Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mango on a Stick

Ever walked the Brooklyn Bridge? Try it with a Mango on a Stick. These are perfect treats on a hot summer’s day in NYC. Juicy and sweet, mangos make the perfect treat for absolutely every occasion but its so much more fun when its on a stick! You can purchase these fun snacks from your local mango cart. 


If you stick around long enough you might be able to catch a beautiful sunset...


Friday, September 9, 2011

Butter Lane

Mmmmmm… So butterlicious…

My mom ordered me a dozen cupcakes for my 22nd birthday from Butter Lane. They tried delivering them at my apartment right after I had left for the evening and the concierge wouldn’t let the deliveryman leave them at the front desk! So the next day I took a trip to Butter Lane with my friend and handpicked my very own dozen of the most extraordinary flavored cupcakes I’ve ever heard of!


The shop is absolutely adorable and while I was there they had a couple taste testing cupcakes and frosting for their wedding! How fun is that?

I took my cupcakes straight from the shop to the bar with me for my birthday celebration that night and they were gone within the hour… I ended up eating the popcorn cupcake of the dozen that literally had popcorn pieces on the top and it tasted exactly like movie theatre butter popcorn... I couldn’t have asked for a better cupcake.

Butter Lane
123 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009

Rock Center Cafe

Enjoy a delicious dinner, strong drinks, and outdoor seating with a view of the famous Prometheus statue at the Rock Center Café in the summer!

My co-worker and I went out for a fancy dinner at the Rock Center Café and were pleasantly surprised. We were expecting to pay for the experience, not the food. But as it just so happened, we both loved our meals and the drinks were superb! Plus, we got to eat on the outdoor patio where the famous ice skating rink is located in the winter!

Rock Center Café is the perfect place for dinner and a couple drinks before a summer’s night out in Manhattan.



20 West 50th Street
New York, NY 10020

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

French Martini

This summer while I was in NYC I took a 40-hour course at NYC Bartending School to receive my Bartender’s Certification. I worked in a full bar where I was required to make all sorts of shots, specialty martinis, manhattans, shaken drinks, and muddled drinks to name a few. I also had lectures on all kinds of spirits, liqueurs, wines, beers, whiskeys, and bourbons.

My class was in the evening from 6pm to 10pm everyday for 2 weeks. After class I would enjoy going out to the bars with friends/classmates and ordering the most obscure drink combinations made during that night’s session to see if the Bartender knew what to do. (One Bartender didn’t even know what a Cuba Libra was! Fail.)

Some Bartenders were terrible. But some were incredible! The good ones would put their own personality into the drinks. Most drinks had subtle variations in flavors, proportions, or glassware depending on the bar or lounge we would go to. But each good bartender we encountered could whip up a drink quickly in front of us, paying close attention to detail, and present us our drinks as if they were a million bucks. 

I am not a very big drinker but the Bartender’s course encouraged me to branch out and try different drinks, some of which I’d never heard of before. At graduation I received my certification as well as my own Bartender’s kit with pour spouts to make drinks at home!

My latest concoction was a French Martini. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I used to enjoy these all the time at Lucky Strike and was required to make them during my Bartender’s course to receive my certification. I’ve made them for my parents, my boyfriend, and others… and they all thought it was absolutely delightful, but then again it could have just been my own special certified touch…  



French Martini Recipe

Fill shaker with ice
Pour in 10 oz Grey Goose (Grey Goose is French Vodka)
Pour in 2 oz Chambord (Chambord is French Liqueur)
Fill an ~inch from top with Pineapple juice
Shake
Strain into martini glass
I like to add the rind of a lemon to get the ‘effervescent’ scent of fresh lemons…

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Room Service

I am always looking for quality Thai food no matter where I go because I happen to have an addiction to peanut sauce. While I was in NYC this summer I found some of the best Thai food I’ve ever tasted in Hell’s Kitchen at Room Service. Not only was the food delicious but the restaurant is perfect for dressing up sexy to show up late. The mood is set with extravagant mirrors lining the ceiling and a huge glass chandelier in the middle of the room.

