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Monday, July 30, 2007

California Barbecued Tri-Tip





This was the other recipe from my Cook's Country June/July '07 issue. It's a simple recipe that results in a lot of great flavor. You need to watch the temperature though, because the cut of beef I used could probably be a little drier than a tri-tip. The Santa Maria Salsa and California Barbecued Beans were perfect with this beef.
California Barbecued Tri-Tip
1 tri-tip roast (about 2 lbs.) trimmed or bottom round
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups wood chips, preferably oak (I used hickory)
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
Pat roast dry with paper towels. Using fork, prick roast about 20 times on each side. Combine garlic, oil and salt and rub over roast. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Soak wood chips for 15 minutes. Open bottom vent on grill. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal and burn until covered with gray ash. Pour coals over one half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, open lid vents and let grill heat for 5 minutes. Scrape grill clean.
Using paper towels, wipe garlic paste off of roast. Rub pepper and garlic salt over meat. Grill directly over coals until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Carefully remove roast and cooking grate and scatter chips over coals. Replace grate and arrange roast on cooler side of grill. Cover, positioning lid vents directly over meat and cook until roast registers about 130 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let rest 10 to 20 minutes. Slice thinly across grain and serve.

Santa Maria Salsa

This salsa came from my Cooks Country June/July '07 issue and was an accompaniment to the grilled tri-tip. It really is not all that different in taste to other fresh pico de gallos I have made, but it did have a few differences. The addition of celery would have altered the flavor in a nice way, but Dan is not a fan so I left it out. I also did not place the chopped tomatoes in a strainer sprinkled with salt to drain for 30 minutes. I just chopped them and seeded them, rather than going through that extra step.

Santa Maria Salsa

2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

California Barbecued Beans


My June/July 2007 issue of Cook's Country has turned out to be one of my most used cooking magazines ever. They featured a meal that included beans, grilled tri-tip and salsa all of which I decided to cook yesterday and it was all good. The bean recipe called for pink kidney beans, but my only choices were red or red, so I chose red. the salsa called for 1 celery rib chopped fine, but I omitted that because Dan does not like celery. The beef recipe called for a tri-tip roast, but said that a bottom round would be an acceptable alternative if you could not find a tri-tip and I could not find one. The meal was great and the beans were very different from the typical baked beans that I am used to. I would definitely prepare these again.

California Barbecued Beans

4 slices bacon, chopped fine
1/2 lb. deli ham, chopped fine
1 onion , chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound pink kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 cups water
1 cup canned tomato puree
1/2 cup bottled taco sauce
5 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry mustard
salt
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. cider vinegar

Cook bacon and ham in Dutch oven over medium heat until fat renders and pork is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans and water and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until beans are just soft, about 1 hour.
Stir in tomato puree, taco sauce, sugar, mustard and 2 teaspoons salt. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are completely tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 hour. Stir in cilantro and vinegar and season with salt. Serve. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael Vick and Nike

They do listen sometimes. Today Nike announced that they suspended their contract with Michael Vick and are pulling his merchandise off store shelves. Way to go Nike!!

O'Dowd's Zona Rosa Revisited

Last night we were way up north looking for new lights to go over the new vanity. Who would have known that finding the right lights could be such a pain? Any way, we decided to eat at O'Dowd's at Zona Rosa because we were close and we have always had good meals there. They have a nice varied menu and their prices are good. If you like fish and chips, they serve up the best I have ever ordered. They also have a nice selection of draft beers, so I had a 20 oz. Smithwicks and Dan had a Sam Adams Brown Ale.


