Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Flatbread Pizza----Oh Yeah!

We were strolling through the aisles at Trader Joe's trying to decide what we wanted for dinner tonite when we stumbled upon Ciabatta Flatbreads shaped like a pizza.  It was covered with a sprinkling of herbs and had dimples in it similar to Focaccia  Curious, I quickly looked at the ingredients list and there were no preservatives and it is recommended that you refrigerate it if not used by the date on the outside of the package. 

So at home I pulled together some ingredients:
Sweet Italian sausages (2 links)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chunky Slices of Mozzarella
Shaving of Pecorino Romano
Trader Joe's Jarred Pizza Sauce (I know coulda made my own, but after a wonderful day at the beach, easy peasy, was the priority)

So I made a quick version of sausage and peppers, browning the sausage bulk style with veggies and adding chiffonade of basil.  Brushed the flatbread with EVOO and then spread thin layer of pizza sauce; topped with the sausage & peppers mixture; dotted with chunks of mozzarella and a nice shaving of Pecorino.  I slid the pizza onto the pizza stone in a 425º oven, then I switched the oven to Convection Roast.  The stone crisps the flatbread like a pizza crust and the convection circulates the heat over the toppings melting the cheese and heating them properly.  After 8 minutes I turn off the oven and let the pizza rest for 2 more minutes on the stone.  Pull it from the oven and sprinkle with more basil chiffonade and serve! YUM!  We have a winner!  So great for an easy meal accompanied by a salad.  While I love traditional Pizza dough, I'm always challenged by the handling of the dough and get frustrated that my shapes are more than rustic!!

Can't wait to try the next version!  Hope the leftovers heat nicely!

Finished Pizza:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pork Tenderloin a l'Orange

Inspired by the recipe I made for a client, I duplicated it at home for our dinner tonite.  I knew it would be good, but wow, it's really great and not terribly difficult.

It uses sliced pork tenderloin pounded to about 1/4 inch thickness and quickly sauteed, the sauce ingredients get combined and added to the pan and simmered, dinner is done!

I added ground ginger to the sauce ingredients, deglazed the pan with 1/3 cup white wine then added the sauce and after reaching a boil added back the meat and simmered for 4 minutes.  Sprinkled the finished dish with chopped parsley, chives would also be great!

Here's the original recipe, which by the way if from a fellow Personal Chef:

Pork Tenderloin à l’Orange
Recipe By :Christopher Macartney
Serving Size : 4 
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 1/2 pounds Pork Tenderloin
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Orange Marmalade
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Prepared Horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 jar Mandarin Orange segments -- (10 oz) drained

Slice Pork Tenderloin into 8 pieces. Using a meat mallet, flatten each piece slightly.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add Pork slices and brown quickly for 1 minute on each side.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix remaining ingredients, except Mandarin Oranges. Add to pan and cook over medium heat.
Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to warm serving platter and garnish with Mandarin Orange segments.

I served this with Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley which has Black Barley and Daikon Radish Seeds, very fibrous good nutty flavor.
And a just created recipe: Not Your Mother's Peas & Carrots:

Not your Mother's Peas and Carrots
Recipe By :Chef Jim
Serving Size : 4
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 large Shallot -- peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
10 ounces frozen peas
1 large pinch kosher salt
4 grindings black pepper
1/3 cup water

Melt butter in oil in med sauce pan over medium heat; add shallots and salt and pepper; caramelize shallots.
When shallots are nice and brown toss in shredded carrots and toss to coat. About 30 seconds.
Add frozen peas and water, toss and cover, simmer for 2 minutes or until water is boiling, turn off and steam 5 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, add salt and/or pepper; Reheat over high heat and serve immediately with additional butter if desired.

Friday Roundup

Had a very busy week cooking, all clients were in town, had a full schedule!

