Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soups On

Roasted Red Peppers...make a great soup! Happy.

Not a bad photo, but not what I wanted. Tried some light adjustments and either got blurry photos or too dark. Keep trying.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today I Cried at Work!

So, I made chocolate truffles last night. They are GOOD. I brought them to work and they were devoured. I had one during a staff meeting and next thing I know my eyes are watering and I can't stop giggling. Divine!

I'm not going to share the recipe for the truffles here. There are areas that need to be worked out a bit. When I work through the recipe I'll get it on here. BTW, the recipe is from Fine Cooking Magazine. It's one of the first times I've had a problem with one of their recipes. I don't know if I didn't read it right, or it there were clarifications missing? Like I said, I'll work it out and post later.

Here's some idea of what I did...

I chopped the chocolate in the food processor.

Added the boiling cream right to the machine.


A touch of butter and you have your truffle filling.
Talk about wanting to face-plant into some goodness!

The chocolate melty goodness is left to cool in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, before being scooped into little ball shapes that are then coated in cocoa powder. They look like truffles, the fungi, their namesake. I think they look's juvenile...they look like little poos.

I planned to coat my truffles with a ground up English toffee and sea salt.

Before coating, the truffles are dipped in melted chocolate, then into your coating. I left some with the cocoa which hits your tastebuds with a little bitter before the heat in your mouth melts the chocolate into a blissful concoction.

The English Toffee and Sea Salt Truffles have a crisp coating of chocolate (I did a blend of dark, semi-sweet and milk chocolates), followed by the buttery toffee and mellow sea salt.

Tears! Really...I had them in front of my boss and co-workers.

Fried Pork!!!

Oh Yum!

I took some of the leftover roast pork from the other night and made
Cilantro & Lime Carnitas Tacos.

So great.

Take the roast pork and clean it up; get rid of excess fat or any connective bits. Tear the pork into shreds or large chunks. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over high heat. When hot, add a handful of the pork and saute, stirring to coat with the oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the pork to sit for a minute, so it gets a little crispy. Add two diced shallots, cook for two minutes. Add the zest and juice from one lime, toss in one or two tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Stir to incorporate. Serve into taco shells or tortillas. Alternatively, serve with rice and/or beans. I had some roasted red peppers I'll be using tomorrow, so I added a few pieces.

Sizzling pork bits. There is just something so great about a fried piece of roast pork; chewy and savory. Yum. I still have more pork and look forward to using it up in the next few days. I'm very happy with this. We got to have carnitas in Puerto Rico and this rates right up there!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blue Chocolate


OMG! I made chocolate truffles and I'm dying. DYING!

Stay tuned for more fun.

It's not easy, but I think the payoff is worth it.

Easy Pasta Dinner

Pasta with Garlic & Olive Oil

Perfect and FAST!

This recipe is originally from Martha Stewart Living and was called 3 Garlic Pasta, it's been floating around my recipe box for years!

I didn't review the recipe far enough in advance. I should have had roasted garlic, but I didn't. Next time I will think far enough ahead. But this is very good, totally satisfying and didn't feel oily from the olive oil.

Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Olive Oil all swimming together.

Pour in some white wine and simma' down.

Add parsley and toss the pasta in to coat.

Schlup together and dump in a bowl.

Sprinkle with freshly grated Parm.


--Martha Stewart Living

1 head of garlic + 8 cloves
1lb of spaghetti
2T of Olive Oil
¾ cup dry white wine
¼ cup parsley coarsely chopped
½t red-pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Roast head of garlic (Takes an hour or so, plan ahead)
Cook Pasta
Slice 5 cloves thinly
Finely chop 3 cloves
Cook sliced cloves until golden brown and crisp in olive oil, set aside
Add Chopped Garlic, until translucent
Add roasted garlic and wine—simmer for three minutes
Add Pasta, parsley, pepper flakes, salt and pepper
Cheese over top

This is great. If you wanted to do more with this, add some spinach to the olive oil before you add the pasta. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. Yum. What else could you add? If you like the broccoli. Maybe some other sauted veg.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Succulent Pork Roast

Not appetizing to look at, but very tasty!
Roast Pork with German-Style Sauce

3-4 lb pork butt roast
1 medium onion, quartered
2 carrots, cut into pieces
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
olive oil

Trim excess fat off the roast. Liberally season the roast with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven or roasting pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Sear the roast on one side, about 5 minutes. When golden brown and developing a crust, turn over and sear the second side. Add the onion, carrots and garlic. Add water so it comes half way up the roast. Cover and roast in a 350 degree oven for three hours. When done, the roast will be falling apart. Reserve cooking liquid. Pull into large chunks. Trim out remaining fat and tissue, cover with foil and set aside.

