Thursday, November 19, 2009

Porcini Porcine

It is not a great picture, but we were hungry and I didn’t have the willpower to take too many shots. Once, I saw a brief snippet of show in which the chef, pulverized dried porcini’s to make a crusted meat. I have been intrigued ever since, but just finally got around to trying it out.

I started with about a 2.5 pound pork loin and marinated it for 4 hours. The marinade was equal parts Dijon, white vinegar, and soy sauce (I used about ¼ c. each). Before I was ready to cook the meat, I turned the oven to 425 degrees. I coated the meat slightly with some oil (I used olive, but any would be fine). While allowing the oven to come up and preparing the curst, let meat sit at room temperature.

Start with 1/3 cup dried mushrooms (I used porcini) in the food processor. Pulse it to get a course meal like consistency. You will have some larger pieces in there, don’t worry about it.

Add to the processor

3 garlic cloves (less if you like less garlic)
¼ cup bread crumbs (I used Italian)
1 TBS onion salt

Pulse to combine. Roll loin in mushroom crust and place in a baking dish. Add any leftover mushroom to the bottom of the pan and sprinkle a bit of oil over (or you can deglaze with a bit of stock once the meat is done), it will form a nice gravy/sauce.

Cook covered for 15 minutes, then remove foil and cook for an additional 15 or until done (meat should feel firm to the touch).

Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They Put My Husband in Jail!!

I can’t believe it, he is a sweet guy and into the slammer they are putting him. They come pick him up tomorrow unless he can raise the funds to post bail.

I know this is not typical fodder for a food blog, but it is important so I am calling on my fellow foodies for support.

So I know what you are thinking, why would I help some sleaze the police threw into jail? Typically I would agree. However, he is my sleaze and it is all to support the MDA.

See the following link to find out more. If you have time watch the video, it is pretty cute.
I do want to encourage everyone, that if you don’t support this cause try, especially this year, to find one to support. With the economy, charitable contributions are really down this year and many are struggling, so try and do what you can J

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Porcini, Beef and Wine….Oh My!

I made this about a two weeks ago. We had had our first cold snap and a good wine stew called to me. This is a bit of a variation on a wine stew I have made for years. It came out quite well. I also made a whole wheat loaf with balsamic and parmesan and it was great with the stew.

¾-1 lb beef (I happened to use filet, typically would not, but I got the whole tenderloin so it was less that most other cuts of beef)
¼ c seasoned flour (salt, pepper, red pepper, whatever you like)
1tbs oil
2 large potatoes cut into large chunks
3 large carrots cut into chunks
3 stalks of celery cut into large chunks
1 large onion halved then quartered
½ cup dried porcini
2 cup beef stock
1 bottle of dry red wine
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs browning sauce (if you don’t have this try ½ c. of old coffee)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dry thyme or rosemary
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

I like the vegetables nice and chunky, but if you like smaller bits, go a head and cut them up to your liking.

Cut beef into pieces (again I like mine a bit bigger) and coat with your seasoned flour. Heat oil over medium high heat and add coated beef to brown. Add all ingredients except the potatoes. Cook for at least and hour over a medium low heat.

Add potatoes and cook another 20-30 minutes or until done. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It Finally Came!

Okay I am a bit late in telling you guys about the saga of the wine. Part of being a featured publisher with food buzz means that I get to try cool products from time to time. So I let no moss grow under my feet when they offered up free wine. Yep you heard me, free wine. Free. Wine.

This offer was months ago and thanks to the joys of living in the fine state of Virginia and ABC laws aimed at…. Oh hold up… that is another blog all together. Lets just say getting the wine to me, because of the craziness that is Virginia ABC law, proved to be a long arduous process. Sadly when FedEx came to deliver said wine, we were out of town. Finally, through hoops and hoopla, we were finally permitted to have my husband drive to the FedEx depot to get it. Only to find out they sent it out for delivery again. Sigh… I got it.

The wine was Black Box, Sauvignon Blanc. My understanding about the company is that they are trying to reinvent the perception of the box o’ wine and target a…hmmm… lets say, more discerning clientele. Let me say, I have no problem with the concept of the box of wine. Really, it prevents air from getting to the wine, thus prolonging shelf life, yadda, yadda,. I have even had a decent box o’wine (I think my friend go it at Target). So I was pretty psyched about it all. Plus I like Sauvignon Blac, so we were in business. The day it came I put in the fridge to chill. The next day I made carbonara for dinner to go with my fancy dancy box o’ wine.

Pour….sip…. Huh??? Sad. Sad Vanessa. I love Sauvignon Blanc. If I were to have one complaint with them over the past…3 years or so is they have gotten bit homogonous. Homogony would not have been bad for this wine. It was watery. It did have nice acidy to it, but it was watery, and flat and…well sad. It retails for $20 a box and a box is 4 bottles. So not expensive. However, Trader Joes has some far better wines for the same price or less (in particular a vino verde that is 3.99 a bottle).

So my over take…

Would I get it again? No.

Was I glad it was free? You betcha.

Was it at least the effort to get it? Very questionable.

Sigh. Free Wine, since when is that not all it is cracked up to be?????

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bistro 27 Deal

Hey, for all of you in Richmond...

