Saturday, July 5, 2014

Green BEAN Delivery - Fresh, organic produce delivered to your doorstep

I am pretty sure all of you know about CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) and how awesome they are! We have tried it and loved it. However (isn't there always a "however"?), we found that with just the two of us it was inevitable that we would have waste. I hate that. Growing up in a family of nine, it was pretty much a cardinal sin to waste food. To this day that sticks with me. So we stopped the CSA.

I think I first learned of Green BEAN through a Groupon, maybe? "Networked with the best organic produce growers & local artisans, Green B.E.A.N. Delivery provides home delivery of organic produce & natural groceries to Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus." Once I tried it I was hooked! This is a service that is much like a CSA, except that I get to choose what will be in my box…and they deliver it right to my front porch! How great is that??? Bob and I have been Green BEAN customers for quite a while now and we love it. I signed us up for the small produce bin, which is $35. There are other sizes but this one seems to be a good amount for us to work with. They deliver every two weeks, and I can suspend delivery, if say I'm going on vacation.

The week before delivery I get an email with the details of what will be in the produce box. If I want to make any changes I have ample opportunity to customize the box for the two of us. Then on delivery day I put my empty green box on the front porch and magically the Green BEAN fairy puts the full box in place and the empty one is gone! (Okay, so I know that there really is no "Green BEAN fairy".) Just sayin'.

So when I was contacted to try Green BEAN and blog about it, well heck yes I wanna tell the world how awesome this is!!!! Yes, they did comp me a produce box in way of thanks. I will tell you though, that the opinions are totally my own and I can say I've been a long time customer so I'll give you the real skinny.

Here is the box I received:
Isn't it pretty? I just love all of the gorgeous colors of the summer boxes! So as you can see, I got lettuce, corn on the cob, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mint, raspberries, blueberries, Yukon gold potatoes, nectarines, and donut white peaches. Food, glorious food!!! (Who knows that reference?)

I set out to show you some of the dishes I might with this produce. 

First I made Rasa Malaysia's Thai Chili Chicken, using the mint leaves.

http://rasamalaysia.com/thai-chili-chicken/. This dish is super easy and oh-so-good!!! Bob and I gobbled it up and then were bummed there were no leftovers. This was so amazing!

Next on my list was the corn.
First I cut the corn off the cob. I dare you to not nibble as you do this. Oh my, there is nothing in the world like really fresh corn!
I added chopped garlic, salt, & pepper and sautéed this in a couple of teaspoons olive oil. When the corn started to caramelize, I added a tablespoon of butter and scooped up all of the yummy brown bits. I took it off the heat and added chopped fresh marjoram. This is the resulting yumminess! Is that a word? Well it is now!


Moving on I roasted the Brussels sprouts.

Truly this is the only way to eat Brussels sprouts. I cleaned them, tossed them with olive oil and put them in a single layer and roasted til they were brown. I wanted a nice color but I don't let them get mushy. Mushy is not good!

Isn't this a lovely dinner plate? I thought so. I put some of the mint in my ice water for a totally refreshing glass of minted ice water. Bob had grilled chicken and Halloumi cheese (which is to die for) for our protein. I had also roasted a bunch of gorgeous heirloom grape tomatoes. They were an incredible compliment to the Brussels sprouts! Who knew?

On to dessert!!! The berries were fantastic!
Believe it or not, I had some scrumptious lemon curd in the fridge that I'd made a few days before. I know, who has lemon curd just hanging around? A first for me. Instantly I knew that these berries were screaming for that curd. Really!!! And I was oh so right! And then to put earrings on the elephant (one of Bob's favorite phrases) I added salted caramel shortbread cookies. Enter a little taste of heaven.

I have to admit that the nectarines never really got ripe before they bit the dust. However, one call to Green BEAN to let them know, and I was immediately credited the amount of the fruit. No questions asked. Their customer service is beyond belief. I love these people!

The donut peaches ripened beautifully.
This luscious dessert is sugar free vanilla syrup macerated peaches with Jeni's pear Riesling sorbet, Starbuck's caramel sauce, and Trader Joe's coconut crisp cookies garnished with fresh mint. Okay, so I went a little overboard. LOL! Sometimes I just go over the edge. Yes, it was way too many flavors colliding in one dish, but Bob and I managed to choke it down. If only we were given such a horrible task every night!

