Thursday, December 30, 2010

A little vino

I love to open a bottle of wine with my husband on a quiet night at home. There is no quicker way to make it a relaxing and cozy night. Whether dinner is cooking on the stovetop or reheating in the micro, there is just something about sharing a good bottle of wine.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Baking

I love the time of year when the sugary results of an afternoon holiday baking session outweigh the nutritious options in the fridge and cupboards. Tis the season...
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Monday, December 6, 2010

“Dinner is ready”

A morsel of culinary wisdom was once shared and has stuck with me for several years. This wisdom did not include impressive food knowledge, the inclusion of fad food ingredients or fancy knife techniques. Rather, it was simple: Learn to cook 5 good dinner meals and commit the recipes to memory.

While I’ve always valued this wisdom, only recently have I developed a full appreciation of it. As life gets busy, it’s nice to have a few ‘go to’ meals in your repertoire. This is especially true if you’ve ever found yourself wandering the aisles of the grocery store having forgotten your shopping list.

Chicken Parmesan is on my list. It is so easy that it doesn’t even have a formal ‘recipe’. It calls for a little-of-this, little-of-that approach to cooking. I simply brush the chicken breast with a bit of olive oil and season generously with garlic, S & P, and herbs of province. I grill it (healthier than the breaded variety) and serve with spaghetti sauce and shredded parmesan cheese on top. This time my side dishes were roasted butternut squash and sautéed spinach and garlic. Enjoy!
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks to a full family effort, this year’s bird came out both beautiful and tasty. I am thankful for good food and wonderful family.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pizza pursuit, Part 3, The Finale

Having pulled the par-baked crusts out of the freezer (from the edible batch of course), I loaded on the pizza toppings and preheated the oven. After the cheese had appropriately melted, we tasted the piping hot pizzas. I have to say, the pizza making was (finally) a success - even my husband agreed. Quite an improvement from the pizza pita of first attempt.

On the menu: Italian turkey sausage with homemade pesto pizza and BBQ sausage with caramelized onions pizza
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pizza pursuit, Part 2

My mom always says a recipe is a guideline, except when baking. I was thinking this explained the flop of my first pizza attempt. I altered the recipe. I subbed half of the white flour with whole wheat. But now I am thinking it was more in the kneading and rolling out process. I left the dough too thick, resulting in a dense pita pocket emerging from my oven.

This time, I rolled the dough into thin crusts and remembered to spread with olive oil before putting it in the oven. I also experimented with some seasoning a la herbs of Provence. My second effort was better. So much better that it was actually edible.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pizza pursuit, Part 1

I am married to a pizza lover, thru and thru. I’ll confess that I am not a huge fan of pizza myself. Yes, I said it, I don’t love pizza. But I do love my husband and indulge in the occasional pizza dinner to satiate his craving.

While not my favorite to eat, making pizza is first about baking and I do love to bake. So, I’ve been on the hunt for a pizza dough recipe. I found a promising one in Bon Appetite and gave it my first effort. As I left my dough to rise, there was great anticipation of pizza ahead. But, I’ll be honest with you and admit that it was not a success.

Together, my pizza-longing husband and I laughed at the results. As you can see, my first effort resembled more of a pita or naan than that of pizza crust. It was a great failed attempt. The pizza mission continues … until then, we order delivery…
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dine & Dish: Venue

This busy little restaurant is nestled in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood. We’d heard great things about Venue through my culinary momma who went to school with the proprietor, Holly. With starving stomachs, we happily over-ordered the St. Louis Pork Ribs and Mussels to start. Next time, I’d pass on the ribs and consider ordering the mussels as a delicious and savory entrée.

For the main dish, we ordered Shrimp and Grits and the Gnocchi. Both of which were flavorful and recommendation worthy. Actually, I don’t know what drew me to order the Gnocchi as it’s not something I normally enjoy. I must have been lured in by the promise of parmesan flavor and was not disappointed. It was the best dish of the night.

Of décor note, I particularly appreciated the unique kitchen utensil art. Even the lighting was in this clever food décor style with upside-down teacups and saucers as pendant lights. Clever décor amuses me.

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Venue on Urbanspoon
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fish fry ...

Well, not exactly a fish fry in the way a Midwesterner might imagine but certainly a lighter version of a fish dinner was served. I am partial to preparing fish as my quick and healthy option for cooking at home during the work week. So much so that fish dinners show up in my menu planning on a weekly basis.

On the menu: Pan seared halibut with pistachio pesto and sautéed vegetables
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drinking Chocolate

The leaves have turned color, the air has chilled, and it's time for the first hot chocolate of the season – with a few a marshmallows thrown in for added comfort.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Foodie Fundraiser

Foodies feasted, funds raised, and voting chips were cast for favorite sauces at A Saucey Affair. This year, duck was the trendy ingredient in the tastings offered. Normally, duck is not my ingredient of choice, but with a flavorful sauce, almost anything can be transformed into a great bite. I especially enjoyed the Stranahan’s Whiskey Duck Sauce from Black Pearl. Other restaurant samplings included: Roast Duck Benedict, Roast Lamb Belly with Baby Spinach Salad, Duck Confit with Sweet Potato Puree, Almond and Bacon Liver Mousse Date, and a Duck Drummette with Maple and Blood Orange Sauce.

