Rainbow Rinds

Intoxicatingly Sweet

Represent Your Region

DIY Swenson's Galley Boy and Potato Teasers from Akron, Ohio


Take the Hogwarts Express with these easy pasties.

Herbology Bread Bites

Getting the bread in that shape is like magic!


Just a take on bacon wrapped awesomeness.

Aug 3, 2015

Rainbow Rind Jell-O Shots

Sure people say “Taste the Rainbow” but rarely will you hear someone say “Get Drunk Off the Rainbow.” Well folks, I’m here to give you an excuse to taste and be intoxicated by the rainbow.

While many people may scroll past similar fruity shots served in lemon rinds, many people are under the impression this is actually difficult to do; that there is some sort of magic involved when it comes to getting that Jell-O to grow inside a lemon before slicing it into perfectly portioned slices.

But what it all comes down to is: can you boil water correctly? If you can, then great, you can make Jell-O shot slices!

You can make the shots any colors you’d like, just keep in mind the type of liquor you will be using. In the past I’ve used single colors, but I wanted to shake things up and literally make as many combinations as I could with the liquors I had on hand.

I decided to go with lemon vodka, rum, and tequila (just to keep things interesting). I then assigned a couple flavors of each Jell-O to the liquors: strawberry and blueberry Jell-O went with the lemon vodka, orange and grape Jell-O went with the rum, and lemon and lime Jell-O went with the tequila.

Cutting the lemons and oranges properly will help keep the Jell-O slices in uniform shapes and sizes. Start by cutting just to the skin (taking extra care not to cut through the rind) on either end of the lemon to loosen the insides from the skin. Then use your pointer and middle finger to slide between the edge of the rind and the start of the fruit. 

With a little practice, you should be able to pull the fruit off of the rind and not smash too much of the fruit while you are at it. I saved my orange insides (and a few lemons) to make a quick orange juice to enjoy while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

While I was cutting my lemons, I found a mini lemon inside a lemon. A lemonception, if you will. Just thought I’d share that little tid bit too.
Arrange the rinds in a dish so the sides are touching. This will help make sure that none of the rinds fall over and spill while you are pouring or transferring the shots to the refrigerator.

Next, you’ll need to prepare each Jell-O flavor individually. There are a few ways you can do this, but I found it was easiest to heat one cup of water in a glass Pyrex measuring cup for 3 minutes in the microwave, then pour in the Jell-O packet to dissolve it. Then just stir in the cold liquor when the Jell-O has dissolved completely!

From past failures at making these shots, I’ve learned it’s best to have a touch more water than alcohol when it comes to getting the shots to set correctly. Use about 3 tablespoons less alcohol than water to ensure you don’t end up with a watery mess!

Then just pour the liquid Jell-O into each rind up to the top. You want these things to be as full as possible so cutting them into wedges is easier when the time comes. 

Let the Jell-O set in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. About an hour prior to cutting the Jell-O shots, stick them in the freezer to stiffen up the rind. It’s much easier to cut through when its super cold. The Jell-O may freeze a little, which is also helpful! 

Jell-O doesn’t melt either (unless out in the direct, super hot sun) so the clean up after these things is a breeze - and more environmentally friendly than mini plastic cups if you miss a few outside!

These colorful shots are effective too, so be careful when consuming them! They hit fast and hard, especially the tequila ones. While the ones in lemon rinds are about the equivalent to one shot, the larger ones in the orange rinds can be two, maybe even three shots per rind.

Here’s to a night you probably won’t remember, with the friends you’ll never forget!