So there you have it. A taste of most of the ingredients in my Green BEAN box.

I can't say how much we have enjoyed our Green BEAN membership. We've learned that there are veggies we like that we hadn't tried before. I mean, I'm eating beets & Brussels sprouts! What is this sorcery???

The folks at Green BEAN are offering you a great deal. If you'd like to try the service, use the code 15DIUml  and they will take $15 off of your first order! I know, right??? 

Here is the link to set up your account: http://www.greenbeandelivery.com/cincinnati/index.php/how-it-works/step-by-step/. You can try it and cancel at any time if you're not happy with it. But if you're like me, you are going to love it!!!

The code is 15DIUml, and it is good for a week from today. I really hope you'll give it a go!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hawaiian Fried Rice

We had a little bit of Honey Baked ham left from a ham we bought through a fundraiser, and we had been hammed out! We've had so many ham sandwiches I think I'm beginning to oink in my sleep! I wanted to find a different way to use up the last bit of ham, because no way was I about to throw it out!  I put the bone in the freezer anticipating some awesome beans in the future.

I came across this recipe on one of the blogs that I read, Mel's Kitchen Cafe http://www.melskitchencafe.com. I had just gotten a fresh pineapple in my Green Bean delivery box this week so I was in business!

The fresh pineapple with the salty, smoky baked ham is just delicious. The bits of garlic, green onion and fresh ginger take this to a whole different level. We loved it!

I roasted some brussels sprouts and whole garlic cloves to go along with it. And yes, why that is my homemade radish kimchi along side, thank you for asking! And you're absolutely correct that the cucumbers you see there are the cucumbers that you remember from the post on Asian Pork Satay! You are so perceptive!!! They both were perfect foils for the fried rice :-)

Hawaiian Fried Rice 
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/04/hawaiian-fried-rice.html


Increase or decrease the sesame oil and hot sauce to taste based on how you like things. Also, if you don't have leftover cooked ham, you could definitely use deli ham for this recipe. It really does make a difference in fried rice recipes to use rice that is cold from the refrigerator, so make this recipe when you have leftover, chilled rice or plan ahead and make the rice the day before. This recipe is completely outstanding with fresh pineapple and the only way we've eaten it, but canned would make an acceptable substitute if you don't have fresh - just drain well.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tapatio or Sriracha), more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or peanut oil
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped ham
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 5 cups cooked rice, white or brown, cold
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-2 cups pineapple pieces
Directions
  1. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce. Set aside. In a large nonstick skillet or electric frying pan (which is what I use), heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil until rippling and hot. Add the ham, red bell pepper, and the chopped white parts of the green onions. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and the red pepper is tender (but not mushy), about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Scrape the mixture onto a plate and set aside.
  2. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the skillet until hot. Add the cold rice and cook, breaking up large clumps, until the rice is heated through, 5-6 minutes.
  3. Push the rice to one side of the skillet and heat the last teaspoon of oil on the empty side of the skillet. Crack the eggs into the hot oil and stir lightly with a spatula or wooden spoon, cooking until the eggs are lightly scrambled and set. Stir the eggs and the ham mixture into the rice. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the rice and cook, stirring, until thoroughly combined and hot.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the pineapple and green parts of the onions. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cabbage Rolls

I don't know how I could even begin to put into words my love for cabbage rolls. Even as a kid I had a thing for them. Of course back then I discarded the cabbage and ate only the inside and the sauce. Oh how foolish we are in our youth! Now, I devour every single morsel of these tasty concoctions; and sigh with pleasure as I do so.

Recently I've tried to tame the craving with occasional trips to Babushka's. Their's are pretty darn good. But I wanted to have some for dinner with leftovers that I could freeze and have them right at my fingertips. I haven't made them for years because they are a bit time consuming. They're definitely an act of love. Ah, the things we do for love.

I think I may have mentioned before that Bob and I receive produce from Green Bean Delivery. Every two weeks we get a box delivered with fresh produce, and occasionally other goodies that we've order. It really is fun. And we have begun to eat vegetables that I probably wouldn't have considered before. But I digress.