If you are on Twitter go find Bistro 27 and follow them, you will get 50% off an entree. If you are not on twitter...might want to get on there.

Offer ends on October 15th.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

On Vacation!

Okay, we are down here in Rodanthe, NC. I can go to a place where I , literally, buy the fish off the boat. That said, there is nothing recipe inducing about super fresh fish. The best thing, I think, is not to mess with it too much. So I thought, while here, I would share some picts instead.....

Rough times getting Daddy to paint your toes....can you say wrapped around his little finger????

Loving our lovey

Ready for the beach...

One awesome sunset

And at the end of the day what it is all about...pure and simple....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Holy Shiitake Batman

As most of you know, we have a place up in West Virginia. We co-own that place with my parents. My parents have made friends with a couple Brian and Ocea and besides supplying us with free range eggs, raspberries, squash and other goods, they apparently had a bumper crop of Shiitake mushrooms that they generously shared. This was a hard decision for me. What to do with them.?? I also had a terrible time deciding on a picture. I never realized quite how lovely these little guys were before. So you are getting a few. As for how to prepare it, I decided this time, simple was best and to do something I thought would let the tender flavor of the shiitake shine. It doesn’t get much simpler than the below. Typically, I would have thrown in some white wine but we didn’t have any open and I didn’t feel like any so didn’t want to open a bottle. Again, typically I would rely then on dry vermouth, however for some reason when I opened the liquor cabinet to grab it the sweet vermouth called me. I am glad it did, the light sweetness and heavier herbal- ness (is that a word??) of the sweet vermouth was outstanding.

2 tbs butter
1 small onion
1 small clove of garlic grated or one large minced
2 cup sliced shiitake
3 tbs sweet vermouth
1 cup of milk, half-n- half or mix
1 tbs of flour

Melt butter in a skillet and add onions and garlic and cook over medium low to sweat the onions. Add shiitake and cook covered for about 3 minutes. The mushrooms should have thrown off some water. Add about a tablespoon of flour, just enough to thicken but not form a roux. Add sweet vermouth (if you don’t have this vermouth or brandy could be nice) and milk (I used half skim and half -n-half and half, and it was great, however the more milk fat you have the richer and thicker it will be), cook until thickened.

Season to taste, toss with pasta and serve.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just Another Plug

Okay, I have fallen off the blog wagon. However, October I should be back on. Tristan will be in preschool and that will free up 2 hours a day for me. Also, it will be getting cooler which means more cooking. We planted a fairly big garden this year, which meant a lot of fresh veggies… and not a lot of cooking.

That said, let me get to the point of this post. I have said it before and I will say it again….Bistro 27 is one of my favorite restaurants in Richmond. We went there last night for my mom’s birthday and yet again it did not disappoint. Last night we tried the escargot. The sauce had a touch of Pernod. Incredible. Unexpected. Unbelievable. The waiter tried to take the plate away and my father just about stabbed him with is fork and ordered…no demanded …more bread to sop the sauce up with. Fantastic. We all had the carrot soup, it a was a cold soup that had a great ginger flavor and a bit of heat. It was amazing as well. Everyone except me had the ravioli. Joel and my mom had the ravioli on the menu, my father had the special which was a seafood ravioli. They all cleaned their plates, all the while grunting…pigs. I had the Linguini with pesto and scallops. I am not quite sure how they did it but it was buttery. It was amazing. I ,however, have some waiting in the fridge for lunch for me…or maybe breakfast!!!

It was perfect. Really . Except one major, major hitch. When we arrived on the table was a announcement that they are having a wine tasting tonight (Thursday). They have brought in this vintner from Uruguay and are pairing the different wines with the most amazing courses. I believe there were 5-6 courses in all, all for $70. Nothing like starting you meal mad! Think it would be too much to go again tonight???? Sigh.

Also Richmonder’s go check them out on Twitter, they are offering an amazing deal. If you have never been it is good incentive!! I swear I don’t work there…but I would if they would feed me J

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

We grew Pattypan this year (among other things). The little bush squash seriously produce. I had three plants (one was small and to date has still only surrendered 2 squash) and they produced about 3-4 large pattypan a week. We have stuffed them various ways, because they are great stuffing squash, but this was my favorite. In this recipe I did not use the inside of the squash ( I cooked it up for the kids) but you could, just reduce the other ingredients or expect extra filling.

2 pattypan’s tops cut off and insides hollowed out
¼ large onion chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 small clove of garlic finely minced or grated
¼ c. Feta
Fresh basil
1 TBS olive oil.

Turn oven to 350.

Heat oil. Add onions to pan and let cook on low for 5 minutes. Add garlic and let warm for a minute. Add tomatoes and let cook for 5 minutes over medium low. Turn off the heat and add feta. Test seasoning. Add salt or pepper if needed.

I very lightly salt and peppered the squash, but you don’t have to. I really depends on how much salt you like. Me, I keep a salt lick installed to the wall of the kitchen. Fill the squash and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. The cooking time is going to vary greatly depending on the size of the pattypan and how much meat you scooped out. The squash itself should be fork tender but not mushy. Once it is close, to being done add the basil to the top and cook another 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pesto Deconstructed

I will say that the measurements in this are approximate. I didn’t measure. I will also say this is one of my favorite dishes of late. Plus it is fast and easy. Score!

