Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

We went out for Easter Brunch to The Tavern at Lark Creek. We were so disappointed. :( Its so beautiful there, inside and out, but we were seated at a booth by the window...which sounds really nice, doesn't it? It was the absolute most uncomfortable table we've ever sat at before!! The table was too low...or the booth was too high...and the legs/feet of the table were just right in the way. I couldn't cross my legs, and I had to sit with the pole between my legs! Really, really uncomfortable, especially since I was wearing a dress. The food itself was fine. The service was extremely sloooowwww! We noticed that our waiter paid so much attention to the 6 top next to us, but just barely even acknowledged our presence unless we flagged him down, which wasn't an easy feat. Yes, they were busy, but really that wasn't the issue. I didn't get the impression that the kitchen was backed up. Our server didn't seem stressed, just really non-chalant. We were there for 2 solid hours, and for a Prix Fixe menu, it shouldn't have taken forever. What a bummer. I really wanted to love this place.

Moving on to a much more enjoyable experience. Easter dinner, prepared by my husband and myself - at home. I did some roasted asparagus with olive oil, garlic cloves, salt & pepper, roasted carrots with just olive oil, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. My husband made a New York Strip Roast (?!) that he studded with garlic cloves, and gravy (not pictured, for some reason). Everything turned out delicious. I think eating at restaurants on holidays is overrated. When will we learn?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup

I was going to make Baked Potato Soup for dinner last night, using my leftover potatoes from St. Patrick's Day. But then I burned the bacon. And I mean BURNT! A thought occurred to me: Maybe instead, I could make Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup with the rest of the leftovers, carrots, cabbage, & corned beef! It was very similar to Baked Potato Soup, but a very creative way to use my leftovers from St. Paddy's Day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

I've probably made this here before, but its been awhile. This dish is so easy and so delicious!

olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz can tomato sauce
28oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 tsp ea: oregano, basil
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
1 eggplant
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8 oz Mozzarella, shredded

Saute the carrot, pepper, & onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil on med heat, until soft, about 5 or 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. You can leave the sauce chunky, or you can blend into a smoother sauce using an emulsion blender, which is what I did.

While the sauce is simmering, peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2" thick discs. Layer them on paper towels, sprinkle generously with seasalt to draw away excess liquid. Let sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Brush each slice with a little olive oil, then grill on the bbq for about 5 minutes per side, low heat, just enough to get a slight grill mark.

Put about a cup of the sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Now layer half of the eggplant, half of the Parm, and half of the Mozz. Layer the rest of the eggplant, the rest of the sauce, and the rest of the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in a 350 oven. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!

***I don't like my eggplant breaded, so I prefer to cut out a lot of calories & fat by grilling them. It tastes just as delicious as the fattening, breaded kind!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grilled Artichokes

Why have I never made these before?? They take a little more work than just steaming, but oh so worth it! All you do is trim them, cut them in half lengthwise, then blanch for about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the furry insides. In a bowl, mix about 3/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, some fresh cracked pepper & salt. Brush each artichoke with the marinade. Grill on the BBQ (high heat) for about 10 minutes or until you get some nice grill marks. Serve right away or eat chilled. The great thing is that mayonnaise and/or melted butter is not necessary! Enjoy!