In our last GB box we had a gorgeous head of cabbage. I knew the moment I laid eyes on it that it was destined to be made into cabbage rolls. Call it serendipity, call it fate. Call it a craving if you will. Whatever you want to call it, I'm going with CABBAGE ROLLS!!!

I had saved a recipe for them on http://allrecipes.com/recipe/stuffed-cabbage-rolls/detail.aspx. Now of course I fiddled with the recipe a tad, and the results were crazy good if I say so myself! I served them with mashed potatoes. We feasted on them last night and have plenty packed away in the freezer for future suppers. Oh yum!

Cabbage Rolls
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

15-18 cabbage leaves

2 cups cooked and slightly cooled rice
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
drained sauerkraut (optional - we love it!)

Sauce:

2 -15oz cans tomato sauce
4 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp & 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (maybe a little more)
2 tsp salt

Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for glass dish).
  2. Bring a large, wide saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until softened; drain.
  3. In a large bowl mix all of the sauce ingredients.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef,  cooked rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt and pepper, along with 1/4 cup of sauce. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves. Roll and fold, placing seam side down in baking dish. If needed, secure them with toothpicks.
  6. Top each roll with a spoonful of drained sauerkraut. 
  7. Pour the remaining sauce mixture over the top. Cover with foil. 
  8. Bake for 60 minutes.
You can thank me when you've recovered from your food coma :-)


Friday, October 19, 2012

ella - eat local. love art.


So here it is, a rainy & chilly Friday night. Who wants to cook, I ask you? I certainly didn't. Bob was game for an impromptu dinner out and we had been wanting to try Ella in New Albany. Off we went!

Ella is located on E.Main Street, New Albany (Rt 62) in a business strip. The entrance and parking lot are in the back of the building. There is a great little patio attached, that brought visions of summer drinks and happy hour with friends. *sigh* That ship has certainly sailed for this year. But I will surely keep it in mind when the spring of 2013 rolls around!


Walking into Ella, the atmosphere is relaxed yet upscale. On the left as you walk into the restaurant, is a long bench seat with tables and chairs on the other side. There is a large bar in the middle with plenty of seating where we saw couples as well as singles. In addition there are booths and individual tables. We were tucked around the corner with a few other tables. Cozy.

We were immediately greeted by our server, Bree. Let me say this about Bree: I wanted to put her in my back pocket and take her home with me! She was absolutely delightful. On a busy Friday night she had a huge smile and was quite knowledgeable about the menu. We took her suggestions and were incredibly glad we did.

The menu is quite varied. Ella is all about eating local. I love that philosophy :-) They support so many of our local businesses. And what Chef Travis Hyde and Sous Chef Alexis Randolph have put together is a menu of interesting and inviting combinations. These two obvioulsy like to play with their food! The results blew us away.

 
This is the bread service that is presented to your table, piping hot. Thick slices of cibatta are dressed with butter that has been infused with rosemary, thyme and a tad of lemon. Oh my. We couldn't get enough. Bob and I devoured that bread like it was our job. When I exclaimed to Bree how much we loved it, she insisted on bringing another round that had just come out of the oven...oh like my hips really needed that. But hey, she insisted!


Scallops are on the menu, Chef's creation. Tonight the scallops were seared and served with a black pepper cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted broccollini with a goat cheese and honey mousse. My picture really does not do it justice. Simply put, this was heaven on a plate. Oh my goodness. I was seriously wondering if I could just get a bowl of the mousse and be done with it. However, there was no way I wanted to miss the perfectly cooked scallops, the divine cream sauce, and the potatoes and broccollini that were awesome as well. All of the elements on one plate made a dinner worthy of celebration.


Bob had narrowed his choice down to two, and with Bree's help he went with the Spiced Pork Loin Chop. The chop is served with buttermilk potato and asiago gratin, zucchini, blue crab bearnaise, and a cherry & peach mostarda. This is one incredible dinner. The chop was thick, yet juicy. The topping of the cherry & peach mostarda was so incredibly flavorful that I swear it was like a carnival in your mouth! The gratin was to die for, and the zucchini (while not my favorite vegetable) was so darn good with the blue crab bearnaise. (I'm talking chunks of blue crap.) Because I am so committed to presenting you information with honesty and integrity, I couldn't take Bob's word that it was delicious. It was my duty to taste each component of his dish and make my own assessment. (Hey, don't feel too sorry for him. He insisted on tasting mine as well, and he had no intention of blogging!) My verdict was extremely positive to say the least. This restaurant is a definite do-over!


