Monthly Archives: July 2012

vino + takeout + more vino…

After a long day, I decided takeout was the best alternative. So while waiting for its arrival, what better to do than open a wonderful bottle of wine, sit back and relax. The wine was fruity and crisp, with a slight punch! One glass turned into two, which turned into three [you get the picture]… Who needed the takeout??

at a low simmer…
-R

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birthday wishes do come true!!

So once a year the birthday boy gets his wish for a special dinner… I will go to the ends of the earth to make whatever is requested… this year was tagliatelle with white wine and clams!
So in order to satisfy this wish, I made my way to the seafood counter and bought up four pounds of little neck clams. Once home those dirty ‘necks’ got a good scrubbin’ in the sink. Once cleaned it was off to chill out in the fridge until time a visit to the steam room!
Garlic infused olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper, a beautiful dry white, some pellegrino, butter, freshly grated pecorino and minced parsley all bring this birthday story together…
The scent of the ocean wafted throughout my kitchen and honestly made me want to ‘dive’ right into that pot!! Fresh clams elevate this dish from delicious to superb, and make the sauce over-the-top! It is truly like nothing you can ever get from a can [not that I am against a shortcut, just not when it’s a birthday request]…

at a low simmer…
-R

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Now here’s locally grown!!

Today was a great day!! This morning started with a fantastic game of tennis and then the afternoon was spent at the in-laws for a pre-birthday celebration.
Right before leaving, I received a great package of homegrown produce including celery, onions, cucumbers and scallions! This is one amazing garden chock full of a variety of different veggies, and I have been lucky enough to receive different goods on many occasions… Now the master plan begins… What delish recipes will I create with these wonderful home grown produce!

at a low simmer…
-R

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not your everyday ‘salad’…

Tonight was a great night! A visit from a wonderful friend who we haven’t seen in quite a while yielded a night of laughter, great food and drinks. Originally planned was a grilled meal, alongside an edamame and tomato salad. Unfortunately do to a long passing storm, grilling was pretty much out of the question however the salad not so much!! Simple to put together and beautiful for the eye to see… grape tomatoes, a red onion and shelled edamame. That’s it!!
Refreshing, light and full of flavor this salad could be a meal on its own!

at a low simmer…
-R

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mexican flair…

Gosh I’m stuffed!! Tonight we went out for dinner and hit up one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. It is truly a hidden gem, that in recent times is becoming more and more visited.
We started off with a trio of fantastic appetizers… guacamole of course being one [I love the version they offer here], nachos [not served in the style many are used to] and an order of chicken quesadillas. Every bite was breathtaking and so eye-catching that I realized as I was stuffing my face that I forgot to get a full plate photo!! [forgive the close ups of the guac and quesadillas following]…
Onto dinner we went [I think we surprised the server when we ordered this course since the appetizers alone could have fed quite a few]… one dish was a skirt steak served in an adobo sauce, along with rice, refried beans and flour tortillas; the second dish was fried steak with onions served alongside black beans and rice…
The flavors were amazing and I honestly do not know how I was able to complete the entire dish, but then again I have never been one to back down from anything [meals included]!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky, salty and sweet… YUP it’s dessert

After sitting back and watching some Food Network television this afternoon, I was tempted to make a dessert that I haven’t made in quite a long time [probably since I last saw this episode]. It was a chocolate caramel pie with a graham cracker crust [well technically they are bars, but I prefer to make it into a pie and not squares]!

It’s pretty simple to make… graham crackers, butter, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate chips [I use bittersweet], espresso powder, fleur de sel [this is what I used], water and brown sugar.

After baking the graham cracker crust, it’s set aside to cool. While cooling, I made the caramel. I combined the cream, butter, sugar and water, and stirred until velvety. Next, the soon-to-be caramel needs to come to a boil until it hits 240 degrees. This concoction is then poured into the crust, cooled and then chilled in the freezer until slightly hardened.

