Monday, May 28, 2012

Anniversary Dinner

Dante cooked this awesome dinner for me for our anniversary.  Cuz he's awesome like that.

On the left are yukon gold potatoes cooked in a foil packet in the oven with butter and olive oil and topped with rosemary asiago cheese.  On the right is chicken stuffed with red pepper and smoked gouda, topped with bacon, creme fraiche and caviar.  It was an awesome dish, although I have since decided that creme fraiche is not my favorite. (Which Dante thinks means I didn't like dinner at all.  not true.  dinner was AMAZING).

We followed this up with a really tasty crumb-topped pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company.  Mmmmmmmm.

Edit: This is our 50th blog post!  YAY!! Go us!
Happy cooking!

Orange Chicken

This is one of Dante's creations.  And it is TASTY.  And super easy to make!

Basically, we had some oranges to use up, and this is what he came up with.  He cubed up some raw chicken, dipped it in beaten eggs then rolled it in crushed Club crackers mixed with chicken seasoning from Frankenmuth.  He fried these up in some oil on the stove to get a nice crust on them, then put them in the oven to finish off the chicken, which wasn't quite cooked through yet. 

For the sauce, he squeezed the juice from half a bag or so of oranges and cooked it down on the stove with garlic, onion, ginger, tarragon, coriander, allspice, kosher salt, and a bit of cayenne pepper.  It wasn't thickening as much as he wanted, so he added a little bit of powdered gelatin and cooked it a little longer.  This was drizzled over the finished chicken, rice, and a little bit of crumbled bacon.

Alton's Galette

Yup.  Alton Brown again.  He MAY be one of our favorite Food Network personalities.  Oh who am I kidding, he is Mr. Food Network.

At any rate, in Season 2 of Good Eats, he makes a galette, which is a free-form pie.  We decided it looked and sounded WAY too good to not make.  So.... We made it.  But with Apples and mixed berries rather than pears and blueberries.  It was truly GOOD EATS.  And, as promised, had a tender AND flaky crust.  Easily the best pie crust I've ever made, if not exactly low fat...

This was also super easy to make.  I highly recommend you try it, and here's the recipe if you want to make one up for yourself! 

Happy Cooking!

The English Inn

Thanks Grandma!!

My Awesome Grandmother, as a stupendous thank you gift for our help with events for her business, Fresh is Best (Go check it out!), got us a gift certificate to the English Inn in Eaton Rapids.  For us wannabe foodies, that was pretty awesome.  It took us a while to actually get down there to use it, but we decided it would make for a GREAT anniversary dinner.  And we were right! ;-)

We didn't actually take any pictures of our own, cuz it seemed a little tacky for the elegant dinner.  Maybe next time!  In the meantime, I'll link to a couple external images.

This is the building (a photo by Anne Ruthmann that I found via Google Image Search and am borrowing for the purposes of showing you where we were).

This is the room in which we were seated.  Very adorable, in my opinion.  We were seated right in front of the fireplace, which, being May, wasn't on, but was still quite pretty.  (I think it's actually the table in the lower righthand corner of the image, which is from the English Inn Website).

We started off with two appetizers: a Smoked Salmon Crostini, which had tomato and basil, and a Baked Brie with strawberries, crackers, etc.  Both were AMAZING, although the crostini actually had a tad too much basil for my taste. 

For dinner, Dante had Braised Duck with saffron risotto and seasonal vegetables.  When asked for comments, he says "It was DELICIOUS".  I agree.  lol.  He did then elaborate, saying "Each of the parts was basically what you would expect, but the best thing was eating them all together."  The risotto was creamy and the duck was amazing, and it was all around just awesome. (I'm noticing a very complementary theme here.... lol).  Unfortunately, they haven't updated their online menu to include this dish, or I might have a few more details for you.

My dinner was the Pork Gratinee, which IS on the online menu.  It is described as "Grilled bone in chop, caramelized onion, gruyere cheese, port wine reduction, daily vegetable, crisp polenta cake".  It was more than amazing, and like Dante's Duck, best when eaten together with the pork and some onion on a piece of the crispy polenta cakes.

By the time we got to dessert, we were both full, but there was NO way we were leaving without trying at least one dessert.  Unfortunately, we were a little too full to try more than one, so we opted for the lightest and most unique dessert on the tray, a white chocolate mango mousse.  It was very light and smooth, and a perfect end to our awesome dinner.

So in summary..... amazing food.  Thanks again, Grandma!

Cabbage, cabbage everywhere...

And so much stuff to eat!

So, given its versatility, amazing "healthiness", and super cheap price tag, we felt cabbage was something we should explore, since neither one of us really knew what to do with it beyond boiled dinner (which is also pretty amazing). 

So, we started with some awesome coleslaw which, due to the red cabbage in it, turned a pretty pink/purple color! lol.  But it was also quite tasty.  We blended a couple different recipes, though it was mostly based on Alton Brown's Coleslaw recipe, with a little tweaking here and there.

We then took said coleslaw and put it on the sandwiches in the above picture.  They were a grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's, of course), Roasted Red Pepper, Coleslaw, and honey mustard on a pretzel roll.  We served these tasty, but super-messy, sandwiches up with the coleslaw and a home version of the Bavarian Inn's butter noodles.  Basically, homemade fettuccine with a sauce of melted butter and Frankenmuth chicken seasoning, topped with lightly-toasted pulverized Club crackers.  Dante says they're just like the ones from Bavarian Inn.