They have added some new items to their menu and we started with the new Pub Crisps($5.95), a plate of crispy house cut potato chips served with a warm bacon, blue cheese dip. The dip was actually a little on the bland side, which was disappointing because it sounded really good. We fared much better on our dinners, both of us getting sandwiches that tasted good. I had the Reuben, and while not as good as The Peanut, I enjoyed it. I actually cannot stand Thousand Island Dressing or Sauerkraut, but love them when they are attached to corned beef. The O'Dowd's version was a perfect blend of flavors, without having overdone the dressing or kraut which so many people do. Dan had the hunt Club($7.50), a grilled chicken breast, with bacon, cheese and honey lime dressing on an onion bun. You have options for your sides which is always good. The service was good and seems to be each time we go there.O'Dowds at Zona Rosa

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chicken-Cashew Stir Fry




This recipe comes from my February/March Cooking Pleasures magazine. The recipe caught my eye because it was quick and I enjoy that on a weeknight. I changed the recipe up some by adding a few ingredients that were not originally there and really add no more time to the recipe.

I served it over a blend of long grain and wild rice, but it can be served with traditional white rice.


Chicken-Cashew Stir Fry

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed (1 inch)
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup salted cashews
5 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 cup frozen soybeans, thawed
Toss chicken and flour in medium-bowl until well blended.
Heat wok or large skillet over high heat until hot. Add oil; heat until hot. Stir-fry chicken until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper, stir fry about 30 to 60 seconds, until garlic fragrant but not browned.
Gradually stir in soy sauce, cook 1 minute until chicken no longer pink and sauce is thickened. Stir in cashews, green onions and soy beans. Stir until heated through.

For All The Dog Lovers Out There

You can let Nike know your feelings by signing a petition that protests their continuation of a contract with pit bull killing NFL star Michael Vick at http://www.boycottnikenow.com/ .
**** Update****
As of today, 07-27-07, Nike has suspended their contract with Michael Vick and are pulling his merchandise off store shelves! Way to go Nike!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Italian Tomato (A nice Dutch dish)

Here is another recipe from the 1935 Women's Guild Cook Book. This one struck me as strange because of the title. I don't understand why they just didn't call it Dutch Tomato. Either way, this one is just a little too gross for me.

Italian Tomato (A nice Dutch dish)

1 can tomatoes
1 cup chopped celery
4 hard boiled eggs
salt
pepper
Bit of onion
Butter, about 4 tablespoons
Flour, enough to thicken the tomatoes
Grated cheese

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour. Add tomatoes, celery and seasoning. Let the mixture thicken some and turn out into a baking dish. Add hard boiled eggs, sliced. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Mint Cocktail

I like to go through my collection of old cookbooks to see if I can find interesting recipes. Sometimes I come across some strange ones like this mint cocktail. When I saw the recipe, I just thought"wow, this is really a stretch and did people really serve this". This was listed under a menu for holiday dinners as an appetizer. The recipe comes from a 1935 Women's Guild of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre, PA. Cook Book.

Mint Cocktail

1 can grapefruit
3 oranges
1/4 lb. after dinner mints

Cut the grapefruit into small cubes, remove the pulp of the oranges and cut into small pieces. Break the mints into tiny pieces and mix with the fruit before serving, keeping in a cold place. Serve in sherbet or cocktail glasses and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Copa Room




On 07/07/07, I chose the Copa Room for my birthday dinner and I have to say I picked a winner. We had heard good things about this restaurant and they were all pretty much true. The place is small and it filled up the night we were there, so reservations are probably good on the weekend. The service was good, the food for the most part was great and the ambiance is nice. Typically they have live music, but I overheard the table next to us say the singer had called in sick.

Dan and I both started off with a nice cold Peroni ($4.50), our beer of choice when eating Italian food. We ordered the Sicilian Tomato Salad ($8.50) for a starter and there plenty for us to split. The salad consisted of nice fresh, sliced tomatoes with red onion, basil, garlic, fresh mozzarella and a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette. This was by far one of the best salads I have ever ordered!

I ordered a glass of the Ruffino Chianti ($6) and Dan ordered the Castle Rock Pinot Noir ($8), and we agreed that the Chianti was much better. You get a house salad or Caesar salad with your entree. I chose the house salad and was disappointed in it. It was swimming in the dressing and everything seemed limp and soggy. The Caesar was not much better, way too much anchovy for my taste. I think you should get just the essence of anchovy , not a mouthful of fish flavored lettuce.

