Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of My Favorite Meals of the Year

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, and since I've waited so long, you only have one more chance to get this meal: this Saturday.

We like to go to Golden's Farmers Market on Saturdays--the last one is this weekend, until next year. There is a tortilla stand there that sells tortillas and frozen tamals and meals, including quesadillas, burritos, tacos, and my favorite: pupusas. Pupusas are from El Salvadore and are a thick corn-based tortilla or flat bread, stuffed with goodness. I prefer the pork and cheese-filled ones from this stand. They serve it with a side of salsa and a salad of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and chiles.

Get your pupusa (or other treat--I've tried the burritos, tamals, and quesadillas, and they're all good) to go. Then hop on over to nearby Golden City Brewery, where you can order a beer and sit at one of the picnic tables with your lunch. Recently they've had a seasonal brew that I adore called Golden Gose. Gose beer is a beer I'd never heard of--a wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. GCB serves it with a shot of raspberry. Sounds gross, but is delicious! Truthfully, I can't taste the coriander and salt really, but the beer is light and perfect for a summer's day--it doesn't even really taste like beer. And it just happens to pair with the pupusas perfectly.

Another great thing about this perfect meal is that you can take the kids. Mine get hot dogs from the Farmers Market and buy a juice or pop at GCB. There's even a wooden train for the kids to play on at GCB. My boys love it.

In my picture of my perfect meal, you can see the wipes we brought for the kids and even a juice bag (or joosh bag, as we like to call them) in the upper corner. Shown here is my delicious pupusa with salsa and salad spread all over it--the best way to eat it, a pint of Golden Gose and some samples of other brews, which GCB is always happy to let you have.


So get on over there this Saturday! Maybe you'll see me.

ETA: and here are pictures from the last weekend (pardon the fuzzy camera phone quality). Gose is probably still available at GBC, so you can still check it out. I talked to the woman at the pupusa stand and she said they want to open a restaurant but don't know where or even what it will be called. So hopefully they'll be back at Golden Farmers Market next year.



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sour Cream Peach Pecan Pie


This pie is SO good! We had the best dinner last night. I spent all afternoon cooking, but it was worth it. We had a roast chicken, roast potatoes, broccoli with a dijon vinaigrette (plus I put up the half bushel of peaches we bought in Palisade), and for dessert this pie.

The picture above is from the Taste of Home recipe link. My pie did NOT look pretty, but who cares when it tastes so good.

Sour Cream Peach Pecan Pie


Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
4 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tablespoons peach preserves
1 cup sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter


Line a 9-in. pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges.

In a large bowl, combine peaches and preserves. Transfer to pastry. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, flour and vanilla. Pour over peaches.

Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the flour, sugars, pecans and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over pie. Cover edges of crust to prevent overbrowning.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and topping is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack for 3 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

I've had a favorite recipe for a "peaches and cream" pie, but this one will be replacing it. It's definitely one of my top pies now.

Picky 7 year old wouldn't eat it, but the 5 year old had two helpings. I wanted two, but controlled myself!

Colorado Mountain Winefest

Last weekend B and I went to the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade as an early celebration for our anniversary (11 years on 10/2). We did this as a sort of follow up to our big 10 year anniversary trip to Napa/Sonoma last year.

It was packed! This will give you a little sense of the crowds.


This display of t-shirts gave me a giggle.


There were 52 wineries there each with numerous wines to sample. It was overwhelming! We hit the first table and tried each wine. We did the same at the second table. Then we realized that this strategy was not going to work--in fact it was a recipe for disaster! So from then on we only tasted award winners and wines that caught our eye. And we still tasted a lot. We also dumped anything we didn't immediately like. I hate the thought of wasting wine, but I was a dedicated dumper. I don't even know how much wine we must have consumed and dumped--bottles probably. By the end of the day we were definitely wined out. A good way to be! The festival was great for people watching too--especially as the day wore on. I generally hate crowds, but I didn't seem to mind it this day. I guess the wine put me in a good mood.

In our opinion--which is certainly not terribly knowledgeable, we just know what we like--Colorado does white, sweeter wines well, like Rieslings and Gewurztraminers. It does not do reds so well. The only red we bought was from Denver's own Balistreri winery. We ended up coming home with 15 bottles (3 were a gift). More on those later in this post.

