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Friday, August 31, 2007

Sotto Voce


Yesterday I received a box in the mail of olive oils and vinegar from my Seattle trip. I love getting food related things in the mail, hell, I like getting food related things anywhere. But coming home and finding a package on the front porch is so fun. I admit it, I'm a food geek.

I love all things to do with food or the cooking of it. I love going into Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, or getting new cooking magazines and cookbooks. When you go to new cities you find all these wonderful little shops that just call out for you to see all the wonderful things they have. It's really all about the possibilities and the joy of the creation.

Anyway, I received this package from Sotto Voce in Seattle. They have all these wonderful infused oils and vinegars and they sample them in their store at Pike's Place Market. The bottles are corked and each one comes with its on plastic pour spout. They also ship, so I did not have to worry about packing those bottles in my suitcase.

It was hard to choose which flavors I wanted from all the choices they offer. I ended up with an Olio Basilico, which is their garlic olive oil infused with basil and white and black peppercorns. I also chose the Olio Buon Gustaio, another garlic olive oil infused with habaneras, horseradish and red chili peppers, WOW! The vinegar i ordered was the Aceto Balsimico, a nice spicy balsamic vinegar with garlic cloves, crushed red peppers and whole chilis. I can't wait to start cooking with these.

You can check out their website at www. sottovoce.com.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Broccoli-Mascarpone Soup



I have had this recipe for sometime and decided that last night was the night to try it. BIG MISTAKE!! This soup was so bland and flavorless and that was after I tried beefing it up somewhat. It was a waste of my time and a waste of some really good mascarpone. I added a minced clove of garlic to mine when I added the broccoli and probably should have added three. I ended up drizzling some truffle oil into it and some grated Parmesan cheese at the end. This recipe came from either Bon Appetit or Gourmet and was an overall disappointment. I will post the recipe as It was printed in the magazine, but I don't recommend making it.
Broccoli-Mascarpone Soup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 6 large)
1 1/2 lbs. broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) mascarpone cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes. Add broccoli; saute 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, transfer soup to blender; puree until smooth. (I used an immersion blender, so much faster). Return to pot. Reserve 1/4 cup mascarpone in small bowl; cover and chill. Whisk 1 1/4 cups mascarpone and cayenne pepper into soup. Season with salt.
Ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved mascarpone and chopped chives. Serve.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tomato-Gorgonzola Sauce



This recipe comes from my October 2007 Cuisine at Home magazine. I only made a few changes to it, but will post the recipe I made. This sauce is spicy and tangy and we loved it at our house. I used a ziti pasta with ridges, the magazine recommended shells. You want to use a pasta that the sauce clings to, because it is so thick and creamy. I started the sauce after I put my water on to boil, so the pasta and the sauce were done at the same time. Use a 1/2 pound of pasta for this recipe.
Tomato-Gorgonzola Sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup creamy Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper flakes and black pepper; cook 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Stir in tomato puree and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add cream, simmer for 1 minute. Stir in cheese, basil, cooked pasta and salt. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good News For the Northland

For those of you that live in the Northland, but not way up in the Northland by Zona Rosa, you will glad to hear that Panera is going into the Creekwood Commons Shopping Center. They will be located in the old Black Eyed Pea- really bad Mexican space that burned at Englewood and Oak. Now when you want a salad or a nice bowl of soup, you can skip the bad service at 54th Street and walk into the new Panera space. They seem to be giving the space a whole new look, with lots of windows.
Also, we now have a new ice cream place at Briarcliff Village!! The people who brought us the Pastry Goddess, have opened up Mulberry Creamery at 4111 N. Mulberry. They make their own ice creams and serve cones, malts, shakes, sundaes and banana splits. We went last night and enjoyed ours. It will be interesting to see how they handle the business once it picks up since there is no clear place where to put in your order, but I am sure they will figure that out. We have needed a place like this for awhile, especially since Burnett's and Bill's Frozen custard places are both gone.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Julia's on Broadway - Seattle WA