All in all, Ella (eat local. love art.) is a winner in our book. Leaving the restaurant we were reminded once again of their committment to support local businesses.


Thank you, Ella. This goes a long way in our book. We will definitely be back...with friends.

Ella
266 E. Main Street
New Albany, OH 43054
614-855-4600
www.ella-restaurant.com

Ella - eat local. love art. on Urbanspoon




 

 
 
 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi

Pierogi's. Is there any food more perfect than a pocket of pasta filled with mashed potato and sour cream? Then to saute it in butter and add caramelized onions? I will answer that question for you my friends - no, no, no!

To this carbohydrate lover, that is the sum of all things good in life. But wait! There's more! This combination of awesomeness is then topped with delights such as local Italian sausage cooked with onions & peppers (oh, just like at the fair!) sprinkled with asiago cheese and a dollop of lemon basil butter. Or better yet, top it with Yuengling braised pork belly (a deconstructed golabki, ie cabbage roll) finished with a grain mustard & tarragon compound butter. I'm pretty sure I swooned. To a pierogi lover, it seemed we might just have reached nirvana!

Who creates these gastronomic powerhouses? That would be Steve Redzinak, better known as "Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi". Steve and his wife Angie can be found in their food truck that bears the name of his beloved grandmother, Sophie. And just like his grandmother, Steve makes his pierogi by hand. He begins with mounds of flour, makes a well and pours in the ingredients that make the pasta perfection. He then mixes the dough by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well and mixing it all til he has created pasta dough just like he watched Sophie do. This is the basis for his pierogi. How could these not be incredible?

We found Sophie's at The Campus Pitt Stop at Kenny and Lane. This is their most consistent location. However they are also at Columbus Commons on Thursdays, and other locations as arranged.
I love the menu board at Sophie's. Steve said he searched for something authentic to post his menu on. When he saw this door, he knew he'd found his vision. The menu presentation is just downright cool. Steve's pretty proud of it, too.

So back to the main attraction. The tender pasta dough is filled with fluffy mashed potatoes with just the right amount of sour cream added to give it the rich, silky mouth feel that literally makes you groan as you eat it. You think you like pierogi because you can whip up a batch of Mrs. T's? Well I tell you, I speet on Mrs. T's! (okay, I don't really. I like them. On a good day I could probably polish off half a box myself!) But Sophie's are gourmet...as in Gastrogi. And as Steve will tell you:
Gastronomy is the art or science of good eating.
Pierogi is Polish for filled dumpling-a small dough envelope filled with "gastronomy".

Meet the "Vintage". This is for the pierogi purist. It is "classic, crispy pierogi filled with potatoes and sour cream; caramelized onions, side of sour cream and compound butter". I will comment briefly on this version...OH.MY. This is the beginning of all things wonderful.

This is the "Italian". This one happens to be Angie's favorite. With good reason why! Steve starts with his pierogi, then adds local Italian sausage, peppers & onions, confit of tomato, asiago cheese and lemon basil compound butter. Oh yeah. It is every bit as good as it looks. The sausage has the right amount of spice and the onions & peppers are sauteed just the way they should be. The sprinkle of asiago perks it all up and brings it to a whole new level. I thought I had found my favorite.

But then the heavens opened and I swear I heard angels singing as the "Soph" was set down before me. Let me first say that cabbage rolls are one of my all time favorite foods. And I love to serve them alongside, what else but pierogi? The "Soph" is a deconstructed golabki, or Polish stuffed cabbage. I lost all power of speech. Steve was talking and I couldn't stop eating! The Yuengling braised pork belly was low on the fat pockets that I usually find unappetizing about pork belly. The meat was flavorful and succulent. The cabbage was sauced and cooked until tender. I tell you, my mouth is salivating even as i write this three days later! The "Soph" had won my heart for all time :-)

The one other offering from Sophie's is once again from Grandma Sophie's recipe box. Listen closely here...whatever flavor Italian Ice that is being offered...SNATCH IT UP!!! This is Italian Ice as it should be; authentic. We had watermelon lemon, on a day that was 90 degrees in the shade. Sheer perfection.