New to me recipes included:
Asian Turkey Loaf
Red Wine Braised Lamb Chops
Asian Beef/Turkey/Rice Meatballs
Pork Tenderloin a l'Orange

Reworked dishes:
Eggplant/Feta/Sun-dried Tomatoes
Glazed Carrots w/Honey & Ginger
Lemon Couscous w/Summer Squash & Red Peppers
Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes
Spaghetti Squash w/Tomatoes & Herbs

The Asian Turkey Loaf is chock full of veggies, scallions, carrot, celery, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and garlic. Flavored with soy sauce, dry mustard and cilantro and bound with eggs and panko.
The glaze is ketchup, honey, soy sauce, ginger and dry mustard!
Excellent recipe, flavor packed to boost the fairly bland ground turkey!

Red Wine Braised Lamb Chops, tasty but probably not really worth the effort compared to seared chops with a great sauce.

Combining Beef & Turkey & Rice in meatballs really makes them a tasty lower fat version.  The meatballs combined scallions, ginger, water chestnuts and flavored with dry sherry, soy sauce, bound with eggs and rice.  The sauce was simple sauteed ginger, chili flakes & garlic in sesame oil, reduced with white wine, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, dash of splenda.  Very tasty results.

Will do a separate post for the Pork a l'Orange, as we just had it for dinner and it was awesome!

Most of the reworking was minor to accommodate dietary issues, so nothing earth shattering.

At home the highlights of the week were grilled & barbecued chicken breasts over tossed salad w/creamy peppercorn dressing and grilled french bread; beef tenderloin tips w/onions and peppers; arugula salad with blue cheese, toasted Marcona almonds, dried cranberries w/sherry vinaigrette; baby potato, green bean and pesto salad.  And tonight's dinner which will be the next post!

Here's a picture of the chicken over salad dish:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Searching for something different and easy to make for Father's Day breakfast I stumbled on Nigella's book: Nigella Express. I found a few recipes including and orange french toast that's now on my to be tried list.  But it was this recipe that caught my fancy.  What could be better than CROQUE MONSIEUR soaked overnight with eggs?  Yummy!  And also great leftover!  Reheated one in a non-stick pan w/a small amount of butter.  Since the bottom bread doesn't brown, it gives an opportunity for some caramelization of the egg side similar to french toast crust.  Also wrapped two pieces in foil and heated in oven for 10 minutes.  Both versions were tasty.  But the original on Sunday morning was awesome.

Here's the recipe:


Serving Size : 4  (makes six 1/2 sammies)

6 slices ready-sliced multigrain brown bread
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
6 slices Gruyère slices
3 slices ham
6 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons grated Gruyère -- Emmental or Cheddar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Spread each slice of bread with mustard. Make sandwiches by putting each slice of cheese against the mustardy bread, and a slice of ham between them. Cut each sandwich in half to make two triangles.
Squish the sandwich triangles into an ovenproof dish approx. 10 1/2 x 8 1/2 and 2 1/4 deep
Beat together the eggs, salt and milk pour over sandwiches
Cover the dish with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.
Next morning, preheat the oven to 400°f. Take the dish out of the fridge and remove the clingfilm.
Sprinkle with the grated cheese and Worcestershire sauce and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
"Like grilled ham and cheese baked in egg custard for a fantastic breakfast casserole!"

Here's a picture of the table:

The rest of the menu:
Home Fried Potatoes w/Onions & Red Peppers
Sugar-glazed Bacon
Date Nut Bread with Orange-scented Cream Cheese
Toasted Mini Bagels
Watermelon Sticks, Pineapple Chunks and Sliced Strawberries
Assorted Juices, Coffee & Tea
And of course, Joe's O's Nana's favorite cereal for the youngest grandson!

Breakfast was enjoyed by all and the RI Huff's went to da Bronx to attend the final game of the Subway Series, between the Yankees and the Mets--they go every year and have divided loyalty, so two root for the Mets and two for the Yankees! Very Democratic of them I think!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday Roundup

This week went by too quickly!  Cooking highlights were a new Rabbit recipe.  Used an English recipe for Rabbit and Leek Pie, but only made the stewed Rabbit with Leeks and added lemon zest & juice for the sauce.  It was very yummy! The rabbit was boneless, the first time I've dealt with boneless rabbit!  Most of the other dishes were repeats. 

