Monday, December 29, 2008
Creamy Mushroom Phyllo Triangles
courtesy Cooking Light
This elegant appetizer takes a couple of hours to make, but you can do all the preparation ahead of time. Don't fold triangles too tightly or the mixture will burst through the phyllo. Assemble and freeze up to two weeks before the party. Don't thaw the triangles before baking; just add seven minutes to the baking time.
3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 3/4 ounce)
1 pound button mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
24 (18 x 14-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
Cover porcini mushrooms with boiling water in a bowl. Let stand 1 hour. Drain well; chop.
Place half of button mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 8 times or until finely chopped. Remove from processor. Repeat procedure with remaining button mushrooms. Add onion to processor; pulse 8 times or until finely chopped.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add button mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates (about 10 minutes). Stir in porcini mushrooms, oregano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts. Stir in parsley.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying). Cut sheet in half lengthwise; lightly coat with cooking spray. Fold each phyllo piece in half lengthwise to form a (3 1/2-inch-wide) strip. Spoon a level tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto 1 short end of each strip, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold 1 corner of edge with 1-inch border over mixture, forming a triangle; continue folding back and forth into a triangle to end of strip. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, cooking spray, and mushroom mixture. Place triangles, seam side down, on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat tops with cooking spray.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
Chill the Champagne and juice in the refrigerator before the party; then mix the punch right before serving. I actually mixed everything except the champagne in separate gallon sized zip-top baggies. That way, when I needed to mix another pitcher, everthing was good to go!
1 (750-milliliter) bottle Champagne, chilled
3 cups cranberry-apple juice, chilled
1/4 cup thawed white grape juice concentrate
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Stir together all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher.
Serve in Champagne flutes.
1/2 pound imported Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cherry brandy, such as kirsch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard Pinch nutmeg Assorted dippers
In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then discard.
Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in cherry brandy, mustard and nutmeg.
Arrange an assortment of bite-sized dipping foods on a lazy Susan around fondue pot. Serve with chunks of French and pumpernickel breads. Some other suggestions are Granny Smith apples and blanched vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and asparagus. Spear with fondue forks or wooden skewers, dip, swirl and enjoy!
(not sure where this recipe came from, it's just in my files and happens to be our fav :) )
16 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. caramel syrup/ice cream topping
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
Slowly melt together all ingredients over a double boiler. Once all items are fully combined, serve and enjoy! Some dippers may include bananas, strawberries, pretzel sticks, pound cake, angel food cake, marshmellows, green apples.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
1 large garlic clove, pressed
Take the 2 parts of one half next to each other and slice into thin pieces 1/8" thick.
Repeat until potatoes are all sliced. Dump into a bowl of cold water.
This particular cake plate is challenging b/c the bottom also has a lip on it. Good for keeping the cake fresh, bad for the person who wants to frost. So, I lay a few bits of parchment around the edges and then put the dome on to press the parchment into the plate. This helps stabilize the paper so I can easily throw the first layer onto the plate.
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup whipped cream
1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup cranberry juice
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/3 cup Canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon red food coloring
A few tbsp of flour
2 8 oz packages cream cheese
For the cake:
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Tonite's assignment was to jazz up the boring, old chicken breast.
I happened across this particular recipe in my ages old "To Try" pile that has been languishing in the back of my file cabinet.
I have no idea where this particular recipe came from, so if you do, let me know! I'd love to give someone credit for this wonderfully savory chicken recipe. Not only is it tasty and looks great, but it's also a snap to make!
Parmesan Dijon Chicken
2 chicken breasts
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp white wine
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. panko
1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Combine mustard, wine and salt in one bowl and the panko, parmesan and pepper in another. Dip chicken in mustard mixture, then dredge through panko mixture. Place in greased baking dish (one w/a rack inside is preferable so the bottom gets crispy as well) and bake at 400 degrees for approx. 30-35 minutes.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Living here in RiVA for the past 5 years, I've heard pretty much all of the scuttlebutt surrounding Zu's. Words like 'dump', 'dive', 'surly', 'attitude', 'churlish' and 'fractious' have all been thrown around.