Don’t forget to try the Thai Iced Tea! It goes great with spicy peanut sauce...

Room Service 
690 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lucky Strike

This restaurant and bar has absolutely divine cocktails. It only takes one sip of Lucky Strike’s French martini to surrender your better judgment and have at least two more. Did I say two? Maybe three… You won’t even remember how many you’ve had until you’ve consumed an entire fresh mozzarella and olive pizza all by yourself and receive the check… And then suddenly you’re sober making sure all the cocktails add up to the outrageous price the waiter just placed in front of you. Does it sound like I’ve done this before? Maybe once or twice…

The ambiance at Lucky Strike includes dim lighting with casual, laid back Soho charm.

Lucky Strike
59 Grand St

New York, NY 10013

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar

This sophisticated bar in Midtown Manhattan is the perfect oasis for a party of two. They offer a selection of over 90 wines to enjoy with chocolates and incredibly savory French dishes. If you are not one for wine, they offer drinks such as the chocolate martini and sangria.



My favorite dessert at Ayza is the chocolate covered strawberries!

11 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001

Tuesday is Girls’ Night Out
Sunday is Couples’ Night

Hours:
Monday – Thursday 11 am – 12 am
Friday – Saturday 11 am – 1 am
Sunday 5 pm – 10 pm

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Baklava

I remember when I lived in Dallas, TX as a little girl, my parents would take my brothers and I to Greek festivals where there was entertainment, folk dancing, music, and food. I’m not Greek, but it was a good cultural experience. My favorite thing at these Greek festivals was the baklava!

I decided to make my own baklava for dessert to follow my Greek dinner. Making baklava is not difficult, but takes quite a bit of time. The neat part about making baklava is that you can’t mess it up… it will taste amazing no matter what. So try it out for yourself! You can’t fail. The ingredients do the magic for you.



Baklava

1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch pan

Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside.

Unroll phyllo dough. Cover phyllo dough with a dampened but thoroughly squeezed out cloth to keep the dough from drying out as you work. Melt the remaining butter in a dish and use a brush to apply it from here on out.

Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.

Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with 2 sheets of dough. Butter. Repeat as many times as you have ingredients for.

Finish off the baklava with 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough and nuts.

Using a sharp knife, cut diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until baklava is golden and crisp.

Make the sauce while the baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from the oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Enjoy! 

Greek Gods Yogurt

Oh my god. It's so good. You’ll feel like a god or goddess while eating this gourmet yogurt. So rich and creamy… it’s almost like dessert. I used the Hermes flavor (Hermes is the god of honey yogurt apparently...) to top a small bowl of lentils as a side to my Roasted Rack of Lamb recipe.


Hummus & Pita Bites

I was at Whole Foods looking for pita bread as an appetizer to serve with hummus for my Greek dinner when I saw Pita Bites. Pita Bites are the cutest little pita breads you ever saw. They are bite size (hence the name), and therefore perfect to serve with hummus as an appetizer. I toasted mine and then served them on a dish strategically surrounding Greek hummus (that I also purchased from Whole Foods). Everyone remarked on how cute they were! So, if you want to be cute, get some Pita Bites to go with your hummus!


Greek Salad

This salad is a Mediterranean classic that I used as a side with my Roasted Rack of Lamb recipe. The lemon juice in the recipe really freshens up the dish and gives a traditional salad a delightful change.


Greek Salad

2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped parsley
1 1/3 cups drained and pitted kalamata olives
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound feta cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper

Toss it all together and enjoy!

Roasted Rack of Lamb

On my drives to work in the morning I enjoy listening to lectures on CD. I just finished a series of 24 lectures on Classical Mythology by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver. I enjoyed these lectures so much I decided to compliment them with a classical Greek dinner.

I knew right away that the main dish would have to be a rack of lamb.