I ordered the Frank, Dean and Sammy Combo ($18.95) so that I could get a taste of some of their different dishes. You get a nice helping of Chicken Spiedini, Nani's Lasagna and creamy penne Alfredo. The Alfredo was the best I have ever eaten out, very creamy, thick and garlicky, the lasagna was very good(not as good as my Mom's) and the spiedini was also very good, but I think I like Cascone's the best. Dan ordered the Lasagna ($15.95) with sausage and a meatball. Again the lasagna is very good and the red sauce is just the way I like it, sweet and garlicky. The meatball was okay, but mine are better.

For dessert I ordered the Spumoni Cake at the advise of the waitress and it was wonderful, a layer each of pistachio, chocolate and cherry cake in a nice fluffy white icing. Dan ordered the cheesecake and did not like it. I on the other hand loved it. It was light and creamy and he likes his more dense. I ordered a Espresso Martini with my dessert and at $10 it was a little overpriced. It was a blend of vanilla vodka, Kahlua, dark creme de coca and coffee.

I would definitely go back and recommend it to others. They are located at 3421 Broadway, KCMO 64111, 816-931-5200, www.coparoomkc.com .

Monday, July 23, 2007

BBQ Chicken Sandwich



Okay, so the recipe calls this a Texas-Sized BBQ Sandwich, but I fail to see a connection so I will call it as I see it. This recipe comes from the Feb/March '07 issue of Cook's Country. Very simple and not too bad for top of the stove BBQ, maybe that's the way they do it in Texas?? I lived there for a short time and thought their BBQ paled in comparison to Kansas City's, so there you have it. You can omit the chipotle if you can't handle the heat or add just half for a little fire. I used Colby/Jack cheese instead of cheddar and KC Masterpiece Hickory BBQ sauce.
BBQ Chicken Sandwich
4 slices thick cut bacon, halved crosswise
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
salt and pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup water
4 large onion rolls, split in half
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby/jack cheese
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 400. Fry bacon in large non-stick skillet over med-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large plate lined with paper towels and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in bacon fat until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken and add sauce, chipotle and water. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken and slice crosswise in to 1/4" pieces.
Arrange rolls cut side up on baking sheet. Divide chicken among bottoms, top with sauce, cheese and bacon. Bake open faced sandwichs in oven until cheese melts and rolls are golden brown. Top with toasted top and serve.

Beer Can Grilled Chicken




I purchased this wonderful marinade, LuLu Meyer Lemon, Fennel & Sage Marinade, and used it on a beer can chicken. My mom bought me a really nice beer can chicken holder thingy from Williams-Sonoma, because I almost caught myself on fire once using a beer can. I took a 3 pound chicken, placed it in a large bowl and using half of the jars contents, rubbed the outside, inside the cavity and under the skin. I placed it in a large plastic bag and let it marinate for 3 hours. You can also leave it overnight if you wish. I placed the chicken over indirect heat, put the lid on the grill and cooked the chicken for 1 hour. You want the temp to be 165 degrees in the breast area or 180 in the thigh. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. The flavor was great without being overpowered by any of the ingredients. I sliced some baby yellow potatoes in half, tossed them with black truffle olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh chopped rosemary and added them to the grill, just in case you were wondering if the bird layed eggs.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Miller Chill Chelada Style Light Beer Revisited

Okay, I have to say good try Miller, but no Chelada. I will be forced to make mine the old fashioned way, these just don't measure up and I hate when that happens. I will be forced to drink this, though not a chelada, a chelada wanna be, and dream of warm breezes on a sunny beach.