Being a Zu neophyte and having heard these stories, I was touched with a tad bit of mild apprehension about my lunch today. My anxiety was all for naught. Certainly, all of the aforementioned appellations apply. However, 'heavenly', 'delightful', 'authentic','charming', and 'intoxicating' would be appropriate as well.
Richmond, I get it. Many times I don't, but this time, I really, really do. Ours was a simple lunch, not too many folks up in the joint and one of our party almost got stabbed when she requested her entree they forgot after the rest of us had already finished. (Well, she didn't really almost get stabbed, but I feel a strong moral imperative to help hold up the fearsome urban legends swirling around MZ's). But I get it.......there's just this vibe. No other way to explain it. Oh, and the pasta! My lord.......
We ordered the white pizza, penne gorgonzola, spaghetti carbonara and the fabulous pasta w/sausage, broccoletti and ricotta. The white pizza was exploding with roasted garlic flavor. The smell overpowered the restaurant as it was being made (no complaints here however, as my enthusiasm for garlic knows no bounds).
If you haven't gone, I encourage you to go. All the things you've heard are true and make for a unique and revered Richmond experience. Get thee to Zu's, pronto!
** I would also like to add, that without any prompting or threat of physical violence, the manager took 1/2 off of my friend's dish that had been forgotten.
Richmond, VA 23220
Thursday, October 30, 2008
We arrived for our 7 o'clock seating and the restaurant was about half full. We were allowed to choose our table, which I thought was nice, so we situated ourselves next to the quiet, empty bar area. The decor itself was warm and modestly elegant with chippendale style chairs at all the tables, silver candle lamps and white table cloths. Overall, 1 North Belmont does a good job at creating a quiet, cozy, romantic environment. The wait staff is kind and gracious, albeit a little stiff. The restaurant never did completely fill or feel busy.
Since the evening had a touch of chill, the hubs and I opted for soup as our first course. An inspired choice indeed! Hubs had the seafood bisque. Apparently, it was so good, his vocal chords were paralyzed until he was finished. :) I ordered the butternut squash soup. The serving staff came out w/a soup tureen for each of us and ladled our soup, steaming hot and fresh, right before our eyes. Hubs soup was served over crab meat and chive, my bowl appeared w/candied pear and creme fraiche in the bottom. I have to say, my butternut squash soup tasted like a bowl full of Thanksgiving and was truly lovely.
For dinner, hubs ordered the steak au poivre, which was perfectly cooked and tender. I ordered the Sole Meuniere, which was fileted tableside. And it was quite a show! In silence, for what felt like an hour, we watched the waiter pull 4 filets off of the Sole with 2 large tablespoons. This was not a $49 worth show. That's right, you read that right, the Sole was $49. Hubs steak was $46. So, I will state at this point unabashedly that our meal was VERY overpriced. Granted, our meals were good, but each of our entrees, in my humble opinion, should not have cost over $35 each. The fish was decent, but not noteworthy.
Once the entrees were consumed, hubs and I decided to head off to Can Can for post-dinner drinks and dessert. I would like to mention as I perused the Can Can menu, I noted that their Sole Meuniere cost $23.50. Which, I believe is much more reasonable for this dish. Our meal at 1 North Belmont which included bottled water, 1 glass of Austrian Pinot Noir, 2 soups and 2 entrees was $150. Yes, you read that right...........$150.
Hubs and I agreed that we appreciated the atmosphere of 1 North Belmont more for our occasion b/c it was without the bustle, clatter and general cacophony always heard echoing from the rafters of Can Can. But, bottom line, we believe we paid way too much for our meal. I would however, recomment 1 North Belmont as the starting point for a Girls Nite Out. Or an end. You could have soup(which is quite filling by itself) and champagne or dessert and champagne up at the bar. But, we will probably not be back for a special occasion.