½ lb penne
¼ c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic grated
¼ toasted pine nuts
½ c. grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
1/3 c. ribboned or torn basil

Start pasta.

Grate the garlic in a skillet (I use my handy dandy micro-plane, you want it to be a paste for maximum garlic goodness, if you don’t have a micro-plane use more garlic). Put oil in skillet and warm. Meanwhile grate parmesan and add some salt and pepper to the cheese and set aside. One garlic and oil are warm (about a minute to two on medium low) add pine nuts and stir, warm for another minute and turn off.

Once pasta is done, drain, give a little rinse with cold water (but not too much you want the pasta to stay fairly hot for the next step). Put pasta in a bowl and add the basil, oil and cheese, toss and serve. Yummy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

BMTB or a Bacon Caprese Sandwich

Yard sale is done! Why I continue to torture myself doing these, I am not certain. Life willing, I will get back on track here shortly. However, I could not keep a very recent discovery of mine away from you.

I love a BLT. I mean…LOVE. Like the love of 1,000 sailors after a 6 month cruise. Love. Especially, especially when I have my own tomatoes from my own little garden. What could be better….right??

Well, by god I will tell you. Take that same lovely sandwich, ditch the lettuce, and put fresh mozzarella and some torn up fresh basil into the mix….forgetaboutit! It truly is a sailors delight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This Simply Will Not Do

Okay I feel like I am in blog black hole! My current dilemma preventing me from blogging is an ever looming yard sale. The yard sales was necessitated when finally my attic reached maximum capacity and threatened to bring the ceiling down on us!

I am still cooking (of course) but I just haven’t had time to document it at all. Woe to me! I will eventually get back on track…eventually.

So for now the results of the poll. Clearly everyone is looking for simple and fast, because the 5 ingredients recipes won hands down.

Here is my first installment. I do not have a picture, so you will just have to make due with me telling you it is fabulous. It is a couple more than 5 but bare with me, because it is too easy.

In a foil pouch place

1 lb of cut up lamb or chicken (beef does NOT work)
2 cut up tomatoes
1 sliced up onion
8 oz of feta (give or take…I personally like to give)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbs olive oil
Salt/Pepper to taste

Close pouch place in a 350 oven fro 30-35 minutes. Serve over cous cous or rice. It is one of my very favorite meals. Really.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sandwich Heaven

Okay, okay up front let me say that this is not turning into a blog about Oprah. I swear it. HOWEVER, Joel got home from work yesterday and I remembered it was Oprah hour and I flip the T.V. on to see if it is worth recording and it is about Sandwiches. Come on! Tell me you wouldn’t be intrigued. It was family time so I didn’t watch the whole thing but did watch about 5 minutes while Joel got the kids shoes on (yeah hubby!). The segment is about a lobster and Havarti grilled sandwich ( I KNOW!). That said, it got me thinking a bit about how havarti is an underrated cheese and I suspect it would make a rocking old sandwich.

So today when we were at the grocery store, I had to get some havarti. As it turns out the deli had a special on Turkey and by shear serendipity I had an avocado about ready to go to its great reward in the fridge…coincidence? I think not!

This is again not really a recipe but here is what I did….

Avocado Mayo

½ avocado
2 tbs mayo
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbs salsa
Salt and pepper

Mash all together to form a chucky paste, and smear on bread (I just smeared on one piece of bread, but heavily).

On the other piece of bread I laid my turkey out, about 1//8 a pound. I topped the avocado mayo side of with two slices of center cut bacon. I then laid about 4 pieces of havarti on top of the bacon. I threw a little party so that the mayo side and the meat side could meet and then put them in a skillet and grilled it….the result…the best sandwich I have had in ages. Mind you, nothing healthy about it. Also, worth every bite!

Got me thinking to…do you think if you used indirect heat you could grill a sandwich????

Friday, July 10, 2009

Guest Blogging in Tribeca

So what made Jillian so happy? A new dress? A little caffeine in her milk? Nope, not telling…you need to go over to Tribeca Yummy and find out!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Earth, Oprah, and Meat

Okay I have to admit, I love Oprah. I do. I know, lovely, but what does she have to do with food. I will get there, just give me a moment. I don’t get to watch her that often…kids you know… but I had taped her Earth Day program. Sadly last week I finally got a moment to put in on.

Egad. I will admit fully I am not a crazy environmentalist (not that being an environmentalist is crazy). I would rather categorize myself as a lazy or rather haphazard environmentalist. I don’t’ use any pesticides and only natural fertilizer (worm poo, banana peel). That is more a product of laziness and cheapness than anything. The fact that I also believe it is best for mother earth is a secondary factor. Most of my environmental “choices” are like that.

So then I watch Oprah. Egad. And it brings me to why I love her so much. She has a great ability to shape behavior and she uses it to the best of her ability. I always forget those stupid reusable bags when I go to the store, ALWAYS. Makes me crazy. Since watching her Earth Day show, I have not forgotten, not once. There is now a plastic bag ban in my household. Egad.