At home we had the Veal Rolls! Double Yum and Nana asked for a Mario Batali dish she saw him produce on Rachel Ray's Show: Stuffed Manicotti with Beef.  I made a basic tomato sauce for it then prepared the beef ragu.  We cooled these and stored them overnight. Nana finished the recipe the next day for our dinner.  It was really good, I can't wait to make the Ragu again, so tasty.
I'm posting the cleaned up version of the recipe here.  There were a few issues with the recipe on the site, some typos and one major issue was that it told you to make the stuffing while you were heating the water for the pasta, meanwhile the stuffing needs to cook for 1 1 /2 hours!  So I rearranged the directions just a bit! Here's two pics of the process and plated:

On Friday we lunched in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with our Daughter @Dumont Burger we sat outside as it was a gloriously beautiful day, a tad warm but not scorching.  It was a great meal, Nana had the Mini Burger w/Fries; Tiff had the Chickpea Burger with Onion Rings and I had the Turkey Burger with Salad.  All were delicious. But the real star was the Fried Pickles we enjoyed for an appetizer:

After a walk of the neighborhood and a bit of shopping, we found our way to the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck!  Diets beware!  We tried three flavors-Mint Chip--Chocolate--Pistachio. All were perfect and refreshing! We had them in cups and no one spilled any on their clothes, therefore enjoying every last drop! Triple YUM!  It's just a good thing the truck doesn't come to our neighborhood, we'd embarrassingly be chasing it down the block!!

While I was at the Queens Health Food Emporium on Thursday, shopping for ingredients for my client, I saw the most gorgeous English Peas.  So on Friday Nana and I went back and bought a bunch along with Ricotta Cheese.  Came home and made Farfalle with Pea/Ricotta/Mint puree tossed with sauteed shallots and extra peas.  Served this as a side dish along side of grilled boneless chicken breast.  Here's the yummy picture:

Not a bad week for Foodies eh?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Chef

We watched the season premiere of Top Chef last night. I won't give away the loser in case you haven't watched it yet, but just a few comments on the overall.  First off I gotta say I'm so spoiled by watching shows on DVR that I kept wanting to fast forward through the commercials, which seem longer and longer all the time!  Anyone agree with this?

Secondly, a bit of a motley group, I must say!  Including an instructor from the Culinary Institute of America!  Should be an interesting season, egos are already defining themselves and show promise of lots of time will be wasted on stroking them!

Hopefully we'll get to see some inspiring cooking, not so much last night, not that they were awful, just a bit underwhelming.  The premise for elimination was to cook a dish that represents your hometown roots.  Some were way more successful representations while others were just all over the place!

Of course, I still admire anyone who is willing to put themselves and their food up to this challenge.  I'm quite happy to play armchair food critic!  Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be plenty more to chat about!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stuffed Veal Rolls

Such a yummy meal tonight.  Couldn't decide what to have and finally decided on Veal Picatta at the store.  Bought the Veal, Green Beans, Roma Grape Tomatoes and Shallots. But by the time I got home I'd decided to try something else.  So I started with the veal, pounded it out for easier rolling.  Sauteed a few chopped Portabello Mushroom caps, Shallots, Sun-dried Tomatoes in 2 teaspoons of oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. After that cooled I combined it with chopped Basil and Goat Cheese.  Seasoned the Veal pieces with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, placed a piece of Prosciutto on each and a dollop of the Goat Cheese mixture, rolled and secured with toothpicks.

Next, I browned the rolls in olive oil, probably a total of 5-6 minutes. 

Then I placed them in the oven while I prepped the sauce.  I used a jar of Acetum Cipolline Onions in Aceto Balsamic di Modena that we had purchased on our Italian Market trek in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. So my process was to add the drained onions to the pan, along with a squirt of Tomato Paste from a tube of double concentrated tomato paste. Deglazed with 1 cup white wine and reduced by 1/2 then added in the reserved balsamic vinegar liquid from the Cipolline

Added rolls back to pan with additional shreds of basil and simmered for a few minutes.