On Friday, we visited St. Kathryn Cellars and Confre cellars (in the same building), the first tasting room off the road. It was the only one we went to before the festival, because we got to Palisade just a few minutes before 5 pm. The wines there were not our favorite, and they seemed to focus on fruit flavored wines, which I'm usually not too fond of. But there were a lot of wines to taste, so it's worth a stop if you're in Palisade.

We stayed in Grand Junction and tried a few restaurants in GJ and Palisade, but none that really excited us. On Friday, we tried Inari's in Palisade. The high point was sitting at our table under an umbrella in a hail storm (and sunny!). We were excited by the sample menu online which included "Southern Fried ½ Rabbit With edamame succotash and potato" and a "Colorado Leg of Lamb Braised for 9 hours with tomatoes and red wine." Yum! But the current menu had nothing like this and was fairly uninspired. B got a ho hum pasta bolognese and I got an even more ho hum fish cake dish. Here's my cutie:


And our calamari starter. It was okay. That "aioli" next to it tasted a lot like thousand island. That's a Colorado wine next to it, of course!


B's half eaten bolognese. I never got around to taking a picture of my dish. You can see the hail in this pic, which is why I'm posting, since it's not a particularly pretty table pic.


After we hit the town of Palisade. First we stopped at Peach Street Distillers, where they make all manner of booze: vodka, gin, brandies, and Colorado's first bourbon. They make everything from Olathe sweet corn. You can sample their wares and buy a number of mixed drinks, which they quaintly serve in jars. B had a bloody mary and I had a gin drink. Here you can see our drinks and the brewing casks (is that what they're called?).


This is not the best quality picture, but it shows the distillery's kitty, who was very friendly.


Check out these gorgeous bottles of pear and peach brandy. Yes, that's a pear in the bottle. There's grappa pictured too. The pear tasted like it needed to develop a bit more, but I think it will be quite good. And that bottle is beautiful! Look for the handmade beads in the shape of pears and peaches hanging from the bottle.


Here's the Colorado Straight Bourbon, "Colorado's first bourbon," also with a handmade bead. I bought a bottle.


As you can see, the distillery made me very happy.


The bar tender was very friendly and suggested we go meet her boyfriend who was tending bar at Palisade Brewery just a few buildings over. The beer there was quite good. Like the dragon decoration?



Later that evening we checked out 626 on Rood in Grand Junction for some late night snacks. The lighting was bad so I didn't get worthwhile pictures and the service was lacking, but the snacks were tasty. We got the seared Foie Gras with caramelized blood orange and Cointreau Noir sauce--the sauce was a little too sweet, but otherwise it was a good dish--and the cheese fries with white truffle oil and French sea salt--hard to ruin those and they most certainly did not. Yum!

On Saturday evening (after the festival), we went to Bin 707 Food and Wine, where we did NOT have any wine (we were actually sick of it). It was okay.

On Sunday, we visited wineries. We started out with a tasting at Whitewater Hill Vineyards. We particularly liked their Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, and Zero Below, which I believe is an ice wine.

We then headed to Carlson Vineyards Winery.


My mom had asked me to buy them some of their Laughing Cat Riesling, saying it's one of the only wines my dad likes. It is really quite good, but I thought their Laughing Cat Gewurztraminer was fabulous. They had kitties in the winery too!

I know I said earlier that I don't generally like fruit flavored wines, but I really liked their Cherry Wine, which is made with pie cherries and tastes like it. They served it in a glass whose rim was dipped in chocolate and together they were just like chocolate covered cherries! They sold the wine with or without some meltable chocolate from Enstroms. I bet you can guess which one I bought.

We headed over to Plum Creek Winery, where we got a nice tour in addition to the tasting. Our tour guide, who takes care of the wines (can't remember what the title is), was really knowledgeable and was so nice. We joined the tour late and after he took just the two of us and "re-did" what we missed. Now that's some service!


I got some pictures of the vines and grapes too. That background scenery sure is different from California wine country.