My first time tasting a rack of lamb was the summer of 2010 when I was in Victoria on a vacation with my boyfriend at the time. It was our last weekend together before he would leave the U.S. to go back to Israel to attend graduate school (we had met at UW the year before). We went out to eat at Pagliacci’s on Broad Street. I remember I ordered the cordon bleu and he ordered lamb. The cordon bleu was rich and flavorful, but terribly heavy on my stomach. And after a full day of exploring Victoria’s best bars and pubs, my stomach was not agreeing with the cheesy-meaty meal. Yonatan offered me some of his lamb and I remember being hesitant to try it because I’d never eaten lamb before. But after I tasted it, I wished that I had ordered it! It was SO good! And it didn’t taste heavy at all. It was SO savory and delicious.

Well a year and a half later, I decided to make some of my own. And it was just as good or better than my memories of the lamb I tried at Pagliacci’s that summer!
I served the Roasted Rack of Lamb with a Greek Salad, Greek hummus & Pita Bites, Greek Yogurt, and Baklava.



Roasted Rack of Lamb

2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 rack of lamb

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Move oven rack to the center position.

Combine garlic, rosemary, slat, pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl. Set aside.

Season the rack all over with salt and pepper. Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Brush rack of lamb with the garlic mixture. Cover ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring.

Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet. Roast the lamb in the preheated oven for 18-25 minutes. Check the temperature of the lamb with a meat thermometer to make sure it is as done as you would like it before removing it from the heat. Let the rack rest for 5-7 minutes.

*NOTE: Allow internal temperature to be 5-10 degrees less than you like because the meat will continue to cook while it sits.
Bloody rare: 115-125 degrees F
Rare: 125-130 degrees F
Medium rare: 130-140 degrees F
Medium: 140-150 degrees F

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fried Banana Dessert

A traditional Thai treat. I tried this dessert once before at the Zao Noodle Bar in Seattle.  I wanted to try making it myself to go with my Thai Chicken Thighs recipe and was surprised to find how simple it is to make! The clean up was the most time-consuming part of this dessert for me... getting a pan completely clean after frying oil in it can be difficult!



Fried Banana Dessert

6-8 teaspoon all purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg beaten
½ cup milk
1 pinch of salt
4 medium bananas
oil for frying

Mix together the flour, sugar, egg, milk, and salt to make a smooth batter. Add the milk sparingly while stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed and the batter retains a thick consistency. Do not add more milk than needed. Set the batter aside for 40-45 minutes.

Peel the bananas and slice each one in whatever shape you prefer. Dip the banana pieces into the batter and shallow fry in hot oil for a few minutes or until golden brown. (It helps to use tongs when maneuvering the banana in and out of the hot oil).

Drain quickly on a paper towel. I served mine with French vanilla ice cream and drizzled chocolate syrup.  

Thai Chicken Thighs

This recipe is absolutely sensational. I am a huge sucker for Thai food. I’ve never actually been to Thailand before but this recipe has a definite Thai restaurant flavorful authenticity to it. And I’m all for a simple, slow cooked, Crockpot concoctions.  I’ve prepared this meal multiple times for dinner parties, family, romantic dinners for two, and just for myself! Every person who has tried this recipe remarks on how tender the chicken is… how it just “falls off the bone.” And everyone is deeply impressed. The secret: the Crockpot!  Enjoy!


Thai Chicken Thighs
From “Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook”

8-12 chicken thighs, skin removed
¾ cup salsa (hot recommended
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
¼ cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place the chicken thighs in a 3 ½ - 6 quart slow cooker. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the peanuts and cilantro, and pour over the chicken thighs.

Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 8 hours or until chicken thighs are cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter.

Remove fat from the sauce remaining in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro over the top and serve with Coconut Rice and Cucumber Vinaigrette.

Coconut Rice

1 can of coconut milk
2 cups of brown rice

Use one can of coconut milk in the liquid called for to cook 2 cups of brown rice. Follow the rice directions on the box.

Cucumber Vinaigrette

1 cucumber
rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice the cucumber into thin slices. Sprinkle with rice wine vinegar (let soak for a few minutes before serving) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Mushroom Coconut Soup

My mom posted this recipe on her blog about two years ago. She recommended it to me when I was planning on having a dinner party with some friends. It went great as an appetizer! It makes 4 very small servings. So if you are planning on a larger crowd, make sure to add to the recipe accordingly. I think it goes great as an appetizer to my Thai Chicken Thighs since it has an exotic flavor similar to Tom Yum soup. But whatever the occasion, anyone who loves a good mushroom will be drooling over this exquisite soup! 