Of all the places we ate at in Seattle, only two were disappointing. One of those was Julia's on Broadway. We had made our way to the Capitol Hill area of Seattle and decided to eat lunch there. We should have eaten at Dick's, we had heard it was good, but I picked this loser from the bunch.
I won't go into all the details of the bad food, other than to say that Dan's crab cakes were not even edible, they tasted like lemon cakes and my hummus plate was bland and boring. The service was also very bad and was the only time we experienced this in Seattle. The bartender poured our beers and they sat on the bar for 10 minutes until we asked another waiter to please bring them to us. It wasn't like they busy or anything, it's just that our waitress preferred sitting on her butt in the back.
Needless to say, I would not recommend this place. I'm not even going to bother giving their address or phone number, it's not worth the effort.

Serious Pie - Seattle, WA

Well, I am back from Seattle and a little sad for the fact. Seattle is such a great city, it's like being in New York, without the attitude. The people are very friendly and in restaurants you find yourself conversing with people at the tables next to you. There are some incredible places to eat at in Seattle, too. One of our favorites was Serious Pie. It is a wood fired pizza place that has 6 starters, 7 pizzas and 4 desserts on the menu. The place is small and you will find yourself sharing a table with strangers, just like in Italy.
I started my meal with a plate of seedless watermelon wedges, thinly sliced purplette onions, ricotta salata and a dusting of cayenne($10). This was such a simple dish and so full of flavor, I hope that I can recreate this at home. Dan had crenshaw melon, prosciutto and santo steffani cheese($13), which was another winner. For my pizza , I chose the cherry bomb pepper and sweet fennel sausage($15). Two people could actually share one pizza, they come out about 11" long and are an oblong shape. This was also very good, the crust was very light and the toppings were perfect. Dan had the mozzarella di bufala and san marzano tomato pizza which was incredible and so simple.
We were way to full to try the desserts like the lemoncello tiramisu with bing cherries or the buttermilk pannacotta with figs and balsamic vinegar. I guess we will have to go back and try them in the future.
The restaurant is one of the many that are owned and operated by Tom Douglas and they all have great reputations for serving some of the finest food in Seattle. Serious Pie is located at 316 Virginia Street Seattle WA 206-838-7388 http://www.tomdouglas.com/.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anthony's Pier 66 Seattle,WA

We arrived in beautiful Seattle,WA yesterday and I was amazed at the shear beauty of this place. It is so lush and green and a far cry from the heat and humidity of Kansas City. We are fortunate to arrive to sunny skies and day time temps in the 70's. Our hotel balcony looks out into Puget Sound and we can see the majestic snow covered Mt. Rainier. This is so awesome!

We crossed the street and headed over to Anthony's Pier 66 for beers and appetizers before doing some exploring. We sat outside and enjoyed great views of the water and distant mountains. Dan ordered a Mac & Jacks Amber Ale and I had Manny's Pale Ale, both local brews that were excellent and $4.75 a pint. We ordered the Crab Cocktail($14.95),lumps of fresh crab meat served over shredded lettuce with a light dressing. I have never tasted such fresh crab meat. We also ordered the Calamari($8.95) which was fried to crispy bite without being rubbery. The service was also great!

They are located at 2201 Alaskan Way Seattle WA. 98121 206-448-6688.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Governor Stumpy's Grill House


Friday night, Dan and I were meeting up with Ron and Brian at Brian's new house in Waldo. It's a great bungalow style house on a nice street in a great section of town. We discussed dinner options, Waldo Pizza or Governor Stumpy's. As much as I love Waldo Pizza, I really wanted to go to Stumpy's. When Dan and I lived in the area we ate there once a week and we really missed the place. It is one of my favorite places to eat in KC with a great menu, good prices and the service is excellent.
We started out with the Spinach Cheese Dip($6.95), a good mix of cheese and spinach served with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream. I had a hard time trying to decide on what to get, but I ended up choosing my favorite, Crispy Chicken Platter($9.95). It comes with strips of lightly battered chicken, excellent seasoned fries, honey mustard and these incredible cinnamon apples. I love this dish!! Dan ordered the Chicken Breast Sandwich($7.15), a grilled breast of chicken on a bun, with your choice of sides. Brian had the Rib Eye($14.95), a grilled rib eye covered in melted blue cheese butter, served with veggies, garlic bread and garlic mashed potatoes. A great meal for the price. Ron had the Fish and Chips($9.95), lightly battered fried cod strips served with seasoned fries, cole slaw and tartar sauce.
We had a great meal and even better fellowship. Sharing a good dinner with friends is what life is all about. The restaurant is located at 321 East Gregory(corner of Gregory and Oak) KCMO 64114 816-444-2252 http://www.governorstumpys.com/.