1 medium onion, sliced
2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1/2 cup beer or hard cider (I used cider, it's what I had)
1/2 cup of the cooking liquid (or beef broth)
1 TB whole grain mustard
3 splashes of Worchestshire sauce

In a medium fry pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper. Slowing cooking the onions until they soften and take on a very light brown color. Add the flour, stir, allow to absorb the butter and lightly toast. Add the beer/cider and water. Lower heat to the lowest temperature. Add the mustard and the Worchestshire sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. During the last two minutes, add the pork pieces into the sauce. Stir gently to coat.

Serve hot. With potatoes.

I served with boiled potatoes with butter and parsley. I think this would be great with pan fried potatoes. And a green veg would be nice. I'd go for my fav, green beans. The pork is super tender and with the sauce, totally mouth-watering.

MOVING UPDATE: I think we've packed 30+ boxes, and we haven't even dented the kitchen stuff, including dishes. Good progress, but much more to go!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What's Happening

As we pack and move closer to Moving Day, we're still having guests for dinner and enjoying a variety of home cooked meals--but simplified.

Over the weekend we had guests over for game night. Yes, we're Dork A Rific and have game night. On Sunday I made Cashew Chicken for 100 people...well, 5 people, but it was a ton of food.
As with all Chinese food, you need to prep all in advance!

I pretty much tripled the recipe and had food for close to ten people.

On Tuesday night I needed to come up with something for dinner with what I had in the fridge. I sliced up two potatoes, a handful of carrots and a little bit of kielbasa sausage. So, we had a sauted dinner. The potatoes were great! Carrots were seasoned with thyme and the sausage was quickly sauted to get some great browning and a little crispy. So not the most healthy dinner, but very tasty.

Last night, plans changed. I hadn't planned to make dinner, but found myself home and needing to do dinner for two. For a brief moment there was a consideration of ordering in Chinese. Blech! Ah ha! We had a jar of sauce from Trader Joe's...wait...Trader Ming's. *eyes roll* The sauce was a "General Tso's Stir Fry Sauce." Super sweet, but with a nice little tang. Why not.

So I prepped some carrots and sauted them in one tablespoon of olive oil and a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes.

Add in one sliced onion.

Then some chicken. When it's cooked through, add the sauce and a little soy sauce to cut the sweet. When hot and simmering, serve up on rice. It was really satisfying and so much better than ordering in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MOVING on...

NO, not that kind of moving on...more exciting; we are less than one month away from relocating the Eat With Me headquarters! Keep your fingers crossed that all continues to go as planned. When IT DOES, we'll be moving to a flashy new venue and we'll be neighbors with DC Food Blog.

I thank you, gentle readers, in advance for your patiences as the cookbooks and pots and pans start to make their way into boxes for a much needed rest. Posts and new recipes will slow down over the next weeks, hopefully just slow down and not stop! I look forward to introducing you to the new headquarters either late February or early March.

PS: I'm the polar bear! The penguin is the nice people we're hiring to do all the heavy lifting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

And the Cheese goes to...

I'd like to thank the Academy...
It makes me very happy that Ratatouille received a nomination for the Best Animated Feature. Granted it was pretty much a forgone conclusion, but you never know when someone will be snubbed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tech Work

I'm making some changes to Eat With Me...somethings changed that I didn't want to happen...links I had on the right hand side moved...I will fix today...but must run out now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

1076 To Go

Welcome friends,

So this past week we had four great dinners provided by and inspired by the wonderful 1080 Recipes by Simone & Ines Ortega. 1080 Recipes is the Spanish equivalent to the ever popular The Joy of Cooking, or the other Phaidon workhorse, the Italian The Silver Spoon. After sitting on Spain's bestsellers list for the past 30 years, Phaidon translated 1080 into English for the first time. This hefty tome is a wonderful treat for a cook's kitchen. Although loaded with Spanish recipes, the collection is not exclusively Spanish; much like The Joy of Cooking isn't exclusively American food, but a representation of what America cooks and eats, including ethnic favorites from around the world. 1080 is beautifully illustrated and well indexed and organized.

I wanted to dive into 1080 this week and selected four recipes that looked good for weeknight meals.

First we had Lentils with Bacon and Sausage
Then we had Chicken cooked with Shallots and Tomatoes
Followed that with Pumpkin Soup
And finished with Spaghetti Bolognese.