Miller Chill Chelada Style Light Beer


OMG! I am so excited to try this

new beer from Miller Brewing Company. I have seen the ads on TV and thought, "could it be an actual chelada in a bottle, my all time favorite way to drink beer, that my friends Dan and Larry turned me on to!?!?" The package says Miller Chill Chelada Style Light Beer, inspired by a Mexican recipe with salt and lime. We will have to wait and see, it was not in the cooler, so I have some on ice and will let you know how it tastes. So while Dan and Larry are actually drinking the real thing in Mexico as I sit and type, I will be able to drink one with them. Here's to you guys, I hope you are enjoying Mexico and hope to be there with you in February.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pasta With Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce


This is a recipe that I got out of my June/July '07 Cook's Country magazine under the 30-minute Supper category. It is very simple to make and would be even better with some sauteed pancetta. My only issue with this recipe is that it calls for 1 pound of penne or ziti and serves 4. This would have been much better if I had followed my instincts and used only 1/2 pound of pasta. The sauce would have gone a lot further, it was a real struggle to coat the pasta with the amount of sauce that this recipe made. Other than that, the flavor was great and the recipe is so simple! Try it with less pasta or double the sauce if you are cooking for six.

Pasta w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine (I used 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves or 1 large, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, rinsed, patted dry and minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup heavy cream
salt
1 pound penne or ziti (take my advice, you 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes and cream. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot. Add sauce and basil to pot and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sloppy Joe Wraps



I came across this recipe in my newest issue of Saveur and thought it looked easy enough for a week night. I made mine with ground turkey instead of beef and then placed them into warm spelt tortillas with some shredded mozzarella. The only issue I had with the recipe was the amount of ground cloves. The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon, which I thought sounded like too much and against my better judgement that is what I put in. Unless you absolutely love the flavor of cloves, I would suggest using only a 1/4 of a teaspoon. Cloves are so strong and half of the amount would be plenty. The recipe I post will have only a 1/4 teaspoon.
Sloppy Joe Wraps
2 Tbsp. butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned, 6-8 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, vinegar, sugar and cloves. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and dark, 25-30 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes six servings.

Tuscan Potato Salad


This recipe comes from the June/July 2007 issue of Cook's Country magazine. I have been wanting to try it out and did so last night. I have always been a little leery of using vinegar in potato salads because I can't stand German Potato Salad, but this is a great recipe. I halved it since I am cooking for 2. The changes I made to the recipe are; used baby gold potatoes, used a 2 oz. jar of sliced pimentos. I will post the recipe as written in the magazine.

Tuscan Potato Salad

2 lbs. small red potatoes, scrubbed & sliced 1/4" thick
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 large jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring potatoes, 2 Tbsp. salt and enough water to cover potatoes by 1 inch to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 5 minutes. While potatoes simmer, whisk vinegar, water, garlic, rosemary, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl.
Drain potatoes thoroughly in colander and spread in even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle half of vinegar mixture over hot potatoes and let stand until cool, about 20 minutes. Stir mustard into remaining vinegar mixture, then slowly whisk in oil. Scatter parsley, peppers and Parmesan evenly over potatoes. Transfer potato mixture to bowl with vinaigrette and toss gently until combined. Serve. This salad can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Restaurant LuLu Pomegranate Grilling Sauce



A few weekends back, I went with some friends to a store out in Overland Park, KS called Smoke N' Fire at 8010 W. 151st Street. This place is a grillers dream. They carry grills, cookbooks, sauces, spices, woodchips...the list goes on and on, I could have spent the entire day there. One of the items I bought was Restaurant LuLu's Pomegranate Grilling Glaze. Last night I used it on a pork tenderloin and liked the results. It was a sweet and peppery glaze that did not burn on the meat. I applied in the last 5 minutes of grilling and turned the meat to cover it entirely, letting the glaze cook on somewhat. I would be interested in trying out some of their other glazes, some of which are also available on Amazon.com.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Murray's Ice Cream