Mushroom Coconut Soup
adapted from a recipe in "Table for Two: French Recipes for Romantic Dining"

1 lb. white mushrooms, thick slices
1 or 2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan gently sauté the shallots in butter over medium low heat until soft, approximately 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes.

Add the broth and heat to boiling. Simmer and reduce, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and simmer over low heat, 8-10 minutes, to allow flavors to blend.

Stir in cilantro, if desired. Top with freshly ground pepper.

Makes 4 small servings. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Voodoo Doughnut

Everyone from Portland and beyond always talks about Voodoo Doughnuts like it’s the next best thing since sliced bread. Local Honda ads mention the Bacon Maple, Mayor Tom Potter decreed the Portland Crème as the official Doughnut of the city in 2008, and I’ve heard from just about everyone that they make the best doughnuts around. Because I’m from the area, and easily persuaded by the idea of tasty doughnuts, I decided that I should probably give them a try.

I could smell Voodoo Doughnuts before the porn-shop pink building even came into view. I pulled in next to a porn-shop pink Voodoo Doughnut truck and an ivy monster on the fence guarding the premises. Once inside, I waited in line for about 20 minutes with some very eclectic Portlanders for my opportunity to order what I was told were the best doughnuts ever.

While waiting in line, I had quite a bit of time to look around. Kids littered the place. They had their noses all pressed up against the doughnut display, drooling over the glazed, chocolate, sprinkled confections. There was a big menu above the counter with a written account of the selection of doughnuts they carried and wedding services they offered (Yes. Wedding Services.)…

The doughnuts were called things like ‘Triple Chocolate Penetration’, ‘Gay Bar’, ‘Maple Blazer Blunt’, ‘Cock-N-Balls’, (which was a penis and balls shaped raised yeast doughnut, triple filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate frosting and a saying written in icing that varies from ‘dickalicious’ to ‘bite me’) and ‘Butterfingering.’

It was after reading the doughnut names that I just felt plain dirty for coming… or in Voodoo terms, ‘cumming.’ I thought it was SO weird that the place was littered with kids and dirty doughnut names full of sexual innuendoes. I especially thought it was weird that the Mayor of Portland decreed the Portland Crème as the official Portland Doughnut to promote a shop where the sort of stuff they were advertising with was stuff that entertained me when I first learned how babies were made.

Thank god my Bacon Maple Bar was delicious. I have nothing against a good doughnut. But my experience at Voodoo Doughnuts was just creepy (...maybe that's the point?). 



Locations:
Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland Oregon, U.S.A.

Voodoo Doughnut Too!
1501 N.E. Davis St.
Portland Oregon, U.S.A.  

Hours:
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Note: Cash Only

Berbati's Pan & Restaurant

I had a very interesting experience with Berbati’s Pan & Restuarant. I was simply looking for restaurants to explore in Portland and I came across Berbati’s Pan. The website said it had art shows and live music so I checked the calendar. I saw that Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony was playing that same night! I called up my friends, bought tickets, and made plans to go to the show.

We showed up at Berbati’s Pan and it was empty. There were maybe three people in the back playing pool, and two people at the bar. For a second, I thought I might have had the wrong night for the show. When I went to a Bone Thugs show in Seattle, the line extended down the block and around the corner to get in. I guess I was just expecting the same excitement in Portland.

I asked the guy behind the bar what the deal was and he said the entrance to the show was around back. At that point, I was just thankful I hadn’t bought tickets and invited my friends to a show that wasn’t happening. We headed out the front doors and took a turn down an alley way to “the back.” That’s when we started hearing loud bass vibrating the walls of the place. Then we saw the line. Phew!

The venue was small and the acoustics were a little off but it was still an epic show. I was right up front, on top of the stage, and was able to get some great pictures and videos. The place was packed so we couldn’t get drinks mid-show unless we wanted to lose our spots, but the venue had a bar serving local brews on tap and mixed drinks.