Call me crazy, because we all know that I am but that's beside the point. I tell you true that Sophie's is a MUST for anyone who is a pierogi lover. And even for those that aren't! I guarantee it. If you don't like it ... well, bring me your leftovers and I'll eat them! Deal?

Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi
Stephen Redzinak
Chef/Owner
614-600-8530
info@sophiesgourmetfoods.com
twitter@sophsgastrogi

p.s.

Bogey couldn't take it anymore. All this talk about Sophie's and there was none for him. He threw himself across the keyboard, demanding a "Soph" of his own!




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BLT Summer Rolls


Summer is here…with a vengeance! With the temperature into the 90’s, I was looking for a light and cool dinner. I remembered seeing an email from ZipList News that had a recipe that I wanted to try. I said to myself, “Self, this would be just the perfect night to try these!” And so I did.
ZipList led me to the "Inspired Taste" blog (http://www.inspiredtaste.net/ ) where I found the BLT Summer Rolls. 
Bob and I absolutely love Vietnamese Summer Rolls. You might remember I have posted about them. http://dishingitup-columbus.blogspot.com/2010/06/vietnamese-spring-rolls.html.  And we love BLT’s! So how could we not love the insane combination of the two?
I’m not going to yammer on and on about them. It’s too stinkin’ hot for even me to talk. (If I had a pool to jump into and cool off I could talk on and on…but oh, I digress.) Let me show you how to make these simple and scrumptious babies :-)
These are rice paper wrappers. They are generally available in the Asian food section. They are totally different from eggroll wrappers and the two cannot be interchanged. Working with these will be a new experience! They are incredibly delicate and sticky (in that they stick to themselves)! But you easily get the hang of it quickly.
This is the cast of characters. We have bacon (totally essential), lettuce (again, essential) and tomatoes, thus giving us the "BLT" part of the summer rolls! In addition there is a mound of vermicelli rice noodles, and a wonderful mayo based sauce that has lime juice and Sriracha sauce. The noodles were not in the original recipe, but Bob and I thought they needed to be included to maintain the integrity of the summer rolls. Actually, we included them because we like them!!! I will also admit to playing around with the lime mayo. I wanted a little more flavor but not more heat. So I added additional lime juice, a tablespoon mayo, lime zest and I grated a garlic clove. Bob proclaimed it "awesome". Being the weenie that I am, I just dabbled a bit on mine. Next time I'll probably go for plain mayo...or maybe pull some of the lime mayo aside before I add the Sriracha. That should do it!
Please excuse my messy counters...and my well used & stained cutting board! Okay. So to begin you need to put some warm water into a dish and slide a wrapper into the water. It only takes a quick few seconds and you will feel the texture of the wrapper relax and become pliable. Slide it out of the water and put it on the cutting board. The wrapper is thin and will easily stick to itself!
When you have it on the board, pat it dry a bit with a paper towel.
Now the fun begins! Start filling it with whatever you want your BLT Summer Roll to be.
Of course I like lots of noodles on mine ...
... and just a drizzle of the Sriracha lime mayo! I know I'm a sissy. Let's just move on.
Once you get everything you want stacked up, you tuck the bottom edge up over the filling and fold in the ends, and then roll it up. The wrapper will adhere as you roll so there is no worry about sealing it.
And there you have the perfect BLT Summer Roll! You can serve it with a dipping sauce according to Inspired Taste, but I have to admit that Bob and I were so darn hungry for these that we just dug in and forgot to make the sauce!

I really do hope you enjoy these as much as we did. They are just delicious and so simple to make and even simpler to eat. Plan on several per person...and maybe more!