After our dinner last night, we thought we would stop in at Foo's Frozen Custard for another old favorite, but the line was too long. We decided instead, to check out Murray's in Westport since we were going that way. Murray's has been our favorite ice cream place for a very long time, we used to walk there when we lived on the Plaza, thinking that the walk would work off the calories. All of the ice cream is home made and comes in a variety of flavors that changes constantly. You can have your name put on a list, so that when they make a favorite, they will call you. Every time they make Peppermint Chip I get a phone call letting me know! They have good service and will let you try out a flavor before you buy, so that you make the best choice. Last night I had a single scoop of Root Beer Float on a sugar cone and it tasted just like it's name. Dan had a scoop of Banana Cram Pie in cup and it had little pieces of pie crust in it. As always, both flavors were very good. They have all the traditional items like sundaes and banana splits, a coffee bar and wonderful home made cookies. Murray makes the best Gingersnap around and her cinnamon icing is too die for, getting these when they come right from the oven is a real treat. Murray, herself, is usually around making sure that everything runs well. The location is 4120 Pennsylvania, KCMO 64111 , 816-931-5646.

Jalapenos Brookside

I was going to grill out last night, but after doing yard work and trying to dismantle the master bath, I was in no mood to cook. We decided to eat Mexican and drove 20 miles to Brookside to eat at Jalapenos. We used to live in the Brookside area and loved eating there, so we thought a small road trip would be in order. It was worth the drive, the food has not changed and the service was good. We both ordered Margarita's on the rocks with salt and a bowl of Jalapeno Dip ($7.15). The dip is the reason we went and for that price I think I can come up with the recipe. I will work on it and see. For my meal I went with my old favorite, #3 Tacos, Tacos, Tacos, which as the name implies, is three crispy tacos with beans and rice. I get the beef , but you can opt for chicken or a combo of both. They are very filling and not greasy. Dan ordered his favorite, #5 El Pollo. This is a platter of 2 chicken , cheese and onion enchiladas and a crispy chicken taco and it was all very good. They have a very good brown enchilada sauce that tastes like the kind my mom used to serve. Jalapenos is not the most authentic Mexican place to eat at in the city, but we do enjoy it for a change. They have 3 locations in the area and we ate at the one at 6318 Brookside Plaza, Kansas City , MO. The web address is http://www.jalapenoskc.com/.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Journey Wood-Fired Steaks

I should just change the name of my blog to Eating Out in Kansas City. Since my week long birthday celebration, I can't seem to get back into the kitchen. We were out last night trying to pick out tile for our new bathroom and at a loss for where to eat. The Northland is slowly getting new restaurants, but they all seem to be going north of Barry Road and we wanted to stay close to home. Of coarse we have exhausted all of the places that are worth eating at and we can't eat Italian every night can we? Steak sounded good to me, but we did not want to go all the way to Zona Rosa to eat. That was when we remembered The Journey at the Argosy Casino. We had eaten there before and had a good experience, so we headed on over thereto dine only, no gambling. I did not want to push my luck since I hit 777 on 07/07/07 playing on a dollar machine without realizing it.

The Journey has a small menu, which is not bad if you have just been overwhelmed with tile choices. I ordered the Rib-eye ($29), which includes a choice of salad, vegetable and potato. I went with the garden salad, asparagus and baked potato. My meal was perfect and very satisfying. Dan had the Salmon ($19) and all the same sides as me. His salmon was one of the best I have eaten out! It was perfectly cooked and the flavor was nice and smoky, not fishy at all. We each had a glass of wine and were glad that their wines by the glass were all only $5.50. It is getting harder and harder to order wine at a restaurant, with all the $8 to $10 prices. I had a very nice Farnese Montepulciano and Dan had a very good Riff Pinot. Our server Mark was very good and attentive, which also seems to be getting scarcer. We will definitely go back. They are located at The Argosy Casino 777 Argosy Parkway Riverside MO. 816-746-3100

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cascone's Italian Restaurant

