Gluten Free Goodies from Goodie Girl

On a recent trip to Starbucks, the Kissing Cooks came across Goodie Girl Cookies and thoroughly enjoyed them.

The fine ladies at Goodie Girl Cookies were kind enough to send us a care package of gluten free goodies and like Jenna in Waitress the Musical you might be singing “what’s inside.” Watch the video below to find out.

Make sure look for Goodie Girl Cookies at Starbucks as well as at your local grocery store. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry them, make a request, you might be able to help get them on the shelf.

Thanks Goodie Girl Cookies for the sweet sweet swag.

 

The Story of Two Nathan’s

Alissa & Chris at the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY in August 2017.

After going to the Nashville concert tour (as in CMT’s Nashville) at the Ford Amphitheatre at Coney Island, the Kissing Cooks took a walk down the boardwalk. If you’ve never walked down the Coney Island Boardwalk at 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, it is quite the experience. 

As we walked toward Luna Park, to our right was the beach, and on the edge of the boardwalk were people playing music and dancing. They brought such life to the boardwalk. 

On the other side was the amusement park, roller coasters and other rides clicked and clacked well into the night, accompanied by the howls and screams of riders. 

Our goal was simple as we strolled down this boardwalk under the moon’s light: to enjoy ourselves and hopefully grab a Nathan’s Famous hot dog. Wherever you are, you hopefully know about Nathan’s. You’ve probably seen them at the grocery store, or stands at the airport or your local mall, or maybe you are lucky enough to have a Nathan’s restaurant near you. 

Growing up in New York comes with many advantages, and having family in Brooklyn comes with some legends and lore. There is no greater legend is than that of the Nathan’s hot dog. 

Without giving too extensive of a history lesson, Nathan’s was started by Nathan Handwerker in 1916 on Surf Avenue, only a block away from the boardwalk at Coney Island. What you might not know is that Nathan was a Polish immigrant who started this hot dog empire with a mere $400. 

While Alissa and I found Nathan’s on the boardwalk, we knew that first Nathan’s has stood proud for over 100 years now. Once arriving to this bustling establishment at 11:00 p.m., we ordered two hot dogs, an order of fries, and a Sprite. It’s convenient that Alissa and I both like Sprite. Splitting a soda on the boardwalk at Coney Island is pretty romantic in itself. Anyway, I inquired about gluten free buns to which I was told, “Sorry, but no.” Then I asked about the gluten status of the fries. The manager told me that “they cut their fries from fresh potatoes. There’s no wheat in them, only potatoes.” That was great to hear. 

Alissa & Chris at Nathan’s on the Coney Island Baordwalk in Brooklyn, NY in August 2017.

Upon receiving our food, we then had to find somewhere to sit and eat. Like I have already mentioned, this boardwalk was pretty busy. We found a bench and started to chow down on our hot dogs and fries. We passed the Sprite back and forth, and dug our little red forks into the salty, crinkle cut fries. 

Once we finished, we made our way back to the car, which was parked conveniently close to the boardwalk. Upon pulling out, we saw Charles Esten (who plays the brooding crooner Deacon Claybourne on Nashville) signing autographs and taking pictures with loyal fans.

When we started on our way to head back home, we turned onto Surf Avenue, passing the real Nathan’s, the very first Nathan’s restaurant where it all started. It was quite a sight, like the Las Vegas strip with bright lights and sparkling signs. It was more impressive than Vegas though because this, this was history. And not just any history, New York history!

As always… stay kissing and stay cooking!

Alissa & Chris at Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY in August 2017.

 

Taking Flight at the Chocolate Expo

Alissa & Chris at The Chocolate Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY in March 2017.

Once or twice a year, Nassau County’s Cradle of Aviation is home to The Chocolate Expo. The name “The Chocolate Expo” is rather misleading, as many of the treats Alissa and I encountered were far from chocolate. While there were many chocolatiers on site, there were many other specialties, including beef jerky, hot sauce, peanut butter, peanut brittle, wine, moonshine, hard cider, cheese, and baked goods. 

One of the most special parts about this Chocolate Expo is that it takes place in an aviation museum. The Cradle of Aviation is home to over 75 different air and space crafts, showcasing the history of flight. While Alissa and I didn’t pay too much attention to the exhibits in the museum, it was hard to avoid them as the event took place in the museum itself. You could be enjoying a bite of chocolate, turn around, and then see a lunar module.