*Addendum: Recently, we made travel plans for Vegas (12/08). I'm doing a little research on Bouchon and it starts to dawn on me. Bouchon, THOMAS KELLER'S CREATION, is more reasonably priced than 1 North Belmont. It literally almost makes me want to tell people to never go to 1 North, just on principle.
1 North Belmont
1 N Belmont Ave
Richmond, VA 23220
Monday, October 20, 2008
I'd also like to note the service- friendly, responsive and every course was to the table, piping hot within minutes. Top notch and unbeaten in my experiences dining around Richmond. This is obviously a restaurant that cares about it's patronage and I, for one, will be back even though our entrees fell a little flat this first visit. B/c overall, Avenue 805 has all the characteristics of what I look for in a "regular" place. :)
Richmond, VA 23220
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I hope you get to make and enjoy this!
B's Bohemia Chili
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 bottle of Bohemia beer
Smoked Spanish Paprika
Chipotle Chili Powder
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatos w/jalapeno
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This past Sunday I went a-brunching with my ladies. A big part of brunch for me would be the beverages. Two complaints here-- bloodies at Millie's are neither tasty enough, nor do they have any heat, the mimosa's are extremely acidic and left me with indigestion. (And this is saying a LOT b/c I have an iron stomach).
I had the Huevos Rancheros, which were tasty enough, but nothing to write home about. And the "salsa" on top was actually super chunky and akin to pico de gallo. Others in my party had the breakfast burrito, eggs benedict served on a croissant and cheddar biscuits with gravy. The biscuits and gravy disappeared off of my friend's plate at light speed, so I take that to mean she enjoyed them. :) The eggs bene on a croissant got rave reviews, I have decided I will have to go back to try this. And lastly, the burrito, there was a bit of a scuffle over this particular item.
Normally, my friend is offered(by her regular waiter which we did not have on this day) to add eggs to her breakfast burrito. This particular Sunday morning, that did not happen, so my friend asked for eggs to be added. She was told a flat, "no." Granted, the sign upfront does say- "no substitutions" and that always puts the fear of God into me to not to have a "When Harry Met Sally" moment. But, since the precedent was set for my friend that she could have eggs, she was taken aback. And then sullen. I daresay it almost ruined our fun brunch. As a consolation prize we did get toast and apologies later.
I will say the coffee and potatos are great. And if you've ever read any of my other reviews, these are the 2 most important criteria in my opinion of a breakfast/brunch place.
In all, it was ok. Was it worth an hour wait? In my opinion, no. My preference for brunch in this town so far is for Can Can or Kitchen 64 (AWESOME bloody mary's).
2603 E Main St
Richmond, VA 23223
Friday, September 26, 2008
Tip from B: Someone should really rethink this brand name:
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
2 tspn tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 small onion, chopped (or half a medium)
1 small stalk celery, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In closing, I would like to go back and try a few main course items to get an overall feel for the food again. I am sad that the chopped salad is gone, I really used to look forward to having it.
As far as The National, it did not disappoint! I am, by self-definition "old" (btw- over 30 does = old ;) ) and therefore like to sit down while enjoying a few hours of music. Our group was very lucky to find a handful of seats together on the upper deck/balcony.
Otherwise, it was standing room only on the floor and packed from corner to corner. They have a bar upstairs and down that have easy access and pretty good service, considering the amount of folks they are serving. The upper deck has bathrooms located in the back hallway, so you don't have to go all the way back downstairs to hit the ladies/gents (*I mention this b/c it's such a luxury. If you've ever been to The Riv in Chicago, you know what I mean!)