After the show we had some Greek fries at Berbati’s Pan & Restaurant. While I thoroughly enjoyed the show, I can’t be too sure what I think about the actual restaurant and bar. The fries were tasty… but I don’t know if I would ever actually grab a drink or a meal there without having an alternative purpose for being there (such as the Bone Thugs show).

Berbati's Pan & Restaurant
213 SW Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97204

Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

There is nothing that goes better with steak than mashed potatoes. If you are looking for thick, robust gravy to go with this side, look no further.

Mashed Potatoes
Taught by my mommy

Ingredients:
4 potatoes
¼ cup half and half
¼ cup butter
Pinch of salt
Pepper

Wash and peel your potatoes. Cut the potatoes up into smaller peices (about 1 inch cubes). Set aside.

Boil a pot of water. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and place your potatoes in the boiling water. Let the potatoes boil covered for about 10 minutes. When the potatoes are soft enough to come apart with a fork, drain the potatoes.

Put the potatoes back into the pot and add the ¼ cup of butter. Using a potatoes masher, gradually mix the potatoes in with the butter, half and half, and preferred amount of pepper. (Use the half and half sparingly and only use enough to give the potatoes the preferred whipped texture. Using too much will make the potatoes wet and soggy). Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!

Mushroom Gravy
Ingredients:
Can of ready made gravy
½ pound mushrooms
Olive oil

Wash and cut thick slices of mushroom. Set aside.

Put the can of ready made gravy into a saucepan and turn it on low heat. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Next, heat a skillet and drizzle with olive oil. Place the mushrooms in the skillet so that they are not overlapping. Let the mushrooms cook on one side for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Using tongs, turn the mushrooms over one by one so that they will not be overlapping (overlapping makes them cook unevenly and produce wetness). Add more olive oil if necessary. Let the mushrooms sit for another 5 minutes while shaking them up a little bit in with the pan. Mushrooms should be well browned on each side. Remove from heat and put the mushrooms into the saucepan of heated gravy. Make sure the heat is on low or very low. The Mushroom Gravy can sit for as long as needed on this setting. Stir occasionally.

When you drizzle the Mashed Potatoes with the Mushroom Gravy, I like to make a little crater in my mashed potatoes with my spoon for the gravy to have a place to go and not run awry. But I’m just kind of cute like that…

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pan Roasted Asparagus

My mom prepared this pan roasted asparagus with sake on Christmas Eve and it was absolutely delicious! Asparagus goes great as a healthy side to any main entrée. I used it in my New Years Dinner to accompany a Filet Mignon and Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.


Ingredients:
1 bundle of asparagus
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon sake
olive oil

Wash and cut off the ends of your asparagus so you are left with green and healthy heads and stems.

Heat up a pan on the stove. Drizzle some olive oil over the pan and lay inside of it your asparagus spread out evenly. Move the asparagus around so the heat reaches all sides of each one and they are evenly cooked.

After 4-5 minutes pour the water and sake evenly over the asparagus. Pan roast the asparagus for 7-10 more minutes, tossing around the asparagus in the water and sake from time-to-time, until the asparagus is evenly and thoroughly cooked (maybe taste test one to make sure its soft and flavorful enough). Enjoy!

Filet Mignon

The first time I tasted a filet mignon was on my 21st birthday.

I turned 21 over the summer while I was in Indiana staying with my Aunt and Uncle and working at an internship for Ashland Hercules Water Technologies.

I was dating my cousin’s best friend at the time. We had met at his lake house on Kentucky Lake when my cousin invited me spend the weekend with him and his friends wakeboarding a month prior. My previous boyfriend and I had decided to “take a break” while he was studying abroad in Argentina and I was working in Indiana. This opened up the perfect opportunity to have a summer romance. And the opportunity practically pounced. Norman and I were inseparable while it lasted. He would come up to Evansville, IN to stay with me at my Aunt and Uncle’s during the week, and almost every weekend I would go down to Kentucky Lake to spend time with him.