Meanwhile I sauteed another sliced shallot and a minced clove of garlic, tossed in blanched green beans, until the shallots are lightly caramelized.  Add halved cherry tomatoes and season to taste. Serve immediately or dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve room temp over a blend of baby lettuces for a great salad.

Here's our plated meal:

Very tender veal, lots of depth of flavor, the stuffing was permeated throughout the veal roll and the sauce was just acidic enough to complement the veal and the goat cheese.  Think I might leave out the Prosciutto and add chopped Pancetta to the saute of stuffing vegetables.  You could easily sub olives for the sun-dried tomatoes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baby Artichokes

Stumbled across them at the grocery store the other day and couldn't remember the recipe we had wanted to make with them but figured I'd find it somewhere in my collection of to be tried!

Turns out it was a Rachel Ray Recipe, we had seen her make on her daytime TV talk show.  It contained pancetta, so my ears perked up immediately!  The title to the recipe is: Springtime Spaghetti with Baby Artichokes and Herbs and can be found here.

I followed the recipe perfectly, I know, I know, highly unusual, but here's what I will do differently next time:  A little more wine and braise the chokes a little longer; peel them better left a few tough petals; saute some crushed red peppers along with the garlic.  And maybe a generous squeeze of lemon for brightness just when plating.  Otherwise it was a great meal!  Similar to a stir-fry, have all your ingredients prepped ahead lined up and ready to go. 

We enjoyed a few slices of thinly sliced whole wheat Ciabatta bread toasted, just like we had at lunch.  Nice meal for two with enough leftover for a lunch.

Sauteing the ingredients:


A Summery Sunday Lunch

Just like in the winter when I make the refrigerator frittata, in the summer I make refrigerator chunky salsa.  The chunks are really too big for dipping chips, so I like to use it over grilled meats or on top of greens for a salad. 

Today's produce on hand yielded Avocado, Mini Plum Tomatoes (larger than grape and cherry) Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, Parsley and Lime Juice. Added ingredients Kosher Salt, freshly Ground Black Pepper, splash of olive oil; pinch of sugar and a wee dash of Dried Ancho Chili Powder. Tossed everything together and let sit @ room temperature for 10 minutes.   Check taste for seasonings add as desired.  Served over mixed baby lettuces with two Melba Toast sized slices of Toasted Whole Wheat Ciabatta Bread. So refreshing!

Lots of great possibilities to add including Cucumbers, Jalapenos, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Fennel, Mango, Peaches, Pineapple, Papaya, Jicama, Tomatillos, whatever you like or have on hand!

Cilantro and Mint are also good herbs for this and it can be as hot as you like, smoked paprika gives a nice smokiness to it, use sparingly or go all hot and add a chopped Chipotle in Adobo with a small amount of the adobo sauce!

To make this a dinner meal add a piece of grilled chicken breast, sliced leftover grilled steak or even a piece of grilled fish, salmon, swordfish or shrimp!  When ever I'm in Rhode Island visiting family I'm always told that I don't make enough of this!  Last time I used 5 avocados and generous amounts of the rest of the ingredients!  Some are known for just taking the bowl out of the fridge and eating it with a fork, no accompaniments!  Tasty and healthy at the same time, in moderation of course!  Here's the pic:

Fridge Salsa Salad

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Roundup

Where oh where did this week go?  We came home from Rhode Island and haven't stopped since!  After a very hectic weekend recuperative sleep-in, Monday morning was spent, attaching the new wireless keyboard and mouse to the desktop computer, this involved rewiring the whole back of the computer desk, got rid of cables that were just hanging out from discarded equipment.  This all started because the cable guy moved the desk to repair our cable connection and the printer was unplugged in the process and the cords dropped behind the desk unobtainable after the desk was returned to it's normal position.  The good news is cabling is more efficient and all computer dust bunnies have been vacuumed away! The afternoon we rearranged the furniture and storage area of the Guest Bedroom.  We were preparing the space for the delivery of our newly purchased Elliptical Exercise Machine

This entailed moving the book shelf that was home to over 100 of my treasured cookbook collection and 3 years worth of Food Magazines!  This past December I culled the mags to a rotating 3 year plan. One year out when new year goes into the magazine boxes sorted by month.  It's been a good system, but honestly with the Internet who needs all these hard copies? 
My new process is to read the issue, dog ear any recipes I think might work for a client or personal test, then I gather all the magazines from a specific month and sit at the computer searching for them online.  Experience has taught me to wait at least a month and they all appear either on the magazine's site or someones blog! Once they are found I download them to Mastercook to be tested and tweaked and/or to be used for clients' menus.