For my ongoing birthday celebration, we went to Cascone's Italian Restaurant at 3737 North Oak Trafficway, KCMO 64116. The place is just down the street from where we live and it has become somewhat of a tradition to go there on my birthday. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Kansas City, although there were a few issues last night. The restaurant was practically empty and the service was very slow. Also, they have changed their dinner salad and I do not like the new one. Way too much dressing which made the lettuce limp and it just did not taste like it used too, plus there were squishy pieces of artichoke hearts which I cannot stand in my salad.
They serve really good Italian bread, I believe it is from Roma Bakery, and we ordered the Olive Oil Dipping Service for $2.95. It's a good combo of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil and roasted garlic.
As for the entrees, I was a little wild and crazy and ordered something different.I went with the Chicken Parmigiano ($16.95), a breaded boneless chicken breast, baked with 3 cheeses and served with a generous serving of spaghetti which was all very good. Dan had his usual, the Tortellini Savina Marie ($15.95), tortellini served in a cream sauce with peas and prosciutto. He did not like it as well as he has in the past. Chris ordered the Baked Cannelloni Florentine (13.95), 3 pasta tubes filled with spinach and veal, baked in red and white sauces. Typical of Chris, he had pasta envy and wished he had ordered what everyone else had. Myla had the Ravioli ($10.95) , cheese filled pasta in a red sauce that was just as good as always. And Auggy ordered the Cannelloni Cascone ($15.95), pasta crepes filled with ricotta and Italian sausage with mozzarella cheese and he loved it. Myla had a Tuscan Melontini for $7.50, Auggy drank tea and Dan, Chris and I shared a bottle of Rocca Chianti that was $37, but we had a half off coupon for. The wine was okay, I have had better, we should have ordered the Ruffino. Myla and Auggy shared the canoli ($3.95) and Dan and I shared a slice of cheesecake ($4.95). The total bill came to $135.54 after the discount. www.cascones.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Houlihan's Kansas City North

On Sunday, we were out running errands and decided to stop in at Houlihan's since we had not eaten had breakfast or lunch. They have a great Happy Hour that runs all day on Sundays and 4 to close Moday through Saturday. During that time you get $5.00 appetizers and 1/2 price draft beers and house cocktails. The only stipulation is that you have to sit in the bar. On a Sunday afternoon this is no big deal, because the bar area is empty, at least it has been the last few times we've been there. We ordered the chicken nachos and the lettuce wraps. They were both good and more than filling. Dan had a Sam Adams and I had 2 Boulevard Wheats and the tab came to $21.32!! That is a great bargain in my book. They are located at 8660 Baordwalk Avenue, KCMO 816-584-9910.

Houston's Restaurant Kansas City

On Friday, after our disappointing turn away from 1924 Main, we headed for the Country Club Plaza looking for a place to eat. I had a hankering for the Grilled Chicken Salad and some of the e Spinach Artichoke Dip at Houston's. At 2:00 PM on a Friday the place was packed, I think that they are always packed. The service was a little slower than I remember, it took our server a while to get to our table for our order. We started with the Spinach Dip and it was good, just not as good as we remember it being. For $10, it should be the best Spinach Dip out there, but I don't think it is. We both ordered the Grilled Chicken Salad ($13) and again, it just didn't do it for me. It wasn't bad, it just did not taste like I remember it tasting. The dressing seemed a little bitter to me. Oh well, they say sometimes you just can't go back. We lived on the Plaza for awhile back in the mid 90's and ate there once a week. Maybe my taste buds have moved on as well. They are located at 4640 Wornall, phone number 816-561-8542.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Pressed Ciabetta Sandwich


What??!!You fixed a sandwich for your own birthday dinner!! I know it seems strange, but I was tired of going out, that is all I have done for the past 4 days and I did not want to cook.

In fact, I have a stack of reviews to post from all the dining experiences over the past few days and then some. I spent the day with my sister and she was talking about Martha Stewart's pressed sandwiches, so I went to the store and put one together for Dan and me. I bought a nice ciabetta (maybe a little too crispy) and cut it in half. I layered it with thinly sliced prosciutto, thinly sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, drizzled it with Italian salad dressing, layered it with Bibb lettuce and slathered the top piece of bread with light Miracle Whip. I wrapped it with plastic wrap, placed it in the fridge and placed something heavy over it. After a couple of hours we had a very tasty sandwich. It reminded us of eating the sandwiches in Rome and Florence that you buy from street vendors. A very nice birthday dinner!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