Obviously, not a lunar module.

Something else that made this event even more special was the fact that there were many vendors with gluten free options, some being exclusively gluten free. Shortly after arriving at the event, Alissa and I came upon a table of gourmet nut butters from the company The Peanut Principle. I really wanted to try one of their nut butters, especially the Honey, I Roasted the Peanuts flavor, but I was afraid that I couldn’t eat the pretzels that they were using to sample the nut butters. I went out on a limb and asked if they served gluten free pretzels to use in order to sample their peanut butter. Not only did they have gluten free pretzels, but they shared with us that they exclusively use gluten free pretzels and that all their nut butters were gluten free! While peanut butter is generally gluten free, they had many flavors that you’d imagine would have wheat, like I Want S’more, a s’more flavored peanut butter, or Dashing Thru the Dough, a cookie dough flavored peanut butter. They found creative and tasty ways to get around using wheat in their peanut butters and were one of my favorite booths. 

Another booth we visited was Yankee Folly Cidery, a hard cider company located in New Paltz, New York. When one thinks of hard cider, they might think of brands like Angry Orchard or Redd’s Apple Ale. Yankee Folly is a different kind of hard cider, and instead of being bottled in the style of beer, it’s more of a wine. In fact, I’d say it was closer to a Riesling than to a hard cider. The apple flavor was there, as well as the buzz, but it didn’t have the heaviness of most hard ciders. One of the interesting parts about Yankee Folly Cidery is that I’ve driven past the eponymous road over a dozen times from which they derived their name. Yankee Folly Cidery is located on Yankee Folly Road, which is in between the small town of New Paltz and the Shawangunk Mountains. Many summer days were spent walking through those mountains after a few hours’ drive from Long Island. If you find yourself in New Paltz, either for the rock climbing, hiking, or small town charm, I highly recommend a trip to Yankee Folly Cidery for their fine fares.

Chris at The Chocolate Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY in March 2017.

If you know Alissa, you know that she is very fond of tea. While I would come to know just how fond of tea Alissa was later on in our relationship, it was on our first date that Alissa and I first drank tea together, sitting on opposite sides of a table at the bowling alley in between frames. It was Lipton’s black tea, and while it was good, it paled in comparison to the company. So, why do I bring this up, besides sharing a moment I look back on fondly? Not only does Alissa like tea, but she really enjoys it with honey. She truly enjoyed when we met Sandy Abrams and got the chance to taste her product, Magnolia House Honey. Her booth was filled with so many different flavors of honey to try and buy, ranging from raspberry, blossom (orange), and even mesquite. My favorite part about this booth was the way their display melded with the museum exhibit. It was fitting that the table displaying their product was housed under a U.S. Air Mail tent. It really enhanced the “Magnolia House” feeling. 

I’m going to try to convey this next thought as kindly as possible. Everyone at the event had a gimmick. They had a characteristic about them to attract patrons. In a food event, one of the biggest attractions and gimmicks is bacon. I thought that the world lost its fascination with bacon back in 2014. I was wrong, so wrong. I kid you not, the line for Bacon Bites, chocolate covered bacon, was so long that it made me retract my previous notion. Bacon is still a gimmick that gets people’s attention. 

Another gimmick is bro-chef, aka DJ Chef, the “Only Entertainer Who Simultaneously Cooks & DJ’s For Special Events World Wide.” DJ Chef had a team with him to promote his brand, and even though we caught him during his down time eating, he took the time to talk to Alissa and me. He shared with us that he had been on the first season of Cutthroat Kitchen and that he has been DJing just as long as he’s been cooking. It was very cool to meet him and chat for a bit. 

The Bearded Baker not only specializes in French macarons, but also proves that you don’t have to start shaving come December. His gimmick is not only that he is a bearded man, but also that since studying chemistry, he has an advantage in bringing the best tasting French macarons to market. Scott, the bearded baker himself, was very cool and joyfully shared his wares. I must admit, there may be a bit of beard envy.