So I took a deep breath and tossed 2007-2009 issues of most subscribable food magazines!  Ahhh, still feeling a bit light headed with withdrawal pangs!  But progress, needed to lighten up the room as well as the body!

We moved all the books onto shelves on another piece of furniture and then decided that that piece of furniture needed to be moved! Duh!  Unloaded the books and moved all the furniture then reloaded.  These books got more handling than they've had in years!

Meanwhile we were on the phone trying to determine the footprint of the elliptical machine, can you believe it's not listed on the web page for the manufacturer?  Next we called Dick's where we purchased it and the salesperson couldn't find a tape measure!  He called a few hours later and said he found a brochure and gave us the measurements.  We'd successfully cleared the right amount of space with extra. 

All this cleaning was as good as a workout, I was actually too exhausted to cook.  We decided to have Deli for dinner!

Tuesday, we cooked and made 3 new to me entrees:
  • Penne with Eggplant & Pesto with tomato sauce
  • Braised Chicken Thighs with Shallots
  • Turkey Sausage & White Bean "Cassoulet"
All three were amazing.  The Eggplant is cubed and roasted then tossed with homemade basil pesto.  This is then combined with Chef Jim's 20 minute tomato sauce.  Served with Penne it's a wonderful meaty, meatless, meal.
For the Braised Chicken Thighs I used boneless, skinless thighs and reduced the cooking time a bit.  The sauce is punched up with Dijon mustard, I'm thinking next time of using a tarragon mustard to give it a little more flavor.
The "Cassoulet" was tasty as written and so easy!
Side Dishes were:
  • Brown Rice Confetti;
  • Green Beans with Portobello Saute;
  • Fennel Layered with Potatoes and Bread Crumbs.

Wednesday the elliptical machine was delivered and assembled.  We both tried it out for 2 minutes each, still sore from Monday's moving activity!  Just wanted to get a feel for it.  I did another 5 minutes later in the day.  I can see that it'll take us some time to get up to the 30 minute workouts suggested.  But very excited about the low impact it will provide this old body!

Thursday I cooked in Manhattan:
  • Roasted Lemon/Garlic Chicken Legs;
  • Classic Beef Stew; 
  • Roasted Salmon with Orange Dill Sauce; 
  • Brown & Wild Rice Pilaf;
  • Roasted Slices of Japanese Yams with Dill;
  • Two Color Cauliflower Vegetable Medley.  

Our meals have been simple this week, Deli; Pasta w/Chef Jim's 20 minute tomato sauce;  Stir-fry Orange Pork & Broccoli; Roasted Chicken Sausage, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Garlic.

The highlight dish this week was dessert!  Nana made Lemon Pudding Cakes from Cuisine at home.  You can see the recipe and picture here.  These were delicious, pretty light as in not overly filling, great follower to the Stir-fry meal.  These will be added to the Tried N True list!  Check them out, very basic prep, we will add more blueberries next time, I'd like them in every bite, wondering if raspberries might be a good sub or maybe in addition to the blueberries!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Relay For Life

As mentioned earlier, we participated in the Relay for Life event in East Providence, RI Friday night.  As a survivor I was being honored by my Son, Daughter-in-law and two Grandsons who reside in East Providence.  They joined a team of friends and created a team called The Roadrunners (coincidentally my favorite cartoon character).  The latest numbers I heard were our team raised close to $9,000 and the East Providence chapter of the American Cancer Society reported that so far they have received $54,000 before the matching that some employers will be adding.  They believe they will exceed their goal of $60,000!  Very impressive. 