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 25 minutes (about 5 minutes per flavor)
Cooling time: 8-10 hours (plus additional freezing time)

Makes ~ 2 dozen Jell-O shots

  • 10 lemons
  • 5 oranges
  • Jell-O packets, one of each color of the rainbow
  • 1 cup water (per Jell-O packet)
  • 1 cup liquor (per Jell-O packet), chilled
Here’s How:
  1. Start by slicing each lemon or orange in half longways (from top to bottom). Make small cuts on either end of the inside of the fruit, where the rind and the fruit connect. Take care not to slice through the rind at any point. Use your fingers to remove the fruit from the rind.
  2. Arrange the rinds in a cake pan so they are all touching and upright. Organize the rinds so they are all flat on the tops and the liquid will not pour out one side.
  3. Prepare the Jell-O by following the instructions on the box. I recommend heating 1 cup of water in the microwave for 3 minutes to get it boiling hot. Then carefully add in the Jell-O packet and stir until dissolved.
  4. Measure out 1 cup (minus about 3 tablespoons) of chilled liquor. Pour it into the mix and stir well to combine. Pour the liquid Jell-O into each rind. I was able to fill about 3 lemon rinds or 2 orange rinds per Jell-O packet.
  5. Place the pan with the shots carefully onto a flat surface in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 8 hours or until the Jell-O is set and no longer liquidy. If you added too much alcohol, the shots will not set correctly.
  6. About 1 hour prior to serving, place the shots into the freezer to harden the rinds. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer. Set each rind Jell-O side DOWN and cut through the back side of the rind. Lemons can be cut in half, and 3 wedges can be taken from the orange rinds.
  7. Cool until ready to serve, then bust ‘em out and impress all of your friends with your drunken creativity. Enjoy!


Aug 2, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Breakfast "Sushi"

I love to wrap things in bacon. A lot. I also love to make unconventional "sushi." And when you add in a hankering for some solid breakfast food, bacon wrapped breakfast sushi might just be the solution.

I'm a huge advocate for breakfast for dinner, so after spending the day fighting off a hangover, I finally gathered the energy to make some breakfast...at 7pm.

I filled mine with an assortment of breakfast deliciousness, plus ended up making some hash browns for an additional topping and side.

Start out by preparing your bacon weave as the roll. You'll want to make sure the weave is tight, or else it won't cut well in the end. Line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper and bake for a few minutes until the top is juuuust crisping.

While the bacon weave is cooking, sauté some onions in a tablespoon of butter until they are beginning to caramelize, then add and scramble the eggs.

Fry the maple sausage and ham in a pan with a touch of butter as well, to get nice and crispy. When the bacon weave is just cooked on top, remove it from the oven. Let it cool for a few minutes before tilting the tray and letting the excess grease run off.

Carefully move the bacon weave from the parchment paper onto a sheet of tin foil. You'll want to be sure to flip the bacon weave over so the crisper side is facing down on the foil.

Spread the scrambled eggs and onions across the bacon, followed by the avocado, ham, and sausage down one side.

Roll the 'sushi' tightly in the foil and twist each end closed.

Cook the bacon roll for an additional 25 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crispy on the outside.

I unwrapped my roll for the sake for pictures, but keep it rolled tight if you want it to be easier to slice into even sized portions.

Use the sharpest serrated knife you own to cut the bacon roll. I let mine cool for about 10 minutes before I attempted to cut it too, which helped a ton keep the pieces together while serving. 

I also fried up some hash browns as a side and 'crunchy' topping.

I topped the roll with hash browns and a quick cream cheese and sriracha 'mayo.'

Guaranteed to cure even the toughest of hangovers.

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes ~6 slices


  • 1 package thick cut bacon
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 maple sausage links
  • 1 ham steak (sliced ham)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • hash browns, shredded (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese 

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Create a weave by alternating layers of bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the weave into the oven for 10 minutes to begin cooking the bacon.
  2. While the bacon cooks, sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon of butter. Whisk together the eggs and garlic powder in a small bowl. Add the eggs to the pan with the onions and scramble until most of the moisture has left the eggs.
  3. In another pan, add the tablespoon of butter and cook the sausage links until no longer pink in the middles. Slice the ham into strips. Sear the ham until just browned. 
  4. Carefully tilt the bacon weave pan to let any excess grease drip off. Gently move the weave from the parchment onto a clean sheet of foil on another cookie sheet.
  5. Remove the bacon weave from the oven. Spread the scrambled eggs across the bacon weave, leaving about 1/2 inch around each edge.
  6. Pit and slice the avocado. Arrange on top of the eggs down the long side of the bacon weave. Add the sausage and ham slices. 
  7. Use the foil to help roll the bacon weave around the sausage, ham, and avocado. Roll tightly and close the edges of the foil
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bacon is red and crispy. Let cool in the foil for 10 minutes prior to cutting.
  9. To cut even slices, first cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half again, and repeat for each piece until you have 8 even slices (including the ends).
  10. Prepare extra crispy hash browns for an optional topping. Mix the cream cheese and sriracha together for a take on spicy 'mayo' and top the bacon sushi. Serve on a bed of fresh scrambled eggs and a glass of fresh orange juice. Enjoy!
 Need more breakfast 'sushi?' anyone?


