Monthly Archives: August 2012

what came first… the burger or the egg?

As summer nears to an end, I cranked up the grill for some juicy burgers. These burgers however took on a different approach… some top a burger with lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes, while others just believe in a ‘vanilla’ burger… as for myself, I can go for all of those toppings, but tonight I decided a fried egg would also be a perfect element to cut through the meaty goodness!
A simple salt and pepper seasoning on the egg, a quick pan fry and it was time to rest this yolky beauty on this gorgeous piece of meat!
The building blocks of this perfect burger were simple and gracious… a single slice of cheese, slices of applewood smoked bacon, grilled onion and then… the star, the breathy fried egg.
Meaty, bacon-y goodness was almost sweetened by the creamy yolk that rushed down from the top of the burger like a volcano oozing lava…
What a perfect precursor to a Labor Day weekend feast!

at a low simmer…
-R

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no nuts here…

So with a bunch of quickly ripened bananas, I thought what better to do than whip up a banana bread… not being an enormous fan of nuts however this ‘bread’ would be ‘fixed’ before even being born…
Four ripe bananas behaved badly and got a good mashing; they were then mixed in with some french sour cream and a healthy dose of vanilla. While they were starting to get along, I whisked [by hand since the recipe calls for it… bleh] two eggs [I use extra large] and sugar… this was whisked until it became fluffy and a pale yellowy color… After adding the banana mixture into the eggs, I gently added in the dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt and some spicy cinnamon…
The voluminous batter was then poured lovingly into a slightly greased loaf pan, gently tapped to remove any air bubbles and shot right into the pre-heated 350 degree range for about an hour. The scents of this intoxicating concoction drifted throughout the house and was attempting to put me under its spell… sweet bananas, spicy cinnamon… oh how difficult it was to contain myself!
At last, once golden and cooked through, the bread was placed in the corner [like an unruly child] to cool off. After cooling down, but still slightly warm, what better way to enjoy a slice of this sexy treat [yes I’m sorry there is no way this is just a ‘bread’] than with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a soothing cup of tea…
Hmmmm perhaps I have to seek out close-to-ripe, instead of unripened bananas from now on at the market…

at a low simmer…

-R

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a side dish that stole the show!!

I’m cuckoo for couscous, so tonight as a side dish I made Israeli couscous mixed with red, green and yellow peppers.
Hearty, homey and best of all easy to prepare; these little beads take on the flavor of almost everything you incorporate with it. So, I started by sautéing the peppers in a tiny amount of olive oil, then added some hot chicken stock and the little pearls of goodness. Brought everything to a boil, reduced to a simmer and covered until the little balls swelled up and turned into some really big, plump balls! Stirring occasionally, and before I knew it, I was shoveling those yummy orbs of delight into my mouth…

at a low simmer…
-R

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a perfect reason for a glass of vino…

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than outside amongst the sun and birds relaxing by our pool with a crisp, refreshing glass of wine…
Plump, gorgeous red seedless grapes are the perfect seductive accompaniment to the zip of the light and fruity wine…
As I sit, I’m left to ponder what delightful dish should come out of the kitchen this evening… it almost feels like it should be something hearty and homey… perhaps some gorgeous, thick filet mignon accessorized with fresh greens or a puddle of yukon gold mash? Hmmm or perhaps both…
To be able to pass the hours along with not a care in the world is just what everyone should be able to do on a weekend!

at a low simmer…
-R

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far east… far out taste!!

What a better way to spend our Saturday evening, but with great friends and Asian fusion cuisine!
The restaurant was upbeat and stylish, the waitstaff friendly and very knowledgable about all the dishes on the menu.
To start things off, we all shared a number of different appetizer dishes. Cold sesame noodle salad, tempura crab cakes, fire cracker shrimp, beef satay, steamed dumplings and lastly a chicken lettuce wrap. WOW talk about options and amazing flavors.
For dinner I treated myself to my all time favorite dish, sesame chicken, but with my usual extra spicy kick! It arrived hot and crispy with just enough sweetness to offset the heat. Served with the best brown rice dish I have tasted in a long time. Not your ordinary brown rice… It’s nuttier and more rustic, a perfect paring against my dinner. Glad I took home some leftovers… now I can dream the night away knowing that my leftovers are waiting patiently till tomorrow at noon. Yum!

at a low simmer…
-R

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pretty in pink…

As a precursor to a delicious meal, I decided to make a nice, delicate little appetizer to enjoy…
I gently sliced pink pearl apples, which are sweet and slightly tart. They have a gorgeous vibrant pink flesh and are available sparingly in one of my favorite gourmet markets for a very brief timeframe so I had to get my hands on some!!
These slices of beauty were layered on a grilled slice of sourdough bread, followed by some applewood smoked bacon, arugula and topped with extra sharp cheddar. Under the broiler for just a moment until melted and bubbly and it was time to slice into and devour!
Salty, crunchy, tart and sweet… a perfect combination in a perfect bite!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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plump and juicy…

Tonight I used the gorgeous, plump tomatoes that I received in my weekly CSA basket!
Just a simple tomato salad made up of sliced red onion, some salt and olive oil… that was it!
The chunky tomatoes played beautifully against the red onion and provided a lovely sweetness to the light spice from the red onion…
How I hope next weeks basket has much of the same!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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it’s hip to be square, well in this case rectangle!!

Tonight I decided to make a sicilian-style pizza, rather than my usual everyday round pie… I picked up some creamy, slightly salty fresh mozz from the Italian market I frequent, clipped some vibrant green basil from my garden, grated some pecorino and defrosted some homemade sauce.
Into the oven for twenty-five minutes and a warm bubbly piece of perfection was born… waiting for this to cool off enough to handle was not on the agenda… a hefty square slice was dug out and onto the place it went for its magazine cover shoot!
The crust was soft and airy, with hints of rosemary and garlic infused gently throughout… the sauce blanketed the crust evenly and just enough to hold the fresh mozz and basil leaves in place. The fresh mozz stretched seductively with each breathy bite… there was not a crumb to be found on our plates, and who needed a napkin… our fingers were sucked clean!
This meal was not for the faint of heart!

at a low simmer…

-R

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just like mama used to make!

What a better way to start my Monday dinner week, but with a hearty bowl of fresh pasta.
After raiding my pantry I found the perfect ingredients. I mixed together sun-dried Sicilian tomatoes, chopped garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. A quick sauté of everything in a homemade spicy infused olive oil, and behold an… aromatic dish that was just begging to be eaten. Not before topping this dish off with fresh chopped basil and grated pecorino.
Now that’s a stick to your ribs pasta dish that would make any true Sicilian mamma proud!

at a low simmer…
-R

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rulin’ the roost!

Due to a wicked battle with mother nature, my barbecued chicken dinner had to be prepared indoors…
Voluptuous split breast chicken were marinated in my homemade bbq sauce overnight… then tossed into the oven till thoroughly cooked and juicy!
These beautiful, succulent breasts were rested on a grassy bed of haricot vert that were blanched, shocked and sautéed in garlic infused olive oil.
Picture perfect, but more importantly DELICIOUS!

at a low simmer…
-R

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