Monthly Archives: February 2013

good ole’ grandma…

Tonight I had a real craving for something that reminds me of my grandmother… nothing fancy, but super delicious, fried shrimp in homemade sauce. Now this was something she would make because I love shrimp [even though she’s allergic and can’t eat]…
So as a nod to her, I decided to satisfy my craving and recreate her ‘peasanty’ classic!
After a quick breading and rest in the fridge to setup, it was into some super hot oil just to brown the shrimp. Once browned, into some homemade sauce to finish cooking off and flavor the sauce even more.
To serve up this spectacular comfort food, a sprinkle of freshly grated pecorino cheese, some toasty sliced Italian bread utilized as the spoon in this whole story to scoop up every last ounce of delightful goodness!
My grandmother taught me many things growing up, one of them… making amazing food!

at a low simmer…
-R

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it’s still a bit brisk[it] outside…

So for a weekly Sunday supper, the dish started with a beautiful beef brisket that I seasoned with salt and dusted lightly with flour. This hunk of meat went into my cast iron pot to get a beautiful crunchy crust!
Once the brisket was browned, I pulled it out and placed it to the side while two Spanish onions got their own workout in the same pot and sweated it out… as soon as the onions were ready to ‘hit the showers’, the brisket went back into the pot and joined them, along with a bottle of root beer and some homemade BBQ sauce.
With the brisket partially submerged, on went the lid and it was time for a long relaxation period until the meat was tender and fall-off-the-bone[less]!
The brisket was shredded up, tossed back into the pot and mixed with the onions and sauce…
To go along with our shredded brisket ‘burritos’, a side of arroz con crema! Such a simple rice dish to prepare, but the flavor is out of this world… you combine four-five cups of prepared rice, diced poblano peppers [I roast mine on the grill], panfried corn [grilled during the summer months] and one cup of heavy cream. This all is stirred until it starts to ‘thicken’, then in goes shredded monterey jack and cojita cheeses. Lastly chopped cilantro is quickly incorporated and it’s on to eating! [I tend to not add salt… I know I know, but the cheese I feel offers enough]…
Piled high into the center of a light tortilla, dolloped with a hefty helping of homemade coleslaw and then a final tight roll! It was time to bite into this fragrant and tangy ‘burrito’. The flavors burst in our mouths and the coleslaw balanced out the slight heaviness of the brisket; this was just a wonderful Sunday evening dining experience!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a day for celebration…

Today couldn’t have been a better day… not only is it Friday and the start to a wonderful weekend, but it also happens to be ‘National Margarita Day’ [I feel like it was just recently National Margarita Day, but who cares since I sure don’t need a special day to enjoy a few!]…
So in honor of this spectacular day, what better to do than celebrate by downing a few homemade margs! That everyone, is exactly what we will all be doing tonight!
First we will start off with a traditional with fresh squeezed lime juice, another chock full of fresh raspberry that I’ll purée and then lastly one with pomegranate/blueberry.
After a quick dash to the market this morning, I picked up all the needed ingredients for our Friday night fiesta.
Good tequila is what makes a great marg, but some blue corn chips and homemade sweet/spicy pineapple salsa make you go back for more!

at a low simmer…
-R

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my inner cookie monster…

After a sweets craving, I decided to churn out a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, but to elevate these cookies, I added in some chopped hazelnuts.
I started by creaming two sticks of butter, along with some regular sugar and brown sugar. To the mix, in went two eggs and vanilla.
While everything was mixing, in a separate bowl I added flour, baking powder, salt and some cinnamon. The dry mixture was slowly added into the mixing bowl until combined. Lastly, into the batter went the chopped hazelnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Scoopfuls of the scented batter went onto baking sheets and into the preheated oven. The fragrance of fresh baked cookies wafted throughout the entire house! After eighteen minutes, it was time to take the cookies out. Once out of the oven, a sprinkling of fleur de sel finished these gorgeous beauties…
Almost cake-like, these chocolatey and nutty cookies were the perfect end to the evening with a large glass of ice cold milk!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sicilian street food!!