Jul 30, 2015

Pumpkin Pasties - Harry Potter Recipes

Anything off the trolley, dears?

Harry Potter week in the Starving Chef's kitchen continues with some pumpkin pasties - fresh off the trolley of treats on the Hogwarts Express! 

These pumpkin pasties taste just as magical as they look, and are so easy to make, you'll have your friends and family thinking you really are a wizard. Plus, even if you are a squib when it comes to cooking, there's only like, 7 ingredients and if you can swish a wand, you can stir with a spoon. Even Neville Longbottom couldn't mess these up.

Either make your pie dough from scratch, or be lazy like myself and buy a package from your grocery. Use a cookie cutter to create round cutouts. I just happened to have a floral set on hand that worked like a charm. You can actually use pretty much the entire roll of pie crust too, if you lump together the leftover pieces between the cutouts, you can actually get a pretty useable dough to rollout and get more cutouts from! 

Make sure you get just canned pumpkin puree, and NOT pumpkin pie filling, for this recipe too! It's the difference between lumos and nox when it comes to flavor. 

Use about a half of a tablespoon of filling per pastry, then seal the edges shut using your fingers dipped in water, and pressing the sides closed. 

Pierce the pastries too, so they don't explode like a howler!

"Yer a pasty, Harry."

Enjoy alongside some pumpkin juice, a handful of Fudge Flies, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and a Sugar Quill. Oh, and with a stack of your favorite books.

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Makes ~2 dozen pumpkin pasties


Pumpkin Pasties:
  • fresh or store bought pie crust, unrolled and at room temperature
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • pinch salt
  • water, for sealing pasty crusts
  • 1 tablespoon water + 1 egg, beaten
White Icing:
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Here's How:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Unroll the pie crust and bring to room temperature. Use a circular shaped cookie cutter to cut out the pasty shapes. Utilize leftover dough by rolling it together and use a rolling pin to flatten for additional cutout space.
  2. Combine the pure pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Use a spoon to measure the filling in 1/2 tablespoon amounts into the center of each pasty cutout.
  3. Dip your fingertips in water and wipe along one side of each pasty, folding the top over to make a seal. Gently press together the edges. 
  4. Brush the pasties with the eggwash and cut few small slits in the tops of each pasty to ventilate. Arrange on a parchment lined cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasties are golden brown.
  5. While the pasties are cooking, mix together the powdered sugar and milk until a runny icing forms.
  6. Remove the pasties from the oven, let cool for a  few minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm, or drizzle on the icing!


Jul 29, 2015

Herbology Garden Bread Bites - Harry Potter Recipes

Herbology at Hogwarts was always a class that I found interesting. Maybe it’s just the gardener in me, but I could care less for classes like Potions, especially when there’s a professor such as Snape at the head of the class. Plus without Herbology, classes like Potions couldn’t exist anyways – and I know there are a few people who may still be petrified if it weren’t for the Mandrakes grown in Hogwart’s greenhouses.

What may be lesser known about Hogwarts is that it is completely self sustaining, not just by magic and House Elves, but most of the food comes from gardens located outside of the grounds. I’d like to image Dobby and Winky spent some time in those gardens gathering fresh veggies and herbs as Dobby cheerfully chattered away about being a free elf. While us Muggles may not have access to all of the fresh baked goodies that Hogwarts had to offer, a trip to my local grocery store did the trick when it came to picking up some simple ingredients to get the ball rolling on this magical recipe.

