Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gourmet Magazine

"The belly rules the mind"
~Spanish Proverb

I can't keep collecting all of my food magazines so here's my new idea. I used to go through them when they were a few months old and rip out every recipe I thought I might make, so now I just have a huge pile of pages that I rarely cook from! My new idea: actually make the recipes during that month and the ones I like, keep and put in my recipe box. Wow how brilliant. So I tackled the Feb. issue of gourmet. Don't be too impressed, I am only talking about the 'Quick Kitchen' section because I actually have other things to do in a day besides get dinner on the table. This week I tried the Paprika Roast Chicken with Sweet Onion and served it with the Roasted Green Beans and Cashews - the result: really good and super fast. They roast together at 500°F and are done in 30min. My cashews burnt to a crisp but the beans were great. 

Next up: the Cilantro-Chipotle Tilapia served with the Mexican Pineapple Salad and rice. They had me at Chipotle. Really good, but one of my daughter's said I may not want to serve it for company because the cilantro chipotle mix doesn't look so appetizing after it's cooked onto the fish.(Looks kind of like burnt spinach/mud) Otherwise delicious. It makes way to much salad for the amount of fish.

Then the Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel Wedges. I just made smashed potatoes to go with it and it was all yummy. I didn't have the fennel seeds it called for but it was still great. Tonight was the Black Bean Burgers with salsa and sour cream. Loved these and I think they'd be considered vegan. Will definitely make them again when you have nothing in the pantry but black beans you're good to go! 

Let me know if you try any of these and what you think.

I also have my eye on the Parmesan Pull-Aparts........... there's always next week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cook's Illustrated

I have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated which I love reading cover to cover, but I don't actually cook very many of their recipes. The recent issue (Jan./Feb.) has an article on cooking hearty greens. Sam's Club happened to have a two pound bag of washed and cut collard greens so I bought them and tried the version with coconut milk and curry. I loved them, but the rest of the family wasn't as thrilled and thought they had quite a bite. Which they do, but like a good southern girl I love my greens.
I'm cooking my way through Ina Garten's new Barefoot Contessa cookbook (Back to Basics). Friends were over for dinner and I made the Indonesian Grilled Swordfish, very good but make sure not to over cook the fish on the grill. I served it with some herbed basmati rice, salad and naan. Desert was creme brulee with raspberries for the adults and brownie pudding (from the same book) with vanilla icecream for the kids.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mail Order Delivery

My first order from King Arthur Flour arrived! I was given some of their italian flour as a gift and it made great fococcia, so I bought some more and am going to try my pizza dough with it. Also trying their unsweetened chocolate because the only thing in my local store is Bakers. Look at all of that vanilla! I got the 32oz size because it's so much more cost effective. The 8 oz. is $19.95  so I got 32oz.'s for $39.95. If any one knows a better deal on nielsen-massey vanilla please let me know. Also excited about the plastic bags. If I'm giving bread or cookies as a gift, it will have a nice baggie on it now.
I also really like Penzeys Spices. I've ordered from them for years  and they just opened a store in Richmond down on Cary St. It's really fun to look around the store. The hot curry powder is fantastic. Please let me know any mail order sources you really like.
And last for today, I hope you all know that a Trader Joes opened in Richmond, out in Short Pump! Very exciting and worth a trip. I've missed it so much from living in Los Angleles for 11 years and only occasionally get by one in the DC area or Newport News. We can dream about the day Charlottesville gets one!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Weekend

Since my life is one big pot luck, I'll be sharing what I take to various get togethers.
First a cocktail party where finger food was requested. 

When Mark, (my husband) fell in love with sushi about fifteen years ago he asked me to make it. He doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I said why don't you learn how to make it and it can be your 'thing'. He did and we've had many japanese dinner parties over the years and he makes rolls and sushi. So for this party he made california roll and since it was supposed to be finger food, we put toothpicks in them(with ginger and soy sauce on the side) and they were a big success.

Next was a ladies birthday cocktail party. In lieu of gifts the hostess asked us all to bring food and send her the recipe of what we were bringing. I made Tiramisu with 
especially good espresso, Mark brought me from Italy recently. I also found italian savoiardi at Mona Lisa Pasta.  She compiled this beautiful booklet with the menu and all of the recipes. A nice momento!

And for my local readers (Charlottesville and Albemarle County) I found out about this new service Retail Relay. When you're too busy to shop, you go to their website, pick out what you want, pay for it with a credit card and then drive by a pick up location and they put it in your car. Check out  how it works.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

NYC and DC

Headed to DC last Friday to see a friend performing in Twelfth Night. Went to Jaleo - tapas bar before the show. Very popular and crowded, but we were seated within 20 minutes. Tried white sangria made with cava, a little too sweet. Then some classic tapas; pork over white beans, manchego, garlic shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach. Everything was good.

After the show her friend wanted to take us all out for a drink. I imagined a nearby pub/bar, casual and simple. Well, he put us in cabs to the Mandarin Oriental (beautiful hotel) where huge platters of amazing sushi(from City Zen) awaited us. Along with Veuve Cliquot, cheese platters, huge chocolate covered strawberries and the already decanted Gaja 1998. Don't know that much about wine but it was extremely smooth and he let us know just how pricey!($400.) Very fun night!

Then it was on to NYC in time for a slice for lunch. Went to one of our favorite pizza places, Rigolettos (Columbus and 70th). Always wonderful, but they had these new sauces on the counter to put on your pizza. A basil garlic, a hot pepper, and a jalapeno. A yummy
addition to an already great piece of pizza.

That night for dinner we went to our favorite Thai place, Wondee Siam II on 9th Ave. 
They have their liquor license now so you don't have to bring your own wine. Always great curry.

And on our last evening after a long day of working. My 
husband, Mark needed a drink. The beauty of New York! It's 11:30 pm on a Sunday night and we wander into a little Italian place (Da Marino) still open and sit up at the bar for the largest martini we've ever been served for only $12. For NYC that's not bad!
A great way to end our quick trip.