Last but not least, we visited Garfield Estates winery, a small but lovely little place. Here's B here, showing his love for wine:


On our way out of town, we stopped at one of the roadside "stands" and bought a half bush of peaches (which I just put up today), some peach syrup, and some honey. This is from another stand down the road, but it was just too cute.


And last, but not least, a very Colorado picture of B at a rest stop we stopped at in Eagle. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of the aspens! But they were in full swing. Gorgeous! It was a great weekend. Happy anniversary (early), honey!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another food memoir and another francophile book. I swear I've never been a real francophile, but I've read so many books focusing on Paris lately that I think I'm turning into one. It's just a coincidence too.

I listened to this book on CD and really enjoyed the reader, which is very important. The book is the memoir of a woman who leaves the advertising world (not by choice) and realizes her dream of studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She does all 3 "courses:" basic, intermediate, and superieur. Great food writing and an engrossing memoir.

My only complaint is that the recipes seemed to be after thoughts. I suspect she couldn't use Le Cordon Bleu recipes due to copywright issues, but she could have tied in some of the recipes better. Some made sense with the chapter, some did not. Also, she seemed to use her book to "get back" at a few people she didn't like: difficult house guests, a competitive fellow student, etc. It seemed a little petty.

But I heartily recommend the book.

View all my reviews >>

Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire: A Novel

Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire: A Novel Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire: A Novel by Margot Berwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this odd book about a woman who meets strange men who deal in plants and teach her about spirituality, love, and life. One sells her her first plant the other owns a laundromat, in which the floor is covered in moss, the washers and dryers covered in grass, and the place filled with plants. Together, they manage to send her to Mexico to obtain the Nine Plants of Desire.

Weird and grossly entertaining.

View all my reviews >>

Pasta with Bacon and Summer Vegetables


This recipe from Cooking Light has been a hit in our house (except for the picky 7 year old). The original recipe never mentions returning the bacon to the recipe--a MUST!

Cavatappi with Bacon and Summer Vegetables


8 ounces uncooked pasta like cavatappi or farfalle (I used the latter because it's what I had on hand)
4 slices center-cut bacon, chopped (sneak in an extra slice and you'll be happier)
2 teaspoons olive oil (just eye it)
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium summer squash (original recipe calls for zucchini; I've used it and yellow squash), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears) (you could use frozen, but fresh from the cob is much better)
1 pint grape tomatoes (this time I used a mixture of grape and chopped larger tomatoes--I just grab whatever I have on hand in my garden)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain.

While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pan.
Add oil to drippings. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add summer squash; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in corn and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes or until tomatoes burst, stirring occasionally.
Add pasta to tomato mixture; toss. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup cheese, basil, salt, and pepper AND BACON! Toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Escoffier - The Game

Here's a fun little way to waste time on the computer: test your culinary knowledge with Foodista's game, "Escoffier."

They list 4 ingredients and 4 recipe titles and you have to pick which of the 4 recipes includes the ingredients. Addicting and fun.

Zucchini Brownies


These brownies are so ridiculously rich and delicious, that you'll never notice they have veggies in them. Even my picky 7 year old will eat them, which is truly A-MAY-ZING. I've made other yummy zucchini-containing desserts before and he wouldn't touch them. I think it's because he could see or feel the zucchini.

The key is to do more than just shred the zucchini. You have to totally pulverize it. I use the shredding mechanism on my food processor, then run it through the chopping one until it's zucchini pulp. I don't drain it at all. Since there are no eggs in the brownies, you'll need the moisture.

And these brownies are vegan too! Definitely vegan for the brownie part and if you use margarine (and consider it to be vegan) in the frosting, then that's vegan too. I use butter in the frosting, even though the original recipe calls for margarine, because...well...why use margarine when you have butter? I'm not a margarine kinda gal.

These make a more cake-like brownie. In fact, they remind me more of my mom's recipe for "Rich Chocolate Cake" than a brownie. But nevermind, they're delicious, no matter what you call them.