Bertolli Gnocchi in a Tomato Mozzarella Sauce

Sometimes you need something easy to fix for dinner, but if you are like me , you want it to be good. Last might we tried Bertolli's Complete Pasta and Sauce Gnocchi in a Mozzarella Tomato Sauce and it was both easy and good. It's one of those frozen pasta dishes that comes in a bag and costs around $6.00. You put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet with the contents of the bag and in 8 minutes you have this really good pasta dish. The potato gnocchi was light and fluffy and the sauce was incredible. It was a perfect light summer meal, with a salad and a nice glass of red wine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seattle, WA

I will be going to Seattle WA. for the first time tomorrow!! I will try to post from there, but I do not make any promises. The weather looks perfect and I am very excited to see a new city. We are going up to see the Broadway tryout of the new "Young Frankenstein" musical, which has a great cast. I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lemon Scented Haricorts Verts

As I walked through Super Target trying to come up with a side dish for Thursday's dinner I came across this 8 ounce bag of Earth Exotics French Haricort Vert. I wasn't sure of what I was going to do with them, but I had an idea. I started by adding the beans to a pot of boiling, salted water and I cooked them for 3 minutes, then immersed them into a bowl of ice water. Meanwhile I sauteed some thinly sliced onions, about 1/3 cup, in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 9 minutes until they were lightly golden. I added the beans and cooked for 5 minutes, then added a clove of chopped garlic and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, stirring to combine. They turned out perfectly and were a great accompaniment to my chicken dish.

Chicken Breasts W/ Pistachio-Cilantro Pesto



I have had this recipe for a while in my large stack of recipes to try some day and do not remember which magazine it came from. I decided to prepare it for dinner Thursday and was pleased with the results. The chicken was good and juicy, not dry at all. It's fairly simple to make and is a bit different than typical chicken recipes. My pesto turned out to be a bit thick, but the flavor was excellent.
Chicken Breasts With Pistachio-Cilantro Pesto
1 cup unsalted raw pistachios
2 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup + 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 large chicken breast halves with skin and ribs attached
Preheat oven to 400. Toast pistachios on baking sheet until golden, about 7 minutes. Transfer to processor. Maintain oven temperature. Add cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and next 3 ingredients to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with pepper.
Using fingers, gently loosen skin from 1 side of each breast forming a pocket. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto evenly under skin of each breast. Sprinkle chicken generously with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down. Cook until skin is dark golden, about 5 minutes. Gently turn chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup remaining pesto into small bowl. Whisk in remaining 1/4 olive oil and remaining 1 tsp. lemon juice. Drizzle pesto over chicken and serve.
The Reason My Pesto Was Thick:
I did not read the instructions properly and used all the remaining pesto I had as opposed to a 1/2 a cup of the remaining pesto. I just realized as I typed this recipe out, what my mistake was.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ristorante Pizzeria Cellini Fllorence, Italy


When I started this blog, one of my intentions was to post about past dining experiences I have had. When I travel, I try to take notes on what we see, where we go and what we eat. One of my most favorite places to visit, is Florence Italy. I find it to be so beautiful and there is so much to see and do there. Both times we have been there, we have eaten at Ristorante Pizzeria Cellini. The food and the service are both wonderful. Like most restaurants in Italy you sit outside and here, you sit on a deck that looks out onto the Piazza Del Mercato Centrale. During the day it is filled with all types of vendors with everything from leather to t-shirts and packed with people. And just across from the ristorante is the huge indoor food market that houses the most amazing foods you can imagine. The upper floor is filled with beautiful and amazing produce and the lower level houses the butchers and cheeses, quite a wonderful sight to behold.


