Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gingered-Beet Salad with Shrimp

I am forever looking for creative ideas to use what I have on hand.  I had beets and I had shrimp - something told me that the combination would work!  I did a little looking around with help from Google and stumbled across a beautiful gingered-beet salad with oranges on the lovely blog Caviar and Codfish which was adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Gingered-Beet Salad recipe.  Since I didn't have any oranges, I sought out the original recipe from the New York Times.   Roasted beets, grilled shrimp, ginger, sherry vinegar and chives = delicious!  This was our Friday night appetizer and I am still thinking about it! 

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Warm Salad of Mustard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas

I received a big bunch of mustard greens in my CSA box and searched for an interesting way to prepare them.  I stumbled across this 5 star Cooking Light recipe with black-eyed peas.  I was able to find the black-eyed peas at Whole Foods after striking out at three local supermarkets.  It is funny how some foods are so hard to find in certain areas.

I thought that the greens were spectacular.  I loved the little bit of heat from the jalapeno, the sweetness of the balsamic, the crunch of the bacon, and the creaminess of the black-eyed peas.  Matt thought that the caraway was a little overpowering. I only added 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 2.  Next time I will scale it down to about 1 teaspoon.  I should have bought an extra can of black-eyed peas when I was at Whole Foods since this recipe is a keeper.  I am hoping for more mustard greens this week!   They are such a nutritional powerhouse and are quite delicious too! 

Warm Salad of Mustard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas Recipe -

2 bacon slices, chopped
12 cups torn mustard greens, stems removed (about 12 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (I suggest only 1 teaspoon)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (16-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add greens; cook 4 minutes or until wilted. Combine greens, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, set aside. Add oil to pan. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, garlic, and jalapeño; cook 1 minute. Add peas; cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, and bring to a boil. Add pea mixture to greens mixture. Sprinkle with reserved bacon."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Embracing Fall Foods

I love summer and had a hard time letting go of it this year.  Gone are the tomatoes, the fresh corn and the peaches...  but I am finally accepting of the fact that fall is here and it sure beats winter.  Fall also is just beautiful right here in NJ.  The trees have some nice color, the days have been relatively warm and the crisp cool nights are perfect for sleeping.  Fall foods tend to be heartier and homier to me than summer foods - a nice change of pace but I have to watch the calories!

Here are some of the fall foods that I have been enjoying...

Thanksgiving Day Sandwich from Hinck's Turkey Farm in Wall, NJ 
Fresh roast turkey on a hard roll with stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy - Why wait for Thanksgiving?! 
Classic Meatloaf with a brown sugar, ketchup and apple cider vinegar glaze - total comfort food!
Sweet Potato Wedges - Peeled sweet potatoes cut into wedges, tossed with kosher salt, cumin, and a little vegetable oil - baked at 400 degrees on a sheet pan until lightly browned and crispy - Delicious and healthy too!
Rutabaga from the CSA box - delicious simply boiled, mashed with butter, milk, salt and pepper
Product Raves
  • Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - salty, sweet and incredibly delicious!
  • Red Jacket Orchards Apple Cider from New York State - they have been making the cider for 50 years- no wonder it's so good!
  • Wemrock Orchards Apple Cider Donuts made in Freehold, NJ - donut perfection!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pizza, Pizza

I love pizza - always have, always will!  I read an interesting article a while back on Serious Eats which identifies 21 regional pizza styles.  I am determined to try them all at some point and this past week I had two. 

My daughter Ashley was home on break this week.  Yay!  The day that I took off from work to spend with her was rainy so we planned on going to one of our very favorite pizza places, DeLorenzo's, and catching a movie.  DeLorenzo's serves up the best Trenton tomato pies (one of the 21 regional styles).  We had sausage and sweet peppers as the toppings - fantastic!  Our waiter Brian was great too!  This place is a must try if you are in the area.  We saw the movie Catfish which is an independent documentary thriller about a young New York City photographer that meets a girl on Facebook.  It has a very surprising and disturbing twist in the end.  It is definitely worth seeing.

This weekend was parent's weekend at Conn. College.  We had a great time visiting with Cailyn ( I still miss her terribly).  The weather ended up being just great and the campus is beautiful, especially at this time of year.  We took a ride into nearby Mystic and tried New England Greek-style pizza (one of the 21 regional styles) at Angie's.  The crust was flaky and buttery, thick, but not at all heavy.  It was very different from NJ pizza but also very tasty.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Few Days in Vegas

Life has been crazy lately!   My brother surprised me recently with the news that he was getting married - in 3 weeks! - in Vegas!    I had never been to Las Vegas and honestly never really had the desire to go there.  Matt and I booked our flight and headed out on Friday night.  We stayed at The Venetian Hotel where the wedding took place.  Our suite was really nice and had a great view of the City with the mountains in the background.   My brother was in one of the amazing "rock star" suites.  We had a great time just hanging out in my brother's suite enjoying plenty of good wine that he brought from California.

We also enjoyed plenty of good food.  My two favorite meals while visiting were chicken and waffles from Bouchon and Wagyu steak from Valentino's.  Both restaurants were located right in The Venetian Hotel and the food at each was absolutely delicious.  Our server at Valentino's was so cute and said "don't worry, all of us foodies take pictures of our food" when I was embarrassed at being caught with my camera out!  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me for the wedding dinner.  The cake was from Freed's bakery in Las Vegas and was awesome! 

What I didn't do in Vegas - gamble, see a show, or go to a nightclub...  I really am not a Las Vegas person but I am glad that I went just this once.  I have never seen my brother happier.  I also now know why Las Vegas is called "Sin City"! 

La Bistecca: Australian “Wagyu” Flat Iron Steaks Tagliata Served with Arugola Salad and Sautéed Zucchini 

Whole Young Chicken Cooked Under a Brick Served with Spinach Risotto (Matt's dinner)
Chicken & Waffles - Roasted chicken, bacon and chive waffle, Tahitian vanilla bean butter, sauce chasseur

In the past two weeks I've been to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas.  I am glad to be home!  My daughters are also both home for the weekend, so I am happy as can be.  I have missed checking out my favorite blogs.  I promise to visit next week!