You'll see from clicking through the recipes that there seems to be one flaw in the book, the translation of the ingredient quantities and processes. I was first a little skeptical when the Lentil recipe called for ONE cup of Olive Oil. I didn't use any olive oil. Some of the other recipes didn't necessarily make sense on the first read through. What does that mean...well, out of 1080 recipes, four weren't 100% accurate. Are the others all good? Great! Sure there might be some other inaccuracies. For that reason, I don't think I would give this book to a new cook, someone who has apprehension in the kitchen. A little bit of kitchen intuition is needed to fully realize the wonderful potential of this book.

All that said, I love this book and look forward to exploring more of the recipes in the future; especially a classic Paella...

PS: Try the lentils...there were sooooo good and so very satisfying, rounded out with a crisp green salad and you'll have a perfect meal; lunch or dinner!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kid Tested Mother Approved

Friday night was a night out for us, wee went to a very interesting joint in Silver Spring. There were Pirates....that's all I'll say at this point...but we did have fun.

Today, Lady B, Hubby and Baby B came over for lunch. I ventured to the fourth recipe I'm trying from 1080 Recipes. Tasty! This was lunch and I am stuffed to the point of NO DINNER NEEDED.

Espaguetis con salsa Bolonesa
Spaghetti Bolognese

Starts with some bacon, fried to nearly crispy.

And one finely diced onion.

Add one stalk of finely diced celery.

And one or two (I used two) finely diced carrots.

Add some ground beef, stir to incorporate. Cook for ten minutes.

Add some white wine and tomato puree. I had two tomatoes I chopped up and tossed those in. Cook for ten minutes.

Here's the sauce, just about ready. One addition, a cup of milk or cream. Once added, cook for another 10 minutes.

Dressed and served. So much rich flavor.

This is the second version of Bolognese I've made. It's very familiar to the other recipe, with a few small changes. White wine instead of Red wine. Bacon instead of sausage. (KEY!) Light cream instead of milk. Looking at the two recipes, I think only one of these changes actually makes any difference. The lovely bacon! The hint of smokiness is very nice addition to this very rich sauce.

Very Nice. Baby B even tried some and enjoyed it...until she found it fun to throw her "pick up pasta" on the floor! Cutie!

Ingredient list for this slightly (very slightly) altered recipe:

1 TB olive oil
1/4 lb bacon, finely diced
1 lb ground beef (90% lean)
1 large onion, finely diced
1-2 carrots (depending on size), finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
pinch ground cloves
6 TB tomato sauce
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
3 TB white wine
1 cup light cream (I had milk and heavy cream, I used 1/2 of each)
1 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the bacon and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the carrots, onions, celery, beef and ground cloves, season with salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sauce and white wine. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for at least another 10 minutes.

I let the sauce sit for two hours at this point, then when preparing to serve, let it sit for another 10 minutes. Mmm, flavor-melding!

Toss pasta with 1/2 the sauce, reserve the remaining sauce for the table. Serve with the Parm.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wine Times

I recieve an email on a daily basis from the PAGE A DAY calendar people. The emails I get are from the Karen MacNeil Wine Lover's Page A Day calendar. On occasion, I may share some of the interesting notes and ideas Karen shares in the calendar. Karen MacNeil is the author of The Wine Bible, a must have for any enophile, amateur or professional! She's also the author of Wine, Food and Friends, which I recieved for Christmas.

This poster available for purchase here.

Sometimes I like to carry a wine right through the meal—from appetizers through the main course—and even turn it into dessert! One of my favorite wines to do this with is syrah, whose deep sensual berry flavors are unbeatable. I serve wild mushroom bruschetta with syrah as a first course, then go on to grilled lamb chops (a perfect syrah partner) and finally a dessert of blueberries with syrah syrup in old-fashioned coupe glasses. Here’s how to make this delicious dessert:

In a saucepan, combine one 750-milliliter bottle of syrah with 1/3 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is reduced by half (about 20 minutes). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and a small dash of cracked black pepper. Cool. Put three 6-ounce cartons of blueberries in a bowl. Pour syrah mixture over them, cover bowl, and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve in shallow coupe glasses with chocolate biscotti alongside. Or, for a real hedonistic treat, pour over vanilla ice cream.

The other day, a magazine editor asked me to recommend a certain type of wine. The bottle I suggested cost about $30. “But that’s a lot to spend on a bottle of wine,” she said. I then asked her if she drank coffee. Her response? Lattes, two or three a day from a nearby coffee chain at a cost of $10 or so a day. By comparison, the spectacular wine I was suggesting was $6 per serving.