To quote my husband, "The Richmond Canal tour is worth $5, but not 6.........." Sunday, after Hanna, was a beautiful, clear, no-humidity day. So in all, a lovely day to tour the canal. Of course we got there 1 minute past the time the first tour was heading out. So, we bought our tickets and opted to saunter up to Stool Pigeons for a Mimosa while we waited for the next tour to come around.
My father-in-law had his heart set on the boat tour of the Naval base in Norfolk. And as luck would have it, Hanna blew through on Saturday. So then, the following Monday when we went to Norfolk, it was gorgeous. The tour itself is $15 and 2 hours long. Basically, 1 hour of a tour out and 1 hour listening to a random selection of songs on your way back to port.
The tour boat itself (above) has an air conditioned cabin below and a canvas covered deck above. With a little shade and a breeze, our journey was quite pleasant. However, I couldn't care less about the tour. I'm like, "Oh! There's a big grey boat! Annnnnnnnnnnd another big great boat.......oh. and a big.grey.boat." *Yawn!* *Insert fork in my eye* And let's be honest, Norfolk is not the most pleasant of waterfronts to behold, no matter how useful it may be. ;)
I was astounded ,however, at the 90 million ton Disney cruise ship they had suspended in dry dock.
The high point of my day, as per usual, was lunch. We ended up at local watering hole, Hell's Kitchen. Hubs and I both agree that if we lived in Norfolk, this would be our local joint. One of their recent fun "events" was "80's Prom Nite." The menu, as expected, is hot, hot, hot! I ordered the buffalo flounder sandwich. It was lite, crispy and melted in my mouth. The side of "fries" are more like rounds or home fries. The rest of our table ordered the buffalo chicken cheesesteak and the crabcake sandwich. Fries all around.
Silence ensued upon delivery of our order. Except for an occasional head nod and reflexive, "Mmmmmmm........." The verdict is that we would all go back any day to eat ourselves silly.
On a side note, we walked down to Waterside. Basically b/c it was there and the inlaws had never seen it. After popping in, I'm wondering why we thought they NEEDED to see it, other than the fact it was right next to where our tour boat docked. What a pit. Seriously, why am I going to Joe's to order CHAIN seafood when I'm sitting right on a hotbed of local seafood restaurants that are Xinfinity more worth patronizing? It really ticked me off to see all the chains, but I should've known better than to go in there, so I deserve what I get I suppose :)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that Very Good Taste from the UK thinks every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you don’t recognize everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.
Here’s the deal:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (mine are in green b/c it's hard to see bold on a black background)
3) Red out any items that you would never consider eating.
Here is my list (with a few comments thrown in):
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (at the Ritz in Chicago)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (do Jello shots count?)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects(I have to confess, my ant was covered in chocolate)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV(thank you trucker friend who brings back Canadian beer!)
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs (my uncles caught the frogs and made these for me as a child)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. (like RCF&W-- I consider Charlie Trotter's to be sufficient)
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Monday, September 8, 2008
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)*
from Brandon Eats
2 TB. olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 double-sized cubes (like Knorr) chicken bouillon
4 cups hot water
2 very large pinches saffron (lightly toasted in a small pan ahead of time)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 c. Bomba rice or Aborio rice
1 lb. real SPANISH chorizo, sliced into 1/2” rounds (NO SUBSTITUTIONS)
6-8 pieces of chicken, skinned, rinsed and patted dry
Sauté the garlic, red pepper, and onion over medium heat in large, wide cast-iron skillet until soft and fragrant. Add the chicken and sauté until golden brown. Dissolve bouillon in hot water; stir in tomato paste; add to pan. Sprinkle with saffron and stir. Add rice and chorizo; bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering with the pan covered.
Cook slowly until all of the liquid is gone (20 to 30 minutes: keep a close eye on it), and the rice is cooked.
* Mine cooked for about 45 minutes in this instance.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
My mother-in-law can rock out some salsa y'all! This was our dinner tonite after a day of touring the city of Richmond. And man, it hit the spot! Viva la Texas! ;) We hit up the Bodega Latina on Broad St. around the corner from my house and I have to share that their tomatos cost half of what Kroger charges and were twice as ripe! Their jalepenos had awesome kick that really made our salsa sing.