The next booth brought a tear to my eye, and it’s not only because it was for Eagle Rock and Wild Coyote Gourmet Sauces. Back in 2012, my life changed when Hurricane Sandy came through town and washed away most of my apartment’s contents. I came home the day after the hurricane to see everything in my apartment in complete disarray, including the fridge that had fallen over. Inside that fridge, I had a bottle of Eagle Rock and Wild Coyote Chipotle Hot Sauce that I had purchased at a street fair in Bethpage. I lost a lot that day back in 2012, but seeing a glimpse of my past at this event had me welling up. I made sure to bring home a bottle of that chipotle hot sauce, and I hope that I get to finish it this time. 

Dragon’s Nest Baked Goods was a fun booth, specializing in gluten free treats. In fact, their motto is “Gluten free. Guilt free.” Their booth featured many baked goods, including cookies, breads, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, and scones. Alissa and I both took home a scone, and the next morning, after a few seconds in the microwave, I dove into a bacon and cheddar scone. The day before the Expo, while in Bay Shore at Local Burger, I had a cheeseburger on a gluten free bun. It is only today as I write this, and after a little research, that I discovered the bun at Local Burger was a freshly baked and delivered Dragon’s Nest product.

Alissa at The Chocolate Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY in March 2017.

I want to take this moment to remind you that while we were walking around this Chocolate Expo, it was in a museum. There was an exhibit that featured three female figures dressed in the garb of the 1940’s. What made this exhibit special is that when I think of women during the 1940’s, Rosie the Riveter and A League of Their Own come to mind. It was this day that I learned a little more about the role of women during World War II. Women were called upon to take up roles as Red Cross Workers, tending to wounded soldiers returning from war, Army Corps Privates, and Air Raid Wardens. It was a prime moment to take a step back and take in a bit of history. 

Alissa and I spent several hours at The Chocolate Expo and wished we could go into detail about the many booths we enjoyed. I’d like to thank some of our other favorite companies: Maiden + Liberty, The Cheese Guy, Chocolate Moonshine Co., Raw Chocolate Love, Chez Hedwige, Shrub & Co., and Lake George Distilling Company.

After the expo, Alissa and I took a time machine, back to the 90s. We visited the Nunley’s Carousel, housed adjacent to the museum. It should be noted that Nunley’s wasn’t the first home for this carousel. Having been constructed back in 1912, it first brought joy to world at Canarsie’s Golden City Park in Brooklyn, New York, until 1940 where it found a home at Nunley’s in Baldwin, New York. In 1995, Nunley’s closed their doors and in 2009, the carousel found its home on Museum Row, right next to the Cradle of Aviation. 

This was not my first time riding this carousel, having grown up in Nassau County, only a short drive to Baldwin. I have some great memories at Nunley’s. This would be my first time riding it in over 20 years. For $2 apiece, Alissa and I took a ride on that carousel, laughing and enjoying every minute of it. 

Alissa & Chris at Nunley’s Carousel on Museum Row in Garden City, NY in March 2017.

It was quite the great day, filled with tasty food, plenty of laughs, and we finished with a carousel ride. I would encourage everyone to take a trip to Garden City, New York the next time The Chocolate Expo rides into town. Make sure to check out their website for updates, as well as other locations where the expo appearing. I promise you that you will really make the most of the day if you come to the Cradle of Aviation. Don’t forget to visit the Nunley’s Carousel for some extra history and excitement. That’s all for me this week.

Alissa & Chris at The Chocolate Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY in March 2017.

As always… stay kissing and stay cooking.

Smoochburgers

I know, I know, we’re getting really silly with the titles of our posts, but this title is perfect to describe what Alissa and I made this week: turkey burgers!

While most of the things Alissa and I cook together are new adventures, I have previously cooked turkey burgers from scratch. If I’m being honest, I should say that my turkey burger was more like a slightly flatter meatball, but it fit on a bun, and that’s what qualifies it as a burger!

Also, let’s not dance around the elephant in the room. His name is Peanut and he’s jealous that people are dancing while he’s never danced before. He saw Dirty Dancing and dreams of Patrick Swayze holding him above his head. The other, more metaphorical, less fictionalized elephant in the room is that for 14 years, I worked for a very popular quick service restaurant that served burgers. But that wasn’t my first foray into food service. While Alissa has worked in both fashion and writing since she was 16, I was concurrently working in the food service industry from 1998 to 2015.