Cellini offers a large and varied menu. When we took my son there in the Spring of 2003, we ordered lots of food. We had wonderful green beans with lemon and garlic,prosciutto and melon, creamy tomato soup, calzones and pizza, caprese and pasta. And of coarse we drank lots of red house wine that goes down like Kool-Aid. I think the food in Italy tastes so much better than the food here. They serve everything fresh and in season and the tomatoes are truly incredible.


If you go to Florence make sure and check this place out. They are very friendly and the menus are in both Italian and English. They are located in Piazza Del Mercato Centrale 17R. Phone number 055/291541 http://www.ristorantecellini.com/ .

Lemon Basil Risotto




This is a recipe that I adapted from Cooking Light some time ago. My copy had "Good" written at the top and was even underlined twice. I decided to make it for dinner last night, because it seemed summery and I needed the comfort food factor. It has a fresh tomato topping on it that is similar to my Fresh No-Cook Tomato Pasta Sauce and I remember the lemon being a nice addition. Well, when I made it last night it did not do it for me. The lemon was way too strong and drowned out all the other flavors. Needless to say, this dish did not do it for me this time and I doubt I would try it again.
Lemon-Basil Risotto
Topping:
1 cup tomato, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Dash of sugar
Dash of salt
Dash of black pepper
Risotto:
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (32 oz) box less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
For the topping, combine first 8 ingredients. Cover and let stand at room temperature. To prepare risotto, bring chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice;cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in wine and cook until liquid is absorbed. Stir in salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Start adding chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed and continue until all the broth has been used, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in cheese, juice, zest and basil. Serve in bowls with tomato topping spooned over.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer


The heat wave was supposed to break tonight, now we have at least one more day ahead of us with temps over 100!! Gabby says that the best way to beat the heat is to go swimming!

Strawberry-Lemon Gelato



I am always on the hunt for a good gelato recipe, but none that I have ever tried come close to the wonderful flavor and texture of Italian gelato. This recipe was adapted from Biba's Italian Kitchen. The recipe is simple and the flavor is good, it's just not the real thing. This makes only a very small amount, 2-4 servings, so keep that in mind if you make this one. This would have been even better if I had added some grated lemon zest, but I did not think of it at the time.
Strawberry-Lemon Gelato
1 lb. fresh strawberries,washed, hulled and cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup cold whipping cream, beaten to a medium thick consistency
Put strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in food processor and process until smooth. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer. Run for 8 to 10 minutes. Add whipped cream and run for 5 minutes longer or until the mixture has a smooth fluffy texture.
Serve immediately or freeze until ready to serve. If made ahead of time, place in the refrigerator15 to 20 minutes before serving to soften up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dos Hombres-River Market


We met our friend Dan at Dos Hombres Sunday night for dinner. Dan and Larry used to eat there quite a lot when they lived in the neighborhood and we thought we would give them another try. Dan and I had tried to eat there once before, but walked out,because we had an idiot for a server. This time was much better, the gal that waited on us was very attentive and knew what she was doing.

We started out with the Espinaca($7.35), a good jalapeno cheese dip with spinach and spices. I ordered the Roasted Pork Chimi($8.79), a flour tortilla filled with roasted pork and topped with a verde sauce and sour cream. The pork was delicious, but the sauce was too salty. My Dan ordered the Durango($9.49), three enchiladas(he had 2 chicken and 1 pork) covered in enchilada sauce. Dan loved them and I thought they were very good myself. Dan ordered the Carnitas($9.95), a plate of slow roasted pork, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole served with flour tortillas, which he enjoyed. All of our dinners came with rice and a choice of refried or black beans. We all chose the black beans and they were good as was the rice.

I would definitely eat there again and try some other items. They are located in the River Market at 528 Walnut KCMO 64105 816-474-4696 http://www.doskc.com/ .