She had Michael Pollan on the show. He talked about the carbon footprint of food. Who knew? And then he says something that astounds me. If every family in the U.S. would eat one meatless meal a week….just one, it would be the same as taking 20 million mid sized sedans off of the road. Are you kidding me?

The reality is, for my family that is no big deal we love veggies. What better time of the year to give this a whirl than when everything is fresh and wonderful! Last week, with the exception of two days was all vegetarian. We started the week with grilled eggplant, mushrooms, corn , onions, and some sliced tomatoes. The leftovers of this got chopped and turned into a pasta sauce that was righteous (and the kids loved). Then one day it was corn and sliced tomatoes. Yum.

So, what does this all mean. No, I am not going vegetarian. However, I am encouraging you all to give it a whirl one meal a week. Come on, a little eggplant parm, can’t be so bad! :)

Finally, I have not been great at keeping up with my blog of late, but I am going to try to get two posts in a week. There is a poll to the side, please vote for what content you would most like to see most and I will try and get my rear in gear!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grilled Peaches in Vanilla Ricotta

This is another recipe were there is not a lot of recipe. I have to say, this knocked my socks off. I used yellow peaches for this, I don’t think white would work. Just this gals opinion.

I made my own ricotta for this, however, the store stuff will work just as well. For about a cup of ricotta I added 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tbs of sugar (add more or less depending on how sweet you like things.)

I halved and pitted the peaches. I mixed equal parts honey and balsamic vinegar. I dipped the peaches cut side down in the mixture and then grilled them for about 10 minutes. If you let the peaches set a minute or two they will seep this lovely syrup. Put a little ricotta on the plate, put the peach on top, a dollop more ricotta and a spoonful of syrup…slurp.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scallop and Sweet Cabbage Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Okay this has flat out turned into a flat out freakish obsession. I haven’t‘ been blogging much recently because I haven’t‘ been cooking much…other than salads. I fear there is danger I might turn into a rabbit. That said, it is that time of year and just like when I get the slightest hint of cool to the air, I whip out the stock pot for soup in summer I have a relentless obsession with salad, this year it is particularly bad.

Likely compounding the issue is that I have been starting to work Hubo‘s office which gets me out of the house for a change of pace and will (once he is done training me) get him more time with the kids, which is a win-win, but is SERIOUSLY cutting into blog time right now! It is also making throwing a quick salad together a necessary evil. Lucky husband is happy and Jillian (the 20 month) old loves her a salad (go figure?). Tristan…well he hasn’t been eating a ton of dinner recently, but he sure is hungry at breakfast!

There isn’t much of a recipe to this, so I will just break down what I did a bit. You can purchase a REALLY good cilantro dressing at Trader Joe’s. However, I just put a about a cup of cilantro, ¼ c. of vinegar and 1/8 c. of oil and slat and pepper and the food processor and processes until smooth.

The salad, put in what you like, peppers, onions, cucumbers. Whatever you love. I thought a little sweet cabbage sautéed would be good. Here is what I did

¼ of large head of cabbage
1 clove of garlic
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs brown sugar

I sliced up about ¼ c. of cabbage and 1 clove of garlic (I sliced the garlic into really thin pieces). Meanwhile heat oil and put garlic in and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add cabbage and toss to coat. Sautee for about 3 minutes and add sugar. Cook until just tender but not too soft. Remove and let cool.

The scallops were easy as well. I heated about 1 tbs of sesame and 1 tsp of oil until smoking. Sear the scallops on both sides (about 2 minutes) and remove from heat.

I put the salad in the bowl and created a well and putting the cabbage in the well and the scallops on top. Dress with cilantro dressing (a ginger dressing would be awesome too). Enjoy!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beef and Asparagus Rolls

Okay folks the lackluster name does not do the outcome justice. I was really, really pleased with this. I used a marinade that my mom has used for asparagus for years. Oddly I did not marinate the asparagus in it, just the meat. However, I am sure if you did both in the marinade it would be great. You might find, as I did, most flat iron cuts will be too thick to roll, if so take a knife and cut the piece to have thickness down the length of the meat.

2 lb flat iron steak
2 lb asparagus cleaned and partially cooked

For the Marinade

¾ c. oil
½ c wine vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp chives
1 tsp salt
2 tsp tarragon
1-2 clove of garlic grated or minced
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a bag and let meat marinate for at least 8 hours.

In salted water cook the asparagus until it is mostly done.

Depending on the size of the asparagus use about 3-6 per bundle. If you need to cut the meat to ½ thickness. Using the bundle to measure the cuts, cut the meat so that there is enough to easily wrap the bundle but with little overhang. Secure with a toothpick.

We did them on the grill. It took about 15 minutes on medium heat, however you need to turn it once so check half way through. Eat and enjoy!

Just a note, if you are note a beef fan, I think this would be great with chicken or pork. I think also I soy, ginger sesame marinade would work great too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spaghetti Phooey and Homemade Ricotta

Okay I took this picture today at lunch. My first thought was, “why, WHY??? Do people see spaghetti as such kid friendly food??” Yes they love it, but man, she had to go for a bath after and I had to scrub her little seat. Phooey I say. However, it reminded me that I still had something to share with you guys.

