Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This past weekend Brian and I were in Utah for his mom's college graduation. Congrats Kathleen! We ended up with some down time on Saturday and Brian suggested we head 30 minutes north to Salt Lake City to check yet another restaurant off our list. This time is was a patisserie and cafe called Les Madeleines. This ended up on my list from another episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate when the Neelys went on and on about this pastry the Kouing Aman. (Still not sure on the pronunciation.) Our friends, the Colson's, recently visited SLC and told us this place was not to miss. The Kouing Aman is by far the best pastry I have every had. It was caramelized and crunchy on the outside, buttery, gooey and flaky on the inside. I probably should have shared one with Brian, but I was a little sick so he didn't want my germs. So I had my own and had not problem polishing the whole thing off. Two would have definitely been out of the question though. So if you're in the area, stop by and enjoy one tasty pastry.
My three favorite boys
Monday, April 19, 2010
Not too many blog posts this past week, as I was on Spring Break! (Read with much excitement!) The week went by way to fast, but I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Vegas with the family (minus Brian). Definitely not a lot of cooking going on, but I thought I'd give you an overview of my tasty travel finds.
I did a bit of research to see which of our famous chefs has restaurants in Las Vegas. The first night there we hit up another Mario Batali restaurant, Enoteca San Marco, located in the Venetian Hotel. I blogged about another Mario Batali restaurant in LA, and this one had a very similar menu. This time we got a starter of cheeses and it was amazing. I honestly can't remember the different types of cheeses we had, but they were accompanied by apricots, cherries and honey with truffle oil. When you ate these with your cheese it was pretty much the best thing ever. I personally liked the apricot and the honey the best. I ordered a arugula and parmesan salad, Penne alla Norma (pictured at top) with tomato, eggplant, and ricotta, and finished it all off with some dark chocolate malt, salted caramel, and olive oil gelato. Throw in great conversation with most of my favorite people and it was a near perfect dinner.
The next night we decided to go to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace. I actually ate at his New York location a few years back and absolutely loved it. So I figured, why pass up an opportunity to share this restaurant with my mom and sister. We all ended up ordering the same thing: Grilled Mahi Mahi with roasted pineapple-cascabel chile sauce, caramelized pineapple-green onion salsa served with creamy green chile rice. I thought I died and gone to heaven. I haven't had fish in a while and this far exceeded my expectations of what mahi mahi could be. The sauce was sweet and had a bit of a kick, and my mom couldn't get enough of the creamy green chile rice. (I'm pretty sure she was trying to figure out how she could make it at home.) We also shared the gala apple salad. It was made with thinly sliced baby spinach, Maytag blue cheese, toasted pecans and tossed with a spicy orange vinaigrette. It definitely was spicy, which was interesting on a salad, but of course Bobby knows what he's doing and the flavors were perfect together.
Another New York favorite that has made its way to Las Vegas is the ever popular Serendipity 3. It has a new pink color scheme and sits outside Caesar's Palace, but the food is exactly the same. Well, I can't speak for the real food, I've only eaten real food there once (in NY) but they have my favorite chocolate cake/brownie and ice cream dessert ever. It's huge, messy and topped with the most amazing hot fudge. The Forbidden Broadway Sundae is a dessert to share with friends, but you'll wish you could eat it all by yourself. It's that good. I always hope that someone I'm with with orders the frozen hot chocolate, it is, after all, what they are famous for. I can't handle two desserts, but I always want a long sip of the frothy, frozen drink.
You can probably tell that my vacations generally revolve around food, but I have absolutely no problem with that. Feel free to share great restaurants you've eaten at. I currently have a list going of a dozen cities and places I want to eat when I visit there!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
This is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It's really a no recipe recipe. You can clean out the fridge, use up all your veggies and it's super quick and easy. I cook the chicken first. I've cooked it a variety of different ways. Sometimes on the Cuisinart Griddler, other times just in the pan. I like it to get some good color on it, looks more appetizing. Remove the chicken from the pan, then saute all kinds of vegetables in some olive oil. I always start with an onion, then add some peppers, usually red. For some green color you can use pea pods, asparagus (our current favorite) or broccoli. We also like something a little crunchy, so I do bean sprouts and/or water chestnuts. Any veggies you like or have will work great, so just clean out the fridge and use up all that great stuff! While the veggies are cooking add in some sauce. I don't make my own, but we absolutely love Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce. It's sweet and savory, and it's amazing. It works wonders on the chicken (and other meat) as a marinade too! I use our rice cooker, and use Jasmine rice. I love our rice cooker. Brian's aunt gave it to use for our wedding, and it's a good one, works like a champ every time!
So there you have it, spoon some of the stir fry and chicken on top of the steaming rice, maybe a little extra sauce, and you've got a quick, easy, and oh so tasty meal. And it's easy on the waste-line too!
I'm going on a little spring break vacation to Las Vegas, but Brian can't come. So whenever I leave him, I always make him some treats so he's not too sad and lonely. I've been looking for a reason to make these brownies I saw Bobby Flay make on an episode of Throwdown. He actually lost the throwdown, but of course his brownies looked delicious, and these ones definitely are. The brownies are so fudgy and rich.
They don't take too long to make, but there are a few parts to them. You start by making a peanut butter caramel. It was simple and delicious. I think my pinch of salt in the caramel was a bit too big since the peanut butter is already salty, so just be careful. Then you melt unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water. Then mix that up with the eggs and sugar. The brownies only use one cup of flour, which, I think, is what makes them so fudgy. I thought about using more, thinking it wasn't right, but they came out perfect.
The only thing I did adjust was the cooking time. After reading the reviews online everyone said they needed to be cooked a big longer than the 25 minutes is called for. I ended up doing them for 35, but think 30 would be perfect. (Brian likes them more on the gooey side.)
Whoever came up with the idea of putting peanut butter and chocolate together, I thank them. And these brownies are just another great way to get these two amazing flavors together.
Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies Recipe