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Cafe at Briarcliff Village Revisited

On Sunday, we decided to try out The Cafe at Briarcliff Village one more time. Our past experiences there were disappointing and Dan did not want to go this time. We had heard that they revamped their menu and had a new chef, so in all fairness we needed to try them again. And I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised. When we arrived there was a wait, which is always a good sign. I looked at a menu and found that there was nothing over $7.49 on the brunch menu, another good sign. We were told that the wait would be 15 to 20 minutes and we were seated after maybe waiting 10 minutes.
As soon as we sat down, someone asked us for our drink order. Then our waitress arrived and took our order. I had the Benny's($7.49) an order of traditional eggs Benedict with a nice bowl of seasonal fruit. I could have had potatoes, but I am trying to save my starch quotas for pasta. The eggs Benedict was wonderful, with just the right amount of Hollandaise sauce. Dan ordered the Westsider Omelet($7.49), a three egg omelet with bacon, sour cream, avocados, cheese and maybe some other things. His came with a side of potatoes and an English muffin. His meal was also very good, the omelet was very satisfying and rich and the potatoes were hot and crispy. Eating brunch in a nice restaurant for under $20 is a good thing!
Overall ,our experience was very good and we look forward to going back and trying the dinner menu. We had such high hopes for this place, because our choices for casual dining are limited to below par chains, and now we can look forward to a place that is good and close.

Dinner with Friends

On Saturday, we joined our friends, Paul and Chris, at the movies. We saw "ShowBusiness", which is a really good documentary that goes behind the scenes of 4 Broadway musicals from their beginnings and follows them to the the 2004 Tony's. The movie was very entertaining, funny and gave some nice glimpses of all the work that goes into mounting a show. If you like Broadway shows, you will love this movie. I would have like to have seen more musical numbers, but I'm sure there were some proprietary issues to deal with.



After the movie we headed to our house for dinner. I had everything prepped ahead of time and was able to get dinner together within 30 minutes. I really should do that more often, it made things much less stressful and I was able to enjoy our company, instead of spazzing in the kitchen. We served Caprese , Glazed Carrots w/ Cointreau , Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing and a boxed risotto that I added a cup of thawed frozen peas,1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and some chopped flatleaf parsley. The dinner was good and the conversation was great! For dessert we had a Fruit Tart from the Pastry Goddess at Briarcliff Village. It was a cream filled tart covered in strawberries, raspberries , blackberries and blueberries. Like everything we have bought there, it was good. Overall, it was a very nice afternoon and evening.

Lime Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs

On Friday, I was in the mood for kabobs, so I went to http://www.foodtv.com/ to search for a recipe. The first one I came across was this recipe from Paula Deen. We found them to be a little on the blah side, not much flavor Paula! I was a little surprised because I have had luck with her recipes in the past, but this one just did not do it for me.

Lime Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs

2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) can pineapple rings, drained, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Special Equipment: skewers

In a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, and crushed red pepper.
In a shallow dish or re-sealable plastic bag, combine bell pepper, onion, pineapple, chicken, and shrimp. Pour lime mixture over chicken mixture; cover dish or seal bag, and place in the refrigerator to for 4 to 6 hours to marinate.
Heat grill to 350 to 400 degrees F.
Using tongs, remove chicken, vegetable pieces, pineapple and shrimp from marinade, discarding the marinade. Onto the skewers, thread 1 piece of chicken; 1 piece of pepper, 1 piece of onion, and 1 piece of pineapple, alternating to fill the skewer. Do the same thing with the shrimp alternating shrimp, pepper, onion, and pineapple to fill the skewer.
Place chicken kabobs on the grill, cover with grill lid, and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout, with no pink center, turning occasionally.
Place shrimp kabobs on the grill, cover with grill lid over and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, and are cooked throughout, turning once.
Remove skewers from grill and serve immediately.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Mango Room Revisited

Last night, my 12 year old nephew Auggy came over to spend the evening with us. I asked what he wanted to eat and he said he was open. I suggested Chinese, Dan suggested Thai and Auggy thought if we were heading downtown, why not go to The Mango Room. He had eaten there with us before and liked it, so that is where we headed.

