Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stuffed Picnic Loaf With Pesto, Grilled Vegetables, Prosciutto and Provolone Cheese

It's not too late in the season to grill (actually, in our house it never really is, although our frequency decreases a lot in the colder months). Today's it's sunny and in the 60s and we're having friends over for dinner. I've made it for guests in the past (with and without prosciutto), and it's always a hit

I'll be making this recipe, which is from "The Vegetarian Grill: 200 Recipes for Inspired Flame-Kissed Meals" by Andrea Chesman. I'm making mine non-vegetarian by adding prosciutto.

Stuffed Picnic Loaf With Pesto, Grilled Vegetables, Prosciutto, and Provolone Cheese

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced 3/8 inch thick
1 red or green bell pepper, quartered
1 sweet onion (such as Walla Walla sweet)
1 large loaf Italian or French country bread (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup pesto (homemade or commercially prepared)
5 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
~ 1/4 # prosciutto
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced

Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill.

Grill vegetables, turning occasionally, until well browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove vegetables from grill as they are done.

Reduce grill's temperature by spreading out coals or reducing flame on a gas grill to low.

Slice the bread in half horizontally. Remove some of loaf's interior to create a hollow space for stuffing with vegetables. Brush loaf's inside with remaining olive oil and garlic, then spread with the pesto. Layer half of the provolone, grilled vegetables, the prosciutto, the tomatoes, and remaining provolone onto bottom piece of bread. Position top half of loaf in place. Wrap loaf in foil.

Place loaf on a low-heat spot on grill, away from direct heat, cover grill and bake until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Do not allow bread to scorch.

To serve, unwrap loaf. Slice into wedges and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: This sandwich can be assembled up to a day in advance and refrigerated in its foil wrapper. To heat, bake over low coals, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Or heat in oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

VARIATIONS: Possible variations on this theme are infinite. Substitute relish or tapenade for pesto. Use different vegetables, replacing some or all of the ones specified with grilled zucchini, yellow summer squash and mushrooms. Cheddar, fontina, Monterey Jack, Colby, Gouda — any semihard cheese with good melting properties — can replace provolone. Or use goat cheese and omit pesto and provolone.

In addition, I'm going to be serving "Rockin' Ginger and Wasabi Wings"--a recipe I got from Foodista this week. If they turn out well, I'll post the recipe and maybe even some pics. It sounds yummy, anyway!

I'm also making that delicious Sour Cream Peach Pecan Pie and I know my friends are bringing some delicious dishes.

Brian just got a keg (for the kegerator) of Avery IPA and I plan on getting into that bottle of Carlson Vineyards Cherry wine that we got in Palisade. I plan on serving it with chocolate-rimmed glasses (the Enstrom's that came with it).

Should be a feast!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book by the author of "The Secret Life of Bees" and her daughter. It's part travel memoir, but more of a reflection on many feminine topics, including mother-daughter relationships; coming to terms with menopause, aging, and death; and feeling lost as a young adult. The book explores many feminine iconic themes: Demeter and Persephone, Joan of Arc, Athena, and the virgin Mary.

Both writers have beautiful voices and it was a very touching and thought provoking book.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I Found In My Car This Morning


Apparently my husband wants me to fill up his Golden City Brewery growler. They're getting ready to tap their pumpkin ale - YUM!

It's good to see that safety is a priority.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again

A good article I saw on Twitter: here. I have an almost irrational fear about wasting food and yet it still sometimes happens in our house. This article has some good ideas--most I've heard of (but they bear reminding) and some I'd never thought of.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obama Proclaims this National School Lunch Week

You can see the proclamation here. Unfortunately, Congress pushed back updating the Child Nutrition Act, which includes the National School Lunch program, so I'm not sure what this does other than awareness.

My boys are taking their lunches to school this week, because the menu is not satisfactory. I hope that before they graduate they can get healthy lunches at school.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ethnic Eats in Golden Part 2 - Empanada Express Grill

More recently, another ethnic restaurant opened up in Golden, Empanada Express Grill, which serves Venezuelan food. It's a tiny little restaurant on the end of a strip mall, and it was soon packed after we got there.

I first heard of it on Westword's Cafe Society. Apparently it used to be in a trailer and recently graduated to a more permanent home. I haven't had much in the way of Venezuelan food other than the americanized version of an empanada. But the flavors are familiar and I think even my kids might like the food--corn cakes, beans, plantains, cheese, etc. The food is inexpensive too. I got the most expensive thing on the menu, the "Taste of Venezuela" so I could try a lot of different things, and it was still only $10.99. You could eat a nice sized meal for $7 or so.

I broke my camera this week, so all I had was my blackberry. I think the Barbara Walters "soft light" effect is due to some lint on the lens, haha. If you know of any good deals on small, but decent quality cameras (I need one that I can carry in my purse at all times), let me know.


