to get out of the heat.