Saturday, October 29, 2011


Welcome to my 100th post. This may sound like a big or little number depending if you are my blog reading friend or a mega blogger yourself. But for me, I am happy to cross this little milestone and am reflecting back on the dining, eating and cooking that lead to all those posts. Here are a few of my favorites from the first 100...

Kelly's Kitchen:
Crunchy Cinnamon Granola
Roasted Accordion Potatoes
Broccoli Cheddar Biscuits

Food Adventures:
African Food Adventures
Taste of the Nation
{Extra Special} Chefs Brunch
Charleston Eats

Dine & Dish:
Park Burger
Ocean Prime

Thanks for following along my foodie journey. Cheers to the next 100!

*Enjoy reading? Become an 'official' follower or follow me on Twitter. It makes me real happy when you do!
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

{Extra Special} Chefs Brunch

Last weekend, I was in foodie heaven with 4 Chefs cooking a special brunch for my friends and me.

For those who missed it, let me recap how this came to be ... In June, Dan and I attended Taste of the Nation – a foodie fundraiser benefiting Share Our Strength. That night, we bid on and won a brunch with local Chefs – cooked in our home!

For brunch, we feasted on the tasty dishes from:

Matt Selby, Vesta Dipping Grill & Steuben's - Pork Breakfast Sausage with Peppers. The sausage was superior to any tasted before. Being a sausage connoisseur, Dan noted just how very tender this homemade sausage was. We waited for the appropriate amount of time after Matt's departure before battling for the leftovers.

Paul C. Reilly, Encore on Colfax - Potato, Leek and Manchego Gratin. The potatoes were creamy, rich and had a nice crunch on top to finish off the bite. To think of this as merely potatoes au gratin summons up pictures of a homemade variety that falls boorishly short of the depth of flavor from this savory and delicious dish. And being one who enjoys crunchy food - you know I devoured my serving!

Beau Simmons, Jonesy's EatBar - Omelets Bar made to the likings of the eater. I ordered the special - a Lamb Shoulder, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Omelet. Even though I am not normally a big lamb fan, this was a perfect time to give it a go. And it was great. The sharpness of the blue cheese combined with the sweetness of the onions and richness from the lamb came together to create one perfectly flavorful and indulgent bite.

Keegan Gerhard, Dbar Desserts - Malted Vanilla Waffle with Bananas Foster, Nutella and Cinnamon Ice Cream. This dessert was all the things you dream of from a dessert - creamy, sweet, a bit of crunch and one that made you want to lick the plate. Having learned a few table manners myself, I opted to wait until the Chefs left before doing so. And that cinnamon ice cream - oh, how I loved thee.

We enjoyed all this while sipping on Blueberry Pomegranate Mimosas and Apple Mimosas. Pure genius! Especially the Apple Mimosa. Such a simple and fresh twist to the traditional mimosa. I am not sure I will ever serve an orange juice mimosa again.

Special thanks to Mom for opening her home for our special brunch. And an even bigger thank you to the Chefs and Leigh from Jonseys who generously donated their time for a good cause. It was pure joy to chat it up with you as you shared your culinary creations with us.

Need a bigger helping?:
Vesta Dipping Grill Vesta Dipping Grill on Urbanspoon & Steuben's Steuben's Food Service on Urbanspoon
Encore on Colfax Encore on Colfax on Urbanspoon
Jonesy's EatBar Jonesy's EatBar on Urbanspoon
Dbar Desserts D Bar Desserts on Urbanspoon
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Charleston Eats

Dan and I enjoyed a long weekend in Charleston for our anniversary. We like to go somewhere new to celebrate so when we read several articles on Charleston's appeal as a cultural destination, we were in.

As I've shared before, I travel according to food experience opportunities. Exploring regional and cultural foods is one of my main pleasures when traveling. And with a trip to the South, I was looking forward to some fresh seafood and ‘low country’ cuisine.