On this plate, you see clockwise from top: an arepa, a cachapa, two tequenos, some fried plaintains, and an empanada.

Empanadas are shaped like a turnover and made of corn meal. They let you choose any of their numerous fillings for the combo plate. I got the Reina Pepiada filled with white cheese, chicken salad and avocado. Arepas are also made of corn meal, but are circular corn cakes sliced in half and filled to make a sandwich. I got the La Gallina filled with shredded chicken, black beans, white cheese and sweet fried plantain. They were both good, but I definitely preferred the gallina over the chicken salad.

Tequenos are wheat flour dough sticks surrounding a melted white cheese center. Cachapas (Arepas De Choclo) are a Venezuelan pancake made with sweet kettle corn and served with melted cheese and butter.

They also serve fresh juices and I got the lime juice, served like a limeade. It was sweet, sour, and delicious. Definitely worth the $3. Unfortunately, they don't have a liquor license. The food would be so good with a beer!

I hope to return soon, explore the menu some more, and hopefully get some better pictures.

Ethnic Eats in Golden Part 1 - Sherpa House

I hate to say it, but Golden has long had a dearth of good dining. Restaurants come and go fairly quickly and many have had poor service, food, or both. But things are changing.



Earlier this year, Sherpa House opened up, serving Himalayan food (Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian). It's located in a little house on Washington Street. When you first walk in, you're struck by its decor, as it also serves as a cultural center and is decorated as "an authentic representation of a typical Sherpa house in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal," complete with shrine.


There's a collection of photographs of Nepal and even a Yeti replica (that's my little ham).


Speaking of yetis, I recently received an email from them that they are hosting "Yeti Night in Golden" next Saturday, Oct. 15th. From the email:

"An exciting event is taking place in Historic Down Town Golden CO. On Saturday Oct. 15 2009, a group of big and small YETIS (ABOMINABLE SNOWMANS) will be walking through the Historic Down Town of Golden, CO. It will all start from the American Mountaineering center in Golden and end at Sherpa House Restaurant and Cultural Center. The event will start at 5:30 pm at the Mountaineering Center with a Yeti custom making contest. The winner will not only get some prizes, but also get a free dinner at Sherpa House. There will be story telling about the legendary snowman (YETI) and participants get to see the mountaineering library and museum. Once the contest is done, around 7:00 pm, all the Yetis will be walking to Sherpa House Restaurant for a party (five minute walk). Everyone in costume will get a discounted dinner and buy one get one drinks free. Free chai tea for every one."

The patio is lovely too and a fantastic place to hang out on a warm day. It's decorated with prayer flags, tibetan art, and a garden. They serve Golden City Brewery beer, another plus and great for patio-sitting.




But how is the food? Excellent! I always start with the chicken momo (they also have veggie and beef momo)--steamed dumplings with spiced, ground chicken, served with a spicy tomato dipping sauce:


One favorite entree is the Daal Bhat, a "traditional Nepali platter of rice and lentil soup served with a vegetable side dish and a Naan bread. Choice of vegetable, chicken, beef, lamb or yak meat." Yes, they serve yak! They have a number of dishes that you can get with yak. B ordered it once and it wasn't bad. The daal bhat comes with rice, lentil soup, steamed vegetables, and the entree in a curry sauce. A server told me one should mix it all together.

As it comes:


All mixed together:


Other favorites are the Chicken Tikka Masala (tender boneless chicken pieces broiled in a traditional clay oven and cooked in tomato, onion and cream sauce) and Chicken Makhani (marinated chicken pieces barbecued in a traditional clay oven and cooked with onions, tomatoes in a cream sauce). The descriptions, tastes, and even looks are pretty much the same, but both are good.

The Tikka Masala:


and the Makhani:


Occasionally, they'll have fish specials featuring tuna or salmon. I've had the salmon one and it was great. The sauce was so delicious. This picture is so yellow because we were sitting under a yellow awning at the time.


One thing we like about Sherpa House is that it has a kids menu, something which isn't always so common in ethnic restaurants. My 5 year old loves the momos, but my picky 7 year old sticks to the mac 'n' cheese (sad, isn't it?).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Potato Linguine with Garlic Red Pepper Sauce

Tonight's meal was fantastic. When we were at Colorado Winefest, we picked up some of Pastamore's Sweet Potato Linguine:


I wasn't sure what to do with it, so decided to keep it simple and it turns out that was probably my best bet, because the pasta is so flavorful, you don't want to mask it with a heavy sauce. You should have smelled it while it was boiling! The whole house smelled like Fall.

I decided to cook some chicken and zucchini (from my garden, of course!) and then make an easy "sauce" from olive oil, red pepper, garlic, and parsley (seasoned with some salt and pepper).

We paired it with Carlson Vineyard's Laughing Cat Gewurztraminer, which turned out to be just perfect.


The spicy, but homey linguine with the spicy, fruity wine...ahhhhhhh.....