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped pecans (original recipe calls for walnuts)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter (original recipe calls for margarine)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Pulverize the zucchini as directed above.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and nuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.
To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and butter in the microwave or in a saucepan; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Magicians

The Magicians The Magicians by Lev Grossman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. It's like Harry Potter and C. S. Lewis, but if they were in the real world. Everything isn't black or white and good or evil. Magic doesn't automatically make you happy. The characters act like real teenagers and young people--at least depressive ones.

A very clever book. I especially liked the occasional self-aware and joking nods to H. Potter.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Denver Harvest Week - Steuben's Report

As you probably know, this week is Harvest Week, a week in which Denver area restaurants create menus that feature Colorado grown and produced products.

We decided to check out Steuben's menu on Sunday evening, after an afternoon at the zoo. I love Steuben's for several reasons, but the top two are


The Bees Knees III, consisting of honey vodka, ginger liqueur, lemon ginger simple syrup, fresh raspberries, lemon juice, and egg whites.

An Aviation, made of gin, lemon juice, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and Creme de Violette. Check out how incredibly different it looks than the one I had recently at Colt and Gray. (The latter was better. This was too sweet. I think perhaps too much violette and hence the purple vs. yellow color?)


There are not many places in town (or anywhere) where you can get good food and cocktails, yet still please the kids. As I mentioned, I think, before, my picky eater says that Steuben's is his third favorite restaurant (after Red Robin and McDonalds--argh). Their $7 kids meals feature veggies w/ranch, a main dish, a side, fruit, a drink, and oh, something else I forget.

Check out this interesting combination of spaghetti and mashed potatoes. This is the picky one. He asked the server if they give refills on spaghetti. He didn't eat much of the taters, but I liked them and they were great as leftovers with my chicken entree the next day.

And another starchy combo of spaghetti and french fries.

Oh wait, I remember the other thing the kids meals include:

CUPCAKES! (or ice cream so your little one should desire)


Other things I like about Steuben's include the funky retro decor, the patio, and the cute kids menus as artfully decorated by my boys:


The Harvest Week menu is here. We decided to try just about everything. There was no room for dessert and I'm not sure why I didn't try the cocktail. I think I got mesmerized by the main cocktail list. I could study that thing for hours and hope to try them all at some point. :-)

We started with the Pork Belly Rillettes and MouCo ColoRouge. This dish was the one I looked forward to the most and liked the least. The rillettes were a little blah. It could have used more seasoning. The MouCo ColoRouge was very good, as their products always are, but it was such a tiny piece that if you put 1/4 of it on each of the 4 steamed biscuits, you wouldn't have been able to taste it at all. The biscuits were good, but perhaps a little overdone, and the pickled vegetables (leeks and ?) were really good--my favorite part of the dish.


B had the Colorado Lamb French Dip with Fries and Stranahann’s Horseradish Sauce. Two different servers warned us that it was "very lamb-y." We both liked the lamby-ness of it. And the horseradish sauce was excellent (although I wouldn't mind it being more horseradishy). It was huge and B ate it all. Impressive even for him.


I had the Peach Glazed Half Roasted Chicken with Local Greens Panzanella. I was worried the chicken glaze would be too sweet. It was sweet, but the dish was sauced with a light touch--just the right amount of sweet. The greens included rainbow chard and I'm not sure what, but they were excellent, especially with the panzanella grilled bread. I've been really into greens this summer and these were some of the best I've had this season.


It was a super fun family night out and mommy got her cocktails, so all was right with the world. We all left full and happy.

Harvest Week is just half over, so get out there and try some local dishes. I wish I could hit a place every night, but this was it. We're babysitterless and saving funds for Colorado WineFest this weekend. Report to come!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tartin' It Up

A good vegetable tart is a wonderful way to use those summer vegetables. Here are a couple I've made recently.

Rustic Summer Squash Tart


According to the link above, this was originally published in Woman's Day magazine. I used all three squash mentioned in the recipe (zucchini and yellow squash from my garden and pattypan from the farmer's market), but you could use any combination of summer squash or just one.

I'm changing the recipe a bit, because I found that the filling was way too much for my pie crust. I ended up using 2 pie crusts and half the originally indicated amount in each crust.