My MIL and I made a discovery together tonite. Both of us had added canned, diced tomatos to salsa in the past to "red" it up. I only had crushed plum tomatos in my pantry, so we added those, it turned out delicious, much to our delight! It sweetened up the salsa and gave it an amazing color and texture.
I topped everything off with a Carta Blanca. It's basically the Miller Lite of Mexican beers and my all time favorite summer beer.
1 large, very ripe tomato
4 smallish jalepenos, seeded & deveined
14 oz crushed, roma/plum tomatos
Juice of half a lime
Pinch of salt & pepper (to taste)
1/4 of a small onion
2 large cloves of garlic
Throw everything in the food processor and let 'er rip!
I've been "test driving" lasagna recipes for years, but none of them seemed to hit the "just right" button in my mouth. So, recently, I combined 2 great recipes to make what I think is a knock out 5 layer combination. I hope you try it and think so too!
I will also typically buy the short and deep tin lasagna pan from the grocery store for ease of clean up. So, take that into account as far as amount of ingredients, height of layers etc.
So, for the sauce, I was inspired by Ina's Turkey Lasagna. For the cheese mixture, I was inspired by Rachel's Special Occasion Lasagna. I ended up adding a ton more mozzarella and parmesan along the way, so here we go!
PS-- This recipe has now officially set the landspeed record in our house for fastest disappearing lasagna ever! We only had 2 pieces leftover after the first round and they were consumed asap the following day. I think this recipe might be a keeper! ;)
5 Layer Lasagna for Company
1 large lasagna pan
1 lb box lasagna noodles (will need 15 noodles total)
1 lb bag of part skim mozzarella
3/4 cup small curd low fat cottage cheese, drained
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup (6 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 1 1/2 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (roma/plum)
3 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tspn kosher salt
3/4 tspn freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, only 1 or 2 minutes less than directed.
Mix up items for cheese mixture (using only a 1/4 c. parm) and set aside.
Heat oil in large pan or dutch oven, add onion and garlic. Cook/sweat for approx. 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add turkey sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add tomatos, tomato paste, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
To assemble Lasagna:
Layer a ladle of sauce on the bottom of your lasagna pan. Lay three noodles, lengthwise across pan. Add two ladels of sauce on top of noodles. Add a ladle and a half of cheese mixture and then a handful+ of mozzarella. Repeat. Be sparing w/sauce and cheeses and you will want to have 5 layers when you are done. For the top and final layer, merely ladle the sauce that is left across the noodles and top with mozzarella cheese and remaining 3/4 c. of parmesan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until browned at the edges and bubbly. Enjoy!
1. He was a red-head
2. He was a lefty
3. He had the soul of an artist and a poet
4. He was the original American "foodie" (thanks for reminding me of the obvious joelen! lol!)
If you guessed this is really not a food related post, you'd almost be correct. :) I didn't eat anything at Monticello (unless you count the pack of Lance crackers I consumed while taking in the view), but I do have a few culinary references for you. I'll try and let the pics do most of the talking.
If you haven't been here, I highly encourage you to go anytime between April and October on a cool clear day. You'll feel like you're standing on the edge of the universe looking at a 360 degree view of the shenandoah valley.
During Jefferson's time, his house was considered the "curiousity of the neighborhood" as it did not embody the Georgian characteristics of the day. The kitchen was also not in a separate building, but underneath the house, with the cook's room being right next door:
There are benches all along "Mulberry Row" (a row of mulberry's on the top terrace above the garden level) that you can park on to enjoy the amazing view.
He also kept fruit orchards which are still tended.
Thomas Jefferson has been described as America's "first distinguished viticulturist," and "the greatest patron of wine and winegrowing that this country has yet had."