Our next use for the coleslaw (and one of the motivating factors for MAKING coleslaw) was Reubens.  MMMMmmmmmm Reubens.  I worked in a bakery/deli that served reubens and was never at all intrigued by them, but fortunately, Dante had me try one a while back, and I'm completely addicted.  Course, ours and the ones from the deli down the road are MUCH better looking than the ones I used to serve... Anywho... our reubens were on a rye/pumpernickel swirl bread with corned beef and Dante had pepper-crusted pastrami on his as well, with our fresh coleslaw (strained of some of its liquid), Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, assembled and grilled on the Foreman.

Since we used less than half of each head of cabbage and made a  GIANT (and I mean Giant... largest one we have) mixing bowl FULL of coleslaw, we needed a good way to use up some more of the cabbage before it went bad (which fortunately, isn't too fast).  So we decided to try a beefy cabbage soup.  And oh my goodness did we have a lot of soup.  The picture below is the very pretty "before" picture, and that's an 8 Quart Stockpot.  Like I said, a lot of soup.

Our soup had red and green cabbage, carrots, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, celery, onion, and garlic with a little browned beef steak all cooked up in a beef broth base with two packets of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup mix and assorted spices.  Unfortunately, what started as this beautiful, colorful mass of vegetables cooked down to look rather less appealing and very ... brown (See below).  But it was VERY tasty.

We ate this with a slice of the leftover swiss melted on top and cheater (from a mix) biscuits.  YUM!

And that about wraps up the cabbage post, although we still have 6 pints of this soup in the freezer, so we'll be reliving it for a while! (In fact this may be dinner for tonight... hmm........)

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Valentine's Day French Toast

ok, short post because right now I have Valentine's Day breakfast and then all much more recent stuff left to catch up on from my phone, so... here goes!

I made heart-shaped french toast with fresh raspberries for Dante for Valentine's Day. :-)

More fabulous food pics from the last 6 months

Turns out I have a LOT of old food pics.  And I like flooding the inboxes of my few followers. :-)  Don't you all feel special?

Fall Bento: Carrots, Celery, Dip, and snack mix of Teddy Grahams,
Rainbow Goldfish, and Harvest Mix candy corn

Spice cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon chocolate leaves.

Spa-Day Breakfast: Chicken Sausage and sauteed peppers
with garlic cream sauce and fresh biscuits (I think...)
(Dante decided that I was too stressed out and planned a
spa-day for me.  It was quite awesome.  Love you, Dante!)

Spa-day dessert (by special request)
Chocolate raspberry pastries.  Puff pastry with sauce
made from fresh berries and dark chocolate.  Mmmmmm.

Honey pork heaven: Pork loin (I think) with honey mustard,
Prosciutto, and bacon. with pepper and parmesan pasta.

Homemade pasta (made with the Kitchen Aid pasta roller set
Dante got me for Christmas), Tilapia, and roasted asparagus with a
fried egg and low-fat hollandaise.

It was a RASPBERRY Souffle the kind you find in a second-hand store...

ok, not so much.  But, raspberry souffle anyway.  From the Zakarian cookbook.  Made in January.  And oh so delicious.  And actually super easy to make.

Going into the oven

Oh so pretty.  1970's Dinner party powdered sugar and all.

Half eaten.  YUM!

Fall Food Festival!

Also known as... I just found pics on my SD card from NOVEMBER!  yikes!  So, just to showcase the awesomeness, here goes!  Back to more detailed posts soon, I promise.  Playing MAJOR Catch-up right now.

#1: Gruyere potatoes with cream sauce and green onions

#2: Brunch, inspired by Geoffrey Zakarian's "Ballpark Brunch" on Next Iron Chef
Includes tomato and fresh mozzarella toast, Creamy avocado with egg yolk, and shrimp

#3: Sandwiches: Tomato, garlic, basil, and ham with fresh mozzarella on french rolls

#4: Pumpkin Apple Soup.  DELICIOUS. Not sure of the link,
but I can look it up if anyone wants the recipe.

...and we had just a little pumpkin to use up... I think there were 12 of these initially, though as I strained some of the water out, I think i cut it down to about half that.

So there are the lost food files from November.  Hope you enjoyed, and stay tuned for more, because it's been a DELICIOUS week here, and I'm not even kidding...

Happy cooking!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Superbowl Food!

It's only been three months since the superbowl... time to post about our AWESOME food!

Tradition in my family is subs for Superbowl Sunday.  So we decided to do a variation on the theme this year and make meatball subs FROM SCRATCH!  That's right.  We made the bread.  We made the meatballs.  We made the marinara.  We made the CHEESE.  There was a lot of making.  But it was legen... wait for it... dary.  yeah. We also made Jambalaya and Potato Salad to go with. Yum!

So, a meal in photos:

Meatballs, mid-browning.

Believe it or not this will eventually be Mozzarella...

Fresh homemade bread.  Is there anything better?

The whole thing.  DELICIOUS!

So, anyway... that was Superbowl. Expect lots more awesome pictures from the last three months over the next few days!  Playing catch up again.

Happy Cooking!