Moral of the story: Most beverages are sold in single-serving containers. Most wine, of course, is not. There are five glasses of wine in every bottle—an important factor to consider when you think about the cost of a wine. A glass of great wine might just be less expensive than your daily caffeine fix.

Earthy: Many red wines, notably pinot noir, are described as “earthy.” While this single word can describe a wine, there are permutations of earthiness that are fascinating to smell and taste. An earthy wine, for example, may exhibit one or more of the following:
Garigue: the smell of wild resinous herbs (thyme, lavender) against the hot baked earth. Many Provençal wines are described as having a garigue aroma and flavor.
Duff: the smell of the wet forest floor and rotting leaves (called sous bois in French)
Mushroom: a raw mushroom or truffle aroma
Animali: the attractive sensual/sweaty aroma of the human body
Barnyard: the aroma, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not, of animals in a barnyard

Dear Karen: A wine shop in my neighborhood recently advertised an event called a vertical tasting. What exactly is a vertical tasting?
Dear Reader: A vertical tasting is a tasting of several different vintages of the same wine, made by the same producer. For example, a tasting of six different Château Margaux—let’s say, from the 1961, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000 vintages—would be called a vertical tasting. Vertical tastings are conducted in order to understand how the same wine differs from year to year, as well as to experience ways in which it remains the same no matter what the weather might bring. Vertical tastings also provide an opportunity to see how aging affects wine and to identify personal preferences for younger or older wines. For example, although much fanfare always attends older wines in a vertical tasting, some tasters may discover that they actually prefer the younger ones for their richness and lively fruit characters.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sopa Sopa Sopa

Tonight's adventures in 1080 Recipes continues with:

Sopa de Calabaza
Pumpkin Soup

I had one pumpkin left from the fall. I chopped into it and, well, it wasn't really fresh. So say hello to trash. But I did have 2 cups of diced pumpkin in the freezer...only one third of what the recipe called for. So, to bring it up closer to half the recipe, I added a chopped carrot. It's orange and veggie, so hey!

When all was done, the soup was great. I found it filling and full of great flavor--which I added, as the recipe didn't have any herbs or spices.

And for a soup it's simple. I urge anyone who hasn't made a pureed veggie soup to give it a try with your blender, food processor or immersion blender.

Ingredients in my version of 1080 Recipe's Pumpkin Soup:
1 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
3 leeks, cleaned and diced (white and light green parts only)
a few pinches of cayenne pepper, curry powder and dried rosemary
2 cups diced pumpkin
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 large potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups water or chicken broth
1/4 cup cream
salt & pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the leeks, saute until they glisten and release their aroma. Add the spices and herbs. Sizzle for a minute, add the pumpkin, carrot and potatoes. Add the water. Simmer for about 20 minutes until tender.

Puree the sopa in your blender, food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Return to the pot and simmer over the lowest heat possible. Stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning, adjust as needed. Serve hot. Garnish with cilantro or extra cream if you like. Or some crushed hazelnuts...or creme fraiche...whatever you like.

Some work needed

Continuing with our dinners from 1080 Recipes, last night we had an altered (influenced by) version of:

Pollo Guisado con Cebollitas y Tomate
Chicken cooked with Shallots and Tomatoes

It was altered, a few different ways, but the same general gist is begin...

I browned some chicken in a pot, using equal amounts of olive oil and butter. When the chicken was browned, I removed it to a plate and added 8 shallots that I peeled and cut into large pieces. After they started to sweat I added some dried herbs; thyme, oregano, basil. Give that a minute. Add some white wine and water to make a brothy concoction.

Into the broth, I added the chicken back in; nesteling it down into the broth and shallots. On top, I added 3 tomatoes I had peeled, quartered and seeded. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Done.

I served the chicken with plain white rice.

This was good, but!

The original recipe called for chicken parts with skin and bones and fat, all very delicious, but I had chicken breasts. So, the chicken was a little blah when done.

We also were instructed to add bacon. WHAT!?? Scott didn't use bacon. True, I didn't use bacon. I figured the three meals (by the end of the week) that call for bacon were enough, I could skip bacon in this meal. So, no bacon...sad!

We were also instructed to add the ingredients in a different order, which didn't make sense to me. So I did as I described above, which worked, for the most part, but I think I'll change it up a bit in the future by adding the chicken to the shallot/wine broth, letting that simmer for 20 minutes, then adding the tomatoes and letting that go for only 10 minutes. The tomatoes virtually dissolved in broth, which is fine and tasty, but some chunks of tomato would be nice.