When it came to deciding what magical food I wanted to conjure for my Harry Potter themed week, I wanted to use up some of the veggies I had grown from seed in my own garden. I plucked a few tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden using accio on the hard to reach veggies.

Another magical aspect to these bread bites is they are cooked in a bread tube – which means that the bread will come out in whatever shape your bread tube might be in. I recently was gifted a bread tube, from a retired Pampered Chef collection, and I knew it would be perfect with it’s floral shape to create some good looking Herbology bites.

Start by mixing together the cream cheese, thyme, and garlic. Pop it in the refrigerator while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Give the pine nuts a quick pulse through a food processor.

This was the first tomato I grew in my very own balcony container garden, turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself.

Chop up the rest of the veggies then spread a couple tablespoons of the prepared cream cheese onto the unrolled pizza dough. Don't spread it too thick, or too warm, or else the dough will be VERY hard to work with. Everything in the recipe is best served like Voldemort's heart....COLD.

Cover the cream cheese with the chopped pine nuts, fresh veggies and herbs of your choice – choose whatever was in picking distance, but feel free to add zucchini, peppers, or any other of your favorite, chop-able veggies.

The hardest part of this recipe is the rolling of the dough and inserting it into the bread tube without messing everything up. I definitely didn’t get mine on the first go, but fortunately I had an extra roll of pizza dough so I was able to quickly throw the dish together again. I recommend using something to support the rolled dough, like a flimsy cutting board as you gently slide it into the greased bread tube. Also, a second set of hands, or magic, would help during this step.

Once you have successfully gotten the rolled dough into the tube, stick it into the oven standing upright. Cooking it laying down might force the bread out either end. The top might pop off as you cook, but that’s not a huge deal as long as the bread itself doesn’t start spilling out the top too!

You’ll want to make sure that the bread is cooked all the way through before attempting to remove it from the bread tube, otherwise you may end up with undercooked, doughy bread bites. Mine ended up taking about 50 minutes too cook thoroughly. And I also recommend letting it cool for a few minutes in the bread tube before trying to remove it – though don’t leave it in with the caps on for too long, otherwise the bread will start to steam and you’ll end up with soggy cooked bread.

Let the roll cool completely before you attempt to cut it, otherwise you might just end up destroying all of your hard work! 

And since this is real life and not Hogwarts, there’s no magic to fix the bread once it’s been cooked.

Use the remaining herb and garlic cream cheese to spread across the tops of each bread bite, then adorn with a slice of fresh cucumber!

 It’s just like magic!

Recipe TL;DR

Tools: Bread tube or foil

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes ~ 12 bread bites

  • 1 tube of pizza dough
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh tomato, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, pulsed into powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Here’s How:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Chop the onions and cucumber, slice the tomatoes, and mince the garlic.
  2. Combine the minced garlic and fresh thyme with the cream cheese and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Unroll the pizza dough onto a smooth surface, preferably a surface that can be lifted and bent (such as a flimsy cutting board). Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the garlic herb cream cheese onto the dough. Leave about 2 inches of dough around all sides. Top the dough with the pine nuts and veggies. 
  4. Starting with the short end of the pizza dough, slowly tuck and roll the dough into a spiral.  
  5. Grease the bread tube. Use a 45° angle to gently slide the rolled dough from the cutting board into the tube. Cap both ends.
  6. Place the tube upright in the oven (you may need to remove a rack to do this) and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. The ends of the bread will be golden brown when cooked through.
  7. Let the bread tube cool for 10-15 minutes before removing the caps and gently pressing the bread out onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely before attempting to slice! 
  8. Cut into ½ to 1 inch thick slices. Top with tablespoons of the remaining garlic and herb cream cheese. Press a fresh cucumber slice onto the top. Serve with a feast worthy of Hogwarts, and enjoy!

Need More Potter?

A classic House Elf bowl of French Onion Soup... for Muggleborns.

Harry Potter's birthday is quickly approaching! Celebrate with some book inspired cakes.


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