Please indulge me while I sidetrack for a moment. It all started when I was 13 and was told, “Young man, go to work.” Having so few options, I tried to find a job somewhere between school and home. There’s a particular shopping center in Bellmore, NY that, in 1998, featured a Party City, strip club, Chinese food restaurant, pizzeria, and video game store, in that order. I went door-to-door applying for a job, first at Party City, skipping the strip club, and secondly, the Chinese food restaurant. I never made it to the pizzeria because the small Chinese take-out place just had to have me. I was being paid six dollars an hour to answer the phone, take orders, and daydream. While that job didn’t last very long, three years later, I would apply for what would be my longest job to date.

If you know me, you already know that for 14 years I went to work with an M on my chest. No, I was not Muperman. I worked at McDonald’s and during my time there, I must have wrapped thousands and thousands of burgers. None of those burgers were turkey burgers, nor were they smoochburgers.

Hopefully that brought everyone up to speed. Though I’m not an amateur to burger making, I’ve only made turkey burgers at home a handful of times. It used to be a staple of mine when I ate at diners more frequently (be ready for a post where I gush about the many diners of Long Island). On our fifth date, which happened to be at Dave and Buster’s, Alissa admitted that she had never eaten a turkey burger. This was just absurd to me! She nearly ordered one since it was on the menu, but I stopped her post haste, insisting that I would make a turkey burger for her, some day.

Well, this past Wednesday was that day. It was nearly two months later, but I came through on my promise to make her a turkey burger.

Alissa came over to my apartment and I proceeded to wow her with my cooking skills (as I often do). I did amazing things like preheat the oven, lay frozen French fries on a cookie sheet, and set a timer. With these fries, you’re supposed to flip them halfway through. Once flipped, I gave them a liberal shake of salt. Nothing makes a good fry like salt.

The turkey burger was made with Jennie-O lean turkey meat, 4C gluten free breadcrumbs, and some onion powder. Once I mixed it all up and smushed them into burger patty size, I sprayed the heated pan, placed the burger patties, and let them sit for about five minutes. I then flipped the burgers and started to put together the other burger necessities.

On a plate, I set up a stylish setting of Swiss cheese, sliced tomato, leaves of lettuce, and Schar gluten free buns. Alissa and I enjoy Swiss cheese in or on most things, whether it’s a turkey burger, omelet, or grilled cheese.

Once the burger accoutrements were set, Alissa and I contemplated the vegetable side for the burger and fries. Given the option of frozen broccoli or salad, we chose to have salad since we had all the necessary ingredients. I chopped the head of lettuce, cut the rest of the tomato, and shredded the carrots on top. I added a generous sprinkling of mozzarella cheese to finish it off. This is where it gets interesting.

Alissa asked, “What kind of salad dressing do you have?”

To which, I answered, “Oh.” I didn’t have any salad dressing. I didn’t even have olive oil or vinegar. We scoured my fridge and cabinets to find something that we could combine into some sort of dressing.

Alissa asked, “Do you have mayo?”

“How about Chipotle Mayo?” I responded.

“No, that won’t do. Had you regular mayo, we could have added ketchup to make some kind of dressing.”

It was at this point that I told Alissa that I had I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and she asked if I had grated cheese. Of course I did! I even had garlic enhanced grated Parmesan cheese by Mama Francesca. In a small bowl, I mixed about two tablespoons of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and a few dashes of the garlic Parmesan cheese. I whisked it all together and then drizzled it on the salad. It tasted great! We called it: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Salad Dressing.”

Once we sat down, Alissa and I dug in, though Alissa did so in her own dainty way. Alissa ate her French fries with a fork, dipping each fry in ketchup before bringing to her lips.

After dinner, we took a short drive to Carvel, where Alissa ordered a vanilla / chocolate swirl sundae and I ordered a mint one. We brought it back to my house and ate our ice cream while discussing what we were going to watch that night. It was too late by the time we finished our ice cream, though there are now a few movies on the docket.

It was a great Wednesday night, complete with a delicious meal, delectable desserts, fantastic company, and engaging conversations. Thanks for reading through a bit of our history and we hope you enjoyed learning a bit about us.

As always… stay kissing and stay cooking.

No cows were harmed in the making of this dinner. The picture above is of Alissa & Chris at Stew Leonard’s of Farmingdale in February 2017. This cow’s name is Clover & he’s a big fan of Kissing Cooks!