Fresh, Delicious, clean Summer flavors are dominating my mind right now. A month back, I was in a cooking rut. I felt like I had hit a wall. The food still tasted good, and I was having ideas, just not many of them. With a change of seasons, I am invigorated. Ready to apply everything I have learned this Winter to Summer entertaining. Ready to add new flavors to BBQ's picnics and pasta salad. And mostly ready to not spend hours in the kitchen making these heavy winter meals that have reigned on this blog for the past 5 months.
April 2009 Archives
***Battle 2 is announced on foodiefights, so go check it out.
The finale of Last Restaurant Standing was on last night. We start with a fun little recap of all the couples that takes about 2 minutes. It made me think about how on an American reality show this would have taken up 10 - 15 minutes and been annoying. This recap was nice to see all the couples from past episodes. We now learn that this challenge will take place on the orient express. They will each have 40 diners and need to give the utmost fine dining experience on the train.
Since the shirts were such a great sucess, I decided to make some more of them and include some suggestions from my adoring fans. I have added some "girly T" sizes for the beard shirt (Marina, you crazy), and added a shirt with that cool pot and chile logo from my site. I have also created options for shirts without the TFimB Logo so that people who like the designs, but aren't huge fans of the site, can enjoy the shirts as well. Hope you guys like them! there are a lot of options on the site with all the color variety, the girly shirts and the logo/no logo choice, so be sure to look through and pick the right one!!! Here is the link to the store again, or you can click the ad on the right.
As the Summer slowly approaches, pesto is on my mind. This weekend we made a few great ones. One of them needs to be developed a bit further, but one is perfect just how it is, and that's the one I am going to show you today. This pesto can be made in a blender, or with a knife. Both ways are very different and delicious in their own right. I have both ways shown here.
As you know, I'm not a big dessert guy. Don't often make them, and don't often eat them. I do like them on occasion though, and this was easily one of the best desserts I have ever had. And crazy quick to make! We made these after the curry from yesterday and they were an all around success. Oh except for the 2 guys that didn't like bananas. Whoops! Oh well more for me.
Every time I post curry, I seem to get no comments. I spoke with Mandi about this, and we wondered what to do because we both love curry so much and we want you all to love it too! So, last time I made Indian food, I asked people to comment and say their stance on it. I got some interesting replies about liking it but being intimidated about what to order at a restaurant, or wanting to try making it at home but thinking it was too hard to make. I do admit that a lot of the things I make are tough and time consuming, but today I chose a very beginner curry that I want everyone to try and make! Consider it homework. I urge everyone to try this dish and learn that making curries at home isn't all that complicated!!!
*If you haven't voted at FoodieFights yet, you still have a few hours! Get over there!
As the season of last restaurant standing winds down, so does my coverage of it. There isn't as much to write about in these final episodes! Everyone is working hard and doing great. It's fun to see how much the couples have learned since the beginning of the season. This is the payoff I was talking about before!
I am not posting a recipe today. Why? I am glad you asked. Today you all have a very important job to do, and I don't want to be wasting your time with a long post of some deep fried cheesiness that I claim to be healthy, or another pasta in my endless list or pasta recipes. No! Today is more important than that! Today, every one of you has a job to do! It is the first ever Foodie Fight and I need you all to get out there and vote! Make sure you check out foodiefights and go to each one of the contestants blogs. Read them all very carefully and vote for a winner. Can you all do this for me? What are you waiting for? GO!
My fanatical love of thin-crust, brick oven style pizza has left me a bit biased against other forms of pizza. I have always been a bit of a hater and brushed off grilled pizzas as not a "true" pizza much as the same way I feel towards the deep-dish. But with time, comes maturity, and lately I have been trying to overcome my biases of the past and be more open toward other pizza forms. As you may know today is a special day, and on a day like today shouldn't peace and acceptance be the message? Last night I finally decided to give it a whirl and I must say, I loved it. Now will I ever be friends with the dreaded deep dish? Only time will tell...
Joking aside, one thing that started to turn the tables on my opinion of grilled pizza are some old college friends. Mandi's old roommate Sarah and her fiancé Mike are VERY serious about grilled pizzas. We called them up yesterday to make sure we were doing everything right. After a few tips and some reassurance, we were ready to go!
I had a really funny idea last week, and Mandi and I tried it out over the weekend. I think these would be a neat finger food to pass around at a party. The cool thing is you can make them way ahead of time, so it frees you up to just reheat at the party. I like the idea of foods that look fancy, but are really something that everyone is familiar with.
In the Spring and Summer months we eat a lot of quick, simple salads with grilled fish. I never really post them because they are so simple. But this time I added some beautiful, fresh Springtime artichokes and I think it graduated to website material. Is it warm enough yet where you are to make a nice grilled fish salad for dinner? The weather is slowly turning here and you can feel Summer coming.
A few things before I start today. First of all, I am sorry to everyone who has been unable to comment in the past few days! I am working really hard on this issue and will have it fixed by the weekend. The good news is that it is caused by too many people on the website!! So that isn't really a problem now is it?