Norman, of course, came up to see me in Indiana for my birthday and my Aunt and Uncle took us out to Cavanaugh’s on the Ohio River. I remember that I was craving a steak but wasn’t sure what kind. Everyone recommended the filet mignon. I went with it and when it was served I couldn’t believe how small the portion was! It was the most expensive steak on the menu and yet it looked as though I could have finished it off in three bites. After expressing this, (after the waiter had left our table, of course) everyone told me to simply enjoy it and to not let the portion fool me. By the time we got the check, I was still working on my filet! It was so much more thick and filling than I had expected, and so completely delicious.

For New Years Day I told my family I wanted to prepare them a grandiose dinner that would celebrate the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. I instantly thought of serving filet mignon. I studied up on how to prepare such a cut of meat because although I thoroughly enjoyed eating it on my birthday, I was clueless on how to prepare it.

Following various online articles and recommendations from the cute guy at the meat counter at Whole Foods, my Dad and I ended up preparing some incredible filet mignons. Here’s how we did it:

(I am consistently more than happy with Whole Foods meat. While it may be a little pricey, it is well worth the splurge...)

Filet Mignon

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cuts of filet mignon


Put your oven on the high broil setting and let it heat up. Using a broiling rack and pan, place it on the oven rack closest to the broiler on the top of the oven that will leave the top of the steak about 3 inches from the broiler.

Fill a plate with half balsamic vinegar and half dry, red wine. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.


Heat a skillet over the stove with olive oil.

Take one filet at a time and turn it over in the vinegar/wine mix so that all sides are covered. Place the filet on the skillet and sear it 3 minutes on one side until it is completely browned. Flip the filet over and do 3 minutes on the other side.

Then remove the filet from the skillet and place on the center of the broiling rack. Broil on one side for 3-4 minutes and then flip the filet over and broil on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remover from the oven and let the steak cook itself for about 5 minutes before cutting into and serving.

My family enjoyed the filet mignon with sides of Pan Roasted Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.

Seafood Stuffed Avocados

Who doesn’t love a ripe avocado? The avocado in this recipe serves as the cup for a creamy seafood mix in this exquisite appetizer. Your taste buds will be bubbling over with ebullience upon sampling such a fine first course…


Ingredients:
½ cup flaked, cooked crabmeat
½ cup cooked small shrimp
2 tablespoons peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
2 tablespoons diced celery
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch paprika
2 avacados

Cut the avocados lengthwise and remove the pit. Retaining the shape of the pit, scoop out an additional amount of flesh, leaving about ½ inch on the peel and save for later. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the additional avocado flesh, drained crab, drained shrimp, diced cucumber, diced celery, mayonnaise, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, spoon the seafood mixture into the hollowed centers of the avocado halves. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Enjoy!

Marsala Poached Pears

I decided to have a little bit of fun with pears while they were in season. There are many different ways to serve pears that help accentuate the texture, flavor, and juiciness of this divine fruit. I found a recipe for poached pears online that looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a try. It was my first time poaching pears. After successfully following the recipe I determined that Marsala Poached Pears make for a succulent, romantic dessert.


Ingredients:
4 bosc pears
1 cub dry Marsala wine
1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
½ star anise
4 cloves
½ stick cinnamon

Peel the bosc pears with the stem still attached with 1/4” of the bottom sliced off so the pears can sit upright, set aside.

In a saucepan that will fit all of the upright pears, place the Marsala wine, sugar, lemon juice, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and place the pears in the pan standing upright. Cover the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes while you bated the liquid a few times during cooking until the pears can be pierced with a fork. Then remove the pears to a serving dish.

Keep the pan uncovered and let the Marsala syrup boil down for a few minutes until it becomes thick syrup. Pour the syrup over the pears and serve with French vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crescent-Wrapped Brie

Need more ideas on how to enjoy brie? Simply wrap up slices of brie (or an entire wheel for those of you overzealous brie consumers) with Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner roll dough and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-24 minutes until the crescent crust looks slightly browned. Remove from the oven and enjoy warm, rich, runny brie within a light crispy crescent crust!