1 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb Mixed summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash and pattypan), cut in 1/4-in. rounds
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
2 tsp Chopped fresh thyme or marjoram, plus sprigs for garnish (if using dried herbs, use 1/3 to 1/2 the amount)
1 tsp Chopped garlic
Freshly ground pepper
2 Refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-oz box)--or better yet, make your own! (I didn't have time, though, haha)
6-8 oz Roquefort cheese, Gorgonzola or other good-quality blue cheese (depending on how blue-cheesy you want it)
1 Roasted yellow or red pepper (freshly roasted or from a jar), cut in strips. I roasted mine on the grill. Just grill it until slightly charred--delicious!
1 Large plum tomato, sliced, seeds removed
1 Large egg, beaten

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash and shallots and cook, turning pieces as they start to color, 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in thyme, garlic and pepper to taste. Cool to room temperature.

2. Heat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; unroll or unfold pie crusts onto the pieces of parchment. With a rolling pin, roll crusts to 13-in. rounds. Crumble 2 oz of the cheese over each crust (4 oz. total) to within 2 in. of edge. Arrange half of squash mixture, pepper strips and tomato slices on cheese on each crust; fold edge of the crust over filling and brush crust with egg.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until pastry is golden. Slide tart, still on parchment, onto a wire rack. Crumble remaining cheese over top. Let cool before serving.

This dish is great as a main dish, a side dish, and for lunches. We served it with potato leek soup for a meal one night and then I took it as lunch to work the next few days.

Chard Tart

I got this recipe from the fun and tasty Seattle-based blog Root Underground Food, written by a couple in which the husband is an old friend of mine I haven't seen in probably about 20 years(!).


Please see their link above for a much prettier picture of the tart. The key is that they used "real" bread crumbs. I usually keep crusts of good bread in the freezer for making bread crumbs, but this time used prepared bread crumbs, which are much finer. If using the latter, like I did, I would recommend cutting the bread crumb amount in half. My crust was consequently very crumbly, but the filling was delicious. If I'd made it right, this would have been my favorite of the two tarts. Plus it has bacon!

2 bunches chard - chopped
2 cups breadcrumbs (if using store-bought prepared bread crumbs, use only 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 slices bacon chopped
1/2 med onion chopped
3 eggs
fresh grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Cover chard with salted water and bring to a boil, cook for 15 minutes or until tender; drain and cool.
Saute bacon and onion until the bacon is crisp and the onions are golden. Cool.
Coat a 9" pie pan coat with oil and press in 3/4 of the breadcrumbs and half of the grated parmesan - like a graham cracker crust on a cheesecake.
Mix cooled chard, bacon and onion mixture, eggs, remainder of cheese, and the seasonings; carefully add to pie pan and breadcrumbs.
Top with the rest of the breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy your tarts!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Want to Know What Those Mystery Produce Codes Mean?

A good article on "The Daily Table" that explains what the PLU codes on your produce mean.

In short:

"- A four-digit number means it’s conventionally grown. (Or possibly a five digit number if the first one is a 0.)
- A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it’s genetically modified.
- A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it’s organic."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Colt and Gray

B and I went to Colt and Gray, Denver's new "gastropub" on Saturday. I'm not sure why it's considered a gastropub and not a restaurant. The atmosphere was not what I would consider pub-like--more of a modern restaurant with clean lines. And the bar was fairly small--although, granted, the place is fairly small altogether. But, really, I don't care what they want to call themselves, because the food...oh, the food!

We had a bit of a hard time finding the place. They are not at their published address of 1553 Platte Street, but are around the corner. And they don't have a sign yet. We had to go up and ask some servers standing outside if we were in the right place. We didn't have reservations, but were able to get a seat at one of the bar tables.

The menu ranges from "bar snacks" to small plates to full entrees. I was disappointed to see that the "kids menu" disappeared from the website. I never saw the actual menu, but they had a page "under construction" for it when I first visited the site. A menu that includes the kind of food they serve plus a kids menu gets me really excited. They may still have a kids menu by request, but I didn't check, since we were sans boys. If they don't, I hope they will still create one. We need more good restaurants that kids can go to in Denver.

