Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coming *very* soon...

I've been working hard to make my new blog something special. I cant wait any longer to share it with you...

So, I'm giving a hint about what's to come?

The new name features one of my favorite literary techniques - alliteration. I don't actually know if alliteration is considered a technique. A literary tool, perhaps? Anyhow, the hint is alliteration.

And I'll do one better...the alliteration makes use of the letter "S". Really, that's 2 hints now.

Any guesses?

My new blog launches on January 1st!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vegetable Wellington

This dish is a healthy creation of the otherwise indulgent beef version that contains excessive butter and a pastry crust. The vegetable version is also quicker to cook. The result is fork tender vegetables in a light, yet flavorful, gravy sauce.

Ingredients: *Serves 6
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 lb cremini mushroom
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 medium yellow onion
1 large shallot, diced
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. butter
1/4 c. flour
2/3 c. red wine
1/2 tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
8 sheets filo dough
1 egg white plus 1 tsp. water, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In medium Dutch oven, heat oil on stovetop on medium heat. Chop potatoes, mushrooms and onion into 1 inch pieces. Halve Brussels sprouts and dice shallot. Add vegetables and butter to pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer vegetables to large bowl and set aside.

Return Dutch oven to heat and add wine, using whisk to deglaze bottom of pot. Add vinegar, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Salt and pepper vegetables to taste. Add flour and stir until coated. Transfer to pot and remove from heat.

Prepare egg wash. Gently place filo sheets across top of Dutch oven, brushing with egg wash every 2 sheets. Finish crust by gently tucking under edges of dough and sealing with egg wash on rim. Transfer to oven for 30 minutes.

Serve hot in shallow bowls and enjoy.

Happy holidays friends and foodies alike!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 days...

There's only 10 days until I launch the new face of my blog. I am so excited to share it with you! I hope you will like it as much as I do!

My hubby has been working hard as my bloggy tech-person extraordinaire. Luckily, he accepts payment in the form of delish dinners and sweets.

January 1st is the big day.

Until then, happy holidays my friends!

Cheers, Kelly
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dine & Dish: Salt Bistro

In doing a little pre-meal research, I was especially drawn in by Salt Bistro's commitment to sourcing fresh and local ingredients. We dined at Salt Bistro for their Sunday brunch. The atmosphere has an inviting and historic feel created by the exposed brick walls and refurbished materials from the original building.

As for the food, we tasted the Tom's Tavern Grass-fed Burger. This dish was recommended by our server to which all three of my dining companions ordered it. Atop the burger was arugula, cheddar and the addition of avocado.

The entire table raved about the house-made ketchup. I enjoy my ketchup. In fact, I often joke that I eat French fries only as long as I still have ketchup for dipping. The house-made ketchup was noteworthy due to the deep flavor that tasted to be from fire roasted tomatoes. The flavor profile distinguished the ketchup from the traditional tabletop variety.

Also recommended by our server, I ordered the Farm Fresh Egg Omelette. The omelette was served almost burrito like with its rolled presentation. The inside of the omelette revealed spinach, bacon, brie and sundried tomatoes.

These were strong flavors when mixed into one bite, although, I was displeased with the oiliness of the dish. The oiliness seemed to come from improperly drained sundried tomatoes. While I wouldn't order the dish again, I certainly think - with better execution - it had the makings of a tasty dish. The omelette was also accompanied by potatoes which were nicely prepared with sautéed onions.

Final words on Salt Bistro ... warm brunch that invites diners to leisurely enjoy their ketchup - err, meal.

Need a bigger helping?:
Salt Bistro SALT on Urbanspoon
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Granola Encrusted French Toast with apple-berry dipping sauce

Adapted from Rachael Ray

Sundays are my favorite days of the week. Following busy schedules with work and places to be, Sunday is the day when we slow down and enjoy a more relaxed pace. It's a perfect day for home cooking.