BLT Summer Rolls
 
Prep time: 10 mins  Total time: 10 mins  Serves: 4

You can make these up to 3 hours ahead of time. Cover rolls with a damp paper towel or clean dishcloth.
Ingredients
  • 4 8-inch rice paper (spring roll) wrappers
  • 2 cups packed shredded or baby lettuce leaves
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 strips cooked thick-cut bacon
  • For the Lime Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce
  • salt to taste
Method
  1. If making your own lime mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of chili sauce. Taste for spiciness then add more chili sauce if needed. Season with salt. Store covered in refrigerator and keep up to a week.
  2. Dip a rice paper into a plate of warm water for 5-10 seconds; shake off excess water and place on a clean kitchen towel or cutting board. Stack shredded or baby lettuce leaves on the lower third of the rice paper. Add tomatoes then a strip of bacon. Spread about 2 teaspoons of lime mayonnaise then top with some more lettuce

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Snack


We had eaten a light breakfast, and dinner was a long way off. So Bob and I decided a snack was in order. When it was all put together, I knew I had to take a picture to share with you! Not to make you jealous...but I totally understand if it does :-)

Our friend Dianne, who is my culinary mentor, recently went to a three day bread making class in Chicago. She came back with all kinds of things up her chef jacket sleeves. Yesterday she dropped off a gorgeous loaf of walnut bread. This is not a sweet bread. No, it is made with a mixture of flour that includes rye. It has a country, earthy taste that is complimented by the toasted walnuts. Oh my. She also "happened to have" a wheel of Saga Blue Brie. This is a "soft ripened blue-veined triple creme cheese:". Translated...O.M.G! Spread on the walnut bread, well I don't believe I can even describe it. (And yet, you know I'm gonna try.)  The creamy blue brie cheese meets the rustic warm earthy walnut bread; what results is a flavor event in your mouth of such epic proportions that I am still a tad breathless. Ah, but not so breathless that I can't continue to expound upon the experience ;-)

Along with the gastronomical delight of the walnut bread with the Saga blue brie, we had chunks of ripe cantaloupe and thin slices of salami. That was our riff on the prosciutto-wrapped melon. I thought what was needed to complete this assortment was some kind of a pickled dish. Ironically enough, I had just finished preparing Shanghai Cucumbers*.  I planned to have them with dinner later, but they screamed to join the fun. So I put some of those in a small bowl and added it to the array on the board.

To bring all of the wonderful tastes together, I suggested to Bob that we have a glass of one of my most favorite wines. If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's near you; run..do not walk!!!  Demand to be shown where the Villa Alena Moscato D'Asti is displayed! As you can see in the picture, it is in an incredibly fun bottle. And if you like a sweet wine as most moscato's are, you need to make sure to purchase multiple bottles of this wine. One sip and you will understand why I am so adamant! It is sweet sunshine that dances over your tongue and tickles your teeth. It leaves you smacking your lips and wanting more. It transports you to a hot summer day, sitting out on an incredible deck that your husband and dear friends built for you in the hottest part of the summer, holding cold honey colored sunshine in a glass. Whoa! Sorry about that. I believe I just had an out of body experience!

*Let me tell you about the Shanghai Cucumbers. They are so delicious! If you are watching your carbs and want a yummy snack or if you're just a pickled vegetable fiend, these are the ticket! The cucumbers are cool and fresh and have that Asian flare of both salty and a tad sweet. Even if you're not fortunate enough to have a friend that brings you fresh baked walnut bread with Saga blue brie cheese, you ought to try these. They are insanely simple to make and I'll warn you, they are addicting!!!

Shanghai Cucumbers
(from Barefoot Foodie)

1 large English Cucumber
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar (White or Apple Cider will work also)
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

1.  Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil together.

2.  Slice up the cucumbers and add them to the bowl; toss to mix.

3.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds right before serving.

4.  Eat them all!

I am so happy to have been able to share this snack with you. It feels good to be back to my blog. Thank you to those of you that have stuck with me during my recuperation. Hopefully, I am back!

Please note the lovely cala lilies. I am happy to share those with you, as well. :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

614 Restaurant Week - Cameron's American Bistro

Birthday week continues! For Thursday's birthday dinner I chose Cameron's American Bistro because I have always wanted to go to Mitchell's flagship restaurant. I'm a fairly regular visitor of some of his other places, but for some reason I've never been to this one.

I quote the website:" Cameron's American Bistro, the original Cameron Mitchell Restaurant located in Worthington, presents a dining experience that blends genuine hospitality and uniquely innovative food in an upscale-casual, intimate atmosphere. An American road trip for your palate, Cameron's American Bistro brings home to Columbus delicious dishes familiar and unfamiliar, from places coastal and landlocked." This was a place I definitely wanted to visit.