Second Item - FoodieFights! The first battle has been announced and the stage is set for the duel. Head on over today and see the theme ingredients and participating blogs!!
Now onto Last restaurant standing! This episode was kind of filler to me and a bit anticlimactic no? It sucks since the show has been great lately and we are coming so close to the end. Oh well, only 2 more episodes and I'm sure they will be great.
As far as I can tell, Balti curry is second in line after chicken tikka masala for least authentic. Because of this, Mandi and I decided to just wing it and make the recipe as we felt it should be. The results were pretty tasty! This is the first time we used all these new spices. I have been searching high and low in Bermuda for Indian ingredients and I finally found them! I can't really gauge my audience's like or dislike for curries, but I get the feeling a lot of you don't like them! This is because every time I post Indian or Thai food, no one seems to comment. What's up with that? Talk to me people. There is going to be a bit more posts in the next few weeks from the curry department, because of all these spices we found, but also because of another surprise we can't wait to try this weekend!
Before I start my post today, I have a very special announcement! Remember that battle I had with Macheesmo a few weeks back? Well, my sworn rival and I have teamed up to bring you a new and exciting web site where battles like that one will take place every other week! It's called FoodieFights and it is up now! If you have a blog, website, or even flickr account and would like to join the inaugural battle, head on over and sign up NOW! There are only 6 spots in each challenge so you better sign up quick!
Now onto the post for the day. Mandi was doing her daily run and when she arrived home she was looking around in our backyard. She noticed some of the bananas that we have been waiting and waiting and waiting for have finally ripened! There is a very short window of ripe time for this particular type of bananas so we had to act quick. Here are a few things we made with the bananas this weekend.
We wanted a nice comforting meal last Sunday that we could cook without having to think too much. We were having a lazy weekend and needed a carb load to jumpstart the week the next morning. This meal proved to be just that. Tasty, warm, comforting, and super cheesy. We made some alterations off a Giada recipe we found so that we could use some of our garden fresh greens and herbs.
Mandi always gets this soup at the Thai place we go to on the island. We wanted to re create it at home and we found out it is pretty easy! I have since made it a few times and have decided that you can make it a variety of ways and it will turn out good no matter which way you choose. Normally I am against substitutions and only do them if I have to, but as I will explain later, subs are ok in this meal. We like this soup deadly spicy, but don't be scared of all those chiles, the coconut milk really kills the heat so you need to add much more than you think.
At the start of this episode, Raymond has the gang in a book warehouse. Why? He tells them that there are over 80,000 cookbooks in the building at that moment. He says cookbooks are a huge industry and he wants them to write a sample 3 page book to present to some potential buyers. "You must touch them with your concept and your food." This was the setup of a great episode of Last Restaurant standing! I couldn't figure out the point of being in the warehouse, then a Michael Pollen book flashed on the screen for a split second and it was kinda weird. Did you guys notice that?
Just a short one today guys. You just made 12 bagels. Now your precious stock is on the verge of going stale! Now what?? Well remember those little paper bags at the store with yummy garlicy bagel chips in them? They are very easy to make!
Living in Bermuda, I have cooked some things I would never make if I was living in the US. Homemade bagels are definitely one of them. Why would I bother making bagels if I lived in a city that had great bagels on every corner? Here in Bermuda there aren't many bagel options and there is only one place that doesn't use frozen ones. I looked at a few recipes before making these for the first time. We were going to make the more complicated one (as we usually do) but after falling asleep on the couch a few times over the weekend we never did the night before prep work. We ended up going with an Emeril recipe on Sunday morning. Despite using the quicker recipe, the bagels came out excellent.
Chicken Satay are the skewers you can get as an appetizer at Thai places. Knowing the flavors, we whipped up a quick sauce, marinated some chicken thigh pieces in it and threw them on the grill. It was far better than we ever expected it to be! The flavors were really fantastic. As a dipping sauce (cause satays always come with one) we decided to use tzatziki, a greek yogurt cucumber sauce because FUSION! The flavors went great together. We served it with quick fried noodles we made by buying everything in the store that seemed Asian that day.
As you know, we have made tamales a few times in the past. Both times, they came out great, but were lacking a little something. After playing around with the recipe a bit, Mandi and I came up with our favorite way to make tamales. From now on if I make them, I will reference this post. Note: I am mostly talking about the dough here. The fillings can be whatever you want! Now that I have perfected the dough, I will experiment with more fillings in the future, but these are with a simple taco meat. As I said before, this is similar to posts in the past, so sorry if you are bored by it, but you should know that Mandi and I can't let a recipe rest until it is perfected!!!
This is the part of the show where the viewers start getting paid off for sticking with it so long. The last episodes of this show were really good last season and I expect the same this year. We have narrowed the field to only serious couples and we finally get to see more of Raymond. If Ray was just going into everyone's restaurants from the beginning, it wouldn't be as exciting. The way they set it up, we get the feeling that he is this king who never leaves his castle. He sends his judges out to weed out the bad couples, and when the best are left, he comes off his throne to make the final decisions.