Last, but certainly not least, I combined the chocolate chips and cream in a heatproof bowl and rested it over a pot of slightly boiling water. Everything is stirred until smooth, then I whisked in the espresso powder. Once combined, the chocolate is poured on top of the caramel and spread out evenly. The top then gets a nice sprinkle of the fleur de sel.

After chilling out for a while, it was time to cut into this sexy pie. Chocolatey, slightly briny from the salt and sticky and sweet from the caramel… Now I remember why I made this the first time!!!

at a low simmer…

-R

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tequila tuesday…

When I woke up this AM, I knew this day was going to be an exciting one for some reason… then after checking my emails and twitter feed, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that today is ‘National Tequila Day’! WOW was my rising thought ever coming true, and quicker than I could have hoped…

So in honor of this ‘holiday’, there was nothing better to do than think of the best drink idea to start off with! To be quite honest, I am a HUGE fan of a good margarita, minus the salted rim [hey it’s my own preference] and I started to recall a kick-ass concoction that I made not too long ago [also previously posted]… As luck would have it, I had ALL of the necessary ingredients to whip one up! One spicy margarita was on the horizon.

After enjoying that spicy, not to mention POTENT little guy I needed something cool and refreshing so a traditional lime margarita was up next. Nothing fancy, just some big limes that I juiced, agave nectar [or you can use simple syrup] and of course GOOD tequila. I put everything into a shaker and pour over ice. For a little something special, instead of a typical [and expected lime wheel], I created some ribbons of the zest and stirred it into the finished cocktail.

And for the finale, to go along with dinner a crisp, bubbly and electrifying blood orange margarita. Blood orange juice is mixed with tequila in a shaker and poured over ice. To bring some tingling to this drink, I added some pellegrino and stirred it right in. OK so you’re probably asking yourself, was dinner eaten yet?? NOPE, but I needed to do a taste-test to make sure it was good…

MMMM… this was a GREAT day!

at a low simmer…

-R

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lickin’ my chops…

Lamb chops, sautéed spicy eggplant and a radicchio salad topped with shattered Parmesan crisps… YUP that was dinner!
The lamb chops were marinated overnight in garlic, lemon zest/juice, crushed red pepper and minced rosemary. They were tossed onto the indoor grill thanks to the rumbling of thunder and bolts of lightning fluttering in the air. Still perfectly cooked and absolutely delightful, succulent and full of flavor!
For the eggplant… they were diced and then sautéed in garlic, olive oil and rosemary. This brought out the sweet flavors and helped make the eggplant extra special…
The radicchio helped cleanse off our palates and offer a lovely balance between the rich lamb and slight bite from the eggplant.
What a wonderful meal to start of the week!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a sunday night celebration!!

So tonight was a night for spectacular things… it was a night of celebration, as well as a night to put a spin on a traditional pizza!
Yesterday I made focaccia with the intent of using it as a base to layer up a gorgeous pizza. Homemade sauce was layered on the bottom, then some grated pecorino, slices of milky fresh mozz and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin! Into the oven and twenty minutes later… well there are no words for the mind-blowing experience we had. The crust was perfectly crunchy, salty and airy… meanwhile the sauce was rustic, the pecorino slightly salty and the fresh mozz creamy and melty.
To finish off such a rich and hearty meal, what better than a slice of yes… LIME pie with a fluffy and perfectly browned meringue topping! This is not just any pie, but a celebratory one to congratulate a hardworking woman who touches our lives in many ways! The filling was made the other day and got its close-up today when poured into the buttery graham cracker crust and topped off with a beautiful spiked meringue. Browned and gorgeous meringue was the barrier to a creamy, zesty lime filling. Now I’ll need to make more to satiate my breakfast tea and toast!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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gettin’ our roll on!

Tonight is boys night out with the b-in-law… Drinks [lots and lots] and Japanese, while our better- halves make magazine magic! It’s the perfect way to spend an evening. Looking forward to some incredible sushi, as well as other great grub and much needed ‘boy talk’ [hey if girls can do it so can we]!

at a low simmer…
-R

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