And the awards went to… Avenue Grill and Encore! Avenue Grill’s Strawberry Margarita Sauce won the Judges’ Choice Award and Encore took home the People Choice Award for their Poblano and Pumpkin Seed Cream Sauce.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dine and Dish: Watercourse Foods

Tofu much? I feel confident to proclaim that whether you like Tofu or not, you’d enjoy feasting from this vegetarian menu. In fact, I venture to guess that a first timer would be challenged to narrow it down to one menu selection. Who’s not intrigued by a vegetarian restaurant offering Buffalo Wings, a Ruben sandwich, and a “Grinder” who’s description is reminiscent of a Philly Cheese Steak? For our meal, we settled upon the Portobello Po Boy with Onion Rings, and Thai Peanut Stir Fry with Crispy Tofu.

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WaterCourse Foods

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Got tickets?

This is a foodie’s reminder to get your tickets for A Saucey Affair. It’s a fundraising event and a great excuse to enjoy the tastings of several local (delicious!) eateries all in one night.

A Saucey Affair: benefiting the 9Health Fair, Thursday, Oct. 21st 6-9, Infinity Park Event Center

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Saucey Affair Tickets
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Healthy and Hearty

Some love comfort food. Some love healthy food. I love finding a balance of both. The key to this is in finding a few small, albeit sneaky, ways to make favorite foods a bit healthier. “How?” You ask? For this dinner, I snuck a little fiber into the starch and a little green into the protein portion of our meal. Feedback from my dinner diners: “Best meatballs you’ve made yet". Please insert image in your mind of me beaming with delight (while still wearing my apron, of course) upon hearing this.

On the menu: Buffalo zucchini meatballs atop whole wheat pasta al dente
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Taste of Colorado

Labor Day weekend is upon us and this means two things: the end of summer is here and a great foodie festival is waiting to satiate your hunger. A Taste of Colorado is a fun way to sample the fare from over 50 Colorado restaurants. Enjoy the live music, dining from a variety of cuisines, food demonstrations, and all the people watching you can handle. There is no admission fee but bring cash for the menu items you wish to taste. I’m already wondering which restaurants will be the favorites this year.

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A Taste Of Colorado
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Friday, August 27, 2010

A spoonful of sugar

Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary day, a dessert lover comes across something that makes her giddy with childlike excitement. That giddiness was inspired by a large, sugary treat in the form of a cupcake! With a candyland of decorations, flavors and colors to choose from, it was hard for me to decide. But I eventually settled on a couple of classics: “Midnight Magic” (Devil’s food cake with cream cheese frosting) and “Peanut Butter Cup” (Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting). Here’s to several spoonfuls...

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Gigi's Cupcakes

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dine and Dish: Park Burger

My hubby loves a burger. If he could eat only one thing for the rest of his life, it would be burgers. Hence, I have become pretty familiar with the burger joints in town. Or so I’d thought. Then I heard about Park Burger. With the words from of rave reviews swirling in my head, we sat down for dinner.

While you can create your own burger, we selected from the ‘Specialty Burger’ menu list to get an authentic first impression. The Croque Burger is the way to go for those who love a fried egg on a sandwich. It is as messy and sinfully indulgent as you can imagine. It also leaves you needing several napkins so stock up prior to first bite.

Our other selection, the BBQ Burger, was equally delish. The burger patty itself was juicy and the barbecue sauce was both sweet and tangy. These flavors married beautifully with the crunch of the haystack onions. I think I’ve found my new favorite burger topping – haystack onions! Who needs fries when haystack onions are the star attraction?

Speaking of fries … the next marker of a great burger joint is the fries. They are an important accompaniment and scoring big in this department is crucial. I am happy to report that we were not disappointed. Our basket of fries were everything I hoped they would be. They touched on the four most important aspects of killer French fries: thinly sliced, salty, crunchy, and served HOT. Final words on Park Burger: outside-the-box, delicious burgers

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Park Burger

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

A cereal kind of weekend …

So it seems that cereal was my favorite ingredient this cooking weekend. My menu pairing was definitely not planned and ended up being pretty amusing in its pattern. Cereal made its first appearance in the dinner menu with a healthier version of fried fish. I ‘oven fried’ cod filets for a crunchy and healthy dinner. I used my trusty food processor to blend up a batter of Corn Flakes, garlic powder, dill, lemon, cracked pepper and season salt. I especially loved the crunch!

Then, what should follow a healthy dinner? A small treat to satisfy my hubby’s insatiable sweet tooth! I whipped up a batch of Rice Krispie treats – black & white cookie style. I made one batch and lathered half of the pan with melted dark chocolate atop. I’ve now sampled both the regular and the dark chocolate krispie treats. I can’t decide which I like better. Maybe another would help me decide?
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dine and Dish: Bones

Located in Denver, Bones is a small neighborhood restaurant featuring an Asian fusion noodle menu. The food features are the creation of head chef Frank Bonanno whose nickname, I’ve heard, is ‘Bones’, hence the name of the restaurant. We arrived for our 7:30 reservation and were seated at a corner table nearby the wine rack. This cozy seating provided a welcomed sense of intimacy for our dinner.

Our meal started with an order of the Steamed Buns as recommended by our server. As anticipated, these pleasantly chewy Buns were dripping with pork belly decadence. For our entrees, we ordered the Ahi Tuna Burger with shishito peppers and the Ramen with poached lobster. The burger was wonderfully unique in that the Ahi Tuna seemed to be chopped up and grilled in a way that was reminiscent of your typical beef burger. The shishito pepper side dish was promptly placed atop the tuna burger and enjoyed as one. Next, the broth of the Ramen was described as a Lobster miso broth and was surprisingly light considering I tasted more of a butter than miso flavor. As you can imagine, the broth’s flavor paired beautifully with the poached lobster. Bottom line on Bones: yum!

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Bones Restaurant

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