Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet Life in the Valley ...

Please check out or Both are great websites, and the owner of both these sites is offering a trip to Disneyland.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm Back ...

OK, it has been a REALLY long time since I've last posted (way too long) !!

Since I've last posted, I have learned some really great recipes, been to some fun places, and now it's time let you in on some fun secrets.

First off, I've always looked on and off for bottled Marinara sauce, and have been dissapointed. As a results, I have been resigned to the fact that I probably would have to continue making Marinara sauce (which I enjoy, but it really takes a long time). I recently tried Barilla's Tomato & Basil Marinara Sauce, and I have to admit .. it is really good. It has a nice balance and does not have that acidic after-taste. I have used it in making various Parmesan recipes (including Vegetable and Eggplant Parmesans). They turned out GREAT !! SO .. go check it out.

Second, I have to tell you that I LOVE Blue Plate Diner. My wife and I really enjoy this place. More to come in a later post.

Third, I will have to introduce you to Dutch Pancakes. We took a trip to Europe earlier this year and became acquainted with this dish. Recipe to come !!

Finally, I have had a couple people ask for a recipe for Butternut Squash soup. Look soon for a post.

SO, stay tuned ...

Friday, March 27, 2009

A couple of good places to try out ...

I like finding individual, unique places. Recently we have come across a couple of eateries that I highly recommend you try out:

In Bountiful, you can try out Plates & Palates. It is located on the southeast corner of 400 North and 500 West. It has very good salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts. Jared, Nina and Justin Christensen are the owners and I found it to really be a nice little find. It is open Monday-Thursday 10 AM to 6 PM. Friday and Saturday it is open from 10 AM to8 PM.

In Salt Lake, try out Gourmandise, the Bakery. It is located at 250 South 300 East. They have great desserts, breads, salads and sandwiches. This was really enjoyable.

Again, both places are VERY GOOD !!!

Do you like Crepes ??

OK .. it has been way too long since I've last made a post. SO, we've enjoyed the past couple of days homemade crepes. They are easy and wonderfully delicious. Better yet, they're cheap and a little goes a long ways !!

Here's the recipe for basic crepes:

In a blender or food processor, put the following:

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
2 cups Milk
4 Eggs
1/8 tsp (Pinch) Salt

Blend until all ingredients are incorporated

Add 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter

Blend until the batter is smooth.

Put the batter in the refrigerator and let it rest approximately 20 minutes.

Heat an 8" shallow flat pan on medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray between each crepe. Pour the batter in the middle (approximately 1/4 cup) and swirl until the batter just coats the entire bottom surface of the pan. Let it cook approximately 1 minute. Use a spatula to flip the crepe to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Each side should be lightly brown. Put on a plate.


Put a stripe of Whipping Cream down the middle of the crepe. Put on top of the whip cream stripe some strawberries. You can get frozen strawberries sliced and in sweet syrup or you can cut up some fresh ones and add sugar. Roll the crepe. Top with powdered sugar, more whip cream or drizzled chocolate sauce. Enjoy !!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gorgonzola Chicken

Renzo Sciortino
Renzo's Restaurant, Boca Raton, Florida
Serves 2

4 pieces of chicken breast pounded thin
flour to dust
2 T butter
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
pinch parsley
6 ounces heavy cream
6ounces Gorgonzola chunks

Dust chicken in flour.
Melt butter in sauté pan on high heat.
Sauté breasts about 2 minutes until they start to turn golden on both sides.
Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, parsley.
Add cream and Gorgonzola, and allow to melt and serve.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Best Waffles

For those of you who came over this Saturday morning for breakfast ...
(and for those who didn't)

In one bowl mix together
* 1 Cup Flour
* 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt

In another bowl pour in 1 cup milk then add 1 egg and then mix with a whisk until you see nice froth

Add the milk/egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix by hand until the flour is just incorporated. Don't over mix.

Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and mix into waffle mixture. Let the waffle mix rest for 5-10 minutes before cooking.

For Saturday, I did 6 times this recipe for the group. Make sure you use a cooking spray each time cook waffles.


Friday, February 13, 2009

California Strawberry Salad

Please believe me when I tell you this is good !! Andrea and I have made this for many occasions and it always gets good reviews.

Take some fresh strawberries and cut them up.
Add to this the following ingredients:
* Blue Cheese
* Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
* Pecan Halves
* 1 Tablespoon Sugar (or to taste) >> The sugar will help the strawberries to get juicier
* Drizzle in some Girards Raspberry Dressing

Mix this up. Andrea and I call this the compote !! Let this set for a 10 to 15 minutes.

Make a bed of fresh greens. Spoon the compote over the greens and then sprinkle with shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese. Drizzle with just a little more dressing.

For an added twist, take some chicken (either grilled or roasted) and put on top of the greens before you put the compote.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do you want the best recipe for homemade Caramel Sauce??

This recipe is courtesy of Paula Deen !!!