1924 Main

Since Monday is my birthday, I decided to take Friday and Monday off from work. I have always believed that birthdays were just too special to spend at the work place. Dan called Friday around 12:30 to say he was leaving work early so that he could take me to lunch. He wanted to drive by Michael Smith and see if they were open yet before heading home. I thought that Michael Smith would be a great place to go for my birthday dinner, but he found out they are not opening until the 10th.
Anyway, Dan got home and said he wanted to go to 1924 Main for lunch, he loves eating there and I had never been. I finished getting ready and we headed downtown. The sign on the door said they served lunch until 2:00. Since it was 1:55 we thought we would try getting a table. Usually I won't go into a business that is about to close, but the door did say they served until 2:00. Actually they need to say that they serve until 1:54, because they would not seat us. BUMMER!! I guess I will have to wait before I eat there.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tatsu's in Westport is Gone

Another one bites the dust...Tatsu's in Westport is now a Mexican restaurant.
Tatsu's Cafe and Bar

Guacamole

I make guacamole anytime I find good avocados at good prices. It's easy too make and always a crowd pleaser. My sister Gina has been waiting for this recipe, she really likes it. The trick is finding the right avocados. You want them to have some give, but not be too soft. I typically use whatever onion I have on hand, but green onions or shallots are my favorite.

Guacamole

3 ripe avocados( about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and pitted
2 plum tomatoes, seeded
1 jalapeno, seeded
3 green onions, chopped (1 shallot, minced)
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Mash avocados to desired consistency with a fork( I prefer mine a little chunky). Add the rest of
the ingredients and mix well. Serve with tortilla chips. If you need to refrigerate, place plastic wrap over and push down to make a film over guacamole.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

BBQ Pork Spareribs



The ribs were fantastic!! In the morning I gave them a rub of brown sugar, kosher salt, garlic powder, granulated toasted onion, ground ancho chili powder and black pepper. I did not measure the amount of any of these ingredients, I just eyeballed it. I put them on the smoker and cooked them for 4 hours. Every half hour I turned them and slathered them with my own special BBQ sauce, which is one of the recipes I cannot give up. My Granny was notorious for not giving out recipes, so I have a little of that in me. I occasionally added more charcoal to the smoker, along with big chunks of hickory that I had soaking in a tub of water. Dan said these were the best ribs he had ever eaten!! That's high praise indeed since we live in a city famous for some of the best ribs in the world!

Happy Fourth To You

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable fourth. One of my volunteers at work gave me an 11 lbs. of spare ribs, that's 2 huge slabs. I will attempt to cook those babies up on my Hastybake grill/smoker that belonged to my grandparents. Never have done them before, so we will see what happens...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni w/ Peas



When you don't go to the grocery store, it's sometimes hard to come up with something for dinner. Ol' Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and found them almost completely bare, kind of the Brittany Spears of kitchen cabinets. There was a package of that dried Barilla Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni. I thought "Aha, what do I have on hand to make a sauce for these?" After looking at the package I thought I could come up with some semblance of the recipe they presented. I did not have 1 cup of half & half, I did however have a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and some skim milk, so together they made something like a half & half of a half. The package also called for prosciutto, which would have been good , but I was out. Anyway, to make a long story longer, the sauce turned really good and tasty and would work with any pasta. This is my adaptation of the package recipe.
Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni w/Peas
1 8 oz. bag Barilla Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni
2 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 if large)
1 cup half & half
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add half & half and peas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and seasonings and stir to combine. Add drained pasta and serve.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tuscan Grilled Asparagus

Here is a great recipe I got off of a bottle of Lucini Gran Riserva Balsamico vinegar. It makes a wonderful side dish and is very easy to make.

Tuscan Grilled Asparagus

2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends cut off
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add trimmed asparagus to marinade. Let set at room temperature for 1 or more hours. Heat grill to high. Put asparagus on grill, cooking until flexible and lightly blackened. Serve immediately.