AND, I was also instructed to add jarred red bell peppers. I don't have those. I did have a fresh red bell pepper, but I wasn't in the mood to add it. Maybe next time?!

When all was said and done, what I made, based on the recipe was fine. Next time I will shift the order around a bit, add the tomatoes at the end. I will also try to use chicken parts and allow the whole mess to cook over lower heat for a longer time, allowing that flavorful broth to infuse itself in the chicken parts.

Ingredients for this version:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split into two pieces each-four pieces total
2 TB olive oil
2 TB butter
8 shallots, peeled and cut into large pieces
1/2 tsp each: dried thyme, oregano and basil
Salt/Pepper to season to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, quarted and seeded
parsley for garnish

The steps are described above.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For Christmas from Terri in WI, I received 1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega. A giant collection of recipes from Spain's top selling cookbook. Yeah! This week I have four recipes I'm going to make. Here's the first one...

Lentejas con tocino y salchichas
Lentils with Bacon and Sausage

You need good lentils. These are petite green lentils (Le Puy from France).

You cook the lentils until tender with some flava...carrots, onion with whole cloves, garlic and a bay leaf. I added one stalk of celery for fun.

When the lentils are cooked, they are tossed with crispy bacon and sausage. I used some sliced up kielbasa. Serve with a cool, crisp salad for a great meal.

I loved these lentils. So warm, earthy, meaty, smoky. We both wanted more! I think I like them more than the Warm French Lentil Salad. Try these lentils.

Lentils with Bacon and Sausages
from 1080 Recipes, slightly altered by me.

1 small onion, peeled
2 whole cloves
2 2/3 cups Puy lentils
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
bacon, sliced into pieces...about 1/2 pound
1/2 smoked kielbasa, cut into bite size pieces

Insert the cloves into the onion (see photo above). Add the first 6 ingredients into a large pot and cover with ample water. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender. I went about 50 minutes and they were almost mushy. I'll check for the proper tenderness at about 40-45 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Drain. Discard veggies.

In the same pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Push to the side, add the kielbasa and saute for a minute or two. Remove from heat. Spoon off about 1/2 the fat. Add the lentils, stir and serve. If the lentils are too dry for your liking add some of the cooking liquid back until the lentils moist to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

salad days

Last night I made a version of the Millionaire Chicken Salad I've made once before. The MCS should be made with a napa cabbage, but the last few times I"ve been to my store they haven't carried the napa cabbage. So last night I threw together this "temple food" salad with a bag of shredded cabbage. Tossed in some thin sliced carrots and bell peppers, poached chicken and the dressing. Done and done. It was good. It wasn't great, but it was good and filling. The dressing is tasty and could be used as a sauce for some grilled chicken, rice and steamed veg for a healthy meal.

I wasn't having the best of evenings, so it was just icing on the cake when I was serving the salad and the spoons slipped and sent sloppy cabbage all over the counter and floor. Nice. Here's hoping today is a better day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cinnamony Goodness

I'll get you a recipe later, but this was nice. Crispy Crusted French Toast. The standard French toast we grew up with, enhanced with some smashed up Anna cookies. I used the Almond Cinnamon variety. Very tasty. With the syrup and butter I felt I was eating a big, sticky, gooey Cinnabun! Awesome.

Get your custard ready, 3 eggs and 2/3 cup of heavy cream, 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 TB sugar; whisk together.

Crunch your cookies. I used 1/2 a pack of Almond Cinnamon Anna Cookies from Ikea. Smash the cookies up into tiny little bits. I put the cookies in a baggie and used a meat tenderizer until they were pulverized. Pour out onto a plate.

Pre-heat your skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 2 TB butter until it's sizzling.

Dip a piece of bread in the egg mixture until coated. Place on the cookie crumbs, flip to coat both sides. Place in the hot pan and cook until golden brown on one side, flip and cook the other side. If they toasts are browning too much, too fast, turn the heat down.

Serve HOT with butter and your favorite syrup.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I wasn't in the mood for making the requested dinner of Chicken Provencale, but when it was done and served it, dang did it hit the spot! Bravo! Simple and satisfying. Chicken, Peppers, Tomatoes, Basil, Happy! Part of me is feeling I didn't have enough fresh basil this past summer. Must go above and beyond next season.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Clean your fridge

Look what we found... Yippeee Science! Fuzzy Limes!!!

Oops. Left those in the fridge too long.