Auggy and I ordered the Beer Cheese Soup($5) to start with. It was a nice big bowl of thick and creamy soup and was delicious. This was just a special though and is not always on the menu. Dan had the Wedge Salad($6) which, as always was excellent. For dinner Auggy and I ordered the CWB Ribs($12) and they were also very good. I have not ordered them before, but would get them again. Auggy loved the fact that they were already cut and he loved the sauce. For his sides, he ordered the Cajun Corn on the Cob and Fried Green Bean Bundles and liked both. I had French Fries and Cheddar Pepper Grits. The fries were cold, but the grits were good and peppery. Dan had the Fried Chicken($12), which we both love and it was good last night. He had the Fried Green Bean Bundles and the grits. We all decided that we could eat a big ol' plate of those green beans.

The food and the service were great, as usual. We will continue to eat there as long as they serve up the food. The Mango Room is located at 1111 Main KCMO 64105 816-268-6243 http://www.kcmangoroom.com/. You can read my previous post at The Mango Room .

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fresh No-Cook Tomato Pasta Sauce



I love this time of year because of all the fresh tomatoes! One of our favorite dishes in the summer is one of the easiest to make. This pasta sauce is so easy to make and the flavors are so incredibly good. I typically serve it over spaghetti, it just seems to work better that way, but you can use whatever pasta you like. I make the sauce before starting the pasta so that it can sit and meld the flavors. After the pasta cooks,I place into a bowl or plate then top with the sauce so that it does not start cooking. You can change it up by adding fresh mozzarella, different colored tomatoes, red onions and so on.
Fresh No-Cook Tomato Pasta Sauce
1 1/2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
pinch crushed red pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over cooked pasta.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

12 Baltimore Cafe

I could give a list of excuses as to why I haven't being cooking the last few nights, but I'll spare you this time. Last night we decided to go downtown and eat at The Peanut. We love to get their wings and I am partial to their Reuben. As we were heading towards it, Dan brought up 12 Baltimore at Hotel Phillips. He had eaten there during some work related team building hoo-haw and his friend Dan eats there because he lives a block from there. I had heard on NPR that they had a new menu, so I was game.
As we walked up to the restaurant we had to navigate all the bird poop on the sidewalk, they should probably try to do a daily wash in my opinion. The place was really hopping when we arrived and we were told to sit where ever we liked. We headed into the non-smoking section and were greeted by a nice young man, who handed us menus and took our beer orders. They have Stella Artois on tap, so things couldn't be too bad. As he took our orders, he informed us that the kitchen was way behind, so our food could be late in arriving. At least he warned us! Our food arrived over 30 minutes after we ordered it!
The menu is typical bar food , but elevated on the menu somewhat. Instead of fries, they serve pommes frites and their appetizers are called small plates. They serve truffled tater tots of all things. The table next to us ordered them and they had a wonderful aroma. For all that , the presentation was somewhat lacking and the food was just okay. I ordered the Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich($13) which was actually very good. It had a horseradish sauce and was smothered in cole slaw, whichI love. The bread was a bit too big, I had trouble getting it into my mouth, but otherwise it was good. The fries were cold and over salted, which was a disappointment. Dan ordered the Smoked Turkey Club($10) and was very underwhelmed by it.
Our friend Dan showed up and had a beer with us. He said the reason they were so busy was because of a convention in town and usually things run much smoother. I would be willing to try them again, I just hope that they would be better prepared for the business, if you have a full hotel, you should have a full staff.
They are located downtown at 12th and Baltimore in the Hotel Phillips 106 W. 12th Street KCMO 64105.

