Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Funny Stuff

Wow - it occurred to me that I have not posted here in a while - been pretty busy. I hope to throw up some more restaurant reviews soon, as well as some discussion about cooking equipment. But, here are some of my favorite food related funnies that I collected in recent years.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My Valentine

I am a loved man. Really, I am. My wife found a way to make a nice evening for us without going to a fancy restaurant. As you can probably guess - she cooked. It was quite simply the most delicious meal I've had in a long time, and that includes our trip to Arizona. Sorry that some of the pictures are a little blurry - my arms were tired from shoveling snow and ice for 2 hours!

We started off with home-made bruschetta. This is one of our favorite starters, and the red-head struggled at first to make it just right considering this isn't exactly tomato season. After trial and error -low and behold, it tastes outstanding good with canned maters as well - some of the best I've ever had.

That was followed up by sauteed dry scallops (dry - meaning not treated with preservative like most scallops). Nice and simple, a few breadcrumbs, butter and olive oil, and a nice hot pan. Cooked till lightly brown on the outside and just barely done on the inside. Sweet and yummy.

Our entree was crab stuffed chicken breast with twice baked potato and sauteed broccoli. The taters were great, but we both agreed that the recipe used for the crab chicken was a little bland. I think it was supposed to be a light and simply flavored dish, but in the future, leaving the skin on and/or browning the chicken would be the better option. 'Twas still quite good though, particularly the crab stuffing.

Ok, and now for the best part, which is saying a lot considering how awesome the scallops turned out. Frozen peanut butter pie, with chocolate graham cracker crust and homemade hot fudge sauce. Yah, I said homemade hot fudge sauce. This pie shows precisely why I rarely eat desert out. Quite frankly, most restaurants, particularly chains, can't match anything the red-head makes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Phoenix Area Report

Just got back from a week in the desert, and it was fantastic. Was sent there for a conference and dragged the wife along with me. It was realllllly hard to talk her into making the trip.

If you've never visited Arizona, it really just might be our most beautiful state. I would not have said so before this trip, but then again before this trip I would have voted for North Carolina (considering I would vote on only what I know). We too a beautiful drive up through Sedona

Past the San Francisco Peaks

And to the Grand Canyon

OK, now that I've got your attention!

A couple of quick food reviews from the area. The best part - when you're on a business trip, you rarely pay for your own food! Here are the highlights. Given that we ate out a lot, I won't list everything.

We had a nice meal at Rock Bottom, which is really a chain, but they have smoked salmon fish and chips, and the best mac n cheese in any restaurant I've ever been. Oh, and the beer is pretty good also.

The Keg serves a very good steak, maintains a great atmosphere and service. The rest of their food is only so-so. It's way more expensive I would ever pay considering the quality.

A fun evening took place at Harold's Corral with a bunch of co-workers after a long day of meetings. It certainly wasn't fancy, but they make a fine burger.

I must mention Sweet Tomatoes. Again - it's nothing fancy, but it's a nice affordable salad and soup buffet. I really like a nice mixed green salad with all kinds of different veggies. In addition to the usual, they also had black beans, chick peas, jicama, various squashes, and some unusual dressings. The soups are decent as well. This is also a chain, one which I think would do well in SE Pennsylvania.

The best for last as usual. Rosita's Place in South Phoenix (not to be confused with just Rosita's) is by far my favorite Mexican restaurant anywhere and one of my all time favorite places to dine. Just google it and you'll find some reviews online.
My friend Enrique(Henry), takes me there every time I visit. I've learned recently that Mexican food has much more variety than most people think. Much like the Italians, Mexicans use whatever types of ingredients are locally available. That means that some areas use more tomatoes than others. In fact, Rosita's place doesn't even use tomatoes in their salsa. Some use cheese, others don't. Even the type of tamales are different. Of course, tamales are my favorite and Rosita's makes the best (and spiciest) tamales verdes I've ever had.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thai chicken coconut milk soup

Yet another home-made post. Are you seeing a pattern here? We're really trying to save moola by not eating out so much, but I'm starting to think we've gone too far!!!

Of course, if our "try it on a whim recipes" keep turning out like this - we'll survive. When the red-head told me she was going to make this concoction, I was skeptical. In recent years Thai food is really starting to interest me, so I figured what the heck.

This recipe came out of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which really is a catch all for the best recipes in a variety of styles. It's got soups, breads, deserts, ethnic, and so on. We've tried a number of supposedly ethnic dishes, like Chinese dumplings, tamale pie, and Greek lemon soup. But this one was by far the best, and from what I could tell, most authentic tasting. How can I tell? It tasted like nothing I've ever had before. The soup has several layers of flavors.

First, curry paste, ginger, cilantro, and and other goodies are steeped in chicken broth. Then onions and shallots are sauteed in coconut milk, then the chicken is added. The strained broth is added back in with coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. To finish, throw in a little jalapeno and cilantro. Easily one of the best soups I've had in a long time.