I started with one of the "classic" cocktails called "The Aviation," a gin and lemon-based drink. B had a Fuller’s Mr. Harry ESB, which they have on tap. They also have a decent beer and wine list.


We decided to stick with small plates so we could get a wider range of tastes:


From the "bar snacks" portion of the menu, we ordered the Long Farm Crispy Pig Trotter. I must admit we were expecting a pig's foot to gnaw on and we were actually kind of excited about it. But we got this:


And we certainly weren't complaining! Other than a pea-sized piece of bone in mine, these were perfectly delicious--a minced pork patty fried in a crispy batter and served with grainy mustard and salad. They were finger-lickin' good.

Next up: Chili Garlic Prawns with Coriander and Cashew Pesto and Avocado Citrus Salad:


This was our favorite dish. The prawns had a smoky flavor and the pesto was so good we practically licked our plate. In fact, B tried to pull a fast one, saying "Look over there!" so that he could swipe his finger across the plate while I looked away. The oranges in the accompanying salad were sweet and tart and fit beautifully with the other flavors.

The Oysters on the Half Shell with Citrus-White Wine Mignonette


were good, but I wanted the mignonette to have a stronger flavor. I enjoyed them, but they just didn't compare to the one's I had recently at Indulge French Bistro. Perhaps, if I hadn't had those in my recent memory, I would have been more excited by these.

We were wanting more so ordered a charcuterie and cheese plate with


house-made country pate, a blue cheese that was not on the menu but the server recommended, Boccalone Nduja, Bresaola, and Collo Rosso cheese (a soft cheese). The plate came with grainy mustard, mango chutney, and cornichons. We both liked the Boccalone Nduja best. It's a spreadable salami and the meat in the little tin above. It's spicy and oh, so delicious. The pate was good. Actually everything on the plate was really good. I would have enjoyed some honey to go with the cheeses (in addition to or in place of the mango chutney), but that's just my personal preference.

Our server was very friendly and knowledgeable and quite attentive until the place started filling up. It took a long time to get our second round of cocktails and we were told that the bar was "backed up," despite the fact that the place was not that full. I'll chock that up to the place being new and won't fault them, because overall the experience was great.

ETA: a friend just pointed out that Ruhlman's blog has a post on the Aviation cocktail. Yummmm!

I can't remember the name of the second cocktail I had but it was another one of their "classics" and was made with chartreuse and calvados (in addition to ?) and garnished with delicious (non-maraschino) cherries.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Recent Dishes from My Garden

Despite the hail damage, we've been eating like kings on produce from our garden and my sister's garden (thanks, sis!). Here are some dishes we have enjoyed.

Eating Well Magazine's

Golden Summer Squash and Corn Soup.

This is even better as leftovers.

Makes 4 servings, scant 1 cup each

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 medium summer squash (about 1 pound), diced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, divided
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear; see Tip) or frozen
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add squash and 1 teaspoon herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the soup to the pan and stir in corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with the remaining 2 teaspoons herbs and feta.

There's also a really nice article in this issue of Eating Well called "Building a Healthy Food System in Rural America: How a handful of organic farmers, world-class cheesemakers and a locavore restaurant transformed Hardwick, Vermont—a poor, rural town—into a foodie mecca."

And last, but not least (and in my lunch today),

Pete Marczyk's zucchini recipe printed in Westword's Cafe Society blog:

Zucchini and Corn Latke

2 eggs
1 cup zucchini, shredded
corn, kernels from one ear, cooked
chopped chives
2 tbsp diced onion
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (panko)

1) Mix eggs, breadcrumbs and flour with zucchini and corn. Check for consistency (flour should absorb most of the liquid), salt and pepper to taste.

2) Heat a combination of olive oil ("olive oil and squash are like Rogers and Astaire," Pete says) and grapeseed oil ("higher smoke point," he notes), then take a handful of the mix and and press it down with a fork in the oil until it's about a half inch thick, the size of a small pancake. Cook until brown, turning it once.

Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth

I'm really looking forward to this new show on PBS and hope my cable/PBS channel will air it. Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth debuts on 10/17. In it, Reichl travels the world with celebrities visiting cooking school.s

I love Ruth Reichl's writing and hope to enjoy this show too.