Dan and Larry in San Miguel

This is a copy of an earlier post that I deleted because some one felt it was necessary to post a comment that was not appropriate.Our friends, Dan and Larry, are in San Miguel, Mexico and from the e-mail we received are having a great time. I wanted to post an excerpt of one of their dining experiences, because they could not post a comment:
Tried to get on Mike's blog but couldn't. Wanted to share with him an eating experiencing. He would have wet his pants.Went to a dinner at the Sierra Nevada Hotel which is owned by the Orient Express. They brought in three chefs from the orient express and the food was unusual and magnificent. We started with Seared dive scallop cocktail,in tamarind sangrita sauce. Very spicy. Then Yellow corn cappuccino,Parmesan foam and powder chili piruin ( my favorite). Served very hot in a cup. I've never had anything like it. The Cured pacific sea bass ceviche with passion fruit-Jocque Coulis. I have never like ceviche, but this was very good. Main course was Ancho Chili-chiapas coffee crusted roasted Venison Loin, roasted plantain puree and garden vegetables. venison was rare and tender. The chef came to our table and explained the difficulty in cooking venison. Desert was a white chocolate bread pudding, warm chocolate sauce and dark chocolate shavings. Quite a culinary experience. I thought about Mike during the dinner. He would have enjoyed it so much more than I. There was a wonderful trio of Mexican men who played instruments and sang and a lady diner at a nearby table also sang several songs. She was a great singer.Quite and elegant evening eating on an outside patio in a beautiful garden.Funny part of evening, a couple came in and sat in the bar beside the dining room and made out furiously. The lady was all over the guy.So the next day when invited to Howard and Bill's for drinks and comedia,who should also be there, but this woman and man from the bar. She was a photographer from Los Angles and worked for Hustler magazine. What a hoot.Well so much for Mexico. Hope your bathroom remodeling is going

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mavi Casual Italian

On Saturday, Dan and I were in the Liberty area and thought we would stop in at Mavi for lunch. My sister has eaten there a few times and always said good things about it, so we thought we would try them out. Their specialty is spedini and they also offer up pastas and sandwiches. Dan ordered the Meatball Sandwich($5.99) which included a choice of soup, pasta salad or tossed house salad. He got his with the house salad. The sandwich was on a crusty roll, with mozzarella cheese and a really good sugo. I ordered Frank's Diablo Chicken Spedini($7.99) which was chicken spedini served with a spicy marinara, a good portion of penne pasta and garlic bread. I loved this dish, the sauce was spicy and sweet and the chicken was cooked to perfection. Originally I was going to order the Vesuvio Style dish, but the girl at the counter thought it was too spicy. She thought the Diablo was spicy too, but it was not that bad. I ordered a the house salad ($.99) with my food. The salad comes tossed in the dressing and it was not overly dressed. Dan ordered his dressing on the side for fear of the over dressed salad, but mine was just right.

Overall, we enjoyed our experience and liked the food. You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. The restaurant was clean and seemed to run smoothly. I have always said that no one cooks Italian like my mom, so I am very picky about my italian food and I would definitely eat there again. They are located at 8678 NE Flintlock Road Kansas City, MO 64157 (816)781-1111. They also have locations in Independence and Belton.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lemon-Soy Sauce Cedar Plank Salmon


Sunday night we had our favorite stand by, Cedar Plank Salmon. Dan could eat salmon every night if given the choice and while I like it, I can only handle so much fish. Last night I marinated the salmon for about 20 minutes in a mixture of the juice from 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and the zest from the lemon. Using cedar planks for salmon impart such a nice clean taste to the fish and it couldn't be easier. After heating the plank on the grill, I placed the salmon on top, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I put the lid on the grill, leaving the top holes open and cooked the fish for 16 minutes and it was perfect!

Blue Bird Bistro

On Thursday evening, Dan and I went to Blue Bird Bistro for dinner. We usually enjoy eating there, but sometimes the service can be hit or miss. The restaurant features organic, all natural, sustainable and local food and produce. They have lots of vegan and vegetarian items to chose from and serve a great bison burger.
Thursday night was one of the not so great experiences. The service was slow and Dan had some bad food experiences. We started out with the Hummus ($5.00) which is always good. Then Dan had the small Blue Bird salad, which he typically enjoys, but this night the lettuce was way too chewy and pretty much inedible. I had the Vegan Mushroom Soup($3.75) and it was incredible, lots of mushrooms and carrots in a thick creamy flavorful base. For dinner Dan had the Salmon($26), which came with rice and spring rolls. The spring rolls were just awful and the sauce that went with them was equally bad. The salmon, however was very good and cooked to perfection. I had the Stuffed Tomato($13) and it was very good. A nice big yellow heirloom tomato stuffed with their quinoa in a nice citrus dressing. We both had a couple of glasses of Yalumba Viognier ($6) that were just the ticket with our meal, nice light with a floral fruity taste.
I really do like this restaurant and would eat there more often, if the service was more consistant. We waited quite awhile for our food and on a weeknight you don't always have almost 2 hours to waste in a restaurant. They are located at 1700 Summit, Kansas City MO 816-221-7559.