A while back I made stuffed Flat Iron and I stuffed it with Ricotta I had made. My friend Donna (well, I really don’t know her but I suspect if I did we would be friends) over at asked if I would be sharing how to make the ricotta. It took me a while (far longer than the ricotta will take you, but I am finally getting to it. Besides the joy of doing it yourself the cool part about making ricotta for scratch is that you control the consistency. For the ricotta I stuffed the beef with I let it hang a bit longer so it was very dry. I thought that way, It would be less likely to ooze out of the meat, and I was right. You can also add a sundry of herbs before hanging or some sugar (makes a lovely dessert mixed with berries…yumm). Really the options are limitless.

Note: This recipe came from Ricki Carroll and I got it in a cheese making class I took.

1 gallon milk
1 tsp citric acid (you can get at Compleat Gourmet, and I am sure many other places)
1 tsp salt (I use a little more, but I am a salt freak)

Pour milk into pot (can not be aluminum or cast iron) add citric acid and salt.

Heat the milk to 195 (I used a meat thermometer and it worked great). Stir often.

When curds and whey separate, take off heat and let set 5 minutes. You will know they have separated when the mixture seems a bit chunky and if you take a spoon and very gently stir you can see a separation of white solid (curd) and a yellowish liquid (whey).

Line a colander with cheese clothe or butter muslin and gently ladle the curds into the cloth. I have to say, I very, very slowly poured what was in the pot into the lined colander but you have to be careful and slow so that the mixture is “caught” by the cloth.

Tie the cloth to form a bag and hang and let drain for ½ hour or more depending on how thick you want it.

It will keep in the fridge up to 2 weeks or can be frozen.

Also note, you can save the whey, and use it to soak rice in (and many other things I am sure) and it give the rice a really rich flavor.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lovely Blog Award

Muneeba at awarded me with the One Lovely Blog award and I have 10 people to pass it on to! It needs to be new blogs I have found I love. I am going to bypass folks I just awarded something to, however, there are sure some of them I just adore!

Here goes:

Tatersmama of Taters Mama’s Take on Things

Krystal of Recipes of a Cheapskate

Joyce of Just Joyce

Holler of Tinned Tomatoes

Kristen of Whatcha Eating

Claire of Cooking Claire

Lynette of Nets Nook

Chris at Nibble Me This

Carrie at Carrie’s Cooking

Heather at Girlichef

Whew! So please go give these blogs some love!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kung Pao Salad A La Cinnamon and Spice

First, Muneeba at awarded me with the One Lovely Blog award. My task it to pass this on to 10 new blogs I have found! So I will be gather my list of folks over the next few days, until then please go to An Edible Symphony and check it out!

Let me start by saying this makes a big salad. It easily serves 4 people very hearty dinner sized salads, VERY easily. You can use whatever veggies or lettuces you want, this is just what I used. Also, if you don’t eat meat I think if you used tofu for this it would be amazing.

The original Kung Pao recipe came from Reni over at Cinnamon and Spice, . I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe. I have made it about 4 times now. The other night I had everything I needed but the rice….go figure. I did have soba noodles, but that wasn’t quite doing it for me. You guys know I have been on a crazy salad kick… well I thought… why not. It was wonderful. Actually so good the first time I made it we ate it up like little piggies (I had brought ½ over to my folks for dinner…so don‘t judge!) and never got a picture. Sigh…I guess this just meant I had to make it again. Another side, is if you want to cut calories or cut hassle you can bag the soba noodles (they are surprisingly calorie dense). They don’t add a lot, but are good flavor catchers, but not necessary if you are trying to simplify.

1 zucchini ribboned
2 small carrots ribboned and chopped
1 bunch of green onion
½ bunch cilantro (remove the stems just add leaves)
½ head of broccoli blanched
2 heaping handfuls of spinach chopped
¼ package soba

Boil water and add soba noodles and cook to package directions, drain and let cool. Add all veggies to a bowl and toss.

1.5 lb of chicken diced
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
4-6 fine slices ginger, each cut into quarters
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns(I use red pepper flakes)
1 tbs oil

Heat oil add pepper and fry the peppercorns for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken, garlic, ginger, and onion. Stir-fry these to allow the flavor to come out, then add the peanuts. Take of heat and allow to cool.

Once chicken and soba are cool add to salad.


2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons red rice vinegar
1 table spoon cooking wine

Wisk together and toss with salad. Eat…yummy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Grilled Salad

I have been on a salad kick here for a while now. The other day I had some eggplant and zucchini and corn that needed to be used and viola this salad was born. I have to say, it was luscious. The eggplant didn’t add much for me, which was surprising since that is really the veggie that kick started the whole concept for me…but it didn’t hurt wither.

2 ears of corn
2-3 zucchini sliced
1 eggplant thinly sliced
1 lb flat iron steak
Then whatever else you like in your salad we had tomato, onion, cucumber, lettuce

Season everything, I used a grinder mix of garlic, sea salt and red pepper. Grill. Slice your meat thinly, and cut the corn off the ears and assemble your salad. I used a Greek yogurt dressing that could not have gone better with it all (below). We had some grilled flat bread to sop it all up, got to love summer!