To finish off a stellar weekend, we decided to whip up some ‘panelle’. [Panelle happens to be an extremely popular street food served in Sicily.] We haven’t made them in quite some time, but that craving hit pretty hard. These crisp and flavorful beauties do require some serious elbow grease, but the end result is entirely worth it! Using an age-old and very secret family recipe, these fluffy pillows of goodness are made using chickpea flour. Once fried until perfectly golden, they are sandwiched on a roll with some sliced tomato and red onion! The hardest part when making these puffy fritters… not eating the entire tray…

at a low simmer…
-R

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sweetheart dinner…

On a day when one professes their love, sends bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolate, I displayed mine with the gift of food…
Instead of a night on the town [don’t fret that is already planned], I decided on preparing a pan seared duck breast and sautéed brussel sprouts paired with an incredible bottle of red wine. To finish off this luxurious meal… homemade meyer lemon mousse topped with crushed amaretti cookies!
The duck was perfectly cooked and beautifully tender, the ‘sprouts’ crisp and full of flavor, but we all know the most important part of the meal… the dessert! The mousse was silky and seductive, each bite transported us to another realm… no denying it took some work to prepare, but it was worth every effort… [so happy I made extra]

at a low simmer…
-R

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a meatless midweek meal…

So with a craving for breakfast all day, and the fact that today should be a ‘meatless’ meal… what better to have for dinner than fluffy, buttermilk pancakes.
To go alongside, yukon gold hashbrowns with onions and vibrant poblano peppers.
Since the pancakes were the star, I stayed true to just simple ingredients to create the best, cloud-like rounds…
To top off the pancakes, rich and luxurious maple syrup, along with a pat of butter.
The hashbrowns were golden and crisp, with a touch of smokiness and spice from the poblanos.
This was definitely a winner in my

book!

at a low simmer…
-R

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under the sea…

Tonight I ventured out of my comfort zone regarding dinner… I am quite adventurous in regards to trying different [sometimes strange] dishes, but one of the areas I am skeptical to delve into is seafood [shellfish is another story]…
I have never been a huge fan, but try once in a blue moon to incorporate these savages of the sea into our meals, and today was the day!
After picking up a beautiful piece of swordfish, it was now the decision of what the hell to do with it… first things first, a seasoning of s&p on each side. While the seasoning penetrated the swordfish, I diced up an onion, fennel and minced some garlic. Once everything was softened, a can of plum tomatoes went into the pan and received quite some destruction! The sauce was coming together, but in many of my dishes some wine needed to make an appearance, along with some chicken stock. As everything started to really get to know each other, a quick taste happened, an extra dash of salt came into play and lastly some briny capers joined in the fun. The chunky sauce now was told to play the waiting game.
Now the swordfish, after sitting aside, was gently placed into a screaming hot cast iron skillet and cooked for roughly four minutes on each side. The center was becoming a beautiful white color and the exterior a gorgeous brown…
As soon as cooked through, it was time to plate and then enjoy! The swordfish was rested high atop the beautiful sauce, garnished with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice and a hint of lemon zest.
The flavors were incredible and brought everything on the dish to life. Slightly salty from the capers, sweet from the fennel and onion, meaty from the swordfish, while a bit of zip from the fresh lemon… could we be converted?

at a low simmer…
-R

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not such rave reviews…

Last night was filled with great company. It started with a trip to a fairly new restaurant in the area! Once there we were seated and the night began… Menus arrived, drinks were poured and the catching up ensued!
The many possibilities made it even more difficult to make a decision, but that’s what had to be done. Everyone placed their orders… appetizers and then entrees.
The appetizers seemed to be on the decent side; tasty and nicely portioned… dinner then arrived and that is unfortunately were things quickly went downhill. Three of us ordered filet mignon wrapped in prosciutto and topped with a creamy gorgonzola, however two came out incorrect. The waiter appeared to quickly address the discrepancy. The plates were removed and apologies given… roughly ten minutes later out came the ‘corrected’ dishes. Upon this glance, the prosciutto was missing and the side of veggies and mashed potatoes were pathetic! Again this had to be brought to the waiters attention and rectified… at this point appetites were being lost! Finally the dishes came out, but presentation of the dishes were completely lacking. The prosciutto was not crispy and everything on the dish appeared to be an afterthought… the waiter, although polite, seemed to be losing his patience and his sense of irritation began to appear. This was not the appropriate response on his part, but he definitely got the hint!
All in all, the experience was a sore one, however the company is always what makes a meal in my opinion and that made the night special.
I am looking forward to cooking an exciting dish tomorrow night so stay tuned!

***due to the unappealing food presentation, the pictures I took are not making way in this post***

at a low simmer…
-R

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this meal really ‘stacked’ up…

After a serious craving for Italian food, I decided to do a deconstructed version of eggplant parmigiana for dinner…
Freestanding layers of crispy, breaded eggplant, slivers of melted fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce and sweet fresh basil leaves made this dish memorable [not to mention super flavorful]…

at a low simmer…
-R

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