>> Sunday, March 15, 2009
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Grace shares her culinary adventures both in and out of the kitchen !
Hi guys! For more cool food blogs, go to:
It's my latest website. Hope to see you there! :)
We took a little detour from our not-really a chicken ceasar - salad. I tend to garnish the basics with extra veggies and things that I have in the 'fridge. Waste not; want not. Right? It's all good for ya stuff anyway. We needed to get rid of some chicken breasts and burritos weren't on the agenda after the last bomb. So back to another staple: chicken salad. Only this time I jazzed it up with lime vinaigrette. Read on my friends. I love our chicken salad nights. They are so easy to prepare with little or no work. It's just a pain in the butt to have to buy a lot of fresh ingredients and produce because then you feel pressured to use all of the ingredients before they go bad. Then you'll have wasted money and food. So whenever I buy fresh produce, I feel like I'm under the gun. Basically this happens every time I shop. So salads like these act as a perfect receptacle for perishable foods. With a good vinaigrette, it's hard to go wrong.
To prepare. I baked the trimmed, boneless chicken breasts on a sheet pan with olive oil, cilantro (dried), s & p. For the salad, I used a bag of spring mix. Then I added the goodies. The grape tomato halves, sweet onions slices, cannellini beans (rinsed & drained) and a sprinkling of leftover asiago cheese. I added the beans because we're down to very little in the food closet and I wanted to stretch out the salad a little. I also happen to like cannellini beans. For the lime vinaigrette, I used freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, honey, sugar in the raw, cilantro (dried), s&p. I had a little trouble incorporating the honey because it was a little dried out. Then, upon tasting it, I realized that I needed to sweeten it up a bit more to cut the tartness of the limes. And I used a generous amount of dried cilantro in it.
The verdict. Steve & I really enjoyed the chicken salad. He said it was delicious and that the chicken was tender and juicy. And we both loved the lime vinaigrette. Because I added the extra sugar in the raw, the dressing was a nice balance between sweet and tart though it wasn't really what I'd consider to be really sweet dressing like french or honey mustard. A great meal all made possible because fresh limes happened to be on sale. 3 for $1. How could I have passed that up? Sometimes my best inspirations come from just looking at our grocery store circular. And then it makes me extra happy that it's on sale. Alrighty folks. As always, Eat Something Good!
So in my last post, I mentioned we went on a drive up north and found the Round Tuit restaurant. What I didn't mention is that we also stopped off at Texas Taco on the way home for, yes, a taco. Steve has a thing about the place. Every time he drives by there, he has to stop in and get one even if he's just eaten. And we had both just eaten. He usually gets a fiesta pup which is a sabrett hotdog with chili, cheese and onions on a steamed bun. The tacos (as well as the burritos) are either beef or bean, shredded cheese, lettuce, onions and a bit of hot sauce. (There isn't much more than guacamole and stuff on the menu.) And at $2 each, even if they were terrible, it isn't a huge loss. The first time I had a taco there, and speaking just about the food, well...I was disappointed. To me, it tasted as though she opened up an Ortega taco kit. I later read that it was her grandmother's recipe. A texan thing. When I tasted it this time around, I have to say that the flavors were a little more diffused than what I remembered. And it wasn't an Ortega mix (I think).
I could understand the attraction to the place. From the outside to the inside, it's hard to miss this place. I've posted a link to an article with pics. The pics don't even show how vivid some of the colors are and the crazy things on her lawn. And on the inside, there was a general strange, dark feel to the place. (And do take a trip to the bathroom. Yes, do.) She has a strange collection of weird goods with mismatched tables and chairs to go along with it. The last time we went, I was sitting at the table (right next to the real life hot dog cart she stands behind) that had purple frillies hanging over the sides and onto my lap. Speaking of purple, there is a good deal of it on Rosemary Jamison, the owner. Her eye area is penciled in an exaggerated fashion. And she used to have purple hair, but this past weekend, it was just dark. And yes, with the crazy, purple eye make up. If you read up on her, she has had quite an interesting life and met many famous people. She plays a mix of alternative, funk and punk. WXCI 91.7 (Western Connecticut State University "Wescon") was on the radio playing "Now I want to be your dog" by the Stooges. So if you got a few bucks in your pocket, stop by Texas Taco just to see Rosemary and her place. Just a note: She no longer allows you to photograph the inside of her restaurant. So grab an eye full & a cheap snack and Eat Something Good!