Here's a quick synopsis of the event:

It went very well, it was fantastic. We were one of many teams of course and called the Roadrunners! (my favorite cartoon character) We had one other survivor on our team and both of us were interviewed on ABC 6 the local Providence station. Turns out they were participating and sponsoring this year due to a producer losing her Father to Cancer, so the station covered the event for the first time in 7 years!

My teammate was a bit more shy about talking w/o getting choked up, but I was glad to speak out for her and for me and countless others who are survivors!

We did the opening survivor's lap then had caregivers join us for the second lap and I walked with my family specifically my Grandsons holding my hands! That was awesome!

My wife and I lasted until Midnight, we must have walked about 40 laps, especially enjoyed the luminary silent lap which we walked with a bagpiper and drummer playing! Very emotional!

My family remained all night! We had planned to return early in the a.m. and attend at least two or three of the special laps in the morning before the closing ceremonies. It was held on a beautiful football field 3 blocks from my son's house so it was going to be a pleasant walk there in the cool of the a.m. However @6 a.m. we had a terrible thunder storm that woke us up and we ended up not leaving the house. They told the remaining participants to leave that it wasn't safe under their tents with the lightening, but it was raining so hard they couldn't really pack and go. They all ended up huddling in the concrete restrooms away from the chance of lightning strikes. Around 8 a.m. they were able to drive their cars onto the track surrounding the field and load up and leave. My son texted me that they'd be home in 20 minutes and I answered him to bring coffee and eats as we had no electricity! He had to drive to the next town to get Dunkin' Donuts and got the last 2 croissants and a couple of donuts! Seems others had the same idea and their first choice Dunkin' was hit by the same outage!

We enjoyed our participation and won't have the final figures regarding which team won for a few days! Our team raised a lot selling luminaries, procuring pledges from family and friends, selling stars, and having 6 great raffles! I believe my DIL said they added over $900 during the event to their original figure of over $7000!

All in all, it was a very rewarding experience.  We had a celebratory party at my son's house Saturday night!  Guess who cooked?

Nana and I made a wonderful meal that everyone enjoyed immensely.  Here's the menu:

Homemade Avocado Salsa & assorted jarred salsas and chips

Roasted Beef Tenderloin w/Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Honey Glazed Chicken Wings

Grilled Hamburgers & Hot Dogs


Pasta Salad with toasted garlic vinaigrette

Marinated Mozz balls w/roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil

Corn & Baby Zucchini Toss

Warmed Baguettes

Desserts provided by guests:

Strawberry Short Cake

Assorted Cheese Cake slices

Ice Cream Sundaes

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Picture is of the Beef and Wine Sauce: There were NO leftovers!

Friday, June 04, 2010


Today we are in Rhode Island for the Relay for Life event in East Providence, So I'm suspending the roundup for this week.  Will report more on the weeke
nd events later! 

Remember to support your local events for the American Cancer Society so we can celebrate more birthdays and less losses!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Greek Meal on Northern Blvd!

We had dinner plans with our daughter and son-in-law tonight and she suggested we try a restaurant she's passed a million times not far from their apartment.  We went to Sala on Northern Boulevard in Auberndale, Queens.  The approach to the restaurant is very odd the building looks like a large house with a grand entrance and a walled courtyard in front.  As you enter through the open iron gates you realize that the courtyard is set up for outdoor dining.  A server met us and asked if we preferred to eat indoors or out.  We chose to eat out as it was a wonderful low humidity evening in Queens.  We sat a a table for four near the staircase that led to the interior sections of the restaurant. 

We perused the menu and noticed many things we'd enjoy.  They have a page of 10 for 10.  They have ten of their entrees available for $10 and will add an appetizer platter of cheese pies and house salad for an additional $4.95.  We chose to order appetizers and share.  First lesson: their appys are similarly priced to their entrees and as it turns out they are huge servings.  We shared a plate of mussels, a sampling of 5 traditional cold spreads w/grilled pita triangles, eggplant and zucchini chips and grilled portabella mushrooms over field greens.  Every dish was outstanding and way more food than we expected.  I was figuring that the entrees had to be smaller!  Wrong! 