Friday, August 3, 2007

My Very First Blind Date

Yesterday afternoon, I went on my very first blind date! Well, it wasn't really a blind date, but I like to tell people that. Through my blog, I have met a friend of friend's friend. My very good friend Alicia, who now lives in Phoenix, has a friend who has a friend here in KC, and they met one another in Phoenix and now Dan and I have met her. Confusing a little? Oh well, it all comes down to the fact that we do live in a small world sometimes, which is a good thing. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I can be a little on the shy side and somewhat withdrawn in social situations. It takes me awhile to warm up to people and feel comfortable around them.
We decided to meet Lisa at Michael Smith for drinks, the newest restaurant to open in the Crossroads and a place that I am looking forward to dining at. I stood out in the foyer waiting for Dan and Lisa to show up and I knew her the minute she walked up. She had a great smile and and was very attractive. We sat in the bar and ordered wine and chatted while waiting for Dan. I was instantly at ease with Lisa and felt like I already knew her. She is very interesting and I look forward to getting to know her better and meeting her husband.
As for the restaurant, the place is very nice, with a great menu featuring contemporary American cuisine. The restaurant is located in the previous Zin space, but has been totally redone. He has sheers covering the expansive windows, so the light still comes in and you can see out, but it has a more intimate feel to it. The bar is small and also has that intimate feeling, because it is slightly separated from the dining space. The wine list was small , but varied and well priced. The pours were a little on the short side, but I would rather pay $6 for a glass of wine than the typical $8 to $10 you paying most places. Lisa had an unoaked Chardonnay and Dan and I had Pinot Grigio.
The restaurant is located at 1900 Main St. KCMO 64108.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tequila-Lime Cilantro Marinade



This is a recipe from Emeril that I adapted after seeing it on www.foodtv.com. The flavors sounded interesting, what with the tequila, jalapenos, cilantro and so on. I used it for legs and boneless-skinless chicken breasts. The marinade worked much better with the breasts than the legs in my opinion. I actually had 3 breasts when I started the recipe, but as I removed them from the bag after 4 hours, one of the breasts had disappeared. I keep thinking that I am going to open a drawer or cabinet later and find the missing one, lets just hope that it happens sooner than later.
Tequila-Lime Cilantro Marinade
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves,peeled
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tequila
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander seed
Place the ingredients into a food processor and process until combined. Place chicken in plastic bag and add marinade. Let it marinate for 2 to 4 hours. Grill and serve.

Glazed Carrots w/ Cointreau




I adapted this recipe from Joy of Cooking and it turned out very nice. Their recipe suggested using brandy, but I thought the orange flavor of the Cointreau would work a little better and it did impart a nice subtle flavor to the carrots.


Glazed Carrots w/ Cointreau


1 lb. carrots, cut into thick slices
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. Cointreau, or other orange flavored liqueur
1 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
fresh ground pepper


Place all ingredients into a pan that is large enough so that carrots form single layer on bottom of pan. Heat until simmering and cover with a lid. Simmer until a syrupy glaze forms on bottom of pan and carrots are cooked, about 20 minutes. Uncover and roll carrots to coat. Top with parsley and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Leftover Sandwich



Monday night I took the leftover beef, topped it with shredded Colby/Jack cheese and placed under the broiler until the cheese was melted and light golden in color. The broiler and I don't always get along so well, I have burned many a meal this way, but I got it right this night. I then topped the sandwich with some of the leftover salsa and enjoyed a very good sandwich.