 The posted menu for Cameron's for Restaurant Week looked wonderful. So Cameron's it was! There were eight of us and we were seated smack dab in the middle of the dining room at a round table that allowed us to easily talk to everyone in our party. Our server was a young man named AJ, and he was beyond wonderful! He totally took care of us all night.

Six of the eight of us chose to go with the Restaurant Week menus. Lucky me! In the interest of my blog readers, it really was my civic duty to try everything that I could. Darn Patrick, though. He was clear across the table and I didn’t get to taste his. How did he escape my fork???


By far the most popular appetizer was the Goat Cheese Arancini, and with good reason. The balls of risotto were made with goat cheese and then fried to a golden crisp and were served on a tomato coulis with a sprig of arugula. Let me explain it to you like this; a slice of heaven on a plate. *sigh*


Another choice was the Chop Chop. This was a lovely salad made up of “Wier’s Farm mixed greens, asparagus, sweet corn, hardboiled egg, smoked bacon, gorgonzola, red onions, grape tomatoes and golden balsamic vinaigrette". It was very good.


The third appetizer choice was Shrimp Bisque. As you can see, it was lovely. It was garnished with Lemon cream, chives and crostini. I would like to tell you how incredible it was, however this was one of the dishes that escaped me. Dang-it! Now I’m thinking I need to go back soon and complete my “education”.


Moving on to the entrées, these were an absolute delight! I decided upon the Hoisin Glazed Salmon. This was served with “grilled pineapple rice, ginger glazed carrots, sugar snap peas and sriracha butter sauce”. I am telling you, this salmon was absolutely exquisite. I was totally smitten with the pineapple rice. Oh my goodness! The salmon was wonderfully moist and had sweet and savory notes from the hoisin sauce. The carrots and snap peas were crunch and the sauce…oh the sauce. I was a bit concerned that the sriracha sauce might be a tad too much for me. Much to my delight it was spot on. What a winner!


This is the shrimp and grits. You’re right. It wasn’t on the Restaurant Week menu, but two of my fellow diners ordered this. What rebels! I tried to slip my fork onto Dianne’s plate when she wasn’t looking but I was busted J  The grits were made with goat cheese. Yum! I didn’t try the shrimp because both she and Donald warned me that they were pretty spicy. And we all know what a wuss I am. I did go back for seconds on the grits, though.


Bob and Homer got the Crispy Moscovy Duck Breast with “five vegetable fried rice, baby bok choy, glazed peanuts and orange ginger reduction”. While I not a huge fan of duck, this was very nicely done. Bob was certainly happy with it. And I don’t think we heard a peep out of Homer until his plate was empty! I’m thinkin’ he enjoyed itJ


Isn’t this a lovely photo? Isn’t that a lovely pork chop? Don’t you wonder if it tasted lovely? Well, can’t help ya there. This is the other dish I was talking about that I couldn’t reach. I’m thinking next time with a group this size, I’m going to bring along one of those forks that have an extending handle. Yep, that’s exactly what I need.


Everyone but Kathy and I got the Vanilla Crème Brulee with fresh berries. It was some of the best I have ever had. Or, at least Bob’s portion was some of the best! There was a plethora of vanilla beans and it was reflected in the taste. Beautiful.


Now for the big finish! What is a birthday celebration without cake? How right you are! Cake is what gives mankind sustenance; or something like that anyway. No question I was going with the Warm Carrot Cake. Kathy joined me in ordering the warm carrot cake with cream cheese icing and vanilla rum sauce. Oh dear me, I am so happy I did. It was absolutely, totally insane! The cake was light but incredibly flavorful. The cream cheese icing was sort of sliding off the top of the hot cake and the rum sauce was pooling around the base of the cake just waiting for me to take that first taste. When I did, I do believe the heavens opened and angels sang. Yes. That is what makes a birthday so spectacular. Cake is truly God’s gift of comfort and pleasure.

What a truly wonderful birthday this has been!