Our entrees were another plate of Mussels with the tomato/feta sauce and orzo; Lemon Chicken; Shishkebob; Pastichio.  The food was tasty, beautifully plated and abundant.  All but the mussels had a side of rice.  We had the leftovers wrapped to go.  After a lengthy discussion we determined there was very little room for dessert.  But one baklava and some coffees were in order.  By the time the waiter returned to take our order somehow we were ordering yogurt with black cherries and honey.

When our waiter returned to the table he had 4 desserts!  He announced to us that two were on the house!  We shared them, even though we said we didn't need them!  So we had Chocolate Mousse cake and Apple Strudel that were both out of the world, now the two we ordered were excellent and met their expectations but these two tasted were wonderful additions, took home the balance of the chocolate and the baklava.

They have a short wine list with some excellent choices, and a majority of them available by the glass.  A special drink list had a nice variety including the Mojito that was enjoyed by our daughter.
I did glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and Nana had Malbec.  Son-in-law indulged in his once a year Heineken.  It was a great evening, good company great food, good service, perfect surroundings, great weather, what more could you ask for?

Our plan to return includes drinks and tons of appetizers!  And maybe share an entree!  Went on our own volition without and preconceived notions, no read reviews in hand or recommendations of previous diners. This always makes it a great find! 

Go, enjoy, be prepared to bring food home!!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Off Topic: Relay for Life

Just a little off topic here, but you may notice I've added the badge for Relay for Life to the blog.

As a Cancer survivor (Prostate 2001) I have been honored twice in Relay For Life events.  Once with my daughter Tiffany's, restaurant Uno's in Fort Totten.  And once in Rhode Island with the whole RI Huff's family participation.  This year is a little different in that I am proudly attending the relay in RI with the RI Huff's.  We are looking forward to doing the relay walks throughout the night!  The event is this coming Friday, June 4th. The RI Huff's have been very instrumental in raising money for this event on their local front and have made me very proud!

I truly believe that there are very few people who haven't been touched, in some way, by this disease and we need to do everything we can to improve the survivor rate along with preventing Cancer altogether!

These lyrics from Melissa Etheridge resonant with me so much:

  "It`s a blur since they told me about it

How the darkness had taken its toll

And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body

But they will never get a piece of my soul

And now I`m still learning the lesson

To awake when I hear the call

And if you ask me why I am still running

I`ll tell you I run for us all"

So I'm just here to say that I'm hoping everyone, who has or has not been touched by the big C, can do something to help this cause.  If you wish to contribute via the Relay for Life Event, you can go here!

Thanx for reading and for doing whatever you can to help this cause.  We need to raise our voices and battle this disease!

Ravioli Mishap

I've been inspired to try my hand a pasta-making again and decided to try Ravioli.  Everyone on TV makes pasta like it's nothing, so I figured it was time (once again) to get into the game.  Got out my copy of Lidia's Family Table and reread the section on making the dough in the food processor.  Then proceeded to review her instructions for making large ravioli.  Picked a great filling recipe from Giada De Laurentiis with Prosciutto, Spinach, and Ricotta. Made the dough and wrapped it up and stored in the fridge.  Later, pulled it out made a quick tomato sauce and the filling.  Nana helped by setting up the dining room table for production.  Dug out the hand cranking pasta machine and proceeded to prove easy is not my strong suit! 

Created 20 LARGE ravioli, mind you no two were the same size!  Added them to the boiling water and waited for them to float to the top.  Selected the best looking 8 and sauced them up in pasta bowls and served with Poached Pear and Arugula Salad w/Champagne Pear Vinaigrette.  These ravioli were visually an abomination to the Italian Culinary World!  They didn't taste awful, they just weren't perfectly shaped and delicate as they should be!  So that's the story, sad, funny looking ravioli in the bowls and I wouldn't let Nana snap a picture!  Was afraid someone else would see them!  Stay tuned, I'm determined to get it right, someday!  Then there will be beautiful pictures!  Meanwhile enjoy the salad picture!