½ c. Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
Juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic grated
1 tsp fresh oregano chopped super fine
Salt and Pepper

Mix all and chill

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tagged and Jamming

Okay two fun things happened the other day. First I was tagged by Tatersmama's Take On Things and asked to post the 6 picture in the 6th folder under my pictures on my computer. Then I was to tell about the picture and tag 6 others to do the same. Ironically my 6th folder was the original picture folder I set up for Mommy Gourmet. Even more interestingly the 6the picture is the first post I did where I took a picture. It was my fourth post but the first where I took a picture.

Sadly ,it was not great culinary feast, veggie pasta salad. Kinda ho-hum. I am going to be equally as uninspired and pass this mission on to my first 6 followers minus who tagged me! So here is who gets tagged my me, go visit their sites!

Though not so ho-hum and certainly a much more interesting photo are the one of my jam session the other day with my friend and neighbor from Punch Photo . He had been on mission throughout the neighborhood pilfering mulberries.

He asked if I would be up for trying to make some mulberry jam. I am up for most challenges, so I said, “Yessirree!” He came to our place, equipment and berries in hand. I wasn’t sure how good mulberry jam would be. However, the flavor I would tell you is a mix between a grape and a raspberry. It was surprisingly luscious. And I scored a jar in the deal!

So Tristan and I had a decadent afternoon snack… Punch… man I will help you any time!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Almost Heaven…Bistro Twenty Seven…

So yesterday was a great but jumbled mess. Earlier in the week we had been invited to movie night at a friends house. At the time I was really frustrated about trying to line up a babysitter for a future engagement to seemingly no avail, that I had turned down the invitation simply because I just didn’t have it in me to try and line a sitter up for another outing because it was seemingly an impossible task. Cue hot hubbie...

So, Friday afternoon Joel calls me up and says, “So you feel like a movie tonight?” Thinking he meant a rental I said, “Sure what did you have in mind?” He says, “Whatever they are playing at movie night.” Huh???? So he goes on to say that one of the sitters we called a week ago to try and line up for this engagement in June finally called back (we had since lined someone up). So Joel asks if she is free for that evening and she was. So sweet…such a man….I then had to explain that these people were not planning on us (they were also serving dinner and had other guests attending), and to call the day of to say, “Hey….lucky you… we are coming!” would be rude. Sigh. However, big kiss and bravo for the effort. So then he says, “Well, then would you like to go on a date with me?” Swoon. Really, how could a girl resist? So it was a date. He picked Bistro 27 and I was glad. We had been once before and I adored it so I put back the leftover pizza I was going to eat for lunch (mind you it was 3 in the…sigh…) and made a small salad to tide me over.

Where to begin. It never ceases to amaze the restaurants that seem to get a ton of hype and play while the ones I find the be the best in town get a nod at best. This is one. So let me lay it out for you…..

Joel calls to make reservations. They guys says to him, “What time?” Joel responds, I am guessing more thinking out loud than anything like he typically does, “I don’t know…7:15, 7:30? We would like to have a drink at the bar and ease into the evening.” They guys puts us down for 7:15. This should have been perfect, the sitter was coming at 6:30 which means we could be there by quarter till 7 and have nice slow drink at the bar. However, it did not happen like that. The babysitter was a little late, our son was being clingy our daughter wouldn’t go to sleep, you know…life was happening. That said we make it to our 7:15 reservation by the skin of our teeth. When we get there and give the host our name he asks if we will be sitting at the bar. I think we look a little confused , and he says, “I thought you were the person that called and wanted to sit at the bar and have a drink and ease into the evening.” Joel said, “I did, however, we are running late. “ He tells us we have time and to go ahead. At that point I was impressed. Impressed he remembered or made note of it. Impressed. I don’t know if he is the manager or the owner, but he clearly is someone who takes great care in making his patrons happy. I don’t expect that level of care, but it certainly impressed me and was nice.

So, we sit our happy behinds at the bar. I have a martini. I love martinis (as many of you know by now) but I hate to order them (as many of you know by now) because everyone puts too much olive juice in. This has lead me to asking flat out for just a tiny bit, and still sometimes all I get is an olive juice spritzer. So now I feel like Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally ordering a martini and I hate that. So I ordered it and I am sure the cute little bartender thought I was a pain, but he was super sweet and could not have been more accommodating. I have to say it was the best martini….EVER. Joel turns to me while I moan and says, “Almost as good as mine.” That man does make a mean martini. Sheepishly I had to say, “Better.” I think I hurt him a little. However, his bourbon took the edge off I am sure!