Another fine Restaurant Week under the belt…or should I say on the hips? Wherever it lands, it was well worth it. The chefs in Columbus are so very talented. Hats off to them! And thank you to 614 Magazine and all of the sponsors, especially Makers Mark!

p.s. Did I mention that because it was my birthday I was given a gorgeous white rosebud? Wow; Cameron's knows how to treat a lady!

Cameron’s American Bistro
2185 W. Dublin-Granville Road
Worthington, OH
(614) 885-3663
Hours:
Monday- Thursday: 5pm- 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm- 11pm

Cameron's American Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

614 Magazine Restaurant Week - Moretti's of Arlington

I love Restaurant Week, I love Moretti's and I LOVE birthdays!!! And I adore my godsons :-)  So how could it not be a fun birthday, I ask you?

Blake drew this while he was waiting for his dinner. Obviously I am the pink lady. (Yikes! Is that really what my hair looks like to him???) Blake is orange and Bryce is green. (all of our favorite colors!) Unfortunately Bob, Clint & Virna didn't make the grade. But it was my birthday after all.

Moretti's is offering a great menu for this week, and it is only $20. Yes, that's right, twenty dollars! For a three course dinner that will leave you moaning because you are so full, yet you have leftovers for lunch the next day! I know!

So let me show you a little of what we had last night.


This is the bread plate presented after we were seated. The bread was still hot from the oven, with flavored butter and the house marinara sauce. It was deeeeeeeliscious!!!!! I admit I may have hogged the butter...just a little...well, maybe a lot. Okay, I admit it! Let's just please move on.


These were the Four Cheese Risotto Balls with lemon aioli. They were not part of the Restaurant Week menu, however I must include them. I totally could make a meal of these! I kid you not. They are delectable deep fried balls of risotto, with cheese in the middle that oozes out when the balls are cut into. These are commonly called arancini. By whatever name, they are to die for. I simply cannot go to Moretti's without indulging in these.


This was the Mediterranean Chop Salad. It consisted of organic greens, cucumber, tomato, kalamata olive, red onion, feta, and pepperoncini dressed with a house vinaigrette. Wonderful.


The Wedding Soup was my appetizer choice. I do believe that Moretti's has some of the best wedding soup I have ever tasted. The broth is so flavorful and the spinach and carrots are yummy. The meatballs are plentiful and so tasty. Just perfect!


The last appetizer choice was the tomato bisque. Rich tomato flavor; deeply satisfying. We probably could have stopped there. But oh no! We soldiered on.


Bob, Clint and Virna all got this entee for dinner. Allow me to introduce you to Moretti's Truffle Mac 'N Cheese with Shrimp. Oh Lordy was it ever good! The shrimp were perfectly cooked and had that wonderful flavor that shrimp have when they are "just right". You know what I'm talking about. When you buy shrimp and they are just so succulent that you never want to stop eating them. Huh? You don't know what I'm talking about?  It's just me? Oh dude, if that's true I feel so sorry for you. Put those perfect shrimp on top of homemade mac 'n cheese, add a little truffle (butter or oil, I'm not sure which) and your knees get week and your hands start shaking and your breath is taken away. And no, I do not have a seafood allergy. I just (as my good friend Tom Prosek says) "became one with my food". Or in this case, Bob's food.


My dear friends, meet my dinner Scallop Carbanara with Fuscili Pasta. It is so easy to screw up carbanara. And if you do, you end up with a gloppy mess and who wants to eat that? This carbanara was done quite well. It was abundant with scallops, bacon, onion. peas, and a delicately creamy cheese sauce. It was really good.


Moving on to dessert, Virna and I chose the Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. Bingo! I darn near cried, it was so good. Rich, creamy, cheesey, deep flavor; everything a cheesecake should be. And the espresso was there in all its glory. Not overpowering, not artificial. No, just wonderful. Add a cup of coffee and I was in heaven.


The guys got the Cannoli. The menu listed this as Chocolate Chip Cannoli. While we didn't see any chocolate chips, the cannoli did not disappoint!

What a dinner! What a birthday! All this and Bryce's first place win in the spelling bee, too!

What more could I possibly have asked for????

Moretti's of Arlington
2124 Tremont Center
Columbus, OH
(614) 486.2333
Monday-Thursday: 4:30pm-9:30 pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:30pm-10pm
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