Roadfood.com is a great site. I suggest you peruse it at your leisure. You may just salivate.
2588 Route 22
Yesterday, we were bored and didn't have anything pressing so we decided to go for a drive. We contemplated taking the motorcycle, but I wasn't up for it. Anyhow, we decided to take a drive up Route 22. We had to get through street closures and detours just to get out of our town because they were having a St. Patrick's Day parade. Steve was unhappy with that. Nonetheless, we got through it. We drove far up north and entered another county. There were lotsa farms; lotsa cows. We'd noticed the restaurant on the way up. It looked like a single-level, dark green house-like structure. There was a sign out front saying they served breakfast all day long. It was an unattractive sign. The kind where you can change the letters around and not custom-made. It was sort of cheesy. I was unimpressed by its appearance and decided it was a dive. I believed it even more when this very leathery, older gentleman wearing plaid came out just as we were about to go in. And on the inside - Surprise, surprise but it wasn't a dive at all. It was lighter green on the inside and cute. They had hand-written specials up on the wall and signs about yogurt, eggs and milk being from local cows. It was like a little country kitchen on a medium budget.
After reading a review about this place after the fact, I realized that I should've ordered breakfast. One reviewer had the blueberry pancakes and said it was overflowing with blueberries. Steve commented that the place looked like it'd be swarming with farmers and workers coming in for a hearty breakfast early in the morning. We just had cheeseburgers (made with white american) and what they called camp fries. It's fries with cheese and gravy. Again, the cheese they used is white american and the fries were made there. The fries were brown and very soft. It was pretty to look at and surprising that it came from this little place. They were sorta fancy looking. To drink, I had a large diet coke and it was a large diet coke. Steve had a cup of coffee. For dessert, we grabbed a chocolate milkshake and oatmeal raisin cookies on the way out.
Steve loved the burgers. I thought they were just your average little 1/4 lb burgers but Steve said I had too high of an expectation. But I'd eat one again because it was well-cooked, not dry and hot off the griddle. Steve wanted to order more and said he's going to order 2 or 3 next time. The camp fries were okay. They were on the limp side with not one bit of crisp and I wasn't liking that. Again, they used white american cheese. I'd only had cheese fries with either mozzarella cheese or that fake, yellow cheese sauce. I'm good with either. The white american didn't taste bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. (I know yellow american cheese tastes the same or does it? If it does, psychologically, it would've tasted better to me if it were yellow.) The gravy was decent and I took that as a good sign. Steve liked it. He also liked the coffee. He said it was way better than diner coffee. I tasted it and I'd have to agree. The milkshake was a little thin. I didn't like that so much but the flavor was good. The oatmeal raisin cookies were very, very good. I believe they were freshly baked. They put a hint of coconut in them and I thought that complimented the soft, chewy cookie a great deal. All in all, the experience was positive. On the way out, a couple in a big truck pulled into the parking lot. They were wearing cowboy hats and lookin' mighty farm'ish. And there was this little black & white cow baby (more like teenager) tied to its home on the property. I wanted to go pet it but I didn't. Anyway, we'll definitely go back there and try breakfast one day. Perhaps on the motorcycle this summer. Take a trip, explore, discover and of course, Eat Something Good!
Round Tuit Restaurant
5523 Route 22
Millerton, NY 12546
This is a prizewinning meatloaf. Strangely enough, when you go to Quaker's website, they don't provide the recipe. (Unless I didn't look thoroughly enough.) Anyway, I'm not certain but I think I have an early childhood recollection of this meatloaf. My friend wasn't sure but she thought her parents used that recipe. I liked it very much. It was unlike any other meatloaf I had. It was really good. I started making meatloaves after I met Steve. It seemed like a nice down home meal that I thought he'd really enjoy. Though we both like trying new fancier foods, we mostly like a good down to earth, hearty meal. We joking call meals like this, Heartland representing middle america. I don't know. I guess it's silly. Anyway, this is the only recipe I've ever used for meatloaf. There's a lot of pre-made ingredients in this meal so don't cringe.