As we explored the markets and streets of Charleston, we ate many a meals … here are the highlights of our culinary experience:

Entrée: Amen Street wins for best entree. Best two entrees in fact. The crab cakes had a light crunch and were entirely comprised of crab meat - no filler in this dish. The shrimp and grits were also all that they should be - creamy, hearty and with just enough heat to make you return for yet another bite.

Side dish: Hominy Grill takes it for their sweet mashed potatoes. This dish was silky in texture, sweet and divinely rich. With a side dish like this, who needs dessert?

Low country eats: After waiting in the friendly line that famously wraps around the restaurant’s corner, we found the best low country eats at Jestine’s Kitchen. Jestine’s fried chicken basket with okra and coleslaw and a glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. And they had the best cornbread we ate all weekend!
A little food for thought as I reflect on the culinary adventures of Charleston, I find it amusing that listed among the vegetable offerings on several Charleston menus was Mac and Cheese. Ha. Gotta love the South for their comfort food. It was certainly fun to enjoy for a long weekend. Now back to an ever so slightly less indulgent dinner plate.

Need a bigger helping?:
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar Amen Street Seafood Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon
Hominy Grill Hominy Grill on Urbanspoon
Jestine's Kitchen Jestine's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's here....!

Today is the big day of my Exciting News! My camera is ready and my belly is hungry....
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Broccoli Challenge: Broccoli Cheddar Biscuits

For my final week of my Broccoli Challenge, I decided to do a bit of baking. And having just been to the South (more on my Charleston trip later), I was inspired to make biscuits.

1 c cooked broccoli florets
5 oz aged, sharp cheddar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs baking powder
8 tbs butter
3/4 c non-fat milk
1 egg white

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam cook broccoli florets, let cool. Finely chop cooled broccoli and set aside. Shred cheese and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture. Tip: Use cold or chilled butter. Flour cutting board or working surface for rolling dough, set aside. Make well in bottom of flour mixture and pour part of milk into well. Using hand, mix and kneed flour with milk, adding milk slowly.

Remove dough from bowl and place on prepared work surface. Kneed broccoli and cheese into dough until mixed throughout. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough using 2 inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on buttered baking pan. In a small bowl, beat egg white with splash of water to make egg wash. Brush biscuits with egg wash using pastry brush. Bake biscuits until golden brown on top. Approximately 14-15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm, with butter.

Check out other Broccoli Challenge posts here, here and here. And check out the quick and easy Asian Sesame Broccoli over at Sonnemanland .

My tastebuds are happily freed from my broccoli rut. And I'm pleased to have expanded my broccoli repertoire this past month. Thank you to all who participated along with me! Cheers to cooking and eating broccoli.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Broccoli Challenge: Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli

For the third week of my Broccoli Challenge, I am embracing the change of seasons with a roasted vegetable dish. It’s hearty and healthy and can also offer a lot of flexibility. Throw in whatever root vegetables you have on hand – parsnips, sweet potatoes or carrots.

1 butternut squash
2 broccoli crowns
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1 lemon
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
2 tbs. olive oil
2 parsley sprigs

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Cut broccoli florets at stem. Cut onion into quarters and then in half again. The goal is to have the veggies approximately the same size pieces for even cooking time. Crush garlic cloves and combine with vegetables in roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil and juice from one half lemon on veggies. Mix until veggies are well coated. Salt and pepper as desired. Cover pan with foil and roast for 20 minutes.

During cooking time, finely chop parsley and combine in small bowl with cheese and toasted nuts. Add juice from remaining half lemon and stir. Set aside.

Remove foil from roasting pan, stir, and continue roasting uncovered for another 20 min or until veggies are tender to the fork. Remove from oven. Discard garlic cloves and transfer to serving dish. Top vegetables with nut and cheese mixture. Serve hot and enjoy!
There is still one more week to join the Challenge – click here for more info. In case you missed them, click here and here for the previous Broccoli Challenge posts. See you again next Wednesday for another Broccoli Challenge report.

Also, check out the colorful brown bag lunch with broccoli at Healthy Eating Starts at Home.
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