Here's the quick (and best) recipe for homemade Caramel Sauce:

Melt 1 stick of butter
Add 1/4 cup Evaporated Milk
Add 1 cup Light Brown Sugar

On Medium High Heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly and let bubble 2 to 3 minutes

Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Serve over Ice Cream, Brownies or any other sweet item you can imagine with caramel.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day Appetizer -- Baked Caprese Salad

This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 to 12 appetizer servings
1 loaf baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 30 to 36 slices)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, stemmed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the sliced baguette bread on a baking sheet. Brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella and sprinkle with salt. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheese and tomato are warmed, about 5 minutes.
Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Top each toast with a basil leaf. Using the brush, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Are you ready for Valentine's Day ??

Valentine's Day is a wonderful time to enjoy some great food. I enjoy making various types of food, so for this upcoming Valentine's Day I will be posting various recipes that are special for the occasion yet easy and delicious.

SO ... start looking tomorrow to see some fun recipes and Valentine's Day ideas !!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can there be good service in Centerville ???

IGGY's in Centerville, UT

OK now, in my last food critique (The Counter), I mentioned two simple but important aspects to make for a great eating out food experience:

1) Good Food
2) Good Service

(By the way, I need to pause here and mention that The Counter has a great waiter in Tim).

Now, back to Iggy's ...

We found good food, but we found EXCEPTIONAL service in a waiter .. Slava. He comes from the Czech Republic and is here studying (currently getting his MBA).

He was attentive in every way possible. He offered suggestions, he brought out condiment suggestions to try with our food. He was intuitive enough to know what we needed. He even gave us Lemonade (no charge) to take home with us.

But even beyond this, he was absolutely polite, well spoken and a wonderful example of what food service ought to be !!!

On our way out, we spoke with the Manager. He asked how we liked our experience, and we of course gave our THUMBS UP !! He told us that Slava has received "rave" reviews and also "definitely has ESP". We fully concur.

Now, my wife had a wonderful Chicken Sausilito which was in a wonderful Carbonara sauce. It was accompanied by rice and vegetables. I had their meatloaf, which was wonderfully flavored with a combination of ground beef, ground Italian sausage and ground chicken. All this with an appetizer, dessert and drinks for a good value price !!

SO .. try it out. And if you're lucky (and privileged) enough , you too can enjoy the wonderful service of Slava.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Something that I've enjoyed making for a Sunday dinner is Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches. This is something that's simple, and everyone will enjoy !!

3 to 4 Pound Beef Roast (Chuck, Bottom Round, or the cut of beef you want)
Beef Stock
Chicken Stock

Remove the roast from the refrigerator. Let it sit out so that the meat relaxes at room temperature.

In the meantime, I use a cast iron enamel pan/pot that I can cook both on the stove and in the oven. You can get these rather inexpensive at Target or Kohls (by the way .. they're great to have).

Salt and Pepper both sides of the roast. Lightly massage the salt and pepper into the roast. Let sit for 10 minutes or so.

Take the cast iron enamel pan and place on the stove and heat at Medium High Heat. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pan and let the oil heat up until it slightly starts to smoke. Add the roast to the pan and sear on each side about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Once the roast has seared, remove the roast from the pan and add a little beef broth and scrape up the roast bits from the bottom of the pan (there's lots of flavor with those beef bits).

In the meanwhile, turn on your oven to 325 Degrees.

Put back the roast into the pan and add more beef broth and some chicken broth until it almost covers the roast. Put on the lid of the pan and transfer to the oven. This is called braising, which is a wonderful technique to cook meat.

Take this pan and put into the oven and let cook approximately 2-1/2 hours. LOW and SLOW is the key. If you cook meat LOW and SLOW, the fibrous tissues within the meat will come apart and you will have delicious and tender meat.

After 2-1/2 hours, open the lid to check the meat. Make sure that it's tender. If it still tastes a little chewy, put back into the oven. Drop the temperature to 290 Degrees and cook for another 30 minutes. Again .. LOW and SLOW. You want the fibrous tissues to disappear and you want tender meat. LOW and SLOW.

Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the roast from the pan and let it sit out for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. You want the meat to rest so that all the juices infuse back into the entire roast. If you were to cut into the meat immediately after removing from the pan, all the juices are at the edge of the meat and the center will be dry.

In the meantime, you can take your juices that are still in the pan and that becomes your Au Jus if you want to dip your sandwiches.

Cut the meat into thin slices. Serve on good buns with cheese and condiments of your choice !!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Counter

Enter into the SLC restaurant scene a welcome, refreshing restaurant at the south end of Gateway. This is not just your normal, everday burgers. Here you can create and customize your creations every step of the way.

Choose your meat (Beef, Chicken, Turkey or Veggie)
Choose your size
Choose how you want it (On a bun or in a bowl on top of iceberg or baby greens)

Choose your toppings, condiments, your sauce (there's also a sauce of the month), type of cheese and bun (if you're doing the traditional burger) and you're on your way.

We've been here many times and are impressed by the TWO things which are the basics to any good (or GREAT) restaurant:

1. Good Food, and
2. Good Service

This place has both. We've tried many variations and have liked them all.

So, check it out. Below is the web link to check them out ...

The Gateway, 188 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City - (801) 297-1000