The meatloaf recipe is purty darn easy to follow. There are several wet and dry ingredients to add to ground beef. Tomato juice (we used tomato sauce - not the prepared kind), oats (5 minute cooking kind), an egg, chopped onion, s & p. See? Easy. Then you shape it into a loaf. It called for a loaf pan but we didn't have a good one so we just hand shaped a loaf and put it on a sheet pan. It worked just fine. So ya bake for an hour and that's it. Oh, I put ketchup (yes, ketchup) on top of the loaf before cooking. I do this for two reasons: I like ketchup and I once saw my neighbor, who used to tutor me, do it to hers. And I remembered that I really liked the smell of it. So on it goes. On the side, I served mashed potatoes (russet potatoes mixed with lotsa butter, a hint of milk, and a little cream cheese) and store brand french style canned green beans. Oh, and Steve almost freaked out cause I forgot about the gravy. Well, all we had was a little pouch of McCormick's powdered gravy so I made that.
The verdict. Steve loved it. He said it was delicioso! Tender, moist and yummy it was. A very satisfying meal. And yes, the ketchup crust added something nice to it. The mashed potatoes were a little on the lumpy side. Little lumps that I couldn't seem to mash out. But the flavor and overall consistency was good. A guest tried a little of it and loved it. The canned green beans. Ever since I was a kid, I liked canned green beans. I like em fresh too but there's something about the mushiness and semi-saltiness that I fantasize about often. I don't have it alot but I think about it alot. So there have it, take a little time to make something traditional and you get to Eat Something Good!
Quaker Oats Prizewinning Meatloaf Recipe:
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup tomato juice
3/4 cup oats, uncooked (quick or old-fashioned)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Ketchup for top (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. Combine all ingredients except ketchup. Mix lightly but thoroughly.
3. Press into an 8x4-inch loaf pan (or free form it and throw it onto sheet pan like we did.)
4. Spread some ketchup on top of it.
5. Bake 1 hour or until juices run clear
6. Drain (if in loaf pan) and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I got this recipe from a fellow blogger. All I know is that her name is Mary. She often posts food centered blogs and her recipes always have an interesting name. So, this one appealed to me because they're pork chops and I liked the word 'tangy'. I have an obsession with needing to learn how to cook pork chops properly. So I force pork on Steve. I've had good pork chops in the past. All made by others - chefs & home cooks. I've experienced tender delicious chops so I know it's possible to make a regular pork chop into something fantastic.
The 1" chops I purchased were on sale and that made me happy. They came two in a package. They were also beautiful. Perfect looking center cut chops with the bone in. Nice pink color. Mary's recipe wasn't difficult to follow at all. The only real preparation involved the sauce. The ingredients are as follows: Tomato sauce (the kind in a can - not a prepared sauce), packed brown sugar (ours was hard as a rock and I couldn't incorporate it into the sauce so I used sugar in the raw), cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt (I used celery seed and added salt because I didn't have any celery salt), ground nutmeg (mine was freshly ground) and I'm assuming she meant black pepper. So I browned the chops on both sides and added the sauce and let it simmer for a bit. And that's it!
The result. *deep breath*. Okay, I don't want to criticize this recipe because I didn't follow it correctly. As you know now, I switched around a lot of ingredients. I also played around with the amount of sugar. I didn't (and still don't) know whether brown sugar is sweeter (or less sweet) than the sugar in the raw. So I totally blew that measurement. I used less but it wasn't enough. The sauce was really sweet or maybe it was supposed to be that sweet. I'm uncertain. Another concern was the celery salt. I've never used it before and therefore I don't really know how it tastes. As for Steve. I should start by saying that he doesn't love pork chops. He says they're too tough and chewy. He did, however, admit that my chops were better than they have been in the past. I thought the texture was pretty good. It's not tender like if you were eating a steak and I understand Steve's commentary. But I don't mind. I kinda like the texture. So for me, I pat myself on the back for not overcooking them. The sauce. I didn't love it. There wasn't that much tang but alot of sweet. It was reminiscent of a sweet n' sour sauce but with less sour. And every now and again, I'd hit a celery seed and wondered if it belonged there. It wasn't an undesirable taste but unexpected. On the side, I served Spanish rice. Camilla brand, I think. I messed up the rice. Steve's been on a mixed vegetable kick. You know, the very common carrots, peas & corn combination. Anyway, when we go to our salvadorean restaurant El Dorado (Brewster, NY) - they sometimes serve their rice with those veggies in it. Well, not only did I overcook the rice, I added too much of the vegetables. Steve ate his with butter and didn't complain. He was kind to me last night even though I knew I'd messed up dinner. I didn't put up a pic because the meal was a little cheesy looking. I want to thank Mary for giving me the opportunity to try her recipe. In the future, I'll be sure to stick to the recipe and not attempt to substitute which I believe is the whole reason why my dinner failed. Oh well. So today, it'll be my mission to Eat Something Good!