Toast Ingredients: *Serves 4

8 slices whole wheat bread
2 c. granola
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1 c. non-fat milk
1 c. blackberries

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 c. maple syrup
3/4 c. apple juice
juice from 1 medium orange
1/4 c. blackberry preserves

In a small saucepan, combine ingredients for dipping sauce. Simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crumb granola using food processor. Tip: Homemade or store bought granola can be used. Spread granola crumbs evenly onto baking pan. In medium bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.

Heat large skillet on medium heat. Make French toast in two batches by soaking four bread slices in egg mixture. Then coat each side of bread with granola. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Transfer encrusted toast to skillet and cook on each side for 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and make second batch.

Pour dipping sauce into four small sauce bowls. Plate by stacking two slices of toast alongside dipping sauce. Garnish with blackberries. Serve hot and enjoy!
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dine & Dish: Hey There, Cupcake

I ordered cupcakes for a holiday party I was hosting. I opted for the mini cupcakes for an easy, eat while mingling, treat. On the dessert menu were the Naughty or Nice and Candy Cane Lane cupcakes. The mini size invited me to taste both flavors.

The cleverly named Candy Cane Lane cupcake was a chocolate and peppermint cake with buttercream frosting. It was garnished lightly with a dusting of candy cane pieces - a simple, yet attentive decoration. The cupcake was strong with peppermint flavor and embodied the holiday spirit.

The Naughty or Nice cupcake was a gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting. Not being a fan of frosting in general, I prefer cream cheese frostings for the less sweet taste as compared to a buttercream. This frosting satiated my need for sweet and was velvety smooth. The gingerbread was my favorite because of the cake's moistness and gingerbread cookie decoration. I enjoyed the cookie on its own, almost as a starter to the cupcake. It was wonderfully gingery and sweet. I’d like to order a whole box of the gingerbread cookies!

Final word on Hey, There Cupcake … Moist, elegant cupcakes delivered to your door. Party hosting can't get much sweeter than that.

Need a bigger helping?:
Hey There, Cupcake
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Peanut Shrimp Noodle Bowl

I often save the recipe pages from Health Magazine with plans of trying them at a later date. Over a year later, I've finally gotten around to a recipe from Dave Lieberman. I adapted the peanut sauce and added veggies and shrimp to make it a full meal.

Ingredients: * Serves 4
2 tbs. canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
3 tbs. rice wine vinegar
3 tbs. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. chicken broth, divided
juice from half of lime
6 oz whole-wheat spaghetti
1 broccoli floret, cut
3/4 lb. shrimp
1 medium carrot, cut julienne
1/8 red onion, cut julienne
1/4 c. scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook spaghetti as directed by packaging. Cut vegetables as directed above.

In small saucepan, heat canola oil on medium low . Add garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Do not burn. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, peanut butter, broth and lime juice. Stir with whisk regularly. Stir and cook until smooth and slightly thickened.

At the same time, cook broccoli in large saucepan with 1/4 cup chicken broth on medium heat. Approximately 6 minutes. Remove broccoli from pan.
Spray large saucepan with cooking spray and add shrimp. Sautee on medium heat on both sides until cooked through. Reduce heat. Add carrot, red onion and broccoli to pan. Let cook for 2 minutes. Add pasta to saucepan. Add peanut sauce and mix thoroughly. Garnish with scallions and red pepper (if desired).

Serve hot and enjoy!
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Holidays

Watching a classic holiday movie while sipping on a glass of port. The holiday season is upon us...

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bloggie News

I'm excited to share that I am getting ready to launch the new face of my blog. When I started blogging, I envisioned it in particular one way. Since then, my vision has evolved.

So, there will be a lot of new and exciting changes. But, you will see many of the same things you've (hopefully!) come to love from Apron Strings and Foodie Things.

What will be the same, you ask?
Me! I will continue to be your host.

And I'll continue to post on my 3 main topics:
Kelly's Kitchen - sharing recipes and adventures from my own kitchen
Dine & Dish - restaurant reviews
Foodie Events - the full scoop on fun foodie events

What, then, will be different?
A new name!
An improved layout!
And more to come!

The new blog will launch on January 1st - A good start to the new year!

Thank you for your readership and friendship. And thank you for being a part of my foodie journey!

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