We had our drinks and then were seated. From here I will short hand the evening a bit. The service was great. The host/manager/possible owner (Ken is his name by the way…when you go… and you NEED to go!) checked on us several times. The waitress was stealth, unobtrusive by on top of things. The setting is lovely. I could go on, but you get the idea. We order the Carpaccio di Manzo as an appetizer to split. Joel ordered the Spring Beet Salad and Ravioli di Manzo e Fontina. I ordered the Fillet with Black Truffles. I don’t even know where to began. Really. I have said before that I am not the girl to talk about the notes in the food, at the end of the day, for me it is a simple..good..bad. All I can say is……GOOD. Grunt inducing, lick your plate, smack your husbands hand for trying to snag something, I think I might cry…GOOD. I don’t want to belabor things by breaking down every bite I had. The fillet was huge. It had a beautiful char on the outside but was still blood red on the inside (like I like…grrr.). The truffle was rich, earthy and lovely. The Beet Salad (my husband was nicer than I and shared) was just one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. In fact at some point, I told Joel the salad was… and I am a bit embarrassed to say this… the salad was making love in my mouth. Shut up… you would have to have it… it was THAT good. His ravioli was amazing. I said I wouldn’t belabor this and I am… spot on. That is all I can say… everything was spot on.

Dessert was amazing too. Joel got a Crème Caramel and I had the Monte Rosa Italian Cheesecake. Joel’s dessert was amazing, but let me just tell you about mine for half a second. It was perfection. That is it… all I have to say.

Let me just end this spewing of happiness by talking turkey. Cost. I find Bistro 27 to be a bargain. Their entrees rang from $13-$22 dollars. It seems to me that the going rate at most descent restaurants in Richmond is more like $18-$29, however that $18-$29 doesn’t typically get you the level of service and quality I think Bistro 27 is offering. Just like my husband said when he met me, it is just the whole package.

So Richmonders (or anyone willing to travel)if you have not been…go to Bistro 27 and get some mouth love making food. Now. Your mouth will thank you…sigh..

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flat Iron Steak Meets Homemade Ricotta….Mmmm

Okay so we took a cheese class at The complete Gourmet. So fun and I found myself shocked…shocked I say at how simple it is. Ricotta could NOT be easier. It is simply milk, heat and some citric acid, strain, viola. I added some chopped parsley and garlic to the ricotta. I filleted the steak, smeared the ricotta mixture, rolled, seasoned (garlic, salt pepper) , threw it in a backing dish, doused with a about ¼ for red wine and baked at 350% for 30 minutes. Yummm, yummy, yummy.

As an added bonus the cheese makes large amounts a whey and whey is great to soak brown (or any type you like) rice in and make a rice salad out of it. It gives it a great richness (I learned this trick from my handy friend Ellie). The rice had chopped onion, squash carrots and fennel top and rice wine vinager to taste. It was out of this world.

So no real recipes, but super easy and good. Expect to see more cheese in the future…now to get some goat milk…

Again, don’t forget to stop by and see the contest winner, Give Recipe . Her blog is incredible!

And the Winner Is….

Please go by and say congrats to Zerrin at Give Recipe .
She won not only the recipe contest but the contest for the evening folks would most like to join. She has a wonderful blog full of Turkish lovelies. The food is amazing and the pictures are gorgeous!

Thanks for participating to everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cheese! The Polls End Today!

Okay, first let me just remind you…the contest ends in like 11 hours (and may I say some smoked loin is at stake folks) so get voting. Go visit these posts and then please come back and vote!

So coming up soon you will see a piece of flat iron steak that I stuffed with ricotta…that I made. Yep you heard me. Made it! Joel and I took a cheese making class and it was super. We learned out to make a farmers cheese, mozzarella and a ricotta. I was amazed at how easy it can be. Sadly I didn’t need anything to encourage me to eat MORE cheese, but alas… a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

River City Supper Club Strikes Again

Saturday was another installment of the River City Supper Club and Joel and I hosted. We decided to do Tapas. We lucked out and it was a great evening to eat outdoors which always makes me happy.


Serrano ham, Rosy Goat, Olives


Quince paste crackers with bacon and goat cheese, Paella Croquets, Ceviche, Tuna Empanadas with goat cheese and capers, Stuffed Anaheim’s, Pinchitos Morunos (small spicy Moorish kebabs), Ensaladilla Rusa (Spanish potato salad).


Pan de Calatrava

For the most part everything came out well. The nice thing is we were able to make most things either the day before or before everyone got there then put in the oven to keep warm. This allowed us to actually enjoy our guests. Sadly, neither I nor Joel thought to cover the Kebabs and since they were the last course, they were a bit dried out by then. The flavor was still okay… but a little more jerky that succulent! Oh well, a lessoned learned.

It was another evening with lost time. We had messy kitchen as clear evidence that a good time was had by all. Oddly I love a messy kitchen at the end of a great evening… it gives me time to clean it and digest the evening. Saturday, however it was about 1 a.m. and the kids would be up in 5 you think we cleaned it up before bed??

Nahhh, this would wait until morning. There would be plenty of time to relive the evning tomorrow!

Please remember to vote! Voting ends Friday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Apologies Poll's Are Up!

First, the poll is up so please go to the following blogs and then come back and vote for your favorite dish and also for the evening you most would have liked to have been a part of.

Also, I want to let everyone know I am either having problems with my site or with my computer. I keep getting a run error and the page will shut down. It has made posting really hard and visiting other blogger sites (issue is only in blogger)very hard. So that said, can you please e-mail me and let me know if you are having an issue with blogger or my site to help me pinpoint the issue!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Contest Ends Tomorrow

Just a reminder that you have to get your entry to me by midnight tomorrow. I will put up the poll for voting after that! For more information see this post

Right now there is just two entry's so come on guys!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trader Joes Pizza Dough

Okay I have been reading and here about this pre-prepared pizza dough for a while now and I was at Trader Joes the other day and decided to get some. I am going to try it again, but at first blush I didn’t love it. I like mine better. The big problem I had is I cooked it far longer then the recipe called for (and for as long as my toppings could hold out) but it was still doughy especially in the middle, and that was flat out soggy (if you look at the picture close enough you can see how it feel apart when I took it off the pizza stone). However, you can’t beat the ease and the flavor was fine. I think next time I will just  bake a bit then add toppings and continue…. We will see.

I am not giving you a recipe for this because… well it was a pizza. The sauce was a cilantro pesto (just make your regular pesto recipe but use cilantro. Also I sometimes substitute almonds for the pine nuts or walnuts but any are fine), then I added onion, shrimp and some fresh basil and of course cheese!! I think next time I would skip the basil (not bad, didn't add anything since the cilantro took center stage) but add feta…yummy.

**Update:  Since this post a friend turned me on to the perforated pizza pan.  I still recommend pre-baking the crust prior to adding toppings, but the pan was a game changer!

Remember 5 more days until you have to have your entry's to me for the contest!! Go over and see Chef E's and Kristen's post. Chef E and Kristen

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peach Martini Comeback

My peach martini (actually my Dad’s) got selected by the Lisa over at the Lunch Box Project. The above artwork is her take on my martini. If you don’t know what that is, go check out her cool blog at http://lunchboxproject.blogspot.comIt is such a cool and unique food blog and I am psyched my little martini made its way on it.

To add to the greatness of this, she is offering the chance for my readers to buy it at a reduced price (just $45) for the next two months. If you are interested go to her site and let her know, heck just go to her site at or you can contact her directly at ( Her artwork is AMAZING and I feel so lucky she let me be a part of it all.

The contest is just starting to heat up! We have our first two entry’s. The first is from Chef E and the next from Kristen You have to go check them out, not only did they make the best dishes they had the best time, and lets face it that is what it was about! So go check them out and remember you have until the 25th and then the polls go up!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chicken Pita and Cilantro Corn

I have to say upfront, this corn is NOT my idea. Some time back I was watching some cooking show and the guy made this crazy good looking corn. I can not remember who the chef was (it WAS quite a while ago), but I am thinking maybe Bobby Flay. The chef did some other things, like squeezing lime on top and sprinkling with chili powder. I however keep it far more simple. Well simple comparatively, really butter and salt is simple. Was it worth the extra effort. For sure! It was good. I wouldn’t do it every time, but I WILL do it again.

The pita is nothing really to write home about. It was great, it is just not too hard to figure out. We grilled the chicken (and the corn) and put it in a Mediterranean style pita (much thinner pita than what we typically have around here). Then tomatoes and onion, some salsa. The only thing a bit different is I put the leftover cilantro “spread” in the guacamole. SO GOOD!!

So lets get to it.

Cilantro Sauce/Spread

In a food processor processes

1 cleaned bunch of cilantro
¼ c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ lemon squeezed
Salt and pepper

Prepare your corn. We grilled if you boil, dry well. Slather with spread, then grate parm on it. Grate some fresh pepper. Eat…yummy…

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shoot Out Friday

Okay this is not my typical post. I am going to very, very loosely tie this back to food. Chef E at Chef E had a Friday Shoot Out. Many may know her from her food blog but his is yet another endeavor of that amazing women. I thought it would be fun to try. This weeks theme was Gardens and Transportation.

I thought I would tell you a bit about my house and yard. Our house was built somewhere around 1915 (records vary on it). Our house had at some point fallen into a bit of neglect, as many homes in the city had. Lucky for us our house was bought and renovated entirely by the gal before us. God love that women. That said, the one area that was neglected when we purchased it was the yard. So I got to work… and it got out of hand. We have a huge yard (by city standards, about 1/3 and acre) and I just kept going. This year I decided, however as opposed to planning annual in the bare spots in the yard, I was filling it with veggies, and herbs. So in the flower beds went tomatoes, and around the bamboo steaks for the tomatoes went green beans, and in the beds went lettuce, and swiss chard, and eggplant, and butternut squash and cantaloupe, and so on.

So this year I am making my yard work a bit harder for me. And if all my veggies come in… you might just see me off loading some at the Westover Hills farmers market. Sadly I doubt Tristan's tricycle coudl get them all to market.

This are of the yard is new. In the next several years as the tree mature, this should close off this area of the yard from neighbors, foot traffic and the other areas of the yard, creating a private room. The trees got whomped by our one and only snow. We have got around to staking a couple but more to go. Right now they look all wonky.

Same area of the yard looking towards the house.

Different flowers in these beds.

These peonies were dug up from my grandfathers yard in NJ, he passed a start to my mom, she passed it to me and I will pass it on the my babies. It amazes me sometimes, the threads we keep.

My favorite place on my front porch to sit and talk to my great neighbor. Lucky for me it is right near the Jasmine, that smells so good!

Now go and visit some other ‘Friday Shoot Out’ Possee:

Reggie @ Midlife and Menopause
Patty @ Crisfield News
Chef E